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16 Feb 2017

Update On Da Bros

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

 

 

 

So I was thinking I should post an update on how things are going for Nitro and Kodi…….then I thought if I did, maybe I would jinx things somehow; then I thought I was over-thinking things (like that never happens, right?) So here goes:

 

Kodi is just over a week out of being on his Cushing meds. I think I can see signs that they’re relieving his symptoms a little. The potty pad I leave out for him has been dry and  the water bowl still has water in in when I get home. He still wants to eat, but isn’t throwing a fit if he has to wait a bit. We’ve been walking just about every day, and now he’s gotten to where he’ll sit outside, staring at the house, and bark until I grab his leash and we go. There is a small hill near us, and we’ve been going up and down it several times to work on his “core” (he’ll never have 6-pack abs, but we’re trying). He goes back to the vet next week to have his blood tested to see if the dosage he’s on is where it should be.

As for Nitro, he’s still playful and happy, and seems to be feeling pretty good. I’m still on pins and needles when it’s time for lunch, stressing if he’ll eat or not, but he’s eating – after a little bit of “priming the pump”, he will eat his full meal. I’ve given him a dose or two of Mirtazapine when he gets really fussy, and then he’s back to eating (and I truly don’t know if that was necessary, because he does like to play me and would rather eat treats than his bland Hills K/D food). Two of my co-workers just lost pets to kidney failure, and it seems like every other patient who’s labs I verify has the diagnosis of “acute renal failure”. It’s hard not to obsess about this disease when I see it everywhere, but I’m trying.

So for the moment, things are going as well as can be expected. I’m excited for 50 degree weather to hit our area this weekend…I forsee longer walks and steak on the grill (and perhaps a glass of wine or two) as I strive to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of it with my boys. Peace and love to you all from the Ehlers’ ranch.

P.S. Tomorrow will be Nitro’s 32 month ampuversary!

31 Jan 2017

Kodi says “it’s my turn”

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Kodi says it’s his turn to take over Nitro’s blog….

Last week Kodi underwent testing for Cushing’s Disease. He’d been drinking a lot of water lately, which  translates into peeing a lot;  he also had an increased appetite, which for him, was a huge red flag. You’d never know by looking at him, but this dog was THE worst eater his whole life. I practically had to stand on my head to get him to eat, so when he started pitching a fit to be fed, I knew something was up.

I wasn’t surprised when my vet called and said he did indeed have Cushing’s; and oddly enough, I’m not too upset by this. After all, it could be SO much worse. This disease is pretty common in terriers, especially as they age (he will be 13 in May). It will entail him taking a daily pill for the rest of his life; while it’s not a cure, it will help alleviate his symptoms of thirst and urination. The tricky thing is to watch him closely so diabetes doesn’t develop – which can (and does) happen. I posted his story in a Westie group on Facebook to hear what other people’s input was. Some had poor experiences, and some had up to 4 years of living with the disease.

So, that is where we are….he is still the same old Kodi – stubborn, playful, demanding, as terrier’s usually  are. We will take this one day at a time, as that is all we can do. Wishing you peace from the Ehlers’ ranch.

P.S. If anyone is in need of a kidney or other body  parts, I’m looking to sell mine to pay for my vet bills. 🙂

21 Jan 2017

UPDATE ON NITRO

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Glad this week is over! The last 4 days were spent taking both dogs to various appointments – I’m not a soccer mom, I’m a vet mom!

On Wednesday, Nitro saw Dr. Patty for his chiro adjustment and acupuncture. She added 2 new supplements for kidney support – Arginex and Renatrophin PMG, both by Standard Process. And she tweaked the acupuncture for more emphasis on the kidneys.

Then he spent all day Thursday and Friday getting IV fluids to flush out the kidneys, hopefully lowering his BUN and CREAT levels. I’d recently found a t-shirt that says “LET YOUR FAITH BE GREATER THAN YOUR FEAR”; that became my mantra on Friday, repeating the phrase over and over in my head, hundreds of times. The levels remained pretty much the same, but by the end of my conversation with my vet, oddly enough, I was totally calm. Earlier in the week I was a basket case – just ask Michelle, who’d had several conversations with me. She even pulled out the big guns in chat one night and had Sally pop in for a pep talk. And Sally hardly EVER comes in to chat. So for me to be totally calm after the trying week is nothing short of miraculous.

In summary:  1. Nitro’s kidney levels are not what we’d like to see, but his ISN’T ACTING SICK! In fact, if we weren’t monitoring them because of his NSAID’s, we probably wouldn’t even suspect they were high. 2. He has been off the Carprofen (NSAID)  a week tomorrow, and his mobility is good; the Adequan injections appear to be working. 3. He is on 3 holistic kidney supplements that I’m hopeful will help. 4. The last several days his appetite has been very decreased, but last night when I got home from work, he ate! And if needed, my vet will give him an appetite stimulant.

So that is his story so far. Kodi also has a story, but I will save that for next week’s post when I have more information. Thank you Tripawd family, for your guidance and love. For now, there is peace at the Ehlers’ ranch.

15 Jan 2017

THE NEXT CHALLENGE FOR NITRO

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Still wants to play

So Nitro has been less than enthusiastic about eating lately – his dog food, that is. I’d been attributing it to almost zero exercise due to the bitter cold temps/ice covered yard, getting tired of his Hills Science KD food, and just being spoiled beyond words and only wanting treats. Yesterday he had his re-check for kidney function labs that we do because of the NSAID’s he’s on for his arthritis. The values (BUN and CREAT) went up – again. I requested a full chemistry panel along with a CBC to see if anything else was going on….because what else would a lab rat do? Good news is, everything else looked really good.

So now I’m in a panic about his kidney values…when this journey began, I always figured cancer would be what took him away from me. Now I forsee kidney failure taking my boy. I’m back to the stomach-twisting fear I felt after his diagnosis; I can’t eat, I feel like crying all the time – in short, I’M NOT BEING MORE DOG! I feel like such a fake, telling other members this importatnt piece of advice, when I’m not even close to it. I hate that I’m mourning him while he’s still here. Oh, and by the way, he isn’t acting the least bit sick! Other than having to coax him to eat, he’s playful and happy and loving. I keep focusing on the end…when will it come, how many days, weeks, months do I have left with him? What is wrong with me?

He has an appointment next week to have IV fluids to flush out his kidneys. He sees his holistic vet on Wednesday for chiro and acupuncture, and I will ask her about some homeopathic options for kidney support. My brain knows we’re not at the end, yet my heart is saying something different. Part of me says “he’s been a warrior and faced every challenge thrown at him so far, he can face this too”; the other part of me says “he’s been a warrior and faced every challenge thrown at him so far, maybe he’s finally run out of luck”. I know I have to snap out of this funk, for his sake as much as mine, but I’m not sure I know how.

After re-reading my words, I’m struck by how selfish they sound….he is over 2 ½ yrs post amp, still happy and goofy, and I’m mired in self-pity! How many members out there would KILL for what we have right now? My apologies for the pity-party.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference”

Loves his sunspot

 

 

17 Dec 2016

WARRIOR NITRO…2 1/2 YEAR AMPUVERSARY

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

First snowfall of 2016

December 17, 2016….exactly 2 1/2 years ago today,  Nitro had his right front leg amputated due to osteosarcoma. At times its hard to clearly remember  that day, while  other parts are seared into my brain and will never be forgotten……

Like my first image of him hopping down the corridor when we picked him up the day after surgery, wearing his t-shirt and Ruffwear Harness;  his eyes were glazed with drugs, but what a glorious site to behold. Tears in my eyes, I dropped to my knees, and told him he was beautiful.

Like the heart-wrenching cry of pain he let out as we tried to get him in the back of my SUV. And the long, sleepless night as he tried to get comfortable, only to pant and whine and moan.

wherever there is a blanket, there he is

Fast-forward to today…a week ago he had lab work to check his renal (kidney) function, as its been determined he has arthritis in his left knee and low back, and has to be on an anti-inflammatory which can be hard on the kidneys. The lab values had gone up, so we decided to cut the dose in half – BAD IDEA! After just one reduced dose he was painful, and had such a hard time getting around that I had to resort to using his harness to assist him. It was such a low point for me, that I looked into his eyes to see if he was telling me he was tired of the fight – but apparently his eyes were only telling me he wanted another treat, because by morning he was moving much more easily. The following night after work, he was practically doing ninja kicks in the yard. This tells his vets that it is most likely the arthritis, and he is now going to get Adequan injections that I will be able to give him at home once I learn how. It’s not an inexpensive treatment, but if it enables him to be comfortable while lowering the anti-inflammatories, it will be well worth it to give his kidneys a break.

Hard to see Kodi in the snow

So that is where we are at this point of our journey; still ups and downs, to be sure, but we are most assuredly blessed in this Christmas season. Wishing all of our Tripawd friends and family a healthy and hoppy new year.

Peace and love from the Ehlers Ranch

 

31 Oct 2016

11th Birthday Milestone for Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized
Lookin' good at age 11

Lookin’ good at age 11

As Nitro reaches his 11th year on this earth, I’ve been reflecting on my love/hate relationship with this journey we find ourselves on..

  • I obviously HATE CANCER, and all that that entails.
  • I HATE  that not one hour of a day is not spent stressing, or worrying about him; and if not him, then any one of several of our fur-friends we’ve “met” here.
  • I HATE  that his brother Kodi is oftentimes pushed into the shadows, as I worry and stress over Nitro.
  • I HATE  that our best friends, no matter how long they are with us, leave us far too soon.
  • I HATE  that I don’t take him for walks anymore, or let him chase the ball too hard, for fear of damaging any of his remaining legs. He was once a breathtaking athlete, and is now reduced to a few chases of the ball in the yard.
  • I HATE  that I used to be an optimist, but now I see zebras instead of horses.
  • I HATE  the gut-wrenching grief of watching other members lose their best friends, and not being able to hug them and cry with them, and say “lean on me, I’m here”.
  • I HATE  that when his time comes, I will never be the same; I can only hope to hold onto a little piece of  sanity as my world crumbles.
  • BUT….I LOVE that I stumbled onto a website filled with strangers, who quickly became not just friends, but family. You are the most caring, compassionate, generous people I’ve ever had the honor to “meet”.
  • I LOVE  that I got to really meet some of you at the Puppy Up walk in September. I treasured every second spent with you, and will never forget it.
  • I LOVE  that I got to experience, first-hand, what it means to be a Warrior; that I bonded with this dog like I never imagined possible…. my heart dog, that will take a piece of mine when he leaves his earthly body.
  • I LOVE  the joy he still has for life, no matter what is thrown at him, and that he continues to try to teach me to “be more dog” daily.
Anniversary/Birthday campfire

Anniversary/Birthday campfire

 

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    Kodi cuteness

Since our last post, Nitro has experienced some issues. He developed some hind-end weakness, with reluctance to move. I started him back on his drug cocktail of Tamadol,  Gabapentin, and Carprofen which made him more comfortable. His chiro vet was able to squeeze him in for an adjustment and acupuncture treatment which really seemed to help. Dr. Patty didn’t want to ASSUME his issue was neuropathy, and consulted his regular vet; together they decided Nitro should have x-rays of his spine and long bones of his legs to look for any other obvious condition. 28!!! x-rays were taken, with some spinal stenosis noted in his lower back by his tail; since he is a “mature” Dobie, I guess this was to be expected, and was not really concerning to them. So for now, we will increase his chiro and acupuncture treatments to every 2 weeks. With the aid of the x-rays, it will be easier to pinpoint where the needles need to go to give him the most relief. I’m happy to report that he has had a dry diaper the last 4 mornings, and is back to his goofy self, wanting me to throw his ball. I can tell he is slowing down, but is still SOOO full of life. We will take every precious moment we can get with our brave warrior. Losing one of our most beloved members earlier this week was a blow, and drives home the fact that life is short and we need to treasure every second.

Peace and love from the Ehlers ranch

Cujo mode

Cujo mode

18 Sep 2016

Puppy Up Get-Together

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Team Tripawd

I finally got to meet some more of my Tripawd Family members this weekend, and it was surely the highlight of my summer! The only way it could’ve been better was if Nitro could’ve made the trip. But I made the right decision to leave him at home with his dad and brother. Besides the fact that he hates other dogs, I’m sure the hotel experience would’ve been too much for him. Donna’s Murphy, however, made it look easy. He never stopped smiling – ever! Nitro would’ve loved leaning on, and hugging everyone, but I’m afraid hotel life would have been too taxing on him – elevators, long distances to go potty, etc. But he was definitely there in spirit, as were many others…Otis, Neka, Sassy, Max to name a few.

 

Murphy is all smiles!

Murphy is all smiles!

Friday night gathering at hotel

Friday night we gathered in Donna and Glenn’s room, drank some wine, ordered pizza and TALKED (and talked, and talked). It was the most amazing experience, the instant bond. We talked non-stop for 7 hours; we laughed, we cried, we hugged, and I hope, we started a healing process for some. We exchanged information, and ideas, and experiences. I just can’t get over how it feels like I’ve known you all my life.

Bear’s tent, really?

Tripawd's Booth

Tripawd’s Booth

 

Christine with Otis's tribute banner

Christine with Otis’s tribute banner

It was a beautiful day for a walk, despite the bees (Murphy did his best to kill them for us). It was over all too soon, but it was an awesome time. My next bucket-list item is to make it to an East Coast Tripawd get-together and meet more of my family, especially the founders of this amazing site. In a perfect world, we could ALL meet, in one spot, and I think that pawty would last for a week and we’d still have things to talk about!

Toy from Linda

Toy from Linda

Until we meet again…..keep rockin’ it on 3!

Paula and Nitro

8 Aug 2016

THIS IS HUGE!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

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So I got a text at work tonight around 8:30…..my sitter saying she injured herself today and never made to my house to let the dogs out!! ARRGGHHH! (Ok, I know my first thought should’ve been “oh no! I hope you’re ok” and not “crap! now I’m gonna have to mop up a wet spot when I get home from work”).

I practically ran out to my car after my shift, drove home nowhere  close to the speed limit, killed the headlights as I drove into the driveway so I could get in the house without causing too much of a ruckus and held my breath as I opened the back door.

As both dogs came bounding outside,  I cautiously peaked into the living room – NO WET SPOTS!

For those of you who’ve been following our story, you know how remarkable this is. No diaper, no 6pm potty break, and no wet spots! I never thought I’d see this day after the major incontinence issues Nitro’s had since the metronomic therapy. I was squealing with delight, and we all did a happy dance! Will it last? Who knows? But tonight he was a rock star!

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17 Jun 2016

NITRO…..2 YEARS ON 3 LEGS!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

 

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Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already! I don’t even know where to begin to describe how I’m feeling today. So many emotions run through my head…..FEAR, that I take for granted how well he’s doing; GUILT, that others are not as fortunate as us; BLESSED, to have a goofy, happy dog who is such an inspiration; GRATEFUL, to have found this wonderful community who has become my second family.

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Since my last post we’ve seen much improvement in the incontinence issues. He had a vet appointment earlier this week to check his kidney labs; his BUN/Creatinine values are trending in the right direction, and his urine specific gravity is becoming more concentrated which means his kidney function is improving. He hasn’t had to wear a diaper in almost a month, even overnight! We still have someone come let him out while we’re at work, but I’m working up the courage to let him try and go 8 hours by himself. He is getting acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments every 4 weeks, and is on a kidney supplement that may account for the improvement – or maybe it’s just the passage of time since the chemo meds; whatever, life has gotten less stressful (and wet) around here.

Kodi reminding me to stop and smell the flowers

Kodi reminding me to stop and smell the flowers

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So here we are, 2 years later…. he’s playful, alert, happy, and spoiled beyond belief.  Sitting in the vet’s office the day that my world shattered I never thought this is where we’d be today; I never imagined we’d travel this journey, experience the lowest lows and the highest highs. I never knew how strong my love would be for this amazing animal, this fearless Warrior.  And we couldn’t have done it without you, Tripawds Nation! We will be forever grateful! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Paula and Nitro

P.S. I’m so excited to be going to the Puppy Up walk in Wheaton, IL in September! I can’t wait to meet some of the awesome people I’ve “met” through this site. I’d love for Nitro to meet them too, but to say he doesn’t tolerate other dogs is an understatement! People, yes; other dogs, and he goes into full-blown cujo mode! (I know, hard to believe when you look at his angelic face)

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12 Apr 2016

22 MONTH AMPUVERSARY!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

HELLO TRIPAWD NATION!

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 22 months since our life-changing event! Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d make it this far. At times its hard to remember those nightmare first-days; and then sometimes it seems like yesterday.

Things have been uneventful (read good) here at the Ehlers’ ranch; Nitro has been undergoing acupuncture treatments to try and resolve his incontinence. He’s had 2 now, and that situation has slowly been getting better – or at least more manageable. We’ve hired a pet sitter to let him out while we’re at work in the evening, and for the most part he’s been dry. (YAY!) We may never get back to being totally dry, but hey, he’s almost 11 years old! Which you’d never know to look at him….he runs and frolics and goofs around like a puppy. The other night when I got home from work, he started doing zoomies around the living room – like for about 10 minutes; much to the dismay of his brother Kodi, who apparently wasn’t in the mood to play.

So, no news is good news I guess. I leave you with pictures of the fam…..until next time!

 

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Someone has to get his nails cut

Someone has to get his nails cut

Dad! Save me!

Dad! Save me!

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