Emmi, the Final Word

The mass in Emmi’s brain can not be removed and we can’t afford the $9 to $11,000 shunt that would save her life IF the mass is the result of Valley Fever.  We can not determine if the mass is a cancer because it’s position makes it too dangerous for Emmi to undergo a spinal tap.  If it is a cancer, chemotherapy would be the treatment of choice, though if it is a non-cancerous mass, chemo would only ‘maybe’ help.

With further investigation by the neurologist, in consultation with others in the veterinary field, it was determined that Emmi can not simultaneously take chemo and Valley Fever treatments as each would negate the effects of the other.

Since brain cancers are very aggressive and chemo is very hard on on the patient, given Emmi’s current state, the unanimous veterinary opinion is not to put her through it.

Brain disseminated Valley Fever cases are the most difficult to treat, but the treatment is not as hard on the patient as chemo.  Valley Fever medications are very slow acting.   IF the mass is related to Valley Fever, treatment may not work, or start to work, in time.  Brain disseminated Valley Fever cases are also the most fatal.

In the end, we’re doing a crap shoot.  Emmi was started back on Fluconazole for Valley Fever.  She is also on prednisone to reduce the brain swelling, as well as a separate medication to counter act the negative effects prednisone has on Emmi as was shown when she was given the drug last year for another problem.  All we can do now is wait and see.  There are no other options.

We could lose Emmi any day now, or a week or month from now, or, if we’re lucky and what I am wishing for, at least 2 years from now.

For now, we have to keep Emmi very quiet for at least a couple weeks.  No running, jumping or anything that would jiggle her swollen brain.  She is much improved from last week with the anti-inflammatory effects of the prednisone, but she is still not as Emmi as she was.

 

This will be the last sad post about Emmi and her condition until we lose her.  Life has to return to normal for the sake of the other dogs and for our own sake.  Every accommodation will be made for Emmi’s comfort, every vet directive followed to the letter, but we will stop making it All About Emmi from this day forward, though I can promise she will be hugged and cuddled more.

I will end this sad post with some humor for you:

Emmi is not allowed to jump.  Despite her condition, she gets on the couch and we’ve caught her getting ready to jump on the people bed.  Since she can’t be monitored when we’re asleep, and she may try to jump then, the answer is to get rid of the people bed.  Yup – it’s going away.  Any rational person would get rid of civilized sleeping accouterments for the sake of a dog, wouldn’t they?

As luck would have it, Crabby’s camping sleeping mats on the hard floors are actually more comfortable for our aging backs than the people bed mattress anyway.  Bonus, since Emmi sleeps with people, if you put the people on the floor, Emmi has no reason to try to get on [or more dangerously, off] the people bed.

Today we invested in air mattresses and sleeping mats.

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Crabby demonstrating the ability to stretch out unencumbered by dogs.  The theory was, if the dogs prefer the people bed, just put all of them, including the little ones up, and we will have plenty of space for us and Emmi.
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Theory blown.  Where ever Mom is, dogs are sure to follow.
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In the end, the air mattress was relegated to the role of soft landing strip should Emmi try to jump off the couch if we’re not looking.
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It’s also a more comfortable sitting space for her minions (us) who usually have to sit on the floor anyway because The Horde never leaves us room on the couches.

Until the people bed is gone, all we have are narrow strips of floor to put our (as in human) sleeping mats.  Surely the more back supportive floor, even if it’s a narrow strip, will afford a more roomy people sleeping space….  Not!

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I would never post, for the world to see, a pic of myself sleeping, but this one  taken during a much needed nap was too good to pass up.  Note the width of the mat.  Now note how stretched comfortable and roomy it appears to be for Gracie, Willy and Pablo.  Slug appears quite comfy on his private bed. Gert was stretched out in her preferred warm weather home – the master bathroom.  Emmi’s feet show her also on a private bed.   Something about me being pushed off the mat, onto the floor, squashed against the wall somehow seems so wrong.

I’m sure once we can get rid of the bed, and possibly some other furniture, not only will Emmi be safe, but there will be ample space for humans and dogs to cohabitate peacefully with ALL able to sit and sleep on soft surfaces.  For now though, it’s a work in progress.

But when it’s all said and done, we will have another problem:

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If you take away my people bed, I WILL kill you in your sleep!

Another Lesson in Priorities

After quite a bit of deliberation and discussion, we decided it was time to buy a blanket for couch sitting. All we’ve had to this point is a very light 6 foot stadium blanket.  The Horde finished eating the last real one we had I think it was 2 years ago.

An evening out was designated for the purposes of procuring a brandy new snugly people couch blanket.  We returned home with a full sized, plush, promise of warmth.

The blanket was left on the couch as we made our sitting preparations.  Unfortunately we put it in a bad place.

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After much argument and offers of bribes back and forth, we determined neither of us had the heart to take the blanket away from sweet, wobbly, gimpy Sarah.

If it had been any of the others, we would have had no issue – but Sarah – that’s a different story.

So, until Sarah moved her person to another location, and because I lost the coin toss…

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When did we got from being the Masters to being the servants????

Bringing On The Crazy

People like to think that when a wrong is occurring, their internal moral compass will direct them to do the right thing, despite the possible ramifications.

Though I always thought I would step up in circumstances where others would run, my belief in myself was never put to the test – until today.

People do horrible things.  Since we’ve lived at The Ranch (1996), we’ve stumbled upon far too many examples. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to.  I’ll just leave it with saying not all animals abandoned on the desert are left alive.  Gracy, Franky and Morty were some of the fortunate ones who were.

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Franky was dumped.  We’re ashamed to say we don’t know how long ago.  Maybe 5 years?
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Gracie was dumped 8 years ago.
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Morty the day he wandered into The Ranch in 2012.  Who knows how long he had to fend for himself after he was dumped.

Morty, Willy, Franky and Slugger were my 1st group out for Sunday Desert Walk.  Crabby was still in bed. Toward the end of the walk I watched a man in a pickup park on a trail in an area off limits to motor vehicles.  He pulled a rifle out of  his cab, and then wrestled a bag out of his truck bed.  He was too far away to tell if the bag was moving or not.

The man kept looking over his shoulder at me as he went down a trail.

Morty and Willy originally ran in his direction to greet him, but stopped short and ran back to my side, before I even had a chance to call them. That’s not normal.

The bells went off in my head – but I could not confront a man with a gun when I had the boys with me.  I rushed them home and returned to the scene, deliberately driving onto the desert parking behind the man’s truck.

I began walking in the direction the man had walked.  I went maybe a few hundred yards when I heard the scream – the scream of a dog in agony.  My walk became a sprint, leaving the trail and charging in what I could best determine was a straight line towards the source of the scream.

When I heard the second scream, still running,  I dialed 911.

I continued running, falling often on the rocky, uneven desert while alternating between screaming into the phone at the 911 operator and shrieking to the top of my lungs, that I had called the police, hoping the man would release the dog and run.

I crested 1 more ridge.  I fell again, dropping my phone, cutting off the 911 operator.  I looked around desperately for the dog being tortured.

Instead, I saw a very befuddled looking man peeking from behind the protection of a boulder.

“Is there a problem lady?” he asked with a shaky voice.

“You let that dog go!” I shouted, “I’ve called the police!”.

“Umm…  look behind you” he said.

And when I did, the sound of the tortured dog was nearly at my feet – coming from a speaker.

{This is NOT the same sound I heard earlier today, but I post the video  link to give you an idea of the type and loudness of the sound I heard.  You may want to turn your volume down before listening:

A variation of a coyote bait call

Now tell me, can you really blame me for my reaction?!?!?!}

Apparently, someone in their infinite wisdom decided that blaring the sounds of wounded animals from speakers was a nifty way to lure coyotes during coyote hunting season.  This unfortunate hunter in HIS infinite wisdom decided to use the sounds of wounded dogs as his sound of choice – in the very same area where locals, including this Crazy Dog Lady, walk their dogs regularly.

Seeing an upper middle aged woman barreling over the ridge, hair sticking out in all directions, entangled with various debris picked up from many falls,  body covered in cholla, while screaming up a storm apparently alarmed the hunter a wee bit because he then, with great desperation in his voice, informed me that he loves dogs, has 2 of his own and asked if I wanted to see their pictures.

When the armed man was convinced the unarmed crazy lady wasn’t going to hurt him, he quickly packed up his hunting gear and with great haste made his way back to his truck, I think we can all assume, never to return.

I learned something about myself today:

Apparently I WILL run head long, alone and unarmed, at a psyco with a loaded gun to help a dog.

While that may be all well and good, Crabby has requested that I refrain from doing so again in the future.

I can’t make any promises.

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Go ahead!  Try and harm a hair on my head! My Mommy will DROP you!