Our beautiful pup is gone

Today her pains meds just couldn’t keep up with Meeko’s pain which had radiated throughout her spine and all four limbs. We returned to the vet who was unable to do anymore for her and the terribly difficult decision was made.

She died in our arms, with our tears soaking her coat. At least she is no longer suffering and we still have puppy Ranger to love and provide care.

Some research last night revealed that the breeder’s father and brother were convicted of maltreatment and were forced to shut down a puppy mill. We had no idea when we bought her, but have learned a very tough lesson.

No Miracles

Today marks a week since the last day that our energetic young German Shepherd was a puppy and marked the day she turned into an 18 week old lady, ataxic, in pain.

We hoped for a miracle, hoped that the medications would at least improve her quality of life enough for her to enjoy it.  Instead, she has become a cowering, fearful little dog that can hardly get up, spends her days prone, usually on her side, panting and periodically yelping in pain.  Where she used to anxiously jump and leap to get outside and run, now she reluctantly barely clears the threshhold to relieve herself and cowers back into the cool tile of the utility room.  The meds were supposed to at least make her more comfortable, but she won’t be tricked into eating them, hiding in a pill pocket, a dough ball, or a bit of cheese.  This requires the old fashioned holding her snout up and forcing them down her throat and raising her head causes more pain and they upsetting her stomach.

Ranger senses something is wrong, sleeping near her, resting a paw on her paws, which even sometimes causes her pain, nosing her gently as he passes her, but no longer trying to engage her in play.

She yelps and I cry.   As the days pass, she becomes weaker, more wobbly and cries out more in pain, especially when trying to change position of the floor.

No miracles here, but lots of gentle love as we try to wait out the two week medication schedule, still hoping for that miracle.  If it doesn’t come, I guess she will be in my arms as we are forced to put her out of her pain and suffering on next Tuesday, our scheduled vet visit and I will cry some more.

Sad Day

On Wednesday, Meeko, our 17 week old German Shepherd, that we purchased 3 weeks ago as a companion puppy to our 15 week old English Mastiff puppy,  suddenly developed a serious medical issue.  Yesterday, she was lethargic, would not eat or drink, yelped if we touched her collar or sometimes other parts of her body and layed around all day in the utility room.  Last night she would not even come upstairs and kennelled downstairs for the night.
This morning when I went down to let her out, she had fouled her cage and was laying in it, unable to rise.  I helped her up to go outside and she staggered and fell several times going only a couple dozen feet.  She fell again outside and couldn’t get up. She yelped when I tried to pick her up and help her back inside.  As we already had an appointment for Ranger to get his rabies shot, we called the vet to see if she could be seen as well. 

After exam and xrays, we were referred to the Virginia Tech teaching hospital for a neurological exam.  We spent nearly 4 hours there and left with no diagnosis except that she was having neurological problems.  We could drive to Vienna, VA for an MRI that would not diagnose the problem, but would rule out a congenital vertebral issue at a cost of more than $2000.  That test would require we have her anthesized and as she has a heart murmur and we would have to have an echo cardiogram before they would do that.  None of these tests would be conclusive.  They also discussed drawing spinal fluid also under anesthesia to see if maybe it was an infection or inflammation, but the bottom line is that there is no treatment that would cure her, only possible put her into a remissive state with strong chance of repeat episodes.  She will likely always be ataxic, may have respiratory failure or other organ failure and probably in pain.

We left with a round of antibiotics, prednisone, and pain meds to try to relieve her symptoms.
Ranger is confused, not understanding why she is having to be kennelled, can’t play and is not responsive to him.  My hubby is sad and confused also.

I didn’t want to get attached to another dog after we had to put down our Old English Sheepdog a few years back, and tried not to get emotionally attached to the two puppies, however, I cried and will likely have to cry some more when we are probably faced with the decision in a week or two of having to do the same with her.  It hurts to have such a sick puppy whose outlook is deterioration not improvement.    She is a beautiful, sweet little dog, but so very ill.

Progress

     Today we joined the contemporary technology age.  A couple of years ago we purchased a flat screen HD TV, but the DVD and DVD/VCR players were 6 years old and older, so watching videos was iffy.  In December as we had the basement project well under way, we replaced the TV with a larger flat screen Plasma TV for the main part of the house planning on moving the slightly smaller HD TV to the basement.  This move ended all use of movie watching unless the movie was on cable TV as we could get picture but no sound.  Yesterday, we hung the TV in the basement and today we purchased 2 DVD/blue ray players that connect via HDMI cables instead on the old school triple cable system connections and a 6 bin bookcase to go under the basement  TV to hold one of the players, movies and board games for the kids.
     After assembling the ping pong table yesterday, the bookcase today, and setting up the players, we can watch TV and movies upstairs, and movies in the rec room.  Tomorrow, a double recliner to join the couch  will be delivered to finish the basic seating for the rec room.  We are still seeking a couple of bar stools made by a craftsman in Floyd, VA, but so far, we haven’t found his information at home and won’t see him at a craft show until July if we can’t turn up his contact information.
     Someday, we plan to buy a pool table to join the ping pong table.  We still need to install the roman shades, purchase the quilt for the bed, remat a painting and hang it and then we will be ready to enjoy this project that has been  in the works since early November.
     As far as puppy progress, we have had two good walks on a populated trail with our reluctant shepherd pup this week, including a meet and greet with an adult Golden that went well.  Hopefully we have turned the corner on her fear and stubbornness.  Now we need to teach both of them to come when called with consistency, not just when they are ready.


What a day!

     This was the last day of basement finishing, half day actually.  They also planed down a bathroom door that was difficult to close, refinished the edge and rehung the door.  While they were finishing up, we tripped down to the local garbage drop off, the post office and the local hardware store and bought 50 lbs of contractor mix and 25 lbs of white clover to seed the area that our friendly contractor neighbor plowed and harrowed to make it mowable eventually.

     After delivering the seed and a dozen 6 foot T posts back to the house, we picked up the pups and the solar electric fence charger that we bought yesterday for a return as it was too wussy to keep deer out of the garden.  The charger ended up being returned as they didn’t have the one we needed and off we went up the road to Southern States where we were able to get the correct charger, a ground rod and clamp.

     The pups then got about a 30 minute playtime at a park before Meeko had her individual training session.  This was a 70 minute waste of time.  She walked around the store a few times, then went into balk mode, flopped down on her side and refused to move.  This is the behavior that caused my meltdown yesterday.  The trainer’s assessment was that she was fearful, we already knew that, that she is still trying to assert dominance over us, we knew that also, but gave us no real suggestions about what to do. 

     After getting home, preparing and eating dinner, we went out to  sow the grass seed and clover, pick up rocks again,  and the puppies played, chasing each other, tossing grass clods, rooting their noses through the freshly plowed earth. By dark, there are still many many rocks, the seeding is done, the puppy is no closer to being trained and we are exhausted.  Now it is time for a milk stout, some TV and maybe some chocolate.

A week of randomness

     This week has been Camelot as far as the weather.  One freezing night, but not enough to hurt the garden, the flowering and newly leafed out trees.  All of the rain has been past sundown and by 8 o’clock the sun has reappeared.  It is indeed a congenial spot.

     The painting contractor has finally appeared to put the finishing touches on the basement, the ceiling has been painted with two coats, the can light assemblies assembled with lights, the fans and pool table lights rehung, the bar top given two coats so far of oil based clear finish.  Today on day two, they started the finishing of the log siding interior walls and repainted the inside of the exterior doors leading out of the walk out wall.  Reinstalled an outdoor drainspout that they did not install properly when they stained the exterior last summer and it blew down.  We are within a week of being able to mop the floor down there and move in the bedroom furniture, the couch and futon that will be in the rec room side, and hang the flat screen TV that will be down there.

     The puppies continue to try to establish dominance of each other.  Though Meeko is 10ish pounds lighter than Ranger, she will shoulder bump him out of the way to be the first dog out the door.  They had a vet visit on Tuesday for shots and it appears that Meeko has a heart murmur.  We are hoping she will outgrow it, as there is no way we would call in the health guarantee on her, requiring us to return her to Pennsylvania and to await another litter to be born whenever that would be.  We had them both micro chipped while we had them at the vets.  Both do well riding in the car, sometimes on top of each other, at other times at opposite ends of the back of the SUV.  We have had several leash training sessions on populated trails this week and Ranger seems to have finally caught on.  Meeko is still either resisting or pulling depending on the moment.  She is also fairly skittish and overreacts to the wind, a car noise, or a barking dog.  She does not want to meet new dogs that are larger than she.  We hope this is just a function of having been born and raised 14 weeks in the midst of an Amish community with no motor vehicular traffic, in a pen she shared only with her litter mates and alone for at least several days.

     After two years of mono filament around my garden it no longer keeps the deer out, they go right through it, so I tried stringing old VHS tape around the garden.  When strung firmly, it vibrates in the slightest breeze and allegedly scares the deer away.  During the day, it glitters like mirrors and that is supposed to keep the squirrels and crows out.  Almost as soon as I finished and came inside, the wind picked up strongly and the next morning, the tape was fluttering in long ribbons and tangled in every stake and weed in and around the garden.  I guess I am going to have to go with a couple of strands of solar powered electric wire, but I want to get a 3 foot wide weed free barrier around the beds before I do that so that I’m not having to weed eat under it.  I thought the garden was going to be easier this year, just weeding and planting, but I guess not.  I think I may rent a mini tiller to do the band, layer newspaper several layers thick and top with a hefty layer of straw or mulch then put the fence stakes right through that layer.

     Knitting and spinning have been a non priority since we added the second pup.  I continue to work on the same two projects that have been on the needles for 5 weeks.  Spinning has virtually ceased as it requires me to hold my left hand at head height and my shoulder is still bothering me if taxed at all inspite of the cortisone shot earlier this spring.  I guess it will never be right after 34 years.

     I have read several books in the past two months, the Hunger Games trilogy, the Girl with the Dragon tattoo trilogy, 11/22/63, and several others, but I can’t say I recommend any of them other than Sharyn McCrumb’s “The Ballad of Tom Dooly.”

Puppy Madness

Two pups rainy day
Terror chase in play
Around the dining room chairs.
Up the stairs,
Tumbles and growls,
Yips and scowls.
Ropes to tug
No, don’t chew on the rug.

This best describes the activity this morning.  Hope the rain stops so we can walk them outdoors for a while today.  Second day of wet, wind, hail, thunder, and lightening.

Certifiable

It is confirmed that being retired makes you impulsively a bit off center. Since we picked up Ranger, aka Pup 1, we have discussed that having a second dog to grow up with him was a good idea, but we have a July trip to Florida planned to visit daughter and family, taking grandson 1 with us and all going to Disney world.

Ranger has spent the past weeks riding around in the mountains with us in the car so that he continues to like the car rides and will go with us. Daughter has a vet friend with a new practice, hospital, and boarding facility and the plan is to board their golden and Ranger for the couple days we are in Disney. So far the plan is workable.

Last week, when Ranger had his play date, we realized that he is a rough and tumble player and that waiting until he is 6-7 month old to get another puppy
might not work, that he might totally intimidate a puppy. We discussed what kind of second dog we wanted, vacillating between another mastiff and a German Shepherd. I grew up with two shepherds and have a fondness for them. After checking with daughter to see if we could bring two young dogs with us and getting an affirmative, we started our search, looking at both mastiffs and shepherds. We found an Amish breeder in Lancaster, PA with two 14 week old female shepherds, AKC registered, for a very low price and gave them a call at their family owned hardware store, confirmed that they still had one of them and set off yesterday with Ranger, to check her out. Because she is two weeks older than he is, she is similar in size, though not as heavy and seems more agile, so we are hopeful that the adjustment to each other is quick.

We are now on our way back to SW Virginia with Meeko, a 14 week old female GSD and Ranger, the 12 week old male OEM in the back, her in a travel kennel until they are better acquainted and him loose in the back where he prefers to travel. He wanted to play when he was out of the kennel and the space is too limited and she was still a bit intimidated by the whole process.

The trip was interesting as Lancaster is still very Amish populated outside of town and we saw many open and closed horse drawn carts, a 6 draft horse team plowing, and lots of dairy farms.



Farm life, knitting and spinning, cooking and family