Monday, November 19, 2012

Santa Paws 2012

We've gone to the SPCA's Santa Paws event to have the pups' picture taken 7 years in a row. This was definitely the best of the four I received this year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Queen Of The Mountain!

Or the couch. Whatever. The point is, Belle is finally able to get to her favorite sleeping spot - the top of the couch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All About The Couch

Duncan made it 25 days this time, which is pretty good, all things considered. His first seizure was sometime this morning while I was at work. At least I hope he had a seizure, because otherwise someone is peeing and pooing on the kitchen floor for no good reason. Another seizure shortly before 8pm, and then a third just before 2am. Which is why I'm posting at this time of night. Morning. Whatever.

The 8pm seizure was on the couch (naturally). Its fascinating just how full his bladder always is when he seizes. In fact, I don't believe Duncan's ever had a seizure shortly after going outside to pee.... After the seizure, I put baking soda on the wet cushions to try and absorb as much moisture and odor as possible. Its not a perfect solution, but its better than nothing. Poor Duncan really, really wanted to be on the couch even though two of the three cushions were unavailable.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My New Old Desk

Mom and Ronnie went out to Krysti's this weekend and picked up Dad's old roll top desk. Ronnie added some reinforcements for stability and a light coat of stain to get it back to its original color. The desk has a bit of water damage along the bottom, unfortunately, but overall its in decent shape. No one knows when Dad got the desk, but we do know it pre-dates Mom and Dad's wedding, which was in 1974.

I really love all the little drawers and shelves for stashing items.

Another neat thing about the desk - the transport stickers that were put on the desk when Mom and Dad moved to Alaska are still on the back. How cool is that??

Now I just have to figure out how I want to reorganize my office....

Monday, November 12, 2012


I made a wonderful discovery yesterday - four months after whatever happened to her back leg, Belle is finally able to get up on the couch again.

The pups were being so cute this morning, I just couldn't resist getting a few photos.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Duncan Schwarzendogger

"Its not a tumor" is the only line I remember from the movie Kindergarten Cop. I think it stuck with me for two reasons: 1) I used to get a lot of headaches, and 2) if my choices were teaching a kindergarten class or having a brain tumor, I'd probably opt for the tumor. But that's all beside the point.

Duncan's been having a lot of cognitive issues over the last several months, including - but not limited to - not recognizing basic commands or even his own name. Combine that with the changes in the seizures that started in September and the really bad weekend we had recently and I decided it was time for Duncan to see a neurologist. His appointment was Monday, October 29. The neuro actually remembered Duncan from a couple of years ago when he was having trouble with his back end. He reviewed the video, seizure log and medication log I provided, asked a lot of questions, and agreed that it sounded like Duncan was dealing with something other than just standard seizures. He was less concerned about the changes in the seizures than in the cognitive issues.

While we were there, they took samples and did a full blood panel including Phenobarbital (Pb) levels. They also did a bile acid test to check Duncan's liver function. The blood work came back pretty much normal. A couple of values were a little outside the typical range, but nothing to worry over too much. Duncan's Pb was low (15 is the low end of the theraputic range, his value was 14.9) which is clearly why we don't have good seizure control. Thankfully, his liver function was normal - its always a concern for dogs on Pb, Novox, etc.

They couldn't get Duncan in for imaging Monday, so he had to go back to the vet school Thursday. Poor fellow, that was two days in the same week that he didn't get to have breakfast.

Thursday afternoon the neuro told me that Duncan does *not* have a brain tumor. That was confirmed late Friday by the senior radiologist who reviewed the images. They also checked his spinal fluid and confirmed no infection or inflammation. So, unless there's some odd thing that's too small to see but big enough to cause major problems, Duncan has idiopathic epilepsy. Since there's no tumor, the neuro thinks the screaming at the wall episode a couple of weeks ago was probably a partial seizure. Which brought us back to the cognitive issues.

The vets all got together and decided that, barring the weird option I mentioned above, Duncan is just one of the very few dogs with an extreme sensitivity to Pb. Of course, since Reyna and I both have trouble taking medication that works for 99.9% of the population, why shouldn't Duncan? The good thing is that a sensitivity to medication is pretty easily resolved - stop taking that medication. Granted, we still have to worry about the seizures. But that's okay, because we have a plan. We've started Duncan on Zonisamide. He's taking a higher-than-normal dose of that for now because the Pb actually makes the Zoni metabolize faster. After he's been on the Zoni for a week, which will give it time to build up in his system, we'll start slowly weaning him off of the Pb. We can't go too fast because it could spark more seizures. Ideally, once Duncan is off the Pb, we'll be able to lower the dose of Zoni while still controlling the seizures. The neuro and I spent a chunk of time talking about what we consider "good" seizure control. If we can average one seizure a month, we'll both be happy. Since Zoni has fewer side effects than Pb, Duncan should start getting his brains back together. Duncan's been on the Zoni since Thursday, and so far he hasn't shown much more in the way of new side effects. A bit more sedated (is that even possible??) but none of the extreme drunkenness he showed when we tried the Keppra. This isn't going to be a quick process, but we'll get there.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Its Been A Long Six Weeks

That mass on Reyna's belly that was nearly gone when I posted last? It went away. And then it came back with a vengeance. It was barely visible the morning of September 12. By the evening of the 13th it had gone from nothing to a huge mass to a giant hole in Reyna's belly. It didn't behave like any of the masses she's had before. I actually intended to post about it and include some photos but never dug up the motivation to do it. We had an appointment with Dr. L already scheduled for the 15th - the first thing he said when he saw it was "Oh, crap!" Never a good thing to hear from the vet... The second thing he said was "You need to go to the vet school." So we did.

Reyna ended up having a CT scan done at the vet school. They were so bewildered by what was happening with her belly that they had Internal Medicine, Orthopedics, Radiology, Soft Tissue Surgery, Dermatology and Neurology (a vet on rotation) all examining her and looking at the scans. All they really determined was that the drainage tract goes from her belly straight towards her hip implant. Unfortunately, the artifact from the implant made it impossible to see where the drainage tract stopped. The implant looked good, so they don't think its the problem. They do think its possible that all of this could be caused by a piece of suture, one of the wires around her femur, or some random foreign body. The major concern is infection getting in through the drainage tract and causing trouble with the implant. Their recommendation is exploratory surgery when there's another active mass. They would follow the drainage tract to wherever it goes and hope to find the piece of whatever that's causing the problem. They did admit that its also possible they might never find the cause, no matter how hard they look. Isn't that reassuring? I'm holding on to the hope that this was the last mass and that the reason it was so different from all the others is that whatever caused all this trouble has finally worked its way out of Reyna's body.

While Reyna was dealing with her drama, Duncan was having his own issues. He had the two seizures after I got home from my trip, and then 19 days later, another seizure. Interestingly enough, Kodiak actually alerted me to this one. I was in bed and almost asleep when I heard Kodiak give one sharp, deep bark. I've never heard him bark quite like that before. When I got to the living room, Duncan was in the midst of a grand mal. He was on the rug, so its a good bet that I never would have heard him. Unfortunately, he had another one the next day, giving him two within 16 hours. He made it 21 days after that. This past Friday, Duncan had three grand mal seizures within 20 hours. Kodiak alerted me to the one that happened just after midnight. I'm so glad Kodiak has turned into Duncan's seizure-alert dog. These were particularly hard on Duncan - he didn't really get back to normal until today. He had a lot of trouble walking over the weekend, running into walls and furniture, not really in control of his back end. Sunday, he woke me up at 4am screaming at the living room wall. I have no idea what brought that on, but it certainly increased my level of worry. Duncan has an appointment with a neurologist at the vet school next Monday. Hopefully something useful will come of that.

To add to the fun, Kodiak pretty much lost his mind this weekend, thanks to the stress of Duncan's seizures. He spent Friday evening flipping between cute and Cujo. He went after both Reyna and Duncan several times during the evening and even growled at me twice. Interestingly enough, he didn't try to bother Duncan during the last seizure. Mixed in with the bad moments were "I'm sorry I'm psychotic" cuddles. He was calmer Saturday morning, but I could tell that it wouldn't take much to push him over the edge. Sunday wasn't much better, which meant we didn't get to go to the herding trial that I'd really been looking forward to. He's done well tonight, only threatening to go after Reyna once, which I shut down pretty quickly. If Duncan can stay seizure-free for a few days, Kodiak should be back to his normal mildly-psychotic self soon. I really never thought Reyna would be the sane dog of the bunch....

Some good critter news - Belle has regained most of the use of her back leg. She still has spots with no feeling, but she's walking almost normally - the foot isn't dragging and the toes aren't knuckling under. No idea why the improvement suddenly happened after nearly three months, but I'll take it.

On the human side of things, I was offered the position that I interviewed for right before I went to New Jersey. I started on October 8. Finally, a permanent job with full benefits and paid time off. To make it even better, its only 11 minutes from my house via back roads. I don't have to sit in traffic any more and a week of work only takes a quarter of a tank of gas.

I think that covers all the important stuff that's happened lately. If I think of something else, I'll be back...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Home Is Always Best

Work sent a group of us to New Jersey for a couple of days last week. We were there to check a couple of the substation sites we're building and conduct training. It started with a 4am alarm Wednesday morning so I could get to the airport by 6:00. At my layover in Charlotte, I found out the person who was supposed to be traveling with me (and paying for food, etc, since I don't have a company card) changed his travel plans Tuesday and forgot to tell me. I got to Newark about 11:30 and had to wait until the others showed up at 1:00. Thanks to traffic, we didn't make it to the first site until 3:15. We toured that site then drove over to the second site. We finally got to the hotel at 6:00pm. Checked in and did a quick luggage drop-off, then back out the door at 6:15 to get to the group dinner. We ate at a place on the river with a gorgeous view of New York City.

We finally made it back to the hotel around 10:00, and I was asleep maybe 15 minutes after that. At 1:37am, I was rudely awakened by the fire alarm.

We were kept outside for nearly 30 minutes. Luckily, I was asleep within a few minutes of getting back to my bed. I found out the next morning the alarm went off because some idiot decided to smoke a cigarette in the stairwell.

Thursday was training day. We were supposed to finish at 4:00pm and then go into NYC for some sightseeing. I was the only one in the group who hadn't been there before. NYC is one of those places that I wouldn't necessarily pay to go visit, but if the company wants to send me, I'm definitely up for seeing the sights. We did actually finish the training at 4:00, but then it was decided that we should change to a hotel closer to the airport so that we wouldn't have to worry about traffic in the morning. By the time we relocated and turned in the rental vehicles, it was after 6:00. We finally made it into the city at 7:00. We did a really fast walk through Times Square, sat down for dinner at 8:00, left the restaurant at 9:00, hustled back to Penn Station and made it back to the hotel at 10:15pm. I have to say that I was really disappointed with how that all worked out.

Back to the airport at 6:15 Friday morning, then finally home by 1:00pm. Sooooo happy to be home. The pups were just as happy - lots of wiggles and kisses from them. Belle gave me the evil eye and the other cats stayed in hiding until dinner time. So, pretty much the normal reaction.

While I was gone, John came over twice a day to feed everyone and monitor a few issues. Reyna developed a mass on her belly on the 3rd, so I figured it would rupture while I was gone. Surprisingly, it didn't. More surprisingly, its almost disappeared now. I talked to Dr. L about it Friday afternoon. We're both happy it didn't rupture, but concerned because that's just not how Reyna does things. She causes us enough stress without suddenly doing things differently.

Poor Duncan had a grand mal seizure Friday evening. He made it 25 days past the last one, which is good. What's not good is that he had another grand mal Saturday about 12:30pm. Two seizures in 16 hours is worrisome. Dr. L and I chatted again and agreed there really wasn't anything to do but monitor him. I can't afford to add other medications and he reacts so poorly to increasing the phenobarb. Thankfully, he hasn't had a seizure since Saturday. I'm hoping the two were the result of the stress and excitement of me being gone and coming home, rather than an indication that things are getting worse. We'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What A Couple Of Weeks....

So things were looking pretty good two weekends ago. That should have been my clue... The following Monday, I discovered that Duncan had a grand mal in the kitchen shortly before I got home from work (the puddles of saliva and urine and the spazzy behavior were dead give-aways). I cleaned that up and fed the animals. As I was getting my dinner together, I saw Duncan looking for a stray crumb or two under one of the dog beds. When I picked up the bed to let him look underneath, I realized that someone had peed on the bed. I'm not sure when it happened but it didn't seem fresh, so it could have been anytime since Wednesday evening (when I cleaned up the projectile vomit). I finally got to sit down to eat my dinner and discovered a large stain on the couch cushions - someone had peed on it since I went to bed Sunday night (I never have time to sit on the couch in the morning and I didn't even glance at it Monday before work).

Tuesday evening, I discovered that someone had peed on the second dog bed. I'm not completely sure it happened Tuesday, since it was dry and I didn't actually check that bed Monday. For the heck of it, I decided to check the chair in the living room. Yep, someone had peed on the seat cushion. No idea when, but the odor was still pretty strong. At the time, I had three theories: 1) Duncan was seizing and losing bladder control while resting on the bed/couch, 2) someone had recently developed some sort of urinary issue, or 3) someone was being a total brat and just peeing on the furniture for the fun of it. I sent a quick email to Dr. L and his thought was that it could be related to Reyna having been so sick the week before. He said I should bring in a urine sample the next day.

For the first time in 8 years, I got Reyna to pee in a cup Wednesday morning. Poor Duncan was so confused...he knew she'd peed, he just couldn't figure out where - he even spent three solid minutes trying to find it. Dr. L called that afternoon to give me the test results and started with "since its Reyna, it can't be easy." Sigh. Her urine showed a lot of blood but had a very low white cell count, which is not what you'd typically see with a bladder infection. He said there were a few other things that could cause blood in the urine and low white cells (none good), and of course they all cost money I don't have to test for and treat. We decided to try antibiotics for 10 days and retest the urine to see if that fixed things. One of the difficulties of antibiotics is that Reyna truly hates taking capsules. I finally figured out a way to get her to take them without fussing - the powder mixed with not-quite-rancid meat soaked in beef blood. Nasty, but effective.

This morning, after 40 minutes of walking the yard, Reyna peed in a cup for the second time in her life. The results - no real change from last time. There's still a lot of blood in her urine, but this time there were almost no white cells. Dr. L doesn't think we're dealing with a UTI or bladder infection, although he said it could be cystitis due to a resistant bacteria. Dr. L is recommending an ultrasound to determine if there's a stone in her bladder or a mass somewhere in the bladder, kidneys, etc. The cystitis would need a lab culture to determine the type of bacteria and appropriate medication. We could try a random antibiotic and hope we pick the right one, but the choices are really expensive (and would make Reyna sick in the process), so its not really worth doing that for something that we may not even be treating. Dr. L said we can wait for a bit on the testing if necessary, we just have to be aware of the potential problems that could arise in the meantime (they range from nothing to medical emergency). Unfortunately for Reyna, I'm really broke and don't have anywhere near the $350 that's needed for the ultrasound. Paws crossed for Reyna that whatever is going on with her can wait indefinitely.

In the midst of all this, the rest of life continued on.

I'm still trying to figure out a good way to protect the top of Belle's foot. For now, a toddler sock secured with a velcro strip seems to be the best way to keep it safe from all the dragging. The only problem is that if she drags it though the litter box, the sock absorbs the urine. So now I'm on the search for a faster absorbing litter.

No, the sock is not falling off. This is the position of her foot when she's walking and standing.

I'm pretty sure this expression means that she's plotting my demise...

Assuming she can stir herself to acknowledge my presence, of course.

Last Friday was my 36th birthday. As a gift to myself, I worked my tail off and shoved 40 hours into 4 days and took Friday off. The weather was so nice Friday and Saturday - overcast and cooler than its been in months. I don't remember the last time it was so cool on my birthday. Even the pups were loving it - the cool air always makes them frisky.

Kodiak was very interested in the camera, until he realized it was pointing at him.

Duncan's such a handsome fellow.

Reyna said her teeth might be flat, but she can still kick Kodiak's butt.

I got a few really neat shots of Reyna jumping for her ball. These are two of my favorites.

And this is a fairly accurate representation of Duncan's opinion of all the shenanigans.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back To The Vet We Go

Tuesday evening, Reyna was acting a bit lethargic and didn't eat all of her dinner. Wednesday morning, the same. Wednesday evening, I came home to discover that someone had been very, very sick in the living room (who knew dogs could projectile vomit?). Reyna refused all food Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, so off to the vet we went. Her behavior was so off, even the office staff could tell something was wrong. Not surprisingly (because this happens almost every time we walk in there), the vet couldn't find any obvious cause of the troubles. Reyna did eat a little bit Thursday evening, but she's still not eating normally. She started chasing her ball some Friday, playing with the boys yesterday, and has been pretty active today, so I'll take that and be happy. And hooray, no more projectile vomiting!

In cat news, Belle's bad foot is showing some damage. The fur is worn off from the dragging and she's developing sores. I'm still working on the best way to protect it that won't absorb any liquid, since she'll inevitably drag it through the litter box. The poor girl is isolating herself more, as well. I'm afraid we're running smack into the quality of life wall and its going to be decision time soon.

And with that depressing thought, its time for some cuteness.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


This is how Belle walks now. I sent the clip to Dr. L tonight because I'm a bit concerned about how far backwards her ankle bends. I could be wrong, but I don't recall her being double-jointed....

Sunday, August 05, 2012

I Love My Bed

Its hard to believe that it hasn't even been a full three weeks since Belle woke up unable to use her right rear leg. It feels like its been so much longer. I'm sure part of that's due to the fact that I haven't had a good night's sleep since then.

Belle hasn't improved much since that day, but at least she's not getting any worse. The only positive sign we've seen is that she's had good circulation in that foot for the last week or so. There were several days early on when the foot was much cooler than the other, indicating a problem with the blood flow. That's better, but she still has no mobility at all below the knee and only limited mobility at the hip. She also has no feeling below the knee. There seems to be some above the knee, but its not consistent.

We went back to the vet two weeks ago for a follow-up and Dr. L was concerned about an arrhythmia that he heard. Last week, I took her in for an echo to check her heart. She does have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but not so much that we need to worry about treating it right now.

Unfortunately, the vet still has no idea what's caused the leg problem. It could be any number of things, but without very expensive tests or invasive procedures there's no way to tell. Dr. L has not been encouraging about her chances of improvement and its more likely than not that she'll get worse rather than better. She could have months, or she could have years. No way to know. Its basically all about quality of life now.

Belle has a permanent set-up in the spare room with food, water and litter box that she can access easily. She can't get on the loveseat so I have blankets and pillows scattered around the room to give her snoozing options. And since there was absolutely no way I could continue sleeping on a pallet on the floor (oh, my aching bones), I had to figure out a way for her to get on my bed. After poking around on the internet, I saw a ramp that was perfect - except for the $270 price tag. I'm a smart cookie, though, so I figured out how to make a decent version of the same thing. Its not perfect or beautiful, but it does the job and it cost a heck of a lot less than $270. I bought the materials and built it yesterday. Belle is already using it, thank goodness. Last night was the first night since this started that I slept in my own bed - I don't think I've ever felt anything so good.

Between the carpet and the shallow slope, Belle can cruise right up the ramp, even with the bad leg dragging behind.

Belle likes to sit on the platform and keep an eye on the other cats. Its also just the right height for her to look out the bedroom window. Guess its time to put the bird feeder in front of that window.

In other news (because I hadn't gotten around to posting about it yet), four days after I was rear-ended, I was side-swiped. Some idiot couldn't be bothered to sit in traffic like the rest of us, so he decided to drive up the center median of the highway. There was apparently enough of a gap between me and the truck in front of me that the idiot decided that was the best spot to get back on the road. In the process, though, he smacked right into me. And then he took off (traffic had started moving normally again). Thankfully, a trooper was right there and saw the whole thing. He caught the idiot a little farther up the road. The trooper told me the the idiot was being charged with hit-and-run, driving with an expired license, and a few other traffic violations. I got really lucky again - no significant damage to me or the truck. I'm hoping its been long enough that we're no longer in danger of being in a third collision. I can't help thinking that massive good luck in two collisions in such a short time means the third one would be really bad.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


Happy 12th birthday, Mikey. I think about you every day and I miss you so much. I love you, sweet boy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let's Not Do This Again

Last Saturday was a good day. Sunday was quiet, which makes it good. Monday was a little disappointing because Kodiak's lesson was cancelled due to weather, but otherwise it was fine. I don't really remember anything about Tuesday, so it must not have been bad. The week went to hell starting Wednesday, though.

I woke up that morning to discover Belle dragging her right rear leg. She couldn't move it at all and her foot was knuckled under. I had an early meeting that morning but I managed to get in touch with the project manager and get my portion pushed back so that I could take her to the vet. Poor Belle was in significant pain from the middle of her back down and had no feeling in her right rear leg. Her pads were warm, though, which indicated that she still had circulation in the leg. The vet took a couple of x-rays and ruled out trauma (hard to get hit by a car when you don't leave the bedroom), a spinal tumor and a ruptured disc. The current thinking is that the problem could be a soft tissue tumor or a slightly damaged disc, neither of which would show up on an x-ray. The vet said that if its a damaged disc, it could take a month for her to get back to normal. And the longer she goes without the use of her leg, the less likely she is to regain full mobility. They gave Belle a shot of steroids to try and reduce any inflammation and sent her home with pain meds. She's been living in the spare room since Wednesday evening, which lets her stay quiet and allows me to monitor her eating, drinking and litter box use.

When we got home Wednesday evening, I discovered that Duncan had some trouble outside. Courtesy of the anti-seizure meds, he can't balance himself properly when he poops which means he occasionally ends up with it on his fur. And then he comes inside and sits down. Wednesday, he apparently sat in several places in the living room and kitchen. If Reyna's behavior was any indication, he also sat on her favorite bed. After cleaning up the mess and getting everyone fed, I decided to blow up my air mattress so I could sleep in the spare room with Belle. Turns out the air mattress had a not-so-slow leak. I ended up sleeping on a pallet of every spread and blanket I could find. Not much padding for a hard wood floor, but I managed to sleep well enough.

Belle wasn't too inclined to come out of her carrier, so she just pulled everything towards her.

Everyone was up early Thursday, as usual. No improvement with Belle's leg, unfortunately, but she was eating, drinking and peeing, which are all good signs. Shortly before I left for work, Reyna decided she wanted to let me scratch her belly. I thought I saw something that looked off, so I got her positioned for a good look at her belly. I couldn't believe it - she had two masses in the exact same spot as all the masses we dealt with last summer and fall. One had already ruptured and had the same type of drainage tract; the other hadn't yet ruptured. I took a couple of pictures and sent them to Dr. L. According to him, we have three options. 1 - Exploratory surgery to see if they can finally find the problem (nope). 2 - Expensive tests to see if they can finally find the problem (nope). 3 - Antibiotics to prevent infection from setting in while the open sores heal (only choice I can afford). Since the vets couldn't find the cause of the masses when they first appeared, I have serious doubts they'd find it this time. So, Reyna gets a month of antibiotics and we all cross our paws and hope these two masses are the only ones.

Thursday evening, I discovered that Duncan had a grand mal seizure shortly before I arrived home. Between the altered behavior and the very large puddle of saliva on the kitchen floor, there's no doubt about it. He made it 28 days this time.

Friday evening, as I was leaving work, I was rear-ended while sitting at a red light. The good part is that the woman who hit me wasn't going fast enough to do much damage to the truck. The bumper is a little scratched up, but not enough to worry about fixing. The way I was sitting when she hit me left me little sore, but again, nothing major. Just the icing on the cake for the week. I decided on the way home that I would go to Wal-Mart Saturday morning (I'd been putting it off all week) and then the house would go on lockdown. I'm more than a little afraid of what's going to happen next.

Rather than try to walk, Belle has been doing a very impressive beached whale impersonation. She'll lay down and then flop herself over or drag herself with her front paws to her food plate or water bowl. The only way I can get her up is by irritating her into trying to get away from me. In her defense, its hard for her to maneuver and if her foot snags on something she can't easily free it. I watched her try to turn around in her litter box a little while ago, and instead of turning she fell because her leg got twisted under her. Its pitiful to watch, but there's not much else I can do. Belle seems to have regained some feeling in the upper part of her leg and I occasionally see her trying to sling the leg around. There's still no feeling in her foot below the heel and the pads have been cool since Thursday night. Its hard to gauge just how uncomfortable she is, but she definitely does not like me checking either back leg. She's been worse about that today (Sunday) than the last couple of days. She's eating less each day and she hasn't pooped since Wednesday evening (an accident in her carrier), neither of which is good.

This shot doesn't show how far Belle's foot knuckles under when she moves, but it gives you an idea. If she can't get it under her, it just sticks out behind her when she stops moving.

I set the room up so that I can keep the door open (I don't like being unable to hear if one of the pups has trouble during the night) and the pups have been fascinated by being so close to one of the cats. Except Kodiak, of course - he's still nervous about being that far down the hall. When I go to sleep, Reyna is guarding the door. When I wake up, its to see Duncan keeping an eye on us.

I don't know what's going to happen with Belle. I do know that I am so very, very ready for this string of bad days to be completely over.