November 29, 2008

And ... Just When Things Were Going So Well

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Shadow with his dad

Shadow has made a remarkable recovery from those starvation days two months, ago. He knows the feeding schedule, well, licks his plate clean and even hangs around for some good old fashioned grooming. He's rather proud of his handsome new pounds that cover those skinny bones of yesterday.
He has happily joined in his exercise program to build those muscles and get his hind quarters strong. He has even lost that strange rotation in his back leg. The vet was right ... build the muscles, get him stronger and he just might surprise you.
With Shadow's walk abouts in the neighborhood, he has become a bit of a celebrity as people admire those new muscles and shiny black coat, remembering how fragile he once was. It has been great to see him become so proud of himself.
We were thinking ... what kind of career would be best for Shadow. He is calm, well behaved, loves children, scared of nothing. Then I thought of my friend who taught at the Shea Center for handicapped children. Ah-Hah! What a perfect job that would be for him.
The plan was to spend 3 more months of muscle development, then off Shadow would go to the therapy center for his 90 day trial. If that didn't work, he could always come back and hang out in his paddock and entertain friends that go by.
That was then and this is now.
How times can change in 24 hours.

It was early in the morning when Shadow's paddock partner left for another home. I was there to be sure everything went smoothly and to help the owner.
"Angel" was still in the horse trailer when Shadow began his frantic pacing. There was not another horse in sight for Shadow to see even in the distance. He was alone. There was nothing to calm him.
Once again, he felt abandoned. Blind fear took over.
I stayed with him until nearly midnight, trying to help him, but ended up just watching him pace himself into a lather. I asked friends for a horse that needed to get out of a stall and stretch its legs to keep him company. But no luck.
The next morning, neighbors said he kept up the fast pacing the entire night. It wasn't until the afternoon that I located a mare to share the empty paddock next to Shadow. He immediately was calm, even though the mare continually tried to bite him.

The sad part was the mare would be going back late that afternoon and Shadow would be alone to do his manic pacing, again. He hadn't stopped for 30 hours, not even for food or water. He was losing those precious pounds. A plan had to be made quickly.

It was decided that Shadow would come temporarily to our barn. My friend, Nicole, had the job of walking a frantic horse away from his "home" and to a strange place.

When he arrived at my barn, Shadow continued to pace in the stall for another 3 days and whinny at night. We called the vet, who said that Shadow had such insecurity issues from so much abandonment, that Royal would be his only help.

Royal is not famous for being a babysitter. He has his own things to do. But, Royal patiently stood by Shadow's stall window and Shadow finally began to calm down and to eat and drink.

Now, I had to find Shadow a permanent home, quick. ( Remember, no room in my barn?) Since Shadow wasn't ready for the therapy school, I called every rescue place possible. They were all full considering the horrible plight of horses right now.
I didn't trust what would happen to Shadow and I just could not let him repeat his dreadful past. So he is still in our barn.
Shadow thinks he is home. He's finally calm, walks around with confidence and thinks he won the lottery. He's a good boy ... and, yes, he is a keeper. He's home, now.

Much to my surprise, Royal has been a wonderful babysitter, stands quietly by Shadow's stall. However, I know Royal ... he is standing much too quietly.

We soon learned ... life has changed, again.
Shadow is fine, but ...
There is something seriously wrong with Royal.
That is the next chapter!
I'm living in the barn for awhile.

November 22, 2008

Thank Heaven For Second Opinions!

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La-Lee is one of those cats that purrs her way into everyone's heart. She's a talker, a lap sitter, a tag along, and a pillow warmer. As you might guess, we got her from the Humane Society.
We had been looking for a Burmese cat. None were available, but we were told that there had just arrived a beautiful Tonkinese cat that sure wouldn't be there long. We jumped in the car and she was ours about 45 minutes later.
I asked why such a beautiful cat was there.

It seems a girl was getting married and her future husband had said it was "me or the cat". Personally, I would have found a different groom and kept the cat.

Lucky for us, this adorable cat has been the center of our household for almost 12 years.

Last January things seemed to be going wrong with La-Lee.

For all of you who have cats, I'm telling you about our ordeal in the event you have a cat with symptoms similar to what La-Lee had.
Perhaps some of you have already
been there and done that with your cat and wonder why it took me so long to arrive ... at the "second opinion" that saved her life!

It all happened gradually. This calm, sweet girl began acting nervous, then later seemed to be having "panic attacks". I rushed her to an old vet I'd used years ago. He said she was a Tonkinese and was "neurotic" and not to worry. (La-Lee has never been neurotic!)

However, things got worse. When holding her I could feel her heart pounding, and she was panting as though she couldn't get her breath.

Back to the vet:
This time he said she was having an asthma attack. It was decided she was allergic to the dogs. This meant she had to be isolated in the bedroom, permanently, forever. I also had to use a face mask to give her asthma medications.

Things still got worse, nights were especially bad. She was so hungry, yet she never ate. I tried every food imaginable. She seemed to like tiny bits of my left over egg or tuna salad with mayonnaise. Eventually, La-Lee only licked Nutra-Cal from my finger.

Back to the vet:
She was put on high powered steroids and penicillin. I was sent home with the syringes to give her the meds. I said there was no way I'd be giving penicillin shots, it is painful, requires a large needle ... and I knew La-Lee would have no part of that.

Back to the vet:
After a good scolding, the vet said ... let me show you how to give a penicillin shot. I knew what was coming! He held her firmly and attempted to give the shot. The cat jumped in the air, the syringe hit the wall and the vet was covered with penicillin. He was very annoyed, I was amused and La-Lee was furious. We were sent home with medications less troublesome. (I later found out it was tranquilizers mixed with antibiotics.)

La-Lee continued to get worse. She was now dreadfully skinny, had insomnia, cried all the time and was extremely restless.

Back to the vet:
This time she was given an ultrasound. The vet determined she had cancer throughout her intestines and if I loved my cat, I'd put her to sleep ... right then.

This didn't sound right and didn't feel right. I'd had enough with what I now considered to be a neurotic vet. I told him I didn't make hasty decisions and would need to take her home and give this some thought.

After calling all my friends to help me locate a specialist, I decided to rush La-Lee to the young vet that in the past had the unpleasant responsibility of coming to our house when it was time to say "good-bye" to a family pet.

I needed a second opinion, pronto.
Off to a Different Vet:

Dr. Kelly was all business. To put my mind at ease, she did an ultrasound of La-Lee's intestines. Several other vets, as well as myself, studied the screen. It was agreed by all that there was no sign of any cancer. Next came x-rays and then drawing the blood for a complete panel.

Dr. Kelly was quite certain by La-Lee's behavior and appearance (skinny, nervous, hungry) that she was ... hyperthroid and that there was probably a non-cancerous tumor on her thyroid.

When the blood results came back ... her diagnosis was correct. La-Lee's thyroid was alarmingly high. Had we not found this out she probably would have had heart problems and not long to live.

We had three options:
1. pills = which made her vomit
2. medication rubbed on the inside of her ear = this made her vomit
3. radioactive injections

Radioactive !! To poor La-Lee? How frightening!
But that was now our only option. I couldn't imagine sending her off to a special hospital for this procedure and then leaving her there for a week while she became ... non radioactive! But that is what we did and how fortunate we were that such a clinic was near our home, so off she went.
There were 18 cats that checked in that day, all being sent for the same hyperthyroid treatment and all kept in individual isolation "suites". I was amazed. I had no idea this was such a common problem in cats, especially 13 years old and over.

I coughed up the $ so that I could watch her on my computer screen from early morning to late at night. It was worth the peace of mind.

I'd sent along an old green T-shirt I'd worn for her to sleep on. Somehow, I think it made her feel better. It certainly made me happier.

Here is the first picture of her in the hospital.
She is not radioactive, yet.
But she knew ... this wasn't home.
She's tucked back under ... on my green shirt.

The next day she had her radioactive procedure. I didn't know what to expect, how she would act. Would she be a sick-er cat? I knew she would be lonely, since they couldn't pet her.

So I checked out my computer screen to see what was happening.

I certainly didn't expect to see this.

Hey! Any room service here?!

We all survived her week being gone. She is now healthy, loves to eat, is no longer skinny or nervous. She is back to normal ... purring, sitting on my lap and keeping all the pillows nice and warm.

That's her job, you know ... that is when she isn't walking in front of the computer screen or pawing her way across the keyboard.

Wow ... I sure missed her and how lucky we are to still have her ... thanks to a second opinion!

November 14, 2008

Problems With Your Printer?

Making the email rounds and too cute not to share!

November 9, 2008

Royal's Friends ~ Ben and Pal

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Early Morning

Back home, again ...

Seems I need to explain this unlikely pair.
In a comment, Amy Jo asked how a "Clydesdale
and a little pony ever hooked up".

The pony has been living at this house for several years, along with goats and chickens, but no horses. Then while making the rounds of the neighborhood, lo and behold, there was a Clydesdale that had just arrived a couple weeks, ago.

The owners said Ben was from Wisconsin and I guess got tired of the snowstorms and so he was shipped to California. He seems quite happy with his pint sized room mate.

They do their munching at the bottom of the hill and then toddle back up to their barn.
I'm rather curious if the owners thought to measure the opening of the barn door before bringing Ben to live with them. Oh well, things usually work out.

November 1, 2008

Shadow's Carrot Girl

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Wait A Minute, Shadow ...
I'll get the carrot for you!
3 year old Cassie stops by often to give her favorite pal his treats.
Shadow loves children and has regular fans who stop by.
Take a look at that boy! No ribs showing!
Yeah! He's come a long way!