Not Gone

I don’t blame ya for thinking I ‘be done’ abandoned the blog. Cooper’s death hit me really hard. I was depressed afterwards. I spent most of my time eating and working with the occasional video game binge in there. I’m still completely heartbroken he is gone. I miss him so much.

I’ve reached a point where I get thru the days without crying…mostly. I still have days where I just can’t shake the loneliness. But, I am getting better. It’s coming up on 2 months since he passed. I will adopt/rescue another wonderful bully again. I want to grieve and heal first. When the time comes, I will know it. Anyway, I the desire to blog or even keep up with the blog totally left me when he passed. I even considered closing it down. I think that was mostly the depression speaking.

In less depressing and actually exciting news, Shawn and I just celebrated our 6th year together. Lawd only knows how he puts up with me? I still love him as much as I did in the beginning and am grateful he does indeed put up with me. Hehehe We had dinner at Firewood Cafe (which is closing soon) in the hood where we had our first meal together. Shawn is (and has been for a while now) my longest relationship. I guess there is something to be said for that.

So yeah, I’m still here.

Goodbye My Precious

We had to say goodbye to Cooper yesterday morning. His breathing had become impacted by the tumor pressing against his lungs. He was simply experiencing too much discomfort and I couldn’t stand to see him suffer. Any doubts I had about rushing it were swept away the night before.

Cooper

I kept saying out loud we’d have him for a few more months but inside I knew we didn’t have much time. The tumor was growing quickly. My only hope was that it might grow at an angle that let him enjoy a few more months. Sadly, it was not to be. I’m grateful he declined so quickly to avoid any unnecessary suffering on his part. However, I miss him so much already. I do not think I’ve ever been so attached to a companion. I never realized how much of my daily schedule included him. Everything reminds me of him and sends me into a new fit of tears.

His life started rough as he was abandoned. When he came into my life he rescued me just as much as I rescued him. I needed him without even realizing it. He gave me so much and asked so little in return. I am happy to know I gave him a good life. He was most definitely loved. I could go on and on about all the wonderful ways he enriched my life. He was not just a pet. He was my friend and companion.

As painful as it was, I was there in his final moments. I couldn’t imagine not being there. My only goal was to keep him from being scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved. We got to play with him a bit before the end and it was a joy to see him come alive in those last moments together. He lived for butt scratches and we gave him so many along with happy words. It was an absolute joy to see him shrug off his discomfort long enough to enjoy the attention and love.

I held him as he drifted off. I spoke sweet words of love in his ear and kept my tears at bay until he had passed. He was a light in my life and my life is diminished without him in it. My Cooper Pooper, my “precious”, my love bug. . . you are missed and still loved.

My heart is broken now. And while it will heal, it will always have a mark from you.

Swamped

I know, I know…It’s been like forever since I updated. I am a very busy person.1  Lawd baby jeebus, the last few weeks have been hella busy. Work was off the charts for a couple weeks there. Then I was out for a few days as well.

I came into work today, polished off the mornings workload and then sat around a bit gobsmacked that I wasn’t behind. The next batch promptly showed up and erased all that but still… Yes, I’m still fighting my morning schedule. Ugh!

Who's your Daddy?
Werk, bitch!

In other news, I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard lately. I’m a whopping 218! With the exception of a chunky phase a few years back, this is the heaviest I’ve ever been. Most of it is the good kind of weight, albeit muscle! Yay! lolol  I was determined not to break my motivation streak so even when work was just messy I still made it a priority to keep to my gym schedule. I’m happy to say my arms and chest are looking ‘tight’! heehee  My poor legs are still looking boney as hell though. I’ve neglected them for so long and talked about working them out for so long as well. I’ve finally been putting my money where my mouth is but they are still behind the rest of me. I actually see it now so I’ m all about bringing them back into balance.

I’m finishing up this week on a bulking routine. I switch over to trying to lean up a bit next week. This means I have to actually start eating better. I don’t eat a lot of fast food but I tend to eat a lot of rich foods. This isn’t helping my waist line. heehee  I’ve already been weening myself off the rich foods. I don’t honestly think I will struggle too much. My biggest challenge is keeping the food I need to be eating in the apt. Between Amazon Fresh and Instacart, hopefully I will maintain. Wish me luck!

Cooper & Shawn
My two favorite fellas!

Cooper was feeling good this past weekend so we got out for a lovely walk. Just around the hood but still. He’ll be 8 this next month and while he is still energetic, he just doesn’t endure the walks like he used to. I remember Spike at this point would barely walk 2 blocks to the park and back. hehehe He was such a rascal. Cooper is much more energetic than that so I’m still liking where he is health wise.

My sister from another Mister is coming to visit in late May. I miss that old heifer so it will be great to catch up. The only thing I truly miss from back home are my two besties dirty snatches. I need to contrive a way to get them both up to Cali.

Right after that, we are off to Disney World. We are treating ourselves to flying first class. Trust me when I tell ya we can’t afford first class all the time. This is a rare treat and I’m actually looking forward to it. The few times I’ve flown first class were free upgrades from friends in the business. Of course, we are going for Gay Day’s. I’m saving up my liver for the round-the-world drinking binge at Epcot on Sunday. hehehe

Ugh, duty calls. A new batch of work just arrived to keep me busy for the rest of the day.

 

  1. Said in a very affected nasally voice. lol []

Arthritis 2

I accidentally deleted the original post so here it is again. . .

So, if you’ve been following along on social media, Cooper had a unplanned vet visit this week.1 He
developed a severe limp in his left leg. It gets a bit weird because overnight the
limp switched from one leg to the other.

He has developed limps before but they were almost always from him jumping too much from furniture. They also don’t develop very often. He’s had two episodes in just under a month and this last one was one of the most severe. I always give it 24 hours to see if he improves. This last time showed very little improvement the next day. I was concerned enough I missed work to get him checked out.

We had to go back a second time as I wasn’t thinking and fed him the first day. Most dogs need to be sedated for X-rays as they can’t stay still enough to get clean
images. Bullies are also much more likely to aspirate under sedation with food in
their bellies, so we couldn’t get them done on the first visit. They did pretty much
the same physical exam I did and couldn’t find any signs of discomfort or abnormalities.

There was improvement in his gait the second day which gave me hope. I think the second visit also made him a little less nervous.2 He wasn’t at all alarmed when they led him away. Tangent/ The vet is so accommodating with me too. To keep his stress down, I’m always in the room as he is led away and I’m always in the room before he is brought back. It really seems to calm him. /tangent.

I knew he had a bit of arthritis from his previous episodes. I knew it would be part of the diagnosis. However, I was a nervous wreck worrying about tumors or cancer. He could have had unusual growths, cysts, bone spurs/fractures, ligament/joint tears, bad knee joints…the list goes on but cancer is the number one non-traumatic cause of death in dogs. Daddy was a bit anxious!

Turns out it wasn’t any of those, thankfully. As expected, he does have arthritis in
the lumbar region of his back. He also has some slight degenerative bone disease in his thoracic region. It’s a minor case but coupled with the arthritis it could be
affecting nerves extending into his back legs. He also had overly large ball sockets in his hips. The latter is also common in bullies.

The good news is nothing was critical or urgent. No need for any invasive surgeries. No tears or cysts. His knees and leg joints were all in excellent condition. The primary culprit was the arthritis, which we can treat with meds. The vet said he probably won’t see any severe impacts from the bone degeneration for 2-3 more years, hopefully. That is a guess of course. It’s moving very slowly. And the large ball joints are of concern but no apparent weakness or separation fears right now.

I’ve marveled at Cooper’s health for so many years I had honestly begun to think he wouldn’t develop any health problems. I’m relieved they are still so minor. The vet and techs all commented on how well behaved and what a trooper he was. He apparently also did very well under sedation. They barely needed to give him oxygen to keep his intake normal. For a bulldog, that is exceptional news. It made me feel better about any future need to sedate him.

When I picked him up, he’d only been awake for about 40 mins and he clearly
recognized me. That was a great sign. I could tell later on he was fighting the
after effects, which made him even more adorable.

*

Plenty of folks reached out to me on social media and in private with best wishes
and sympathy. Thank you all so much. It made me feel better while I was so nervous.
And as an added update, two days later and the limp is gone once again!

  1. Actually, two visits because this daddy is so absent minded. []
  2. He still remembers being left at a animal hospital when he was abandoned. []

Clean Bill of Health

IMG_20170703_150802-1
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.

image

image

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.