May 26, 2017

White Dog watched me stop mid-pet and gently take Trixie by the collar. My moment of affection turned into a body examination as I ran my hand over her sides and stopped at the spots wet from her chewing. I gently rubbed her ears and felt the measle-y bumps. I turned her around and checked her backside.

"Looks like you are heading into a new cycle of your mysterious skin condition," told her...and the Leader of the Pack who was observing. "I had hoped it would be a once in a lifetime thing."

A call to Trixie's vet confirmed my action plan which was to jump her medications back up to where they were when we struggled with this last winter. We had over months stepped down to a maintenance dose. Both the medicated baths and Lime Sulphur rinses are scheduled for this weekend. And we are to dress the determined girl in t-shirts if she insists on chewing herself raw.

Dr. England wants to see her in a week to take stock of where we are then. In the meantime, we are trying to make Miss Trix comfortable, The itching is clearly intense and her response tends to be obsessive.

I have already warned our kick, twist and bolt bather of what to expect first thing Saturday morning. SHE was about to tell me, "No Way!" I think but instead dropped to her side so she could chew at her thigh. "This is why we are doing it," I firmly told her before gently rubbing the area she was mauling.

White Dog stood in front of her. "Do NOT make me sit in the bathroom to supervise you while dad does the shampooing and rinsing!" White Dog is not fond f baths herself. "The sooner we get treatment started, the sooner you will be feeling normal again." Trixie looked at WD and then bent her head to nibble her leg.


May 25, 2017

White Dog double treasure...Thinking Thursday AND Throwback Thursday (2012).This is one of my favorite photos of the Little White Dog of My Heart.


May 24, 2017

White Dog called for an immediate halt to the usual blizzard rush at Steve when he comes in from work. It was clear through the still closed front door that something was wrong. Steve was hunkered over the door and was clearly in pain. The WDA stopped and let him in enter without demands for attention or clamoring nuzzles.

"I fell at work going up the stairs," he started, "and pulled a muscle in my leg and hip." "Go take something to dull the pain right now and then let's look," was my response. The Army followed him, concerned, at a respectful distance although the restraint was taking all of their efforts.

Already there were signs of nasty bruising forming and the area was very tender. "Should we go have you looked at?" "Why? They will just give me a relaxant and tell me to not move too much." The White Dogs ushered him over to the couch and pushed him to sit down.

"Careful everyone. Sometimes it is going up and down that hurts..." Poor Steve squealed in misery. Opal ran from the room in fright.  "...the most," I finished.

Zsofia jumped up next to Steve and White Dog joined her. Together they nosed and examined while all of the others crowded around looking VERY worried.  White Dog announced a change of plans for the evening. Sachi, Steve's devoted one,  FINALLY scrambled up to sit in a toehold position next to Steve, and licked his arm in comfort.

"OK. Dad will make our dinners because he says just standing does not hurt but we will go quietly to our places and wait for him to place our bowls...no pushing at him or yelling for him to hurry. Momma, get out the menus and see who delivers so dad does not have to cook dinner. Pizza would be quick, cheap and easy. Besides we could share.

"Benson, you must move over on the bed for your subq fluids so that dad can lie next to you with his hip and leg stretched out. And everyone...make prebed yard potty plans...Dad is NOT going on any walks.

"Momma, get the heating pad out for tonight and make sure dad keeps taking the extra strength ibuprofen. And dad, you listen to what I am saying...and to momma, too. Being a hero will just make things worse. Go!"

Every pup fell into the routine White Dog laid out...and even Steve did not give her the arguments that I would have gotten.

"That's my girl!" I thought proudly. "Handled like the leader you are.."


May 23, 2017

White Dog reminded me that a certain Darkest White Dog had been forgotten when I handed out jerky treats. She had been engaged in the yard and had not come in when I called.

"Do you think she even knows?" I asked because Zso had not come in until well past every pup devouring his or her strip.

White Dog nodded next to me.


May 22, 2017

White Dog came through to check on Benson's progress. She nodded to him on her way out of the dog door...and again when she came inside. He was lying quietly on the bed.

"You are so patient, brother," she told him. "I am not sure any of the rest of us would be so still."

Every evening after dinner Benson and I have a "date." He follows me into the bedroom and allows me to lift him up next to me on the bed. I help him stretch out on his side and get his feet comfortable. He has a special green towel that we fold under his head to support his neck. Then I stroke his ruff and ears and we chat about the day.

Steve comes in the with bag of IV fluids and application rig...and the "after" treat of fresh chicken. He hangs the bag and stretches the line out before sitting on the other side of the bed from us.

"Here comes the stick and yes, it will hurt for a second," I always warn Benson for I do not want him to flinch and cause Steve to miss the mark. Ben takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. And then relaxes on the towel against my hand.

The rest of the White Dog Army assembles each night to supervise and respectfully rest around him on the floor. Every pup knows this is Benson's attention time so they watch silently without demands as the fluids drip in to help Benson's kidneys do a better job of filtering. Every night. 200 units; so far it has helped slow the progress of Ben's kidney disease.

I believe the repetition has given my stoic boy a sense of the time it takes for the procedure because he starts to lift his head and look just as we near the marker that indicates we are through. Once he feels the needle slide out, he sits up in anticipation of special rewards...

...and the WDA comes to life as they line up for their eraser sized "payment" for well behaved supervision.


May 21, 2017

White Dog leaned against me. "You are under so much stress dad and I are worried about you. Today now that you have an answer let us take a break and go to the park. And avoid all the things that have your mind whirling. Come on."

I had just talked to the Emergency Vet where Steve had taken YoYoMa for a blood test to check his anemia. Dr. Julia had set things up on Friday and our goal was to keep Yo stable. We did not expect the number to climb but we sure did not want it to fall. He was at 23%...right where he was on Friday. What a relief! The horrible thing about this is that there is no REAL way to look at him and tell. Through everything his gums have remained pink and when he is already lethargic how do you gauge percentages of change? But he was stable! I was thrilled but had secretly hoped it had been 24...or 30. But he had held the line, I told myself again.

White Dog was insistent that I needed to get out of the house and change my pattern so I went...as we were leaving Nilla came to my side and asked to join us. Nilla is my least demanding pup and as a result I fear she becomes the "forgotten" child. "Want to come along?" I asked and she trotted to the door to wait for Steve to leash her.

WD was right, I needed this outing of sitting in the shade and feeling the breeze while White Dog flowed like silk across the grass. It was a beautiful day but the Park was nearly empty allowing long graceful zoomies.

Nilla's joy was a balm for my harried soul. I watched her smile and prance next to Steve in such obvious happiness I was instantly glad she had joined us. She soaked in the smells and the opportunity to explore. My 17 year old girl did not sit down to rest for the entire hour we were there. At the end she was ready to nap in the car on the way home.

We walked in to the Army all clamoring for attention and the need to finish the weekend "to-do" list. I looked over and smiled at the Little White Dog of My Heart, "You always know just what I need," I mouthed, "I love you!" Then I looked at all of the smiling pups surrounding me and blanketing me with devotion. "You all give me balance. I love you!"


May 20, 2017

White Dog stretched on the pillow next to me across my shoulder. "Wow, momma, we have not had such a nice Saturday in a LONG time." I had to agree that it was pleasant just all being together and doing "house things."

Like, breaking in a new Gotcha Day toy...
and Healing...


May 19, 2017

White Dog was in the middle of holding a planning meeting with the menu committee when Sachi entered the office. "Let's go in the other room," she suggested to her team. Sachi, who had settled on the mat next to my desk, felt the need to jump up and nip at WD's flanks.

"Do we HAVE to do this?" she looked up and asked me. I nodded and she sighed.  I heard her send Zsofia in to provide a distraction so he would not follow the rest. Zso did what she does best...she wrestled with her best buddy in a full out grunts and growls wrestlemania that had the two of them floundering around all over the office and hall.

Today is Sachi's Gotcha Day. He came to us in 2014 from California. An amazing woman, now Sachi's godmother, Adrienne, drove all of the way from Albuquerque and back to bring him to us.

His addition has been, as WD puts it, "like Napoleon entering the city gates...like suddenly having a porn movie studio move in next door...like having a devoted loyal Jack Nicholson as a roommate."

Sachi IS all of those things. He is a little macho stud muffin who struts before any lady dogs. He bosses everyone around like HE is in charge. His throat scarring causes him to pant and gurgle when he breathes so that he DOES should like the heavy breathing in THOSE movies. He is devoted to Steve...sometimes compulsively so...and is a fierce protector of our home--verbally to warn off those on the street and by nipping ankles for those brave enough to enter before Sachi is contained in Steve's arms or in the bathtub.

He is a lover and a licker. Everyone in the White Dog Army has experienced the frustration of his hounding them but no one holds any grudges and are gentle in their corrections.

Sachi, "Happiness" in Japanese, is a goofy clown who adds a unique...well...Sachiness to our pack.

White Dog came in and slipped me the menu for tonight's celebration. Chicken Tacos with tomatoes (for Sachi, Zsofia and Opal who love them so much we cannot even grow the plants) and cheese for everyone. Black beans because Sachi likes to play with the beans swatting and chasing them before pouncing and devouring them one-by-one. And of course, cake, butter cake with cream cheese frosting. YoYoMa is working up a special impersonation of the Little Man of the Hour and Zsofia has issued a Wrestling Challenge that I am sure will entertain us all.

The rest are gathering favorite stories and photos to share.  Here are a few of my favorites.
Where we fell in love

Meeting the White Dog Army

Centerfold shot

Like an Angel...when he's sleeping
Best friend
Conversations with Dad


May 18, 2017

White Dog kissed my tears. "Thank dog for your instincts, momma!" she said.

I awoke early and YoYoMa was on my mind. Steve reported that My Boy was up and about and had eaten breakfast but that he seemed kind of slow. YoYoMa was scheduled to see Dr. Julia Friday morning for a new blood check.

Steve was running late for work and I kept trying to convince myself that everything would be good until tomorrow. But the feeling something was wrong could not be set aside. Although I reassured Steve, he sensed the gravity of my concern and took YoYoMa for a blood draw going into the office late.

When Dr. Julia called me she started the conversation with, "Well I consulted with my go to guys..." I cut her off with a "How bad are we?" On Tuesday when she saw him after the transfusion he was at 30 but today had dropped to 23%. The number SHOULD have been moving upward not sliding down.

We decided, using the advice she had gained, in our planning, to aggressively increase his medication and to test him again on Friday. If there is no progress we will need to address another transfusion.

AND we will need a weekend plan since Dr. Julia's office is not open on weekends.

So now we wait and hope that the medications jump start things. And ask the Universe to help YoYoMa fight his body fighting itself.


May 17, 2017

White Dog was at my feet. I leaned over to make a comment about how nice it was that it was a "normal" post dinner evening...all were napping in preparation for bedtime walks...but even she was fast asleep. Still, it felt like for the first time all week the White Dog Army was in a good place...full, happy, safe, healing, and thankful for being together.