There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Monday, January 12, 2009

Almost mid-January....YIPEEEEEEE...

...and that means Spring is almost here, right? Yup, that's what I'm thinkin! The weather has calmed down a bit and we have had just over-cast, grey days; no snow, no rain, no garage flooding, no plow berms....and that is a good thing. The snow thrower has 500 dollars worth of gear box ills, we have diesel in the drum in the garage and while the tractor decided to get sick in first neutral and not start, it will start in the other neutral gears. That will be a fix-it for Spring and spring is right around the corner!!!

Guido must be feeling a little bit of Spring fever because he jumped onto the kitchen counter (he is not a jumper because he is a bit on the pudgy side) and was checking out the thermometer and weather out the window. I wish I could have captured the jumping down because he was a big fraidy cat!

This is a rare sighting...BoyZ in the hood...Guido and Fuzz napping on the bed...Fuzz and anyone other than maybe Mimi Louise sleeping on the bed together is a photo event .

And lastly....our sweet Penelope. Here is the long story. Penny was mildly limping the day before we left for California in November. She did OK at the doggie spa while we were gone, but the limping started again and was worse after a few days home. She went to the vet, was diagnosed with an inflamed shoulder and started on Rimadyl twice a day for 2 weeks. As soon as she went off the Rimadyl she got considerably worse. So, back to the vet for a change of meds....Metacam and a pain pill three times a day. We tried that for two weeks but she got progressively worse. Back to the vet for lab work and a discussion of how far we wanted to go with diagnostics and treatments.....ranges were conservative to bombs away.

Around Christmas time we were able to talk with the woman who originally got Penelope as a puppy when she was in 7th grade. We now know that Penny is 13. I have described Penny's environment up to the time we took her as ours in other posts, but it bears repeating. She lived outside 365 days a year no matter the weather. She ate whatever food was on sale and supplemented her diet with a variety of animal left behinds and other not so nice animal stuff. She drank from a coffee can placed under a leaky faucet and when that water froze, she ate snow. She was clawed by skunks and raccoons, hit several times by cars and was never bathed. When her brother went lame, he was shot and buried in the woods. Penny's fate would have been the same. You have to realize that in my little, tiny, very rural part of Sandpoint, dogs are just dogs. They are rarely considered part of the family and are kept mainly to scare off strangers and bears, skunks and other unwanted visitors. When they become a liability, they are gone. Penny never had vaccinations, never had a rabies shot, flea treatments....nothing. Penny simply took care of herself.

When she came to live with us she was groomed, slept inside on a sheepskin bed and ate the same brand of healthy food, got vitamins every day and had her water changed daily. She also had to walk up and down 17 stairs every time she wanted to go potty, for a walk or to get into the car for a ride. Those stairs have probably contributed to this problem now more than any other thing. There is no stair solution other than keeping her ups and downs to a minimum.

The last discussion with the vet came down to conservative care...mainly because of her age and tolerance for aggressive diagnosing . She is now on a loading dose of Prednisone and will taper to a daily dose in another few days. The limp is still very evident, but it is better. She goes back to the vet Wednesday for another evaluation and possibly follow up x-rays. She also now has worms. She just can't seem to break that animal left over dinning habit....and the home she came from (across the street) now has a new dog that is destined to live the same life Penny did and that life includes fleas and flea worms....try and figure out what is hidden between the lines.

It breaks our hearts to see her struggle to do the activities that came so easily to her just a few months ago. She pants for no reason, seems tired and kind of worn out. The vet laughed at me but in a good way when I asked her if dogs became "addicted" to pain meds. She said she doubted Penny would rob a pharmacy to get her Tramadol, but that a tolerance could be expected with increasing doses needed in the future.

So, our sweet Penny is in her golden/silver/grey years and we will do everything possible to keep her comfortable. Kiss, kiss my sweet old girl.


sageweb said...

Oh sweetie, I know how hard it is when you see your babies in pain. I myself can't hold it together. As long as Penny is comfy she will be fine.
The cat pics are adorable.

jan said...

It seems unfair that we can love them so much, but their time with us is so limited. Sagebrush is right, she just needs to be comfortable and loved.

Mom said...

Those pretty yellow curtains of yours make it look like spring has already come to your house.
Poor Penny. Just keep on loving her and doing what you are doing. Cherish all the love she brings into your days.

Miss Healthypants said...

Oh my gosh, it was just heartbreaking to read what Penny's previous life was like! Poor pup!!!! Seriously--it almost made me cry.

I just finished reading the book "Marley and Me" about a week I'm sooo sentimental toward dogs right now.

Live long and be happy, Penny-girl!!

Miss Healthypants said...

By the way, just that picture of her alone almost makes me cry. (Damn this wretched PMS! *grin*)

kenju said...

I'm sorry to hear about Penny's troubles. I hope she can stay comfortable for a long time.

madretz said...

awwweee, poor little penny and her mommy...i can't stand to hear of a fur family member who is starting to slow down, but she is well loved the good, happy girl. Scratches behind the ear from me.

Shammickite said...

People like your neighbour across the road shouldn't be allowed to keep dogs. If they can't be trusted to look after an animal in a caring and kind manner, then no dog for you, buster!
Poor Penny, I feel sad that she is probably coming to the end of her life.... but you have done wonders for her and given her a much longer life that she would have had with her former family. It seems that a number of bloggers are going through locing treasured pets right now. They really become part of the family don't they?
And spring is just around the corner???? Which corner are you talking about? Did you get lost in the forest?
Spring is 3 months away for me!

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I had a little poodle named Penny as a child. I'll pray for your sweet Penny. {{{HUGS}}}

more cowbell said...

Hugs to Penny and to you. That's hard. i wish their life spans were as long as ours. I freak out already, thinking about something happening to Batman or Mason. Mason we kind of have always been half prepared for, because he was probably 9 or 10 (?) when we adopted him 2 years ago, and he had a hard life, too, including being abused by whomever had him before he was rescued. He has a heart murmur and funky hips, so I'm actually somewhat amazed that he's still going strong. Anyway, even the THOUGHT of going through those difficult decisions with them throws my brain into freakout mode.

My mom is going through something similar to your situation with her 14yr old Yorkie. Now I am not a fan of little yappers, but Mom loves this little guy like nothing else, AND she lost her 2 cats this past year. It's so hard.

You already know that you guys gave Penny such a wonderful life -- if she's happy and comfortable, she'll be ok, Rosemary, it's just so damn hard on the people, isn't it? Good thoughts to you.