CJ and Esme … Guess the Breed(s)

A few months ago I decided to have both CJ & Esme DNA tested. I did it not just to learn their breed history, but also because this particular test screened for 140+ hereditary conditions. Royal Canin’s Genetic Health Analysis is a great addition to any dog’s health record.

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you may have already seen the results. If you haven’t seen the results, dare to venture a guess as to the top 2 breeds of CJ and Esme! I’ll let you all know what the results were in about 14 days. Let’s hope I don’t go on another blogging hiatus for months and months if the suspense is going to kill you. Here are some photos to go on in the meantime. First, CJ.

 

CJ LOVES the water!

 

CJ’s most favorite activity is fetching his aerobie. Aerobie is life for him. Even in his old age.

 

CJ and his aerobies. His most favorite toy on the planet!

Then Esme.

Esme’s first day in our home.  Esme on the left, CJ on the right.

 

Esme enjoys walks and exploring. She has a great nose and has tracked a fox or two in the back yard.

 

Here is Esme after being with us for a month. Still working on leash manners!

 

“Just look at these tonsils!” Esme has a big yawn, is a lover and wants to be friends with every dog she meets!!! People she’s a bit leary of.

Feel free to comment to ask about personality, habits, etc. CJ is very much a fetcher. Esme does not fetch. Esme is a cuddler! CJ not so much. CJ loves people and tolerates other animals. Esme likes other animals, especially other dogs, but is weird about certain people. CJ is smart! Esme is cute. CJ eats edible things! Esme eats things she shouldn’t. CJ is 13 years old and weighs about 54 pounds. Esme is about a year and a half and weighs 44 pounds.

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We have a (relatively) NEW FAMILY MEMBER!

Many of you already know about her, but if you don’t follow me regularly…meet Esme!

We welcomed Esme into our home on December 5, 2018.  She is a former Rescue Dogs Rock alum (fka “Esmeralda”) that was being fostered by a friend of mine locally.  We weren’t really looking for another dog but, long story short, ever since I first learned about her I couldn’t stop thinking about her!  So after 2 months of no adoption interest we set up a meet-n-greet for Esme and C.J.  I would never bring another dog into the home if C.J. did not approve, so he was the decision maker.  You already know how this story ends…

The day Esme came to visit, she was rather timid but was quite interested in C.J.  She wanted to go wherever he went in the yard.  C.J. checked her out and she let him.  Then we tried to get her into the house.  She wouldn’t go in.  I called C.J. in and Esme then followed.  While we were standing in the kitchen talking about Esme and where she came from, what feats she’s made, her habits and such, C.J. came into the room and left his most prized possession (his aerobie) at her feet.  My heart melted and I knew he approved.  The next step was waiting for our adoption application to be approved.  What really took about 2 weeks felt like months!

Once we were approved on paper, we had to wait for a home check to finalize the adoption.  The rescue is located in New York City and most of the volunteers for the organization are located in or near NYC.  Not too many to be found here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia!  Thankfully they were able to find someone in Salisbury, MD that could come to our home for the home check.  Because of work schedules and the distance though, we still had to wait for days (which felt like weeks).  The waiting game was excruciating for me!  I’ve never had to go through this before.  Being in the profession I am, and have been for 25+ years, if I decided I wanted to take on a dog, I took it in that day!  If it was on a hold for any reason (ie:  found dog on an adoption hold for 10 days giving the owner time to claim), I would “foster” it until the hold was expired.

After 25 years (well, it sure felt like it) we finally got the word that we were approved!  Once the go-ahead was given we planned her arrival for the next day.

I have done rescue and fostering in the past and I know how difficult it can be to leave a foster with their new, forever home.  Dana, my friend who was fostering her, experienced this when she brought Esme to us after the adoption was finalized.  Esme was her first foster.  I felt for her and empathized with her, but also encouraged her to continue fostering.  The reward is worth it; knowing that you were a caring, nurturing transition for this pet and the primary catalyst in finding the pet his or her forever loving home.

Dana is currently fostering her 3rd RDR!  Keep it up Dana, the dogs are forever grateful to you, as are the adopters.

This is a picture of Esme & C.J. the day she came home to us…

Esme’s first day in our home

It’s been an adventure ever since…

Stay tuned for more “Adventures with Esme”… In the meantime look for her on IG with the tag #shewearspants

The Power of Positivity is Real

I’ve always been a believer in the Power of Positivity. This past week enhanced that belief a million-fold.

On Tuesday my 13 year old “Lab” mix, C.J., woke me up at 2AM to go outside. It was too dark for me to see what he was doing, but with his Noxgear Lighthound vest I could see that he was back in the trees where he would normally go to poop. I saw him stop for a few seconds, then went zooming from one side of the grove to the other. He’d pause again, then go back and forth again. This went on for a good 5 minutes or so. When he finally came back to the house, he was panting and went straight to the water bowl. I tried to go back to sleep.

When I woke up at about 4AM, I found a small pile of diarrhea on the rug next to the back door. Poor C.J. was having some stomach upset. He ate readily around 6AM and didn’t have any other bouts of the Big D.

I took him to work with me that day, as I typically do on Tuesdays anyway, and he seemed to be his normal self. Then one of the girls came to me to let me know he had explosive watery diarrhea. I was trying to figure out what it could be that was going on with him. I had a lightbulb moment while talking to a coworker about life-fails. She was telling me about how she spilled piping hot coffee on her over the weekend, and that sparked a memory of a jar of bone broth exploding all over my kitchen that Sunday. Before I could get it all cleaned up, C.J. was over there licking up what he could on the floor. It had to be dietary indiscretion or, worse (and I hoped not), pancreatitis. After talking with the veterinarian we decided to go conservative and treated for dietary indiscretion. That meant small and frequent meals of a bland diet.

By Wednesday morning, C.J. was still having watery diarrhea. He had a few accidents in the house. He was still with appetite and acting normal, with the exception of letting us know he had to go out frequently. He ate breakfast that morning, then vomited it up shortly thereafter. Back to work he went with me for monitoring and so that I could let him go outside to eliminate frequently. He seemed okay, but by midday he had vomited one more time. This time it was just phlegm. We gave him an antiemetic injection at that point and continued to treat for dietary indiscretion.

Thursday morning I woke up to the sound of C.J. pacing around the house. When I walked into the dining room there were about 6 or 7 piles of watery, bloody diarrhea on the floor. C.J. was also acting very puny, lethargic and was breathing rapidly with a rapid heart rate. I thought to myself, crap, it IS pancreatitis. I took him to the vet clinic before I went to teach my class at the YMCA that morning and let my coworkers know what was going on.

When I arrived at work that day the bloodwork had already been run on C.J. It was unremarkable. His pancreatic enzymes were normal, his liver values were normal, there was nothing really to indicate pancreatitis, or anything else for that matter. C.J. was definitely not feeling well and was dehydrated and still breathing fast as if he was severely uncomfortable. We placed an IV catheter and started him on IV fluids. Even though his bloodwork was normal, we proceeded to treat him supportively, as we would for pancreatitis or a viral infection like Parvovirus.

By lunch time C.J. had worsened. He would barely lift his head to acknowledge me when I went to check on him. I ended up spending most of my lunch hour in the kennel with him, loving on him and telling him he had to get better. That’s when the worst thoughts started going through my head. My heart started to sink and I couldn’t help but to start crying. I had this feeling that this was going to be the end. I was NOT ready for that!  I had my cell phone with me while I was hanging out with C.J. in the kennel and took a picture of the two of us.  I posted it on IG & FB to let friends and family know what was going on, and to plea for positive vibes to be sent his way.

The people I work with are amazing.  They discussed amongst each other what to do.  We could x-ray him and make sure there’s not something going on like a tumor hidden somewhere, an enlarged/shrunken/abnormal organ, etc.  They offered to help me get him ready for transport to a Veterinary Specialty facility that had a boarded internist, they would take care of Esme and Freddie Mercury until I returned, and would make sure my shift was covered at the animal hospital.  I decided to start with x-rays.  I was hoping to find something to validate my suspicions and to help us come up with a treatment plan for C.J.  We x-rayed his chest and his abdomen.  For a 13 year old large breed dog, that boy had some absolutely beautiful x-rays!  With the exception of some evidence of arthritis in his caudal spine, he was in pretty stellar shape.  Still no answer as to why C.J. was in the predicament he was.  I opted to continue to treat him supportively, at least over 24 hours to see if he’d improve.  If he didn’t, then I would either take him to the internist or make some other more final decisions.

Because it’s what I do and I am well-trained in animal nursing care, I was able to bring C.J. home with me to convalesce.

It’s not the first time I’ve had to “hospitalize” one of my pets at home on IV fluids and medications.  The first one was Chompers when he got into bread dough and I had to treat him for alcohol toxicity.  Yes, he got drunk!  Then there was Lazarus when he had his poop problems that set him into a downward spiral.  So far, my recovery rate was at 100%.  I really didn’t want to ruin my perfect record.

I set up my at home ICU, which is just a dog crate set up to be as comfortable as possible.  I borrowed an IV infusion pump from work to keep C.J.’s fluids in check.  I managed his IV catheter, monitored him constantly, administered all of his prescribed medications IV or orally, and spent the night with him.  He was confined to his Intensive Care Unit while I made myself as comfortable as I could on his dog bed just outside the facility.  It was a really long night … for me.  Every noise that came from him or his kennel alerted me.  If he sighed, I was wide awake, ready to reassess his respiratory and heart rates.  If he moved I was wide awake making sure he didn’t need to go out.

Friday morning C.J. seemed a little happier.  He acted like he might be interested in food.  I offered him some canned bland diet.  He turned his nose from it.  I snatched a sliver of turkey cold cut from Chris’ sandwich that he had prepared for lunch.  C.J. ate it without gusto.  I then offered him a venison jerky treat.  He ate it.  I started to wonder if he was having an aversion to the canned bland diet since that’s what he ate the last time just prior to his first bout of vomiting.  I decided to head to the grocery store to get some chicken breast and white rice.  I boiled the rice and the chicken breast (separately).  Once they were cooked and somewhat chilled, I shredded the chicken breast and offered C.J. a tiny bit of the chicken.  He ate it!  I mixed the rest of the chicken with the rice.  After an hour or so I offered C.J. a couple of tablespoons of the chicken and rice mixture.  He ate about half of it.  About an hour later I offered him another 2 tablespoons.  This time he ate all of it.  An hour later the same was offered, he ate most of it.  I continued to offer him a few tablespoons throughout the evening.

I had to work Saturday morning so I brought C.J. with me.  He was definitely improved by Saturday morning.  He was more alert and active, but not quite himself yet.  He ate a little bit of the chicken and rice for me in the morning.  Not as much as I would’ve liked, but he ate some.  He had not vomited since Wednesday, and I haven’t seen a bowel movement since Wednesday either.  I was anxiously awaiting a poop from C.J.

Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon C.J. pooped!  It wasn’t formed, but it wasn’t watery like it had been.  I call that “progress.”

This morning C.J. was ready eat like usual.  I am not ready to go all-out regular diet yet, so he had a mix of bland diet & his regular food this morning.  He ate all of it.  My heart is put back together.  I followed him out to the trees to see him poop.  He pooped and it was still soft, but formed!  Not liquid!  He is definitely on the mend!

I can’t help but believe that all of the positive vibes, prayers and well wishes that friends, family and acquaintances sent had something to do with C.J.’s recovery.  We still don’t know what exactly was going on, but we do know that he is better and that is all that matters.  Thank you to everyone who was looking out for him.  It is appreciated more than you may ever realize.