Friday, June 1, 2012

Oh for crying out loud!

Well. Those of you who have been Asylum inmates for any amount of time know about our babies (fur-babies I mean). To those who haven't been around very long, we have 3 (see pics at the VERY bottom of the site). All from the pound.. They are our kids in every way, except we don't have to put them thru college.

HOWEVER. Just because they're 4-legged kids doesn't mean they're any less expensive it turns out. Case(s) in point:

PG, the original (we got her as a puppy from the pound when we lived in Hawaii). Surgeries to this point:
-Rear kneecap popping out, grooved the knee joint and re-attached the lower end in the middle of the bone.
-Rear knee joint out of whack, TPLO surgery (cutting away the joint and changing it's angle w/ a fancy L-shaped piece of metal and screws).
-OTHER rear knee joint out of whack, TPLO surgery AGAIN.

Sweet Pea (number 2, got her from the pound when we moved here from Hawaii. She had been saved from the "Kill list" by veto's from the workers for FOUR MONTHS when we finally got her). Surgeries to this point:
-Mass Cell Tumor removal (which can come back anywhere/anytime, so far so good on that score)
-Dental work (twice) as she has HORRENDOUS teeth. This involves putting them under general anesthesia so is somewhat costly. Multiple teeth pulled during the last round.

Sydney (our last adoption, she was in the pound for SIX MONTHS awaiting us to find her). Surgeries to date:
-Complete digestive tract blockage-emergency surgery. Cause: 3 plastic squeakers (from squeaky toys), large piece of rubber (looked like a HUGE puzzle piece), half a tennis ball, and the blockage was the 4 month old remnant from a wholly swallowed corn cob which digested down to a nice little plug that finally was small enough to go into the intestines and BAM, total blockage). 

-Ruptured cervical vertebrae disc, total paralysis (in mid stride I might add...on a Friday evening). Cat-scans, etc etc and finally emergency surgery the next morning (at a Veterinary Surgical Center 90 miles away) to remove the debris and cut away some space for the disc remnants to remove the spinal cord pressure). 5 days in doggie-ICU. Months of physical therapy (here at home), as she completely learned to stand, walk, and finally run again (which she now does differently than before the damage).

-Complete digestive tract blockage (AGAIN), this time on a weekend so the only choice was the emergency vet (ie: TWICE as expensive as the regular vet). This time it was a large rubber band, the top of a plastic water bottle (looked like a shark attack ripped the threaded part off, no lid tho), and then a bunch of grass. The rubber band was twisted around the plastic bottle top, and then a pile of long grass was all twisted up in the other end of the rubber band. The bottle top was too big to go into the intestines, so just hung out in her stomach. Once the grass got twisted, it was small enough to slip into the "out-door" yet the rubber band kept it from passing. So she had a nice yo-yo-ing plug that was unable to get to the exit-hatch.

-And then on Thursday, the inspiration for the title of today's post "Oh for crying out loud!" Yes, It's ANOTHER FREAKING DIGESTIVE TRACT BLOCKAGE! Spent the day at the local vet figuring out what the prob was (ka-CHING!), and I finally ended up taking her to the surgeon a bit before 5pm (he was standing by for the EMERGENCY surgery). She was out of surgery a bit after 6. However, let me add THE REST OF THE STORY.

Tuesday was a travel day, as we returned from the farm (see previous post). We got home about midnight, and the  babies were estatic to see us (we have doggie-sitters come and feed them every day while we are gone, I have a 5 gallon water station for them, and they have doggie-doors allowing access to 3 sides of the house... so except for feeding and company they are pretty self reliant).

We get to sleep about 12:30am after feeding the herd (as I, an ONLY I have to work on Weds, Jeannie is the queen of vacation days on the books...she works four 10's, so gets 3 day weekends every week...thus doesn't need to take much vacation). At 2am I am awakened by the feel of vomit on my shoulder. Yes, she up-chuked on me (I only got winged thankfully). THAT was the first sign of bad financial news. After a quick sheet-change and a shower I'm back snoozing. Until 3am when she let-go the mother load. On the bedspread. Urgh...THAT is nasty!

So NOW I'm scooping up the entire bedspread full of foul 3 hour old stomach contents and running it into the shower where I proceed to do my best NOT to toss MY cookies while I scoop and shower away the icky vile goo from the bedspread so I could then toss it in the washer. THEN I get to scoop up all the kibble still left in the shower and get that into the toilet. After wiping down the floors of all my drippings, and yet another shower I'm back in bed. Syd obviously isn't a very happy camper at this point as she is starving and I'm guessing doesn't feel very well on top of that.

The next morning as I'm getting ready for work (only doing a half day I decided, low vacation be damned) the voimt-queen is drinking some water, and moments later chunks that on the floor. THAT is the for-sure sign of bad news if they can't keep water down. Time for a call and visit to the vet, which Jeannie took care of. By the time the radiologist had confirmed the worst it was quitting time (which was GOING to be ride time for me) so I got to zing home and pick up our sick baby and get her up to Arroyo Grande where the surgeon and his staff was waiting.

Anyway, the prognosis is "all is well" (the surgeon called about an hour after I got home, surgery was already done). Another list of various inedible stuff this time...some sort of plastic tubing all globbed together, MORE rubber bands, what appears to be parts from stuffed-doggie-toy squeakers, and some other unidentified 'stuff' (which I might peek at, if I get brave and can get past the smell....(might have to put the entire baggie of stomach contents into a bucket of water and dissolve all the icky stuff, and see what's REALLY in there). We joked (or not) about having a zipper put in. Sure wish there was such a thing. I'd pay extra for that. Again.

And so...she spent the night at the surgical clinic, and came home today (Friday) where she begins another few weeks of recovery. Her food will most likely be all-gruel (blended up dog food into a smooth easy to digest paste) for at least the next 2 weeks, not that she minds in any way. In case you haven't put 2 and 2 together, she's not very picky about what she eats. I'm not kidding when I tell you that she will eat pretty much ANYTHING (obviously).

 Here she is...Sydney the GREAT WHITE SHARK, in the cave of shame. Her belly is all shaved (not that she ever had much hair on it), and she has elastic bandages on her front paw (where the IV was) and rear paw (where her pain patch is...which lasts for 3 days). She's doing pretty good, but Jeannie says she's a bit whiny today (I figure even with the pain patch she's in some fair amount of pain, as she also gets pain pills for the next 7days).

Food-wise, I've not yet found a single thing she won't gobble down. Grapefruit...GONE. Broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, lettuce, carrots, GULP! In fact, we learned real quick NOT to hold ANYTHING she might even remotely identify as a food item up in the air, as she attacks it from below like a Great White Shark (and there is always collateral damage when this kind of attack happens, namely she will chomp your fingers WICKED-HARD leaving you in tears holding your hand inventing new to the English Language swear-words). She's part Pit Bull, so that gives you an idea of her jaws (the other part we believe is Basset Hound, making her a very interesting mix). However, she is the single-most loving dog I've ever seen, and even when she was totally paralyzed her attitude was amazing. Her tail goes like an airplane propeller, and even when she couldn't move a limb that tail was singing away anytime ANYBODY would come near her. She LOVES everybody (I secretly believe this is a ruse and she's just hoping they have food in their pockets for her).

And so. I purposely didn't tally up ALL the damages over these last 10 years, as you'd think we are insane (note: we believe they are all three around 10 years old, though PG is the only one we know for sure cuz we got her as a puppy). Maybe we are crazy. I just know there's a few REALLY NICE bikes in that amount, or a pretty nice car (maybe not quite brand-new). Not that we're into those things (well, I admit a few really nice bikes would be rather cool!) As for the new car, I'll keep my 03 VW Jetta TDI wagon until they pry it from my cold dead fingers....(it's a 5-spd diesel and gets FIFTY MPG on the highway if I keep my foot out of it! I routinely run 800+ mile tanks on it's 16.5 gal tank!) Jeannie drives a 21 year old Dodge (which she will until it no longer is able to pass Calif smog w/ out putting a ton of money into it). After that it will be another used car for her too (I bought my Jetta used, still it's the BEST car I've ever had!)

I just can't help but wonder what happened to having a dog that goes to the vet for Rabies shots and otherwise just lives it's life without all this drama and cash outlay.

Oh well...easy come (NOT!), easy go. Sei la vie, sayonara, bye bye, see ya later alligator to another chunk of our hard-earned-cash.

And life goes on. I will say the house sure seemed lonely without Syd around last night. Our babies are the glue that binds our family together.

Have a great weekend (and btw: get pet insurance before it's too late! Just tell-em Matt & Jeannie sent you, they might give you a volume discount!)



  1. I read that we spend more on pet health care these days than ever before. During the recession, vet care was the one industry that was still accelerating. You're just part of a national trend.

    Sure seems like we spend a lot on our kitties.
    --Rachel (from Fatty's blog)

  2. But where does she keep getting those rubber bands?

    I had a patient who ((because of a traumatic brain injury) would hoover up anything on his meal tray. I don't just mean the food--he would put the whole container or packet (catsup, salt, creamer, pudding cup etc) in his mouth and happily chew away. He would have the entire tray cleaned out within 5 minutes. We lived in fear that he would swallow the packages and had to be vigilant to intercept the trays before they got into his reach. Never could get the kitchen to understand the issue.


  3. Oh Matt, poor Sydney! And like Rae says - where DOES she keep getting all that rubber stuff?! Actually, I'm thinking she needs a doggie therapist! Find out WHY she keeps eating that stuff. Probably was mistreated when young (your standard "child" abuse) & then left along a road or kicked out so she's got "abandonment issues". Which means your disappearances from time to time are not helping her. Awww, poor Sydney! And maybe she was hit with some kind of rubber thing when young & that's why she eats it now, as a "payback" of sorts. Hmmmmmm. With all the dogs we had on the farm (over 20 or so), I've never seen a dog that ate like a pig or goat like yours. (They eat ANYthing!) Since she's part pitbull, do you know if that breed eats junk too? (We never had any pitbulls so I'm not familiar with them).

    Anyway, maybe you can sprinkle some of that doggie-repellent stuff on all the rubber things in your house. (I've heard about it on pet shows - it keeps the dogs from eating/tearing up sofas, shoes, whatever they're munching on).

    But at least Sydney has a guardian angel-doggie because she ended up with you & Jeannie! One of the main reasons I never got the bassett I always wanted was because of the potential cost of medical problems. You are such a good guy, Matt!

    And wow, I didn't know anyone else with a 20 year old car! Mine will turn 21 in Oct, although my plan is to buy a new car in Sept-Oct, so it may not make it to "legal age". after all. :)

  4. Anybody else wondering who will actually be on RSNT's Tour team? Despite the so-far (ahem) underwhelming season from the Schlecks, I would imagine Frank will join Andy in France. (Or owner Becca would cough up a lung). And then there's Spartacus &....&...., well I don't bloomin' know for sure! There's Klodi, Horner (who not only lost the ToC but didn't even get on the podium), Thumper (Fulgsang who just won the Tour de Lux but put a wrench in the team's Giro plans by having to pull out the WEEK before due to a bad knee & HE was the GC guy!), Haimar, Popo, Jensie, Sunshine (Linus G), Maxime Monfort, Greg Rast & other guys I don't know much about. And I can't imagine Johan taking a sprinter on a GC-only team, but there's also Bennati & Heinrich. That's a LOT of guys!

    Let's see - they need at least 3 mt helpers & 2-3 wind-breaker/protectors in addition to Andy. And the only way I see Johan going to this year's Tour with more than ONE main GC guy is if Andy breaks something or completely implodes in the 1st week. (Which, the way he's looking at the Dauphine, COULD be a possibility! Ooof!). The ONE thing I think EVERYbody learned last year (including Johan) is that you can NOT go to the Tour with 3, count 'em, 3 GC guys. Not enough helpers!

    Anyway, I get a sinking feeling that at least one of our fave riders will not make the team. (Jensie, Thumper or Horner & I want ALL 3 ridin around France!). I feel tears coming on already! :(

    What do ya'll think?

  5. And one more thing. I've been thinkin... You know how Lance used to always say Johan was a "genius tactician"? Well, maybe he's more! Maybe he's THE YODA of cycling tactics! Look at the way he's "prepping" the team for the Tour! "What?!" you say? "Hasn't this year been one disaster after another?" Well, if you WANT all your opponents to think you have NO SHOT at the TOUR, what better way than to have you main guys SANDBAG prep races & then & THEN, pretend to be having power-struggles/hissy-fits within the team (& ESPECIALLY involving your 2 main Tour riders) and "let it slip" to the media? Over & over & over again so that the entire cycling world thinks your team is imploding & will barely make it off the bus to make the Grand Departe! Genius!

    And MAYbe Andy has been working NON-stop the past 10 months on his timetrialing (seriously, WHERE has he been?!!) & rode a complete fake-out Prologue the other day at the Dauphine. Did he even finish in the Top 100?! Awesome! Andy Sandbag Schleck. (Just don't abbreviate your new name Andy!)

    Are cyclists/teams allowed to bet on themselves or is it disallowed as in American sports? Hmmmmmmm.

  6. Hey everybody...I have NO IDEA where Syd is getting this stuff...we watch her pretty carefully, but I guess like a kid you can't watch them all the time. Only takes a moment to find some tasty inedible treat I seems to take about 2 years for enough junk to gather in her stomach to cause the blockage...(that's the current cycle every 2 years). I'm constantly amazed at how LAZY people are when I'm letting them run at our little park...the crap I see lying around that SHOULD be in a garbage can...I'm guessing this is where she finds a lot of the stuff.

    As to the upcoming le Tour, I will surely update our Dish Network package late June so I have NBC sports. It will be sweet to watch cycling again (HEY! I just watched stage TWO of the Giro the other day! It was on my DVR! Woo-HOO!) Be interesting to see the teams...I can't IMAGINE not having Jens and Horner on a Tour team. Add in Spartacus, Frank & Andy n you only have a few spots left..add in Popo & Haimar leaves only 2 spots...would he leave Klodi home? Sheesh..hard decisions for sure. I would love to see Horner get his shot, but not w/ Andy on the team sorry to say. They should be loaded for a podium spot (or 2?)...we shall see Susie if you've uncovered JB's strategy...sandbagging, no pressure, completely underwhelming season thus far...sure hope that's it...would love to see them kick some hiney this year (especially after last year's disastrous race!)

    And HEY CATHY! Where are you? Hope all is well...maybe you've been sworn to secrecy on things?

  7. I wish Horner could go, last year was so disappointing, and he has been left off the tour teams before to his great chagrin. But if his form is good, would he be willing to sacrifice for Andy (he has always been the loyal domestique in the past, but his career grows short.... ) I am sure he also won't be selected for the Olympics (again!)
    Jens didn't go last year, did he? Maybe that was the problem for Andy!
    I would say Haimar and Rast for sure, maybe Irazar--he has been performing well. I can't imagine JB not taking Popo, & he's already said Cance is going. Would he really possibly take only one of the Schlecks? I am afraid that Klodi will be visiting Poland in July!

    JB as the master Sand-bagger--huh, he never managed to convince any of us that LA would be riding purely in the service of Bertie, did he?

    Matt, hope your fur-baby is doing well now!

    SusieB, what kind of a farm were you on with 20 dogs? Sheep ranch?


  8. Hello all! Welcome to the new visitors too :)

    Yes, Jens was at the Tour last year working for Andy like a crazy person - blood dripping down his knee & elbow. I can't imagine that they won't take Jens. NO ONE works harder for their team and he is obviously in good form after his TT in CA. I hope that Horner goes....but you're right, there are a lot of guys who would be a help to the team!

    Cadel is looking good in the Dauphine - as well as Wiggo. I'm excited already for July. I've been skeptical about Wiggo in the past but think he really might have a chance at a good finish this year. Also cheering for VDV of course. He looked better every day at the Giro and might be riding into excellent form in time for the Tour. I'm not sure whether Andy could be putting on THAT good of a show! If so he needs to be nominated (along with JB) for some kind of acting award!

    Gosh, Matt, I almost can't believe how often poor Syd gets herself into serious digestive trouble! We've been spending a lot on our kitty this spring (urinary blockages) so I can seriously sympathize! Here's hoping that she is on the road to recovery and will maybe try to curb her shark-like habits in the future. Step away from the trash Sydney!!

    First day of summer for me officially!! Last day of school was yesterday - hooray! Kalea wants to take riding lessons, so I took her out for the first time today on my old steady lesson mount after purchasing a brand new pair of cowboy boots last night. She did a great job and is excited for the next lesson :) Taking the kids to a local cave tomorrow. Sigh - I love summer....

    So good to hear from you all. Hope you can make it back here too, Cathy. I might have to poke at T on Facebook to see if she'll stop by again for the Tour.

    I was also wondering why you had 20 dogs Susie! Or is that a total from your lifetime? You must share :)


  9. Can't chat TOO long right now but did want to answer about our farm & the dogs. Our farm's main business was hybrid seed corn, but my dad also grew/sold wheat, soybeans, clover seed (nicknamed "gold" in our neck of the woods as my Dad was the only farmer in a large area who had the machines to both collect in the fields AND to clean the stuff & bag it). We also had Herefords (beef cattle), pigs, chickens (yep, had some Guinea hens too) & assorted ducks, geese.

    In addition to the "farm" animals, we had dogs & cats. LOTS. The only cat we ever bought was a yellow tabby for me that I named 'Tomasina' (after that Disney movie). All the other cats either just showed up at our farm & stayed or were the off-spring (many, many generations) of the cats who did. The highest number of cats we ever had at 1 time was about 50. I know this as I decided to count them one day. The cats pretty much divided themselves up between "yard cats", "barnyard cats", "shed cats" & "barn cats". Only a few of the yard cats were even half-way tame.

    As for the dogs - we bought some but most were either given to us a payment for hay,etc or hunting access on the farm OR they just showed up one day. (People used to drive out in the country & dump their unwanted pets & the ones who found their way to our place usually liked it so much they tried to stay & if they got along with the dogs "in charge", they did). We usually had about 5-7 dogs at one time, although our all-time high was 21 but 13 of those were puppies. If I counted up all the dogs from my birth til about age 23 when I started work & thus didn't go "home" for at least a month out of the year probably numbers close to 50 I guess. All these dogs (except for a couple my Aunt owned) lived outside & almost were never allowed in the house (my Mom's doing).

    And my fave dog was Puddles - a beagle given to my Aunt, who gave it to me but really we "shared" as he was one of the few dogs allowed in a house (hers, which was also on the farm). And he was BRILLIANT! I swear, he'd understand everything I said! He'd be in my bedroom (in my Aunt's house) & I'd say "Puddles, go back to the kitchen" & he would! The weird thing about him was that he hated men. Would NOT go near them, including my Dad who was like an "animal whisperer". We always assumed it was because of some kind of abuse from boys/men when he'd been a puppy. We got him when he was about 3.

  10. Oh, & we had some horses. My Dad had one & then my younger sister got one when she was in high school which she rode in competition (horse shows, in Hunter jumping events). We also occasionally boarded horses for family friends.

    My dad's horse was also for competition but not horse shows, for jousting. My dad was a multi-time state champion throughout the 50s & 60s. It was a big deal back then (is our state sport) but after my dad retired from it in the late 60s, the sport almost seemed to disappear. I think some form still exists, but it seems almost unrecognizable to what I witnessed as a kid.

    When I was young, my sisters & I used to love to sit on our lane fence & watch my father train. We'd clap & hoot & holler as he galloped down the path & lanced the little rings. My Dad's title was Knight of Blue Ribbon. (All jousters have titles, the men are Knights & the women are Maids & they compete against each other as in all other horse events).

    Alrighty, gotta git! Have a great day everyone!