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Earlier this year we had about a solid month where Coco was wearing a cone and taking antibiotics. The poor thing was having trouble with her toes; they kept swelling up. So we'd take her to the vet, they'd express the toe, then we'd have to give her medicine and topical treatments. The toe would begin to look better, then another toe would swell. This happened three times over the course of a month and a half, and we were finally told that we'd have to see a veterinary dermatologist. Our normal vet couldn't figure it out, so off to a specialist we went. The one nearest to us had a month long wait for an appointment, but we finally got in to see him this Tuesday.

Turns out, Coco has allergies. Also turns out that allergies are super common in shorthaired dogs like boxers and pitbulls. Guess what Coco is a mix of?!?! So yeah, they did a scratch test to determine what all she was allergic to, and she tested positive for 12 allergens, including Bermuda grass, Black Walnut, and a type of mold. So now we're starting her on immunotherapy. Basically for the next 30 days we're giving her doses of the vaccine in increasingly larger amounts and concentrations to get her body ready for the maintenance dose. Once that's happened, we'll cut back to every two weeks. And then maintain that for the rest of her life. Its not ideal (who wants to stick their dog with a needle all the time?), but its far better than the infected toes and high vet bills. And Coco is such a chill dog, she doesn't even mind the shots, which is good. Definitely don't want to have to deal with a struggling 60 pound while I try to inject the medicine!

Speaking of dogs. We've adopted a second dog, a rescued Catahoula mix we've named Athena. Athena is a bit famous - she was tied up outside and left to starve, and was rescued when her puppies escaped and let animal control back to her. The poor girl was severely underweight when they found her. Catahoulas are supposed to weigh between 55 and 60 pounds, and she was 29 pounds when they brought her in. I saw her story in the news and basically fell in love right away. I sent it to Palmer, and he agreed that if she were available and got along with Coco and our cats, we could take her in. We almost didn't get her; there was a family that put an application in on her right before we did. Fortunately for us, the family's dog didn't like Athena, and so we were next in line. We did our dog to dog meeting, the girls got along, and we brought Athena home that day.

We got spoiled with Coco. Other than some separation anxiety and clinginess, and her insistence on pulling hard on walks, Coco is a very well behaved dog. Athena wants to be good (and she takes to training like she was bred for it, which yeah), but has a lot of behaviors we're going to need to train out of her, including leash aggression. Luckily like I said she really does like being trained, and we've hired a dog trainer to come to the house and work with us and her. We've also slowly started introducing her to the cats. The first night we did was awful, she barked herself into a panic attack, basically. We tried again last night, and it went somewhat better. She still barked up a storm and was trying to get to them, but let me pat and soothe her and actually calmed down for almost half a minute. We're going to keep doing a few minutes a night until she's desensitized to the cats and can be calm around them. Because the cats were here first. If she can't be trusted around them, we can't keep her. It'll break our hearts, but we can't risk the safety of Goblin and Loki. At least if we have to give her back she'll go to the shelter healthier and with more training. But. We are still quite optimistic that we'll be able to keep her. So keep your fingers crossed for us!

There's more I could write, but it probably deserves its own post in a few days. Until then!

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May 2016

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