Getting Back To The Basics

A place to show the changes in our yard, our garden, our home, and our life.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Back From The Dead

So apparently I've taken a long hiatus from blogging. I didn't do this on purpose, life just got away from me. It's been over a year since I've posted anything and a lot has happened. I am going to fire off a bunch of things to highlight the last 16 months.

Miss V had to have another knee surgery. This means that we had to go through everything we went through the first time around from recovery, to rehab, to medications, the works. Our surgeon told us the first time around she would probably end up needing the 2nd knee done eventually but we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. He also said that 50% of luxating patellas end up with an ACL tear. Violet ended up fitting into that 50% statistic beautifully as she ended up with a partial ACL tear on that 2nd knee so that's what ended up tipping her over into the "she needs surgery" category. So now both knees are prepared, her ACL is repaired, and she's perfect.

Do we really have to this is again?

Post op life is rough for everyone

 Tucker missed her terribly


But there's light at the end of the tunnel! Now Violet is back to being happy, back to being herself. Into all sorts of naughty things (cat box), running around like a loon, chasing rabbits, harassing Tucker, the works. We're sad she had to have surgery but happy she came through the other end right as rain.

Violet torpedo to the butt!

Sadly her struggles this past 16 months didn't end there. After surgery and recovery she was having digestive and tummy issues. We had a lot of sleepless nights as she woke up countless times in the middle of the night with tummy upset. She used to go out and eat grass like a cow but we convinced her to eat bread instead - it kept getting worse as time went on. Long story short she had an endoscopy and biopsy that diagnosed her with IBD (irritable bowel disease). Slightly atypical because she never presented with vomiting or diarrhea. We tested her for food intolerances and adjusted her diet. She's not on any meds for it! Yahoo! Controlled by diet (raw) and she is a very happy girl now.

Bow to the queen

BUT! Our problems didn't end there! In all of this chaos, Violet gained weight. Despite increasing activity and decreasing calories she kept gaining and/or maintaining. When we were trying to figure out her digestive issues she had blood work run and everything came back great. So when I returned to the vet to talk about her weight we re-ran blood work to check her thyroid but expected it to be normal because of previous lab results. Imagine our surprise when she came back hypothyroid. We think her thyroid was barely hanging on before, but after the inflammation and hardship her body went through during her bad IBD flare up, it fried her poor thyroid. So now she's on meds for that and the excess weight melted off her. Super important for her knee health!

She's able to keep up with the pack now

Through ALL of this I want to throw a shout out to our pet insurance, Healthy Paws. This is exactly what pet insurance is for. All three of my pets are insured and knock on wood we don't need to use it again like this but I'm very glad it's there. It really saved us from going into a deep financial hole. Their coverage is great and their response time is fantastic. We did have some issues in communication with Sadie and her prior medical records (I was ready to strangle them) but that has been ironed out and since then, no issues. I still recommend them to my friends.

Miss Sadie has had a lot of fun these past 16 months. Between agility and dock diving she has been very busy in a good way. She has had some minor issues with her urinary incontinence, and the vet is wondering if she may have some congenital issues at play aggravating the issue, but diagnosing them isn't going to alter our battle. She's on new meds now that has the issue about 95% contained and thus far her blood work is good to continue onward.

Hard to believe this beautiful girl is almost 7 years young
She's done fantastic in her dock diving. Before this summer she was regularly jumping a meager 5-6 feet from the dock - but despite that the crowds always loved her because she's such a tiny character up there on the dock. But this summer something in her finally clicked and she started jumping off the dock without hesitation. Her current best is nearly 11'! She got an invite to worlds but sadly we had to decline. Maybe next year we'll go if we get another invite.

Good luck kiss before the jump

Agility wise Sadie has done great. She loves that sport and while we aren't exactly super competitive (my choice) she does very well when I'm able to enter and run with her. I'm hoping that 2016 will bring many more agility trials into her life as those are the things that make her happy.

Sadie singing us the song of her people (bark!)

Always so happy

Sadie can teeter!

It's good to be Sadie

Can you believe this little mischievous puppy is turning TWO next month? True story! For the past 16 months this little goober has been doing obedience, agility, dog shows, and barn hunt! In July he debuted in his first agility trial - we chose a small AKC venue as it was local and at the same facility we train at. Seriously guys, it was hilarious. He's such a puppy. He ran around and greeted EVERYONE in the ring. Despite that he had moments of brilliance and you can tell he's going to do nicely with some maturity and experience under his belt. Such a good boy.

Staying on the table like a good boy

Tucker can teeter!

Tucker can weave!

Tucker can jump!

Tucker can tunnel!

And if you want a good laugh please watch Tucker's debut video. What. A. Dork.

The fantastic part of that weekend is he got better about his focus as the weekend went on which is pretty quick learning for a young adolescent boy. I was very pleased with how he did that weekend. Hopefully more soon in the future!

He's also been to a lot of shows. I am very new to the show world so we've been learning as we go along. He's done quite well for himself and has earned 6 points from 2 majors. So the hard part is done but now we have to fight our way through for those last 9 points for his Champion title. Not an easy task for us but we'll get there.

Tucker hugs in the show ring for good luck

He's a handsome bugger, isn't he?

He's an absolute delight and we're so happy he's a part of our family. Violet loves this dog - seriously loves him. They romp and play for hours. It is non stop chaos with those two!

So regal and majestic - except not

Interesting factoid: Tucker made it into a book! I was asked permission to use a picture of Tucker as a representative of his breed (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) for a book coming out in 2016. You can find the book here for pre-order on Amazon: Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon

Rob - aka the husband
Same old with this guy. The only thing exciting that really happened with him is he was rear ended in a bad car accident while he was driving the prius. Thank goodness no one else was in the car. It was a large Roto Rooter van that nailed him while he was at a stop light. The car was totaled but Rob seems to be okay. He was taken to the hospital and a doctor for follow up on a sore arm and shoulder but knock on wood nothing else pops up. His accident claim is still open in case something comes to light as time passes.

Fast forward a few months and we got a new car - a 2016 Subaru Outback. Such a classic PNW car for the dog loving family (it's the blue car on the right)

So overall Rob is doing well. Or so he tells me.

Some things new, some things stayed the same. I got a new position within my job that came with added stress. So that's new. I still teach at a local college during summer quarters, so that's the same. The main new thing in my life is I got bariatric surgery. Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy if you're curious. I'm not going to go into it a lot because I don't have a lot to say about it. When I made my announcement to friends and family, it was just that. An announcement. Not a debate or something open to discussion and the same applies here. I did it for my health and I have zero regrets. I have zero interest in hearing what the naysayers think. I've lost approximately 85 lbs, I've started running (goal of a 15k run next March), and I'm participating in a fitness class for strength training.



Staffordshire Manor
We've been living through some remodel stuff of our home. It started last January and the fact that it is still dragging on is starting to annoy me, to say the least. We're creating a new master bedroom and future master bath and will convert the old master into the dog/guest room. It will be great once it's all done but here's some pics of the progress.

This project involved tearing down walls, turning two rooms into a bedroom with a walk in closet, and installing a sliding glass door for back yard access (dogs gotta pee!). New doors, new paint, new trim, new floors. The floors are cork and the doors will eventually be painted in a white wash. The ceiling beams will be painted white.

walk in closet with sliding door

Violet approves of this floor

I think that's all I have to report. Cheers!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spring Time at Staffordshire Manor

It's been fun sitting back and watching what pops out of the ground here at Staffordshire Manor. This is our first spring here and you never know what'll pop up. It's heavy on the pink so I will have to rectify this in the future by bringing in some more colors.

This little baby is called Columbine. I really like it and the hummingbirds love it.

Lots of Iris is popping up

Pink Rhododendron - with a honey bee

I am a little disappointed by the amount of plant death we had over winter. Not only did it hit my figs hard, but there's a few dead established in-ground plants that died. We had more long cold snaps than we usually have and that left a few plants suffering for it. I'm on a quest to go through my fig inventory and figure out who lived to talk about it and who I need to replace.

A few of my young figs have fruit on them though :)

The pups all seem to be doing well. Health issues seem to be leveling out, Vi's rehab has come to an end and is basically back up to normal speed - though we still interrupt her heavy play sessions to give her a break. She's still a little lighter on that leg compared to the other and she stretches it out often, but other than that she seems to be back at her pre-surgery level. It still luxates and she still skips, but it's not as often.

She's happy to be back to munching on her brother

Tucker and Sadie also get along well. Tucker loves to play keep away with the ball, which happens to be Sadie's least favorite game. But they're getting their rhythm down and figuring out ways to make the game work for both of them which makes it more enjoyable for me in the end.

Sadie plays fetch and every once in a while I slip the ball to Tucker and Sadie gives chase. She eventually gets it back and brings it back to me to throw for a while, then back to Tucker. Repeat x 100.

And here's how Sadie gets her ball back

It works for them and they have a good time before coming in to crash for a bit. Loving the pups and still loving the new house despite the curve balls it keeps throwing at me - like poorly draining soil and rocks. Lots of rocks.

More puppy pics can be found here:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tucker's First Show

Tucker went on a little vacation! He went with Sarah, who own's Tucker's pappy and grammie, with her to Sacramento, CA for the SBTCA Nationals. So it was a little adventure for him and some down time for us which, given everything that's been going on, was much needed.

He got to meet his papa, Pirate! He's a sweet boy and Tucker seems to have inherited his sweet natured personality though, to be fair, his momma is a sweetheart too. Sarah also owns Tess who is Pirate's mom, so Tucker's gramma.

Left to right: Tess, Tucker, Pirate

It was neat to get updates from Sarah regarding Tucker's integration into her little pack. Tess can be a little snarky with dogs she doesn't know but she took to Tucker within 24 hours of his arrival. She went from "DIE!" to "Ok let's PLAY!" in a relatively short amount of time. The videos of the three of them romping together were adorable.

Tucker has a bad habit - involves lifting his leg and peeing on things inside the house, especially when excited and/or in a new environment. He peed on a dog bed in Sarah's house. I laughed. She bought him belly band.

I am so embarrassed

I have a few pictures of the dog show. Tucker did really good! He was handled by Dayna, his co-owner, and he did really good for her. She said he showed like a show pony. He was goofy and wiggly and eager to make out with the judges but he showed well and, most importantly, he had fun. So overall last weekend proved to be a good experience for the little baby jackass.

I just love the above pic. Clearly I am biased but I think he is very handsome. Show wise he did great! He's just a baby and turned 6 months on the first day of the show. He consistently placed 2nd in most of the classes he was entered (4 days worth of showing) and from what I've been told the competition was stiff. He placed 2nd in the 6-9 month puppy class at the SBTCA Nationals show day which had Sarah and Dayna pleased. His sissy, River, also placed very well as the weekend went on so overall both of the pups did very well for their first show!

Can I pleeeaaaase kiss the judge?!

Big thanks to Sarah for caring for her grandpuppy like one of her own, and to Dayna for taking time out of her busy show schedule to have him prance around the ring. Team effort to make it a great experience for the pups.

I'm meeting Sarah tomorrow to get my puppy back. I've missed the little twerp.