Monday, August 5, 2013

About a dog

Cù Mór (Onaim Dogzilla)
Born:August 24, 2002-adopted: January 30, 2010-died:July, 27, 2013
When I last posted it was about how our activities here were all backburnered while we took care of our sick dog, Cù. Sadly, while at first things looked good that he might walk, aided, again, he took a turn for the worse and his body couldn't fight any longer. On the 27th we had to say good-bye to this wonderful soul.

Cù was our fourth Greyhound we lost, the fifth one we adopted. Irony, Bran and Scolaighe were there to greet him and he is now buried with them.  Òrlaith is now mourning her boy, as are the Aussie crosses Gleann and Sachairi.

Those who came before: Irony, Bran and Scolaighe
Snuggling Gleann
 Cù was really classically a Greyhound, with that ability they have to be simultaneously elegant and goofy.  He loved to snuggle, whether it was people or other dogs. He could also be rambunctious and this
sometimes confused people.

Snuggling Sach
One story that sticks out is when we went to Chicago the year we adopted him, the pack, then him, Òrlaith and Gleann were so close we didn't want them in separate kennels as the kennels the place we were boarding in were large anyway.  When they were going in to feed the day before we got back, they here a fight and found Òrlaith bleeding from the ear.   Figuring that Cù had attacked her, as he was big and male and she was the one bleeding, they exiled him to another pen.  We got there and, well, their story of him attacking her seemed off to us. When we got into the car, it was clear....that was not what happened. He cringed as far from her as he could get in the back of the car.  When she moved he cringed further.  Meanwhile, Gleann and Òrlaith snuggled.

They made up, of course
When we got him home we took a closer look at him and he had two bites, not real deep but evident if you bothered to look.   Òrlaith had no bite marks at all, just the scrapped ear. What obviously happened was he got excited, as meal times got him, and jumped on her, as he sometimes does to others but not her, usually.  She corrected him, got her ear scraped by the unfortunately rough wall and the kennel staff, not knowing dogs very well, didn't even check to see if he was hurt, just punished him further by separating him. Which also delayed their making up and left him terrified of her for days. (no, we're not likely to board there ever again)

While Cù might have been ruled by Òrlaith, he was a kindly patriarch to the fluffy boys. The closeness of them all was demonstrated often. Sadly, it's not demonstrated by their intense mourning.

He apparently also remembered his first family. I became friendly with the woman who cares for one of his littermate sisters, Annie.  We had taken Cù to be euthanized on Saturday morning, getting there just before noon.  The vet came out and gave his sleep shot, then went back in to get the euthanasia drug and let the shot work while we petted and cuddled him.  The noon bell rang. A few minutes later the vet came out and sent him to the other side, we never saw the exact time. At 12:06 Annie who had been sleeping woke up, startled.  She spent the day being very clingy, which was unlike her.  To us and to her person it's obvious he came by.

Just as it's often clear he's here still at times. I'm sure he will be, with our other hounds, when we celebrate Lùnasdal later this month.

I regret deeply that we were not able to help Cù as I had hoped. I do not regret the time we spent with him in his last weeks. Sometimes it was very hard, but that only makes the loss all the deeper.  Our animals are our life, really, and our sacred trust.

He was a magnificent, beautiful hound, showing a true legacy of the ancient Celtic Hound he was descended from. I know there is much more that should be said, but even after over a week, I seem unable to manage as well as I'd like. I'll update his page soon, but I still am not able to. Still dealing with this in steps.

Cù demonstrating his ancestral hunting skills on a stuffy

Friday, July 5, 2013

Already Dog Days

I could be talking about the weather, because what we've had I do remember as typically hitting us here only in the end of July and beginning of August. But that's not all of it. But it does play a part.

Cù in more limber days, showing himself to be a True Celtic hound
We started with a humid but rainless end of April and beginning of May. We were a bit worried about having a fire for Bealtuinne, especially after our neighbor set our woods on fire (he owns five acres on this side, right in the middle of ours, where his damn wood furnace sits way too much in the trees).  But a few days before we were set to celebrate, we got enough rain to ease the fire danger.  We had a  lovely celebration. And a few nice days.

And then it kept raining, and kept warming up and stayed humid. Ever since. Dog Days.

We had lots of plans for chickens, gardens, fences and horses. Lots of horse stuff.

He can't even lie like this anymore.
And then.....Cù our male Greyhound, started getting wobbly in the back. He already had some lameness int his front for leg.   And in the beginning of June he completely loss he use of his hind legs. Vet trip, ex-rays, meds.....sitting with him so he wouldn't' try to get p and hurt himself.  Carrying him out for business. Mostly lying on his side, sometimes back. He had one good day after this started when he got himself up to lie on his belly. Which he can't do like this anymore. He can still get himself on his back, which he enjoys, but often we need to help.  His left foreleg has gotten far worse, leaving him with one usable leg. Which really isn't usable alone. 

He sometimes would be alert!
He was never a real active dog since we got him. Greyhounds are not on the go all the time, except when puppies. A good walk or run and then the couch or bed for most of the day is the lifestyle most hounds over 2 years old prefer. But after a month of this, I think even Cù, who might actually be the laziest hound we've had (we had three before the two we have now) is getting a bit bored, however.

The issue appears to be spinal disc compression and arthritis.  He's on Prednisone and pain meds and it seemed to help, but, of course, the Pred also ate his muscle tissue making him weaker.  He can't stand at all.

But he's happily eating, still loves snuggles (if it's not too hot...which has been an issue) and is eliminating fine, even if he can't get up on his own to do it....he usually manages to let us know and get him out in time and appears upset with himself when he has an accident, which is a good sign for his mental state.  So we keep fighting for him.

We plan to get a harness which is made to actually carry him. I'm not really able to lift him, due to back problems and after a month, I don't think Aaron's back is holding out too well. This would allow us to carry him in a such a way to be easier on us and on him. It would also allow us to see if we can get him walking again. He needs more support than mot "walking harnesses" would give. We might need another harness for his hind end, as well, but that certainly wouldn't be enough.

His left foreleg may not be usable again. While the Pred sand inactivity atrophied his muscle all over, the left front is seriously atrophied.  He can kick his hind legs and his right foreleg when dreaming and use his right foreleg to try to move himself....and to reach out to touch us, but the left foreleg only twitches. So we think that's really a separate issue, just worsened by the other.

So we also want to see about getting him downstate to be seen by another vet, one with a lot of Greyhound experience.

Between the harness, the medical bills we have, the ones we're looking at and the fact neither of us is now working full time and need to spend more time here with him even if we could get more work (which is a big if, anyway), we have decided to ask for help through crowdfunding. I have also decided that as writing is work, especially the more heavily researched bits which tend to be here, here and, at least one so far, here.

So, yeah, this is one part "why I'm not posting much" and one part "if you can spare a bit to help our poor dog, please do" post.  We appreciate any help, including prayers and passing word along.  We know he could have good life. He just needs a little help getting up again.
The whole pack together

Monday, April 22, 2013

Circle, circle

I was going to post shortly after Imbolg but realized that it was sounding an awful lot like the post I had done the year before. Except some of our "cupboards" weren't as well stocked due to life while we dd have more
chicken in the freezer and eggs. We've been eating a lot of eggs. Sometimes things just circle around.

More recently anything I posted here would have been just about the weather. While many complained about it, this spring was much more "normal" than last, with no early warming spell to bring on a huge population of insects (while our bats are nearly wiped out by White Nose Syndrome). It's still quite cool, with the snow now finally gone from our mountain except for a patch here and there in well shaded woods, despite a light snowfall two nights ago which was gone by mid-day.

And so, we are back on our mission to find a way to fence in the gardens so that we get something instead of them just feeding the goat. ~;p  Maybe I'll have something to write about that later, but I will likely only do so if we win. Or there is something funny to share. Meanwhile, this hasn't been updated because life is kind of quiet and boring. Much of my winter and spring has been focused on writing, possibly for publication (which, due to subject matter, I'm most likely to announce at Flying with the Hooded Crow) Now, of course, there is fencing and building and preparing and, soon, planting.Oh, and cleaning, lots and lots of cleaning now that the snow is gone.