Thursday, August 31, 2023

I am Here Too

Dear pals,

While all the focus has been on Hailey, I wanted to remind you I am still here too.

I have done my best to be a good boy during all of this. 

I have been eating my food, and some of Hailey's.

I have been extra nervous and pacy at times because I am worried about all my pack and having to take on full guard duties alone. 

I was very concerned Friday when my people came back without Hailey, and kept telling them they were missing someone very important.  I was very happy when she came back and I gave her a good smell but then went back to giving her the space she needs. 

I have only wandered fully away once, but I brought myself home (after I heard the Man out calling for me). To add to all the stress, most of Callie's pack was away last week, and I had to keep checking to make sure everything was ok next door and that Callie's grandma was doing a good job at caring for her.

I know Lady and Man have done their best to take care of me too. I am hoping this week will be a little more normal.

The hopefully unforgettable Phod

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Travel Tuesday - North To Alaska - Day 3 Anchorage and Day 4 Seward

After 2 busy days in BC, Sunday was a travel day as we headed to Alaska. Our cruise started north and we cruised south.  

There is an advantage to traveling with someone with mobility issues the speed at which you pass through the airport.  From arrival to gate, with security and customs (as we had to clear them in Vancouver) was 20 minutes. There were no lines for us!  This gave us the long waiting at the gate, which is fine with me as I have a book and no worries about missing a flight!

Zipping through the airport in a cart

It was an uneventful flight to Anchorage. 

Thanks to the nice Swiss guy beside us for taking these for me

We made it safely to Alaska (and the start of people's love of taxidermed animals). 

Anchorage airport

While we had a little time in Anchorage we opted to just rest because we had barely stopped for 2 days and had another big travel day the following day.

This picture is really to show the luggage. That is everything we had for our trip. While my mom would disagree, we had everything we needed and did not need all the choices of our regular closets while traveling and I have to carry everything. 

As it was Sunday, all the restaurants near us were closed. So we did another first for my mom (and not a regular thing for me because I live in the country), we did Door Dash. Door Dash brought us some wonderful Indian Food that we ate in the lobby. 

While eating we got to enjoy some of Alaska's wildlife (I must admit I really don't understand the need for all of theses, but it does make me chuckle!)

It was at breakfast the next day, I had a moment of pause as I noticed the bullet hole in the window of the hotel.  Where we had been sitting at dinner, I hadn't seen it, and that is likely for the best, because I had already read about the crime stats in Anchorage and this would not have helped me with my comfort.

Monday, we were back to the airport to take a 5 hour train ride from Anchorage to Seward to the ship. This is also where we stood in line to check into the ship. Fun fact, I found out several weeks after being home, that my next door neighbour, whom I don't know well, was getting off the ship we were getting on that day and we would have passed in the airport that day! It is a small world.

The ride was peaceful, beautiful and fun. A lovely couple was sitting across from us, a couple we had many drinks with on the ship. They asked a very good question (one I wasn't sure the answer of, but Google later helped me). Why didn't Canada buy Alaska from the Soviets? The answer is, the Soviets didn't want to sell it to anything connected to the British, and given the King is our head of state, they didn't offer it to us at all. So we didn't buy Alaska because it was never an option. (I wonder if the Soviets still think this was the best idea???)

Here are some random shots from a train window.

Dall sheep

Mud flats

a glacier

Coming out of the tunnel

another glacier

The first of so many bald eagles - every time I thought of Sam the Eagle from the Muppets

A reflection of me, sent to me by my seat mate

We had decent sandwiches for lunch on the train. We arrived safely at the ship, the Norwegian Jewel. Our luggage was waiting for us in our stateroom. It was exciting to actually be in Alaska!

We went to Moderno the Brizillian Steakhouse and got settled into our rooms.  It was nice to unpack and get settled (my favourite part of cruising).

Come back next week for a sea day, with the amazing Hubbard Glacier. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

Mischief Monday - Anger and The Toe - by Lee

 Hi pals,

I am sorry I gave everyone such a big scare last week. Let me tell you, it hasn't been fun for me either, I could have done without all the excitement. It takes so much effort to stand up and walk. The drugs made me feel every worse. I am glad to not be on them anymore. Although even when I was feeling very poorly I was doing things like trying to work on my tunnel. I have work to finish before I go to the bridge.

In my tunnel

There were also so many squishes and tears. I would have thought people think I was dying would give me some space, but nope, the smushing continued.

I am so mad at Lady

I did enjoy getting much better food to eat and have been extra picky since seeing the neurologist. It could be the nausea. The people are doing all they can to figure out what I will eat.

Man trying to fork feed me eggs and kibble - maybe if he had left the kibble out

I am also really mad at the Lady. I am blaming her for all of this. I was with her when it all started and it was Man who was my primary care person the first few days (he worked upstairs beside me, Lady either was downstairs in her office or out of the house). I am far more resistant to going out with Lady than Man, but am getting a little better. I am still angry with her. I have growled at her a lot and no regrets. 

The other mischief I have caused is I have chewed off most of one nail. You see when I am nervous, I like to bury things and as you may remember have rubbed my nose raw. Well, when you have a balance issue, this is not possible, so I started chewing. So now I have to have my foot wrapped a lot and I don't like it, so I chew that off.

One of Lady's good friends said at least I am keeping on brand and she is right - I am. 

I thank you all for your POTP, thoughts, well wishes etc. It really did help.I now just need to wait for this to all go away. Let's hope it is quick. 

Your drunken sailor pal Lee

PS Lady says she is sorry if she didn't get caught up with everyone. She got so far behind with everything this week, she has had to priorities catching up in other areas. She hopes to get back to regular soon! 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

POTP in Action

First, thank you all for sending your love and good vibes our way.  It has been a very trying week and your kindness made all the difference. 

Now, for the exciting news, it appears Hailey has old dog vestibular disease.  She is expected to make a full recovery in the coming weeks.  If that is all you want to know, you can stop reading here. If you want to know how we got here, keep reading! 

We found this out by things getting way worst. Wednesday night, when I got home, she tried to get up to see me but couldn't. It was terrible and scary and we really thought the end was near. 

Thursday morning we called the vet who had seen her Monday and they said, there was nothing they could do. We would need to call a neurology clinic. We did and they were able to see us Friday morning. We also took her off most her meds, as the Man (who was with her more as I was out working) felt they may be making things worse (which they may have been and she is now off them).

In the mean time, we were able to talk to our old vet and friend and he said it sounded like old dog vestibular disease (also know as drunken sailor syndrome), but to take the appointment and if the neurologist had reason to suggest it, to consider the MRI and other tests. He said this clinic was great and they knew what they were doing.

Driving to the clinic

Friday morning, Man, Lee and I went to the clinic. After the history and exam, we spoke to the neurologist. There were 2 things that made her question vestibular disease (although there were lots of signs that pointed to it). Her back right paw didn't respond as quickly to a bending test, and the head tilt came later (usually it comes at the same time as the other symptoms). To rule out the brain as the cause of these problems, we should consider an MRI. What I loved about this doctor was that she explained things simply and honestly and there was no pressure to do anything she recommended. We decided to do all the tests (we are grateful for the privilege to be able to do), which in order were blood work and chest xrays (mostly to make sure she was likely to do well with the anaesthetic), then the MRI and if needed a spinal tap. We agreed to it all, paid the deposit and drove the hour home to wait. 

Phod was very concerned when we came home without Hailey and concerned we didn't seem concerned! 

Around 2:30 the neurologist called back to say the MRI was clear. The spinal tap still needed to be done, but we could head back to pick Hailey up as she would be ready in about an hour.

Patiently waiting for the neurologist

We went over the MRI images with the neurologist and there were some cool and creepy shots. It was neat to see her brain. There is one slightly different spot around her pituitary gland, which she will send to the radiologist for look at, but she didn't think it was related. The spinal tap fluid looked clear to her, but the results will take a few days. There is really nothing expected from these tests. The staff at the clinic loved Hailey. They thought she was younger (like 9) and super sweet.

We left with a very stoned Hailey and some anti-nausea meds (vestibular problems and anaesthetics don't mix well). She is to rest and be closely monitored on things she could fall off of, but life can basically go on. We have a follow up in about 3 weeks because if this diagnosis is correct, she should be improving greatly by then. 

The bald spot from the spinal tap

That is where we are today and again we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for keeping us in your thoughts. Blogville is awesome! 

Friday, August 25, 2023

FFF Nature Friday - Flowers

Well it is that time of month where Aunty-Yam's FFF and Rosy and Sunny's Nature Friday converge.  Lady thinks she has a treat for you as she has many of the flowers from Butchart gardens to share.

But first - her FFF:

The days can feel dark

Open eyes see the colour

Beauty can be found

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Well - That Was Unexpected

As some of you may have seen, Hailey's annual check up didn't go at all as expected.

On Sunday, she had tweaked her back. This has been an ongoing problem for about 3 years, so we weren't overly concerned. We gave her her pain meds and encouraged her to rest. Monday, she still seemed a little uncomfortable, was limping a little, but as we had the appointment later in the day, I wasn't worried.

Both dogs were very stressed going to the vet. We met with the vet tech who gathered some information, and after she left, Hailey's back end failed her. During the exam, besides having a sore back,  she displayed symptoms of a neurological event, which would explain the extreme weakness in her back end. The vet said, it appeared to be symptoms of brain tumour that given her age would be cancerous. 

This is where I made it clear, we were looking at quality of life. I love Hailey with all my heart, but going down the path of brain cancer treatment, does not enhance the quality of life for anyone in our pack. This is not a choice for us. The vet said, if she was right, the deterioration would happen quickly.

Where we are today, is treating her back pain. She is on a pain med (that will help with anxiety), a muscle relaxant and an inflammatory. She is quite medicated and stoned, but this helps with the 'bed rest' she is suppose to be on for the back. She walks like a drunken sailor and slips a lot.  She still wants to go for walks, she is eating and drinking and voiding. At this point we just wait and see if there is improvement and we squeeze every last joyful second in we can. 

Finally the service I deserve

We will do our best to keep you all updated - it may come from our dear blog friends. Please know she is as comfortable as can be and we will not prolong any suffering.  She is having a hard time and we will take her to a vet today. 


PS: Phod's hole is a little cut/scrape, likely from the bush, and just needs a topical cream once a day for a week or two.  He is slightly insulted the vet suggest he lose some weight. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Travel Tuesday - North to Alaska - Day 2 Vancouver Island

Thanks again to Hailey and Zaphod for letting me share my travel adventures here!

On the second day of our trip, we took a bus tour to Vancouver Island.  It is about 104 km/ 76 miles from Victoria (British Columbia's capital) and Vancouver. I think later on the trip I disappointed travellers who were hoping to go for a bit before catching flights, that you need a minimum of 2 hours to get from one city to the other and it could be longer, depending on ferry service. 

Our day started early, with the bus meeting us at our hotel. While we were waiting for other passengers, we watched more of the opioid crisis - the paramedics checking for life and a guy just doing his drugs on the bench across the road. I admit, it was hard not to stare as it is so outside my normal experience.

Once we were all on board, we drove the 30 minutes to the ferry terminal, and hit the jackpot that there was room on the 9 am ferry (we were scheduled for the 10 am one) and drove right on. We then spent the next 90 minutes enjoying the ferry ride across the Strait of Georgia.

Here are a few shots from the ferry:

Our first stop was Butchart Gardens. This has been a public garden since 1904, is a natural heritage site and attracts over a million visitors a day. There were so many people with dogs walking the paths, it made me miss mine. The most famous garden is likely the sunken garden.  When the quarry went 'dry' so to speak, Mrs. Butchart started a project in 1909 to turn it into garden, which were completed in 1921.

The sunken garden

Another of the famous gardens is the Japanese garden, which was built by Isaburo Kishida, a garden designer from Japan. This was also the garden where the 'phone incident' occurred. As mom was enjoying the gardens from the comfort of a wheelchair,

at one point she unlocked the chair without first securing her phone and her driver set off with a good clip, sending the phone flying, and then the driver drove over the phone.

The phone was cracked to the motherboard and useless. Never fear, a new phone was awaiting mom when she returned home and with her iPad, she didn't really need it on the trip. Life lesson, always secure your belongings before letting me push you in a wheel chair!

The Japanese garden

While I found the Japanese garden lovely and it reminded me of Tokyo (what great shade on a hot day), I missed the koi.

Another of the famous gardens is the former tennis court turned Italian Gardens.

There were so many beautiful gardens and fountains. I will share more of these on Nature Friday, but before we leave the gardens, a few more sights:

After a few hours in the gardens, we headed to Victoria. The city was named after Queen Victoria in 1851 when Victoria became an official British colony. It became the capital of British Columbia when BC officially became part of Canada in 1871.

Here we took another horse drawn carriage, this time a private tour, around the harbour area and Beacon Hill Park. Much smaller than Vancouver's Stanley park at 183 acres, it has been a free city park since 1882. It is named Beacon Hill park because historically the navigation beacons for ships graced its hills. 

BC's capital building

Me thanking my driver, whose name has left my brain. 

After a tour around the park, we enjoyed the harbour area and cool drinks. 

Hotel Grand Pacific is to the righ

This statue looked so much like my dad!

The city was full of beautiful flowers - this was at a street corner

This statue made me smile

On our way out of the city back to the ferry, we say the world's tallest totem pole made out of one tree.

We splurged on the ferry ride home and paid to sit in the 'quiet lounge' that had hot tea and snacks. It was a nice break from all the people. After nearly 14 hours, we arrived back at our hotel, ready to rest for our travel day to Alaska.

Come back Friday for more flowers from Butchart gardens and come back next Tuesday for our arrival in Alaska.