Monday, March 31, 2014

Blogging From A to Z

I decided last year that I wanted to try the April Blogging A to Z challenge and amazingly I remembered about it in time to participate!  Usually if more than a day goes by I forget.  :)  For more information on the challenge check out this LINK.  To participate go HERE.  If you want to participate you have to hurry though because the linky isn't open for much longer.

Wish me luck!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fishing & Hiking

We finally got to scope out fishing spots.  :D  I like our options around here and I can't wait until we're fishing every weekend again!  Sadly we didn't get even a nibble because it's still a bit cool out, but we still had fun.  It's been a while since we've been fishing though so Jackal was impatient and bored.  We also went way too close to his supper time, so he was a TOTAL whiny butt.  So instead I just did a lot of hiking with him instead.  The really awesome thing about our fishing area is that it has riding trails, camping sites, a shooting range, a pavilion, etc.  There are a ton of awesome amenities.  I can't wait to do lots of fishing, camping, shooting and horseback riding this summer.  :D  Here's a few more pictures.

Doing some wading to cool off and get a drink.

 Gorgeous!  I can't wait to find the perfect spot for getting sunset pictures like at our old fishing spots.

 Handsome boy!  I don't think he's lost any weight yet, but we will get there.

 Sneaking off to explore and then getting called back hehe.  He was being obstinate!

My favorite picture of the day.  Jackal surveying his kingdom.  :D

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Signs of spring! Yay!

It is so hard to take a picture of my little peach tree, but if you look closely at the above photo it has blooms on it!!  We started the peach tree in a pot and had it a year or two before we moved.  When we moved we planted it, so it's not very old or big but it's finally blooming!  Check out the gorgeous blooms.

They are so pretty!  I know we won't get fruit this year, but it's still cool to see because it's a sign of spring.  :D  I can't wait for it to get big.  It's about three feet tall right now.  Anyone know how long it takes them to get to full height?  I guess I could just go look on google, but I like getting your feedback and experiences in comments so I figured I would ask.

Jackal is still on track for his weight loss.  I have everyone's word they won't feed him.  I've only slipped twice.  I gave him some boiled chicken that I couldn't finish one night... at least it was just chicken lol.  Another time I dropped a glob of cooked rice by accident and he got that.  He also got a single cheerio that my husband accidentally dropped, but other than that we've done well.  I think it's been harder for me than for Jackal!  I did not realize how many empty calorie snacks I was giving him throughout the day.  I feel bad, it's all my fault he's gained so much weight.  However now that I'm aware of it I will fix it.

Does anyone know if measurements are an accurate way to track weight loss in dogs?  You know how sometimes weight can be misleading in humans because of muscle and water weight, but measurements show how much weight you've lost?  I was thinking along those lines, but I don't know if it applies to dogs.

Anyway tomorrow we're probably going to go scope out new fishing spots since we haven't had time to since we moved.  I miss fishing!  Of course Jackal will go so I'll take the camera and get some pictures too.  :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Jackal is on a diet....

Okay, so I took Jackal to get his rabies vaccine (it wasn't due until May, but he got in a scuffle with a raccoon so I decided to go ahead and get it, he's fine by the way) and they weighed him.... SIXTY THREE pounds!!!!!  What the heck??  I shouldn't make excuses, but I'm going to anyway... with Storm being sick and me never sleeping because of it, moving, building the house, me getting injured, the horrible winter weather, etc. I just haven't been doing much exercise with him, but I didn't realize it was that bad.  The vet said on his records that he was 45 pounds for a long time, so he's almost twenty pounds overweight.  That's like a human being 200 pounds over weight.. every pound overweight on our dogs is like ten pounds on us.  I feel awful for letting his weight get so out of control.  :(  I guess I was as blind to his weight gain as I was to Storm's aging...

I've always given my dogs pieces of what I'm eating (if it's not dangerous or unhealthy), but my grandmother has been giving him snacks (even though I told her not to... oh and it's cat food of all things grr) and he also cleans up the dog food my mom's dog leaves behind (he scatters his food all over the floor so it gets under and behind things and Jackal can find anything), so he's been getting considerably more calories than he's supposed to.  :(

So as of right now Jackal gets ZERO snacks, treats or human food.  All he gets is his raw diet.  And we have to start walking every single day again... the vet said no chasing things, jumping, etc. or he could blow out his knee, so right now it's very short walks.  I'm actually thinking of doing the Couch to 5k with him since I'm around ten to fifteen pounds overweight myself, but I'll see what he's up to.  I don't want to overdo it with the warmer weather coming.

Anyway I'll keep you guys updated on how his (or our) weight loss goes.  I'll post pictures of him on here to keep my motivation up.  :)

P.S.  This was his first time visiting our new vet and he liked him.  He found all of Jackal's itchy, ticklish spots hehe.  :D

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snow day!!!!

We got a bit of snow (actually it's freezing rain), so of course we had to take the Jackerpup out to play in it!  He was so hyper!  He loved it and had so much fun.  :D

 Jackal posing by the pond.  

The above photo looks weird.... on my computer it's very crisp and pretty.. oh well.  It was so bright outside that I was totally snow blind.  I could hardly see my LCD screen at all, so I couldn't tell if things were blurry or out of focus.  Oh well.  We had fun and that's what counts.

My fatty pup trotting around.  He is not as fat as he looks in this picture lol.

 The ducks napping and trying to keep their feet warm.

A gorgeous Towhee that got caught on the screened in porch of the little mini cabin in the woods that my dad built years ago.  I got this picture of him clinging exhausted to the window and then I helped him find his way back out through the busted door.

 Jackal wanted to eat him so bad LOL!  Here he's poking his head back in hoping to find the bird.

Here he was trotting around staring up at the trees looking for the bird.  He'd make such a great hunting dog.

Sorry I didn't get many pictures.  My hands were hurting so bad from the cold.  I might try again later to get some more.  :D

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I can finally talk about her...

This is the last picture I ever took of Storm.

Sorry it has taken me a long time to write this.  After having Storm in my life for almost thirteen years it's been hard adjusting to her not being here.  I got her when I was a teenager so it feels like we sort of grew up together.  She was there when I learned to drive, when I got my first job, when I moved out on my own for the first time, when I got married, when I moved back home.  She was there for all of it.  And now she's gone.  I don't know how to explain the kind of hole losing her has made in my life.  You all love your animals as much as I do and you've all probably lost them before so I'm sure you understand.  The thing is... I've lost dogs I loved before, but somehow it's different this time...  it hurts worse this time...

Storm was the first dog that was ever just mine.  She wasn't a family dog.  As a teenager I started saving my birthday money so that someday I could have my dream dog.  A Siberian Husky.  My dad found her, but I paid for her, I named her, I raised her, I trained her, I cared for her every need...  she was my first dog.  She was my dream dog.  My best friend.

So I have been having a hard time coming to terms with my decision to put her to sleep.  I was in denial that she was dying of chronic kidney failure.  I was blind to her deteriorating state.  I still saw my young, beautiful, healthy dog.  I had convinced myself that she still had time because dogs can live with chronic kidney failure for a while.  It happened so gradually I just didn't see it.  I had told myself I would put her down when she no longer would eat, but I finally realized it would be cruel to wait that long when she was already in pain from arthritis, drinking a gallon of water a day, peeing every two hours to the point where neither of us could sleep all night (a big reason why I haven't been blogging), could barely see or hear anything, etc.  Yes, she was still eating.  She still rolled in the leaves.  She still slept in the sun.  She still chewed on her bone.  She still greeted people with a wagging tail.  But... she also panted constantly because she couldn't cool herself properly.  She took ten minutes to lay down because it hurt so much.  She couldn't squat easily to relieve herself.  She couldn't run painlessly after the squirrels she used to love to chase.  She still tried to go hunting in the woods but she tripped over branches and vines because she couldn't see and her reactions had slowed.

On Monday morning as I stood there crying, watching her for ten minutes while she walked circles, so tired, wanting to lay down, but hurting too much to do so, standing with her head hanging, panting, I finally decided I couldn't let it go on.  It wasn't fair to her.  I was finally seeing her as the old, dying dog that she was instead of my invincible Stormy that I'd always known.

So I made the hardest decision of my life.  I know in my brain that it was the right thing to do.  That she was suffering.  That she would never get better.  It would only get worse for her.  As the vet told me, once the summer heat arrived she would have been absolutely miserable.  In my heart I can't help wondering if it was too soon because she still did some of the things she enjoyed... but when I got home after having her put to sleep I saw where she'd urinated in the floor trying to stand up.  As I looked around my empty house I realized how much time she spent sleeping because everything else hurt.  I realized that I made the right decision.  I saved her from a long road of pain and misery that still would have ended up in death.  I also hope I didn't wait too long to make that decision.  I hold on to the fact that she could still trot up the driveway with me (standing up and squatting were what hurt, she could still walk and trot fine), could still roll in the leaves and chew her bone, she still leaned into anyone who wanted to love on her, she even still snapped playfully at the cat.... I hope all of those are signs that I didn't wait too long.  It's such a fine line... you don't want to cut their lives short, but you don't want to let them suffer either.  I hope my selfishness didn't cause her suffering to last longer than it should and I hope that I didn't take something away from her by doing it too soon.

Needless to say... my heart is broken.  I don't know what to do or how to move on.  I know it will get easier in time, but I just want to be at peace with my decision.  Storm was my first dog and she was also the first dog I ever had to decide to euthanize.  She was the best first dog a girl could ask for and she gave me twelve years of companionship, happiness, laughter, lessons, comfort and love.  She was my rock.  She was always there.  I will never forget my beautiful girl.  I hope I gave her the life and the death she deserved.  I love you Stormy.