Monday, April 30, 2007

Paper towels and tears.

Crystal here.

Things are feeling pretty normal these days in the Jaida/Gracie/triple-cat-threat household. Jaida continues to show us that she's just another goof-ball puppy, with normal puppy ups and downs. Both her moms think that she's getting stronger and gaining endurance every day.

Jaida loves to spend her days outside poking around the yard, following her sister Gracie and her mums as they do their chores (for us, stacking wood; for Gracie, making sure the chickadees don't steal any food from the birdfeeder). She is definitely her happiest when she is filthy. We cannot keep her out of any recently dug pile of dirt, nor out of the swampy, mud-filled depressions in the far end of the yard. The mud-holes are particularly fun because the grass is oh-so-soft and easy to rip out by the sludgy mouthful. But more than anything, she loves to play "shadow" with Gracie.

Gracie is an adventurous gal, and likes to go ambling in the hay field behind our house. Of course, all of her amblings are now accompanied by a certain dangly-legged mudpuppy. Kim and I were busy gardening when we noticed that the girls were preoccupied with something in the field. They were taking turns rolling and snacking on something that was, without a doubt, dead and disgusting and beyond foul. So of course they were quite happy. Such happiness is not permissible in our house, so we called them back home and gave them a "sniff test" to determine whether or not they were going to be allowed back in the house. They passed (barely), and we thought that was the end of it.

Oh, boy, were we wrong. We paid dearly for our inattentiveness, with a lovely episode of DOUBLE DIARRHEA!!! Nothing like having two dogs who desperately need to go outside every hour on the hour, all night long, and all day, for two days. Whatever those fools got into, we'll never know, but I sure hope it was worth it. A diet of cooked rice, boiled chicken and cottage cheese now has them back on track, but Kim and I will be changing our investment portfolio to include copious shares in Bounty Paper Towels. Let's just say we didn't always wake up on time. *Sigh*

Part of the reason we missed a few "episodes" is because we are becoming increasingly sleep deprived. Jaida has an internal clock that you could set your watch by. And her internal clock says that at 5:20 a.m. she should be awake and barking/crying/howling. The TEARS, oh, the humanity. It's quite a scene. So, on the weekend, when her poor mums just want to sleep in ("pleeaaaase?")...well, we can forget about it. We tried an experiment on Saturday. We were going to break this habit by letting her bark her fool head off until she was exhausted, thereby realizing that barking/crying/howling are NOT productive means of being allowed out of bed.

For those of you dealing with a similar puppy problem, here is how it works:
10:00pm: put puppy to bed after a potty break. Tell puppy that her goose is cooked and snicker to yourself.
11:00pm-4:00am: let out diarrhea dogs every hour. (optional)
5:20am: the barking/crying/howling starts. Grin, knowingly: puppy will wear herself out in no time, and the battle will be won.
6:20am: close bedroom door to dampen the volume of barking/crying/howling.
7:20am: remove pillow from over your head so you can find the bottle of asprin on the bedside table, take 2 extra strength, then replace pillow.
8:00am: restate your resolve and reposition pile of pillows...the puppy cannot win this fight. Lie awake staring at the ceiling and dream about coffee while the puppy barks/cries/howls her fool head off.
8:20am: throw off the pillows, fling open the bedroom door, stomp downstairs and release the rotten brat smelly mudpuppy mutter mutter from her sleep area, make cups of strong coffee, and sulk over them while puppy romps and plays happily on the bed.
I'm pretty sure that Marty would have something to say about this. "Bad owners, bad!" comes to mind.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

High-tech gear for the boo-boo leg?

Crystal here.

Jaida went for a checkup last weekend (clean bill of health, thank you very much!!) Along with the routine exam and vaccinations, we also decided to do some xrays of her little leg. The reason we did this is because we are exploring some options for her little chicken wing, namely, a prosthetic.

There are several talented and wonderful people out there who create custom orthotics, prosthetics and wheelchairs for dogs and other animals who need a little extra help getting around. We have spoken to such a person in Nova Scotia (Canada) who does just this and is interested in seeing if he could fabricate something for Jaida. This man is an amputee himself, and uses human-grade materials to create his masterpieces.

There is absolutely no reason why Jaida couldn't enjoy a great quality of life after a complete amputation of her little leg. Many, many three-leggers do just that (click here for lots of examples). However, since Jaida is still a baby, and thus will be relying on that ONE GOOD LEG for her entire life, it would be nice if we could give her a way to reduce the wear-and-tear on that good leg. Also, it would mean a less invasive surgery with only a partial amputation. So, we're checking things out. If it turns out that she's not a good candidate for a prosthetic, then we will go back to the original plan.

Here are the xrays from the weekend...kinda cool, eh? To quote our beloved and much esteemed veterinarian: "that wrist is all screwed up!"

Two views of the entire arm

Closeup of screwey wrist

How to make your very own oh-so-stylish and fashionable BAY-BEE SOCKS

Jaida here.

Moms would like you all to have instructions for creating fashionable and oh-so-stylish booties for fabulously bendy club feet. Moms tell me that they work better than booties designed for flat-footed gals and require much less of that paper stuff to make.....
Step 1: Aquire different sizes of BAY-BEE SOCKS. Note: these should be stylish and fashionable (very important). One should be smaller and snug, the other should be longer and able to fit over the smaller one. Put stick-on (or sew-on) VELCRO on two places on the bigger sock, one near the top, the other near the bend at the ankle. Don't put the VELCRO around the whole sock, only around half of it so the sock can still stretch over the fabulously bendy foot. Have small peices of the other half of the VELCRO ready.

Step 2: Put on small BAY-BEE SOCK.

Step 3: Put bigger BAY-BEE SOCK on over small one.

Step 4: Use small velcro bits to snuggly hold the big SOCK on the leg.

Step 5: Play and be naughty and chew STICKS with now comfy and padded and protected and clean and oh-so-stylish bendy club foot.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dirt, Dirt, Dirt.

Jaida here.

I have, in my cleverness, discovered something as fun to chew as STICKS. Possibly funner. And definitely messier.

Moms spent all weekend making big piles of it in our yard. I'm pretty sure they were doing this just for me, on account of my cuteness. This new stuff is nice and cool to lie in and tastes delicious, especially when garnished with bugs and grass, and it goes right up my nose when I stick my face in it, kind of like snow.

Yep, DIRT.
For some reason, Gracie doesn't like DIRT as much as I do. I tried to show her how fun it is, but she just shook her paws when she stepped in it. I suspect that she is concerned that her fabulously gorgeous fur might get messed up. Which it probably would, because my BAY-BEE SOCKS and its VELCRO is all black now.

Still, I'm pretty sure that life doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Henry, the three-legged Angel

Jaida here.

I just got an email from my new paw-pal, Henry. Henry is rather like me, in that he is furry and oh-so-gorgeous. Oh, yes, and he only has three legs.

Henry is a very famous guy, a real celebrity. He has been on T.V. and in magazines and newspapers and he even has written BOOKS! I think I need to get moms to call his agent....

Anyways, fabulous Henry has decided that I, too, am fabulous (naturally) and is going to send me some of his books! My moms are very excited about this, because they tell me that other people are going to want these books, and these people will give them some of that paper stuff they need to take care of my boo-boo leg.

If Henry were here, I would be bouncing all over him and giving him all kinds of kisses for making my moms so happy! Thanks, Henry!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A word of thanks.

Crystal here. (Jaida's off busy being cute at this moment. Sorry.)

We just want thank the folks in our lives (real and virtual) who have taken the time to let us know we're doing an o.k. job with this little pup of ours. You all made a big difference, and your kind words came when they were needed most. So...thanks.

EXCUUUSE ME! Jaida here.

Boy, mom's been hogging this blog lately, huh. My crafty teeth and I will have to have a word with her ankles about this.
Pardon me? Nothing.

I would like to tell you all that my ONE GOOD LEG is feeling considerably more like it's old self, and I am back to my usual hopping about, with much less bonking and more dangling of my boo-boo leg. I still am BALD on my ONE GOOD LEG, which is most unbecoming to a gal of my loveliness. Moms tell me that I should get used to the BALD-ness, and that I "haven't seen nothin' yet", and whisper about something called a SUR-GER-EE. I'm not entirely sure what they mean, but mom Crystal gave me a BATH last weekend, so maybe she's thinking about a new hairdo for lovely me? Personally, I don't think that BALD would be a very good look for a gal of my loveliness. My teeth and I will have to have another word with her about that too.....

Friday, April 13, 2007

A dose of reality.

Crystal here.

Ok, folks, it's time for a dose of reality. A lot of Jaida's posts are fun and maybe even silly at times, which makes sense because she is a fun and silly gal...she writes as she sees things.

Her moms sometimes see these ordeals quite differently, and I think it's important to recognize this aspect of caring for a special-needs animal along with the fun-ness and silliness. Truth be told, Jaida's moms are starting to feel pretty rough around the edges right now.

There is a lot of fear. Fear of the unknown. Why did she get so sick last week? Could it happen again? Could it have been prevented? Is there some horrible underlying chronic or congenital issue lurking somewhere? What's going to happen next time? Are we going to be able to deal with it emotionally and financially? What if her front leg doesn't heal properly? There are a lot of "what ifs" floating around.

There is also guilt. About not doing enough, about missing signs of sickness or not responding fast enough. There is guilt about feeling tired and at times dispairing, because none of it is Jaida's fault.

Of course, the reason we are so scared and feel guilty is because we love her so much. This little pup is our baby. We have other animals who we love dearly, of course, but they are the result of a "blended family" (2 were Crystal's and 2 were Kims). Jaida is the first to be OURS. This makes her a little special. We love her so much it hurts sometimes, and the thought of her getting sick again, or worse, is hard to bear. The thought of not being able to do anything about it is terrible too (either because there's simply nothing to be done, or because our resources run out - we're trying so hard to raise funds right now to prevent that, but still). Our lives are fairly consumed with her. We are her caretakers, and she depends on us for everything, more so than a "normal" pet because of her disability. We are feeling tired and worn out, and perhaps even close to a breaking point. I have heard from other pet caretakers that they have felt this too.

But inevitably, something so sweet happens that you forget about all this, if only for a just a moment.

Like this morning. Jaida came tromping and bumping up the stairs and ended up on the bed, as usual. She snuggled in, and draped her leg over mummy Kim's neck and nuzzled her head in close, just hugging. My eyes are tearing up thinking about this, because it was just so ... nice. A sweet, beautiful, quiet moment where everyone was feeling ok. If only for a moment.

Hopefully there will come a time when these kinds of moments will outweigh all the fear and worry and guilt, and we will be able to relax and just enjoy our beautiful girl. In the meantime, we will simply do what we can, and love her through it all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Solution for boo-boo leg.

Jaida here.

Well, my moms finally figured out that a run-of-the mill boring ol' dog bootie, which is meant for a straight, flat foot, is simply not spectacular enough to put on my boo-boo leg, on account of it being of its own unique shape.
So, they have discovered an amazing device surely created just for gals
like me ... it is called a BAY-BEE SOCKS. They are shaped nicely curvy and cushioney in all the right places. I still will chew and rip off the BAY-BEE SOCKS because that is what my teeth are for. I have been hearing rumours about something called VELCRO and I have a sneaking suspicion that moms are going to do this VELCRO to my SOCKS, and knowing them it will make it harder for me to use my teeth for their functional purpose. But as I said before I am a very independent girl and my teeth are very crafty, so we will see... In the meantime, moms at least had the common sense of picking out very stylish and snazzy BAY-BEE SOCKS to grace my lovely boo-boo leg. Stylish and snazzy things are much more fun to chew and rip.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The boo-boo leg gets a workout.

Jaida here.

Because I am a very independent girl, I simply cannot be carried around ALL the time. There are cats that need chasing and soggy brown grass patches to be sniffed. So, I have to use my boo-boo leg to help get me around, yes I do, because my ONE GOOD LEG is still sore (but a bit better). My moms need to get me a better-fitting boot for my boo-boo leg because THIS is how it looks today. I don't think it's that big a deal, but my moms are fussing over it a lot, so if a boot will make them feel better, hey, who am I to argue? I'm always game for a new chew toy...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A looooong weekend.

Jaida here.

Moms told me that long weekends were supposed to be fun. With trips to the park and to places where people give me COOKIES and stuff. Well, long weekends are no fun AT ALL, uh-uh, nope. At least, this one wasn't.

On Friday I forgot to wake up my moms. I am usually very on time and BARK at 6:00. But I didn't feel like it at all. I was too HOT. Moms remembered I was still downstairs at 8:00...they slept in, the nerve, leaving poor HOT me downstairs. They let me out of bed and I got my BREAKFAST, but then I just felt like lying down. And lying down some more. Then my mums stuck something COLD up my bum, how rude, and I smelled them being worried after they looked at the cold thing. (They didn't smell the cold thing though, which I thought was strange, because what else are bums for, really?) So, after more lying down, and me being too darn HOT to want to stand, let alone play or anything foolish like that, they put me in the CAR, the nerve, and took me to the VET.

Not my nice vet Dr. Sparling...this was an EEE-MER-GEN-SEE vet. Apparently an EEE-MER-GEN-SEE means that you are so HOT that people have to poke you with needles and poke more cold things up your bum and take pictures of you with scary machines and then poke medicine in your mouth and wrap up your ONE GOOD LEG with a needle under the bandange attached to a tube so you can't bend it and stick you in a cage. And then your moms go away smelling all worried, and then they live near the phone and call nice Dr. Sparling all weekend every five seconds.

For four days. Yep, that was the long weekend. Long weekends are not fun. No more for me, thanks.

But by Monday, I wasn't feeling so HOT so I guess the EEE-MER-GEN-SEE was over and my moms finally came to take me home. They still poke medicine in my mouth (but they do it with peanut butter, much nicer!) and still poke cold things up my bum. And my ONE GOOD LEG is very sore today, so I still don't feel much like walking. Mom Crystal took me to nice Dr. Sparling today, and he said my ankle is sore, and I thought, "duh, I had a needle and tube and bandage on my ONE GOOD LEG all weekend" and now I can't give it a rest because I only have ONE GOOD LEG." I just need a few days of pampering and carrying, and I will be fine. This is my boo-boo on my ONE GOOD LEG. I think I will live, however.

Moms are happy that I'm better, but they warned me that they will continue to stick cold things up my bum until they are convinced that it will never say 41.1 ever again. Apparently that is too HOT. I wish I could tell moms or the vets where I had been feeling sick, but they don't seem to speak BARK very well, so it will have to stay a mystery.

One nice thing about having to go to the eee-mer-gen-cee vet is that when you come home your big sister thinks you smell great! Gracie sniffed and sniffed and sniffed and wagged her tail. I think she must have missed me, but my moms roll their eyes when people say that. There are rumours circulating that Gracie got extra spoiled and didn't miss sharing STICKS and toys with me while I was gone. I don't believe that for a second though. I'm sure Gracie was pining away for me the whole time...
Crystal here (thanks Jaida).
Just a quick note from the moms. She's again on antiobiotics (Zeniquin 50mg once a day for 14 days), plus Cisapride 5mg three times a day for her digestion. No idea what happened, despite blood/urine tests and x-rays, and it wasn't the pneumonia. Very scary. Not overly impressed by the service at the emergency clinic which shall remain nameless. Poor communication between staff, terrible service at front desk, little conveyance of useful information from doctors to moms. Glad Jaida is home. Well, actually, she's not home today, she's being spoiled and pampered and given nice meds for her sore leg by her favourite-est vet Dr. Sparling.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Get over it, she's fine (And: an exciting weekend)!

Crystal here.

Kim and I took the girls to a dog park this Saturday. This was a very big deal for both dogs. For Jaida, this was her first "yay-I've-got-the-pneumonia-licked-enough-to-get-vaccines" major outing to socialize with other dogs. Of course, she got loads of attention, and everyone stared at her, because she's so frikin' cute and because she was accompanied by the fabulously gorgeous miss Gracie.

And because she hops around like a bunny and has a dangly little scrunchy leg.

There was lots of "aw, poor thing" and "oh, it was so good of you to take her on", which I guess is not necessarily a bad thing, but I'll be honest - it gets a little tired after a while. So, for all you owners of run-of-the-mill 4-legged dogs who happen to come across a dog with three legs or a bum leg or two legs or paralyzed, cart-weilding warrior legs at a dog park: the dog's people KNOW that their dog looks different and don't need to be reminded all the time. And, the dogs are fine. They are happy. They are enjoying their day at the park. If you watch the dogs veeeeerrrry closely, you might notice that they act, well, like fine happy dogs enjoying their day at the park. Hmmm ... sounds remarkably like all the non-handicapped dogs, doesn't it?

Ok, rant completed.

Next. Big deal number 2: GRACIE HUNG OUT AT A DOG PARK!!! This may not seem like a huge big exciting thing, but it sure was for Kim and I. We were super-dooper proud of our girl, yes we were. Why? Because if we had tried this last year, there would likely have been a dog fight. Probably several. The fabulously gorgeous miss Gracie, best friend to cats and all human beings everywhere, was not always the nicest with other dogs. In fact, she could be a downright jerk.

Enter Marty Walhin, dog trainer extraordinaire, and mummy Kim, expert handler. Gracie started going to "bad dog school" early this year to correct this *ahem* issue. After weeks of excellent teaching and hard work, Gracie passed her Level One Obedience class with flying colours. This weekend was proof of the value of those classes. Gracie was relaxed, happy, quite content to sniff every other object and pee on the ones in between, and met lots of dogs, with no problems. In fact, she practically threw herself at a handsome little pug (such a flirt!) It was the coolest thing to see, and Gracie provided Jaida with an excellent example of polite behaviour with other dogs. Yay, Gracie!!!

Props to Uncle Marty (he doesn't know that Gracie calls him that, hee-hee!). His website is here:
Marty Walhin
If you are looking for a dog trainer in the Ottawa area, call this guy. Seriously.