Supermodel Rio

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I had to work today, but while I was gone, Dad and Woo did a little photoshoot so that all our Tripawds friends could see our new collar and how stylin’ she looks in it.

Enjoying the sunshine

Serious Woo

You talkin' to me?

Gladys is keeping an eye on the neighbors

My pretty girl!

Sporting the new bling.

Rio’s not much for action shots, but she does good profile!  (The collar is from Chief Furry Officer.)




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Rio’s Soup for Dogs Recipe

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Okay, all, as promised, here’s my recipe for Rio’s Soup for Dogs.  I should mention up front that this soup is different every time I make it.  This is simply how I made it this time ’round.


1 whole organic chicken (I use whatever meat is least expensive — beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, etc.)

3 lbs. chicken trimmings (my butcher’s dept does chicken trimmings and fat for broth)

A few beef marrow bones and bison rib bones

Place in a large pot, and cover with water or broth.  (The one I use is 24 qts).  Allow to simmer until chicken falls from bones.  Allow to cool, then remove meat, skin, etc. from bones and set aside.

Remove meat from bones and set aside

1 lb. liver or other organ meat (This can either be cooked in the pot with the chicken or in a separate pan with coconut oil for a little more flavor.  Be forewarned, if you use kidneys, your entire house will stink!)

Liver cooked in a little bit of coconut oil

To the broth, add any veggies, coarsely chopped — this time, I had available:

1 red and 1 yellow pepper

2 cups of white cabbage

2 cups broccoli

1 medium zucchini

1 cup snap peas

2 cups green beans

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium (I also had a couple of fresh tomatoes and several tomatillos from my garden, so I threw them in, too)

1 cup chopped kale or spinach

Chop veggies coarsely

Allow veggies to cook in broth until slightly softened, then puree the mix with a hand blender.  Once the vegetables have been finely chopped, add the meat back to the broth and bring back to a simmer.  At this point, you can also add in  2 cans sardines or mackerel (in water, no salt added) mushed up a bit.

Simmer veggies until slightly soft

Puree veggies into broth

I ran this by my Quality Control Department……

Rio says, “Three enthusiastic paws up!”

Zephyr concurs

Tosca also gives it her seal of approval

Cancer sucks!

You can think you’re totally prepared for bad news, know exactly what the doctor is going to tell you, psych yourself up to hear the absolute worst news, and still be stunned to hear it.  I think it’s because somewhere deep inside you’re still hoping that there will be a miracle.  Somehow, in an amazing turn of events you become the lucky winner of the lottery, the amazed and grateful recipient of the ultimate jackpot!!!!  And you smile and tearfully accept the prize, because you know there was never anyone so deserving of a miracle as your beautiful Rio.

But this was not my lucky day…. nor was it hers….  Today, the doctor told us that in the span of four weeks, while taking the Kinavet (our “last ditch effort” drug), the tumor in her lymph node has doubled in size.  Soon it will be creating pressure on her colon.  It could eventually become blocked, leading to a very rapid decline in her internal functions.  The other possibility is that the mast cell could degranulate, causing something very similar to anaphylactic shock.

I’m trying so, SO very hard to focus on things like the fact that we’ve had four and a half years together since she was first diagnosed.  My beautiful Rio and I have had some wonderful adventures together, and we still have time for a few more (if we hurry).  Like the fact that she’s a fighter, and she hasn’t quit yet.  Like the fact that she doesn’t know she’s sick, and she’s not in pain.  But my heart is breaking because I know that soon, way too soon, the thing I love the most in life will be gone.  And there’s not a damn thing I can do to change that.  So, I’m gonna have myself a good cry and several glasses of wine, and tomorrow, I’m gonna see if I can’t find in myself a little more of Rio’s strength and courage….



Another pawday!

Today is Rio’s 8-month ampuversary!  Treats for everypawdy!

I’m sitting here next to my girl, listening to her tummy gurgle it’s way through her breakfast, and I’m almost overwhelmed by how much I love this girl.  She truly is my heart and soul.

Love this girl, I do, I do....

We had a visit with our dog-ter yesterday for bloodwork to make sure the meds are being tolerated on the inside.  Other than a few extra medicinal naps (Gayle and Charon would be proud!!!), Rio is doing really well.  Outwardly, we really haven’t seen any noticeable side effects from the Kinavet, so I’m hopeful that her bloodwork will indicate that she’s not having any negative effects from it (elevated protein in the urine, elevated liver enzymes, etc.).  We have a follow-up ultrasound next week to see if it’s having any impact on the metastases.  Fingers and paws crossed!!!!

Meanwhile, our city-girl friends, Rayna and Yoshi, are visiting again while their pawrents are visiting family in the Caymans.  Good thing we have lots of room for doggies here at Camp Monroe!




It’s official…

Fall is here.  This morning when I woke up, there was that early morning fog that we often get in the fall here in the Puget Sound.  I think we got down into the 40’s last night, and my feet haven’t been warm all day.  Another telltale sign:  Tosca is blowing her coat again.  I’m not sure why, but she’s got an odd schedule for losing all that hair.  It seems like when the temperature drops, she starts dumping the coat in mammoth-sized clumps.

It’s a sad thing to see the end of summer….  but I do have a few reasons to look forward to the cooler seasons:

  1. No more guilt about how bad my yard looks.
  2. When I stay inside all day making “shinies,” I don’t have to feel like I’m missing the sunshine.
  3. Halloween — my absolute favorite holiday.
  4. Fires in the fireplace.
  5. Hot toddies.
  6. Snuggling on the couch with my girls.
  7. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin pie!
  8. No more shorts for a whole 6 months.
  9. Bogs!  My favorite shoes are now back in play.
  10. Snow????  Here’s hoping.

And to cap it all off (with whipped cream), Rio is doing fabulous!  She’s energetic and silly and playful.  She’s unstoppable!  She is engaging the Monkeytroops with ear nips, head butts and her signature “wwooo wwooo wwooo!”  I haven’t seen her feel this good in I don’t know how long.

I read back through some of my posts today, and was remembering how difficult the first few months were — her amp, her recovery, her Cushings, her UTIs.  She (and me, too) was definitely riding the roller coaster.  All that worrying was so exhausting.  But I also got to see just how much progress we’ve made, too, and that was the cool part of this blogging exercise.  Not just the progress as far as her health is concerned, but also the progress I’VE made in how I look at things.  For example, the list above!  Normally, the first sign of fall makes me seriously depressed.  The shorter days, the days without any noticeable daylight, the endless drizzle.  And let’s not even get into my aversion to the “holiday season.”  And yet, I’ve managed to find something worthy of looking forward to, instead of just putting on my bah-humbug pants and hiding.

So it must be true, from adversity arises strength.  Or as Washington Irving wrote in The Sketch Book,

“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” 

Yes, this year has had plenty of dark hours.  And not just due to Rio’s health.  I’ve got a long list of what’s been wrong with this year, but I’ve also learned that perspective is a good thing.  If I just look at all the stuff that has blind-sided us this year, I forget to look down and notice that my wiggly-butt little Woo-friend is smiling up at me asking me to play.  And I don’t want to miss a single second of that!!!


My favorite Woo

Wheels don’t fail me…

We took our first real road test with the girls this evening.  Rio was in her “Ride” and although mom threatened to harness the Monkey twins and use them to pull Cinderella’s coach, she didn’t.  It was just a walk.  The Woo did really well, wasn’t too nervous, (specially cuz momma gives her yummy treats every time we get into the Ride).  She popped her head through the sunroof a few times, and we got lots of (what I’m sure were) admiring glances from cars going by.

We got home from our little jaunt, and at the top of the driveway, I let Rio out to walk the remainder of the distance to the house.  Zephyr took that opportunity to hijack Rio’s Ride.  She jumped in and immediately curled up.  She happily rode down the driveway in luxury.  Trouble is, she’s a Monkeydog, and as such, is just a little clueless.  Dippy Zippy’s tail was hanging out the back of the Ride the whole way down the driveway, and she was thump, thump, thumping her tail in the gravel the whole time we were rolling down the driveway.  She’s a special girl!!!!  I wish I had video….


Rio’s Got a Brand-New Ride

So I wanted to surprise Rio with some new wheels, and SURPRISE!!!…  they arrived while we were at the vet!  We’re doing short stints to get her used to her new wheels, and lots and lots of cookies and praise, and already she’s starting to relax a bit.  Of course, Monkeybrains Zephyr was ever so helpful while I was assembling it.  She does love a good crate.  She crawled in and curled up and I couldn’t get her out to put the tires on!  Thanks Zeff!

Anyhoooo!  Here’s the pics of Rio in her new ride — she does look good in red!

7 Months

I totally forgot that yesterday was Rio’s 7 month ampuversary.  I feel kinda bad that I keep forgetting to celebrate the milestones!

In my defense, though, Wednesday we had a Rio and Mom Day.  I took her to Petco and she was treated like visiting royalty.  No reasonable girl would say no to that!  Every time I take her someplace like that, though, the next time we go someplace and she has to stay in the car, she gets a little peeved.  It’s as if she thinks all stores harbor within them toys and cookies and food beyond any dog’s imagination and I’m the one denying her access to it!

On the way home, I decided to take her to the beach that’s just down the road from our house.  It was super busy there — lots of kids playing in the sand and moms taking in the sun.  She gets lots of compliments on how she gets around, and nearly everywhere I take her someone tells us the story of another three-legged dog.  I love how the kids especially respond to Rio.  The grown ups, I think are worried about asking to many questions or maybe they just don’t want to know the answer to the questions.  But the kids think she’s a rock star!  Before her amputation, most of them didn’t really pay too much attention to her.  Occasionally one would ask if they could pet her, and she’d search them for the treats they should be giving to her.  Now, they pepper me with questions about her.  One little boy asked if she’d grown up that way (meaning tripawd), and I explained that it had been fairly recent.  Then he wanted the full story.  A little girl asked about her skin — try explaining Cushing’s and calcinosis cutis to a child in a really brief conversation.   Anyhow, Rio loved all the attention, but did wonder when were these small people going to feed her.  After all, they gave her cookies at the last place she visited!!!

I found a little stick and asked Rio if she wanted to go get it.  She swam after the stick a few times and then we walked up to the grass to sit and dry before jumping back in the truck.  Just sitting there, with my girl, with the world going on around us…  Those moments —  those are the ones to be cherished and banked for later.

We’re doing another Rio and Mom thing today, although it won’t be nearly as fun.  Rio has a dr. appointment later this morning.  Nothing big, we are just getting baseline CBC, protein/creatinine ratio before we start her on the masitinib.  (Paws crossed that the medicine works and that it doesn’t have any of the potential adverse reactions.)  We’ll keep ya posted!

Farmer T

I thought you all might enjoy a little Monkeybutt-dog fun!

This is the first year we’ve had a veggie garden.  In the past, I’ve grown tomatoes and cucumbers in containers because nothing tastes better in the summer than fresh tomatoes and cukes, but in the past, if it didn’t have pretty flowers, I didn’t grow it.  This year, we decided we’ve got the space, and produce is expensive and dog-only-knows what sorts of chemicals, etc. end up on our food, so why not grow our own.  And, as you might imagine, with the new garden comes a learning curve, right?  I would expect this.  However, I did not expect THIS to be part of the learning curve: Continue reading