Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009!

Joe and I dressed up in our gunslinger outfits again and spent the night at home watching football and Lost and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. It was a great night! We have never lived in a place where we could have door-to-door trick-or-treaters, so it was fun! We saw lots of great costumes. It only lasted a little while though because it started to rain, so we ended up with 13 kids in total.

Jack and Ava didn't quite understand what all the commotion was about, but we made them get festive and help out. Ava barked at this little baby in a chicken costume and made him cry, and I think she was actually a little proud of herself. She's not really a people person these days.

Jackson waiting to greet the ghosts and goblins.

Ava annoyed that these damn kids are getting in the way of her couch time.

Halloween at Joe's Office

We had a fun night on Thursday at Joe's work. They put together a Halloween kid's night, where the kids could go to different stations in the office and do fun stuff. Like one station was coloring in coloring books, another station was getting goodies, and one station was getting a spinal exam. :)

I got to come to help and everyone dressed up. All the kids came dressed in costumes and it was so cute! I got to meet Joe's favorite patient - a three-year-old little girl named Maddie who came dressed as a hocky player. Too cute.

Here are some photos:

Deb, one of the Chiropractic Assistants

Eyeball Punch!

Boo-nanas

Marie, another Chiropractic Assistant

All the staff pumpkins! Patients have been voting for two weeks. Joe's fireman pumpkin won third. The Wicked Witch won first place.

Marsha, the third Chiropractic Assistant

Dr. Grant, Marsha, & "Dr. Joe" :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jackson & Ava

Jackson knows Ava is better, because he keeps trying to get her to play. She hasn't taken the bait since that one time she played with him, but I'm hoping she will start soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Joe Inducted into the CCA

On Thursday, Joe was inducted into the Connecticut Chiropractic Association! The CCA is a chiropractic group that does a lot of fundraising and lobbying and basically supports the chiropractic community.

The induction was held in Stamford, CT. I dropped him off at the train station at 6:00 a.m. (now, THAT is love) so he didn't have to brave traffic and drive, since it's about an hour away from here toward New York City.

Getting sworn in.

His certificate.

Joe already joined the Golf Committee (big surprise there, huh? heehee) and the Events Committee so he can help plan and implement sporting events that will bring in funds for the group.

Cool, huh?

Friday, October 23, 2009

9.2!

I took Ava back to the vet yesterday for a re-check. She has been doing so well, and the vet wanted to make sure that what we were seeing was for real and wasn't just a bandaid created by the Prednisone.

Well, he weighed her and she is now at 9.2 pounds!! That is absolutely unbelievable, since just a little over a month ago she was at 7.25 pounds and declining. She could barely stand up, she was hurting all over her body, and she just was miserable. Now, she is a stout 9.2 pounds, eating like a horse, jumping up on tables, and basically being a little hellion. I'm so happy my little girl is back!

Official Nickname: Piggy Iggy!

Also, they took more blood and her results came back this afternoon. The high liver enzyme levels that were so bad are now either at normal levels or approaching normal levels, so this is definitely not just a bandaid! Things are getting better not just externally, but internally too! We are now able to lower her dosage of Prednisone, which should help with some of the side effects we are seeing (increased appetite and thirst, restlessness, etc.).

So, things are definitely looking up, and I just want to thank you all for your support. It was a tough time there for a while, but I think we are now out of the woods. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playdate with the Neighbor Dog

As you know by now, I walk my neighbor's dog, Digby every day when I walk Jackson. My neighbor is a teacher and mentioned one day before school started how bad she felt for her dog because he has to be crated all day. I couldn't stand the thought of the poor boy crated up all day, so I offered to walk him.

Well, today, after our walk, I brought Digby over for a playdate. I decided since Ava was better, she needed to start getting socialized again, and this was a good way to start doing that.

Jackson liked the company, but Ava just watched the action from the safety of her chair, occasionally jumping down and chasing after the boys barking and whining if she thought things were getting a little out of control. :) It's good for her to get out of her comfort zone, though. And Digby is a great little dog.

video

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Nice Fall Walk

Yesterday turned out to be a beautiful day, so I took Jack and Ava for a nice long walk. Usually I carry Ava the whole way when I walk Jack, but since she was SO perky the night before, I realized that she probably doesn't need to be carried so much anymore. Yay!

So, we walked to this great trail by our place that leads to this nice open area. I think a lot of people bring their dogs there unleashed since it's secluded and pretty contained by a circle of trees. So, I let Ava walk the trail and explore the field unleashed. Jackson isn't as trustworthy, so I had to keep him leashed up.

Ava had a great time, though! She was actually enjoying herself and it was pretty warm in the sun. It's so wonderful to see her back to her old self.




Joe's Office Pumpkin

Joe got to decorate a pumpkin for his office. Everyone in the office decorated one, and this week they will display them and the patients who come in will vote on the best. The one caveat is that they couldn't carve the pumpkins - they could only paint them and decorate them. So, we went to the dollar store this weekend and picked up a few things. And Joe made his a fireman pumpkin! Cute, huh?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

Joe and I continued our yearly tradition tonight of carving our pumpkins while watching the movie Halloween. We didn't buy any carving utensils or patterns this year like normal, so we just winged it.

My face is all rosy because we had just taken Jack out for a walk.

Joe channeling Michael Myers. :)

Here are the final products. Joe's is on the right and mine is on the left. I thought Joe's turned out awesome! I didn't think he was going to pull it off with the big knives we were using, but he did.


After carving, we separated all the seeds for roasting.

Before

After

They turned out so good! And now we're just sitting on the coach eating pumpkin seeds and watching episodes of Lost online. (We're starting from the beginning and are now in Season 2 and totally addicted).

Also, we had another breakthrough tonight! While we were carving pumpkins, we looked over and Ava was playing with Jackson! She was jumping on him and then she grabbed the toy he was playing with and starting playing tug of war! She hasn't played in over 3 months and it was just the most amazing thing! She is really back.... our little girl is finally back. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Picking

Joe and I picked out our pumpkins today! We tried to find a real pumpkin patch like the one we went to last year in Maryland, but we couldn't find one. Most of the places around here just had all their pumpkins sitting in boxes or laid out on lawns. The closest we found was a farm that picked the pumpkins and put them out in a field. At least it looked like the real thing. :)

They also had all the little weird-looking squashes that I love so much. They are so great - all so different and colorful and just scream the arrival of October.


I looked at a lot of pumpkins. It's a big decision, you know, the one you decide to pick as your yearly Halloween pumpkin. Finally, I narrowed it down to these five. Meet the finalists:


While I was deciding, Joe looked around for his pumpkin. He's laughing in the picture because he thought I was a dork for taking pictures and I told him to smile and look like he was having fun. :) He really was having fun, though.


Finally, I decided on my pumpkin.

Joe's day off is tomorrow, so we are going to continue our tradition of carving pumpkins while watching the movie Halloween. It's going to be fun!

Cold Nights

I finally broke down yesterday and turned on the heat. It got cooooold. It was so cold last night that Jackson decided it was too cold to sleep on his bed on the floor, so he snuggled with us instead. And stole the covers, I might add.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just an Update

So, I was informed that it has been a week since my last post, and I needed to get on it. :) There really haven't been many big events this week and we haven't taken any pictures, so I guess that is why I haven't posted.

But, I do have some good news. Ava is getting much better! Joe and I just noticed that she has finally started gaining weight, which was a HUGE issue. Her little bones are starting to get covered up and you can't see her ribs as much. She still has more to gain, but she'll get there. She is eating like a horse lately. Last night she even got me up in the middle of the night so she could go downstairs to eat. And we finally found treats she can eat, so she's getting a lot. And she is always hungry. I think that is a side effect of the drugs she is on. It's been a plus so far because she SO needed to gain weight, but once she gets the weight on, we're going to have to watch her food intake.

I've been going to some job interviews lately. I interviewed with the Connecticut Humane Society last week and have since job shadowed with them twice. It's a great job, working with the animals and getting a lot of exercise, but the pay is really, really low. Today, I went to another job interview with a non-profit called New Opportunities, Inc. It's a wonderful social services agency that does a lot of good in the community and would be a fantastic experience. Plus, it pays great! But it's tough competition, so I just have to wait an see if I made a good enough impression. I should find out the middle of next week.

And we are officially getting into winter here - it started snowing today! Mostly snow mixed with rain, but I couldn't believe it and boy, did it get COLD. It's freezing and I know I have four months of this to look forward to. :( I really don't mind the snow, I like it actually, but I hate being cold. Joe and Jackson love this weather, but Ava and I just want to hibernate.

So, that's been what has been up with us. Hope everyone is having a good week too!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall

Joe had Thursday off, so we decided to take a nice walk with Jack, Ava, and Digby, the dog I'm walking for my neighbor. There is a great little trail by our place that leads to a nearby park. With it being Fall now, the leaves are really pretty and it's a nice little walk.

I'm still carrying Ava in her carry most places we go. She can walk a little now, but if she walks too much, she starts limping. Not sure if that is from joint pain, or from her paw pads getting sore. But she loves her carrier and loves getting out. (Joe thinks she's faking it so I'll carry her everywhere. She has never really liked going for walks.)

Me, Ava, and Digby

Joe and Jackson

Fall leaves.
(Would have been a much prettier picture without my finger in the way.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dog Park

Jackson seemed pretty bored all day yesterday, so I decided it was time for another trip to the dog park. It's really fun to go in the mornings right after I drop Joe off at work, because there is a group of people who meet there every morning before work and now that we have gone a few times, I'm starting to get to know them, and Jackson is getting to know the dogs. It's really good for him.

Jackson did really well today, running around and playing with this yellow lab puppy named Bailey.


I take Ava with us, and normally she just hangs out in her carrier. She hasn't been up to walking around much lately, but she does really well supervising from the comfort of her little safety nest. Most of the dogs don't even notice her, but it's really funny to watch them once they do. They get really curious why she would be hiding up with me, when she could be running around on the ground. :)


Anyway, since she has been feeling better lately, I thought it was a good time to test her 'dog park' compatibility. The park we go to has a small dog area, so I took her and Jack over there and put her on the ground. She was NOT happy about it, but followed me and got a little exercise when I walked around. It was a good step, I think.


She definitely casts an interesting shadow, doesn't she? :)


Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Harvest Festival

There is an annual Apple Harvest Festival in downtown Southington that apparently is a pretty big deal. A lot like the Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee, with booths and music and a parade. It's two weekends long and Joe is actually hosting a booth there next weekend to promote chiropractic, so we decided we should go check it out this weekend.

It rained all day on Saturday, so we went yesterday - Sunday - with Ava loaded up in her carrier, of course. :) It was pretty fun. They had a great band playing in the beer garden, and then farther down the road they had a "Southington Icon" competition going on. It was fun to watch, but those people would never make it all the way, let me tell you. :)

Joe in front of the stage.

They sell all things apple there - apple slices with caramel sauce, apple cider donuts, apple crisp, everything. But what they are known for is their apple fritters. We thought we would stop by and get one... and then we saw the line. It stretched all the way down the length of the festival. It had to be at least a 45-minute wait. I was in shock. Those must be some good f'ing fritters!

We didn't wait in line, too crazy, but we did get an apple crisp and apple cider donuts. And since Joe will be working there next weekend, he's going to try to catch them right when they open or something and try one without braving the line.

It was nice to get out and Ava did REALLY good with all the commotion. This is the first time we have taken her anywhere and she even let a couple people pet her! She is getting so much better, I can just feel it! (Now if we can just put some weight on her...)

Us girls...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Halloween Season!

Today seems like the first day that we have just had some time to breathe, and it feels good. Ava is doing better and even has a bit of her old spark back. She isn't sleeping as much during the day and is even letting us pet her and hold her without screaming in pain. She still doesn't feel comfortable cuddling on my lap or next to us all that often, but last night she did lay down next to me for a while, so that was good. :)

We switched her food to Natural Balance L.I.D. Fish & Sweet Potato. It came highly recommended and Ava seems to like it. Plus, it's something we can feed forever if it works, AND we can feed it to Jack, too. So, we are hoping it works. She is also on an herbal supplement and fish oil.

Anyway, since we had a free day today, we decided to bring out the Halloween box. We don't have many decorations, but we wanted to get out the few we had. The great thing about this town is that everyone really loves to decorate for the holidays. I've never lived somewhere where people started decorating BEFORE me. haha


We also winterized the air conditioners, unpacked our winter clothes and sent our summer clothes to the basement until next season. Sad day. But we got a lot done today, and I think later this afternoon we are going to head into town for the Apple Harvest Festival. Apparently, they are supposed to sell killer apple fritters. :)

Happy Halloween Season all!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Scary Morning and A Trip to a Holistic Vet

We had an appointment today at 9 a.m. with a holistic vet about an hour away in Westport, CT. I have been wanting to try a holistic approach with Ava, since we've been working with traditional medicine for the last several months and have come up blank.

Joe had today off, so we both got up early and took showers before I got Ava out of bed. When I saw her, I totally freaked out. One of her eyes was completely gooped up! It reminded me of when I used to have pink eye as a kid. Great, we thought, yet another symptom!

I took a picture of it to show the vet and then cleaned it up as we headed out the door.


When we got there, the holistic vet walked out into the lobby and said, "This must be my complex case!" That would be us. Always the complex case.

He had already looked over her entire medical history and made a few phone calls to some of his friends in the field about her condition. When I told him about the 'new symptom', he started the exam with her eyes. After a few minutes, he found the cause - she had a hairball under her eyelid! Not sure how that got in there, but when he pulled it out, it was pretty gross. He said he was sure that was the cause of her eye goop and not actually related to her other issues. A good thing, I guess. We now have an ointment to put in her eye twice daily.

After he examined her some more, he talked us through some things he thought she may have. One was this rare disease called Enhanced Bartonella Culture, which is a blood test that has to be sent to this specific lab in North Carolina and it could take months to get the results back. And he also gave us names of a few dermatologists that he suggested we see (this has come up before, so will probably be a next step). But he also said that it seems very auto-immune related to him (which has been the general consensus so far).

The thing I really liked, though, is he gave us an herbal supplement to start using and told us to up her intake of fish oil (which we are already giving her). He also said that we need to start eliminating things from her diet and stick to a one-protein diet to see if maybe a food allergy could be causing some of this. He suggested we start her on a fish protein. So, we went to the store and found a 100% salmon dog food that we are going to try.


Ava actually didn't really mind these vets. They were very sweet to her and held her and talked to her through the whole thing. Plus, they didn't poke and prod her like the others, so she was actually fairly content. Joe and I liked them, too. They are actually very interested in her case and said they will ask around some more to see if anything else comes up. And he really wants us to let him know the final diagnosis as well.

So I guess next steps are to see a dermatologist, test for this rare Bartenella thing, try to eliminate any food contaminants, then treat her for auto-immune. We will have to get an echocardiogram as well.

Fun stuff.