4/26/15 Light Fixtures

It’s was a nice day today. We’ve had rain Friday and Saturday, but today the sun finally appeared and, as usual, the sunshine made the humans restless to do things around the house. (Why they do not lie in the sun and take a nap is beyond me!) Anyway. We were going to go for a walk, but everything is soaked and soggy. So the next best thing, I guess, is to look for stuff to do aroundĀ  here.

It started with Mom bossing Dad around to change the light bulbs, because “For Pete’s sake as soon as the sun goes down we’ll be in the dark!” Obediently, Dad went to change the light bulb in the eat-in part of the kitchen, and noticed a crack and several chips of glass (as well as several dead bugs) in the cheapo fixture Mom had bought out of desperation a few years ago. I should mention, the fixtures in the eat-in part of the kitchen and in the kitchen proper are both flush to the ceiling and both miserably crooked. It is a source of great irritation to Mom. Dad, on the other hand, doesn’t care a fig, especially if there’s a good show on TV. They argue about the lights on a weekly basis, it seems. Mom is especially sore about the light in the kitchen, which looks remarkably like an uneven, upside-down apple pie. It is incredibly heavy to boot, and nearly impossible to change the bulbs in. Maybe that’s why Dad likes it.

“That’s it, we need a new light fixture, anyway!” Mom said with enthusiasm. “It’s fine!” Dad protested, feeling his wallet get lighter before he even left the house, “Let me just put a new bulb in.” CRACK! A glass chip fell onto the table. Dad let out a groan as Mom headed for the door. “If we shop smart, we can get a new fixture for the kitchen, too, and get rid of that hideous pie-plate hanging above the oven.” Dad mumbled something about having a relationship with that ugly pie-plate, and followed Mom out with an unhappy look on his face. Jamie wisely kept his mouth shut and went along, too.

Thus I spent some time in the crate, but I wasn’t in there long before the humans came back with two large boxes. Dad didn’t look too grumpy, so I guessed they had “shopped smart”. But it could be because Dad made Jamie carry the boxes and wasn’t doing any work yet. Either way, I was let out of the crate and watched with interest as Dad did some electrical work. First, he went down to the basement and flipped some switches. Then he trooped back up and started the first installation:

nakedbulb

Mom said that it was just her opinion, but Dad standing on the edge of the kitchen chair didn’t look all that safe to her. Jamie chimed in with an agreement, and Dad sent Jamie out to get the ladder. Dad bonked me in the head while he was setting it up, and Mom gave me a pat and said he didn’t mean anything by it.

Dad doesn’t like to admit it, but he’s worse with colors than I am, and getting the wires tied off and capped correctly was a bit of an adventure. It was compounded by the use of the word, “thing”. As in, “Give me that thing,” which meant the screws, nuts, washers, and screwdriver. Jamie had no idea what Dad wanted during the entire installation. Dad got it done, though, and this is what it looked like when he finished:

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Mom and Jamie liked the new light a lot, and Mom said it looked futuristic in a “retro kind of way, like the Jetsons”. I have no idea what she meant by that, but Dad said he liked it and went to put up the light in the kitchen with a lot more enthusiasm than he’d had for the first project:

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Dad was pleased with himself that he had chosen two light fixtures that matched. I was kind of surprised that Mom let Dad do the picking out, but I think he did a nice job. It’s a lot brighter in here now, anyway, and now the humans can eat dinner without glass bits raining down on their heads.

Woof! Love, Maggie

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(basking in the sun from my spot on the couch)

4/24/15 Of Rabies Shots and Garter Snakes

Mom, Dad, and Jamie all pitched in to give me a bath last night. Mom bought a special shampoo for white dogs with touchy skin – it has something called, “Argan Oil” in it, and smells like oranges. Anyway, there we all were: me, in the stand-up shower, soaking wet; Mom, kneeling in front, sudsing me up; Dad and Jamie, taking turns with the nozzle; and then everyone chasing me with towels. But not before I got a good shake in, woof!

I wondered why they were making such a fuss. But when they were done I practically glowed in the dark. I was so pleased with my appearance that I didn’t even “Hairy Bullet” around without my collar on. A first!

I overheard Mom telling Dad, “She’s got to look her best tomorrow. She’s going to see Dr. Craig for her s.h.o.t.s.” Now, Mom knows I am a top speller EXCEPT for when she spells the words out loud. So I was a tad bit annoyed with her for being so childish. But I did hear, “Dr. Craig”, and so I went to bed happy. He was probably going to give me a checkup from the last experience I’d had in the kennel.

The morning was bright and we saw this guy out on the lawn:

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He looks big and fearsome, doesn’t he? But I know he’s just a garter snake, completely harmless. We’ve got a whole bunch of them living under the front porch. They come out in the sun to warm themselves. They sound like dried leaves when they slither away. Mom thinks it’s funny when they lie upon the tops of the bushes. Once she said, “Who left this rope here on top of the bush?” But when she reached out to pick it up, said “rope” disappeared quickly!

We walked out and clambered into Zeus. Mom had given me a motion sickness tablet early in the morning, slathered with peanut butter, and so we knew we were in for a comfortable ride.

Mom pulled up to the Oak Forest Animal Clinic in a jiffy. I could hear the low, friendly, tones of Dr. Craig’s voice coming out of Exam Room 2. I whimpered a little as the waiting area filled up with big dogs, one a very large Pit, a male, MUCH bigger than me. But, although I got a little growly, Mom put me between her knees and scolded me quietly that I didn’t need to protect her right now. I kept an eye on this guy, and settled down quickly when I realized he was minding his own business. In a few minutes, I was called into Room 2.

I was delighted to see Dr. Craig and his wonderful assistants. Mom hoisted me up on the scale/table. I had put on 2 pounds (so I was back to my normal weight) since my dehydration issue. Dr. Craig was pleased. They all laughed as my tail was everywhere at once and my kisses were, too. I had a great examination. Dr. Craig gave me 2 shots (so THAT’SĀ  what all the spelling was about!) and a blood test. Everyone praised me and petted me and said how smart and happy I was. Soon we were going home with a bag of heartworm “treats”, flea & tick medication, the all-important “rabies” tag, and a stuffed animal that Mom says isn’t going to last two seconds.

Mom took me out back to go potty and gave me a dog cookie for being good. Mom is so crazy. She talks to me in this little bitty voice and says, “Does my good girl want tookie?” I humor her, though.

Mom told me to lie down and take it easy after my big morning. I had a great nap, and I’m going for a walk in a few minutes. It’s really a very nice day outside. I wonder if the garter snakes are back out?

Woof! Love, Maggie

4/22/15 Mom’s Been Sad

Mom’s been very sad lately. She got a phone call from her sister over the weekend, and her sister was very, very, ill. Mom’s sister lives just over the border one state. It was late at night, and Mom’s sister had to go to the hospital. Mom grabbed Dad and off they went.

I was left in charge of Jamie. I kept Jamie busy by nudging open the closet door and pulling shoes and scarves and gloves out of it. When Jamie got tired of that game, he put something in front of the closet to keep my nose out of it. Then we relaxed and watched some TV.

Jamie and I stayed up until the early morning. I think about 3. Then Jamie sleepily crawled into Mom’s side of the bed and I followed, laying at his feet and guarding him. It was an important responsibility. Mom and Dad came home about an hour later. Mom gently prodded Jamie to his bed and Dad took me out. Then we all crawled into the human bed and tried to get some sleep.

Mom could not sleep a wink. I even tried to cuddle with her but she just stroked my back in an distracted way. The next day, she took a nap for two hours and felt a little bit better. Of course, I stayed with her. But Mom was moving like a zombie. She hadn’t seen her sister in four years because she moved around a couple times, and for Mom to see her so thin and ill, really disturbed her. I guess, you know, first I got sick then right after I healed Mom’s sister got sick. So it was kind of a double whammy for her. She’ll be OK though. I’m here to watch over her.

Woof! Love, Maggie

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4/16/15 Glad to be Back

Hello, Everyone!

I am glad to be back!

I understand that Mom kept you updated while I was quite ill. I’m still recuperating, but I feel much better, even well enough to play with my toy bone for a while this morning:

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The only thing I am going to add to what Mom already wrote is that I did not cry.

I did not cry when the doctor sent Mom out of the room. I did not cry when they took blood with a big needle, gave me a large shot, filled my skin up with fluid from an IV, or when they popped a muzzle on my mouth and shoved a thermometer up my poor, sore, butt.

I didn’t cry, and when it was over, I kissed everyone to thank them for helping me. But I just couldn’t wag my tail. I just could not do it.

When Mom came in, she looked like she was going to cry. I don’t think she was as brave as I was! But I was glad to see her.

When we got home, Jamie was kind enough to feed me Vitamin Water with a teaspoon, and coaxed this down my throat one spoonful at a time. It got me drinking again. Mom cried and cried, and said how lucky she was to have a good child who had mercy on animals. Mom has cried a LOT over the last few days. Today, she is not crying.

I am wagging my tail again and smiling, and Mom and the rest of the family are very, very, happy. Dad is petting me and letting me sit on his couch.

Last night, I heard Mom tell Dad, “What if we had been gone a week? We would have come back to no dog.” She has been quite upset, and doesn’t feel like she can get me “justice”. Dad is telling her to “drop it” (he usually says that to me, when I have a shoe), but Mom is worrying this subject like a dog with a bone.

Yesterday, after I “turned the corner” so to speak, Mom slept and slept and slept. I didn’t mind, because I get tired quite easily right now, and I snuggled down with her and we rested a long time. Today, if Mom had a tail, she would be wagging it! I have to admit, she looks much perkier than she has all week.

I am still taking fluids. I am still taking pills. Mom coats them in peanut butter for me:

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I pretend she is just giving me peanut butter.

I am eating, I am drinking, I am going to the potty outside; and Mom said she was “never so happy” to pick up after me than she has been these past 24 hours. I am dancing for treats all on my own. Mom or Dad will give me a treat and say, “drink, drink!” So then I drink some water.

Over the past few days, while I was resting, Mom would pet me and read me all of your thoughts and comments. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my huge AmStaff Terrier heart, for all you have taken the time to say and write. You are truly my WP family. I thank you for that. Woof!

Well, the couch is looking pretty good right now. I’m going to go lie down for a bit. There has actually been quite a lot of news in the neighborhood that is interesting from a dog’s perspective, and I will write more tomorrow or later, depending on how tired I get. Mom doesn’t want me to over-do, and she’s frowning at me already. So I’d better go. Thanks again for everything. I don’t think I would have pulled through half as well without all of your support and good wishes.

Woof! Your dog, Maggie

4/14/15 Maggie’s Better! And a bit about Starved Rock.

Well, Maggie is doing MUCH BETTER since my post of this morning! I’ve been giving her a combination of ground beef/turkey, rice, and the “chicken pedialyte” as a soupy mixture that she’s been devouring. Best of all, she drank two full bowls of water, wagged her tail, and tried unsuccessfully to play “gimme dat bone”, but found out that she was too exhausted to do so. So now she is sound asleep on her chair, snoring quite loudly, I might add. Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts and good wishes.

I did contact the Alpha Male at the boarder. I asked him if he knew how much water Mags had access to over the weekend, and he responded, “As much as she wanted. There’s always a bowl out in the back.” I said, “OK, thanks” and left it at that. He didn’t ask me why I was asking. He must know something is up.

I don’t believe him, because how could Maggie have had access to a bowl of water “out back” if she was in a crate? Was it a community bowl? Why would he use a community bowl of water when canine flu is spreading in our state (thank goodness, she didn’t have it), and it is all over the news not to share water bowls? Finally, if in fact the water was available and she DIDN’T drink it (because, obviously, she didn’t drink much water) WHY did no one contact me? Maggie went to school at this place. I’m very disappointed, to put it lightly. They’ve been in business 25 years at least.

Jim pretty much summed it up by saying, “They’ll just say they made the water available and she didn’t drink it and there was nothing wrong with the dog”. So I am just going to investigate pet-sitters and not board Maggie again.

ANYHOW, since Mags will be back at the computer in no time, I figured I’d give you all the rundown on Starved Rock, IL (I still feel guilty that she was having a rough ride and we were out having fun.)

According to legend, the Ottawa and their allies, the Potawatomi, chased the Illini up a sandstone butte as revenge for the killing of Chief Pontiac. Up on the butte, the Illini starved to death, and the place has been known as “Starved Rock” ever since. This is the common belief of how Starved Rock got its name, although some historians doubt the story. It is a beautiful state park and has about 2 million visitors per year. It is famous for its hiking, campground, Lodge, and locks/dam on the Illinois River.

Here is the Flag, flown at the peak of Starved Rock:

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A view of the Illinois River:

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One of the magnificent canyon walls:

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And the most fabulous shot of all, the waterfall in Wildcat Canyon:

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There is more or less waterfall in the canyon depending upon the rain. It had rained 2 days before this picture was taken. All the pictures were taken by Jamie.

Anyway, thanks again, it was nice to see some of Maggie’s friends, and she’ll be back in no time!

Your friend, Elizabeth

4/14/15 Update on Maggie’s Condition

Hello, Friends:

Got a phone call this morning from the Big Man himself, Dr. Craig, from Oak Forest Animal Clinic. He called personally to check on me and his patient. I was honored! I explained to him that I was hanging in there, Maggie was sleeping a lot, but wasn’t drinking nearly as much as I would like.

Dr. Craig told me the good news that Maggie’s CBC came back great and all her internal organs were fine and undamaged. Her stool sample was negative for any bad stuff. Dr. Craig told me to continue her medications and fluids and treat her like a baby for the next couple of days. He said the hospital would call me next week to check up on her again, and in the meantime, if I should need to, give him a call.

Maggie did have an accident in the house last night, but under the circumstances, I didn’t even mention it to her. Frankly, I was glad she was eliminating. Maggie slept all evening and is resting as we speak. Her ears are up and her nose is wet. She is giving kisses but not much tail wagging.

I fixed her a light breakfast of strained hamburger, rice, and the chicken “pedialyte”. She ate it well, but is not going after her water bowl. On the doctor’s suggestion, I have tried apple juice/water, Gatorade, and plain water. Zip. I even tried feeding her with a baby bottle. No way was she going for that!

The only time she is drinking is when Jim puts a little peanut butter at the bottom of a bowl and adds a small bit of water to it. Then she will drink. And eat the peanut butter. But only for her human father! I will try “Jim’s trick” later and see if she goes for it. In the meantime, I have bowls of liquid out for her, whatever she chooses.

Thank you SO MUCH to each and every one of you for your thoughts, prayers, good wishes, suggestions, and advice. Both Maggie and I appreciate it. I will keep you updated as the days progress. I am sure she is going to have a lot to write about when she feels better.

Your friend,

Elizabeth