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Daisy the instigator – Do you have a dog who manages your household too?

March 5, 2015 6 comments

10154171_544589315662454_170508923735305855_nI saw this image on Facebook and laughed.

If you have a dog, then you know they are creatures of habit, and letting you know it is dinnertime is one habit they have mastered well. My mother’s dog, Jake, knows when dinnertime is (when Wheel of Fortune comes on), but he will try like mad to get my mother to feed him early. She never does, but he keeps on trying.

In my house, Daisy is the time-keeper. She reminds us when it is time to eat and when it is time to play. She announces dinner time by prancing from her kennel to the living room to the kitchen and back to her kennel again, getting all the other dogs whipped up into a frenzy. This prancing continues until the food has been delivered to her kennel.

She also reminds us when it is time to play games or going for walks by wagging her tail and pacing back and forth in excitement. It continues until the message has been received.

As it turns out, that Daisy is the time-keeper and family instigator for a lot of the activities in our house. I never realized how much she really “managed” until she was gone for the few days following her surgery.

While she was gone:

  • I had dogs looking for meals, but not with the intensity that I see when Daisy is here. She gets everyone whipped up with excitement.
  • There was no push to have game night. Daisy always gets things started by pacing back and forth from her kennel and the living room while wagging her tail in excitement the whole time. She will stop, give me the look, and then start pacing again. Soon all the other dogs are getting excited too.
  • The urgency to go outside often was a lot less intense. Daisy often leads that push as well.
  • The demand for cheese after coming inside (something we started for Maggie) is forgotten or given up quickly.Daisy is not one to miss a cheese reward if one is expected.
  • Maggie took over the whole end of the couch and slept without interruption (that is Daisy’s spot when she is home).

But Daisy is not the only instigator, Jasper does it too. He loves nothing better than to get Cupcake riled up so she will run to the fence to bark at the neighbor’s dog with him. And Cupcake loves to get everyone whipped up in the morning during their last potty break (before I leave for work). She runs around outside barking and prancing away and then comes inside the house and barks for me to get back inside so I can get their Kongs out of the freezer. Her excitement often gets Jasper circling the coffee table in excitement and has Maggie and Daisy running around too.

Each dog has an activity they “own” in our house, but by far Daisy appears to be the one who owns the most. And, she manages us well. If things are too boring, she is likely to whip things up. If there is food involved, she is all too willing to let me know she wants a piece of it and her siblings do as well. If add a new activity to our schedules (e.g., game night), she will remind me that we have not yet done that activity for the day. She is the instigator, house manager and coach.

Do you have a dog like Daisy? If so, what activities does he/she manage in your home and family? 

Wordless Wednesday #229 – Faded colors

March 3, 2015 5 comments

How did you preserve your memory of your pet?

March 1, 2015 25 comments

My heart. ❤️Ever since Daisy’s diagnosis for an isulinoma (a cancerous tumor on the pancreas), I have been thinking of ways I can capture some of our most special moments in pictures. Being that she is afraid of the camera, it can be hard to capture her at her most cuddly. I’ve got tons of photos of her running through the woods or sniffing something fascinating at the dog park, but those moments when she just wants to cuddle and get a belly rub? Nada. She sees the camera coming every time. A fast get away soon ensues.

Facing the imminent loss of a pet can make you work harder to preserve those moments. Some do bucket lists with their pets, some schedule “joy sessions” and others choose to get their beloved pet made into a plush toy that they can keep with them long after their pet has passed.

(I have to admit I was a little intrigued by the post I saw on Bored Panda regarding the plush stuffed toy. It would be nice to have a stuffed animal version of Daisy that I can keep with me. Of course, with my luck Jasper would get a hold of it and de-stuff it. Can you imagine the trauma that would cause?)josie-and-clone

I have finally decided that I am going to select a few prize photos that really capture Daisy’s spirit and get them made into canvas prints. I don’t plan on doing it right away (after all Daisy may be with me for years to come), but I will do it, when the time is right.

It’s a somewhat melancholy type of thing to consider, but I wonder if all of you have done something similar to preserve your memories of your pet(s).

What special thing have you done to reserve your pet’s memory? Did it help to ease your grief? How did it comfort you? I would love to hear your stories.

Black and White Wednesday #119 – The Nose Knows

March 1, 2015 14 comments

His nose knows.

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Favorite Video Friday – Let’s Get Ready to Tumble!!!

February 27, 2015 3 comments

It’s Friday and the weekend is about to begin. What could be better than two Maltese puppies playing? In slow motion? Hell yes!

Here’s a little puppy cuteness to make your day.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wordless Wednesday #228 – The cuteness that is Cupcake

February 24, 2015 9 comments

Daisy has an insulinoma

February 22, 2015 66 comments

It’s been a rough couple of weeks here at Casa del Mel. If you haven’t seen it on my Facebook page, Daisy had surgery to remove a tumor, called an Insulinoma, from her pancreas. A tumor, that up until February 6th, we knew nothing about. Now we know too much.

An insulinoma is almost always a malignant tumor that appears on the pancreas and starts messing with the insulin levels in a dog (or human). It causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), tiredness after exercise, collapse, seizures and sometimes brain damage. It is a progressive disease and will spread throughout the body, as all cancers do.

Spent the morning and afternoon with Daisy at the U of M. Hoping she comes home tonight. #Daisy

The day after surgery at the U of M.

On February 6, I took Daisy in to our regular vet to have her teeth cleaned and a lump (an benign outgrowth of a sebaceous cyst) removed. I expected to receive a call later in the day to be told all went well and she was ready to go home but instead, I received a call a few hours after I dropped her off to tell me that they could not perform the procedures because her blood sugar was really low, abnormally low (hers was in the 40s, normal is 80).

I knew it was serious, but I did not know how serious until Monday. That was when my vet informed me it was likely an insulinoma, and that she was referring Daisy to her teacher at the University of Minnesota. Within 30 minutes, I received a call from the U of M to schedule an appointment (yes, it really did happen that fast).

This was the moment when I got scared. A call within 30 minutes? An appointment two weeks out was not soon enough? Oh my God.

We went in on Thursday for a consult and a CT scan was scheduled for the next day. It would tell us whether or not it had spread and what course of action we would take.

The hardest thing I had ever done up until that point was to leave Daisy at her regular vet, with people she knew, but on that Friday, I had to drop her off with strangers (albeit, wonderfully nice strangers) and leave her there for the whole day. It killed me inside.

When I got the call that she was done, the vet also confirmed it was an insulinoma (just as we thought). I was also informed that it was a single tumor and had not spread to her chest or other organs. There was some concern over a slightly odd-looking lymph node nearby, but it was small (2mm) and not as concerning as the insulinoma. The recommendation was surgical removal.

As the vet and surgeon both told me at our post CT scan meeting, they almost never see a dog with an insulinoma who has not shown any major symptoms (collapsing, seizures, etc.), and who has not already found to have multiple tumors or to have it spread throughout their body. By the time they see dogs with this type of tumor, they are pretty far gone. They were both pretty excited that Daisy had been caught early. They wanted to schedule the surgery for Tuesday, February 17.

She slept for almost an hour. I sat with her for an hour and a half. The vet said she does better when I am there. Wish I could stay the night. #Daisy

The second day after surgery. Hanging out in ICU.

To say I was completely overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was scared and freaked out and not sure what to do. I needed time to think. Should I do the surgery and get the cancer while it was early? Should I let the cancer spread and just maintain Daisy’s glucose levels as long as I could with drugs? What was fair to Daisy? What was best for her?The decision was agonizing.

I could not bear the thought of willingly letting the cancer, this insidious, awful curse of a disease, spread through Daisy’s body, but, I was also filled with doubts. What if she died in surgery or due to complications from surgery? What if her quality of life was better without surgery, even though it might mean an earlier death? What if I lost her in surgery when I could have had her for a few more months without it? Was it fair to put Daisy, my fearful girl, through this?

In the end, I decided to go ahead with the surgery, partly because it was already scheduled and partly because Daisy was the anomaly, the cancer had been caught early, and I couldn’t bear the thought of letting the cancer spread. Not if we could remove it and give her a good quality of life for a year or so to come. I wanted her to have a quality life, not a life slowly seeping away as the cancer ate through her body.

HOME #Daisy #recovery

Thursday night – Home at last.

The surgery went well. Daisy came out of to with the left half of her pancreas gone (due to the location of the tumor), but her glucose levels we’re closer to normal and she made it through. In addition to the tumor, Daisy had the lymph node removed and a biopsy of her liver done. Both the lymph node and the liver biopsy came back negative for cancer. The tumor was, of course, positive for cancer, but they got it all out. Luckily, she can still function with the remaining half of her pancreas and her glucose levels have been normal since the surgery. Her prognosis is good.

But, I am still plagued with doubts. Did I do the right thing? 

On Friday, Daisy started drooling, drinking water excessively, pacing, seemed restless, and suddenly developed a bloated stomach. I thought I was going to lose her. I thought she had bloat. Only another surgery would save her and I did not have the money for another surgery.

However, after an X-ray and a radiologist consultation, it was determined Daisy had food bloat. A very different type of bloat and much less scary that the stomach-twisting kind. Supposedly, she got into something and ate a lot of it – they can see lots of particles of something like dog food in her stomach. Unfortunately, she had very little opportunity to get into anything and I cannot find any missing items that would explain what she might have eaten, unless it was poop. So, I worry and wait for her to poop out whatever she supposedly ate.

The girls are back together again. #Daisy #maggie

Back to the usual stuff, like sleeping side by side with Maggie on the couch.

For me, it is concerning that her stomach is still bloated, but it appears to be less so than Friday evening. The good news is that she is still eating and drinking and she is also acting more like herself. She is more tired right now, but that is to be expected after major surgery (not to mention the visits to the ER).

Being a lifelong worrywart, I think I will continue to worry about Daisy, and my decision to put her through surgery, for some time to come. Maybe I will feel better when I see Daisy back at the dog park with her siblings, running through the woods and begging treats from her friends at the dog park. Until then, I wait and hope and pray that I made the right decision.

While I would not wish this experience on anyone (who wants their dog to have cancer or major surgery?), I have learned a lot.

 

What I have learned:

  • No one can make the decision for your dog’s healthcare except you. Others will weigh in and may even scoff at your choices, but in the end, the decision is yours. Also keep in mind what your pet would want.
  • Know how far you are willing to pursue saving your pet. Ask yourself: How much is too much? How long do I keep trying to save them? What kind of quality of life is my pet getting? Before the CT scan, I had already decided I would not do surgery of the tumor had spread, even a little bit.
  • Having a great vet who knows your dog, and knows when to be concerned, is a blessing. Find a good one. We have and we love her.
  • Blood work before surgery is a must for my vet, I am guessing it is for most medical procedures involving anesthesia, but ask your vet beforehand. If my vet had not run Daisy’s blood work, she could have had a seizure on the operating table and/or could have died.
  • The University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center is a great place and filled with amazing people. They are responsive and kind and always willing to help.
  • Be okay with saying “No” to a procedure if you feel it is not beneficial to your pet or will not extend their life. I had a hard time with this one at first. There is always one more procedure that can be performed, one more drug given, but in the end you have to decide if it is worth it.
  • Get pet insurance. I wish I had. The costs add up quickly. My costs went above the estimated price, by a lot. Be prepared for it to do so.

 

 

 

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