March 31, 2011

A Good Checkup!

Super model, ready for spring
Abby had a checkup yesterday with Dr. V at the Vet Cancer Group and so far, so good! He said her lungs and heart sounded great (this is good news, as the lungs can start to sound wheezy I guess if things are starting to get bad in there...) and she'd gained almost a pound. I never had a dog before who was so uninterested in her food - even back before she got sick - so I was glad she'd gained a little bit of weight. (So hard to convince a super model to eat!) They also took some blood and sent it off to the lab for a thorough check. They called back today and said everything looked good, which is important since she's on so many drugs. Dr. V. sent us home with enough drugs so she doesn't have to go back for a month. When we go back on Apr 27 they'll do another x-ray - that's going to be a BIG day. I'll post before we go to remind everyone to send positive thoughts that the lone met is still sad and lonely in there - and hopefully getting punier and punier!! If all is going well, she'll do 6 months total on the metronomic protocol and then take a break.

Playing life guard at Fiesta Island

In other news, the Orvis Cover Dog contest ends today, March 31. As long as there's no crazy last-minute voting surge, Abby will finish it out firmly on the podium in 3rd place for "Most Unique Voters." She also ended up 18th for the "Most Money Raised". Not bad, considering there were almost 14,000 dogs entered!! Now the "real" judging begins. The winners of the online votes contest will be posted on the web site (I'm not sure if they'll post the whole podium... maybe just the winners). But since she did so well, I'm sure the judges will see her photo and maybe she'll win and be on the cover of the fall catalog! Not sure when they announce that stuff, but I'll be sure to post if we hear anything. The site says the contest raised over $300,000 for canine cancer research! Abby did her bit, bringing in $590! Whoo-hoo!

Finally, on March 29 it was Abby's 5-month Ampuversary. Hopefully she'll have many more to celebrate! 

Even though we won't have any official vet news for another month, I'll try to keep posting at least once a week. After all, she usually does something cute/funny at least every day, so I should have material - and possibly photos and videos. Also, if we ever get our living room organized, I'll post the before, during, and after pics of our construction project. (Seems like it ended so long ago... just taking forever for the furniture to arrive!!)

March 28, 2011

A Fake Cover & A Crepe Caper

No real news about Abby, but thought I'd share some funny/cute pics of her. 

First of all, last week The Bark magazine had a virtual party on their Facebook page to celebrate hitting their 10,000th fan. You are probably wondering how you can have a party on a website (and what sort of odd antisocial loner weirdo would attend a virtual party... uh, this girl!) but it was actually pretty fun. They had different dog-related authors/artists, like the guy who does the Mutts comic strip, on their Facebook page at different times during the day and people could post questions and comments and have a little virtual chat. They asked their fans to submit pictures of their dogs with a list of things that the dog loves and then the Bark folks selected some of the pics to make pretend magazine covers. Well, of course beautiful super-model dog Abby got picked! Here is her cover: 

I wish I'd sent in the higher resolution version of this so it would have come out better, but oh well... There are also some typos ("live live" instead of "live life," and I would have said "tripawd" not tripod!) but still, it's cute and a fun "pimento" of the party.

Another thing I wanted to share was the crepe caper Abby pulled off this weekend. It was my birthday last week, so I asked Mike to make me some of his famous (famous amongst the two of us anyway) crepes for me on Saturday morning. They were delicious! We gave Abby one and she played with it a bit at first, but then finally ate it. (It's hard trying to keep a super-model fattened up!) We had a couple of leftovers and pulled one out Sunday morning, tore it into big chunks and gave to her. She ran off with the pieces, and at one point I caught her trying to hide one of the hunks under my pillow. Not cool, really. I convinced her to eat the thing instead. 

So, we thought she'd eaten it all and we went on our way for our usual weekend walk at Fiesta Island. We got home and she immediately jumped up on the sofa (the old sofa in the den - she is not allowed on the NEW sofa in the living room, even though she and Mike are both trying to wear me down on that one...). Anyway, she jumped up on the sofa, and I saw she had hidden a piece of the crepe behind the cushion! A perfect little post-FI snack. 

I'm just glad she ate it and didn't leave it there for a week!

This Wednesday she has a follow up appointment at the oncologist to see how she's doing on all her meds. She seems to be OK. I did skip the pills on Sunday because her appetite was a little off on Saturday so wanted to give her a one-day med-vacation, but other than that she seems fine so I'm expecting a good check up. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for reading!

March 22, 2011

Pills Schmills

So, just like Abby said "Chemo-schmeemo" to her IV chemo a few months ago, she now seems to have a "Pills schmills" attitude to her daily doses of drugs. They really don't seem to be bothering her system much, if at all. (Um, I hope I didn't just jinx us...) She definitely enjoys taking her pills, since they are delivered in a big ol' spoonful of peanut butter. (I am giving them to her in extra big spoonfuls lately because we are on a mission to get a little more meat on her bones. The last few times we've been to the vet, her weight has been just slightly lower each time, and we want to reverse that trend!)

Here she is enjoying Monday's batch of pills:

OK, I admit that it's not the most exciting video ever; it certainly can't compete with the "Guilty Dog" video making the rounds these days (LOVE that video)--but what's not to like about a video of a dog eating peanut butter? 

Not much else to report, so I'll just post a pic I took at Fiesta Island this week, trying to be artsy. I kinda like it:

I also took this one. I don't even know these people, but the flowers and the sky were incredible at FI this weekend. When I get my new iPad2 (my most excellent hubby is getting me an iPad2 for my bday!) and my Brushes app, I might try to do a painting of this - minus the random strangers. I'll probably insert a cute dog, like, oh, maybe Abby, in their place.

Thanks for reading and keeping good thoughts for our girl.

March 16, 2011

Taking Pills & Making the Podium

No, the dog is not doing performance enhancing drugs to win a race. The two parts of that title don't actually relate to one another. Let me 'splain. (Or perhaps, just sum up.)

PILLS: Today Abby had a follow up appointment with Dr. V. at the Vet Cancer Group to see how she was doing on the Palladia. Since she's doing well (only lost 1/2 a pound and has had only mild GI trouble, easily controlled with a couple of doses of Flagyl), we decided to add additional drugs to our cancer-butt-kicking arsenal. As shown in the photo, in order to keep track of her myriad pills, I had to get her one of those things like grandma uses (no offense to anyone out there who is NOT a grandma and uses one of these things... Like, oh, my hubby - not cuz he takes a ton of pills, but cuz we are forgetful...).  

The main things we added are: Cytoxan (another low-dose chemo med, but it attacks the tumor differently than how the Palladia does, so it will be a one-two punch to that damn met) and Piroxicam (an NSAID, which apparently helps starve the tumor of the blood supply it feeds off of). To help with side effects, she gets Lasix on the same days as the Cytoxan plus a generic Prilosec each day. The plan is to try this for the next 2 weeks and then Dr. V. will check her blood and see how she's doing. It sounds like a lot, but others I talked to on the BoneCancerDogs Yahoo! group are also doing the every other day Palladia/Cytoxan thing, and apparently their dogs' tummies are handling it all well, so hopefully Abby will too. [I don't know if I mentioned it before, but basically this is called Metronomic Chemotherapy, which they explain quite well here if you want to know more.]

PODIUM: So, on to funner things. First of all, if you've been reading along, you know I entered Abby in the Orvis Cover Dog Contest. Well, as of today (the contest ends March 31) she is squarely on the bottom step of the podium for "Most Unique Voters" all by herself (for a long while she was sharing that last step with another dog). Yes, she's THIRD out of what is now up to a pool of 12,800+ dogs! That's a lotta poochness, and our girl is shining! Thanks to all who Vote(d) for Abby. As I've said (what, like a dozen times now?), one vote = one dollar and all the money goes to the Morris Animal Foundation Canine Cancer Research organization.

PICTURES: In other news, Mike and I went away this weekend with his brother and his brother's wife for a quick visit to Santa Barbara. Abby stayed with her aunt and uncle and her cousin, Lou, as she usually does. Her Aunt Terry took these very cute pics of her, anxiously awaiting the return of her parents. (Which is not to say she doesn't have a great time there, cuz she does... I think the main thing she likes is pestering Lou.)
"Are they back yet? Thought I heard their car..."

Isn't it cute how you can just see Lou's little Shmoo head in the background?

PEDICURE: In one last bit of fun news, we stopped by her regular vet office today, just to say hi. Everyone there was SO happy to see her, as this is the first time they've seen her since she got her stitches out way back in Nov. Dr. Shaprut, her regular vet, came out to love on her, but I could see him giving her the 'vet-once over' - surreptitiously checking her gums and whatnot. He noticed her back dew claws were getting long, so offered to have a tech cut them for free. He said "Anything for our Abby!" So, we just stopped to say hi, but ended up getting a free pedicure (peticure?) as well. 

March 5, 2011

Rock Star!

Today's post is about a bunch of random things. (Well, not really random, since they are all related to Abby, but you know what I mean.) 

#1) This week Abby started up her M/W/F Palladia routine again. All went well until Friday afternoon, when she was not exactly a "solid citizen" (as her Uncle Jon says) on her walk. So, this was sorta like last week only better - better because this time it took 3 doses before her tummy got upset (compared to only 2 last time) and also because this time she was fine by this morning (last time we had 24+ hours of...issues). This time Dr. V. had given me some medicine to give to her, so a couple of doses of that and she was back to normal. She should be fine to start up the Palladia again on Monday.
#2) Despite the minor blip of tummy trouble, she's as full of energy as ever and has a great appetite. We went to Fiesta Island for 90 minutes this morning and she had a great time. We met another tripawd there - named Ted. He is a tripawd due to an accident though, or so his parents presume. (He was already a tripawd when they got him.) He's a handsome boy, as you can see. Like Abby, he darts around a lot and was tough to get a good pic of. As you can also see, he's a back leg amp, which is supposed to be easier on the dog, but Abby certainly does fine with her missing front leg. Ted's parents were impressed with how she was darting around.

#3) My sis, Jean, got a new iPad and has been playing with a "painting" app. She sent me the two paintings of Abby, below. (They are super cute and this makes me totally want an iPad, just so I can 'paint' too. So much easier than dragging out all the paper and paints and cleaning brushes!) The first is a recreation of the Stubs & Stilts photo, which you may remember. The second is from the photo I sent in of Abby for the Orvis Cover Dog Photo Contest. Speaking of the contest, Abby is doing really great - she is FOURTH out of over 11,700 dogs (!!) in the "Most Unique Voters" category. If you would like to VOTE FOR ABBY, maybe we can get her up into 3rd place. (Mike hopes she'll "make the podium"). All the money goes to the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) Canine Cancer Research org. (As a side note, there is a scientist studying canine osteosarcoma on the "bone cancer dogs" Yahoo! group that I'm on. She said that MAF is funding a research project in her lab, so the money you donate really does go to trying to find cures and better therapies.)

#4) This woman stopped her car in the middle of the street the other day while we were on our walk, rolled down her window and said, "I just have to tell you how much we love your dog. We see you out with her a lot in the neighborhood, and every time we say, 'There's our dog!'" Yes, she has a following. She's a rock star. An adonis. She has tiger blood running through her veins. (OK, enough with the Charlie Sheen references...)

That's it for now. Thanks for reading! (Some day when we FINALLY have our furniture, I'll post befores/afters of our construction project...)