Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Big Chase

I know that I've already put some pictures up today, but Brutus and I went outside to play this afternoon and I actually managed to snap some pictures of him in action. He's so camera shy that I just couldn't resist sharing.

We no sooner got around the back corner of the house and to the steps down to the lake when he smelled a chipmunk. They love to play under the deck and steps, and even though he's way too big, he's been known to crawl completely under the deck on his belly and come out the other side just to get one. I'm sure they probably run at a much slower pace to laugh at him as he's crawling on his belly in a space that's only big enough for a big cat.

He zipped around for quite a while going up and down the steps. Watching him made me tired. I'm not sure if the steps are so tiring because there are quite a few of them, or because the previous owner who built them made them so crooked, but they're a bugger! They're also narrow, so you need to hold on, especially after a few cocktails. We've gotten the giggles on those steps more than a few times, and sometimes it's best to just sit down!

Anyway, I finally just left him to play chase and went out on the dock. After about fifteen minutes he must have gotten hot, because he came running down the hill to go for a swim. He saw me pick up my camera, and I was sure that he was going to jump right over the bank and skip the dock all together so I couldn't take his picture, but I got him! He's fuzzy, but I got him.

He jumped right over this little Damselfly on his way by. She didn't even move. I wonder what it feels like to be almost invisible and have a 90 lb. dog jump over you.

Then it was time to cool off in his favorite spot...under the pontoon. I don't know why this is where he always goes, but he does. Probably to hide from my camera!

He cooled off for about five minutes, and then he was back up the hill to get the chipmunk. This time I went with him. I knew that he would end up in his pool, and I wanted to be sure to get a little skin soothing shampoo on his belly while he was in there. I've been walking him on a short walk in the morning, and the deer flies are eating his belly alive. Add to that the fact that the lake is extremely gross right now from the heat and the many inches of rain that we've had in the last three days, and I just wanted to make sure he got cleaned up.

So, we headed up the hill. Instantly his nose was tracking again. He just cracks me up.

He stepped right over this young lady on her way up to the road to lay her eggs. I think that she forgot to take a shower before she left home. ;)  She looked a little grumpy too.

Brute never did get the chipmunk, and since he's brought me my rodent quota for the month, I was completely good with that. He had a little swim in his pool, had a nice little bath (also in his pool) when he was done, and is now sound asleep at my feet.

It was a pretty awesome afternoon in Brutus land. I hope everyone out there had an awesome afternoon too.



We've been at the lake now for two weeks, and Brutus is so happy. This boy was born to live at a lake. Too bad he has to split his time between here and the city. He's so abused. ;-)

Last Sunday was a beautiful day for a boat ride, and it was my first pontoon ride of the season. Apparently Brutus had been out fishing with Don the weekend before that, and he remembered the routine as if winter had never happened. He did have one moment of panic. He had jumped in to the lake for a quick swim, and then jumped on to the boat with us. The problem was, Don's parents were on the boat with us too, and Brutus hadn't shaken the water off of himself. I knew him well enough to know that he would walk right over to them and shake away! Don coaxed him off of the boat and told him to "shake". He was so confused, and when he was standing on the dock the little door on the pontoon started to close. He panicked, thinking that we were going to leave without him, and he actually tried to jump through the little space at the top of the door. We got his head unstuck and let him on the boat, and of course, he walked right over to Don's parents and shook the water off of himself. Oh well. Thankfully it was a nice warm day.

For a while Brutus stood up and let the wind blow in his face, sending his ears flying in the wind like Dumbo's, but then he did something that I haven't seen him do before. He hung his nose over the edge of the front of the boat. It's a very good thing that he's a little too chubby to fit through the opening because his nose was wiggling and smelling the entire time, and we went pass plenty of critters, including a huge "only a mother could love that face" snapping turtle.

Can you just imagine what would have happened if Brutus would have gone after that guy? I don't think that Brutus would have won!

When we got back we sat around the camp fire for a while, and Brutus worked at thinning out the mouse population in the wood pile. He is possessed with the mice, chipmunks and moles at the lake, and the wood piles seem to be one of the best places to find them. The other place is any kind of tube, especially the downspouts. Our biggest challenge has been trying to train him to stay in our own yard so if he happens to get his nose stuck on the trail of a rodent and goes after it, the damage stays on our property. Brutus has done some damage to a couple of our neighbors property going after rodents, and we always feel so awful. Once he gets that smell in his nose, no amount of yelling or calling or bribing will get his mind off of it. It makes everyone crazy!

Anyway, he picked this particular log out of the wood pile and brought it over by us. He chewed on it, dropped it, sniffed it, scratched at it, spun around, dropped and repeated the whole process. He's done this before, and managed to come out with a critter. I can't imagine how scared whatever was inside the log was. Imagine being inside of a tube and watching these big teeth coming at you, knowing that you were going to be in that mouth. Ugh. Well, Don just couldn't stand it. He took a stick and poked it through the hole in the log and pushed out a mouse nest. There weren't any mice in it anymore, so I'm sure that Brutus was just smelling the remnants of what used to be there, but the look on his face was priceless. It was kind of like taking a piece of candy away from a child. Plus, if Brutus is entertained with something that actually isn't hurting anything, you leave him ALONE!!

Someday Don will learn. :) 

So, it was back to the swimming pool to hang out for a while. Ahhhh, a dog's life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beautiful Procrastination

There are so many things I should be doing today. Don's parents are coming to the lake tomorrow for their first visit in a very long time, and normally I have the house very clean, groceries bought and some food prepared. Today the house is a mess from the weekend, I haven't made it to the grocery store yet, and there is nothing cooking or baking! With that said, I know that they won't care. Usually they fuss that I have done too much, and they don't want to be a bother (which they never are).

For some reason, I feel like everything in my soul is just in slow motion lake mode today. The breezes are warm and humid, and it's the first day that Brutus and I have been alone at the lake this summer. Because of my bad back, I have hardly been at the lake at all, and it just feels good. It feels good to be in my nightgown at 2:00 in the afternoon, walking around, knowing that there is no one around to see me! Thank God!

I had also forgotten how happy Brutus is when he is here. He's gotten to be such a good boy, which makes being with him here so much more fun. No more chasing him down the road on the riding lawn mower in the rain. Oh man, what a day that was!

So today we played down by the lake for a while (he likes to stand on an old dead tree on the edge and look for critters). I laid on the dock and closed my eyes and pretended that I was still at the ocean. It's so windy today, and there are actual waves and white caps just from the wind, so it wasn't too hard to let my mind go. The only thing missing was the Seagulls. In their place was a pair of Cranes that have lived on our lake for the past couple years, and those buggers are LOUD!! So much for closing my eyes and daydreaming. Wow.

Last year Brutus's awesome purple pool finally wore out. He was definitely manly enough to handle his purple pool, but since Don was in charge of getting him a new pool, it is blue. He loves it just as much, but seemed a little embarrassed when I took his picture while he was soaking in it this morning. His routine is to always go in his pool after he has been in the lake. I have no idea why, but I am thrilled with his decision. He also goes in the pool if we call him to come in the house, and I'm not quite so thrilled with that decision. The goofball knows that it will keep him outside for a few minutes longer while he shakes off a little. Grrr!! He is much smarter than he appears to be.

We also had some fun playing ball. Mostly, Brutus had fun keeping his ball away from me. When I would finally get it, I would throw it to the end (well, as far to the end as I could throw) of the driveway, and Brutus would run after it and get it. He'd come running back toward me and go right past me . OK. That was fun. He's such a cool boy, and I'm so glad that we were able to be patient enough with him to get him to the point that he is at now, and that he has been able to get his drinking issue under control. ;)

He's hiding his ball from me.

Have a great week everyone. Brutus is looking forward to Grandpa and Grandma visiting, lots of extra head pats, belly rubs, and maybe a couple extra treats. :)


Thursday, June 7, 2012

We Were Just So Close

When my kids were little and they weren't feeling well, I tried to do whatever I could think of to make them feel better, especially if it meant a trip to the doctor. For Ashley, nothing was better than new jammies. We would get home, cozy in to some fresh sheets (usually in Mom and Dad's bed), get some great movies going and start the "getting better" process. For the boys, it usually involved food, even if they were feeling sick to their stomach. Nick loved McDonald's, and could say "fries" before he could say "Mom", well almost, and Andrew was all about Wendy's and Taco Bell. Once they had their favorite eats, they would also want to go home and cozy in to bed to watch their favorite movies. I hated having them be sick, but I have to admit that I somewhat enjoyed the fact that life slowed down during those times and it allowed me extra snuggle time with kids that were normally busy busy busy.

I have come to realize that with Brutus the pattern has continued, minus the whole movie watching part. Brutus isn't feeling good. He has a small mass on his groin, a little smaller than a walnut, that we have been watching for the last few months. It seems to have grown a little over the last two months, and when Don got home from the lake this past weekend, it seemed a little red and puffy. We decided it was time to get it looked at again. The veterinarian checked it at his physical in February, and we decided to just watch it until his tooth cleaning appointment in July.

Here is where it gets ridiculous sounding. You know how there are crazy politics about health care for humans? Well, I have health insurance for Brutus. Trust me, it saves me hundreds per year, and allows me to get him regular care to keep his health up to snuff. Anyway, if I decided to have the mass removed now, anesthesia and the procedure would cost around $1000.00. If I wait until July when his dental cleaning is due, it would only cost me $300.00, because the anesthesia is included under a "preventive" medicine procedure. I actually sat there speechless for a couple minutes. The majority of my life was spent processing medical insurance charges and payments, so I'm really familiar with how insurance works. I couldn't believe that it had transferred over to the animal world. It's wonderful that there are those of us that have the opportunity to purchase health insurance for our four legged loved ones, but it just goes to show how closely it correlates with the human world. Those that "have....can". Those that "don't....can't". On the one hand it pissed me off that because of an eight week time difference and $700.00, I had to make a decision that could have an effect on his life. In reality, I'm thankful I have choices at all.

So, being the self advocate that I am, I pulled myself together and asked for the compromise that I felt needed to be made, which was another suggestion. The suggestion that we agreed upon was a much less expensive sedation with an aspiration of the cyst and cytology to determine what it was. If it turns out to be cancerous, then I will pay the money NOW to have the mass removed. Chances are it's still encapsulated. If it isn't cancer, I will have them remove it while he's "under" getting his teeth cleaned in July. Don and I have agreed that we would not take any further measures other than surgical removal of the cyst if it is cancer. It was just a personal decision that had many pieces that were taken in to consideration.

Here is the WE WERE SO CLOSE part of this story. If you have followed this blog for the last two years, you know that Brutus has tried in the past to kill the vet. He has slowly been getting better and better with his manners. Yesterday was amazing. The vet tech came in, and he loved her up and gave her all kinds of kisses. He even let her examine the lump, which is in a very personal area. I was amazed. No growling or being upset involved. Then the vet came in. She was a little more leery because she had noticed on Brutus's chart that he was listed as viscous, but she took our cue and got down on the floor. Brutus loved her up and tried to shake with her and give her kisses too. She did his exam, and there were no problems........and then SNAP! She had been examining the lump while we were talking about it, and all of a sudden he growled and jumped up and snapped right in her face. He didn't bite her, but he sure could have. Was he warning her? I hope so. She handled it really well. She looked at him and said "Buddy, are you kidding me? We were doing so well!". I was heart broken. I actually thought that we were maybe over this veterinarian phobia. I guess we'll just keep working on it. I always go in to it telling them that their safety comes first, and I am more than willing to muzzle him, but they have found that he gets much more upset once he is muzzled. Next time, at the very least, I will have an extremely tight hold of his collar. We all got way too comfortable.

All in all, he just isn't feeling well. He's lost about four pounds this month, which he needed to do anyway, but preferably not from being sick. He's had terrible diarrhea since we got home from the vet, as in up every two hours all night, and still going out every hour this morning. I have pulled all food from him, and tomorrow I will start him on the rice and hamburger diet. Keep your fingers crossed that his tummy calms down. 

It will be a couple more days before we get the results, but in the meantime, Brutus has his new frog (which he desperately needed in order to feel better) and we are snuggling up while he is on the mend. The rest of the world will just have to wait.