Archive for February, 2011

Just a cute kitten

Today’s happy thought is an adorable kitten in slow motion. The kitten’s cuteness is showcased along with her questionable aim.

Thanks to Shannon for sharing this :)

It’s Me or the Dog

Last night I got to see Victoria Stilwell perform in Salem; talking about her career, her training methods and demonstrating with adoptable dogs from Willamette Humane Society.

Before the show Victoria came to the shelter to pick out dogs for that evening’s show and got to tour the shelter and meet staff.

Eight shelter dogs got to perform onstage with Victoria. This is Olivia with our wonderful volunteer, Linda. Olivia demonstrated how great pitties can be. Even better than Olivia’s 15 minutes of fame was the fact that she got adopted today.

Victoria reminding everyone that breed specific legislation isn't the answer

Seeing Victoria work with the dogs, reminded me again that I have a very smart dog who would greatly benefit from some attention and training.

I don’t mean our tripod Romeo. Smart isn’t quite the right word for him. And this is all the enrichment he needs to be ready for a long afternoon nap…

Julio, our 5 pound terrier mix, is our problem child. He is entirely too smart and very energetic. He also loves attention and food. So he’s perfect to train to do random things.

This evening I was inspired to work with Julio to see what I could get him to do. I got out the treat bag and waited to see what he would try. We happened to be near his crate and at one point he pawed at the crate door. So we made that his new trick. After less than 10 minutes, he would push the crate door closed at my signal. He’s a smart one.

And guess who is passed out at my feet at the moment. Yep, a happy Julio. I guess we’ll have to work on another trick tomorrow.

Welcome back Romeo

Romeo has been much more alert today and seems to feel much better.

Yesterday evening he finally ate again and didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to go out. Success! So really he only skipped breakfast yesterday, but his complete patheticness from Thursday evening thorough Friday evening made it seem worse.

We got more meds from OSU yesterday – Metronidazole (antibiotic), Famotidine (antacid), and Sucralfate (anti-ulcer). By the time Trent got home with the meds, it seemed like Romeo was starting to think about perking up. So we just started the Metronidazole as originally planned.

We’ll talk with the oncologist to see if we should start him on everything for his next chemo treatment. I’ll definitely make sure to have chicken and rice ready for next time.

Today Romeo discovered that he is currently allowed on-demand feeding. We need to increase his food a bit since he is a little scrawny. Plus, since he didn’t eat anything for 24 hours, he’s catching up. So around noon when he got up, ambled into the laundry room and nudged his bowl with his nose, I fed him. The look on his face was pretty cute – kind of “Wow. That worked? That never works.”

Romeo has been up and around a lot and has moved from room to room with us. At one point he decided to settle in on one of the many beds in our room, unconcerned about the cat already settled there. What was truly amazing was that the cat was also unconcerned as an awkward 130 pound dog maneuvered around him. But anyone who knows our cat Nugget, wouldn’t be surprised by this. Nugget doesn’t really live in the same world the rest of us do and has different priorities and worries. Fear of bodily harm isn’t on his list of worries.

Not sure how Nugget survived

Feeling the Yuck

Yesterday, his first day after chemo, Romeo seemed to be feeling pretty ok. His appetite was good and his energy level was normal (which for him is mellow).

Mellow and content

As the day went on he started making more visits to the back yard as the lovely side effect of diarrhea caught up with him. He still ate all of his dinner last night, with just a little less enthusiasm than normal.

Then last night he woke up twice to go outside.

First thing this morning he turned down his breakfast and has continued to be uninterested in his kibble, even after getting his antinausea meds.

Today he is working his way up the pathetic meter.

Next he is starting on Metronidazole, an antibiotic to help his innards get back on track. Also on Romeo’s agenda for today, chicken and rice. I guess that means I have to cook.

First Day of Chemo

Romeo spent the day at Oregon State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital today for his first treatment of chemotherapy.

Romeo has gotten used to coming to work with me and eagerly hopped in the car as usual this morning. When we got to OSU, I had Romeo wear his harness to help him since the floors in the hospital are smooth. Turns out he didn’t need any help and he navigated the lobby and halls with ease. He even managed to put himself on the scale.

I weighed Romeo at work yesterday as well and found out that he weighs 130 pounds. Which means he has lost 15 pounds through this process. Most of the weight is from being down a leg, but I think he may have lost a few pounds in the rest of his body – he looks a little scrawnier through his waist. I guess we’ll increase his food to see how much he needs to be eating now.

After a brief exam, I left Romeo for his day of hanging out at the hospital. He got his blood tested to make sure he was ok for chemo and then he got his chemo injection (carboplatin).

Apparently Romeo tolerated the treatment well and didn’t show any side effects while at OSU. He had a dose of anti-nausea medication (dolasetron) and has some pills (Cerenia) to take for the next few days.

When I picked him up this evening, he was perky, very happy to see me, and ready to go home for dinner. We’re supposed to watch for vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and lethargy. So far so good.

The only thing different about Romeo this evening was his back right leg, the leg his catheter was in. Several times he has acted like that leg feels weird – standing on it strangely, stretching it out differently, and just acting a little uncomfortable. We’ll see what he feels like in the morning.

Now he has a new patch of shaved hair to match the patch on his front leg and his side.

Huh, I just realized that for once, my difficulty with left and right won’t matter – I can just say Romeo’s front leg without specifying left or right. Thanks Romeo!

Happy Spay Day USA

In partnership with the Tom & Mom Cat Special, Willamette Humane Society’s Spay & Neuter Clinic participated in Spay Day USA, offering $20 cat spays and $10 cat neuters for a special surgery event. Our goal was to spay/neuter 50 cats in one day. (A normal surgery day for us is 25 animals.)

We did it! Today we fixed 56 cats!! 29 females and 27 males. We had both of our vets, our full clinic staff and some of our most amazing volunteers to help the day go smoothly. Everyone did a great job from check in (which started before 7am) through the final clean up this evening.

The nice thing about Spay Day is that it is a chance to catch female cats before they go into heat or get pregnant. Amazingly we have seen cats in heat coming to our clinic since December. If only cats weren’t so good at reproducing…

The local newspaper came out to see the event and already has pictures up on their website. Here are a few.

Picture by KOBBI R. BLAIR | Statesman Journal

Picture by KOBBI R. BLAIR | Statesman Journal

Picture by KOBBI R. BLAIR | Statesman Journal

It was a long day but very rewarding. I can’t wait until next year.


The rest of the Statesman Journal’s article came out this morning and included video of the event.

Milestone Achieved – Celebration Questionable

This evening, shortly before I got home, Trent witnessed a miracle. Our three-legged Romeo made it up the stairs! Our stairs aren’t awful but they are a bit steep and Romeo had has difficulty with them even before surgery (hence why we moved our bedroom downstairs before his amputation).

Trent had come upstairs to work on his computer, figuring the dogs were all going to sleep since they just had dinner and were settled for the evening. It was not to be. After hearing the telltale sound of a Great Dane lumbering up the stairs, Trent tried to prevent his irreversible progress. But in the time it took Trent to hustle from his computer to the head of the stairs, Romeo was already there.

I have no idea how he managed it, but Mr Hopalong survived and is now comfortably resting on the LoveSac – the world’s biggest beanbag chair and Romeo’s ideal sized dog bed. Romeo has missed his LoveSac since we have been downstairs, but there was no way we were rolling it down the stairs. A queen sized bed, a couch and at least five other regular dog beds downstairs will have to do.

But in the meantime, he’s a happy camper.

The goal of the evening will be to manage to get all of us down the stairs without any damage to any living beings or to the house.

We should probably move the cat first.

If I don’t post anything tomorrow, it might be because we didn’t make it down the stairs gracefully and are unconscious at the bottom. Send help. Think happy and coordinated thoughts for us!

Countdown to chemo

It has already been 17 days since Romeo’s amputation. He seems to be back to his normal self and has figured out how his body works now. Tonight he managed to carefully position himself on the bed between a dog (not the five pound dog!), Trent and a cat, without crushing any of them. Pretty impressive for a dog who could barely manage that with four legs.

Now that he is this far into his surgery recovery, it’s time to kill/maim/inhibit some cancer. Romeo gets to spend the day at OSU on Wednesday for his first chemo treatment.

Romeo was a pretty good office companion last week and got to join me again today. This afternoon I took advantage of the bright lights in my office to poke at Romeo’s incision.

When his staples were removed last week, our vet told me to keep an eye out to make sure none were missed. With over 80 staples used and trying to remove them from a big dog who is standing up and leaning, it is understandable that some could be hiding.

The section that the vet was concerned about is looking good so far – keeping Julio from licking it has been a challenge though. But there was another spot that just wasn’t looking better. I poked around and sure enough, buried in there was a pesky staple.

I haven’t removed that many staples in my life and the times I have tried I haven’t been particularly good at it, but this was a great chance to practice.

This skin had bunched up around the staple and made it difficult to even get the staple remover on it. After some digging, I finally got it. (By the way, Romeo is the world’s most tolerant dog. The entire time, he just laid there and mellowed.)

Unfortunately I didn’t actually have the middle of the staple and only succeeded in freeing one side. More poking, prodding, bending and twisting finally got the rest of it free. (Again, the world’s most tolerant dog.)

Now that spot can heal up with Romeo’s super magical healing powers.

After 17 days, his incision looks great, but if you don’t want to see, you know what not to do.













After I demonstrated my staple removing skill…

I’m sure our vet would have had better staple mojo, but Romeo didn’t object.


Nine days after surgery, Romeo ran for the first time. Today, 16 days post amputation, I finally caught this feat on video.

Not that Romeo needs the help, but I think Julio was trying to stand in for Romeo’s fourth leg.

Where did Thursday go?

Working a long day isn’t conducive to blogging about my dog. Here’s the mini version of Romeo’s day yesterday

  • Slept in my office
  • Got treats from coworkers
  • Slept more
  • Met a nice family who adopted a Great Dane from our shelter
  • Slept more
  • Kicked my desk while dreaming
  • Came home and slept

Today’s excitement is a trip to the vet to get his staples out.