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So I am 11 months post diagnosis and 10 months post amputation.  How do you celebrate this?  With xrays of course.  And I am still clean.  🙂

So the humans have declared me healthy and whole.  Instead of a cake, my food and water have been moved back into the kitchen instead of by my bed.  I did get a can of sardines though.

Cookie likes me eating with her again.  She is no longer over eating and maybe can lose some of the weight she has gained.  I was a little upset about losing my special place but I actually like things completely going back to normal.

Which brings me to the next chapter.  I got scared of a thunderstorm a couple of weeks ago.  I do not mind lightning, it is the loud noise that bothers me.  Same with gun shots.  There were no humans available to comfort me and the gate was open so I climbed all 15 stairs by myself to find a human to cuddle with.  Cookie and I hung out in the office all day.  It was great.  I had not been upstairs in 10 months.   Getting back down was not so bad either so the humans are going to set up our beds again upstairs and the pack will be together at least on the weekends.

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What a Winter!

It has been very, very cold.  And snowy.  This has been the coldest winter in NC that I’ve ever experienced.  I handled the extra cold better than Cookie but it hasn’t been easy.  One morning, it was 3 degrees outside.  The humans insisted that we go individually so that they could give each pup their full attention.  Cookie didn’t understand and went flying into the deep snow.  And then she collapsed from the cold.  Her toes froze in seconds.  She didn’t make that mistake again.

I was a little smarter and did my business in the driveway rather than the snow.  I tried to walk in the deep snow.  My human is crazy and wore her crocs into the snow with us.   Her toes were frozen too.  When we headed back inside, I crawled back in bed and then insisted on lots of blankets.

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Even Cookie wanted a blankie.  She never gets cold.

2014-01-30 08.28.43This one just makes us all laugh.  2014-01-30 09.35.29Because of the cold, we had to have environmental enrichment rather than outside time this winter.2014-01-26 01.06.43 2014-01-26 01.06.58 2014-01-26 00.54.27 2014-01-26 01.00.33

December 7, 2008 – It was a dark time for me.  I had just lost my home because I had done something horrible.  Really horrible that I just am not ready to talk about.  It is probably the worst thing a dog could do.  Being returned for peeing in the house?  That is nothing compared to what happened.

She Who Must Be Obeyed was looking for a new partner after losing her minion Reko Toughie to undiagnosed liver disease.

ToughieAndKitty

I needed a new home.  A home with no children.  No small animals.  Greyhound Savvy people.  People who understood dogs.  People who understood that as much as I loved to cuddle, I needed space to learn how to be in a home.  People who understood that I went from the track, to a home, to a kennel, and was not handling any of it all that well.

 

She Who Must Be Obeyed

I remember that Sunday.  The Daddy had come into the kennel and was asking about various hard luck cases.  Did they have anyone who was a bounce back?  Kitty was 12 years old and very picky about who she was willing to share her life with.  She liked me.  She liked me a lot.

The the female human came in.  She was shy, a bit hard to get close to, and kind of indifferent to it all.  She wanted to like me but couldn’t.  She missed her Toughie and wasn’t ready to love again.

In about an hour, I was in their van and heading to my new home.  My life was going to change forever.   They would learn that I was accident prone.  The next morning, I fell down the stairs and had to go get stitches.

It took a couple of months but I became loved by both my humans.  I learned how to cuddle and that I enjoyed snuggling with humans and hounds.  I learned how to fetch humans for Kitty when she wanted something.  Cookie now does the same for me.

To celebrate my gotcha day, a professional photographer was hired and I went to one of my favorite parks for a photo shoot.   She has some nice shots of me and I will be sharing those in a bit.  The problem was I had not been to the park recently and had way too much pmail to get through and it conflicted with her work.

Cookie was in the Apex Christmas Parade this weekend.  I would have loved to go but the humans decided to be paranoid and worry.  I would have to walk quite a ways to get to the float and they just didn’t want to risk me getting hurt.  Cookie was upset about leaving me.  She cried the entire trip there.  She got to hang out with the Holly Springs Hounds and that relaxed her.  I cried without her!  And then she cried all the way home.  We kissed as soon as she got in the front door.  You don’t realize how much you love someone till they’re not there.

Cookie was wearing a Ruffwear pack and they had LED lights on her.  The parade was after sunset so she was all lit up!  She doesn’t like wearing antlers or santa hats so she had jingle cuffs on her feet and let another dog borrow her jingle collar since his human forgot his Christmas gear.   The parade was very fast and she had to jog almost the entire way!  My human came home and asked for her rimadyl!  Greyhounds are not known for their stamina but Cookie must be part border collie.

The Festival of Lights is a time of mediation on restoration, redidication, and miracles. Even if you’re not Jewish (dogs are not Jewish although we can live in Jewish households), it is a comforting meditation.

As for Thanksgiving, Cookie and I celebrated with bison. Lots of bison! We were supposed to get greenbeans too but they never showed up. I’ll have to remind the chef tomorrow that we didn’t get our greens.

I am thankful for my comfortable beds, my warm jacket, my raised feeder, all the blankets in the house, my snuggly packmate Cookie, and my humans.

A week ago, I went to the Vet for my three month follow up pictures.  My lungs were clear but there was a spot that the vet wanted to get looked at so I had to go back in and take pictures from other angles and they were sent off to a radiologist to evaluate.   According to the pro, the questionable spot around my heart is just normal aging.  They keep trying to tell me that I’m a senior but I just don’t see it.

So there has not been cake yet.  I don’t know what the humans are waiting for!  But my walks have increased so I’m happy about that.  Yesterday, I walked .8 of a mile.  I’ve learned to walk on the grass instead of on the pavement and it makes it much easier on me.  We have a system to make the walks work better.  I am on a 16 foot leash.  I run up ahead and wait.  Cookie and the human pass me and when they get to the end of the leash, I run up ahead and pass them.  We tend to go mailbox to mailbox.  Some neighbors also allow me to investigate their entire lawn.

I still prefer going to the park.  Last week, I tried to get the local girls softball team to pet me.  One girl did but not the entire team.   🙁 Not sure what park we’re going to today but I am going to have to get a bit more pushy about needing smooches .

Have I ever mentioned my vocal talents?  I do not bark really but I have an awesome roo.  Cookie barks but I like to sing the song of my people every night.  And afternoon.  And sometimes in the morning just because.  Most greyhound gatherings end with a roo.

So where to begin?  This fall has just been a bunch of fail!   No trip to the beach.  No trip to Greyhounds Rock!  I hurt myself.  Again.  I wasn’t paying attention and fell off the ramp going into the car.  Now my humans were on either side of the ramp to make sure I didn’t fall AND they had me by my Ruffwear harness but I freaked out and started to struggle.   I’ve been told wrestling with a 70 lb, 3 legged greyhound is almost as much fun as wiping snot off a toddler.  I got road rash and really strained my neck and back.  The humans had to go on Rimadyl too.

So we were all looking forward to going to Greyhounds Rock and even though I was almost 100%, the decision was made to stay home so I could finish healing.    The humans went back and forth about sending me back to 3L Laser Therapy and I hurt so bad, they decided to do it.  If the Cancer Center of America uses it on its cancer patients, then it should be good enough for me.  Dr Huff is also using the small hand held unit to target just my ouchy spots.  I don’t know if he’s doing that because my female human is nuts, he’s being extra careful,  or because the big one is broken.   Dr Huff actually uses the laser on some inoperable tumors to prevent growth so he was surprised that my humans were afraid of it making the cancer spread.

But the laser worked and I am feeling better than I have in months.  I hadn’t been the same since the last time I fell down the stairs in August.  I was on Rimadyl twice a day and it helped but didn’t fix me.  1/3 of a mile was about all I could walk and 1/2 mile was my limit.  Now that I’m back on laser therapy with my chiropractic, I am just everywhere!  And fast too.

Last Saturday was the fall Triangle Greyhound Society Picnic.  It was also the NC GAP picnic too but we went to the TGS picnic cause it was having a fun run and speed run!   There was a big turnout.  Lots of hounds I’ve never met before.  I said hello to everyone.  Dogs first, humans on the second pass.  After over an hour of me sniffing and loving on everyone, I was told I had to lay down.  Now most of the dogs saw my bed and wanted to use it but I didn’t want to use it.  I wanted to sniff more.  So I was put in the car to take a nap.  Have I mentioned how posh my car is?  I have a full size mattress in the back of the car with 2 inches of memory foam to stretch out on.  So I took a nap.  Apparently, I had walked about a mile to a mile and a half.  The human forgot to setup my pedometer.   Have I mentioned at all that my humans are geeks and have lots of gadgets?

While I was in the car, lunch was served (don’t worry, I got fed) and then it was time for the fun run.  Cookie took to the field and I sprawled out in luxury.  We all forgot to grap a camera or video camera so there is no footage of her being awesome.  And she was.  Cookie is fast and corners better than any other hound I have ever met.  Click here to see her last win at Palm Beach.

Then it was time for the speed run.   I didn’t get to see this either but Cookie told me that it was very hard to just stand there, waiting in line, while the other dogs were all doing it wrong.   She was clocked at 34 MPH.   She thinks she could have gone faster but she’s a bit heavier than she was back in her racing career.

As things were wrapping up, I was allowed to take the field!  They waited till everyone was firmly attached to their humans and then I was allowed to run.  I jogged about half of the perimeter of the baseball field and then took off.  It felt good to just open up and run.  People were surprised to see how fast I was.  And then I got more kisses.

The picnic just kind of ended.  I was looking forward to a roo but it never happened.  A few dogs barked here and there but greyhound events tend to be quiet.  You can have hundreds of greyhounds around and silence.   I’ve only been to GIG and BBH but I am told Dewey Beach has THOUSANDS of greyhounds and it is still quiet.  Till someone brings in an Italian Greyhound or 10.  Those things are yippy.

All in all, I walked about 2 miles in about 3 hours.  It was wonderful.  I really love to be around people and do things.  Tomorrow, I get to go see Pixie again.  Maybe my humans can get a good photo of the two of us.  I’ll probably be wearing my stupid balloon booties but they do keep me from falling down.

Twenty-Six Weeks ago they took my leg on April 10. So do I celebrate today or tomorrow?

Life has been oddly stressful the past 6 weeks. So much to catch you all up on.

I had a bad fall down the stairs on August 21. I was finally feeling well after the chemo ended and wasn’t listening and tore out the back door and fell as I was making the uturn on the steps. Then I continued to fall down the stairs. All 8 of them. I landed on 2 legs at the bottom and my right hind leg was at an odd angle, like I was doing a leg lift to the side. I wouldn’t put weight on it for about 30 seconds and shocked my human walking around on my two left legs. It hasn’t been right since. No xrays were done because no one wants to do xrays without knocking me out. I’ve lost muscle tone in my right leg and am not walking as far as I had been. I’m also on Rimadyl now. My humans can’t tell if it is making a difference. Now there is talk about me going back to physical therapy.

So for 2 weeks, I wasn’t allowed in the backyard and was hand walked. Then over labor day, my grandpa came and built me an awesome ramp.

BuildingRamp

TheRamp

I have solar powered Christmas lights and a solar powered flood lamp for use at night.  It works great.  You should have seen how happy I was to see that ramp!  Cookie and I race down the ramp together and have actually knocked some of the lattice out of place.  Good thing it is PVC and doesn’t have any staples in it!  But there is some mutterings from the humans about making the railing more useful instead of just a visual aid.   I love my ramp!

Even with the ramp and more bouncing around in the backyard, there is some obvious loss of muscle mass on my right hind leg.   The vet says my abductor and adductor muscles are weak and I have to practice walking sideways every day.   I’m also not able to walk as far as I had been and am dragging my right hind leg after about .25 of a mile.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want to go, I still do, just that my humans are making me stop after 1/3 of a mile every day with a .5 to 3/4 of a mile easy walk once a week.  I was walking a mile before this happened AND I was running around in the backyard with Cookie playing like we used to.  Everyone is upset by this change.   I still try to play with Cookie but after 2 laps, I’m ready to go inside.

I’ve been keeping a busy schedule.  We try to go out every day and do stuff Sunday – Wednesday.  Due to the humans scheduling conflicts, we rarely do anything Thursday – Saturday.  If Cookie and I start bouncing off the walls and she starts barking, it is amazing how quickly we can get our way.  Not always but most of the time.

I’ve met someone new.  Her name is Pixie and she is the cutest little black greyhound.  She’s recently adopted and her brother Conner was the love of Cookie’s life.  Cookie came on too strongly though and Conner rejected her.  Then when he finally realized what he was missing, Cookie wouldn’t give him the time of day.  Drama.  But Pixie…Pixie is kind of cute.  And she likes the way I smell.   I like her stink too!  We get to see each other on Sunday when we go out for brunch at Panera.

I haven’t had any new xrays yet.  I see the vet tomorrow for my chiropractic adjustment.  And probably a pedicure.

I am 10 Years Old!

Sunday was my birthday.  We had cake.  Lots of cake.  In fact, I had cake with my dinner last night.

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I’ve actually been doing quite well overall.  I am done with IV Chemo!  Round 5 was a week ago yesterday and it was the hardest one yet on me physically.  Cerenia, the miracle drug, came to my rescue every day last week.   Two weeks ago, my most recent chest xrays were clear!  This was great news for my humans.  Many of the dogs we know that had amputations around April have already crossed the bridge or are preparing to.   Deuce is gone.  It is hard on my human and she rarely sleeps in her own bed at night.  Cookie and I have just become used to her sleeping with us.  We could live without the snoring but she says she could live without the gas.

Round 4 was the worst mentally.  I figured out that the IV drip was what was making me sick and didn’t want to go back to the vets.  Normally, I give out kisses and snuggle with the ladies but I couldn’t that time.  All I could do was lay on the table and sigh.  It broke everyone’s heart and they gave me lots of kisses but they didn’t have to feel like crap for several days.  That queasy feeling lasted more than a week and I had a hard time even drinking water.  Adding low sodium chicken broth got my interest up but I still felt gross when I drank.  I even skipped a meal.

When I went in for my final round, I was treated like a rock star.  Everyone was so happy and all smiles!  I could not let my fans down so I gave out kisses and more kisses.  Once the drip was done, I jumped up and had a victory lap around the office.

We delayed my fifth round by 5 days because my humans, both of them, had to go out of town for a day.  We had a dog walker come by and that was fun.  She set off the alarm to the house somehow.  My humans didn’t give her the password so it got complicated for her.  Dogs wanting to say hi, the alarm going off, and the alarm company demanding to know who she was.  The humans left her two pages of typed instructions but nothing about if you hear beeping when you walk into the house, the alarm is still on.  Or if you accidentally set off the alarm, the password is:  Silly humans.

It was very hot out that day and when she came to walk us at noon, we ran outside to potty and then ran back inside to our beds.  We were out just a few minutes.  The dog walker called my humans to ask if this was normal.  Of course it is normal.  We are greyhounds!  We need our Air Conditioning.  And a comfy bed.  And a pillow.  And a blankie.  And a toy….

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Someone didn’t look behind them before backing out of their parking space and destroyed the bumper on our car.  We are fine because no one was in our car.  While the car was in the shop, everything had to be taken out of the car.  My big mattress topper was put in the living room in my favorite spot under the windows.   The car has been back a week but the topper is still in my living room.  I think I know what I’m getting for my birthday!

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I love this spot by the windows because I can observe everything in the house.  Just cause I lost a leg doesn’t mean I lost my job!  I still guard and protect.

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Sorry they’re so grainy but you can see me investigating a noise outside.  Very serious business.

Back to my birthday.  There is also talk about getting me a stroller so I can go on longer walks with Cookie.  The area we liv in is NOT flat so there is some question on how well my human can handle a 30 lb stroller with a 70 lbs greyhound in it.  They’ve narrowed the choices down to the houndabout II and the expedition:

http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/dog-bicycle-trailer-houndabout.html

http://www.1800petmeds.com/Expedition+Pet+Stroller-prod458145.html

I can’t tell by just the picture and want to try one out.   I am actually a very tall and thin guy and the houndabout seems like it would be more comfortable for me.

In three weeks, we’re going to Aunt Janet’s house to spend a few days near the ocean.  Janet has the most amazing house.  It is ranch home with a big open floor plan.  A big great room full of dog beds, a sun room to enjoy the sun without the bugs, and big fenced in back yard.  Janet was in the military and it shows.  She makes us mind and even my humans obey her!

We like road trips.

COOKIE-Nixon-Share

I hope I didn’t scare anyone with my silence.  Just been way too busy lately.    The weather has been so crazy.  Back in the first week of June, the upstairs heatpump died.  I had to deal with two full days of repairmen in and out of the house trying to fix it.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a crazy storm come through and knock out the power for two days.  We now own a generator and I could not be happier.  Who did the humans put the fans on?  Me and Cookie of course.  The humans seem to handle heat better than we do.

My chemo dose was reduced by 25% and after rounds two and three, there have been no more crazy drops in my bloodwork.  We’re going to do two more rounds of chemo and I should be done by July 31st.

I’m feeling great actually.  Monday was the best day ever!  I walked my first mile since March 23.   I was a little sore afterwards but it felt great.  It took just over an  hour to do, I drank over a cup of water on the trip, and Cookie and I took about 30 minutes to cool down afterwards, but it was worth it.

With summer here, and so many of my favorites no longer on the menu, the humans were tossing around ideas on what to make to replace Frosty Paws.  They decided on a can of organic pumpkin mixed with one pint of plain greek yogurt.   This made 20 two ounce servings.  Once there is some more room in the freezer, they’re going to make a mixture of canned dog food and no salt chicken bouillon and then freeze that.

Finally, here are Cookie’s birthday pictures, just over a month late.  You will see Cookie’s talent for moving when you try to take her picture.  This is why we had to get professional portraits done so that friends and family could get an idea about what Cookie looked like since she was always a black blur.

IMAG0165 IMAG0166 IMAG0167 IMAG0168 IMAG0169 IMAG0170 IMAG0171 IMAG0172 IMAG0173 IMAG0174 IMAG0175 Meat Coma!

I can’t leave without showing a good picture of Cookie.  This was taken at Greyhounds in Gettysburg in 2011.

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Take 2

So I didn’t handle my first round of chemo as well as everyone thought I did.   My blood work was not the best.  WBC, RBC, HCT, and PLT were all very low.  I was sent home to see how I did in a week.  I was put on Nupro since the vet said I needed more vitamins.  My diet has changed a little too.  We found a canned food that I love, Cookie loves (she thinks canned food is the devil) and the FOOD LOVES ME!  No gas.  🙂  It is amazing and tasty and amazing.

It is called Wild Calling.  I get a can a day with my Taste of the Wild.  1/2 a can in the AM and 1/2 a can at night.   As soon as I hear the can getting picked up in the kitchen, I run to the kitchen, then escort it to my bowl, making sure that no one steals it.  It is mine you know.  I’m still eating in the living room.  There has been some discussion that I need to eat in the kitchen again with Cookie but I really do like watching tv with dinner.  Just like the humans.

Today is Deuce’s 4 week Ampuversary.  He is still hanging in so thank you for all of your prayers.  He is still fighting off the pneumonia but he is eating, and he is walking with assistance!  One of his human neighbors comes over to help walk him around outside.  Deuce knows why the guy is over the house and just gets very excited to go outside and go for a walk.

DeuceWalking

After a week of eating well, things are back to normal and I’m sitting at the vets right now, getting my chemo.  They reduced my dosage by twenty-five percent.  Hopefully the side effects will not be so bad this time around.  Dr. Huff thinks that this will be good.

My female human is having trouble adjusting and she worries.  When she worries, I worry.  It is a horrible spiral!  So…this week, I convinced her to take me for some walks and we actually went around the neighborhood about .65 miles.  It took an hour to do since I had not been out there in over 2 months.  Lots of peemail to leave and it was just wonderful.

I also got to go to Panera bread on Sunday.  I was good and did lay down more than I normally would since I had my new SPECIAL travel bed.  Cookie will lay on anything so she just has her Ruffwear Highlands Bed.   Weirdo just put her feet on it while the rest of her was on concrete.  Maybe it is good for the circulation?   When I did get up, my frenemy Brandy stole my bed.  It is special and no other greyhound there had one like it.  Even my male human likes it since you just fold it up, zip it, and go.  We have lots of travel beds and this is his favorite too.   We have a Canine Hardware bed, two or more Abo Gear Pet Down Beds, and at least two Abo Gear PetSacs.  The AboGear beds, we got on sale for $15/each a few years ago.   The Highlands bed is well built but we got that on a great deal at REI one year when they decided to stop selling them.  And my human also go the Canine Hardware bed on deep discount when a pet store just couldn’t move them.  He didn’t advertise to crazy greyhound lovers.  They buy beds.

I said hi to most everyone and people came to love on me.  Life was good.  🙂  Then we went shopping at Phydeaux’s to get me new balloon shoes (which I have not agreed to wear yet)  and Cookie her birthday present.  Tomorrow is her birthday but we’re celebrating it tonight cause the mommy has to go to work tomorrow.   She already got her toy on Sunday because I insisted on playing with them first.  And we have video of me killing!  The toys are huge but they’re fun.  The squeak and grunt, and large enough to use as a pillow.

Hopefully, we’ll have Bison Meat Cake pictures tomorrow.  Instead of ground beef, they decided I need antibiotic, hormone free, ground bison.  And it was on sale at the butcher’s too.  The Bacon is low sodium and nitrate free.  We couldn’t find any insect fed chickens for my eggs.  They taste so much better but are really hard to find.

And now, some videos of me and Cookie.

Playing with Cookie’s Birthday Present, the great green spider.

Cookie playing with the less than popular blue octopus. Bigger is better.

Cookie finally gets to play with the spider.

This is the madness that happens when the humans come home:

The Pack Reunited!

 

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