Happy New Year! Guys! It's really 2017. Eep!
Did you all stay up till midnight and watch the ball drop? I completely passed out by 11 pm and missed the whole shebang, but that's ok. Other times I really hate skipping on tradition but watching the ball drop was never really something that I anticipated or got excited over. It was always this thing where we'd turn to ABC 3 minutes before midnight, watch the countdown, share kisses and hugs and then turn the TV off and go to sleep. Not very exciting.
But 2017 is here and we wish all our friends a year of many wonderful and exciting things.
Today is only the second day into the new year and it also marks 2 weeks since Mr. Bartles and we became family.
I only have a few pictures of Bartles that I took with my camera and all of them are of him sleeping. That's because we're still getting a handle on his routine, mainly his pee and potty routine, and so whenever he is awake the first thing we're doing is getting him to go outside because that's when he is likely to pee and poop. Then it's usually meal time or treat time and then off to dreamland. He has about four hours in the day when he is roaming around, but I have been usually been preoccupied with watching him in case he has an accident. So I haven't been able to get to my camera much to get all the adorable Bartles moments but we have plenty of time for that.
One of the trickiest things for us is getting Bartles to pee and potty outside. I have been keeping a time journal of his daily routines - when he sleeps, gets up, pees, potties, eats, has his treats, when he goes for his walks, etc. Now that I have logged in about a week and a half worth of entries, I am able to see some pattern to his routines, although Mr. Bartles sometimes has tricks up his sleeves and will throw a curve ball at us. I guess he likes to mix things up a bit so that it won't get too boring for us.
Mr. Bartles doesn't really have a signal, or if he does it's a little hard to decipher it still. Pacing and going in circles and walking around doesn't necessarily mean that he needs to go pee or potty. Sometimes it means he's hungry, or thirsty or he just wants to walk around a bit before finding a comfortable spot back on the bed. He is still learning to go up to the balcony door to be let out. He has been getting a bit better, but sometimes he isn't able to hold it in and will go on the spot. Or when he is let out or when we go on walks, Bartles won't do anything and then as soon as we're back inside he'll go.
Bartles has gotten much much better or should I say, we all have gotten much much better but there is still much work to do and I gather that it'll take us a while before we see some major improvements. But I am confident that we'll get there.
I presume that it's hard for Bartles with his Cushing's and not being able to digest his food like healthy dogs (Mr. Bartles does not go potty after meal time, which is what all the dogs we look after do) and with weak back legs, he sometimes falls down while walking, turning around or getting out of bed. Sometimes he loses control of his bladder muscle and he pees, while still down.
This morning after a successful pee session in the yard, Bartles fell on his way back inside and then ended up going potty. It kind of smeared on his behind and our floor and mat. We gave him a bath to clean up. A couple of hours later, Bartles went potty again, this time, trotting out the balcony door by himself and going down on to the grass to do his business. I think he had something to prove and boy did he prove it.
I am not sure if it helps but we have been giving him "high level treats" (turkey cold cuts) when he does his business outside. I actually stopped doing this after the first couple of days trying because I didn't think he was making the connection, but I started to do it again yesterday. See, I am making mistakes and probably giving Bartles mixed signals. I'm learning and trying too, just as Bartles is learning and trying.
We still have to take a family selfie. I actually haven't been looking too put together lately, and you know, we should all look nice for our first family selfie, so I've been waiting for that moment. I think the first week as Bartles was settling in, I was getting other things done when Bartles was asleep and when he was awake, I was by his side always to make sure he didn't have an accident. Showers usually came late at night or the next day. But yesterday, both Yangkyu and I took a shower in the morning and I even put make up on and blow dried my hair. When Bartles was awake, I lifted Bartles up and we got in position and as Bartles wiggled a bit he ended up going potty, missing my leg by just a hair.
Learning and trying. That is our motto.
In other news, we have transitioned Bartles food fully now. For breakfast and dinner he gets boiled chicken, brown rice, sweet potato and a vegetable mix (usually carrots, cabbage, butternut squash and broccoli) mixed with coconut oil. I don't add organs and instead have been adding 1 nugget of Primal Frozen Raw Food (Duck Formula). He also gets his NHV supplements mixed in during both meal times. He is on Supraglan, Milk Thistle, Turmeric, Tripsy and Multi Essentials.
For lunch, Bartles gets Wysong Epigen Beef wet food mixed with a little of Wysong Synorgon dry food. I usually sprinkle a little of Dr. Harvey's Golden Years supplement with his lunch and sometimes a splash of The Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom Goat's Milk as well. Bartles also gets fish oil and Coenzyme 10 supplements in the afternoon.
We have a couple of early January DogVacay guests and then we take off for the rest of the month. I wanted to spend some alone time with Bartles and also get him started on some therapy as well (and also start leaving the house for short periods of time to see if we can start to get used to a routine). I'm looking into acupuncture or a chiropractor to help with his Cushing's Disease and arthritis and also hip and back. Sometimes Bartles has a harsh backwards arch happening on his back (and his spine looks curved) and it looks uncomfortable. I am not sure if he is positioning himself this way because he is in pain. Dogs are stoic creatures. Sometimes they won't show any outward pain even though they are feeling uncomfortable.
We also plan on getting a couple of small ramps so that getting out the balcony door and down from our low deck won't be such a chore for Bartles.
Some fun things I found out about Bartles is that he likes to look in the refrigerator with me to check out what we have inside. He also likes to bed hop - in the morning and afternoon he'll sleep on the green Molly Mutt bed in the kitchen (sometimes I'll put it by the front door) and in the evening he prefers the big round bed from Costco. He doesn't like having his front paws touched but he does great during bath time. I like giving him neck scratches and face rubs and falling asleep with him on the Costco bed. He sometimes has what we call "fight sessions" with the pillow we have on his bed. He'll nudge it with his head until it's finally TKO-ed out of the ring (aka: the bed). Then he'll go lay on top of it. You know, kind of like the final move before the referee calls the game.
We like to call him Mr. B for short, and most recently started to say "He's jingling!" That is our cue to let each other know that he is on the move.
At first we kept missing him moving around because on carpet we don't hear his nails tapping on the floors. He had a couple of accidents and so we decided to put the jingle bell collar we bought for him for Christmas on at all times, loosely around his neck because he has skin irritations, so that we can hear him when he gets up. It's been working great.
Right now Bartles is sleeping on the green Molly Mutt bed in the little kitchen nook under a soft blanket. Bartles has plenty of blankets to keep him warm and so many bags of treats to keep his tummy yummy.
It's been a crazy (in a good way) 2 weeks with Mr. B. I won't lie, there were hard moments. Christmas was especially a tough day as Bartles went backwards on improvements we were making and had multiple accidents in the house. The following day I woke up with major dark circles under my eyes (picture Uncle Fester). But each day is an adventure with him. Bartles keeps me busy. He makes me laugh. He makes me be responsible. He makes my heart warm. And he is most certainly leaving his Bartles paw prints permanently on my heart. You can't help but fall in love with him.
Happy 2 weeks, Bartles. I hope you like being with us as much as we like being with you.