September 18, 2014

White Dog laid a paw on my arm. "This will go well, the White Dog Army has powerful healing energies, don't forget that." And with that Steve carried Puff out and placed her on my lap in the van... it was time to put our courage on.

Dr. Julia called me herself at a little after 2pm to tell me that Puff was out of surgery and doing fine. She laughed as she recounted that My Girl felt good enough to snarl and take a snap at the good doctor as they brought her out of the anesthesia. The tumor was wound around three teeth which had to be removed. The growth under examination looks benign but we will not know for certain until we get the pathology report in several days. Suddenly I could breathe again, and the White Dogs began watching for her return home.
Do you see them? Are they coming yet? 
Steve walked in carrying Puff at nearly six. Her eyes were bright and she asked to be allowed to walk. There was no grogginess or woozy movements. Dr. Julia must have used the lightest of touches on the anesthesia. Puff The Magical even ate a dinner of rice and hamburger before the tramadol hit and she needed to sleep. Zsofia had the good sense to be kind and after sniffing gently, left the sister she usually tortures alone.

We are together again...and whole...and the fears have been sent away. tomorrow YoYoMa has planned a breakfast celebration for his sister and life will go back to "normal." Tonight, although she seems fine, my feisty little old lady is quite the fighter, I will sleep with one eye open and my ears will be tuned to where my little girl sleeps.

And I will whisper silent "Thanks" to the generous Universe and loving friends who with their powerful healing energies helped a 90 year-old lady (and her momma) through a VERY scary day. Thank you, dear blog family, so very much.


September 17, 2014

White Dog rested against me and said ever so softly, "I know what you are thinking, momma. It won't be like that. This is different. You have to believe."

Every pup was off doing other things or napping. Puff was snoring soundly as she rested on my foot. I watched her and lost the battle against fear.

Tomorrow my 16 year-old Baby Girl with heart troubles, a collapsing trachea, and pulmonary issues is going in for surgery. My tough little old lady who Dr. Julia would not risk putting under to be spayed or for a dental know has no choice.

Over the past 10 days a lump has developed on her upper gum, a solid mass that seemingly has no feeling. It is right beneath her eye. Puff was in to see Dr. Julia early this week who took one look and announced, "This has to come out!" She was emphatic enough that she confirmed what I feared--that this wasn't an abscess or infection but a tumor. The mass must be removed and biopsied; the tooth beneath it will also most likely need to be taken. And the mouth thoroughly checked to make sure that there are no others.

So began the in-earnest discussion about how we were going to make this surgery possible in the safest way to protect My Girl's delicate cardio-pulmonary system from the dangers of anesthesia and still remove what clearly needed out. I cannot say that I am entirely convinced that the procedure we agreed upon will be foolproof (and I understand that nothing is ever guaranteed) but I have held Puff in my arms and listened to her heart...she reminds me she is a fighter from way back and tells me she is willing to accept the risks.

So first thing tomorrow we will take Puff to Dr. Julia's and I will kiss her on the head, breathing my breath into her nose and telling her to hurry home to me. The surgical team will include a tech dedicated to monitoring Puff's vitals, one who will be devotedly at the ready with the reversible anesthesia, plus Dr. Julia and her assistant. Puff will have a catheter and fluids. The resuscitation machines will all be but an arm's reach away. Dr. Julia will only put Puff under as deeply as necessary for work in the mouth and will focus on just the tumor, tooth, and checking for other abnormalities...then they will quickly bring her out. She will continue to be monitored all afternoon.

We will bring Puff home at end of day and give her a bit of extra time in her oxygen kennel to help clear her system of the gasses used. We will watch her condition throughout the night and hopefully on Friday, YoYoMa can host the breakfast celebration he has planned.

There are an awful lot of places for curves to be thrown but I am trying to not think about those. But I cannot help thinking about that morning oh so long ago when our Sheena went in for exploratory surgery and never woke up...those demons of fear are rattling at my windows and stirring up memories best left in the past.

I will believe and harness all of the powers within me because that is what mommas do, but I will not be at peace until Puff is home and out of danger.

Please think of my feisty little old lady and send her your good thoughts and healing energies...they would be much appreciated.

We won't know the biopsy results for several days but that is a secondary concern.


September 16, 2014

White Dog watched out of the window and gave the "all clear" signal the minute Candace had backed out of the drive and was headed down the road. "OK, White Dogs and dad, we have a party to put together!" Daisy and Skye were part of the planning committee and so far had done an excellent job not giving their momma any clues about this evening's surprise.

Today marks the one-month anniversary since Candace, Skye and Daisy came to stay with us and White Dog had orchestrated a celebration to recognize the day as well as the amazing progress their family has made in just a very few days. It could not have been easy to make the journey to us, strangers, trusting that all would work out in a place where they had no network or do-over button; theirs was a tremendous act of courage and faith. It has been an exciting 30 days of watching them put down tentative roots and give themselves over to believing that what was happening was genuine and real and would last.

Candace has worked hard and landed not one, but two jobs and is still getting responses from groundwork she had laid when they first arrived. The newbies are totally at home within the White Dog Army and spend much of their days with the pack. They are beginning to find their way around town and have found a favorite park. Candace has been a wonderful help in catching up on the "Honey Do" list neglected by Steve's school demands (the yard has never looked better)! She dove right in and found ways to add her volunteer time to helping Paws To People's shoe fundraiser and our event planning. She has been invaluable in helping with Zsofia and the added needs of a baby in the house. She LIKES doing dishes! We are so grateful for her assistance and gentleness.

Daisy and Skye helped us plan a Southern Feast like they have "back home" Steve with the help of his Kitchen Team (Taiko, Sachi, and Zsofia) cooked up some "Down Home Magic" to celebrate. BBQ ribs, cornmeal fried catfish (with homemade sauce), fried okra, dirty mashed potatoes, and watermelon graced the table and hopefully did not seem too New Mexican or Midwestern in its execution. There were round steak bones for puppy dessert and of course, pecan pie for the humans. We laughed as we munched and discussed whether it was PEE-kan or pee-kaan or pee-CAN.

It makes the entire White Dog Army wiggy-waggy happy to hear this family laugh; friends who just a few weeks ago thought they were out of options and hope. It fills our heart to see this new beginning unfolding and we feel blessed that we are a part of it.

We believe in and celebrate the bonds formed when people reach out to each other.  We know this is the start of a beautiful future for Candace, Skye and Daisy...and MANY more celebrations, WDA style.


September 15, 2014

White Dog gently laid her muzzle against her sister's wet side. "Poor Puff is NOT having a good day!" she observed, rather stating the obvious as Puff stood shivering and dripping rain.

Now that Zsofia has discovered the dog door her drag lead has, by necessity, been removed. We do not want her to tangled up somewhere outside. This means that I have also lost the option to quickly step on the lead to thwart the Little One from overzealous play with her "want-to-be-left-alone" siblings.

Zsofia absolutely tortured Puff all afternoon as the skies darkened and a storm moved in. The impending rain seemed to invigorate the Darker White One as much as it made YoYoMa nervous. I heard Puff YIPE and went out to the living room to break things up...again. Puff came to lie in the hallway outside the office. I was on the phone when I heard her cry out a bit later. I tried to quickly finish business and went looking. The storm was fully upon us, dumping down rain and growling thunderous insults. Both Puff and Zsofia were not in the house. I called at the dog door and got no response. We have restricted access to all of the underdeck shelter and I could not see either pup.

I called Candace who was in the studio to ask if the two might be with her. They were not but she immediately offered to brave the rain to search the yard for them. As I hung up and turned, Puff came scurrying in, soaked and covered in mud and twigs. Apparently Zsofia had chased her out and then challenged her each time she tried to come in.

As for Zsofia, Candace came in holding her. Not so soaked. She had managed to find her way into the gazebo where she was partially protected from the wetness.

I dried Puff and Candace buffed off the demon dog. My poor little old lady was having, as Sachi put it, "a pigeon poop" day. Her visit to Dr. Julia confirmed my fear that the bump on her upper right gum would need to be removed and biopsied...that will happen Thursday. She was given a massive dose of antibiotics to fight the infection growing around the tooth beneath the growth so she was not feeling her best. She sure did not deserve being leaped on and chewed by a bratty baby.

And she wasn't the only one who smiled and wagged a bit when I snapped a leash on Zsofia. "For the rest of the night," I told her, "we are inseparable. You are in time out." True to stubborn Northern Breed form, she has laid beside me quiet as can be, just chewing her toys and occasionally my office chair. She looks at me levelly and without any sign of remorse. "You are not big enough yet to throw me those flashing eyes, young lady," I told her mimicking what my grandmother said to me once.

I already know the drill. When Steve comes home, she will rush up to him and throw herself in his arms...and sing of song of momma abuse.

September 14, 2014

White Dog came back in announcing, "Let destiny take us. Pandora is out of the box!" "I think you are confusing your mythology," I told her. "Whatever are you talking about?"

"Dad, with the help of Sachi and Taiko, have introduced Zsofia to the doggie door," the Little White Dog of My Heart explained. "She is going in and out like a pup in paradise as dad holds the door open and she comes back in when he calls her name. Just now she followed Sachi out without Dad's help and went to the yard and squatted when Sachi did his business. Dad is SO excited!"

Several times across the afternoon we watched our darker White Dog head down the hall and then heard the door clunk. Steve would peek out of the window and sure enough, Zsofia was wandering on her own in the yard and relieving herself.

"Our Little Girl is growing up," Steve lamented. "Don't worry, Sweetheart," I reassured, "There are still lots of puppy rules that need to stay in place...she still gets kenneled at night I do not want her going out when we are asleep...She is leashed or babygated when we are not home; she is not old enough for total independence yet there is still much trouble she can get into and cause...and finally, she is not mature enough to be left unattended. It is OK for her to go outside to stretch her legs or potty but she must be monitored we need to know where she is."

Steve nodded his head as he stroked those soft black ears. He heard and understood me. Zsofia on the other hand, howled "FREEDOM!" and headed for another trip through the magic portal (tailed by Sachi and White Dog).


September 13, 2014

White Dog had to awaken Taiko. "Come on brother," she nudged, "it is nearly eight and you still have to eat breakfast and get brushed. We have LOTS to do this morning."

He slowly opened an eye and grunted. Then he turned his head to go back to sleep. "UP! NOW!" WD commanded. He struggled to his feet and plodded out to the kitchen where the rest of the White Dogs were already hungrily enjoying an early breakfast.

"Perfect start to a grey day," Puff greeted him. "I am looking forward to an entire morning of napping." "Me, too," Taiko started to respond but was stopped by WD blowing air through her cheeks.

"In three more minutes, Mister, you will be in Pumpkin along with Dad and momma and I heading for Bark in the Park! We have to set up our booth and will be busy all day as ambassadors for Paws To People. We can nap on the way there but then...be prepared to shine like the star you are!"

Once we arrived, WD and Taiko supervised the setting up of the tent and arranging of materials. They proudly walked back and forth in front of the booth attracting attention and then sat smartly under the table as we discussed our mission to save the lives of people and pets through comparative studies research in catastrophic diseases.

A bit later Elena and Laura joined us, freeing Steve and Taiko to make a circuit of the show as they passed out fliers for our next event and copies of our newsletter. White Dog stayed at the table stretched out in the finally emerging sun at the front of the booth. We shared stories with those who stopped by...and hope.

The Event was full of folks who brought their furry loved ones along. In no time the day was over. We packed up, loaded the van, and snuggled our spokesdogs comfortably for the trip home.

"Nice job!" I turned to tell both White Dog and Taiko how proud I was and what great ambassadors they had been...but they were both sound asleep.
It was cold and grey as we set up and started the morning.
As the clouds lifted more people and pets came by


September 12, 2014

White Dog hopped up on the bed. YoYoMa settled to the ground next to Steve's side of the bed with a sigh. Taiko was already asleep on his mattress with his backed turned to the rest of us in the room. Puff pushed and pulled the blanket on the round bed until it formed a nest that just fit her body; then she settled in. Sachi was finding a comfy spot in the cool bathroom. Bella sat in my arms.

"Is it just me, momma," she said, "or does everything suddenly seem to take MUCH longer since she came along?" Bella gestured with her head at Zsofia nonchalantly gnawing at the wires of her crate.

"Puppies don't always understand efficiency or the need to get things done," I explained to my shyest one. "Everything is a game and our baby is just exploring routines that are old hat to you and the others of the White Dog Army."

This evening we had to gather materials and pack up Pumpkin for the Paws To People booth at Saturday's Bark in the Park. As is our routine we had a checklist and built a stack of items in the lving room as we pulled the needed bits and pieces from where they are stored throughout the house and storage shed. Normally we have WDA supervisors who double-check the list and others who review the materials themselves. Things go seamlessly as Steve moves everything out in an organized orderly fashion from living room to van.

Zsofia was fascinated with every aspect of the procedure, following Steve's every move. Once an item was deposited in the living room, there was the Zsofia factor of trying to eat or climb on or drag away each item.

When finally all was collected and inventoried, White Dog pointed out that our system would need to be modified. We could not leave the front doors open as Steve loaded the van, the baby would be out the door in a heartbeart racing to explore areas she has not yet even seen (since she has not finished her puppy shots she has been under house arrest with access only to the house and yard; soon that will change). It did not make sense to move the entire stack to the front porch, close the inside door and then move the stuff again to the car. Steve was already battling a bad back strained earlier in the week.

YoYoMa sat down and in that action solved the problem. He was accidentally resting on Zsofia's drag lead...she could not move beyond the 6' of its length. I cupped My Boy's face in my hands. "You are a genius!"

Zsofia did not think so as she woo'd and sang about her abuse as I held her lead preventing her from following Steve outside. In a matter of minutes, Steve's task was done, night treats delivered, and everyone headed for bed.


September 11, 2014

White Dog sighed. "I remember that funny car of dad's," she said. "I loved the fold-down back seats that ran along the sides of the vehicle from front to back. It left LOTS of room for me to pack stuff AND I could look out all of the windows. Please can we show a photo of it for Throw Back Thursday?"

When we first moved to Albuquerque, Steve found and fell in love with a 1967 Nissan Patrol. A funky off-road vehicle made in the likeness of those old rugged REALLY meant to go back country movers. It was not by any means comfortable but you could wade 18" streams with no fear.

Only a few thousand were ever imported to this country and it turned out that New Mexico had more than its share. LOTS still exist in Australia and areas with true badlands. Steve formed a Patrol Car Club with locals and with the help of the internet, the club grew international.

White Dog and Steve loved the adventure and no-frills ride that left me bone shaken and blistered from accidently resting my calf against the sheet metal chute that directed engine heat into the cabin. This "Interior Heater" was controlled by opening the little oven hatch at your leg level for "On" and closing it for "Off." Never mind that the duct was ALWAYS scorching. It always reminded me in riding in a WWII ambulance.

Sadly for White Dog and Steve, they sold the car several years ago as our family grew and driveway space became a premium. But they both still sigh when they see old photos...filled with roguish memories.

(And yes, that WAS the color of our home when we first moved in...before external insulation and restucco. And my Studio was still a one car garage...Throw Back, bonus!)


September 10, 2014

White Dog and The White Dog Army
Wonderful World Wednesday

White Dog said, "Geese helping pups? Really?"

She and I were discussing Parvo and the horrible disease it is for puppies. We think more about those kinds of things now that there is a baby in our house, but the fact is that parvo is a highly contagious viral disease whose outbreaks across the country are becoming increasingly frequent. Parvo is fatal to dogs unless they receive treatment of costly antibiotics and since the outbreaks often occur at shelters and rescues the cost of treatment often leads to mass euthanizations.

When we read the BIG Story from Associated Press, we cheered at the potential cure for the parvo disease as well as for the links showing promise in treating human illness...

The BIG Story: Trial results promising for curing puppies’ parvo
By David Kolpack. ABRIDGED. June 1, 2014, The Associated Press. http://bigstory.ap.org

GRAND FORKS ND (AP)—A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose, saving puppies.

Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 percent cure rate for canine parvovirus, which spreads through animal waste and direct contact between dogs, usually at kennels, shelters, and shows. Some puppies die from the virus and others are euthanized because the antibiotics and other medicine needed to treat it can be too expensive—sometimes up to $2,000—and take too long.

It isn’t clear how many dogs contract parvo annually, since the disease isn’t required to be reported. At the Kansas City Pet Project, one of eight test sites and among the largest shelters in the united States, about five cases per month wind up on the “Parvo ward.” Officials with the Missouri shelter believe the treatment will led to a dramatic increase in their “parvo graduates.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a conditional permit for the field trials that are taking place in sites in Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, North Carolina, and Arizona.

The company’s path to puppy love began a decade ago after a mysterious disease—later found to be West Nile Virus—spread among flocks at the South Dakota-based Schlitz Goose Farms, the largest goose producer in North America. Farm owners found researchers at the University of North Dakota who were interested in their project.

The group, led by Dr. David Bradley, discovered antibodies in the geese that they could purify and put back into other birds. The treatment worked.

Avianax quickly found promising links between goose antibodies and treatments for other diseases, including rabies, dengue fever, avian flu, and some cancers. Because they didn’t have the money or time to explore testing for human diseases, the group set their sights on the veterinary market and eventually settled on saving puppies.

Treating parvovirus currently can cost, at a minimum, $500 for antibiotics, intravenous fluids, painkillers, and stomach medicine and generally takes six days, said Dr. Darin Meulebroeck, chief medical officer at Avianax. The trials have shown the new drug can work as quickly as two days, he said. The trial tests run through November.

Avianax has “stuck in there” with the help of key researchers and believes it is on the verge of saving human lives with a similar antibody—although it could take more than five years to reach the market. The U.S. Army is interested in using the technology for Andres virus, which has been found to lead to a fatal respiratory disease. Safety trials are scheduled for the next two years.


September 9, 2014

White Dog called today "Tuesday Troubles" short for it is Tuesday and Zsofia is in trouble, AGAIN.

This is how the day went:
"Zsofia! Stop torturing your sister, Puff! I mean it no jumping on her."
"Zsofia! LEAVE IT!"
"Zsofia! Stop chewing on the cord!"
"ZSOFIA! NO!!! Let Puff sleep!"
"Growl! Snap! Grrrr" (YoYoMa saying Zsofia! I do NOT want to play bitey)
"Grrrrr WOOF Grrrrr" (Taiko saying Zsofia! I do NOT want you to bite my face!)
"Zsofia! Come! I mean it! Come!"
"Zsofia! Let's go outside....oh, too late!"
"Zsofia! NO BITE!"
"Zsofia! I said NO BITE!"
"Zsofia!!! DROP IT! That is not your treat! (Followed by my prying poor Daisy's jerky from the jaws of death)
"Barkbarkbark bark bark" "woo woo wooo wooooo" "bark bark grrrrrr" (Bella saying get your nose out of my food bowl. Zsofia, I want a taste. Bella: OUT! NOW!!!)
"Zsofia! Give Sachi a wrestling break. He needs to catch his breath...no, longer than 30 seconds!"
"Zsofia! Chew on your chew toy not my shoelaces!"
"Zsofia! I am spending time with Taiko right now. It is not your turn!"
"Zsofia! LEAVE IT!!"

"Zsofia is sleeping! Isn't she an angel?"