sparkfrost: (Default)
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!
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
Apparently I can only bring myself to update when it snows. Which is... not good news for the majority of the year. Hrm. Anyhow! Worked from home today because they were calling for 4"-8" to fall during the day, followed by sleet to ice over the roads. Did not want to drive in that! The majority of all that ended up missing us, but hey whatever. Got to wear my slippers all day!

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster. Started off well - went to breakfast in Kensington where the service was bad but at least the food was good. Then took Palmer's mom and brother out so we could buy her a winter coat - our Christmas present to her. We went down to Tysons Corner in Virginia, and managed to get her a very nice coat with a faux fur-lined hood. She and Derby then bought me my belated Xmas gift, a set of serving utensils. Long story, but they'd ordered some for me well before Xmas, then the company went out of business and said they didn't actually have those items in stock. Fun! (And not that long, as it turns out...) So we went to Sur la Table and I picked out a set I quite like.

We invited them back to our house so they could play with Coco, whom they adore. Coco was so excited to see them that she scarfed down her food, then promptly vomited it all back up. So that was fun. While I was soothing her, we noticed that one of her toes was swollen. So while Palmer drove Susan and Derby back to their house, I gave Coco's foot a bath with some antiseptic shampoo the vet gave us. Seemed to be ok, so we left for Valentine's Day dinner.

Oh. My. God. This dinner was AMAZING. So it was "Valentine's Day Three Way" at Denizens Brewing Co., featuring their beers and main courses, cheeses from Firefly Farms, and chocolates from a local chocolatier, Puja Satiani. Again, oh my god. The cheese course was a black and blue cheese paired with a tripel, and a bella vita paired with an esb. The second course was a yummy salad paired with a rye ipa. The third course was this DELICIOUS pasta paired with a red ale. And the fourth course was the chocolates, paired with two different beers: a quadrupel (which was WAY too sweet) and a very nice oatmeal stout. AND! We got Denizens glasses and a little box of chocolates to take home with! Like I said, dinner was AMAZING.

So then we got home, and it all went to shit. Well, kinda. Coco's toe had swelled up even more and she was favoring it and licking it. So back in the car we went, this time with her in the backseat, and headed over to the 24-hour vet clinic. They said it looked like a spider had bitten her and it had subsequently gotten infected. So they bathed it, gave her a shot of steroids, and gave us some antibiotics and a topical to give her. And they put her in a cone, poor girl. So wee had a not so triumphant end to the weekend with a very sad dog in a cone.

She's in better spirits today, but is still favoring that foot a little bit. We've also been giving her Benadryl (per instructions) so hopefully the swelling will go down soon.

I'm a bit obsessed with my new planner, but that's a whole post in and of itself. I've also joined a group that practices hand-lettering; I posted a bunch of pictures to Facebook, go check em out! So yeah, that's been a lot of fun. The next meeting is in a few weeks, the theme is "What Inspires You" so I have to think on that.

And that's about it!
sparkfrost: (Glinda Cocktail)
So remember how Coco got sick last weekend? Well, she didn't get better. She ate her bland diet and seemed ok, but Wednesday she didn't eat anything. Thursday morning she threw up - and there were leaves in her vomit. So I took her to the vet Thursday afternoon where they did an x-ray. Sure enough, undigested mass in her stomach. They sent us home, told us to fast her, and then bring her in Friday first thing for a serial x-ray. Friday morning, the second x-ray showed the same undigested mass. So guess who got an endoscopy! That's right, we had to take poor Coco to the animal hospital where she got more x-rays, blood work, and an ultrasound, and then got an endoscopy. That procedure took 2 hours to get out the mass of undigested leaves, sticks, and something *rotting* in her stomach. Gross.

And poor Coco. She was so unhappy Friday night. Not only had we left her to get this procedure, but she was coming out of anesthesia and still quite nauseated. Not to mention her sore throat. Or the putrid stink that followed her around. So. We were given meds for her and told to keep her on a bland diet. She's just today starting to get some regular food again (which she loves!). But ugh - one of the meds can't be given with food, and apparently tastes really bad. Let me tell you, trying to get a 60 pound dog to take medication they don't like is not easy. Luckily, she doesn't hold it against me. I actually called the hospital to ask whether it HAD to be mixed to a liquid, and the tech said it could be given as a solid - so I'll be trying that tonight and hopefully it'll go down easier. Literally.

Now the only thing I'm worried about her intestines - she hasn't pooped since yesterday, and I REALLY HOPE there's not an obstruction in her bowels, cause that would require surgery. Considering we already spent over $2K on vet bills, we're really not looking to spend another $5K to get THAT fixed.

Ugh. Thoughts and prayers for Coco's health and my sanity would be appreciated. If you'll excuse me, I'm now off to drown my sorrows in a glass of whiskey.
sparkfrost: (Adulthood)
Since we've cleaned the house and sorted through the unsorted stuff, I find myself more eager to have people over. (Before it was like, Look away from my shame!) So a few days before the Superbowl we asked if a few friends wanted to come over to watch the game at our place. I said I'd make dinner if people could bring snacks and desserts, and so a plan was set! Went shopping for ingredients on Sunday, and decided to make two types of chili - a white chicken chili that I've made before, and a red slow cooker chili that was new to me. Both ended up delicious, though we do have leftovers. (Like, a lot. Those recipes weren't playing around.) And we had a good time with our friends. Except that Coco got sick.

Not sure if she ate something or caught a bug from doggy day care, but Sunday evening she was nauseated and puking. The poor thing kept trying to eat leaves and grass (either to make herself puke or to calm her stomach, not sure) and just looked miserable. I gave her some Pepto Bismol, which helped, but didn't want to give her too much in case she really did need to expel something. She looked better yesterday, if a little quiet, but threw up again both during the day and when I got home. We took her to the vet, and they said her vitals were fine. They gave her some anti-nausea stuff and fluids to fight the dehydration, and said we should fast her and then give her a bland diet. So no food for poor Coco last night. This morning I boiled some chicken and cooked some white rice, and Palmer has been giving her a bit at a time. Knock on wood, but so far so good. Ugh, it just sucks when your animals get sick. They feel bad, and you feel bad, and you just want to cuddle them and help them feel better and UGH!

Anyhow. The other fun thing from the weekend was a flat tire on my car. The "check pressure" light came on Saturday night, so I figured I'd go get some air in the tires Sunday morning. Nope! Completely flat! Changed it out for the spare and discovered a screw had punctured the tire, right in the middle. Which mean that first thing Monday I was at the tire place getting it patched. At least it could be patched - cost me $18 instead of the several hundred it would have cost to get new tires.

And that's the big stuff from the weekend. Hope everyone else had a less eventful one than I did!
sparkfrost: (Default)
I love dogs. I love cats, don't get me wrong. I grew up with cats, Palmer and I have two that we adore, i coerced a former coworker into adopting a stray cat that lived outside our apartment, I coo "hey kitty" at any cat that I see while going about my daily business, I will always have and love cats. (BTW, the coworker adores his cat, he's named Sirr Purrz and is the most spoiled Maine Coon to ever live.) But I've also always loved dogs. Since Palmer and I became serious we talked about getting a dog. But for a long time it just wasn't possible. I certainly couldn't fit one in my tiny apartment in Takoma Park, and we couldn't fit one (along with two cats) in our more spacious apartment in Silver Spring. We knew that once we bought a house, a dog would quickly follow. So when we closed in May, we immediately began talking about when we should get a dog. We wanted to give the cats time to get adjusted to their new home, so we said we'd wait until August.

And that's pretty much what we did. Early August we went out to the MoCo Adoption Center and filled out the paperwork for dog adoption. We met with an Adoption Counselor and went over our experience, other animals, and lifestyle. She recommended a dog at least 2 years old, previously owned, who was shown to be good with cats. After a disastrous attempt to pick one out on our own (she crossed off every dog we said we'd like to meet), she selected a few dogs for us to interact with. The other two were sweet, and Big Zeus was tempting, but Coco is the one that won our hearts. So we filled out more paperwork, got her scheduled to be fixed, and came back a few days later to bring her home.

She is a great dog. Not the best behaved - we're looking into obedience classes. But she is affectionate, energetic, and loves attention. She desperately wants to be friends with Goblin, and is slowly but surely succeeding. She makes sure that I get at least a mile walk every day, if not more. And she loves curling up next to us on the couch or bed and just snuggling. As I type she's curled up in her dog bed, snoring. ButI said a post would have pictures, so enough talking, am I right? Without further ado, Coco:

Coco is a boxer mix. We think she's got some pit in her, and also some sort of bird dog - she does the adorable paw-lift-point thing when she sees something interesting. She pulls too much on her leash, eats the cats' food, and has destroyed several pairs of loosely-guarded shoes. But she also snuggles next to us when we're on the couch, adores the cats (even if they don't feel the same yet), and is super friendly to every person she meets. Basically, she's a good dog.

One that needs training, but we're working on that.


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Roulette Girl

May 2016

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