June 22, 2017

White Dog was exhausted by the events of the day and had returned to her bed despite the fact that it was just past breakfast. I looked at Steve in puzzlement. "How come White Dog and every one else is already in snooze mode?"

He sat next me. "Apparently we had a VERY exciting night and the White Dog Army has been helping me make discoveries and supervise cleanup." I raised an eyebrow not sure if I REALLY wanted to know details before coffee.

"First, some pup, I think it was Miss Trixie who ate poop off of the sidewalk on the walk last night, re-enacted the Exorcist all over the living room carpet and sofa." "Probably did not want to disturb us by going in the bathroom or out through the dog door, right?"

"I had a hard time keeping the cleanup from becoming a pre-breakfast appetizer."

Thankfully the sofa is covered and we have a spare cover. Steve put on the second cover and carried the bundled soiled one to the washing machine. "That is when I discovered that the little built-in cup where the detergent and softener go was swarming with ants. Why? I don't know. But they were everywhere. So we had to clean out the machine and get rid of all of the ants before I could start the laundry."

I was sure by then the WDA was more than ready for breakfast. Steve continued.

"Last night when I was in the kitchen after night walks I heard skittering and said to Sachi, 'oh no! I think we have another mouse invader. Put on your hunter gear, Little Man.'" In my head I thought, "You put out a trap and caught him, right?"

"Well, when I went out on the deck to bring Nilla in for breakfast there it was neatly arrayed just outside the dog door. A dead mouse. Now I am not sure it was THAT mouse..." good dog, I hope he is it, I thought. "...and I cannot swear it was Sachi who caught him. But I am going to say it was the mouse we heard and that our Little Mouser can add another badge to his honor sash."

"Just glad no one of the Army wanted him for a snack." "Oddly, everyone must have walked past the corpse and understood maybe it was there as a warning to other mice. I removed him to the dumpster, of course."

"And THEN did everyone get breakfast?" "Yep." "Well now I understand why all are fast asleep; I need coffee after all of that or I am going to crawl back to bed as well."

June 21, 2017

White Dog pressed closer against the side of my face so that she could hear BOTH sides of the conversation that I was having with Dr. England. Stormer has been in to see her last Saturday for a routine check and she was calling with results from his lab work.

Stormer, on the other hand, confidently snored under the swamp cooler breezes.

"Basically, Stormer, is a regular older fellow," Dr. England began. White Dog mouthed, "Duh!" and I gave her a warning look. "So a lot of things are slightly skewed from the perfect numbers but I think that they are things we need to watch not necessarily jump into treating." I liked her approach that we can expect slight variations from the "targets" of many issues and that we would compare in six months where those deviations stood then.

For example at 37 RBC, Stormer is technically anemic but the lowest end of the acceptable range begins at 38 so his situation does not mirror YoYoMa's. His platelet count was slightly elevated but she saw no other signs that indicated we should be concerned about Cushings...but we will now watch for other symptoms.

The pancreas indicators were about 3% higher than normal...again, not cause for concern but something to keep in mind should CA suddenly begin showing digestive troubles.

Saturday's xrays showed that Stormer has some inflammation in the soft tissue along his spine and is suffering from hip dysplasia. We waited for blood results before settling on course of pain management. Turns out his liver is a bit enlarged and the enzyme numbers are tending toward the higher end of normal. So we have decided to avoid NSAIDS which are hard on the liver. We don't think that we yet need the heavy relief of Tramadol so will use gabapenten as needed. Additionally, our Stormer will do a cycle of Adequan shots to not just manage pain but hopefully to help rebuild some of the cartilage damage. In many cases the four week cycle lasts for many months.

Dr. England finally talked about Stormer's kidney values. "This news is right up your alley," she said. "The extended CBC now includes a SMDA value. SMDA is another renal biomarker, like creatinine and the BUN EXCEPT that it indicates kidney issues at a MUCH early stage. The other markers do not see kidney disease until it is well underway, but this new indicator sends up warnings almost 50% sooner so we are aware almost at a pre-KD stage. And the part you will love is that IDEXX is working to translate this component of their CBC into the HUMAN realm."

Turns out that Stormer's Creatinine and BUN numbers are both fine but this new indicator shows we need to be treating his kidneys gently. He will join Benson on our special kidney diet in hopes of slowing the aging process.

I looked over at our CA Stormer who lifted his head and blinked at me. "Well, you are in pretty good shape for being an old man," I told him. "Nothing we can't handle. Hell, nothing momma doesn't have to consider for herself. And the good news is that you finally can stop trying to steal Ben's dinner. You are going to be getting the exact same thing."


June 20, 2017

White Dog wanted to go along. "Sweet Girl, we are going to the vet with Yo. You HATE the vet's office." She looked at me and said, "Their air conditioning is always cold AND they have tile floors!" I shook my head that only YoYoMa was going and she went to sulk behind the chair.

Dr. Julia was already waiting in the exam room when we came in. "Let's look at this boy in person, there are lots of things I want to check," she said as Steve lifted our handsome Boy onto the table and she began to raise it.

"He is feeling good," she said as she squeezed and lifted lips and poked around. "That is a good thing." Rosie drew blood to test his Red Blood Cell count and also to run an extended health panel. "Let's not let anything sneak up on us," Dr. Julia said. Rosie went off to spin for the RBC number after she helped take a pressure reading on Yo's bad eye.

"His eye looks good but the pressure is still pretty high," was the result and Dr. Julia prescribed drops to be administered. She is sensitive to the costs of all the medications Yo is on and said, "last time I looked these drops were NOT expensive," but sardonically smiled, "of course THAT was a week or so ago and with pharmaceutical prices these days who knows, it could be $600." I LOVE our vet for her real life wit but promised if it were $600 that I would be giving her a call.

We chatted a bit about Paws To People and the idea that autoimmune diseases may be linked to the environment as we waited to get the hematocrit number. "I know I am seeing more cases than ever before," she said pointing at YoYoMa who was resting on the padded table. "Right now I have four patients with the same issues as this boy."

Rosie poked her head in and quietly said, "Thirty-four." Not only did our room erupt in whoops but we heard others in the back join our glee. Cindy (who lost HER dog not so long ago to IMHA) ran in and hugged YoYoMa.

"THIRTY-FOUR!" I kissed Yo on the nose. "Please send that message to ALL the ninja red blood cells, Baby Boy," I whispered. "Keep going! You are awesome."

"One week," Dr. Julia said anticipating my next question. "And I will call on Thursday with test results of extended CBC." Steve carried Yo out to the car so he did not have to walk on the hot sidewalk.

"Don't tell the others," Steve said as we pulled into the Sonic. "This is for you, Buddy. How about an ice cream?"

Except it was SO hot that Sonic had stopped serving ice cream because the freezer could not keep the mix firm. But YoYoMa did not seem to mind the cheeseburger he got instead.

June 19, 2017

White Dog gave up and was sleeping in the cooling breeze of the swamp cooler. We are in the middle of a heat wave here in the southwest and it is not bringing out the best in the White Dog Army.

Every pup is bored but the heat zaps the energy to play fetch or run in the yard. In fact no one even wants to poke a paw out of the cool comfort of the house. Business trips out are quick and much less frequent than normal.

We have begun to get a little snarky to each other. Crabbiness has had to be re-calibrated as we speak too sharply or push to get a better position. The WDA is not so quick today to consider the others or move out of the way. Every dog has been guilty of an unprovoked growl or uttered threat.

The game of gate keeping is requiring this momma to frequently abandon her work at  the computer to nudge one stubborn white dog or another from lying ACROSS a doorway impeding the passage of everyone else.  Those trapped smile and wag gratefully while the dispossessed one gives me "THAT" look.

I sound like MY mother on days like this, "If you cannot be nice then take yourself off to bed where you can be alone and as crabby as you want, but if you want treats in a bit I suggest an attitude adjustment." And like I did, I KNOW the White Dogs roll their eyes and snort.

And the heat wave is supposed to continue ALL week. Sigh.


June 18, 2017

White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army all know how incredibly blessed they are to have a hu-dad who works so hard to make sure their needs are met on every level, AND who lets them know in a bazillion ways how much each is cherished and loved.

In return, they know he understands that each of them adores him and is totally devoted to him.

But there are many, White Dog reminds us, for whom this day is less than a happy memory filled celebration.  Not every person, two- or four-legged, is given a nurturer, a mentor, a guardian, a protector, a shining example, a caring and loving soul to guide and encourage. There are some who have been abandoned or who never knew a kind touch; some who were abused or mistreated or neglected. Many carry scars, physical and emotional, that are the result of a "father" in their lives.

This day is hard for them. We ask the Universe to grant them healing and closure. We pray on this day that their wisdom and experiences guide them on a path of compassion and sharing what they were denied.

The WDA, on brighter note, sends a special song of gratitude to people who have stepped into big shoes, blended into families, and lived,heart and soul, the commitment that being a dad involves more than just a biological act. You are rare sparkling gems that by your daily lives, make the world a better place.

We love you, dad! Thank you for ALL you do.

June 17, 2017

White Dog wanted to go to the eWaste Recycling Event but it was too darn hot. I expected a stubborn argument but news that we would be outdoors and that the temperature was over one hundred degrees had her rethinking. Steve's argument that all should stay home in the cool as he handed out treats about 90% did the trick. What finally pushed her over to the sane reasonable decision to stay home was the promise that tonight's dinner would cold noshes that we could all share.

It was sweltering, even under the shade canopy, but the event went well. On the way home we stopped at the grocery (blissfully cold inside) and chose a selection of cheeses, a roast chicken, some eel unagi, a cucumber, cherry tomatoes and nectarines. As I got into line, Steve went to the freezer section to grab vanilla ice cream and wafer cookies.

White Dog followed Steve right into the kitchen to inspect the dinner fixings. She was joined by the rest of the Army who wagged over the chicken, surged forward to see the brie, the sheep's milk bleu, and the gouda wedges. Zsofia tried to lick the carton of ice cream as Steve put it in the freezer. "After dessert, my girl," he scolded.

In addition, the pet store who hosted the recycling sent home a gift bag in celebration of the store's seventh anniversary. Inside were kibble samples...kangaroo, trout, turkey stew, salmon. YoYoMa sidled up to sniff the bag. "Here's an idea," he said, "What if you mixed ALL of these together and served the mixture as the bottom of our meal. then arranged the cheese and chicken and sushi elegantly on top. Then you can garnish with the veggies." White Dog nuzzled Steve, "Just like the good old days when you and Richard used to do Haute Hotties Meals." Steve bowed to the pressure of the pack and created lovingly arrayed tapas on a bed of exotic kibble for each of the pups. For Benson, he improvised to take his special dietary needs into account.

In the meantime, Bella and Opal and Zso helped me sliced up nectarines and make up little cupcake holders full of fruit topped with a scoop of ice cream. After our meal, Steve would simply turn an individual serving into each bowl for a refreshing finale.

Blessedly all agreed that BEFORE diving into our repast Steve and I should have "twenty minutes" to rehydrate, take off shoes and just breathe under the cooling airs.

Steve sank into a chair and sighed. "THANK YOU! Loved ones."


June 16, 2017

White Dog was not happy that Steve had to leave extra early for work and that he had to drive all of the way to Santa Fe. She thought he was fooling her when he came out from dressing wearing shorts and a t-shirt. "Since when do you go to work like that?" she asked.

Steve and his office were driving up to Santa Fe to participate in the local AIA Canstruction Competition...the local version of an international competition to use cans of food in an original construction that exemplified the theme: "We can be heroes. Who or what is a hero to you?"

The architects in Steve's firm designed a concept that used 6000 cans of food...food that will be donated to the local Food Depot for the hungry. They were competing against six other teams.

The White Dog Army and I watched the progress all day as Steve and his coworkers posted photos. At 3 pm, the WDA whooped as Steve sent us this photo, and the message, "finished!"
His group, with their interpretation:"Education is our hero because it can save the world. From war. From Poverty. From Hunger." Already has won the prize for using the most cans of food. There is judging for people's choice, and by the AIA committee. Then the entrants participate at the international level.

White Dog and the Army were waiting at the door for Steve. "Dad! The globe is amazing. We are all so proud of you!" When Steve told them over 30,000 cans of food would be donated as a result of the competition, WD picked up the phone.

"No cooking for you, tonight! You are a hero. How about barbecue chicken and brisket to celebrate?" She handed me the cordless device. "And don't forget the blueberry cobbler," she added. "It is dad's favorite."


June 15, 2017

White Dog looked at the photo and commented, "It was sure a nice tribute for Los Angeles to turn on the Bat Signal in honor of Adam West." I nodded in agreement. "You know his portrayal of Batman influenced an entire generation of young (and old) TV viewers in my childhood," I told her.

"I know," she replied. "That is why I dug up this old virtual Halloween photo of the White Dog Army Dynamic Duo...Sachi and Dad. As OUR tribute."
Bam! Pow! Biff! Thank you, Adam West, for all of your Caped Crusading and Crime Fighting to keep Gotham City safe from those colorful villains.


June 14, 2017

White Dog and the WDA have been watching some classic TV. Today, she turned to me and asked, "Did you ever notice that Sachi bears a striking resemblance to Cousin It?


June 13, 2017

White Dog is not interested in vegetables unless they come sauced or slathered in butter. Thankfully the other members of the White Dog Army did not spend their formative years being pampered by a professionally trained haute chef coming over and insisting that share her own "special plate" while we all cooked together and dined.

The others LOVE veggies...and supervising their preparation. Of course supervision includes sampling for freshness. Tonight's green choice was broccoli.
What do you mean the rest have to go in the pot for you and dad?