Monday, February 25, 2013

A Good Day For The Tonka Dog

AP here:
Tonka had a really good Saturday. The cold snap finally broke a bit and he got to sleep outside for a few hours in the early morning.

Sleeping in

We made a play date at the park with his friends and he was so excited he got up and stood on his own to get ready to go.He has been standing on his own more often than not lately which is a very good sign.

Peek A Boo

We played a little game of peek a boo once he was in his wheels.
Hello Shania

When we got to the park his friends were all there.
Hello SweetPea

Shania and SweetPea

Walking with SweetPea and Ms. May

I am always hopeful that when he is sniffing he will get the urge to pee on his own.

Getting some Love from Donna



Nala and Friends

Happy Boy

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A lot of help!

AP here:
For a few weeks Tonka and I were on a roller coaster ride. I was scheduled for a couple of procedures that would leave me incapable of lifting him for 7-10 days. So while I fretted and stressed about what to do with him I then made matters worse by watching some youtube videos of my surgery. Sometimes knowledge is not such a good thing. Little did I know while I was totally freaking out the Tonka support team quietly assembled in the background and started planning out the week for us.

Diana and Chris presented me with a calendar for the week with days and times marked off as to when they would be at the house to take care of him. They are two very smart people - they knew if they asked if I needed help I would just say "no", so they didn't ask, they just stepped in and took care of him.
Caitlin came every day and twice on the day of the first procedure. Carol volunteered to come up every morning at 4:45 and get him up and moved since that is his normal routine. Robin and Donna would come by at 7:00 to get him in his wheels so he could eat and then go for a little walk. Carol would come back at 5 or 6 to get him in his wheels again so he could eat and walk if Caitlin or the others couldn't be there and CM had late night shift. Chris even worked it out so he could get to underwater treadmill at least one of the weeks. Tonka's Aunt Nancy and Aunt Denise were messaging me every day to check on us and Lisa and Laura were my (can't sleep) nightly support team on twitter.

A week before surgery Tonka started squinting his eyes and panting like crazy. He was in obvious distress and so I rushed him to GAVH for a late night emergency appointment. His Aunt Gina met us there for moral support knowing that I was already stretched a little thin. His temperature was elevated and so was his heart rate and he reacted painfully when Dr. Gerity moved his head up and down. Since he was painful they took a set of x-rays to see what was up. Naturally being Tonka his pictures came back beautiful and normal so a prescription for muscle relaxers and pain killers was prescribed. He was already on an anti-fungal for a skin problem so I was a little leery about giving him too much medicine since he never does well with medicine. Next he started having to urinate every 1/2 hour and his urine had hardly any color to it. He started consuming 3 quarts of water at a time and so I took him back to the vet and they ran a urinalysis, did an ultrasound and blood work
Shaved Ultrasound Belly
The urine showed nothing but the ultrasound revealed a small mass that should not be there. The mass most likely had nothing to do with his symptoms unless it is an adrenal gland tumor. His blood work came back with an elevated red blood cell count so an adrenal gland tumor although a stretch was a possibility. I took him back to get his blood pressure checked since that would also be one more thing to add to the theory. The techs came out to the truck to test it and that way he would not have to get up and into the wheels and possibly raise his BP. Once again Tonka in true Tonka fashion had a normal reading. A normal BP still did not rule out a tumor but I was not ready to go down the exploratory surgery road with him. Instead I started treating the pain as if his rib was possibly out by propping a folded towel under his ribs when he would lie down. Caitlin and I started icing more of the rib area and I worked on massaging the area at night. I took him off the anti-fungal medication and started limiting his water intake to see if he could concentrate his urine. Once I took him off the meds he started to improve and his urine started to darken up. It seems it was 2 issues that happened to coincide at the same time. His pain level went down with what we were doing with his rib and the excessive thirst and urination resolved once the medication was out of his system. The issue of the small mass is still to be resolved but right now he and I are both doing well and we are going to leave it at that for now. Knowing Tonka that small mass could be a third kidney he was trying to grow - he is after all my genetic mutant :-)

I cannot possibly ever thank everyone that helped out for the two weeks and I am sure I have left some people out of this post. Please know that Tonka and I love you all very much and are extremely grateful.

Monday, February 18, 2013

BDRA's Next Tshirt Model

BDRA's Next Tshirt Model - help me become the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance's next T-Shirt Model.
Click the link to donate and Vote.
Thank you,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Caitlin and Tonka

AP here:
It is 30 miles for me to get to work. To make that trip 4 times in one day is 120 miles which is wear and tear on the truck, way too much in gas and makes me tired. I have an incontinent 125lb dog that needs his bladder expressed every 5 hours and needs to be flipped to his opposite hip to allow blood flow and prevent sores. This means that I have to drive home from work mid day to take care of him. Now if you follow the blog you know there is nothing I would not do to keep my boy healthy and happy including making that drive. The only problem with that other than the reasons stated early was that sometime I get stuck at work or in traffic and cannot get back in time. Between 5 and 6 hours Tonka starts to get restless, he knows he has to go and he will try to get up and get to the door. I love the fact that he still knows he has to go and that he still tries to make it out. The issue is that once he tries to get up into a stand his bladder leaks and he ends up wetting the bedding or the floor. Since he cannot maintain a stand for more than a minute he usually ends up falling back onto the pee spot.
This is not fair to him and its not healthy for his bladder to stay too full so I started looking for someone to help out.

Enter Caitlin who runs a local pet sitting business and is a certified veterinary technician for one of Tonka's doctors.
Caitlin has been pet sitting for the past 9 years and grew up on a farm showing dogs, cattle and sheep. She is also very familiar with exotic animals and wildlife having worked both in a pet store for 5 years and at a wildlife rehab in Colorado for 3 years. Her knowledge and experience combined with her love of animals makes her invaluable as part of Tonka's team of caretakers.

Tonka loves Caitlin to pieces and is always happy when she arrives. She does not just come in do the job and leave, she spends real quality time with him engaging him in play and giving him love and attention. I get feedback with every visit and she is quick to catch if something is not quite right with him. She is an amazing individual and we are so grateful to have her in our corner.