Monday, February 27, 2017

UPDATE on Ruffin. Promising new leads.

New blood test for Ruffin last Saturday still shows high levels in liver enzymes so I have postponed the CT scan once again.

Ruffin has now been completely weened off prednisone as of last Friday. Per my Vet we accelerated the decreased dosage spending one week on 2 x 5mg then last week on 1 x 5mg. Our Vet said this may have been contributing to the enzyme spikes and masking the true problem. Hopefully the new blood test next Saturday will show some improvement.

In searching for causes of liver disease I came across a promising new lead: Hepatic Encephalopathy in Dogs, found on PetMD

The list of symptoms of Hepatic Encephalopathy almost completely matches what I have seen in Ruffin, INCLUDING BLINDNESS

I think this should be looked into further by our own Vet, Dr. Matt McGlasson, at Noah's Ark and I will be bringing Ruff there tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

On the lighter side, I am once again convinced that the strongest vitamin in the world is LOVE.  Bessie has been actively fussing all over Ruff, as the photos show. And Ruff enjoys the attention and responds.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Bessie's new toy

I found it almost impossible to get a good photo of Bessie's new toy that lights up when she bounces it. Using the flash wipes out the glow. So I have been trying to capture an image using the aperture mode only and I got one picture this morning that is fairly decent. The problem with aperture mode is it lowers the shutter speed and the picture looks shaky.
I don't know what is inside the ball that causes the lights to flash or how long the tiny battery will last but Bessie is having a ball playing with her new ball. She has already realized that if she drops it on the floor the lights flash on and off for a few seconds so she walks around the house carrying it in her mouth and occasionally I hear it bounce and then she picks it up again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bessie in her little house

Bessie is the only one of all of our 7 Rottweilers who enjoyed being crated. Now almost 3 years old (July 1st) she considers her crate to be a place to hide, stash the stolen contents from the laundry basket or a safe place to go to to just be alone. I call it her little house and it amazes me that she can still fit inside and turn around in it.
Yesterday I took Bess to Pets Supply Plus to buy dog food and because she was being very good on the leash I bought her some new toys. Two soft rubber balls that squeal when you squeeze them and flash bright lights from inside when you bounce them. I gave Bess the larger one because it is too big to roll under the furniture. Bessie carries it around the house and takes it inside her little house and talks to it as if it was a kitten or maybe an alien from outer space that she is interrogating. Whatever she is doing it sounds like a very worried cry.
The blue toy is actually glowing in the dark.
Last Saturday Ruff had another blood test and there was still several abnormally high enzyme spikes in his liver. I postponed the CT scan again until next Tuesday with yet one, hopefully final, blood test next Saturday. He will also have his prednisone cut in half for the last time and will have 5 days of a single 5mg pill.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ruff has made friends everywhere he goes

My Rottweiler Christmas cards have made Ruff and Bess both very popular. Especially to the local merchants who have actually met them. Some people seem to recognize me just because I had Ruffin and Bessie in the car. Two of their favorite spots are the drive thru windows at the bank and the pharmacy where the girls all come to the window and smile when they see them and give them treats. Yesterday I went to the local Kroger Pharmacy but had to buy groceries first so I had to leave the Rotts at home so I could go inside. One of the ladies who work there came over to ask where they were and I told her how sick Ruff was. 

Today I went back to the pharmacy to pick up a special order and that lady called me over and gave me a large pill bottle filled with biscuits to take home for Ruff. And sent along some prayers, as well.

So I printed out these two photos and will give them to her tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A long bad weekend

I wrote that Thursday afternoon I took Ruff to see the eye doctor and besides mentioning the importance of a CT Scan to locate the suspected tumor, Dr. Haeussler ordered a reduction in the prescription for prednisone from 2 x 20mg to 2 x 10mg daily with the anticipation of cutting it in half again in two weeks. The doctor also warned about serious side effects if the prednisone was suddenly discontinued so it had the be gradually reduced.
That evening Ruff threw up his dinner about 3 hours after he ate. 

After finding out Friday afternoon the CT Scan could be done locally at the Emergency Animal Hospital in Wilder, Kentucky they told me they had to have a blood test to make sure Ruff was healthy enough for anesthesia so first thing Saturday morning I took him to Noah's Ark, in Ft. Wright, our regular veterinary clinic.

Soon as we got home I gave Ruff a late breakfast and he threw up again a few hours later. Then in the afternoon I got a phone call from one of our Vets and she told me the blood test results shows an elevation in the Alanine Transaminase (ALT) enzyme in Ruff's liver. The scary part was when the doctor told me I should bring Ruff in on Monday for a sonogram test of Ruff's liver before I go spend $800 to a $1000 dollars on the CT Scan. The implicit advice was duly noted and I told her I would be there.

For the past few weeks the prednisone has made Ruff extremely thirsty and I have been taking him out every two hours to pee. Now through all the bouts of throw up his kibble has been accompanied with huge quantities of water, too. Saturday night Ruff was again unable to keep his dinner down.

This morning I took Ruff to the Emergency Animal Hospital in Wilder and the doctor gave him an anti-nausea shot (Cerenia) to make his stomach feel better and gave him an injection of fluids under his skin and another injection of of a steroid (Dexamethasone) because Ruff wasn't able to keep the prednisone pills down. I also asked the doctor to do another blood test to have something to compare with the one our Vet did. This new test showed the ALT enzyme to be 893, more than four times the normal range. And that is the critical part that must be treated.

After getting the phone call yesterday from our Vet I did several hours of research on liver disease on a few veterinary web sites and the one encouraging piece of information I read was the liver has great regenerative powers so with proper treatment Ruff could make it through this crisis. It also looks like the prednisone may have contributed to the spike in the ALT enzyme which in turn caused the vomiting.

I wish to thank everyone who wrote to offer useful suggestions and pass on good thoughts for Ruff's recovery. I can't begin to tell you how precious Ruff is to me (and Bess) especially after losing Grandpa Axl last month.

Please keep the prayers coming. 
Since the day 16 years ago when my first male Rottweiler Nikko had spinal cord surgery to remove a ruptured disc and was sent home the following day and got up and walked to the kitchen after my wife called me out for dinner, I have been convinced that food is the greatest motivator to a Rottweiler. This afternoon I saw it again but to a lesser affect.

After I brought Ruff home from the hospital I laid out an area rug on the kitchen floor for him to lie down on. He was acting very tired and lethargic and hardly moved at all. A little while ago I went out to check on him and he was still laying in the same spot where I put him after I put the rug down. I turned my back on him and opened a pastry box to have a snack and as soon as the top of the plastic container popped open Ruff jumped to his feet. I turned around and he was staring at me with a starving, hungry look on his face. Not to make light of a serious situation, whenever anyone is eating a snack he always has a starving, hungry look because that's the way he begs for handouts and treats. But is is comforting to know his body can react like it did. I realize he hasn't held any food in his stomach for three days but the doctor said not to feed him until 6 PM. Then I will boil up some ground sirloin and rice.
First the good news. I took Ruff to our Vet for his sonogram this morning and it came back normal. Dr. Matt McGlasson did recommend waiting a week before having the CT Scan to see that Ruff's liver problems get better. That will need another blood test on Saturday. I took home a bottle of Denamarin which is a combination of SAM-e and milk thistle extract to help Ruff's liver get better.

The correction is another good thing. I read the ALT Enzyme number value wrong on the tiny print out for the blood test done yesterday. It is 693 not 893. Then I got a copy of the blood test done Saturday at our Vet's office and read that the ALT Enzyme then was 573. That blood test also showed the ALP Enzyme was greater than 2800 which was the limit the machine could register. If it is any encouragement, both of these high values are indicative of the affect of the Prednisone.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Update on Ruffin's eyesight problem

I took Ruff to see the Ophthalmologist today and after a few tests he confirmed what I had noticed, that Ruff's eyesight has gotten worse than it was on the last visit two weeks ago. He stressed the importance of the CT Scan as being the only way to know what's going on. 
There is a new wrinkle to this problem. Since the first visit I have been taking Ruff outside on a leash to guide him. I have also been talking to him to have him follow the sound of my voice. But lately it appears he is suffering from hearing loss, as well, and either he cannot hear me or he cannot locate the direction my voice is coming from. He darts his head up and down and side to side when I talk to him. The only thing he responds to is when I touch him on his head or on his nose with a piece of food. And of course, he enjoys hugs, kisses and ear scratches. 
I mentioned the hearing problem to the doctor today and he said it may indicate the tumor is on his brain affecting both his eyesight and his hearing. 
I talked to the veterinary hospital that does the CT Scan and they said it would require sedation and take several hours from start to finish. This poses a problem for me since this place is an hour's drive away and I will need someone to stay with my wife for at least 5 hours. 

One good thing I learned today, if you can call it that, when I spoke to the place that does the CT Scans they told me that the tumors can be treated with 2 or 3 sessions of radiation instead of surgery. In spite of the cost of the CT Scan, I ruled out surgery anyway since Ruff is more than 10 years old. I didn't ask about the cost of the radiation treatment but if its anywhere near what it costs for humans it is not affordable.

Please say a prayer for Ruff. He is more important to me now than ever before.
UPDATE: 9 PM Friday.
Just found out tonight that an emergency animal clinic 20 miles away has acquired their own CT Scanner only 3 months ago. I am thrilled at the prospect of being able to have this done locally since I won't need to find anyone to come and sit with Jacqueline. Instead of a 5 hour round trip it now should take only 2 hours and I will be taking Ruff in for the scan on Tuesday afternoon.  

Prayers seem to be helping already.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Important information for all dog owner's. Euthanasia drug found in dog food.

Yesterday, USA Today ran a story from the Detroit Free Press about some Evanger's dog food being recalled because it was found to contain a drug called pentobarbital. This drug is used by veterinarians to euthanize animals. I did some cross checks on a few links referred to in the story and came up with some very disturbing news. Here is the original story from USA Today.

From USA Today
Euthanasia drug found in dog food prompts recall
Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press 
DETROIT — Evanger's is voluntarily recalling some of its dog food after a drug that is used to anesthetize or put down pets was found in it.

Pentobarbital was found in one lot of the dog food; five dogs got sick and one died, according to the Wheeling, Ill.-based company.

Fifteen states are affected by the Hunk of Beef Au Jus recall. The 12-ounce cans were  manufactured June 6-13 and sold in stores and online in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
As a precaution, Evanger's is recalling Hunk of Beef products manufactured the same week, with lot numbers that start with 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB and 1816E13HB, and expire June 2020.  The second half of the barcode on the back of the label says 20109. The ill and deceased dogs ate from the 1816E06HB13 lot.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is distributing information about the recall as well.

All Evanger’s suppliers of meat products are USDA approved, the company said.

"We feel that we have been let down by our supplier, and in reference to the possible presence of pentobarbital, we have let down our customers," the company said in a press release on its website, adding that it's the first recall in 82 years of manufacturing.

Evanger's said it has terminated its relationship with that supplier after 40 years, though that company services "many other pet food companies."
Read the rest here:  
It was the last sentence quoted above that prompted me to go to the original story on the Evanger's dog food web site. The lengthy company explanation contained a remarkable statement to explain how the euthanasia drug pentobarbital managed to get into their dog food.

Here is the full paragraph as quoted from the Evanger’s web site investigative report:
In our investigation, we spoke with many suppliers to learn how it could even be possible that an animal that had been euthanized could ever possibly end up in the animal food stream.  What we learned was that pentobarbital is very highly controlled, and that, if an animal is euthanized, it is done so by a veterinarian.  Once this process has been done, there is absolutely no regulation that requires the certified Vet to place any kind of marker on the animal indicating that it has been euthanized and guaranteeing that product from euthanized animals cannot enter the food chain.   This is a simple task, and goes a very long way to ensure safety in many areas.
Also contained in the investigative report on the Evanger's web site is this sentence:
Once we learned that pentobarbital was found in the stomach contents of the dog, we dug much deeper into research about the topic.  What we found is that the FDA knows, and has conducted research, on the use of pentobarbital primarily in dry foods.  The research can be found here:
That report on the FDA web site was written in 1998.
Dog Food Survey Results - Survey #1, Qualitative Analyses for Pentobarbital Residue
Dry dog food samples purchased in Laurel, MD, area, March - June 1998
While it is almost 20 years old it does list the known brands of dog foods found at the time to contain the euthanasia drug. But there is no follow up info to find out what was done about it. 

What is most disturbing is the question raised by the news about what your local veterinarian may be doing with the dead bodies of animals they euthanize when the owner doesn't take them away for burial. I think this will lead to some very uncomfortable and difficult conversations with the doctors that treat our beloved pets.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ruffin's eyesight problem worsens

On Thursday I have a followup appointment to take Ruff to The Animal Eye Institute with Dr. Haeussler, the Ophthalmologist. I don't look forward to this with any high hopes since the previous exam suggested that Ruff's eyesight problem was likely caused by a tumor pressing on his optic nerve and that would suggest surgery. But a tumor could only be confirmed after a CT Scan.
We had some false hopes that the Prednisone prescription was doing some good reducing the swelling after a few days but the hopes were dashed when Ruff's blindness condition worsened. Now he seems to be unable to walk through the house without walking into corners and getting confused. Bessie seems unable to recognize the nature of his problem and seems to want to make a game of it all. I am hoping this is some way that she is slowly learning how to help.

A few years ago my brother told me a story about two Labrador Retrievers he once owned. He said he found out one day that one of them was blind and it was only after the other dog had died. For some length of time the dog that could see was helping guide the blind one around and was doing such a good job my brother didn't notice. As I recall this story I realize that Bessie could possibly be of help but I don't know if she can do this intuitively.

I have tried to make things go as easy for Ruff as I can to help him get around without hurting himself. I have taken him out front on a leash because I found when he walked around he often walked into the bushes and got lost. The only place where I can let Ruff go out unattended is in the fenced back yard around the pool. We have a low deck outside the back door that has three steps down to the ground. I have noticed Ruff carefully feeling the steps with his front paw as he tries to go down the steps. So far he has managed to do this by himself but once in awhile when I try to guide him by his collar he freezes at the top step and is hesitant to walk down it.

If anyone who reads this blog has first-hand experience with a blind dog, please send me an email.
Thank you.
I have gotten one reply about living with a blind dog and after reading it I realized my first mistake already, today. I mentioned I saw Ruff trying to get his footing walking down the short flight of steps off the deck. Once he found the first step he went down the next two pretty fast and leaped off the bottom step.

Inside the house he did something late this afternoon he has never done before. I went down to the basement and when I came up I turned off the stair lights but left the door open. The next thing I heard was a loud thump, thump, thump and when I ran to the basement door I saw him walking around downstairs. Apparently he didn't fall down the stairs because he wasn't hurt. He must have gotten his footing set on the top step and did a rapid walk/fall down the stairs. He must have memorized the proper gait going up and down the stairs that he got used over the years but today he did it very fast.
The unusual part of this near deadly accident was the fact that over the years, every time I went down to the basement Ruff would play a game with me and wait at the top of the stairs for me to come back up. I called him the toll collector because he wanted to get hugs and kisses before he would let me get past him. This is the photo I posted here back in October 2012. And who wouldn't want to sit down and give him a big hug and a kiss?
I also did a spot check of the other links I found but didn't see any mention of a two dog family where one dog helped the other. That is what I am hoping for as Bessie gets a little more mature and begins to realize what is going on.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

A little bit of snow today.

As I get older I find myself less eager to go out and tackle a large snow-cleaning project like we've had in the past. I know that my opinion on the subject is not the accepted majority in our house. Our Rottweilers love cold weather and absolutely love deep snow. But being such nice companions they never complain about the little snow we get. Even when it all melts away by late afternoon.
The look on Ruff's face seems to say: Is this all we got?
I remember the good old days when the snow was up to my elbows.
OK, Ruff, and we were all a lot younger in those days.
Meanwhile, baby girl Bess has found her favorite toy laying on the grass that she is no longer allowed to bring in the house. Why? Because she swings it around and over her head just like she does outside.
And I used to wonder what it would be like having a big dog with a waging tail. You know, the kind that could clear off a table with a single swipe.

Fear not, brave friends, the weatherman has predicted more snow for Sunday afternoon. This time I may have to clear the sidewalk myself and not count on nature doing it for me.


Friday, January 27, 2017

More about Ruffin's eyesight problem.

The news isn't good but it isn't conclusively bad. Our Veterinarian gave us a referral to go to The Animal Eye Institute and we made an appointment for last Thursday to see Dr. Haeussler who did some tests on Ruff. What initially appeared to be some small measure of good news - there was nothing wrong with Ruff's eyes - later turned out to be much more serious. Dr. Haeussler thinks there may be a tumor putting pressure on Ruff's optic nerve or maybe his brain.

The doctor put Ruff on a prescription for Prednisone and wants to see him again in two weeks to retest again and see if he responded to the steroid. If not then the next step is to have a CT Scan done to confirm and locate the tumor.
At the moment Ruff has a lot of difficulty seeing close by objects but seems to have workable vision seeing distant objects. He has no difficulty walking around outside but he has some minor difficulty indoors where he bumps into things once in awhile. And I have noticed Bess is staying closer to him then she used to.
On a happy note, Ruff enjoyed his visit to the eye doctor's office and got to meet several of the female staff. He hasn't lost his magnetic appeal one bit.

Please say a prayer for Ruff.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Now we have a problem with Ruffin's eyes.

The Vet spotted some cloudiness in Ruff's eyes on his last exam but it seems the problem has gotten serious enough to get him to see an Ophthalmologist. I am going back to see our Vet to have him sign a referral form before I call for an appointment. Poor old Ruff has also been bumping into things which tells me his eyesight needs some treatment and I hope its treatable and affordable. Somehow I doubt the affordable part when the specialist first wants a referral.

Ruff and Bess came in too visit me tonight. They seem to be traveling in pairs lately so I had to take some new photos. They both seem to be in love as you can easily see.

 You can see the cloudiness in Ruff's eyes in this first photo.

By the way, the period of mourning seems to have passed and I'm very glad it did. I saw what it did to Ruff 4 years ago when his beloved Sassy girl died.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

As expected, now the grieving begins.

In our little family we have all lost someone that we loved. Two days after the passing of Grandpa Axl there is the sound of quiet moaning drifting through the halls. Ruffin, now our oldest, has gone through this moment once before and his grieving for his beloved girl Sassy almost cost him his health. It was then, 4 short years ago, that I watched and listened to his almost constant moaning for 6 months that made me desperate to find a replacement female Rottie to keep him company. That search for an adult female proved futile and eventually led me to adopt a 7-week old puppy whom we named Bessie. And whom Ruffin thoroughly enjoyed raising by himself.

Now poor old Ruff has also lost his one-time best friend Axl who he practically grew up with since he was only 3 years old when we adopted the older Rottweiler. I enjoyed watching them chase each other around our large backyard always noting that 7-year old Axl could run like a deer and the young Ruff was never able to catch him. 

But their playful friendship gradually simmered down as Axl grew older and wasn't able to run around any more. At that point the friendship consisted of frequent face licks as Ruff seemed to be worried about Axl's declining health.

It was the presence of the new little girl that seemed to take Ruf's mind off of worrying about his best buddy so that turned out to be a good thing. Ruffin had a new love in his life and everything was right again.

And the contentious relationship that began when the feisty little fur-ball tried to get the old Rottweiler to play with her and ended with her being scooted across the hardwood floor from a well placed paw swipe, gradually progressed from Grumpy Grandpa to respected, old man Grandpa. So a different kind of love developed that crossed over a few generations.

But now the almost adult two and a half year old young lady Rott is beginning to experience her own sense of grief for the first time. I saw it begin when she began sniffing all the places where Axl used to lay down near his Mom. She was definitely looking for him, even licking the floor where he used to sleep. And at night I hear her soft mewing cries while she is sleeping on my bed. I know she is dreaming of those better days.

As for me, I cry to myself reading the sad comments that come in from people I've never met. And I realize that I had the privilege to have lived with a most special Rottweiler that has managed to affect the hearts of so many people around the world. But I also have the benefit of a vast collection of photos that retell all the good times. 

Click the images below for a larger view.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Beautiful Eulogy Written for Our Grandpa Axl

There was so much more I wanted to write yesterday about the passing of our devoted companion but I was too choked up with my own emotions to put it down. But there is one thing I want to say about the last words I spoke to the old Rottweiler as he dozed off for the last time. I told Mr. Axl I was relieving him from his duties and he could rest in peace knowing that I would finish his task caring for his Mom until they meet again.

Then I received the following email this morning and it brought more tears to my eyes. It expresses the sentiments that I was unable to put in my own words and the woman who wrote it has given me permission to publish it because it deserves not to be hidden among the comments.

Dearest Nelson

I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks and a heaviness I cant describe. I have no words to convey how saddened I am by this email. I had been going through all of my backlog and was so excited to email you this morning with the updates on Paige and the Pic I took yesterday after your beautiful card arrived for her. But now I feel so upset by your news, and don't know where to start.

I can only imagine how hard it must have been to take him for that last drive. I showed Wayne the picture you sent us with the card for Paige and he was amazed at how long and well he had stuck it out. I also sit here and think about one of your posts that I was going to discuss with you, which now actually makes so much sense to me. 

You captured the most amazing image of Jacqueline with her hand on Axl’s head. You say that this is not a regular occurrence and I sit here and wonder if that was not maybe her bidding farewell to a great friend and carer.  Maybe she was telling him it was ok to go.. That she had You and Ruff and Bess to keep her company. Maybe she sensed his discomfort and eased his pain through her acknowledging him… I might be way off here, but I feel that she may have known, as they would with us.

My deepest condolences Nelson, take comfort in knowing that you offered him a life like none other could have, in allowing him to be himself and be a carer for Jacqueline, Looking after him so well and Loving Him Eternally.

Hugs and kisses with a broken heart

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our most devoted Rottweiler is gone. Axl 2001-2017

Axl's legacy will live on forever. There has never been a more devoted Rottweiler than him.

For several months it had become obvious that old man Axl was having trouble walking. His hind legs just didn't seem to work right and his feet were slipping when he tried to stand and walk on our hardwood floors. His devotion to duty was so great he never once voiced a complaint or sounded a cry of pain, he just wanted to keep on doing his job, being near his Mom. No one ever said he couldn't sleep on the job and being very old he took lots of naps, at times almost at Jacqueline's feet. After all he only needed to walk to go out and pee or go to the kitchen for meals or water. A few days ago I thought I found a way to help him. I bought a package of Pawz rubber booties and the minute I pulled a pair onto his hind feet he was able to stand and walk as good as new.

Then last night without any warning Axl suffered two massive seizures less than 3 hours apart. After each one he fell into a deep sleep and I thought he was never going to last the night. This morning I found him wide awake but unable to stand on his own so I called a neighbor to help me carry him out to my van and I took him for his last ride to our long-time Veterinary doctor who put him to sleep. 

I can tell you today that tears of joy and tears of sorrow all taste the same.

Arrangements were made for Axl to receive a private cremation and his ashes will be placed in his Mom's casket when she dies. That way they can spend eternity together and wait for the rest of our family to join them.

Rest In Peace old man, you've earned your long nap. Wait for Mom at the bridge.

It has been my profound honor to have known you.

Eulogy from a family friend

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A special Happy Birthday for a special little girl

This is a bit out of the ordinary but possibly very necessary. I want to wish a special Happy Birthday to the daughter of a special friend of this blog who lives on the other side of the world in a place where mail delivery isn't always guaranteed. This is the message I sent her in the mail almost four weeks ago.

H.F., the little bear is from London Teddy Bears and I'm holding one in reserve for you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Baby It's Cold Outside

The weather outside is crazy. On Christmas day we had high 50's to mid 60's for daytime temperatures. Forget about Dreaming for a White Christmas. When Santa flew through here he had to take off his overcoat.
Two days ago we had out first snow, all of a single inch, with the temperature in the teens. Then the bottom fell out of the thermometer and we had a really cold dip in temperature. Way down to ZERO this morning. As you might already know if you live in a cold climate, Rottweilers love snow and cold air. They have some fantastic insulation that keeps them warm inside yet the snow doesn't even melt on them until they come in the house. But when the temperature gets really cold they don't care to stay outside for very long, either.

Here is a picture of baby Bess enjoying her taste of Winter this year. And it was just as cold outside yesterday as it looks.
And one more photo of the daring little girl waiting to get let back in the house. This photo was taken this morning and although the Sun was out and the sky was clear the morning temperature was ZERO. And it was so cold that the minute the inside door was opened the outside storm door got covered with frost.
Let me in.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The love is still there.

This morning while I was wheeling Jacqueline out to the kitchen for breakfast we happened to pass by old man Axl who was sitting in the family room. Axl has always shown a preference to following rather that to walk ahead but I had to make him leave the bedroom when I was pushing the wheelchair and there was no room for him to get behind us. While I tried to get him to move out of the way I stopped pushing the wheelchair right next to him. Suddenly Jacqueline extended her hand and placed it on his head. It was either that or she simply dropped her arm off the armrest. I want to believe she did it on purpose. And the two of them stayed that way for a minute or so, long enough for me to go get the camera.
She never turned her head to look at him but he stayed very still while her hand lay on his head. I am sure that somehow she felt his presence and knew he was there. And I'm sure he knew his mom still loved him.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy Family: In our house 3 is a lucky number.

In our house our Rottweilers always seemed to come in threes. Three has always been the 'just right' combination, whether it was two girls and a boy or two boys and a girl. This all started way back when 20 years ago we unexpectedly found ourselves living with the Three Bears, our first baby girl Mocha and her two parents, pappa Nikko and momma Felony. The current iteration brings together three generations of non-related personalities: Grandpa Axl, age 15, Ruffin, age 10 and baby Bess age 2 1/2. What makes it all work is their shared love for each other. As I always tell people, Love is the most powerful force and the strongest vitamin in the world.
So I happen to enjoy taking photos of the three of them whenever I have the opportunity. Sometimes the best shots are missed when I find myself without a camera but manage to catch up with the continuing play fest, such as these two episodes the other day.

It all started in the hallway, which by itself presented some obstacles in choosing the right camera angles.

And ended up in Mom's crowded bedroom yesterday afternoon while she was getting a bath from one of the visiting hospice workers. This was the missed opportunity where I didn't have the camera as I watched when it started with Ruff giving his old friend Axl a whole bunch of face licks. Almost as if he was imitating what was going on behind me. And Axl seemed to be enjoying his bath as well until I got back with the camera to catch Bess getting into the game.
This much I'm sure of and while I have said they spend a lot of time entertaining us, this was all for their own enjoyment. They love each other  as much as they love us  and we love them. And that explanation also comes in threes.

Friday, December 30, 2016


From all of us to all of you, may the new year be the best of all the years that ever was.