Sunday, October 28, 2012

6 more hours

We're in Iowa, almost to Illinois. We just stopped at a rest stop to let Winston walk around, potty and eat breakfast.
We brought only his ground pork and ground deer/elk mix since he can sometimes be picky about where he eats bone-in items.

Luckily all our dogs are very easy to travel with since we go on lots of road trips with them. Winston hasn't made a peep and I'm glad Ben came along to help lift Winston in the car.

Winston's chariot
I'm so glad I hung a blanket up so catch spit, drool and Winston's Velcro fur. It'll make cleanup much easier!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On our way

First off, bear with me since I'm blogging from my phone.
We've had a rough start. First the car rental place wasn't located at the airport like the site said and we spent a half hour looking for the shuttle they claim they have before we gave up and drove there. Once there we were informed that we can't take the car to Indiana so I had to scramble to find a car rental place that would. Turns out that a lot of rental places won't let you take their cars east of the Mississippi.

Luckily enterprise will, but we're paying $200 more than we were going to. Also all our planning on what car would get the best gas mileage went out the window since all the had was a Hyundai Tuscon. It's very small and the roof rack we borrowed almost fell off after we went 50 miles so all our crap had to be shoved in the back seat with Ben. In the beginning I wanted to rent a Ford Edge since that's the car I want to buy, but chose not too because it would have been over $400 on just the rental. Turns out that this Hyundai was the same price and I really could have rented an Edge...if whatever rental company that has one would let us take it over the Mississippi.

Winston seems pretty happy in the back though, his bed fits perfectly.
1,500 miles here we come!

Monday, October 22, 2012

October weekend

Last weekend was busy, but such a nice weekend.
Saturday my best friend and I went to Wood Connection to get a craft to do together. It was so fun shopping for supplies and working on the projects together. I had a blast catching up with her and we both agreed to do it again in the future.

John and I then went to Thriller that evening. With it being my first time and not really thinking I bought tickets in the front row on the left side of the stage, I also sat right in front of the stairs. I'm a huge scardy cat and before we even got in the building I knew that this was going to  be a problem since they had "zombies" walking around scaring people. I tried to put on a brave face though and not show my fear so they wouldn't pay attention to me. I LOVED the show, they could have done less scaring in the audience though, I just thank God that I wasn't sitting in an isle.
I want to go again next year, but maybe get a balcony seat so they can't scare me :) I'm the biggest baby since they said it was a family friendly show.

Sunday I planted my 400+ bulbs that I ordered from colorblend and direct gardening. I ordered tulips, daffodils, irises and lilies, and I'm so excited for spring now.

We emptied out our compost bin and it filled our garden quite a bit and since we didn't have anything planted in the bed it made it easier, I just laid out the bulbs where I wanted them and didn't have to dig any holes.  We didn't have enough dirt to cover the bulbs though so we had to buy more dirt from Lowe's.
Buying the dirt from Lowe's was cheaper than the biograss cube, but it was still $100 for 14 bags. I knew before we left Lowe's that we didn't have enough, but with Winston's thing coming up I didn't want to spend more than that. Hopefully it won't snow early and next month we can get more dirt.

Not a bare spot on the whole garden! It'll be beautiful in the spring!

Filled with dirt! We'll need probably another 14 more bags  to get it filled to where we want it.

While I laid out the bulbs John worked on the side of the house. He built a little "gold mining screen" and washed the dirt of the rocks that we moved over from the parking strip last year so that when they're in the final resting home they won't grow weeds. More on that later, but the side of the house should be done soon.

We also moved Winston's house to where it's going to live now so my yard isn't looking so cluttered now. I'm pretty sure that the neighbor children will climb from the wall to it and fall into my yard and break their necks, but hopefully my dogs will eat them before their screaming gets too annoying.

The back yard still needs a lot of work and money, but hopefully by next year operation "Back Yard" will be completed.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October's block of the month

Another block down. I love when they come together easy.

Can't Come Soon Enough

Just over the the past few days Winston has gone down hill. It takes us 20+ minutes to get him out of our bedroom in the morning since he has to walk onto the hardwood floor which he ALWAYS slips on. He's terrified of it and I can understand why. Even rugs aren't helping him feel secure. In fact, as I type this he's laying by the bedroom door crying.
Then getting him inside after he's been outside is a challenge, he doesn't like the two stairs into the house anymore and will run away...more like stumble and fall away...if you come close enough to touch him. This is a problem because the other dogs need to come outside to potty and we've stopped letting them all out together. Winston doesn't remember how to stop running and plows over little Enna which gives me heart palpitations.

We have a harness for him since collars are a no-no with wobblers and usually if we can get the harness on him we can coax him into doing what we want, but this morning it's not helping in the slightest. We then have to walk the thin line of trying to not be frustrated and staying patient because it's not his fault.This gives me much anxiety when I'm running late for work and I can't get my 135 pound dog outside to potty.

It makes me thankful that we scheduled the wobblers treatment so early and that the money in our savings account is allowing us to do so. I really don't know if we could wait until the middle of November. But then I'm in that weird boat that's trying to float on hope, but could sink because of reality. I don't know whether I should be extremely optimistic (I'm a glass half empty type of person) and think that this treatment will help or let my cynicism out and think it won't help at all. I'm worried if I get my hopes up they'll only be crushed, but I need to stay positive for Winston. Right now I need to get Winston out of the bedroom.

They say wobblers affects the walking, but I'm wondering if it affects the brain too. Sometimes I have no idea who this dog is. He's not the carefree, happy go lucky dog I know. Every sound scares him, every sudden movement makes him jump. His personality can go through a tailspin making him even harder to live with. The 29th just can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


**See end of post for frequently asked questions**

Winston has always been a wobbly puppy, his back end swinging greatly when he walked and very uncoordinated. John and I thought nothing of it since he's the first big dog we've had and just a puppy.
Once he hit a year he started having strange fears of house plants, floors and door frames and our trainer explained that his fear might be because something was wrong. We took him to her vet in August and he thought that he might have wobblers, but we'd have to do an MRI to confirm.

We hoped that Winston would stay stable, but over the next few months he become clumsier and had a hard time standing up after lying down. The final straw was when we tried to take him hiking on a trail we've done a number of time and he almost rolled off the mountain while turning around. Luckily a tree was very close to the trail, but it spooked me enough to know it was time to look for some answers.
 A friend who has many years of being a vet tech under her belt spoke with top surgeons in our area about operating on wobblers, they all said that they wouldn't do the surgery and to go to Colorado State University. The trip to Colorado wasn't a concern of mine, but after researching the costs and how long recovery from the surgery takes John and I decided that that just wasn't the option we wanted to go. We didn't want to give up either so I started researching other options and came across Gold Bead Implants and I started deep research in that, even emailing gold bead owners to get personal information.
90% of the people who got the treatment done went to Dr. Durkes in Indiana and after talking with him on the phone we set up appointments to our vet to get confirmation X-rays done on Winston.

I sent the X-rays to Dr, Durkes when we got him and he called 20 minutes later confirming that it is wobblers and with just looking at the X-rays he thinks Winston would have a75% chance of success.

We'll be renting a car and driving to Indiana for his appointment on the 29th.

1. What is wobblers and what causes it?
In layman's terms it's a neurological disease that affects their spine, usually in the neck. In Winston's cause his spinal cord is being compressed. If not taken care of they will become paralyzed and eventually have to be put down because they can no longer walk.
They aren't fully certain to what causes wobblers, but do believe it could be genetic, rapid growth rate nutrition or a combination of these.

2. Why aren't you staying in Utah and doing surgery?
The vets we talked to said that they wouldn't do the surgery and they'd send us to Colorado. The surgery could be $5,000.00+ and after reading what the recovery from the surgery is like I just didn't want to put Winston or us through that.

3. Gold Beads...really?
After reading about the surgery (and bawling my eyes out) I started researching other options. The gold bead implant treatment kept coming up so I looked into it.
The doctor will inject multiple gold beads down the dogs spine on his neck which acts like permanent acupuncture. Pretty new agey to me, but the dog's owners that I've talked to and the few I've read of have had good results and the dog living years after the treatment. They all said that they'd do it again if they had to.
The treatment is a one time thing and will be a quick procedure.

4. Why Indiana?
Well for one it's because that's where everyone I talked to went and I figure I might as well go to the same place. Dr. Durkes has been doing gold beads since 1976 and having good success so I feel comfortable with him. He has also answered all my questions promptly and made me seem like he had all the time in the world for me.

If you have any other questions you'd like answered please ask them in the comments and I'll try to answer them the best I can.

Monday, October 15, 2012

updated cheese loaf

Once fall hits I start craving homemade bread and always turn to my Italian Cheese Loaf since I love how it makes my kitchen smell and tastes divine. I have updated my recipe a little and it turns out even more heavenly than it already is.

1 package of yeast
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup warm water
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-7 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded (or cubed if you want blobs of cheesy goodness) mozzarella cheese (optional)
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of basil
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon oregano

Heat milk, butter and sugar for 2 minutes in microwave. While doing so dissolve yeast in water. Once milk is scalded add egg, salt and 2 cups of flour to cool down milk mixture. Add yeast water and mix.
Add all spices and cheeses and remaining flour (counting the two cups) until a soft dough forms. Turn onto floured surface and knead in more flour until firm, elastic dough forms. Place back in bowl and let rise for an hour.
Grease a bread pan, place in dough and let rise for another hour. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350°.