Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Under the Knife – Freia’s TPLO Weeks 5 & 6 December 29, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs,Chesapeake Bay Retriever,TPLO,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 11:03 pm

Well, I’m going to combine these last two weeks as for all of week 5 it continued to be more of the same. Freia went up to 15 minute walks 2 or 3 times a day, we continued with her “weight training” – the little weight wrapped around her operated leg to make her “high step” like a Lipizaner pony and use that leg muscle.. looks a bit silly but it works!

By the end of week 5 I was starting to get a bit concerned as it really seemed like not much was changing. She’s been walking well since the start, but was still a bit wobbly/hobbly in her Xpen.

What a difference a few days would make. It could have been the change in the weight used – going from 2 oz to 4 oz – or maybe it was just time, but at the beginning of week 6 I started seeing little things that were good, very good and encouraging.. Just a little more excited, a little more bounce in her step, a bigger squiggle and wag in her tail. And as the days have worn on (and on… ) this change for the better is sticking. She was definitely still a bit gimpy when she was only making little steps – that seems to exaggerate her limp more, but on the move, well, she really was on the move!

She started a new trick, cute in a lap dog, unusual to say the least in an 80-pounder. Now when she’s excited she gets up on her hind legs and does a little leg hopping act.. a bit like what I imagine a dancing bear to look like. Yup, she’s feeling pretty good! Since it doesn’t appear to be hurting her,  I’ve let her do it rather than force her back down and risk injury that way.  She seems to be no worse for it in any case.

Week 6 was also Christmas week which meant a road trip 2 hours north, an unfamiliar environment and her nemesis.. young children. Acepromazine became my friend once more. Safely ensconced behind two stacked baby gates with her bed, multiple favorite bones and she was pretty good.. She got in a few cat naps but was mostly just kind of dopey.

My little 5 year old nephew even gave her a treat or two and she was tolerant of him and she might have admitted to liking him if it didn’t completely ruin her street credibility. All in all she was very well behaved, almost grown up, didn’t go completely nutso, though she was, as always, in complete adoration of my mum and stepfather – the meaty bones she gets from them probably has something to do with it. She was also very happy to have a bit more freedom around the living room later that day and the following morning. Then.. little devil, when I had my back turned, she climbed out of her Xpen (only partially closed) ONTO the very slippery polished coffee table! I caught her nose in the cookies.. sigh. The following morning (once again waiting till my back was turned – this one’s no dummy) she carefully climbed onto the couch, she’s clearly feeling back to her old self. I had a little heart attack over her on the couch as she’s really not supposed to jump up on anything, yet with her dancing bear act of late, a slow steady careful climb on the couch won’t really hurt.

So now week 6 is done, she’s clearly feeling good, feeling a lot like her old self, and though the days are flying by, this next two weeks, and hopefully final weeks of restriction, will apparently be on the challenging side. Since we’re moving about a bit more I’ve also upped her food as she was very obviously and vocally letting me know that she was getting hungrier.

Two more weeks to go, I’m counting the days, hours and minutes. In another week I’ll be counting the seconds.. I really hope I’m allowed at that point to give her back her freedom around the house, please oh please… a long walk would also do us both a world of good..


She went out with a bang December 10, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs — knitwhits @ 9:04 pm

I think I’ve just had the most insane 3 hours of my life.

I was checking on the cat about every 20 minutes and at every sound I’d hear coming from upstairs. Her breathing was getting more shallow, she was clearly weakening, not able to support herself steadily, but comfortable once lying down. In the afternoon on one of the last checks I found that she had some blood coming out of her mouth, it seemed like it was time. She was close, but at the same time she was holding on to life and I wasn’t convinced that though she was pretty out of it, she wasn’t now also in some pain or discomfort. I called the vet to see if Dr. Yoo was in, she was the same vet who put Sam down back in January. She was and she would wait for me to come in with Sable. That’s when it got nuts.

I had sort of a small window to get comfortable with this decision even though I knew I really had no choice, watching Sable suffer was not right at all. It was 3pm, and the housecleaners were due any minute. I thought of waiting for them but decided instead to give my neighbor the key and the money for the girls and I would take the cat, the dog (she can’t stay when the cleaners are there, way too territorial) and myself to the vet. I’m now in pretty deep hysterics, the crying where you go “hup!.. hup!… hup!” My neighbor was so kind and helpful and was right there offering me whatever I needed emotionally to get through. She was lovely.

From the moment I picked Sable up from her spot in the living room to when I got her to the vet she barely moved except to breathe. I knew I was doing the right thing. In the car, of course, it’s the Bay Area so I hit traffic, finally get to the vet, they take me straight to my own room, cat in my arms. As I took her into the room she started this sad quiet and mournful moaning, and almost seemed to have the hiccups in her breathing, two normal breaths, one hiccup.. two normal, hiccup. Dr. Yoo comes in, gently looks her over and thinks that she’s so out of it that we don’t even need to give her a sedative before the heart stopping drug, but I want her to have the sedative anyway, I don’t want Sable to have any clue or any feeling of the heart drug. In the split second before she gets the sedative, she twitches up and seemed to stop breathing. I think she’s almost gone, so very close, no rising and falling that I can feel at all, but I can almost still feel her blood coursing, though her heartbeat is not there that I can sense. The sedative is good, it stops the moaning and the hiccuping and she’s clearly at peace. Dr. Yoo came back in and I told her I thought she was gone. Dr. Yoo listened for her heart and said, it’s very very faint, she’s gone. I asked her to give the heart stopping meds anyway. I didn’t want to risk Sable somehow waking up from the sedative at the vet, she was such a fighter, though improbable, it almost seemed possible.

Now she was really gone, free from pain. Release. It was the right thing.

But her spirit wasn’t done yet. I’ve decided she was determined to make me remember this day for eternity.  As I left I had a lovely chat with the nursing staff, they were all so kind and sympathetic, and they barely knew Sable or Sam, but they know Freia and we are all like family to them. On my way home at my freeway exit I realize that I’m out of gas, and now my Low Voltage warning light is on. I change lanes to go to the gas station at the next corner, and now the ABS warning light is on. My car slips into “limp home” mode. I somehow get enough revs out of the engine to creep into the gas station, I pump in ten gallons hoping that somehow that will breathe enough life into the engine to take me the six blocks home. Nope. I don’t even make it out of the gas station. It won’t go forward, BUT, my car will go backwards.


I maneouvre the car into a side spot sort of out of the way, go grovelling to the attendant to ask if it’s ok to leave it for as short a time as possible and I’ll get a tow truck there ASAP and how sorry I am and how I just bought gas from them. He looks at me like I’m a little nuts (keep in mind, i’ve now been crying about the cat off and on for 36 hours so I’m sure my face looks well puffy and red-eyed – what a mess). I get the dog, get to the first traffic light at the corner and Freia snaps at some strange woman behind me who much to my horror is beginning to bend down to pet her. I look a the woman and coldly say “she’s not friendly and she has a broken leg”. Seriously. Don’t pet strange dogs, or at least ask the owner first.. geez. What with everything going on, Freia had figured out that this was Sable’s last road trip, the car breaking down she was just as much on edge as I was, and she wasn’t about to let anyone near me at that point.

We walk home, cleaners are still there, put dog in bathroom behind baby gate, ask cleaners to throw out litter boxes, litter, floor mats around litter box and to clean that whole area well, call the car repair for the number of the tow, explain to the car repair what wrong, tell them I’ll try to get the car to them before they close in an hour (ever tried to get a tow truck in under an hour during rush hour??). Tow company puts their guy on OT to pick up my car (love them). Scramble to straighten up the office for the cleaners, get dog, walk back to gas station, meet tow truck, walk dog home again. Cleaners still there, get on phone with car repair, dog in bathroom starts barking her head off cos now the cleaners are in the office with us – vacuuming – two neighbors come over so now there’s six people in the room, two vacuums, barking dog and me on the phone, and I’m a wreck from the cat.

Can you say “madness”?

A sense of sanity slowly returned as the vacuuming was done and the dog realised that barking wasn’t making anyone go away. My lovely neighbor brought me a beautiful bunch of flowers, the other neighbor stuck around a bit longer to give me some kind words and pet the dog on the head.

And now, calmness. I can hear the silence. The only sound is the tapping of the keyboard as I write and the dog snoozing next to me.

Sable is at peace and so are we.


Under the Knife – Freia’s TPLO – Week 4 December 9, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs,chesapeake bay retreiver,TPLO,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 6:30 pm

Well Week 4 has come and gone in a flash. A whole of of not much to report really.

I don’t really see any vast amount of improvement – she’s already quite a bit further ahead of other dogs at this stage,  but she does have  more energy, her ears are more forward and alert as she walks (reduced discomfort in her leg) and she’s raring to go, of course. I have also noticed her knee has increased in size somewhat, since she’s not limping I’m thinking it’s bone growth. This was somewhat confirmed after seeing another dog that is about 6 months post op (who happened to have had the surgery at the same doctor) and her knee was slightly larger on the operated side.

This dog owner was less restrictive with his dog and had her trailing him to work at one month and off leash at the park at 12 weeks – he sounded somewhat regretful of that decision but was swayed by those puppy eyes. I had to laugh as that is rule #1 – who’s the boss here anyway? Freia’s tried the puppy eyes trick on me but it won’t work, it just won’t.. (I say that now..). The surgery leg is somewhat visible on this other dog, her knee seems less flexible, but her other leg also now has a torn ligament which he will be taking her in for surgery once more early next year. Needless to say, this dog continues to be one of the fastest runners at the park.

Though I wasn’t able to take Freia with me to the park, it did me a world of good to walk with my dog-owner friends, and was also useful as a reminder to see how much rough-housing happens there and how Freia is definately not ready for that nor will she be in a month from now either,whether she gets the all clear or not, it will be a tough day that first time she’s off leash again.

I continue to do her rehab exercises, this week coming up she goes from 5 minutes with the ankle weight to 10 minutes, and our walks go from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Will do her a world of good. We are doing a lot of walking games, figure eights, esses and it’s actually good on a couple of levels as it reinforces some of her previous rally-O training too. Keeps it interesting for me. I’m also no longer avoiding her doggy friends on the street and that is keeping her well adjusted, she likes to be social with pups and people and in the end I’m not fascinating to her 24/7, close, but not quite.. Variety is the spice of life.


Sable December 8, 2008

Filed under: cats and dogs — knitwhits @ 3:11 pm

Sable is Sam‘s sister. She has so far made it a full year beyond Sam, though she was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a multitude of medical issues, mainly stemming from plain old old-age. The vet told me she might have some sort of cancer, definately has kidney failure and is not healthy enough to undergo serious tests that would require knocking her out. This was about two years ago and one year before Sam died. On the other hand, he was apparently the picture of health with the constitution of a kitten.

Well, when they did those tests, I already knew that Sam was not as healthy as he seemed, he’d begun to loose weight, but I figured it was mainly a thyroid condition. My vet kindly redid the blood tests and it was indeed Sable that was the sickly one, even though she was the one that would scamper about and behave like a kitten, while Sam was, for lack of a better description, more reserved and regal.

Sable at 18

Sable at 18

Well, no more. Sadly, I think her time is up. She hasn’t been able to keep but one bite of food down over the last 3 days and now can’t even keep in water. Her apetite was good until today, but now I think she’s pretty much done. Her symptoms are clearly end stage kidney failure. Though she’s definately senile, she’s not out of it like Sam was so it’s very hard for me to make the final decision about putting her down right now. But it’s really only a matter of days I think.

I thought it would be easier the 2nd time around, and in some ways it is. I can compare her weakness in her back legs to Sam’s and see that she really is also at the end. This isn’t something that’s going to get better. All I can do right now is make sure she is comfortable. She’s had almost 19 very good years, has terrorized the local tomcat at my old house, beaten up and then snubbed her brother (all while he continued to clean her), put Freia in her place within hours of her arrival as a nine week old pup in our house, she’s ruled the roost and ruled my heart for many years. Both tough and vulnerable, she’s been a good cat.

When I first got her, within days she disappeared out the fire escape for almost a week, sealing her place in my heart forever. I was sick with worry, going out every night to find her. One night I called her name and even though she barely knew me, she finally responded, came to me and purred, knowing that all was forgiven. I later learned from a neighbor that she’d been living in the shared backyard the whole time, I’m assuming gathering the lay of the land. She never needed to go out the fire escape again, she decided that home was the best place. Sam on the other hand would go out and hunt (or think he was hunting) daily. He caught a pigeon once and my roommate never let me forget it. All we found was a wing in the fireplace and it probably took me 1/2 an hour to vacuum up all the feathers. Sam was never so proud as he was that morning.

I’m not really a cat person, but these were good cats. It’s amazing to think I had them over 1/3 of my life –  Sable passing will be quite the end of an era.

Well, this morning I was convinced that it was time. But then after speaking with a friend who was going to come with me to the vet I decided that since she’s really not showing any pain that I would wait. She’s drinking water, but is not responding to all her favorite treats, though the tuna juice did somewhat act like smelling salts for her and she perked up a bit. I’ve been checking on her about every hour and just now held her on my chest for 20 minutes (as long as she could stand) and she even started purring. I’m glad I waited. I don’t think she wants to die at the vet’s. Sam was out of it when I took him in, I think he was somewhat aware that I was holding him, but really didn’t care about anything, not even meowing on the way to the vet. Sable is still aware of what’s going on around her, so it’s not her time yet. Maybe in one hour, maybe in one day, but not just yet.


And a little bit ‘o knitting.. December 1, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 4:33 pm
Elfin Booties

Elfin Booties

Now that my head is not quite so wrapped around Freia’s leg issues I’m able to actually get some knitting done. I’ve also come to realise that I appear to be one of those that would have “works well under pressure” on my resume, except it should be modified to say “designs well under pressure”. I’ve been producing new things at a bit of a breakneck speed lately and these are some of my best ideas yet.. I think..

Here they are in reverse order. The lastest completed design is for the Elfin Booties. Cute, eh? I released these last wednesday thinking “meh, we’ll see what happens, it’s a travel day before a giant holiday”. whoa.. I was wrong. This was the MOST successful pattern release ever of mine! I’m shocked, humbled and grateful! They are awfully fun to make, I’ve made a bunch already just in testing the pattern. One thing I learned from this.. almost the hard way, but thankfully not quite… Louet Riverstone yarn felts A LOT faster than Cascade 220. The above are in Cascade 220. Later, I made a pair for myself in the Riverstone and just caught them in time. They fit me perfectly, but 2 minutes longer in the washing machine and they would have been too small.



Another project that is finished – the knitting part – I still have to write up the pattern – are the Flore Bloomers. I had these with me at Stitches East and just pulled them out of my suitcase for photography for the 2009 Catalog that I’m also working on right now. Pattern will be coming soon, I have one other thing ahead of these but they should be ready soon-ish.. In case you didn’t already figure it out, these are meant to coordinate with my Flore Petal Hat – I have a little sweater in mind too, so stay tuned..

The final project that is making some real headway again is the Ophelia Shrug. This was something I started a while back but then lost my mojo. Well I’m deeply and very much in like with this project again and I can’t wait to get it done so I can wear it! I’m using Noro Silk Garden that I got from Laurie at Greenwich Yarn in the city. I love these colors and I think they work very nicely with the stitch patterns and the design. I have one more sleeve to go and it’s taking all my will power to not work on it this afternoon but to wait until my knitting group tonight. Here’s a taste:

Ophelia close up

Ophelia close up

Ophelia - big picture

Ophelia - big picture

I was concerned about the sizing, it was looking a little big so I was starting to dread undoing it, but I got a little smart and instead of just beginning to unwind, I partially pulled out one needle to try it on, and phew! It was just right. This meant I had to reinsert the needle in a million (well, 250) stitches, but better than reknitting 30 rows of 200+ stitches. I also took some time yesterday and filmed a short tutorial on how to do the stitch pattern particular to this design. Once that is edited I will put it up. So.. pattern is written, I just have to finish up the knitting, double check my numbers and it’s good to go. Yay!