Getting Back To The Basics

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

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.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dog Related Health Updates

It's been a while since I have updated Violet's knee surgery but that's because things sort of imploded on us at Staffordshire Manor. So to help this all make sense I'll start with Violet and work my way down.

VIOLET:
As noted in my previous post Violet had surgery on a painful luxating patella that was making her lame on a regular basis. I am going to make this story short by saying it was a difficult recovery. Very difficult for all who lived under this roof. Violet has lived in a 4 x 4' exercise pen for 10 weeks now and has only been out when on a leashed potty break or leashed walk, or for exercises and therapies. Lots of medications including injections are now a part of her daily routine. Stretches, walks, underwater treadmill sessions, laser therapy, and craniosacral massage appointments consumed my time.

Violet enjoying her massage

Violet's onderwater treadmill session



Despite living a strict existence there have been set backs. You think all is well in recovery land and then you take a few steps back. The knee started luxating again and she is still healing from a hot spot she gave herself on that knee. But things are getting better, the knee is stable, and she's now being allowed 15 minutes of off-leash play time (without Tucker) and we are slowly building up that time week by week. We're hoping that as long as she remains stable we'll be able to slowly introduce Tucker into the play time mix. That will happen in 2-3 weeks as long as Violet's recovery has no set backs.


SADIE:
As everyone knows, Sadie is crazy and has no respect for the natural limitations a living body has. This means all her teeth are broken to some extent or another. This was proven when she broke a tooth shortly after Vi's surgery (not sure how or with what she broke it on) and I got a few opinions as to whether or not it should be pulled. In the end two teeth got pulled, both bottom molars, and we were surprised to learn it was actually abscessed with Sadie showing no signs of distress, as per her usual. They inspected the rest of her teeth while she was under and she'll probably end up losing most/all of them over the course of her life. I doubt it will slow her down at all though - she's just happy to wake up every day no matter what life throws her way.

Sadie after she got home from the vet - she wanted to play ball. We didn't oblige her somewhat ridiculous request.

TUCKER:
The puppy was feeling left out so he decided to have GI issues that proved difficult to pin down. We ran fecal tests that came back negative and food sensitivity tests that came back essentially normal. He struggled with explosive diarrhea that kept him miserable and he had a hard time putting on weight. It's true I like my adult dogs lean but the same is not true for my baby puppies. Pups need a healthy layer of puppy chub and he was getting thin enough that I was worrying. Add the fact that his explosive diarrhea episodes were happening every day and all through the night, on top of the other canine health issues we were dealing with, something needed to change. We wormed him and treated him as if he had giardia despite the negative fecals. And just like that - boom! All better. His butt got better and he started gaining weight again. 

Tucker has a happy butt once again!

So in a nutshell that is what has been consuming all my time for the past 2 months. All three dogs have had multiple vet appts, follow up appts, rehab, fecal, urine tests... oh that reminds me. Sadie's BUN levels were high on her blood test (a kidney value thing) but she's on a raw diet and they run a little higher. We did a renal ultrasound just to make me feel better considering all the crazy I've been swimming in lately. This is what her kidneys look like in case you were ever wondering to yourself, "Self? I wonder what that lady's dog's kidneys look like." Well wonder no more!

Normal!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

24 Hours Post Surgery

I had such high hopes that this transition with Violet would go smoothly. They're fully doped up, sedated, and sleepy through their post surgery period. I was promised the first two weeks would be a cake walk and the following 4 weeks after would be tough because that's when they're feeling better.

Well let me tell you the first 24 hours was pure hell. She wouldn't sleep. She wouldn't lie down. She cried, shook, paced, panted, stress licked, and was generally inconsolable. The further into the day we went, the further out of whatever magical injectable pain killer she had been given, and the more miserable she became. The tramadol did nothing and I had no other tricks up my sleeve as that was all that had been prescribed.


She wouldn't lie down. She'd occasionally try and then yelp in pain and refuse to try again for another hour. She leaned into me and tried to sleep standing up. I was up until 3 am with her when she finally collapsed in exhaustion and napped until she awoke, crying and distraught, at 5 am.

I have friends in my corner though, and am blessed to have a vet on my flyball team. She gave us a couple different medications, one being rimadyl and the other being a homeopathic pain medication, to help us ride through the rest of the weekend until we can call our regular vet tomorrow. We got some of that in her system and with that combined with her tramadol she's like a new dog. She has slept most of the day and seems more comfortable. She settles a lot easier. She is NOT sedated at all but I'll take aware and comfortable over drunk and uncomfortable.

Finally! A sleeping Violet.

The sun was out, the Seahawks were playing, they won the Super Bowl. Personally I don't care - I'll stick with the sunny day and warm sun beams.

Oh glorious warm sun beam! Violet likes you very much.

Violet walked around with me on a short leash. She holds up her bad leg without any attempt at putting weight on to it. She soaked up the sun and ate a lot of grass. My pups eat grass because they like it, not because of an upset tummy. So she just grazed happily and peacefully while Rob threw the ball for Sadie. Tucker just romped around being a silly puppy, chasing Sadie and making toys out of random items he found on the ground. The main goal was to keep him from jumping on Violet to play and we did just fine there. Everyone had a good time.




Even though Rob had the chuck-it, Sadie would swing by me and Sadie and give us both a friendly drive-by, checking in on us. She's no dummy. She knows Violet is a little off right now.




To top it off, Tucker had his last round of puppy vaccinations on Saturday, the same day we picked up Violet. Little Tucker weighs in at 20 lbs at 16 weeks! He's growing up to be about the same size as his papa, around 35-38 lbs. He'll be bigger than the girls!

But of course since our lives aren't complicated enough, his last round of vaccinations made him a little unwell. It happens sometimes, but it's a bummer when it happens. He tossed his cookies, didn't want his breakfast, and was overall a little more grumpy than usual. It was his first and probably only grumpy day in his life, he's such a little happy boy. 24 hours later he is doing better, back to eating, and is back to a happy little pumpkin. He is having a hard time with me being preoccupied with Violet. Once she starts doing better I'll try to divide my time up a little better. It's hard because Violet finds Rob to be completely inadequate.

Well, until next time -

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Violet's Surgery - Luxating Patella

Anyone who follows me on on this blog or facebook knows of my woes regarding Violet's knee. Her rear right leg has been giving her issues since we moved out to Staffordshire Manor last summer. Her patellas luxate causing pain and hinders her play. She had never been diagnosed with luxating patellas - her whole life living in Seattle we had never witnessed her do the signature hop or skip which is the tell tale sign of a luxating patella. But after a week of country living we noticed that leg being held up occasionally - and thus began the bumpy road of where we are now.


Luxating patellas are super common, especially among small breeds. Patella issues aren't super common amongst Staffordshire Bull Terriers, but Violet was unlucky enough to fit into that minority. We noticed the hops and skips becoming more frequent, but even then I knew that wasn't a good enough reason to do surgery. It's a major surgery involving 6-8 weeks of crate rest and rehab. Not something to be taken lightly. Besides, most dogs carry on their whole lives with this issue without it ever needing to be surgically addressed.


The direction quickly changed though, after a day of heavy play with her puppy and two boys who visited for the day. After hours of playing and having a grand time the pups took a nap. She awoke lame and that knee just hasn't been the same since. Lots more skipping and was lame 90% of the time despite crate rest, cold laser therapy, craniosacral massage, and Rimadyl. One day she'd feel great and want to play with her puppy non-stop and the next day she'd snap at him for even thinking of playing with her. In other words, when she felt great, life was great. When she hurt, everyone could just go to hell and leave her alone. Watching her on the beach wanting to play but being unable to because of pain broke my heart. That is no way to live - especially for a young and active dog like Violet. She has many many more years of fun and active life ahead of her.


video of Violet and Tucker playing the night before her surgery
So we made the decision to have surgery which was done yesterday on 1/31/14. She came through surgery fine and the vet said it ended up being just a straight forward fix for that knee, which basically involves fixing the patella groove so it sits where it's supposed to better, basically making it more stable and less likely to slide out of place. Her ligaments were all in fine shape which is excellent news because with the sudden onset of her lameness I was worried there was a cruciate tear of some sort going on in there. Also of importance is the fact that by doing the surgery we've reduced her risk of cruciate tear in that leg down to 10% where as before surgery she was sitting at a 50/50 chance.

homeward bound

Her other knee luxates but it's not quite as bad as the right knee was. The vet said we could fix up her left knee at some point but I'm not too eager to pull that trigger. I'll probably just wait till she tells me it is bothering her. As long as it doesn't luxate too badly and doesn't seem to cause lameness I will leave it alone. Her risk for a cruciate tear will be higher - the luxating patella is what bumps up their risk factor - but that knee hasn't bothered her yet so that decision will sit on the back burner for now.


So now she's home much to everyone's relief. We have an ex-pen set up for her with lots of blankets to keep things soft and comfortable. She's on tramadol to keep her comfortable and sleepy. She'll be ex-pen bound for two weeks and then the staples will be removed. Once those are gone she can enjoy a little more freedom in the house but playing, running, and furniture will be off limits. To me that means she'll still spend a fair bit of time in her pen but if she wants she can walk around the house with me as I do chores, go get a drink of water, that sort of thing. And once the staples get removed she'll start her rehab which she's going to HATE because it involves walking on an underwater treadmill. Sorry baby girl, it's for your own good.

Stoned. So very stoned.

A huge bonus for Violet is I keep my pups trim - more trim than your average pet dog for sure. I won't go into a whole post about dogs and weight but your average pet dog is overweight and that is now what we're used to as being normal and healthy. The surgeon was pleased with her weight and no one had to lecture us about getting excess weight off her to help with her joints. An overweight dog with joint problems is a sad dog indeed.

So six weeks of torture and hopefully by then we'll be back to near-normal life and activities.

Wish us luck ;)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Leaky Skylights

When we bought our house we knew the main thing it really needed was a roof. It's a very low pitched with an old torch down roof. I'll save the details on the drama over this house when trying to purchase it. Long story short it will need a full replacement in 2-5 years. The sooner, the better.

Our low pitched roof has several skylights. Talking to my dad about skylights he said, "There are two kinds of skylights. The ones that leak and the ones that haven't leaked yet." Well, we've noticed the skylight in our bedroom leaking. The other ones - not yet

Leaky! The water is dribbling onto the ceiling panels and drips drips drips.

Surprise! Two leaks, one skylight! This one is a heavier leak. You can see the water stains and water collecting in the corner.

And here I had high hopes of getting a start on fixing up our laundry room - that'll be a fun project once it starts to happen. But this takes priority. It rains a lot in the pacific northwest, after all. We need to stay on top of the roof issues so we aren't forced to take drastic action before we want and are able to.

We called the same roofer fellow who gave us solid advice before we purchased the home. We're hoping he can help buy us the necessary time  and eventually have them give us a beautiful metal roof and we'll never have to think about roof problems again *knocks on wood*

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mini Oregon Coast Vacation

We were planning on going to the Oregon coast over Christmas but Violet wasn't settled enough at that time with the new puppy in the house that we decided it wasn't worth adding more stress onto her little fried brain. But these days they're doing pretty good so we went for a quick weekend vacation.

It was the same weekend the Rose City Dog Show event was happening in Portland so we decided to swing by and say hello to some Stafford friends - and a few other 'facebook friends' that I hadn't met before which was fun.

Tucker got to meet his Gramma Sarah - the owner of his sire

Here's Tucker meeting his pappy, Pirate, as well as another lovely Stafford named Mr Peabody.


And here's Tucker making some new friends of the children variety. 

Then onward to the Oregon coast! We got there with just enough light to allow for a short romp before retiring for the night but they had a lot of fun. Tucker played keep away with the ball, Sadie played fetch, and Violet ran around for 5 minutes before she went lame :(

This gorgeous pic was taken with my iphone of all things. I was kicking myself for leaving my Nikon in the room. The lighting was magical. This is Violet enjoying one of her few romps on the beach. Her knee grounded her to the room for much of the weekend. Poor bug.


The next day we went out and we had some blue skies.

Happy girl

I took Tucker out by himself so he could explore the beach on his own without the girls distracting him. Like a typical puppy he suffers from ADHD and nothing holds his attention for too long. Dogs, people, birds, rocks, sand, feathers, sticks - it was all awesome in his eyes.


Later that evening I let Tucker and Sadie play together. Sadie played ball and Tucker tried to eat her face whenever she came back with the ball. So basically they have their own versions of how this game is supposed to work.

Sadie is incredibly tolerant

Beautiful Manzanita

That night my little Tucker was tuckered - as was my husband

The next day, Sunday, was our last morning on the Oregon coast. First I took Sadie and Violet out and they romped around for 10 minutes before I had to retire her to the room again because of her knee.

Once Violet was done I swapped her out for Tucker. Sadie continued to play fetch while Mr Tucker ate sand and barked at seashells. Oh the life of a puppy.

Overall it was a great weekend. We got to meet up with friends we don't see very often, Tucker got to socialize with pretty much ALL of the Rose City dog show folks, Tuck got to experience new sights, smells, and sounds, all of which will help him continue to grow into a confident little dog. 

All the pics from this weekend can be found here: http://niroha.smugmug.com/Vacation/Oregon-Coast-January-2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Violet Update - Bum Knee

Since moving to Staffordshire Manor, we've noticed Vi hopping occasionally, holding up her rear right leg. I know that is a sign of luxating patellas. I also know it really isn't a big deal most of the time and surgery is really a last resort. The vast majority of dogs live with it because their quality of life isn't impacted other than being an occasional annoyance on walks. In the mean time, Vi continued to live her life the best way she knows how - by rough housing with her new baby brother.


Violet injured her bad knee a few weeks back and things just haven't been the same since. She's been on Rimadyl for pain and inflammation, was put on crate rest, and we interrupted play time zoomies to allow the knee to heal and hopefully go back to normal - normal being occasional luxating patella but overall functional. In addition we partook in cold laser therapy and craniosacral massage. She enjoyed both - especially the massage - but I think her injury is just too bad to bounce back from.

Massage? Yes please - don't mind if I do!

The cold laser encourages blood flow through the injured area and encourages the body to heal the injured area more quickly - but I think this knee problem is just too much for this treatment alone.

Violet has a few strikes against her:
1) She has straight hind legs. Very straight. This just begs for an injury to happen on a young, athletic dog. It's funny to me that her rear legs are so obvious to me now but it took me a long time (years! Just shy of 4 of them to be exact) before my eyes finally saw it. So in case you need an example to know what hind legs that are too straight look like, here you go.


2) She's a bully breed. That means her blocky build puts more weight on those straight legs of hers.

3) Her play style is crazy. She runs fast - much faster than Sadie - and turns FAST on a dime. Going full speed ahead she will abruptly spin around and come out of it going an entirely different direction. This is why she rocks at the game of keep-away. Sadie turns like a tank and just can't keep up with her. I now hope Tucker also turns like a tank and will never mock them for their tankery again.

Add those three things together and add a luxating patella and you have a recipe for something bad to happen which is what has happened. 

She has gotten to the point where she is favoring that leg and in discomfort daily. I was gently feeling the troubled knee today and felt it pop and move with the most gentle amount of pressure possible. That's not good.

Is there something on my head?

So what's next? I have a phone call in to my regular vet. We have pet insurance and it is good insurance. I've called to make sure an MRI and the necessary surgery will be covered and they will since this isn't a preexisting condition. The patella only came to light after we moved - so we're safe there. So my vet will hopefully refer us for an MRI to make sure there isn't anything else going on besides what we think is going on. Best case scenario she needs her knee cap reshaped and bolted on. The MRI will tell us if my stoic little girl is hiding something worse than that.

They love each other - promise :)

Once we have the MRI results in hand we'll continue with our consult with Dr Fry, the local ortho surgeon. In the mean time, Violet is doing a lot less zoomie zooms and a lot more puppy squishing, like this:


I am worried a lot about the aftermath of this surgery. It's 6-12 weeks of pure hell filled with strict crate rest and strictly followed rehab. Violet is a young dog full of piss and vinegar. This isn't going to be fun. She's also special needs behaviorally. Traditionally the sedation medication of choice is Acepromazine, also known simply as Ace. The problem with ace is it sedates the body but the brain is still wide awake. So if they are angry, scared, nervous, etc they can't move their body or express themselves. When you have a fearful dog and now you've doped them up while their brain is still racing, you're setting them up to be a nervous wreck by the time they come out of it. 


So we have a lot of homework to do. MRI, surgeon consults, medication brain storming, rehab game plan figured out, and somehow keep a puppy trained, keep Sadie mentally and physically exercised, and keep Violet sedated, calm, immobile, and hopefully continue loving the puppy as much as she does right now. I can see she is hurting and her tolerance for him goes down as her knee begins to bug her.

She's a young, active dog with many years of crazy stafford shenanigans ahead of her. We need to get this behind us.

Keep us in your thoughts. We're going to need all the good vibes we can get to come out of this with our sanity and household harmony intact.

Just wanted to add some commentary about the pictures and Violet's activity level. After the initial crate rest we allowed her some more normal movement and some play. We interrupt the crazy zoomies she likes to do but let her play with him if they're mostly stationary. So even though the pictures may look crazy or bad for her knee, we're doing our best to keep her happy and to allow the bonding to continue between her and Tucker. I believe firmly the bonding is KEY to a life long happy household with Violet and Tucker, considering her behavioral issues.  We encourage stationary playing, discourage the zoomie zooms.