Tag Archives: wirehaired pointing griffon

Fraggle Friday: Stella Update!

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

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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..)

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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…

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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!

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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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