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Holiday food toxic for your pup! Yes this is the time of the year….

 

 

 

 

If you are like me, last year, I thought…. I have everything under control, and I will not end up at the emergency. I was so ready…..

But you never know, or at least, I did not! My pack was six years old for 4 of them, and the two others were 9. Every year, I have a Christmas tree and when the pups were younger, I protected it with a fence around but they never showed any interest in the tree or the ornaments. The cats did, and one time, years ago, one of them decided to play Tarzan in the tree and the whole thing collapsed with thousands of broken pieces all over, but the dogs? They basically ignored it….. until last year.

There are moments that you will always remember. This is one of them. I was in the kitchen, and I heard crunching noises. Puzzled,  I went to my bedroom to witness Jackson finishing chewing on a Glass ornament. He was bleeding from his tongue and this is the week where I had to replace my mattress which was soaked with his blood. I could say a lot of things  about Jack, but let’s just say that when he was stealing something, he always like his comfort, so my bed took a big hit with this shenanigan! Immediately, I opened a can of spinach (spinach is probably the best thing to give in that case. The leaves wrap themselves around the pieces of glasses in the stomach!), and here we went to our favorite place in the whole wild world: the emergency!  Fortunately, he did not seem to have any major cuts. Some little ones on his tongue, but nothing major, but I learned from that day that tongues bleed a lot! And that I should always have cans of spinach in my pantry. After Jack died last September, I opened the pantry and saw a dozen of those cans, and they did look quite obsolete, but you never know, so yes spinach is really a good thing to have around!

And the Holidays are just around the corner……

The house is filled with the delicious smell of cooking and baking. A savory roast just came out of the oven and is resting on the counter top, next to a heaping dish of butter for the rolls and a big chocolate cake for dessert. You go upstairs to quickly change before your guests arrive. You’re only gone for 5 minutes when you realize the house is quiet… TOO quiet. Suddenly you realize Charlie isn’t following at your heels like he usually does and you dash downstairs, but only in time to see the carnage…

With the holiday season comes a lot of celebratory foods. Turkey drippings, gravy, buttery mashed potatoes, cream sauces, etc. may be as irresistible to dogs and cats as to us. However, try to avoid the temptation of feeding these delicacies to your pet lest you end up having to deal with a sick one during the holiday! Many of the rich foods we eat as a special treat can cause indigestion, gastroenteritis or pancreatitis in our pets. They may not be accustomed to digesting higher levels of fat, and vomiting and diarrhea can result from having snatched something off the counter. Some ingredients may even be toxic and very dangerous to dogs and cats. Also try to make sure you are careful to keep these treats out of reach for counter-surfing pets, and avoid leaving food gifts wrapped up under the Christmas tree or out on display.

If your pet is vomiting or having diarrhea, it is best to first contact a veterinarian to describe the problem in greater detail and get advice. Depending on how severe the problem is, the vet may want you to come in for an appointment right away or suggest home remedies that can be tried first. Of primary importance is avoiding dehydration, which can happen from water loss through vomit or diarrhea as well as decreased intake due to lack of appetite. Offer plenty of water, or give Pedialyte which contains electrolytes that may aid in re-hydration. Inability to hold down fluids is a worse sign and you should probably bring your pet in to be seen by the vet if this occurs. Avoid all treats and if your pet shows interest in eating, give only small bland meals (such as boneless, skinless, unseasoned boiled chicken and rice or specially prescribed pet foods) and monitor closely for any further vomiting and diarrhea. In most adults and older puppies and kittens, fasting for 12 – 24 hours is safe and may allow the upset gastrointestinal tract to rest, but it is recommend to ask your vet specifically about this. For more specific “recipes” (how much/how frequently/how long) on home cooked diets, call the vet because the recommendations may be different depending on the signs your pet is exhibiting.

Your veterinarian may be able to recommend a dose of over-the-counter antacids or anti-diarrheal medications (such as Pepcid a/c and Imodium) to treat symptomatically as well. If you or the vet deems it advisable to go in for an appointment, diagnostics may be needed to determine the cause or extent of the problem. Bringing in a stool sample and being organized and clear about the quantity, consistency, and frequency of vomiting/diarrhea episodes is very helpful. X-rays may help rule out obstructions caused by “foreign bodies” (e.g. bones, tinsel, ribbon, etc.). Blood tests can help provide more insight into what is going on with organ function or the immune system. In the clinic, the vet can also give your pet fluids and other supportive care treatments that will be especially important in animals who cannot keep oral medications down.

Other problems with “accidental ingestion” may include foods that are potentially toxic to animals. The most common toxic foods include grapes/raisins, onions, garlic, sugar-free sweeteners, chocolate and other caffeine-containing foods. The results of ingestion may be dose-dependent and also idiosyncratic (unpredictable who gets affected), so the best thing to do if you suspect ingestion of any of these substances is call a veterinarian right away. Poison control hotlines can also be very useful. Acting quickly is better than waiting when it comes to toxin ingestion, as inducing vomiting can reduce the amount of toxin absorbed before it ever becomes a problem. A fairly safe way to induce vomiting is to give hydrogen peroxide orally to the pet (1 teaspoon per 5 lbs of the pet’s body weight, up to 5 tsp.) At a veterinary clinic, activated charcoal can be administered orally to prevent absorbing any more toxin from the gastrointestinal tract, as well as other supportive care treatments.

Dog and cat about to eat burger patties on a table.

Dog and cat about to eat burger patties on a table.

In conclusion, be prepared and aware to help the holidays go smoothly for your whole family. Plan ahead and the risk of accidents and stressful events will be minimized, and you can focus on having a good time!

 

More information can be found at:

The ASPCA Poison Control: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

Pet Poison Hotline: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/contact/

 

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Animal communicator, etc….

I just removed this specific post. I had two bad experiences with an animal communicator, and I thought until a few days ago that the third one was amazing…. It was not.

She was half dog communicator, and half psychic I guess. Not sure about the animal communicator part, but the psychic part was like the wires were not connected properly. She told me that one specific dog will have a very long life, and that there would not be anymore cancer in my crew. Two months later, the one who was supposed to have a very, very, very long life, dropped dead from cancer, hemangiosarcoma to be precise.

At the time where that woman came to my house, Zoe must already have cancer blossoming in her body since it had time to spread all over. Therefore, I am removing this post. I should have brought them tons of treats. It would have been more useful.

 

 

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It was all about having fun….

I might recycle myself and start writing pet obituaries…. I just seem to excel in it!

Yes, I lost another one! It’s quite ironic as a matter of fact when you know – of course you don’t – how paranoid I am with them. They eat the best food, get bottled water, and they all end up dying of cancer. Seriously? I am really starting to question what I do? Does it make any difference from fancy grain free food vs Iams to name one? And don’t get me wrong here. I hate Iams.

jackJackson just died on me. No, he did not die on me. I put him to sleep. A week ago, I was posting on my FB page that Jack was working really hard at dying from something else than cancer. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Take that cancer! My boy is a cancer survivor. I am sure that in the long run cancer would have taken over his body or at least the left side of his body, but he was doing well with his “cancer diet”, his supplements and his broccoli. He was doing fine. Then, he had that leg infection, and no I did not notice it. You see it was on his “good” front leg. Last Sunday, he went swimming and he was fine.  But I am rewinding the film right now, and Monday morning, yes I was in a rush because I was taking Maia to chemotherapy, but I snapped a few pictures of Jackson gulping down his breakfast, and when I enlarged the picture, his right front leg was a bit swollen, not like it was 4 hours later, but it was a bit swollen. and I did not notice it because I was in a rush. Would it have make a difference? I am not sure. The oncologist had given him a two week life expectancy three weeks ago, so he beat that one! Because he was my extraordinary dog. He was a lot like his Mom. Those two were all about retrieving and eating and swimming.

STA72267 Perfect labs. Jackson…. was my kid. I witnessed his birth, and I was his Mom after the first month. Lola took really good care of her kids for one month, and then I had to take the relay. She was still around, but she was like “you wanted the kids…. You take care of them NOW!” and I did. The bags under my eyes are called “my mutts”. For the first year of their lives (Lola had five kids: 3 boys and 2 girls) each time they were barking at night, I was getting up to let them go pee. My vet was telling me to ignore them, but it was easier to let them go out than hearing them bark for half an hour. So, yes, I might have spoiled them a bit, because you see, they were and they are my kids (I mean the three remaining!). I am not sure what I am going to do with the three left…. Should I put them under a bubble? Two had already died: George at 3 and half, and Jack last Monday. Each time one of my kids dies, it takes a part of my heart, and I am not sure how many times a heart can be broken.

IMG_3385I am not sure yet how to be in a “Jackless” life. You see I wake up in the morning and the first minute, I wonder why I am so sad, and then I remember. He was my boy. He was the one who was grabbing my hand with his paw when we went on car rides. He was the one who was hugging me every 3 minutes each time we went for a walk just the two of us. He was the one who made my feet his pillow, and to tell you the truth my feet are quite lonely these days.

I always said that labs are my kind of dogs – and I do love every dog – but labs have a sense of humor. Jackson had a very sophisticated one. For seven years, I blocked my fridge (because he knew how to open it), I carefully put everything away from his reach, I am conditioned now. I surprise myself putting the French baguette on the fridge (not that I eat much these days) and then I realized why? He is not there to steal it from me.

Last week, he suddenly disappeared on me in the house, and I thought “what could he have stolen?” because I am so careful around him. Guess what? He stole a cat food can and was enjoying it on my bed. That’s the place where he always took his stolen food! The metallic can was totally flattened. That was my boy! I am telling you!

Three years ago, I realized that he was not with us (meaning at that time my six other dogs – 2016 is the year where the number of dogs was drastically reduced thanks to cancer! -). I went downstairs, and saw him throwing up in my living room. Sue me. I had received a medication for Maia who had a high Ph. in her urine. I did not open the box, and left it on the microwave oven. Jack took it, opened the box, broke the bottle, and swallowed 200 bitter pills (why do I know they were bitter? Because I tasted them!), and then he threw up…. He was at the emergency within half an hour, and no one had a clue what would happen because no other dogs had ever had the bad taste of  swallowing that many pills. They did find a lab who swallowed 100. He made it. Jack spent three days at the emergency, but he made it. After he got home, my main concern was how to keep him safe. I became very disciplined and stored everything at higher levels that he could not reach even though he was a big boy.

jacknewtoyBut Jack was so much more than I could ever describe. I remember the first sentences of “Love Story”. And his story could start that way: Jack loved me, he loved Frisbee (even though I sucked at throwing them, and he got so mad at me so many times for the Frisbees to land on the roof! My roof is like a Frisbee cemetery!), swimming, food, walking, my feet, swimming, my feet, and just me. He had always been very protective of me, and I just feel suddenly fragile without him. He was the one to inspect the whole backyard first thing in the morning, running around the fence, barking at anything which moved. He was the one who was kicking out anyone on the couch sitting next to me without even moving his butt. Michael Jackson mastered the moon walk, Jackson mastered the couch kick out thing.

For the last six years, the mutts have been good with the Christmas tree but last year Jackson decided to eat a glass ornament on my bed and bleed all over my mattress. He was fine…. thanks to the spinach. Spinach is the best thing you can give to your dog if he eats anything sharp. I mean, do still go to the emergency but I have my whole pantry full of spinach cans, like it’s going to be of any use now. Maybe I should put them on Craigslist….. “Spinach cans to give away.”

I loved him from the minute he was born until the second he dropped dead. I am not just sure how to handle a “Jackless life”. Not sure about that one.

But I do believe we become energy…. And I know that somewhere over the rainbow, my Jackson is having a ball. I loved you to the moon and back Jack, and I will always do until I drop dead….. IMG_4282

 

 

 

 

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You got me at Hello…..

7 and half years ago, you were born. You were the third one, and the biggest one, and I immediately fell in love with you. You had that big pudgy face. Your eyes were not open yet. It took over a week before I could see them, but from the minute you were born, I was under your spell.

The girls (my daughters) always said from Day 1 that you had me wrapped around you paw. And it was the truth. Whatever wrong you did, I always found you excuses. You just had to look at me with those big eyes. You immediately or almost immediately took over my feet. They were the best pillows for your head. I first named you “Boubou”, and then you became Jackson because I met a long time before another Jackson, another black lab, who was not mine, but decided one day, I was his.

In my dreams, we were going to grow old together. There is not one evening or one morning when you are not in bed with me, your head on my shoulders, looking at me with those big eyes, and what can I say? I am a sucker and I melt.

jackSo, yes, you were supposed to get older, white all over, and there would be nothing better than snuggling with you at night or in the morning. You had all the Zeus’ habits (Zeus was my heart dog…. until you came into the picture, or maybe even after your Mom came into the picture, who knows?)

I loved you for your look (I might be vain there!) as well as your attitude. I always said that labs are my dogs because they have a sense of humor than no other dogs have (and I love any dogs from mutts to …. almost anything!) but you were the perfect lab, and you still are until you will drop dead, or until I decide for you, because I love you THAT MUCH, that it’s time for you to cross the Rainbow Bridge and go back with your Mom, Lola, and your brother, George. That’s how much I love you. If I could drive to the moon and back to make you feel whole again, I would. I would do anything to make you grow old by me….. but I can’t.

jacknewtoyAnd yes, it sucks. It sucks real bad. No dog should go at 7. I know that most likely you won’t be home for Christmas. When I think how worried I was about the Christmas tree and how to protect the Christmas GLASS ornaments from you. Last year, I almost got a heart attack after you decided to chew on a glass ornament, ruin my mattress with your blood, and after dragging your sorry butt to the emergency and heard that you would be okay.

In the seven years of your life, you drove me crazy so many times, but I wish so bad that I could have signed up for another 7 years. With all the crap you dumped on me, I would have signed up in a second for another 7 years of crap, and love, so much love between us.

Until not long ago, I did not realize how protective you were of me and the mutts (meaning your brother and sisters). First thing in the morning, you go to the backyard all around the fence to be sure it’s safe, and then once, you figured out that there is no trespasser, you come back to me.

When you are in my or should I say “your” truck, you are so overly protective of it. You would bite anyone who would approach it. And then the couch thing. If anyone is sitting next to me, I have no idea how you do it, but you manage to get rid of “the person” in no time, swiftly moving your butt around without even moving it. You mastered the art of getting rid of anyone on that couch besides me. And I love you for that too, Jackson.

You started limping in April, and I was concerned, like I am always concerned when one of you is not doing well, but you got better after being on an anti inflammatory thing (metacam to be accurate). We did X-rays, and no, you had nothing wrong in your bones. And then it started again, and again, and I failed you. When the vet did not find anything wrong, I should have gone to a higher level, and I did not. You see, I had no clue that you could have some kind of cancer without pain, and obviously you have never been in pain.

So, this is a message for everyone with a lame dog: IF YOU HAVE A LAME DOG FOR MORE THAN TWO WEEKS, GO TO A SPECIALIST, INTERNIST, WHOEVER BUT DO NOT WAIT.

I screwed up. I waited, and waited, thinking, as I was told, that it was most likely a soft tissue injury when it was a tumor growing into your nerves. And I had no clue.

Now it’s too late. You had a MRI, the tumor took over your body. One day, you will wake up and won’t be able to stand up, and because I love you that much, it will be the day where I will put you to sleep.

So after, all the sleepless nights, and worries, after the hope I had in the last 24 hours with that surgeon who was doing laser surgery on those tumors, after hearing the words “four to six weeks” I knew your story was going to an end, and yes you got me at hello, and youjack will get me at goodbye as well.

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Roasted chicken and swimming every day of your life, Jackson

 

Yes, that’s what you get at my home if you are diagnosed with cancer, and if your name is Jackson, and if you love swimming and roasted chicken.

So, do I see a line forming in from of my home? Just kidding.

jacknewtoyJackson, Jackson it’s my boy. He is Lola’s boy. He is crazy about swimming like her. When he goes to my car, most of the time it’s for swimming so he gets so excited. Today, it was not for swimming. Yesterday it was not for swimming. As soon as we get into the truck, he starts talking like “Could you rush woman? I am so ready to swim!”. Yesterday, we went to see Dr. Bradley, one of the best orthopedics surgeon around here. He did all the TPLO surgeries on my dogs for the last 16 years, and I trust him, because he is not about surgery, he is about what is best for the dog. And he doesn’t give you any crap. He just tells you the stuff like it is. I never needed anything sugar coated.

So yesterday, after seeing Jack, he told me that most likely, he had a nerve sheath tumor. Wow! That was a new one! Never got that one before. He kept Jack for a MRI but then called me two hours later to tell me that his MRI machine was freaking broken so I needed to pick up my boy. Jack was supposed to go back on Wednesday, but I don’t think I have ever been an ostrich in any previous lives, so waiting that long to know what was going on was not my thing, so with the amazing help of my vet, Dr. Greenblat (he is next door to the pool), I saw today a neurologist (and on top of it she was a lab person!) and then Jack had a MRI.

Diagnosis: nerve sheath tumor or in plain freaking English: sarcoma. With steroids and radiation: up to six months. With amputation of his front leg: up to a year. Like I am going to cut off his leg for six more months? No way, because it’s all about them, and it has always been. They need to have fun. They need to be able to walk, run, swim, and have fun! That’s what life is all about for Labrador retrievers. So this is the plan: roasted chicken + swim + steroids + radiation.

If this world is just the best video game in the universe, I have a message for the alien kids playing the game: I AM NOT PLAYING ANYMORE.IMAG013

It had not hit me yet that he might not be here for Christmas. Yeah, Jack, how cool is that? You won’t be able to eat a glass Christmas ornament and then ending up at the emergency. By Christmas you might already have a ball with your Mom, and your brother over the rainbow bridge, and laugh at me while I will probably be crying! “Hey Mom, this is cool over there, there is no cancer. I can swim, run, have a ball, PAIN FREE.”

thankfulThere is a picture with a quote that I love,  saying “that one day you will miss your crowded bed”. I miss it already. Jackson is  one of my “kids”. He was born the third after George (who had the bad taste of dying on me at 3 and half on Labor Day weekend in 2012),  and he was just my boy. I can’t imagine life without him, but I know that most likely it will happen pretty fast. So for the time being, Jack, I swear you are going to have a ball every single day of your life: roasted chicken and swimming and car rides. Last June, when his Mom, Lola, was dying of cancer, I took her for many rides in my truck because that’s what she liked, and it’s going to take me a lot of time before I remove her nose art on my passenger window.

I wish I could write about fun stuff, because I do love to write about goofy dogs and fun stuff, but this is my life, right now: I lost a dog from kidney failure in March, Lola from cancer on June 27th, Charlie the cat on July 1st, then Maia got out of remission from Lymphoma a week later, and we are having chemo every week like for the next six months, and then Jackson…. So, no, right now, I can’t talk about anything else. But I swear to you Jackson, whatever your life expectancy is between three to six months, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A BLAST. Why? Because I said so.

 

 

The Rehabilitation Process for Dogs with Ligament Injuries

Ligaments are the fibrous tissues connecting bones to a joint. If your dog suffers a ligament tear or rupture, it’s likely he has a long road to recovery. Working with a good veterinary physiotherapist and keeping up with necessary therapeutic exercises is the key to successful rehabilitation. You may have to keep an energetic, rambunctious dog quiet during his recuperation – perhaps the most difficult of the tasks involved.

 

Common Ligament Injuries

In canines, tearing or rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) – equivalent to a human’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – is the most common type of such injury. Trauma may cause a sudden tear, but more often it results from degeneration over time. Dogs with exceptionally straight legs are at greater risk of experiencing a CCL injury due to conformational factors. In a rupture, the dog is obviously lame in the rear leg and usually experiences considerable pain.  A partial tear is more subtle. The dog won’t use his leg effectively and is generally off-and-one lame. Without treatment, the ligament will usually rupture. While smaller dogs may improve with conservative treatment – long periods of rest and inactivity – medium to large canines almost always need surgery to fully recover.

Dogs may also injure their Achilles tendons in the hind legs. These injuries also result from trauma or degeneration. Less severe injuries may only require splints or casts, but most dogs need surgical repair of the tendons. It can take up to three months of rest and rehabilitation therapy for a dog to recover, but the overwhelming majority of canines undergoing this surgery return to full function. Of course, some dogs aren’t good candidates for surgery because of age or other health issues. There’s also no getting around the fact that surgery is quite expensive.

 

Medication

Your vet will prescribe anti-inflammatories for pain relief. Supplements such as MSM, glucosamine, and turmeric may help but always check with your vet before giving them to your dog.

 

Dietary Therapy

Dietary changes aren’t the first items that come to mind when dealing with ligament injuries, but they are often an important part of a dog’s rehabilitation. Excess weight puts additional stress on a dog’s legs, so if your pooch needs to lose some pounds, your vet may recommend a reduced fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Even if your dog’s weight is normal, he does not require as much food if his activity is extremely limited. Your vet will recommend a nutritious meal plan that won’t make your dog excessively energetic at a time when he has no outlet for his vitality.

 

Physical Therapy

During his recuperation, your dog can’t run, jump or climb stairs. About the only non-therapeutic activity he can engage in are brief “bathroom” breaks – and they are not walks, just short forays outdoors. On the plus side, that means he should look forward to his physical therapy sessions, which consist of range of motion exercises and stretching. The veterinary physiotherapist shows you how to perform the exercises, and develops a custom treatment protocol for your dog. Expect to spend at least two hours daily, broken up into several sessions, working with your dog.

Your veterinary physiotherapist may use various modalities, including lasers and electromagnetic therapy to help your dog heal. She’ll check your pet’s progress during weekly appointments.

 

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy provides excellent benefits for dogs recovering from ligament injuries. Dogs receive exercise without pressuring their joints. It’s also a safe way for a dog to let off some of his pent-up energy without putting any weight on his legs.

Using the underwater treadmill allows the dog to build muscle and stay fit. Since surgery is so expensive, some owners may opt to use hydrotherapy as part of a conservative management regimen. Hydrotherapy may prevent dogs diagnosed with partial tears from completely rupturing, as water exercise aids in muscle development.

With patience and perseverance, you and your dog should once again take long, enjoyable walks.  

 

http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/acl-injuries-in-dogs

https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/cranial-cruciate-ligament-disease

https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/achilles-tendon-injuries

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/musculoskeletal_system/arthropathies_and_related_disorders_in_small_animals/joint_trauma_in_small_animals.html

 

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What if…..

Spiritual but not religious….. but then Zeus barked at me a year after his death. I was not the only one to witness it. You see Zeus died on August 27, 2009. For the last four years of his life, he was getting Reiki every Thursday at 10:00am in Virginia, and I swear he knew that it was Thursday and it was our time together.  Zeus died…. A year later, Pouch, our Golden retriever, was diagnosed with Lymphocytic leukemia, cancer in one word. I thought he might benefit from Reiki, so I took an appointment for him. It was a Thursday at 10:00am, I guess nobody took Zeus’ spot. Yes, it was eerie to go back one year after his death. I had been at that place so often.  As a matter of fact, I won’t be ever able to go back there. Too many ghosts now. Zeus, Pouch, Lola, Buddy…..

 

Anyway, when we left the place, it was Pouch, me and Jessica, my daughter. She was playing with her Ipod and suddenly when we were leaving the parking lot, I heard some barking, and asked her how she was making her Ipod bark. She had to remove her ear things and screamed at me: “Mom stop! You must have hit a dog!” Pouch, our Golden, was on his four legs listening to the bark as well. Except that there was no dog under my car, there was no dog anywhere. The bark was coming from my truck but at the same time from far away. It was Zeus’ bark. He barked at me for over a mile after we left the place, and then it was a deafening silence. What was the purpose? Why was he barking at me? From where? Was it to tell me: “Hey bitch this was my spot, it was our time together. You can’t rob us from that moment.” Or was it just to say hi?

 

zeusrainbowZeus stayed quiet after that for a long time, then on August 27, 2012, around 9:00 something am, my door bell rang. I lived in the middle of nowhere, so I was quite surprised that someone got to my door so early. I opened it…. No one. I closed it. The door bell rang again. So, I left the door a bit ajar with my mutts barking all over. I thought it might have been a mischievous woodpecker. The door bell rang twice more, and then it never happened ever again. I was texting my daughter about it, and of course, I might be slow some time, Jessica screamed at me (meaning she texted me in capital letters!) “MOM THIS IS ZEUS’ DEATH ANNIVERSARY.” And yes, he died around 9:15am on that day. Was it a warning? That ring bell froze my blood afterwards. You see two days later, my beautiful and sweet 3 and half year old black lab, George, was put to sleep out of the blue from Lyme nephritis. He was fine until his last evening. ccgeorge

So, was Zeus trying to warn me that something was off? I never heard from Zeus ever again. It will be four years this year. The thing is I was not even thinking about him that morning, and the time before, yes it was sad to go back to a place where I had been so many times but I was not looking for any sign, so why?

So yes, my dogs could be over the rainbow bridge, and I do hope that they are and that at one point, I will see them again, but….. spiritual but not religious…. What if we were just the most sophisticated game in the universe and that freaking alien kids are having a lot of fun with me and my love for my dogs…. and my friends? So the dogs get cancer, and the friends all die from heart attacks….   Not bad. Sorry Matt Damon but this has been my theory for a long time….. Just the most sophisticated game in the universe…..

 

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Seriously?

My daughter, not long ago, was commenting on my relationship with the mutts, and was telling me “Can’t you diversify your language? “Seriously” is probably the word you say the most!” She is a teacher, so she has a way to be kind of judgemental!

My answer was: “Seriously?” And I saw in her eyes that she thought I was a totally helpless cause!

Yes, “seriously” comes back very often in my mouth as well as in my mutts’ mouths! I love with labs! Sue me! So yes, labs have a sense of humor and can also be as judgmental as my 3rd grade teacher daughter. “Your Honor, I am not the only one to say this. They talk back, and yes they do!”

I always say that labs are my kind of dogs because I really do believe that they are probably one of the few  – or only – breed(s) with a sense of humor. I had many other dogs in my life before, but labs are just my kind of dogs!

jacknewtoyJackson is probably the one who says the most “Seriously?”. It happens almost on a daily basis, and he is screaming it at me. Jackson has a passion for his Frisbee or any Frisbee. And I just plain suck at throwing a Frisbee. I do. I am totally aware of it, and I take responsibility for all the Frisbees which landed on my roof and are staying there as witnesses of my useless way of throwing it. We had one left, yesterday, and the last one landed on the roof. I think Jackson was speechless for a minute, then he thought it so loud that I heard it: “Seriously????” So, we went to PetSmart to get a new one. If you were around that area yesterday evening, and saw a black lab dragging a flying woman behind him, that was me! I felt so guilty that I decided to buy a few. I swear, he was not the one to put them in the basket. He just sat there waiting for me to fill up the cart with like 6 Frisbees, then he must have thought that we were safe for a week. Seriously?IMG_4282

 

 

 

IMG_3898Jackson’s sister, Sophie, is the one who always, always, always wants to have the last word, and I am not kidding. Sophie has always been a smart ass, and it takes one to know one! When Sophie was a pup, she was half dog, and half monkey. After I was tucking them in bed – matter of speaking – but my five kids were in a big playpen, I just had to turn my back 10 seconds and Sophie was already out of the playpen. Sophie is smart. Most likely the smartest dog I have ever had. You can almost hear her brain work. I swear!

Sophie is a challenge any time of the day…. or night. She is like a prodigy kid, bored in her regular IMG_4055life, so she is taking it out on her brother, Max. She loves to terrorize Max. When Max goes out in the yard, Sophie is just right on top of him, grabbing him by his neck and dragging him around the yard. Hold your horses here! She is not hurting him, but yes Sophie could be a bully! So, Max, my little boy, my perfect lab, Max in one word, doesn’t want to go to the yard when Sophie is around. And Sophie being Sophie got it right away. So Sophie went to hide behind a tree. And Max being Max seeing the yard from the deck thought it was Sophie’s safe. But as soon as he was on the grass, she was jumping on him and having her way with him, and I was like: “Seriously?”

Sophie is throwing it right back at me. When I leave the house, very often, Max (the baby of the family) is having a tantrum, and Sophie, being Sophie, she just wants to help, right? So while Max is squealing at the thought that I am leaving without him, she grabs him by the neck to pull him away from the door. When I say “Sophie, NO!”, she looks at me like “Seriously?”

 

IMG_3903Max, it’s another story. Max was the runt of the litter, Max is the baby, Max is the one who hashibiscus tantrums, but Max also loves my hibiscus bush! I love hibiscus flowers, so yes I always have one on the deck. I guard that hibiscus like a hawk! I mean it. Max knows it, so now when Max goes outside, he doesn’t even stop, he grabs whatever he can grab: a leaf, half of a flower, or even a whole flower, and I scream at him “Max, seriously?” Don’t panic. Hibiscus flowers are okay to eat, but don’t ever say that to your dog, or you can remove hibiscus from your flowers list.

 

 

 

 

 

Then comes Zoe….. Zoe is the last one of the mutts or siblings. Zoe has a lot, and I mean a lot of blonde moments. Not her fault. That’s just the way she is wired. When I fixed their meals, as soon as the bowls are out, she start jumping and screaming, and I mean screaming. While Zoe screams I would never ever cross a bridge in fear of the bridge collapsing! I am talking about the resonance thing which can makes things collapse. That’s what I fear when Zoe screams, so I face her, and say: (yeah, yeah, yeah!) “SEROUSLY?”1350

“Seriously” can be said in so many tones: amused, serious, mad, gentle, sweet. Just the tone of your voice made it have so many different values!

And then, came Maia, my beautiful sweet girl who became a diva while fighting cancer. Maia doesn’t drink from the dogs’ bowl of water. I have to hold a bowl with cold fresh water from the water cooler and wait for my girl to decide if she wants to drink or not. If she perceives any stress in me, she won’t drink, so yes sometimes I can start to get upset and “Maia, seriously?”

So yes, we use a lot of “Seriously” in our home. The labs use it, and I do too. Funny I have two cats (don’t even ask….). I am not a cat person, but my daughters got cats, and at one point in their lives, moved out and kind of forgot the cats behind. My two cats, I guess they are my cats now, don’t give a rat about the “Seriously” thing, so it might just be a dog thing! Seriously? charlie

 

Brachial Plexus Injuries in Dogs

A brachial plexus injury results from trauma to the dog, but it can cause emotional trauma in the owner. The brachial plexus consists of nerve tissues, specifically the first two thoracic nerves and the last three cervical nerves. These nerves control the front legs. If a dog experiences a brachial plexus injury, most commonly a brachial plexus avulsion, the nerves are stretched or torn and leg paralysis results. It’s always a veterinary emergency.

There is no cure for brachial plexus avulsion, but certain therapies can improve your dog’s condition and quality of life. Amputation is often performed to prevent the dog from constantly biting and mutilating the affected limb. On rare occasions, spontaneous recovery occurs. However, if the dog doesn’t improve within four weeks of the injury, there is no chance of such a recovery.

 

Severe Trauma

Brachial plexus injuries generally result from severe trauma, such as getting hit by a car, failure to negotiate a high jump or falling from a considerable height. It takes a great deal of force to tear or stretch the nerves in a dog’s leg. Your veterinarian will diagnose the extent of the injury via an MRI or CT scan.

 

Symptoms

When a dog suffers from a brachial plexus injury, it is obvious that something is very wrong.  The animal drags the affected, paralyzed leg, but doesn’t appear in pain. That’s because the damaged nerves are not sending pain signals. While the shoulder and elbow are dropped, some dogs might retain the ability to flex the wrist.

 

Horner’s Syndrome

More than half of all dogs diagnosed with brachial plexus injuries also suffer from Horner’s Syndrome, an eye condition occurring on the same side as the injured leg. The upper eyelid droops, the third eyelid appears and the pupil remains small. The nerves involved in a brachial plexus tear also affect the eye. Although the eye may look strange, the dog can still see.

 

Therapies for Brachial Plexus Conditions

Therapy as soon as the veterinarian allows it is crucial in your dog’s regaining any sort of movement or control of the leg. Such therapies usually begin within a week to ten days after the injury, by which time the swelling has lessened. These include:

  • Physical therapy – Exercises to encourage leg stretching may result in some muscle movement.
  • Laser therapy – Laser light helps repair damaged tissue, and may aid recently injured dogs.
  • Hydrotherapy – Warm water helps dogs heal. Because the muscles in the affected leg quickly atrophy, regular water therapy sessions can prevent serious wasting. Hydrotherapy also aids the muscles on the opposite leg. These muscles often become contracted, since there’s no longer a leg on the other side forcing them to stretch out. The majority of dogs really enjoy hydrotherapy.

 

Amputation Therapy

Veterinarians generally don’t amputate a leg immediately after the injury. The procedure usually takes place about six months after the trauma, when it is clear there is no chance of recovery. By that time, the owner knows whether the dog will incessantly chew or otherwise irritate the foot and leg. Because the dog can’t feel the limb, the owner must constantly monitor it for signs of infection. Removing the leg can prevent the dog from developing a systemic infection originating in the limb and not noticed until it is too late.

There’s no better therapy for tripod dogs than swimming. Regular hydrotherapy sessions allow three-legged dogs to exercise and stay in shape.

Many dogs get along just fine with three legs. Remember that your dog doesn’t consider himself odd-looking. He’ll require some extra care, but there’s no reason he can’t live a long, relatively normal life.

 

References

http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/diseases-conditions-of-dogs/brain-spinal-cord-nerves/brachial-plexus-avulsion-in-dogs

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/nervous_system/diseases_of_the_peripheral_nerves_and_neuromuscular_junction/trauma_of_the_peripheral_nerve_and_neuromuscular_junction.html

http://canadawestvets.com/brachial-plexus-injury

https://www.vetstream.com/canis/Content/Disease/dis92273

http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/saortho/chapter_66/66mast.htm

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A very long goodbye.

 

Monday June 27th, 2016 will be forever engraved in my mind. You see, I lost many dogs before, some from long illnesses, some on the spur of the moment kind of thing, but I never before scheduled an euthanasia for a specific day and time.

After she was gone, I realized than more than any of my other dogs, she was my heart dog. I always joke around – kind 0f… – saying that pups should come with a label: “they will fill you life with joy but one day will break your heart.” I am just not sure how many times a heart can be broken.

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Lola it was ten years of my life. Lola it was a very hectic beginning when she was a pup, and had no manners. I always crated my dogs, except Pouch (don’t even ask about the name, please!), my Golden retriever who was claustrophobic, but crating Lola, was like crating Niagara Falls. So, yes, Lola and I had a very rocky start. I never had a lab pup before. Had rescued labs and other breeds but never a lab pup, and Gosh she was handful. I even fired a trainer who told me my dog was hopeless and had ADD. She was four months old for God sake! But I did fired her (not Lola, the trainer!), and it felt good because she hated Lola, and I could feel it with every pore of my skin.

IMG_1269Lola, it was all about making me happy and proud of herself. She mastered in no time the sit, stay position, and was always looking at me with her big eyes like “I want to make you happy and proud of me….” And she did. She was the only dog I could always trust without a leash, and no,  I would never ever have said to anyone coming with another dog “My dog is nice and just wants to play!” because she never ever did anything I did not agree to. I was in control all the time, leashed or unleashed. She loved the water like no any other dog. When she was a few months old, her mission in life was to retrieve every leaf from the C&O Canal, and it was Fall time, so the mission was a hard one. No matter how much she loved the water, if I said no, she never ever went without my approval.  Lola, I just had to look at her, and she knew without a word. She knew. If we were going to go for a ride, or to sneak out just the two of us, she always knew.lola

STA70852She was my heart dog, and she had to die for me to realize it.

The pools I built them thinking about her. I thought she was going to have a blast until she dropped dead…. but she dropped dead two months after I opened the pools, and that sure was not in the plan.

She had cancer, kind of a bi-polar cancer… so one day, I was all smile, and the next day, I was all tears. The three weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer – I can’t tell you which one, because I never knew – the only thing I knew was that it was a freaking roller coaster cancer. One day, she was going to be okay if we remove a lobe of her lungs, the next day she had cancer in her liver and spleen. The next day, it would be okay if she had lymphoma and everything will go away with chemo (I knew it was true because I have my sweet Maia fighting lymphoma right now) and then it was not lymphoma.

IMG_2984She faded so fast, and I just could not stand the idea of her being in pain. Yes, my philosophy is that it’s better to let them go a week too early than 5 minutes too late. Easy to say, but I owed her that part. We might not do it with humans but I will do it with my dogs any day because that’s how much I love them and respect them. I will deal with myself later. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I am doing right now. Dealing with myself. I had to get that post out of my system. My brain won’t be able to think about anything else until I write about my long goodbye.

That morning, she was next to me in my bed, looking at me with her big eyes when I woke up, and immediately I knew why I was so sad. Today was the day where I was going to lose her. She did not know that, and dogs are not afraid of death. I was just alone with my dog’s death, no matter the crowd, no matter anything. It was between her and me.

Monday is my day off, so I tried to do my errands as I always do. It was a hot day. And I just arrived at Target, and then stopped and thought “what am I doing here when my dog is going to be dead in 8 hours?” So, I left, I rushed back to her, and I found her in my office with tired eyes.IMG_3176

I spent a lot of time lying on the floor with her that day. I wanted to remember forever the softness of her ears. Even with closed eyes, I could recognize her just by touching her ears. I talked to her a lot that day. She listened. I did not cry. Crying would be for later, like now. I reminded her of our crazy nights. Lola was tennis balls obsessed and some times, in the middle of the night, she was waking me up with her ball in her mouth and looking at me like “can we go play?”, and yes sometimes we did. With a flash light and the moon as a witness we played ball in the backyard.  Lola= tennis balls + swimming.

She was too tired to play on June 27th but she put that tennis ball under her chin like she wanted to keep it forever.

June 27th was a very long day and so short at the same time. I was looking at the clock which sometimes was like rushing through the hours, and sometimes slowing down and making the time stay still.

When 6:30 pm came, my daughters were there. My vet arrived. Gosh, she loved my vet. He told me later than Lola’s eyes when she saw him was a moment he will remember for the rest of his life.

She left…. And it’s at that time that I realized the immensity of my loss. I will not dare removing the nose art on my truck window.  She came back in a box, and the only place which made sense was in my bedroom, on my dresser, because even if I am asleep, that’s where I spent the most time in the house these days. And yes, every morning, when I wake up, it takes me a few seconds to realize why I am so sad: I had just lost my heart dog: LOLA.