Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Our Paws are Crossed

Today was the day. Winston and I trekked our way across the mighty Missouri for a second consultation with the veterinary orthopedic surgeon regarding his wonky little front legs.

Since both legs are bad, they both need surgery. The vet said we could do one and then do the other at a later date, if I preferred to spread out the cost, but his recommendation was surgery on both front legs at the same time...a double ulnar ostectomy. 

The procedure basically entails removing a small section of the ulnar bone on each leg and inserting some fat taken from Winston's leg in between the two sections of bone. This (hopefully) will allow the still-growing radius bone to grow without being pulled into bowing out even more than it is now because of the no-longer-growing ulnar bone. After surgery, Winston will be in the hospital for 1-2 days and then placed on 4 weeks of rest, while we cross our fingers for success.

Definition of success: Improvement. I've been cautioned that his legs will never be perfect, at least until the veterinary world comes up with a satisfactory knee replacement procedure. The bad news is there's a chance everything could be for naught, as surgery could worsen his condition. Since I think that can be true for any surgery, I decided to press on. 

I must admit to whining a tiny bit to the vet since we've already spent $700+ just for consultations, exams, and x-rays. He must have taken pity on me as he said he'd see what he could do. When he gave me the cost for surgery on both legs, it actually turned out to be far less than what I imagined it would be, although still enough to put a decided dent in the old pocketbook. 

After thinking it over for about a second, I decided to go ahead and have both legs done at the same time. Who needs a second anesthesia and a second 4 week recovery period? Not us! Let's get on with it and hope for the best.

So Winston is scheduled for surgery next week on June 1. Positive thoughts and crossed paws would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Could an Apple a Day Keep the Vet Away?

This morning, a friend asked me if I watch any of the veterinary shows currently on television.

I told her no, because my house is a veterinary show.

There's my son's dog, Brady, who's at my house about half the time. Between his plethora of medications for severe skin allergies and the diaper I have to keep on him to prevent his teeny little marking habit, I might as well be a vet tech.

And now I have Winston. When I brought home an adorable little ten-week-old bundle of fur, I never dreamed about the possibility of mortgaging the house to pay for vet bills.

So far I've spent hundreds on x-rays, ultrasounds, and consultations with an orthopedic veterinary surgeon to figure out why he developed a small limp.

Winston has now been diagnosed with elbow incongruency and premature closure of ulnar physis. In short, he's got rotten knees. And not one rotten knee, mind you. Two of them. One is just a whole lot worse than the other.

The specialist gave me the bad news via phone. He's thinking Winston will need multiple surgeries to "fix" his problems. Of course after surgery, I must keep him perfectly still for 6-8 weeks. Did I mention he's a 7 month old puppy?

We meet to discuss the frightening details next week, and it's a sure bet the cost is going to be astronomic. Worse yet, from what I've read about surgeries for such issues, there's something like a 50-60% success rate. Awesome.

Winston, of course, is oblivious to what anyone says. Despite instructions to "take it easy" he's running everywhere and jumping around like the Energizer Bunny on stimulants.

Yesterday I found him here...

Yes, even the cat tree isn't safe.

And speaking of cats, Bogey is the only critter in my house who doesn't have some sort of weird health problem.

Another score for me in the game of cats vs dogs!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Peppy Puppy Problems

It's been an eventful few weeks. My dear, sweet mother-in-law passed from this life to the next on May 3 after a long and brutal illness. I'm glad she's no longer in pain, although she'll be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her, most especially her husband of sixty-four years. What a sad and lonely adjustment this will be for him. Sometimes the circle of life isn't very easy.

A while back you may remember me mentioning Winston developed a limp. This has not improved, so he will see a veterinary surgeon on Wednesday. Apparently, he may have a dislocated shoulder. The surgeon doesn't know whether he can put things back in place and keep them there using a "sling" or whether Winston will need a full blown surgery complete with a screw and bolt to keep his shoulder where it's supposed to be. I guess this is one of the issues that can happen with little bow-legged dogs. Who would have dreamed a seven month old puppy would have joint problems? All I can say is...yikes.

I'm hoping for the least invasive option, but it all depends on what the vet thinks is necessary. Regardless of what method is chosen, looks like there will be several weeks where Winston is not allowed to run around or jump while he heals.Good luck to me on accomplishing something like that with the peppiest puppy around.

Tranquilizers, maybe?

Even with his current sore shoulder he still leaps up and down more than any frog Mark Twain ever ran across in Calaveras County--or anywhere else for that matter.

Suggestions for the weary are welcome.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Boy and His Dog

Last week Winston and Bogey had their first meeting with Baby Henry.

Bogey and Henry. Meh...

Winston and Henry, love at first sight.

A Boy and His Dog. Book and movie rights currently being negotiated.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Time's a-Wastin'!

If there's one thing I have really mastered since retirement, it's wasting time.

If I'm not adopting a new puppy, I'm orchestrating a brand new home remodeling project or browsing at the mall because it's so much better to be there when everyone else is at work. Not to mention how frequently the car is pointed to my daughter's house so Grandma can have a little cuddle time with Baby Henry.

As if all that wasn't enough, I broke down and bought myself another time waster.

Yes, I have a coloring book. The drawings are beautifully intricate, microscopically tiny, and take an eon or so to color. I've spent hours on the first page and still have most of the second page to go.

I do try to keep this new diversion as something to piddle with only when I'm sitting in front of the television, so it's extra slow going. In fact, at the rate I'm coloring, all the pages won't be finished until I'm at least 237 years dog years.

Speaking of dogs, I have not forgotten about Winston. Here's another acquisition designed to keep him from diving off the bed like a Labrador after a duck.

Winston has developed some gimpyness in his little bow-legged front legs, so we're keeping an eye on him. Hopefully the stairs will help prevent any further stress.

Tic-tock goes the clock.

Have you been wasting time, too?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Gone Waterloggy

I love all things artsy. About a week ago I broke down and bought myself a coloring book. The book is intricate and has fulfilled the main reason I resisted getting one...i.e. it's time consuming. I'll show you my efforts another day.

Here's something that's much faster to do and a lot of fun. I bought an app called Waterlogue. It takes any picture and turns it into a water color painting. In about 5 seconds! Wouldn't Monet be jealous?

I think it does best with landscapes and still life settings but I can't resist using it on critters and people. Here are some samples.

Winston on the day I adopted him.

Winston after his first groom.

As you know, I have an adorable new baby grandson, Henry. He has the sweetest smile.

No need for plastic surgery when you have Waterlogue. Here's my blog photo after a quick beauty treatment. Farewell lines, sags and wrinkles!

As you can see, I've been having fun with this app. What would you like to Waterlogue?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Geese Herder

There's a lake behind our house. Geese love lakes. Therefore, we've been having a few problems with some large feathered birds at our house.

Apparently some of the flock decided it would be a swell idea to hang out in the far end our yard. No, nope, uh-uh. For one thing, this means poo everywhere, since geese do their duty approximately once every 60 seconds. For another thing, Winston believes goose poo is a delicious delicacy arranged for his personal enjoyment. Yuck.

To make matters worse, two of the birds actually came strolling up to the back door and rooted around in plantings right next to the house. Apparently this signifies their readiness to move in, build a nest, and have a plethora of little geese. Geese become quite aggressive and will attack anyone if they have babies to protect. Not to be uncharitable, but I refuse to be held hostage by birds in my own yard. After all, this isn't a Hitchcock story.

So first I tried going out and shooing them away. The birds would casually waddle out of range and then return the second I went inside. Next I tried making loud noises. No dice. Then I swished cellophane paper in the air. Same result. We were obviously at war, and the geese were winning.

I consulted the internet for suggestions. Apparently the best method to keep geese away is by using a herding dog such as a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd. I had a talk with Winston and we decided to try the goose herding business. He runs to the end of his lead and the geese stroll away. Since Winston stayed outside longer than I could do, the geese apparently decided to avoid further annoyance by moving into a yard three houses away.

Winston may be smaller than even the tiniest goose, but in my book he's an honorary border collie.

After all, it's not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

It's a Weekend of Firsts!

What fun to have a weekend of firsts!

Tomorrow will be our new baby grandson's first Easter! Today Henry had a visit with the Easter bunny. He wasn't a bit upset at being held by a gigantic rabbit with scary looking deep-set eyes.

Of course, he is only five weeks old, and his vision isn't as strong yet as it will be when he's a bit older. I suspect next year's visit with the Easter bunny may not run quite so smoothly.

Speaking of scary looking bunnies, take a look at a few old photos I found. No wonder the children are petrified.

Of course, it's Winston's first Easter, too, but no bunny pictures for him. Hey, I'm still trying to help him realize every man he sees is not a potential ax murderer. If a giant rabbit got hold of him it might set his training back for months.

However you celebrate the day, we hope you avoid the scary bunnies and have a wonderful Easter!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Has Sprung (Sort of)

What happened to Spring?

The flowers have pushed from the earth, blossoms bedeck the trees, and we've got snow on the ground. Yes, snowflakes big as silver dollars are back to say hello. Winston is confused, but then again he's only five months old and still learning about the strange world he lives in.

Welcome to Missouri, Winston. You've been born into one of the few states where it's routine to wear a tank top and a down-filled parka within the same week.

Since today is Sunday, I'd suggest sipping a cup of hot chocolate while you read a book, work on a project, or watch that movie you've been thinking about. Our snowy day won't last long.

On Tuesday, the temperature is predicted to be over 70 degrees.

Happy first day of Spring!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Game Designer

Winston has created a new game. He should probably patent it since playing never gets old. In case your dog is bored and looking for something to do, here are the rules:

  • Give the dog a tennis ball
  • Let him push it as far as it will go under any piece of furniture
  • Next he will bark hysterically without stopping until someone gets it out 
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat, etc.

The only thing that stops Winston from playing this game is when a mysterious force causes the tennis ball to completely disappear.

From my experience, the only ones who truly enjoy playing are dogs. Thus I fear there would be some issues with marketing to a canine target audience for one important reason.

Dogs don't carry credit cards (thank goodness!).