Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Heaven got alot noiser and chaotic last night

Sunday and Monday my crazy wild child dog, Deuce, just wasn't himself.  He was yelling at me; not chewing on Raven's head; not running laps around his pen while waited for his dinner; just not his usual exuberant self.  I couldn't get him into our usual vet, but was able to get him into the clinic we used to go to all the time, where he received kind, compassionate and competent care. 
Monday night Deuce was diagnosed with pancreatitis, serious, but manageable.  He did not respond to supportive treatment overnight.  His vet saw some concerning things on his abdominal x-rays. She did an ultrasound yesterday morning that only increased her concerns. Late yesterday afternoon we gave her permission to do an exploratory surgery.
There was a mass behind his liver, cellular changes in the structure of his liver; his pancreas was necrotic and a section of his intestine so hardened and inflammed that nothing could have passed through it. We did not let him wake up again.

We brought him here in May 2005. He'd been a stray for years in a nearby community. No one claimed him and eventually he started getting in trouble while searching for food.   A young man tied Deuce and two other dogs up in his yard to save them until the shelter had room.

Deuce lost his mind in the shelter. From free roam of the Yukon wilderness, to a chain, to a tiny kennel! He hated the confinement and he was horribly bored. The shelter staff thought he was a aggressive and wanted him put down. Stuart brought him home instead. They always shared a special bond; Deuce knew who saved him. I am grateful Stuart made it home in time to say goodbye.

Deuce was not aggressive ever; he was just extraordinarily active, happy and exuberant! He didn't always know how to ask nicely for the attention he so desperately wanted so he'd just knock you over to get it! He was my wild child and I will miss his nutty self!
His penmate, Raven, is lost without him. They've been best friends since the day he arrived.

He didn't always get everything he should have here. He was a difficult dog at times; a special needs boy! But he was safe, warm, fed and deeply loved. I hope that was enough.
 Godspeed, my wild child. Don't cause too much chaos at the Bridge!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farewell, King Muskwa

 He was the first Siberian Husky I ever met; the dog who changed my life. Not only was he a package deal with the man who became my husband, but everything I know about stubborn, digging, howling, escaping, challenging, frustrating,  funny, too-smart-for-their-good, dogs, I first learned from Muskwa. 
=No dog ever had a better life.  He spent his entire life with Stuart, best friends from the moment they met, when Muskwa was just days old.  He saw parts of the Yukon few humans ever get to enjoy.  He was a born alpha dog, a true leader who never resorted to aggresssion to prove his point.  He simply was the King and he expected that everyone, regardless of species, would recognize that! 

It was a life full of adventure and misadventure!  He had a taste for porcupines that never went away.  A dozen encounters never taught him that those things hurt.  Even smart dogs can't know everything!
Four days after his 15th birthday, four months after he was diagnosed with liver failure, Muskwa was released from a body that could no longer support his big spirit.  He has rejoined his pups, Earle and Hoodoo, along with so many members of the pack he started and always ruled.
Godspeed, old friend.  We will miss you!
King of Dogs
October 20, 1997 - October 24, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Good-bye, Glacier

 He was my very first cat, my first pet in my adult life.  14 years ago,  I pulled him out from under a deck in Calgary, an adorable six week old kitten.

He saw some dramatic changes in his life; from just the two of us in a condo in the big city to living with this zoo.  He accepted every change, every newcomer with grace, ease and without ever peeing on my stuff!

He was not the brightest cat I've ever met; he could get lost in the living room!  But he was among the sweetest cats I've ever known, full of drooly purrs, head bonks, and love.


Until five days ago, he'd never been sick a moment in his life, never been to the vet for anything beyond routine care.  Over the Thanksgiving weekend, he became increasingly lethargic, just not his usual mewing purring self. 


He has spent the last three days at the vet clinic where a large tumour was found on his pancreas, his kidneys were failing and his blood sugar was dangerously low.  Despite the best efforts of his vet, he did not respond to treatment; he was miserable and we were out of options.

He was released from his failing body tonight, the last and only thing I could do for him.  He leaves behind fourteen years of memories, a huge hole in my heart and a very lost best friend.  Pete will mourn the loss of his lifelong friend as deeply as I will. 


July 21, 1998 - October 11, 2012


From begining to end, he was a good cat!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Boots is Back!

It took multiple visits to the vet, a few house calls from her, several after hours emergency calls,  a couple surgeries, a feeding tube, and a couple weeks of round the clock feeding sessions. 
It was exhausting.
It was completely worth it!
Boots has made a full recovery from his injuries.  He's back to being his former snuggly, purring, headbonking, mouse killing self.  He eats on his own; more canned food now than kibble, but he eats!
The only reminders of the damage are one slightly squinty eye and a few broken whiskers from our feeding sessions.

Oh, and slightly more spoiled cat...I offered Boots a veritable smorg of kitty treats and food trying to get him to eat.  He now believes he should get Temptations treats multiple times a day and squishy food should be delivered to him wherever he may be!
I am a good cat slave so his demands rarely go unanswered. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

It had been too calm...

It had been too calm for too long, something had to happen and happen it did....

I don't know definatively what happened or who's to blame, besides me, so I won't name any suspects.  12 days ago, Boots had a run in with one of the dogs. I suspect he was racing through the house in the wee hours of the morning, probably harassing Ivy.  Everyone harasses Ivy!  Boots startled a sleeping dog and that dog reacted as dogs will react with a snap of teeth.  Whichever dog it was realized instantly that they had made a mistake and released.  Had they not, this would be a memorial post for Boots. 

Boots did suffer serious injuries including a crushed sinus cavity and a broken palate.  Fortunately, he did not suffer any brain damage and neurologically he's fully functional.  He has spent most of the past two weeks in the wonderful care of Dr. Candace Stuart at All Paws Vet Clinic.  He would not be here without her care! 

Boots came home on Thursday night.  His skull is healing. His palate is solid again, but slightly misaligned.  One sinus cavity is almost normal, the other has much more extensive damage.

 The most pressing current issue is that Boots won't eat on his own.  Cats get very ill very quickly when they don't eat.  Boots had a feeding tube put in on Tuesday.  It will stay in until he eats on his own for several days in a row.  So far he's eaten nothing on his own, but he has been a most cooperative patient !  Tube feeding is not as easy as it looks, but is more stressful for me than it is for Boots!  He purrs and sleeps through most of his feedings! 

He is acting like our usual sweet Boots, full of purrs, snuggles and kisses...even headbonks, although I don't think that's such a good idea given the whole fractured skull issue!
Boots is about the nicest cat I've ever met.  He's all kinds of awesome.  He's fought hard to make it this far.  I am hoping the fight gets easier from here for him. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Delta Day

We don't celebrate St. Patrick's day; we celebrate Delta Day...not the day we adopted him or his birthday, but the day we finally got him home after he disappeared for a month. 
It's been six years since every mail box, bulletin board and utility pole for miles was plastered with a poster of this sweet boy. 

 Delta is the most timid dog I've ever met. He had no socialization as a puppy. He has little use for humans. It made him very hard to catch and led him a long way from home.

We've tried to socialize Delta but progress has been very slow. He follows me around the yard and woos at me, but prefers I not touch him. He's hypthyroid now and medicating him involves tossing a pill hidden in a hotdog from a safe distance!

But he has made some progress.  A couple months ago, he had a huge breakthrough...a simple thing for most dogs, but enormous for Delta.  He will come through the door into the house all by himself!  For years, bringing Delta inside required cornering him in the yard and then carrying him into the house.  Almost every night now, he runs in with the others.  The adorable, funny part is that Delta is so proud of himself when he does this that he stops in the kitchen and breaks into song...every single time! 

He'll be 11 this fall.  I wish I knew where he was for that month, how he survived and how he escaped.  He never goes near the gate anymore!  It is scary out there! 

Happy Delta Day!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Escaping February...

We have a long history of problems with the month of February.  Bad things happen around here in February.  This year, we decided that if something crappy was going to happen to us, we would be on a beach somewhere drowning our sorrows in slushy drinks! 
Much to my father's dismay, we chose Honduras as our destination!   Well, I chose Honduras; Stuart isn't very involved in planning these things. He just shows up at the airport when I tell him to be there! 

I'm pretty sure Dad did not believe one word of my attempts to convince him that we were not going to be in mortal danger!  We didn't visit the mainland, although there are things there I will see someday; this trip was confined to the Bay Island of Roatan.  While Roatan faces many of the issues common to Central American travel, it is safer than the mainland.  
 There were many slushy drinks consumed on this trip, but other than raising a glass to remember Bandit, Mac & Ozzy on the anniversary of their deaths, there was no sorrow drowning! 

No drowning of any kind actually!  We spent much of our time in and on the water, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, sight seeing by boat tour!  Snorkelling Roatan's reef, the second largest in the world, was amazing!

 Like swimming in an aquarium!  Fish, turtles and coral everywhere!  If/when we return to Roatan, I'll be getting my open water diver certification.  I'd love to explore the reef from deeper and closer!

The view from our patio at the little hotel we stayed at.  If you're heading to Roatan and aren't into luxury resorts, I'd highly recommend the Seagrape Plantation in West End..reasonable price, safe, comfortable, quiet, but still close to all the chaos that is West End!  Really if you want full out luxury, Roatan probably isn't the right destination for you anyway!

For the first time in 8 years, we made it through February unscathed.  If it takes being on a Central American island for that to happen, I'm willing to make that sacrifice every year!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our first vet trips of the year!

It didn't take long for the dogs to require the services of All Paws Vet Clinic in 2012! 
Franklin went first. 
Just before Christmas, Franklin was at the clinic getting a skin infection checked out.  His seasonal allergies never went away and turned into a bacterial skin infection.  During that exam, we found a lump on his front leg that turned out to be cancerous.  It grew like crazy over the holidays so it had to be removed!  A week ago, Franklin had the surgery.  He is recovering well.  The type of cancer he has is unlikely to spread to other parts of his body. It does have a high rate of reoccurance though so we'll be keeping a close eye on that spot! 

Franklin also turned 12 this week!  We are grateful he's back on his paws and here to celebrate with us!  Moose bones for everyone!!

We started today with an early morning phone call to Dr. Stuart. 
Heyoka couldn't stand up.  His back legs just weren't working.  He has had a back problem before but this looked much more serious!  We were waiting at the clinic when the door was unlocked.  Heyoka had regained some use of his legs by then, but he was unhappy, weak, and wobbly!  

A big dose of prednisone, a muscle relaxer and some accupuncture perked him right up!  He's not 100% yet. His balance is still a little iffy, especially if he tries to run or move too fast!  He probably has a pinched nerve in his back.  Fortunately it seems to respond to medication.   Heyoka is getting older too; he's so goofy that it's hard to believe he's a senior dog!   I'm very glad to have the big goof home tonight!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Almost silent bliss

Today was Fresh Bone Day in the dog yards....
The only sound in the yard is happy huskies chewing! 

Pure, almost silent bliss for both human and canines!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Looking back and forward

2011 was not a kind year to our pack.  I'm not sorry to see it end! 
We lost six dogs and two cats.  Most of those deaths were unexpected; three of them took place over the most traumatic 19 hours of my life; something I hope to never come close to experiencing ever again! 

While we mourn and miss  Founder, Bandit, Mac, Ozzy, Earle, Kayleigh, Puff and Sophia, the year wasn't all bad either.
Heyoka got his throat problems fixed in April.  He's a different dog; he's like a puppy again. It's so much easier to be happy and active when you can breathe! It's a huge delight to watch him run, play and live up to his name, which means Clown! 
Our ridiculously timid dog, Delta, had a huge breakthrough late in the year.  His sudden attack bravery and trust deserves a post of it's own!  I'll do that soon! After almost a decade together, it's nice to see him still making some progress!
Chum's diagnosis was changed from fatal to chronic.  He doesn't have liver cancer; he has a form of steriod responsive hepatitis.  We are currently finishing a long weaning program for all his medications, except a low dose of prednisone.  He remains the same noisy, nutty goof he's always been.

The year wasn't all bad for the humans here either....I had surgery on my wrist and after almost 3 years of chronic pain have a pain-free fully functional joint again.  I got to spend some time down south with my family; attended my niece's wedding; toured my sister and her family around Haines, Alaska; spent two whole weeks with my niece, Naomi. 

In November, I had PRK surgery to free myself from glasses and contacts.  For the first two weeks, I thought I'd make a very expensive and painful mistake, but now I am seeing clearly and loving it!

Stuart's drilling business seems to be taking off. It takes him away from home for long periods, but he's always happy when he's way too busy!  It appears he has finally figured out what he wants to be when he grows up...if he grows up! :)

We expect that we will lose several more pack members in 2012.  There are two 15 year old dogs in our pack, several more well over 12 and everyone but Tehya is over 10!  The cats are also aging, although with fewer obvious health issues. 

While the new year will most certainly have it's heartaches, we have happy plans too!  We're heading to Honduras in February for a far too short break from the dark and cold.  I can't wait to snorkel and swim without fear of losing a contact!  In September I turn 40 and that too will hopefully be celebrated with a short trip somewhere.  I suggested Santa Clara, Cuba; Stuart said Newfoundland! It's my birthday so I think I should win that debate!

We're hoping to return to Costa Rica at the end of 2012...Christmas on a beach next year maybe!  Depending on dogsitters...every trip of more than 12 hours for us depends on a dogsitter!

In May my family will welcome a new human addition too.  My sister is expecting another baby. I can't wait to meet the new little one.  I do love being an Auntie!

Bring it on, 2012.  If 2011 didn't break us, you won't either!

Happy New Year!