Jake’s nurse.

This weekend was full of crying (Jake, not me), throw-up (Jake again) and wonky legs that didn’t work right (to be fair, that was probably all of us).

Jake had some issues with the anesthesia during the procedure (blood pressure kept dropping) and I didn’t get to pick him up until late Friday night. He was high as a flippen kite when I finally got to see him and if you think his eyes are hysterical on a normal day, you should see those things hyped on anesthesia and pain meds.  To add insult to injury, his hind legs were unaware they were even attached to his body. I would have taken video but carrying him made video chronicling difficult.

Friday was a long, rough night.  Pee leaked out of him, pretty constantly, so I was up all night changing out what was underneath him. (Dog ownership is so extremely sexy sometimes). Even if that hadn’t been the case we would have been up, he wept like a baby monkey all night.  He couldn’t get comfortable so either could I — we have to take care of our babies!  He refused to eat or drink so he couldn’t have meds. Ugh, ugh and one more UGH.

Saturday morning, it got worse.  His back legs were still wonky and he was having a hard time peeing (the correct way).  Then the projectile vomiting started.  We were of course at the vet the moment they opened and as per usual, the entire staff was awesome.  He got some x-rays (all clear), a shot to help with the nausea and they assured me the pee issue would correct itself (it has!).  A few hours later and we were on our way back home.  It got better from there and Saturday night there was sleep.  Wooohooooo, sleep is AWESOME!  Sign me up for some sweet, sweet sleep!

Melvin was the perfect big brother this weekend. I had to put Melvin second, something he has NEVER had to experience.  Melvin could have easily opted to poop in my bed to communicate how he felt about me doting on Jake, but  instead he just sat and waited patiently.  And I rewarded him with extra walks and special frozen Kongs made just for him.  I love him for every reason, this weekend for being easy.

Some photos of the patient and his awesome big brother…

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Are we going to the zoo?

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Day two at the vet. Boo.

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Subcutaneous fluids, otherwise known and Jake’s lovely lady hump.

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Finally, he’s sleeping.

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This whole ‘poor Jake’ is getting old real quick.

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No, seriously, I’m getting sick of this.

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Ah yes, that look of disgust means we are getting back to normal.

Under the knife.

Jake goes in for a teeth cleaning and tooth pull tomorrow.  Apparently dogs generally do well with having teeth pulled as their teeth do not have deep roots like us humans do.  Of course, whatever the recovery, we’ll be sure to pamper him a crazy amount.

While I have appreciation for anesthesia (who in the world would want to be awake for a surgery) It scares the be-geezus out of me.  I tend to worry more about being put under anesthesia than I do the procedure at hand.  My first question is always “is he/she awake” and then I will follow-up with how it went.  When I’ve had surgeries, I ask the anesthesiologist 25 questions about where they went to school, what place in class they graduated and how many procedures they do a year.  And yes, there are right and wrong answers and yes, I have asked to see diplomas.

We’ll keep you posted!  Admittedly, I’m a bit too excited about seeing Jake in a cone collar.  I just think it will look so adorable around his ginormous head and it’s really gonna accentuate those eyes!  Sorta like his turtleneck sweater, only much, much more.

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Fraggle Rock.

The most wonderful thing happened this weekend.  I got to meet some wonderfully, awesome women.  Women that I admire not only for their kick-ass writing and photography skills, but mostly because they love and save dogs.  Each one of them does what I so desperately want to do one day, they foster pit bulls.

E from Our Waldo Bungie came to town and to say this chick is delightful is to say the sun is bright.  She is funny, caring, bubbly and to see her interact with Jake and Melvin, you just know she’s ‘one of us’.  E tells it like it is, and that happens to be one of my favorite qualities in a person.  She traveled all the way from KC to visit and never got to see a single Washington, DC structure up close.  That just means she has to come back for part-two!

Kate with a Camera lives ten miles away and we had yet to meet!  Guess what Kate, I’m probably gonna drop in unannounced regularly cause you’re awesome! Kate is warm and gentle and funny.  Not only did I get to meet Kate, I got to meet Moe(!) — he’s MUCH bigger than you’d expect and he is full of wiggles and dog giggles and I most definitely want to steal him.  I also met Heidi, who is full on LOVELY   The most ethereal dog I have ever laid eyes on.  She literally glows.  And Melanie, she is the perfect balance of sass and gorgeousness and I’m pretty sure she knows she rules that roost!  And even though he wasn’t there to meet, you can feel Nemo’s presence.  He’s all around, and I loved that part.

Then I got to meet J from Peace, Love & Fostering!  And J brought Johnnie (could this weekend get any better?)!  J (the human) is awesome and energetic and her passion for rescue and pit bulls is palpable.  Johnnie is all kinds of lovely and the interaction between the two of them is a beautiful thing to watch.

We also got to have dinner with K from The Crowded Couch!  It was so cool to meet her, this woman has fostered over 20 dogs(!), most (if not all of them) were Pit Bulls and she is wonderfully knowledgeable and super funny.

It was a seriously kick-ass weekend, full of laughter and dogs and more laughter.  And yet, I didn’t take a single photo!  Suffice it to say I have the moments burned into my brain — and let me tell you, they are some kind of awesome!

Cha ching.

Yesterday a site I follow on FB (not sure which one as I apparently have short-term memory issues but I think it was Pet’s Health Network) posed a question along the lines of: Would you considering putting your pet down if you couldn’t afford needed medical care?  I believe they were talking about something such as surgery, something necessary.

Of course in my head I screamed a resounding “NO!”.  The truth is, if I couldn’t afford something the dogs needed to save their life, I’m pretty sure I’d try to harvest my own kidney and attempt to sell it on the black market in order to pay for what they need.

This question was posed on a day when both dogs were at the vet.  Melvin had grown a black spot on his belly (benign), had a red ear (yeast), anal glands (full, sorry gross I know) and in need a of a medical bath for his allergies.  Jake, whose list managed to exceed Melvin’s, needed his cracked tooth looked at (being pulled next week), a lump on his leg checked (benign), checked for UTI (negative), a lip papilloma looked at (contagious), a check of his damaged nail (healing nicely), a consult on his red stomach (bacterial infection), a bath and a discussion about his breathing issues (nasal widening to occur next week when they take the tooth out).  Both dogs had been to the vet just a month before (for fear you think I’d ever let these things go on without attention!).

That vet visit cost $800.  Now, granted pet care in the DC area is likely higher than other areas (and I’m not sure if it’s lower than other places) but I was a tad shocked, especially since nothing ‘remarkable’ happened such as the question posed by the FB page that I can’t recall. Driving home I felt so blessed that I have a good job, that I have been able to put money aside for rainy days (those puddle makers are named Melvin and Jake) and that if worse came to worst, my family would help.  Those knuckleheads are my kids, I want them to be around for as long as possible.

At the end of the day, insurance for dogs needs to be more readily available.  Neither of my dogs even qualify — I knew Melvin was a crap shoot to even apply for but I thought we were in the clear for Jake.  He got rejected because he tested positive for Ehrlichia, something that may never even affect him. Also, we need to be able to claim our pets on our tax return.  I just wanted to throw that one out since I find it crazy that we can’t.

I’m done rambling, happy Thursday!

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Rolling to the vet (Jake’s safely contained in the big red box!).

Kongamania.

We own every Kong type ever made.  This obsession endeavor started when we’d read about people who would give their dogs frozen Kong’s and the dogs would work on them for so long that they’d be poop’d after.  Uh… I have yet to find a Kong or a Kong stuffing recipe that keeps Melvin stumped for more than five to ten minutes.   What am I doing wrong?  He can melt all frozen matter with his hot breath, it’s like a super hero power. He may be part dragon.

We of course have this Kong.  The longest lasting stuffing for this one is sliced, frozen apples jammed in.  Ten minute eat time, tops.

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We have this Kong which I shove baby carrots into.  I shove them so tightly I have jammed fingers in the process.  Time to eat: 3 min.

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This one has a design flaw… the top, skinny part makes the boys want to chew that area (which is counterproductive since there are no treats in that end).  Time to full destruction, 10 min (and the destroyer in this case was Jake, who has teeth like rice …)

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This one lasted one minute, the hole on top allows all food (frozen or not) to easily just fall out.  I thought I might be on a hidden camera when I bought this, stuffed it, gave it and then picked it up empty one minute later.

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Melvin bit a hole in this one in under twenty seconds.

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Melvin picked this one up and lobbed it into the wall and it dented drywall.  I now only allow it outside and as it turns out, it’s great in the grass.  As the treats fall out they still have to search for them a bit longer!

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Finally, this weekend we tried this one!  I put extra fat baby carrots in it and it had both boys going for about ten to fifteen minutes! Yippeee!!!!!  It was also comical to see Jake roll it around like a little mechanic.

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Working from home.

I had a migraine last night so I opted to work from home this morning.  I needed darkness, not the burning hot sun-lights at the office.  There are very few things that I would rate as positive about a migraine morning, except that today, I brought Jake up on the bed and he and Melvin were each able to amicably find a spot.  Best. Medicine. Ever!

Happy weekend!

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I am not supposed to be up here, I can just feel him looking at me.

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Can he see me?

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Can he see me now?

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Melvin’s face says it all.

Jake LaMotta.

  ** Earlier this week I wrote about Melvin, here are few fun facts about Jake…

I do not follow boxing (I’m allergic to all forms of hitting) but I do know that Jake is a Raging Bull – thus his nickname Jake LaMotta.

The other day, while on the couch in the loft, Jake belly-flopped from couch to floor.  He landed, on his stomach, and didn’t move.  I 100% thought he was dead.  It turns out he was just asleep.  That’s Jake.  He does nothing half-ass.

Jake will go, and go, and go and then he’ll stop.  There is no slow down, no transition.  One minute he is zooming the house or making love to the carpet and the next minute he is frozen still. In regards to his stillness, it might be laying or sitting.  He can sit, and stare at a wall or a door or a window for as long as you are willing to watch.  My guess is, his previous family was not home much, so he sat and waited for them. A lot.  He has tremendous patience, except when he doesn’t, and then he has absolutely none.

His goal in life seems to be — being the opposite of himself.

Behaviorally, we have a few things to work on.  Jake has a wicked prey drive.  At first I thought he was just leash reactive but I’ve come to realize it goes much deeper than that.  If he sees something, say Monkey the cat, he cannot let it go.  He will tug and pull to get at Monkey.  He will back flip over his leash and harness in an attempt to break free.  If you call his name, nothing.  If you wave raw steak in front of him, it just makes him want Monkey more.  If you are able to get him to move ‘forward’, he will face and walk backwards (so that he can continue on the walk, but watch for Monkey).  Once Monkey is out of his visual, Jake will join the walk again but the moment you come back around to that area, he remembers Monkey was there.  And he starts the obsession all over.  Walking him is wonderfully delightful and I wish I could do it all day long!  Not.

He cranks out poop.  I’m not kidding, he stomps his foot and a poop shoots out.  He stomps his foot again and, well you get it.

If you put Jake on an AC vent blowing 68 degrees he will shiver.  If you walk him from vent to a 75 degrees back yard, he will overheat, pant and honk.  I have never seen a dog (or any other living creature) live a life of such tight extremes.

But all these things aside, the key to knowing and loving and understanding Jake lies in his googly eyes.  Those eyes look at me and I know for certain I will keep giving him rugs to love on.  I will be sure his body temperature never falls outside of his threshold.  I will create soft surfaces for him to belly flop onto. Those eyes, are magic.

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Belly flopped.

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Does this sweater make my neck look smaller?

My Melvin Man.

I thought I’d spend a little time on the things that make each dog… them.  Not really a timeline, more like a view from above.

Melvin is pure love wrapped up in an ADD package.  I love you, no I love you, no I love you, wait it’s you, ok back to you.  He’s sort of just a love-slut.

He loves in this order:

  • Food
  • Human men
  • Children holding food
  • Pregnant women
  • Spoiled food
  • Children
  • Items that resemble food
  • Human women (non-pregnant)
  • Jake
  • Other dogs (sometimes)
  • Cats (he calls them lunch)
  • Spiders (he cries)

He loves car rides, especially if those trips end at my parents or the vet.  Yes, he loves the vet.  He has tried to crash though the glass door, just to get inside.  Once inside, the folks at his vet call out his name the same way the cast of Cheers used to call out ‘Norm!’.

The only time he is ever demanding is if he REALLY HAS TO GO.  He does not bark to eat.  He will sleep in until I say the  magic letters “O.K.”.  Even if the alarm goes off, he waits for the sign.

He will eat anything.  There are absolutely no parameters around that statement.  I have seen him eat a cupcake covered in ants, grass, acorns, leaves, cigarette butts, goose poop, rancid chicken bones, a squirrel foot, plastic hangers, mulch, socks, rubber bands and sticks.  He will eat his own regurgitation.

He is leash reactive, although he is much better than he used to be.  His biggest behavioral challenge is greeting people — on walks, when they come to the house, wherever — he’s just too exuberant.  Also, for some reason, he tries to dance with pregnant women.  Every time.

We are pretty certain that in his previous life, he was hit with hangers.  He and I worked on this for a long, long time and now I can scratch him with a hanger. If he’s in the closet (he comes out of the closet regularly) and a hanger falls on his head, he no longer panics and tries to death it.

He makes noises that make me think he could converse with Chewbacca. You can look at his teeth, take his butt temperature, clip his nails or check his ears but he does not like his belly rubbed unless he offers it up. Nothing makes him more uneasy than an unwanted hand on his belly (hmmmmmmm….this may have something to do with his connection with pregnant women).

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My driver.

My driver.

Allergy season.

Fake winter is over.  We had about two inches of snow that lasted all of one hour before it melted.  Whatever.  Now it’s time for fake spring, where it goes from cold to burning hot in a matter of nanoseconds.  The trees bloom so fast they have no other option but to blanket the area with allergens.

When I rescued Melvin he came with a sheet of paper from his allergy testing.  It listed out everything in the environment that he was allergic to.  It was very specific.  The type of tree leaves, the various grasses, the range of mosses and other plants.  I’m not sure why they expected me to do with the list – I mean if we walk down a sidewalk and he wanders into a patch of grass, I’m not going to be able to tell if that is one of the forty grasses he is allergic to or not. He is pretty much allergic to it all.

Melvin spent this weekend with a paw in his mouth, gnawing away.  I call this ‘gnaw-paw’ season.  We’ll get though it (with the help of some baby wipes, baths, and lifestyle changes).  And not to be outdone, Jake opened his eyes to fake Spring on Saturday and they were bloodshot.  My first thought was ‘wild Friday night?’ but the vet confirmed it, googly-eyes has allergies also.

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Can I put my paw back in my mouth now?

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My eyes are as red as my drumstick.

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Let’s roll around in this and get real itchy.

The loft.

The upstairs portion of the house has the bedrooms and the laundry room.  At the top of the stairs is a loft area.  There has been furniture up there but it was a bit hodge-podge and it’s been on my list of areas in the house to work on. Some chick named Emily from Our Waldo Bungie fame is visiting this month so decorating needed to kick into overdrive (rumor has it she can be pretty diva-like about accommodations — think J Lo style demands! ). So that is what I did this weekend.  The new furniture arrived and assembly began.  I really hate assembly.

The goal for the loft was for it to be relaxing (for humans and dogs).  There is no TV in the guest room so this is sort of suite for guests to chill in also. Additionally, I love spending lazy Sundays in the loft with the dogs while doing laundry and catching up on meaningless TV shows on E! world news and current events.

The loft is not finished just yet, a new TV stand and new ottoman (ordered from the Joss & Main Yellow Brick Home Curator sale) are en route.  But something tells me the area feels relaxing already…

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He’s been here for over three months.

A few months ago I had one dog and he got all the love.  I really wanted another dog, I mean the more the merrier right?  However, I worried how it would disrupt my numero uno.  Would Melvin feel shunned, replaced, less adored? Add to that my concern that I could even handle two… I had so much guilt and worry driving home with Jake that I may have thrown-up.

Some of my having-two-dog-fears were realistic. It’s a lot of work.  Adding Jake doubles (sometimes triples) the work, I’m not sure how that can be but some days it just is.  But it’s not pull-a-muscle hard (well sometimes it is but I’m clumsy) and it’s not complicated hard (we figured it out) and there are far more exhausting things in life than working another four-legged-wonder into the day.  Also, two costs more.  That one is pretty black and white.

I had three months in my head as some magic ‘you’ll know for certain after three months’ time frame.  Not that I was going to give Jake back or anything, just that I’d know what life with two dogs was going to be like ‘fo sho’, after three months. Balls to the wall (funny since they are both neutered). I’d know how much I had emotionally crippled damaged Melvin by adding Jake.  Who knows where I come up with these things.

Well guess what, not only did we survive, we grew (in the spiritual sense) as a family!  Yep, there is still work to do but what worthwhile relationship in life isn’t a work in progress?

Here’s the thing – Melvin is doing great.  I doubt he even remembers life prior to Jake. As for me, I had no clue how much the love could grow. I love Melvin more than I ever have, he is the mack-daddy-diggady-dog-bomb!  Common, he’s so awesome I lose words sometimes.  As for Jake, I love him just as much as Melvin. Yep, I said it.  Sure, it’s a way different love but it’s love and it’s a crazy amount and Melvin does not get less he gets more and despite the act they put on sometimes, they truly do like one another.  And I like them as a team and they like when I’m happy. Boom, boom, boom!

When my younger sister was born I pretty much assumed I’d get less love.  My mother tried to explain to me how love grows when a sibling is added, how she said she loved me more as a daughter when I became a big-sister and I just thought blah, blah, blah!  Low and behold,  Mom is always right.

Here are my boys in the loft (something I worked on decorating most of this weekend). More pics from that endeavor coming this week!

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