Thursday, January 12, 2012

RIP Monty

It’s been a long time since I have been able to post a blog, mostly due to the fact that our internet has been disconnected due to financial situations beyond our control.

It breaks my heart to have this be my last post on this blog.

We lost our beloved little Monty yesterday, 1-11-12.  It was out of the blue and very unexpected. 

Monty had been happy and healthy (as far as we knew); his happy little bark when he was playing with his toys or his friends always made us giggle and smile.  We had finally gotten the poop control issue taken care of with some innovation using diapers with strategically cut holes and a cross between a onsie/overalls type of mutant garment that Karen came up with.  Life was good and happy and we had all settled into our life’s routine.

Les had his bladder cancer surgery on December 19th and it went very well.  However, I had just started a new job that is an hour’s commute each way and Karen and I didn’t think that it would be good for Monty and Bruiser to be left all alone for at least 12 hours every day.  So Karen took Monty and Bruiser down to my Mom’s to stay there; Karen was staying there when she wasn’t up at the hospital with Les, and Mom would be home from work by 5:30pm, so they were only alone for a couple of hours during the week.  Monty loved being at Mom’s.  There were so many people to hold and love on him, the food was great and there was Bruiser and Alice – my mom’s cat – to play with in addition to all the toys he could wish for.

Les came home from the hospital a week later, but they all still stayed down at Mom’s so that Les was close to the hospital just in case of complications.  Lots of friends and family came to visit, and Monty was thrilled to meet all the new people and everyone loved him.  The evening of December 29th was completely normal; Monty ate his dinner and scooted around the house after Bruiser, played with his toys, and everyone went to bed.  Friday morning, he was sick. He vomited up his breakfast and wasn’t really interested in doing anything.  He wouldn’t eat much dinner, and what he did eat, he vomited up again.  He was lethargic and just generally not doing very well.  We were pretty baffled by this, but not necessarily worried as he didn’t seem to be in any pain.  We made sure he drank plenty of water and just gave him lots of love.  Saturday he would not eat, so Karen took him to the vet.  He had a kidney stone lodged in the end of his penis and the vet removed it.  Once the stone came out, there was lots and lots of bloody, pussy urine that drained and drained.  It was very odd since he had been urinating in his diaper (plus we would express his bladder for him to empty it) and we didn’t have any indication that there was a stone.  The vet said that he had a bad bladder/kidney infection and put him on antibiotics.  They wanted to keep him overnight for observation, but we had already run up a $600 bill and it would be over $1000 if they kept him overnight.  Karen took him home and kept a close eye on him.  The biggest problem was that he had to eat in order to take the medication, and we could not get him to eat.  At all.  So Karen puréed chicken and put it in a feeding syringe to get it down.  After a couple of days, he was not getting any better, although there was no more bloody/pussy urine; it was nice and normal.

At this point, Karen took him to a really great vet hospital.  They determined that he was in kidney failure.  We had to pay $1000 up front before they would start treatment, so my mom put it on her credit card and maxed it out.  Monty stayed in the hospital for several days and Karen and mom went to see him twice a day during the one-hour ICU visiting hours to hold him, rock him, and love on him.  He perked up a bit and they were able to bring him home.  Karen and Les finally were able to come back home to Washington on Tuesday, 1-10-12.  Monty was just not doing well again and hadn’t pooped for days.  He didn’t want to eat, but would still drink water eagerly.  Karen was really upset and afraid that Monty was giving up, so she set up an appointment with our local vet.  He is AWESOME and has seen us through many difficult times over the years.  Karen knew that he is a “save them all if you can” kind of guy, and the vet also knows that Karen is a “save them at any cost unless they are suffering” kind of gal.  We knew we would get the straight story from him.

The news was the worst we could get.  Due to the nature of Monty’s spinal injury, the nerves that connect the vital organs to the spine – and thus to the brain – were dying.  These nerves controlled his kidney and bladder function, his liver function, and basically his gut (stomach, intestines, colon).  His kidneys were still failing, and now his liver was also.  The vet said that we could keep him alive for a while, but he would have to have daily enemas, subcutaneous fluids (injected under his skin or via IV) daily, and other medications daily.  He could crash at any time; just missing one enema or dose of fluids, or even if one of his injured disks sifted in some way, he would crash.  He knew that we would be willing to do these things, but Monty would never get any better; he would always feel ill (although not necessarily be in any pain), we would have to force feed him on top of all the other things we would have to do to him, and in the end he would probably only last a few months.  The end was inevitable; there was no way to save him.  He said that we would probably be back in the vet’s office within days.  The decision Karen had to make was so hard, but she knew that she could not torment him with needles and enemas every day just so that he could feel like crap all the time and then die anyway. 

Karen and Les held him in their arms, kissing and petting him as they let him go. 

Karen was, and still is, devastated.  She was pretty much inconsolable all day and cried all night last night.  I cried all day at work yesterday and was supported by my wonderful, empathetic, dog-loving co-workers.  Mom cried when I called to tell her the news.  I’m crying now as I type this post.

73 days is not a long time, but we formed a fast and firm attachment to that little guy.  We miss him so much.  We are so glad that he came into our lives; he knew that he was loved and we are sure that he was just as happy to be with us as we were to be with him. 

We don’t know what the final tally of all the bills will be, but we would have given anything to save him if we could have.

R.I.P. little Monty. 

We love you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Monty and the Great Doxie Sleep Over (oh, and the yucky bacon incident)

On Wednesday, Papa's good friend Jim came out to spend a few days and brought his Doxies with him: Snoopy and Mrs. Weenie.

It was The Great Doxie Sleep Over!  Yup, four three little doxies and one, ahem, slightly larger doxie in da house!  Woop woop woop!

It was actually quite fun.  Everyone got along just fine, especially Monty and Mrs. Weenie.  Monty thought she was just pretty darn cute, and Mrs. Weenie was saying, "Right back atcha, big boy!" with her eyes.  Snoopy is actually more interested in our cats, four of which were trying to wander around the house; Ethel is our second oldest senior kitty and she stays exclusively in Mama and Papa's room.  Her health is quite delicate and she doesn't need a 25lb Doxie to sit and stare at her for hours on end.

Roll call:  Monty (on the left) and Bruiser are seen snuggling above on Mama's lap in the Big Chair.  Bruiser is starting to warm up to Monty and will snuggle with him when it is his idea.  Monty is just happy to be accepted.
This is Mrs. Weenie.  Isn't she sweet?  I LURVE HER.  She is very feminine and lady-like, except when she is wrasling with Monty.  She is a really funny little dog; very attached to her Papa, and she likes to sit on the back of your neck.  Here she is with Monty's new Papa (my bro-in-law, Les) in the Big Chair:
When I said she is really attached to her Papa, I mean she is REALLY ATTACHED.  When Jim went out to the shop with Les, she went and lay down on the bag that had his clothes in it and she would not budge from it:
Snoopy cracks me up.  His legs are about 3" long and he weighs about 25lbs.  He is mostly deaf, but there is not a thing wrong with his eyes, by golly.  
We used a baby gate at the entrance to the hallway to block off access to the cats.  Snoopy spent 85% of his time standing guard at the gate, just waiting for one of the cats to make a break for it.  You could hear him saying in his little ping-pong ball sized brain, "I don't wanna eat 'em; I just wanna taste 'em."  The other 15% of his time was spent begging, making weird sounds, and farting.  Let me tell you, that dog can blister paint, OK?

We had a lovely dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, and gravy.  Karen and I were too full and too exhausted to clean off the table right away, so we retired to the living room with the men (and the dogs) to watch a little TV.  After a while I heard a noise that I thought was coming from the dining room, but I didn't think much of it because I knew that one of the cats had snuck out of the hallway a little earlier.  Karen caught my eye but we both shrugged it off.  A minute later we heard the unmistakable clink of silverware.  Figuring it was Miss Muffin, the cat, I hopped up and went into the dining room; we didn't pick up our chicken bones and we sure didn't want one of the cats to be chewing on them.  This is what I saw:
It was Snoopy up in the middle of the table, helping himself just as fine as you please!  Now, remember how I said that his legs are only about 3" long and that he weighs about 25lbs?  How the heck did this dog get up on the table?  And how did he do it TWICE??  YUP, twice.  The first time I didn't grab the camera, just him and the stupid chicken bones.  The second time, I snapped his picture before removing him from the table.

Added to the fun of the day was the big yucky bacon incident.  For some reason, it can be hard to make Papa and Jim understand that not all people food is good for little doggies.  Sometimes men think that women worry too much and blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda.  So, to cut the story short, the men fed bacon to all the little doggies that were begging at breakfast time.  Skip forward about an hour.  Les is banging on my bedroom door, hollering something about Karen needing help and kept repeating the word POOP.  This got my attention.  Apparently, Mrs. Weenie and Monty were on the floor, wrasling.  Mrs. Weenie took off  running and Monty started after her, when all of the sudden FFBLORRRP - a big pile of runny poop fell out of Monty right onto the rug, and he didn't even notice.  Karen yelled for Les to GRAB HIM BEFORE HE DRAGS HIMSELF THROUGH IT!!  Needless to say, I was on runny poop duty for the rest of the day because the guys ran away and were very busy with very important stuff that required their utmost attention out in the shop all day.  Uh huh.  Buttheads.  Even Mrs. Weenie and Snoopy had the runs; they just managed to have theirs outside or on the linoleum; Bruiser was the only one that didn't suffer.  The men were lectured a lot throughout the day after that, and I really wanted to knock their heads together with the mop, but I restrained myself.  

Otherwise, everyone had a great time.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monty's First Week

Well, this first week with Monty has been both eventful AND uneventful. Does that make sense? Let me try to explain and you can decide for yourself.

The timing on actually bringing Monty home was a bit wonky. We brought him home on Monday, and his new Papa had to go into Portland (1.5 hrs away) for surgery on Wednesday. So that left only Monday evening and all day Tuesday for Monty’s new Mama and Papa to try to get to know him. Wednesday we put him in a large playpen set up we have, with soft absorbable pads on the floor, a bowl of water (he already ate breakfast), his kennel, and toys (both chewy and shreddy). We left the house around 8:30am and I got back home around 8pm (Mama and Papa stayed behind in Portland – they are coming home today). He was understandably slightly on the hysterical side. It broke my heart and I actually cried while making dinner for him and all his compatriots. After everyone was fed and pottied, I just sat in the armchair for a couple of hours, holding Monty and his new brother Bruiser while we watched episodes of Frasier on NetFlix and just cuddled the heck out of each other. It took him about a half hour to calm down, but when he did he didn’t seem any worse for wear.

I didn’t leave the house again until yesterday (Monday) and I took the black & tans with me this time. He was worried and cried a bit at the beginning of his trip, even though we were told that he loves to go bye-bye. But I think his fear is rooted in the fact that he was shifted around from person to person – all in order to give him the best care and attention while staying at the vets office – and I think he was thinking, “CRAP! I was just getting used to these people and now I’m going somewhere else AGAIN!”

My hypothesis seemed to ring true when we arrived home again after a trip to the bank and the grocery store; he was so excited when he realized that we came back to the same house! He scooted around and around in circles in the living room and barked happily. It was so adorable!

He and Bruiser get along just fine, for as much as Bruiser will actually interact with him. Bruiser is able to get around better than Monty, and usually will jump up on the couch or in the recliner to snooze. Monty is more…um…not aggressive but…um…assertive! Yes, more assertive than Bruiser. He wants so badly for Bruiser to play with him, but for now Bruiser isn’t having it. If you were to compare the two personalities, Bruiser is more like Niles Crane and Monty is more like Jean-Claude Van Damme if he’d been in an accident and was now a paraplegic. Bruiser is lighter in weight and finer boned; Monty looks like he was a weight lifter at some point before his accident. His shoulders are quite broad and he is quite muscular across his upper back, probably from the weeks of being in his cart and having to use his upper body strength to make himself mobile. He sure is a handsome boy!

We are still working with his incontinence issues. With Bruiser we used baby diapers and the belly bands to deal with the urine, but this has caused a small sore to appear on Monty’s inner leg. I am treating it and trying to keep diapers off of him as much as I can, but then this means I have to keep him in the stroller with washable absorbent pads in it (and toys and a blanket). I hate making him stay in that since he is still currently sleeping in his kennel at night (which he HATES). I want him to be able to scoot around and play! So today I am trying a Poise pad turned long ways, running from the base of his tail to his chest, and then using the belly band around him at the location of his wally-wally to secure it. I’ll see how that works. The poop issue is starting to get to me; I feel like all I have done this week is pick up turds and wash smashed poop off of my clothes. He mostly poops during the middle of the night when he is confined to his kennel. This is, as you can imagine, not so pleasant for him, and results in me giving him a spit bath to clean up his tail and poo issuing region. During the day, pea and acorn sized turds appear randomly throughout the house as if sprinkled there by some demented poop fairy. Grrrr! I am sure that this will resolve itself with time, but I am really glad that his Mama and Papa are coming home today so that they may also enjoy the fun of the turd hunts. So, I would have to say his first week in his new forever home was mostly uneventful. Whatever the issues are, they will work out with time, and we are very happy to have him here.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Monty's Story

This is the story of Monty, the handipawed weenie dog.

Monty joined our family on Monday, October 31, 2011. (Yes, 9 billion people have already mentioned that he is a Hallow-weenie, black and orange to boot. But I digress.)

My sister, Karen, and I have been fans of dachshunds since we were kids and have had the pleasure of loving several in our lives. First there was Queenie, then Alexander; about three years ago my niece's doxie, Bruiser, came to live with Karen. A year ago I came to live with Karen and I was added to Bruiser's Biggest Fan list.

Two years ago Bruiser suffered an injury to his back. He jumped up on the couch and caught his leg in an awkward position between the cushions and herniated three disks in his back and was paralyzed from the middle of his back down. His back legs were dangling useless, he was completely incontinent, and couldn't even wag his tail. My sister was heartbroken and on the verge of being hysterical. The vet told her that he would never walk or even stand on his own ever again. She was going to go out the very next day to get him a cart; I told her to wait. Spinal cord injuries in dogs are just as tricky as they are in humans, and sometimes only time will tell how much a patient will recover. When I was a teenager, Alexander actually broke his back; after surgery and physical therapy, he made a complete recovery. Karen did everything she could to help Bruiser out. She kept him still for the first few weeks - which is really hard to do! She bought him a stroller (we love it: so that she could keep him with her in the house and also have him with her when she was out tending to her garden. She did massage and some of her own physical therapy, working his legs in a bicycle motion. She and my mom came up with a belly band that they made out of fleece and velcro to keep a newborn baby diaper on him to help with the urinary incontinence. Karen found some online, but they want $30 for a little piece of material! She and Mom would buy a couple of yards of fabric and make a belly band, matching doggie coat and a blanket for about $6. As for the poop...well, to be honest, we are still working with that. At first, he wouldn't even know that he was pooping (he'd even poop in his sleep!); know he knows that he's pooping and will run to one of us with a look on his face that says, "I'm pooping! Hey, I'M POOPING!!!" Nine times out of ten we get poopage outside, and we are very happy with that. And now, 16 months later, not only does Bruiser stand on his own, he walks and runs like the wind! He actually puts his two back feet together and uses them as one leg (picture a dolphin using his tail to propel himself forward). We are still very careful with his back as we do not want him to repeat his injury, or make it worse.

Anyway, I told you all of that in order to tell you about Monty. Sis found this ad on
Dachshund: An adoptable dog in Edmonds, WA
Small • Adult • Male

***URGENT***URGENT****ADOPTER NEEDED ----- COURTESY POST***** Male, Dachshund ** 5 yrs, 14lbs ** House Trained (see notes in bio) ** Crate Trained ** Good with dogs,OK with cats (see below) ** Adoption Donation $95 More About Me: Meet Monty. Monty is an incredible boy with an amazing personality and love of life. He LOVES people and dogs and is a remarkable boy. Monty is "interested" in cats, but has not acted aggressively toward the two office cats who live here. And, of course, they can easily get away from him! His wheels don't scare the cats, but they give him a wide berth anyway. Poor Monty has been dumped by his owners through no fault of his own. His owners did not manage his back appropriately and he had a permanent spinal injury. Due to his injury, his owners will no longer keep him and took him to the vet to find a new home. The vet is only able to keep him for a short time and then he needs to find somewhere else to go. Monty has a cart he uses to get around and he is amazing in his cart. He can play ball, fetch, run and play without limitations. Monty is an amazing boy with a great attitude in demeanor. Monty is paralyzed and needs the cart to get around. He also has fecal incontinence due to his injury. He is able to hold is urine and will notify you when his bladder is full - his bladder needs to be expressed by pressing both sides of his body. Monty is desperately hoping that there is a loving and kind human out there that will take him in and give him the life that owners refused to grant him. Please help Monty find his new home. Check out his video and see him run like the wink in his cart! History: Poor Monty has been dumped by his owners through no fault of his own. His owners did not manage his back appropriately and he had a permanent spinal injury. Due to his injury, his owners will no longer keep him and took him to the vet to find a new home. The vet is only able to keep him for a short time and then he needs to find somewhere else to go.

Sis is really lucky to have a very generous husband with a kind heart and a soft spot for the mistreated animals in the world. She asked if she could have Monty, and he said, "Why not?" Sis contacted the vet that had Monty and the adoption was arranged. Two weeks later we drove two hours to Issaquah and met Anita and her friend that was helping to transport 11 dogs to a youth camp there. She brought Monty with her and we met her there and picked him up. Here is a picture of Anita, my sister Karen, and Anita's friend with Monty:
We brought Bruiser with us so that they could meet on neutral ground. We were very proud of Bruiser - he was actually more interested in the other dogs still in their crates in the minivan than in Monty. After a nice, uneventful trip home, here he is on his new mommy's lap:Monty came with his own little cart, called a Walkin' Wheels Mini. Here he is having dinner in it with Bruiser:Monty is wearing a very stylish plaid belly band my mom made! The cart is nice, but we kind of hate it right now. We did not get any direction on how to get it attached to him, and we have only used it a couple of times. We were told that he was put in it for hours every day, and when we put him in it, he runs around in it a bit then wants OUT OF IT PLEASE!! So we let him scoot around on the floor, or we put him in the stroller, but we also love to sit and hold him on our laps and snuggle with him. He loves that.

Here is Monty (on the left) with Bruiser, sharing a snuggle on Mommy's lap:
Well, that is the background for this new blog. Tune in for more pictures, more information, and more love from Monty!