Ziesa’s Health Stuff

So, my pretty pretty little princess was getting a little grumpier and ouchy so off we went to the veterinarian’s office and on behalf of Grumble Princess Ziesa Dumpy-truck Von Bulldozer (her full show name, obviously) I hereby say, “Ow Ow Fuckity Ow!”.
Her hips are rather trashed (see x-ray, ya can’t miss it), both elbows and one knee also arthritic and bringing the pain.
She will be medicated and managed and quality of life will be kept up for as many years as possible.

ZIESA_19573_005

Not going to lie though, having Ziesa all zonked out on meds lying under the same computer desk mounted to the wall that Herbert spent a lot of time under when he first got sick hit me harder than I expected.

Then I received confirmation she tested positive for Tick Fever (aka Ehrlichiosis) so now she is on doxycycline to treat. She has been on flea & tick preventative since the day I picked her up, but I did pull three ticks off her that day. She had excessive bleeding following her spay and out of concern, I stopped at the vet on the way home. She was anemic, but since the bleeding had slowed the stateside vet who was covering the office determined she would be fine. Maybe he unfamiliar with tick fever in the VI, but maybe she just seemed okay. At her 6-month-old vet visit I asked about growing pains and mentioned she was achy, but it didn’t occur to the vet or me that it could have been a tick-borne viral fever causing/exacerbating arthritis.
Now her hips, yeah, those are just a genetic lottery loss. But all this painful arthritis crap is because I didn’t pay enough attention or push hard enough to find out why she was so achy. I know professionals missed it as well, but I hold myself a to higher standard; not in diagnostics, but in knowing when something is wrong with my dogs.
Anywhoodle, her prognosis is good and her anti-inflammatory is starting to kick in; she has been visibly happier and more relaxed.

She is starting to feel better:  https://youtu.be/q5fNW_bkIv8

 

Mud, Blood, and Frostbite

Ya know, some mornings can just suck it. Today is one of those mornings. 

The middle finger of my right hand 🖕now has frostbite and I am randomly coated with spots and smears of blood and mud with blades of grass clinging to everywhere. “The hell?!” you logically ask. Everyone is fine (except for my beloved and expressive right middle finger) but this morning Señors SamSam and Humphrey decided to have themselves a fight. Why? Well see, what I think happened was Humphrey insulted Sam’s mother; kidding! I don’t know, they are DOGS and I was in the house. So, off I go grabbing the air horn in my very sexy bike shorts, t-shirt, and slippers stomping into the wet (cut yesterday) grass. One blast of the air horn scares off the, well, let’s call them the “fight-adjacent assholes.” However for descriptive purposes allow me to detail the F-AAs: Ziesa just occasionally running headlong into the fight using her snoot as a battering ram; Dobby just grabbing onto whatever collar or neck he can grab his entire demeanor screeching “just happy to be here guys!”; and Piper, blessedly weird Piper, just grabbing and humping whatever dog she can. So, one honk of the air horn scares the F-AAs away and I get to begin separating the primary assholes. Air horn scares Humphrey up close, Sam is too far gone. Able to get Sam’s collar (Martingale) but grab the collar itself and not the tightening strap so he slips out (Asshole!), so I grab his back legs and swing him away. Unfortunately had to do that twice and then keep Sam down for a couple minutes before he came back to himself and then put Sam & Humphrey into a Sit & Wait while I retrieved Sam’s collar and put it on him. Annoyingly, Sam and Humphrey walked side by side back into the house with a, “sheesh, why the lady so mad?!” when I ordered them both “IN!”. 

So, the damn air horn froze my poor middle finger which is alternating between numb and tingles, I’m running late for work and I have to hose the mud, blood, and grass off me before I can finish getting dressed.  

Sam & Humphrey are safely separated but just another unique day at FoodLady’s house. 

New Meds & Dobby Plan

So, I’ve been quiet lately. Not because I’m actively avoiding facebook but because I’ve been rather busy. 

My father came to visit the island and I played tour guide, it was a lot of fun. Now that the visit is over I have actively begun training Dobby as a Diabetic Alert Dog, and hoo-boy do I have a LOT of work to do with him. 

In medical (management) news, my insurance company is annoying me. Remember them making me switch from my preferred AccuChek Aviva Connect to One Touch? yeah, I tried it. I tried THREE different One Touch meters. They were okay, just basic blood glucose meters. But I wasn’t using them nearly as often as I should have and it turns out what motivates me to actually check my blood glucose levels is other people. The connect meter connects to my phone and auto texts my results to anyone I set it up to send it to. Is it perfect? no. does it work better for me? yes. 

So for now I’m paying for strips out of pocket but soon I will be asking my doctor to argue with the insurance folks. 

Speaking of my doctor, she called me the other day and said, “your insurance wants to switch you from Victoza to Byetta or Trulicity? thoughts?” Byetta was out of the question, I was on it before and let’s just say that was 8 months of nausea I don’t want again. So, I told her to give Trulicity a whirl. I just took my first once-weekly injection about 10 minutes ago so I have no idea how it works (yet) but let me tell you this, there is no freaking way in Hell this is a cheaper option. This is an over-engineered auto-injection pen that, while fancy and spiffy, seems excessively wasteful of materials. I peeled the sticker off for your inspection. Think of it as an almost fancier version of an epipen but with a wee little sub-cu needle instead of an IM one. When I read the instructions I laughed out loud at the disposal instructions which can II went online and read two studies comparing the differences between Trulicity and Victoza and, to be honest, they are very similar results-wise. 

I’ll let y’all know how this goes…should be interesting.

Evolution of a Dobby

FoodLady Chronicles – Dobby Update – 5 months: It’s hard to believe we have only had Dobby for 5 months, he has come *so* far. He started out an 18.2 lb starved, stinky, scraggly, infected mess of a dog that was estimated to be about a year, but estimating age is very challenging with a starved dog; he was at least 6 months of age by teeth. He is now a 52lb “beefcake” (per my friend Sarah Woodward) or “beloved-pain-in-my-ass” (per me). He loves to play in the shower and learns new skills every day. He is sweet to puppies, great with shy dogs, and is learning (slowly) that not all people are scary. 

https://goo.gl/photos/M79rPJBNBbEtJP9e6

I didn’t know…

So, for those of you who don’t know me, I find cleaning challenging. Projects? Love me some projects. Give me something to hyperfocus on and I will joyously get lost in an audio book while cleaning grout, reorganize a cabinet, cleaning a wall, etc. But that every day shit, you know, that super-important third step of laundry or dishes (putting them (the hell) away), or clearing off the counter or table, or making the bed – that has been very challenging to try to make part of my every day life. I’m working on it. (Current Mantra: don’t put it (the fuck) down; put it (the fuck) away.)

There is a blog out there entitled “unfuck  your habitat,” and I have been using it to help me for a while now. One of those things it recommends is using a steam mop and I thought, “Seriously? Can it be that much better?” So about 2 weeks ago I started the online research and I learned everyone has an opinion on what makes a “good” steam cleaner. With “scent pods” or without (WTF is a scent pod?); canister or upright; with vacuum or not; for floors only or with accessories or not; and on and on. That’s when I realized I needed to change from looking for “steam mop” or “steam cleaner” and start looking for “heavy duty steam”. Why? Because I didn’t want something that would break within a year, I wanted something with some power, I didn’t want to have to refill it every 10 minutes, and I wanted to be able to actually sterilize after working with a sick animal. 

So I bought a Mcculloch MC1275 multi-use steam cleaner on Amazon. I spent so much time going back and forth between the different McCulloch model’s reviews that eventually I just chose the simplest one (usually means less to break). 

Now, it is important to note – I have only been using this thing for 3 days, so I can tell you nothing about longevity, but I am impressed with the construction and size of the water tank. 

I can say, holy shit. I cleaned the stovetop, the oven door, the refrigerator seals, the bathroom mirror, the toilet (including seals), bathroom baseboard, shower walls, bathroom grout, bathroom sink and drain, all the random mudspots from various surfaces (thanks dogs!), and then steam-mopped the hell out of living room floor. 

Everything *feels* clean. Not just looks clean, but *feels* clean.  It is so strange to not have things smell like cleaning products – just smells neutral.  

So, in conclusion, I didn’t know. I didn’t know how much better a steam cleaner can get things clean. I also *really* like that I can sterilize areas as needed.  It doesn’t make cleaning easier, but it does make it so much more effective.

I have never gotten anything for free and only shared this because I could have used this knowledge years ago. 

Love,

FoodLady.  

Mudpuppies! 

Ziesa came zooming into the house where the other dogs were slacktastically lounging and skidded dramatically and I swear her body language screamed, “OMG you guys, it started raining! When it rains, we get MUD! C’mon guys!” before she ran back outside with the other four idiots running behind her. 

Silly Mudpups. 

Two Options

Okay, so….real talk. I lose shit. I mean, ALL THE TIME. I currently have a Be On The Lookout (BOLO) list in my planner with no less than 13 items on it yet to be found. While I just spent the last 49 minutes of my life searching for my (damn) phone I had a great idea – wouldn’t it be great if cell phones came with a charging base that had a “find handset”-type page button? And if that noise could override silenced notifications? Yep, hours of my life could be saved if something like that existed.  

….and that’s when I remembered – shit, you can train a dog to find your keys or your phone. Why haven’t I done this? I have five, count them, FIVE freeloading asshats who were quite literally scampering around the front yard in joyous play while I sweated and cussed and moved furniture. 

There are hundreds of thousands of articles out there and I have no idea what method I will be using, but once I figure it out I will be sure to share.  

Love all y’all,

FoodLady. 

FoodLady Puppy sits & Sick Puppy Care (knowledge dump)

So, I have two foster babies here until Monday evening. Short term fosters are easier (for me) but this is just a quick “relief” foster for their ongoing foster human. She had a ROUGH few days. Without going into details these are the only two left from a large litter of abandoned too early babies. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, getting no sleep while handling dying puppies is a damn nighmare and the poor woman needed a damned break.

While I spent some prep time on their food and crate I started remembering a lot of interesting and useful information I learned while trying to provide Herbert with nutrition while he was declining. Most interestingly I learned a starving dog/puppy mix that a very smart gentleman in Colorado shared which I have adapted just a bit. I cannot swear why it works, but I can say I have had damn good luck with it on multiple occasions:

  • 3 parts canned puppy food
  • 1 part meat human baby food
  • 2 parts plain yogurt
  • 2 parts heavy whipping cream
  • 1 part canned pumpkin
  • Canine probiotic supplement (if you have it, optional, etc.)
  • NutriCal ((if you have it, optional, etc) or dark corn syrup if calories are essential and you don’t have NutriCal) 

Warm it up (not hot), and feed. The original recipe can be found on the Blasco Family website and when I last checked included only heavy whipping cream, yogurt, and pumpkin pie filling. I asked him about the pumpkin pie filling which is not usually recommended for dogs and he mentioned that the included spices are soothing to tummies. I do not doubt his assertions and the pumpkin pie filling contains sugar which adds to caloric intake of starving puppies/dogs. 

Either recipe seems to do the job, I like my version because it seems more nutritionally complete. From what I can tell, the heavy whipping cream, yogurt, and pumpkin in either mix soothes delicate tummies while providing enough fat to help the starvation.  

Other random stuff:

  • Wipe puppies down often. Using warm wrung out washcloths or even unscented baby wipes.  They need the interaction and it is soothing and comforting to them. 
  • Do not immersion-bathe sick puppies too often. It is hard to re-warm them quickly enough. If you have to bathe them fully (beyond wiping) ensure they are completely dry and warm before allowing them to be put down. 
  • You see a puppy with a huge puppy belly but it doesn’t seem quite right? Check the base of the tail. Big puppy bellies can often be caused by parasite inflammation. If the base of the tail looks thin and unhealthy then the puppy is not getting enough nutrition. 
  • Puppies like safe, warm and quiet. Sick puppies *need* safe, warm and quiet to get better. Now, that doesn’t mean silence and everyone tiptoe. But it does mean constant handling by different people in loud environments can be too much for sick little ones. 
  • Enriched environments – yes, you want to keep their cages and areas clean and sanitary. But you also want their little brains to begin working. Put a nylabone in there, maybe some safe toys. As they feel better they will want to play. Yes, they may poop on it. So what? Sick puppies mean you are cleaning up poop; what’s a little more clean up to exponentially increase their stimulation which can greatly increase their survival rate?

I think that’s all I got for now; I hope this helps someone someday! 

Love, FoodLady.  

Spidey Sense

FoodLady Chronicles – “spidey sense” edition:

I’m not perfect at it, but every once in a while my brain tingles and I know it is time to examine whatever the frak the assholes (aka dogs) are currently up to. I peek and see Ziesa up at the far front fence…..hmmm, is this the new demolition site? Has she only done the pre-bid walk around, or has she started prepping the site for the letting loose the hounds of war? 

Hmmm, the other dogs appear a wee bit over amped…..this can only end well. 

*sigh* 

I stomp out there in my ever-so-sexy-and-often-chewed-on orange crocs and see the what Ziesa considered to be her prize. 

Juvenile iguana was stuck in the fence. 

*sigh* 

The iguana had underestimated the size of its back-legs and booty (I feel ya lizard; it happens.) and ended up stuck. To add apparent insult to injury it also ended up rather…..uh…..moist. Ziesa appeared to have guarded it effectively from the other dogs (she generally takes what she wants from them) and since it was doing the “play dead” defense she had not yet been stimulated enough to chew/kill (I hold no illusions about dog natures; very few canines see wild iguanas as friends) but apparently was interested enough to lick it a lot. I readjusted the less than thrilled iguana as it continued to play dead while giving me an impressive death-glare. I managed to free and release it on the “non-death” side of the fence. The iguana impressively maintained its death-glare as it stomped away. Ms. Ziesa watched her prize stomp away and gave me an almost matching glare before stomping the other way. 

Well, as long as no-one is happy, I did some good work there. 

FoodLady Chronicles – it’s been a year. 

When I was 17, I jumped out of an airplane (with a parachute). I will never forget those first few seconds right after I jumped when I couldn’t see, hear, or even make any noise – it was as if everything had gone white. The closest I have ever come to feeling that life ending panic happened 0ne year ago today as I comforted a Herbert and told him he was such a good boy, such a strong boy and that he could run free and he could go and chase whatever he wanted. After he was gone, everything went white. I remember bits and pieces; I remember crying about how unfair it was and then in the next breath saying the world isn’t fair, I remember sitting on the side of the road at the vets office while my then boyfriend/now husband took care of the arrangements wondering how I got there, and lastly I remember the vet calling to tell me the necropsy revealed an embedded grass barb in his esophagus was the root cause of the whole thing, and I remember coming home and laying in the grass wondering how I was going to keep going and I remember that Piper was the first thing that made me laugh after Herbert’s death.  

It’s been a year now. I still think of him every day, but it doesn’t stop my heart when people ask where he is anymore. I’m starting to remember the good things about our too short time together, instead of just the end. 

I’m incredibly grateful to everyone in my life who knew him and loved him and there are new people in my life these days and I wish with all of my heart that they could have met him and seen what an amazing dog he was. He was loved by many and I miss him so very much.