Monday, April 6, 2009

Paloma Gets to Come Inside!

This morning, after much coaxing, I was finally able to get Paloma to come inside our house. She was extremely skittish until I laid a large beach towel down like a welcome mat. She then strolled right in. She is doing great so far. She definitely sticks to my side and keeps away from Bailey, who will not stop projecting her "I am the alpha" role onto to Paloma.

I can't get Paloma to eat a treat inside, but we're moving slowly, so we'll get there. Whatever lucky family adopts this sweet girl could definitely make her an inside dog if they chose. She is not going crazy at all. She is actually very chill. When her and Millie go outside, they play like all puppies do, wrestling, running and going crazy. Inside, Paloma is as gentle and calm as she can be. Millie is trying to instigate a play match right now and Paloma isn't sure what she is supposed to do.

I also think Paloma is learning the "sit" command. She's not perfect, but I've been working with her some with and without treats. If she is in a calm state, she does it almost every time. If she is in an excited state, maybe one out of 5 times. Not too bad for me really only working with her for about 3 days. And not even consistently.

Tomorrow will be 7 days since I rescued her. In that entire 7 days, I have not heard her bark yet. I have heard one, single whimper that lasted about 1 second when I was trying to get her to come inside but she was scared to. I think it was her way of telling me to be patient and that she wants to come inside but is a little scared.

Please help me find this sweet girl a home! She deserves a loving family who can keep her forever!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Paloma Visits the Vet (update on rescued dog)

I found out my rescue dog has a name. Paloma. Pretty sad that someone would name a dog and then abandon and abuse it, but I'll never understand some people.

The good news is that Paloma is doing great. She went to the vet today for her checkup and shots. She does not have heart worms which is fantastic. Her teeth and gums look good. She got started on Interceptor today and is currently getting a flea bath. I have Comfortis to give her to prevent further fleas, so she is just a spay away from being ready for a good home. The vet said overall she seems like a healthy dog, especially considering her situation.

Her temperament is still just as gentle as it was the day I found her. She played with Millie and Bailey yesterday. Well, I should say she played with Millie. Bailey wanted nothing to do with her. Paloma was immediately alerted that Bailey rules this house and is and will remain the alpha. Paloma tried to convince Bailey that she just wanted to play, but Bailey, in her crotchety old age, refused to submit. So, Paloma and Millie ran about 900 circles around my back yard. I will say this...Paloma is F-A-S-T! Millie was worn out from running so hard. Of course, she took her rest in the biggest, deepest mud puddle (she had about 20 to choose from since we seem to have gotten 5000 inches of rain over the past week. Finally, today is a sunny day!)

I am also proud to say that Paloma did GREAT at the vet. In the lobby, she sat right next to me the whole time. I didn't even have to grip her leash. I wish she could teach Millie and Bailey her waiting room manners. They go ape crazy. There was a sweet little boxer puppy in there and Paloma definitely wanted to play. They sniffed and jumped around a little bit together but then Paloma came right back to me and sat still.

As with most dogs who've been abused, she is very skittish to meet anyone new. But, you can tell that she wants to trust you, she just immediately goes into submission, crouches down and slowly approaches from the crouched position. She doesn't flinch though when you go to pet her, which is a good thing. I do not think she was physically abused as in beaten. I just think she was severely neglected. She had no problems with Dr. Brantley picking her up, giving shots, etc.

I've noticed she is more confident approaching another dog than a human, but even with dogs, she is very gentle. Put it this way, you know how much I love, spoil and humanize Millie and Bailey. I had no issues whatsoever with them meeting and playing with Paloma. She is great with other dogs. She warmed up to Brent quickly last night as well (did I mention she has been moved to my house where I can take better care of her? This IS very temporary. I want to and MUST find her a good home. I don't even have a job right now, so cannot take on a third dog. This will be reinforced today when I go pick her up at the vet and get my bill!)

My vet thinks she is a certifiable, all-american mutt, but his best guess of her most recent mix is Labrador Retriever, Bird Dog and/or Dalmation. We'll never know (unless someone wants to donate big bucks toward the DNA test...yeah, didn't think so), but she definitely has the traits of a young lab. She is playful and has her energy bursts, but she also has a very calm, serene side. He thinks she is somewhere between one and two years old, definitely no older than two.

It's been 4 days since I've been caring for her and I still have not heard a single bark or whine. My guess is she learned early on that it got her no where. This is really good though for her future home, no worries about a chronic barker or whiny pup.

I'm currently brainstorming on a way/ways to raise some money to help pay for her care. Any suggestions? I have a recipe for a healthy, all natural dog treat, so was thinking I could bake some, package them cute in Easter decor and sell locally? Leave your suggestions in the comments area.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sweet Dog Needs a Great Home

Yesterday (3/31/09) around lunchtime, I learned about a dog in a potentially abusive situation at an abandoned home. There was no possible way I could ignore this information, so a few hours later, I grabbed a bag of dog food, treats, a jug of water and a couple bowls. I headed over to the house to check it out myself. What I saw broke my heart.

The cutest, sweetest dog was tied to a tree with about an 8 foot leash. It was wrapped around other nearby small trees and brush and really could not move anywhere. It was both scared and excited to see me. At the time, it was pouring down rain. There was no place the dog could go to stay dry. There was a rickety crate next to it, but A) the dog couldn't reach it being that it was stuck, B) it was soaking wet inside it and C) There was a nasty old soaking wet pillow at the bottom of it. I would have rather slept on the wet ground too.

While I was there, one of the neighbors came over, I think hoping that I knew a story about the dog and was maybe asked to come care for her. I explained that I had just found out about it and knew nothing other than what I'd seen. I was glad to hear that he and his girlfriend had been feeding it and untangling it anytime they saw her tangled. He said the owners moved to Texas about a month ago and left the dog. They have been back a few times but clearly have no intentions of bringing the dog with them. I cannot wrap my head around how someone could do this, but then he told me that when they lived there they never payed attention to it anyway, so it's probably best that they didn't take it because it would have just been tied up there too.

I gave her some food, untangled it and threw out the muddy water replacing it with fresh. It was pouring down rain, so I know this was a futile attempt, but I had to do something. I had to leave to go to my fit camp class, but the entire time I was there, I could not stop thinking about this poor dog stuck out in the rain tied to this tree. As soon as my class was over, I went back to the house (with the help of a friend), and took the dog, the food bowl and the rickety crate. My friend has a pin inside his fenced in back yard, so we dried out the crate, put a tarp over it and put fresh dry towels inside. I gave her more fresh food and water and let her run around the bigger part of the fenced in yard for about an hour. It was still raining, but she had the best time. Imagine that feeling of being tied up, probably her whole life, and finally getting to run free.

She is still a little skittish at first, but she played with me, let me pet her, dry her off and love on her. She even ate some food right out of my hand. She's very gentle and affectionate. When I was drying her off, she snuggled up right next to me. It was the hardest thing to leave her still outside last night in this weather, but I felt so much better knowing she had a dry place to sleep and no chance of being tangled up.

So far, she has shown no signs of aggression, no whining, no barking, no digging. She is definitely a lab mix and you can tell from the pics that she has white on her front toes, back paws, on her chest and the tip of her tail. She is solid black everywhere else.

My friend checked on her first thing this morning, and she had slept behind the dog house all night, still hadn't gone inside the house. I went over there later in the morning and let her run again, confirmed "she" really is a "she", took pics, gave her more food, dried her off and loved on her. I finally got her to get inside the dog house where she stayed after I left. It's still pouring rain here, so I'm going to go over later and check to make sure the towels aren't wet even though we have her sheltered pretty well.

I plan to take her to the vet tomorrow to have her checked out. I'll post updates here. This girl will make a great pet to someone. If you know of anyone who is a true animal lover that will give her the attention and care she needs, please let me know. She is in Macon, but I would happily drive and deliver her to a good home anywhere within reason.

She deserves a great home!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flashback to March 1

We had a snow day on March 1. This never happens where I live. Ever. It was Millie's first time seeing snow and she absolutely loved it. Bailey was less interested and found it a little inconvenient. But, we had a really fun day. I think you can tell by these pictures that Millie had the most fun of all!

Bailey on the Mend

Bailey made it through her surgery with no issues and 10 total tumors removed: 4 in her "bad" ear, 4 on her back and 2 on her bum. Yesterday she had all the staples and sutures removed and everything is healing just fine. We've added antibiotics and tagamet to her medicine regimen, so we are back up to lots of pills every day.

Speaking of lots of pills...Bailey also just started holistic meds. My good friend Tracy from high school is a DVM and recommended Teapills for Bailey's cancer. I told her to send them on, talked to my vet about them and now Bailey is taking TWELVE per day (they're based on weight, hence the quantity). This is going to be her dosage for good, unless we encounter any issues. I've only had her on them for two doses so far, but we haven't seen any side effects (which is a good thing since she is soooo side-effect-prone).

My goal, as with the prednisone she takes as maintenance med, is to reduce the growth rate of the tumors, keep them from ulcerating and getting itchy, and giving Bailey a general better quality of life. I know there are no guarantees and that I'm not going to cure her cancer, but if I can make her happier and a little healthier, I've got nothing to lose.

And, since Bailey gets her medicine wrapped in tiny pieces of bread twice daily, Millie is also loving this surge in pills, enjoying her bread "blanks" at medicine time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to the Doggie OR

We took Bailey to the vet yesterday to have a few of her tumors checked that were becoming N-A-S-T-Y. Her "bad" ear, once again, is wrought with multiple tumors that have recently ulcerated creating a horrible mess. She also has one on that just recently ulcerated. We don't have to go into detail on why that is a problem.

So, we were secretly hoping she would get a good enough check-up that Dr. Brantley would be willing to do a surgery to remove those few tumors. Since she has about 40 on her body right now, there is no way to remove them all, so we prioritized them based on how long she can stay under. Her surgery will be today around noon, so please send her happy thoughts during that time. We hate to put her through another surgery, but we know it will help her feel better and prevent some nasty infections.

The good news...she gained weight again. This typically would not be good news since she is technically overweight, but since losing weight is a sign of the cancer spreading, we were happy about it. So was Dr. B. In fact, he saw no symptoms of it spreading systemically. So, at this point, bring on the fattening doggie treats...that's really the main thing that makes her happy!

Vote for Millie in Pet Photo Contest!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Yesterday must have just been a more sick Bailey, she is back to her feisty self. Gonna keep an eye on her, but I think she was just trying to get some extra sympathy!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bad Flashbacks

I'm having flashbacks to early December when Bailey was so sick from her chemo. She is not acting like herself today (aka not accepting treats, moping around) and at one point she got sick. Normally I would shrug this off. Dogs eat random things and get sick. Not a big deal. And, if she starts feeling better tonight/tomorrow, I will shrug it off. But, my vet warned me that the signs of cancer spreading to her organs is vomiting. So...keeping our fingers crossed that this was just a fluke. If she gets sick anymore tonight, we'll be making another trip to the vet tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Millie in the Media

Millie is almost famous! I submitted a photo of her to a contest on a dog shopping blog–barkability[dot]com–which called for photos of your dog's paws. Since we all know Millie is the muddiest of all, I thought they might enjoy some muddy paws, legs, face.... 
The contest is still underway (for a few more minutes tonight at least), but in an effort to promote entries, barkability posted her mug. I am such a proud mom. Check it out and, if you are really quick, you have a few minutes left tonight to send your own photo in. Contest ends at midnight. 

Big thanks to Chris, Barkability and Mackenzie the Golden Retriever. Check out their site and Millie's Muddy mug shot.

Go to barkability[dot]com (you'll have to type it yourself or link to it from My Blog List on the right side of this page).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Good Report Card

Last week, it was time to take Millie in for her annual shots, so I brought Bailey along as well to get her checked out too. She hadn't been back to the vet since our last chemo attempt in early December, so I wanted our doc to see how the tumors have progressed (we've lost count...25+). I wasn't sure what he would say, so I was a little anxious. 

He was actually very impressed. He told me he had been dreading a call from us (he loves Bailey and has been taking care of her since she was a pup). He said he was amazed it had not spread to her organs and he is sure that it hasn't because she would be vomiting constantly if it had (she is vomit-free!). He was very glad to see that she is doing just fine given her condition, other than her long cashew toe-nails, which he took care of, and her usual funky ears, which they also took care of. 

Millie also got a good report. He declared her to have to cleanest dog teeth he's ever seen at her age and wanted to know what I was doing. The only thing I can think of is that I allow her to eat and chew and shred as many sticks as she wants (which, by the way, is a lot of sticks). So maybe trees also offer--among the many other benefits--tartar control. Who knew!? Anyway, this is a cost savings bc he said she likely won't need her teeth cleaned for 4 or 5 years. Since teeth cleaning involves anesthesia (aka $$$$), this makes me happy.

He was also impressed with Millie's muscle mass. I took full credit for that with our once-daily (and often twice daily, though admittedly not much in the winter) walks. So, she has a clean bill of health.

Overall, other than the bill at the end, it was a good visit. Hopefully we will not be back soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mozart and Dolce

After Christmas, we were lucky enough to go to Highlands, N.C., with Brent's family for a mini-vacation in the mountains. We stay in a great house off Little Bear Pen Road (this is our second year in the same house), which is great on its own, but was made even greater when I learned one of my favorite authors, Pat Conroy, and his wife - also a great author - Cassandra King, spent a summer in it a few years ago. According to a framed note in the house, he made much progress on his next novel (Um, I'mmmm waiting.....that was a while ago!!) and she completed Queen of Broken Hearts, which I've yet to read, although I plan to. But, I digress... 

Just like our trip to Highlands last winter, we were greeted on our first day there by nasty rain (last year this presented a bigger problem though, because we had literally just gotten Millie days before and she came with us. That was a lot of standing around in the rain waiting on a dog to go potty every 20 minutes! This time she stayed with her now-inside-dog-loving grandparents, so we were slightly less annoyed with the weather). But, the rain did not stop us from venturing into the town to go shopping anyway. Almost immediately after parking downtown, we came upon a store that we may not have entered but for this cute greeter....

No, that is not Millie. Meet Mozart. We instantly fell in love with this 9-month-old, male English Cream Golden Retriever. His owners refer to him as "Mo," but Brent and I affectionately refer to him as Millie's brother (despite no known or suspected relation, other than the obvious). Mo was sitting on the stoop just outside a store, minding his own business and not wandering around the town (as we all know Millie would be doing, which is why she wouldn't be out on a stoop!). We chatted with his owners - who are as enamored with him as we are Millie - for a very long time and pointed out all the similarities between him and Millie (I'm sure of it that they cared, really sure, right?). He looks a little different from her because he's a lot younger and all his nice, white fluffy (OK...dust-bunny-creating, vacuum-clogging...) hair has not come in yet. In looking back at pictures of Millie when she was 9 mos., she was thinner-haired than she is now as well. 

Millie at 9 mos.:

English Creams are not all that common (even though Oprah and Nicollette Sheridan are also proud owners), and other than the times we've visited breeders before we found Millie, we've never seen another one in person (or "in dog," however you might reference that). Mozart made us very happy (and made us miss our pups). But, he helped get our vacation off to a great start. So, we finally peeled ourselves away from him, did some shopping and headed back to the house.

Later that night, we were in the kitchen getting ready for dinner when we were summoned to the back door by a loud but confident barking sound. Did Mozart like us that much that he climbed the mountain to come visit us? Nope, not quite. But that would have been cool. Instead, it was a different visitor from the retriever family. 

Last year, we noticed a newspaper article and photo of a beautiful black lab. The owners indicated she is the neighborhood dog, very friendly and may be stopping by for some treats, which they left in the cupboard. We never got to see her last year. This year, however, she made her presence known. 

Meet Dolce. Knowing she was friendly, and knowing she was definitely there for treats, we opened the door and let her in. She must have just come from the groomer because she was freshly bathed, super soft and sporting the obligatory festive bandana. Sure enough, she knew exactly where to go and was willing to sit, lay down, do whatever for a treat. My niece and nephew also shared their dinner with her (ok, so did I...sorry owners!) so Dolce was well fed and watered, and not surprisingly, a little reluctant to leave when it was time. We were fortunate enough to have her visit a few other times before we left. So much so that my sister-in-law purchased some new Milkbones for the house before we left since Dolce polished off their supply. We were glad Dolce decided to come visit (so is she!). And next year (or sooner), if we are lucky enough to go on the trip and stay in the same house, we hope we get to see both Dolce and Mozart again!

Headed to Highlands and want to meet Mozart "in dog?" I wish I knew the name of his owners' store, but I do know the entryway to the store is just beneath the sign for Raspberry Fizz - a pottery place that I'm not even sure is still open - on the main drag in downtown Highlands. He'll be waiting for you just outside the door!

As for Dolce, you'll have to find "Still Magic," stay a few days there yourself and hope for a bark at the back door.

Here are some more fun pics of these cute pups:

Chemo No More

I'm happy to report that just before Christmas, we decided to take Bailey off of chemo. Our goal at the onset was to help her get better without messing too much with her quality of life. We realized after just 3 treatments that she was unhappy, sickly, miserable and in pain. That was all the proof we needed. Within days, she showed significant improvements and today, I'm happy to report she is 100% back to her pre-chemo self, begging and all. We love it that way though...we know we made the best decision for our almost 91-year old!