Denny and Charlie (and the rest)
It started with OnePug...

August Updates

Monday, 20 August 2012 19:11 by robbi

My sincerest apologies, I had written this post a couple of weeks ago but was not able to upload it due to some Word/LiveWriter incompatibility issues.

Miss Maggie wasn’t feeling too well so we took her to the Vet for a check-up. Seems she was suffering from a nasty UTI, so she was started on antibiotics. She has since finished them and seems to be back to her usual feisty self.

Munch has also been battling an ear infection, so there’s been the joy of attempting to get ear drops in a very clever senior kitty’s ear. My best chance is to distract her with a saucer of milk – but I have to be quick because she’s figured this out and if she sees the bottle of ear drops she’s out the door before I can grab her. I will be very glad when her ears are clear!

Denny. Ah, Denny. Well he’s pretty much the same. He has good days and bad days. Weather permitting, we still take him out for walks but they are short ones. He tires easily and when he’s tired he stumbles. The back brace wasn’t quite the miracle we were hoping for. To be fair, we haven’t used it as directed. Firstly, the inventor came up with it as a corrective device for animals with traumatic injuries. The idea behind it was that it be worn nearly continuously after an injury until the dog healed. As Denny’s condition is chronic, things are a bit different.

The brace itself is extremely restrictive. It’s difficult for Denny to lie comfortably in it and he cannot use the bathroom in it. It’s fine if he’s standing, but Denny doesn’t stand around much. So we put it on him and he lays like a blob in his bed until we take him outside. Then the brace has to come off for Denny to do his business. Then he comes back in and he’s too hot to have it put on right away. So we wait until he cools down and then put it on him for a while. As it goes tightly around his belly, it has to come off when he eats. And so it goes.

When he does wear it for any amount of time, he seems to be in pain. While the nurse in me knows that is not necessarily a bad thing, the mom in me hates to see him like that. So far, the mom in me has been winning this battle and we haven’t been keeping it on him very much.

But just yesterday, Richard had him in it for a few hours during the day. He took it off of him shortly before I came home to take him outside for a bit. He said it looked like he was hurting, so we left if off the rest of the night. Denny was stiff and looked unhappy most of the night. Then this morning, he walked over to the edge of the bed for me to pick him up with his tail wagging – something he hasn’t done in the past few weeks. Then I took him downstairs and sat him down by the back door while I turned the kitchen light on and opened the screen door. I looked down only to see him scamper outside unassisted.

And so I guess we’re back to putting him in it for at least a few hours every day. I promise that we’re going to be more methodical about using the brace and tracking his condition. I know there are a lot of people out there waiting to see if this thing works – the least we can do is give it a proper try.

Vet Visits

Monday, 4 June 2012 17:43 by robbi

Well it’s been a couple of weeks of highs and lows! When last I posted, Denny had been measured for his new brace. We were told by the vet’s office that they would call us the next day to let us know it had been ordered, but I didn’t hear back. I called them the following day and was told that the brace was out of stock already! A couple of days of frantic phone calls back and forth, we were told that the brace was not out of stock and our brace had been ordered.

Last Wednesday we received a call saying our brace was in and Denny could come that day to have it fitted. We raced to get him there before they closed (the office is the other side of Houston.) We got him there, the brace fitted, and then put Denny on the floor to see him walk. He fell over! It turns out the brace was just a little bit too long and the back band was pushing against his hips making it impossible for him to move his back legs. A quick measurement confirmed that the two side pieces are about an inch too long. So, the vet told us he would contact the company the next day to see if an exchange could be arranged. We were so disappointed!

Thankfully, the office called us on Friday to let us know that the company agreed to an exchange and our new brace was being shipped out! We expect to hear from them within the next day or so to tell us the new brace is in.

Meanwhile, Denny had his check-up with his Rehab Vet on Monday. She did a chiropractic adjustment and acupuncture on our little guy, which he enjoyed. After reviewing his charts and his progress, she said we can stop the treadmill sessions since Denny is capable of doing regular walks now. His last two treadmill sessions he was able to go for a full 8 minutes, so his stamina has improved greatly. I’m happy that we don’t have to put him through the stress of the treadmill and don’t have to make the weekly trips to their office, but I am sorry that we didn’t see as much improvement in his gait as we had hoped. I guess we’re now pinning our hopes on this back brace. We will definitely be posting his progress.

PhebesOnBearMay2012

In other news, Maggie & Phoebe had their annual check-ups with our regular vet. We’re a bit sad, as the vet we really liked at that office has retired. He was just wonderful with our guys and even had Denny (who really hates being examined) wagging his tail and being cooperative. The new vet seems fine, but it’s not the same. It is so hard to find a vet that we really are in synch with; we’re really picky about their care and have often strayed into the “alternative” treatments for ailments over the years which makes some vets uncomfortable. It’s too soon to say if this new vet is a keeper or not, especially as the girls received a clean bill of health and need nothing further at this time. I sure hope it stays that way!

Maggie May

Thursday, 3 May 2012 00:02 by robbi

I don’t want people to think that Denny is the sole focus of our lives here at Denny Towers.  Yes, we are devoting a lot of time and energy (& money) on the little guy’s rehab, but we are fully aware that there are other animals to be looked after here.  And believe me, they are very well looked after!

I’m still making their food, which gets supplemented with a bit of kibble to ensure I don’t miss any nutrients they require.  They each get a slew of supplements that rivals the human’s routine every morning.  They are adored and pampered.  Most importantly, they are loved and they know it.

Which begs the question: why are they always trying to escape?

The other day, as I opened the back gate to take out the recycling bin, Maggie darted out the gate and down the driveway.  I immediately dropped the bin and closed the gate to prevent any other escapees whilst yelling at Maggie.  She ran in front of our parked car and promptly stopped, dropped, rolled over onto her back and went rigid. I walked up to her, scooped her stiff little body up and brought her back inside the gate.  Once I sat her down she went prancing back inside the house, tail up with a mischievous grin on her face.

EscapeAttempt050212

I have no doubt she would do it again today if given the opportunity.

Does this girl not realize just how good she has it here?  This was the frightened little neglected girl that PugHearts took in with rope marks around her neck.  She was a skinny little thing that was so fearful she would cower whenever we approached her, flattening herself to the ground. 

We fostered her for several months until the perfect home was found: it was a recently divorced woman who lived alone except for when her daughter stayed with her.  She wanted a companion.  Maggie would be able to go with her to work every day, so she would never be left alone.  We had no doubt it was the perfect home for her. 

Until about a year later when the woman called us to say that now that she had a boyfriend, Maggie couldn’t stay with her.  Boyfriend was “allergic” so Maggie was being kept crated in a bedroom now that boyfriend had moved in.  I went and picked her up that very day.  I apologized to Maggie profusely and promised her we would find the truly perfect home for her.

A couple of months later, we found her new home.  A young married couple with no kids.  They had never had a pug – or even a dog – but they had a cat who had recently passed away at a very old age that they loved very much.  The home visit was perfect.  They fell in love with her immediately.  We confirmed the match and placed Maggie, content that she was in the right place. A few weeks later we were asked by her adoptive parents if we could keep her while they went out of town for a family function.  We happily agreed and took her back in for her week-long stay.  The day that the couple were to return to Houston, we didn’t hear anything.  I waited another day and finally called them.  Didn’t they want to come collect Maggie? As it turns out, they weren’t sure.  She seemed so “needy.”  They didn’t know if they had made the right decision to adopt her.  I told them that if they were not committed to her, then it was best to leave her with us.  I did not want her someplace she wasn’t 100% wanted and I did not want to send her back with them only to have them call us in another week or 2 to come get her.

We decided that was enough.  Obviously she was meant to be with us.  It had nearly killed me to give her up both times before, but I was trying to do the selfless thing and give her a chance at a better life.  Apparently, we were too stupid to realize that we could give her the best life. 

Yes, she is needy. Good Lord, she is needy!  She paws at me for attention whenever she’s near me.   She curls up in my lap whenever I’m on the sofa.  She lays in the back of my chair when I’m at my desk, barely leaving room for me. 

ChairHog

She sleeps on my head at night.  She is extremely demanding of my attention.  And she gets it.  She is jealous whenever I pay attention to the other dogs.  She gets very short tempered with them and will put them in their place whenever she disapproves of their shenanigans. She’s turned into a very cranky old lady.  But I love her more than I can possibly say.  I am utterly devoted to her and she knows it.

MagsSo why on earth does she try to make her escape if given half a chance?????

Bribery

Monday, 23 April 2012 18:17 by Robbi

Denny, like most pugs, is very food-motivated. Very food motivated. Extremely food motivated! He will risk injury to try and get a good snack. Especially if it’s people food.

A great example is his visits to his regular vet’s office. He does not like going to the vet anyway, but if they have to touch his paws to draw blood he gets very panic-stricken. Any amount of reassuring or trying to hold him seems to exacerbate the situation. But at his vet’s office they have discovered a magical item that distracts him from what they are doing: cream cheese. They keep a tub of it behind their counter and whenever they need to distract a doggy, they simply dip a biscuit into the cream cheese and hold it at a height so the dog can lick the cream cheese but not quite get a bite. It’s like crack. Whenever the deed is done, the dog can have the biscuit. Denny usually licks off all the cream cheese and then looks at them to give him a top-up. It never fails to do the trick.

When we first started taking Denny for his underwater treadmill sessions, we were a bit unsure about how he would react. He hates being in our pool (though he is a very good swimmer) and cannot stand to even walk around on wet grass. You can see the look of disgust on his face as if to say “but Mum, my paws will get wet!” whenever I try and take him out after a rainstorm. And sure enough, the first time he was put in the treadmill and it started to fill with water, he seemed a bit panicky. A treat helped calm him down. He walked well but his ears were down and we knew he wasn’t thrilled with it. He was rewarded at the end of the walk with more treats.

He obviously remembered that.

The next time we took him he started fussing when the little life jacket was put on him. A couple of treats later and he let us proceed. Then the treadmill started. More treats were needed to keep him focused. This has continued and by last week’s session he was eating during the entire walk. He actually only walked about half the time. The tech would hold out a treat and he would walk to get it. Once he had it he would “ride” the treadmill to the back of the tank. She would hold out another treat and he would go get it, and then “ride” the treadmill again. If she held the treat but didn’t give it to him, he would show his defiance by standing still and riding the treadmill back again. No words of encouragement from us made any difference. Our wild gestures and clapping meant nothing. When his time was up I was exhausted, but he had barely started to pant. He had won the battle.

This week, we tried a different approach. We came armed with a jar of peanut butter and a long-handled wooden spoon. Once Denny had his harness on and was in the treadmill, Richard opened the peanut butter jar and coated the spoon.

We had Denny’s undivided attention.

He didn’t even seem to notice the water filling the tank, as his tail was wagging and his gaze never left the spoon. Richard lowered the spoon at the front of the tank and the tech started the treadmill. Denny licked and walked, licked and walked. I am proud to announce that Denny broke his previous time record and walked for a total of 6 minutes today!

We’re definitely bringing the spoon and peanut butter next week.

Okay…random pug pics!

Charlie says “Hi!”

Charlie

Stewie says “Honest, Grandpa said I could have his slipper!”

StewieSlipper

Um, I don’t think Grandpa wants it back now Stewpot.