Pees Like a Big Boy Now!

My baby boy is growing up! It was a day of firsts today and my heart just doesn’t want to accept the reality: He’s not a baby anymore!

December 15, 2012 – 6 months old

Embee’s Stupendous Flying Man!

It started this morning with a text to Mary Beth that said, “I think Calvin is starting to mark!” My next text was to his Auntie Nikki and said, “We need to talk!” Calvin just marked! Aaaah! Nooooo! Eeeek! Aaaaack! Aaaargh!”

That pretty much sums it up! I have never had an intact male dog before. Magnus was an early neuter, by the rescue at 8 weeks, so he doesn’t even lift his leg to pee. (I would NEVER do that again, structurally I can see how it was detrimental to him.) Summit lifted his leg, but I don’t remember him marking really. He was double cryptorchid and neutered at 10 months, so I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. I really don’t know anything about living with a dog who marks! Thus my dramatic texts this morning.

Then this afternoon it happened! He lifted his leg to pee! I am so silly, but I got all emotional about it. I mean he pees like a big boy now! It’s pretty funny cause he doesn’t have good balance and his aim stinks so twice he almost tipped over and once he fell off the curb. I know I shouldn’t laugh, but it made me chuckle.

That wasn’t the only first though. Right after that he came in and hopped right up on my lap with NO help! It was like all day he was telling me, “I aint no baby!” I actually got teary eyed when he did that! I just can’t believe how grown up he is.

He never really went through an observably change at his 14-16 week fear imprint period. I noticed a few small changes, but nothing really notable. So this is the first real developmental change I’ve been able to see affect him.

I could tell he didn’t feel himself today. He was SUPER needy at the store. Barked up a storm while I was with customers for the first half hour or so we were there. Then every time I picked him up he would just burrow in to snuggle my neck. I know he’s not feeling quite himself when he’s that snuggly at the store, normally he’s all about play, play, play there.

We’ve been having so much fun. Walks in the snow, classes, training new tricks and foundation skills. He’s just a blast. He’s got Magus playing and it just makes me laugh. Maizey went though a couple of days where she had just had it with him so he transferred his attention to Magnus and now they go out together and just chase and run. Today they were tugging together. I bet they would be crazy players if Magnus hadn’t got sick when Calvin was little. Oh well, they are making up for lost time now.

He’s as wonderful as every oowie gooey gushy post says he is, even if he is a pee monster now! Each pup sure does come with their own set of lessons and today Calvin’s is lesson is to teach me how to deal with a marking BOY dog!

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Vets are soooo boring!

Vets are soooo boring!

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Anterior Uveitis?? Whaz that?

Anterior Uveitis?? Whaz that?

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Recovery From Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia

This is the post I’ve started over and over and can never finish. Magnus was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMT) on September 3, 2012. His diagnosis, recovery and subsequent treatment has been one of the most emotional things I’ve ever lived through with my animals.

The story actually started before I even knew it had, on Sunday, September 2. I noticed Magnus’ gums had some tiny blood spots on them. I noticed it, in that way you do when something is odd, but not alarming and never thought another thing about it. The next day Ryan and I took the boy dogs up the canyon to celebrate our 14 year anniversary. Thank goodness we did, or I would never have found the IMT in time. Around eleven o’clock that night I was doing my typical tick check on the dogs and saw these strange dark reddish, purple spots on Magnus’ belly. At first I thought maybe he poked himself on a stick, or perhaps it was poison ivy? It was late on a holiday so I did what we all do, posted a picture to FB and hit Dr. Google. I felt alarmed. I always do when something weird happens, but never did I imagine how bad it could get. One of the trainers from work mentioned Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia, but I really didn’t take that too seriously, I mean what are the chances? Turns out the chances were pretty good.

While all of this was happening I searched the rest of this body and he had the spots everywhere, plus the bloody spots on his gums. As I sat there for 20 minutes trying to decide what to do I watched the worst one on his belly go from the size of a nickel to the size of an extra large egg. I didn’t know what it was, but I was scared so off to the new Emergency Room we went. At about one in the morning the news came back.

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia. It took me a week to even be able to pronounce that mouth full.

Photo by Kari

The spots were petechial hemorrhages. His immune system was attacking the platelets in his blood and he was bleeding into his skin. They started treatment with a massive steroid shot, Prednisone and several other meds that night. Over the next three days we were at the vet or in the emergency room every day or night. This is where the words stop. This is where I just can’t convey the terror I still feel even remembering it. On Tuesday he developed a major GI bleed and by Thursday he was bleeding into his lungs. He and I sat in the vet with few options left. The message was we had 24-48 hours left and the only treatment option left was to hospitalize him and give a transfusion of immunoglobulins. It would be $1800.00 to start that treatment with small hope it would be successful. After a tearful talk with him I decided to just take him home. If we were going to lose him I wasn’t going to let his last hours be in the vet alone. It would be with us at home. So our wonderful vet sent us home with every med we could hit him with to wait and see. Now the tears come. . .

Through the whole week my team at work was fabulous. They were all the support I could have wished for. Covering my shifts, letting me take calls from vets and be late coming from or leave early to go to the vets. After that vet visit it was so late I had one class to teach and no time to take him home and though I have no idea why, I just decided to take him with me.

He was still so amazingly perky at that point. He was so incredibly. . . HIM. He had toddled into the vet and snuggled right up to her, happy as could be to say hi and give her a chatter. When we walked into work he just snuzzled right up to his Auntie Nikki to tell her it was okay, don’t be sad. He clearly was sick, but dying? That cough meant he was bleeding into his lungs? How can that be? He just never gave up fighting. So he crated up with me while I taught my tricks class and we got so much support and love from my wonderful team and my wonderful clients. Our friend Kari took these wonderful pictures of us for me. I will always treasure them. It was amazing to experience such care.

Photo by Kari

That night things got bad. He couldn’t breath. He was coughing. I just laid and listened to him. . . He wanted to lay on the hard floor stretched out as long as he could stretch so I just laid with him. I just laid there a listened to his lungs and his heart, petting him until we both settled into an uneasy sleep. . . I didn’t think he would make it through the night.

He did though. Friday morning he still had the GI bleed, the bloody stool was unlike anything I’d seen. It was unnatural and scary. Still though, he never seemed as sick as he was. We took pictures that morning too and he was still mugging for the camera. I had a chat with my little sister that morning I will never forget and always treasure. She told me not to lose faith. I had, but she reminded me not to give up.

That was the miracle day. We spent it together snuggling and just waiting. We took a long sleep together that day and when we woke up, about 5:30 that evening, he was perking up. He wasn’t coughing and wanted to be outside. My mom came to sit with us and while she was there he had a normal stool. I could hardly believe it. NO blood. In about 8 hours he had stopped bleeding into his GI tract. That was the beginning of a miraculous recovery.

Since then we’ve spent umpteen dollars in blood tests, vet visits and medicines. We worried with each blood test and rejoiced when each one came back as good as the last. Medical miracle are words we hear every time we go the vet. We complained regularly about the evils of Prednisone and thanked goodness that he had it. For all the trials of treating this disease he’s alive and that’s all that matters.

Now we’re back in classes. He’s rocking Rally class right now and will soon take Prestigious Pooch and finally get his CGC. Who knows, we might even venture into the Rally ring sometime. All I know is he was always a miracle to me and now he’s a true miracle.

His prognosis is good, but he has a systemic autoimmune disease and something we’ll fight the rest of his life. He had a minor setback this weekend with his eyes and it really made me realize how fragile he is.  I’m in an acceptance process of what all that means. He will never have vaccinations again and will always be on meds, but with strict management we hope to have more good days than bad days. However long his life is I treasure every second with him.

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Oxytocin break

Oxytocin break

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Our new, reorganized training/grooming room! Next up: rubber floors! Yay!

Our new, reorganized training/grooming room! Next up: rubber floors! Yay!

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Family Study Day

Family Study Day

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