Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farewell and Happy Life to our Little Black Velvet

This pic shows how incredibly like Bandit she is. Beautiful little girl, just as loveable, a hugger and cuddler like her two brothers. Velvet went to her new home last night up in Grayson KY where she will get to roam around on 2 fenced in acres with a malamute mix companion. We love you pretty girl, and wish you good luck and a happy life with your new family.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Week in Hell

It started out pleasant enough, a long 2 mile hike on Sunday working on commands, but it was to begin a terrible week.

Sunday, July 10th

Bandit and I took another two mile hike today working on 'Over Gee' and 'Over Haw'. He is awesome with commands, and I'm so very proud. The bad news is he had his first break-through seizure today at about 3pm. It was a full Grand Mal, but only lasted about thirty seconds, and the ictal phase about a minute and a half. We believe he has a weakness to a chemical buildup from a certain treat, the same that he had before when he had the three seizures in a row (he stole one yesterday and another one this morning). None of the other dogs have had a reaction to them, so it is still a predisposition towards seizures when exposed to it.

There is still lingering doubt regarding whether this is complicated with exposure to exercise and/or the raw beef, however, the exercise and beef alone don't seem to trigger the seizures alone, so I must assume it was the treats.

Bandit also had a seizure at 12:30 am, another Grand Mal that lasted less than two minutes, and his ictal phase also was around 2 minutes. I've asked Jim to keep an eye on him and keep him indoors and out of the heat as much as possible today.
Monday July 11th

Bandit had another seizure just before 10 am this morning. I did not witness the seizure. Jim had let him outside, went to the bathroom and came out, and when Bandit was at the back door, he had foam on his mouth and had peed on himself (signs of his seizure).

So, three in 24 hours. We will probably need to take him in to the vet for a blood test.

Has now had several more seizures, one at 2:45, one at 7:30 and now one at 8:30, all Grand Mal, all lasting less than 2 minutes, but he hasn't come out of ictal phase, still wandering around disoriented and drooling. I am really starting to worry. We took him to the vet for bloodwork, but we won't have results back until tomorrow. We upped his dosage via our vet's recommendation and it doesn't appear to have had any effect. I love my boy and worried that this is going to harm him permanently. He doesn't seem to recognize us or the other dogs. Fortunately he isn't aggressive, nor are the other dogs towards him. We are all very worried.

Monday night, Tuesday Morning

Bandit has gone through hell, and I have been with him. 11 seizures since last report and it doesn't look like he is going to get a break anytime soon. Will I ever have my Bandy boy back? He doesn't know me, exhaustion drags his feet, he can barely stand, yet the flight instinct keeps him pacing until he collapses again. Once he goes in to sleep, the beast strikes again, killing him slowly, and all I can do is cry, and try to keep him from breaking a limb. Two more hours until we can get him in to the vet, and he is sleeping again waiting for the beast to catch him.

seizure times: 9:15, 10:00, 10:15, 11:30,11:55,12:27,01:00, 03:00, 03:45,04:45,5:30 5:50

Tuesday on in to Wednesday

Bandit had a seizure just before we were going to pick him up from the vet (3:30), so we ended up taking him to overnight care. He had one more seizure there just after we left, (5pm) but hasn't had one since. We'll be taking him back to Tender Care first thing this morning.

Hopefully the Potassium Bromide addition to his medication has been helping, but we now have an emergency Valium kit to break the cycle of seizures should he start to have clusters again.


So far Bandit has not had a seizure since 5pm Tuesday, however, he still appears to be in ictal phase, or there was permanent brain damage. He wanders around the house not knowing where he is, or even that he is a dog. Reintroducing him to the other dogs went well, they all accepted him readily back in the pack, but he no longer has dog social skills. Everything makes him jump, and his eyes are always wide in terror. He dociley allows himself to be led around, though it is obvious it's because he doesn't know what else to do. He is only just beginning to figure out his name might be Bandit because we say it to him at every opportunity. Early this morning, Velvet nipped him playfully on the nose and he completely freaked out and ran in to the bathroom, out of the bathroom, jumped behind the crate and tried to climb a wall. Only when he wasn't able to get anywhere did he sit down in a huge panic panting as fast as his lungs could go. It took me almost 30 minutes to calm him down enough that he would move again.

He doesn't sleep much, and when he does he wakes suddenly, looking like he might seize again, but it passes in a minute without seizure. He then paces for hours in a daze. He has forgotten how to use the dog door, and each time he tries, it scares him and I end up having to open the sliding door for him and gently lead him out. He is only just learning to like the yard again, but seems more comfortable and calm in the house. He has also forgotten his housetraining, or forgets why he wants to go out. It is terrible to see such an intelligent boy reduced to this state, and I pray every moment that it will pass and I will get my old Bandit back.

Today he very shyly licked me on the chin, so very briefly, so very lightly, and I almost cried. It is the first show of affection since Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trip to Michigan

The trip up was uneventful if it was long, but travelling past so many places I have a history with really made the trip go fast. Kathy (a friend from work) and I had a good time reminiscing about our better childhood memories.

We stopped in Frankenmuth for a break from the road, and a nice little detour with dinner. I admit my childhood memories of the place were a little vague, but it was great to see the quaint little town again. I had a nice rich german bock with my home-made bratwurst and sourkraut, and Katy had weinersnitzel and an ale. We wandered around the shops, across the castle bridge and then to the bakery for some yummy german breads and cookies.

We took a few cell phone pics, but I hadn't dug out the big camera. I regret that now, as it is going to take some doing to get the pics off this phone now that it isn't synced with my e-mail. :(

We arrived at the campground. with a few hours of daylight left. It was a very well groomed site, and I was surprised to see several Park Model RV's on site! I had just recently been investigating them as a good prospect for my bunkhouse and grooming station for our kennel. I was even more impressed seeing them first hand, and a possible future sale may be in the offing. The staff of the Higgins Lake KOA were very friendly and helpful, and I was glad I chose the KOA over the state park. I think it was also the cooked breakfast on site that you could purchase won me over the most. I don't mind fixing the coffee, but a full breakfast first thing in the morning at camp is a hassle. They had pancakes, eggs cooked to your liking, sausage, blueberry mini-triangles, (there was another type of bread, but I didn't make it past the blueberry...)

We made camp, had a fire going, and were able to relax for a bit amidst the sounds of birds, squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and children scurrying around. It was wonderful just to enjoy the outdoors without any worries, no dogs, kids, or work to chase after. The temps were pleasant and hovered around 58-60 overnight, so barely any covering was necessary.

Being a light sleeper is a curse at times, so needless to say, there was a bit too much noise for my liking. Not that it could be helped, being in a campground. I was hoping I was exhausted enough from driving all day to sleep through most of it, but alas, my ear-to-brain connection overrode tiredness. Ah well, I had enough sleep not to be cranky.

I had a fire and fresh perked coffee ready by 7am, and it tasted good. A bit of the cinnamon, rasin, apple and brown-sugar bavarian bread made my morning! Nothing like the fresh smell of the forest, a wood-fire, vanilla coffee, and bavarian sweet bread. While sitting and enjoying the morning, I noticed an unusual movement of something black in the underbrush. Keeping an eye on it, I noticed, it was a black squirrel! How cool is that? Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of it, but it was neat to see one.

My brother, his wife and his youngest son came to visit us at the campground, but we had to take time out to go and get the dog box and the sled from Grayling. Afterwards, we had a picnic lunch, and went to see if we could rent a boat. The marina that was supposed to have a boat available in the afternoon, however, told us the people who were supposed to bring the boat back at noon didn't. So we were out of luck. After trying for a bit to find a place to fish, we decided simply to pack up and head up to Brian's neck of the woods, Mackinac.

We ate at a wonderful seafood resteraunt with local fish from the Great Lakes. I had whitefish in parmesan, and it was awesome. Afterwards, we walked a bit in the park by the bridge, took some photos, then Brian and I went fishing at the Marina while Kathy, Doris and Jacob wandered around the Cabelas store. We caught several rock bass, gobi and shiners while watching some huge carp cruise along by us. As dark began to descend upon us, we trooped over to the outdoor mall where there was a stage set up. Shortly after we arrived, they began a laser light show. It was almost as much fun to watch the antics of the kids with laser weapons, gloves, guns and other light up things dancing and playing around on the grass in front of the stage as it was to watch the show itself.

It was a good ending to a great day, and I thank my brother and his family for their patience and for showing us around. Kathy and I had a great time! We rolled back in to the campsite around 12:30, and crashed.

Sunday I started a fire and perked more coffee. After a while of enjoying the morning by the fire, I went to the camp store to buy breakfast. When Kathy was ready, we drove down to Houghton Lake to find a place to fish, and ended up fishing from the Muskegan River bridge. We caught several blue gills, and I caught a perch. When the sun had reached near the zenith, the fish were no longer biting, so we packed up the poles and headed back towards camp. We ended up stopping at a roadside bar and grill where there happened to be a hot dog eating contest. The food was reasonably good though the tea smelled slightly of sulfer (their water had a small amount of it), but it didn't taste bad.

We opted to take it easy the rest of the evening, hanging out at camp around the fire, drink a few beers, talk and enjoy nature. The temperature really dropped that night, and I woke up to the ability to see my breath (somewhere in the high 40's). Fire, coffee and Bavarian bread for breakfast, then pack to go. By the time I had most of my things packed, Kathy was up and I was able to get the camp packed up.

Sometime Saturday, most likely while picking up the dog box, the trailer had run over a branch which punctured the right tire. I had put in some fix-a-flat, and it seemed to hold pretty good. With confidence I headed to a gas station to fill up the rest of the pressure with air. No sooner had we gone about two miles down the highway though, the puncture burst again, and we had a flat. I called Jim to ask him to get me a tow service that could fix our tire. Kathy too was searching, and contacted the local police dispatcher to see if she could direct us to a towing service. An officer came to help keep traffic moved over and to ensure our safety while a young man from Phil's Towing Service managed to locate the exact tire we needed and bring it out to us. We were very fortunate they had one in stock and only lost about two hours of road time.

My friend Cathy called me and I was able to let her know we were delayed in picking up her pup, and through her, notify the person we were supposed to pick her up from. Finally locating the mall in Ann Arbor, we met him and the pup, Snickers. She was a petit little beauty with a smile and expressiveness so similar to everything I love about my little Princess. I was instantly taken with this beautiful little girl with a loving spirit and splendid conformation. She was a fun little girl to have with us, and showered us both with kisses and puppy hugs. To keep her entertained, I let her chew on an empty water bottle, and she was ecstatic. She crinkled it most of the way back to Kentucky.

We stopped a few times to give her water and walks, and finally got her to Cathy's house in the mid-evening time. Cathy showed me a sled she had inherited from a friend that was over a hundred years old. She intends to restore it, and I'm anxious to see it back in operating condition! She took a good look at the sled I brought back with me to get ideas and see how it was made. With Snickers in excellent hands and already getting to know her new pack, we bid good-eve and journeyed the rest of the way to my house.