Category Archives: Annie

Back to the vet we go…

Last week we celebrated Annie’s 11th birthday, which is a big marker but was a bit tempered because right after dinner she started coughing.

I’ve written about her “old man noises” before.  She starts out with 2 or 3 gasps and then expels this horrific, loud noise. I was pretty sure it was her way of coughing because I’ve never heard her cough in a different way.  She has done this sporadically since we’ve had her, maybe once every 3 or 4 months but on her birthday she started and couldn’t seem to stop. After 5 or 6 episodes, she was tired and my nerves were rattled.

I couldn’t help but think that she had made it to her birthday and now she was taking a turn for the worse.  My heart was aching during her celebration but I know this day will be coming at some point, I’m just not ready yet.

She had a few more episodes and on Friday I took her to the vet.  After a thorough examination we sat there talking about what it could be and we both had the sense that it might be some sort of lung disease. Her lungs and heart sounded good when her doctor listened to her chest but we agreed that an x-ray was needed to try to find the answer. It couldn’t be done that day, her doctor wanted to have more people available to help her since Annie is so big so it had to wait until Monday.

Over the weekend, Annie did seem to be coughing less frequently and by Monday it had subsided but I was still bracing myself for bad news.  Poor Annie was trembling as soon as we sat down and when the tech came to take her back she did not want to leave me.  I walked her back as far as I could go and that seemed to help.

As I sat there waiting, I had rushes of so many different memories.  The first time we took her here was very traumatic.  She has changed so much and seems so happy with her life.  Whenever I get up from the couch or a chair, she is at my feet and I have to stretch over her.  We love our walks and she trots out to the car when I say “car ride”.  She loves food but she has curtailed her scavenger ways and hasn’t found anything to get into in quite a while, thank goodness.  She is still very nervous around strangers, especially men, and isn’t yet comfortable with my son but hopefully by the end of the summer they will reach an understanding.  It has been such a joy to have her with us and I am so honored that she has chosen to trust me to take care of her and keep her safe.

After what seemed like hours but was really only about 30 minutes I was able to join Annie in one of the exam rooms.  Her x-ray was done, we needed to wait while her doctor looked at all of the pictures.  Her doctor came through the door with a big smile which instantly put me at ease.  Everything looked great! No masses, no white spots and no foreign objects.  There was one tiny spot in her stomach and she went over it with an ultrasound and concluded it was a particle of a stick, stone or leaf that hadn’t digested, all probable since Annie frequently chews sticks when she is lounging in the grass. She looked at her lungs, heart, liver, spleen and trachea and all looked to be just fine.  The only concern was evidence of arthritis in her spine, something we both assumed but now was confirmed.  Her conclusion was “old man lung” which isn’t something that is treated. When lungs get old they get a little more sensitive. Heat and allergies could have triggered her coughing and it has been hot and she takes medication for allergies.

Since we’ve been home, she hasn’t coughed again.  Her energy level, appetite and breathing have all been normal.  She’s sleeping by my feet, moaning every now and then as she stretches and seems to be completely content.  Once again, she rang my alarm bell and ended up being just fine. She’s an aging dog, and with that comes a variety of health concerns but for now I am relieved.IMG_1508

 

Annie turns 11!

Wow! Another year has gone by and we are celebrating Annie’s birthday. This birthday is a big deal, she’s 11 and is still in really good health.  Last year before her party, we had just come from the vet.  She had her stitches removed from the removal of a cancerous lump as well as an EKG to evaluate an irregular heartbeat that appeared while she was in surgery.  Not only did she have a clear pathology report, her heart rate was normal which was a huge relief.

Since then, she has had a couple of ear infections but nothing else major and she continues to let her personality shine.  She has also responded so well to Winn.  She’s actually more lively and playful with Winn around, and she seems so happy.

We invited one of the neighbor dogs to join us, I baked pup cakes using the same recipe I used last year for her cake, got pictures of everyone in party hats and had a very fun party with lots of laughs.

It’s no surprise, Winn was not a fan of the party wear.

She was excited about the pup cakes, but then saw Maisie’s hat, snatched it off her head and played keep away.

Annie LOVED her treats and kept coming back for more.  She even started pawing at the plate in an effort to bring them closer so she could grab them!

Our guest wasn’t sure what to think about it all, but she seemed to have a good time and got a pup cake to take home and enjoy without being stared at by other dogs.IMG_1927

Annie’s birthday pupcakes

Last year we celebrated Annie’s birthday for the first time and I wanted to do it in a memorable way.  I was planning on going to our local dog bakery for a cake but then decided to bake it myself, after all, I had made the majority of the birthday cakes for everyone in my family so making one for Annie should be pretty simple.  I looked at several recipes and settled on this one from Allrecipes.

This year I decided to make pupcakes with the same recipe and they turned out beautifully!IMG_1920

Annie's Birthday pupcakes

An easy dog friendly recipe that can be made into a cake or individual pupcakes

Author Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 peanut butter I use natural peanut butter, stay away from anything with Xylitol as it is toxic for dogs. It is used as a sweetener in gum, peanut butter and toothpaste
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 6 cup ring mold, bundt pan or cupcake pan.
  2. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes.  Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

 

The oldest and the youngest

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how everybody is getting along and I can easily say that they are all getting along very well.

I never really thought about or wished for a 3 dog household. Last October, we were visiting friends with a new litter and I was clear with everyone around me that we are a 2 dog family and didn’t have room for another.  So what changed? In the back of my mind I know Annie is a senior and won’t be with us for a long, long time but I don’t want to predict when that might happen so I just thought seize the day, go with what feels right.

I considered all of the changes that I could think of but my biggest worry wasn’t about logistics (3 crates in one room is A LOT), increased food and care costs or the extra hair and muddy footprints. I was most worried about Annie and how she would respond.  I don’t want her to think we are replacing her or that it’s OK for her to start to slow down.  I have always felt that Charlie stopped fighting once he saw that we would be taken care of by Maisie. I’m still shocked that he curled up by my feet and then took his last breath. He was so quiet about it but seemed to be at peace.

Annie has changed so much over the past year and a half.  She is much more confident, very affectionate and is so devoted to my husband and me.  She and Maisie are good friends but Annie still doesn’t play with her.  Annie will chase me in the yard and give me a little body slam which will get Maisie very excited.  When Maisie tries to join us, on very rare occasions (usually when it’s very cold outside which makes them both more frisky) Annie might give her 20-30 seconds of play but then it always ends with Annie walking away and giving Maisie a scolding if she doesn’t back off.

When we arrived home with Winn, we stayed outside in the yard for introductions. Annie and Maisie were both curious and so, so gentle.  Winn was a bit overwhelmed and stayed between my feet as she took in her new surroundings and these two girls.  They both gave her some sniffs and then Annie strolled away, keeping a good distance for the rest of the day.  Maisie was more persistent and Winn was very clear with her about appropriate boundaries. It was pretty much what I expected from all of them but it didn’t take very long for them to adjust, settle down and accept each other.IMG_0814

It has been so fun watching Winn explore our house and yard and find her favorite spots.  She has discovered the tiny bathroom and likes the feel of the cool tile on her belly and the cast iron tub on her back.  She loves toys and will rummage through the toy basket when she’s ready for a new one.  She’s a crate hopper, she rolls around in all the crates but seems to like Annie’s best.  Once she has pulled out a toy, she will frequently drag it into Annie’s crate. Annie doesn’t play with toys but once Winn leaves her crate Annie will quickly go in and flop down without regard to any toy that may have been left behind. Winn enjoys being outside, both in our back yard and on our front porch and like every Newfie I know, she LOVES the water bowl.

The most heartwarming part of all of this has been watching Annie and Winn.  Annie really loves her!  She actually play bowed to Winn on day 2 and since then I have watched them playing together several times each day and of course she is so incredibly gentle.  Annie plays in very short bursts but to see her initiate play and willingly engage with Winn is wonderful, it’s a new behavior that we really have never seen out of her.  My husband thinks that for Annie, Winn is the puppy that she got to keep.  She gets to love her, play with her and show her the ways of our house and she isn’t a product of Annie’s mothering days which were filled with so much hardship.  I’m just relieved to see Annie so happy.

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Hooray for Annie!

Last month Annie had her 1 year check up with our vet.  As we sat there going over her history, her progress over the past year became so apparent.

While we were waiting to go into the exam room, Annie stood stiffly by my side and started to tremble.  I couldn’t help but remember our first occasion here.  She wasn’t leash trained, didn’t want to come in and my husband and I had to lift, push and pull with the aid of a lifting harness just to get her in and out of the car and into the office.  When it was time to leave, she refused to budge and we went through all of the same difficulties getting her back into the car and home again.

Since that day, we have had many appointments here to monitor her  conditions with her eyes, ears, skin and teeth.  She also had a cancer scare and surgery as well as a glucosamine overdose when she got into her beefy supplements.  Walking in with no hesitation and standing by my side with a little tremble is a huge improvement and really speaks to her bravery and progress over the past year.

Her dr. did have one concern, one of her blood levels has been consistently in the low normal range, but it dropped to below normal and she would like to monitor it monthly. Yesterday we went in for her blood work and a nail trim and once again she walked right in and even greeted the tech at the front desk. She stood by me with that little tremble again but was so good otherwise.  I just got the call that her blood level had jumped back up to right where it has been, still in the low normal range but that seems to be her normal so we will recheck again at her mid-year senior check-up.

In addition to being in really good health for an almost 11-year-old giant breed dog, she has lost 4 pounds.  She has a super sniffer and has found treats and food that I didn’t even know were left out, but I now sweep the area before I leave a room so that all temptation is removed and she has gotten her slim figure back.  Annie’s a tough, old girl. She’s a survivor and she seems to be sending me the signal that she doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.  And that is just fine with me!IMG_0236