Friday, January 11, 2013

IPOC's 50th Anniversary Open House

The facility I train at, the Imperial Polk Obedience Club, has reached their 50th year since establishment.

This is a huge accomplishment when you realize the entire organization has always been run by volunteers. The people who train and run the facility do it because they love it.

It's a place where we make friends, where we bond with our dogs, and where we compete and show that bond to the world.

It's a place where people hold you when you lose your old dog, and celebrate with you when you bring home a new puppy.

It's the dog community, and they are wonderful. 
On February 23, 2013, the IPOC facility will be open to the general public. There will be on site vendors, photography, and dental cleaning without anesthesia. There will be SWAG, and the members are putting together a craft booth of things we have made. There will be one amazing raffle.
Everyone and their dogs are welcome. I know this blog doesn't do much in the dog world, and I'm not sure how many of my readers are close enough to visit us.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Safe and Sound

Thunder came home yesterday. His blood work all came through as normal, and he went through the surgery just fine. They did give him an injection of antibiotics before sending him home with purple stitches.

He'll need to go back in about 10 days to get the stitches taken out, and stay on his antibiotics and pain pills until then, and wear a cone. We got him the big, soft flexible one so it is hopefully more comfortable.


He looks pathetic, the poor guy. But hopefully with that growth taken off, he can heal up and be right as rain again, and go back to chasing the cat.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In for Surgery

My old man Thunder had a growth come up on his leg suddenly. I took him into the vet to have it checked, it was confirmed as a tumor - but as it was not attached to the bone or to a muscle, we decided to leave it be for now.

However shortly then after, he managed to rupture it after a combination of licking it and laying on it, and I woke up one day to a floor covered in blood.

He was then doctored up, and we tried our best to heal the wound - a hefty dosage of antibiotics, pain medications, wound cleanings and wrappings.

But the injury would not heal.

Finally, my vet confirmed for me yesterday that at this point, despite his age - the best course of action is to surgically remove the growth to prevent future infection.

I'm scared to have surgery on a dog that is 13 and a half years old.

I opted to have the full blood panel, urinalysis, and fecal done pre-surgery to be absolutely sure that his body should be able to handle the anesthesia okay. We also decided to go ahead and place a catheter in his leg, so should an emergency arise, they can get fluids into him very quickly.

Now it's up to the surgeon and his skills. I am a nervous wreck of course, surgery is always going to make me nervous.

In this case, removing the growth should alleviate the pain, allow his leg to heal properly, and dramatically increase his quality of life. Leaving it to fester, and prone to infection could lead to misery, and eventually having to euthanize him.

And as scared as I am, if he does not wake up on the table - at least he will not have to suffer, and I have the comfort of knowing I've done everything in my power to take care of him.

Good luck, Thunder. Please be okay in your surgery today. I love you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

T.A.R.D.I.S., RN

This past Sunday, T.A.R.D.I.S. and I earned his RN title.

This was not quite the run I had hoped for though. While I figured my dog was plenty able to handle it, I had actually sprained my ankle pretty badly the day before while running the Savage Race.

Due to the sprain, and the fact that it hurt pretty bad, I was limping. A lot. T.A.R.D.I.S. was apparently not used to my limping, and not sure how to heel along side me. He wanted to go his normal speed, which caused a lot of tight leashes. I also tripped on him more than once, causing a 'dog interference', and then towards the end, he got agitated with our slow speed in something that is normally fast and upbeat, so he started barking at me.

I was kind of embarrassed at our poor performance, but we still managed a 78. We still qualified. We didn't place, but we got our title ribbon.

As I'm not a die-hard competitor, I'm okay with this. My dog is doing his job.. and maybe next time I'll try not to put him through the ring with me hobbling around.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dogs Don't Live Long Enough

Thunder is very old. He's 13, which is ... old for a German Shepherd. He's very, very arthritic and he has a very hard time moving. He falls - a LOT. Cries to get up, cries to lay down, has to be carried up/down steps and in/out of the car.

He can't walk very far and he limps badly. His rear end just isn't cooperating with him.

But even through it all, he has such a good attitude, which is the problem.

He seems like he hurts so much, but at the same time, he still wags his tail to see us, gives kisses, talks all the time, harasses the cat, and tries to chase people along the fence in his slow, clumsy way.

He has rimadyl and tramadol for pain but they don't seem to be helping him any, as well as a glucosamine supplement twice a day.

He's so old that I don't think there is a lot we can do for him. You can't fix being old. You don't give a hip replacement to a 13 year old dog of his breed - emotionally, sure I'd love to just fix what's broken, but it doesn't seem the right move. That's a hell of a lot to put a dog through at this age.

Basically, I think I'm seeing the end of the tunnel coming up for him. I just don't know what I should do:

Leave him be, since he still seems in good spirits, and hope he passes in his sleep one day, all the while knowing it will slowly get worse and the pain will increase?

Or, do I put a stop to it while he's still happy and before it gets worse?

I don't know if he can hold one a few months or another year. The life span of a GSD is approximately 7-10 years. Hip and elbow displaysia is super common. He's completely deaf.

It seems so unfair to see him hurting, but I hate making that choice for him.

I think that relatively soonish, I'll take him in to the vet anyway to get some x-rays and talk to the vet about it and maybe get an extra opinion. It's just frustrating trying to decide what is right for him, when he can't tell me himself.