Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Allergies 14.1

April 5, 2014

Things are blooming here in the woods, so that means allergies are showing themselves too.  Sissy – thankfully! – seems not to have seasonal, environmental allergies, but she and the Knight went back to have her anal glands expressed again and to drop off a special package (read: specimen) we gathered on a walk for just that purpose.  Sis’s bum is looking better, and there’s less scooting and such.  The vet also told me that it’s not unusual to need to express the glands twice in short order when they are as full as Sissy’s were the first time, so they’ll check her again when we go back in about 10 weeks for her next local eye pressure check.

UntitledI apologize for my inability to post consistently on Thorsdays recently.  I fear that trend will continue through at least next month.  But, we’re still logging 20 miles per week, and the girls hopped in the creek on the warmest day this week, so we’re all getting our exercise and Vitamin D, regardless of the otherwise chaos in my/our lives.

Unfortunately, Gg does seem to be true to her terrier roots, and she’s been doing a lot of sneezing and that reverse sneeze thing that almost every Jack Russell I know does.  If she shows any additional signs, we’ll consult the good doctor and make sure she isn’t too miserable.

In other news, I’ve resigned myself to a serious discussion on better living through chemicals for little Gg at her next vet visit.  Being a JRT, she insists upon pressing on, even when she’s having a panic attack.  She doesn’t want to miss a walk, even if passing the biters’ house is almost too much for her.  (And we have to pass it TWICE to get to the woods and home again, poor gal.)

Do any of you have any experience with … psych drugs for your dogs?  I hate the very thought of it and anticipate Gg fighting me every step of the way, because she doesn’t even like pain pills because she fears a loss of control (why yes, I do think I can read her mind), but I also can’t bear the thought that most days, she has some sort of panic attack for one reason or another.


PANK Linings

January 29, 2013
March 2012 001

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


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.


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.

There and Back Again

August 16, 2012
July 2012 012

High maintenance, and totally worth it

Happy Thorsday!   I need to learn that especially with Sissy’s kibble, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Gretchen loved the previous kibble, but the signs of Sissy trouble started almost as soon as the Knight bought the large bag. 

This is how it works.  Sissy almost always LOVES a kibble change.  If it’s really a problem, we know within an 8lb. bag.  However, if it’s just not quite right, sometimes it takes 25 lbs. or more to get there. 

WARNING:  This is about Sissy’s food allergies, signs and symptoms.  Continue reading at your own risk.

Any food change results in a soft stool.  I’m all about Sissy’s pooo…  It’s ridiculous, but her anal gland health depends on a firm poo, and the poor girl was over 2 years old before she had her first, nice, firm, normal stool.   So the first sign of trouble is that the stool either gets even softer or just doesn’t firm up.  With the previous kibble, even Gg the soooper pooper had soft stools, so I wasn’t shocked when we reached the critical, all-telling stage 2.

June 2012 003

Gretchen is mortified that we speak of such things…

The second and clear warning is when Sis won’t eat her kibble dry.  Now, you hound caretakers out there are laughing at me.  Of course a hound – a DIVA hound, a SMART DIVA hound – will work the system.  I know that.  So we ignore the first episode or three.  But when it reaches the point that the girl simply won’t eat the kibble without significant enticement, it’s the kibble, not the dog.

While Sis has eased out of the 40s and into the very low 50 lb. range,  she’s still lean enough that we worry when she won’t eat.  Also… see above.  We worry when she won’t eat because her food allergies have ruled our lives since before we knew they were food allergies. 

So…  back to PetCo.  I’m so grateful that the City and PetCo corporate decided to build directly across from the League office and almost within sight of  The Pink Palm.  Highly convenient.  It’s also nice that they’re open longer than many stores, because the Knight and I eat late and therefore are usually in town after normal business hours.

Courtesy of Wellness

We’re on our second small bag of Wellness Whitefish & Sweet Potato.   This time, poor Gg is taking one for the team.  If she doesn’t firm up soon, I’ll consider doing a two dog, two kibble world, but that creates so many problems because like kids, they always want what the other has, especially when they (Sissy) can’t have it!

I’m not really looking for feedback, but I truly appreciate each and every one of you who read all of this.  While this blog is mostly for doggy bloggy fun, it also exists so that my fair knitting friends and fashion friends don’t have to read about dog poop and anal glands unless they want to. 

Oh – and the title?  Wellness was the first premium food that Sis did well on, briefly… but I’m not at all sure it was Wellness’s fault that the relationship wasn’t permanent.  See above; it took us two years and then some to find Wondervet with her focus on allergies and even food allergies.  It took her two visits to get Sissy’s message on precisely how allergic to chicken she is, and as the wonderful Wonder-woman predicted, we’re so happy with our healthy girl that we don’t care to figure out whether Sis might could eat lamb.  ALL poultry is off the table, because of the severity of her reaction to chicken, and we’ve just stuck with no land animal save rabbit and seafood-based protein sources because they keep working… mostly.

April 2012 005

Lean but not mean!

When there is a failure, it’s almost assuredly because the manufacturer sneaks in trace amounts of chicken something.   In case some manufacturer is reading, my girl can’t do chicken fat, chicken meal, or eat your kibble if you ran a batch of chicken anything through the factory before her seafood kibble.   We know this happens because there are some very caring, awesome people in the pet food industry who share these dirty secrets, and we are so very grateful for their shared wisdom.

Seriously.  Sis is THAT sensitive to chicken.  Know a human kid with peanut allergies?  Yeah.  Like that.  Thank goodness thus far, her reactions have been NOT the traditional human anaphylaxis not-breathing type, but despite my background as a medic and my training in pet CPR… we’re not taking that chance.

Chasin’ Rabbits

July 7, 2011

… a rant.

Sorry.  We really do wish you a happy dogs on Thursday though!   For a change, the girls are suggesting you check out my blog for more doggy cuteness.

**Edit:  The world is a better place.  Read on only if you really are curious about what gets me – Chan – riled up.  A few hours later, a few phone calls with the awesome office manager at our vet practice and a VERY soothing, order-restoring long-distance call to Wondervet, and the world is still turning.  This is thankful Thursday, and goodness am I *EVER* so thankful for Wondervet, who can’t make house calls, but she still takes my calls and cares about the big hot mess we all know and love as Sissy, DIVA, the Queen, Queenie, etc.

I am also thankful for each of you who offered aid and advice, concern, and/or shared my righteous indignation!!**

July 2011 011

I could eat tea and scones, right?!

Some of you know that Sissy has had kibble issues her entire life.  We finally found relief for all of us when we found Wondervet and Royal Canin’s potato rabbit kibble.  I’ve groaned on the blog before about Royal Canin’s inability to keep ANY size of the kibble in their warehouse and we’ve pondered other options, but it’s so easy to stay with what is working.

That is, until they – Royal Canin – opted out of our vet’s online pharmacy program, and then politely noted that our kibble would be backordered for 2-3 weeks.  Seriously?!  This is a prescription kibble.  gMarie‘s Lucy has another, non-food medicine that is all but impossible to find as well.  Totally unacceptable, folks.

There was one other brand of prescription, limited ingredient rabbit kibble 18 months ago when we went on this “gold dust” diet.  I’m going to call the vet’s office manager today and discuss my options – and a few of you know that putting Sissy on a VENISON version is NOT acceptable – but should all else fail, it turns out little Gg’s kibble, while using salmon as its protein source, is free of Sissy’s allergens.

Yes folks, Sis is sensitive to ALL red meat.  To the DEAR vet who took on Sissy’s case when our beloved Wondervet left, VENISON is a red meat.  I have some in the inlaw’s freezer if you need help understanding that.  (See why I’m calling the office manager?!  Two days have passed and I’m still incapable of leaving snark out of it.)

There is also one non-prescription rabbit-based kibble, which I blogged about before and discussed with Wondervet.  I might re-visit that option, but chicken fat, even hydrolized, scares the heck out of me, because corn and chicken not only make Sis itch, get ear infections, etc., but they make her barf.  That’s soooo not fun.

I’m not looking for advice…  Thanks to a few trusted friends, including the local one who led us to Wondervet and the most awesome practice, my ire is directed squarely at the vet who made the wholly inappropriate substitution suggestion.  I have been Sissy’s best advocate since she first made it clear something wasn’t right with her digestive tract, but I got used to having Wondervet as my best resource and partner in care.  I knew that the next vet would pale in comparison, but this is ridiculous.

(No links.  Some of the info can be found in previous posts, but I’m not proud of my anger, don’t care to drive traffic to Royal Canin’s site because I feel they’ve failed me and more significantly, my precious dog who counts on them to keep her belly full and the rest of her healthy.  I don’t yet feel comfortable with any of my options, so… no links for them either.)

Reilly’s Name Game

April 17, 2011

Gretchen here.  Whilst reading blogs with Mama this morning, I realized she’d failed to enter Reilly’s how you got your name contest for us.   Good thing Mango and Dexter‘s human is on the ball – and in our blog reader.   


The young Queen on her first throne, 1-08

Of course, we have to start with Sissy, because well…  Sissy was here first, and isn’t she always first?  I think most of our friends already know she prefers to be Queen DIVA, Best in Show these days, and while the vet’s office happily calls her THE QUEEN, Mama just snorts and rolls her eyes… and sometimes calls her Sis-Miss-Pumpkin-Piss.  (Mama here – hem… sorry, ’tis true!)

So.  Sissy’s name story.   Sissy was in fact, named as soon as Dadaw learned of the pups available in Uncle’s own neighborhood.  Because back then, Mugsy was king of the Woods, so Dadaw announced the new gal would be Mugsy’s Little Sister, called Sissy.  

Mama liked Sissy as a call name well enough, but it’s her fault Sissy’s so full of herself and fancies herself queen of it all; her registered name is Haddon Wood’s Princess of Joy.   The first naming post can be found here.   The short version is that Mama and Dadaw were in a sad place when silly, funny, sweet Sissy came to live with them.  She brought so much JOY to their lives that Joy became part of her name. 

Gotta’ have a couple more photos, so that means writing more.   She was Mama’s Christmas gift, but she had Dadaw wrapped around her finest eyelash from day #1.  Yes, you see that correctly; big ol’ alpha Dadaw has the girl zipped into his coat because she’d just been outside and was cold.  At least, that’s the story as he tells it.  Mama doesn’t remember that Sis had been out; she thinks Dadaw just wanted the girl snuggled close.

And yes, she’s kissing his face.  He pretends he doesn’t like it most of the time, but we know better and kiss him anyway.

Hard to believe she was ever that small.


Borders on indecent, but proof-positive that Mugsy did love her from the start.   Well, okay…  Mama says that based on the date stamp, Sis had been with them over a month when this was taken, but still.  That’s love, from Mugsy to his Little Sister.

You’d best grab refreshments and settle in somewhere comfy for my name story.  It’s ridiculously complex, and it shows why Mama is rarely allowed to name things around here.  Analysis Paralysis is what one of Mama’s friend’s dubbed her condition…

maggie4Before they’d even held me, Mama named me Haddon Wood’s Campbell Cameo. 

I’ll come back to that though…  I forgot a layer in my name debaucle.  My breeder was calling me Maggie.  That wouldn’t do for Mama; something about some book… Maggie: A Girl of the Streets?  Then, Mama and a friend counted something like a dozen other Maggie pets and kiddos they knew…

Back to Campbell Cameo.  Mama loved that name.  See, I was born in Campbell County, and Mama’s dearly departed aunt had a dog named Cammy.  So, I was going to be called Cami.  Dadaw hated it, and informed Mama she had a whole two-hour ride to come up with something better.

DSCN2083She didn’t.  On the way home, I got a little car-sick listening to the nonsense.  I don’t recall whether it was that night or the next morning, but she decided I’d be called Aerial.  Yes, spelled THAT way, like a fire service ladder truck, also known as an aerial.  Didn’t hurt that I am also a redhead like Disney’s Ariel.   Mama figured out pretty quickly that I was too plucky for such a soft name.  Plus, people were assuming it was Ariel, and that annoyed Mama to no end…

So, the whole weekend I was called “the baby” which is still a command Sissy performs without fail; “Find the baby!”  Gah.  Humiliating, except when being cute and wee gets me what I want.  We tried on name after name, and finally, Dadaw saw Gretchen Wilson on TV.  He immediately asked Sis if she’d donate one of her names to the baby, ‘cuz Sis is proudly a Redneck Woman.  For me, my namesake’s Here for the Party and All Jacked Up (get it?)  were perfect fits, and so was the name.


Thank goodness Dadaw got me named before this photo, or I might have been Gidget

Anyway, to finish up the story, like Dexter, there weren’t enough blanks on the registration form for me to be Haddon Wood’s Lady Gretchen Greer, so Mama went with my more magical essence and I am registered as Haddon Wood’s Gretchen the Crup.  That’s also a nod to Mugsy, even though I never knew him.  He was definitely pure crup, and it’s an honor to share the title with such a legendary dog. 

Personally, I’m thinking that if I was to change my name, I might go with Paige.  She has reddish hair in many episodes, and she has two different types of magical beings as parents.  Mama won’t let me say too much, but the crup reference is above, and I will tell you my parents are Irish…

How’d you get YOUR name?

Note to self…

March 11, 2011
March 2011 008

I'm cute... and worth all the headaches!

Sigh…  I’m really blogging this for my own purposes, but on the off chance any of you know anything about Royal Canin and their process…

Seems there’s been a little restructuring.  For about two horrible, rotten, no good hours, I feared Sis’s prescription kibble had been discontinued.  Right now, it appears to be just a matter of some internal reorganizing – that makes good sense – to include all the hypoallergenic formulas under one header, distinguished by intitals at the end of the “name”. 

I was also able to order a larger bag for the same shipping fee, so we’ll come out ahead in the long run…  *IF* the formula is unchanged.

Those of you with pets with special nutrition needs know that the TINIEST change in food can mean disaster.   We’ve been down this road before; Sis did really well on Wellness until the company was sold.  There were only cosmetic, packaging changes, or so I was told, but Sis’s body said otherwise.  Needless to say, I’m all but holding my breath.

So.  Self, look under Hypoallergenic and then select the PR formula when you order.  That is, assuming that there are no real changes and girlfriend’s system doesn’t revolt…

Baa Baa DUCK!

September 30, 2010

Happy Dogs on Thursday!  Just a quick update on the kibble saga that seems unending at our house.  Tuesday, we snatched up a couple of different kibbles for Gretchen to try.  One is another lamb variety, and one is – gasp – DUCK.   The Knight put his foot down and said that we’d just have to be vigilant about keeping Sis out of Gretchen’s food, because it’s very clear Gretchen doesn’t like seafood or fish formulas at all, and we need another plan in case this second attempt at lamb ultimately fails. 

Anything with chicken or corn is out of the question, just because Sissy is SO allergic to those ingredients that we don’t want them in the house.  To our knowledge, Sis has never had duck, so in theory, she can’t be allergic to it on the first stolen kibble taste. 

I did read on a bag of a Wellness Small Breed formula last night that small dogs are notoriously picky eaters.  I’d love your input on that little nugget!

(And no, this bag didn’t come home, because turkey is the first ingredient, and Wondervet is rather certain turkey and chicken are too closely kin for Sis and her allergies…  Shame, because I love the Wellness brand and Gretchen would LOVE the PANK bag!)

Happy little friday!

Food Wars

September 2, 2010

Happy Dogs on Thursday to you!   Just thought I’d give a little update on Sis’s health and Gretchen’s quest for the right food.

August 2010 019

Sis.  All is well, so well that despite it being fall allergy season – which in this region, is often more problematic for dogs than the spring – we’re going to step her Atopica down to once every third day, for about 45 days.  If that goes well, she’ll be pill-free, and then, if we can maintain there for a while, we can once again think about trying to re-introduce some animal proteins back into her diet.  MAYBE.  Prayers, good vibes, crossed paws and fingers are all appreciated.  Sis will be three next month and our food struggles have covered almost her entire life.

August 2010 021

Gretchen Greer is on the lookout for the right food for her too.  Just so y’all know…  If you have to hand-feed a dog who isn’t sick, she doesn’t like her food.  Hem.  I thought it was perhaps her one vanity.  Wondervet just sighed and ordered me to switch Gretch to another kibble.  So, fish breath will soon be a thing of the past.  We’re now trying Wellness Simple Food Solutions, Rice and Lamb, because as you know, I’d prefer it be a kibble that if Sis gets a mouthful of, we won’t have a full-blown allergy situation.

Wondervet must not be optimistic, because she suggested that if Gretch doesn’t love that, we should try California Natural.  They also have a grain-free lamb formula, which would be my first choice – only choice? 

Just to refresh memories, Sis is allergic to:

  • chicken
  • corn
  • beef
  • assumed – venison, pork and gluten

Gretchen doesn’t seem to like fish/seafood, so my goal of once again having them on the same kibble seems to be fading fast.   Be honest…  is that a pipe dream?

Dawning of a New Day

July 7, 2010

Sissy should look happier.  (She was tired of posing.)  Today is a new day at our house!  She’s off her antibiotics AND is transitioning to every other day with the Atopica.  Everything’s looking fine, just fine.

Keep your fingers crossed.  I’m hoping this isn’t a temporary thing.  Hopefully, we’ve knocked this, that and the other out of her system and we can now RETURN our focus to her food allergies.

Round 4 Update

June 17, 2010

Have I mentioned that we’re so blessed to have wondervet?  My cell rang around 9:30, and it was the great lady herself.  Firstly, Sis does need to go back on the Round 3 drugs in addition to the antibiotics, so THAT will be big fun.  (Roughly 7 pills daily…)  However, we’re optimistic that at least the Atopica is working, because off it two days and the MOST unladylike licking returned with a vengeance.

So, perhaps we’re getting somewhere, ever so slowly.  No answer on the food yet.  We’ll make a decision next Wednesday.

Sis was in a great, playful mood yesterday, and that always makes ME feel better…

Happy dogs on thursday!