Diamond 9-23-10

Diamond is now on the “regaining health” list as he needs to gain four pounds before he can be neutered. Xrays have been approved. Hopefully that can be done in October. I’m feeding him two scoops of food twice a day. I tried a third feeding, but he didn’t eat it.
Had to start kenneling him because he’s ripping into a few things when we’re gone. My own dog, Brett, is really the problem there, though. He has figured out how to get the kennel door open so kenneling him is futile until we can figure out how to lock the door. When I got home on Tuesday, I came in the front door and Thor was trying to get out. I knew somethign had to be wrong. Thor is acting like “get me out of here before I get blamed for what’s up there in the house”. I went up the steps and kitchen, dining room and living room was covered with trash. I had turned off the trash can, too, but Brett had knocked it over. He also pulled things off the counter including a bag of peanuts, so there were peanuts everywhere, leftover tomato soup on the carpet and general torn up trash. Geez!

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Speedo

Speedo is a cat.

He’s been an indoor cat his whole life. He seems to be okay with this. The cat we had right before him, wanted to be outside and was hit by a car before he turned a year old. We have a deck off our dining room that does not have ground access. Speedo is allowed to be out there and only once ventured beyond the safety of the rails. With cars whizzing on Regent Ave., he never tried to leave again.

Last night, I got home from teaching at Foss. I took the dogs out, then sat down to eat (note to self: make a sandwich or something and leave it in the fridge to grab between jobs on Mondays. Going 12 hours with no food is not good). As we’re watching the news after eating, we hear this horrible noise outside. At first I thought it was tires squealing. Then I said “Where’s Speedo?!” The dogs raced to the glass door, KJ threw it open sending the dogs scrambling onto the wood. He saw a cat streaking across the street. KJ came flying back through the house and in one fell swoop, attached the leash to Brett and was out the front door. Instead of running toward the deck side of the house, Brett went toward the garage. KJ saw Speedo hidden at the corner of the garage door. When he tried to get him, Speedo leapt to the ledge between the two garages, and started to climb farther up the neighbor’s garage door. I told KJ to go get a towel as I took hold of the cat. His right paw/claw was hooked so far into the lip of the frame, I couldn’t get him to release it. It would slide up and down the frame. KJ came back with the towel. I wrapped it around him, and was finally able to release his paw. Carried him inside, checked him over, he seemed to be fine. I let him go and he flew into his safe spot in the basement under the steps. He didn’t come out until we were all in bed, spending the night at the foot of my bed.

KJ felt so bad as he was the one who shut the door w/o checking if Speedo was on the deck. I was actually thankful for the cat fight, because who knows if I’d have noticed he wasn’t around at all before going to bed.

Diamond, continued

Friday, Sept. 10, 2010

I took Diamond to the vet this morning to get shots and checked for heartworm. Dr. Bruce watched him walk and felt his hips and got down to business of telling me that if he were in charge, he would have him put down. Being pragmatic, which is what I love about him, he said his hips were really bad, probably from hip displaysia and being injured when he was young. I asked him if he was in pain, and he didn’t think so now, but there was definitely some discomfort. Said he is on a road of medication as he gets older and felt his quality of life would not be very good. Doc said no way he should have been used for breeding, because it was likely he passed it on to his puppies. Doc felt that an adopting family would get so attached to him, only to have to have heartbreak down the road with medication costs and possibly facing Diamond not being able to walk, he felt it was that bad. Wow. Do I get a second opinion on this?

I’ve never dealt with hip problems in my dogs before, but Paula, the office person said her collie had them and basically it was pain meds and anti-inflamatory meds. So, whoever adopts him, needs to be aware of this.
He is such a sweet dog and doesn’t appear to be in pain. You would think he’d be snarly and such. He’s doing the stairs all the time now, on his own and last night started drinking out of the toilet! I gave up a long time ago trying to keep my own dogs from drinking from the toilet. I had a big water bottle for them, the kind you tip over into a bowl so you don’t have to keep refilling the dish five times a day. Brett thought it was great fun to knock it over and play in the gushing water. I also tried keeping the lid to the toilet down. They just nose it up, stick their heads in, drink, then back out making a big clunk. So, raising the white flag on that.

So, moving back to Diamond, he weighs 58 pounds. He should weigh 80-100 pounds, and now knowing about his structural problems, it would be wise to keep him on the lean side. Many of the people who adopted one of his puppies has friended me on Facebook in order to see my early pictures of the big daddy. .

We will go ahead and get him neutered and I’m going to find out if the board approves xrays for him while he’s under for the neuter. They will show exactly what’s going on in his hips.

While at the vet, he let me use their clippers to shave the mats off Diamond’s back end. That was really nice of him. I forgot to get what’s left behind his ears, but my sister, Jane said she has clippers I can borrow. I’m sure he feels much better yet again. Doc told me to bathe him in Selsun Blue shampoo, because flea shampoo often irritates the dog’s skin.

While I was waiting an older couple was bringing in their dog to be put down. The woman was in tears. That makes me cry. The dog was immobile in the back of their truck on a sheet. A black lab. The woman said she couldn’t watch them carry him in. So sad, but part of pet ownership.

Diamond (Sept. 4, 2010)

I became a foster home for wayward collies in June 2009. Last Friday I picked up my eighth foster dog in St. Peter, Minn. He came from a farm in Iowa. This farm has been breeding collies for a long time. Last winter they surrendered 14 puppies from two litters that were 22 puppies in all, all about the same age. Their father, Diamond, is now my foster dog. This poor dog was hit by a car about a year ago. They didn’t take him to a vet. He laid on the ground for two weeks and then got up. He’d never been in a car or on a leash. I had to carry him into my house and up the stairs. I got him out to my deck and brushed him for two hours. He’s better but nowhere near being done. I cut mats behind his ears that were as big as my hand.

He’s a gorgeous dog. A tricolor 2-year-old. His back end is sun bleached to a brown. He’s extremely thin and terribly shy. I had to carry him outside and push him back in. He tried to bolt on the leash and has kept me on my toes making sure he doesn’t get loose.

I set him up in the basement with blankets, food and water. He’s free to come upstairs if he wants to. I think he will eventually. He’s already made huge strides in 24 hours. This morning I had to pull him up the steps to take him outside. Shove him back inside. I took him out several times, bringing Thor, too. Each time we walked farther. He tends to trip me and keeps pushing his nose into my hand as we walk. He’s now walking a lot better on the leash, goes up the steps on his own, and comes back inside on his own! He then goes back downstairs, preferring to be down there, but so far hasn’t gone potty in the house.

We have to be careful what we say on the website about him, as I think there are more dogs still on the farm, that we want. I know two are leaving next week for foster homes. Apparently the daughter of the couple is keeping one because she feels someone else can’t take as good of care of her. If that dog is in the same condition Diamond is, wow, this daughter is deluded. I think Diamond may have been at the bottom of the totem pole. He won’t eat from my hand, and waits for me to leave before he eats. If I come back he stops eating. I think they fed the dogs when they felt like it and Diamond got whatever was left over. I don’t know this, but he’s as thin as Baron was and Baron was a stray.

Tomorrow, we’ll walk all the way around the park, maybe go to the dog park. I’m going to start encouraging him to come upstairs. Keep pushing his boundaries.

Still waiting for a theme

I’ve had a few ideas but little inspiration. I titled this blog Swimming free for several reasons. I am a swimmer, who used to compete in distance freestyle. I consider myself to be a free spirit and think of myself as swimming through life unemcumbered. I journal on livejournal.com, but I want this to be different than that. I own five pets and foster for a rescue group, so that is a huge part of my life. I have been a single mom since my son was born 13 years ago. I’ve never like the term “single mom”. It carries too many stereo-types. I’m a mom, and yes, it’s difficult, but I feel everybody’s difficulties are what they are for each individual and we deal or don’t deal.
I really try to focus on the positive. life is much easier that way. I wonder, though, if I am stuffing my head in the sand sometimes, but not for long. I am blonde that way and physically.