Tag Archives: wirehaired pointing griffon

Fraggle Friday:When Life Hands You Lemons

Oh man. Life threw me a curveball that has kinda rocked my world.

Two months to the day of Stella’s back surgery, she had her second seizure.

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Siri does her best trying to comfort her

The fact that it was her second was significant. She had her first seizure 70 hours prior. We were on a walk and she fell over and started paddling. Stopped, sat up, and then got up. The seizure lasted maybe 5 seconds? We walked slowly back to the house and she slept most of the day. After speaking with her surgeon (who I literally have on speed dial) there were a couple of possibilities. 1) Hopefully it was a one time event. 2) She has some deficiencies, and we can see if calcium and other levels are low 3) She has a brain tumor.

So, when Stella had her second seizure, after going to the vet and her blood work being absolutely perfect, we’re left with really just one option.

I cried all day Tuesday. I tried to go to work and was just a blubbering mess. I kept apologizing, but was unable to talk about why I was crying, so basically I was just super awkward and super unprofessional. Fortunately, I work in animal welfare, with a bunch of caring, compassionate people, so they handled my blubbering mess well.

And while that Tuesday was horrible, and I know my time with Stella is limited, here is the lemonade part of this story.

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We started her on Keppra, an anti seizure med, and she is like a new dog. She sleeps through the night, she eats all her meals, she gets up to greet me at the door, she drags me down the road for walks, and yesterday, when I took her to the banks of the river, she wanted to play fetch.

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Momma throw sticks?

The meds made her a bit more unstable initially (and gave her serious diarrhea, but that has resolved), so walking hasn’t been as easy for her, but now that she seems acclimated to the meds, she is really feeling great. Like, pre surgery great. For weeks before her first seizure she would get up one hour after I went to bed and begin to pace. The pacing got worse and worse and lasted longer and longer. And it was after a particularly bad night that she had her first seizure in the morning.

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Searching for sticks…

I think Stella hadn’t been feeling right for a while. And I’m not an idiot. A brain tumor is not a diagnosis anyone wants to get. I know my time with her is limited (they say it is a rapidly growing tumor and if lucky I will have 1-2 months with her). I know that one day she will probably stop eating again. She’ll start pacing. And while it scares the crap out of me, she will probably have another seizure, and it could be far worse than the last two.

So, I’m literally enjoying every moment I have with her. I’m so thankful I get to see “normal” Stella again. I’m so glad she feels good. I love that she drags me around on walks again. Knowing the end is near gives me anxiety and I’m so sad, but instead of dwelling on it, I try to focus on the now. And how lucky I am to have had this dog in my life for nearly 15 years.

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And taking lots of naps. She still enjoys that!

So, be prepared for lots of Stella posts, she’s pretty much going to rule my life for as long as she possibly can.

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Fraggle Friday: Siri’s Tough Life

If Siri could talk I have a feeling she’d tell you all about how rough she’s got it.

I’ve never met a dog who has it so good and yet feels completely neglected.

The other day I brought her to work and during an all office meeting she literally went from person to person trying to get into their laps. In Siri’s mind, laps are for her to lay in.

As my friend said to me recently, “it’s Siri’s world, we just live in it.”

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See the dog bed off to the right? Why would she lay there when she can be in my chair?

Lately the dramatics have been upped a bit. After breakfast she gets back into bed.

My bed.

And trying to get her out of my bed is nearly impossible

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Why would she get up when all the dogs on the sheets clearly aren’t going anywhere?

I mean, how am I expected to get her up when she looks like this as I enter the room?

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Her “Do Not Disturb” pose

Clearly if there is a bed or a lap, she’s in it.

In other news, Stella is doing GREAT, has been cleared for 10 minute walks twice a day, and she loves it! She drags me around the barn and begs me to let her off leash. Hasn’t happened yet, but I am excited for the day she can run free again!

Happy Fraggle Friday everyone!

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Fraggle Friday: Stella Update!

After spending two nights in the hospital, Stella came home yesterday! I can’t even describe how much I had missed her. I would be out doing something and think “I need to get home and let Stella out” forgetting entirely she wasn’t home. Or, worse yet, I’d wake up at night and think “I need to check on Stella” only to sadly remember she wasn’t home. When feeding the dogs I filled her bowl as well, out of habit. I’ve literally never spent a night at home without her. In over 14 years.

So, she’s home again, just this time with a huge scar along her back.

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#frankenpuppy

She’s really, really, doped up. I forgot how badly Morphine kicks her butt. She was on it for her TPLO surgery as well, and she can barely walk, and just seems a bit zombie like when she is on it. That said, it does keep her very comfortable and quiet and she slept from the moment we got home at 9:15 until I woke her at 4am for some water and a potty break. She reluctantly got up, went out to potty (with the sling, she still doesn’t have full use of her back legs) and then went right back to sleep until it was time for more meds at 6:45am.

Because I am not getting a lot of sleep and because she gets all sorts of meds at all sorts of times I created a bit of a pharmacy and log for myself.

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There’s nothing worse than not knowing what med to give or wondering if you remembered to give it at 4am.

Siri still wants to cuddle with her, which is sweet, but I worry if Stella really enjoys it, so I limit it a bit. Even though it is adorable.

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Being very respectful of Stella’s space

We’ll see how Stella does once she’s off the morphine. She’s trying to use her back legs a bit, which is encouraging. We’ll begin weaning her off of the Prednisone Sunday, according to my chart, which is a relief but I always worry she may become painful again. I took most of this week off of work, and expect that for the next week or so I’ll be in full on nurse mode.

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It’s great to have her back home, fingers crossed her recovery goes smoothly. Thanks for all your well wishes! I will say I’m excited to update you on June, she’s been doing so great, but didn’t want to leave you all in the dark about Stell. So, get ready for upcoming June posts!

xoxo

Stella, Siri and Nadia

 

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Fraggle Friday: The Trouble With Old Dogs

Is that they’re old.

Or, at least, their body is old.

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Lots of sleepy time in her bagel bed

And while age is just a number, at 14 1/2 years old, it’s a number that is beginning to take its toll on sweet Stella.

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One of my all time favorite pics

On Saturday she began to walk like a drunken sailor. Just, out of the blue.

So, a vet visit later and some serious steroids, she became a bit more stable, but is still requiring a sling around her back-end for support.

On Tuesday we visited the orthopedic specialist I have on speed dial and he confirmed she had a herniated disc in her lumbar spine. He sees this in old dogs quite often.

More steroids, anti inflammatory drugs and acupuncture were all prescribed.

But only 50% of dogs get better without surgery.

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When we were both much younger

So, can you send Stella some healing thoughts? I need her to be a part of that 50%.

 

 

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Fraggle Friday

We actually got some snow this week which was SUPER exciting!

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This is Stella’s excited face if you can’t tell

What was less exciting was that I also got the flu. And was OUT for two days. But, I’m feeling human again and excited to get out with the dogs!

Right before I went to bed for 48 hours my friend Bekka and I took the puppers on a fun hike in the snow.

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I’m happy when she’s tired

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Rocket, Siri’s one ACD friend…

My dogs were excellent at laying low while I slept and Stella was even feeling generous enough to let Siri cuddle with her. This is still my favorite thing that almost never happens

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Siri wants so desperately to be Stella’s bestie

I hope you all have a lovely week with your pups!

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Fraggle Friday: Ski Joring

Ski Joring with your horse is a pretty popular sport here in Idaho. And while ski joring with our dog isn’t as well-known, it’s also a lot of fun.

Back in the day Stella was pretty amazing at it, and she won our shelter’s fund-raising ski race a couple of times. Once with me, and once with a friend when I got to the race and realized I forgot my boots.

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The look of happiness

For a dog not bred to pull, she sure could pull. As long as she got to run, she was happy. She even had a guest appearance as a sled dog and carted around some kindergarteners.

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Pseudo sled dog

Stella is by far the most athletic dog I’ve ever had. I joke that if she was a human she would have been a multi sport Olympian. And if she was a horse, she would have won multiple 4* events.

In her prime she could do it all, and do it WELL.

And even as she aged, and I didn’t ask her to pull me down a ski trail anymore, she still just loved to come and run alongside me.

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In fact, she got to run ahead of me, free and happy far more than having to pull me around. She loved running down the path, believing it was groomed just so she could run as fast as she wanted.

Skijor champion, sled dog and incredible athlete, Stella has sure shown me just how versatile and fun the Fraggle can be.

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These days she’s a champion napper

 

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Fraggle Friday: Cold Weather Hacks

We’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Idaho this year, but I’ve learned a few things about having dogs in cold weather over the years and I thought I’d share that with you here! This list is in no way comprehensive, and it is based completely on experience, not fact.

While I think my dogs, Stella in particular, prefer cold weather to very hot weather, there are still a few things I find really help with having them stay comfortable when temps drop.

The first one is to keep them dry in cold weather! Siri is pretty hardy, but the minute she gets wet in cold weather it’s all over. She becomes a pupsicle! So, for senior Stella, I make sure she wears a coat if it’s cold and raining or snowing, it seems to keep her nice and comfy!

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It’s also adorable

This coat on Siri is nicely insulated and fits her  well. Plus it was cute so I forced her to wear it for a photo

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Another helpful hint in snowy weather is to use something called Mushers Secret on your dog’s feet in the snow. It keeps their feet from becoming snowballs and is really helpful! I’ve used cooking spray in a pinch, but this works way better

Mushers Secret All-Natural Paw Protection -- 60g

And lastly, just like when it’s really hot out, when it’s really cold it’s best to keep your four legged friends home, and not in your car. My dogs love going everywhere with me, but the inside of the car can get very cold once it’s turned off and dogs can get very cold as well! If you do leave them in the car consider an insulated crate, putting a warm coat on them and make sure they have access to water.

Any ideas you have for winter that help you get through the cold months?

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Fraggle Friday: Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Let’s talk about my most favorite breed of dog. A breed you may not have even heard of- which is something I actually think has made the breed stay so solid for so long.

While I am not an expert on the breed, I have had 3 of them and fostered countless others, so I feel I have a fair bit of knowledge to pass along about them. Especially if you consider that 15 years ago, had you asked me if I wanted a bird dog, I would have said “Hell no. Those things are crazy.” But now, having had Stella for 14 years, I can’t even imagine having a different type of dog. And no, they are not crazy.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (otherwise known as Griff, WPG, or in my home, Fuzz Face), is considered a medium-sized dog (although males tend to be quite a bit larger than females) with a high energy level. Their distinctive beards and shaggy coats give them an adorable appearance, at least in my opinion.

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You can read all about them here: AKC WPG description

But here is my take on the breed, the nitty gritty if you will, and things to consider if you are thinking of adopting or buying one. (Yup, they’re popular enough to start showing up in shelters and rescues now. Really, really, nice ones, in fact).

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This was one of the handsome Griffs we got in needing a home. He found a forever home earlier this winter.

Is this a high energy breed? Yes. They’re sporting dogs. They’re bred to be out in the field hunting birds all day. But that said, I’ve found the WPG to be one of the calmer hunting dogs I have been around. They do need daily exercise, but then are completely content to hang around with you and lounge at home. I’ve hunted with them and they are fantastic. They don’t range far, and can do it all, point, retrieve and flush. They also make fantastic outdoor adventure partners. Stella and I have hiked all over Idaho and other states and the breed are great at getting out and having a good time.

How are Griffs with other animals? So, here is the thing about this breed and how I know they are soon going to be overbred. This is a breed that is friendly with everyone and everything. Much like a Labrador, they think life is great, and are always up for making new friends. However, they’re also incredibly loyal and love to be with their people. If you move from the living room to the bedroom you’d better expect that they will too. Lately, I’m seeing more and more Griffs that are dog reactive. Some people are breeding them for a look, and no longer for that temperament that is what makes this breed so great. So, do your homework on breeders and meet the parents. They should be loveable and know no strangers.

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Squirrel, on the right, was a classic WPG. She’d go home with anyone, but then probably find her way back to me when she realized I wasn’t around…

Why do I love this breed so much? Because of their ridiculous look, sure. But also because they are so friendly, smart and healthy. They are great to run and hike with, but also great house dogs. I never have to worry that they will be aggressive when they meet someone. I never have to worry that they’ll get in a dog fight. They’re..easy. But that said, they’re easy for me because I meet their needs. They live inside with me and go everywhere with me. This is not a breed that wants to live outside away from its family. I also exercise them like crazy. I run, skate ski, take them on trail rides, hike. I basically plan my life around getting my dogs out (and myself) for some exercise. So, they get a good outing and then are fine lounging at home the rest of the day. My Dad’s dogs, both WPG rescues, run around the farm with him but have to be in the fenced yard when he’s at work. This is fine for them. Knowing they’ll get to stretch their legs when he’s home is enough. But they’re also no longer adolescents.

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Sassy, now 12, still loves to run and hike, but she’s also really good at sleeping. We adopted her when she was a year old, but she is actually Squirrel’s daughter. I adopted Squirrel 6 years after I adopted Sassy and found out they were related.

So, is this the breed for you? I don’t know. I just know it’s the breed for me and has made me fall in love with bearded dogs. Fun Fact: Neither of my current dogs are purebred WPGs. Stella is half German Shorthair Pointer and Siri is a German Wirehair Pointer. So, while I rave about the WPG here, it isn’t always the only option if you’re looking for a fantastic canine companion.

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Half GSP Half WPG=Total Perfection

 

 

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Fraggle Friday

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The girls got to go on a long hike yesterday and our foster dog Butterscotch joined us.

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He thinks he’s pretty tough, and to be honest, he kind of is. No shivering or getting tired for this guy. He had no problem keeping up with the big girls.

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We have so little snow right now, which is nice in that all my favorite trails are still easy to access. But not so nice in that it is winter in Idaho and we should have substantial snow right now…

At the end of the hike Siri learned an important lesson about ice. It breaks. And maybe you shouldn’t run across it unless you’re ready to go swimming.

I’m hopeful this was her last mid December dip

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Wet dog looks like she learned a lesson

Grateful for another great outing with the Fraggles and Butterscotch too!

 

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Fraggle Friday: Oregon Coast Edition

When Macy and I had to scratch from our eventing debut I was determined not to stay home and mope about it. I called up a friend and asked if she’d want to go to the Oregon Coast with me. Luckily she was game!

So the dogs and I hopped in the car and headed to Portland! We picked up my friend and headed to the ocean.

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If you haven’t been to the Oregon coast, you really should go. It’s stunning, and quiet, and super duper dog friendly. Siri ran the length of 3 different beaches and both dogs had an absolute blast.

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Pure Siri joy

We ate some amazing seafood, I got to run on the beach, and was constantly walking around saying “look how pretty that is.” While it wasn’t the same feeling as running cross country on horseback, it was really great.

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Our last night in Portland we went to Stella Taco, a fun street taco joint and honored my favorite dog by eating delicious tacos and drinking margaritas.

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It was a great trip all around and definitely made not going to an event bearable.

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