The Value of Big Brothers

We had a pretty nasty storm on Sunday.

Marcy doesn’t like storms.

When a particularly loud clap of thunder rattled the house, I went looking for her.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one ready to comfort the visibly trembling Marcy.   Someone beat me to it.

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Big brother Vito to the rescue

Vito stayed with Marcy, licking her eyes, resting his head on her neck, and comforting her until the storm passed.

How lucky is Marcy to  have a big brother who cares so much about her?

A Synopsis of Gertie’s Hugging Expedition Today

Work, Emmi, an incident with Gracie (don’t worry John, she’s fine) were already enough to keep me in non-regular-blog mode. The Cutest Pet Contest we entered Gertie in sucked up the rest of the time.

Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to keep up with sharing contest entries on social media?  I even took a foray into Craig’s List, Backpage and a few other less than desirable sites on this!  Thank goodness it’s only a 10 day contest!

The result:  We’re in the lead by 100, contest ends tomorrow.   Gertie just may grace the cover of the May issue of 85086 Magazine and gain publicity for 1,000 Hugs for Gertie yet!

A truly awesome result:  The publicity Gertie is getting for her campaign is incredible!  Though they don’t count toward Gert’s goal of 1,000 physical hugs, she has received virtual hugs from as far away as Italy, Russia, Spain, and Japan, to name a few.  Many of these virtual hugs being accompanied by photos of elder dog family members of the hugger.  If Gertie’s mission accomplishes nothing else, it has provided a forum for people to strut their senior dogs.  That’s a pretty good accomplishment if you ask me!

Anyway, this week is Arizona Bike Week.  Gertie had great luck collecting hugs from bikers in the past, so we decided to try again.  It was going to be less than 80 degrees outside, and Cave Creek, a biker hot spot, is very close.

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Heather, hug #16, introduced Gertie to several of her friends in the Desert Souls Brotherhood at the Roadrunner back in December.  I should have realized then that bikers are the best huggers.

So off we went, at 11:30 am this morning:

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Gertie knows when she’s loaded up and her vest is near, good things are on the horizon!

 

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You’re never too old to hang your head out the window!  Sorry about the water spots on the mirror.
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First parking location.  Can you hear the crickets?  The place looked completely abandoned.

Cave Creek is not known for it’s reasonable parking accommodations on a good day.  On a day with hundreds, possibly thousands of bikes, we knew it would be especially problematic.  The original plan was to park at the Post Office after it closed, then walk to the festivities.    The Barkista Mobile was as big a flag as we could wave to Facebook people who went to Cave Creek to hug Gertie.  See the car, know we’re here.  Want to find us?  My phone number is on the front corner panel.  Just call me and we’ll find each other. Also, the Waggin’ Wagon isn’t as nimble as the Barkista Mobile.  If parking was at a premium we needed nimble!

2 problems with this original plan:

1)  Despite living here for 20 years, AND at one time being the Assistant to the Town Engineer of Cave Creek, I was clueless as to the distance from point A to B.  It was too far for Gertie to walk.

and, even if Gertie could go the distance

2) There was a sheriff deputy posted nearby to make sure no one interloped on the Post Office Parking lot.

So we went right into the belly of the beast, parking in Gateway Park, with a relatively short walk to the festivities.

And then were were there:

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This was just the eastern edge of motorcycle parking.  They went forever!

Gertie got her first hug within seconds of walking into the vendor area, then her second, then her 3rd.

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Gertie made a canine friend, the beautiful …  I’d tell you her name if I could read my own writing!  It starts with an M and ends with an “a” or a “u”.  My bad!

By hug 6, minutes after arriving, we realized we had a problem:  Too much heat was radiating from the pavement and it was quickly taking it’s toll on Gertie.

So she lay down in the shade of one of the trailers, and the hugs kept coming

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Hug # 50, Vonda at Bike Week, 4/9/16

In the shade of another trailer came more hugs.  Under the shade of a booth, yet more!

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Group Hug!  Ashley (r) was hug # 55.  This is hug # 55.5 and 56, with Small  Block.  Is this not a great pic?

At this point only 15 to 20 minutes had passed, and I don’t think we had made it 100 feet since entering the vendor area, but we had to call it quits.

Gertie had no problem with the crowd.  Actually, I honestly think she would have preferred we took the leash off so she could mingle more freely.

The motorcycle and other loud noises were not an issue either – keep in mind, Gertie is completely deaf!

The problem was, despite it being less than 80 degrees, so much heat was bouncing off the pavement, Gertie was uncomfortable and not having fun.  Remember, the most important part of these expeditions is that Gertie have fun.

So we had to turn around, which is when we met Eric, Hug #60.

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We ran out of water within 5 minutes due to the heat effect.  Eric gave Gertie a bottle on the way out.
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Which lead to a great wet spot to lay in!

The exit was just on the other side of this trailer.  We found a tree to sit under for a few minutes to help Gertie cool down a little more, then we did the only rational next move.

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A stop at Dairy Queen for a little more cooling therapy

Where we met

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Linda, Hug #61 at Dairy Queen.

All told, Gertie collected 19 hugs in, at most, a 1/2 hour at the Bike Week Vendor area.  If the heat hadn’t gotten to her so bad and so quickly, I have no doubt we could have collected 100 easily, probably more.  But Gertie’s comfort is more important than hug count.

Weather permitting (there’s a storm coming in), I may try to see if I can take her back tomorrow morning when it’s cooler.  I don’t have to work, so I can get there earlier.

Both from the experience at The Roadrunner back in December, and the hug collecting expedition of this morning, I can honestly say, bikers by far are the most open and welcoming huggers. Bike week only comes once a year, and it would be very disappointing to lose so many hugging opportunities.  Cross fingers conditions tomorrow allow for more hugs.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you who hugged Gertie this morning.  You made an old lady very happy.

My personal favorite:

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Duchess, hug # 58.  She kept on hugging Gertie long after the camera was put away.  Gertie would have stayed in her arms all day, if not for the heat.
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I’ll be ready for more hugs after a nap, Ma!  Can we go again?  Huh?  Can we?

To see all of Gertie’s collected hugs, go to The Photo Album on her Facebook page.  I’ve set it to public so non-Facebook users should be able to see them.

 

 

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!

Hell Has Frozen Over

Look who decided to permit me to take a picture without giving you, the viewer, the impression we hang him by his toenails for fun.

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Shouldn’t Pablo’s level of cuteness be illegal?

Pictures don’t always tell the truth.  What you see here is a freakishly adorable, completely innocent looking creature.

Make no mistake!  You’re actually looking at Satan’s Cheeewawa!  But we wouldn’t have him any other way.  Innocent and sweet isn’t as fun.

I really need to buckle down and write Pablo’s bio for you.  It’s been almost 2 years already.

217 Days

Vito had a seizure last night at 10:14 pm.

There was evidence on the office floor that he had one, maybe 2 more while we were at work today.

At 5:31 pm this evening, he had another one.  Crabby had to handle Vito alone during that particular seizure while I got the other dogs out of the way.

Crabby still tears up when it happens.

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Vito, post 5:30 seizure.  He just looks like his head hurts 😦

Vito’s last seizure was on June 8, 2015.  217 days ago.   Yes, that’s good news.  No it doesn’t make it any easier.

Poor Vito 😦

Mom and Dad would gladly have the seizure for you if we could Big Guy.

 

 

Epiphanies

I’ve been rained out of work pretty much since Monday.  All I have to show for the week is 3 completed properties and the start of a very nasty head cold.

I have absolutely nothing to do except eat, watch TV and give extra attention to the kids.

Apparently I’ve spent way too much time on activity #3 because at this point, some of the dogs WANT to be outside in the rain.   Those who don’t choose Satan’s Tears over Mom’s Attention have burrowed themselves into the furthest recesses of any pocket or hidey hole they can find and are remaining freakishly quiet.

 

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If you come near me again Mom I’m gonna BITE you!
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If I stay very very still, maybe she won’t see me.

 

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LEAVE! ME! ALONE!

Franky and  DASH! are hiding under the bed, so I can’t get a photo.

Morty, Willy, Emmi, Kodi (visiting dog), Marcy, Gertie, Angus and Gracie chose the downpour over sitting with me.  Best I can figure they are huddled in the farthest reaches of a horse stall, out of view from the back door.  I’ve called them a few times, and each time a nose pokes around the stall door, but that same nose also disappears moments later.  That it has been a different nose each time tells me more than 1 are hiding in that particular stall.

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Kodi’s presence in the horse stall is more peer pressure than attention avoidance.  Every time I’ve called the kids, Kodi has come running out, stops, and when no one follows him, goes back to the horse stall. If  it wasn’t so muddy a path to get to him I would escort him inside to keep me company!

That leaves us with Pablo.  He may be out in the open, but when I tried to cuddle up to him, he snarled me away.

 

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DO NOT test me Mom!

As I’ve been shuffling about the house, vacuming and laundering away a few of the mud layers, depressed that after all I’ve done for these Nimwits none will step up to keep me amused in my time of need, I had an epiphany:

Every single dog who calls Run A Muck Ranch home, despite their background, is confident and comfortable.  They don’t need constant human interaction to feel self worth.  Every time they jump in my lap, ask for a hug, or invite me to play, it’s a choice and not a need for comfort or to please, and in the end, they choose me with no ulterior motives.  They also don’t feel the need to suck up, knowing that their current avoidance in no way influences our relationship over all.

So I sit here on now my 3rd day of rain induced inactivity, during what has been the longest continuous time at home ever experienced by me (or The Horde) being totally ignored.  (I could even close the bathroom door if I remembered how to do it!).   And with all this going on, only one thought comes to mind:

We did good by these Nimwits!

That said, I look forward to the rain stopping so I can go back to work so the kids will go back to irritating me.

January 3, 2016 – It FINALLY Happened!

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Marcy gave her Dad a hug. 

So shocked were we over this event that Crabby was afraid to move lest he scare Marcy off.  It was only by dumb luck I was in position with the camera on.

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Eventually, she sort of snuggles in.  Notice Crabby hasn’t moved his head and his hands are pretty much where they were when the hug started.  Like I said, he was afraid to move!

It only took 3 years.

This event is almost as special as the first time Emmi peed off property several months after she moved in.  Yup, we got a picture of that too!

 

 

Captured on Film: Crabby Attacked By Run A Muck Ranch Visitor Dog Kodi

We decided to try Run A Muck Ranch Special Guest Kodi with the Little Dog Group on today’s Sunday Family Desert Walk today.

Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea.

I had the crappy camera so I couldn’t get it all, most shots being too blurry to make out the carnage as it unfolded.  But I was able to get the first frame of Kodi, without provocation, attacking Crabby.

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Oh!  The humanity!

 

By the time the attack was over, both Crabby and Kodi were covered…. in mud.

Rather than enjoying a relaxing Sunday, I now have to launder Crabby’s clothes, bathe Kodi and wipe the muddy floors.  Crabby is responsible for hosing out the Waggin’ Wagon!

Clearly Kodi doesn’t like it here :)!