Days since Rilley's first Seizure and Surgery

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Update

"Boy, am I glad to be home from the vet!"
Another summer is upon us and Rilley is enjoying every minute of it...well, sort of.  He didn't seem to appreciate the unplanned visit to the vet in the last couple of weeks.  Always vigilant about his health since the brain tumour, we feared that he may have had a bladder infection (or something worse) as he had been having a few accidents around the house.  So off to the vet he went...actually, since Sara and I were at work, off to the vet our kids had to drag him...but not before collecting a "sample" (yeah, the kids were impressed with that).

It turned out that the urine sample was inconclusive as it was too dilute...we had also noticed an increase in the amount of water he was drinking.  So, it was back to the vet that night to have some blood drawn and if that didn't provide any answers, Rilley would further diagnostics done.

"Look...I have an owie!"
The results of the blood test would be in the next day, but since our vet had begun her (much deserved) vacation, the new vet in the office would have to relay the results to us.  Yeah, I'm sure she was soooo looking forward to that.  First of all, Rilley's file must be the thickest one there but if that alone didn't frighten her, surely she must have heard stories about how freakish Sara is about her beloved pooch.  Nonetheless, first thing the following morning, as soon as the results reached the office, she called to let us know that everything was normal.

Whew, what a relief.  Yeah, it was just a possible bladder infection, but after having gone through what he has, it does make you wonder what, if anything, could happen next.  This fall will be the fourth anniversary of his surgery and involvement in the University of Minnesota's cancer research and we want him to live out his full life.  We are already looking forward to next year, while he was declared cured and cancer free on his first anniversary, five years marks the same milestone for humans and that would be an amazing gift.

Now, we all know that Rilley can be a source of some much needed comic relief, so here's one that made us chuckle.
"Ummm...hello there."

Last week we had him out for an evening walk.  Garbage had been put out for the following day's pickup and Rilley came across a lion...yes, a LION!  Obviously, it was of the plush variety, however it was also the same size as him and was standing on its own at the curb.  Well, Rilley had never seen something like this before and it quickly became apparent that he didn't realize it was just a toy so he cautiously approached.  Not just any approach, but his crouched, "I'm-a-tough-guy", approach he sometimes uses when he happens upon another dog on "his" sidewalk.

In the end, Rilley came to the realization that this strange being was no threat and continued on his way.  Although we're sure he was still a bit bewildered about this encounter.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Legacy of Jake the Warrior

Every once in a while we like to break from tradition and post about something other than Rilley.  Hard to believe, we know!  However, we just wanted to pass along a fabulous initiative undertaken by a friend of our blog.

In 2011 Jake the Warrior was also diagnosed with a brain tumour.  His owners, Frank and Jenn Valentine of New Jersey, contacted the University of Minnesota and enrolled him in the Brain Tumor Program.  Unfortunately, despite the ground breaking treatment, Jake later succumb to the cancer.

The loss of "The Warrior" devastated the Valentine's but that didn't stop them from rescuing another dog.

Enter Dusty, a brown and white pit mix originally picked up off the streets in the Bronx.  After passing through the shelter system, he found his forever home with Frank and Jenn.  Since coming into their lives, he too has had his own battle with cancer but has come out the other side a survivor!

Now, he is the inspiration for a new project that Frank has undertaken.  Dusty's Dog House is a doggy daycare that will also be a foster home for one lucky homeless pooch.  The project is currently in the fundraising stage and Frank has launched an Indiegogo campaign to get things rolling.

It sounds like a very worthwhile endeavour and if you would like more information, or to make a donation to Dusty's cause, here are some helpful links:

Dusty's Dog House website:

Dusty's Dog House Indiegogo campaign:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rilley has reached his teens!

In human years Rilley entered his teens today.  Or those who follow the blog will know 11 years ago today we picked him out from all the other deserving pets at the Orangeville SPCA.

The day for the most part was just as uneventful as many other days around our house in recent years.  But then again, that's a good thing isn't it?  I've often wanted to install some internet connected cameras to be able to see exactly what he gets up to while we are out during the day, however, now that he's older I bet he pretty much spends the day asleep.

For the most part, this birthday went by without much fanfare.  But he did enjoy some special treats and as we all know, food is his most favourite thing to receive.

Here's to many more food-filled birthdays Rilley!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Where has the time gone?

That is a very good question!  I can't believe spring is here already (the cold certainly doesn't help you to believe winter is over) and I have yet to make my first post of the year.  Now, you could say that is a very good thing, which is true because no-news-is-good-news and in Rilley's case it certainly is good news.

He is still with us and still causing his own special brand of trouble, albeit at a slightly slower pace.  You see, Rilley is still passing his annual physicals with flying colours but he is starting to show his age.  The poor little guy has been having occasional bouts of back pain.  He doesn't cry about it, but we can tell whenever he takes just a little extra care when climbing onto or off of the bed or sofa.

Wait a minute!  Who am I kidding?
"Takes a little extra care..."?
This is the dog who laughs in the face of danger!

Okay, maybe not laughs, rather he doesn't necessarily realize there's danger when he sets his sights on something...or more to the point, on food.  So that statement should more appropriately have read that he "actually takes care when climbing onto or off of the bed or sofa."

When this first started we took him to see Dr. Ewing and as usual she takes very good care of him.  It was determined that this is indeed a sign of age progression and it seems to be restricted to his lower back.  We've put him on some medication (Metacam) for when the issue does flare up and changed his food from Satiety diet (the "fat" food that we used to give him to control his weight) and put him on a Mobility Support recipe. The theory is that the new food has ingredients that will help to avoid the medication being used full time.

The only downside to the new medication is that it lacks the qualities to satiate his appetite.  This leads to him being extra whinny around dinner time and he begins to demand his food early.  The funny thing is, he is quiet in the afternoon until Sara arrives home from work.  Then he unleashes full whine mode directly at her, only trying it on me when absolutely necessary.  He seems to know that if he keeps it up, after a long day at work, Sara will give in just to keep him quiet.  Although, I think he secretly hopes for two dinners as he continues to beg at the table for scraps despite having been fed.  But we were warned when we adopted him...

"He is very food motivated."

Rilley's "Battle Scar" is that little
black line near the centre of his head.
That was almost 11 years ago now and it still holds true to this day.

Basically, what I am trying to say with this post is that, aside from one age related issue, Rilley is continuing to do extremely well since his bout with the brain tumour over three years ago.  Aside from those occasional (and I do mean very rare) breakthrough seizures of rapid jaw movements, and the now slightly more visible scar line on his head, you would never know what he's been through.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An Ice Storm Christmas

The last few days have certainly been interesting.  Ontario was hit hard by a severe ice storm this past Saturday night into Sunday morning.  We lost power for eight hours that night and we were one of the few extremely fortunate families.  Many others were without for days and some continue to struggle without electricity.  It has been out so long in some areas that the phone company has also lost the power required to run the lines.

We woke Sunday morning to some of the worst natural destruction our area has seen.  Not only did the ice down hydro lines, but also a vast number of trees.  Portions of our street were impassible due to trees having fallen across them.  With all the falling ice we were as careful as possible whenever we would let Rilley out,  but for some reason he thought it would be a grand idea to sit beneath our maple tree and look up!

Nonetheless, Christmas Day is here and in true Rilley-style, he brings some merriment to the day. (Whether he intends to be entertaining or not.)  You see, Elizabeth bought him a nice big bone as a gift.  Immediately upon unwrapping this magnificent piece of chewable goodness, he grabbed it in his mouth and headed for the back door.  Now, if I were a dog I would resist the innate desire to bury it and at least give it a chew or two first...but no, this is Rilley after all...

...this bone must be buried and it must be buried NOW! 

Okay then Rilley...out you go!

As you can see, the aforementioned ice storm foiled his plan.  The video above was actually his third attempt at finding a place to bury his new bone. 

Darn frozen earth!

After criss-crossing the backyard numerous times, he finally realized that this was a fruitless endeavour and brought his bone back in, settled down in the hall and began to chew away.
Nom, nom, nom.
Now, with the turkey cooking in the oven, and a lull in the activity, Rilley has decided to take a nap from all the morning's excitement.
Zzzzzzzz...dreaming of turkey.

And that's pretty much how Rilley's Christmas has been...his third "bonus" Christmas since undergoing his treatment.

So from our family to yours we wish you a
Merry Christmas
and a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

National Mutt Day

Here's a little something to add to your "I did not know that" pile.

Today, December 2nd, is National Mutt Day.  Hey, I had not idea this existed either!  I only found out about it through my Facebook news feed and a post from the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center.

Interestingly, this day is celebrated not once, but twice a year...July 31st and December 2nd.  So why am I writing about this?  Well, despite Rilley's rugged good looks, he is not a pure bred beagle, he is indeed a mixed breed, or mutt, as it were.  Furthermore, not only is he a mixed breed, but he is a mixed breed we rescued from the shelter.  You see?  This day seems to be far more important for Rilley than it would at first appear.

So there you have it!  As the saying goes, you learn something new everyday.

Happy National Mutt Day Rilley!  (And if we don't have one in Canada, may be we should!)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Little Town that Rilley Loves

An interesting concept was presented to me a few weeks ago.  The website has a photo sharing campaign through which you can show how your dog represents his or her home town.  Now I'm not one to randomly promote commercial endeavours, however it was through DogVacay's online forums that Sara had found some of the dog-friendly hotels that we used on our road trips to Minneapolis.  While that was a huge benefit for us, their main purpose is to help you find a dog sitter near home.

As those who have followed the blog from the beginning know, we adopted Rilley from the SPCA in nearby Orangville when he was two years old.  Since then he has been an official Georgetown, Ontario resident for 10 full years and he couldn't be happier!  Here are a few of his favourite things about our little town.

Going for car rides.
Exploring the trails of Hungry Hollow!
Winning the ribbon for "Dog with the Longest Ears" at
the Georgetown Fair! (Okay, this photo is a bit old...2004
but he did return to claim his crown again a few years later!)
Halloween!  Rilley dressed up in 2007 as "Underdog" to
"rescue" as many treats as he could.
And just looking adorable and happy to be alive!
Photo credit: Chris So of The Toronto Star
We may live in a small town, but thanks to the second chance Rilley has been given by being a cancer survivor he still has time to experience the many other things that our beautiful little part of the province has to offer!

To give credit where credit's due, this idea was passed on to me by fellow pet-blogger Shaye Walsh of Milwaukee who wrote a similar post about her dog Sheba.  Check it out: