It’s easier to remember my girl

Great Dane puppy playSo lately I’ve been remembering the good stuff, not the Abb’s being sick stuff.  I started looking at pictures and found this video I took of her playing with her chicken, it might have been an alligator the toys didn’t last long with her play….

Chicken PlayShe has been playing with a toy with a leash tied around it neck from the beginning.  Liesa, her pet sitter came up with the idea when she was about 10 weeks old.


Great Dane Play <<Click her to see the fun

I need to remember I still have a job to do: K9 Nose work for me and the boy

So what is K9 Nose Work?  K9 nose work was inspired by detections dogs and it is something anyone with a dog can do.  You start with getting your dog to find his favorite toy or treat in one of several open boxes, as your dog improves you expand to rooms, exterior areas and cars.  As your dog improves you move to target odors and you can learn competition skills.

This is a really good sport for reactive dogs because the dogs are worked one at a time.  This is something I wanted to do with Abby because of her reactivity but unfortunately didn’t get the chance.  Riley has been back burner boy for the last three month so to spend some quality time with him I signed us up for a intro class at Tell a Tail Dog Training in Livermore.

We started our class last night and all of the dogs were successful from the start.  They set out a bunch of boxes, one having treats.  The first pass they started by dropping treats in the treat box by the dog letting them eat out of the box.  Once the dog got the idea about treats in the box they distracted the dog and placed the box for the dog to find.  When the dog found the treat box the handler would put more treats in the box to increase the joy.  Each dog did this on leash three times.   The second pass they didn’t have the dogs eat out of the box to start, they placed the box and the handler let the dog off leash to find the prize, once the dog found the box with treats, again the handler would drop more treats in the box for the dog to enjoy, every dog did great!

intro to k9 nose work


The really great thing is you can do this at home folks!  I gathered up several boxes and we practiced in our garage with Riley.

intro to k9 nose work




Once Riley found the treat box, more cookies!  He was a happy boy.



A sad goodbye

Over the weekend Abby stopped eating and on Sunday she was again unable to hold her own weight.  We took her the emergency clinic in Marin where over the course of a couple of day we learned of our options.  We decided that it was time to say goodbye to our girl.

Abbydoo 8/20/2007 – 9/4/2013 May she rest in peace

great dane

Another day in the plus column



So Abb’s has been eating consistently now since Wednesday, she has more interest in eating and you can see he has more energy.





She is not knuckling with her front legs at all now and she is more steady when she stands.

She is very mobile with the sling, yeah for slings!  She is still knuckling with her leg rear leg but not so much with her right rear leg, so continued improvement!




After an outing she is ready to rest, she has no issues with napping.







Yup no problem napping…


Home for a day and some progress is made

Wednesday Abby was able to go out to the back yard and back with help from one human so that was good, she slept most of the day and she ate two really good meals.  Again and quicker this time we are getting into a good rhythm.

The meal du jour is currently 1 cup rice cooked in beef broth, 3/4-1 cup boiled chicken, 2 spoonfuls of pumpkin & 2 of cottage cheese.  Feeding was a two human job and the feeding method consisted of me prying her mouth open and Rob shoveling in food with a tongue depressor.  Why a tongue depressor you may wonder, you could get all of the food off easily to the roof of her mouth as her jaws clamped shut.  The challenge for me was to get my fingers out before she clamped shut, I was not always successful.  It was messy and Abby wasn’t really a fan but it worked .

recoveryThis morning Abby ate on her own!   Yes we setup a little picnic.  There is a method to this madness It help with easier cleanup after she eats, the meal du jour is messy.  Today she started eating off the stick and then she ate from the napkin.  This is first time since last Wednesday that she showed signs of a good appetite!  So we are making some progress.

crate rest, spinal issue recovery


So moving Abby from one place to another we are using, a sling, paw booties, and a leash.


crate rest, spinal issue recovery


The sling works really well we can help her as much as she needs.  If she is knuckling you can give her a little more help and she plants her feet better.


So it really does take a village and apparently I have one.

So it really takes a village, my husband, our pet sitter Leisa helping out on short notice, a family that let me stay at there house in Davis, Dr Nielsen, Dr Rivera, vet students, people around to help with doors or just an extra hand, friends, family and even the clerk at Jo Ann Fabric.  All helping me get through this!

On Monday after Leisa had a meet and greet with Riley I headed to Davis in time to feed Abby lunch, they decided to wait to feed her because she ate well with me (and the help of great vet exchange student from Denmark).


We brought her do to the grass on a cart because she still wasn’t walking great, better but for that distance.






We got her on some blankets on the grass and for the first time since she got to UC Davis, she looked happy.   She ate a pretty good lunch so we got her back upstairs to her run and I headed the Browne’s (the family that offered a room) to get settled and work some before I had to return for dinner.



She wanted nothing to do with the cart for her evening outing and to our surprise she walked almost all the way to the grass area where we have been feeding her.  As she walked she was placing her feet really good until she got tired.  For the first time I felt like I would really be bring her home.

She ate a good dinner so we carted her back to her run.  Dr Rivera told me we would talk about sending her home the next day.

I ended my day at the Browne’s, it was so nice not to be alone in a hotel room.

The next morning I headed back to UC Davis, Abby again walked most of the way to the grass, she ate mostly good so back to the run and a nap.  I spent the afternoon running errands, I headed to JoAnn Fabrics for some rubber sheet, the gal working there went out of her way to find me a coupon, 60% off! Then off to the drug store for meds for her bed sores then to the library to work until her evening meal.

As soon as I got there we talked about taking her home so we postponed dinner and got her ready for discharge.  With meds and home instructions we started to put her on the cart which again she wanted no part.  To everyone’s surprise she walked all of the way to the car and it was extra amazing because the elevator was out of service so we need to walk extra distance to the other elevator.  We got a lot of smiles and nods from people happy to see her walking on her own, people that had seen us carting her around for days.

It took a bit of time for her to settle in the car but finally did and Rob was home to help me get her out of the car and into her pen.  We fed her, took her out for a pee and poo and tucked her in for the night.

Off to Davis and Random Acts of Kindness

dog boots

I went yesterday to bring some booties, she needs them because of the knuckling, they will keep her feet from getting banged up.

When I got there Dr Rivera as if I could take a stab at feeding her, she took some salmon bits and a little chicken but in the end we got her to eat a bit of really smelly dog food which I still smell like.

She is responding to me more than anyone else so I decided that tomorrow I’m going to stay up in Davis to help with feeding her and anything else I can do.  I went to the reception desk to get a list of hotels and to my surprise a women who was there with an emergency of her own told me I could stay with them.  So I will be staying with the Browne’s while Abby is there.

This morning I’m packing up food for me and my girl (hopefully she will eat some of it). dog toy

I found one of her old hedge hogs I thought maybe it would cheer her up, she use to love chewing on them.  Since Riley has been with the hedge hog have not lived to tell so they have been put away.  It need some repair but easy pezie.

So I’m off today with slobber hankies, wet ones, food for humans and dogs, and a really disgusting hedge hog.


Things have gone a bit south

So Abby didn’t do to well at Bishop Ranch Vet Clinic, she was very nervous, she wouldn’t eat, probably didn’t sleep and on Monday she started knuckling (proprioceptive deficit).  This is abnormal body positions or movements due to a lack of normal perception and in Abby case she wasn’t placing her paw on her pad, it’s like she wants to tip tow.

Rob went Monday night drop of some pills and they ask him to see if he could get her to eat.  He had little success so on Tuesday he took off work and brought her home.

The knuckling got worse by Wednesday so I took her to see Dr Nielsen on Thursday morning.  The good news is her surgery leg was healed and she could stop the antibiotics but the bad new was she was knuckling on both rear legs and a bit on the front.  By the end of the day she couldn’t hold her own weight so Abb’s & I were off to UC Davis emergency.

They checked her in and came up with a testing plan and on Friday they did ultrasound, ex-rays, and finally an MRI.  The MRI showed that she has severe spinal issues and for some reason suddenly she was unable to compensate anymore for her spine issues.  The doctor was surprised we hadn’t seen any signs before now like wobbling or weakness.  transportSo now they are treating her with steroids and now we wait.


She is very weak so getting her out and about for now is on a gurney.



I’ve been there every day, yesterday Rob came with me and we got her to eat some rob-and-abbychicken.