Why Dogs and Food?

Why Dogs and Food?

It's simple. Write about what you love. And what is better than dogs and food? If you are anything like me - and millions of other people - you will relate to and understand the unwavering love I have for my dogs and my passion for cooking - and eating - great food. I hope you will enjoy reading about my day to day experiences with good food and a couple of very special dogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tribute to Walter: a Spiritual Empath

Sweet Walter

"A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself." ~ Josh Billings

Over the past few months, since Henry has been going through his pain treatments and has been under the weather, I have noticed a change in Walter's behavior.  He is more alert and protective than usual, and seems to be carrying a little more weight on his shoulders and a little more heaviness in his heart.  He has started turning back to head home early on our walks, as if to tell us that Henry should not be pushing himself too hard.

Walter is a gentle soul. When Henry came into our home in Colorado in April of 2003, it was clear that he was the Alpha Dog.  Even though Walter was there first and was 8 months older than Henry, he willingly allowed Henry take the top dog spot.  Henry had boundless energy and Walter seemed happy to just let him lead.

I met this wonderful woman named Terri O'Hara, owner of Animalwize, and who is, what some may call, an animal whisperer.  She is one of those rare and special  humans who has the ability to communicate with animals at a much deeper level than the average human.  She was born with a gift.  Now, I am sure there are some of you out there that don't believe in this kind of thing, but you must take my word for it - she is amazing.  She has the ability to connect with animals on such a spiritual level, it will astonish even the most skeptical critics.

The first time she met our boys was in our home in Colorado.  She sat in our family room and quietly communicated with each of our guys, including Mac.  It was an incredible experience.  Walter sat attentively on the floor in front of her while Henry was perched in his spot on the couch and Mac stood above her on the back of the couch.  They seemed drawn to her from the moment she stepped foot in our home.  I was fascinated.  Her gentle touch and almost magical presence certainly captured our boys' attention.  Henry was impatient and kept butting into Walter's time with Terri and all she said to Henry was this:  "Henry, I am talking to Walter right now and you need to go back on the couch and wait your turn."  Obediently, Henry did an about face and hopped back up to his perch.  I was impressed.  She would telepathically communicate with Walter and pass along his thoughts and feelings to me.  I was in awe.  She told me things that Walter was telling her and they were spot on.  She could not have known these things.  Psychic?  Maybe.  But somehow I knew these thoughts were coming from Walter.  He was the "worrier" in our little family and he was telling this woman about all the things he worried about and all of her comments were so Walter-like, there was no doubt in my mind: he was communicating with her!

Walter is what I call an emotional and spiritual empath.  He feels what others are feeling - be it pain or be it joy.  It is his burden and it is his rapture.  When I am ill, Walter will not leave my side.  He will lie on the floor next to my bed for days on end or sometimes come up on the bed and gently lay his nose on my arm or on my chest and look at me with his big, brown, soulful eyes -  as if to absorb my pain and make it his own instead.  When I am happy and listening to music and dancing around the room, he puts his paws in the air to say to me: "dance with me, mama!"  Walter radiates his delight and yet saddles himself with  the anguish of others.  Our boy lives in his own over-sized heart and carries around the feelings of others with the tenderest of care.  So, when Henry's pain began to escalate and he was not at the top of his game, Walter stepped right in to do his tremendous and selfless job of striving to snuff out and soak up Henry's sorrow.

I have to tell you, it is a noble and beautiful thing to behold.

Walter, sharing the bed with his younger bro and best buddy

If you ever want to learn more about what and how your animals think and feel, and can't seem to quite get there on your own, visit Terri O'Hara at http://www.animalwize.com/ or visit her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/terri.ohara.7  She holds communication classes, gives tips on animal behaviors  and does private consultations - even over the phone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Henry, the Cool Dude!

"If having a soul means to be able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans." ~ James Herriot

Henry sporting his cool shades during laser therapy
Henry goes to the Vet twice a week for shots of Adequan to help manage his pain.  Adequan is a joint pain treatment that is injected into the muscle and helps with inflammation and hopefully relieves some of the pain from his arthritis.  We have also started him on laser therapy treatments that also help with joint inflammation.  He had his first treatment this week and is seen here sporting some very groovy goggles and a big smile.  The technicians were giving him kisses the entire time he went through the treatment and I think he was digging the attention!  Henry is a very cool dude.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Henry Goes to the Doctor

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

Taking one's dog to the Vet for his routine shots and check-up is one thing.  Taking one's dog to the Vet when he needs an x-ray to determine how far gone his hips are and at the same time finding out that his liver has shrunk and is probably due to a side effect from the pain killers you have been giving him over the past couple of years, is another.

Henry has always had funky hips.  We called him "Lead Butt" when he was just a couple of months old because his back end seemed to weigh a ton.  We'd lift him up on the couch (a habit that has forever kept  him on the furniture) and he always seemed to take a little extra effort when lifting his butt off the ground.  Later, we would find out his hip joints were out of whack and he had arthritis on his backbone.  He also had low thyroid function and was gaining weight which was putting additional pressure on his joints.  So, we put him on a diet, fed him thyroid pills and helped him get more exercise. He lost 27 pounds (and still hs a little more to lose.)  He had a tendency to limp after a good, long walk or after a good, long nap.  Still, he was a happy boy. I started feeding him Glucosamine tablets and Glucosamine treats and eventually, started him on Rimadyl - a doggie painkiller.  He needed it every day. He started to have more energy and seemed to be pain-free.  He was doing great.

Unfortunately, after a check-up and a blood test, the doc noticed his liver enzymes were on the rise and the asked me to cut back on the pain pills.  So I did.  Finally, I stopped them altogether.  But Henry started limping again and had such difficulty getting up from the floor that we knew we had to start a new treatment.  He is now going into the doctor twice a week for Adequan shots to help reduce the inflammation in his joints and reduce the pain.  After 4 weeks of this twice-a-week treatment, we will learn to do it ourselves and administer the shot once a month.  There are also other treatment options - laser therapy and hip-replacement surgery.  We are having consultations about all the available non-liver-hurting options to determine which one will be the most beneficial to Henry.  Even if we have to eat Top Ramen for awhile in order to afford the operation (if that is determined to be the best option), then so be it.  It shall be done.
He is, after all, our baby boy.

Henry - always smiling.
We want to keep it that way.

We are waiting to hear the results of Henry's ultrasound to understand the condition of his liver.  It's killing me.

Post Note:  Henry had a mass on his liver and  biopsy which turned out to be benign, thank goodness.  We are giving him shots of Adequan and laser therapy treatments for his joint pain so hopefully he is on his way to feeling better.  He is being such a trooper throughout this.  We love our darling boy.