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Hope's Blog
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Ice, Anyone?
Yesterday Hope discovered the frozen water bowl outside. It had about one tenth of an inch of water underneath the frozen frisbee that filled the VERY wide bowl. As she pawed at the ice, and pushed the bowl with her nose, I made the silly mistake of thinking she was thirsty. So, I took out the ice---which easily weighed 6 or 7 pounds---and tossed it into the grass, watching it roll along on it's side like a wheel. Hope pounced on it immediately, scratching at it with her nails and trying to grab it with her teeth. I thought that once she got a feel for how cold and heavy this “toy” truly was, she'd move on to better pursuits. As is often the case, I was totally wrong.

I used two hands to grasp this slippery block of ice and tried to hold it level as I offered it to Little Miss Thing. She took a hold of it in her teeth and trotted off across the yard like she was holding a skinny twig in her mouth.

Gunny followed her, wanting to take away anything that so obviously brought so much joy to his sister. It didn't take long for me to hear a very distinctive “back off” grumble from The Princess as she held onto her prize. She toted this thing around the yard for awhile before settling in the sun against the foundation of the house, and trying to gnaw the ice into oblivion. Unfortunately, I had to take away her prize possession, as she seemed likely to take in as much of the mulch she was laying in along with the ice chips she was breaking off. Not to mention the possibility of a broken tooth. Let there be no doubt that I will avoid anything that might cause another ER visit like it was the plaque, thus, the ice had to go.

Posted by fillows4 at 6:20 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 11 December 2010 6:24 PM EST
Saturday, 4 December 2010
BREAKING NEWS...Tubs Are Good.
Hope was stinky from all her time at the various vet clinics, and she finally seemed well enough for a bath at a time that coincided with me having a few free minutes. Gunny was slightly less stinky, but in need of a bath, and Oscar just goes along for the ride.

I brought all 3 into the bathroom and closed the door, arms full of towels, shampoos and the treat jar. Treats are only given when all four feet (or 3 feet in Gunny's case) are safely in the tub. The order doesn't matter to me, so I called out “Who's first??” and Oscar jumped straight in. He really didn't need a bath, but hey, it's the holidays so you can never look or smell too good.

I assumed Gunny would go next, only because Hope still requires a lot of prompting and some lifting to get her in the tub due to her fear of water/near drowning. So, I showed Gunny his treat, told him “Tub!” and waited. He wanted none of it, which is odd for him. I had to run interference to keep Oscar from jumping BACK in the tub, and was doing all kinds of luring with Gunny. Hope was very interested, and was sniffing around, but that is as far as she normally goes.

I guess she was tired of Gunny taking so long, and she must have REALLY wanted a cookie, because all of a sudden she jumped right in the tub and looked at me expectantly. Oh boy did I make a big fuss and start shoveling treats at her! That is a HUGE milestone for her!!

Posted by fillows4 at 7:52 PM EST
She Is Determined To Turn My Hair Gray
Hope and I have had a rough two weeks. At this point, I'd say both of us at about 98% of capacity. It started with me, and the beginnings of a lovely, nasty cold. Not to be outdone, Hope joined the fun two days later by awakening me with projectile vomiting of blood. This led to a full day at her regular vet, who ruled out the Big Bad Stuff, gave her meds and fluids, and sent her home with me at closing with a very hopeful prognosis but uncertainty as to whether I'd be able to leave town for the holiday. Hope got a bit better each day, though I got worse and I was working on 5 days without much sleep at all.

For the first time in my life, I literally thanked God for the germs that got me sick. With as well as Hope was doing, I would have delayed my trip by and day or two, but left her with the housesitter. Had that happened, I wouldn't have been there two days after discharge when the bottom fell out, and wouldn't have been able to get her to the ER the night before Thanksgiving.

The 30 hour ordeal turned out well, after a roller coaster of emotions as they went from uncertainty about her GI tract, to a faint thought of a partial blockage, to confirmation of a foreign body, to Hope fixing everything by moving things out herself. There was much discussion of surgery and varying levels of diagnostics. There was much pain medication and lots of IV fluids. There was a very sick and painful Princess. And there were lots of tears and many prayers. The good news was delivered on Thanksgiving morning, and Miss Thing was finally discharged at 8PM on Thanksgiving night.

Long story short, based on what my vet and the ER vet told me, Hope pulled one of those “a few times in a career you may see” type moves, and she did things that aren't supposed to happen while not doing things that everyone expected. Again, I thank God for getting her through this with the least invasive approach despite the possibilities of what might have had to be done to her.

Despite how well behaved she has been of late, and despite how Type A I have always been about monitoring her destructive and suicidal ways, it seems that her past came back to haunt her. A piece of what I think was a tennis ball finally made an appearance, and I promise you, this dog hasn't been within a half mile of a tennis ball in 4 or 5 months. And that last time was only because of the mysterious crop of tennis balls that somehow ended up inside my fenced yard one day.

I have a small cough that is hanging around 2 weeks after this mess started, but it is nothing compared to how sick I was. Hope is carrying on like her typical lunatic self, though she is skinnier than I'd like and I am trying to help her gain back all the weight she lost during this ordeal. She is forced to put up with me taking her temperature every time she looks even the slightest bit funny, but she's a good sport. We're back to everyone eating their standard fare, and the medicines are mostly done with the exception of some Pepcid here and there.

Unfortunately, the vet also diagnosed a deep Staph infection in one of her feet, and we were instructed to do a 30 day course of antibiotics to knock it out. But that couldn't happen until the tummy troubles were long gone. She got her first day of antibiotics today. Everyone think happy thoughts.

It was a very strange Thanksgiving for me. On one hand, it was horrible. On the other hand, I was more thankful than I've ever been. Hopefully next year will be a lot more boring.




Posted by fillows4 at 6:49 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 4 December 2010 6:51 PM EST
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Under Cover Of Darkness

We had a surprise visitor the other night. Just as I walked out the font door with Hope on her bedtime potty trip, I heard some wild scuffling noises. My head was down, as I was pulling the door shut, and out of the corner of my eye I caught this FLASH of movement bounding at Hope. Somewhere in my brain it registered that it was a dog, and I thought “uh oh” before Hope lurched forward in pure joy. The flash was my neighbor's dog Roxie, who ADORES Oscar but is not the biggest fan of other dogs, especially other girl dogs. I am pretty sure that Roxie saw a dog on my porch, and in the dark, thought it was her buddy Oskie. It wasn't until she was up in Hope's face that you could see the lightbulb come on, and Roxie's face fell in awareness. She is actually a little insecure about other dogs at times. Well, Hope loves everyone, and she was so impressed with the enthusiastic greeting that she started singing and wiggling and bouncing in place. Roxie gave her the obligatory hello before trotting off to sniff bushes and pee on our lawn. All in all, very successful, as it could have turned out a bit less well. Good ol' Hope. She is such a HAPPY girl.

Posted by fillows4 at 8:06 AM EST
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Runaway Hope
Hope had a photo shoot with her Auntie Heather today. We wanted to get some good pictures of her new “accessory”...a big, pink bow that attaches to her collar. It is 200% girly-girl, and absolutely perfect for Hope.

As always, about 100 pictures were taken to get 10 great ones...thank goodness for digital cameras. An unexpected occurrence did cause a great deal of stress, however. Hope, on leash, took off running for no apparent reason, got away from both humans and headed up the main road of our neighborhood. Luckily, our neighborhood is pretty quiet, but it is adjacent to a 4 lane, 50 mph road. Hope was headed straight for the traffic. She got within 2 blocks of the busy road before I was able to catch her eye and convince her to “chase” me back towards home when I ran in the other direction from the road. Auntie Heather had keys in hand and was prepared to try the “wanna go for a ride?” trick.

Big sigh of relief that it all turned out well. Some additional information is now added to my mental file on Hope. I knew she could never be off leash, but I came to that conclusion because of how much she likes to chase little, furry, wild animals. I didn't realize that her fear reaction was still so close to the surface...she gets overloaded, or scared, she's gone. It doesn't matter if her Mom is calling her. There was no sniffing, or sight-seeing when she was loose. It was all Get Away Now.


Posted by fillows4 at 8:11 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 October 2010 8:13 PM EDT
Monday, 18 October 2010
Who's Afraid Of the Big Bad Wolf (or ghost)? Not Hope!
Hope is such a brave girl. While on a walk, she noticed my neighbors had set up their over-the-top Halloween decorations for this year. These guys go all-out for most every holiday. Halloween includes three 8' tall monstrosities, all of which plug in, all of which light up, all of which move. There is a Grim Reaper with glow-in-the-dark eyes who serves as an archway to walk under, a snow globe filled with bouncing ghosts, and a haunted house with a merry-go-round of goblins and witches.

Keep in mind, Hope has quite the history, and every so often, it will rear its ugly head. Without her brothers beside her, she can get nervous, whether Mom is there or not. But on this walk, she took the lead and stopped at the edge of my neighbor's lawn. After some serious staring, she pulled me up the path, stopping about 5' from the haunted house. Cocking her head, she woo-woo'ed under her breath, wagged her tail, and watched the merry-go-round do its thing...all with a big grin on her face. Then she headed to the snow globe ghosts and watched the snow blow around, moving her head like she was watching a tennis match. Finally, she took me to the Grim Reaper, pausing only a few seconds before getting down into a play bow at his feet.

Posted by fillows4 at 8:32 PM EDT
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Living, Breathing Blankets
The chilly nights have arrived, and Bullies are not fans of being cold. Next to no body fat and short coats do not a Winter Dog make. Add to the mix that, in order to pay all of the bills and support 7 dependents---one of whom is 1,600 pound and the cost of whose board and care equates to a lovely apartment in Charlotte---I must be thrifty. In other words, I have learned to layer and keep the heat off for as long as possible. 365 nights a year, I have 2 dogs and 1 cat in the bed. Hope always snuggles, but with this cold weather, she has taken snuggling to a new level. I fell asleep with about 14” of bed to my name last night, and awakened with about 8”. I was wrapped around the edge of the bed to keep from falling. Hope was in a tight, 60 pound ball, wedged into the small of my back, with Oscar draped around her other side. Tobbles the cat took the typical spot between both pillows. Some adjustments may need to be made in the future, as I have a less than perfect back due to injuries, and I felt like jumbled brown bag of spare parts trying to get up this morning.

Posted by fillows4 at 8:55 AM EDT
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Oh, The Places I've Been!
Hope had a big afternoon yesterday. Her aunt and uncle (my sister and brother-in-law) came to town to visit her cousin/my niece. They needed to enlist the help of The Big Truck (aka Gordy) to pick up a new mattress and box spring for cousin Kristin. And FWIW, yes, this 21 year old college-grad does greet Hope (or any of my dogs) by saying “Awww, hello Cousin”.

At any rate, as is the norm in my family, the pick-up/drop off turned into an adventure, so Hope was all over town. By the time I met my family at the Original Mattress Company on the University side of town, my sister had learned that the salesman had rescued a pitbull who he sadly had to re-home, and she had told him all about about Gunny. As I hopped out of the truck, my brother-in-law was waving at me and calling out “He says the dog can come IN THE STORE! Grab the dog!” in an excited voice. My niece and I laughed about how excited her parents were about “hitting the town” with a dog in tow, and how much of a kick they got out of being able to go into establishments with your dog.

After a truck ride across town, we arrived at my niece's apartment in Plaza Midwood. Hope got to meet her Second Cousins, the ferrets. They stayed locked securely in their cage, as Miss Thing has a very high prey drive and the funny, curious little guys wouldn't have stood a chance. Truth be told, at first Hope was pretty freaked out by the ferrets, but she quickly started in with her “nose bumping” of the cage...that can be either her way of trying to get a point across or in this case, her way of trying to get into something to do bad things.

Once the bed was set up, we headed off to grab some dinner. After much discussion and a little driving around, we decided to do the “to go” thing so that Hope could wander freely at home while we ate. She was uncharacteristicly nervous all afternoon, pretty much over-stimulated I'd guess. We decided on The Penguin so my brother-in-law could experience a historical establishment (and fried pickles) and of course at 6:30 on a Saturday, it was jam-packed. Even standing outside reviewing the to-go menu, Hope was very nervous about all the noise and crowds. One of the servers was outside on break and came over to see her. I told him that Hope was having a really rough afternoon, and I was surprised at how nervous she was being, that it wasn't like her at all. He approached her gently, and seemed really sad that she was so scared.

While my sister and niece ordered, my brother-in-law and walked next door to some closed shops and just sat on their porch to give Hope some quiet time. It helped, but she was still on edge. After a few minutes, the same server from The Penguin walked up and asked “Would puppy eat a hamburger?” and handed me a freshly grilled chunk of hamburger meat in a paper to go box. How sweet was that? It took her a minute to start eating, partly because it was HOT of the grill, partly because she was nervous. After I broke it up to cool it off, and gave her a few nibbles by hand, she gobbled it down. I felt so badly that she didn't dive right in...the look on this poor man's face was total worry that even the hamburger wasn't cheering her up. Once he saw her take her first few bite, he gave a satisfied nod, turned on his heel and headed back to work. The thing that makes this even better in my book is that if lots of people saw this guy on a dark street, they'd be worried, maybe even scared...big guy, shaved head, covered in tattoos...but how wrong they'd be. Talk about a parallel between him and the Bullies that people fear. It's not about the packaging people, it's about the inside. Once again, my brother in law got such a kick out of the things that happen when you take your dog out to run your weekend errands.

Back at Kristin's apartment, we put the ferrets in a bedroom and gave Hope some freedom while we ate dinner. I must admit, us sitting on the floor and eating from the coffee table was awfully tempting to her, so I put her out on the balcony. She stared at us intently, doing her best to make us feel bad for her (didn't work) and for the millionth time that day, my brother in law commented on “what a good dog” she is. The timing of this cracked me up, as she was actually being a bad beggar, but he defended her saying “she's not whining or barking or scratching the door...she's being good.” When she went from standing and staring, to sitting and staring, to laying down and staring, he'd gush all over her wonderfulness again. It was pretty hysterical.

After dinner, we went for a walk through some beautiful neighborhoods, encountered lots of walkers and bikers, and a few dogs. Hope was as polite as she could be to her fellow citizens, and even kept it together when dogs in electric fences came charging their property lines with their fur up. She had a good nap on her way home, and boy were her brothers jealous when they got a whiff of all the places she'd been!

Posted by fillows4 at 8:47 AM EDT
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Catching up with Hope
Sorry for the long delay, and please accept my apologies in the form of this general update...

Hope decided to make a Wednesday night more interesting for me 2 weeks ago by ripping open her side in some mysterious manner. A 9pm departure for the ER vet ensued, with a blessedly early (all things considered) return home at midnight. Long story short, the vet decided to leave the gaping wound open, and it was pretty yucky for awhile. Hope was a wonderful patient and allowed me to flush I out daily with a syringe of warm water...just me and her, no leash or collar, She is a wonderful girl. At the 2 week mark, the gash is now a 3/4” long, shallow scrape, and her antibiotics will end any day. On top of that, this summer has been horrible for Hope's allergies, and she has struggled with foot sores and obsessive licking, requiring brief rounds of steroids to keep it under control. I have discovered that she LOVES LOVES LOVES the plain yogurt I give her to make up for the happy-bacteria-killing antibiotics she has been on.

As Gunny works towards his Canine Good Citizen award from the American Kennel Club, Hope has been joining in the evening practice sessions. 5 minutes per dog, most nights, just to keep it manageable. I've discovered that Hope is very much like Oscar....driven, intense, focused...and I bet I could train her to be just as tuned up as her big brother. I just need to find that time. When Oscar was coming up through the ranks, he was the Lone Canine in the house. It's a little harder with three, two of whom are “unfinished”. My goal is to have Hope get her CGC as well...I want all three of my canine kids to have their pretty certificates. One down with ol' Oscar the Genius knocking it out when he was about a year old...only two more to go.

Hope turned 2 years old in August and is an absolute doll. She is the biggest snuggler EVER and cannot stand to be in the bed with any distance between her and me. She may start out at the foot of the bed, but when the alarm goes off, I find myself cling to my side of the bed with Hope curled into the small of my back. Occasionally I awaken facing the center of the bed with her her head tucked up under my chin, or her chin draped across my neck as she snores away. That would be a little less uncomfortable were she not a 60 pound bundle...


Posted by fillows4 at 9:34 PM EDT
Sunday, 15 August 2010
A Mastiff, a Pitbull, and a Spoiled Princess
Hope had a big night over at a buddy's house. She had a playdate with Sully, a 120 pound Bull Mastiff, and his foster brother Chance, a pitbull pulled from less that ideal circumstances. This was Hope's second playdate with the boys, and she felt right at home. She stole all the best toys, bossed the boys around, and generally set the rules for what she was willing to put up with. It was strange seeing Miss Happy Go Lucky making ugly faces, and grumbling at the boys as she set the guidelines. It just illustrated how much of a spoiled baby sister she is in The Magical Pack...she already has our boys “trained” to do her bidding.

Posted by fillows4 at 6:59 PM EDT

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