It is with a very heavy heart that I have to report our Bates is no longer with us. He went to the vet Valentine’s Day 2020 for his luxating patella because he was wincing in pain every so often. The vet’s office we had just started going to would repeatedly ignore our request for the vet that we asked for, and would put us with any other vet in the office. I can’t help but think if we had been able to see the good vet we asked for that perhaps he would still be here. The vet we did see asked us to leave him all afternoon and pick him up right before they closed. We left him for tests, picked him up along with the recommended prescription which had to be dropped off at a compounding pharmacy. We waited for the prescription to be made for him then gave it to him that night. His breathing changed so we rushed him to the emergency vet thinking it was an allergic reaction to the medicine. So many crazy things happened so fast. The emergency vet took him back to where they treat dogs while we filled out the paperwork with his medical history and symptoms. Within 5 minutes they came out to tell us he was gone. They have saved so many of our dogs over the last 20 years of having special needs pets, so I assumed they gave us that message that must have been for someone else. Then they confirmed it was Bates! We asked how, what happened, what was it, are you sure there is absolutely nothing that can be done?! So they went back to him and worked on him. Which, for the record, don’t come out to me *ever* if there is still anything you could possibly do to save my dog still! Unbelievably infuriating! It was wasted minutes spent talking to me instead of giving Bates the best chance to live. Instead, they were able to bring him back using life support measures only, then they came to get us, so we had to look at him being kept alive artificially. I won’t describe what that is like to save you and to save me from reliving it. We had to then make the decision to pull the life support and watch his body die. It was so painful. I would have never rushed to hand him off to the vet if I thought that was the last time I would ever see him. I would have told him I love him again when he was awake and alive and could hear it. I asked what exactly happened and they did not know. They said it could have been a stroke, a heart attack or an undiagnosed disease. Considering my dogs see the best vet in the state, it is not likely to be anything undiagnosed. A few days after the shock wore off, I googled the medicine that the regular vet office had given him. One of the first things it said was that the medicine was NOT to be used on dogs! So, lesson learned! ALWAYS google every medicine before deciding to give it to your pets. If I had done that before I gave it to him, he might be here still. That vet did bloodwork and never called with results since he died. Instead, I called them and asked for his lab results. They said they are sorry he passed away because the emergency vet’s office forwarded the results of that visit. I had the regular vet go through the entire labs as if he were still a living dog. Then I told them what I found out with one simple google of the medication name! I hate their guts for prescribing it. He was the sweetest boy that we rescued from a 17 dog hoarding rescue. I thought the worst was behind him. I had no idea his time with us would end in such heartbreak. He deserved better. His best friend Polly grieved for months. They were two peas in a pod and would sit face to face pawing at each other, licking each other’s faces and ears, and she would always lick his forehead or the top of his head into a cowlick. They were such a cute and bonded duo. We will always miss our little man Bates.
The kids have been on 5 adventures this year. Hotels have gotten so much better about traveling with pets compared to the limited options during the long road trips out west in 2010 and 2011. This year they experienced a roadtrip to Maryland and on to New York in a vrbo with a private rooftop, a trip to St Louis, a quick weekend in Florida and a couple of trips to Nashville. We saw family, a couple friends, and went to a few concerts. Nashville has a full size replica of the Parthenon so we visited that as well. The dogs loved to walk in downtown Nashville. Polly was afraid of one of the garages and would walk as close to the street as possible while leaning to the side to avoid it. I couldn’t tell what about it scared her because nothing looked different than the others. I think she liked it because it gave her tons of new people to pet her. Beethoven has two luxating patellas but he’s too old for surgery, so we got a dog stroller to take him around. It helped keep the dogs from being underfoot between the vrbo and the dog park in NY. There was a dog park on the far end of our block and Washington Square Park in the opposite direction. Fletch is completely blind now so the dog stroller helped him too. More pics of that to come!
This summer I bought a colorful hummingbird feeder at a home decor store after lunch. It was an after thought. I knew we had hummingbirds in our front yard because we’d see and hear them every time we walked the dogs. They mostly stayed near the pine tree for the bugs that the sap would attract, the honeysuckle, the hollies and bamboo. I hung the feeder off the back of the deck and checked the Nest security camera to see if any birds found it. Boy did they ever! It was non-stop feeding on it. Naturally I bought another feeder. The traffic increased until I had 17 feeders across our 2/3 acre. They would also fly under the gazebo on the deck to look into the kitchen and see what we were doing. They’d sit on the bamboo outside of the sunroom to look inside. They are very curious individuals.
There are a few formulas to try to estimate how many hummingbirds are at your address. One says that for every 1 hummingbird you see, there are 4 others living there that you do not see. Another says it is 6 staying there for every 1 that you see. Another says that each hummingbird will drink 2 oz of nectar from the feeders daily. I did the math one day based on the capacity for each feeder and the very small amount that I was dumping out every other day. Apparently we had 32 hummingbirds! Did you know that feeding hummingbirds takes as much commitment as adopting a new puppy? It truly does. The reason is that you can only mix a specific sugar with water in a specific ratio with no additives and no substitutions to make the nectar that is a portion of their diet. No honey, no agave, not organic. Absolutely no red food dye. You also must clean the feeders very frequently based on how hot it gets in your area. That meant daily or every other day here. When the feeder looks cloudy, you must dump the nectar out immediately and clean with either a bleach solution or vinegar solution. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water or 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, scrub with a brush and rinse in warm or hot water. You can find all kinds of hummingbird feeder cleaning brushes at your local garden center or online. I’ll do a whole post about it soon, and re-post again before they migrate here in April.
While putting on Polly’s leash, the other kids lined up at the storm door to prepare for their trip outside. The door isn’t perfectly sealed so cool air comes in on one side and they were definitely enjoying it. This is the time of year–spring and fall, actually–when Fletch will plop his rear onto the grass and refuse to come inside. He loves the cool weather and will verbalize his objections through a song or two before finally coming inside. Some days I have to actually pick him up and bring him inside because he will not stop singing.
Polly has adopted this bed as her own house and really it fits her best. At any time you can find any of the kids spending time in it. Bates likes to just stick his head in there and nothing more. I’ve been afraid to post about Fletch for a while but he is stronger than he was before the surgery. He has an amazing doctor and surgeon that gave him the best care he could have possibly received. If I didn’t already live near this vet’s office I would actually consider moving to be closer to it. They are THAT good! Cali is missing the oscillating heater fan. She’ll snuggle up to the back of my laptop to try to get warmer. I’ve never considered having a cat wear a sweater non-stop until Cali. Check back. You may just see cats in sweaters soon.
We have good news! Fletch had the tumor removed and it is benign! It was 1 full pound between the kidney and tumor. That entire kidney had to be removed so there were plenty of question marks regarding what his reality would be moving forward. Thankfully, he is happy and energetic. His glucose is normal. He is still crated to control his activity until the full 6 weeks recovery time. His time is longer since he is diabetic. He spent almost two full days with the surgeon’s office and overnight care doctors immediately after surgery. He was on a soft warm bed and covered in blankets while he was getting fluids. Pics are: tumor, recovery bed, and back home with Bates and Polly. His legs are shaved from when they were trying to find a vein so he looks a bit like a poodle right now.
The storms were really bad and lasted so long last night. Bates snuggled up in his bed to get through it.
If you wonder where we’ve been, we have a sick pup. Fletch has a mass in his belly. He is seeing the best doctor possible. She is 50-50 on whether we should have surgery or not. She has the medical expertise. As his Mom, I am 50-50 too. Operating has risks and it could send him into kidney failure. Not operating could mean there is cancer hiding in there that wasn’t discovered when we had part of it removed and sent to a lab. This is when I wish for medical knowledge, but really nobody is better than the doctor he is seeing. Please say a prayer or two or three for Fletch. He’s such a sweet and innocent soul. It is heartbreaking that he is having to deal with this.
I think he approves of the new linens I was unpacking.
Cali watches them religiously to make sure they all make it in from their daily walks. Another successful day! All kids safe and back inside the house.