Tuesday, November 10, 2009

PETEY UPDATE: pending a miracle?

Above, Petey's moment of meditative relaxation at this morning's (third) acupuncture treatment. This is a dog IN THE ZONE.

And now: story time.

As I mentioned in a recent post, we returned a couple of weeks ago to AMC mainly to be told that we had better (mentally? emotionally? FINANCIALLY?!) prepare ourselves for the prospect of surgery. A prospect which we were doing our very best to completely deny and shove in the deep, dark recesses of our brains. In the meantime, they took blood and commenced a round of tests and serums which no one was all together optimistic about, just to be on the safe side and to rule out every unlikely possibility.

Well what do you know, we got some very interesting news last week. That news is that Petey tested as having really high levels of antibodies which are known to be present in conjunction with a little thing called NEOSPORA. Neospora, dontcha know, JUST SO HAPPENS to cause our friend the SUBERARACHNOID CYST. And what I am now telling you in layman's terms is that he is believed to have an infection treatable with antibiotics. And what that means is that he could literally be cured of all his ailments. And what that means is the potential of no surgery, no wonkiness, no limp, no weakness, no gait, no crate rest, no nothin'.


I am now writing you from the beyond because this news basically killed me.

I have been told repeatedly since this moment just how rare this particular infection is and how most vets would never even know or think to test for it. It shows up most often in large animals (e.g. cattle) and Petey likely got it in utero, passed down from who knows what level of his family tree.  Let this post be my personal valentine to Animal Medical Center and the city of New York expressing how lucky we are feeling to be in our capable neurological specialist's hands and to have the benefit of these resources.

With all that said, nothing is 100%, of course. Petey had already been doing so well with acupuncture that we're continuing it in the meantime (see above). But never throughout the course of this drama have I felt so optimistic. He's got a very long course of antibiotics ahead of him (don't even get me started on the doggie drug den that is our kitchen table these days) but he's handling them beautifully with little to no side effects. Steroids are being tapered (hallelujah!) and we'll just wait and see from here.


(P.S.: thanks to everyone for the ongoing kind emails and for continuing to read through these sagas.  I am hoping to commence happier, product and merriment related posts sooner than later.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

PETEY UPDATE: rudely interrupted

Just a tiny sneak peek into our home. 
It's a chilly autumnal day in Greenpoint and naturally, Petey refuses to compromise on coziness.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

PETEY UPDATE: alternative measures

This morning we bore witness to Petey's second acupuncture treatment.

That's right, I said it: DOG ACUPUNCTURE!

If you're curious, it's approached almost exactly the same as it would be for a human and is thought to be equally as effective. I happen to have a particular belief in the powers of Chinese medicine and it turned out our new veterinary clinic has a certified acupuncturist (who's also a vet) on staff.  After a well timed free presentation/Q&A we determined lil' P might in fact be a really good candidate. It's surprisingly more affordable than we'd initially imagined and we're going to go ahead and give it the ol' whirl. In spite of his bewildered appearance above, he's actually taken to it quite well. A star patient was the term if I recall?!

As I am known to do, I'll now share a breakdown of the process:

First, an examination of sorts. Our doctor had at this point already reviewed his history and diagnosis from AMC which, along with a few personality questions (!), determined the various points and channels to concentrate on. 

First, a point on the head known to relax...

Then,  after counting carefully along his spine (based on the information from the MRI), a series of needles are concentrated circa ground zero of Petey's spine.

A close-up of the assortment!  Please note that Petey was perfectly calm throughout and never showed any sign of irritation or pain. His only trauma seemed centered around the fact that the needles were not, in fact, treats. That and the fact he was not free to roam and seduce female doctors.

Finally, two points on the backs of the legs.

And then we wait and wait and wait and wait (approximately 20 minutes).

Eventually our lovely doctor returns, the needles are removed, and he receives a bonus B12 injection on his back, thought to ever so mildly irritate, i.e. stimulate, the points.

And voila! Organic treat and we're on our way. Or at least on our way after a few drunk seeming first steps (she later tells me this is really common and I will decide to take it as a sign that something was actually targeted and a-brewing in there). 

 These photos were actually from our first session but this morning's was much the same except he launched into a nap in the last five minutes.

So far as everything else is concerned since the last we posted RE: Back Problemz '09, we've been back to AMC as well. They acknowledged improvement, but after much discussion and analysis (behind closed doors, unfortunately) they informed us that it's not "enough" improvement and that we'll start to reduce steroids gradually but we'll still have to keep a possibility of surgery in the equation. But we have time. For now. Sigh. And we have optimism! And we have killer cuteness and what seems like an endless supply of antler chews. And, of course, we now have ancient Chinese secrets....

Things can't be too bad.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Saturday was, as many of you know, the THIRD ANNUAL DISTRICT DOG HALLOWEEN PARADE. And as usual, my mind was blown both by incredible turnout and range of creativity and costuming.


I totally went into judging duties all willy nilly thinking it would be obvious and straight forward but let me tell you, I was sorely mistaken! Even after we divided the three honorable mentions into six, it was still an incredibly tough and stressful choice.

Fellow judge Miss Heather at newyorkshitty.com did the very best breakdown of winners.

A few more stars, both unsung and otherwise...

And finally, a very special, heartfelt mention to Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox whose combo costumes were rad yet they did not place (majority rules!)....

Weep! Loved you guys!

Further coverage (including video) here, here, and hopefully here soon!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Memory.

It's taken me a year to write this post and even now I am not sure I will be able to express myself to the extent that I want to.

One year ago today, my sweet Gordy passed away.

Some of you already know that, some of you don't. At the time, I made a decision not to post about it on this blog. First of all, we were in total shock and for a long time I didn't think I'd continue on with this blog at all. Once I started writing again, it seemed too strange. As much as I detailed the nuances of his life, this time it seemed too personal.

I sat down to write this post tonight to acknowledge what happened and to acknowledge Gordy. He was the true inspiration for this blog and, truthfully, one of the great loves of my life. I started to type out the details... but have once again decided to refrain. I know I would be curious if I were reading this so I'll tell you that the long and short of it is that he ate something he shouldn't have and as much as we tried to do everything we knew how to do, it was not enough and we lost him. Yesterday and today were sad days. However, we are so happy to have our surly, feisty little Petey who is actually, by a weird twist of fate, Gordy's half brother. We know just how short life can be are thankful for every day we have to spend with him.

If you're reading this and have a dog, give him or her a kiss and a squeeze.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Countdown...

A friendly reminder that there are but a few days left to acquire or create festive attire for you and your beloved for Halloween this Saturday. Speaking personally, I am losing steam fast on the holiday all together. That, if you know me at all, is blasphemous to the extreme as I happen to love Halloweenie more than anything ever?! I can't quite explain it. However, so far as dogs are concerned, I have never felt more festive.

Above, Petey gets fitted with a borrowed wig (his David Lee Roth impression? don't ask...). Sadly, it was a temporary loan.

Regardless, If you happen to be in the Brooklyn area this weekend, do not miss the third annual District Dog Halloween Parade where yours truly will be a JUDGE.

Be there or be square!

October 31st
McGolrick Park
(corner of Driggs and Russel St.)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn


Friday, October 16, 2009

PETEY UPDATE: modern medical advancements

As previously noted, Petey emerged a champion after yesterday's MRI. And as predicted, it was revelatory and worth it (pet insurance coverage TBD... yikes!).

I have taken the liberty to nerd out big time and annotate the iPhone photos (?!) taken of the MRI with my feeble understandings of what's going on in each. There were words like SUBERARACHNOID being tossed around, so bear with me...

First, a side splice of P's spinal cord. (The off putting blur jutting off the top is his micro-chip wreaking havoc):

It's a little confusing to look at but from the top that's a layer of skin, etc. then vertebrae, then the spinal canal, then vertebrae, then guts and glory and so forth. The arrow notes the white fluid pocket which our vet believes to be causing the nerve compression etc. which is causing weakness and lack of feeling in is nether regions. (Note to the left along the top of the spinal canal there's no thick white line, i.e. this is abnormal. )

This is a frontal splice of Petey's spine. This was the most clear view of the fluid pocket causing compression etc.

Finally, a top view showing a clear perspective of Petey's wild assortment of malformed vertebrae, including butterfly, fused, hemi- etc. Sigh. Apparently this is to be expected to some extent for the breed but Petey's unique variety and possible trauma or inflammation is believed to have caused this fluid pocket or subarachnoid whatever. Again, my ongoing praises to AMC, they gave us a very thorough typed out description and explanation but I'll save the technicalities until after what will surely be hours and hours of googling and the what not.

The prognosis is basically this: Petey's spine is whack. Something (either the spine, a trauma, an inflammation caused from trauma or caused from existing with a spine like this) has caused this so-called fluid pocket. The fluid pocket is causing compression. Compression is causing everything we've been concerned about for the past month. Two solutions: medicinal or surgical. Obviously, we'll start with the former. I will spare you the descriptions of what the latter would imply but let me tell you, everything about it is terrifying (i.e. tempory and/or risk of permanent paralyzation). Medicinal means that Petey's going to start on steroids and an over the counter human medication that might also aid in reducing fluid. That's right, he's juicin'! Within the last 12 hours, we've already gotten past the first hurdle which would be his digestive system rejecting the steroids by means of puke and diarrhea... which hasn't happened. And now we wait to see if all of this has a positive impact on him. No fingers have never been more crossed in the history of time.

As for the crate rest, He's still on it (weep!) but he's allowed to walk around slightly more, just no stairs, jumping, intense playing, running etc. Believe me when I tell you that this small progression is already feeling like a miracle.

All in all, I am beyond relieved that the MRI went well and that we have some small sense of what's happening. FINALLY. Our vet also concurred that it's major progress to be able to pinpoint something that has treatment options. We are so NOT out of the woods but we're maintaining a sense of optimism and.... meanwhile Petey is so cute, adorable, and playful I think my head is going to explode.

PETEY UPDATE: all's well that ends well

All went well with Petey's MRI yesterday.  Screen shots and voyeurism forthcoming. 

Above, Petey emerging with one of his many lady friends. According one of the vets, he came out of anesthesia licking and kissing.  So not surprised. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PETEY UPDATE: Anticipation

At this very moment, our little mister is getting an MRI. 

Yesterday morning he had his follow up with our new (beloved!) vet to see what the progress was on his miserable crate rest. The progress was that there was no progress. Which we basically knew. An appointment was made for a neurological consultation at the Animal Medical Center (one of the single most fascinating establishments in this city, by the way) for this morning at 9:30am.

The neurologist (lovely woman who was so helpful and informative last week) observed him with us for a bit and then took him on a long stroll where we're told he charmed the entire staff of AMC. She then came back and told us her various theories. The oversimplified scenarios in order of perceived likelihood: a malformation he was born with (something surgery cannot fix), a herniated disc or similar injury (something surgery could potentially fix), or something infectious/cancerous/etc (least likely but cannot be ruled out). In her estimation, an MRI will reveal all. 

So now we wait. 

Can I just say, anesthesia is the most nerve wracking element for the very short time being. And/or leaving him there in general. I! AM! FREAKING! OUT! I will be getting a call in approximately one hour's time to let me know he's come out of it safely. Trying to stay incredibly busy all the while.

Pins! Needles! 

To be continued, as usual....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Save the Date: District Dog Halloween Parade!

Everyone: we are psyched!

District Dog has delivered their official save the date for their THIRD (!) Annual Halloween Parade in McGolrick Park.  Believe me when I tell you this is one of my very most favorite events of the year.

The theme this this time around is "Dress Your Name" so put your thinking cap on. Too bad we didn't have the foresight to name Petey something like Taco or Susan Boyle...

October 31st
McGolrick Park
(corner of Driggs and Russel St.)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Expect reminders!