Moose lodge.

I have been to other dog households and there are bully sticks laying about, half chewed-on or even some barely touched.  The dog of the house will be laying somewhere close by.  This confuses me.  Melvin will devour can eat a foot long bully stick in under four minutes.  That’s rounding-up on the time estimate. I just assumed that all dogs death the bully stick the same way. If I scattered multiple bully sticks around the house I’d also need to go ahead and pre-call the emergency vet to tell them we’d be on our way shortly.

The problem with Melvin and bully sticks is that, like everything else, he has a reaction to them.  But there are only so many Kong’s I can stuff with baby food veggies (I always enjoy when the check out clerk asks me how old my baby is..) before he bores and really wants to get his teeth dug into something.  Luckily he does not chew on anything (except socks) so I treat him to a bully every so often and then follow it with an extra dose of meds.

Recently I read about deer and moose antlers and how they are similar to everlasting gobstoppers.  The vet felt antlers might cause less of a reaction (if any) than the bully sticks so I went out and bought a moose antler and a deer antler, x-large on both.  Neither were cheap.  Melvin went nuts over the rustling of the bag and I was excited that this could really be a great source for gnaw joy.  He excitedly took the antler, ran over to the carpet and threw it around a few times in his usual ‘I’ll show you who’s boss’ way, and then he went at it.  For all of two minutes.  When he realized there was a delayed payoff to this treat, he settled for licking it and then leaving it.  He also kind of gave me a ‘screw you’ look.

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Welcome to 2012.

Oh Melvin finally has a Facebook page!  Please check us out and ‘like’ us (if you’d like)!!!

Oh Melvin Facebook page here!  Or you can like us on the blog home page, just click ‘home’ above.  

I wouldn’t worry about us taking up too much space on your news feed, it took me a year to finally do a page for the blog.  We take our time…

Lick. Itch. Scratch. Repeat.

While lovely, Spring is my least favorite of all the seasons.  The weather is bi-polar, pollen wreaks havoc on my ability to breathe and I have to put all of my cute boots away.  Spring also gives birth to what I refer to as raw-paw season for Melvin.  Gone are the temperatures that keep his allergies at bay, with each new grass sprout, each new leaf unfolding, he itches more and more and more.  It won’t stay this way, his meds will eventually catch up to the outdoors but for right now, at this very moment, he’s miserable.

For the next few weeks, the norm will be him trying to fit all paws in his mouth at once.  His poor, raw paws.  I wish I could explain the calendar to him and tell him that come mid-May, he will be ok, normal itchy, not raw at all.  Instead, we will go through several baby wipes a day, extra baths, and when necessary, extra meds.  There is a balance there, sometimes itch outweighs medication side-effects, sometimes it does not.

I once tried putting socks on him, he was great about it while I had him in sight.  The moment I’d turn around the socks would disappear.  They would  then reappear the next day, coming out of his butt.  Point taken.

Math.

I use math for work but that doesn’t mean I’m very good at it.  Computers and programs help.  On the other hand, dog math seems much more straightforward (and hurtful).  Dogs age seven days for our one.  They age forty-nine days in one human week.  Two hundred and ten days in a month.  One thousand two hundred sixty (give or take) days every six months.  You get it, math stinks.

The time I notice Melvin’s aging the most is during the morning walk.  He used to run out of the house as if it were on fire.  Plenty a time I’d fall down from a Melvin trajectory through the garage.  Pull, sniff, pull, see someone, pull, pull, pull.  Nowadays, he might bolt out of the door at first (usually due to needing to pee) but unless we see someone on our walk, his pulling days are all but over.  He walks next to me, some mornings he falls behind.  Just this morning as I was noticing him dragging a bit, I asked him what was wrong.  Yes, I know he will not answer, but the answer he’d give if he could would be ‘nothing’.  He, like most of us, is slowing down.  His birthday was March 2nd and he has aged one human year since then. Which means he is now fifty.  Good news is that fifty is apparently the new twenty-nine (would Glamour lie?).

Although I benefit from our walks, those moments are his.  He can set any cadence he’d like and I will always want to join him.  Of course after he’s had breakfast and a quick nap, the teenager in him emerges and I quickly forget about his elderly moments.

Bounce.

Bud will not be coming to live with us after all.  While it seems like we ended up 360 from where we started, that’s not technically true.  Bud left a mark. Even in the few days he was here, his life imprinted onto ours.  For a dog that got dealt a lot too soon, he is such pure delight.  He’s a reminder that life sucks sometimes but it’s still your life unfolding and you can walk forward through whatever may come and still remain kind, gentle and sweet.  It’s really the only way to be.

Melvin and I wish him healthier days ahead.  I pray our paths cross again.

In the meantime I dragged the second dog bed to the laundry room to wash it and Melvin dragged it back.  Not sure if that means he does in fact want a sibling or that he wants two beds.  If I know him, and I think I do, it’s the latter.

Update.

So despite all the planning and preparation, a weekend that started off with excitement and good news, ended in exhaustion, panic and emergency vet visits.

First  off, the dogs got along great.  It was confusing at first because neither of them seemed to want to be dominant however once I realized that Melvin was terrified of the cone and we removed it, Melvin made it clear he was in charge.  This was pretty much the biggest positive of the weekend.

Bud (after this weekend I have decided a name change is the last thing he needs right now) is sweet.  To his core, he is just so completely loveable. He has so much going on yet he is one of the most delightful dogs ever.  Testing his blood was frustrating but not impossible.  It was all my user error, he never flinched or complained.  I pricked myself so many times that I was able to determine that I was not diabetic.  Feeding the two of them was a bigger challenge as Melvin cannot have even one morsel of Bud’s food (which he did get a hold of and he itched and chewed himself until he bled because of it) and neither can share bowls due to different pills they each get.  I thought the feeding part would be easier than it turned out to be. Every day at 7am and 7pm there was a lot of heart palpitations and nervousness.   The insulin shots were fine, the biggest challenge there is that it’s every 12-hours.  Pretty much to the minute.

The sad part of this update is that of all the things we knew Bud had, there were a couple of things brewing that I was not prepared for.  The first was a terrible neck rash.  We are talking pus dripping from a six by six area on his jowly neck.  To say he was uncomfortable is an understatement.  I took him to the vet on Saturday where they tried to shave him but it was just too panful.  We tried a topical medication but it just continued to ooze.  Each time he’d put his head down for even a few minutes, he’d lift it and pus would be on the surface below him. I spent hours tarping each room so that he could lay pretty much wherever he’d like.  Who knew I had so many blankets and sheets. 

Then I tried to practice leaving him and it turns out he has separation anxiety.  While SA is not new to me (I’ve broken Melvin of it in each house) it’s challenging with Bud because too much stress raises his glucose.  After we got to 1/2 and hour and he was still howling and barking, I stopped.  I still am unsure as to how I will leave him/break him of it.

Then the peeing started.  He got up off the couch and walked a few steps and started peeing (inside the house).  He did this a couple of times on Sunday.  He had been out SEVERAL times so this had me worried that my schedule was not going to work out, he seemed to need to go out on the hour.  I called folks at Lab Rescue and they questioned that maybe he was marking. 

The diabetes is a lot. The shots are something I can come to figure out.   His hypothyroidism not being regulated just yet is challenging.  The pus, pee and separation anxiety on their own are a lot but seeing as how I was not prepared for the latter, and had hardly overcome the given… I broke down.  I cried. A lot.  I tried to remain calm but panic set in and lack of sleep (Bud was uncomfortable so I stayed up with him) got the best of me. 

Then Sunday night, Bud woke up in a puddle of pee.  I called the emergency vet and they thought he should come in.  Second vet visit, third day with me.  At that visit it was suggested that other things were going on with him. His neck infection was progressing despite being on Cipro (for his eye).  Now he had a UTI.  His third eyelid was up on both eyes and they felt he had Horner’s Syndrome (not serious but almost always indicative of something going on that needs addressing). Then some questionable cells showed up on a test and we are waiting for that culture to come back.  It’s one of those things that might be something or nothing.  After a few hours there I took him home, tucked him in (picked up the second poop package that Melvin was kind enough to leave me in as many days) and laid down.  And cried some more.

The next morning after speaking to Lab Rescue we decided to take him to an animal hospital that they use (about a 1/2 hour from me).  I packed up all his stuff and put him back in the car.  Vet visit three, day four.  On the way out the door I told Melvin I forgive him for whatever he’d do to the house. 

Sweet Bud is still at that vet and they are working on getting it all figured out.  Lab rescue has taken over his care/decisions and I’m just waiting for an update. 

And that is where we are at.  I’ll let you know when I know something.

We’re not in Kansas anymore. (Ernie’s take on being here).

Where the hell am I?  My mom took me for two-hour drive to my least favorite place (the vet) and if that wasn’t bad enough then she took me to some strangers house and left me there.  I think I’ve met this lady before but it’s all a blur (that’s blind-dog humor).

There is another dog here.  He’s been pretty cool to me.  Every time he gets close to me that Lady that lives here gets tense and tells him to ‘make good decisions’.  I hope that dog isn’t a murderer, what decisions could he possibly have?

When my mom abandoned me here, I cried.  It took me a while to relax and when I was finally ready to do so, that spot on the couch where that other dog lays was open so I hopped up there and fell asleep.  I could feel eyes staring at me in shock, pretty sure it was bold of me to lay there.  Other dog seemed ok though. I think he really enjoyed it when I subsequently fell off the couch because I CAN’T SEE!

The Lady tested my blood, it took her 97 pricks to draw blood.  I could have done it faster. I hope she gets better at it cause that *&6% hurts.  I’m going to overlook it though cause I had a pretty restless night and She stayed up with me.

I don’t know.  Lady seems nice and she pets on me a ton. Dog seems ok.  But what does ‘adoption’ mean?  I’m confused.

Wait just one minute. (Melvin’s take on Ernie).

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Why is this guy still here?  She keeps saying ‘good boy Melvin’ so I would have thought the reward would be that He would leave.  In what alternate universe is He my reward for being good?

After we did some playing in the back yard and She first brought him inside the house, he was on a leash so I just assumed someone would walk him right back out the front door.  But after a tour of the house (and her jokingly telling him that one of the two beds in the bedroom was his …hahahahhhaha, good one), she suggested he take a load off.  What the…?  Then things got really weird, His mom just up and left him here.  Does someone need to call protective services and report a child has been abandoned?

This is why I try to lunge at dogs, why I bark at them, why I pretend not to read cues (ok, fine, I have no clue what the cues are). It’s so that dogs don’t stay.  Plus, this guy came with a crap load of stuff: needles (is he a drug addict?), some blood test kit (gross), four different eye drops (are you kidding me), two bottles of pills (ok, who am I to judge this one) and some liquid stuff cause his neck is infected from the nerdy cone he’s been wearing.  What a dork.

Whatever, we’ll see.  She’s got googly love eyes for him but she keeps reminding me that I’m her love.  Am I?

The (next) one.

I pretty much knew the moment I saw his face. It was the exact same feeling I’d had with Melvin. As I read his bio, diabetes, hypothyroidism, blind…I thought:   I. Can. Do.  This. It was two long weeks before I could verbally connect to an adoption coordinator. All the while I stalked their site to see if he’d been adopted.

The adoption coordinator assigned to my application, was also his foster mom.  We spoke for over an hour and the moment after we hung up, I ordered his bed.  I knew he was not mine (yet) but I felt very certain he was going to be.  Plus, what’s one extra dog bed? (Sidenote:  Melvin thinks both beds are his and he has been rotating them each night).

Between the time I spoke to the coordinator and the day we met, he had eye surgery.  I am pretty sure if I had known where the vet was, I would have ‘stopped by’. Modern medicine is pretty awesome, the surgery restored some vision in one eye! In the meantime, he developed an ear infection and got a rash on his neck from the cone.  He and Melvin may have been separated at birth.

I drove two hours to meet him (without Melvin, as there was no play for a week post surgery).  As I sat in my car,  I saw a woman round the corner walking a dog with a ginormous cone on his head. The sight of him made me happy. Two hours later, as I was leaving, I started making a mental list of all the things we’d need.  Number one was a baby gate, so that everyone could have their own space.

Melvin still has to meet him so although I am certain, it’s still not 100%.  If Melvin has taught me anything it’s that some dogs just don’t get along.  But, I think/hope it will work out. New dog’s surgery and his need to stay in foster care a little longer has given me time to think about the diabetes part. It is more than a little overwhelming.  I’ve been reading up on it all and know that the reality is, I will just have to learn most of it as it happens.  That has not stopped me from filling a notebook with notes, that at this moment, make no sense whatsoever.

Melvin’s perch as I assembled the gate (there was a lot of cursing, from me, not him).

Puppy love.

My niece is almost two.  At two-years-old, your favorite toy changes every fourteen seconds.  Focus is not a strong suit.  Maddy is true to that in every way but one; she loves animals.  At ballet class, if a dog is outside the front window, she will forgo dance to focus on figuring out how she can get outside to be with it.  If she’s at a playground and every swing, slide, or ride is open yet there is a pup close by, she’s running in the direction of the dog.

We took her to a petting zoo last weekend and I will never forget the look on her face when she realized she could interact with so many animals. Pure joy.  While other kids took a while to warm up (and some wanted nothing to do with the animals at all), Maddy ran head first and never looked back.  She petted, walked with, climbed under and marveled at each species. At one point she tried to climb over the gate to get to the camel and she had a very hard time understanding why a fence was separating her from the pony.

Will she be a vet when she grows up, I don’t know.  I can say with certainty though that countless animals will find love in her home.

Preparation.

I have spent the last few days trying to map out all the issues that could arise from having an allergic dog and a visually challenged, diabetic dog under the same roof.  Practical, logical, realistic planning.

  • Make room in the ‘pharmacy cabinet’ for diabetic supplies.  Melvin’s pill supply does not leave much room for needles and blood testing kits. Looks like my collection of must-buy-a-candle-everytime-I-go-to-Target will have to be relocated.
  • Buy another dog bed (Ok, who am I kidding, I bought two so they’d match.  You’ve read my blog before, this should not come as a huge shock).
  • One dog enjoys soft toys, resident dog is no fan of the squeaker noise they make.  Not sure how to address this one.  They should must make noise free soft toys. Amazon will know.
  • New dog takes one pill a day.  Does one pill require a pill-box?  I’ve never had a dog that required less than 3 pills a day. Hmmmm…
  • Both dogs are big drinkers, beer, whiskey, you  name it, as one is on prednisone and one is as mentioned, diabetic.  I found a water bowl so big you could bathe a baby in it.  I’ll take two please!
  • Choose new dog’s name. Done. This is not really an issue per se – but when you are making room for needles it’s always good to give yourself a fun, less overwhelming task.
  • Baby gate.  Need to get this.
  • Figure out separate list for the ‘visually challenged’ part.

The biggest hurdle is that each dog relies on different food and treats to keep them healthy and thriving.  Deviation from that diet for either of them, even once, has consequences.  My plan for that is to label everything accordingly (photo below) and pray to the good Lord that mistakes are few and far between.

(Clearly this is the Melvin treat jar.  New name won’t be shared until the boys meet and it’s all final.)

Happy Weekend.

Melvin finding out it’s the weekend.

Melvin finding out I’m going to see his almost-certain-to-be new brother without him.  A brother that he has yet to run towards wildly meet.

Melvin finding out he can’t go yet because hopefully-new-brother is recovering from surgery and I don’t want him (Melvin) to be the cause of any popped stitches setbacks.

Dress up.

Melvin must really love me because he moderately tolerates my desire to dress him up.  We have an agreement, if I don’t make him wear the gentle leader too often (we only use it when we go to vet – in an attempt to save the lives of the rescue kittens), then he pretty much allows me to dress him up any way  I see fit.

Bells at Christmas: check.  Sweaters: yes. Hoodies: indeed.  Halloween costumes: several.  And now…

Doggles!!!

And a hat (which in some shots looks like a beret!)!!!!

We have not ventured outdoors with either yet as I have not gotten over the laughing-hysterically phase.