The Red Dog was lucky this evening finally to meet a lady who is both a survivor and a true inspiration. Charlotte has overcome so much with such equanimity that the Red Dog cannot help but be profoundly humbled...and she further has decided that Charlotte's husband Skip is deserving of the title "Best in Show - Best Husband" for sure!!
This is a very special video for the Red Dog's Aunt Leslie in which she displays her enthusiasm and appetite for...pork! The Red Dog loves her newest addition to her personal pig pen, and all thanks for this go to Aunt Les, Tiki and Sophie. WOOF!
The Red Dog has indicated that we would be remiss if we did not mention how beautifully she ran (showing-off, of course) for Sara and Corey. Furthermore, they commented that she ran like a four-leggeddog. How cool is that, the Red Dog wants to know? IN ADDITION, she wants to be sure that everyone knows she visited her Uncle Stephen tonight and ran for him, too. The Red Dog says "sorry she didn't stay and play" to Uncle Stephen's pups Lucky and Sonny. We're hopeful this is all the Red Dog has to say because our hands are getting tired.
The Red Dog is feeling very full of herself these days as she has been visited by a growing number of loyal followers. Of course she expects to see her Uncle Stephen on a regular basis, but still he deserves a "WOOF-out". (Get it? Woof-out? Like shout-out? Ooooh the Red Dog is funny!) Next came her new best friends JoAnn and Mary. She was happy to see them both times they came by and she hopes they continue to torture her mom and love the Red Dog quite often. Today was very exciting as she was visited by her first celebrity followers Sara and Corey. While the uninformed may ask "Who are Sara and Corey?", the animal lovers out there will know...at least the Red Dog thinks so, and if you don't, you should! They are Mr. Man's heroes and inspiration to many in our area, as they have created wonderful things like this, this and this! They loved the Red Dog, by the way.
Despite some evidence to the contrary, the Red Dog wants to announce that she often is very sweet. She is rambunctious and likes to engage in good-natured ribbing, but deep down she is mush. Case in point:
Today the Red Dog is feeling even better, so she took Mr. Man for a drag down the hill to the back of Margaret's yard in search of you-know-who. Well, fortunately for our unnamed squirrel friend, he was not to be found and the Red Dog took a big...(ahem)...instead. After Mr. Man performed his act of civic servitude, she took him for an even more impressive drag back up the hill. The Red Dog then rested before her neighbor (and loyal follower) Leila stopped-by with cookies (made of chocolate) for the people. The Red Dog would like to explain to her friend Leila exactly how this hierarchy-of-being-think works...first, give unto the Red Dog that which is hers; then, if anything is left, everyone else may share the crumbs. Shiva suggests that she might want to try this cookie thing again with the proper ingredients! (Mr. Man would like to interrupt to tell Leila not to pay attention to the ranting of a three-legged dog and that the cookies are awesome!) Bah! If the Red Dog isn't happy, then nothing else matters, people. Feed the Red Dog, then everything else in your lives will fall into place.
Mr. Man would like to take this opportunity to tell Leila that the Red Dog already is spoiled beyond all recognition and that the chocolate and ginger people-centric cookies are wonderful and greatly appreciated. He wants to assure her that the Red Dog is in no way being neglected and both he and Shiva's Mom thank her very much (and she is welcome to make them more yummy stuff in the future!). They love having a good neighbor like her! He also thinks the celebrity status may be going to the Red Dog's head.
As the Red Dog has reported previously, chemotherapy is not a particularly uplifting experience; however, she is feeling much more like herself over the last 24 hours. Her people have presented her with several new food options to try (she picked this and this so far) and have religiously applied the car ride principle with dramatic results. Her mood has lifted and a certain biologic function is returning to normal...mind you, it wasn't messy or anything like some other chemo side effects, it was more along the lines of non-existent for the first day or two. Happily, all is moving smoothly, if you get the Red Dog's drift. The Red Dog also is acting more like her old energetic self. In anticipation of the approaching tsunami of Red Dog-ness that has been normal day-to-day life prior to this cancer episode, Mr. Man has ordered this for her. Should be fun!
The Red Dog says BIG WOOF to everyone who ran by her house in today's Tennessee Sports Medicine EXPO 10K/5K! Tripods still can run, you know, just not quite as quickly as they could when they had that extra leg. The Red Dog was especially excited to see friends like Brian S., Rebecca M., Stacey S. and Dr. Lisa C...you all inspire her!
The Red Dog would like to announce that, after long, arduous and rigorous study this evening, she has discovered the incontrovertible scientific truth that the side-effects of chemotherapy are mitigated or even eliminated entirely by the strategic application and implementation of the car ride principle. She just thought you'd like to know.
While the Red Dog has fared better than most throughout this process, she safely can say that chemo sucks. Not in the galactic, toilet-hugging, all-encompassing suck that comes from forgetting that putting ice cubes in your bottled water while in Mexico might be defeating the purpose; rather, it's the subtle, low-grade suck that drains your energy, turns the sky a little gray and makes you look forward to sleep because tomorrow has to be better. She has had no gastrointestinal distress or other obvious symptoms of side effects, but she has been "blah" and low in energy. Fortunately, this generally lasts only a couple of days in our four-legged friends, so she should be back in full fighting-trim by the weekend.
The Red Dog also wants to thank her Auntie Monique in Atlanta for being so kind to her and her people. There are no words (well, she IS a dog after all) to describe the gratitude all of us feel for the sweetness and consideration she has shown. This is angel stuff, and she gets a big WOOF from the entire Red Dog family!
First of all, special thanks must go out to the following Red Dog peeps: Dr. Brian Rutherford and his veterinary technician (and wife!) Anna from Dr. Mitch's clinic who administered Shiva's first chemotherapy treatment today. They both are knowledgeable, patient and very kind. In addition, Brenda Rasch was there (as always) to instill calm and healing in the Red Dog. All of you helped to make it a very non-threatening and positive experience. BIG WOOF!
In addition, as part of her post-chemo "therapy", the Red Dog will be visiting one (ok, two) of her favorite places in the next few days. The first is Knoxville'sMarket Square Mall, a place where beautiful people such as the Red Dog can go to see (and sniff) one another in a lovely outdoor setting (and maybe try to sneak a bite of Tomato Head pizza!!) . The second is Mast General Store, the most dog and people-friendly retail experience the Red Dog has ever seen! She's especially interested in their wonderful selection of doggie supplies! Maybe they'll have a vest she can try. The Red Dog also appreciates the proper adoration accorded her by the store staff. They are most delicious!
Finally, thanks to all of you for being so supportive to the Red Dog and her people. Although she gets to see many of you on a regular basis, those distant friends mean just as much to the Red Dog. Here's to many more fun times with all of you!
Because the Red Dog is not interested in a recurrence of the nasty osteosarcoma stuff, she has decided to get some chemo tomorrow. Her people have told the Red Dog that it is a gentle drug called carboplatin and it will be a 15-minute visit to the doctor's office. The Red Dog highly doubts this as no one EVER gets in and out of the doctor's office in 15 minutes! Whatever the case, Brenda will be there to give some Healing Touch to the Red Dog so it will be fine and good. The people want you to say prayers for her and them, too! WOOF!
The Red Dog would like to announce the creation of a very special website that will help all of her doggie (and kitty) friends and their people...well, it's a secret because the Red Dog loves surprises! The Red Dog has commanded her people to buy this for her and they have done so. She will tell all the world about nasty things like osteosarcoma, sago palms (and all of their deadly little friends) and cats stuck in trees. It will be a fun online community where all of the Red Dog's followers can share their stories and advice! It will be good.
While we don't have video documentary evidence yet that proves the staples were removed today, we can confirm that the Red Dog was at Dr. Mitch's clinic and now can pass through an airport metal detector without inconvenient cavity searches!
...minty fresh so I can kiss you! This was taken in 2005 prior to the Red Dog becoming the White-Faced Red Dog...wasn't she hot? Of course, just like our friend Jim says, "white on the face makes me weak in the knees!"
...and Black Obsidian wins in a landslide (just like Shiva's Mom said it would)! Thanks to everyone who commented, called or emailed their votes. We will take a measurement after her re-check on Monday and post a photo of the Red Dog in her new vest once it arrives. Thanks!
The Red Dog would like to thank some more of her followers for their calls, messages and general support: Richard & Nancy, David & Hilary, Sean (Crawdaddy), Amanda & a special smooch to her aunt Rita (for the delicious, fresh pink pork!). There will be many more to come but right now the Red Dog has to go eat supper. TTFN! (WOOF!)
As we've read countless stories of other canine amputee friends on the "Treatment and Recovery" forum at tripawds.com, we have come to the realization of just how lucky we (and the Red Dog, of course) have been through this process. While other dogs have to stay heavily medicated for 3, 4 or even 5 weeks, Shiva was off all pain meds at a week. While other dogs struggle with appetite, coordination and attitude, the Red Dog eats like a (pink) pig, pulls like a truck and demands a car ride at least once-a-day. Aside from Shiva's obvious magnificence, we have to give credit to Brenda for the healing touch treatments and to all of you for the prayers and good wishes. The support everyone has shown thus far has been nothing short of amazing. Now just pray that Shiva sails through the chemo like she did the surgery. Thanks! WOOF!
Btw...a "beauty" question from the Red Dog...which color will suit her lovely coat better...Red Currant or Black Obsidian? Please vote in "Comments". WOOF WOOF!
The Red Dog's recovery progress continues unabated as she continues to eat, drink and be VERY merry. Her appetite is solid and her attitude is good, despite the long stretches confined to the b-o-r-i-n-g bathroom while her people are gone. She has established (through sheer force of will, of course) an daily ritual whereby Mr. Man conveys her to the Honda for an evening drive through the local regions surrounding her abode...her "queendom", if you will. This is becoming a very fun thing to do after a long, arduous day of resting and sleep. Her incision has healed at a rapid clip, and her lovely fur is growing quickly to cover the bare areas left from surgery.
Shiva also would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has joined as a follower or called to inquire about her progress. Even she didn't realize the depth of her fame and the impact her existence has had on the rest of the world. The Red Dog thanks you all and will keep YOU in her prayers, as well! WOOF!
Today Shiva violated Dr. Mitch's instructions by climbing (jumping) onto the couch. This is NOT because she doesn't love Dr. Mitch; rather, it is because the Red Dog's body sometimes is incapable of containing her full spirit. She was very sorry and hid her face so that she could hide her shame. Fortunately she seems none the worse for wear; however, her people will keep an even closer eye on her from now on. She also was taken for her daily car ride and stopped-by her uncle Stephen's house to say "hi" to him. There was much joy! She loves him almost as much as her own people.
The Red Dog would like everyone to know that she's not getting any younger over here and she needs more followers! To those who have joined, she will be forever grateful; to those yet to join, there always will be room for you; and to those who don't have a clue as to what she is talking about, GET WITH THE PROGRAM, PEOPLE!!!!! Come on, chop chop!
To clarify the previous post, the pathology results were on the tumor in the removed leg. There was an outside chance that the tumor could have been another form of cancer, and, although amputation still would have been the initial course of action, the ensuing chemotherapy regimen (and prognosis) would have differed.
The pathology results came in today, and the definitive diagnosis (as we feared) is osteosarcoma. While this is sobering, the recovery is going well and the odds are in favor of a good amount of quality time with the Red Dog before we see its ugly head again. Her chemotherapy protocol will be discussed at her two-week check-up next Monday, so we will keep you posted on that. Incidentally, while we are not fans of what chemo does to the body, the survival statistics for this disease without chemo are horrid (see the above osteosarcoma link for them). Just say a prayer and understand that the Red Dog sees all and will leave when she's damn good and ready...and not a minute sooner!
The Red Dog would like to announce that she has read a book called "The Art of Racing in the Rain" and has decided it to be worthy of the title "Best Book Ever According to the Red Dog (which is the only opinion that matters anyway)" and requires all of her followers to read it right now. So hurry up and go get it...or should the Red Dog say "hurry up and go fetch it"? Sometimes the Red Dog makes herself laugh.
Shiva the Red Dog would like to love and appreciate her human mommy and her human "mammy" (grandmother t0 the English-speakers in the audience) for being so kind (except for the recent captivity, of course) and submissive to her. She knows it is easy to love the Red Dog, but they do it especially well! She also sends her love to all of the mommies everywhere because they make the (Red Dog's) world go 'round. WOOF!
The Red Dog would like to thank two of her favorite people for their love (and gifts, of course): 1) Mrs. G. for her tremendous generosity and concern...she is the best "adopted" grandmother the Red Dog could ask for; and 2) Aunt Donna for coming to visit this morning with those special treats the Red Dog ordered (unbeknownst to her owners) and for the pretty runner rug. It is important to note that tripod dogs fare much better on carpet or rugs than on hardwood or tile floors. Thanks!
While we (rightfully) have focused the spotlight of this blog on Shiva, the Red Dog (who sees all), we must not neglect the other denizens of our house, and so we present you with the following video of Katy, Shiva, Joey & Ajax in "Just Hangin'":
We follow with a brief snippet of Daisy & Snoopy "Chilling-out":
And finally, we finish with Ajax and Speck strutting their stuff in "Mah Kittehs":
As promised, what follows are several videos documenting the Red Dog's post operative progress.
1) We begin with a quick look at the Red Dog (still sporting designer fishnet, the pain pump and looking very much like a three-legged red horse carrying a headless jockey) demonstrating the "3 days after surgery elevated tripod kibble consumption technique":
2) We continue with an up-close-and-personal view of Dr. Mitch's masterpiece on Shiva's right shoulder. The healing power of dogs is staggering:
3) Finally, we leave you with a musical interlude of sunshine, music, a smiling three-legger and a very special passing fan in "Sunny Day Stroll, Tripod Style":
Because of the unfortunate tone of the previous post from the Red Dog, we find it necessary to respond to her complaint. While her activities have been curtailed, anyone who has a "surgically-enhanced" tripod dog understands the critical nature of the post-op recuperation period. Aside from the shiny row of staples adorning Shiva's incision, she also has countless subcutaneous sutures holding it all together. Bleeding, torn tissue and even death could result from "forbidden" activities such as running, jumping and stair-climbing. We fully acknowledge our role in preventing irrational exuberance such as this. We humbly encourage the Red Dog to get over her own bad self right now. With love, The "Captors"
This is a message from the Emergency Red Dog Broadcast System. This IS an actual emergency as the Red Dog has found to her horror that the nice (yeah, right) people who live in her house and serve her ACTUALLY ARE HER CAPTORS!!!!!! Never before in the Red Dog's life has she felt this deprived of her liberty and she asks that escape plans be formulated immediately. She must go now as typing with one paw is hard and the man is coming this way.
We visited Dr. Mitch yesterday morning, where the pain pump and bandages were removed and her progress was assessed. At this point, two things are becoming clear: 1) Shiva is healing very quickly and well, especially considering her age, and 2) We are in deep trouble as we face the herculean task of keeping her "contained" for the next 5+ weeks. (Remember the old Sportscenter tagline "You can't stop her, you can only hope to contain her"? That's Shiva. With a bullet. A big, red one.) She has decided that one of the new benefits of her condition is the right to accompany us on any and all car rides, which should be really fun as we move into summer. She also has decided that antibiotics taste like one of the few thing(s) repellent to Golden Retrievers, and she will not eat her food if the little green buggers are present in the dish. This has created the new "Cream Cheese/Pill Blob" food group in the Red Dog's diet.
We are reimplementing as much of her old routine as possible, and last night she was able to sleep in her accustomed "Big Red Wedge" position between us...and it was good (for her). While this may seem like minuscule progress to the Red Dog, we hope that these small steps toward normalcy will keep her happy and sane until we are able to give back biggies like walks, swims and trips to mingle with her adoring public. Until then, please feel free to pray, send unsolicited gifts of rum and anything else that may keep all of us alive and speaking to one another for the next month-and-a-half. Look for a flurry of "After" videos to appear later tonight. Thanks for being the wonderful friends and followers that you are!
The Red Dog would like to thank her Aunt Amy in Texas for shipping her the wonderful and supremely perfect gift of "fresh" pork for her enjoyment. There truly is nothing more wonderful than a soft, fuzzy pink pig clamped firmly in one's jaws. As you will see, not even Ajax the idiot...um, ok...Greek Warrior kitty would dare try to steal the pink pig!
Btw...the big thing on Shiva's back (in the sexy fishnet) is her Stryker Pain Pump. She most likely will have it removed at her recheck tomorrow. We can tell she's feeling some discomfort since the pump ran dry this afternoon (it contained a 3-day supply), but we're hoping that she's ready to be weaned from it. Keep your paws crossed...we'll find out in the morning!
The Red Dog directs you to disregard the whiny tone of the previous post. Those people knew what they were getting into a long time ago. All followers are commanded to visit www.tripawds.com to revel in the magnificence that is the three-legged dog. No explanation is necessary. WOOF!
As predicted, the Red Dog is becoming more full of herself by the day. Last night she dragged a vet tech across the floor at Dr. Mitch's clinic where she had gone for a re-check, and today she has tried to jump on the couch and also charge the door upon the arrival of Tony the mailman. In addition, she seems to exhibit some anxiety as a side-effect to the Tramadol so we now have nothing to use as a sedative. The magnitude of our endeavor is slowly dawning upon us.
The Red Dog would like to announce the addition of the following to her "Roster of Favorite People": 1) Dr. Mitch Rosenzweig, DVM and his entire staff at Veterinary Surgical Services in Knoxville and 2) Brenda Rasch, PT, PC, physical therapist and Healing Touch practitioner extraordinaire!
Dr. Mitch and his staff were compassionate and highly professional in their dealings both with Shiva and her people, and her condition was excellent when we picked her up yesterday. No question has been treated as unimportant and they have given us consistent and honest advice throughout the process. We give them three paws up (you know why we can't give them four)!
Brenda has provided a wonderful complementary approach as the Red Dog begins her healing process, including being there with her right after surgery (thanks Dr. Mitch!). Healing Touch can aid in post-anesthesia recovery and surgical site healing, and the physical therapy balance exercises help develop her coordination as a tripod. The Red Dog truly is humbled by the care all of the folks mentioned above have given her.
While the Red Dog may be bored, we are nervous and apprehensive as we undergo this long and arduous process. Although Shiva is happy to be home (she rested comfortably all night), we can tell she has moments of being confused and frustrated. Thank God dogs live in the moment or she might be as mental as us! Fortunately, her smile returns often, along with tail wags and the "twitchy-butt". Anyway, we expect slow, daily improvement as she recovers from surgery and acclimates to her new existence. She will return to the clinic Friday for removal of her Stryker Pain Pump and her bandages. At that point, her surgery site will be examined and she will be reweighed (did we mention that the Red Dog may be a touch overweight?). In two weeks, she will have staples and sutures removed and should be given a bit more latitude regarding activity restrictions. Full release, however, will not be granted until six weeks post-op. Please pray for us...we'll need it!
The Red Dog would like everyone to know that this waiting to get better stuff S-U-C-K-S! It's boring and it's raining...blech! Thank God mom has agreed to be the Red Dog's PUH (Personal Umbrella Holder) while Mr. Man does the heavy lifting. Wish you were here!
The Red Dog (and her people) would like to express very special thanks to her Guardian Angel in Nashville for being so sweet and generous to her. Your kindness is more appreciated than you will ever know.
Shiva is home! So we arrive at the clinic to pick-up the Red Dog and the veterinary technician informs us that she has just taken another tech for a "run". "A run?" we ask with more than a little incredulity. "Yes...a run. They took her out for a pee and she took them for a run across the parking lot". There you have it...the Red Dog in a nutshell.
She is a bit painful and also a little unsteady on her feet, but she is very happy to be home. The pack also seems settled, especially BFF Katy. All in all, a big blessing for everyone (well, except for Shiva's leg). Thanks for all of the support!
Shiva woke fully around 8 pm last night and is on her way to coming home either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. She is experiencing some pain but is alert and functioning (ie, she peed...twice!). We will know more when we speak to the doctor around 2 or 3 this afternoon. Thanks for all of the continued thoughts and prayers.
As an aside, the Red Dog sees all and is pleased that her flock has grown. Now she asks that you go out unto the masses and convert the nonbelievers. She is benevolent and omniscient, and she judges no one (as long as they bow to her). Thanks!
Legs, that is. We just returned from visiting the new and improved Red Dog, Version 3.0 (Tripod Model), and she is resting comfortably. Of course, if you were enjoying Dr. Mitch's pain protocol you'd be comfortable too! Shiva will be kept sedated for the first twelve hours post-op to minimize pain and promote healing and we will pick her up tomorrow after lunch. Then it's two weeks of restriction before she once again is unleashed on her adoring public. A funny moment occurred when Dr. Mitch commented on how surgery took a bit longer than expected due to how much muscle the Red Dog has in her chest and shoulders. Those of you who know her best (especially the ones she's knocked on their butts) can bear painful witness to the truth of his words! Keep her in your thoughts and prayers and thanks for the wonderful support.
Shiva currently is at the clinic going through a battery of tests that will determine whether or not she can have the surgery. If she receives an all clear, she will undergo surgery this afternoon; if not, she will come home...for a while. Pray.
So we're beginning to figure out this blogging stuff and now Debra and I both are contributors...this way I won't start having an identity crisis every time I post something as Shiva's Mom!
Btw...thanks to all of you who have called and emailed with support and prayers for the Red Dog. Monday really is a big day and we've been trying very hard not to think too much about it. Shiva seems none the worse for wear (other than the obvious limp) now that she gets some Tramadol to go along with her meals. Mmmmm good!
It has come to the Red Dog's attention that only one person in the world has become an "official" follower of hers, and she would like all of her other subjects (the rest of the inhabitants of planet Earth) to know that it's high time they get on the stick and register! Who do they (you) think they (you) are? She knows they (you) are out there and it is time for each and every one of them (you) to step up and sign up! Get busy, people!
In order to better understand a dynamic force of nature like the Red Dog, one needs to gain a better understanding of her followers, various miscellaneous hangers-on and pack members. With that said, we present Katy, Daisy, Snoopy, Joey, Speck and Ajax...the six wonderful little worlds that circle Shiva's star. Enjoy!
While many presentations of limping behavior stem from temporary causes such as bumps, bruises, sprains, etc., any limp that persists beyond a week should be seen by your veterinarian. This is especially critical if you have a large or giant breed dog, as they are MUCH more likely to develop osteosarcomas than smaller dogs. Ideally, examination should occur within the first 24-48 hours of onset, especially if the animal is non-weight-bearing on that limb. Once in the company of your vet, ask them for an x-ray (even if they don't offer one). This is the only reliable early method for spotting this type of cancer as it does not show-up on routine bloodwork and manifests from the inside of the bone. An unfortunate fact is that many cases are discovered after a pathologic fracture occurs...and at that point it's usually too late for treatment as the disease has metastasized into the lungs or other organs. The price of a few x-rays should mean nothing to you when compared to these facts: up to 85% of all bone cancers in dogs are osteosarcomas, these truly are the most painful of all tumors and survival time when not treated is 3-4 months. Just do it.