Happy Monday, everyone! It was uncharacteristically foggy and very humid yesterday morning. Autumn continues to play peek-a-boo in the Mile High with chilly mornings and evenings but still reaching the low 80’s by afternoon. Here it is almost the first of November and we haven’t had any snow yet…which seems quite un-nerving. It’s beginning to shape up as a La Niña year which will mean colder than average and less precipitation than average for our part of the country which could pose problems for next summer. *Sigh*
The dogs were extra frisky in the early morning coolness and fog. Elsa tried to catch every leaf she could, thinking they must ALL be squirrels.
Hopefully you had a good weekend. Some of the teams I follow clearly are trying to make life personally unpleasant for me as a fan. Oh well…there’s always next week, right? What was your weekend highlight?
It’s been slightly over a month since Sam was joined by a little raven haired sister. Apart from Elsa’s diagnosis of epilepsy shortly after arriving, her integration as a dog into our household continues. Mostly it’s been without incident but the past week or so, there have been a couple of big kerfuffles which seems to suggest the ‘siblings’ are a bit jealous of one another. As the little miss gains her confidence, she realizes that the attention and loving care she is receiving is a pretty good arrangement. The past couple of incidents were the result of her apparently not getting all she thought she was entitled to, or that she was jealous at a misperceived favoring of Sam.
If you weren’t aware, let me just say I’m a big sports fan. As in…huge. Following along in that theme, there are times when I’m trying to decide if the Ranch has turned into a hockey arena or if it’s Madison Square Garden’s fight of the week…or maybe a combination of both. Sure there’s lots of jockeying for the puck (guess the puck would be me) with the ‘goal’ being to score favor in mom’s eyes. If you lean more toward being a pugilist…the combatants go to their neutral corners. If I sit on the floor, they come running to garner my 110% attention by sitting in or near my lap, to have their ears scratched. Usually it involved Elsa deftly maneuvering Sam out of close proximity. She’s a real master positioning herself between him and me. Being fairly close in size and weight, she has figured out just how to subtly herd him out of the way. Most of the time Sam wanders off on his own confused, but at other times, Elsa makes sure he wanders off with the precision of a military drone sniper strike. It always ends quickly and both look at each other and then at me as if they’d been possessed by demons with no explanation as to how that dust-up happened. Luckily there are no food aggression issues.
With siblings there always seem to come a pecking order and we’re still trying to sort out that order, in addition to integrating a puppy mill dog who has no clue about manners let alone how to properly be a dog. Add in trying to manage her condition and it becomes a muddy mess. In the meantime, I’ll be the one wearing a striped shirt, blowing a time-out whistle and refereeing these games, be they hockey or Golden Gloves.
In honor of the World Series starting yesterday and as an homage to one of my all time favorite baseball players’ quotes by Yogi Berra, we’re departing from our typical Wordless(y) Wednesday post to share a “deja vu memory…all over again”…one that came full circle last week when we volunteered with other pet therapy members selling our 2017 pet therapy calendar. We set up our display near the entrance as visitors arrived when a kindly older man strolled into the lobby and walked past us. He smiled and I thought, hmm, well that guy sure looks familiar but like so many other interesting faces you encounter daily, you dismiss the notion immediately and re-enter reality to concentrate on the present. A few moments later, he turned around and came back. He kept looking down at Sam with a cocked head and said, “I think I know that dog, yes…I’m sure I’ve met that dog before.” Sam began his furious tail wagging salute while simultaneously leaning against the man’s thigh. The man smiled broadly and said, “Yes, I do know this dog; he came and visited us at hospice a couple of years ago!” Recognition from another person especially at hospice is sure to take anyone by surprise but there was something special and familiar with his face and the certainty of which he spoke that made me want to dig deeper in the my memory banks. Then it hit me. Of course, now I remember!
On one of our first hospice visits we visited with one of the truly nicest couples we’ve ever met. They made such an impression on me at the time. And while it took me a while to hunt down the photographic evidence of our visit back then, it made me smile once I found it, recalling a lovely visit at a serious time. He was so kind and so complimentary of Sam and his wife was thrilled to have the canine concierge visit and we stayed longer than usual with a hospice patient. They were both so gracious, so warm and inviting. They exuded a great love for each other and for life. Our conversation was of other dogs that had made an impression in their lives but they kept going back to how truly special Sam was. Far be it for me to disagree with someone who thinks this knucklehead was a 4-legged special gift. The essence of humanity oozed from both of them and Sam knew it. While Sam couldn’t heal her, he was able to provide a smile in both of their hearts and a beautiful memory for a chance meeting a couple of years later.
I remembered how excited he was when we visited them wife back then. Even in her weakened state, she was, for a few minutes happily content during our visit. And I couldn’t have been happier to have Sam put a smile on their faces back then and definitely again during this chance reunion with the husband. We chatted and caught up as much as you can with an acquaintance who you’d met years ago. But he was genuinely glad to see Sam again. Likewise, Sam was equally thrilled with the reunion and seemed to remember him too. We always remember those ‘good’ encounters and the lives of those who touch us in special ways and who provide us with beautiful memories then and always.
Ok, picture this. It’s the middle of the night and the call of nature wakes you up. More like screams its ugly head off, but you still resist. The crisp autumn air is a definite deterrent so you roll over and think, it’ll go away soon. Twenty minutes later, your bladder continues to send messages to your brain to get up and take care of this. You’re wide awake now so you succumb to your brain’s nagging and drag your sorry butt out of bed…shivering. You quietly tiptoe past the snoring fur-kids, quietly closing the bedroom door so as not to disturb anyone, walking toward the bathroom. Then you step on one of these babies. O.U.C.H. Ever step on one of these gizmos of pure torture? We kick or walk over these things 87 times a day. Elsa drags them from one end of the house to the other and I love that both fur-kids enjoy these beef hooves, but yikes, those bad boys will make you howl like a banshee if you step on them with bare feet when you’re somewhat half asleep.
Suddenly you’re hoping around on one foot, yelling every HBO word you’ve ever heard, kicking those hummers every which way and the racket of all that yelling combined with skittering hooves across hardwood floors crashing into walls and furniture has woken up the entire household up with you asking everyone, “Who the [blank] left these things lying around?!?!” The sleepy faces facing you just nod, mumble and shuffle back to bed. You’re left wide awake with the you-know-what scared out of you, blood pouring from a toe and too mad to pee. Why is there no justice for mom? Would I be less crabbish if I stepped on a squeaking stuffie in the middle of the night? Yeah probably not, but at least I wouldn’t have to triage my injury before getting back to sleep in the freezing dark.
Note to self: think about getting one of those IED robots to clear these “land mines” out before you going to bed to avoid this far too often repeated scenario.
Hope your re-entry into the work week was far less traumatic and you had a great night’s sleep following a beautiful Autumn weekend.
Yesterday was a bit of a red-letter day around the Ranch. When our mail lady and the pizza delivery guy came by, neither Sam or Elsa barked. Wait, what?? Whoa, maybe the girl is a good influence on him after all. Here’s hoping your weekend is nice and quiet with loads of relaxation to accompany incredible weather. It’s going to be back in the 80s…I’m beginning to think it’s endless summer in the Mile High. Happy weekend.
Sam was originally going to provide a ‘pupdate’ on Elsa but his draft was so absurd and ridiculous, I decided to pen it instead. I think that dog has been watching too many presidential debates and thought that outrageous comments are the norm and to be expected. Well I hate to break this to you dawg, but…yeah…no.
Any way, back to Ms. Elsa. She’s now been with us 5 weeks. Things were progressing as well as could be expected given the diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy and the reset 3 weeks ago. Unfortunately, two weeks after the original diagnosis, she suffered another seizure cluster. Fortunately they were not nearly as severe or intense. That’s the good news. As is often the case though, there is some bad news. Elsa’s medication had to be increased. Yes it should control her seizures but Phenobarbital is a very strong medication and can have serious side effects related to liver function. Her blood levels will need to be closely monitored and adjustments may still need to be required. The ‘dogtor’ recommended we also add CBD oil as an additional med.
What is CBD oil you ask? Sure, we live in the Mile “High” City and while Colorado was the first state to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, CBD is the non psychoactive ingredient from hemp that can be administered without prescription. Research suggests some very remarkable results in terms of treating various medical conditions. I’ve learned CBD could also be given to Sam for his anxiety when riding in the car should a long road trip be in the near future, with no negative effects. It can help dogs manage pain with arthritic conditions and can treat issues associated with cancer.
Medical Properties of CBD
Reduces nausea and vomiting
Suppresses seizure activity
Combats psychosis disorders
Combats inflammatory disorders
Combats neurodegenerative disorders
Combats tumor and cancer cells
Combats anxiety and depression disorders
It’s hoped with the addition of CBD oil, our little girl will continue to blossom as a dog.
And speaking of blossoming, let me give you an idea of how her disposition and personality are starting to emerge. Elsa is a very sweet dog and now actively seeks attention, even from many strangers and dogs. She desperately wants to engage her big brother in dog play though Sam’s attitude is not yet fully on board with rough-housing because he’s (a) either a total wuss (b) has no idea exactly how to play or (c) a combo of both (a) and (b). She’s now convinced before we go for our morning walks that I’m a suitable chew toy substitute. My 4 year old is experiencing puppyhood for the first time!
Despite unseasonably warm weather, early mornings have been fairly crisp this week with leaves turning fast and falling even faster. The cooler temps have provided both dogs with a lively spring to their step as they breathe in cool air. In fact, those cooler temps have seemed to inspire Ms. Elsa to turn into a Springbok antelope bouncing along and dragging me along on the ride. It has occurred to me I am no longer walking the dogs but instead parasailing, with me being the sail. Being a human kite finds me laughing hysterically as I “sail” down the street until I can no longer breathe. When I stop collapse she turns and looks at me as if I’m sort of a light weight and then once I’ve caught my breath, she starts another session of Springbok-ing with me hanging on for dear life. I’m convinced I have been lifted off the ground each time in order to keep up with the speedy miss. At the very least, I know my heart has been soaring with the joie de vivre this little girl has discovered since coming to live with us.
My little black Ninja is becoming far less reactive to sudden moves and follows me around like a shadow but is extraordinarily stealthy. I often wonder where she is and then suddenly she materializes. One second she’s not there, I glance sideways to see if I can locate her and then poof! there she is. It’s almost eery. Her tail isn’t tucked all the time now either and occasionally give soft puppy kisses.
We’ll keep a watchful eye on her and keep you posted about her progress. Assuming all goes well with the increased dosage, we’ll go back in a month and have her blood levels re-checked to be sure its is appropriate. We’re keeping our fingers and paws crossed there are no more seizures and she continues to improve on all fronts.
Till then we will continue to learn more about canine epilepsy from various sources (especially the Epilepsy Foundation) and earnestly start obedience training to further Elsa’s successful integration into the post puppy mill dog world.
A few years ago mom started a small at-home dog treat business because she didn’t want chemicals, additives or other unacceptable ingredients in my treats. With the addition of the dreaded little sister Ms. Elsa and her epileptic seizures, making sure we have top quality, healthful treats is even more important.
Last week mom and I had hospital shifts (more about that later this week) and met up with our good friends, Teddy and his mom, Mary Ann who were coming to town for their shifts. We both were going to work one day selling the pet therapy calendars too so mom wanted to make sure we had some treats to give to Teddy. She dipped into her huge recipe book and found this one.
Peter Peter, Punkin Eater Treats
2 cups whole wheat flour (or another if your pup has wheat sensitivities. Mom experimented using coconut flour and it was quite yummy)
1 cup oats and 1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup plain pumpkin
1 cup water (mom used The Honest Kitchen’s Bone Broth instead because she ALWAYS has to tinker with recipes and in this case, boy am I glad she did-that stuff is f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s!)
Mix all ingredients until well combined. Press into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Lightly flour surface and roll dough out to about 1/2″ thick. Use cookie cutters or a small glass to cut out the treats. Bake at 250º for 25-30 minutes and allow to cool before serving.
I had hoped that by sitting pretty they’d cool down quicker. Nom, nom, nom. The use of the coconut flour sure made them super tasty even if mom said they were very hard to mix together and crumbled too much for her. Me personally, I don’t care…just give me the treats, woman!! She used the tiny cutters because sweet Teddy is a little boy and missing a number of teeth. Oh, and he LOVED them more than he usually loves mom’s treats. And he always loves her treats.
Hi there sports fans…Sam here. Mom is still trying to rejuvenate herself and asked me to do today’s post. She said something about having voter fatigue and that she just couldn’t take all the negativity anymore and that she had nothing. Then she said something about not coming out from the covers for the next 22 days. Not sure what all that means but think it might be something related to whenever she turns on the TV and starts hollering lots of HBO words. Said she can’t watch anything without some nasty ad or crap-tastic lie from the candidates and I KNOW she isn’t talking about the ‘Candy Dates’ from Blogville. Both Arty and Christmas are totally pawsome!
So I thought I’d make things a little lighter and easier on you and her. I know it’s late in the campaign, but to save this country, I’m tossing my furs in the ring for the 2016 presidential race. I have no baggage (it helps when you don’t have any thumbs) and there are no sex crimes or escapades in my history (ok, except for that Bassett Hound at dog prison but I was under duress missing my mom while she was gallivanting around The Big Island back in May and I doubt he’d want any negative publicity-we left captivity as BFF’s-best fur-iends furever). Luckily there are no videos of any alleged transgressions, and I can assure you I didn’t utter any ‘locker room banter.’ I’m true red, white and blue and would be honored to receive your vote. My platform is simple…I think every pet should have a loving home with uprights who will take care of them and love them completely…and treats. Lots and lots of treats. But not so many that we end up becoming obese, mind you. I support daily exercise, ear scratches, lots of naps and baths should be optional not mandatory. There are no conflicts with lobbyists regarding any of those issues either. For the record, I never received any speaking fee in case you’re wondering.
Please consider my platform and relax knowing I can return dignity and honor to the institution of the presidency and hope you’ll seriously vote for me as the candidate who can bring everyone together with loads of smiles all the while making you proud to be an American again.
Vote for Sam, a true ‘pawtriot!’
On an additional note, I want to wish mom’s ‘baby sister’ a Happy Birthday today.
May smiles and fun, joy and cheer, luck and happiness stay with you all next year.
Hope your birthday brings all these to your door
Filling your life with delight and much more. We love ya. Woof!