Saturday, May 16, 2015

In God's Hands

Dog spelled backwards is God. I've always treated my relationship with Jack as one that God himself gave me. I've tried to always nurture it, embrace it, pick up the poop when it falls and keep a smile on my face. This is the final post I'll make here about my Wonder Dog, as today was his last day. Here's his story:

Friday, April 10
I woke up at 1:45am to hear Jack crying from his house (kennel) in the kitchen. I came downstairs, and let him straight out. I checked his blanket, and it appeared to be dry, so I wasn't too sure what was wrong. Maybe his stomach was just upset? I pulled the cover on his house over the front and felt something wet. That's when I investigated further, he had pooped in his house. Gross. It took me about 15 minutes to clean it all up and then I realized, he was still outside. Normally he just goes out, does his business and comes back. Five minutes tops. I went into the backyard, and see him hunched over, trying to poop. Then standing up, walking two steps, and squatting down to pee. This repeated itself about four times. I called him inside, put him in his house, kissed his head, and said good night.

I woke up and came downstairs at 8am. He had pooped in his house. Again. I let him outside and for the next two hours, we did 15 minutes outside. 15 minutes in his house. Outside, house. Obviously something was very wrong. I thought he might have eaten something, like a toad or found something in the backyard. My son and I left him for an hour, went and did errands, and when we came home, took Jack for a walk. On the walk I see he is trying to poop; just mucus is coming out. He's drooling (he doesn't drool) and he keeps squatting to pee; but nothing is coming out. I called the vet immediately, explained what was going on, and we got in to see her within the hour.

At the vet's office, its determined his prostate is enlarged "which is very unusual for a male dog, but especially a neutered male dog". They catheterized him and when they showed me his urine, I was sobbing. It wasn't urine, yellow and beautiful. It was dark orange/brown and had the consistency of snot. In between sobs (and my own snot) I heard her say he has a very serious urinary tract infection. They took blood, gave me antibiotics and said they'd call me in the morning. When I got home, I explained to my family what was happening but that I couldn't shake the feeling, he has cancer. "He will be okay." "Don't think like that." But somehow I just knew.

That evening Jack didn't want to take his antibiotics. He spent the afternoon sleeping in the sun, laying in the shade or under the bay window (some place he has never gone to before). 

I barely slept.

Saturday, April 11
At 9am, Jack and I were sitting in the vet's office. She got back the urinalysis and was amazed at his levels. They were all 3+ (which means he was WAY OFF from a healthy puppy). She showed me how to give him his antibiotics (since he didn't take them the night before, he was now already down one dose and we needed to play catch-up). Of course watching a pro do something, you think it looks easy. Of course its easy for the pro. That's what they do. That's their job. However, when I got home, I had no such luck. I felt like an awful pet parent because the one thing I needed to do for my dog to keep him alive, I couldn't. I couldn't shove a pill down his throat.

Because she gave him his antibiotics in the office, I just needed to ensure he got them Sunday morning. Empowered by my 15 second tutorial from the pro, I felt up for the challenge.

Sunday, April 12
Now I know why I never played sports, I suck when it comes time to play. I tried three times to put the pill down his throat. One time I was certain it was successful; but he cheeked-it then spit it out at me. As if to say "I'm not stupid. I'm sick. I don't want the stupid pill. Leave me alone." Except, maybe Jack underestimated me.

Since the vet's office was closed, I didn't have them to give him the pill. So I went to Petsmart. Their vet office is open on Sunday! I walked in, explained my situation to the lady in blue and she said, "he's not our patient. So we can't administer the pill." Say WHA? I handed her ALL of my documentation, explained, through tears and snot, that he needs his medicine, I've tried, I can't do it, and she suggested I used a pill gun. That caught my attention.

Picture a hollow pencil with a plunger inside. The top is soft and expandable. Put the pill in the top, slide open the pets mouth, push the plunger, pill lands in the throat. Easy.

Except, no. With fumbling hands, and already sleep deprived and weary, he got the best of me, and I couldn't open his mouth wide enough. I was spent.

Our next door neighbor, Nicole, had been made aware of what was going on from the first phone call on Friday to the vet. She said, "if you need anything, call me". So I phoned a friend.

And that friend came over, pet my sunbathing dog, opened his throat, put the pill back there, closed his mouth, gave him a friendly pat on his noggin, hugged me and left. She was an angel in purple. She just saved my dog. I explained that he wasn't drinking anything, and she made the awesome suggestion of using a syringe. With none on hand, the hubs went to Target and came home from the pharmacy with a bag full of syringes any junkie would have admired.

We spent the afternoon planting new plants in the front, I filled up the syringe with water, injected it into his mouth, got the "I really don't like you" look from him...went back to the plants, filled up the syringe, got the look, and repeated. All afternoon. Because of Nicole, I knew my dog would live to see the vet tomorrow.

Monday, April 13
At 8am I was on the phone with the vet. Explained our weekend adventure and how awful its been. "Its time we hospitalize him. Bring him in." And so I did. I walked him into the office, gave him a kiss on his head and walked out. For the first time in four days, I felt relief. Relief that he was finally going to get help. Relief that I knew I hit my threshold of being able to care for him and they were able to take control of the situation and actually give him fluids and let him rest and observe him. All the things I couldn't do.

I called several times that day, asking how he was doing, overall just being "that" mom. "Is his tail wagging?" That night I finally slept well.

Tuesday, April 14
Funny thing happens when you don't have a pet you need to rush out of bed and take care of. You can get ready at a slow pace. By 9:30 the vet called and said he was eating and could get picked up. My son did a happy dance in the waiting area when they brought Jack out. He had a purple bandage on his front right leg from his IV (which we removed when we got find his leg had been shaved). Finally things were looking up.

It was determined then that he had a very severe urinary tract/bladder infection. He was given two different antibiotics to stay on for the next week and a half.

During the next week and a half, I noticed as Jack would walk around the house (he has been contained to the first floor since his ACL injury in the Fall) that there were dribbles on the floor. Pee dribbles. I called the vet, and they said its typical to have the "push" sensation after such a severe infection, its just his body getting back into a groove.

Over the next two weeks, I cleaned my floors almost daily and changed his bedding every other day because of his dribbles.

Wednesday, April 22
Jack finished his antibiotics and the vet asked I drop off a urine sample to check on his levels.

Thursday, April 23
The vet asked for another sample because they needed to run more intense tests on his urine. They will call me tomorrow with the results.

Friday, April 24
No phone call.

Saturday, April 25
9:30am my phone rings.  The tests reveal an abnormal amount of red and white blood cells in his urine and also abnormal amounts of transitional cells. Bottom line, he has bladder cancer. We have no idea how long it has been going on, but its there. TCC will end up being the death of my dog. We could do an ultrasound ($800+) and start him on tumor shrinking medicine (which could have awful side effects) or just wait it out.

On Mother's Day, we had plans that took us away from the house all day. When we returned, after leaving Jack alone for 7+ hours, I was certain there was going to be puddles in his house. Not one. Hooray, my boy is feeling better! We went outside and as my son played in his water table, Jack gave me Mother's Day kisses:

From there, it went down hill rather quickly.

Monday, May 11
My son and I are playing on the floor, Jack comes over with his Elmo (a squeaky toy my son "needed" to get for Jack) and I realize he smells. He smells like a dog who pees on himself. I put Jack in the tub and as I lathered him up, I was sobbing like a baby. I knew this was the last bath I would ever give him. And then I felt the tumor.

Tuesday, May 12
I had a meeting that took me away from the house all day, but my mother-in-law was with Jack all day. She said he slept. All day.

Wednesday, May 13
Jack slept. All day. When the lawn service came, we sat on the steps in the backyard and watched. Jack didn't budge. He laid into my leg and watched. The went back to sleep.

Thursday, May 14
I washed all of his bedding. Sprayed Lysol on surfaces, and when I went to put the cover on his foam bed, he tried to crawl into it. I laughed and pushed him out of the way then put the bed in front of the fireplace where he always laid. That was at 4:15pm. When I went upstairs for bed at 10:30, he hadn't moved.
Friday, May 15
I called the vet. Jack has been drinking an abnormal amount of water. And its not coming out. He's also eating, but obviously the tumor is in the way of his intestine, so a formed BM isn't happening. He's walking funny and there's a new sack on his back left leg. His stomach was making awful noises, and when I took him for a walk, he was pooping mucus. I called the vet and she made the appointment for tomorrow at 10:30. "Its time the doc looks him over and accesses things as they stand now." When we were in the backyard together, a cat came under the fence. Jack looked at the cat. Looked at me as if to say "one last time" and exerted more energy than I've seen in over a month, chased the cat away (didn't bark) and then walked his fence perimeter for the last time. We ate dinner outside and Jack laid on his pillow with us.

Saturday, May 16
I got myself ready, and when I was putting on my socks asked Jack if he'd like to go for a walk. His ears perked up and as soon as he left his bed, he cried out in pain, twice. I promised him it wouldn't be a long walk. He ate all his breakfast (which surprised me because he hasn't packed it away in a very long time) and away we went. He tried to pee; nothing came out.

My husband and I went to the vets office with him. He was suddenly perked up, vibrant even. We took him for a walk instead of waiting in the waiting room and he tried to pee, several times, and nothing came out. His kidneys were shutting down. We got into the room and we knew. The doctor examined his back leg and said the cancer has spread. The mass is hard. TCC is an extremely aggressive cancer and spreads very quickly. 

The decision was made. I held my best friend close to my heart, prayed into his ear and with two short breathes on my arm, he was gone. We laid him on his side, and I couldn't pull my hand away from his head. His baby-soft ears. His floppy ears which I've messed up onto his head a thousand times and when I finally pulled my hand away I knew I would never touch my dog again.

I sobbed. We sobbed. We cried hard, big, wet tears. My husband and I held each other, and my hands shook. My heart exploded with pain and grief, knowing my best friend was gone. But, once the tears stopped I realized I had another emotion lingering. Relief. My best friend was finally out of pain. He'd be able to finally take deep breaths. He'd be able to run after the squirrels again. He'd be able to walk without crying out.

I know that from the time I met Jack all those years ago in the pet store God knew how this day would play out. God loves me and he loves Jack. I know one day I will play with Jack again and when I see him again his whole back end will wiggle with excitement. I know this because I believe in a God who cares for His people and for His pets. Dog spelled backwards isn't an accident...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I know. I know

I know, I know, its been "almost a whole year since you've posted"...yes, it has, however things have been so bananas lately, I haven't (correction, mom) had a spare minute. Until today.

See, this past week I've started to walk with, what mom is calling, "a pimp limp". It started on Sunday and then throughout my week, its been getting worse instead of better. Which had mom on high alert since, ya know, I'm her favorite son and everything. (Even if its not 100% true anymore, I will never believe anything different!) I had been favoring my right leg all week, taking it slow while walking, not going up/down the stairs with my normal ease and grace. Then yesterday, WHAM-OH, its my left leg. Like, causing me to walk with a "pimp limp" because I'm literally off balance and cannot go places. Great.

While mom was in between meetings yesterday, she called the vet's office and was able to get me an appointment for today! Super! I love car rides!

Well, funny thing happened last night. A GIANT storm rolled through and caused us to loose power. Twice. Mom didn't know that. So this morning when Lil' Dude came in for his morning snuggles at 5:30, mom was concerned because it was "too early". When he returned for more love at 7:30, mom sent him back to his room (I heard all this going on from my kennel in the kitchen by the way. I don't get the joy of sleeping on mom and dad's nice, big-enough-for-us-all-bed. Instead I sleep in my "house" in the kitchen, with my own blanket. Annnnyway, when mom woke up at 8:30, she realized that all the clocks in the kitchen were blinking, so she reset them. Then it hit her, like a lightning bolt. She had reset them to 9:45. NINE?! Where'd that hour go?! Yikes!

In a fiery flash mom was upstairs, putting on a hat and giving Lil' Dude and dad some kisses, grabbing me (gently, of course. I'm injured after all) and popped into the car for the 5 minute ride to the vet.

Funny thing about our vet's office. Its small. The waiting area is about 8'x8'. (Do you know how small that is when every other patient is on a leash, and they wanna sniff your butt, but you don't feel good, so instead your hiding behind your moms legs? Its small. Trust me.) After waiting patiently (and getting lots of treats from mom's special treat pocket!) It was our turn to go into The Room of Doom! (enter scary music!)

Although they paint it beige and have sensible flooring, don't let it fool you. Its got needles and pokes and Q-tips written all over it! As expected I got poked "just a little pinch" and they did a heartworm test..then the doctor came in. She's really nice and smells good, but she's always giving us bad news. Like "he has an ear infection" or "his allergies are really bad this year" so when she told mom, "we need to take him back and have some X-Rays done, I knew I was doomed (enter scary music).

As expected, the X-Rays were awful. They held me down with thick metal shackles and beat me til I stopped wiggling. (Ok I'm exaggerating. But only a little. It was AWFUL guys!)  But when mom was called back to view them, I knew I was in it deep. Yup, the X-Rays showed nothing. HU!? WHAT THE HECK, DOC?! Clearly my pimp-limp isn't just for the ladies...They were clean as a whistle (which I once heard whistles are actually incredibly dirty and awful and gross. Quite the opposite of clean if ya ask me!)

When mom started explaining that I was all walking all "cock-eyed" (she didn't say "pimp-limp" to the doctor. I wonder why??? Could it be disrespectful mom? Maybe even slightly embarrassing?) The nice vet-tech took me for a lil gander around the back office. That's when my macho bravado wore off (adrenaline) and I showed my true colors. It was confirmed, my pimp-limp was caused by a torn ACL on my left leg and a possible tear on the right.

In typical, "that's-my-mom" fashion she started crying. (And let's talk for a second. Mom doesn't cry. She only cries when she's super-duper upset. Or when she wants to high-five someone in the face with a chair, but can't because its illegal...) So when I saw mom crying, I knew it was time to get the heck outta there! The tech handed mom a tissue (which was gross in about .3 seconds!) and filled her in on the details of what our options were. Mainly, surgery. EEK!

I've only had one surgery before and lets say I walked in with a few more "things" between my legs than when I left. Nuff said, right? I don't really like the idea of surgery (especially since that night after my "boy surgery" I was so doped up, I walked into the riser of one of the exterior stairs on the apartment building mom was living wasn't one of my finer moments.)

When mom called Nana to fill her in, she brought up a great point. When my buddy Winston (remember that ol' fella?) had a torn ACL a few years ago, it was recommended by the vet (a different vet, but same office mom and I go to) to let it heal on its own. (Hu. I KNEW I loved my Nana!)

So now mom, dad and me are left with the decision of surgery or no surgery. Based on my behavior today I say I'm fiiiiiiine now. (oh wait, that's probably just the pain pills). Either way, I think I'm gonna hold off on surgery for now. As long as I can "get plenty of R&R" I should be okay in about 8 weeks-ish. (What that really means is I get to be babied, like, well, a baby, and taken care of, and get lots of kisses, hugs, snuggles and treats, but no long walks.)

Sorry I don't have any pictures to attach to this post. Mom said she'll work on getting one up...

In the meantime, wish me luck on my R&R journey! I wonder what movie Lil' Dude and I will watch tomorrow while I'm R&R-ing!

Friday, November 15, 2013

There goes snack time

Seems Lil' Dude has decided to become selfish and actually EAT his snacks. Which, this is a new idea to me, because, ya know...for a while he's been all, "Here ya go, Jack!" and slipping a pretzel here or a little muffin there. But about two months ago, my world went from right-side-up to backwards-end-down when he learned a very simple, very bad word. No.


This word has become the pins in my needles. The drain to my bath tub. Its sucking all the fun out of my day! Another thing he's started doing is telling me to "GO!" into my house...and then closing the door.

Thankfully mom is there to referee things. She always has my back...not to say that Lil' Dude is being bad- he's just learning how to do things (at least that's what mom tells me as she slips me another cookie) and she always corrects him and encourages him to be "niiiiice" and pet me, which always means I get another cookie...

Overall this whole, having a permanent roommate (Lil' Dude) in the house is working out well. I mean, I don't share my cookies with him, so I guess its cool that he doesn't share his cookies with me anymore...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Don't come near MY baby...

When mom brought home Lil' Man I wasn't too sure of him. Sure he smelled okay (a mixture of milk and spit-up and poop...which is how I got to know him so well...) but it wasn't until I sniffed him and realized that he smelled like mom that I took him under my "tail" (birds can say "wing"...but I'm a dog, I don't have wings...don't judge me!) All of a sudden, when I sniffed that milk and mom combo did I realize, he's mine now. And what's mine, I will protect.

Whenever someone new would come into the house to pick up my baby, I'd be right by their side the whole time. If someone went to pick him up from the swing, well darn it, I was in between the swing, their knee and my baby. If they'd sit down with him at the kitchen table, guess where I was? Riiiiight underneath their chair so that if they dropped him, I'd be there to catch him.

Yes, he was mine from the instant I sniffed him and ever since, we have been inseparable.

Today, I overheard Nana telling mom about a dog who alerted his family that the babysitter was hurting his baby. Seems the dog kept getting overly protective of the baby once the sitter would come into the house, and the owners even had to restrain him from the sitter a few times. (Now, under normal circumstances, I would NOT be okay with knowing that a dog was being unfriendly to a human...but in this case, I wanted to get in on the action and "sick" her!)

The parents got smart and kept a phone under the couch to record the noises in the house. Turns out that while the baby started crying, she screamed at him, cursed and then you hear a slap, and the babies cry goes from "I'm fussy" to "I'm in pain".

Nooooooooooow let's start from the beginning on this one. IF I was the dog living in this house, where MY baby was being hit by ANYONE you can bet your bottom dollar that my nose would be SO FAR UP THEIR BUTT they couldn't sit down for a week.

I've never been more proud to call myself a dog, than I was when I read this article. For all those people out there who say a "dog is just a dog" or "stupid mutt" or something else that demeans the important role we take on in our families...all I have to say is, you must never have had a dog before.

Bravo to my canine companion for taking care of your baby and protecting what's yours.

(If you need backup, just gimme a call...pretty sure mom would lead the charge!)
Here's the article that details what happens (and doesn't talk about sticking their noses up butts...)

Monday, July 22, 2013

I know, I knooooooow

Daaaaaang, its been a while since I've posted right?

Well here's the thing, I've been so busy being a big brother and watching all the squirrels in the backyard, I haven't had anytime at all to sit in front of my laptop and write things!

I apologize. Truly. See, I have sad puppy eyes and everything. (This would be the perfect place for mom to put in a picture of me with sad-puppy eyes, except I rarely make capturing them would be difficult...)

ANYWAY, the purpose behind this post is this article right here about a dog who risked everything to save (drum roll) a KITTEN! Not even her own SPECIES and she barked and yelped until the animal people took both of them away!

And, while I'm typing, summer camp went off without a hitch! Mom (with the background help from me, of course!) had a great group of kiddos and had so much fun!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hold on tight!

Mom, 'Lil Man and I go for walks. A lot. Last year when we went he was little and didn't really do much. Like, he just sat there, kinda like a blob. A cute one, but still, a blob. Well that's all a thing of the past. See, this year, on our very first walk of the year (together, mom and I take walks in the winter, but he's a "baby" and "can't go outside when its that cold" so we went alone.) I'm just walking along side the stroller, when all a sudden I feel a tug. Hu? I look over and guess whose holding my leash? Lil' Man! Seems whenever we go for a walk now, all he wants to do is hold my leash. Which is cool with me, I mean, I'm just happy to get outside and sniff around the block. You know, a lot can change over the winter!

Lil' Man has even found the drawer where mom keeps my leash. Last week he started running around the house holding it yelling, "DOOOOOOOOOOG!" But I didn't get excited. I only get excited when MOM opens that drawer and pulls out the leash, because she can actually open doors and stuff. When Lil' Man does it, its just a tease. So I've found ways to cope:
 I hide under his blankie
I try and hide under Eeyore

Neither have been super successful, so I'm gonna keep trying. Ahhhh the life of having a little brother...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Arch nemesis

Pretty sure, in every dog's life, when they see a piece of luggage, they know what's coming. Sudden death. This means, they are leaving and who only knows when they will be back. Some people like luggage, they get all excited when its pulled out, I'm sure because they are taking it to some amazing location with lots of drinks and sun and laughs...but me? I see luggage and dread what's to come.

To some dogs, cats are their arch enemy. To some dogs, it might be another dog who puts the crackle in their fire. For me, its those red bags with wheels.

I see them come up from the depths of the basement and I just know I'm going to be left. This means an eternity of waiting for mom to come home. This means a lifetime of cold, lonely nights, left with no one to play with me or take me for walks. This means no love, or attention or fresh water. This means I will have to staaaaaaarve until they come home.*

(*Mom note- he is never left alone or even goes to a kennel. This trip he stayed with my brother in law, who let Jack sleep in bed with him each night (at home he sleeps in his house, which is kept in the kitchen) he got to climb up on the couch (at home, he's not allowed on the couch) and got rawhides each time he went into his kennel for the day (at home, he gets one Milk-Bone. That's it) AND, because we forgot to bring toys with us, my brother in law gave Jack a rope belt to tear up and destroy, while playing tug-o-war...So yes, our dog is a little over dramatic...just a heads up!)

I fit...I don' t know why I can't join 'em!!
Once the bags come out, I know what's next. They get filled. With clothing that they will wear without me. Shoes that they will go for walks wearing, without me. Yes, the life of a puggle is a rough one.

But yesterday my luck changed. I was pulled from the bowels of my depression when I found my way home, in the snow and ice, alone and cold. I was scratching at the door, hoping they'd be home and I could get a drink of water when mom answered the door!*

(*Mom note- My best friend, who is dating my brother-in-law (convienent, right?!) put Jack into her car, drove him across town and dropped him off at our doorstep. He did not wander around in the snow and ice until his little puggle ears got frost bite...he rode across town, in a car with HEAT and came into the house, with HEAT!)

It was like Christmas seeing mom!! Then the hard part came...waiting until Lil' Man woke up from his nap so I could give him kisses...but when he did wake up, you bet your bottom dollar, I gave him as many kisses as he'd let me, until he crawled away!!

So now, they are all home and I'm so happy, I'm snoring next to my mom. I hope the luggage stays in the basement for a very long time. My poor puggle heart can't take much more...