Happy New Year!

Today, NYE is a big day for our family.  It’s my awesomely wonderful dad’s birthday!  It’s my brother and sister-in-love’s 2nd wedding anniversary!  It’s my SIL’s dad’s birthday!  Not to mention that it is the last day of the year (but hardly the last day I will write 2013 as part of the date, that will go well into February).

Wishing you the appropriate amount of looking back and looking forward.  Personally, we prefer to just live in this moment, we wouldn’t want to miss anything!

Happy, happy New Year everyone!!! Be safe!

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I’m not touching you.

Anyone who has a sibling knows the age old ‘I’m not touching you, I’m still not touching you, nope not touching you”  game where you come oh-so-close to touching said sibling but you don’t. Instead, you just annoy the sh*t out of them.

Jake knows this game VERY well…

But then, there are the times Jake does touch Melvin.  Like when he uses him as a stool.

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I declare Melvin, 2013’s winner of the most-tolerant-sibling in our household award!

That’s not how it works Jake.

The boys are both obsessed with furry surfaces so one of the gifts they got for Christmas was a fuzzy, Chewbacca-fur-like mat.  I hate it (it looks like it’s made of rat hair) but the boys LOVE it. Melvin lays on it.  Jake on the other hand will worm his way under it and uses it more as a blanket/tent.  And then, when he wakes up, this happens (notice how Melvin doesn’t even flinch, he’s used to it by now)…

Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is my brother.

They boys have a new ritual.  Melvin gets on the couch and shortly thereafter, Jake assumes his rightful position.

Melvin will lay down and Jake will awkwardly (yet hurriedly) climb over him to get to his spot. photo

Jake will smell Melvin’s parts, as many of them as he can. photo[1]

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Then Jake takes a load off. photo[2]

Melvin will then give a sign that, it’s all good. photo[3] photo[6]

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Smushy Face’s update.

The internist appointment went great!  I think one of the goals for me was to see if I had faith in this person so that if he said we’d need to scope, that I would feel confident with him giving Jake anesthesia.  You see, the scoping part, the diagnosis part, the surgical part – those cause far less worry for me then the anesthesia part.  After our last surgery encounter, the plan was for Jake to never be put under again. But the good news is, I loved this dude!

Even before the appointment, while in the waiting room, there was excitement.  Jake pee’d everywhere.  I guess the overload of other dog smells got his juices flowing (pun intended) and he felt the need to mark every surface.  Then, someone from ophthalmology took one look at Jake and called the entire practice out to see him.  They marveled at his eyes and they assumed he was there to seem them.  When they found out that was not the case, they gave us their card.  Apparently they see themselves in Jake’s future.  Also while in the waiting room we told 14 people about Sirius Republic after they all went ga-ga over Jake’s Holiday Monkey collar. At this point we both needed a nap!

Once in the examination room, Jake pee’d one more time, just for good measure.  He does nothing half ass.

In the two days leading up to the appointment, it seemed like Jake might be improving.  Where he was having 20 episodes a day, he’d only had about 10 on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The internist thinks it’s his elongated soft palette and suggested he’ll need scoped.  The plan would be to do a sedated laryngeal exam, then to anesthetize him, do the scope and have the surgical team on stand-by to deal with trimming his soft palette. He could not guarantee it would be smooth sailing with anesthesia but he did assure me they would investigate what was used before and would be prepared for challenges. Since there was some noted improvement, he was willing to wait a few weeks to do the scope. In the meantime he suggested two courses of treatment we could try if the condition does not go away or if it worsens (although if it worsens the scope would likely get moved up).

Two other things it could be (but are less likely) are nasal mites (I gagged) or an idiopathic allergy.  Nasal mites are transmitted between dogs although I’m still not entirely sure how (and it still makes me gag).  Although he does not think it’s the case, he suggested treating both dogs for the mites (a series of Ivermectin shots) and putting Jake on a steroid in the case it’s allergy related. He’s already on allergy medication so I honestly doubt the allergy part but am willing to try it all prior to having to scope.

Two final updates from the appointment.  He said ‘I know it’s not what you are here for but you do know that Jake needs to see an orthopedic specialist for his hind legs and hips, right’?  (Sidenote: The day after I got Jake I made an announcement that he would for sure have wheels one day).  I said I did know we’d eventually see one but did not know he needed it just yet.  The Internist admitted that he was not fully trained in orthopedics but that he’d bet money Jake had a luxating patella and some hip issues.

Jake. Was. Meant. To. Be. Mine.

Lastly, the doctor and I spoke about the joys of owning and rescuing older dogs.  He then shared with me that he was involved in the treatment of one of the Victory dogs and I swear he tear’d up when he spoke of the spectacular transformation the dog made once it went from being caged, to isolation, to rescue and then finally, into a loving home. He saw this dog through to the end.  Uh, yeah, I hugged him real hard. Twice.

Blessings.

I woke up in the middle of the night and could have sworn I saw Jake out of his condo.  In fact I said out loud “Jake, how did you get out of your condo”.  He was asleep, in the condo.  Oh, darkness, you got me.

Anyway, it got me thinking how when Max died everyone told me that I’d see him (or his shadow) from time to time (to not think I was crazy) and that I’d dream about him.  It’s been five years and neither of those things ever happened.  Not ever, not once. (Unless he was wearing the cloak of invisibility in my dreams, which is entirely possible).  I’m not upset about this.  I mean if it happens, great, and if it doesn’t, well there is nothing I can do about that.

Max, was easy-going.  He liked everyone he met. Everyone liked him back.  During his senior years, when we would go on walks, squirrels were not threatened by him, birds did not fly off.  Towards the end, walking him was a lesson in peace.  We didn’t get very far and it was slow going, but to watch him sniff and take it all in… just existing was joy to him.

When Max died, I honestly thought I would grieve forever.  As we all know, eventually, you move through the sadness.  I think of him often, a little more during the holidays since his face adorns many ornaments (and I’m reminded of how much I tortured him to get a Christmas card photo).  Max taught me to be kinder, to be gentler, to give life time. I carry him as a part of me and I see moments with Melvin that take me to Max.  I may never dream of him, or see his shadow but that’s OK, because I’m pretty sure he never really left me. He imprinted on my world, his sparkle is sprinkled all around.

Max will always be one of the greatest gifts ever given to me.  During the holidays, memories warm my heart, and I feel very blessed.

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The noise that drives me nuts.

Every few months, Melvin has bouts of nausea.  It has been going on for years. Most of the time it clears up on its own, sometimes we need to give him some meds to help him along.  It’s sort of the equivalent of an ulcer flare up.  He doesn’t throw up during these bouts, although his liquid burps pick up in frequency.  During this time he drools excessively and… he licks and smacks his lips.

I do everything I can to make him comfy.  Lip licking, lip smacking.  I wipe up the foot long drips of drool hanging from his jowls. Lip licking, lip smacking.  I let him sleep with me. LIP LICKING, LIP SMACKING.  I love him and all I want in life is for both boys to be healthy and happy but if I’m being honest, the constant lip licking and lip smacking starts to drive me completely insane a little bit nuts.  He does it 24/7, even in his sleep.  You would think that after learning to sleep with Jake honk snoring six feet from me that I’d be able to tune out a lip lick here and a lip smack there, but no,  I hear it and it’s my equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.

I try to tell myself that Melvin feels far worse than I could ever be annoyed at the noise, but even then, I start to question it.  I just want it to stop.  I used to feel bad for letting this one thing get to me but you know what, I’m only human. Oh sure, now you’re thinking, ‘wow, she is a terrible person–poor Melvin doesn’t feel well and here she is kvetching about a noise’.  BUT PEOPLE, YOU HAVE NOT HEARD HOW LOUD AND CONSISTENTLY HE CAN DO IT!

Here is he is looking adorably out of sorts.

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Monkey man.

Oddly enough, my prayers for last night were for Jake to have bronchitis or pneumonia.  I mean he obviously has something, and those two things (or something similar) would likely only require medications.  Unfortunately (I mean seriously, how crazy does it sound that I’m saying unfortunately), x-rays showed his lungs were clear.

We have a two-hour appointment next Tuesday with a specialist.  While it’s not definite, it seems pretty likely that he will have a Rhinoscope (not on Tuesday, it would have to be scheduled a day or two later so they could do pre-surgical blood work).  Obviously at the appointment on Tuesday I will over-stress and repeat over-and-over that Jake and anesthesia are enemies (and just when they think I can’t possibly tell them again, boom yes I can). Luckily, we have been to this most awesome facility before (Melvin had his spinal tap and MRI done there and he also sees the internist for his colitis).  They take state of the art to a whole new level so even though I plan to throw out all the crazy-dog-mom that I can (I almost guarantee tears), I know he’ll be in the care of the very best.

In the meantime, Jake is spending the day at our regular vet.  It gives me peace of mind to know that if he has an episode, someone is there to help him.  I apparently have to work (boo!) so we can pay for all his fancy procedures.

I’ve been focusing a lot on Jake this past week, and obviously Melvin does not go unnoticed but long gone are the days of jealousy between them.  Melvin, quite the opposite, has taken on the role of overseer.  When I’m helping Jake during an episode, Melvin rushes over to lick Jake’s face.  And if they are laying together and Jake shifts, Melvin moves to accommodate him.  I wonder what Melvin senses about Jake during the episodes, if dogs can tell the other is in struggle.  I just assumed that Melvin was thinking ‘how can he possibly honk louder?’, but now I think he knows something is up.

We’ll keep you posted!  And stay tuned, I have an exciting photo shoot to tell you about!   In the meantime, Jake wants to remind you all that even if you’re sick, you can still look cute! 12 12 13

Snow!

Let me be clear, I love snow!  I love the being outside and hearing the crunch, crunch, crunch below my feet.  I like rosy cheeks and boots and mittens.  I like what transpires after being outside, cozy fires, hot chocolate and naps.

The boys hate being wet.  The end.

Here is Jake running.  There is a nano-inch of snow and he picked up the pace only because I announced he could go inside. photo

Here they are posing, look how thrilled they both look.  photo[1]

I had to force them to walk once the snow picked up.  photo[3] photo[2] photo[4]

Here is what they prefer to do on snow days… photo[5] photo[6] photo[7]

Honky Tonk.

I heard my first canine reverse sneeze a few days after I got Jake. He, out of nowhere, started honking and I thought he was choking.  It took several phone calls of me reenacting the noise and a few You Tube videos later to confirm what it was and that he’d survive.  So for the past year, a few times a week, he’ll honk seven or eight times in a row.  I don’t know about other dogs, but Jake’s seem to be voluntary.

Then, last week.  The honks changed.  They sounded similar, yet different, and it he didn’t seem able to stop them.  His whole body would tense and release with each honk. Even his ears contract.  It happened one night, for about 30 seconds then it stopped.  The next day it happened twice.  A few days later and he was doing it pretty consistently throughout the day, and then the night.  As for the night episodes, they come on in his sleep.

If there is one thing I know about my dogs, whatever it is that I consider to be reason for an emergency vet visit, they will cease doing said thing the moment we arrive at the vet.  Melvin can spontaneously stop bleeding, no joke. So I took video of Jake.  The vet had not seen a dog present like that before.  She had heard/seen reverse sneezing, coughing, gasping, choking and several other breathing related issues but not one like Jake’s.  So the videos are now posted for other doctors to chime in on.

The vet did suggest a few things it could be.  An issue with his soft palate, although a little odd to present at this age.  A possible obstruction in his nasal cavity causing involuntary spasms.  The obstruction could be anything from an inhaled grass seed to a growth.  It could be an allergic reaction or an infection.  The first few things listed require a Rhinoscopy to diagnose.  That has to be done at a specialist under anesthesia.  Jake had a tooth pulled last summer and we came to find out the he and anesthesia do not mix well.  So for a few days we are doing Temeral-P and Doxy to see if it’s allergy or infection.  I pray it is. It’s hard to watch him have these episodes, I’m reminded how small he is and after each one he looks at me as if to say ‘fix it’.  So fix it we shall.

So far, while it’s not necessarily better, it’s not worse — I view this as good news.  Melvin is even showing concern, when Jake has an episode Melvin gets up and goes to lay down next to his brother. Granted he does not stay there for long, the honking gets pretty loud and Melvin gives up on caring too much.  Brotherhood at its finest!

Thanks for all the well wishes and check-ins.  Here are a few of the videos (two below) –if anyone has any experience with this, please let us know.  He does it at rest, during activity, while sleeping, while sitting, while laying down.  I can’t really pinpoint a trend.  It can last from 30 seconds to a few minutes. Sometimes I can ease him out of the episode if I hold him and rub his chest.

Tutorial: How to orchestrate a snuggle session.

Start by assessing the situation.  If snuggle buddy hops on couch near you, view that as an invitation.  Move slowly, be sure snuggle buddy is asleep before moving closer. (this step is shown in the following video)

Then, back your booty up to the desired location, again SLOWLY.  Do not wake snuggle buddy, this could result in you being lunch. 12 3 13a

Really quickly smell snuggle buddy, because he smells so delicious. 12 3 13b

FOCUS MAN, ok, ok.  Sit for a few moments to be sure he’s still sleeping. 12 3 13c

Then…lower your beautiful body down.  Gently.  12 3 13d

Let snuggle buddy spoon you.  This is also the point in your life when you thank God for miracles and dreams-come-true.  12 3 13g 12 3 13e

If you are still alive at this point, REJOICE!!!  And then sleep.  Stalking snuggle buddies is exhausting.  12 3 13f

Jake’s turn.

Yo,

It’s me Jake.  Everyone is writing letters and I do stuff that other’s do so here is mine.  I’m not even sure why they are writing letters about me being here for a year.  My backwards forever look only sees them.  If I had another life, I don’t recall it.

I mean, my time here is not limited is it?  Let me be very clear. I’M STAYING.  If you try to remove me, be prepared to suffer.  It ain’t happening.  This is my destiny.  I deserve this.

Sure, I’m a jerk sometimes, I have no problem telling you that.  Uh, hello, jerks don’t care if you call them jerks.  We’re jerks, doy. Yeah, that’s right, I get lazy and can’t be bothered to alert anyone that I need to go out so sometimes I just shoot meatballs out of my butt and she just picks them up. I mean sure, she lectures me on how I’m supposed to let her know when I have to go. Blah, blah, blah.  Then I pee in Mel-bro’s bed, and he just moves over, like he’s making room for the pee.  I don’t know why I do this stuff.  More and more I do feel bad (but not always).  I mean these people really seem to like me, why can’t I just be all-the-time-good?

No matter what I do, She continues to love on me.  I think She might be crazy, which of course makes me love her back. I am not sure I have ever loved anything as much as I love Her.  I even love Her more than Melvin’s butt. She gets me.  I’m a stinky, noisy, googly-eyed, Rug-loving-deviant and She still loves me.  Me, just the way I am.  It blows my mind. I show Her how much I love her by checking-in on her every few minutes.  At first I stayed away from Her but that was just to guard my precious emotions but now that I know she loves me no matter how bad I am I find the need to be near her or see her constantly.

Then there is Melvin.  I still do not understand why he won’t play with me. She says he’s an old soul and I guess that is code for boring.  I still try to bite his face sometimes but all that gets me is a bark from him and time-out from Her.  I’m a ‘bring in da noise and da funk’ kind of dog and Melvin is a big mushy love pillow.  It’s cool though cause I love the way he smells and lately he is letting me snuggle with him and it turns out that warm fuzzy brother moments are even better than funk.  Who knew!

So to reiterate, I’m staying.  I love her.  Melvin is my best friend.  Take care, peace out.

Love,

Jake

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