29 May 2010

{28may2010: Woo hoo!}

It's a three day holiday weekend!  Woo hoo!
Hope you all have something fun planned!

Thank you all for your input on Darwin's barking issue!  A really big thanks to Honey's mom for her always helpful tips! 
We went for a family walk after work yesterday up to the farmers market in our neighborhood.  It was the perfect chance to work with Darwin with the tips from Hsin-Yi.  We had Darwin in her "sports bra" (
which we've taken to calling it after Mango called it that in a comment) and had a bag of treats and the clicker handy.  We worked on her heeling on the way up there, and once we got to the market there were a lot of dogs around (and people).  Darwin got tons of attention from everyone, and we managed to get through the whole market without her barking at any of the other dogs!  I didn't get any pictures though (I was too occupied eating my ice cream cone).   
On the way home we stopped at a little park and entertained ourselves by swinging on the swings, which Darwin did not like.  
We had found a ball on our walk up to the market and Darwin had a blast playing with it at the park.
So yes!  Training has been successful so far!  We'll be keeping up with it for sure!

So after we got home and Darwin got her bland dinner of chicken and rice she was in the living room playing with her ball, and all of a sudden walked over to Jason with it.  We thought she wanted to play, but then we noticed she had got her bottom teeth stuck in a hole at the end of the ball.
It's not that big of a hole, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch big, but boy does it stretch!
We were shocked, but then had to laugh and run and grab the camera and I took a video on my phone before we helped free her (hehehe we're so mean).
So far it just looks like she's biting it right?
But, nope... not biting it.  It's stuck.  
(Jack, do you like our contribution to 'cut off part of your head' day?)
Sorry for the dark video... 

So after Jason freed her from the ball, we got comfy watching Jason's favorite show (The Wire) and not even five minutes later, she got it stuck again!  This time though instead of walking to Jason she walked down the hallway (I think in shame), so we had to follow her and get it off her. 
Now that we know she can get stuck on that ball, we've hidden it while she's home alone to prevent any further ball-lip incidents.

Have a great weekend everyone!

28 May 2010

{27may2010: Rain rain...}

Go away.  
It has been raining for almost two weeks straight.  This is stereotypical Seattle weather.... but it shouldn't be like this!  It's May not October!
Darwin hasn't had many outings because she HATES the rain (besides her gimpy butt keeps her activity levels restricted).  We have a coat for her which helps, but at the same time, you put it on her and suddenly her butt droops.  It's like her kryptonite.  I'll have to try and get video of it at some point cause it really is funny.  
Anyway, there was one day last week where the weather was decent after work so we went for a walk and stopped in a park where this little boy ran over to say hi to her.  I love when kids aren't afraid of her and want to say hi.  Most kids (or their parents) are terrified of her because of her size.  (BTW, I got a blatant "where's her saddle" comment last night while walking her... doesn't happen often, but when it does it so bugs me.)  So after he gave her a few pets and compared her to his dog (a black lab) we kept walking.  I got her to sit under a pretty tree for some pictures (taken with my phone).

As I moved to get a different angle Darwin decided she was done posing.

On another note.  Any advice on how to get Darwin to stop barking at other dogs when we're out walking?  She used to NEVER bark at other dogs, even if they were barking at her, she'd usually ignore other dogs.  But ever since her mystery injury and drug treatment she's a nut.  There's a big old greyhound that walks around the same time we do after work and on the same roads.  Darwin could care less about her before, but now she barks at this dog all the time.  It's so embarrassing and frustrating.  People are going to start thinking she's a mean, aggressive dog which she isn't... or she wasn't... she's just hurt and drugged.  Ugh.  I miss my carefree, hyper puppy!

27 May 2010

{26may2010: slacker}

Man. I've been slacking on the blog.  I was hoping to blog once we got the consultation report from the neurologist (he was going to do more research and email me), but it still hasn't come so for now I'll just say this, GRRR.
We had our appointment on Monday and on the drive there it hit me.  I FORGOT TO PICK UP HER XRAYS.  OI.  Instead of having the vet courier it to the neurologist I thought, I can pick it up no problem.  No problem if I remembered.   Problem when I totally blank on doing it.  We called to see if we should postpone our appointment since I didn't have the xrays, and they said they can exam her without the xrays.  
We get there and take a seat on a couch while we wait in the lobby and Darwin decides to make herself comfy too.
Having just her butt on the couch wasn't comfy enough, so she hopped right up and found a good position.
See that lady in the backround?  She couldn't help but laugh at Darwin making herself at home on the couch.
So we go in the exam room and Dr. Sanders checks Darwin out.   We told him about her gimpy butt and her incontinence and what the new xrays showed.  From what he could tell from his exam and the MRI's they did in March he still doesn't think it's a neurological issue, but it could be an orthopedic issue due to excessive bone growth in her lower back.  He was going to send for her new xrays and look them over with the ortho guy and do some research.  We also got sent home with Gabapentin which Darwin has to take for two weeks.
So she started the Gabapentin Monday night, two pills every 12 hours.  She got two more Tuesday with her breakfast before we went to work.  We come home from work and that familiar unwelcoming smell was floating in the lobby area.  UGH. 
The hallway was covered in poop.  COVERED.  Jason took her out for a walk while I cleaned.  There was even diarrhea on her bed.... poor girl.  I Googled Gabapentin to see its side effects and I couldn't find diarrhea as one, so I called SVS to see if we should stop giving her the drugs.  They said the diarrhea is probably unrelated to the Gapapentin and to keep giving it to her, but to give her a bland diet for a few days (rice and chicken).  So while I felt bad for her stomach issues (and me having to clean it again) she was quite the happy camper having rice and chicken for dinner.
Darwin LOVES rice. If she hears one of us in the kitchen making rice she is right there. If she hears the rice cooker button pop up when done she is right there. I think she is faking the stomach ache just so she can get rice more often. 

If you look carefully you can see rice on her nose and stuck on her lip.

So our adventures with Darwin's ailment continues.  I did ask Dr. Sanders about accupuncture and chiropractic care, and he said he wouldn't recommend chiropractic treatment for her as it may stress her out, but accupuncture may be a way to go.  He said there is a vet,
Dr. Donna Kelleher , who is a nutritionist and holistic vet that he may recommend us to, but she has a long wait list and there are other vets.  He said if Darwin were his dog though he'd wait to see her.  
It's funny because shortly after we started Darwin's blog I had won a book from Stella for her third birthday called The Last Chance Dog and it's written by Dr. Kelleher.

I've put off reading it in favor of other books, but now I feel motivated to read it and see if a more holistic approach would be beneficial to Darwin. 

25 May 2010

{24may2010: Maxdog}

Updates on Darwin can wait.  For now we celebrate the life of a dog that has touched so many across the blogging world.
Rest in peace Max.  
Thank you for sharing your story with us.

12 March 2000 - 24 May 2010

22 May 2010

{12may2010: flashback Friday}

Oh, this is a good one.  
One year ago today, Darwin was in her teething stage and it made her ears go all wonky.  She had a play date with her brother Boo, and then we headed out to Alki to enjoy the last few hours of the sunny day (wish it was as sunny today as it was a year ago).
I remember we were sitting out at this pizza place and a girl walked by and asked "she's a Pitbull right?"  We've been asked if she was a Weimaraner (actually we've been told by a lady on many occasions that she was a Weimaraner) and grey Labrador, but that was the first (and only) time we got Pitbull.
Darwin got her first experience testing out the kiddie pool that day.
And digging in the sand.

Have a great weekend everyone!

19 May 2010

{18may2010: thank you!}

We got an award from our fun lab friends Mack and Mia!

Here are the rules:
Rule 1. Thank the person who gave it to you.
BIG thank you to Mack and Mia, the some of our funniest friends, and home of the infamous MACK ATTACK!

Rule 2. Share 7 things about yourself.
1.  Darwin has the same toys from when she was a tiny puppy... those stuffies she doesn't try to destuff, but anything new doesn't stand a chance, especially if it has plastic eyeballs.
2.  Darwin doesn't like her tail or butt being touched
3.  Darwin still has a gimpy butt*
4.  Darwin will not sit on the ground if we're out at a public place (bar, restaurant, etc)... she'll stand the whole time
5.  Darwin gets scared of anything she's not familiar with, even a plastic bag on the ground
6.  Darwin is a pro at walking up her ramp to get into the car
7.  Darwin has "gorgeous hips" (this according to her vet who reviewed her xrays)
Rule 3. Pass the award along to 7 bloggers who you think are fantastic.
1.  Ollie the tiny Yorkie puppy
2.  Ammy and the rest of the Army of Four (Ammy tells the best jokes)
3.  Miss M and Mr B the two pitties in the city
4.  Remi whom we'll hopefully see again soon
5.  Nala, Remi's sister whom we'll hopefully see again soon too!
6.  Murphy and his kitty sister Fergie
7.  Remington and his kitty brother Oz
Rule 4. Contact Blog award winners.

Thank you again to Mack and Mia!

*More news on Darwin's gimpy butt (it's technically not her butt, but I like calling her that).
We have an appointment with the neurologist next week Monday and I've been doing a lot of google researching on what it could possibly be.  I've found this page with information about Intervertebral Disc Disease in Dogs, and a few other pages on Cauda Equina Syndrome and Thoracolumbar Intervertebral Disc Disease but the last two seem to be problems of the Lumbar spine and Darwin's xrays showed compression in her Thorasic spine. 
She had an accident on the couch (again) this weekend, and I'm wondering if it is related to this back issue where she's becoming incontinent due to the compression in her spine.  She's still taking 1 Prednisone pill every day, and tomorrow goes down to 1 pill every other day.  I don't think her peeing incident has to do with the Prednisone (though her roid rage and dandruff may) as she doesn't even seem to know she had an accident til she stands up.

Ugh.  I just wish she was healthy or even that we knew what was wrong specifically and how to fix it.  

15 May 2010

{14may2010: xray results & flashback Friday}

After a game of voicemail tag I was finally able to talk to the vet about Darwin's xrays on Tuesday.  They noticed when she was there that she was shifting her weight on her back legs and palpated her spine before doing the radiographs and she yelped at the same spot as before(T10-T12 area of her lower spine).  So beside the hips she was initially going in for, they reshot her lower back and also covered her knees and ankles to make sure they have current radiographs of practically her whole body.  
Her hips look "gorgeous" according to the vet and her knees and ankles look totally fine too.  They did notice "MILD" (emphasis on mild) narrowing of her spine at the T11-T12 area of her thorasic spine. 
They asked how she's been doing and if she seems to be in pain.  So I told her about how Darwin's back legs seem to slide out when she's standing and how her rear seemed to get weak after running and playing.  She said that it is concerning that she's having rear end weakness and thinks we should go back for a consultation with the neurologist to check her reflexes and to asses her now versus a month and a half ago.   

She said it seems to be an invertebral disk disease and she doesn't think it was caused by trauma (i.e. her doggy daddy crashing into her) or it would've shown on the initial MRI as a disk out of line, compressing her spine.  
So... we still don't have a straight answer as to what's wrong with Dar, and I'm waiting to hear back from the neurologist's office on Monday (they only work Monday to Thursday) to set up another consultation appointment.  (sigh)

And since we need some pictures to liven things up, here's a flashback to some pictures of Darwin and her brother Boo from one year ago today when Boo came to visit us at work.

It's a beautiful Friday and should hold out for a beautiful weekend in Seattle!  Hope you all have a great weekend too!

12 May 2010

{12may2010: Wordless Wednesday}

Playdate with brother Boo Radley edition:

{11may2010: waiting}

Darwin's at the vet getting xrayed (and her nails trimmed while she's sedated!), so while we wait for news here are some pictures from one of Darwin's days at work with us.  We took a walk up to Pike Place Market to enjoy the sun.
Darwin was running low on raw bones at home, so we stopped by the butcher to get a bag.
That's the famous Pike Place fish throwers located right next to Don and Joe's, the butcher and our neighbor works there so Darwin had to stop and say hello.  The nice guy working at Don and Joe's even gave Darwin a little treat of hamburger... he tossed it to her over the counter and she surprisingly caught it without it hitting her face or the floor.  We took our bag of bones and went to get our lunch, but first Darwin had to inspect her bag before we could move on.

Darwin got lots of attention at the market and soaked it all up.
We'll keep you all posted on results of the xrays!