Jacques v. Mr. Frog

Working at my desk one morning, I caught movement from the corner of my eye… something large and green. Ah – Jacques had brought Mr. Frog into the office with us. Great. The more, the merrier, right? I turned my attention back to the computer. Before long I heard “harumph”-ing, growling, and movement. Lots of movement. When I turned around, I was surprised to see that I had a front row seat for a rasslin’ match.

It looked like Mr. Frog had the upper hand… leg? flipper?

IMG_3008But Jacques came back and bit him right on the eye!

IMG_3011Then Jacques went for the jugular…

IMG_3013At that moment, I had to look away. I didn’t want to see the fluffy carnage that I would have to tend to – it was too much! I was sure that Jacques was going to finish Mr. Frog off once and for all.

IMG_3015Apparently I was wrong.

Furry Flashbacks – No Way!

Around 2006, Niko was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called nodular dermatofibrosis which caused lumps (some very large) to grow all over his body. The lumps grew steadily until there were so many of them on his feet and in between his toes that in 2008 he needed to have them surgically removed to be able to walk comfortably. Because Niko was my “Energizer Bunny,” it was hard to get him to rest long enough for his surgical wounds to heal. He made at least two trips back to the vet to have a few spots sutured closed again.

nikos_lumpOne of Niko’s many, many lumps.

balloon nikoNiko post-surgery wearing a balloon cone before being put in “the cone of shame.”

During the slow and frustrating healing process, Niko had to wear “The Cone of Shame,” which he hated. It didn’t help that Rocky tormented him when he had to wear it. And, okay, okay… I didn’t help either. I may have played the “toll bridge” game (where I tossed a treat into the cone like it was a toll as I passed by) once or twice. I might have even laughed. On a regular basis.

Before you start to feel too sorry for Niko, he got us back. He would often walk up and down the hallway with the cone scraping the wall making a sound that was akin to nails on a chalkboard. Or he would walk up “innocently” behind me and slam into the back of my knee almost knocking me down. Rocky often got smacked upside the head with Niko’s cone as he passed by. So, really, the torment was a two-way street.

Back to the story… Niko had to wear the cone and have his wounds medicated several times a day – both things he hated. One morning, I guess he had had enough. When I approached him to put the ointment on his feet, he collapsed down on the floor with all four feet under him. (Think of a duck sitting on her eggs – except instead of a duck it was a large German shepherd and instead of eggs it was his giant feet.) His feet became powerful springs – just as I would get one pulled out, it would spring right back under his body. Pull. Boing. Pull. Boing. It was HILARIOUS!! I was trying to be stern but couldn’t keep myself from giggling.

During one of my fits of laughter, Niko saw his chance to escape and took off. Though I was laughing hysterically, I was quickly in hot pursuit. Down the hall and around the corner we went. He ran into the bedroom, leaped onto the bed, and shoved himself under the pillows. (Seriously, did he think he could hide there??!) Pull. Boing. Pull. Boing. His legs were incredibly strong and he was incredibly determined, but I had an ace in the hole. I played the mommy card. I was able to finally pull myself together long enough to say “That’s enough!” in a somewhat convincing tone, grab his foot firmly, and squirt the ointment on it before he knew what hit him. Once he realized I had won, he gave up the other three paws. He knew he’d been beaten. But he also knew he was going to get a treat. It was a win-win for everyone in the end.

When I replay that scene in my mind I a) am thankful no one was there to see us and b) often laugh so hard I cry. It was very Tom and Jerry (sans the malicious intent) and totally Niko. He was saying, “No way! I don’t think so! Thanks for playing!” He was such a good boy!

100_0933Niko’s lumps and bumps came back, but they never stopped him!

End note: At that time, there wasn’t really a treatment for nodular dermatofibrosis. (I’m not sure if any advances have been made in the last few years.) In addition to unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable lumps, the disease ultimately attacks the kidneys and causes renal failure. Some of Niko’s growths came back though they never got as big as they initially were. After battling an unrelated adenocarcinoma, a large cyst was found on one of Niko’s kidneys. We let him go once we discovered that he was in the mid-stages of renal failure. He was 12 years old.

I am sharing this because I want others to know nodular dermatofibrosis isn’t a death sentence. If your pup has this disease, work closely with your vet/doggie dermatologist to keep growths in check and to monitor the kidneys. Your pup can live a full and happy life. I am extremely thankful Niko was able to!

DSC_0067Niko might have been lumpy and bumpy, but he was a happy boy!

The Time Jacques Saved the Day

Jacques never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes it’s his cuteness. Sometimes it’s his tenacity. Most of the time it’s his insanity. But one day last February when Rocky was still with us… He really came through for me. And for Rocky. I think about that day and even now am still amazed.

I was in the kitchen & noticed Jacques at the back door. I made eye contact with him and watched him turn around and run, but before he got out of eyesight, he turned and looked at me, looked off to the side, then ran off again. It made me think that something was wrong – especially because Rocky was nowhere to be seen. I ran out the back door and found Rocky splayed out on the icy snow. One leg was twisted and turned backwards – I thought it might have been broken. He was struggling to get up and crying. I ran over to him and was somehow able to get his legs under him so that he could stand up. The whole time I worked on Rocky, Jacques was running laps around us and barking as if he was telling Rocky, “Come on! You can do it!”

Rocky’s foot was bloody from a cut caused by the icy snow, but he was able to limp towards the back door. Most of the way there he couldn’t put weight on his back foot, but by the time we made it inside he was able to walk. Thankfully he wound up being okay, just a little shaken up. Jacques followed us the whole time, barking his encouragement. (Okay, I don’t speak dog, so I have no idea what he was “saying,” but this is my story and I say he was barking encouragement, so that’s what we’re going with.) Had Rocky been out there much longer, he might not have been able to walk back to the house on his own. I’m not sure what I would have done, but I’m thankful I didn’t have to think about that.

I was so proud of Jacques and so pleased (and surprised to be honest) that he was able to alert me that something was wrong. He got lots of extra treats, hugs, and kisses that night.

And that was the time Jacques saved the day.

super_jacques2

Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed

(Or… You’re Not Goldilocks!)

I guess Jacques took offense to my post about him sleeping on the job because not long  after that, he started greeting me again anytime I returned from being gone. Well, most of the time. (He’s consistently inconsistent. I can respect that.)

One day last week I came home and didn’t find him waiting at the door for me. I assumed I would find him on his “perch” on the back of the couch in the living room. As I walked through the kitchen towards the living room, I began to hear the tiniest pitter patter of feet and saw Jacques making his way towards me. “How nice of you to get up,” I said to him. He greeted me with a sleepy tail wag and a half-hearted stretch onto my leg. After we said our hellos, I continued through the house to the master bedroom and found this:

IMG_2552

What the whaaaaat???!!! He hadn’t been on his “perch,” but had been sleeping in my bed – on my pillow!!! The pillow was still warm!! Again – what the whaaat??!!!!

Apparently Momma’s pillow is “just right” because that wasn’t the first time he commandeered it. One day he did it right in front of my husband.

All three of us were in the master bedroom. I left the room and, according to my husband, Jacques watched me leave, looked at my pillow, looked to make sure I was gone, then ran over and threw himself onto my pillow (with a loud “harumph” for emphasis). I heard hysterical laughter and poked my head back in the room. Jacques was pretending to be sound asleep (he’s good at “playing possum”) and my husband was trying to compose himself enough to kick Jacques off the bed. After hearing the story, I started laughing. Eventually we composed ourselves enough to reclaim my pillow much to Jacques’s chagrin.

I would say that my house has gone to the dog(s), but I have a feeling everyone I know would say that happened a long time ago. There are worse things in life, right?

Giving Thanks

(Or… Thank You, Meghan!!)

As I was going to check my mailbox last night, I was greeted by a large, yellow, goofy dog with sweet eyes and a super waggily tail. I could tell he was young (under a year) and that he belonged or had belonged to someone because he would sit on command and he would throw his paw at me in an attempt to shake. He had a collar, but sadly no tags. I asked a neighbor if they knew who’s dog he was and she said he had followed her from the other side of the neighborhood – about a mile away. (Apparently he had followed another one of my neighbors around too.)

I knocked on doors and tried to find anyone who recognized him. After quite some time walking in the cold, I decided to have my husband come pick me up (I’ve been quite under the weather and just couldn’t stay outside any longer). Before my husband to get to me, the pup had wandered up to a house and acted like it was very familiar to him, then he disappeared. We drove back a little later looking for him but didn’t see him. I hope he found his home.

When I got home that night and was greeted by my dancing and barking Jacques, I got a little teary-eyed. I thought about that big yellow dog following everyone and couldn’t help but think about Jacques’s story.

Jacques had followed some people who were out for a walk in the cold and the snow. He followed them to their home and sat on their doorstep looking into their warm house. I can’t imagine how scared and cold he was – but his luck was about to change. A wonderful person – Meghan – took him home with her. That night, Jacques was safe in a warm house and surrounded by love. Meghan took such good care of him. When she couldn’t locate his owners through phone calls or ads in the paper, she started looking for a forever home for him. And then my life changed forever.

My husband and I joke about Jacques all the time, but at the end of the day we both say how lucky we are and how Jacques has turned out to be such a good boy. He really is.

IMG_2547

So, Meghan, thank you for being so kindhearted and for caring for Jacques. He was just what my heart needed. You, Jacques, and my wonderful husband are a few of the many things I’m thankful for today and every day.