December 28, 2010

Out, Damn Spot!

Well, today Abby had her lungs rechecked at the Vet Cancer Group. Mike was able to go along, which was nice. Abby was happy to have her dad there, as you can see in the photo. The news wasn't totally bad, but it wasn't totally good either. As you probably guessed from the title of this post, there was one spot that the oncologist, Dr. Vancil, was concerned about. He said that it is not something we should really worry about or alter our course of action for . . . yet. 

First of all, he said it might be nothing. Metastases apparently like to hang out in gangs, and since there is only one unusual spot on her x-ray, it may not be a "met" at all. It could be something else - just a little abnormality. He said he needs to get the original x-rays, which were taken by our regular vet, and compare to see what it looked like before. (When our vet originally took her lung x-rays before her surgery, he said her lungs were clear, but maybe he didn't notice this small spot, or maybe it's something that has recently appeared - which would probably not be good news.) On the other hand, if it is in fact a "met," Dr. Vancil said a single met is not a death sentence. He said it's rare to only have one, but he knew of a dog that had one and it grew into a walnut-size-ish tumor, but wasn't even what killed the dog in the end. He said Abby could have a single met and still be quite healthy. We'll see . . . 

He said we'll check her lungs again in about two months and see where we're at. If it's all good/looks the same, we'll go out probably 6 months to a year before rechecking. He said it often happens that after a year, you'll start to see mets in the lungs. He said that's not necessarily the end. We could consider another shorter round of chemo, which he has seen add another good year of health to a dog's life.

So, next steps are that Dr. Vancil will get the original x-rays sent over and compare to the latest ones. He'll also have a radiologist look at the x-rays and see what he/she thinks. In the meantime, Abby is 2/3 of the way done with her chemo. Two more sessions to go! If we keep going on this every-two-weeks schedule, we should be done by January 25th.

We'll see what happens. I'm a little worried about that damn spot. Worried that we may only have another year or two with our little sweetie, but we'll see what the original x-ray showed and see what the radiologist thinks. 

Anyway, even with all that, Abby managed to have some fun at chemo. First of all, she loves to kiss everyone there, and they're all for it, so she enjoys that. Then, Mike and I left to run an errand while she was having her treatment. It was quiet there today so apparently they let her have the run of the place while they were waiting for us to come back. There was a display of toys - a stuffed duck, a tiger, etc. - and other doggy items they've been collecting to donate to a shelter. When we first walked in, Abby tried to snitch several of the toys. Well, when we came back to get her, Abby was the proud owner of the stuffed duck. (It reminds me of when you were a kid and would go to the dentist and get to pick out a toy.) Anyway, some poor unfortunate pooch is now not getting a stuffed duck cuz our little cutie talked the gals at the cancer clinic into giving it to her. She is trying to de-quackerize it even as I type. 

Will let y'all know if we hear anything more from the radiologist or once Dr. V. looks at the older x-rays.

December 27, 2010

Hoping Our Good Luck Doesn't Run Out!

I had a lot of good luck today, and I'm hoping it holds out for tomorrow. 

For today, things went my way a couple of times:
  • First of all, I went to Home Depot and bought a gallon of paint. As I was self-checking out, I grabbed the paint can and swung it up out of the cart and toward the scanner. Well, the fine gentleman working the paint department hadn't put the lid on properly, so I sloshed paint all over my cart and the floor and on my arm. Luckily it hit the stretch of my arm between my watch and where I had pushed the sleeve of my shirt up. You could say this was bad luck, to buy paint from someone who doesn't know enough to put the lid on properly, but I saw it as good luck, since I managed to avoid getting paint all over my jeans, top, watch and shoes!
  • Then Mike and I went to the old house to pick up a load of stuff to move. On the way home, I was following along behind him, when he suddenly slammed on the breaks--for no reason that I could see at first. I slammed on mine too, and had to steer sharply to the right, missing his bumper by about half an inch. It's weird how all your senses but the ones you need shut down. I had been listening to something interesting on NPR (can't even remember what now!), but my hearing totally shut down. It was just tunnel vision of the front of my car and the back of his. All I could think of was how much this would suck for our insurance! But luckily I missed him. Then... I saw why he'd stopped: a beagle was racing down the middle of the street like a maniac. The dog ran past Mike's car, so he started driving again. I started moving very slowly since I wasn't sure where the dog was -- then I saw him darting around my car in a giant circle, so happy in the game of "chase" with his owners running madly after him. Luckily I saw him in time to stop again and they managed to corner him on someone's lawn. So, luck was with me again, as I avoided both flattening a beagle (what a downer that would have been!) and also avoided rear-ending my hubby!
Now, for tomorrow we really need the good luck to keep flowing. Abby gets her lungs checked Tuesday a.m. -- the first time since before her amputation surgery and before she started chemo. The last time she had her lungs checked, everything looked clear, so please keep your fingers crossed for us that things will still be clear tomorrow!!

I'll post the news sometime tomorrow.

December 26, 2010

Belated Merry Christmas!

Had intended to do a pre-Christmas post, but since we had an offer on our house on the 23rd (Hoorah!), things got a little crazy-busy and I never got around to it before the Christmas festivities began.

Abby had a lovely Christmas, as the photos below will attest. She got to come along to the family Christmas Eve celebration at my sisters as well as to Christmas Dinner at my brothers by playing the cancer card. (Mike kept saying, "She can't stay home alone on Christmas - she has cancer!")
At my sister's, she jumped up at the noise of the self-timer on the camera while we were trying to do the group shot. As you can see, we are all cracking up, thinking it was going to be a close-up photo of her nose. Instead, it caught all of us laughing and her tail.

On Christmas, Abby got to open her present -- a Skinneeez un-stuffed beaver, which she hopefully will not tear apart since there is no stuffing to get at. I realized after she opened it (since I bought it online and hadn't actually seen it) that it has no forearms, so it's sort of an appropriate gift for a missing-forearm girl. 

Today, we took her to Fiesta Island, where we ran into Dakota and her parents. It was a great surprise. With all the rain we've had, Abby hadn't been to Fiesta Island or the dog park in ages and hadn't seen her friend since before Thanksgiving. They had a great time playing. As you can see, Dakota took advantage of her two-front-feet status to throw a right cross at Abby (she is a boxer after all) and try to gain the coveted stick.
 All in all, it was an excellent holiday. Hope yours was great as well!

December 20, 2010

Spreading Tripawd Cheer (For a Fee?)

Abby, Mike and I have been exploring our new neighborhood a bit. Most of the streets are quite hilly. She looks so cute going uphill: she has to take smaller hops, and her ears bob up and down and it's quite adorable. It's also quite the workout! Especially since it's apparently easier for her to run than hop uphill, so she often breaks into a run. She runs so fast I can barely keep up with her.

The other night we were out walking/hopping along our street, and we saw a man coming up the hill of the side street, head down, staring at the sidewalk. He stopped and said, "Oh!" when he saw Abby, and leaned forward so she could sniff his hand. Then when he saw that she only had three legs, he said, "Awwwww!" I was trying to keep her from jumping on him and kissing him, (as she is wont to do with everyone) but he got down on one knee and let her totally kiss him. He asked us a lot of questions about her, and kept petting her the whole time. He would massage her back for a while, then she'd attack him again with more kisses all over his face and neck.

He told us about how he'd lost his beloved 12-year-old Rottweiler six months ago, and he can't get over it. He still walks the same route every night that he used to do with her. He gave us his business card (he's an electrician) and said, "If you ever go away, I'll watch her for you. And I'll pay you." We could use a little electrical work at the new house, so . . . maybe we can work out a deal. For every hour of work he does for us, he can have/love on Abby for an hour. Fair?

I don't have any new pics of Abby, so I'm instead attaching a picture of this cutest pup that I got to love on at Helen Woodward today. It was my volunteer afternoon. They don't have that many older dogs right now, so all of them had been walked by the time I got there, so I spent my shift doing laundry - to get in out of the cold, wet day - and loving on puppies. This little guy is named Butterfingers. His ears are so cute! If you try to fold them down, they just boing right back into place. Adorable. And such a cuddle bug. I'm in love with him. He better not still be there by next Monday, or Abby may end up with a little brother . . .

December 17, 2010

Halfway Done!

Hello! So sorry we've been gone for so long. As I mentioned, we're in the middle of moving. Just finally got internet re-set up at the new house a couple of days ago, so I'm finally back in the blogging mode. 

The biggest Abby news since we've been away was that she had her third chemo treatment three days ago, so we are at the halfway point. Hoorah! Can't wait til we are done. The oncologist said that we are doing everything we can (max dosage, aggressive schedule, feeding her well) and that she's doing great so far (no weight loss, extremely minimal side effects, great energy, blood lab work continues to look good), so we're hopeful. He said we got the vast majority of the cancer out of her when we had her leg amputated, so there are only microscopic bits of that crap still in her--which we are blasting with the chemo. So... we'll see. And we'll see soon, because the next time we go in for chemo (Dec. 28), he's going to do another chest x-ray and we'll see if her lungs still look clear. I'm a bit nervous about that, but hopeful. Please keep good thoughts for Abby and we'll of course post what the results are after that appointment. 

Will post more tomorrow about how Abby is enjoying the new neighborhood, but for now, here is a picture of her enjoying the view. (We live on a canyon now, which I'd said before I didn't want to do--but, now, here we are. Of course, I also said I wouldn't do chemo on a dog, so I guess you should probably pay no attention to the things I say I'll never do.)

December 12, 2010

Very Quick Post

Sorry I've been remiss in posting lately... We are in the midst of moving and are constantly running back and forth between the two houses. We don't have internet yet at the new place.  Abby seems to love the new house. Will post more--hopefully tomorrow, along w/ pics of Abby. 

Open house today - wish us luck!

December 6, 2010

Will It Grow Back?

This Sunday, we took Abby to Fiesta Island again. Some little boys came up to us and were interested in her. One of them asked if her leg would grow back. That gave Mike the idea to attempt splicing lizard DNA into her cells, so that her shed limb could be re-grown. If only we had a gene-splicer!

She continues to do great, post-chemo. She's been very spunky - although, I must admit, this was the first time I ever saw her lay down at Fiesta Island. She played so hard with this one little puppy, chasing her up and down the hill, plus chasing birds (videos of both below) that she was wiped out. She had to have a little rest in the sand before we made it all the way back to the car. In the puppy chasing video, you can hear her snarling at the puppy. She gets frustrated when she can't catch another dog, and will try to grab it by the tail as it flies by. (She was that way pre-amp as well...)

Also this weekend, in non-dog-related events, I went with my sister, Jean, to my other sister's house, to paint windows. It's a bit of a tradition that we get together to paint Kath's windows every Christmas. Each year the windows feature Kath's dog, Indy. This year the theme is "A Christmas Dog Story." The windows came out pretty darn cute, if we do say so ourselves.

December 4, 2010


Abby continues to breeze through her chemo! Hoorah. She had her 2nd treatment on Tuesday and we've had no side effects (other than the popcorn not agreeing with her). This time we didn't even have to resort to feeding her plain pasta--she ate pretty normally at every meal. (Although she has not eaten a bowl of just plain ol' dry kibble-which used to be her standard diet-since her update-to-tripawd surgery on Oct. 29. She always gets a little extra somethin' in there now. With all the leftover turkey we've had, it's been easy to entice her to eat a bowl of half-kibble, half-turkey.)

Since she's doing so well, she'll go to an every-two-weeks schedule now, so her next treatment will be Dec. 14, which will likely be the halfway point. 

This time when I took her in, the oncologist said they would check her blood before administering the chemo. If things didn't look good (white cell count I guess) then they would have had to delay the chemo, but he said she was doing great. He also looked at her incision really well. She has this little nubbin (as I like to call it) now where they tied off the sutures on the inside. He said once the sutures are fully absorbed it will go away - which is good, because I'm constantly saying to her, "stop licking your nubbin!" It's already looking a lot better, and her hair continues to grow back so she's looking pretty great.

 Yesterday was her first visit to the dog park (just a regular dog park - as opposed to Fiesta Island, where there's the ocean and MUCH wider open spaces). There weren't too many other dogs. At first it was just Abby and her good friend Dakota, who you probably remember from their play date a while back. Then Pasha showed up. She had a great time! 

I finally got my camera back, as evidenced by the dog park photos. Posted below are a few belated photos of Abby and Leo at Thanksgiving. As you can see, they love each other:
Here they are kissing

Here they are hugging

Here they are begging.

November 30, 2010

Post-Chemo Popcorn - Not As Good An Idea As You Might Think

Abby had her second round of chemo today. I think she enjoyed it as much as the last visit. She loves the fuss everyone makes over her there, and she loves giving them all kisses. 

Hopefully her reaction to the chemo will be as minimal as last time. She certainly seemed to have tons of energy afterward! She did throw up a very tiny bit this afternoon – but I think that was because the post-chemo popcorn I gave her didn’t go down well. I guess post-chemo popcorn is a bad idea, and will remember that in future. I need to get this posted and then go see how she feels about dinner tonight. Hopefully she’ll have an appetite. I’ve got everything in the house to tempt her with: turkey, salmon, cottage cheese, and good old plain pasta.

The oncologist said she’s doing great, so we are going to move her chemo appointments to every two weeks instead of every three. Take that, Cancer!

Not much else to report. Crazy busy around here. Think I forgot to post a follow up to my mention a few posts back that we'd put an offer on a house. Well, it was accepted, so now we are busy busy busy trying to get our own house ready to go on the market and getting things lined up for the new house. We have the inspection of the new place on Thursday, so if all goes well with that, it should be a done deal. Oh, and you may recall that I mentioned in that same earlier post that we'd written a letter to the owners and mentioned how much we wanted to get a one-story house since our pup got cancer and had to have her leg amputated. I was a little worried that maybe the people wouldn't be dog lovers - but not to worry, they are! In fact, they sent the nicest letter back. She wrote, "Whether it's a person or an animal who is afflicted, cancer has a way of changing your outlook and changing your life," and wished us all the best with Abby. Sweet, huh?

Sorry no pics today, but if you link here my bro posted a bunch of pics of Abby and Leo playing in their yard on Thanksgiving day. Many action shots!

November 29, 2010

Chemo Eve

Tomorrow we go for Abby's second round of chemo. The oncologist said it should go pretty much the same as the last time, although there's potential for her to be sick to her stomach just depending on if she eats something different that doesn't agree with her. 

Last time you'll recall we had to play "What will the dog eat?" so I assume we'll be doing the same again starting tomorrow, although hopefully this time we'll have a better idea of what might appeal. Definitely going to have some plain pasta on hand, since that was a hit on day-two-post chemo last time. 

Not too much new with Abby today. We walked up to visit our friend Mazli this afternoon, which I'm guessing is about 3/4 of a mile. Not bad for hopping. I really didn't think she'd be able to go that far already, but it was no problem. In fact, she had a little too much energy leftover when we got there and was bouncing around, chewing on her leash and attempting to chew on Mazli. We ran a little bit of the way home to really wear her out. (Of course, since I forgot my camera at Jim's on Thanksgiving, I still don't have a picture of Mazli to share. Soon!) 

Yesterday we took her to Fiesta Island for her second visit and she had a great time. I wish I'd taken my Nano to get some more video. She played with this little terrier, and they were both racing up and down the bluff. Abby was running so fast, I thought she'd come somersaulting down the hill, but she was amazingly agile. The terrier's owner couldn't believe how Abby darted and raced around. Even Mike and I were impressed! Next time, I'll try to remember the Nano! 
I've included a couple of pictures of her, crashed in the Big Comfy Chair after Fiesta Island. In the second one, she is sleeping with her Long Skinny Tiger toy that her Aunt Jean sent for her. Thanks Aunt Jean!

Doesn't she look sweet?? 

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2010


You may recall that in one of my earliest posts, I said I was "envisioning a future post that will be entitled: Fiesta Island!!" Well, today was the day! We finally made it back to Fiesta Island - Abby's favorite place. It was her first time back since all this began - the limping, the surgery, the recovery. And it's the one year anniversary of the day we adopted her, so it was a perfect day to go. 
The weather was gorgeous today. She had a great time running around and playing with the other dogs. Only a few people commented on her one-leggedness, but the ones who noticed were impressed with how well she was getting around. At one point, she was running down the beach toward us so fast it was amazing - but I was too slow to get the video going. I posted a couple of short little videos at the end. 
She also had a great time yesterday, spending some quality Thanksgiving holiday time with her cousin, Leo, the mastiff. But... stupid Mama (that's me) left the camera at Jim & Denise's, so no pics of that to post today. Hopefully I'll get my camera back this week. We had to use Mike's iPhone today at Fiesta Island. Good thing we had it for documenting her big day back!

I also took some cute pictures of her with her new long, skinny tiger toy from her Aunt Jean, but will have to wait to post those. And yesterday we got the letters from Jean's third grade class. They're really cute. I'll do a post about them later in the week.  

November 25, 2010

A Post From the Rock Star Herself

Hi Everyone! My mom is typing for me as my typing skills are limited - I mean, you try typing just left handed and see how long it takes you! 

I just wanted to say a little something about this time last year versus today. Last year I was in a concrete little room with a beagle-mix named Duke. It was nice to have Duke to cuddle with (although he chewed on me a lot; I mean, seriously - a lot), and the people there were nice, but they weren't always around, so it could be a little scary sometimes. Before I got there, I had to take a long ride in a van and I couldn't see and it was a bit unnerving. But then my mom and dad came and picked me out! I was worried maybe they liked Duke, but, no! They liked me! (I wonder who Duke is chewing on today?)

It's been a kind of crazy year. Mostly great with new friends and new fun places and I love to go everywhere and meet new people, whether they are the four-legged or two-legged or three-legged kind. I don't really care how many legs they have - I just want to play with them and kiss them all. There were a couple of weeks this year that weren't so great, and I really don't know what all that was about, but now things are back to normal and it's all good!

Yesterday a really nice thing happened while we were hopping around the neighborhood. There's this nice lady and nice man that I really like. They have always stopped to say hi to me and make a big fuss about me - right from when I first came to live here. But yesterday, they gave me a present!! A squeaky raccoon!!!! My mom took about 87 pictures of me playing with it. (She complained that they were mostly blurry, but I can't help it. Who wants to sit and pose with a new toy? I want to toss it around!) The nice lady said it was a get well toy. I don't know what that means, but I sure was happy to get it! There are so many nice people around here. Another nice lady that I love - Buddy's mom - gave me some cookies on my walk. I jumped on everyone and gave them all kisses. 
"It squeaks! Must. Eat. Squeaker."

"I love my new raccoon!"

"Mom, enough already."

I know we are going to eat turkey today and I know everyone is talking about what they are thankful for. I'm thankful for turkey and squeaky toys and nice people and nice dogs and sleeping in the bed and sleeping on the couch and my cozy deep-dish bed and tummy rubs and Fiesta Island. (My mom and dad said we are going there tomorrow, to celebrate my one year anniversary of the day they brought me home. Hoorah! I can't wait.)

Big KISSES to everyone! 

November 23, 2010

Tri-Limbed Treat for a Tripawd

So, I go to get the dog a biscuit last night, and this is what comes out of the box:

Yes, it's a one-legged man cookie. Nice. 

Now, if I'd just had a limb amputated and someone handed me a handicapped gingerbread man, I think I'd fail to see the humor. I'd probably burst into tears, in fact, since it's pretty darn mean. But not Abby. She took it stride, accepted the cookie gratefully, and bit his head off. 
In other news, we ordered a smoked turkey online. (Not really for Thanksgiving dinner, since we are going to my brother's house, but just to have for leftovers and smoked turkey chili and smoked turkey enchiladas and smoked turkey jambalaya and smoked turkey stew and, well, you get the idea.) Here's an action shot of Abby sampling the purchase. Unfortunately, she's quite adept at standing up to the kitchen counter, even with only one front leg to hang on with. Of course, she would NEVER do that if it weren't for Mike tempting her up there with a piece of turkey. Never. 

As long as the weather is nice on Thanksgiving (which "they" are saying it will be) we are planning to go to Fiesta Island on Thursday morning - Abby's favorite place in the world. Should be a fun time. Will probably do a post-Thanksgiving post. Going to be a big day for her - going to F.I. and seeing her cousin Leo, the mastiff, whom she loves. All of us here at our house have a lot to be thankful for. 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

November 22, 2010

The Running Video!

Bit of a crazy weekend, but we managed to record a video of Abby running (posted at the end). I recommend listening to it with the sound off, so you don't have to hear my screechy voice. She's running up hill and has Mike as an anchor, so it's not exactly at lightening speed, but still, it's pretty impressive for a recently tripawded pup! We saw some neighbors right after and they called her the "miracle dog." She ate up all the attention.

Saturday we went to a little party to hang out and watch hockey. (Mike was excited because we got to watch Hockey Night in Canada - Habs vs. Leafs! And to top it off, his team, Montreal of course, won.) Anyway, while we were gone, Abby went to her aunt and uncle's to hang out. Here she is telling her troubles to the St. Francis in their yard. 

On Sunday morning, we put an offer down on a house. Early that afternoon our realtor called and said we should write a nice letter to the owners, so we included how it would be so nice for our recently amputated dog to have a single story home. Hopefully they are dog lovers and not the sort of folks who think people like us are nuts! We'll see. They have until 5 today to counter or accept so we'll see what happens. 

And here it is, the requested running video:

November 19, 2010

Three Week Ampuversary!

It's Abby's three week "ampuversary" today, and as illustrated in the pics and video posted yesterday, she's doing really great. Just a few updates today:
  • We still have our mattress on the floor. She really likes sleeping on our bed during the day now, so if... I mean when...we put the mattress back up on the box spring, I'll probably have to start keeping our bedroom door closed. Don't mind her jumping up there to sleep, but the jumping down is no good, and there's not enough room for the ramp that we borrowed. Could try stairs, but I bet she'd jump over them!
  • Speaking of sleeping on our bed during the day, she is still sleeping a lot more than before all this. The oncologist said it could partly be the chemo, but I'm guessing it's also just the fact of still recovering from everything, and her stamina is not yet what it used to be. Maybe she just gets more tired out now when we walk, and this is how it's going to be from now on? Not sure... We'll see.
  • Thought you all might be interested to hear the weight differential from before and after the amp/first chemo. They weighed her at her follow up appointment this past Wed, and she'd only lost about 4.5 pounds. I was pretty surprised by that! I mean, she has very skinny front legs, but since they also took her shoulder and all the muscles around it, I thought she'd lose more. Plus, with all the variety in her diet since the chemo, I've had no idea if we're feeding her enough. 
This weekend is going to be busy, with a party tomorrow and going to Santa Barbara on Sunday, so I'll probably post again on Monday. Mike will be in charge of her all day Sunday. I'll tell him to take some pictures if she does anything super cute -- but what do you wanna bet he'll forget? I told him he can't take her to Fiesta Island while I'm gone, because I really want to be there to witness her first time back! Maybe we'll take her together on Thanksgiving morning - that would be pretty appropriate, I think.

November 18, 2010

Oh, How I Missed My Friend!

Today Abby had her first real play session with another dog since her amp surgery. It's been ages - probably about a month and a half at least. And I don't think she's seen her pal Dakota since August! But they definitely remembered each other and had a great time. I took a ton of pictures, and as you can see Abby was right in there:

Dakota likes to leap off the wall - luckily Abby didn't try!
Good action shot of Abby running

"What's this thing? Hey, where'd your leg go?"
This last one is blurry, but I included it because it cracks me up. Dakota was sniffing Abby's little nub and licking it. Luckily this is not acceptable behavior in human circles.  

And, if that's not enough, there's also a video. As you can see by Abby's crazily wagging tail, she had a great time. (You can hear Leslie and I gabbing. You don't really need the sound on.)

November 17, 2010

Cleared for the Dog Park!

Abby's follow up visit to the Vet Cancer Group went well this morning. As before, she was very happy to go there. She was not quite as happy when they poked her to take the blood sample, but she had a lot of cookies and got a lot of loving and attention, so in the balance it was a good visit. Here are some pictures of her getting cookies from the vet, Dr. Vancil, and the tech. 
Dr. V. said her white cell count had dropped a bit from her count pre-chemo, and both numbers were at the low end of the range, but the number was still high enough that he gave her the OK to go to the dog park. 

I texted a friend we met at the dog park, Leslie, who has a boxer named Dakota that Abby used to love to run and wrestle with at the dog park and at Fiesta Island. I don't think Abby is quite up to the wide open wildness of Fiesta Island just yet (I think she needs to build up her stamina a bit more first), so I thought maybe we'd meet at the dog park at an off hour when it might be sort of quiet. But, instead, Leslie graciously invited us to a private doggie play date at her house. This sounds much better to me, as I worry that the dog park might be busy and a bit overwhelming for her at this point. We are going to visit them tomorrow in the afternoon, so either later Thursday or early Friday I'll post pics from their date. Although Abby played a wee bit with a neighbor's mini Schnauzer on our front lawn yesterday, this will be her first time really playing full out as a Tripawd. Should be interesting... She learned her boxing style of play from Dakota, so we'll see how she does boxing with only her left jab! 

This afternoon we are going to the little park by our house (which is not a dog park, so we'll just hop around and hang out) and then over to visit our friend, Mazli, where Abby is sure to get many treats. Busy day for her! A little walk this morning, the vet, the park this afternoon and a visit to Mazli's! She'll be exhausted after all that.

Hopefully I'll manage to get a video of her running at some point--I'd like to see that myself; I've only seen her run from behind, since I can't keep up with her! One of these days I'll get that done and posted.

November 16, 2010

No More Cone/Collar!

Just a few wee updates on some things today. First and foremost, yesterday was Abby's first full day/night without her e-collar. She still occasionally sits and licks her little nubby spot obsessively, but it seems to be all healed up, so no more stuffing her head into the life preserver and having her growl at me. (As captured here, if you haven't already seen the video.) Hoorah!

In bits of other news, she seems VERY much like her old self: chasing the ball up and down the hallway, chewing on people we meet on the street, munching on her bones, etc. etc. This morning she had every single one of her bones out. It looks a little frustrating to me, not having that other paw to hold the bone in place, but she seems to enjoy it.

We also ran a little bit yesterday  - just a tiny bit, but she's so fast! We live on a hill, and we used to sometimes race up it at the end of our walks. Well, yesterday morning she seemed to want to run, so I started jogging and she took off. I was amazed at how fast she could go.

Tomorrow we go for the follow-up blood check at the Vet Cancer Group. If her white count is OK, hopefully we'll be hitting the dog park or Fiesta Island soon. Would love to take her there this weekend, but don't think we'll have time - we have two parties to go to this weekend (which is not the norm cuz we usually have nada going on), and both are during the day so F.I. may not be possible. If her white count is fine, I might have to try to convince Mike to take a long lunch break Friday so we can take her!

Will post again tomorrow after her check up. 

November 15, 2010

Damn, She's Cute!

OK - maybe I'm biased, since she's our sweet baby, but how cute are these pictures?
Cuddling with Daddy

Ready for her close up

"Rub my belly!"

"Seriously, how can you resist my belly?!"
Yesterday, I met up with three of my freshman year (like, 1984ish!) college roommates in Temecula for lunch. It was really fun and hardly like any time had passed. (Although we did drink our adult beverages without turning it into a drinking game, so I guess time has passed...) [We went to Public House - thanks for the recommendation, Jim and Denise!] Anyway, while I was gone, Mike drove Abby up to the little park in our neighborhood. Apparently, they had a great time and he completely wore her out. They met a man with two Irish wolfhounds who fell in love with Abby and said he hopes to run into her again soon. 

Abby also took Mike to visit Mazli, who lives across the street from the park. Mazli is a friend that Abby and I visit a couple of times a week on our walks. We haven't been to see Mazli in ages because of, oh, the limping, the bone biopsy, the surgery, the recovery, etc. While they were there, Abby got three cookies plus a "chewie" rawhide treat, so she was in heaven. I know she missed Mazli - and the cookies and the chewies as well. After her outing, she was beat and crashed in her "deep dish deluxe" bed most of the evening!

Photo Gallery (& A Side Effect of the Side Effect)


You can see where the wall's all wet
We took a ton of pics of Abby this weekend, so let's get to it. First of all, Abby had to have a bath, due to a side effect of a chemo side effect. We've been really lucky and it seems the chemo has only affected her appetite. She still has one, but it's hard to know what she'll eat on any given day, so we've been feeding her different, odd things everyday - wet food, salmon, cottage cheese, pasta, whatever she'll take. Unfortunately, that meant that when she went to do "her business" yesterday, there was a bit of the "business" on her leg when she came back inside. So into the bath she went. (Which she hates. Truth be told, this was only her second bath since we got her almost a year ago - although we do hose her down post visits to the beach. She's funny - she loves the water, but hates a bath.)

When we were done, she ran up and down the hall, leaning into the wall. Not sure if she thought she was drying herself off or what (maybe just paying us back for the bath treatment), but we had nice little wet streaks along the walls. We took her for a walk to air-dry a bit, so below is a photo of her looking oh-so-happy on her walk. I was rubbing her to facilitate drying, and you can see that I came away with a mohair hand. (If you double-click the pics you can see them full size and see the hair really well.)

I'll do a separate post of some super cute pics of her.  

Action shot: in mid-hop

My hairy hand            

Taking the air to air dry

November 13, 2010

I Didn't Think This Was Possible

Just a wee post for today about the use of the doggy door. I really didn't think Abby would be able to use it anymore. It just seemed like it would not be possible on three legs - but as you can see in this very short two-second video, it's no big deal at all for her. The girl must have some serious ab muscles to be able to support her weight on just her back legs while shoving the front half of her body through the door. No biggie!

We went on a couple of short walks with her today, trying to build her stamina back up. Some people don't notice at all; with others it takes a while for them to notice. One family in our neighborhood who have never spoken to us before (we've lived her 10 years!), actually talked to us. "Hey, did that dog always have three legs?" Seriously - that's what he asked me. Even though I've walked past their house with her pretty much every day, twice a day for almost a year now. Like, maybe he just didn't notice before. Anyway, they were nice and sympathetic and Abby ate it up. 

November 12, 2010

So Far, So Good...

I hope I'm not jinxing us by saying this (and, yes, I'm spitting on myself...), but so far Abby has not had a bad reaction to the chemo. Yesterday, we did have to play a game of "What Will The Dog Eat?" but other than that, she's been doing great. 

Wednesday night after chemo, her appetite was fine. Mixed a little canned wild salmon in with her food, and she ate it all up. But then yesterday, she seemed to have little appetite. 

Opened some sardines. Nope. Turned her nose up. 
Opened a can of wild salmon, which she'd devoured before. Again, nope. 
Tried some of her dried food on a whim, but no way.
Got out the cottage cheese, which she usually loves. She had a few halfhearted bites, then gave up. 

So, other than a bit of cottage cheese, she didn't eat much all day. Same routine again for dinner - ran through all her favorites and she didn't want any of it, but then we were making ourselves some pasta, and Mike handed her a noodle. She devoured it. He offered some more, and she chowed it all down. We gave her a little pile of plain pasta and she was quite happy. I went back to check the paperwork the Vet Cancer Group gave me and it said, "If your dog refuses to eat after treatment, offer bland foods like white rice or pasta." Clearly, she had read the paperwork. I had read it too, but had forgotten. (It's the lack of sleep. Last night was the first time I slept through the night since the day she was diagnosed - Oct 25, with the exception of the night she spent in the ER.) 

Hopefully she'll continue to do well, although I understand it can take several days to react, so we're not fully out of the woods yet. 

Yesterday and today have been pretty good days. We are at our two week "ampuversary" today, and she seems a lot like her old self. Last night when Mike came home, she jumped on him... I mean, she sat like an angel and waited for him to be ready to pet her. Then she hopped up on the sofa and flung herself onto her back, so he could rub her belly, like she always used to. Then she was playing with her toys and chewing on her bone, just like her old puppy self. This morning she got in bed with us (yes, we still have our mattress on the floor) and I was able to grab her and pull her up for a cuddle with us. It was so nice!
Hopefully she'll have many more weekly and then annual ampuversaries ahead of her.

Cujo Cone Puppy Video

OK - here it is. The video of (a) why she needs to still wear her cone/collar and (b) her Cujo-esque reaction when I put the collar on her. The quality is not great at points since I'm holding my "camera" (my iPod Nano) with one hand and trying to get the collar on with the other. (This is a huge file and I apologize to anyone on dial-up. Uh... probably just Linda?)

As you can tell from the laughing, I am not-so-much a-feared of her "I'll rip your face off" threats. I should have continued to film, since right after this she was immediately back to her old lovable self. Toward the end of the video, you hear Mike coming over and sweet-talking her. Within seconds of growling at me, she was showering him with kisses and then I got in on the act and received some as well, so all was forgiven.

Will do another post later with an update on her chemo reaction thus far. So many things to tell... but apparently advice to bloggers is to make the posts short so I don't bore y'all. So I may have to parse some things out over the coming days. We are off for our morning hop around the block. More later.  

(Thanks to Terry for pointing out that I've been misspelling Cujo! My only excuse is that I never read it/never saw the movie...)

November 11, 2010

First "Real" Tripawd Walk

Abby went for her first "real" walk yesterday as a tripawd. It was funny to see how few people in the neighborhood even noticed. I did see some ladies in a car slow way down for their drive-by, looking at her and making that "Awwww" face. They waved and smiled at me, but I have no idea who they were. 

Then we saw one of Abby's neighborhood boyfriends coming along--Donovan. He's a Shepard mix and the same age as Abby. I just stopped to wait for his "mom" to notice. It took her a while, but when she did, she put her hand up to her heart, and said, "Oh no! What happened!?" It was a similar scene as with my hairdresser the other day - she threatened to start crying. But Abby had a huge smile on her face and was waving her tail back and forth, so I just said, "Yeah, but look how happy she is." 

This morning we went for another short walk with Abby's Aunt Terry and her cousin, Corgi Lou. (And Terry gets photo credits for today. I forgot to bring my camera along!)

A nice lady in their neighborhood gave them treats on our walk (which I guess is her usual M.O). She gave Abby an extra one for her troubles. (And so it begins - the milking it!) Lou, on the other, didn't cut Abby any slack--he showed her some teeth when she tried to give him a few too many kisses. She LOVES him and he tolerates her.

We went to Terry's to borrow a ramp from her neighbor. Here's Abby test-driving it for the first time. I managed to get her to come down it when we got home as well, although it took a lot of coaxing with a jerkey treat. It will be great if she can get used to it--don't want her to hurt herself jumping down! We also need to try it in our bedroom or maybe add some stairs for the bed. (Or... we need to train her to not sleep in our bed... That sounds a lot like tough love though, and, as I've mentioned, we-ESPECIALLY Mike-are not so good at that.)   
As you can see, she's still wearing a T-shirt. Mostly to keep her from scaring folks (although she's healing up nicely) and to keep her from bugging the incision.Yesterday she almost chewed off the tank top I had on her, because she wants at those scabs so badly! So, for the most part, she is still wearing the dreaded e-collar. I took a video of her illustrating the whole "need for a cone" situation, but Mike said not to post it as it doesn't paint her in the nicest light. You should see her show me her teeth when I put the cone on her! Cujo-puppy! So suddenly Mr. We Need To Show People Every Part of This is all "no, let's not show the nitty-gritty and put the puppy in a bad light." (I think it's understandable though - I'd be a might testy too if someone: took my arm; wouldn't let me go out and have fun for weeks on end; and then kept stuffing my head through a life preserver! Oh, yeah, I'd be showing some teeth!) 

If there's demand for the video, I'll post it. I find it amusing. 

Oh, and btw, no side effects so far from yesterday's chemo - although I guess it can take a few days. Wish us luck with that!