Archive for June, 2010

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Palu

June 25, 2010

My old buddy Palu, our very first one. None of us could have known what you would start; all we knew was that you were awesome. Even though I was afraid of you at first! Seems ridiculous now, after all the hounds that have come through here. But I had never had a big dog before, and I thought for a few days that you might decide to turn on me and eat me. Nothing could have been further from your true nature. Gentle, tolerant, the last to complain about anything. Sure, you got to be a bit of a grump in your teenage years, but I bet I will be grumpy too when I am 14×7 years old.

You gave us so many laughs. I must have taken thousands of pictures of you sleeping with all 4 feet in the air (and that was before digital cameras!), thinking it was a personality quirk specific to you alone. Well, even if all greyhounds do it, none of them did it as well as you.

You put up with so much from your little sister Abby. I think you really loved her, and I think you missed her when she was gone. If there is something after this, I hope she is there with you driving you nuts. When I think of you, one of the first things that pops into my mind is the two of you playing tug-of-war with that squeaky blue elephant. She with tightly clamped jaws, just hanging on (like a dog on a bone, as it were), and you trying valiantly to shake it free from her grip. You almost never won, but when you did, she would scold you with a loud yip of frustration and go right back after it as you tried to scurry away. The two of you were quite a pair.

When the other hounds began arriving, you accepted everyone with your usual patience. You never needed to be the center of attention; you were always just happy to be part of the family, along for the ride. Remember traveling with 3 other hounds in the back of the Beetle? People would stop on the street to watch you all get out of the car.

It makes me sad to think of you watching so many come and go. Of the original crew, only Chester and Tobey remain. Did you miss your old friends? Abby, Crisco, Annie, Tanner? The founding hounds of MNGR. That’s still where I start in my mind when I name off the dogs of our family.

And remember the Meet n Greets with Carl in Atlanta? You came along every weekend, and were the most reliable ambassador. I have in mind a particular little boy, maybe 2 years old, who just kept on putting his fingers in your eyes over and over. But you sat very still, looked over at me to be sure I was watching, and let him try to figure you out. You were always the perfect first greyhound for anyone to meet.

You were so stubborn and patient and stoic, you truly could have lived forever, buddy. But we knew that you had to be in pain, even though you never once complained. I know how hard you tried, such a “Tuffy” until the last. We miss you, Palu. Nine years in our family, and there is a huge hole now. But we could never forget you. You are the one who started it all. MNGR, BigOrangeDog, it has all been about you. Everything going forward comes back to you, our first.

Thank you for helping so many other hounds, and for helping me find what I love to do. Thank you for always just being there, no matter what. We love you, Palu-walu. Snack Hound, Stuffie Killer Extraordinaire, and my Buddy.

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A grey area.

June 21, 2010

All of the 6 dogs who we have lost in the past year and change have had terminal illness.  Four had bone cancer; one had brain cancer; one had a pulmonary embollism and died nearly instantly.  Of the five that we have needed to make the decision for, in every case there came a point when nothing else could be done for them and they were clearly ready to go.

This is our first time with the other possibility – the gray area.  Palu’s 15th birthday is October 1st of this year.  He was our very first greyhound.  I remember vividly the day we got him, at Carl’s house in Atlanta, and how curious and silly he was.  I had never had a dog that big.  I had never had a dog that wasn’t a miniature schnauzer, for that matter.  I was slightly terrified of him!  I didn’t want Lloyd to leave me alone with him, in case he decided to eat me.

I remember taking about 7000 photos of him sleeping with all 4 legs in the air.  I was new to greyhounds and didn’t realize that almost all of them do that!  We laughed about Palu and Abby playing together, tug of war, and how Abby the schnauzer would always win.

Palu has always been stoic, always a trooper.  He had a broken hock at the track that was never set, and had healed up all funky-looking by the time he made it to AAGA.  But Palu never let that slow him down.  You could never tell when he was in pain.  To this day, I don’t know that I have ever heard him whimper or whine.

Palu is old, and that’s about all there is to it.  He is old, and he is weak.  He has all the classic signs of lumbosacral stenosis, and sinks to an awkward sit whenever he tries to stand still for more than a few seconds.  He can no longer make it outside to potty.  But he is still Palu.  He is still interested in the goings on around here.  Still a glutton for anything edible.  Still alert.  On the other hand, sometimes he falls down and can’t get up again.  Sometimes he poops lying down because he can’t stand up.

So where is the line?  Do we let him go because he is losing his dignity, even though he is still alert and engaged with the family?  Do I worry all the time that he will fall down while I am away from home and be stuck?

We’ve been going back and forth about this for ages.  Months, even.  He never seems to get much worse, and there has always been the possibility that he could go on like this for another year or more.  It’s been such a slippery slope.

There has never been a point when he looked at me and said, “I am tired now” like the others have done.  He just keeps on trucking because that is what he has always done.  Goes about his routine the best he can.

But.  I think we may be getting close.  He’s been limping on a front leg now.  It goes away with Deramaxx, but then comes back.  I don’t want to put him through an x-ray.  A limp that doesn’t go away at this point means basically one thing: that the osteo has finally got him.  Then again, maybe tomorrow he’ll be better.  He’s Palu, and he has always just kept on going.  And then we’ll keep on wondering what to do.

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Yikes!

June 13, 2010

How did so much time pass since the last post?? Boy, I am really dropping the blog ball here, it seems.

Well, let’s see. What’s new? How about a double Hammie update?? Let’s do the best news first. Okay? Hold onto your hats, ’cause here it comes:

HAMMIE HAS A FAMILY!!!!!

Can you believe it? I barely can. I don’t know what we will do without him, but I sure am happy for him. He is still here while his new mom is out of town, but he will go home on July 3rd.

He had one of the funniest home visits I have ever been on. The applicants have a lovely property with horses and miniature horses……and a swimming pool. When we set up their home visit, they actually asked us to bring our four hardest to place dogs! Can I tell you what music that was to my ears? They said they liked the big boys. Needless to say, we were thrilled, and we did just that. We brought Hammie, Beaut, Buddy and Greg. Hammie came in first. Ran around the yard, met the horse through the fence, and then walked up to the edge of their pool and just kept right on walkin.’ In he went, much to his surprise! I pretty much knew that was going to happen, and figured I’d be diving in after him. But Hammie’s dad-to-be didn’t think twice – he jumped right into the pool, fully clothed (with cell phone in pocket), and calmly led Hammie to the stairs. (Meanwhile, I stood on the side of the pool laughing my ass off at Hammie’s expression.)

I knew for sure they were good people when the mom ran into the house to get some towels… for Hammie! I said, “Oh, I thought those were for your husband!” She looked as though that hadn’t occurred to her, laughed, and said, “He knows where they are!”

We brought the other 3 boys out to the yard too. As they came out, I said to the people, “I bet you Buddy’s going in the pool.” And he did. Just too much curiosity in that one, and not enough sense. So the dad had to jump in after him too. hee hee!

And, well, they picked Hammie! I think it will be a perfect placement for him. I just can’t believe it finally happened for him.

His leg is doing MUCH better. We are still doing wet-to-dry bandaging, but it has gotten so much smaller. Here are photos of it at its worst, and then a photo from yesterday:

He’s going to have one heck of a big scar, but it is healing really well.  We contemplated doing a skin graft, but it’s been healing so well and so quickly that we didn’t need to.  We’re hoping to have it closed up before he goes to his new home.

Let’s see…  What else is new?  Eve was also adopted, and Blossom is waiting for her new family to take her home as well.  So the adoptables still hanging around here are: Beaut, Dash, Maker, Buddy, Greg, Tamborine, Holliston, Dudley, True Blue, and Angel.

As for the dogs on the home front… Apollo is doing well.  He had his 3rd chemo on Tuesday and had minimal bad effects.  A bit of nausea on Thursday morning, but no biggie.  Before the treatment, he had a thoracic ultrasound which showed no signs of cardiomyopathy, so that was good news.  He has 2 more treatments to go, and one more ultrasound.

We decided not to do a 3-month set of lung xrays on him.  We’re just continuing with chemo and assuming there are no lung mets at this time.  He would need to be put under for the rads, because he freaks out if you try to lay him on his side or his back, and it’s not worth the trauma and risk for him.  He seems healthy, is maintaining a good weight, so I am assuming the best at this point.  He is a happy guy and loves to go for rides.  He and Tigger just about bowl me over when they see that I am wearing my Meet n Greet clothes.

This coming Thursday, the regular Marketfest event starts up in White Bear Lake.  Every Thursday for 7 weeks from 5:30-9pm.  This is a rough one on us (with the human children to manage as well, going so late on a weeknight) but a good event for the rescue.  We get a lot of attention there, and the organizers are really good to us.  So I am looking forward to it, despite the lack of sleep and crabby children.

On Friday the 25th, we have the Rochesterfest parade.  If anyone is interested in marching with us with your hound, please let me know and I will put you in touch with Kelly, who is coordinating it.  This is a fun one too!

Then Twin Cities Pride on the 26-27th.  Busy, busy, busy!  Hoping to move out some of my longer-term residents into families this Summer!!