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How About A Smile?

 

 

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I’ve been at the bridge for just over a month now.  Its an amazing place.   Some of my littermates are already  here and we’ve been racing our hearts out against each other.   Although life on three paws was great, I do enjoy having my young body back.  I was a bit surprised of all the ANIMALS here that are attached to my humans.  I knew they had big hearts and loved a lot but I had no idea how many dogs, cats, horses, and other animals have crossed their paths.  I still am meeting dogs that knew my humans (and loved my humans).  Dogs from shelters who learned to sit and walk on a leash so they could find a new forever home.  Dogs trained to be therapy dogs.  Prophet says hello BTW.  Dogs from the park who used to play with Kitty.  Apparently my humans are well known here because they love so much.

Miss Kitty was the first one to greet me actually and then she introduced me to our immediate family…it includes cats.  I had no idea that my humans once had cats.  Scooter, Attila, Beastie, and Twit.  Then the dogs they shared their lives with – Miss Kitty, Toughie, Otis, Bear the poodle, Grandpa, Goldie, Shadow, Misty, and Buffy.  Those are just the dogs who consider my humans THEIR humans.   There are about 150 goats here who say they belong to my family too.  Two horses, General and Sunshine.  I asked them,  “Did you snuggle with my human?”  And they all laughed and said of course.  Even the horse has snuggled with my human.  General said he’d lay down next to her and put his head in her lap.  His head is almost as big as my entire body.  But no one was able to summon her to snuggle like I could so I feel better about that.  See, I would make eye contact with the Mommy in the evening.  She’d get up and come over to my bed.  As she started to lay down, I would throw my back into her chest and open arms, and we’d fall onto the bed together.  No one else did that.  Just me!  I’d be asleep in seconds….and she would too.  She refused to let me put any pictures of her sleeping with me on my blog.  Greyhounds do everything gracefully but humans…hah, you guys rarely look graceful in your sleep.  And you fart louder in your sleep than dogs do.

So I want you all to watch some videos of me playing and running.  I want you all to smile and to remember what an amazing life I had on earth.

That was 7 weeks after my amputation.  I loved that spider.  KILL THE SPIDER.  It was also Cookie’s 7th birthday….and her birthday present.  I was just testing it for  her.

So you know I wasn’t being mean, Cookie had an octopus to play with too.  We always get at least two toys at every birthday, sometimes three, just to make sure that no one gets left out.  But Cookie really wanted the spider more than the octopus.

This is me long before the amputation back in 2007.  I had only been part of the pack for four months.    RC Miss Kitty lived till 14.5 but this was her 13th birthday.

I was so young there, just five years old.  Kitty and I had a lot of fun together.  I think everyone wants to be as fit and happy when they’re 13 as Kitty was.  She went hiking 3 or 4 miles on her 14th birthday!  She had arthritis in her toes but she said walking made it feel better.  Don’t let anyone know I told you but even here at the bridge, she can’t corner well.  Kitty is fast, I mean fast, but turn any direction and she just turns really wide….like half a ball field.  She has thighs like hams and they are solid muscle which give her power but no turning ability.  Not only is she fast but she has endurance so even if you add lots of turns, she’ll wear you out and then tag you.  I was a distance racer and she gives me a workout.

And finally, how to celebrate when your humans return home.

It is confession time.  I have a shady past.  I am a fugitive from justice.  When I started this blog, I decided to wait to tell exactly how I found my humans until once I passed beyond The Rim.  That happened today on June 6, around 12:30 EDT.  I’m not sure exactly, no one was watching the clock, all eyes were on me and giving me love.  And Bo Jangles biscuits.

The cancer did not take me.  Twenty-Six Months post diagnosis.  I am pretty sure I’m tougher than cancer.  The liver failure was taking its toll on my body and my heart was having a hard time keeping up.  My hind legs were starting to swell and it was a mixture of the ascites making it too difficult for me to stand for long periods of time and my heart just running out of gas.  My 12th birthday is in August.  The lifespan for a greyhound is 12 to 14 but over the years, we have met many 10 year old greyhounds that looked 16 or 17.  Quite honestly, until my liver started to fail, I looked amazing for even an 8 year old.

My humans brought me to the vet for a checkup on Thursday, mostly because of the edema in my legs and while we were there, got a spot on my 9th rib was checked.  And it was cancer.  Possibly a met from Osteosarcoma OR a primary chondrosarcoma since it was right where the cartilage and bone meet.  Dr. Huff was worried because for the first time ever, I objected to xrays.  A lot.  We all looked at my bones and I really don’t care for looking at computer monitors but I listened.  Dr. Huff and my human agreed that it had a moth eaten appearance.  Its amazing how greyhound people get a little too good at reading Osteo xrays.  They agreed to send it off to a radiologist.

As we went out to the car, I worked the crowd in the waiting room, even kissing the cat lovers because they needed to adore me.  This is important because its one of my favorite things.  My humans use a mixture of things for quality of life scale.  Not just for knowing when the END IS NEAR but for just regular health and wellness issues.  So my Three Favorite Things are:

1.  PEEING ON ALL THE THINGS.  Everything.  People.  Plants.  Pillars.  Posts.  Pets.  If it moves, I’ll pee on it when it holds still.

Nixon was here...

Nixon was here…

2.  Go for a ride.

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3.  Meet new people and hounds.  And say hello to old friends.

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Lets be honest now.  The past 6 months have been tough on me.  I injured my wrist back in February and things have been crashing down around me ever since.  I’m a fighter.  It is not in my nature to back down.   Ever.  I am always thankful for each moment and live very much right now.  Not now but RIGHT NOW so my above list wouldn’t matter if I had to have people carrying me around because I was in too much pain to walk.  I would still find a way to live life to its fullest each and every day and pee on something new.  That’s just who I am.  We won’t mention the failed pee garden in my yard but other than that, I want to pee on something new every day.  And cover all my old pmail too.

What I can’t do is live my life completely drugged up on opiates that make me taste colors.  The first time my humans saw the wave of pain hit me was on Wednesday.  I went outside to potty and I came in a different dog.  It took about an hour for me to find my center and get comfortable again.  My big, wonderful bed was no longer really comfy.  Or the other beds in the house.   I could fall asleep but it wasn’t my normal deep, wonderful sleep.

I woke up Friday morning feeling off.  I had gained about 5 inches of fluid around my waist over night.  The pressure from the fluid made me very uncomfortable in many ways.  It was spreading my ribs, putting pressure on that tumor.  I weighed almost 20 lbs more than I should and it hurt my bones and my muscles.

Then Friday night, I went outside to potty and the wave hit again.  This time so bad I was screaming at times.  We spent the night at the emergency vets, a trip I didn’t care for at all, and all it did was wind up hurting me more.  I just could not get comfortable and couldn’t explain where it hurt.  I was frustrated and decided to fix it my damn self.  I wound up reinjuring everything Dr. Williams has worked so hard the past two months to fix up with her magic hands and by morning, everything hurt, I had fallen many times, and my legs were cut up.  The vet tried to drain my abdomen but it didn’t help and might have made things worse.  My belly just was hanging off of me, everything pulling, and I no longer wanted to be touched.

That being said, my humans and I had a talk.  I showed them I still loved being alive and being here with them and no matter what, I would live in the right now.  At dawn, we were in the backyard one last time and a neighbor cat was trespassing.  I am sure it thought it was safe and had no idea I could still move that fast.  I chased it away with authority.  And then the UPS guy, I HATE THE BROWN TRUCK, showed up.  What kind of morning was this??  I had to tell him to get lost too.  And then I was tired.  Too tired to give many kisses at first but so tired I couldn’t fall asleep.  Everything felt wrong inside me.

So they cried and said I had been a wonderful friend and companion.  That I had taught them so many things about life, themselves, and how to never take any moment for granted.  We are not promised tomorrow and you must live now.  The Daddy even asked for permission to write a guest blog post. Of course he can.  My blog is not going to go away though.  I still have stories to tell and so many memories of a life well lived that I do plan to continue to share even while I’m in heaven sending pennies to my humans.

When the vet came, I got to be in my favorite spot where I can see everything going on in the house.  A promise had been made two years ago that when it was time for me to go, that we would celebrate this moment with a feast.  It’s BO TIME!  For years, I have been denied Bo Jangles biscuits because of my low carb diet.  I was so focused on the biscuit, stealing the entire thing from the mommy’s hands, I didn’t even feel the prick.  By the time I ate it all, I settled into a deep sleep into her arms.  And then I shared my final thoughts with my humans as they held me.

“I have always been on borrowed time.  From the first day you met me, I have cheated death.  I never meant to bite that child but she shouldn’t have put her face in mine while I was asleep.  I didn’t know any better and I didn’t know that my entire world as I knew it, with my lovely mini human, was going to end.  I didn’t want to go away.  I couldn’t believe I got a death sentence for one mistake.  I didn’t mean to cause so many stitches.  I didn’t mean to cause so much pain.  And heart break.  But it happened.  Through just dumb luck, I managed to slip my collar, and with the help of many people in the Greyhound Underground Railroad, was placed someplace safe, far away from the law.

“And then you found me, broken, afraid, and not sure what was expected of me.  Over the years, we have formed a pack that is just amazing.   First with Kitty and now with Cookie.  We have overcome so many barriers of communication that we all know what the other is thinking without much more than a look and a lick.  If I had found any other family, my life would probably have ended 4 years ago.  Or two years ago.  But you listened when I spoke.

“I’ve been your Irondog who probably could have used some armor….I have had a lot of stitches and staples in my time haven’t I?  I had my fall in the backyard and was paralyzed.  An FCE they called it.  Dr. Huff introduced us to laser therapy and my recovery was miraculous.  And then we faced bone cancer together.  And we beat it.  And then the liver failure.  Livers are important and mine has been through a lot.  We didn’t beat that.  But…I grew old.  I have cheated Death many times and now I welcome it and go with Death on my own terms.   But as long as you have known me, it always has been borrowed time.”

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And We Are Home!

Dinner has been served.  K9 Immunity has been taken.  I am under a blanket in my bed. 

The trip was amazing.  Myrtle is all grown up.  Tanner can now hold still!  We met so many amazing pups, including Wyatt!  I was even blessed by a minister who came to my bed since I had stood too long.  Thank you Renee!

Dreams of chasing bunnies are calling me so I will cut this short.  Good night and safe travels to all.

My liver is having trouble and no one knows why.  My humans had the vets pull my blood work and my liver enzymes have been elevated since I stopped chemotherapy and been increasing.  No one expected me to live this long and did not think we needed to address it.  I was supposed to get my biannual senior wellness exam next week.  Would they have mentioned it then?

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See my defined waist?  Those tight tripawd abs?

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This what I look like today. 

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I have not let myself go.

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I am sloshing about and losing muscle.  That is all albumin filling my gut.  Over 10 lbs of it.  I have been on Previcox daily since February 12.  My human should have insisted they check my liver and kidneys prior to starting nsaids.  They are religious about this so they feel really bad about it. 

Tomorrow morning, Dr Monce is coming in early to run an ultrasound on me.  From there, they may want to do a fine needle aspiration of my liver or cut me open and grab a piece of it.  Both have risks involved due to all the fluid.  They also want to drain me.  I am in favor of that.

I am still loving life so no worries there.  Getting in the car is extremely uncomfy and the extra weight makes it harder to stand for more than 30 minutes but that is about it.  I was supposed to see Dr. Williams tomorrow to get accpuncture and measured for new harnesses and a wrist support.

The Mommy had a crazy idea that I needed to nap outside today.  I spend about 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon sunning myself.  Why she thought I would be ok with my bed being moved outside, I have no idea.  I was not.  I humored her and sat on it for about 3 minutes and then was done when she tried to take another picture.  Cookie liked it.  Weirdo.

Merry Christmas!

My second Christmas as a tripawd is winding down.  We had a wonderful Christmas brunch with baked egg muffins topped with bacon and cheese.  Very easy to make – just crack an egg into a muffin tin, sprinkle with pepper, a teaspoon of crumbled bacon, a sprinkle of grated cheese, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven set to 350.

Cookie and I used Skype for the first time today.  I do not really care for it as no one can pet me through the screen  but Cookie loved it.

We then went to the park for the entire afternoon.  I walked and sniffed and left lots and lots of pee mail.  Then I sat in the car with the daddy while he read a book.  Cookie and the mommy went and walked a couple of laps to help them get their figure back.  They are both a bit fluffy.

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I am wearing an undershirt so that I do not get a  rash from my harness.

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Now I am going to take a nap and enjoy the laughter of my family while they have dinner.

Merry Christmas!

And one more picture…me and Cookie a few years ago in the Holly Springs Christmas parade.  This is probably her first one back in 2010.

Cookie is wearing plastic mistletoe on  her cap.  I look like such a dork.  I think this is before my spinal cord injury too.  Hah, back when the mommy thought she would get Cookie wearing pink.  Silly human.  Cookie isn’t that kind of girl.

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And I spent a good portion of it at the vet.  First, Dr Huff needed lots of kisses.  Second, My webmaster harness has left me with what looks like an ANGRY! bruise but Dr. Huff thinks it may be a contact allergy.  I have worn my harness for 4 years with no issues. 

So now I have to go clothes shopping to find a comfy t-shirt to wear under my harness.  He said to wash my harness more frequently with the mildest soap we can.  I have been informed a new webmaster has been ordered for me since my current harness is actually about 6 years old.  Miss Kitty used it after a neck injury.  We even have our first webmaster from around 2002 which is all neoprene.

I gained two pounds which made my humans happy.  They started feeding me canned food again.  I am back at 60 lbs.  I like the canned food.

Finally, there is the potty issue.  I have been having a hard time making it through the night lately.  Not just peeing in the kitchen, poop too.  It upsets me a lot and every time it happens, I let my humans know as soon as I see them that I had an accident in the kitchen.  When I have to pee, it is a crisis.  Since recovering from my spinal cord injury four years ago, this has been a known problem.  My humans will be typing in the alarm code and my bladder is screaming “too late!”.

Dr. Huff said with my history, not to really worry and just try to keep me on a schedule.  I do not show any other signs of neurological issues.  Bladder control was the hardest thing to get back and took a year.  Any time I got excited, I would leak. 

Finally, the best part, we went out for Chinese food!  I had beef and broccoli.  It was the first time I ever had Chinese and it was amazing.  Broccoli and carrots, the mystery meat, and the amazing sauce.

This is me helping serve the food.

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The week started off great with a trip to Panera.  We met some new greyhounds we had never met before.  Pixie was there too but we did not spend much time with her.  There were two greyhound puppies to play with.  Sage and Smokey.

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Monday brought rain.  Tuesday had more rain.  And today, even more rain with maybe a thunderstorm this evening.  I hope Santa is prepared.

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We are bored playing with our puzzles.  Bored, bored, and bored.

I have been told the sun will return on Christmas day.  This should mean a walk in a park.  And lots of pictures.

Hoppy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick update with some Cuteness from Cookie ™.

When my humans have to work Thanksgiving, we have a tradition of eating donuts for breakfast.  Krispy Kreme and Entenmann’s chocolate covered donuts.

Many greyhounds get Krispy Kreme donuts or marshmallows at the end of a race.  We love them.  A. LOT.

Last night, the donuts arrived.

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Cookie kept expressing her interest in the donuts.  So to redirect her energy, a bear documentary was turned on.

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Cookie loves bears.  Even animated ones.  She loves watching Brave once the mom turns into a bear.

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Earlier that night, we went to petsmart for some Merrick Turducken but they do not sell it.  Petco does.  🙁  So we got another brand of Turkey dinner.

This morning, before the donut feasting began, I had my breakfast of dry kibble and a couple of sardines.  Cookie had kibble and freeze dried chicken.  She spit all the kibble out and only ate the chicken.

Still no donuts for us though.  Maybe if I get my ears just right…

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May your turkey be plump, your belly full, and have a Hoppy Thanksgiving!  And maybe swing by Krispy Kreme when the sign is on!

Or staples.  With a mild concussion.

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I am on the mend.  Staples will be out no later than Monday. 

On Monday, October 20, the morning was crisp.  Cookie wanted to play.  I bounced around with her for a little bit and then ran for the ramp.  Cookie thought I wanted to race and she pursued.  I was in the lead and greyhounds, most greyhounds, love to be first.  It’s a compulsion.  So Cookie bumped me.  Hard.  We were not going very fast, about 15 to 20 mph but my head went into this:

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You can still see my fur on it.  I also broke a small chunk of wood off.

I saw stars.  I wanted to puke.  And I wanted to win.  It took me a couple of strides to get back with it and then I bumped her almost as hard and reached the top first.  And then I had to show the humans I was hurt.  It did not bleed much at first but then my nose started to bleed.  After the humans were aware of my injuries, I headed to the front door to wait for my trip to the vet.  I have had to get a lot of stitches, glue, and staples over the years.  I know the drill.

But it was 20 minutes after my favorite ER closed and an hour before Dr. Huff was seeing patients.  The vet techs were in though and said come on over.

I was an awesome boy. I did not complain at all while they disinfected and cleaned out my wounds.  I peeled back a good flap of skin on that corner and put a gash on the top of my nose.  The bloody nose took hours to stop.

No broken bones at all.  The vet techs all cheered me on for needing staples while having fun.  Who knew that they would have to do this for me at 11 years of age and a year and a half after my amputation?  I am still here and still me, slightly accident prone.  Dr. Huff gave me 20% off for being a frequent flier too. 

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This is me tonight.  Scab has fallen off and I am so ready for the staples to come out.

We looked at getting me a Frankenstein’s Monster costume but they were all a little silly.  I will probably wear my pirate hat on Halloween.

Cookie is going to be a Viking with the Mommy. 

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I see one of my many veterinarians tomorrow.  A year ago he said he doubted I would be in his office again.  The odds were not in my favor.  Sure, I could possibly be one of the rare dogs that lives past 12 months but he didn’t see it happening.

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October 10th is my 18th month Ampuversary.  I am already 18 months post diagnosis.  Looking forward to some more parties and kisses in my future.

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The weather has been amazing and I have been visiting lots of parks.  We have a group on meet up called TADHOG to get other people to join your walks.  I am going to start a geezer walk for those of us who like to sniff and socialize but walking more than a mile at once is probably not in our best interest.  Still not sure if Geezer Tour is the best name for it so I am open to suggestions.

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Synchronized Sleeping

Where is Summer?

I really should not complain because the low temps have allowed me to do a lot more than normal in the summer.  The humidity is still high though and that is oppressive to all of us.

It is 70 at noon, on a rainy day in NC. 

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I am catching up on sleep.

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This is why we have muddy foot prints on the walls. 

On a sad note, today is one year since Deuce, the Great Dane got his wings.  Joyce was a bit more active on the bone cancer Yahoo group.  Deuce rallied like we had never seen a dog do before and he lived almost 3 months after severe complications derailed his recovery.  A kind note to Joyce today would be appreciated.

We are excited to announce that Grandma is moving to NC.  She went home to pack but left Cookie and me completely inspired at what is possible when it comes to training humans.  We have really started working hard with our humans and seeing some payoff.  She Who Must Be Obeyed would be so happy with my progress.  Dinner off their plate is not routine but becoming that way.  I have been working on this for FIVE years.  It is so nice when patience and persistence pays off.

Cookie and I are both models for Triangle Greyhound Society on the new website!   Cookie is a natural in front of the camera.  I tease her a lot but she really is a classy girl.

Now for years, we have been told there is a path that runs along the Neuse River in Smithfield but could never find where to park.  Well, while driving around with Grandma and exploring, we found it!  Now we have yet another place to sniff and pee. 

I signed up for Walk for a Dog app and although it shares all my data with anyone in the pet industry, it also donates money to local animal

and rescues in my area for every mile we walk.   I really like having a log to show what I can accomplish.  It shows speed and an actual map of your walk.  Big brother is watching me with my consent.  Orwell would be horrified.

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