Raising pups…

One year with Pearl + thoughts on adopting an older dog…

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Pearl Adoption One Year 2 Pearl Adoption One Year

… yes, I’m a little late with this post, but I still feel it’s important to mark the one year (belated) anniversary since we brought our little one-eyed wonder home. And I think it’s safe to say, we’ve learned a lot this past year about rescuing an older dog – one who also has a disability on top of her age.

We love her (I still think she’s the cutest thing alive), and especially love that she has a home to call her own, but if I’m being completely honest, it’s been more challenging than I thought it would be. When anyone asks our thoughts on adopting older dogs, I try to be as truthful as possible. I’m also fully aware our experience is solely ours, and ours alone – many people who adopt older dogs might have completely different opinions. If you have, I’d love to hear yours.

Also, this is not meant to discourage anyone from adopting an older dog. I can tell you that if I have my say, we’ll continue to adopt older dogs in the future … much farther in the future. 🙂 I can’t tell you how important I think it is.

But here’s a few things we’ve learned this past year…

First off, my naiveness didn’t help. We rescued Piper as a puppy, which let me tell you, is not the same. Pearl certainly did, and still does present a new set of challenges – ones I was less prepared for.

To this day we don’t know her age – our vet’s last guess was 10 years or older – and with that we really don’t know much about her history. We can only assume, given her general unwillingness to warm up to – or become attached to any human – that she might’ve had a rough life prior to being rescued. I think that was quite possibly the part I was least prepared for. Who knows, maybe we’ll get there eventually. Every now and then we see a few little moments where she’s excited to be around us, and trust me, we relish in them.

As for her health, aside from cataracts in her one remaining eye (the vet has assured us there’s nothing to be done about it), her lack of hearing, and her not-so-great joints, she honestly is very healthy. Impossible, right? Jeff and I have decided that even if an apocalypse were to hit, Pearl would still magically be left roaming the streets. She’s a medical mystery!

Joking aside, we’ve found – especially in our small, multi-level home – that as time goes on her vision is starting to be much more of an impairment than when we first got her. So for us, that means a lot more carrying her (something she generally hates, but learns to tolerate) and steering her in the right direction. It also requires us approaching her in just the right way, so as not to scare her, which is very easy to do! Especially for Piper, who isn’t the most accommodating to others’ needs. It’s also something we have inform our guests about, otherwise she doesn’t react well to being startled. Again, some of that could also be a product of her former life, we’re just not sure. We honestly try to manage it as best we can, especially as we’ve gotten adjusted to having her in our home.

Lastly, I would say I was also unsure how she would do with Cosmo and Piper, which is why I’m glad we did our rescue’s “foster to adopt” program with her first. And while I wouldn’t say she considers them her friends, for the most part she either doesn’t mind or tolerates their presence. However, since she’s on the grumpier side of life (as we like to say), we’ve really had to do our best to train Piper (definitely more so than Cosmo) to be mindful of her presence, but overall we’re really lucky that they all get along. We do steer clear of the dog park with Pearl, because as we’ve learned – while she gets along with our dogs – she’s not great with other, mostly smaller female dogs.

So yes, even if it seems like I’ve had a lot to share about (did I overshare?) adopting Pearl, I can genuinely tell you we’ve learned a lot … in the best possible way. We’ve also gained a dog who needs, and wants a loving home, which is the most we can ask for. And while there are challenges to be had, we wouldn’t change a thing. If you’re looking to adopt an older dog – disability or not – I would certainly tell you it’s worth it! [END ALL MY OPINIONS]

P.S. If you’ve made it to the end of this LONG post, I’m still thinking of some sort of prize to give you. 😉

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A lesson for dog owners…

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Piper October 2015… I hesitated sharing this story on here (though if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve might have already read about it), because it certainly wasn’t our proudest moment as doggy parents, but I’m hopeful our lesson (really, a scare) will be your warning.

A few weekends ago – the day we installed our kitchen backsplash to be exact – Jeff was in our basement collecting the tools he needed for the day. Since we live in an old home, we’ve occasionally had mice, which we’ve used traps with poison to catch them. We thought we had properly disposed of the unused traps awhile ago, but unfortunately there was a packet of the poison we missed that unknowingly came out from behind our washer when Jeff pulled out another item he needed. He went upstairs to start working, but Piper – who had followed him to the basement – found the poison and proceeded to not only chew open the packet, but ingest a portion of it.

We think it was approximately twenty minutes later when Jeff found the chewed packet lying on our stairs. He quickly ran upstairs to tell me what he thought happened and we immediately called the vet’s office. They advised us to not only bring her in soon as possible, but to also call the ASPCA on our way to initiate a case file.

As we learned, the ASPCA keeps a database of the different types of poison, their effects and how best to treat an animal once they’ve ingested the poison. By starting a case file with them, they were then able to speak directly with our vet and consult them on how to treat Piper’s specific situation.

Since we’d acted quickly to get her to the vet, and only a short amount of time had passed since we’d found the open packet, the vet was able to induce vomiting (TMI?) to help our poor little babe get rid of the poison. That was honestly the hardest thing to watch. Talk about feeling like you’re the worst parent!

Thankfully, she was able to get it all out, but given the color of her vomit (I know, I know TMI) it confirmed she had ingested poison and it was critical we got her to the vet so quickly.

The vet was fairly confident she would be fine, but said she needed take Vitamin K for thirty days. The poison is an anticoagulant and Vitamin K helps to counteract that, and allows her blood to clot.

We’re truly thankful we noticed it so quickly, because we learned that if we hadn’t, it’s likely Piper wouldn’t have exhibited any symptoms for three to five days, and by then it would be much harder to treat. The type of poison she ate, which might kill a mouse instantly, would take many days to affect a dog of Piper’s size. The vet was kind enough to notice she’s a “bigger gal” – way to kick her while she’s down. 😉 I kid, she’s not embarrassed by her size.

Our little lady felt kind of crummy the rest of the day, simply from having to vomit 🙁 , but after that she was back to normal! She’s still on Vitamin K, but other than that she’s her same old sweet, cuddly, outgoing self.

It was certainly a scary and expensive lesson we weren’t expecting to learn, but it’s made us more cautious of all the toxins a dog can easily get into around the house. So if I can provide any word of caution – be sure to check your house thoroughly, especially if you at one time had mouse traps like ours. Although, Piper is out of the puppy stage, she’s still an inquisitive dog and when she saw the poison packet – something she’s never seen before – she was more than happy to go for it.

We’re so grateful she’s okay, but we’re also fully aware the situation could have had a much different outcome!

If you find yourself in the same situation, remember to act quickly and call your vet immediately.

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A pupdate…

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… see what I did there??

Last month (how is it already November!), I really dropped the ball on any and all updates here, especially with these three, so here’s a few photos to quiet the masses. 😉 Piper 11012015 1 Pearl 11012015 1 Cosmo 11012015 2 Pearl 11012015 2Sidenote: I know the photo below is out of focus and overexposed, but Cosmo’s smile (some might think it looks slightly scary) just gets me. Such a sweetheart. Piper and Cosmo 11012015 2Last weekend, Jeff spent all weekend chasing down the right subway tile for our kitchen, and I chased these three around the yard. It’s a fair trade, right?

But next weekend, we can and WE MUST get that new backsplash up, so I can finally show off our new countertops.

P.S. We dressed up Miss Pearl for Halloween, and I think it turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

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