I really haven’t had as much time to keep up with all things Creatively Musical this past year. It’s been a wild ride rescuing a dog that had puppies, and life just got really busy.
I have, in the past, posted these kind of blog posts on my personal blog, but I was planning on combining them this past year anyway, so here’s to a fresh start on sharing all things creative, musical, and some personal in this blog.
This blog is about Gilligan, a skinny, big eared pup we rescued nine years ago…
One year ago we rescued a dog we named Pinky Lee. Weeks later, she had nine puppies. Thus began our adventure in fostering and adopting out puppies. It was hard watching the first puppy go to his new home, especially since we didn’t start placing them until they we about 9 – 10 months old. We decided to keep two of them, and there one puppy left to place. Mama is waiting for her home as well.
Mama and Jazz are looking for their forever homes. It’s been quite the adventure raising and adopting out the Pinky Lee Nine, but we’ve had successful placements for Charlie, Jade, Melody, Diana, Jack, and Colt. JoDee and Downey are the two we’ve decided to keep with us.
That would make an even eight dogs in our pack…a pack of rescues and misfits. Tex is twelve years old, diabetic and ornery. Lady is ten years old, has an extra vertebrae and is crabby. There’s a spoiled basset named Daisy with the loudest voice and most annoying whine of any creature on the planet. Her nephew, Brownie (B.B. for short), is a pretty good boy, even though he doesn’t like the other boys. B.B.’s buddy is the anxiety filled hyper monster, Eve or Evil as we tend to call her when calling her in after dark. Then there is the aforementioned JoDee and Downey, the newest members of our pack. JoDee can’t see half the time because of her eye lid issues and is quite the goof ball. Downey is a good watch dog, has some crabby issues that we are slowly addressing, but is a good boy who loves to give hugs.
That leaves one. The one that hasn’t been feeling well. The one that sleeps in my bed. The reason I didn’t sleep for a very long time because he wasn’t himself. That’s Gilligan – Gilly, Willy, Gilly Willy. He turned nine this year. Like most of our pack, he was a rescue. He was dumped out of a truck in front of a school bus. My brother brought him in. We made posters, but nobody wanted him, so we kept him.
He was Rascal’s reluctant snuggle buddy before he became my snuggle buddy. While I enjoy a few days here and there without him in my bed while I travel, I always look forward to coming home to him and him snuggling with me in my bed. He’s my baby. He’s the reason I sleep diagonally on every bed I sleep on, whether he’s in it or not.
These last few months have been really hard on me with him having to go potty every three hours, then things looked up when he was on Clavamox. The next two weeks without the antibiotics seen him decline further. He’s not been himself. He doesn’t want to do anything, not even partake in his favorite snack of cat poop. He lays down and sleeps for hours. He’s not demanded my attention like normal. He hasn’t done anything like normal in the last couple of weeks.
We took him to the vet on October 28, 2015 for a checkup and to see what we could do. He hasn’t been eating much, he vomited the day before, and he hasn’t been drinking much water either. He isn’t showing any signs of pain, but he isn’t comfortable either.
I got a sample from Gilly before we went since he tends to run out these days. I knew the news wasn’t going to be good. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a while now that something’s wrong and it won’t get better. He’s my baby, I know him inside and out. They ran some tests and did a urinalysis. Gilly just laid down on the floor and slept while we waited. The vet even noticed he wasn’t himself.
His diagnosis is renal failure. Based on the tests they ran, the vet said it’s probably about stage four. She wanted to do what we could for Gilly and run some more tests, so she asked for him to stay for a few days.
For the week after those few days at the vet he seemed almost normal. He was more like himself than he had been in a while. He got to go out to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and get spoiled. He watched the Chuck Wagon Races and got lots and lots of love.
Gilly went back to the vet on November 5, 2015. It was a follow up visit and he had more tests done. The ultrasound showed the bad news, but further tests were sent off to the lab. Those results took a couple of days. November 11, 2015 I took Gilly back to the vet because his right back leg was bothering him. He also had a little, occasional cough. Dr. Shannon was the doctor we had been seeing, but this time it was Dr. Johnson. We love the doctors at our vet. The staff as well. They are all really great people, especially when it comes to being dealt a bad hand like Gilly’s condition.
Dr. Johnson did some x-rays to not only look at his hip, but at his abdomen as well. He took Gilly back twice for x-rays to get the best view of what was going on. The tumor that was found by the lab tests has a hold of not only his bladder, but his spleen as well. There was medicine that he could take to keep the tumors in check, but that medicine would wreak havoc on his kidneys, kidneys that are already badly damaged.
Gilly’s not wanted to eat commercial dog food the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been cooking him chicken, ground beef, etc. just so he would have something to eat. Dr. Johnson said that whatever Gilly wanted he could have and if he had an upset belly or diarrhea, just to give him some Pepto Bismal tablets. Unfortunately, outside of just making him comfortable, there is nothing that can be done to treat his tumors without hurting him more.
It’s never the news you want to hear, but Dr. Johnson’s honesty about the tumor medication and the fact that Gilly is not really showing signs of being in much pain, made the decision to just bring him home and love on him as much as possible. No more medicine. Just keep an eye on him, as the tumor on the spleen is the one of most concern right now.
Like I said, Gilly’s not complaining, he’s not crying in pain, he’s just tired. All I can do is love on him and make sure he is comfortable.
Heartbroken seems not nearly strong enough for how I feel right now. I don’t know what to do or how to think. Yes, I did say several lines ago that I had a feeling it wouldn’t be good, but hearing it still hurts.
Gilly is the only dog who is 100% tolerant of the cats who live in my room 99% of the time. Gilly is my shadow. Gilly couldn’t be more than a few feet from me at all times. Gilly would butt in between me and whichever dog I was paying attention to. It drove me nuts. It’s gonna hurt when he’s gone. It hurts just knowing that he doesn’t have long.
He’s gonna leave a big hole in my heart for a long time.
When we first took Gilly for his issues back in March, he weighed 72 lbs. He now weighs only 53 lbs. It’s noticeable. He was never really fat, but at 72 lbs, I had a hard time lifting him when I had to do so.
I feel guilty getting mad at him for peeing in his sleep in my bed every night. Worrying more about the blankets, electric blanket throw, or the mattress than about the fact he can’t help what’s going on. I have been exhausted from not sleeping more than 3 hours at a time for months and it has made me really irritable really quickly. Of course, there were 16 dogs and 5 cats there for a while, too, so my entire day was dealing with one dog/cat or another. Adoptions, running around for meet and greets, cleaning up, playing with, feeding and all the other things that come along with being a foster and a dog/cat owner.
I haven’t even mentioned the cats in all of this either. Two 14 year old cats (Dusty and Maverick), three 9 year old cats (Mousey, Mini, and Socks). We rescued the 9 year old cats just weeks before rescuing Gilly. One of the 14 year old cats has been nothing but skin and bones for the last year. She’s been behaving like herself, just not getting fat. She’s lost a few teeth and as of late has been having belly issues. She’s next for the vet, well after Lady (the dog) that has her own issues and will go to the vet November 12, 2015. Then we’ll take Dusty, and then Tex.
Texas James, while long overdue for a visit to the vet himself, knows that Gilly isn’t well. He knows that something is up. He checks on Gilly every time he comes back from the vet. He’s started lying next to him in the living room. He’s the most human-like dog we have, and he is the one dog that will hurt the most when it’s Gilly’s time.
Tex is the patriarch of the pack. Well, of the dogs anyway. Dusty is queen bee of everyone. Tex and Gilly have been buddies for all of the 9 years we’ve had Gilly.
The emotions I feel right now are overwhelming. Gilly is sick, Tex is old, Dusty is old, Lady’s got stuff going on, Mousey is peeing everywhere he can, puppies are crazy, and I’m just tired. Tired emotionally and physically, but some days are better than others. I feel guilty I can’t do more to make all the critters better or give them more, but I can’t. I feel like not many people will understand getting so worked up over a dog, but until you’ve lived with the unconditional love you get from a dog, or a cat, most probably won’t understand.
Gilly is not just a dog, he’s my baby, my best friend. All my dogs and cats are that to me. This hurts more than I can explain. Gilly will not be the first animal we’ve lost to old age or illness in the last 14 years. We’ve lost a few actually. We cried at every one of them like I am now. They’re our family. Their existence in our world was important no matter how much they drove us crazy nor what the destroyed.
Yes, life will go on, but it won’t be the same for a long while. Our band of misfit rescues won’t be the same without Gilligan. In the meantime, though, he will get lots of love and anything his heart desires. His kitties, Mousey and Mini will love on him, even Socks wants to check on him. A bunch of misfits, I say, but happy misfits.
Here’s some more photos of Gilly, with appearances from quite a few of our bunch of misfits.
This is the tutorial I used to learn to crochet. I could only remember the chain stitch from my Grandmom many, many moons ago.
This tutorial taught me the granny square and now I have an afghan started.
From there I watched more tutorials from the Bella Coco channel and a couple of others to get basic things down.
I find it hard to read crochet patterns, but I can learn easily from video tutorials.
I have a scarf finished, a beanie finished, two scarves in process, all in addition to the granny square afghan that I started after watching this tutorial.
My favorite animal is the tiger. Being cats, seeing them active at the zoo requires getting there early or when the keepers are there for talks or feeding.
I really don’t have a bucket list per se, but the opportunity to be up close and personal with a tiger would be on it if I did. The enclosure for the tigers at the Jacksonville Zoo puts a very strong and thick piece of glass between you and the tiger, but it’s about as close as I’ve ever been to a tiger. It was a thrill to be that close. Sure, I want to pet one some day, but I am grateful for the opportunity to be up close and personal in any capacity I can.
Tigers in the wild are extremely endangered due to hunting, poaching, and habitat loss. Anything and everything that can be done to raise awareness of impending extinction is a very good thing.
I took an animal behavior course in college and studied the Tigers at the Philadelphia Zoo for a few weeks. It was one of most fun things I did in college. No special access to the Tigers, just watched them for an hour a couple times a week. It was a fun project though.
I learned that tigers can be distinguished from one another by the markings over their eyes. I also heard a lot of people calling them lions. In fact, the non-scientific name to my report was “Look at the Lions”. Some days I wish I could spend my entire day at a zoo or aquarium to not only study the animals, but how the people describe or react to them.
Here is a collection of my photos from the Jacksonville Zoo on April 2, 2015.
More photos from the tribute to the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd:
Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Peter Frampton:
Trace Adkins, Donnie Van Zant, Charlie Daniels:
Alabama, Gregg Allman: