Getting Back To The Basics

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

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:

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.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Doggy Update - Plus Swimming!

First things first - Tucker made his debut on youtube!

The pups are doing great overall. Violet is enjoying playing with the puppy and Sadie has started getting in on the action. He's growing big and at 12 weeks he weighed 14.8 lbs. So far he is trending to be in the mid to upper 30 lbs when grown. He is good natured, smart, and takes corrections like a champ. I don't think he'll be as drivey as Sadie which is a-o-k with me!

Tucker and Martok lurve each other

While I have enjoyed the fact that Tucker and Violet have really hit it off, it has brought an ugly health problem to the surface that had previously stayed hidden. Before we moved to Staffordshire Manor, we had a small city lot in Seattle. Since Violet doesn't like dogs she never played off leash at any parks. Now she lives on 4 acres and runs her fool head off. This made me notice her luxating patellas. 

Bitey face fun! 

Her right rear leg is the main problem. She hurt it pretty bad after a hard play session with some little boys and with Tucker and it just hasn't been the same since. The patella slips out a lot and by the end of the day she is lame again. Vet visits, massage, cold laser treatments, crate rest, Rimadyl. Next up is surgery. Bummer.

On another note, the pups have continued their swim sessions at Splashdogs. We do this because it's warm water and jets provide a nice low impact exercise session and deep stretches that is good for all the dogs. Tucker went for his first session. We had him in watching Sadie squeal, bark, and have fun fun fun! He was very curious about this wet stuff Sadie was so excited about.

Sadie has fun in there! Tucker finds this intriguing :)

He only got in the water a little at the end. More next month :)