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!

Share

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.

Share

You are Your Mothers Daughter. . . or Son

Warning: Do not continue reading if you are uncomfortable with gross anthropomorphism.

I raise dogs that are like me. I don’t know how, well I sorta do, but I make dogs that are their mothers daughter or sons. Maybe I raise dogs to be introverts like I am.

I’m doing it again with Calvin and play. He doesn’t love puppy play. He’s okay there, not hiding or afraid, but he doesn’t love it. As a puppy momma I feel the same way. As a trainer I enjoy puppy play. I’m in charge and that must satisfy the control freak in me. As a puppy mom I hate it. I get uncomfortable and nervous. It’s called puppy social for a reason and the word social and I? We aren’t on good terms.

Introverts are most comfortable with just a few people, or even just one. We don’t need a crowd to satisfy our social needs. In fact crowds are overwhelming. To me crowds are like watching 10 TV’s at once, all on different channels, all with the volume full blast. It’s input overload. Put me in a room with 10 families and 10 puppies and my head is absorbing way too much. That’s why introverts like smaller groups. My brain absorbs so much as once, it’s exhausting.

“It’s okay mom, I can be your snuggle puppy!”

It’s not that I don’t like people, I do! I find people fascinating. I love the capacity for showing human compassion we were created with. I love teaching. I love learning. But put me in a group that big and I can only handle it for a short period of time before I want to just shut down. Put me in a group that big with a puppy to protect and I go into overload even faster. That’s where the problem comes in, that’s where I make dogs that are their mothers daughter or sons.

When Maizey was a puppy I was reactive, to say the least. It was a very anxious time of my life and I was having regular panic attacks. None of that equipped me to help her. I know her genetics and my genetics are not a good match. We have a conflictedly parasitic/symbiotic relationship. If there were such a thing. While I’m convinced there are few people equipped to handle her I also know she would be much better off with a calmer person, especially when she was a puppy. Sometimes we do trigger each others anxiety, but we also take care of each other and I think I understand her in a lot ways other don’t and couldn’t.

By the time Magnus came along I was not so reactive and more settled into my introversion. I think it shows, when it comes to dogs he’s a lot like I am with people. He likes dogs, he’s okay with dogs, but he prefers one or two and in small doses.

I can see it happening with Calvin too. I like kids, I don’t have kids, but I like kids. I especially like to interact with one or two kids at a time. I don’t really like the loudness of kids, it goes back to that input overload thing. I prefer adults. He’s already like that with puppies. He doesn’t really like puppy play, but he really loves to play with grown up dogs. Today at puppy play he interacted a little. He doesn’t hide and he would really like to play with the big dogs, but he doesn’t really dive in there and enjoy himself. Then this afternoon this sweet blenheim, Cheeto, came in with his dad. Calvin loved him! LOVED him! They played until Cheeto was pretty sick of Calvin, but Calvin would have just kept on chasing! All Calvin’s work Aunties were so surprised. I told them, he’s his mothers son. He doesn’t like crowds, it takes him a minute to adjust to new environments and he does best one on one with grown ups. I was very similar as a kid.

“It’s okay mom! We can just play with you!”

I worry about it a bit. I don’t care so much of they are doggy introverts as long as, like Magnus, they have the skills to deal with being around dogs peacefully. Calvin is nothing like Maizey was and I bear little resemblance to the mom I was to her, so I’m not worried about him being reactive. I just hate to think I affect them with my stress. It’s a pointless thing to worry about. What I should, and am, more concerned with is giving them the skills to deal with me being their mom and them being their mothers children. But isn’t it crazy how in tune dogs are to us?

It’s their ability for compassion that I love so much, but also makes me worry about them. Maizey especially. It is just crazy how she reads me. I can be totally quiet on the outside, but she knows the instant I reach a certain level of internal anxiety. She comes and taps me and if I don’t calm myself down she insistently smothers me. I love it, but I hate for her to take on that self appointed job.

It will be interesting to see how Calvin grows. He’s certainly more people oriented than either of my other two. We’re working already on when you can say hi and when you can’t. However he turns out I’m proud of who he is already. I can’t help but be who I am and if that makes them a bit more reserved I guess we can deal with it. I don’t believe dogs need to play with other dogs to live fulfilled lives, but I do want them to be comfortable around other dogs. We’ll keep working on puppy play and who knows, maybe I’ll let one of his trainer Aunties take Calvin to play next time!

Share

Finally! Some Words for Calvin’s First Weeks Home

Calvin is 14 weeks old and has had quite the exciting 5 weeks since coming home. I’ve had a hard time putting those weeks into words, they have been a journey to say the least. He’s such an interesting boy, I’ve had a hard time putting him into words too.

14 weeks old

Late thursday night after we taught classes his Auntie Nikki sat watching us as I snuggled him. I’d just brought him out of his crate where he’d slept through me teaching Tricks class and us closing up the store, he was still all floppy and sleepy, and she said, “Calvin is just so. . . amazing.”

We sat there quiet for a second watching him and I said, “I know isn’t he just the most. . . interesting puppy?” We both just sat there while he nibbled away at my face, saying hello. I told her I have the hardest time even describing how fascinating he is. He is truly such a unique pup. She says he’s like an old soul who is out for his last hurrah. That’s quite an astute observation and the best words I really have to describe him. He is a thinker. He has to sit back and watch new things, but then he just dives in with gusto! It’s very, very fascinating to watch him think and Mary Bethhad it right when she told me, “I think you’ll be fascinated with his brain.”

11 Weeks

Last week he discovered there was a world above his head. We were sitting under some trees and he sat watching the leaves wave in the breeze. He looked up, then he looked at the shadows they were making on the gravel, then he looked up again, looked down again, watching those shadows. I have no idea what he was learning but he was learning something. After watching, up and down, up and down, suddenly he just pounced and off went gamboling into play like, “Well that was interesting, back to play!”

He constantly makes me laugh and always amazes me. You can see him learning. We have a low profile bed, we got it when Meeka was sick so she could still get on the bed with us. One morning I watched him running around it from one side to other, around and around. He really wanted to get up on that bed! He never did figure it out that morning, but Ry’s been on puppy duty on Monday nights while I’m at work and that night I got this text on my way home, “Are you coming home? I can’t control this monster!” Turns out Calvin had got on the bed and of course peed. Ry said, “I didn’t even know he could get on the bed!” I didn’t either but apparently he’d figured it out that morning.

The whole ordeal with Magnus is really part of the reason I have a hard time putting Calvin’s journey into words. For those of you who don’t know, Magnus has Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia. On September 6, after 4 days of doing all we could do to save him we came home with little hope he would survive. The vet gave him 24-48 hours and the next 12 hours were 12 of the most agonizing hours I’ve ever lived. He had a major GI bleed and had started bleeding into his lungs. Everyone was praying for a medical miracle, but my positivity failed me and I set out to make his last hours as peaceful as possible. Then Friday afternoon, against all odds, he turned it around. He came out of it, the bleeding stopped and he survived.

And this is where I stop having words, some day I’ll put that drama all together, but as of now I’m still processing the whole thing. I’ll just say he is staying stable. He’s on a slew of meds, the worst of which is 20 MG of Prednisone. It makes him miserably ravenous and has totally changed his drive. Thankfully he will be able to be off of it eventually.

So with all of that happening and a few Real Life days I never counted on, Calvin’s first weeks home haven’t looked at all like I thought they would. But they have been amazing.

Each puppy is different. One of the biggest difference with Calvin is me. I’m in this great place where I don’t worry about training. With Maizey I was terrified of messing it up and knew instinctively there was something wrong with her, we did a lot of very structured training sessions. Practice, practice practice. Looking back I can see it didn’t really make her more reliable and was way too much pressure on her.

“I love my sisser!”

With Magnus I was no where near that intense and he was just easier anyways, but I had a lot of goals and expectations. Harldly any of which turned out to be important to me. They affected the training I did with him as a puppy, it changed my focus from puppy fun to preparing him and worrying about not messing anything up.

With Calvin all of that is different. I have just reveled in these weeks. We’ve done tons of training but hardly any structured sessions. We train as part of daily life. Sure some things are falling behind, we still don’t have down on cue. (Which I admit is a bit embarrassing, but he has his whole life to learn boring ol’ downs.) What we do have so far is an unbelievable connection. He’s got great focus, a pretty good little puppy recall, an adorable mat work, just to name a few things. I’m just not worried about it. I’m enjoying him. We all are. He’s fit in wonderfully.

Even Maizey likes him! It didn’t take near as long as it did with Magnus for her to buddy up with him. That was the only side benefit of Magnus getting sick. Because the internal bleeding was so dangerous he couldn’t be with Calvin at all. Calvin bumping him could have caused further bleeding, so they took a weeks vacation from being together. So my Stupendous Man set out to win over his sister, and win he did! They are good buddies now.

I don’t often share pictures of me, but this one is special to me. (Plus it finally shows the 40 pounds I’ve lost in the last two years!) It was taken on the day we found out Magnus was sick. Before we knew he was sick we took a trip to the canyon to celebrate our 14 year anniversary. It was a beautiful, happy day. Calvin has filled a place in our hearts and I just can’t wait to watch his fascinating brain grow!

Share

Introducing Embee’s Stupendous Man aka My Calvin

On December 10, 2011 I left this comment on Embee Cavaliers, “So, here’s the million dollar question, does this mean Miss Molly’s going to be a momma?;) Sorry I have to ask cause I just love her so much, she is the most gorgeous black and tan I’ve ever seen! I always tease my husband I have to go to Canada for my next puppy.LOL”

I said it mostly in jest, never for a moment imagining Mary Beth’s answer would be, “If all goes well between now and the early next year Molly will have puppies in the spring. Her choice of course on when she wants to come into season. I’m in the process of trying to find her a suitable beau. . . If you ever come to Canada you are more than welcome to come visit and possibly bring something home with you. ;)

I’m so proud to introduce the fulfillment of that first conversation:

Embee’s Stupendous Man, my Calvin.

Photo curtesy of http://www.beyondthedogdish.com

From Mystic Moon’s Danika (Molly) x GCH. Rossbonny Rebus (Rebus)

I still get chills when I read that comment back. It’s a long ways for Mary Beth to place a puppy, especially from Molly’s first litter. I never dreamed she would entrust me with such a privilege. He was a dream in so many ways and at only 10 weeks is so far living up to that dream in every way.

So what made me want a Molly puppy? It’s hard to define why I love Molly so. For some people with some dogs there is an undefinable attachment. It was like for me that with Meeka I just knew she was mine and I’ve always felt a similar kinship for Molly. It’s more than that though that made me want a Molly puppy. She is the result of three generations of MRI testing and her pedigree is full of good hearts, eyes, hips, patella’s, wonderful temperaments and on and on and on. I should write all the glorious details of how amazing she is, as she and Mary Beth deserve, but all I want to write about is how fabulously stupendous her baby boy is!

I am totally in love. Like gaze lovingly, can’t get anything done ’cause all I want to do it squish and kiss and chase this puppy around in love. I didn’t expect it to be this way. I was all prepared for all the frustrating, full time work of puppyhood, but it hasn’t bothered me at all. It helps that Mary Beth had him practically house and crate trained when I picked him up. He has only had four accidents in a 7 days of being home. Okay, so two of them were on my bed and one was even right between my pillows at 11:00 PM, but even that just made me laugh. That’s how twitterpated I am.

He was wonderfully socialized before I ever came on the scene and that’s the other thing that made this puppy a dream. Buying a puppy from a good breeder is an amazing experience. (I’ll do a post on this one day soon too.) Calvin had met so many people, other dogs, been on many surfaces and in many locations in his home. He had amazing prenatal and early infant care. He was loved since the instant he existed and it shows.

He was the perfect match for our family and that’s the other benefit of going to a wonderful breeder. Mary Beth chose him for me before I ever met him, I trusted her and she was completely spot on in her choice. (Hmm. . . I see I have a list of posts to do to really do this subject justice.)

He is a confident, thinking, loving, friendly, happy, healthy boy puppy. Mary Beth told me, “I think his brain will fascinate you.” She was right. He’s a thinker. He goes into new situations and needs a second to sit back and take it in. Once he’s taken stock he starts wagging his tail and then dives right in. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch him. I can see the cogs turning and with only a week of socialization I can see him getting more confident in each new situation.

sleepy puppy in dads arms

We’ve been working on socialization, which you’ll remember Magnus taught me much about. I’m still quite proud of Magnus’ social puppy list and I plan on Calvin’s being just as complete. It’s a bit easier as I have the best boss and best team ever and he gets to go to work with me most days. His second day home I had a staff meeting and the Calling All Dogs summer BBQ so he got to meet a room full of dogs trainers and their families. It was a golden opportunity and he took it in stride.

I know you’re all dying to know how Maizey and Magnus are doing and the short version is very well! It took Maizey two weeks when Magnus came home to get to the point she is now with Calvin. Magnus is just amazing with him. They are playing so nicely together and Maizey sits back and watches. Within two days she was initiating play with calvin, as much as she knows how to anyway. I have to watch the boys as they get a bit rowdy, but today even when they had the wild zoomies she was trying to get in on the action. It will be fascinating to see how their relationships grow.

I have to give a HUGE, special thanks to Mehusbandy! Ryan has been wonderful. From late night potty trips to picking Calvin up from work for me to puppy sitting so I could get in much needed naps he has been right in the midst of it all. I don’t expect him to do all the crazy dog things I do, but he’s been more than wonderful to help out. He stayed home with the pups while I made the trip to Canada to pick up Calvin and he took such good care of them I think they barely missed me.

We’ve been home just 10 days now and we’re all still settling in. Tonight Maizey played with the boys for the first time, which made me so happy! Calvin’s sleeping through the night, eating well, learning something and teaching me something everyday. He has stolen our hearts.

I want to thank Mary Beth for letting us have him. I also want to thank Debbie for the gorgeous pictures she took of him and shared with me. Both are very kind, special people and it was my honor to meet them.

Share

Sick Boy Tired Momma

Sick boy tired momma

I’ve been auto-publishing all these pics from Instagram. Which is nice since I don’t have time to blog at all, and at least it gives some record for me to remember the whirl wind of life, but I end up posting sub par iphone pictures with cryptic titles like this post.

It’s really not fair for me to post dramatic titles that make things seem like they’re worse than they are, but the truth is I don’t cope well when my puppies don’t feel good! I’m an incredible baby about it and feel so bad for them. I knew Magnus really didn’t feel good this afternoon when he came and asked to be snuggled and cradled when we were outside.

Don’t worry Magnus is okay, both he and Maizey have diarrhea. Maizey’s been struggling with stress colitis for the last month so I figured she would have it since Calvin came home. I just didn’t count of Magnus getting sick belly too. All three have had fecal tests done and there are no parasites or anything scary so I’m not worried about Calvin getting it too. Doesn’t seem like anything a round of good probiotics won’t kick.

I know I really need to publish Calvin’s whole story from beginning to end. It’s quite the saga, but if I haven’t been working I’ve been too busy being totally in love with this puppy! I’ll get to it eventually though. . .

Share

Waiting For the Storm to Pass

Waiting For the Storm to Pass

Share