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We took His Majesty to the vet for the last time today. I've been crying on and off all week, knowing this was coming.

Medical details. )

I will miss him terribly. When we looked at the vet notes from an earlier visit, somebody had noted "lovely dog" on his record, and he really was. I don't think he ever bit anybody in anger (there were a couple of accidents as he grew old and blind and mistook G's fingers for bacon) and he loved to cuddle. On cold nights he'd jump on the bed and nudge me until I lifted the quilt for him to burrow under and snuggle against our knees.

Thanks to friends and family who've offered sympathy. I know a lot of you loved him too, and as far as I can tell he loved pretty much everybody. It was a good life and one worth some tears.
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Dog-Or is much improved from Saturday. He's still clumsy and off-balance and walks with his head tilted, but he was feeling well enough to come for a walk the other day.

We got a little way along the street and he decided he wanted to turn around; I thought we were going home, but he went straight past home and around the corner on the other side. Then he turned around again, and I thought this time we were going home, but when we were almost back he turned AGAIN and went back to the corner. Then we came home. I'm not sure whether he was lost, or meandering, or trying to mess with me, but he seemed to be enjoying himself. He's eating (though not in huge amounts) and he's going outside when he needs to, so yeah, functional. I carry him up the stairs at night and downstairs again in the morning, because he was having enough trouble with stairs even before the vestibular syndrome hit.

So, chalk one up for the vet, and it looks as if Dog-Or should be with us a little while yet.
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Vet says: looks like vestibular syndrome (something like a mini-stroke), causing disorientation/loss of balance/nausea. She gave him shots for the nausea; if it is vestibular syndrome he should improve over the next week. Will still walk unevenly with a bit of head tilt, but as long as he's happy I don't care.

He doesn't seem to be in any great distress, beyond being disoriented and woozy. But he may take a while to forgive me for the bath I'm about to give him. (He's usually very good about housetraining, but he's had a couple of accidents lately, probably due to all this stuff.)

So we'll see how he does this week.

*sigh*

Jun. 2nd, 2012 09:03 am
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Last couple of days, Dog-Or the Wonder Spaniel has been having difficulty standing - I've been carrying him up and down the stairs at night. Today he turned down dry food, although we managed to coax him into eating a small bit of chicken. [edit: but it didn't stay down.]

Vet visit this morning to see what can be done.

*sigh*

He's not a young dog - we've had him 13 years now, and he's had three serious illnesses/injuries in his life - but I was hoping he'd be with us a while yet. Now... don't know.

Training

Jan. 29th, 2012 01:12 am
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It's just over a year since we adopted Basil from the Lost Dog's Home. He seems to have decided he likes it here. Unfortunately he still has some stray dog instincts that are hard to lose, and he's bitten each of us a couple of times, but I think we're making progress with him.

I made the mistake of incorporating "feed my dogs" into my morning routine as the FIRST thing I do after getting up. So I had only myself to blame when Basil started waking me up earlier and earlier in the hope of getting breakfast NOW NOW NOW.

So there's been a change in the routine. If Basil wants a morning shower, he wakes me up before seven and I give him a shower (he needs them fairly often anyway for skin allergies). If he doesn't want a morning shower, he lets me sleep until my alarm goes off, and I feed him. He's a bright dog; it only took two showers before he figured out the new rule.

We've also discovered that he has a Magic Spot just above his tail. Rub it just right, and his hindquarters collapse and he starts doing Happy Growl Leg Thump. (Happy Growl sounds very slightly different from his "RHAAR I CUT YOU" growl.) Rub it a bit more and he falls over altogether onto his back.

Dog-Or is getting old, alas. He's 13 this year, and slowing down quite a lot. He's less steady on his feet, he sometimes passes when Ratboy offers him a walk, and once (but only once) I had difficulty waking him for food, which REALLY had me worried. But he's doing OK; I don't think he likes the hot weather, but other than that he seems happy. Still not wild about Basil, but they manage to get along without too much trouble.
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Basil can eat 250 grams of chicken in 5 seconds. This extrapolates to his own body weight in just over three minutes...

Also, even when he's got a splinter in his back foot that's hurting enough he won't walk on it, he can still pogo higher than my elbow, repeatedly, at the scent of somebody else's dinner. He has a sort of "For this instant I am tall!" look on his face when he does this. It is adorable.

(Still lots of grr grr argh between him and Dog-Or, because neither of them has worked out how to understand the other dog's body language. Le sigh.)
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As Rey posted a couple of days ago, the dogs were getting very stroppy at feeding time - Basil wolfs his down and then goes for Dog-Or's, snarling and snapping ensues etc, and Dog-Or was getting very stressed to the point where he wouldn't even go downstairs. (Basil has shown no interest in the Land Upstairs, and we're quite happy to leave it that way.)

We've settled on a new routine: Rey and I leash the dogs, lead them to separate spots on the patio, and they both have to sit before they're allowed to eat. Basil stays leashed until Dog-Or has finished his bowl or abandoned it. This seems to have helped things; they're not growling nearly as much, and even shared a beanbag for a while today. I don't think Dog-Or was really enthused about this, but he didn't growl or flounce. Progress!
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Basil seems to be getting used to the place. He still spends a lot of his time playing "invisible dog" hiding in little niches around the house (quite the opposite of Dog-Or) but when I walk into the room he'll come out and say hello, and accept pats and scritchies for as long as I'm willing to give them. He seems to have hurt his foot somehow, so he may be in for a vet trip tomorrow.

Dog-Or is learning to live with him. He's been an only dog for eleven years, so I can't blame him for getting a bit jealous, but I think he'll get there. They both love w a l k s and that should help them bond a bit.

Work stuff. )

More dogs

Jan. 23rd, 2011 07:09 pm
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Dog-Or has decided that the interloper will be tolerated, as long as he recognises who's alpha dog and doesn't so much as LOOK at Dog-Or's food. Or sit on the beanbag. (So we got Basil a new doggie bed, and Dog-Or has decided he wants that one now...)

Basil is settling in, but a bit nervous about dealing with a new place and a new dog. He vanished this afternoon and we turned the house & garden over twice, trying to find him; eventually he turned up in the cupboard under the stairs. We'd already looked there twice, but he'd wriggled past boxes right to the back and was sitting there being a black dog in darkness. I don't think he's been a stray all his life, but I get the impression he's had a bit of a rough time one way or another.

Dogs

Jan. 23rd, 2011 12:58 pm
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Today we adopted Basil from the Lost Dogs' Home. Basil is a corgi/border collie cross, about 8 years old, history unknown (ex-stray, hadn't been desexed or chipped when they got him).

Dog-Or is... not entirely thrilled about this, but they seem to have accepted one another's presence, mostly. Dog-Or has explained that the red beanbag is the prerogative of the Senior Dog, and Basil is a little bit timid, but I think they'll learn to live with one another.
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Heading over to WA for a conference in December. It's the only state I've never visited, and I hear it's nice. The hotel ad encourages travelers to visit and 'be caressed by the Fremantle Doctor', which I imagine would be a little disconcerting if you don't know the expression. Not sure how much free time I'll have there, but any recommendations for things to do in Perth?

(BTW, I never want to hear 'I Still Call Australia Home' again. Thank you ever so much, Qantas Business Travel's hold music. Would it be too much to put a second song on the loop? Or even go beyond two verses of the first song, for that matter?)

Before that, a trip to Canberra to co-present another paper to our advisory committee. The guy who's reading and commenting on the paper is also, in another capacity, my stepmother's former PhD supervisor... small world.

And last week, I went to a seminar presented by someone I knew back in my Math Olympiad days. Which, now I think about it, is half a lifetime ago...

Dog-Or went to the vet yesterday to get a lump removed; while he was under they also took out a couple of teeth. Poor beast was very groggy afterwards - he'll always be a puppy to me, but he's 11 now, and gradually turning into a Senior Dog. More cheerful today, though, and while he's still a bit sore I hope he'll feel better soon without toothache.

Other than that... we take possession of our new house in two weeks. Hooray!
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Last night, Rey and I were walking the dog, when he spotted a black shape perched absolutely still on top of a fence.

Dog-or the Wonder Spaniel: OMG A KAT RRRAAAAHHHHRRRR! LEMME AT IT AND I'LL TEACH IT NOT TO SHOW ITS FACE AROUND HERE ANY MORE! GRR GRR ARGH!

Me: ...it's a mailbox.
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After trying gooshy food, a long w.a.l.k., extensive petting, and explaining to Dog-Or the Wonder Spaniel that Daddy is very busy trying to protect him from the Lich-King, if he still won't give me a moment's peace, I have been known to play kitten videos on YouTube. This usually buys me a few seconds while he tries to figure out where the EVIL CAT is hiding.
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Dog-Or went into the vet today, because we found a suspicious lump on his other ear. The good news (to our great relief) is that it was just a fatty lump, which is now gone.

But while he was under, he also had two teeth pulled, the rest cleaned, and a large lump taken off his back leg (again, just fat). The poor thing is now looking very woozy and sorry for himself; we had people over and he didn't even try to beg for food, just wandered around looking dazed and eventually retired to his beanbag.

Still, in the long run he should be happier for it.

(And yesterday he got a bath. Not his week, really...)

Climbing

Apr. 4th, 2009 09:17 pm
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Went to the climbing gym with Rey, [livejournal.com profile] silverblue, [livejournal.com profile] brandtotter, [livejournal.com profile] dilph, and non-LJ-person. Lots of fun! Hands and arms need a lot more strength (and my left hand needs to regrow a bit of skin), but definitely going back.

Dog-Or has discovered a new fun game that goes like this:

Dog: Hey, could you please open the door for me?
Me/Rey/[livejournal.com profile] lokicarbis: ...oh, okay. [door opens]
Dog: I changed my mind. I don't want to go out.

[approximately thirty seconds pass, long enough for all of us to sit down again]

Dog: Hey, could you please open the door for me?

[rinse, lather, repeat]

I'm beginning to wonder if somebody's switched our dog for a cat...
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Last couple of days, Dog-Or has been having difficulty jumping up onto the bed. Sometimes he'll manage it, sometimes he'll try and fail, sometimes he'll just stand there looking hopeful until I lift him up.

He's always been a tiny bit lame in one of the hind legs since he was attacked in the boarding kennel years ago, and I suspect he's just feeling a bit stiffer these days. Once he's been up and about for a bit, he seems to be fine.

But I can't deny that he's gradually turning into an old dog. He sleeps a bit more, snores a bit more, he's very slightly less boisterous than he used to be. Still, he seems to be a pretty happy old dog, all in all. As he deserves to be.
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Back to the vet yesterday, with the same symptoms as two weeks ago. Repeat tests, seems it is pancreatitis after all. He's getting antibiotics for the fever (or will be, once he demonstrates the ability to keep them down). And no food today, no food at all tomorrow, and a low-fat diet that means no bacon ever again.

Oh well. He's running around again now, looking much better than yesterday morning thanks to more IV fluids, even if he *is* strongly hinting that it should be cheezburger time.
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Vet says: tests back, is not pancreatitis, probably ate something questionable, should be fine. If he can keep food and water down, he can come home today :-)

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