Dog Days – 2014 Version

Today marked the return of Dog Days! As a refresher, dog days are held on campus every Tuesday in September as a way to help ease potential homesickness students may feel, especially freshmen. All campus employees are invited to bring their dogs for students to pet; there’s food for humans, treats for dogs and tons of fun.

Last year Lucy went to a handful of Dog Days and I took both Lucy and Snowy one or two times, I think. Lucy was in heaven with all the attention, treats, etc. and I had a blast, too, mingling with other dogs and their owners.

Needless to say I was more than looking forward to our first Dog Day of the semester as I missed last week due to a work event.

Enjoy a massive amount of photos!

So, so happy.

So, so happy.

Obsessed with the treat cart. Of course.

Obsessed with the treat cart. Of course.

Finally met Wrigley!

Finally met Wrigley!

One of two adorable puppies at the event.

One of two adorable puppies at the event.

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The best part of the day - getting pet!

The best part of the day – getting pet!

Sundays

I live for Sundays. Given the nature of my work, I work six days a week from roughly the end of August through May. While it sounds like fun – I do cover collegiate sports for a living – it’s grueling and gets more grueling (at least mentally) each year. I’m lucky, though, that my current institution tries to stay away from home athletic events on Sundays and while I always have work to do, I can at least mostly work from home on Sundays. That means that Sundays are spent soaking up time with the dogs.

"Every day is Sunday to me."

“Every day is Sunday to me.”

Unfortunately for the blog, that means by the time Sunday rolls around, I can barely string coherent thoughts together so this post will be slightly scattered.

Isaac has been on thyroid meds for roughly two weeks now and like I previously mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be a noticeable difference but I’m not sure if there’s supposed to be! We go back to the vet at the end of the month so I’m anxious to see what his blood work shows this time around. His energy his still high, even with the heat wave that recently rolled through. Heat waves mean nothing to Isaac except a bit more time in front of his personal fan.

Seriously, look at that neck roll!

Seriously, look at that neck roll!

I am excited to say, though, that on Tuesday it’s the return of Dog Days at work! Because of Isaac’s intolerance of most other dogs, he will not be making an appearance but Lucy most definitely will be. I’m beyond excited because it’s so good for Lucy to go to events like this and I get to snap tons and tons of cute pictures – so check back Tuesday for a full report!

Ending with a photo of Isaac since Tuesday will be all Lucy!

Ending with a photo of Isaac since Tuesday will be all Lucy!

The Busy Season Begins

It’s been pretty silent on here because there honestly isn’t much to say. This past week marked the official start to the athletic year at my university which means I have no life (truly) for the next 10 months. Of course this coincided with the news about Isaac’s potential thyroid problem so stress has been high and free time has been limited.

"You won't forget about me, right?"

“You won’t forget about me, right?”

Despite having to do work (and homework) on Sundays, I rarely have to be at work so I soak up free time with the doggies. Today was cloudy and oppressively humid, i.e. not a great day for short-nosed dogs. However, despite having been listed for adoption for around 1-2 weeks now, Isaac has gotten zero adoption applications so I dragged Marty outside with Isaac and me for another photo shoot for S.N.O.R.T.’s social media outlets.

Using his tongue for maximum effort.

Using his tongue for maximum effort.

Running!

Running!

 

He likes Marty best.

He likes Marty best.

And how has Isaac been doing on his new meds? So far no visible or noticeable difference but he wasn’t exactly acting sickly before. I truly believed his hair was starting to grow back before he went on this medication so even if his hair continues to grow back, it’s going to be hard to determine if it’s the meds or just time that helped him. His energy is still really high and we’re still walking many, many times a day, so no changes there! We’ll go back to the vet at the end of September and see where we stand; here’s hoping for normal bloodwork this time!

A (Minor?) Setback

A few weeks ago we took Isaac to the vet for a re-draw of blood. The first blood work he’d had done showed a very, very slightly low thyroid level and the vet wanted to run a few additional thyroid tests.

I hadn’t heard anything and made the rookie mistake of assuming that meant everything fine; not so fast. The vet called late last week and I finally caught up with her today. Without getting too technical, Isaac still has low thyroid levels, meaning he may be suffering from hypothyroidism. What’s unusual is that hypothyroidism is usually accompanied by high antibody levels but that’s not the case with Isaac; his antibody levels are normal.

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So what does it mean, then? It means that either he is A: suffering from hypothyroidism just without the high antibody levels or B: suffering from something other than a thyroid issue. The only reason the vet is slightly leaning towards hypothyroidism is because that condition sometimes causes hair loss, something from which Isaac clearly suffers!

The plan now is to treat Isaac as if he is suffering from hypothyroidism. I will be picking up medication and Isaac will go on that medication for 4-5 weeks and then we’ll re-test. Obviously this means he is on a medical hold in regards to his adoption, which breaks my heart. While he acts like he’s two, he’s almost eight-and-a-half and I want him to find his forever home ASAP so he can have as much time with them as possible.
 
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Before I even heard this latest news from the vet, Isaac did not seem himself this morning. He peed on our dog bed which he’s NEVER done (to date he was the only dog we’ve had that hadn’t used our apartment as his or her bathroom at least once!) and doesn’t have his normal energy. It’s probably something totally unrelated to his and I’m just being paranoid, but if his lack of normal pep is related to the thyroid, I can’t wait to get him on meds and feeling better.

PS – It’s National Dog Day so give your dogs a hug today (and everyday!).

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Isaac was looking so particularly cute and handsome last night I was compelled to whip out my good camera and snap a picture. He almost always crashes around 8:30 every night and looks so peaceful and calm.

Utter sweetness.

Utter sweetness.

We still have obedience issues we’re working on and he’s far from perfect but it’s moments like this one that almost make me forget what a (handsome) menace he can be at times.

A Welcome Box and a Follow-Up

On Thursday, Isaac got his official welcome box from S.N.O.R.T. Since our training session went really late, I held off on opening the box until Friday Isaac was a tad less exhausted!

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He loved everything, particularly the tennis ball.

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This morning (Saturday), Isaac and I went back to the vet so they could draw more blood for a full thyroid panel and to do a second skin scrape to run a few more tests on what might be causing his hair loss, if anything; it’s very possible that a good diet and supplements will solve all our issues.

"The vet is exhausting!"

“The vet is exhausting!”

The best part of the morning? There was another bullie in the waiting room, Titan!

Titan.

Titan.

Titan looked like he needed some TLC as his nose wrinkle was a crusty mess but hey, he’s not my dog and he was still absolutely adorable!

Now we wait to make sure the second round of tests don’t show anything alarming and give Isaac’s body some time to adjust to quality food and supplements!

Another picture just because he's so handsome.

Another picture just because he’s so handsome.

Back to School

Nope, class isn’t in session yet for the university at which I work. I mean doggie school is back in session.

I enrolled Lucy in an eight week puppy school course almost exactly two years ago. The trainer, Mark Cusick, was/is fabulous. Now, Lucy isn’t the most obedient dog on the block but that’s because we let some things we learned slide, not because of Mark’s teaching.

Anyway, I haven’t talked about it much publicly but we recognized pretty darn quickly that Isaac’s behaviors around Lucy were neither appropriate nor acceptable and I’ve really been struggling emotionally with Isaac not fitting in well with Lucy thus far.

The (not-so) model student.

The (not-so) model student.

A happy humper or playful dog isn’t foreign to me; they are dogs, not humans, and don’t always know what’s appropriate and what’s not. However, despite our (attempted) corrections and Lucy’s own verbal warnings – yes, I let her snap at Isaac so he knows she doesn’t like his behavior – zero impact has been made on Isaac. He still persists in mounting Lucy and annoying the crap out of her. It’s almost as if he’s obsessed with her and we don’t know why; both dogs are fixed and Lucy certainly doesn’t encourage his behavior.

I also can’t tell if Isaac is this way around all female dogs, only smaller female dogs, etc. because we haven’t let him interact with other dogs yet; that could be a potential disaster.

Long story short, I was upset, really depressed and frustrated with the situation so we called Mark and asked him if he could do a home visit training session with us; he said yes and tonight was our training session.

Let me tell you, tonight’s session was worth every penny (and it was a lot of pennies!).

Sure we addressed his inappropriate behavior with Lucy but a lot of the session was geared toward me (and Marty) establishing our role as the leaders, not Isaac. I have no idea what his previous home was like but I’m willing to bet a very significant amount of money Isaac was the leader in his previous home.

By establishing ourselves as leaders, Isaac can’t try to establish himself as leader over Lucy or anything else that isn’t technically his (toys, food, etc.).

It will take a lot of work – on our part and Isaac’s – to keep re-enforcing and practicing what we’ve learned. His behavior is not going to change overnight but we now know what to do to elicit the behavior we do want out of Isaac.

Mentally and emotionally I feel like a load has been lifted off. There’s hope that Isaac can change and all four of us can peacefully co-exist.

Lucy, meanwhile, had a blast. She loves Mark and got plenty of practice (and therefore treats) as she showed off what she still remembered from puppy school.

Now we have one tired dog (Lucy)…

Soooo sleepy.

Soooo sleepy.

And one semi-tired dog (Isaac)…

Shockingly not all that tired.

Shockingly not all that tired.

In other news, Isaac has another vet appointment on Saturday to re-check his thyroid levels (initial blood results showed they were very slightly low which could have been a cause for his hair loss) and to get a second skin scrape to rule out demodex mange (the vet is 99% sure it’s not mange but wants to officially rule out what we can).

Also, Isaac got his official “welcome” package from S.N.O.R.T. so I’ll be sure to share all about his vet visit and welcome box.

Isaac Goes to the Vet

Isaac had his very first vet visit since coming to S.N.O.R.T.!

Diagnosis? Too handsome for his own good!

Diagnosis? Too handsome for his own good!

The obvious main issue to address was his skin as he’s missing large chunks of fur on both flanks. However, we also don’t know the last time he had a good physical, bloodwork, etc. so that was all on tap for today, too.

Like most dogs, he spent most of his time listening to the sounds outside the door.

Like most dogs, he spent most of his time listening to the sounds outside the door.

First up, though, was the scale. This big boy is a whopping 63.8 pounds! However, he’s 64 pounds of pure muscle – vet said he doesn’t need to lose any weight. That’s right, he’s just a naturally big boy!

We won’t get bloodwork results for a bit but his skin scrape actually showed nothing obviously wrong, despite how he looks:

Baldy!

Baldy!

For now, we’re going to continue on good, quality, grain-free food as well as fish oil supplements, Zyrtec (to stop him from itching and making the area worse) and I’ll continue with his coconut oil rubs, as well (if nothing else it makes the apartment smell better!).

Unless the bloodwork shows a cause for the hair loss, we’ll just continue with the above plan and hope the hair eventually starts to fill in.

Happy boy

Happy boy

Despite his continued “issues” with Lucy (the poor boy has NO idea how to play or what the word “no” means – which is another post for later in the week), he is a pure lovebug through and through. Not a mean bone in his body and everyone at the vet adored him. All in all, a pretty positive visit!