April 21, 2011

The Super Model Comes Thru Again (& and some not-so-good news...)

Good News Department: Remember I posted about the Fido Friendly magazine Peep's contest? Well, the super-model dog came through again and we actually won something! I was amazed because some of the pics people submitted were pretty darn cute and even though our picture was fairly creative (very few entries actually fashioned wearable art out of Peeps!), the photo itself was not the best. Basically we tied for what would effectively be "fifth place" (not bad with almost 100 entries) and Abby wins a "BlanketID", which at first I thought was going to be some sort of blanket, but is actually a sort of ID tag. You can view all the winners, including our girl, here.

The truly amazing thing about the win is that we didn't even go for sympathy by playing the cancer/three-legged card! You can't even tell she's a tripawd in the photo, and she still won! (Maybe if I'd played up the cancer/tripawdness, we'd have placed a little higher... Must remember to milk this more.)

Not-so-good News Department: Abby's had a bit of diarrhea, which she gets occasionally (maybe once every third week or so) and which is usually very easily controlled with a single Flagyl pill. But today, when I got home just now and was celebrating the Peeps win, I let her out and noticed what might be blood. I called Dr. V. at the Vet Cancer Group right away, but I didn't realize the office is closed on Thursdays. The message seemed to say they will call back even though they are closed, so hopefully I can get some guidance/info about what this means. I hope it doesn't mean we are at the end of our metronomic therapy. Hopefully we just give her a break for a few days and then she'll be fine... Wish us luck! (I'll post an update or comment when I know more.) Also wish us luck with her upcoming follow-up x-ray, which is this coming Wednesday. Keep positive thoughts for our girl!!! No new mets, no new mets, no new mets!! (And hopefully the old met will be stable - or better yet, even smaller!!!)

Because Every Post Needs a Pic Department: And now, since it really wouldn't be a decent post without a cute pic of Abby, here is a little Happy Easter greeting from our girl: 
Pretty much the most worried-looking Easter Bunny ever.

Oh, and P.S. If you read the comments from the last post, she is digging the braunschweiger! No problem getting her to take her pills when I ball them up in a lump of that stinky stuff! (I just hope she gets to keep taking them, and that they are doing the trick...)

April 13, 2011

A Dog's Breakfast

I never really understood that phrase until recently. (If you are not familiar with the phrase, since it's mainly a UK thing and we heard it a lot in Bermuda, it basically means whatever you are describing is an unappealing mess.) I've always lived with dogs that ate dry kibble, maybe enhanced with a wee bit of water, so the "dog's breakfast" just looked somewhat like a bowl of, say, bran cereal without the milk. But now that we have an odd dog who is not at all food motivated, and whom we have to entice to eat (since her pills are to be taken with food) with all manner of added goodies in with her kibble, well... now I understand the phrase pretty well. 

Some of that canned food is way nasty looking. And it seems like the more expensive, more organic, more high-end doggy chow it is, the grosser it looks! (Especially the Newman's Own Organic Beef & Liver canned food she gets...) There is also the added fact that we nuke it for a few seconds (the smell comes out more, which is supposed to entice the dog to eat...) so you've got the "dog's breakfast" look plus the smell. Bleh. 

I talked to Dr. V. about her not really wanting to eat her breakfast and what I should do about it, because of the whole pills with food thing. He said it doesn't have to be a lot of food - just a little something. He suggested hiding each pill in a chunk of hot dog. Here's how that went:
Here she is, readily accepting her hot dog chunk! Yum!

And here she is munching the hot dog after spitting out the pill (yes, that little pink spot on the rug is the pill)
Anyway, he said not to worry about her not wanting to eat breakfast. He said some dogs just want to get up and get going and see what's happening and they don't really care about food until much later in the day when all the excitement has died down. (Lest you worry that her appetite is failing because of the cancer, she's been like this ever since we got her. Just not really interested in breakfast -- although she does usually eat it by dinner time. Then wolfs her dinner down shortly thereafter.)

She was keen on the hot dogs for a while, and I could at least get her interested in her breakfast if I threw some chunks in (then I'd give her her pills in the standard scoop of peanut butter) but now she's even bored with the dogs! Oy. I mean, what kinda crazy dog doesn't want to eat a hot dog??? Our special girl - that's who. Right now, at 6 p.m. there is still a bowl full of Blue Buffalo kibble, mixed with hot dog chunks and water, sitting in my kitchen and it looks like a total dog's breakfast. 

P.S. I found out there's a feature where I can designate a short list of people to get each blog post via email, so you don't need to check the blog - you'd just get an email instead when there's a new post. If you want me to put you on the list for that, let me know.  

April 6, 2011

Sleeps & Peeps

Decided to re-do the "Spring" pic from her "good side"
Sleeps: We have not been sleeping well at our house! There's a squirrel or some other critter that has made a nest under our fence and said critter creeps out at night to taunt watch-dog Abby into a barking frenzy. We tried making her sleep in her bed in our room (instead of the Big Comfy Chair in the sunroom, where she usually sleeps) so that she wouldn't be able to see the stupid critter in the wee hours, but somehow she still senses he's out there. She gets up and starts beating on the door to be let out, so we still don't sleep.

Looking unenthused about the process
Last night, though, the three of us all finally slept! I'm not sure if that was because she's succeeded in scaring off the critter (oh, I so hope that's what it is! The people who lived here before didn't have a dog, so obviously the critter population has gotten a little too used to doing whatever the hell they damn well please in our yard. Not anymore!) or if it's because she was also too exhausted to care. Guess we'll see what happens tonight... 

Peeps: Every year my family threatens to enter The Washington Post Peeps Diorama contest, but we poop out when it comes to actually constructing the Peeps diorama. (We do have a good idea and SOME DAY we WILL enter! We even have some stockpiled Peeps, which you can do because they have a shelf life of like 2000 years.) But, in the meantime - since we missed this year's deadline again - I instead entered Abby in the Peeps Fido Contest through Fido Friendly magazine. The contest is not nearly as labor-intensive as the Post one is, and you only have to submit a pic, as opposed to the actual diorama for the Post. As you can see, I made her some bunny ears out of Peeps bunnies. It's not the best pic ever, so I doubt we will win, but it was not easy to get her to wear the Peeps bunny ears (she wanted to eat them...), so this was the best I could do.

That's pretty much all the news. She's continuing to do really well - very much a crazy puppy. I posted some pics below from resent Fiesta Island visits - and I threw in a sunset shot just cuz it was so incredible the other night!

Laughing and having a grand time at Fiesta Island

Again, laughing (or maybe sneezing) amongst the daisies

I just like this one cuz it's sparkly...

If you did a painting like this people would think it was ridiculously gaudy!

Thanks for reading!

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.