Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rolling right along (Tonka hanging at the park in his Eddies Wheels)

AP here:
It has been a long time since Tonka has been at the park with his friends so today I packed him up in the truck with his new Eddies Wheels and away we went. He had a good afternoon and ran into quite a few of his friends (both fur and 2 legged) including one of his kids that he used to walk with in the park on his way to school in the mornings.

Walking with Ms. May

Hanging with Keith

Follow Me Guys

Everyone Sniffing

I haven't "seen" you in sooo Long
He is still getting used to maneuvering in his new cart which has to be a little harder to learn for a blind dog. He also does not understand the concept that he is strong enough to "pull" over obstacles but we are working on that and learning some new commands along the way. All in all though he had a great time being out and about with his friends.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Breakfast with Gina

My friend Gina came by this morning to have breakfast with me. AP said she was stopping by for coffee but I know better - she was here to spoil me.

First she gave me lots of love and attention - plenty of kisses

Then she hand fed me my breakfast - which I think everyone should do - everyday!

Then she gave me whipped cream from her coffee - very yummy

I like it

I know AP  wont give me whipped cream so I hope Gina comes back again real soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tonka's New (Eddies) Wheels

AP here:
Today Tonak's new wheels came in a big box. I met the UPS man at the driveway - he is also a big fan of the Tonka so we had a short chat about what was in the box.
I cannot thank Leslie and Eddie of Eddies Wheels enough for all their help. 

So Exciting

Folded up




Custom made

Stylish-isn't it?


Perfect Fit (much thanks to Carol for the 900 times we measured and remeasured)

Happy Boy

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Parkinsons in Dogs?

AP here:
Tonka's neurologist discussed the big furball with a Doctor at the University of Missouri who knows all about movement disorders in dogs. Is seems that dogs can get just about all the same diseases that humans do and one of those is Parkinsons. Parkinsons is a degenerative disease of the nervous system which involves a specific area of the brain. This area is key in coordinating movement, especially movements we generally are not aware of -- such as balance, walking and the degree of flexibility needed in a limb. There is not much research online related to canine Parkinsons but the symptoms can be:
  • Tremors in muscles
  • Stiffness in muscles or stiffness in movement
  • Difficulty in balancing and in walking
  • Changes in mental alertness
  • Lethargy
Since Parkinsons is associated with decreased levels of dopamine we put Tonka on Ritalin (yes the same drug for ADHD in people). Ritalin works by stimulating the release of dopamine so if Tonka could improve on Ritalin it might mean a diagnosis of Parkinsons or something going on in the Basal Ganglia of his brain.

The problem with Ritalin is the wide range of possible side effects including increased tremors, panting and elevated heart rate. Since he already has a heart issue I started monitoring his heart rate and talked to Cardiology about an EKG if he was going to be on it very long. Tonka of course (nothing ever easy with him) displayed a fair number of the side effects associated with the drug. He became very restless, panting heavily and whining all night. For the last 3 days he was on it we got very little sleep. He would lay down for an hour and then pop right back up. Mistaking some of the signs for pain I took him in to see a doctor (much thanks to his therapist Diana and all his girlfriends for the support on this nerve wracking day). The exam showed nothing that would be causing him pain. After a long conversation about the Ritalin and the lack of progress that he had made in the 8 days he was on it I made the decision to stop the drug.

We have been fighting whatever this is for a full year as of next week. We have had ups and many downs and though it all there was always hope. There are times that I talk to his doctors and they seem to suck all the hope right out of the room. I realize that they deal in a clinical environment and I have much respect for all of them and their knowledge and experience. That being said I also know me and I know my dog and that we need to stay in a place that fosters hope. I am not saying we live in denial just that-
 #1   I stop trying to control the problem and have a definitive name for the problem
#2    We stop listening to the doom and gloom and be happy

#2 is only going to be attainable if I stop being the type A that I am and just accept that there is no name, no point A-B that I can map out and plan for. Tonka is happy as long as those around him are happy and he can be mobile and get out in the world. His new wheels from Eddies Wheels should be here any day and hopefully we can get rolling again.

UR-INE and UR OUT - it is all about the bladder

AP here:
So many things to worry about with a mobility disabled dog.

With Tonka the biggest thing is his bladder. I have to make sure it gets fully empty  and since he is not walking and doing that on his own I have had to learn the technique of expressing it. If I don't keep him empty he runs the risk of a Urinary tract infection or a kidney or liver problem. Tonka's size makes this task a wee bit more difficult than a smaller dog since not only am I having to locate and squeeze his bladder I am also having to support his weight and hold him upright.

Once again one of Tonka's amazing circle of medical staff stepped in and taught me the correct way to help him. Carmel Berger is a staff member at GAVH and is one of the most patient and kind people I know. My last Pyr hated going to the vet and Carmel would always make it a point to come and sit with her and try to make it less scary. She also has experience with disabled dogs and their special needs. So when I called GAVH in a panic last week that Tonka was not urinating she quickly offered to have me bring him by and she would teach me.

I'm still not a pro at it and he and I have our missteps but we are getting better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Canine Rehab

AP here:
It has been 3 weeks since Tonka walked on his own. He can stand for a short time but I have to hold him up to eat his breakfast and dinner. He has a new Eddies Wheels cart coming that should support him differently and not bother the nerves of his legs. Hopefully he will be back to rolling around and hanging with his peeps and being Mr. Happy Go Lucky.

Since he is not walking we have started underwater treadmill therapy again in order to keep muscle mass and the legs moving. Chris and Diana have started some new therapy modalities as well.

Today he got to stand over a fitness ball. I'm sure it felt good to be standing up without me pulling on him.

I absolutely cannot say enough good things about Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists. Diana and Chris are amazing individuals that are not only extremely knowledgeable but very committed to helping your pet regain their quality of life. I can never thank them enough for the quality of care they have provided to Tonka.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hanging with the Newfs

Today AP took me to the big park with the dog beach, but we didn't go down to the water. We went to meet Ollie the Newfie (he has really cool hair). The Newfs were all having a picnic and doing Newfie things and I got to meet some kids (favoriritists things in the whole world), some peeps, some Newfs and a sweet Pyr named Daisy.
Ollie and Daisy are both rescues like me and one of  Daisy's peoples is a real nice guy named Josh who knew who I was from my blog. Ollie also has some awesome peeps and Gina and Hannah gave me lots of love. 
Daisy and I sort of stood out a bit but we tried our best to pretend to be Newfs for a day. It was really nice of them to let us hang out.

Getting some luv from Hannah


Sweet Talking Daisy

Pretending to be Newfs for a Day

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


AP here:
Really? Seriously? If it wsnt bad enough I foolishly put Tonka in his cart thinking that since his old bad leg was now good he would be able to get around and have more mobility. Well 2 days in the cart and now he can't walk at all. The boy now drags both feet and cannot hold himself up long enough to even eat his dinner.

He was happy in the cart though - he got to see his peeps and his kids and that was very exciting for him.

The support rings must have bothered the nerves and now he can only get around on my feet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


AP here:
Whatever this is that has Tonka in its grip makes our days less happy go lucky.
It is not the things that go into keeping a partially disabled dog comfortable, clean and healthy that make it so hard.
It is not the logistics of moving a 138lbs of boy on days when he can't walk. Nor is it the keeping of spreadsheets to track medication or potty schedules, or to track what side he was laying on last, (have to rotate to keep him pressure sore free). It's not cleaning up all the little accidents and occasionally me when he pees on my foot or my hand. It's not the lack of sleep or the aches and pains from having to lift him or push him up hills in his trailer. It's not any of those things..

IT IS- the total frustration with his symptoms waxing and waning constantly and watching his frustration at not being able to make his foot do what it should.

September 10, 2012
Here is the morning

 Here is the evening

This is September 7th in the afternoon

It is like being blindfolded on a roller coaster. We are up and then down, up and then down and we can't see it coming.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lost dog (really bad weekend)

I've lost my dog.
I cant seem to find that little puppy that so impressed me with his feisty attitude and his happy - go get the world  personality. The boy I watched in wonder as he worked at things over and over until he figured them out. The dog that never let his lack of sight stop him from playing just like all his doggie friends. The constant companion that I had on our daily walks. grabbing up sticks to take home as if he could see them. The thief who was forever stealing from the recycle bin. The jester that would sneak attack and nip you in the butt. The crazy man who pranced across the fields and ran with his blippity blop gait and permanent smile. The dog that thought the whole world was one big happy place with people and animal friends to meet. The blind boy that played duck, duck goose and find me, always amazing me that he was so quick to run me down or find me, no matter how still and quiet I kept. The goofy boy that ran with such abandon at the beach, digging holes and splashing in the surf and making me laugh so hard. He always made me laugh, everyday, everyday was a day full of laughter. The dog that I introduced to everything and everyone. He trusted me so completely that even if something made him nervous I just had to say"Come on, it's OK, I wont ever let anything hurt you". What a stupid foolish promise that was, but he trusted me so he believed it. The boy that even after eye surgery and heart surgery still wanted to go for his walks to see his peeps.

This past weekend that that boy seems to be slipping away.The boy that is here right now is not my "fight till you get through it" boy. This dog is giving up. He does not care for walks, he doesn't even care if his friends human or dog come by. He no longer barks for someone to come and sit with him and will not even attempt to get up unless it is for food. I don't believe he is in any pain, none of the experts seem to think so either but he has been frustrated by not being able to get his leg to work correctly. I guess if I look back over the past month or so his behavior has changed. This dog has not been excited to "see" people unless they had treats. When we have been at the park in his cart he has not been in a hurry to get out and go exploring. It has been rare to see him happy and wagging his tail and wearing his goofy grin. He just seems resigned to just laying in one spot forever. I promised him nothing would hurt him and here I am helpless to stop whatever this is from attacking him.
I still love this Tonka with all that is left of my broken heart but I do miss the Tonka that I have lost.
I would do anything to change this.
I would give anything to find my dog.