Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shy's Surgery

I feel like I am so far behind in blogging, I don't even know where to begin. I hate that feeling...


Shy is doing well with her surgery. As well as can be expected I guess. Both of her back legs are a lot worse than the vet initially thought. He started off doing a cruciate repair to her back right leg, and ended up having to remove the majority of her meniscus as well. The vet is also concerned about her back left leg, since she is showing signs of this same injury in that leg, as well as having problems supporting her weight on it without the use of her right leg.

She is pitiful, I know. This picture was taken the day after her surgery when we brought her home. They kept her overnight, and since she is terrified of absolutely everything, I think the whole experience pretty much traumatized her.

The incision, with her staples. Staples that she has managed to rip out, get replaced and then rip out again. I don't think she's doing it on purpose, by chewing them or anything. I just don't think that her jumping up on the beds (which she isn't allowed to do) the day after surgery helped.

Her surgery was Tuesday, she came home Wednesday and by Friday she had lost a staple. I took her back Saturday to have it replaced, she went Monday for a check up and her K Laser therapy, and today that same staple is out as well as the one below it. I guess tomorrow I will call to see if they want to replace it again or wait until she goes back again next Monday for her check up.

It's going to be a slow recovery process for her. It will be up to 3 weeks before she starts to lower her leg to the ground, 3-6 weeks before she bears any weight on it, and up to 12 weeks before she is completely healed. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that her other leg holds up, although I'm already hearing the "popping" sound coming from it as well.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Day of Pier Fishing

This past week, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew were in town. My brother loves to go fishing here, but it can be pricey to go deep sea fishing. We decided to head to the state park with the boys to do some fishing from the pier. That way my nephew and stepson (both 9) could fish, while the two younger ones could shark watch from the pier and play on the beach.

You can see in this picture my nephew lost one of his shoes.... off the pier.... 5 minutes after we arrived.... and 30 seconds after my brother told him to stop climbing on the railing or he was going to lose his shoes. But I went down to the beach and rescued it!

We ended up seeing a decent amount of sharks. Three at a time, each probably about 4 feet long. I wish I had been able to get some pictures of them, but I was too busy pointing them out. My degree is in Marine Science, so the highlight of the day for me was most definitely the sharks.

Of course, after while the little ones got antsy, so I took them down to play by the water. We were right by the pier so we could wave to Daddy. I can't even tell you the number of people who came to tell us we should move because of the sharks. We were in ankle deep water. Really? By no means will I EVER put my children in harms way, but I think I am fairly shark savvy and I'm preeeeety sure we were safe where we were.

Now I know sharks LOVE to frequent piers. Duh, they're getting fed. The fishermen are baiting the fish, and the fish in turn are bait for the sharks. Obviously the sharks go where the food supply is. But in my 4 1/2 years as a marine science student, I can assure you, if you have ever been in the ocean, at least knee deep, you have had a shark near you. You just didn't know it. I can't count the number of times I have been in the water, both shallow and deep, not a pier in sight, and had a shark so close to me I could reach out and touch it. It happens, you are in their turf.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying go and swim with them, that nothing will happen. Obviously it can. And I know people meant well, but looking at me like I'm insane for letting me kids play by the pier in ankle deep water was a little much.  But anyway....

 My husband and stepson.

Andrew wanted to fish too.

My nephew caught a blow fish.

Jaxson was hungry....

and Andrew was ready to go home and take a nap....

but not until he got one last peek at the water.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our Happy New Edition

The other day I posted about the loss of two of our pets. The original post can be found here.  It was a very hard thing for our family, especially Jaxson. That's why we decided to rescue another cat from the shelter.

When we first walked up to the cats, Jaxson immediately went to a small, gray cat named Shadow. My husband and I observed for a few minutes, and it really seemed like the cat was just as drawn to Jaxson as he was to it. I wanted to make sure we took home the pet that was right for us, meaning it had to get along well with small children as well as large dogs. I asked the gentlemen who was working to rule out some cats that would not do well in a home with the dogs and kids. He narrowed it down to 4 cats for us, one of them was Shadow. We asked Jaxson to choose a cat, and Shadow it was. We were able to  take the cat into a room to see how they interacted. All seemed well so Shadow came home with us.

To be honest, I was hesitant. Shadow had been adopted previously, and the family brought her back saying they couldn't afford her. I was afraid maybe the cat had been a problem in some way, maybe scratching furniture or something. She definitely proved me wrong, she has been amazing. She wasn't fazed by the dogs at all, does well with the children, and is very loving (which was important to my husband). She has very quickly fit right in to the family.

Jaxson has renamed her "Happy" and so far, the name definitely fits.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sad Goodbyes

This is a very bittersweet post for me. On the down side, we said sad goodbyes to beloved pets, but welcomed a new shelter rescue. I will write about the new edition in a separate post.

One of our cats, Hershey, has been missing for about 3-4 weeks now. I don't like to think about the endless number of possibilities that could have happened. Granted, he definitely wasn't the friendliest cat. For awhile we weren't even sure if he was male or female. Still, he was a member of the family and we definitely miss him. 

We sad a sad goodbye to our other cat Gabby, on April 3rd. We found out on March 22 that she had Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma . It was very hard for me, as I had rescued her from the shelter in 2002 while I was in college.

(Here she is after one (or both) of the boys decorated her with popcorn.)

It all started when my husband and I noticed a foul odor in her mouth. It was awful. We had changed her food, and I assumed it had something to do with that. I purchased some treats that help with tartar and bad breath but it didn't help. Then one morning, I woke up and she was drooling uncontrollably and her tongue was protruding from her mouth. I took her to the vet, and they noticed a sore in her mouth under her tongue. The vet seemed pretty sure it was the oral cancer, but did say there was a possibility it was an infection from a scratch, cut, etc. She put her on an antibiotic to see if it cleared up. It didn't. So on March 20th, I took her for a biopsy. The vet called with the results on the 22nd, and it was cancer. She was already on pain medication from the biopsy and we had to continue that and try to feed her soft food for as long as she could comfortably eat.  

After about a week, she completely stopped eating. Then she completely stopped drinking. She wanted to, bless her heart. The tumor was under her tongue, causing it to swell and stick out of her mouth, so the only way she was able to drink water was in the bath tub. She was able to "bite" at a small, steady stream of water, but was unable to lap any water up, the way cats normally do. She eventually was unable to drink at all, she would just sit and stare at the running water.  Her tongue had also turned white, I thought from dehydration, but the vet said it was just dead tissue.We knew then it was time to euthanize her, I couldn't bear to think she was going to die of hunger or thirst.

This is the picture my husband took at the vet's office when he took her to put her to sleep. I obviously didn't want to be the one to take her.  I know she looks awful in the picture, but this was after I had brushed her and cut the mated fur off of her. Her mouth bled, pretty much non stop, so she had a constant clump of bloody fur on her chest. Gross, I know. 

Jaxson asks where Gabby is, every. single. day. He's too young to have any concept of death, so all he understands is that she is sick and at the doctor. We decided for his birthday in July we would get him a cat since he misses Gabby so much.  I wanted to wait until closer to his birthday, but last weekend we went to "just look", as my husband said, and ended up bringing home a new family member. I will post about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In our house, it seems like anytime we get a little (and I do mean a little) bit of money in the bank, something happens and drains our account once more. Does this happen to anyone else, or just us??

I graduated college in December of 2005 and even though I had a full time job, it seemed like I had an endless amount of time on my hands. I was used to attending classes every day from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm, then working 3-9 and full shifts on weekends. So I started volunteering at the local animal shelter. And ended up bringing home this:

An adorable pit bull puppy, about 3-4 months old, named Shysie. And don't judge her just because she is a pit bull. She has the most gentle soul of any dog that I have ever met. And that is despite her past abuse. When I rescued her, she had burns on her back and tail. The pads of her feet were blistered and bleeding to the point that she couldn't put her full weight on her front legs. She still has some places where the fur never grew back. And she was TERRIFIED. I have never seen a dog so scared of EVERYTHING.

I couldn't take her for walks because she was terrified of parked cars. She would lie down in the road and refuse to go past them. I couldn't take her to the dog park because she was afraid of small dogs and the people. She would run and hide under the picnic tables if a small dog approached her or a human being tried to touch her.

It took several years for her to warm up to people she saw on a regular basis. And by warm up to them, I mean not pee all over the floor when they walked in the door. She even learned to not be afraid of small dogs. Here she is taking  a nap on the couch with my friend's chihuahua.

Now, almost 7 years later, I am happy to say she has overcome the majority of her fears and is a loving well-balanced dog.

Anyway, back to the original point of my post, money. I have noticed over the past few years that when Shy plays hard or runs a lot, she limps slightly the next day. Well that limp got worse and worse, until she has limped almost constantly over the past week or so. I took her to the vet, and she has a torn cruciate ligament in her knee. The vet explained that pit bulls, bull dogs and mastiffs are prone to these injuries. In fact, his pit bull currently has the same injury and he will be performing surgery on his dog soon as well. He also explained that these surgeries are not cheap. In fact, they are about $1,500 not cheap. And the even better news? The ligament in her left leg is doing the same thing, and will eventually require surgery as well. *Sigh*

Her surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday and she is on anti-inflammatory and pain medication until then. I will post updates on the surgery and recovery process as well. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jaxson's First Day

Today was Jaxson's first day at his Tot's Morning Out program at a local church. He was super excited to go.

Don't let this picture fool you. While he was excited to go, he is cheesing because his father was falling over backwards as he was taking the picture. How he still managed to get a good picture was just luck, although I'm sure my husband will call it skill.

Jaxson has never been in any sort of daycare setting so I wasn't sure how he would feel about being "left". I walked him into the classroom, then stood out in the hallway for a few seconds. He wasn't even concerned with where I was, he was just watching the other kids, taking everything in. I didn't want to say bye since I was afraid that would upset him. When I returned 3 hours later, the teacher said he did really well. He was sitting at a table with 3 other children working puzzles. He also did NOT want to leave. I literally had to drag him, well carry him actually, kicking and screaming out of the classroom and into the car. At least I know it won't be an issue on Monday when it's time for him to go back to "school".