Tag Archive | pets

Updates on…everything

I don’t have a FO to share today. I can share some progress on my sock, my FlexiFlip sock. It’s going well. I’m getting used to the needles and they’re not feeling as unwieldy as they did at first. They’re still not as fast as DPNs for me but I think I’ll get there pretty quick. I am loving this yarn. The colors are fun, and even though the color changes are different than I was expecting, I like it a lot. I mean, look how cool the heel turned out!

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It’s smooth and slick, almost slippery, from the polyester, and maybe you’d think acrylic/poly sock yarn, what is she thinking? But no, seriously, it feels good, kind of cool (literally). It’s a nice switch from the wool/nylon yarn, though I’m sure that’ll always be my primary sock yarn blend. And it’ll make lovely spring/fall socks, I think. So yeah, these are zipping along.

My sweater, however, is not zipping along. I’ve got most of one sleeve done and I’m trying to work on it at night, but it’s boring and I keep having to adjust it as I go around the little sleeve and I’m ready for it to be done so I can wear it. We’re taking one more short road trip on Monday for the last music school audition, so I’ll take that and only that with me and force myself to work on it.

Edward went to the shop and spent a few days there getting a new front bumper and some new shields or something, and it went through my insurance so I only had to pay the deductible. We timed it out so that they could work on it while I was out of town with the girl last weekend, and then the husband and I carpooled on Monday, so I didn’t even have to pay for a rental car. So overall that whole experience was much better than I was expecting, and they did a fantastic job and even detailed him perfectly so that he looks almost brand-new and I love him.

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Grace has adjusted wonderfully to her meds for Addison’s disease. I even gave her the injection myself last month! And we were able to lower her steroid dose so she’s not quite as thirsty and ravenous as she was at first. Her energy level is up and she’s very frisky and loves to play with Duncan again. She and Duncan are buddies; Jack kind of gets left out but also I think he feels threatened by Duncan at times. He’s usually pretty happy to hang out with his people while the other two go nuts.

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Duncan hasn’t gone into any trouble lately (knock on wood) and keeping them in the kitchen when we’re gone seems to be working well. I don’t love it, but it’ll work until Duncan gets a little older and hopefully outgrows his destructive tendencies.

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The girl has received acceptance letters from two of her four schools and I am delighted and super proud of her. We’re still waiting for a decision from one school and like I said, we have the last audition Monday, so we probably won’t have a final decision for another few weeks. We’re very lucky that she’s received automatic academic scholarship offers from all four schools, and a music scholarship from at least one, but even with those, and her college savings account, there’s still a lot of financial ground to make up. It’s scary, and it’s not even my college life! But we so want her to have a great experience, to have the education and flute professor and opportunities that she wants to have. I’m excited for everything that is ahead for her.

At the same time, though, we can’t just pay for it. It’s not feasible, and we can’t take on huge debt for it either. College is scary. If you have kids, start saving yesterday! But we’ll figure it out with a lot of little things. We’ll help a little. She’ll probably have to get a part-time job, a small student loan, and with luck, several of the private scholarships she’s applying for. I know it’ll work out, I really do. But I’m a mother, and a worrier, and those things together are rough when it’s time for college! Life is stressful in my house quite often these days, but there’s still a thread of excitement that comes out just when we need the encouragement.

Sorry this turned out so long; I didn’t mean to ramble. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your patience!

I Like My Dog Again

Every time I get a new dog, I forget what it’s like to have a young dog that is so much like a toddler. They aren’t potty-trained, they need lots of attention, they need lots of toys, they destroy things, and they often don’t sleep well. Duncan was or is all of these. Thankfully we’ve gotten past the potty-training issue, but everything else is still relevant. Sleep has been bad since Grace started her meds for Addison’s; the steroids make her eat more and drink more and thus need more potty breaks. Also, either they’re giving her more energy or she’s just feeling better, because she’s been sort of bonkers at times. So for the last couple of weeks especially, they’ve been restless between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes they barked so that we’d get up and let them out. Friends, that is not a good time for me to wake up.

Last week was an especially bad week. The girl was out of town for a band event. She was gone three nights. Duncan and Grace usually sleep in her room. We didn’t want three dogs in our bedroom so Jack slept in our room and we left the other two downstairs, assuming Duncan would behave because he’d be SLEEPING.

Oh, how foolish we were.

That very first night/morning, there was barking at 4 am. I got up, went downstairs, let them outside, and saw paper all over the floor of the dining room.

It was books, guys. BOOKS. Not just any books. Oh no, MY dog of course likes OLD books. Old, valuable books that smell and taste interesting! When all was said and done, there were eight books that weren’t salvageable. Two of the eight were literally in pieces. It was a BAD day. I was sad, exhausted, frustrated, discouraged. I was kicking myself for leaving him out unattended, kicking myself for not giving him the exercise I thought he needed. I wasn’t sure if we were the right home for him, or if I had it in me to get past this stage. I was sure I was a bad dog-mom. He went to daycare that day and the next, and I slept in the girl’s room in the attic the second night to catch up on sleep, and those things helped.

Once I’d gotten a little more sleep, and gotten past the fresh wound of seeing my books torn apart, I was feeling more optimistic. Duncan really is a sweet dog, funny and charming and lovable. I do like having three dogs, most of the time. I like the way they play together and snuggle together. And really, I have to believe Duncan will grow out of this stage eventually. So, if Duncan is like a toddler, and maybe Grace is like a preschooler, I decided there was a possibility that having them together was the problem, and resolved to try separating them at night. For the last two nights, Grace has slept upstairs with the girl, and Duncan sleeps in the kitchen. And guys? I think it’s working! (I’m gonna knock knock knock on wood!) This morning, I didn’t hear a peep out of any of the dogs! I am greatly encouraged and really hoping this makes a difference in our sleep patterns. I need my sleep. Seriously.

So because I like my dogs today, I’m going to share some of the fun photos I took this weekend. I pulled out the good Canon to play with settings, and dogs make good subjects. They’re all very photogenic, in my humble opinion.

They were having a marvelous time romping around the yard, taking turns chasing each other and of course chomping on each other. I tried to get some individual shots as well. Jack was not interested in being cute. He’s a very serious old-man pupper. He’s here for the work, not the media.

Grace doesn’t mind the paparazzi, but you have to move fast to get the really good shots. I’m rather pleased with what I got. There were others, but when you’ve got one like this, who needs more?

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And then there’s Duncan, the fresh new star who wants all the attention. He can do anything from playful to serious to tough. He’s very versatile, you know.

So yeah. I think I can do this whole three-dog thing. It might take every last bit of my patience, and we may never own anything nice ever again, but at least I’ll have my puppers.

Someone wants a hat!

I finally finished this pair of socks. I started them over six weeks ago, which is a really long time for me. But these got set aside for some gift knitting, so at least there’s a good reason. Still, it was a relief when I wove in that last end and called them done. They don’t quite match exactly, but I’m telling myself I’m okay with it.

IMG_5503So it has a longer section of gray at the toe, what’s the big deal, right? This way I didn’t have to get into the second skein of purple for two inches. The important thing is that the socks are soft and cozy, and they’re the same size. That’s pretty good!

With the socks done, I could move on to new projects without guilt. A friend asked for a hat for her husband, and I was delighted. I do love making hats, and I’ve overwhelmed the rest of my people with hats, so it’s a treat to have someone who actually wants me to make a hat! Within two days I’d whipped up this simple red and white striped hat, which could be considered festive but is secretly Huskers colors.

IMG_5502And that was so much fun that I decided not to stop there. Ask for one hat, get two, apparently! I pulled these out this morning and cast on with the navy already. IMG_5504(These are Seahawks colors, just in case you’re like me and don’t follow any sportsball stuff.) I’m improvising my own pattern again; casting on 88 with size 6 for the ribbing, then switching to 8s for the body. I’m doing a different stripe pattern; hopefully it comes out like I see it in my head.

I’ll close with two bits of good news: a while back I made pombe yeast hats for two new people in the lab at work, and they received them on Monday. Both of them seemed to be genuinely delighted, and they both wore them around most of the day at work yesterday. That really made my day; I work with such awesome people.

Finally, Grace is doing so much better. She’s clearly got more energy, isn’t sleeping as much during the day. She was even playing outside with Duncan this morning, which she hasn’t done in a few weeks. Her appetite is back and she wants to eat everything…except the kibble we’ve been feeding them for ages. But that’s fine, we’ll look for a different food at the store today and hopefully find something tasty that won’t break the bank. Feeding three big dogs gets expensive! We’re being pretty generous with her, giving her some chicken when we cook it, and extra treats here and there, so that she’ll gain back some of the weight she lost. It’s such a relief to not be so worried about her!

That’s all for now. We’re all taking a vacation day today and in a bit we’re going out for a Family Fun Day, at least as soon as I can get everyone motivated to get out of bed and shower. There’s probably a visit to a bookstore in my future, a trip downtown to see some Christmas lights, maybe a lovely dinner out. Here’s hoping your holidays are equally delightful!

Pupdate on Grace

Grace spent most of the day at the vet’s yesterday, getting blood work and urine tests and other tests, and the good news is that we found out what’s wrong with her. She has Addison’s disease, a disorder of the adrenal glands that means her body isn’t getting the hormones it needs, and it throws her whole system out of whack. The not-good part is that it’s chronic, but with regular medication she’ll be able to have a perfectly normal long, healthy life.

So she’ll get a daily pill (small, we can easily hide it in peanut butter or cheese) and a monthly injection (which we can learn to administer at home if we like). The injected medication isn’t exactly cheap, but we can manage it, and she’s definitely worth it. She got her first doses yesterday and started perking up very quickly. She’s still not 100%, and her appetite isn’t really back yet, but I’m optimistic and encouraged that she’ll bounce back within a few days. I know Duncan will be happy; he keeps trying to get her to play with him and is quite befuddled that she keeps rebuffing him in the gentlest of ways. And that means Jack has been taking the brunt of Duncan’s energy, and I do believe he’s getting a bit tired of it.

I also got some good knitting done yesterday while I was sitting and fretting, so I’ll be sure to share that soon. Best part: I’m done with gift knitting!

Knitting as Distraction

This is why it’s hard to have puppers: one of my dogs is sick. Grace is lethargic and not eating and we don’t know why, and it breaks my heart. She was at the vet yesterday, no fever, no obvious answers, so she got some medicine and soft food. Today she’s refusing the soft food so she’s back to the vet today to get some blood work done. I’m kind of a mess, partly because I’m worried and partly because it brings back bad memories. We lost a very special dog at this time of year four years ago, and it feels too similar. I know it’s not; the symptoms are different. But it’s still triggering some powerful stuff, and I’m struggling, if I’m being honest. Winter is tough for me, emotionally, and it’s been a stressful few months for everyone in my house, so I think I’m already worn down. Thankfully, I have wonderful bosses who are understanding when I need time off, and lovely friends, and my knitting. Always my knitting! It can be a good distraction at times, and when not a distraction, a comfort.

I’ve been doing some Christmas knitting, though not as much as I wanted to be doing. I made some very cute mitts for my youngest nephew. The white glows in the dark, so maybe that will be a fun surprise for him.

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These were so fast to make that I think I need to make some for my boss’s twins, who are even smaller than my nephew, so those mitts would take no time at all! And I could use up some leftover yarn bits too. Win for everyone, right?

I’m almost done with a pair of socks, too. These are my second pair of Petty Harbor socks, though this time I just did a stockinette foot rather than carry the pattern down.

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I’m almost out of the purple, and I’m debating about just using the gray when I run out. Why not have a longer gray toe? I do have a second skein of the purple, but then I’d have more ends to weave in. And if I just use the gray, I can plan ahead and get a whole pair of short socks out of the second skein of purple. Really, I’m just kicking myself because if I’d done gray heels like I’d planned, I’d probably have plenty of purple to finish. Oh well, that’s kind of the nice thing about socks: they go into your shoes and it’s all right if they’re not perfectly matched. So I’m going to take my little sock and go sit with my sick pupper until it’s time to go to the vet, and cross my fingers that we get good news.

Oy, that dog!

Okay, so let’s get back to Duncan. My not-so-little terror. The one who was leaving messes in the house when we first got him about three months ago. Want to know the good news? Of course: no more accidents! After about a month, he got used to holding it and it’s not an issue. Hooray!

Want to know the bad news? He eats things. First it was little things, like paper we left on the kitchen table. He chewed up the remote, but that only cost $20 to replace, no biggie. Grace had left a hole in our leather couch back when she was going through her destructive phase, and he discovered that and thought it was fun to pull stuffing out and make the hole bigger. When we covered up that hole, he made two new ones. When we covered the couches with scat mats to keep him off the couch, he made a hole in the arm of the couch. He discovered tasty things like the corners of our wooden chairs, or the wooden railing, or the corners of the TV stand. He pulled several books off shelves and ate them one very bad day, after which we closed the doors to the sitting room where the books are located.

Every time something happened, we talked about our options. For a while, we tried to cope by limiting what we left within reach. When it was obvious that wasn’t the solution, I tried playing with him more in the morning, giving him more time outside before I left, giving him extra toys, saving toys only for when we were gone. We subscribed to BarkBox, and our first box was fantastic. We talked about closing them in with doors, but didn’t want to run the risk of them scratching the vintage pocket doors. We talked about gates and crates. I don’t like the idea of crates, no matter how many times people tell me the dogs like it. Personally, I think they get used it, and maybe they like it for short durations and/or when they’re stressed or scared, but you’ll never convince me that a dog actually enjoys being in a crate for 6-8 hours. (Please don’t try. It won’t work.) So in my mind, that’s a last resort. But friends, we’re almost there.

I recently decorated for Christmas, and put out my large Santa collection on the sideboard. (You can see it here.) I thought for sure it was high enough and far back enough that Duncan wouldn’t be able to get to it.

I was wrong. The next day, a bad day, Duncan got into the Santas and destroyed three of them. Thankfully, they were not my favorites and didn’t hold great sentimental value. But it was enough for us to know we needed to be doing more, that our morning play sessions in the yard weren’t enough for him, and we decided to add more activity. One day the husband took him running before work, one day he went to doggy day care, and the next day I took him for a walk in the morning. That day, after his walk, after the previous day at day care, he got back into one of the couch holes, chewed up a reusable grocery bag, and destroyed a small box of post-its. He may still need a lot of activity, but clearly the activity alone isn’t enough to curb his destructive tendencies. And, get this, we just got new couches, because I couldn’t live with the old couches anymore. I mean, these holes were BIG. And looking at them every day was so depressing. (I know it sounds crazy. But in my defense, we ordered them when it looked like the scat mats were going to keep him away from the couches completely.)

So now we have gates, and the dogs get to stay in the kitchen while we’re gone. Friday was the first day we tried it all day. I latched the gates, put the scat mats in front of the gates, and also closed the doors to the living room. Even if they get past the gates, they can’t get to the couches. The husband is afraid Duncan will still be destructive, just in a smaller area. That is a valid concern, and if we see signs of that, then the crate will be next. But I couldn’t do the crate without knowing I’d tried everything else first, especially since I can’t afford five days a week of doggy daycare. Anyway, so far, so good. They were still safely in the kitchen when the kids got home from school, and nothing was destroyed. And we’ve done it again for shorter periods since then, and it seems to be working. (Knocking on wood and crossing fingers here!)

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Sorry, Duncan moves a lot, so he’s blurry. Yeah, he’s a handful. He’s now a whopping 90 pounds of muscle, orneriness, and sweetness. I can’t help it; I still love the big old blockhead. Grace chewed things up for a good two and a half years, just on a smaller scale, so I’m holding on to the hope that he’ll grow out of most of this eventually. If we have to do the crate, I will do it knowing that it’s what’s allowing us to keep him in our home, rather than taking him back to the shelter. That’s not an option for us. So I can get him a super big crate, and fill it with a blanket (that he’ll tear up, which is why I’ll get it from the thrift store) and toys (that he’ll probably destroy) and he will be safe and my house will be safe and maybe we can all live happily ever after.

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Pupdate: Duncan

Do you remember that I adopted a new dog?? Well, I know you’re probably itching for an update (haha probably not but I’m going to blab about him anyway) so here goes: he’s awesome!

Grace, Duncan, Jack

I mean, he’s also kind of a butthead at times (he likes to push the other dogs out of the way to get attention) but he balances it out pretty well. He loves attention, loves pets and belly rubs, loves to flop on top of me when I go to bed at night and snore away. He doesn’t chew things up (although he did try to bite my Wonder Woman shawl while I was working on it last weekend. We had a serious conversation after that incident. I think he understood the gravity of the situation and it has not happened again).He loves to play fetch, is the only dog to play with a ball, and he gets my dignified lazy pup Jack out roughhousing and wrestling. And when Jack is tired of it, Duncan moves on to Grace, who is delighted to have someone who will run around and around and around the back yard with her. As I mentioned before, he’s had a bit of a potty issue, leaving us a puddle when we’re gone all day at work/school. I really don’t want to kennel him for a variety of reasons, so we’ve been working with it and hoping it’s partly because he’s adjusting to living with us and partly because he is still a little young. We’ve had a few dry days, so I’m encouraged that we’re at least moving in the right direction. And I am encouraged for another reason too. When we adopted him, he had a small wart on his muzzle, and they said they hadn’t tried to remove it because he was recovering from kennel cough. The wart kept growing, and tiny ones popped up around it, and he had this really gross, bulbous growth. It didn’t seem to bother him at all, but then the more he played with the other dogs, and the bigger it got, it started getting…slightly injured. We took him to the vet and found out he has papilloma virus, similar to what humans get, but the dog version can’t be passed to humans. It’s apparently more common in young dogs, often regresses on his own, and surgery wasn’t really recommended. Okay, fine, we could wait it out. Well, the dogs kept playing, and the wart got injured again, and looked really red and painful, even though he was acting fine. Back to the vet, who said they could remove the warts, but it wasn’t hurting anything as it was. Okay, fine, we’ll give it a few more days and see what happens. That was about a week ago, and it’s gotten so much better! The main wart is much smaller, the tiny ones are almost gone, and the one on his paw is much smaller! I hate to be superficial, but he really is so much cuter without a large wart on the side of his face. And I am loving having three dogs. Yeah, we get more dirt and dog hair on the floors. Yeah, we’re spending more on food. But every day I come home to these three happy pups and my stress disappears. We sit out in the backyard and I love to watch them frolic. I come out of the bathroom and there are three smiling doggos waiting for me. (Yeah, that one’s a little weird, but still cute.) They’re noisy and messy and there’s always at least one dog underfoot…and I love it.

But three is my limit, I’m pretty sure.