Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Last night was a looooong night for me. I was late getting to bed in the first place, cuz Benji had gone out to chill with his buddies and celebrate his friend having a son, and I always have trouble falling asleep when he’s not around. And of course he forgot his house keys, so when he came home at 1:30am, I had to let him in… (grrr!)

But on top of that, I’m dog-sitting Brees’ mumma dog, Cleo, while she’s on heat cuz Augusta doesn’t want her to be impregnated by her male, Wick (Brees’ daddy dog). Cleo is such a sweet dog, and she reminds me soooo much of Breesy boy. They look just alike in the face, and have so many of the same habits, it’s uncanny!

Surprisingly (or maybe not, but I always worry), all the dogs are taking well to each other, even my high-strung potcake (translation: mutt), Bubba (aka Lucky). Shera & Cleo are like long lost sisters, or best friends! They have not left each other’s side since I brought Cleo home yesterday evening! I tried to get video of them, but it was too dark, but they keep licking each other’s faces, and laying together, walking together and playing. You know how dogs get all bouncy and pouncy when they want to play, and they arch down onto their front legs? So cute! I’ve never seen Shera like that before! Typically Shera doesn’t care for other dogs because they detract attention from her, so she usually just ignores or avoids them, but she is all about Cleo! :)

Anyway, so Cleo, being on heat, must be feeling her natural urges to mate, because is soooo antsy to be outside at the fence next to the neighbour’s 2 (intact) male dogs! She also keeps trying to encourage Bubba (who is neutered) to mount her, but Bubba is confused by this because he has never done that! And so he has snarled at her a few times like, wtf lady!? But no harm done…

o hai! O_o i'm cleo

So even though last night I had Cleo up in the room with me, she kept waking me up to take her outside. Every hour and a half, she would jump up on the side of the bed and stick her wet nose in my face! I didn’t know whether she needed to pee or was just restless, so I would take her outside just in case. Each time I took her out, she did pee, but not instantly…it seemed like more of an afterthought. Tricky puppy!

By about 6:15am, both Shera & Cleo had had enough of sleeping, and insisted on being let outside, and I didn’t bother to bring them back in after that, but unfortunately, it was already light, and I was already up.

So, very disturbed sleep last night; very tired today. And to make matters worse: I used up the last off my instant coffee and the last of my 1/2 & 1/2…sad sauce. Although, it was pretty satisfying for both to run out at the same time…I like when things even out that way…

*in case you’re wondering why Cleo’s chest looks kind of…bald…it’s because she had an accident recently during one of her attempted escapes, and got caught on some sharp barbed wire :( Poor baby had to have all kinds of stitches to fix her up…but she is OK now! :)


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Happy Boy

smiley boy

I love this pic of Breesy. He was such a loving, happy puppy. Augusta took this pic one day when I brought him with me to an outdoor bar/restaurant. He loved to go out with me wherever I was going. As usual, he was just laying calmly at my feet, such a good boy…

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Well, if you haven’t already heard, I’ll just tell you upfront: Brees didn’t make it.

Now the details…

Brees and I had a really wonderful time traveling together. I was such a proud mummy. Brees was so well-behaved, without even having to be told. He stayed at my side, didn’t pull on the leash or try to sniff everyone. He allowed everyone to touch him and stroke him; a little 1.5 yr old boy ran over and threw himself on top of Brees, and all Brees did was lick his face. It was like a dream. I wish I could travel with him every time I go away.

sweet boy in the airport

JetBlue was really great, and gave us the whole front row of the plane to ourselves, so Brees had plenty of space to lay at my feet. They even upgraded us to those larger front seats at no extra charge! I’m not sure if that’s standard practice when you travel with a service dog, or if it’s just because the flight wasn’t very full; but either way, it was awesome!

When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, my cousin, Steph, and her boyfriend, John, picked us up from the airport and took us back to their place. Steph has a Boston Terrier named Scooter who is about 1.5yrs old. When we first arrived, Scooter was super excited and had to let Brees know that we were on his turf, but after that, they got on just great. They had a few playful battles over various toys and rawhides (seeing who could stack the most items in their corner) and generally just enjoyed each other’s company.

The next morning (Monday), we had our appointment with Dr. Fanning at the Hollywood Animal Hospital, bright & early at 8.20am. We were seen at about 9am, and explained all Brees’ history and symptoms and medications to Dr. Fanning in addition to giving her his official medical records and x-rays from Palmdale Vet Clinic (here in Nassau). She said they were going to run a slew of tests as well as take some radiographs (x-rays) and do an ultrasound, but that we would be able to pick him up later that afternoon, and we could discuss the results of his tests then.

So Steph and I bid Brees a quick farewell (he always gets so upset when I leave, so I tried to make it quick), left a deposit for the tests, and went to breakfast at this awesome diner called Lester’s. The rest of the day we spent running a few errands and doing some shopping (I love me some Target) and then returned home to rest and have a nap before going back to pick up Brees.

I guess it was around 4pm when Dr. Fanning called to give me an update. On his bloodwork, the most notable thing was his low levels of Albumin. Albumin is a protein in the blood (from what I gather) and his levels have been consistently decreasing since I admitted him to the hospital last Wednesday. Not a good thing. She said it meant he was leaking it from somewhere (how-I have no idea) and that he also had a lot of fluid in his abdominal cavity, which was very unusual.

The radiologist, after looking at the x-rays, felt that the “angry” shape of Brees’ small intestines indicated a linear foreign obstruction, ie: a piece of string, or something of that nature stuck somewhere in his G.I. tract. So Dr. Fanning was suggesting opening up Brees’ abdomen for exploratory surgery to try and find the suspected foreign body, and also just to take a look at his other organs and make sure everything looked right. This really freaked me out. Really! They were going to have to put him under anesthesia, which is always risky, but even more so for a dog with an already compromised liver (what happens if they can’t wake him up from the anesthesia?). And, they were going to be cutting a 6-12inch (12 inches!? That’s a FOOT!) incision into his belly. Into my puppy’s belly. I was so scared, but what could I do? This was the only option…

She told me that she was about to scrub into the surgery which she expected to take no more than 2 hours, and that she would call me as soon as he woke up from the anesthesia. However, she also warned me that if anything went awry during the surgery, that she would be calling me sooner. She said she didn’t expect this to happen at all, but she just had to warn me, in case. I said ok, and wished her good luck.

It couldn’t have been more than half an hour later when my phone rang… I recognized the phone number, and it was Dr. Fanning. I answered, bracing myself for bad news, and she gave it to me. Brees has multiple extrahepatic portosystemic shunts; too many to even count. In addition to that, his other organs, especially his small intestines, were small, shriveled and sick looking. She told me that with this many shunts, his condition was inoperable, and also not treatable with medicine or supplements. She needed to know what I wanted them to do; whether I wanted them to stitch him up and try to wake him so that I could say goodbye, or just put him to sleep while he was already under anesthesia…I was stunned. How could this happen? My puppy was fine (outwardly) when I left him with you this morning. Last night he was playing and eating and being perfect. And I love him so much. And you’re telling me he doesn’t have a chance at surviving?

Anyone who has ever had to make this decision knows how devastating it is… I told her I needed to speak with Benji before I gave her an answer, and would call her back. So I called Benji (barely coherent, as you can imagine) and tried to explain the situation. We were both on the same page. There was no sense in trying to wake him up just so that I could say goodbye. I can’t even imagine how difficult that would have been for me or Brees. Brees has always had the worst anxiety about me leaving him, even if I just walk out of the room for 30 seconds. I couldn’t imagine putting him through that again, especially in his delicate condition.

So I called Dr. Fanning back and told her that we had decided it would be best not to wake him up, and I asked her if it would be possible to cremate his remains so that we could take him back to The Bahamas with us. She said of course, and that they would take care of it. I just couldn’t imagine leaving my baby in a foreign place, where he would probably just be disposed of without respect in a dumpsite somewhere. It hurts my heart to even think about that…

And so. We’ve lost Brees. The most soulful, loving, emotional and intelligent dog I’ve ever had. He really was like my child, and my chest physically hurts when I feel the loss. I knew him and loved him from the day he was born, anxiously awaiting the day I could take him home with me. We had so many wonderful memories with Brees, and quite a few painful, scary experiences…ending, finally, with this one.

I try to take consolation in my belief that, although his life was far too short, it was a good life. We did everything we possibly could and spared no expense in our fight to save him. I don’t think my connection with Brees will ever be matched; he was a one in a million, special dog, and I will never forget him.

R.I.P. baby Breesy. I love you.

7 January 2010 – 12 July 2010

forever at my side, and in my heart

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Well, Brees has hit another run of bad luck…First Parvo, now this…

It started at least a week ago now. We noticed that he was being more talkative (whinier) than usual. Mostly when he would lay down on his bed beside our’s, he would start crying, and shifting around like he couldn’t get comfortable. We couldn’t figure out whether he was in pain, or just bored and antsy or what. It was weird though, cuz he would only ever cry when he laid down before bed; all day he would be perfectly fine, so we figured he couldn’t be in pain, could he?

Anyway, on Monday (I think it was…) my dad took all the dogs to the beach, and they had a grand ol’ time as usual. But the next evening, on Tuesday, I found one of those big grey ticks on Brees, and was like, oh God, gross! Cuz our dogs have never had ticks…So that’s when I got all paranoid that Brees could have picked up one of these horrible tick diseases (erlichia anyone?), so first thing Wednesday morning, I let my boss know I was going to be late, and I took Brees in to the vet.

On the way to the vet though, Brees basically exploded from both ends…poor baby. I started to notice this foul odour, and I was like, wtf Benji? Did you fart? And he’s like, no? So we pull over to check on Brees, and lo & behold, he had thrown up his breakfast and diahorea’d the foulest black shit you have ever seen/smelled in your life. Thank God we were on our way to the vet!!

Our vet, Dr. Grant had a look at him, and was really alarmed at how thin Brees is, that he should have put on more weight by now. Brees had been home almost 8 weeks since Parvo and had been eating…But when we weighed him, he only weighed 37lbs, which is actually 2lbs LESS than he weighed when we took him home after Parvo (Parvo was 7 days in isolation with NO food…so you can imagine how alarmed I was/am that he somehow lost weight since then…)

So Dr. Grant ran the tick tests, all negative, and did some blood work. And that’s where this mess really begins…

Brees’ blood work showed extremely elevated liver indicators (I can’t remember which ones, like ALKP and ALT maybe?) and in addition to that, he was slightly anaemic AND had a high white blood cell count, indicating an infection. But not just any type of infection, because his neutrophils and monocytes were also very elevated which means it’s a certain type of infection which requires the removing of debris in the blood (as I understood it…)

Soooo, Dr. Grant says that these liver levels indicate that he’s likely ingested something toxic. That’s when I remember that about a week prior, I had found a chewed up bottle of Hot Spot/Anti-itch Spray in the yard. At the time I thought nothing of it, but now of course, I’m thinking oh God, we poisoned Breesy by leaving that out, and he got into it, and oh my God! So I researched the ingredients in that particular brand of hot spot spray, and as it turned out, the vets don’t think that could be what is causing his liver issues…(so hopefully it isn’t my fault!!)

But Brees had to be admitted to the hospital immediately nonetheless, and hooked up to IV fluids to try and flush the toxins out of his system. They also put him on some liver meds and 2 types of antibiotic (penicillin & something else…) So that was Wednesday. Unfortunately, the timing of this incident is terrible, because our most trusted vet, Dr. Grant (the same vet who saved Brees from Parvo), goes abroad on vacation for 2 weeks on Thursday! So Brees’ case is being given to Dr. Davis, who is probably perfectly competent, but we don’t really have any experience with him (other than that he was the vet who came to our house two years ago to put our 18-month old German Shepherd, Weezy, to sleep, as he was suffering from Juvenile Renal Disease…not exactly a positive experience…)

But what are you gonna do, right? So on Thursday, I asked Dr. Davis to do a Barium study to check for any obstructions or abnormalities in Brees’ GI tract. So he does, but the findings are really unusual…Brees’ stomach is super enlarged, to the extent that you really can’t see any other organs (kidney, liver, gall bladder, etc) and his large and small intestines are “angry” as Dr. Davis put it, and are not in the location you would expect to find them. The small intestine, is pushed back and down, toward his tail, and the large intestine is up and forward. On top of all that, there is some kind of stone, or hard object, which the vets are assuming is a gall stone (because it’s in the area where you would expect to find the gall bladder…but who really knows?) However, the clinic here only has x-ray as a tool, no endoscopy, no ultrasound, nothing, so there’s really no way to confirm what’s going on. So all in all, the tests are inconclusive and don’t give us any kind of explanation or diagnosis for what’s going on with poor Breesy.

Dr. Davis also thinks that Brees might have an ulcer (or multiple) because his poo was black again (black poo = digested blood). So Dr. Davis, and the practice owner, Dr. Bizzell, recommended we take Brees to the U.S. where specialists with the right tools can hopefully, figure out a diagnosis.

So that’s what we’re doing. We’re taking Brees to Hollywood Animal Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve booked my ticket, made an appointment, told work I’m going to be out of office and asked my cousin Steph, if I can crash with her for a few days…

Wish us luck! Fingers crossed for a treatable diagnosis…

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So ever since Brees’ bout with Parvo, he has been a super fussy eater…understandably. Parvo wreaked havoc on his insides, and his stomach and intestines were basically sloughed of all their important nutrition-absorption capabilities. We have been struggling to concoct some form of food which Brees will eat, and be able to keep down and/or pass comfortably. So far this has included wet puppy food, dry puppy food, wet dog food, dry dog food, people table scraps, and every possible combination of the above. We even tried grinding everything down to crumbs and mixing it with wet food, and when that didn’t work, we made it into a liquid that he could easily lap up…

Each of those methods would work for maybe a meal or two, but in the end, Brees was just  not getting enough calories and nutrition into his tiny body, and he remains so thin! Alarmingly thin. You rub him, and your fingers drum against his ribs! His hip bones and shoulders protrude sharply from his plush coat…sigh…

Thus, my foray into homemade dog food. You always hear about how bad commercial pet food is anyway, but this is pretty much a last resort. So, I scoured the web for various dog food recipes, and all are more or less the same: meat, grain, veg, occasional fruit.

So far I have made 3 batches of homemade dog food. The first was ground turkey, rice and carrots. The second was chicken livers* (cooked and then ground in the food processor), oatmeal (overcooked), peas (whole, but I realised after, whole veggies = a big no-no) and blackberries (I used frozen and chopped ’em up). And this morning’s batch was a combination of ground turkey and chicken gizzards (cooked and ground in the food processor), oatmeal (overcooked), and peas & carrots (mushed in the food processor).

I just tried to give him batch #3, and am pretty disappointed to see that Brees is not very enthused by it! :( The most popular batch so far has been the chicken liver batch (just great…), but my mistake there: not mushing the veg, led Brees to have a lot of abdominal pain the next morning, and he threw up. Apparently, dogs have very short digestive tracts, and therefore cannot digest whole veg. So I guess maybe he had really bad gas or something? We didn’t have any horrible dog farts, but there was a lot of crying. He would lay down in one spot, and get up a few seconds later to move to another spot, and another and another…he was in so much pain, and just couldn’t get comfortable! :( Needless to say, I felt SUPER bad!!

Keep your fingers crossed that I can figure out what this dog will eat! Any input would be super appreciated!

*a note on chicken livers: for the love of God, make sure you cook them with the windows open, but be prepared to gag nonetheless.

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Looka my bebes

precious cargo

The bebes looooove going in the boat and to the beach with us, so whenever I open up the trunk, they’re super eager to hop right in! And the new car is perfect for driving them around! In this pic you can see the mesh barrier to prevent them from climbing into the backseat (and scratching the leather) and underneath their cute little butts is the removable plastic mat that is so easy to hose down! Perfecto! :)

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So Brees is a puppy. And he’s turning into a big dog. Which means…he is losing his puppy teeth. Most of them have fallen out un-noticed, but a few (3) have either fallen out on my bedroom floor while I watch him eat dinner…orrrr…umm…have been pulled out, cuz they were too damn wiggly and were freaking me out!!

Question now is…am I a creeper if I keep my baby’s baby teeth??

i've got you now!

My good friend, who shall remain anonymous :P, says I look like a creeper in this pic…She might be right. Brees does look a little bit like he’s trying to escape. And I am staring directly into the camera like a freak. And it’s pretty obvious I took this picture of myself…and that in and of itself is pretty darn creepy.

So perhaps it’s true. Perhaps I am indeed a creeper. In that case, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t keep Brees’ puppy teeth.

Problem solved!

Let us not forget though, that right now YOU are creeping my blog…yup! Have a great day, fellow creepers! :)

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