Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lots of News

Our two boarders, Snickerdoodle and Macaroon, left for Massachusetts on Friday evening, March 17th, with 12 other dogs.  They move them at night because the dogs are quieter and sleep most of the time.  Snickers and Mac left us with little reservation.  They climbed into the van and allowed the driver to put them into a crate together.  Since it was getting dark and we had given them extra exercise earlier in the day they were both tired.  They were also used to being crated when we drove them back from Texas and also at night while they stayed with us.  During the day they were allowed free access to our house and that was a challenge.  Kind of like having two toddlers in the house.  We tried to watch them carefully but invariably found them chewing on inappropriate items like carpet on the steps, base molding, furniture and so on.  Outside in our fenced yard they also did a number on my flower beds by destroying several plantings and tipping over and digging out some of my potted plants.  Other than that they were angels 😇.

The reason the dogs are shipped to Massachusetts is because the state has very strict spay/neuter laws.  For that reason, there is a dog shortage and people will wait a long time to get a dog, especially if they are interested in a certain breed type.  The people also feel that dogs should be adopted rather than purchased from breeders so they take great pride in their mixed breeds. The trip to Massachusetts takes about 20 hours and the dogs have several stops along the way.  Rather than taking them to an interstate rest area they drive several miles off the interstate to designated places where the dogs can get out of the van and stretch their legs and not become frightened by all the road noises.  Once in their new home they are quarantined for several days to make sure all are healthy.  I wrote a bio for the two pups and had it sent up early which helps with the adoption process.  

Saying goodbye the night of the trip to Massachusetts.

Mighty Macaroon

Sweet Snickerdoodle

The pups enjoying our screened in porch.  So maybe they are getting a little spoiled!

💖💖💖 Our story has a happy ending!  Both pups were adopted the first week they were in Massachusetts and now live in their forever homes. I wonder who's gardens they are digging up now.  LOL.

Also wanted to show you pictures of some of the other pups that made the journey with our two.  There are seven puppies in this litter that were owner surrendered.  Unfortunately, the owner was negligent when it came to having her pet spayed but at least these pups were well provided for before she dumped them.  Many puppies are not so lucky.
The Captain and me holding two of the puppies from the litter of seven. The Captain's pup was named Bubba. I love the face on the one I was holding.  It was so scared and just trembling all over. But, oh my, what a face......

All seven of the pups.  They are Lab mixes and are only 10 weeks old.  They are going to be huge when they grow up.  I doubt any of these pets are left at the no-kill shelter in Massachusetts.  Labs are one of the most sought after breed of dog in that area.

Okay, back to the home front and an update on Captain Stumpy who has now been named Captain Gimpy by his daughters.  We drove up to North Carolina to UNC Hospital where the Captain had surgery on his foot.  We knew last fall that he had torn his peroneal tendon on his right foot and the doctor said he would need surgery but could wait until spring since the injury wouldn't get any worse.  Plus, we didn't want to mess up our winter trip to Texas :) 

So in early March we stopped in at UNC on our way home from Texas and spoke with the foot/ankle specialist.  The Captain had also had an MRI done on his foot and they were in possession of that.  We figured the surgery would be basic to repair the torn peroneal tendon.  What a surprise!  The doctor told us that the tearing of the peroneal tendon was just a symptom of a much larger problem.  The alignment of his foot was bad and even if they fixed the tendon it would tear again in the future because of the way he walks. So the surgery will be more extensive than we had thought and was scheduled for March 22nd.  

Caution:  Some of these pictures might be a little risque 😜

The Captain checking in.  He's standing pretty well right now. but notice the outward tilt of his right foot.

In his pre-surgery room and getting some happy drugs.

The ceiling of that room with a colorful cover over the light.

Everything had to be checked off and okayed before they began.

Still pre-surgery, the drugs are taking effect.

Getting prepared for a pain ball on his right leg.

Two Anesthesiologists are preparing to put the pain ball into place.  It is inserted into a nerve center in the thigh.

They used an ultrasound to make sure they entered the correct spot.

This took almost an hour to complete.

The tubing is connected to a pain ball that is inside a tote bag that can be carried over the patients shoulder when he leaves.  It will stay in place for two days until removed at home.  There is no needle.  Once the tape is removed (that's the hardest part to get off the leg)  then the tubing simply pulls right out and that is it.

The surgery lasted three hours and then he was in post-op.  Th doctor told me it went well.  They used a saw and cut a wedge into his right heel and then pulled it together with screws.  Next, they sawed his big toe to realign it and put in a plate and several screws.  The peroneal tendon was completely severed and in a hard ball at the back of his foot so they removed it and took what was supposed to be attached to the peroneal tendon and reattached it to the brevis tendon.   Captain Gimpy is smiling but not really with it yet.

Getting ready to leave the hospital.  Hard to believe the surgery was completed as out-patient.
Back at the hotel with his shoulder pouch and the pain ball.  The Anesthesiologist said he was "stylin".

A-OK says the Captain.
After a good night's sleep it was time to drive back home to South Carolina.

Back home and the Captain found his place on the couch.  He has to stay off the foot for six weeks and then he will go into a boot with gradual weight on the foot.  The doctor told him in three months he would be back to where he was before the surgery as far as pain in his foot.  Six months would be much better and in a year his foot would be fine.

Two weeks later we drove (I should say I drove) back up to UNC to have the splint removed and a cast put on his foot. 

The Captain had to sit in the back to keep his foot propped up on the drive.

The front of his foot where they broke his big toe and put a plate in to realign it.

The heel they sawed a wedge out of and pulled back together with screws. 

Removing the stitches.

Adding a special tape to help keep the incision together.
Getting ready to make the cast.

First is a long black stocking to protect the skin.

Then they wrapped the leg and foot with a special cotton padding.

The actual cast is made of fiberglass mesh with water activated epoxy.

The mesh is wrapped around the leg several times.

It is carefully smoothed out to ensure support on all parts of his foot and leg.  The epoxy dries to a hard texture in about five minutes and is rock hard in thirty.

Voila!  And we have a cast. When they asked him what color he wanted he, of course, said Duke blue.  Mind you this is the day after the UNC men's basketball team won the NCAA championship.   The doctor was a little dumb-struck for a second and the nurse said he was no longer her favorite patient.  But the Captain responded that he chose UNC over Duke for the surgery so this satisfied them and he got back into their good graces!

So now we have another four weeks before we go back up to UNC and he goes into a boot. No weight-bearing is allowed so the Captain will be spending more days on the couch with his foot elevated but at least his foot is getting better.  Amen to that.

One of the nice things about getting home in early March is that we get to see many of the trees and plants in bloom.  Our azalea bushes were just beginning to open when we got hit with a very nasty cold spell.  Cold like down to 18 degrees at night.  That is very unusual for this area.  Consequently, the flowers all died but the dogwoods were not affected and we have some beautiful views.

We hope everyone is having a wonderful springtime.  We are enjoying the warmer weather and the chance to be outside a little more.  Hugs to all and hope you have a very Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Heading Back Home With Extra Baggage :)

Before the Cinderella Dog Parade, on the day we picked up Brett' sister, Debra, we had some time to go and enjoy the McAllen area and decided to dine in a 'real' Mexican restaurant.

Deb and Brett had a regular margarita.

I ordered the mango margarita which had some kind of a cinnamon stick in it that I didn't know what to do with.

The food was very good and lived up to their Mexican theme.

We decided to take Debra on a boat ride down the Rio Grande so she could see the Mexican border via water. Our good friends, Roger and Diane Norris, joined us on the trip.  The Captain decided to drive us all down to the dock area for the trip.  It was supposed to start at 1:00.  Close to that time he called the office at Bentsen Palm Village to see if the trip had been cancelled since no one else was at the boat site.  Turns out we were supposed to meet at the office and go there together as a group. When the others showed up the Captain walked up and met them and explained it was his fault and that he didn't know that was where we were supposed to meet.

The driver of the boat was okay but his wife was in a snit and jumped all over the Captain which our friend Roger heard.  Then they came down to where the pontoon boat was and the wife made us all get out of the boat and line up.  She proceeded to tell us what we had done wrong and then jumped on Roger and Diane because they hadn't signed their release form either.  Since they had both taken this boat trip many times before Roger tried to explain that the rules had been different in the past. The lady just wouldn't let it go so finally Roger got ticked, and being a retired high school principal, asked her what her name was. After a few moments of bad to worse everyone calmed down and we went on the ride.  I have to tell you afterwards the five of us went out for margaritas and that was the main topic of conversation and an awful lot of laughs.  What can I say, the Captain strikes again!

Brett's sister Debra and our good friends, Roger and Diane Norris.

There were lots of birds to see including this osprey.

While the American side of the river is mainly made up of farmland and wildlife preserves, the Mexican side is much more diverse.

There are many Mexican homes/resorts built on the river. 

I thought the roof on this home was very strange.  Looks like thatch that moss has grown over.

There are also businesses including this Mexican restaurant.

And both countries offer river boat cruises on the Rio Grande.  There are also party boats on the river especially on the weekends in the warm weather.  

You can also see cattle grazing near the water on both sides.

Along with fancy homes there were also family parks on the Mexican side of the river.
While on the boat ride we noticed this man up in a tree on the Mexican side.  Not sure if he was a bandito watching the river patrols or part of the Mexican Border Patrol.  
On the American side of the river there is this one RV park called Chimney Rock that has been in this area for a very long time.  They have a boat ramp into the water and sometimes our Border Patrol will be chasing Mexicans in the U.S. and this boat ramp is the means of escape for the illegals to get back into Mexico by driving their vehicle into the water and swimming to the other shore.  
Above the boat ramp to the right is a mechanical tower that is usually manned by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Of course, we had to take Debra to Progreso, Mexico, so she could get the real flavor of the area.

Crossing the bridge to Progreso with the Rio Grande in the background.

The Captain getting into the mood.  This was before ordering our first margarita.

Getting our first margarita at the Red Pantie Bar.  Debra was still uncertain about the whole area.

We checked out more of the shops and saw this advertisement on a counter of one of the street bars.  They were asking for  $1 to take a photo of it.  I missed that part and just snapped my picture.  Deb told me I was supposed to put a dollar in the box to shoot the picture.  Oh well, this was after my first margarita so no harm no foul :)

After cruising the stores on both sides of the street and making a few purchases we decided to have lunch.  Debra and I had both bought some new jewelry.

Debra and me showing off our new skank ankle and arm bracelets.  She wasn't as worried about the area by this point.

A view of Progreso from the top floor of the restaurant.

And we even had music with our lunch.  Everyone had a very good time.

Debra had to fly back to Charlotte the next day but had a great time in the area and enjoyed the pet parade and all the people.  She is planning on coming back again next year to do it all over again.

Earlier in the month we had a new neighbor in the RV park that was only there for a few days.  Her name was Deloris and she is a retired school teacher from Wisconsin who is traveling with her daughter around the country.  As we talked to her she told us she was going to be celebrating her 99th birthday in a few days and we couldn't let that pass.

Deloris with her birthday cake.  This sweet lady still lives in her own home and is an avid gardener.  She still grows her plants from seed and takes great pride in how well her flowers do.  She told us wonderful memories about her younger years and travels and what she did in her life.  

The three of us before we cut the cake while Deloris' daughter took the pictures.  We should all look that good at 99.  

Next to the dog park at Bentsen Palm Village is a ranch where they raise Brahman cattle.  They had a crop of babies and the little ones were fascinated with the dogs so they kept coming over to the fence to check things out. 

Is that a face?

They also liked it when we fed them grass through the fence.

Finally, after six weeks it was time to head out.  We left Mission for San Antonio and some maintenance work on the rig.  Several days before we left we noticed that our front awning on the rig was drooping and realized it was no longer attached at the top of the rig.  After years of use and sun damage the material became brittle and gave way.  So that went to the top of our list as a needed repair when we got to Iron Horse in San Antonio.

But before we left the Captain and I decided we could manage bringing a few Cinderella pups along with us to get them back to South Carolina and into the Dog4U program that drives them up to Massachusetts and no-kill shelters.  Massachusetts has a shortage of adoptable dogs because the state has very strict spay/neuter laws.  Something that is desperately needed in the South.

Meet Snickerdoodle and Macaroon who are two puppies from a group of five named the 'cookie clan' that was rescued several months ago.  The people who owned the mother moved and abandoned her in the yard.  We don't know if the puppies had been born at that time.  There were seven pups in the litter but two were able to get out and were killed by cars.  The mother also disappeared and they assume she died. A neighbor occasionally threw food over the fence to the pups but they were malnourished, flea ridden and had worms.  Another person rescued them and took them to Cinderella Pet Rescue.

Snickerdoodle is more lab/shepard mix and has a quiet laid back attitude.  He will bark and growl if he hears or sees something new but is usually otherwise quiet and content.  The first few days in the rig he had a wonderful time barking and growling ferociously at another dog which happened to be his reflection in a floor-length mirror.

Macaroon is a more curious pup.  He plays hard all the time and is extremely observant.  His left ear stands up and a small part of it is missing.  That was the way he was found so no one knows what happened.  He seems to have a little terrier personality in him.  Mac will chase a ball and often return it to you.  He is a little more needy than Snicker and wants more attention so he will climb in your lap if you sit down.  He does not like to be crated so will cry when first put in but settles down quickly.  Since they have been home they are only crated at night. 

Bringing them home was something else.  They had never been in a rig and they were scared.  We had to crate them most of the time but at each stop we took them to dog parks to run and play.  Both pups are very social animals and extremely smart.  They want to please and are oh so sorry when they get into things that all puppies do.

Waiting for us to pick them up at the pet rescue.

A ride in the SUV back to the RV park.

Looking for direction on what we want them to do.

Trying to climb up into the rig with Lucy guarding the doorway.

Macaroon afraid of steps.

Checking out the new place.

About an hour north of Mission there is a Border Patrol checkpoint and all traffic must stop.

The men and dogs spend all day checking vehicles. As you drive through there are other sensors used to inspect the vehicles as they move forward.

While we were driving and at night the pups stayed in the crate.  

When we stopped they came out of the crate and were able to exercise at a local dog park we found at each stop.  And when they got tired they slept very well.

Snicker took to the furniture right away.

Feeding the dogs was a challenge since we had to keep the little pups away from the big ones. This is Macaroon's lazy way to eat.

The crate was tight for the two of them but when we tried to separate them Macaroon cried pitifully.

We spent three days in San Antonio for the rig and the pups got more confident each day checking out everything.  We won't even talk about the spilled water bowls, stuffing pulled out of a chair, rug corners threaded, and so on.

They could never get enough loving.

A happy boy.

We left San Antonio heading home and went through the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana.  I consider the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge over the swamp to be a man-made marvel.  Actually it is two parallel bridges stretching for 18.2 miles and is the third longest bridge in the United States and the fourteenth longest in the world by total length.

Due to accidents and the remote area, trucks are only allowed in the right lane and the speed limit is 55 mph. 

The swamp below the bridge.

About halfway across there is an island with a rest area.  Seems strange to have it there but it is a good place to stop.

Leaving Louisiana heading across the Mississippi River.  

The mighty Mississippi.  I remember a few years back when there was a major drought and barges couldn't go up the Mississippi because the water was so low.  Not today.

A fire in the distance that made driving on I-10 more difficult as you drove towards it.  Saw the flames in the distance but never found out what was on fire.

After a brief stop in North Carolina to see a foot doctor for Brett we drove home to South Carolina. The trip back lasted nine days and the pups were exceptionally good but also glad to get it over with.  So were we.

We have part of our backyard fenced which is a good place for the pups to play.  If you look at the fencing you'll notice some added rock along the bottom.  We had to use old rock edging to block any areas where they could try and climb under.  And believe me, it only took a few hours before they realized they could.

They love to play and chew things and dig holes if they can.  Typical pups.

Even Desi will play with them.

These sweet pups are almost five months old now.  Their trip to Massachusetts will be on March 17th, the final leg of their journey.  They are good puppies that will make any family happy as they find their new forever home.

Texas is a great place to visit in the winter months.  The temperatures in Mission were warm, some days almost too warm in the upper 90's.  But most days were very nice and there are so many fun things to do in the area.  One thing about Texas and the Rio Grande Valley is that many services are much cheaper than other parts of the U.S.  Dental work is huge near the border and in Progreso and many northerners and Canadians come down to get their teeth fixed.  Drugs are very cheap in Progreso and you can buy most anything.  But my favorite was a sign we saw not too far from the Mexican border.  

Something for everyone including the ladies!!!