Back in the Saddle

Have you missed me? Probably not, but I’ve missed being here. TNR (trap/neuter/return) season is back in full swing and I was very busy for the last week or so caring for the cats. All went home today except these two little guys who have a minor respiratory thing going on, so they’re staying with me a few days for meds before heading back to the barn where they live. Eight-month old boys, and they are very friendly, and lots of fun. Except when they dump their litter box all over the place…several times a day. Boys will be boys, I guess.

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Smokey, the grey one, of course, is a real ham for the camera and everything else. Social butterfly if I ever saw one, and mischief maker to boot.

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One of the best parts of the large TNR network in our area is meeting other like-minded folks, and forming new partnerships. We were fortunate to find a really fabulous organization in our area that can help us with the surgery and recovery of cats in a way that solves many problems for us, chief of them being that we don’t have a facility for our program yet. So all the cats have been stored and cared for at my house for the last 9 months, which has been a test of my sanity. But our new partner will rehab the cats for several days after surgery for us, and that makes a world of difference. They are primarily a rescue and adoption group, so we’re helping them by curtailing the number of kittens being born in our area, and they’re helping us with very low-cost surgeries and rehabbing our cats. It is a great partnership with good people, and we are grateful.

So, deep breath time while I finish up with the two little hooligans who will go home on Sunday, and then we start all over again with a new round. My personal goal is 150 cats this year. We did around 300 each of the last two years, so half that number should be no problem, right?? Here kitty, kitty…come to mamma.

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Hershey Garden Critters (and a few flowers)

We’ve finally had some lovely spring days, and today Marley and I decided to go take a look at the Hershey Gardens, just to be outside for awhile. There weren’t too many flowers yet, but there were some early spring flowers and buds.

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Mostly I found myself photographing the “critters” that live in the flower beds and around the garden. I suspect some are more obvious right now with so few flowers to hide behind.

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And this wonderful and mysterious brick someone had bought…

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Lastly, this charming cat, who used to live in the gift shop, came home with me. Don’t you think our yard is a better spot for her?

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Seniorville

I’ve written here about Butterscotch and aging, which continues along. We actually both survived giving her my first intramuscular shot. I was more nervous than she was, but we got the job done. She has very little muscle tone, so it is really hard figuring out what is muscle and what is tissue, but I guess I did okay. The shot (Adequan) helps her be able to go up and down stairs herself, and that makes all of us happy.

With all of Butterscotch’s health issues we kinda didn’t notice that Paris, our other guy is having senior issues too. Or rather, we noticed, but didn’t give it too much weight until a couple days ago. He has some cognitive decline, and has gotten afraid of going out after dark, or eating from a silver bowl, and going into the kitchen. It isn’t that we missed these things…we noticed, but we’ve mostly worked around them.

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A month or two ago, Paris had a bit of a limp. One of his front legs was bothering him, but a couple weeks of an NSAID prescribed by the vet and some rest took care of the problem. We didn’t think too much about it. Probably twisted his ankle on a walk or something.

But a few days ago he started having trouble with his back legs. He had difficulty getting up on the bed or the couch. Put him back on those NSAIDs again but it didn’t help this time. It got worse rapidly, and then he fell down a flight of stairs yesterday. It isn’t really a good thing when a 72 lb dog falls down a flight of stairs.

Off to the vets office, with worries about neurological issues on our minds. The good news is that his muscle tone is good, and he knows where his feet are and what they’re doing. He isn’t crossing his legs or getting confused about placement, all of which is really bad news for dogs. But one spot on his spine does seem a bit tender. Why that’s so is hard to know…one of those trial and error things. Could easily be the result of the fall down the stairs and not the cause.

The vet gave him a steroid shot, and we’ll start him on a course of Prednisone tomorrow. But the shot helped him a lot. He’s sort of back to himself as far as comfort and ability. He’s back on the couch. The vet told us to keep him off the stairs, knowing that was going to be a bit of a challenge. (“I had to say to keep him off the stairs,” she said, shrugging her shoulders, knowing it was futile.)  We managed for a short while, but both Paris and Butterscotch decided that the barrier wasn’t really meant for them, and we eventually gave up. Luckily Paris isn’t having any trouble navigating today, and he is walking with much more confidence. So the steroid is helping at this point. We’ll have to see what happens when he’s done with the course of pills.

Our big challenge with the Prednisone may be that the pills cause extra thirst and hence, extra pee, and getting him out after dark to pee may be an adventure. You can’t really make a 72 lb dog go potty if he doesn’t want to! A belly band to catch urine may be in Paris’s immediate future.

Which brings us back to seniorville. We were thinking, for such a long time, that we had only one geriatric dog, but really we have two. Butterscotch, 40 lbs, is 15 and Paris, 72 lbs, is 13, and that makes them pretty much the same age. (Bigger dogs have shorter life spans.) We ordered a second orthopedic bed with a waterproof liner yesterday, so both dogs have beds on the floor as they find couches more difficult to navigate, and I suspect there will be many more accommodations before all is said and done.

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But that’s what you do for the furry family members who share your life for many years. They’ve given us so much for such a long time. It’s our turn to make their senior days as comfortable as possible.

 

Paris and Butterscotch