Out of near decapitation comes an early resolution

Earlier today, I rolled Barley’s head up in the car window.

After stepping on the switch to roll down his own window, Barley blissfully pushed his head out to feel the rain on his face. When I saw him hanging out so far, with both mustache and chest hair blowing in the breeze, I hit my master window control and began rolling it up, forgetting that Barley can no longer hear the window going up or down. I mashed his head and he couldn’t get out for several seconds.

I’m the worst mother in the world. It’s a miracle I don’t have human children, whose heads are not nearly as well attached as my scrappy terrier’s.

Thankfully, Barley’s head is still where nature intended and he seems to be suffering no ill effects, though he was reluctant to venture near the window afterwards. At the very least, I have my first resolution for 2013. I will not roll dogs’ heads up into car windows.

Scrooge sings the classics

When it comes to holiday music, I have to pace myself. “O Holy Night,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “We Three Kings,” and the Elvis version of “Blue Christmas” can easily be on a constant loop at my house between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can’t seem to get enough.

I get especially excited to hear the Grinch song on the radio. My favorite bit is, “The three words that best describe you are as follows and I quote, ‘Stink. Stank. Stunk.'” I love singing that loudly and with an abundance of spraying spit.

Of course, not all holiday songs inspire such cheer. Here are a few songs I want Santa to take away in his giant sack.

Wonderful Christmas Time by Sir Paul. Simply having a really repetitive song. Plus, that weird instrument in the beginning sounds like a fart.

Mary’s Boy Child by Boney M. Oh my lord, you sent this song to kill us. Oh my lord, this ugly song you gave us. Oh my lord, this song it will enrage us and ears will bleed once more. (The video is pretty awesome, though.)

All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey. I probably didn’t need to mention the name of the song. There’s no room for Mariah Carey anything at Christmas. Or any other time. Down with Mariah Carey. If you happen to find yourself in earshot of this song, mentally replacing “you” with “poo” makes it bearable.

Last Christmas by Wham. As you may have noticed, I like to change the words to bad holiday songs to make them better. For this one, I go for the obvious. Last Christmas I gave you my fart but the very next day you blew it away.

What holiday songs make you crazy?

The Grey Ghost gets an unexpected diagnosis

One of my favorite pics of my favorite fella

One of my favorite pics of my favorite fella

Last Saturday, Barley went to the vet. It’s not his favorite place to go, though the entry rug is apparently very smelly and interesting. Or, perhaps he was just trying to pull me closer to the door. At any rate, we came with a vial of home-collected pee, steeling ourselves for a diabetes diagnosis that never came.

The pee and blood tests came back great. No sugar. No infection. Just good ol’ yellow, stinky pee and (hopefully) less stinky doggy blood. That was the good news. The vet suspected my boy might have Cushing’s Disease, which occurs when a tumor grows on the pituitary gland (sometimes the adrenal gland, but that’s more rare) causing the body to churn out stress hormone (cortisol) at a dangerous rate. He asked that Barley come back Wednesday for a full day of testing for Cushing’s.

When Wednesday came, Barley was pissed at not getting his breakfast, then more pissed when I drove him back to the vet. The stinky rug didn’t hold the same allure. A nice lady took him away and I went to work. Barley began his day with a blood test for his base cortisol level followed by an injection of a chemical which, in a healthy dog, will trigger the pituitary gland to stop producing cortisol. His cortisol level was tested four hours later and again eight hours later. In a healthy dog, the cortisol level would have fallen to less than one. Barley’s level, which started out at 9.9 dropped to 6.8 and 5.6. Positive for Cushing’s.

Every day for five to 10 days, Barley will take a cancer medication that will partially kill his pituitary gland. Once his cortisol level drops to normal, he’ll cut back on the medicine to twice per week. He’ll have regular blood tests to make sure his levels stay regular. If they drop too low, he will suffer terrible symptoms, including vomiting, blood clots, and diarrhea. The vet has prescribed us emergency steroids in case that happens. But, the vet was blunt in saying animals usually don’t recover. Those first five to 10 days will be the most dangerous.

Because of this potential, I will try to take some time off work to spend with Barley for those first critical days on the medicine. I will adopt Barley Watch 2012 as my ’round the clock mission. If I can get my little scapper past the danger point, I know he’ll do great. He’s a tough one.

Thanks to everyone who’s been rooting for him. I’ll keep you all posted on how he’s doing, particularly in those first few days. I’ll surely have plenty of time to chronicle his every move.

Keeping all our paws crossed

My favorite Barley pic of all time.

My favorite Barley pic of all time.

Poor Barley’s had a rough week. Actually, I think my week has been rougher, but I feel worse for him. I would clean up pee every day without complaint (almost) if it meant my boy was okay. I’m just not sure that’s going to happen.

As I mentioned in my last post, Barley’s been showing some odd symptoms (accidents in the house, increased drinking, tiredness, etc.). He’s also been extremely hungry for the better part of a year. He always acts like he’s starving and it’s been getting worse. I spoke to the vet about it over the summer and he didn’t think it was a big deal; he suggested I add green beans to Barley’s food to give it more bulk.

Barley’s hunger has only gotten worse, though. He now eats out of a slow-feeder bowl because he was eating so fast and so intensely, he was choking himself and barfing up mouthfuls of unchewed food. The bowl has helped slow him down, but he’s so frustrated, he now whines when he eats. He’s in a panic over not getting his food. It’s very disturbing.

So, the short story is that we’re going to see the vet today. A friend suggested it might be diabetes, which is very common in schnauzers. All the symptoms fit. I don’t know, though. At his age, I’m sure there could be a lot of options. His symptoms are still somewhat mild. He is drinking probably twice as much as usual, but he’s only had accidents a couple times a week. He’s not exactly spraying the house, which I guess happens in diabetics. Dogs, that is. Diabetic dogs.

This is me trying not to worry. I’m just hoping for the best. I’ll keep you all posted on what we find out. Depending on what tests he needs (liver, kidneys, etc.), I may not know for a couple days. Until then, please keep your paws crossed!