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Friday, October 5, 2012

Eye spy...a black cloud

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

it seems like the perpetual black cloud that has been hanging over our head is still there...and it stretches on. Heidi, you saw the surgeon on Wednesday, and we found out that fortunately, you did not blow out your knee. The Dr. thought that your cruciate was fine, and and the possibility of tearing your meniscus without blowing the cruciate too was very unlikely...possible, but unlikely. She thought it could be another ligament that was irritated, as the swelling in the knee was more medial (inside), or a bursa. Either way, the instructions were the same-icing, range of motion exercises, PT, and rest. We have a follow up next Wednesday to check on your progress.

Well, the good news is, is that there is progress to report.You're now weight bearing on the leg, and able to get around better. You actually went on a short walk around the neighborhood tonight, and hardly limped, or even paced at all. GREAT NEWS! We came back and I iced your leg, and you even jumped up onto the couch on your own (while you were unsupervised!) The gabapentin that the Dr. gave you also seems to be helping. Not enough to make you loopy or forget that you have some pain (which slows you down), but enough to dull it.

The only other problem, is that on tonight's walk, you decided you needed to potty. When I went to go scoop, it was fairly loose-I guess not giving you your flagyl this morning made a difference. I didn't give it, because when you went poop for the first time the other night, it was completely solid and formed. So, I gave it to you tonight. I also have been mixing kibble in with your chicken/rice/baby food mixture so that might have made a difference as well. I want to make sure we take care of this bug all the way. I'm a little concerned about this, but hoping that a few more days of flagyl and bland diet goodness will help.

Now, onto my little Shelby. You my dear, have decided that you do not like that your sister has been getting more of her fair share of attention. So you had to do something to get some too. Yeah...the way in which you did it though...no a good idea. Granted, it wasn't your fault. It was an accident. You were standing close to the book shelf while I was feeding the fish, and one of the cats knocked over a knick-nack. It hit you, but I didn't see where. You squeeked and ran away under the table. When you came out, I thought it had hit you in the foot. But a little while later, when you jumped on the bed, I saw you squinting and your nictating membrane was up. I grabbed an ice pack and held it on your eye, but it didn't seem to alleviate the pain.

I called the vet AGAIN, and we went in to see the opthamalogist, Dr. Marrion as she really loves you guys. She stained your eye and found a scratch on your cornea. GREAT =0( She gave us some meds and said hopefully that these would work on your eye to help heal the scratch and prevent it from turning into an ulcer. She also gave you tramadol for your pain. She said to see her next week for a recheck. Great. Now you and Heidi have appointments on the same day. At least I can save on the gas driving down there...yeah. Theres the silver lining. The real good news will be that your scratch has healed, instead of it turning into an ulcer and needing surgery. Now THAT will be a silver lining.

So that's where we stand now, girls. Waiting to see how your rechecks go next week. Lets hope that Heidi's leg, and Shelbys eye, have healed. Lets hope this black cloud has some light behind it...

I love you girls,
and will always take care of you,
xoxo

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sick Puppy

Dear Heidi,

You're scaring me. You have been vomiting and had diarrhea for about 4 days now. Nothing I have done seemed to help-not fasting, not a bland diet, not slippery elm. So finally, before you got too dehydrated, I decided to bring you into the hospital. I called and made the appointment yesterday, after I had shown you some food (boiled chicken and rice) and you promptly threw up just at its smell. I made the appointment for 10:30 this morning with a different doctor than you usually see, because she was at a CE lecture in CA.

But this morning, you decided to make me worry just a bit more! I put all 4 of you out, and when you came in, you immediately lie down. When I called you up, you had an extremely hard time getting up, were wobbbly when standing, and then revealed that you were standing on only 3 legs. You were non-weight bearing on your right rear leg. I feel terrible that I don't know what happened, because I wasn't watching you. Did you slip on the wet leaves on the deck? Slip on the stairs? What happened?

So, you rested with me the rest of the morning, and then I got you up to go to the vet. When we got there, I wrapped you in a blanket and carried you in. The room tech, and then the dr. asked me all kinds of questions regarding your GI upset, and your lameness. I don't think I did a good job explaining...I felt like a neglectful mother. But the dr. was able to decipher what I was trying to remember and tell them.

She wanted to do some bloodwork, give you fluids and some injections. Unfortunately, the two issues do not help each other...they cant give you pain meds, because of your upset tummy, and the fact that your NSAID intolerant (they put you into renal failure). So the plan is to try and get your GI tract back in shape, and then deal with your sore leg.

They gave you sub-q fluids, pepcid, cerenia and buprinex all by injection, and sent you home with flagyl. As soon as your belly gets better, we will start gabapentin for your leg, and if that and rest doesn't help, we'll see the surgeon. The dr. we saw had another dr. feel your leg and agreed that the knee was inflamed, but you didn't blow it out (we hope). Everyone agreed it was probably soft tissue, so as of now, xrays weren't needed. They were also not needed for your abdomen as it is unlikely you have a foreign body.

When I took you home, you were pretty out of it. The burpinex made you pretty tired and you panted all the way home, sitting beside me in the passenger seat. We had to stop at Walmart to get you some baby food and pick up my prescription. You didn't move the entire time I was in the store. When we finally got home, I carried you into the front yard, thinking you would have to pee. Instead you had more diarrhea, this time with a touch of blood. You almost couldn't walk into the house. I put my Patriots blanket onto the floor, and you lied right down. After I had gotten settled, I put you in bed with me. That's where you've been all day...sleeping. I just took you out again, and saw how much pain you are really in. You limped around, a tripod, and wouldn't do potty for me. It was hard for you to get into the position because of your leg =0(

I'm going to continue to watch you, and carry you around for as long as it takes. I want you to rest your leg, and we need to get your GI stuff under control. I'm going to try and feel you a little more later tonight, and hope that stays down...otherwise, its back to the dr.

Please get better my love...I hate seeing you in this much pain and discomfort. Your so stoic, I know you must be in a lot of pain in order to show it. I hope we can figure all of this out...

I love you,
xoxo

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sore Sniffer


Dear Shelby,

You have a sore sniffer! Momma found a gauge on your nose last night, and it looks pretty painful. Of course you'd never let on...your stoic attitude means that if I wasn't so obsessed with checking every square inch of you every day, I may not have even noticed. You haven't been pawing at it or anything. But, my poor baby, its pretty red-raw, and your little nose print circle things are scraped off =0( I put some vitamin E oil on it last night, and it looks better. Of course you wanted to lick it off right away, but even your long Shelby tongue couldn't quite reach it all.

I think what happened, is when I brought you over "other mummas" (my mothers) house, her dog Brandy, stuck her paw through the gate and scratched you good. I know you try and be on your best sheltie behavior, but it is truly hard when Brandy is around. Shes young, and doesn't always necessarily speak good "dog". She thinks that your "mean teeth" aren't scary at all, and that by you growling at her means you MUST want to play. I try and keep her separated, but sometimes accidents happen. And I think this was one of those times.

I'm sorry I didn't keep a better eye and protect you more. I'm usually better at that. And I'm sorry it took me so long to notice your poor nose. I'm going to get the vitamin E right now, and put some more on it to see if we can heal it a little bit quicker.

I promise to keep a better eye on Brandy next time we go over, and not let her harass you as much. Again, I'm sorry I failed you.

Mumma loves you so much, my little snuggler,
xoxo

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My first book...any help is appreciated!!

Dear girls,

Ive decided to pursue my dream and write a new book called "Letters to The Bridge". Here is what I have been sending people to explain it:

 Hi everyone,

My name is Jenn, and I am going to be writing a book called "Letters to The Bridge". This book will contain letters from every day people who are grieving the loss of a beloved pet, no matter how much time has passed.

I am looking for people to volunteer to write these letters to their pet and they just might make it into the book. I'm looking for letters 1-2 pages long, telling your pets story. I would also love to have a copy of your favorite picture of your pet.

Please email letterstothebridge@yahoo.com with your letter in the body of the email, rather than in an attachment.

I'm writing this book to help people who are going through the immense grief that comes with the loss of a loved furkid. I want people out there to know that they are not alone, and that millions of people all around the world have the same feeling they do...and how therapeutic writing can be. I was inspired to collect these letters by all of the notes that were written and hung as memorials at the Dog Chapel at Dog Mountain, and by the book "Beezer and Boomer" by Doug Koktavy (this is a book written about his two labs and how they go through the living and dying process).

If anyone would like to help me with this project, please email me at the link above. You can also visit our face book page by typing "letters to the bridge" in the search box.

Thank you for all of your time, help, and stories in advance. Hugs to you all,

Jenn Whalen


What do you think? Ive had this idea for a long while now, but I am finally getting up the nerve to do it. Ive already emailed a publisher, and am waiting eagerly to hear back. I don't know how many people read this little blog of ours, but if anyone would care to write, or pass around the message, I would be so thankful. I'm trying to reach as many people as possible to give them all the opportunity to tell their special, one of a kind, beloved pets story.

I love you girls to the ends of the earth,
thank you for being my co-authors,
xoxo

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Business Cards

Dear Heidi,

what kind of business are you running? Every where you seem to go, you need to leave a peemail or "business card" behind. I don't understand how you do it. You seem to empty your bladder before the walk, but you always seem to have some stored up in reserves to leave your calling card behind.

Well let me tell you, I know networking is important and all, but do you need to leave your "card" repeatedly on the same walk? I think peeing 15 times in a brief walk is a little...excessive. How many calls are you really getting back?

But you're not just leaving your information, you're also getting other dogs messages as well. How many times is it really necessary for me to turn around on our walk and find you several (SEVERAL) feet behind because you had to stop and pick up your peemail. Again, I don't know what kind of business you're running, but if you could start pitching in for the house bills, that would be great!

And Shelby, I appreciate you supporting your sister, but picking up her business habits are not necessary...unless you want to start paying bills too!!

I love you girls,
xoxo

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little things...

Dear Heidi,

Today we got some great news. I had found small lumps in your breast tissue a little while ago, and had them tested; they came back as fatty tissue, or a "lipoma". Well, the other night, I found another one that I knew was not there at the last testing. I decided to take you in this morning and see our favorite vet, Dr. Bennett, so she could take a look.

Well, great news again. She tested the new one, and retested the others and they all came back as lipomas! Yay! No more MCT's, and no mammary cancer =0) They're little lumps, but boy do they give you a big scare when you find them!

When we got home, you showed me something that reminded me to appreciate all of the other little things-instead of dwelling on the little things that you cant do, or that are becoming more difficult with age, you showed me the little things that you still CAN do...and reminded me that if you need help, you'll ask for it.

I had just gotten into bed, preparing to write this blog, and Shelby jumped up with me, as she always does. You started to bark, so I told you to "find your stairs" and see if you could make it up. I waited for a minute and then saw your fluffy head and ears peek over the end of the bed. I patted the mattress while encouraging you to "come up". You turned around skillfully on the top stair, looking like you were going to head back down, but you surprised me and jumped up on the bed! You COULD do it!!! I was so proud, and told you so while I kissed and snuggled with you.

It was really important to you to be able to do it...you had a happy look on your face, and a triumphant gleam in your eye as you made it all the way up. I'm so lucky that I'm paying attention enough to notice these little things that you and your sister do every day. Like still wanting to play a hard game of frisbee. Or Shelby rolling in the wet grass this morning. Little things that just make me happy, seeing you happy. I hope to never see those go away...

Thank you my loves, for all the lessons you've taught me, and are still willing to teach...even if your student is a little slow...
Lots of love,
xoxo

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gastrointestinal pyrotechnics

Dear Heidi,

I decided to make your green veggie mix, because its been so long since you've both have had it. I added: a tomato, green pepper, zucchini, summer squash, a cucumber, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and romaine lettuce. It made a great mix that scooped easily into the mini muffin pans that we use to freeze it for future meals. However, when I went to to feed it to you with your Orijen, you weren't very happy. You ate it, but reluctantly. I decided to use what was left (that wouldn't fit in the pans for freezing) until it was gone. You decided not to eat at all last night, walking away from your bowl completely.

I remember speaking to the animal communicator who told me that you didn't like the green mix. But you always ate it. Its good for you, to get fresh veggies, fruit and meat with your kibble. Just the other day I added ground lamb into your food. But you still wouldn't eat last night, even after I explained that it was good for you. So I tried adding cottage cheese. That, thankfully, seemed to do it. You ate it, anyways...even if you didn't eat the whole thing. Shelby polished the rest of it off for you. SHE doesn't mind the veggies...SHE doesn't care WHAT she eats!!

But maybe I made a mistake making you eat it. Because at 4:00 this morning, we woke up to a surprise. Ginny got up and found small droplets of diarrhea all over the kitchen and bathroom floors. I had a feeling it was you because you hadn't been enthused about eating...even thought I picked up a normal poop when we went for our night time walk. I checked your bummy and it WAS you. You poor thing, you had poo all over you and it was clear you were going to need a tubby to get it all off. Great. Just what we both wanted to be doing at 4:00 am.

I gave you the tubby, and you were good to go. I also gave you two slippery elms to try and calm your belly. Apparently those didn't work for you though, because you just came in with a small amount of bloody diarrhea on your bummy again. Luckily I could get this off with some paper towels, and you didn't need a second tubby (thank doG). But now I feel terrible...was it the veggies and cottage cheese? Was it the lamb the other day? Are you just not feeling well, and maybe caught a bug?

I know how you feel, because I have IBS myself. That feeling is not fun. I wish I could make you feel better. If it continues, we'll go to the doctor and try and figure it out. I'm sorry you're not feeling well, and mom will try and make you better. Your spirits are still up, and you still want to play, which are all good signs. I hope you continue to do well, and will keep trying to make you feel better.

I love you, and hope you feel better.
All my love, xoxo

**Amendment:
Shelby started with vomiting tonight after dinner. She threw up about 7 times in 45 minutes, and got to the point that she could not keep down the meds I gave her (pepcid and slippery elm) nor the water she drank. I called the vet who suggested I fast her for the rest of the night and see how she does in the morning. Then she went outside and had a very hard time pooping. When she came in, she had the runs on her back end. I cleaned her up and shes been resting since. I don't know whether they caught a doggy bug, the green veggies aren't sitting well or if it was the raw lamb I gave them the other day... in any case, I feel so bad for them, and am anguishing at the fact I could have caused this. I'll keep the blog updated when I know more, but for right now, they've just got to rest....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Neighborhood walks

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

I'm so glad that we live in an actual neighborhood. I missed it so much when we moved from our condo in Dracut to the house in Methuen. The house obviously had its own yard, but it was on a very short street that connected to a very busy one. If we wanted to walk, we had to drive to one of our favorite destinations: Livingston fields in Tewksbury, Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, the farm (woodsom farm) in Amesbury or the beach. Not that this was a bad thing...we still love going to all of those places for a quiet scenic walk (when its not tick season). But if I was running low on gas, or if it was getting late in the day (especially when it starts to get dark early) we would have to skip our walks all together and find something else to do...usually ending up playing frisbee in the yard.

But now we have the best of both worlds. We can drive to any of our favorite spots, (well, when the cooler weather gets here) or we can just walk up our street and around the neighborhood. Its not a long walk, only about 20 mins or so, but it is a nice walk for you too. Especially when the weather is a bit warm and sticky, like it was tonight. The pavement doesn't get hot because of all the trees bordering the streets from all the yards. Its also nice to see all the different houses that make up our little neighborhood. There are some neighbors that we can always count on seeing on our walks too. Usually they're the ones with the dogs...and they're the ones who are the most friendly towards us.

Of course we always walk with baggies so I can pick up any "deposits" you leave along the way...which are inevitable. I don't know what it is about pooping in someone elses yard, but you girls cant help but do it. I think you're secretly thinking its dangerous, or taboo or something. You guys are trying to be Sheltie rebels and show the world how bad-ass you are. Well, its never a big deal unless you do it in our neighbors yard. We've already had the dog officer called twice on us because you and your cousins cant magically tell where the yard borders are. The guys a shmuck. I remember playing frisbee with Heidi in the front yard and it accidentally went into his yard. The guy actually came charging out of his house and told me to get you off his property. Seriously? It was a mistake. You weren't "assuming the position" and getting ready to drop a load. You stepped over the property line by accident to go after your toy. Give me a break.

Luckily all of our neighbors aren't as anal, and most up and down the street have dogs of their own. This one guy just happens to be the bad apple out of the bunch. But beyond him, I love walking you in the neighborhood. It just is so nice to get out of the house either early in the morning when Ginny goes to work, or later in the day after dinner. I think it relaxes us all, and makes us sleep a little bit better after some exercise. The fresh air does us all good.

So lets keep walking. Lets walk our neighborhood as often as we can and make it a ritual that benefits us all. Its important to stay active, now that you girls are in your senior years. And where we cant always get to one of our favorite walking places for one reason or another, it helps that we have this other option. I love our walks together, and hope they last for a long, long time.

For now, rest my babies. It was a warm night tonight and I know the walk wore you out. So get some sleep, and I'll see you tomorrow.
xoxo

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Meet the girls!

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

Today I updated your blog to allow you to each have your own page! Now when people click on your names at the top of the blog, the link will take them to your Dogster pages where they can read all about you-your likes, dislikes and your stories. Ive always wanted to make you pages, but never got around to doing it. This is a great way to introduce people who read your blog to each of you. I promise I'll be more on top of updating your pages too.

Now people will feel like they know you a little bit better...and get to know how extra special you babies really are!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

So busted...

Dear Shelby,

You, my dear, are so busted. I put some lunch in the microwave the other day, and so had to take the can of cat food out. We buy the big 12oz cans because they last 3 meals, and we keep it in the microwave to prevent the cats from eating it all. So anyways, I guess I left the can on the stove under the microwave and forgot to place it back where it belongs.

Needless to say, I got up to do some laundry a few hours later and found an EMPTY, LICKED CLEAN can with, and I couldn't believe this, PUNCTURE HOLES in it!!!! It appears as though one of the cats knocked the can onto the floor where one of you four dogs proceeded to eat not only the food, but the can! Well...we didn't know who had done it at first, but we had our suspicions.

We figured it was you because, well, you'll eat any food in any form.You're the only dog Ive seen eat lettuce, whole blueberries, bananas, raw meat and bones etc. We call you the garbage disposal because we haven't found a food yet that you wont eat. Where other dogs will turn their nose up at something or spit it out because of the texture, you will eat it...no questions asked, no chewing required.

The really nice thing about you though, is that you don't eat things that aren't actually food. Where your sister still eats socks and underwear at 10, and where the cats will make off with things made of plastic or string, you stick to food items only. It makes me feel much better that you at least wont end up with a foreign body...

So although we suspected you, there wasn't enough evidence to convict. Or so we thought. Tonight when you decided to get lovey with me, I noticed something odd about your face. You seem to have brown smeared into your white fur! The kind of smear job that would result from sticking your long, pointy, sheltie nose into a can of contraband. Yeah...we now know who we can point the finger at!

So I'm glad it was just cat food, and I'm glad after a long exam, you don't seem to have any broken teeth or torn up gums...you seem to have come away from this little adventure unscathed. Maybe next time you can exercise a little Sheltie control and walk AWAY from the can of cat food. Id blame the prednisone you are on for your skin, but I know that it would be a lie...you've always loved food!!

So my sweet Shelby, you are now busted. There is no punishment awaiting you, just a good face wash...

xoxo all  my love

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fun and Games

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

Did you know that I love your fun and games? I love how even at 9 1/2 and 10, you still love to play. Heidi, my favorite part of the day is when I'm sitting on the couch and you give me "the look". Shelties have a lot of "looks" (when they want to eat, when they want to go out, when you're disturbing them while they're sleeping...) but this look is different. you walk over to me with determination on your face, and a sparkle of mischief in your eyes. I ask "do you want a toy?" and you immediately set off to find one, usually your pink crinkle squeeky bone that you love so much. You love a lot of toys: your chuck-it with its squeeky tennis ball that we play with at the park, your frisbee flying squirrel...but your pink bone is your favorite. I remember buying it at the West Palm Beach airport on my way home from visiting my grandmother in Florida. I thought you'd like it and I was right. You took to it immediately!

You've been through a lot with your toys; pink bone has been put away and revived more times than I can count. And flying squirrel...well that's been to hell and back. Its been stuck on the roof, an apple tree at Dog Mountain in Vermont, and down almost the whole river at The Basin in New Hampshire. But squirrel always seems to make it (thank doG) and you generally take good care of your toys (squirrels mishaps usually come from bad throws by me!)

You even have special toys that we play with when we get to do agility. Because we only see these toys when you're working, they're EXTRA special...and you make the most out of the time you have with them.

I love taking you to the beach or lake and watching you do water retrieves. You never go in deeper than your chest, which warrants toy rescues by mumma so they don't get lost, but when you do get them you do it with gusto-sticking your whole nose in the water and grabbing it like the toys life depends on it. And I love finding new toys that you'll play with...like the new UFO toy we bring to the beach =0)

You, Shelby, on the other hand, really couldn't be bothered with toys. Sure, you'll play shuck-it and frisbee with you feel like it, but toys in the house you couldn't care less about. And forget it when we're at the beach. That's seagull chasing time! You're on patrol like David Hasselhoff on baywatch. Lord help any of those birds when they land on YOUR beach! The same goes for the farm-chasing small birds is almost as fun, and when the Canadian geese show up in the fall...its all over. You're like James Bond on a mission...nothing is going to stop you. Yet you maintain perfect recall and will stop on a dime if I give the softest call. You truly are amazing.

As much as I love all of this, all our playing, I wish we could do more. I'm so happy that you two are so active and happy at this age, but I wish I could do more with you. More games that you have fun with. I miss agility. I would love to try rally. And Shelby, you showed real aptitude for nosework at a clinic we went to...I would have loved to sign you up for it. Its ironic, how now that I'm out of work I have all the time in the world for all these things, but no money to support them. I think about going back to work to not only pay the bills but to get you back into these things that you enjoy so much. I wonder, do you miss them? Do you think about the things that you could be doing, and the opportunities that you're missing out on? I often think the same thoughts when I cant get you out...lately its been to hot for all of us to be outdoors enjoying our favorite walks and play. I think I can see the sadness and depression on your face when we cant go out. I just wish I could explain to you the reasons for being housebound,

I hope that your energy, spirit and willingness to play carries on into your golden years. I think it will help if we decide to go into therapy work. And I want you to know it puts a smile on my face every time a toy is picked up or a bird is chased. I love to see you happy and active and hope nothing changes anytime soon.

Good night my sweet girls. The weather is supposed to improve tomorrow, so maybe we can resume some of your favorite games then. Happy dreams, and lots of love....xoxo

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A rough day...

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

Today wasn't easy. It wasn't easy as I expected it to be anyways. I powdered the girls (finally) last night, but seemingly to no avail. I was still picking adult fleas off of them today...despite my best efforts. But today was the big vet appointment. I had high hopes that our wonderful vet would have some suggestions for us on how to get rid of this awful flea problem. As always, she didn't disappoint. She checked Shelby over and determined that she did indeed have a skin infection from the little buggers on top of their bites. This is why you were scratching yourself silly...and why your skin was red raw and had weeping pustules. I'm so sorry I waited so long...but I'm finding out the hard way that nothing lately is coming easy...

So you were sent home with some antibiotics and some prednisone for the infection; hopefully both meds combined will be enough to help stop the itchy scratchies. You're actually losing fur because your scratching your undercoat out. Again, I am so sorry for waiting so long. But my dear girls, Mom is finding out that not having money readily available anymore is forcing me to put many things on hold. Not just your care, but things like food...and the mortgage. Mom and auntie are so stressed out right now because we just cant seem to catch a break. Everything sort of fell apart when I stopped working just about a year ago...around the same time we bought the house. Things have been a struggle ever since. Not only are we not able to do the things that we used to enjoy for fun, but in basic necessities as well.

So we've had to be very careful with money. And I hate to say that this time, it actually affected your care. I will NOT let that happen again. I'll do what ever needs to be done to make sure that you both get the care you need AND deserve. I know it seems like I'm going overboard with this, but Ive watched you Shelby, be uncomfortable for too long. And it wont happen again. I promise and pledge to take care of things as soon as I see them before they become too much of a problem for you. Knowing that you had fleas should not have been an excuse for me delaying your care because I thought the itchiness was just due to their bites. Again, next time I will not wait...

Which brings us to the rest of the appointment. I had to get your kitty sister, Faiths, paw checked. She is a "Hemmingway" cat, which means she has extra toes...lots of extra toes. Well, she suddenly had this "thing" sticking out of two of her toes. At first I thought it was a bone and immediately got freaked out...especially once it looked infected. But today we just found out it was a freaky toenail that has now made its way all the way out through her skin and no longer seems to be an issue. So problem #2 down.

Problem # 3 (yes, I think our vet still likes us) was Heidi's teeth. I noticed a while ago while checking her teeth and gums that her lower gums are actually pulling AWAY from her incisors on the bottom. I mean, there is a big gap between tooth and gum when her lower lip is pulled down. The result is, she will eventually lose those teeth =0( they're already loose. At 10, I guess I can expect some dental problems, but didn't think they would be this severe. I hope she can keep them for a long time and they stay put. I don't want my baby losing anything before her time...not her energy, her mobility OR her teeth!

So after this whole fiasco of an appt. where I found out Shelby, you have a severe skin infection, and Heidi is going to lose her teeth, we are told that to take care of the flea problem we're looking at bombing the house, and buying LOTS of k9 and feline advantage to kill the fleas and their eggs. This is AFTER I just frontlined them last week. I was told it is safe to use both, but considering I'm not the type to use EITHER, I'm not a happy camper. Apparently frontline does nothing for fleas any more =0(  So tomorrow I'm going out to spend more money that we really don't have on flea treatments for 8 pets. I don't mean to sound like a complainer, I mean I took these guys on (the cats) knowing that they would need medical care. I just wish it didn't have to come when finances are already a struggle...

And finally, after our very long appt. at the vet, I came home and had another breakdown. I found myself crying uncontrollably again on the phone with my mom telling her how stuck I was. I know she would help if it was something that truly was an emergency, but she has really truly helped enough. Giving us thousands of dollars to help with the bills when I was really sick and in the hospital. Luckily I have an appt. with my therapist tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some of my stressors out. I don't want to lay all of the responsibility on my mom, Ginny, or my girls. I need someone else, removed from the situation, to talk to.

I have these set backs all the time, but they seem to be closer together. Hopefully the therapist will have some suggestions tomorrow so I don't end up back in the dark place. I cant leave you girls alone like that again...you are my stars in a blackened sky...I need the light to guide me.

I know this was a long letter, but it really was a long day. I hope we can all sleep well tonight, and tomorrow will bring more positivity and a brighter outlook for everything. Sleep well my babies. and I will see you in the morning.
xoxo

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A calling?

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

I have always had high expectations for you. Ive always wanted you to be well rounded, and able to show off your many talents-given to you by genetics (your breed) and how you were raised. I wanted to do it all-obedience, agility, rally and therapy dog work. But due to a lack of funds and talent (on my part) we haven't been able to do much. We spent a great year and a half in agility a few years ago, and you guys were really able to show your stuff; we never had an outing where we didn't place.

But due to Heidi's shoulder injury and numerous health problems on my part, we had to retire from AKC agility early. As for now, if we go back, we'll be involved with NADAC-allowing you to jump nice and low. But in the mean time (in the time it takes for me to get my health back and hopefully some money for competitions) Ive been thinking a lot about doing therapy dog work. You both are certified through TDI and passed your test with flying colors. You both seem to have a calling for it. Heidi, I knew you would be a natural-wanting to say hello to everyone, no matter what extra equipment (wheelchairs, canes etc.) people had, or how unique their situation was. They were a person, and you wanted to get your belly rubbed! Shelby, you came as a bit of a surprise. Being so much more active and energetic than your sister, you always seemed to have another job to do, other than saying hello to strangers (i.e. chasing seagulls at the beach). But in the nursing home setting where we took the test you really surprised me. Being very available to all who wanted to say hello and pet you. You stood quietly by someones side as they stroked you and asked me questions about you both.

I hemmed and hawed for a while now, not knowing if this was something that I could turn to as MY calling. I feel like I have wasted time by not getting you girls involved with this sooner, but my own fears and insecurities have gotten in the way. We had an experience recently though that made me rethink all of this and maybe want to give it a try. I took you guys to see my grandfather in his nursing home just last week. They were so friendly, just allowing you to come in with no questions asked. We rode the elevator on up, and entered his room. He was very excited to see you and pet you a little before I put you on his bed. There you laid, totally at ease and rested-getting attention when my grandfather or his wife would come over to reach you from their wheelchairs.

When we were going to leave, we were stopped several times not only by patients, but staff members as well. You both seemed to put a smile on every ones face whom you met. We were even asked to make a special visit to one young man who was a paraplegic...I lifted you up so he could see and pet you easier.

Ive thought alot about this visit, and I realized that it might just do me some good to get out. I know I cant work right now, but maybe volunteering is the way to go-to get out there and not spend all day at home cooped up in the house. I think a different venue might be more appropriate for us, and Ive been contemplating the VA hospital and Mass General where I get all of my treatments done. I'm going to make some calls tomorrow and see what I can find out.

I think this will be a new and exciting venture for us (if we can ever get this flea problem under control!!) and I look forward to working with you girls and spreading the joy that you give to me every moment of every day, to others.

So good night my babies, and sleep well. A vet appointment lies in store for you tomorrow to see if we can get these fleas under control and see if we can get Shelby's skin fixed. These little buggers are really making her suffer-covered and bites and red raw, she is constantly scratching. We'll have a better idea whats going on tomorrow.

Good night for now, and have sweet dreams. We'll have some more to think about tomorrow. I love you so much, xoxo

Monday, July 30, 2012

Still fighting the battle...and special outings

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

uggghhhhh....the fleas are not totally gone. Even after a bath and Frontline (which I have never ever used in your life-and now I'm thinking it was a waste and mistake) I found 2 fleas on Shelby this morning. Her skin is all red and still super itchy. I powdered the house this afternoon with our concoction of borax powder, diatomaceious earth and Natural Defense essential oil powder. I plan on powdering you girls with it tomorrow.

I'm also going to call the vet and see if there is anything I can use to help with the itchies. Heidi, you seem to be holding up well-not a lot of bites and not itchy. But Shelby, my little one, you're being eaten alive. Ive got to do something for you. I tried the oatmeal shampoo the other day when we had tubbies but clearly, this isn't enough. I'll see if I can get something stronger for you to help.

On another note, we went to the beach again today. It was auntie Ginny's last day of vacation, and we wanted to make it a special day so she could spend it with us, and of course her kids. You guys had such a blast again, sunning around after your toys and the seagulls. I love watching you run, as if you didn't have a care in the world...so free. I know that part of the secret to keeping you guys healthy and with me for as long as possible is to keep you active and happy. Tomorrow we'll probably go to the farm and have a nice walk there. I look forward to all of our outings...and then watching you sleep when you get home. I know that resting is important for your aging bodies, and watching you sleep after a long walk gives me immense satisfaction. I know that you are happy, and are comfortable enough in our house with your strange pack (of other dogs and cats!) to let your guard down and really sleep...just finding a spot where your comfortable and crash. I feel like I have done my job as dog mom for the day, right.

So for tonight, my little ones, sleep and dream of your favorite places and things to do. I promise that we will try to make your dreams a reality as much as possible. You two deserve it. Being the worlds best shelties and all ;0)

Good night my babies. I will see you in the morning for our next adventure...and for some powdering and grooming...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Im sorry girls...the bugs are back

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

Mummas been failing you. Ive noticed for a while now how you have been itchy; scratching whenever you got the chance. I would pet you and notice how your coat felt sandy-normal I thought for two dogs who play at the beach so much. Well, I was wrong. Once I started paying attention more, I noticed how red your skin was, the black dirt in your coat and the small fleas crawling on you! We did this all once before...but you've been flea-free since. I treated you completely holistically and without chemicals.

This time, I may have to resort to heavier duty weapons...because the problem seems to be bigger. There seem to be more of them, and everyone seems to be a carrier-the other two dogs and all the cats. So we're going to take care of this problem because it isn't good for you, babies, and we need to get rid of them.

So today you took a capstar-that will kill any adults on you. Tomorrow you get to look forward to tubbies; we'll get them all off. After that we'll use the borax powder and the diatomaceous earth and powder you down. We'll keep doing that until we're sure we got them all. No more bites for you. No more scratching. I'm so sorry it took me this long to realize what the problem was...but now we're going to take care of it. Mumma will fix it and get you guys back to normal. No more itchy scratchy shelties!!

I love you and I'm sorry in advance for the tubbies ;0)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Where we're going, and where we've been...

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

Its been a long time since Ive felt well enough to write on your blog. Not long after our last post, where we did the paws for a cure walk, I found myself finding symptoms that concerned me. I decided to get help, and this started the long and difficult struggle of being caught in the throws of a deep depression. So deep, my lovely angels, that not even you alone could pull me out. On the darkest days, I did remember you and the love that we shared and I can be honest saying that you guys did save my life...a few times. But my illness was such that you alone could not help me get out. Little did I know how long and tough the road would be to get back to somewhat normal.

After a few hospital stays, many medication changes and therapy, I can say now, that I am almost at that place. There are still things that I need and want to work on, but I am back enjoying the things I used to...the things that involved you girls. As I said in your last letter, I hope to remember how short life really is, and how little time we really have to enjoy it together. Heidi, you just celebrated your tenth birthday on July 1st; and having your cousin diagnosed with CHF has just made me face your mortality even more. I know one day you girls and I will have to part...and it will be the saddest day of my life. So lets keep doing the things that we love: going out and enjoying this great big world. Lets focus on where we're going next-whether it be as close by as the farm, or as far away as a sheltie national. We're going to take one day at a time, and Momma is going to make sure we do something together every day-whether it be spending some time together grooming, or waking, or just relaxing on the deck. I never want to go to the dark place again...and I know that having the two of you around will make it that much harder to slip into that mindset. You two are the stars in my sky...you keep shining bright even when there is no other light. You guide me to be a better, more active person.

I thank you girls for all you've done. I thank you for your uniquely canine way of being forever loyal and never wavering. You never left me for a minute even though I left you plenty of times. I love you both so much, and you have such a big part of my heart, I find it hard to breathe thinking of being without you. Thank you for all you've done...now lets go and find our next adventure together!

thanks again my sweet girls,
xoxo

Friday, July 20, 2012

Letters to the girls: #1

Dear Heidi and Shelby,

I was so happy to take you to the beach today. I knew that you guys were going to have a blast; the weather was sunny with just a hint of hazy clouds making it warm, but not too much so. It was nice and cool in the 70's, so even walking in the sun it wasn't too hot for your sheltie coats.

Shelby, you had such a good time chasing all of the "beach geese" (seagulls) off your beach. No matter how many times, even right in a row that one would fly over, you would go sprinting away barking your little sheltie head off on one simple command from me: "away". You'd come back with the proudest look on your face, a big smile that said "did you see what I did mom?" Id give you a pat on the side and tell you what a good girl you were. After a few runs, you'd come back with "happy tongue" (where the tongue hangs out the side of your mouth) and I know that you felt that you had done your job, and you had done it right. You had my girl, you had.

Heidi on the other hand, you waited somewhat impatiently for what good time you knew was coming. Mom always brings a special toy for you (since you have no interest in flying things) and today you weren't disappointed. Auntie Ginny had bought a UFO toy for her dog, but you quickly took it over with your superior fetching skills. In fact, once you came back with it hanging by just one canine tooth...a very cool trick we all made a big deal over. Sometimes UFO would end up in the water. Usually this didn't stop you from completing the task of retrieving skills but sometimes it would get just out of your reach and momma would have to go in knee deep and rescue it for you. You'd stand on the beach barking your commands to "hurry up and throw it again!" and I of course, complied.

You guys had such a good time today...it seemed so freeing after being in the house the past couple days. I tried to take you yesterday and had everything all planned out, but after having (my) moms dog Brandy knock me over, I knew I couldn't walk and it wouldn't be a good day. Today my leg still hurt, but not bad enough to curb our trip again. I promise we will go back soon. Its so nice to see you running and acting so happy and free. It makes me remember what our wonderful relationship is all about...the good times.

I was reminded of that constantly today, remembering Aunties dog Molly's diagnosis of CHF and knowing she has limited time with those she loves. And then when I got home, I saw a facebook post saying that Judy, Heidi's breeder had lost her very special heart-dog Jackson. Time is short, and we never know when it will be up...we never know what is going to come tomorrow. We have to make the best of today. I hope that I keep doing that and never let you down. There will be a day where we have to say goodbye for now and I hope to remember all of these good times.

I hope to remember laying with you Shelby on the bed tonight and marveling at your feet. How many times had those feet padded over the sand today, running away from me after your "prey" and then dutifully running back to check in with me. I played with the soft curls that your fur makes when it air dries from being wet from the beach water. I looked at the beautiful highlights in your sandy hair.

I love you. Both. So much. Please, never forget that. And I will try to do my part and  remember every day too. Good night my girls. Sleep well.