Sunday, November 13, 2011

So This Happened

A timeline of the gradual degradation of the Mountain Alder
that we planted this summer in honor of Mike's grandfather:

June - Our beautiful Mountain Alder.
Thriving in our extremely acidic soil consisting of
decomposing granite, which we thought would be
the only hurdle to clear.

Evidently we were mistaken.

An early August morning - Surely mine eyes deceive me.
Beautiful Alder is now two-thirds eaten.
Words fail me.

October - Completely gone. Two inches of stump.
Ivy has never been accused of not being thorough.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thank You

Mike and I just wanted to say thank you for all the flowers, plants, donations to rescue groups and humane societies, cards, calls and emails. And mostly, thank you for understanding the connection that we had with our beautiful boy. It is so very clear to us that the light in his heart and soul was visible to everyone he met.

In other news, Ivy seems to be giving us a break from constantly eating everything in sight except for an apple pie that we were actually really looking forward to eating ourselves. I am sure this is a temporary abstention, as she is a little down from missing her big brother.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Our sweet boy

November 26, 1999 - October 24, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Really Don't Make This Stuff Up

I am always impressing myself, as I am sure you do as well. The other day I decided to dismantle a rather ugly fence in the backyard that has been driving me nuts for about 10 years. There was this incredibly stupid bar that ran across the gate, so every time I went down to the chicken coop I had to duck down at a right angle to get under it. And almost every time I did I bumped my head pretty hard. I had asked a friend to help me take it down, thinking it wasn't a job for just one person, but as said friend was selfishly off getting married and subsequently honeymooning, I decided to just do it myself. You can only bump your head so many times before you are forced to start asking yourself the definition of insanity (according to my mother, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results - perhaps that was actually Einstein, but my mother is just as brilliant). And I hit my head so hard the night before that I actually made myself a little nauseous. So no more insanity. We are people of action in this house.

After using my do-it-herself tools, including but not limited to, rubber mallet, socket wrenches, zip ties, metal sharp thingy, crow bar type thing that doubles as a pencil (yes a pencil!), and sledgehammer (please - someone needs to invent a sledgehammer that is light as air but that gets the job done. Those things are ridiculous), I ended up with a massive disaster area. I put the fence fasteners in a large ziplock bag so I wouldn't lose any of the parts as Mike seems to think that some delusional will want a free ugly fence off of Craigslist (no, we're not going to do that, honey. No delusionals other than ourselves up here at the house). I left the ziplock bag on the table for a day and kind of forgot about it while I ran some errands.

Poor Milo - he is so hungry. He is practically skeletal, but we are feeding him a ton of food. I guess once you greet the century mark in life, you just get super skinny. Wow, what a generous tradeoff. At any rate, he is evidently so hungry that he tore into that bag of fence fasteners like nobody's business. I don't think he actually ingested any parts once he figured out that they weren't very accommodating to the teeth. Seriously, it's a texture thing, people.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Down the Pie Hole

Ivy and I went hiking in the National Forest with my friend Julie and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kylie, one morning this week. Everything was going well, meaning that Ivy was slightly curtailing her exuberance due to Kylie's fairly shy nature. We were hiking along, everybody was pointed in the same direction (trust me, if you hike with your dogs you know how difficult this can sometimes be), and we spotted something red and gooey just up ahead. Julie sucked in her breath, I believe because she thought it was a chewed up critter. Ivy normally leaves those types of things alone, so I knew by the way she was running to it that it was something sweeter than carcass. As it turns out, it was actually an entire pie, of what looked to be the strawberry variety, right there on the trail. Seriously? Somebody left a perfectly good pie on a hiking trail? When you start seeing pies on hiking trails you really have to wonder where our country is headed. Just seeing such a lovely pie on the trail makes me feel both morally degraded and utterly dejected. I love pie.

This is a close approximation of what the pie
looked like. I would have taken a picture, but
it was down the gullet within a matter of seconds,
so this stock photography will have to suffice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hungry Much?

You know those pieces of massive machinery that crush cars into tiny cubes of metal? Yeah, I have one of those. Let me start at the beginning.

Our vet recently told us that Milo's esophagus is at least 25 times larger than it should be, which basically means that when looking at a lateral radiograph, the edges of his esophagus run closely parallel with both his spine and his sternum. That is a widely-diametered piece of tubing there. Basically what happens in a dog with megaesophagus is that the esophagus is so stretched out that it doesn't constrict to force the food downward into the stomach. So we have had to drastically change the manner in which we feed Milo, as well as changing the schedule to accommodate quatro-feeding (my term for feeding four times a day). Milo lacks any real strength in his hindquarters and if he sits, he often needs help getting up. So we have to have Milo sit on a pillow, making his esophagus completely perpendicular to the ground. This increases his chances of the food he ingests (as opposed to the food he throws into the air while sitting and which ends up on his back) actually reaching the stomach rather than just sitting in that stretched out esophagus and quickly making its way back out.

I think that the quatro-feeding makes him hungry, as he's only fed small meals throughout the day. He's never been much of a grazer. More of a gorger. This was once a full-sized can of dog food with a label. Now it's just scrap metal, completely licked clean both inside and out.

So thoroughly compacted that there aren't even
air pockets that would allow an ant to survive for 60 seconds.

How much can you get for pre-crushed scrap metal anyway? Honestly, with the vast amounts of money we've spent at the vet this year, I think we may be entitled to making use of this new skill of Milo's.

I am beginning to see a pattern in both Milo and Ivy's eating patterns. Milo has progressed from inedibles, and now tends to stick with things that are digestible, mostly foodstuffs with the occasional cardboard or paper casualty depending upon how badly he wants to eat something that is encased in such a material. Ivy just plain eats anything that was not meant to be ingested: wooden knitting needles, shoes, sticks, plastic, rocks, chicken feathers - you name it, she's happily eaten it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Thought We Were Over This

I really did. I thought Ivy was pretty much through her chewing stage. The last thing she chewed was the sad shoe all the way back in January. Evidently I was wrong.

I went out of town last week and left the dogs in Mike's capable hands. I was gone for 4 days and Mike stayed home during those 4 of those days with the dogs. However, he was called away to something called "work" and had to leave the dogs home one day. Since Milo is having health issues, and Ivy suffers from some type of syndrome that makes her absolutely obsessed with going outside every 15 minutes, my super sweet friend Kim dropped by in the middle of the day to check on things and let them outside. She subsequently called me in a slight panic, asking if an ingested wooden knitting needle would create much of a problem in a dog. I sighed, said no, as it was explained to me that the needle was really just chewed to shreds, and went about my day thinking that it was a bit of a bummer that I had lost a knitting needle to Ivy's boredom and obvious growing frustration with my extended absence. When I got home from my trip, I saw that Mike had left the knitting "needle" on the kitchen table for me to see, but alas, it was not just one knitting needle. No. It was about 15.

I've had these knitting needles in the same basket for about 2 years now with no problems. Now I just have an empty basket. Oh, the humanity.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Use As Directed

Adding to his long list of ailments, Milo is in the full throes of megaesophagus. I'll spare you the details - google it if you are interested. Let's just say it is a noisy illness and I haven't gotten a good night's sleep in about 2 weeks. Thus, more medications are needed. Getting meds from the vet is pretty expensive - $28 for 30 tablets as opposed to $27 for 100 tablets from 1800petmeds. I've ordered tons of medications from online veterinary pharmacies, and it is my understanding that their primary function is to provide drugs for veterinary purposes only. In other words, don't expect to be able to get your own prescriptions filled via an online, again may I stress, veterinary pharmacy.

Imagine my surprise when I was inspecting the plastic vial that came in the mail filled with Milo's prescription:

"May cause drowsiness. Alcohol may intensify this effect.
Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery."

This is the extra sticker that they put on the prescription vial when there is a potential for an adverse drug interaction. Placing this sticker on the vial is an action that actually takes human effort, and, one would think, some rudimentary research to determine if there is indeed a possibility for a detrimental effect. And so I am left wondering what actually facilitated the necessity for this sticker on a veterinary prescription.

So great. We have to take away Milo's alcohol stash. And have you ever tried to take the car keys away from an ancient Great Dane? I am not anticipating that it will go well. Nor will taking away his dangerous machinery.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Even a Surfing Accident Can Turn Into Things Great Danes Eat

After re-reading this post to check for spelling errors, it occurs to me that this is one of the more disgusting posts on this blog. You know how you shudder and gag when you find just one hair where it's not supposed to be? This story is about a whole chunk of hair, so consider yourself forewarned.

I have been feeling the urge to purge the house of unnecessary items lately, and in the process I have been reorganizing pretty much everything in our lives. Mike and I recently went to Hawaii and surfed on the North Shore, which was, as I'm sure you can guess, utterly fantastic.

So I was cleaning out of drawer of surf accoutrements and I came upon one of my rash guards (for those who don't surf, this is a garment worn to keep you from getting these nasty rashes from your board - depends upon the board whether I wear one or not). When we got home from Hawaii I washed everything (really, I swear I did) and folded it up and put it all away nicely in a drawer. For some reason, this week I decided there was a better drawer for these things. When I pulled out one particular rash guard a lock of hair fell from it.

This is where we surfed. Obviously we aren't surfing in
this picture, but I can hardly take a photo while standing
still, let alone while standing on a surfboard.

I know this is gross and maybe you will stop reading at this point. But I will explain. I wear my hair in two pigtails when I surf. As you may or may not know, wet hair is much more fragile than dry hair. I got hit by a particularly nasty wave one day and knocked my head on the board, which resulted in a scalping that pretty much decapitated a good chunk of my hair from my head. I now have bangs when I really didn't want them, but you work with what you have. But I digress. So this lock of hair that must have just gotten stuck on the inside of the rash guard fell out and onto the floor, whereupon not 2 seconds later Ivy scarfed it down. I think it was because it was salty from the seawater.

So, grossly, add "salted hair" to the list of Things Great Danes Eat.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

emmi is here!

And by "emmi is here," I sadly do not mean that we have adopted another Great Dane named emmi. Nor have we gotten the pig that I have been wanting. More on that later.

Moving on! Very exciting things happening over here. I have begun a collar and leash business, and they are now in local stores! emmi is an acronym standing for "emily, mike, milo & ivy." If you are in the Evergreen, Colorado area and would like to see examples, please stop by Bella Vita.

Not only does Michele carry my products, she also has an excellent selection of sweet-smelling, organic, soft, lovely home goods. And of course, being ever mindful of appropriate themes, behold this adorable dog (named Bella, of course) made of recycled magazines that Michele has adopted to watch over the collars and leashes:


I have about 30 styles so far, and custom orders are available. I am working on my website and etsy shop. You can check it out here (, but please don't set your internet shopping expectations high. I am not winning at internet right now. Check back soon though for updates!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sick Puppy

sick puppy

It seems that all the organic, inorganic, unidentifiable, and truly disgusting things that Milo has eaten over a lifetime of 11 1/2 years has finally caught up with him. After three weeks of severe gastrointestinal issues, Milo has at last been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease. I say, if I were Milo's bowels, I would be irritated too.

Some things Milo has eaten in the past 11 years that stand out include, but are in no way limited to:

Cell phone;
box of tea bags;
doggie diapers;
one over-sized stuffed chair;
empty ziplock bags;
bamboo knitting needles;
3 pairs of glasses (totally my fault. I had a fairly steep learning curve regarding proper storage of my glasses).

Seriously, I can't believe it's taken this long for his bowels to become so irritable.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Count Your Chickens

For Mike and I, there is little else so disorienting and disgusting than waking up to the sounds of a dog retching. I'm sure you see where this is heading, so please feel free to bow out now. This story is not really for the faint of stomach.

At 5:50 a.m., I woke up to the sound of Milo throwing up all over the steps that lead downstairs from our bedroom. A quick visual didn't show anything too concerning, however, after gathering towels and carpet cleaner, upon closer inspection I saw something that looked like a soggy, swollen french fry. After some poking and prodding by Mike, who had since been recruited to assist, I, in my infinite veterinary knowledge, determined that Milo had vomited up part of his own alimentary canal. This was concerning, but Mike talked me back down and we went back to bed.

At 9:00 a.m., Milo went outside and vomited something that I was entirely certain was a part of his own stomach. I called Mike, who was en route to the Think Tank, and asked him to come home, as it was clear that Milo was not long for this world. I don't think you can live very long once the vomiting of body parts commences. Am I right? Right.

So we took Milo to see Dr. Jeff (best veterinarian in the world, and this coming from someone so obviously possessed of erudite veterinary wisdom, as you can tell). We took the body parts in sandwich bags so that Jeff could properly inspect them. Jeff looked at them, poked them and generally dissected them, and looked at me with obvious concern on his face. "Have you counted your chickens lately?" he asked. I told him I was pretty sure all eleven were accounted for, but I couldn't be certain. To which Jeff replied, "Well, these are definitely body parts, but they aren't Milo's body parts. I really think you should go home and count your chickens."

Sub-q fluids and some anti-emetic injections later, we're home and Milo is resting comfortably. All chickens are accounted for.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moses Update

I received this letter from Mosey Shep not too long ago (and promptly forgot to post it here):

How sweet is that? Mosey is loving his home in Texas, and I was able to visit him back in October. Andrea and Steve love him and he loves them, so it's all worked out quite nicely. His has siblings, Gage and Sesh (sorry for the bad photos. I am already a horrible photographer and these dogs move fast).


Huge dog. Biggest dog I've ever seen. Super sweet.


Looks like Ivy.
Acts like Ivy in that she is apparently deluded into thinking
she is Queen of the house. But truly a lovely dog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Because Life Would Just be Too Easy if Ivy Only Ate What I Fed Her

You know those shoes you've had for years, the ones that are super comfortable and that you keep telling yourself are still cute and in style but deep down you fear may cause one of your friends to submit you as a clueless fashion candidate to What Not to Wear? Those are the shoes that were taken from me, ripped away without any warning at all. Mike and I went to dinner the other night, came home to what looked like a normal scene, and then Mike went upstairs and called me up by my given name (which he never does - sometimes I forget my name isn't Sweetie). And there it was - my super-comfortable-and-surely-still-in-fashion shoe, in an inconsiderately chewed up heap on the floor. Sometimes our choices are taken away from us, be it a good thing or bad. In this particular instance it makes me sad, but it's probably for the best.

I know it was Ivy. She seems to have developed a minor case of separation anxiety. Either that or we're not feeding her enough. Yesterday I came home to this:

My new purple beeswax candles from Bella Vita (lovely shop, by the way). Not a single piece of wax was left, just the wrapper and the black tissue paper that Michele had so lovingly wrapped them in. So I am guessing that Ivy has about 2 feet of candle wick working its way through her system. Sounds super fun doesn't it?

Good times ahead.