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Nothing But Love in Her Heart

Aug 04

It’s been a low key summer.  Things are still going well, fingers crossed and knock on wood.  Fallon really seems to feel greyt.  She is happy, and has lots of energy.  She has continued on the metronomic chemotherapy and is tolerating it well.  We’re only seeing Dr. Sue every other month now! We miss her, but it’s a good thing. 🙂  The girls have been loving the back yard—so much that we’ll opt out of other things we may have done in the past so they can enjoy it.  They run together, and lay in their favorite spots.

Chillin’. This is what we do most evenings!

Every night after work we go out there to just sit, or hug in the grass.  Just chillin’ and living in the moment.  It makes us all happy.

They love each others’ company

Last week, we went to Grapehounds.  It’s a greyhound event held in the Finger Lakes, which is about 4 hours from where we live.

ROAD TRIP!!!

We’ve gone for years, and last year we were talking about maybe not going, maybe trying something different.  Grapehounds doesn’t change much, the event itself is not really our cup of tea.  We spend almost no time at the central location.  It would be easy to do a lake vacation any other time, or to try something new and different.

Despite all that, our personal situation has changed.  We decided it was perfect, given our new normal.  We stay at a place overlooking Seneca Lake.  Our cottage has a nice dog walking area very close by, just a couple of steps to go in it, a huge porch, and a GORGEOUS view.  We have a few favorite dog friendly wineries, and there would not be a long walk from the car to there.

Relaxing at the pond at Hazlitt Winery

Still chillin’ at the pond

And our neighbors every year are Boomer and Chloe (and their mom and dad Eileen and Ed), and it’s wonderful to see them every year.   We met new friends, Patti, Bill and Andy, family of Ed and Eileen (and Chloe and Boomer).

from the front: Chloe, Andy (our new friend), and Boomer

It is a very hard life for greyhounds here

We kept it very low key, and spent some good, quality time at the cottage, just being more dog—laying together and looking at the lake.  It was supposed to be rainy all weekend, but really was only the first day we were there.

We took a walk to SheQuaGa Falls in Montour Falls, NY on a rainy day. So much rain made the falls wild!!

There were showers here and there, but nothing we couldn’t work around.

Fallon is so happy!!

Sunrise over Greyhound

Sunrise Over Greyhound

We cooked out a lot, Paul and I walked to Watkins Glen some evenings for dinner out while the girls chilled in the cabin.  We met some other Tripawd greyhounds at Grapehounds home base—one had a racing injury that didn’t heal properly, one also had osteosarcoma.  This greyhound, Dylan, also goes to Dr. Sue, so he is in awesome hands.

We had to cut back significantly on hiking, but Maggie and I went up to Taughannock Falls on the group walk, while Fallon and Paul socialized at the bottom.

We came home with enough wine,to keep us busy for awhile, and a lot of greyt memories.  It was a very relaxing vacation.  Next one is Dewey Beach again!!  We have been going with the girls in September (October is customary for greyhounds) as it is usually warmer, there is more activity on the beach, and restaurants are still open and rockin’.  Last year we went right before learning Fallon had osteosarcoma—she had her limp, and we were treating this with Vetprofen or something ineffective like that, with a call to the doctor and an x-ray, then bad news the day after we got home.  Things have changed TONS since then.  Fallon will be able to enjoy the beach this year!!

Jun 16

Maggie’s Birthday!!!

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Maggie’s 6th birthday was yesterday.  We celebrated with yard time and special treats.  We made a fire and cooked s’mores for the two leggers.  The other seven legs had special birthday treats.

I made Meg’s Liver Cake treats, which was in the Tripawds Nutrition Blog.  They came out greyt, and the girls really, really, really enjoyed the Meg-a-Cakes SO MUCH.

“You’re not going anywhere until we get more.”

Mmmm. Brownies?

The final product–Meg-a-Cake Liver Treats

I also provided Treatballs (AKA Meat Treats or Bird Balls), which are the treat I make them all the time—basically the leftover ingredients from the Dog Cancer Diet (chicken usually, brown rice, veggies plus eggs and garlic), cooked in meatball form.

Willow was Fallon’s first sister.  We had Willow for a long time before we adopted Fallon, and they coexisted well.  Willow marched to her own drummer and she had a bit of a…unique personality, that’s what made her so Willow.

We loved her for it.  However, Fallon and Willow didn’t seem to be tight friends at all.  They got along, they did things together, but we didn’t see friendship.

When Willow died, we were all devastated.  Eventually Paul and I picked up the pieces and went on with our lives—but Fallon did not, she changed.  She was clingy.  She would cry when we left the house, and try to barge out the door with us.  She seemed depressed, and wasn’t improving.  It was surprising, as they didn’t seem that close.  As much as Paul and I were not ready to adopt another dog, it was clear Fallon needed a sibling.  We started going to adoption clinics.  Our group president, Paula, said she had the perfect dog for us—Maggie.  She was so right.

Maggie and Fallon are best friends.  They cuddle and can be close.  They play together.  After Fallon’s amputation, Maggie helped her stay active.  She pushes Fallon to a point, but never too far.  She helps Fallon feel comfortable when she is doing things she doesn’t want to do, like doctor’s appointments.

Maggie is always the cheerleader.

Maggie – Fallon’s sister

I am positive that so much of the success we’ve had with Fallon is that Maggie is part of the team.  Happy birthday, little girl <3.

Jun 12

The Road to Wellness

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It’s been a long and winding road…

We’ve been trying to relax.  Historically we take lots of long-weekend vacations through the summer, but the girls are just really enjoying the yard a lot—plus we canceled a couple to concentrate on the REALLY good ones, and throw the money at those.  It’s a good season to economize.

Fallon would lay in the yard all day if she could.

Fallon Ellen German Shepherd

<3 these two

Fallon is doing greyt.  I still think a lot about how we can make things better.  We’ve completed chemotherapy and (the treatment part of the study), and will likely start the metronomic protocol again soon.    That was the oral chemotherapy.  I think lots about what will enhance the treatment and program she’s on.    Fingers crossed and knocking on wood things continue well, but she is responding really well to every treatment we throw her way, and she seems really happy and healthy.

Dr. Dressler’s book starts out with chapters on taking better care of yourself.  Stress exacerbates cancer, plus our pets are very intuitive about our feelings—so our stress begets their stress.  I’ve tried a few things to decrease stress in our family—with some success.  We still have a way to go, though.

The most exciting addition we’ve made is learning about Essential Oils.  My original thought was as a way to help Fallon through stressful times—doctor appointments, and nail clipping mostly—things that distress her.  A friend made Fallon a dog friendly oil blend that seemed really effective in relaxing her.  She loves it when I put it on her.  So it can’t be a bad thing.  So why not for me and Paul?  We bought an essential oils starter kit with some of the common oils, and are having fun testing things out.  Mostly we’ve been diffusing for stress relief.  But one time when Fallon was having her wheeziness, I diffused an oil with qualities to help that, as well as rubbing a drop behind her ears—and it seemed to work.  We’re also going to work to replace the toxic stuff we use to clean with essential oils that serve the same purpose.  I am a new enthusiast and hope to learn more.

I wrote a blog months and months ago about my behavioral freakouts, and someone suggested meditation—Jerry, I think.  So I gave it a whirl, and find that when I keep up with it, I do better.  I have been using the Headspace app, it has been excellent for me.  I generally have a good amount of trouble focusing anyway, and 10—15 minutes of meditation can be a challenge—but also a good investment of my time, as I’ve been getting my act together in terms of  trying to be in the moment.

Eating better and exercise—no brainers, but they fell by the wayside during the initial stages of this journey.  I now find myself 30 pounds heavier.  Time to get back on track.  Starting……………………..now.

So our two legger vacation last month went really well, other than weather, which we can’t control.  The grrrls seemed to love their petsitter, and I was thrilled to get text pics every day, so win-win.  We might try getting away solo again soon.

Our next family thing on the calendar is Grapehounds in the Finger Lakes at the end of July.  Last year we thought about maybe doing something else…but with Fallon and our current situation, it can’t be a better choice.  The kids love just hanging out on the deck, and when we visit the wineries, it is a manageable walk from the car to the building, plus we have greyhound friends as neighbors.  Our cabin is not rustic, and is walkable to downtown Watkins Glen—for us, not Fallon any more.  There’s some hiking we’ll need to modify.  But other than that, perfect!  Taking a break is awesome.

Haha. Darn close. New owners at the cabin…Sweet nonetheless!  Fallon and Maggie got a kick out of it.

Fallon, 4 legged and maybe a year ago. They love hanging out on the deck and looking at the lake all day.

Maggie’s first year at this cabin. We only knew her a couple of weeks at this point

This might be 5+ years ago. Taughannock Falls, near Ithaca, NY.  We may not be able to make this hike this year. But we’ll get her to the park anyway.

 

May 03

It’s been awhile—just catching you up.  Hi!

Fallon had her first thing we can’t talk about on social media, and we wanted to let you know it went OK—no problems while she was there, other than she spiked a slight temperature one hour, but it was normal the rest of the day.  The day afterward she had the poopies, and 3 days of decreased appetite that got better every day until it was normal—not so bad, and worth it for the potential benefit.  We go again next Tuesday.  Now, that is a long day!  We wake up at 4AM to shower, do business, eat, and drive to Connecticut to be there at 8:30.  We were there until 6PM last time, and I expect it will be the same this time.  By the time we get home, it is 9PM.  Maggie and I went out for coffee a couple of times through the day, got a nice lunch, and explored the greater Norwalk area.  Parks cost a lot of money to park in there, otherwise we’d explore the waterfront.  We visited Petco and she got some lovely attention from the folks there. It might be easier not to take her as it would open up ways for me to kill time, but she enjoys it, and it makes Fallon all nervous and suspicious when we load her up to go anywhere alone.  I like her company—we’ll manage.

Otherwise, things are going pretty steady.  Our routine is pretty engrained right now.  Unfortunately, my job is changing a bit.  I say unfortunately as it impacts my engrained routine, but I am really grateful to have a job now, so I will make it work.  Change is a good thing!

a gorgeous day in the yard

FINALLY, we’ve had some nice weather here.  We’ve had a couple of nice yard days.  Our girls love to lounge around the yard.  Soon we’ll have it looking nice again.

Biggest news—I think we’re taking a 2-legger only vacation!  Fallon has been doing so well, it’s time for us all to take a little break.  Our greyhound group president connected us with a friend who fosters for her and also does pet sitting.  She has 2 greyhounds of her own, in addition to fosters.  We went over to meet her (i.e. scope her out and get a vibe) and it went really well.  Our girls felt really comfortable with her and her greyhounds. Biggest concern is cats and a rabbit—but Lisa assured us they would be fine (Maggie eats cats and rabbits), and indeed, there was an inside cat sitting on a chair and Fallon gave it a kiss, and Maggie pretty much ignored.  So I provided the orientation to Tripawd care and feeding, and we arranged to drop them off in about 2 weeks for a long weekend…!  I THINK I can do it…and honestly, there’s no better situation I can think of for this scenario.  It will be a nice vacation for us all.

More to come…

Apr 12

Today was Fallon’s six month ampuversary!!  I can’t believe how far we’ve come, and can’t figure out if this feels like a long time or a short time, because I can barely remember life before Fallon’s diagnosis, yet we’ve made, and continue to make so many changes that it’s flying by.

 

She is thriving.  She is excelling.  She is rockin’ this.  It hurts me to think of the pain she was in before the amputation.  After seeing the x-ray for the first time a little more than six months ago, I know we’re lucky that bone didn’t break.  I can’t imagine how she must have felt.  Or else I can, and I beat myself up for not knowing.

Smiling in the yard, which needs raking.

We have zero regrets.  Somehow, we’ve ended up in the right places to make this work.  The amputation was the roughest decision, chemo just made sense afterward, and other approaches we’ve taken have fallen into place just by learning everything we possibly could about how to support one of God’s most perfect creatures through this most devastating illness.

 

I’ve written here about next treatment steps I’ve been hoping for Fallon, and we’re there, too…we start the new extended trial for the vaccine specific to Fallon’s diagnosis next week—and we signed an agreement as part of the contract we signed to participate that we would not share details on social media.  But know we’re where I have been aiming.  I will say no more.

 

Insure your pets.  I’m serious.

 

More to come…