Memory Monday: Sammy Joe

Sammy heading to shore…                          and returning to boat

Boating Dog: My first boat dog, Sammy, deserves a lot more recognition than I can give him in one short (or longish) post. His passion was the lake and boating. If the traffic was heavy on the way to the lake, he ran back and forth whining, trying to encourage me to go faster. Like Lexi, he always knew what it meant when the boat bag got packed. On one occasion — as we were walking along the dock, heading to the car — a couple of pretty young ladies passed us on the way to their boat. Without missing a beat, Sammy made a U turn and walked beside them, staring up at them as he went. I believe the expression is, “You dog, you!” He always did prefer women over men.

Sammy Dec 1999 edited

Sammy age 8 years

Adoption Story: In 1991, four identical six-month-old pups were brought to the vet hospital where I worked in for us to try to find them homes. We didn’t normally do this, but this lady was a good client, and the pups were just so darn cute. At the time, all we had was a one and a half year old schnauzer, Freda. I thought it would be good for Freda to have a friend, and for my 12-year-old son to have his own dog. He picked one out and home we went. I suggested the name Sammy after a dog who lived down the street from me when I was a child, and the name stuck. Or Samuel Joseph whenever he was in trouble.

And the Rest: Sammy didn’t shed, he got ear infections, and he bayed like a beagle. With these and other characteristics, I had him pegged as a schnauzer/cocker spaniel/beagle/+ mix. He was a great help in keeping my side of the bed warm until I joined him. Then he kept my back warm while I spooned Freda. For years we slept all night like that, me the bologna and the dogs the bread.

Sam’s favorite trick — especially when I had company — was his “Grand Entrance.” He would nonchalantly exit the living room and stroll down the hallway to the bedroom. You could almost hear him saying, “La ti da de da de da. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m not doing anything.” He would wait about ten seconds before  galloping back to the living room and spinning around 180 degrees, landing with his legs spread, his head high and an open-mouthed grin. It was easy to picture him shouting, “Ta daaaaa!” This never failed to bring smiles, laughter and applause. I could also prompt him by suggesting he do an Entrance. He would act like he hadn’t heard me, wait a few minutes, then head down the hall. In his mind, it always had to be a surprise, or it wasn’t any good.

Sammy loved to wear clothes. I discovered this when I put one of my son’s outgrown T-shirts on him and he walked around making sure everyone saw his new duds. He had a strong sense of self and always strutted proudly after a groom. It was as if he was saying, “Look at me! I am as good as my schnauzer sister!”

Sammys 9th B-Day party

Celebrating July 4th and Sammy’s 9th Birthday with cake.

During this time I had a thriving grooming and boarding business in my home. Sammy made friends with most of the boarders, some of whom are shown above, eating cake on his birthday. Sammy is in the middle wearing his Independence Day scarf. This same year, Sammy was diagnosed with cancer. I assisted in the surgery while the vet removed a large tumor from Sammy’s abdomen. She flushed and flushed his abdomen with sterilized water, swishing it around with her gloved hand, while I sucked it out with a pump. She was trying to wash away any loose cancer cells. With this type of cancer, he was only given three months to live. All the prayer warriors went to work. He made a good recovery from the surgery, but the strangest thing happened. His personality totally changed. While still the sweet, loving dog we had always known, he suddenly became happier and fearless. It was as if he was thumbing his nose at death, as if he was saying, “I’m ready to live!” He was happier than I had ever seen him.

The next year, a young adult German Shepherd named Ara entered our lives and home. Ara and a very much alive and healthy Sammy soon became fast friends.

Ara-Sammy April 21 2001 edited

Ara and Sammy (age 10) April 2001

Freda  the schnauzer was always in charge. Sammy never even tried to say, “You’re not the boss of me!” I was soon to lose Freda, at age 11, to complications of Cushing’s disease, from which she had been blind since she was five.

Freda (11) Sammy (10) April 14 2001 edited

Freda and Sammy – April 2001

Below is the last picture I have of my sweet Sam looking healthy. He was ten here, and still cancer-free.

Sammy 11 yrs old winter 2001-2002 edited

 December 2001

The following year, two years after his first bout with cancer, he was diagnosed with a different type of malignant tumor.Sammy celebrated his last Christmas in 2002 with a new Teddy Bear sweater. He was so proud to wear it!

Sammy Christmas 2002 edited 2

I was to lose him before the new year. Remembering you with love, my dear boy, my Sweet Sammy. ❤

 

Hospital Stay Today

And Tomorrow, I am told.

I haven’t been feeling so great. I haven’t said anything ’cause I thought it would pass. Kinda’ like all my food has been passing the wrong direction at 5:00 in the morning the last two days. I not only gave it all back this morning at that hour when Mom and I both wish we were asleep, but I continued to puke at work. I haven’t been eating much, either, ’cause my tummy has been upset. I did eat some peanut butter treats and cheese last night. And lost it all this morning.

So Mom cancelled her lunch with the boss lady today and took me to the vet. First they did x-rays, just pictures, really, of my chest and neck. I got to go back and sit with Mom while Dogtor Rob looked at them (Dogtor Rob is Dogtor Karen’s husband – Dogtor Karen was out of town today.). Then I sat with the nice tech while Mommy went back and looked on the computer to compare my x-rays from May with the new ones. The big tumors on my neck aren’t bothering anything – that’s the good news. Now for the not good news: the tumors in my lung have gotten really big, too. Mom and the dogtor also looked over my blood work from May. Dogtor Rob said he wanted to steal my blood again to see what was going on, especially with liver and kidney functions. He said that could be causing me to puke.

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Waiting on Mom’s lap

Mom promised she would not leave, not even to get lunch, so that made it better when the tech carried me back for the vampire to suck my blood. I waited with Mom while they processed it, or whatever it is they do. The dogtor came back in the room to show Mom the results. He said if I was a person, I would be on dialysis right now. He said they needed to keep me all day to do a “slow drip” of fluids and give me some kind of shot that makes my intestines do things like a dialysis machine would do. Weird, huh? So they take my blood and are giving me back water. What a jip.

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There’s your purse Mom. Let’s make a run for it.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Mom left. That was the worst part, not being with my Mom. She came back and got me before they all went home because she insisted she wasn’t leaving me there all night. They left a needle called a catheter in my leg and have it all bandaged up with gauze so I won’t pull it out. I have been quite successful in getting sympathy by holding up and limping on that leg.  I have to go back tomorrow and have the same thing done, then they will steal more blood either tomorrow night or Saturday morning.

For tonight, Dogtor Rob sent home some new swill food called k/d for kidney diet. I think I will turn my nose up at it like I have at the i/d Mom bought yesterday. Wait, what’s that you are waving under my nose, Mom? Wait, I want some…sorry folks gotta go!

 

Trickery at Supper Time

What is this swill you try to feed me!?

What is this swill you try to feed me!?

If you have been following my battle with the C, you already know my appetite has been off ever since the chemo. What? A schnauzer without an appetite? Unheard of before now!! But, sadly enough, it is true. Mom tries hard to give me foods I like, understanding that my taste buds have been adversely affected by the poison injected into my system a couple of months ago. I think it is so funny that she does airplane zoomies around my head with the spoon and makes zoomie noises to get me to open my mouth, just like she used to do when the boys were toddlers. She thinks it is so funny that it often works!

 

Also, if you are one of my wonderful, faithful, much-loved blog followers, you already know that my cousin Piper is staying with us for a while. Mom has discovered a new tactic to get me to eat my canned food, and I don’t seem to be able to resist it.

Mmmm...food! Yummy!

Mmmm…food! Yummy! (Piper)

Gimme that food! Mmmm.

Gimme that food! Mmmm. (me)

 

Health, Friends and Flowers

First, an update on my health, because inquiring minds want to know, right?

Saturday Mommy and I went to see Dr. Smith, who is another dogtor where my beloved Dr. Karen works. I’ve developed another tumor under my left ear. It’s odd, almost like a cyst, but not. It doesn’t bother me any, though, and the decision was to leave it alone unless it gets much bigger or starts seeping anything. Then there was the matter of the strange, splinter-like thing sticking out right next to one of my front toenails. Dr. Smith said it was like a hangnail on a person, and that it can be cut short and it wouldn’t hurt me. I think Mom forgot ’cause she hasn’t done that yet. Finally, Mom told Dr. Smith I had kept her up most of Friday night with the squirts. He got me some of that paste medicine that Mom squirts in my mouth to soothe my gut. I am glad it doesn’t taste too bad.

Unfortunately for all of us, the paste didn’t work. Mommy says Saturday and Sunday nights were an exercise in patience and stamina for her. When Mom called back on Monday and said the paste wasn’t working, Dr. Smith said to give me Imodium. It is mint flavored and not too bad to swallow. After it started working, I noticed that my tummy was upset, so I needed to go out a lot during the night to eat clover. Mommy is walking around looking kind of like those zombie things you see on TV. I can’t help it if it all happens for about 12 hours, starting at bedtime. I heard I am to sleep in our bedroom with Dad tonight and Mom is sleeping by herself in the guest room. I don’t guess Dad is going to get much sleep tonight. He will be zombie daddy tomorrow.

Oh, I almost forgot. On the way home from the dogtor on Saturday, just as Mommy was driving over the Chickamauga Dam, I went into a seizure. There wasn’t anything she could do without risking having a car accident, so she just reached over and stroked me to help me stay calm. It didn’t last more than a few minutes and really wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t scared, but I was kinda’ ticked off that my right side went all weird. My right legs got stiff and my head kept pulling to the right. As soon as possible, Mom pulled off the road and held me and within a couple of minutes I was ok and ready to help navigate us back home. When Mom told the dogtor, he confirmed what she thought. The melanoma tumors have probably moved to my brain. I don’t really understand what that means. Mom said to not worry about it, just try to eat what I like and enjoy my life.

Speaking of enjoying, my cousins Piper and Ella came to stay with me.

That's me in the front.

That’s me in the front. I’m the boss.

AND I found out today that Mommy is driving up to Pee A this Friday and she is taking me and Piper with her!  Yay! I will get to visit my friend Rhonda and my friends Pai and Claud.  It will take 10 or 11 hours each way, but I don’t mind the drive. Ella is staying home with my Dad.

Finally, lookie what Dad surprised Mommy with. He also bought her sweets, but they didn’t last long enough to take any pictures, BOL. Can you believe she didn’t share her cream horn tonight?

roses

Vote Lexi for Mayor Reasons 9 and 10

Hello friends, Lexi here again. If you missed my past Campaign Propoganda posts informing you why you need to vote for me for the Supreme Leader of Blogville your Mayor, you can check it out at the bottom of this page. Today, we move on to reasons #9 and #10, which are the last two reasons I can think of right now. I might come up with some more later.

9. A Dog of Many Sorrows: I Understand Affliction. Among other things, I have suffered with and overcome hip dysplasia. I bravely allowed the new vet to stick lots of needles in me and over time it removed the affects of the dysplasia. I also recently survived a round of chemotherapy, the infusion of poison into my bloodstream.

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Lexi the Pin Cuhion

Lexi the Pin Cushion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also lived through the sorrow of the death of my sisters and housemates, Lily and Ivy.

Lily

Lily

Ivy

Ivy

How is this relevant, you may ask? Not only can I empathize with you, but I am able to come up with new and daring solutions to your problems. I am willing to be a role-model of bravery and fortitude and empathize with you during times of sorrow.

10. “What’s in it for me?” I know that to vote for someone, the biggest question is,  “What do I get out of this?” Right? So, if you tell me you voted for me, and send me your e-mail address, I will send you back via e-mail your very own “I Voted for Lexi!” button, similar to the ones you can now feel free to grab and use from my side bar.  Second, you will feel good knowing you made the right choice for your Supreme Leader Mayor. And, reasons 1 through 8 answer that question quite well, I believe. In case you missed them or just want a refresher, here they are.

Reason 1: Proclaimed Actor

Reasons 2 & 3: Let Them Eat Cake and All Lives matter

Reasons 4 & 5: Church Dog and Build Relationships, Not Walls

Reasons 7 & 8: Volunteer Service and Spokesdog for a Major Multi-National Company

Unresponsive

NOW what?

NOW what?

Unresponsive. Yep, that’s what this Big C is to the poison they pumped into my system up at UTK. Even after making me “sick as a dog” (excuse the pun) it only poisoned ME, not the C. There are more tumors growing in my upper gums. So no more chemo. The nice Dr. Karen has now put me on an herbal and another medicine to try to slow down the advance of the C.

How much longer, Mom? You forgot my breakfast!

How much longer, Mom? You forgot my breakfast!

After that news, we moved to my favorite room at the animal hospital – the one where I get my acupuncture! My appointment wasn’t for about 87 hours, but nice Dr. Karen said there was no sense me going home and coming right back, so she would get to me in a little while if we could wait. Mom agreed, but no one remembered I had not had my breakfast. All ended well, as the treat dispenser named Angela came in before I died of hunger and started feeding Wellness Treats into my mouth while Dr. Karen made me a pincushion. My hip does feel better, and we stopped at Mickey D’s on the way home!

Pee S, I overheard Mom talking to my other bestest friend named Sky about getting me another massage! Umm, I think it was for me, anyhow. I will let you know.

Valued Employee

I was featured in St Luke’s June Happenings Newsletter as the Church Dog. I am a valued employee. Below is the main picture. Just click the link and scroll down to page 2 to read the whole article. 🙂

Lexi featured

For those who might be wondering, I feel much better today. I have been eating well, and the “urge to go” has finally gone. I decided to enjoy life today. Even though it is too hot to stay outside for long, I have been spending a few minutes throughout the day lazing in the sunshine, smelling the flowers and rolling in the grass.

From Lexi’s Mom: Thank you to everyone for your prayers and POTP. Please continue; the battle isn’t over yet. It’s just great to finally see Lexi feeling good again.

 

Back to Work, Back to Vet, Get Well Cards

It’s been a rough kind of week. As many of you know, I had my first chemo treatment last Thursday. Being the good employee that I am (and not eligible for sick pay) I went on in to work at St. Luke last Friday. Here is me getting everything done so I can go home when Mom is ready:

Some of my friends sent me get well cards. First, Noodle, Macy and Molly e-mailed me the cutest cards.

emailed card piZap_1463748051558 piZap_1463748306138

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My boyfriend Noodle also sent me a video card:

Then I got some real live cards  from the mail person. They were actually from Noodle and his family (he wrote he loves me on the back of the envelope!) as well as the beautiful goldens,  Bonny, Belle and Bess and their family. They both had slips of paper in them that made Mom get all teary-eyed. I wonder what they were…

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I like my cards, but where are the treats?

I have been taking two different pill for nausea, a pill to stimulate my appetite, and a pill to stop the squirts. I’ve been getting up lots during the night ’cause I keep feeling like I have to go out, but all I do is strain and dribble from the back end. All I want to eat is steak and sometimes chicken, and sometimes I can’t even eat that. Today I ate chicken, and Mom made me pumpkin and oatmeal cookies from a healthy dog cookie cook book. I ate most of one.

sick Lexi in car

I don’t feel good, Mommy.

Then, a little later, everything  I ate came up all at once. I felt like I was going to die! Obviously, I didn’t. Mom called the oncology vet at UTK, Dr. Walters, and she said I had to go to the hospital here in Chattanooga, and that she was going to call the doctor there herself. Mom took me right away, and of course they stuck a glass stick up my poor patootie. The vet tech took my pulse, too. It was odd, no one has ever taken my pulse before. At least it wasn’t invasive like that awful stick. She said my temp and my pulse were normal. Dr. Smith came in and checked me and did what Dr Walters had suggested. He stuck another needle in me (this is really getting old) and started fluid running sub q. That is short for under my skin. Then he gave me a shot to help with the nausea. Mommy told me I was going to get that shot and that it would burn a lot and that I had to be brave. The dogtor said I keep having the squirts because my intestines are very irritated from the chemo and it makes me feel like I have to go potty all the time. I now have more medicine to take with all the other medicine I have. This one is to sooth my intestines and help with that almost constant feeling of urgency, if you know what I mean.

After they were all done and had finished taking all Mom’s money Mom had paid them, I got to go home. I was sooo glad to see Mom! I felt some better when we got home, so I helped Mom eat her pan fried hamburger, then I ate some more of that store broiled chicken, then some of my homemade cookies. I have still been running outside with the feeling that I have to “go” but all my food has stayed down. That is very important to me.

Hoping for a more restful night and no more urgent potty misery!

I am Lexi the miserable with the tired Mommy.

 

Chemo

Mom is helping me with my blog while I am getting poison chemicals pumped into my body.

Here’s the scoop: I have lumps in my right lung and they are bad. Real bad. The melanoma vaccine takes about 3 months to work. We can’t use it because I will be d-e-a-d before it can work. Yep, it’s that bad. Mom had decided I wasn’t going to get chemo or radiation because she wasn’t going to let anyone make me feel sick and miserable. When the doctor team assured Mom that very rarely do dogs get the bad side effects that people get, she said let’s get it started, then.

So Mom handed me over (traitor) and these otherwise nice people stole about half  drew enough blood to do many tests to be sure my organs are in good enough shape to withstand the chemo. I am a hearty schnauzer and my organs said, “Yes! Hit us with your best shot!” Traitors.  They were so enthusiastic that the dogtor stuck me with another needle and started “infusing” these chemicals into my system. *sigh*

I have to go to my local dogtor in a week to get more blood stolen. Then in another week for the same thing. Then in another week for that plus to get poisoned again. *sigh*

Mommy said she refuses to be “dogless” in one to three months, and that I am the only dog she wants. If determination alone (plus being filled with chemo poisons) will save me, I may live to be an old(er) dog yet!

Oh, I also wanted to let you all know that my wonderful boyfriend Noodle started a GoFundMe to help Mom and Dad with all the vet bills. I guess cancer can be expensive. If you want, you can check out his post

Coming Together for Lexi

to read how you can help – just if you want to, that is.

I am Lexi, cancer patient and Mom’s favorite schnauzer.

 

Taking it One Day at a Time

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Mom, where is my breakfast?

This morning we were up early, but Mom didn’t feed me.

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Me on the table at the dogtor, with my hated cone, my necrotized forehead and my new wound bandage spray.

Instead, Mom took me for a ride to the dogtor. I had managed to paw at the stitches in my forehead enough to get the incision really infected. So much so, in fact, that some stitches were missing and I now had an infected gaping wound between my eyes. Dogtor Smith said the skin had necrotized. (huh?) Mom says I look like one of those India women with a red dot on my forehead and that I am her “gorgeous worgeous.” That’s one of her nicknames for me. I think the dogtor has a sense of humor too – he said it could be much worse. Question: How do you bandage a dog’s forehead? Answer: You don’t. Instead, he told Mom she had to spray sterile wound wash on it twice a day and then spray this special sea salt liquid bandage on it 6 times a day, and it should heal up ok. In the meantime, guess what I have to wear. Grr.

I heard Mom ask if the Labs were back. Back? You mean they had been here once and gone again? Dogtor Smith disappeared for a few minutes and came back in with a paper in his hand. Apparently the Labs had delivered the paper and left. While the dogtor explained what the paper said I could feel Mom getting real upset but holding it all in. It must have been a news paper because there was very bad news on it. Dogtor Karen – who is my favorite – came in the exam room and said she is contacting the University of Knoxville, who has a great veterinary school, and an oncology place in Atlanta to see if I am a Candy Date for a Melanoma Vaccine that could erase the bad news. I hope so. I want to be a Candy Date again. Anyhow, Mom cried a lot today and I laid by her to comfort her. I must have done a good job because she asked me if I wanted to go for another ride. “Of course I want to go for a ride with you, Mom,” I answered. So we hopped in the car and guess where we went…Mickey D’s!! We shared a hamburger and a caramel sundae. I got the caramel all over my beard and I kept trying to lick it from the inside of the e-collar. It made Mom laugh. Hmm, I wonder if it is my birthday again.

This is Lexi and Mom, taking it one day at a time.