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 18, 2011

NINE 1/2 WEEKS: THE "G" RATED VERSION


  Last Tuesday I went back to the Veterinary Center Referral Center to receive what is apparently the ONE medication my body just doesn’t seem to like very much. I usually look forward to Tuesday’s. I get to spend time with Dr. Freeman and Lauren. They are very nice people although they feel the need to stick me with needles at every opportunity. It comes with the territory, I suppose. 
  Now Jim, on the other hand, knows that the way to a dog’s heart is through his stomach. Jim lovingly gives treats. Repeatedly. Every dog in there knows if they just stand there long enough, Jim will hand over the goods. What more could I ask?
 Back on topic…The drug last week was doxorubicin/adriamycin. I guess it’s pretty effective otherwise I’m sure they wouldn’t be giving it to me.  When I was a doxorubicin virgin, they gave me an EKG to make sure my heart could take it.  Heart damage is one of the possible side effects. Doxorubicin works because it actually binds to the DNA in fast-growing cells. Problem is it can ALSO mess with healthy fast-growing cells like the ones that line my intestines.  Ay! There’s the rub! The result: an overwhelming need to evacuate my bowels more frequently than usual.  Lauren at the Veterinary Cancer Referral Center has a gentile way of asking about the severity of the issue: cow pie or liquid. It evokes a certain "eeewww" reaction but provides an immediate, accurate assessment. 
  The pills I was taking to combat that rather unfortunate side effect worked wonders.  But I stopped taking them Friday.  My mom picked up some metronidazole pills today because there’s no reason to be unnecessarily messy, is there? Of course the organic ground turkey and rice entrees aren’t bad either. I chowed down on that for dinner last night while my mom had popcorn.
  Doxorubicin can also kill the tissue around the injection site if it doesn’t get directly into the vein. It is a testament to how good the people at the Veterinary Center Referral Center are because that’s NEVER happened to me.  YES my legs DO get shaved every week, as you can see, and it makes for interesting conversation. And YES my lymphoma is in remission so I have nothing to complain about.  My mom met another dog there today and he went through the chemo treatments and NEVER went into remission. THAT would be horrible!

The Yuki Dog
The Tomo Dog
  I have this week off from chemo and to make sure I didn’t get bored, my mom decided that another rescue dog was needed.  Truthfully I don’t know WHAT on earth she was thinking. We now have this terminally perky 4-month old Corgi/Australian Cattle Dog mutt that insists upon playing CONSTANTLY.  I must admit we behaved rather badly Friday evening when she was introduced to us.  Honestly we attacked her.  Things smoothed out significantly over the weekend to the point where we essentially tolerate her. Tomo couldn’t care less. She usually curls up in her fetal position wherever she is and catches a snooze. The new puppy DOES have her moments as you can see in the video. It was shot on an iPhone hence the annoying vertical format but you get her generalized joie de vivre...as irritating as it may be.

video

  She has Corgi-like tendencies like curling her front legs under her like a cat.  She has the large round front paws and the small oval back paws. She also watches TV like I do. Her ears aren’t standing up yet but neither were mine at her age. Her name is Yuki which means either “snow” or “lucky” in Japanese. I think this dog is lucky that my mom got snowed into adopting her. Arf. Arf.
  Also this week my mom had the yard air-rated. I say this only because it served to increase Fred’s anxiety level. You see air-rating pokes hundreds if not thousands of tubular holes in the lawn. It supposedly helps the lawn look better. For me? A lawn’s a lawn. Tree stump. Fire hydrant. Fence post. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go. It freaked Fred out because it leaves little turd-like fingers of dirt all over the yard. Poor Fred doesn't want to step on them and he keeps sniffing everyone of them because they LOOK like they should smell and they ACT like turds meaning that when you step on them they look like smooshed turds. And my poor mom doesn’t even know what she’s picking up anymore since she is on constant poop patrol with the scooper whenever I’m out there with my toxic droppings.
So now we are four. We few. We happy few. I’m just wondering when my bird-brained friend Douglas Macaw-thur will return and what she’ll do with the new addition when she does. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

K9 9/11 TRIBUTE, ROYAL'S WED, EXCERISE & NO RAW FOOD!

  WELL! Last week was certainly eventful.  I would be remiss if I did not first mention the extraordinary bravery and dedication of K9's around the world.

  The terrorist take-down on May 1, undoubtedly wouldn't have happened without the invaluable leadership of a dog whose name will never be known. Nor will the names of the humans who assisted in this dangerous mission.  This four-legged warrior served the humans with total disregard for his/her own safety. (People keep calling them SEALS but I'm pretty sure they were human. I can't imagine seals fast-roping from a helicopter or clearing several floors of a compound. It's that prehensile digit thing again. And that annoying bark would certainly have been disconcerting to say the least!)  Since we will never know the names of these heroes serving so bravely, SO honorably, we should never again mention the name of the gutless coward they took down. IMHO.

  But in thinking about this unnamed K9, thoughts of other four-legged and furry creatures who have also served came to mind.  There was bomb-sniffing Sirius who died in his kennel in the South Tower, probably waiting to go to work.  There were Ana and Jake, also using their super sniffing powers to find people in disaster rubble. While these Labs and Retrievers are the most widely accepted search and rescue dogs, I want you to know I sit at the ready and am MORE than eager to start my SEAL training.  It's not JUST larger breeds that can serve admirably.  Think of all those tight spaces I could get in with these shorter legs! Perhaps MI6 might be interested?

  Another K9 was called into action for the Royal Wedding and he dutifully responded.  Max seemed to be randomly sniffing and looked like he was more interested in having fun than working but since the wedding came off without a hitch, I'd say "Job well done!" Some will say the 5,000 human officers had something to do with it but we'll never know, will we?

  We didn't stay up until some ungodly hour to watch the festivities but we DID watch the coverage the next day and we dressed appropriately.  Well, Fred did.  Since Fred couldn't find a morning coat and top hat, he improvised as you can see.  Cross dressing seems to suit Fred though he was clearly disappointed that he could not indulge in the champagne.  I, on the other hand, sat regally sipping tea in my "Keep Calm and Carry On" mug. Even though Brits have disagreed on the monarchy for centuries, we seem to have come together for the sake of the newlyweds. It was a thoroughly modern wedding, much less stuffy than the last one.  They even included a Welsh rugby song in the programme.  Fortunately it is one of the few clean rugby songs I've ever heard and it served as a tribute to the groom's mum, Princess Diana.

  This week found me back at the Veterinary Cancer Referral Center.  I got to Dove Lewis at around 7:30 and was excited to see a fellow Corgi in the spacious, spotless waiting area!  Her name is Lucy and she, thankfully, is also in remission from lymphoma.  Her dad, Mike, spent some time scratching my head and, as far as I could tell, he was talking about Corgi's and what an exceptional breed we are.  Except for the shedding part.  My mom claims Corgi's shed a whole 'nother dog every day.  I'd say that's a bit of an exaggeration but Lucy's dad seemed to agree.  Lucy's dad was also worried about her weight - too much not too little.

   So for Lucy and all the other... shall we say "stout" Corgi's out there, let me share my work out ritual.  If the sun is shining it is always best to go outside and run like the wind.  As we all know, sun shining is a rare occurrence in Oregon.  In the alternative, I recommend an absurdly large red rubber ball  and a foam roller.  Both are used for balance training, self-myofascial release, self massage and stretching.  You can try to do all of those but I prefer to move them around with my foot and bark at them. 

  There is something else I learned this week from Lauren, the very nice young lady who sees me every week.  And this is VERY IMPORTANT! While my mom keeps reading about the benefits of a raw diet and breeders and rescue folks alike recommend it, Lauren said NO RAW DIET for dogs like us! Chemo may be keeping us live but it also compromises our immune system and with a compromised immune system, there's no telling WHAT salmonella could DO to us!  Raw diets, also called "bones and raw food" or BARF diet, can actually be deadly for us and our human caretakers. I mean, THINK about it.  If they call it a BARF diet, how good could it really BE?  Even though my mom is half Japanese she could never really get into the sushi/raw fish thing either.  She says there's nothing wrong with raw hamachi or fugu that a little garlic, butter, and a frying pan couldn't fix. And sashimi?  It means "pierced body!" Ugh.  Burger means burger and that's sufficient for me.  

  So until next time. Keep calm and carry on!