Tag Archives: Pets

Understanding Chloe

For the first two months after we adopted Chloe (our border collie/greyhound mix), she drove me crazy. She didn’t just follow me everywhere, she got in my way every five seconds! She was neurotic and always on edge. You couldn’t get up without her spazzing out about it. She had the energy of a puppy, packed inside a 70lb, 3 year old dog. Calling her a bull in a china closet was putting it lightly.

She was the polar opposite of our other dog, Rodeo. Rodeo (lab/pit mix around the same age as Chloe) is the definition of chill roughly 90% of the day. He sleeps buried in the throw pillows of our couch for hours at a time. The only time he gets riled up is to protect us (usually unnecessarily!) Or to run. He LOVES to run. “Away” is usually his destination of choice! (He comes back, but on his terms.)

Chloe rarely barks and never whines, but she would get so anxious and excited – she seemed tense most of the day, really. She didn’t snuggle. She didn’t want belly rubs. She rarely slept. We were hoping she’d get used to us and settle down. Even once she seemed a bit more settled, she still drove me crazy.

I didn’t understand her. Rodeo could tell me what he wanted in a second, but I was lost with her. My inability to understand her stressed me out even more.

Recently, strong winds knocked down part of our fence. Rick did a patch job until we could fix it properly. Unfortunately, we had more wind come through one night and I didn’t realize that panel had fallen down again until after I’d let the dogs out the following morning. I looked up and they were both gone!

I ran through the house and out the front door – they were only a few houses away. I called out, “Rodeo! Chloe! C’mere!” I said it as sweetly as I could – I’ve read and been told how important tone can be.

Rodeo did his usual – he took one look at me, turned tail and ran in the opposite direction.

Chloe ran right to me. When she got to the driveway where I was standing, she sank down low and crawled to me. I praised her and loved on her and she got all wiggly and waggly. What a good dog! Suddenly, I started to notice her attributes.

Later that day, she was walking around with the Coveted Bone hanging from her mouth. (This bone was Rodeo’s, but she’s since claimed it as her own. They spend hours at a time stalking each other, waiting for the bone to be dropped.) I’d fed the dogs dinner and she wouldn’t eat. She just kept looking at me and pacing. What did she want??

Then it clicked. I took the bone from her and put it on the counter. She wiggled and ran to her bowl to scarf down her dinner. When she was done, she came and sat next to the spot where I’d put her bone. I jokingly said, “What?” She looked up to where her bone was, then back at me. I handed her bone to her and she was wiggling again. We’d connected. I was starting to understand her.

After that, she started snuggling me on the couch. She’s also been demanding belly scratches! Rick says she still doesn’t really like him scratching her belly. With me, she’ll either stand over my arm and paw at me or she’ll lay on her back until I get the idea. If I stop before she wants me to, she pushes my hand back under her for more.

This dog used to stress me out so much, we seriously considered giving her back. Now I can’t imagine not having her around. She’s so loving – we just had to earn that love. She didn’t give it up as easily as some dogs do. She’s incredibly smart and – now that we’re learning to understand each – she listens and does what she’s told. Even when she’s in full on play with Rodeo in the yard, she comes when called.

Of course, she still drives me crazy on occasion, but she makes up for it by being an all around wonderful pup. I love our Chloe.

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She sits still enough for pics now!


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They love each other!

Robbie’s Trip to the Allergy Center

Robbie has always suffered from allergy issues – sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes. About a year ago (yes, ayearago), our pediatrician gave me a list of pediatric allergists that might be able to help.  I filed away in my black hole (aka “my purse”) and forgot about it.  Each time I’ve cleaned out my purse (honestly, only about twice in that year!), I’d see the papers and think, “I should call one of these doctors and set up an appointment. I’ll do that this week.”

And I never did.

Well, I didn’t until about a month ago.  I knew Robbie and I had a couple of days off together, so I tried lining up doctors appointments. I scheduled him for allergy testing on April 30th (yesterday).

Robbie and I showed up yesterday and checked in. I’d filled out all the paperwork online, so we didn’t have long to wait. He’d just settled in with a tablet when they called us back.

The nurse was very friendly and took down his information. The doctor came in and we talked for a bit while Robbie wrote out various messages for her on a magnetic tablet they had in the room (just like the one that was in the waiting area). His handwriting amazes me more and more every day.  His spelling does, too.  I’m constantly amazed by how smart he is – sometimes I forget he’s only 5 years old.

She decided that allergies were definitely a possibility, based on the info we’d shared.  Another nurse came back in to prepare us for the testing and answer some questions.  They used a plastic device like this for the testing:

Robbie was able to touch it beforehand and see that it wasn’t anything terribly scary.  He’s so much like me at times – he wants to really know what’s going on.  Once when I was a kid, a nurse gave me a TB test…but instead of saying that, she said, “I’m just going to put little bunny prints on you!” She grabbed my arm and I FREAKED OUT!!  I was maybe 7 at the time. I already knew what a TB test was and if she had justsaidthat, I wouldn’t have gotten upset.  I wanted to make sure Robbie understood everything we were doing.  He also knew that we were doing this so we could help him feel better.

They set him up nicely with a little DVD player and some books.

He started to flare up on some patches almost instantly.

Ten minutes in, I knew that whatever was in “B” was to be avoided!

I didn’t get a chance to photograph after the full 20 minutes, but you can imagine it was just a more extreme version of what he looked like at 10 minutes.

As it turns out, A was trees, B was grasses, C was mold, cockroaches, dogs and cats.

My poor kiddo is allergic to the outdoors…mold…and cats and dogs.  For those of you just tuning in – we have two dogs.

The doctor said, “Obviously I would tell you to get rid of the dogs, but I’m sure you won’t.”  How could I? They’re like extra kids to us.  I love our pups.

She explained how we can help minimize exposure.  Robbie already has top bunk, so the dogs are never in his bed.  That night, I changed his sheets while he had a nice bath.

that's a Mario in his belly button, in case you're wondering

We’re going to do nightly baths (we typically follow more of an every-other-night-unless-needed routine) – that will keep him from tracking dog dander up to his bed. I explained to him that he needs to try not to snuggle with the dogs any more – no more rubbing his face on them, laying on them, etc. We’ll bathe the dogs more often, too.

As for the grass/tree issues… I think this will be his last soccer season for now. He’s not crazy about soccer anyhow.  (I’m guessing part of his lack of focus has to do with the allergies, too.)  I told him maybe he can try karate next – he liked the sound of that.

We’re going to give him either Claritin or Zyrtec and a dose of Nasonex every morning as well. Today was his first day and he took the nasal spray like a champ!

I’m hoping that his behavior at school might improve as he starts to feel better. I know I’m out of it when I don’t feel well, so I can’t imagine it’s helping him to be all stuffy and sneezy.

I feel like a horrible mom for not doing this sooner.

Proin (and how we almost lost our pup)

Soon after we adopted Miss Chloe, we noticed this…dripping of liquid around the house. Chloe’s pretty much always got her tongue hanging out and she drools a bit, so we just thought that was it. Then we found puddles. And that’s when we realized the dripping was (primarily) coming from the other end.

Seeing as how we’d recently spent a big chunk of change on new laminate flooring, this was possibly a deal breaker. She was ruining boards left and right. We consulted our vet and he suggested it might be spay incontinence. Apparently it’s common for spayed dogs to have some incontinence issues. There are a couple of treatment options, but the most common – and cheapest – is Proin.

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Essentially, it’s a decongestant. Our girl was prescribed 75mg twice a day. It worked like a charm! We were thrilled! As a result, we were able to keep our sweet Chloe!

Today, however, Proin almost cost us Rodeo.

We were naively keeping the pills on the kitchen counter. Chloe hates these things – we pretty much have to put the pill in her mouth and stroke her neck until she swallows it. No amount of trickery has worked.

That’s why I knew what had happened the minute we saw the bottle. Top was chewed off and about 30 pills were missing. There was not a doubt in my mind as to which dog they were in.

I called our vet’s after hours number and told him what had happened. He solemnly told me there is no way to reverse the effects and we would have to rush him to the emergency clinic for a dose of valium if he started seizing.

I just broke down.

I love this stupid dog SO MUCH.
He’s the best dog I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in years. He’s my protector and my snuggle bug.

All I could do was cry.

I sat on the floor by him and stroked his fur. He was panting hard and the hair along his spine was standing straight up.

My phone rang.

It was our vet.

“I just called the CDC. They said epsom salts might work to induce vomiting. How long ago did he eat them?”

“I don’t know – we’ve been gone for about five hours. I don’t know when he ate them.”

It was worth a shot.
Rick ran to Walgreens and bought a box. I made a pitcher of warm water and found the turkey baster. We mixed the salts in and took him out back.

Rick held Rodeo’s mouth open as I squirted salt water down. After four or five basters full, he heaved…and threw up three barely digested pills. I’ve never been so happy to see anyone puke.

He stumbled into the yard and threw up a handful more. I started bawling the happiest tears I think I’ve ever cried. I think he threw up 15-20 pills in all.

I’ve been monitoring him since. His pulse is normal though his breathing is a bit fast. About an hour ago he threw up the most foul-smelling liquid!! Since then, he seems to have calmed down. He’s laying down and breathing a bit slower. He may actually sleep yet.

Maybe I will, too.

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My poor baby