Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Where's The Beach?

It's drier than an Amish Meeting House out here in Vancouver, dear readers. The Weather Gods here never do anything half assed - rain? "By doG, if you want rain then it shall rain for 9 months of the year!"

But when the rain goes away, the sun comes out to play. Or more correctly, it comes out to suck up all the moisture in the whole city. It turns a little game of fetch into a proper Alberta-style dust up!

I'm not complaining! I love the heat and the sun. I'm not a cold weather kinda gal.

Tweed doesn't seem to mind it much either. In fact, he looks pretty darn happy to me!

Today, as a change of pace, we went to Spanish Banks Dog Beach instead of our usual haunts. Except I need to learn to read the tidal maps or something, because when we got there, the ocean had vanished.

It was miles away, being all coy and flirty. All it left behind were wide expanses of sand with piddly puddles of water here and there. Oh and the sand was covered with a mixture of what appeared to be cement, crazy glue and sticky rice water.

Sport, who does not go IN water, and generally takes offense to the pushy nature of the tide at Kits Beach, felt this was just peachy, thanks.
^^ Ole Dirty Legs.
As I was inappropriately shod for cement/rice water/glue surfaces, my sneakers now look like Sport's legs. Harumph.

The Three Amigos didn't care - ocean, oatmeal, mountain ... as long as there's a Chuck-It and a Wootie Toy to be manipulated, by doG they will fetch.

Sport, much like me with boys-on-bikes, really likes to watch.

After some hardcore fetching, Sport led the way back to the car.

After we stopped for a moment to rest ...

... and to shake off some mud ...

... and reflect on the day's outing.

On the way home, we stopped in at the vet so Sport could get a check up. He's not really improving; still has no appetite, is not gaining weight ... generally, I am underwhelmed with his progress, or lack thereof. So we stopped in to see Dr. Shaw and get his opinion.

Sport was not at all happy to be at the clinic.

"Why, Food Lady? Why would you do this to me?"

The staff at the clinic, as people do everywhere*, fell in love with Sport. Upon hearing that he refuses all food, they undertook a mission to try and feed him essentially everything remotely edible in the hospital.

* "people everywhere" does not include the owners of dogs that Sport bites at the beach.

This cat, who's name I forget, was in HEAVEN. Because everything Sport did not eat (which was, literally, everything), kitty did!

Dr. Shaw was not too impressed with Sporty either! Sport's complete lack of muscle mass is a very real concern, especially given how much food I have been forcing into his old, starving body. We discovered two abscessed teeth in his mouth, but his heart murmur is so severe and overall body condition so poor that nobody wants to put him under to remove them. The teeth could be causing him quite a bit of pain, as is his evident arthritis. And so Sport is caught in the mightiest of Catch-22s - he could get better if we could fix him, but he's too sick to be fixed. Poor guy.

Armed with an arsenal of antibiotics for his abscessed teeth, and Metacam for his poor old bones, we mutually agreed upon a deadline for Sport - two weeks. The antibiotics and pain killers should help him feel better long enough to regain appetite. Even if they don't, the sheer amount of food I cram into him every day should result in some significant improvement in his overall body condition and weight. If this does not happen over the next two weeks, Sporty will take that last long walk, and I'll hold him while he goes. It may be that Sport is just too sick to be well ever again.

So root for him, blog readers. Sport needs your good thoughts, juju and prayers. If you can't wish him better, then wish him an easy passing. He is a grand old dog and it's no fun to watch him suffer.

Look! Dogs masquerading as real sheepdogs!

And OMG, how cute is this face?


b13 said...

I hope for the best for Sport... but if he has to go, he was lucky to spend his last weeks with someone as caring and special as you. Hang in there old doG. Your fun times might only have just begun.

Your friends at b13fotographica and tartanbay.com

Tristan - I'm a Heavenly King said...

Oh O'Sport,please please eat!! I really don't want to see you go! You look like you are having so much fun with the Food Lady and her Woof and Woo gang! C'mon! Stop being such an old grouch, Mister! Get something into you. Anything! You'll get well. I'll be praying. I believe in miracles.

Annie said...

Healing thoughts coming Sport's way.

Love the photos as usual!

riosmom said...

This post broke my heart. Is he not eating because of his teeth? Is there a liquid diet that would give him the nutrition he needs? Is he suffering? In an earlier post you said he didn't seem to be suffering. But of course he is if he is starving but being a dog he is not showing it. Sending all the good vibes I can - he deserves better.

The Border Collies said...

"Is he not eating because of his teeth?"

We don't know. Certainly this is possible, but Sport will eat turkey necks and reject soft food. It could be the infected teeth are causing nausea. It could also be that he has underlying kidney issues that cause his lack of appetite. We don't really know.

"Is there a liquid diet that would give him the nutrition he needs?"

In short - no. Sport is getting lots of nutrition from the food I am force feeding him, but not gaining weight or condition, which suggests an underlying problem. It is not only that he does not eat, but that he does not WANT to eat that is a big concern. His lack of appetite means force feeding for the rest of his life, which does not seem kind, or just.

"Is he suffering?"

I couldn't say. He certainly has lots of bright moments ... but with the myriad of things wrong with him, and the fact that his body is consuming its own muscle mass, suggests he's not feeling fantastic. I think possibly Sport has been so neglected for so long ... maybe he came to us too late. Only time will tell.

zeghsy said...

c'mon sport. take your medicine and have some din. you looked positively happy at the beach. ears perked. the tide out. just enough to get messy but not water-logged. :) please get better...

The Growing Oshika Gang said...

Some especially great pics today, friend.

Natalie said...

Oh poor Sport. :( Breaks my heart. But he looks so damn happy standing in the water! Just lights right up inside.

Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

Ginger might help with nausea.

We will cross our fingers, toes, and paws for Sport to feel better.

If it is his time, he is lucky to be with someone who will hold him the whole time.

Anonymous said...

The best of life to Sport. I wish I could take in dogs like you do but I am at the limit allowed by the city I live in.

Thanks for all that you do & share with us.

Tiffany said...

Poor Sport! We'll be praying and sending doggy get well wishes his way.

Fenway said...

It's hot here, too, near Washington, DC. Actually it's like living in a wok with all the humidity and dog-time has to begin by 6:30 or it's too bloody hot.

We send our best and most peaceful mojo to Sport. What will be will be...we don't know yet what it is. But what we DO know is that Food Lady is giving Sport one helluva party-type send off.

We will try and focus on this: how Sport knew love, companionship and maybe relived his glory days while watching the TWAAW Clan cavort. We hope he can savor as many more days as doG has in store.

Jean said...

Lots of positive vibes for Sport - hopefully the antibiotics will kick in and he'll regain his appetite.
C'mon, Sport, life with the Food Lady is good - get well and you'll have the most wonderful times ever.

Sheena, Belle has muscle wasting and arthritis; her holistic vet put her on Vetamino (as well as some natural supplements). I'm not sure that I see much weight gain, but she sure is feeling a whole lot better, has become stronger and more active, and has a very healthy appetite. I also had acupuncture done to stimulate those rear muscles and I believe it helped.
Vetamino is available from conventional vets - might be worth asking Dr. Shaw about.

barjor said...

As hard as Sport is making this, I can't help but thinking he is in fact happy. (ish). His pictures since you have gotten him have become more and more "smiles" and less worried looks.

Maybe it will be too late, but no matter what, he's a much happier dog than when he came to you.

Thanks Food Lady!

Barbara & the Bedlams pack

Diamond Girl said...

I am a member of the people everywhere who love Sport. Even if he bit my dogs, I'd still love Sport. They might not, but I would. I am wishing him the best for whatever his future might hold. You are a great guardian for old Sport.

Holly said...

I brought a mid life dog home a year + ago.

He was aggressive, defensive, frightened and would only eat sometimes.

He is Dash of my blog and Old Man of my heart.

Once his 13 rotten teeth were taken out he felt and acted much better.

He, unlike dear Sportman, was overweight, not underweight so the surgery was not as risky.

these are hard hard decisions to make and you have my full support in whatever you decide to do.

For Sport: do try to help your newest human along dearie. She needs you to get better.

Hugs and hope from Pa

Becky said...

In the "masquerading as a real sheepdog" photo, is Piper attempting to sneak up on the Wootie Toy? 'Cause that's what it looked like to me. Does the Wootie Toy, perchance, startle easily?

We'll be praying for Sport down here in North Carolina, where it is also hot (about 98 degrees F, which is I think about 37 C), but not so dry (currently 73% humidity). Get better, guy! At least he looks happy.

riosmom said...

In the "masquerading as a real sheepdog" photo, Tweed looks like he is performing in a modern dance. I came back for a "Sport fix" and just cracked up when I saw the Tweed photo. You catch them all in such wonderful poses!

Tatyana said...

Its hard to believe that he's sick, Sport looks so thrilled to be part of everything. Definitely thinking of him.

ÄsK AliCë said...

My heart and thoughts are with Sport. He looks like a doll, and like he had so much fun at the beach.

Get better ol' Sport, and if you can't then have a fantastic, love-filled last few weeks.

So heartbreaking

Sumiso said...

Awwww Sporty... I'm sure i missed this, but maybe a blood draw? Down here we are working with a dog that is arthritic and something else that's making him uncomfortable. :(
Either way, Hugs to Sporty and the wonderful beach pictures!!

And Never Ever apologize for liking boys on bikes. My road here in King County is where many of the groups train. So feel free to come on down. Bring the lawnchair and a mixer. :D

The Border Collies said...

"Does the Wootie Toy, perchance, startle easily?"

Ha ha! I think she is actually sliding to a stop to grab it (she puts on the front brakes) but it does look like she is sneaking up on it, doesn't it? ha ha!!

"I brought a mid life dog home a year + ago."

Ah but Sport is by no means "mid life." At going-on-17 years old, this dog is really on his last legs. Few border collies make it to this age; even fewer go on for longer.

Sport continues to refuse food most of the time. It will not be the worst thing in the world if Sport passes peacefully in my arms.

"And Never Ever apologize for liking boys on bikes. My road here in King County is where many of the groups train. So feel free to come on down. Bring the lawnchair and a mixer. :D"

I'M ON MY WAY!!! Sometimes at Spanish Banks dog park, I will stand and throw the ball on the grass, whilst watching the cyclists climb the hill up to UBC over and over again. HAWT.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

We are thinking good thoughts, and saying some prayers, for Sport.
Edward thinks you are so lucky to live near the beach...his favorite place!

rosalie(ta) said...

Hmmm....last I read those Amish meeting houses were busy cooking up some crystal meth...I don't know what that means about the climate here.

Sorry to hear that things are looking so bleak for Sport, but you deserve a place in doggie AND people heaven for treating him so well, and he so clearly appreciates the effort. He does smile for the camera now. I hope the next two weeks go as well as they can.

phillygirl said...

Wow, your collies are just lovely :) I left mine at home with my parents when I moved out and think they're just the best breed of dog ever!