Melvin’s doing great! We go back Monday and I’m guessing we come home without a bandage (but definitely still with staples). Unfortunately, one thing the vet cautioned against was Nubbin getting wet. While others were stocking up on water and batteries, I was raiding the plastic wrap/baggies aisle. They had leftover holiday Press’n Seal on sale. Sorry Melvin.

Nubbin 0; Irene 1.

“Don’t step on the nubbin”.

I could never have guessed that would be the most popular phrase spoken in this house. Melvin is resting comfortably. Last night was pretty rough, he was in a lot of pain and he cried and moaned (which made me cry and moan). He found it impossible to get comfortable. The only way he’d lay still was if I talked. Suffice it to say, we are both exhausted today.

This morning he got a bandage change and the vet said he’s doing good, we go back on Saturday. Until then it’s lots of love combined with pain meds, antibiotics and skin cream (because of course poor Melvin had a reaction to the tape they used on his IV). I’m praying the bandage stays on, I love him but I’d rather see his nubbin a week from now. Especially since if the bandage falls off, I have to redo it.

Some photos of drunk-high-confused-drooling Melvin…

The Tell Tale Tail.

Melvin lost his tail today. He is still at the vet in recovery but they said he did great. He will bounce, as he always does, right into his next joyful moment!

I love his crazy tail (I love everything about him) but what I really love is that ‘thump’. While at the vet the other day they took him to clip his nails while I stayed in the examination room. Suddenly, I heard the thumping. thump, Thump, THump, THUmp, THUMp THUMP, THUMP, THUMP. Melvin was clearly in the room next to me and his tail was in full motion and whacking the wall between us. It was hysterical! Just this morning, as I was making subtle morning movements while waking-up, Melvin thumped for me. I’ll miss that melodious tail song but Melvin will find a new, equally wonderful, way to express his happiness. He has way too much for it to ever be contained!

Thank you too all our fans for your well-wishes during the tail-debacle! We’ll keep you posted.

Cast away.

The vet thinks it’s time to take the cast off. Based on what Melvin’s tail looks like, my non-medical degreed opinion agrees. That thing needs some air. It has very little fur left on it and it looks a little (ok a lot) like a shriveled up hot dog (sorry buddy but momma speaks the truth).

Melvin is Melvin, his tail thumped and whacked the whole time I was cutting the cast off (yes, I’m his vet tech for this procedure). We’ll see how it goes, I’m hoping for the best. If he busts it open again, we are going to have to part with it.

Fingers crossed!


We lived in a townhouse in Reston. Since no one owned their yard, I didn’t worry too much about where Melvin did his business. We did most of our walks around a large public park so the geography of his bathroom breaks were never a concern. In the new neighborhood all the dog owners bonded immediately over a single question: Where are we supposed to let the dogs ‘go’? Obviously we all pick-up, every time. The issue is that urine kills lawns. Neighbors do not want dogs contributing to the death of the sod they are so desperately trying to water and keep alive. I found myself sneaking out for walks in the darkness, pulling on Melvin so that he’d walk a full block to the vacant lot before he did anything. I knew I needed a new strategy when the poor thing took to peeing on the sidewalk when the empty field destination was just too far away.

Solution: I only let Melvin go in our yard and once he’s done I open up the water bottle that now joins us for all our walks and I neutralize the spot. So far, no brown spots. Yes, there were a few looks of ‘what the hell is she doing’ but now those looks are much more of the ‘wow, she is pure genius’ variety.

Harry Barker.

As mentioned several times before, Melvin is allergic to just about everything. After finding the one food his body could process without giving him extreme itching, I set out to find a treat. Melvin, like most labs, is food motivated. I don’t think there is anything he wouldn’t do for the promise of food. I couldn’t bear the thought of him only having kibble for meals and treats, and worried that he’d tire of it eventually…and then what?

The treat experiment was both brutal and expensive. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we went through 100 different brands/types of treats in our endeavors. The one blessing was that the trials themselves were quick. Since he was already tolerating his food well, introducing only one treat at a time made it very easy to identify what was causing the almost immediate redness and itching. It took maybe two days for the reaction to surface and then a week for poor Melvin to get over the physical effects. As per usual, it was easy to feel like I was torturing him.I tried every treat that said: wheat, soy and corn free. Every treat that said: Hypoallergenic. I then passed each onto the neighborhood dogs who were blessed to tolerate them all.

Enter the wonderful Harry Barker into our lives. They have a Hypoallergenic treat that is pure perfection, it’s as if it was made for sweet Melvin. I order it in bulk and Melvin is reaction free! Harry Barker has the most wonderful dog and cat items, they are environmentally conscious and they pack a surprise gift in each shipment. I phone most orders in, while the website is super easy to navigate, I order in bulk so I always call to see what we can do about lessening the packaging. They know Melvin by name and remember our unique situation each time we call. It’s like chatting with an old friend.

Harry Barker, we love you!!!