Welcome Home, Kippers!

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We’re HOME!  Kip, Paul and I all got home about an hour ago.  Emmalee welcomed her new little brother with open paws! 

We left the house this morning at around 5:45 a.m. to be at Plymouth, NH, by 9 a.m.  I drove both ways.  I do better when I’m driving than when I’m the nervous-nellie passenger.  I hate highway riding. 

Today couldn’t have been nicer weather.  The heat wave cleared out, and the skies were all blue.  We arrived in Plymouth at the appointed Irving’s Gas Station at about 8 a.m. with an hour to spare.  Better early than late.  The Savages and Kip rolled in around 8:50 or so.  We all met, and chatted there for a while.  We gave Kip some treats (he’d thrown up on the 2-hour ride down from northern Vermont to mid-New Hampshire) so him tummy was pretty empty.  He was so darn cute! 

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera, but since we’ve been home, I’ve snapped several pics of him and one is shown above and another below (click it for larger views).

He’s running all over the house and Emmalee is having so much fun.  She is smiling and wagging her tail for the first time in 3 weeks.  It’s been very dour around our cottage these last few weeks, and today there are smiles again.

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Welcome home, our Kipper!

Cheers,

Bex

Let me introduce you…

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World – this is Kip.

Kip – this is my blog world.

Now I want you both to get along and play well together.

 

He’s not here yet, but tomorrow we will drive up into central New Hampshire, and Kip and his current parents will drive down into central New Hampsire, to meet us with our new boy, Kip.

He’ll be Kippers to me, but Paul thinks that’s silly.  Kip was the one name in thousands we looked at that appealed to both of us.  Funny little name, but good for a herding dog like him.

As you can see, he’s just a little tyke.  Born this past April up in a far northern U.S. town in Vermont, 2 miles from the Canadian border.  Tomorrow we go to pick him up – we are meeting them half way since it’s such a long drive.  Now if we can just find the spot we are to meet them, and get home safe and sound, we will be a 2-dog household once again.

That’s about it from here.  More later when I can give you more details on the life and times of Kip of Crow Cottage!

Cheers,

Bex

Almost not believeable…

Two weeks to the day later… we landed in the Mass. Veterinary Referral Hospital – again – only this time with our Emmalee!

You couldn’t script this stuff!  We are still shaking our heads over it.

Don’t worry.  We didn’t lose her, too.

Last night we all went up to bed around 9 p.m. (our usual time).  I could not sleep at all.  I had what I now call a “Whitby-attack” wherein thoughts and visions of her come flooding into my brain and I can’t shut them out, which always results in uncontrollable sobbing.  So I had a Whitby-attack last night whilst trying to get to sleep.

Sleep wasn’t coming, though – no way…

I tried listening to the radio (headphones) for a while – the Red Sox were starting late (10 p.m.) since they are playing on the West Coast, but I got bored with that, and the Whitby-attack was just bumping all other thoughts right out of my head in favor of the indescribable sadness that I still feel about losing her.

I must have dozed off eventually, around 11 or midnight, and maybe I did sleep for an hour, but around 1 a.m. I was aware of the light going on in the hallway and Paul was standing in the doorway doing something that seemed to be pulling me out of my restfulness and into wakefulness…

I asked what the heck he was doing – and he said “I think there’s something wrong with Emmalee.”

No!

I won’t have it!

It can’t be happening!

At first, I tried pretending he was only joshing – but no, he was worried.

He had been asleep and Emma had gotten out of her bed (a sofa in the bedroom) and came over to let Paul know she wanted to go out.  So he got up to let her out – down the steep stairway, out the front door, down the 5 steps to the yard.  He waited there, in his PJs, in the dark early morning hour, until she’d apparently done her jobs, and then, when she was coming back in, she was having a hard time walking up the 5 steps to the front door!

She did get up them, but then when he ushered her up the long steep staircase to the 2nd floor level, she was stumbling all over the place, and couldn’t quite seem to get up them.

I kid you not!

Once he got her up here, she was stumbling all around the bedrooms and the hallway, falling down, trying to stand up again, and falling down again.  All four legs seemed to be made out of rubber!

When I saw what was happening to her, not really quite awake yet, I just groaned that I HAD to get some sleep since I had a ton of typing facing me in the morning!  Paul simply had to deal with this himself (seeing as I had to deal with the Whitby ordeal previously). 

He tried calming her down, but she was restless.  He got her up on his bed, and he said that if she had stayed put there, he would not have gotten up again.  She she wouldn’t stay put.  Then she began to pant.

Oh. My. God.

He turned the lights on again, and this got my attention.  He got dressed and said he was taking her to North Andover (one of the two emergency hospitals for dogs but not very close).  I relented, not wishing him to have to drive AND hold her on the seat at the same time. 

We called all the necessary emergency numbers, and it was determined that our best bet would be Woburn (where Whitby went).  We had never wanted to visit that place again, and here we were, planning another trip – in the middle of the night!

I got dressed quickly, and out the door we all went, into my car.  Paul and Emma on the back seat, and me at the wheel.  Half asleep.

Luckily there’s not much traffic at 1:20 a.m which is when we left the house.  Since Emma was panting and she felt decidedly hot, we put some ice cubes into a zip-lock baggie and Paul held it to the back of her neck.  I put the A/C on high in the car (I brought no coat and was frozen by the time we arrived there).

It took us about 25 – 30 minutes to get there – maybe a tad less.  Hardly any traffic, but cop-cars to the left of us, to the rear of us, and all around us!  It seemed…  Paul kept wanting me to run the red lights (it seemed that we caught every single red light there was from here out to Route 128).  But I wouldn’t. 

That’s all we would need, to get pulled over while Emma was having a crisis!

So we made it to the hospital by around 2 a.m.  They rushed her into their big examining room and asked us to wait in the little people-waiting room. 

Just like last time.

It was all too familiar.

I really thought we’d be going home dogless.  I just kept shaking my head in disbelief.

We had our meeting with the doctor and went over all possibilities – any toxic substances lying around?  Any weird food eaten?  Vaccinations recently?  Heartworm pills recently?  Etc.

She told us that Emma had a slightly elevated fever but nothing as bad as Whitby had had.  I think it was 102 – Whitby’s had been 106!  She appeared to be slightly dehydrated. 

They were going to draw bloods and do an abdominal xray and a chest xray. 

We went out to the TV room to wait the half to one hour that it would take.  There was NO WAY I was leaving her there alone!  Not this time!

The TV in the TV room could only get one PBS station.  And it was showing an old show on snow tigers that both of had seen years ago… when it got to the point of the wild animals devouring other wild animals for their meals, I had to leave the room.

Finally, we got called back into the little exam room and she said she couldn’t find anything definitely wrong.  She said Emma was walking fine now. 

Figures!  just like when your car is making a very strange loud noise, and you take it to the car mechanic, and of course it won’t do it for him!  It never fails!

But I was happy anyway. 

After a long consultation with the doc, we decided they would take more bloods to send out for a more comprehensive blood testing.  They wanted to give her subcutaneous IV fluids before leaving, but we could take her home.

OH.  MY.  GOD. 

THANK YOU!

I don’t know what time we walked out the door with Emmalee on the lead between the two of us.  We were the only car in the parking lot.  And it was  starting to get light out. 

Dawn was coming!

In the car, the clock said 4:57 a.m.

Back home by around 5:30 and it was quite light by then.  We all were so completely tired that we just shut all the curtains, climbed into bed and slept for about 2-3 hours before we had to get up again to start the day.

We had planned to take Paul’s Mom & Dad out to lunch for her birthday today, so that had to be postponed.  (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

I didn’t get started typing until 9:45 a.m. and Paul stayed home from lobstering – just because I didn’t want to be here alone if anything else should happen.

Emma has to eat a “bland diet” for 3-4 days.  I cooked up a huge pan of hamburg, and we made a huge pot of plain rice (the 2 items they told us to feed her – protein and a carb).  She has to have 3-4 small meals of that a day now for 3-4 days. 

So far, so good today.

She has not stumbled once.  She has slept most of the day.  Hey, SHE didn’t get her usual sleep-time either. 

We have both been working – me at the keyboard and Paul out in the yard doing all kinds of manual labor jobs that never seem to get done when he is fishing all summer long.  Right now he is running the lawnmower – a sound I love to hear – especially when I’m not the one pushing it!

We’ll all sleep good tonight, no doubt.  But we have our dog back and just hope and pray that whatever was the matter with her is gone.  We have no idea what happened.  I hate a mystery like that.  It eats at my brain til I just about go insane.

While we were at the hospital, not knowing the outcome, I told Paul that if we get to take Emma home with us, I don’t think getting another dog right now is prudent.  Supposing we’d had a new puppy here who really shouldn’t have been left home alone?  How would we have done this?  I think we’ll stick to just Emma for now, and then look around much later on.  There is just so much of this stuff my psyche can take!

Bex & Co.

Life Goes On…

It’s been almost 2 weeks since Whitby left this world for the next – lucky the next world to get her!  I miss her so darn much it’s indescribable. 

I’m not alone, either.  Men don’t like you to see them cry, and the only time I did see Paul cry was on the day she died.  But I haven’t been able to get thru a day, with the exception of but 2, without sobbing for my lost pupper.  I asked Paul if he has gone any days without breaking down, and he thought a minute, and said – “Just today, I guess – that’s it.”  So he does his crying where no one can see – probably out on the Atlantic Ocean where he is alone with his thoughts. 

I’m back to work now.  A week’s worth of work already under my belt.  And here it is Saturday morning.  I’ve been up since 5:30, and was on my way over to the office by 7:15 – with Emmalee as company – to pick up my new work for Monday.  Seeing as how it’s a hefty load of typing, here I sit, at 10:30 a.m. on a brilliantly beautiful sunny Saturday morning, all geared up to work.  I’ll bet this may be one of the last nice days we get, too.  I hear the heat of summer is due to show its sultry face next week.  I don’t like the heat, but I have my trusty air-conditioner ever-at-the-ready in the event.

I know 2 weeks is only a short time for the grieving process to come and go, and go it doesn’t seem to be doing, but we really do have to get on with life.  Especially when you are a couple near-retirement age (59 and 62), if you want to adopt another dog, time is of the essence. 

And we do.

We hadn’t talked about it at all until last night.  I hated to ask Paul if he wanted another.  At first I thought we’d try just having one “only” dog for a while, but to tell the truth, our dear Emma is very, very lonely for her sister.  This is the first time she’s ever been an “only dog,” too, and I really think it best if we get to work and find her another sister.

I did a tertiary search online yesterday and came up with a place near here that has rescue dogs.  In particular, there was one I especially liked the looks of.  She’s only a puppy (and I swore, when Whitby was young, that I’d never go thru puppy-hood again!) but this little girl is so beautiful.  She’s a rescue dog, found by the side of the road in Virginia with her litter-mate, a brother, and her mother.  Her Mom is a collie-husky mix, and so is she.  Her name is currently “Golly” which would more than likely have to change if she were to come live with us.  Not too keen on “Golly” for a name, really. 

I emailed the place last night but haven’t heard back yet.  It all sounded pretty legit – their dogs all have vaccinations, are neutered, have microchips in place, etc.  This particular little girl is all fluff and cuteness.  Not so much really long fur as a full blooded collie (like Whitby was), but she’s almost all golden color with some white here and there (click on picture below to see her cuteness).  Being a collie-husky mix, she will be a good sized dog, too.  Which we like.  All the more to hug!

So I’ll keep you up-to-date on how things go if/when we hear back from them.  They are very picky about who adopts their dogs, and they aren’t exactly bargain basement prices, but still, it’s worth it to us to have a small lifetime of those wonderful puppy-loves we always get in return. 

The pain of losing a dog is great, indeed.  Any pet, in fact.  But it never has deterred us from jumping in and starting at the beginning all over again.  There are way too many homeless little souls in the world – the least we can do is give a few of them a good loving home while they’re here.

Wish us luck.

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She might be named Zoe, if she does come here.  Paul liked that name but when I suggested “Whitby” 8 years ago, he went along with that name as it IS our favourite town in all the world (England).  But I like Zoe, too.  And it’s close enough to “Golly” so she wouldn’t be too confused.

(NOTE:  Since I wrote this entry, I never heard back from the place about this dog, and when I went onto their website again, the picture of “Golly” was gone, so I assume she is adopted already.  But I’ve since found a great place in Vermont who has some male collies for adoption and am communicating with them now – wish us luck!)

Onward and upward,

Bex

The Whole Story

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It’s been almost 4 days since Whitby has been gone.  I think I should tell the story, as much as I know, now and be done with it.  I am having a very difficult time of it this week, accepting what has happened.  There are some who will say “it was only a dog!” but she meant everything to us.  She was our joy and the light of our lives.  She was our “dog of a lifetime.”

It all started last Friday morning.  Nothing had appeared to be wrong with her except that when I came downstairs, after Paul had left to go lobstering, I found her morning bowl of kibble on the kitchen counter, not eaten.  That is not like Whitby.  She loved food.  In all the 8 years she was our collie-girl, she never once refused food.

I questioned Paul about it and he just said she must just not be feeling her old self, that’s all.  We all have those days, some good ‘uns, some not-so-good ‘uns.   She’s entitled to an off day now and then.  I accepted that.  But I still didn’t like it.  She seemed fine otherwise.  That night she didn’t want to eat her dinner, but I coaxed her and eventually she did eat most of it.

Around 3 a.m. I was awake and heard Whitby being restless, so I got up and took her downstairs and out the front door to do a pee.  When we came back upstairs to go back to sleep, I heard that she was breathing/panting rather loudly for a long time.

Then on Saturday morning, the first day of my one week vacation, when I came downstairs I found another morning bowl of kibble up on the counter, uneaten.  It was Whitby’s bowl.  Something inside me said that this was not a good sign.  Of course, it was the dreaded weekend, when most vets are either closed or severely short-staffed.  It always seems that dog-related illnesses fall on the weekends, too.

I put the kettle on to make my cuppa, and opened up the front door to let the dogs go out for their second pee of the day.  They both went out.  Whitby came back on the porch steps where I was sitting waiting for them, and she sat down beside me.  She has always done most of her normal breathing with her mouth open and tongue out, unlike Emmalee who breathes totally with her mouth closed shut.  I looked over at my beautiful girl and hugged her and kissed her face, and then I saw it – her gum areas were yellow – not pink!  A very pale yellow, but not normal looking at all!  I knew something had to be wrong.

Before I could even make my first cuppa, I called our vet and told them that Whitby may be ill – she was panting heavily all night and her gums were pale yellow…not pink.  They told me to get her down there immediately.

My whole body began to shake.  I am not one of those strong women who can handle a medical emergency well.  I fall apart.  And when it involved my beloved girl, as this did, it was much worse.  Even sitting here, retelling the tale, I am shaking all over again and fighting to hold in the tears.

She was hard to bundle up into my car.  I have a small SUV and she needed to go into the back seat.  She could not jump up by herself, so I had to lift her up which, for a person with a very bad back, was a tricky matter.  But I finally got her in.  She seemed very weak and could not even sit up.  We drove the 1 mile to the vet’s and I brought her in.  She had trouble going up their few steps.  I was shaking like a leaf by this point.  They had me weigh her first and then showed us the way into the exam room right away.  She would not sit down or stay still for me.  She looked a bit ditzy, and just kept walking slowly back and forth.

I hadn’t even washed my face or brushed my hair yet, and I just threw on an old sweatshirt and dashed out earlier.  By this time, since it was warm in the vet’s office, I was sweating like mad.  And still shaking all over.  Then my throat clenched up and I couldn’t hold back tears anymore.

Dr. F. took one look at her gums and things started to move fast.  They got some needles into her for some blood samples, took her temperature which was 106!  He said he didn’t have the staff or the facilities to do what had to be done for her there, and that I would have to drive her to the Mass. Veterinary Referral Hospital – either the one in Woburn or another emergency place in No. Andover.  Both towns are at least 30-45 mins. away by car.  I had no idea how to get to either of them.  They said the Woburn one was the best, and it was “easy to get to.”  But I had to drive on Route 128 which is really Route 95, and I don’t really “do” highway driving if I can help it.  I was a physical and emotional wreck by this time.

He said I had to do it.  I said I couldn’t do it alone.  Where was Paul? He said he wasn’t going lobstering, so maybe he just went down to Gloucester to get bait and is home by now.  I called him on my cellphone, no answer.  I tried calling some friends but no one was home over in Marblehead.  So I finally called my friends, Mary and Ed (how can I EVER thank you, guys!) and after a rather emotional plea for help, they said they’d be over to pick us up as quickly as possible and drive us to Woburn.

They live about 12 miles away so I waited about a half hour there in the middle of the waiting room, on the floor, next to my Whitby, who wasn’t sitting but lying down.  She normally is hyper in the vet’s office and wanting to visit with every animal that comes in, but not that day.  She just lay there, looking up at me with those big beautiful brown collie-eyes, wondering what was happening to her?  And I had no idea what to tell her!

Finally, Mary and Ed arrived and we strugged to get her into their SUV with me in the back seat with Whit.  She didn’t make a peep all the way, and we found this Hospital without a problem about 30-45 mins. later.  We couldn’t get her out of the car on her own, so we needed two attendants and a stretcher to get her in.

As you can imagine, I was beside myself.

They took her on the stretcher-on-wheels down the hall, but I ran after them and stopped and wanted to give her kisses and hugs “in case I never see my dog again…”

Then I had to go out to fill out forms, wait around, and finally after about 45 minutes, we were taken to a little room to talk with a doctor.  She ran thru the possibilities – cancer, a tick-borne virus or illness, or the dreaded AIHA (autoimmune hemolytic anemia).  She explained about how they know very little about how to cure that.  It’s a mysterious thing where the immune system attacks the red blood cells for some unknown reason.  I just told her to do whatever she had to do to save my girl.  She said it may cost $3,000 to start, but she would go write up an estimate now and when she was done, we could go.

The estimate was $3,300.  I signed off on it, gave them my credit card info, and then we went back to see Whit one more time for hugs and kisses.

She was in a floor level cage, just sitting there, watching the goings-on in the huge treatment room.  I felt that it was new and modern and up-to-date enough that whatever Whitby had, they could deal with it.  I was hopeful.

I came home and tried to find Paul all day but he’d gone out lobstering and could not be reached.  A friend left a note on his truck saying I’d been looking for him, that Whitby was in the hospital and was ill.

He came home around 5:30 and we just sat around worrying about her.  They had told me the doctor would call between 4 and 7 with an update.  She did, as promised, call and said they had done an ultrasound on her abdomen, no cancers were seen.  They’d done a chest x-ray and didn’t see anything abnormal there.  Her temperature was high still (the reason for the panting) at about 105+. The anemia was severe (it measured 20 in the original vet’s office).  They had given her a blood transfusion already, and the blood count had gone up to about 28.  (I think around 40 is normal).  I was hopeful.

We planned to visit her the following day (visiting hours on weekends are 1-5) and were there at 1 p.m. sharp.  They kept us waiting a very long time before letting us in to see her.  After about 45 minutes we went back.  She’d been moved to a much taller cage way back in the treatment room, and when we got there and saw her – lying on a hammock-type bed, with tubes coming out, her tail taped up with tape – we couldn’t believe our eyes.  She couldn’t even move.  Her eyes were open but it didn’t seem like she could see us.  I tried to get her to blink by putting my finger close to her eye but she didn’t.  There was no recognition of us at all.  She looked horrible.  Her gums were bright orange – fluorescent orange it seemed.  I got down on the floor next to her and hugged her and loved her and talked to her, but it was all useless.  There was not much of a response.  I asked Paul to find the doctor, and finally she came.  She looked very serious.  She said Whitby was one very very sick dog.  She did not give us much to hold onto, but said it had only been 24 hours and to give the drugs (prednisone and doxycycline) a chance to work for her.

We decided to go and come back in the morning.  We both broke down in the truck outside.  How could this have happened?  We had no answers.

As we drove down the highway, Paul asked if I wanted to turn around and go back and have her put down.

I was uncontrollably sobbing by this point and I said can’t we just let the medications do their job til tomorrow?  And he accepted that, and we went home.  We sat all day together, worrying.  We weren’t sure if the doctor would call us for the evening update, since we’d just been there at 1 o’clock.  So by 6:45 we needed to know how she was, and Paul called and finally talked to the doctor on that shift (the 3rd doctor so far).  She told Paul that Whitby was the sickest patient she had.  She also said that she was just getting ready to call us.  Whitby appeared to have had an embolic stroke and had neurological deficits now – probably brain damage.  Poor Paul, he looked positively heartbroken.  He told the doctor that we were leaving now and would be there within the hour to have her put down.

We were there in about 45 minutes.  They made us wait forever.  We were inconsolable.  Finally, after asking what was the hold-up, twice, they ushered us into a little anteroom off the waiting room that had a sofa, a rocking chair, and a table, like an exam table.  She said Whitby would be brought in to us.

We waited in that room for what seemed like an eternity.  It was probably 30 minutes, but it was torture.  Paul went out and asked what the hold-up was.  They said to wait another few minutes.

I was a wreck.

Finally, two attendants rolled Whitby in the back door on a rolling stretcher.  She looked so much worse than when we saw her last.  She wasn’t responding to us at all.  She was still that horrid orange color (her mouth/gums) and even the whites of her eyes were bright orange.  She’d been shaved for the ulstrasound and I patted her tummy and hugged her, cried over her, held her head in my hands, and kissed her, trying to make contact with her dear soul.  Finally her eyes closed.  She was breathing, but that was all.

The two attendants left her there with us and said the doctor would be in shortly.

Not true!

We waited there with Whitby up on that stretcher for what seemed like another eternity.  Paul finally got fed up and went out to the waiting room and told the woman there “I want that doctor in that room and I want her now!”

Another 10 minutes passed and a 3rd doctor came in.  She kept talking to us and all we wanted was for her to do her deed and put Whitby out of whatever horribleness she was going thru as soon as possible.  We just about had to plead with her to stop talking and just do it!

She died there in our arms at around 9 p.m. on Sunday night.  Her 8th birthday.

There.  I’ve told the story.  I can’t type any more now.  I can’t see thru the tears, and I need to go have a good cry for a few minutes, again.

Living without Whitby this week has been so painful for all three of us.  It just happened so fast, with no warning.  And we still have no answers.

The vet sent us a condolence card, as did some friends.  But nothing will fill this huge hole in our hearts.  At least not for a long time.

Bex

Today was her birthday…

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(the day we got Whitby as a young ‘un meeting her new sister, Jasmine Rose)

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Our beautiful collie-girl, Whitby, was born 8 years ago today.

June 10, 1999.

And today, on her 8th birthday, she died.

It has been a whirlwind 2 days for us, and many miles have passed.  I am too worn out to relate the details, but I will – another time.

Our collie-girl died on her 8th birthday – that is way too young to die.  But I believe in life after life, so “die” may not be the right word for it.  She has passed from this severe and sometimes difficult life into one that I know nothing of yet – but one in which I will see her again to give her many more puppy loves…

Goodnight to our dearest Whitby, the best collie-girl in the whole world.  May you rest in peace wherever you are now.

With all our love forever,

Bex, Paul, & Emmalee

We need your prayers

 

 

Today was the first day of my annual ONE week vacation.  I really needed this week off, too.  I am dead tired.  I had planned to do nothing but read a good book, and gives extra loves to my puppers.

But this morning our Whitby was not well, and I rushed her to the vet, only to be hurriedly referred to a Veterinarian Hospital about 45 minutes away. I was having a panic attack at this news.  She is seriously ill, possibly with what they call AIHA (or autoimmune hemolytic anemia).  I had never heard of it before today, and after looking it up online, and reading many testimonials from pet owners who have been thru this, the future does not look bright for us.

She is in the hospital now for a minimum of 3 days,  possibly more. We have already incurred more than $3,300. and that could rise significantly.  Life is not fair.

So, this is just a request, from me to you, to add Whitby – the most beautiful collie dog in all the world (IMO) – to your prayers.

Thanks, friends.

No cheers from here,

Bex