Category Archives: Pets

A little night music

Autumn paddock

The late autumn weather is definitely upon us.  We just had the second of two big windstorms in the last two weeks, and during both we lost power, as well as many of the remaining leaves.  During the nor’ easter two weeks ago, the power was out for 4 days (3 of which I spent in NY, lucky me!).  This past Friday we lost power about 5 a.m. and it came back on yesterday about noon, which wasn’t so bad.  We have a large generator which is partially hooked up to the electrical panel, so once my husband gets the generator going, he just has to get into the basement and flip a master switch or something (I don’t go into the basement anymore as it is a gymnastic event, jumping down through a 4′ door onto an upturned bucket, etc., etc.  Not for arthritic me!).  We have a few kitchen lights, bathroom lights, hot and cold water, tv and internet.  And we have the wood stove, so we are not roughing it, by any means.  It does take a trip into town each day for more gas for the generator, which can get expensive!

Winnie in the weeds, looking for crickets and grasshoppers, yum!

The weather is forecasting cooler and cooler nights from now on, and we have had two or three mornings of pretty hard frosts.  Winnie and I always walk up to the paddocks where the goats lived, and there she hunts grasshoppers and crickets to her heart’s content, as the long grass is alive with them.  I love hanging out up there to listen to the cricket song, and even after dark when we go up, there is a chorus to meet us.

But, last night we sat and sat, and there was no night music.  :*(   There was none this morning, either, and I am hoping the sunny afternoon wakes them up.  I enjoy winter and the seasonal changes, but I really, really miss the song of the insects and tree frogs when it gets cold.

Ah well, this too shall return!  In the meantime, I am wondering what Texas Winnie is going to think of snow!  She could be getting her first taste of it on Friday, we shall see!

Tesser update

Tesser having a rest after the last vet visit
Tesser having a rest after the last vet visit

Well, we have more blood results for our little Chihuahua. She does not appear to have a kidney issue, it looks like she is polycythemic (not sure if I have the spelling correct here). She makes too many red blood cells, so her blood sucks all the extra water out of her system into the blood, leaving her dehydrated. As we have been giving her fluids under her skin, she has perked up. It’s all in the balancing act, I guess!

So we have some new hope for our future with little Tess, and we just have to be a little more careful about her fluid intake and watch how she feels, as well as feeding her a more balanced diet. Being a lot more observant is the key. Totally worth it!

Columbus Day weekend 2014

Tesser is looking pretty good this weekend!
Tesser is looking pretty good this weekend!

I couldn’t wait for the weekend, and it’s been great so far. We went out to breakfast this morning at a local Round Pond eaterie, John went up to Jay, Maine, to register the pigeons for tomorrow’s race, and I had some down-time at home to do some cheesemaking chores and a little paperwork. Tonight our grandson is here and we have been watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos and setting up Brio train tracks. The day was grey and cool until this afternoon when the sun finally joined us.

SnowPea is good with the new milking schedule
SnowPea, our star milk goat, is okay with the new milking schedule

Columbus Day weekend is usually the peak of the autumn color in the midcoast Maine region, and it’s right on schedule. The Damariscotta Pumpkin Fest is this weekend, so there are lots of wonderfully carved giant pumpkins in town. I have not gotten any photos yet, but maybe tomorrow. I love a good three-day weekend!

Tesser is holding her own so far and seems to have perked up with the extra hydration. Monday I will take her back to the vet to have some more blood work done, and we will get some firmer answers, we hope, on her condition.

SnowPea continues to give us a goodly amount of milk, just once a day. And she seems pretty happy about it too!

Dog tired

Tesser, all decked out in the bandage from the drawing of the blood
Tesser, all decked out in the bandage from the drawing of the blood, in her cat bed

This past week has been a cluster of running from one thing to the next and feeling as though nothing is being accomplished. Unfortunately, much of the running has centered around Tesser, our twelve and a half year old chihuahua.

Chihuahuas are notoriously finicky, and dogs as small as ours can be fragile and have issues. And she is all of four pounds on a good day! But Tesser has not been eating well, and appears to be in a little pain some days. I would expect that she would have some arthritis at her age, but it’s so difficult to tell about things like that. Most of the time she is still a happy doggie when we are around, and we cuddle and have playtime.

On Monday we spent quite a few hours at the vet’s office getting blood work done, and having her pumped up with some fluids under the skin. Prescription food was provided and we went home trying to be hopeful about indications that her kidneys may not be functioning well. She has perked up a bit, and eaten more than she has in awhile, but yesterday afternoon we spent another few hours in the vet’s office so they could run her blood panel again. Not much has changed, even though she is well-hydrated and eating.

So we came home with more prescription food and a bag of Ringer’s Lactate with which to pump her up every night for a week. One more blood panel next week will either confirm that her kidneys are not working correctly, or show that she is just slowing down with old age. So I am crossing my fingers for a little more time with her, and hope that we can find foods that she will eat and that agree with her.

It looks as if another dreaded life transition has landed on our doorstep. You know they are going to arrive, but just hope they will stay away longer. She has added so much to our lives that I can’t regret any of the years with her. One more cycle in a very sweet life.

Find the Chihuahua

Tesser is a chameleon on bags of fleece

That’s the game we play frequently.  Tesser is the master of disguising herself, making it sometimes difficult to locate her.  When we have conveniently-placed sheets full of fiber on the warm floor, no matter where we place them, she finds them and makes a little indentation on top of one and snuggles in.  You can walk past her a hundred times, but if she wants to do her own thing, she is well hidden!

Tesser loves the green blankie!

Last Thursday we had a snowday from school, which was lucky as I woke up feeling miserable with a cold.  So Tesser and I did a little bit of snuggling together.  Whenever I took out the green fleece blanket and put it over my lap, she found me.  It’s her favorite :*)

Maybe that’s what we have to do when we can’t find her!

A little bit of this and that

Strawberry and fresh green onion/garlic scape cream cheese

I should have been working on this over the winter, but there just never seems to be time.  So in the last few days while our grandson was home with us (a stomach bug), I worked on some cheese equipment organization, some new flavors of cream cheese, and ended up making a bigger mess than I began with.  It’s always the way.  Although the cream cheese is awfully tasty!

Sorting fleeces is always fun.  I get started and I don’t want to be turned aside.  I am trying to group the fleeces to go to the processor so that they will complement each other as roving or yarn.  So I have my piles of white, piles of silver/grey, and piles of dark brown.  Sigh!  So many choices, so many decisions!  Tesser doesn’t seem to mind the fuss and confusion.  She just hangs out on the chair, watching all the fuss around her without batting an eye.

Tesser the Chihuahua makes herself comfortable

The week that was

Never even got close to creating a blog post this past week.  Budget crunch time in my school district, so there were budget and board meetings to attend.  Very exhausting and very tough times.  I am still hoping that I have a job next year, even if it isn’t full time.  But on the brighter side, I really think we have shed our long johns for good!  Well, at least until next fall.  The day has been gorgeous and bright.  Can’t get enough of it, but I see that the black flies have joined us so that battle begins afresh.

Bear and Tesser sitting on John's lap, many years ago

Our sweet Bear is still here, but she is winding down her time with us.  She sat outside most of the day enjoying the air and the sun.  She is still on her pain pills and she seems fine on that front, but is slowing down more each day.  My biggest wish is that she will just close her eyes one of these nights and not wake up.  Tesser knows things are not right and has changed her daily patterns as well.  She doesn’t spend time with Bear on her blanket anymore.  I guess they know.

Bear update

Bear in one of the more recent snows

Bear is doing a little better on her new meds and has perked up considerably since we had her to the vet last Saturday.  She seems to be more alert and taking more pleasure in things, so hopefully she is as comfortable as we can make her.  We took her to the vet this morning to have more bloodwork done, and we have ruled out anything like Lymes’ disease or heartworm (although I am diligent about the heartworm pills, so that one would have really shocked me).  She remains on her heart medication and some pain medication and is more actively eating her kibble.  For now, that’s about all we can ask!

Vacation begins on a low note

Our sweet Bear

We have known for awhile that our Lab, Bear, is getting old.  She has really slowed down, and has lost a lot of strength in her hind quarters over the past year or so.  When you are an 88 lb. dog and you are almost 13, losing weight and slowing down is just the way it goes in the normal progression of things.  So we have been watching her and in the past week or two she very suddenly has just dropped many pounds.  Barely gets up.  Doesn’t eat much.  We took her to the vet to see if we could get an idea of what’s going on and how to make the end of her life a quality one.  We are pleased that she has had such a great, long life.  We have been steeling ourselves for  the worst, but for now, we have gotten the gift of a little more time with her.

Our vets are wonderful and we agreed that we would treat her for her symptoms to make her more comfortable.  Pain meds, heart medication and some pred have already perked her up in the last 24 hours.  It’s a treat to see! She has enriched our lives immeasurably, so I guess we can just be thankful to have shared the time with her.   Any extra is a plus!

Bear Update

Bear enjoys her new freedom, without the cone!
Bear, 11, enjoys her new freedom, without the cone!

We have finally crossed another milestone:  Bear is  free of her cone of shame!  It’s been a long summer with this poor girl.  Our house wasn’t set up (is anyone’s?) to accomodate a 93 lb. dog with an enormous plastic cone (12″ high and 19″ diameter) on her head.  Her leg operation back in July was necessary, but it was so long in mending that it seems like forever.  Two months did feel like forever!

But here she is, yesterday, just after the removal of her cone, relaxing comfortably.  Looking pretty good, Bear!  Now she can have all the hugs she wants, without knocking our lights out :*)

Bear's scarry patch is almost faded into hairiness
Bear's scarry patch is almost faded into hairiness