Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Daisy’s New Hangout

Daisy has a new favorite thing – our furry (faux fur, of course!) blankets. And her favorite place to hang out is wherever that blanket is.

But her ultra favorite is when the blanket is hanging off the sofa and we have open folding tables there (to block her from jumping onto the sofa). She immediately claims whatever small portion of the blanket that’s on the floor as hers, then maneuvers and shifts and rolls to pull it further and further down until she’s claimed it all.

She got it to fall so she was completely wrapped up in it!

She got it to fall so she was completely wrapped up in it!

This is the life...

This is the life…

Have you ever seen such contentment?

Have you ever seen such contentment?

Have a great weekend everyone! And a happy Memorial Day weekend to all our USA friends!

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Here we are again…

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I’ve posted. It hasn’t been because we’re having a great time or traveling the globe – things have been a bit rough in Daisyville for a while, and we had a scare with Daisy just the other day too.

I'm sorry I scared you, Mommy.

I’m sorry I scared you, Mommy.

I’ll get through the nasty stuff quickly because let’s face it – who wants to read someone else’s moans and groans? Here’s what’s been going on, at hyperspeed:

  1. DH’s position was eliminated (along with a number of others) and he was unemployed for over 7 months.
  2. Because of that, I took on a LOT of extra freelance work. I had very little time for the blogging world…or anything else, for that matter.
  3. My knee reached epic proportions of pain and decided to include my thigh joint and ankle in the fun, as well as my other knee. It literally got worse every day, and I reached a point where I could hardly walk at all and was in pain just sitting still. This went on for four months while I saw different doctors, none of whom had an answer.
  4. Because all other doctors failed me, giving me wrong diagnoses (which would have resulted in major unnecessary surgery) as well as a perfectly unacceptable diagnosis that I would never be able to go up stairs or even a curb again, I went outside the box to a functional medicine doctor 2 days a week. He’s an hour away (2 hours round trip travel time when there were no traffic delays plus 1-2 hours spent there) which totally killed those two days for me. So…
  5. I’d end up working into the night and on weekends.

And now…

  1. DH has a new job in a completely different field, which is quite interesting for him.
  2. I’m still doing a lot of extra freelance work, but not quite as much as I was.
  3. The functional medicine doctor turned out to be the only one with the right answer, and now my knees are much better. After six months of testing, treatments and supplements, I’m going up stairs with no problem and only have a little bit of pain when I squat fully down, but at least I can get onto the floor again now. And I’m sure that remaining pain will pass eventually, but even if it doesn’t, I’m FULLY FUNCTIONAL again.
  4. I still work on some nights and some weekends, but it’s not an every day thing anymore.

Whew. It was a rough period of time. And those are just the highlights!

And the other day, Daisy decided to give us a good scare. She suddenly couldn’t lie down and kept walking in slow circles, then she’d stare at me with sad eyes and sit up against me – her sure sign that something’s wrong. When she’d finally lie down, it was very carefully and with a groan. Then she’d keep her neck sticking out like a cow. She wouldn’t sit, lie or walk on anything soft at all, which are her favorite places. Not even on a flat blanket, and she’d stare longingly at her crate, which she loves to nap in.

When she'd finally get down to the floor with a groan, she stayed frozen in this position.

When she’d finally get down to the floor with a groan, she stayed frozen in this position. She couldn’t sleep even though she was clearly tired and didn’t move a muscle until she had to.

 

Watching all her symptoms, it appeared she was having pain in her neck or upper back. The surgeon said another back problem could develop out of the blue, you can never tell and there may seem to be no reason for it because it can be a degenerative thing. But this was less than a year after her last harrowing surgery. I was so upset for her and prepping for a run to the vet.

That evening we took her for her usual walk, and suddenly she started acting normally after about eight hours of scary behavior. We have no idea what happened or why it suddenly – and I mean suddenly, like someone flipped a switch – went away, but we’re extremely grateful that it’s gone and she seems fine now. We’re treating her like she’s recovering from a back problem every day now to try to prevent anything. To me, that scary day seemed like a warning.

So in this calm between storms, I’m taking the opportunity to post and visit a bit. Fingers crossed that our bad run is over!

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Daisy’s Humiliation – The Dreaded Sink Bath

Yes, we’re taking yet another precaution against Daisy hurting her back again…though the surgeon would be emphasizing the fact that it can be genetic and it can happen from a sneeze or a stretch!

It’s the dreaded sink bath.

Daisy isn’t a fan of baths as it is, but when DH would bathe her in the tub, she had too much space and she’d walk around, slipping here and there, sometimes making a futile attempt at escape. Even when he’d be shampooing her, she’d get jostled around a bit.

We decided that was now too risky, so we’re bathing her in the sink like when she was a 3-pound puppy. Then she disappeared in the sink, but now it’s just the right size to contain her. We also put a non-skid foam net in the base so she can’t slip around and we’re shampooing very gently.

Her humiliation level seems to have risen exponentially, as you can see.

Oh I don't believe this!

Oh I don’t believe this! I refuse to even look at you.

OH...MY...GOD... You're taking pictures of this humiliation?!!

OH…MY…GOD… You’re taking pictures of this humiliation?!!

You may be able to force me to take a bath, but I'm scheming to repay you. Trust me on that.

You may be able to force me to take a bath, but I’m scheming to repay you. Trust me on that.

We’re part of the Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog hop!

 

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Daisy and the Tornado Watch

We’ve had the most insane weather here. Below freezing one day, 60 degrees the next. No wonder everyone’s getting sick!

Last night we were under a tornado watch. The winds were scary – it reminded me of the early stages of Hurricane Sandy – and the rain was pelting the house with such force, I thought it would break through the windows. It sounded like Mother Nature was furious and trying to break in.

Daisy did not like this. At first she barked every time the windows creaked and the house groaned. Then she started barking at the rain slamming against the windows.

That is, until she found the perfect nesting spot underneath the folding table I was using for my computer, then the combination of comfy and closeness turned her into a laid back, come-what-may kind of gal.

I'm perfectly safe in here!

I’m perfectly safe in here!

I'll just take a nap while you guard the house against the storm. Wake me if we need to leave...

I’ll just take a nap while you guard the house against the storm. Wake me if we need to leave…

We did hear a metallic crash outside – I took a picture of what it was this morning:

street light

street light 2

The power company doesn’t seem to be in any rush to take care of this, even though the light was on all night, the interior is exposed and sitting in a pool of water, and the wires are exposed. I called them at midnight and again this morning, but still no one has come out. I guess our entire lawn and house need to catch fire before they’ll venture out.

Meanwhile, Daisy is taking it all in stride.

I have my comfy blankets in my snuggle spot with Mommy, and all is right with the world. :)

I have my comfy blankets in my snuggle spot with Mommy, and all is right with the world. 🙂

We’re part of the Thursday Barks and Bytes blog hop!

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The Beautiful Blizzard of 2016

I know we’re in the minority, but we’ve been so disappointed with the unseasonably warm temps this winter. Looking out of our windows on Christmas day and seeing our grass greener and healthier than it was all summer was not a welcome sight to us. Seeing the daffodils shoot up through the ground in January was just wrong.

But the beautiful blizzard made up for it all – with gusto! It started snowing four hours earlier than predicted; that storm blew in at 8 PM on Friday night and went straight through Sunday morning! Saturday was incredible with wild winds and tons of snow – we got 2 feet and drifts of over 4 feet! And I must say, it was a very considerate storm to start after everyone was home from work and end in plenty of time for everyone to shovel out on Sunday! 🙂

Here’s the view from our back door, you can see how deep the snow is outside. We still haven’t been able to open that door! And here’s Daisy in her new winter coat!

View from the back door...yeah, it's kinda deep...

View from the back door…yeah, it’s kinda deep…

Can we go out this way Mommy? It's way over my head, but I'll just burrow through like a gopher!

Can we go out this way Mommy? It’s way over my head, but I’ll just burrow through like a gopher!

We resurrected Daisy’s Winter Pee Patch – this will give you an idea of how high some of the snow was – other drifts were even higher!

Thanks for the nice high wall, I have lots of Pee Patch privacy now! :)

Thanks for the nice high wall, I have lots of Pee Patch privacy now! 🙂

We had a huge snow overhang off the roof that looked like an avalanche waiting to happen and an icicle that got longer and longer every day:

That icicle is over 3 feet long!

That icicle is over 3 feet long!

That Sunday closed with a beautiful winter sunset, complete with tree silhouettes:

blizzard 2016 6

And our little sweetie wrapped up her day in one of her favorite ways – a good cuddle with a good friend:

The snow was fun, but it's great to be warm and cozy inside. :)

The snow was fun, but it’s great to be warm and cozy inside. 🙂

We’re part of the Thursday Barks & Bytes blog hop!

28 Comments »

Taking All Precautions – Introducing a Puzzle Bowl!

We’re trying to head off any unforeseen setbacks before they can rear their ugly heads, and one thing we decided to do was switch from a regular bowl to a puzzle bowl (aka “go-slow or slow feed bowl”). We read about them on some of our blog buddies’ sites, who also introduced us to “bloat”, a horrible condition we’d never heard of before.

Daisy doesn’t actually scarf her food, but she does cough sometimes while she’s eating. We didn’t want her doing anything that could jar her little body and maybe cause pain during her recovery, and I’d been considering getting her a puzzle bowl for a while now, so we decided to stop considering it and just get the darned thing.

Kong came through with a BPA-free winner that we found at our local PetSmart.

And they had it in pink for our little girl!! :D

And they had it in pink for our little girl!! 😀

Deep enough, but not too deep.

Deep enough, but not too deep.

Even with all those nooks and narrow passageways, we’ve found it extremely easy to clean because of its polished surface. But the real test was with our little fussbudget, who is quite particular about the vehicle that carries her food.

First, the sniff test.

First, the sniff test – underside.

Sniff testing it right side up.

Sniff testing it right side up.

The flip - just to make sure everything is still okay. Can't be too careful with the thing that carries your food!

The flip – just to make sure everything is still okay. Can’t be too careful with the thing that carries your food!

And now for the BIG test – actually putting food in.

Is that my food in the new bowl?? BRING IT!!

Is that my food in the new bowl?? BRING IT!!

After some tentative sniffs…we have lickoff!

Hey, this is fun!

Hey, this is fun!

I found more food back here! Wow!

I found more food back here! Wow!

And the thing that thrilled us most – she was voluntarily standing in the crate to eat! Her recovery is going much better than any of us anticipated.

You can see her left leg right there - it's almost back to normal!

You can see her left leg right there – it’s almost back to normal!

It did take our little adventurer some time to realize there were pieces of kibble in narrow areas and it took even longer for her to figure out how to get them, but that’s partially the point of the thing. Besides the pieces being so spread out, the juices are also spread out, so she can’t lap them up so fast that she gags (which she used to do). Since she’s been using this bowl, we haven’t heard a cough or gag once, and it takes her about three times as long to eat her food. What a brilliant little invention!

We’re part of the Thursday Barks and Bytes blog hop!

 

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Holiday Daisy

I think Daisy deliberately waited until the holiday season to throw her disk out of whack so she wouldn’t be forced to:

  • wear her reindeer antlers
  • wear her candy cane jingle collar
  • partake in tree decorating (aka being wrapped in garland and lights)
  • or any of the other humiliating fun Christmas traditions she tolerates enjoys.

But in the spirit of the season, I’m going to post some pictures I never got a chance to put up last year of our Daisy stealing water originally destined for the Christmas tree. In Daisy’s mind, water in anything other than her bowl is “special water” and is irresistible!

What's that over there with the water in it?

What’s that over there with the water in it?

I'll just keep it company...I'm not doing anything...

I’ll just keep it company…I’m not doing anything…

Just repositioning...nothing to worry about...tra lala...

Just repositioning…nothing to worry about…tra lala…

This is looking pretty enticing...

This is looking pretty enticing…

Maybe just a sniff...

Maybe just a sniff…

OOPS! Caught in the act!

OOPS! Caught in the act!

You're okay with me, buddy!

You’re okay with me, buddy!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all our blog friends who have been there for us all year, through the good, the bad, and the difficult!

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal – Day 4

We had a very aromatic evening – Daisy had her first poop at the very end of Day 3! We didn’t even know until the smell hit because she just remained lying there as it slid out (sorry to be so descriptive), but she panted like she was giving birth! We’re very relieved and hope things will start “moving” at a normal pace from now on, at least every other day. (I only wish it wasn’t so cold out so we could open windows when these aromatic treasures arrive at night!)

No calming music needed again today. The small, flattish pillow we put in the crate seems to be making a big difference in Daisy’s comfort level. She puts her head on it and her spine is level all the way through her neck. She appears to be very comfortable and almost always uses it; in fact, she’s starting to try new positions and we saw a little curl in her position today, both of which are very positive.

A bit of a more normal curl here. Before this she kept her whole self straight.

A bit of a more normal curl here. Before this she kept her whole self straight.

This morning she started to get a bit restless and whiny (but not the pained whining of two days ago), as well as shifting positions in the crate frequently. This always makes me nervous because of that lame back leg – I’m always afraid it will get caught in a crate opening (that happened yesterday) or she will twist it in just the wrong way and create another issue. I guess all that rest and sleep yesterday gave her more energy today!

Daisy licked us for the first time! She also perked her head and ears up when she heard the dishwasher beep – until now she wasn’t interested in anything, including a couple of loud noises from outdoors. AND – we heard the first little “bfffff” today! It was quiet, but it was there. 🙂

I saw Daisy move her left leg from the thigh this morning. We gave her a little thigh massage and manipulated the joints gently in that leg last night; after a few movements, she let us know it was enough. It’s so interesting to see the difference in her signals – when she wants the vet to stop doing something, she turns her head fast as if warning that a nip is imminent. With us, she either licks our hand in a particular way or gives us a soft look while pulling her leg away gently. Dogs are amazing communicators and I’m fascinated at how they treat those they know and trust differently from those they’re not very fond of.

Daisy, contemplating the meaning of the universe. She has much more time now to work out the deeper things in life. :)

Daisy, contemplating the meaning of the universe. She has much more time now to work out the deeper things in life. 🙂

Anyway, we’re going to continue the massage and movement a few times a day to see if that helps. This morning she was trying to rearrange herself in her crate, but her left leg was stuck way far out. She looked at it, seemed to think about it, and then I saw her pull it toward her with one quick movement. Very encouraging. I believe the thigh muscle will improve over time – what seems not to be working is from the joint down to her toes – the bottom half of the leg. I can’t tell if she has feeling in that section, but I’m sure we’ll find out more when we visit the neurosurgeon on the 21st.

Of course, there has to be a negative – the pee problem is back – we went way past the 24 hour mark with no new pee today, but we didn’t panic because she hadn’t drunk all that much water. But by night time, we had to try to make her go. We put her on the wee wee pad and tried to express her – all we got was crying. We took her out back with the sling, hoping her natural and usual pee environment would stimulate her – nothing. As a desperate final resort, DD carried her to her favorite fire hydrant, hoping the smells there would stir her – still nothing. Back down to the hospital at 10 PM, because 36 hours without peeing always seems to panic vets…which panics us.

And it wasn’t good – Daisy has the early signs of a UTI because she’s holding her pee too long. Yesterday’s big pee wasn’t a breakthrough after all, it was just that she had so much pee that she couldn’t hold it in, which wasn’t good. The vet couldn’t express her tonight either, she had to take a sonogram to find her bladder! She said Daisy’s resisting (her medical chart actually says “difficult to express”), and then when we take her to the vet she gets nervous, which tightens her muscles even further. It took effort for the vet to express her – they didn’t even get home until 11:30 PM. She said Daisy should be peeing twice a day, and if not, we have to bring her there to be expressed, even if it’s twice a day. Well, we can’t – we work. So night is the only time we can do it, which also isn’t good.

But the vet said she’s healing well otherwise and does have motor function in that left rear leg. We were given clearance to walk her a little bit outside to keep her muscles from atrophying and to get that left leg working again – and ultimately, of course, to get her to pee. Who’d have thought this would be our biggest challenge?!

One positive thing in all this pee madness – when DD and DH had her out back (everything is a two-person operation now), they encouraged her to walk forward and she did, using three legs and a little bit of her lame leg! A little bit is a start! Also, she was willing to walk forward instead of backward, like she did after the surgery, and she didn’t spin in circles either.

I never thought I’d be wishing for Santa to bring Pee Ability to Daisy for Christmas…

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Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal: Day 1

First off, I can’t thank you all enough for your words of encouragement and support. When I feel low and painfully worried (which happens often), I reread all your kind words, and they really help. Thank you for always being here for us.

We’re journaling Daisy’s recovery, at first day-by-day so we can keep track of everything. Hopefully as the days go by, things will “normalize” and our updates won’t be quite as frequent. I hope to put up some “fun” posts in between!

Daisy’s surgery went well, she has a long incision down her back that we need to keep an eye on, but so far it’s doing well. If you hate seeing sewn-up incisions, scroll past this photo!

Daisy post op incision

There was a 95% chance of a positive outcome from the surgery, and Daisy is doing relatively well except for the fact that her back left leg isn’t working well yet. It’s just kind of hanging and flopping a bit, and when she’s lying down it’s in freaky positions, but the neurosurgeon said not to rearrange it. We weren’t sure if it was paralyzed, which really scared us, but today we saw her move it a little bit, so we’re hopeful.

Monday, 12/7 – First Full Day Home

Today felt about a week long, mostly because even though the hospital gave us great instructions and written information, there are always things that are different from what’s written as well as problems you run into along the way. We’re adjusting, but I feel like it’s going to be a very long 8 weeks. (Total healing could take a year or so.)

Calming the whining – We’re not hearing any of the horrible loud, constant crying and yiping or pathetic pained facial expressions that went on around the clock for two days after Daisy’s meniscus/ACL tear surgery. That’s what we were expecting this time. But it’s not as bad – there are extended periods of whining that sometimes get a bit louder. We did some research and discovered music specifically modulated to heal and calm dogs, created by a neurosurgeon along with a composer. The one we got is harp music (Harp of Hope: Animal Therapy Edition) – and it’s miraculous! We put it on when Daisy is whining and within five minutes, she’s in a deep sleep that lasts for a good half hour. There’s also piano music created the same way called Through a Dog’s Ear that will be our next purchase.

Daisy post op spine 1

Eating – For some reason, Daisy won’t chew her kibble. We can’t give her canned food because it gives her diarrhea, so we’re soaking her kibble to make it soft and mushy. One problem overcome! She won’t eat much, her appetite is affected by the pain, the meds, and her inactivity (which the vet said was normal), so we give her what she’ll take a few times a day. She eats about 10-20 pieces each time, and we’re happy just to see she has any appetite at all.

Meds – Daisy refuses to take her Tramadol pain med, even smothered in peanut butter or pumpkin. We tried mushing it into her softened kibble, but she’s actually sniffing each kibble and rejecting the one with the Tramadol – complete with a shiver when she smells it. We thought we’d gotten one into her this morning, but we discovered that this little sneak of ours had dropped it and laid on top of it, hiding it from us. She has had no pain medication since we brought her home Sunday afternoon. This is when its difficult to have a smart dog – they know exactly how to get around whatever they don’t want! We have been able to get the Prednisone into her, though. That Tramadol must taste horrible!

Going Potty – Nothing since we’ve brought her home. The neurosurgeon said that if she didn’t pee for any 24-hour period, we had to express her or she runs the risk of a UTI, plus a full bladder presses on the spine and causes more pain. This is something we’ve never done, so we watched some YouTube videos about it and also read the instructions the vet gave us. Of course, it did come down to this, but we couldn’t get it to work. So we had to run her back to the hospital tonight so they could show us what to do – fortunately they’re a 24-hour emergency hospital, so doctors are always there. They’re extremely compassionate and helpful – they encourage us to call any time of the day or night if we have questions or concerns, and to bring her in if we feel the need to have someone see her. I can’t tell you how comforting that is.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience with the expressing – the vet found that Daisy’s bladder was so overly full, it was dangerous. He showed DD how to express her – we’re supposed to be able to feel the bladder, but we can’t feel it (nor could he) because her abdomen muscles are so tight and firm. He helped DD do it, but Daisy yiped and screamed and even tried to bite him. It was horrible, but it got done. Now we’ll have to try to do it ourselves, but he told us that if we still have trouble with it, we can bring her in any time of the day or night. These doctors are truly a blessing for us.

Physical movement – Being confined to 8 weeks of strict crate rest doesn’t allow for much, but then again Daisy doesn’t want to move anyway. We have to use a sling on her back end and hold her so that only her hind toes touch the ground and her front legs do all the walking (of which there are only a few steps a day). Her left back leg is limp right now, but today we saw some encouraging small movements driven by the thigh muscle. She can’t put any weight on it at all, but clearly it’s not paralyzed. When she rearranges herself in her crate, she just kind of drags her back end around. We have faith that this will be temporary.

Daisy post op sling

We were told by the neurologist that improvements should happen by the week, not by the day. Yet we saw a couple of small improvements today already, so we’re very encouraged. We’re dreading having to express Daisy three times a day until she pees on her own, and like new parents, we’re still waiting for her first poop, which might not be until midweek.

Onward to Day 2 tomorrow.

 

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Daisy has taken a big turn for the worse; please pray for her

We’re asking our blogging friends for a lot of POTP right now. Daisy is in surgery for a severely misaligned and swollen disc. She’s only 5 years old.

For the past week she’s had back pain again and was on meds, but they didn’t do much good. Yesterday she could barely raise her hind quarters without great effort, and she preferred to lie in one spot for hours. Going down one tiny step to the outdoors made her screech.

We knew this wasn’t good. She was moving backward instead of forward, even on meds. We made an emergency appointment with our dear vet, who did some tests and discovered this was a neurological problem. It could be one of three things: a disc issue (bad but not impossible), a tumor (very bad), or a blood clot (the worst). He called an excellent neurologist and sent us straight over to her.

Her first assessment was that with high-powered meds and 8 weeks of crate rest, things could get better, but she could also become paralyzed suddenly. She would also run this risk for the rest of her life. Or we could opt for surgery, with a 95 percent chance of recovery. If Daisy were to become paralyzed, the odds went down to 50/50.

We authorized an MRI so we could make an educated decision; it showed a severely misaligned disc with a lot of swelling. At that point she pretty much took the choice away from us – without surgery, paralysis was a very real possibility and Daisy would definitely live her life in pain. Constant pain.

We wanted to avoid surgery at all costs, but we couldn’t. She’s in surgery now and if she does well, we bring her home Sunday for 8 weeks of crate rest (and some frightening things the surgeon said we’ll see, but we’ll talk about them as they happen).

Meanwhile we are praying harder than we ever have in our lives. We’re asking our wonderful blogging friends to send positive thoughts and prayers to Daisy for a successful surgery and full recovery. We need our sweet little girl to get through this and be her silly little self again. Nothing would be the same without her.

Daisy

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