The Long Overdue Gertie Bio

No better time like the present to get Gertie’s bio written.  It will be 2 years since she moved in, after all.

It’s been a long, strange trip for Gertie.

Here’s the short version:

An apparent domestic upheaval split Gert’s original family between Arizona and the east coast.  Further issues occurred with the family  member remaining local.  Gert and Pablo were left(?), abandoned(?), surrendered(?), tied to a tree at a local McDonalds.  They had been there all day when Crabby beat Animal Control in picking them up.  That was June, 2014.

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Let’s pause for a flash forward: Gertie’s east coast family reached out a year later and informed me that Gertie was 13 (then) and not the generic and regular 10 year old estimate of all foundling senior dogs.

OK, now let’s flash back again – to 2014.  Gert Gert was clearly old, was generally sluggish, and had difficulty moving.  For that reason, and those of you who follow this blog will agree, Run A Muck Ranch was NOT the place for her.  You can’t drop a Fine Old Dame on the island of The Lord of the Flies and expect it to end well!  Gertie got a courtesy post on a local senior dog rescue site.  Of course no one was interested.

For my part, I made sure Gertie was well cared for.  She got her 2 squares a day, scritches, pets, hugs and of course her evening Old Lady Plumbing Walks.  All the while I wished she lived somewhere else.  Being Mom to Slugger is a full time job as it is!  Being Mom to Slugger + 11 other Idiots, and Sarah was exhausting.  I really didn’t have the juice to incorporate the special needs of a giant, uber senior into the mix!

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Then came that fateful day in October, 2014.  Gertie was in a bad way.  We were at the vet within 2 hours.  An hour later, the recommendation was to put her down.  Even if we could afford the costly additional tests, chances were (emphasis added) she probably (emphasis again) wouldn’t respond to the treatment.  With dogs in Gertie’s situation (yup, emphasis again), the best thing to do would be to let her go.

Those emphasis statements aren’t exactly quotes from the vet, but they were the general gist of what he said.  I’m not sure what you make of them, but what I heard was Gertie wasn’t worth it.  I then deduced that Gertie had deteriorated to that point because, well, what reason could she possibly have to stick around?  Sure, she was well cared for, but no one cared for her.

I declined on letting Gertie go that day.  Actually, that was the very day I made Gertie my own.  I would no longer be her caretaker.  From that day forward I would be her mom.

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That’s all it took. It’s 2016 now and even with Gertie’s worsening arthritis (especially when I let her get too heavy) she is scores better than she was the day Crabby brought her and Satan’s Cheewawa home back in 2014.

Gertie has forgiven me for not being a mom those first few months. She knows she’s my Lady now.  We have a daily routine for just about everything.  No worries about shirking my responsibilities because if the appointed time arrives, and I am not already making the necessary preparations, Gertie WILL remind me, including but not limited to, the 1:30am, written in stone, does not vary EVER, pee.

Sarah used to be the only source of intelligent conversation for Gertie, but when Sare Bear passed away, it became Gertie and The Horde and she seems pretty content with the situation.  She will play with Morty.  She accepts Marcy’s worship.  She shares dog beds with pretty much all of the others. And she is as mystified as we are as to how someone as stupid as Slugger could possibly exist.

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Gertie is patient, kind, so very loving and has a beautiful smile.  She absolutely loves meeting people, new and old, and has no issues with inserting herself into the personal space of anyone.

Gertie knows she has nothing to worry about anymore, but sometimes if she wakes up and I’m not in the room with her, she gets a little nervous.   It used to be she would shuffle from room to room looking for me, but that got old pretty fast.  Now, she just barks.  She knows 1 or 2 thunderous roars are enough to bring me running.

A few tid bits about The Gert Gert:

She sleeps with her eyes open.  On more than one occasion, I found her in a deep, barely breathing sleep, and thought she was dead.

She is completely deaf. She could be sleeping (with her eyes open of course) and the rest of The Horde decides to start a mosh pit within inches of her and she will not so much as stir.  (And you wonder why I thought she was dead a few times!).

After every meal, Gertie must wash her face.  If there is nothing else available, the closest human leg will do.

I have never known a dog who loved a hug as much as Gertie.  Doesn’t matter who the hugger is, a hug is a hug and Gertie loves it.

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Gertie doesn’t move like a dog.  Rather, she moves like a Standardbred (horse) pacer.  In her mind, she’s racing like the wind, but to the casual onlooker, it’s a little old lady shuffle.  Which brings me to one of my favorite Gertie stories:

Once, while I was talking to a neighbor during one of Gertie’s evening walks, a lady on a horse passed by.  I didn’t pay any attention until the lady called over to me – kid you not:

“Is  your dog chasing us?” she asked, watching Gertie, with great concentration, pacing up the road after her.

“Yup” I said – not concerned that Gertie would ever catch up.

After a short pause the lady called back “Should I slow down?”.

If a person on horseback offers to slow down to allow a chasing dog to catch up, you just know there’s something about the dog.

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There is a serious disadvantage to bringing a super senior dog into your heart:  There will never be enough days.  But there is an even worse disadvantage to not giving a super senior a chance:  You don’t have any days.

We knew going in Gertie wouldn’t be with us very long in the scheme of things.  But rather than focus on time, we focus on times – as in the good ones.

Here’s hoping there are many more to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Anyone? Gertie Needs Your Vote

I apologize to those of you sane enough NOT to have a Facebook account since you can’t participate, but for those who do:

Gertie has been entered in the 85086 Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest.  Is it because she is a cute pet?  Nay I say!

Gertie has her own facebook page, 1,000 Hugs for Gertie, where she is trying to get 1,000 hugs before she dies.

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Gertie, all decked out to receive hugs. 

Gertie absolutely loves meeting new people, and believe it or not, loves getting a little too cozy with them.  It kind of came to me in a dream that we should see how many hugs she can get from unique huggers.   1,000 Hugs for Gertie sounded so much better than 75 Hugs for Gertie or 128 Hugs for Gertie.  Ergo, the campaign 1,000 Hugs for Gertie was born.

That was the easy part.  I swear I could find more participation if I were begging for money!  At least then I’d be normal!   But I’m not asking for money, I’m asking for hugs for Gertie.  That makes me one of the reasons people carry pepper spray!   I guess people aren’t used to Crazy Dog Ladies asking people to hug giant, geriatric dogs.

In 4 months we’ve amassed a whopping 38 hugs (see them Here.  Unfortunately, I don’t think you can see them unless you have Facebook.)

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As promised, we removed the people bed since jumping on or off of it was a danger to Emmi. Problem is, the mattress remained just long enough for Gertie to think all of her dreams had come true:  A people bed she could get on.  So, while the people are relegated to the floor on camping mats,  Gertie and siblings now enjoy the luxury of  a pillow top mattress, with free linen service.  We didn’t have the heart to take the mattress away from Gertie. 

Back to the Contest:

85086 Magazine is a magazine with a target area of those residents in zip code, you guessed it, 85086.  It is distributed, free, to all residents and businesses in that zip code – a number exceeding 50,000.

What zip code does Gertie live in?  85086.

A win would get Gertie the cover of the May 2016 issue as well as a feature story.  That feature story couldn’t be written without mentioning Gertie’s goal of 1,000 hugs.

A feature story about a furry old lady looking for hugs would connect Gertie with a hundred or 2 huggers close to home and make other people less likely to call the white suits on me, pan handling for hugs.

So, can we get your vote?

Like 85086 Magazine (click here to go there) on Facebook, then click the “85086 Cutest Pet Contest” tab (to the right of the photos tab).  Find Gertie’s photo

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This is the one they are using for the contest

And vote for her.

You can vote once a day.

Blessedly this is only a 10 day contest, so voting ends on April 10.

A vote today could mean many hugs for Gertie in the near future.

The lengths we go to here at Run A Muck Ranch to keep The Horde happy.

 

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!

When Feral Dogs Get WAAAYYY To Comfortable

Every morning, I make the bed.  Every day I come home, the bedclothes are shuffled in such a way as to lead one to believe a person had been reposing there.

Today, the shuffling was taken to a new level.

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Sorry for the blur!

With great frustration, I proceeded to attempt to make the bed again, but I was confronted by this:

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Hey Mom, I just got it the way I wanted it.  Don’t mess with perfection.

Instead of heeding the clear warning in Marcy’s eyes, I stupidly continued to try to make the bed.

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What part of “NO” don’t you understand Mom?

It’s probably  just safer for everyone if I simply stop making the bed.

 

Happy 3rd Home -a – Versary Marcy.

You’ve come a long way sweetie, and for that we are happy, but do you think you can keep the people bed a little neater?

Only At Run A Muck Ranch

I told you a while back about Kodi, the visiting heeler.

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Not ours, not keeping him!  Just watching him while his mom gets on her feet.

A couple weeks back, Kodi’s leg was swollen.  He had an abscess, we believe due to an encounter with cholla cactus gone bad.

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Someone is not pleased over having to wear an e-collar.  If he would have left his leg alone, he wouldn’t have needed it!

Less than 24 hours after finishing his antibiotic for the leg abscess, another, more serious one, opened up in his chest.  The vet said the cavity was 5 to 6 inches deep.  The opening of the abscess was enlarged to promote draining, which may continue for a couple weeks.  Treatment is yet another course of antibiotics and 3 times a day warm compresses.

I give you Kodi today, a week after his surgery:

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Still wearing the e-collar, but with the addition of  one of Sarah’s bras to hold a maxi-pad in place.  Mock all you want, but it works!

It never ends at Run A Muck Ranch.

 

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.

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.