Owned by Pugs

Monday, April 14, 2014

Part 3, The Finale:  How did G’Ma do?

Benjamin and Cupid

So, we think maybe G'Ma thought it was going to be a little easier than she originally envisioned it. It was hard work. Luna was not so cooperative with her breathing inhaler. While it really is a 2 person job, either of the OBP humans can do it alone in a pinch. But with Luna being, um, particular, shall we say, she did not want anything to do with G'Ma and the breathing tube.

The pugs were pretty cooperative overall, though. They ate their meals, did their business in the back yard, took their pills accordingly and settled into a mostly typical routine. Well, that was until bedtime. We had suggested that G'Ma sleep in the master bedroom bed so that the pugs would not be on heightened awareness through the night and they stay as close to routine as possible since they are serious creatures of habit. However, at bed time none of the pugs were having any that. So, poor G'Ma ended up sleeping on the sofa! And Henry slept up there with her and Benny on his bucket bed on the ottoman nearby and even Luna and the cat eventually joined her. So, there was G'Ma sharing the sofa with 2 dogs and a cat. I cannot imagine how horrible of a restless night sleep it was.

We have to confess. We did peak at the "cat cam" which is a remote camera we have in the house which was originally purchased just to monitor Cupid when we took the pugs to Maryland for a few days and left Cupid with Grammy and a neighbor tending to her here and there. We wanted to be sure we saw Cupid from time to time since due to her week of diabetes a while ago we know that she can have a flare up at any point and stress induces that scenario. Not sure if Cupid considers us leaving the house a vacation for her or if it stresses her out. So, we had gotten a kitty cam to watch her. So, we sneaked a peak on the kitty cam and saw G'Ma laid out on the sofa with animals everywhere and looking very uncomfortable.

Everything else seemed to go well. None of the critters were upset with us when we got home so that was nice. The Orioles won both of the games we watched. One against the Boston Red Sox and the other versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. So that was super cool. The weather was nice. We managed to stay almost completely free of anxiety which made the trip even more enjoyable. When we lived in Maryland we occasionally dropped the boys (pre-Luna) with G'Ma for an overnight. But that was 10 years ago. Since then we have not been away for an overnight. There have been times when one of us, of course, have been gone but not until a few weeks ago have we both been gone from the house overnight without them. We have taken them to the mountains, recently to Maryland, to the 1000 Pugs photo shoot in Miami (let's just say we are happy that we took a few of our own photos) and to a pug meet up several years ago. So, they usually go with us. They always get to go. But this time it was a 2 legged animal getaway only. And we all made it through. Thanks to G'Ma for coming down and biting off more than she expected to chew. And thanks to Grammy for being there as a back up during this time if needed. And of course to Grammy every day for the love and work she puts in all time.

We truly could not make it work (we'd be homeless, penniless and likely pugless) if we didn't have the super support we have for our family of fur. Thanks to everyone for their continued support of this wacky OBP family! How would you do caring for this clan? I'd be surprised if your routines were not close to what we do or even crazier! To love a pug is to give everything and get wet sloppy kisses and piddles on the carpet back. grin It's all a day in the life at the home of senior pugs. #seniorsarestillcoolerthanpuppies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Part 2:  A Day In the Life at the Home for Senior Pugs

Henry & Luna

Now that the hotel reservations were made, an airline trip for G'Ma was booked and the time neared, we, the humans at OBP, finally were ready to go away for a vacation which constituted one overnight to the other side of the state. We went to see two Baltimore Orioles Spring training baseball games. It used to be an annual tradition to attend a game during opening week at Camden Yards in Baltimore each April. In an effort to revisit that long lost tradition, we took a short trip to Sarasota to take in a couple of the O's Spring training games. This meant, leaving the dogs (and Cupid) at home. Overnight. For the first time ever since we've lived in Florida. Without us. But we had G'Ma there. She was ready. A little nervous, but ready. Grammy, who lives up the street, could be called upon for back up but hopefully, of course not needed. During her few days of pug boot camp just prior to us leaving, we had shown G'Ma the route to our regular vet and (gulp) the dreaded emergency vet, if needed.

We went through the notes and the routine for G'Ma. In doing that, it hit us hard what a day in the life at the home of senior pugs looks like from the outside. We have the routine down to a well oiled machine, but for an outsider to come in and take over for 2 days was a feat.

This is how the day begins:

5:45ish AM wake the pugs. Usually Cupid helps this along but making a lovely poopy in her cat box early in the morning which gets Benny's nose stirring. If this is the case, scoop the poop, feed Ben and work on waking the others. At breakfast time, the pugs all get their morning meds.

The pill keeper

Their meds are concealed in various yummy treats to get them to down them with ease. Henry and Benny are not picky about how their meds are camouflaged but Luna has become a master at eating the package and discarding. The most recent one was at the bottom of the water bowl. At least that was an easy one to spot. wink

Breakfast time ORAL meds include:

Benjamin:

  • 1/2 synthroid pill (for thyroid disfunction)
  • 1/4 Reglan (to help with acid)
  • 1 full Theophyline (to open his airways and help him breath)
  • 1 full Tussigon pill (cough suppressant to help his chronic cough and in turn to give his collapsed trachea relief from continuous pressure)
  • 10 mg of generic Prilosec (for acid reflux)
  • 1 full prednisone every other day

Some meds are best if given before they eat. However, for the sake of this narrative, some of the super minor details have been omitted.

Luna:

  • Lasix (to help keep her mucous production low which allows for her to be less gaggy/hacky and helps alleviate stress on her trachea and upper respiratory system)
  • 1/4 Reglan (to help with acid)
  • 1 full Theophyline (to open her airways and help her breath)
  • 1 full Tussigon pill (cough suppressant to help her chronic cough and in turn to give her collapsed trachea relief from continuous pressure)
  • 10 mg of generic Prilosec (for acid reflux)
  • 1/2 prednisone every day

Some meds are best given before they eat however for the sake of this narrative some of the super minor details have been omitted.

AeroDawg

Not an "oral med" per se, but then Luna has to have her inhaler. This is similar to what people with asthma would take. But since you cannot explain to a dog how to "suck in" air through their mouth, you have to put the inhaler into a tube and the other end of that tube has a cup that covers her nose. You spray the inhaler into the tube while the cup is over her nose and you watch the little flap on the top of the tube to see how many puffs she breathed in.

This is by far the most challenging task that we have with the pugs (even harder than giving Benjamin eye drops. Prying his eyelids open to put a drop in his eye is like trying to open a pistachio nut that doesn't already have that convenient little crack in it already.) Luna has actually gotten really good at this, though. We even think that she has come to associate it with knowing it helps her feel better.

Henry:

  • 10 mgs of generic Prilosec (ain't he easy?!)

So, that is pill time in the senior pug home at breakfast. Now. On to early morning eye drops.

Benjamin:

  • 1 drop in each eye of KCS solution which has to be refrigerated (to help with reducing pigment covering his eye)
  • 1 drop in each eye of an anti-allergy drop (to reduce itchy/mucous eyes)

Once you give a set of drops you need to wait at least 5-10 minutes before you can give a different set.

Luna:

  • 1 drop in each eye of KCS solution which has to be refrigerated but is a different type than Ben's (to help with reducing pigment covering her eye)
  • 1 drop of Pilocarpine (in her right) and 1 drop of Tacrolimus (in her left) (to help with dry eye, tear production)

Once you give a set of drops you need to wait at least 5-10 minutes before you can give a different set.

Henry:

Initially Henry was on no drops. That is how it was for when G'Ma was here. But for the week or 10 days before Henry had to have his eye removed, Henry became king of all eye drops. I cannot even tell you what the names of what he was on. There were so many that I could only remember them this way (and I won't repeat them the way I will for Luna and Benjamin because now that he no longer has a left eye, this is all sadly moot). All drops in the left eye. 3x a day drops with orange lid. 2x a day, drops with yellow lid. 4x a day the milky drops that you have to shake really really well. Tacrolimus (I only know this one by name since Luna has been on it forever) is 2x a day in both eyes. Then they added the drops in the bottle with the teal colored top that has to be refrigerated 2x a day. So he went from being super dog to the neediest one (in the eye department) almost overnight).

Whew. Ok. So the morning shift of eating, oral meds and eye drop is done. Now, time to potty them. Are you ready for the bathroom tour?

Benjamin can go one of a few ways. He typically goes outside, does his business and toddles back in. Sometimes, though, often weather dependent, he goes outside, and does his Benny walk which is the small loop around our court. If there are smells in the air then he will wander a bit more aimlessly following the scents in the air, especially if is a windy day. Oh boy does Benny love him a windy day!

Henry. He likes to use this time to try to bust out a walk to the busy corner (about 2 blocks away) and back. I say "and back" but once he gets to the corner he not only doesn't want to come back but when he eventually realizes he has to come back he dawdles like nobody's business. He is often carried home if time does not allow for his shenanigans.

Then there is Luna. Luna has her own agenda set each day. You cannot deviate from Luna's agenda. She either goes outside and does her business immediately or lets you know that you are going to have to work it into your schedule to give her another chance to use the ladies room before you head off to work. It will be clear what her choice is. If she doesn't do her stuff quickly then she will either just march up to the door or not even move the entire time she is outside.

This is the basic care routine of the morning shift. All the stuff that has to be done before the humans go to work. This of course does not include Cupid's routine needs (except the possible early morning poop scoop). Nor does it include the loving, petting and general conversation we have with the fur babies.

Moving on to midday. This is Grammy's shift on weekdays. All things considered, it is a light shift. Pugs get a midday day snack. If Benjamin, especially, and Henry, often, do not eat then they will develop acid in their tummies to the point in which they throw up stomach bile. Not to mention with the Hunger Games twins (Ben & Luna) being on prednisone they are ravenous! Henry's stint on pred also increased his appetite but he was manageable. Anyway, around 12-1 each day, Grammy comes down, lets the pugs out in the back yard to go potty, gives them a little snack and then tends to Luna's midday eye drops. Around lunchtime Luna gets 1 drop in each eye of cyclosporine (which works in conjunction with Tacrolimus) and about 1/2 an hour later she will get lubricating eye drops (Genteal drops) just to keep her eyes moist.

Grammy stays for a couple of hours. She listens to a book on audio, does some sewing, gives the puggers and Cupid some lovin's and tends to them daily. (So, when we think of this "extra shift" we have to include it into what G'Ma would need to learn during her training drills.)

Early evening (after work) the humans come back home and then it is on to the 3rd shift. The pugs get dinner and a round of pills much like the ones in the morning, but not quite as many. They get a round of drops almost exactly like the morning and Luna gets her breathing inhaler again. And of course, more time to do their business.

This is the breakdown of a day in the life at the OBP household. No wonder we don't have much time to go places anymore!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Part 1:  A Pugless Vacay?!

Benjamin, Luna and Henry

A family member told us the other day that we treat our pugs better than most people treat their children. Of course, we have a tendency to agree (even if that meant that there was a sad realization that this means that children often ill treated).

This came on the heels of a recent debate we have been having in the OBP home. Can we take a pugless vacation? Can we go anywhere, stay overnight, without the dogs and cat and not need to take Xanax to relieve our anxiety? Can we trust anyone to stay with them? In our house? Alone? And still find positive results when we arrive home? The fact that Benjamin, Henry and Luna require quite a bit of attention gave us, the humans at OBP, much food for thought in making a decision that we have struggled with year after year since we've moved to Florida. Can we really take a trip somewhere together and not bring along the gang? If we went away, who would watch the pugs?

We have long known that our pugs are high maintenance. Yet, the realities of "who would watch the pugs" lead to an entirely revamped analysis of this concept. Grammy, who lives up the street, watches the pugs for a few hours every weekday/workday. But Grammy has 3 cats of her own, an active social life, gardening that she loves to tend to, books to write (her latest, Katie Did, is now available) and a husband at home that likes to have his wife around.

We knew that asking Grammy to work an additional entire vacation shift would be out of the question. So, who could we ask?! G'Ma, of course! But G'Ma still lives up North. And she does have a job, a husband and other responsibilities BUT no pets and she had been wanting to get away from the snow for bit! So the idea sounded grand!

We made the offer to G'Ma and she accepted. Still, there was much planning to be done. G'Ma would be here just short of a week. A few of the early days would be a pug boot camp for her. She'd be learning the drill, mastering how to give Luna her inhaler, understanding their special needs, etc. It is a lot to learn! Then the real work would begin when the OBP parents left.

Before G'Ma arrived, we got to work making notes, prepping systems and doing everything possible to help make it easier for her. But what we found in this process is that we essentially are running a Home for Senior Pugs.

More on the pugs' routine and G'Ma's adventures in pug sitting coming soon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Farewell Friend

Farewell Friend

It is with a heavy heart that I share that long time Owned by Pugs friend Huckle (Nancy Tucker) passed away. She lost her battle with cancer last Thursday.

Nancy's sense of humor always shined through in her comments. Whether it was witty quips about Benjamin, Henry, Luna and Sol or hilarious stories about her own pugs Abbey, Gracie & Georgie. I know her presence on OBP will surely be missed.

As a true pug lover, Nancy asked that any memorials be directed to Ohio Pug Rescue. Their online donation form can be found here. If you do donate, be sure to include Nancy's (Nancy Tucker) name in the comment section so they know the donation is made in her honor.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Promise Garden

Henry, Luna and Benjamin

A few weeks ago I participated in A Walk to End Alzheimer's. The event was a success and one of the touching things they did was give out these garden flowers. Each colored flower had a different meaning.

  • Blue- I have Alzheimer's (not pictured)
  • Yellow- I am supporting or caring for someone with Alzheimer's
  • Purple- I have lost someone to Alzheimer's
  • Orange- I support the cause and a vision of a world without Alzheimer's

It was very powerful to see all these different colored flowers at the event. Once we got our flowers home the pugs could not resist posing with them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Remembering Mary

Jenna, Mary and Luna

OBP wanted to share today's blog in honor of Mary Davis. Mary is the mom of longtime OBP extended family, Jenna Davis (Moulton). Jenna, is mom to Jade (a black pug) & Pink (a fawn that recently joined their family). Jenna had been reading the blog for a few years and her mom, Mary knew of the blog through Jenna. Mary learned of the calendars that OBP used to put together. Mary, a true animal lover, ordered a calendar for her daughter Jenna (who resides in New Hampshire). We noted that Mary's mailing address was very close to where we lived. We thought to ourselves, "what a small world". Well, time ticked on and through emails we came to know Jenna, her beau at the time, now husband, Corey, their black pug Jade and Jenna's mom, Mary. At the time, OBP had recently lost Solsey, our black pug. Jenna & her family bonded with the OBP family over the adventures that Sol had brought our way before her passing. And since they had a black pug, too, the black pug topics grew fast and furious. After corresponding for a bit, we worked out a time when we could meet Jenna, Corey and Jade as they would be visiting her mom down here in the South. On this visit, we got to meet Mary, too.

We met up at the dog beach (sadly, sans Solsey). Benjamin, Henry, Luna, Jade, OBP humans, Jenna, Corey, Mary and Jade were all getting to know one another. Dogs sniffing bottoms as they became friends, people asking questions, sharing stories, telling tales, laughing, joking and also, becoming fast friends. I remember Jenna referring to herself as our stalker which seemed completely riotous. OBP had a stalker? Ha! We were both flattered and questioning if we should really be concerned even though we knew that there could no way be a harmful pug stalker out there. wink

What struck me the most about the "stalker" and her family was that she knew so much about us. There wasn't a story we could tell that she hadn't already heard. She'd already read them all. It did seem like an odd phenomenon. You just meet someone and they are telling you the best moments to your own accounts. It was wacky (but in a good way). So, we tried to be even better listeners and learn about them since we had nothing new to share that they didn't know by now.

Anyway….what was also so cool was that while Jenna was the true pug lover, she brought with her, her mom and then boyfriend. I wasn't surprised that her sweetie would be there but I was a little surprised to see her bring her mom. Her mom, Mary, was such a hoot (I could see where Jenna got her warm wit, spunky way with words and generosity). Mary had a thick northern accent. The OBP humans are both northerners, too but when we talk about Mary being a northerner, she brought the accent to a whole new level. (You know, the whole, "pahk the cah in Scotland yahd" deal? Well that was Mary. And Corey, too but he was pretty quiet the first visit.) You could also tell that Mary was so pleased to be a "snow birder" as they are called down here. Spending the winters in Florida to dodge the wicked North East winter weather and then going back to New Hampshire for the summer once it is safe to trek back again. Mary was pleased as punch to be retired and embracing the best weather each state had to offer. It was so sweet to see Jenna and her mom be so close and loving to one another. There was no mother/daughter friction there. They had a super awesome mutual love and respect.

Mary was no old fogey. She was spry and silly and had a great presence without being overpowering. She was so friendly. She was a character but genuine. And what I remember most of our first visit with her was that her eyes were such a piercing blue. They were gorgeous. She was also a crafty person. She was handy in the quilting and yarn hooking categories and also good in the kitchen. She was always so thoughtful of our pugs. She baked them loaves of pumpkin bread. Knowing that Benny's vice was pumpkin bread, she'd whip up a loaf for him (and the others but Benny would commandeer the whole thing.) She was just so kind that way. She loved our pugs. And I know she loved her grandpugs! She was a special person.

So, we had awesome visits with Mary (and Jenna & clan) throughout a few years. About 2 years ago, though, we were doing some shopping with one of my old college friends who was visiting from Maryland and we saw Mary again at a small town art show. We stopped and chatted a bit. She was that happy, bubbly little lady that we'd remember from our visits. Little did we know that that would be the last time we would see Mary again.

Jenna and Corey remain our friends and we have seen them a few more times (and each time is better than the time before and we grow to love them more with each visit). Sadly, though their last few visits have been laced with health problems on Mary's end. Mary developed cancer and fought it once, but it came back and she tried to fight again but this time it was to no avail. Mary passed away recently. She was a terrific person. She was Jenna's mom, Jade & Pink's grandmom. We know our friend Jenna will miss her mom terribly. We also have an idea what it is like to watch a parent suffer (although fortunately, we still have our parents, we still have seen them battle serious sickness). We broaden this blog as a true tribute to Mary and share with Jenna, Corey, Jade, Pink and their extended family our most sincere condolences, love, respect and support in this most difficult time.

All good pug juju going out to them and their loved ones.

Jenna, Mary and Henry

(Post memorial comments: We also had the opportunity to meet Mary's husband Ian and her son Jeffrey. Both, of course were wonderful people and Jeffrey did a wonderful job with the eulogy. I am not surprised that the entire family is filled with terrific people as we know that Jenna did not fall far from the tree of kindness.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Almost Scared to Death

Almost Scared to Death

In addition to pug sitting almost every day, Grammy has been hard at work writing a book. The book is called Almost Scared to Death and it was just released last week. We ordered our copy and are anxiously awaiting its delivery.

While we haven't read the book yet, we are pretty sure it details Grammy's life experiences. And while I'm not 100% sure, I don't think the pugs make any guest appearances. It may be pugless but I am sure it is still interesting. If you are interested, you can order a copy of the book on Amazon.

Grammy also did the artwork for the book's cover. Grammy is way bigger than a one hit wonder. She is an awesome writer, a wonderful artist, a terrific mother and a super pug sitting Grammy.

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