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!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Pirate Pup...YAARR!

I am so happy to be able to say that Guinness is still doing incredibly well. We've had several people stop by in the past week or so remark how good he looks right now. Guinness is back to his old tricks, going outside with his hackles up, charging at the neighbors and barking, getting into cupboards again (yay for chewed up water bottles!), ringing his bell to go outside (a trick he learned as a pup, very handy), and just getting into general mischief. He's also been greeting people at the door with shoe in mouth, yodeling like a wookie. It makes my heart sing.

I've also done research on the natural remedies suggested to me by Dr. Tom and will be adding artemisinin, vascustatin and Imm-kine to his repertoire. It will replace the prednisone, which is almost phased out. Eventually he will only be on gabapentin to help maintain any pain in his existing hip joint (he has mild dysplasia), pepcid to counteract any stomach upset by medications, and the holistic support mentioned above.

I can't even put into words how happy it makes me to see him turn around and suddenly be himself again. I'm also happy that we made it this far, with a successful surgery, 3 rounds of chemotherapy and now a more natural approach on the horizon, with only a few scary, yet in the end negotiable, set backs along the way. I will still continue to update, probably more once we embark on the introduction of the artemisinin et. al. I'm going to add one at a time to make sure he can tolerate them, and if there is any side effects I'll have a better grasp on where it's coming from.

More soon!

(photo, Mia and Guinness, bird watching, a big habit in our household)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Checking In

This past Friday I brought the cats in for a check up, and while there got to talking about Guinness and how he is doing, and how to continue his support. Given that he has been acting like he feels well, considering all that he has been through, I talked to Dr. Tom about what it would mean to discontinue chemotherapy. After me many questions and Dr. Tom taking time out to answer everything I asked, I have made the decision to cease the treatments , and hope that the three rounds he was given, plus the dietary change we made a while ago (Guinness is now being fed a high protein, low grain diet with the addition of some supplements and freshly cooked meat, we've all but eliminated commercial dry dog food which has a high grain content), with the addition of some alternative therapies that he has used with another patient to seemingly good result, will keep Guinness in good health.

At this point I am further researching a few alternative supplements to his treatment repertoire. As he is being weened off the prednisone, which also served as a method to inhibit tumor growth as well as helping to try to keep his white blood cell count in check, we are going to add artemisinin into his medicinal arsenal, as well as possibly two others, including vascustatin and Imm-kine, both of which I am researching. We are in essence going to employ some of the items on an alternative cancer treatment for dogs with osteosarcoma, called the Navy Protocol, which Dr. Tom has had some experience with another patient. I will be looking further into that as well.

Besides that we'll be monitoring his levels via blood samples and also occasional chest x-rays to spot check his lungs, and of course anything else (that hopefully doesn't arise).

It was nice to see Guinness get all upset and actually trot off to get a stuffed animal to bring to the cats when he saw them put into the carrier on their way out the door to the clinic, something he's always done. The cats weren't too thrilled about the whole thing, but I was!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Iron will, and a loss

Today's will be another fast post, sorry, I almost want to erase all that I was faced with and pondering not long ago, and just post that today still finds Guinness doing well. To say he's got an iron will and ability to forge ahead is an understatement. He's now getting him self up unassisted most of the time, stopped needing the "suitcase handle" harness I had to put on to help him down the back stairs, and we have all noticed how much more perky and alert he's been. His expressive ears are moving about all the time in response to our voices and activity going on, something I didn't even consciously know he does until it came back.

So, back up the roller coaster, hoping it continues. For now his chest xray and ultrasound have been postponed, which is great news to think we've overcome a big low.

On a sad note, we lost another one of our furry friends last night, Zelda, our fancy rat, one of two sisters we adopted a few years ago. It was a melancholy night for us all, as losing a pet of any size is not easy. I had suspected something was going on, as she had developed a tumor under her front paw very recently and I was watching it carefully. But I've been down that road with my old friend rat, Clover, who I had in college. I had actually had surgery done on her to try to help her, as she had a tumor as well, which is not uncommon for pet rats. She made it through surgery but ended up not pulling out of anesthesia. Unfortunately for those tiny pets (and their owners), there is not a lot you can do for them medically. As it was pointed out with Zelda's sister Aryll by Dr. Tom when she was ill, there are no known dosages for them. They are so tiny it's almost impossible to measure out medicines, you can't do blood draws because you can't take enough blood from them to give any kind of result, and obviously as I learned with Clover, anesthesia is a very difficult thing with them.

But, regardless, it is still a loss and very sad, although the lessons in loving and caring for another living thing has been such a wonderful experience for the kids. We will miss the good times with Zelda, just as we do her sister, Aryll, very much.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Catching up on the past 12 days

I have found that the hardest days we have are also the hardest to put into words, and I find myself avoiding it. I want to report good things to everyone, but alas, it's not always the way it is. I've also realized that after a really good start with Guinness and his treatments, I got a little spoiled since he handled it so well in the begining. I started to think that, hey, this is going to be a breeze! So, when things started turning rough, it was a big shock even though I had tried to prepare myself for a long hard road when he was first diagnosed.

I'm going to have to save all the details of what has happened in the past 12 days for tomorrow, as I'm my brain is starting to shut down, but I will say that in the past 6 days Guinness has gone from being very weak and me being so worried about him, to all of a sudden watching him starting to perk back up once again. As of yesterday he has started barking at cars going by and at our neighbors dog once again, it's pretty funny to be jumping for joy at a dog barking loudly. He's also started greeting us at the door with shoes once again, asking to come upstairs with us, and getting himself up much more without me standing over him to help him out.

Sorry for such a discombobulated post, I've got a lot of information and things to try to get into words so they make sense, but at least for the moment you know that while things have been really tough, I've been feeling much more relieved at Guinness' improvement in the past few days. I think I've learned by now that this is a big pendulum that goes back and forth, I just hope it keeps going this way for much longer.