Tuesday, April 26, 2011

They Teach Us

I hear people saying, "My kid's been pulling that puppy crap on me.  There's no way she's getting a puppy.  I'll end up doing everything.  It will all get pushed onto me."
Really?  I am so glad my parents didn't say that.
Don't they realize how much dogs can teach us?
I have learned more from my dogs, my best friends, than from anyone else.
Dogs teach us so many things.
They teach us how to love and they teach us how to live. 
They teach us how to let go. 
They teach us how to fight.
They teach us how to appreciate a sunny day.
They teach us that a sock is just as good as a fifteen dollar rope toy.
They teach us to appreciate the rain when they stand in it like they just don't care that they're getting wet.
They teach us how to be friends.
They teach us how to forgive.
They teach us how to learn.
Lady taught me responsibility and love.  She gives me companionship and understanding.
She gives me loyalty and forgiveness.
Squeak taught me how to fight.  She taught me how to fight very very hard for what you love. 
She also taught me how to let go.
Bentley teaches me about simple things every day.  Snapping at butterflies or tufts of hair floating in the wind.
Even on the coldest days in winter he brought me joy with his antics, rolling around in the snow making puppy angels.
He soaks in the sunlight.
He has the most contented sighs that I have ever heard.
To him, a quick pat on the head is just a great as a full-body rub-down.
Water becomes the best thing in the world.
Being with me is the best thing in the world.
Every day is filled with the best things in the world.
They have so much to teach us.
Let them.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010

I am very glad that 2010 is ending.  2010 has easily been the worst year of my life.

I am going to apologize in advance for any typos.  Usually I carefully reread to catch any, but I won't be rereading this post.

It all started in mid March when Lady got sick.  She had chronic diarrhea for two months.  She went to MSU (they wanted to do an intestinal biopsy), and Oakland (they wanted to try a new food, you can guess which one I chose), and finally, it stopped thanks to the food.  She lost fifteen pounds.
This was very hard for me.  This was the first time in seven years of owning dogs that my local vet (which I love) couldn't help me.  Having to go to MSU was traumatizing.  They took Lady from me at the door.  I met the a vet once and then waited for four hours by myself in a waiting room with no updates.  At one point, a tech walked her past the room on the way to get an ultrasound and I stepped out, asked her to stop, I was crying, I just wanted to pet her, see how she was doing!  The girl looked at me like I was crazy and kept walking.  I was frustrated and infuriated.  I was so relieved when I got her back from all of her tests.  When they all came back normal or negative, they wanted to jump into surgery.  By this time, Squeak was already at Oakland, fighting for her life.  I took Lady there for a consultation and thankfully a simple food change worked.
Squeak's gums started bleeding on April 14.  It was her fourth birthday, my twentieth birthday.  They bled for three days before I could arrange to go up north to my vet.  They bled so badly that if she set her head on anything, my lap, a blanket, the couch, she left bloodspots behind her.  My comforter was covered with bloodspots.  The night before the appointment, I noticed a rash all over her belly, chest, and legs.  The spots spread overnight.
By the time we got to the vet the spots were larger.  They said the spots weren't a rash, but bruises, pinpoint hematomas.  Though her platelet levels were normal, they suspected rat poisioning.  They injected her with Vitamin K, and gave me tablests and told me to monitor the spots.  After about an hour, they had started to swell, blood was leaking under her skin.  We rushed her the an emergency clinic in Saginaw at our vet's reccomendation, as she would be able to recieve a transfusion if her platelets dropped there.  She was monitored overnight.  We got a call in the morning that her platelet levels were still normal and we could go get her.
When we arrived, Squeak did not wag her tail, try to jump on us, she didn't even react to the resident cat.  The bruises were huge and black.  We said she wasn't herself, and they reccommended us to Oakland Veterinary Referral Services.  I though she was going to die in the car.  By the time we got there her platelets were down to 7,000.  30,000 is considered low.  She was on death's door.  She stayed at Oakland for five days.  They determined that she had immune mediated thrombocytopenia.  Her immune system was attacking her platelets.  The was probably due to a reaction to a vaccine she had gotten less than four weeks earlier.  When she left her platelets were up to 116,000.  We picked her up on April 21.
She lasted about a month.  She was on Prednisone, Pepcid, Metronidazole, and Karafate.  Denosyl, Lixotinic, and Sporocycline were added.  It seemed she got a pill every hour of the day.  It was just too much for her.  She wasn't reacting to the medications like she should have been, bruises kept showing up.  In that last month we went to two vets nine times.
During one bruise scare all she needed was a blood test to check her levels.  It was 11:00pm.  I called Animal Health Associates.  The vet would not do the blood test becasue Squeak was not a patient there.  My vet was on the phone with me two hours north trying to get hold of a vet down here, no one would take her.  I lost it on that vet from AHA, though.  I swore at him, I screamed at him, the asinine bast***.  I threw the phone, it broke, I ripped the phonebook.  I was screaming.  I had completely lost my mind.  I almost drove over there to take my anger out on him in person.  I was crying screaming sobbing.  My lungs were on fire.  I was just trying to save my little girl and this ass had the nerve to repeatedly tell me that he would not help me, with sick sarcasm in his voice.  I tell everyone I can about this incident.  And Dr. Imlay has and is going to lose clients because of it.  I ended up driving Squeak to the emergency clinic in Saginaw that night.  We got there around 2am.  We didn't get home until about 5am. 
The morning of May 25, Squeak would not eat.  Anything.  She had been getting pickier and pickier due to the many medications she was on, but theis was different.  She refused food.
I took her outside in the sun and she looked so haggard and worn.  Her four year old little brown face had begun to turn grey just in the past month.  But the sun was shining on her and the grass was so so green.  I looked down at her, thought about everything I was doing for her and said three simple words just to her, "I love you."  She looked at me.  Then she turned and vomited.  It was so clear to me that she was giving up.
I called the vet as soon as we got in.
We had just run a slew of tests three days ago to try to figure out why none of the medications were working.
The only thing the vet had left was a bone marrow aspiration to diagnose a hereditary disease that there was no treatment for.  It would have to be done at Oakland.  It was a harrowing procedure, there was no guarantee she would make it.  She gentley said that we may have to consider other options. 
By this point, I had been watching Squeak suffer for a month.  I mean, she was never the same dog once her gums started bleeding.  She wouldn't play, she growled at Lady, she slept and laid around all day.  She was not the bouncy quirky little beagle she had always been.
It was almost a relief to think about ending her suffering.
I coudn't make myself put her through the procedure.
We drove Squeak and Lady up north.  Her appointment was for 3:00.
Once we reached my parents house I went in my old room and laid on the bed with her.  I was just beginning to second guess my decision.  I said again, "I love you."  It was almost like it was her cue.  She vomited again.  She wanted me to let go.  She was giving me a sign.
We all said our goodbyes, Chris, Dad, Lady.
Mom and I drove her to the clinic.
She laid in her little bed.  I held her head. 
She was so calm.  She knew what was happening.
She went calmly.   I held her the entire time.
We buried her down by the pond.  In a beautiful spot.

Two weeks later I adopted Ruby.
The very scared little basset beagle mix captured my heart.  All the workers assured me that she just needed to get out of the shelter and she'd be fine.  So I adopted her.
She did not get along well with Lady.  The workers told me that if I gave her a week and she still was not accepting Lady, I woudl be able to bring her back for a full refund.  At the end of the week it was not going well still, but I coudln't bring myself to take her back.  My wonderful mother agreed to take her.
She bought her a new bed, collar, leash, food, treats, bowls, toys, everything.
Mom got her home and she got her in the house, fully ready to love the scared right out of this little dog.
She opened the front door to grab the dog food off the porch and that was it.  Ruby bolted.
My parents live in the middle of farm country.  We weren't worried.  She'd come back.
I drove up as soon as mom called to tell me what happened.  By the tiem Chris, Lady,a nd I got up there she was long gone, but we tramped through cornfields and down the road for hours.
Three days later they found her body in the middle of the highway six miles away.  They buried her in a beautiful spot, too.
On July 18 I got Bentley.  He has been the perfect puppy, as calm as can be.  By far the easiest puppy.  He has brought joy to my life again.  He is the happy ending to this terrible terrible year of loss and sorrow.
Oh yeah, and Lady had TPLO surgery in August for her torn ACL.  Followed by 16 weeks of crate rest.  Talk about hell.
One of my aunt's beloved Rottweilers, Kuffs, died in November at the young age of 8.  Cancer.
But now, the day before New Year's Eve, Lady is free from her crate.  We walk an hour a day.  Bentley has passed puppy obedience and is taking beginning obedience in january, canine good citizen class in april, and will hopefully be Delta certified as a therapy dog in June.
He was born on May 31.  Just 6 days after Squeak passed.
I know this has been a long, weepy, depressing post.  But it has been a long, weepy, depressing year.
2011 has to be better, because, frankly, 2010 was the worst. 
To the New Year.  To Happiness.  To Comfort.  To Hope.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Chris doesn't like leftovers.  The only leftover that he is willing to eat is Pizza Hut.  I on the other hand, love leftovers.  Especially Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner leftovers.  So usually I make small meals where both of us are going to eat most of what I prepare, and maybe a few leftovers for me for the next day.  It works out pretty well.
I realized today that all dogs get to eat are leftovers!  And no, I'm not talking about people food, that is BAD, I'm talking about dog food!
My poor dogs have to eat the same thing every day!

What's for breakfast? Science Diet Large Breed, alright!
What's for lunch? Science Diet Large Breed..okay.  I'll go with it.
What's for dinner? Science Diet Large Breed.  Really?  Whatever. 
What's for breakfast?  Science Diet Large Breed.  Seriously? Didn't I have this yesterday?
What's for lunch?  Science Diet Large Breed.  You're joking, right?
What's for dinner?  Science Diet Large Breed.  You know what?  Its food.  I'm gonna eat it.

What's for breakfast? Science Diet Large Breed Puppy, alright!
What's for lunch? Science Diet Large Breed Puppy, alright!
What's for dinner? Science Diet Large Breed Puppy, alright!
What's for breakfast? Science Diet Large Breed Puppy, alright!
What's for lunch? Science Diet Large Breed Puppy, alright!
What's for dinner? Science Diet Large Breed Puppy, alright!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Theory of Mimetic Desire

So in my Shakespeare class this past semester, we read The Winter's Tale, which is one of his late plays, obscure, and makes no sense.  His later plays are renowned for having too many ideas, theories, and storylines tied together.  For example, a guy is eaten by a bear onstage and a long dead wife, who has been carved as a statue, comes back to life.  Crazy stuff.
The story is about a king who grew up with another king.  When they were children they were 'innocent rivals' but now things have taken a turn for the worst.  The first king accuses the second king of having an affair with his wife.  But the first king doesn't really like his wife until he became suspicious of the other king sleeping with her.
Thus we discussed the Theory of Mimetic Desire.  Rene Girard came up with this.  Anyway, mimetic desire is when you only like something because somebody else likes it.  In order for this to work, though, you have to like the other person enough to want to be like him.
For example: Basically every guy on the planet likes James Bond, wants to be James Bond.  Say a guy sees James Bond in Walmart, at the tie rack, and James Bond picks out a nice red silk tie.  The guy automatically wants that tie becasue he wants to be like James Bond.  But he really wants that tie.  When does a harmless 'man crush' turn into becoming rivals?
Of course, with Shakespeare, this is turned into a homoerotic subject, hinting that the first king and second king were more than just friends and that the first king loves the second king more than he does his own wife.

This is apparent in the world of dogs as well.  Just tonight, I poured water in the water bowl.  Bentley looked at it, and turned away.  Lady, on the other hand, heard the water hit the bowl and came running to drink it.  Only when Bentley saw that Lady wanted the water did he want the water.  Bentley thinks Lady is cool.
I just tied Girard, Shakespeare, Homoeroticism, and Dogs all into one post.  Eat your heart out.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Vacations confuse dogs.
Well, my dogs at least.  Especially Bentley.  Lady's been through this a few times now, but Bentley has no clue what's going on.

When we got Bentley it was July, and we were with him every day for about a month.  At about 12 weeks, he had to stay crated for a portion of the day because Chris and I were in class.  I think Bentley thought his world was ending.

Now, we are on break!  He just keeps expecting us to leave again.  Don't get me wrong, he likes us being here all the time, but now we know that he really does sleep while we're away, because he sleeps all day while we're here anyway!  I can't believe he's over 6 months old!  He's eating 5 cups of Science Diet a day, and is weighing in at around 50lbs already.  He's as tall as Lady, but he's still so skinny and lanky!  He hasn't even begun to fill out yet!  He is going to be a HUGE dog.  I love big dogs.  He's going to be so great!

Lady is doing well.  We've lifted pretty much all of her restrictions except rough play with Bentley.  She's been doing great!  We still haven't seen a limp since week 4 post op!

This has been such a terrible year, it would be great if it could end on a high note!!!  I'm holding my breath....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bentley's Friday

Bentley had an interesting day today.

He got up really early, but didn't get any breakfast.
His mom took him to the pokey place where he gets poked by pokey things, where he expected everyone there to have his breakfast, since he did not yet get it.
He was then poked.  He was poked again.  He fell asleep.
When he woke up he felt all loopy.  A nice lady (who did not have his breakfast either) took him back to the other room to his mother.  (Who was not waiting with breakfast, as he thought she would be.)
Mom drove him back to a house where he decided to sleep in the bathroom for a couple of hours.
Then mom drove him for a long time back to home.
Then he fell asleep some more.

I had an interesting day today.

I got up really early, and couldn't feed Bentley breakfast because he was about to under go general anesthesia.
I drove him to the vet's office where I tearfully handed him off, signed a few papers, and tearfully drove off to my favoritest place in the whole world, Baker's Animal Boutique.  Lynn always makes me know how to feel better.
I couldn't take it anymore, and by lunchtime I called to check on him.  They told me everything had gone fine, he'd just woken up and I could come get him any time.
I quickly drove back to the vet's office and shelled out $166.00 to get Bentley back.
He came walking out a little loopy, looking for his breakfast, of course.
We went back to my parents house where I finished up my laundry while Bentley slept in the bathroom.  I'm still not sure why he chose to sleep there, but it was good for him to sleep off the effects of the anesthesia.
Once I finished my laundry, I gathered up the still-loopy Bentley and we drove back home.  When we got here, he fell asleep again. 
I still don't think he realizes his balls are missing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

For Jenny :)

So Thanksgiving was a disaster.
I went home.  With my two labs.
I hadn't been home since September.
Lady hadn't been home since July due to her surgery...slippery floors and steps were no-nos for 12 weeks. 
Bentley hadn't been home since I'd been home in September.
It was interesting to say the least, as it was the first year my mom had her own puppy terrorizing the house waiting for us.
However that little puppy, Chip, (Mom was a corgi/shi zhu/poodle mix, Dad was a plott hound/ bluetick hound cross, he looks like a black terrier) had gotten neutered on Wednesday.  He was restricted to the crate.  He barked the entire (and I mean the ENTIRE weekend).
Lady hit the slippery floor like it was no body's business and had me freaking out that she would start limping at any moment.  Not to mention there is a step going from the 'old' part of the house to the 'new' part.  Lady hadn't done steps since who knows when.... So needless to say, she was also restricted to her crate.  She barked the ENTIRE weekend as well.
Bentley had the run of the house for most of the weekend, and was a very good boy.

But I haven't told you the worst part....
Not two and a half minutes after we'd all (Me, Chris, Lady, and Bentley) gotten through the door, but we were all made witness to a major accident.  Bentley was still onleash, the leash being held, of course, and he was on the upper half of the step.  He leaped to jump onto my mom to say 'hi' when he hit the end of the leash and was pulled back by his own force.  It wouldn't have been a big deal, but when he landed, his head came down right on the edge of the step.  The noise it made was so loud.  And then my heart just about broke. 
He locked eyes with me, and was just sooo slow getting up.  And when he finally did sit up, he was holding his front right leg off the ground and was moaning in pain.  It had hit hard, too, at an odd angle.
I almost started crying.
After a few steps he started putting his leg down and he turned out to be fine.  I was worried about a concussion, so I woke him up at least every two hours that evening.
He's fine now, but the vet almost had an emergency call the night before Thanksgiving.  It's a good thing he's insured!!!