Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Abbi Update

Following last week's horrific trips to and from the vets office, including three nights in the doggy ICU, Abbi is 100% her old self. She was ready to have a blast in the snow with her sister all weekend.

She now weighs 26.8 pounds and Alli weighs about 33. Even Doc B commented on the fact that she got a lot taller this week. She has normal puppy energy and mischief.

Dashing through...

Alli & Abbi's legs grow longer just in time!

(Filmed 12/21/09...Winter Solstice)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Big Scare

The past week went well right up until the end.

Both girls are growing. Abbi weighs 24.8 and Alli is almost 30 pounds. They are getting their "Big Girl" ears and look more like Irish Setters than red Golden Retrievers.

They still curl up together, but they like their alone time, too.

The Christmas tree went up in the family room...No ornaments of course, but lots of lights. I trimmed the tree with one of those bitter sprays made with Rosemary. It's suppose to discourage tasting, but so far the only one who seems affected by it is me. I apply it, the dogs check it out, I pet them...Then a half hour later
when I go to remove a dog hair from my lips, I get a nasty dose of bitter yuck in MY mouth.

Nasty weather was a surprising AID to housetraining. Both girls were a little more focused about the reason to be outside when they were being pelted with icy cold raindrops on a windy night.

No, it was all going well...Until it wasn't...

Both girls seemed to nap a little more than usual on Thursday and Friday. I figured they were due for a growth spurt and I figure that can take a lot out of a pup, so I didn't think much of their quiet demeanor.

But on Saturday, Abbi seemed down...lethargic even. I was concerned, but her appetite was good and her bodily functions normal so I just watched her and cuddled her.

Sunday, Abbi was not doing better. I noticed she wasn't closing her mouth all the way and when I tried to inspect, she cried out in pain. Her breath smelled like an infection. I took her to the emergency vet immediately and to my alarm, the vet on duty immediately admitted her to the doggy ICU, and quarantined her as well.

Sunday was a horrible day.

The updates were hopeful, but lacking in specifics. Neither Alli nor I slept well last night. I was worried and Alli was anxious about spending the night alone for the first time in her life.

And now a new week begins with the happy news that Abbi can come home this afternoon.

The Vets decided she has "puppy strangles." I have been googling and it sounds like a temporary immune disorder. The pain comes from enlarged lymph nodes in her neck. I've had dogs all my life and never heard of this disease.

Time to learn more...

4:30 pm
Abbi is home safe and comfy. She is being treated for an upper respiratory infection and after trying to get comfy on the chair and then the sofa, she finally decided on her crate. Alli and I are playing fetch while Abbi naps.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Changes in Lattitude...

One week ago today, they were plucking oranges off the tree to play ball...Welcome to Virginia little Snow-dogs.

"Not cool"

Friday, December 4, 2009


As long as I can hear the squeaky toy yielding to torture, I know at least one pup is engaged in a good choice.

But what about the other?

No gold stars for the last two days...But I am getting better at seeing "The Walk" and better at guessing the timing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Wee Small Hours

The "Babies" are still sleeping. The first night they had to go out at 3 am. I think the second night my tossing and turning woke them instead and we had another 3 am outing. This morning they fussed at 4:30 awakened by the normal M-F schedule which is driven by the insane D.C. commute. They went out, did business and came right back in. At this moment I hear soft snoring.

It takes them 15-30 minutes to settle into the crate. This morning I was treated to "Monster-Talk" for about 20 minutes. "Monster-Talk" is a bizzare range of nasal vocalics and grunts accented by chirps and yelps. It is their private twin language. They use it with me a little when sassy moods strike, but "Monster-Talk" in it's highest form is just between them.

All of my Irish Setters have been great talkers. Nora was good at expressing outrage over perceived injustices. I know I encourage back talk, because ultimately I find it charmingly irresistable.

I find "Monster-Talk" irresistable, too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alli & Abbi's Long Roadtrip

11/28/2009 Spent two hours with the dazzling dogs of Seafarer's Irish Setters. Five adult dogs and five puppies...Red dogs flying around the yard as if launched by a whirlwind. The puppies prance around with oranges plucked from a tree in the backyard. I hope they realize that up in Virginia, tennis balls do NOT grow on trees.

At 4 pm, Little Blue Girl and Little Orange Girl are loaded into my Mountaineer. I sit with them in the back as Bonnie drives us five hours north along I-95 to Florence, SC. Residence Inn provided a pet friendly room for the night.

The girls are too freaked out to misbehave.

11/29/2009 The best Birthday ever. The girls continue to be little angels. Nobody gets sick. We drive from 7 am until 4 pm. Traffic gets worse as we leave Richmond.

When we arrive at the house, I get the girls into the backyard immediately. They are wary, with tiny ridges of hair rising on the back of their necks as they inspect the yard. After a few minutes they relax and bounce through a layer of oak leaves.

A couple of accidents...I have much to learn/remember

11/30/2009 First full day at home. Alli has a perfect day, Abbi has a perfect afternoon and evening. Both learn to climb and descend the stairs. Both girls sit on command.

There is no way to describe the bliss of stroking their soft fur, gazing into their sweet eyes or watching them sleep curled together. I know they are growing before my eyes. I picture a day in the not too distant future when the puppies are replaced by big dogs. I know these days are fleeting, so it's easy to overlook the bratty moments. It's more difficult to resist the urge to cuddle them in my lap, or to pick them up and cradle them in my arms.

12/1/2009 Alli weighs 28 pounds and Abbi weighs 22 pounds. I decide to start feeding them in separate bowls.

Alli also seems to catch on to instructions or new words a few moments faster than Abbi, but both are wonderfully bright. They tussle with intense, high decibel ferocity, then suddenly they crash for 90 minute naps. Synchronized sleepers they mirror one another in sleep with a harmony not in evidence during playtime.

Today, we work on going into the crate and sitting for treats. Basically, so long as I come through with the treats, the girls are very willing students.

Today, Bitsy lost her battle with cancer. She stayed with us long enough to see the girls established. Maybe she wanted to make sure I wasn't left alone. The girls respected her and she didn't seemed bothered by them. In fact, by the time they arrived at the house, Bitsy was beyond caring about much of anything. She was a brave little lady and I'm glad the girls got to meet her.