Saying Goodbye to My Mom

December 30, 2014

Sorry I’ve been away so long. If you follow this blog, then you know my mom has been struggling with brain cancer. What you didn’t know is that she passed away just before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, it has been a sad time for me. And so I want to share a tribute of my mother.

My Mom's High School Photo

This is my mom’s high school (?) photo.

MY MOM’S RESCUED DOGS
On July 25th of this year, I told you about many of the dogs my mom has rescued over the years. Well, I found these photos recently and wanted to share their stories too.

Me Angela and 5 Dogs in the Snow

Oregon, winter, 1986 (?) Me, my sister, and our five rescued dogs.

Vacation with Six Dogs
I was probably about 12 years old when this photo was taken. I remember the trip well because we fit two adults, two kids, and six dogs in our car. I remember six dogs but neither my sister nor I remember who that was and he/she is not pictured. It could have been Squash. I think we had Squash by that time. Or we could have still had Lady.

Anyway, I’m on the left and my sister Angela is on the right. The dogs left to right are Prince (nicknamed Poof), Cassie, Licorice (Licky), ?, and Frog Lips. I’ve told you Cassie’s rescue story. I don’t remember the black dog’s name because we must have only had her for only a short time. My mom probably either found her or took her in temporarily, and then gave her away to a nice family.

Frog Lips
Frog Lips has a very interesting story. This man found her near death on the side of the road. She had an axe in her head and one of her eyes was gouged out. He helped her recover and named her Frog Lips. Don’t ask me why, he just did. His health got really bad, though, and he could no longer take care of her. My mom was a good friend of his so she took her in.

Frog Lips had really bad separation anxiety. And like many German Short-Haired Pointers, she would roam long distances if she got out. I remember my mom yelling for her on a number of occasions. We called her Lips for short, so can you imagine my mom loudly calling, “Lips. Lips!” out into our neighborhood? :D

Dogs Lady (Lab) Max (Chi mix) Cassie (Sheltie)

Our rescued dogs, Lady, a black Lab, Max, probably a Chi and Terrier mix, and Cassie, a Sheltie.

Lady
This photo is of Lady, Max, and Cassie. As stated earlier, I’ve told Cassie’s story. I don’t remember Max’s story, but I do remember Lady’s story. My mom went duck hunting with a friend and found Lady out wandering around on her own. My mom tried to find out who the owner was, but never did. Lady was a great dog. I remember sneaking her food from my plate when my mom made something I didn’t like. And I remember that Lady smiled a lot.

Dad and Collie Dog Ranger

This is Ranger, a Collie my mom rescued. I think that is my dad walking him.

Ranger
This last photo is of Ranger. I told you about him on the July 25th, 2014 post. I didn’t have a photo then, but I have it now.

Squash
I could not find a picture of Squash. I told you on July 25th that he was abandoned by our neighbors. But I recently found out that our neighbors were actually going to shoot him because they didn’t want to take him with them when they moved. Thank goodness my mom was there to stop them and rescue this great dog.

Mom and Me on My 2nd Birthday

My mom is holding me for my 2nd birthday.

I AM LIKE MY MOM
I am who I am because of you, Mom. I learned my independence and strength by watching you. When life kicks me down, I get my example from you and get right back up again. I get my love of dogs from you. Before dog rescue groups became common, there were people like you to step in and give creatures that can’t fend for themselves a chance to live a good life. You are the kind of person I hope I can be. I get my joy for crafts from you. Like you, I like to make things with my own hands. I even get my creativity for cooking from you. Although I don’t care much for cooking, I enjoy coming up with interesting recipes. I get that from you. I get my crazy need to save things from you too. Like you, I’m a pack rat. ;) And sometimes, when I hear myself laugh, I realize I sound just like you. :D Like you, I have a positive outlook on life and can smile even through the toughest times. I got that all from you mom. You may be gone, but you live on through me, our family, and through everyone else’s life that you’ve touched. I love you very much. ❤❤❤

Wordless Wednesday – Dog Costume?

October 1, 2014

Maya and Pierson don’t usually wear clothing. But I received the Rein Coat to try out for Pierson’s dog aggression. The Rein Coat is supposed to help with anxiety, which is linked to his dog aggression. I have only had a few opportunities to try it out since the weather has been warm. Anyway, I put it on Pierson again today and it reminded me of Count Dracula’s cape. And so this Rein Coat is almost like a costume, which fits both Maya and Pierson.

Pierson Dog Rein Coat Prince of Cuteness

PRINCE OF CUTENESS

Maya Rein Coat Countess Dogula

COUNT(ESS) DOGULA

Want to see more cute pups? Check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below. I can’t promise there will be any other dogs in costumes, but you never know!

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Dog Attack Again?

September 26, 2014
Maya on Dog Bed Looks Sad

“Why does everybody want to beat me up?”

I thought the two incidents with Maya being attacked by other dogs were isolated incidents. But it almost happened again and with a different dog! Actually, I should say dogs because there were two. Poor Maya. This time, though, I think I handled it much better for her sake.

The first time Maya was attacked, I froze. I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, the owner came and grabbed her dog and Maya wasn’t injured. The second time was too hectic because I was trying to deal with Pierson. It didn’t occur to me that the dog would turn around and attack Maya when Pierson was out of the picture.

But this third time, everything worked out great. I actually kept the two dogs from reaching her. Here’s what I did:

When I saw the two dogs coming, I stepped in front of Maya to protect her. When the two dogs got close, I stomped my foot and yelled “No!” They slowed down but were still approaching so I hunched down as if I were going to come at them and stamped my foot and yelled again. This time, they stopped. A couple more times and they backed off.

Where was their owner? She was outside with them and was yelling her head off for them to come back. They did not listen to her. I’m not surprised. I doubt Pierson would have either if the situation were reversed.

Last time, I excused the owners of the other dogs. This time, though, it was pure negligence on the owner’s part. She purposely let her dogs outside off a leash and without an enclosure. I felt like I should have said something to her, but as soon as those dogs backed off I got the heck out of there.

How would you have done?

Wordy Wednesday – Turning My Husband into a Dog Lover

September 24, 2014

My husband cares for our dogs, but he doesn’t love them like I do. The only dogs he ever had were outside guard dogs. So Sephi and Maya were a unique experience for him. When we got married, it took some time for him to get used to the dogs living in the house with us. The dogs are still not allowed on the furniture, but he no longer gets grossed out when he accidentally eats a dog hair or if there is a fur dust bunny floating around on the floor. Having Maya and Pierson indoors is second nature to him now. However, he still doesn’t interact with them as much as I do. But I have caught him playing with or petting them every now and then. Maya and Pierson are really making progress with him, don’t you think? :)

Husband Li Xi and the Dogs

Caught in the act! Whatever cuteness Maya and Pierson exhibited this morning caused my husband to bend down and give Maya and Pierson an unexpected belly rub.

For more pet photo fun, check out the Wordless (or Wordy) Wednesday blog hop below:

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Caring for Critters – My Experiences with Pet Injuries and Illnesses

September 18, 2014

Caring for Critters Round Robin Badge

This is part of the Caring for Critters Round Robin hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. Each day of the month, a different pet blogger shares their experience in dealing with a particular health issue. I am following Jen with Dogthusiast.com with various health issues that I’ve encountered with my dogs over the years.

Cassie - Shetland Sheepdog

It’s difficult to tell in this photo, but Cassie had a permanently dry nose due to her bout with distemper when she was young.

Cassie’s Distemper
Cassie got distemper when she was about two years old and I was eleven. The vet gave us some medicine and we kept her in the garage away from our other dogs. I went in to see her every day after school and even set up my own little chair so I could stay in there with her. (My mom wouldn’t let me sleep in there overnight, though.) The distemper caused Cassie to lose her leg muscles. My mother showed me how to help her get her strength back so Cassie could walk again. I don’t know how much of this my mother did when I was at school, but I worked with Cassie every chance I got. She eventually pulled through. The disease left her with a permanently dry nose and gooey eyes, but she lived as a normal happy dog to the age of thirteen.

 

My Border Collie / Shepherd Dog Smokey

Smokey loved to travel.

Smokey’s Blistered Feet
One day the gate didn’t close properly when my ex (then my husband) headed out in his truck. Smokey took off after him. It was at least a quarter mile, possibly more, before he noticed Smokey chasing him… and keeping up. He pulled over and Smokey slowed down to a painful limp. The hard fast run on pavement blistered Smokey’s feet very badly. There wasn’t much a vet could do other than clean his feet and give him some antibiotic ointment. So for the next few days I did my best to keep Smokey from having to walk, kept his feet clean, put medicine on, and put bandages on whenever I needed to take him out for potty. Smokey healed quickly.

 

Dogs Becky Anne and Sheba

Sheba is the Rottweiler mix pup on the right. When she was an even smaller pup, she had Parvo and her mange was much worse. Loving care enabled her to overcome both.

Sheba’s Parvo
Sheba was either dumped in front of my house or she found her way there on her own and decided to stay. I took her in only to find she had parvo and mange. My dogs had their vaccinations against parvo, but I still kept Sheba separated from them. Sheba was given medicines and special food until the vet gave her the clear on the parvo. She still had mange but it wasn’t contagious and so she became a permanent member of the family. A healthy diet eventually cleared up her mange.

 

Sephi in Bed

Sephi developed hypothyroidism when she was about 6 or 7 years old.

Sephi’s Hypothyroidism
I’ve written about Sephi’s hypothyroidism before. The short version of the story is this – Sephi came up with a skin condition where red bald spots appeared on her stomach and a few other places. The vet gave her medicine and it didn’t work. The vet then sent me to a doggie dermatologist and he gave Sephi a more powerful medicine that ended up harming her liver. She spent the night at the vet with an iv and the liver problem cleared up, but the skin condition didn’t. I took her to a different vet and they suggested hypothyroidism. Sure enough, the test results were positive. Sephi was given a prescription that was very inexpensive compared to all the other medicines that she had been prescribed, and her skin cleared up within a week.

Portrait of My Dog Pierson 3

Pierson has canine epilepsy and suffers from a short seizure every few months or so.

Pierson’s Canine Epilepsy
Pierson had his first seizure on his first Gotcha Day, which I wrote about on this blog on January 12th, 2013. He’s had a few more since then, a total of 6 I think it is now, with no known cause. Luckily, these episodes are short and he recovers very quickly. The vet says they are not bad enough to require medication. Medication can have a lot of side effects, and some of those side effects won’t be noticeable to us because dogs are good at hiding their discomforts. Pierson’s most recent seizure was a few days ago at 4:00am on September 12th. It was short, as usual. And as usual, he was back to his silly-boy self within moments afterwards. There isn’t much I can do for him when he has these. I simply make sure there is nothing nearby for him to hit and comfort him until it is over.

 

My Dog Maya and Pet First Aid Kit

I used the pet first aid kit from Kurgo for the first time when Maya was injured by another dog.

Maya’s Leg Wound
I recently wrote about Maya being attacked by a dog. That was on August first of this year. The attack left her with a gaping wound on her leg. Luckily, no arteries were hit. A quarter-sized chunk of skin was torn off, but there was very little blood. Maya was given oral antibiotics as well as topical. The first day she was in a lot of pain so I also got her some doggie aspirin from Petco. It helped. She was her normal energetic self the next day. I washed her wound twice a day every day for a couple of weeks and made her wear a cone so she couldn’t lick her wound. She still has a scar, but her wound has healed very nicely.

There are so many other situations to write about. Becky Anne was hit by a car once and lost her tail. She also jumped off a cliff once! Then there was Huckleberry who jumped out of our car window to chase some cows. Both survived without major injuries, thank goodness. Our pets sure do give us some experiences, both fun and difficult. I could certainly do without the drama, but I could never do without my dogs.

Learn about more pet health care experiences by checking out Peggy’s blog, The Writer’s Dog. Peggy’s topic is Caring for Super Seniors.

Wordless Wednesday – Coat & A Visiting Flea

September 17, 2014

Pierson received the Rein Coat some time back in order to help with his leash reactive behavior. (See June 26, 2014 post.) I haven’t really had a chance to try it yet because I don’t want to make him wear a coat when it is 80-90 degrees out. But it has been cool lately, so both him and Maya got to try it out. We didn’t encounter any dogs on our walk, so I don’t know yet if it helps with leash reaction. But it really helped keep them from pulling my arm off on the walk!

Aussie Mix Dog Pierson Wearing Rein Coat Labrador Dog Maya Wearing Rein Coat

Guess who came by for a visit on her way to Chicago? And guess who got a bunch of yummy treats from Jones Natural Chews?

Pierson with Flea

Does Pierson have a Flea or does a Flea have Pierson?

If you think these photos are pawsome, go visit the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:

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Wordless Wednesday – Our Neighbors

September 10, 2014

Look at the cuties who live next door:

Bella the Beautiful Mastiff - Portrait Photo

Bella is as beautiful as she is sweet. I love this girl!

Dainty Mastiff Bella

Bella is dainty for a Mastiff but still a big hugable girl.

Bella the Mastiff Rolls in the Grass 1

Bella’s mom put in some new grass and Bella really loves it.

Bella the Mastiff Rolls in the Grass 1

“Oh, yeah. This feels good.”

Bella the Mastiff Sleeps with Her Binky

Bella loves her binky dog toy. Her mom says she loves carrying it around in her mouth and sometimes sucks on it when she sleeps.

Chewy the Jack Russell

Bella’s brother Chewy is a cutie too, but he didn’t hold still long enough for me to get many good photos.

For more fun photos of dogs, cats, and other pets, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:

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Just Because My Dog is Shy Doesn’t Mean He Was Mistreated

September 5, 2014
Pierson Rescue Dog

Pierson was nervous on his first day at his new home. He wasn’t quite sure yet what to think of me and my husband or Maya.

I was talking to someone about my dog Pierson the other day (when do I not talk about my dogs?), about how he was rescued and about how shy he can sometimes be around strangers. Their first reaction to his shyness was to say he had probably been mistreated by his prior family. My immediate response was to say this is not necessarily true and here’s why.

SHY BUT NOT FEARFUL
Pierson is wary and shy, but he is not fearful. He darts out of the way of a fast hand movement or if someone bends over him. But this is a natural reaction for many dogs. He doesn’t snap or growl in reaction. He simply takes a few steps back.

Dad Pierson Shake

Pierson was a bit shy around my dad at first. But he warmed up to him after a few treats.

BREED BEHAVIOR
Pierson is most likely part Border Collie and part Australian Shepherd. Both these breeds are very high alert dogs. They were bred to guard flocks and so they tend to be naturally wary of strange things, including strange people. Pierson tends to warm up to a person better if I or my husband is there and if the other person lets Pierson check them out first on his own terms.

LACK OF SOCIALIZATION
I got Pierson when he was probably a year old so I have no idea how well he was socialized. He was very shy when we first got him. I have been doing my best to introduce him to new people and new things. And as such, he tends to warm up to new people much quicker than in the past. There are still occasions when he decides to be shy. Generally it is around small children since he doesn’t get the opportunity to be around children much.

Family Playing Hungry Hippos

Pierson looks on as my niece and nephew, my brother-in-law, and my husband play Hungry Hungry Hippos. He was wary of the little ones but not fearful. My sister has done a good job of teaching her kids how to approach dogs and to leave them alone if they don’t want to be bothered.

MISTREATED
A dog very well could be shy due to mistreatment. If Pierson had been mistreated, however, I would expect his reaction to be a lot more severe. I’d expect tail tucking, ears going back, eyes dilating, growling, or cowering. He occasionally growls, but it is usually when a person tries to be too overly friendly with him. He’s not a Labrador. You can’t just go up to him and try to put your arms around him! (Actually one shouldn’t do this to any dog regardless of breed, but you get my point.)

I honestly don’t know whether Pierson had been purposely abandoned in the park I found him in or if he had wandered off from his family and found his own way to the park. I have no idea if he was loved or if he was unwanted. Either way, I very much doubt he was abused. For Pierson, I think the most likely explanation for his shyness is his breed mix. Lack of socialization is probably a factor too, but I think it is possible for certain dogs to have a shyness tendency regardless of proper socialization.

Do you have a shy dog? Why do you think he or she is shy? What do you tell people when they suggest your dog might have been mistreated?

Wordless Wednesday – Labor Day with the Dogs

September 3, 2014

Labor Day Dog Sleeping

Despite the above photo caption, Maya was very busy on Labor Day. She had an absolutely great day at Gray’s Lake here in Des Moines. Maya had so much fun that she completely exhausted herself. By the way, she is wearing her Outward Hound dog life jacket because I worry that she will swim out too far or hide how tired she is and keep swimming.

Maya Swimming at Gray's Lake

We went with some friends who have a cute little Dachshund named Honey.

Honey Swimming at Gray's Lake 3

For more fabulously fun photos of dogs and other pets, click the link below for the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

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Crazy Month – Fair, Ikea, Motel 6

August 29, 2014

Sorry I haven’t been posting in a while. It has been a crazy month. Here is an update.

Maya’s Birthday
My Maya is now seven years old. Go check out this cute photo of her I posted on my other blog yesterday: Maya’s Birthday

Doctor Who
Sometimes I just don’t feel motivated. I think it is tied to my cycle. I call it depression, but I’m fine for the most part. I just don’t have any energy. Mid-August was like that. I found myself cuddled on the couch with Maya and Pierson three days in a row and watching Doctor Who. It was a great way to spend a depression but I obviously didn’t get much done.

Iowa State Fair
I’m vegetarian now so going to the Iowa State Fair where they display animals that are soon going to be butchered seems a contradiction. I suppose it is, but I heard the Iowa State Fair is one of the biggest in the country and so wanted to see it at least once. Despite the fact that many of the animals will soon become someone’s food, I loved seeing them. The horses are my favorite. The Iowa State Fair also had an art show. There was a ton of different art work of different media and different subjects. As an artist, I loved this part of the fair.

Gorgeous Horse at Iowa State Fair

Isn’t this horse gorgeous? I believe her coloring is called flea-bitten gray.

Cute Kid at Iowa State Fair

This kid at the Iowa State Fair was so cute!

Ikea and Mall of America
A few days after the fair, I went with a friend to the Mall of America in Minnesota. We also went to Ikea, which is across the street. I didn’t buy much there, but I did buy lots of stuff at the Blick Art store, which we happened to drive by on our way to lunch at Good Earth.

Mall of America Me and SpongeBob

Yes, I love SpongeBob SquarePants and so when I saw him at the Mall of America, I had to get my picture taken with him.

Snoopy at Ikea in Minnesota

This was outside Ikea in Minnesota. Yes, I’m copying Emma from MyGBGVlife who always shares these finds. :)

Road Trip
The day after that trip, I broke a tooth and went to the dentist. Then the day after that I went to Wichta, Kansas to see a doctor for my fibromyalgia. Maya and Pierson went with me. I don’t like to travel alone and my husband couldn’t go, so Maya and Pierson eagerly agreed to make the boring trip.

Dogs on Road Trip to Kansas 2014

Maya looks like she’s scared of my driving, but she’s actually very excited about the trip.

Motel 6
I opted to stay at a Motel 6 because I knew they didn’t charge much and that they accept my two big dogs without charging extra pet fees. If you want to stay at a nice fancy hotel with all the amenities and free breakfast, Motel 6 is not the place to go. But who needs a fancy motel when you’re mostly going to be out?

Motel 6 August 2014 Maya & Pierson

The dogs and I had a nice comfortable room at Motel 6 in Wichita.

I discovered how great Motel 6 is for us when we got stuck in Oklahoma during a terrible ice storm. This Motel 6 in Wichita on Kellogg Dr. was even better! The bed was so comfortable, the room was clean, the property was quiet, and it even had a mini fridge. But what made it the best was the manager and the staff. The manager, Ron, told me, “Without customer service, I’m just another hotel chain.” So true!

Motel 6 August 2014 Ron and Dogs

Ron the manager of Motel 6 in Wichita was very nice and even posed with Maya and Pierson.

My Mom
You all won’t believe how well my mother is doing. She has terminal brain cancer, but that is not stopping her one bit. A month or so ago, she was in really bad shape. She couldn’t keep food down, she was sleeping 22+ hours a day, one of her hands went numb, she can’t see out of one eye, she started to have uncontrollable ticks, and she was so weak she could no longer walk. My stepdad had to get hospice care in to help.

Now my mom is up out of bed and dancing!!! No more hospice care either. My mom is able to eat again. She says her sleep is back to normal. She still can’t see out of one eye but the ticks are gone. And she can now walk an entire block and back. I so totally can’t believe it! But if anyone can kick brain cancer’s butt, it’s my mom.

One of my sisters lives closest to my mom and has been visiting her often. She gives my mom foot rubs and has been painting her nails. Recently, she did a leopard theme to match my mom’s leopard print robe and my stepdad bought her a leopard print hat to match. (leopard print, not actual leopard fur… no way!)

My Mom Wearing Leopard Print

My mom has always loved leopard print. The only thing missing in this photo is her leopard print slippers.

Well, that’s all for now! How has your month been?


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