Poor Slugger….

I’m pretty technologically deficient, to say the least.  I had no clue WordPress kept drafts!  Turns out, I’ve got 102 of them.  Who knew?

Anyway, from the annals of Tales of Run A Muck Ranch, stories written but never published, I give you this from June, 2014:

Cue flashback music……

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Crabby took Morty and Slugger for a Boys’ Weekend in the cool pines in Northern Arizona.

I had to work today, so I wasn’t home when the menfolk and Slugger (he’ll never grow up) returned.

When I did get home, I found Slugger, in a condition I had never seen him in before, not even when he was plucked from the pound, mange and all.

His face, it was downcast.  His movement, slow.  His tail, not wagging.  I swear he lost weight.

Turns out,  the terrain in and around the campsite Crabby picked out was a wee bit more harsh than anticipated.  Morty can scale vertical walls all day without a break.  Slugger, he prefers soft ground, on no more than a 1% grade, with frequent stops.

Three of Crabby’s friends  also camped with the boys.  Unfortunately, when it came time to explore, none would stick to soft ground, on no more than a 1% grade, with frequent stops.

The result:

One exhausted Slugger.

 

What you are looking at is one pretty tired Slugger, so tired, he can't even eat the french fry placed in front of his nose.   For the record, Crabby has been grilled and chastised at length over the scrathes I found on Slug's groin area.  Crabby said the undergowth, like the terrain, was a little harsher than anticipated.  If you asked me, Crabby should have carried Slugger.
What you are looking at is one pretty tired Slugger, so tired, he can’t even eat the french fry placed in front of his nose.

Crabby has been chastised at length over Slugger’s condition, including the scratches on his (Slugger’s, not Crabby’s) groin area.  Crabby said the undergrowth, like the terrain, was harsher than anticipated.  If you ask me, Crabby should have carried poor Slug!

Since returning home, and under the care of his Mom, Slugger has been rehabilitated with lap time, fresh home made food, and a nap with mom.  Though still not moving very fast, and more prone to sleeping rather than playing, the tail is wagging again.

In the future, I think it best if Morty and Crabby leave Slugger behind.  He’s a Momma’s Boy not a Mountain Man.

 

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Cue return to present music…..

Slugger has gone camping since that traumatic experience, but his participation has been limited to those excursions that involve fishing and other stationary activities, more to Slugger’s mental and physical abilities, and his liking :)

 

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Happy Belated You’re Still Alive Day, Sarah!

In January, 2012, after a lengthy, year-long diagnostic process which started almost immediately after I scooped her up from the Westgate Mall parking lot and brought her home, Sarah was declared a hospice dog.

Sweet Sarah.
Sweet Sare Bear doesn’t deserve the problems she has.

At that vet visit, we discussed a treatment plan to keep Sarah as comfortable as possible for as long as we could.  The medications prescribed had multiple side effects.  If Sarah’s condition didn’t take her from us, those side effects would.

In that treatment plan discussion, the point of when to say when was brought up.  In order to keep her comfortable, the dosages of her medications would have to be incrementally increased from their already high starting point. Once we passed a certain dosage threshold, it would be time to say good-bye.  By that time, Sarah would be suffering from multiple health problems, none curable.  In January 2012, the vet said it would be 2 years or less.

Too much to live for!
Sare Bear has too much to live for!

It is now February 2015.  1 year past Sarah’s life expectancy, and she’s better than she ever was! Sarah has been off all of her meds since January 2014.  I can remember only 2 times in the last year when she’s needed Tramadol.  She still has her gimp, but she is able to walk longer, and over rougher terrain without pain, though we still stick to mainly level, non-rocky surfaces. In the last 6 or so months, she has even taken to playing with Slugger.

Butt scratches in Heaven couldn't possibly be as good as the ones Sarah gets from her Dad.  One more reason to stick around.
Butt scratches in Heaven couldn’t possibly be as good as the ones Sarah gets from her Dad. One more reason to stick around.

Getting Sarah off processed food, and designing her diet to her specific nutritional needs has been the key to making her new and improved, but it hasn’t cured her.  It’s only bought us more time by making Sarah healthier and better able to combat her physiological problems without pharmacological assistance.  There will come a day when Sarah will have to go back on her meds – of that there is no doubt – and the thresholds discussed 3 years ago will apply, but that’s a long way off now. That she is currently off of, and her system is healing, or has healed from the side effects of the drugs, says that we have reset the clock in a big way.

Sarah, January 2, 2015, 1 year past her life expectancy.  I LOVE this picture!
Sarah, January 2, 2015, 1 year past her life expectancy. I LOVE this picture!

Every day with Sarah is a treasure and we are the luckiest people in the world to call her family.

I sincerely feel bad for all of you who will never get to meet her in person. Just know, though she has never met you, she loves you!  She’s that kind of girl.

Heaven will just have to wait.  We need Sare Bear more.
Heaven will just have to wait. We need Sare Bear more.

.

Happy Homecoming Marcy!

Remember back when Marcy came to live with us?  She was delivered to me, as a foster kid (oh, the irony), in a live trap.  While it was believed she was only a couple of months old, she turned out to be at least 8 months.

Marcy, just before she was trapped.
Marcy, just before she was trapped.

Given she hasn’t grown a bit, other than her sense of entitlement, I think it safe to assume she was at least a year old.

Marcy and me, after we removed her from the trap.  We had to do it in a closed garage lest she escape.
Marcy and me, after we removed her from the trap. We had to do it in a closed garage lest she escape.

A year old, having grown up wild, without human intervention.  In other words, feral like a coyote.  At the time, we didn’t think she could be domesticated.

It seems like just yesterday, but it’s actually been 2 years, this month.  Golly time flies!

Life without the people bed....  to terrible a thought to even consider!
Life without the people bed…. too terrible a thought to even consider!

Marcy has come a long way since she was trapped.  She still has feral tendencies and is easily scared around ‘outsiders’, but I can honestly say she, more than any of the other kids, except for maybe Pablo, wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but Run A Muck Ranch.  If Crabby and I were hit by a truck and the kids had to find other homes, the rest, they’d be OK.  Heck, Slugger wouldn’t even notice the change!  Marcy wouldn’t be able to cope.  That’s not pride on my part talking, it’s reality.

Feeling better about life in captivity.
Feeling better about life in captivity.

It isn’t one thing about The Ranch that Marcy loves, it’s the sum of all the parts.  She would be fine without me, or Morty, or the Waggin’ Wagon, or her coyote beau who comes to visit her,  or anything else, assuming only one part was missing. But take away a few things, and Marcy would be significantly damaged.

Marcy at a play date, not of her choosing.
Marcy at a play date, not of her choosing.  She doesn’t like surprises.

This was her home since before she was born, it just took a while to for her to get here.  Sometimes, when I watch Marcy loving her life I wonder if everything in our lives up to February 2013 happened just to prepare for Marcy’s homecoming.

Marcy hating life.
Marcy hating life as a ‘domestic’ dog.

We love you Marcy, even if you did eat a pretty large chunk of the salad that I painstakingly prepared for my dinner tonight.

Thanks again to the folks at Pittie Me Rescue for doing what you do, and making it possible that Marcy could come home, even if I still believe someone did some serious Voodoo conjuring to make us put ourselves in the position to agree to ‘foster’ her.

Are You Really All That Surprised?

I’ve been studying nutrition for chronic pain in class and learned about the benefits of Vitamin B12 for ouchy dogs.

With Sarah in mind as my test subject, I carefully researched the best sources of Vitamin B12 I could add to her diet without increasing the caloric intake significantly.  It is the humble clam that contains the most B12 per gram than any other food.

Canned clams are not a consideration because who knows what contaminants got through in the processing?  Fresh is what it has to be.

The not so funny thing about fresh clams is that they’re alive, right up to many seconds after placing them into the steamer.

I presented myself several times at the seafood counter of my local grocery store, only to lose my nerve and return home absent the magical all natural Vitamin B12 boost for Sarah.

After a few weeks, I finally mustered the courage and purchased 6 fresh clams. Since I have never prepared clams before, I asked for advice at the seafood counter.

I was instructed to first put the clams in the refrigerator in a bowl of water for a couple of hours to allow them to ‘burp’ out any toxins they may have ingested, then place them in a rapidly boiling steamer until the shells open.

I can do this!

I figured, if fresh water is good, salt water would be better to ‘burp’ the clams in.  Remember, we have a salt water aquarium.  I put some salt water in a bowl, added the clams, then placed them in the refrigerator.

A while later, I prepared the double boiler, and brought the water to a rapid boil.

I then went to the refrigerator to retrieve the clams.  It was as I was reaching for the first clam, the first clam to be placed in the double boiler, the first live clam to be exposed to the steam of rapidly boiling water, that I noticed all 6 clams had extended their feet.  But as I reached for that first clam, all 6 quickly retracted their feet.

That was soooo not good!

I only had one choice at that point.

The pot that previously contained rapidly boiling water, with which to steam open the clams.
The pot that previously contained rapidly boiling water, with which to steam open the clams.
Rather than ending up in the pot, the clams ended up in the sump of our aquarium, after a lengthy acclimation process.
Rather than ending up in the pot, the clams ended up in the sump of our aquarium, after a lengthy acclimation process.

The clam were moved to the main tank today.
The clam were moved to the main tank today.
This is Wesley.  He was poking his foot out earlier this evening, so he was removed from the bowl and turned loose in the aquarium,
This is Wesley. He was poking his foot out earlier this evening, so he was removed from the bowl and turned loose in the aquarium,

Wesley sticking his foot out today was the first sign of life I’ve seen since Thursday.  There’s been no movement out of the other 5, at least so far.  Realistically, we can’t put too much hope in any of them surviving, but at least they have a better shot in a salt water aquarium than a cooking pot.

It is our sincerest hope that tomorrow morning Wesley will be burrowed into the sand, never to be seen again, and that he won’t realize he’s no longer in the sea.  It is also our hope that, like the dogs, Wesley forgets he came from a bad place – a bed of ice at the seafood counter of a grocery store.

Welcome to Run A Muck Ranch Wesley Clam!  May you live a long and sedentary life!

Once Again Trauma Strikes Run A Muck Ranch

Sarah’s nails are getting a little long, so I decided to trim them.   She’s is one of the easier kids to give a mani/pedi to, rarely even waking up for it.

As easy as Sarah is to work with, only a moron could possibly quick her.   I would be that moron.  The event was traumatic for both of us.

The toe was cleaned, flour applied to slow the bleeding, and Sarah given a cheese transfusion to help her make it through the shock.

 

It looks worse than it appears.  I used flour to stop the bleeding.  Anyone who's ever used flour for this purpose knows you're just creating red paper mache.
It looks worse than it appears. I used flour to stop the bleeding. Though it does the trick, it ends up becoming red paper mache and makes it look like you chopped the entire toe off.  I assure you, all Sarah’s toes are in tact!

 

Anyone who has ever trimmed nails has at one time or another quicked one.  In all these years of toe wrangling, I have never seen a bleeder as bad as Sarah.   It seemed like she lost buckets.

 

We're losing her!  We're losing her!
We’re losing her! We’re losing her!

Once the bleeding finally slowed, I bandaged the foot.

 

Feet are never fun to bandage.  Put it on too loose and it falls off.  Too tight and the foot swells up.
Feet are never fun to bandage. Put it on too loose and it falls off. Too tight and the foot swells up.

 

As you can see, Sarah is still very weak from the trauma.

Once bandaged, Sarah was forced to spend the rest of the afternoon confined to the couch.

 

As you can see, couch confinement was a bitter pill to swallow.
Couch confinement was a bitter pill to swallow.

 

 

It's a terrible life.
It’s a terrible life.

At one point Sarah seemed to be in distress.

 

Gasp....Need chickin!
Gasp….Neeeeed chickin!

 

So a piece of chicken set aside from the people dinner was administered.

 

That's better.
Able to relax again!

 

An hour or so later, we decided it would be a good idea for Sarah to ambulate, so I helped her off the couch.

 

Groan.... too soon Mom!
Groan…. too soon Mom!

 

I think a little something in the way of a late evening snack might help me gain my strength back.  Just sayin...
I think a little something in the way of a late evening snack might help me gain my strength back. Just sayin…

 

Just what the doctor ordered!
Just what the doctor ordered!

 

After the strength injecting mini meal, Sarah was able to go outside to relieve herself and chase some hoo doos.

Upon return to the house, however, she hadn’t the strength to get back on the couch, or should I say, fight for her spot which had been taken by Morty, Gracie, Franky, Hector, Emmi and Pablo.  She had no other choice but to just go to bed.

 

Sarah being tended to by Nurse Marcy.
Sarah being tended to by Nurse Marcy.

And for the record…  the bandage is STILL on, even after an outside romp!

One by one the other Run A Muck Ranch dogs are quietly paying homage to Sarah, thanking her for taking one for the team.  Because of her sacrifice, it is highly unlikely I will attempt a toenail trim on any of the other kids any time soon.

 

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Word to the newbies:  Unless there is food involved, a walk, a ride somewhere, a visitor, or a bunny in the back yard, Sarah isn’t the most motivated of creatures in the world.  The photos you see are not of a dog suffering, but a dog in her natural state.  I did 2 other nails before I realized I quicked her.  She didn’t even bother to wake up when it happened.

Poor Emmi

Back at the end of December, we found Emmi like this:

Taken when we got home from the vet.  Look how her forehead is puffy and the left side of her face is hanging.  It wasn't like that just a few hours before!
Taken when we got home from the vet. Look how her forehead is puffy and the left side of her face is hanging. It wasn’t like that just a few hours before!

Yup, within 2 hours of finding this, we were at the vet.  As fast as it came on, and the way it presented, despite the winter season, the vet immediately went to the possibility of a snake bite.   Turns out, as they were shaving the side of her head looking for a bite, they were instead greeted with the popping of an abscess.   It was drained and flushed, and Emmi sent home with antibiotics.

24 hours later.   Much better!
24 hours later. Much better!

It never occurred to me that the 7 days of Clavamox dispensed by the vet wouldn’t be sufficient until at day 10, the abscess was re-filling, and Emmi was acting as if ‘something’ was wrong in her front end.  Back to the vet we went.  At the time, Emmi wasn’t telling the vet where it hurt, so we assumed the ‘unidentified pain’ was due to the spread of infection and/or the discovery of an old broken tooth that might be starting to bother her.

The first available appointment to pull the broken tooth was an entire week later.  We made the appointment and took Emmi home with a 2 week supply of Clavamox and pain killers.

As the week progressed, it seemed Emmi’s ‘front end’ pain, though sporadic, worsened, so back to the vet we went.  Poke, prod and bend as he did, the vet couldn’t find a single trigger for the pain.  What he did do was make room to get Emmi’s tooth pulled a day earlier, and promised to look for anything that could be causing the ‘phantom pain’.

The surgery came and went.  Emmi came home and got bouncy, and then the pain came back.  At this point, the vet said to test her for Valley Fever.  That she was immunocompromised for nearly a month already had me guessing she would show a titer now.  Sure enough, she showed a 1:4.  According to the vet, problem solved.  Return to Fluconazole.  No further investigation necessary.

The Emmi we all know and love.
Crazy Emmi. 

Now I know there are people who will disagree with me, especially anyone with a DMV in the State of Arizona, but I lived with Symptomatic Valley Fever Emmi for a few years.  Despite religious adherence to treatment, Emmi still hurt. Her titers never wavered.  In November 2013, I titer checked her (1:16, her usual read), changed her diet and took her off ‘treatment’.  She has not needed pain killers since December 2013.  May and November 2014, she was negative for titers.  I really can’t be blamed for not rushing back to ineffective treatment over a 1:4 which occurred under circumstances of a long-term infection!  Besides, I know Symptomatic Valley Fever Emmi, and what we were now experiencing was completely different!

So what was I to do when the vet handed down the blanket Valley Fever diagnosis?  Go to another vet, give the recent history, but lie and say last week’s Valley Fever test was negative!

The result:

During the exam, ‘symmetrical bleeding’ was found at the back of both of Emmi’s eyes.

Subdued Emmi.
Subdued Emmi.   

Pain in Emmi’s jaw and a reluctance to bend her chin to her chest resulted in x-rays.  Something peculiar appeared at the jaw.  It’s unclear if it’s a healing fracture, an anomaly, or ‘something else’.   The vet is posting those x-rays to a vet board to see if anyone can identify what’s going on.  Also, there is old damage to her neck, and bone restructuring on one of her shoulders.

As far as the eyes, possible causes could be trauma, genetic, and if you live in the Southwest and no other cause can be determined, Valley Fever.  Emmi will get a re-check in 2 weeks to see if there are any changes.  Slugger will go along to see if, by chance, he has the same bleeding.  If they both have it, it is what it is, and we’ll have to prepare ourselves for eye problems, which can include blindness, as they enter their golden years.  Family is family, no matter what the health status.

If Slugger doesn’t have the bleeding, we look at trauma, more particularly the jaw issue since the neck and shoulder problems are old.  It isn’t like y’all haven’t seen videos of Emmi zigging when she should have zagged, right smack into a tree, wall or other barrier to rapid forward movement, or engaged in Xena Warrior Princess battles with The Idiots.  She’s never acted injured after any of those episodes, so it would stand to reason that it’s equally possible she found herself acting inappropriately on the wrong end of one of the horses and gotten a snoot full of hoof without telling us.  The vet said trauma induced bleeding can take months to stop.

Crazy, yet subdued, Emmi
Crazy, yet subdued, Emmi

Emmi came from a very bad place, sick and crippled.  We called her Hope back then because we ‘Hoped’ she would live.  We already knew her back end would take her from us way too soon.  It never occurred to us that her front end was equally damaged. I mean, how much can one little baby girl take before she’s even a year old?!!    I guess we shouldn’t be surprised over the changes in her neck and the bone restructuring in her shoulder.

But her jaw?

As luck would have it, the jaw anomaly is on the right side, the same side as the abscess.   It could very well be that horse or Idiot, something happened, a blunt force which drove a piece of gravel, a small something into Emmi’s face which then eventually abscessed.  The same trauma, however it happened, could have caused the bleeding in the back of Emmi’s eyes.   The not knowing…  well chalk it up to another reason I think we should live stream video of every inch of Run A Muck Ranch on the Internet so the entire world can help me keep an eye on my kids.

Emmi had to be morphined down to tolerate her x-rays.  She is not liking her current drugged condition.  Like with Vito between seizures in his clusters, the only way to get her to settle down is to lock myself, and her, in the bedroom, alone.  As long as Mom is close, all is well in Druggy Emmi World, but if I try to leave her, not so much.

Emmi Sandwich
Emmi Sandwich

As it stands, the worst part of all of this is that Emmi is on severe activity restrictions for at least 4 weeks.   The thought of any of the kids in any sort of discomfort is unbearable, but in Emmi’s case, with her love of being, well, Emmi, activity restrictions when it’s cool enough outside for her to be Emmi Gone Wild, that’s the real tragedy.

fix

On Crazy Dog Ladies in Denial

With the advances of digital photography comes the curse of date stamps on photos. This curse reared its ugly head during a recent trip down memory lane.

 

Hector after his cherry eye surgery, December 31, 2006.
Hector after his cherry eye surgery, December 31, 2006. He came to us a foster dog about 2 weeks before.

 

We can’t remember how old Hector was at the time he moved in, but he was at least 2. For some reason I think he was estimated to be 3. Now let’s do the math: 2015-2006 = 9. 9+2 = 11. Hector is at least 11 years old. If my recollection is correct, however, he’s 12.

 

DASH! the day he met Crabby, January 8, 2008.
DASH! establishing some ground rules the day after he arrived, January 8, 2008.

DASH! never shared his age when he first graced us with his presence, but he was an adult. My recollection is the vet estimated him to be the generic ‘between 1 and 3′. Let’s do the math again:  2015-2008=7.    7+1 =8. DASH! is at least 8, but he could be as old as 11.

 

When the harsh reality hit, I lamented to Crabby that I thought The Boys were around 5 or 6 years old.  According to Crabby I’ve been saying that for years.

 

Somewhere along the way, as misfits moved in and others passed away, Hector and DASH!  not only got older, but became seniors.

 

I choose not to see seniors.  I choose to see My Boys as they truly are:

 

Hector, December 2014
Hector, December 2014

 

DASH! August 2014
DASH! August 2014

 

I have decided to stick to my claim that Hector and DASH! are around 5 and 6 years old, for now and for the foreseeable future.