I have come to find that when it has been a while since I have posted, I typically have nothing but goodness to report…and thankfully, this is currently the case.
Since we all know how much I love lists, here are some of the things we have been busy doing….
- Pictures. Lots of pictures. I am lucky enough to have not only a fabulous sister, but a very talented one that happens to be a photographer. A few weeks ago, she took Hank, Adam and I to a lake close to our house for some family pictures. I wanted better memories than some of the crappy selfies I have taken over the last several months. And she nailed it. Kudos Megan Alvarez Photography….I will cherish these forever.
- Daily hot dog binges. Hank’s diet has pretty much consisted of about 80% hot dogs (and not even the nice ones….I am talking about the cheap $0.89 packages you buy at the grocery store that contain god knows what-chicken spleens, pig eyes, pork nipples, whatever), 10% McDonald’s Cheeseburgers, 5% ice cream and 5% dog kibble. This wasn’t really done on purpose (minus the cheeseburgers and ice cream- that I absolutely did on purpose), but now that he is back on a bunch of medications, he stopped eating Pill Pockets and shoving meds in hot dog pieces became the only way he would take them. Then, he started liking the hot dogs so much, that in the morning, he would eat all the hot dog pieces and leave everything else with actual nutritional value (i.e real dog food) behind in his bowl. So what do I do? Hot dogs for breakfast. I am now going through about 3 packages a week. My veterinary guilt used to get to me for this, but after about a couple of weeks, my I-dont-give-a -shit-o-meter started working again when I remembered that he has cancer.
- Prarie dog chasing galore. For those of you who aren’t familiar with prairie dogs, they are these rodent type creatures that live in big clans and in Boulder county….they are everywhere. Whats funny, is that not only are they destructive to the environment (they dig HUGE holes and tunnels underground over spans of several acres where they live), but they carry fleas and a little thing called THE PLAGUE. They also don’t have many predators around here (aside from coyotes which we have some of, but not enough to keep the prairie dog population under control), so they are again…..everywhere! In most parts of the country, they are considered vermin, a nuisance, good for target practice, etc., but in Boulder, there is a huge group of people that love these gross little things. Don’t get me wrong, I am clearly an animal lover and never want to see any kind of animal harmed (and they are kinda “cute” and display social behavior among their colony members which is pretty neat) , but its not like prairie dogs are endangered, although in Boulder, you would think they were. There was actually big news here recently when a developer bought a big parcel of land with plans to build a housing development, but this particular plot of land was home to a “colony” of a hundred prairie dogs. Initially, the prairie dogs were going to be…um….”exterminated”, but people literally protested and rallied to “save the prairie dogs” and eventually forced the developer to pay some god awful amount of money to have the whole colony relocated to a different area. Did I mention they carry THE PLAGUE? Anyway, there is a fenced off field near our new house where a large colony of these critters have settled and while I was walking the dogs a few weeks back, I noticed that Hank had found his way inside somehow. Back when he had 4 legs I would have been horrified (ummm….they carry THE PLAGUE), but with 3 legs, he wasn’t quite fast enough to actually catch one, so I stood back and watched him. And it was like the biggest, most awesome game of “Whack-A-Mole” I have ever seen. A prairie dog head would pop out of one hole, he would run/hop as fast as he could to that hole, stuff his entire head down it, then the prairie dog’s head would pop up in another hole, he would run to that hole, stuff his head in….you get the point. And he would literally do this until he could barely run anymore and I would have to drag him from the field. This has become at least an every-other-day occurrence (I finally got a video). And he loves it. 🙂
- Car rides. Lots of them. Hank has always been a good traveler and loved it until I finally bought a grown-up car in 2013. Prior to that, I had a 2003 Ford Focus with almost 200,000 miles on it, more dents than I knew about, peeling paint, ya know..a real junker. But, it was paid off and I didn’t care. The best thing about that car was I never used the back seats, so I always kept them down so Hank had lots of room in the back to move around and this also meant he could rest his muzzle on my shoulder while we were driving. This used to bug me because not only would I get covered in dog hair, but he would drool on my shoulder, pant in my face and pull on my seat belt which would choke me while I was driving. A goal I had when I finally bought a new car was to have a back area big enough for him that was behind the back seats so he wasn’t in my face. Enter my Subaru Forrester. He hates that car for that very reason. Well, when we recently moved, I put the seats down in the Forrester and covered the whole back area with sheets to keep everything clean while moving crap back and forth to the new house, and after taking him to work with me one night like that, I still have yet to move it back. I could care less that he drools on my shoulder, or pants in my face, or chokes me with my seat belt. There is nothing better than seeing his happy face in my periphery (instead of all the way in the back of the car) with his muzzle resting on my shoulder. The only new problem this presents is he obviously has a harder time keeping balanced on 3 legs in a moving vehicle and there have been a few instances where he ended up in a pile on the floor behind my seat after some poorly-executed braking on my part. I am still curious what people think when they see me pull over, attempt to pry a 65-pound, three-legged dog out of my backseat (very ungracefully I am sure) and then go on my merry way. Just a day in the life of a tripawd!
- Trying to do yoga, but mostly just snuggling. I love yoga and practice at least 4-5 times per week. This is “my time” and something I have learned to cherish. I have a local yoga studio that I adore and this is typically where I practice, but I have started practicing at home more since having a beautifully shaded patio at our new house. Well, obviously if I am out on the patio, that means that both dogs need to be out there with me and for any of you who have tried to do yoga among dogs or cats, this is not an easy feat. I would explain it, but it is summed up perfectly by this video: Pets Interrupting Yoga . One day last week I overslept and missed my morning yoga class, so I did patio yoga with Hank and after 15 minutes of him rolling on my yoga mat, licking my feet, laying on top of me, sticking his face between my legs while I was in downward facing dog, nose-punching my butt when I tried my head stand, etc., I eventually gave up and just laid down on my mat….and the photo below is how we ended up. I like to call this pose Doggie Shavasana.
- Begging and couch lounging. I will admit that I used to really hate dogs that begged for my food and took over my couch, so Hank was always really well trained to not do these things. Until now. He usually shares whatever it is I am eating, and if I don’t share, he rests his face on my leg and gives me the most pathetic, “can’t you see I am starving to death?” look until I fork it over. And even though I let him on the couch when he was recovering from his amp, it was almost like he knew he shouldn’t be doing it, so he never really asked to be on the couch after that. Nowadays, whether you want him to or not, he will slowly wiggle his way directly onto your lap on the couch (very much the Vizsla in him) or covertly glide onto the couch next to you without you even knowing it like he has been doing it for years. Usually by the time I notice he has done this and try to get his attention, he will typically raise his head enough for me to see his eyes saying “Yea? And what are you gonna do about it?”, then he will promptly go back to sleep. I never knew bad manners could be so much fun.
So, its been a great several weeks. He is happy and most days, I forget that he even has another tumor. His leg isn’t swollen, he rarely limps or acts painful and he is the same ‘ol Hank. I guess I expected things to just kinda slowly go down hill over a few weeks since I found Hank’s second bone tumor. Probably because most of the dogs I see with OSA are either at the end of their lives and ready to go, or have just been diagnosed- its rare I see the “in between” so I had no idea what to expect. So I have been spoiling, and spoiling, and spoiling Hank and it has just been the best. If anything, I feel so unbelievably lucky to have this time. I see so many people in ER practice whose dogs/cats go from being fine one day, to dying the next and it is awful- they don’t get the opportunity to do what I have done. They don’t get the opportunity to let them eat whatever they want, dig wherever they want, roll in whatever they want …they don’t get the opportunity to kiss and snuggle and play…or soak up every extra minute they can. It brings tears to my eyes when I meet these clients at work and although I am still mad that it is “my” dog that has to be taken from this awful disease, if he had to be taken in any way, this is the way I would chose.
Until next time,