Happy Easter!

The Easter bunny visited Buddy (and Lucy, by default) on Thursday afternoon. I got home late from work so we waited until Friday morning to open the goodies from Buddy’s S.N.O.R.T. Easter bunny!

Inspecting.

Inspecting.

Of course I had to hold Lucy back.

Of course I had to hold Lucy back.

There were lots of Buddy-sized goodies: mini tennis balls, mini treats and more.

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Buddy loved his mini tennis balls.

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It was a nice surprise as we get ready to drop Buddy off for surgery on Monday morning. Very anxious to get the whole ordeal over with so these two can get back to snuggling.

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Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Today Buddy turned seven years old!

"I'm a handsome devil, aren't I?"

“I’m a handsome devil, aren’t I?”

He celebrated by barking in the wee hours of the morning – I guess he wanted to start the party early! That’s an entirely separate issue for another post but we’ve been hitting stretches of 2-3 nights in a row where he feels the need to wake everyone else up at 2 a.m. just because he happens to be awake!

Anyway, it’s been a pretty normal and SOGGY day around here. I ran to PetSmart over lunch to grab more canned food for him (yet another post for another day!) and I couldn’t resist getting a birthday/Easter toy for him – and Lucy because I know too well that bringing home one toy just won’t cut it.

Birthday/Easter toys

Birthday/Easter toys

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These past few weekends have been pretty rough on everyone. Marty and I are in the midst of the spring sports seasons and both of us were out of the house just about all day this past Saturday and Sunday (don’t worry, someone checked on the doggies!). It’s been particularly rough because, until today, the weather had turned absolutely perfect and I felt so badly they were stuck inside all day. Plus our apartment is a disaster, until yesterday we had just about no food and the clutter is piling up to the point where it’s driving me nuts.

Fortunately there are only a few more crazy weekends left (I hope) until our version of summer begins, which means an actual 9-5 job with no work on the weekends! Since I started working in this field eight years ago I’ve lived for the summer months when I get to have normal hours and a normal schedule.

But, back to Buddy! Late last week he was fully cleared for surgery; we got all of his bloodwork back and our vet has everything they need to proceed with surgery which is scheduled for…Monday! At 8:10 Monday morning I’ll be dropping Buddy off to get neutered (poor guy) and to have dental surgery.

Those two surgeries in and of themselves aren’t “major” surgeries (males might disagree) but because of Buddy’s trachea I’m very, very nervous. Now, he has to have the dental surgery. A lot of his teeth are loose (I’m pretty sure one fell out the other day!), abscessed and infected. While his collapsing trachea makes surgery trickier than normal, if he wants to stay healthy for a long time, he must get his teeth fixed. Of all the things we were concerned about with Buddy – his eye, his trachea, etc. – my vet was most concerned with his teeth. Infections can’t be ignored and that’s basically what he has going on inside his mouth!

I’m always nervous about surgery with smooshy-faced dogs because of their already existing breathing problems but I’m particularly nervous about Buddy because of the added issue with the trachea. The good news is the surgery is very early in the day and normally tracheas cause problems shortly after surgery when the trach tube is taken out. He’ll have plenty of care all day after the surgery and if necessary we’ll transport him to an overnight vet for extra observation.

All that being said, it’s his birthday so I’m off to celebrate with Buddy, Lucy and their new toys (the squeakers to which the doggies have definitely found…). :-)

"Mine!"

“Mine!”

Pee-Gate

I figured Lucy would learn after the first time, but nope.

"You saying I'm slow?"

“You saying I’m slow?”

The first week we brought Buddy home he peed on Lucy’s leg. Now, it wasn’t intentional; he just had a spot he decided he must pee on and Lucy didn’t get out of the way fast enough. The sad part? She didn’t even notice. I was more upset than she was (only because I had to clean up a pee-covered leg; it wasn’t Buddy’s fault!).

Well, late last week Buddy struck again, this time in Lucy’s face.

"What? When you gotta go, you gotta go!"

“What? When you gotta go, you gotta go!”

I swear you would have thought Buddy peed acid on her face given Lucy’s reaction; we were less than halfway through our walk and Lucy spent the rest of the walk finding spots in random yards to roll around in the grass. Then she came back home and literally burrowed herself under her blanket, something she never does on her own (sometimes we wrap her up like a burrito just for kicks). I cleaned her face with baby wipes but for at least two hours she wasn’t her “normal” self (“normal” in quotation marks because she is anything but normal on a good day).

I adore Lucy, but she’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. Buddy is a male dog and she has watched him routinely mark on our walks; she just didn’t get out of the way in time!

The good news is things are still going well with Buddy and Lucy.

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I’m just waiting on xrays from Buddy’s previous vet (and the xrays on their way!) for my vet to take a look at and make sure his trachea really isn’t bad enough to warrant surgery. I really don’t think it is based on what I’ve observed so far. He is a legitimate speedwalker; I can barely keep up with him at times! His little feet fly around our neighborhood without a single coughing attack! It may take some more monitoring in extreme temperatures but so far it’s more than manageable.

Assuming his xrays look good, we’ll schedule his neuter and dental surgeries.

I’m really anxious to get his dental surgery done and not just because his breath is…ripe. It’s because given the condition of his teeth they have to be bothering him but he eats his food just fine and even chews on some of the bones we have laying around the house; I can’t wait to see what he’s like when his teeth aren’t causing him pain anymore.

Now, off to snuggle with Pee Face and Stank Breath.

Life with Buddy

We’ve had Buddy for just over a week now and just like with any foster we’ve developed a routine of sorts.

First things first – Buddy is not a morning dog.

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I’m very used to dogs going outside first thing in the morning and then scarfing down breakfast. Not Buddy. He prefers to wait at least an hour before going out and taking a little walk around our apartment complex before breakfast. I’m still not used to a dog who isn’t begging for food the minute I wake up.

He is very much the cuddler; I know he’d prefer someone who stayed home all day so I’ll definitely look for that in his forever home.

Marty's lap is prime territory for both dogs.

Marty’s lap is prime territory for both dogs.

So far his coughing has been very manageable. He really only has coughing fits when he gets excited so I try to be sure to keep things calm. We can probably schedule his dental and neuter surgery for next week but we are still waiting on his xray from his previous vet so my vet here can take a second look at his trachea on the xrays.

Buddy also loves being comfortable, to the point where this is where I find him every morning after my shower:

It's my bed but it's Buddy's world.

It’s my bed but it’s Buddy’s world.

And how is Lucy doing? I think she’s doing ok. This has definitely been an adjustment; Buddy can’t really play and isn’t as big of a snuggler as Lucy would like, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t trying.

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She’s been kind of weird lately but that’s probably just par for the course. She’s not a normal dog. Perhaps this long winter is getting to her, too.

Either way things are good. The dogs don’t not get along, if that makes any sense, and Buddy is the sweetest thing. I’m looking forward to his surgery as his teeth are the cause of some toxic breath and I know they have to be causing him pain.

Hopefully I’ll have an update soon on Buddy’s upcoming surgery!

A Conundrum…But Not Really

I’m going to take a bit of a break from bulldog, pug, foster and coughing talk. Hang on, this is going to be a long and potentially controversial post.

I have a career in college athletics, thus it stands to reason that I love pretty much all sports. I grew up watching sports with my parents, participating in sports in high school and have obviously remained involved in sports since then.

I’m a hard-core Yankees fans (which is just another reason it stinks to be smack dab in Central PA where we don’t get Yankee games!) but I’m also a Jets fan, which if you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past week means there’s a seeming conflict of interest because in addition to loving sports, I also obviously love dogs.

Michael Vick was recently signed a one-year contract as a quarterback on the Jets roster. Michael Vick was also jailed for dog fighting and abuse charges.

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(photo credit)

A few people have asked me my thoughts on my team, the Jets, signing a quarterback who spent time in jail for his abuse of dogs. First of all, I encourage everyone to read The Lost Dogs. The book describes in great detail the events prior to, during and beyond the Vick court case. It’s a horrific but good read, if that makes sense. And it provides a lot of important facts, information and insight into the entire case, not just Vick’s role in it.

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(photo credit)

After reading that book I came away with a lot of thoughts about Vick before he even signed with the Jets. First of all, Vick was a ringleader of the dog fighting “business” he owned, but he was not the only ringleader. If you read the book you will see that many individuals deserved jail time, not just Vick, so while he is the poster child for this case because of his public profile, he did not act alone. It doesn’t change how I feel about the acts of abuse that were performed, but no one should hold Vick up as the sole cause for this particular case of abuse. Unfortunately for Vick, he is going to continually be portrayed as the lone face but that doesn’t mean he should be. Again, he should be a face but not the face.

Second, I believe every person has the right to earn a living. Whether or not I agree with the verdict and sentences Vick and others were given, I wasn’t the judge. I can’t change his sentence. And the law says he served the sentence he was given and has a right to now live his life. That includes being employed in some field of work. Vick just so happens to be good at football; really good. So he got a second stint in the NFL, first with the Eagles now with the Jets. Maybe I wouldn’t hire him at my company but who I am to tell the Jets who to hire?

Am I happy my team chose to sign Vick? This is going to be an unpopular answer, but yes. He’s a good quarterback and we are shaky at quarterback at best. Am I ecstatic? No. Partly because he’s good but not great (that’s the sports fan in me talking – I want a surefire Hall of Famer at quarterback) and partly because I in no way understand, condone or accept the dog fighting part of his past. And maybe even his present. I’m not naive.

But the Jets are a business. As a fan it’s very common to lose sight of that but the Jets are in the business of making money and winning (helps) make money. The Jets obviously believe they increased their chances of winning by signing Vick. Do I think it was a purely business decision? Yes! A million times, yes.

That’s why it does not make me as angry as some might expect. Businesses can very rarely afford to take moral stands; the Jets certainly can’t! With ticket prices rising, a lot of competition in the New York sports market and a not-so-great season last year, the Jets need to win, plain and simple.

Yup, the Jets have bigger issues than taking a moral stand.

Yup, the Jets have bigger issues than taking a moral stand.


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(Yes, I realize good ol’ Mark isn’t our quarterback anymore)

Maybe in 10 years and after three Superbowl rings (hahaha) the Jets can afford to take a moral stand. I just don’t think they’re in that position right now and to be honest, I really don’t think 99% of teams are in or have ever been in that position.

In short, I don’t have to support or root for Vick the person. And I won’t. What he did was disgusting and sickening but in this case it’s very easy for me to choose to root for the name on the front of the jersey. If he sucks, I won’t care in the least if he loses his job (and my prediction is he’ll earn the starting job. You heard it here first) because he’s not really a person to me, just a body filling a jersey.

On that note, J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

Buddy Goes to the Vet

Late this morning I took Buddy to the vet to get him looked at to figure out a course of action.

Waiting.

Waiting.

He was a hit, to say the least! Everyone loved him but that was expected; he’s a cutie!

He spent the entire time we were waiting just hanging by the door.

He spent the entire time we were waiting just hanging by the door.

So, we learned a lot at the vet! Here’s the rundown:
- His right eye is likely just about blind. Due to cataracts and an ulcer that left behind some scarring, he may detect light/dark. But, it’s not bothering him in regards to pain so his eye is what it is at this point.

- His teeth are a disaster! I pretty much knew that heading into the appointment but our vet confirmed it – he is going to need a lot of work. When he goes under to get neutered he will also have a LOT of dental work done! No idea at this point how many teeth will have to be moved but it is very likely to be teeth, plural!

- He has ear mites so he’s on drops for 14 days. No big deal.

- So, on to his trachea! His coughing is not great but really not bad, or at least not as bad as I was expecting. Here’s what my vet told me – extreme cases of collapsing trachea mean dogs often cannot walk even short distances without coughing. That’s certainly not Buddy as he led our walk this evening! Now, we’ve only had him for 48 hours so we do want to see how his coughing seems over the next few days but honestly at this point surgery is riskier than any coughing he has. His food stays down, he’s able to take walks and his coughing fits only last for 4-5 coughs and then he’s back to himself!

I have a few blood test results to track down before any surgery is scheduled so in the meantime I’ll be watching (and listening to) Buddy like a hawk to get a sense of his coughing but honestly trachea surgery on a smoosh-faced dog who is (almost) seven is something our vet would like to avoid and thinks we can.

After the vet visit, I gave Lucy her daily peanut butter Kong and Buddy looked so dissatisfied at his own treat that I offered a teeny spoon of PB. It went over very well, to say the least, even though it didn’t all exactly make it in his mouth. :-)

"Do I have something on my lower lip?"

“Do I have something on my lower lip?”

Meet Buddy

This afternoon I picked up our new foster, Buddy the Pug. He is very, very cute.

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And very, very clingy. I spent most of the ride home making sure he didn’t climb into my lap.

I was given a few sheets of info on Buddy from his previous family. The family that surrendered him to S.N.O.R.T. found him wandering the streets of Long Island. He had a microchip and the family was able to track down his original breeder who then put them in touch with the couple to which he had sold buddy.

Apparently the couple divorced after having Buddy for four years and gave him to a man who promised to use Buddy as a stud on rare occasion and to mostly give Buddy the life of a family pet. Apparently that didn’t happen and Buddy was repeatedly used as a stud until he got loose in the streets. While the family that found him would have loved to keep him, he has some health issues that need to be addressed.

Hi!

Hi!

He needs to be neutered (easy enough), he needs to have his right eye checked out (looks like he might have a small ulcer) and he needs to get his trachea looked at it. It is thought he might have a collapsing trachea that gives him occasional coughing fits. While surgery may be an option, there are ways to manage that condition with medications to alleviate the coughing. We’ll find out more once I get another opinion from my vet.

Squaring off over the laptop.

Squaring off over the laptop.

His previous family also said he had really, really bad teeth when he came in and the smell emanating from him may very well be his breath (although he was given a bath within five minutes of arrival!) so I’ll have the vet look closely at his teeth, as well – he’ll probably need several (or many) removed.

I must say, it’s very strange having a non-bulldog MALE dog in the house! I think it’s going to take time for everyone to settle into a routine and while he sure is cute, Lucy’s verdict is still up in the air.

"I'm less than thrilled, Mom."

“I’m less than thrilled, Mom.”

Because change makes me anxious (another topic for another blog entirely), I think everyone is a bit edgy but so far so good. As I type this Lucy is currently nuzzling her face on my left side and Buddy is pressed against my ride leg snoring away while Marty is out running errands.

More updates to come!

Money, Money, Money*

I mentioned it in a post earlier this week, but I’m going to be working with Ashley of Saving Money in your Twenties to try and get my budget in order. There are a lot of reasons I want to do this and why now is the perfect time.

I’m about breaking even right now given that I’m paying for grad school out of pocket and my job isn’t exactly lucrative, but I want to do more than break even. Especially since I hope to be done with grad school by the end of the summer and it would be nice to have some positive habits already in place by then.

It’s also no secret that I’d love to add another dog. It’s not practical for a number of reasons: mainly because our apartment is small and because of finances. There are a lot of things I should be saving for – my savings account, IRA, a future house I might own by the time I’m oh, 50, etc. – and while a second dog would be nice, it’s not the necessity that saving money is.

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(photo credit)

However, I’m hoping that by getting my finances in order a second dog might be an option down the road. I don’t think I need a massive overhaul in my spending habits (although maybe I do!) but an outside opinion and advice will certainly be helpful. I may find that what I think is “normal” spending is actually too high or there are obvious areas in which I can cut down.

Given that my job is emotionally draining, especially this time of the year, it’s very easy to find myself buying things to make me “feel better;” a coffee more than a few days a week before work, a soda from the vending machine. Those are the small things I’ve thought about cutting out but honestly didn’t think they would make that big of a difference; Ashley might tell me otherwise.

What I will be spending money on this weekend, though, is gas when I make an hour drive to pick up Buddy on Sunday!

Buddy!

Buddy!

*Blog title inspired by Abba. No, I have no shame that I love Abba. I may even own the Mama Mia soundtrack…

Two-Year Checkup and Other Stuff

Lucy had her two-year checkup today and everything went well!

"Of course it went well, mom. I'm perfect."

“Of course it went well, mom. I’m perfect.”

The vet’s office was relatively empty which meant we didn’t have an incredibly long wait and Lucy got plenty of attention. No less than three vet techs (in addition to our own) stopped by our room to say hi to Lucy and she just ate it up. I don’t think her butt stopped wiggling the entire time we were there!

She definitely almost followed a women into the bathroom.

She definitely almost followed a women into the bathroom.

Health-wise everything is pretty good. She put on a little over a pound since the last time we were there which was probably sometime early in the winter (I could check but I’m lazy). I honestly expected that. This winter was so brutally cold and snowy that we definitely didn’t get in as many walks as we should have. The weather has to get warmer at some point soon, though, so I anticipate being able to work that winter weight gain right off of her!

"I look skinny from this angle, though."

“I look skinny from this angle, though.”

She got all her vaccinations and booster shots, her teeth look good and I just have to stay on top of her allergies. Lucy even got a cute bandana for having her Lyme/heartworm screening done!

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Of course, all that meant I walked out $313 poorer but that did include just about a year’s worth of lyme/flea/tick/heartworm medications so it’s about what I expected.

Which brings me to another topic. I actually have a blog post coming up later in the week about how I’m trying to get my budget in order. It’s not that I’m doing badly; at least, I don’t think so. I just know I could be doing better. There are certain things I can’t or won’t eliminate (food and Lucy fall under those categories, for instance), so I’ll be working with Ashley from How to Save Money in Your Twenties (a category into which I’ll only fit for a few more months, ugh) to help identify possible areas I might be able to save some money.

I would love to have a second dog but it’s financially irresponsible to do so; because of grad school and the fact I’m paying for it without loans, I’m just barely breaking even. Which is honestly okay because I’ll be done with grad school in a few months and not in debt because of it, but I know there are areas of my spending in which I can do better and hopefully do more than just break even.

It’s not easy to plunk down $300+ for one vet visit but that makes me motivated to start saving in other areas and working with Ashley will mark the first time I’ve made a concerted effort to do so!

Entering New Territory

If things go according to plan, it looks like we will be entering the unknown next weekend as we are going to welcome a new foster, Buddy the PUG! Yes, this self-proclaimed bulldog snob is (probably) going to be fostering this sweet face:

Buddy!

Buddy!

I hate to say it’s definite until we actually have him in our home but this sweet guy was found wandering a Long Island neighborhood after one of the February snow storms. A nice family took him in but reached out to S.N.O.R.T. to find a more permanent foster home (which I’m aware is an oxymoron, but you get the point).

It appears as if Buddy has some health issues we’ll need to address and clear up. He likely needs dental work, definitely needs to be neutered (thank goodness Lucy is spayed!) and apparently has some issues with part of his trachea and/or soft palette; from what we’ve been told, he has a bit of a hard time keeping food down because he tends to cough/hack it up. Doesn’t sound like vomiting is the issue as much as it seems like something structural in his trachea or palette. Lucy had surgery on her elongated soft palette (although she had always kept food down no problem) so if that’s the issue it should be a simple surgery; she was back to eating regular food the day we picked her up.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual, since we don’t even have him yet! The good news is he’s housetrained (hallelujah!), loves people and gets along with all dogs. There is a video of him walking and he seems very mobile and walks well on the leash so it’ll be great to get him and Lucy out in the nice weather which has to arrive in Central PA at some point.

I’m crossing my fingers it works out since he seems like he’d be a really fun (temporary!) addition. Plus he’s adorable. :)

Of course I’m nervous and anxious because that’s what I do best; we’ve never had a pug or a male dog (I even grew up with all female dogs) but from what we can gather he seems like a very, very sweet and cuddly dog. It will, of course, be yet another change for Little Lucy but she seems to love having a second dog around. I was hesitant to foster in the spring because if he needs to stay with us through even the early part of summer we have a few travel plans already set but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!