Friday, July 30, 2010

100th Post-Looking Back and Ahead

It is pretty amazing that we have reached 100 posts in the blog!  When I decided to start this, Mom wasn't sure if anyone would read it or how it would go.  We've met so many awesome people and pups and cats through this!  We thought we would look back at what has happened through the past 100 entries first.
Mom got sick before we started the blog and had continued to get sick.  She had first discovered my ability to alert and was starting to learn about service dogs and if I could become one.  She had talked with my old trainer and started my service dog training.
A crazy little black puppy showed up.  She was 5 weeks old, dirty, skinny and dehydrated and the perfect addition to our little family.  Mom named her Lola and she grew in to a smart, crazy little sister for me.
We did a lot of traveling while Mom was trying to find a doctor who could diagnose her.  We went to Atlanta and Florida.  While we were in these places, we got to go do some fun stuff, like visit the fort at St. Augustine in Florida.
Mom finally got referred to her aesome doctor who was able to diagnose her.  He did a test that confirmed his diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and gave Mom and hour of relief (and an hour to pet me with what was at that time her bad arm).  Mom's CRPS had started to spread in earnest through all this and soon after moved to her entire upper body, including her right arm.
Our newest member of the family was left in a box in our driveway a couple months after that.  She was a scared, fluffy little kitten Mom named Francine.  After she got over her scare, she warmed up to me and Lola, obviously LOVED Mom and adored Karma.  Karma adored her back and Mom knew she was the perfect kitty addition to our family.
Soon after that, Mom's CRPS spread to her legs and that meant she needed a service dog who could help her if she fell or get her to her wheelchair.  I have a bad knee and poor hips, so I can't do that stuff and Mom decided to retire me.  Retirement has meant that I get extra spoiled by everyone and I get to hang out with every body more and I get to sleep more!  I still help Mom around the house and tell her before she gets sick when she's home.

Now we are waiting on a new service dog for Mom from CARES in Concordia, Kansas!  She will be getting a male Standard Poodle.  In the next 6 months we should find out exactly who my new brother is!
Mom's business, which she started in January, has really taken off and she has been busy with that.  Of course, that means that I'm busy supervising and modeling Mom's work!  We even get to test out the beds Mom is thinking about making!
Mom is working towards getting me certified as a therapy dog so we can go visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools and the local Victory Junction Gang Camp!  She is working on agility with Lola so that she and Lola can compete next year.  And of course, the cat sisters are getting in to everything.  Mom is making sure that Francine knows some tricks (yes, Mom trains the cats) and that Karma keeps up with hers.  We are hoping she gets her implant trial soon and that it helps so she can start doing more and maybe walking a little bit too.
Here's to another 100 posts!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dixie's 3rd Gotcha Day

 May 31st was the third anniversary of the day Mom adopted me!  We celebrate this every year since I love Mom so much and she loves me and is so thankful that she adopted me!  She got me a really yummy cake and it said Happy Birthday since she couldn't find a Gotcha day one (she is going to special order it next year).
 It was really yummy!  Of course, Mom made me pose with it before I ate it and this was after she had taken like 5 pictures.  Enough is enough Mom, especially when special treats are involved!
 It tasted so yummy!  It was grain free, so it didn't make my tummy upset.  Mom always tries to do something special for my Gotcha Day and this cake was awesome!
 I even shared some with Lola.  Of course, she only got to lick the icing because she is allergic to so many things.
I thought that I would share the story of how Mom adopted me.
Mom and Aunt Jennifer had just signed the lease on a new apartment where pets were allowed and Mom knew she wanted to adopt a dog.  She also knew that she was leaving for Australia to study abroad in a week, so she thought she would just go to the shelter with Aunt Jennifer and get some dogs out of their kennels to play (at that shelter, dogs only get out if they are taken out by an adopter or volunteer).
They walked through the shelter and made a list of what dogs they wanted to take out.  I was the first dog on that list.  Mom said I was happy and she had never seen a dog like me or even heard of a Catahoula!  When she and my aunt got me in the room, they both thought I was a great dog.  After 45 minutes, they taught me to sit and Mom had totally fallen in love (Aunt Jennifer too!).  They agreed that I was the right dog for Mom but weren't sure about adopting a dog right before leaving for a month.  A volunteer came in and said that I had been there for months and that someone had sponsored my entire fee.  Mom decided to call Grandmom and see if she would mind dog sitting me until Mom got back.
Grandmom said yes and Mom grabbed my papers and ran up to the adoption counter.  Mom officially adopted me but they said she had to wait until the end of the week to pick me up because the spay schedule was full until then.  Mom and Aunt Jennifer stayed with me for a little bit more but then they had to leave.  Mom spent the rest of the day getting everything she needed for a dog.
The next day she got a call that she could pick me up 2 days early!  They got me in for my spay early.  Mom came to visit me after my spay and then picked me up the next day.
In the 3 years since we have had so many adventures together.  I've been a service dog, I'm going to teach the new service dog what to alert to, I've taught people who didn't like dogs how to love them, I've got to meet so many awesome people and dogs.  I can only imagine what the future holds!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th Name Game!

We have been reading about Frank at Frankly Speaking having a July 4th Name Game and we thought it was too fun not to pawticipate!  We will update you on the past month and half hopefully this week!

Ok, I'm first.  My name is Dixie and that was my name in the shelter.  I was a stray so someone at the shelter picked my name and by the time Mom adopted me, I already knew it very well.  It wasn't her style of name but once we had been together awhile, it was obvious that was the right name for me.  From the beginning she thought it did kind of fit since the Catahoula Leopard Dog is the state dog of Louisiana.  Some of my nicknames are Dix, Dixie Pixie, Pix, Pixer, Pixy, Monkey girl, Princessa, Purty Girl.  My full name is Dixie Lou

Lola was originally going to be Delila.  That was the first name that Mom thought of when she saw her in the yard but once we got to know her, we knew that wasn't the right name.  Lola showed up when Mom was having a hard time coping with losing so much of her independence and abilities and she gave Mom something that she had to give round the clock care and training (and I helped!).  She also made Mom laugh all the time!  Grandmom said we should name her something to do with laughing and Mom, who is a big IM'er, thought about LOL and then realized that the name Lola has LOL in it!  Lola's nicknames are Lola Badola, Crazy Girl, Bad Puppy, Silly Monkey.  Her full name is Lola Belle.

Karma was supposed to be Rosalyn form Shakespeare (Mom loves him!) but once she took over Karma's care, she realized that she was way to fiesty to be Rosalyn.  She kept running through names when all of a sudden the word Karma popped in to her head and she knew it was just perfect!  Karma's nicknames are  Boogie, Boog, Bad Cat, Stinky, Booga.

Francine showed up at a special time.  She was left at our house 2 days after what would have been Mom's Grandpa's birthday.  he passed away almost 6 years ago and Mom was very close to him and loved him very very much.  She has a tattoo to honor his memory.  Francine showed up and the whole family was trying to figure out her name.  Grandmom suggested FB (which was Deeda's initials...Deeda is what the grandchildren called him) for Fluffy Butt but Mom doesn't like letter names.  Deeda's name was Francis so Mom decided that her name should be Francine, since once again an animal came in to her life at a rough time and a time when she was really missing Deeda.  We think maybe she was a gift from Deeda since he isn't here with us.  Her nicknames are Fluff, Fluffer, Little Bit, Itty Bitty, Bine, Little Bine, Princess.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Note from the Mom

Hi everyone!
I am so sorry for our sudden disappearance from the blog.  The past couple months my CRPS has continued to decline at a fairly rapid rate.  Just getting through the day doing the bare minimum and working on my collar business has left me exhausted.
I haven't talked too much about CRPS before so I thought I'd explain a little more about it and what it is like for those of us who have it.  Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.  It is a neurological condition brought on by a traumatic event (sprain, broken bone, surgery, etc).  They aren't sure what brings it on or why some people develop it and others don't.  The nervous system is essentially stuck in the "on" position and non-painful stimuli hurt a CRPS patient.  The affected areas can also swell and change color, but pain the main symptom.  The majority of people with this disease have a mild form that is quickly diagnosed and sent in to remission with physical therapy and pain medication.  Those that don't display the typical severe swelling and radical color change have a much harder time getting diagnosed (like me).  If diagnosed before the 6 month mark, the chances of remission are high.  After that, they go down until the 12 month and above mark, where the chance is much much lower.  It can also spread to other areas of the body besides the one it started in.
My CRPS is fairly atypical.  I had the swelling, although it wasn't as bad as the typical CRPS patient's is, I had the extreme pain but I didn't have the color change. Over the past 17 months, my CRPS has spread from my left underarm to my left arm to my upper body and in the past few months to my entire left leg.  In the past week it has spread to my entire left foot, including the bottom.  When I take a step, it feels like I am stepping on needles heated in a fire.  The smallest touch, a good wind, movement causes that pain all over my body.  I can't wear tight fitting clothes or rough fabrics.  I haven't worn jeans since January (and I loved my jeans).  I haven't drive my car in 16 months.  I'm on a heavy duty narcotic pain killer called Methadone to manage the pain (a good day for me is a 7 out of 10 on a pain scale) which leaves me extremely drowsy, out of it and with slurred speech.  It is hard to think and write sometimes, especially since I use speech to text software.  There aren't many hours where I'm clear enough to write a good blog and let the girls on here.
We are going to try and get back to blogging, although it might not be very regular.  We will (and have been) reading everyone's blogs but we might not comment.

-Ashley the Mom