Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Bye Monarch

We had to say goodbye to Monarch today. She had a good day last week, but quickly went down hill. Her liver just couldn't figure out how to process the blood that was being forced through it... and it didn't look like it would. The Vet called at 4, so Jason, Brianne and I drove over to the vet office to say goodbye to the little girl. She was in good spirits and happy to see us, but we knew that it was time to let her go... she didn't even want a bite of a chicken strip.
So goodbye "Little One", "Little Mo", "Her Puppy Majesty" HPM-Monarch 5/17/08-10/20/08

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pot Bellied Puppy

Just this last week, Monarch began retaining fluid. This is a side effect of the liver not yet functioning. During the surgery (almost 4 weeks ago), the surgeon placed a ring around the liver shunt. That ring slowly constricts for 6 weeks until the shunt is completely shut off. So we have 2 weeks for the liver to figure out what its job is and to start doing its job.
The side effect to a big belly is it is harder for Monarch to move around. She has stopped going up the stairs in my house, she even resists climbing the two steps up from the back yard into my house. She also has become even more picky about eating. I can tell that she is hungry, but her tummy hurts and she must think that it was something that she ate, so she often won't eat the same food twice.
Thursday, Monarch weighed 22 lbs. I would bet that at least 2 is the fluid in her abdomen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feeling Better

Most mornings, I open the door to the crate and then get ready for work and Monarch continues to snooze and I end up pulling her out of the crate when I am ready to head down for breakfast.

This morning, Monarch was alert while Jason was getting ready, so I asked him to open the crate door... Monarch started to move out of the crate. I think she is feeling a lot better. Tomorrow, I will drop her at the Vet office for a fasting bile acid tests. Keep your fingers and paws crossed that Monarch's liver has started to function.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Bed

I have a big dog bed at work that Monarch sleeps on during the day, but all I have at home are blankets for the dogs. So last night at my friends house, Monarch discovered the cat bed. It's the perfect size for 20 lb Monarch and I can even tuck her. Monarch liked it so much that our friends have loaned us the bed. This morning, after breakfast, I put Monarch into the bed and I don't think she has emerged yet.
The weather has turned. Its cold now and Monarch still has very short hair on her belly and not alot of meat on her bones, so I think she really appreciates the cozy bed.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cooking for One

Yesterday I met with the vet. She was concerned that our little 20 lb Monarch wasn't eating so she printed out a recipe for a low protien diet for dogs. Last night we went shopping, came home, spent an hour cooking rice, browning ground beef, boiling eggs and crushing vitamins so little Monarch would have a meal fit for a queen. Monarch watched us for the entire hour. She is sure that good things come from the stove.
Once the meal was complete, I dished out a cup of the concoction and Monarch ate it all. Yummy! Last night I was cautiously optimistic. Today, I am a bit more optimistic since Monarch ate a 1/2 cup for breakfast and another cup for an early lunch. I hopeful that she will want another cup when we get home this evening. I am keeping my fingers crossed because skinny little Monarch needs to put on some weight.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Monarch is on a prescription, low protein, diet. Monarch has decided she doesn't like the prescription food anymore, so she doesn't eat and has becomes quite lethargic... until Jason goes into the kitchen and starts to cut up chicken. Then Monarch becomes animated and sits very pretty while asking for some chicken, which she doesn't get.

For the past few days, I have only been able to get Monarch to eat a couple of tablespoons of prescription food each day. She is so skinny and so lethargic that I finally gave in today at work and let her have some contraband. My co-worker fed Monarch half of her yogurt and another co-worker allowed Monarch to finish the last of her Italian Wedding soup... Monarch was much more active and happy this afternoon than she has been for almost a week.
For her dinner I picked up pasta, chicken stock and pumpkin. Monarch likes pumpkin - at least she does today. She ate a quarter cup of the pasta/pumpkin, and so far I haven't seen any ill effects from her dinner or lunch. I think tomorrow I will try to mix a small bit of the prescription food with the pumpkin. We have a vet appointment tomorrow afternoon so I can get some more options for foods that might fit her low protein diet - or maybe we will find out that her liver has started to function and Monarch can start eating a normal doggy diet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lucky Stiff

Just got back from watching Lucky Stiff at the Lakewood Playhouse. Its a musical comedy in which a man must take his dead uncle to Monte Carlo or the inheritance will go to the dogs. Usually I take a CCI pup in training to the show, but with Monarch still recovering from surgery, she had to stay home. Not a big deal until a character sings about just needing a dog, and I looked down and there was no dog :(

Staple Remover

Just got back from the Vet office. Monarch had her staples removed. Her belly looks a little red, and some of the staple holes are a little infected. Since Monarch is alreadly on Enulose and another med, having diarhea and not eating well, the vet decided not to add more medicine to combat the infection, but instead has asked me to put neosporin on it every day. Poor little Monarch. The office also gave me a different dog food for Monarch to try. She was eating well for a few day, but now she seems to be tired of the prescription food and ready for chicken treats.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Back to Work

Today was Monarch's first day back to work since her surgery. It was a big day and she is tired tonight. She had to visit with security, fiscal staff and staff at the governers office. Everyone wanted to see that little Monarch is on her way to recovery.

Our routine has always been to stop in the security office before we head up the stairs. Everyone in the office is a dog lover. Plus I like to know that security knows my dog, just in case we ever have to evacuate the building and my dog is in my office, but I am not.

I am not completely paranoid. We did have to evacuate the building in 2001 after the Nisqually Earthquake... Luckily both Lyda (my first pup in training) and I were in my office at the time of the earthquake and I ended up carrying 70 lb Lyda down the stairs. I could have easily been on the main floor and Lyda could have been on a tie down in my 2nd floor office. So ever since then I make sure that security knows my dog; and I trust security will check my office if we ever have to evacuate again.

Monday, September 29, 2008


It has been a busy weekend. Jason and I worked on an auction this weekend so Monarch had to stay with friends. She is home today and we had a good day of short walks and lots of rest.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I have a frankenpuppy in my house. She has staples down the entire length of her abdomen. So far she has only popped one. I think she did it when she tried to pounce on my hand. She hasn't tried to pounce again... but I am afraid that by Monday she will have forgotten that it hurts to pounce and I will have to watch her like a hawk so she doesn't pop any more stables.

We took her to the vet this morning to have the staple replaced and to have her albumin levels checked again. The albumin levels are still low, but higher than they were a couple days ago!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Jason picked up Monarch (and cone) around 11 am today. Luckily, Monarch isn't licking her insision, so she hasn't had to wear the cone much. Its good to have her home, but it will be a long week trying to keep her calm. She has much of her energy back, but we have to keep her somewhat calm so she doesn't pull out her staples.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Elizabethan Collar

Just got back from visiting Monarch at the hospital. She has an elizabethan collar and enough energy to stand up to visit with us and wag her tail. She is doing well, however, she is getting a transfusion since her albumin levels are low. Hopefully the transfusion does the trick and Jason can bring her home tomorrow.


I spent today at a staff retreat, in a building that had NO cell reception! I had called the hospital on the way to the retreat, but the Vets were doing rounds, so I had to wait for a return phone call. It was very hard to pay attention this morning when all I could think about was getting hold of the hospital to find out how Monarch spent her night.

At lunch I finally found a spot outside where I got reception. And found out Monarch continued to do OK though the night and she had started to eat a little and hadn't had any neurological episodes (seizures).

Now that I am home, I have found out that Monarch will have to spend another night at the hospital... I am not looking forward to day two of the staff retreat without cell reception. At least my husband will be home and can pick up Monarch when she is released from the hospital.


I visited Monarch at the Vet Hospital last night. She had just gotten a dose of pain meds and was very sleepy. She picked up her head for a few moment, but the rest of her little body was limp. We are very lucky to live only about 2 miles from a great Vet Emergency Hospital, so it was easy to swing by to see her. If all went well last night, Jason will bring Monarch home this afternoon.

I had the vet weigh Monarch yesterday morning. She is 18.6 pounds, about double what she weighed when she arrived in Seattle just over 2 months ago.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Enormous Shunt

I just talked with the vet. The good news is that Monarch is resting and will be transfered to the emergency hospital in the next hour. The concerning news it that the Vet told me that Monarch had an enormous shunt. The largest one that she has ever seen.

Monarch's liver is really small since very little blood was actually going through the liver. In a couple of days the shunt will be closed and the liver will have to start working a lot more than it ever has.


The surgeon just called. Monarch is out of surgery. She had some issues with blood pressure and her liver is small, but she woke up and "told" the vets that she didn't like the breathing tube… so I know that feisty little Monarch is on her way to recovery.


Today is surgery day.

I woke up early and was ready to go by the time I gave Monarch morning meds. Since I still had about an hour before I had to leave for the vet, I decided to take Brianne for a walk - I planned to leave Monarch at home since she doesn't have a lot of stamina. Monarch, however, did not want to be left at home. I didn't think that Monarch knew the word WALK, but after I asked Brianne if she wanted to walk, I noticed that Monarch had run to the front door and was sitting pretty waiting for her leash. So the three of us walked for about 15 minutes, before Monarch got tired. Brianne walked the rest of the way home while I carried Her Puppy Majesty-Monarch.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Enulose Part II

As I have said, Enulose is a sticky syrup that I give to Monarch 3 times a day. I am still developing my technique, so right now, a lot of the syrup ends up on Monarchs fur. She becomes quite a sticky mess. So I have resorted to weekly baths to get most of the sticky stuff out of her fur. Since she is still small (only about 17 or 18 lbs), I bathe her in the kitchen sink.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Three times a day, Monarch has to take 15-30 ml of Enulose syrup. When I first started to give Monarch this medicine, I would mix the sticky syrup into a couple spoonfuls of prescription dog food... But it was tedious to watch her eat and hope that Monarch would get all the medicine. It only took 3 or 4 days before I gave up on mixing the medicine into dog food before I send Jason out to buy a syringe. So now I dose Monarch with 2-3 syringe fulls of this sticky medicine. As you can see, she doesn't really like the taste, but she puts up with it. And now that I have had some practice more ends up down Monarchs throat, than ends up in Monarch's fur and on my clothes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shaky Puppy

Last night Monarch was shaking so bad when we tried to feed her that Jason sat on the floor with her steadied her with one hand. She ate a little and stopped shaking. I don't know if the shaking is due to the liver shunt and excess toxins in her blood or a side effect of the Enulose syrup (which I think must affect her blood sugar levels). Either way, I am counting the days until the surgery.

This morning, Monarch started shaking right after I gave her Enulose. So I started to call her Shaky Puppy, so Monarch put her paw in my hand for a shake. It made me laugh.

I finally got her to eat some of her breakfast and she stopped shaking and we are now at work where she is sleeping on her big bed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tooth Fairy

Monarch is so small due to the liver shunt, I sometimes forget that she is almost 4 months old. My goldens tend to start loosing their puppy teeth at about 4 months, and Monarch is right on schedule! I noticed that she has already lost one front tooth and two more are wiggle. Since Monarch can't have any treats while she is on the prescription diet. The tooth fairy will have to bring her a new Nylabone.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I typically work with my puppies in training to match my schedule. They eat when I get up, on my lunch hour and sometime after I get home in the evening. It has never quite worked that way with Monarch. When she wasn't eating well, I ended up trying to feed her at different times, and on the days that she did eat, I would often take a break at three to feed her in the middle of work.

Now that she is eating, she is on a better schedule, but I have to work in the medicine (enulose) every 8 hours, but she isn't hungry when I give her the medicine, so this has been my schedule...
  • 6 am - HURRY and Enulose (play a little, rest a little)

  • 7 am - Breakfast, because she doesn't want to eat at 6.

  • Lunch has been around noon, but sometimes as late as 2.

  • 2 pm - Enulose - sitting on the floor of my office holding a puppy in a towel, trying to slowly squeeze the sticky enulose syrup into Monarchs mouth without getting too much on me.

  • 5 pm - Home... time to play with Brianne... who puts up with her little playmate for a few minutes, but Brianne gets tired of the little ankle biter.

  • 7 pm - Dinner

  • 10 pm - Enulose

Now that I have a written schedule. It doesn't look that bad. I just like to sleep in on the weekends and the 6 am meds get in the way.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bad Hair Cut

Yesterday when I picked up Monarch after her ultrasound, I was a bit shocked at her "bad haircut"... I knew that they planned to shave her belly, I just wasn't expecting bare sides too.

Monarch played dead in the vet lobby. She stretched out on her belly with legs fully extended front and back. She looked so skinny and long. I was afraid that she would be out of it for the rest of the evening. I was wrong! The minute we got home, she ran through the door and jumped on my keeper dog Brianne. Monarch has so much energy now!

We could always feel Monarchs ribs, but couldn't really see them through the fuzzy puppy fur, but now they are so obvious. She has two weeks for her fur to grow back in before it gets shaved off once again for the surgery.

I hope that now that Monarch is eating, her ribs will slowly disappear into the puppy fat. But until then we will have several embarrising photos for her puppy book!

Friday, September 5, 2008


The vet just called. It is confirmed. Monarch has a Porto Systemic Shunt (liver shunt). But it is extra Hepatic and surgically correctable. She is tentatively scheduled for surgery on September 22nd. I am so relieved! Hopefully Monarch will continue to do well on the prescription diet and medication until the surgery.

Feed Me

Brianne, my keeper dog, has a habit of talking when she wants something. Its not a bark or a growl, more of a vocal yawn that often sounds like "Feed Me" or "I'm Hungry". She will often make these sounds next to the food dishes if we do not feed her quickly enough.

This morning, Monarch ran to the food dish and made a very similar sound for the first time. It was very sad. I couldn't feed her because she was fasting before the ultrasound today. And doubly sad, because before she started eating the prescription diet and taking the Enulose syrup... Monarch was never excited about eating her kibble!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Puppy Raising

I love to raise puppies for CCI. I love to take the puppies to work and talk to people about what I do and what the puppies will become. I have a few canned responses. "She will be a wheelchair assist, or a hearing assist dog", or "she will be a service dog for a person with a disability besides blindness". They are quick, give people basic information even if not complete information. Today it was hard to give those answers to the people who stopped us during our lunchtime walk. I kept adding the phrase "if she makes it" in my mind.

Liver Shunt

Monarch is my 7th puppy in training for Canine Companions for Independence. She is 16 weeks old, and recently diagnosed with a liver shunt.
I am dropping her off at the vet tomorrow for an ultrasound. The ultrasound will confirm the liver shunt and also let the vet determine how operable the condition is. Every article that I have read says that the surgery has an 85% success rate. But she is so little - only 16 pounds, when I bet her littermates are all over 30 pounds. Since the initial diagnosis this past weekend, she has had some good days and a couple bad days. Now that I know what to look for, I can tell when she is starting to have an episode... She becomes confused, agitated or depressed. It just breaks my heart. But then the next day she is all puppy, running after my dog or up to people. It is just stressful waiting for the next step.