The Stork

All week we had been trying to fly Harleigh to her new home in Canon City, CO, which is a 2.5 hour drive (1.25 hour flight) away. After being thwarted by the weather for several days, we finally made it! Her new family is wonderful – an older couple who lost their dog a few months ago. They have a wonderful home with a dog door that goes through a cabinet in the kitchen out to a ramp that Harleigh can mosey down to get into the yard. She got it first try!


Harleigh was a great passenger in the plane, spending most of the time sitting on the floor in the back. I, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling so hot. The flight was really turbulent, and the bumps were wreaking havoc on my stomach. I was actually kind of pleased when weather rolled in, and we couldn’t go home for a few hours because I didn’t think I could hack it in the bumpy plane for another hour and a half.

After waiting out the nearby thunderstorms, we again took flight, but this time to a wonderfully smooth sky. We even saw an awesome rainbow:

One of the biggest struggles of this trip were that we had Bill and a new foster dog, Jack, at home, and nobody to let them out (my parents were out of town). We hadn’t made arrangements for anyone to stop by because we thought we would be home quickly, but when we couldn’t get back, I had to scramble to find someone to let them out. Our friend Gary came over, and as I expected, called me 10 minutes into hanging out at our house to tell me that neither dog would get off our bed. Big surprise! Bill’s glued to that thing. Anyway, Gary ended up chasing them around the house to shoo them outside but finally was successful. Thanks, Gary!

So I was telling someone at the airport about how we took some puppies up to Rock Springs, WY to be adopted a few weeks ago, and the said, “You fly the “babies” to their new homes? You’re like a stork!” I thought that was really cute. If only we had our own plane, we could paint a stork on it!

Finally, a New Foster!


It’s been a long month. This was my first time teaching at the University of Colorado, and I have to admit, it was much harder than I expected! I’m glad I planned not to foster last month because I think it would have put me over the top.

Anyway, the month is through and we’ve finally received our new foster dog. Her name is Harleigh, and before she arrived I was told her family was moving into a small apartment and had to part with her. Uh…

Well, that may have been true, but honestly, good riddance. This poor dog came to me dirtier than I had ever seen from an “owner surrender.” Her face is still brown despite my best efforts to wipe away her tear stains and the dirt, but I’m sure that will go away in time. She obviously wanted attention when I met her, but if I went to her, she would cower to the ground. Her nails were bloody from digging out of something and she had just recently been bred. She wouldn’t eat or drink, and she was terrified of my other Boston, Bill. So sad!

It’s been three days now, and she has made huge strides. She even PLAYED with Bill today! (Woohoo!). She’s comfortably loafing on her side on the couch right now, and when I call her, she comes. She hiked today, probably for the first time ever, and she did a great job. She ate her breakfast and is starting to cower less. The trick? I just gave her time and space and let her come to me. She’s the perfect dog, even if she doesn’t yet know it: sweet, appreciative, attentive, doesn’t wander off, friendly to people and dogs. Whoever gets to adopt her will have to have a little bit of patience, but in the end, they will be very lucky!

He’ll Be Back

So it was the biggest news of the month, yet it’s taken me two weeks to blog about it. Why? Well, it might have something to do with the four or five books I’m juggling right now. It might have something to do with circus preparation (my hobby is flying trapeze, and our circus is coming up). Or maybe it’s just that I’m teaching at the University of Colorado this month for the first time and class is every day! Either way, sorry this news is coming to you so late, but it’s big. Are you ready? Drumroll…

MAX GOT ADOPTED! Yay! But it gets even better – Max got adopted by Madeline’s parents, whose home is a rancher with carpet! Additionally, since I frequently dogsit Madeline, I’m sure Max is going to be around a lot, too (I’ll be seeing them both tomorrow, in fact). This adoption really couldn’t have turned out better.

Here’s what Max had to say after his first day in his new home:

Hi Kyla

I am doing great. I was a bit upset and stressed after you left. I definitely would have preferred to go with Bill, but I mellowed out when I figured Madeline was here with me and she played with me. We went to the dog park out in Lyons, went for a good walk, met a horse, played in the sprinklers, and enjoyed the warm weather and tall grass. Whew, was I pooped out and slept in the car on the way home. I was really hungry when I got back to my new forever home. Then I got to sleep on the couch while my new forever family watched a movie on TV. Guess what? They let me sleep on the bed! But when I got up this morning and went potty, I came back into the bedroom and went back to sleep in my bed. I really like my new dad. He lets me give him lots of kisses and lets me sit in his lap and nap. Madeline and I have been playing outside in a really cool back yard. There’s a big tree and I like to lay in the grass under the tree. I also got a brand new red collar today. This home is sooo cool. I think I am going to like it here. Thank you for finding my new forever home. You are the best-est (!) and I will always appreciate you, and I love what you have done for me. I am excited that I know I will always get to visit Bill and you.
Your best friend,

Max

Awww! Joe and Kim, Max’s new parents, are so LUCKY to have such a great dog, and he’s lucky to have them, too!

Oops!

So it’s been a bit of a circus at our house. Bill and Max have had their friends, Lucy and Madeline, over. We’ve never had four dogs (plus two cats) in the house before, and it was wild! These guys just never stopped playing.

Anyway, we were on our way out to dinner, and I thought to crate the girls because Madeline is unreliable with potty-training, and Lucy wouldn’t stop playing with Max if I didn’t crate her. I wanted them to calm down. I put the girls in their crates and then turned to walk out the door, when I heard a quiet, “Meow.” I turned around to see:

Uh, oops! What’s Chewie doing in there? When I crated the girls, I forgot that Chewie has taken up the habit of sleeping in their crates when they aren’t “home.” We laughed so hard and couldn’t help but snap a few photos before letting Chewie run free. It’s a good he was stuck in there with Lucy and not Max because, well, let’s just say Max is a little “too interested” in him. In Lucy’s case, she actually looked grateful for the company, but by the way Chewie took off as soon as I opened the door, I could tell that he was equally grateful for his freedom.

An all day affair


So here we are, sitting in the waiting room at Colorado State University. It’s my first time bringing a dog here, and I’m surprised at how similar it is to a human hospital. The waiting room is full of sad but hopeful faces, which are punctuated by the occasional outbreak of tears. This is obviously not an ordinary vet clinic-if you’re here for an appointment, you have something very wrong.

The good news I have to deliver, as my mom and I sit and wait for Max to return from his visit with the orthopedic doc, is that Man’s cardiology appointment went very well. They said his issues are specifically from the heartworm, and he should not have longtime damage. Horray! Here we come netters surgery!

The bad news is that Max’s leg cannot be fixed. It is not dislocated at the shoulder as we thought, but the elbow was not only dislocated at some time, but the ulna is rotated 180 degrees. It’s an old injury and the bone is fused, so there is nothing they can do to fix it. He also has neurological damage in several parts of his spine making his back legs overly reactive and his front legs less reactive than normal.

It’s not all bad news, though. These things should not stop him from living a happy life, although he’s guaranteed to have arthritis as he ages. Additionally, he’s now able to be neutered and get his eyes fixed. Also, we’re not at the end of the road with orthopedic ideas – there’s a guy in Denver who makes custom braces for dogs, and he just happened to meet Max at CSU today. He might be able to make Max some kind of “peg leg” so that he can better use that front right leg.

Stay tuned… I’ll let you know what happens after we meet with him. Woof!

A Chicken or a Duck?


Yesterday morning I awoke to find snow on the ground. The dogs and I had the same thought: “Really? Isn’t it almost May?” Bill could care less about snow; in fact, he really likes it. But Madeline and Max on the other hand, the white fluffy stuff is something they could do without.

After getting over the initial morning potty, I dressed Max in one of my favorite t-shirts for my petite Bostons – it’s a little yellow thing with a chick on the back. Or is it a duck? I’m really not sure, although now that I’m looking at it carefully (he’s still wearing it), I think it’s a duck. He doesn’t seem to quack when he wears it, but I think he’s much happier with it on. He seems to chill very easily.

The good news is that Max no longer has yellow snot coming out of his nose (I was sick last week and I think he caught a sympathy cold). We’ve had him on Clindamycin for a week and it seems to really be helping. I’ve also been giving him a children’s Benedryl each day and his eyes seem to be less red (though it’s hard to tell with the cherry eye). Overall there’s not much to report.

Madeline is going home on Sunday or Monday after a two-week vacation at “Camp Bill.” After that I’m sure we’ll settle back into our routine. I have no doubt that Bill and Max will keep each other entertained, as they’re on the floor together right now playing bitey-face, and Bill is making his usual, happy, Wookie noises.

Next Thursday is Max’s big day at CSU to find out what’s going on with his heart and leg. I’ll let you know what they say.

No News Is Good News

I’m happy to report that the past week with Max has been uneventful…sort of. I stayed up with him all night again because he was breathing funny, and the next morning he had yellow snot coming out of his nose, but I think he was just having “sympathy sickness” for the cold I was suffering from. The vet diagnosed an upper respiratory infection (URI) over the phone, and we switched his antibiotic to something more appropriate to tackle that. (Could I have some, too? I’m still sick!)

My husband, Dylan, discovered that Max knows the “sit” command, although he apparently only remembers it when he hears it in Dylan’s voice. Dylan says, “Sit!” and Max flattens himself to the floor while attentively staring at Dylan for a treat (he can’t actually “sit” because of his broken neurons or whatever). When I say “Sit!” Max stares at me like I’m crazy. I just don’t get it.

Anyway, mostly no news from our crazy foster home this week. We still have ex-foster Madeline staying with us, and the “kids” have a great time playing the day away. I’m embarrassed when I take her and Bill to the dog park because they gang up on other dogs with their overly-enthusiastic play, and I had to pull Madeline off a floppy-eared dog the other day because she seemed to think his ears were tear-offs!

Signing off for now – Max’s big Colorado State University vet appointment is next Thursday, so if you don’t hear from me before then, I’ll be sure to post his results.

An Enlarged Heart

It’s been a rough week. I was excited to welcome Madeline, a previous foster, back to our house for dogsitting. The timing seemed perfect because Max was just about to hit the one-month mark after his heartworm treatment, meaning that he could begin to do a bit more activity. I thought everyone would have a great time playing together, and they did…for the first three days.

Then Max got sick again. His breathing was labored and he became lethargic. Back at the vet for examination and X-rays, it was reaffirmed that Max’s right ventricle was enlarged. X-rays from the previous month showed the same thing, but not being a vet myself, I thought that was a temporary condition from the worms. This time around the vet told me that it is permanent. They watched Max for the day and then sent him home to me, stating that he was doing much better. (Note: Look carefully in the X-ray image and you can also see his dislocated shoulder – it turns out it’s his shoulder and his elbow. So sad.)

That night, I noticed again that Max was breathing loudly with quick, shallow breaths. I stayed up with him all night (because I was concerned about him and I had caught a nasty cold that wouldn’t let me sleep anyway), and then again took him to the vet the next morning. That whole day was scary, as new X-rays revealed fluid in his lungs and I just didn’t know if he would make it. The second time the vet called I almost lost it, thinking that she was calling to deliver bad news. But to my pleasant surprise, she was just calling to say that she gave him Lasix (a diuretic) and that he responded to it very well.

Max came home, and he’s been happy with the limited activity I’ve allow him. He plays bitey-face with Bill and Madeline for short spurts and I allow him to walk around at the dog park for short periods (he’s got to be fenced in because he doesn’t yet know recall and he’s VERY fast for a three-legged, uncoordinated dog!). He does have congestive heart failure, as the vet said his heart valves are not opening and closing correctly. He’ll be visiting Colorado State University in a week to meet with a specialist.

I’m so glad he made it through those rocky few days. I feel completely responsible for his relapse, as he just seemed to be feeling so good, and I let him do too much activity. I would have been devastated to lose him. He’s such a loving, special, little guy, and he deserves the best life possible.

Max-i Pad!


I just couldn’t help myself – our latest foster Max is currently living in a giant crate that can only be donned the “Max-i Pad!” Check back a few posts if you want the whole story, but if you’re just here for an update, I’m please to tell you that Max’s recovery is coming along very well. We’ve got less than two weeks until Max is off “house arrest,” and he’s already recovering nicely. Two weeks ago he went into cardiac arrest from the disintegrating worms causing an embolism. Last week was full of wheezing and coughing. This week he’s alert, happy, and the rasp we could hear in his breathing has mostly subsided.

Max is the cutest guy – he’s a three-legged dog with bad coordination, but he doesn’t let that stand in his way. He loves to play with Bill, the little I’ve been letting them interact, and will lounge on the couch with me all day until I tell him he can get off. The only downside is that he’s a little incontinent. I hope once he is neutered this might stop, but I don’t know why it would matter. I think he could use a dental while he’s out, too! He’s a licking machine, but it’s kind of like being licked by a fish. Ewww!

Boston in a Bag

Believe it or not, my foster dog who almost died on me two days ago was most certainly feeling good enough today to get some fresh air. We’re only a week into his heartworm treatment so he’s still got quite some time until he can move around, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get some fresh air! I took a laptop bag, stuck some cardboard in the bottom, put at towel on top of that, and then simply inserted Max into the opening. It was a little hard to get all of his legs inside, but once they were in it was clear he had plenty of room to get comfortable.

Hiking with an extra 16 lbs. strapped across my shoulder was definitely a challenge, so I think I’ll give a backpack a try for our next outing. I’m just so glad to be able to include Max in some of our usual activities despite his condition.

Dylan (husband) and I have been researching heartworm and we found some great resources. Here are a few:

-Heartworm Treatment on VeterinaryPartner.com

-Heartworm Treatment on VetInfo.com

-Heartworm Disease at the Dog Owner’s Guide (this article is a bit older but I still found the information interesting)