What Never Gets Old?

Butchey Hudson’s Momma here.  It has been a very bad couple of months for a lot of my doggie friends.  I lost count at how many dogs crossed the bridge in such a short period of time.  Some were Tripawds, some still had their spare.  Some had cancer, some enjoyed life into their elder years, and some were too damn young.  But all of them were somebody’s best friend, and all of them left a gaping hole in somebody’s heart when they left this world.

I have spent many an evening in front of the computer with a box of tissues, reading on a blog, Facebook or in an email about another loss.  Sometimes, after I’d blown my honker for the upteenth time, I would get a nudge under my elbow.  Somebody on his three legs thought I needed a big smooch.  I think he likes the saltiness of the tears.  Then that would make me cry even more.  And then I would get down on the floor with him, or we’d go to the couch and snuggle.  Dog people get this.  Non-dog folk would think I needed to be committed after reading this.

I was relieved that Butchey had clean scans on February 3.  Almost 8 months, and no signs of metastasis.  I feel guilty for being able to say that.  But we cannot kid ourselves, all of our stories end the same.  Our canine companions just got screwed and got the shorter (and sometimes much too short) lifespans.  We take the wins when we can get them, but we all wait for the other shoe to drop after getting the Big C diagnosis. 

What I need to remember to focus on is the all the little bits in between.  One of my favorite movie quotes is from Shawshank Redemption “You can get busy living, or get busy dying”.  So every morning starts out with a belly rub and every day ends with a long ear massage.  And there are lots of other good fun stuff to get those tails wagging throughout the day.  Enjoy every moment, and I hope I have no regrets when that dreaded day comes. 

My husband and I have a regular saying when the dogs do something funny or sweet or just plain awesome.  *Never. Gets. Old.*  We have lots of favorites, but one is when my husband takes the dogs out for “last call”.  He will say to them “Go tell Momma!”  Both Butchey and Lola come racing in all excited to tell me that I missed out on the festivities outside.  I am usually stone cold asleep on the couch and wake up to 2 dogs giving me a slobbery face wash.  It is a great way to end any day, in my world at least.  Whether it’s me or my husband on the receiving end, we both always say never. gets. old.

Another is when Butchey enjoys his butt scratches while on laying his back.  He used to kick both rear legs and being the goofy people we are we would sing “Wheels on the bus go round and round”.  Now we just sing “WHEEL on the bus”, and it is just as good.

At every meal time, Lola gets so impatient she opens one of the drawers in the kitchen with her paw.  I’ve had so many bruises from turning around and walking into it (you’d think I’d learn).  It is still funny to me, and it never. gets. old.

These are the things I want to remember…Not the cancer, not the end.

I miss when my old dog Barney (at the bridge 3 years now) used to say “Herrrrooowww”.  A beagle mix, he used to belt it out nice and high.  But when I lowered my voice and said “lower” to him, he would drop his to imitate me.  I have it recorded, but it’s just not the same.  The memories are much sweeter.

So on the eve of Butch’s 8 month ampuversary, I would like you to share with me your favorite moments and/or favorite memories.  What never gets old?  What do you miss the most?  Keep the memory alive in your hearts, because they are still curled up in there, right where we can can remember them.

 I gotta go, someone is nudging me for a butt scratch.

Whatever Lola Wants…..

Lola Gets

And sorry Butchey….little Lola wants Allie Gator

 I was just chillin’ out with Allie Gator on my couch 

 Then Lola decides she wants Allie…
She’s a pain in my tail!  She won’t take NO for an answer.
And here I lay broken hearted.  Don’t I look sad? 
 Whatever Lola wants…..Lola Gets
Can we nominate her for MonkeyButt of the Year?

Hoppy New Year

Hoppy New Year everyone!  We are hoping 2012 is a great year for all of us Tripawds.  Like the Tripawds saying goes, it is better to hop on 3 legs, than limp on 4!

I had a fun filled December.  I did some more CDSP obedience and Momma even entered me for an APDT Rally trial.  I did my first ever triple Q since becoming a Tripawd.  There is that number 3 again, maybe it is my lucky number now.

For Christmas I got my stocking filled with lots of good stuff.  Here is me wondering why my stocking has not been stuffed yet.  You’ll notice the MonkeyButt Lola waiting on the sidelines to bite me in one of my remaining three legs to thieve my stocking stuffers.

We got magic mushrooms (no, not that kind) from Santa Paws.  Here is me trying to figure out how to get the cheese out.

Now I like to lay down with these puzzles and try to work it out.  Lola just took hers and rolled it around the entire house, crashing and smashing it into everything.  Walls, chairs, whatever.  She sure can make a raucous.

Momma & Dada also took us to get our picture taken with Santa Paws.  But this isn’t the REAL Santa Paws.  This is Dr. Tucker (who incidentally did my amputation surgery) dressed up as Santa Paws.  He didn’t give me back my leg for a Christmas present though.  Ha ha ha!  He took very good care of me, and it was nice to see him again without any surgical tools.

And here another picture, so you can see how Momma humiliates us.  Oh the shame…


What else?  I went and did some PT work and hydrotherapy swimming.  I played with a ball in the pool and had a really fun time.  Here is me trying to get Momma to come and play in the pool, too.  But she must have not have had a floaty, because she didn’t come in with me.

That is all for now.  Our new years pawsolution is to post a bit more.  =0)

You only need 3 legs to get an obedience title

So on Saturday, Momma took me and the MonkeyButt Lola to another CDSP Obedience Trial.  I got to play in the ring and I earned my Companion Dog title!  Here is me and my nice looking ribbon:

Momma says you need 3 qualifying scores to get a title.  I guess people call them “legs”.  Which is great, because that is all the legs I have!  The first run in our morning trial, I did not qualify.  I had a nice run (which is the video below), but then you have to do an “honor”.  An honor is when you have to sit still and stay beside your person.  Well, I was so geeked up that I just couldn’t sit still and stay.  But I was a good boy for the second run in the afternoon and Q’d with a 193.5 with my crooked Tripawd sits and all.  Momma said she don’t care what happens – Q or No Q – high scores or low scores, as long as I’m having fun.  And I was having fun!!!  See….

So Lola…..she had an okay day, but she really wasn’t into stays.  She says stays aren’t her thing.  And then she bit me in the front leg.  She’s mean I tell you….mean.  At least I got eggs with my supper AND for breakfast this morning, too!

Well the day after I enjoyed some well earned R&R.  I think I just suckled my fluffy soccer ball all day.  I like these.  I have a few of them.  Slobber sponges.

Catching up…Sleepovers and Scans again

Well, we’ve had a lot going on here at the Hudson household.  First we got a snow storm in late October!!!  Yipee, I love snow!!!  But because all the trees fell down, we lost power for several days.  But it was OK, because we packed up and went to my Nana’s.  Ugh…Monkeybutt Lola came with us.

So Nana is Momma’s Momma, and she is lots of fun.  She hides cheese around the house for us, but we have to wait to find it until she tells us to.  We had a sleepover at Nana’s for about 4 days.  Now Dada’s Momma is Mimi, and we went to see her too when we didn’t have power.  My “cousins” Kayla and Tori were there at Mimi’s, too.  They lost power as well.  We played and I gave them lots of kisses.  They are a lot of fun.

So now we are back at home and all is good.  We did have to throw out a lot of food from the fridge.  I could have cried.  What a waste.  But it is all restocked now.  My food, my cheese sticks, and of course….My Eggs.

So this past Tuesday I had my belly shaved (I hate that) and ultrasounds and a chest xray.  They didn’t find anything, so Momma & Dada were very relieved.  Momma says she’ll trade a shaved belly for clean scans any day.  Now I am on a metronomic protocol.  I get Cyclophosphamide 1x day, Piroxicam 1x day, and Doxycycline 2x day.  But it is all in my food, so I don’t notice it.

I have a busy weekend coming up.  Momma has entered us in another CDSP Obedience trial on Saturday.  I’m not sure why, but Lola is coming with us.

That is it for now.  Hope all you Tripawds and Monkeybutts are having a nice autumn.  The weather here is warm again.  But it is rainy here tonight.

 Oh, Momma’s camera was broken and in the shop…so no new pics.

Living Large

So last Friday night we stayed at a hotel in the big city Boston.  Me & Lola got to have steak from a really nice restaurant called Grill 23.  Here’s a special woof-out to Jason, Yannick & Justin for taking care of our very special treat.  Thanks very much!  These guys are nice people!  I give them 3 paws up!  I’d give them 4…but…I only got 3 to give.

Here we are demonstrating our very nice “Leave It” manners.  I actually did sneek a piece in when I thought Momma wasn’t looking, but she caught me.

Momma forgot the good camera, so Dada took this pic his cell phone camera and Lola looks like she has CRAZY EYE.  But then again, she IS crazy.

When we were headed out for a potty run in the big city, I met this nice fella in the lobby of the hotel.  He wanted to greet me.  Well, generally during a greeting I like to have my butt scratched.  I tell people this by trying to walk through their legs and leaving my butt out there to be scratched.  Seems pretty clear, right?  Anyway, he seemed a little shocked when he realized I was missing a leg in back.  Oh well.  I guess somebody should have warned him.  But please people, don’t be afraid to scratch the bum of a Tripawd!  Don’t be afraid of the bum!

We took our very first elevator ride and Lola got nervous and had to lay down.  Not me, I did fine on 3 legs, too.

So they have this thing called “room service”.  If I had known about room service, I would have been calling them everyday!  Because, look what we got!

I love eggs…..I wonder if we have “room service” at home….?

Then, the next morning when we were leaving this other nice fella (a different nice fella) comes and knocks on our door.  He takes all our bags that Momma & Dada packed up and then we go to leave.  He asks about my spare leg and Dada tells him the story.  He says I look great and happy and then he goes back inside and gets these two stuffed elephant toys and gives them to me & Lola.  What a nice fella!  But Lola’s got 4 legs, so I’m not sure why she needed an elephant, too.

4 Month Ampuversary & My 7th Birthday!

Must mean I’m getting eggs!  Although I do miss pumpkin treats, Momma says flour can’t be a part of my diet for now.

So today is my 4 month ampuversary and tomorrow I turn 7 years old.  Momma & Dada can’t believe I’m going to be 7.  But time flies when you’re chasing balls.

I am doing pretty good after my 5th chemo treatment.  My doc just called with my day 10 CBC results and I am going to have to get rechecked again in 3 to 4 days to make sure my white blood cell count and my neutrophils go back up.  I might need to stay on Baytril a few extra days because I am at risk of infection.  She is very nice and she called late on a Friday to tell us.  Momma says my doctors are nicer and call more to check on me than her doctors do for her.  Ha ha ha!

Momma got me a peanut from FitPaws and I’ve been having a lot of fun with that.  My sister Lola tries to out perform me, but she forgets that she has 4 legs.  Showoff!  I still work with my balance disk, but we needed to do a bit more.  I’ve also put on 2 pounds, so Momma & Dada are relieved that I am gaining back some weight.

Me on my FitPaws Balance Disk

We’ve been looking at booties for me for the winter.  We were looking at PAWZ (pawsdogboots.com) and at ruffwear.com at the Grip Trex or Polar Trex.  If anyone has any feedback, let us know.  Momma is particularly worried about me on ice this winter.  We live in Massachusetts and I LOVE the snow.

We also had some sad news.  One of my fellow Rally-O doggie friends, Amy, is sick with cancer.  They are not sure if it is melanoma or lymphoma yet.  I think they find out on Monday at her vet appointment.  My Momma and her Momma always hang out together at Rally trials.  Please keep Big Sweet Amy and her Momma in your thoughts.


Many Thank You’s and we decided to go with 5th chemo

Butchey Hudson’s Momma here again….First of all – Butchey’s appointment went well.  Cardiac ultrasound was good, blood chemistry panel was good.  There were a couple of things that did pop up, but our veterinary oncologist (or as Butchey likes to think of her as “the lady with the knees I like to lick”) told us they were within normal range and/or normal in a dog not even on chemotherapy.  So all in all a good report.

We discussed his weight loss as well.  Brett & I had thought over about what we had done differently as well after the 4th treatment and we realized that for about 2 weeks we had switched his food (due to loose stool issues) and he was getting less fat in his diet.  So we are increasing his portion size and much to his happiness, he’s going to be getting more eggs.  She also mentioned his “haggard appearance” is from the adriamycin and will disappear after he finishes his treatment.   I am also going to order a peanut from FitPaws and add that to our PT workout.

All in all, both Brett & I felt it was the right way to go.  Both in gut and in heart.  We also discussed metronomics and will most likely follow that as a treatment plan, when we stop the adriamycin.  I think Tatespeeps had mentioned that in a comment, too.  =)

I want to thank all of you, both here on Tripawds and on Facebook, for all your comments, thoughts, advice and kind words.  We are more grateful of your support than you could possibly know.  Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!

I tried responding to a few comments individually.  I apologize, but I haven’t totally figured out this wordpress thing yet.  Perhaps when I get our new computer, I will sit down and figure it out.  Right now, things are loading slowly and I’d rather be playing with the pooches! =)

To do a 5th chemo treatment or not to do a 5th chemo treatment – That is the question

Butchey Hudson’s Mom Nancy here.  Tough to write this one from Butchey’s point of view ;0)

Background:  At the time Butch was diagnosed with HSA in right rear knee joint, the oncologist recommended amputation and 4 to 6 treatments of chemotherapy (Adriamycin).  I hope I am quoting her correctly (will review all specifics with her on Tuesday’s appointment), but she had told us that 4 treatments is standard and if he was doing well he could get a 5th and 6th.  But definitely no more than 6 treatments. 

So we have now completed 4 treatments.  Our 4th treatment was 3 1/2 weeks ago.  This upcoming Tuesday we meet with her again and Butch gets an ultrasound of his heart to see if there has been any damage.  If there is any signs of damage to the heart, then obviously chemo is out of the question.  If the ultrasound comes back okay, then we have a decision to make on doing a 5th treatment.

We decided to have our regular vet and holistic vet check him out.  We trust them both very much and just wanted to rule out any obvious signs (to them) of any health issues.  They both think he looks good.  To me, although his spirits are great, he looks a bit haggard.  He has lost a ton of coat and has that skin discoloration that apparently is a side effect of adriamycin.  He has also lost about 5 pounds in the last 3 weeks, which visibily (to me) includes a lot of muscle mass in his front shoulders.  I would have thought his muscle mass would increase in his front shoulders, given the rear leg amputation. 

He has also had a big issue with skin allergies.  About a week or so ago, we finally made the decision to put him on Temaril-P (prednisone).  This has made a HUGE improvement in the allergy department.  He hadn’t been able to be out of his “cone of shame” since the surgery in June, really.  Where before you couldn’t get him unfocussed off of chewing his paws, now he barely pays them any notice.  We had to compromise with the prednisone aspect to give him a better quality of life, and we are very glad he is doing better with that.

So now what to do about a 5th treatment?  If you asked us 3 weeks ago, we would have definitely have said no – given the allergy issue.  Now that the allergies are so much better, we are on the fence.  The weight loss really concerns me.  And I am of the mindset, that if all that (including my perception of his haggard appearance) is happening on the outside – Then WHAT is happening on the inside?  Or more aptly phrased – “How bad is it on the inside?”  Otherwise, his appetite is great.  He had a bout of diarrhea around his 4th treatment.  Flagyl along with a hamburg and brown rice diet cleared that up and he has been okay in that department.

I am very interested in hearing from any of you who have found yourselves at this impass before and what was involved in your decision making process.  I know regardless of what route we choose, hindsight is 50/50 and we could have regrets and What Ifs either way.

Of course we still have our appointment for the heart ultrasound and a consult with the oncologist first.  Our decision might be made for us, and she could have additional info that could sway us in either direction.  I wonder if I am making too much of the decision and should just go with it if we get the clear.  But something in my gut just tells me to be cautious….

Here’s a recent picture taken about a week ago.  This one even includes Lola!

Lola (left) and Butchey (right) Fall 2011
Well gotta go…Big Boy is nudging me to let me know that he wants his supper.  For some reason I keep seeing an Egg…  I told you his appetite was fine!  =)