Monday, December 2, 2013

Rest well, Aggie

We lost Aggie this morning.

After several months of dealing with her dementia on top of her neurological issues, it became more and more obvious that it would soon be time to help her to the Bridge.

So, this morning, we helped her on her journey.

Aggie came to us over two years ago from a shelter in Oklahoma, by way of a very kind lady who does much rescue transport. We met at McDonald's in Hillsboro, and saw Aggie for the first time. She was what I would call a Deagle (Dachshund x Beagle) and was a deaf senior. Sadly, at the time, we didn't realize there was a neurological component involved as well.

Over the last two years we've all dealt with Aggie's quirks and difficulties, and I'll be the first one to say she was a very hard dog to live with.

Whether it was her deafness or the neurological problems, Aggie didn't interact much at all with people and virtually not at all with the other dogs. In a lot of ways, Randall and I feel guilty because we couldn't do more for her. We gave her two more years, but all I can say is she was allowed to live them on her own terms.

I wish we could have done more, but when the morning was gone and Aggie with it, I knew there would be a very different dog at the Bridge. Young, healthy, no longer deaf, interactive and, most importantly, mentally healthy and at peace.

I wonder if, when the time comes, I'll recognize her. I hope so. And I hope she recognizes me.

Rest In Peace, sweet girl.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Someone you don't hear about much....

This is Aggie. She's one of our permanent senior fosters through ATDR. Come Labor Day weekend, she will have been with us two years.

You don't hear much about her because, well, she's really rather difficult to live with. Fostering can sometimes be a crap shoot; sometimes you win and sometimes the house wins. The house won in this case.

As you can see, she's not full Dachshund. Best guess is she's a Deagle - a Dachshund/Beagle mix. We're not sure how old she is, because her natural coloring has a lot of white. Her face was white when we got her and her legs had a lot of white on them as well. Her body color had a heavy roaning, so our best guess is she's maybe 14 now.

We're not sure of Aggie's story. She came out of a shelter in Oklahoma to the shelter at Wichita Falls, and we brought her in that fall. Little Aggie is deaf, though we know she can hear some stuff. She's also got a neurological component as well. I jokingly say she was dropped on her head at birth, and that sort of describes how she acts.

She has never really interacted with people. At most, she sees us as food providers and doesn't understand affection. Occasionally she'll react when you pet her, but when she's had enough, she just sort of drifts off. Rather like a cat in some respects if the cat never had much to do with people during its formative years.

Her interactions with the pack can be trying at times, too. I don't think she was ever around other dogs before, and while I know the deafness contributes to some of the behavior, I don't think that's all of it. Fortunately everyone here is pretty laid back and they know she's "different" so they overlook most of her behavior.

Things are a bit more difficult with Aggie now because doggie dementia is setting in. She's on Cholodin and Anapryl, and both of those help a lot. Without them, I'm not sure what we would do. We've had senior dogs with dementia in the past, but Aggie's is particularly challenging because of her hearing loss and people/dog skills.

But she's here. We'll provide a home, love and food for her for as long as she needs it. She's safe, and when she's ready to go to the Bridge will let her go with a hug and a kiss. She's been safe with us for two years, and I know we've given her everything we could.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Poor Buddy

We've rocked along pretty good with really no trouble from Buddy. He's responded beautifully to his heart medicines and you just couldn't ask for a better boy.

Last night around 2:30, Randall got up to take him out for his middle of the night potty break. Completely uneventful. Comes back in and shines the flashlight on Buddy's pallet so he can see to climb on it, and starts screaming "Blood! Blood!"

Now I'm a very sound sleeper normally, but I also wear ear plugs which blocks out most ambient noises, and last night I had a pain pill around midnight, so I was REALLY deeply asleep. And let me tell you, hearing that screamed in the middle of the night is just NOT what you want to have happen.

I got up and Randall had the light turned on and by the time  got my glasses on and got across the room to where Buddy sleeps on his pallet I could see this wasn't just a few drops. Blood had pooled all over one side of his pallet and up the closet door. There were large drops of blood clustered every few feet, and you could see more blood coming out the left side of his mouth.

We got him into the bathroom and I started trying to track down the problem. It looked to be on the left side of his mouth, and the good news was it looked like the flow was lessening. I was able to clean him up and when I looked inside, it did look like whatever had happened had happened in his mouth and this wasn't coming from further down his throat.

Huge relief there.

So I changed the pillow case on his pallet (I have it wrapped in a garbage bag so it's waterproof), and Randall got all the blood cleaned up. Poor Buddy thought he'd done something wrong, so I had to spend some time slobbering over him and reassuring him that we loved him and there was nothing wrong.

Late this morning I got a good look inside his mouth. There was a huge abscess on the cheek on the left side of his mouth. His teeth looked good and there was no inflammation around the gum line. It looked as if what was going on was independent of a tooth, and there had definitely not been any of the visible swelling you get with a problem tooth.

So sweet Buddy is going to be on some antibiotics for the next 14 days. He may need a dental, though with his dicky heart that's problematic. His teeth were in fine shape when he got here, and what I saw last night looks like just a simple cleaning would handle it. I'm going to wait several days and see if I can't brush them. Much of what is on the teeth is simply residue from the canned food he eats. So once the antibiotics have a chance to work, I'll see what I can do.

Meanwhile, he's off is 1/2 a baby aspirin. If he does end up having surgery of some sort, he doesn't need his blood thinned.

I will keep everyone posted on the progress.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Buddy Update July 27, 2013

I'm a bad, bad, bad blogger. No Buddy update in weeks. I promise I'll get a substantive post done in the next few days, but the quick and dirty is that Buddy marked his 6 month anniversary with us on Wednesday, and since he as listed as 15 1/2 at the Irving shelter when Dawn pulled him, I decided we'd make it a doubly special day by having it be his birthday. Probably not exactly on the mark, but we're close.

He's also doing very well except for one minor issue....this 16 year old, congestive heart failure, NEUTERED dog has gotten it in his mind that the 13 year old, SPAYED dachshund bitch is in season. Go figure.

So tonight, Dixie was unceremoniously dumped in the sink and bathed. And right after that, the distinguished, but much misguided, senior Buddy got one as well. You know what they say about cold showers....

Anyway, these illustrate beautifully what Buddy thinks of the entire bath business.

And the afterbath...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Today is a special day....

It was four months ago today that Randall and I picked up Buddy from Dawn Enriquez after he became a Bark N Rest dog.

He has made tremendous strides health-wise. He was always an absolute sweetheart, but his congestive heart failure and advanced heart murmur made his life miserable. His coughing and hacking and trouble breathing just broke my heart.

Fortunately after about a week of being here and on medication, his CHF was under control and life improved. You can still hear his heart go "Swish. Swish." and he does exhibit the usual cough after drinking water and when he gets excited, but things are much easier on him.

He's put on weight since being here. He was 11 pounds when he got here and, while not starvation weight, was definitely too thin for him. He's now at 13 pounds and it suits him. It's also not causing problems with his heart condition, and that's always a primary concern. There's a little padding on the ribs, but you can still feel them there. 13 pounds looks good on him and he wears it well, so that's where we're going to keep him.

He does now get 1/4 of a 5 mg Prednisone daily. I made the call to add that to his medicine roster when he began having problems breathing with the increase in oak mold in early spring. I've tried taking him off it since that's now gone, but he's less comfortable. So while there's the possibility of organ issues in the future, I'm willing to risk it. Giving him 6 months more of life when he struggles to breathe isn't worth it. I made this call with our previous heart dog, Elvis, and didn't regret it. So the Pred stays. Buddy is nearly 16, and we're going to keep him comfortable.

Buddy gets along famously with the other seniors here in the house. He's easy going, loving and really a very nice boy. It's hard to believe his owners left him at the shelter.

So anyway, we're now at the 4 month mark with this little guy, and we're so happy he's here and doing well.

Buddy in the Irving shelter January 2013

Buddy chilling on his pallet at home

Saturday, May 18, 2013


As Buddy has spent more time with us, I've come to recognize some of the things that really rock his world.

Of all of those, his first true love is his Grammy's Pot Pie.

So I thought today I would bring you a special photoblogging session of the process. Something, I might add, that didn't meet with Buddy's approval because each step of the process was dragged out while I got photos. :)

Let's begin here, shall we?

First, we see the Monitor is fully ready to WATCH THE PROCESS.....and should he not fulfill his duties, you can see the Backup Monitor is deployed as well.

Step 1. Grammy's in it's pure and unadulterated form (and from Buddy's point of view pretty useless since it's in an unopened can.)

Step 2. Now on the saucer, one of the more important steps begins...identifying the Evil Green Things, aka EGTs (known to you and me as English Peas).

Step 3. Identification has proceeded to separation whereby the EGTs will be tossed unceremoniously down the garbage disposal.

Step 4. Appropriately divested of EGTs, the next vital step in the process is warming the Grammy's in the microwave.

At this point in the process, our intrepid Monitor is getting just a bit antsy.

Step  5. Transferring of perfectly warmed Grammys to a clean, stainless steel bowl.

Step 6. Satisfaction....or "If I drag this out in further, I may well have to deal with a Buddy on the counter."

Needless to say, Step 6 was the most popular, though it didn't last nearly long enough from where Buddy sits. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unexpected Yummies

One of the things I really enjoy about bringing a new dog in is discovering just what it is that is going to be their favorite yummy.

For Penny, it's peanut butter. This little girl will turn herself inside out for it.

Dixie loves cooked carrots....something I'm happy about because Haley, my senior senior dachshund I lost last December loved her orange noms.

Skeeter, the Chihuahua, is known as Rice Boy...there's something about small, Skeeter-sized edibles that just turn him on in the worst way.

Buddy is, of course, the lover of chicken livers, but he's also stunned me by absolutely loving apple. It's to the point he follows me around the kitchen after he's had is Grammy's wanting his bit of apple. He won't leave me alone until he gets a bite. I have no idea what I'm going to do when this batch of apples is gone. Guess I may have to have Randall buy an apple each week so Buddy can have his fix. ;)