This blog is dedicated to the life and times of an extraordinary dog named Guinness.
All of you who knew Guinness know that I've always told him he has Puppy Powers. Despite losing his right hind leg to bone cancer (osteosarcoma) early this year, Guinness continued to be his same good-natured, food-loving, gentle, yet silly self right to the end. It was during this time his Puppy Powers turned into Pirate Puppy Powers!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Shannon's sister!

Hi Pirate Pup followers/supporters.

I'm going to run a race or walk a race with my boys to show support for Guinness. In conjunction with the race I'm asking for donations for Shannon to help offset the large debt that the treatment and surgery has cost Shannon and her family.
I know times are tough right now, and I totally understand that most of us are not in a position to make a donation! We totally understand. I thought I'd put it out there and see what happens.

Stay tuned to see what race I run. I will be wearing a home made tee shirt for the race in support of the pirate pup. Of course I'll make Shannon design it.

Thanks so much everyone in advance for the love and support you've been giving Shannon. I know she appreciates it and needs it right now! :)
Love you all

Two days post chemo

I am happy to report that so far Guinness has had minimal side effects from the chemotherapy administered Thursday. As I mentioned before, he came home and ate, and then slept well for the most part (minus some panting, I think he had a little stomach upset). Yesterday he was pretty tired, and was on the couch most of the day, though he did get up to eat and go out, and by evening was begging for some leftover Thai food (chicken). I did not give him tramadol before bed. I had the night before, because the doctor at OSU suggested giving it again for his good leg. We discussed putting him back on it since he has arthritis in his left leg, and they thought it would help. As I have observed before though, he pants and is a little more restless when taking it, and I think he does not tolerate it well. I'll be discussing that more when we return to Columbus.

So, last night he slept very well, and this morning was more perky. He ate breakfast, hung out and begged for our breakfast, then went out and hung out for a good amount of time. When it was time to come in, before I came down the steps, I could tell he was going to try coming up on his own. M was at the bottom of the steps with him, and she encouraged him to try to go up. He did it with little hesitation, and made it all the way to the top. We cheered and gave him treats, which of course he was happy about. Yay again for Guinness!

More to come, and in the meantime I've put together a slide show starting from when we first got him (at about 10 weeks) through last weekend. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Round I

As promised, here is a little more about yesterday.

First of all, this time we were much better equipped with maps and such. Last time I printed a few sketchy maps of the area and directions, not taking into account missing any turns and ending up on one way streets! So, we (my dad and I that is...thanks for traveling with us again dad!), had a smooth, much quicker ride in. We also left a bit earlier and missed morning rush hour, so it seems getting on the road by 6 or 6:30 am is the way to go.

This time when we brought Guinness in we had no exams or testing to wait on, so they took him back, and the intern working with us (who I love, and was very sad to learn will be on a new rotation, so she will not be on our case anymore), knowing how far we travel to get there, made sure to expedite Guinness so they could get him going. They administer the first drug (Carboplatin) via an injection, along with some anti nausea medication, and then have to wait 4 hours for the second round, another drug (Gemzar), which is administered via IV over 30 minutes. They have one person administer, while another is sitting there with him, petting him and keeping him calm. When I left, I was told to expect to pick Guinness up at 4:30pm, and they would call to update. 

In the meantime, my dad and I treked out to the Franklin Park Conservatory, which was really beautiful, and a nice relaxing way to wait out the treatment. From there we had lunch at Lemongrass (which I had been to before on a trip with Renee and Wendy about 2 years ago? Is it really that long ago?). We had their lemongrass soup, which I had had there before, and have been craving ever since. It's fantastically delicious! From there we headed to the North Market where I fulfilled another craving, and returned home with 4 pints of Jeni's Ice Cream (yes, yes R and W!) I actually purchased 3 pints (Lemon Blueberry frozen yogurt with M in mind, Burbon Buttered Pecan with me in mind, and a Butter Mint which is rich mint ice cream with white chocolate, with J in mind), and then the cooler and dry ice so that I could travel home with it. But after telling them why I was in town, and also that we have had two annual Jeni's ice cream parties (where we order copious amounts and have it shipped), he stuck in a fourth pint free...Cognac! Sooooo good! I recommend their ice cream to anyone, and they even said they were talking of moving up toward Cleveland, and were happy to have someone to help spread the word if they did! 

But I digress. This is supposed to be a post about my Pirate Pup, and not ice cream, or soup! (So good! :D)

Anyway, while at the market, I got a call with good news, that Guinness was doing very well, and was going to recieve his second treatment at 2:30, an hour earlier than anticipated, and that she had gotten his paper work finished so we could pick up at 3:30.

From there, we headed back to the clinic and I did some reading while waiting. While I was heading up the steps from the parking lot to the clinic, I realized that earlier that morning when we had gone in, that no one had lifted Guinness or assisted him! He did it so naturally that I didn't even realize it until then. The steps are a bit shorter than the ones at home, so it must have been easier for him to get started, but still! Score another one for Pirate Pup! Yo ho!

Once inside, I signed in and waited, and got to see another batch of pup clients. It's very fun to watch everyone coming in and out. I saw another Great Dane. Tuesday I forgot to mention, I met two Great Dane/Mastiff mixes, both HUGE...200 lbs, super sweet and so gentle. Amazing creatures! Finally, when they brought Guinness out, he emerged, still wagging-tail happy and ready to roll! They told me he was very calm during the IV treatment and did great. I went home with some more anti-nausea medication and instructions for the next three weeks.

He slept the whole way home, and came home and ate dinner...a great sign. He did pant a little toward bed time, but slept fine, and ate breakfast. That is one of the things I am to watch for, inappetite, or any signs of nausea. I suspect he is somewhat, but at least not enough to curb his appetite. I'll be doing lab work between now and next treatment here in town at our regular clinic, and we'll return again in three weeks for his second of four treatments.

I'll be updating in the meantime as he has testing done and continues to build strength. So far no sightings of plastic eye balls, though I did bring the stuffed animal in question in, and they pretty much agreed that it was the right size and shape. I also told them a few other stories of things he has eaten over the years, and I think I shall be making a blog post dedicated to just that. Stay tuned for that exciting read!

In the meantime, I'm just trying to remain optimistic, and while I have had a few mental and physical exhaustion crashes, it's so good to be greeted with his wagging tail when I walk in the room or come home, and makes it worth all of this.

News at 11

I'm off to J's kindergarten graduation this morning, but will fully update on yesterday's happenings. I can say quickly that all went well with Guinness's first treatment, and so far he's handling without much problem. He's panted a bit and I can hear his stomach gurgling (the biggest side effect reported is nausea, and also suppressed white blood cell count, which will be closely monitored).

Stay tuned and I will update this post with more information on what went on yesterday, in a few hours.

Also, there have been a few questions about the awesome drawing of Guinness in my previous post.  It is a drawing by none other than little Miss M (sometimes refered to as Meaf thanks to her little cousin B), our 8 year old. I'm keeping their names off the blog because this isn't totally private, but you should all know who I'm talking about.

Ta ta for now, more info to follow later on today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A brief update and a silly video . . .

As planned, we headed to Columbus, but returned with an unexpected outcome.

In a nutshell, Guinness had more xrays done and his chest is still clear (yay for that!), so they put him in the study. They also, incidentally, found a foreign object in his stomach. They showed me the xray and while they couldn't conclusively say, I have a sneaking suspicion, based on it's size and shape, that it is a missing stuffed animal eyeball. Now I have to watch for it to make sure it passes without getting stuck...what am I looking for? Dog poop that is looking back at me. Fun times! Very reminiscent of the time we were watching for dog poop with birthday candles in it.

In the meantime, just before they were going to administer the chemo, I got a call while we were at COSI (J was having a blast), that his one pain med, given to him the night before, was concerning them. They were afraid that the possibility of him becoming nauseated would greatly increase, and I think it would also be adding a factor into their study that they didn't want there, as they are studying the effects of the combo of the two chemo drugs and how dogs handle it. So, we had to hold off and reschedule for Thursday. So, tomorrow we will be returning to Columbus.

In the world of Guinness himself, he is already getting so strong in his one leg that I can now assist him up steps without his harness, he just waits for me to put my one hand on his back, and the other sort of under his bum by tucking his tail under, and I think he THINKS I'm helping him. Yesterday he was able to jump up in excitement when he saw a little dog at the clinic, he literally had both front paws up and was balancing on his one back leg. And, as usual, he dragged ME into the clinic, he is still as strong as he was when he had four legs. So that was really encouraging.

I'll update more as things happen, but for now, as promised, here is the video and some new photos. (Image above is a drawing by our daughter, age 8).

Relaxing on the deck  . . . but what is this I see?

. . . must . . . get . . . tractor mower . . .

Getting the tractor mower!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Off to OSU

I've got some great photos and a video of Guinness chasing Brett on the riding lawn mower yesterday to post, but for now it's late and I wanted to do a quick update.

Tomorrow morning early we head off to Ohio State for Guinness's first round of chemo. It will be an all day event, with his apointment starting at 10, and we'll have paperwork to do and then the first chemo dose, then we wait 4 hours, and then administer again before going home. 

I'm feeling a bit nervous hoping that he tolerates it well, but very optimistic about it.

I'll update again soon . . .

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pupdate Part II: May 21, 2009


I took Guinness outside this evening, and after a walk in the far back yard, I was able to get him up the stairs and back into the house with the sling...something he's been afraid to do before now. Yes!!

When we got inside, I tried the harness one last time, and figured out the harness expanded way more than I thought, so it fits! He isn't overjoyed with it, but once he gets used to it, we'll be able to help him out up stairs and into cars. I have Sarah and Indy to thank for that suggestion!

Here he is, the Pirate Pup in full tripawd garb:

Pupdate: May 21, 2009

Guinness continues to improve every day. The site of the surgery has healed amazingly fast, and his fur is starting to grow back. Soon it will be difficult to even see, and I imagine that one wouldn't even notice he is missing a leg unless you get right up close, or so I have been told, especially with dogs with black fur.

He's eating well, and moving around pretty good, getting used to being a pirate, though he still  won't do stairs on his own. I bought a special harness to help him up steps, but of course I measured wrong and when it came today it was very apparent that it was not going to fit. So, now I need to reorder and ship this one back. 

He's a little less energetic and carefree than he was prior to the surgery, actually I should say, prior to when he was first showing symptoms and limping on that leg. I get worried, but then I remind myself he's only just had the surgery not even two weeks ago. He definitely perks up when treats are around, and when he goes outside (in fact, one night I had to get up at 1am to let him out, and I practically had to run to keep up).

As mentioned in the side bar, Guinness will be heading to Columbus next Tuesday for his first round of chemo. He will have a dose administered, then will remain at the school for four hours under observation, and then another dose and we will return  home. I'm hoping he tolerates it well. 

The amount of support I have had from friends and family is overwhelming. Guinness has made acquaintance with so many people, people he knows, people he's just met, and also so many people I have come to know through a few forums I belong to (a design forum, a Wilco forum and the GoGetters blog). He is well loved, and it's been a big help. In fact, there are so many people asking about him, I've finally settled on this blog to keep everyone updated in one place. Keep checking back for new posts and photos.

May 14th:

May 13th (two days post-surgery):

Pupdate from May 15, 2009

Here's the latest:

Guinness has been doing great. He's back to his usual routine, begging for food, waiting for Mia and Jaina to get off the bus to greet them, carrying around his funny stuffed animal I got him (who Jaina named Honkington) and greeting us at the door with his excited Wookie whining.

The only thing that we need to work on is getting him to be able to go up steps back into the house. We had 
an "incident" today in which Brett, while trying to lift him up the front steps, squeezed too close to his surgical site, and it squeezed out blood and fluids that were in the cavity. ACK!  Brett and I just stood there for a moment, totally dumbfounded. I'm not joking when I say it squirted out just like in the scene with the Black Knight in the Holy Grail. It shot out in one big, five foot stream. Brett looked closer and said it was not blood blood, but more thin fluid like, and remembered Tom said there was drainage fluid that would be reabsorbed. It just seeped out one of the areas where there were sutures. Wow. Of everything so far, that was pretty crazy.

But other than that, he continues to get more sure of himself and how he gets around. He's starting to peek around the corner when we go upstairs so I know he's thinking about coming up. I can't wait til he masters the stairs.

The girls are still handling it well, Jaina is a little more squeemish, but Mia it does not bother at all. Today she counted his stitches, and petted him on the shaved part of his fur. They're both giving him lots of love and attention.

Brett and I have been pretty tired, I think I had a huge crash yesterday, the night before I could not sleep at all, then woke up early the next day. I've been working out more than usual to try to expend this nervous energy I've had...and it all caught up with me last night. But, really, considering what's happening, it has been going well.

We also found out that we are eligible for the study at OSU, and Tom and Wendy are all for it, so they will be touching bases with the doctor in charge of the study, and we'll get that going as soon as we get the lab results and Guinness gets the green light for the chemo. We'll know more soon.

Pupdate from May 12, 2009

Very good news today!

Guinness is reportedly doing remarkably well! Today when the nurses were getting set up to help him outside, Guinness got up on his own and walked outside on three legs with no assistance! He immediately tried to go over to the parking area, looking to get the hell out of there.

He's eating, wagging his tail and they are weaning him off IV pain meds, switching over to oral meds so that we can bring him home early this evening! This is all very encouraging.

We're also looking into treatment options. (Note to Sarah: I talked to our vet and mentioned the trials you were involved with with Indy, and we discussed that. Being that it was from OSU, which is where our vets graduated from, he is making contact there to see our options. I just went to the website, and it looks like we should be eligible for the same (or very similar) study. If we qualify, which it appears he does, we'll be doing that).

More to come, I'll update when Guinness comes home!

Pupdate from May 11, 2009

As you know, Guinness had surgery this morning. We originally thought he would be coming home today, but as it turned out, Tom wanted him to stay at the very least tonight so that he could be given IV pain medication to get him through the initial discomfort. I just got off the phone with him and this is what we discussed:

First off he said that the surgery was very uneventful (in a good way), meaning that it went exactly as hoped and expected. Right now he's, in Tom's words, gorked on pain meds to keep him quiet and comfortable so he can heal up. He's on IV's, and a nurse is coming in at 11:30 pm to check on him to see if he needs any oral pain medication and how he is doing. There is not a lot of swelling, and his body temperature was good when he left at about 9pm. The hope is that he will come home tomorrow afternoon. If he feels Guinness needs more IV meds to help with any pain, he may stay another night. The goal right now is to keep him calm and comfortable so that he can heal quickly.

As for the surgery itself, we were hoping that by some small chance it was an infection rather than bone cancer, but he said after getting in there an being able to look that, unfortunately it looks very classically like cancer. He sent out for a biopsy, which we'll get back in a week to confirm. As of right now his lungs still look clear, which is good and we will discuss what the next step is based on the biopsy.

The kids set up the bed I got him for recovery, and have decorated it with get well cards and a "Guinness's Corner" sign, and I got him a little stuffed fluffy weenie dog animal to take out any nervousness on. We took a bunch of photos this morning of him with the girls. We're looking forward to him coming back home, and his Puppy Powers are now "Pirate Puppy Powers."

It's been quite a day, as you can imagine. Thanks everyone for all the support, I can't believe how many people have been worried about him with us, it means a lot and has been a huge help.

I'll update more after I talk to someone tomorrow.