Category Archives: Elsa’s World

Purple Day for Epilepsy

Today is Purple Day® for Epilepsy and World Epilepsy Day™ and in honor of all epi-warriors, either 2 or 4-legged, I proudly support this event by showing our colors and wearing purple. As Elsa is a puppy mill survivor with unknown lineage who seemed to contract epilepsy shortly after she was rescued 6 months ago , supporting epilepsy awareness and education seemed like a no-brainer. I am committed to learn as much as possible about this terrible condition and how to effectively treat it while providing a safe and loving home for this sweet little Ninja. And Sam is doing his part by being a supportive and loving big brother.

So today, I say wear your purple proudly and support those organizations like The Epilepsy Foundation whose mission is to provide information, education and support for those impacted by this disease.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Celebrations

We humans are a strange lot. We love to celebrate even the smallest events from birthdays to anniversaries annually and indeed, sometimes events even more frequently. It gives our lives texture and activates serotonin centers in the brain when those celebrations and anniversaries memorialize happy times. Today was supposed to be one of those days where I slip head first into mushy celebration of an anniversary of sorts.

Six months ago today a strange, shy little blank slate of a Ninja came into the my life. Elsa, the puppy mill survivor touched a special spot in my heart and I knew I needed to bring her home with me. She held so much promise. Little did I know what that promise would entail.

It would have been two months ago to the day that Elsa suffered her last seizure, even though it a very small one that was stemmed quickly with a healthy dose of Valium. Naturally as soon as I drafted this post, what happened? She has another small seizure over the weekend that I was once again able to stem with the administering of Valium and ice packs. *Heavy sigh*

Still, despite this recent set-back, she continues to bring smiles to my face and tugs at my heartstrings. Here are just a few of the things that make me grateful this little NInja wormed her way on to the Ranch and into my heart on this date 6 months ago.

  • The way your tail is beginning to wag more often which tells me you’re learning to be a happy dog. The fact that you’ll never be able to compete with a certain Knucklehead is of no concern. You are your own adorable pup who is deeply loved for her own individual distinctiveness.
  • I love it when you go out first thing in the morning and bounce like a Springbok antelope in the dog run. Your exuberance makes me giggle like a school girl. And I’m secretly cheering you on when you give the nasty next door Akitas the what-for through the fence. You go girl!

    Springbok imitating Elsa

  • The way you stand perfectly motionless over a toy with front paws spread and then simultaneously pounce and utter the strangest high-pitched yip directly at said toy. I can hear you anywhere in the house and it ALWAYS makes me smile and laugh. I can’t help but wonder what it is you’re saying to that toy.
  • The way you lower your head and creep like a stealthy panther when you spot a squirrel 20 feet ahead of us then rapidly move race toward it like you were fired from a slingshot. Silly girl, you cannot climb the tree after it but you try every. single. time. frequently making me your unwilling kite.
  • And who can forget your organizational skills moving toys and bones from room to room?
  • Your persistent and never subtle nose nudges ‘informing’ me that no, in fact, I am not done petting you.
  • Your snoring that’s guaranteed to wake the dead. You do know you’re not one of the brachycephalic breeds, right?
  • And while I complain I can never see your eyes against your dark fur, you made me realize in this picture when you decided I needed a face wipe against my thigh that you do in fact, have lovely brown eyes without a special app. P.S. Thank you for the dog slobbers and whisker tidbits. I live for those on my pants. Truly. 

And so my dear sweet fur-child, happy 6 months ‘half-iversary.’ The serotonin you provide is alive and well in this upright.

Do you celebrate events as often as possible?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Tongue Out Tuesday

After yesterday’s post where I shared the sweet potato chew recipe, I was asked by a number of you whether or not the dogs liked them. Can I just say they were quite keen on them? However, had I know that a certain little Ninja would have happily noshed away at the raw version after she broke into the panty and snagged a raw one, I might have avoided a certain injury.

Oh that dog!

Ok, I’ll admit her tongue is only partially out. I’ve heard of going ‘raw’ but seriously? Come on, Elsa!!

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Move along little doggie…

A quick look on the calendar and you realize it’s the middle of winter but let me assure you that does not mean migrations don’t continue to trek across the landscape.

In this case though, the migration takes place at my house. Several times a day there is a migration of toys from their spot in the living room to the kitchen, courtesy of one silly Ninja.

Exhibit A

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They start out looking like this…don’t they look all nice in a pile?

Yeah…not ten minutes later, this.

Exhibit B

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Not sure if Elsa’s migrating them away from Sam, hoarding them in the kitchen or just bringing ‘her stuff’ to the room where there’s radiant heat under the tile. #cozyheat

We’ll play this game countless times throughout the course of the day. And each and every time, it cracks me up. I’ll see her carry one hoof in, then another, and of course every girl has to have toys with her hooves, right, so in comes a couple of toys. It’s like watching those circus elephants make the same path round and round in the center ring.

Any ‘migration’ going on in your neck of the woods? A little more than a 100 miles away my mom said she was visited by a Robin so hopefully that welcome sign of spring will arrive here shortly. Hate to break the bad news to him but typically the snowiest months are yet to come in the Mile High City, but maybe he’s yet another transplant from far away regions fresh to the Front Range. Goodness knows we can always accommodate one more, right? As long as they don’t have a car, I’m ok with that.

Live, love, bark!

Best Laid Plans Gone Awry. Again.

The best-laid plans of mice and men (and all too often dog moms) often go awry. Such was the case last week. I had a terrific post touting the progress Elsa was making both emotionally as well as with her epilepsy on the 3-month anniversary of her being seizure free (and coincidently her 4-month anniversary being at the Ranch). Then BAM! A seizure episode on the exact anniversary date. Phooey.

Not only is that seizure episode troubling in and of itself, it is complicated by the fact that Elsa’s brain gets completely reset in terms of her emotional progress toward learning how to be a dog. Gone, as in wiped out, back to square one. Think of a computer that has been rebooted without being backed-up. A dog that was adjusting and actually learning steps in how to be a dog…erased. She lost all cognition of the fact she was housebroken. Sudden movements made her skittish. She was fearful, reverting to her puppy mill behavior and the connection between her brain and her limbs wasn’t functioning all that well. She was reluctant to take treats from my hand again, clearly preferring them to be laid in her bowl or on the floor. I’d been through this before so I knew what to expect. What I hadn’t counted on it was it being worse than earlier recoveries because of other complications. Nor did I expect this to take such a toll on me which explains why there were no substantive posts last week.

While Elsa’s seizures were not nearly as severe this time, they still were cluster seizures which can be fatal if not treated. Only 2-3% of all dogs have epilepsy, so Elsa apparently is one of those extra special pups. We did all the right things when the ictal stage began, including application of ice packs so as to keep her temperature from rising, which can have dangerous consequences. Dehydration often occurs during this time upon overheating so when it appeared the seizures were not going to end soon without medical intervention, I gathered her up and took off for our vet’s office. When a dog is in full seizure mode, walking into their office where many dogs are waiting for their Monday morning appointment runs the risk of all sorts of complications. The other dogs sense something is amiss, which puts Elsa at risk. Trying to weigh her so as to determine the appropriate dosage of medication to stop the seizures is yet another challenge. Not to mention carrying a 51 lb. dog kicking erratically, with partial loss of consciousness and other dog seizure symptoms makes for an interesting entry. Add to that a wet slippery snowstorm that arrived at the same time and trying to get from a full parking lot at the bottom of a slight slope into a full waiting room without falling down added to my anxiety. img_4043The vet ran a full blood panel once the Grand Mal seizures were abated to be sure there was no major organ damage. A titer test covering her Phenobarb levels was also taken and showed they were well in the appropriate range so we won’t be increasing her dosage, at least for now. As it turned out though, she apparently came down with a secondary infection resulting in bloody diarrhea so an antibiotic was prescribed later along with a probiotic for the next couple of weeks and together with those two strategies plus a bland diet seem to have cleared that hiccup for the most part, though that’s always day to day.

While waiting for Elsa to move toward recovery, I lost a boatload of sleep, staying up until all hours of the night monitoring for seizures and bathroom breaks. The house is for basically hardwood and tile surfaces but there are numerous area rugs for comfort. Each of which have been shampooed multiple times. I think we’re back on the ‘I’m a good girl’ now road but I’ve noticed I’m also hyper-alert to any idle paws wandering around.

Ataxia is one of the biggest side effects we’ve encountered when going through each  reset process, and Elsa’s mobility has been a little wonky while she recovers. She’s better now although the vet did a thorough exam of her hips which seem to have some issues. We’ll be monitoring them as we move forward. The biggest symptom in the post seizure reset period is the brain fogginess that seems to beseige my little Ninja. She often stares out into space and it takes a gentle prodding sometimes to gain her attention. But she’s doing better and that’s the bottom line.

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Sleep well and rest, sweet Elsa. You have a brother who’s waiting to be annoyed.

Live, love, bark!

Santa Saturday

A certain little Ninja probably initiated this lawsuit. How about you, did you follow in her pawsteps this year?

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Happy Saturday. The Ranch received about 9-10 inches of the white stuff last night so I know what I’ll be doing this weekend-digging out! Hope your weekend is shovel free. Stay warm, cozy and have a cup of hot chocolate for me.

Live, love, bark! ❤

Happy ‘Wagiversary’

Three months ago today, a beautiful little Ninja came home to live at the Ranch. This little girl was a puppy mill survivor and needed a whole boat-load of socialization and instruction on how to become a dog. Luckily, she had a good teacher, nope not me, but instead Sam, the best big brother a novice dog could have to show her the ropes. Although the process has been ongoing and we often take two steps forward and one step back, the little girl who must not be named (Sam insisted I continue to refer to her in those terms though I think he may come around to actually referring to her by her name at some point soon), is definitely bringing joy and laughter to the Ranch.

_mg_9889-zf-2470-22674-1-002Some of the more salient observations are:

  • She who must remain not be named is affectionate in her own way. She obviously took good notes when learning the efficacy of the Standard Poodle trademark nose nudge whereby the upright’s arm appears to be flailing around like a whirling dervish. And she is never dissuaded to stop nudging until it supports her timetable.
  • Even though she is still as quiet as a Ninja warrior, she is becoming more vocal and definitely discovering her voice. “I am Elsa, hear me roar!” She has taken to given the Akita dogs next door the ‘what for’ whenever she goes out to pee despite both of them being much larger and more dog aggressive. She will stand next to the fence and let both of them have it for several moments then suddenly and without warning, merrily bounce toward her spot and quickly squat. It’s as though she’s mocking them over her shoulder. “Oh yeah. well take THAT, you stupid fur-ball Bozo heads, up yours!” Love this new-found canine confidence that likewise is assisting her when she meets dogs on our walks.
  • Her tail is becoming more animated with each passing week which provides my heart a warm, gentle hug. I love it when it wags as she greets me. And while she will never compete on the same level with Mr. Happy himself, the fact that she’s doing it more and more is progress and reassuring.
  • I love how this little girl can plop on top of a freshly folded pile of laundry without a care in the world and fall fast asleep in a nano-second, but when she retires for the night, she must dig and scratch like a Chilean miner at her bed for as long as 5 minutes. Uh…hel-lo…we’re trying to sleep knucklehead (whereas Sam just circles 87 times and then plops down and lets out a huge sigh)! This “Princess and the Pea routine” makes me happy. When she drifts off to sleep and snores like a Maine woodsman, I smile even though it may keep me awake. She’s demonstrating a level of comfortableness in her own fur, with her pack and that’s progress in learning how to become a dog. There are no late night stress induced heavy panting sessions in Elsa’s world [shhhh, don’t tell Sam I said her name].
  • Knowing that the medication she is taking to control seizures is probably responsible for certain odd reactions, it amuses me to see her stand stone silent for moments on end and then without warning, inexplicably bursting into a frenetic zoomie. The joy she clearly and suddenly experiences when she tries to turn me into her very own human kite as she races down the street on early morning walks making me giggle like a breathless school girl. Way to love the moment, kiddo!

These are just a few of the many subtle things I’ve noticed about this little girl’s progress into life around the Ranch. No doubt, the list will grow as she refines what it means for her to be a real dog and not a puppy mill producer. I only hope the next 3 months are as interesting and smile inducing as the first 3 were. Smile inducing, except for that whole munching of multiple eyeglasses thing. We can do without any more of those moments.

As an additional note of progress on her ‘wagiversary’ timeline, she is now two months seizure free. Stay strong and keep making progress, little Ninja.

Live, love, bark! ❤