Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's a Gotcha Kind of Month

April is a very busy time in our household. A birthday, our anniversary, and a couple of "Gotcha" days. For those of you that don't know, the Gotcha day marks the day you adopted (or "got") your dog and/or cat (what are those?) from a rescue or shelter. (It doesn't count if you bought your dog from a pet store... but that's a discussion for another day.)

Last Tuesday, April 20, was Virginia's Gotcha day. Incredibly, it has been 10 years since our little girl came into our lives. It's been a decade of wonderful times. Though she may be 11 years old now, she's still as nutty as ever, doing rollies on her back every night after dinner. She still does puppy zoomies around the room, flies up a flight of stairs, and is as "Beaglie" as ever... translation: very food motivated.

The nicknames she goes by these days are "Little Girl", "VA", "Sweet Pea", "Puddin'", "Punkin", "Munchkin", "Miss Beagaloo" and a few hundred other variations (no one ever said we weren't nuts).

She does have some issues, namely a sensitive stomach and her hearing is not what it used to be. But she can still break into a refrigerator like nobody's business and she is still our puppy.

Today, April 29, marks six years of a house full of Tinker. Hard to believe. Not that it is six years already, but that it hasn't been longer. Tink seems like he's been here forever. We can't remember the time before he was here and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Right now, he's squealing like a pig Tink to come downstairs. (We still do not let him do stairs himself- we serve as his personal sherpa to keep his back in as good a shape as possible). He's one nutty, fun loving dude. I don't think there's a happier, more upbeat dog (or person for that matter) on the planet.

Every day is a great day for Tinker, even those days when his back gets a little stiff. He's 10 years old, going on 2 months. And he is overjoyed at this moment to finally be downstairs and licking his sister's ears (a daily ritual).

The nicknames he goes by these days are "Boo" (evolved from Tinker Boo), "Boobadeaux" (that's his Cajun, we're not Cajun), "Billy Joe Boobadeaux" (I told you we were nuts), "Boo Boo" (seems to be a theme here), "Mr. Boy", and of course, he will aways be "The Dude".

These two monkeys enrich our lives every day and in so many ways. They are fun, stress relieving little kids with fur, and just a joy to be around. We couldn't love two animals more than we love them (maybe more than some relatives, too).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

There's nothing like a chew

We present a video documentary of a Beagle boy
and his treat filled kong.

Starring Tinker as the Beagle boy

Co Starring Virginia as the sleeping Beagle girl

Director's note - The noise you hear in the background is the coffemaker,
not Virginia snoring.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tinker the Harness Chewer

Our boy, the harness chewer. Tinker goes through harnesses like a runner goes through sneakers. Here's a slideshow of some of his favorites.

(the two-tone blue-green is his current model)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Surf's Up Dude

With weather being pretty lousy around here, we took a trip to a local pet store chain to give the Beags a chance to have some fun as well as to cure our cabin fever. The floors in these stores are usually a smooth tile or linoleum. Which means a slippery floor for Tinker, who looks like Bambi on ice when he gets excited at the sight of another dog.

The two of us had a simultaneous thought as we entered the store. "What if we try to put Tinker in one of the shopping carriages?" (We once tried this with Virginia years ago, but she hated every moment of it. In all fairness, it was also on a bumpy driveway in a shopping center.)

So we put Tink in the carriage and he loved every minute of it! He gave a few puzzled looks, and he got a bit frustrated and whined, cried, and barked a few times at not being able to greet some of the other dogs, like Bogart the Beagle, that we met along the way.

But he also liked having a bird's eye view of the food-stocked shelves, and didn't attempt to climb out of his new "vehicle". All in all it was successful trip, especially when the cashier gave 3 large treats to both Virginia and Tinker as we left the store.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm Walking, Yes Indeed

It's been just over one month since Tinker re-injured his right rear ACL. He was put on crate rest and given a prescription of Deramaxx (a class of NSAID), which we hesitantly gave to him. In case you aren't aware of it there is a lot of controversy surrounding both Deramaxx and Rimadyl.

After three days we took Tinker off the Deramaxx due to a enormous increase in his urine output. Where he would normally go outside after 3-4 hours, Tinker's bladder was ready to burst after an hour. The literature on the drug's official website said that dispensing the med should be stopped if there is a significant change in bladder output and that's exactly what we did. Tinker's bladder output returned to normal just 24 hours after stopping the Deramaxx. We cannot stress enough the importance of knowing all potential side effects of any medication, whether it is for your animal or yourself. Okay, we'll hop down off the soap box now. :)

Tinker usually has no problem being crated, but was more reticent this time, putting on quite the whine fest in the morning after breakfast and in the evening after dinner. It could definitely drive you to the point of distraction.

Thankfully there was plenty of good weather so Tinker enjoyed some mornings and afternoons out on our deck. Don't worry we didn't let him use the grill.

We decided right from the start that we would allow Tinker to sleep out of the crate at night since the room is gated off and he wants nothing more than to just curl up next to his sister or spread out on the big square flat bed we bought for him. After about 2 weeks we also starting giving in at night and letting him out of the crate after his post-dinner whining. (We made sure to let him out after he had stopped whining so wouldn't be rewarding the behavior.) Again, this was no problem, since he wanted nothing more than to just curl up in his bed in front of the couch. And if he did wander off, we would say, "Get back in that bed young man" and he would scurry right back to the bed and lay down. It was a very funny sight to see.

While Tinker was healing the two of us were getting sore shoulders, necks, and backs from using the back sling harness to walk him.

So we were happy to get a good progress report from Dr. Massicotte after a 3-week follow up. One more week of crate rest was recommended for Tink and then we could slowly start to walk with him with his regular harness. About half-way through the 4th week we started taking Tinker on short walks with his regular harness while still using the rear sling harness for longer walks. He had no problem building his stamina back up and now we are walking him only on his regular harness.

Needless to say, Tinker is very happy to be free and hanging out with Virginia again.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Sunday night, we awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of a restless Tinker. He was walking around our bedroom and seemed unsettled. We quickly noticed he was walking awkwardly. Actually, he always walks in a somewhat awkward manner, (a combination of spinal walking and normal walking), but Sunday night he wouldn't lie down for more than a few moments.

We immediately were stressed, fearful that he may have suffered another back injury. However, we also realized his right rear leg was retracted and that appeared to be the direct cause of his balance problem.

Before I go further, let me explain a little bit about pain response in a dog who has had a spinal injury. Normally, a dog who hurts his leg will retract it from pain, but the leg will relax in short order. However, a dog who has suffered a spinal injury, has, for lack of a better phrase, an over reactive pain response. Rather than having his leg go back to normal in a short amount of time, Tinker kept his leg retracted for the rest of the night and early morning.

It was a long night for all of us, (well, except for Virginia who snored away), as we ended up sleeping on the floor next to Tinker to get him to relax. We tried to crate him, but he whined- and it wouldn't help matters for him to be stressed. So he got onto the big square cushion/bed we have on the floor (in addition to their regular bed- variety is the spice of life) and we laid on each side of it to both block him off and keep him calm. (At one point I woke up with Tinker leaning against my nose.)

We called up the Animal Emergency Referral Association (AERA) on Monday morning, where Tinker had his back surgery, to make an appointment with his neurologist, Dr. Christiane Massicotte. Timing is everything and luckily Dr. Massicotte had just returned from vacation. We were also fortunate that there was an opening due to a cancellation in the afternoon.

Tinker was examined by Dr. Massicotte as well as the AERA's neurologist in residency, Dr. Jenny Scarano, and X-Rays were taken. The determination- Tinker's back was fine...Phew! However, he has a partial tear in his right rear Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). He had torn the same ligament in the Summer of 2006, but not to this extent. Thankfully though, it is a tear and not a rupture, which might have required surgery to repair.

So, his remedy is crate rest and a daily dosage of Deramaxx, an NSAID, whose use, like Rimadyl, has us very concerned. Steroids are not prescribed in this instance, so we somewhat reluctantly agreed to follow the prescribed course of action (We will be adding a Milk Thistle supplement to Tinker's daily regimen to help cleanse his liver of toxins.). Rest is the key.

In order to take make it easier for Tinker to do his "daily business", we are back to using the rear sling that we employed 3 years ago when Tinker injured his back. He took to it this morning just like old times and walked around balanced on his front two feet with ease. We on the other hand are suffering some forearm muscle aches we haven't in a while ;) . We have made one concession and that is to allow Tinker to sleep on that roomier square bed (instead of the crate) at night so he can spread out a little more.

Our first milestone is in 2 weeks, when we have a follow up visit at AERA.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Any port in a storm

Tinker loves a lot of things, but Tinker does not love thunderstorms. He's not bad until the thunder gets loud as the storm gets closer... and then he begins to quiver and pace. So out comes the Rescue Remedy. 3 squirts from the spray bottle works well, and we repeat it every 15-20 minutes if the storm lingers. That and finding a "safe spot" to den in, seems to help him to manage.

Just like people do, dogs can find ways to deal with their fears. In his case, it's under the living room end table. We bring out a comforter to snuggle in and his stuffed pal Ernie, and under he goes. Pretty soon the Rescue Remedy and relaxation kick in and he nods off to sleep.

And what is Virginia doing during the storm?

"Storm, what storm? I've got boneys to chew!"

For a dog who has separation anxiety, Virginia is amazingly unflappable about everything else. Riding in the car, thunder and lightning, loud noises, etc. - no problem. During a storm she'll continue doing whatever it was she was doing- chewing on a bone, sleeping, waiting for dinner. Occasionally, she will go and lay down with Tinker, but that usually happens much later.

See Tinker's little stuffed friend Ernie curled up next to him? :)