June 29, 2011

Another Ampuversary & Begging for Barney

Today is Abby's 8 month ampuversary! Whoo-hoo! Normally, she gets a Flying Dutchman from In-N-Out to celebrate, but: (a) she just had one a couple of weeks ago to celebrate her daddy's return from his biz trip to Asia (commemorated in the photo here), and (b) yesterday she ate a bird. Yes, an entire bird. Luckily it was a small bird, but she ate it all - beak, feet, feathers, the whole shebang. (And it's the shebang that I'm worried about...) Not sure if she killed it or found it dead... She was rummaging around in one of our bushes and came out with it. We figured she'd have some tummy issues (to put it mildly) last night or today, but so far she seems fine. Anyway, we are kind of waiting to make sure her stomach is OK before loading her up with a Dutchman. In the meantime, she'll at least get a Frosty Paw.

Don't you want to kill him too?
I think Abby ate the bird because she is sharpening her skills in the hopes of participating in the Kill Barney Tour. (I heard once that birds are related to dinosaurs; I assume she heard the same thing.) I only just recently found out about the Tour on the Tripawds site, even though it has apparently been going on since January of 2010. Barney used to be one of Jerry's toys that he loved to hate. (Jerry is the original tri-pawwed pooch who's pack started the Tripawds site. In fact, you may have seen Jerry and not even realize it if you've ever seen the PBS Nature series episode on "Why We Love Cats & Dogs.") Anyway, since the tour began about 18 months ago, Barney has been to 22 different places. He's well-traveled, that Barney. You can even check out the Kill Barney Tour Map and see where all he's been. He's never been to San Diego, so I think it's about time he visits!

So, Abby and I entered our plea on the I Want Barney blog on the Tripawds site. You can read the specifics of what we said here if you are so inclined, but basically Abby offered to show him a good time, let him sink into a false sense of security... and then kill him. I, on the other hand, offered to sew him up so he can go on to the next tripawd who wants to rip apart that insipid little dinosaur. I think we have a shot, but there might be one or two other tripawds who have called dibs ahead of us. If we get Barney, I'll certainly be blogging about it here!

In doing a little research for this post, I found that there is an entire "Anti-Barney Humor" page on Wikipedia. I also learned there that the folks who are behind Barney can't come after you if you use his image in parody. They tried to go after the San Diego Chicken for his attacks of Barney (gotta love YouTube - you can view one such attack here) but lost. 

Finally, I posted a couple of videos of Abby on YouTube, including this one of her playing with her friend, Lola, at Fiesta Island. We went to F.I. today but I didn't bring my camera along. Too bad, because Enzo was there (the little cutie from my previous post) so Abby had a great time wrestling with him. Enzo and Lola are pretty much the only dogs Abby likes to wrestle with anymore, so she was happy to see him today. They are so cute together. Hopefully next time I'll have my video camera!

Thanks for reading everyone. These 8 months have flown by!

June 22, 2011

And Yet More Needless Worrying...

Abby had a follow up appointment at the Vet Cancer Group today with Dr. V. Sadly, her boyfriend Hank wasn't there, but she still had a fun time. They make a fuss and pet her and give her lots of cookies. Here she is sporting her pink bandage, which oh-so-smartly matches her leash and collar. 

I've been a bit worried about her because we had to finally give up on the Palladia. Before, she would only occasionally have GI issues with it, but it was getting to the point where she could only be on it for about 3 doses and then she would have major GI troubles. I was worried that the Lone Met would have a field day in her lungs if we suddenly stopped hitting it with the Palladia, but Dr. V. said not to worry. What we will do now is give her the Cytoxan/Piroxicam doses every day, instead of just T, Th, S & S. So, she'll still be getting a 'hit' of chemo every day. The Cytoxan is less likely to give her GI trouble, although it can lower the white blood cell count. So far, her white counts have been really good, so we'll start the Cytoxan daily and go back in 2 weeks to make sure it's not having any negative effects. As long as she seems to be handling that OK, then I'll also start to add in artemisinin, which is part of the half-holistic, or halflistic, approach I blogged about a few posts back. If you are interested, you can read more about artemisinin here on the Bone Cancer Dogs site, but basically it's an herb that has been shown to kill cancer cells in the lab (oh, and by that I mean the laboratory - not a Labrador retriever...). They have used it as an anti-malarial drug in Asia for decades, so there's a lot of info about how it works and potential side effects. Anyway, I don't want to get all technical, so I'll just post a pic of how it all works:
In related news, I have come to realize that the Palladia was actually making her less energetic. And, even with the Palladia, her energy was already akin to something like a toddler hopped up on cotton candy, so now it's really through the roof. I used to be able to wear her out for the day by taking her to Fiesta Island for an hour, but not so much now. By dinner time she is up and stealing napkins off the table and dirty socks out of the laundry and trying to chew on me, and just generally being her old terrorist puppy self. Here I thought she was just growing up a bit! But, no, it was the Palladia making her feel a bit, well, poopy. As a testament to her new-found almost-boundless energy, here are some (of the many) pics I took at Fiesta Island on Saturday. (Wish I'd taken my camera on Sunday too, as we met a cute Tripawd her same age named Mushroom and they actually played together! Hopefully we'll see him again soon.)

Abby loved this little dog, Enzo.

They wrestled for about 15 min, which is RARE for her now.

More wrestling. (Don't worry - he was not crushed.)

Here is another random dog that she raced after...

...and raced after...

...and raced after...

...and, well, you get the idea.

Love this action shot where she is fully airborne!
On a final note, the peaches are almost coming to an end! We've been making the most delicious peach sorbet with them! Abby loves it! (And so does Mike, which lets you know how good it is because he has mostly gone off sweets. Crazy boy.) We are going to miss the peaches so! But at least we have a freezer full of them still.

Tune in next time when I plan to blog about the Kill Barney Tour, which Abby very much wants to be a part of. (You'll just have to tune in ... wait, people don't 'tune in' on the web... you'll just have to click in for an explanation.) Type at you next time. Thanks for reading, or skimming, or whatever.

June 12, 2011

To Grandmother's House We Go

A puppy in the poppies at Grandma's
Abby and I just got back from a visit to Prescott to see my mom. We didn't do a whole lot; mostly ate, played Scrabble (me and my mom that is, not me and Abby), read and relaxed. Our one "big" outing for my mom and I was a visit to a quilt show (really more of a "fiber arts" show) at the Prescott College Art Gallery. (If you are in to that sort of thing, Betty Busby was our favorite artist there, and this quilt in particular, on sale via Etsy - a great site for jewelry by the way! - was my favorite piece.)

As for Abby and I, our one big outing was a little trip downtown to the Courthouse Square. Here is out outing in pics: 

Abby is a connoisseur of fine grass and the grass around the courthouse is flop-down-in-it worthy. (Of course, I wish she had flopped down somewhere other than right next to some strange man - see him there in the background? - who also apparently considered the grass flop-down-in-it worthy.)

While waiting for the dog bakery to open, I discovered the Prescott "Greenway Network" - practically in the heart of downtown running along Granite Creek. We went down a ramp and there was a lovely little trail down below sidewalk level. I had no idea it was there and we enjoyed our nice shady walk along part of it... until a rent-a-cop suddenly popped down onto the trail and looked around like "Now where did that bad guy go?!?", then dashed off again. He did not offer us any sort of warning, but we decided it was time to leave.

By then the bakery was open anyway, so Abby was happy to leave the trail behind. The bakery is also a full pet store, so Abby perused the toys. Poor deprived girl didn't get to take home any of the toys, but she did get three peanut butter cookies and the woman threw in a bag of assorted free cookies that was even bigger than the bag I paid for.
Like a kid in a candy store...
"I like this one, mama!"
When we got back to Grandma's, Abby was beat. (Here she is with her month-old "tuff shark" which, other than having his innards torn out and his mouth turned inside out, is actually holding up pretty well!) 

Back home in San Diego, our peach tree had exploded:
I picked this beautiful basket of mostly peaches and a few plums. The peaches are small, but so juicy and sweet! The plums are amazing! Aren't they all gorgeous??
 I weighed the basket: 9.8 lbs! (not 98...)

Today I sliced 5 of the peaches onto my cereal for breakfast. For lunch I had about 12 frozen ones whipped up into a smoothy. For dinner... well, I'm not sure I can think of a savory dish with peaches. Oh wait, peach salsa! Off to epicurious.com for a recipe! (And off to pick more peaches...)

June 3, 2011

What We Do All Day

I'm pretty sure the hubster thinks Abby and I lay around all day, kissing each other and sometimes having naked pillow fights. I thought I'd document the sort of stuff that does in fact happen around here with Abby and me:

First of all, we get our cardio in:
Daily walks, especially at Fiesta Island

We cook:
Here we are, deglazing a pan.
We read:
World news, of course!
We clean the house:
"You missed a spot here, Mama!"
Sometimes we work in the yard:
If you've seen my plants, you know we don't do this very often...

OK, I admit it; sometimes we nap:

...and sometimes we play a little Angry Birds...

We also do yoga, but unfortunately it was impossible to capture us both Downward Facing Dogging at the same time. And, finally, sometimes I write. When I do that, Abby gets bored and does this:

May 27, 2011

Our Visitor

We have a small visitor for the long weekend: Abby's cousin, Lou the corgi. He looks something like this:
Sleeping Lou
Although he actually looks a lot more like this: 

Because he is older and so handsome, Abby LOVES him. He . . .  tolerates her. Here she is lying across his path, trying to tempt him with her cuteness. He was not buying what she was selling.

He is very short. He fits under things...
...like our bathroom sink/cupboard
Last night, we put his bed in our room and closed the doors so he'd be in with us and we'd know where he was all night. In the night, Mike heard him get in the shower. (Not like actually turning on the water and taking a shower, but just walking in there. Our shower is attached to our bedroom, you just kinda walk right into it, go down two steps and turn a little corner and you're in the shower; no door, no curtain, nuthin'.) I guess it was cool in there; not sure. Anyway, later in the night, Mike hears him trying to get back out of the shower--which involves nothing more than walking up two steps. Guess there was not enough room in there to get any momentum going, so eventually Mike had to get up and go boost him up unto the steps and outta there. (These are not deep steps; in fact they're pretty shallow. I didn't even have to boost my 85-year-old mother with her bad knee outta there!) Maybe tonight we'll leave the bedroom door open and let him sleep wherever he wants. Wonder if he'll choose the shower again...

Here are a few more pics, since he (and Abby) are so cute:
He is good motivation for her to eat!

Abby -- sad because Lou doesn't love her

Lou figures out where Ab's treats are stashed
Ab figures out where Lou's treats are stashed

Ready for his close up!
Must go - Hubby just got home. Time for him to make me a cocktail! Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Thanks for reading.

May 21, 2011

Going Halflistic

...which is not the same as going ballistic... "Halflistic" is the word I made up for our new not-wholly-holistic approach with Abby. We are going to blend conventional/Western meds with some Eastern supplements. Yes, we are going East-meets-Westy on her. Here is my illustration of that:
East Meets Westie
[This is my first attempt at a "Brushes" sketch - Brushes being an app for my new iPad. I'm not very good at "painting" with my fingertip yet... as you can see, since that doesn't really look like a Westie at all, but it's an approximation of a Westie anyway...]

Sprinkling in some pouncing pics...
I discussed all this with Abby's oncologist, Dr. V. at the Vet Cancer Group yesterday. I told him about how I'd thought she was not doing well on the Palladia, which led to a bunch of panic-stricken research. He was very open to everything I brought up. Of course, he does think some folks out there are just trying to make a buck off your fear of the cancer in your dog, so he doesn't recommend trying just any old thing, but all the supplements I discussed with him he was OK with. He said if it were his dog, he'd have him on "everything but rollerskates" to try to make him better.

...to show she's her usual nutty self
We are going to start with upping her fish oil, since the Omega 3s are supposed to be very good for cancer patients. We'll be doing that slowly, since we don't want it to lead to GI troubles. After that, we are going to add in K9 Immunity, which some of the folks on the Tripawds site say they seemed to have good results with. It's made from mushrooms, which apparently turn your white blood cells into little cancer-cell-fighting Ninjas. (Sorry, I don't have an illustration for that. Maybe that will be my next Brushes sketch...)
Major Action-shot!
I won't go into all the details of the other stuff, unless we have some great success with things and folks want to know what we used. Hopefully... months and months - maybe even years - from now, we can share our secrets of success and Abby's longevity with folks. If anyone does want details of stuff now, just let me know. I could email you info. (Oh, and, at least for now, Abby is back on the Palladia and her stomach seems to be fine.)

In other photo-journalistic news, some of you will have seen this already on my Facebook page, but I captured a photo of the Rapture. (Luckily I captured it before the naked believers started getting sucked up in there...)
Cue the heavenly angels...

And I snitched this post-Rapture pic from here.
Apparently dogs are not part of the Rapture, which I think is ridiculous since they are probably the most Rapture-worthy creatures out there... Anyway, we have not been, nor will we be, raptured, so no worries about Abby being left behind to fend for herself. There are some very thoughtful Christian folk whose heathen friends will take care of your pets post-Rapture for the low low price of only $10. (And, what... I guess you must also need to send them a key to your house too...no? Or else how will they get in and get your dog? Plus a duplicate car key, just in case you are raptured right out of your sedan and Fido is left locked in the back seat...) If I see a bunch of dogs running loose, I plan to bring them home for a big party where we'll cook all the meat in the freezer and await the final apawcalypse.

Thanks for reading. Hope your day is rapturous. 

May 17, 2011

The Cancer Tour de France

I've decided I prefer to think of this as the Cancer Tour de France, rather than the Cancer Iditarod. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy the Iditarod. We used to love it when they televised it, back a few years ago. Love the dogs and their over-the-top tongue-wagging joy as they pull those sleds through that crazy-harsh countryside in their little bootied feet. Both the Iditarod and the TdF are hard slogs through the countryside; both are serious tests of physical endurance; both have made idols of cancer-butt-kicking Lances (Mackey for one and Armstrong for the other). But... the Iditarod mainly brings up images of scenes that are generally cold and dark and for the most part seem pretty inhospitable. On the other hand, the Tour de France, which is my favorite sporting event of all, brings with it lots of beautiful imagery: the hillsides covered with lavender, fields of sun-worshiping sunflowers, the rainbow colors of the peloton streaming by.
So, the Cancer Tour de France... it's got mad-dash sprints, gut-wrenching climbs up towering mountains, and beautiful days in gorgeous countryside. And last week while I was having a meltdown, that was sort of like one of those hard mountain stages. But I've mellowed out and hopefully we are in for a long stretch of beautiful days. Although... today wasn't exactly one of those. At least it didn't start out that way.

It was spitting here this morning at the house. Kept waiting for a break in the weather to take Abby for a quick walk, but it wouldn't let up. I figured if she was going to get wet we might as well go to Fiesta Island since she gets wet there anyway running in the water. Well, it was not just spitting at FI; it was raining pretty good and being driven by plant-your-feet-&-hold-onto-your-hat wind. As soon as I opened the car door, I knew I was in trouble, but by then there was no turning back. Abby had already jumped out of the car and ran down to the beach, looking back like "What's keeping you??" It was cold, it was windy, I was not at all dressed warmly enough. There are usually dozens of folks/dogs down there, but there were only 3 or 4 other crazy souls down there today. But the dogs were all quite happy. They don't care. Abby had a great time. She ran, she romped, she chased seaguls. What's a little rain?

My toes are still not quite warmed up again, but at least Abby had fun. (And I got some exercise, so that was a bonus.) I was thinking that if one of us is to be blissfully unaware and happy, and one of us has to be painfully aware, I'm glad I'm the one who knows she is sick and she doesn't, and not the other way around.

Oh, and that diarrhea the other day ... that started my whole freak out session... (sorry to bring up her poop again...) anyway, I'm not really sure it was caused by the Palladia now. The other day we caught her in the yard tossing around and nibbling on something small, clumpy and brown. The hubster and I both looked at each other and said at the same time, "Is that...poop?" Thank god it wasn't! On closer inspection -- but not THAT close cuz we were afraid it really was poop -- we realized it was an oxidized plum off one of our trees. We are new to this whole fruit tree thing, not having had any at our old house. Well, that got us wondering if the fruit was ripe enough to pick and we went around to the side of the house where the trees are hiding, and Abby came along and did this:

Yep, she's standing on her back legs, trying to help herself to the not-so-low-hanging not-fully-ripened fruit. So... I'm thinking that could be the cause of the diarrhea, and I went ahead and re-started the Palladia. We'll see how it goes. 

I'll let you know how the follow-up appointment goes with Dr. V. on Friday. Plan to ask him about making her diet more starch-free (instead of just mostly grain-free, like it is now) and about adding in some of the more holistic supplements suggested in Dr. Dressler's book. Hoping he'll be cool with the idea of being a bit more East-meets-West-esque.