Why did I pick NOW to become a blogger?

A few days ago I was given a diagnosis that rocked my world. I'm a 10-year old Corgi living in Portland, Oregon. I am reasonably healthy, except for that abdominal surgery I had last summer. Ok - I don't know WHY I ate that piece of wire but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

In the middle of March, I was told by the folks at the Veterinary Cancer Referral Service that I have K9 lymphoma. I was gobsmacked! My mom immediately tried to find out everything she could and, while there were many sad stories, there really wasn't much else to go on. There are "support groups" but my mom's not much of a joiner when it comes to those things.

What we decided to do was chronicle this journey so that others can follow along. Those who have their own dogs fighting cancer - lymphoma and other forms. Those lucky enough to have a Corgi. Those just SO abysmally bored they have no better way to waste their time.

So we'll see how this works. Be well - The Barney Dog

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

GODSPEED, BARNEY DOG. FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS, BRO.

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  Fred here. I guess you could call me a guest blogger or dogger. I am Barney’s younger, more athletic, better-looking brother. I know he’d want me to fill folks in so here we go-

  The Barney Dog has left the building in a most universal and spiritual way. He fought the good fight against that dastardly lymphoma stuff for over two years as we, his canine and avian siblings, watched helplessly. He liked to say he was living WITH lymphoma; not dying FROM lymphoma. He would have been 12 years old on May 25th.  I worked with my Mom and pulled some pictures together if anyone wants to see them. 
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  Barney was feeling rather feisty over the last week. His lymph nodes had swollen up a bit TWO weeks ago and he was put on what the doctor was a “rescue” protocol drug. It was something called asparaginase akaElsparAt that appointment, they discovered this really nasty “mass” on his left hind leg. It was virtually undetectable, concealed by the bunny butt fur that we Corgi’s have. It was also above the lymph node area that had been CONSTANTLY checked over the past two years. But after the area was shaved, it was nasty. About the size of a large Oreo cookie, it was hard and infected. It looked to be sweating blood from time to time. Tests were done but they were “equivocal.” In other words: “What the hell IS that?” 
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  They put him on clavamox/amoxicillin which destroyed his appetite.    My Mom started thinking he was a gonner. She cried a LOT…started preparing for “THE END.”
The Elspar was REALLY expensive at $300.00 and really didn't seem to do much. So, next they tried something called lomustine aka CCNU.  
  Within days, his nodes were almost back to normal and after a few more days, the nasty mass on his ass (excuse the pun) was also gone. We were all prancing around like there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, that turned out to be true. The bad side effects of the lomustine hit 8 to 10 days after you take the pill. They hit my brother at 7 days. 
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  We had a rough night and in the morning, he couldn't stand up. It was really confusing for all of us because he was prancing and playing and running just 12 hours earlier! This is one of those times I’m sure my Mom is happy she doesn't have Neopolitan Mastiffs because she wrapped Barney in a towel and carried him outside. I guess she thought if she got him out in the sun and he saw us running around, it would come back to him. It didn't work. My Dad came home from working out and we knew something was up because they didn’t even feed us breakfast. They ran out the door and headed to the doctor.
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 I heard my Mom telling someone over the phone that she just knew it was time. She said “No more sticking him with needles or pumping chemicals into him. No more pills. No more prodding and groping him…” She said he got one last shower of sunshine in his face when she carried him into the office and he squinted and smiled.
 They said his white cell count “tanked.” He also had a fever they couldn't get under control. And then they couldn’t get his blood pressure up and that was going to hit his kidneys soon. With the help of the doctor, my Mom and my Dad held him until he went to sleep and then his huge heart stopped.
 We miss him, though. We all keep expecting to see him in his usual hiding places…in her office…in her closet. My Mom has been remembering funny stories and she cries from time to time. She said there was one time she had Barney in the Porsche 911. He LOVED car rides. When she drove around with the top down, he would hop on to the floor and as soon as she came to a stop sign, he would hop up onto the seat, prop his feet up on the armrest and look around. Inspector Corgi. This one time, a cranky man came up next to them in his own Porsche and he scoffed “That dog is going to RUIN the leather.” And my Mom said “It’s a fu**ing car!” Barney said he was pretty stunned she yelled at the guy but when she pulled away, she was laughing, he hopped back on to the floor and waited for the next light.
 Life goes on that way. I think we’re all just waiting for the next light so that he can pop his head up again. Maybe by then. we’ll all be able to.
Keep Calm and Corgi On!! 
          The Freddy Dog

Thursday, May 2, 2013

THE REPORTS OF MY DEATH HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED...AT LEAST FOR NOW

I know it doesn't LOOK comfortable...
  SO here I am settling in at our new home state despite its muggy, buggy nature. Mum keeps worrying herself about alligators. We get regular visits from someone she calls "the bug lady." The grass here still leaves much to be desired and I have heard neighborhood rumors about ticks and fleas, neither of which appeal to me. I HAVE taken to sleeping with my head wedged under an antique lacquered Chinese cabinet and my Mum finds this disturbing. I find it soothing. Sort of like an ostrich burying its head in the sand when it is afraid which is not entirely true. An ostrich WILL dig a deep hole in which to lay its eggs but they run like the dickens when afraid. But I digress. 

Just a touch of color
   Things were smoothly running along in remission again, all was good and I get t-boned by something completely unexpected. I celebrated my 2-year anniversary of living with lymphoma on March 13th. It's admittedly been a rough and tumble two years and I must admit I was feeling a bit cock sure. “Record-setting run,” the vet said. “Healthy as an ox,” my dad boasted. A 12-year-old Corgi living 2 years with lymphoma! Stupendous! Call Guinness. And Letterman! People were accusing me of being Dorian Gray and I, not-too-humbly, was soaking it all in, basking in the glory. Well, I am sorry to tell you the glory was short-lived. 

Black interior? Really?
   Currently, I have outlasted not one but two board certified canine oncologists here. No. They haven't expired. We moved away from one and one moved away from us. When last I wrote, we were making the weekly then biweekly trek to Winter Haven, Florida, to see Dr. Miller. It was usually a three-hour round trip and in the new car, it wasn’t bad. (We finally replaced Nigel, the incorrigible Range Rover we abandoned in Cheyenne, WY, last September.) Often it was a much longer drive than that due to the fact that no one apparently knows how to drive in Florida. I've often posited that this is largely due to the number of out-of-state drivers on the roads in Florida which is more like every driver. This unpredictably long round trip was quite the departure from our 10-minute roll down the hill to Dr. Freeman at Dove Lewis when we lived in Portland. Dr. Freeman was really quite wonderful. She used to sit on the floor with me.  And then there was Jim. Jim always had the best treats.

  My Mum and I didn't really didn't mind the trip south to Winter Haven, though. I love car rides and these were exceptionally special since it was only the two of us.  Mum got to visit her dear friends, Aunt Norma and Uncle Bill, while I had toxic chemicals pumped into my veins. Mum is actually working to assist Aunt Norma with her extraordinary textile collection. Technically, "textile" is a misnomer. Aunt Norma collects EVERYTHING and she shares it with EVERYONE! Kimono, headdresses, quilts, saris, hanbok, kanga, purses, jewelry, Limoges, dolls, books, furniture... You name it and Aunt Norma probably has one. Probably two. Just setting paw into her studio is a spine tingling honor. The smells are undetectable to the human olfactory organ but to me, they are intoxicating. Hundreds of years of stories waiting to be unwrapped and told anew. Who do you think actually WORE that WWII Japanese uniform or that antique Chinese robe? And that mystical Zulu headdress adorned with all those beads and feathers and bones! Was it for an actual battle or merely a ceremonial dance? I could almost HEAR the laughter of children and the thunder and the battle cries and the animals and the music all bubbling up from the centuries, echoing from corner to corner, room to room, calling out to me. I was bathed in that ethereal glow of past-life memories that never ceases to perfect the past.


 But I digress. Mum and Aunt Norma and Uncle Bill would luxuriate in a world of beauties and then have lunch. At the end of the day (and I mean that literally, not in that hackneyed, buzz phrase way), Mum would pick me up, shaved, prodded, poked and medicated, and we would head back north. There was always at least one vehicle accident because, as I said, no one in this state knows how to drive. Such carelessness resulted in extra hours upon hours on Interstate 4.
  
  Last week, my left hind leg started itching on the way to see my new vet, Dr. Lurie, who, thankfully, is only 30 minutes away. There had been something slightly annoying back there but since I can’t see it, we all ignored it. After all, my Mum, gropes EVERY lymph node EVERY MORNING. I’m frankly astonished she hadn’t noticed it but it wasn’t anywhere NEAR a node. The ride in the car, however, allowed me to prop my butt up against the brand new leather seat back and curl around in such a way as to allow me to FINALLY scratch it! Well, that certainly didn't work out the way I’d expected. Dr. Lurie identified a “mass” and shaved my bunny butt fur right off. Mum was horrified. I was embarrassed. Dr. Lurie was concerned. It is a large (well - large if it's on your butt), hard, circular disk-like mass. And it was bleeding from the center. While it WAS my week off from chemo, I wound up on a broad spectrum anti-biotic and pain medication. The antibiotics wreaked havoc with my digestive system and the pain meds just knocked me out. And that was just the beginning. 


  Five days later, test results came back and my nodes are misbehaving everywhere. I am now on something called asparaginase aka elspar. They are also giving me some sort of anti-inflammatory for whatever it is that is growing on my back leg. (Trust me. Unless you are in the medical field, you don't want to see it and even then, it may burn your retinas out.) Mum TRIES to keep the cone of shame on me. I act so sad and downtrodden, it usually lasts only a few minutes. She had to trim the one we had because it was much too big for these short yet stout Corgi legs. The trimmed edge was a bit rough so she stitched a piece of 200-year-old kimono silk around it. Her Japanese superstitions dictate that the spirit of the young girl who wore the kimono during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) will keep me strong. While I am NOT superstitious, I’m hoping she’s got something there. If nothing else, it was definitely a fashionable step UP from the normal cone. Aunt Norma said it was no longer the “cone of shame.” She calls it the “cone of elegance and strength."

Just a LITTLE wet
  Prior to all this nastiness, everything was almost approaching acceptable! We spend our days out by the pool. I have the perfect perch under a sprawling palm tree and Tomo and Yuki stay close and annoy Mum while she tries to read. Neighbors occasionally stop by to gossip. They bring treats so I have no objection. I DID manage to fall into the pool one day and after my dad fished me out, I promptly ran into the house and shook all the water off while standing in the center of the hand-knotted, wool Persian rug. I could have settled on the much less expensive machine-knotted rug but when shaking and leaving your mark, why not aim for the best, I always say!   

Has Hefner called?
  We had an uneventful Easter. No chocolate or eggs here however Fred couldn’t help but get dressed up in bunny ears to match his bunny butt. I’ve warned you about Fred’s penchant for cross dressing and dressing up. The only egg around was the one Douglas Macaw-thur came from. Mum has Douggie's empty egg shell encased in stained glass with her hatch day etched on the top. By the way, Douggie would be irate if I didn't mention the fact that she was written up in the neighborhood newsletter. They used the above photo and no one can believe she actually hatched out of something that small! Being the star pet of the neighborhood hasn't really gone to her head. She's a rather grounded old bird.

Agility training speed bumps
  For the time being I am resting comfortably, waiting for the elspar to kick in. I sit on my Mum’s feet under her desk and the three amigos block the way out of her office like a canine obstacle course. We’re all hoping this new drug gobsmacks those nasty cancer cells back into remission in time for my 12th birthday on May 25th. If not, I call on you to celebrate my birthday without me. Nothing austere or maudlin or melancholy for me. I want raucous! I want outlandish! I want worthy of a call for bail money! Knowing you for the party animals you ARE, I’m sure that won’t be a difficult task. My Mum and Dad may be a bit gloomy for a while but no one said this was going to be easy. Dad keeps saying the bad news is that dog’s don't live long enough. The good news is that human beings get to know many of us over the course of their lifetime and since we provide unconditional love, what more could you ask. Mum’s good friend, Ed Gero, who recently bid adieu to his gallant friend Puck, put it well: "The price of companionship is a loving act at the end." Well, Ed IS an award-winning, wildly acclaimed, immensely talented Shakespearean actor. What did you expect? "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped." (Bonus points awarded if you know who said that. No google cheaters, please.) 

Til next time - Keep Calm and Corgi On!


The Barney Dog




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

THEY CALL THIS “WINTER?” SERIOUSLY?




There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed… We are now in the third happy household of my lifetime. Things are still a little unsettled. My mum keeps saying: “There is NO storage space!” but she doesn’t seem to realize she can discard all those heavy cold-weather coats since we apparently won’t be needing them here.  Only one room that needed it has been repainted. What little carpet there is leaves much to be desired. The game room, with a pool table, still needs work and the pool, in a different “room”, finally stopped leaking. The garage remains untamed territory. But we DO have patio furniture.  I DO have to stand guard poolside. There is something lurking at the bottom of the pool. It appears to be a snake of some sort with a blue and white head. It trolls around the bottom of the pool and gets threateningly close to the edges. Should this pool snake monster take leave of its watery realm and decide to attack, I will be the ready to protect hearth and home. And patio furniture.      
Yuki meditating
  It is rather appealing to sit on the patio while mum reads (she has become a voracious reader) and dad bothers her out there. Fred and I usually climb on her chair first, leaving Tomo and Yuki to fend for themselves. Tomo has never really been one to climb on furniture, though she DOES love her leather ottoman. Yuki tried to act serene, as if she’s meditating. I believe she’s just sleeping and has forgotten to lower her head. Douggie surely believes she’s in heaven on the patio though she sometimes looks longingly up at the herons and cranes flying overhead. Never at the ducks. She views them with contempt. 
Yes. I'm in the closet.
  My new favorite place to hide from the noisy masses is my mum’s closet. It is a rather large affair so I don’t know why she laments a lack of storage space. I can curl up and be left completely alone for hours at a time. Bliss! I was lounging in front of the fireplace, nice and warm, but they’ve only lit a fire in the fireplace once. Doesn’t really get cold enough for that here but it IS a wood-burning fireplace so it smells right.
  The holidays came and went with no fanfare.  While mum and dad went to visit dad’s brother for Turkey Day, we had a new dog sitter to train. Her name is Heather. She should work out just fine. She seems like a quick learner and she gives us treats. She knows that I am, by far, the cream of the crop in the household and she tolerates Douggie. I know my mum is always concerned about finding the rogue swollen lymph node but Heather seems to grope me just fine. I really have no intention to let those cancer cells start to take hold again so I'll just have to remain vigilant. And take my vitamins.
Dad sleeping in the hallway
There was a bit of excitement as my mum was getting ready to attend a holiday dinner in December. Tomo apparently decided that she didn’t want to move anymore.  She settled in on the bathroom floor in front of a cabinet and refused to move. After about thirty minutes, my mum realized this acute lack of mobility was not entirely voluntary. Tomo is 14 years old and from time to time is a bit stiff (but aren’t we all at that age?). When neither mum nor dad could get her to stand up, we all started to worry. Mum, ever the overly dramatic one, KNEW it was a stroke or a brain tumor or an aneurysm. Oh! The horror! Dad slept on the floor with her to make sure she knew she wasn’t alone and pretty soon, it turned into a slumber party for us all in the hallway.  It was none of the above. It WAS geriatric vestibular syndrome. We were busy making funeral arrangements and the next day, Tomo was fine. A bit wobbly but none the worse for wear.  My mum said a gentleman named Ed Gero had a handsome lad named Puck who had suffered from the same syndrome in his old age. It HAPPENS in older dogs so be on the lookout.
My new friend Lucy!
  In the “good news” category: I am still in remission and feeling fabulous. I did manage to meet a sturdy young gal named Lucy who is also undergoing chemo for lymphoma.  We met a few days before her mum’s wedding. She was supposed to be a bridesmaid but felt rather poorly that day (some nasty gastronomic disturbance) so she opted to sleep through the festivities. I was really looking forward to seeing her in all her fashionable glory but we’ll have to wait for another opportunity. Her appearance in her gown may not have been as keenly anticipated as the one at the Inauguration but I’m sure she would have looked as stunning…in a canine sort of way. 
Mum's Annoying Jewish Friend, Bob Rosenberg
  I have another checkup in 2 weeks and I am expecting positive results once again. Unfortunately, my mum’s good friend (whom she addressed – to his face - as “My Annoying Jewish Friend”) lost his long battle with a never ending litany of cancers.  I had the pleasure spending time with Mr. Rosenberg while domiciled in Snottsdale, Arizona. He seemed a lovely though gregarious chap. He knew more than you about everything and never hesitated to let you know this. He would always remember my chemo appointments and call afterwards to see how I was feeling. Those kinds of friends are hard to come by and even harder to lose. God speed, Mr. Rosenberg. Fair winds and following seas.

Black bear or hairy rugby player?
  I continue to have issues with the Florida excuse for grass. It’s not up to snuff as far as we are concerned. It's also wearing rather thin in the areas where we tend to romp. And the wildlife in our own backyard is getting increasingly interesting. A loud, curious badelynge of ducks now shows up regularly and they don't seem to know that we could send them all to an early grave. What brazen fowl they are! I don’t understand why my dad wouldn’t let me out to play with a rather large hairy creature the other day. He seemed friendly enough. We just didn’t know how hungry he was so dad saw fit to keep us contained within the fenced area. Maybe next time. 
  As always - Keep Calm and Corgi On! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NEW DAY, NEW DOMICILE, NEW DOCTOR, NEW DRAMA


  This file was originally labeled “September blog.” What is it they say about the road to hell? It’s been months since I last blogged and do I have tales to tell!


  In early September of 2012, we spent 4 LONG days in a motorcar to be transported to some sort of alternate universe.  Oregon was very rainy much of the year, not unlike much of the UK.  Despite our proximity to downtown Portland, our homestead included rolling hills (ok – ONE rolling hill), an abundance of trees, vast acreage (ok – perhaps closer to 2 acres) and a variety of wildlife. Our enjoyable surroundings allowed us to frolic in what was an almost bucolic setting. That mountain lion scare last summer was a bit unnerving, especially since our Aunt Heidi was house sitting and slept out on the back deck with us the night before the reported sightings but I digress.

For Queen & country
Fred claims the hot tub
  Here, I now have 2 types of water in my very own backyard. There is crystal clear, clean water in a very large bowl (big enough to swim in and it even has a waterfall) and another murkier large puddle further down the hill with different sorts of animals swimming in it. I discovered this body of water had not been claimed or named so I very quickly claimed it for Queen and country and named it “Lake Barney.” Fred, of course, took umbrage at this and claimed the smaller, circular body of clean water and named it (after his expected spelling challenge) after himself as well. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

NOT my fault
  Toward the beginning of the summer, after very little discussion and with absolutely no input from any of the four-legged or feathered members of this happy family, it was decided that we relocate to a place called Florida. Our home for the past seven years was sold, admittedly at a very good price, and the long, arduous process of moving one’s homestead began. Some tears were shed as we all recalled holidays and celebrations with so many friends, birthdays and quite moments in front of the fireplace. Belongings were carefully packed away as my mom kept muttering to herself, “no state income tax…no state income tax…” Unfortunately, we all discovered much too late that Fred had been having a clandestine, under-the-bed relationship with many a missing Sharpie. 
 
  For reasons that still remain a mystery, it was decided that all four canines would drive cross-country in the Range Rover dubbed Sir Nigel. Douglas Macaw-thur, the only member of our family born with the ability TO fly, would get there by plane. Go figure! My dreams of stopping in Aspen for a quick hike and seeing the world’s largest ball of twine in Darwin, Minnesota, were dashed when dad announced we would be making the trip in four days. It was a rather ambitious goal but 3,068 miles seemed more than doable to dad. He's very good at goal-setting and is purely data driven. And up until the moment my mom was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot, all seemed on schedule. 
 
  At the outset of our adventure, my mom drugged my siblings with benadryl and or my old acepromazine pills to make them fall asleep on the first day of our cross-country trek. She might have actually taken something stronger herself. I'm not sure. It was uneventful save for Nigel’s cooling system that kept reporting its concerns via the dashboard console. (We dumped the “Sir” as it was deemed an undeserved title at this point.) “A minor issue,” our dad assured one and all as we tucked in for the night at the lovely yet affordable La Quinta Inn in the garden spot of Layton, Utah. 

Mountainous Utah
  On the second day, we abandoned the Nigel in a place called Cheyenne, WY, at the airport because he kept misbehaving. Nigel’s cooling system had deteriorated to the point where we were forced to stop every 200 miles and dump two gallons of water in. This didn’t necessarily sound life threatening until my mom announced the coolant reservoir only held four gallons. We then found ourselves in a luxurious rental SUV for the remainder of the trip. Throughout the day, we all marveled at the huge open spaces. The miles and miles of nothing but the occasional fence, a rumbling train, and gas stations with an array delectable gourmet offerings including boiled peanuts and Slim Jims. 
 
We COULD have moved here
 My mom later confessed to me that, due to the obsessive almost maniacal drive to stick to the schedule, she had often thought, whilst looking out at the tens of thousands of acres of land, what if? What if she just hit dad over the head with a blunt object and dragged his body just out beyond the range where passing vehicles would see it? Perhaps the majestic hawks and eagles soaring in lazy circles overhead would destroy any possibility of ID’ing the carrion and she would never be blamed…but I digress. 

  The third day, my dad thought it was a good idea to order sushi from a Chinese restaurant in Nashville as we checked in for a miserably rainy night at yet another La Quinta. (A word to the wise: if you find that you are forced to stay at a La Quinta in Nashville, DO NOT pick the one close to the airport. Descriptives such as “a pit,” “a dump,” “a hellhole” were all thrown about interchangeably. You can see from the looks on our faces, we were all a tad road weary. I personally have no complaints. Yuki and I got to sleep on mom’s bed. I believe Tomo and Fred were still under the influence of controlled substances.) Fortunately for one and all of us, the sushi from a land locked state was not an issue.
     
 And the last day, we arrived at the strange, new world. Four days, 3,068 miles. My mom said it reminded her of a movie she once saw.  
 

Quite dashing, I'd say
  I have met my new oncologist, Dr. Kari Miller. She’s tall and thin. One might say statuesque. Sometimes, my mom mentions wanting to tie her down and force feed her. Dr. Miller is at the Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven. It is a bit of a drive to get there; almost ninety minutes if traffic cooperates. The good thing, however, is that good friends of my mom’s LIVE there! Uncle Bill and Aunt Norma. Aunt Norma has a VAST collection of extraordinary textiles. My mom drops me off for my chemo sessions and she goes to visit with Bill and Norma. I believe they are working on some sort of a museum exhibit. I’m not sure but my mom seems very excited about the possibilities. I spent some time with them on one of my trips but it was a rather warm day and I didn’t feel much like running around in the large lot they provided exclusively for me. The heat and humidity did wreak havoc on our coats so my dad made spa appointments for Fred and I. We received a blueberry facial and I have yet to understand what precisely that did.



Where's hair & make-up?
  I am now on a substitute drug for doxorubicin. It’s called mitoxantrone.  Doxorubicin does more harm than good to one's heart after a while so they switched me over. Mitoxantrone is often called a “rescue” drug because it is used as a last resort so to switch me over now is a bit of a gamble but IF the lymphoma returns, I can still have a few more doses of doxo. It’s a challenging roll of the dice, this cancer stuff. My mom often worries if she’s doing the right thing. If she’s doing it for me or for her. Her good friend, Karen, recently said goodbye to her lovely companion, Troi. Karen said it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. For me? Right now I’m feeling well. One might say feisty from time to time. My mom often quips that I should at least ACT sick so she can justify the funds she is contributing to my medical care. I cooperate by sleeping in, moving slowly when called, occasionally barely lifting my head when dinner is served. But frankly, it’s all an act. “Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." 

  While my mom managed to avoid the usual histrionics associated with presidential elections on this round, she is rather concerned about the inability of our new home state to accurately count the numbers of votes cast. This seems a rather elementary undertaking but it has apparently made our new home state a punch line for late night TV and the brunt of international ridicule. I'd venture a bet the the elections officials simply ran out of fingers and toes. It’s moot at this point so I believe they have just stopped counting. Brilliant! It’s just a useless vote; why bother counting it? Regardless, I am helping my mom unpack and we are trying to get things back in order. I, obviously, get the lower book shelves.
Douggie's paradise found
  The grass here leaves much to be desired. It is called St. Augustine grass and it is rather wiry and stiff. Tomo absolutely refuses to walk on it at all.  There are two small concrete steps leading on to the lawn and Tomo refuses to move from the steps. I suppose she’ll get used to it eventually but it’s difficult for someone her age. Douggie, on the other hand, seems to have adjusted quite nicely. She enjoys spending time out on the patio in the HUGE screened-in enclosure. It's almost as if she's finally found her home. We have a fence now that is supposed to keep the alligators at bay along with the black bears which, we have been told, are vegetarians. I’m not sure what that means. Someone also told my mom that the fence will keep armadillos out as well. It appears we are living in a zoo.

  Keep calm and Corgi on!  Til next time! 


 






Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CHEMO REVISITED WITH OLYMPIC MERRIMENT & MOVING ADVENTURES


  While many may whine that the Olympics are quite overblown and an essentially boring parade of spoiled and coddled children, I must confess I was champing at the bit due to the fact that the summer Olympics were held in London. I may be Welsh but when it comes to these things, there is still a bit of national pride when it comes to the UK. My excitement was rewarded with the introduction of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth. 
  It was quite exciting to see some of my Corgi relatives at the palace and to watch HRH the Queen actually jump out of a helicopter. I dare say it was THE BEST PART of the opening ceremonies.  My mom thought that 007 gentleman was relatively easy on the eyes, too, but frankly I don’t see it. I must say, HRH the Queen can be quite the cheeky old broad. I mean no disrespect and I can say this because, in a way, we ARE related, you see.
Air vents rule
  It has been a tad on the warm side here at home in Oregon. It hit over 37 degrees Celsius on a few days (over 100 for you Yanks).  When we lived in Arizona, 100 degrees was very common but in Arizona, Snottsdale to be specific, everyone has air conditioning. This is not the case in Oregon. Warnings were repeatedly given so that people would NOT leave their dogs in an automobile for even the briefest moment. It proves to be a deadly mistake more than one might imagine. Some of my chemotherapy drugs have a tendency to make me pant. Not particularly attractive, I know, but it can’t be helped. My mom was very concerned and asked Dr. Freeman about it. Dr. Freeman calmed her fears and I simply spent every waking (and sleeping) moment on the air conditioning vents.  It’s quite refreshing actually. I recommend it for all my readers.  Note the patchwork shaved legs with dark splotchy markings. This is a quite common reaction to the chemo treatments. Some may find it appalling but I have been approached by several old school punk rock bands to go on tour with them as the only punk Corgi known to man. They are attractive offers and I do have an agent working on them as we...type.
Bolting for the door
  Truth be told, I was rather apprehensive on this second go around at chemo. Last year, I found all the people at the Veterinary CancerReferral Center and Dove Lewis to be a lovely lot. They are still quite lovely but I must admit to making a run for the door on my early visit. I know what to expect on these weekly treks and I know these sessions are the only reason I am here today to update my faithful followers. Vincristine, cytoxan, adriamycin, flagyl, prednisone and I have reached a d├ętente.  I won’t run again, I promise. They will keep me alive.  In addition, my mom fills me with fish oil, Chinese mushroom extracts, something called Onco Support, ground turkey and rice (from time to time) and probiotics. I’m not sure which of these are actually working, if any, but since I prefer to stick around a bit longer, I’ll not complain and the ground turkey concoction isn't all that bad. 
Riley - livin' LARGE
  I did meet a rather large fellow patient last week. His name is Ripley. He is a Blockhead Mastiff (some call them Bull Mastiffs) and he is only 4-years old. His head seriously resembles an overinflated basketball and, this might be a slight exaggeration, but he IS the size of a Volkswagon. I honestly think he probably weighs more than his tiny owner.  He was impressively well behaved. He didn’t even flinch when I lunged at him. (I just have to do that sometimes.) My mom said he probably poops bigger than I am and I should have minded my manners. DO please keep Ripley in your thoughts, however, as the chemo doesn’t seem to be working for him as it does for me.
The other Yuki in the White House
  I would be remiss if I did not include this little historical tidbit in today’s blog. My life here would also become unbearable due to Yuki’s constant - and I mean CONSTANT - prodding.  Apparently, there was a rather important gentleman named LBJ who also had a dog named Yuki. The other Yuki was also a rescue, found at a gas station. The other Yuki befriended world leaders, diplomats, and many other VIP’s. Our Yuki thinks she can do the same. “It’s good to have goals,” I tell her. I don’t think I’m giving her false hope or encouraging her to dream too big. You never know. My mom has met and worked for a few of those types and they may come to visit unexpectedly. You never know.
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  Preparations are well underway for our upcoming move to a state called Florida on the first of September. It is allegedly very warm and humid and we will be surrounded by something called alligators. I know my mom wears Crocs regularly but I think this may be different.
  There is a lot of “measuring” going on. I’m not exactly sure what this means but when they mention it, this annoying yellow snake shows up. As the defender of our domain, I must attack.  I know this snake to be very dangerous because my moms keeps warning me that it will slice my tongue if I don’t get away!
  Everyone had to undergo heart worm tests and we will be taking another medication because there is something called mosquitoes where we are going. I’m not quite sure why but my mom wanted to see how one of our kennels would fit on the roof of the truck. I certainly hope she doesn’t expect to transport one of us up there! No one – and I mean NO ONE – with any heart would ever strap a dog they loved to the roof of a moving vehicle. At least I don’t think so.
Your Corgi on benedryl
  So we hit the road again on September 1st. I’ve heard it is the start of the Labor Day weekend and most of the rest of the country will also be on the road that day. My mom keeps explaining to people that she didn’t do the “logistics” on this trip; that my dad is “helping.” I’m not sure what that means but I DO know he asked the veterinarian about doggie xanax for us. The veterinarian suggested something called benedryl first and it seems to work very well on Fred and Yuki. I think she may be planning to keep the xanax to herself.

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  To prepare for our cross-country trek, I am once again trying to train Yuki to understand how a leash is to be utilized and respected. If she doesn't pay a whit of attention to me, I can't imagine that she'd succumb to the respectful requests of my mom. What she doesn't seem to grasp is the simple notion that once on a leash, you are tethered and common sense dictates a certain decorum. It is a matter of mutual respect. But don't mind me. The Queen of Soul can explain it much more eloquently than I. 

So be well. Keep calm and Corgi on!