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We made it through Friday, although it was very difficult with many tears from all of us. The doctor could not have been more wonderful with his bedside manner through it all. Foxxi was in a good mood until the end, especially because we treated her with all her favorite things. Moon made popcorn for her. We took her outside and set her in the grass. She was even pleasant while Moon and I took turns taking photos holding her.

Letting go is so difficult. Saturday morning was strangely quiet without Foxxi there. Pete felt it the most, because he is the first one out of bed and had many morning routines with her. We had an appointment to meet a shelter dog in Illinois — I had seen him on Petfinder a few months ago and (uncharacteristically) emailed to find out the rest of the story. He was scheduled for surgery, and I wanted to make sure he was okay. It turned out that the vet had wanted to keep him as the clinic dog, and the foster family had become attached and was planning to keep him permanently. With so many potential families for him, I felt better knowing that he’d get the love he’d missed out on when he was neglected. (So neglected that an ear infection was left untreated and resulted in his entire ear canal being removed — that was the surgery he had needed.)

Well… as we were going through our excruciating last days with Foxxi, I received an email saying that the foster family had decided Happy (his new name, as the original owner had never bothered to give him one) would be better off in a less chaotic household. Which meant he could be ours.

So yesterday morning, I was really unsure if we’d be able to do it. I told everyone that we could meet him, and make a decision in the new few weeks if we weren’t ready so soon. Famous last words…

On the way....As we left, we saw this photo.

HappyAnd when we met, his friendly face won us over right away. He’s still recovering, and needs TLC. But he’s spunky and cheerful and just what we needed. This morning, when Pete was doing yoga, Happy thought he was playing and licked his face during downward dog. He loves car rides, lap sitting, and pretty much everything else.

We’ve named him Ludwig von Happy. And we’re calling him Ludwig, Happy, Happykins, Sweetie, and whatever other terms of endearment come to mind. I have a feeling Foxxi would be totally okay with this. She trained us to be dog people, after all. (Full photo set is here.)


I’m coming out of the woodwork a bit. Actually, I’m kind of going through my old posts, making some of them private, doing a few minor edits and so forth. After being careful not to use real names on this site, I’m toying with the idea of connecting it with my other online personas (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The kids are older now, and things have changed since I started this up in 2003. (The first available posts are 2004, though… I lost a bunch of stuff transitioning servers or something at some point.)

I am leaving some of the dumb stuff, but deleting other stuff that is excruciating boring or generates a WTF? reaction. Not that I think anyone will read my ancient history, but one must be careful.

Anyway, time for a quick update. This one is about death. Today, we lost two very public figures: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. One was expected, one was sudden and shocking.

Tomorrow our family is going to experience a much more personal loss.

Our corgi, Foxxi, has been steadily declining for the past few years. The decline has become much more rapid in the past 10 months. This spring, genetic testing showed that she has Degenerative Myelopathy, a condition that affects German shepherds, corgis and boxers more commonly than other breeds. Her symptoms have been textbook. We noticed a weak back paw, which eventually turned into two weak back paws, and weakness spreading up her torso and into her front limbs.

FoxxiThis past month has been bad. She can no longer reach her food and water without help. She can’t move herself, and whines when we walk from room to room… she can’t follow. She wets herself and can’t move away from the puddle. She poos in the house, or even as we are carrying her. She still tries to do her business outside, but can’t always let us know she needs to go. She hasn’t had a walk in a year. She can’t drag herself anymore.

Yet she still smiles, and she still has an appetite. Which means she still is getting some joy from her life.

That has made this decision very difficult. Tomorrow we are letting her go. We are giving her extra treats and trying to make her last week as pleasant as possible. (It’s tough because she doesn’t enjoy petting and tends to bite because she’s paranoid about being touched. She tolerates being picked up and moved, thank goodness.)

When we came home from work today, Foxxi was on a towel, in a puddle. I picked her up, cleaned the mess and took her outside. Pete helped me wipe her down with cat shampoo. As he was doing that, I told her, “One more day, baby.” She turned her face towards mine and gave me a lick on the cheek — something she never does anymore.

I’m choosing to take it as a sign of her acceptance. I think she’s tired of her immobility and lack of power, and ready to move on. I hope we can all take comfort in that tomorrow.

Foxxi is our first family dog, and gave us a lot of joy over the years. She has been feisty and difficult at times, but we’ve loved her well. And I think she has loved us back.

bad bite

The past few days have opened my eyes to the important place our family animals have in our lives. I thought I knew that already, but apparently I hadn’t ever clearly imagined what a Foxxi-less home would be like. So now I have. Thanks, anxieties!

Anyway. I noticed a long time ago that one of Foxxi’s fangs was chipped, but the vet couldn’t get near her mouth during the annual exam. It had been a while (like, 3 years) since her last cleaning, so we decided to bite the bullet and have it done Thursday. Estimate: $600-800 if nothing major was found.

Actual final cost: just over $1,900. Which covered removal of three badly infected teeth, bone grafts to save the adjacent teeth, sealing of six chipped teeth, antibiotic injection, three different prescriptions to bring home, and all the related surgery costs. The vet said she’d have thought Foxxi chewed rocks if she didn’t know better. (Our dog is not a big chewer, never has been.)

That wasn’t the scary part, though. I laid Foxxi in her bed when we came home, and she literally didn’t move for the next 6 hours. No barking, no interest in food or water. When she finally attempted to get up, her back legs didn’t work. Her front half kept flopping to the floor. I heard her whining at 4 a.m., and jumped out of bed to see what was wrong. Her back legs were jutting in opposite directions, so I gently tried to straighten them out. I was rewarded with a snarl and snap towards my wrist.

I spent the night thinking about paralysis, old age, and all that implies. In other words, I was kind of a wreck.

After I got to work, I called the vet, who told me that the difficulties might be a result of going under. Foxxi already had weakness in her back legs before the surgery. That made me feel quite a bit better, but not as good as it felt when Foxxi finally pushed herself to a wobbly stand and barked for her lunch.

She’s even better this morning. I’m very, very relieved. Even with all the nipping, barking and occasional obnoxious behavior, it’s good to have her back to her usual self.

i think she’s almost forgiven me

Remember the third-time’s-a-charm vet visit on April 11? Well, Foxxi held quite the grudge against me for an entire two weeks. I had to be careful not to make any sudden movements near her, lest my arm be covered in tooth marks.

Also, she yelped at such innocuous things as a dishrag falling to the floor (several feet away from her) and a dryer ball being tossed gently across the room. Yelped and ran for cover.

So guess what? She’s due for another shot, in less than a month. I was under the impression that we’d covered everything during the morphine visit.

After the checkupYeah, this was Foxxi after I carried her to the car, drove her home and placed her on the floor. Where she stayed in the same position for about six hours. We are all very eager to replicate that experience, especially since she’s just now trusting me again. (No bites all week! Knock on wood.)

Even better… she needs her teeth cleaned. She goes under for that, so it should be done within 45 days if we want to avoid having more bloodwork done. Maybe they can do the shot at the same time.

And we can start taking up a collection for all the expenses that are surely coming our way. At least she’s very, very cute.

in the form of a question

The four of us scored VIP tickets to the taping of the Jeopardy! College Championship semifinals, so this afternoon we clapped and cheered through three back-to-back shows. I learned that there really are APPLAUSE signs that flash on and off so we know when to pump up the enthusiasm. And Alex Trebek is a very funny guy. We were in the third row, right behind the contestants who had already finished competing. I’m pretty sure we won’t be on camera or anything. The UW Band got lots of well-deserved screen time, as did the audience members who had brought signs to wave around.

It was almost like a sporting event, actually.

Yesterday I took Foxxi to the vet for her yearly exam. Third time’s the charm — the doctor was finally able to give her a real exam and get a blood test from her. Of course, they had to give her morphine to accomplish this without being bitten. (Which is why the first two visits failed miserably. Foxxi turned into Cujo when anyone tried to handle her, and it was impossible to put a muzzle on her. I even tried using the cat gloves to do it, but no go.)

I picked her up at noon, and she was pretty out of it the rest of the day. I was glad that I had let Peter stay home from school. (He had missed Monday and Tuesday, but had gone back Wednesday and Thursday.) Moon went back to school Friday because the antibiotics for her ear infection had kicked in. After lunch, I called Peter’s doctor because he’d had an especially nasty coughing attack when I was home. And I brought him in a few hours later.

He’s on antibiotics now, too. Because he has a bit of pneumonia in one lung. Neato.

This is so weird for me, because I could count on the fingers of one hand how many times my kids have needed antibiotics. Both kids. We’ve gone years without needing to see a doctor for anything but regular checkups. What’s with this winter?

Nonetheless, Foxxi was the most expensive by far. She’s also mad at me. She wouldn’t look at me yesterday, and nipped me if I reached over to pet her. I tried to tell her that hey, none of this would have been necessary if she would have been a LITTLE cooperative, but she’s not listening.

Category: Moods
Answer: The vet wrote this next to “disposition,” but it could have described the human as well as the dog.
Question: What is “Grumpy”?

foxxi’s oops

Sore paw

Just over a week ago, I decided it was time to carve out an office space for myself. It’ll be some time before we can add on a sunroom, and I’d been a kitchen table nomad for too long.

So that day, I bought a desk and office chair, cleaned out a corner of the basement, and put everything together (with help from Pete, of course). When I make a decision, I don’t waste time.

Anyway, Foxxi decided to check out what we were up to. She bounded down the stairs as usual, curled up under my new desk, and … started bleeding. Freaky! I called our neighbor (a vet), who turned out to be at the emergency clinic where she works. She said to bring Foxxi in, so we did. All four of us. I held the dog and tried not to get blood everywhere.

Two hours later, we went home with our bandaged up pup. She had snagged a claw on the stairs’ carpet, and pulled it most of the way out. Our vet neighbor gave her a painkiller and removed the claw. (It’ll grow back.) Foxxi got her share of spoiling afterwards. She also was a bit reluctant to go back to the scene of the accident.


The doggie is fine. We refrained from feeding her until evening, and then gave her about half her usual meal. No treats today, just kibble. This morning she was barking and eager to go on her walkies, so we cancelled the vet appointment.

I don’t think I mentioned that I broke our front window blinds yesterday, right before I drove Peter to school as a result of him missing the bus. Nothing like a day off work for cleaning messes, breaking things and driving kids around. Today I helped Pete install Roman shades, one for each of the three window panels. The 93″-wide blinds had been my idea, and I’m finally willing to admit it wasn’t my best thinking.

ralph times seven

Carrot chunks on the stairs. More nasty evidence on our bedroom carpet. Hacking sounds coming from near the front door, followed by slurping. Three clean-up jobs before the day even began. Another hack, and a foul puddle on the rug.

Then, after returning from my morning drive to the high school, a pea-soupish puddle in the kitchen and another behind the door to the garage. And yet another at the bottom of the stairs.

In one puddle, a two-inch square of rawhide, which may or may not have triggered this yakfest.

Tomorrow, a trip to the vet.