Tag Archives: Norwegian Elkhound

When Being Grown Up Sucks…

Oh, sure, you can drink what you want and stay up late, sleep as late as you want on the weekend and even take a mental health day without asking anyone’s permission.  You get to make your own choices.  But then there’s all the responsibility you have and that’s the rub…

October has never been the kindest month for me. The weather gets colder, the sun hides behind clouds, the days start to shorten and things die.  My garden is gone for the year.  My flowers are close behind, just waiting for first real frost to wither and turn brown.  My dad passed away several years ago this month.  On Halloween.  And now my sweet 14-year-old Norwegian Elkhound, Inga, was just diagnosed last week with advanced stage lymphoma.

This past weekend was awful.  We were waiting for confirmation of the diagnosis from the vet while medical tests were being run.  On Saturday Inga ate some people food and a little bit of dog food but mostly drank tons of water.  By Sunday, she ate nothing and could barely stand up to drink water or go outside.  This morning we had the diagnosis confirmed and decided to begin giving her high doses of prednisone.  If she’s responsive to the steroid, she hopefully will get less weak and develop a bit of an appetite soon.

But her long-term prognosis is about two or three months, if the prednisone helps.  It seems like a reasonable thing to try but right now I feel like she’s slowly starving to death before my eyes and I can’t bear to put her through this for very long.  I’m dribbling water into her mouth through a straw.   If the prednisone doesn’t help soon, we will talk euthanasia.

A more aggressive approach would include surgery to remove her spleen and chemotherapy.  I told my vet I wouldn’t consider that.  It’s not only the cost, which would certainly be several thousand dollars, but the fact that Inga is 14 and a dog, albeit a well-loved pet.  And from what I’ve read, chemo would only put her in remission for about a year (if she survived the surgery and treatment).

So why am I agonizing over the decisions?  And second guessing myself?  Because there isn’t a choice that doesn’t break my heart.  Right now, I hate being grown up…

Postscript:  I wrote this post Monday night and decided to post it anyway, even though my precious girl took matters into her own paws and passed away during the night.  I’m so very sad but also happy that she won’t have to suffer.  We were honored to be her family for all these years…

I’ve heard…

that people begin to look like their pets over time.  Well, I have two dogs.  Two very different breeds.

This is a picture of me from about 15 months ago.

And this is my oldest dog, Chief, a Chow/terrier mix.

This is me now, my hair growing back after chemo.

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And this is my other dog, Inga, a Norwegian Elkhound.

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Coincidence?  What do you think?  😀

An Early Weekend Update…

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Wanted to give you an update on Inga, my Norwegian Elkhound, and her recent run-in with a skunk.  Now that she is an older lady of 12, she apparently thought it was a good idea to chase a skunk out of our backyard a few weeks ago.  The skunk did not take kindly to being chased.  Some background — I was supposed to see one of my favorite authors, Kristan Higgins, at a local bookstore signing, but hubby ended up in a hospital 30 mile away that day. My oldest son was out of town on business (he and DDIL, our 3-year-old grandson and Tank, their English bulldog, are staying with us while building a house) and my younger son was home with our dogs.

I got home from the hospital at about 8 p.m., let the dogs out and a few minutes later let Chief in.  He’s our Chow terrier mix (I know, weird mix, but sweet) and then Inga ran to the door like the hounds of hell (or a little skunk) were behind her.  The smell hit my nose the minute I opened the door for her, so I grabbed her collar and pulled her through the house into the garage before she rubbed on anything, but believe you me, that smell lingers!  Why didn’t I just leave her in the backyard?  I have no idea…

I immediately texted DDIL, who was picking up Tank and Dear Grandson from the other grandparents who were babysitting, telling her when you get here, do not open the garage door, Inga is in there and smells awful!

As soon as they got in the house, we put Dear Grandson to bed, with him complaining the whole time, “But I want to see the skunk,” and corralled Tank in the sunroom and Chief in the living room.  Long story short, DDIL went out and bought a quart of hydrogen peroxide to mix with baking soda and dish soap which we scrubbed on Inga in the driveway in the dark at 9 p.m., let it sit for ten minutes then hefted her (she weighs about 60 pounds on a slim day!) upstairs into the hall bathtub to rinse and repeat.  All the directions I found online said don’t get it in the dog’s eyes, so I didn’t — but that also meant I didn’t really get the smell off her muzzle, either.  And so, the smell lingered…

The next day my brother said, “Put out dishes of vinegar to absorb the odor, that’s what we did when our dog got skunked.”  So I did.  And I sprinkled baking soda on the rugs and vacuumed and revacuumed and still the smell lingered. And it now smelled a little like a skunk dyeing Easter eggs…

I finally hit on what I thought was an ingenious idea — use my Neutrogena make-up remover sheets (which safely take off my eye make-up) so they should be safe for the dog, to scrub Inga’s face. Well, it took a few days, but it finally seemed to help.  Or maybe just enough time passed that the smell faded on its own..

And now we’re back to what passes as normal for us.  (And Neutrogena people, if you’re reading, Inga might be available for an endorsement if the price were right.)

Original Inga post Monday Musings…