career change update

It’s been almost 6 months since I changed my job, my career, my mission. Well I guess I changed my mission when I started planning this blog last year but the complete conversion happened in February when I quit my old job as a designer.

So I started to not really like my last job at 6 months but at this new job, it’s a different story. I’m currently a Veterinary Assistant and I get to help animals all day long. It’s rewarding to say the least.

The doctors have already found homes for 14 kittens (from the Goochland Animal Shelter) this spring! There’s 2 more left if anybody wants one. 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, some days I get tired of washing windows, sweeping floors, and getting beat up by crabby cats BUT it’s all worth it. Like my blog title says, I get to ‘help someone or something in need’.

My little lady, Belle when she was sick with Pneumonia. She’s all better now!

This past Saturday I had to work. I spent 2.5 out of the 4 hour workday standing next to the operating table with a 17 year old cat in possible heart failure. I had to monitor her vitals while keeping the oxygen flowing at her face to help with her crazy rapid breathing. Along with the medical aspect, I also made sure she was as comfortable as she could be. I stroked her soft fur and let her know she wasn’t alone. She was too weak to move much but I could hear her purring away.

They planned on taking her to the emergency (24 hour) vet clinic once we closed at 12. I won’t know until I get to work today if she survived or not but I’m so glad I got to help and comfort her for those few hours.

That cat is just one of the many reasons I know that my leap of faith was a good one.

Oh and have you ever watched a knee surgery on a goat? Freakin’ awesome.

Are you at your ideal job?

P.S. My Etsy shop? I’ve moved the opening date to Labor Day weekend. I got a bit overwhelmed this month for sure!! I’ve got some good pieces done though! I can’t wait to get the shop open.

Belle

I was recently talking to my friend Katie who I hadn’t talked to in forever. Don’t you hate when that happens? Life just gets in the way! Anyways, at one point I was updating her about Belle and how she’s been doing. I realized that a lot has gone on with her in the past month so I thought I’d share it with you guys.

On the day we started painting the paneling (the same day we picked up Heidi from BARK!), Belle was sleeping a ton. The dogs usually nap a good amount so I didn’t think much of it until I picked her up and noticed that it looked like she had a giant adam’s apple! It appeared that her lymph node was super swollen. I panicked.

I dropped everything and told Al that we had to take her to the doggy ER.

The ER vet told us that it could be many things but that it was most likely an infection from her horrible and I mean horrible teeth. Her former owners had neglected her teeth over the years so most of them were covered in thick plaque.

He wanted to do a fine needle aspirate (look at the cells) of the lymph node to confirm this suspicion and rule out cancer but with the pricing I decided to wait until the next day and go to the vet that I work at. They know her better there and it’d be cheaper! So the ER vet put her on antibiotics and painkillers to start.

Monday, the vet that I work at agreed that it was probably an infection but he wanted to be sure so he gave me a second antibiotic to give her. If the swollen lymph node didn’t decrease in size over the next week then it was more likely to be cancer. Ugh.

After only a couple days, the size was smaller. Thank goodness! So we set up her dental for the following week to clean the teeth and pull out any rotten/infected ones.

I was glad we’d be able to get out all those bad teeth but also VERY concerned because she has a severe heart murmur. Putting a very old dog under anesthesia is risky and with a heart murmur on top of that? Scary.

I was working the day she got her dental. The vet tech asked me if I wanted to oversee the procedure. I hesitated because I hadn’t done too many dentals yet (since I’ve only had this job since February) and didn’t feel prepared but I also wanted to be right there with her just in case. I said I’d do it.

The vet and vet tech talked about their approach. They brought over extra drugs and needles to the dental table to help her just in case her heart had trouble. The vet said he was going to take out as many bad teeth as he could. He would go for the worst ones first and then if Belle was still doing okay, he’d get the others.

At about 40 minutes into the procedure with one and a half teeth left to pull, Belle decided that she’d had enough. In what felt like seconds, her heartbeat jumped and her breathing went from about 6 breaths per minute to SIXTY. I started getting nervous but stayed focus – letting the doctor know her vitals and recording the data. He said that he’d finish the tooth he was on and leave the last one that wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t worth the risk.

With sweaty palms I stared at her chest moving rapidly as he extracted the tooth. The vet tech flew in and took her off anesthesia.

It took her a bit to wake up but she did. She looked pathetic yet alive. I said, “This isn’t your best look Belle!”. Comedy soothes all don’t you know.

We kept her on pain medicine and antibiotics in the days after the dental. The lymph node continued to shrink and by the end of the week she was perfectly fine.

Al and I have seen a mind-blowing change in Belle in these weeks since her dental. She has only cried/screamed ONCE since the procedure. This is a huge change. She used to keep us up at night and cried during the day when we were gone. I think it was partly because she was kept in a crate but also because she was just so darn uncomfortable with all that pain in her mouth all the time.

With the crying gone there’s more to see in her. She wags her tail a lot more (she rarely did before), she gets visibly excited (this never ever happened) and so she seems happier overall. This lady actually has a personality! And all she needed was a visit to the dentist.

We’ve even recently taken her off of her old lady pills that are supposed to help with being senile. She hasn’t resumed any pacing or restlessness. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

With all this drama that we had to go through with Belle, we now feel attached to her. I asked Al if we were going to post her online to find her a home still and he said, “No, I kinda want to keep her.”. I was shocked. This man couldn’t stand her in the beginning. This is understandable because the screaming was terrible (!) and he wasn’t keen on tiny dogs to begin with (neither was I) but a complete 180 is very impressive.

She’s still a crabby old lady but we like her. 🙂 We now have 2.5 dogs (.5 being Belle). No more, no less. It’s nice to be a healthy, happy family.

I think the point of this super long story is, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. We never thought we’d have a tiny dog in the mix but we’re sure glad we do now. We’ve learned about love, patience, and open-mindedness. All that from 8 pounds of fur.

and just like that

Every Saturday, BARK volunteers bring a selection of dogs from the farm to various pet stores around Richmond. Foster families can also bring their dogs whenever they want, even if a dog hasn’t been requested to be seen by a potential family. A week after Heidi joined our pack, I decided to take her to Petsmart for the whole three hours (12-3 pm).

For some reason it’s tough to find homes for hounds and at BARK there are A LOT so the odds weren’t in our favor but with a great, big stroke of luck, she met an interested family!

They told me that they’d bring their other dog to meet her the following Saturday.

All week I waited on Kelley, the Adoption Coordinator at BARK, to send me an email telling me that she had been requested for the visit. By Thursday I hadn’t heard anything so I emailed her. She told me that the family hadn’t given her all the information she needed and that she couldn’t get a hold of them.

My heart sank. They seemed like such a great family for Heidi!

So this past weekend at 1:30 pm, I had a strong gut feeling that we should be back at Petsmart and not shopping. I made my husband turn the truck around so I could rush home and then drive over.

Heidi and I got there at 2:00. Bob, the owner of the rescue, told me that the family had been by earlier. I had missed them!! Crap.

About 30 minutes later one of the daughters showed up with the rest of the paperwork they needed to adopt Heidi. I didn’t know this at the time but when they came the first time, Kelley had told them what she needed so they ran right home to get it. Thank goodness they still needed that paperwork or they wouldn’t have come back!

The daughter called the rest of the family so that they could bring their other dog to meet Heidi. If all went well, we’d be in the clear.

After another 30 minutes, the family arrived. Both of the dogs have pretty passive personalities so neither of them were very interested in the other. We didn’t see any negativity though, so it was a match!

The mom (from the phone) told us that she wanted a ‘trial run’ with Heidi just to make sure she was the right choice. I was informed that the only way they could do that was if they adopted her first. Bob said that if she didn’t work out, they could bring her back and get a full refund.

I wasn’t sure how they’d take the news. I gave the dad his option. There was a long pause but then he said, ‘Welp, I guess we’re adopting a dog today!’

YESSS. I would’ve totally done a happy dance but there were too many people around.

Obviously there’s still a chance that she doesn’t fit in at their home but I can’t imagine that happening. I feel like the family will work with any issues that might come up. Heidi’s too cute to give back. 🙂

As they wrapped up the paperwork, I realized she was leaving me… today. I hadn’t prepared for that part. Sure she’d only been at my house for two weeks but ever since January when we first met, I wanted to help find her a home. Now that day had come. It was time to say good-bye.

I had one of the daughters take a photo of the two of us at that moment.

Course Heidi had no idea what was going on but I have to admit I was a little upset!

I took off her BARK collar so the family could put on her new one. I handed the collar to Kelley but she handed it back to me and said, ‘Do you want to keep it? You should keep it.’ I took it back and then walked the family to their car.

And just like that she was gone.

I have her collar to remember her by and a new facebook friend. They said they’ll post pictures of progress and playtime. I can’t wait to see them!

The other dogs at our house seem to be doing fine without Heidi. Without a hyper puppy to play with, Roary is sleeping a lot more but I don’t think she minds. She now has time to heal her playtime wounds and spend more time with her buddy Olivia.

It was a fun adventure. I learned a lot about love and potential. I hope to do it again sometime! It’d be great to have little collection of collars. 🙂

i promised

Before we added Olivia and Belle to our family, I fell in love with a beagle named Heidi. If you haven’t read my earlier posts, my husband and I volunteer over at BARK once in a while. We help clean out the runs and walk the dogs. The daily ritual is to clean the runs and then take whatever dog you want on a nice, long walk through the trails.

The first time we did this, I chose Heidi. She was so little and too cute. She pulled like crazy, sniffing everything in her path.

After a couple of weekends, I told her I’d get her out of there. Like with Olivia, I had a gut feeling that I was supposed to help. I had to.

With the addition of Olivia and then Belle, the promise looked kinda dicey. Adding Heidi to the family would bring us to a total of FOUR DOGS!! That’s completely insane but I promised her freedom so I couldn’t bail on her!

This past weekend I fulfilled my promise. We picked her up and she’s been tiring us out every since.

Let me make this clear. We’re not adopting her, we’re fostering her (same with Belle but it’s hard to find someone who wants a 14 year old, deaf, chihuahua 🙂 ). Knowing that we’re trying to find homes for two of them makes having four dogs a little more tolerable but honestly it hasn’t been bad at all. I can say that Heidi is better than my other dogs on the leash! She’s a little over a year old and therefore still puppy-like but she just needs a little discipline and some time. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said ‘Off!’ in the past week while teaching her that she’s not allowed on the couch! Haha.

So here’s a little info about her in case her future family is reading this!

The girls play all day long. After less than a week they are already getting along quite well.

The chihuahua is another story… but she’s crotchety and doesn’t like other dogs all up in her business. 🙂

Like Olivia, she loves a good belly rub and will sit there calmly for a good while if you keep it up.

When her tails in the air, you can bet she’s on a scent trail. She loves to sniff around and explore every inch of the backyard.

I was told she’s an ‘escape artist’ but we haven’t had any issues with her trying to get out at all. We just make sure she knows that she can’t bolt when we open doors.

Believe it or not, she DOES rest once in a while. We walk her 2 or 3 times a day and soon we hope to start running with her. She needs her exercise for sure!

The bottom line is that it’s totally worth dealing with all that energy because she is the sweetest thing EVER. She just wants play and be loved on!

With her great looks, personality, and the training we’re putting her through, I hope to find her a great forever home very soon.

If you’re interested in Heidi or know of someone who might be (and you’re in the Richmond area), just shoot me an email! hippeitch {at} gmail {dot} com.

that one time when lindsay was suzy homemaker… for a week

As you may know Adrienne is off jet setting and playing with Steve Irwin’s animals while I hold down the fort.

To add to the fun, I thought I’d throw some of our own exotic animals in the mix. You may know them, but you have no idea…this is the diary of a very tired babysitter.

Liv is my personal favorite. This rare beast ran away from a cat in its pounce position while we were on a run the other day. I thought it was a wild animal and we were in immediate danger the way she almost made me eat the pavement. I got over it quickly though. Mainly for this face.

....okay, I forgive you.

On to the next wild animal. There’s not much that could be said about Roary that you can’t tie back to these three words: energy, lovin’, and sass. It’s a crazy mix, which I sum up in the nickname “Fatty”. This kid will do ANYTHING for a treat. Hence my personal favorite trick, “sit pretty”.

"this better be worth something good"

I’ve left the best one for last. Best, meaning, this critter is IN-TENSE. But I’ve realized that my dislike of small dogs lightens a little when she puts up with me messing with her…Behold….MOTHER TERESA.

“Do small things, with great love.” ― Mother Teresa

 Her face in this picture seems to portray less Mother Teresa quotes and more “Wait until tonight when I wake you up at 5am”….I think it was worth it.

Also, an update on other things that I’ve been keeping alive…The garden!

minus one wilted stem, i'm doin' great!!.....

Phew…so much pressure to keep things alive around here. Three more days and then you’ll have your beloved blogger back! Hasta Luego, friends! Until the next time I’m put in charge of another life…or three….Gulp.

the big 5-0

No I’m not 50, I’m 26, but this is my FIFTIETH post people.

How in the world.

At the end of every week I think to myself, ‘What the HECK am I going to write about next week?’ and every week I think of something. I find this ridiculous, yet impressive.

Where am I going from here? You know, since I’ve had such a long blogging career so far. 😉

I’ve written a lot of lists on this blog so instead of making a list of goals for my next 50 posts I thought I’d humor you with a limerick.

there once was a girl with a blog
who wrote often about her cute dog
now it’s time for a change
more variety and range
let’s hope there’s still time for a jog

🙂

Pretty much you’ll be hearing once again about my projects that I’ve fallen off track with (volunteering, DIY, etc.) along with the topics that I talk about regularly. A little more diversity and entertainment.

———-

I’m writing/posting at an odd time because for the past 44 hours I’ve been traveling (19 hours of flying!) to Australia. I’m sitting here at the luggage claim with a super sore butt and a completely lost sense of time but I’m excited! We’re here for a wedding but will be doing exploring as well. I’m sure I’ll do some recaps of the trip when I get back.

I’ll be gone for over a week but I hope to get you three posts per usual while I’m gone. I’m not sure if I’ll have internet but I know you’ll have at least one post to read since my sister agreed to write something for you. 🙂

I hope to come back refreshed and renewed with no jet-lag. Ha.

I’ll leave you with dog photos because i miss the girls already.

It’s nice to know Aunt Lindsay is taking care of them…

…and that she’ll spoil them well. 🙂

What warm-weather trips do you have planned? It’s so nice to get away!

easter on parade: a doggy challenge

My ‘big’ girls, Roary and Olivia are my favorite but they each have their own behavioral issues.

Roary is a friendly gal, a little too friendly at times. Last week when we had the ducts cleaned in our house, she decided that the men were intruders, then proceeded to bark at them. This went on for a bit until she realized they would pet and entertain her. Then to get their attention throughout the day there was major tail wagging and when that didn’t suffice, she would jump up on them. I often attempt to train her to stop barking and jumping and she HAS gotten better.

Olivia is the opposite. Every time the men where in a room with her, she’d pace and try to escape as soon as possible. There may have been a few barks in there too but they were more of a ‘please go away, you scare me!’ and not a ‘get out of my house or else!!’.

Belle even barked when the guys came in because she saw Roary doing it! She’s not part of this post, but I thought it was pretty funny/cute.

Al enjoys not smiling in photos, I think it’s a Marine thing.

This past weekend I found out about a pet-friendly event happening in Richmond called Easter on Parade. We took both Roary and Olivia.

I thought it was more of a craft festival with kids games but what we did was ‘parade’ around a giant 4 block circle along with 25,000 other people, some dressed in crazy easter hats and some not. It felt a lot like last weekend at the 10k where I spent most of my time weaving around the slower folks.

All negativity aside, it was a beautiful day and a great learning experience for the girls!

Ha, you can see their personalities in this picture – Olivia looking away from all the scary people and Roary hoping to investigate.

Both Al and I were nervous about how each dog would react to THAT many people. Neither of them had been in a similar situation before so we kept the training light, letting them do what they wanted, but still keeping their leashes short. Surprising they both did great! I’m a proud mama.

Olivia got skittish once in a while, especially if there were loud noises. We had to take two detours around a drummer and also a band because she wouldn’t move. If you remember where she started when we first got her, you know this is an amazing achievement!

Roary also did well. She just took it all in attempting to sniff. Only two times did she lunge (not in an aggressive way) at someone or something that she really wanted to interact with.

Towards the end of the walk we took a break in the shade to let the girls cool off a bit. They calmly sniffed as they watched lots of dogs, people, and a transvestite (?) walk by them.

I’m glad to know that we are on the right track with these girls. We love them so much!!

It was a nice little Easter Sunday.

What did you do this Easter? Any dog training? 😉