Friday, May 15, 2015

Widdle Water Bottle, Widdle Water Bottle

SUMMARY: My precious.

Crunchy crunchy crunchy crunchy...

Oh! No! Crunchy fall on floor!


I so frustrated is crunchy not in mouth, I bite hard the couch!

Yayyyy! Crunchy crunchy crunchy!

I now is bored.

Human Mom crunchy did throw! Is excited! Crunchy crunchy crunchy crunchy! (Wag wag wag wag wag!)

Not to take my crunchy!

Is flabbergasted crunchy you did take, Human Mom!

Oooooooh  bowwowwwwwwwww duuude what funny noise in crunchy is make the Human Mom??

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mother Nature's Quilt

SUMMARY: Wordless Wednesday.



Santa Teresa Park, last Wednesday evening.


>>  Visit the Wordless Wednesday site; lots of blogs. <<

Drought Disaster

SUMMARY: Some of our rules here in San Jose.

Because I'm completely jammed up inside on how very much I want to say about other things--

Instead, I'll give some links about how our water usage is being severely curtailed so that anyone here can easily look up the rules and anyone from elsewhere can be glad that you have water. (Although hope that you don't have too much of it.)

I haven't yet turned on my sprinkler system, and things are dying. Sighhhhh.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Gone

SUMMARY: On her own.

Who knew such perfect timing was needed? The appt wednesday was a day too early. The appt that I made yesterday evening for this afternoon, after a bad day yesterday, was a day too late. I stayed awake most of the night, downstairs, trying to keep an eye on her, but I fell asleep around 5 and when a phone call woke me up about 8:30, she was nowhere to be seen. Took me two passes around the house and yard to find her in a nook where they never rest or sleep. It had to have been right after I feel asleep--she's still warm but stiff.

Maybe too clinical. So. I am broken apart. I will go on, of course.

More photos to come. Many many many photos. How to choose?

Boost -- Jan 31, 2005 - April 24, 2015





Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Boost Today

SUMMARY: Life continues.

Boost has so far today eaten:

  • One whole jar of Gerber chicken & chicken gravy (basically chicken and cornstarch). Yay!  (This was in half spoonfuls about 1-2 minutes apart, and the second half of the jar the same way a couple of hours after the first half.)
  • Two CharlieBears, about five minutes apart.
  • Half a container of Gerber chicken noodle goop.  (All in one slow sitting, but then done with it.)
  • Ah! She just finished all but a spoonful of the chicken noodle goop! (9:40pm)

Today's Boost activities:
  • Morning, still pretty zombieish, no eating, just standing standing standing.

    video
  • An hour or two after her meds, played catch with her lattice toy (just standing there) and even some tug. (Although not super-tough tug)





  • An hour or so after that, some readyyyy.... annnnd.... go! kicking the ball in the yard. Kicking just a couple or few feet. She did it only a couple of times. Then stood in the shade while I did entertaining things with the ball for a while.
  • Napping, finally lying down a little after "breakfast" and a little early afternoon.
  • Sitting/standing and staring intently when I play with Chip. An old favorite. But now not so much footwork as she used to have.
  • Going for an hour ride in the car while I ran errands. She climbed into the front seat again on her own. Very droopy and maybe a little confused looking by the end (during the trip is when she ate the CharlieBears)
  • Around 6:30, went into the yard and played ready-and-go again for a long, long time. Same strategy as before: I kick it, she zooms to grab it, then stands there. Every few little tiny zooms, i pull some weeds or work on the irrigation problems to let her catch her breath.  She does not lie down. I finally go inside as it starts getting dark.
  • Pretty much napping since then (it's now closing in on 9:30).

Had to put her morning pills down her throat. That video I found when I need to do it for Tika was very easy to follow for Tika--push thumb between teeth and against the roof of the mouth and she'll open her mouth. Worked like a charm.

For Boost, not so much: Can't force thumb between teeth without a big battle. Finally get it through and press against roof of mouth: Teeth continue to press hard on thumb. Erg.  Finally she does open her mouth slightly, and I can barely get the pills down--Tika seemed to have a much wider area in which to get the pills over the back of her tongue; Boost's is narrow.  A real challenge.


I bought a bag of Pill Pockets to try with her, but of course she's eating so very little (or nothing) that it's foolish to expect that she would actually eat the pill pockets. Doh.

Tomorrow, more of the same? How can I leave her to go to work when she's feeling at her worst? Or when she eats food so slowly and needs to be fed every hour or maybe two?  When she's feeling better for those precious small times when she can play?

I am so glad that I canceled the appointment for this afternoon. A few hours of OKness is worth so much to me and, I hope, to her.

I have so many friends, from casual agility friends to deep,long-term friends, from heavily dog-people to not-dog people, who are being so supportive through these rough times. At the moment, must mention:

  • Sarah photographer friend came over Sunday to take some photos of me and Boost
  • The Other Ellen agility friend came over yesterday to try to tempt boost into eating--brought pizza and special ice cream and other stuff--and to take more photos.













Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'm Struggling

SUMMARY: How to make the decision.

Boost was such a zombie, clearly uncomfortable, not lying down all morning until maybe 3:00, walking from place to place glacially, as in one step and stand there for a while, not wanting to play, not eating anything. She really did seem like she was done.

Around 1:00 I called the vet and made an appointment for euthanasia for tomorrow afternoon.

But now, I just called and cancelled the euthanizing appt for tomorrow afternoon.

Because, as has been happening, boost perked up a bit between mid-afternoon and mid-evening.

An agility friend brought Ben and Jerry's vanilla ice cream and boost ate a bit of that over a couple of hours, but not really enough to sustain a dog. After about 5:00, she was walking around (Boost, not the friend) a bit more normally, ate another small handful of zukes and a few partial strings of string cheese and a big pinch of shredded cheddar, a noodle from my dinner, but nothing else. However, when we went out to the yard, she grabbed her ball and when I kicked it, she chased it (and grabbed it and then stood there panting heavily). So I'd kick it about 5 feet and she'd pounce on it and stand there with the handle in her mouth while I pulled a couple of weeds to give her recovery time, and repeat repeat repeat for 45 minutes. She was ready to keep going but I wasn't. That is so much different from last night, all morning, and the first half of the afternoon.

She perked up when I asked if she wanted to go for a ride around 8:30 this evening. Clambered into the low center of my van (wasn't going to even try to get her into the crates in the back), and then she struggled--with help from me after she got halfway up--into the front seat, which is where she likes to be.

I bought some cooked shredded chicken at Safeway and just now she ate a whole bunch of it. Well--"a whole bunch" being relative, really maybe an ounce of chicken if that. All of this is not going to sustain her long-term. But that's more at one time than she's eaten of anything in a few days. I guess I should be weighing things to see how much she's really eating. (Hasn't wanted any more ice cream, btw, another typical pattern.)

So I cancelled the appt.

I have no idea how things are going to go again overnight and tomorrow morning. I hope I'm not making a mistake, because for most of the day she did not look like a dog who was ready to keep going, nor did she seem to be enjoying herself much. But, nope, I can't do it yet after this evening.

Not a "miracle recovery" at all, actually a fairly typical pattern, except that every day the not-well portion lasts longer and the somewhat-functioning-and-eating portion grows shorter.

I don't know how I'm going to get work done. I haven't been in to the office since last Tuesday, I think, and I know that they'd like to have me there as much as I can manage. Maybe drag myself out of bed early, give Boost her meds, let her be unwell at home alone thru morning and early afternoon and then come back for when I'd expect her to be perked up a little?

Damnit, this is hard. I was sure it was time by early afternoon today. Now, not sure. Keeping fingers crossed that this isn't a mistake.

Things Are Falling Apart

SUMMARY: Energy, appetite, stamina, interest, jaundice

Up until maybe 3 weeks ago, getting the paper in the morning was one of Boost's favorite things. She'd remind me it was time if I forgot. A year or so ago, she developed an excited single sharp bark as I approached the door. That was something that she didn't do for anything else.

But about 3 weeks ago, it started being variable--one enthusiastic retrieve, one lackadaisical, one she looked like she'd forgotten about it. Mix those up.

Over the last week, it has progressed rapidly-- she wouldn't go out on her own but was glad to be invited to go out with me, and would pick up the paper when I suggested it. Then she wouldn't pick it up but would take it if I offered it and carried it into the house. Yesterday she walked only halfway out to the end of the driveway and showed no interest in taking it.

She's gone from eating her dish of kibble very very very slowly just one weekend ago (before her diagnosis), to eating very little of anything, and only after her meds have had an hour or two to kick in. Might eat a couple of kibbles. A string or two or five of string cheese. Three or four freeze-dried chicken concoctions. Lots of Zuke's minis--or none. A teaspoonful of applesauce.

Yesterday at lunch I offered her a couple of tablespoons of my frozen entree (heated up) of rice and chicken, and she ate that, and I wished that I had let her have the whole thing but I had already eaten it. So, at dinner, I heated up a big batch of butternut squash ravioli--and she had no interest at all in that.

A couple of days ago had maybe a half inch of Nutri-Cal. Liked the Zuke's beef patties for a few days and then not no more.  The special little-dog patés, yep, ate half of one Saturday but hasn't been interested since. Won't eat any of the canned dogfoods I've tried. Not interested in my breakfast cereal. Not eggs. Not chicken. Not liver treats.

This morning so far she had a few tiny shreds of shredded cheddar.  Oh--twenty minutes later (now) she just came in and at about half a dozen zuke's over a 5-minute period. Not interested in anything else I've offered so far.

Chasing a toy for her is--I dunno, atavistic? obsessive?--no matter how she's feeling, if a toy is about to be kicked or thrown, her eyes get big, her ears come forward, and she throws herself after it in the same jet-packed way that she always has.

Jaundice is pretty bad. Yellow eyes, yellow ears, yellow gums.

Last night she might have had a little seizure.

Today, no energy. Will still zoom after a ball that i kicked about 6 feet. But now just standing there.

In fact, that's the word for this morning: Just standing there. Looking at me, or just staring  in front of her.

she likes me to have my hand on her but still not snuggle.   Will see whether she eats.  maybe i'll go get her a pizza.

She might be pretty much done.

Guess I'm not going to work today either.




Friday, April 17, 2015

And more firedrills

SUMMARY: Continuing the timeline.

I'm wiped out, crushed, bruised, stabbed, thoroughly broken-hearted, and struggling to even breathe. Still in shock and grieving 20 ways. I can barely believe any of this.

I've gone from losing my wonderful Tika a month ago, to the diagnosis of stage 4 cancer 3 weeks ago of a person important in my life (for whom I've attended some oncology appts), to finding that I'm losing my wonderful Boost to cancer.

A week one wouldn't want:

I went from Friday
--Boost has some things going on that are odd but doc can't find a thing wrong with her so let's do some tests--
to Saturday and Sunday
--Boost eating slower and slower and acting slower and slower--
to Monday
--Boost's liver, kidney, pancreas, and blood numbers are bad--
to Tuesday
--Boost definitely has liver disease that can be eased somewhat depending on the cause but it's not good, oh and the chest X-ray shows some things that could be bad or maybe not--
to Wednesday
--yes she has cancer in multiple organs but her blood clotting is too bad to take a biopsy so it's my choice that that's the end of it--


to Thursday.

First thing in the morning, a friend through agility who's a vet offered to look at Boost's info if I wanted. So, sure, of course I would (grasping at straws, indeed).  I called my vet to ask them to fax Boost's info to my vet friend. Late in the morning, i called her to confirm that she'd received the info. She thought that there's a chance that it could be lymphoma rather than the other bad thing that's been diagnosed (and everyone's guessing w/out a biopsy). And lymphoma--if Boost can tolerate the treatment--she says can be slowed way down with an excellent (yes excellent) quality of life for maybe 6-7 more months.  Which is a good percentage for a 10-yr-old life.

So I call the recommended oncology place. They can't get me in until Monday without a vet calling them.

So I call my vet friend, who calls them, who then calls me back, and I call them to confirm the appt that she set up for 9:00 tomorrow morning.

All of that takes me to about 1:00.  And I'm having periods where I'm having trouble breathing.  This is not asthma.  I tried to work but couldn't. Sat in the car and did some deep-breathing relaxation exercises, some mindful meditation (OHHHH that was hard to do) and finally slept for an hour.

Then, to wrap up the afternoon, a visit with my important person and their oncologist where they're going to up the chemo dose since it's being tolerated OK at a minimum dose.

I'm useless for any purpose. Play with Boost, who still drives to the ball but wants to stop and rest quickly and often.

I barely slept.  Mind whirling around my choice to go see the oncologist. I had said that I wasn't going to. And then gave in to my own despair, and I'm not sure that's the right choice. But I'll go. And this makes me clearer--if it requires too much medical commitment for Boost, we're not doing it. She's not going to spend a lot of time in vet's offices or hospitals. And I don't really think that I want to spend many thousands of dollars for that little return for her or me. This actually is helping me to clarify my feelings and thinking.

Friday.






This place's parking lot has a lovely, peaceful setting with benches and lawn. 

And, Chip wants to mention, many, many, many trees.




The specialty vet place has more very busy receptionists
 than my vet has employees in his entire practice.



A very nice other patient who was waiting for her cancerous cat said
she loves taking photos, too, and would I like her to take a photo of both of us?




Another vet visit? When will the inhumanity end?


Met with the oncologist, who reviewed the records and Boost's history and symptoms up to now. We talked for a while.

Basically, she came back with what I went over with my vet--Boost's clotting factor is too low to do a biopsy without the risk that Boost would bleed out and die right there. She added this-- that they'd have to do probably 2 platelet transfusions just to get to where they could do the biopsy.  She also confirmed my vet's feeling that anyway Boost's condition is pretty far advanced, so it's likely that the treatment wouldn't be effective at this point.

Because, not only everything else, but Boost's body is breaking down more all the time, as now she has some jaundice which she didn't on Wednesday when my vet checked, and now she has a heart murmur (likely result of low red blood count) which she hasn't had with both of my regular vets checking her Friday/Tuesday/Wednesday.

Oncologist wasn't enthused about doing transfusions or attempting treatment, and I was absolutely not even interested in doing that. We left with a prescription for prednisone. This is supposed to actually ease some of the problems with and symptoms with the liver and her appetite. For a while.

In other words, essentially she's in hospice care. Besides the prednisone, I have that prescription for tramadol (same as me) and famotadine (pepsid) and the antinausea drug. And that's it. Might or might not take her in again if some specific thing seems to go awry that might be something they could ease or fix, but I'm leaning towards not.

Today, I cannot work or do much of anything. I'm going to try to sleep and do more relaxing and meditation.

MAGIC.

Over the last week, smooth floors have suddenly lost their evilness.  Apparently feeling ill leaves one with no energy to concern oneself with demon-spawned floor coverings, since obviously they can no longer hurt you more than you're already hurting. Dammit demons of all kinds.

Lobby--evil floor? Not. But Boost would like to mention that there is
a perfectly serviceable exit door that seems to be available for immediate use.



Examination room--evil floor? Not. But Boost would like me to notice that there is a perfectly serviceable exit door that we don't seem to be currently using at its highest utility value.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oh my little Booster

SUMMARY: Cancer

Boost is dying. You wouldn't know it from this video today.

video

This was all so fast. And I haven't been posting here.

Timeline--

Last July, when Boost started scratching uncontrollably again, I put her on prednisone again for a short while.  Which meant that she wanted to go out once or twice a night. At that point, my back was seriously awful, and the pain associated with getting out of bed, downstairs, opening the door, and all that, was too much to bear. So I left my bedroom door open and left her with access to the yard. Tika was delighted with this arrangement; she almost always had wanted to sleep out on the deck or downstairs on the cooler floor.

Fast forward to Tika's death on March 9th.  I returned to the old standard of having the dogs closed in my room and everything closed up.  But Boost--who hasn't been on pred since that time last year--still wanted to go out anywhere from once to three times a night.

I wasn't sure whether it was just because she was used to doing that, after all these months, or whether maybe she had a bladder infection again (she's had a few in the past).  I was too tired to get up with her and see what she was doing, so I went back to the open door policy.

I did watch her a few times. She'd sniff slowly all across the yard, pee, and sniff slowly all the way back across the yard. I felt sad for her--I'd always wondered how she'd figure out where to pee after Tika was gone, because Boost ALWAYS peed where Tika had peed.

Too tired all the time to want to see whether it was a get-used-to-having-the-door-shut issue or a real issue, so I let it slide--and, of course, once I had given her free access, I had no idea at all whether she was going out at night, except once or twice where she whine/moaned insistently until I woke up and went downstairs with her.   So I really let it slide.

A few odd things happened from time to time over the last month:

  Once she went upstairs one...step...at...a...time. We had played a lot, but I didn't think more than usual, but assumed maybe she's got a little arthritis.  But shortly after that, she might be racing down the stairs full speed. Then some other time she'd go up or down slowly again.

   She'd act often as if she had little energy---she'd play intensely, but then want to lie down after each ball retrieval.  Well, she's out of shape, and so am I, because of my pain levels and not getting out and about.  So, whatever.

   Her main job has always been to bring in the paper in the morning.  A few times,  she'd walk out instead of dashing out, but the next day she'd dash. One day last week she walked out...like...a...funeral...procession...  brought it back slowly to the front door and dropped it there instead of taking it into the kitchen. The next couple of days she was OK at it, but wandered around on her way to the paper as if she didn't really want to do it, or even had forgotten.

  She's been really avoiding playing with Chip. She has usually played enthusiastically with him at least once a day, but now didn't want to.  I thought, maybe all of this is arthritis, don't know.

 A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that she was eating her food at about Chip's speed. When Chip first came home, here's how the eating speed went:  Tika sucked down her food before Boost was half done. Then Boost finished. Then I'd watch...Chip...eat... and wonder how a healthy dog could possibly be so slow at it. I mean, really, it took him a full minute to eat 2/3 cup of food.

   And then Boost ate slower than he did. And slower. And slower.

Wednesday and Thursday last week.

She had uncomfortably soft poops.  Eating even slower.

Friday.

In the  morning after we got up she threw up (nothing much in her tummy) out on the lawn.  And then it took her FOUR minutes to eat her food.

So it was just too much. I called to see whether we could see the vet. My regular guy was out until Monday, and the receptionist asked whether it could wait until then.  Wellllllll  all those little things, but particularly the eating slowly..... no, I didn't want to wait. Suddenly it felt very important to get her in for a checkup.  They were able to squeeze us in around 4:00 that afternoon with the other vet in the office.

I hustled the dogs into the car without giving them the usual opportunity to pee in the yard, hoping that Boost had enough in her for a urine test. The vet checked everything about Boost. No signs of pain or swelling or bad temperature or bad heart or bad eyes or arthritis or anything in her mouth that might be slowing her eating. Was able to get urine and blood samples, but said that the poop currently cued up inside Boost (she stuck a finger in to see) looked perfectly normal, so she didn't think that a stool sample would be warranted.   So everything looked completely healthy.

I hope that meant maybe a urine infection, even though I wasn't sure how that would explain everything else.

Told me that my regular vet, Dr. K, would call me with the results Monday afternoon.

Took the dogs for a short walk at one nearby park, and sure enough, Boost had a completely normal poop.  Everything else, completely normal walk.

Weekend.

One day, when she went out to get the paper, she was so randomly distracted by things that it looked like she had forgotten all about her favorite morning thing.  I finally called her back, then sent her out again, and she rambled around.  Finally with coaxing she brought in the paper.  Like she had completely forgotten how to do it.

One of the mornings, I put down their food bowls with their 2/3 cups of kibble, left them eating, and went upstairs.  I took off and put away my nightclothes. Washed my face.  Took out all my pill bottles and counted/sorted an entire week of morning & afternoon pills into my pillbox. Finished my morning ablutions. Poked around in my t-shirt drawers trying to decide which to wear that day.  Chip had appeared somewhere in there. Picked out socks and underwear to match, got dressed head to toe, found my watch and put it on, and went downstairs. Boost was STILL eating.  Yikes.

Monday.

Dr. K left a message while I was at work. I had raced home in hopes of catching his call ("race"--hah--took me an hour in nasty traffic because some guy was standing on a key overpass and two freeways were blocked so everything in the valley was at a near standstill).  They close at 5:00, and I was able to call just after 4:30.

He squeezed in a quick talk with me, where he said that her liver and pancreas numbers were very ugly, also white blood cell count high (infection or inflammation of some sort) and her red blood cells low (anemia) and some other bad numbers that I tried to scribble down while he talked.

He said, if you rate the level of complications that this could add to my and your life, this is about 10 out of 10. He said, I need about an hour to talk with you, as soon as possible.  Can you come in tomorrow morning at 8:00? Bring her and we'll do some screening x-rays.

Not much sleep that night, you betcha.

Tuesday.

Sent her out for the newspaper. She was somewhat excited about it and did it fairly well.

8:00 -- She definitely has liver disease and pancreatitis, but these things can easily be symptoms of something else. (Yes yes ys, I did spend time last night reading and reading and reading and the list of things that these could be symptoms of was very long and mostly bad.)  He said, oh, don't read all that, it'll make you crazy. Let's get the x-rays done.  (This is a summary of a Reader's Digest version of the hour-long conversation.)  To save me a hundred bucks or so, I said, just do the chest x-ray and let's do ultrasound on her abdomen instead of x-ray.  He said that he thought that he could get the ultrasound guy in on Wednesday.  He kept Boost and said, come back at 2:30.

2:30 -- She was a good girl about lying mostly still and they were able to get chest x-rays without any sedative.  But they were a bit ambiguous.  Vet thought that there was either a swollen lymph node or maybe it was just a muscle overlapping a bone.  And a gray spot that shouldn't be there, but to me it looked just like the gray spots that he said were blood vessels or other things.  he said it could all be nothing; he'd want the radiologist's opinion (the guy who comes in to do ultrasounds.)

He took a blood sample to test its clotting ability in case there was something that they'd need to do a biopsy for.

So bring her back first thing in the morning.

Not much sleep that night, you betcha.

Wednesday (today).

Sent her out for the newspaper. Or--rather--tried to. She just stood in the doorway. I walked out to the driveway and she walked next to me. This is not normal. I picked up the newspaper and offered it to her.  She took it as if it belonged to her and trotted--not ran, just trotted--back into the house just ahead of me. Sigh. Poor goorlie.

8:00 a.m. Dropped Boost off for her ultrasound.  Doc wasn't sure when they'd be finish, but he'd keep me updated.

Cried a bit as I drove Chip to another nearby park. There, we practiced some things -- with a pocket full of Zuke's mini treats-- such as walking on a loose leash, looking at me regularly, coming to me when I said Come (that was mostly a failure, dangit).

Got home, and just after I walked in the door, the vet's receptionist called and said that Dr. K would like me to come in at noon so he could talk to me.

Noon.

Doc came into the room and said, it's bad. It's the worst it could be.

She has lesions in her kidney, liver, lungs, and lymph nodes. In other words, whatever cancer she has, has already metastasized--spread throughout her body.  It could be in other places, too--like, maybe, the brain.

Her blood clotting test went poorly--apparently the liver makes the blood-clotting factor, and it's malfunctioning, as we already knew, so they decided not to take a biopsy at that time.

We talked a bit but there wasn't much to talk about.  Keep her happy and comfortable. Make sure she's eating and drinking and eliminating properly.  He'd be glad to refer me to an oncologist but thought that any treatment could make Boost sick and probably wouldn't gain much time anyway.

I had already made that decision, not going that way for Stage 4 (incurable) cancer that's all through her body.

The warning is--she could go at any time, depending on what tumor did what and when. Could be a stroke, even.  Or I said some major seizures like Jake had that fried his brain (or vice-versa).  Could be tomorrow.  Could be a month or more. Maybe.

l am sick and numb and stunned and angry and miserable and heartbroken.

At home, we went into the yard and I took that video. She still looks alert and attentive. She still goes after the ball like a rocket, still plays tug.

That is most likely her last visit to the vet. I've got tramadol now in case she looks like she's in discomfort. famotadine to ease her stomach and help her eat, and an antinausea drug as well.

I'll be doing one day of score table for SMART this week, and I'll take Boost, and people can say goodbye.

And I'll try not to neglect Chip, who has looked very worried and followed me closely everywhere the two times I left Boost at the vet yesterday and today. Damn.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Hats hats hats! and Hat days!

SUMMARY: Well, at least we can learn some things

Well, as near as I can tell so far, today is not Hat Day--not:



but, since I like hats, to make up for it, here's a fun, educational, interesting read on styles of men's hats!

https://scheong.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/mens-hats-a-brief-history-a-look-at-the-hat-in-the-21st-century/


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Scared Border Collie Bingo

SUMMARY: A treat from Team Small Dog

I laughed out loud at this Border Collie Bingo, now that Team Small Dog includes an actual border collie. I've had so many discussions with people about their over-sensitive BCs! I guess this is the dark side to their amazing ability to notice and respond to the slightest change in a sheep's path or an agility human's body language. So they respond to the slightest change in anything, or the slightest unfamiliar thing.

And oh Boost had SO many things that she had to bark at in a scared way when she was younger. The rock in the yard that I moved earlier, that I moved earlier and she watched me move it. The chair in the yard that I moved earlier while she was there. The table in the yard that I moved earlier while she was there. The big black garbage bag of leaves whose edges were blowing in the wind. A branch blowing in the wind. Plastic bag in a shrub. Plastic owl on the shed! Yes! Anything driving by and hitting a pothole. Pet stores. Dead things in vendor stalls (e.g., "rawhide" is a thinly disguised dead thing). Remote control car in the street. Footballs not being caught and hitting the ground. The cartoon drawing of a dog above a door!

And as you likely know, she saved up until she was 3 or 4 to become scared of Evil Floors.

Team Small Dog sez -- "Play along with me. Border collie bingo! Click-n-print version over here!"

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Ultimate Creative Ideas Straight From the Brain

SUMMARY: While dreaming--

Woke during a dream last night, turned on the lamp, groped for the pen and notepad that I keep by my bed, because I had forgotten something very important. Jotted it down. And, while I was at it, made a bulleted list of some other important things.

Turned off the light and went back to dreaming.

When I woke up in the morning, wasn't even sure whether that had happened or had been a dream. Ohhhhh it happened all right--




Friday, April 03, 2015

More Finchester Yellow Photos

SUMMARY: Such cuties.

Previous Finchester Yellow comparisons:

AmberRemingtonChip

The ears really tell the story.

Harder to tell in this photo: Amber is all yellow (no black on face), while Rem and Chip both have black muzzles.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Wolfie Snow Dog

SUMMARY: Tika loved the snow.

Her whole life, people's first impression of her was, "She looks like a wolf!" (Or, when younger and scrawnier, a coyote.)  I didn't always see it, but sometimes--yeah.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Speaking of Changing the Environment--

SUMMARY: Yep, blog appearance changed.

Just felt as if, like other things in my life, it's time for a little change. Dang, should've done a screen capture of the previous format. C'est la vie.

So here's a capture of the new format. This should look freaky.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Clearing Away

SUMMARY: It's not that I don't want to remember Tika--I do--but I don't want things ambushing me everywhere I turn.

After she was gone, I started right away in clearing away everything that I knew would sucker-punch me in the gut if I were to see them.

In the first few days, I:


  • Picked up, washed, rolled up, and put out in the garage all the extra carpets that I'd purchased and gradually spread more around the house to help her get to her feet or stay on her feet. Most she hardly ever had a chance to use. I hadn't realized how quickly she was declining that last week when I bought several of them.  
  • Oh, and peeled off all the sticky reusable carpet holders, washed them in warm soapy water, and put them back into their storage box after they dried.
  • Emptied her weekly pill minder and hid that away. 
  • Offered all her meds to my agility club (most, no takers), so bundled them up--along with all the specialty foods and samples and baby food (lots of jars) that I had bought for her and dropped them off at the shelter.
  • Removed the carpet stair treads that she never used. (Took me four times longer to remove than to install--that was most excellent double-stick tape.)
  • Took her leashes out of the car and the front hall closet and put them into the garage for storage.
  • Likewise her food dish.
  • Washed the harness that a friend loaned us over 2 years ago for temporary use.  Not sure when I'll be seeing the friend again, so it still hangs in the laundry room, where it, yeah, sucker punches me every time I see it. I suppose I should package it up and mail it.
  • Cleaned out the special quilt and harness and water dish for her sleeping area in the car.
  • Took her ramp out of the car.
  • Gave the other 2 dogs what was left of the baby food and snacks that she didn't finish the last couple of days and tossed the rest.
  • Have been working at emptying (by feeding to Boost and Chip for meals) all the fractional bags of kibble that had accrued because she has been picky about kibble for so long now--a year? more?--and I'd rotate through a variety over a week or so. So far I've emptied 12 bags of various sizes, have almost emptied another. Have 5 additional open bags and one unopened one that I bought that last week because it was a new one to try.
But.

I can't put away or dispose of all the places and times and actions that hit me suddenly when I encounter them.  I open the garage door after coming home, and there are only 2 dogs, and I wonder where-- oh.  After 2 years and 4 months of dispensing pills and treats every morning and every evening, no breaks ever, suddenly that ritual is gone and I feel an emptiness about that time every day, or when I think, Wait, did I give her her med.... oh.

When there's no dog lying on the back porch in the cool evening air.

When I think that I should go check on her to make sure she's OK.

When I pull out the bully sticks and give out only two.

When I can take Boost and Chip for a walk and don't have to make time to take her for her own, slow, walk. Wish I did have to make time for it.

When I pull out the treats and she's not instantly there, obsessing about how to get me to give her some.  The other dogs are not nearly that involved with their treats.

Noticing the ribbons and championship poles and plaques on the walls and remembering that they're almost all hers. And we'll never ever do agility together again, or anything.

So many things.  Crap, I didn't think that this would all make me cry, but of course it does.

I have been looking at photos of her, evening after evening after evening.  I think that maybe I'll pull out a big selection of them and make a slideshow. And then I think that I couldn't stand to do so.  But I can look at photos. As long as I remember to remember how much fun we were having and to not remember that she...

Yeah.

Chip is lying here with his head against my arm. Warm.   Boost is dozing on the floor near my place on the couch. They're good dogs.

But.



Oh, Teek.