Monday, June 5, 2017

Meet Ernest!

We have HAPPY NEWS!!--a new friend has joined our family. Meet Ernest!

Just over 2 months ago, we lost our sweet spaniel-mix Kelly (who was 16) and our loyal golden retriever Ike (who was 10). We still miss them every day, but to us a home just isn't a home without a dog. So we began our search for a new friend to love. After losing several senior dogs in a short time, we weren't exactly looking for another old-timer. But....

Our rescue group was on the lookout for just the right dog for us. They are amazing at making great matches. And they found an 8 1/2 year old golden retriever who was being surrendered and needed a forever home. He'd been kept mostly in a cage at his old home, and was a lonely boy. He was filthy, his fur felt like wire bristles, and we pulled five ticks off of him the day he arrived. He had tons of energy, wanted to be touched and patted every waking moment, barked for attention.
And we're so glad he's ours!

After two weeks he's settled into our routine, feels secure that we're not leaving him, and just loves being loved! With a bath and good nutrition, his fur is almost all soft. And he's just the most wonderful dog! I hope he lives a long and healthy life, and we're looking forward to however much time we're blessed to have with him.

I've never had nicknames for my dogs before but I also call Ernest: Ernie, Lil Bear, and Buddy Boy. Welcome to the family sweet Ernest!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Peppertree Rescue's Furry Fun Run

What's the most fun you can have on the run? I think it's the Furry Fun Run. It's a great 5K to benefit Peppertree Rescue group, and the best thing about the event is that you can run with your dog. We got both Ike and Brooks from Peppertree (and maybe someday they'll find us a new furry friend.) So Mike decided to run in memory of Kelly and Ike.

I loved seeing so many different breeds of dogs represented. And they all got along.

 And the race is on!

Here they are at the finish line.

Mike made it!

We were glad to be a part and support Peppertree Rescue. We even made a new friend, Bernie.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Zeke's Movie Night #MyDogsPurpose

This is a sponsored post.

I was standing in the kitchen chowing down on my crunchy munchy kibble when my mind started wandering, as it tends to do because I'm only a three-year-old golden retriever, and can't concentrate on any one thing too long and I started thinking about my purpose. What is my purpose? Visions of taking my humans for walks and helping devour all that pesky bacon in the refrigerator flashed before my eyes, but before I could find an answer to that perplexing humans came along and told me it was time for Family Movie Night.

Well that begged the question, what is the purpose of movie night? I think it's to bring all the family together--with me in the center of course--to share in a mutually bonding experience. We all sat around in my human grandparents' living room. I visit here often. My best friend in the whole wide world, Ike, used to live here, but he went over the rainbow bridge just five weeks ago. I miss Ike more than anything. But sadly, as much as I look for Ike in Grandma and Grandpa's house, I can't find him. I can still smell him a bit, on the sofa where he used to sleep. But for sure he's gone.

So, movie night. Universal Studios Home Entertainment asked bloggers if they'd be interested in reviewing the DVD A Dog's Purpose. My grandma sometimes reviews books, movies and even dog food (she lets me sample it--Yum!) She also likes the book's author Bruce Cameron and his work. So they sent her the DVD and some goodies for me, and Grandma said that I get to review it, and give my honest opinion. So here I am.
#ADogsPurpose  #sponsored

When I heard that this movie was about dogs, and the rainbow bridge, I wasn't too sure I wanted to watch. But Grandma told me that she'd read the book and despite the sad moments, the movie has a positive message, and that I would like it too. I was ready for Family Movie Night. I didn't think Ike would mind if I took his spot on the couch. My family gathered--the human puppy didn't stay and watch...she's too young. But the rest of us watched, even Great-Grandma.

The movie opened with some cute puppies, and pretty soon we got to see...what else, a reddish golden retriever! He was adorable, but maybe I'm partial. His name was Bailey Bailey Bailey. And best of all, the movie was told through the eyes of this Bailey. And to tell the truth, I think a lot of the same things Bailey thought in the movie.

I loved the relationship between Bailey and his boy. I could tell that Bailey would do anything for the boy, and the boy would do anything for Bailey. But life is complicated. And so is the least for an uneducated young dog like me.

It seemed that Bailey just about figured out his purpose when his time on earth was over. I noticed Dad hugged me a little closer during this scene. But there was something different about this movie. Just when everyone was sniffing and the music was swelling, things got happy again. Bailey was back! Only he didn't look the same as he did before. It made me think a lot. About Ike. I don't know where my best friend Ike is now, but sometimes I think of what happened to Bailey in this movie and wonder if that happened to Ike. Is he a puppy somewhere?

We finished watching the movie and, although there were plenty of sad parts, and some scary parts, I liked it. I liked the way the dogs and humans worked together. I liked the way the dogs ran and played and loved their humans.

Which brings me back to the question---what is my purpose? Well I'm still a youngster, I haven't figured that out yet. Maybe it's easier to figure out your purpose after you've already fulfilled it. But Mom told me something about my best friend Ike's purpose. She said that when she adopted him, his first purpose was to get along with Kelly, the bossy female spaniel in the house. And he did. His next purpose was to help my Grandpa recover from a serious illness by giving him lots of TLC. Also, his purpose was to keep Grandma company as she worked from home. And, then he became a therapy dog, and his purpose was to give unconditional love to all he met. And then, when Kelly become old, deaf, nearly blind and suffering from dementia, his purpose was to be her guide, to be her therapy dog. Ike crossed the rainbow bridge just last month. Kelly followed, just five days after. Looking back, the way Grandma and I see it, Ike's purpose was really simple. To love and be loved. #MyDogsPurpose

Maybe that's every dog's purpose. Maybe it's mine. That's what the movie meant to me. 

A Dog's Purpose is available now on Digital HD, and on Blu-Ray Tuesday May 2nd. For fans of the book, there's a special feature A Writer's Purpose, with the story behind W. Bruce Cameron's bestselling novel. #ADogsPurpose


Full Disclosure: I was compensated for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

They call it the Silent Killer

Saturday, my sweet dog Ike died of hemangiosarcoma. Tragically, we had no idea he was seriously ill.

In fact, he'd had his senior exam not long before this. We were constantly alert to Ike's daily health, and probably nothing would have changed the sad outcome. I'm sharing these details in the hopes it may help someone else...although sadly, there is very little that can be done to prevent or treat it. At the end I will list a few suggestions.

Ike's symptoms (*this may not be the way it is for all dogs):
1. Ike was 10 years old. Over the last several months he seemed excessively tired at night, preferring to remain on his pillow in the living room rather than climb the stairs to join us. We'd mentioned it to our vet who surmised multiple possibilities for this. Maybe it was joint pain. We even considered that he wanted to be downstairs to stay with our other dog, who had started sleeping downstairs as well. Maybe it was just part of aging. Looking back, it was the cancer we didn't know was in his body, making him so tired.

2. One day a couple weeks ago, Ike had diarrhea with a little blood in it. You never like to see blood in the stools. In the past, I've taken my dogs to the vet the moment I see this, and almost always it has turned out to be something benign that improves in a few days. We decided to bring him to the vet the next day...but the next day the stools seemed okay so we figured it was nothing serious.

3. Over the course of a few weeks, Ike vomited twice. Maybe he ate too fast. Once was in the car. Maybe he ate too close to riding and the motion made him sick. He had a sensitive stomach. I wasn't overly worried.

4. A few times, Ike refused his breakfast. Once we had started mixing in a new food. Maybe he didn't like the food. And he always readily ate treats, and ate fine by dinner time.

5. This up and down pattern of feeling off and then feeling better, eating then not eating, gave us a false sense that he was getting better. Looking at his overall trend, however, we had decided that he should be checked out soon to find out what was going on.

6. Saturday he came upstairs to wake us up, as had been his pattern. He then trotted downstairs and we let him outside and he seemed fine. When he came inside, he refused his food. I called the vet and made an appointment.

Moments later--and I mean just moments--he was lying on the front porch, very still. I got his leash and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk--something that usually elicits elation--and nothing. He didn't respond at all. Immediately, we rushed him to the emergency vet.

There, in a very short time, the doctors did bloodwork, xrays and ultrasounds and gave us the diagnosis-- hemangiosarcoma. A tumor on his spleen. And blood in his stomach. It had ruptured. The vet was very, very clear. Ike was in bad shape. Surgery to remove the spleen could be done, and was the only way to tell for sure if the tumor was benign or malignant. But of all the cases she's seen that presented themselves like Ike's, and had ruptured like Ike's, they were almost always malignant. And if she removed the spleen, the cancer came back in a very short time. One time it was only 10 days. Other times it was a couple weeks to two months. Even with chemotherapy after surgery, the prognosis was poor. And the surgery would be around $5000. I don't have $5000, but I would have done it. I would have, for Ike. We asked the vet if there was any chance it was benign. She said no. Given that there was really no hope, we had no choice but to do the one very difficult almost impossible thing that we were totally unprepared to do. I won't go into details about that, and many of you know from your own experiences how devastating it is to go through. We held him, loved him, cuddled him, told him he was a good boy, kissed him and said goodbye, run free, see you at the bridge.

Here are some facts ***not intended to substitute for your veterinarian's opinion***
1. Not all masses on the spleen are cancerous.
2. Hemangiosarcoma is very invasive and there may be no clinical signs until the dog suddenly dies.
3. Golden retrievers, along with other breeds such as German shepherds, Boxers, English setters, Labrador retrievers are more likely to get hemangiosarcoma.
4. The up and down symptoms we observed are due to the fact that the mass is bleeding, and then the dog recovers temporarily as new blood cells are made.
5. Symptoms include:
slight lethargy
loss of appetite
nose bleeds
mild anemia

6. Upon rupture, symptoms include:
pale tongue and gums
rapid heart rate

7. Treatment options include:
blood transfusion
but prognosis is poor and life expectancy even with treatment is about 3 months.

8. Prevention includes:
Breeds that are predisposed to this may benefit from yearly ultrasounds.
The vet may routinely palpate the abdomen to check for masses.
Routine bloodwork in predisposed breeds may help identify possibility of tumor.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Goodbye, Ike. Run Free.

It is with the deepest sadness that I have to share that we had to say goodbye to Ike on Saturday. He was 10 years old. He was a good boy.

Ike's Purpose
Ike had many jobs to do here on earth, and he did them all without us asking. We adopted him when he was seven years old, and he knew that in order to stay with us, his first job was to get along with Kelly, our bossy female spaniel. From the start he was a gentleman and always let her have her way.

His next job was to help my husband Mike recover from a life-threatening illness. When Mike came home from the hospital after 41 days, Ike provided TLC, the most powerful medicine around, especially when administered by a warm and furry canine companion.

On a daily basis, he kept me company as I worked from home, and was the best office-mate ever. Then he became a certified therapy dog, giving unconditional love to all he met.

Finally, as our 16-year old Kelly became blind, deaf and in the throes of dementia, he stepped in and guided her every step, slept beside her, and became her therapy dog. Kelly-the-boss-dog depended upon Ike's gentle support.

But most of all, the job he did best--and the job he loved the most--was walking with us, sitting beside us, letting us scratch his ears, and just being with us. And oh, he was so good at it.

Run free, Ike
Crossed over rainbow bridge March 18, 2017 (10 yrs old)
Ike died of hemangiosarcoma--a ruptured bleeding tumor on his spleen. This article calls it "the silent killer."
Here are some pictures of Ike doing what he did best--loving us every day.