Tom & Huckleberry got here first, after George the Cat who died near 20
years old. He was the Original Mopsey's
companion who I got to keep Mopsey company during the first divorce. Not
going to get into all the details about cats, but these two got here before
Mopsey. After George we wanted to get another cat and went to the animal
shelter in Glen Cove. The only kittens they had were these two, and they
were both sick; had conjunctivitis, respiratory infections and just looked
so pathetic it was hard to not take them, so we did.
Rufus II Comes
Rufus and Huckleberry
Katie & Rufus
Rufie & Alice
Mopsey Bopeep III
Katie & Pups
Rufus died during the time we were house hunting in Cold Spring, New York. He was at the place that I ultimately moved to, and he loved it. I had looked forward to exploring up here with him, but that was not to be.
When I got up here with only Huckleberry, who was not at all happy about things, I was pretty much a lost soul. Rufus had been my constant companion and took up my time in a very pleasant manner. After getting moved in, I just paced around the deck, just about wearing holes in it.
Then I decided that I had to have another dog, and consulted the Old English Sheepdog Club of America for a breeder. I found some very nice folks in Connecticut, Twickenham Old English Sheepdogs, and went out to meet them. They were planning on a litter in midsummer, and I got on the list. In the meantime, I decided I wanted to have two again, as one would be a bit lonely here when I have to go somewhere, and three of us makes a family. Sandy, at Twickenham, recommended me to a breeder in Canada who is also a world renowned dog show judge, and he had one pup from the litter left. I applied for my passport and went through a passport expediting agency to get it within the week. I was getting pretty anxious when it did not arrive as promised on the Thursday before my planned Friday departure. Ultimately the passport arrived (you need one to get back into the US from Canada). It arrived at 0915 and I was on the way to Canada at 0925, wheels in the wells, as we used to say.
Made it up to a suburb of Toronto by 1725, after an hour of traffic on the Canadian side. There I met the little guy. It was clear why everyone was attached to him, as shown in the pictures here, select the photo for a link to other photos of Rufus's homecoming. We left Canada at 1925, and in spite of a one hour traffic jam due to high winds, we got home to Cold Spring at 0225 Saturday morning. (You cannot beat driving long distances at night, when the idiots are all off the road.)
These photos were taken in Canada and later that day (actually, the next day, Saturday) at home in Cold Spring on about three hours sleep.
On the trip, Ru was originally in the back seat, on the horse blanket, but he was fretting. So, at the first gas stop I put him in the shotgun seat, and not a peep out of him. He loves going in the car, and takes the round trips to get Katie and drop her off like a real little trooper.
He reminds me very much of Big Ru, when he was a pup, but those were difficult days. Marley had just had Katie, and I was insistent on getting a second Sheepie to keep Mopsey company. Guess I was a tad insensitive, but I was thinking back to when I had had Elsa and her pups, Mopsey and Jenny, and wanted that kind of thing back. So there was some friction at home, and it was difficult. But that is done now, and times are better for all of us.
Rufus spent his first day getting used to the place, and carrying my slippers around. He had come from a suburb of Toronto and had an ample yard, but it was not the country. He was fascinated by the property, and spent his outdoor time exploring the place. He also took a liking to eating dandelion leaves, must have some yuppie blood in him.
He must have weighed about 20 pounds when he got here, the following week I took him for a check up at the Cold Spring Animal Hospital, where Dr. Bach fell in love with him. He weighed 24.7 then. Today (26 May 18) he got his booster shots, and he weighed in at 32 pounds.
He is a happy puppy, he does not mind at all that he has accidents and gets scolded. Just comes smiling back and it is impossible to be angry with him. He understands much, and that is a problem as he is intelligent and asserts himself. I do not want to break that spirit in him, but teaching him to control it will take a lot longer than strict discipline. Oh well, what else do I have to do?
Rufus loves Katie, as Katie does Rufus. He is getting big and enjoys getting in the hammock with her and then giving kisses followed by puppy "mouthing," kind of like little love bites. His primary sense is his mouth now, and with teething going on he gets a little nippy. Not a big deal.
Finally figured out how to get me into the pictures using the Nikon remote shutter release; although, after seeing the results it might be better to keep me out of the pictures, or at least to get a haircut
We spend the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend at Twickenham Old English Sheepdogs, guests of Sandy and Kay. What a wonderful day that was! Katie enjoyed the visit almost as much as Rufus did. She hugged and was hugged by mother to be Pippa, Rhys and the beautiful Fiona who reminds both Katie and me of Mopsey.
Rufus started off being underfoot, literally. Rhys got him under his big paw, but not a peep out of Rufus Braveheart II, The Wonder Dog, as Sandy nicknamed him. After a very short time Rufus and his cousins, honorary and by blood lines (that's Pippa) were playing and Ruf was gnawing on everyone.
The day was punctuated, quite loudly, by Sandy firing off a salute to Memorial Day Weekend on his bronze naval cannon. I do not remember anything being that loud since the VC blew up the ammo dump in Pleiku. My ears rang considerably more than they usually do from my USAF issue tinnitus. Linked to this picture is a page at the Nikon Image Space web site. (Since web architecture is changing much faster than I care to keep up with, I find that this is the most compatible way to share these great pictures. I find I have become something of a Luddite when it comes to keeping up with the latest changes in web development.)
Katie loved being with the dogs and Sandy and Kay; she spent much of the afternoon playing the Steinway, and did not do badly considering she had her last piano lesson about three years ago. Now I know how to keep her off her iPhone: Get a Steinway, pity they only cost about $50,000.
It was a wonderful day for four and two legged critters, and we are beholden to Sandy and Kay. Katie also invited herself for a future sleepover, which is what kids do.
Twickenham is about an hour of the most beautiful country roads from our cottage, and we all enjoyed the trip. The weather held off raining, but it was damp and quite cool, so Sandy lit a fire and we all enjoyed that, and the whole day, as well, so very much.
Enjoy the photos, and hopefully there will be more coming with new Twickenham pups in it.
And on the subject of Rufus and Huckleberry ...
Well, this is, technically, "Dogs and Cats," so Huck gets some time. Huckleberry's, and his brother Tom's, story is below. A neighbor called around Thanksgiving 2017 to tell me that Tom was staggering in his yard, and he figured he must have gotten poisoned. By the time I got there Tom was gone. He was ever Huck's protector, from the time we found the two of them huddled in a small cage at North Shore. So Huck lost Mop, lost Tom and lost Big Rufie.
He is a passive cat and allows Rufie to get away with tormenting him. When Huck has had enough he punches Ruf with a closed fist. He does not use the claws on him, or at least not very much. Every so often, after Rufie has tormented Huck into another room, I hear a minor yelp and figure Huck has given Rufie a sharp one with the claws. In spite of all this, I do notice that, when Rufie is not stealing Huck's food or treating him like a squeaky toy, Huck and Ruf do get along. When I take Rufie out Huck is waiting at the door when we get back. Not that he wants to go out, I have offered that many times (and the couple of times I just picked Huck up and plopped him outside, he took shelter under the deck). Maybe Huck has figured out that there are coyotes up here who would love to have a Huckleberry on rye?
This next photo has a link to what I have cleverly entitled, "Huck and Ruf--THE MOVIE!" It links to video (on Nikon Image Space--my way of making the pictures and videos compatible without chasing new html protocols) of Huckleberry and Rufus on a late Friday evening after Katie, Rufus and I have just arrived home from picking Katie up at her mother's place in the city.
Huckleberry continues to perfect his role as a squeaky toy, and Rufie continues to make him squeak, which is usually what Huckleberry's rendition of the traditional "meow" sounds like. Huck has become a lot easier to be with since Rufie arrived. I think, in spite of his shows of disgust at Rufus, he really does enjoy the attention.
He does not, however, enjoy Rufie's eating his food. I have tried feeding Huck in different locations, but Ruf still manages to get to the food, at least sometimes. The latest feed bucket for Huck is in one of the book shelves that I made, food shoved way to the back of the bottom shelf. Rufie is growing enough so that he can almost not fit in there to steal food. (By the way, Yes, Huckleberry's coat is quite similar to the general Sheepie pattern. No, that was not planned.)
Rufus has taken a liking to the old folding chair that is now on the deck. It has a pocket for a beverage, and I put his Nylabone in that pocket, and he sits, lays, flops, in the chair chewing on the bone.
He is in no hurry to get out of the chair and has taken to napping in it after we have a playing session.
Cute pictures, enjoy.
So I got tired of putting Rufie on the umbrella table on the deck and tying his leash to the umbrella, so I got him a grooming table (the umbrella thing was a temporary thing, anyway). I thought he would reject the idea of a grooming table, especially after I gave him a bath and worked on him on the table.
Turns out it has become his favorite place to take a nap. He gets to look out the windows at the cars on Peekskill Road, something he enjoys, Lord knows why, and with the windows open he can listen to the birds, and such. Of course he cannot get up on it by himself, or down from it, so I have to lift him up on the table. I certainly do hope that he develops the ability, like Rhys, of jumping up on the table since when he gets full grown there is no way I will be able to lift him to the table.
Got Rufie a couple of Kongs, not gorillas, those weird chew things that bounce all over the place when you throw them. He loves it, and the photo, below, is linked to pictures of him chasing it. Also there is a picture of Ru and his favorite thing in the kitchen, the air conditioning vent. He sleeps with his head on it when it is hot out.
So this weekend (09 June) is with Katie, and she took to the hammock, but not without Rufus getting into the act. He really loves her and has no problem showing it.
The picture is also linked to Nikon Image Space, my new favorite way of showing photos, and there are some cute shots of the two of them.
(I included a Windows Media video here, but since Internet Explorer 11 is apparently the only browser that supports this [and I seem to be the only person still using IE11], I also included a link to an HTML5 video. I am a Luddite.)
Katie Rufus and I went to the New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue Annual Picnic in Lebanon, Connecticut on Saturday, 23 June. We started out with Rufie in the off-leash area running around with other Sheepies until he decided to go into the pond. Then it was on line for Sandy to demonstrate grooming a wet Sheepie puppy.
It is interesting to note the difference between Ruf running with fellow Sheepdogs and how he is in the local dog park with various breeds and mixes. There was really no conflict with the Sheepies, whereas in the local place there are the inevitable challenges from grumpy dogs, some of the owners are pretty grumpy as well. Makes me feel more certain that Rufie needs to have a sister of his own kind. Sheepies really are special, and that is not Old English Sheepdog chauvinism, it is true.
We met Sandy and Kay at the picnic, with Fiona, Pippa and Rhys, who seemed to remember Rufus, but maybe it is just Sheepie sniffing, who knows. I am pretty sure Rufie remembered them as he was all kisses for them and active butt wiggling.
There was another pup there, Nigel, who is a month younger than Ruf and likely 15 pounds smaller. Rufus and Nigel did some delightful wrestling, with no yelps or any animosity. It is good to see the dogs get on so well. Katie was very good at controlling Rufus.
Sandy held a grooming clinic and demonstration, which was good since after The Wonder Dog ran into the pond he was in need of a grooming, and I learned a bit from the short time Sandy spent with Rufus, as well as with the other dogs.
Well, having the property, and a couple of bucks in the bank, I thought it would be a good idea to get a pool put in the place, as Katie loves to swim, and I like floating around in it; at least I did when we had a 20 x 40 pool in Basking Ridge, a couple of lifetimes ago.
That idea perished when I began pricing them. Wow, talk about inflated prices! I do not like above ground pools and that seemed to be the only things that were reasonably priced.
So, one day driving down to the hellhole of NYC to pick up Katie, I saw a Four Winns cruiser on a trailer on Route 9D that had a sign on it: "Make an Offer." On the way back Katie and I looked it over and it was pretty much shot, but the boat bug had bitten.
Ultimately we went to Storm King Marine in New Windsor, saw a 2000 Sea Ray 215 Express Cruiser and trailer for sale, and got it (click the name to link to photos and spec sheet). The boat has been running like a dream, and Katie has been swimming off it in the Hudson off West Point, Bear Mountain, and by a nearby beach that seems to be a hangout for Cold Spring boaters.
Lately she has been tubing, as well. Click on the picture below for video.
I joined the Cold Spring Boat Club and got a slip, and now am looking to get a used Ford F-150 to pull the trailer.
Rufus also loves the boat, and here he is in his PFD--Puppy Flotation Device. He wants to jump in when Katie does, and so far I have successfully kept him out of the water. He would totally be a mess if he went in, but I think that day is coming.
I have not gone in myself because my anemia is acting up pretty badly and I am not sure how I would do without being able to touch the bottom, and from what Katie says, the bottom of the Hudson in the shallows is all muck. So no thanks to that.
Rufie has gone with me on the boat whenever I go out, and the weather has been such that it is either raining or very hot. He normally finds a shady spot under the Bimini shade, or goes into the cuddy cabin, which is a pretty comfortable thing. Somebody at the boat club described a boat as a hole in the water that you throw money into, and he is right, but figuring on how things can change pretty quickly, maybe having something to enjoy is a good thing to do.
Bought a 2004 Ford F-150 Lariat in August. Now I have two 2004 cars, the F-150 and the Lincoln LS. The truck is in pretty good shape, has a lot of miles on it, but I am told they go for lots of miles, so we'll see about that. Would be nice to have a new one, but to get this one new would be over $50,000! Way too much for a set of wheels.
Cold Spring friends Richard and Liz, having met Rufus, fell in love with him, more or less.
Ultimately they found a breeder and just (October 2018) brought Alice Home. Rufus and Alice had a play date at our place on Monday, 22 October.
Alice was very scrappy with Rufus, and he was [relatively] gentle with her. They had a great time, as did we upright folks.
Rufus is a great companion, but I figure that I am not. Decided he needs a "sister," so we did some searching and came up with a breeder about 65 miles north of here, being Jim and Deb, who are very fine folks. The litter was whelped on 04 December, day after my birthday, it was three girls two boys, and Rufus and I drove up to have a look. One of the pups came up to me immediately and began licking and nibbling on my finger. Guess it was love at first sight and she became choice #1. This photo is linked to several others of the litter. Deb waited to pick the pups she wanted to keep from the litter, but ultimately informed me that we got our first choice, which was good.
On 02 February Ruf and I drove up to Jim and Deb to bring little Mop home. She was a great traveller, still is, and took to her new home and her new big brother just about instantly.
She has had a few accidents (and still does), but is much faster at house training since she has Ruf as an example, and she mastered the dog door in about two days. So she usually goes outside to take care of business. (A few words about cleaning up dog messes that could be helpful to anyone with a training pup, incontinent senior pup, or whose dog just has the occasional accident. The Bissell Cross Wave vacuum is the best means of cleaning up all manner of accidents that I have come upon. It works, makes the puddles, poops and other obnoxious stuff completely disappear. Cannot recommend the Cross Wave highly enough!)
There is continual playing here now, as Rufus does not seem to ever get tired of playing with little Mop, or letting her yank out mouths full of his hair. She seems a lot more independent that Ruf was when he was little, could be a gender thing. She is also quite fearless, seems to be afraid of nothing, including Huckleberry, who is not at all delighted at our new family member, all the less so in that Mop is fascinated by his tail and does not hesitate to chew on it, which she also does to dogs with tails.
The picture to the left is linked to more photos, as usual. Mopsey initially stood in the water bowl while she ate, which was almost as much fun as Rufus picking it up and tossing it when he was a small pup. The simple solution was to just rotate the food stand.
This is a photo of Katie and Rufus I. Of course, Katie is about 8 months old at the time and big Ruf was 2 months old.
In the background is Mopsey II watching, she was always there keeping an eye on things.
Curious, back then Mop was 2 years old when we got Rufus; today the age difference is reversed; although Rufie II is only one year old now. I make the mistake of calling him "Mop," which I think is likely a kind of flashback to when the original Rufus came to us.
Lots going on, with the chinese virus and all. Not much of it very good.
Huckleberry stopped eating back in January, and we took him to the vet, and now he is finally with his brother Tom, so that is good. Huck never got over losing Tom, and that was quite a while ago. So we are done with cats now.
This video is at the Animal Medical Center in the city.
He is getting the rehab to treat his arthritic condition in his wrists and knees, after Mopsey passed it was time to give Rufus the attention he needed. Select (click) the following picture to go to the video.
Mopsey and Rufus both came from Nancy Hotz, at Fair Oaks Farm in Cuba, Missouri. If you have not had enough doggy pictures from the regular Blog page, then read on. I remember when I "found" Nancy; the nearest OES breeder was in Connecticut but they wanted a high price, not affordable at the time, and the OES Association recommended Nancy, as well, and that was about it.
Tom & Huckleberry got here first, after George the Cat who died near 20 years old. He was the Original Mopsey's companion who I got to keep Mopsey company during the first divorce. Not going to get into all the details about cats, but these two got here before Mopsey. After George we wanted to get another cat and went to the animal shelter in Glen Cove. The only kittens they had were these two, and they were both sick; had conjunctivitis, respiratory infections and just looked so pathetic it was hard to not take them, so we did.
Later, when Mopsey arrived it was Huckleberry who first noticed her. He came in the cat door, saw Mopsey, actually started to rub against her, and then jumped about two feet in the air when he realized it was not Tom, but was a dog. That was pretty funny. Mopsey was uber-cute when she was a puppy, and it sad how the ex went from spending every minute with Mopsey to wishing she was not here later on. I do not want to get into that, but it changed Mopsey and accounts for her periods of unhappiness. Not unlike how the first Mopsey was when that piece of work took off. Spent hours watching the street, thinking she was coming back. Now Mopsey is finally getting over standing there, looking up the street, but the sadness still shows.
When Mopsey first came home she was upset and she whimpered at night had to have a lot of attention to make her comfortable. When Rufus got here he took a look around and was as comfortable as could be from the beginning. I picked him up with Mopsey, and Mop took a look at Rufus and tried to walk the other way. From the beginning, Rufus seemed to know he was the top dog. He has always been a delight and is as gentle as he is big, and he weighs 127 pounds. He did not suffer the separation from the ex because she never took a liking to Rufus, and wanted no part of him. Rufus misses Katie more because he just about grew up with her. They would play together on the floor, and share each others toys. It was nice until the matrimonial lawyers screwed it all up. Well, it is better it is done. But that is blog material, not for here. Rufus and Mopsey would have been a great breeding pair, but of course they were neutered - what a nasty word: Neutered. Oh well, who has time and resources to take care of litter? Besides it is so hard to part with any of them, as became apparent when the first wife and I had Elsa's puppies, back in '76 or so. After we sold Mopsey, I actually had to drive up to near Buffalo in a snow storm to get her back because the first wife was melting down without her. Glad I got her back anyway, she helped me through some hard times, just as her namesake and Rufus are now. Sheepies are the best people there are, period.
It got hot! Well, so be that. I have some remarkably boring videos of
Mopsey and Rufus drinking at the water fountain. They now go right up to it.
stand up on it and wait for me to push the button. This image is linked to
these videos. Rufus is, in this photo, in the midst of jumping - not the right word - standing up at the fountain. I am surprised my little camera managed to capture this so well.
We are aware the general public frowns on dogs drinking out of their fountains; I always drink after they do so that I can get my infinitely broader nastiness into the fountain, instead of the dogs. I guess if the people who complain about the dogs using the fountain would complain about the semi-homeless creatures who wash their feet and entire bodies in the fountains. Well, I could generally not care less what these people think.
This other photo links to a video of Rufus and Mopsey playing. Mopsey gets fed up with Rufus, yaps at him, gets up to walk away and Rufus does this great roll-over as Mopsey is leaving. This video makes me laugh. They are playing that mock-fighting "I kill you and eat you!" kind of thing. Have to admit, Rufus is pretty scary when he bares his teeth, looks like a medium sized bear.
(As a note, encoding these videos took no time at all, but they did get the computer to use more than the 11% of processor that was the maximum until now. It actually touched 80%, but generally stayed at around 67%. Powerful machine.)
Today, as we were leaving the park, I noticed something on the ground that looked like a rock. Turns out it was a big box turtle. It was about a furlong away from the nearest water, although it had that green scum on its shell and was still wet. Somebody must have picked it up and put it by the trees, as there is no way a turtle is going to walk that far on a hot day and not dry out. Some miserable bastard animal torturer did this. Well, the turtle seemed unharmed so I put it in one of the bags I use to pick up the dogs' poop and carried it to the tributary off the lake by the Boathouse and put it in the water.
Also worth noting, which you can see if you click the turtle picture, is that the swans have had their offspring, whatever you call the offspring of those mean sons'a mitches. This couple seemed to have four of them. The water looks like green crud because that is what it is, or at least that is the surface of it, which you can see on the turtle's shell. Could not remember the word, "marooned," which is what some mean spirited bastard did to this turtle. Not that I have a love for turtles; I do not, and I think they are smelly disengaging creatures; however, dull as they are they do not deserve to be marooned in the hot sun. We done did our duty to the critters. Here is a follow-up to Operation Turtle: two days after, being yesterday, as I was leaving the Park, one of the Gomers on his way into the park said, "Look at the size of that turtle!" I do think it might have been the same turtle that I "rescued." It was the same size, but this time it was easily twice as far from water as the first time. About one-third of the way to the Prospect Park Southwest entrance. I probably would have taken it back, but I was just so blasted hot and tired, as were the dogs. I asked Gomer if he would take the turtle to the water, but he just laughed - something I have noticed this Gomer does when he does not understand something. Not as a rationalization, but I do honestly think this turtle knew where he (she?) was going. Turtle on a mission. Well, I did my thing, turtle was for sure going somewhere.
Mop & Ruf got their short haircuts from Marion at Dog's World. Marion's groomer, Dario, has the right stuff when it comes to grooming the sheepies. Since they are never afraid of him, I know that he handles them well, too.
The weather continues very hot, and even with their haircuts, Mopsey and Rufus are reluctant to leave the air conditioned house, as am I.
HOT! Nothing of any note is happening other than this heat wave continues. Mopsey & Rufus are very inactive even in the park and prefer to rest in the shad of the big beech tree by the doggy water fountain. I will have to take some photos of that tree, as its root structure is such that the roots make the ground surrounding the tree to be of wood. Particularly nice is a large burl in one of the roots that gives me a comfortable seat beneath the tree and next to the water fountain. It is a wonder that nobody has done some mischief to the wonderful old tree yet.
We went for a walk into the thicket near the Neathermead and surveyed the pond of water that truly looks to be a very level field; although anybody dumb enough to embark on a walk across that flat field will get very wet. The pond scum is so thick that small branches and leaves just lay on the surface making it appear to be solid ground. Remarkable.
Been a while since I have posted anything here, nothing new really happens, and we have covered most of the dog park activities.
However, that being said, after a day of very heavy rains in NYC, the Nethermead developed what can only be called the Netherpuddle, or maybe Netherpond. Which is (probably "was" after a day or so, too bad) a very large rain puddle. Now dogs being like kids who never grow up, there was some intense playing going on in the Netherpuddle. Mop and Ruf made a new friend of a Rhodesian Ridge Back,and they really surprised me with how much they enjoyed playing in the water. Of course, that makes me feel guilty that I do not have a pool for them, but what did you expect from me? After a while I realized I had the iPhone5 with me (really do not like that thing) and I took some videos. I put them together in a Silverlight video that is linked to the following photo. It is a fun video.
Well, it is nearly two years since I posted anything here.
It was kind of tricky overcoming the inertia, but events took place that just demanded that they be documented.
Here is essentially what happened:
On 26 November 2014 at about 1630 (4:30PM) I called Mopsey and Rufus into the kitchen to give them a treat. They both came trotting in, I gave them their treats and as usual Rufus took off for the living room and Mopsey started off also. Just as she turned out of the kitchen I heard her fall down.
I was not very surprised at this as her rear end is getting a little weak; however, when I helped her up I saw that her right leg, from the end of her hock down (equivalent to our heel) was hanging loose. I will never forget what I felt at that moment. I looked at this and knew it was likely the beginning of the end. I just looked at it for some time, then called the vet we used. It was 1630 on the eve of Thanksgiving and they were closing up, the vet's office suggested I take her to one of the emergency vets. I had no idea who was an emergency vet, the last time I had call to use one was when my cat Martha had to be put down in 1992, and they were all the way over in Bay Ridge.
Now Mopsey weighs in around 85 pounds and I used to be able to lift and carry her, but I cannot anymore. I called John and Connie and they came right over.
Connie had had good experience with the VERG emergency vets, so we called them and went there. Their diagnosis was that Mopsey had osteosarcoma, and that it was only a matter of days until the disease went to her lungs and she succumbed. I was a little numb, and they had put Mop into a splint and gave me prescriptions for pain relief and an anti-inflammatory drug. I will never forget how Mopsey was when they finally wheeled her out, about three hours after we got there. She was sitting on top of a gurney and she whined so with joy when she saw us with Rufus. (I do not think I have ever heard her whine like that.) She nearly jumped off the gurney in her haste to get into the car.
Well, we all got home and I gave Mopsey the recommended medicine. She ultimately hacked up the Tramadol (pain reliever), and did so each time I tried to give it to her. After the weekend I took her to the regular vet, and he also said it was osteosarcoma, but he thought we should have a consult with his oncologist who was certified and was in Brooklyn Heights.
I honestly think it was the idea of finding a place to park in Brooklyn Heights that caused me to say, "I think I will take her to the Animal Medical Center." The vet said, "No. Please do not take her to the Animal Medical Center." It would not be until we went to the AMC that I realized why he had said that. I did call the Animal Medical Center (AMC), the next day. I explained to the woman who answered what had happened and she told me that I needed to see Dr. Rob Hart, and we had an appointment the next day.
I took her and the CD of her radiographs in with us. Dr. Hart's card says that he is Director of the Center for Excellence in Orthopedics and Hip Replacement, you are not going to get any better than that. After about an hour, Rufus and I went in and Dr. Hart told me, "Your dog has me baffled." How so I asked. He told us, "I am certain she has osteosarcoma, but she is either the most stoic dog I have ever met, or she is not in pain, and osteosarcoma is a very painful disease. Also, with this kind of cancer her leg should not be healing, but her leg has already begun to mend the fracture." It was about then that someone came up with the name (coined the phrase), "The Miracle Kid" when talking about Mopsey. I asked Dr. Hart what treatment we should pursue, and it was clear that this was a rare event.
He had said that he could amputate her leg, and she might get six months more from that, but that amputation is to relieve the pain, and of course, she was not in pain. So ultimately he recommended we see Dr. Leilani Alvarez of the physical Rehabilitation and Alternative Therapy Center. I was unaware then that Dr. Hart had called Dr. Alvarez in for a consult at that time. She told me later that she, Dr. Hart, and I think an oncologist had all palpated Mopsey's leg to try to get a pain reaction, and that she was truly not in pain.
Dr. Hart told me that she would be walking with her right foot turned out as the original vets did not set the leg properly. That was when I began kicking myself to not have gone directly to the AMC when the fracture had first occurred. I was beating myself up with that until just recently: I had told Dr. Alvarez about how I felt and she told me, "Let me play Devil's Advocate here. If you did come in here at about five or five-thirty on the eve of Thanksgiving, I am not sure that someone might not have suggested amputation or euthanasia." Well, Dr. Alvarez made sense and she is as good for me as she is for Mop.
Mopsey continues being treated by Dr. Alvarez, who is a certified veterinary acupuncturist among other certifications, and her treatment of Mopsey has been just unbelievable. It might normally be difficult to determine if acupuncture is effective in a dog, who cannot tell you if it is working. I purchased a 12 session course of treatment and after the first six we had a two week hiatus. It was crystal clear that Mopsey's energy had decreased in that two week period and that was proof enough for me. After the treatment continued Mop returned to being energetic and active with her friends (2 & 4 legged) in dog park.
I had asked Dr. Alvarez if we should get another set of X-rays, as it had been about a month since she was X-rayed, and Dr. Alvarez agreed and so she did. I was a bit apprehensive waiting with Rufus, trying to let my faith dispel the anxiety, but I guess I am not that good a Christian. Faith won the day, however, for when Dr. Alvarez came back her smile could have lit up the waiting room. It was the best news - her leg has continued to heal, the bone is thickening, her lungs are clear, and the cancer is encapsulated by bone that she grew. Dr. Alvarez said that in all her years of practice she has never seen this. She told me the radiologist, who has been in practice for over twenty years, had told her that he could not say he had never seen this, as he thought he might have once seen what he called Spontaneous Remission, but that this was indeed rare. My oldest friend Dan, who is a UPenn VMD told me it was nothing short of miraculous that Mopsey was healing with this disease.
Just recounting this information is tiring - this has been a very emotional time. It has been of considerable expense too; however, Mopsey timed this pretty well. I had just refinanced the mortgage and got a month with no payment and a significant tax refund would be on the way, still, it might have been nice to have been able to keep a little more than we have, but that is another story.
We have gotten about 55% reimbursed by the good folks at ASPCA pet insurance. I had mentioned that to the clerk when I was paying a bill, and some woman said, "Oh, my plan pays 80%." So, of course I had to see why she was getting so much more than me. My research proved that our plan also pays 80%, but that is 80% of their approved prices which are no doubt based on veterinary fees in Peoria, about 80 years ago. With NYC fees, it works out to about 55-60%, which, as they say, "Ain't hay."
I will put some photos here of her radiographs and so forth.
Well, not only had her leg not been set right, but the splint they put her in was giving her wounds on her leg and foot. Dr. Alvarez ultimately did a mold of Mopsey's leg and sent that off to OrthoPets in Colorado and they made a custom fitted orthotic for Mopsey. It was their first of this kind too, so the Miracle Kid keeps things new. That orthotic device is a wonder. It allows her leg to be braced and supported while still putting some weight on it which has helped the bone growing process. As Dr. Alvarez said, "We have managed to do everything right." This photo here is of Mopsey when we were back from the first emergency vets and she is wearing the splint that was not quite the right thing. The photo has links to the radiology.
In all truth, I do not doubt that this is one of those miracles that proves the Lord's love for us and for our critters. I am not going to get too much more into the faith aspects of this, but that I will address on the Faith Blog, which is linked above.
Just a brief update here. In the interim, from the above, I was hospitalized at MSKCC for nearly a month in mid-summer with pneumonia. (They actually took 6.5 liters out of my left lung, what a mess.)
During the near month that I was hospitalized, my dear neighbor Espo and Pastor Omar came by daily to care for and feed Mopsey and Rufus. (Pastor Omar did not tell me he was bringing them bacon cheeseburgers every day.) Pastor and Joe did not want me to get upset while hospitalized, so they did not tell me that Rufus, who is very emotional, had given himself a 6 inch hotspot on his right flank, and that Mopsey's tumor had started to enlarge.
Things started getting better when I got home, now, nearly five months later, Ruffie's coat is recovered, and Mop's labs are excellent. The tumor size increase has not reversed, and I modified her orthotic so she can still wear it to go to the park and she has been able to trot and run a bit in it. Mop will be 12 on 05 May, and she has not shown any signs that she will not get to that birthday and, I pray, more after.
She is a real soldier, just a total fighter who will not give in to this awful disease. (Mopsey is as gentle as Rufus, so my reference to a fighter is against cancer.)
There are days when she's not feeling so well and I begin to think about the inevitable as being closer, which is very upsetting. Then, the next day she is surprises me with her energy. The acupuncture treatments are so beneficial for her at these times when she has a drop in her apparent energy; we so are very thankful that we finally got to the Animal Medical Center, the place is wonderful, from the first person we see in the parking lot to all the staff.
Dr. Alvarez though radiation might benefit Mop so she has had radiation therapy with Dr. St. Vincent and Dr. Joe Jacovino, which certainly seemed to help limit Mopsey's pain. Most of the staff on the 8th floor has come to know Mop and Ruf, it makes me see that so much of the good medicine is in the good people at AMC, how true that is. Rufus's doctor, Dr. Jessica Wallach, has been such a great help in getting his coat and ear problems under control.
I am just a real fan of AMC, and so are Mopsey and Rufus. A great place.
It has been a significant time since I added to this blog.
Mopsey went on 28 January 2016. About ten days before, she went off her food, and became very sensitive and appeared to be in more pain than she had been. We kept her going until it was not a very humane thing.
Dr. Alvarez asked me, "If Mopsey could talk, what would she say?" I told her, and I believe I was quite right as Mop really could convey her thought, "She would tell us that she is tired of fighting."
.Pastor Omar met us at the Animal Medical Center, he read a Psalm, 105, and Mopsey went on to join her namesake, Elsa, Mandingo, Jenny, and all the rest. Rufus was there, and he watched from the corner. When it was done, he came to Mopsey, sniffed her, licked the tumor, and joined us at the door. He has not since "looked for her" as he might if he did not understand that she has gone on.
All told, a sad, sad day, but one that ended Mopsey's suffering and discomfort. Rufus has been doing well, but he does avoid dogs he does not know, and becomes very anxious when he is apart from me. I will write more at a later date.