It’s been a while since I really gave any health updates, and we’ve had a few other things going on with the move that I wanted to update as well.
It’s been easier to keep our minds off of Sheba’s cancer since we’ve been so busy with the move and now settling in. I was concerned the stress of the move might not be good for her as well. She gave us a scare a few days ago. After playing in the yard I noticed she was moving kind of slowly. She then refused treats and was kind of hanging her head when she walked around the house. This has been typical behavior from her when she has an arthritis flare-up or overdoes it when playing.
Usually a couple doses of Rimadyl will set her straight; but after two days of taking it she still wasn’t feeling well. She was walking better but when out in the yard she just kind of hung around. She didn’t want to play ball and she wouldn’t play with Luke or dig any holes. I was very concerned that it wasn’t the arthritis; and considering a trip to the vet. However, by day three she finally felt better! What a relief it was when she started chasing the ball and playing with her toys and her brother again.
It’s such a joy to see her enjoying life in spite of fighting cancer. She will be turning 12 later this year, but she still acts like a puppy. Last night when eating supper my hubby started chuckling. Luke was staring at us eating, Cricket was completely passed out, but Sheba was pulling toys out of the toy box to play with! I love it.
Cricket has arthritis as well and she was prescribed daily Rimadyl. She was taking two 25 mg pills per day but after she had been feeling better for quite a while we decided to try to cut her back (she takes joint supplements as well). We got her down to 1/2 pill per day. My sister has a beagle the same age as Cricket who also has arthritis. She had told me they were able to get Trixie off Rimadyl completely and she was doing well.
So when I lost track of the box of dog meds during the move (I had them set aside but in the commotion of last minute moving they got grabbed by someone and put on the moving truck), it was two days before I could track them down again. It seemed like the perfect time to get Cricket off them completely and she has been doing great! She is just as active as ever and we’ve seen no sign of a limp. This way she doesn’t have to have her periodic blood tests to monitor her liver, and I feel like if she gets worse as she gets older, or has a bad spell, we’ll be able to go back on it then.
Even though we have 17 acres of land with our new house, the house itself sits very close to the street (typical of old homesteads like this). It’s a pretty quiet street but traffic still goes by. It hasn’t taken Luke long to figure out which windows he needs to keep an eye out in order to see anything going by. At first he barked at every vehicle that drove past. No matter how many times I tell him we don’t own the street, he still feels the need to let us know when anyone is out there! He seems to be getting better about that, he must be recognizing some of the vehicles. There is one he just doesn’t like though….the people that had maple sugar lines across the street and stopped nightly to empty their buckets. I guess he thought they lingered too long close by.
I was pleased when he went on a barking spree the last two nights but I got him to stop. We’ll let him bark a little bit but when it goes on we want him to stop. These nights he was on a good roll and I finally yelled down the hall “Leave it!”. Wasn’t I thrilled when he stopped barking and came running down the hall to me! I gave him a treat and praised him immediately.
I had been working with him more on the “leave it” command, not just for not picking up things I don’t want him to, but for getting him to leave Samantha alone and hopefully that means I am getting somewhere.
Sam still doesn’t have total run of the house full time, but we’re making gains there. Right now she is still mostly kept in the office, but we just have a baby gate to the room so she can at least see the rest of the household. In the other door we put another gate, with her kitty litter on the other side of it and from there she can go upstairs and hang out in the two rooms which she likes to do more and more. She has a favorite spot on a futon up there.
I had hoped to have her fully in the house by now, but Luke has still gone after her at times when she’s on the other side of the gate. He seems to do it when the light is low. Luke has always seemed to have poor eyesight in low light, and he’s been known to even bark at us at times when he can’t see us well and doesn’t recognize us immediately!
Samantha is doing fine though (and her health has been great). She’s always been a loner who likes her own space anyway. When the dogs are outside, which is more and more as the weather improves, I let her have full run of the house. She has never slept with us. She had gotten used to the older, calmer dogs, but Luke has always been a bit too rambunctious for her, even when he’s just playing. We want to be sure she always has places to go to that she feels safe and secure, and we also figure “better safe than sorry”. When we go to work we close the door to the office since gates can be knocked over. Sam is older (she’ll be 14 soon) and I know Luke is faster than she is. We’ll do everything we can to keep her safe and happy; and she has a nice area to hang out in. We’ll continue to work with Luke and hope we get past this soon.
Living with pets, especially aging ones with health issues and even younger ones with emotional issues, can be challenging at times. Moving to a new home has brought new situations to deal with as well. However, it’s always worth it – the love they give us every day makes us forget the tough times!