Showing 1 - 10 of 33 posts found matching keyword: july

Mom went out of town for the week and left me in care of her two-and-a-half-months-old puppy, Audrey, who has been conditioned to Mom's 9 to 5 schedule. I also work 9 to 5. However, my 9-5 is on the other side of the clock. As you can guess, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep.

As much as I love dogs, I'm not big on puppies. Audrey is no exception. She's cute and all, but I'm not sure it's worth the trade off in trouble. For example, the first thing she did on the first day Mom was out of town was start digging into a fire ant pile. I grabbed her and tried to brush off the ants. So far as I can tell, puppy went unscathed. I got bit. A lot.

While I was treating my wounds, puppy turned her demonic path of destruction on my geriatric poodle. July's no fan of puppy, but that never detours Audrey. She nips and nips and nips until July finds a safe hiding place. That day, there were no places safe from puppy. Through the use of either her needle sharp teeth or razor sharp claws, Audrey cut open the sebaceous cyst under July's right eye. I left the bathroom to find blood everywhere. The house looked like a war zone.

Since then, Audrey has spent a lot of time in her kennel.

Even when she's sleeping, she's stalking

Mom came back yesterday, which is good. If she'd waited much longer, there wouldn't have been much of a home to come back to. The little devil is her problem now.

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July and Audrey went for their first walk together today.

It did not go well.

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My mother has had Chewie put down.

This is actually only the second time I've ever mentioned Chewie on this blog. I never really liked the little jerk. Yes, he had a rough early few years. His life was much improved when my Mom rescued him. However, he never became what I would call an affectionate or an obedient dog. But Mom still liked him. She's put up with me for all these years, so I guess she must have developed some fondness for stubborn assholes. Go figure.

In recent months, Chewie developed Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, the dog equivalent of Alzheimer's. He walked in circles, got stuck under furniture, and stood by his full dog dish barking for food. Even for Chewie, he was becoming higher maintenance than usual, to the point that Mom could no longer meet his needs.

So that's the second dog we've lost in 2016. (The third if we count Dad's puppy, Tyr, who died in March.) We're running out.

Three little puppies living in a zoo

Cancer found one and then there were two

Two little puppies sitting in the sun

One lost his marbles and then there was one

One little puppy left all alone

Watch yourself, July. It's dangerous out there.

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I had a poodle cartoon scheduled to run today, but sometimes life interferes with your plans. Victoria died at 5:25 AM. Her overtaxed heart gave out.

Victoria, R.I.P.

On Monday, April 25, Victoria collapsed at the end of her daily walk, so I took her in to see her vet the next day. He heard a "crackle" in her lungs, and given that I had noticed an occasional cough over the weekend, he prescribed a regimen of amoxicillin antibiotics. The next day, when her blood work came back from the lab showing a deficiency of thyroid hormone, we started her on levothyroxine treatment. But things only got worse.

The following Saturday, Victoria woke me up with a heavy, rapid breathing. Not exactly panting, but close. I took her back to the vet to see what could be the matter. He thought the likely culprit was the amoxicillin. It's rough on the stomach and common allergic responses include heavy breathing. Over the next few days, she didn't improve, so I stopped that treatment. When she still didn't get better, I stopped the levothyroxine, too. (It can have similar side effects.) Neither of these actions helped her.

She always had a big heart

By now, Victoria had no appetite and very little energy. So the vet called for radiographs of her heart and lungs on Tuesday, May 10 to see if he could find something we were missing. He did.

Her heart was abnormally enlarged and her lungs were filled with fluid. This was bad. Very bad. There were two possibilities: either the heart was causing damage to the lungs, or the lungs were causing damage to the heart. He scheduled an echocardiagram for the next day to figure out which possibility was the one hurting her. It turned out to be possibility three: a tumor.

Heart Based Tumor would be a great band name

Victoria had surgery to remove a mammary tumor last June. They just cut it out. That wasn't an option here. Honestly, neither was much of anything else. The tumor was aggressive and had already done a lot of damage. The fluid in her lungs wasn't actually in her lungs: it was serum that had leaked from her blood vessels into her thoracic cavity because of the bad pressure the tumor had created. Her whole circulatory and respiratory system was breaking down fast. Chemotherapy was the only treatment option for the tumor, and given the type of tumor and damage already done to her body, even that wasn't really an option. So I did the only thing I could do: I took my dog home to die.

I was told to expect that she wouldn't survive two weeks, so I tried to make her last days special. I gave her a haircut because she typically appreciated that sort of personal attention. (She lay still, but I know she loved to be touched.) I took her for a ride in the Jeep to pick up her favorite food, pepperoni pizza crust. (She refused to eat it, but I could tell that she enjoyed the smell.) And at night, I let her have the best spot in the bed: mine.

She didn't get to live out those two weeks. Sixteen days after her initial collapse and not even 16 hours after her ultimate diagnosis, she passed away beside me on the floor. She'd gotten up at 4:40 AM struggling to breathe. I lay down with her until long after her heart finally gave out. She took my heart with her when she left. I loved that dog.

Goodnight, my queen

Thank you, Kelley, for finding her. Thank you, Mom, for giving her to me. Thank you, Jeff, for trying to save her life. Thank you, July, for being so patient with your Sister until the end. Thank you, Victoria, for brightening my life for the past 7 years.

The poodle comic scheduled to run in today's space will be seen tomorrow.

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Last year, Mom replaced the chain link fence around the driveway with a cedar fence. It looked good, but I just couldn't live with its natural wood finish. I just had to paint it white. (Relax, Tom Sawyer. No one whitewashes anymore.)

It took a lot longer than I would have thought (rough-hewn cedar swallows paint by the gallon), but I have to say I'm very satisfied with the finished product.

Tom Swayer would be appalled: I did it myself

I must admit, something about a white picket fence says "American Dream" to me. If this is what Trump's wall looks like, I think I'll be okay with it.

(And so will July.)

I can put Baby in a corner

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The people who work at the veterinarian's office now recognize me on sight. Sometimes you don't want to go where everybody knows your name.

Earlier this week during our daily walk, Victoria got weak and collapsed. I took her to the vet. Her blood work came back indicating that her thyroid had stopped functioning. The vet considered that good news. He was worried that it was her heart. Whew!

The last vet visit was for July's meibomian adenoma (er, a benign cyst on her eyelid), so I guess it was Victoria's turn. I would prefer it if they could go a month without needing medical care. I want them to be happy and healthy, but I didn't really think the day would come where I was spending more each day on my pet's health than my own, especially considering that Obamacare means I'm now paying $300/month for the peace of mind knowing that if I have to go to the emergency room, it will only cost me only thousands instead of ten thousands.

(I'm this close to voting for the next asshole who promises me that he'll cancel Obamacare because he wants to give bigger tax breaks to Wall Street banks. Stones and Walters only have so much blood.)

Anyway. Victoria is now on a course of antibiotics and thyroid medication, which, while expensive, are cheaper than heart surgery. We'll check back with the vet next month to see how things are going. So long as the vet will still take my credit card, Victoria doesn't have anything to worry about.

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I was coding in the basement when Victoria asked for water. I grabbed her water dish and walked upstairs, turned on the sink, and filled the bowl. Looking in the sink, I decided that I should probably fill the dirty crock pot and let it start soaking, so I turned the water on it next. July, always one to think she's missing the party, came upstairs to see what was going on without her. Victoria decided that she might as well go outside while we were all up, so I let her and her sister out. Figuring they were only going to be out for a minute, I rushed back downstairs to finish the bit of code I was working on before I got distracted and forgot my potential solution. My solution wasn't perfect, and it took a little re-configuring to make work.

Can you see what I did wrong?

Ten minutes later, Victoria's barking let me know that she was ready to come in. Too bad the kitchen sink couldn't bark. I'd forgotten all about the water!

The crock pot had filled to overflowing, and because of its size, overflowing meant the kitchen counter. Which meant the kitchen floor. Which meant I was flooding the house. Water was everywhere, including seeping through the floor and dripping into the studio below. Naturally, several pen & ink drawings were directly below the leak and I've had to throw them out. Bummer.

Anyway. That's what I get for interrupting my coding to give Victoria some water. Sorry, girl, but next time you're going to have to wait.

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Vet says lab work is back on July's tumor. He thinks they got it all, and July is cancer free. Hooray!

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For those of you who have been following along at home, July has now had a second surgery. The biopsy of the nail revealed she had a squamous cell carcinoma. In an attempt to curtail the spread of the cancer, the vet amputated her toe at the metatarsal.

The Internet tells me that squamous cell carcinoma is relatively common in "large breed dogs with a dark coat" like, say, black standard poodles. Long term prognosis is largely dependent on how early the cancer is caught. In hindsight, maybe stepping on her toe this Thanksgiving was a good thing.

It figures that July would have the relatively unglamorous toe cancer. She's my needy child. When my diva, Victoria, wanted a little attention, she went straight for the cream of cancers: breast, the best of cancers. July's much more down to earth.

July has been taking all this in stride (figuratively). That may be because she's discovered what all she has to do is look at me with those big brown eyes and whine a little, and I'll drop what I'm doing carry her to a bowl filled with Beggin' Strips. What can I say? I'm a sucker for dogs with cancer.

Baby has another vet appointment next week (her seventh in six weeks). I hope to find out then whether she will need radiation treatment. In the meantime, I'm going to have to start looking for another job. Two dogs with cancer in 2015 has really put a dent in the bank account.

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You may recall that on Thanksgiving, I stepped on and broke July's toenail. That led to emergency surgery the following week to remove the nail. I challenged Christmas to bring me something worse. Me and my big mouth.

Following surgery, July's toe hasn't healed well. It has swollen to roughly the size of a pinball. When the doctor tells you that the best case scenario is a "very bad infection," you know you've got trouble.

So far, she's seen two different vets and been given three different antibiotics. A cutting from the original surgery has been sent to the lab for a biopsy in case there is an underlying tumor. The results of that test and her response to the antibiotics will determine whether she needs another surgery to remove more of the toe. Whether any of that happens before 2016 is still kind of up in the air. Victoria's biopsy this summer took 2 weeks, and that was when no one was on holiday.

Vet bills for the past 30 days come to $672 and counting. I've spent all my holiday money on July, and I can't even say she's enjoying it. On the up-side, there's more room in your stocking for goodies after you start cutting your toes off.

Congratulations, Christmas, for rising to the challenge I set for you. You're on deck, New Year's. Bring it on.

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