Such anticipation…Kenai 18 mo
Whew, it’s been quite a week already, and it’s only half over. My brother is lingering, now 14 days off life support. His vitals are dropping and his extremities are cyanotic, so the end really has to be near. He just keeps on truckin’ for some reason, poor guy.
Tuesday was really rough for the boys, crated almost 8 hours. They’ve never had that happen before, and I felt so bad for them. But our dearest friend called early in the morning to tell us her son had died. So up to Melba’s we went, and spent most of the morning there before going to the hospital.
I made the mistake of taking the boys outside to play as soon as I got home. I was hoping it’d undo some of the strain of being crated. Kenai threw up yellow foamy bile halfway through the intended outside time. Losing a bit of weight as well.
He’d had too many “too’s”: too hungry, too stressed, and too hot. So we babied his tum, feeding small amounts through the evening, and Wednesday we return to 3 meals a day. I’ve slightly increased his kibble amount from 2 cups at a meal to 2 1/2, taking him to 7 1/2 cups a day.
Wednesday morning, everyone was up before dawn, so we decided to have some fun. The routine was messed up anyway; they might as well have a reason to enjoy it. The boys have new toys, compliments of a very dear friend.
Kenai picked out the “flimsy fox”, and BB wanted the “skinny skunk” for his own. They love these stuffingless toys, since there’s enough for two big mouths to grab and have a good game of tug. BB’s being a butt, stealing every baby he can, and Kenai just lets him. But sometimes he refuses to let go!
They had some rumpus time, and when the sun started coming up, I fed my boy his breakfast. To get at least some ”normal” we went upstairs after his meal and hit the beds. They’ve been such good boys through all this. Not getting their exercise, little attention or play time.
What play time they get is in the form of unusual toys, like an empty 2 liter bottle or an empty rice jar to roll around. Different toys are mentally exciting to them, making up for the boredom a bit. Anything interesting so I can sit down while they play will do!
Today’s plan is go to the cafe for breakfast and gas up the car, then a quickie run to the vet for a weight. Then I want Mom to drop me off at home; I’ll stay home with the boys, so they can be out and have a bit of play. They won’t be alone that way, something closer to normal.
Once she gets the rest of the errands done and gets home, it’s “bedtime for bonzo”, and I’ll race ya; last one under the sheets is a rotten egg. Oddly, Kenai still cannot stand to be covered up. Neither of the boys will tolerate it. They grab the blanket and wrestle it off.
Home’s my plan and I’m stickin to it! Can’t take much more of the running about all day–already got laid down by a left side migraine Monday, for the first time in over a year. Normally my migraines will hit on the right side, or crown of the head, but those left ones…
Left siders are monsters, and can blow up fast as a gale, putting me down quick as 15 minutes. I go nearly blind from the auras, lose coordination, slur my speech, vomit uncontrollably, and actually cry. I’ve walked on broken bones before, but the lefties make me cry they hurt so bad.
On a better note, the rain here has cooled things off somewhat, so perhaps the boys will get a nice long romp outside. They are enjoying their new box of bones, demolishing the evidence. And a trip to the puppy store for food is in their near future. Maybe that will give them some happy, huh?
I get as much fun watching them be happy as they do being happy. Hard not to, sweet boys.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 24, 2009
Hey, a new picture…I actually took one! Kenai waking up the nose, 18 mo
Kenai had a lovely wake up today; he got to go out to the kennel just as the sun was coming up. He’s suddenly not a “morning person”, and has started giving me trouble about eating his breakfast. Lunch and supper is never skipped, but breakfast is being left in the bowl regularly now.
I thought some nose in the grass time, a little exercise, might just stimulate his appetite. He ate. Then refused to even go to the field, let alone poo. So he’s full of it today, and I’m teasing him about being full of it. He backtalks, I tease some more, he gets huffy and gnaws the devil out of his new bone. Stinker!
At least he ate…he can’t exactly go without the calories. When he starts losing weight Kenai can drop a pound or more a day. Maybe I should take him down to 2 meals a day? He gets 6 cups a day spread out into 3 meals. He’d be hungrier in the morning with just 2 meals, in theory at least.
His brother is the total opposite. BB eats like a shop vac. Little bro is getting 8-8 1/2 cups of food a day, and is looking some better. Most days I can only see a rib or two. There’s more muscle on his chest as well. Still, that’s a lot of food. Piglet.
Oh, and BB has a new meaning: billygoat boy. He’s taken to head butting, like some bony sack of silly. I don’t mind when I’m sitting down and it’s part of playtime, but Billygoat Boy phwumps ya if you’re not moving to the kitchen fast enough to suit him. He’s something else, that pup.
BB stands for many things, by the way; bent bottoms, bugger boy, banana butt, baby boy, and now billygoat boy is added to the list. He has so many nicknames, I can hardly remember them all anymore–he does a goofy every 20 minutes and usually gets a new moniker at least once a week!
OT, I’ve come across some good links about Lyme disease, some of which are symptom lists, and some are studies the of persistant and recurring bouts of active illness my doc refers to as chronic Lyme. http://www.lymeinfo.net/lymefiles.html Here is also a good link about the treatment. http://www.lymenet.org/BurrGuide200810.pdf
Lyme disease patients can experience symptoms such attention problems, short-term memory loss, depression, panic attacks, personality changes, mood swings, and/or learning disabilities. That’s what’s driving me bonkers right now, in addition to the fatigue and pain.
Yeah, I know, the blog is supposed to be about Kenai and his training, but Lyme is a rotten, insidious infection so I’ll stick this under the heading of public service announcement. Ya’ll be careful, use your repellants, okay?
When it comes to Kenai’s training, I’m gonna have to start over with the name games and such: a couple weeks off and we’re back to square one. We took my brother off life support last week, and he’s still lingering poor guy. At least he’s not suffering in any way. He’s got some great nurses.
When he does pass away and the funeral is over, I’ll take another week or two to rest. All the walking and going places the past 19 days…I’m outta juice and on the pain pills again. I’ll gear up and get back to work soon, returning to our usual schedule of play, feeding, practice, and outings.
It’ll probably take a week or two to get Kenai over his sads and sorrows. He’s been crated so much, and had very little run time or attention. He’s a sensitive thug, my wee papoose, and been swinging between cuddly and pouty. Aww. Poor sweetie. Things’ll get normal soon.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 19, 2009
Kenai flaked out, 11 wks old
Hey I found another Great Dane pup in training to be a service dog! http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/ His name is Talos, and he’s a lovely chunk of 11 wk old merlequin. Oh and does he have a self assured presence! He’s going to be fun to watch grow up. (Maybe I’ll learn some things too?)
I remember when Kenai was a tiny young tank of a toffee toddles, and seeing Talos made me grin nice and wide. I occasionally wish we hadn’t been sidetracked with the health and personality changes that happened from the Ehrlichia infection. Or at least that it had been diagnosed much, much earlier. But what is, is, and I’ve learned alot because of it.
He was such a solid stinker by 16 weeks, trotting into anywhere like he owned the joint and nothing got him in a flap. As easy as he was, I still kick myself for not being more deliberate and wide ranging about his socialization at that age, ie reward attention and calmness for things that didn’t even bother him then, like loud noises or crowds.
Pups are pups and they can develop skittishness of things later on, and I didn’t have the foundation in place to redirect any sudden shyness of noises or movements. Talos’ trainer calls it learning how to learn. I should’ve had other people take him places I couldn’t safely go, too.
While I’m at the wishing, I wish too that I had started out clicker training him. That lays such a strong foundation right from the start, giving you and the pup the tools to work through anything. “You don’t like that? Hey look at that, click/treat, what a good boy!” It’s really amazing how a clicker affects a pup.
I know I’ve said it before, but one of the best things clicker training does is change the handler’s perspective. Instead of looking for the “oops, not right”, and being ready to correct, clicker training teaches you to look for and reward the “that’s right”. There’s more “that’s right” than “not right”, and makes the whole experience more rewarding.
It also changes the perspective of the “not right”, from a mistake to fix into part of the learning process. Just an oops, we can start from there. A pup that sits sideways instead of in the heel can be rewarded for ooching! Bring the rump closer, click/treat. Get the rump in the right spot, click/jackpot treats!
Of course, clicker training takes 3 things: patience, time, and the willingness to have doggie treats stashed in every pocket. It’s best to turn pockets inside out before tossing in the washer…but once the foundation is laid, there really is absolutely nothing you can’t get a dog to want to do for you.
Well, maybe with the exception of getting Kenai in the pool. But then, I’m pretty much too lazy to work that long and hard now. If I’d known how to go about it better when he was little…? Nah, he doesn’t even like dew on the grass. Prissy boy. Typical Dane: don’t get me wet.
The perspective change naturally flows into every part of life; a tantrum throwing 2 year old is more easily redirected when you’ve practiced on the dog. And looking for the good reduces the tendency to become irritated or discouraged by the bad stuff that hits ya. Inconveniences happen.
Clicker training’s not likely to turn a sourpuss into a pollyanna, but even the sourpuss can become less sour to be around. Just think, all this longwindedness from seeing a pic of a 11 wk old pup. It don’t take much to get me going. I entertain myself easily.
Well, the boys are still crated way more than usual, while we wait now for my brother to pass away. Kenai’s whiney and restless, stubborn about not getting enough outside time. BB’s being a really silly butt, like holding it until he comes back inside to pee on the floor last night…
We stayed home with them yesterday, but the off and running starts again today with funeral arrangements. I’m taking Kenai with me though this morning, since there’s a few needful errands. I’ll probably drop Mom off at the hospital and go run them myself, but who knows at 6 am what 9 am will bring?
I did give them each a soda pop carton to play with yesterday, and I stretched it out as long as the cardboard would hold up to the slobber. And later BB’s sad hound eyes triggered a clicker training practice. He perks up the moment it comes out, and has so much fun doing his tricks for treats.
Still, the distractions aren’t enough to undo the blahs from schedule changes that have been happening. Hopefully soon, my wee ones, soon we’ll go back to normal life. I didn’t even take any pictures of them last week. Maybe that’s what the mopey is for–I’m ruining their star status for want of fresh pics? Ha!
Despite the stress, the boys are looking better as far as body condition. I’ll get Kenai weighed today, but you can tell from looking at them that even BB has more meat on them thar bones. I don’t like how dark Kenai’s urine is, but the vet has a sample and is running some tests to be sure he’s okay.
Our world is somewhat inside-up and downside-out at the moment. Poor pups, and poor peoples too. If I could get a halfway respectable andrenaline dump they’d have their usual amount of play and run. No dice, the glands are on strike, holding out for better retirement benefits or something.
I’m gonna at least try to reinstate one clicker practice before a meal for the boys, to entertain them and provide some exercise. The distance work, like “find grammy”, or name games where they have to find me gives them a chance to charge about some, all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
That’d be fun for ‘em. I could do that, I bet. Maybe that’ll get the inside up back down a little, huh?
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 15, 2009
Kenai’s got an onery about to strike! 18 mo
Saturday was more normal for the pups, and with a face like this one showing, it was time for some outside fun and entertainment. This is his getting onery frustrated face, from too much crate dwelling and couch snoozing. Out we went, as much for my sanity as his.
I managed to whack down the weeds in the kennel with a scythe, since the push mower’s bag continues its disappearance. It’s really not safe for him with high weeds, but with nearly everything cut down, I left him a small tuft of Johnson’s grass to barrel through. He loves his tall grass, funny boy.
Of course with things being different, he had to check out the perimeter first. Kenai is somewhat methodical about things…
But eventually he decided it was time to see what’s this, the tempting little chia-head tuft of just right for ambush cover grass!
He walked all around it, starting from the other side of where he’s at in this picture. He’d sniff from top to bottom and bottom to top.
I was ticked that I missed a pic of him sticking his head inside for a smell. It was funny too, poking his head through the rest of the way to peek at me. Just a Kenai face sticking out of the grass, his body hidden.
But I got that one above, and this one that followed. With little bro running about watching, he whipped out a “It’s my chia head tuft and I won’t share” attitude. Stinker.
Then to totally tease BB, Kenai grabbed up the jolly ball and flung it around at the edges of the kennel. It’d hit ground and BB’d run over, only to find he couldn’t get it through the chain link. Meanie!
I let that go on awhile, then provided a really big cool stick for BB to tease Kenai with! Turn about is fair play in the littermate games, ya know.
I really did let them run too long, and Kenai needed some liniment to nap comfortably. But they were having so much fun, and the weather was cool enough not to have to cut things short. Some outside times they don’t want to gallop about much, but when they do they have a ball together.
Sunday and Monday was spent mostly at home. Kenai seems to be getting restless and bored in the afternoons. Guess that means I need to find the energy to get a second playtime going after our nap? Oh my…darn fatigue.
I took Kenai into the convenience store Sunday, no gentle leader. The only trouble he gave me was a determined to sniff with one person. He didn’t settle at my side or in front of me either at the counter. But he didn’t have the willies this time. He really seems to be calming back down-yay!
Unfortunately today Kenai will have another couple hours of crating; it’s too hot to leave him in the car for heaven knows how long while Mom and I talk with the hospital staff about what to do next about my brother.
We were supposed to have time with the trainer today, but that’s fallen through for today. I’ll give her a call later. The boys have so much fun with her, someone new and interesting to interact with. She always has the coolest toys, too.
Okay, this post is a little boring, but then, I’m boring these days worn down by the hospital stuff. I was really surprised by how little adrenaline reserve I had, expecting a bit more “up” to hold off the “down”.
Yeesh, Kenai says, what happened to my fun?! “Well if ya liked the pool kid…”
A pool puppy he’s not though, not even close. He’ll look at it. He’ll hang out on the deck, unlike his brother. But getting in is not going to happen, not in this life. He prefers to make me melt in the summer humidity stomping about on dry land. Landlubber…
The next few days will be very hot and very busy for me, which means the crate for Kenai some more. Poor kiddo. He’s so sweet about it, and I do my best to get him out every day for run time, or off on a car ride when it’s cool. It’s a hard knock life, all the same, being crated!
We took the boys with us last night to the cafe, and left the car running with the air on. Those two…they fussed with each other the whole time. They don’t do it when we’re in the car but nip and fuss when we leave them. Kenai will lay down, and BB will nip the pointy ears…Boys!
I swear I can hear the dialogue, too. “He touched me!”, “Shut up!”, “He’s breathing on me!”, “Ma! Make him leave me alone.”, “He started it”, “Are we leaving yet?”
It was funny, I stepped out into the parking lot at one point and scolded them to knock it off. Someone cracked they were bad as kids, and got a huge laugh when the Brother’s Grin poked their heads out of the car looking contrite. They returned to the nippy as soon as I was out of sight.
Today will be a tough day, starting with going to wallyworld for something decent to wear for my brother’s funeral, then going to the hospital again, to be with him when the life support is taken off. Kenai will get to go riding to Walmart, then it’s the crate.
Maybe we’ll have another outside play time in the afternoon, and a long nap together. I hope so. Together time is happy time, as far as dogs are concerned. They may be onto something…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 11, 2009
Heeerree’sss BB! 18 mo old
Sometimes I like to get pics of BB up, and since I haven’t finished tinkering with any of Kenai’s pics this week, today was a perfect opportunity. He’s just popped out from behind the miscanthus, playing ring around the rosie with me.
He had a big day yesterday too, little BB; he went to the vet with me in the afternoon (oh how I miss my naps). He’s 120 pounds, up a bit, and the vet agrees he feels more deep muscle groups than he did last time. The only icky was the thermometer in his behind–everything else was just hanging out while I talked to the vet.
BB’s hormones turned out normal, so I can’t tease Mom that he’ll go through menopause when he’s neutered. Shucks. No girlie-clothes shopping for BB either, boo-hoo. Mom would say ‘oh hush’ right about now!
Then Beebs went to the puppy store! We didn’t buy anything, but he wandered all over for a short time. We had some peek a boo games, and find me, and get your tushie, then he settled himself on a mat to watch the goings on in the street. After the nervousness of the vet visit, he enjoyed this.
Of course Kenai wasn’t keen on being left while I went off with little bro…but he got his car ride that morning. Nothing special, but it was a car ride with me AND his “grammy”. Happy! With my brother in the hospital, he’s been crated more this week than ever before, and it’s hard on him.
Hard enough in fact that he’s lost 4 pounds and has too soft poo. Uhg. So since my brother is going to remain on life support for awhile, and the all-day no napping is kicking my butt…I’ve decided to go back to our regular home routine as much as possible.
That means our morning outings will include a hospital visit with one or maybe two stops where Kenai can get out with me. We’re reinstating the afternoon nap times, and the outside play times. Evenings I’ll try to stay home with the boys, and restart the pre-meal obedience practices.
Neither pup has had much play time all week, the poor guys. It shows. BB was wound up tight, and Kenai was whiney with tummy troubles, puppy pimples, and sore legs. Poor pups. Even the new box of bones don’t make it better when all is wrong (awww, sad sorrows moose face).
We’ve not seen any snakes this week, but I need to get another box of mothballs and enlarge the perimeter: the farther away from the house them ol’ snakes are the better. And I need to cut the grass again, maybe Sunday. And I must find the attatchments and get the push mower in the kennel.
I’ve been saving a cardboard soda carton until it had a mate, so the two ‘ay maties had one each to ravage. And since I’ll put the corned beef and cabbage in a pot this afternoon, there will be pretty black noses all around the stove with me. Such tempting targets for smoochies!
Tuesday we meet with Kenai’s trainer. We haven’t set a place yet, but it is blessedly in the morning when I still have some go in the engine. He is starting to relax and be more confident in public, so I’d like to capitalize on that trend.
Kenai’s started another trend: he likes to move by the curtains so the ends of them run down his back. “Here I am!” He’s doing that with houseplants too, walking by them so they rub his back. Playing ambush puppy?
Well here’s hoping that my plans make next week better for the boys, more normal. That’d be good for us all. “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” as they say ’round here. Ya’ll have a good weekend, too. I will if you will!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 6, 2009
Playing makes a boy feel good, Kenai 17 mo
This week the boys are 18 mo old, and their box of bones should come just in time. They won’t have a clue why they’re getting new bones, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying the windfall! Chomp, chomp.
Summer has officially started here: we saw our first poisonous snake Saturday. It was a small copperhead, but small is big enough with those things. We also have cotton mouths and the occasional rattlesnake, though they aren’t as frequently sited. Any of them are bad news.
This snake was right next to the sidewalk too, so after an unsuccessful attempt to kill it with a lawn dethatching rake, out came the box of mothballs. We can’t cut that side yard until the guys we’ve hired come and get what’s left of the fallen tree out of it, so the grass is way too tall not to interest snakes.
The fragrance coming through the open windows is now a mix of roses blooming wildly on the arbor and mothballs. Oh, and chlorine from the pool. Ah yes, the fresh air of summer…
Sunday I really enjoyed the summer day, getting the grass cut, getting all sweaty, getting unsweaty in the pool, getting a slight sunburn, getting some cantalope for lunch. It had that relaxed summertime feel to it, ya know? A nice way to spend my birthday.
Late afternoon I was settle down for my nap when the phone rang. It finally happened: my brother had a giant heart attack. He’s had signs of imminent doom for some 15 years now, but wouldn’t do what the docs told him he had to, like watching his diet, exercising, etc. He turned 40 Saturday.
He’s in ICU, being kept unconscious and his body temp down. He had really low oxygen for his brain for a very long time, and there’s no way to know just yet if the ischemia has damaged his brain or heart muscle.
So any of you 40 somethings out there who aren’t walking the line with your triglycerides and blood pressure etc, you pay attention better than he did! People under 50 are more likely to die where they fall and not come back. He had to be shocked over a dozen times in 2 hours. His daughter is just 3 years old.
He made it through the night, having only one incident of arrythmia early on, so he’s pretty much stable right now. He was deliberately kept pretty much comatose for 72 hours then slowly brought up to see what happens. Today, in fact, his body temp was brought up and sedation lessened.
Mom will certainly be at the hospital alot. I’ll be staying home since there’s repair guys coming to the house and the new TV is being delivered. Somebody has to be home for that, but the CICU gave us numbers to call, and keep me pretty well informed.
Kenai’s trainer, Lisa (the other Lisa, not me) will be back from vacation and here for a training session Friday. Guess that means I need to gear up again, and get more serious about our practices. That reason, and Kenai’s being a crochety fart.
“Don’t wanna”, “rather not” expressions are seen on his face too frequently this past week, the stink. But his personality is really calming down-yay, happy dance, yay-and he’s actually much much easier to handle outside. He gets right out and does his business, some sniffing before and after the scrap piles naturally. He is a nose-oriented dog.
Twice since last post we’ve seen running animals, and Kenai stopped instantly on “Kenai, no!”. He wasn’t foot shifting, whining, hopping or going bonkers, either. I’m sure the kennel run time helped, but omg how wonderful it was. I’m finding myself relaxing now, because I can!
I haven’t gotten a weight on him this week yet, but I can tell from looking and the feel of his body that he’s gained muscle. The doxacycline I believe is working, killing off those nasty Ehrlichia bacteria.
His eyes are still reddish, and he’s definitely still sore in the hocks, shoulders and knees popping some. He doesn’t seem to be in as much pain, though. He’s really bugging me to go play more than he has in months. I’ll have to reinstate the daily runtimes.
And joy of joys to my budget, he’s been able to switch back to just kibble instead of half kibble, half hamburger. No major reflux, gas, or bad poo. Regular two a day stools, with more yellow than I’d like and a slight softness at time, but yeesh this is a major improvement.
BB hasn’t changed as dramatically, but it’s only been 2 weeks since starting the antibiotic. He was really far gone in his body condition; you could literally see every bone and joint. If either pup looked like a chronic case, it was Beebs, wasted away to skin and bones.
It may be wishful thinking but I believe there’s more deep muscle on BB that is felt with the hands more than seen with the eyes–intercostal muscles in the rib cage, stronger abdominals etc. It can take a month or more for the treatment to show results in body condition. So I’m simply watching.
It’s somewhat aggravating, the thousands and thousands we’ve spent on their vet care, all because of a tick bite no one noticed. We are with these guys 24/7, they are almost never alone, and we still missed it.
There’s more to jabber about but I’m short on time and really need to get this post up. I’ll settle in for a long winded post next time if I get a chance!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on June 2, 2009