July 24, 2017

White Dog watched as another toy was modified. "Opal is quite the master," she complimented her sister's work, glad that at least this time it was not one of HER treasured toys.

Opal loves "playing" with stuffy toys...to the point of destruction. For her Gotcha Day celebration she received a supposedly "tough as nails" orange snake. It has a knotted end to chew and tug, has a nubby texture, and squeakers along its body segments.
Our gentle girl has a bloodhound's nose and X-ray sense when it comes to locating the squeakers. Then with a surgeon's precision, she rips into the spot through the snake's "Skin" and works to remove the squeaky, which she abandons on the floor.

Poor Zsofia is heartbroken as snakey loses her voice one segment at a time. One of Zso's favorite morning games is making the stuffy "sing," clamping down on the different squeakers to make music of a sort from each tone. Then she hands it to me to duplicate. It is a game that goes through three or four rounds before we officially start the day. Snakey's "song" becomes shorter with each Opal surgery.

I stroke Zso's head and whisper that we can get a new song-maker when the time comes. I point her toward where her sister, Opal, lies holding the orange toy between her paws. Opal's expression is pure pleasure as she sinks her teeth into Snakey's face and pulls at her lips till a piece of fabric tears away. "How could we deny her such joy," I woo to my Darkest White Dog.


July 23, 2017

White Dog looked over Steve's shoulder as he looked closely at Trixie's shoulder...the one she had abraded a while back...the one we cleverly created a "bumper" to protect...the one that was suddenly deeply infected.

Minutes earlier he had reached down to adjust the layers of cloth that made up a shawl like guard to keep her from scraping herself on the dog door as she goes in and out. The device was working well, no longer was she rubbing skin. But he felt wetness.

Looking closely (not an easy thing to do with an uncooperative girl of 60 lbs), Steve saw the edge of the raw area was sort of oozing and when he pressed the wound opened to reveal a deep infection. Trixie winced in pain. We went into emergency mode.

It took both of us to hold her down and take a good look. On the surface it had been healing well but  pocket of infection had been trapped beneath the skin. We cleaned out the wound first with soap and water; then with antiseptic wash. Steve shaved away the furs and irrigated the area with a stream of fresh water.

Fearing that she would attract ants as she rested on the deck we set aside the option of sugaring the wound and opted instead for antibiotic cream. (On Monday, the vet added an oral antibiotic to assist in the healing.)

The infection is in a hard to reach place so fortunately we were spared needing a cone but the spot also is in a place that is hard to bandage...mid shoulder too far up to wrap around leg and too forward to wrap around body.

Again, the White Dog Army engineering team put their heads together using Sachi and Nilla and even Stormer as more patient models than Trix as we tried different ideas to find a solution.

Digging in the cabinet under the bathroom sink Steve came across a bag of thick old-fashioned pads left from my pre-menopausal days and forgotten. I found a child-sized tshirt purchased long ago for a project.

The team discovered the perfect solution for covering the wound and providing padding was to apply the ointment on the wound then cover it with the napkin whose adhesive strip held it in place against the tshirt...which was held in place by Trixie's harness. Everything stayed in place.

Trix was more upset with being "man-handled" as she put it than she was from pain due to the infection. And the extra pair of antibiotic pills means two more "treats" so she is all right with that.

The White Dog Army congratulated themselves on a great round of problem solving. "We are like the MacGyvers of the Dog world," Opal proclaimed. "The question is will momma reward us with jerky or will we have to get that jar down and open by our own wits?"


July 22, 2017

White Dog sounded the alarm as we pulled in the drive. By the time we got into the house, every pup was sitting in the kitchen where their food bowls go at meal time.

They know that tonight we brought home leftovers of an opera picnic that included their favorites... like lamb kebobs and chicken shawarma and nibbles of Middle Eastern delights.

Steve wasted no time, at WD's urging ("share the leftovers, we can listen to the opera news while we eat"), parceling what we brought home into bowls.
It wasn't until the White Dog Army lifted heads from universally empty bowls that they politely asked about the World Premier we had just witnessed...before turning serious staring looks at the picnic bag where the bits of pastry waited for their dessert.


July 21, 2017

Edward Parks, who plays Steve Jobs, and the Santa Fe Opera Chorus 
in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.
Ken Howard/Courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera

White Dog was delighted to plan this week's opera menu. It is the much anticipated highlight of the season for me, the world premiere of the (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.

"I love his story because he comes from Middle Eastern immigrants and he is self made." White Dog  shared with me. "Of course we must have one of our favorite cuisines and it must come from our favorite family run cafe. Their food is so good and they are always so nice."

The White Dog Army quickly gathered around her as she opened the menu. "We know this almost by heart," she told her siblings, "but we want to put together a meal worthy of a world premiere."

"Labna," Sofia said immediately, "the creamy spreadable goat cheese is a good way to start. But momma must bring some home so WE get bites of the tart richness on pita bread." WD wrote it down.

"Oh, I love kibbeh," YoYoMa voted. "Ground lamb coated in bulghur with garlicky sauce is soooo good."  "I like to put humus on MY kibbeh," Nilla said, "so be sure you write humus on the menu."

"Chicken shawarma has such flavor. Oh, and lamb kebobs. We HAVE to have lentils and rice. Don't forget falafil." The chorus of White Dog must-adds caused me to hold up a hand. "Wow! You are creating a feast for a caliph." White Dog had a quick response. "Or an Army. Whatever you and dad can't eat at the picnic just bring home and WE will be sure it does not go to waste!"

"We are forgetting dessert," Trixie pointed out. "Those nut and honey treats are so yummy. And WD I KNOW you love pistachios." "PLEASE get some Kanafah, (a dense cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup)," Bella danced and begged. "Add orange basbousa and I promise I won't ask for more," Pearl and Storm said at the same time.

"You guys know we will have THREE meals for all of us out of what is on this list." White Dog looked at me. "And the problem with that is?" I paused because her point was a valid one; what WOULD be wrong with such tasty leftovers to start the week.

"Sounds perfect," WD nodded as she reread her list. "Only thing is could you leave the picnic with us instead of making us wait until you get home?


July 20, 2017

White Dog ate most of her breakfast and ALL of her dinner. YoYoMa won a clean bowl award for both meals...as did Bella, Sachi, Zofia, Pearl, and Nilla. Stormer nibbled his breakfast but DEVOURED dinner...and woohoo! nothing came rushing out. Benson is still a bit tentative. Tirxie seems immune to these sickies.

Miss Opal ALMOST skipped breakfast but thought better of it and returned to eat all but four kibble bites.

I think we are coming out from under the "I don't feel well" cloud. Soon, it will be time for a celebration...White Dog style.


July 19, 2017

White Dog was already cuddled in my lap but she moved over to allow Opal to crawl up at my side to press against me.

"Momma, I do not feel so good.!"

White Dog, who has just started feeling better, hopped down. "Oh no, the plague continues."

I wrapped my arm around Opal, stroked her face,  and promised she WOULD get well.


July 18, 2017

White Dog said, "That is my brother. He ALWAYS can make you laugh." And she is right; there is just something about YoYoMa that links us. He seems to know when to come and stand before me, tilt his head, put on a goofy expression, and share a dumb joke. And I am putty every time...I giggle and break into a smile.

Like today, I talked to Dr. Julia about YoYoMa's latest blood numbers. His hematocrit number is holding at 34...not the increase we always hope for but not the drop I held my breath fearing. BUT his white blood cell count was up again from last week.

I was not surprised since he is one of the White Dog Army stricken with the digestive sickies going through the pack, but with his compromised immune system infections are always a concern. Dr. Julia put him on a stronger antibiotic in addition to the one he takes as part of his IMHA treatment protocol and we will watch closely.

"We can handle this," White Dog reassured me. "Heck, Yo IS holding his own. That is a GOOD thing." But still she...and YoYoMa...could tell I was concerned.

My Big White goofball got up and sauntered to stand in front of me. He tilted his head. "Here is a science thought for the day," he mugged:

"6.0221 x 10^23 guacas ≈ 1 guacamole (made with fresh avagadros) " 

Have I mentioned I love my boy?


July 17, 2017

White Dog tends to be cyclical in her eating routine so we usually do not get overly concerned when she turns into a picky eater or chooses to skip a meal. But the past few days she seems to have created a domino-effect of turning up noses at bowls. And seems to be dragging.

Pearl insisted on eating in the kitchen as opposed to her regular place and then only nibbled. Over the weekend Stormer and Benson lost their appetites. Next it was YoYoMa and then Sachi. Today it has been Bella and Zsofia, who ALWAYS eats her meal. There are different menus involved so it is not the food, as Steve briefly considered.

When tummies turned to grumbling and messes started appearing the VERY slow humans realized that we had a White Dog Army sickies epidemic on our hands.

When one member of the family gets sickies, it is inevitable that it will pass through most of the pack. But having SEVEN patients is most unusual. The washing machine and carpet cleaner are getting quite a workout.

And poor Opal, happy and healthy, is at a loss because NO one wants to play. But she has volunteered to eat all of the meals left untouched.

This will pass hopefully quickly. All are maintaining hydration and getting lots of rest...the best plan for healing...along with LOTS of momma love.
Momma, I do not feel so good. Please tell Opal I do not want to play.


July 16, 2017

White Dog deserved a little "Me" time; she had, after all, tended the White Dog Army on Opera Night with extra  tasks that  included nursing both Stormer and YoYoMa in the throes of tummy sickies as well as keeping Benson's separation anxiety in check.

I nodded toward the door. "Come on, let's go to the park," I mouthed. She was moving toward the door as Steve opened it AND the van slider. Before any other pup could respond, she was out and in Pumpkin. The others got jerky treats and a promise that we would be home soon. They seemed contented to munch in the cool air.

It was a hot day but in the shade we found a gentle breeze and comfort. And a chance to do zoomies and rest in the grass.


July 15, 2017

White Dog was curled up on the seat of my chair. She looked at the clock and noted that it was half past midnight. "Must have had good traffic," she laughed. "Like none, thankfully. I am always glad to get home,"as I sank down next to her and was blizzarded by the rest of the White Dog Army.

The drive home from Santa Fe after the Opera is a long one but the moment we pull into the drive, we are re-energized enough to rush into the noisy greeting, demands for treats, and celebration of being together again.