Although this Christmas has at times been more somber than years past, we've tried to maintain our perspective throughout. Yesterday, for example, we discovered a shocking scene in our basement that was in need of further investigation. Please watch this short clip, and let us know if you have any ideas:
This is what we see every night as we prepare for bed: two beautiful Golden girls waiting for their people to shut up, turn off the lights and climb in. Please forgive the zebra print...it's the "dog sheet!"
Sadly, since this video was taken, Katy has been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, a nasty cancer even worse that the osteosarcoma Shiva faced. She seems to be making it through the first crisis, but prayers are really the only prescription that works...so please send lots and lots of them!
Shiva the Red Dog informed me today that she had some wisdom she wanted me to share with her followers regarding what she believes to be a dog's meaning of life. Without further discussion, she asks that you click here to read her brief manifesto in all its magnificence. WOOF!
Shiva the Red Dog has been busy enjoying the beautiful fall weather, and she even took a quick trip to Tybee Island in the middle of it all. While she was there, she pulled a new trick out of her expansive bag of them. She took advantage of all the activity in the pool to slip in without her life jacket, and she surprised everyone by cutting through the water like a three-legged otter. Later, we were able to capture a similar moment on film. Special cameos are made by her favorite girls Olivia, Kennedy and Kayden. Here she is, in all her aquatic glory:
Want to know what's been happening lately here at the home of the Red Dog? Here's cinematic proof that two old dogs still know how to have fun, as Shiva the Red Dog and her BFF Katy tussle in the afternoon sun!
Today is a special day. Fifteen months ago, on May 4th, 2009, our beautiful Red Dog faced the surgeon's scalpel and both won and lost something important. She lost her right front leg and scapula, receiving in exchange hundreds and hundreds of stitches and staples, and she won a reprieve, a reprieve from the ticking of her life's clock thanks to the insidious cancer that lurked within her. What has she done since then? The picture above is a perfect frozen frame of what we've tried to make her life be...a celebration of joy and fun and everyday stuff. A celebration of time, our most precious gift.
Where does this time go? And how much do we have? These ruminations may sound contrived and overly-dramatic, but they illustrate the urgency felt as our pets age, especially one that has beaten the odds as Shiva has. The bittersweet passage of the days is inextricably woven with the ecstatic joy of survival and the absolute certitude of mortality. The endpoint is upon us before we know it, often without warning.
Emotions were raw as Shiva's Mom and I took the Red Dog to see Dr. Maples for some blood work and a checkup two weeks ago in anticipation of her latest milestone. Fifteen months might not seem like a lot, but when considering the multiples of aging in dogs combined with the massive odds against surviving osteosarcoma for that long, it may as well be an eternity. Even with amputation and multiple rounds of chemo, fewer than half of the dogs with the disease make it to a year. Without chemo (or with only one round, like Shiva had), it's four to five months.
Our stress was off the charts as we arrived at the clinic. Shiva, sensing this - along with the fact that bad things were certain to happen there - immediately began pulling for the door and whining like a puppy, two things those who know her know aren't characteristic of her. Fortune smiled on all of us, however, as Dr. Brandi and her crack staff made quick work of the exam and extraction of fluids, and we were out the door in short order. We then took Shiva and newly-liberated foster kitty Pink to see her surgeon Dr. Mitch, who was pleasantly surprised to see her in such good condition so long after surgery. After that, we dropped off Pink and headed back to the house with the knowledge that the unknown soon was to become known, no matter how terrible the truth might be.
We put our experience with waiting to the test over the next 48 hours. After all, we waited to find out if Shiva was healthy enough for surgery, waited to find out if Shiva survived surgery, waited to see if she would recover from surgery, waited for the results of previous post-op blood tests. So we waited...and prayed. And waited some more.
Two days later, a nondescript text message arrived proclaiming the health and fitness of the Red Dog. Just like that, we were off the hook. Again.
How do you express gratitude for such a thing? How do you reconcile her survival with the pups that don't live that long, or don't even make it through surgery? How do you explain it?
While the conventional expectation of the miraculous is sudden and certain change, maybe it's the slow, gradual approach we should be seeking. Indeed, is it not miraculous that this goofy dog is still here? Certainly the odds say so. Dr. Mitch said she exceeded all prognoses and expectations, and he's the steely-eyed professional. After all, inspiration is where you find it...you just have to look. Maybe she's here to inspire others. Maybe she's here to inspire us. Whatever the case, we're choosing to see the miraculous, however small it may be, in the life of our dog.
And if you really think about it, maybe that's exactly the kind of place the truth ought to be.
Today Pink launched back into the world and is now ensconced in his foster home. Thanks again to Mark and Liana. He is taking another round of antibiotics to finish the job on the URI, and Dr. Maples thought some lysine would help him as well.
A special thank you to everyone who donated to his cause. We are leaving the account open until 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon, as several folks have requested a bit more time for donations. Currently, even with the added meds, we only need around $80. See the post below for donation info, and thanks again!
The most exciting part of the day was Shiva's ride in the car with Pink during the transfer. She was fascinated with how small he is...he must smell bigger than he looks. She even got to stop by to visit Dr. Mitch to say hi. He was happy to see how well she's doing, and he assured us that she has exceeded all expectations and prognoses. He really loves Goldens, but Shiva was just happy he didn't steal another one of her legs!
Rapidly becoming 'the little kitty that could', Pink is making remarkable progress in his recovery from a nasty URI. The good folks at Boyds Creek Animal Hospital have been showering him with affection, as well as twice-daily doses of fish-flavored antibiotics, producing an amazing transformation.
Just as a reminder, here he is shortly before his capture:
Now check him out a week into his stay at BCAH:
What a difference seven days, some good meds, and lots of hugs and kisses make...way to go, BCAH staff!
Pink is scheduled to be released into foster care on Monday, and we're still keen to find him a forever home. Please share this with everyone you know. We're also down to about $70 in our quest for donations, so thanks for the generous support...we're almost there!
Boyds Creek Animal Hospital will be open at 8am on Monday, and they can be reached at 865-577-2738.
First off, thanks to Mark and Liana for offering a place in their home to foster Pink until permanent placement can be found. You two really are miracles!
Second, thanks to all who have donated thus far. At this point, we only need around another $140 to cover his vet care, and we have until 11 am Monday to do so. Debra and I will absorb any shortfall beyond our current contribution, but we'd love not to have to so we can use the $$ to help the next animal that will inevitably come along. The phone number for Boyds Creek Animal Hospital is 865-577-2738, and just ask them to apply your donation to 'Pink's Bill/Account' under Brian Douglas.
Finally, please keep sharing this with folks so that we can find a permanent home for our little friend.
This is not a test of the Red Dog Emergency Broadcast System. This is a real, live situation (not the goofy guy from New Jersey kind of situation, either) whereby Shiva the Red Dog is calling upon all her loyal subjects, followers, and fans to help a cat in need. Some of you may remember "Pink" from our recent Hole Patrol series, but here's a photo to refresh your memory:
Always elusive, Pink has lived in the neighborhood for several years, working the populace for regular meals and little else.
Recently, he began frequenting a neighbor's house in obvious distress:
Fortunately, he allowed us to trap him and take him to the vet for an exam. Along the way, we discovered him to be extremely sweet and affectionate, something not before seen. Upon examination, two issues became clear:
1. He has a treatable Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) and is now in quarantine on 10 days of antibiotics; 2. He is Feline Leukemia positive.
Because he seems strong and certainly very nice, we and the veterinary staff think he deserves a fighting chance. Due to #2, we are asking for the following:
1. Money. Sweet, sweet money, to be paid to Boyds Creek Animal Hospital as part of his quarantine and care. We estimate the total to be in the $300 range, and have already raised $80 among neighbors, so every little bit helps. Please call 865-577-2738 and tell them you'd like to help with 'Pink's Bill' under Brian Douglas' account. 2. Either foster or permanent placement, because a vet at UT has a drug (approved overseas) that is being tested here for its immune-boosting properties. They already have one FeLeuk positive cat on it, with promising results. This will begin after his 10-day stay at BCAH is over. He will need to be an indoor-only cat with no other cats, or in a home with other FeLeuk positive cats. If this interests you, please leave a comment below with your email address.
We hope to have a photo soon showing the progress he's made in the five days he's been in the expert care of the Boyds Creek staff. We'll update the blog when that happens.
This is a most unusual scenario, and not one we've entered into lightly. The normal course with ill FeLeuk & FIV positive cats is euthanasia, but given Pink's disposition and attitude, both veterinarians we've consulted think he should have an opportunity at some positive living in the right environment. We will be contacting known FeLeuk 'hospice' homes, as well, as some exist in the area. Again, thank you for all you do, and thank you for helping the Red Dog look after her not-so-feral friend.
A HUGE shout-out to Red Dog Blog follower and Shiva the Red Dog fan Leslie "The Legend/The Parrot Priestess" Kimbel for immortalizing the Red Dog at the world famous Flora-Bama bar on the Gulf of Mexico. Words cannot adequately describe the warm, fuzzy feeling the Red Dog gets when she sees this kind of dedication and adulation. Leslie truly has earned "most favored" status in the Red Dog's eyes.
We are at $385!!! Wow...you dog-lovers are AWESOME!!!!!! Here's one additional request: since Buck is not yet neutered, we want that to be done during the surgery to save him another procedure later. The clinic has agreed to do it for $50, so we'd like to increase our request to $450...please share this and help us get over the hump. Only $65 to go. Thanks again for your tremendous support! WOOF!
Buck's surgery is scheduled for this Friday, and the wonderful folks at Harrogate Hospital for Animals are providing surgery and post-op pain meds for only $400!!
Here's the catch: before his adopter (THANKS, AMANDA!) can take him home Saturday, his bill must be paid-in-full by 5pm this Friday.
This means that all of us need to call the clinic at 423-869-3666 and donate using a credit or debit card "for Buck." The clinic will handle the rest. Once they've reached their goal, they will politely decline additional donations and you can save them for the next worthy dog-in-need.
Special super-huge thanks (and woofs) to Tinah for allowing us to use her network and Jenny Nelson for being Buck's advocate. You ladies rock!
Now break-out the plastic and make it happen, people! WOOF!!
Our new friend Chaser has been granted a reprieve from her bout with the nasty osteosarcoma stuff, and she is starting her new life as a tripawd. Please keep her and her whole family in your thoughts and prayers.
First off, a prospective adopter has stepped forward for Buck...yay! Secondly, his surgery now is scheduled for this Friday. As soon as all the details are settled, the amount needed is known, and the where and how of donation info is clear, it will be shared here. Thank you again for caring!
Buck the Boxer received a reprieve this evening, and Jenny will share details - and needs - with us tomorrow. Expect to be hit-up shamelessly for money, so unless you want a cranky three-legged Red Dog coming to your house to have a "talk" with you, I'd go ahead and break out the wallets now.
Thanks to those who have already pledged support, and thanks for all the re-postings, re-tweets, and whatever other re-stuff all of you have done to draw attention to his plight. Your thoughts, prayers, and material support are much appreciated. Thank you!!
Dog in need - timing is CRITICAL! A friend of mine (Jenny Nelson) is a vet assistant at a clinic in Campbell County, Tennessee, and they recently received ownership of a dog in great need.
Buck is a ~ 1 year-old male boxer with a femoral fracture and a dislocated hip. His owner did not have the funds to fix, so she wanted to have him put-down. Jenny & her co-workers advocated for the owner to transfer ownership to them (after she already had signed the euthanasia authorization) so they could try to find a solution. She consented and told them they could hold-off until 4pm this afternoon, but she does not want Buck to suffer.
He needs either corrective surgery and rehab, or amputation and recovery. He needs someone willing to step-up and take him today, pay for his care, and either adopt him or foster him through his recovery. Jenny will monitor his progress to ensure he receives adequate and immediate care. He is an awesome dog in a desperate situation.
Jenny is the point of contact. Her number is 865-617-3861 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for anything you can do!
"Twenty years from now you will more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
Carol Bradley, a huge dog-lover and puppy-mill crusader, will be in Knoxville this Saturday to discuss her new book Saving Gracie. Shiva the Red Dog commands you to go see her and take all your friends with you! It will be big fun and may be of help for our community and state. WOOF!
A key component to every Red Dog walk involves the unending quest to find the lair of the ever-elusive "Pink," the neighborhood feral cat. Often little more than a flash of fur or a ghostly feline apparition, Pink has become an near-obsession for Shiva and a subject of daily inquest. Few photos exist of the quarry, and those that do resemble the shadowy Sasquatch images from the Pacific Northwest. Note Exhibit A:
There is no way you will EVER catch me, you slobbering dog... The challenge has been set before her, and the Red Dog will not give up until she has come nose-to-nose with her petite obsession...let's just hope that never happens!
Where to begin? How about where it all started...
After our initial inspection, we move on to the next point of ingress/egress for our little yeti...
...not in here, either...
...helloooooo...anyone down there?
Where could that stinky little kitty be?
We try and we try, but no kitty!
This one doesn't look like it's been used in years!
Curses...foiled again! Maybe now would be a good time to hop back the way we came to check the holes one more time...
For all those who have clamored for more "action" from the Red Dog, your wait is over. Today, we will walk together through part one of what a daily walk looks like for Shiva, Katy, Joey, Mr. Man & Shiva's Mom. It all usually starts around 7 am after everyone has taken a pee (dogs & people) and had a chew stick (just dogs), and the Red Dog starts bossing. Grumbling ensues from Mr. Man, followed by more bossing from Shiva. People get dressed, harness her highness, and hit the door. This is what we see:
Next, it's time for a little safety:
A look to the left, and then one to the right before launching ourselves across the street...
A few quick hops and we're facing our first decision: on down Spence toward the airport, or left on Estelle and on the the park. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, Estelle it is!
Now we have a lovely stroll down to the park with three very convenient "drop zones" along the roadside...
After a momentary refreshing constitutional, off we go!
Now, more choices! To the right, the greenway winds along the river, passes Ijams Nature Center, and then continues for many miles. To the left, the object of most day's desires: the park.