Thursday, December 26, 2013

Job, now Luc, days 4 and 5.

Not too much to report, other than the name change.  I didn't want to burden Job with a name that might follow him around with negative connotations for the rest of his life, so he became Luc.  It's fancy for "Luke," and pronounced the same, but in my mind, it's sort of short for Lucky.   ;-)

Day 4, yesterday, we still did 2 shampoos - the Chlorhexiderm in the morning and the Benzoyl Peroxide in the evening - but today I noticed his skin was looking super dry, so I just went with the Chlorhexiderm shampoo this evening.  Yesterday, the bases of both ears were swollen, so I went ahead and started him on some antibiotics.  I had three 500 mg amoxicillin left over from something, so I gave him one yesterday, one this morning, and another this evening.  I also made him a vet appointment for tomorrow morning at 9am to get more - it seems to be working.

Although I still had to bribe him to drink today because of his fever, he actually played with Bella this afternoon, which was really sweet.  I can see Luc is going to be a handful, though.  I think he missed out on a lot of his early socialization when it comes to play, so he's got some making up to do.  Bella straightened him out with her polar bear bark a few times, but I found myself cringing a bit, realizing when he's not feeling miserable and napping 98% of the day, we might be in for a strong-willed, ill-mannered puppy once he shakes this fever.  It's all good though.  If anyone can handle it, we've got it under control.

We're still at about 0.6ml of ivermectin 1% once a day, so I'm hoping with all the shampoos and stuff, the vet isn't going to want to do a skin scrape tomorrow.  I'll keep you posted.  For now, here's a sweet picture of Luc today - I had the rug spread across two sawhorses, which my 2-year-old claimed for himself.  I threw the rug onto the hammock (for lack of a better place), and Luc came over to investigate.

Said "investigation" turned into a nice, hour-long nap in the sun.

I'll update tomorrow after the vet - fingers crossed!

Cherstin, out.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Job, Days 2 and 3

Here it is, Christmas Eve morning.  Like each morning since Sunday, I woke again, holding my breath while I lifted the blankets covering Job's crate.  I gave myself the pep talk in case I looked to find that Job hadn't made it - the talk about trying my best, about how he knew love for the first time - but happily found Job with his head raised, looking all around at the morning light.

He ate a good breakfast this morning, and I've gotten sneaky on him:  other than the oozing, weepy skin, the second biggest hurdle since Job arrived is the fact that I could not get him to drink anything but low sodium chicken broth, along with 2 or 3 sips of Gatorade.  I put my foot down yesterday and began mixing his dry food with warm water.  He loves the Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream food, so now he's got to drink a bit in order to get that satisfying crunch.  I took a good, long look at him while he was eating, and he looks magnificent.  Let me break down what we did yesterday for those who may be in the same boat.

Yesterday, Job's shampoo arrived from Amazon.  He immediately took a whirlpool bath and started soaking.  (When I say "whirlpool bath," what I did was put a plastic tote in the bathtub and filled it up with warm water and one puppy, so he could soak soak soak.)  I used a small wet rag and began working on his crusty, scabby head, lightly removing all the dead skin and dried pus I could.  

Listen, I know it's gross, but imagine how he felt.  

The goal of the soak is to remove everything "extra" that the demodex mites can be feeding on/living in.  Nasty.

While his body was soaking, I started working with a rag and some shampoo in slow circles on his head.  I let the shampoo sit and do its thing.  After about 15 minutes, I removed Job from the tote and washed him with the shampoo.  Here is what I used:  DermaPet Benzoyl Peroxide Plus Shampoo.  And I used it twice yesterday - the bath/soak time where I removed all the scabs/crusts, and then in the shower with me again before bed.  Each time, I dried Job with a hair dryer on low, everywhere.  Even between his toepads.

Here is Job after his second shower, relaxing with me in the man-chair.  Hopefully you can see the difference, too.

Because he's gained 0.4 pounds, I went ahead and bumped his Ivermectin 1% dosage.  Using the formula (weight in pounds divided by 2.2) x .06, he's now up to 0.59ml per day. 

(The first part of the formula converts pounds into kilograms, and multiplying by 0.06 converts the mcg of the recommended dose (multiply by 0.03 if you're using the low end of the recommended mcg).  I hope that makes sense.

This morning, he looks fabulous.  The sores are dried and - I don't know - just all-around better looking.  


Lots more to come - I'm going to stick with the 2x a day shampoo regimen for a while, because it's working like crazy.  No more pustules - I'm sure he's got to be feeling great.  Today we should be getting some spray to use, too.  I'll update later.

Cherstin and Job, out. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Christmas for Job.

(Early edit:  Job's name may eventually change.  I came up with it this morning, considering all he's been through, but considering it's only 5:55am and everyone else is asleep, I haven't had a chance to discuss it with the rest of the household.  We'll see.)

We weren't looking for a puppy for Christmas, but sometimes everything falls into place in just the right way.  It was December 20th:  The stockings were hung (well, they were hung until Caleb pulled them down), the presents tucked away in the corner of the bedroom, shopping was (mostly) finished with a few last-minute items still on their way via Amazon (Caleb's blue rocks, for example).

My husband has been working long hours, and Bella - our lovely house pet - has been nothing short of depressed for the last few weeks.  Somehow, fate and luck were on my side when I told my husband, "We have to get a second dog, babe.  Bella is falling apart."  To my wondering ears, he said yes, and the thought of having a second dog home for Christmas overtook me.

I started my search where I last left off, looking for AKC-registered puppies that Aidan could use for junior showmanship, should he ever have the inkling again to give it a try.  I started again with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breeders, particularly one I'd been talking with in Texas.  His pups boasted a championship lineage, and were almost nauseously good-looking, with their wavy puppy fur, black noses, and big brown eyes.  I started looking at some local breeders, particularly a kennel here in North Port that raises Siberian Huskies.  Beautiful, pointy-eared puppies - little bundles of fur.  A perfect sized breed that would probably suit the family just fine.  Two little bundles of love from which to choose, and the sibes were less than half the price of the Cavaliers, plus they came with full AKC rights.

I perused her webpage for a long time.

And all the while, there lay Bella behind me on the couch, her chin resting comfortably on the arm, raising her eyebrow (rather than her head) every time I'd turn and look at her.  There's the perfect dog, I thought to myself.  Why would I consider anything but another pitbull?

And so I looked at pitbulls.  Beautiful, stocky puppies from purple ribbon parents.  Litter after litter of pot-bellied cuties, ready for a new home.  I turned again to look at Bella and thought about her past, where she'd come from and how she'd gotten to us.  The horrible events she must have endured to make it here, to our couch, to her family.

I remembered two little roly poly pups I'd seen on a rescue site a week or two ago - every demodex (aka - "mange") puppy I see, I can't help but think of Bella - and the pair I'd seen had been no exception.  They'd been picked up by a rescue:  I visited their Facebook page again, my eyes searching the bullies until I found him.

And there he was.  Three months old, covered in scabs.  Nearly bald.  Swollen feet.  Yet despite that, he was still wiggling his butt - the pitbull trait.

I messaged the rescue and told our story.  We still had ivermectin left over from Bella.  I called my husband.  I loaded up the boys.  The rest, so they say, will be history.

After getting the kids to bed, I took a shower with Job and gave him a bath using Duodo Calming Shampoo - not my choice, but I didn't have any Chlorhexiderm.  (It is now on it's way via Amazon and will be here tomorrow.)  I stayed in the shower with him and kept it on for about ten, maybe twelve minutes.  The chunks of scabs falling off him were horrible.

Before bed, I gave him his first oral dose of ivermectin.  I wanted to give him the medication in the morning, as mornings are typically easier to remember, but I couldn't stand the thought of those nasty mites having their way with him for even another seven hours.  At 21.2 pounds, we are working our way up to 0.578ml/day, so I started him off at 0.4ml.  From what the dogs tell me with their lemon-face, it tastes horrible, but he didn't have the energy to complain.  He laid down and went right to sleep in his crate.

This morning, I woke him up early - since it was too late to have a nice meal last night when we got home, I figured the poor guy would be starving.  He gobbled up about a half-cup of grain-free chow and had a bit of water.  He's very slow on his feet:  because of the constant licking and chewing, puppies suffering from demodex typically have swollen paws and pads.  It must hurt to walk.

With a full belly and my warm sweater, Job tucked down and is now sleeping peacefully on the kitchen floor.

Before I go, in "open letter" format, I had something I wanted to say to Job's previous owners.  It goes something like this:

Dear Job's previous owners in north Orlando, where he was found walking the streets before being brought to rescue and transported to Fort Myers:

Maybe you had the best intentions, but more than likely you did not.  Let me guess - you owned the sire and the dam and decided they'd make some cute puppies.  Maybe you didn't realize the dam carried an immune failure for demodex.  Now that you've figured it out, you probably still haven't gotten her fixed, have you?  No, you probably think that mange was just something the puppies must have "picked up," which is why it was probably pretty easy for you to dump this little guy on the side of the road somewhere.  Did you at least pick a parking lot, where maybe he'd be found by a nice family?  Did you leave him a cheeseburger or something to distract him while you drove away?

Don't worry.  Your puppy is safe now with us.  In another 8 weeks, you won't even recognize him.  He's going to have a wonderful life, and we'll always know that when we could have chosen any puppy we wanted, we chose him.  Or maybe, somehow, he chose us.

I'm sure you learned nothing from your ordeal, except maybe how easy it is to throw things away that don't suit you.  How many others turned a blind eye to a stray, mangy puppy?  Yet he survived - which means that there were some kind souls who tossed him some food along the way, too.  Maybe some passers-by, knowledgeable enough to know that mange isn't contagious, even gave him a few pats on the head before they had to get back in their cars.  How many complete strangers wished your puppy good luck?

He's found his way home.  Today is only day one, but it's day one of the rest of his life.  He's sleeping peacefully and soon the rest of the family will wake up and come out to tell him good morning.  He's got a family now, and life is going to be great.

The Holtzmans

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.  If you want to talk puppies, demodex, rescue, etc., drop me a line.  I'm more than happy to talk puppies all day long.  I'll be updating again soon, so stay tuned.  :-)

Cherstin, out.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Upon Graduation.

I don't want to get too sappy, too long-winded, or too sentimental - lately, I have been all of the above.  Two days ago, my husband came home early from work and turned on "The Price is Right."  When a lady had an opportunity to win a car, I cried.  I'm not sure if I got all caught up in her excitement or what, but it sort of freaked me out.

My husband found it endearing.

I took my last final exam today.  It was English Literature.  Although the fourteen-ish cups of coffee I had before the exam did nothing to help my chicken scratch penmanship, I was pretty confident in the way it turned out.  Leaving campus was bittersweet, and after a stop at the grocery store, I found myself in my office with absolutely nothing to do.

I jotted some notes on my white board for my most-recent novel I started in November, but then realized I owe some people a fair amount of gratitude, and what better medium than the old interwebs?  In no particular order, these are a few of the people who made it all possible:

My mom, who never gave up on me even after wasting hundreds of dollars in college application fees post-high-school, when I knew I had no intention of returning to school in any way, shape, or form right off the bat.  When I finally did start, it was at Valencia Community College - East Campus - on my 21st birthday.  (See, I'd already gotten all my beer drinking out of the way by that point - good plan!)  My initial plan of attack was to take the courses I was most dreading first - so I started with Comp I.  How funny now, in hindsight, that my plan is to teach English.

My husband and boys.  Although he hasn't been in the picture for my entire academic career, Richard and I met in March of 2010, just a few months after I returned to college full-time (August 2009).  He's been through the ups, downs, downs, further downs, "don't bother me, I'm studying" times, etc.  My boys have lived a single-parent lifestyle, from baseball to Taekwondo, because I couldn't make classes, practices, or tournaments.  Poor Caleb was thrown into it when he didn't come early over a Christmas break, but instead waited until January 27, 2011 while I was contending with a full-time courseload.  I still can't believe I completed that semester.  Incredible.

There are so many professors to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude that can only be repaid on the dedication page of my first novel:  since I'm running a bit behind on novel-writing (with now a grand total of five unfinished manuscripts), I'd better thank them here:

Dr. Ford - it was your Horror Lit class that got me to return to school, and your Creative Writing classes that fueled my addiction passion to write.  As if that weren't enough, it was also your off-the-cuff question, asking me if I'd ever considered teaching as a career, that woke me up to what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I'll never forget you.

Professor Masucci - your Short Story class and your World Lit class opened my eyes to what it really means to be able to teach a text in a way that students can understand.  Your classes and lectures were always fun, and you have an incredibly conversational tone that I really appreciate as a future teacher.  Your knowledge of the text, as well as being able to infuse outside material relevant to a particular author, setting, or time period, added a multitude of dimension to what would otherwise have been "just a science fiction story" or "just an epic poem."  You encouraged me to question the why, how, whats of other cultures and to ask myself what resonates in me when I read literature, and why.

To all my fellow students I've had the privilege of learning with/from, thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I am so happy that many of us have stayed in touch, and sharing "real-life" with each of you has been/is still awesome.  I have some great memories, thanks to all of you.  Funny how most of us got together in that first Creative Writing class.  You made class fun, which made learning fun too.

And for now, you'll have to excuse me.  I'm off to plan the rest of my life.

Cherstin, out.