Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry December 2014, and Happy 2015!

I love this time of year -- especially when things are going well and our loved ones are healthy and happy. And, praise be, that is the case again this year. No heart surgery for Pepper this year; no gut surgery for me! Plus, we have our Miracle Mysti who is back to her old sassy self:

And we still have one of the Litter -- now known as Bouie Junior by his new family -- among the living.  He has developed a habit of digging in the backyard, and had the misfortune of disturbing a sleepy Copperhead while engaging in that craft. This is what he looked like on December 23rd:

Doesn't that just break your heart?!?!  Fortunately, his new family knew him well enough to know he was in trouble and got him to the Emergency Vet (cha-ching!!) in the middle of the night where he received the lifesaving medical attention he needed. Here he was yesterday:

Much better! His eyesight doesn't appear to be impaired either, so he's the most recent Christmas Canine Miracle. I can't decide whether he favors Mysti more, or Bouie, but he's a handsome lad indeed.

Yes, the tree still stays up until Epiphany -- January 6, so I am still permitted to send out wishes for a Merry Christmas!  January 6th also happens to be the kick-off of the Carnival Season, so Moogie's Manor needn't go without excessive decor for even a moment! This was on Christmas Eve before the grands arrived and pandemonium ensued. Daughters thought that building gingerbread houses might be a good way to entertain the young ones (read "distract" them!) until time to demolish the wrapping paper:

I think they did pretty well! (And the distraction worked! For awhile.)

Although he was one of our best gifts of all times, Bouie was pretty wiped out on Christmas Day:

A week before the Christmas revelry, we celebrated Pepper's birthday at the Manor with a Family Dessert (spelled, "Moogie didn't have to prepare and clean up after an entire meal.") How cool, and yummy, is an Apple-Pie-Baked-Into-A-Chocolate Birthday Cake?!?! (I did bake the cake!  Recipe available on The Food Network.)

Dang that was tasty!

Included in the season's gatherings were the three yellow sisters from the litter. That's our Yap on the left, little Chelsea in the middle, and Persi (short for Persephone) on the right:

Here are a few more dog pics because, these days, I smile every time I look at our pups (as long as one of them isn't shredding something or tracking in muddy prints). And, I still marvel at Mysti's and Bouie's stamina and ability to heal from the most dire of mishaps. (P.S. -- Yap now has veterinary insurance!):

Daddy and Daughter
Mama and Daughter
Can you believe how she's grown? Nearly 5 months.
These make our family complete.

So, we're still enjoying Christmas decor:

We're enjoying the decor, except for one item. Pepper received a gift that now graces the windowsill of the Water Closet in our bathroom. That's the perfect place to display it because seeing that smug, Imperial face leering down at you just scares the s**t out of you.

Who needs laxatives?!?!

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Where Did the Fall Go?!?!

A brief update before I hit the hay. I've spent the last month plus battling gut issues with fever and no small amount of -- um -- discomfort. I finally gave in and went to the doc, who put me on rest and two industrial strength antibiotics. The corner has been turned, and I have successfully avoided the hospital, so things are looking up.

All the resident canines are blissfully healthy and happy! Mysti's staples came out without incident. I promise you, if there was one, there were 60! It's a good thing she didn't have to go through a metal detector. She's gained her weight back and is back to swimming and romping. She does tire easily still, but wouldn't you if you'd undergone three major abdominal surgeries in less than a month?

The puppy, Yap, is HUGE! She's only 4 months, but she's almost as big as Mysti! Bouie just watches the two of them and does the canine equivalent of shaking his head. Sometimes he gets in the romping mix, but they outnumber him pretty quickly. Quite an interesting family dynamic we've developed around here. I'll post pictures soon, once the dust settles around Moogie's, Manor for a bit and I can get unfettered access to the laptop for a bit. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this thought:

Elizabeth Warren's effete self-righteousness is enough to make one hurl one's lunch

Yep. I've been keeping up with the latest reindeer games to come out of DC, even though it probably gave me a setback in the gut-healing department.

Sweet dreams!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hopefully the Curtain has Fallen on More Scary Doggie Drama

Well. I have just lived through two weeks that will surely be noted in Moogie's Biography as among the worst of my life. But -- they could have been considerably worse.

We did get to bring Mysti home Wednesday before last with potent antibiotics and special food. She ate some and drank water and just enjoyed being with us that afternoon and evening. I even did a most-of-the-family portrait:

Pepper went to bed fairly early, but when my adrenaline gets rushed, I don't sleep well. So, after reading a bit, I probably dropped off about 1:00 Thursday morning. Thursday would turn out to be a verrrrry long day.

A little before 4:00, I heard Mysti panting in the crate. When she kept it up for awhile I got up to see what was going on and to offer  her some water. The vet had told us that if her temperature spiked -- anything above 102.5 -- she could be in trouble. She refused the water and was clearly agitated. I managed to find a thermometer (now strictly dedicated to canine temperature readings, if you know what I mean), and managed to get a reading. 102.7. Crap.

She paced around a bit and, every now and then, would stretch her neck up as if in a spasm. I took her temp again about thirty minutes later -- 103.2. Double crap. I awakened Pepper, telling him that Mysti was in trouble.

Bouie was upset -- he's very sensitive and knew something was not right.

At 5:00 we called the vet. After we described what was going on, he told us to make her as comfortable as possible and to meet him at his office at 7:30. So Mysti lay on the floor at the foot of the bed with one of us lying beside her on either side. She was in such obvious pain that we both feared she would die right there in our arms. We spoke softly to her, petting her and telling her what a good girl she is and how very pretty. That was a long, difficult two hours. I checked her temp again about 7:00 and it had dropped back below 103. Good news, but it didn't last.

We headed to the vet's at about 7:20 in all the rush hour traffic. That's not harrowing at all. Mysti could barely get in and out of the truck.

The vet took her temp first thing -- 103.7. He said that's high but not dangerously high. Then he explained our options, leaving the most permanent one unspoken.  He could open her up again and see what was going on, but he was a little leery of the location of the bad part of the intestine -- very near the pancreas. The other option was for him to call veterinary surgery specialists in Memphis and we could take her over there as an emergency patient. Then he told us that, if she were his dog, he'd have her in the car on I-40 eastbound, pdq.  So, that's what we did. We headed home to throw a few things in a bag in case we had to stay the night and called our dogsitter friend on the way to the house -- we couldn't leave the pup crated all that time without a break. Fortunately, Carolyn had been following Mysti's saga on Facebook and said she'd be here as soon as possible.  Here we are on the way to Memphis:

Actually, no. That's on the way home the first time Wednesday afternoon. We had put pillows in the back for her before going to Memphis.

It seemed like it took forever to get there, and once we did, we got onto the interstate loop at the wrong on-ramp and had to circle the whole freakin' city amid some seriously crazy and flawed drivers. Added about 30 minutes to the trip. No additional stress there.

We arrived at the Memphis Veterinary Specialists a little after noon. Wow. What a ritzy place! All new and clean and well-designed. We met with the regular vet in one of several "Consultation Rooms," and she explained what they would do -- and the price range, depending on what they found during the exploratory. And, no, you really don't want to know. We paid our deposit, left our little girl in the hands of strangers in a strange place, and wandered off in search of something to eat, anticipating a call from the surgeon when they took Mysti back.

The vet had recommended Las Tortugas, a small, authentic Mexican place nearby in Germantown. Good recommendation. After lunch, we took a walk around a small lake on a nice paved path. That was just what we needed. Then we needed a nap, so I had a chat with Mr. Google and found a hotel near the hospital where there were a lot of Hispanics tearing up the parking lot with jackhammers. I napped really hard and quickly anyway.

Pepper woke up before I did and went out to the truck to charge his phone, so he was gone when I awoke, making me a little nervous. But, when he came back in, he had talked to the surgeon and Mysti had done beautifully!  There was a tear leaking fluid into her abdomen, so he did a resection of her intestine and there were no complications, her bloodwork showed no organ failure, and she was resting comfortably with no suggestion of peritonitis! We could visit her Friday morning, but they wanted to keep her until Sunday so they could culture the liquid they removed from her abdomen and keep her on IV antibiotics and pain meds. The vet would call in the morning with an overnight report.

Thank you, Lord!

But then the next crisis hit -- the Saints were playing the Panthers at 7:30 Thursday evening and the hotel didn't offer NFL Network!!

I found a sports bar.  And a liquor store. We went to both.

The Saints won!

We went to visit Mysti Girl shortly after the vet called on Friday morning, and were seated in the "Visitation Room." They put a tee shirt on her so she couldn't mess with the staples. It said "We be Jammin', Mon," so we decided that she was going as a Rasta for Halloween:

Our girl was what the vet described as "dysphoric." We called it "loopy." She was happy to see us, but whined and "sang" for us. I felt really mean leaving her there -- she really wanted to go home. But, it was Halloween and I was expecting a houseful of family and friends that evening.

We made it back to Moogie's Manor in time to make the chicken chili and get things cleaned up. I took Yap to the vet for her next round of puppy shots. Trick or Treaters came and went. Here are Elder Daughter and her sweet family as "Jack and the Beanstalk" characters (the "Golden Egg" painted on ED's shirt was the Halloween costume for Grandbaby #6 who is growing in there!):

And Younger Daughter with hers as the Rubble Family from "The Flintstones":

The Son had Guard drill.

As I was cleaning up, I noticed several twinges in my back and gut, and realized that I hadn't eaten anything. By Saturday morning, I was in a full-blown flare-up of diverticulitis. Stress tends to settle in my gut and I think it's taking an extended vacation in there. I can eat now, but can't throw off the nagging little low-grade fever. I hate diverticulitis drugs, but I guess I'll have to suck it up and call the doc on Monday. Bouie and Yap were missing their Mysti on Saturday night, so they needed a little extra attention from Pepper:

The vet called Sunday morning about 10:00 and Pep was on the road by 10:45. Mysti and her tee shirt came tail-waggingly into the house Sunday afternoon! Along with her own personal pharmacy. Our days have revolved around her med schedule for a week! but I gave her the last dose yesterday evening and all she has left are pain pills. I'm still giving her a reduced dose of that at night.

She still must take it really easy for another week, then keep being wild and crazy at a minimum for a month, but she looks good, she's happy and playful, her appetite is back, and her coat looks good and shiny. I think we have our girl back. And everyone is happy about that (we changed her tee shirt because it was getting really stinky):

My gut can't take much more drama.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mysti Makes Progress

Well, Mysti gave us quite a scare, and she's not completely out of the woods yet. The vet had to make three incisions in her intestine and stomach to get a foot-long toy out of her gut. It was one of those stuffing-less foxes. Her intestine looked pink and normal at first, but it immediately bruised when he got the toy out. He was really concerned by that, and put her chances of survival at 50-50. We didn't sleep very well on Monday night.

Yesterday was better for us -- she made it safely through the night and we got to visit her in the afternoon. She was pretty loopy, but recognized us and was able to sit up. The vet was still concerned about the bruising and mentioned that we might have to make some decisions about further surgery or something else I can't think about. But, he also told us that she would probably be okay if she made it through the first 48 hours. We slept better last night. Here she was yesterday:

This morning, the vet said she had done very well overnight -- no fever -- and they were going to try to get her to drink some water and eat some special canned food. He'd let us know how she had done.

I got a call from the vet a little before noon asking if we could go to his office and "coax" Mysti to eat and drink because she just wouldn't. I headed there and texted Pepper about it because he was on the golf course. As I was pulling into the parking lot, Pepper called to say that I needn't go -- they had gotten her to eat, but I could visit her if I wanted. I had brought some chicken broth for her (that I didn't get to give her because she needs the special food), so I thought I'd go on in.

She was out of the "confinement" pen and the IV was out! She wagged her tail and smiled at me! She had eaten five bites of food when hand-fed by the vet's wife. I got to walk her outside where she piddled and and was positively bouncy! I got her to eat about half a can of food (hand-feeding, of course!) and drink a good bit of water. She really wanted to go with me when I left -- I felt so mean. But we might get to bring her home this afternoon to be her nurses (and personal servants), so I am cautiously optimistic. Here she was earlier (No, Pepper didn't beat me up -- I'm having some allergy issues.):

There was a message on the answering machine from Dr. Barnett when I got home -- he had called as I was driving to the office. It was kinda cute -- he said that they had gotten her to eat a little, but only by lying down in the pen with her, hand-feeding her, and that "she was quite the drama queen." Heh.

So it looks like Dr. Barnett has saved the lives of two of our dogs. I hope he never gets the opportunity to do so again. But, he'll get a wonderful Christmas card from Moogie's Manor! And probably a donation to his favorite charity.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Note from The Labradors' Manor (previously known as MOOGIE'S Manor!)

Well, the two remaining black boys found wonderful homes so we're down to one puppy, Little Miss Yap (Lagniappe):

She has learned to walk on a leash (usually) and she poops outside (usually). The piddle thing is hit and miss. She'll (usually) piddle outside if taken there, but sometimes the notion hits her while she's inside and she (usually) doesn't bother to make the effort to go outside before she squats.

Bouie is learning to tolerate her, but he's not as playful with her as he was with Mysti when she was a pup. that could be a result of either age or of being totally overwhelmed by puppies lately.

But, the family that plays together stays together!

She seems to be making herself right at home.  I think we might be in trouble.

Her sweet Mama, Mysti, isn't one to let puppy toys remain unshredded.  I'm afraid that habit might have gotten her in trouble.  As I type, she's at the vet, undergoing a barium scan because we're afraid she has an obstruction. When Miss Mysti refuses pizza crust and chicken tenders, there's something badly amiss. Please keep her in your thoughts -- I'm a little scared.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Message From Puppyville

Geez. It's been more than a month since I posted! Who had any idea how much work a litter of pups can be. Certainly not us!

They're 8 1/2 weeks old now, have had their first shots, and been checked out by the vet. No worms! That's the best part! They're cute and smart and energetic.

And 6 of them have found new forever homes.

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to let them go, but it's getting harder. Two have gone to family members -- to the Son and Younger Daughter. One has gone to my late best friend's brother's family in Jonesboro. One went to the parents of Younger Daughter's late friend. Another went to the family of one of the Girls' high school buddies. Last night a young E-4 Guardsman and his sweet little family came to take Tank (the largest puppy) home with them. So,then there were three.

One (maybe two) will stay with us. We're contemplating donating one to a service organization for training as a service/companion dog -- maybe Wounded Warriors or Lighthouse for the Blind. Remaining at Moogie's Manor are who we call (L - R) Count Pounce of Bouligny, Bouligny's Mystic Lagniappe (Yep, Murphy, I stole your pup's name! We call her Yap.), and Malcolm in the Middle:

See how big they've gotten! Yesterday evening, the pup (now known as Chelsea) who went to live with the Son's family at "Paulsons' House of Chaos" came for a visit. They played so hard that they were little more than a blur!

This video is a few weeks old, but shows them in action:

Cleaning up after all nine was a chore, but cleaning up after three 8 1/2 week old growing bladders leads me to give you an investment tip: buy stock in paper towel companies! Here are a few more captured cutenesses:

 I have the most toys, so I win.

What do you mean it's morning?

Sleepy? Who's sleepy?

Well, I may have already crossed that threshhold.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Day of Firsts at Moogie's Manor

Pepper has just been itching to get the pups outdoors. They're four weeks now, and our yard is nice and clean, so we packed them up in an overnight bag and our arms and introduced them to grass and fresh air:

Mysti and Bouie haven't really had much opportunity to play like they did before the pups were born, so they took full advantage, even allowing one brave pup to join in on the fun.

As you can tell from Pepper's expression, their little claws are getting sharp!

And, when they came back in, they got to experience their first taste of rice cereal. Talk about attack dogs!  They are super huge fans!

Man, what a trip this whole thing has been.

Oh, and Woooo Pig Soooiiieeeeee!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Labor Day Weekend to Remember

The joint is jumping at Moogie's Manor!

The puppies are growing!  They're so very smart! At 3 1/2 weeks they figured out to go to the far end of the pen to do their business so they don't soil their sleeping area. We had to abandon the puppy pool because it ceased to be a containment area -- more like a mild obstacle to freedom. Several have been spoken for (including ours!), so I have no doubt they will all find good, loving homes -- many nearby, so we'll be able to follow their progress. They recognize us and want us to play whenever they're awake -- it melts my heart to see a puppy looking at me with affection. And probably hunger! We'll start them on cereal this weekend. Here's a little puppy playtime from this afternoon -- their 4-week birthday (featuring the escape artist I have nicknamed "Dora, the Explorer."):

I was spirited to a friend's cabin on the Little Red River last Friday (Elder Daughter volunteered to spend the night here to watch the puppies) for a delightful evening complete with good food, good conversation, and a long, heavy rainfall which we enjoyed from the screened porch. Pepper got to do a little fly fishing on Saturday morning, and we had a nice lunch at The Red Apple Inn before heading back to Little Rock to watch the Razorbacks "entertain" the Auburn Confused Mascots at The Son's House.

Except, we didn't watch the game at The Son's House. We watched it at Moogie's Manor along with a large number of our friends at my Surprise Sixtieth Birthday party!

To be honest, I had deduced that there was going to be a party, but I had no idea it was going to be here! Daughters cleaned nicely (thank goodness!) and moved (read, "hid") all kinds of tchotchkes so they could do a Moogie-centric decorating scheme, with Razorback flourishes. (I'm still locating stuff!) There was good food, lots of laughs, and semi-decent football (at least until the fourth quarter).

Is that a fabulous cake, or what!

The book is one I gave my mother years ago -- The Southern Lady. I love that my girls think of me that way.

Elder Daughter spent a lot of time in contact with the yearbook at the U of A. They sent her several pics of me that appeared in a Volume from a "few" years back. This is my favorite. It proves to me that I didn't really just make this up in my head. Here is Moogie, calling the Hogs, along with a few friens. Do you see me? There was a lot less of me to love back then:

And, as Younger Daughter pointed out, even Buddha was calling the Hogs!

I have a wonderful, sneaky family!

And, at age 60, I have nine puppies who need to be entertained several times during the night. So, I. Am. Tired!

Happy weekend!