Posts Tagged ‘Joy the Puppy’

Joy the Puppy Hurt Her Knee

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

On and off this year, Joy the Puppy, our four year old Lab X Something, has favored her left hind leg.  She will hold it up  and smile and wag her tail like a Lab with a damaged cruciate ligament, rest on Mom-prescribed Rimadyl and be back to her non-hind leg favoring, smiling, tail wagging self in a matter of days.

Joy Smiling

By the fourth or so episode of intermittent hind limb lameness (Kudos to YOU – You ALWAYS bring me your dogs on the FIRST or SECOND episode of lameness), I did a full physical and orthopedic exam and found to no one in the family’s surprise, because I had been saying it for months…Joy had torn her left cruciate ligament.

Nothing Phases Joy

The cruciate (“cross”) ligament is a double band of connective tissue behind the kneecap that stabilizes the long bones of the leg while allowing for all the movements the leg needs to make.  Except for sharp turns of down-hill skiers.  And sharp turns of football players who have already planted their cleats of the shoe holding the foot attached to the leg that is turning.

And dogs with degenerative ligament disease.  And sometimes cats.  Sometimes the cruciate ligament does NOT stabilize the long bones of cats who have degenerative ligament disease.  I have only seen cruciate ligament damage in ONE cat, and he had Cushing’s disease, a condition in which ligaments can be weakened and sometimes…tear.

ANYWAYS, Joy has the dog sort of cruciate damage secondary to degenerative ligament disease of unknown origin.  Yes, she most likely turned like a skier or a football player with two crucial (haha get it?) differences…

1.  In dogs, it is likely that cruciate disease is most often secondary to a degenerative process – It would most likely happen with or without injury.

2.  If the tear was hastened by an injury, Joy PROBABLY did not have an underlying noble cause like dodging a pine tree or catching a ball.  IF she indeed did make one or more tough-on-her-knee moves and IF she had a reason for turning on a dime and IF she could remember and IF she could talk….she would probably say, “it just seemed like it would be fun…and it was!”

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Surgery was scheduled with Dr. Merkley, one of two excellent veterinary surgeons in Omaha.  Dr. Merkley is also my surgery teacher from vet school last century, and I have always enjoyed learning from him and working with him.

Word to the wise – even if you love your surgeon and he is about to do a super cool surgery, ONLY go into the surgical suite with him if the surgery is NOT on your own pet.  Anyways, now I know.

Sleepy Joy

Surgery was about two hours long.  I sat next to Joy on the stretcher after surgery, both of us exhausted, she from her long morning of anesthesia and surgery and I from my long morning of observation and empathy.

Joy's Cool X-Ray

The procedure Joy had done is called a tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy, or TPLO.

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THANK YOU Doc, for fixing our dog.

THANK YOU Allison, for keeping Joy alive.

THANK YOU Boss, for discounting the portions of Joy’s adventure that were not the actual surgery so severely that I fear you may be as financially beaned by this case as are we.

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Joy is five weeks into recovery, and is doing great.  Client compliance has been an issue.  In fact, she just ran past me…on three legs.  Back to the leash *sigh*

I will never boss you to strictly rest your own pet again without a (even more) kind and (even more) sympathetic I-know-this-sucks comradery, that frankly, I have not felt this strongly since the strict rest I mandated for my own Wuzzy Rat during her recovery from spay surgery.


It is good for vets to occasionally get a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.


Joy hated the e collar she had to wear to prevent her from removing her skin staples. Abby continued to add stickers, decorative tape and jewels to cheer her.

Finally Abby painted the whole e collar with pink hearts and a green background.  That seemed to do the trick.

Finally Abby painted the whole e collar with pink hearts and a green background. That seemed to do the trick.

Three more weeks of STRICT rest, then post-recovery radiographs, then back to full activity.  We should be back to neighborhood walks just in time for the huge Christmas snow drifts!  It is a short chapter in a very long life.  I am so grateful that it has gone so well.

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Happier at Home – 5 Stars!

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Happier at Home

Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life


Gretchen Rubin

5 Stars!


I love the cover – bluebirds!  And bird houses!  Beautiful, bright pastels.

I love the blog, Twitter and Facebook links on the back of the book.

I love the prequel.

And…I love this book, Happier at Home.  Very fun to read.  Very practical advice on happiness – which I bet you did not think was possible until Gretchen Rubin started writing it.  Me neither.  But it is.  And she does it again.

Good stories.  Good nuclear and extended family related advice on appreciating the people most important to you and making the most of every opportunity with them.  Fascinating insight into the deep love for New York of a woman raised in the Midwest.

The author’s analytical, thorough and introspective explanations of what happiness is and what it is not – with underlying currents of contentment, selflessness and family – resonate with me.  The stories are heartwarming and sincere.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed The Happiness Project, I love reading Gretchen Rubin’s daily thoughts and articles and I look forward to her next book on happiness.

And…I hope her family adopts a dog and that she writes about that too.


Joy the Puppy demonstrating from day 1 by her very name and dog-self that pets can indeed add to happiness.

Camp Kindness, June 2013

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

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Frank and Joy go to Camp Kindness

Friday, July 26th, 2013

I was asked to speak at Camp Kindness, the kids’ day camp at Nebraska Humane Society, again this year.  That is always one of my favorite parts of the whole summer.

Russ, Abby and Amanda helped.  We brought Joy the Puppy.

The second of the two days my vet tech friend Allison and her awesome cat Frank came with us.  That made it even more fun – Thank you Allison!

Frank and Joy did great together again.  Here is their story.








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The Stuff that Russ Built

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Russ is my husband, and he is a really good carpenter.  Here are some things that he has built.  I think they are pretty. It is fun when my cases and his projects intersect, like when a dog patient needs a fence, or a kitty patient needs a scratching post, or an arthritic patient needs a ramp or stairs.

If you would like Russ to build you a thing, call him at 402-218-3472.

This is the roof of my parents’ gazebo. I think it is as pretty from the inside as it is from the outside.

This is the deck Russ built for our friends Dawn and Cory. Dawn traded Russ for piano lessons for our girls, so everyone won!

This kid is so cute! He kept asking “Whatcha doing Russell?” His Mom took this picture of him watching Russ build their pergola.

Here are before and after pictures of Dr. McIlnay’s deck. Dr. McIlnay is Omaha’s veterinary ophthalmologist.

Another friend’s new deck. Building decks is Russ’ favorite. I think they always turn out so pretty! Notice the giant dog sized ramp on the left side of the deck for one of my favorite patients ever, Moby.

My parents’ gazebo – my favorite place in the world!

Maybe the Wheelers have trash like normal folks, and maybe they just have a beautiful gated fence!

This is at Russ’ parents’ cabin near Valley, Nebraska. Isn’t the lake beautiful?? Russ built the deck and the “kid-sized” picnic table.

Access ramp at our church. TONS of kids tromp up and down this all week, so it has to be safe!

Double Decker Deck!

It is so peaceful on Mom and Dad’s deck. This was one of Russ’ first projects in Omaha, which he did with a very nice carpenter named Tom.

Russ built this teepee so I could grow Morning Glories and Runner Beans. It also served as a good tea party headquarters when the girls were younger :)

Russ has built me 300-and-counting 1 foot squares for our Square Foot Garden and the fence behind it…

…And Three Squares for Max!

Russ built the fence around our church community garden and the Square Foot grid and teepee on our plot. God grew the plants :)

Russ’ parents dogs safe behind their new fence!

This is a picture of Joy the Puppy on Day One over three years ago! She STILL loves to help Russ build stuff!

See? Here is Joy the Puppy RIGHT NOW with Russ at his parents’ neighbor’s home, building a fence for HIS Lab puppy!

Those are some of my favorite pictures of the things Russ has built.  He does free estimates and also does interior work.  I know this is early to mention, but he and Joy want you to know…They are not afraid of snow!  If he is building your deck or fence in a snowstorm, do not worry – I will bring him hot chocolate!

Thank you friends and family who have supported Russ in his new full time construction business.  We thought it would be a scary step to go out “on our own” but because of you it has been very fun and rewarding!

To ALL of our friends and family and all my awesome readers, please call Russ if you have projects you would like him to help you with.  He is ALWAYS available to advise, will ALWAYS give free estimates, and if it is a project he does not do, he ALWAYS knows the best person for the job.

Russell Finch Construction


More Great Pictures on Facebook…

Russell Finch Construction Fan Page 

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Happy Birthday to my awesome husband, Russ…

*whispering* He is forty!

and to our equally awesome cat, Max the Cat…



Square Foot Gardening!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I cannot even tell you excited I am about this article published today by Mel Bartholomew on his website!

If you have been to our yard, or seen my pictures, or gotten excited with me about the first chives of the season (chives!) or let me help you plant a kitty garden or had my husband Russ build you a Square Foot Garden box…well, you know how much I love gardening and especially love Square Foot Gardening.

Thank you Thank you Thank you to Kevin Espiritu of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation who said “nice picture” and I said “thanks” and he said “Do you have more?” and I said “Do I?” and next thing I know he and Mel apparently stayed up till 2 am and made THIS…

Gardening with Pets and Pests

by Mel Bartholomew

Thank you guys!  I love it, and I have been waiting for a chance to tell you…I love Square Foot Gardening!


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Happy Heartworm Free October!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

If you give your pets their heartworm preventative medication on the first, it’s the first!  And, as a friend pointed out, if you do not…it is still the first. :)

Happy October!

GUEST POST!!!! By Russ

I am kind of spoiled.  Shawn (Dr. Finch) takes such amazing care of our pets and keeps really good track of what they need and when, including the heartworm stuff.  I can do the stuff like fill water and food dishes, open the door to let them out or in, play tug with Joy, give lots of pets.  I can do stuff like build scratching posts or steps up to the bed.

I cannot keep track of medicines.  I always have leftovers from prescriptions and can’t get the concept of “daily”  vitamins or taking pills as prescribed, and that is for me!  I am amazed at how my awesome vet and wife can keep track of our pet’s health needs.  I am glad that she does it.

But today, Shawn went to work.  Then we had a birthday party.  At a bowling alley/arcade/laser tag/noisy/crowded place.   Followed by a sleepover.  With cake, ice cream, candy and hyperactive 9 year old girls.   So, while we are both kind of drooling and not focusing our eyes from the party, I have more energy right now.

This is what the party feels like: *

So I am reminding you to do your heartworm preventative stuff now, then I am going to do ours.  I guess that what is important is that someone remembers to do it.   Shawn remembered and may need to help me figure it out, but I can do this…I think.

Today’s Checklist:

Noodle the Poodle – Wormshield tablet

Joy the Puppy – Wormshield tablet

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* Permission granted to repost images from Hyperbole and a Half with the website link included.  How cool is that??  Thank you so much!  We appreciate it ALOT.

Oh Yeah! This is a Pet Blog…

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Yesterday (Friday) was a REALLY good day!  So is today.  Here are a few pictures from today of my Saturday friends :)

I had to wait for Noodle to take his head out of Russ’ boot to take this picture. In hindsight, that picture would have been equally cute.

Max enjoying his Caturday…

The other Betta is taking a much needed rest after a bowl switching-Lego castle arrainging-counter flopping incident. All involved parties are fine.

“Do you have more pizza crust or are you just saying you have more pizza crust?”

Abby and Joy the Puppy :)

Abby and Noodle the Poodle. They will sit for Abby for “free” – all others must pay pizza crust…or something.

Happy Saturday!

Tomorrow…Back to “WITW Does This Have to do with Pets?”

Then…Back to pets! Though, I will of course wander off on many more tangents in the future. Fun. :)

Update on Max the Cat’s day! —>


Jacob and the Puppy

Friday, June 24th, 2011

A Story from Joy the Puppy’s Younger Days…

Our 10-year-old neighbor Jacob asked me if I knew what our puppy’s breed was yet.

“No,” I said.

“You need to go to the vet and get one of those blood tests so you can find out,” he said.   (I was impressed he knew about the Wisdom Panel.)

“I am the vet, Jacob!” I said.   (He gave me a look like I should know what she is then.)

“We took Raven to the vet for that blood test.”

I asked, “What did you find out?”

“We found out that she doesn’t have fleas. And that she needed a couple of shots.”

“I bet your puppy is a Black Lab and a black Terrier mixed together.”

I said, “I don’t need a fancy blood test Jacob! I have you!”

Ha!” he said.

I’ll bet he’s right…