A quick Maddie update

We got Maddie to a new vet. Maddie started taking the wrong meds in December and the biggest issue is that she put on 7 pounds. Seven pounds is a lot of weight for a 35 pound dog. Her belly was pooching because of the loss of muscle tone and oh my god! She ate all the time. Sometimes she would try to eat so much she would inhale and choke herself. For the first time ever with my dogs I had to regulate their feeding. I’ve never had to do that, I just leave the food bowl out and they eat what they want and don’t over eat.

The vet and the vet tech thought Maddie was the sweetest dog (she is! She is the sweetest dog ever), she was the sweetest shar pei they had ever seen and the vet told me that Maddie was also the oldest shar pei she’d ever met. I sometimes forget that 13 years is pretty old for some dogs. She is active and engaged, generally pain free, no arthritis or anything and no gray fur at all. She pretty much doesn’t look much older than the 4 years old she was when I got her.

So, we sat with the vet and went over Maddie’s history, the issues she has and what it took for us to make her healthy and happy. It doesn’t make sense that 10mg a day of prednisone will keep her this healthy with no (and I mean absolutely NO) side effects. It’s weird, it doesn’t make sense but it works. The previous butt vet gave her prednisolone, it’s the active metabolite of prednisone. Mostly should be the same thing, but it isn’t. Because it’s already metabolized when she gets it, the prednisolone essentially makes MORE prednisone available to her system, she’s not losing any in the act of metabolizing the medicine. Slowly, since December, she’s had these weird symptoms coming up and I couldn’t figure them out. It made sense once we discovered the vet changed meds on us.

Maddie’s treatment does not make sense, it shouldn’t do this. But it works.

They ran a blood work check and again, the new vet was surprised at how crazy healthy Maddie is for being 12 years old. Her cholesterol is slightly elevated but not problematically so and we’re going to watch her gall bladder numbers.

She’s back on her regular meds and we’re starting her on a more senior dog food diet and I am hoping that the side effects from the prednisolone are temporary and will clear up.
I did not know Maddie could look so... doofus-y

and one more time: Rockingham Vet Clinic in Chester Vt… screw you

He broke up with me…

…that bastard!
No, not David! Oddly enough, it was my new vet! I got the letter in the mail today basically saying that since I obviously didn’t trust him I could no longer bring my dogs there. I wasn’t surprised as the last time I talked to him we argued and I hung up on him and promptly found a new vet.
The vet’s office was a circus. It was obvious they had way more customers than they could handle. You had to wait forever just to get checked in and when you tried to check in they couldn’t find your file. It was utter confusion. They were so busy they didn’t even have time to really listen to you. And, no, I didn’t trust them. With one of the vets it was so apparent that she wasn’t even listening to the things I was trying to explain to her. I’m not sure what it was she cared about, but it wasn’t the animals. The other vet changed Maddie’s prescription without telling me and then acted like I was the problem for wanting him to change it back
And then there’s my hat… and Maddie having to stay 2 nights. Maddie has discovered a delicious new world of animal poop here in Vermont. She managed to get ‘food poisoning’ from it a couple months ago. That was our first real encounter with them. It definitely made me suspicious of their trustworthiness then. Maddie was sick, she was blowing yellow bile out her ass with some impressive force. We brought her in and they were too busy to be concerned, they gave me some pills. It bugged me, but Maddie got better and I figured it was probably okay.
Then, a couple weeks ago I walk through the living room and I see blood on the couch. I find Maddie and see that she has fresh blood coming out of her ass. Blood is coming OUT OF HER ASS!! Granted, it was fresh blood and NOT the kind of thing that would indicate a big intestinal problem, but still, her butt… blood… I’m trying to get her in to see the vet and they are crazy busy. They keep insisting that I leave her over night. I explain (again and again) about Maddie’s separation anxiety, the way she will badly injure herself if she is scared and can’t find me. The vet, she was totally not listening, but she insists Maddie is sick enough to be help overnight. So I go and get Maddie settled a bit and I leave my hat there with Maddie so she will have something with my smell on it. I explained this to the vet, I let her know about my hat.
They kept Maddie there 2 fucking days and I find out they just wanted a stool sample and Maddie wasn’t pooping. I went to pick her up from the vet, walked her outside and boom! She made a boom. We collected it and brought it back inside. That’s all they wanted. Maddie’s face was scraped and raw, it looked horrible. The vet mentioned that Maddie was sluggish and slow to move that morning. Maybe… JUST FUCKING MAYBE is has something to do with the fact that her elbows are scraped all to hell and they are so swollen that she has sacks of fluid hanging off them. She’s limping and sore and they didn’t know why.
Then I tried to get my hat back. No one knew what I was talking about. What hat? The hat I told you that I was leaving with my dog. You know, the dog you kept for 2 nights (at $30 a night) just so you could get a shit out of her… that dog, I left a hat with that dog. It made sense, I knew she wasn’t listening to me when I told her I left it with Maddie, but I figured SOMEBODY might have had it in their hands and put it SOMEWHERE. No one could find it and after a few days they casually told me they probably threw it away. Because that’s what you do when you find a hat you don’t know about, you stick it in the trash.
This says to me that they are either so busy that it is easier to throw a hat in the trash than walk 20 feet to the front desk and put it aside in case someone calls looking for it or that they are so indifferent to what is going on that it just makes sense to throw a hat away.
Maybe I was spoiled having Pierce Flemming, International Vet of Mystery as my vet. He was awesome with Maddie, he was awesome with me. The place was really busy but also it was well managed. I could have left my hat there and I would have gotten it back, they’d probably even put a tag on it so that it could be easily identified.
Maddie is almost 13 years old and she is really really healthy and I intend to keep it that way.
Rockingham Vet Clinic in Chester Vt… screw you

So she says to me, she says

Last week Maddie came and sat by me and stared at my ear with laser brain willing me to turn my head. I did turn my head.
“We should have an intervention,” she says.
“An intervention?”
“Yeah, an intervention! You know, we have the little cakes and sometimes talk, an intervention. It would be good.”
“Intervention? With cakes?”
“Yeah, it be great. We’ll have cakes, the little ones.”
It is at this point that I realize that Maddie has no idea what an intervention is. Well, easy enough, I tell her that we will have an intervention with little cakes.
We sat around, somewhat rigidly, and looked at our cakes. No one really knew what to do, the dogs were nervously eying each other. I think Maddie totally forgot that this was her idea, I think she completely forgot the word ‘intervention’ with whatever meaning makes the most sense to her. I took a few half-assed pictures and then we sort of grimly dug in.
I made the regrettable decision to find a cake recipe good for dogs and people. Found a recipe, sounded good, it had peanut butter and honey! Those are flavors, flavors put in the cake. But it’s like the cake knows it’s being made for a dog and dies all over on the inside. I don’t know how they did it, but it had no discernible flavor whatsoever and it wasn’t just dry, it was desiccating, it resisted all attempts at being swallowed. My mouth became a cakey black hole. I’m discovering this as Chester and Maddie break into their cakes. Realizing that the cakes were too dry and chewy for good eating, David tried to grab Maddie’s cake so he could cut it up for her because she would try to swallow the thing whole. She swallowed it whole. She ate the entire little cake. I had visions of intestinal blockage so bad her legs would be sucked up into her asshole. It was the size of a muffin and she swallowed it whole.
Chester snatched his cake and fled, he takes no chances, luckily he chewed his (unlike the time he dropped a MOUND of unchewed peanuts from his ass onto the ground. Apparently he doesn’t chew peanuts). I was able to eat 2 bites, I think David managed a little more. There are 3 left. Seriously, just let your dog eat real cake at their intervention.
The intervention begins
Chester eats a little cake
Maddie has her intervention.

How’s tricks

Maddie, she is 12 years old. She qualifies as an old dog. Does this mean she cannot learn new tricks?? Actually, age has nothing to do with it, she’s almost entirely resistant to most training. She’s not at all food motivated and if you try to train her with treats she flips out and shuts down and won’t pay one bit of attention to you. Luckily, we can get her to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and ‘leave it’ (‘leave it’ is very important when you are walking your dogs and you come upon a pile of 6 or 8 dead mice collected at the mailbox of a house where you assume some sort of fucked up Hannibal Lecter cat resides.). She doesn’t do tricks, she can’t sit up or beg, rollover or play dead. But still, I managed a not-quite-miracle.
The kitchen lies between the living room and bedroom and the kitchen is covered in an expanse of too-smooth laminate flooring.
You know when they try to dumb down quantum dillwhackery and they show you a ball and they drop the ball and then they show you all 11,000,031 possible options for that ball and the ball is just springing all over the place and now 11,000,030 new universes have been created because of that ball. That’s what Maddie’s legs look like when she crosses the kitchen floor. 44,000,124 legs flailing about around her hippohead. It doesn’t help that her vision is poor and getting worse.
Sometimes it’s funny to watch her flail about but mostly I have to consider that we have downstairs neighbors who have real jobs and regular schedules. Our schedule is more… fluid (or irresponsible, depending on who’s looking) and I think the downstairs neighbor does not need to listen to the birth of millions of universes at 3am. David would sometimes carry her across but that’s not really a solution.
I tried walking across the floor with her. I wasn’t sure it would work, but we tried it. We would get ready and then start walking across the floor and she actually was able to figure out what I was trying to teach her. I got her to walk with me and I talked to her, giving her encouragement all the way across the floor. When we got to the other side it was all crazy praise and hugs and treats and excitement! HOORAY!! She did it! She got all the way across the floor!! At first she would get about 3/4 of the way across before slipping and panicking, but that was okay, she still got all the huge praise and hugs. And we did it every single time, every trip ended with major excitement and celebration. When she reached the other side she would whip around, piggo going a million miles an hour and puff snuzzle joy all over her face.
Then she got even better. Not just not slipping on the floor but also catching herself when she started to slip. She would even go faster than me so she could reach the other side and turn around and get even more awesome hugs because she did it by herself. Sometimes when I am working in the kitchen she will walk by, usually living room to bedroom and then stand in the doorway and wait for me to notice and give her the 1,000,000 hugs she totally deserves. And, still, even now, she gets the same super excitement praise, partially because she did a good job and mostly because celebrating with Maddie is just so damned fun.
This might all make it seem like Maddie is some intellectual lightweight, but that is not true, she has a very keen scientific mind. She says that the Planck length is the only unit of length measurement that is necessarily wider than it is long. She posits that it is a good thing that photons don’t have mass. If they did then the entire universe would be filled with butterscotch pudding (and she insists that I make it clear that ‘butterscotch pudding’ is just a visual metaphor for what it would be like for photons to have mass. If you opened your mouth and let the light in you would only taste the light which sort of tastes like dust and orange peels). She notes that life would be completely different because you’d be able to suck the light into yourself when you inhaled and that would make breathing difficult.
She also opines that Zeno’s paradox of Achilles and The Tortoise, along with the finite measurement of the Planck length, are proof that infinity can’t exist except in people’s head. Nothing scales forever and eventually you have to cross the finish line. She and Chester argue a lot about this one, but mostly the logic on both sides is pretty circular.
Maddie’s a good dog with a mind much deeper than you would expect. Right now she is trying to remind me that there is life beyond the front door and I should be prepared and protect myself from it. She is also trying to tell that extra-apartmental life to stay away from our tiny, boxy universe.

Pocket Djomm

I want to program a key stroke that will insert the text:

Holy crap! It’s been a long time! Sorry, I’ve been doing…

Because, seriously, it’s stupid for me to keep typing that. Also, it is stupider to think it matters that I acknowledge my lameness.
We sat a farm. Actually, we did farmsitting but my ability to construct this concept into a grammatically acceptable sentence eludes me. We did the sitting of a farm.
Kristin went out of town for the weekend and we were charged with keeping 7 sheep, 6 goats, 2 cows, a llama, a farm dog and 2 cats alive and healthy and we met with success!
It was easier than I expected it to be. I read a LOT of Jame Harriot as a kid and everything I know about farms and livestock comes from that. What I know for sure is that if the weather gets really bad forces will conspire against you so that you have no choice but to be elbow deep in a sheep’s vagina at 2am. I’ve been learning a lot lately and I think the single most important lesson I have learned so far is: insert arm slowly and carefully to avoid rupturing the vagina.
I might get that tattooed on my arm so that I never forget.
Susie
Over the course of that weekend we ate pork shoulder, pork cops, bacon and sausage from the pig that so graciously gave his life so that we might get fat on it. It was pretty damned delicious (except I overcooked the pork chops).
Pork chops from the pig we helped slaughter
Chester and the cats did NOT get along. I’m not surprised about this, he doesn’t get along with most animals. BUT! Introduce a common enemy and BOOM!! He and the cats are a horribly coordinated and pretty useless team! A little red squirrel had managed to find a way into the house and would come out on regular foraging trips. The cats are still pretty young and the squirrel was too big for them to handle, they knew that. OH! But that squirrel wasn’t too big for Chester! Perfect size for Chester and with the cats and Chester on the case you’d think something would have been accomplished. You’d think that. Mostly, it was a slapstick comedy routine best suited for Perfect Strangers.
Flanagan, the resident leviathan of a dog did not care one bit about any of it and couldn’t even be bothered to lift his head or turn his ears during the chaos.
Flanagan and Maddie share a couch
The house was heated on a wood stove and mostly we had it running well, not wasting wood or anything. I will tell you, however, that by the time morning comes around and the stove has burned down, the chill of the tile floor in the bathroom is so cold your pee will force its way up into your lungs and you will die of hypothermia and pee drowning. So cold, so very very cold.
David did most of the hard work, hauling water from the house to the barn (the well pump thingy was frozen), fighting off the belligerent be-testicled sheep, busting ice out of water troughs and generally being very good at the things that needed to be done. I spent my time making oatmeal, slipping and falling on the ice, drinking beer and hugging the livestock.
Lorelei loves hugs
This was a real confidence booster for me. It’s different from anything I’ve done before but mostly it makes sense to me and with guidance I know it is a thing we can do. And I couldn’t be happier to do it with anyone but David.
He's the rugged, outdoorsy type
More pics here.