I’ll Be Okay …

T’s gone away again, up to northern BC to visit family for a week. She packed the little blue wheelie suitcase, which means she’s travelling by plane, which means that I can’t go. I wish I was the size of dog that could fit in one of those carry-on kennels. That way I could go along on all of her travels.

Do you think I could squeeze in?

It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with Nollind … it’s just that I worry … about getting fed. The cats told me a story about once having to carry dead birds into the house as a reminder to fill the food bowl when T was out of town. Cats like to mess with dogs so maybe they were just trying to scare me. But, I suppose, if things get dire, there are lots of pigeons around that nobody seems to be a fan of, and I’m pretty good at scavenging for wild mushrooms and other such treats.

Snuffling around for wild mushrooms.

And, I did supervise the making of the “Chico List”—daily walk, breakfast options, dinner instructions—and everything important was on there. Nollind is pretty good with a list. I should be fine…

Demonstrating that I’m the perfect size for her suitcase.

Maybe someone should come and check on me, say … Tuesday?

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Two Kinds of Cones

Yesterday was my surgery. It wasn’t open heart or anything else potentially life-altering, but surgery is surgery and involves risks. I’m happy to report that I woke up the same dog as when I went to sleep, minus a bit of hair and one suspicious lump.

My vet, Dr. Julie, said the lump is either a fibroma (benign) or a fibrosarcoma (malignant). I’m hoping for the former and we’ll know in a week or so when the results come back from the lab. But, either way, it’s gone.

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Wednesday night. Blissfully unaware of what was to come in the morning.

I’m generally kind of a lumpy guy and have a number of what they call lipomas or fatty tumours. They’re basically little pockets of fat between the skin and the muscle. Apparently, dogs who are metabolically challenged are prone to them but they can also result from my body’s inability to rid itself of toxins. Lipomas are always benign so they get left alone unless they start interfering with movement or comfort.

I normally don’t mind going to the vet—I get tons of attention, the staff all like me, I get treats. It’s a good gig. But yesterday was different. For starters, I love breakfast and there was none. Then, after we arrived at Animal Care Centre (ACC) and we’d had a short visit with Dr. Julie, I took my typical trip down the hallway from the exam rooms to where they draw blood and sample lumps and other such activities, but instead of going right back to T and Nollind I was put in a kennel. I should have paid closer attention when T was explaining what was going to happen. She probably mentioned something about staying for the day.

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Thursday morning. Waiting for the breakfast that never came.

Early in the afternoon, one of the staff came to get me from my kennel. They were kind to me, as they always are at ACC, stroking me gently, and next thing I knew I was waking up in a very groggy state. Logan had been sedated a number of times—teeth knocked out by horse, porcupine quills in face, ear lump removed, joint injected—but I’ve managed to keep myself out of the emergency clinic. Being sedated was a new and not entirely unpleasant experience, like floating maybe, in thick soup. Mmm…soup.

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Me and Dr. Julie before the surgery. I was in good hands.

A little while later, Kristin, the vet tech, returned for me and took me back to the exam rooms where T and Nollind were waiting for me. Was I ever happy to see them! I ran over, wagging my tail, telling them all about my day, which probably sounded a little like whining to human ears.

Kristin went through my post-surgery care, which I’m happy to report does not involve skipping any more meals, she gave T some pills to keep me comfortable and an enormous plastic cone. The cone had me baffled until T and Nollind starting discussing it in the truck. Oh, it was for me. I’d heard about what dogs and cats refer to as “the cone of shame” but I’d not seen one. If I could speak I would have promised them, sworn on Logan’s grave, that I wouldn’t touch my sutures if they wouldn’t put that thing on my head.

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The thing I’m not supposed to lick.

Maybe it was because of the cone, or just the kind of day they knew I’d had, but Nollind turned left instead of right when we left Animal Care Centre, bound for Strathmore and … wait for it … ice cream cones! Did you know that Dairy Queen has “pup cups”? Yup, free ice cream for pooches at the drive-thru. For those few minutes of blissful licking, the trials of my day and the cone-wearing to come were completely forgotten.

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Good to the last lick. (Cone of shame in the background.)

Homeward bound, we were halfway between Strathmore and the farm when Nollind pulled the truck over. He did some looking at websites on his phone, T made a couple of calls, and we were driving back to town.

I love my people. They weren’t going to make me wear the cone. There was another way. I’m not over the moon about the Zen Collar either (I don’t even like wearing my regular collar) but I can drink, eat, walk around without bumping into everything, and it makes a reasonable pillow. As an added bonus, as my Auntie Sus pointed out when she said I was ready for the Titanic (she’s funny), in the event of a flash flood, I’m covered!

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Ready for the Titanic.

So, this Fur-iday finds me with a life preserver around my neck and a chilly spot on one hind leg, but grateful for the life I enjoy and the care of the people who adopted me nearly eight years ago. Life is good for one slightly-less-lumpy rescue dog.

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Enjoying my new headrest.

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Lazy. Hazy. Crazy. That about sums it up.

I’ve always liked a good nap, especially on a warm day, but this summer, my fifteenth, I am borderline lazy.  I have found more places to sleep in Logieland (isn’t that a great name?) than Nevada has spots. Just when I think I’ve got enough nap locations, I discover yet another shaded, grassy, idyllic piece of paradise.

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A great afternoon spot in the shade of the house. The downspout makes for very soft grass.

The hazy I speak of is due to the forest fires in our neighbouring province, British Columbia. It isn’t a big deal but it has caused my eyes to burn a little and my throat feels a bit raw. It would probably be a lot worse if I was actually doing anything other than sleeping most of the time. I guess being an old dog with arthritis and a heart condition has an upside!

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Smoky morning walk.

Which brings me to crazy. The crazy has nothing to do with a hectic pace, lots of outings, or full days. I wish. The crazy has been in my head. But, before you worry, it’s getting much better. The old brain has not given it up to dementia just yet.

It started at the end of our camping trip last month. Not only were my guts in turmoil but so was my brain. A call to the vet resulted in a round of antibiotics and other stomach settling meds that got the GI problems under control, but the crazies continued. Teresa was worried I’d slipped a cog and wasn’t coming back. So was I quite frankly.

But then, in true amateur vet/sleuth fashion, Teresa set about researching my conditions, my symptoms, my medications. My greatest advocate came to my rescue again. What she found was that two of the pills I’d been getting for quite some time don’t play well together. In fact, the combination of them can cause diarrhea, restlessness, and anxiety, all the things I’d been experiencing. She almost threw out all of my meds right then and there. Enough!

But, instead, we embarked on a path of medication reduction. One med of the pair that doesn’t play nicely was removed altogether and two others were reduced.  Can you say “withdrawal symptoms?” Holy DTs! I was a mess for the first week, even though the drugs were being tapered off slowly. I paced. I panted. I hardly slept. I was a wreck. Who knew Gabapentin was such an addictive beast?

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The first night of detox.

But, she got me through it. The crazies were worst in the evening and she sat with me every night. She’d watch TV while I lay at her feet on my favourite blanket. There was something about the ritual that was soothing. I’d start to feel anxious and she’d put the blanket on the floor, I’d lie down, she’d climb into the big chair, and we’d spend the next few hours that way. If I started to feel unsettled again, she’d give me a rub and I’d go back to sleep.

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The sweet spot.

It’s been almost a week since our last TV/blanket night. I’ve been feeling much better since then. I guess I’ve kicked it, or at least part of it. I’m still getting some of the medication but less than half of what I was. Admittedly, my stupid arthritic elbow is more painful than it was, but I’m not as wobbly and my mind is clearer and calmer. A fair trade I’d say. I even slept through the night the past few, which I know makes my light-sleeping dog-mom very happy.

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Walk along the canal.

Despite the increased elbow discomfort, I’m getting around okay. I still help out at the barn every day, patrol Logieland regularly, and get out for short walks. And, if I walk too far and don’t think I can make it back, I just call a taxi.

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Farm taxi. (His shirt says “do gooder)