5/22/15 Tests are Normal

Woof! (tail wags)

First, let me tell all of you that my tests came back 100% completely normal, so I am physically not fighting anything worse than an ear infection at this time.

Doctor Craig gave Mom some medicine for me because I am, well, anxious, stressed, and hyper. Now, you might be wondering, “What does a dog have to be hyper about?”

Let me answer. Being left alone, being starved, being beaten, other dogs, being over-bred, being fought…these are all things that weigh on a dog’s mind, especially if she did not have a good puppyhood, I am sad to say.

I know I am in a great home with humans who love me. But I am having a hard time leaving the past behind. My humans love me so much and I am afraid it will end. I hate to see them walking out the door. It makes me sick.

At first, my stress got much better, then it started getting worse. I think it’s because I love my people so much more than I did before. Love is a dual-edged sword, I think.

Anyway, Mom is giving me the medicine and I am taking it like a good girl. I feel like a different dog already. For example, Mom, Jamie, and I went on the front porch and, after initially sniffing and taking stock of the neighborhood goings-on, I lay down at Mom’s feet and just relaxed. It’s been so very, very, hard for me to relax. Mom and Jamie gave me lots of praise for just relaxing.

They also took me to the woods for an hour and a half walk. Mom said she would walk until the bottom of her foot started hurting. (She is almost all healed and doing great.) So we walked and walked and walked. Later, Mom drove to the car wash.

What horror is this? Going into a dark tunnel and suddenly bombarded by sounds and smells. I lay down in the back seat with my head in my paws. Jamie talked and talked to me. Mom felt bad that I was frightened, but said she hadn’t wanted to put me in the crate and leave me just yet.

So, I weathered the car wash, but I think Mom is not going to take me back there since I don’t like it.

I’ve been a good dog all day, no accidents at night or anything, while Jamie and Mom prep and clean the house for company this weekend. I am happy we are having family over to stay for a day or two.

Mom says that is the “big test” of how this new medicine is working – how I am around people. Another “big test” is how I do around other animals. But for now, one test at a time.

Woof! Love, Maggie (formerly Magzilla)

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5/21/15 Mom Writes an Update

Hello, Friends:

Maggie did reasonably well yesterday. First, I gave her some motion sickness medication in the morning. Then I took her with me to pick Jamie up from school. As Maggie said, she “put 2 + 2 together” and was not crying, whining, yawning, licking lips or salivating in the car. A big change from the day before. She is so smart, she knew we were going to the school, and she rode along nicely.

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You will notice that she is wearing all her “jewelry” – prong, collar, reinforced leash, everything. I wasn’t going to use them and try her with the harness instead, but a little voice told me, “You’re going to be around a lot of kids and dogs – she may get stressed” so I went with the prong (which I do not like) but it’s what she was trained on, and my thought was, if we got into a situation, I needed to be able to control it.

I’m glad I did as you will soon see.

We went to the Vet and I explained that Maggie was not holding her urine in the night and I was afraid she had an infection. I also explained to the doctor that her separation anxiety, and anxiety in general, is getting worse (which is kind of hard for me to figure out, since I’ve now had three bigger operations and one small one, so I’ve been home a lot) to the point that she is getting unmanageable, and I fear she will harm herself in one of her Hairy Bullet frenzies. Also, honestly, it is hard for me to leave when she is shaking, cowering, vocalizing, and slobbering all over the place. I hate to see her like that and I feel very guilty.

Doctor Craig did his usual, wonderful magic, and gave Maggie an ultrasound on the tummy to see if there were any stones or unusual growths that could be causing the peeing at night. Negative. He took a urine sample and that test result will be back Friday. He clipped her nails. And, he found an ear infection in her right ear. So he treated that with some antibiotics via syringe, and she was much more comfortable almost immediately.

Dr. Craig then prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication for Maggie. He said that the urination problem could be stress related, too. I explained that we’ve tried the Thundershirt, extensive training, diet modification, a reward system, a dog sitter, everything we could think of, to make Maggie more comfortable and less anxious. This medication was a “last resort” for me and I really had mixed feelings about giving it to her.

However, my mind was made up when we were exiting the Exam Room. A beautiful white Cocker Spaniel puppy was waiting to be seen, and when Maggie saw him, she bared her teeth, made such a growling and snarling noise as I have NEVER heard her do, reared up on both legs, and tried to attack him.

Jamie’s basketball and hockey “defense” kicked in and he jumped in front of Maggie, so she landed with her front paws on his thighs. I grabbed the leash and popped it but Maggie was putting up a valiant struggle to tear the snot out of this poor, cowering, puppy. Finally I prisoner-marched her to the door and Jamie took her without further incident to the car, where they waited for me. I apologized profusely to the man and his dog, and paid my bill, and left. I was so grateful I hadn’t used the harness, which she might have slipped out from. Lesson: always listen to that inner voice.

I know that it is not because of Maggie’s breed that she is like this. It is because she was not properly socialized and more than likely kept in a cage and abused when she was just a puppy. Then, as you know, shut up in a kennel for 6 months with not as much human interaction as she craved. Poor Maggie. I wish I could have gotten her as a puppy. :( She’d be a therapy dog by now, and we’d be visiting kids and seniors every week.

(I tried a little experiment. When people asked me what kind of dog I had, I’d say, “A Pitbull” and they would frown and shake their heads. When I answered, “An American Staffordshire Terrier”, they would smile and say, “Those are good dogs.” What’s in a name? Plenty.)

So, Maggie, who is the most loving and loyal dog I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a home with, is high as a kite right now. She is very, very, mellow and relaxed. In this picture, I am petting her belly while she rests on the couch, blissful. Her eyes were actually closed until she heard the click of the camera/phone:

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I will work closely with Dr. Craig to make sure the medication is at the right dosage. For now, Maggie is relaxed, cuddly, and sleepy.

She’s taken such good care of me during the past few months. Now it is my turn to take care of her.

Your friend,

Elizabeth

5/19/15 (Terrible) Tuesdays

Tuesdays are usually terrible around here. Dad has a meeting every week, and that means Mom has to drive Jamie to school. Which means that, right after breakfast, I’m popped into the crate. In what seems like a long time, Mom comes home, but before I know it, I’m back in the crate for her to go pick him up. Then, they’re back, but before I know it AGAIN, I’m back in the crate so she can drive him to tutoring. (sigh) It’s a ruff life.

I have a lot, I mean a LOT, of anxiety, so Mom can’t leave me out of the crate, or I might hurt myself. However, I also get severely car sick, so she doesn’t have much choice in locking me up since the medicine takes about an hour to work.

Today, however, when Mom put me in the crate to drive Jamie to school, things were worse than usual. I crouched on the ground and started to shiver. Mom knew I was having an anxiety attack, and she messaged Dad, “could he get Jamie from school since there is early dismissal” but Dad said, “Not today.” Mom knew that meant less time out of the crate in between trips. She was so upset about my anxiety attack, that when she came back, she hustled me upstairs and under the blankets on the human bed. Then she brought me some car-sick medicine slathered in peanut butter, and stayed with me for over an hour.

Once I was nice and relaxed and rested up, Mom put my “jewelry” (collars) on, and I jumped for joy. I knew she was going to take me out in the little car.

Then, my anxiety got the better of me. Where were we going? Was she dropping me off somewhere? Were we going to the Vet? Where was everybody? I yawned, and licked my lips, and whined, and cried, but I did not throw up. The whole time, Mom kept talking to me in a soothing voice. She kept saying, “Jamie” and “school”, but I didn’t make the connection until we pulled up to the building and Jamie appeared out of thin air.

I quieted down right away, having put two and two together. I gave a big sigh, and stretched out on the blanket on the back seat of the car. I could relax. We were just getting my young human, and bringing him home.

Woof! Love, Maggie

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5/17/15 The Ridiculous Weekend!

The humans are ridiculous.

I tried my best to remind Mom that she is supposed to be lying on the couch with me, keeping her foot up. Mom says she is “fine” and her foot doesn’t hurt a bit and that Dr. G. is taking the stitches out Thursday and she has things to do.

I have discovered that Mom is a 5′ 2″ bundle of determination.

Now you know from my previous postings that Uncle Rick came by with everyone and they took down the rotting old swing set. It’s been piled up in the “crop circle” left by the pool last year. After Dad got off work, Mom dragged him and Jamie outside to start piling the debris up at the end of the driveway for Monday’s pickup.

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(Those are Mom’s hands and Dad’s leg and my head and the rest of the swing set.)

Then the humans pulled weeds, trimmed bushes, and prepared the crop circle for the pool. When all the work was done, Mom made a “crab boil”. Mom doesn’t usually eat meat, but wanted to try her hand at a crab boil. However, she couldn’t bring herself to boil live crab or lobster, so she sent Dad to the store for crab legs. Dad choked at the price and said Mom was evil. But he bought them.

Mom put potatoes, onions, corn, salt, Old Bay Seasoning, and the crab legs in a big pot and let everything cook for about 20 minutes. The house smelled so good, Dad forgot to tell Mom she was evil and instead said, “I’m starving!” Mom drained out the water, put all the food in a big metal bowl, and the humans sat down at the kitchen table to crack some crab legs. A piece flew off Mom’s plate and landed on the floor. I pounced on it, slavering.

That was about the time I discovered I don’t like crab. Ptooey! Dad said, “Do you know how much that cost? And you’re not going to eat it?!”

About an hour after everyone stuffed themselves silly, Mom started a bonfire, and since it was a nice night, we all went out to relax.

I am fully aware that it looks like Dad has a cig or a stogey in his mouth. But as you can tell by my rapt expression, it was an ice cream bar that Mom had given him. You can even see the wrapper in his fingers:

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Today was even worse! Mom and Dad and Jamie worked outside ALL DAY. They put up the little inflatable hot tub and the pool. OF COURSE, they picked the windiest day to do it, and half the time was spent chasing the ground cover and trying to keep the pool from blowing over. I did have a lot of fun with the hose, and when Dad sat on the ground to connect the solar heater, I gave him lots of kisses. He spluttered for me to knock it off and go lie down.

I, for one, was not going to argue. All this activity exhausted me.

exhausted

Because all the installation took such a long time, we don’t know if the filter and hoses are leaky or not. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow! Muahaha!

Woof! Love, Maggie

Chiraq – Jamie Style

Just a note before I get to my regular blog.

My human, Jamie, made this song, “Chiraq” – inspired by the title of the upcoming Spike Lee film by the same name.

Jamie composed this song to spotlight street violence in Chicago, as well as civil unrest in the rest of the world. In case I haven’t mentioned, Jamie is 14.

I hope you will give the song a listen. He also did the artwork. I think it’s his best work to date.

Woof! Love, Maggie

5/15/15 Quiet Day

Woof! Just a quiet day today. Erik came by for a visit, and we played out in the yard a little bit. It was beautiful outside, and I always like to see my favorite people!

Mom’s foot is healing at a rapid rate. She can wear shoes – only one pair, the Converse All-Stars – as they are wide enough and she bought them 1/2 size too big as she was planning ahead for this. She barely limps at all now, and doesn’t need the crutches. I credit myself for having taken good care of her and not stepping on her toe.

We have all the windows open and I can hear all the news in the neighborhood: someone getting a roof installed, the dogs barking, birds chirping, and, while I’m not listening and sniffing out the window, I’m playing with my toy bone on the stairs.

(don’t even think about LOOKING at my toy!)

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This weekend, my humans have to cut the remains of the old swing set up and set it out for the trash collectors. Mom already arranged to have the debris picked up Monday. Secretly, I’m terrified of my humans getting a saw to cut this wood up. It should be very interesting, to say the least. Mom has lots of activity planned for the back yard. I will keep you posted.

Woof! Love, Maggie