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.

11-Chico-2Cones-chillin

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.

11-Chico-2Cones-nobrekkie

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.

11-Chico-2Cones-goodhands

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.

11-Chico-2Cones-wound

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.

11-Chico-2Cones-pupcup

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!

11-Chico-2Cones-zentry

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.

11-Chico-2Cones-zensleep

Enjoying my new headrest.

Advertisements

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.

08 Logan - LazyHazyCrazy - grassy bed-174135

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!

08 Logan - LazyHazyCrazy - hazy-084914

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?

08 Logan - LazyHazyCrazy - tvbuddies-222824

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.

08 Logan - LazyHazyCrazy - blanket-205017

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.

08 Logan - LazyHazyCrazy - canal-085516

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.

08 Logan - LazyHazyCrazy - taxi-104436

Farm taxi. (His shirt says “do gooder)

Close Encounter

It was a lovely morning for a walk as we set out last Sunday morning. Part of my routine is to circuit the barn on our way west, just to make sure all is as it should be. Well, on Sunday morning, it definitely wasn’t. A small, black and white, looked-like-a-cat was on the south side of the barn next to a freshly dug pile of dirt. You can’t just move into our yard without so much as a hello so I ran over to check out the newcomer. That was when I discovered it wasn’t a cat, but a very unsociable, straight-from-hell, toxic-gas-spraying beast!

05-chico-skunked-happierdog

The face of a happy dog looking forward to a morning walk.

 

It turned as I ran toward it—I assumed to run away—and I was looking forward to a good chase when the animal’s tail went straight in the air and a nasty, yellow stream hit the left side of my face. The smell was bad but the burning in my left eye was excruciating. I ran back toward T who’d just come around the corner of the barn to see what was happening. I thought she might go after the creature that had attacked me but she just clipped the leash on my collar and we were running toward the house, away from the dispersing cloud of gas.

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that it was a skunk that I encountered. It was my first experience with one so I had no idea. Logan thought it was hilarious, having had his run-ins with them more than once as a young dog. One time it happened when they were out camping with the horses and he had to ride home in the front part of the horse trailer where the tack usually goes. The tack got to ride in the truck. I guess I was lucky it happened at home where they had stuff on hand to help me.

05-chico-skunked-loganlaughing

Logan’s still laughing.

 

So, anyway, once we reached the yard, T called for Nollind to come and help and then took me to a grassy area away from the house. I rubbed my face on the grass again and again, so many times that my lip was bleeding, but it just kept burning. I was sure relieved to see Nollind coming with a bucket full of remedies. I knew I could count on my people to know what to do.

The first thing they did was rinse my eye a few times with saline and that helped a bunch. The burning subsided. The direct hit to the face meant the spray was fairly localized, but it also meant it was hard to clean off without hurting me. They first tried a store-bought deskunking solution with written instructions to avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth. They applied it as carefully and as thoroughly as they could and let it dry. I was hopeful.

It helped some, but the smell was still pretty bad and I wasn’t allowed in the house. T did some research on products that could be used on my face and tomato juice was at the top of the list. It was nicer than the skunk product but I’m not a big fan of tomato. Too bad bacon grease didn’t take out skunk odor! When they rinsed it off I smelled kind of like a skunk in a tomato patch.

05-chico-skunked-tomatoface

It’s a little redder than the rest of me but I think it makes me look younger. What do you think?

 

The third and final solution was what they’d used on Logan all those years ago, once they got him home from the campground. It’s also not recommended for use on the face but we were desperate by this point. They were very careful, I did my best to keep my eyes and mouth closed, and we got the job done. A quick eye rinse after and I was just fine. It burned less than the skunk spray. The magic concoction? A mix of peroxide, baking soda, and a little bit of dish soap. If ever you need to get rid of skunk smell, here’s the recipe.

05-chico-skunked-whiteface

I think all the peroxide bleached my face. I’m sure it wasn’t this white on Saturday.

 

I don’t notice it much anymore but, apparently, I still smell at close range or when I get wet and I’m told this could last for a month or more. As long as I’m allowed in the house and people still pet me, I’m okay with being a little stinky.

05-chico-skunked-canalswim

I thought a swim in the canal would help but the water just brings out the smell.

 

As for the skunk, that pile of dirt was what he’d dug out from under the barn to make a den for himself … or herself. And, yes, he/she is still there. T and Nollind have tried a number of things in and around the den that are supposed to repel skunks but, so far, it keeps returning. They’re wondering if there might be babies in the den. I hope not, because as long as the skunk is there, Logan and I don’t get to go anywhere near the barn. They’re being silly, really, because it’s not like I’d do that again. No way. Next time I’d grab him before he had a chance to turn around and lift that tail!

05-chico-skunked-happydog-2