Archive for January, 2013

Recap and regroup

January 31, 2013
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Action shot of Me Do It 2009

Happy Thorsday!  It’s been a crazy 10 days, but little Miss Me Do It, aka: Gretchen Greer, the wee one, is BACK.   There are no new photos, because frankly, it’s all hands on deck  dog trying to even honor the spirit of her restrictions. 

After the drain came out on Monday, Tuesday morning, she got out of the doggy door – conehead and all – and was coming back up the 14 (thankfully shallow) steps from their pen by the time I got past the security locks on the human part of the sliding glass door.  The Knight caught her on the deck (just outside said doggy door) later that afternoon.

True story…  The Knight left work sick yesterday.  Said he was going home to let HIS dog out of jail.  (Her crate, cone on.)  15 minutes later – and we live 10+ minutes from work – I got a call.

Me:  Hello?

Knight:  YOUR dog is BAD.

Me:  Sissy?  (always a possibility)

Knight: NO.  Your perfect little angel.

Me:  You mean the one you left here calling “your dog”?

Knight:  Yes.  I renounce that claim.  The little brat had the tie on her cone untied.  If I’d stayed at work all day, I’m sure she –

— Wait baby, wait –

— Never mind.  You’re not supposed to jump you know.  I was trying to pick you up.

Challenging as it is, I love it.  It far beats the pathetic, hurting, confused pup we had a week ago.

How’s your week going?

If you’re on Facebook, will you “like” Sissy and Gretchen Greer?  (Hope that link works…  I don’t really know what I’m doing here.)  Sissy got in her fool head that she had to have a Facebook “account” so… she kinda’ does.  I don’t know how often we’ll post anything there, but I know some of you are there too, so let’s be friends and/or “like” each other.

 

 

 

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PANK Linings

January 29, 2013
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March 2012

Yeah, most people call them silver linings, but most people don’t have a wee one that even a new to us vet tech realizes on the first visit is “quite the proper lady”.   That’s our Lady Gretchen Greer.  She’s cute, she’s fun, she’s brave at all the wrong moments, but she’s always a lady… and she loves PANK.

Anyway, we met our new vet yesterday for Gg’s drain removal.  It went REALLY well, and to say we really like the new place is an understatement.  I called this morning and had our records sent over, including a terse request that Sissy’s entire chart go, given her complex history with allergies, glaucoma and more.  A partner has to sign off, but the equally detached woman I spoke with didn’t think that would be a problem.

I’m a little sad that no one tried to retain our business.  Yeah, we’d only been there four years almost to the day, but Sissy has to be one of the more regular customers and frankly…  I thought they liked her and cared. 

Anyway, that’s in the past and we’re now in a very friendly place where details matter.  Crossroads Animal Hospital is awesome, and everyone we encountered seemed genuinely happy to have our business, and very concerned about the patient.  She was humored and understood, as we arrived in the midst of a full-blown panic attack (travel anxiety), and Dr. D touched every single hair on Gg’s wee body, minus the ones under the hat/cone.  Hem.

I won’t go so far as to say this was all worth it to find the right vet again, but there is a weight off of my shoulders now that I’ve transferred records and even called Eye Care and made Dr. D the vet of record for Sissy there too.  They’re excited that Dr. D is interested in eye health.

Beauty Boy 2

Fred

A friend is job-hunting and feels her resume makes her look … other than her highly loyal personality, because she’s HAD to change jobs more often than she’d like.  I feel the same way about our vet history.  Fred only went to one practice, and generally saw one of two vets…  not including emergency trips and specialists.  Mugsy was with the same practice until the last 10 months of his life, when he briefly saw one vet, then moved to the sweet country practice that eased us through his trying last months.  Again… specialists and ER vets not included.

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Mugsy and Baby Sissy… clearly I want snow

Poor Sissy saw the brief vet once, and we would have stayed at the little country practice if her allergies hadn’t spun out of control, but that little mixed blessing led us to Wondervet.  Gg never saw the brief vet, but has followed her sister through a parade of vets at our now-former clinic, once the incredibly awesome Wondervet moved away.  I find it almost funny that the wee one’s big adventure has landed us with a vet in podunk, with a special interest in eyeballs.  Those following my blog know I don’t believe in coincidences, so…

We’re looking forward to seeing them again soon for stitch removal, then Sissy’s annual visit and eye pressure check, and then… hopefully things will be back to normal.

The week in review

January 28, 2013

photo.JPGI’m composing this post on Sunday, almost precisely 6 days to the hour of “the incident”.  Somehow, despite three visits to the after-hours vet, probably another half-dozen calls to assorted vets for opinions and appointments, we managed to keep our appointments – not counting the cocktail party the snow canceled, which happened to overlap with Gg’s unplanned surgical wound cleaning – and go to work, for the most part.  I did take Tuesday off, and the weather kindly closed the office early a few days, and then Gretchen and I only made a minimal appearance on Friday to cover payroll and a couple of other necessities, but the Knight worked a regular schedule, somehow.  Heck, the DIVA and I even put in 7 miles on Saturday, but given Gg’s panic attack while we were gone, we just did some yoga today…

And it feels we’ve turned the corner, despite the pilling ordeal.  Gg’s original wound looks great, considering all it has been through, and most likely, the drain will come out on Monday, the day this will be posted for you to read.  Ironically, the rest of this post could sound a lot like Houndgirl’s post from about seven months ago, Breaking Up With Your Vet.

First, the pros:

  1. Obviously, the good folks at Greenbrier Emergency are key to our success.  To a woman, each and every person I spoke with, handed my baby girl off to, handed my credit card to, was compassionate, friendly, professional and wholly focused on Gg’s needs, all while being patient with me.  I also can’t help but note how cost-conscientious they are.  Not only did we never feel gouged, but they truly seemed to want to keep costs low without sacrificing care.  Imagine!!
  2. The vet we have an appointment with tomorrow.  No link yet, but she called me back twice, when we aren’t patients.  She and her staff are also easy-going without sacrificing their professionalism.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about that practice, and two vets who know me and Gg have assured me we’ll be very happy there.  Stay tuned.
  3. Friends and family have also exceeded expectations.  That’s saying something.  I know we’re surrounded by dog-lovers, but the support has been nothing short of amazing.  While Sissy’s glaucoma is far from commonplace, Facebook and my friends provided more options for getting medication into Gg than I could have imagined.  (If you have a challenging pet to pill, do click over for a few of the ideas.  Of course, our patient, tolerant bosses happen to be family too, but we’re still lucky to have that flexibility when we need it.
  4. The biter’s owners.  While I was really slow to reach out to them, they responded immediately and exactly in the best possible ways.  When I knocked on their door that dark night, I just wanted to assure that their dog was up on his shots, but instead, Sissy and I walked without incident yesterday and have no fears about future walks.
  5. Our vet of record did call within an hour of opening for business on Tuesday and stayed on the phone for a while talking me through options to get food into Gg so she could take her meds.

Cons:

  1. Well, we’ll start right where the pros left off.  That’s the last I’ve heard from the vet of record.  I know they were faxed the report Thursday night after Gg’s surgery, because I was waiting for the new prescription while the fax went through.  In theory, they know her drain should come out sometime between Sunday and Tuesday, and I thought they might be curious about how quickly things went sour with her original wound.  I truly expected them to check in with me again on Friday.  
  2. See above.  I can’t bring myself to actually look, but I’m pretty sure the base office visit fee for our vet of record is a few dollars higher than that of the emergency clinic.  I am positive that each and every one of our three visits would have cost significantly more through our vet of record, with no increase in services or standard of care.
  3. When I first called our vet of record Monday evening, it was almost immediately made clear that they were going to close before I could get there, so if I wanted Gg seen, I was talking to the wrong people.  Therefore, given that it was around the same time Thursday when I realized we needed a vet, I never called them and instead, kept trying the emergency clinic until they answered.
  4. The emergency clinic is only an after-hours clinic.  Seriously… this is a con.  I’d be very happy there!  At least I know that if ever again we need them, there are some awesome people there.

photo.JPGSo, one week later, Gg and I will test-drive the new vet.  She made it easy for me.  I did offer to call and have the records sent over, but she said she’d be fine with the paper copies from the first two emergency vet visits.  (She doesn’t know about the third… yet.)  Then, assuming we all get along, I’ll call the vet of record and have them send both girls’ records over… and the vet of record will change.

Sadly, breaking up isn’t so hard to do.  It gets easier when you do it a lot.  Hem.  A quick recap for those of you not around for the whole journey…

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Mugsy & Fred 2006

Mugsy was the last new patient my family’s vet since oh… 1960-something took on.  Fred was assigned to the woman she’d already tapped to become the managing partner when the original vet began to retire.  After Fred’s death, the Knight announced we needed a new vet.  That break-up was HARD for me, and still bothers me sometimes, as my sister and several friends use the same vet/practice.  Mugsy then saw one close to our work, but when Sissy’s new puppy well visit exam happened under the Knight’s watchful eyes, he informed me to find yet another vet.

We were VERY happy at the little country practice where we landed, until Sissy’s anal gland problems exceeded their scope of operation.  That’s when we found Wondervet, an allergist-nutritionist masquerading as a general small animal vet at the vet of record place.  It was love at first chat, and I am SO HAPPY she remains a part of the fur-girl care team even though life took her back to her home state of Texas, going on two years ago.  We were content with the vet in the same practice she handed us over to, and I think almost all of you were around a few months ago when I called and learned she was no longer employed at vet of record…

It might also help to know that we were all very comfortable with the vet who diagnosed Sissy with glaucoma, who was covering for Wondervet while she was on maternity leave.  It matters, because my first response when I learned Wondervet was leaving was “Well thank goodness for Dr. X.”  Hem.  Dr. X left the vet of record when Wondervet returned from her leave.  I count her as our first loss from vet of record, so that makes three awesome women we’ve lost there.   Wondervet is the only one who moved out of the area, in case you’re curious.

Anyone else see a pattern?  I’m pretty sure it’s them, not me.  Frankly though, I don’t care.  I’m voting with my feet and we’re moving on to a vet that will actually call when my dogs go to the ER.  I know this isn’t a crazy expectation, because the boy-dogs and Sissy have frequented said emergency vet, and Friday was the first time I didn’t get a call.

Is it ideal to switch right now?  Sure.  Why not?!  Vet of record hasn’t seen Gg since last February for her annual visit.  (Or was it March?)  Sissy has a local eye pressure check coming up around March 1, so I still have 30 days to find someone that might suit me/us.

Pilling… an Olympic Sport!

January 27, 2013
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The normal demure Gg, 10-10

No, there are no photos from the event.   It’s all hands on deck getting pills into the little feisty patient, and I’m not sure who won this morning’s round.  I believe I got all of it in, but if there are time limits or only X attempts allowed, I’m sure I was disqualified and Gretchen won on a technicality.

No points were awarded for style or technique.  However, the boxing committee representative said his decision would have given the match to Gg.  She made contact far more often than I did.  (No, I am not now suffering from dog bites too.  She’s as sweet as she can be about clamping that strong JRT jaw shut while working the offending foreign object(s) out.)

Thanks to the power of social media, I do want to share (and save someplace I can find it quickly in the future) some of the suggestions my wise and experienced friends shared.

My youngest cousin (okay, note to self… she’s been an adult with two children of her own for a few years… she’s almost old enough to be in More Magazine’s target audience… you’re contemporaries and have been for a while now) suggested a pill popper, which was seconded by an old rescue squad friend.  Only problem is, a search for one online leads to a tool to aid in releasing pills from those foil packs and to something Amazon warned me was explicit.  Hem.  What they were suggesting is a tool that helps shoot said pill to the back of the throat and I’d love to try one with my competitor – er, my sweet baby girl.

Crushing and mixing with peanut butter is another popular option.  I don’t believe that will work for us, as Gg tends to spit new to her foods out, inspects them, and then and only then will either eat or leave it to Sissy, who has no such compulsions about what she puts in her mouth or swallows.  I realize PB is impossible to spit out, but I don’t want Gg to battle an icky pill after-taste for a long time!

One of the brilliant ideas I hadn’t thought of came from a League friend who is a faithful foster for a local rescue.  She also gave advice on how to get the wee one to eat kibble again.

 Dissolve in small amt of water and leave that as the only water bowl out next to her food when she eats .. Peanut butter should also work… Dissolve in small amt of water and add the water to her crunchy food etc. she will eat eventually.

And for anyone who has never “pilled” before, my childhood friend, a nurse and a great doggy dad, described the technique.  I’m sure the Pet Olympics Committee will be using this precise description of the ideal technique in the next rule book:

Hold the mouth open with one hand, put pill to back of throat with 2 fingers on the other hand, close mouth & hold while stroking the throat with the other. That makes them swallow. Then an immediate treat plus lots of cheers and accolades.

I also love that I knew before I joked that Gg and I would be right over to let one successful pilling friend help, she’d tell me to come on.  Never mind that she’s trying to get three kids ready for church on her own (her hubby is also a fire fighter/acting battalion chief), she’s just that awesome and will always help a friend… or anyone in need.

Another friend with a sister who is both a pharmacist and worked in a vet’s office at another point in her life has suggested compounding the offenders.  Liquids might be an option, but gosh, I don’t know that THAT would be easier than pilling.

Awesome doggy-blogger mom and friend Houndgirl introduced me to chasing and proved that Gg’s new fascination with cheesecake (when not used to disguise a pill) isn’t so unusual.

Unused cream cheese it was sweet and worked. We also used a chaser system – as soon as he had it in his mouth I was waiting with some Cheerios his other favorite thing and he would would swallow the pill for the Cheerios.

THAT, I’m filing away for the next time Sis needs pills.  Gg is too disciplined – her own personality, not anything we’ve trained into her – for distractions, I think.

Tomorrow, we meet our probably new vet to have the drain removed, and I’ll definitely as her about compounding and/or liquids.

I don’t know about Gg, but I need a nap.  Have you ever had a pet that made pilling an Olympic event?

Thank you and Keep On Please

January 25, 2013

photo.JPGJust a quick post to thank you for your support.  The power of the paw must be working, because Gg felt better last night when I picked her up after surgery than she has since the incident.  She’s still an out of character picky eater and only “binge drinks” but she seems to feel strong enough to kick the infection on this round.  Please keep doing whatever you’re doing on Gretchen’s behalf though…  I think it’s working!

Also, keep those paws crossed through Monday afternoon, even if Gretchen Greer is doing really well.  We’re having her drain removed by the woman I think will be our new vet.  She’s a friend of Wondervet’s, a woman I went to high school with works part-time for her (as a vet), and she only laughed and said, “Sure?!  Why would it be a problem?!” when I stumbled through explaining how involved Wondervet still is in Sissy’s care…  from half a country away.  She also called me back twice; last night, while we were already at the emergency vet, and again today.

Hope there’s something fun on your weekend agenda.

Power of the Paw Please?

January 25, 2013

Double-posting, since the fur-girls and I don’t have a complete overlap of followers/readers…

photo.JPGGretchen is in surgery.  Her wound looked … watchable when I left for work this morning, and was BLACK and spongy when I got home.  We went back to the emergency vet (more praise… different staff, more of an efficient feel tonight, which it turns out, we needed) and before I could smooch her and promise it would all be okay, Gg was in the back, being sedated and prepped for surgery.  Evidently, all we could have done better was not let her lick it AT ALL, so when she does come home, it’s the cone of shame 24/7.

I also have to publicly retract anything not wonderful I’ve said or implied about the biter’s owners.   I got a wild hair on my way home and stopped in.  They’re rescuers of cats and dogs, and truly are upset that their boy hurt my wee one.  They said all the right things and then some.  If only I had listened to you wise folks and talked to them last month!!   I totally misinterpreted their good intentions and efforts to integrate a rescued boy into their home, and … well let’s just say as with most dog aggression problems, to err is HUMAN.

Hopefully, Gretchen won’t pay too high of a price for my ignorance and poor judgment.   Another silver lining… sometimes those neighbors you don’t know are really decent folk just waiting for an introduction, or heck, even a welcome to the neighborhood.

Please don’t worry if you don’t see an update here for a while.  I anticipate a long, late, short night, but for those who are my friends on Facebook, I’ll try to at least update there.  And yes Sissy, you SHOULD have your own Facebook page.  Maybe that will be my distraction tonight.

Thorsday Snow

January 24, 2013

You’ll just have to take our word for it; when they called for snow, we didn’t get much, and when they said we’d have a few flurries, we got a couple of inches of dry, fluffy powder. 

Gretchen is NOT amused.  Her life is a little complicated right now, and it’s impacting all of us.   I blogged about the details here, but the short version is Gretchen got bitten by a neighbor’s dog and it could have been so much worse. 

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Sissy 2009

However, Sissy LOVES snow, especially the very powdery snow we have now.  

Do your pups love snow?  Gg will play in it after the sun comes back out, but she finds “falling weather” totally unacceptable. 

For a host of reasons – below average cold with insane wind chill factors, Gg’s injuries, now… treated roads – we aren’t walking.  Sissy is getting restless, but Gg doesn’t feel well enough to care yet.   We did give Sis a new toy last night, so she pounced and trotted around with one very annoying “quack, quack, quack…” duck for a while…

Happy Thorsday!

Pillows all around

January 17, 2013

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Or, my sister, my pillow.

Why yes, that is Mama’s pillow Sissy DIVA has her head on.  We pull the covers down to get to it, but Mama snapped this photo as evidence; Dadaw simply failed to finish making the bed so as not to disturb us.

Happy Thorsday to you!  We hope you have somewhere – or someone – soft to nap.

Lucky Numbers

January 13, 2013
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I seriously don’t have a photo of the Queen in a CHAIR at the eye clinic?! (This is from our local vet, but you get the idea… DIVA doesn’t rest upon the floor.)

We should play the lottery tonight.  Today was Sissy’s regular eye exam at the eye clinic, but it was also two days after the two-year anniversary of the removal of her left eye.  Yeah, we’ve bumped our schedule up a bit; she went early to one of her check-ups this year because I was nervous about something eye-related, and then we bumped this one up because while TECHNICALLY, we could have gone on the 26th and seen Vision Vet, VV’s first baby was a few weeks early and …

2 is a lucky number.

Sissy’s first pressure reading was 14, which is the highest it can be without any of us getting itchy.  However, we were rushed and stressed when we breezed in a few minutes late (heavy fog, a 90-mile commute on mostly two-lane roads), and the new-to-us tech admitted she’s not a fan of slobber, so VV re-checked and it was a glorious #7, which will make Wondervet happy too when she gets the numbers, because she actually gets twitchy when her favorite long-distance patient’s readings are low, low.

2,7, 14…  The road numbers we take to get there?  22 & 15?

Anyway.  It’s not like I’ll carry my happy self anywhere and use those numbers, so feel free to punch them in if you play the lottery.  Maybe we’ll add another lucky number or two soon when VV does welcome her baby into the world?

Two years and counting!!

January 10, 2013

A very happy, very special Thorsday to you!

photo.JPGTwo years ago today we were in the thick of one of the worst times of my life; the Knight, Gretchen Greer and I were trying to pass time while Sissy was having her left eye removed.  The next 36 hours were sheer hell; there’s no polite way to put it.  Sis was confused, and while they (vets) assure me she wasn’t in pain, she was certainly out of sorts in a way that stressed me beyond measure.

I was trying to get a cute full-face photo of the anniversary girl, and ironically, this is what she offered… the un-eye as we call it.   Do note that the wee one is ever-present.  These two are “stuck like glue” as the song goes. 

It has gotten easier.  We are SLIGHTLY less manic about her remaining eye, but we’re definitely hyper-vigilant still.  If Sissy shows any signs of stress, she gets an eye inspection immediately.  I’m still toying with the idea of buying our own Tono-pen so I can even check her pressures myself.  But we can’t rest easy, ever.  We *MIGHT* be able to breathe a sigh of relief next year this time, because for some reason, one of the eye vets told me that maybe if we made it to age six without incident, MAYBE we could relax a TINY bit…

Are you celebrating anything today?