September 25, 2017

White Dog let Zsofia drape her head over WD's shoulder. "It is not going to be easy," WD reminded her but did not mention the trials and challenges of Zso, the pup. "Bailey is just getting to know us and lots of things will require you to tell her over and over. Just be loving and persistent.You can do this; I know you are ready. And Bailey is willing and smart."

Zsofia did not expect that Bailey would not understand even the simplest White Dog rules, like after breakfast sleeping on momma's feet was Zso's place and job. It was hard for Zso to understand that Bailey just did not KNOW and it was hard for Bailey to see what she had done that made her mentor unhappy. "Forgive her and gently redirect," was WD's advice. "She can easily sit on momma's side. She meant no offense."

We have learned several things about our blue-eyed girl since she joined us just 24 hours ago:

  • she snores...loudly
  • Bailey LOVES walks...she went on one last night and volunteered to go along with all of the others as well. 
  • she is calm when the others react to her sleeping in the doorway by simply climbing over or around her gate keeping.
  • she recognizes that the "momma voice" means stop what you are doing. AND that dad is a pushover. 
  • the dog door is a bit of a challenge; it is a great window but she is not so sure about pushing through into the unknown...even though Zso and Nilla and Bella showed her bunches of times today. 
  • Bailey is mellow and patient and wants to be where the pack is.
  • Zsofia DID succeed in getting our new girl to woo for a brief moment as dinner was being served. "Thank dog," Zso said, "I was beginning to think she did not know how. She did not even sign for the mailman."
  • she IS a gentle counter surfer and responded well toZsofia letting her know those were bad manners. (with a little help from WD saing, "Excuse me Little Miss)!
  • she chose a bed last night that allowed her to see into the bedroom where most of us sleep but was in the less crowded office with WD and Opal. It is the smallest sleep space in the room.

White Dog and I think our newest recruit has made a tremendous start in finding her way around and we have just begun to learn about Bailey's depth and strength and character. Time and love and patience, but already it is clear that Bailey is the perfect WDA recruit.

Opal put things into perspective. "Hey, she has only been here 24 hours and already she is sharing her toys and letting me hold them 'safe' for her here with my treasures. She is a keeper!"


September 24, 2017

White Dog started the Army choir when she was halfway up the drive.
Welcome to home, Sweet Bailey
Welcome to home.
We waited all night long!
The turkey's roasting, Bailey
Treat jar full
We're celebratin' Youuuuu!

Bailey surprised the Army by walking past the door and going into the yard. The WDA scrambled through the dog door. I heard Zsofia wooing a special speech of welcome. Zso made her first notes on her official "Mentor" clipboard: Teach new kid how to sing.

It was official without even being addressed; of course Bailey was to join the White Dog Army. This was one of those rare times when a new recruit walks in like they have been part of us forever. There was no confusion, no shyness. She licked Steve's face, allowed herself to be sniffed and greeted and then came in to meet those of us inside. She bounded over and shoved her snooter on my glasses as she pushed her head against me for loving. We were all sold; we had not even noticed that her foster mom had already gone back to the car for the paperwork.

Needless to say, "Welcome Bailey Marie, Sky-Eyed White Dog At Heart!"
Hey Zso, this ramp is SO cool!
Opal was VERY please that Bailey brought new toys along in her luggage
Cleaning up the remains of duck jerky treats
Every adoptee from from Breeder Release Adoption Services comes "wrapped in a blanket of love"


September 23, 2017

White Dog opened the email, scanned it quickly and then gathered Zsofia and the rest of the White Dog Army around to read along.

“Dear White Dog and The White Dog Army,” it began.

“I was sleeping the other night and was visited by a WDA Angel named Trixie. She told me that you were looking for a new recruit. She told me that she felt that I would be a perfect addition and that I should reach out and let you know about me.

“I am a lady with life experience. Not a pup but not yet an elder. I have baggage; for years I was forced over and over to be a single mother and my children were taken from me before I ever really got to know them. I am saggy in places but am working to become sleeker and more fit to join an Army.

“I am looking for a family who will love me for who I am and who will also encourage me to stretch to become the best of what is inside of me waiting to bloom. In return I will commit my entire being, heart and soul, to the White Dog Army and all who are part of the family. I will always give you everything I have, 100%.

“I am not pushy or demanding. I appreciate that every member of the pack has something special to contribute and am respectful. I can be nurturing. In general I am pretty mellow although I can be protective of my food bowl…but I would never hurt anyone; I just growl a bit.

“I come from Kansas and am now in New Mexico with a foster who works to help me adjust to a life of security and freedom but I really would like a permanent forever home where I can put down roots and bond. I have read your blog and being able to join the White Dog Army would be more than a dream come true.

“I am willing to work hard to learn your ways, routines, and customs. I am afraid as a breeder I did not grow up with much training or manners.  I am smart and a quick learner…I am sure learning how to use a dog door will be easy if I follow your example.

“I guess I am asking for an in-person interview to meet you, answer your questions, and hopefully convince you to let me stay. My foster mom said she would drive those many hours to bring me. Please?

“Sincerely with all toes crossed,

White Dog looked at her pack and raised an eyebrow. “Zsofia, are you ready to be a mentor? You would be the best choice but it might not be easy.” Zso sang her affirmative answer without hesitation. Then WD took a vote.

“Dear Bailey,” WD’s response began. “You have touched our hearts already! We all have voted and would like you to come to White Dog Ranch. Can your foster drive you here on Sunday to meet us? It is our hope that she will be returning home alone and we will have a new recruit. Planning the Welcome Feast as I write.

“With love and patience on behalf of the ENTIRE WDA, 
I am Siku Marie, THE White Dog

September 22, 2017

White Dog ran through the packout list with me. "You know I really miss attending the Paws To People events with you and dad," she said sadly. I looked up and met her eyes. "And I miss having you at my side. It is just that with YoYoMa's immune system so disrupted I fear any of you having contact with strange dogs because you might bring home some bacteria or virus without even knowing it. Yo is so susceptible." "I understand, momma. But I look forward to when his numbers are strong again and we can get more social."

I smiled and stroked her side. "Thanks, Little White Dog of My Heart, for putting your brother's health ahead of your wanting to go. That is what makes you such an awesome leader of the White Dog Army...you put the well being of your brothers and sisters ahead of everything else."

She pressed against me and nuzzled her face into my hand. "We look after each other. It would be wrong to do less."

"Oh Sweet White Dog, if only humans understood as well as the White Dog Army does."


September 21, 2017

White Dog silently moved to the front door as Steve went into the office to grab his keys. Only Sachi even noticed them open the door; his alert was too late. They were already in the van when the song erupted.

All eyes turned to me for an explanation. "oh. my. dog!" Benson woofed before I spoke. "Do you know what this means?" Brows furrowed.

"Woohoo!" Bella figured out. "Takeout Thursday!" And the WDA went wild.

Steve and White Dog returned with a box holding bags. Steve walked to the kitchen followed by a speculating line of white. "Not tacos." "Italian?" "Asian?"

BBQ! And momma has brisket!


September 20, 2017

White Dog hit "save." "There. This was long overdue."

What do you think of the new Blog header?


September 19, 2017

White Dog shook her head. "You would not know there is a problem by looking at him. YoYoMa is up on his legs and walking around a few feet at a time on his own. His ulcer wounds are healing. He seems pretty darned chipper."

I nodded my agreement. But I had just gotten off of the phone with Dr. Julia.

In healing the open bleeding wounds YoYoMa developed we play a disquieting game of recognizing that his body is having a reaction to prednisone in his medical cocktail and are cutting it back but in doing so we disrupt the balance of his IMHA that we had established.

This afternoon's blood check revealed we healed the flesh but upset the anemia's balance. Yo's HCT count had dropped to 29 (from 38 last week) and his white blood cell count had risen to 33,000. We we not controlling either his body eating its own red blood cells or fighting infection in his compromised immune system.

We are now on red alert.

Reluctant to reintroduce the possibility of bleeding ulcers we are trying the leave the pred reduced while we increase his cyclosporine back up to once a day (instead of every other), and we are reinstating the proanthozone, an antioxident. 

We will retest on Thursday.

Meanwhile Dr. Julia is investigating other drug options with regard to their statistics and efficacy in potentially helping Yo's case. We do not want to go into the weekend without a plan firmly in place and without knowing how his numbers are trending. 

YoYoMa has an amazing Spirit in this battle and its uncertainty. His will to fight and his body's refusal to surrender are an inspiration to me but I hate that his struggle is so up and down. WD points out that maybe this journey was predetermined when he was named in his litter: "Yoyo Bounce Right Back."

So for now a close watch is being kept...and momma is checking gum color obsessively. The eye infection seems to be clearing up with just irrigation and drops as needed so Dr. Julia is going to let that ride and will check when he comes in on Thursday. 

The White Dog Army asks for all to concentrate on successfully stealthy Ninja Red Blood Cells to slip past and raise Yo's numbers...and for his WBC to win the war against the infectious things attacking him. Thanks as always.


September 18, 2017

White Dog laughed at my surprise. "I knew that very first morning that she would end up sleeping on the bed," she said.

"Little White Dog of My Heart, Bella got here nearly four years ago. It has been a LONG wait." "But I knew the day would come."

Bella actually comes up on the bed every morning to greet me and the day. She stays for about 10 minutes and then jumps down.

But last night, she sat next to where Stormer had settled on his pink mat next to the bed and refused to allow me to put my legs up. She looked pointedly at the top of the bed where Sachi was already getting settled. "I think she wants to come up on the bed," Steve said.

I reached down to lift her up expecting she would skitter away and settle out of arm's reach. She did not. Instead she let me place her and then swing my legs up.She scoped out the territory and then settled at the angled space below my knees; Sachi took his usual spot on the foot between Steve and I.

We watch a bit of television before official "lights out." Sachi usually makes it about half an hour before hopping down and going to his favorite spot in the bathroom where he sleeps. I thought Bella would follow his example.

But amazingly, she did not. At lights out, she nestled up against me and was soon gently snoring. During the night she shifted like an experienced surfer with Steve and I as we moved in our sleep. At one point she snuggled atop Steve's chest in the breeze of the fan. When Steve got up in the morning she moved to his pillow briefly before following her usual pattern of joining him for his early morning routine around the house.

White Dog for all of her pre-WDA life slept with us. She moved into her own room when the bedroom became crowded and stayed in the office to provide an anchor for the others who rested better with privacy but still wanted a connection and later to guard Puff in her oxygen kennel.

It was a delightful reminder of those earlier days as well as being a thrilling moment of new growth in Bella's level of trust. It was hard to not reach down and cup her head or stroke her face...to make a fuss...but I feared any move on my part would cause her to jump down.

For more than an hour, I lay stone still in the darkness listening to the the sleeping Army, feeling Steve in his usual comforting spot and sensing the warmth of my Tiny Dancer on the backside of my legs (tucked against my knees). My heart swelled with love and I fell asleep thanking the Universe for a life blessed with such miracles.


September 17, 2017

White Dog listened to my plan and agreed it would certainly ease Stormer's difficulty getting up and down. Our house has beautiful old hardwood floors that are proving to be slippery for our arthritic old man, especially when he tries to rise from lying.

Areas between rooms, the door swing and thresholds are bare wood and he has begun trying to jump over them...from area carpet to area carpet. I am afraid he will strain something or fall over trying to leap on his stiff old legs.

Systematically WD and I have been closing gaps and adding small rugs to bridge the bare wood. One of the most bothersome areas was the 4'x5' area as you walk in the office. It is the spot immediately adjacent to Stormer's bed. He often slumps half on and half off his firm bedding  or moves to lie on the cooler wood floor...except then he cannot get up and cries piteously to be helped.

Last week White Dog and I did a bit of shopping and with Steve's agreement, surprised the White Dog Army with a new floor covering for the office that goes from room edge to room edge.

Every pup seems to like it...especially CA Stormer!


September 16, 2017

White Dog was standing on the arm of the chair when we walked in. "Do you see Yo?" she asked. In that instant my heart exploded with fear and I whirled to look toward the fireplace.

We tucked him in nicely on blankets on the hearth before we left. He had his untippable waterbowl between his paws and was comfortably arranged (as best we could tell). He was healing but still was not walking.

We returned to our boy turned completely around now facing away from the windows and lying on the opposite side of his body. Clearly he had been moving around. "Oh YoYoMa," I barely began the words and he turned and looked at me. He stood up by himself. "You are awesome Baby Boy!" I cheered. The rest of the White Dog Army beamed their pride from all corners of the room.

Steve took him by the harness handle. "Want to try it?" he asked; Yo started to slowly step toward the kitchen; he made it halfway before his legs gave out. "Woohoo! That was GREAT!" Steve told him as he scooped up our boy in his arms and carried him. "Little bits, you do not want to overdo." Everypup followed them out.
When they came back in YoYoMa stood to drink and then moved by himself to settle on the hearth. "That was VERY good, Baby. Rest now." I reached for the jerky for the WDA. I fully intended Steve would help Yo by bringing his over and breaking it into pieces.

Yo heard the familiar rattle of the treat jar and the lid being unscrewed and once again stood. He tenderly wove his way through the rest of the White Dogs (who parted a path in deference) to come to his usual spot for treats. THERE he collapsed to his belly.

"It is OK, you do not have to sit in formation, Yo." I told him and parceled out the jerky treats. No one complained about unfairness when he got an extra half piece for his efforts.

He stood for dinner. He walked a few steps to the big water bowl. He is wobbly and I can tell it is a true effort, but he is once again mobile! I thanked the Universe as we redressed his ulcers and massaged his paws and legs. And then I whispered in his ear, "What a spirit you have! Your ninja red blood cells and now muscles being reclaimed, you ARE my brave Warrior."