He’s Doug.

I have always tried to help champion pit bull type dogs. From friends who have them, to rescues that save them, to campaigns that fight injustices surrounding them. I sort of assumed I would eventually have a pit bull type dog.  Melvin and Jake had their own BSL in place that no dogs of any type could come into our home. Or cats. Or bunnies. You get it. Jake was determined to keep that BSL going after Melvin died.

When it came time to add a dog to a home where no other dogs were, having a blank slate was so strange. I could bring any dog in. Any breed. Any personality. Any size or gender. There were only a few things on my NO list. I didn’t want a special needs dog at that point.  A dog with needs like Jake would have felt more like a fill in. I wasn’t ready to nurture like that again,  I was still reaching for Jake. I also did not, and still do not, want a yellow lab.

During that time, I met all the dogs, all the breeds. I just wanted the right dog for me.

Every dog I met, I had a breakdown over. If you recall, Jake died and on top of losing him, the house was empty. I wanted a dog to solve one of those issue because both of those issues together was just too much.

Then I saw Doug.

Doug brought life back to this home. He was crazy, and spastic, and did I mention how crazy he was? I was not sure what his breed was, he was definitely a mix. When I got him DNA tested, I hoped he’d come back part pit something. But a part of me also worried about that. Not because of myths or stories not based in fact, but mostly because at the time, he was not well-behaved and if he was a pit, we were going to have to work extra hard, harder than other dogs would have to. That excited me and pissed me off at the same time. I’m Doug’s mom and even I was looking at him with extra expectations. I then realized that I in fact, expected no less or more of him than I did of Melvin or Jake. The issue was likely going to be, that others would expect more from Doug. Others are not the boss of us. My goal for Doug is the same as my goal for all my dogs, to give him the best life he can have.

His DNA came back 65% Am Staff and 25% English Bulldog.

Knowing his DNA changed one thing and one thing only.  I was so proud to be his mom. I would be his voice, always.

Most people who see Doug come toward him and say is he an English Bulldog? I first say, he’s Doug. I usually wait until he is wiggling and wagging around them and making them laugh before I say oh so proudly: actually, he’s mostly Am Staff with a little English Bulldog mixed in. 

Some stop petting him. Their loss. Others dive in even more with a what an awesome mix to have! Those people are our tribe.

When people ask worriedly about his past, I tell him that Doug and I live in the present. Since the day we met, he has only known love. He is quite literally, powered by joy.

He is love and joy and Am Staff and bionic and always hungry and always happy and always zooming. He is Doug.

He is all mine. Haters beware, momma is the one you need to worry about.

The only thing I require of Doug, is to live his best life.  Check, check.

IMG_E8756

Rogaine Joe.

I have been looking at Doug and trying to figure out what is different about him. It took me a few days but I realized that the spots on his back, his dark skin spots (not his brown cow patches), have been getting darker.  Then I realized that the spots were not actually getting darker, but instead, his hair was falling out, thus I could see the spots better.

Here is Doug from one year ago.  IMG_2126

Here is Doug from this past December.IMG_7802 (1)

Here is Doug now. Please note the very fancy line I added to show exactly where the hair loss starts.  I’m so scientific. IMG_8408

I posted the situation on our FB page and there were so many AWESOME ideas of what it could be – seriously, you guys are the best! We went to the vet, got some tests done and:

  • It’s not fleas (I would have moved). Once we were settled in a new, non-flea home, I would have sued since he is on preventative.
  • It’s not mites. I itch every time someone says mites. Jake had mites 3 years ago. Still makes me itch.
  • It’s not his thyroid.

The experts in our life all agree, it is (maybe seasonal) Alopecia. Doug is going bald at 2! Of course he is, he’s mine, would you expect anything less?

We will see if it is actually, seasonal. It does make sense. He was in jail during last spring and summer so anytime he was outside, I either had his sunscreen shirt on or I had him under a tarp. He was on movement restriction and he would get too hot if the sun was beating down on him. So he did not get a ton of sunshine last year. Add that to him hating the cold (so he does not spend a lot of time outside without a fleece and coat and snood) and poor guy needs some vitamin D-oug!

It is bright and sunny today – we have gone from 30 to 70 to snow and back to 70 in four days and although climate change is apparently not real, our options for sun exposure are limited for a month or two more. He is sunning up as I type this. In the meantime, he is has also been put on 6mg of Melatonin, twice a day.

He has no comb over options so either the hair grows back or he is gonna need a t-shirt wardrobe. Also, and this is just to reiterate that Doug is ALWAYS in motion, he has lost 6 lbs since the start of winter (which was precisely when he got back to his zoomie-rific self). He had gained a few pounds during lock down, so this puts him at his ideal weight but I had sorta forgot his ability to burn through all calories.

Also, just to give a good Jakey laugh – Doug only weighs 10 lbs more than Jake did.

  • Melvin,  82 lbs, 18 inch neck.
  • Jake, 35 lbs, 18 inch neck.
  • Doug, 45 lbs, 18 inch neck.

Maybe this blog should be called 18-inch neck.

 

 

The odd couple.

A couple of friends and readers have lost their dogs recently.  The most asked question in my inbox is along the lines of:

How I got through losing Melvin or how I get through without him. And/or, how did I survive losing Melvin and Jake, back to back.

I don’t cry everyday anymore. Every so often, something will pop into my mind and the joy I feel for that memory will overwhelm me and I’ll have to stop what I’m doing and let some tears flow. I still stay goodnight to Melvin and Jake every night, but long gone are the days when I cry myself to sleep. Everyday, there is a beautiful reminder of them.  Sometimes its Doug doing something one of them would totally of done.  Sometimes its Doug being terrible and I remember how Jake used to leap off the couch onto Melvin’s head.  Sometimes, the blanket at the foot of the bed feels a little heavier over my feet, and I pretend it’s Melvin. Sometimes the reminders are obvious, sometimes I have to look a little harder to find the joy. No one said joy is always easy.

I had a moment on New Years day when I realized I can no longer say that Jake died ‘last year’. Time is both an enemy and a friend.

The answer to how I got through, starts at Melvin.

Melvin was the one thing that was supposed to happen to me in this life. The one thing that would drive who I was to become. It’s not to say my life before him wasn’t spectacular or without meaning.  My life before him was wonderful preparation. For all the joy that was about to explode in my heart.

Melvin made me a better person. He pointed me in the right direction. He taught me to choose joy, to have patience, to make kindness reign supreme. He taught me love. The type of love that requires that we take action, to make life easier for others. To love, even when it requires forgiveness. To choose joy, over all other things.

At some point, Melvin became Melvin and Jake. Jake became Melvin’s plus one. Eventually, there was no,  just Melvin.  At that point, it was impossible to have one without the other.  Especially, when Melvin died.

Melvin’s love lived on in both Jake and I. Jake became my beautiful link to Melvin. We had to learn to reach for joy through our grief. As for Jake dying a year after Melvin, well that was pretty much the universe sucking and being as hurtful as possible and there were some dark moments and I screamed and threw my fists (and a lot of karate kicks) at joy.  Then Doug’s face showed up on Facebook, and he disrupted the sadness. Sometimes joy shows up in disguise and you must have faith it will work out. Even when it’s trying to eat your feet.

I carry Melvin and Jake in my heart. Melvin is still with me, guiding me. Reminding me that joy is what I make of it. Reminding me of how much patience he had with Jake, at the exact moment Doug is driving me nuts. And Jake is the reason that when Doug had back to back surgeries, I didn’t stay in a ‘poor Doug’ state.  I was thankful we had what we needed to make it through. And we did. Jake moves me forward.

I got through losing Melvin, because of Melvin and Jake. I got through losing Jake, because of Melvin and Jake. I love them more today than I did yesterday. I feel closer to both of them (Melvin especially), right now than I ever have. Life put them into my life when it just as easily could have put them somewhere else. We found each other and that is where our story starts.  As for where it ends, well it doesn’t.

Love lives on.

Sally.

My friend (next door neighbor, sister), Virginia and her family, lost their dog recently.

Lost is a very simple word for a very terrible moment.

Sally should still be here.

Before I tell you how Sally left this world, let me first tell you how she became to be a dog I love. There is a rescue group in Northern Virginia called Lost Dog & Cat Rescue. They have a ranch in our area where dogs, who are not in foster, are housed until they find homes.  A few years back, during a polar vortex, they lost power.  Lost Dog put out an urgent plea via social media for people to take animals in for a day or two until the power could be restored.

Virginia, and her giving heart, immediately responded ‘of course’. They were assigned a dog to pick up the next day. When Virginia and her kids went to get the dog, Sally came running out and leapt into their arms. Sally was not the dog they were signed up to get that day, but Sally was the dog they took home. Sally was just meant to be.

The Polar Vortex came and went. The power was restored.  Sally never returned to the ranch.

Sally, was a Dachshund mix. She was probably 6ish when Virginia and her family took her in. She was a man-hating, bitch and bad ass. True story. I loved everything about that saucy dog.

Virginia championed every single thing about Sally. Sally would go nuts over men coming into the house (not in the fun nuts way, more in the let’s kill men nuts way).  Virginia could have put Sally in a room whenever a strange male came over, but instead, she would explain Sally to said male, and ask him to work with them on getting Sally more comfortable.IMG_2507

We should all be so blessed as to have a Virginia to explain our odd behavior and plead for understanding for us.

In return, Sally loved Virginia the most. The most of all the family and the most that a dog can love her person.

A few weeks ago, Sally got out of the house.  It was the accident we all fear, a door was not closed completely and she was tiny enough to wiggle out.

She was hit by a car.

I was at Virginia’s house when this happened. Her two youngest children came running in, screaming that Sally had been hit. The world started moving in slow motion. In the next sixty seconds, Virginia scooped up Sally, she and I got into my car and headed for the vet. The vet is one mile away.

Sally died in Virginia’s arms on the way.

DSC_0177

There are honestly no words to describe what an incredibly horrible moment this was in life. Anyone who has ever lived through anything like this, just hopes it never happens to anyone else.

Sally’s life began and ended in Virginia’s arms. She was loved fiercely. She was a little dog who left a huge void.

The car that hit Sally, didn’t stop. They slammed on their brakes, ran her over and sped off. In front of children. So today, and tomorrow, and all the other days when we find ourselves in neighborhoods where families live and love and dogs and cats live and love…please slow down. #slowdownforSally. And should an accident ever happen, and accidents are going to happen, please stop and do the right thing. Do it because you are a good person.  Do it for Sally.

IMG_2505

Dearest Sally, I hope to one day have half the spunk you had for life. Thank you for accepting Doug, you are the one and only female he ever adored. You will be loved and missed, forever. xoxo

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Doug is the first dog I have ever had where I got to make up his birthday. Even with Melvin and Jake being rescues, I got copies of their vet records and knew their birth dates.

Doug is two!

I don’t know if two will look much different from one, I am going out on a limb and say there should be fewer surgeries!

Doug – you are crazy, I have no idea what to do about you a lot of the time but you fit perfectly into my heart.

I love you. I’m excited to embark on the adventure of getting you safely to three!

Well that’s new.

Last week, Doug pee’d in the house. He did it once a day for four days. Actually one of the times was at Rehab but it was still indoors and it was in front of Becky so I knew he was not being defiant. All four times he had been out to pee recently so I made him an appointment,  I collected some pee from him and off we went.

The initial read of the pee seemed normal.  But the vet asked me how I collected it, if I had touched anything or if the container was clean.  I had not and it was. She was a little perplexed because there was ‘debris’ in the sample.

She did the male version of an OB-GYN exam and then said ‘ohhhhhhhh, there’s the problem’…

I should note here that I spent a lot of time deciding what term to use for this update. Since a lot of readers have said their kids look at pictures of Doug, I went with the G-rated term.

Doug has a ding-a-ling infection.  Saying ding-a-ling softens it a little but it does not make it any less strange. I have had boy dog my whole life and this is the very first (and hopefully last) ding-a-ling issue we have ever faced. For anyone confused, it’s not a UTI, it’s his actual Ding. A. Ling.

I asked her how this could have happened, knowing full well that if any dog was going to get an infection in their man parts, it would be Doug. That thing is ALWAYS out. Some days I worry it’s stuck on the out position. She said it was likely allergies, but that it could be from a lot of different things (like dirt or something getting ‘in there’).  If any of you are wondering if Doug is bringing Syphilis back, he’s not. I asked.  It’s not a STD.

But for just one moment, can’t you see Doug on a STD PSA poster in the subway?

The vet said infections like this can go one of two ways. The seven days of oral antibiotics work, or it could get really bad. The really bad road includes have to wash and clean the ding-a-ling several times a day (with a substance that I happen to be allergic to) and having to apply ding-a-ling topical medication, to said ding.

No.  Just no.

We are really due the ‘it worked’ option.  We’ll take two of those please!

Please.  A ding-a-ling thing can’t be the issue that breaks me.  Oh but wait, it already has.

Instead of showing you Doug’s ding-a-ling, I will show you what happens when he has an urgency to pee from said uncomfortable ding-a-ling.  He pulls when I’m not expecting it and this weekend he took me down hard to get to grass.  I’m covered in bruises and there is this:

IMG_7045

I know it’s gross but be thankful I didn’t go with Herpe Joe’s photo.

 

What to expect when you’re expecting.

For the most part, I hate FB targeted ads. Usually I will shop for something online, buy the item and then FB will start ‘suggesting’ that item (that I already bought) for weeks after. I mean it’s creepy enough that they know what I’m looking at but in most cases, I don’t need two washing machines or two dog unicorn costumes.

But every once in a while, they get it right.  Like when they targeted me for months with the U-shaped body pillow. The ad was via a video of all the restful comfy positions you can use the pillow for. At first I thought, that’s weird and eventually I got to I must have it.

I ordered it and it came and it’s as magical as the video showed it could be. It actually has been great for when I have migraines because, well because that pillow just gets me and I love it. I got it while Doug was on lockdown so he never really saw it. Until this weekend.

I brought it downstairs because I had a migraine and took refuge on the couch for a while. I should add, it looks a lot like a pregnancy pillow. People take one look at it and ask if I’m pregnant.

No. But as it turns out, Doug might be.

The migraine passed but the pillow is still on the couch (don’t judge me or my post migraine laziness).  Come to find out, the secret to getting Doug to calm down or chill out or snuggle, is the sight of this pillow. I kid you not, this unicorn of a pillow has magical powers over Doug.

The migraine day when he was like, wait, what is this?IMG_6943

What? Dogs can have migraines. IMG_6966

Go away, she’s mine now. My parts are all over her. IMG_6973

Can I marry her?IMG_6995

Can we get some privacy?IMG_7012

MineIMG_7029.JPG

There is no way I’m ever getting that pillow back. Also, Doug is registered at PillowsRus and BuyBuyAllThePillows.