Saturday, June 19, 2010

It was...Soap Posioning!

I love that scene in A Chistmas Story when Ralphie dreams of getting back at his mom for shoving soap in his mouth. The revenge? Ralphie goes blind. Doesn't really seem like a smart plan on Raphie's part, but as a kid you do have these fantasies.
Maybe Stella sat there one day after a bath and thought, "I'll show her..." because-
my dog is going blind.
Yes. On top of all the lovely qualities she garnered from the Chinese Crested breed, Stella also inherited glaucoma. I noticed something was wrong when her eyes looked really buggy. But her eyes were always buggy. They just seemed...extra buggy.
Then she would cry. All the time. For a week straight. I thought she was just - hell - I don't know what I thought.
Then her right eye swelled shut. We thought Trevor's tail must have smacked her, since his butt is eye level to her.
Then her pupils wouldn't dilate.
Then her eyes turned dark blue and cloudy.
I took her to the HSMO that next Monday. They checked her pressures. Pressures? She just got hit by a tail; throw some ointment on the bill and let's get out of here.
Apparently,  I was wrong. Her eye pressure should be at 15 for each eye...she was at 67 and 87 left to right. My heart dropped. She was crying because of the blinding migraines. The pupils were big because the nerves in her retina were being squeezed. I was the worst mommy in the world.

The HS vet gave her some eye drops and recommend a specialist - a doggie opthamalogist.
I spent the next week just staring at my dog.Staring and praying. Praying and staring.
We went to the MVRC (Midwest Veterinary Referral Center) for her eye doctor appointment.  They did all sorts of weird tests on her, sticking her with things, rubbing things on her eye ball, putting contact lenses in her eyes. She just sat there and let herself be prodded. On her chart she has a permanent note, "Very sweet patient." Darn right she is.
After all of that, the doctor came in an told me that while her pressures were coming down, she needed more medicine, she was already partially blind, and she would eventually go completely blind.
The room spun.
I said in what could have been a weak voice or me shouting, I don't know, "Is there a bathroom around here?"
I went in an laid on the tile of the bathroom in an effort to not pass out. I didn't pass out. I just threw up.
I calmed down a little bit and went back in the room.
He kept talking. His words blurred together. "make her comfortable" "pain free" "euthanasia"
What the hell? What had happened? Two weeks ago, she was fine!
Buzz. Wrong. Thanks for playing. This was embedded in her DNA. It was inevitable. My baby was born to be blind. Now I just had to figure out what to do.
My choice? Panic and cry.
My life would never be the same.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meet Maggie.

Stella and  I were going along fine together. The summer of 2008 was spent relaxing and spending time with friends. Stella was always invited along and her charm made her a great party guest. But when school went back in session, suddenly, my dog was alone in the house for eight to ten hours a day. I knew she was just sitting there singing, "no booooody knowssss the trouble i seeeeeeen" while staring out the window at the world going by.
Luckily, my dad found a cat sitting in his boat at his house. And luckily that cat was knocked up with 4 kittens. And luckily, I am a softie. I figured that if Stella had a friend, they would be able to pass the time together - doing what I didn't know, but my parents needed to get rid of a kitten and I figured that a kitten would be easier than another dog.
Enter Maggie.

Now, Stella is named after A Streetcar Named Desire. So it was only natural that my little girl cat would be named Maggie, after Maggie the Cat in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Stella was a little afraid of her at first.
Eventually, Maggie and Stella became sisters. They really do entertain each other. I think having Maggie with her during the day helped Stella be less depressed. And because Maggie has known Stella since the day she was born, she thinks of herself as an equal. Maggie enjoys sitting on the coffee table and jumping on Stella's back as she passes by. Stella never notices it.

But at night, they snuggle together on their blanket. That is not a posed photo. This is how my girls roll.

The one negative? Oh, yeah, you KNOW my dog is allergic to cats. What to do? The cat gets a bath once a month to get rid of her extra fur and dander. No. No I don't have a picture of that. Because usually by the end of that bath experience, I am soaked, half naked, pissed and exhausted. And covered in bite marks. Definitely not in the mood to grab a camera. Maybe I will soon. But if you ever want to understand how to pronounce the F-bomb in 'cat,' dunk a kitten in a pool of soapy water some time. The sounds that emanate from them are the sounds of demons. I am pretty sure my neighbors think that I skin cats for fun once a month.
But, if it keeps Stella from breaking out in hives, the cat must take one for the team.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stella’s favorite foods.

Pet Food companies have issues.
Okay, I know that I have a weird dog, but there are a lot of dogs out there that ARE allergic to at least one food. And the top three culprits are beef corn and wheat. Take a look at your dog food. What are the first 3 ingredients? Uh, huh. That’s right, pet food companies are a**holes and those ingredients are cheap.  My boyfriend, Brian, is the owner of Trevor, a one-hundred pound Golden Retriever/dinosaur mix. Trevor gets ear infections and his skin itches and breaks out. Now, Brian and I love each other, but this is one of our contentions. I am convinced that his big, all-American dog has food allergies. How do I get to this conclusion? By the simple fact that my dog almost went deaf because of her affinity for beef rawhides and shelter donated food.
I have argued this with him around and around. He is coming to. Trevor takes a Benadryl once a day and has switched over to Stella’s food.
That food should be minted. I mean, if you want to feed your dog decent food that will not make it sick, get out your checkbook. It’s gonna cost ya. But, you will save on vet bills. Stella has tried a lot of them. Currently, she is on Pro Plan for Sensitive Skin and Stomach (pink and black bag). It is not the greatest one, but Stella is a picky eater and doesn’t like some of the other fancy fancy foods.  It is also the least expensive of all of them.
If you find a food you like for your puppy and it is costly, write the company and tell them how much you LOVE the food, how it has changed your dog’s life, how you tell EVERYONE about how wunderbar this food is. If you have a funny looking dog like mine, attach a pic.
You will get coupons. Stella ate for free for a month on Natural Balance. Then, she stopped eating it and we had to switch. Picky, picky eater.
I also add real food: carrots, sweet potatoes, rice and oatmeal mixed in her food are sure bets for a clean bowl. All are good for her tummy.  Aside from ear infections and skin pimples, no-no food gives Stella the runs. So I have to be ultra careful with treats and food. One time, at a friend’s house, Stella got into the diabetic cat’s food. Oh sure she was in heaven as most dogs love them some cat food. But this food was high in beef fat. She pooped water non-stop for two days. For a week, I couldn't leave my house for more than an hour at a time, I didn't sleep more than an hour at a time.  I had to buy a steam cleaner, a couple of rugs to hide the stains that wouldn’t come out and more bleach than I thought was produced. I took her to the vet where she got more meds and a crazy expensive vet bill (who knew it was so expensive to check a dog’s poop?!) I added to my tally the loss of my $400 pet deposit thanks to the ruined carpets. Stella had just eaten a dinner that ended up costing…$1,000. Take that Bill Gates. 

This is a picture of just a few of the stains bleached out on my ruined carpet. One of the new rugs went here. Also. Yes. That is a diaper on my dog. It came to that.
Then, I discovered another natural cure…pumpkin. Again, do the research! Pumpkin is a fiber-filled food that is a natural diarrhea fighter. If Stella is having some mad-belly, I just get a can of pumpkin (stock up; it’s seasonal) and put about 1/4c. of it in her food. Sure she poops orange for a week, but she doesn’t ruin the carpets.
Foods that are good good things:
Find foods that have these as the main ingredients.
Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes
Olive Oil (a little helps her skin stay soft.)

High fats, beef wheat, and corn are the devil when you have a sensitive dog. Check the labels of all food, chew toys and treats or else your dog will wear a diaper.