caring for a dog with degenerative Myelopathy Sky is my 10yo Australian Shepherd who was diagnosed with a degenerative condition referred to as Degenerative Myelopathy – this is essentially. I have learned to adapt to her situation. Initially it involved me building larger steps so she could manage getting up stairs on her own, harnesses, wheelchairs etc … I’ll try and document some of the stuff I have done to adapt in this website so as to help others who might be going through similar situations. Sky has taught me that we are all adaptable. I have learned so much from Sky and her amazing attitude. She is patient, loving and just a joy to be around and I am so grateful to have her as a part of my life. In spite of the way the disease has tried to take away her abilities she remains able to control her bladder just fine. I have also learned to listen to her and really be in tune with her. I generally am able to anticipate what she needs based on time and attitude. This is hard to explain but we have become very in tune with one another over the years and even more especially now.
I haven’t written in my blog for quite some time but I think it is time to talk about the recent journeys involving Sky but to do that I need to document a bit of her past! I adopted Sky from the Milo foundation in December of 2009 as a companion to my beloved Boeing who was about 14 years old at the time. Sky was the perfect addition to our home! She was timid so not an ‘alpha dog’. Sky was only a year old when I adopted her but had been through a lot before coming into our home. She was a puppy mill dog and had already had a litter of puppies. Sky was shy beyond belief but Boeing seemed to welcome her and Sky seemed to appreciate Boeing’s mentor-ship. Our cat Milo (no relation to the rescue place Sky came from) adapted to Sky as well! Boeing unfortunately sustained a serious injury about 6 months after Sky came into our life and I wound up buying a cart to transport Boeing in and Sky though really just a puppy do to her age was just a super support to Boeing and I as we journeyed through Boeing’s old age and eventual transition onward.
I work nights at the Oakland airport where the year round average temperature is about 65 degrees F (18 C). There is always a breeze blowing and basically the weather is the primary reason I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I drive a small toyota truck with an extended cab and nice camper shell on the back. I have 2 wonderful dogs that go with me almost everywhere. They only accompany me when the weather is conducive. Having lived in Texas for about 12 years I am well aware of the dangers of a hot vehicle and as far as I am concerned any vehicle parked in the sun when the outside temperature is above about 65 deg is too hot for my dogs. I work graveyard shift, the overnight shift, so I can have my dogs accompany me to work and hang out in the back of my truck while I work. I have a 10 hour shift and with 2 hours for driving….if I left them home they would be home alone wondering where I am for 12 hours and no way to go outside or eat etc … In my current situation they have a huge bed in the back of my truck, 3 water bowls, they get to go outside at least once a night usually at least 2 or 3 times and they get to stop at dog parks on the way to and from work. There has been one night that I deemed to be too hot to take them (last night) – not because of the outside temperature but rather the accumulated temperature of my vehicle over the day seemed to me that it would take too long to cool down so I did not want to have them in the...
There is so much we can all learn from one another and especially from ‘man’s best friend, the dog!. The other day as I accompanied my pups on a walk at the beach I once again noted especially in Zulu, his innate desire to meet and greet. As a puppy he thought he was tough and larger than he was and wound up getting out run and out smarted. As an adult 4 year old dog he has learned the art of chivalry and perception. He runs with joy to meet new dogs or people and seems to know when that joy might not be reciprocated. He seems to know those humans who may not want to pet a dog and likewise those dogs who don’t want to partake in the sniff and greets. On those times when his perceptions incline him, it is really incredible to see the interactions. Zulu and his new found friend of the moment run up to one another and kind of crouch down nose to nose, both tails wagging. The pose can be held for seconds until they determine if a playful chase is in order. In quick order a friendship is made with playful interactions. In like manner I notice us humans. The humans with dogs seem to instinctively follow their dogs’ well-taught manners. There is something about having a dog with you that encourages you to interact with other dog owners. It’s rare that two dog owners can do less than at least say hello to one another as they pass. Even people without dogs will greet you when you have a dog with you. There are those who prefer to not interact in anyway but for the most part dogs are a great example for us all. Dog owners always seem to find something in common...
Before I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, I had never heard of a foxtail! In the bay area though, if you are a dog owner, especially when there is no rain …. well you’d better know what a foxtail is and be on the lookout for them every time you take your dog outside. Foxtails are most dangerous when they are dry. This is when they fall off are become easily dislodged from the grass they grow on. They are barb shaped and when a dog is a around them they seem easy magnets for capturing a foxtail in their coat and then this barb shaped little spikelet starts working it’s way into the dog’s fur and frequently into the skin. They travel one way! Deeper into the skin. So why would I mention the insidious foxtail in my blog? Well -you guessed it if you’ve been reading my blog at all. One of my dogs, my Australian Shepherd, Sky started showing the symptoms of a foxtail in her ear. She had been scratching her ear for a few days and I would look at it and see nothing and she wasn’t scratching all the time – just randomly. Two days ago whilst I was visiting a friends place she started scratching and then cried out in agony. The three of us got her to calm down and put the other dogs out as we worked to try and find the source of her discomfort. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary really though we saw a small scratch in her ear. We looked for a foxtail but saw nothing and I thought well maybe in the course of her scratching herself she hurt herself and so was crying for that reason. I kept an eye on her for...
A love of sunsets, my pups & my marina home is the essential subject of this video slideshow. The first dog silhouette is of Boeing, my Australian Shepherd who passed away a few years ago. An array of marina photos and sunsets follows. The one bridge pictured within is the Richmond San Rafael bridge with Mt Tamalpais in the background. The bridge is not visible from the harbour but a great sunset just the same. The last two dog-sunset-sihouettes are of my current family members, Zulu (a 4yo catahoula) and then Sky (a 6yo Australian shepherd). The slideshow ends with a couple of stunning moonrises! The background music is “Oh! Mio Babbino Caro” sung by Gianni Schicchi. I’m not really an opera music listener but this piece of music inspired me to get the photos together and there is always the option to turn your sound off if the music doesn’t suit you. Overall the slideshow is for me to remember special moments and images from the last several months and if they suit your taste you will enjoy as well.
Click here to read part 1 I’ve been practicing walking lately as part of my recovery plan. A local beach, Crissy Field, has proved very therapeutic for both myself and the pups. I can’t tolerate walking with shoes on the beach. Much more painful. Walking barefoot though is just about the right amount balance training (yes you do use balance muscles when you walk barefoot on the sand) for my foot retraining. A day at Pt. Isabel last week (another large outdoor dogpark) reminded me of the absolute need to watch where you walk! Gopher holes everywhere as it turns out tweaked my ankle a bit in the walk but again making me stronger though cautious. It did not put me back on crutches just made me realise I can’t rush the walking by overdoing it especially when it comes to uneven ground. One day at a time seems the best foot forward! Every experience we are faced with does help us grow and become better people. I do believe that this is at least the opportunity given us when faced with those challenges that want to drag us down and incapacitate. My next post will be about some of the lessons learned … (Assignment from Writing101) –Part 2 Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it. Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.
Today Zulu met up with his good buddy that he practically grew up with !! Zulu and Watson are about the same age and love to romp and wrestle with one another. They are about the same weight and size and well matched in dispositions. A few passes at the ball gave Zulu some running and jumping… After their fun playtime together Zulu & Sky and I went on to Crissy Field – a great beach with a surf that is virtually always gentle. They didn’t run and chase as much as usual but they still got in some good sand digging and bird chasing!
My treasured pups are the treasures of choice of course for the assignment today Day 16:Treasure What’s your treasure? Perhaps you found a coat at the thrift store like the one your grandfather wore, or took a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Himalaya. Maybe you treasure your children, or your cat, or a quiet space in the woods. Show us an image that represents a treasure to you. Tip: Get close to your subject — either use the zoom function in your camera, if it has one, or physically move closer to it.