It’s About Routine

My life is a tad bit boring as I await housing. It seems like quite a waste. There’s so much more I’d rather do, but without a place…

Every morning, I wake up, but I don’t get up as soon as I wake up. I do my leg exercises while still in my “bed” – in the cargo area of my 4runner. I need to strengthen my legs as the osteoarthritis in both of my knees is much worse than last year.

My Mornings

I then crawl out from under the covers, potty in the bucket, and then proceed to get dressed. Then I pull off the Reflectix bubble insulation from all the windows in my SUV and wrap the bungee cord around them. I get the harnesses on my two dogs, unplug the electrical cord from the lamppost and take Roscoe and Halo on their morning walk around the church lot.

When we get back to the 4runner, Halo, my Pomeranian, is jumping up and down – she is so excited. She knows it’s breakfast time. I pick up both her and Roscoe and put them into their kennel which sits where the front passenger seat used to be. I fill up their water in the bowl that is attached to the inside of their kennel and feed them their breakfast. While they eat, I scoop the litter pan and feed Abygayle her kitty food and fill up her water in the no spill bowl. Brush my teeth and then I’m off to 7-eleven for my morning coffee.

My Afternoons

After I get my coffee, I find somewhere to park and then while drinking my coffee, I check my emails, notifications, voicemails, and figure out my blog content for the next week. I also check my appointment book, eat breakfast – rice cakes with cheese or pop tarts – and edit pictures.

Then it’s time to figure out where I want to go for lunch and use a bathroom with running water. I will either go to Safeway or Nob Hill – they have my favorite salad: cranberry walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Yum! After this, and before I eat, I take the dogs to the dog park. (I also dump my garbage in the dumpster.) We catch up with friends for a couple of hours and then I drive next to the oak trees where I eat my lunch and watch a movie or TV series.

My Evenings

It’s time to use a bathroom again with running water and head back to the church. I walk the dogs, feed them their dinner, plug into the lamppost, put the Reflectix up on all the windows which gives me privacy, but more importantly, makes it about ten degrees warmer in my 4runner.

I brush my teeth, take my medications, and then crawl over the front seat into the cargo area. (I took the back seats out awhile ago.) I then put the litter pan on the floorboard of the driver’s side and Aby’s food and water in the driver’s seat.

I’ll give Aby some pets and lovies depending on what time it is and then take another potty break in my bucket and then walk the dogs again.

Depending on time, I play with Roscoe with the stuffed animals 🧸 I purchased at the Dollar Tree. Attempt to brush Halo and pet her – sometimes she’ll let me, sometimes she won’t.

I plug the rest of the cords into the extension cord that is going through the passenger door of my 4runner. Charge my iPhone, battery pack, and connect my CPAP. Then get the two comforters and my bed cozy, dress into my pajamas and now, it’s ready for nighty night time.

Just Before Sleep

Roscoe sleeps under the covers at my feet, Halo sleeps on top of the covers, and Aby makes her way from the front to the back by the way of the side of me, walking up my leg, kneading it, and then sleeps on the blanket next to my pillow. Sometimes she gets the zoomies in the middle of the night and runs back and forth, on top of me, around the inside of our little 1997 4runner. Other times, she likes to eat my hair, or just drool 🤤 on my face. Yuck. If Halo is bumped into, she growls.

Photos

Roscoe waking up one morning
Roscoe tucked under the blankets
Halo, after a trim – she looks so small without all of her fur
The ring of flowers on top of Halo’s head are from a bush of flowers at the church lot we park at. I erased all of the other flowers and foliage except for this “floral crown.” I added her image to a background of pink daisies inside a silver picture frame and then added the pink hearts.
This is my cat, Aby, showing off her new harness and leash at a dog park sans dogs. We took an early morning stroll with just our dogs. She enjoyed it, surprisingly.

4runner >>> Domicile

  1. Removed front passenger seat and added the dogs’ kennel, complete with comfy cushion and water bowl.
  2. Added Reflectix bubble insulation to top of kennel to reflect sunlight and heat off of them. (This also keeps them warmer when it’s cold outside.)
  3. Bought window slats for back passenger windows for the summertime when it’s hot and I have to leave them in the shade for when I do my grocery shopping. I also bought a stroller for this purpose too so I don’t have to leave them in the car.
  4. Removed back passenger seats for more room for our bed to sleep in at night.
  5. Bought Reflectix bubble insulation for all of the windows to keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
  6. I have a storage unit to put all of the dogs’ clothes, the pet stroller, and Aby’s backpack/carrier in.

Driving with Dog on Your Lap

If you are driving around town, on highways, or traveling anywhere with your dog – please don’t drive with your dog on your lap! Heck, don’t drive with your dog not restrained. I know dogs like sticking their heads out vehicle windows for that fresh air, but just because they like something doesn’t mean we’re going to let them have it, does it? If they like to eat rocks, are we going to feed them rocks so they can get an obstruction? No!

Why, why, WHY do people allow their dogs to ride in their laps while they’re driving?! WHY?! This isn’t safe for the driver or the dog.

Scenario #1 – Missy is a darling little 4 year old Maltese who has been going for rides on her person’s lap for years now. Her person, Ms. Sally is a very careful driver. Missy loves to stick her face out the window and sometimes while they’re just sitting in traffic, she likes to stand at the open window with her two front legs up. Well this Monday morning, Ms. Sally was sitting in stop and go traffic. Someone decided to weasel their way in front of Ms. Sally. She had to slam on her brakes. Guess where Missy went? As Missy wasn’t expecting the brakes to be hit suddenly, she went out the opened window. Ms. Sally normally has the window up when they’re driving, but she had forgotten to roll the window back up due to the stop and go traffic.

Scenario #2 – Oliver is a Boston Terrier who also loves to go for rides with his person, John. Oliver also gets to ride on John’s lap. They were out running a bunch of errands… they were coming up on a crosswalk rather quickly and some person decided to jump into the crosswalk and start waking. John had to slam on his brakes. He held Oliver as best he could. But then the driver behind them slammed into John’s truck. John wasn’t expecting this and was jostled from the impact and Oliver went flying.

Scenario #3 – Beastie, my beloved Spaniel was sitting in the passenger seat of my Toyota 4×4 back in 1993. He wasn’t allowed to sit on my lap while I was driving, but I never thought to have him restrained… I was driving to work one day, it was raining. We hit a very deep puddle and went hydroplaning – we went in quite a few circles over quite a few lanes. Beastie ended up on the floorboards of my truck, and I ended up scared out of my wits end. I thanked the Lord because that could have been much worse. Beastie could have crashed through the windshield, we could have been hit. But we weren’t. That was when Beastie received his first seatbelt.

Missy and Oliver and any other dogs’ injuries can be prevented as well.

SAFETY FIRST

There are so many safety products on the market today – there are seatbelts for dogs – harnesses that turn into seatbelts, crates, booster seats, and more. Check out this post from The Bark Box for detailed information.

Please don’t drive with your dogs on your lap and definitely don’t drive with your dogs in the bed of your truck without them in a crate.

Heatstroke?

Halo, my golden shadow as I often refer to her as, has not been feeling well for awhile now. I’m hoping soon we’ll solve this mystery. She has another appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning.

A Little Bit Of History

She has severe periodontal disease, but she also had secondary IMHA in 2018. Due to this, veterinarians haven’t wanted to put her under anesthesia.

Foul Odor

A couple of weeks ago, I kept smelling something foul in my 4runner (this is where my dogs and I live.) I looked everywhere for where the smell might be coming from, but couldn’t find it. Halo was still eating her dry food – she doesn’t really crunch down on her food, but rather swallows it.

We were at the dog park, and I had picked Halo up to remove the debris leftover from the Sandman and that’s when the odor of her mouth hit me! I tried to open her mouth, and she screamed. OMG! This whole time, the foul odor was being emitted from her oral cavity! Eek 😬

I started feeding Halo canned food immediately, and she gobbled this down.

Antibiotics

I called and made an appointment with her new veterinarian^ who also wasn’t able to due a full mouth exam due to Halo’s pain. But he saw blood and pus. He did a blood panel on her that I had requested and he started her on a course of antibiotics. She was supposed to stay on the antibiotics for at least 2-3 weeks, then get her dental.

Halo’s white count was high (indicative of infection) and some of her liver enzymes were high as well, but the one that I was worried about was normal. Phew. The other enzymes that were high, the doctor wasn’t really worried about.

Diarrhea

Almost one week in to giving her the antibiotics, Halo developed gelatinous diarrhea. Eww. But she was still eating and drinking. I wasn’t too concerned.

Heatwave

Then the bay area is hit with what seems like a never ending heatwave. Triple digits for days on end. I know other places have hot weather a lot, but those people are probably prepared for their hot weather. Here, on the central coast, it doesn’t get that hot. Maybe one day every once in a great while… but every day? No. I definitely wasn’t prepared for this heatwave. I would have boarded my dogs or rented a hotel room (the cheapest one I could find.) I drove my dogs around in my air conditioned truck. Soaked them down^^ and tried keeping us as cool as possible.

Last night, Halo started vomiting 🤮 and had liquid diarrhea. I skipped her food because it’s not good to feed a dog who’s vomiting. And then this morning? This morning, I made her a breakfast of canned chicken. She didn’t want to eat. 🙁

Is this all from the heatwave? Did she get heatstroke? Or is there something else going on with her?

Appointment Tomorrow

I tried to get her into an emergency vet, but they said it’ll be a 4-5 hour wait AND if some pet is more critical, then she’ll be bumped back even further. Good grief! Plus because of the pandemic, we have to sit out in the parking lot with no shade. Hmm 🤔 No thank you. So, I called her veterinarian again and scheduled an appointment for tomorrow morning at 11:00. I will be with Halo all day and will continue to monitor her. Prayers I get an answer.

^ Change in Veterinary Hospitals

Halo has been seen by a lot of veterinarians and quite a few veterinary hospitals over the years. When I used to work at one veterinary hospital, I brought her in there. I would continue to bring her in there, but they’re really expensive and pretty far away. When we moved to SoCal, she had a veterinarian who took great care of her.

But then when we moved back to northern Cali, it was back to finding another vet. In the early summer, Halo got a foxtail in her ear. I was sure of it. I found a hospital that had great reviews – voted best in the county and made an appointment for Halo to be seen.

I told them what was going on and how I had picked quite a few foxtails out of Halo’s fur. I asked them to sedate her and probe her ear. The doctor came back and told me that Halo has an ear infection. They didn’t sedate her like I had asked. They simply looked down her ear with an instrument called an otoscope and saw pus. I asked the doctor if she could please sedate Halo and look into her ear canal as I was 90% certain it was a foxtail. The doctor said she was certain it was just an ear infection and said that she’d said Halo home on some oral and aural (ear) antibiotics and recheck in one week.

One week later, I told the doctor that I stopped giving the antibiotics because it was making Halo’s ear worse, not better. The doctor had wanted me to massage the ear drops into Halo’s ear canal. Halo had started whimpering and then screaming. The doctor had looked down Halo’s ear canal again and then called me to ask me if she could sedate my dog because she saw a filament of something, something suspicious of a foxtail!

Foxtail pulled out of Halo’s ear

If the veterinarian would have listened to me from the start, Halo wouldn’t have had to be in pain for a week and of course, money would have been saved.

^^ Soaking Dogs

When you go to drench your dog in water to cool him/her off, you need to make sure you soak him/her down to the skin. Otherwise, the water acts like an insulator and instead of keeping your dog cool, it’ll do the opposite.

Many times, owners just wet down the top, and sometimes the bottom of their dog. But what they don’t do is soak the dog’s fur to his/her skin. The best way to make sure that this is done properly is to use a little bit of soap – and rinse all of the soap out or spray the water until the whole coat is wet and you can see your dog’s skin.

Thanks for reading.

Stay cool everyone!

Halo, My Golden Shadow

Searching for Mirrors

I was looking through a Facebook group looking for mirrors, table top ones for craft shows, and I came across the photo above. It stated that the owner couldn’t keep her any more and was looking for a free home.

😡 People should know better than to offer up their dogs (or pets) for free to strangers. I messaged the gal and gave her my references and let her know I used to work at a veterinary hospital and gave her this as a reference too. I don’t know if she called my references or not, but she did call me to let me know I could come and get “Zoey.”

Drive to Hayward

My friend, C (who’s also a veterinarian,) came with me to pick Zoey up. The drive was very long and oh my gawd, I had to drive across a bridge! This is one long a55 bridge, and I have a serious fear of bridges. 😬

We finally made it to Hayward and met the woman and her daughter at a park. Zoey wanted nothing to do with us. The lady told us Zoey’s heart wrenching story.

Her original owner had died, and then she went to live with the lady’s sister who had two boys. These boys tortured Zoey. They would pick her up and drop her, lock her in a drawer or closet, and who knows what else may have happened.

So, the lady was Zoey’s third home in less than two months… and my house became her fourth home.

Zoey was very attached to the lady’s daughter. I had bought a big crate which C and I had to put on the ground and lure Zoey in, but she wasn’t having any of that.

So, we had to gently drag her into the crate and leave her leash on because she was a land shark.

This is actually an image of her in mid-bark, but you get the idea of what she looked like with us.

Home in SC Mountains

I had set Zoey up in a smaller crate within a pen with pee pads, water, and food in my living room. It took a lot of coaxing and a few days later, I was finally able to remove the leash from her collar. Removing her collar took about 1 1/2 weeks.

Zoey to Halo

I didn’t really like the name Zoey. Too many people name their pets this, and I didn’t think it really suited her. Plus, if she has any bad memories associated with that name, I wanted to quell those right away.

Since this little blonde dog followed me everywhere, I thought of her as my golden shadow, and then was thinking of a name that summed that up. Halo stuck.

The Facebook ad had said she was spayed, but she wasn’t. So, I brought her and my cat, Felipe in to be spayed and neutered, respectively. Spayed usually refers to ovarian-hysterectomy, but she ended up only having a hysterectomy.

The photo above is after she had her surgery and was licking at her incision. Tsk tsk.

Miscellaneous Photos

Here’s Halo sitting in a chair beside me. For a long time, she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She had severe separation anxiety.

When I first picked her up from Hayward, she came with her bed, brush, food, and shampoo, but not a toy.

This little duck is the first toy that she received from me, and she immediately started chewing on it and playing with it.

Here she is in her parka. It gets super cold in the mountains.

You cannot really tell, but she has an underbite.

Living in Pumpkin Center

After the fire consumed our home, we moved to Pumpkin Center, a small town outside of Bakersfield. She, my dogs Lance and Gwenyth, and my three cats: Blur, No Mar, and Abygayle were my companions.

Here’s sweet Halo resting on my bed. She is sleeping on her pillow.

Halo in her bunny 🐰 coat that I picked up at Ross.

IMHA

IMHA is abbreviated for Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, which is also known as AIHA or Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia.

IMHA is a disorder where the body doesn’t recognize its own red blood cells and starts destroying them. Without red blood cells, the dog becomes listless and can die.

When Halo first started vomiting, I gave her an antiemetic, famotidine, also known as Pepcid. I didn’t take her into the hospital right away because she has been known to eat strange things in the yard and then get a tummy ache from it.

But her urine was bright yellow, and her gums were pale. I brought her into the emergency clinic, and the doctor said she had a heart murmur and also did some radiographs on her. Her intestines were full of gas. But the doctor also thought it’d be best to run a PCV (packed cell volume) on her to check her red blood cell percentage because her gums were so pale.

Her PCV was 20%. 😮 It should be about 45%! Then he ran a full blood panel on her – liver enzymes were high, and although her red blood cells were low, her reticulocyte count was high, which means she didn’t have non-regenerative anemia. Her body was making red blood cells as fast as her body was destroying them.

Prognosis and Treatment

Her prognosis was very guarded, and the doctor suggested hospitalizing her and starting a blood transfusion. 😮

From working in the veterinary field for over 20 years as an ICU/emergency vet tech (animal nurse) and running many cross matches, I knew that you cannot check to see if the blood donated would be a good match for the recipient.

Why? Because to run a cross match, you need to check to make sure the donor blood doesn’t agglutinate with the recipient blood. If the blood does agglutinate, then the animal will have a reaction to the blood. Plus, it’s not always recommended to give a dog with IMHA a blood transfusion because the body will go into hyperactive mode trying to destroy all of the red blood cells.

So, instead, I opted to take her home and start her on the prednisone, a corticosteroid. The doctor also gave her an injection of dexamethasone.

On the next recheck, her red count was up. I did a lot of research on her condition and asked the doctor if we could start her on an antibiotic and liver support medication.

He said that we could start her on this, but he didn’t think this would help at all because usually AIHA caused by infection is from ticks, and there aren’t a lot of ticks in this area. However, where we used to live, ticks are very prevalent.

Halo is Recovering

She chose the smallest blanket in the house to cuddle up on.

Last Recheck

Halo’s PCV went up to 56%, and she’s off of her prednisone! 😮🙂 But because her ALT (liver enzyme) is still high, she went back on her Denamarin (a liver support medicine.)

It’s now 2020, and Halo has not been on any medications for her IMHA and has not had another relapse. (Knock on wood.)

Last Chance Lance

Lance was a Shiba Inu X that I got from a colleague of mine.

Less Than 24 Hours To Live

She had told me his heartbreaking story… he was dumped off near her sister’s house, who took him to the San Jose Animal Shelter. The shelter did a “behavioral test” on him and decided that he should be euthanized. Why? Because Lance failed their “pinch test.” This is where they grab his sides and see if the dog bites them. Well Lance didn’t bite them, but he did get mouthy with them.

When my colleague heard he had less than 24 hours to live, she got him out of the shelter, and asked me if I wanted him. (I had wanted a Chihuahua, but I took Lance in and named him, ‘Last Chance Lance.’

He was hesitant at first, but he was just dumped by his owner(s), and being at that shelter didn’t help either.

He was neutered at the animal hospital I used to work at – a state of the art veterinary hospital, open 24/7, every day of the year.

Coming Home

Lance took to my dog, Toby, more so than my dog, Gwenyth. He didn’t mind the cats either!

He was a great dog! (He passed last night hence I’m writing about him in the past tense.) 😭

Periodontal Disease

Lance has severe periodontal disease. The first veterinarian I took him to (to save $$$) said he didn’t need his teeth cleaned. 😮 What?! He had built up tartar on his teeth and he was missing some teeth too… and knowing his previous history, those roots may still be retained in his gums. The veterinarian said she may have heard a heart murmur too. Hmm 🤔 he either has one, or he doesn’t. She also said this about Gwenyth, whom I knew had a heart murmur.

So, I scheduled Lance to see the state of the art vet, Adobe. Sure enough, he had stage III periodontal disease. Another colleague of mine cleaned his teeth and did multiple extractions. And many of his teeth were retained in his gums. He had a heart murmur that would get worse.

Heart Murmur

A heart murmur is a swooshing sound heard between the beating of the heart. It is caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart. Some murmurs are harmless, and some are indicative of something wrong with the heart.

When a veterinarian auscults the heart and hears a murmur, they’ll want to do diagnostic tests to rule out any potential heart problems. Usually this is done by radiographing the heart and checking the size of it. In Lance’s case, his heart did appear to be enlarged.

The next diagnostic test is a cardiac ultrasound. The veterinarian will look at your pet’s heart, take measurements and also look at the blood flow.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

The mitral valve is a valve on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and ventricle that keeps the blood from flowing backwards.

How the Heart Works

Blood that isn’t oxygenated returns back to the heart (from the body) and enters the right atrium, then the right ventricle. From there, it is pumped into the lungs to become oxygenated, and then flows into the left atrium and ventricle, respectively. Then the oxygen rich blood is pumped throughout the body via the aorta and arteries.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation is caused when the mitral valve wears out. And this is when a heart murmur is heard.

It can be secondary to periodontal disease… this is what happened to Lance. 🙁 His teeth were so bad. But after he was diagnosed with this heart condition, it wasn’t advised for him to have any more dentals. Why? Because he could die under anesthesia.

Here’s Lance with his flying squirrel, but his favorite toy is Lamb Chop. He adored that toy so much that I bought quite a few of them.

Here’s his collections toys before the fire consumed them. Most of his toys are missing limbs.

Lance wearing some too large for him Doggles. 😂

Lance yawning.

Lance eating his Frosty Paws ice cream treat.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

When a dog has heart problems or an arrhythmia, he can suddenly die. And this is what happened with Lance.

Before I had left to go pick my boyfriend up from work, I had given Lance some milkbone cookies. He was acting normal. I would have never thought that he’d be dead when I arrived back home. 🙁😮😭

Symptoms

Lance not only had a murmur that continued to increase (started with stage I and ended up being a stage VI in only a few years,) but he also coughed a lot. This was from fluid in his lungs.

He was on medications for his heart: pimobendan, enalapril, and furosemide. The pimobendan was by far the most expensive of his meds.

Here’s Lance with his Hartz orange squeaky bone that he loved to chase.

My sweet boy, I love you and miss you! I have your lamb chop that now sleeps in bed with me because you’re not there. You were a great dog, and I’m so glad I was able to spoil you.

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