Tag Archives: pets

Poor Annie

Annie’s had a rough go lately.

It started about 4 weeks ago, she suddenly was reluctant to go up and down the stairs.  A couple of nights she refused altogether and one night she chose to make her way upstairs in the dark well after we had all gone to sleep.  We found her curled up outside our bedroom door the next morning and it broke my heart.

She wasn’t showing signs of joint pain so my best guess was that her nails were too long and the stairs felt slippery, and/or her vision was getting worse. It had been a while since her last nail trim because she had been so nervous at her last vet visit I decided to cancel her nail trim.  We both braved another vet visit, got her vision checked (she probably does see shadows in her peripheral vision) and her nails trimmed and that seemed to help even though she was still anxious and would attempt the stairs 4 or 5 times before finally charging all the way up.

About a week later, she woke me up with her usual nudge and bark.  When I turned on the light she looked like she had a ping-pong ball tucked into her jowl.  Shit.  I have always worried about her teeth and it appeared she had an abscess, so off to the vet we went.  Again, she was incredibly stressed and I had to coax her along as we navigated several stops and starts before I could get her in the exam room.

Sure enough, she needed to have two teeth surgically removed.  Her surgery day was the third trip to the vet in 3 weeks and she was not happy about it.  She completely put on the brakes and would NOT go through the door leading to the procedure rooms.   She’s 115 lbs. and when she decides she’s not going somewhere she means it! I had to lift her back-end and straddle her as we made our way into the hospital area.  I don’t usually go back there but the tech that came out to assist us was a male and I just said flat-out, “this is going to make it worse”. Everyone there knows her well and he quickly retreated so that Annie wouldn’t see him as I got her where she needed to be and her regular tech ran forward to greet us and take over for me. She just knew that something big was about to happen.

After her surgery, which took longer that expected–each tooth had 4 roots rather than 3, she refused to go to the recovery room which is further back in the hospital.  She would only go forward, towards the exit door. There is an office right there so they set up a bed and that’s where she recovered, getting lots of one on one attention from all of the doctors when they were in between patients.  Thank goodness she has doctors that are willing to make special accommodations!

Once I got her back home, she slowly started to show improvement.  It took a couple of days for her recover from the anesthesia, and she was on painkillers for few more days but her overall mood was so much better.

IMG_4524
Annie’s home!

In the middle of all of this, I’ve been helping my mom move into her new condo and have moved several furniture pieces that don’t fit in her place into my house.  One piece is a steamer trunk that we placed in the front hall by the stairs until we figured out where to put it.  A few days ago I pushed it further away from the stairs and that night Annie went upstairs with no hesitation. OMG, I should have known!  Annie doesn’t like narrow spaces or new doorways.  I had just created a narrow space where there wasn’t one and that was the reason she suddenly wouldn’t go upstairs.  Ugh, I feel terrible.

IMG_4596
The trunk that caused Annie to rethink going upstairs.

Over the past several days, she’s had trouble keeping her food down.  She has a two week post surgery follow-up scheduled and I really don’t want traumatize her again by dragging her in for another appointment in addition to that.  She has no other symptoms of distress.  Her mood is better than ever, her energy level is back to normal, she is drinking water and her stool is fine.  I stopped her painkillers, started feeding her 4 times a day with small meals of Prescription Digestive Care food (still softened as directed for her post oral surgery care), added probiotics because she was also on high powered antibiotics.  I consulted with her dr. and she agreed with my treatment and also suggested an antacid to add to her food. If anything changes or gets worse she wants to see us immediately. This regimen seems to be helping, each day her food goes down a little easier so I am hopeful that she will be completely better in a few more days.

Poor Annie, she’s fragile but she’s such a trooper and once again she has shown me that she’s not going to let this get her down.  She just would like it if we never went back to the vet again!

IMG_4593
Annie is feeling much better, eager for a treat!

 

 

 

Wake up, wake up, wake up!

I am not a morning person.  I like to wake up slowly and without a lot of noise.  I need a cup of coffee (or two) before I can form a coherent sentence.  My family knows this, even Maisie and Annie know this.  Annie learned to embrace Maisie’s habit of sleeping in. Up until 6 months ago, we all had a very peaceful morning routine. And then along came Winn…NewfGirlsWeb-125

I knew the first few months with a puppy would be rough.  Puppies have a lot of demands and need constant attention.  I was thrilled when I woke up one morning and Winn had slept all the way through the night!

For the first couple of months we kept her in a crate at night and she would wake up around 5:30 or 6. I learned that I had a few minutes to gather my wits when she would start squawking while playing with a toy. She was between 4 and 5 months old when we decided to let her try sleeping outside her crate.  Overall, it’s gone very well.

As Winn has gotten bigger, she has also gotten more rambunctious in the morning.  Most mornings I wake up to two huge paws slamming down on the bed somewhere near my chest.  She will start to pull herself up and with that comes the bony elbows, usually in my gut.  Before I know it, she launches her heavy body on top of me and starts snuffling my ear and kissing my face. She’s huge, her paws are huge and her head is bigger than mine.  It’s a lot to take in for anyone, much less a non-morning person like myself. It’s also impossible to ignore her. She pounces around and it’s like having a toddler jumping on the bed, singing “wake up, wake up, wake up”!IMG_3428

On many mornings, my husband (who is a morning person) will let her out and then Winn will come bounding upstairs for round 2.  While she’s waiting for the magic hour of breakfast time, she will repeat the process of the paw slam, the bony elbows and the body launch only this time she will snuggle up next to me, roll over onto her back and wave her legs around.  While she’s wiggling around and waving her legs she makes all kinds of noises that I assume are commands to “rub my belly, rub my belly, rub my belly”.

Poor Maisie, she’s not a fan of this wake up call either but Annie, who doesn’t want to allow this crazy puppy to get all of my attention, usually rushes over and begins barking in my face. It’s hard to remember the days when it was just Maisie and I, staggering down the stairs together and taking our sweet time getting ready for a new day. This is my alarm clock now and as aggravating as it might be, I also love being greeted in the morning by these two enthusiastic girls. It’s time to get up and face the day!IMG_3379

Heartache

Part of being a pet owner is turning your heart over to your furry friend, knowing that it will break when you have to say goodbye.  There is never enough time with our pets, and very often, when the dull ache in our chest and the tears are still fresh, we do it all over again.  We are willing to put our hearts on the line because we know it is worth it. The joy, the mischief, the mess and everything in between are rewarded with powerful, unconditional love.

We’ve made many friends through social media and even though we’ve never met, we’ve gotten very attached to our doggy friends.  We share our stories, our triumphs, our funny moments and our sad moments.  This year, as our circle has expanded, so has our heartache as we learn of the losses.  Some lived nice long lives and some didn’t get that chance,  but we miss seeing the antics of Winston, Charlie, Lenny, Larry, Stella, Sirius, Kipper, Atia, Cash, Peggy and so many others.

Recently, it feels like I’ve given condolences over and over.  It’s so hard, it’s always too soon, but certainly, the hardest are the ones that leave unexpectedly when they are still young.  One day they are healthy and present and the next they are gone.  In the last few months this has happened to three special Newfies that I knew and loved.  It hurts, it hurts a lot and probably always will.  Iggy, we still look for you on the beach.  Rio, you were Annie’s very best boyfriend and a huge force in her recovery.  Arleen, you are irreplaceable, but the gift of your beauty, temperament and spirit lives on. We would give anything for more time with all of you.

IMG_4466
getting ready for her draft test, photo by her best friend

Adopt A Senior Pet Month

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and I can say from experience, it’s one of the best thing I’ve ever done!

Annie was 9 1/2 when we brought her home.  She had been in foster care for over a year, but her case was extreme. Most senior dogs that are up for adoption don’t have the emotional and behavioral needs she had.

When you adopt a senior pet:

1. You are saving a life!

2. Seniors have been around, they’ve seen a lot and they have a lot of love to give.  They are usually calmer and adaptable to new situations.

3. Seniors don’t demand the same level of exercise or entertainment of a younger dog.  They are very happy to curl up by your feet and take a nice long nap.

4. They usually have some training, are house broken and aren’t teething so they aren’t shoe destroyers. Seniors are a lot less work than puppies and you probably won’t need to supervise any middle of the night potty breaks!

5. Don’t believe the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  It might take a little while, but senior dogs aim to please and are receptive to training.  They will learn the “house rules” in order to earn your love and affection.

6.  There is no mystery about how big they will be, what they will look like and what their grooming needs will be.

7. Even though your time will be shorter with a senior pet, I have found that I appreciate each day that much more. There is no lifespan guarantee with our pets but knowing Annie is a senior has reminded me that every moment with her is precious.  Pets change our lives, they give us so much love and every day is enriched with my sweet, old girl.

I feel so lucky to have Annie in my life, but it’s not always easy.  Seniors need more medical care as they age. (Something all pet owners face at some point.) Twice yearly health checks are recommended so one should be prepared for increased veterinary bills compared to those of a younger and middle-aged pet. Their health can change quickly and must be attended to. Annie just developed an abscess in one of her teeth.  She needs to have it removed which requires anesthesia.  I’m nervous about that but we will have it taken care of and hope all goes well.

If I had to make the decision again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know our time is limited, but really, our time is limited with all of our pets.  I know that I’ve changed her life.  She’s living her best years now and she showers me with love.  She acts like she appreciates everything we give her and she is so happy, every day.  I also know she’s changed our lives and I treasure every moment.img_4487