Tuesday, June 20, 2017

South Carolina Summer and Still Here

Hello, everyone.  We are still in South Carolina and will remain here until late July when we take a cruise to Alaska.  By then we will need to get to a cooler climate because it is really getting hot, hot, hot here!

Much has been going on so I thought this would be a good time for an update.  No travel pictures but plenty of pictures from other events.  First on the event list is Captain Stumpy.

Now that he is the bionic man we are hoping he will soon be able to 'leap tall buildings in a single bound' or at least handle walking up and down a few trails this summer.  The doctor has discharged him and was very pleased with his handiwork.  All the screws and bolts will remain unless they someday bother him.  I can imagine he will set off a few alarms in the airport when we fly to Washington this summer.

In the meantime, our oldest granddaughter, Katelyn, graduated from Winthrop University with a Masters Degree in Education that followed a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics.  She has already found gainful employment at a high school in North Carolina that is on a college campus.  The students have to compete to be accepted at this school and take advanced classes in their freshman/sophomore years and then advance to full college classes in their last two years.  Katelyn will be teaching advance placement algebra classes.  Needless to say, she is so excited.

Katelyn and one of her room mates at her graduation ceremony.

A week after she graduated her fiancee, Cole, graduated with a BA degree in Pastoral Studies and will be continuing his Masters this fall.

One would think that would be enough excitement in one month but this young couple also decided to get married on May 27th so we got to attend a lovely wedding, too.

Katelyn being walked down the aisle by her brother, Lee.

The happy bride and groom at their reception.

Katelyn and her brother, Lee.

Our other two grandkids, Madeleine and Dane Matthew, had a great time at the reception.

Madeleine didn't care who she danced with especially when she got rid of the uncomfortable shoes. 
Dane especially enjoyed dancing with his older cousin and two of the bridesmaids.  He decided he was the most popular dancer at the reception.

Katelyn getting ready to throw the bouquet.

Cole fetching the garter.

When Cole tossed it all the eligible men ran the other way!

At the end of the reception everyone held sparklers as the bride and groom left.  Captain Stumpy, down to one crutch, is rooting them off in the background.

 We have also spent time this summer fostering some dogs who are making the long journey to their forever homes in Massachusetts.

One of the local fosters here had to move three adult dogs out of their home to make room for a litter of pups that had been abandoned in Virginia. The Captain and I fostered one dog while our daughter, Beth, took on two.

These pups were left abandoned in a home with seven grown dogs when the owner was hospitalized and it was determined she would not be coming back.  A neighbor started feeding all of them and asked for any rescue who would help.  A foster here drove up to Virginia over Memorial Day weekend and brought them back. Once they had all their shots, had been spay/neutered, tested for heartworm and given a clean bill of health,  they were loaded into the van with ten other pups for the overnight trip to Massachusetts and a no-kill shelter for permanent placement.

The adult dog that the Captain and I picked up was named Caleb.  What a sweetheart.

 Is that a face or what?  Since he loves riding in a car he just jumped right in and waited to leave for our house.   
He fit right in and loved being with people and being loved.

A wonderful, easy going dog, already housebroken, you could tell he was used to living inside a home.  Unfortunately, his owner did not have him chipped or fixed and when he was found no one claimed him.  Luckily, a rescue group in Alabama saved him from being destroyed.

Caleb left us after five days along with the two Beth had fostered, Sammie, a Pointer mix, and Remey, a mix of everything!

Sammie loved chasing squirrels in Beth's backyard and then trying to point at them.  
Remey and Sammie waiting to get into the van for their trip up north.

And then there's Caleb.  He was waiting to go into the van, too, but decided it was much more comfortable in the car.  Windows wide open and he wouldn't even think of jumping out.  He is going to be a wonderful pet for some lucky family.

A week later we had two hound dogs join us for a night (we call it our Board and Breakfast) on their journey to Massachusetts.  They were brought up from Florida where a rescue group saved them from euthanasia at a kill shelter.  Both young, 18 months and 8 months, what a dynamic duo they were.

Willie was the older of the two and could be a little aggressive towards the younger one especially over food and toys.

But Sammie was the instigator and always seemed to want what Willie had.  Sammie was my favorite.  What a sweet, gentle animal.  He never barked or howled and was quite the love bug.  

His ears were so full and the edges of them were light brown against the black.  Quite a beauty.

Exercise was running around one of the flower beds in the fenced yard.   

And around and around and around!

They weren't with us long but they sure were exhausting.

Lucy wasn't on her best behavior that day so she had to go into time-out for a little while.  

And now we have Charlie.  He has been in several foster homes and hasn't had the best start in life.  While at a foster home several neighbor dogs came over the fence into the yard and got in a fight with him.  A landscaper tried to break up the fight using a rake and Charlie was badly beaten and had several puncture wounds. After two weeks of being boarded so he could heal he went to another foster home but he was so timid and afraid that it didn't work well.  Our daughter took him for a week but realized he needed to be around other dogs for socialization so we took him.

He is a very gentle dog and we have seen a remarkable improvement with him just since being with our dogs.  He very badly wants to be part of a family and be loved but overcoming his fear of people and noises has really set him back.  The first day and night were a little tough but since then he has started to blossom.

The Captain has been working very hard to get his confidence.  A day ago he wouldn't get close to us while we sat on the couch.

Now I've had to move so Charlie can have one side all to himself.  What a guy!  It's amazing how forgiving dogs can be.

That's all for now from South Carolina.  The end of July we fly up to Washington and then take a train to Vancouver to board the ship that will take us on our Alaskan cruise.  There will be 16 adults and 5 children on the cruise and we are all related in one way or another.  It took two years to make sure everyone's schedule could accommodate the trip and a special thanks to the Captain's sister, Debra, who made it all possible.  We are going to call her Auntie Big Bucks now!

We'll be sure to write a blog to show all the pictures from the trip and I promise there won't be any dogs in it.  Well, maybe just one or two :)   Peace!

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!