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Archive for February 16th, 2009

Birthdays & Waning Days

So far, February has been chockful of crazy days. We’ve celebrated some stellar birthdays, we’ve remembered some sober anniversaries and dealt with death knocking on the door. On the 2nd we watched our Australian Cattledog, Eva, finally turn 2 years old. I’ve been telling her since she came at 10 weeks of age to “just turn 2!” and now she is. She’s matured and is an awesome dog. We’ll be relying on her more and more as the old-timers leave us. She is actually a dog that plays and it’s been eons since we were able to play with anyone. Playing fetch can do wonders for the soul. It’s capable of making tears turn to laughter.

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On the 7th we praised God in seeing our old man, Ramirez, turn 17 (yes, seventeen!) years old. He’s been with us from the beginning of us. He has his aches and pains, has to wear pants and it takes him half a day to finish a meal, but he’s in incredible shape for such an aged fellow. Last year we took him for an all day tour of old friends and haunts but it wore him out. So this year, we just did what he does best – sleep in bed all snugged up. He had a special meal of spaghetti and meat sauce and somehow he managed to wolf that down in record time. Hmm. Every day is a blessing. As amazing as he is now, he was without compare in his youth.

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On the 10th we watched Scottie turn another year older and sadder as he watched his best boy decline even more. Francis Franklin Sinatra Prince is one of the Pookie Bros. and is not doing well. He’s been on this decline for sometime now. He has the doggie equivalent of Alzheimer’s. He just turned 16 but we don’t know his exact birthdate. We’ve dealt with all sorts of diseases and illnesses taking our dogs but nothing like watching a brain deteriorate. It’s torturous.

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For nearly 2 weeks now we’ve been circling our life around Frank, trying to decide what is a good day for him to die. Isn’t that a terrible thought? We came close to losing him to a massive seizure and a late night trip to the emergency vet. They thought we were nuts for bringing him home. I convinced the doctor on duty that I could handle it and to please leave the catheter in his leg in case we needed it for the inevitable injection later that night. We brought him home and Scottie stayed up all night holding him on his chest. He’s done that every night since. We wait for these old dogs to die and then do everything in our power to keep it from happening. It’s a stressful way to live, that’s for sure. When we rescued all these dogs all those years ago, we didn’t consider losing them all at the same time. I’m relieved Cass & Becca are with Leslie right now. I know they’re happy and fed and not worrying where I am – well, maybe Cass is a little.

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But, as is more the norm in our house than not, Frank started improving! He is still not good but Scottie is not ready to let him go, yet. There is nothing I can do to fix Frank. This is not something that can get better. He’s eating like a fiend everytime I put something in front of him, though. We started him on anti-seizure medication and that has seemed to take a lot of his agitation away. (Think of the old man in the nursing home not wanting his bed pan changed). We were getting bit constantly but not so now. Scottie is taking this extra time to pamper and hold and let Frank feel how special he is to him.

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We also have Frank’s real brother, Sammy Dean Davis Martin. Yes, Scottie is a rat-pack fan. Frank had been staying in the office with his brother and another of our dogs, Kaley. But when all this happened with the seizure we moved him back into our room. We set him up a canvass crate at the foot of our bed that he wouldn’t be able to hurt himself on if he started having more seizures. His brother didn’t let any time pass before taking over his crate in the office. He was asleep in it later that morning! They are complete opposites in personality but have an attachment to one another like brothers. Sam is in extraordinary health, somehow.

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To complicate an already complicated existence, our dog, Monica, got hit with an episode of Vestibular Syndrome a few days after Frank’s near miss. She is also 16 years old. Geesh! This girl has had more miracles and lives than about 10 cats put together. I have dealt with this situation before so knew what to expect and how to handle it. The dog appears to have had a stroke but they haven’t. The dog suddenly feels like they are on a tilt-a-whirl ride and they have lost all equilibrium. It’s very frightening to them and their people. But, time usually works it out. So, for a few days we were having to carry this 50 pound dog in and out to go potty. She couldn’t eat because her head wouldn’t stay still. We sure didn’t need both of these at the same time.

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The days started blurring taking care of our regular pack, Frank and Monica. I was about to have to see my acupuncturist for my  back from carrying Monica. Scottie and I were both trying very hard to not be nasty and terse with one another. Didn’t need fighting with each other on top of all this. Frank had gone down on a Wednesday then Monica went down on Saturday. By the following Wednesday, both were improving! What a yo-yo life. Our emotions run pretty raw. Monica is now just about back to her usual self. She’s always had a head tilt from being wacked in the head by something before we ever got her. She is a walking miracle.

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To make things even more difficult for my dear husband, we saw on the 15th the anniversary of losing our dog Jackson.

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Hard to believe he’s been gone 6 long years, but he has. He was Scottie’s true best friend, and the very first stray we ever dealt with. It took him 5 years to put his ashes in his urn and he cried like it had just happened. So, yesterday, as we lit a candle in rememberance of Jack, Scottie held onto Frank even tighter, knowing that he will soon be missing him too.

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