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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. Oh, she's so beautiful. Looks like a red version of my boy.
  2. LOL.. yes, it gets shoveled after every storm so Buddy can go out and do his business. (And yes, after his recent health scare, I'm happy to do it for him!) There's actually a much longer loop around the yard that needs to be shoveled, but somewhere around storm #4 I was just too tired to get on it, and now the wind chill is in the negative teens, so probably not gonna happen today either.
  3. This is the deepest the snow has been. Poor Buddy is living in a maze of white tunnels. (Actually, so are the rest of us!)
  4. Update: Buddy had bloodwork again yesterday, and the vet called today to say his platelets count is normal again. So, either the prednisone or the antibiotic worked. Prednisone will be stepped down next week, then further blood tests for evaluation a week after that.
  5. This just happened: Buddy's pattern (including now that he's newly back from the dead) is to get up with me in the morning, take his squeaker toy (official name: "Squeaker") into the yard with him while he pees. For a long time (years) he would forget he took it out, and try to find it in the house later on. But now he knows it's out there with him and will usually bring it back up to the door. If he forgets, I say, "Where's Squeaker!?" and he runs back out into the yard to get it before he comes in for breakfast. This morning, he did his usual. It's snowing, so I didn't want the white toy to be lost out in the yard. When he came to the door, I said, "Where is Squeaker?!!" and he darted off the deck to find it. But then he started back for the house. I kept insisting, over and over, that he go out and get the toy, and he kept going back and forth, acting confused - like he didn't know what to do. Then, suddenly, I could see the "lightbulb" form over his head, and he ran to a very specific spot and picked up his toy, and ran back to the door. Only it wasn't Squeaker he had taken outside this morning - it was his rawhide bone. Seriously, I could see the moment when he realized, "Oh, she thinks I have Squeaker out here, but it's BONE! I'll just get BONE and she'll let me back inside."
  6. Hi, Thanks for asking - just came in to post an update. Buddy is acting normally now, except maybe a little weak still in his rear quarters. (Having a bit more trouble jumping on the bed than usual.) I will keep my fingers crossed that this was something he kicked. And at least, if he regresses again, I will know that I gave him a fighting chance. Thanks to those who gave me some encouragement when he was so sick - he literally couldn't pick his head or tail up! Knowing that other dogs had come back from such a bad state gave me a little bit of hope. The prednisone is making him VORACIOUS. I threw some Cheerios out for the birds about 4 days ago when he was sick. They're frozen into the ice of the walkway. Yesterday, he made himself crazy trying to dig them out and eat them. ::Sigh::
  7. So very sorry for your loss. It's hard not to wish there was something you could have done. Run free, Ranger!
  8. I used to have a dog who ate snow like crazy. I was worried she was diabetic or something... until I realized she was scared of her water bowl. It was a metal one, and her tags clinked on it when she drank. We switched it out for a plastic bowl and she drank from it. My current dog doesn't like our city water. (Chlorinated heavily.) I have to put chicken in his dry food and add some water to make a "gravy" or he really doesn't drink much at all.
  9. Tried to let him out in the yard while I shoveled, but he went to the gate and insisted on going for a "real walk." He trotted around the block, intent on marking all the snowbanks that he hasn't seen since Monday. Yay drugs! Yay Buddy!
  10. Thanks so much to all of you for your replies!! Update: I took another day off work today (tomorrow? it's the middle of the night!) because I couldn't just leave Buddy home alone this sick. About 7 p.m., he drank a lot of water and asked to go out in the yard - then refused to let me pick him up and carry him in, but walked up the stairs by himself. Then he ate some dog food. Fell asleep on the couch next to me, and clearly went into dreaming sleep (paws twitching, quiet barks), much more normal than his previous sleep. He just went out again, came in by himself, and ate a cookie when he got inside. So, I'm crossing my fingers extra hard that the prednisone or the doxy has worked its magic. One more day will tell.
  11. Hi, all, A lot of you remember my old boy Buddy from when he was younger and much more difficult. He came up sick Monday night - just a bit lethargic - and then yesterday it got progressively worse. I took him to the vet this morning. He is so sick he can hardly stand up or move; he can barely turn himself over in bed. He stopped eating yesterday, and vomited up the food he had eaten Monday. My vet did x-rays (no abnormalities), and bloodwork that showed his platelet count was very low. Apparently, there are three possibilities: infectious disease (tick-borne), autoimmune dysfunction, or cancer. I'm not going to spend thousands on tests for these things or treatment for cancer; the vet sent me home with prednisone in case it's autoimmune and doxycycline in case it's an infection. I'm really torn right now - Buddy is really, really miserable. Just lies on the bed like the shell of a dog. I've resigned myself to letting him go if he gets to the point where he's in pain, but having just come from the vet (to the tune of $900), I feel like they were neutrally optimistic about his improving. They have another blood test scheduled for him in a week to check on his progress. Has anyone ever faced this illness before? Have any stories of dogs this ill who came back and thrived? I'm worried that I'm letting the dog suffer because the vet gave me false hope - that I should have asked to have him put down, if he's going to feel this way. Truthfully, I'm worried that I'm going to come home from work tomorrow and find my dog dead in my house. That's how bad he looks. Would love some advice or words of wisdom or maybe just sympathy.
  12. Hi, Haven't posted for a while - been living a happy and content life with my boy, Buddy, who's at least 11 and possibly 12 or 13 now. He's gone from being fear-reactive and sometimes aggressive to being sort of, "Yes, thanks, I really don't care to interact with you, if you would please just let me go about sniffing other dogs' urine, I would truly appreciate it. All the best." He's such a good boy, and rather done with snow and ice and all it entails. Some mornings we get 2 houses up the street, and he picks up a leg and stares at me until I say, "Do you wanna go home?" and he immediately turns and pulls homeward. He was quite put out yesterday when the blizzard had the audacity to put 3' snowdrifts on his deck, preventing him from visiting his yard. If I hold up the little tub of Musher's Secret, he will lift his paws and begin licking; he does love the taste of Musher's Secret. I have to get that on film sometime.
  13. My boy is about 11 now - hard to believe the time went that fast. He's just an old codger now, very sweet, content with a couple short walks a day. (He's got arthritic joints.) Still loves to do seek and find with his toys for as long as I'm willing to hide them. I'm playing around with teaching myself video animation. This is a quickie I made of him.
  14. This may not be the best idea, but... We've always just let dogs off-leash in my family. We walk them on-leash in neighborhoods with leash laws, but in the woods and fields, they go off. I think I let Buddy off a couple days after I brought him home. (Mind you, he was an adult. And now that I think of it, I did try a ball field first.) I don't remember any dog ever leaving a certain radius away from me; they've always seemed to keep us in their sight. I guess I've never owned any dog who was prone to bolt. I kind of assumed dogs generally stayed with their masters. Mary
  15. I don't have any real specifics to offer, but a generality I picked up after living with my fearful dog: when I pushed him to his reactive zone, it was too late, and he left the point of being able to hear me or learn from me. If I could keep him under threshold, he could learn. I had to learn to completely slow myself down and lower my expectations for the dog; progress came over the course of months and years, not hours and days. Sounds like your dog immediately goes from calm to over threshold when the leash goes on. It might be a matter of taking it waaay back: getting him to a point where he can see the leash in your hand, then being able to tolerate it being clipped to him, then just stepping outside the door and back in, then eventually sitting in the driveway with the leash on, etc. etc.. (Maybe he can't get used to sitting in the driveway with his leash on because he is already over threshold the entire time.) For my guy, I often found it was "one step forward two steps back," as well: a small, unpredictable event (a bike zooming by, or a man leaning over him suddenly) could set him back, and I'd have to bring him slowly forward again. Here is an article about threshold by a trainer who helped me A LOT in my early days with Buddy: http://suzanneclothier.com/the-articles/understanding-thresholds-its-more-under-or-over Good luck! Mary
  16. Just to clarify: I do not think the cousin is a dog-hating monster. I do think she really doesn't like dogs, and absolutely doesn't understand the bond in any way. But she could have just left the dog at the animal control, and he would have been given to the local shelter and rehomed. She paid for him to be kenneled for some months, and also paid for his neuter surgery. And she's somehow the contact/caregiver for a cantankerous, stubborn old man, and I absolutely get that it's a thankless, difficult job. I suppose I'll leave it up to the new family to decide what to do; they're the ones who have to live with the choices. (A background worry for me would be that the old man - in his stubbornness - might decide to try to get the dog back, and might end up back in the hospital again in the near future. And then what? PTS?) Mary
  17. The year I got my dog, an old man in my neighborhood got Joey, a husky puppy. Joey's owner was probably 70ish then, and that was 9 years ago. Since then, he's walked Joey twice a day past my house. Joey and my Buddy became friends, and I always knew when Joey and the old man were coming down the street, because Buddy has a very specific Joey-bellow of excitement. A few times in the last year, the old man fell in my driveway when Joey tugged him too hard. The old man is too frail and unbalanced now to restrain Joey or keep himself up - Joey's gotta be close to 100 lbs. of strong dog. So... this winter... the inevitable happened. The old man slipped on some ice and fell, breaking his hip in several places. The man's cousin is a fairly wealthy local businesswoman who doesn't like dogs. She's his only relative. Joey went to animal control, and then the woman put him in a kennel. The old man had surgery, pins put in his hip, and then a month of rehab. He's home now; it's been 3 months. Now... all the dog-walking neighbors know this man, and his dog, and have been very concerned about the whole thing. A daughter of one of my neighbors (lives a couple miles away) called the business woman and offered to adopt Joey. So, he was neutered and rehomed, but still in this area. Meanwhile... I stopped by the old man's house yesterday, and he's doing quite well. He stood and talked to me for about 15 minutes, leaning only on a cane. He's walking fairly well. Not well enough to control Joey, I'm certain. (And he's cantankerous enough that if he got Joey back, he'd be right back to trying to walk him.) So: Old man has no idea where his dog is. I know exactly where his dog is - I found out immediately after visiting the man, when I ran into the mother of the woman who adopted Joey. We could probably broker a reunion or visitation at the ball field where Joey and all the local dogs have met every day for 9 years. The old man could probably visit the dog on a fairly regular basis if the local dog-walkers worked it out. But the question is - yes or no? Is it better to let Joey settle in his new home and get to love his new owners, and to let the old man learn to cope with this loss? Would it be more painful to have them see each other, then have to separate again? I can see both sides, but in my heart it seems very, very cruel that the old man and the dog can't see each other. It's like a terrible dog movie with a sad ending. ::Sigh:: Mary
  18. Opposite. My dog will not poop in his own (fenced at great expense) back yard. Nope. No way. Sometimes, if it's extremely cold or I'm sick, he doesn't get to go for long walks, and he will hold it like a champion - up to 36 hours, I think. I'm not sure which is better. I hate carrying poop bags, but I like that I never have to worry about stepping in poop in my yard. Mary
  19. On Friday, we had an inch or two of fluffy snow on top of slick conditions from a thaw and freeze. I was walking my dog on campus at the local college, feeling confident because I was crossing a grassy field, when my legs went out from under me. Turns out I was on a sheet of ice. One leg went forward, one went back, and I ended up on the ground in agony from a hip injury. It took only about four minutes for some local do-gooders to come by, cover me with a blanket, and phone an ambulance. Meanwhile, my reactive dog Buddy was growling at all comers and generally freaking out. I couldn't stand up, but couldn't get in the ambulance because I needed to secure the dog at my house first. None of my dog-walking neighbors was home from work, and Buddy wouldn't go off with any strangers. In the end, the ambulance guys got me upright, the do-gooders drove me and Buddy to my house, and I was able to get a ride to the hospital with my brother. It ended up being a bad hamstring pull or tear - immobilizing, but likely not so serious it'll need surgery. I had always worried about this - what would I do if I got hurt when out with the dog? Not sure there's a lesson to be learned here - unless it is to keep the numbers of lots of dog-loving contacts in your phone. (Though, come to think of it, the local animal control officer probably could have brought the dog home.) In the end, just a revelation about the value of community: the strangers who drove us home, my friend up the street who came and took off my wet boots and socks and put on dry socks and shoes for me, the next-door neighbors who came and shoveled out my walks and sanded them for me the next day. Mary
  20. Buddy seems to break or tear a nail right down at the base about once a year. It's good when it happens during the daytime and my vet charges $40 to trim it down and patch it up. It's bad when (twice) it happens on a weekend night, and the e-vet charges $188 for the same service. But you're right - it really, really hurts them. When my guy has a torn nail, all he will do is sit and lean Very Hard against me. (His posture of pain.) It's absolutely pathetic, and I can't let him go through the night in that much pain. ::Sigh:: Good news is that as soon as the nail is trimmed, Buddy is back to normal. Mary
  21. This is a photo of Charlie Brown, the first dog of my life. He lived fast, burned bright, and died young. I had been asking for a dog for years. My mother refused to get one until my youngest sister stopped eating everything that fell on the floor. That finally happened the summer I turned seven. A family in town had a litter of unwanted pups, so we drove out to look at them. The teenage daughter of the family was nuzzling a little brown thing, and nudged the little black and white one out of the way, saying, "Get out of the way, Charlie." I chose him, and we drove home, where my brother redubbed him "Charlie Brown." I remember dressing him up in dolls' clothes. I remember parading him around the neighborhood on a leash, even though all the dogs ran free in those days. He was a very bad dog. My parents never had him neutered; it wasn't the culture of the time. He roamed free, impregnating females at will. The neighbor's little black dog came into heat, and Charlie broke through the basement window to get at her. Another neighbor had an expensive little miniature Schnauzer who nearly died giving birth to too-large puppies who looked suspiciously like Charlie. He was picked up by animal control many times. One of the favorite family stories is about the time my brother, about 9 at the time, came home and said, "Charlie Brown is stuck to some dog up the street, and the lady is really mad!" He was incorrigible. I remember him treeing cats, and sitting at the base of the tree for HOURS, barking. I remember trying to get him home one night when he didn't want to come home. He lay down in the middle of the street, still as a stone. My neighbor came out to comfort me, thinking he'd been hit by a car. I had to explain that no, he was just being a very badly behaved dog. I do think he bit me a few times. We didn't worry so much back then; I deserved it. He did get hit one time, chasing a car. He yelped and ran off into the woods. The man knocked on the door and was very apologetic to y mother: "I think I just killed your dog." My mother said that it was our fault; we knew there was a leash law. Charlie came down out of the woods a few hours later. He used to run off with a pack of males a few times a year. He would be gone for days and days at a time. I used to lie in bed and pray for his safe return. One summer, our family was planning to go to camp in Maine. Charlie had been missing for several days at that point, so we left dog food and a chain, and asked the neighbor boy to chain him up and feed him if he came home while we were gone. Sure enough, he did. When we finally returned in our station wagon, Charlie jumped into the back seat and refused to get out. Chastened. The summer I turned fourteen, Charlie got sick. We had no money to spare on any heroic treatments, so my parents just let things go. Finally, he got very, very sick. My father and I drove him to the vet, who told us he had heartworm and, most likely, cancer. We drove him home. The delivery men had just delivered the piano I had been yearning for. For forty-five years, every time I smelled the woody interior smell of that piano, I thought of the day I learned that Charlie was going to die. He went a few weeks later. My father buried him out back. I went to see "Star Wars" at the local theater... and still when I hear the opening anthem or smell that particular movie-theater butter smell, it brings me back to that strange sad summer. They told us he was a Russian wolfhound. We used to laugh about it. But maybe he was my first border collie. When I brought my current dog, Buddy, to my mother's house, she slipped up and called, "Charlie Brown." I fully expect to owe him an explanation for the dolls' clothes when I meet him at the bridge. Mary
  22. When I brought my dog home, he had been in shelters with small outdoor pens for several months. I took him out to the woods where I could let him off-leash without worrying about other people or dogs, and was surprised when he immediately started running FAST and HARD in a straight line away from me for about 15 feet, and then back at me. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I think my young dog got the zoomies at the shelter, and had trained himself to just run back and forth, back and forth. Very sad. He also used to sometimes just spin in circles when he got very excited. First time I saw that, I thought, "What have I gotten myself into!?" It only took a couple days for Buddy to figure out that he could run more than 15 feet at a time, and he soon graduated to long, joyous running. Mary
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