What The Hay

Crafty Hayseed Goodness!

Too Short a Time August 26, 2007

Filed under: Family & Critters — clothespin @ 10:41 am

It truly was too short a time that we got to know and love our little Delilah girl. Though she had been improving and even more energetic and alert than in the days before, things did not work out as hoped. I sat with her all evening as we gave her the IV drip, fed her, loved her.   In the afternoon, she’d had a terrible coughing fit, bringing up a lot of goo from the pneumonia in her lungs.  It weakened her terribly and while concerned we didn’t know what to do about it.  After an accident on the couch and continued potty break out side, she came trotting into the house, full of energy. She went straight to her crate and then vomited the meal that she’d eaten hours ago… at that point she was unconscious. Hubby lifted her out and put her on the couch, trying to help her, where she died. Thankfully, we had the pink juice and administered it to her to help with the final stages of death.   The vet thought that she’d thrown a clot from her lungs and died from that… It was horrible and sad and we are devastated. We will bury her in the morning and hopefully she will find more peace in death than she did in life. At least at the end, she knew that we loved her, that we fought hard to keep her and that we were with her through to the end. It is all anyone can ask, I suppose, when that time comes.

While two weeks is a short time, it seems that it is enough time to fall in love.

We love you Miss D and we will always remember you.

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Comfort in the Pink Juice August 23, 2007

Filed under: Family & Critters — clothespin @ 12:42 pm

Yesterday was a hard day for Delilah. The vets said that her lungs were doing worse and while there was still hope, there wasn’t much of it. Still, in the two other distemper cases that they’d had in the past years, both had made it through this phase… but it was touch and go the entire time.

Before sending us home for the night, one vet agreed to ease my concerns … When Carbon was so very sick, the night before we helped him across the bridge, I was all alone with him. It was horribly hard and he was in such extreme pain and discomfort… and there was nothing that I could do. I did NOT want to repeat that experience with D. So, the vet sent us home with a shot of enough sedative to either completely knock her out or hopefully end the pain all together. She has an IV catheter in her leg, so administration would be easy, and we’ve had lots of experience with IVs with Carbon. This comfort of pink juice is what made me OK with bringing her home. I didn’t want to watch her go through a very painful final stage where she couldn’t breath and slowly die in agony. It wouldn’t be fair to either one of us and this way, if that moment ever came, I could help her to the bridge, too.

Happily, while close by, the bridge stayed far enough away as to not warrant the need of the pink. D struggled a bit with her breathing, pneumonia does that to a dog, but the meds and nose drops and my constantly wiping the sticky yellow snot out of her nostrils (despite her annoyance with that) seems to have done the trick. She ate a TINY amount of baby food, drank water and pottied outside. She growled once at Monster as he approached her couch and wagged her tail at hubby and I as we came close to her. She seems to have been more alert and herself than she has been in days. Slowly, hope began to build in me, even as the quality of late night/early morning TV lessened.

The vet called after I dropped her off this morning – she was pleasantly surprised. It is good to know that one of the new antibiotics is helping and that her lungs are starting to kick out the gunk that is in them. She is also getting much thinner – and that is not a good thing. Already very skinny when we got her, I can see her continue to shrink – the ingestion of food is critically important as she has nothing in reserve to draw upon. Hopefully, the baby food is more appetizing tonight. I think that we’ve graduated from “extremely cautiously optimistic” to just “cautiously optimistic” – but we’ll have to wait and see what the night brings. No matter how well she is doing now, there is also the grim reality that of all dogs who survive this mucosal phase, 50% will still enter the neurological phase and have to be put down. Hopefully, we will not be in that particular half of the statistic.

So, we are tired, poor and hopeful… it could be worse and it still might be. She seems to be a strong little dog … at least today, there is a wee bit more hope.

 

Sick Little Girl August 21, 2007

Filed under: Family & Critters — clothespin @ 6:35 am

So, Delilah is REALLY sick. She came from the shelter with a cough/vomiting phlegm stuff but it had gotten better over the weekend. She was perky and growling at everyone and starting to act like what might be her normal self.

So, Sunday morning, we took her on a short walk with Monster at the local park. I thought she was just tired and really out of shape… Sunday night, I had to hand feed her dry food. Monday morning, she would only eat a little bit of canned ID dog food…

The lethargy became really bad and she no longer followed me from room to room. So, I called the vet that had spayed her and we went in at 5 yesterday. The vet is nice enough but I have some serious concerns about her competency. They never took her temperature for one. She’s sick and may have Kennel Cough and no one thinks to take a temperature? They did blood work to make sure that she didn’t have an infection and sure enough, her white blood counts were well within normal range. The vet did decide to listen to her heart and lungs before leaving, and after a 10 minute conversation with me… Delilah’s lungs were full and she was having a hard time breathing in and out. Still, the vet wanted to wait until this morning for x-rays and then think about putting her on some sort of antibiotics. She kept saying that it is probably something chronic but never thinking that perhaps it is advanced stage kennel cough? Especially with the green/yellow oock coming out of her nose and eyes?

With her condition worsening at home, we finally managed to find the thermometer. Normal dog temp is 101-102.5… and hers was 107.2. We didn’t know what to do. By this point, I was crying and really upset… I called the local vet school and the lady on the phone said that her fever was “scarey high” – but no indication if it was critical or just serious. After some serious thought, we decided that we would try to control the fever on our own for a few hours first – the vet school would be there all night if we were unsuccessful. Plus, aside from an IV, we thought that we could provide nearly everything on our own…

We gave her some guaifenesin (the recommendation of the lousy vet after my pleading for something to help) for her lungs, which did seem to help, some aspirin for the fever and lots of gallon plastic bags of ice all over her body. I was up all night, taking her temperature every hour and writing it all down. Replacing the ice bags on her body periodically… I gave her droppers full of water and some high calorie goo that PetCo sells for convalescing dogs.

Her temperature slowly came down through the night and a couple of hours into it, dropped below 107. Right now, we’re hovering around 104 so while still very sick, I don’t think that the fever isn’t life threatening. She has to be carried out to the yard to potty and then she was only able to stand long enough to pee. That she’s peeing at all is a good sign – I keep squirting the water into her mouth. I’m waiting for the vet office to open so that I can get her in this morning. We will be using a different vet this time, one who hopefully got her degree at a vet school and not a cracker jack box. This vet was recommended by a local friend… I only hope that they will work us in. If not, off to the vet school we go…

I will post more as we know more, but for now she is OK. The joys of adopting a shelter dog… while she is very very ill at this point she is also very lucky – I hope.

 

Spotted Dog Bed August 18, 2007

Filed under: Family & Critters,projects,thrifted — clothespin @ 4:15 pm

Delilah needed a bed for her crate. Every dog needs their own bed, so I decided to make hers multi-purpose. Plus, it needed to be girly enough for my first girl dog, kinda match who she is and be very functional. Dog beds in stores are expensive and in my experience, not very well made, so I opted for a not so quick but easy homemade version.

dog-bed-with-d.jpg

For the materials for the bed, I went thrift store shopping and found a blue bedspread in a nice heavy cotton blend for $1.50. Also at the store was an old comforter that had definitely seen better days, also $1.50. And, last weekend at a garage sale, a lady was parting with some fabric and I got four fat quarters of complimentary fabric for $1. So, for $4.00 I had the makings of a personalized doggie bed that didn’t require any new materials!

dog-bed-1.jpg

I started by measuring the crate and then adding an inch to the length and width for the seam allowances. Then, using the bedspread, I cut out one piece of that size and two others the same width and 3/4 of the length making sure to include the already finished edge for one short side. I calculated the distance around the edges and cut strips 6 inches wide to total that length (that’s the width of the rotary cutting ruler =). Then, I went to my kitchen and gathered random round objects of different sizes and traced those on the 4 fat quarters. A bit Wonder Under and then I cut them out and ironed them on to the largest part in a random pattern (and a couple along the edge covered up a tiny hole in the fabric that I didn’t notice until after I’d cut it out).

dog-bed-back.jpg

After sewing over the edges of the circles, I matched up the 3/4 length pieces, with the finished edges in the middle, to be the same size as the big piece so as to make an envelope pillow (basic intructions here, but in dog beds, I’ve found that the bigger the overlap of the edges, the less likely it is to gap open, so if you’re planning on making one, be sure to go with the 3/4 length) and then sewed the 6 inch strips around the edge. I repeated with the top with the circles. Flipped it inside out and I had a great dog bed cover!

Inside, I placed the folded up comforter to act as the stuffing. Everything is removable when it needs to be, easily washable, cheap and totally recycled. Plus, I think it’s fairly nice looking. After we get past the need for the crate (trust is an earned thing, especially for a dog who tends to want to chew on a few things) the bed will still look nice in a corner in the living room.

dog-bed-with-d-2.jpg

Home is where your bed is – and Delilah has her bed here with us.

 

The Monsters are Naked April 5, 2007

Filed under: Family & Critters — clothespin @ 11:02 am

Meet my dog, Monster. Monster is an idiot. He’s crazy and happy and his favorite thing in the whole world is FOOD. He is 5 1/2 years old and we’ve had him for 4 of those years, so since he was 1 1/2 year old. A mix of Bernese Mountain Dog (cousin of the St. Bernard) and we think an Australian Sheperd, he weighs in at 55 pounds, including all of the hair.

Monster

Monster came to us from the shelter via a rescue group that we volunteered with and was pretty abused before we got him. The rescue group had him treated for heartworms, intestinal worms, hot spots, yeast infections in his ears… you name it, he had it. He was also not well mannered at all. Mildly food aggressive, cat aggressive, dog aggressive and tried to bite me on occasion. (See, he really did earn his name! Though now, we tell kids that he is Cookie Monster’s cousin, tends to make the kiddos giggle. =) With a lot of work, discipline, love and lots of treats, he is now in love with the world and would never hurt anyone! OK, not entirely true. He did try to leave a dental impression in the leg of a would be bugler who ran through our yard in his escape. I’m OK with this – he was doing his job and I don’t think the bogey man will be back to visit any time soon. (I hope!) But, other than that, he has become the most lovable laid back dog ever. He may not be the brightest dog ever born, but he is one of the most loyal and that goes a long ways in my book.

As I live in Texas, hairy dogs who were breed to live in the northern European mountains tend to get a wee bit overheated in the summer time. It’s already spring here and that fur coat of his was making him miserable already! So, every year we have him shaved to help on the heat issue. The picture above was taken on a Friday and the picture below the day after…

Monster naked

OK, so anyone have any idea of how much all of that hair of his weighs? I had the groomer save it all in a small trash bag. I hope to have it spun into yarn by one of my spinner friends… Anyone? One pound 1 1/2 ounces! It’s the size of an office trash can and I plan on having his hair saved after his summer shave, too. Maybe in a few years I’ll have enough hair to make something with!

One of the sad things about my Monster was the other major condition he came from the shelter with. He had a chain IN his neck. The first owners had chained him up as a puppy and never made the chain around his neck any bigger. When animal control rescued him from these people (and I use the term “people” loosely) they had to take him to a vet to have the chain surgically removed. It took 1 1/2 months for the wound to heal, but as you can see below, the scares will always be visible, especially when he is naked.

Monster neck scar

 

Fortunately for Monster, this is only visible for a few weeks after a shave, the rest of the time it is hidden by all of his mounds of fur. It does, however, require that I explain his history every time a new vet or groomer takes a look at him. Hay, as lucky as a dog that he is, I know that we are far luckier in having him. He’s a great dog and pal and we’re glad that he’s decided to stay with us!