To Do = Pee On EVERYTHING!

Yes, you read that right.   This week, Oreo had permission to pee on anything and everything he wanted.  I did not take as many pictures this week, for obvious reasons.

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Oreo has always loved marking his territory, and apparently, if you ask him, he owns EVERYTHING.  Including a wonderful dog a few doors down who had the misfortune of playing with Oreo this week (sorry, Rudy!).  I’ve always tried to discourage his continual marking of everything, but this week I decided that since it’s something he apparently loves doing…I’ll let him go for it.  Lucky for me, the thought of peeing on anything inside of the house never occurred to him!

Notice the fallen “no trespassing” sign. Oreo peed on that, too.

This past week also marked Oreo’s second chemo treatment.  As always, he was a rockstar.  He was great for the long car ride there, and slept for most of the ride back home.  When we got there, he was super excited to greet everyone and make as many new doggy friends as he possibly could.  I swear, most of the time you would never guess how sick he is.  His Oncologist said that he was happy with his progress so far – previously, the tumor was growing and spreading SO rapidly, but he did not notice any major changes since his last visit.  Today is day 4 following chemo, and much like last time he has showed remarkable improvement!  The swelling in his neck lymph nodes is GONE.  It almost completely disappeared last time as well, but came back before his 3 week recheck.  Hopefully the swelling stays gone longer this time (or permanently!).

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I got home from work today when the sun was still out (that seriously never happens these days), so I took Oreo out in the yard to play for a little bit.  He has a tennis ball in the yard that I’ve been trying for YEARS to teach him how to play with…he never seems to get it.  He’d always watch me throw it and then give me a dumbfounded look, as if to say “well…aren’t you going to go bring that back to me?”.  Today was a little bit different!   Sometimes when I threw the ball, he actually brought the ball back to me!  However…more often than not, he would pick it up and played with it by himself.  He’s not very good at catching things, so he’d run up to the ball and pounce on it, which would cause it to bounce away in a different direction, and he would chase after it again, repeating the cycle.  He actually did this for quite a few minutes before getting bored and telling me that it was way too cold and he wanted to go back inside.

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I’ve been thinking A LOT recently about adding a new member to our family.  I would LOVE to get Oreo a doggy friend to play with – but with how little I’m home, I worry that it wouldn’t be fair to the new addition.  I work sooo many hours every week, and then would have to leave the new dog home alone (well…home with Burger) for just about a full day every 3 weeks while Oreo had his chemo treatment.  On the positive side, I KNOW that Oreo would benefit in so many ways from having a new doggy brother or sister.  I just don’t want to get one of I wouldn’t be able to give it the proper attention that it deserves.  So that got me thinking of maybe just getting another kitty for now.  Burger is VERY particular about what cats he gets along with (although he LOVES all dogs), so I would have to choose a new playmate very carefully.  But then Burger would never be home alone for hours at a time ever again while Oreo and I are at chemo, or at a doggy playdate, or fulfilling his Bucket List wishes.  I’m so torn right now!  I just know that there are soooo many animals out there who are in desperate need for a home…and my home definitely has the room for another family member.

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Sunday Funday – Time For Ice Cream!

Today we crossed off yet another item from Oreo’s bucket list – eating REAL ice cream!  So, like any good Rochesterian, we headed to Abbotts!

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For those of you not familiar with Abbotts,  it’s a delicious family -owned ice cream shop.  They have dozens of flavor options and concoctions, and there just really isn’t anything quite as satisfying on a hot day.

check out their website! http://abbottscustard.com/

check out their website! http://abbottscustard.com/

Unfortunately for us, today was far from warm.  It was a whopping 39* according to the car thermometer!  Oreo didn’t seem to mind, though.  He was just happy to be going for a ride, and even more happy to be getting a new treat!

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Time for a bit of honesty…I ate his cherry.  I didn’t feel too bad about it – he doesn’t like them anyway!

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Boy oh boy, did he enjoy his ice cream!  I got him a kiddie sized plain vanilla sundae with lots of whipped cream.  He ate that thing in under 2 minutes (I timed it!) and without brain freeze – incredible!

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This has been a pretty good week for Oreo.  No upset tummy, he’s been eating better, and I found that when I crush up his antibiotic and put it in baby food, he inhales it without even thinking.  His other meds he always takes without a problem, but the Clavamox was always what he would give me a hard time with; so learning that trick has made live so much easier.  He was having a good amount of light bloody discharge from his nose; but hasn’t even had that in the past 2 days.  Hopefully it’s an indication that his chemo is doing what it’s supposed to do.

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For those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember my successful attempts at making Oreo his very own doggy ice cream (if you missed it, you can check it out at this link – http://diaryofacrazypetmom.com/127-2/ ).  Cold weather doesn’t exactly put me in the mood to make my own ice cream (or to do anything but lay in bed), but after seeing how happy he was with this frosty treat, I think I’ll be starting to make him his favorite ice cream treats again!

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Well, Hot Dog!

It’s Sunday Funday!  Which means that it’s time to cross another item off of Oreo’s bucket list!  Even if its 9pm and his mommy is STILL hungover from the night before :-\  Up today – try a REAL hot dog!

I have been making him pre-cooked hot dogs in the microwave for the past few weeks to hide his medication in, but even as a vegetarian I knew that it wasn’t the same as having a real grilled hot dog.  So, I took Oreo to the best place I could think of – Schallers!

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Unfortunately for Oreo, he had to wait in the car while I went inside to get his food.  He didn’t seem to mind too much – it was somewhat busy, so he had a good time watching people go in and go out of the restaurant.

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The plan was to let him eat in the car, but he was too easily distracted, so that didn’t happen.  So we went back home, and I set down his hot dog, expecting him to excitedly gobble it up.  Instead, he ran upstairs as fast as he could and ate all of the kitty food that Burger hadn’t finished earlier.

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Finally, Oreo came back downstairs and started to check out his hot dog.  He wasn’t sure about it at first, taking small licks of the ketchup and mustard, and sniffing every inch of it.

5Despite his initial reluctance, once he actually gave the hot dog a chance, Oreo LOVED it.  Finished it in 3 bites!  I got the best video I could of the experience, but sadly the quality isn’t the best because I was trying to coax Oreo to eat for most of it.  But, you can check that out here:

He’s been having a hard time chewing lately; I think his teeth are bothering him due to the tumor affecting their roots.  I’m so happy that he was able to eat the hot dog as well as he did!  He is now passed out next to me, snuggling with one of the toys he picked out at the pet store last week.

6<3

Bucket Lists and Chemo

So much has happened this past week.  It flew by, but at the same time it feels like a month has gone by since the last time I updated this.  The biggest thing – Oreo had his first chemo treatment this past Tuesday.  He handled the chemo pretty well – did great on the car ride there, made some doggy friends in the vet office (including another dog who made the trip there from Rochester), and got rewarded with a McDonalds cheeseburger on the way home.

I dropped him off at my parents house every day for the remainder of the week, just incase he had any side effects.  He lost his appetite almost immediately – I chalked it up to nausea, since he’d wait by the fridge for snacks, but then turn his head whenever he was presented with something.  I talked to his oncologist about it who agreed, and had him start on Pepcid.  Unfortunately, due to his newly picky appetite, Oreo also caught on to his pills being hid in his favorite hot dog treats.  That has made giving him pills way more difficult, and sometimes downright impossible.  On day 3, he started vomiting.  It wasn’t excessive, and lucky was limited to the 24 hour period of his 3rd day post-chemo.  Today he is a lot more like himself, aside from a small lack of appetite still.  At least he’s willingly walking over to his food bowl and eating little bits at a time.

In my opinion, Oreo has started to respond wonderfully to his chemo!  The swelling of his lymph node is down dramatically.  The tumor that spread to his mouth was rock hard, but is now softer and appears to be shrinking in size a bit.  It is bleeding off and on, especially after eating; but I’m hoping that’s due to pressure being relieved and the excess fluids in the tumor coming out.  I could be completely wrong on that, but I’m trying to stay optimistic.  His nose is still swollen, but the swelling on it increases and decreases dramatically just about daily, so its hard for me to use that as a gauge.

To celebrate his first successful treatment, we crossed another item off of his Bucket List!  We spent today checking out PetSmart.  I wanted to let Oreo pick out some of his own toys and treats!  He was way more interested in smelling everything, and had to be sure to greet each and every person and dog that he saw.

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So happy when he got out of the car and realized that we weren’t at a vet office!

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After getting over the initial excitement, Oreo insisted on walking up and down every single aisle.  He wanted to check everything out first before deciding what items he’d like to go home with!

 

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These look good, Mom!!  Lets go home with a few!

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OOH!!  These are on sale!  Lets grab a few of them as well!

This video is a few years old; but I just re-stumbled upon it on my YouTube channel, and wanted to share.  Oreo truly is the absolute best, most loving dog that I ever could have asked for <3

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Trip to Starbucks – Time for a Puppuccino!

Today we checked off another item on Oreo’s Bucket List – trying a Puppuccino!

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I’m not sure the correct way to spell it, but regardless, Oreo LOVED his new treat – I think it may be his new favorite!  He was so excited to go for a car ride, which is really amazing to me since more often than not, car rides have been resulting in a vet visit for him.  He jumped right in the car, happily looking out the window and wagging his tail every time we saw a dog who was out for a walk.

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From the second we pulled in the parking lot, Oreo was in his prime.  He saw several people walking in to the building, all who stopped to talk to him.  When I first found Oreo, he was TERRIFIED of anyone new, aside from children.  He quickly learned to like women, but his fear of men persisted.  Over the past year or so, he has seemingly gotten over that fear as well.  He was excitingly wagging his tail and trying to give kisses to everyone who stopped by the car to say hi to him.

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I mean really…what self-respecting dog wouldn’t want one of these?!
For those who haven’t yet had the honor of trying one yet, a Puppuccino is a very small cup filled with whipped cream.
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Yum!
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It did take a bit of work for Oreo to get all of the whipped cream out of the cup…but he was up for the challenge!
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Today was apparently Take Your Dog to Starbucks day!!  Oreo wasn’t the only little guy enjoying a Puppuccino on this beautiful New Year Day.
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2017 is off to a good start for Oreo.  He has a lot of challenges ahead of him, though.  Oreo has his first Chemo treatment on Tuesday.  I’m a little bit worried about it – the chemo he’s getting has a 25% chance of causing kidney failure.  However, without chemo, he has a 100% chance of dying from this.  So I’ll take my chances with it, and just monitor him as close as I possibly can to catch any possible side effects the second they happen.  I will do anything and everything I can to help him beat this.  His chances aren’t the greatest – nasal tumors have a generally poor prognosis, especially after they’ve spread to the lymph nodes.  But I will not stop fighting for him, ever.  He has come back from everything thrown his way, and I am determined to give him every chance possible.
Lucky for Oreo, today we discovered a delicious treat to reward him after his chemo treatments <3

Bucket List

Update on Oreo, and the bucket list that I have created for him!

Oreo seems to be doing okay recently.  His nasal tumor is still visible, there is a pretty big mass on his gums, his two top canine teeth have turned gray, indicating that the tumor is affecting the roots of his teeth, and his lymph node is still extremely swollen.  That being said, his spirits are high, his appetite and energy are great, and the horrifying nosebleeds he was having seem to have stopped for the time being.

We met with an Oncologist in Syracuse recently, and will be starting Chemo on the 3rd.  The Oncologist said that if he responds to the chemo, we will know by the end of the 2nd treatment.  If he responds, we’re looking at maybe 6 months.  If he doesn’t respond…I won’t have much time with him at all.

That thought inspired me.  I had said after his radiation that I wanted to start a bucket list for him, but he did SO well that I convinced myself that his cancer was gone for good.  So I put it off.  But now, knowing that my time with him is limited, I have put together a bucket list including some of his favorite things; and some things that I think he’d enjoy.

Read the list below; and let me know in the comments what type of things you would add on to your pets bucket list!

bucketlist

  • meet Santa
  • get a Pupachino from Starbucks
  • pick out his own toys at pet store
  • get a REAL hot dog
  • eat an ice cream cone
  • pee on EVERYTHING!
  • adopt a doggy brother or sister
  • try ALL of the french fries
  • have a birthday party
  • have a family photo shoot
  • ride in a boat
  • stop being afraid of water!
  • try on dog clothes…and maybe find something he likes!
  • ride with head out of the window
  • play in a ball pit
  • eat pancakes for breakfast
  • go to NYC – and have a carriage ride through Central Park
  • raise money to find a cure for canine cancer – specifically nasal adenocarcinomas.
  • go to Sonic!  new people + food = Oreo’s heaven
  • stop and smell the roses.  both literally and figuratively speaking.  finding ways to make sure that he is as happy as possible for the rest of his life is my top priority.

We have already checked off one item from his list – last week, Oreo got to meet Santa!  He was so excited and so scared at the same time, and he REALLY wanted to eat Santa’s beard (but luckily he didn’t!  That for sure would have put him on Santa’s naughty list).  Oreo was sure to tell Santa his one wish – to get better and stick around with his mommy many many many more years.  Here’s to hoping for a Christmas Miracle.

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broken

15380847_10154558992210380_4881366670896542201_nNot sharing this post on FB…this one is just for me.

Oreos cancer has spread to his lymph nodes.  his sort of cancer was supposed to be one that, while aggressive, didn’t tend to spread.  but his has.  the new tumor in his nose has his entire right side of his nose so swollen.  his mouth is starting to get swollen, and smells like pus.  and his lymph node in his neck is huge and rock hard.

we’re meeting with an oncologist tomorrow in syracuse, and i’m trying so hard to stay hopeful, but it’s so tough.  i don’t know if we can do cyberknife again on two different places, and if we can if it would even help.  if its in his lymph nodes, it’s probably all over his body.  nasal tumors don’t usually respond very well to chemo; although with my extensive digging online (something i keep reminding myself that i SHOULDN’T do, yet i can’t seem to help it), i’ve found a few studies that seem hopeful.  i will try absolutely anything…except for standard radiation, as all of the side effects i’ve read about seem like they would put oreo’s quality of life way lower than it ever should be.  i just want more time with him.  i’m not ready to say goodbye.  i’ll never be ready to say goodbye.

oreo was the reason that i walked away from my accident.  i know he is.  all i could think about was that i had to get home to let him outside.  after the hospital, my dad wanted to stop to get some food but i said no – we needed to get home, oreo hadn’t been outside.  when we got home, one of the lights in the living room was smoking – the whole room was filled with smoke.  if we didn’t get home right then to turn the lights off and take the bulb out, the entire house could have gone up in flames.  my parents are hoarders, it would have caught fire quick – we would have lost everything.  its because of oreo that i said i just needed to go home, and because of him that our house is in tact and our cats alive.

i’ve known for a long time that there was something wrong with me.  that i’d grow up alone and die alone.  i remember one mothers day at ponderosa just crying to myself.  i was maybe 8 or 9 years old…yet i knew back then that i’d never get married, never have a family.  i didn’t know why, i just knew that i’d never find anyone who would ever love me enough to want to marry me.  when i found ed, i thought that maybe i was wrong.  that i’d get the chance to be happy, just like everybody else.  ed was the worst mistake i have ever made in my life.  he destroyed me.  he destroyed every ounce of self esteem that i’d ever had, any ability to be happy, any ability to trust.  he caused me to build up walls that are still so high, i don’t know how to let anyone in.  i don’t know how to let new friends in, because so many of them betrayed me with him.  i don’t know how to trust in anyone because of that miserable period of my life.

i should get help for it.  i just don’t know how.  i saw a shrink a few times after i tried to kill myself.  she told me that i could try bringing ed to a session with me.  i did, and he charmed her so much that she began telling me that i needed to start trusting him, that he was clearly devoted to me, that he wasn’t cheating on me anymore.  but he was, the entire time.  i stopped going back to her after that session.

i’ve had so many pets over the years, so many who i loved with all of my heart and lost.  and i didn’t think i’d ever feel anything worse than losing my grandpa.  that was the first time i tried to kill myself.  i was 11.  i tried hanging myself from my bedroom curtain rod.

my grandpa was the most important and most influential person in my life.  he was the only person who i never felt anything but unconditional love from.  that was a feeling that i never felt again…until finding oreo.

oreo was the only reason that i would get out of bed after the accident.  i had to feed him, i had to take him outside, and i had to make sure that he stayed happy, even when i felt like i was falling apart.  who is going to keep me from falling apart if i lose him?  i don’t have anyone.

and of course, in typical amy fashion, during the time when i could probably use friends the most…i’m pushing everyone away instead.

he’s laying at my side, as always.  and i still can’t stop crying.  it’s been days, and right when i think i’m out of tears, i break down again.  i don’t want to know what it’s like without him laying next to me.  i don’t want to be alive if he’s not.  hes all i have

Working like a dog…

Between working 2 jobs and pet sitting, I don’t have much free time these days.   It’s almost funny, since the entire reason I’m working so much is to be sure that I can afford the house I live in, and make my furbabies as happy as possible.  Yet at the end of each work day, the last thing that I want to do is take my dog for a walk, or play with Burger’s favorite laser pointer toy.  I just want to curl up in bed and go to sleep.  Lather, rinse, repeat…that has been my day every day.

I’m lucky enough to have Sundays off of both jobs.  But one day off is quickly becoming not enough.  Today I slept until 12:30 (despite being in bed early last night), and I’ll be back in bed before 10 tonight so that I can be as refreshed as possible for another early morning and long day of work.

someecardworknap

One day, I would absolutely love to find a way to turn my love of pet-sitting into a career.  There is nothing that I can think of that would make me happier than that.  Than waking up in the morning to happy wagging tails – having taking care of them be my sole task for the day.  One can dream, right?

The holidays are quickly approaching.  For me, it’s far from the “most wonderful time of the year”.  Since my grandpa died 20 years ago, I have absolutely dreaded any sort of “family” holiday.  My family is very small – now that I’m a “grand-orphan”, it’s just my parents, brother and I.

All I ever dreamed about growing up was having one of those movie-style Christmas’.  You know the kind – where people fly in from all over the country, cram into a house that’s never large enough, and spend the entire day/week catching up with each other and getting that great family bonding time.  The kind of reunion that in movies, everyone seems to hate.  I’ve never understood that.  Maybe it’s because of it that I’ve always felt so alone on the holidays.  I’ve always tried to make up for it by volunteering to work Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that people who have families can spend time with them.

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This is my first year celebrating Christmas with just my own little family.  I’m sure that I’ll spend time with my parents on that day, but before that, Christmas morning will find me waking up with just Oreo and Burger.  My little loves.  Regardless of the depression that goes along with the holidays for me, one thing is certain.  Santa will be very good to my furbabies this year.  All of the hours spent working to earn extra cash will be worth for me to be able to spoil those two <3

If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands…

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I haven’t posted in awhile, I know.  Life has been pretty busy lately!  I’m FINALLY living on my own!  The furbabies and I moved in to our own house about a month and a half ago.  It makes me so happy every morning to wake up in my own bed, in my own house, next to my boys.  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t weird…or if that all of the noises the house makes in the dead of night didn’t freak me out just a bit.  But it’s exciting to finally have my own place, especially one with such a gorgeous beach to enjoy in the warmer weather.

Lets not talk about the first snowfall of the season happening today…

Anyway, the reason that I wanted to update today is that I received the BEST news a few hours ago.  I’m seriously SO happy!

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I heard from Oreo’s Internal Medicine doctor, Dr. Koch.  He called to let me know that his radiologist was able to review the repeat CT results that Oreo had done a couple weeks ago.  She noticed that a tiny defect in his nasal cavity appeared to be on the wrong side from the radiology views they had from his Cyberknife treatment.  Upon consulting with the doctors down there, they realized that the “left” and “right” side markers had been flipped when they did his CT down there.

That leads to the good news.  The side of his nasal cavity that had radiation appears to be TUMOR FREE!  There was no sign of it anymore!!!  On the other side there is a small tumor, that Dr. Koch thought appeared to be much bigger initially; but after talking with the radiologist they now feel that it’s mainly mucus surrounding the tumor and not the tumor itself.  OREOS CYBERKNIFE RADIATION WORKED!  I haven’t been able to stop smiling and happy crying since I found out.  I was so heartbroken after speaking with Dr. Koch initially; when he thought that the new, small tumor and its surrounding mucus was the same tumor that had received the radiation.  It almost feels like a dream to get a call a week later hearing that they had been mistaken and to get good news!

For now we just continue to monitor the previous tumor area and the new tumor area.  If he needs more radiation down the line, he’ll get it.  But hopefully that won’t be for a really long time.  For now, I get to enjoy as much time as humanly possible with my handsome baby boy.

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I seriously couldn’t be happier.

HUGE thank you to Dr. Koch at Veterinary Specialists of Rochester ( http://www.vsesrochester.com/ ) and Dr. Haney at the  Veterinary Cyberknife Cancer Center in Philly ( http://www.vetcyberknife.com/)

Thank you so much for saving my boy <3

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972

Coz Baby You’re A Firework…

Beautiful fireworks are part of what makes Independence Day a favorite holiday for many people.  However, if you have a pet who is afraid of fireworks, or has a noise phobia in general, the loud crashing noises can make for a very long summer.

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Oreo is such an amazing dog; but one of the quirks he’s always had that I’ve never been able to break is his noise phobia.  Specifically, his firework phobia.  He does fine during thunderstorms, but come Summer time and the festivities that come along with it, I have a pretty miserable pup.  Even if the fireworks were popping off in the distance he would become inconsolable.  Each year he shows small amounts of improvement, but I don’t think it’s something he’ll ever completely get over.  This past 4th of July he spent the entire night wedged underneath the dining room table.

Over the years, I’ve tried many different medications to try to help ease his firework fears.  I even borrowed a ThunderShirt from a friend to give that a try – Oreo wouldn’t even let me put it on him.  So I’ve been trying to focus more on behavior modification.  It’s a SLOW process, but as I mentioned earlier, Oreo seems a little less stressed every year, so I think (hope!) that it’s helping him.

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In general, I’ve been using desensitization and counter conditioning to try to help Oreo get used to the fireworks and hopefully eventually associate the noise with something positive.  Initially, upon hearing fireworks, he would hide for the entire night – even long after the fireworks had stopped.  He wouldn’t eat or drink, would pant excessively, and his entire body would quiver incessantly.

The first year I tried simply blocking out the noise, which didn’t really seem to help much.  I’d have the TV on as loud as it could go, hoping the sound of Animal Planet would drown out any booms from fireworks.  That year I also catered to him completely – if he was under the table hiding, I’d be under the table laying with him.  After a few weeks of wondering why there was zero improvement, I realized that I was accidentally rewarding the behavior that I didn’t want to continue.  By showering him with attention and affection while he was stressing, I was in turn showing him that being fearful was a good thing.

Next began the SUPER hard process of trying to ignore him when he was showing signs of fear.  I never have been able to completely ignore him; but rather every half hour or so I’d try to get him to come out from hiding to do something fun.  Going outside for a walk is always his favorite thing to do – but when there’s fireworks even in the distance he won’t step one foot out of the door.  Probably for the best…Oreo has a history of being quite the escape artist, and the last thing I want is for him to get spooked and run away!

So on to his second favorite thing – food.  He would ignore his food bowls, sometimes going a day or two without touching anything in there.  I began playing around to see what I could get him to take, and the one thing that he ate every single time was his dog ice cream.

Currently, since Oreo seems the most content hiding under the dinner table, when there’s a firework show outside I’ve been letting him stay there – putting his dog bed under the table and covering it with a heavy blanket as a partial sound barrier.  Every once in awhile I’ll call to him, and if he comes out to me he gets one of his doggy ice creams.  It’s been pretty effective so far – he’ll stay out from hiding long enough to finish the ice cream, happy licking away and temporarily forgetting about the noise outside.  Keeping an easy-going manner and remaining calm has also done wonders for helping Oreo stay a little bit more relaxed.

Does your dog have a noise phobia?  What have you done to try to help them conquor it?

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