Thursday, January 26, 2012

Earning his stripes?

It's been very dry here in the house and all of the dogs have been shedding and we ALL have dry skin, but Max seems to be developing some white stripes on his shoulders.

Today while I was brushing him I noticed that where he has these stripes, on both shoulders his hear is really thin, and actually, he doesn't have any under coat there, just a top coat.  I have no idea why this is happening.  The radiation never went anywhere near his shoulders, it took place 4 months ago, he doesn't lean and rub up against anything that would make the fur wear away there. 

His fur does seem very dry - so I'm wondering if it's a vitamin or mineral deficiency?  Will need to check ..

Although they look like a color change b/c of the shadows on his body - the white stripe on his shoulder is actually thinning hair.

You can see where the hair is thinned out in the stripe

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Max getting ready for March Madness

Max has apparently been practicing his ball playing skills over the last few days... He's getting good with the pink soccer ball!
Part I

Part II

**Disclaimer - Rex aka Ralph who appears in this video.. gets PLENTY of attention. He is in fact an attention HOG and always butts in when ever anyone else is being fed, played with, or receiving any sort of attention.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?  Max has recently learned that when the timer goes off on the kitchen stove, it means something edible (usually) is coming out of it!  If we don't respond to the timer on the 2nd or 3rd ding, he's now getting up and running around the house to find us and dance in front of us until we follow him into the kitchen where he shows us that the stove has food for us! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just got back from a walk with Max and the gang.. we ran into a young 7 month old Spuds MacKenzie puppy who was full of energy!  Extra energy!  His mom said he wanted to play really badly so I asked if we could come over and we let Max off leash... and here's what happened!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Max shows his true feelings towards a horse...

Today is Saturday January 14, 2012.  This morning we decided to take the dogs into Colonial Williamsburg for a walk.  Max walked off leash most of the way, sniffing stuff, and checking things out. He passed the tavern but was thinking about going into the soap shop today but was side tracked by a family that came out and wanted to pet him.  On the way back to the car we saw 4 horses hanging by the fence near the parking lot so we decided to go over and see them.. As soon as Max saw one horse he tried to jump up in the air to get to him!  We ended up walking around the corner where the fence changed to a split rail so the dogs could see the horses better and this is what happened!

Max & The Horse Part 2!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mighty Max - the chocoholic

Just a few days ago Mighty Max decided that he had a craving for Chocolate.. He had apparently been carefully formulating his plan to assuage his chocolate cravings.  I had run next door to a neighbor's house for a few minutes and when I came back, the Mighty Max had managed to climb up on my office chair, then up on my office desk, and walk around my computer monitor, knocking a few stacks of papers that were in his way on to the floor, where he was able to reach the box of Trader Joe's chocolates.  Like most people with chocolate cravings, the Mighty Max had apparently pulled out the map that comes with the box of chocolates, describing what was inside of each chocolate and started to consume... He tossed the little brown wrappers on the floor, along with all of the scattered resumes that I had been reviewing.  When I got home and went to my desk and discovered the little mess, the Mighty Max walked over to me like he hadn't been there since I left the house! (although he was smacking his lips.)  I called one of our vets and the neurologist's office and they both said to get him to the hospital ASAP  - They needed to induce vomiting.. (I had peroxide and milk and Sub Q-fluids at home and could have done it here but they wanted to make sure he was ok)... Long story short, the Mighty Max is doing just fine but for a few days he was pretty slow and groggy. His eye was droppy again and and I was worried that the chocolate might have taken him back a bit - or perhaps it was the extra large amount of sugar he ate... sugar is no good for the c word or tumors..   I was actually composing an email to his neurologist yesterday asking if we should bring him in. Mighty Max had just had a really good neuro check up a few days before, while I was writing that email, a critter ran through the back yard... #2 heard it and tore out the back door and ran down into the woods, quickly followed by Buttercup and then to my surprise Max jumped up and raced out the back door, flew off the back steps (seriously - he took a flying leap and skipped all 4 steps!) and navigated his way down the hill and into the woods to tree a squirrel!  He was out there wagging his tail as hard as he could and jumping an barking!  I wished so badly I had caught that on film! I kept watching him to make sure I didn't see him get wobbly or stop and freeze in his tracks (a sign he may have over done it) but he didn't!  He started sniffing around when he realized the squirrel wasn't coming down and explored a bit and then wandered back in the house.  A little while later though (with my camera ready just in case it happened again, I caught the Mighty Max in the following video.. (One of the dogs across the ravine was sounding the alert and the dogs ran outside to see what they were saying - apparently just a conversation.. no big news! - I love how all the dogs in the neighborhood talk to each other!)


(Note: The tree max runs under is a holly tree and the leaves are very sharp)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Max visits Colonial Williamsburg 1-8-2012

Dogs hanging at the hitching post in front of the House of Burgess
Max walking through colonial Williamsburg
 Today we took Max and the gang to Colonial Williamsburg for the day. Unfortunately I switched up his medicine a little bit and tried his anti-seizure meds at breakfast with his Chinese herbs.. in particular the Stasis of the Mansion of the Mind that is able to carry meds across the blood brain barrier.   (He has been seizure free except for that one small seizure he had the week after he had the Cyber Knife after I took him for a walk and probably over did it)  He had a good time wandering around (off leash) and exploring, and then completely zonked out on the Governor's Green in front of the Royal Governor's Palace!  We did manage to wake him up and he continued to walk - but you could tell he really wanted to go back to sleep!  A couple of the women working at one of the taverns had some treats that they shared with the dogs and Max decided he wanted to stay there!  On the way back to the car decided to go by a field where they keep the sheep to see how alert he was..  He so badly wanted the sheep to come say hi to him! Usually they will walk right up to the fence and even butt him, but not today!

Max exploring Colonial Williamsburg

Smelling something

The facilities

A sheep

Max checking out the sheep

Max walking the streets in Colonial Williamsburg

Leading the way as usual!

Heading for the old historic Oak!

Wondering what's going on on the Green

Checking things out

Wandering around the Governor's Green

Coming back from saying hi to another dog

Getting ready for his nap..

Max thinking about chasing a squirrel

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas With Max...

Christmas was a really tough one this year.  We lost both our cat Tulsa and our beagle Buster within 6 days of each other. We actually postponed christmas to new years. Max at least helped cheer everyone up.  He apparently has some new neuron connection in his head that makes him think EVERY present under the tree belongs to him and he must open it.  Fortunately he is primarily fascinated by the wrapping paper, where #2 who also thinks every present under the tree is for him, is more concerned with figuring out how to take the presents from who ever currently has it and bring them back into his cave.. formerly our dining room.

The video below has a lot of meaning to us. If anyone out there watching this video believes in spirits, or is questioning if there is an after life for our pets, this video pretty much confirmed it for me.  As I mentioned before, we had recently lost both our cat Tulsa and our beagle Buster over Christmas. I know this sounds odd, but no matter who you are and what your belief systems are, I think that at some point, someone has sensed the presence of someone who they loved a lot near them after they passed.  Well, while I was shooting this video, I felt like Buster was watching us. I felt like he was zipping around the room watching everything we were doing. I even mentioned it during the video when I saw our rottie mix Buttercup start looking in the directions that I was feeling Buster was in. When we went back to watch this video after we uploaded it, we saw some very interesting stuff - Again - you can be the judge, but we checked everything and there was nothing reflecting any light that would create this kind of a movement and we live out in the woods nowhere near a road so we're certain these weren't car lights.  Aside from watching Max tear open his (and everyone else's) Christmas gifts, if you pay attention at the following times during the video you'll see a white (or some had described it as a blue) light zip through the screen.  The second counts are between 55 - 58 seconds (it zips up and down in front of the screen really fast.  at 1min 53 seconds - it zips by  once and again exactly at 4min.  I didn't notice the 2nd and 3rd time until I had watched the video about 10 times. Again we have no idea what to make of this - but I felt like Buster was there when I saw these live and on the film. And at least one of our dogs did too!

Max Update

Max after his 1st lap around the field 1.25mi 12/21/11
It is still so amazing to me to think of where we were 3 months ago.  Max had his 3 month check up yesterday with Dr. Young and he's doing great. We're just increasing his antitiotic eye ointment to try and get that eye to heal better, and keeping an eye on the rest of Max. Dr. Young suspects that the twitching in Max's face is more muscle spasming than neurological, and even though Max has some coughing and gagging - it's not happening consistently and not happening while he's eating so he's not terribly concerned about it. All in all - Max is doing amazingly well for a 19 year old who had 2 brain tumors!

Max snuggled in in the car
I took Max with my up to the hospital before Christmas for Buster's Surgery. He didn't have much time to nap while we were there but it seemed to be good for him. The first day we were up there we went to the field and Max was insistent upon trying to walk the whole entire mile and 1/4 around the field.  He was pretty slow.. definitely not how he used to be at the field where he was the fastest and always the first to make it around.. often doing an extra lap or running into the middle to try and chase mice or listen to the radio coming fro the wires under the ramps..   The next day it was raining, but we went out anyway

Max shopping at ProFeed w/ his friend
 again Max was insistent on making it all the way around, despite both of us being soaking wet and cold.. When I tried to cut through the middle of the field he kept going on the path.  The third day we were there we ran into some old friends from our old neighborhood and their dogs and ended up in the middle of the field playing with the young guys! It took a few minutes but Max jumped right into the scrum and was his usual self, the "Fun Police" As he was labeled long ago!  Anytime someone was having any sort of fun, Max jumps in to referee and this
Looking for more treats!
 time was going to be no different!  There were 5 or 6 youngsters wrestling - a boxer, a weimeraner, a lab or two, a couple of mixed breeds and a couple of sammie mixes and Max.. all going at it! He was barking and nipping at their legs to break it up!  Gotta love him! (Of course I was worried he'd get body slammed like I normally do! But he held his own!)

One of the days we also went to Profeed to kill some time and Max actually spent a few hours there shopping and playing with everyone who worked there! They let him behind the counter where he
Max is fascinated by moving water
 proved his sharp brain was back and as strong as ever! He started opening canisters of food with his teeth. He took them down off shelves, and he even opened up a couple of drawers where they keep samples of dog food and helped himself!  My favorite was they had spent about 5 minutes putting together one of the Nina Ottossen dog puzzles for Max, and they put it down in front of him. The goal is to move pieces of the puzzle to get the treat to fall out.. Well Max had been watching them put the puzzle together and decided that it would be much simpler to just take the lid off and stick his head in and get the piece that way! True to Max form!
Watching stuff float by 12/23/11

We also took another long walk in the woods at Cabin John Park. We had spent so much time here. Both Buster and Daisy LOVED going for walks here and swimming in the creek! Max loved to run and chase deer until we decided he took to long to come back so he had to stay leashed. (Nothing like waiting over an hour in the same spot with 4 other dogs in 20 degree weather when it was rain/sleeting.. for Max to make it back to where he last saw me!)

Max really missing Tulsa - in Tulsa's cat bed (note the empty dog bed next to him)
All in all , Max is doing fantastic. His energy level is high, he's been chasing deer and squirrel at home, he's been going for 1-2 mile walks every day again, he's building up his endurance. Definitely not as fast as he used to be but he's holding his own.. and he's 19! What more could one ask?!?  His eye sight seems to be better better although he still has some scaring on that eye he fell on the day before his CK, so we're upping the drops to 3 times /day vs. 1x / day. Plus it's dry in the house, and he's been out in the wind much more now that he's walking and exercising.  
Trying to make the cat bed work
 The other day he was playing with his friend Josh, the Corgi.  Josh and Max met a few months before Max's tumors decided to give him head aches and make him not want to play and then dizzy so they hadn't played in a long time. Lately Max has wanted to walk over to Josh's house and lately when he sees Josh his tail starts to wag again - he hasn't done that in almost a year! A good indicator that he's REALLY feeling better!  He and Josh started running in Josh's front yard the other day and did a little wrestling and Max barked, jumped at Josh and flipped him and rolled him over in play! I haven't seen him do that in ages and it was so good to see!
Max thinks he has it working now

Not sure Josh felt the same way - I think he was taken back a little bit, but they're friends! And I'm sure Josh will get his chance to roll Max if he wants!

Max has had a bit of a rough time with the recent losses of Tulsa our kitty and Buster our beagle. He was really close with both of them. He was right there when both crossed over too and I think that's been a little hard for him but he's hanging in there and trying to make the most out of it.
Going for a walk New Years day with his brothers & sister
 He's been bonding with #2 our shepherd mix, and Buttercup our rottie/ chessie mix.

Max has also been spotted counter surfing (Mom is not so pleased with that action!) I also caught him taking bags of groceries off the counter - again - not so pleased, and the ironic thing is that Max is down to 10mg of prednisone once ever 4-5 days... he wasn't doing it when he was on high doses of prednisone..

He has been going outside to sit in the sun, and has been barking so I'm guessing the head aches are gone.
Off leash in the meadow
 I've caught him running up flights of stairs, even though he's not supposed to be doing that.. and down them which scares me even more.  We have one big flight of stairs at the house and have tried to keep him from it but he somehow finds a way to get to it periodically.  Currently he's outside with the other dogs barking at the deer running through the woods.  He's just a normal dog!  Acting just like a normal 7 year old!!!  But he's really 19!  He's truly amazing!  And we've been lucky to have some amazing vet care for Mr. Max!  We are very grateful for that!

walking out to the point


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We had a really tough Christmas. Not only did we loose Tulsa on December 17, but we lost our beloved beagle Buster on December 23, a few days after he had had surgery to remove a mass on his liver.  I knew we shouldn't have gone forward with the surgery. I felt like Buster kept telling me that he didn't want to do it and he wouldn't come home alive if we did, but the logical part of my mind kept telling me that it worked really well for our golden Daisy years ago (same surgery, same surgeon, same lobe of the liver, almost even same size mass, in fact is was uncanny ). I also wasn't convinced that I wasn't still morning Tulsa so much that I was in a funk and just needed to take care of Buster so I pushed forward.  He made it through the surgery well, but threw a clot a few days later after they had weaned him off of his pain meds. This was such a hard loss. Buster had collapsed a few weeks before - probably a clot as well - which is how he ended up in the ER (with an ER doctor who didn't know what she was doing, anyway her boss saw something on an x-ray that she missed, took more and found a mass on Buster's liver. I kind of went into automatic pilot having been through this before. I knew the risks, I knew the signs, I knew the dangers, I knew we had some time. I knew which surgeon I wanted to use, but still interviewed others, got a 2nd and 3rd opinion from specialists I trusted, I knew the whole surgical team and they even knew Buster from when Daisy had been in the hospital.   It just wasn't supposed to happen like this.. but maybe it was in the grand scheme of things. In my mind it certainly wasn't supposed to happen like this.

Buster explaining he didn't want surgery
 When I took this photo, I had just asked Buster if he wanted to have the tumor removed, every time I asked him he looked directly at me just like he is in this photo, and I kept feeling like he was just repeating, NO, I won't come home alive if we do. This went on for 2 weeks until he was up there. Even when we first walked in to see his surgeon, she looked at me and said, "You just don't have a good feeling about this one. You didn't feel this way with Daisy, I can tell you feel this way with Buster". She even gave me an extra day to think about it.  I feel horrible, but in my heart I think I knew that it was his time. I just feel horrible that he spent his last 4 days in a hospital, and he had had his belly cut open and he only saw me for a grand total of 15 minutes those last 4 days and he was in pain each time he saw me.  Right before he was taken back to the kennel to stay over night before his surgery, he walked up to me and licked me in the face. He has never done that before in his life. He knew.
Score! Found some poop
 The photo to the left was taken the day before we left to take him for surgery. He was foraging around for poop. The morning we left, I woke Buster up, and he reluctantly followed me to the kitchen and out to the garage. He went to go potty, then decided to sniff around and took off wanting to go chase deer. He was feeling so good when he went in, and he never came out. I hate that.  I know he's at peace now. I know he doesn't remember any of the pain from the last few days, but I feel terrible for my decision. I know he remembers all of the good times we had together, I certainly do. He made me laugh, he's scared me more times that I can tell you.. running home with 1/2 of a dead rabbit in his mouth across main streets, just so I wouldn't catch him and take the rabbit out of his mouth. I remember him snatching birds out of the air at the field, Breaking into trash cans, cabinets, and feeding himself.. then there was his art work - see below - painted in blood on the ceramic tile floor after he took a pyrex bowl off the counter, ate the contents and decided to paw print.  He used to run into the woods and take naps under trees, and Buster would NEVER bark.. probably the only beagle who never barked - UNLESS he was hunting and caught a scent, or within the last few years, barking along with Rex and demanding I feed him his meal faster than I currently was moving - boy those two thought that was the funniest thing!
Enjoying a ride in the car
 Buster was always a clown - he could be feeling horrible but would bounce right back up.. This was a few days after he had collapsed  and he was goofing around in the back of the car - smile on his face!  Sometimes he'd flip his ear over!  When he was younger, he'd run around in circles and dart right and left, and then dive and roll.. come to think of that - he did that a few times as he got older as well! Even with his bum legs!  I will never forget Buster playing with his buddy Beau - those two beagles LOVED each other so much and they would see each other at the field would just run and role and play tag - I've never seen Buster like that with any other dog! Unfortunatley the only photo I have of Buster and Beau is of Beau humping Buster.. Buster was always quite humpable.. I guess in the dog world that may mean loveable?  Boys and girls loved to hump him!  There was a great dane who loved to hump him.. I think Buster just thought he was a big tent - he'd just provide shade on hot days - he was so much bigger than Buster that it didn't phase him at all.

Hanging with his angel buddy Tulsa
 Tulsa had a very special bond with Buster.. and LOVED to sit on Buster. Not so sure how Buster felt about this. But Tulsa was especially close with Buster in his last couple of weeks. he didn't want to leave Buster's side. This photo was taken the day Buster came home from the ER, at that point, Tulsa couldn't walk and he managed to flop himself out of his bed in the background to go lie next to his buddy Buster.  He wanted to sleep with him at night too. I almost feel like Tulsa helped cross Buster over to the other side to be with him.
Apparently still hungry
 Buster in true form - I was working at my desk, heard some clanking around, went to the kitchen to see what was going on and found the cabinet to the cat food open... with Sir Beagle-man Buster, ripping open a container of cat food... while is faithful canine companion Maxwell Smart, stood by looking on wondering when he'd get a chance (see below)

It's never been a dull moment with Buster in my life. I first brought him home from the shelter in 1999, he was about 4 or 5 years old at the time and had had a rough life prior. The shelter workers said he was next on the euthanasia list, which was why I adopted him.
Teaching Max tricks

They said he was howling in the shelter, but he never howled for me, ever! Once I got him in the car he was darting all over over the place. When I got him home he ran all over the house, upstairs, downstairs, into every room exploring, and then he collapsed at the top of the stairs and couldn't walk.. seriously... all 4 of his legs had given out!  When I took him to the vet they said he had been beat up so badly that the cups around his leg joints were all worn away. His face had also been kicked in and he had some broken facial bones..

ART: paw painting by Buster - Blood on Ceramic tile
 We let him heal as much as we could, he eventually got Tiny Tim like braces from Dr. Kanappe at which he tolerated, and then we decided he could just hang out at home and go at his own pace, or ride around in his chariot (pictured below).

Buster had eventually started having really bad sinusitus and post nasal drip to the point where he was getting chronic bronchitis and developing frequent pneumonias. We had numerous vets and ER vets tell me that I should put him down, but I knew he was a fighter.
More ART:Paw painting Blood on Ceramic by Buster
.... and I always fought for him and he always fought back and survived. I feel horrible I didn't fight as much as I should have for him this time, but something was holding me back and I'm not sure what it was - maybe it was just the recent loss of Tulsa - and maybe it was all too much too close together.  I just don't know, but I really miss my beagle boy a lot.  For such a small guy he had such a huge personality.

Also.. the floors are not nearly as clean, the cat food bowls are no where near as clean as they used to be, dishes aren't as clean going into the dishwasher.

Buster Doing his Chores

Buster contributed so much to the cleaning of this house! (and others), unfortunately he would also plaster walls with snot as he sneezed everywhere but you give a little you get a little.. and we have something to remember him by.

Buster had the patience of a said, the determination of .. well a beagle, and although he took a long time to trust (and who wouldn't after having bean beat up so badly) he was so incredibly loyal, loving and dependable. I love that he'd snuggle up to me, or step on my foot so I'd know he was there. He had the softest ears in the world and loved to have them rubbed! Buster was so incredibly good with little kids and would let them sit on him and pull at his ears, and never once ever bit anyone.  He loved his vets dearly and when ever he wasn't feeling well he'd go out and stand by the car and want to be taken to the vet.  A few times he even ran upstairs at their office to fund Robin's "special bag" and let her know he needed some healing!

And who can ever forget the true antics of Buster - some caught on film.. this is my very favorite video of Buster... I had just come back to the house after taking Buttercup for a walk in the woods, I had the video rolling actually as I walked in the house b/c I was taping Buttercup.. but this is what I found when I opened the door! (gotta love Buster!)

Buster hanging out in the overhead

Buster at the Beach house
Buster Max, Buttercup & Daisy at the beach

Buster at the field

Playing Cow with his sisters

Enjoying the Buttercups

Waiting for Dinner

Waking up

Hanging with his friends

Enjoying some sun

Watching everything from above

Loving Days like this!


Caught a squirrel

A little frustrated he can't come in

Napping at the beach

Watching from above

Stinking up the joint as usual
Out on a walk with his brothers Max & #2

A swim on a hot day (a rare sight)

Wading in the water

hanging on the beach

on a ride for some energy healing with Max

Buster & Cesar running at the field

exploring for fish and bird poop at the dock

contemplating a move to a colonial dog house

Touring Colonial Williamsburg's Trash cans


looking for rodents in CW

Nothing like Duke of Gloucester St to yourself!

Rounding by the House of Burges with #2

Exploring Barrells

Running down the road

Buster & his Chariot

Shot Gun

Walking with his brothers

The whole gang

Taking a nap on a cold day

Going for a walk with Max

Happy to See mom

Hanging at the field

Cleaning cat bowls

Hanging with his good buddy Indy

Enjoying a nice day at the field

When's dinner?

a nap in some buttercups

Going on a hike

Nothing like a hike in the woods


Enjoying the shade on a hot summer day

hanging with Isis, Nate & Cesar at the field

Doing his "Sound of Music" impression

The Best Beagle in the world.. running off into the sun set.  I love you Buster.

Portrait by Mary Detwiler