Tag Archives: miniature schnauzer

Dog trap

Through all the turmoil of the past few months, the dog’s been a trooper. Paranoid that we’ll leave her behind at every step, maybe, but a trooper nonetheless.

The day we whisked the last of our belongings out of the house, the nine-pound miniature schnauzer followed at our heels and howled like a much bigger dog every time we stepped outside with another load. “Don’t forget meeeeeeeee!” she telegraphed in her unmistakable dog tongue.

Of course we didn’t forget her. She, in fact, was probably our most important bundle.

She also endured many long days as we drove south, chasing weather warm enough in which to camp. In the cab of the truck, her space was cramped and so was her style. “No! You can’t be on Daddy’s lap when he’s driving in eight lanes of traffic, hauling two and half tons of our belongings!” Some days, she didn’t get to eat until the sun went down.

Now that we’ve arrived in mid-central Texas where it’s warm (if not green), she romps through the streets of the RV park trailing all sorts of scents, blissfully content to live in the moment (like always). Persevering. Like the trooper she is.

dog-trap

Today, we came home after performing a long list of errands to find her new dog dish in the middle of the floor, a good yard from its normal home by the cupboard.

How strange, we thought.

An hour or two later, when she was eating (for the third time today, making up for lost meals last week), we heard her dish go ka-THUNK!

Huh.

Upon investigation, I discovered her collar, which taps the bowl in an urgent patter during a feeding, could slip into the pretty spaces of the wrought iron dish holder.

Light bulb!

During an earlier meal when we were gone, her collar probably got caught in her bowl and she dragged it halfway across the room.

My heart broke, thinking of her, panicked to be trapped by her own food bowl, pulling her little bearded face away from the place she normally found comfort food.

At some point, she probably relented, and that’s when he collar came free.

Free! Free at last! And off she went to nap, leaving her bowl askew in the front entryway.

Among all the things I’ve shed in the past few months (we even dropped another load at Goodwill last week during our journey south!), I still have the dog’s former food bowls. So I can give away the new bowls that represent an entrapment danger and reintroduce the old, less scary ones.

Serendipity. Feels like Someone’s looking out for even the canine.

 

Ball of canine 

 
It never fails when I’m walking my 8-pound miniature schnauzer in a new place but someone will ask, “Is that a puppy?”

When she sleeps, she curls up like a cat and could fit on a dinner plate, good enough to eat.

My little runt of the litter is as playful as a puppy (and sometimes as misbehaving as one), but she’s getting to be an old lady like her owner (complete with gray hair and a beard). She turns 8 this month. That’s 56 in dog years, ya know. I can’t remember her exact date of birth, and we don’t celebrate it with anything like dog food cake (blech!), but are grateful for her unconditional love and joie de vivre.

Happy birthday, little bundle of canine!

False alarms

Today was a day filled with small rock-my-world moments. These moments, if they are real, are the moments between Before and After.

Moment No. 1: My beautiful doggy lurched off my Beloved’s lap and stood paralyzed in the middle of the floor, not answering to our pleas of her name. It appeared to be one of those moments of pre-seizure aura, the quiet before the storm of a uncontrolled spasm.

Beautiful Chloe experienced a rash of seizures about nine months ago. Since she’s been on Kepra, she’s been seizure-free, but her doggy neurologist demands she be seizure-free for a year before weaning her off the medication. At this point, I just assumed she would continue to be seizure free.

Then, her weird behavior this morning.

She didn’t have a seizure. But in those few paralyzed moments before she shook it off, I flashed back to those awful seizures last spring.

Moment No. 2: After 11 months without my period, Aunt Flo paid me a visit today.

Niiiiiice.

Regular readers know I’ve been counting the days until menopause (officially, it requires a year without menses). I have once again escaped entering this new phase of my life. What a surprise!

Moment No. 3: The power went out. The whole neighborhood was dark.

The uncommitted doomsday prepper in me imagined a world without electricity. Without supermarkets. Without police protection.

As I munched on my shrimp salad in the dark (my last opportunity to dine on hot food), the power came back on.

I thought the dog was about to have a seizure. Then she wasn’t.

I thought I was menopausal. Then I wasn’t.

I thought the world might be ending. Then it wasn’t.

Today’s rock-my-world moments were false alarms.

No need to worry. Just wait it out. These things, too, shall pass.

The upshot of upchuck: A lesson in gratitude

Today’s post is about vomit.

Perhaps for a bulimic, a post about purging on the day before we stuff ourselves makes sense, but for the rest of us, the connection may be lost.

To be fair, it’s not entirely about puke, but in any case, if you’re of queasy stomach, you may take a pass.

My dog, my sweet little miniature schnauzer who turned 7 this past summer, got sick on Friday. We returned home from a little trip and found one of the purple chairs in our living room covered in greenish puke.

Oh, sweet girl, what’s wrong?

Over the course of the next 24 hours, Chloe proceeded to barf on the living room carpeting, a throw on the sofa, the quilt on the bed, a throw on the bed, her own bed, the hallway carpeting and my sweatpants.

I did a lot of laundry.

Naturally, we couldn’t find a reason for her illness. We hadn’t changed her food, we didn’t think she’d eaten anything unusual, she hadn’t spent time with strange dogs and she didn’t have any weird bumps or lumps. I hate mysteries like that.

I was getting worried so I played detective. As she listlessly went out in the back yard to do her business, I learned she was still peeing but she was also suffering from Hershey’s Squirts.

By Saturday night, Chloe quit barfing (because she was empty) but she refused eat or drink anything.

Of course, Murphy’s Law was in effect. She got sick on Friday, the day before a weekend. So we toughed out Sunday by convincing her to lick on ice cubes. She continued to get up twice in the middle of the night to attend to her diarrheal impulses.

At 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, she was whimpering.

If it wasn’t bad before, it was now.

When I pray, I try very hard to pray “Thy will be done” rather than making a long list of demands. I believe prayers are answered but honestly, I’m not a big fan of getting “no” for a response. I confess Imade an exception in this case. I reasoned with God on this one. “I don’t see how it would be that much trouble to make my dog better, God. It’s not that hard. It isn’t going to have cosmic ramifications. It couldn’t hurt. Could you see about working up some healing here? Please?”

We called the pet emergency room but decided to wait for our regular veterinarian to get into the office. We were sitting in the waiting room by 8:10.

Finally, we were about to get some answers.

Nope.

The veterinarian couldn’t figure it either, though he did say she wasn’t dehydrated. We sprang for X-rays, which were as inconclusive as the visual exam.

She might have a bug, the vet said. She might get better naturally. Antibiotics could help. If she has an obstruction we can’t see, she might get worse.

Great.

So he gave her a shot and sent us home with a round of antibiotics, the doggy version of Pepto Bismol, canned dog food specially made for sensitive intestines, canine probiotics and brochures for three different animal hospitals that might be open on Thanksgiving if that were to become necessary.

The price of this peace of mind or, rather, piece of blind? $273.76.

Is this the sweetest little puppy face ever?

Is this the sweetest little puppy face ever?

This story ends happily.

I gave her a bath and brushed her teeth so she smelled as sweet as she looked. She loves the bland food and has been gobbling it up since about an hour after her first shot of antibiotics. She’s not a big fan of the eye dropper full of not-exactly-Pepto-Bismol but she quit puking.

She got better.

I thought for sure she had cancer and was going to die and that visit to the vet on Monday morning would be her last trip anywhere.

But she got better.

My dog had the flu and it was inconvenient.

She got better.

My prayers were answered.

I am so thankful.

Why I torture myself with worst-case scenarios, I don’t know. But I don’t think I’m the only one who’s paranoid and untrusting of the universe.

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”

~ Buddha

The lesson here is that all of us who would sooner assume the worst need to make room for an abundance mentality. Our thoughts shape reality. Think positive. Be grateful.

Adorable sleeper

chloe in new bed

The Bearded Lady, otherwise known as The Princess, aka Chloe, got a new bed today.

Why? For some reason, she has no time for the velvet-lined bed we bought to match our living room (yeah, I know, first-world problems). When my Beloved was at Petco picking up Pill Pockets (they’re amazing if your dog takes pills regularly, as our little lady does to treat her epilepsy, but they cost nearly as much as the medicine), he found an alternative bed lined with nubby sheepskin (or a reasonable facsimile).

It’s the time of year for nubby sheepskin, you know.

She adores it.

Mulberries sweeten breakfast (check out this smoothie recipe … and cute dog pic)

mulberry treeThe mulberry tree is heavy with berries again. I’m tellin’ ya, that thing grows berries overnight. I swear, there were no berries on it two weeks ago. Sunday, I picked a bowl full, which I promptly used in my recipe for Mulberry Crisp or As Good As Cocaine to Marion Berry If He Were Named Mull Cobbler). This morning, I had a yen for a smoothie, and so many more berries had ripened, I picked enough for six smoothies!

Unfortunately, the mulberry season ends as quickly as it begins, so I’ve got to enjoy my berries while the enjoyin’ is good.

She's just gotta be in every picture, doesn't she?

She’s just gotta be in every picture, doesn’t she?

To the dog’s everlasting sorrow, the mulberry tree is outside the backyard fence. Here’s a shot of the dog standing guard against mosquitoes while I picked berries. She didn’t do a very good job because I got eaten up. But it was worth it!

I flash froze my berries while I was on my morning run because I prefer frozen fruit in my smoothies. Better texture, to my thinking.

A few other notes, before I share the recipe …

Remember, if you don’t have fresh mulberries, feel free to substitute blueberries or blackberries.

I can’t resist adding healthy stuff to my smoothies because you’d never know it was there! It’s that whole spoonful-of-sugar thing (Mary Poppins, anyone?). So I added chia seeds and spinach. Seriously, you’ll never taste it. And as for the sugar, some readers might prefer a teaspoon of honey or stevia; I’ve become accustomed to unsweetened Greek yogurt and I think pomegranate juice (the real stuff, not that pretender blueberry juice junk) is plenty sweet, but others might disagree. Be sure to add the sugar and blend again before you dump the smoothie in your glass.

I almost named this “Mulberry Protein Smoothie” because it has 22 grams of protein (thank you, Greek yogurt). That’s almost as much as four eggs, and for only 400 calories. I don’t really love the flavor of protein powder, but that would make it even more protein-y.

Talk about a healthy breakfast! Enjoy.

mulberry smoothie

Mulberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. mulberries, washed and frozen
  • 1/2 banana, peeled (do I really need to mention the “peeled” part?)
  • 2/3 c. Greek yogurt
  • 10 whole almonds
  • 1/3 c. spinach (pack that cup measure!)
  • 1 T. chia seeds, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate juice

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend to your satisfaction.
  2. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

‘Loss aversion’ as it relates to pet ownership

My tolerance for loss might be lower than most people.

And most people have low tolerance for loss.

It’s called “loss aversion,” and it’s a powerful motivator, according to Brigitte Madrian, a Harvard professor who appeared recently on NPR’s All Things Considered. “The literature suggests that people are twice as sensitive to losses as they are to gains.”

NPR was examining loss aversion as it relates to investing for retirement, but since I heard the story I’ve been examining my life in terms of my loss aversion.

People who know me well would describe me as competitive. For example, while playing a simple card game with my 6-year-old nephew last week, I actually weighed in my mind the relative benefits of winning. Really? Beating a 6-year-old was somehow important to me? (Just to prove I’m empathetic as well as competitive, I’m compelled to tell you my nephew won the game. Fair and square. Mostly.)

Am I competitive because I want to win? Or am I competitive because I don’t like losing even more? “Loss aversion” would suggest it’s the fear of losing that drives my impulses.

My aversion for loss explains a lot. Why did I get straight A grades in high school? Because I hated Bs more. Why do I hate weight lifting so much? Because as an ectomorph, I’ll never be good at it. Why did I tolerate bad behavior for 16 years in my first marriage? I did it not because I wanted to stay married but because I didn’t. Want. To get. A divorce.

I’m particularly conscious of my inclination toward loss aversion this week as I’ve attended to a health crisis in my sweet little dog.

chloe epilepsyRegular readers will remember the seizures experienced two months ago by my 6-year-old miniature schnauzer, Chloe (read that story here). We thought the incident was caused by a pain medication prescribed to her after a dental procedure. We thought Chloe was healed of her seizures. We were wrong.

On Wednesday, she started seizing again, and in the period of 22 hours, she had nine seizures. I’ll spare you the description of the sleeplessness, hand-wringing, financial repercussions and sorrow. Here’s the short version: We consulted our hometown veterinarian who referred us to an animal neurologist (!), who administered Valium to stop the seizures, diagnosed her as having idiopathic epilepsy (read: seizures of unknown cause), recommended hospitalizing Chloe overnight and prescribed Keppra, an anti-seizure medicine. Chloe will have to take anti-seizure meds forever.

Chloe is back home this afternoon. She’s not having convulsions, but she’s not herself.

Only time will tell if Keppra is the solution to Chloe’s epilepsy.

In the meantime, I’m left to question: Am I trying to save my dog (to win?) or am I trying to avoid losing my dog? Am I properly motivated to look out for Chloe’s health and, too, make sound financial decisions? Or am I willing to spend any amount to avoid my own emotional pain? If the medication causes permanent personality change in my little dog, am I willing to embrace a new normal or will I forever be mired in the grief of losing the sweet, healthy little dog I used to have?

I don’t know, and to be honest, not knowing feels like losing, too. Given my loss aversion, I need to remind myself that closed doors mean opened windows. And other bits of wisdom.

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

~ Winston Churchill