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Riley's blog

12 1/2 year old German Shorthair Pointer

Riley's blog

Riley’s new normal

June 14th, 2017 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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Well, it’s been nearly a month since I posted here.  I can only assume that’s a good thing, and symptomatic of life getting back to normal.  Normal, in this case, meaning keeping a bit closer eye on her than we did previously, and remembering the schedule for the various supplements that she is taking now.

Riley is very much her old self again.  She is able to navigate the house and yard by herself, and doesn’t need to be constantly monitored anymore.  All the rubber backed mats covering our tile floors have given her safe footing to move around downstairs, and things like raised bowls and an extra layer of padding in her preferred sleeping spot have added to her comfort.  Her incision has healed well, and the hair is starting to grow, although it is quite sparse.  She is developing a couple of areas where it looks like her hair is coming out.  We’re not sure if it was from wearing her harness 24/7 for a week, or if it’s the chemo causing hair loss.

Stairs are still out of the question, both from a physical standpoint and her rehab doctor’s restrictions.  Interestingly, she has learned to “ask” for help with the stairs.  We baby gate the bottom so that she doesn’t try it, but the other day I dashed upstairs for something, and was surprised to hear Riley bark.  Before her amputation, Riley was accustomed to following me throughout the day, up and down stairs numerous times.  Being left alone at the bottom of the stairs just wasn’t acceptable!


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Three weeks post surgery, and started chemotherapy

May 20th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

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Riley has had remarkable improvement since her surgery.  She is navigating very well on three legs.  Going up stairs is still very hard for her, so we put her Webmaster harness on at bedtime and lug her upstairs.  The handle on the harness is great – she is like a big, furry suitcase that we wrestle up the stairs!  Riley zips down the stairs on her own with no trouble.  Next week, we see a physical therapist, so maybe she can rebuild her strength.  Riley has never been much for water, so I don’t see her being a fan of an underwater treadmill, but there are other things that the rehab center offers. While she is intermittently active, it also seems that she is sleeping a lot.  But, overall, she is pretty much back to her old self.  Riley is alert and loving, and has a renewed interest in chew toys.

We started chemo on Thursday, with  possible five dose total.  The oncologist wants Riley to have a CBC next week, so that future dosages can be adjusted, if need be.  When the doc told us what to expect from the chemo, we were a little blindsided to hear that we need to be careful around her poop and pee for a few days.  Apparently, she will be excreting the chemo chemicals, and they are dangerous.  It makes you wonder why we give such nasty chemicals to a dog who is already sick…



Eleven days after surgery

May 7th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Things are progressing very well.  She seems a little more solid on her three legs, and can move pretty fast – intermittently.  Thursday and Friday were low energy  days, and she slept a lot.  Much more alert today, and she is looking around from her comfy spot of her bed.  Riley’s staples come out tomorrow, which will be great for all of us.

We are still having trouble keeping her entertained and quiet.  The snuggle mat continues to be a big hit, and we fill it for her several times a day.  Riley gets an outing in her stroller every morning, and I think that she is starting to look forward to these little trips.

On the 18th, Riley has her first chemo appointment.  We don’t know what to expect from that.  Any pointers, folks?


Getting around pretty well

May 3rd, 2017 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Riley is now six days post surgery, and getting around very well on her own.  She was quite active yesterday, and moving around the house a fair amount.

Per a suggestion on this blog, I made her a snuffle mat and she has been having fun with it.  I really think this activity is good for her, as she is very excited when we give her the mat.  Sniffing out the buried kibble keeps her occupied for a while, and provides some mental stimulation.  Additionally, I took her out in the stroller today, so she got to experience a little more of the larger world.  This is a bicycle trailer that can also transport two toddlers.  Prior to her surgery, we had several outings in it so that she would be acclimated to the stroller.

Her is a picture of Riley from last week, before her surgery.  She rides in the stroller like the queen she is!

Somehow, Riley has pulled out a staple.  I emailed a photo to the surgeon’s office, and they aren’t too worried, but advised us to keep it under observation.  The swelling in her remaining rear leg has gone down, and belly bruising is much diminished.  So, all in all, we are most pleased with her recovery.

Preliminary pathology report confirms cancer.  The lymph node was clear.  Yay!


Day three, and bored already

April 30th, 2017 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Three days post surgery, and Riley is doing very well.  The bruising on her belly is less than after the prior surgery, and she is fairly ambulatory.  In fact, we are having trouble getting her to stay down.  She wants to cruise through the house, and isn’t settling very well at all.

How do you keep a dog entertained after surgery?  She has started to whine and “talk” a fair amount.  It’s the same vocalizing that she does (and has always done!) to remind us that it’s nearly time for dinner.  Last night she whined and looked pointedly at a toy.  When I brought it to her, she happily gnawed on it for the next ten minutes.  We are creating a monster!  But it’s nice that she is feeling well enough to play with toys.  Prior to her surgery, she largely ignored the same toy, even with peanut butter smeared on it.

There is always the possibility that she is showing pain, although I suspect not.  She is getting either Tramadol or Gabapentin every four hours, round the clock.  I know that her surgery medications are wearing off, but I still don’t think it’s pain.  She is bright looking, and very alert.  More so than last week.  Riley has always been a tremendous chow hound, and if we feed her now, she quiets down.  Even giving her ice appeases her.  I think that she is just bored.  It helped a little to make a cozy nest for her in the kitchen, so that she could supervise dinner preparation.  For years, I have cooked dinner over the top of Riley, and it was probably nice for her to resume the practice.  It doesn’t hurt that I occasionally drop food…

When we take her outside to relieve herself, after doing her business she likes to just hang out and sniff the breeze.  However, she won’t lie down on a rug we have there.  How much of this standing around is too much?  One of us is always beside her, to steady her if needed.

Could really use some ideas for ways to keep Riley happy.  I have a doggie puzzle that I’m going to try next.