Optical Illusion

As BlogPaws 2015 kicks off, things might be a little busy for a couple days! I’ll definitely check in with news and highlights from the conference, but I wanted to leave you with a little bit of a Wordless Wednesday (though I’m incapable of a post without words, apparently).

Since Lucas’ surgery, there have been these moments – little hiccups almost – where I look over at him and think, “Something’s weird about that picture…” And then I remember. Oh, yeah. He’s down a leg. John and I have started to call it Lucas’ optical illusion. Here’s a selection of recent illusory pics:

It looks like his front left is tucked under him, but he’s found a way to support that shoulder by positioning himself on the pillow! Smart boy!

Lukey snoozing on the couch

 

Snuggling his baby brother (though I think it was the other way around… Lucas was there first, and Cooper snuggled in).

Lucas and Cooper snuggle

Just hanging out after we finished shooting yesterday’s BarkBox video… Being a film star is hard work!

Being a film star is hard work

Finally, my favorite of them all, watching over all of us from his favorite chair. (The pillows + curtains are like that because our neighbors just had a baby. Which means lots of company coming and going. Which means Cooper is NOT on his best behavior unless by “best” I mean LOUDEST. Which I don’t. So, our attempt at blocking the view.)

Lucas oversees the family

What a cutie, amiright?!

Hope you’re having a great week!

May BarkBox review and chance for a freebie toy #PupreciationWeek

April showers bring… a free squeaky flower bouquet toy from BarkBox!

Wait.

That’s not how it goes.

But, it’s correct! BarkBox is hosting a Follower Appreciation Week!!!

Here’s the stock caption they sent with the info: “Thank you for every supportive comment, every thoughtful ‘like’, and everything you do to make this a true community. To me, you’re sweeter than the first flower after a month of showers. Head over to BarkBox.com and treat your sweet self to 10% OFF any new BarkBox subscription. AND I want to send you flowers. 😛 There are only 500 BarkShop Flower Bouquets for me to pull from when you use my code to fetch your BarkBox, so hurry over before all the good ones get plucked!”

So, until May 28, you can get a free toy thrown in with a BarkBox subscription. Since I’m a BarkBox affiliate, I also have a 10% off discount code you can use. Click here: Using this code automatically gets you that bouquet since it’s only available to affiliates. (Though it’s limited to 500 freebies, so you have to move quickly…)

Curious about BarkBox? Check out our May unboxing video below. Hint: It looks longer than it is because there’s some funny footage I had to add at the end of Lucas testing out one of the May treats. Seriously – EVERY treat from that bag is like that. So funny and so bizarre!

There ya have it! Overall, not the best month ever but not bad either. If you’ve been thinking about BarkBox, now’s a great time since you get the discount and the free toy. If you have questions about the subscription or want more info or glimpses into past boxes, please leave a comment! I am driving to BlogPaws (yippeee!) today so won’t be checking any messages while I’m on the road. It may be later tonight when I reply, but I will reply – promise!

Have a great day, everyone!

(In the meantime, if you’d like to know the fate of that torn bumblebee toy, check out my FB post from last night! :) )

10 things to do with Petcurean kibble

Keeping our dogs at a healthy weight is vital for their well-being and longevity. Now, with Lukey on three legs and an onslaught to his immune system with the chemo, and Emmett’s cancer and his grandpa status as a 12-year-old, it’s even more important to keep their weight down while feeding healthy dog food.Emmett and Lucas April 2015

 

 

Of course, picking a healthy food is just the first step, but relying on the quality of the food isn’t enough. Exercise – both mental and physical – is also important. Here are 10 ways you can combine a high-quality kibble like Petcurean’s with mental and physical exercise! (We like the Now Fresh Grain Free Senior for Emmett and Lucas, btw.)

Petcurean NOW Senior

  1. Do around-the-house scent work. Hide pieces of kibble for your dog to seek and eat. This is SUCH a fun game and can get increasingly more complicated as your dog “gets” what’s going on.
  2. Mix with something gooey – yogurt, peanut butter, etc. – and freeze inside a Kong.
  3. Break out the puzzles.
  4. Play a new game, like the shell game. (Hide kibble under plastic cups. Have your dog pick the one with the kibble.)
  5. Chase the treat! Cooper’s favorite game EVER up and down the stairs.
  6. Feed your dog his regular breakfast in a food dispensing toy…
  7. Then feed his dinner in a different toy. Two mental workouts in one day! Whew!
  8. Kibble cubes: Fill an ice cub tray with water and a piece or two of kibble. Instant outdoor treat as the weather heats up.
  9. Rotate: We like to switch the Now Fresh recipes for the Go recipe to keep meals exciting.
  10. Click + treat! Train new tricks with a new kibble. Just be sure to adjust the amount you’re feeding for dinner to accommodate those extra calories.

And, Emmett wants me to remind everyone that the 11th thing, which he says should be the first thing, is to feed him!

We are kicking off 2015 as blogger advocates for Petcurean. If you want to try Pecturean, click here for a free bag. Who doesn’t want to try a free bag of dog food? Psst… There’s a giveaway coming up very soon on Facebook for some free vouchers, too! 😉 

Petcurean Blogger Advocate

Disclaimer: Petcurean is providing us with dog food coupons for the boys. Plus, they generously donated $500 worth of the same food to Friends of Homeless Animals, the shelter where we found Emmett! However, as y’all know, we would never share anything we didn’t believe in, nor would we write a positive review that wasn’t the truth. If something doesn’t work, we’ll be totally honest!

On osteosarcoma and chemo

After I wrote the post on osteosarcoma and amputation, I wanted to write one about chemo, too. But it was such a roller coaster those first few weeks. I thought I’d wait until things settled down. And then I realized: Duh. Chemo IS a roller coaster. It’s not going to settle down until it’s over, so I might as well tackle it now.

So, here goes: on osteosarcoma and chemo.

On osteosarcoma and chemo: Lucas gets his blood check

By all reports, dogs tolerate chemo far better than humans, which is a huge relief because I know how awful it is. And, as a human going through it, at least you have the understanding of, OK, this is going to suck for a while, so just focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. With our sweet dogs, there’s no way to explain it. There’s no understanding. They can’t comprehend the tradeoff: sick now, live longer.

The protocol for this round of chemo is one dose – IV-administered carboplatin at Purdue – every three weeks for four rounds. In the interim weeks, he gets blood work done at our local vet. He’s enrolled in a drug trial that includes an oral dose of piroxicam, an NSAID, every morning. All the staging – ultrasounds, x-rays, etc. – was done before his first dose to see if there was observable metastasis. They kind of assume there is micro-metastasis – really super small spreading of the cancer – because osteosarcoma is so aggressive and has almost always spread before the first symptoms appear. They also wanted to check his blood work to make sure he was healthy enough for the chemo.

At his first dose, his platelets were low but not so low that he had to skip treatment. So, on April 21, Lucas received his first round of chemo. Upon leaving Purdue, we were given two prescriptions to fill as needed: one for nausea and inappetence, and one for diarrhea.

TIP: Go ahead and fill ’em. Like, right after you leave the vet.

Lucas got home, ate, and zonked. It was an intense, stressful day for him. He slept pretty peacefully all night, then got up in the morning, got a sip of water, and puked up everything. Followed by several rounds of “GI distress.” Of course we hadn’t filled those prescriptions the night before… so, off to Kroger, then wait for them to get filled. Thankfully, the medication fixed him up pretty quickly.

The protocol includes weekly blood work at our local vet, so the following week he went in for his first round. For the next two weeks, his white counts were low but were showing improvement. Plus, he’s becoming a pro at these tests at the vet, and everyone was remarking about how comfortable he’s getting! (Watch mes in the far corner + gobs of cheese are the keys to our success.)

Anyway, when he went for his second chemo dose three weeks later, his white counts were still too low to safely administer the medication. The oncologist indicated that he should be experiencing some effects from the low white count – lack of appetite, less energy, etc. – but he’s experienced none of those! But, she sent us home to wait another week. Rather than do the five-hour-round-trip drive again and have a repeat of that incident, we arranged to have his blood work done locally on Monday. It was back in the normal range, so John took Lucas up to Purdue for his second round of chemo yesterday.

Because of his GI issues the last time around, they lowered his dose yesterday. So far today, the day after, he hasn’t had any side effects. His appetite was normal this morning, and so far – fingers crossed – no vomiting or diarrhea. We have heard that the side effects can become progressively worse with each subsequent dose, so we’re being vigilant (and filling his prescriptions).

To continue the schedule, he’ll go next week and again the following week to have his blood work checked locally. We *might* have it checked here again on the Monday before his next chemo if it looks like his white counts aren’t coming up to save us the trip, but for now, he’s scheduled for his next, third round of chemo three weeks from yesterday.

So, we’re halfway through the chemo protocol, and he’s really doing great. Tons of energy. Tons of appetite. Tons (and tons and tons) of spirit!

As we progress, I’ll certainly share updates in the hopes that this will help someone else facing down this diagnosis. In the meantime, thank you again, thank you always, thank you so very much for all your words of support and kind encouragement. We’re so grateful!

3 posts to read for National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Dog bite prevention is a cornerstone of animal welfare. Most people don’t realize that, though, which is why awareness campaigns like National Dog Bite Prevention Week are so important. So many dogs are relinquished to shelters or put down because of preventable dog bites. Breed-specific legislation is frequently the knee-jerk reaction to a serious dog bite. Yet the focus of blame for dog bites is all too often placed on the wrong end of the leash–on the dog.

There have been some incredible posts about this important topic already, so I wanted to pass along three really phenomenal dog bite prevention posts that are worth a read and a share:

And, if you’re a parent of both kids and dogs, or a teacher, or someone who has positive influence in a kid’s life, check out these super catchy videos from Stop The 77. The preschool video (scroll down about halfway) is really cute, and there are printable posters and things to go along with the videos. There’s even a section for trainers (all the way at the bottom) with tons of hands-on tips and information for teaching dog bite prevention.

This is important stuff. Keeping people and dogs safe, keeping dogs out of shelters, and staying on top of BSL-inciting incidents is vital for our dogs’ wellbeing. Read and share!

Have you seen any other great National Dog Bite Prevention Week posts, videos, or campaigns? If so, please share in the comments so we can all take a look!