Tag Archives: family

The Big C Word

gus-june2014-3935What turned out as a routine senior exam because Gus wasn’t feeling good has turned our life upside down for the last couple of weeks.  Gus has lymphosarcoma.  It isn’t slow moving and it is attacking his GI tract pretty nastily.    Our vet didn’t have a whole lot of positive to say because of his age and susceptibility to succumbing if we opted to treat our beloved Elderbull with chemo.  He said that the kindest option would be management and then helping him cross the bridge when the time came – which could be sooner or later.

How did we find out and confirm our worst fears?  Blood work.  We had taken him in because his belly was a bit bloated and he didn’t want to eat his meals and was having trouble controlling his bladder.  The latter is a common problem in the older dogs but I didn’t want him ending up with issues because he had an accident while we were at work and soiled his blanket in his crate.

The results from his blood work weren’t promising.  He has hyper calcemia.  He is anemic.  His thyroid levels were incredibly low.  All of that combined with the added insult, he alsogus-april2014-2622 had a Urinary Tract Infection – the one thing we worked to prevent with his accidents.  The final blow was the lymphosarcoma attacking his GI tract and causing the bloating and unwillingness to eat.

Cancer.  It should be a curse word.  This vile, vile disease is something that takes far too many loved ones from this Earth and runs rampant through our hearts as they deal and cope with this internal Hell until it is time for them to leave us.    We’ve been dealing with it.  We’re making our buddy comfortable.  We are letting him eat whatever makes him eat and keep strength up.  He has been getting to sleep in bed or we’ve been sleeping in the dog beds with him.  We have to keep him cool since he gets uncomfortably hot even though he loves to bake in the sun.  Whatever it takes for however long he has left with us.

We started a bucket list of things to do with him before he crosses the bridge – a “like” campaign on his Facebook page, Gus the Elderbull, in an effort to create a functioning memory that helps other dogs in shelters and a place for owners of their own elderbulls to come and share their memories, going swimming for the first time with us, eating an Oreo gus-july2014-4500cookie even though they aren’t good for him, spending all night cuddling with us.

It hasn’t been easy.  I’ve cried more nights than I care to admit to.  My husband has remained stoic but even he can’t hide the pain.  We’re having to make a decision that no person wants to make.  When is the right time?  Are we being selfish by waiting?  Is Gus happy?  We’re told time and again we’ll know but in my heart, I don’t know.  It’s scary.  I never expected to lose this beautiful soul in such a short time after we adopted him from the shelter – which is currently at almost two months shy of his September 23rd Gotcha Day.  It sucks and it’s something that I could wish on my worst enemy but we will work through it and we’ll make the best of whatever time we have left until Gus lets us know it’s time.

Work-A-Bull Goes Fuzzy Dog

yoshi-gotchaday-august2013-9812Well, we’ve got a new addition to the crew in an offhand sort of way.  His name is Yoshi, formerly “Louie”, and he was adopted on Saturday from the local animal shelter by my parents after three grueling days waiting to see if they’d be accepted.  He’s a 3 year old Shih Tzu who ended up there due to no fault of his own because he was allowed to run loose and picked up by animal control where he was held for his stray hold before being put up for adoption.  We were lucky enough to be able to snatch the little guy up the day he arrived at the adoption location by chance after seeing him on a mutual friend’s Facebook page via a tag.

Yoshi came to us with quite a few lack-of-care issues that were no fault of the shelter.  On his first vetyoshi-gotchaday-august2013-9747 visit as a newly adopted dog, he was diagnosed with tartar build up in the rear teeth (which is far too common with small breed dogs!), coccidia, a severe ear infection in both ears, mild dermatitis from previous flea infestation/lack of proper nutrition and a staph infection.  He’s on three different medications and has to get frequent baths with medicated shampoo for a couple of weeks.  Thanks to the wonderful staff at Hoover Veterinary Hospital, he’s on the mend and once he gets all healed up and healthy, he’ll undergo his neuter, teeth cleaning and get his microchip.

Yoshi has been, despite the easy-to-handle health issues, an absolute breeze.  He has started to settle into his new house like he’s been there from the beginning.  He’s already taking his role as cat herding expert quite seriously – except for Micki, the 17 year old, blind torti Persian, who flicks her tail and smacks the snot out of him because she knows she rules the roost even if he thinks otherwise. He is also picking up on basic commands very easily with the help of his immense food drive which has actually yoshi-gotchaday-august2013-9735gotten my Mom thinking about doing more with him than just being a treasured family companion (like therapy dog work and maybe some competitive stuff too).

All in all, he’s a very good dog and we’re happy to have him and to introduce him as part of “Team Work-A-Bull” – even if he is a little fuzzy – and are looking forward to many more adventures with him and my Mom as a team as she gets her feet wet in the world of training and possible competitions and activities with her little guy.  Welcome to the family, Yoshi.  It’s good to have you here!

Life. Love. Happiness.

There have been a lot of changes in my life in the last two weeks and it has caused my blog to suffer a bit of neglect while I settled into what has become my new life.  Everything that has happened in the last two weeks is a new path to follow to hopefully better my life.

On May 21st, I posted about Luna’s birthday.  Well, that’s not the end of the story.  That day, my then fiancé and I shared our wedding vows together at the local court house surrounded by friends, family and Luna.  She truly was the reason we struggled to make it because neither of us could imagine life without her or one another.  It was a truly beautiful moment and one that was nine years in the making.  The love of two people and one little pit bull is a beautiful thing.

We opted to do our reception at a later date (July 2012, tentatively) and instead did a simple dinner after the ceremony to commemorate that particular moment in time.  We enjoyed a quiet meeting of the families at the Outback Steakhouse that was literally right next door.  My dad walked the hoard of nieces and nephews over since they were entirely too full of themselves to load up in the car for a short jaunt because they were having entirely too much fun running amok on the lawn of the court house.

The next big thing to happen is the place where my husband and I work was sold to a different company.  We are there through the duration of the transition (120 days) and possibly up to a total of a year through a subsidiary company that will take over our paycheck payments.  It’s a whole different ball game from what we are used to but it’s going to enable both of us to work a crap load of overtime and bank every available penny possible as we hunt for our dream property to start our family with ten and eleven hour shifts and up to six days a week.  It’s brutal on me – my knees and hips ache regularly after a day there – but its income until I can get my boarding/training facility dream a reality.  It’s a scary prospect, but at the same time I can’t be too picky about the fact that I am employed when there are many that aren’t.

Other than that, nothing else has been tremendously life altering.  We had our ADBA Fun Show on June 2nd and it went off without a hitch.  It seemed like everyone had a good time.

My wonderful boy, Ryker, took Best of Show under judge Mike Norrod and took Best Brindle under judge Dave Wolf – both gentlemen have quite a few years in the breed – and it was an honor to place under them.

Lyric took first in the female treadmill class and Best Overall by beating out the male winner.  She topped out at almost 14MPH in the 2 minutes she hauled fanny on the slat mill.  I’m so proud of my little Tinker Toy.  She’s really starting to come into her own and I would have never imagined the brain transplant she seemed to get after her emergency spay.

But, other than that, nothing much has really been going on.  Training has been put on hold for a while because of other things and we’ve been living the life of a newly married couple.  <3

The Only Constant Is Change

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last update but a lot has changed in the past few weeks.  For the sake of our dogs and our family we opted out of transferring to Kentucky.  We were only given a little over two weeks of notice to pack up, find living and move before having to report to work at our new job.  It was hard enough finding housing for five dogs, but when you told them what kind of dogs they were…yeah, didn’t happen.  Ah, well.  It’s in the past and we won’t give up our dogs when we have other options in our future.

In that time frame, the place where we’re currently working is pending sale.  A buyer is finally looking to buy the place.  We are riding through the transition and transferring to the original parent company in twelve months or so.  This will mean a few changes over the course of the year, but we’re staying in Michigan (for now).  We’ve started hunting for property finally that will allow us to finally have a nicer set up for us and our future growing family.

Bruce and I have been talking about going to the court on May 21st and finally signing the paperwork to make us a legally married couple after nine years and a few months of being together.  What was the reason for the date you ask? Well, it’s Luna’s birthday.  She will be nine years old and what better way to commemorate our time together than the glue that has held us so tightly for nine years.  I never would have pictured myself where I am nine years ago with her and Bruce…or for that matter, Mika, Duo, Ryker and Lyric!  I wouldn’t change it for the world – even with the hard times we’ve faced in the past or those we may suffer through in the future.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or something like that.

We’ve had some plans and goals change with the prospects of the upcoming changes to our life and job situation and it will be interesting to see how they play out over the coming years.  We’re rushing headlong into the unknown and it’s thrilling and downright frightening at the same time.  I won’t deny that I’m absolutely terrified that things will go terribly wrong, but I will continue to hope for the best for myself, Bruce, the dogs and…well, you can take a guess at what else.

I am truly blessed to have so little but have so much at the same time.

Love. Life. Dogs.

**Warning: Post gets incredibly vivid on descriptions and may not sit well with sensitive stomachs.**

You never know how your life is going to change when you get involved in what I affectionately call “the Dog World.”  Little did I know what lay in store for me getting into showing and (quite possibly) breeding purebred dogs.  The trials and the tribulations involved in having intact animals in my home and the quandaries associated with them.  Such was the case just a little over two weeks ago when what I thought was going to be a routine vet visit for a urinary tract infection or bladder infection on my darling little pistol, Lyric, turned out to be so much more.

I took Lyric to my phenomenal vet, Hoover Road Animal Hospital, on Tuesday, March 6th.  She’d urinated in her crate three times in the span of about an hour and a half.  [Note: We crate and rotate due to compatibility issues with a couple of the dogs – makes life simpler when they’re not crabbing at one another and it was another dog’s turn.]  The first time she did it, I wasn’t incredibly concerned because she’s always been a dirty dog and not had a problem urinating in her crate but after the 2nd (and eventual 3rd that happened not even 20 minutes after changing out her blankets and cleaning out her crate one more time!) I was incredibly alarmed.  The first time, her urine smelled fine.  It smelled like normal dog pee (yes, I know…weirdo knows what their dog’s urine smells like) but the final two times before we made the end of day trip to see our vet, her urine smelled off.  Pungent and almost infection-smelling – but it wasn’t watery, it was heavily concentrated.  Quite honestly, it was gross smelling and I had a hard time handling the smell. (It quickly became one of a handful of smells I can’t stand and almost make me want to vomit.)

Doc took her temperature and it was incredibly high – like concernedly high.  He gave her a fever reducing injection and we talked about our options.  Since she’d urinated on their floor, she had no more urine left to give a sample, but he didn’t want to send us home without starting her on antibiotics simple because we couldn’t run an analysis. So, armed with a prescription for cephalexin we went home.  There was concern that it wasn’t a bladder infection or UTI but I was told to come back if there were any changes – unfortunately, those concerns became incredibly valid not even 24 hours later.

We started her immediately on the medications after picking them up from the pharmacy (Yay for $4 generic prescriptions at Kroger for dogs now!). The following afternoon when we’d come home from work, I took her out on our potty run (we couldn’t see anything that morning since we leave for work at 4am most days) and she was oozing pus out of her vulva.  We made the call to get her back in immediately and an eternity later and a bazillion worrying tests later (okay, so it wasn’t that many, but I never felt so worried in my life over this little hellhound) the determination was pyometra and the fix was an emergency spay.

My life and hers changed so quickly. Never would we have expected to have her show career cut off at the knees by Mother Nature, but I’m glad I still have my girl and she’s safe and sound and on the road to recovery.  While Mother Nature had other plans for her, forcing us to drastically change ours, it also opened up so many more opportunities that wouldn’t have existed prior to that.

It is really true that when one door closes, another opens.  I’m eternally grateful to everyone who has been so supportive of her and me during this entire ordeal.  I would never wish this on anyone in a lifetime – it has become one of the scariest things I’ve gone through since making the decision to maintain intact dogs – and since we’ve had to walk through a new door and onto a new path in life we walk with uncertainty in our plans ahead but keeping in mind that we have each other and hundreds of new things to try, train, and excel at and a gratefulness that my little demon princess was not ripped from my arms and taken across the Rainbow Bridge before she’d had time to finish her reign of terrier terror on this plane. I ultimately learned to never distrust my senses in knowing that there wasn’t something quite right with my dog and her behaviors and am blessed to have such a phenomenal bond with her and the rest of the Wolf Moon pack.

To many, many more years of learning and living together, Lyric.  I love you with all of my heart and while we may walk a new path, we will do it together into eternity.

Life Happens

Well, my poor blog has been horridly ignored over the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, life got in the way of spending a ton of time online.  I spent most of my time on the ‘Net from my phone and that doesn’t make the easiest blogging experience, unfortunately.  Thankfully, the majority of what I’ve been dealing with is good for the future for us and the dogs.

We put in a transfer to Kentucky – Louisville to be exact.  We don’t know if we got it, but the paperwork is in.  We’ll be headed down to Louisville in the spring or just before fall if we get the chance.  It’s very scary for me to do this as it means moving away from a lot that I have known for a good many years and that I’m moving away from my family.  That being said, it’s a raise for both Bruce and I and a chance to secure the hopes and plans we have for the future – most of which surrounds the dogs.

We’re looking for places outside of the city since there are some incredibly strict rules in regard to having intact animals…and more specifically pit bull-type dogs.  Cruddy, yes, but we’ve located a few places that we’re looking at in hopes of getting some property.  If we manage to secure a decent sized piece of property, we very well may be able to expand upon our dreams and have indoor/outdoor kennels that are heated and air conditioned for the dogs so we can do boarding and training on site and maybe even have things set up for performance events.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for many, many years and this may be a chance to make it a reality.

While there are many things that make this move a negative thought for me, the positives are certainly outweighing these.  We will be moving farther from our family and friends that we’ve known and cherished for many years to totally unfamiliar territory, however, this will allow us to expand into areas that we’ve wanted to do for a long time and be in a central location to visit folks in the surrounding areas and allow folks to visit us as well.

Either way, many things will likely be changing in the coming months and all I can do is hope for the best for the dogs, us and our future and trust we made the best possible choice.