Monday, 26 November 2007

On the "Up" bit of the rollercoaster

Today was a day of relief (in some ways) and celebration.
For Mum, we saw the surgeon and (at last) had confirmation that her cancers were metastatic but they are operable. Cannot quite explain the relief that hope brings. She will need a number of operations, the first in a couple of weeks. Poor Mum is in for a tough time. But the fact that they are offering them means that they think the prognosis is good. The surgeon was wonderful with both her and me. We even managed to have a laugh and he put us both at ease. It appears that the reason she has had such a bad time with cancer is genetic, since she leads such a healthy life and has been so unlucky. So he pointed out that I needed to be very careful too. Time to clean up my act I feel :o) So...."My body is a temple (and not a cesspit)" is my new mantra :o)

Then, down to the vets to pick up Yogi Bear. All was well this morning, Rich took him in at 11 as agreed. Then Allyson called at 12.30 saying that John wanted to see us at 3 i.e. we couldn't have him back until then. When I got back from the hospital and heard that, my immediate thoughts were that something was wrong. But no, John is DELIGHTED with him. I don't think that he can quite believe how well he is doing in tolerating the chemo. He seemed quite thrilled. And I don't imagine that John does "thrilled" that often:o) His blood count is up from last week. HandH, thank you so very much for the tips about cottage cheese and flax oil. It is working.
John tells me that Yogi will need chemo each week for 2 months then every other week and so on, gradually reducing. If he continues the way he is doing............ I was going to tempt fate and say what John thinks his lifespan COULD be. But I won't. He is doing brilliantly and the chemo is working for him and not knocking him out in any way. That is good enough for me.
Now, he is very contented, fed and sporting a natty little blue bandage on his leg.
Time for a walk...........

Saturday, 24 November 2007

My week

I have sort of hummed and hah'd whether to dump this in here. But have decided that although it is ultimately Yogi's journey, it's mine too and since all this has happened, I have found "blogging" strangely cathartic.
Around the time that Yogi was diagnosed with cancer, my mum was too. I felt that I had been dealt a double blow and that my life was falling apart. I think it's the shock of the "C" word. It always seems so inevitable that this will be the end. Mum has had cancer before. 6 years ago she had lung cancer and made a complete recovery. No chemo, "just" an operation to remove it. At the beginning of this year she had bowel cancer. Once again, no chemo it was caught early and removed by an operation. Again I thought she was cured and aside from a fairly long recovery period, she has done brilliantly. At 72 she is living independently and very fit as well, walking her dog 3 times a day and helping me to look after mine. So when she called me and said that she had cancer again in the lung and in the adrenal glands, those horrendous feelings of hopelessness seemed to overwhelm me. She told me that they were "independent cancers" i.e. not metastatic and that they were operable. So once again we played the waiting game for biopsies and consultations. I felt quite positive as I don't believe that she would have said anything if she believed it was terminal. She has always said that she wouldn't say until she had to. Anyway, this week she had an appointment at the hospital for the results of a lung biopsy. She wouldn't let me go with her (said there was no need) but my brother insisted on going with her. That's when the doctor mentioned that she also has breast cancer too. I fell to pieces when I found out. She is still saying that everything will be dealt with by operations. I am not so sure. I am terrified but can't show it. She I think is terrified but can't show it. As is my brother. I feel as if I don't know "how to be" much of the time. On Monday Rich is taking Yogi for his chemo and I am taking my mum to see a consultant for the adrenal gland cancer. I need to spend this weekend sorting out a list of questions and trying to stay strong when in reality I am very scared.

Yogi's week

This week has been a good one for Yogi, apart from last Monday when I thought that the session at the vets distressed him. He has been feeling pretty much on top of the world I think. His sleeping pattern has improved so much that he probably only gets up once in the night to go to the toilet and last night he didn't wake at all. When he does wake up though, he generally needs a snack to see him through to the morning (or so he says :o). His appetite is still as voracious as ever and he seems to need constant refueling at every possible opportunity. He has ways and means of making himself clear too. While watching television the other night, Yogi was sat at my feet. I noticed he was watching me intently, I was gazing somewhere over the top of his head doing my utmost not to make eye contact I had just sat down, he had been walked, fed and fussed so thought that just for a short while I could have a "moment". Not allowed in Yogi's book. His eyes bored into me, when he realized that they weren't making any difference, he tried scooting round a bit to the left, still on his bottom, neck elongated (for maximum effect) trying to find a space in my eyeline. A couple more shifts to the right and then backwards followed by a tiny whine and I was lost :o) Laughing at his antics he got his way and won (again) I went off to the kitchen, got him his snack. THEN he was a contented dog.
His wound is also healing well, there are a couple of raised bits, but it's not open anymore.

Also, Allyson spoke to John and he has agreed that Yogi can reduce his time spent at vets, providing he responds well to the chemo. So he will go in at 11, have his chemo and any other tests he needs, then come home around 1. THAT is fantastic.

I'm not sure where this came from, but since he has lived with us he has had a lovely habit of sucking things, almost like sucking a dummy. He will suck, his eyes go dreamy and he seems to go into a sort of trance. It's gorgeous to watch. For a while when he was first ill, he wasn't interested. Now he is back to suckling which is brilliant. It seems to calm him. Here he is with his favourite toy...

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


I have just been reading s post about loss and moving on. I really know how he feels but have no idea what to say to add any comfort. The only thing I can say is it takes time to accept, not "get over" but just accept what has happened, but I'm sure he knows that already. Losing a loved one (pet or person) leaves such a massive hole and memories that inevitably come thick and fast seem impossible to deal with. I find Christmas especially hard and I am afraid I am a bit of a "bah humbug" at this time of year. If I could go to sleep about now and wake on 2nd January that would do me fine. Yes, I know I am a miserable git :o). I think that the problem is everyone "expects" everyone to be ecstatically happy, more so than the rest of the year (obviously). It puts a sort of pressure that automatically makes me think of times past when that animal/friend/relative was still with me.
Graham, ignore me, Tilly will see you through and you KNOW that Prince will still be with you both.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

We are knackered...........


Tonight, I saw Allyson, one of the vet nurses while riding and had a chat with her about my concerns for Yogi while he was in having his chemo. She assured me that he would have been taken out regularly but said she would make sure he was taken out more often next time he was in. We also discussed the option of taking him in later and picking him up earlier so that he is in for shorter length of time. She is going to have a word with John tomorrow to make sure that this is OK, but she thinks it will be fine. I am SO relieved. She is also going to take some pictures while he is having his treatment to put our minds at rest. What a star!
I have also started adding cottage cheese to their food (both Larry and Yogi think that was a terrific suggestion) and some "sprouted" flax seeds (not such a great suggestion :o)). Thank you
HandH. The oil will follow as soon as I can get to the shops.
Yogi is still "bubbly" and happy and that makes me happy too :o)

Loads of good wishes and support are going to Herbie right now who is having a tough time at the moment.

Monday, 19 November 2007

3rd Chemo

Today Yogi went in for chemo number 3. Masses of trepidation again. How will he react? Is he doing well? Is it just my imagination that he seems brighter? Running the rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis is just so tough. Yes, he looks great, but is he feeling more tired than usual? Why did he spit out that piece of cheese (he ate it again when Larry was about) ? Are his glands really getting smaller, or is it my imagination -again?.....Speaking to John (vet) this evening, he was very positive. He thought that Yogi was doing brilliantly. He is slightly anaemic which may be due to the cancer or the chemo. Not sure which yet, but further blood tests will monitor the situation. He had his stitches out but there are a couple of "holes" open that need to be kept very clean. That is due to the pred and rest of chemo drugs, with everything else that are doing, they are also stopping a complete healing process. Need to keep an eye on them to make sure they are clean. Leaving him at the vets was also horrible. Up until today he trotted off happily with the nurses, not today though, he was struggling to get back to me as they took him off. I felt such a heel. One thing that REALLY is worrying me is that he is not getting out often enough for a wee while he is at the vets. When he was collected, I am sure he wee'd for about 30 seconds, it was gushing out of him. They also said that he barked continously. He is a barker, but not fanatical about it. I think that he was uncomfortable. I will have a word next week and make sure that he is taken out more regularly - if that is the problem. Or it maybe that he was just chatting. I hope so. The last thing I want to do is make his life more uncomfortable than it needs to be. I know that in reality, it maybe months rather than longer and I want that time to be happy for him. This evening though, he is as bright as a button, wanting to eat everything in sight and just being the happy, boisterous Yogi he has always been. Long may it last.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Larry's Story - part 1

Each morning I take the dogs out separately as I think it's good for them to have some time away from each other and also where they can have my time exclusively to themselves. Weekend walks are pack affairs though.
This morning Larry seemed a bit disgruntled (nothing new there) when pressed it appears that he feels it is unfair that Yogi is getting all the attention and fame, when he (Larry) is an equally interesting character. So, I agreed to write his story for him - although he did say "no pictures". I will try to persuade him otherwise, may need to talk to his agent :o))
At the time we found Larry, we had 2 dogs, Max and Yogi, we weren't looking for a 3rd at all. We had had Yogi for almost a year and had decided that it would be good to "give something back" and help out at the rescue centre where Yogi was from. Fatal really. In one of the kennels was a large thin Border Collie. No-one was supposed to go near him and no-one could walk him except the kennel owner. From a distance I could see that he was very distressed, completely manic, and when approached was down right vicious. If I was to walk passed his kennel, he would go completely demented, fling himself at the bars frothing at the mouth. I know that collies don't always do well in a kennel environment, they find it too stressful. But I couldn't believe the level of his unhappiness. The kennel had a "non distruct" policy. In cases like that, I am not sure that I agree with them. Asking for a bit of background on him, I found that he had been picked up as a stray by the police about 6 months previously. Police report stated that he was a bit "off the wall" and nervy. Then he had been rehomed to a man with another dog. When he bit the man, he was returned to the kennel. That was all I could find out. The only thing I could see was that the kennel owner could walk him but needed to keep away from anyone while doing so. That's where my sleepless nights started. How could a dog like that ever be rehomed? How could a dog like that live out the rest of his days cooped up for the most part alone in a small kennel. Did he just have to wait to die of old age or some stress related condition? At that time, I had a couple of weeks off work and was going to the kennels daily. I decided to make it my mission to see if I could get through to him a bit. It started with me just walking passed his kennel often, every 15 minutes or so, not looking at him, just passing so that he got used to me being there. A couple of times I tried offering a biscuit, but even without looking at him, he would fling himself at the bars frothing at the mouth. After about a week of this, I noticed that he had stopped going mad as I walked by. Still looked very wary but not trying to "go" for me. I tried just putting a biscuit through the bars and walking on. He would eat them (I think) when I had dissappeared. What progress!!! From there, he started to come round a bit. Couldn't touch him (I wouldn't have tried anyway) but he seemed more accepting of my presence. One day I thought that's it, I have to try and walk him. I asked the kennel owner to get him out for me. Talk about scared though. Once he was out of the kennel, I quietly took the lead said nothing and just started walking. He wasn't calm, but he didn't look as if he would bite me. Not unless I pushed any boundaries that is. We walked, saying nothing, just sort of sizing each other up I guess. I cannot put into words how proud I felt. And I think at that point I thought "this dog is not staying here". So now what, I have partially won the trust of highly nervous, unknown quantity. What on earth do I do now? I had 2 other dogs at home, worked full time and a husband (this dog hated men with even more of a passion than I thought he hated me). But the fact that he was coming round meant that there was no way I could let him down now. It had occured to me that if I could bring him round, then someone else could get to know him too. Then they would give him a nice home and all the time that he needed. Pipe dream. Although people loved the way he looked, no-one was willing to take a chance or give him the time to gain trust. Rich was totally supportive and we had to figure out a way of getting Larry to accept him and Max and Yogi. Tall order. What we did was go to the kennel each day with both dogs, I would take Larry out (by this time, I could go into his kennel and put a lead on him) and Rich, Max and Yogi would walk about 20 feet behind. Every so often Larry would turn his head and growl. A low growl but nothing terrible. I would just ignore him and keep walking. Each day, the "Pack" would get a little nearer. Larry would still growl a bit, but their presence didn't seem to make him any worse. Result really. After I think a couple of weeks, we were walking almost side by side, probably with about a five foot gap. But at least we could chat and the dogs could see each other properly. I don't think at this point Rich had even touched him. Sometimes, we would leave the dogs behind and just the 3 of us would walk. Larry still did his turn around and growl thing, but it seemed more like a grumble that anything more sinister. And as we have got to know him better, we have found that he IS a grumpy old dog :o) That's his nature. By this time we knew that somehow he was coming home. It was really frightening to take on something like this. If it didn't work there was NO WAY he was ever going back to the kennel, it sounds awful, but I would rather have put him to sleep.
The big day arrived when Larry was coming home. Had no idea of what he was like in a house, whether he was a chewer, housetrained, barker or even whether he could be left for any length of time. I think that we just thought that this would be his one and only chance and we all had to give it a go.
So, the plan was to introduce the dogs on neutral territory. A walk completely away from home that was new to all of them. I bundled Larry into my little car (had no idea how he travelled either) The other 2 were in the "dog wagon". It was dusk but we wanted to walk quite a way to wear them all out a bit before they all got home. The funny thing was, that day in the kennel, Larry had been so calm and so quiet, almost as if he knew that all his woes were over. It was really very strange. I was worried that he was ill.
The walk went well, all dogs pretty much ignored each other and just concentrated on sniffing, weeing and other doggy pursuits. The humans though were on tenterhooks. What if, what if??? When we got home and unloaded them all from their respective cars, we wanted them all to enter the house more or less together. God knows how, but this worked. Although as soon as Larry started to go in, he sunk to his belly. The poor dog was absolutely petrefied. He slunk through the front door, and as soon as the door shut, he laid down. The other dogs, bless them, just left him completely alone. They were just milling around, asking for grub, and acting like all was normal. Still at this point Rich hadn't touched him and it was the first time that both of them had been together without Larry being on a lead. Rich was sensible and left him alone, Larry was sensible and stayed lying down just taking in his surroundings. We just carried on as normal around him letting him be. After a while, I started to get a bit concerned as to why he still hadn't moved. I had never "examined" him what with his boundary issues, and wondered if all was OK. So slowly, slowly, I squatted down beside him and ran my hands gently over him. This seemed to relax him amazingly enough. When I got to his feet I noticed that they were raw and covered in blisters. The poor dog must have been in absolute agony. He had never shown lameness, but I think with 6 months of pounding from one side of his kennel to another, he had wrecked his paws. He let me wash them and dry them (I think that's when we really bonded) and put some cream to soothe them. It seemed to help because he stood up then and wandered around the kitchen to the back door. At least he had come off his belly now. He wanted to go out but couldn't walk on the concrete to the grass. Now what? He needed to be carried. Another test that he passed with flying colours. I think he knew that we were just there to help.........
Larry's agent has just called and agreed that a picture can be posted. Fee to be agreed. I suspect that it will be in bones, but you can never quite tell with Larry.
So here he is........relaxing in Devon earlier this year....

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Even Yogi Bear's must take their medicine...

A spoonful of yoghurt helps the medicine go down.....even if it does drip all over his chest and the floor :o)

Friday, 16 November 2007


This isn't a dilemma about Yogi's illness as such. It is more a dilemma about time management in general. Yogi is doing really well. He has had 2 chemo sessions, his glands have gone right down (I can only feel 1 up slightly in his neck). He is happy, full of life and eating brilliantly. BUT him being ill makes me think about the limited time we have to spend with him day to day. Both of us work. We travel quite a few miles daily. When we adopted dogs originally, we always took on older or old dogs who probably would not be taken on by many due to health, age or behavioural issues. We felt that even though their time with us was limited, they would have a safe, comfortable and loving home for the rest of their lives. Yogi is the youngest dog we have had. Yes, he did have behavioural problems, he had had at least 3 homes previously that didn't work out, but he seemed to fit in with Max and we thought we could give him a good life. I think we have, but in the back of my mind I always feel a bit guilty that we work and the dogs have to "fit in" with us. He has fitted in brilliantly however (all credit to him) and has learnt that yes, he does have periods where he is "in charge" but that he has a routine that he can cope with and seems to be happy with. But since he has been ill, it has become evident that he can't manage for the length of time that we are not here. At the moment it's sorted. My Mum comes round every couple of hours to give them a cuddle, a snack and let them out for a wee. This is working well but still makes me feel guilty. I expect that anyone with animals or kids probably feels the same at some point. I have a sympathetic boss, so if the worst came to the worst, I guess I could probably work from home sometimes.
Anyway, that is not an issue just now and for now I am grateful that he is doing well and all things crossed that he continues to do so.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Good News !

Well, I think that this dog is trying his hardest to exhaust us. 4am this morning it was time for another wee break. That's fine except he was pulling a "fast one". Quick wee and then time to settle down, in the rain for a good old chew on a bone. I was standing like an idiot at the back door trying to whisper sternly for him to come in. He had his back to me and had absolutely NO intention of leaving that old bone. OK, so stern whispering wouldn't do it, lets try garlic sausage. Into the fridge for a slice and then out into the rain and dark, in slippers that immediately got soaked, to dangle a bit of sausage in front of his nose. Nothing. Not even a break in chewing. He knows he shouldn't bring bones in the house so he just stayed there munching loudly. In the end, I had to break the rules, let him in with bone AND give him the sausage. Guess I know who's boss then?
One hour later and it was time to get up to walk them.....
Today, we had great news, the vet called and said we could start to cut down his steroids. He was on 7 a day, now it will be 4 every other day! Bit worried though, is that normal so soon?
Also, does anyone know anything about dogs that have gone into remission? I keep thinking of questions, but never when I am at the vets it seems.....
One thing that I am trying and have been since he became ill is Photonic Therapy - it is like acupuncture but using light to stimulate the points. I did a course here last year. It won't do any harm and it is worth a try, I am also using it on myself to keep calm. The funny thing is, every time I use the torch on him (that's what it is, a torch using specific wavelengths to stimulate healing) he reacts in some way, at first he used to growl a little, it doesn't hurt, but he must "feel" something, or he would lick a specific point on his foot. I so hope it is helping him.
So, all in all, it seems to be more positive. Vet says not to get hopes up just yet, but if there is no hope, what is there?
Success!! Photo at last :o)

Monday, 12 November 2007

2nd Chemo

Well, he went and he didn't look back when Rich left him with Allyson the veterinary nurse apparently :o) That is such a relief. If he was nervous of the vets (like Prince was) it would be that much harder. The chemo was administered easily and the vets were pleased with him. The only thing they said was that every time the phone went, he barked - "does he normally bark a lot?" Yep, he does :o) Allyson insisted that he was just happy. I like that thought....
Today was our first day back at work since the diagnosis. It is hard but because he is feeling well, makes it easier. The thing that worries me is him being on his own (well, with Larry) and needing a wee, or feeling hungry. I have asked my mum to drop round and let them out while we are out so that there is never longer than 2 hours gap. I hope that is enough for my little fountain dog.
No more vets until next Monday now, providing all is well. Fingers crossed.....
Still struggling to upload pics, keep getting an annoying red cross in place of the photo. Hope to figure it out soon.

Sunday, 11 November 2007


Tomorrow Yogi is going for his second chemo session at the vets.
Scary because he will be there all day and how will he react to the drugs?
Trying to keep positive for him as that is what he needs right now, this is his chance to get better.
All things are crossed for him.
Incidentally, he has just feasted on veggie sausages, I don't think he is worried at all thankfully.

Poo :o)

Now why am I obsessed by poo? I think it's because it's a marker of how we (the boys) are doing on a daily basis. Reading brought it home to me that this topic forms a major part of my day to day life, even more so at the moment. Morning conversations go something like this......
"How are the boys"
"Have they "been"?" "What was it like?"
And then a dialogue ensues including colour, amount, number etc.
This has become even more paramount since Yogi has not been well i.e. he has not been "going" so much or they haven't been "looking" like they should.
Is this normal? I have no idea. Should I be embarrassed to admit this fixation about dogs dumping? Probably.
But still it continues and we also rave about the best "poo bags" and the fact that they are buried in just about every pocket of every article of clothing that I possess.
For the record, today Yogi's poo is great, copious, normal and just what I would want :o)))

Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day, the day that we remember all who have fought and are still fighting in the horrific wars that have taken place and are continuing to take place.
For us also, it is the day 2 years ago that we said goodbye to Max (or Eggy as he was affectionately known), our beloved Labrador cross who lost his fight with liver cancer. Rest in peace Maxie, I know that you are out there somewhere, you will never be forgotten. xxxxxx

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Today is a Good Day !!!!

The day or rather night started at around midnight with Yogi needing his first wee break of the 8 hours or so that I used to like to spend asleep. That's fine, I just wish he would give me a little time to drag something on before the barking becomes so urgent that I end up flying down the stairs hoping that all is well when I reach the back door! The second marathon was at 3. This time he also thought it was an appropriate time to lay down in the garden having a chew of an old bone. Patience somewhat deserted me then and I am afraid I insisted that he return - sharpish ! I know that it is all down to the steroids - he is on 7 Prednisolone a day. He also has a voracious appetite. It worries me how much I should feed him to satisfy his hunger and balance that without "overloading" him. If anyone has any tips, they would be gratefully received.
Yogi woke up nice and rested (lucky boy) and enjoyed his trundle around the village first thing. He is back to his old ways of snaffling any bit of discarded food that gets within snout distance. Deeply afronted if I spot it first and then deploy any avoidance tactics. Today is also "chemo day" where he has his 3 times a week dose of Endoxana, plus Pred, plus synulox and a pain killer (rimadyl) for good measure. (he will also go once a week for his intravenous Vincristine) Poor little chap positively rattles. These days it is a breeze getting his tabs down him. Dairylea and a smile work wonders :o)
He and the long suffering Larry went on an outing today. Lunch at Granny's (my mum). Big worry as to whether we should walk round. It is only a couple of miles away but John (vet) said that the steriods will make him feel pretty invincible and do things that maybe he shouldn't. We decided that the walk would do him good, nice and gentle and if the worst came to the worst and he appeared tired in any way, we would hitch a lift home with "granny".
All went well, and Yogi was back to his normal style of pulling almost like a small train. The last couple of days he has had to wear his halti again. I find that brilliant. Although lovely to walk a dog that doesn't pull, a dog that doesn't pull is not Yogi.
As soon as he walked through the front door without so much as a "hello" to the residents - mum and Fudge, he nicked her rawhide bone (Fudge's not mum's :o)) and settled down for a good old chew. Bemused onlookers a plenty.
All went well until the food started appearing. I had given him a snack before we left so he wouldn't feel too hungry. He was eyeing everything up and positively begging for stuff. Something he hasn't done for years. When we first knew him, he was pretty much starving and a terrible thief. A good feeding routine and teaching him some basic manners had stopped this over a period of time. Now the thief was back! Our backs were turned for a moment and his paws were on the table and he had nicked some buscuits. Ever so quietly too :o) Must say, I was rather impressed!
That is one of the things that worries me though. I absolutely HATE the thought of him feeling hungry, but am worried that he shouldn't over do it. Also, don't want to upset his stomach with all the drugs he is on.
Any ideas, suggestions would be most welcome.
One slight downer is that someone was sick in the night. Not sure if it was Larry or Yogi and nothing since but that's how all this started. So will continue keeping a close eye, try not to worry too much and enjoy them both immensely.
Now I am going to attempt to post some photo's so all can see what gorgeous boys they are :o)

Saturday 10th November

Today I have just read 2 lovely comments from Graham, Prince & Tilly and Linda Seid Frembes, cannot quite describe how much it means to know that the love and support is there for us. Although it is horrible to know that both of you have had such sad losses so recently, you are still willing to give so much support. Thank you both so very much.
Have just read and sobbed and laughed through Linda's blog about Watson. He sounds wonderful, such a character. You should be very proud of yourself. Graham's blog had the same effect on me too when I first stumbled on it a few days ago, Prince is a little gem. But both are so helpful, realising that there are good and bad days, focus on the good and enjoy each moment as a gift. Waldo and Tilly have much to live up to, but you know that is what they are there for. They will both help you heal.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

At the vets.....again......

Today was the first vet visit since chemo. I have been checking Yogi's glands daily for any changes. I thought that they seemed smaller but wondered whether it was just wishfull thinking on my part. John confirmed that yes, they were smaller, much smaller. Still there but better. Not sure if this is normal. John did say though, that it was very early days and his boisterous behaviour would have a lot to do with the massive amounts of steroids he was taking. We also need to make sure that he rests a lot. The massive abdominal surgery that he had just over a week ago will take time to heal. It looks so much better though. That means no jumping for a ball. Difficult when the little man loves to play ball. Never mind, he is feeling great and that's all that matters. Time for my R&R now, off riding. This will give us all a break :o)

8th November

Today has been great so why do I feel like crying? Yogi has been bright he slept through the night and taken all his tablets with absolutely no problem. His and Larry's dearest friend Fudge is round for the day and all are playing, chewing bones and generally having a good time. I am probably exhausted through all this and just having a bad day. He isn't, so that is brilliant. Off later for a check at the vets........

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


Oh no, things were going so well. Larry and Yogi were playing happily together both trying to get the same ball and Yogi bit his tongue. Blood everywhere. I think that the medication makes everything more fragile. So much blood. Think it is slowing now. Really have to keep a close eye on them. Just so happy to see them playing. Something that has not been evident for such a long time or so it seems.......Tissues, water and keeping him still seems to have calmed it thankfully.....What a rollercoaster. Living and learning all the time. Time to relax and chill I think..........

7th November

One happy dog this morning. He slept through the night and was bright and keen to go out and do doggy things at 6am. So much more like his normal self. Still worried about giving him the tablets that he needs in the morning. Luckily, last night I spoke to a friend who is a veterinary nurse who has loads of experience with this sort of thing. She recommended dairy lee squidgy cheese triangles as the way to get those tabs slipping down. (I had already tried a variety of foods to wrap them in with no joy) I decided that this time I should do medicines before breakfast. That way at least I had a chance of him having them. And YES, she was right, they all disappeared as they should with no fuss whatsoever. One very happy and relieved "mum".

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

6th November

A good nights sleep at last. Even though Yogi woke me up at midnight for a wee. The lovely thing was that as he was passing his food bowl, he stuck his head in to see if there was anything there and was lucky. There were some bits left over and he gobbled them up. That made it all worth while getting up :o). In the morning he was still bright, wanted to go out for a walk and wanted breakfast. For the first time in 2 weeks he followed me round while I was preparing both his and Larry's breakfast (Larry is a Border Collie who is Yogi's constant companion, although not keen on people, other than his immediate family, he is genuinely fond of his furry friend). I am wondering whether to give Yogi his vast quantity of pills first or to watch him enjoy a hearty breakfast first. Afraid that my needs won and I fed him. Lovely to see him eat. But then I had scuppered my chances of getting him to eat 11 pills in food. No matter, i will just slip them down his throat (I naively thought). Yogi had other ideas and I got bitten. Well not so much bitten as his jaws closed around my finger. Much blood and worry later, plus some leather gloves and a determined air, he had swallowed most of them. I have decided I need a better plan so plan B will be formed (when I can think of it :o)

5th November

Today, Yogi will not eat, he has not eaten since Saturday morning and today is Monday. His glands are huge and up all over his body and he has been coughing throughout the night. Yet he looks quite bright. He STILL wants to go for a walk - albeit short. I am really praying that John will start his chemo today. His wound looks good, no leaking and he seems less sore.
At the vets John examines him. Confirms that his glands are bigger and that yes, he needs to start chemo today. Once again, worry over leaving him, worry over giving him chemo. And worry over everything else that is unknown. He will need to stay in for the next few hours to make sure that there is no reaction to the drugs he is given.
Another long wait to go through.....
6 hours later and he is back. Looking VERY bright and VERY hungry:o) (steroids have that effect) It is SO fantastic to see him tucking into his food. He even ate his vegetables :o). He looked happy and enthusiastic and even managed to bark at the fireworks. So relieved and so happy:o)))

2nd November

The last few days have been up and down for all of us. Yogi has had periods of eating a little and being fairly bright. Considering that he is probably the world's biggest glutton under normal circumstances, this is worrying. Understandably he is in pain from his operation. But I still wish that he would eat more. Everything possible is being offered to him. From roast topside of beef to veggie sausages (odd, but he loves them). He will eat a little, then nothing. Today is the day he gets the results. Today we will know if he has cancer or not. There is always hope when he is looking brighter and trying to eat and get stronger. As the day wore on, he started to look more listless and tired. Worry set in and the worst is feared. By the time his appointment was due, we both felt that we would be saying goodbye shortly. I cannot describe how devastating that feeling is.

When we got to the vets, he seemed more full of himself. More like the old Yogi. Hope started to return even more as he had "a go"at another dog in the waiting room.
John (the vet) called us in. Wasting no time, he said that yes, he had cancer, but not the one that he had feared (multicentric lymphoma) it was lymphoma, but a much rarer one that began in the alimentary canal and could be treated by chemotherapy. Talk about mixed emotions. Yes, he had cancer, but now there was a chance. Now the problem was trying to take in everything that was being explained. He needed to balance the healing of the (substantial) wound with the starting of chemo. Otherwise the steroids would break down the healing of cells that had already taken place. Since Yogi's glands were growing on a daily basis, I thought that he should start as soon as possible. John wanted to wait until a week after the operation to give maximum healing time for the wound. Since he looked bright this should be OK. So he was taken home with the idea of feeding him up, resting and praying that he would be well enough to start his chemo on the 6th November.

Monday, 5 November 2007

30th October

Yogi has a massive wound, when we went to pick him up, he was very drowsy, quite depressed and in pain. Despite painkillers, his eyes seemed vacant, he seemed to have lost hope. He still had no interest in food and his coat was dull. Still no idea of what was wrong, but some suspicion that it was actually cancer.

Where it all began

My little black dynamite was fine until about 23rd October when his appetite wasn't quite as it should have been. Nothing to worry about, just an off day (or so we thought). Days and nights followed when he was absolutely fine in himself, he threw up a bit, but nothing that we thought was an issue (dogs do sometimes) plus he was so happy and so lively in himself. Just eating a little less maybe. We'll keep an eye on him and see how he goes.......
28th October - he refused a piece of cheese - unheard of - definitely something wrong. So off to the vet with Yogi. He had been coughing a little so in the absence of any specific syptoms, (examined all over, lymph glands, tummy, temperature, heart etc) he was treated for kennel cough. Relieved that everything was going to be "OK", took him home.
The following day 29th October, still no appetite, more worried now as he looked OK, just not eating.
Back to the vets, saw regular vet, John, who wanted to keep him in for an xray. He thought that he would have a look at his gut (as he was a little sensitve there-but knowing Yogi, could just be babyish behaviour).
The xray showed a mass where his stomach "should be". Really worried now, the vet decided to open him up. He found that the spleen was folded (which was the mass) but not an issue. What was an issue though, was the enlarged lymph node at the pyloric sphincter (exit of the stomach)
Still not sure what was wrong as all the symptoms were atypical. Not as they should be for cancer, but still no explanation for anything else. An aspiration was taken of the lymph node and then we wait..............

A bit of background.......

Yogi is an endearing bundle of black fur. Possibly a Belgian Shepherd crossed with Collie maybe. We came across him while he was "banged up" in the local animal rescue centre nearly 7 years ago. Having recently lost Spook to senile dementia, a lovely, very old Greyhound x, we were looking for some company for Max, a Labrador x. We thought that we would look for an older dog, possibly a calm bitch, who would benefit from a peaceful home and the company of friendly Max. Since plans never seem to go exactly as they should, we met Yogi. He was sitting in his cage with his face pressed up against the bars, not barking or running around, but seemed to be saying urgently with that gorgeous, expressive face that he has "pick me, pick me. PLEASE !!". A walk followed and he got on well with Max, that seemed to settle it. Then we had a chat with the kennel owners. Apparently he had been picked up as a stray, then re-homed twice but could not settle. He had separation anxiety and was rather uncontrollable they said. They were quite right too :o). His separation anxiety was sorted out fairly quickly by using common sense and a good routine. His boisterous and unpredictable behaviour has taken far longer. He is now just about getting there. He has managed to get himself into some amazing scrapes along the way. Jumping from a first floor window (no injuries), escaping from a garden miles from home and wandering into someones house so they could sort him out, jumping over a barbed wire fence and not quite making it (nasty injuries) and finding a hornets nest and stepping on it (badly stung). But despite his wayward ways, he is a loving, intelligent, happy soul who gives so much pleasure to all who meet him.