Our Ruth Girl

Our Ruth Girl
(She is 10 1/2 years old)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 19 - Our last day with Ruth

Although the early morning and afternoon were spent giving Ruth kisses, snuggles, and loving... it's 4:35 p.m. and it's been such a long day.

Yesterday, we made the hard hard decision to take Our Ruth Girl to the vet today as she was getting worse rather than better. We were on the way to her 3:00 appointment, and Dear Sweet Jesus answered our prayers and called her home at 2:40. My arms were wrapped around her and she knew she was safe where she was, and where she was going.

Thankfully, Bud had prepared a special place for her a couple of weeks ago, just in case. Like he said, we could always fill it back in when she got better. Her body is now resting next to Sara, her first/older sister, in the pecan orchard. But, I know they are playing together once again, along with others that she never met in this life such as Xena and other sisters/brother and cousins.... Sadie, Teka Sue, Tyrone Too, Greta, Ms. Willie, Bentley... the list goes on and on.

Our Ruth Girl is healthy again... and where she is, skunks don't smell!

May we all rejoice with the spirit of life that Our Ruth Girl brought to those who knew her, even if it was simply through this blog.

We are blessed.


Tribute to Our Ruth Girl

Thank you, sweet girl.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 18

After a good night's rest, our day has begun.

I changed out Ruth's bedding about 3:30 this morning, then again when I got up at 5:30. She's wanted bunches of water this morning, even lapping the tip of the bottle with her tongue.

She's sleeping again... Beth and Daddy are also still sleeping.

6:00 - Everyone's awake now ... Ruth has had bunches of water & Pedalyte this morning already! She also had a fingerful of plain peanut butter for her "Good Morning" snack when Beth had her "toothbrush".

Because she's been drinking so much water this morning, Bud leaned her up on her elbow and I placed her water bowl in front of her... she wouldn't even look down to get a drink on her own. She won't do anything except stare and pant while in this holding position. Once back down on her pillow, she laps up water out of the bottle beautifully.

I was able to smuch about 3 tablespoons worth of canned food in her mouth before she totally stopped cooperating. She would lick the "tasty" off my finger.

Again, today, she potties/drips continously, as if that muscle/body function is no longer working. Rather than any improvements, we are afraid Our Ruth Girl is slipping away from us further and further.

She refuses to eat anything. She rarely perks her ears up or tracks us anymore. Still no kisses. When we move her around, I can see in her eyes that she seems frightened. I can only imagine what's going through her mind. She does enjoy getting drinks of water! But, she won't from her water bowl, just out of the bottle.

Eighteen days ago our life drastically changed.

Bud & I made the hard decision to take her into the vet's office tomorrow afternoon and send her home to play with Sara and Sadie, our first two dobies that have gone before her.

Our Ruth Girl has been so good to us. Her body, however, is shutting down. We believe her mind is going too, or she's just so tired. She so doesn't deserve not to be able to run after squirrels, or rabbits, or chase the cattle away from the yard fence, or help Daddy and Beth feed the cattle, or hunt deer from the window, or protect us from Big Birds (buzzards and helicopters from Ft. Hood), the UPS truck, or other vehicles that come up to the house.

It took Our Ruth Girl a very long time to trust us after we saved her from that mean man at the puppy mill. She finally bonded with us totally, not allowing anyone else inside her world... except when Granny gave her crackers! But, even though she wouldn't let Granny or Papo touch her, she would on occasion gently, quickly, give Granny's empty hand a short kiss of thanks. Ruth's taken care of us for 10 years and 3 months. We've tried to take care of her, make her better, believing, hoping she would. But, we know in our hearts, it is time we let her go.

Tonight will be filled with tears, hugs, and kisses to Ruth's forehead while snuggling with her one last time, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to keep up with our journey. We appreciate and love all those who love Our Ruth Girl.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 17 - Monday - January 26, 2009

Ruth and I started our day at 4:30. Bud & Beth slept in the bedroom and came in about 5:15. Ruth stayed on the couch last night, me in my recliner. After replacing her bedding and giving her bunches of water swallows, I began a MS Word document pulling out info from this blog that shows what she physically could/couldn't do so far along our journey. It's been a roller coaster...

She willingly accepted her last PB covered Doxy this morning. But, she wouldn't have anything to do with the canned food. I smushed several chunks in her mouth, but she would spit it out. A very little amount pushed inside I could get the water in to wash it down. She would lick off my finger several squirts of the "tasty" supplement.

She's breathing more through her mouth today than other days, a shallow panting like action.

When Bud moved her from the couch to the pad, we put her in the Sphinx position with a folded pillow underneath her rib cage area. She held her own for at least 5 minutes! At one point, Bud gave her some water (via bottle) and it's the first time she would drink anything while in this position. She's resting now after a job well done!

We got her up on the ball again, this time she pooped!

I gave her more "tasty" squirts... she even licked them off my finger!

I tried giving her more food... she wouldn't swallow it w/o pouring water in her mouth.

2:45 ... we got her up on the ball again. She was doing well, at first, holding her head up, looking around (although dazed like) then her head dropped abruptly onto the ball. She couldn't hold her head up any longer. First time this has happened. But, she hasn't eaten hardly anything today... many squirts of "tasty" here and there... I'll try some peanut butter and see if she'll eat that after she rests for a while.

She licked off my finger the peanut butter covered Prednisone, then had a little more peanut butter. I smushed about 1/4 cup of canned food into her mouth, with her swallowing after each one. The last bite, she did lick off my finger. She eagerly licked the several squirts of the "tasty" off my finger.

She's been sleeping a lot today. More so than any day/night since this journey began. She also has been pottying a lot... not a full emptying of the bladder, but a drip now and then.

After I ate my usual half of a chicken pot pie, several times I finger-dabbed the leftover juice and Ruth licked it off my finger... at one point, she tried licking the plate, but just couldn't hold her head up off the pillow enough. I baked some chocolate chip cookies after supper and while Bud & I were eating a few, and Beth was in front of Bud getting her "usual" tiny bites, Ruth suddenly woke up from a sound sleep and looked around, her nose working overtime sniffing the air. I immediately knelt down by her and she actually took what I offered! This was the first time she'd crunch anything for days! I thought maybe leaning her up on her elbow would entice her to eat more (her tongue keeps hanging out toward which ever side she's laying on) so I got her ready for when Bud was down to his last cookie. She had no interest in the piece of cookie. In fact, whenever she sits up, or we have her in the Sphinx position, she stares off as if in a daze, or maybe she's dizzy and is trying to stay focused on one object.

Before turning her over, and settling her in for the night, we did the Sphinx again and put a pillow underneath her chest area rather than the ball. She managed to hold her head up this time the full 5 minutes, but her blank stare and her labored breathing returned.

No kisses today. We haven't gotten a kiss in several days now.

She's sleeping, like she's done for the most of the day today. Dear God, May she rest peacefully tonight.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 16 - Blessed by prayers

I woke up this morning filled with thankfulness knowing how much support, prayers, and encouragement Ruth, Beth, Bud & I are constantly receiving ... not only through this challenge, but everyday, all the time. In addition to G & P, my sister chats with me daily, throughout the day and evening, checking in on how Ruth is doing, and how we are holding up. She continually offers suggestions, thoughts, and prayers. Amy (Bud's daughter) and Leasa & Leslie, my nieces, chat/email as often as their busy schedules allow, but I know they constantly lift us all up in prayer. Robin and other friends call or email, "touching base" now and then to let us know they are praying for Ruth, and us. Even people I've not met, like Lexi's mom and Donna (a MySpace and Facebook friend) sends puppy prayers to Ruth all the time.

We are blessed.

Bud & Beth slept in the living room with Ruth & I last night. This Texas weather ... was 80+ degrees Friday, then never hit 40 yesterday... keeps us guessing what the next day/night will bring! I know the network's "weather person" guesses as well!

The morning Doxy. was given about 5:45. Ruth didn't like it getting smushed in her mouth too much! Her daddy had given her bunches of water while I was getting it ready, so she was all lubricated and tongue was in it's proper place... ready to lick, if she wanted! And, she did "want" for the second helping of plain peanut butter!

6:30 a.m. - Ruth got exercised good! While in the "Sphinx" position, we've been folding a pillow and putting it underneath her rib cage, the fold side underneath her armpits. This seems to help her naturally bend her arms. I'm on the butt end and keep her hind legs/feet in position evenly balanced and toes outstretched. Sometimes she's moved one or the other to readjust, but not often, and not much. Again, I offered her water bowl, but she didn't have any interest in lapping water. She's holding her head up nicely, and she pants (not heavy, just "normal") while in this position... while we scratch, massage, and rub her all over!

After Bud picked her up to change sides, and I readjusted the bedding underneath her, he placed her back down, then leaned her up on her elbow for a few minutes longer. She moving her head around, tracking with her ears and eyes, but she doesn't lift her head off the pillow unless something really gets her attention - or when she's looking for one of us! (We should be having kittens in six weeks with all the commotion going on outside on the porch all night long! Not to mention when Beth starts barking and carrying on and it's "something" like a "big bird" - aka buzzard!)

Ruth is not moving her legs on her own, except to stretch. It doesn't appear she's even trying to make the motions... it's like the spark plug in her brain is not firing correctly, or at all. The vet originally mentioned a neurological cause to her condition... maybe that's what is wrong with Our Ruth Girl, not Coonhound.

7:30 - we just finished a successful breakfast! Ruth had 1/3 cup of canned food and about 90% of it, she licked up off my finger!!!! She then got a couple of "tasty" squirts for dessert and I got a licked cleaned finger!

10:15 - Bud & I decided this time when we "Sphinxed" Ruth we would take my Pilate ball, deflate it some, and put it underneath her ribcage, rather than the towel. She was in this position for about 5 minutes, during which time, she never tried to use her hind legs, and she kept her front legs stretched out.

When Bud picked her up, to change sides, she started pooping!!! I managed to get a washed baby wipe and catch in time... it wasn't near a black as it has been. She didn't poop yesterday, so change in Prednisone dosage, and an increase in canned food may have helped tremendously in the poopy department.

Now, she's laying comfortably in her new position.

About 11:40 I tried giving her some cottage cheese... oh, she hates cottage cheese! I wasn't too found of it either until a few years ago, so I'm not pushing it on her. I then gave her about 1/8 cup of canned food (wanted to give more, but she just wasn't cooperating).

I've been doing more research and came across this article about the neurological aspect I've been trying to ignore. At my questioning, Bud reminded me today that was what the vet originally said was most likely wrong with Our Ruth Girl and that the vet didn't offer a positive prognosis.

When we Sphinxed Ruth a while ago, it seemed to cause labored breathing (more so than usual) so we didn't hold her in the position for long. Bless her heart, the muscles in her front legs are basically gone. We see her hip bones very distinctly, not much muscle back there as well. Since her paralysis began in the front and progressed (albeit rapidly) to the back, it's not surprising her front muscles have wasted so drastically.

I snuggled with Ruth and took a short nap this afternoon. Occasionally she would sniff my nose, but never offered me a kiss.

I leaned her up and got her elbow in place, but she couldn't hold that position on her own so I got up next to her, letting her lean her body against me. We sat like that for a while, until Bud & Beth came back in from the barn. I'm sure, she enjoyed being able to see them come through the door in an upright position.

About 5:00, we got Ruth on the ball again... literally! It went much better this time... practice makes perfect! I think Bud & I were better at it than she was!

THEN, after she rested for about 20 minutes, it was Peanut Butter Prednisone time! She licked it off my finger! THEN she ate about 1/3 cup of canned food!! THEN she licked about 5 squirts of the "tasty" off my finger!!!!

Bud has put her up on the couch, Beth's on the other end... like "usual" in our household. She'll stay up there until it's time to go to bed.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 15

Our day began about 5:30. We all slept pretty well... Bud & Beth in bed, me in the recliner, and Ruth on her pad on the floor in front of me.

Bless her heart, I didn't wake up until about 4:00 to check on her. Her bedding underneath her bottom was totally soaked. I changed it out, gave her a couple of drinks from the water bottle then I settled back on the recliner.

Beth woke me up, then Bud came in... morning treats were given... Beth had her "toothbrush" and Ruth had peanut butter covered Doxy (I will give the Prednisone tonight, since I believe it negatively effects her appetite) smushed in her open space, then she licked my finger just about clean! A few more swallows of water, then Bud & I took a break outside.

When we returned, we lifted Ruth up on her elbow and I sat next to her so she could lean against me. After giving her a chance to look around, Bud held her water bowl so she could get a drink. She didn't want anything to do with it. It seems like she's forgotten how to lap water. He gently moved her head so her nose touched the water, and did this three times without any results. Once we laid her back down, I gave her some water via the bottle and she swallowed nicely several times. So, she needed/wanted water, but wouldn't take it from the bowl.... this concerns me greatly.

Much to Ruth's dismay, she got about 1/3-1/2 cup worth of can food smushed in her mouth piece by piece. Many times she stopped swallowing, so I would give her a big drink of water. I would say she got at least a cup worth of water while eating breakfast! She never wanted to lick my finger, or take any bites of it off my finger. I then gave her a couple of squirts of the "tasty" supplement and she would lick my finger clean both times! At least, she's gotten more food in her today. Her poor muscles are just wasting away....

Again we did the "tuck 'n roll" helping Ruth hold in position for about 5 minutes before settling her on the opposite side. While in the hold position, I offered her bowl of water, again she refused to take a drink. She did swallow several good drinks I gave her from the bottle. She's not really alert today. She does track us, somewhat, but not with perky eyes or ears.

It is times like today that causes me to wonder if Coonhound Disease is really what is wrong... the vet has no clue... tests are "normal". She's not giving us any sign of improving, only fading slowly away from us.

About 10:00 I gave Ruth about 1.5 teaspoons of small curd cottage cheese... I can't tell you how thrilled she was of that - NOT! She did realize very quickly she couldn't spit it out very effectively, so would go ahead and swallow it! I've been laying next to her, snuggling, praying, and every so often, she'd sniff my nose, but wouldn't give me any kisses.

If kisses could heal, she would be "Supergirl" by now from the amount she's been receiving!

After a bedding change, we leaned her up on her elbow for a few minutes and balanced her as she worked on keeping her head up and looking around. While in this upright position, I gave her some "tasty" squirts, but she wouldn't lick my finger clean. She's back sleeping again on her pillow.

About 11:00, Ruth got "bicycled" then swapped to other side and a couple more swallows of water. Around 11:40, I noticed Ruth sniffing at the water bottle I had left propped next to her pad! I gave her some more water! Then, after a bedding change, she got another 1/4 cup of can food smushed into her mouth small pieces at a time. This time she swallowed, didn't lick my finger, but she did swallow each "serving" without me having to chase the bites with water!

It's 2:55... she got Sphinxed again and we also put a pillow up under her rib cage while she held it for a while. She now has complete new bedding, laying on the opposite side, has had several big drinks of water, and is sleeping peacefully.

About 4:00, Ruth ate another 1/4 cup of the can food (of course, we give her several drinks of water about every 20 minutes). At first, she licked it off my finger! Then, Bud got up and fussed with Beth and a treat for her, which totally distracted Ruth. So, the ole smush action finished the rest.

It was 6:00 when Ruth got her peanut butter covered Prednisone. She accepted it, smushed through her teeth! Then she got another 1/4 cup of the can food. This she didn't like tonight one bit! Maybe she had crunched up the Pred. (I understand it's bitter) and nothing was going to taste good. Bud mixed up some beef broth and put it in a water bottle for me to give Ruth... she seemed "pleasantly" surprised that it wasn't plain water! I will give her a "tasty" in a little while, after we eat our Venison chili dinner.

Granny wrote such a sweet comment about Our Ruth Girl. Thank you! Granny calls every morning around 7:00, then each evening about 5:00... anyway... but especially now to check on Ruth's progress. Papo calls Bud at around 11:30 every day... it's their time for "guy talk". I also received a phone call from MIL today! Bud talked with her while he was in town yesterday and told her about Ruth and that we would not be coming to Dallas next week for her birthday. Since she didn't get to talk to me, she called today to see how I was holding up and Ruth's status. That was a very nice gesture on her part, considering she, too, is bedridden.

Ruth got "tuck 'n rolled" a couple more times... she even licked the "tasty" off my finger!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 14

Everyone slept well last night! I changed Ruth's padding about 2:00, then when I got up at 6:00. She's thirsty this morning! I gave her bunches of water swallows before her peanut butter/meds (PBM) "treat" and then bunches afterwards! At first she wasn't all that excited, about the PBM, but then she licked my finger clean!!!

It promises to be a great day!

We put Ruth in the Sphinx position about 7:25 and she held it for another 5 minutes, pushing against one of her hind legs to reposition herself! But, then she was too pooped to eat. I tried smushing food (her normal dry food soaked in the water/oil mixture made from hamburger meat sprinkled with garlic powder - one of her favorite spices!) in between her teeth, only to have her spit it out. Even after a water chaser! I will try again about 9:00, after she's rested some.

More squirts of the "tasty" ... basically that's all she'll eat, and even cleans my finger! Her daddy is going to town today and will get other goodies for us to try... cottage cheese ... more supplement ... can food for our senior girl ... low sodium beef broth ... as long as she doesn't stop swallowing (a trick she's learn that will make me stop trying to feed her), I'll keep putting it in her mouth!

I just sat Ruth up on her elbows. She held it for a few minutes while I scratched all the places I could reach! She did sniff my nose, but didn't offer a kiss. We haven't gotten kisses in a couple of days now. But, we have perky eyes and ears!

It's almost 11:00... Ruth has had almost 2 cups of water today, numerous squirts of "tasty", a finger full of plain (no meds) creamy peanut butter, and several failed attempts at dry yet moist girl food w/olive oil on the side.

Ruth sat up (with my help, of course) for about 15 minutes... the majority of the time, she balanced on her own!

Just a note: I've been using a type of baby wipe that is alcohol free and is non-flushable (since we are on a septic tank system, not a good thing!) Anyhoo, they wash/dry up beautifully, so I use them instead of paper towels when needing to wipe up my mess when feeding Ruth or water drippings off her pillow!

A little after noon, I was propping Ruth up on her elbow and got a KISS! She balanced on her own for a little while... baby steps!

It's been a busy afternoon! Bud got home with Ruth's goodies and she got about 1/4 cup worth of can food... I had to smush it in, then chase with water, but I got it down her! She had some "tasty" for dessert, along with bunches more water.

We also took her outside for a few minutes... got her in the Sphinx position again and she held her back legs tight against her sides. Bud had one more step before reentering the house and she started pottying like a waterfall! Fortunately, I've learned to walk along with them carrying a towel underneath the critical area. Once we had her settled back down on her pad, she got more water... refilling that bladder!

Throughout the afternoon she received more water, a couple of changes in bedding, placed in the sphinx position, then, Bud and I took a nap in our respective recliners!

For dinner, Ruth had another 1/4 cup of can food... a couple of times she even licked it off my finger or cleaned up the spilled chunks off the towel underneath her head! But, for the most part, it got smushed in that faithful open space, then chased with water. Again, she got some "tasty" for dessert and licked my finger clean!

I'm hoping, by decreasing the Prednisone to one time a day, her appetite will return. Sometimes, it's like she forgets she can lick/lap her food. And, she seems to fall asleep, or maybe her way of trying to ignore me.... I may not give tomorrow morning's dosage, and wait until tomorrow night... start giving her at night may also help her appetite for the day.

We put Ruth on her back a couple of times tonight and gave her lots of scratches and exercised her legs by stretching and bicycling. Then she got another 1/4 cup of can food... this time she licked the food off my fingers!!!! Although Pednisone can cause excessive appetite, it apparently has worked the opposite in Ruth. I believe, after a full week of taking Prednisone, we would not be experiencing such a loss of appetite as we've seen in Ruth.

Well, we "Sphinxed" her one more time for the day. She started out with outstretched forearms, but then relaxed and rested on her elbows. After she made a minor adjustment of her hind right leg, she held her own for over 5 minutes! Now she is resting, seemingly comfortably, after getting several more swallows of water after such a great workout.

I am blessed to have had another day with Ruth. I continually pray that God helps me/us help Our Ruth Girl.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 13

It was a fretful night. I stayed in the living room with Ruth. Bud & Beth went back to the bedroom. No matter what I did, I could not get Ruth to relax. I'm thinking she slept too much late yesterday afternoon/evening because she exercised more than she had since the onset of this disease. Or, she was upset that her Daddy wasn't in here with her. She also wanted to go outside. Chomping teeth told me clearly what she wanted, but I couldn't get her out there. Finally, she pottied about 4:00 this morning. I changed her bedding and used the baby wipes to clean her up real good but she continued chomping. I gave up about 5:00 and got up. The only time she's chomped since is when I went outside for a break.

Beth came in and greeted me about 5:45. I got the bedroom door shut so Bud could sleep late without Beth running back and jumping on the bed.

About 6:00, I sat Ruth up on her elbow and she leaned against me for about five minutes. All morning, I've been giving her the last of the Pedalyte. Bud will get more tomorrow when he goes into town. After morning meds, I'll start giving her Chicken Broth. I don't want to ruin the taste before she gets the fingerful peanut butter.

Lexi's mom sent me more information last night! It's been a God's send learning more and more how to help Our Ruth Girl.

This morning's peanut butter covered meds were given through the jaw opening and pills were swallowed... a short time later, while Bud was preparing Beth's breakfast, I started giving her CoW through the opening. After only a short time she stopped swallowing... like she was falling asleep, too tired to swallow anymore. We got her up on her elbows, and she finally swallowed... now she's sleeping... could she just be too tired, or is something else going on? Does she really have Coonhound Disease, or is it something else?

9:00 a.m. - we just put Ruth in the Sphinx position and helped her hold it for about 5 minutes. Once she was on the other side, I gave her a couple of swallows worth of water and she's resting now. In fact, she's dreaming - facial ticks and rapid eye movement. I'd not seen that since our journey began!

It's 3:00. We have gotten Ruth in the Sphinx position at least three times this afternoon! Then, we all went outside and got some "Vitamin S"... before we could get Ruth in the position again, she pooped and pottied!!! She didn't poop yesterday at all.

On the way back in, Bud stepped on the scale before placing her back down. Ruth now weighs 51 lbs.... that Monday we took her into the vet's office, she weighed "mid-60's" Bud said.

But... she is eating the "tasty" supplement better, even licking my finger clean! So, hopefully, all the Sphinxing (is that a word?) we are doing, especially at the encouragement of Lexi's mom, will indeed increase her appetite!

5:15 - Ruth just got "Sphinxed" again! This time, she held her own balance for 5 WHOLE minutes! In addition, she moved her back leg a little to adjust herself! She got bunches of swallows of water for this good job!

Supper wasn't much, but a big start on the right path! Since Bud and I are the "vet" (since our vet has no clue what's wrong with her) we've decided to cut back to one time a day for the Prednisone and Doxy. So, for a treat, after the tad of food here and there, she got (very excitedly) a non-crunch fingerful of peanut butter!

We did one more Sphinx before bedtime... again she did wonderfully holding her own balance for about 5 minutes. When Bud picked her up to change her head to face the other direction to get her on the bedtime side, she pottied good! Fortunately for us, it was over the old towels/bedding that were going to be changed out anyway rather than the carpet!!!

Well, Bud & Beth have gone to bed. Ruth has gotten bunches of drinks since her last exercise and is resting well... I pray her rest continues throughout the night. I'm sleeping in the recliner tonight facing her so she will know she's not alone.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 12

We all must have slept well last night because no one was awake when Granny made her usual phone call at 7:00!

After giving Ruth several swallows of water, I tried the peanut butter meds... she didn't want to take them, so I had to put the glob in her mouth! I thought she had swallowed both... but she'd snookered me! When we went to move her from the pad on the floor, to the couch, a pill was discovered!!! She got it this time... chased with some chicken juice!

Before moving her off the pad, we did a series of exerices... first we leaned her up on her elbow and kept her propped up for a few minutes. Then we slowly turned her on her back and I "bicycle" worked the back legs while Bud worked the front legs. When Bud put her up on the couch, she got some drinks and a couple squirts of the "tasty" supplement (it was priceless the other day, the expression on Beth's face when she wanted to smell what Sister was getting!).

I don't think I've mentioned this before... part of Ruth's therapy... I even massage between her toes "getting the toe jam out" and then underneath between her pad and toes. Over the last few days, I always get a reaction/response! I am so prayful that this disease has run its course and she's slowly coming back to us!

She refused the thicker CoW for lunch. Just getting more water and the "tasty" stuff!

It's turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day! There is a slight wind, but doesn't feel to have any chill in it so about 1:30 Daddy took Ruth outside!!! Soon as he sat her hind legs down, she pottied!!! He scooted her over and we tried the sternal position for a few seconds, then she stretched out her back right leg. We tried her in the sitting position for a few seconds... When Bud brought her back inside, and settled on the couch, she's konked out! I did manage getting her to swallow several mouth fulls of water first, and she's "sawing logs" right now!

We are so blessed that she can hold up her head. She does especially well when leaning/ propped up on her elbow.

Mid afternoon I emailed Lexi's "parents" and have received several emails full of information to help us help Our Ruth Girl. She explained the "tuck and roll" method of moving Ruth around that will also strengthen her legs and may possibly get her walking sooner! Also, she shared about the peanut-shaped ball therapy and gave me the link to where we can purchase the ball!

She eagerly took her peanut butter covered meds this evening! There was nothing else that remotely interested her. So, she got the "tasty" squirt!

Ruth is absolutely pooped today... I've not seen her actually sleep as peacefully since before this all started. Before "bed" we will put her in the sternal position once again, then settle her in for the night. Again tonight we will snuggle. I have encouraged Bud that he & Beth return to the bedroom and get a good night's rest rather than sleep in the recliner. Ruth and I will be just fine here in the living room.

We have so much to be thankful for today!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 11

Today hasn't started off as well as other days, or how I had hoped after such a good day yesterday. She didn't want her meds, so I had to stuff the peanut butter covered meds in the open space of her jaw (where there is no teeth). I had given her some chicken broth before hand to "wet her gizzard" but it didn't help. Maybe chicken broth and peanut butter tastes horrible together! Next time I'll use plain water! DUH! My bad!

Both Bud & I were exhausted last night and decided to take a "nap" in our recliners before officially turning in for the night. I woke up at 2:00 and made mine & Ruth's beds on the floor. I checked Ruth's bedding and it needed changing. As I lifted her back end to remove the toweling, she drew her back legs up in the squatting position and pottied as if she was outside! That's a good sign.

Since Bud's doing the major lifting of Ruth, taking care of fence work, unloading cattle feed, and the many many other physical stuff around here, I just couldn't disturb him. So, I settled back in the recliner about 3:15. I woke up for the day about 5:30 and he told me he had gotten up about 5:00.

We lifted Ruth up on her elbow and she sat there for about 10 minutes while we scratched and rubbed on her. For the most part, she balanced on her own, still holding her head up nicely and looking around. Also, this was the first time we've done this without her drooling. When we were moving her around to be on the other side, we held her on her back and did "bicycle" exercises for a few minutes with all four limbs. Before totally laying her on her other side, we leaned her up and she sat up on that elbow for a shorter time.

I'm hoping, since she wouldn't eat anything for breakfast, that she was too tired, that we should have waited. We will try something (other than her "tasty" supplement she did get gently stuffed in her mouth!) in a little while.

I just don't know what we are going to do if we can't get her to eat!

YIPPPEEEE!!!! About 9:30 Ruth began eating fingerfuls of Cream of Wheat!!! She ate it slowly, like resting between cleaning off my finger with hard licks! She ate almost 1/4 cup worth!!! That is SUCH a good thing!

She's on Ped. liquid this morning... not doing the chicken juice for a while!

We sat Ruth up again for about 9 minutes... most of which time she held her balance (leaning way over the opposite way)!

Another sit up time! It was just with me helping, so Ruth didn't stay up long, but she thoroughly enjoyed the time looking around from a different perspective!

Bud prepared more CoW, but it was a little runny and took much more energy than Ruth was prepared to exert. It's thickening up and we'll try again after she has her meds. We leaned her up on her elbow for a while. Little bit at a time, maybe she will get more energy and develop an appetite. We can hope.

She was not too impressed with the meds tonight, but I got them inside and she got them down! It was sort of funny, after a while of trying to get her to lick it off my finger she knew I was going to put it in the side opened space area and she lifted her gum up for me!!!

We are having spaghetti tonight. Ruth used to love getting pasta now and then while Bud ate. Again, we can only hope.

Nope, she didn't want that either.... instead she got juice and supplement squirts!

After a good belly rub and bicycle exercises while we had her on her back, we got her in the sternal position before settling her in for the night. She was shaky and we had to keep pulling her front feet out from knuckling, but she did very well for the first time in over 10 days! In fact, she slightly repositioned her rear right leg as if to get more comfortable. We only kept her there for a few minutes... baby steps.

Our beds are together, so I'll get to snuggle with her tonight! Beth will get the entire couch to herself! Bud will stretch out in his recliner. Maybe tomorrow night, when it's supposed to be warmer, he and Beth will go back to the bedroom to get a good night's rest.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 10 - A Magical Day!!!

We all woke up late... 6:30 a.m.! It was a more peaceful night last night. I think, because I was able to comfortably snuggle with Ruth, to give her comfort if she began to fret. Which she did fret twice, and I realized that's her way of letting us know she needs to go outside. Bless her heart. I checked about 12:30 and indeed needed to change her bedding, then again about 3:45. Both times were after her trying to hold it as long as she could.

With both eyes clear and focused, when she was presented with the peanut butter med, she EAGERLY accepted it! Then, Bud prepared some cream of wheat and she LAPPED it up (off my finger) a little at a time until about a 1/4 cup worth was gone!!! This was the most tongue action we've seen in several days! She will certainly be offered more cream of wheat for lunch!

Also, today, for the first time in DAYS, we heard from her more than just the clashing of teeth!!! So, it sounds like she's getting her voice back!

Yesterday, she did have about 1 3/4 cups worth of low sodium chicken broth, in addition to some plain water. I've already started her on a regiment of chicken broth and water ... I have two bottles prepared and ready to give her one or the other every 15 minutes.

Another baby step... before we moved her from the floor padding to the couch, we tried to get her to stand (with us holding her of course), but she couldn't... back legs were too weak. So, she squatted like, and let out a good potty! Then she sat (on a dry towel!) for a while... she can hold her head up, but we know it takes a lot of strength/energy so we don't keep her in that position for long.

I pray we continue to have baby steps today!

Bud just returned from town and brought home another round of Prednisone. I had read a blog that said they also gave Doxycycline, along with the Prednisone, so he picked that up from the vet as well. In addition, he got a tube of "Supplical" which is a nutritional supplement that's a concentrated source of calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids, and Antioxidants. The vet said others found it "tasty" ... well, Ruth wasn't impressed, and Beth also turned her nose up to it!!! But, Ruth got it put in her mouth anyway!!! I had also read that Pedialyte would also be good for Ruth, so he bought some home and we'll start working on that!

Oh well, hind sight's 20/20 ... wish we had tried the cream of wheat (CoW) again before giving her that "tasty" supplement. What CoW she did eat was basically either put on her nose so she'd lick it off, or a fingerful put between her jaw & lip! Needless to say, she didn't eat much. At least, she had it "chased" by some Pedialyte!

We sat her up on the appropriate elbow and she looked around, out the window, and then back at us, all the while getting scratches and loving. She gave us both some kisses and managed to balance on her own for a few minutes, too!

When I was changing her bedding a few minutes ago, I leaned over near her nose and got a kiss!

Again we leaned her up on her elbow and she sat up for a while, looking around! This was the third time today!

YES! She took her evening meds! Tonight we started the Doxycycline (100 mg) along with the Prednisone. She wouldn't eat hardly anything tonight. We did get about a cup of Pedialyte in her, along with some more squirts of the "tasty" supplement! Bud tried "taco juice" ... drippings from hamburger meat cooked in the microwave and drains into a corning ware dish that we freeze up and have always given to Ruth and Beth. She wasn't too impressed, so Bud soaked the pancake and put in between her gums and lips... then chased it with some water. After about 3 bites, she totally was not happy.

About 7:45 tonight, she pooped! (She's pottied several several times today... just got tired of posting each time!) I was giving her a kiss and noticed her back leg moving. I did a check and discovered it!!! Apparently, she was in the process, or trying to move away from it! The stool was dark and sort of hard, so maybe what taco juice she received helped to lubricate it. Earlier, when we had her in the sitting position, it looked like she was trying to poop then, but couldn't.

Sleeping arrangements will be like we had last night ...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 9

We all rested a little better last night. Before midnight, Ruth would snap repeatedly to get my attention. No sound comes out of her now other than the clashing of teeth. I checked her bedding, and yes! she did need changing. After a dry bed was underneath her, she settled down and allowed me to fall back to sleep in my recliner. From his recliner, Bud told me he woke up occasionally and knelt down by her and gave her bunches of scratches.

She slept on the couch, and is still there. For the day her head, neck, and upper arm are propped up on a pillow with wedges underneath that brings her head up better. She's had some water this morning and I've set the timer to give her another swallow or two or three every 15 minutes. Her eyes still look off, the left one usually stays rolled back. Only when she's stimulated by one of us will she look through both eyes. Sometimes her right eye does the same way.

Just a second ago, when I gave her a swallow, she stretched all fours! I'm praying continously she accepts her peanut butter med this morning. She's not too excited about anything right now.

6:15 a.m. YEA! Praise God! Bud was able to get her pill down! And, some more water! She even finished licking the peanut butter off his finger!

8:10 a.m. Ruth was certainly not interested in eating anything. I put some warmed low sodium chicken broth and water mixture in a water bottle and Bud managed to get most of it in her without spilling too much! It was only about 1/2 cup worth. But, added to the water she'd already been given this morning, it helps to keep up her liquid intake and gives her some calories, too. What do we do if she won't eat? She refuses her "normal" treat "pancakes" and we scrambled an egg, but she won't have any part if either one. Bud will call the vet and leave a message for him today, hopefully he will call back with some suggestions how/what to feed her. I'm thinking a liquid supplement may be needed to help keep her strength up during this "time will heal" period.

Baby Beth is such a trooper. She knows her sister doesn't feel good. Every now and then, Beth will come up and give Ruth a kiss. She's also been very good in the "protection" mode when cows stroll along in the pasture out front. When she barks, Ruth so wants to help out and "take charge" but the ole body is just not cooperating right now.

When Bud prepared us some cream of wheat for breakfast, Ruth really perked up, as if to ask, "Where is mine?" the "normal" routine has always been Bud sharing his with Ruth and Beth... dotted fingerful at a time. I sat next to Ruth and offered her the same as Beth was getting from their Daddy.... Ruth LOVED it! She wouldn't, however, have anything to do with the scrapings out of the pan... because, of course, it didn't have any butter or sugar in it! This small step to us means she still has her sense of smell!

Bud called & spoke with the vet about 10:00 this morning. The plan is, Bud will pick up some antibotics tomorrow (the initial injection was a stronger dosage of another "family" of meds) and also some "tasty" gel that will give her some calories!

We raised her up and managed to get an elbow underneath! Leaning against her Daddy, Ruth managed to keep her head up, give us some kisses, and nuzzled our face with her nose. This lasted for about 7 minutes before we put her back down. I found a website on how to give her massages and will study this afternoon! Any information is greatly appreciated!

About 12:15 this afternoon, I was chatting with my sister via Y!M and she suggested beating up a raw egg and giving it to Ruth. Ruth LOVED it! This was the first time she's lapped in over a day! She tired out before finishing, but when Bud gets back (from repairing a fenceline) we'll get her up on her elbows and give it another try!!!!

Well, that didn't go well. Bud propped her up, but she didn't have any interest in the egg. We both did receive bunches of sweet kisses from her. As we were moving her around, we tried helping her in the sitting position, but she has no strength whatsoever and it lasted about a half second.

Bud mentioned, and a friend, Robin, emailed me with the same description... this is such a roller coaster ride filled with emotions. It's so hard seeing Our Ruth Girl like this. We are coming up on the evening med time... I'm not holding my breath that she will accept it.

5:45 p.m. - Bud lifted her up and she leaned on the appropriate elbow and took her peanut butter pill!!! We kept her sitting up for about 10 minutes, until her head began getting lower and lower ... it was a good thing she held it for so long!

About 6:30 we sat down in front of Ruth (she was on her pad on the floor) and we started eating our "usual" Sunday night dinner... Pancakes. Ruth lifted her head with perky ears and chomped her teeth as if asking, "Where is mine?" I gave her a pieces until she stopped wanting any! She only took about 3 small pieces... another baby step!!!

Instead of putting my pad down in front of her, I placed it along her back side and snuggled with her all night. There is nothing wrong with her neck muscles! She would press her head against mine off and on all night long!


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 8 - Ruth is officially 10 1/2 years old today

6:30 a.m. - Ruth is hanging in there. She is still moving her head up and down against the pillow... I don't understand why she can't just lay still and sleep peacefully. I'm sitting right next to her and am watching her, trying to figure it all out. She has not cried out in pain whenever we rub/massage over her, or when we do the passive range of motion exercises. That's a good thing.

What if the Coonhound Disease is not what is wrong? Although the sites I've found give us hope, because of the similar symptoms and method of onset and that there is a very good chance of recovery, albeit long, what if something else is wrong?

6:45 a.m. - She pooped! She never did yesterday, but she also didn't eat anything other than the peanut butter. Maybe that's why the stool was hard and black. A little part of it was "normal" ... which indicates to me that it's a change in her diet, or the meds, that caused the hard blackness - not blood in her system finally coming out. Will have to see on the next one.

7:30 a.m. - We barely got her meds down, she wasn't too excited about the peanut butter. Now Bud is hand feeding her Cheerios. At first, she refused, but now she's eating!!!

It's noon. We haven't received any kisses today. Because I was typing, rather than touching/rubbing her, I received the first yelp for the day!

1:15 p.m. BROUGHT KISSES!!!
Bud had helped lean Ruth up on her elbows, and after a few minutes of looking around, even stretching to check out her bottom, she sniffed his nose, then gave him a kiss! Then bunches of hard kisses!!! Of course, I had to put my face down for bunches of kisses, too!

One of the main reasons we decided to sit her up (she's on her right side) was because her left eye seems to have rolled back. When we lifted her up, it did come back... for a few minutes. It was great seeing her "look around" for a while!

We leaned her up again about 3:15. She wasn't as excited this time around because she couldn't/wouldn't get her elbows underneath. I continue with the massage over her entire body and even put her to sleep for a little bit! I'm also trying my best to get fluids in her.

About 5:00 we leaned her up again and I was able to move the appropriate elbow underneath her. She leaned on her Daddy, however, the entire time because she wouldn't/couldn't relax her other leg. It's confusing ... for her to be paralyzed, but will stretch and stiffen, seemingly, at will or with some sort of stimuli, I guess the nerves are not firing correctly when she gives a mental command... or does she remember she's suppose to give a command?

While exercising her hind legs today, her toes would curl and press into/against my hand. I guess that's a baby step in the right direction... that's a "new" event anyway!

I so pray that she accepts the peanut butter covered med tonight. She's only taking the Prednisone now and it's critical. I also pray we can get her to eat something tonight.

Ruth took her med tonight, not very willingly, but Bud managed. She wouldn't eat anything else.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 7

Last night, we had a slight progress/change... Bud lifted her head and she was positioned to rest on her elbows. She had relaxed her legs (sometimes they are stiff, straight out, and this is a trait of hers since she was young). After leaning on him for a few minutes, she did take over and was on her own, keeping her head up nicely, if only for a minute.

The night went by without too much fretting, either by Ruth, or us!

This morning, we have not received any kisses from her at all. She's rarely yelped for attention. She does track us, mainly with her ears. She accepted her peanut butter covered meds, but refused anything to do with a pancake or bread or chicken broth... We have managed to get a small amount of water in her. Basically just enough to "wet her gizzard".

Bud just went to town ... Ruth is not fretting like she would have yesterday and the preceding days when he would leave the room, much less the house... actually, she's not doing much. Her eyes are not perky like they've always been. Her ears are alert and tracks me and Beth by sound, rarely does she move her head. She is sleeping more. She's just not our normal alert girl today that, has so far, carried through this ordeal and brought us hope.

11:10 - I JUST GOT A KISS!

11:50 - She pottied!

At 1:00, when Bud got back from town, I called out "Daddy's Home" as normal. She perked up tremendously, stretched her legs, and pottied!!!!

About 1:15, we moved her up on the couch and placed her on her other side.
It's 2:01 and I just did passive range of motion exercises to her front and back legs. I "tickled" the hairs on the bottom of her back pad and her muscle twitched!

While Bud was in town he stopped by the vet's and picked up some Prednisone 20 mg. We start that tonight. The original meds have one more day left ...

She refused any noodles from the chicken noodle soup Bud tried to share ...

Fortunately, she is still eating the peanut butter scoops, so we can get her meds in her, but she refuses any other food substance. She tries to bark/yelp, but nothing is coming out... I can see her make the motions and hear her teeth hitting. It is only when we lift her head higher to accept the peanut butter that we get any sound.

She constantly moves her head up and down against the pillow. I was able to get about 1 cup worth of water in her periodically throughout the day/evening.


Last Friday Morning, everything was normal

Ruth and Beth love "helping" Daddy feed the cows...

I had never taken a video of this activity before. I am so thankful I did that Friday morning...

Our life as we have known it has now changed, possibly forever.

This is our baby girl, Beth

This is our baby girl, Beth
(She is 9 1/2 years old)