Thursday, July 31, 2008

Making her vet crazy

Jacey's vet called today with results of her T4.

Back in October, when she was taking .8 mg of thyroxine daily, the vet ran a T4 on Jacey. She showed a 1.2 result, which technically is "normal" but not by much. (Below 1.0 is "low"; 1.0 to 4.7 is "normal," but dogs being tested 4-6 hours after they took their pills should test high-normal.) Since Jacey wasn't showing any improvement physically at that dosage, the vet okayed going up .4 mg a day, but we didn't run another T4 then. (The test costs $40, so it's not something you want to do too often.)

Jacey has been on the increased dosage--1.2 mg daily--since October. For a while, that worked, but she's shown signs for the last few months that the dosage is inadequate. However, the vet didn't want to increase her dosage because he considers 1.2 mg a fairly large dose for a 55-pound dog (which is what Jacey's supposed to be).

He drew blood yesterday for another T4 and got the results today. Despite our having gone up 50% on her dosage nine months ago, Jacey is returning just a 1.4 on her blood work when the blood is drawn 5 hours after she took the meds. So we can safely go up on her dosage, which means she'll be able to go back to eating what she and I consider a "normal" meal. God knows what Jacey's doing with all the thyroxine she's taking, but it's not showing up in the lab work, and we can increase her dosage.



But we're working on the crusty-butt situation. It's either worse than it was yesterday, or I'm just seeing places I didn't see before. Either way, the vet wants to clear up the skin situation--or at least give the spray treatment a serious try--before he adjusts thyroid meds because thyroid problems can influence skin problems. He'd prefer to tamper with just one set of conditions at a time.

So Jacey will stay on her current thyroxine dose of 1.2 mg a day. And she'll stay on 2.5 cups of kibble a day (instead of the 3 cups she wants--and Sam gets). About the time Sam runs out of antibiotics, we'll make decisions on whether the spray is helping Jacey and whether we should then adjust her thyroid dose or try something else for her skin.

Meanwhile, the skin problem isn't bothering her--no signs that she's itchy--and the food "deprivation" she's experiencing isn't going to do her any harm. And Sam's coping with the new antibiotic.

But Jacey and her thyroid will drive the poor vet crazy. He takes what he thinks is a safely conservative course, only to find that--for Jacey, at least--it's so conservative as to be pointless.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Da Vet

Sam's still sick. He's drinking so much water that he's very nearly peeing plain water. But there are some white blood cells in there and some bladder cells...way more funky cells than should be there in a boy that's drinking so much and peeing such diluted samples.

So--remote possibility: a stone or tumor that didn't show on last week's x-rays. Far more likely: an antibiotic-resistant infection. (An infection is especially likely since the excessive drinking started about 40 hours after the last dose of the Clavamox.) So, another antibiotic: 500 mg of Ciprofloxacin* once a day for 14 days. Then see how he's doing. If that doesn't clear things up, we'll have to wait for two weeks off antibiotics, then get a urine sample and try to grow a culture and see what antibiotic is effective on the culture. Or, maybe, an ultrasound to check for stones or tumors. If Sam hadn't just had a spectacularly uneventful set of x-rays last week, this latter possibility would be scaring me. But I'm pretty much crossing stones/tumors off the list of stuff I should worry about. Poor Sam is in for another two weeks of antibiotic-influenced poop. I can't tell you how thrilled I am about that...

(The vet tech was taking Sam out to pee. I told him they might need to give him more water first since I'd let Sam pee outside before we went into the office. They brought Sam back to me almost immediately. "Took about 30 seconds for him to decide to go," the tech said.)

The vet drew blood from Jacey to run a new T4 to check out her thyroid levels. He really doesn't want to go up on her dosage because of her physical symptoms; he thinks a dog her size shouldn't be taking more thyroxine than she is at present. If the blood work is significantly low, he'll reconsider. He should call me on Wednesday with the results.

But Jacey has acquired a new problem: a sort of crusty, scaly bit of skin on her butt--right where the hair loss I photographed last week is located. (So I have a photograph from a week ago that shows no problem.) She has a nice Gentocin Topical spray I get to spray on 2 or 3 times a day for 10 days. I'll be getting pictures to document the situation--so I can tell if it's getting better or worse or if my imagination is running the show. I won't be posting the pictures here, but I thought I'd warn you what sort of Jacey-porn you might stumble into on my Flickr account. (The photos aren't gross or anything, and the patch of bad skin doesn't seem to be bothering her.) Once we deal with the skin thing, if her T4 results weren't helpful, we'll talk about what else to check. Meanwhile, the poor baby's getting her food cut back just a bit...but not the full-on cutback I've done before when her weight was crazy. The vet agrees, though: she should be weighing about 55 pounds, not 60-plus.

*The vet said Clavamox and Ciprofloxacin are the #1 / #2 antibiotics for bladder infections.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Sam clearly has nothing better to do than scare me.

Last week on antibiotics, he drank and peed less than normal, but he seemed to have no problems.

Less than 48 hours after he finished the antibiotics, he's drinking nonstop...and peeing likewise. He's probably had 60+ ounces of water in the last 4 hours or so, and he's whining to go out to pee nearly every 30 minutes. (He's fallen asleep, so it's been nearly an hour now. But it was 8:25, 9:03, 9:35 after I started the actual clock-watching.)

Both dogs are going to the vet tomorrow. If I didn't already have appointments for them, I'd be calling first thing in the morning, anyway. The appointment is at 3:20. I've set an alarm to remind me to feed the dogs at 10:30 so they can have thyroid pills with food about 5 hours before their vet visit. (Pills with food 4-6 hours before blood is drawn.)

Sam's Choice. 00441
Month-old photo; he'd just had a bath. He wants a check for product endorsement.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Looking backward...and forward

Oreo, staying out of the kitchen at my command. Noses and toes don't count. (And Sam's nose and toes are visible in the background.)

My Oreo broke her leg in a freak accident. I'll never know for sure what happened (although I think she and Sam may have collided in the living room), but I was outside getting groceries out of the car when I heard her scream and came in to find her standing on three legs, with the fourth leg swinging.

Oreo died the next day, following surgery to implant a pin. She was 8 years, 4 months, and 10 days old.

It was more than two weeks after her death before I went grocery shopping again; and, to this day, I don't leave the dogs running loose in the house while I'm getting groceries out of the car. I tether Sam and Jacey to a post in the carport while I unload the trunk. In part, this is because Sam wants to unpack the groceries and stash the Ben & Jerry's someplace where I won't notice what he's done. (He's partial to Dublin Mudslide.) But also, it's because... well, just because.

Oreo was not an elderly dog when she died. 8 years, 4 months, and 10 days. Sam was born 10 May 2000, and I'm holding my breath through 20 September 2008. I'm not superstitious. Oh, no. But on 21 September 2008, Sam will become the oldest dog I've ever owned. I'd like to own a real senior, and I'd like Sam to be the first of many seniors I'll own.

Travis's mom has put in a request for 12 months of no drama: no cancer scares, amputations, illness, or paralysis--all of which she's had among the canine members of her household in the last year.

Me? I'm looking forward to taking a huge breath and letting it out in a sigh of relief on 21 September 2008.


MACH2 Never Expected CDX JJ aka Travis

MACH2 Never Expected CDX JJ aka Travis
June 8, 1998 - July 26, 2008

Jen has said goodbye to her boy, Travis. Her tribute to him on the SEGA Web site discusses some of his best moments:

It's with a broken heart that I report to you that Travis (MACH2 Never Expected CDX JJ) passed away last night. He lived hard, played hard, and he fought his illness hard. I begin seeing the slightest signs a few months ago, but it finally took a hold of my beautiful boy over the last few weeks.

Everyone's dog is special to them, but Travis really was special. He was special to everyone who loved him, to everyone who knew him, and to everyone who just happened to get to see him in action. He was all about "action". He had more energy than any greyhound I have ever known. He was so youthful and enthusiastic about everything. He simply never aged and maybe his plan all along was to get in and get out before anyone could label him a senior. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that he and I were perfectly suited for each other. I have so many awesome memories and got to do so much with this unadoptable misfit greyhound I originally felt "stuck" with. While working through his issues in late 2001 and early 2002, I would have laughed in your face if you had told me Travis was going to be a super star. I am so proud of everything he did, so I want to brag just one more time.... I know you all have kindly indulged me over the years.

Travis was the #1 greyhound in AKC Agility years 2005, 2006, 2007 and I am sure for 2008 as well. He is the second greyhound to earn a Master Agility Championship and the first greyhound to earn a second one. Travis ended his agility career less than a month ago with 44 double qualifying scores and 2,868 points. He is the all time, #1 lifetime achieving greyhound in AKC Agility. He significantly raised the bar for all other agility greyhounds. He was such a thrill to compete with. He was fast, smooth, and so responsive. I love the countless compliments we received. Travis was a favorite in the southeast, but I think I had the most fun taking him to trials outside of our region and surprising spectators with just how awesome he was. One person told me that she had gotten up to leave when Travis stepped inside the ring. She thought "this should be interesting" and so she stayed. She told me she was glad that she had stayed. Another favorite compliment was "We don't know who you are or where you are from, but you and your greyhound are awesome." My most favorite agility trial was the 2007 AKC Agility Nationals in Columbus, OH. Travis was the only greyhound to qualify to go and he placed 11th out of 129 of some of the best 24" agility dogs in the country that year. 11th behind 8 border collies, 1 lab, and 1 weimaraner and he won High Score for the hound group. He wasn't just a great agility greyhound, he was a great agility dog.

Although not his favorite sport, he joyfully earned his Companion Dog Excellent title in obedience. One time in the open class, I threw the dumbbell over the high jump for Travis to retrieve. It landed up against the gating, but the judge said for me to send him anyway. Travis flew over the jump and searched for the dumbbell, but couldn't find it. He came back over the jump and sat in front of me. He realized he was suppose to have the dumbbell so before I could say anything, he had turned and flown back over the jump, found the dumbbell, and brought it to me. It was so adorable. Unfortunately, creative obedience is not qualifying. The judge apologized for telling me to send him and allowed us to redo the exercise. This time I threw the dumbbell perfectly. Travis quickly found it, but trotted back "around" the jump instead of over it. We, of course, didn't qualify but I still smile about it. You all know how greyhounds aren't always the best at sitting. Travis had to work hard for those 3 minute sit stays. I had trained him to hold that sit no matter what and taught him to ignore a random person asking him to "down" during a sit stay. So once during the 5 minute down stay, Travis suddenly stood up as I was leaving the ring. The nice judge walked over to Travis and told him to "down", so Travis could at least finish the exercise correctly. Travis stood his ground. Although we had never practiced 5 minute stand stays before.... he held his stand stay perfectly and refused to listen to this random person telling him to down. He wasn't about to be fooled..... "good boy".

One of Travis' funniest traits was that he truly loved to swim. He loved retrieving bumpers from as far as I could throw them. He swam as fast and as hard as he could with lots of splash. This eventually led us to tossing the bumper off a dock and Travis loved that too. He competed twice at a Dock Dogs dock jumping event. Some dogs refuse to jump when they climb onto a dock so high above the ground in a parking lot leading to an above ground pool. It looks nothing like jumping in a lake where most practice. Travis had no issues with the set up and jumped like a pro. He would squeal and try to drag me to the dock when other dogs were jumping. He didn't come close to breaking any records (a greyhound mix does hold the record jump), but he is the only purebred greyhound I know of that dock jumped and earned a Dock Dogs Junior Jumper title. We had a great time.

Most of all, I want to remember how stunning he was. Travis did everything fast and at full force, but he was a true mama's boy. Such a wonderful soul. So thank you for letting me tell you about Travis one more time. As he reached what others would call "the senior years", I would tell him that I missed him already when I would think about it all having to come to an end eventually. I am so thankful for everything. I am so lucky to have spent 6 and a half amazing years with one of the most wonderful, special greyhounds ever. Do us this favor, take some pictures of your beautiful dogs today. You will be so glad that you did.

Jennifer Bachelor & Never Say Never Greyhounds
"MACH Never Had Braces UD" aka Katie
"MACH2 Never Expected CDX JJ" aka Travis (06/08/98 - 07/26/08)
"Never Swing Left" aka Reagan

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why we love Ravelry

Since April of 2007, there's been a Web site in beta-testing mode:

Jess is a knitter. Her husband, Casey, is a computer programmer. Jess used to bemoan the difficulties of organizing her knitting projects--keeping track of patterns and pattern changes, what yarn she bought (and how much and from where), what needles she owned (and which projects they were in), where she saw what scrumptious design, what changes she'd made to a pattern the last time she knitted it, and trying to find something to do with x yards of leftover sock yarn (when there wasn't enough for another pair). Jess and Casey--and some knitting friends--brainstormed and discussed what they'd like to see in a knitting (and crocheting) database/data management site. And Jess and Casey built it.

They quit their full-time jobs. They opened the gates to knitters and crocheters who learned about the site by word of mouth or by posts in knitters' blogs. They issued "invitations" and created a waiting list when it became obvious that an overwhelming number of people were going to be banging on their doors. (Right now, the waiting period is a couple of days. Last year, I waited more than six weeks to get my invitation.)

They opened the site to advertising--and their users loved it! Ads are personally approved by Jess: knitting, crocheting, or fiber related, no flashing ads, must be pretty pictures...and the ads link to the advertiser's site, where discounts for Ravelers often are available. Ad prices are reasonable enough for small "yarnies" (folks who spin or dye their own yarn) to buy ads; and there's a limit on how many ads will run on the site and how many a company may buy, so that big companies don't squeeze out the small advertisers.

In about 15 months, the site has acquired more than 156,000 users. Users have compiled a database of nearly 70,000 patterns (info about the patterns--needles/hooks and yarn needed, sizes available, etc., but not the copyrighted pattern instructions themselves) and nearly 26,000 yarns. And that doesn't include people's own made-up patterns or their homespun fibers. Designers can post PDFs of their patterns on Ravelry; a Raveler can buy the pattern (via Paypal) and download the PDF from the Ravelry site. And there are lots of free patterns to download. A user's projects page has links to her (or his--lots of guys on Ravelry) photos on Flickr and blog posts. And the most amazing thing is how the site has grown and changed as Casey gleefully revamps--or redesigns--whole sections of the site. You can click on a pattern and see all the ways other Ravelers have made it--what changes they made, what yarns they used, and how the item looks on real people (rather than models). You can click on a yarn that you've bought, and see the projects that other Ravelers have made with that yarn. You can search the database for a pattern that uses just the yardage you have on hand. You can search for free patterns, on-line patterns, crochet patterns, baby patterns, doilies, shawls, socks...the combinations are endless.

In the beginning, there were no forums. Now there are--and sometimes, the Ravelry forums have the same ups and downs and temper tantrums you see on other forums. As a rule, though, there are so many groups (more than 6000 of them) that cater to special interests that Ravelers can go find a like-minded group to chat with and avoid the mayhem.

So...the 2008 Beijing Olympics is coming up, and a couple of Ravelers had the idea of coordinating a Ravelry event with the Olympics--with projects to be started during the Olympic opening ceremony and completed by the end of the closing ceremony, the goal being not individual champions and winners, but seeing how many projects on the site could cross the "finish line" in that 17-day period. The idea caught on. Nearly 400 Ravelers have officially signed up--so far. Nearly 1000 projects have been entered (and the entry deadline is August 8). There are 31 "events" (with names like Sock Put and Hat Dash). There are dozens of "teams" (like Team Hopelessly Overcommitted). The 2008 Ravelympic Group* has nearly 3200 members (not all have committed to an event). There's one thread on that forum with more than 3000 posts on it (the first post went up on June 28). During the Olympics, Ravelers will work on their projects, watch the Olympics, and forum-post to their fellow "competitors" or "teammates" with encouragement, advice, cheers, and tears.

Now all this activity has to be impacting the Ravelry site. Lots of posts, lots of database hits as people queue up projects, post in the forums, search patterns, yarn, and fellow Ravelers' pages. There is lots of Olympic-related knitting art, such as logos for various teams, many using the "official" Ravelympic logo of five balls of yarn. How has Casey reacted to all this activity...all this "drag" on his beloved database?

Well, he posted this: "Wow - the Ravelympics keep getting bigger! Is there something I can do to help and make it a little easier for people to track what is going on and all that?" You gotta love a Code Monkey who's a glutton for punishment.

He's created a tracking system using tags. Competitors tag their projects with an event name and a team name. He's created display boards showing what the teams are, how many members (and who they are), what projects are entered in which events. There's a system for adding tags to projects that circumvents a user's inability to type accurately (click an icon, then click the tags you need from a list; once you tag an item, it shows on the display board).

Casey clearly is having a field day (pun intended) with all the extra programming. He's working on ways to track which projects are nearing the finish line, to tally all the info. When someone bemoaned the extra work this had to be causing Casey, he answered: "One thing that we try to remember over here - the work will never be done, so we have to make time for fun :) Okay, so we don’t say that exact goofy rhyme, but something like that."

And that's why so many of us love Ravelry. It's not just a knitting/crocheting database. It's a fun knitting/crocheting database, run by a couple of folks who truly enjoy what they're doing.

*One fun occupation on Ravelry is coming up with Rav-related names; for instance, users on Ravelry have a "Ravatar." *grin*

Then...and now

Sunday evening, we got home after four hours in the ER. Jacey settled happily on the sofa. Sam came along and, after some whining and some squeezing between Jacey and me, found his niche on the sofa.

And on his patient sister.

Patient Jacey

Today, Sam was sleeping on the sofa. And off it.*

Sleeping Sam

Then he woke up.

Who woke me up?

*SEGA bloggers: Does this remind you of anything? How 'bout Ella's photo here? Sam's just found a bed that's tall enough I don't have to move the floor.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I surrendered

I got off work early today (a bit slow at work), and was home by about 5:30. But dinner-with-antibiotics for Sam was scheduled for 8:30.

There's no way I was enduring the evil eye from two dogs for three hours. And I didn't want to delay my own dinner that late. And--eating dinner in front of two starving dogs? Not even a consideration.

So I had dinner at 6, and the dogs had 2/3s of what they normally would have had for dinner. And at 8:30, they had the same amount again--with pills, this time. That puts them up about half a cup of kibble for the day. They'll survive.

And things are much pleasanter around here when starving hounds have been fed.

I'm off work tomorrow. I have no idea when I'm going to feed the dogs, but I think I need to shift the schedule a bit later so that Saturday's schedule won't be so out of whack. I get up at 10:30 on Saturday, work 12:30-9, and won't get home much before 10 pm, when Sam gets his last pill. I don't want to have to get up early on Saturday to give Sam a pill on schedule, but I don't want him a couple of hours late for the last pill, either. (It probably doesn't matter how close to "every 12 hours" he gets his pill as long as he gets it with food, but I'm a bit OCD. Humor me on this.) So on Friday I'll shift his morning pill a bit later (which means I can sleep later), then shift his evening pill even later. But I'll have to hold out for 12 hours tomorrow under reproachful stares.

I can do it. I'll show them who's boss.

Or maybe I'll go shopping around dinner time...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Unhappy dogs

The dogs are ticked off with me.

I got off work at 5:30, home from the grocery store at 6:30. But the dogs can't have their dinner until 8:30, because that's 12 hours after breakfast, and Sam's supposed to take his pills every 12 hours with food. And I've ratcheted the time schedule earlier and earlier for a few days, but if I ratchet it back another hour tonight, I'll have to get up way too early to feed them tomorrow. And by the end of the week, we'll be all out of whack because I have to work 12:30-9 pm on Saturday, and I won't be home to do odd-hours feedings, so I actually want to move the meal schedule to later than 8:30 over the next few days.

So the dogs are giving me the evil eye. And I'm hungry, because I'm not going to sit and eat dinner in front of them. Dinner soon, guys--okay?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doggie update

The vet's office called today. They said the ER had been very thorough, and the best use of my time and money now would be waiting until a few days after Sam's finished the antibiotics, then bringing him in for an exam and (probably) lab work to make sure the infection has cleared up. So I booked an appointment for next Tuesday afternoon (pills run out Saturday night) for both dogs. Jacey will get her thyroid-consult that day, too. In the meantime, I'm going to feed her normally. She won't gain that much weight between now and then, and she's so miserable when I cut her food back a lot. Sam feels well and acts silly. The hardest part, now, is making the dogs wait for their dinners. They're used to eating when I get home, but the antibiotics have to go down with food, so that sometimes means waiting a while for dinner. Right now, we're at 8:30 for meals.

And in knitting projects: I totally brain-farted on one project. Picked a lovely pattern, picked lovely yarn. Then couldn't figure out why the swatch wouldn't come out right. Um, two totally different yarn weights. So I kept the yarn I wanted to use, and I've started another Baby Surprise Jacket / fuzzy amoeba. I'm more than halfway through it, and I love the way it's coming out. I'm going to have to get my camera fixed, though, so photos of the jacket will show the colors correctly: bright light green, turquoise, and dark purple.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dog Stuff

I took both dogs to the vet's to have them there when the place opened. I was hoping against hope for a no-show, a cancellation, something.

Nope. Although the on-line schedule for the clinic says 8-6 on Monday, the only vet on the premises today wouldn't be in until 10. There already were four dogs waiting for him by 8:10 this morning, and he's booked solid for the day. And he's Sam and Jacey's regular vet.

They said I could leave Sam for the vet's recheck of what the ER did. I'm not comfortable leaving my dogs to hang out all day while they wait for someone to get around to them. So I left the x-rays and urine sample (the ER had faxed over lab results), and brought the guys home. Sam repaid me for that unnecessary car ride with a bout of diarrhea about 60 seconds after I got him out of the car. (Thanks, Sam. I owe you for hanging on.) I sent an email to the vet (via his receptionist, who says that he's bad about emails if she doesn't nag him), detailing my concerns for both dogs and giving my work schedule for the rest of the week. Maybe they'll just need the dogs long enough to draw blood samples; if so, I can run them by before or after work sometime. Then they could see one of the vets (although not their regular one) on Friday. Maybe. We'll see what I hear back from them. But I missed a day of work with what could justifiably be called an emergency with Sam. I can't be taking off for non-emergencies, and I work Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday this week. (And Sam's vet bill for Sunday was just about what I made last week. There's insurance, which will pay part, but not all.)

While we were at the vet's, I weighed the dogs. In March 2007 (which is the only paperwork I can find easily)--before Jacey started having thyroid issues, Sam weighed 66 pounds; Jacey weighed 55. Today? Sam weighed 66.1 pounds; Jacey weighed 61.3. Ouch, Porky! Six pounds may not sound like a lot, but it's an increase of more than 11% of her body weight. Her excess poundage was really obvious on Sunday when we were in the waiting room at the emergency vet. She was lying on the floor, and even lying down, the ribs were invisible, and she looked pudgy. So in my email to the vet today, I told him her weight (as reported on his scales), and also sent him a link to a photo from today showing hair loss on her butt. He'll have to take my word for the missing hip bones and ribs.

I'm a little worried about Sam because he's not drinking as much as he often likes to drink--or as much as I want him to drink. That might be a good sign, since excessive thirst would be a symptom of kidney trouble. He's eating fine, and he feels well enough to try to steal my food. And we're all on a goofy schedule. We skipped breakfast Sunday to get to the ER, so we had our first meal of the day at 2 pm. But 2 pm/2 am is a rotten schedule for trying to give pills, so I'm shifting the schedule back by an hour each time so I can get us onto a decent schedule before I go to work Tuesday. Supper was at 1 am; breakfast today was at noon. Dinner tonight will be 11 pm, so that breakfast tomorrow can be 9:30, as I run out the door for work. (And Sam might go with me, depending on how much he's drinking and peeing by then. And depending on whether I've heard from the vet.)

I just hollered, "Hey, Porky!" ... and Jacey turned around to see what I wanted! We've got to get her thyroid regulated. And I've got to stop calling her names.

Sam isn't drinking as much as I'd like. Anyone know? Are flavored waters okay for dogs?

No word from the vet, and it's after 5:30 here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I've frogged a doily


I needed to redo some of this doily to fix a stitch error. (There's a batch of tr where there should be dc.) But I'm not happy with my color choice for the leaves and background. I like the colors individually, but there's not enough contrast for them when paired up. So I'm changing the colors.

One suggestion I've received is to use ecru for the background (lighter than the "linen" neutral I used here), and to use the Christmas green (the darkest green in the picture below) for the leaves. I suspect I'll go with that. I've frogged the background, but left the leaves for now. Feel free to comment with your own suggestions.


Sam gives me a sleepless night and a long day

A friend's greyhound is very ill. When he first got sick, his mom was hoping it was a urinary tract infection. Although less common in boy dogs than girls, a UTI is generally an easy-to-treat problem. Several people were sending UTI vibes to Travis.

Well, Travis doesn't have a UTI. But the vibes bounced.


Sam had me up every 90 minutes or so last night, to take him out to pee. This is uncommon in a boy who likes his sleep as much as Sam does. (And, like a bad mommy, I was swearing at him every time he woke me up.) By this morning, there was enough light to see what was going on. He was peeing a bit. Then he was straining to pee, and there was some blood in the urine.

4+ hours (and lots of dollars) later: Sam has a UTI. He's on Clavamox, and I have orders to get as much water into him as I possibly can, and to take him out to pee frequently. They took x-rays to make sure there weren't any stones or other obstructions (the possibility that had me going to the ER rather than waiting until the vet opens on Monday). The x-rays look fine: no stones, suspicious masses, etc. (Sam's such a long dog, the x-rays are in three parts.) Tomorrow, I need to get him to his regular vet, who can draw blood to get other tests made; we need to make sure there's not some sort of kidney trouble going on.

I was supposed to work today, but I called out. Actually, I called and said I'd be late, called again to say I'd be later, then even later. When we got home and I fed Sam and started him on his antibiotics, I could have made it to work to do my last two dogs, but coworkers said they had them covered. This is nice, since I'd have had to bring Sam with me, then take him outside frequently, etc. So I missed work today, and I'm off tomorrow, too. By Tuesday, I hope Sam will no longer be peeing his brains out. ;)

I'll have to go back to the ER later with paperwork for the vet insurance claim; I'll need to get signatures on stuff.

ETA: I have a vial of "sterile urine" in my fridge right now. Eeeeww! I'm supposed to take it to Sam's vet tomorrow. "Sterile urine" is urine drawn from the bladder with a needle rather than obtained in other, more traditional ways. "Pee in the cup, Sam" isn't always effective.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Jacey, on her first day at my place, 8 April 2006. (She's got more white in that face, now.)

Jacey has weight issues.

When I first adopted her, her ribs and hipbones were invisible--hidden under the extra flesh she put on at the SEGA kennel at Lake City, where she was very much overfed. (She raced at 56-57 pounds. When I got her, she weighed 63 pounds on Lake City's scales.) I brought her home, put her on 3 cups of kibble a day--same as Sam and the same as Jacey's predecessor, Oreo. Jacey lost weight on 3 cups of kibble a day.

Her weight stayed very stable through the first year she lived here--54-55 pounds.

Then she suddenly put on weight--and lost hair on her butt. The vet ran a T4, and her numbers were a bit low. He didn't want to put her on thyroid meds just because of cosmetic issues; the thyroid numbers weren't low enough to justify it, and the weight gain wasn't extreme. But for six months or so, Jacey's food was cut back to just 2 cups of kibble a day. She didn't lose weight, but at least the weight gain stopped.

In the fall, we put her on thyroid meds--one .8 mg pill a day. Two months later, there'd been no change in her weight, her hair, or her T4 results. We upped the dosage by 50%. Within two weeks, she dropped the extra weight, and the missing hair showed up. Once her hipbones came back into view, I put her on 3 cups of kibble a day, and her weight stayed steady.

Two months ago, her weight went up a bit, but she looked okay and I didn't worry about it. But Friday, I had her and Sam outside. She and I stood there while Sam made up his mind which blade of grass to pee on, and I took a good look at her.

Good golly! No ribs! No hipbones! And it's not just that they're not visible. They aren't even palpable! I don't know what she weighs, but she may weigh nearly as much as Sam, who normally weighs 64-65 pounds.

I haven't been overfeeding her. She and Sam eat the same amount of stuff at the same time, and Sam's ribs and hip bones are right where they're supposed to be. Jacey has always been stocky, but you usually can see her hipbones, even if the ribs aren't terribly obvious.


I cut back her food last night and all day today to two-thirds of what she usually eats. She's taken to following me forlornly from room to room, looking pitiful, and drinking every drop of water she can get as if to fill up the empty corners of her belly. For now, I'm going to go back to the 3 cups a day and just get her into the vet's office as soon as I can. I don't know if we need to up her thyroid meds again. I hope not; I don't like the idea that she's gone from "nothing" to a large dose of thyroxine in less than a year. (She currently takes 1.5 pills a day; Sam, who's been on thyroxine for six years or so, takes 2.5 pills a day.) I'm going to ask the vet about additional tests to confirm that she really needs more thyroxine. I'll also ask him about her diet. I know she's not starving--and I ruthlessly cut her food last year for more than six months and she survived--but it's not fair that she has to go without a "normal" food supply because we can't get her thyroid meds right. Poor baby.

Meanwhile, I make fun of her and call her names. I'm so cruel. Poor starving dog. Poor baby.

Poor Porky.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lazy day

I went out to the mailbox for a minute and came back to find Sam playing with a ball of crochet thread. He did not--as Jacey once did--take thread attached to a current project and walk off, unraveling my work. And he didn't even steal the good thread; he picked up some fuzzy cheap cotton that I use for running lifelines in knitting, use to make stitch markers, stuff like that. Smart boy.

Balls of crochet thread make such fun dog toys: since they're not truly round, they roll and bounce in funny directions. And sometimes they're just fun to chew. I'm glad I wasn't outside for a longer time.

I've been to the post office and gotten packages out in the mail. Ireland: 6-10 days. Missouri: 2-3 days, I think.

Fun on TCM, today. It's the birthday of Ginger Rogers. Roberta's on now. Gay Divorcee and Swing Time coming up.

Fred and Ginger in Roberta



Friday, July 11, 2008


Knitters and crocheters like what they do--the knitting and crocheting part, at least. They often are not so thrilled with the finishing work: the seams, buttons, weaving in ends, etc. Well, yesterday I was hit by a bout of finish-itis, and I've finished off four baby sweaters and a doily in less than 24 hours. It helped that I was running back-up software on my laptop and had to close all other applications. Since I couldn't surf Web sites, hang out in chat rooms, or follow on-line or PDF patterns (my next two projects have pattern instructions on Web sites), it seemed that finishing some WIPs was a good idea. Here's the finished BSJ, now with shoulder seams sewn, neck-opening crocheted, and buttons added:


Trina had an ultrasound yesterday, and she's having a boy. The yarn is Omega Sinfonia, a washable and dryable cotton.

This doily doesn't have a pretty name. It's just called "#2":

Doily 00469

It's a house-warming gift for Erin, a Ravelry buddy who moved into a new house in the spring. The next doily I make (probably will start it tonight) will be for Briana, a Live-Journaling, BookCrossing, new house owner. Oddly enough, both these doily/housewarming gifts will be heading for Columbus, Ohio.

For Alrescate's twins I made matching red sweaters. The sweaters fasten at the shoulders (with snap tape), and have a "for-show" button: a cardinal, giving the boys a head start as St Louis Cardinal fans.

Twins 00476

Detail 00472

The yarn is CotLin, by Knit Picks: a machine washable and dryable blend of cotton and linen.

And for Sirroy and Yokospungeon's baby, this crocheted sweater, with pearl buttons and a flower, will be headed for Ireland:

Irish 00480

Flower 00479

The yarn is CotLin, by Knit Picks: a machine washable and dryable blend of cotton and linen.

All the in-the-mail stuff is likely to happen on Wednesday of next week. (Wednesday is my next day off.) The next baby sweater I work on will be for my cousin, Shari, who's due in January. I have some bright, pretty cotton yarn:

Totally Fake and DSC00362

After I got all the craft stuff finished, I went up to change the sheets on the bed. Usually, when I'm busy upstairs, Jacey gets on my bed to watch whatever I'm doing, making it tough for me to change the sheets. Today, though, she settled on the dog bed in the floor:


Sam, on the other hand:


I worked around him as long as I could, pulling off sheets or pillowcases, and dropping the dirty linen on the floor. I finally snatched the last pillow out from under his butt, and he condescended to move for me:


Yeah. Onto the sheets I'd dropped in the floor. Mr Helpful.

After I got the sheets changed, it started raining, with some "nice" thunder and lightning. (The "nice" kind is just distant enough not to make the lights flicker.) I took the dogs, and we went out to sit in the carport and watch the rain. We're tucked back into a corner where we don't get wet:


And we have a nice view out to the rain:


I usually sit and knit or crochet or read. Sam generally falls asleep. Jacey often lies with her chin on the floor, but she keeps her eyes open and her ears swivel like directional antennae as she tracks the thunder.

It's been a nicely lazy day, today: didn't have to work too hard at anything, but I feel like I got some things accomplished. Tomorrow I'm working the closing shift, and I won't have to get up until 10:30. The other day, I treated myself to a three-DVD set: Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), and Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949). Sinatra was in his early 30s, Gene Kelly was 3 years older, and they're both at the peak of their looks and their skills, I think. It's fun music, nice dancing (Kelly taught Sinatra to dance, the beginning of a fifty-year friendship between them); there's gorgeous color and some classic scenes (Kelly dances with Jerry the mouse in Anchors Aweigh). I think I'll stay up late tonight, watching movies, cleaning up my laptop's hard drive, and doing some knitting or crocheting.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a...

...fuzzy manta ray?


The knitting portion of the Baby Surprise Jacket for Trina's due-in-November baby has been finished. See the colored stitch markers in the jacket?


Just match up the colored markers to get this:


There are only two seams to sew: from green markers to pink ones, from blue markers to orange ones. After that, add a round of single crochet around the neck and a set of tiny buttons down the front. Then block it and ... VoilĂ ! The Baby Surprise Jacket, designed by knitting (or engineering?) genius Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A meme

  1. Were you named after anyone? My mother and I share the same middle name (Joyce). And my first name is from my grandfather's favorite song, "I'll take you home again, Kathleen."

  2. When was the last time you cried? Thursday. (By the way, Travis is doing much better right now. Miracle, maybe?)

  3. Do you like your handwriting? When I can read it. Sometimes, though...

  4. What is your favourite lunch meat? Pastrami.

  5. Do you have kids? Two well-behaved furry ones.

  6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? I think so.

  7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? In writing, some. Not much in person.

  8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep.

  9. Would you bungee jump? No.

  10. What is your favourite cereal? I'm more of a bacon-and-eggs person. With hash browns. And biscuits.

  11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Yes.

  12. Do you think you are strong? So-so. Strong about some things.

  13. What is your favourite ice cream? B&J's Vermonty Python. Or Mayfield's Birthday Cake.

  14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Facial expression. Smiles help.

  15. Red or pink? Red.

  16. What is your least favourite thing about yourself?

  17. Who do you miss the most? My grandparents. (Why wasn't I interested in their stories when they were around?)

  18. Do you want everyone to send this back to you? I'll read the blogs.

  19. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing? Red shorts, black Crocs.

  20. What was the last thing you ate? Peanut butter sandwich.

  21. What are you listening to right now? 1776 on TCM.

  22. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Olive green or asparagus. (They make an asparagus crayon? I want one!)

  23. Favourite smells? Vanilla. Fresh-washed dogs.

  24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? I don't remember. Probably a customer at work.

  25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? I'm sure I do...although I don't remember who I stole this from.

  26. Favourite sport to watch? Ice skating, I guess. I don't watch sports.

  27. Hair colour? Brown-with-gray.

  28. Eye colour? Green.

  29. Do you wear contacts? No.

  30. Favourite food? Pasta.

  31. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy.

  32. Last movie you watched? Just watched the end of The Music Man; currently watching 1776.

  33. What colour shirt are you wearing? Gray with a red-white-and-blue flag made of running greyhounds.

  34. Summer or winter? Winter--if I can't have fall.

  35. Hugs or kisses? Hugs.

  36. Favourite dessert? Cheesecake.

  37. Most likely to respond? Lots of folks.

  38. Least likely to respond? Don't know.

  39. What book are you reading right now? Pride and Prejudice at bedtime. Just finished Garrison Keillor's Leaving Home as my lunchtime reading.

  40. What is on your mousepad? No mousepad.

  41. What did you watch on TV last night? An episode of Ken Burns's Civil War on PBS.

  42. Favourite sound? Rain with thunder.

  43. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles.

  44. What is the furthest you've been from home? Anaheim, California (when we lived in Miami).

  45. Do you have a special talent? Does stubbornness count?

  46. Where were you born? Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

  47. Whose answers are you looking forward to reading? Everyone's.