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It is with a heavy heart I bring the news we have lost our girl Gypsy, as of 1:45 a.m. this morning Tuesday August 18th. She had a couple of very difficult days, starting Sunday evening when she began panting incessantly. We took her to our vet, Dr. Maria Williams, who ran blood work and started her on fluids. Dr. Maria called us early afternoon and suggested we come back early to get Gypsy as she was deteriorating quickly. Her heart was pounding out of her chest and her blood work showed her kidneys were failing. We brought her home and she spent her last hours with her family.
What made her passing so difficult is we feel we were blindsided. On Sunday morning Gypsy was pawing at our bed as usual, enjoyed her walk in the park, and enjoyed her breakfast. She had always had iffy kidney numbers and Dr. Maria had concerns about her heart all along, however we had controlled both problems with supplements and Chinese herbs.
Here is the last picture we have of Gypsy, taken a couple of days ago for Roxie’s 16th birthday:
And here a couple of the first pictures we have of Gypsy taken in 2001:
Please give your fur-kids an extra big hug for me today,
Aug 18, 2015 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs
We are so happy to be celebrating Roxie’s 16th birthday! Everyday has been a blessing after the year both Roxie and Gypsy had in 2014: Roxie’s cancer surgery, Gypsy’s back problem, Roxie’s seizures, and Gypsy’s stroke.
Roxie is for sure showing signs of being a senior dog, but she is still going strong. She has hearing problems, vision problems, some arthritis in her hips, and she has lost her depth perception. She has what we are calling “doggie dementia” in that we find her standing with her nose in a corner and she no longer has a sense of space. However, she still very much enjoys her food, she still likes to play, although not as vigorously as she once did, and she enjoys going on very slow and meandering walks. She will quite frequently go running/hopping around the house, especially when she knows it is time to eat!
Something interesting we have noticed about Gypsy, is her recent patience with Roxie. It was never like that, as Gypsy had a short fuse if Roxie would bump into her or invade her space. Now, Gypsy just puts up with Roxie’s stumbles and mistakes with grace.
Here is our Sweet 16 girl in her tiara:
And another one just because:
And here are a shots of Gypsy, who will celebrate her 16th birthday this November:
My best to you and yours,
Aug 15, 2015 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Home Health Care for Dogs
Hi to All,
I’ve written about three of the four recent health emergencies that Roxie and Gypsy have endured these last few months: Roxie’s cancer surgery, Gypsy’s back problem and Roxie’s seizures.
The fourth incident happened early morning December 12th. I woke up about five in the morning hearing this strange sound coming from Gypsy. Her hindquarters were stuck under the bed, she was frantically pawing the carpet with her front paws, her eyes were flipping around, and she looked terrified. I, of course, had a minor panic attack and got Rick up. We were able to get Gypsy out from under the bed, but she could barely walk. Not knowing what to do, we gave her a pain med and tried to comfort her as best we could.
Our vet, Dr. Maria Williams, had no open appointments that day, but we were told if we brought Gypsy in and left her for the day, Dr. Maria would look at her when she could. I never would have guessed the diagnosis: Gypsy had suffered a stroke. Dr. Maria administered an anti-inflammatory, gave her both a chiropractic and acupuncture treatment, and put her on the same Chinese herb we had for Roxie’s seizures: Gastrodia and Uncaria.
Because Gypsy was so dizzy (her eyes continued to flutter for a couple of days) they suggested we give her dramamine. Besides the fluttering eyes, she had a severe head tilt, and serious balance issues. She also refused food for a couple of days.
We took Gypsy back for another acupuncture treatment a week later. Her eyes were no longer fluttering, she was eating normally, her balance was improving, but she still had a head tilt.
Just like Roxie, we have Gypsy on a homemade diet, she drinks Kangen Water® , and she takes turmeric .
As of today, you would never know that our 15-year-old Gypsy had a stroke at all. She no longer has a head tilt, and her balance I would estimate at about 90%. We continue to live every day as a blessing.
I wish you and your dogs nothing but the best,
Feb 02, 2015 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs
So far, I’ve written about Roxie’s cancer surgery and Gypsy’s back problem as two of the four heath issues our 15-year-old dogs Roxie and Gypsy have faced recently.
The third one surfaced this fall. Roxie began having infrequent, but frightening nonetheless, seizures. If you have ever witnessed a seizure in a human or an animal you know they are difficult to watch. In Roxie’s case, she would get stiff, stare into space, and then just fall over. These episodes would only last a few seconds, and then she would seem anxious, scared, and disoriented. The best we knew to do for her was to keep her warm and comfort her.
Our vet, Dr. Maria Williams, got her started on a Chinese herb, called Gastrodia and Uncaria, which we were to administer three times per day. I quizzed my acupuncturist about this herb who said it is used for similar conditions in humans. Dr. Maria also told us we could massage Roxie’s head or use ice on her head, all in an effort to dissipate excessive heat.
I consider myself open minded, but the use of Chinese herbs was a first for us. However, since we have been giving them to Roxie, neither Rick nor I have seen another seizure episode.
My final post regarding our recent doggie health issues will be about Gypsy having a stroke.
Until then, the best to you and your dogs,
Jan 28, 2015 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs
The next issue that came up this summer happened to Gypsy. The morning after we found out that Roxie would need cancer surgery, Gypsy was in excruciating pain. She could barely walk, and her back legs were shaking badly. She would try to bite either of us if we tried to touch her. We gave her a pain pill, but we were at a loss as what to do with her. We, fortunately, were able to get an appointment with our vet Dr. Maria Williams that same day.
The next obstacle was getting her in the truck to make the trip to the vet. Lifting her was out of the question, so Rick built a makeshift ramp, and with the lure of treats, got Gypsy in the truck.
Dr. Maria gave Gypsy acupuncture, a chiropractic adjustment, electro stimulation, and sent her home with muscle relaxers and pain meds. The vet said it looked like a severe muscle spasm, but to be cautious, was treating it as a slipped disc. Rick said Gypsy’s relief was almost immediate. I am convinced Dr. Maria saved Gypsy’s life. If we had taken Gypsy to a traditional vet without Dr. Maria’s alternative skills, I believe Gypsy would have been put down, as that vet would not have known how to help her.
Gypsy was scheduled for more rounds of chiropractic adjustments, plus she was put under house arrest for a couple of weeks. Gypsy is a smart little dog, and a smart dog and being bored is a bad combination. So, we devised ways to occupy her brain. We took driving trips to the park where she could observe the deer. I came up with a simple puzzle using three paper cups. I would hide her treats in one of the cups, and Gypsy had to figure out which one contained the treat and determine how to get to the treat. Rick built a fantastic ramp that both dogs now use to get in and out of the truck.
Gypsy, like Roxie, is 15 years old. As of today, she is back to taking short and slow walks, and she continues to get regular chiropractic adjustments.
My next post will be about Roxie’s seizures, in the continuation of our doggie health issues.
Until then, the best to you and your dogs,
Jan 26, 2015 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs
Hello to All,
It has been a rough few months for both Roxie and Gypsy. I’ll start with Roxie’s cancer. We had noticed in June that a lump on her back was growing big, hard, and fast. At first I thought it was a fatty tumor, like the one she has on her belly, but it did not behave like that one at all. When we took her to see our vet, Dr. Maria Williams, she took one look at Roxie, did a biopsy, and told us it had to come off. I, of course, was quietly freaking out. We scheduled Roxie for surgery the following week.
We were told that Roxie did really well during her surgery, but Dr. Maria said she was very aggressive with the surgery and took out more tissue than she had anticipated. Roxie had about 15 staples on her incision. We would have to wait for a definitive diagnosis, as the tissue sample had to be sent off. So, Roxie was sent home with an Elizabethan collar and post-surgery instructions.
Roxie is thunder-phobic. That night and early morning we had the worst thunder and lightening storm that I can remember. Poor little Roxie, who was supposed to be resting and recovering from major surgery, spent most of the night pacing, crying, and throwing up. So, none of us got much sleep that night.
All of us hated the Elizabethan collar. It was hard plastic, Roxie had a very difficult time moving around with it, and it hurt a lot if she bumped into one of us. We got the idea to use an inflatable travel pillow instead, and it worked like a charm.
Roxie, who is 15 years old, did not get the memo that she was an elderly dog recovering from major surgery. It only took a couple of days before she was jumping around, wanting to play, and demanding her breakfast/snacks/dinner right on time.
We received the diagnosis from Dr. Maria in about ten days. It was a spindle cell sarcoma. We discussed our options with Dr. Maria, such as chemo, radiation, Chinese herbs, and we all decided our best course of action was to wait and see. As Dr. Maria put it, we would consider every day with Roxie a blessing. Besides, Rick and I had discussed that although we would never let her suffer, we also would not put our 15-year-old dog through any type of chemo or radiation. I’ve seen too many humans go through hell with those types of treatments. We are more interested in Roxie’s quality of life rather than artificial longevity.
Fast forward to today: Roxie has had no recurrence of the cancer. We have her on a homemade diet, she drinks Kangen Water® , and we started her on turmeric after her surgery. So, I am hopeful she will be with us a good while longer.
I’ll continue on with Gypsy’s back issue in my next post.
Until then, take care and please give your dogs a hug for me,
Jan 23, 2015 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Holistic, Home Health Care for Dogs
We’ve had a cold winter, at least by San Antonio standards, and decided to purchase some doggie pajamas for Roxie and Gypsy to help them stay warm at night. We had a problem last winter with Gypsy in that she would boot Roxie out of her bed, and we figured it was because she was getting cold at night. As you can imagine it is difficult to keep a dog “under the covers” so even though they each had a nice warm blanket covering them starting out, by morning, they would be uncovered. The pajamas have worked out well, and though neither Roxie nor Gypsy liked wearing them at the beginning, it appears to us they are now enjoying their jammies.
Plus, although admittedly my opinion is biased, I think they look pretty darn cute in them!
Take care, and stay warm this winter!
Feb 06, 2014 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Home Health Care for Dogs
Hello to All from San Antonio,
As Roxie did in August, now it is Gypsy’s turn to celebrate her 14th birthday! As she was a stray, we don’t know Gypsy’s actual birthday, so we’ve guessed it to be this time of year.
Gypsy definitely has some graying about her muzzle, but all in all, gets around really well for a 14 year old. She loves to hunt in the back yard, and takes her job of home security quite seriously. I wrote about one the examples of her guard duties in the post: Our GPS – Gypsy’s Possum Surveillance.
Gypsy is camera shy, but we persevered and managed to get a decent shot of her in a party hat:
And here is Gypsy protesting the wearing of a tiara:
Roxie, on the other hand, is a little ham:
Please give your dogs a hug for me,
Nov 07, 2013 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior, Stray Dog
This week, the first national monument to military working dogs was dedicated at Lackland AFB, here in San Antonio. It is quite fitting the monument be constructed at Lackland, as it is home to the world’s largest training center for military, security canines, and their handlers. The Lackland facility has trained dogs for all of our military since 1958. This project was eight years in the making, and was financed by private donations.
The four breeds used most often by our U.S. troops are featured in the monument: malinois, doberman pinscher, German shepherd, and labrador retriever. Each of the dog statues is about five feet tall. Along with the dogs, there is a nine-foot-tall statue of a uniformed canine handler. My favorite part of the monument, however, is the water feature showing a handler using his helmet to offer water to his canine partner.
Our local ABC affiliate, KSAT, covered the dedication in this story with a video showing the water feature: National monument for military working dogs unveiled.
U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Faske
Nov 01, 2013 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior
Hello to All,
We have had an opossum problem this summer. We noticed it for the first time, when our motion-detector light in the back yard came on about four a.m. one morning. Rick was awakened by a tap, tap, tap on the doggie door and noticed the light was on. He got up and saw a possum with its little paws up on the doggie door either licking or wiping its face on the doggie door.
Of course, I thought Rick was crazy, until a couple of nights later, I heard the tap, tap, tap on the doggie door, saw the light was on, got up and observed the possum doing the same thing.
We asked our veterinarian, Dr. Maria Williams, who used to be a wildlife vet, about this behavior. She said the possum was most likely marking its territory.
Rick, being the thrifty type, did not want to purchase a trap for a one-time use. So, he consulted YouTube, and constructed a trap out of our old puppy carrier. He baited it with peanut butter, and sure enough, the next morning we had our possum. We named it George, in honor the late country singer George Jones (nickname “The Possum”) who had recently passed on.
We released George into nearby McAllister Park and thought that was that.
A while later, we noticed Gypsy obsessively sniffing the deck. First she would focus on one particular spot, then move to the next, etc. She would not leave it alone. We didn’t think too much of it, until we saw another possum running across the deck one evening. So, Rick set up the trap once again, and the possum was captured in the trap the next morning. We named this one G2.
We learned to take Gypsy’s cues for G3, G4, G5, and finally, G6.
Gypsy is no longer obsessing about the deck, and has taken up her normal hunting duties in the rest of the back yard. For her efforts, we have nicknamed her our GPS, for Gypsy’s Possum Surveillance.
Gypsy with G6 in the trap
G6 in the trap
G6 set free at McAllister Park
Until next time, the best to you and your dogs,
Sep 16, 2013 | | Animal Communication, animal welfare, Dog Behavior