Monday, November 27, 2017

Introducing Takoda!

Meeting Takoda at the breeder's house
Thursday, October 19, 2017.
The night Zenzi died, I had a dream of her. She was romping on clouds above the Earth, happy and free, like she was on the secret trail we walked that day.  She stopped at a hole in the clouds, dancing excitedly with her front feet as though she'd found a ball.  When I followed the hole down to the Earth, I entered a home where a single golden retriever puppy remained in need of a home.  It then went backwards in time, showing me the ad on Craigslist from the small family/hobby breeder to find the puppy.

I couldn't get the dream out of my head in the morning.  Though I had no intention of replacing Zenzi and was determined to go back to being a 2 dog household again, I couldn't get the dream out of my mind.  Sure enough, I found the ad exactly where Zenzi said it would be.  The breeder bred primarily for military families of Camp Pendleton, but any extra puppies were available to the public.  The parents were health tested, rated excellent on their joints, and cleared of heart/eye defects.  I arranged to meet them that night, and was quickly in love.  The Mama met me first, and just laid at my feet, belly up, and grinned while I rubbed her belly.  The Daddy came out second, and while utterly friendly, was most interested in the treats one of the little boys was holding.  When I met the only remaining puppy from this Mama's last litter, I knew he was special, and I quickly fell in love, despite my broken heart.  He passed all my service prospect puppy tests with flying colors.

Dad:  Bumblebee, 10yo, left
Mom:  Rose, 8yo, right
I arranged to pick him up that Sunday (I met him on Thursday), and he had a big day:  first puppy class, meeting everyone in my life that is here in California, and coming home to meet my pack and begin house training.

Takoda has been home just over a month, and has settled in like a champ.  Dolce wrestles with him constantly.  I swear Takoda will keep Dolce young, his muscle tone is already improved!  Maya has been recovering from steroids/MRI/spinal tap and is starting to open up to the puppy.

Takoda is incredibly easy.  He was crate trained in a couple weeks, has since been house trained, and has started obedience training, public access training, and service dog task training.  He's excelling in all of them.  Videos of his training are available on the Hounds in Harmony Youtube Channel.  I intend to document that training here from now on.

Meeting Auntie Linden

Instagram:  @Takoda_golden_SDiT

Together at last, on the way home.

Monday, November 13, 2017

RIP Zenzi

On October 18th, 2017, a Wednesday, Zenzi attacked Dolce for being in the kitchen.  Zenzi's neurological aggression issues have been worsening over time, despite all the training and medications I could provide her.  When Dolce's bite turned out to require surgery and a drain, I made the gut-wrenching decision to put Zenzi down.

Zenzi reacted to sprinklers, dogs outside, the sound of the poop station lid slamming outside, animals on TV, food being nearby -- and she always redirected onto Dolce, or else "killed" a toy.  She'd never done serious damage, a nip on the ear here, and scrape there.  So I told myself it wasn't really that bad, I didn't need to consider rehoming her or euthanasia.   But when she attacked Dolce for being in the kitchen, and she wasn't even in the kitchen, I knew it was time.

I considered waiting to place her with my parents, people she knows and loves, who could take her when their dog passes.  But they have family and children come over on a regular basis, and that wouldn't be possible with Zenzi in the house.  They would likely give that up for her, but I highly suspected she'd find something else to redirect on, and didn't want to risk it being one of them.  Experienced dog people as they are, she was a lot to handle, even for me, a professional.  I always knew I could never rehome her outside the family.  She was so attached to me, I knew that she would rather die than start a new life with strangers in a strange place.  Her mind wasn't built for that.

So the kindest thing to do was to end her suffering.  There was definitely a chemical imbalance in her brain, perhaps from an invisible tumor, and she didn't like being on red alert all the time, reacting to things, and becoming so aggressive.  I arranged for some sedatives to take her to the vet that evening.  As much as I prefer an in-home euthanasia, that would have made Zenzi FURIOUS.  That's not how I wanted her last moments to be.

I spent ALL DAY spoiling her rotten.  Trail walk, ball play in the field, trail walk again -- just us, exactly how she liked it. 

View on Instagram.

I ended the evening walking her in the eucalyptus forest and giving her the pills.  Once those were taking effect, we went to the vet.  I gave her 2, because I knew 1 wouldn't cut it.  When we arrived, she should have been asleep, but instead, she was just "drunk."  When he gave her the first shot, he had to come back and check on us 3 times.  Definitely something chemically wrong with her brain that she lasted as long as she did.  "She shouldn't even be blinking right now, let alone worried about me." the vet said after the 2nd check, when Zenzi bark/growled at him.  She had some twitches, and I worried she was having a seizure.  Finally, she experienced some peace.  Her tongue was lolligagging out of her mouth, her expression completely relaxed.  I'd never seen her so at peace.  She just drifted away when he gave her the last shot.

I felt her all day the next day, saw her in my dreams the night before, saw her when I closed my eyes.  I ended up impromptu collecting her ashes when I brought Dolce in to have his stitches removed.  It all wrapped up so very neatly.

Rest in peace, my panda tutu puppy.  You can guard me as my angel now, sweetheart.  Always know you were a GOOD DOG.  My heart breaks, but I love you forever.  Until we meet again... wait for me at the rainbow bridge.