Saturday, November 15, 2008

Leader Of The Pack - Hierarchy

Dogs are pack creatures, whether your pack is just a human and a dog, to a mighty pack like my friend Shelley has, 2 humans - 9 greyhounds - 1 lab & 2 cats, there is a pack hierarchy everyone follows. Us humans are supposed to be the leaders, I'm sure that is the case in most homes, then the creatures need to sort out their ranks.

In our home Old Fart like to believe he's the leader & for the sake of this blog post, he can be. This blog isn't about us humans anyway, it's about all things Calamity.

We have 5 greyhounds in our home & I don't think I've introduced them to you yet. Let me do that now.

Calamity, female, race name: Trix Calamity J, born 5/15/2001, not a lot you don't already know about her. She is the alpha of our pack. Not a bossy one by any means, but the boys never really cared one way or another who was the boss. Our nicknames for her are Doodle Bug, or Doodles.

Morgan, male, race name: Trix Morgan E, born 5/15/2001. Morgan is Calamity's "twin" brother. They are litter mates & share a resemblance. Both are blue brindle and white, although Morgan is still strikingly colored. Morgan and Calamity pick at each other like siblings constantly. They were "stirring the pot" when she broke her leg this last time. Morgan could really care less who is the boss. His nickname is Mo-Mo.

Trigger, male, race name Semper Fi, born 1/7/2002. Trigger is the omega, totally. He stays away from anything that might get him in the least bit of trouble. He is sweet & very loving. The Old Fart just had to have him after seeing his name in a racing program one evening. Old Fart once was in the Marines. So, I got Trigger for the Old Fart. Trigger is a mama's boy, my nickname for him is "Boo Boo".

The above are what we refer to as the "oldsters", even though they are not old.

When the track was closing, I brought 2 more greyhounds home, they are the young ones.

Munchkin, female, racing name WW Munchkinstick, born 10/3/2006. Munchkin was afraid of the Old Fart for weeks after she came home. He loved her instantly and did everything he could to win her trust & her heart. Now she is totally a daddy's girl! She cries at almost the exact minute he should be home from work & paces the house when he is gone looking for him. She loves him & he loves her. It's sickening sometimes. Munchkin is very tiny, only weighing 47 pounds. She would love to be the boss & has contested Calamity during her recuperation from her amputation. It's becoming a daily thing now and I have to step in and be the boss. I'm sure she'll try to contest me for that position some day. The little one thinks she's the big one! Her nickname is Munchie.

Kade, male, racing name: Super C Kade, born 5/24/2006. Kade is a big boy, I do mean big! He is the nephew of Morgan & Calamity out of their sister Trix Miss Kitty (Kitty) who is a brood bitch on a farm in Abilene. His whole litter came to the track to race & they held a special place in my heart. I made sure all of the litter mates that retired when the track closed when to an adoption group in St. Louis that I am fond of. That group placed one of his brothers that broke a leg and I always figure someone might want to have a litter mate. Kade is big and silly & sweet. You yell at him and he just smiles at you. A real smile, teeth & all. Kade is a "foster" here, or so Old Fart believes. If I found the "right" home for him, he could go though. Kade could care less about being the boss over anyone. Kade had no nickname.....well, none that can be posted here.

Now that you know our house kids, you'll be getting lots of stories about the fun things they do. There never is a dull moment here, I promise!!

A Celebration

The "kids" got me up early this morning for their first turn-out and breakfast. These dogs love their breakfast! We never fed breakfast until Calamity broke her leg last year. She gained 10 pounds in just over a month - YES 10 pounds! I knew she was gaining as lifting her in and out of the van was getting rough. We were going to VSEC every day back there for her dressing changes. This is when her wound would not close. This seems like forever ago. I cut back her food and added a can of green beans and decided to feed her twice daily to keep her metabolism moving in the right direction. It worked, she dropped the weight just as quickly as she put it on.

As she was eating, I thought to myself that she is getting thin, I may need to up her kibble. I'll decide what direction her feeding will go once I hear from VSEC. Oh yes, it is Friday, they should call today.

After turn out and breakfast, I go back to bed. These dogs get up early & it's so cold. Old Fart & I sleep in pretty late today, we stayed up pretty late last night.

When we get up I check my phone for any calls, I have had none. Old Fart goes to work and I think I should call, but I realize Phoenix is 2 hours behind us & decide to put it off.

Calamity comes running through the house taunting Morgan with his favorite red toy. She's feeling so good, she is becoming a bad girl again. I smile at her.

It's late, actually around 5:30PM when the phone rings. It's VSEC!! Beth is on the other end telling me that the report just came off the fax and she decided to call me herself. Dr. Desch hasn't even seen it yet. WOW - so tell me. She is excited and happy as she tells me they found NO osteo in her leg!!! I feel like a ton of bricks have been taken off my shoulders. I sob with joy. This is the best news I have heard. She will fax the report to Shelley so I can have a copy tomorrow & to our regular vet for her file.

I call Shelley, and tell her the news. She's happy and basically told me "I told you so". I have to laugh, she was never worried from the start that this was osteo. Then I call Jacquie, another friend that I share my life with. She's happy too. I try to call the Old Fart but he hates to talk on the phone & doesn't answer me. I text him the news.

Dr. Desch calls & he's thrilled too. We both agree that this the amputation was the best thing for her. She just will be a great, happy tripawd for as long as we have her.

For a celebration, we had Twinkies all around, the dogs were thrilled at this wonderful treat!! they have no idea what we celebrated, but they sure did love the Twinkies!

I don't think I have ever been so happy about anything in my life. My Doodle Bug will love a long life with a Mom who loves her dearly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

University of Arizona - Blah!

Yesterday, once again I called VSEC to see about the histopathology results of Calamity's leg. The surgical coordinator had gone for the day, so I asked to speak to Beth.

Beth is the blood bank/donor coordinator and since Calamity (and my others) are blood donors, I sometimes turn to her to advocate for Calamity. Beth sometimes works for Dr. Heeb - the oncologist - so she understands the importance of getting the information on her leg also. She agrees to call the lab to see what the hold up is. Within a few minutes she calls back to tell me they are closed for Vetern's Day and she promises to call tomorrow. She does tell me the million dollar leg is at the University of Arizona. *Sigh* another day of waiting, but I know Beth will keep her word.

We talk about how Calamity is healing wonderfully & if there is no cancer, she can get back t donating. She feels guilty, but I remind her we did this so she can be a regular ole dog once again. Back to LIFE and back to LIVING! Yes, she can donate once again once all of this is over!

This afternoon, my phone finally rings and the called ID is VSEC. Well, we finally have some news! I answer the phone and Beth tells me that her & Dr. Desch have both called today and here is what she found out. They actually start at the good end of her leg and move towards the bad part. This is so they can get good margins. I thought they would start at the bad part and move out in either direction - WRONG! As of yet, they have not found any cancer in any of the sections they have looked at. At least someone has said what they are, or are not, finding. This is better than the silence. They are getting into the broken parts now and will have an answer on Friday. That is 2 days from now, 3 weeks post-amp.

I still don't know why they take so long on something that can make or break her life. I don't understand why they would not pull a small sample of the broken area for a biopsy first. I just don't understand how this all really works. If someone really is a "lab rat" and can explain this to me, please do. Maybe they don't have a Veterinarian School?

I just need to quit bitching and be hopeful for the good news on Friday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When She Ran

Trix Calamity J raced at 3 tracks in her life. She broke her maiden at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg, Florida on 5/3/2003 and raced there until 6/27/2003. Then she went to Tampa, Florida where she ran her first race, at that track, on Independence Day of 2003. She raced there until 11/3/2003. After that she and one of her littermates, Trix B Masterson came to The Woodlands Race Park, in Kansas City. This is where I met her, when I worked there.

She raced for Mike Stout Kennel where Adam Kupps was her trainer. Her first race was 2/8/2004 and her last race was 6/12/2005. I watched almost every race of hers either from the grandstands or from the escape. I was there to pick her up after almost every race and walked her back to her kennel. I loved her from the start. I visited her every day that I worked and a lot of the days that I didn't. I thought she was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen! I knew some day, she would come home to love with me & the Old Fart.

Calamity was the fastest on the rail, which means the 1, 2 or 3 position out of the box. In the latter positions, she had to struggle to cut across the field to get on the rail where she was the most comfortable running. This action would always loose time and position for her. It also put her and the entire field of racers at risk of tumbling & injury.

Now that she is a tripawd, I'm so glad I have her races on tapes! This girl loved to run!

Here is a video of a race of hers. It's not her best, but you'll be pleased at what you see.

PS: If you don't figure it out, she's the #8 dog ;-)

We Begin To Laugh

Calamity has been doing real well since my last post. She insists on going out with her pack, although she still stays a safe distance behind them. She comes back in with them. She's so much happier when she is with her pack.

She gets on & off the sofa all the time now, just like before, just like nothing has happened to her. She loves to be on the sofa - always has.

We still have her on a low dose of her pain medications as she still "peeps" with pain once in a while. There is no sense in her having any pain when we can control it.

Last night was the first night she wanted to go back to her nightly ritual. She comes up on the bed between us and "puts us to bed". That's what we call it anyway. She lays down & lets us rub her head until she is almost falling asleep then she either chooses to get off the bed & go elsewhere or she falls asleep at the foot of the bed. It's all about her, always. Last night she chose to fall asleep with us, at the foot of the bed.

Now Calamity, as most dogs, goes in circles to make a bed. Have any of you seen a tripawd move in a circle? The Old Fart & I started chuckling, then laughing at the sight. She didn't care, she was determined to "make her bed". Round & round she went, well kinda round & round. Finally she plopped down, sighed & went to sleep.

Life is getting back to normal here and it feels good.