Oh No, it's almost nasty biter blood sucker season again! Spring does have it's price. Our poor dogs and cats are constantly immersed in various chemical concoctions designed to kill and repel ticks and fleas. We all want our animals to thrive, but what can we do? Having our pets absorb pesticides 24/7 is definitely not a good thing. What of the ingestible repellants? I have never tried them with my animals. Is a natural essential oil based product safer? I have my doubts. I have a rule: Keep the pets away from the essential oils. I can use soap with essential oils just fine, but I will never wash my Izzy with an essential oil containing soap. Sure, the soap washes away, but what if she sneaks in a body lick while getting soaped up or before thoroughly rinsed? I am just too paranoid. Here is a recent thing I read about natural flea and tick treatments:
There really isn't much to say. Capricious the Boss Queen rules. Izzy really needs a new blanket!
Since we have one sweet Capricious kitty, a slow growing hermit crab (Greeny), and two super cute bunnies (Georgia and Paul) as well as Izzy our BFF bed dog, I decided it was way past time to include them in the blog. Stories and pictures will begin to appear on a very random schedule. A house full of animals and children is a comfy friendly house full of life!
Our kitty Moody Capricious has finally gained indoor acceptance after a garage/outdoor shelter life, and she is completely adorable and enjoying her new more luxurious life.
It seems usually that cats get more acceptance as indoor pets than dogs, doesn't it? In our household, the reverse has held true. I love cats and have usually accomodated several before we came to our current living arrangement. If the cats proved to be good about not peeing or pooping in unauthorised places, they enjoyed indoor status. If they had strange proclivities like peeing in the laundry hamper or pooping in places other than a litter box, they had to be content with outdoor status and shelters. I have never invested in fancy furniture or house fixtures, so I never counted swinging from the curtains or climbing the couches as intolerable behavior. Our current adorable kitty came to us a couple of years ago (could be two or three actually, I have not kept an accurate count). My daughter pled for Capricious to get an indoor life trial, and finally succeeded in overcoming the fear of nastiness and most animals in general barrier erected by her extremely order conscious Grandmother with the caveat that my daughter would deal with any deficits in hygiene immediately. We have been working with Izzy to squash the urge to chase cats and other smaller animals since she came to live with us and our efforts have really paid off! We gradually allowed the two animals to touch noses through a cracked door way. When Capricious finally got to come inside, we sequestered Izzy in her room and let her visit on a leash. I made her sit immediately upon site of Capricious and stay seated, regardless of what the cat did. If Izzy was still in vigilant go for it dog mode, I would make her lie down. This broke her focus on the kitty and also instilled a submission response. Gradually, we have left the leash behind and Izzy is doing quite well. Her worst sin of the moment is trying to sniff Capricious kitty's butt when she moseys past. This has gotten Izzy cat smacked which promps her to flee. (Capricious kitty came to us with no front claws, so the smacks never result in injury) I am still vigilant for cues of what may come between the animals, but so far, things are going really well. Kitty comes into our room and even sleeps with us. She also likes to lurk and do quick Izzy ambushes and then dart away which leaves Izzy looking bemused but definitely non aggressive. I felt really bad for not being able to let our kitty dwell inside after we discovered that she was missing her claws, but it took quite a while for my mother to relax her paranoia. She seems to be a bit afraid of cats, but is truly improving!
It has been a while since I have felt like writing on behalf of the dog. I'm the type whose tongue is stilled by grief and I find more solace in silent withdrawal than in reaching out. I like to live in my private memories and dream with my Po. I do dream her and it is comforting. Izzy is more comfortable with her solo role now as our constant companion. She also has a social life. Izzy accompanies my grown up daughter on her work out hikes in the beautiful parks locally. I know this is a welcome break from being the constant companion to the physically compromised. She never complains or gets rowdy about being a mostly bed dog at home though. Izzy would like to love our cat, but our Capricious kitty still isn't ready to love her back. They have touched noses through partially open doors and that is as far as Capricious is willing to go. Izzy finds the unwashed and unsorted alpaca and sheep fibers that I work with intriguing and loves to smell them deeply. I wonder what images fill her mind? She likes to sniff the air wafting from my workspace when I'm making soap, although she isn't allowed in the same room. She waits patiently for me to finish and give her a nice hotdog for her loyalty. I ran across an interesting story today as Izzy snoozed beside me, and it is a story that resonates with our own in some ways. Since good smells, healthful herbs, and great companions can make such a profound difference in our lives, I thought it good to share this story:
My beloved Po has been gradually failing for a while with various strange ailments. A couple of years ago she began to suffer odd bouts of lameness that traveled from leg to leg, her skin was prone to rashes as well as numerous growths, she had strange hormone fluctuations, allergies and an easy susceptibility to infections. She was so well behaved and so strong in her love for her family. She made it through many bouts of unwellness, but the one that set in a few weeks ago was the final one for her. It seemed that numerous problems started hitting at once and not remitting like they had in the past. Her lameness came to stay, her nose started crusting in a tiny spot that spread to cover it entirely and her nasal passages became inflammed. Her eyes stayed red and the odd patches of thin hair around her ears began to spread. Her last heat cycle was abnormal and she didn't have any pseudo puppies at the end as she has had in the past. She has made it through all of this before I told myself. with some steroids, antibiotics and such she can make it through again. But, my wonderful dog lost nearly 20 pounds in two weeks and finally starterd vomitting. Due to her having an autoimmune seeming collection of problems, it has long been my suspicion that she would develop a terminal cancer. She did. Her vet finally confirmed my lupus suspicion and that there was a large tumor. Her poor organs were failing and all her blood supply was feeding the monster inside. And yet my beautiful dog had so much courage and tried so hard to show everyone how much she loved them. No way was I going to let her get any worse off. The vet helped Po pass in the most comfort she has felt in a long time. She died peacefully in my lap this morning.
When it comes to our animal companions, none of us ever want to be caught short of cash when they need health attention, but it happens. None of us have infinite resources and sometimes life just sends too many things our way all at once and our wallets just aren't deep enough! So, we must educate ourslelves and develop a degree of medical self sufficiency. This applies to the needs of our pets too. I know how to administer injections, but I don't like to. First I learned how to give shots to horses, because I had a deep passion for them and spent most of my life riding, training and caring for them. Dogs have always been in my life too. Incredible, loyal beautiful dogs. There is SO much that I still don't know how to do for my dogs, but I know a little. I can vaccinate them and give other injections in a pinch, but I don't like to. I can give manicures when I can reach their toe nails and when they cooperate. I'm sad to say that since this past July, my reach has been frustratingly limited. The girls nails have grown long and tough, so I'm going to get a file and let my daughter file them off a little each week so that the quicks recede. I can manage most wounds, do stitches if absolutely required, and remove stitches as well. I hate to do stitches without some sort of relatively safe anesthetic, and this can be hard to come by for a non professional.
I can sort out a number of bacterial and fungal infections, but once again-if you aren't a licensed professional, knowing and treating are two different things due to the restrictions placed on the cures. Years ago, I could get most anything at my local Co-Op. I have noticed a trend in people meds being prescribed by vets and given to their companion animals for such things as mood disorders and arthritis. Hmm. I'm dreadfully old fashioned in some of my thinking and I would never give my dog NSAIDs of any sort, or any kind of psychotropic drug. Behavioral therapy-yes, drugs for that-oh no. There are many minor health concerns that I can handle and many major ones that I certainly can't. Over the past year or so, Po has had some issues with growths. One lump was removed and although it was determined benign, I could really tell that it was making her sick. Another growth had popped up prior to the really scary lump that was somewhat distressing too. At first it looked like an extra nipple, since it was in that area behind her front leg and almost in line with her other nipples. Of course, I know dogs just don't spontaneously grow more nipples, and I decided to keep an eye on it. Well, it grew into a weird fleshy finger like dangler and I was horrified. Po didn't seem to mind it at all. The vet declared it to be a skin tag when I took her in for her lumpectomy and I was relieved. She also offered to remove it for around the same price as the other lump. Unfortunately, I had to save the skin tag for later since the lump surgery tapped me out for the next month or so. Well, my back got so bad that I had to stop my one job and there went the financing for removing the skin tag among other things I wanted to do for my good old girl. Many people commented on how awful it looked, dangling there like a boneless finger in the wrong place-most especially since dogs don't normally have fingers anywhere. Still, it seemed to give Po no trouble and we just put up with the comments, explaining that it was an ugly but harmless growth. Then, this past week, I noticed some alarming changes which set me to searching for a do-able solution. It was turning into more of a dangling ball rather than a finger! I could have let my oldest daughter cut it off and sew the small wound when she came to visit, but I was too chicken to make Po endure stitches sans anesthesia. Now, here we were a short time later and in the desperate zone! Great timing, I'm broke and crippled. I researched intensely and found a solution which has worked out extremely well, although if you consult your vet, you may be strongly advised against it. I disinfected a semi fat rubber band that had previously been on a bunch of broccolli and then I put that rubber band around the base of the disinfected tag as tightly a I could manage. All went according to plan, the blood supply was cut off from the tag which shriveled up and fell off after a week. Po showed no signs of discomfort during this process. She has a small wound that I treated with disinfectants. It hasn't even bled and if all goes well, it will be gone in another week. She also has what appears to be a lipoma that the vet said is also benign. I don't like it and am afraid that it will change into something dire, but I can do nothing about it. It will involve more and deeper cutting with far greater skill and sophisticated equipment that is beyond my reach or present hope of attainment.
It seems like it takes several years to fully train a really great dog. It seems that some dogs age quicker than others. Po has made it through a dreadful face tumor that thankfully turned out to be benign. She seems so young still to me, but now also has a bit of arthritis in her hind quarters. Some experts say that exercise can be beneficial for arthritis. Well, life experience has taught me otherwise. Sometimes, the more you move an afflicted area, the worse it hurts and becomes inflammed. Po takes life easy! No ridiculous demands are made of her. She has only to be. After the face lump, some other growths popped up and are increasing in size. Initially, Po's vet said that they too were benign-just some ugly skin tags. As soon as I (hopefully I will) recover from the latest ruptured discs/sciatica/arthritis flair up, I will be working more than full time so that I can get her next surgeries completed. She is no beauty queen, but she is the best dog! Of course, all of my dogs turn out to be the best! I mustn't forget to brag about our Izzy either. She has left her temporary indoor potty issues far behind, and has learned a very amusing trick of sitting like a squirrel to get noticed. I can't imagine a life without dogs. I wonder how dogless people manage?
It is so good to see less misery in Po's eyes! She is taking tramadol for her post op pain and at first I was worried about what it would do to her, but she seems to be tolerating the drug just fine. She is sleeping a lot, which I think is a good thing. Her appetite has improved too! We have all pretty much slept this Saturday away after such a rough week. The vets and techs at Cedar Lake Animal Hospital here in Simpsonville are always super nice and good with Po.