Clean Bill of Health

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Cooper da Rescue!

Someone mentioned I hadn’t talked about Cooper lately. Never fear, he is doing fine. Actually, he had his yearly checkup recently and is fit as a fiddle, according to the vet!

I’ve mentioned plenty of times he is prone to severe health issues. I honestly didn’t expect him to make it past age 5. After all these years together, I’m proud to say he is still strong and robust. Ironically, he was just getting over a summer cold prior to our vet visit.  I booked the appointment and by the time it rolled around, he was past it.

His allergies are still ever present. With all the warm weather lately he has a had a few flare ups. Otherwise, the sausage is doing quite well.

Luckily, when Shawn and I travel his Uncle Chuck (our neighbor) keeps an eye on him for us. He gets to stay home where he feels safe and Chuck is just across the hall. The cleaning lady tends to spoil him with extra treats as well. She adores him. No matter where we go, he always steals the show. He gets almost weekly walks around the ‘hood and every store we visit is fond of him. The Starbucks crews will ask where he is when I pop in without him. The Posh Bagel crew always smile and say hi to him.

His age is ever so slowly creeping up on him. His hyperactive fits have shrunk significantly. He also refuses to jump up on our bed most days now. He’ll whine and beg until one of us picks him up. He still hops on the couch and the guest bed (it’s lower) with no signs of discomfort. He is in my heart and I just adore him. I shudder to think what his life might have been had I never rescued him. I still to this day get angry telling the story of how he was abandoned.

Anyway, there you have it. The Pooper dooper is most excellent and sends you all slobber kisses and stinky farts.

 

Room

My roommate is moving out. Actually, this will be the 2nd time he has moved out. He left for awhile when “he who shall not be named” and I were dating. It ended up working out for him to move back afterwards. It was kind of odd how it worked out. We didn’t plan it. It was just a series of events that made it work for both of us again. Anyway, he leaving on good terms. Him and his beau need their own place and with changes in their respective work locations, it just makes good sense. I’m sure they want their own place anyway.

I’m happy for them but it’s a little sad too. Carl and I get along really well. He moved in originally after Neil left for LA. Neil was an easy choice because I’d already known him for so long. I’m picky about who I live with and usually it has to be someone I already know or know of. Carl and I knew each other thru respective exes. Actually, we met when I was still seeing Drew. Drew was besties with Dodger and Carl was dating Dodger at the time. Confused yet?  I knew enough about him I was comfortable with being roomies. We talked and arranged a trial move in to see how things went. It worked out good for both of us. We almost never fight and even now with 4 of us practically living here, it has been pretty agreeable. Travis, his bf, isn’t officially a roomie but he might as well be. hehehe He is here all the time and we like having him around. Plus, he loves playing with Cooper and anyone who loves dogs can’t be all bad, right? heehee

Short of Neil moving back or Trevan moving to SF, I doubt I’d ever find a roomie I get along with so well again. Well besides Shawn obviously, but were partners so that’s a given. Carl and I had enough in common to remain friends but we weren’t always in each other’s way. Even our schedules are different enough we almost never fight over the one bathroom. Yup, you read it right. Four of us usually share one bathroom!

Anyway, we won’t be replacing him after he moves out. It’ll certainly mean a rent increase, but luckily we can afford it. And when I say ‘afford it’ meaning we go back to getting screwed royally over the high rent prices here. Even with our rent control, rent heree is ridiculous. It will dent the discretionary spending significantly.

Besides missing having him around, we’ll have to try to find a new sitter for Cooper. Carl has been here pretty much since Cooper came along.It wasn’t that long after I adopted Cooper that Carl came back. Cooper has bonded to him and I know he’ll miss having him around. I’ll also miss having someone to watch Cooper for me when Shawn and I travel and can’t take him. Cooper didn’t do well the last time I tried to kennel him over night. I’m hoping I don’t have to go back to that. Plus, he knew Carl so he handled me being gone better. Luckily for Cooper, Uncle Carl will still be around and will pop in from time to time to visit.

Carl will be missed for sure. The apartment feels as much his as it does mine and I’m sure it will feel weird for awhile without him.

Fortune

I’m back from PHX and it’s been a busy couple weeks. I spent the last two weeks prepping for my move into my new assignment at work.

Anyway, we had a nice vacation and more importantly, Cooper had an awesome time. He also behaved way better than I expected. It was his first really big road trip since I rescued him. He adapted pretty well. On the drive from SF to LA he fought to stay awake because he just knew every time the car slowed or breaked, “we were there.” hehehe About 3 hours in he finally gave up and crashed in the back seat.

He got to meet Duplo while in LA. I was a bit fearful they wouldn’t get a long but it worked out quite well. After a little bit of angst, they were fine together. Not besties at all but they tolerated each other quite well. Considering Cooper was invading Duplo’s private space, I was really surprised they did so well. Even when we left them alone, they got along ok. Or, at least there were no tell-tale signs of drama while we were out. Cooper was only moderately anxious. We brought his bed and blankie to help him feel ‘at home’ and it really seemed to helps. Having his familiar things seemed to put him more at ease over time.

On the trip from LA to PHX, he quickly passed out. He figured he was in for another long day and didn’t fight it much at all. He would only get up with the daddy’s stopped for gas/bathroom breaks. Once in PHX, he got a little anxious the first time we left him in the condo alone. We took him for a quick ride around town while we were out and then the next time we left, he did much better. Again, he was only anxious the first night then seems to settle in ok.

The only rough spot was when we met up with Shawn’s parents. They had a cat that was so not amused at a strange dog invading his space. Cooper gets along with cats after a while but he initially will ‘rush’ them and cats that don’t no better freak out over that. Of course, once he gets next to the cat, he just sniffs and looks on bewildered. The new cat didn’t know that obviously and in one round managed to knick his nose a tiny bit. It was a very minor injury and did nothing to deter Cooper‘s interest in the roaming kitty. We had to keep him on a leash with a firm hand till the evening was over. Luckily, the lunch spot was very dog friendly and we didn’t have to leave him locked in a room.

On the way back to LA and then SF, he quickly went right to sleep each time. He was an old hat it by then and knew it was a long ride. hehehe  His Daddy and Pappa had a good time but won’t be doing the drive again anytime soon though. Even split up over days, it was rough.

Trip

I hope everyone out there is having a warm and safe holiday. I’m at work but more on that in a minute. Shawn, Cooper, and myself are all off to LA tomorrow for a few days and then on to Phoenix. I’m on vacation for a week starting tomorrow. Yes, we are driving just so we can take Cooper. Well, that is a part of it. We wanted to make two stops so flying would have been a bit overkill to bounce around so much. Driving just made more sense and since we are driving, why not take the Cooper-Pooper? It has cooled off in Phoenix so he won’t expire from the heat. hehehe

As dreary as that drive can be, I’m looking forward to it.1 This will be our first long road trip with Cooper. I always get so sad leaving him behind when we fly. I often stress about him being scared and lonely while I’m gone. I know I shouldn’t because the roomie spends plenty of quality time with him anytime we’re gone, but that doesn’t alleviate my worry. This time he gets to come along! That might sound silly but Cooper is not just a pet to me, he is my loyal companion and I’m glad to be able to take him more places. He loves to ride in the car so I expect he will enjoy the hell out of it.

As mentioned, I’m working the holiday as it falls on my normal work day. I originally had it off when I signed up for vacation. However, since we only sign up for vacation once a year and have shift assignments twice a year, I got bumped off my days off. More astutely, I got bumped over 1 day on my days off. So now I’m working Christmas day, which is my Friday, and then off for the week. Thank the GSM2 I am off for NYE. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before NYE is the worst day of the year for work and am soooo grateful not to be working.

Be safe, be warm, and wherever you are, know that you are loved!




  1. If you’ve ever driven between LA and SF, you know what I mean []
  2. Great Spagetti Monster []

Switch

About once a year, Cooper‘s skin issues get really out of control. Being a bully and white, he really struggles with it pretty much constantly. I manage them pretty effectively most days but every so often it just goes berserk; necessitating a visit to the vets office.

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He was recently exposed to fleas for the first time and it set him off like a rocket. I took him off his flea meds as he just never spends much time with other dogs. He has never picked up fleas from the park so it seemed overkill. Clearly a decision I need to rethink. He was scratching and itching like crazy. It also made is other skin issues flare up something fierce. Time for a vet visit.

Having felt a little disgruntled with treatment over his skin problems from the SPCA, I decided to switch to a new vet. Don’t get me wrong, I still highly recommend the SPCA vet clinic here in SF. For trauma treatment, they are the go-to place. However, they don’t always seem to have good experience for special needs dogs like bulldogs. Or at least not in my experience. I’ve had more than one frustrated visit so I decided to make a switch a while back.

I did an old fashioned Google+ search for vets w/good Bulldog experience and found Avenues Pet Hospital here in the city. I was not opposed to going further if need be. And while slightly further than the SPCA, they are right off the MUNI so getting there is quite easy. Cooper loves to go on MUNI.

I felt good just walking in. While in a much older and smaller building, they had a bulletin board full of pics and a large percentage were bullies and frenchies. Score 1 point. The female vet was super friendly and eagerly greeted Cooper and made contact with him as well as myself. Score 2 points. We discussed his ongoing issues, the recent flea outbreak, and his history. She understood his situation almost immediately. She got bonus points for knowing his color makes him all the more sensitive. Obviously, the first goal was to get his flare-up under control. Thru a combo of oral and topical meds, he is much better two weeks after the fact. Actually, he even seems to have more energy than usual.

On our follow up visit, I was again impressed with the expertise and recommendations for Cooper. She was open to trying various treatments to find one that works best for him. We discussed long term care options. As loathe as I am to put him on permanent meds, it might be the best solution. We are trying a lower dose broad spectrum antibiotic that is 1 pill a day plus a topical shampoo with meds to help kill bacteria on the surface of the skin as well. He started the meds this week and we’ll see how he does. If it is effective, it gets reduced to 1 every other day but he’d stay on it.

Wish the Pooper luck!

A/C

Speaking of hot weather, we broke down and bought a standing A/C unit for little Cooper. Shawn found one we liked on Woot of all places. It arrived while we were down in PHX.  Cooper tolerates random warm days, but when the days stack together w/no breaks he struggles. Bullies can develop severe respiratory distress if they pant too long. Anyway, I didn’t want a full a/c as much as something to break the heat in the apt. The standing unit fit the bill nicely. It will knock the temp down about 8-10 degrees, which is just enough. It would probably work a little better if we had better seals around the venting window, but since it is meant to be temporary it doesn’t make sense to try to seal it tighter.

Cooper has figured out if he lays in front of it, he feels better. Shawn pulled his bed in front of it one day while it was on and Cooper took to it right away. The next time I turned it on he ran over and plopped down right in front of it. hehehe  Bullies aren’t the smartest but they do tend to have long memories. So it is working out perfectly so far. Cooper seems to like it and I don’t stress when I’m at work. Sadly, the one we bought is not IFTTT compliant so I can’t set it to come on based on temp settings. While it will switch from fan to a/c based on temperature, it won’t just come on that way. However, it has a on/off timer so it still works out. I slightly later work hours so I turn it on when I leave and set it to shut off right about the time the roomie or Shawn gets home.

If it is a wee bit noisy but you’d expect noise from an a/c unit. You do get used to it. It sort of blends in with the background noise after awhile. If you are in the market for one, I can recommend they do a good job for small to medium size rooms. However, they are not a replacement for a full window unit. You won’t be cooling multiple room with these things.

Mundane

I’ve gotten more than a few requests lately about how well the personal life is going. I’ve also gotten a couple alarmed messages asking if I had quit blogging. And I got one very sweet email from a long time friend. (Brian, I’m getting to your email I promise!)

On the home front, things are good. Actually, things are awesome. My life is on a good streak right now! Things with Shawn and I are excellent. Of course, life is pretty simple most days. We work, we come home, play video games, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s mundane bliss. hehehe. In other news, Shawn recently went permanent with his job and got a fat raise with stock options. He is very happy to finally have the weight of being a contract employee off his mind. And they’ve let him know recently how much they appreciate him as well. He has begun to settle into the company and be a part of it vs just going to work at a job.

As I mentioned previously, I’m finally debt free. I’m working to keep it that way too. I caught up on 6 years worth of back taxes and I’m getting money back. The checks have started to roll in. Apparently, they send you a check for every year instead of one check. I owed California for a couple years and sure enough, I got 3 checks and a bill. hehehe But the stress and worry over that is gone. Yay!

Cooper is still sassy as ever. His daily worries revolve around food, treats, and how often he can sneak up on the coach. His ever present skin issue has him back on antibiotics for awhile. Beyond that, Daddy is trying to stay on top of keeping his nose, ears, and tail clean and stink-free.

*

No, I haven’t quit blogging. I’ve just been super busy this last month. I’m still here. I don’t always blather about insignificant topics like I used to as they usually end up on social media. I save the blog for lengthy rants. My long time friend Brian recently sent me a very heart-warming email about his experience w/my blog over the years. Almost made me cry. I’m glad that people enjoy coming here for my nonsense. Lawd knows I’ve come a loooooong way in the last 11 years of doing this. As always, I write first for me but I also write knowing others read what I share. This has never been a popularity contest and hopefully never will be. I seem to be one of only a few left from the old blog crew though. I miss some of the other blogs.

So there you have it. A down and dirty update. More to come.

Grace

Striking a pose
Striking a pose

And just when you thought you’d seen enough posts dedicated to the Cooper Pooper, here’s another one.

Ain’t he just adorbs in this pic? So regal, so graceful, so elegant…NOT! Don’t let that smile fool you. He is the farting-ist, smelly bulldog you could ever meet! Even with a very strict diet, he routinely stinks up the place. heehee

Otherwise, he doing quite well these days. It doesn’t even seem like it’s been 3 years since I rescued him (and he me). He is coming up on his 6th birthday in May.

I’ve mentioned several times my concerns about his future health. Bullies are prone to health problems, but being white makes Cooper even more so. So far he is still doing well.1 Other than his ever present sensitive skin, he has only shown small signs of developing arthritis. It seems minor and does not need medication as of yet.

Since he loves being under the covers anytime he is allowed in the bed, I’ve taken to throwing one of his blankets over him at night before he goes to bed. He looks so cute all tucked-in in. And make no mistake, he loves it.

I’m starting a new vitamin/supplement regimen for him soon. He already eats really healthy, but I am hoping to be as proactive as possible. I want my Pooper to have as much quality of life as quantity as he moves into his “golden years.”




  1. Bullies that are over-bred can die sometimes as early as 6 []

Leave

It is probably a good thing I am not a parent (of a human child). I can barely Cooper Smilestand to leave Cooper alone when I go on trips, I’m not sure I’d be able to with a kid.

We’re traveling to LA this weekend and I’m already sad that I have to leave him behind? I haven’t even left yet!  Granted, he is in good hands w/his Uncle Carl, but that isn’t the point. We would take him but our hosts already have a dog and I’d hate to cause them undue problems if they didn’t get along.

We went for a nice walk today and played on the floor for awhile. He got all his wrinkles (and ears) freshly cleaned so he wont’t be a burden to his Uncle. He is currently passed out from his walk and will probably not even notice I’m gone for awhile. lol We’re back on Monday so I’m not even gone that long. I’d probably be one of ‘those fathers‘ if I had a kid. hehehe

I’m headed to pick up Shawn from the airport and we are driving down to LA to see his two besties.

Hot

So I deal with a lot of dog in car calls in my line of work.  I also have a beloved animal that I would never ever let intentionally suffer. And of course, I do a lot of volunteer work the local SPCA. Considering the temps outside here today, I thought I’d pass along some helpful info. 

First, it is OK to leave your dog in your car in some circumstances. Second, it is NOT OK to leave your dog in your car inmost circumstances. 

Just follow a few basic rules and you and your beloved pet will be good.

1) Always make plans that do not include having to leave an animal alone in a vehicle for more than a few minutes. If you plan accordingly, the likelihood of you putting your pet in danger will be very low. (Going into Safeway to shop for an hour or two is NOT a good example.)

2) When deciding if it is ok to leave your animal in your car for a short period of time, add 20 degrees to the temperature outside. If you would leave a child in the same temp and be ok, even for 15 mins, then it is ok for your pet.1

3) If you are ever in doubt, don’t do it. If it is that close in your mind, error on the side of your beloved pet and don’t do it.

On the flip side, what should you do if you are concerned about an animal left in a vehicle?

1) Vehicles are not air-tight. Even if the window is rolled up, the animal is in ZERO danger of suffocating. I hear this one a lot. While it may contribute to a given situation, it is not enough to cause disress on it’s own. 

2) Unless you know of a specific ordinance in your area that indemnifies you from harm, you are not exempt from liability if you break into a strange vehicle. Committing a crime to right a crime doesn’t protect you. You should call your local non-emergency police number or animal care agency for guidance. They will in return make the necessary response or referrals. 

3) While you personally may not like it, legal conditions for ‘in distress‘ have to be met before drastic action can be taken. Again, make an effort to know local ordinances or use option 2 above. An excited/barking/whimpering animal is not enough on it’s own to be considered in distress. In very general terms, ‘distress‘ means the animal is in danger of injury or death if no one acts to intervene. 

If you have ever hopped into a baking hot car, you know from experience, it is not a comfortable feeling. Do not inflict such punishment on your companions. They are defenseless against such things and depend soley on you for their care. 




  1. The caveat is if you’re stupid enough to leave a child in an obviously too hot car for 15 mins or longer, don’t breed or own a pet. []