Thursday, September 24, 2009

Counting our blessings

Louie wasn't sick last night, nor was he sick today.  Instead, we went for a nice long walk through the neighborhood.  I confess that it's been quite a while since I had Louie out for a good walk; we're a bit spoiled with having a nice big, wooded yard with a fence, where the dogs generally romp and roam to their hearts' content.

Back when Louie was first getting sick, I tried to walk him a few times but he was getting weaker, and then he had skin problems that affected the pads of his feet, so we got to a point at which going for a walk was unthinkable.  Today, as I put his collar and leash on, I wondered if he'd get tired.  Instead, he walked for a good half hour, stopping to check all the neighborhood "pee-mail" and generally just enjoying life.

On our way back, as we approached the house, we ran for a little bit.  Louie doesn't see too well, so he had a few hesitant moments, but then he broke out into a full trot and we headed down the final stretch together.  It was so heartwarming to have him out there again, just being a normal dog with normal dog energy.

We are blessed, in so many ways.  We have a lovely home in a nice neighborhood where I can take the dogs out if I want and walk without fear.  We have wonderful dogs with whom we share these loving bonds.  We have steady jobs with decent pay, and jobs that we like.  It's not a bad life.  I've lived through far worse, so I have some pretty good points of comparison.

The past year or so was framed by the uncertainty about Louie's health and his condition.  Today we are relaxing, just a little bit.  Life is good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Got to be careful with food

Tonight Louie had a triumph.

My husband made a hamburger, and then the phone rang.  He put his hamburger down on the stand next to his chair and answered the phone.  I turned around just in time to see Louie with half a bun in his mouth.

I pulled the bun away from him; he'd only gotten one bite (complete with mustard) but I know that even that bite can be enough to trigger symptoms in him.  So we'll watch him, and we'll see what happens, and maybe he'll have a bad night, but hopefully it won't be more than that.

I do have to say that he looked pretty proud of himself for getting away with something, though!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Little Man!

Louie's 12th birthday is this week.  To be honest, I cannot remember if it is today or this coming Thursday, since his sire's birthday was the same week and I always got them mixed up.  No matter, 'cause we can celebrate all week long! 

And, we should.  This is the birthday I didn't think we would ever see.  What better reason for a week-long celebration and marathon loves-and-snuggle-fest for my bestest little boy?  I only wish I could give him a little birthday cake, too!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Almost ten pounds!

Weighed Louie again today.  He's almost up to 10 lbs.  If we can manage to get another pound onto him he will be where he was before all of this started.

He still looks thin to me, but I can feel that there's some meat on his bones now.  There was a time when I'd touch him and all I could feel was bone.  By now he has regained most of his muscle mass and tone, and though I can still see his ribs and his tailbones, it is nowhere near as jarring a sight as it was last year when he was down to almost 7 lbs.  He looks quite healthy today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What's working for us right now

I don't want to create false hope here, but I know that there are people coming here who are desperate for any information about what might help their own dogs.

I want to make sure everyone who is searching can find the information about what is working for us right now.  This is not an endorsement of a particular product or feeding regimen or treatment or anything else either medical or scientific.  It is simply a report of what seems to be helping us right now.

This is what we are feeding:

a 50/50 mix of Honest Kitchen Preference (hydrated) and tofu
combined with the fish based old-formula Royal Canin Digestive Low Fat canned.

I believe that Louie would do okay at this point if I had to feed him only the honest kitchen with the tofu added.

We also add a small amount of probiotic to this.

Again, this is not an endorsement or a recommendation, just a statement about what is helping us right now.  Maybe it will help someone else, too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I hate this disease

Someone contacted me today, someone who had originally contacted me just a few days ago to ask if there was anything I could do to help her with her dog who has this disease, lymphangiectasia. I offered what little bit I could, but it wasn't enough. In today's message came the sad news that her dog lost his fight against the disease this morning.

I am heartbroken. I want this site to be a place of hope, but I also understand that, for some, there will be no answer. That is a cold reality which is sometimes hard to bear. This disease will take and take and take, and the clock ticks, the muscles deteriorate, the body robs from itself in an effort to keep itself going.  Days, then weeks, then months can pass without any answers, and there are no guarantees that any of us will find the answers we need in time to help them-- if there are even any answers to be had.

Tonight I lit a candle in honor of this poor little one who did not make it. Rest in peace, dear one.

I hate this horrible disease.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer coming to an end

Summertime is the best time of year for the naked dogs. I have two; Louie is not the only Chinese Crested Hairless around here. My other boy, Toui (short for Ratatouille) is also a hairless, though he and Louie are miles apart from one another when it comes to personality. Still, one thing they both love is sunshine and warm weather.

No one knows for certain what the origins of this breed are, but it's most likely that the breed evolved from an African dog, hence their preference for the hot weather. Sacramento is a much more suitable home for Louie than Pennsylvania was, and certainly is more suitable for Toui than Cleveland, which is where he was found one cold December day, running around with no fur and no coat trying to scavenge scraps from someone's trash can. Toui's a rescue.

Last summer was his first summer with us, and we were all so preoccupied with Louie's illness that it was hard to get outdoors and do anything. Well, that and the fact that our back yard was under construction while we had a new cement deck put in. Poor Louie had so many wounds on his skin back then that I couldn't leave him alone without some clothing on to keep him from scratching open the wounds that were so difficult to heal.

This year has been a big difference. We've had some nice sun, we have our backyard back with use of the pool again, and we have some happy and healthy dogs enjoying the hot weather. It's almost over, but I'll post a few pictures of our summertime fun. Enjoy!

My two boys lounging together on the new deck

Louie telling me to get off the laptop and go get his dinner!

Toui's just a little lazy on a nice, summer day :)