We’re about 10 days into Oslo’s crate-rest and things are going okay.

The good news is that he is content and his pain medications seem to be working nicely. He hasn’t demonstrated any scary episodes of pain and generally seems comfortable. He DOES want out of the crate very badly and spends about 50% of his time looking at me as pathetically as possible (the rest of his time he spends sleeping, chewing, or playing with a toy).

The bad news is that at this point, it’s safe to say that his crate rest will go much longer than the initial 2 weeks that I had anticipated. In fact, I think it’s probably safe to assume that he won’t be doing much of anything until the end of January or so.

He is definitely exhibiting some weakness/lameness in his rear legs… his right leg especially. If memory serves, his right leg was the one that suffered the most nerve damage following his surgery 3 years ago, so I suppose it makes sense that it’s the one troubling him now…. He’s absolutely able to walk, and stand, and generally function, but my hawk-eyes do spy some weakness, and some ‘knuckling’ which sends alarm bells ringing, for sure.

At this point, easing up on crate rest too soon could VERY quickly undo any healing that we have manage to accomplish in the last 10 days. When treating IVDD dogs ‘conservatively’ with crate rest like this, it’s imperative that their spine be able to heal and form scar-tissue completely before allowing them freedom & movement.

So in the crate/play pen he remains, on medication he remains. For now I am just doing my best to keep him comfortable and happy in the crate– cozy blankets, a hot water bottle to snuggle, a nice antler to chew, the TV to watch, and Jersey by his side.

Oslo is doing okay today. He seems pretty comfortable, and has his normal hearty appetite. His rear end seems wobblier than normal to me.. but it’s hard to say if I am just imagining it because I am on extra-super-duper high alert? I don’t know. I suppose it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference either way because he is not tricking me out of crate rest again!  No way!

Jersey is a very good big little brother, and is making sure that Oslo has plenty of company while he serves his time.

Hi everyone,

I have a bit of scary news. Over the last week or so, i’ve had some concerns with Oslo.

Mid last week, he started ‘acting funny’. Stiff, arched back, reluctant to move, panting when at rest. Knowing all too well that there are absolutely the early symptoms of IVDD- I put him on immediate crate rest and contacted my vet. We got him a prescription for an NSAID (anti-inflammatory) and pain-med, and were instructed to keep him rested for at least the weekend.

Well, over the weekend he seemed to bounce back. His little ’bout’ seemed behind us, and I wrote it off in my mind as perhaps just a ‘tweak’. (Anyone who suffers from “a bad bad” knows what it means to “tweak something” and need a couple of days of rest.) I stopped worrying, thinking the worst was behind us. I relaxed the crate rules, I gave him some more freedom around the house, I eased up on his medications.

But I was wrong & I should have known better. It wasn’t behind us.

He was painful again today. Very painful. Painful enough that he actually YELPED out randomly when trying to lay down! It was scary and heartbreaking. Needless to say- back onto STRICT crate rest he went, and back into a complete tizzy I flew.

And in that tizzy I have remanded since.

I’m terrified. Visions of a 2nd surgery flash through my mind. How will we afford it again? Oslo’s back will not be covered by insurance because it’s a “pre-existing condition”! How will I manage the time off work? I can’t bear the thought of Oslo having to go through it all again. I can’t bear the thought of *myself* having to go through it again. Just thinking about it sends bile & panic up into my throat.

My husband tells me to take deep breaths. To take things one day at a time. He reminds me of the effectiveness of ‘conservative treatment’ for IVDD when done strictly and properly. He reminds me of how well Jersey responded to the conservative approach just earlier this year! All of these things I know intellectually, of course. But the problem with seeing your loved one in pain is that your brain seems to stop working and a very raw, primal, emotional part of you takes over.

So, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t completely freaking out. But my husband is right– at this point, we can just take it one day at a time. We’re going to continue with crate rest (strict!) We’re going to continue with the meds (strict!) and we’re going to cross all of our crossables and think positive thoughts.

Holy moly. New obsession!!

I just discovered THIS company/shop and I. am. so. excited.

If you have a Frenchie (or bulldog, or pug…) you know how hard it can be to find sweaters & jackets that actually FIT. Their heads, shoulders, chests & necks are incredibly broad which usually makes the majority of “off the rack” dog clothing an no-go for them. Most often things need to be custom made, altered to fit, or just extreeeemely stretchy.

So you can imagine my joy when I found ‘Babies and Beasts’ a small, Canadian company that in specializes in handmade “dog outerwear that fits”. Not only that, but their stuff is absolutely adorable! From their turtle-neck, polar fleece sweaters, to water-proof insulated winter coats– I love it all!

A few of our favourites::

‘The City Coat’ $175 (ok– this one is super pricy, but look at how ridiculously adorable it is!!)

Boys Turtle Neck Polar Fleece $40

‘Canadian Moose’ Waterproof, Insulated Coat.  $120

I love supporting small business. I love supporting CANADIAN small businesses. And I also love adorable dog clothing that will actually fit my guys (well, mostly just Oslo… Jersey is party-pooper & refuses to wear anything on his body even if it is totally adorable and fits super well)!

Overall, I am thrilled about my little discovery and hoping that Santa brings Oslo a little something from this shop for Christmas…. or whenever ;)

Pssssst– Oslo is a size ‘medium-short’ in case Santa or any of his little elves are reading this.

BABIES AND BEASTS

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weather

It may not technically be winter yet… but guys, it’s freaking WINTER!

Fortunately for us the days may be bitterly cold, but they are also really are sunny & clear. Once that sun hits our bay window and comes cascading across the living room floor, it’s pretty roasty-toasty! From 10am until about 1pm we have gorgeous light, and the dogs enjoy soaking up possible inch of it. I love seeing those two little pigs, stretched out in their big patch of sunlight, loving life.

Today is my sweet, darling Jersey’s 4th Birthday.

It’s amazing that already 4 years have passed since this wee little man entered the world and the hearts of all those who love him.

We first ‘met’ Jersey when he was 7 weeks old, after countless emails, photos exchanged, and phone calls to his breeder. From even that very first meeting at 7 weeks, we were blown away by how calm, affectionate and sweet this boy was. When other puppies would want to scamper about rambunctiously, Jersey was always content to sit in a lap and be loved. And truly, not a single thing has changed. He’s grown from a tiny little puppy, into a 33lb enormous fully grown frenchie.. but he is still as dear hearted and sweet natured as the day we met him.

He’s completely non-reactive to other dogs. He’s patient and still with children. He’s loves EVERYONE. He’s not hyper, or crazy, or ever unpredictable. Instead he is easy going, loving, reliable, consistent, and painfully (paaaaainfully) sweet. His ‘please pet me’ face could melt a glacier and his desperation to be touched and near people at all times is almost tragic.

As many of you know by now, Jersey was born with a heart defect. His breeder was very upfront about it and we essentially adopted him as a ‘Special Needs’ dog. We knew that there was no guarantee how long he would be with us & also knew full well that there could be serious health & medical struggles to deal with down the road. The first vet we brought him to shook his head and insinuated that Jersey likely wouldn’t live to see a first birthday. As Jersey celebrates his 4th birthday today, I’m happy to say that Jersey has proven that cynical vet very wrong indeed! Of course, a heart defect is never something to be taken lightly, and it’s always something that we’ll need to keep in the forefront of our minds. However, this darling boy has exceeded everyone’s expectations in terms of longevity & health and hopefully he will continue to do so for many more years to come.

I don’t know what I did to deserve a companion so loyal, loving, forgiving, and steadfast. He is an absolute joy and I am so proud to call myself his “Mom”.

One week old

First meeting at 7 weeks!

First time meeting Big Brother Oslo, at 12 weeks old.

“Let’s not talk about my eyebrows”. 5 months old.

“Please let me in. I need to be loved!”

One year

thanks

Today, as we all sit down with our loved ones and reflect on all the wonderful things that we have going on in our lives- I too am thankful.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends and family. The fabulous country that I live in & am a citizen of. The amazing man that I get to call my ‘Husband’ who loves me when I’m at my best, and even when I am at my absolute worst… And, of course I am thankful every single day that Oslo & Jersey, despite BOTH having their own scary run ins with IVDD, are happy, healthy, mobile dogs.

But there’s something else I am thankful for, too… For comments & feedback from followers of this blog! It means the world to me every single time one of you takes a few seconds (or minutes) out of YOUR busy lives to share your personal experiences, ask questions, offer feedback, or share words of encouragement.

Today I received one of the most incredible comments I’ve ever had the pleasure of recieved this blog. It made tears well up in my eyes and joy jump into my heart. I wanted to share it with you,

Chemrat‘ writes,

I just want to say a huge “Thank You!!” to you and Oslo and Jersey. Because of your willingness to share Oslo’s story we have mush to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. On Saturday, our Frenchie, Gizmo, started showing symptoms…slight tremor, hesitation in movement and an almost imperceptible drag in the left back leg.

His symptoms were so slight that if we were not familiar with Oslo and his story, we would never have noticed anything wrong. But, we as a family, have followed Oslo’s journey back to health and knew what we were seeing and what to do.

Gizmo was put on immediate restriction and a call was put in to the vet. Monday morning we received the verdict…his back is totally jacked up, IVDD and calcification between numerous vertebrae as well as one hemi vertebrae. But, because we knew what to do, he didn’t injure himself further and surgery is not immediately needed. He is on medication and crate rest for 30 days. He may still (probably) need surgery, but it can be planned and not on an emergency basis.

Now for the most important “Thank You!!!” Oslo’s story was the tipping point for insuring Gizmo. Because he is insured, I was not faced with the decision to choose between financial ruin and euthanizing our beloved fur baby. I could look at my vet and say “Do whatever is necessary” without fearing the financial repercussions of that statement.

This Thanksgiving I am more grateful than I can express for you and Oslo and your willingness to share what he went through. Today, I am snuggling with my fur baby, not facing financial ruin, or a paralyzed dog. Today, I have hope that he can recover.

Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

***

Is that not AMAZING!?

Chemrat‘– who ever you are– know that I appreciate your words more than I can say. Knowing that Oslo’s story helped you recognize the symptoms of IVDD early (possibly saving Gizmo’s life and/or helping you to avoid the experience of emergency spinal surgery) makes me so proud and thankful! But more than that, knowing that you heeded my (many!) warnings about the importance of Pet Insurance, and that you actually took me seriously enough to go and get coverage… well, that is just incredible!

I often feel like a broken record. I often feel like people aren’t listening or taking me seriously. But truly, I cannot stress enough how VITAL it is to either have a good pet-insurance policy, or to have access to $10,000 (minimum) at the drop of a hat. Terrible things happen to good dogs and good dog owners all the time. Don’t live in fear, but also don’t needless put yourself in a situation where, one day, you could be (as Chemrat said) “choosing between financial ruin or euthanizing your fur baby”.

Get insurance. Start stacking away money. Get a line of credit. Get a rich Aunt who has nothing better to spend her $$ on. Be proactive now, so that when/if something happens you are prepared.

Hug your loved ones today and let them know how thankful you are for them.

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