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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The ARK pet oasis for pets taking planes

If you have to fly, the thought of transporting your pet in a crate in the cargo section of a plane may be disconcerting...but some airlines are taking more consideration for the welfare, comfort and well being of pets traveling by air.

Photo from

 A particularly encouraging improvement is the ARK at JFK--an airport lounge for animals. The ARK offers (or will offer when completely functional):

* more than 100,000 sq ft, 14.4 acre facility
*Pet Oasis features 47 kennels for dogs and 12 for cats
*round-the-clock 24/7 animal care
*Zen-like environment
*dedicated outdoor relief area for dogs
*quarantine area
* pre-flight and after-flight walks
*baths and/or brushing
*healthy meals
*cleaning of travel crate

*48 climate controlled stalls and 24 additional export stalls for horses
*aviary with special habitats
*vet on premises
*transportation to connecting planes
*airside location for direct access to planes

Have you ever experienced this kind of lounge or treatment when flying with your pet?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ike Sums it Up #ChewyInfluencer

Ike here!
I've been spreading the word that my mom is a Chewy Influencer. That means that she gets cool things from, and writes a review. And I get to sample the food! This month I've been telling you all about Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak turkey, duck and quail Northern Woodland Recipe.

All month long I've been trying this new food, and Mom has been keeping tabs on how I'm doing. As lots of you know, different food can affect our digestive system, skin and coat, energy level and more. I can be a bit sensitive to new food, so Mom introduced Peak gradually.

I'm happy to say that I love Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak food! Here is my evaluation form:

Did it smell good?  CHECK--almost as good as dirty socks.

Did it taste good? CHECK---I licked my bowl clean every time.

Did it agree with my tummy?  CHECK--no bellyaches, no vomiting, and everything looks okay on the backyard patrol.

Did it help make my coat nice and shiny? CHECK--you can see for yourself, right?

Did it taste good? CHECK-- Oh yeah, I did that one already....but really that's what counts to me!

Mom said she'd buy it again. And I would recommend it to all my friends out there. It also comes in Natural Open Range formula for all you lovers of beef, venison and lamb.

So what do you think? Did you like my review? Would you try it yourself?


Full Discolosure: We received one bag of Nutrish Peak dog food in exchange for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This is What 16 Looks Like! #HappyBirthdayKelly

Today is Kelly's Birthday!!
She's 16 years old today. Kelly has been struggling with her health a bit lately, so we just want to make this birthday a time to celebrate the good girl that she is.

She's been with us through many happy times, the empty nest, she's welcomed (at times, tolerated lol) new dogs in the family and loves the new grandbabies.

 Happy Birthday Sweet Kelly!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ike Tries Nutrish Peak #ChewyInfluencer

Ike is back again to tell you more about Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak dog food.

Hi it's me, Ike. Hi! Remember when I told you that my mom is a Chewy Influencer? That means that she gets cool things from, and writes a review. And I get to do the sampling of food! So a few weeks ago Mom bought this awesome new dog food

Peak turkey, quail and duck. It smelled really good, so I guarded the bag for a while. I wondered when Mom was ever going to give me some.

Finally she opened the bag. When she left the room for a minute, I gave it a good inspection.


 Yup, it's good!

Mom has been giving me this food for several days now. I said "Pour it all on!" but she told me when you start a new food, you should transition over slowly. So she started by sprinkling a little bit on top, then increased the ratio little by little.

All I know is that this Peak food tastes delicious. I tend to have allergies when I eat certain foods, so we have to be careful. I've been eating duck as the protein source, so Mom felt that this food would be a good option. I've never had quail before, so it's always fun to try something new! Yum! Mom tells me that I've been doing great so far. The new food seems to agree with my tummy, and so far none of those horrible itchies on my skin. My fur looks nice and healthy too.

Peak is packed with 30% high quality protein to give me lots of energy.
It also contains natural sources of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. That's good, right Mom?
And it's grain free, gluten free, and free of fillers.

So all I have to do is keep on cleaning my bowl. Can do!
See you next time! I'll let you know next time how it's going.


Full Discolosure: We received one bag of Nutrish Peak dog food in exchange for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak #chewyinfluencer

Today's topic? FOOD!

Hi! My name is Ike, and my mom is a Chewy Influencer. That means that she gets cool things from, and writes a review. And I get to do the sampling of food! So today I'm taking over the blog because after all, isn't my opinion what really matters?

 What is number one important to us dogs? That's! So we have to train our humans to give us the food we like. Okay so here are some of the flavors I like: steak, bacon, waffles, dirt, socks, pizza, trash... yeah so I don't have the world's most discerning palate. But, this brings me to point number 2...

 When it comes to food, your human is (sometimes) smarter than you. There are some things us dogs can't do. Like read a label. And the whole opposable thumb thing. I know my humans love me and want the best for me. So I trust them to feed me the best food.

But I also want to train my human to give me what I like to eat. So here's the thing. Today she received this bag of Rachael Ray's Nutrish Peak dog food from Chewy.

We received Northern Woodlands Recipe. I saw on the bag that it contains duck, quail and turkey. Yum! My mom said that it's grain free, which she says is important because I have allergies to some foods such as wheat. I checked it out for her. Yup smells good.

The #1 ingredient is U.S. farm raised turkey. Again, yumm. It contains 30% high quality protein. Whatever that means, I don't know. But she says protein is good for me. She also said, "blah blah blah Ike blah blah Ike blah good boy."

So far I like what I see. Now is Mom ever going to give me any? If she does, and I like it, I'm going to have to figure out how to train her to keep on giving me more. But for now, I'd better sit right here by the bag close my eyes and make a wish that it doesn't get away.

See you next time! I'll let you know next time how I like it.


Full Discolosure: We received one bag of Nutrish Peak dog food in exchange for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Birthday Ike

Ike is celebrating his 10th birthday! 

Pretty funny--I thought he was 10 yrs old all last year, but when I just went and looked it his records, it turns out he was 9. Oops! Anyway, Happy Birthday Ike!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Serve your Dog Breakfast with and Blue Buffalo

It sure is great to be a Chewy Influencer! This month sent us some awesome dog food to sample and review. Ike is my taste tester for this--he thinks that this is a fun job!

So, this food was kind of fun. It's breakfast for dogs! I feed dry food but sometimes add wet food for a treat, especially with my senior dogs who find it easier to chew. We got to sample Blue Buffalo Healthy Starts Country Skillets Turkey and Egg. I never thought of giving my dogs breakfast food before, although they have had, and love, scrambled eggs.

The Blue Buffalo wet food is grain free which is a must for Ike. It is also natural, complete and balanced with plenty of protein and extra B12 for energy and gastrointestinal health. Turkey is the number one ingredient, followed by chicken broth, chicken liver, dried egg.

Ike loves the taste. He rarely gets wet food, and couldn't get enough of it. I just use it for a bonus for him-- feeding instructions say 3 to 4 tubs per 10 lbs of body weight per day, so if this was the only food I used for Ike, I'd be serving him 24 or more tubs of food a day! Even Kelly would need 8 or more tubs a day if that was all she ate, which would not be cost effective. I find it works best as a dry food topper. I also mix medicine in with the wet food and the dogs gobble it right down, no problem.

The only negative for me was that the food is a very unappealing brown glop. The dogs don't mind of course but whenever I open a tub it looks kind of gross.

Of course one of the best parts is getting the food so fast through It was on my doorstep in two days!

If your dog enjoys wet food, or for an extra treat on top of their kibble, Ike thinks they'd like Blue Buffalo Healthy Skillets! In Egg with Beef, Chicken, Turkey or Salmon.


Full Disclosure: We were provided one case of Blue Buffalo Healthy Starts wet food tubs for our honest review. This in no way influenced our review. Opinions expressed here are 100%  my own.