Tag Archives: Sheltie

We brought Stephi home to die …

… and she was a good girl to the end.

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Stephi quit eating last weekend and had a dramatic loss of weight.  Sam gained most of the weight she lost because Sam was eating Stephi’s food.  I took her to Vet Kelly Harrington last Tuesday and pleaded with her to keep Stephi alive for a few more months, just until Drake got home.  They got her to eat but she wasn’t drinking enough water so they kept her for a few days.  She quit eating midday on Thursday.  By Friday, she was no longer responding to them at all. 

Vet Kelly said she thought Stephi might’ve had a stroke.  She didn’t have the energy to get up and when they would stand her up, she just sunk back to her side. There was no recognition in her eyes at all.  We picked her up Friday afternoon and brought her home to die with us.  We could’ve let Vet Kelly put her down but, even if she didn’t recognize it very much, I wanted her to die in familiar surroundings, with Sam and SoLow at her side.

We placed her on the bed she used to love, hiding under my old desk, peeking out at the world.  Occasionally, she would try to get up so I thought she might like to go outside for a while.  I think she really enjoyed the breeze ruffling her coat, and seeing the birds and the blue sky for a while.

Our friend Ken and his son came and dug a grave for her out behind the house.  We live on a rocky hill and this was not an easy task.  They said their good-byes to all the dogs but Ken’s son gave Stephi a lot of attention when they left.  I don’t know that Stephi even knew what was going on, but I knew and I really appreciated the effort and kindness of both of them. 

She went through a period last night when she would move her head and make strange noises, almost like she was dreaming and trying to bark but she didn’t look she was in any pain, just restless.  Vet Kelly had given me pain medication, similar to morphine for dogs, and I made sure she wasn’t hurting.  Ed and I both spent a lot of time with her last night, calming her and trying to keep her comfortable.  I laid down beside her about midnight and fell asleep petting her.  Around 1:10 am, I awoke and found that Stephi had slipped away while I dozed next to her on the floor.

I buried her this morning, after letting Sam and SoLow say their good-byes.  She is placed so that she can see the house, Sam and SoLow in the dog yard, the goats, and the rising sun.  She was our little princess, our first Sheltie, a good girl.  She will be missed.  Drake will be upset that he missed saying good-bye but I gave her a special finger-wave especially from him.

We love you, Stephi Lynn.

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Waiting for the Snow

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I am waiting for the snow.  I kept waking up all night, looking out the window, anticipating those little white flakes falling from the sky.  I’m still waiting.  Ed is still asleep.  The dogs are still asleep.  I’m sitting on the chaise lounge in the bedroom, watching the news on the shooting in Tucson, grieving for all of the victims, and listening to the rain fall outside the window right behind me.  I’m still waiting.

Why is it that we get so excited when it snows, especially in the DFW area?  It would be simple to say that we get excited because it snows so rarely down here but that’s not it, I don’t think.  When it snows, kids are outside playing in it, parents are taking pictures, the dogs are racing through it or maybe just sitting in it wondering what it is.  This happens all over the country, not just here. 

My favorite thing, at my age, is to sit and have a cup of coffee and to just gaze on the wonderful white display.  Yes, I too get the camera and take pictures of the dogs enjoying the snowy wonderland.  Little SoLow had to jump like a rabbit in the last snowfall we had, which was absolutely hilarious to watch, especially when Stephi and Sam just walked like normal.  I wonder if they were laughing at SoLow in their own way? 

Right now, the girls are sleeping and don’t realize what is coming soon but I can anticipate for them.  Every time that the rain slows down, I twist around to see if it has started yet.  I gotta watch that so I don’t get a crick in my neck before it even starts.  Man, does that hurt and really throws off the fun of the day!

I think part of the reason that I love the snow is that I won’t go anywhere when it snows.  Yeah, I know, it’s safer to drive on the snow than the ice but usually around here, there is ice just under a thin layer of snow.  That’s because it usually was fairly warm the day before and the snow immediately melted when it hit the ground but then froze because of the cold and wind chill.  I may go outside and walk in it but I won’t drive on it.  That means a day at home, relaxing, probably curled up in bed with SoLow, facing the windows.  Ed will probably be watching the football games today, reading the Sunday paper, and it will be a wonderful day. 

I hope you have a wonderful day today also, relaxing with your loved ones, and grinning from ear to ear all day.  If you do have to go out, please be careful.  Drive and/or walk safely.  Bundle up.  Cover your head and ears, protect your hands and feet, and, if you live in Texas, remember it could be worse…it could be a hot, humid August day and you could’ve just gotten into an enclosed car, waiting for the A/C to kick in, drenched in sweat.  Yeah, maybe the snow is pretty good after all, at least for us.

P.S.  IT’S SNOWING!!!!!  Gotta go get coffee and the camera!!!

Stephi and Surgery

A week after we got back from Chicago, I noticed that the tumor on Stephi’s chest was starting to leak blood.  Yes, call the vet and make another appointment.  This time, instead of waiting for it to rupture and drain, we decided to do surgery and try to find out what was causing this anomaly.  I had been hoping that it was a symptom of her thyroid problem but it didn’t go away or reduce the size of it after she started taking the medicine.

We set up surgery for last Thursday but I needed to keep the tumor from bleeding all over our carpet until then.  What to do?  The vet suggested getting an infant’s t-shirt to protect it.  A baby shirt???  Yes, that probably would’ve worked but I went to a discount store and found a dog t-shirt instead.  For 2 days, Stephi wandered around with a green tie-dyed dog t-shirt on, stuffed with a lime green (cheap) microfiber wash cloth to absorb any drainage.  It worked and she looked adorable in it.  Seriously, since her hair hasn’t grown back in totally, she is a lot cuter with the t-shirt than without it and I loved the white peace sign on the back.  Can you say Hippie Dog???

The surgery went just fine and the vet found some kind of growth in the muscle that had a “head” sticking out and that is what was causing the tumors that kept coming up.  They removed it all and put a drainage tube in.  Stephi, at age 14, didn’t handle the anesthesia well though.  She refused to drink any water after she got home, wouldn’t eat anything, and snarled at me when I even looked like I was going to touch her side. And she just kept getting weaker and weaker, until finally she couldn’t even stand up on her own and she didn’t have the energy to snarl.  We kept the vet informed and took her in on Saturday so they could give her an IV with fluids.  They were concerned with dehydration.  I was concerned with losing sweet Stephi.

After the IV, it was like we had our old Stephi back.  She still was not skipping to the door to go outside, but she was eating a little and drinking a lot.  Today, she IS trotting to the door to go outside.  She’s wagging her tail much more than she was before surgery.  She’s actually “perky” nowadays.  (I considered calling her Katie Couric but thought better of that.)  Her hair is starting to grow back.  Her eyes are more focused now and she’s generally more alert.  This is getting better than before surgery!  She is still deaf but this is like a much younger Stephi and we are loving it!   One day, she will again have a beautiful coat.

I take her back on Tuesday to get the drainage tube removed.  She will definitely look forward to that, I know.  That leg is still a little stiff and I figure it’s because that tube is uncomfortable.  I know the vet is going to be amazed with the change since Saturday. 

Our Little (much younger) Stephi

Home At Last!

Sam was ecstatic to see us return from our Thanksgiving vacation, as was Stephi.  SoLow, on the other hand, was a little standoffish at first and really didn’t warm up until we got home.  I’m assuming that she finally realized that all of us were going to stay home together.  THEN she gave lots of kisses and got excited and playful. 

There was no one at the American Pet Spa and Resort who knew their likes and dislikes so I was really interested in the Vacation Report Card for Stephi, Sam and SoLow. 

–       They always looked forward to eating and always finished their meals … duh! … yet they weren’t protective of their food and shared with each other. 

–       They apparently were not nervous, aggressive to other dogs, or protective of their things.

–       They didn’t tear up anything, they liked to bark, and they felt cozy in their own room. 

–       On Saturday night, they “watched” the movie Snowdogs … yeah, right … and their favorite thing to do was to play with each other. 

What it all boiled down to was that they were a little shy, especially SoLow, which I would expect their first time in a kennel, but they were very sweet and loved to be petted.  Yeah, I probably could’ve told you most of that before we left, but it was nice hearing it from strangers.  They really are such good girls.

We still have not completely straightened up after we had the foundation leveled so the house is still a mess.  There still were dishes in the sink from the day we left.  Knowing it would be VERY cold while we were gone, we had left the heater on so the house was a little warm.  The girls apparently were so upset that we had left them for an extended length of time, that all three of them had their revenge by pooping all over the house the first night.  Yet it was SO good to be home.

The Wren

What is it with critters and my house???  Ed was making sure we closed the garage door a few nights ago and, after he closed the house door, he noticed that a little bird had entered the laundry area.  The bird had no obstacles between her and the majority of the house, including the kitchen, office, dining room, atrium, living room, entryway, and hallway.  Where does this little bird go?  She goes right to the top of the living room, 20 feet up, to sit on the windowsill.  So much for chasing her toward the door!  Thankfully, the dogs were outside and didn’t know what had happened. 

The night was uneventful.  We all slept, including the little bird, I assume.  The next morning, I heard a funny noise in Ed’s office.  Ok, the little bird (a small wren, I saw) had found the window and was continually trying to get out through the glass.  I never said she was a smart bird!  I opened one of our back doors, one side of a set of double doors, and tried to shoo her in that direction.  She landed on the closed double door and I thought “Great!  Just stand still.  She’ll find the outside now!”  Oh, no, she didn’t.  Of course, she flew right past it to the high window on the other side of the fireplace.  She even took a swing on the Japanese kite we had gotten years ago, which was hanging by a single fish line in the middle of the window.  On her way back to the very high windowsill in the living room, she knocked over a small Japanese paper lantern.  That was really the only “damage” she caused but I gave up, shutting the outside door and letting the dogs back in.

Things were quiet until about mid-morning.  I heard a strange little yip somewhere in the house and thought it was SoLow in trouble.  I followed the sound to Drake’s old room.  There was Sam, standing guard and staring intently into the closet, wagging her tail.  Yes, what Drake predicted years ago finally had happened.  We actually lost a dog in one of my storage closets!  The closets in my sewing room and Drake’s old room have been turned into storage closets, as have the rooms themselves recently!  While they started out organized, they are now a totally unorganized, confused mess!  SoLow was standing up on her back legs at the back of the closet, peaking over the top of who knows what and still barking.  At least Sam was smart enough not to follow, probably because she couldn’t fit through the same holes that SoLow used.

After I quit laughing, I had to go tell Ed what she had done.  When I got back to the room, she had found a way out and was on Drake’s bed, front paws on the windowsill, staring up at the curtains.  What was she barking at?  She would occasionally jump down, run to the next room and jump on the edge of the bathtub and stare out THAT window for a bit, always returning quickly to the bed.  This went on for a while and I was starting to get very tired of her barking by this point!  Yes, you guessed it; the little wren was hidden on the window side of the curtains, hoping to get out. 

Now, your first instinct is to open the window, correct?  But remember, SoLow was leaning on that window with her front paws and I could just see her going out the window right after the bird!  Gotta get rid of the dogs first!  Have you ever tried to herd 2 hunting/working dogs away from their target?  It’s not easy, believe me!  I could pick SoLow up and put her in the hall but I wasn’t quick enough to get the hall door closed before she had snuck back in.  I had to put her down on the wooden floor and shove her down the hall before I could accomplish it.  Her little feet kept trying to get traction but, bless her heart, I got the door closed before she could get back in. 

Peace did not reign until early afternoon.  I assume SoLow quit barking and sniffing when the wren found the window but knowing how stubborn she is, maybe not.  Maybe she just finally gave up.  I love living in the country but I could really do without critters trying to get into my house.  What’s next?  A raccoon?  A ‘possum?  A snake?  No, wait; we’ve already had a green snake.  An armadillo?  A small deer?  Wild turkeys, maybe?  I’m not even going to take a guess!  I’ll just write about it when it happens.

You know the day is not going to be good when …

… you wake up feeling like you just didn’t quite get enough sleep.  Darn, SoLow!!!!  I wish she would quit waking me up in the middle of the night, because she wants to go outside to explore with Sam!  That just starts the day off sluggish!  So what do you do to start feeling better?  You go outside to see your pets and get hugs from those that give them.  Yes, the three dogs were right there but they wanted to play more than they wanted hugs, so I went to see Bob and Willow, the goats.

Bob always gives hugs.  Bob is a good boy.  He head-butts when he wants to play but he does it gently, not like when he head-butts Willow, believe me!  I think they just want to hear their horns click as loud as they can, because they rise up on their back feet, cock their heads to one side, and slam down on each other, horns first.  Ouch!!!  But when Bob wants to play with me, he just pushes at me with his horns because he knows that I don’t have horns to make that clicking sound.  Well, officially, I don’t have horns but there is a debate on whether I had them removed or not.

I went out and sat on the cement block next to their water bowl and snuggled with Bob a bit and was in a much better mood when I stood up.  Unfortunately, Bob took that opportunity to go over and push the gate open and run into the dogs’ yard.  Crap!  Bob, get outta there!  SoLow was so scared that Bob had gotten in that she jumped on the back door, opened it and ran inside, with Sam right behind her, Bob right on her tail and me bringing up the rear.  CRAP!  CRAP! CRAP! 

Have you ever noticed that goats always stay outside?  That’s because we usually don’t put diapers on them and let them into the house.  Here I had a nervous little dog barking, an excited goat running throughout the atrium and living room, hooves making a great clicking sound on the tile, and Sam following along behind cleaning up after the goat!  I’m running around trying to get ahead of Bob so that I could herd him out the back door, flapping my arms and yelling “NO, NO, NO!!!” and Bob is just enjoying the new view he’s getting of my life.  Talk about a Keystone Cops routine!  Fred, the turtle, dives back into the middle of the pond in the atrium as Bob trots past and leisurely reaches out to grab a leaf in passing.  OMG!  Now he’s de-leafing my bamboo!!!  ARGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

Thankfully, he’s not a stupid goat and heads for the back door, with all three of us following.  I know he went back to his own yard voluntarily and it was really not anything the dogs or I did to scare him, but I like to think we chased him out of the house through the dogs’ yard and back with Willow, who had been staring at the open gates and door in awe.  Seriously, she had never moved the entire time and her mouth was hanging open.  I slammed the gate shut as fast as I could and collapsed in the only chair in the dogs’ yard, breathing heavy and hugging SoLow as if we had just survived a very dangerous situation together.   Bob just looked happy to be strutting around Willow, bragging on what he had done and she didn’t!

SoLow and I both had to retire back to bed for another hour to rest our pounding hearts and calm down.  So much for a relaxing autumn day at home in the country!

Thyroid and WHAT???

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written but it has been totally spastic here lately!

A few years ago, I decided that our oldest Sheltie, Stephi, needed a haircut.  It was summer.  It was hot.  I cut her hair short, thinking that she would be a little cooler with only the undercoat and not all that extra, long hair weighing her down.  Well, it has never grown back in like it used to be.  Every time that Ed looks at her, he frowns and then glares at me.  “I’ll never forgive you for what you did to Stephi,” he usually mutters.  Yeah, bless her heart, she does look pretty ratty, I have to admit.

Recently, she has been getting tumors on her upper chest that grow and grow and finally burst.  The vet cleans them out and then, usually within a few weeks, we will see another one coming up.  Where they have appeared, the hair doesn’t grow back very well so, when she’s walking toward you, there is long hair with spots of very short hair, which just looks strange, to say the least.

The vet wanted to do a blood workup on her back when Nonnie was ill but I just couldn’t handle Nonnie and Stephi at the same time so I put it off.  This week, they did that blood workup and she has thyroid problems.  We are now giving her half a pill twice a day to help with that problem.  They are also testing her for Addison’s disease.  If that is also a problem, then she will need monthly injections. 

With luck, the pills and injections will give her back her beautiful coat of hair, along with her strength and jaunty step.  She’ll still be 14 years old and deaf, but she will feel much better.  For that, I am thrilled.

That’s just one thing that’s been going on.  I’ll write more later.