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.