Shortly after we started noticing that Henry was having a rough setback with his poops and then his brain, we realized was that a new issue was cropping up - we were noticing some weirdness with his eye! The first thing we noticed was a weird spot on his eye (Wednesday the 13th). By midday Thursday his eye was producing a lot of mucus and he was squinting terribly. Late Thursday we call the eye vet and made an appointment for the earliest available time. Luckily that happened to be Friday at 8:45am. This was not good at all for traffic, but we were relieved to be able to get Henry in to see the eye vet before the weekend.
Henry's eye exam revealed that he had an ulcer. (Side note, we have confirmed this was not from an injury/trauma. i.e. not from riding with his head out the car window. Whoosh!) In a normal case, surgery would have been the recommended option, but we know that Henry is far from normal. Henry is not a good candidate for surgery so we were left with treatment plan b - hourly eye drops. We have experienced pretty hectic eye drop schedules with Luna, so at first we were't too worried about hourly eye drops. And then we thought about it for a second, and asked the vet, "Do we have to do these through the night, too?"
Knowing that that was a daunting task, the eye vet said if we were to get 2-3 sets of drops through the night that that would be OK.
As soon as we got home we started his eye drops. Each hour we gave him 3 different drops. We had to wait at least 3-5 minutes between drops. And the kicker to all this is one of the drops was refrigerated.
Do you know how quickly an hour can go? It seems like every time we turned around we were giving Henry and eye drop. Henry was a real trooper about and didn't seem to mind at all.
At night time, we decided that we would go all in and stick to the hourly drop schedule. After all, the eye drops were the only hope and we really wanted a good report when we went for our follow-up appointment on Monday. Every hour on the hour the alarm would go off and we would give Henry his first drop. One of the hardest parts was having to wait 3-5 minutes between drops. When are you are half asleep, 3-5 minutes is just enough time to fall back asleep. And since one of the drops was refrigerated, that meant that one of us had to leave the nice warm bed to go get the drops.
We tried to break this into shifts, so that we weren't completely sleep deprived, but that was a tough task. To make sure we actually landed the drop in Henry's eye we had to turn at least a night light on. And going to the fridge made noise too. The icing on the cake was that about every 2-3 hours, giving Henry the drops would cause him to stir. And he would need to go out to potty, and then of course he would want a treat! This was a bad habit that we certainly didn't want to start!
So for the weekend, we got no more than about 50 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. By Monday morning, when we went back to the eye vet, we were quite groggy, but we were very anxious to hear if there was any healing at all. After taking a look at Henry's eye, the eye vet said there was in fact healing. In my sleep deprived state, I blurted out, "Like 50% or more!" Unfortunately not. But, Henry's eye had healed by about 10-15%. This was enough to change his eye drops schedule from every hour to every 2 hours.
Dropping down to every 2 hours was so much easier! We kept this schedule day and night until Thursday when Henry had his next follow-up appointment. On Thursday, the eye vet noted even more healing. While Henry is still not out of the woods, the infection in his eye was cleared, so that was a huge step. We were now able to step his eye drops down to 4-5 times per day! Compared to hourly eye drops that schedule is a piece of cake!
Henry will go back to the eye vet next Thursday. Hopefully, his eye will continue to improve. In the meantime, Henry is keeping his eye open and does not show any signs of discomfort, so that is fantastic!
Shortly after sharing the post about Henry's Teefers last week, Henry started chewing a chewy stick and snapped off one of his canine teeth almost at the gum line. Ugh. I say one of his canine's but the truth is that it is his last of his 2 canine teeth. He did the same thing on the other side about 5 years ago. We heard the tooth snap and it startled him, but fortunately it has not seemed to bother him (and neither has the other one, thank goodness!) There was a time when the vet was worried that the tooth would need to come out but fortunately that never came to fruition. So, we will keep an eye on his mouth, now, too. This kid has enough strikes against him, can he please catch a break?! He has been trying to swap chewing for pacing in the evening and now this may put the kibosh on that!
At first we could not even find where the tooth landed but after sifting through vacuum dust we found it. We were a little surprised how white it still was. And again, thankfully, he is still able to eat and seems to be having no real troubles with the broken canine. #HenryStrong #ThisTooShallPass
This week's ask question comes from Sue W who wants to know if our pugs ever got into a tiff. She indicated that her gang gets along well most of the time, but every once in a while they don't see eye to eye.
Good question, Sue. Our group, whether it be the 2 originals (B&H), the tribe of 3 (B, H &L) or the full brood of 4 (B, H, L & S) have only on rare occasion not gotten along well. The biggest incident was when Solsey bullied all the others for their knuckle bones. They each had their own knuckle bones, but Solsey grew a little obsessed by them and literally went over to each dog and stole their bone and brought it back to her space until she had 4 large bones of her own. We had only discovered what the problem was when we noticed that Sol was stock piling them and Benny was whimpering trying to get his back. Sol would NOT allow this. It wasn't until the peeps stepped in and reminded otherwise sweet Solsey that there was a one bone per customer rule in the OBP home. It was likely she had never experienced such bone joy so we let her be excited but did need to control her exuberance.
There were a few other times when the boys were not ready to make a bone trade off and the not ready pug would give a little warning growl to back away. And then there would be times when Luna would be "mad" at Henry for not engaging in play and fuss at him in order to get his attention. But overall, the 2, 3, 4,3, 2 of them have really been good buddies for their whole lifetime of togetherness.
Great question, Sue! We are pleased to hear that it sounds like the same is true in your home. And isn't that the case with pugs? They are pretty much everyone's best friend.
We've been procrastinating about sharing an update on Henry's health. Mainly putting it off since there is not a lot of great news to share. We are biting the bullet and sharing now.
Henry's troubles started shortly before Christmas. He had an IBD flare up. He started having several rounds of very bad poops. On our 1-10 scale, it was ranging in the 2-4 area. And we know that when his poops are that bad that his protein levels also move down the scale to a very low number. And drop they did. We felt that the "better" food we moved him to had triggered this reaction. We made some vet recommended moves and also made an executive decision. Our vet put Henry on a very upped dose of Prednisone and another gut specific steroid (I forget the name). High level pred for a couple weeks and the other med forever. We had 2 options for a food change. We tried one and it was an epic fail and then we tried a second option and it seemed to work at least as well, if not better than the original vet prescribed food. The food changes were without vet consent.
After a few days on the failed food, we moved to the food that he is on now. It seems to be working (at least in conjunction with the change in meds). His poops were for sure getting better and for the first time since months before losing his kidney, he had his first 9 poop! (And has had a few 9's since then but mostly 7's with a few 2's thrown in there every once in a while). This is MUCH better than the 5's he'd been averaging over the year plus time we've been trying to manage this. However, here is the dark cloud portion of that silver lining. Large doses of pred are HORRIBLE for Henry's brain. Our neurologist would be upset to know that he has to be on such a high level of pred. Essentially, what is good for Henry's belly, kills his brain and what is good for his brain, kills his belly. So, this is the tightrope we have been walking for over a year now.
And it seems that the pred, while was giving him much better poops (even though his protein levels were not even increasing) has finally caught up to him. We believe that he has suffered another brain set back. The weekend of 1/9/16, we noticed the following: his cognitive issues have spiked (his confusion has elevated, he is getting lost in our home, struggles to find the front door both going out and coming back inside) and probably even worse, he is shaky on his legs (mostly just when on a slippery tile floor but also when on carpet, concrete or grass but not nearly as bad as when on tile). There was an episode that was seen on the camera when we were not home where he could not stand up from a laying position because he could not get traction. He howled for help and no one was there. It was heartbreaking. Peep #2 was on the way home and got there quickly to help but it was still a tough one to watch.
Since then, we have been able to lower his pred some (but no noticeable change just yet). He has been slow to rebound, is still kind of wonky both mentally and physically. We are hopeful that we can continue to do our best so that he can still maintain a solid quality of life. It's been a rough month or so for him, but he is still loving his car rides and getting his sniffs, so we will keep on keeping on until Henry lets us know what else he needs. We are often reminded that he is on borrowed time already and we intend on having a high credit limit as far as that is concerned. #HenryStrong #HIPPARulesDontApplyAtOurHouse #HenryHasThis
Since it is almost our dearly departed Luna's gotcha day AND because we have recently been asked to recap her story, we decided to answer that request. (The request was also that we should consider "rerunning it annually" but that I cannot promise.) I am always concerned about repeating stories and hope that if I have referenced some previous event everyone knows what I am talking about. With that said, I know that there are readers who have not been with us since we started in 2004 and maybe some have just joined just a few months ago (and GASP do not even know who Benny, Luna or Solsey were! They'd only know Henry! Not that only knowing Henry is a bad thing but oh the joy you would have missed out on by not knowing the other 3!)
Anyway, this is sadly a brief (but I am sure it will still be lengthy) refresher of who Luna was and how she came to us. Luna was a pug in rescue care in Miami Florida. This is what we had been told about Luna: She was 2 years old. She was used to breed and had 2-3 litters. We don't know if that is mathematically possible, we just know that that is what we were told. After she had done enough breeding, the family she lived with in Miami kept Luna as an outside dog. (Yeah, for real! Can you even imagine?! An outside pug in the Miami heat?! I cringe.) We were told that she had dry eye and that it was very severe and likely not reversible. They said she had just got through treatment for mange and was missing some fur but that it was growing back. And last, that she was small.
Initially the rescue literally tried to talk us out of taking her indicating that she was too much effort, had too many problems and that she'd probably never find a good home. Pshht! They tried to push a boy dog name Bear on us. Bear had "no issues" and they thought he'd be better for us.
Well, we wanted the "broken one" because obviously if Bear was so great, he'd get a home soon. Luna would not. So, we wanted Luna. Because if we were going to rescue, we were going to do it right! LOL!
So, we went to Miami (3 1/2 hours one way) and picked her up. Immediately we noticed the following:
She was indeed tiny (small and SKINNY)
It was apparent by her teats that she very likely had been the mother of several puppies
One of her eyes was so dry that it did not close
She had NO idea how to walk on a leash
She for sure had bald patches, many of which looked unlike any mange we'd ever seen. Benny had had mange as a puppy and we'd seen mangy dogs before. A few spots did NOT look like they'd ever grow back as the skin was thick with scar tissue
And last but not least of this poor kid's issues man oh man did her breath stink (like something inside her rotting!)
That was our first impression, but overall she was still a cutie! And we were ready to love her and fix her up like new!
In reality this is how it shook out. Luna's dry eye, with considerable dedication, became manageable. Scar tissue formed over her eye making her a low vision dog, but she got around just fine and with appropriate medication. With our due diligence, her eye grew to be moist, comfortable and somewhat functional. She gained a few pounds right off the bat (and a couple more over the years). Her teats remained disproportionately large for the little girl she was, but they did shrink considerably over the first year or so. She had been fixed in foster making more puppies impossible. Whoosh!
As she began to assimilate and eat quality foods, her fur and breath both took a turn for the better. She did not reek from the inside out! Her fur became soft, but the spots never filled in. But in some areas her fur got long enough for half a comb over. The main thing about the bald spots was that every vet had a different back story of what they believe had happened to her. None of them, however, believed it was from mange.
The theories ranged from acid being splattered on her, to burns from hot water and one even suggest that the one on her back looked like a scar from a stab wound with a lacerated blade. We will never know. We resolved to never know. Our hearts did break knowing that any of those could be the case, though. We grew more appreciative of the family that turned her in to rescue. As that story goes, there was a cousin of the family who observed Luna being mistreated and that person convinced the family to let said cousin take Luna and put her in rescue. Since they had used Luna's baby making abilities to their fullest, they allowed the cousin to take her and put her in rescue. And geez, how we DO wonder what little Luna's puppies are doing these days! I cannot imagine how they are faring these days. They would be getting long in the tooth now, too! They'd be 8-10 years old themselves.
So, that is the story of Luna. DOB=unknown Gotcha day=01/26/2006 RIP=07/11/2014 So many stories between 2006-2014 and so much love. She is truly one missed little diva! Happy gotcha day, kid.
Henry has taken up chewing again every now and then. There are still a handful of chewy sticks in his toy bin that he's taken a liking to. Again, while this is not ideal for his belly issues, it truly helps his PM anxiety issues and for his head, chewing out his stress seems a lot better for him than pacing which does not seem to take the edge off him the way a good chewy stick does. He also seems to walk around with it in his mouth as much as he ever did, too. The boys used to do this when they were younger. Benjamin & Henry often were in sync when it came to chewing. They would both have a bone and when they tired of that specific bone they would look at each other and switch. If, however, they were not ready to switch and the other one seemed to be ready, the not ready to switch one would take their bone to another spot to chew (often where the other could not be seen). Sometimes, they would need a drink of water and not want to give up their bone, so they'd bring the bone to the water bowl, drop it right next to the bowl, keep one eye on it while lapping up their beverage and then pick up the bone after they quenched their thirst. If the other attempted to snag the bone while the other was lapping water, the water drinker would for sure stop short, give the bone thief some lip and pick up the bone that they had left. Leaving the pug ready to switch chewies with the same old chewy he had been chewing (and an exercise in patience).
While Henry is no longer in danger of losing his chewy stick, he still carries it around with him when not actively chewing. We think that maybe he realizes that even though no one is going to snag it, he may either forget where he put it or put it down and not be able to get back to it because he cannot see exactly where he put it. So, he just keeps it near until he's done with it. Whatever the reason, it for sure never gets old to us to see him walking around with a chewy hanging out of his mouth.
For the stalkers out there, we have changed our walk schedule and now we are unpredictable! LOL! But included in our nightly walk rotation, the local Petco is a top favorite of Henry's. It is well lit, has "wide sidewalks" and lots of good smells. It doesn't hurt that every once in a while he comes home with a special treat. On one recent trip Henry was knocking over EVERYTHING on EVERY low shelf possible. It started in the fish department where he knocked the fake plants off the shelf. Then he moved to the cat area where the next items to topple were grow your own catnip containers and a few anti-urine bottles. He finally made his way to the doggie aisles where he knocked off dog biscuit boxes by the dozen. Peep #2 was letting Henry explore as Peep #1 became a valued Petco team member and began reassembling the store (in some cases leaving it better that Henry found it!).
It did not even dawn on us to try to record Henry's wreckage of the store. Honestly, we were too busy laughing and laughing so hard that was not only Henry's mess that almost needing cleaning up! We almost left a clean up of the wet variety we were laughing so hard! At last it dawned on us that we should capture this for the blog! (So many things like this come to us as an afterthought! After 10 years of blogging, one would think we would be more cognizant of such events!)
Finally we pulled ourselves together and managed to start recording. Well, what does the little stinker do? Make us look like total liars and go down aisle by aisle and not knock one single thing over! We truly wonder if Henry has all his faculties and can understand every word we say. Literally, as soon as we hit record he sniffed around like he was the ideal shopper. Go figure! So here is the video clip of him being a good boy. He did get a beef esophagus that day (which will likely be another blog unto itself. There is kind of a story behind it.)
Another side note....there were 2 ferrets there for the longest time. We were happy to learn that they got a home together just in time for Christmas.