Happy Birthday – I can’t Afford a Present…

This handsome fella is seven years old today!

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He nearly didn’t make it!

Seriously.

(If you have a weak stomach, leave NOW!)

Cane decided to give us (Second Born Son & me) a collective heart attack last week. SBS notice he was not feeling well. Vomiting and diarrhea. He then noticed that there seemed to be something coming out of his derriere. The photo he emailed me showed approximately THREE FEET OF FINE ROPE.

THREE FEET.

OF ROPE.

3 FT.

I immediately forward the pictures to our vet’s office. Then I call them. I use my calmest voice to tell the lovely assistant that I NEED them to look at the email I sent RIGHT FREAKIN’ NOW.

She puts me on hold. I can almost hear her eyes rolling. And then she gets back on the phone.

“Um, yah, we are going to need you to go to (the main clinic) as soon as you can. How soon can you be there?”

I’m standing outside my work which is 40 minutes away from home. Then I have to load up the dog, then I have to go the main clinic which is another 40 GOD-DAMN MINUTES IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!

I am about to set a land speed record.

On my way home, I get a call from the lovely young assistant. She tells me she has taken the initiative to put together two quotes; one for the initial x-rays and examination, another for emergency surgery, ” in case we have to make decisions quickly.”

This is code for, “this is bad.” She tells me the cost for the surgery will be between $3,000-$4,000. I’m wondering what the black market rate is for kidneys, cuz I don’t have that kinda cheddar laying around. Who does?? Don’t answer that.

Once I get home, I’m met by the dog. It’s as bad as I envisioned. I pull into the garage and run inside to change before loading the dog, rope and son into the pickup truck.

Upon my return I’m horrified to see the rope is completely gone. It’s now wrapped around the base of the tires of my vehicle. It was pulled out as Cane ran around the vehicle.

THERE’S SEVEN FEET OF ROPE.

SEVEN FEET.

7 FT.

OF ROPE.

BASICALLY TWICE AS MUCH AS THERE WAS BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am thrilled, horrified, fascinated, horrified, and panicked in a matter of seconds. Call to vet clinic confirms we should still come over in case there is any rope left in him (JAY-ZUS HOW MUCH MORE COULD THIS BEAST HOLD??)

Over we go. He’s not happy. He doesn’t care there’s a truck ride happening.

At the office they complete the examination. Cane is doing so well. They decide to do the x-ray. There’s nothing inside, they don’t think… whaaaaaaat? There was damage. It shouldn’t be permanent. Shouldn’t.

“How did he get into the rope?” they ask.

I have no clue.

“What kind of rope do you think it is?”

It looks like baler twine. We don’t have baler twine. What are you suggesting????????

$400+ later, we take Cane home. He’s happier, calmer (thanks to the sedative) and laying down in the back seat.

SBS and I look at each other, amazed at how a regular Wednesday turns into a freakin’ reality show.

Suffice it to say, there’s no new chew toy for Cane this year. He chomped down 7 ft of rope, so I think he’s good.

Happy Birthday Cane!

 

 

Reality Show Revelation

Days after our spectacular Christmas tree fiasco, we found ourselves the day before Christmas Eve Day. That’s an awkward way of saying Dec. 23. Second Born Son was at work because it’s high season in the grocery business, First Born Son was in the kitchen cleaning up some dishes. (Yes, that was my Christmas Miracle!)

Me and The Big Guy? We were in the living room discussing decoration placement for the rest of the room, since the tree was the only thing that was completed. You could say we left things a little 11th hour this year.

FBS calls me to the kitchen repeatedly, quickly, and I can tell by the tone, that we have a problem. He points at the sliding glass doors off the kitchen where Cane is anxiously looking to come in. He has his left paw up in the air and there’s enough blood in the snow on the deck for transfusion.

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We let him in the kitchen to inspect the damage, and the hemorrhaging continued inside. The same towels that mopped up water the week before, were now used to mop up blood. Once we got his heart rate down, the bleeding did subside and we were able to determine the source of the injury. It was the outside pad of his left paw. A clean slice on an angle that ran so deep you could see parts of the pad I’m fairly certain were never meant to be exposed.

Thankfully, and due to our history with Cane and Roman, we have a fully stocked First Aid kit just for the dogs. We managed to clean things up and wrap it. This was now around 9 p.m. and TBG and I decided to call the vet clinic rather than throw him in the truck for 45 minute drive. After the phone consult it was scheduled to take him in the morning when we wouldn’t have to pay double the rate. After all, once Cane was wrapped, he told us he was ready for bed, thankyouverymuch!

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The morning visit confirmed what we feared; that you can’t stitch a pad, and this was going to be a long healing process for Cane.

This made for a “fun” Christmas season; trying to keep a large dog inside and inactive while entertaining family.

<PAUSE> Cane was a model patient at the vet clinic. For a large, large-breed dog, he’s remarkably gentle, especially when he knows you are trying to help him. No snarls, no snapping, just one little whimper when they cleaned out the cut. <PLAY>

Christmas came and went and with it some interesting family interaction. Now folks, I can’t get into too much of what I’m referencing here, because honestly, I don’t need a law suit right now, but believe me when I say statements were made by certain individuals that were cause for “shock and awe-ful reactions!” Gotta love the holidays! I’m setting money aside for counselling for the boys!

This was followed up by an opportunity to educate my father in law, whose understanding of burning garbage over the years at the family farm, needed some updating now that he lives in town. We are hoping our neighbours are still speaking to us after learning what he was trying to dispose of in our light paper burning barrel. I’m fairly certain the black smoke billowing from our property was visible from space.

It was that day, just after lunch, that FBS made his declaration.

“We need to have our own reality show!”

“We’re pretty boring, bud. I don’t think anyone would want to watch us,” I chuckled.

Then he made his case. He figured the Christmas tree would be one episode, the dog would be another, and there had been enough crap going on in our world in recent weeks that it would most definitely be enough fodder for a first season. He pointed out we had all the right personalities that would make for good viewing.

“After all, if that family can have their own show, and it’s all written for them…our stuff is real!” I thought he meant Duck Dynasty. He actually meant Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

I reflected on this comment later in the afternoon and chuckled to myself. I think I’ve grown used to the “crazy” to the point that it’s become our “normal”.

After all, we have had a much drama as anything on TV. My father goes in for high risk surgery on a Friday, which takes much longer than estimated, but he survives. The next morning TBG’s mother passes away. SBS breaks his arm TWICE. The same arm – a year apart. We buy a new house, TBG gets a great job offer a month later, which he takes, and the following week I’m laid off of my job.  My mother and my sister move THE SAME WEEKEND – then my father in law moves a month and a half later! We decide to go on our first family vacation in 8 years and our furnace is condemned a week before we leave. Oh, did mention this is in NOVEMBER?

Maybe the kid is on to something!

I can recall catching up with a friend a couple of years ago, and she was stunned with the collection of events.

“If I didn’t know you, I would think you were making this up!” she stated in awe. It wasn’t a compliment.

I’m going to keep his little suggestion in my back pocket, for the next mini crisis. I’ll grab my cell to record while I’m juggling the chaos!

Gone to the Dogs

Anyone who knows me, knows I like to cook and bake. I actually find it quite therapeutic. I’m not intimidated by new dishes, and to me, there are fewer things more rewarding than a table full of people enjoying something you’ve made.

Unless it’s your dogs.

Confused?

A friend at work, who helped us find Cane, has two shepherds and a lab. Soon after we brought Cane home, she asked if we were raw feeding our dogs. Completely baffled, we asked her to explain, and before long, I was online researching options on how to make home-made food.

Crazy? Not so much.

When you think about it, you try to eat healthy and take care of your body. Why treat your pet any differently? Some people can spend thousands of dollars a year on their pets, and never think about the food that is in their bowls. Sure, you buy the best kibble you can afford, but what’s really in it?

<PAUSE>
I could totally tell you what’s in dog kibble, in varying degrees, from your basic bulk styrofoam, to your overpriced designer puppy chow. But gross is gross, people.
<PLAY>

This got me thinking and before long, I was over the stove, with a copy of my friend’s recipe my hand. The concoction has two components; meat, or in this case ground turkey necks, and veggies, specifically oats, rice and a blend of veggies with some fruit thrown in for good measure.

Not much to look at…yet!

Not much to look at…yet!

Within minutes, the smell from the pot was drawing attention from the two-legged members of the household, who wanted to give it a taste test.

Down the hatch!

Down the hatch!

The verdict from First Born Son and The Big Guy – a little bland, but nothing that a bit of salt wouldn’t cure. Second Born Son took a pass.

Meat and veggies

Meat and veggies

So with two hungry pups, it was time to see if they would enjoy their new menu.

A chef and her first attempts.

A chef and her first attempts.

It was difficult to keep them away from their bowls. Once they got into it….

Not a veggie guy.

Not a veggie guy.

Roman was thrilled with the idea of REAL food. He was really off his kibble, even though we always bought better than average food. He delicately removed the offensive broccoli and strawberries, leading us to believe he was not a fruit and veggie kind of guy.

Cane eats everything that isn't nailed down.

Cane eats everything that isn’t nailed down.

Cane, on the other hand, dug into it like there was no tomorrow. Our poor pup, who is growing so fast, his bones were sticking out, has finally filled out. Roman, who was getting pudgy, in spite of the fact that he didn’t eat two squares a day, is now in the best shape of his adult life.

A couple of weeks later, I made another batch,

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This time, tomatoes!

So in the month we have switched to this new diet, we’ve noticed a number of things;

a) No food sitting in the bowls, ever.

b) Cane has gained weight, mainly because we can feed him more protein, while Roman has lost weight which was necessary, because he’s eating less filler.

c) No more dog breath. Scouts honour. Dog Breath is actually a compliment around here.

d) The cleanest teeth you’ll ever see on a dog. When these guys bare their teeth, they glow in the dark!

e) More organic waste. This will be a real plus for FBS and SBS who are CAOs of Poop Scooping. It reported breaks down faster and there is less of it, since the food is absorbed better.

f) The cost is on par with what we were spending on commercial dog food. Our time is all we invest.

And when we look at all these benefits, it’s well worth it.

 

Floor Flashback

Have you ever heard a story from your childhood and didn’t know if you remembered it because you lived it, or because you’ve been told it so many times?

One of those stories, to a lesser degree, was the story of Rene and the foster-brother who came to live with us for a couple of months.

Gingham was TOTALLY what all the cool kids were wearing - and Rene didn't mind my bowl bangs....

Gingham was TOTALLY what all the cool kids were wearing – and Rene didn’t mind my bowl bangs….

You can read more about my childhood pups here.

My memories collided recently, as I was playing with Roman and Cane after dinner in the kitchen. The dogs always hang out in the kitchen with us while we eat. While we don’t engage them while we are eating, on this evening, I decided to play with them after. I’m the Alpha Dog, so I don’t often “play” with the pups, but I had a random thought.

“Do you want to see me freak them out?” I asked The Big Guy and the boys. I laid down on the floor, looking to see what they would think of me doing something they had never seen me do.

Cane immediately came over and sniffed me from head to two, probably trying to ascertain that this was, indeed, “Mom”. I start to laugh and cover my face to save myself from a thorough bathing. Within seconds Roman is over my head, his paws on either side of my head by my shoulders and he starts growling and snapping at Cane. I know this because I can sense his presence RIGHT. ABOVE. ME.

Instantly, I’ve left my kitchen. I’m laying on the grass along the lane way at the farm I grew up on. My mind is playing tricks on me because I actually FEEL small, and I have a dog above me. It’s Rene and he’s snapping and snarling and I’m covering my face. I can hear my foster-brother crying out because he’s afraid, but Rene never touches him.

The two events are so parallel, it’s unnerving. I sit up, back in my kitchen in my 42-year-old body and realize what has happened. It’s one thing to hear a recollection, it’s quite another to remember it yourself. In an instant 35 years passed and I was able to remember exactly how I felt at that precise moment.

I calmed Roman and let him see that I was okay, which was the main concern for him. He has never seen me lay down in the house (and only on rare occasions outside), and this is the first time we’ve seen him be so protective of us. The Big Guy was never in danger, neither were the boys. Roman was simply covering me and ensuring Cane didn’t go too far.

It’s a very reassuring feeling to know that today, as when I was a child, I have someone who will protect me, even when I may not be able to protect myself.

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My very own super hero!