Archive for the ‘Bonnie Barrell’ Category

  • My Sick Bonnie Girl

    Date: 2017.02.23 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Health, Home, Life, Me, Pets | Response: 28

    My dog , Bonnie, is very sick.
    That’s your trigger warning for this blog post.

    Surrounded by at least two border collies since I arrived in the world over 30 years ago, it’s safe to say that I was born a “dog person.” I’ve always had their cold noses in my face and their warm bodies pressed against me when I needed a good cry. They are an essential part of my life, and a part I was grateful to bring into the lives of my own children.

    We have had Leela for nine years and Bonnie for eight – both longer than our own children have been in our lives. When we adopted one-year-old Bonnie, we had a neurotic, anxious, obsessive mess on our hands who growled at any strange man who came near her, including my poor father-in-law. When she was scared, which was always, she rolled onto her back and peed everywhere. (Her barrel rolling behavior, along with her portly form, earned her the nickname “Bonnie Barrel.”)

    But I was determined to rehabilitate my new dog and we researched the best ways to help her. Eventually after a couple of years, she grew into the much more confident, happy and laid back dog she is today.

    Our kids love Bonnie and she loves them. She patiently and tolerantly lets them hug her and dress her up and rub her big ole belly everyday.

    About a week ago, Mark was putting flea medication on Bonnie and noticed a big bump on her throat. I immediately called the vet and they asked us to bring her in the next morning. The mass was about the size of a baseball. They took a needle biopsy on it and sent it off to pathology. She didn’t seem to be in pain and was still eating and breathing fine, so they sent us home to wait for the results to come back.

    On Tuesday I called and though they had the lab results back, they needed to talk to a specialist vet to interpret them, so again we waited. In the mean time we saw that her mass was noticeably getting larger. Yesterday as I picked up the phone to call our vet,  my phone began to ring and it was my vet calling me. After some discussion, he told me that anything growing that quickly was fluid, not tissue. He didn’t feel comfortable working on her and directed us to another vet in town.

    Although he is normally off on Thursdays, this vet happened to be in this week and they agreed to see us early in the morning.

    When I got home yesterday, I noticed a bloody spot on Bonnie’s neck. I thought she had bumped it, so I laid her up in our room. By 11:00 last night there was a larger nasty spot on the other side. By this morning she had blood and fluid all over her beautiful white fur and could barely walk. I just knew my dog was suffering and dying.

    Mark took her to vet appointment while I got the twins ready and off to school, all the while I was mentally preparing myself to have to say goodbye. The kids all knew something was up. My big girls wanted to love on Bonnie this morning, but Sarah was shaken by all the blood she saw. The twins kept asking about “Bon Bon,” and when I finally told Vera that Bon Bon was sick and at the doctor’s office, my not-even-two-year-old nodded sagely and said, “ok.”

    I’m sure my complete and total distraction this morning led to Vera falling and scrape her knee on the way into school. And as I held my screaming and crying little girl, all I wanted to do was lean into her and sob too.

    I finally made it to the vet and there was another customer at the front desk who was carrying on and on about her dog’s microchip with no sign of slowing down. She then tried to engage me in conversation before I interrupted at her and told her that my dog was very sick and waiting to see me. Fortunately the receptionist jumped on it and found out where she was and took me back, despite this lady STILL trying to have a conversation about the dang microchip while I was visibly crying.

    When I got back to the room they had shaved all the fur off of her neck and she looked absolutely terrible. Her mass had swollen to the size of a cantaloupe, but she was still so happy to see me. She ran to me, tail wagging and nuzzled up to me. The vet came in and told me that whatever this thing started as, it was now super infected and needs to be treated with IV antibiotics, along with some kind of laser and hydrotherapy before we could begin to talk about recovery. BUT he said the word I hadn’t expected to hear: “recovery.”

    He was so kind and gracious and showed us the pet ICU where she would be staying overnight, hooked up to fluids and medicine. The staff was so kind and reassuring, and he had a game plan for her.

    “Dogs are the best patients,” he said,  “because they don’t feel sorry for themselves. You’d never know she was feeling bad if you couldn’t see what was going on or take her temperature” (which was 105).

    So we left her there this morning for an overnight stay. They graciously told us to call as much as we liked to check on her and that we could even come visit if we wanted to. The vet explained that this sickness is an avalanche that needs to be stopped before we can begin to go uphill for her recovery. And so now we wait and we hope. I know she is in the very best place she could be right now.

    Saint Francis is the patron saint of animals. If you have a moment, say his prayer for us.

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
    where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    where there is sadness, joy.

    O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive,
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
    Amen.

  • The First Note Home and the Animal Revolt

    Date: 2016.09.13 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Health, Home, Leela Fish, Life, Norah, Pets, Puppies, Sarah | Response: 0

    One of my coworkers recently told me that she looks forward to Mondays just so she can hear what shenanigans Norah has been up to over the weekend. (Insert embarrassed/awkward emoji face here). But it’s true – she is always up to something. This past weekend it was spreading a combination of sunscreen and toothpaste along the hallway and around the bathroom sink – and that’s really pretty mild all things considered.

    But, last week, she did have her first note home from school.

    Now, Sarah is far from perfect and has her own set of issues, but she’s usually a quintessential firstborn rule follower. In the past three years, there has never been a note sent home from school, though her teachers have all filled me in on some of her antics that resulted in pulling a card.

    But, as we all know, Norah loves to buck the system. And when I was loading her into the car last week, one of her teachers could barely contain her laughter as she began explaining to me why Norah’s face was colored purple. In her backpack found a note that read:

    “Norah found a purple crayon at nap time and drew all over her face with it, colored the floor and ate some of it. The crayon was nontoxic. :) ” I do so love our teachers for being concerned about the crayon’s toxicity.

    Of course she got in trouble and had to make a serious apology to them the next day, during which they worked hard to keep from smiling.

    Perhaps I should gift them both with jumbo-sized boxes of Magic Erasers.

    *****

    And lest we forget the other three individuals who reside in our house, they have been up to their own set of antics. And no, I’m not talking about my other three children, I’m talking about our two dogs, Leela and Bonnie, and Angie Cat.

    We discovered, after having the twins, that Angie Cat protests by peeing on any and all clothes that happen to be on the ground in our room. And while this did finally force us to keep our closet floor clean, any time a piece of clothes would fall out of the hamper, it was game over. We’ve been very diligent lately about keeping all the clothes off the floor. Angie Cat though, refused to be deterred.

    We discovered her next target when Leela started waking up Norah in the middle of the night by climbing into bed with her. (I find it hilarious that she seeks out Norah’s bed at 2am, because Norah often torments Leela during waking hours).  I couldn’t figure out why in the world the dog would suddenly start sneaking into the girls’ room in the middle of the night until I smelled it. Angie Cat had struck again – this time taking out the dog beds. They were so sabotaged that we just had to chuck them out. We’ve made other attempts at making dog beds with blankets, etc, but without fail, nearly every night I am woken up by Norah whining and yelling, “Get off LEELA! GET OFF!” And then it’s often a good 10-15 minutes before I can convince Norah that it is, in fact, still dark outside and too soon to wake up.

    Thinking to thwart this newest set back, I set a pressure gate up outside the girls’ room to block Leela from going in. (Norah won’t sleep with the bedroom door closed). So, of course, the first time I set the gate up, at 2AM, I heard Sarah crying in the hallway. Half asleep, she was standing there by the gate, shaking, telling me she was freezing and her stomach hurt and she couldn’t get to the bathroom.

    Normally, she’d scamper over the gate, no problem, but this particular night it turns out strep had taken over her body. And because bunk beds don’t lend themselves well to vomiting children, I moved her to the couch in the living room. With no place left to block the dogs out, Leela decided that she was just as content snoozing with a sick Sarah, and Sarah, bless her poor, ill little heart, didn’t mind the company.

    Our new neighbor asked me last weekend why we have pets – “Aren’t they so much work with all your kids?” she asked. And while they can sometimes be just as irritable and messy as our children, they are part of our family. They were here before the children were and, despite the sometimes angry revenge peeing, take the kids all in stride and even deign to snuggle with them – on their own terms of course.

    P.S.: That cat pee smell is the worst and so hard to get out, but since we are cloth diapering now, I discovered a whole bunch of awesome things that get nasty smells and stains out, and this stuff is THE BEST at getting out that ammonia smell. I use it all the time. I am not getting paid to promote this stuff, just wanted to share it with my fellow cat/dog/kid parents as a FYI. Click on it to find it on Amazon.

  • Getting My Confidence Back

    Date: 2013.06.05 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Health, Leela Fish, Life, Me, Pregnancy | Response: 12

    We interrupt this vacation story to talk about exercise (I know, boo, HISS back to the New Orleans pecan pie on the griddle).

    You see, back before I got pregnant I was working out a lot, spinning and lifting. I was really proud of myself and got that great endorphin surge on a regular basis. I got to know my workout instructor and appreciated the lunchtime ritual of going and working hard.

    After I got pregnant, the heart stuff started and I was basically told to keep it just to walking. I was bummed, but knew I could keep up the walking at the very least. But then I didn’t. I couldn’t find the time to do it. After work all I want to do is come home, crawl on to the couch and try to muster up the energy to play with my daughter. Lunchtime became out of the question for time reasons and I quickly caved to just skipping it all together.

    As I gave it up, I also started feeling gross and down – my body trying to adjust to life without that boost. And then mentally I kept blaming my heart and the baby. I needed to take it easy after all, right?

    Well then I went on vacation and hiked it all over the city of New Orleans, and then up and down the beach in the sand, oftentimes while carrying my 30-pound toddler. And you know what? For the most part, my heart was just fine and I actually felt a lot better.

    So I decided to have a pep talk with myself and figure out a solution.

    While talking to a coworker about finding time to read, I started telling her about how I used to get up in the mornings and walk the dogs while listening to audio books. I loved the cooler mornings, the happy dogs, and the time to myself. And then it clicked – of course I should go back to morning walks, why hadn’t I thought of that sooner?

    I still had no planned start date for this, however. But this morning, I woke up early on my own. My brain fought me, “You don’t have to start THIS morning.” But I was up and figured no time like the present.

    When I went to the back door with my walking shoes on and my dogs went ballistic. They were SO HAPPY because they know what those shoes mean. I plugged in my audio book, and we took off. We went just shy of two miles, but it was nice, felt so good and the morning alone time was decadent.

    Plus, my postpartum goal is to be able to walk my favorite local 5k – the Pumpkin Run the Saturday before Halloween. I figure I need to at least give my legs some time to prepare!

    So here goes nothing. Let’s hope I can stick to this and continue to tell my brain to shut up in the mornings.

  • Leela’s Great Escape

    Date: 2012.11.03 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Home, Leela Fish, Pets, Photography | Response: 8

    Dear Leela,

    I know things have gotten tougher since we had Sarah and that you’re not all that fond of her trying to hug you. I get it. That’s why we let you lay on the furniture (mostly) out of her reach.

    You’re outside more when the weather’s nice (heck, I wanted to be outside with you today. It was 82 and breezy!)

    Yes, things have gotten a little tougher on you, but that doesn’t mean you had to pull a Houdini and disappear out of our backyard. We love you and we want you with us, we even fork over vast sums of money each month to treat your Addisons Disease.

    And even though that nice apartment manager, her husband and children loved you so much that they took you in, bathed you, trimmed up your hair, loved you and strongly considered keeping you before their consciences caved in and they called us, does not mean we love you any less.

    I feel terrible because you look sort of rough. You like to roll in the dirt, you have a big patch of hair shaved off your rear end from a hot spot and you got out without Mark and I even knowing you were gone. We feel like terrible dog parents. And to think those people didn’t even know you have Addisons Disease and you could have been dead in two months without your regular treatment. The thought makes me heart ache.

    So today, Leela, I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful you are a good dog who didn’t wander far. I’m thankful that Mark and I finally bought monogrammed dog collars with our phone numbers on them a few months ago.

    You genius simply amazes me. The back gate is locked and we have a privacy fence, so we didn’t expect you to be able to escape. How you got to the apartments behind that fence was a mystery to all of us, especially since Bonnie didn’t manage to figure out how you did it and stayed put (or maybe Bonnie was happy with where she was).

    And then we saw this:

    A hole you and Bon had chewed out of the fence. But even then, that hole only led to our neighbor’s backyard. That means you found another hole in her back fence to get to the apartments.

    So Leela, we’re glad you’re back and we’re thankful for the joy you bring to our lives. Please don’t take off again. The next people who find your pretty little tail may not be so inclined to call us.

    Welcome home girl, and please, stay home.

  • 18 Months

    Date: 2012.10.11 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Home, Leela Fish, Life, Nostalgia, Photography, Sarah | Response: 17

    18 months. A year and a half.

    Where has the time gone?

    Almost every day, Mark and I stare at our girl and try to imagine how that little lump we brought home from the hospital has turned into this amazing, energetic, intelligent, little person.

    And to think I was worried about speech? Our girl is now enthusiastically saying a number of things, including: “Dog, Kit-Cat, Pretty, Uh Oh, Ow, Today, Star, Shoes, Stomp, Doll, Duck, Go, Tickle, Doc,  Jake and Hotdog (thanks Disney Junior). Oh, and her favorite phrase, “What is it?” Not to mention she can enthusiastically roar like a lion, mew like a kitty and mmmm like a cow?

    She can also identify her eyes, nose, mouth, ears, head, hands, foot and bellybutton by pointing.

    Climbing has become her favorite activity and one of the most difficult phases for us as parents. After a week long assault on the glass coffee table, we finally just got rid of it. She’s taken more tumbles out of her high chair, off the couches, and off her plastic picnic table than I can count, but it doesn’t stop her. Climbing on the arm of the couch and leaping onto the cushions is one of her favorites, as is scaling on to the back of the oversized chair to turn the fan switch on and off.

    We’re starting to see signs of the terrible two’s with complete and utter meltdowns over small things. Take something away from her? Game over. Try to pick her up when she doesn’t want to be picked up? Limp noodle body.

    Did I mention her favorite toy is a neon green and orange rake? She uses it to rake things up in the house, especially while daddy is sweeping. She totes it around the yard and dips it in the kiddy pool water. She combs the dogs with it, and she freaks out if you try to take it from her. That’s why it appears in all these photos.

    Also that head of hair is like woah. You would think we were sprinkling magic growing dust on it or something. Though I am thrilled that means crazy pigtails now.

    She also likes to do the motions to the following songs: “Wheels on the Bus” (especially the babies crying), “Itsy Bitsy Spider” (especially the part where we wash the spider out) and “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (with rousing stomps for the angry part).

    She loves day care now, and runs from us when we go to pick her up. I guess mom and dad aren’t quite as fun as throwing stuffed blocks in the air? Either way, I’m happy she’s happy during the day.

    Food has also become a challenge. She still hates fresh fruit with the exception of bananas (unless I put them in smoothies), and has decided that she doesn’t like a number of things she used to, including cheese. However, foods she suddenly does like include red beans and rice with turkey sausage, and mild Indian food. Who knows?

    All I know is that this kid wears me out and fills my heart with more love than I knew was possible.

    Happy half birthday kiddo.

    P.S. For reference on growth, here’s a few with lambkin over time:

    It’s the incredible shrinking lamb!

  • Doggy Celebration

    Date: 2012.08.21 | Category: Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Home, Leela Fish, Pets, Photography, Sarah | Response: 19

    Bonnie’s birthday is sometime this month. I’m not sure of the exact day, but I do know before the month is out, she’ll be four.

    And I think it’s been far too long since I flooded this blog with pictures of border collies. So, here we go.

    That’s Leela (licking the air in anticipation of the frisbie I’m dangling over my head for this shot), Bonnie and Cooper, who we were dog sitting. Cooper is Leela’s brother from the same litter.

    Tic, Tac, Toe… and the baby, erm, I mean toddler, too.

    I love that while I was taking photos of the dogs, Sarah was rearranging yard furniture.

    Happy Dogs.

    Happy Birthday Bonnie Dog. We love you.

  • Dancing Through Life

    Date: 2012.07.10 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Books, Dogs, Family, Mark, Pets, Sarah | Response: 7

    Life has been kind of rough lately for a number of reasons, partly because my dog had explosive diarrhea all over my house while Susan was borrowing my steam cleaner, partly because the hubster has been frustrated a lot lately, partly because Sarah nearly ran in front of a car into the street two days ago leaving me with a lingering sense of guilt and fear, and partly for reasons that I may bring up another day.

    But today was suddenly brighter when a few things happened:

    1. The hubster surprised me with a  lunch date and fro-yo.

    2. The book I’ve been anticipating forever came out today and I downloaded the audiobook of it so I can listen while I design.

    3. I watched this video I took this past weekend of my beautiful grandparents, their dog and Sarah all dancing to some fantastic old piano music. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.

    It’s already a better Tuesday.

  • Backyard Babe and Borders

    Date: 2012.04.26 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Leela Fish, Life, Pets, Photography, Sarah | Response: 14

    The weather has been gorgeous lately, so we’ve been spending some time in the backyard. I wish Spring weather lasted longer. Sarah and the girls are eating it up!

    Birthday beach toys!

    Bonnie Barrel likes to hide behind the wagon.

    Say Cheese.

    Our beautiful Leela girl is feeling back to her old, happy self.

    She’s going for that windblown look.

    Is the weather beautiful where you are?

  • Dog Day Afternoon

    Date: 2012.03.19 | Category: Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Home, Leela Fish, Life, Mark, Pets, Sarah | Response: 14

    Today could have been a terrible day. Bonnie had horrible stomach problems last night that resulted in me getting almost no sleep last night. And then there was the extensive clean up of said stomach problems on top of being cranky and exhausted.

    But then Sarah went down for a nap and I went down for a nap. Next thing I knew it was two hours later and Mark was up playing with the baby so I could get some rest.

    Things turned around dramatically from there. Mark and I spent a lot of time cleaning today, but while Mark was sweeping and mopping I took Sarah outside to the gorgeous weather and let her run wild.

    She hesitated at first and clung to me, but within five minutes she was literally off running.

    IMG_0877

    The dogs weren’t sure what to do with her.

    IMG_0878

    So they defaulted to what border collies do best and started herding her around the yard.

    IMG_0899

    And Sarah defaulted to what she does best, turning anything into a toy… in this case the dog toy.

    IMG_0907

    Much to the discomfort of the two OCD border collies.

    IMG_0914

    Oh and let’s not forget the discovery of the doggy pool. Running and playing quickly turned into splashing and mud.

    She had a blast today out there and thoroughly wore herself out.

    IMG_0948

    Score one for mom and dad.

  • Hard Work and Psycho Cats

    Date: 2012.03.13 | Category: Angie Cat, Baby, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Food, Health, Home, Kitties, Pets, Sam Cat, Sarah | Response: 18

    Prior to the beginning of Lent three weeks ago, my exercise was intermittent at best. I walked a few miles on the weekends and counted the hour and a half of baby wrangling at church towards my workout time (and let me tell you, trying to contain and hold a very active 20 pound baby while sitting, standing and kneeling at Mass requires all kinds of muscles I didn’t know I had).  But my weight loss had (unsurprisingly) stalled out.

    I knew that my eating habits had set me back too. Mardi Gras is wonderful, but it’s called Fat Tuesday for a reason  (so. Much. King cake.)

    So with Lent on the horizon, I started thinking about worthy sacrifices, sacrifices that would be hard, but productive. I decided on a chocolate sacrifice (which I’m sort of regretting now as I stare at the two boxes of samoas on the kitchen counter every day) and a time sacrifice to exercise.

    When I told Cassie about this, she was all over it. She has been sending me workouts every single day and following up with me about what I like and didn’t like, gauging my strength level and making sure I do them.

    And three weeks in, the lack of chocolate and the increase in exercise is working. I feel stronger, happier and lighter. Seven pounds lighter to be exact. My body went into major shock when I started making it work more. I hope this trend continues and I don’t destroy it when I annihilate those somoas on Easter Sunday.

    Ironically, I’ve helped start a cooking blog during this weight loss work, but it’s inspired me to share my low-fat and healthy recipes and focus on cooking at home more often. (Though I’m already trying to figure out what kind of cupcakes to make for Sarah’s first birthday party).

    All of this has been going really well. I get up in the mornings, exercise while the baby sleeps and then go on about my day, not missing any time with my girl. Or should I say it was going well until Day Light Savings Time hit and my cat went psychotic.

    I already struggle with Angie cat attempting to sit on my face every time I do floor exercises (to stop me or increase the resistance, I’m not sure which) but now Sam Cat has decided to start sabotaging my sleep, and with the getting up an hour earlier, I’m a zombie in the mornings.

    Angie Cat, the face sitter.

    Last night I was sleeping when out of nowhere the mean little fuzz ball lept from the window seal above my bed and landed on me, claws extended. I jumped up screaming and cursing, which managed to upset the baby, even though her door was closed (Mark slept right through this however). Sarah finally quieted and it took me a good hour to fall back asleep. I had been asleep maybe 30 minutes when the damn cat did it AGAIN. Oh the anger and the sleep deprivation. He at least had the good sense to haul ass down the hallway and get out of my reach.

    Not to be outdone, Sarah woke up crying again around 5 a.m. I have to assume she’s getting more teeth or the cat is attempting to sabotage her as well.

    All of these things have been sabotaging my workouts and it’s frustrating. I should at least feel well rested if I’m going to accidentally sleep late!

    And now that it’s beautiful outside, it’s time to take advantage of that as well. All my workouts have been inside and the long period of inactivity also meant Bonnie dog grew fat. She’s gained nearly 10 pounds due to our lack of walks. Whoops.

    So here we go, back to inside AND outside workouts. Let’s hope the next time I report in, Bonnie and I both will be down 10 pounds.