I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Last but not least...Rusty. I haven't even blogged about what's been going on with him lately. About three weeks ago, he came in from the back yard not putting any weight on his right hind leg. Same thing as Little Guy, opposite side. I could not believe this could be happening. Again. We went to the vet, who sedated Rusty to check is knee and found what she thought was a torn ligament. (He'd also just been sedated a few days before for a tooth extraction). So, off to the surgeon we went.

11/52: Rusty

Little Guy's surgeon, who was wonderful, was on vacation so we saw someone else at the practice. He felt there was a partial ligament tear* and recommended a far more invasive, i.e. far more expensive, procedure. It's the one they usually do on dogs who weigh over 40 pounds--more than twice Rusty's weight. By the time of the consult, and in fact by the day after the injury, he was bearing full weight on his leg. So I asked about conservative treatment, which basically entails 6-8 weeks of confinement and anti-inflammatory medication. Of course, this was not what the doctor recommended as first course of action. He just wanted to cut.

I tried putting Rusty in his crate. Ha! I knew that wouldn't work as he's always hated the crate and injured a front paw trying to scratch his way out in the past. My next brilliant idea was to put him in with Little Guy. Yeah, right. Rusty kept jumping over the baby gate. We resorted to just leaving him in the hallway with Guy, where he could jump and scratch at the door all he wanted. When home, I'd bring him out and leash him to the dining room table where he'd lie pretty quietly as long as he could see us.

My creation

In the past three weeks, Rusty has not shown any signs pain or favored his injured leg at all. I took it into my own hands to decrease the medication dose, which had no ill effect. He's a hard dog to keep down, so I took him to his vet to get her recommendations. Upon examining him, watching him move, and taking into account the full weight bearing he was doing the day after, she thinks that there probably wasn't a tear after all and maybe just a sprain. The only way to truly know would be an MRI and since he is asymptomatic, there's no way I'm paying for that right now.

We put Rusty on the same "gradual return to activity" program Little Guy is on and starting with short walks. I've been taking them together and it's not working. After 3/4 of a block, I have to pick Guy up and carry him the rest of the way and Rusty is wanting to zoom along at a fast pace and for a longer distance. We're also putting him in the hallway with LG when we go out so he's not jumping on and off furniture and running a lot in the back yard.
(The squirrels and birds are happy for the reprieve!)

12/52: Rusty

Things are working out, but there were a few days there where I was freaking out. This surgery that Little Guy had has a tough recovery period. Luckily, he's been pretty mellow and was becoming so inactive before that it's been somewhat easy forcing him to rest. I was just imagining Rusty having the surgery and ruining it within the first week. The surgeon was kind enough to suggest we could give him sedatives. For 8 weeks.

Mostly this has all been inconvenient, more so for the dogs than us. Rusty did miss out on a special event he was supposed to attend and we're now officially on a temporary break from therapy dog work. I also know that he very well may injure himself in the future and need more invasive treatment, but it seems like we've dodged the bullet this time, thankfully. While we're still keeping Rusty reigned in for a couple more weeks, he is going to be in his first movie this weekend. It's a friend's short independent film, but exciting nonetheless. Oh, and it'll be in 3D. How cool is that?

*Little Guy had a fully torn ligament, as well as a damaged meniscus.


Update Of The Furry Kind

(No, not THAT kind of furry!)

Here are the updates on four of the four-legged kids that I didn't quite get to in the last post. It was going to include all five, but there's been a lot of stuff going on with Rusty that I haven't shared, so he will get his own chapter.

Little Guy is now 10 weeks out from his knee surgery and continues to do well. We've moved into a new phase of activity. Over the past two weeks, we've been increasing walks, but maintaining strict confinement. Now we are still working on progressing the walks (he can only make it ~3/4 of a block before getting a lot of spasming in his left rear leg), but he is allowed to have a bit more freedom. Running and jumping are both no-nos for 4 more weeks, so he's not allowed in the back yard, off leash and alone yet and he is confined, in the hallway, at night and when we go out. He hangs out in the house when we are home and that makes him extremely happy. He misses the squirrels though.

Cosette continues to be as feisty as she can be at 16 years old. She's been losing weight steadily over the past several months, in spite of a voracious appetite, so we are adjusting some feeding and keeping an eye on it. Otherwise, she's doing fine so we're forgoing any extensive testing at this point. Recent blood work showed a little elevation in some liver values, but that has been going on with her for many, many years and the results aren't as high have they have been in the past. She's going back on a medication for that. Cosette loves veggies and has been enjoying eating some during the nightly preparation of snacks for the guinea pigs. There are a couple of behavioral frustrations, but we're going with the flow (literally) and are just happy to still have her around, enjoying life. She's aging pretty gracefully.

Pepper and Pickle are doing very well. They seem to be fighting less, especially at 2am, which is a relief to me, on work nights especially. I still have the amazing ability to scare the crap out of them (and boy do they crap a lot!), but the girls are getting more used to being handled and have learned where the food and hay come from. Much like Penny used to do, they started squeaking when they hear E's voice as it's usually followed by a special treat of parsley or Romaine. They provide nightly entertainment during floor time. Pickle is quite amusing as she likes to "popcorn" quite a bit, which is supposedly a sign of happiness in a piggie. Pepper occasionally does it too, but she likes being a little more low key, hanging out in her brown paper lunch bag. Well, when she's not picking on Pickle, that is. The pigs both love lettuce, clementines, blueberries, strawberries, parsley, apples, pears, and dandelion leaves. Pickle seems to like carrots better than Pepper does. Neither of them care for tomatoes or peppers. They are good little feeders and growers.

Coming soon: An epic Rusty update. (He's doing just fine, by the way).


Corner me and make me something

I never intended for my blog to have a theme or to become a blogger that fit into a certain category. I'm not a political blogger or a tech blogger. I'm most certainly not a food blogger. And since I don't have kids, I can't even pretend to be a mommy blogger. While I do occasionally write about music/tv/film, life in Los Angeles (and actually, I've moved a lot of that over to my posts at L.A. Metblogs), or things I find absurd or dorky, there is a definite trend in what I've been writing about lately. Well, when I've even posted.

My pets. The four-legged beasties that share my home are family. I appreciate that not everyone "gets" that and may stop coming around to avoid being bored by endless chatter about furry creatures. So, what does that make me? A DoggyPiggyMommy Blogger? A I'mSoCrazyAboutMyPets YouShouldCallTheAuthorities Blogger? Or maybe merely a PetMommy Blogger. I don't know. Labels don't concern me too much.

It's been a tough year so far in our pack. 2009 is not even a quarter of the way over and we've dealt with major surgery, death, adoption, injury, and the ever-growing challenges of aging. Right now we're in the midst of an overhaul of feeding for the dogs, medication additions and subtractions, new activity routines, and the continued acclimation of the guinea pigs.

Originally, I proceeded to go into an update on all five pets, but this started turning into one of those epic posts that I usually end up not reading because of the length. So, if you happen to be curious about how Cosette, Little Guy, Rusty, Pickle and/or Pepper are doing, check back soon.


I Can't Even Think Of A Title

The lack of posts around these parts is a testament to how crazy and exhausting life has been for the last week or so. My solution is to leave you with photos of a couple my pets. What? How is that different than usual?

Little Guy sniffing the wind while lying in the dirt. He's a dirty dog.

Someone's Been Eating Her Cuties!
Pickle Piggie after enjoying clementine slices.


So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking...


Sunset over Westward Beach from Point Dume

Malibu, California



8 Weeks Post Op

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Little Guy had his 8-week follow up appointment with his surgeon yesterday. Everything looks good. We can now start walking him up and down the block a little, starting with 10 minutes, progressing to 15, etc. For the next two weeks, he remains strictly confined aside from the walks. He's not allowed to jump or bolt after squirrels for six more weeks.

I'm still being pretty conservative with his activity. We will most likely be confining him when we are out for awhile (forever?) just to play it safe.


I Have Been Assimilated

Getting tired, and perhaps a little jealous, of people going on an on about their iPods, iBooks, iPhones, etc, etc, I joked around that I have iNothing. And I was serious. No Apple products for me, not necessarily by choice, but that's just how it happened to be. I have a cell phone that allows me to go on the internet, my laptop works just fine, and I have a nice, clunky, slow-to-load, mp3 player that I can listen to in my car via an auxiliary jack. Sure, it's fairly complicated to get music on and off of the damn thing, but hey, I haven't known any better. And it's higher tech than cassettes.

That is, until recently when I got a generous surprise from E for our 14th anniversary. As the proud new owner of a 4th generation iPod nano, I feel like I might just have a twinge of modernity in me. Go ahead and laugh, if you want. I'm used to it and do so at myself often enough. I know it's silly and I'm so behind the times, but it makes me very happy.

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the iJod (yes, that's what I named it!)-so tiny, so light, so orange (!)

Now, as if getting the teeny machine is not exciting enough, I now get to use the iPod jack that came with my Scion xA. The one I didn't ask for.

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I was kind of bummed when I saw that in my new car. Poo. Something I can't use. I intended to try it out with friends' iPods, but never got around to it. Luckily, I still have the cable for it. The cool thing about the iPod specific port is that the media information displays on my stereo and I can control it via the buttons on my steering wheel. So very nifty and fun!

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iPod connected

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GeeksOn, a favorite podcast

And one of my favorite dorky things is that when I disconnect the unit, my stereo says goodbye. Yes, it often is the little things.

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Slowly, but surely I'm even learning my way around iTunes, which I'd never downloaded and used. SO much easier than the wonky work-arounds I had to do with my old digital music player. I have been assimilated.


Post Op Day 44

Little Guy continues to recover nicely. Still as grumpy as can be due to continued imprisonment. He will go for his big 8-week follow up appointment with the surgeon next week, where he'll hopefully be given the clearance to start his month-long "gradual return to activity" program. Essentially, we'll start walking him prescribed progressive distances.

Post Op Day 44

The fur on that rear hindquarter is coming in nicely. Not sure what's up with the big patch on his back though. It's still just stubble.


Peter Piper Picked A Peck of Pickled Peppers

Exactly one week ago, we buried Penny out in the back yard under the tree where Ami lies in rest. I hadn't realized it until today, but their deaths were exactly five months apart. Last weekend was hard and emotional. A little way into last week though, the clouds parted and let in some sunshine.

This past Tuesday night, we adopted two young guinea pigs! Not to replace Penny, but to fill that emptiness and bring new life into the house. I know some of you might say it's too soon. Go ahead and judge, but I don't think so. Everyone is different and honestly, it has helped me immensely.

I held off on making the announcement until I could get them checked out by the vet. For one, it's very difficult to determine young pigs' gender and we knew if we had a mixed pair, we might have to return one. Also, I did want to make sure they are as healthy as they seem to be. As near as the vet could tell, they are both female and fit as fiddles. Going by appearance alone, we are pretty sure they are sisters.

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce Pepper and Pickle:

Pepper and Pickle

E had named them before we'd even decided for sure (well, I hadn't decided...ha ha!) if we'd be adopting them. He named Pickle first for the pickle shape her body takes on when she's stretched out.

Pepper and Pickle

I'd emailed some photos to a friend, who suggested I take their picture next to a soda can so she could get a better idea of their current size.

Pickle and Diet Coke® can

Pepper is slightly larger, but only by a few grams. I will get some better photos, but have been trying to let them adjust to their new surroundings and not freak them out too much. We are learning a lot about them every day. Pepper is more dominant. They had their fair share of tussles, which is normal as they work out the pecking order.

Both piglets are getting much braver about taking food from our hands. They love romaine lettuce, blueberries, carrots, apple, and peeled orange slices. They sort of like cucumber, but no where near as much as Penny did. We'd hoped they would like bell peppers due to the high Vitamin C content, but nope. They won't touch it. Luckily, they also love their hay and have figured out, after a few days, how to drink from the water bottle.

The vet thinks Pickle and Pepper are between 4 and 6 months old. They will grow quite a bit more, so we're working to get the office in shape to put the big cage we're assembling for them. It's a fun new adventure.


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