Tag Archives: wirehaired pointing griffon

Fraggle Friday (On Saturday): Leaving

I’m a bit panicked.

I head to Seattle for work Friday and am leaving the dogs behind. It’s a quick, two night trip, but it’s the first time I have left Stella since July. You know, the trip where I got an ulcer? I feel calmer about it this time around, but still don’t like the idea of having to leave her.

It’s funny though. For more than 15 years this dog has been making me feel anxiety about leaving her. When she was younger she was “easier” but would also require a lot of exercise, and I always worried she wouldn’t get enough in my absence. Then, there was the time my pet sitter told me, upon my return, that Stella had taken off and was found trotting down the road back to my house. Which was about 15 miles away.

IMG_0882

Still enjoys running down roads…

So, really, in the grand scheme of things, maybe Stella is easier to care for now? Now that she mostly wants to sleep and has short spurts of energy? But she does require a potty break during the night, and she does require her meds, so I’m clearly anxious about making sure those things happen for her. I have a good pet sitter in place, so I think everything will be fine.

IMG_0918 (1)

Her comfort is of the utmost importance

This was  is going to be the year of travel, as I put off so many plans last year. I’ve got trips to New Orleans and eastern Washington planned for work in April and May, and from there, things just start snowballing between horse shows and work trips. I honestly think Stella will be fine. It’s just tough to ask someone to petsit with the caveat that they won’t sleep through the night. And they have to make sure they’re home at 7:30am and 7:30pm to give her her meds.

IMG_0887

The storm I spoke about in my last post delivered. The ONLY good thing about it was it gave me an excuse to have Stella run around in her yellow raincoat

Old dogs are just tough to leave. I think that’s what it comes down to.

IMG_0884

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Raincoat pics are the BEST

But Stella is a tough gal, and knowing her, she’ll probably enjoy getting a break from me. Siri will help take care of her and again, it’s only two nights.

It’ll be fine, right?????

IMG_0883

Such an uphill gallop!

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Old Dog Winter

What initially was proving to be a mild winter, has taken a turn for the worse. I think it has snowed almost every day in February? And when I say snow, I mean winter storm snow. And while the current 3 day long storm was deemed “Winter Storm Nadia” I’m still over it and want it to go away.

winter storm

Best of luck to those of you who Nadia messes with

Last winter we had almost no snow, and while this is an anomaly in Idaho, I can’t say I minded. Especially since I am reminded this winter how much work snow blowing and shoveling are.

IMG_0786

I had to “find” my mailbox and dig through the snow to get to it

And while I could spend this post bitching about winter in Idaho, how fun is that? Instead I wanted to give some thoughts on having an old dog in the winter and prepare people for what may be to come when their pets become seniors.

The short story is that Stella is struggling with winter now that we have all this snow. And While I usually shovel paths for the dogs in my yard, I’ve decreased them significantly now that the snow has gotten over 4′ in my yard and there’s really nowhere to put the snow. How does this impact my old dog? Well, it reduces the area she has to potty, but what’s worse is that it changes up her routine.

IMG_0788

Once our back road gets plowed we get out for a potty walk

Stella is basically blind. She has limited daylight vision and really cannot see at all in the dark. Now, imagine having that limited of vision, and your entire world becomes a white blob. And that white blob changes from day to day, meaning you sometimes walk into snow piles because yesterday they were still a path you could walk on.

Because she is stubborn and strong willed, she is figuring it out. She refuses to actually poop in my yard, which means that no matter the weather, we’re going for a walk down the road. She’ll try to get off the road, into the snowbank, as she’s discreet about using the bathroom, but often times the snow is way too deep for this. So, I encourage her not to go into the deep snow, but Stella hasn’t listened to me for 15 years. Why would she start now.

IMG_0737

Stella 4 years ago tearing up the skate ski trails

I’ve basically started keeping her on leash all the time. I can kind of control where she goes and keep her from getting too far into a snowbank.

In addition to snow, we’ve also had some very cold weather. And while Stella has some great winter coats to keep her warm, she hates putting them on. Again, this dog has opinions, and putting her head through a hole and having a coat put on, elicits a grunt EVERY time. And while she seems a bit more stiff and sore, she still trot hops around when the snow is cleared from her path for her.

IMG_0777

Siri hasn’t even noticed it has snowed and spends her days romping with friends

I’m super hopeful that Stella gets to enjoy nice weather again. Seeing her struggle with the current conditions makes me realize just how hard winter is for senior dogs. If nothing else, even though she dislikes it, she looks super cute in her coat.

IMG_0337

Tagged , , ,

Fraggle Friday: The Year in Pictures

This year was a roller coaster with the dogs for sure. While Siri grew up, Stella grew old. But, despite how some moments along the way were looking, I still have the two of them with me, which is really what’s most important.

IMG_7772

This picture brings a smile to my face. Stella looks like little yellow riding hood running through the woods

The year started off pretty well, walks in the woods and hikes with family.

IMG_7934

Wow. There really was no snow here in February last year.

We got out for plenty of adventures and then we added foster dog Picabo (now Lucy) who in May drove all the way to NY with me where she is happily living with my Dad on his farm!

IMG_8194

Lucy and Siri were fast friends

And then in April, Stella, at 14, went in for back surgery. Those weeks immediately before and after her surgery were definitely the worst of the year. Not knowing if I had made an incredibly selfish decision gnawed at me constantly.

54683307178__544480C3-1356-46EF-9BF0-4E4B621B26A3

Franken puppy

Siri, on the other hand, thought the visit to the vet was the best thing ever, as Stella’s surgeon had adopted her brother when I adopted her. (He wanted a dog like Stella, I have apologized profusely that he did NOT get a Stella…) So, they got to have a reunion.

IMG_8311

Two dorks. But he is a MUCH bigger dork

I was still on pins and needles with Stella and her recovery but man she recovered well. Each week she got stronger. She never had an accident in the house, and that dog was determined to run again. And she definitely has spent lots of time run hopping to her heart’s content.

IMG_8821

And so much swimming this summer!!!  This was at a derby where she finally could run and stay upright. I couldn’t keep her out of the water.

The month of  June, the seizures started. And I thought I would lose Stella. But, um, again, this dog doesn’t give up that easily. I was told we had anywhere from 1-6 months. We just passed the 6.5 month mark, and she is as happy as ever.

stella

After she climbed to the top of this mountain she told me I need to relax and not worry so much.

And Siri. While she has definitely grown up, and proven herself to be an overall great dog, she has still had some moments.

Like the time she had to go to the vet because she ate something “edible.”

IMG_8676

It wasn’t me, I swear.

I won’t get into what happened here, but lets just say Siri’s trip cost me about $300. I hope she had a really good time.

And then there was this, most recent destruction, also to the tune of over $300:

IMG_0341

Thanks Siri!

But really, when it comes down to it, there isn’t a canine family I could possibly love more. The highs far make up for the lows. Having two dogs who make me laugh and remind me how precious life is, is more than I can ask for.

So, here’s to another year with them, and all the adventures that ensue!

june

Tagged , ,

Fraggle Friday: Highs and Lows

Sometimes Fraggle Friday posts are hard for me to write. While they are supposed to be a celebration of the dogs I love so much, sometimes they just remind me of the reality of having a 15 year old dog who has seizures.

And when your 15 year old dog has a seizure after not having had one for 6 months and 4 days, it can be hard to think about much else. And while you want to write a post celebrating your dogs, you know you’re just going to write a post re hashing the seizure.

So, let’s pepper the post with cute Stella pics of the last week to remind me that really, this stoic little monkey dog is doing really, really, well.

IMG_0266

While she can’t run or hike with me like she used to, she does get to come along for the ride.

The day prior to the seizure Stella came to Boise with me and then ended the day literally bombing around the barn. Eating hoof trimmings and galloping around like a racehorse.

Image-1

And looking damn adorable

So, clearly, when at 7:45am the following morning I heard her fall in the kitchen, I dropped the laundry I was folding in the bedroom and ran to her side. The seizure didn’t last long, I held her head until her body stopped convulsing. She came out of it fairly quickly, and laid in my arms for a minute or two afterwards. She always vomits afterwards, and this time she vomited up her anti seizure pill. ‘Cause it clearly wasn’t doing its job.

IMG_0285

Post seizure Siri immediately went to lay with her

Previously, post seizure Stella would sleep, have a loss of appetite and feel generally blah. This time, she was ready to go for a walk and wolfed down her breakfast. Per the veterinarian’s advice I gave her another anti seizure pill and she acted normal and happy for the rest of the day. And continues to do so as I write this.

IMG_0295

Just out for another walk in the Idaho weather

As for me, I actually recovered really well too. 🙂

I was freaked out when it happened, but it didn’t consume me. I think because it was less of a surprise- I’ve seen her have seizures before, I knew there was a possibility she would have another one. And she did. And now we need to see if she continues to have them and if anything else changes before I go ahead and become all dramatic

IMG_0296

So many smiles

Ironically, I was supposed to be back east this week, visiting family. But, I cancelled the trip and decided to stay home with Stella. I just didn’t feel right leaving her, especially since the trip would be at exactly 6 months since she had her first seizure, and I couldn’t believe Stella was still with me 6 months later. (If she has a brain tumor, which I still believe she does, they are typically fast growing, and there is a life expectancy of about 4-6 months). It didn’t seem right leaving her with someone else, especially for a trip that I could reschedule. Lets just say, I’m glad I stayed. I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to watch her have a seizure and I don’t envy the person who has to call me and tell me she had a seizure. Plus, a staycation is such a great thing and I highly recommend everyone take a few days just to stay home and relax. Always travelling for vacation doesn’t seem to give me the same reboot.

So, there we have it. The highs and lows of senior pets. I’m hoping for more running and smiling pics in our future.

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

Fraggle Friday: Stella Update!

Poor Stella, she just hasn’t gotten the blog attention she deserves.

IMG_9834

To be honest, in the last few weeks, she has really slowed down. More sleeping, less enthusiasm about going for walks.

IMG_9817

It could be she is less enthusiastic to go for a walk when the weather is crap, but she looks so cute in her raincoat shouldn’t she want to show it off?

She still sleeps through the night, as long as you consider night to be over by 4:30 or 5am. The good news is, if she does get up this early, I let her out to potty, she comes back in and goes right back to sleep. So, naturally, I do too…

IMG_9835

She and my cat, Bunny, sleep together like this every night

She really can’t see at all. Especially in the dark. She can see things right in front of her, but that’s about it. Her hearing is hit or miss, she seems to be able to hear high-pitched whistles, but often doesn’t hear me when I come home and I need to make some noise to wake her up.

So, essentially, she’s old.

IMG_9838

Another raincoat pic. This time in the sleet…. ugh

But besides getting older, and the difficulties associated with that, she’s doing pretty well! Walking and hop/running, no more seizures, and she is just as opinionated as ever.

So, naturally, I am just trying to enjoy every moment of it.

 

Tagged , , ,

Fraggle Friday: Stella Milestones

Today marks two months from Stella’s first seizure.

When that seizure happened, I hoped I had one month, prayed for two months, with her. I heard brain tumors grew quickly, and 1-2 months was a reasonable prediction for how long she would have.

Stella had back surgery on April 10th. On that day I hoped she would make it through surgery and regain some mobility. I hoped she could walk on her own again. I never expected her to walk up stairs or run. At 14 years old, I kept my expectations in check for what this dog would be able to do.

But apparently I forgot it was Stella who had back surgery and a brain tumor. Stella, the dog who I joked, if she were a human, she would be a multi sport Olympian. This is not a dog who is going to sit around and let anything stop her.

20180629_Nadia29

This photo was taken 7/13. Clearly she can run…. PC:Nate Liles

And, so, a summer of adventures began. And, because it was summer, our adventures have involved a LOT of time in the water.

IMG_8941

Amazing weekend trip to Stanley, Idaho. Stella hadn’t been in the water yet this summer, and I worried she would have trouble. She didn’t.

On this trip to Stanley, Stella realized she felt GOOD. She took off down a trail thinking that’s the way we were going. Bring that she is basically deaf, and totally independent, I ended up running after her down the trail for 5 minutes when it became clear she was not coming back to me.

IMG_9144

She’s still one of the strongest swimmers. Siri does her best to keep up

She still loves to play fetch, although sometimes she can’t actually see the stick once I’ve thrown it into the water…

IMG_9143

Ready to fetch!

And to be honest, some days are better for her than others. Yesterday she just wanted to sleep. It’s been hot and smokey so I pretty much feel the same way. I’ve stopped thinking “is this your last day?” every single day, and instead am just enjoying every single day we have together.

IMG_9097

Siri is really good at convincing Stella to cuddle

It’s been an incredibly fun summer with her, and I am so thankful I get to continue having her in my life!

 

Tagged , , ,

Fraggle Friday: A Lifetime of Worry

Not surprisingly, lately, I have a lot of angst about Stella.

I worry she won’t eat. I worry she won’t sleep through the night. I worry that she will have another seizure. All I seem to do is worry. Which, I guess, considering her condition, is “normal.”

But then I realized that I have spent pretty much Stella’s entire life worrying about her.

Seriously.

bird dog

Young Stella looking for birds

When she was a young dog, I had a friend look after her when I went out of town. I left a 5 page instruction sheet and called at least once a day to check on her. When I returned, my friend joked that Stella had a great time just being a dog without someone worrying about her all the time. It maybe wasn’t the nicest thing to say, but now, 12 or so years later, I kinda get what she meant.

stella theo park

Stella has driven across the country with me 5 times. She really enjoyed Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

I have worried every day that Stella would get hit by a car.

I worried that she would get hurt while running like a maniac in the hills

I worried that she didn’t get enough exercise.

I worried that she didn’t get enough to eat.

I worried that she was home alone too long.

I worried she had to potty while I was out and couldn’t.

I worried more about Stella’s general well being than I have worried about anything else. For almost 15 years. And weirdly, nothing terrible has ever happened. She ate when she was hungry. Was smart enough to avoid getting hurt when out on runs. She’d have to be slow and idiotic to be hit by a car (at least in her mind) so THAT wasn’t happening. She never went potty in the house and seemed fine snoozing away the day until I got home.

stella swim

How is her hair so perfect in the water??

So, really, she’s had a pretty great life, catered to her by my angst.

And while I probably wouldn’t change a thing from our past, my hope is that with Siri, maybe I can chill out just a little bit.

I’m also hopeful I get to worry about Stella for a while longer.

dub and stella

Back in 2009, right before I left Ithaca NY for Idaho.

Tagged , , ,

Fraggle Friday: Horse Show Fun

Stella has been a horse show companion with me for the past 6-7 years. She’s great about being tied up when necessary, she stays out of the horse’s way, and she always loved to join me on course walks.

And while this most recent show was a bit different for her, and she didn’t get to do a course walk per say, she still had lots of fun.

IMG_8802

She trotted all over the place and explored as much as I would allow

We got lucky in that the facility is very dog friendly and while we were setting up the day before, after horses had finished schooling, dogs were running around all over the place.

IMG_8808

Exploring the canal was her favorite part of the day. I had to keep her on leash or I wouldn’t have been able to get her out of the water

She slept at the trailer while I was working with June, slept in the trailer with me overnight, but otherwise was a total busy bee having as much fun as she possibly could

IMG_8821

Can’t get enough of her playing in the water

She’s always game for anything, with anyone, especially if someone wants to throw something for her. (She’s lost at least one tooth when someone threw a rock for her to fetch..)

stella water

In her younger years, showing Siri the ropes about being in the water

I think the best part of Stella as a dog, overall, is how friendly she is. I could take her anywhere and not worry about her. Sure, sometimes she would cool off in less than appropriate places…

bucket dogs

With Squirrel at Millbrook Horse Trials

But, she was never going to chase a horse and rider, or really, leave the trailer unless it was with me on a walk.

So fun to be able to take her with me again, and realize just how great this dog is and why I’ve enjoyed the past 15 years with her so much!

Tagged , , ,

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.

IMG_8668

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.

IMG_8701

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.

IMG_8704

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.

IMG_8706

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.

IMG_8683

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.

Tagged , , ,

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.”

IMG_8614

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

IMG_8628

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?

IMG_8589

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!

Tagged , ,
Advertisements
Thirty Days of Mo(u)rning

A widower at forty-two. What Kateri gave me... what cancer took away... and how I'm coping with life from the woods of Vermont

Centered in the Saddle

On horseback as in life: stay centered for best results.

Eventer in Progress

Laughing at oneself is best done as a group activity

Adventures in Thoroughbreds

Chronicling the journey of an OTTB

Stampy and the Brain

Adventures with my two three favorite horses

The Homesteaders Wife

Faith, Family & Life On The Homestead

Boss Mare Eventing

An amateur eventer's adventures

Three Chestnuts

The life and trials of the three red heads

In Omnia Paratus

An amateur eventer's adventures

Hope's Promise

The blog of a dressage dream come(ing) true

SprinklerBandits

An amateur eventer's adventures

Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management

An inquiry into values and survival in a life with baby horses

the everything pony

who would really much rather eat all day

DIY Horse Ownership

on Mules, Horses, and DIY

OTTBs and Oxers

Eventing. Hunters. Horsemanship.

Horse Glam

Equestrian. Life. Style.

The Frugal Foxhunter

More bang for your buck than showing

The Printable Pony

An amateur eventer's adventures

The Roaming Rider

"Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life." - Robin Sharma

Urban Thoroughbred

West and East Coast adventures with OTTBs

Clover Ledge Farm

An amateur eventer's adventures

Eventing Saddlebred Style

An amateur eventer's adventures

The Repurposed Horse

An amateur eventer's adventures

PONY'TUDE

An amateur eventer's adventures

Poor Woman Showing

An amateur eventer's adventures

Live Your Adventure

Tara - Horse lover, horse rider, horse enthusiast

SmartPak Blog

An amateur eventer's adventures

The Blog of Travel

Motorbikes, dogs and a lot of traveling.

Hunky Hanoverian

An amateur eventer's adventures

*TBA*

An amateur eventer's adventures

Cob Jockey

An amateur eventer's adventures

She Moved to Texas

An amateur eventer's adventures

Guinness on Tap

An amateur eventer's adventures

Equestrian At Hart

adventures in riding & life

 Clover Ledge Farm

An amateur eventer's adventures

Viva Carlos

An amateur eventer's adventures

Horsemanship 101

Leprechaun Lane Training Center's Guide to Horsemanship

ridingwithscissors.wordpress.com/

Horse humor and the musings of a weenie adult eventer

May As Well Event

Here's To Not Following Your Own Advice

A Yankee in Paris

No animals were harmed in the making of this blog...

Horse Listening

Horses. Riding. Life.

EquiNovice

Becoming a student of horsemanship.