Jack Benny Moved Today!

Yesterday I delivered Jack Benny to his new home!

Jack is now living with a wonderful lady and her male Golden Retriever named Marley! His new mom is what Golden Bond refers to as a foster-to-adopt. Once Jack is officially ready to be adopted and his “foster mom” thinks he’s a good fit for her, she will turn in the adoption paperwork making Jack legally her boy.

I am very hopeful for Jack and his new family. He’ll be loved very much and I wish them the very best! I hope to hear happy updates in the future:)

Heidi Update!

You may recall that our previous foster dog Heidi was adopted by a great family on August 12. Heidi’s new mom has been very kind and generous to send us occasional updates to let us know how Heidi is doing. The most recent update was very sweet and I cried tears of happiness. I wanted to share it with my readers so I asked for permission and for a recent photo if possible…so here it is!

“It has been a while since we updated you!  Just wanted to tell you that Heidi is doing so well!  We feel like she has always been a part of our family.  She gleefully goes on her walks every day and it has honestly been hard to keep up with her.  She is just so excited and wants to run all of the time!  She is eating her food very well and has had no problems with digestion or anything else related to her health. She is so good, sitting quietly two times a day to take her meds and still seems to tolerate the ear cleaning very well.  Her coat looks amazing. She has been shedding recently, and her fur is so soft!  One of my favorite things about her is how good she is with our cats.  She and Percy have started sleeping near one another.  They are always in the same room together.  Thanks again for all you did to help her be the awesome dog that she is!  We adore her!”

Photo Courtesy Of Heidi's Mom

“I took a picture of her enjoying a fall day in the leaves! She has really been enjoying this cold windy weather. It makes me laugh. She smells everything and is very distracted by things blowing around. She runs from place to place and we have to grab hold of her leash.”

 

 

We Miss You Rusty!

November 3rd was the 1 year anniversary of the death of our boy Rusty.

As I write this I have a sinking feeling inside and I’m wiping away the tears. I want my readers to truly understand the importance of paying attention to your pet’s body. Regularly touch and look at them head to toe (at the very least once a week) so anything out of the norm can be caught ASAP.

In Rusty’s case, on Oct 19, 2013 I discovered a large hard lump on the right side of his face in front of his ear (moments later the photo below was taken). Rusty was a very social and affectionate boy. He loved to be in your face! He’d kiss you, look deep into your eyes, and silently beg for you to touch him. This large lump was not there for days or weeks going unnoticed. I would have felt and saw this just a couple days earlier when giving Rusty his bath had it been present.

That afternoon Rusty wanted to play fetch but appeared to be in pain when opening his mouth to hold the toy. Fortunately he was able to eat his dinner since I had The Honest Kitchen Force formula dog food on hand. I was able to make it extra soupy so he didn’t have to chew. The dogs would occasionally get THK dog food as a special treat because it costs a good amount more than their regular food. Both dogs thought THK was the GREATEST food on earth so I knew that if Rusty wasn’t eating it then there was a SERIOUS problem.

The next day (Oct. 20) we saw our vet. We went home with pain meds and a little hope that regularly putting a warm compress on the lump would decrease the swelling. Maybe, just maybe, Rusty hit his head while we were out to breakfast and the lump was the result.

I spent a lot of time holding a warm compress on that lump with one hand and gently petting him with the other. Rusty would fall asleep during this process. Deep down I knew this wasn’t going to end well. I wanted so badly to be wrong and I would do everything in my power to make him better and pain free.

My sole focus was Rusty’s well being while still making sure the other animals were being cared for. I will forever be thankful to Marley for being SO patient, calm and understanding during this difficult time. She could have made this experience very difficult but didn’t. I was spending hours a day with a warm compress on Rusty’s lump. Finally on Oct 23, shortly after midnight, the lump began to shrink. That morning, shown in the picture below, the lump was barely noticeable.

We were a bit more optimistic at this point. I was still taking photos of Rusty’s lump every few hours to document any changes, good or bad. Later that afternoon my husband was going to pick up stronger pain meds for Rusty at our vet but first we decided to take the dogs on a short leisurely walk. During the walk something caught my eye. Rusty’s mouth was open as he adoringly looked up at my husband (the love of his life) and I saw deep red on his gums. I immediately got the dogs inside and with my husband’s help I took a couple photos to show our vet ASAP.

My husband downloaded the photos to a USB drive and drove to the vet right away. I anxiously waited to hear what the vet had to say about this latest development. All I could do was wait. My husband came home devastated and wept deeply. The vet told him that she suspected Rusty had a Hemangiosarcoma and had maybe a couple weeks to months left. There was a good chance that the mass could rupture and he could possibly bleed to death. After doing research and thinking about what was in Rusty’s best interest, we decided to do pain management only and evaluate his quality of life every day.

I wanted to make the most out of the time Rusty had left so he got to do whatever he wanted. I tried to think of the things that brought him joy. Playing fetch was out of the question (even on pain meds he couldn’t use his mouth much) and so was chewing on compressed rawhide bones. Besides being with Daddy, car rides were the next best thing!

We spent a lot of time in the car taking quiet roads going REALLY slow so Rusty could hang his head out the window to sniff EVERYTHING. One day we picked up Daddy from work and went to the park we used to visit all the time (it was next to our old apartment). As you can see in the picture below, the lump came back by Oct 25 despite the regular use of a warm compress.

We went to Hagg Lake almost every day, and a few times got out of the car for a little stroll.

Rusty was on very strong pain medication which was 2 pills given every 8 hrs. By Oct. 30, the meds were 1 pill every 4 hrs. This way he wouldn’t be painful at the end of the 8 hrs. This appeared to be working for him. He was happy on car rides, thrilled when Daddy was home with him, and was eating his THK food. He also would still look up at me with the same happy expression and stare into my eyes.

On the evening of Nov 2nd Rusty was a little hesitant to take his pills, then 4 hrs later he acted scared of me when I approached to give him his medication. I “slept” on the couch with him to keep a watch on him, and thankfully he got some good sleep. When my alarm went off it was time for Rusty’s breakfast. When medicine time coincided with meal time, I put his pills in his food for him to take. On the morning of Nov 3rd Rusty wouldn’t eat. I woke my husband up and he got Rusty to take his medication. We got Rusty on our bed and he was shaking, most likely from pain. Once the medicine kicked in, Rusty finally ate his breakfast. Shortly after we evaluated his quality of life and decided it was time for Rusty’s last car ride. I gathered the other animals so they could visit Rusty one last time before we left for the vet.

I never knew I could feel so much pain and loss from ending an animal’s life. Rusty was such a wonderful boy who was full of life, love and piss.. He left a huge hole in our hearts and home. The house is quieter and emptier without him.

In honor of Rusty and the foster home who helped us find the right dog, we decided to become a foster home for Golden Retrievers. I’m reminded that when life with a foster dog gets bumpy, just think that someone did the same thing for Rusty.

I miss you Pee-Paw!

PS.

This website has some good information about Hemangiosarcomas.

Oh Boy!

Jack is still with us. He’s slowly making progress with basic training and becoming less fearful of everyday living. Thank goodness he’s very food motivated! Due to this, I’ve been able to use the Dremel to trim Jack’s nails AND I was able to give him a bath. He’s had some improvement with traveling in town with the help of his frozen stuffed Kong.

I’ve taken Jack to the allergist and a behaviorist. Hopefully his anti-anxiety supplement will help Jack be less noise reactive and we’ll see better results with all his behavior modification training. At the very least, the medication the allergist put him on will clear up his yeast infection that hopefully is the ONLY reason he’s itching and nibbling on his paws. I’m crossing my fingers!

We got some great news! There’s a woman who wants to Foster-To-Adopt Jack Benny and he’ll be moving in with her later this month. I’m very excited for both her and Jack. With Jack gone, the house will be MUCH calmer and I can do some one-on-one training with Marley (she’s been much more reactive since Jack has arrived).

Say What?

Back in July, we took the pups (Marley and Heidi) to the beach for the weekend and when we came back we discovered one of our barn cats had disappeared. Tully was our little brown tabby that we’ve had for over 2 years. We initially wanted only 2 barn cats, so I picked a brother and sister out of a family of 5 feral kittens. When my husband heard the family of siblings had been separated, I got the green light to go get the other 3! Over the past 2 years, Tully has become extremely friendly, he wants to be loved on before eating. We were very sad to find out he was gone. This last year, Tully would stick real close to the barn so this was very unusual. We hoped that he would return but after a few weeks we gave up hope.

My husband recently sent me an email saying I should update my blog profile to read I have 3 barn cats (instead of 4). I was still too sad so I decided it wasn’t a high enough priority. WELL…five weeks ago, my husband went down to the barn to feed the barn cats (the remaining 3) and woke me up with an announcement. He said he hoped I didn’t already update my blog. I started to cry because I thought he meant we were now down to 2 barn cats (I care very much about those boys). Turns out my husband should have just said Tully had come back!

I got bundled up and raced down to the barn with a can of wet food because my husband said Tully was very underweight but otherwise appeared fine. I took one look at Tully and decided he needed a lot of TLC so I scooped him up (he was light as a feather) and brought him in the house. I never did get an initial weight, I’m guessing 4 lbs. He was a little smelly, turns out he had an abscess near his groin. Poor guy was so hungry! I made the mistake of letting him free feed, which led to diarrhea. I can tell you from experience, it is not fun waking up in the middle of the night to clean a SMELLY litter box and a cat’s tail… What I Do For Cats & Dogs!

After a visit to the vet, Tully’s abscess is fully healed thanks to them shaving and cleaning the wound plus the antibiotic injection. I was THRILLED that I didn’t have to give him a pill twice a day for two weeks! After Tully was diarrhea free (thanks to Bene-Bac Plus) and abscess was healed, I was able to focus more on helping him relax more in the house. So far, he isn’t hiding much and will usually come out from hiding if you call his name. He is playful especially with wand toys and is frequently found on the cat shelves in the living room.

I think Tully is enjoying the life of a house cat!