Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snuggle Sessions

I don't know if Tesla isn't feeling well and needs comforted, knows we need comforted, or knows her time is drawings to a close and is soaking up time with us like we are her, but she's been unusually snuggly the past few weeks.


She climbs up in bed at night, or jumps on the couch and spends hours there - definitely out of character.


She was much more like this when we first brought her home, but it was out of anxiety, which I don't feel from her now. It could be the result of less rules, of course, which have turned her into the cutest little monster. She's old enough and well-behaved enough (e.g. we've had these rules in place long enough) that she's not completely unchecked, but there is an extra pep in her step knowing she gets to do whatever the heck she wants.


Most of the time though, what she wants is to spend time with her humans and dog.


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Friday, March 10, 2017

Canine Love

Dog love is weird. I routinely say I have no idea why humans did this to themselves. They took a partnership of need (wolves in the wild) and created a species to be loved and share this world with. Let me explain.

When man began taking in the most docile of wild wolves and using them as warmth, protection, and hunting partners, they created the canis familiaris that we know and love today. Humans created these companions. The partners in this world that know the nuances in our voices, the sadness we're emitting, or the joy we feel when we look at them. We created them.

Because of this deep connection, the moment you begin loving a dog is also the moment you begin steeling yourself against their death. When you bring a dog into your life, you you start to prepare to say goodbye. It sounds morbid, but it's true. Most dogs won't outlive their owners - a burden we as humans carry in exchange for getting a decade or so of genuine love.


I think that loving a single dog makes it that much easier to fall in love again and again. Take Edi: had he been our first dog, it would have taken SO long to love him. But since we already had that love in our hearts, even though we didn't LIKE him at first, we loved Edi immediately.


Dog-love is an interesting thing - a human thing. It's a special love.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Second Round of Cheeseburgers

On Monday, I drove Tess out to the Heart to Heart Veterinary Cardiology Consultants at the Akron Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center.


The office was beautiful and everyone was super nice. Tess had an exam with their cardiac specialist, Dr. Boddy; an EKG; and ultrasounds of her heart and abdomen.


Unfortunately, we received the news we were expecting - Tess has a tumor on her heart that likely bled causing the original pericardial effusion. She also has a tumor on her adrenal gland.

Any type of cancer possible in this situation (hemangiosarcoma, ectopic thyroid carcinoma, or lymphosarcoma) does not carry a good prognosis. In order to get a biopsy to determine the type, invasive surgery would be required - and we would be left with pretty crappy treatment options.

Saddened by this news, we began our trek home. Lucky for her, she has no idea her condition and is doing all the things she loves to do.



The tumor on her heart is likely to re-bleed, putting her back into heart failure. With this diagnosis, we know our time left with Tesla is short and valuable. We continue to soak up every second with her and will keep a close eye on her comfort in the days to come.


And of course, there will be more cheeseburgers!




Friday, March 3, 2017

Aging Gracefully

As Tess has gotten older, we take her out of her comfort zone less and less. She hates car rides and would prefer to hang at home with her people. With her general aging, and now with the unexpected news we received last week, we're even less likely to push those comfort limits. We spend a lot of time at home and around our neighborhood.


With a reactive dog, neighborhood walks can be tricky - they aren't the relaxing and leisurely activities of the past when we were a single dog home.



With all that, our blogging habits have changed. What we think is exciting and interesting just isn't in our routine anymore - and that's okay. But we still have stories to tell.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Rollercoaster Week

We came home last week to a very different Tesla. And while the symptoms weren't overwhelmingly worrisome, they definitely were cause for concern. She was not usually her spirited self - she was lethargic, aloof, and generally lifeless. She didn't run up the stairs to greet me, she walked with her head hung low, and immediately laid back down and fell asleep.



We contemplated going to the vet immediately, but didn't have any biological signs of distress. After a few minutes, my gut wasn't sitting right, so I decided to call the vet and ask them what types of symptoms they look for. After explaining the situation, they let me know they had an open appointment slot before closing if I wanted to bring her in.  I decided that a $40 appointment beat a much more expensive emergency visit if she worsened over night.

We told our vet the symptoms and he gave her a once over.  He noticed her heart sounded distant, so he took her back for some scans.  A few minutes later he came back somber, and I knew he had bad news.

Tesla appeared to have pericardial effusion which had led to cardiac tamponade - basically heart failure. Our little girl was dying and had mere weeks to live.

We were heartbroken. Devastated, we made our way home to make the most of her last days. First order of business...cheeseburgers - our tradition when we get not so great news.


The next few days consisted of Tesla's favorite thing - snuggling with her people at home. We have seen dogs with amazing bucket lists, but those things stress Tess. She hates car rides, the beach, and isn't a huge fan of the dog park. So we snuggled...


and snuggled...


ate tasty treats...


went on a Pack of Erie Dogs walk...


and snuggled some more.


Tess seemed to get better over the weekend, which we expected as her body compensated for the extra pressure in her heart.  Even with her increase in activity, the symptoms of heart failure started to show themselves through distention in her abdomen. We prepared to say goodbye to our favorite girl this weekend.



We went to our follow-up appointment on Monday expecting to get a better idea of how long we had left (days? weeks?). Our vet took Tess back to get another scan of her heart and came back with a befuddled, yet hopeful look. It seems like the pericardial effusion had disappeared! We celebrated with cheeseburgers -- apparently it works wonders for the heart!


Tess isn't out of the woods yet - we have a consultation with a cardiac specialist next week where we'll hopefully get a better idea of what caused the effusion and if there is risk of it coming back.

Send some extra good vibes our way this week!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Edison's Woes

Edison is falling apart.


On top of the (very minor) seizures he has had, he also has a loose tooth. Of course, it's our favorite and we're heartbroken. We've tried to save it over the past month - softening his food, limiting rough play hoping it will reroot - to no avail. (Meanwhile, when Tess had her cancer-lump, we were all like "Take the whole ear!" Poor Tess.)

Bottom-middle-left tooth a few hours before removal
Edison also seems to have developed seasonal allergies. We were hoping it was just a foot fungus, but it doesn't seem to be. He has been licking his paws nonstop for weeks (minus the week he was on medicine), to the point that they are raw. His whole body was red and inflamed. The vet put him on Hydroxyzine which seems to be helping. Plus, he loves that he gets Pill Pockets, too.

Post-Op

Here's to hoping that the change in weather will minimize these allergies over the next few weeks and that we don't miss that favorite tooth too much.

Monday, September 14, 2015

PEDs: Walk Anticipation

We hear from our members that their pooches know when it's time for their weekly Pack walks.  When their humans grab a a certain bag, or head towards the door at a certain time, they know they're headed to see their pals.


This is particularly great to hear when it's about dogs who came to our group especially timid and anxious.  To see their excitement when they arrive and walk with our group is especially rewarding for both their humans and the humans in the Pack.


Does your dog know when it's time to go somewhere fun?