Saturday, October 17, 2015

Two Dogs





My faithful thirteen year old golden retriever/ husky/ border collie mix who was diagnosed in April with terminal liver failure is still very much alive and enjoying life immensely at this time. She is thriving on a prescription diet of canned venison and potatoes along with commercially available cans of lamb with gravy and pacific seafood. It turns out that my Blondie adores fish. This is something that I never knew about her until late this summer when she began refusing all things made with chicken, including boiled chicken that I was making for her myself in our kitchen.


As her illness progressed, Blondie also began refusing carrots, potatoes, cottage cheese, yogurt, and rice. We found that she would accept the canned deer food but not the wet chicken or duck from the same company. As her system calmed down with a med adjustment, she accepted low fat dog biscuits, plain bran cereal, and a rare lick of soft vanilla ice cream.


Blondie is now in hospice stages but doing well. She is sleeping more but still active. She loves her daily hikes in the woods and swimming in the local ponds and creeks. She will give chase to chipmunks and squirrels, play with local dogs, tangle with backyard skunks, and bounce along with richochet rabbit. [She and her best friend did both in one week in August].


Blondie's best doggie buddy-- an eight year old Australian Cattle Dog Hound Dog mix-- has recently come to live with us of her own volition. Both dogs have settled in happily together. Blondie and Hermione together make a fantastic duo in the woods. Together they have spent a happy summer and fall exploring the tantalizing smells in the nearby woods and swamps. They also participate in obedience together, car rides, trips to the pet shop, and visiting friends and family.


I regret that there are no photos today. My computer is not co-operating with the uploading of such. Perhaps next post.


sapphoq on life says: If you are not able to commit to walking a dog, spending time with a dog, and training a dog then please do not get a dog. Dog ownership is not for everyone. There is no shame in admitting that it may not be for you. Thanks!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Grief Edumacation Group




     Since Dad died, I haven't really felt any agonizing grief or deep holes within. I do miss him. I also understand that he was done for long before he actually died. The Lewy Body Dementia in his brain dictated that to be so.

     I did have a month or two where I did sleep a bit more than usual. Yeah, I also respected my needs to be alone or to socialize. I did need a bit more solitude and so I stuck to smaller gatherings rather than parties. I wasn't in a party mood and that was fine.

     Three months and a few days out. 

     I've been to the grief support group at the hospice that meets monthly. It's a small group throughout the winter but nice.

     I saw that hospice was offering a six-week once-a-week grief education group so I signed up. I was expecting education. But it really wasn't.

     The composition of the group is made up of several siblings who lost a parent, several spouses, the moderator, and me. Tears and tissue boxes. And the sentiment expressed was, "It's nice to be with people who understand."

     I think I was the only one not crying out of the bunch.

     And although I am not a separatist of any description, I did learn a couple of things. When my mother buried my step-father and didn't tell me until two weeks later, I experienced "disenfranchised grief." And every once in a while, thinking that I don't have to rush back to check on Dad, that's called "adjusting to not having a caregiver role anymore." It's nice to have the word labels.

     And I really do like the Grief Education Group, in spite of the fact of it being somewhat mis-named. Just as well really. Had it been named something else like "Early Grieving Support Group" I would not have signed up. I reluctantly admit that the group is helping me. I'm not in the same place or even close by as the other folks in the group are. Then again, I've been pegged before with the "marches to her own drum" so this should not be a surprise. I do feel miles away in terms of where my grief is compared to that of the others there. Also not a news flash.

     There are differences in belief systems-- I don't have one-- to be sure. That much is evident by what other folks there talk about. I don't make an issue of my non-belief out in public unless someone is trying to convert me or verbally attacks me or asks me about my religious practices outright. There has been no reason for me to self-identify as an atheist at the grief group so I haven't.

     The similarities. I am the youngest one there. But not by much. We all say yes to coffee or hot chocolate or tea. None of us have touched the food brought in for us. We all speak English. [I don't know if anyone speaks other languages or not like I do]. All of us have experienced the death of a loved one since December 2015. All of our loved ones died with hospice services and supports. We are all human beings. That will have to be enough.

     Life is incredible. And I love living.

sapphoq on life

Monday, March 09, 2015

The Dog is Brilliant-- Not So Much




     My dog is almost thirteen years old. She gets daily exercise, discipline, and affection. [Love ya', Cesar Millan!]. She is an excellent canine citizen. She does not bark excessively or run loose in the neighborhood. I pick up after her. [I don't leave stinky presents on other peoples' properties]. She is obedience trained. 

If for some reason, you want to save this picture to your computer or to reupload it to social media, you are free to do so although I don't know why you would want to.
If you are a copyright troll, you are not welcome here. I took the photo with my cell phone and altered it with my legally obtained copy of digital software. So go away.
     
     Her age has been catching up with her. She does have some age-related changes in motility and vision. So far she is holding her own.

     She got sick and has been to the vet twice in three days. As it turns out, Blondie has two bacterial infections. One of them is caused by the ingestion of rabbit feces. I figure she must have thought of them as doggie snacks that appeared magically just for her to eat.

     We've had "the talk" about what to eat and what not to eat. I suspect that she tuned me out.

     She wisely stopped eating [on her own] for a day. Today she is taking in small amounts of boiled chicken and rice. She has antibiotics and also an under the skin "camel pack" to prevent any further dehydration.

     Tomorrow, I get to inspect our back yard for those pesky rabbit pellets. The other possibility is that she has been sneaking them when we go walking in the woods.

sapphoq on life says: Owning a dog is a huge responsibility and investment of time and money. Constant watchfulness helps in keeping them safe from things like eating rabbit poop. 
     The vet said, "Most dogs like [boiled] hamburger better than [boiled] chicken." I didn't really know which Blondie prefers. She doesn't get people food. Well, now she will until she is cleared up.
     An acquaintance has suggested killing the [wild] rabbits and feeding them to the dog. I'd rather eat them myself. Rabbit is good eating!