Holiday Recap.

Christmas was wonderful!  Family, fun, food!  Couldn’t have asked for better company.

Jake got a super cute hoodie…IMG_1608

The day after Christmas was lame.  I got a stomach bug and was down and out for three days.  THREE DAYS.  Then on the fourth day, I got a migraine.  True story people.  But five days post-Christmas (and ten pounds lighter). I woke up feeling great and ready to enjoy the last days of the year.  Melvin had other plans.

The boys were out back playing find-it.  Melvin knows this game well.  He searches for treats I’ve hidden, finds one and moves on to find the next.  Jake is terrible at this game.  He stares at me the whole time, then when he hears Melvin crunching, he runs over to the exact place Melvin found a treat and looks around.  When he finds nothing, he stares at me with disgust.  Good times.

Jake looking in the same exact area Melvin just found a treat. IMG_1689 “Find it” my ass. IMG_1684

Melvin stopped in the middle of the game to take a #2 break and that break ended up taking an hour.  Only problem is, nothing came out.  He stayed crouched and suffering and I had no idea what was happening but after 45-minutes I had to go get the leash to walk him inside (still crouching) and take him to the vet.

Melvin has colitis (he has had this for several years).  The translation here is that we live our life at the opposite end of constipation with him.  At the vet they did an ultrasound and he was very ‘backed up’. Which is odd since he religiously goes once a day.  They gave him an enema (yes, stomach bug, migraine, dog enema, you are reading this right and yes, we live in Sexy Town) so they could take a better look.  They have not ruled out a hernia but for now, we are home and watching him.  I’ll take him back in to get another look at his digestive tract to see if there is actually a sluggishness about it or if this was just a late,  one-time-only, Christmas gift.

So happy new year to you!  Wishing you a year that is mostly the opposite of this update! Jake’s wheelchair has arrived so you can look forward to many more fun times from this blog in 2015!

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Christmas.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. Like times infinity.  There are really no words to explain to you just how much I love Christmas.  It’s not the gifts (although I won’t reject them!).  It’s about family coming together and being present.  Just being, in the moment.  Sitting on the couch, in our jammies, no one even knows where their cellphone is.  Those people (and dogs) on that couch, that is my meaning of life.  That is all I need.

I am very fortunate, which means Melvin and Jake are fortunate too.  Anything they need, we make sure they get.  But because of that, because they have unique needs like allergy monitoring and wheelchairs, because the things we do to keep them healthy, raw diets, speciality treats, a million beds for Jake to pee on… because they have what they need, at Christmas, they don’t get gifts (from me) (they don’t  realize this so don’t tell them).  Instead, we give to those in need in the dog’s names.  We pop over to shelters and make some donations, we donate to fosters, we take gifts around to neighborhood dogs.

So our wish for you (regardless of what you celebrate or don’t), is that you find yourself on the couch surrounded by the things that bring you deep joy.  That you get and that you give.  That love overcomes you, in the best possible ways.

Merry, merry and happy, happy!

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Pumpkin and poop. But not Pumpkin Poop. Well maybe.

I’m sure that many of you know how wondrous pumpkin is when it comes to our dogs.  If they have the trots, pumpkin can firm that sh&t right up.  If they are constipated, boom, pumpkin fixes that too.  I don’t know how it works but it’s a canine digestive super food.

It does something else too.  For those of us you  OK fine, us, that have a dog that likes to…eat their poop (why people?  I mean seriously, why?  I read the same things you do that says eating poop is different to dogs than humans view it… uh, gag). I digress, where was I? Oh right, if your dog loves the taste of crap, adding pumpkin to their diet will make their own poop taste disgusting (more disgusting ?) and they won’t eat it. Now they might still eat the delicious poop of the dog next door if that dog does not eat pumpkin, can’t help you there.

I’m not a doctor (officially), speak to your vet about this stuff but here is how it works for us.  Jake gets a heaping teaspoon with every meal, and he has not eaten his own poop since we started this.  Amen.  Melvin, who happens to be allergic to pumpkin (of course he is) still gets a little in his meals also.  Melvin has colitis.  The treatment for his colitis is to take Metronizonale (which negatively affects his liver).  Pumpkin does the same thing and the side effect is a little itching.  Liver damage trumps itching so I opt for pumpkin (just one of the many decisions I have to make on his behalf but I feel really good about this one).

Also, when you run into an issue with…stubborn diarrhea (yeah, I just got chills too), Honest Kitchen makes an AWESOME product call Perfect Form.  It’s all natural, a powder, and you sprinkle it on their food for a few days and boom, issue resolved.  Of course that is if the poop issue is dietary indiscretion, some poop issues are much more serious and you should always see your vet if it last for more than a few potty breaks. (seriously take my advice with a grain of salt, your vet always knows best).

Happy pooping  weekend!

I used to eat poop.  But now I don’t.  That makes me even more sexy, hey ladies.  IMG_1433

Songs.

I have this thing I do each night.  Since days can get so hectic and there is not always dedicated time to sit and focus on the dogs, each night before bed I sit on the floor with them.  Melvin will snuggle up next to me and Jake climbs on my lap and flips over backwards (I’ll get video for you, he’s like a dog baby).  I pet them and, nerdily enough, sing ‘their’ songs to them.  It’s clear I’ll never be a songwriter but my audience does not even understand the human words I’m saying so to them, I’m a Grammy contender.

Max’s song was: Maximilian, Maximilian, you’re my handsome, handsome boy. Maximilian, Maximilian, oh you bring me so much joy.  

(Stop laughing, Max’s was my first song attempt, they get better!).

Melvin’s song is: Oh Melvin, into my life you came.  Oh Melvin, no day is ever the same.  Oh Melvin, Max is our angel up above, Oh Melvin, to you I give my love. 

(See, I improved! And PS. That song is where the blog name comes from.).

Then it came time to give Jake a song.  I tried so hard to be loving, to be thoughtful. I mean for God’s sake, these are lullabies.  But the song in my head was always the same… I’m a little Frenchie, short and stout, here are my meatballs, here is my pee. 

Not all songs rhyme.

Happy Thursday!

Wheels up.

Last Tuesday, Jake had in-home therapy with Dr. Krisi and during the session, she helped me measure Jake for his wheels.  People, measuring is not easy, and since there are welded components that are not adjustable, you need to be solid on the numbers you send over. It took two people, two different measuring tools, two large books (to put on each side of Jake to truly measure his width, and a wooden spoon (to hold up his private area – i don’t even know what that one was for, maybe he is getting some sort of dog thong).

Prior to measuring, I had used social media to ask around for the best wheels.  Oh Melvin fans and the French Bulldog Rescue Network community all agreed – Eddie’s Wheels was the way to go. I filled out the order form and submitted it.  It was past five by the time I ordered so I figured they would reach out to me the next day.  Not the case, I got a phone call 15 minutes later and had the most delightful chat with the rep. We talked about Jake, she suggested the type of support system that would be best for his specific issues and she gave me some general info about how his life would be with the cart.

I don’t know about you but I have never ordered, had or put a dog into a dog wheelchair before.  Taking those measurements and paying the money is one thing, getting him into the thing and taking steps to make sure it’s a good experience for him, well that all causes me a little trepidation.  Talking to the folks at Eddie’s Wheels, I feel like I have a partner.  I know they will guide me when need be, I had the best feeling after hanging up with them.

Jake’s new ride should arrive sometime around Christmas.  We can’t wait to get started on our next chapter with him!

Waiting for his wheels!IMG_1339

Split personality parenting.

Last year at this time, Jake’s legs went from ‘his gait is so funny’ to ‘why is he not using his hind legs!’. A vet visit led to an emergency neurologist appointment. MRI, Spinal Tap, the works.

After we looked at his hot mess of spine on all the photos, and determined that it was not cancer or infection, we sat down to discuss what would happen next.  The net, net was: he will never get better, and in fact, he will only get worse.  They couldn’t tell me how fast any of it would happen and they didn’t even feel like they needed to see him all that regularly.  In that moment I felt like I was not qualified, I mean why wouldn’t we come back weekly so they could tell me what point he is at?  What would happen to him?  How would I know what was happening was normal?

The neurologist was wonderful.  He immediately sensed the panic (ok fine, I may have been crying hysterically and talking in a pitch that only Jake could hear) and said 1. Here is my cell phone number, call me anytime.  If you ever think Jake is in pain, we can help with that. 2.  He reiterated, he will not get better.  He will have good days and bad days and eventually he will not have much use of his hind legs at all.

It was so matter of fact.  Up to that point, every issue I ever had with my dogs was along the lines of ‘let’s try this and see’. I asked when he’d need wheels and the vet said: not yet, but you’ll know when.

Jake is being measured for his wheelchair tomorrow.

And I’m ok with that and I’m so flip floppin happy that wheelchairs for dogs exist and that we can afford it.  I am not sad.  In the last year I have learned to champion Jake.  When others look at him and say they are sad or ‘poor Jake’, I say with complete and utter conviction: he is fine.

I’m fine guys. IMG_1304

Here is the thing though.  If Melvin started limping, I’d have him helicopter’d to the Mayo Clinic.  Melvin’s issues still need to cause me concern and I need to be aware of his changes. My vigilant eye for Melvin must stay honed (in case that mystery cancer shows up) but for Jake I have learned to separate the inevitable from something that could be new/treatable. For Jake, I have had to learn that today is just another day closer to him not being able to walk.  And if he knuckles all day, well, whatcha gonna do?  I am not nearly as upset seeing knuckling as I was one year ago. That is due in part to my now split personality. Also, I think I may be a vet.

Jake’s getting his wheels!  We’ll keep you posted on how long it takes after the measurements happen (tomorrow) and the order is placed (later this week).  I’m guessing he will be rollin by early 2015.

Two very different dogs.  Despite the illusion, both are looking at the camera. Even jazz split. IMG_1353