Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 27-29, Monday-Wednesday


Believe it or not, there really isn't much to report today. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, and Elvis joined me and Haley and Skeeter. He even more or less held his ground when I was rattling muffin tins around. I tried to do it as quietly as possible, and he did seem to be more interested in the smells from the oven than the banging of the utensils.

He does seem to be making a stand against Savoy on occasion. I'm not sure this is a good thing because while Skeeter and Savoy chase each other in play, Elvis seems to think it's something other than play. I've had to stop him from that this evening and it's something I want to keep an eye on. I do know Elvis has a real problem if one of the cats stare at him. That's at least understandable, but I don't want to see budding self-confidence turn into aggression. That won't work in this house, so it's a situation that definitely will be monitored.

Other than that, though, he's doing very well. Again it's hard to believe how much progress he's made in just a little over two weeks. And he's obviously benefiting from a better diet. His weight is stabilizing in the 8 pound range, his coat is softer and has a gloss that comes from the inside out rather than something put on it from the outside.

I've got company coming on Sunday, so I hope to post a three day update that morning.


Went by and picked up Elvis' Lasix this morning. I also asked Liz to talk to the vet about the possibility of heartworm treatment if his condition continues to improve. I've no idea if it's even an option, but if it is, I'd like to work towards it with him since he's stabilizing so nicely. I'm not sure a senior dog with congestive heart failure and untreatable heartworms is adoptable, but if not, he's got a place here for as long as he needs it. He's in no danger of being evicted.

There's also been a new development in the treats department. Night before last, when I was putting him in his crate, he licked at the treat/bribe I had in my fingers. Last night, he nibble at my fingers when I was holding it. Today, I held him here at my desk and he took a treat out of my fingers. He did the same with Randall. This is a really advance because he's been really scared of hands if he's unsure of the movement. It's made it kind of tough for me because training show dogs to "watch my hands" is second nature and NOT meant the way poor little Elvis apparently thinks of it. Anyway, this is a plus and I'm hoping in a day or two he'll take the treat directly from my hand if I'm not holding him.

He's still doing a bit of leg lifting. Maybe every couple of days even though he's got many opportunities to go outside. I'm not really surprised considering he's intact and was used at stud. Hopefully it will get less and less as time goes by.


Things are pretty much in a holding pattern here. We continue to work with Elvis to get him over whatever it is that he's decided Randall is going to do. We're still not sure what set this off, but Randall has been going out of his way to pet him and pick him up and just generally coddle him. Elvis still goes over to him for "protection" whenever I start making too much noise in the kitchen, so whatever perceived problem he has apparently isn't enough to interfere with his need for reassurance. And that's good.

Tuesday afternoon we're going to run down to the shelter and pick up another supply of Lasix. Elvis won't need to make the trip which is good considering how how it is.

One thing I haven't really mentioned in a while is his relationship with Haley and Skeeter. He still relies on them for some things. And if either of them do something, he tends to shadow them...and that's definitely good when it comes to experiencing new things and pestering people. Elvis is certainly learning from them that human attention is a good thing. :) He's also learning the joys of plate licking. He still won't put his head down in a bowl, but he does get in there and go for the plates. And since I made chicken stock today, he'll learn about cooked veggie goodies in his bowl. Since they're soft from being cooked, he should be fine with them.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 24-26, Friday-Sunday


Elvis is still a bit skittery this morning. I told Randall we'd just let him step back and treat him the way we did a few days ago. Not sure what's caused this, but it's not really unexpected, and it's not as bad as it could be. He still comes up to you, lets you come up to him and wants reassurance from people. I'm just seeing more whites of his eyes than I did a couple of days ago and he seems to panic a bit easier. We'll just let him take things at his own pace until he's ready to move forward.

I'm also going to start giving him 2 tbsp of food in the morning and the 1 1/2 tbsp at night. He's down to 7.8 which is about a half a pound less than yesterday. I really don't want him dropping below 8 if I can help it.

He just flat wouldn't settle down when we started our movie tonight. Not sure what was up, but he wanted up and then wanted down. Never really would settle, though he obviously wanted to be petted and watch TV (he really likes TVs and screensavers LOL)


Gave him a cough pill this morning. This wasn't triggered by stress, and his cough wasn't bad, but it was soft and persistent. He came in from outside with it, so I figure something out there may have triggered it. No reason to keep that going when there's a quick fix for it.

One thing we've noticed over the last couple of days since he's gone backwards a bit is that he's really pinged in on me (more than in the past) and is, for some reason, uneasy with Randall. We've always figured he was really a woman's dog, but this sudden nervousness around Randall is peculiar. We're going to work with this to see it we can get him over it. It's very strange.

He had his first nail clipping today. I was going to wait until next week, but everyones nails really needed to be cut, so I hoisted him up in my lap and did him first. I can't say he really knew what I was doing, but he handled it very well. I'm pleased because I was really afraid this would freak him out, and then I'd spend the next several days trying to get him over it. I'll just have to remember to always do him before Skeeter because that dog screams like you're cutting his nails off at the knee. LOL


Elvis is a bit more skittish than usual today. We had a crating breakdown last night with Haley who got in serious trouble for her antics. Unfortunately, Elvis was still out and about when it happened, so even though he got picked up and hugged and reassured after Haley finally got in her crate, he was still a bit unhappy. He came out just fine this morning, but I can see he's still having some reservations which means he's a little more sensitive to loud noises than usual.

He's also still hesitant around Randall...which we can't really figure out unless he's still pinged in on the cookie sheet incident of several days ago. He's unhappy if Randall stands up and comes to him, but he's fine if Randall is sitting in a chair or on the sofa. He'll come up to him. He'll sit in his lap. He's just not happy if Randall instigates the contact from a standing position. I think we're going to have to concentrate on that over the next few days and see if we can't get him to accept that a bit more.

I've pretty well got a baseline weight established on him after weighing him at the same time every day for a week. His weight seems most stable between 8-9 pounds, and I've had one day right below 8 and two days at 10. The weight fluctuation does seem to be caused by his heart condition, so what I plan on doing is aim at the 8-9 pounds as the normal weight and watch him if he goes above that for more than a couple of days.

I'll also call Kim on Monday afternoon to verify that we can pick up another batch of Lasix on Tuesday or Wednesday. I definitely prefer the liquid since he doesn't take food out of my hand which makes a pill a little more difficult. I'll post another update mid- to late week.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Elm Mott Puppy Mill Raid

Here are a couple of links about the situation Elvis came from. The link to KHOU has a video stream on it.

Houston SPCA provides shelter to dogs seized in puppy mill raid


Puppy mill - 150 dogs seized Elm Mott, TX (US)

Web piece

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I am going to change from updating his blog every day, to updating it two or three times a week. However, he's taken a couple of steps back in the last 24 hours. Not sure what has happened, but he's been skittish all day, and this may be the regression that I was sort of expecting. We'll just step back a few days in our behavior and let him take what time he needs to get back to where he was.

Also, I called to confirm the refill on his Lasix and Liz was out of the office and the vet is on vacation until Monday. I told the lady who answered the phone that I'd call up there Monday afternoon. He's got enough to last through Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday, but I don't want to wait until the last minute to get it. I also don't know if they'll want me to bring him in for a checkup or not, but I'll offer when I call

I've laid a towel down on the floor beside my desk (it's a small, empty space between my trash and recycle cans) and he's laying there most of the time. If he's not there, he's on the pillow with Haley. I was hoping he'd move to it rather than laying so much under my desk/chair because I've been afraid I'd kick him or roll over him. (Here's a pic uploaded of him snoozing there.)

Like I said, he's been skittish today. It seemed to start this morning when the towels on the line right outside the back door startled him, and it's pretty well set the tone for his whole day. Of course, he wakes up in a new world every morning, so unless this sticks around, I'm not going to worry about it. He's got more good days than bad, so he's allowed to have an off day or two. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No huge update today because I'm still knackered from our project on Sunday.

I will say that I think giving Elvis a treat for "kenneling" into his crate is going to produce the desired results of him going in on his own. It will take a few days, but now he waits behind me when it's time to go in his crate, so I do think he'll eventually go in on command.

Also, Randall and I are taking turns holding him in the kitchen when the other is rattling around. He really is going to need to be more acclimated to what goes on in the kitchen, but first he needs to understand that loud noises in there don't mean the boogie man is after him. He was watching very carefully while we were doing it. I suspect it will take a week or so to get him to where he understands what's going on, but this is the next logical step in his socialization. He's taken everything else very well, learned the lessons he's being taught, so I suspect he will grasp this in time.

Tonight while I was dishing up soup and rattling around, he stayed in the kitchen and then came on in the dining room when everyone else did. He's standing his ground more and more when he could turn and run. He's also standing still pretty much whenever we come up to him to pet him and frequently, he walks up to us when we call his name or bend over and wiggle our fingers.

I've called in a request for another bottle of Lasix. He's got enough to last through Tuesday, but I want to give the vet plenty of time to get it and take it to the shelter. I'll call tomorrow to verify they got my request, and I also want to ask if/when he'll need a checkup. I can take him with us next week if they want to see him then.

Without question he's picking up on the crate on command thing. Tonight when we were putting everyone up, Skeeter was squeaking and chattering and Haley was running in/out of her crate...both just terribly excited that I'd made new dog treats for them. I had noticed Elvis sort of waiting to go in his crate, but since his door was shut, he squeezed in with Haley. Twice! Now that he's getting a treat when he "kennels" he's really wanting to get in the matter it's the wrong crate. I figured he'd pick up on this pretty quickly. Now I'll just have to figure out how to herd him into the RIGHT crate when it's time. LOL

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I don't think there's any question Elvis' weight has changed. It may be that everything has simply redistributed, but whatever it is, I can definitely feel ribs. And he "feels" different. Even Randall has noticed it. I'm definitely going to weigh him at 4 pm over the next three days and see what's up. I'm keeping a tally, so by Thursday, I should have a good idea of where he is. I find it hard to believe our scales could be that far off...particularly when I stepped on/off three times each time I weighed him. An ounce or two I could understand, but we're talking pounds here. Perhaps being on better dog food and in a more relaxed environment is helping? I can't help but think some of this is a water weight loss/gain that's somehow related to his congestive heart failure.. I dunno. More on this in a few days.

I'm also going to try to get some different pictures of him. He's exploring more outside so that's where I'm hoping to get them. Sort of depends on the weather, since there's a line of storms headed our way. Not sure how he's going to handle thunder because he really doesn't like loud noises, but I won't know until they get here.

We swung by Petsmart this afternoon to pick up a can of dog food that I could cut up into small bits and bake to turn into treats for Elvis. I did that for one of my dachshunds when he was diagnosed as diabetic and I needed to carefully monitor his food. This is a can of Science Diet, Mature Adult, Gourmet Beef Entree. Essentially you just want a "loaf style" canned food. I slipped it out of the can and sliced it in dime or smaller bites, placed the pieces on a foil lined (and sprayed) cookie sheet and popped them in a 285 oven. Baked for 25 minutes on one side, flipped and then baked for another 25 minutes. They have to stay refrigerated, but they should work fine for a toothless senior. Just watch and be sure they don't get too crunchy.

Elvis also now has a topical flea treatment on. I put it on late this morning, and I've not seen any reactions to it, so I suspect it's fine. He's also splitting his time between laying on the pillow next to Haley and laying on the floor by my chair. It seems he may be moving towards being with humans more than dogs, which is great. I was afraid his closeness to Haley might be a problem, but it looks like he's weaning himself away from her some. He'll just move at his own pace.

Sometimes I don't know where my mind is. I'd completely overlooked the fact that one of the symptoms of congestive heart failure is weight fluctuation. That would explain the swings I'm seeing. I will go ahead and weigh him every day and keep a log of it in case it swings badly off course and I need to contact the vet, but I'm not going to worry a great deal about taking weight off. The excess weight he was carrying seems to have been water because he definitely "feels" different. Looser, I guess is the way to put it. I can also feel ribs, so I have to think that getting him on a better quality food is going to help. I'll keep an eye on his weight, but I've seen 8.6 pounds up to 11 pounds. I think that's the range I'm going to try to keep him in.

He joined us in the dining room voluntarily tonight. He doesn't like the noises when the plates are being served, but he's interested in what's on them. And he's definitely more relaxed. He'll be laying down with his head pointing away from me and when he hears my feet shift he cocks an ear back or raises his head, but he rarely turns around and generally just lays his head back down. I'm really proud of how well he's done over the last week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Week Two: July 20, 2009

(Elvis has been here one week now!)

Elvis got his second bath this morning, though since my back is acting up and I'm tired, I bathed him in the kitchen sink. I think that will be the new procedure for him. He was much calmer than last week. Hopefully this will do it for awhile, because I plan on putting on a topical flea treatment on him tomorrow morning. I want to be sure and do this in the morning in case he has a reaction to it. I've never had a problem with any of my other guys, but I really don't want a night emergency with him. His coat is definitely improving, and once he's been on the Pro Plan for awhile, I suspect it will be pretty much normal.

I'm also cutting his food back to 1 1/2 tbsp twice a day, and I'll weigh him again Thursday or Friday to see how it's going. I also want to talk to Liz or the vet and find out if heartworm treatment is a forever no-no or if it's something that can be worked for if he meets certain goals. I just don't know enough about the situation. And that's one reason I want to put the topical treatment on him. We don't have fleas, but we do have mosquitoes, and I really would like at least some protection for him.

Another afternoon/evening of not much happening since yesterday's project knocked me on my butt and I had to spend time in bed. (For those of you who don't know me, I finished a daily, six week regimen of radiation treatments for oral cancer in April 2008. It STILL effects my energy level.)

I weighed Elvis again, because after I picked up Skeeter, I thought Elvis was lighter than him. Not sure what's up, but these are digital scales and the battery may be going south. Anyway, Elvis weighed lighter than he did yesterday by a pretty significant amount. With that in mind, I'm going to go ahead and way him daily at 4 pm and see if there is any variation. I'll post what he weighs on Thursday (mainly so I can remember LOL).

He's been a bit spooky today. I suspect the scare in the kitchen two nights ago coupled with the hammering yesterday has him frazzled. He's taken a step back, but I'm not concerned. He's doing very well, overall, so I won't worry about it unless I see him stalled for a few days. And another good sign is that he hasn't had any sort of coughing fit since last week, so he's not had a cough tablet since last Tuesday.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day Six, July 19, 2009


Looks like we've gotten Elvis over much of the leg hiking and pooping. I won't go nearly so far as to say he's housebroken, but since Wednesday, there's only been one leg lifting episode. Of course we've got our guys on a pretty frequent "go outside and potty" schedule, but still, he's going out there and not in the house, so strides have been made.

I've been in the kitchen baking a cake, and he's not been thrilled with the noises coming from there, but, for the most part, he stayed around...probably because Haley was in there the entire time and Skeeter showed up about the last 10 minutes. They get to lick the bowl, and he wasn't brave enough to stick his head in, but he watched and I suspect in the next week or so, he'll take a step forward there.

Also, he's now at 11 pounds, which means he's going in the wrong direction, but I won't start cutting him back until tomorrow morning. Not sure what I'll start with, but I suspect it will be 1 1/2 tbsp twice a day instead of 2 tbsp. I'll have him on that for three or four days and then weigh him again.

He hasn't completely gotten over his fright from last night in the kitchen, but he didn't regress as far as I was afraid he would. He's a bit timid with Randall here in the den, but a little reassurance and he seems OK. With me, he's gotten to the point that I can generally walk up and pet him. Sometimes he sidles away, but usually he stands his ground....sometimes with the whites of his eyes showing, but it's still a big improvement.


Not too much to report here since Randall and I spent all afternoon working on a headboard project (it's done YEAH!). I can report that Elvis joined us at the dining table tonight and got several bites of couscous before the other two inhaled it all. He also managed to get in and snag some cooked carrots that Randall had picked out of his dinner. He's not brave enough yet to stick his head in a sauce pot, but if it's on a plate, he'll get in there and get a couple of bites.

He also went running out the back door with Haley and Skeeter after they finished their dinner, headed to the back fence and actually gave a couple of woofs on the way. This is very good. I've been waiting for the point where he's claimed "ownership" of the property and wants to "protect" it. He's actually a bit ahead of where I thought he'd be on this.

Elvis did spend most of the afternoon under my chair (or under Randall's desk) while we were doing the headboard. There was lots of banging and cussing, so he laid low. *g* He's out with the others now, though, so he did a quick bounce back.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day Five, July 18, 2009


I figured the food amount was wrong. Toy dogs are SO hard for me to feed the right amount. I went ahead and gave him 2 tbsp of food this morning. I suspect that's what it will be tonight, too, and then I'll see where I am. He was so hungry last night I had to give him a bit more. Then I forgot to put his water in his crate (we use a small bowl that is attached to the crate), and he was horribly thirsty this morning. We'd been waiting to put it in until right before bedtime because we've been leaving the door open for him to go in if he wanted to. Haley tanks up on water when she's bored, and she's been known to drain that small bowl. So to prevent forgetting it again, we'll try to put it in while doing after dinner cleanup and then just shut the door to the crate. He's out now all the time, so he's not nearly in need of a refuge as he had been earlier in the week.

He's also still having itching problems, though he's now concentrating on his feet rather than scratching his belly. Randall mowed yesterday and it's supposed to rain today, so I'm hoping that will calm down whatever it is he's allergic to. If it doesn't rain, we'll hose down the dog half of the yard a bit, and if that doesn't work, I'll need to call the vet again.


Another combo post. I suspect that's what I'm going to do from here on out since Elvis is calming down so nicely. No question he still has a long way to go, but he's made remarkable strides since Monday afternoon. Hard to believe he's only been here five full days.

The itching has stopped. It's apparently sporadic, so it's obviously something he's only getting into in a part of the yard. I'll keep an eye on it and see if I can't come up with some sort of alternative itch remedy if it gets bad.

Randall went in to lay down for a few minutes and Elvis was very unhappily staring through the gate at him. I finally relented and let he and Haley in and put both of them up on the bed for a few minutes. Quite intriguing. :) Elvis also really ate up the petting. He's getting better and better with this. His preference is a person either sitting or laying down, which makes sense, and he's not too happy when you come down over him...something most small dogs detest.

We've had the gate down between the kitchen and living room. I went in to do some needlework and took Haley's pillow in for her. Skeeter has HIS spot next to me on my chair and under the light (heat seeking chi-chi), and Elvis just really wasn't sure what to do. He really wanted up on the chair, but there was a) no room and b) Skeeter wouldn't have tolerated it. He finally laid down, but not until he spent some time gazing at the couch. We're going to have him out while we eat tonight, so it will be interesting to see if he watches us eat, wants up on the couch, or watches TV. He'll get to come in tonight while we finish our movie, and I suspect he will want up on the couch.

Poor Elvis. He was standing right by the drawer in the kitchen where we keep the cookie sheets and tray that Randall uses to carry in the stuff to set the table when Randall put the tray up and swung around not knowing he was anywhere near. Absolutely terrified him and he bolted into the den. I got him to come in to the living room with us for dinner, but he was/is seriously spooked and spent the meal under the table by my feet. We'll take him in with us in a bit when we go to watch the movie, so hopefully that will help. It wouldn't surprise me if this didn't set him back a bit, but he at least came right to us both rather than hiding under a piece of furniture. So he is learning humans are trusted for reassurance...we just make some awfully loud noises sometimes!

He did want up on the couch tonight and it was the first time he was comfortable enough to lay down in my lap. He's still traumatized from the tray banging, but I think he'll get over it in the next day or so. I'll be cooking tomorrow, and I imagine he'll tolerate the banging for all the good smells.

I swear the more I'm around him, the more I'd like to tear the puppy mill owner who had him limb from limb. It is absolutely criminal to have an animal behave the way he does because he's never had any socialization or experience outside a pen.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Elvis is now on straight Pro Plan. YEAH! He also weighs 10 pounds. BOO! I'd really like him between 8-8 1/2 pounds, but I want him on the 2 tbsp of Pro Plan a day for a bit before I see what needs to be subtracted.

He also has a periodic problem with Savoy (my tabby boy). Most of the time, he ignores him, but Savoy is the cat who adores dogs and when he can't get someones attention, he stares at them. Well, like most animals, Elvis considers that a threat/challenge. He's made a couple of headlong rushes at Savoy to get him to stop. I can't say that I blame him, but that really does need to stop...the problem being that I only catch the tail end of the rush, so I'm not able to stop it before it starts. I suspect this will stop as soon as Elvis is completely comfortable.


This is a short, combined entry since I mainly napped this afternoon. :) Elvis is now including following Skeeter around in his bag of tricks. This is good because, while I'm very glad he has pinged in on Haley, I'd prefer for him to not bond so tightly to her that he ignores everything else.

Tonight while we were doing the dishes after dinner, I put some rice (Skeeter's absolute favorite treat) on a plate and let Elvis out of his crate to join us in the kitchen (he's crated during dinner right now, but I suspect tonight will be the last night). Turns out he loves rice. He actually came up to the plate and stuck his head in to get some. A lot of the table scraps the others get are going to be too hard for him since he has no teeth, but rice, barley and some of the pastas will work just fine. I figured he'd come around on this. Food is just about the world's greatest motivator...and these other guys are pigs for just about any of it.

Randall and I will be taking the night off to do our DVD Date Night in the living room. Elvis has had access to the room off and on today, and while he's explored some, he hasn't been in there for a long stretch. Tonight we all migrate in there, and I suspect he and Haley will be on the pillow.

And boy was I wrong there. He spent most of the time on the couch, but I could tell he wasn't very sure of himself. I'd put him on the floor and in a minute or two he be back looking up at us and Skeeter, and it was obvious he wanted back up. He was also extremely fascinated by the TV. I guess I shouldn't be surprised with that since he's watched my screen saver pretty intently in the past. Gene Kelly dancing across the screen was WAY more interesting than Haley snoring on the pillow.

I may have to increase his food a bit, too. He's apparently very hungry. I may go to more or a rounded tablespoon twice a day rather than a level tablespoon. I want to take weight off, but I don't want to starve him in the process.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day Four, July 16, 2009


No question he's got the overnight crate thing down. He goes in and zonks out. No accidents in it, though this morning Randall said a squeak woke him up and when he came in the den, everyone was awake. It may have been him...hard to say. I do know when I got his crate door open, he stepped out and let me pet him for a minute. Then when he came back in and I was petting the other dogs, he came up and got some attention. Fingers crossed...I think he's figuring this out. He also went back outside about 25 minutes after eating his breakfast. I'm hoping that will handle the morning pooping routine.

Today I'm going to try expanding his horizons a bit. He didn't lift his leg at all yesterday, so later, I'm going to take him into the living room so he can explore. I've got to get a couple places blocked off so he can't get behind them, but I want to give him a chance to take a look around. He still won't be allowed to go in unattended, but since Randall and I have "DVD Date Night" on Friday and Saturday nights and Haley and her pillow join us, he needs to at least be introduced to the place. And that's done. He handled it pretty well, though he really wasn't sure about the big picture window. I think his agoraphobia kicked in a bit, but he never coughed and did check stuff out. The gate is back up and I'll take him in there again later...probably by himself. Randall will also be vacuuming and mopping today, so that will be new, too.

He's also going to get introduced better to the kitchen since Thursday is one of my cooking days. He's already beginning to understand that the fridge holds many wonders and the cooktop is the place of good smells, but I've not really cooked since he came in on Monday other than to reheat stuff. Since he only has one or two jaw teeth, he'll never get the hard goodies (like carrots) that the others get, but he will have the opportunity for other things (in moderation, of course) once he's figured out what people food is. :)


Man has he bonded to Haley. He watches every move she makes and is, literally, only a step behind her. If she gets out of his sight, he starts looking for her and tenses up if you're holding him. He handled going into the living room well with everyone in, but when I took him in by himself, he was much less comfortable. Skeeter and Haley were on the other side of the gate, and Elvis really wanted back over to be with them. In a way, this is going to make his socialization harder. We'll find a work around. And at least if he had to pick a dog to bond to, he picked one of the stablest I've ever been around. Very little flusters her, so he really could do worse.

No hiking leg or pooping problem yet, so he's making really good progress there. His brushing is going to have to wait until tomorrow since Randall and I had a vacuum cleaner emergency to work through. He'll also have has last bit of canned store brand food tonight, and tomorrow will be straight Pro Plan. I'll be glad to have him on that.


Quiet night. This is the second day where he's not had to have any cough medicine, and considering today was Randall's day to vacuum, I'm really pleased. He's also definitely getting braver. He comes up and sniffs our shoes and legs, albeit while he thinks we're not noticing. And knock on wood for the rest of my evening, he's not lifted his leg once today and didn't even offer to when we brought him into the living room or when Skeeter's basket reappeared (much to Skeeter's delight that it's returned).

I do plan on calling Liz at the Humane Society tomorrow since I haven't heard from them. Not sure if my email got there, but regardless, I want her to have an update on how well he's doing. I'm also moving him over to straight Pro Plan tomorrow...right now I've counted out close to the same number of pieces that Skeeter has even though he's got a different brand and soaking them in water. Once they're soft, I'll grind them up so I can see what it makes. I've got a bunch already made up, but I've been eyeballing it. I need to be a bit more specific, particularly since he gets weighed tomorrow and I start trying to take a pound or two off of him. Looks like I'll start with 1 tablespoon twice a day. I'll weigh him in the morning, and then we'll weigh him Monday or Tuesday and see where we are. It's tough trying to put a small dog on a diet. I have the same problem with Skeeter. At least with a 20 pound dachshund, I don't feel so abusive when I feed 1/2 cup of food...but 8 pieces? Sheesh!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

MUCH more relaxed

Big difference in the picture from tonight compared to the ones Monday afternoon. You can see he's learned to relax...for awhile on Monday, I thought he would always be panting and have his tongue stuck out. :)

Day Three, July 15, 2009


Another good night. Again, we got up and let Elvis and Haley out first and then back in. Elvis went into his crate while Haley and Skeeter went out and I fixed his morning feeding. Got that in the crate and he scarfed it down. He's been out two or three times now, and seems to be settling down. No coughing yet.

He's a little easier to pick up this morning, which is good. Chasing him around the kitchen to pick him up to put him in his crate (he doesn't know he word "kennel" yet) isn't good because it triggers panic. He's closely eyeing Skeeter since he is frequently either picked up or sitting in someones lap. We also don't have the morning potty time down quite right. Yesterday morning he pooped in the den about 30 minutes after he ate. This morning he did that again, so I suspect that's when his body functions have kicked in and we'll have to adapt to that.


Talked to the vet's office, and like I thought, Benadryl and Lasix don't fit well together. So no Benadryl if there's an itch that won't stop. The Pepto is OK, so if he needs something for the runs, we're good there. And a size-appropriate topical flea treatment is also OK. I've got an extra couple here for dogs his size, so I'll put one on him after he gets a bath.

Elvis is a Water Baby. I was busy installing a shelf for the cats to sit on in the front bedroom when Randall calls me from the den needing my help. There was water all over the floor by the water dish and he needed help getting up and had no idea how it happened. It happened a second time and he mopped it up. Then he heard Elvis drinking and turned around just in time to see him sit down in the water dish. LOL I'd forgotten the staff had mentioned that he loved playing in the water in a baby pool. Honest to Pete, the dog was sopping wet.

And that experience meant he was up for a bath this afternoon. I was going to wait until the weekend, but his coat has just been eaten up by whatever dip or shampoo was used before we got him here, so he got a good soaping with a mild shampoo and then a leave in conditioner slathered on. He actually handled this very, very well and it actually seemed to help him realize that humans touching could be a good thing. It also didn't seem to trigger too much of a cough, but his meds are handy if he starts in. All in all, a good experience for him, I think.


Everything has gone well this evening. I do think him getting a bath this afternoon has sort of helped him. I picked him up earlier while Randall was at the store, and while he still shies away and stiffens up when he's picked up, he pretty well goes limp and relaxed within a minute. He sat in my lap for a bit and it was obvious from his body language that he was enjoying the petting. He's also coming up and sniffing your hand if you're petting one of the other dogs. I'm hoping that in a couple of days, some of the extreme flight instinct he has engaged can be dialed down.

When I was holding him this evening, I was taking a good look at his coat. It feels so much better after the bath, and I know once he's on better food for a few weeks, his skin and coat will improve. I noticed he's still got a lot of undercoat on him. He may be a dog who carries a lot year around, but I think I'm going to try brushing him a bit tomorrow. The bath should help loosen some of it up, so I'll see what it looks like tomorrow. I also want to get a pound or so off of him. He's a stocky little dude to begin with, but right now, I can't feel ribs, and he doesn't have much neck. Once I can get him over onto the Pro Plan completely, I can see about taking some weight off. And, well, it won't hurt his medical condition to lighten up some either.

He's definitely having a reaction to something in the yard. I got some aloe vera cream rubbed into his belly, though that's really hard since his coat is quite thick, and I'll try it again before bed. Randall can't get the yard mowed until the weekend, but I'm hoping that will help. I'll give him another bath after the mowing and then put on a topical flea treatment. And we've not had to give him a cough pill today, and I'm taking that as a very positive sign.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day Two: July 14, 2009

Early morning:
Elvis slept completely through the night and ate all his breakfast. I decided when we got up to let him and Haley out and leave Skeeter in his crate. Randall was out watering the herb garden, and I got the morning feeding ready for him. Once he came in, I got him in his crate, put in his food, and out Skeeter came. Worked well.

He seems to want to be over by my desk, though Haley being on her big body pillow intrigues him, too. He's just not secure enough to try getting on there with her. We've laid a towel down by it and he's checked it out, but he's gotten back over by me. Maybe because he can back up to a wall and be close to being under something. That's fine. I reach down occasionally and pet him. He ignores Savoy (cat), but really needs the other dogs to go outside and feel secure in his surroundings.

Late morning:
I gave him another cough tablet. He's comfortable enough now to make a spot on Haley's pillow, so he's at one end and she's at the other. He's been following me around and is curious about what's going on. Today Randall and I will just do our normalstuff and he can watch. He's accepting more eye contact now, but he's still got the "flight" instinct in high gear. We'll just give him space until he's ready.

Elvis got to spend a couple of hours in his crate resting while Randall and I took Haley and Skeeter in with us to lay down. Howdy (the Devon hybrid) made a surprise appearance and wound up on my pillow for an hour while we read. She's the neediest of all the kids right now. She's all bent out of shape that there's another dog in the house, but I suspect she'll get over it in a few days. They all appreciated the down time with their humans, though.

When I got up from a nap, Randall still had Elvis in his crate. He said he looked up when he came in from reading and put his head back down, so he just left him alone. Got him out and outside and then everything went on as it has been.


He's much, much more relaxed tonight. He really hasn't coughed but a couple of times, but his last bout lasted long enough that I gave him a cough pill. He's been happily ensconced next to Haley on the pillow, and is even there when she's off poking around. He's spending less time as her shadow outside and I've noticed he isn't quite so attached inside. She's still his security blanket, but he's showing a little independence. I also started transitioning him over to Pro Plan and he apparently loves it. I'll be glad to get him off the store brand canned food and onto a better quality food. I'm also giving him 1/4 teaspoon of fiber powder to help firm up his stools. He's showing some interest, too, in the table scraps the other two get. He poked his head into a lasagna pan that I'd just emptied, but I can tell he's not sure what on earth was in there. His food horizons are very limited...which made giving a tablet in cheese a little tough last night. I expect that will change.

There have only been two or three accidents today. I can't say I put that down to anything other than less stress, but it is an improvement. I've also had Randall pick him up a couple of times today and give him to me so he could sit in my lap. There's already a huge difference in the "stiffness", though he's not at all happy yet with being picked up. Two or three times a day right now is enough, though, and since it's not triggering his cough, I think he's handling it pretty well.

One thing I definitely have to do tomorrow is call his vet and ask if he can take benadryl. Since he's on Lasix, I don't want to give it without checking, but there is something in our yard that he's allergic to. He periodically does the belly scratch and leg chewing right after he comes inside. Randall will mow this weekend which should help, but I'd like to get him a bit of relief before then.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day One: July 13, 2009

I won't really repeat the stuff on the introductions into the house since there's an indepth look at it in the Elvis background post.

Typical puppy mill behavior. Is quite agoraphobic when outside. Since he has only one or two teeth, dry food isn't going to be a possibility. But, since we found with Brenna that if we take the dry food and let it soak and then mash it up and it works, that's what I'll do with him. I'll start the intro to the new food tomorrow night. He ate most of his dinner, and needed a cough pill.

He's very interested in the other dogs and how they want human attention. It's going to take a couple of days, but I can see him leaning towards "I want that" when we're interacting with Haley and Skeeter. He's also interested in what goes on in the kitchen with the cooktop. No surprise is a huge motivator and he's got two very good instructors in begging. :)

Very much uses his crate as a crutch for when he's feeling insecure. The door is staying open, but as the night has progressed, he's wanted more and more to be out where the others are. He's just not sure enough of his surroundings to make a spot for himself. That will come.

Elvis - background

As promised, here's a bit of background on the boy we're fostering.

When I spoke with Liz yesterday, she gave me some background on Elvis, and it's sad. He was brought in in May when a local puppy mill was raided. As you can see from his pictures, he's a chihuahua mix, and I suspect the other half is schipperke from the feel of his coat, lack of tail and body structure. Best guess is he's 9-10, and heartworm positive to go along with his congestive heart failure.

Poor little Elvis. He's very unsure of people right now. When we met him at the shelter, he found his best place was under a chair in a corner of the room. He did spend some time pacing the room, but he obviously was not comfortable with his situation. And the more stressed he gets, the more the heart congestion kicks in in the form of a gagging cough. Like we were told, he obviously needed to get out of the shelter and into a home so he could understand the world from a better perspective. Right now, he shows the typical puppy mill attitude...poorly socialized, extremely narrow world view, dependence on other dogs for security and a distrust of people.

We brought him home and carefully introduced him to my senior dachshund bitch and our 4 year old chihuahua male. He also got to meet the cats (one, Savoy, who loves dogs and the other, Howdy, who thinks this whole situation is vastly overrated). He bonded immediately to my dachshund and decided to become her shadow. The male chihuahua is a bit more standoff-ish about this. Haley is used to a pack of dogs, so one more in the place is no problem for her. Skeeter isn't so sure. Still, the introductions went very well, and he was out mingling here in our den about an hour after coming through the door. The situation with the group will be closely monitored for the next several days until we're sure there aren't any conflicts.

Elvis is intact and will be for the foreseeable future. When I spoke with the vet yesterday, she said she didn't think he'd survive the surgery (and it's the same with heartworm treatment), so he spent quite a bit of yesterday hiking his leg. It doesn't help that he's on lasix for the congestive heart failure, because lasix increases thirst and urination. So the paper towels and spray bottle of vinegar are new decorations in the den. And for now, the baby gates are up so everyone is restricted to the den, kitchen and utility room. Fortunately, our flooring is linoleum throughout the house, so cleanups are a breeze. He also has a cough medicine for when the cough becomes too much. I told Randall I suspect we'll be using it fairly frequently in the next day or so while he's still stressed. I suspect once he's acclimated, the use of it will go way down.

So that's the background on our foster boy. Whether he's here with us for only a short time while learning how to be a dog in a normal household situation or whether he makes his home here for a longer period of time, will just depend on his progress and whether he's adopted out. For however long it is, though, he'll have a safe place where he can get the attention and love he so deserves.

Photos of Elvis (day one and two)

I thought I would just post a few quick pictures. I'll post more as time goes by.

A Little Background on Donna and Randall and How The Fostering Happened

As people who know my husband and I are aware, we lost my 17 year old dachshund bitch, Brenna, in late January. She was my last show dog (though I still have her senior daughter, Haley, who is pet quality) and the end of my bloodlines. And, as my mother said, Brenna owned my soul. Her passing was wrenching and oh so hard, and I knew it would take time before I was ready to bring another dog in.

Sunday night, I was cruising the Petfinder listings like I usually do just to see what's available in Texas, and when I did my search for dachshunds, I mistakenly didn't restrict it to young or adult dogs. It was set for "all ages", so the first thing that popped up were the local shelters/rescue groups and what did I see but a 12 year old dachshund bitch available at the Waco Humane Society.

Also, as people who know us are aware, I finished radiation treatments last spring for my third stage oral squamous cell carcinoma. I'm in remission, but like anyone who has gone through cancer surgery/treatments without insurance knows, the medical bills swamp you. Because of that, adopting that senior girl just wasn't going to be an option. But, after looking closer at the Waco Humane Society's website, I noticed they were looking for foster homes. So that was my goal for Monday afternoon. I was hoping that girl hadn't been euthanized.

I called early Monday afternoon and spoke with Liz who directs the foster program. I told her that Randall and I were looking to foster a small senior dog and I'd seen Lucy on the site the night before. Liz was thrilled to have someone looking to foster a senior, though she told me the dachshund had been fostered with an employee so she was out of the "system" for fostering. However, there was another senior dog in serious need of a refuge and she told me about Elvis.

I would like to say right now, that when Randall and I went out to visit the shelter, I was very, very impressed. It is an incredibly well maintained, clean, bright shelter and not at all what I was expecting. I had also been told that they do everything in their power not to euthanize an animal...hence the fostering program. Hearing that REALLY had me interested in volunteering because, while not strictly a no kill shelter, their focus is on adopting/fostering animals. The plant itself is wonderful and everyone we met yesterday is obviously an animal lover who wants the very best for his/her charges.

If you've not made a visit to the Waco Humane Society, I highly recommend it. If you have the opportunity to volunteer, please consider it. Obviously they accept donations of items/money as well. And, well, there is also the chance to open your home to a needy dog or cat either through adoption or fostering. Do please consider it. These animals are so in need of a forever home.

So this is the background on us, and my next post will go into Elvis and what he's been through and what we're looking at.