Category Archives: Charlie

Round and round and round we go!

I can’t remember if I have said anything about it on here but, I have fibromyalgia (along with chronic pain and chronic fatigue – aren’t those part of fibro?) I was diagnosed when I was 29, 3 years ago, but I likely had it for a couple of years before.

What does this have to do with Callie or Charlie, you might be asking yourself. Nothing and everything. 

Fibromyalgia is not really understood yet by doctors or the public, heck, it’s not really understood by the patient who is experiencing it; it’s what’s often called an “invisible illness.” See the great spoon (energy) theory. Technically that was developed by a woman with Lupus, but she has spread it intending to be for all invisible illnesses.

Fibro affects those who suffer from it differently. It’s a nerve disorder of sorts. Some people get numb or tingling or sharp sensations in their faces, some get brutal muscle pain that spreads to their joints. I often suffer from “fibro fog” in which I struggle to think super clearly or say what I am thinking. The words are there, the images are there, but I can’t say them.

And then there is the worst, the flares. Sometimes when it flares up it’s just a bad neck/back/arms for me, but between the moving and all the activity this past month, my body shut down. I have spent the last three days in bed, getting up for food or to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom. I’m recovering, but that’s one of the things fibro does, it will slam you to the ground like a big wave if you don’t plan for rest times.

The dogs have been great, mostly happy to lie in the bedroom with me, especially now that they like to wrestle, but Charlie, as a 5-month-old puppy will do, is starting to go a little crazy. Yesterday, he purposefully antagonized our next door neighbor’s grumpy little Chihuahua TWICE, just so he could outrun her and fly back (I don’t even know how he got away from me the second time.) Thank goodness she’s a friend of ours!

I rescued this breed purposefully, not only out of my love for Cavaliers but because they can also either go or be mellow. I also knew that taking Charlie on meant a few years of craziness before the easy, mellow part – although he’s surprisingly good about that!

I feel like a failure when I hit this cycle again where my flares are so bad they prevent me from doing stuff with my dogs.

Charlie needs a regular training schedule. I can’t promise that. Callie needs to go on daily walks to stay a healthy weight and Charlie too, for weight as he grows, for exercise, and for energy. I can’t promise that either. I was able to when we got them, I was so good with Callie all winter and with Charlie this spring and early summer. And now… guilt

But then, right before we had to move, so many other things suddenly happened – mostly good, but energy-sucking none the less, and I’m back on the old carousel ride. 

 

Fibro, how I hate you.

 

 

 

 

And how grateful I am to have such a wonderful family who loves and supports me, and my fabulous dogs who may get cheated out of some things but are certainly spoiled in other respects! I just hope it’s good enough.

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FUR! Yes, We Have FUR!

Oh, Charlie, Charles, Chuck, Charleston Chew, Charles V. Charlington (?), Prince Charles, Charles Wellington (again ?) and I throw out my latest addition here – Johnnie B. Goode (Chuck Berry), how we adore you.

Charlie has a sweet face
Sweet Face

 

That’s what I tell myself every night before bed when you curl up between our chins, such soft, deep brown eyes. A melted chocolate that never ends. And ridiculously long lashes to boot.

 

Every day lately I have to remind myself that I adore you, as you tear into one thing or another, especially during this move. Even, at a few points, my hair and yes, puppies are known to bite and pull on hair, it’s just that mine is short enough it’s pretty hard to get.

The biggest news is that Charlie HAS FUR AGAIN!!

I asked the Twitter #cavpack for some ideas regarding potential skin issues as it stumped the vet and one of our dear friends, @sunneesummer, noted that Sunnee, as well as a few other dogs, had responded in various similar ways to the medicine in topical flea/tick solutions – selamectin. It’s very rare to have a dog react to this. Oh, problem child.😆

Our vet had asked us to try applying Revolution every two weeks instead of every month with Charlie in case (only test for) it was an extremely unlikely mite. Upon finding this new info out, I called our vet and told her we weren’t going to go ahead with the Revolution test. She understood and agreed, especially as none of our other animals were scratching like him and losing hair. So, our next choices were:

  1. Try a round of Ivermectin – a powerful anti-parasite medication that could wreak havoc on his little system.
  2. Make an appointment with a canine dermatologist an hour and a half away.
  3. Keep going with the Benadryl and see what happened

At first, Jess and I agreed that we had to take our miserable puppy to the dermatologist. Then, the next morning Jess noticed I had been using the little dropper (as the vet had emphasized “such a tiny amount” I didn’t even think) and had been giving him .25cc instead of 2.5cc of Benadryl.

Now there’s a good way to feel bad about yourself, especially when you are a person who tends to be confident in your animal,  particularly dog, knowledge and care. Not that we don’t all make mistakes, but medicine mistakes are the worst! Anyway, based on that alone, we decided to wait a few more days and see if the Benadryl helped more. During that time I found this magical stuff:

Itchy, hair loss skin spray
And Incredible Skin Spray it is! http://bit.ly/2tBS8aF

Within a week he looked like this (apologies for the blurry photo, trying to hold a puppy still is not easy):

Charlie with some fur
Charlie with some fur

 

If you look closely, you can see that his back is once again covered in fur but the side isn’t as much. His whole body used to look like that, with just long wiry hairs left.

 

 

 

Now he has fur everywhere again!!!

It’s still pretty short and very puppy-soft, so he does have to wear clothes, or he gets cold in the morning with the dew. Especially lately as we have had several rainy days.

 

Callie looks annoyed
Yay! I made it to the Big Bed!

Charlie graduated to sleeping in the big bed, even for my naps. He loves it so much. He curls tight, stays close all night and is surprisingly well behaved on the bed. He has not graduated to life without his crate though – couldn’t trust this kid for a second if we were gone!

 

He handled the move surprisingly well. We never separated him from Callie, so they both had the comfort of the other which certainly helped. Also, they only spent one day away from us. Nana puppy-sat during the big moving day (THANK YOU NANA ❤️) and that was awesome,  Nana’s dog Angie taught Charlie how to play tug with another dog!

Charlie also loves the new house. At first, he got extra excited about being able to run out the sliding doors and off the back patio. That enthusiasm has subsided a little bit. He still loves it, although he does seem to find the tie-out lead mildly insulting.

The biggest Charlie issue at the moment is that he won’t stop attacking Callie by biting and pulling on her ears. Once or twice this has resulted in minor play, so he thinks it’s a good idea. We have mostly left them alone on this, waiting for Callie to put him in his place, but despite her few snaps in his direction or yelps when it hurts, he doesn’t stop, and she won’t go further.

So now we are struggling to find ideas that fit in with positive training methods – or at least not too negative. I did resort to yelling, that didn’t work of course, so I had the idea to get out our kitty training squirt bottles. Although he doesn’t seem to mind the water, it does get his attention sometimes, for a second, just long enough to distract him.

I have found that occasionally hitting something behind him with the spray can get his attention better, but it’s still not totally successful. I feel like I want to put No-Chew on her ears except it tastes awful and what if she gets it somewhere and licks it and has to deal with that through no fault of her own?!

Any ideas doggie friends? Help!

My daughter and I ran an errand to Home Depot the other day and randomly parked behind this car. We both decided that, clearly, this car was meant to be ours: 

As G pointed out, it even has a big and a little tricolor sticker, just like we would have!

Back to Reality

Let me begin by apologizing for the radio silence – we’ve spent the last week moving and the previous one packing. And now I have the longest post – mostly about our new house!

Oh moving, how I hate you. Thankfully, this should be our last move for a few years! Jess and I have moved four times in 3 years…But now we have bought a lovely townhouse/condo in a great community, right where we want to be.
Jess took this past week off from work for moving in and, what we hoped, would be some relaxing time. I love when Jess is home during the day. Working from home can be incredibly lonely but, between the dogs and my fibromyalgia, getting out to co-working spaces is often difficult.
This was even better than the rare days she also works from home because neither of us did any work of that kind, we solely focused on our house and getting our animals situated.

Even with the stress of moving, it was a wonderful week. We spent time together shopping for a few things we needed/wanted to make the place feel like home right away.
We *read Jess* set up G’s new loft bed so when she arrived, she could spend time decorating her room. We haven’t had our own rooms since we sold the house in January, and OMG were we all desperate for space!

We had a few visitors come by, mid-mess but who cares? We love this place more each day we are here.

View of patio
Callie watching over her new yard

The unit we purchased has one of the more private patios, it looks into the woods, and we have a perfect area to let the dogs out.

 

So far we have been going out with them, but only Charlie seems to need the tie-out that we bought for each of them.

The tie out in the back yard confuses
Hoomans, what is this nonsense?!
Charlie runs towards us
Run Charlie RUN!

We also have a loop drive around the complex that is approximately a quarter of a mile which makes for a great walk with the dogs. It’s just long enough that Callie gets good exercise for her but still enjoys herself, even if we go twice in one day, plus if we go one way around, we end with a hill-climb which is perfect for Charlie’s patellas.
There are many dogs in the neighborhood, most of whom are friendly. Two Border Collies, Julien and Vincent, live in the next building over and often visit if we are outside. We were suckers the first time the first time they came and threw a stick for them a bit, and now they LOVE to come try to get us to play. Charlie is terrified of them even though they are super sweet and tend to ignore him as they are hyper-focused.
There is a six-month-old Lab-mix two doors over who is still frightening to Charlie – although he is starting to relax a bit, she’s sweet and relatively mellow – and then another puppy-mill rescue two doors down from there. The only dogs who aren’t nice are our neighboring dogs (of course!🤣)

I’m not really surprised, they are two older chihuahuas who have never been super friendly, and now they have gotten rather mean in their old age. I do feel older dogs have the right to be tired of politely interacting all the time, especially on their turf, but it is funny because they were fine with the two-year-old Cavalier who was living here with the tenants last year!

Charlie introduced himself to our neighbor on the other side by tipping over her beautiful succulents… thank goodness she has owned dogs her whole life – albeit not at the moment – and loved meeting him so much, she didn’t care about her plants!

Knocking over plants
What plants? I didn’t knock those over earlier!

 

The new condo has stairs, and both bedrooms are up there. I don’t think I’ve talked about it in a long time, but at the old place we lived on the second floor, and Callie was scared of stairs at first, so we started a terrible habit – we carried her down. For six months we ended up carrying Callie down those damn stairs every time we needed to take her out. Jess and I made the decision, having seen Callie learn to go down shorter sets of steps just fine, that we were not going to pick her up to carry her downstairs at all. Callie was SO mad.
The very first morning, I laid down treats, shut all the upstairs doors, and took Charlie out. I came back in, and she was still at the top of the stairs. So I made breakfast. Callie is a food driven dog, but she was still at the top of the stairs. So I went up and helped *perhaps read forced* her to walk down them. She wouldn’t eat many of the treats as she went and I felt it was only fair she still get them for all the work, so she was greeted at the bottom of the stairs with breakfast AND a rather large pile of training treats. That made her forgive me a bit.
Slowly, using this method but “helping” less and less, over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday she got better.
Regardless of whether I helped her with any stairs, she did want me a few steps down at all times. Her left side seems to slip a bit, so it goes faster than her right. Anyway, Friday came, and the kiddo showed up. Callie went wild, almost everything was ok again in her world except she hadn’t seen G here yet.

The kiddo and Big C cuddle on the couch
Besties Furever!

I mean, look, the girl is Callie’s BESTIE! Well, once G went down the stairs Callie forgot all her fear in her need to be with her girl, and now the stairs are no problem for this lady.

 

 

Now, it’s back to life, back to reality. Monday morning went back to the same old routine, and Jess left for work at 7. Then I sat in what is my usual silence. Except it was so much lonelier. It always is when Jess has been home for a day or two, but this silence has made everyone mopey.

Callie just discovered something magical! She can get away from Charlie and keep him from stealing her bones by taking them out on the patio. 😁 Smart girl!

Callie and goat horn
Look, mom, I CAN get away from the little turd!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you if you have read this far 😆! And the next post should be coming soon! I have many updates on Charlie and his health!!!

Problem Child

“He’s your problem child,” said both the vet tech and the vet separately, each smiling. The second time, when our vet said it, we all laughed, and I held Charlie up saying, “we can’t afford you!”

We were supposed to be going in for a mere second distemper round, but, in the week before we were to go, he developed itchy, flaky, scaly skin everywhere and started losing/chewing off his hair.

 

Waiting for the vet
#NationalSelfieDay pic at the Vet

 

It began with his knees and looked like dry/hot spots, so I found some good moisturizing hot spot treatment and used that, his knee/thigh hair started to grow back. But then, like *that* it was EVERYWHERE, and he wasn’t just chewing off his hair, it was falling out.

coconut oil and hair loss
Charlie – Greasy with Coconut Oil and Losing Hair

I didn’t call the vet because he didn’t seem to be in pain and I knew I had an appt this week. I decided to try helping the dry skin. I coated my 5.5 lb puppy in coconut oil two nights in a row. Even though we put it on at night, it didn’t soak into the fur, so it was kind of funny to have a greased up puppy running around.

That didn’t help so I went and got medicated shampoo and he got a bath. He was going to get one anyway – I certainly wasn’t going to take a greasy puppy to the vet – so I chose between oatmeal style shampoo and medicated.

The next day we went to the vet. She was stumped by the particular look of his skin and the way it was thinning. She decided to take a skin scraping to check for a particular kind of mite but found nothing as she suspected. She took him to her co-worker, a woman who has been practicing for 30+ years, she too was stumped.

So, with a combined 45+ years of vet practice, nobody knew what Charlie could have. My vet came back and said, “This is the only time I think I will ever say this, but I hope maybe it is just allergies? Environmental even?”

She knows how hard we have worked on getting Callie’s food right given her allergies, but we may have to consider the possibility of him having them too. Unless this skin stuff goes away with Benadryl and applications of flea/tick stuff every two weeks just in case it is a different kind of mite, the next step is an animal dermatologist an hour and a half away. He can’t even wear sunblock, with all the thin fur he’s getting sunburns, he has to wear shirts to protect his skin. The vet doesn’t want anything else possibly irritating him.

Charlie wears shirts
Charlie has to wear shirts for now, not happy about it! ❤️

He was SUCH a crybaby after getting his one vaccine that he literally climbed up my shirt and under my neck. He was so loud it startled both the vet tech and the vet. If it wasn’t that our wonderful vet already knew Charlie, I don’t know what she would have thought happened. She had to put a note in Charlie’s chart for any of the other vets, just in case, “Very Sensitive Boy.”

Do you have a problem child? Tell me about them!

The kiddo and the puppy
Who is cuter? The kiddo or the puppy? 😍

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s Mama B helping Charlie with his hill climbs 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Forget the Queen

It’s the start of the latest Callie’s Wag post and who do I have the most to talk about again? Charlie.

Callie looks serious
Beautiful girl 💕

Yes, he’s a puppy and definitely has the most going on in his day-to-day life but, as I opened my screen to write, I looked at Callie, next to me always, and she raised her head as though to say,

“Remember mom, this blog started because of me.”

That’s my own guilt giving her a voice on a subject to which she cares nothing about.

Her upset wasn’t made up, though, when I had to take Charlie with me to a work meeting last week.

I couldn’t leave him here for the four hours I was going to be gone (over-coddler here!) and so I felt worse and worse as Callie grew more excited at the sight of me packing my work bag. She LOVES going to the office. I don’t know why… that’s a lie, I do. She gets at least one duck wing as soon as we get there, so she’ll settle down while we meet.

Sometimes she doesn’t get to go “with” my work bag, and that’s sad but ok, but this time, I took Charlie of all things! I committed a grave crime in Callie’s book. She snubbed me for hours after we got home.

Callie’s been trying harder to claim us. She’s apter to snuggle up tight or to ask for pets now than she ever was before. We have to make a conscious effort to pay as much attention to her as to Charlie. She second guesses things that used to be solid, like when we release her for dinner. We had to work to get her to sit and wait again when he first got here, so now she hesitates every meal and has to be told at least twice that she can get up and eat.

As so often happens when a new “baby” of any kind arrives in the house, not only is the routine is forgotten but, often, others are pushed aside for a while. I started this blog for her, and, while it’s now about both of them, today it is reminding me that I haven’t given enough of my time or of myself to Callie lately. It’s time for Charlie to take some daily breaks just for Callie and me to get back to our adventures.

No worries though, I’m sure every post is going to include updates on him too. How could they not? For Charlie is quite the puppy.

Cute Charlie on his bed
I’m SO cute – How could I be any trouble?

Speaking of the little devil, Charlie’s had a big week. After we finally got rid of those lovely parasites that came here too and started to put a little weight on the boy, he suffered a sports injury.

It was a 4 lb puppy vs. an 8 y/o girl. They were running around the tennis courts where we live and Charlie, being the underfoot dog he is, ran right in front of her. She tried so hard to stop and then to jump over him, but ended up stepping on his side. Thank goodness, he showed no signs of any serious internal injury or major broken bones although he kept crying out when we would hold him in certain ways. Charlie and I went to the vet the next day to find out his first rib was broken.

Accidents happen. They do. There are so many stories like Charlie’s where everything went fine, but MAN, it was scary as anything!

The worst part was that when he would go to the bathroom, he would compensate for the weakness in his front arm by stepping his back leg out to the side. We are doing everything we can to prevent issues from his luxating patellas, and weird stances compound it.

It does seem like his right hind knee is already bothering him some even as the rib heals. Last night I think he tweaked it while eating and now he thinks the food bowl did it to him. I had to hand feed the silly puppy dinner, and he only ate half his breakfast. I suppose he needs an elevated bowl, but how are you expected to elevate one for an animal which stands about 8 inches tall?!?!? 😆 I tried a cardboard box. Fail.

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Getting back to the beautiful girl, yesterday evening Callie reminded me that I needed to take care of her too. Although I wanted to do the easy – go out, pee, poop, go inside – deal as I was tired, she wanted to go around the smallish grass circle in the middle of our current condo space, one of her favorite things to do. So I indulged her, stopping at every smell, letting her lead the way, and, as we came back around to our door, she bounded like a puppy, a huge grin on her face.

Just in case you haven’t seen in yet – here’s crazy puppy in action this week, choosing his favorite classifieds.