Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Just a quick little photo post since I was working with some photos anyway from a mini shoot for a (late) St. Patty's with the pups.

From 2012....

Monday, March 16, 2015


We are on a brief hiatus, unwillingly and unexpectedly. We hope to be back the beginning of April. Stay tuned for lots of news, updates, PHOTOS, and more regular posts. Gosh, I sure hope so. It's been a year so far and my "discipline" is slipping due to overwhelming work obligations.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Heart Day Hiking

For lack of a better title....

Today was beautiful out. Fluffy clouds. Light breezes. Sunny skies. Increasing temps. Last year around this time we had a rare bout of snow. Took the pups out for a nature hike today. We started at one of our hotspots, a Vernonia Trailhead but there were TOO MANY PEOPLE. A total of less than a half mile and we were back at the truck and taking off for a less populous locale.

Vegas says, "It was a great time and we got back to the truck TIRED. Then Mom stopped and got us ice cream. Yum yum, I love ice cream. The rest of the day we napped until it was time for dinner then we went back to napping. I love getting out and having fun in the woods. There were excellent smells, lots of critters were there that I don't know what they were (Mom says elks and coyotes and deer.) and my nose was going crazy. It was a most excellent time with my mom."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Canine Good Citizen

I came down with a bug last weekend and was under the weather just a couple of days. While I was sick this arrived!

I'm so proud of Vegas. Is this her greatest accomplishment? No. But it's a step to us getting back in the game. It's progress toward our next phase of life and her latest "job." She's going to be a therapy dog! She earned this title at the same time we took the Therapy Dogs test.


Wait, wait, wait a minute. No, I'm not talking about THAT (You know, the taboo kind.) of discipline.
The kind of discipline I'm talking about is the more self-involved type. The type that dictates how you proceed through life, your commitment, follow-through, etc. It's something I'm both very much so and very much lacking in. How is that possible? I'll explain.

Lately I've been struggling. A lot. In my brain swirls three thousand things I want to get done, need to get done, MUST get done. And in the end, a lot of time I get nothing done. And then sometimes I get tons done. I'm incredibly inconsistent. I have so many goals with my dogs, financial ability aside. There are things I can do if only I were disciplined. Case in point. Denise Fenzi has one of the most popular online formats and course offerings for dog classes. I cannot afford them, not even at the bronze level. But she offers scholarships from time to time. But I lack the discipline to monitor those offerings and pursue them when made.

Discipline. It's both my curse and my grace. So now that I've started this post, a post I thought up and allowed to swirl around my brain for the last couple of weeks, well, I'm going to let it fester some more and pursue it on a deeper level in my next post. Who knows; it may end up a strung out repeat topic for a while. And perhaps it will lead me to becoming disciplined again in the areas where Vegas needs me to be.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bloody Toe

We had an unexpected injury over the weekend. We went on a long walk down highway 47 and up the B Street Trail. The weather was beautiful, mid-50s, and sunny. Finally a day we could get out and enjoy. Before heading toward home, we cruised up through the Pacific University campus for a little more off leash time. We ran into a couple little girls who wanted to say hello to Vegas. They admired her Seahawks get-up... Green and blue painted toenails and team collar. One of the girls got a curious look on her face and pointed at a rear foot.  Vegas was bleeding.
Upon close inspection it appeared the flap of protective skin over the quick had torn. She was bleeding from the quick. At that point it was clear we needed to hear for home so off we went.
By the time we got home three of her toes were bloody. Fortunately though, it was just the one bleeding. I tied her leash to the inside of the front door and scrambled to find some supplies. A few minutes later I was soaking her foot in soapy, warm water. After drying it I applied some colloidal silver then wrapped some gauze across the toenails and used hot pink wrap. She got settled, a bit unhappily, on the couch. She didn't like having her foot wrapped one bit. I was a little worried about keeping it wrapped. I had plans to go out that evening and had visions of coming home to blood spatters everywhere and ruined carpet. She kicked it off once before I left and I rewrapped it. 
Fortunately though, although she unwrapped it by the time I came home again, all was well. She's had no issue since then and we even went on short jaunt on campus today.
I think the cause of it was twofold. I had dremeled her nails on Thursday evening so they were fresh and short. It happened on a rear leg and she occasionally drags those toes when we're walking. The combination of a quick exposed and concrete was not a good thing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Very Scary Pain

I mentioned a couple posts ago about Vegas having had multiple injuries/health issues we've faced. Around Thanksgiving time Vegas started limping. In fact, it was the day before Thanksgiving. I came home from work a little early and headed out with she and a puppy that had been visiting, Quinn. We took advantage of the nice weather and daylight and did a little over 4 miles. She was her normal self, sniffy, happy, and enthusiastic about being out. As soon as we got home and came inside, she was lame on her right front. I thought it was her shoulder. I basically decided to rest her for a few days and see if she got better. She'd had off and on lameness issues and I know she can be a bit enthusiastic so a soft tissue strain is not unlikely.

By the middle of the weekend with no improvement though, I was starting to let panic and "worst case scenarios" set in. After all, Great Danes are known for getting osteosarcoma. Around the same time lots and lots (and lots) of Great Dane friends were receiving an osteo diagnosis or had recently or were losing their dogs to this terrible cancer. By Saturday I was trying to get her in to see a chiropractor. I'd first pursued the regular vet for x-rays but since they couldn't fit her in for over a week figured the chiropractor might be able to adjust her and she'd see some relief. This was me optimistically trying to think of something else other than the dreaded C word. I almost had an appointment but the cost was going to be nearly double what our usually chiro is so I decided I could wait. On Saturday I called the vet up the street and made an appointment for Monday for x-rays. Our regular chiropractor was able to get us in on Tuesday so at least I could look forward to both of those things in hopes of having my mind put to ease.

On Monday at the vet, we saw a newer doctor at the practice. She was wonderful. She listened thoroughly and did a comprehensive exam particularly spending time manipulating Vegas' front legs and asking her to move them in all manner of directions. She, of course, knew osteo was common in big dogs such as Danes, but given the symptoms she said she didn't think it necessarily was the first place to jump to. After examining her, she actually felt like Vegas might be a little sensitive in her low neck/upper back area on the left side which could explain compensation on the right.

Dr. Lyn thought going to see the chiropractor was a good idea. Since she didn't immediately think osteo, rush to x-ray, I decided to wait. We did decide to do a cold laser treatment though, just in case that gave her some relief. So that was the end of that visit and we went to see Dr. Mike on Tuesday. I took the day and worked from home so we could head out to his place in Carlton mid-day. Long story short on that one, he worked her over very good, found she had a couple of tweaky spots which was to be expected since it had been about two years since her last adjustment, but felt thickening in her elbow as opposed to concern over her shoulder (which is where I thought the pain was). At that point, despite a good adjustment, he still thought x-rays were in order.

On our way out of Carlton I called Kindness back again and was able to get an appointment for x-rays a few hours later. Let's just say the stress returned in full force.

So I went home to work a few hours and was back at the vet around 4:15 that day. We saw another female vet as Dr. Lyn was out for two days. She basically repeated the exam, asking questions, and doing her own checkup of Vegas. We then moved forward with getting x-rays. I walked with her to the x-ray room and left Vegas in her care and the technician. I went to wait in the waiting room.

Ten minutes passed, then perhaps fifteen or twenty. I was wondering what was taking so long but since I didn't hear anything didn't get overly anxious. Finally the doctor came out to see me. She wanted to know if they could give Vegas an injection to help calm her down; she was giving them difficulty with x-rays, too tense, etc. I went ahead and OK'd it and another thirty minutes passed. At that point the doctor came to get me and I went to meet them in the x-ray room. She and the tech first wanted to show me the wound on Vegas' inner thigh/knee. She'd struggled on the x-ray table and scraped her knee to the point they had to put surgical glue on it. The leg also had a bruise forming and Vegas was pretty worked up.

They showed me the x-rays and I got to breathe a huge sigh of relief when the doctor showed me what she called osteophytes in her right elbow, but didn't mention cancer. I broke down, in fact, in sheer relief. She was surprised and in her response, had no idea why I'd worried about that since we were looking at elbows, said "osteo doesn't occur in elbows." At that point, she realized our concern and we talked about the fact that I had suspected shoulder initially, the chiropractor thought something was amiss with the elbow, and that the first doctor had put in the chart to radiograph both elbows and shoulders. The stress started sneaking back. The doctor said we could go ahead and do shoulder x-rays if I wanted. At that point Vegas was done. I was done. We were emotionally tapped out.

We wrapped things up, she gave me a CD of the x-rays, and we paid and left. When I got home, Vegas was a mess. She almost immediately went to the back door and as she came back toward me like, "Hurry up, Mom" she was squatting in the rear. It appeared as if she was trying to defecate. I let her out quickly and watched as she hobbled into the yard, now not only her front right bothering her but her rear left. It was a sad, sad, heartbreaking thing to watch. I started getting concerned. She came in after having had diarrhea only to rush back out again a few moments later. I didn't feed her although it was past that time because she had the medication at the vet and her tummy was off. After she was done going outside I brought her in and got situated on the couch. She started crashing, not acting right. I couldn't keep her warm. She was jumpy like she was hallucinating. She even snapped at Leo once. She was starting to scare me.

As I'm there, on the couch with her, I've got her wrapped in blankets and I'm FB messaging with a friend who was a vet tech for years and texting with another friend who is a vet. My vet tech friend, Mel, was telling me to check her pulse or heart rate and I just couldn't get it figured out. It seemed like she was breathing shallowly but her color remained good. If I had known this was going to happen... the vet's office didn't give me any clues when I left. As I'd been checking out she was still amped up on adrenaline is what I figured so no signs of all this. No additional lameness from the injury that occurred there, no shocky signs, no doped up post-anesthetic demeanor. Nothing. I had no idea this was coming. It was AWFUL. It took about 3 hours on the couch cuddling with her before I could get up and do anything else. It took another hour or two for her to act semi-normal. We finally went to bed around 11 that night and she'd had a small dinner and was nearly herself, albeit a little dopey and woozy still.

By the next morning, fortunately, she was back to normal except the lameness was way worse. I stewed on everything for two days. I was very upset and disappointed. My girl was worse from all the harassment of medical professionals. The vet did something and caused her further injury - why didn't they come get me sooner? Why would they try to fight with a 120 pound dog? And they never prepared me for what I was going home to that night. I finally called and had to leave a message for the first doctor I had seen. She called me back a day later. I learned at that time the second vet was none other than one of the practice owners. I couldn't believe it.

In a nutshell, in addition to the two things I mentioned already, the vet hadn't taken the x-rays we really wanted and she had overcharged me. I expected 2 x-rays, perhaps 3, but not 5 which is what I realized I'd been charged for the next day. Dr. Lyn was empathetic, listened to my concerns and told me she would call back. I spoke with her on Saturday and she offered to either refund me two x-rays that were not necessary, give me a credit to use on a future visit, or comp me the x-rays of Vegas' shoulders that we wanted. She also told me I could be there during x-ray except when they actually took the image, at which point I would just step out around the corner of the room.

This is the option I chose and we went in Monday to see her again and get those x-rays. Fortunately, those shoulder x-rays showed Vegas clear of any tumors or suspicious activity. So at present, what we ended on was a diagnosis of osteophytes in her elbow which basically causes arthritis and a plan for me to get her on Adequan. Over the course of that week I shopped for the best price on adequan and got a written prescription from Dr. Lyn.

She was to get 2.5ml twice weekly for a month followed by 2.5ml once a week for two weeks then to move to once a month. I'm happy to report that Vegas is now moving into the once monthly phase of her adequan treatment and in the last week or so I think I've seen improvement. We'll never get to return to agility again and I have to monitor her activity more. She's got an ongoing prescription for tramadol  and we use this to mitigate any discomfort from activity. She's not limping nearly as perceptibly any longer and we're enjoying regular walks again. I'm very grateful for the relationship with Dr. Lyn and hope that Vegas continues moving forward in a positive fashion with no further setbacks. I aged at least ten years during that experience and it breaks my heart to see so visibly my girl aging.

Monday, January 12, 2015

52 Weeks for Dogs - 2014

Vegas was the subject of my 52 Weeks for Dogs project last year. You might recall she was a participant before. She's actually been my subject 3 or 4 years and is heading into it again here for 2015. I'm really proud of how we did this year with only three missed submissions, weeks 30, 33, and 46. Without further ado, here are her submissions for 2014 (in order):

(Sorry for the couple of photos turned sideways. They aren't on my computer but for some reason Blogger does that. It's like they may have been turned that way when they were taken and it picks that up from the photo's data or something.)