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Riley's blog

12 1/2 year old German Shorthair Pointer

Riley's blog

Another Birthday!

October 10th, 2018 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

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Our dear Riley turned 14 today!  She is quite a senior girl.  She is now just about a year and a half past her amputation, and doing great.  Her last ultrasound at the oncologist showed no signs of metastasis, and she is as bright and engaged as ever.  The prognosis for her histiocytic synovial sarcoma was pretty grim, and she has already outlived all expectations.  In fact, when we went to the oncologist at the one year mark, the doc was pleasantly surprised that Riley was still around.  Several different vets have told me to keep doing whatever we’re doing.  And that is quite a lot.  Riley (and also my dog with a brain tumor), are on numerous supplements to support their health and to strengthen their immune systems.  They receive green smoothies twice a day for the antioxidants.  I make the smoothies in bulk, and freeze them, to be thawed as needed.  Riley also gets acupuncture to help with her mobility issues.  Swim therapy has been a sometime thing, too.

Riley still struggles with mobility, but we are dealing with it.  The Ruffwear webmaster harness has been invaluable in assisting her as needed.  She only wears it when we know she’ll be needing some help, such as stairs or getting in the vehicle.  We haven’t had as much success with the help-em’-up harness, but maybe more mobile dogs do fine with it.  Riley jumps on the couch by herself, and manages it most of the time.  She’s slid off a few times, but without injury.  If I see her eyeing the comfy couch, I’ll lift her up.  All this spoiling has made her quite the diva.  She is not above asking for what she wants – and she expects a prompt response, please!

I hadn’t realized that nearly six months had gone by without an update.  We have all just been living our lives as normal.  Normal is a nice place to be.  Riley still comes wobbling into the kitchen when she hears the freezer door opening -she has always loved ice.  Her appetite has never waned, despite five rounds of chemo.  She does laps around the kitchen while I’m preparing her food, as she is always eager for mealtime.  So, those things are still the same Riley we know and love.  Her quality of life is very good at present.  If she doesn’t want to play ball (endlessly) like she used to, much of her slowing down is to be expected because of her age.  Riley sleeps very deeply now, and takes lengthy naps during the day.

We cherish the time we have had with this wonderful dog, and are grateful for every day.

Riley was not interested in posing for a picture for her birthday.  She just wanted to chew sticks.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • dougo1

    I love this!! So great that she is doing so well Can you tell me more about those magical smoothies?

    • jogswithdogs

      Yes, I can! When Riley was first diagnosed with cancer, I hit the internet pretty hard looking for alternative or complementary therapies. There wasn’t a great deal about synovial cell carcinoma, but I stumbled across one dog’s story. His owner decided to try to boost his immune system by improving his nutrition. Eventually, the dog had an amputation, but she was able to delay it by a couple of years. At the time I found the site, she was selling the smoothies in tubs, with all organic ingredients (they are no longer for sale), although it was pretty expensive. The components were listed, so I decided to make my own. I have a blender, and I’m not afraid to use it! Since then, I have been winging it a bit, depending on what produce is available and seasonal/looks good. I always include kale (cruciferous veggies are good for us in many ways) and parsley for the chlorophyll. Each batch also contains 2-5 other kinds of produce. I usually include something with a bit of bulk, otherwise you’d be amazed how a full blender mashes down to nothing in a few seconds. So, a batch might be made with one-two bunches of asparagus, a couple of stalks of celery, half an apple, and half a bell pepper. Another one they really like is a whole head of cauliflower (leaves and all), with either carrots or apple or pear to sweeten a little. The cauliflower one is a bit pungent, but they don’t mind at all. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of zucchini for the base. Other veggies used in rotation are brussels sprouts, green beans, yellow squash, broccoli, romaine, and cucumber (always peeled, to remove any pesticides that are trapped by the wax). Spinach and beets/beet green used only occasionally because of the oxalates. No nightshade veggies – tomatoes, eggplant. For the liquid needed to process, bone broth is my go-to. Ideally, it would be homemade and pretty gellid, but I’ve been taking the easy way out and using the boxed stuff by the case from Costco. Not the best or most nutritious, but it’s a compromise.

      When I am in smoothie-making mode, I go all mad scientist and just start shoving things in the Vitamix (it helps to have a powerful blender). It makes a terrible mess in the kitchen, but I make 6 blender jars at a time and freeze 5, so it lasts a bit. One jar full makes about 32 ounces, which lasts my two cancer patients (65 & 50 pounds) two days. Recently, I read that dogs can’t assimilate the nutrients in veggies easily. Breaking them down with the blender can only help with that.

      I got the idea of trying to overdose on nutrition not only from canine anecdotes, but I read about Chris Wark on When you start going down that rabbit hole, it’s amazing what you find.

      In summary, I don’t really know if the smoothies are what’s helping, or not. But Riley is substantially past her expected survival time, and the dog with the brain tumor is considered a superstar by his neurologist. The way I see it, if something can’t hurt and might help, I’m doing it. This may be more detail than you wanted, but if you need more, feel free to contact me privately.

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