Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dingo And Our Final Day Together

To Our Beloved Buddy Dingo
Thanks For Six Wonderful Years!
December 2003 - October 2009

Dingo's ashes at rest in the living room

This entry into Dingo's blog has been the one I've dreaded having to make from the moment we embarked on this project. Seven long months of working hard, finding encouragement in Dingo's will to live and hoping for the best, were all dashed so quickly. It still so hard to believe.

It's been very difficult to know how to approach sharing the events of October 18th, but I've decided not to focus too much of the pain of day. The whole experience was far too personal, and I'm sure anyone who's ever dealt with the death of a pet can understand the extreme void left by the loss. I however will share that we had arranged for a vet to perform the procedure at home when the time came, and his passing was done peacefully on his blanket in the living room. Dingo slipped away while resting in our arms, receiving equal amounts of loving strokes and sorrowful tears from us both.

What I would like to share from that final day, is the beautiful morning he and I had together. After a very fitful night, Dingo woke me, as usual, at the crack of dawn for his morning pee. All of us were exhausted as Dingo had a great deal of pain the night before and just couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep. While outside he laid down to rest in his favorite spot in the backyard to view his kingdom. I grabbed my camera to document what were to be his final hours of lucidity.

Dingo and I sat quietly together staring into the leaves of the trees as the sun came up on what otherwise, would turn out to be a beautiful day. We listened to the birds and the wind, absorbing every sound around us with silent intensity. I crouched down as low as I could to view the world as he was seeing it right then, and shot a few more photos.

He glanced at me off and on, and I looked into his eyes desperately searching for the next sign. Was he going to hang with us and fight another day, or would he give the signal to let me know it was time. I could tell he was really in a precarious place as his eyes would go from connecting with me to drifting off entirely, as if he had no idea who I was.

After a few hours he laid his head on the ground and became pretty unresponsive. We knew then and there the time had finally come and began to say our goodbyes.

In memory, I wanted to conclude Dingo's blog on a positive note, reflecting on all the great times he gave us over the years. Dingo touched so many people and was truly a one of a kind dog. Friends, family, neighbors, delivery drivers and strangers who never met him, sent their warm condolences on his passing. Thanks to all who brought flowers and dog treats to the temporary marker we placed in his favorite spot on the driveway. We're honored have had time with such a special buddy and our lives have been permanently changed for the better.



The above footage was from the day Dingo came home with a positive diagnosis for lymphoma. The day was spent at his favorite park, playing with the coveted 'oven mitt' (for some reason he went bonkers every time he saw it), and then just relaxing at home.



Above is a collection of photos taken by us, my mom, our good friends and neighbors Pete and Rachel and our dear friend Tara. Click photos to view larger images.

The photo below is still one of my favorites. It was taken when he was less than a year old when he would constantly chew on his back paws to the point we thought he'd choke himself. It really shows the quirky side of his personality.

Goodbye buddy and thanks
for the memories!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Time Has Come


At 8:10 PM, October 18th, Dingo passed away.

I wanted to set this marker as the date and time of his passing for those who have been thinking about him and couldn't be here.

When I gather enough energy I will be blogging about our last day together.

Much love to all from us both and from Dingo.

These photos are taken Monday morning October 19th. Both memorials are Dingo's two favorite places to lay and watch the world. The front driveway where he could greet neighbors, their dogs, customers, delivery drivers and keep a watchful eye on squirrels. The back yard was his favorite place to stare into nature and contemplate life.

Dingo we love you and you are so truly missed.

Mark & Barry

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Night Waiting and Watching Dingo

Made an appointment with Dingo's vet today. It was very last minute, but fortunately she was able to get him in at 5:30. Once again he had another bag of intravenous fluids and his anti-nausea shot, the same routine as the last two times. Now it's fingers crossed to see if it takes by morning and we wake to find Dingo at the door ready for breakfast, pestering me to get my shoes on for our routine drive to the local coffee house for the daily hunt. Muffins for me and squirrels for him.

It's always so hard to read him in this state. One minute he's down and without much energy, then next he's up wandering around greeting a guest who stopped by to say hello. Although, he's always the perfect host and greets everyone at the door, making them feel welcome regardless of how bad he might be feeling. Part of the day he spent running around the yard making sure all was in the right order, and even got in a good howl at a fire engine down the hill. That's always music to our ears.

Right now he's having trouble keeping liquids down again, though he is showing some restrained interest in food. He's obviously too nauseous at the moment but his food is there when he's ready.

I never sleep much on these nights.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On Elevated Alert With Dingo

It's Friday morning and once again we're in 'careful watch mode' with Dingo. He's been pretty listless once again the past 16 hours and this morning he's back to turning away from his food. He did manage to eat a few chicken snacks but doesn't seem much interested in a full meal or water. Also got his pills in him by hiding them in a spoonful of hummus (something he can't resist).

Dingo has been spending a lot of time at our sides. This is where he rests at my side during the day while I work.

It's been so emotionally exhausting to us both during this whole experience, being given glimmers of hope only to have them pulled back with the peaks and valleys in Dingo's health. I look at our buddy when he's like this and wonder if we're doing the right thing. Is it really fair to him? Is it the right thing to do rushing him to the vet when his health declines? Is it fair to expect him to cling to life another day, or week after a trip to the vet, only to have him ultimately slip again. I know we got lucky in August and were gifted with two extra months, but this most recent slip came so soon, just 10 days after the last dip in his health.

They say a pet owner will 'know when it's time', that their pet will give them some sign that it's time to let go. As much as neither of us want to see it, we do watch and wait for that horrible moment that will some day come. Thing is Dingo throws a curve ball every time we think we've arrived at that point. Even when he's listless, and you know he's not feeling his best, he looks at you with that bright eyed spark as if behind it all he's still willing to fight.

We'll be keeping close tabs on him, giving him lots of love and waiting to see what he's decided.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dingo's New Fashion Upgrade

After Dingo's recent visit to the vet, part of taking care of his current health problems is protecting his skin from abrasion. He has four wounds on his back, sized between a nickle and a silver dollar, caused by thinning of his skin from the Prednisone. His doctor had to shave the fur around each to make sure all were free from infection, leaving him looking as if he had a bad body waxing.

So I made a trip to Target to pick up some tank tops (turns out his a boys size Medium), figuring they would both protect the wounds from further damage, and also keep him from scaring the neighborhood when we go out for walks.

Dingo of course takes it all in stride. We've got him on internal and spray on antibiotics and everything is healing up nicely.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dingo's Latest Battles

Hello all,

This is Mark, Dingo's dad. As Dingo mentioned in his post yesterday, the last month and a half had been pretty good until the dip in his health this past Friday. He's back up on his paws now, which we of course are thrilled about and calling him a 'Superdog' is an understatement. Twice now Dingo's health has dropped to such low levels that his vet had recommended we prepare ourselves to say goodbye. Both times we began the grieving process only to have this wonder dog turn his health around with a strong will to live, as if to tell his body "Not just yet". It's so hard to describe the pain and shock of watching Dingo fade to a ghost of himself in less than twelve hours, wandering around in a fog and barely able to move, to being full of life with that 'spark' in his eyes after receiving intravenous fluids. I really take great inspiration in watching him fight his cancer and take on his illness in his own way.



After this latest scare, I've been trying to keep him as active as possible. I believe that if his mind and body are stimulated with activity it can help distract him from how he may be feeling. Nothing's worse than just watching him lay there in a funk, knowing that he's not understanding why he doesn't feel well. However, I would never pressure him into being active if he wasn't up to it. Dingo has a very defined way of communicating with us, and if he wants to go for a walk or a ride in the car, he'll definitely keep at you until you give in. This past Saturday when he gave me that 'IT'S TIME TO GO' look, I figured I'd treat him to a trip to his favorite off-leash park and then the beach.

I get so much joy from simply watching him run around and explore, especially at the beach when he goes into a state of ecstasy just feeling the sand beneath his paws.



As much as we are encouraged by Dingo's will to live, and we try to stay hopeful, there are still new things that seem to pop up almost weekly that challenge him in minor ways. The latest are side effects related to his daily dosage of Prednisone, which he needs to take to keep his appetite up. 



The first side effect is what I can only guess must be 'cotton mouth'. Even though Dingo drinks plenty of water, he's quite often licking his chops for minutes on end as if he's dehydrated and his mouth is dry. 



The second side effect is more heartbreaking. Prednisone can make the skin very week and susceptible to abrasion, and Dingo has been getting common surface wounds that eventually scab over. Unfortunately once the scabs heal and fall off, the fur that was there goes with it, leaving him with coin sized bald spots all over his body. Fortunately, they don't seem to cause Dingo any pain or discomfort, as he's never tried to lick or scratch them, its more a cosmetic issue. Antibiotics help temporarily, and we're trying Neosporin now at the suggestion of his vet to see if that helps.



Will keep you posted on how this treatment develops.



Mark

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Update From Dingo

Hello world, it's Dingo,

I know, once again it's been a long time between my posts on the computer-machine. To be honest, I've been reveling in being healthy the last couple months, enjoying quality time with Mark, Barry and my other close friends. During all this up time, I regret having neglected my need to communicate with the outside world. I'll try to be more diligent!

Unfortunately, I did have another small bump in the road this past Friday. Once again it was a case of not being unable to keep food or water down for more than 24 hours, resulting with me having no energy to play or move around the house. However, after an emergency trip to the vet for more intravenous fluids and nausea medicine, I fortunately was able to get back up on all four paws to prove, once again, I was stronger than the cancer in my body.

The next day I was feeling much better and, to my delight, was treated with a trip to my favorite dog beach. While there I made some new dog friends including one spunky female who actually helped me get over the fear of getting my paws wet in the ocean. She was very sneaky about it, getting me to chase her in circles on the shore to the point where I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. Before I knew it, the waves were lapping at my legs, and you know, it wasn't so bad. It was like big wet kisses with the sand tickling the bottoms of my paws! I kind of liked it. So I guess I can officially check that one off my 'To Do List'.

Be well everyone, and I'll be in touch soon!

Your buddy,

Dingo

Monday, August 24, 2009

Top 10 Things On Dingo's 'To Do List'

"This photo was taken on my recent travels in search of spiritual awareness. I slipped out of the house when no one was looking and spend the day at the nearby Hindu Center".

A very happy greeting from Dingo!

It's been over two weeks since I've been back on all four paws and I am feeling great! I've got the yard back under control keeping the squirrels at bay, and have found fresh spots to bury all my toys in case of an emergency.

My recent temporary dip in health got me thinking of all the things I still haven't done. Life is so short and being that close to not making it made me put many things in perspective. So, I have decided to make a list of all the things I've wanted to do with my life but never took the time to experience.

1. Make more of an effort to actually catch a squirrel
2. Experience the pleasure of chasing cats
3. Conquer my fear of getting my paws wet in the ocean
4. Howl more
5. Motivate my owners to get out more as a pack
6. Make peace with the coyotes on the other side of the fence
7. Catch a frisbee
8. Hump a leg to see what the fuss is all about (never done it)
9. Write my memoirs
10. Learn to surf

I recommend everyone make a list and start checking things off. It's a great way to not forget the things that make life unique.

Yours truly,

Dingo

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Visit with Pete and Rachel

Hello everyone, it's Dingo.

Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still doing okay after my health scare earlier this month. I've had a lot on my plate since then, being the height of squirrel season and all, so I haven't had much time to sneak on the computer-machine to write. There are several things I want to talk about so I promise I'll be on the next few days to get some thoughts out there.

Last weekend Mark and Barry went to a weekend long Tiki Themed Party in San Diego so I stayed with my good friends Pete and Rachel. I wanted to share this picture Pete took of me on our ride over to a restaurant for breakfast. The waitress-person actually brought me my own bowl of water and served me my own plate of turkey bacon. Yummm... turkey bacon... my favorite! Pete and Rachel know me too well.

More later,

Your pal Dingo!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A 10 Day Rollercoaster Ride With Dingo

To say the last ten or so days have been exhausting would be an understatement. Back on July 28th we rushed Dingo over to his oncologist a day before his scheduled chemo treatment, which by the way, should have been his second to last appointment. Everything had been going so well, but the day prior, he had begun showing signs of fussiness when it came time to eat. When I reached down under his chin to give him a scratch, I noticed his lymph nodes were very swollen.

After being examined by his oncologist we were given the diagnosis that Dingo was probably slipping out of remission and the cancer was more than likely coming back with a vengeance. Blood was drawn, and we went home to wait for the results while being given a few choices. 1) continue with the existing chemotherapy protocol, 2) bump up to a more intensive chemo treatment, or 3) discontinue chemo and allow nature to take it's course.

The problem with choice 1 was his body had probably built up resistance to the chemo drugs which would no longer be of benefit. The problem with choice 2 was the beefed up chemo would more than likely make him very ill plus only buy him 1 to 2 extra months. The second plan seemed unfair to Dingo, and the first seemed pretty pointless, which left us with the third of just taking it day by day knowing he could go at any moment.

The blood work came back showing that there was no sign of cancer in his vital organs, which was great news, but it meant the cancer is hiding someplace else like his brain, stomach, intestine, etc. There would really be no way of telling for sure without putting him through needless painful procedures.

Through out the last week of July we got him out as much as possible trying to keep him active. However his appetite slid day by day, and by Sunday August 2nd, he stopped eating all together leaving him without the energy to get up and visit let alone have a day out. We had been through the unbearable experience of watching him lose his appetite once before when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Once again we were left feeling helpless.

By Tuesday August 4th, he stopped drinking water and that next day I rushed him to his regular vet for some glimmer of hope that they could do something to help him get his appetite back. He was so week and out of it by then and he just walked around in a complete fog. This was not our beloved Dingo.

While at the vet, the prognosis was not favorable. There was a reaffirmation of the 3 choices we had been given previously, but with the addition that we could give Dingo intravenous fluids and some Prednisone (an appetite stimulant), to try to get him to perk up from internal rehydration. However, there was no guarantee that it would work, and the vet said if we weren’t willing to try it would be advisable to put him down.

It was then, Wednesday August 5th, our worlds nearly collapsed.

I went home to Barry with the news and we both went through the whole process of grieving and dealing with what might be just around the corner while Dingo stayed at the vet until the end of the day getting his fluids. After a week of watching him decline rapidly while still holding onto hope, we accepted we might be forced to let go. We notified friends and family, researched options for home euthanasia and balled our eyes out. It was too surreal to really accept that he might actually not make it another 24 hours.

At 6:30 that night we picked him up from the vet and brought him home. He looked noticeably better, though still not himself entirely. Dingo did treat us with a surprise by eating a full meal. We watched in a state of pleasure and shock, holding our breath as he polished off the bowl. Another Prednisone pill was in his food, and an herbal canine cancer supplement in his water. When he finished, he looked up at us tongue wagging, with that 'Dingo sparkle' in his eyes as if to say, "You guys don't think I'd give up that easily do you"?

It's now August 8th and once again we have learned not to underestimate Dingo. This dog has done a complete turn around as has been in 'all-paws-out mode' for the last 48 hours, eating, drinking, playing, exploring and reminding us how to enjoy life in the moment. The swelling in his lymph nodes has gone down some which is a relief. You'd never know he had been in the deep slump he was in just days prior by the glimmer in his eyes now.

We realize it's probably just temporary, but we'll take any extra time he can give us and give him every ounce of love we've got while he's here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dingo's Elusive 'Call of the Wild'

I have been trying to capture this moment on video for months without any success until now!

Every time Dingo hears a fire engine or police siren he goes into 'hi alert mode'. It's so funny to watch him run around the house and yard baying in response to the piercing noise. The problem with capturing it on video is once he sees he's got your attention he stops baying, almost as if he's passing the problem on to you. I was lucky enough this time to sneak up on him to capture him in the act.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Dad Barry's Birthday

Happy Birthday Dad!

Just wanted to share this photo of us celebrating Barry's birthday. My horn had treats inside which were super yummy! Can't wait until we can do it again next year.

Dingo

Monday, July 13, 2009

Me And My Buddies At The Beach

Yesterday I convinced my owners, and good buddies Mark and Barry, to take me to the beach. We all agreed the house was too hot and that we couldn't stay in so I gave them my tried and true, 'let's play in the sand' look. It worked as always, and soon we packed up some water and snacks and headed on our way.

We went to our favorite beach called Leo Carrillo as they accept four legged people like me. I go crazy once I feel the sand between my paws and challenged Mark to a race to see who was the fastest runner.

Of course, I won the contest as always!


After our race we had a long walk along the waves enjoying the water between our paws. We then headed back for some snacks and enjoyed the sunset where we took a few photos of the three of us. I really like this one where we're all enjoying the sand on our bellies. Nothing could be better!




Unfortunately the weather suddenly turned on us. It got very cold and the wind really kicked up. I couldn't even keep my eyes open for the camera.

I hate this picture of me but Mark and Barry thought it was funny. They say it makes me look like something called a "Yoda". I have no idea what that is but I'll let them keep the photo up as they get some humor out of it.


So we headed home after a fun day out and on the ride home I enjoyed the breeze on my face.

There's nothing like the wind in your ears while you're out on a drive. I highly recommend it if you haven't tried it yet.


Until next time,

Your Buddy Dingo!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dingo Portrait By Pete

Hello everyone, it's Dingo!

When the exhausting demands of my job (squirrel patrol and toy burying) get to be too much, one of my favorite places to get away from it all is right next door. The place is Pete and Rachel's house who are some of my best friends. They take care of me when Mark and Barry are away doing important 'people things'. As difficult as it is to see my parents leave, staying with Pete and Rachel is a treat. I always look forward to my visits with them as they give me lots of love and attention plus let lay on their big comfy couch while we all watch movies and have snacks.

While out on a walk late one afternoon, Pete took this photo of me on his camera-thingy. I loved it so much I wanted to share with everyone. I think it captures my more dramatic side as if I'm reflecting briefly on the past while moving forward into a promising future.

Thanks Pete and Rachel for being such good friends.

Your buddy,

Dingo

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dingo Buries His Friends



Dingo shows the best way to preserve a friendship is to bury it in the ground until it's needed at a later date. This dog cracks me up every time he parades his dog toys around desperate to find a safe place to bury them.

Note from Dingo: For all of my non-human friends. Please refer to the the following map to retrieve my toys should I find myself unable to dig them up in the future. These are my prized possessions so please handle them with care.

PS - If you have need to bury my treasures yourself and you are unable to do so outside, I find the next best place is in your masters bed. The covers make a great place to dig and hide them for later use.

Yours truly,

Dingo

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Squirrel Sets Up Home in Dingo's Yard

Okay, now these squirrels have gone to far!

This morning I was rudely arisen from my sleep to find one of those furry little varmints setting up home by building a nest outside the window. Can you believe the nerve? I did my best to get them off the property by doing my 'squirrel-be-gone' dance and barking for it to "get off of my property", with no luck. That critter kept running up and down the tree wagging it's tail at me with defiance.

I jumped into my owner Mark's lap and we both watched through the window as the horror unfolded. You know squirrels really bring down the neighborhood and I won't be able to sleep knowing one is living right above my roof.

If any one has any advise or experience in dealing with such matters please contact me. I'm desperate to get this problem under control.

Dingo

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dingo Memories - Recalling Our First Meeting

Now that we're in a state of balance with Dingo's cancer, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on key moments in our time together. Many memories come back to mind so I thought I'd start writing about them here in his blog. For those who haven't had the pleasure of meeting Dingo, this might give you a little more insight into this special pup and let you know him more than just the cancer dog.

I call this Dingo's 'Head Shot' which shows his sweet and gentle nature.

I remember the day we found him in the Los Angeles pound just before Christmas 2003. We had already made one visit and spent time getting to know a couple dogs. The holiday was just a few weeks away, and a new pet being a popular present for many kids, meant the pound was fairly empty. There was one dog, previous to our meeting Dingo, who we really connected with. However, it was evidence in a case against someone arrested in unscrupulous puppy milling and the court date was several months down the road. We decided to go back to visit this dog about a week later and were surprised by how packed the pound was this time around. For whatever reason, they seemed to now be at maximum capacity with every dog jockeying for position to gain our attention.

My mother was visiting for Christmas and came along to see our potential future housemate. However, the dog was no longer there, as it had been moved to a separate facility due to the legal proceedings. With great disappointment, we decided to look around the rows of holding pens to see if any of the others caught our attention. To say the experience was overwhelming would be an understatement. Hundreds of dogs grouped together in teams of three or four per pen, all panted, wagged, leapt, charmed, drooled, sat, trembled, growled and barked for us to listen to their story. None of course new why they were there and each was desperate to leave.

None of us could really focus on any one dog. After nearly an hour of going from room to room, and debating amongst each other about the ones that stood out, we couldn't really agree on any. I know I was getting frustrated and at the point where I thought we should just step out and clear our heads. Then mom called out to us. "Hey guys, come here and see this little one". Barry and I stepped beside her, looked in the pen and there he was.

It was pure chaos inside Dingo's pen. He shared his space with three other dogs twice his size that were all extremely agitated running around in states of panic. One dog was literally barking relentlessly into Dingo's ear trying to pick a fight. But this little guy just sat there peacefully, poised in a very proper upright pose and looked at us as if to say "I am the one, we found each other, now lets go home".

"Where was he hiding", I asked. We had all looked in the pen several times and Dingo had not been out front. He must have been sleeping in the back behind the wall, or out in the small bit of yard they have behind the pen. Regardless, we all new immediately that he was the one.

We talked to one of the staff members who looked up his chart. Unfortunately, Dingo too had a past, which meant he couldn't go home with us that day. It seemed he was microchipped and a letter had been sent to his previous owners that their dog was waiting for them in the pound. Only just arriving the previous day meant we had to wait three week before he could be adopted. This gave his registered owners a chance to come collect him after they received notice from the pound.

So with heavy hearts, we said goodbye to him and headed home to wait it out. We were hoping for the best but we figured our chances were pretty remote that he'd still be there. After all, what loving owner would not be desperately searching for such a wonderful dog as Dingo?

To be continued...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dingo's New Friend Ella

Hello, all of you, this is Dingo again.

Things have been going great for me these days. My doctor says I've been responding very well to my chemo, and I'm at the point where we can spread out treatments to every other week. Yeah!!! Over all I've been doing great and have gotten back to my regular routine of helping around the house and greeting guests.

Over the weekend I made a new friend. She's a very pretty girl named Ella from somewhere called England. I looked this place up on the interweb-thingy and found that it's really, really far. There's a whole bunch of land and that big blue swimming pool in between where she lives and my home. It must have taken her weeks to get here. I felt very special that she came all that way just to visit me.

My neighbor Peter took a photo of the two of us and I wanted to share with everyone to show just how sweet she is. Of course, I look as handsome as always.

We had a very nice visit together and Ella even learned how to play didgeridoo in our shop. Very talented girl. I'm impressed. I've tried playing the didg when no one is looking without any success. I guess I just don't have the lips for it.

I hope you made it home safely Ella, you're always welcome here and I'd love to visit your England one day.

Your friend,

Dingo

Sunday, May 31, 2009

To B.A.R.F Or Not To B.A.R.F

To B.A.R.F Or Not To B.A.R.F., that is the current question.

No, this is not just a crass headline intended to grab attention, it's actually a serious nutritional decision for pet owners who have animals with major illnesses.

B.A.R.F. stand for 'Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods' and from what I've researched online should consist of 75% meat and 25% fruit/veggies. Dingo has been getting about this ratio in his home cooked meals already, but I've begun wondering if it might be of some benefit to try the raw approach. The diet must be based on human grade whole foods including raw meat, finely ground bones, offal and other healthy ingredients. However, from what Dingo's vet has said, caution must be taken when purchasing meats. Most commercially raised animals in the US are loaded with chemicals and hormones that could do more harm than good. So I'm reluctant to go this route.


I discovered this site www.barfworld.com (I know BARF WORLD, what a name), and it has some great information. What I think I'll do is make a visit to my favorite health food store for pets Pets Naturally, and ask their opinion on the issue. The owner has lived through an experience with her dog having cancer and she's been very helpful so far.

Will report back with news in a later post.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dingo's Squirrel Trouble

Hello to all my friends across the 'inter-web thingy'. It's me, Dingo.

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. I've been having so much fun being a dog the last couple weeks, that there hasn't been time to sneak back onto the computer machine to write everyone a note.

Now that I've been given the good news that my canine lymphoma has gone into remission, I have gotten back to work. One of my daily jobs is protecting our yard from the pesky group of grey squirrels that like to play in our trees. I'd say we have what could classically be called, a serious 'squirrel problem'.

I wake up most mornings to find our backyard trees have been invaded by dozens the furry tailed critters the trees, chirping and making a serious racket. It wouldn't be so bad if was just one, but they seem to come from everywhere. Above the street there are some funny wires that these guys use to get around the neighborhood. This is the way they get into our yard.

I've included some video footage to show everyone just how troublesome these cutesy-faced creatures can be. Look closely at how they mock me with their bushy tails and deadpan stares.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dingo The Therapy Dog

About a year ago I was watching Animal Planet, or some similar station, and caught a television special on therapy dogs. These were very special pups who visited the sick, elderly and infirmed, bringing some good 'canine mojo' to their daily routine. Within minutes of watching the program, I knew this was just the thing for Dingo. He had the temperament required, loved people and really enjoyed being given important tasks.

I began doing research online and discovered TDI - Therapy Dogs International. From there I was given names two evaluators in Southern California. Remarkably, both these gals were the only ones remotely near Los Angeles, and each was over an hour away. I chose Joan up in Ventura as it was near the beach and I knew Dingo and I could make a day of it. He passed with flying colors, was issued a ribbon for his performance, got medical clearance from his vet and then his documents were filed with the State.

It was exactly a month later that our big plans as community servants got put on hold when Dingo became ill, and ultimately diagnosed with Lymphoma. Ironically his certification, ID and tags all arrived the same day he had his first chemo treatment, which was a dash of salt in the wound. At that time we really thought it might be close to over for our buddy, and the arrival of the package reminded Barry and I of all that might have been.

Now that Dingo has been responding well to chemotherapy and he's back on all four paws, we felt it important to move ahead as planned. TDI provided us with a list of hospitals and community groups in need of therapy dogs, and it's time to start making some calls. Now that his surgical scar has healed and his fur has begun to grow back he's presentable and ready for duty. I'm actually going to contact TDI next week to see if there are any children's cancer organizations that might be interested in having him come by once a week. I thought it might be helpful for the kids to get visits from a friend in the same situation as them, and hopefully get some inspiration from our lovable buddy.

So this post will hopefully be the first in a long series following Dingo on his quest for social outreach. Stay tuned for future reports.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Dog Cancer Ride Across America - Coming Summer 2009

Ted Schneck is one incredible guy! In 2007, his loving buddy Marty passed away from canine cancer, and like most of us, tried to find a way to channel his energies. The following year he devoted his efforts to the quest of trekking across America on his bicycle to raise funds for several charities. The Dog Cancer Ride was his vision to honor Marty, and to bring assistance to pet owners who's means couldn't afford them the care their pets deserved.

Ted also wrote a great digital book "Curing Canine Cancer" available for download. I don't want to come across as 'sales pitchy' here on Dingo's blog, but his book was truly helpful as Barry and I sifted through the mountains of data online. It really is an overwhelming task, and to find a publication, written by someone who had gone through it, was invaluable. I highly recommend the book to anyone who's been given the unfortunate news that his or her dog has cancer.

I've never met Ted, but he informed me via email that he's doing another Cancer Ride this summer. I wanted to take a moment make people aware of his efforts and the upcoming trek he'll be making.

Take 10 minutes out of your day and watch the footage from last year's ride, and if you have a little extra money make a donation to a worthy cause.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another 'My Bad' Moment

Happy Saturday to all my two legged friends!

I just wanted to report in personally after the good news the doctor gave me Thursday. It was a relief to hear that my cancer may be going into remission. I've been feeling great the past week, much more like my usual self. So 'paws crossed' that the chemotherapy treatment is working.

I did unfortunately have another 'my bad' moment. If you read in my blog post from two weeks ago, one of my medications caused me to wee in my sleep. Very embarrassing since I'm no puppy. Well unfortunately, I did it once again, waking up to a wet spot on my parent's bed. I got up early and called Doctor Norman to explain what happened and he told me that it was probably due to my Prednisone pills and I should cut the dosage in half. Hopefully this will stop my bed wetting from happening again.

As a side note, would someone please create a phone that's more dog friendly! I tell you, it's really difficult for us to push these tiny buttons with our big paws. I misdialed three times and got a pizza place, the Liechtenstein Consulate, and something called Miss Kitty's Massage Parlor. The last one was the weirdest, I mean really, who'd want a cat giving them a massage? Yuck! And, what's a happy ending anyway? I don't get it.

Since I wanted to take care of the problem myself, and not wake anyone, I snuck the sheets off the bed and headed down to something called a 'Laundromat'. It took me forever to drag the bed spread to the car and even longer for a crash course in how to drive. I had watched Mark and Barry move this big metal box around the road countless times and always through, how difficult could it be. Boy was I mistaken. Just getting my paw down to the gas and brake pedal was a challenge let alone learning how to steer.

So, this is how I spent my early Saturday morning, staring at this funny machine waiting for the bedspread to dry. It gave me time to people watch as they shuffled through their morning routines. It made me wonder about what trials and tribulations each of them might be dealing with at this moment. So many people, so many stories.

Well I don't want to get to deep and philosophical so early in the morning. Just wanted to update you all and say thanks for your support.

You pal always,

Dingo

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dingo's Montly Check Up Results

We got some positive news from Dingo's vet, Dr. Norman, yesterday. After his first weeks of chemotherapy there are strong signs that he may be heading for remission. Hurray!!!

Fortunately, the swelling in his lymph nodes has gone down dramatically, which is the first good sign. His appetite has been normal for weeks and he's gained a pound. All positive news. Now we just have to get the results of his blood work to get more details.

Everyone send out good vibes to our buddy that the progress continues.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cancer Diet Update For Dingo

Just wanted to give a quick culinary update on our buddy's diet as there have been some changes in the past couple weeks. Again, this is for those who may find the information helpful when trying to navigate through everything posted online. Take it with a 'grain of salt', as I do want to clarify that these dietary steps are just what we've chosen for Dingo and may not be appropriate for your dog. Every pet needs a different ratio of nutrients and these should be calculated by talking to your vet.

Firstly, we're cooking all his food by hand, which is a real challenge, especially in the mornings. I've never had to prepare a daily breakfast for anyone, and Dingo being the early riser that he is, generally means I'm preparing his meals before 7AM. We're also mixing in supplements, as simply feeding him 'people food' isn't going to guarantee that his body will absorb everything it needs. All his food gets chopped up and finely grated for maximum digestion. From what we've learned, a dog's digestive tract is so short that food has a much more limited time in the body. So, the smaller the bits of food the better.

I've also been lucky enough to find a great natural pet food store just down the road called Pet's Naturally here in Sherman Oaks. The owner Marie really helped me pinpoint some supplements to help keep Dingo as healthy as possible. She's dealt with cancer in her own pets and her experience really helped in getting Dingo started on the right diet.
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Sample of a delectable meal from Dingo's menu at
Chateau Dunn-Martin


3/4 Cup Ground Chicken (patted dry to remove fat)
1 Clove of Garlic (shredded)
1/2 Carrot (shredded)
1/8 Cup of Broccoli (finely chopped)
1 Slice of Apple
6-12 Edamame (Unsalted Soy beans)

Current supplements added to meal

1 tsp Colostrum (a supplement for the immune system)
1 tsp Daily Maintenance Powder (chock full of vitamins and minerals)
4 Drops of Vitamin E Oil
1/2 tsp of Poly MVA (given once a day)
1 tsp of Liquid Supplements (with Fulvic Acid, Zeolite, Quantocil and Deuterium Sulfazyme in Purified Water)

… and that’s it! Sounds yummy doesn’t it? Well at least Dingo thinks so.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Big Day At The Beach

Hello again from Dingo,

Thanks to those who called or sent email messages when they read I was feeling down after my last chemotherapy shot. I wanted to sneak back online just to let everyone know I'm feeling much better now after a 'ruff' couple of days.

As a way of celebrating me being back on my paws, Mark and my Auntie 'T' took me to the beach, my absolute, number 1, favorite place to play! I can't explain it, but the minute I smell the salt air, see the waves through the open car window, something comes over me. The open sea seems to beckon me like an old friend, calling out to me to play together. I often wonder if I was a sailor in a past life.

No matter how much I pace in the back seat or whine to go faster, we can't get there soon enough. We visited Auntie T's favorite Leo Carrillo Beach north of a place called Malibu. Funny name! They have a small section where four-legged people like me can play together. The sand felt great under my paws and made me forget my cancer troubles.

You can still see my surgery scar in this photo. So much for vanity!

I really need to learn more camera courtesy and not block others with my tail.

Once again the camera came out and I was forced to sit still when I'd rather be playing, but I know it's important to them so I gave them some of my best poses.

video
Here's a slideshow of Mark and I playing dodge-dog

At the end of the day, we all took a long walk down the beach as the sun edged closer to the water. It was my first sunset at the beach and it was really magic. With the fresh salt air in my nostrils and the waves lapping near my paws, I relished just being in the moment. Despite my illness, it reminded me of all the great things to treasure in life and why it's so good to be a dog.

My favorite photo of Mark and me.

Until next time.

yours truly,

Dingo