Sunday, April 29, 2012

Walk (or be Pushed in a Giant Stroller) for the Animals

Today was the Annual SPCA Walk for the Animals at Quiet Waters Park. AP thought that would be a good place to ease back into getting me out and about to events. She told me a lot of my Doctors would be there so if anything went wrong we were sure to have help quickly. Carol and Nala went with us and helped AP with my Tonka Trailer. it has to be broken down into different parts and then put on the back of the truck on a bike rack and then when we get to where we are going it has to be put back together. AP says its really quick and simple but its nice to have help.We all went last year and had a great time.
We went early and got a good parking space so I only had to walk up one hill. I made it up the hill and all around the booths and vendors without falling at all. Good thing I had an extra therapy session on Friday. When we first walked in I ran into my friend from last year and he is really big - even bigger than me

My Buddy


Then I ran into 2 Corgis that live around my neighborhood and 1 of them sees my therapist Chris. AP chatted with their mom for awhile and then we walked around to the GAVH booth. I got lots of treats from all the ladies there just like I do when I go for my B12 shots and Ms. Denise at the front desk feeds them to me. I met so many people and puppies and we ran into a really nice lady, Ann who reads my blog. She knows my good friends Patty and Buttercup.

Hey I know you Guys
I do Love Attention

Why yes - I Do Love You

That is the spot!

Then it was time for the walk and AP and Carol put me in my trailer. I don't mind getting in but finding the right way to sit always takes some time. Once I was in we went out on the trail and walked/got pushed around the mile loop. The park is really hilly and Carol had to help AP get me up some of the hills and we even had Nala pull me a little.

Cruising in the Tonka Mobile

At the finish we went around the booths one more time to say goodbye to everyone and I got out and walked again. I had to wear my boot since my foot was dragging a little. I met a dog on the way out that was part Pyr and part Newf. I forgot to tell AP to take a picture for our friend Donna at Golden Retreat for K9s she helps rescue both breeds.

Goodbye Everyone

Heading to the Truck

We headed out to the truck and a really nice man stopped us and gave me lots of pats and ear rubs. His dog has a pinched nerve and goes to my therapists Chris and Diana and he had seen me before at CVSS.

Just 5 more minutes

Once I was in the truck I curled up with Nala and took a little nap and when we got home I did not want to get out. It was a very big day for me and I was tired

AP finally made me get up and go in the house and I went right back to sleep with my ice packs on and dreamed about all the people and puppies I met.


Friday, April 27, 2012

A Tigers Tale

AP here:
We make decisions everyday, some are small and require no thought and others are large and life changing. This is the tale of Tiger where a bunch of small decisions worked together to return him safely home.

Tonka has therapy every Tuesday but on some weeks he also goes on Fridays.and today was one of those Fridays. On Therapy days we walk earlier than normal in the morning and this Friday Tonka was insistent that we also walk a different route. So we were out earlier and at a different spot than usual when we met a man looking for his dog Tiger. Tiger had gone missing the night before and they were very worried since at 18 years old his vision and hearing were not so good. We told him we would keep and eye out and I would spread the word. As we walked on I sent a text to some other morning dog walkers and posted to my friends in the neighborhood on FB.
Tonka and I were running late as we headed out of the neighborhood when I saw a friend and made the decision (even though we were late) to pull over and ask her to spread the word about Tiger. I asked her to  please tell my friend Bob since he is home most of the day and usually is out with his dogs. She said she would and off to therapy we went.
When we returned from therapy I drove into the neighborhood and noticed someone had put up signs about Tiger. Bob saw my truck as we passed and made the decision to drive up to my house and ask about the missing dog. He pulled in as I was getting out and we chatted about what I knew about Tiger. Then running even later now I secured Tonka in the house and headed out to work..
I was at the stop sign getting ready to turn on to the main road leading out when I saw my friend Shirleeta who lives one neighborhood over. She was coming across the street with Tonka's little friend Bailey. Now normally I would have just waved and drove on but I made the decision to stop (I was already late). She saw me and came across the street holding a picture of a small dog. She was going to post it at the stop sign. She wanted to know if I recognized the dog and knew the owner. I told her I didn't but that a small dog was missing on my side of the main street. She then told me"well he doesn't see or hear so well" so I figured it had to be Tiger. We put Bailey dog in the back and I turned the truck around and we drove back to one of the signs to get a phone number.
She then told me her neighbor had Tiger at his house and that Tiger had walked out in front of his car the night before. Apparently it took some coaxing and the help of a county police officer to capture Tiger and the decision was made to keep him in a crate at his house for the night. The next morning his wife made the decision to go knocking on all the neighbors doors to see if anyone knew where he belonged and that's how Shirleeta got involved.
We called the number on the missing sign and talked to a much relived owner and then we all met at the "Hero of the day" neighbors house. Tiger was very happy to be back with mom and dad and we all agreed that it was just right decisions, right time, right place that had worked together to keep Tiger safe for the night. As I drove away I said to myself that I thought perhaps a bit of "Tonka Magic" was also involved to start the chain of events off by having me run into Tigers dad that morning..
I have no doubt that Tiger would have made it home without our intervention. I know Shirleeta would have put up the pictures and his owners would have seen it but I am glad it worked out to get him home sooner than later.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Pressure is Off

I got to go to "see" Dr.Weigt today and have my eyeball pressure read. AP has been real good about giving me my drops twice a day to help my eye feel and look better. There were some really nice people in the waiting room that gave me lots of attention. One really nice lady had a dog with a prosthetic eye like mine, she and AP got to chat about that.
Once in the room they put in the drop that makes the eye a little numb and then tapped the surface of my eye with a Tonometer pen until it beeped.The pen measures the pressure of the eye and too much pressure is bad and that is why I had to have surgery on my other eye when I was younger. The pressure was really high and was causing my eye to swell and I had really bad headaches.My reading today was 14 which is down from in the 20's so that is a really good thing. AP and Dr. Weight are very happy that the eye is responding to the medications and so am I.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Therapy Rocks

AP here:
It has was a horrible weekend and a terrible start to the week. Tonka has been falling, crossing his back feet and just dragging his foot. We had therapy yesterday and this morning was still not great but this afternoon is a totally different Tonka.
Watch this video from the weekend.

Then watch this one from tonight.

Once again  Chris Fritsch and Diana Huey at CVSS have worked their magic.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Of Feet and Friends

My right leg is making my foot drag and scuff which is no fun. I went to the Beach for the weekend but couldn't go anywhere because I am not walking very well.
My friend Tootsie came to see and that cheered me up a little.


AP sat outside with me on on the deck and told me about the different cloud shapes in the sky.

When we got home Nala came over but I didn't feel like playing so we just hung out.
Sock Boot

I can't even lift my foot enough for my boot so AP had me where her sock boot invention. You still have to use a piece of Duct tape to keep it from coming off.

Not a good weekend but I do have great friends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Free Rides for Everyone

All my friends want to try out my new ride.

Muffin and Pearl Checking it out

Shania Sitting in the Drivers Seat
 The coolest thing about my ride is I get to go to the park and hang out with my friends both two legged and four legged.


Water Break

Robin, A.J. and Mr. Happy

Nap Time with A.J.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Really? Seriously?

AP here:
I noticed a few days ago that Tonka's remaining real eye was looking very red and with everything else going on I put it down to allergies. I should have known that was way too simple an explanation. I caught it just right this morning in the full sunlight and he has a small sliver of blood on the bottom edge of his cornea. If you follow this blog you will remember that we have "been here and done it". Tonka was known as "bloody eye guy" for a short spell and then since that interfered with the drainage of that eye he became "giant eye guy" as the eye began to swell in response to the interocular pressure.
End result of all of that was the removal of the contents of the eye and the insertion of a prosthesis.
I am wondering at what point we both finally break!!


Took Tonka to see the amazing Dr. Weigt this evening and she really is such a great person as well as an Ophthalmologist. Her and her staff are always so good with the Tonka Man. His pressure in the eye is up to 23 and he does have that little sliver of blood hanging out in the eye but it is only the equivalent of a few drops. Pressure needs to come down because that is what will dictate whether surgery is ever necessary. Normal range is 10-20 so it's not that high yet. If the pressure gets real high it is very uncomfortable (pain) like a migraine so we have upped his eye drops and we will re-check in 10 days. She is hopeful that the inflammation and Glaucoma will get back under control.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tonka's Trailer

AP here:
After a few conversations with Sue at Cycletote I ordered the large trailer with the stroller conversion. It has been modified slightly and the covered wagon part can come off easily so he can get in without worrying about height clearance. It came in a very large box and surprisingly took no time at all to put together.

With Cover


I put a few beef liver treats inside (with the canopy top off) and had Tonka reach in to get them. He is such a sucker for anything liver. We had his friends Nala and Duke come over and they took turns getting in and out of it.

I stuck two foam yoga blocks in front of each wheel to keep them from rolling away as I prepared to get him in it. I walked him under the handlebars and up as close as possible to the trailer. I asked him to "Step Big" but he refused so I lifted up his front feet and put them in.  He was unsteady and unsure at first but finally moved forward and I lifted his back legs and put them in. Carol helped to keep the carts front end down by holding it down with her foot. Once he was in I gave him a treat and told him he did a "great job". Then I had him sit for a treat and finished by having him lie down. I kept telling him to stay as we made a small trip up a hill in the backyard and around to the front gate.

To the Gate

Nala offering her support

 Once at the gate I had him stand up and lifted the front paws out and then the back legs. It is tricky and it wobbles under his weight upon standing but he is getting used to it. We then all went for a walk and pushed the trailer with us just so it became a familiar item to everyone in our little pack.

Stopping at the gate

The next day we went for a walk to the park with Nala and Duke. We walked part of the way there and then loaded him up in the cart for the rest of the journey.
He seemed to like it:

Once at the park I helped him out and he got to walk around with his friends for a while. The hardest thing is getting him to sit and lie down which I think is because of the wobble. I have found that it is easier to load and unload if I push him into tall grass. Once he is down he is content to just put his head up and sniff the breezes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brief Medical Update

AP here:
For the past two weeks Tonka has been on a bit of a slide downward. he is still mobile but he is stiff in the back right leg which is his good (bad) leg and he has been falling quite a bit. It is almost as if the problem has shifted sides, not to the extent that we had in the beginning with the left but still presenting those same lame/weak symptoms. He does not pick that foot up high enough when clearing an object, it seems weak and has no traction and he collapses on that side when he does fall. He is hesitant to use the ramp and has been doing a little back and forth weight shuffle with the back feet while standing. He is not sleeping through the night and consistently and seems to have trouble getting comfortable especially lying on his side.
His amazing therapists of course are diligent about listening to my observations and checking him out thoroughly and are always brainstorming about what they can do to help him. I am always a little more positive when leaving therapy knowing that he is in such good hands. The people at CVSS are all so professional and caring as well as the other staffs from other practices within the building. I know that he is truly looked after anytime he is there.
A consult with an Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Roa and Neurology , Dr. McDonnell let us know that his therapists Chris and Diana are right on track with what they are doing for him and took their suggestion of adding a medicine called Gabepentin.
The Gabepentin should help if he is having what they call neuropathic or neurogenic pain which involves the reaction of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) to injury. With neuropathic pain, the reaction in the nervous system to the pain actually makes the pain feeling worse and is commonly described as "burning", "electric", "tingling", and "shooting" in nature. This pain is usually worse at night and might explain why he gets me up so many times at night. I know it is not because he needs to go to the bathroom since he has no interest in going out if I open the door. He wants me to snuggle up with him and then he goes right back to sleep. He really is just a big baby.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Sock Boot Factory

AP is trying to invent something for my back paws so they don't get so scuffed up. I have my Skyliner boots but sometimes when my nervous system is acting up they are too heavy. She says she is making me sock boot and keeps singing this silly song about working at the sock boot factory. I do worry sometimes that this is the person responsible for my care!

AP here: Yes I am inventing the sock boot for Tonka because the problem with just socks for big dogs is that the toenails rub right through the toe very quickly. Socks also don't have any water proof capability and get wet on dewy mornings and rainy days.
I have now tried several options. In order to make the sock boot I started with dog socks and then tried to figure out what I could coat them with to keep them pliable but tough and waterproof on the bottom. The only two things I could think of were Shoe Goo and Plastidip.
I took playdoh since it is non toxic and made a mold of Tonka's foot while standing.

Play-Doh imprint
I let that harden and then found a product (toe cover) that was the same width and length of the mold of his paw. I stiffened that with a piece of moleskin cut to fit inside of it and that became my last to insert in to the sock to hold the correct shape.

Toe Topper
To give it some height in the toe area I molded a toe insert from tin foil.
I started with Shoe Goo and coated the underside of a sock and came up and over the toe and the sides a little.The problem with the Shoe Goo was it dried to hard and stiff and it was not comfortable on his foot.
The next try was with Plastidip and we had some success.

I dipped the bottom into a plate with plastidip and then used a plastic knife to spread over the toe and sides. The first one I only did the bottom and it tended to twist on his foot as he walked.

cover the bottom

Hang to dry

It works pretty well and is real pliable although the rubber wears through after a few walks and has to be redone.I might try to add some grit on the last layer to see if that gives it more traction and a longer life but for now I am just -

♫ Working at the Sock Boot Factory ♫

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Comfort Wagon

AP here:
I ordered a trailer/stroller called the comfort wagon. It was the largest bike trailer that I could find that is meant for a dog and can be converted to a stroller.

Comfort Wagon

The premise was to have him get in and I could push him to the park and then he could get out and play a bit. So basically a way for us to have long walks together again and for him to participate in the parades and adoption events that he loves to do.
Problem  - even those this is for a dog weighing up to 165lbs it is rather short in height. He took one step up and bonked his head on the cross bar that is the roof. I had my Friend Carol look at it and we talked about ways to modify it. The comfort wagon was very pricey and so I thought it best to see if I could find one a bit cheaper or perhaps used to slice and dice with modifications. I boxed it up and sent it right back. I did find one cheaper but started digging a little more and found two other possibilities. I found a place in Canada that had a landscape wagon that would have been perfect except the modification from bike trailer to push wagon was the tiny little wheels you see on baby strollers. That definitely would not last under Tonka's weight. I called to see if we could brainstorm on that and some other strollers they had for disabled children but didn't get very far.
Then I stumbled upon which makes aluminum bike trailers that can be converted to kid or dog strollers.I sent them an email about what I had in mind and had a very nice woman named Sue call me back that same day. She went out to Tonka's blog and saw how big he was and wanted to discuss how we could make something work for him.

 She also said they have had a Pyr in the large trailer and is sending me a picture. This just might be what we need.