Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our Lizard Farm

Part of having a puppy, especially a shy or fearful one is getting them used to everything that life will throw at them.

In my case, while I have an almost blank slate, I also have a dog that is afraid of pretty much anything.  That is to say, at least he is afraid of anything that makes noise.

One step at a time, they say.  Divide and conquer, they say.  There's a big world out there, they say. 

So lets explore.

I did manage to get him outside after his panicking at the big evil scary sliding back door that made a racket on its tracks.  Once his nose is out the door, Rack seemed to take the yard in style.  It gave me an excuse to let him sniff around and do a little weeding.

This is South Florida after all.  Blink and your yard has new growth.  Blink again and the weeds are putting out a cheery carpet of white and yellow flowers, shamrocks with their lavender blooms, and plants that people in colder climates keep in their homes and offices.  

Yes, I have philodendron growing in my back yard as weeds, don't you?

Wandering around the yard, I was accompanied by my little black and white dog.  Picking up weeds as I go, pulling vines, and generally having little effect, I realized that I needed to get into the shed for the nippers.  The Bougainvillea was growing again after having been beaten back and it threatened to grow its tendrils into the spa.  Magenta flowers are beautiful, but you do need to get past that wall of blooms to get anywhere in the yard.

Opening the door to the shed, there was just enough noise to make Rack back off and assume his sitting position.  He does that when he's overwhelmed, whether he's in the back yard or in the middle of an intersection.  Definitely something to work on, at least he's not barking at whatever is scaring him.

We had taken Lettie's old crate out of the shed and given it to the animal themed thrift store.   It created a big hole that the detritus of life hadn't filled in yet, so I was able to step inside and see an area of the shed that was invisible before.

Meaning to clean the shed out but realizing that there are always more pressing things to do when you own a house, I noticed that there was a row of little pearls on my workbench.

Those pearls each contained a developing lizard.

Since I get so much entertainment watching these little creatures go about their reptilian lives, I left the row alone with a smile. 

Yes, I'm going to be a Lizard Daddy!  Congratulate us, it's a boy, and a boy, and a boy, and a girl, and a girl...  They will have their own house and call it Lizardvania, the home under the Sea Grape Tree.

It's all part of living in South Florida.  You live with wildlife, regardless of how you feel about it.  Blink and your gardens are overgrown.  Ok, My gardens are overgrown, Your gardens may not be.  You will have lizards, and black racer snakes, and visits from the Opossums and Racoons, and it's all normal.  You will get used to it.

Just so long as there aren't beady little eyes watching me in the spa from the utility easement at the back of the yard, I'm OK with it.  This is because when I'm in the spa I'm not dressed for guests!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Getting The Dog Ready For The Walk

Sometimes it takes two people to move a 36 pound puppy.

Luckily, since they're puppies, they learn quickly.

Ok, let me rephrase this, since he's a Mc Nab Puppy, he learns quickly.  That's the benefit of having a Herding Breed, they are truly smart.

I'm now on Day 7 of Rack, the Shy Puppy.  Amazingly every single day I see improvements.

I was warned that he may panic in the car on the way back.  We were lucky there, he never made a peep.  It was a 250 mile ride back from Deltona with him in a crate and the two of us chattering the whole way. 

Over the weekend he handled a ride to the Vet in the back seat of the SUV with him sitting next to me wanting to be petted.  No crate at all, just sitting out in the open.

I was warned he wouldn't be easy to walk.  He's not easy to walk, but he's coming around.  I was used to Lettie who would do just about anything I asked of her, but that was after being blessed with 12 years together. 

A week later, walks have become Rack's favorite thing.   He's a puppy, everything is his favorite thing or a source of panic.  He hates noises, so what do I do?   Take him out for a walk on Wilton Drive at Rush Hour.

There's fear at the scary triangular trash cans.
There's fear at the cigarette smoke.
There's fear at the buses and trash trucks that roar past.
There was fear at a pair of women who dared to walk on the same sidewalk.

The point is if you have a fearful puppy, you have to expose him to small doses of the things that give him fear. 

It has only been a week.  The first walk he cowered in fear at my neighbor who got down on his knees to pet him.  Last night he rolled onto his side for petting next to that same neighbor's feet.  Rack now will dance a puppy dance and make little happy noises when he sees other dogs all the while trying to wag his tail off.

In one week this shy little creature has learned the map of the Central Area of Wilton Manors and knows where to turn to get home when the walk should be ended.  

No, Dad, we don't want to do a third block, Home is THIS WAY!

Sure, the first shelter was most likely a Concentration Camp, but he was lucky enough to end up rescued by The Dog Liberator after a second shelter.  Gisele started the process of rehab, and we're continuing it, even if we have to climb into a crate once in a while.

We only had to do that once.  He doesn't understand that it's easier for him to get his harness on while standing but it's better than going hands and knees inside a large plastic box.

Training a dog is all about understanding what the animal is capable of, what the breed can do, what you can do for it, and applying that knowledge.

We're on the right track.  Happy squeaks and puppy prancing shows the progress. 

For a highly noise sensitive dog to be able to handle the 7AM disgorging of the Fort Lauderdale High School Buses as they parade up the drive to NE 6th Avenue's light at the same time as E-16 and R-16 come blazing out of the fire hall with lights flashing and sirens doing a "MERRRP" at some idiot in a minivan who didn't make way, shows progress.

One walk at a time. 

Sometimes the walk requires a rather undignified start, and sometimes it's just "Up!  Walk!". 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dear Tide - Humor

Dear Tide,

I am writing to say what an excellent product you have! I've used it all of my married life, as my Mom always told me it was the best. Now that I am in my fifties I find it even better!

In fact, about a month ago, I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse. My inconsiderate and uncaring husband started to belittle me about how clumsy I was and generally started becoming a pain in the neck.

One thing led to another and somehow I ended up with his blood on my new white blouse! I grabbed my bottle of Tide with bleach alternative, and to my surprise and satisfaction,all of the stains came out!

In fact, the stains came out so well the detectives who came by yesterday told me that the DNA tests on my blouse were negative and then my attorney called and said that I was no longer considered a suspect in disappearance of my husband.

What a relief! Going through menopause is bad enough without being a murder suspect! I thank you, once again, for having a great product

Well, gotta go, have to write to the Hefty bag people.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

You Know You Might Not Be The Brightest Bulb In The Box When - Humor

You know you might not be the brightest bulb in the box when

* you put lipstick on the forehead because you wanted to makeup your mind.
* you get stabbed in a shoot-out.
* you send a fax with a stamp on it.
* you're on the corner giving out potato chips yelling "Free Lays!"
* you try to drown a fish.
* someone gives you a penny for your intelligence, and you have to give them
* you think socialism means partying.
* you trip over a cordless phone.
* you take a ruler to bed to see how long you slept.
* At the bottom of the application where it says "Sign Here" you put
* you take 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.
* you study for a blood test and fail.
* invent a solar powered flashlight.
* you sell the car for gas money.
* you heard 90% of all crimes occur around the home, you move.
* you miss the 44 bus, and take the 22 twice instead.
* you take someone to the airport, see a sign that says, "Airport left", and then
turn around and go home.
* you get locked in Furniture Shop and sleep on the floor.
* try to kill a bird by throwing it off a cliff.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Yellow Hibiscus Blossom - Picture

If for no reason other than I think it's a beautiful flower.

I've had Hibiscus plants around me since the mid 1980s.  You can get them to grow in Pennsylvania.  Obviously they have to come indoors for the cold weather, they simply won't tolerate freezing or near-freezing weather.

I had a red hibiscus given to me in the 1980s and it flourished until the late 90s when it got infested with White Fly.  By that time, it had survived a couple cross state line moves, an annual onslaught of Japanese Beetles, and quite a few colder than it would like winters.

The yellow one was a plant that I had gotten right after moving here to Florida.   Hibiscus aren't native here, but they are well loved and showy plants.   This one isn't too happy living in a prison, also known as a fiberglass pot, but it does put out flowers, usually when I need a little beauty.

Some day I'll take it out of its prison, but for now it's a beautiful illustration of the old saying:

Bloom where you are planted.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Little Baby Squee Birds - Picture

It is Squee Bird Season.

I have no idea what these birds are really called.  I've never seen them other than in Florida, and wasn't expecting to see them in Rockledge, Florida, half way up the state.

My own rule is always have a camera, you never know what you'll find.

We were driving up to Deltona to pick up Rack, that day and made a detour for some fruit.  Sitting in a podocarpus tree, there was a nest.   These trees are excellent for shaping because they have very dense foliage, and this one was shaped as a rectangular column in front of the building.

As I walked toward the entrance, I heard a familiar and annoying sound.


Yes, the mating call of the Squee Birds.   The other day I had one here at my house that wanted to set up residence.   The entire morning I heard Squeeee Squeeee Squeee.... High pitched call.

Lunch came and went and I got more annoyed. 

Eventually I came outside and found the culprit, a bird looking for a place to roost and find a home.

Not on my watch.

I shooed the Squee bird away and he or she didn't come back. 

Yes, I know it's breeding season. 
Yes, I know you need a room. 
No, there is No Room At The Inn. 
Sorry, No Vacancies.  

So when I heard the bird in the parking lot, I laughed to myself and wondered what was going on.  There was the momma bird leaving and I looked in at a gap in the tree to find this sight.

I left the babies at rest and went on about my business.  But coming out of the shop, I realized that I had my camera crammed in my pocket and grabbed this picture.

Take nothing but pictures, leave no trace behind.

After I walked away, a family of five piled out of their minivan and looked in on the little creatures.  Dad gave the boys an education and then they went on their way as well.

Best way to see a Squee bird, online, but if you do find a nest, let it rest.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

You Know Florida is Changing When it Gets Tough To Find Bulk Fruit - Picture

Last weekend, we went up to Deltona to get our new dog.  He's adapting fine, and showing his personality each day more than the last.

But one thing surprised me about the trip.

I've been coming to Florida since I was a wee brat.  One of the things I would look forward to was to stop into one of those big fruit stands by the side of the road. 

They would almost always give you a sample of some Orange Juice.   After all, oranges are on the license plate on the back of the Jeep!   You could get different varieties of oranges that you just can't readily find anywhere else - I'm addicted to Honeybell oranges, and will buy those by the full bushel when they're in season!

When I moved here, my favorite place to get oranges was closed.  Federal Highway south of Downtown, right by the Port entry.  

That was fine, I could take my choice of two more stands in Davie.

One of those closed.

The Cushman stand on Forest Hill in West Palm Beach got bought up by Harry and David.  The land may be sold for some soul-less Mc Mansions on the site.   Sad.

Old Florida was disappearing, and this was one more symptom.

Mind you, it's April.  It's past the citrus season.   My orange tree in the yard, a Honeybell, is coming back from shock and had a bunch of flowers.   My yard smells wonderful, a floral and fruity scent greets me.   I never get more than a few oranges, but I did The Florida Thing one day by picking an orange from that tree, and eating it in my driveway.   I had a tourist laugh and ask if that's what we all do here.

Some of us are lucky enough to have fruit trees, yes, and I do have lemons in the back yard for fresh Lemon Curd.

But the trip North to Deltona through the heart of the Agricultural area showed that many of those places were closing for the season, never to open again.

I guess we're turning into Corporate-Ville.  I have more rude names for that, but you get the idea.   When you can't find fruit near where it is grown, it is a sad thing.  The farms were retreating from the interstates and freeways, and large homes built in their place.   The groves were vanishing as well as the fruit stands I remember.

Sure, it's Off Season for local fruit, but the buildings should still be there!

At least I was able to stop in Harvey's in Rockledge.  They have a massive fruit processing plant where you can actually get the fruit "fresh off the truck" in the bag with their name on it.  Wonderful women there who are really happy to give you that little glass of OJ and want to tell you about what they have to sell, and are sorry the season is ending but you're lucky because you're here with US!

Rockledge is way too far to go for an orange, but you get the idea.   That's why you go to the grove, it's simply fresher that way.  I will say that it's also simply BETTER that way!

Sometimes the old ways are the best.   I'll have fresh squeezed orange juice for a while, that quarter bushel had a lot of Valencias for just that reason.   It's "B" Fruit.  Blemished?  Sure, but tastes just as good.

Oh and there were two grapefruit that were the size of a kid's soccer ball that are sitting in my fridge as a result.

These are the places where you can find Mango Butter, and produce in season, and weird little tourist trappy packages of overly sugared coconut patties.   They're all wonderful, both the foods and the stores.

I just hope they'll be there next year and not turned into some corporate drone's idea of a sterilized experience where you can pay an extra 25 percent for the privilege.

Some things are best left alone.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Rack Got His Name - Picture

I'll admit it, "Rack" is an unusual name.

I have to stop myself from saying "My dog?  Meet 'Rack'!" or some such.

Meet Rack, sounds like a bar.

But like any "unusual names", there is a bit of a story behind it.

My old dog, Lettie, R.I.P. named him, long before he was even born.

Since by coincidence, Rack was picked up by The Dog Liberator from the vet's office he was surrendered to on the day Lettie went to sleep, I was looking for a connection.

The Dog Liberator had him listed as "Les Paul", and Mr Paul's music being of an earlier era wasn't really all that familiar to me.   He came to them as Jake, and that made me uncomfortable since this dog was a very shy and fearful dog.  Why honor that connection by keeping that name?

Lettie was named after the Animal Control officer that realized that a dog as beautiful as she was belonged in a No-Kill rescue so she'd get a second chance.  Her name was Paulette.   I liked the connection there and kept it.

But Lettie was a quirky dog.  She had certain things about her own personality that would trip off at odd times and we learned to live with them.

Like most dogs, she'd bark at the TV for a while until she realized that it wasn't real.   Dogs on shows had her confused.  Cats would set her off.   That sort of thing.   She had a lot of amusing triggers.   Since I was a fan of animal programs, I'd have that on a lot, so she had a lot of chances to bark at the tube.

I also like to cook and bake.  When I make Biscuits, I start with cream and churn butter in the Cuisinart.

One day I was in the kitchen, and realized that I needed a second baking rack to put something into the oven, so I asked for some help.

"Hey, could you get me that rack?"
"Sure, but what's with Lettie?"
"Dunno, lets watch..."

So I narrowed it down.

The word "Rack" would set her off as if she was being called.  In fact, it was like being ordered to come to attention.   We had our ideas, it could have been that she was abandoned by a former military person when they were sent to Iraq.   She could have been called Raquel.

Beautiful dog, who knows?

It was one of those little mysteries we never found the answer to.

But we did joke with each other that it might make a good name for the right dog. 

Rack!  Here, boy!

So last week I started looking online at dogs.  We did manage to find a couple dogs that looked like they could have some Mc Nab blood in them, but both were adopted.  We were about to give up when an aside comment by me to Gisele at The Dog Liberator about Les Paul being a beautiful dog set the wheels in motion.

I thought he was up in Perry County, Georgia, about 700 miles away and said that it was a shame he wasn't closer.

Gisele said "He's here in Deltona.  He Needs You.".

We were sold.   This dog was one who looked like he had Mc Nab blood in him, and when I finally met him we were convinced that if he isn't a purebred, he's mostly Mc Nab.   His story was a familiar one, intelligent dogs like Mc Nabs, as well as Border Collies, Aussie Shepards, and other herding breeds are driven quite crazy in a shelter.   They tend to fold up and go into shock.  My first view of Les Paul was this black and white dog curled up in a ball in the corner of a white concrete block shelter cell. 

Clearly, he needed our help.

So we agreed to see if he'd like to come home with us.  That was on Saturday, and he had a visit with the vet on Tuesday so that weekend was out.   We all felt that he needed a week to de-stress and figure out where his head was at so that gave us time to think things through.

The entire next week, we prepared all the usual background items.   Dog Mats, Crates, a bag of Food, harness, and collar made it to the house.   We still didn't quite like the name, it really didn't ring true with us.

We still had "Rack" but we weren't sure if we were serious about naming a dog after a baking rack and a dog's reaction from time gone by.

It eventually stuck.  I kept referring to him as Rack without realizing it.   I guess the name adopted him as well.

Now he's here, in Wilton Manors.  He's got his big grey crate that's in view of our big green chairs.   He has a home.  A Forever Home, and we take that seriously.   And a name.

Given to him by our Dearly Departed, Lettie.

His name is Rack.

Sure, it's unusual and a bit silly but it is his.

Rack.  Welcome Home, Rack.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Say Hello To Rack

Yesterday was a very busy day for the three of us.

We got a new addition to the family.

Say hello to Rack.

"Rack" may be a silly name, I'm already hearing myself saying "Meet Rack" and shake my head, but it stuck.  I'll write about that another day.

You see, Rack has had three names that we know of in his short life.   He was Jake, and then Les Paul the Shy Dog, and now Rack.  His history before he came into my life is on this page at the Dog Liberator.

We got up early on our end.   Drove up from Wilton Manors to Deltona.   That is a 4 plus hour drive one way, and Florida is a very long and flat state.  I got to see some areas that I had only driven past at high speeds. 

Rack is a Shelter Dog.   We will never know of his history before he made it to the Vet's.  He was a "Owner Surrender".   That means that in his 7 months of life, the people who bought him as a puppy came to realize he was a handful and turned him in.  I have my own value judgement about people like that, and any reader of my blog know how I feel about people who discard dogs.

Rack is most likely a dog with significant amounts of Mc Nab in him.   They are a separate breed of dog that looks like a Border Collie but isn't.   Calmer, smarter, and more mellow than your run of the mill BC, a Mc Nab is an amazing breed.   Luckily, they have not been corrupted by the inbreeding that some of the more popular breeds are, and aren't well known out of the Western US.   It originated on the Mc Nab Ranch in Mendocino County, California.  Rack is my second Mc Nab, and I'm happy to know him.

Arriving at The Dog Liberator in Deltona, I remembered my training - "No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact" until the dogs initiate it.  I know, I'm quoting Cesar Millan, but when you're working with fearful dogs, it's a great start.   I went in to visit with Gisele's pack of Border Collies and we went back into the room with the dog's crates.  That was where we first saw Rack, then named Les Paul.  He was hiding in the back of the crate wondering who these two big guys were and why were they there.   Gisele took him out of his crate eventually and we did get to meet.

I learned about his history, his medical history, and we talked about techniques about how we would integrate this shy creature and allow him to blossom. 

I don't think he's going to be shy and fearful for long.

Eventually we got him outside, and into the car for the long haul back down the coast to Wilton Manors.  Surprisingly, he's great in the car.   Really didn't have a problem.  He didn't know us so he just sat there while we chattered for the drive home.  Four and a half long hours later we got here.

I may have pushed it a little but it worked out. 

When we got in the driveway, we got our gear out of the car and contemplated the black and white bundle in the big grey plastic crate.   He didn't seem to mind being there, and didn't seem to mind being handled so we started coaxing him out.  

You know the saying "Getting there is half the battle"?   Getting him half out of the crate was most of the battle.   At that point we slipped his harness on him and lifted him to the ground.   No sounds, no grumbling like my own Lettie would have, just "Ok, lets go".

I knew he would have to Go so I let him out on the dark street and walked him out down the block.  Yes, the First Dog Walk is always the most important one, it sets the tone for the relationship.  

"Flying Colors".   Well ok, Flying Black and White.

We got down the street lifting legs on everything in site, going back and forth between North and South side of the street, and finally going Poo for the first time in a new neighborhood.

I think we did the block twice, then he came to meet Lisa and Billy across the street.  Still flying colors.  We took it on his terms and he did eventually come over for a little attention from Billy.

At that point I got a call from Gisele asking for an update. 

"All's well"  He's going to continue to make progress.

And that's where I'll end it.   The first picture was from when we got him inside the house after all that.   The crate was closed and the food was eaten.  When he was done, he just plopped down and rested after drinking 16 ounces of water and a cup of food in a burst.

The second one, below, is directly off of Gisele's page for Les Paul.   You can read his priors there, there's a lot of healing to do but a lifetime to do it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Large, Well Established, Canadian Lumber Camp - Humor

A large, well established, Canadian lumber camp

A large, well established, Canadian lumber camp advertised that they were looking for a good Lumberjack. The very next day, a skinny little man showed up at the camp with his axe, and knocked on the head lumberjacks' door. The head lumberjack took one look at the little man and told him to leave.

"Just give me a chance to show you what I can do," said the skinny man.
"Okay, see that giant redwood over there?" said the lumberjack. "Take your axe and go cut it down." The skinny man headed for the tree, and in five minutes he was back knocking on the lumberjack's door.
"I cut the tree down," said the man.
The lumberjack couldn't believe his eyes and said, "Where did you get the skill to chop down trees like that?"

"In the 'Sahara Forest'," replied the puny man.
"You mean the 'Sahara Desert'," said the lumberjack.
The little man laughed and answered back, "Oh sure, that's what they call it now!" 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Some Things You Just Can't Explain - Humor

A farmer was sitting in the neighborhood bar getting drunk. A man came in and asked the farmer, "Hey, why are you sitting here on this beautiful day, getting drunk?"
The farmer shook his head and replied, "Some things you just can't explain."

"So what happened that's so horrible?" the man asked as he sat down next to the farmer.
"Well," the farmer said, "today I was sitting by my cow, milking her. Just as I got the bucket full, she lifted her left leg and kicked over the bucket."
"Okay," said the man, "but that's not so bad."
"Some things you just can't explain," the farmer replied.

"So what happened then?" the man asked.
The farmer said, "I took her left leg and tied it to the post on the left."
"And then?" "Well, I sat back down and continued to milk her. Just as I got the bucket full, she took her right leg and kicked over the bucket."
The man laughed and said, "Again?"
The farmer replied, "Some things you just can't explain."

"So, what did you do then?" the man asked.
"I took her right leg this time and tied it to the post on the right."
"And then?" "Well, I sat back down and began milking her again. Just as I got the bucket full, the stupid cow knocked over the bucket with her tail."

"Hmmm," the man said and nodded his head. "So, what did you do?" the man asked.
"Well," the farmer said, "I didn't have any more rope, so I took off my belt and tied her tail to the rafter.
In that moment, my pants fell down and my wife walked in...

"Some things you just can't explain."

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Duck and the Fountain - Picture

If you build it, they will come.

The other day, it started to rain.

I knew about it when Oscar started flapping his wings excitedly thinking about the chance to play in the rain.  Orange Wing Amazon parrots love rain, and love the chance to get wet.

Taking his cage out to the driveway to enjoy a little weather, I watched over him for a while.

I decided it was a perfect time to get a bunch of little projects done.   Washing down the resin chairs from Aunt Betty is always in order, and when I took them over to the grass to rinse them off, I noticed that we were being watched.

There was a Muscovy Duck who was curious about my own Oscar.

He was watching Oscar and slowly approaching him, while watching me and making sure I wasn't going to do anything scary.   Ducks don't care for scary, especially since I'm tall and know how to roast a duck.

I went about my own business, washing the windows on the house, then the Jeep got the dust washed off of it, and finally, I turned the hose on mist.   Oscar was going to get a second shower.

The duck didn't exactly care for the hose, so he started walking across the street to the puddles.  I guess in his little ducky mind, he realized that there was something more interesting in the yard so he headed over to the fountain.

This fountain serves many purposes.   It will make a babbling brook sound so you wonder if you left your sprinklers on.  The dog, named D.O.G., Yes, D.O.G., uses it as a drinking fountain as well.

As I'm taking pictures of this duck on the fountain, D.O.G. comes out of the fenced in yard and spots the duck.  Mind you, D.O.G. is a 140 pound Rottweiler.  Contrary to most people's belief, it's probably one of the sweetest dogs you've ever met, more preferring to lay in the sun and drink out of the fountain than chase off people.   The owner looks more the type for chasing people but that's neither here nor there.

However, the owner did want to get moving, so he started calling D.O.G.  You could see the doggy-gears churning inside that great noggin, do I explore the fountain and the duck, or listen to Dad?

Dad didn't care for that, and he was stomping his feet to get the dog back at bay. 

Eventually he did pile the beast into the truck and they were on their own little way.

The duck did remain at the fountain, doing whatever it is that ducks do in fountains, other than entertain me.

As someone once said, we do have the strangest wildlife here in South Florida, and some of it is not exactly native.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lunch at Snappers - Picture

So tell me, when you live in Paradise and want to get away for the day, where do you go?

In our case, we hopped in the car and drove down to the Keys.

Yes, for lunch.

100 miles one way.

Sure it sounds a bit over-the-top, but we needed the escape a week ago.

And look at the view!

We got to sit at a table, getting the tropical breezes off of the ocean in Key Largo, having a really nice lunch with a bottle of Pear Cider.

I have a feeling that we'll head down to Snappers in Key Largo once again.   Nice people, good food, and a complete change from the usual up here on our little island in the city.

The thing about the Keys is that if you fly in, you're there.   If you drive in, you seem to go through stages.

The Mainland in South Florida has "this look".  Everything is low slung.  Shopping centers and homes aren't usually over one floor, although for some crazy reason this is changing.  Big buildings can be built like bunkers with thick walls.  Overhangs are bolted down for a reason - they fly away.

Then all the sudden the sprawl... stops.

You hit the road through to the top of the Keys - it's grass and flat as a table top.  One lane each direction, so you're going to have to be patient.   It's about 12 miles of this.   Little bridges over little lakes.   More grass.   Signs saying "Crocodile Crossing".  Lake Surprise.

Then the bridge over Jewfish Creek and you're in Key Largo.

Now everything has it's own look.

Shops have a more island look to them.   Pastel colors, heavily pitched roofs, and lots of metal on them.   After all, you don't want them to peel apart shingle by shingle.   Tiles on the roofs, thick concrete block and stucco walls.

Palm trees greet you.  It's a Gilligan's Island look to things.   Strange posts that say Vacuum Sewer, so you expect to hear a sucking sound but don't get too close.

It's a world designed to be washed over and drained.

Something that we're lucky enough to just pop down on a weekend and dip a toe into.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Purple Vanda On The Wall - Picture

The last of the orchids opened last week.

Among all my own personal drama last week, I had noticed that the plant had put out a flower spike.  It's in a spot that can't be perfect since it gets very hot and is watered daily on my irrigation system.

Bloom it does, and I guess it happens each year around this time.

I'm thinking that in a storm, that plant will have to be left to its own devices since it's grown into the wood behind it.

Doesn't matter.
Looks better that way.

In fact, it's probably a healthier plant as a result.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston - 4-15-2013

Boston - at night from Boston University.

If you are looking for people up there, here are a few links that may help.

To locate someone:

Runners check ins at the race

Auto Starting Video of President Obama's news conference addressing the explosions:

Coverage from NBC on the explosions:

While this little blog is not a timely source of news, my sympathies go out to all those effected by this tragedy.   One news blurb came out on twitter over the last day that struck me as so very fitting about the spirit of the runners in the Boston Marathon and I will quote the tweet from NBC Sports Network:

Reports of Marathon Runners that crossed finish line and continued to run to Mass General Hospital to give blood to victims.  #PrayForBoston

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cobwebs and a Fresh-ish Start

Knowing is half the battle.
Planning wins the battle.

Knowing that last week was going to be hell, I filled the blog with articles.  Sat down and emptied my head about the dog, and other random thoughts that came to mind.  Being quite preoccupied, I was allowing a mental vacation even if a rest was the last thing on the cards.

Now that the week is over, it's time to restart some things.

Projects always need to run their course, even if it is a matter of saying "we're not going to do this any more" or "I'm done and lets bring it to the next level".

Fewer distractions mean more things get done even if getting it done is spinning the wheels.

Having finished the week, sitting down at the end of the morning rituals, it allowed me to look out the window and realize that it was time to dip the toe into the water of a few very specific tasks.  Being self-directed, you only answer to yourself when things "go long".

So now I am taking a bit of my own medicine or eating my own dog-food.  Step back, get the big picture, then take the long view of things.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you're impatient for results, you're cheating yourself out of the opportunity of excellence.

The Long View however can not be achieved in one big step normally.  So divide the goal, and conquer. 

I think I heard that somewhere.

So reach for the first stage in the plan.  It's usually the smallest one and is easiest to congratulate yourself when it is over.

For now, there's a server that has been waiting on my time to finish.  Getting it up to date means that at least the mind is moving in the right direction.  Sure, it's a small step but it is moving forward.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A String in the Bar - Humor

Good old boys

Two good ol' boys up in the Kentucky hills were sitting on the front porch talking one afternoon over a cold beer, and after getting off of work at the local coal mine.

After a while the 1st guy says to the 2nd, "If I was to sneak over to your trailer Saturday & make love to your wife while you was off huntin', and she got pregnant and had a baby, would that make us kin?"

The 2nd guy crooked his head sideways for a minute, scratched his head, and squinted his eyes thinking real hard about the question.

Finally, he says, "Well, I don't know 'bout kin, but it'd make us even."

A String goes into a bar

String hops into a bar, hops up on a bar stool and says to the bar keep, "I'll take a glass of your finest beer".

The bartender says, "we don't serve your kind here".

So, the sting hops back down and out of the bar and up to someone at a bus stop, and asked him to tie him in a knot, so the guy does, and the string hops on.

The string hops into a barber shop, and tells the barber to fray the top of him, so the barber does, and the string hops on.

The string then hops back into that bar, and back up onto that bar stool, and says "I'll take a glass of your finest beer".

The bar tender says, "hey, aren't you that string that was just in here", and the string replied, "no, I'm a frayed knot".

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Text From The Wife and A Dinner Blessing - Humor

Text from wife:

A wife being the romantic sort, sent her husband a text: "if you are sleeping, send me your dreams. If you are laughing, send me your smile. If you are eating, send me a bite. If you are drinking, send me a sip. If you are crying, send me your tears. I love you!”

The husband's reply, "I'm on the toilet. Please advise."

A woman invited some people to dinner.

At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said,
"Would you like to say the blessing?" she said.
"I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied.
"Just say what you hear mommy say," the woman answered.
The daughter bowed her head and said,
"Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?".

Friday, April 12, 2013

Barbecue Potato Chip Nostalgia

We went shopping last weekend.  Nothing weird about that, we do it most weekends.

On the other hand, we did get to the wholesale store so that meant we had mass quantities to move around.

The nice thing about getting to these sorts of stores is that sometimes you can choose to get them "portion packed".  When you're talking about a big box of barbecue potato chips, it makes more sense to go that way.

I now have a very large box of 50 packs of chips sitting on the kitchen table.

What got me thinking about it was how much that whole business of potato chips changed.

Back in the bad old days of the 1960s and 1970s when there were just two flavors of potato chips - plain and barbecue.  If you're over a certain age, you'll remember that potato chips have changed.   Where you used to get an occasional burnt chip, now they all look about the same.  The "doneness" of any given average potato chip now is about the same as the next one. 

It seems that over the last few decades, someone set to deciding that burned is bad, then worked to making sure that you or I never see a burned chip.

Crispy is good, brown is bad.

Now we have a uniform chip.  After all, when is the last time you saw a Green Potato chip.

But that uniformity took away one of my favorite memories of childhood.  That would be hunting for the Over-flavored Barbecue Potato Chip. 

They never quite had that mix right for the longest time.  Some of the chips were bright red, coated in that secret recipe coating that made for "Barbecuey Goodness".  Others were not quite so bright, barely coated.

I used to eat my chips by color.  Red first, then orange, then the palest ones. 

You simply don't have that these days.  Now they're uniformly good, and some would say bad, tasting.  But no shock of brilliant red inside of each bag waiting to be snacked on by hungry little hands.

I still enjoy those barbecue chips, but every so often I'll look in deep to a bag trying to find that one chip that spent an eye-blink longer under the seasoning spray. 

Yes, you my red beauty, you shall be the first!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Slow Motion Herding

Lettie had slowed down.  Our usual route shrank down from 1 1/2 miles at the peak three times a day, to one block or less.  In fact this was one of the last walks we had together.

That block will take a half hour or more.

As we're walking around, we're a slowly moving target for all the neighbors to chat up, complain about speeders, and get all the news of the neighborhood.

While we were walking we will see the usual strange wildlife that is around here in South Florida.  Lizards and Geckos are common, and no they are not the same thing.  An occasional iguana, snake or some other reptile will show underneath the foliage.

There are also the more mundane animals like Squirrels and Pigeons. 

In her younger days, she was quick.  Lettie would just miss catching the squirrels that would be in the back yard of our Philadelphia home.   Squirrels would be missed because there was a double right angle turn in the form of an S.  When you're trying to run in that close corners, you're just not going to be at your peak speed.

Those days are gone but not forgotten.

Near the end of our walk last weekend, there was a flock of Muscovy Ducks that had just landed near the end of the block.  About three houses up from the corner by the way we were walking was about 6 full grown black and white ducks.  They tend to wander around properties around here, cropping the grass and looking for whatever they can find for their next meal. 

Completely harmless and fairly approachable.  In some parts of the world, they are a prized dinner item instead of being mildly entertaining to my dog.

As we approached the flock, both dog and bird took notice and began to make plans.

When you are 12 years old, your speed isn't exactly great.  But your memory is still sharp.  The Eye is formed, and the gaze is piercing.  Stepping forward toward your avian charges, you move along with a purpose.  Things are not where they belong.  There was a flock of ducks that don't belong there so you are going to herd them along.

Walking at 1 mile per hour, a very slow pace, she put one paw in front of the other.  Moving toward the ducks, she deftly convinced the ducks to move from property to property toward the corner.

When we reached the corner, I got a quick glance looking for approval.   Getting the nod, literally, she stepped into the intersection, driving the flock across the street to the opposite side.  Giving the traffic a show, she guided the flock to their safety.

We actually got a "thank you for the show" from the Minivan as it moved on its way.

Just another day on the job for an old herding dog.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Goodbye Lettie

Today is Lettie's Last Day.

She came into our lives November 30, 2002.  A year and a half old, she spent the year before in a shelter, and six months before that with her first family.

She had escaped or had been abandoned in the North Dauphin, PA area around that time.

Lettie is named after the Animal Control officer that saw her potential and took her to the No Kill Shelter that I found her at.  Thank you Paulette, I am forever in your debt as a result.

She has been with us for the last 10 plus years and now it is time to say goodbye.

She went from being terrified of other dogs to being one of the most well behaved, if not a bit wary,  dogs that I have ever had the privilege to know.

After having the thyroid problems for 2 years, and the chronic renal failure for around one, including 3 months of twice daily feeding via syringe, it's time to end her suffering.

At 1pm today, I have an appointment to lead her "Across the Rainbow Bridge".

Goodbye Lettie.  We're done.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Fearful Dog Gets Her Feet Washed

Sunday I made Salt Dough.

I used the stuff to make pawprints of my dog Lettie.  She's not doing well, and I wanted to have this to remember her by.

Walking into the kitchen means that eventually I will hear the tick-tick of little paws coming into see what was going on and this was to be no exception.

I had just measured out the salt and flour to make this weird white play-doh stuff when I saw her nose peek around the corner into the kitchen.

She must be hungry.

No matter what, salt is off the menu for you you strange little dog.  Salt does not go well with kidney problems, so she didn't get to sample what she THOUGHT she wanted.

Kneading three little pancakes, two were lined into small pie tins, the third was just plopped unceremoniously onto a corelle plate.

Then I filled a bowl part-way with water to wash her feet because Mrs Dog was going to be the guest of honor on this little party.

We got her in her harness, and immediately the fear factor came to the surface.

Turning on the light, I sat down on the dining room floor.  Kevin walked Mrs Dog into the dining room and she immediately showed teeth.   Scaredy Cat?  No, this is normal for a dog.

I did it quickly as I could!

Grabbed a paw, placed it into the slowly warming white putty, and one was done.

She didn't like that.

Paws 2 and 3 went fairly well, although she didn't like that either.

Grumpy and Irascible Dog aside, I did manage to get three good paw-prints out of the exercise.

Good luck arguing with a dog in a bad mood to start.  By the time we were done, she wanted nothing to do with me, salt, flour, or her feet which were now turning the water in my 2 quart mixing bowl an interesting shade of grey-brown.

I had my prize, and she had a need for the front lawn.  Another well watered spot.   At least on the way out, the rest of the salt got washed off the feet in the wet grass.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Salt Dough Ornament Recipe

In my case, I'm making this to take an impression of my dog's paws.

It's a dead simple recipe, three ingredients.

You will want to remember that if it is going to be used with someone's hands, feet, or paws, to wash the area impressed thoroughly with water.   Salt can be abrasive and it can be caustic, even if it is Generally Recognized as Safe.

The recipe is:

  • 1/4 cup water - approximately.
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Preparation and use:
  1. To a mixing bowl, add Salt and Flour.
  2. Add water bit by bit until an even dough at a clay like consistency is achieved.  It will be around 1/4 cup water depending on how dry your area is.  Wet climates will need less water or longer curing time in the oven.
  3. Knead the mixture thoroughly until it is even
  4. Shape the dough to the thickness desired.  I worked with the dough until it was around 1/2 inch or so.
  5. Bake at 200F or 100C for 3 hours.
  6. Note that thicker ornaments will require longer time in the oven.  The bottoms may or may not have cured properly, but you can put it back in the oven once you get the ornament off of your forms.

You can paint or seal it as desired.

Or just have your dog stand on it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Auctioning off the Bull - Humor

I've been to farmers markets and you never really know what you will stumble across.  Sometimes, the bull being sold isn't by the auctioneer though...

 A couple go to an agricultural show way out in the countryside a fine Sunday afternoon, and are watching the auctioning off of reproduction bulls. The guy selling the bulls announces the first bull to be auctioned off:

A fine specimen, this bull reproduced 60 times last year.

The wife nudges her husband in the ribs, and comments: See! That was more than 5 times a month!

The second bull is to be sold: Another fine specimen, this wonder reproduced 120 times last year.

Again the wife bugs her husband: Hey, that's some 10 times a month. What do YOU say to that?!

Her husband is getting really annoyed with this comparison.

The third bull is up for sale: And this extraordinary specimen reproduced 360 times last year!

The wife slaps her husband on the arm and yells: That's once a day, every day of the year! How about YOU?!

The husband was pretty irritated by now, and yells back: Sure, once a day! But ask the announcer if they were all with the same cow!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The RAT! - Humor

Here on Bad Joke Saturday, we strive to bring you all the best in very bad jokes.  When only the worst in recycled jokes must do, think Bad Joke Saturday!

 This is just one example...

The RAT!

A Tourist walked into a Chinese curio shop in San Francisco . While looking around at the exotic merchandise, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized, bronze statue of a rat. It had no price tag, but was so incredibly striking the tourist decided he must have it. He took it to the old shop owner and asked, "How much for the bronze rat ?"

"Ahhh, you have chosen wisely! It is $12 for the rat and $100 for the story," said the wise old Chinaman.

The tourist quickly pulled out twelve dollars. "I'll just take the rat, you can keep the story".

As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, the tourist noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and had begun following him down the street. This was a bit disconcerting so he began walking faster.

A couple blocks later he looked behind him and saw to his horror the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.

Sweating now, the tourist began to trot toward San Francisco Bay .

Again, after a couple blocks, he looked around only to discover that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and were squealing and coming toward him faster and faster.

Terrified, he ran to the edge of the Bay and threw the bronze rat as far as he could into the Bay.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after the bronze rat and were all drowned.

The man walked back to the curio shop in Chinatown .

"Ahhh," said the owner, "You come back for story ?"

"No sir," said the man, "I came back to see if you have a bronze Republican.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chronic Renal Failure 1, Lettie 0. We're Done.

If you are reading this blog for information on Chronic Renal Failure in Dogs, you will want to search for that tag here.   I've documented the last two years of my dog, Lettie's life.  All the mistakes, all the trials, and all the triumphs in combating the disease.   I've been told I did better than most, a year past the formal diagnosis, three months of syringe feeding, and so forth.

While I am not a vet, I may be of help. 

Yesterday I made hard decisions.  

We all think they were the right ones.

What made it final for me was the feeding session yesterday morning.

I've been syringe feeding my dog, Lettie for the last three months.  I had a visit with the vet the night before, Wednesday.  The vet expressed shock that I had been feeding her with a syringe for that long.

Her reputation was that she needed "Caution".  She's fear motivated first, so if you scare her she will show you teeth.  And by "you" I mean, Me.   I've gotten growled and snapped at, and sometimes she even connected.  It's fear. 

Take one extremely intelligent dog and surrender her at 6 months to a shelter.

Six months later at her first birthday she gets out and lives with me the rest of her life.

Sure, she's going to be fearful.

The vet said we'll have a longer life expectancy if we shift over from the prescribed "I/D" diet for Pancreatitis, to "K/D" for Kidney Disease.

He didn't realize that there isn't a dog on the planet that likes "K/D" food.   The consistency is like modeling clay, play doh specifically.   She fought me every syringe.

In fact, yesterday morning, when I went to feed her, it took me 20 minutes to get one syringe in her.

A Syringe is 1 1/4 ounces of food.

That's 1/2 of a bathroom paper cup.

I realized after 40 minutes that she had given up, and now it was time for me to as well.

I had a discussion with Kevin about this, and initially he said that he thought maybe we might...

But he came around too.  It didn't take much discussion really, maybe a sentence or three.

The 20 minutes a syringe was the clincher.   You see the first time I fed her that K/D food, she rejected it completely.  Pump a small bit of about 1/2 Tablespoon into the side of her mouth behind the canine tooth and wait. 

I didn't have to wait long, she immediately spit it out.  

It was a grey brown blob sitting on my foot.

I kept after the entire syringe and reloaded those blobs that were all rejected and I realized that I just spent 5 minutes feeding a dog who completely rejected 100 percent of the syringe.

Try again.

I had the time after all, but it was almost the same story.   She only kept in about 5 percent this time.  This was on Cerenia, a powerful Anti-Nausea drug that you are only supposed to keep her on for 4 days.  She was on Day 7 of this.

Eventually after 40 minutes and 2 syringes I quit.  She should get 10 syringes a day plus a lot of snacks.

I was due for a vet visit later, and that gave me time to think about it.   The catheter in her leg had to come out.

When I got to the office I had decided that we should cease all treatment, and only provide Hospice Care.   Make her comfortable and see how it goes.

While waiting to tell the vet this, I weighed her.  She was down another .8 pounds.  

.8 pounds is not shocking except that this was in One Day.

In short, She was telling me "It's Time" and I had to stop being stubborn.   It isn't helping her.

We spent an hour at the vet, and everyone came to me and told me that we were doing right by her. 

Armed with some "A/D" food for "Anorexic Dogs", three tissues to help me from tearing up, and minus one leg catheter I went on my way.   With plenty of goodbyes, and eyes teared, we got in the Jeep and went home.

Lunch with Lettie was different.   All the rules are off.  It's like giving Grandpa that one last slab of Death By Chocolate when he's in the hospice and has diabetes.  

I was grilling chicken and she was getting some.  Never mind that the salt would mess with her system from this frozen chicken breast, she wanted it.

In fact, I'm glad I grilled four because she had 1 and 1/2 of them immediately, and another 1/2 at dinner time. 

Real Food makes one feel better even if it is bad for your long term survival.

This morning, syringe feeding the A/D food took me under 10 minutes.   An entire can went into her in that time.  

She looked at me confused when I told her "We're Done".   The battle was over and she was expecting more fight.

So you see, she realized it too.  She stepped forward and put her head down and gently on my chest.  Whether it is to show acceptance or thank you I don't know.

The Final Appointment for that trip across the Rainbow Bridge is scheduled for Wednesday 1PM April 10th, 2013. 

We wanted one last week to enjoy each other.  Eat bad food.  Bark at the plastic duck in the pool.  Sniff the Lemons on the tree.

Dog Stuff.

"We're Done."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Waiting on the Vet Day 4 - Not Good News At All

When I got to the vet at 5:30 last night, I got some bad news.

The number that was quoted to me was incorrect.  The nurse had read the wrong BUN number.  Since the right BUN number was almost unchanged from the first day, that basically says we need to consider our options.

We talked, and the conversation was basically a "You don't have too many things you can try at this point" speech.  In other words we are pretty much on our own.

This morning I went to grab the food and feed Lettie.  A syringe took me about 25 minutes.   The second took 15 minutes.  That was for about a small paper cup worth of food or 2 1/2 ounces.  She should be getting 12 ounces of food a day minimum.  Doubled, I'm giving her 5/12 of her daily diet. 

It was a battle all the way.  Squirt in about a teaspoon.  She would grumble and almost immediately spit it out.  Keep squirting in teaspoons and sometimes she'd chew and swallow, but only about 1 in 10. 

This is a dog who has given up.  That is the nature of Chronic Renal Failure in dogs.  You can want them to last forever, but the reality is that they won't.

So things don't look good.   I have to bring her back to the vet today.  I'm really thinking that the best course of action is to schedule her end and stop treatments.

If things change, of course, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finally, Some Good News From The Vet

This Chronic Renal Failure is a bear.  Especially in a pet since you can't really do Dialysis or a Kidney Transplant. 

On the other hand, sometimes you get a pleasant surprise.

Lettie was in the Vet's office for two days of fluid replenishment via IV.   When she first got there they did blood tests.  Her "Blood Urea Nitrogen" levels were three times higher than normal at 120.  

Today they were in Normal range of below 40. It wasn't even listed on the "Exception" report I saw.

She snapped back.

Of course it still takes me 30 minutes to under-feed the dog.  That's by her choice, not mine.  I'd give her cans of the stuff if she'd eat it.  My understanding is that there isn't a dog alive that likes "I/D" food.

So today I get to bake a can down to "Dog Food Jerky".  Slice the food down to under 1/4 inch thickness.  Roast at 350 until the thinnest pieces are crispy.

Only then will Lettie eat the damn stuff willingly.

That's what Chronic Renal Failure does.  It makes you have to eat food that you don't like.  At the end of it, you have to be forced to eat it.  One can is 10 syringes.  If it is roughly 700 calories per can, that's 70 calories a syringe - about 1 1/4 ounces each.  She should get 5 in the morning, 5 at night.

Last night I managed to get 4 into her and 3 this morning.

If you are reading this because you're researching feeding your older dog, that is why I am writing this down.  I'm also writing it down because I can be absent minded.

What happens is because the dog will starve themselves, literally, to death, you have to make allowances.   Push food at them.  When your dog is at the point that you are taking them in for IV Fluids, the gloves are off.

Today I got the following recommendation.   Since she's starving herself, the "Creatinine" levels are high.  That indicates that she is "eating" her muscle mass.   To reverse that, feed lean meats - raw or cooked.   Just make sure that if it is cooked, it is cooked without salt.  If it is raw, make sure that it is clean.

Cook the chicken, cooked or raw meat from pork or beef. 

Chicken bones only if they are uncooked - Personally I will avoid that due to the risk of salmonella.

So Mrs Dog gets another day or so at the spa.   It will buy her some more time.  Maybe a month, maybe more, maybe less.  We just don't know.

I strongly doubt I'll put her through this again.  Her demeanor is much less "fiesty" than she had been.  Right now, on day three, she seems to be much more passive, as if she's giving up.  This is an alpha dog, or a strong beta dog.   She's also very fearful.  So to see her personality just "flatten out" says a lot.

For now, my friend will be sleeping next to my bed.  She will be waking me up no doubt since they're
leaving the catheter in her leg and I'll have to keep the blue "Cone Of Shame" on her.

But for now, we're hopeful.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waiting on the Vet - Day 2

This was the view when I opened the bathroom door this morning after my shower.

Mrs Dog, waiting on me, and our daily routine.  The problem is that the daily routine has been interrupted.

This is day 2 of the latest treatment regimen.  She's been to the vet before, and generally doesn't like it.  I can tell that she's not feeling well because she's a very passive dog about it all.

Yesterday's results were very bad.  There's a specific measurement of the "Blood Urea Nitrogen" levels.   It tells you how well the kidneys are functioning.  In my dog, they basically aren't.  I was told "normal" is 34.  Hers was 120.

Four times higher.

While that was before any treatment, we do know she's not feeling well and her kidneys aren't working. 

What we're doing is taking her to the vet for an IV drip of fluids to see if we can get the numbers down.  She'll have her blood tested mid day today after a day of fluids yesterday and the morning treatment.  At that point we'll see where she is.

Another day at the "Day Spa" for elderly canines.

Chronic Renal Failure is not an easy thing to treat in a dog.  If it were a human, she'd get dialysis or a kidney transplant.   For an almost 13 year old dog, that just isn't going to happen.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Waiting for the Vet to Open

All weekend, we've been busy.

Some was good.  I had a good friend finally show up from Key West for a long weekend visit.  Never mind that this should have happened back in 2011, it happened and it was good.

Some has been quite bad.  

Lettie is going through another relapse of her Chronic Kidney Disease.  She's been refusing food all weekend.  It's been a battle to get her to keep some of the food down.

She's supposed to get a can of special diet a day.  That breaks down to 10 syringes of food.  Five in the morning, five at night.

I'll give her a squirt of around 1/6 to 1/4 of a syringe, about 1.25 ounces per syringe.  She'll spit out more than half of it.

So needless to say the feedings take forever.  It took me 30 minutes today to get two syringes in her.  That's basically 5 tablespoons of food for a dog that should be around 45 pounds.

Not enough.  That is the kind of feeding I've been going through all weekend.   If a dog will get sick, it's bound to happen on a Friday, and especially if there is some sort of holiday going on. 

Trust me on that.

I'll be calling the Vet shortly.  I'm sure they'll want me to bring her in.   She's not easy to handle any more.  A dog who's main motivator is the avoidance of fear results in all sorts of adjustments.

Keep things calm and quiet.  Watch for her tail to tell you if you're going "too far".  Talk to her, which is difficult since she's profoundly hearing impaired.

Life is tough when you are an old dog.

Wish me luck.  This basically is here to remind me of what we've been doing so I can repeat it back for the vet when I call in 11 minutes or so.

8 AM.