a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

One of my neighbor’s dogs passed away this morning. He was rushed to the ER in Reno Wednesday night and it turns out he had the same issue that Angelus died from. An “aggressive tumor” on his spleen that ruptured and bled out. The dog loses so much blood into their abdomen and too quickly to replenish. They gave him a blood transfusion and after he stabilized yesterday, they removed his spleen. But he was still critical. I just learned of it last night as they have been at the vet this whole time until they came home for some rest last night.

With Angelus, he had just had his annual physical, was 100% healthy and acting the crazy husky he always was. There was 1 instance of him waking up in the middle of the night with a yelp. It was about 2 weeks before he died. I woke up, looked for any injuries and he was fine. But he seemed off. Not terribly – but off. I took him to the vet and we thought maybe he tweaked his leg in the middle of the night or something because they couldn’t find a single thing wrong with him. I wonder if the tumor had a small tear then.

Later, my vet acknowledged that it could have been that. But 2 weeks for it to fully rupture with him acting normal would be pretty long so unlikely. But I will always wonder. And that I should have delved more into it. But I was in the middle of an office move and was so busy and tired – I figured he was fine. Like he always was. I will never forgive myself for that. Or anything else associated with that stupid office move.

But my vet (who knew Angelus since 8 weeks) said statistically, the dog would have more tumors. And if they make it through the spleen removal, then you have other decisions to make. And if Angelus would have been sick, confined to bed rest after surgeries or chemo or just plain not doing well – he would have hated that. I know that.

With Tucker, the dog next door, he was much younger than Angelus. And I feel so bad for his parents. They have a bit of a situation like I did – Angelus was the healthy 1 and Stormy was the one with health issues we were always worried about. They have an older dog who I know they have been worried about. So the shock that comes with this is what hurts even more.

I remember when they brought him home, after losing their oldest Golden. He was a good friend to Angelus and Storm but he has been an even better one to Smokey. Tucker and his older brother Jameis were some of Smokey’s first friends after I brought him home. He met them out in the back forest and instantly took to them. He *always* ran up to them as soon as he saw them. He could smell when they were abut to come outside if we were already out and would pull towards their door. Tucker, being a Golden, was a food hound. And he always ran to me first because he knew I had the cookies. But he was a sweet boy who was always just a giant wagging tail.

And the weird thing is the past 2 days Smokey has been pulling towards their house and whining even though they weren’t outside. It’s like he could sense something was wrong. I really never doubt animal senses anymore. They know a lot more than humans in some ways.

Rose Kennedy (NOT my favorite family but she certainly experienced loss) said something that in my opinion is 100% fact…

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

I know they are very sad today. I remember feeling numb. And sick. And there is simply nothing anyone can say to make you feel better in any way. Time is the only thing that helps. We lose our furry friends way too quickly.

Between our beloved fur-kids that die young, species being hunted to extinction and kids with cancer or other life-ending diseases but then pedophiles, rapists, terrorists and murders walking around hurting/killing others and people like Charles Manson STILL breathing on the government tit, what other proof do you need that life is simply not set up to be fair. Ever.

I got a good workout this afternoon/evening. Around 4pm, I was on my way downstairs to grab something off the printer. I stop at the entry way because both huskies are standing there staring out at something. I look and see a big German Shepherd (not really any other kind is there?) following around this little teeny chihuahua. I look around and see no people with them. Great.

So I throw on my UGGs and grab the buddy leashes and collars in case I need them. With both huskies watching me saying with their eyes “wait?? you aren’t taking us??”  As I was walking up to them, the German would paw the chihuahua, and push him around with his nose. It was clear they were friends. I was able to get the German very easily and quickly. He had a collar but no tags. Sigh. I see the chihuahua does have tags. But he has NO intention of letting me catch him. And the German has no intention of letting his little buddy out of his sight.

So, German Shepherds are strong. Let’s be clear. And he was on a mission to not lose sight of his friend. We were basically jogging trying to keep with the little Chihuahua who would stop if he ever got too far ahead and wait for us. I finally figured out if I just stop and stand there, he would come closer but never close enough. And if I moved at all towards him, he would take off. Great.

He almost got down to Highway 1 and I was getting stressed because too many cars was not going to end well. I just stood in the middle of the street so any cars coming would have to slow down. The little bastard…I mean chihuahua…was zig-zagging across every street, up and down streets, stopping and sniffing. The poor german (and me) were getting hot from all the running.  And he was dragging me along. It’s funny that the huskies pull way less and they were bred for pulling. Then again, if they were on a mission like this, they probably would pull more.

After going up and down every. single. street in my general neighborhood, without any exaggeration, we started north.  I asked two kids, a boy and a girl, if they had ever seen these dogs before. The little girl said she saw them running up and down the streets about 2 hours ago but never before that. Wonderful.  The boy asked if I needed help and he grabbed his bike and we were off trying to keep track of the chihuahua.

Finally, after about 4 more blocks, the chihuahua darts into a yard and disappears. We were all looking all around the yard and no sight of him. We knock on the door. No one home. Of course.  By now, it’s getting dark, and the mom of the kids drove by and took them home.  I go in the the driveway of this same house with the yard and the cat in the driveway comes right up to the german. OK, unless it’s a **really** trusting cat, they have to know each other, right? But no one was home. And neither of the next door neighbors were home either.

I see that the side gate is swinging open. It’s been fairly windy today. I push it open and see the chihuahua. At least, I think it’s him. All look same. But he comes over barking and the German is trying to nose his way in. OK, it’s starting to look like a good bet. But I can’t just leave the German in the yard if it’s not theirs. Can you imagine coming home to that? You have 2 small dogs (there was another little dog back there barking too) and a cat and now a HUGE dog just appears!? I try latching the gate and it’s clear it’s about as gerry-rigged as it can be. By now it’s dark so I am thinking I just take the german home with me and drive back later and hopefully someone will be home?

I see a lady come home across the street, so I go and ask the lady if she has seen the dog or knows what kind of dogs her neighbors have. She said she has never seen the big dog. But she knows several of the people on the street have little dogs. She remembers that a house down the street has a small and big dog. She doesn’t know what kind as they are always inside barking. So she points out the house and I go and knock. The lady there says her dogs are home and she has never seen the German Shepherd.  Sorry. Sigh.

I walk back to the corner house where the chihuahua went. The across the street lady is talking to a woman at the “target” house. Yay! Please be the mom. As I walk up she comes out to the sidewalk and says “Oh, was he being mean to you?” Umm…hardly.  He was a sweetheart who didn’t want to leave his little buddy to the streets and cars I tell her. She thanks me and unhooks my leash and takes him by the collar. I tell her that her little dog is in the backyard. As she is walking away she says she will go look. Ok…she was definitely hiding her worry and concern very well….. I say, oh I looked and it seemed that the latch probably wasn’t working so she should look at that. Ok she says. *Shake my head*

The neighbor lady says how sweet it was of me to take so much time and effort to help the dogs.  I said “Well, I would just want someone to take care of my dogs if they needed it.” She said she was so glad to know someone like me was in the neighborhood and that people like me existed. Well…I’d like to think there are more of us.

The sad thing was that out of all the neighbors I spoke with, none of them had ever seen that German Shepherd before. So he must not get out much. That makes me very sad. I can tell you, every person within a few block area knows where the huskies live. They may not know my name, but they know me as the husky lady and always see them on their walks and in our yard. And I recognize that not everyone gets as much time to spend with their dogs as I do but I think it’s weird that your neighbors have never even seen him?? But I guess not for me to judge. The dog seemed happy and he was very sweet.

The funny thing about it all was that about 5-6 years ago I was walking the huskies down in that neighborhood and a little chihuahua was running all around. Now, trying to corral a little dog with 2 huskies – not going to happen. But I was able to chase him into THE SAME YARD. And no one was home then either. But a neighbor was outside and I asked him and he said yes, that was their dog and that he got out a lot. He said he would go and look at the gate. Clearly, these people have learned no lessons.

I walked home and the huskies were in the yard both looking out and waiting for me.  And then gave me kisses when I came in. Awww… Who am I kidding – it was dark, that meant dinnertime and I was late! :) I was gone about 1.5 hours!

I think I can skip my stepper tonight. That was a lot of jogging. I think a glass of wine after I make the buds dinner (cooking right now!) and take a shower (got so sweaty!) and hope that the lady fixes her gate.

Today was Storm’s first ACTH Stim test since we started him on his medication. These tests are performed frequently (monthly-ish) when a dog is first started on medication for Cushing’s. And then once the dosage is figured out (due to these tests), they are quarterly. We get the results back tomorrow to see if his medication is altered.

The test is a timed test. A blood draw is done 4 hours after he gets his morning medication dose and then he is given a synthetic ACTH and then another blood draw 1 hour after that. Then he can go. When I brought Storm in at 10:15am it was 4 hours post medication. The vet said “oh, you can take him in an hour or so. And he seems to get stressed when he is here alone. So if you have any local errands to run, or want to grab coffee at Starbucks, he should be ready around 11:30am.” Uh-huh…is this because he howls the entire time by chance? Sigh…what a goober…

So I ran a couple errands and got back there a few minutes early. When I walked in….yes…that was howling I hear….One of the nurses said it will be another 7 minutes until they could do the blood draw and then he could leave. I was in the waiting room when a woman walked in with a husky who looked a LOT like Storm. She was actually bigger than Storm which is odd for a female husky. But same coloring and sweet brown eyes. Her name was Lucia and she is 11 years old.

We were talking about huskies and she mentioned that she saw Angelus out in the car and my license plate (it’s husky centric) and she said she also had another one at home. A 3-yr old male that was a rescue. She said she and her husband were in New Orleans on vacation and saw a husky in a very small fenced in yard completely shaved. You do NOT do that to a husky. They actually went to the house and the owner told them he did it because of the heat. He told them that they got the puppy for their son, who saw “Eight Below” and wanted a husky. The fact that adults make decisions like this is beyond me. You want to get a dog? Be responsible for another living thing in your home? That is dependent on you for life? Then do so knowing that. Research breeds. Understand what you are getting into.

Once the puppy grew up and was a big dog, they felt he was too big for the house so he stayed outside all of the time and their daughters had chihuahuas and they didn’t get along with the husky. Dogs are pack animals. They need a pack. Why would you get a dog, a part of the family, and keep him locked outside all the time? Oh right…you suck.

So the couple said – we will take him and give him a good home. And the they did. They cashed in their return airline tickets and rented a car and drove back to California with him. Where he now lives inside with plenty of outside yard privileges and his new sister Lucia. Plus he gets a lot of people and other dog affection along with being able to be inside when he wanted. And I will say, it was the one good thing the previous owners did. At least they let him go to a new home and life.

The old owners never even had him fixed (don’t see why any responsibility would have started there..) so they had him fixed and he settled down a bit. The original owners bought him from a breeder in North Carolina but never registered him with the AKC. It was too late to register him now but she was able to speak with the breeder to get his parents’ eyes and hip information which was all good.

She said he is the sweetest boy. A big mud monster – loves to dig. She said her female huskies have never done that. Really?? My 2 boys LOVE to dig. Assumed it was a husky thing not a gender thing. He eats dirt (yes, my guys do this on occasion too.) But mostly just wants to hang out with his people. She said he gets a bit drooley when left alone. She thought it was a result of him being alone so much in the past, that he got nervous about it now.

Truly a happy ending to his story. And a very awesome thing that these people did. Awesome. She said it seemed like the absolutely right thing to do when they saw him there. Amazing that they took the initiative like that. Made me smile. Made me believe in the goodness of others. Also made me sad to think how many other stories there are like this that don’t have the good Samaritans.

I feel if people cannot take care of their pets, or treat animals badly, this says a lot about them as people. Dogs just love their people. They just want to be loved in return. But even when you don’t, they keep loving you. I sure wish people deserved this…

Got home after work and an after-work hike around 8:30pm. My huskies have been at home all day by themselves. I have come to the conclusion that I have more separation anxiety than they do as I missed them all day long and ditched an after-hike dinner to rush home and see them. Certainly more than my older dog, Angelus, who I know loves me to death but also is pretty husky-like and likes to stay a cool customer :) (Although he did run up, ears back, tail wagging with kisses when I got home :) ) The feeling of all that love coming at you when you walk in the door is pretty darn awesome :)

Angelus is, was and always will be, my guy. On his first night with us, first night away from his doggy mom and siblings, I slept on the floor with him in the kitchen (he was 7 wks old  – not potty trained yet.) That first weekend we picked him up, I was sick but I stayed with him the entire time – hanging out in the yard, walking him, sleeping by him.  He is my bud.  But he was not prone to hugging and skooshing – I had to break him down by constant hugging :) Now he’s like ‘fiiiiinnne…..as long as no one is looking.’ Unless it’s the pre-walk/breakfast morning time – then he is a huge love bug (or if you have chicken in your hand!)

My younger guy (by 1.5 yrs) is Storm. Hoth Stormtrooper officially with the AKC :) He loves his momma.  I guess it wouldn’t be far off the mark to call him a momma’s boy. He cannot let me out of his sight for very long. He follows me room to room at home if he notices I’ve been gone from where he is after a short while. And he waits for me by the door if I leave him at home.  I love the fact that he loves me so much but want to make sure he still has fun and is happy even if I’m not there! But I don’t think he truly does/is…

When he was a puppy he was supposed to be my husband’s dog (in hindsight this was like allowing your kid to get a pet ;) ) He wanted a puppy who loved him as much as Angelus loved me. I told him that with pets, they respond to who cares for them the most. Since I took care of Angelus 99.9% of the time, of course he loved me more (he better!!) To be fair to husband, he did start the puppy process by caring for Storm all of the time. He fed him, walked him, took him to work. I was not allowed to carry him to bed (I carried Angelus down to bed every night until I simply could not physically – he weighed like 60lbs!), feed him, skoosh or hug him. He was husband’s puppy!

Then Stormy got hurt. He crashed into a Rottweiler at the dog park and got up limping. He shook it off but then over the next week, he started limping more and more. His knee was never the same.  It would pop out (called luxating patella) and back in. So we found the best surgeon and got him his surgery. The first weekend was going to be tough as we have 2 flights of stairs in the house and Storm needed to be carried or at least helped using the doggie sling to go potty. And then hung out with to monitor, etc.  He got his surgery on Thursday and we picked him up from the hospital on Friday morning. He hung out in my office with me that Friday.

On Saturday morning my husband said he was going for a “quick surf” at Ocean Beach and then would be home to help with Storm. I asked him not go.  He said he “had to” – was “really good surf”.  Fine….(this is girl code for’ it’s not fine but I’m not going to argue about it’ – men should really learn that.)

About an hour or hour and a half after he left I get a call…he hurt his knee surfing, had to be helped from the water and could barely walk/drive home. And stairs were going to be hard, needed to go to a doctor, etc. Nice.   He wasn’t eaten by a shark so I felt justified in being more annoyed by the fact that I asked you not to go and you ignored me and now you were hurt just enough to be a pain in the a**.

Sure enough. He hobbled in. Doctor would tell him to stay off his leg. Possibly needed physical therapy, blah, blah….Of course, this also meant that he couldn’t help me with Storm.  Like carry the 50lb dog up and down the stairs or in and our of my car…for the next 6 weeks or something.

So I took care of Storm from that day on. He came with me and Angelus to work now. Stayed with us in my office. I took them for walks by myself. He became my dog. I cared for him when he was hurt.  He knew it. Very simple in the dog world.

I know he loves his Dad. But he can’t live without, or stand being apart from, his Mom. These guys mean the world to me. They make every day a good day. :)

You can follow their exploits on twitter: @mr_angelus and @stormdevil

Or on dogster:



This is Storm with his cast on and a pic of Angelus & Storm together (they don’t do THAT often!)

Storm with his cast

Storm with his cast

Storm & Angelus

Storm & Angelus