Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello Again

Back at the beginning of May er, end of April, when I told you all I was going to go play with my dog, I didn't really mean for a whole month. (Insert sheepish grin here.)

Tiptoeing through the tulips.
But I did need to take a break from all things digitized and spent much of the last month doing the job thing while also playing with my dog, digging in the garden, reconnecting with my husband and just generally enjoying life away from the computer.

My friend Kelly, of the former Roo's Doins (whom I have sadly let down and lost touch with) used to take a blogging vacation every year. I understand now why she did and how healthy it is to put down the keyboard and step away from the computer every once and awhile. (Well, at least as much a computer programmer can put down a keyboard and step away from the computer...)

In the middle of taking a blogging vacation, I actually got a real honest-to-goodness vocation vacation for the first time since September 2012. THAT was much needed and long overdue.

But I have missed you all and am happy to be back behind the keyboard. There is much to tell. So let me start with a summary and over the next few weeks, we'll expound on the details.

Bella's meds:
I mentioned some time back that we have Bella on a new cocktail of drugs for her fear and anxiety and her penchant for reacting aggressively towards me and Jan when life gets to be too much for her. She remains on the Soloxine (for hypothyroidism) and Fluoxetine (for aggression) and in January we added Gabapentin (for nerve pain and possible seizures.) This has proven to be absolutely life-changing for her and for us. And I will definitely share stories soon about that.
She is also on a drug called Amantidine which was prescribed for an injury she suffered in January to her foot but may also be contributing to her improved behavior. It is used for what is called "ramp-up pain" - the kind of pain where it's tolerable in the morning but by the afternoon and evening is just unbearable.

The goal is to be able to wean her off the Fluoxetine in time (she is already at a lower-than-usually-prescribed dose) and probably ease her off the Amantidine in the next few weeks.
Bella's leg/foot injury:
The left-front shoulder issue and the acute right front lameness that occurred in January have been largely resolved. Bella has been seeing an integrative vet for a couple of months now and we couldn't be more pleased with the whole practice and especially the results.

Bella sees a doctor who specializes in chiropractic treatment but has also been having weekly low-level laser treatments. A little over a week ago, Jan and I both remarked that we hadn't seen Bella limp from standing at all over the weekend. She still has the occasional skip in her step when she's been lying on the cold ground or has overdone it a bit but she is otherwise limp-free.

Bella has shown signs of a limp be it mild or severe since 2012 - it feels weird to see her not limp now.

We are stunned and grateful.
Bella's diet:
Back in 2012, Bella injured her left front shoulder. While we saw many different doctors trying to diagnosis and correct it, we were left with medication to help her manage the pain. Unfortunately, that medication was hard on her tummy and she was diagnosed with Colitis. A prescription diet was recommended but we continued to toggle between treating her limp and treating her tummy.

The last straw was when we called the vet who prescribed the medication and asked if we could try her on something else that was easier on her insides and he recommended another drug to help fight the problems she was facing due to the first. Enough was enough and we called in a holistic vet. We wanted to treat her injury once and for all and in a way that didn't create other issues.

Things didn't quite work out with that vet (too far away when Bella came up acutely lame in January) but she did put us on the path to home-cooking for Bella. We started cooking for her meals in January and, aside from what we now refer to as the "baby bird incident" (more on that in future installments), she has had a nearly perfect constitution ever since.
Geez, mom, is nothing private?
We have been easing her back into exercise after her extended crate-rest and she's been on a diet so now she's looking as good as she feels. And we don't even have to fight with her any more to get her to eat!
Bella's behavior:
The most significant change has been in Bella's behavior. Sometimes we wonder what happened to our scared-y dog? Last Tuesday Bella slept through a (distant) thunderstorm. Her happy ear is up more often than ever and her eyes and face are soft and relaxed. She just looks so much more comfortable in her own skin.

It's hard to even describe how the changes in her feel. She is calm but not sedated, she seeks out play as well as (occasional) cuddles and she is just generally more relaxed about life all around.

We still have work to do - Bella hasn't been around other dogs since we have had to retire her from her agility for reactive dogs class. But we're feeling much more confident that we can teach her better options for her reaction to other dogs now that she has finally found some peace.
And that's all the news that's fit to print today.

As I mentioned, I'll try to fill in some of the details about all this change over the next few weeks - from the spreadsheet I use to calculate Bella's calories and protein intake to my queasy reaction to watching Bella get "adjusted" by the chiropractor and all sorts of good things in between.

Thanks for not forgetting us. We've missed you and your pups and will be making the rounds as soon as possible to check on how you all are doing.


Post title shamelessly stolen from the amazing Mr. Neil Diamond. "Hello Again"


  1. Wow, lots of good news here. So glad Bella is feeling better in so many ways.

    I have also had positive experiences with integrative medicine. I keep reading scientific studies that tell me many holistic treatments don't work. But my personal experiences with holistic vets has been wonderful.

  2. Glad to see you back with lots of good news.

  3. Do people actually come out from behind the keyboard?? The thought of it gives Mom the heebie-jeebies. Me, too. Anyway, welcome back.

    Love and licks,

  4. Welcome back. I don't know if Mom and I could disconnect, but maybe some day we will try to at least.

  5. Jan K, Wag N Woof PetsJune 3, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    It's good to see you back, especially when you have such good news to share! Can't wait to hear more. I think that taking a break might be a very good idea. It seems like a lot of bloggers burn out, and maybe that's because they don't. I'm not sure if I could disconnect completely for that long, but I'm thinking I could take a week where I scaled way back at least.

  6. I'm so glad you were able to take the time you needed, and I am THRILLED to hear about all the positive changes you're seeing with Bella! I feel so proud, like she's one of my own!

  7. I love it when a plan comes together, so glad to hear Bella is feeling better. And glad you are feeling refreshed.

  8. Thanks Pamela. We are very pleased with the results. I see an integrative doctor myself so it wasn't a stretch to bring Bella to one. There are some holistic practices that I have limited confidence in but the integrative aspect isn't necessarily 'holistic'. I like the idea of holistic medicine as treating the whole animal and the integrative aspect of combining both eastern and western medicine. Either way, and regardless of what we call it, Bella has certainly has more success recently with non-traditional medicine.