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Isa's Story

August 4th, 2022

Roxinator Update

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

[Edited to add pathology report below. Oops.]


A long overdue pupdate but mostly life has just been cruising along. Assuming of course you don’t count insanely large and out of control wildfires.

But that’s a different story. And has no dogs in it. I know where your priorities are.

And in the scheme of things this is a non-event, or very nearly so, in the scheme of this community. Enough so, I feel a little awkward about presenting it here. But you’re my family so you’re stuck with Roxy and me.

Roxy’s right back foot, inside toe, has been inflamed/infected/mucked up for quite a while. Her licking it nonstop has not helped anything. I was thinking it was nothing more than a hotspot. Not sure what I maybe should have done but whatever that might have been, I didn’t do it. We went for her annual check up in March, were patted on the head (literally and figuratively), given a round of antibiotics and threatened with the cone of shame. Antibiotics did nothing, nor did I follow up.

A few days before I left for vacation (end of May), I noticed the toe was swollen – a new symptom. Boarding called while I was gone to tell me the toe was not in good shape. Got home and it was indeed looking yucky and she continued to lick it.

I have no excuse, much less a good one, for why I waited longer to go back to the vet after that. Finally, finally took her in on June 28, deliberately scheduling to see a doctor I knew from when Isa was sick (versus the newish one we saw in March).

The vet more or less freaked out and ten minutes into the appointment started pushing to amputate the toe. At some point she calmed down and we (she) decided on doing hardcore antibiotics and rechecks at one and two weeks. Plan was to get the swelling down and see what we’re dealing with. And, oh yes, the threatened cone of shame.

I do not know what cancer she suspected during this period, it was not named and that’s a good thing. Can’t consult Dr. Google without a specific search term. She did tell me twice in a four-minute conversation how aggressive this (suspected) cancer was.

If that wasn’t enough, for the record and for context of my personal freak out, Isa was diagnosed with osteo on July 1. “Be more dog” is not something I am remotely good at.

I would like to mention that since (obviously) doggo cannot use the dog door while wearing the cone of shame and the fact that I live in the little-house-with-“quirks”, I had to carve out the header to the hall so the back door would open all the way (and not block the hallway).

How to destroy your house

Then hung a screen that opens down the center with magnets and Miss Thang was once again in and out of the house at will. Please note, she could totally reach her toe around the giant-ass cone [technical term]. And she did make it out the dog door a couple of times with the cone on (it flipped inside out) but required human assistance to come back in. Always, always well after I was in bed. One must retain all doggy standards in this regard.

Those antibiotics, combined with the lack of Roxy-abuse of the toe, helped. Swelling went down, seemed to me to have dried up a little but the vet said not so much. Admittedly I wasn’t wiggling the nail around to have goo ooze out – go figure. She also said it worried her that the opening the goo was oozing from was not closing.

Biopsy was scheduled for July 25 resulting in a big ol’ bandage, leashed potty walks and no running around like a wild thing. The Roxinator? Quiet and sedate? I think not. I fenced off the back porch (in the rain, at 7:30 pm, without dinner) and we’re back to leashed potty walks (reminding me of our trailer days). She was not initially happy about the yard being fenced off but seems to have accepted it (for now). They also narrowed the circumference of the cone to the point that she can no longer reach her foot. Made some things around the house easier and some more difficult. Bandage change on the 29th, and we were given the wonder of an old IV bag for mud protection during potty walks. Worlds better than the grocery bag(s) we’d been using. However, still not ideal. It’s too small, too low on her foot and tends to start to slide off. So I am currently looking for an alternative.

And for your entertainment, picture this: I circle around her to get to the appropriate foot to apply the required mud protection. She follows directly behind me, circling me circling her. We made at least three full, tight, circles of one another before I made her stop. Laurel and Hardy prepare for a walk.

At the bandage change on August 2, I was told that her toe was worse, largely due to lack of air circulation/bandage and “sweaty dog paws.” (For some reason that phrase cracks me up. Maybe, just maybe, I need to get out more.) Last night I noticed an … odor. I called this morning and reported same, and we will now be heading back there this afternoon.

Also at the August 2 recheck, the lab report was back. Technically good news if a tad ambiguous (in my opinion). Final conclusion was a “pseudo tumor” but maybe perhaps possibly starting to turn into soft tissue sarcoma. Inconclusive but, but, but.

Roxy path report

(hopefully that works for y’all.)

As I/we have known from the start, the toe will be amputated. Even if it’s not cancer, the toe is too damaged at this point to ever heal properly. Waiting for biopsy results was primarily to determine how high the amputation site should be. The amp is scheduled for next Monday, August 8. I’m told they will probably keep her overnight since they’re wedging her into a non-existent spot on the surgery schedule.

The doctor laughed at my primary concern being “how long with the cone?” We’ve been over a month with the damn thing and all three of us have varying degrees of PTSD from it. I think Wallee may have been pounced on and trapped within it at least once. I have bruises and may well be pushed down the stairs one day. Best thing in the world will be to be done with the damn thing. (Answer: two weeks post-amp.)

Assumption is, post-amp and the appropriate healing period, she will be fine. It’s not a full blown STS and even if it was, excision is a cure all. No chemo, nothing but standard follow up. A blip in our rear-view mirror. Inchalla.

I have thought of this community often through this month, grateful for all I’ve learned, grateful for all of you and your fur babies. I know how inconsequential this is relatively speaking within this community. It could be so, so much worse.

A massive thank you to those who have talked me down, repeatedly, over the past month. I’d be under the bed (and never come out) without your help.

My new mantra: “A toe is not a leg” – something to celebrate.

Love you all.

Teri, Roxinator and Angel Isa.

November 6th, 2019

A Long Overdue Update

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

On this, the occasion of my 18-month trailerversary! (Perhaps the less said on the subject, the better.)

Some of you saw my big beautiful house plans this summer. Turns out I didn’t have enough money to build that house, short by $100,000 give or take. So new plan, smaller, less beautiful but maintaining some cool features. Don’t recall now how much over budget that one was. Then total revamp, small and very not fancy. What do you know, the money exists for that version! Barely. If I borrow money from my family. And only if absolutely nothing goes wrong, no surprises, no rock encountered by any of the zillion digging activities required (and the property is all rock).

On line mortgage calculator showed the monthly payment for that version would take 49.85% of my monthly take home pay. Which would mean a vastly reduced life style: lesser quality food for everyone: dogs, cats and humans. No vacations ever, ever again. (Sally, are you listening?) No playtime for Teri of any kind, ever again. And never, ever being able to retire. Not a sustainable scenario and I cannot, will not, do that to myself. I have had many, many panic attacks thinking I “should” try to come up with the money.

So I have officially pulled the plug on building the house. I’ve started looking for an actual house but there’s not much currently available for sale, particularly given that certain parties require a certain amount of distance from neighbors. It’s the wrong time of year and, I’m told, real estate inventory hereabouts is very low right now. So I’ll hole up in the trailer for the winter and believe/picture/manifest that the perfect (affordable) house (with walls and everything!) will turn up when the time is right.

I have been edging towards this decision for a while now. The above appears straightforward but it has not been. Everything that could go wrong, pretty much has. and if it didn’t go wrong, per se, it was prohibitively expensive. I won’t bore you with the details but some highlights include:

  • Not only is the well water harder than anything (four-plus times standard), there is uranium present. All can be remedied – for a price.
  • Needing either a bigger well pump ($$) or a large holding tank inside the house somewhere/how ($$) for the fire sprinklers required by the fire department.
  • A turnaround carved out of thin air large enough for a fire truck to turn around (meant bringing in large quantities of dirt to flatten out enough space – $$$$)
  • Even more money to get electricity to the property because my “good” neighbor, who had previously been willing to grant me an easement for an overhead powerline, changed his mind because he decided I should use a different pathway for access – one that the electric company views as unusable.[1]  (WTH?)

Aside from the financial aspects of house building, my neighbors are … interesting.

One set of neighbors called animal control three days in a row because Roxy was allegedly barking nonstop. In the middle of the day. In the boondocks. A couple of weeks later (one?), these same neighbors insisted Roxy was barking for two hours nonstop every morning between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. Except Roxy is in the trailer with me during that period, we don’t get up until 6:30 and I certainly would never put up with her barking for two hours nonstop, much less in the trailer. I would be (more) batshit crazy than I already am. They told me I was full of *something* because I continued to insist she was asleep during that period of time. Clearly I was lying about that because they “know Roxy’s voice and know it was her barking.” Huh? At some point they must have figured out it was not Roxy barking because I’ve not heard from them in some time. They did thank me in the most patronizing way possible for the work I’d been doing with her.

The neighbors on the other side also called animal control (the week following the multiple visits from animal control due to the other neighbors) because Roxy had them trapped inside their house. In Roxy’s defense, they had spent the previous week tormenting her by using the (shared) driveway next to her enclosure. Repeatedly, noisily and in spite of the fact that they could have used the drive on the other side of their property. Not the most aware human beings I’ve ever met, nor did I have any idea humans could be that despicable (about other things). Overall, I couldn’t fault them calling animal control; Roxy is damn scary when she gets going. And they opted not to press charges – just $50 worth of tickets. All’s well that ends well? To be clear, Roxy was not running loose due to any choice of mine. I’d just moved her enclosure (the previous day – well away from the shared drive) and it was not 100% Roxy-proof. It is now, believe me.

In related news, I found a great trainer for Roxy and she’s doing so much better even if we do still have stuff to work on. We’re still at the point that no one can come to the house but she can almost be trusted in public. Took her to a hot tourist spot on Labor Day weekend (with the trainer) and her tail never stopped wagging, people were petting her and telling her how pretty she is. I, personally, nearly imploded – way more people than this introvert can cope with. I’ve fallen off the training wagon of late (pre-winter/trailer freak-out) but plan to start working her again – as soon as I manage to get out of bed in a timely manner.

I also got the catio built this summer. Not a thing of beauty by any means but Wallee is yelling at me less. Or was until it got cold. Can’t win them all.

And a couple of pictures of the goofy dog because that’s always a good thing.

That’s the latest here. Everyone think good happy thoughts for our perfect new house to appear (soon!)

Hugs to all!

Love Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa


[1] Yes, the original plan was off-grid solar. Until I got the estimate for that – and the information that I’d have to spend another ridiculous amount in seven years for new batteries.

January 18th, 2019

Two Years at the Bridge

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Two years. Two years? Two? So long ago and far away that day and as clear as if it was yesterday. I can instantly summon mental video of almost all of it. I will never lose the image of your body in the vet’s truck. Maybe that’s what a haunting is?

My sweet girl, your memory has faded some, so that makes me think some length of time has indeed passed. The feel of your ears in my fingers has been supplanted with a different set of ears, more immediate. I hate that I can’t remember exactly anymore. I do remember the perfectly straight strip of black down the top of your nose and the scars on the tip from various escapades.

I was looking at old pictures the other day, some from Boise and some from when we lived in the perfect place in Taos and could go play regularly in the river. The other reason it was perfect was I wasn’t working, and we were together most of the time. I had promised you that when we left Boise – I wish it could have lasted longer but human reality is what it is.

I’ve been remembering how, when you were laying on your bed, I’d lay down facing you, propped up on my elbows and you’d put your head under mine and partway under my chest and I’d lay my head on yours. I love that you would cuddle with me like that. I miss that.

I was also remembering in Boise, when Lauren was little (6?), and she got into your crate and had me latch the door. She had your (then favorite) stuffed turkey and you grabbed it though the bars and drug her and the crate all over the room playing tug of war. She thought that was the best game ever. I think you did too.

I know you’re still here with me, keeping an eye on me and how this whole new house thing is progressing. It was more or less your idea, of that I’m quite certain. This was your end game in sending Roxy to me. Because so much has changed for me since this move and continues to change. I am growing and healing on so many levels, I am constantly and consistently astonished. You started the healing when you were in your earth clothes, you learned me love, thoroughly. These are simply my next steps in bettering my humanness.

This past week has been … challenging. I finally figured out that some part of my brain had decided that two years was “enough”: “should” be enough time to grieve and “supposed to be” time to let go. I suspect a corollary to the ever-popular “just a dog.” And I have done nothing all week but physically hurt myself – from a paper cut to slipping and falling on ice to banging my head into a shelf. Clearly that part of my brain is very, very wrong. There is no “should” or “supposed to” – it is what it is and what it will continue to be: heartbreak.

I’m not broken the way I was when you first left, the gaping hole that was the entirety of my chest, utterly hollowed out. There’s still a hole, there always will be. You took a piece of me with you when you left. Inevitable.

I miss you, baby, even as your immediacy fades. I continue to be sorry for all the ways I think I failed you, before you got sick and after. I’m sorry I was not home more, that we didn’t have more adventures together. I utterly failed at being more dog. I haven’t forgiven myself but have stopped beating myself up. Baby steps.

I continue to be thankful you are out of pain. That’s probably the most important piece.

I ran into this Eskimo proverb a little while ago. An idea I will cling to when I look at my star-studded new home. “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

I know you are happy now, having the best time ever rolling in all the horse poop and/or dead things you want without me washing all the wonderful smell off you. That was a drag for both of us, you hated baths and I was often only partially successful in eradicating the stench (IMO).

You’re my heart dog and I will always, always love and miss you.

Run free, my sweet girl. Until we meet again.

November 7th, 2018

Six Month Trailerversary!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Technically that was yesterday but one can only do so much. Seems to me to have been fast, if mildly torturous. And I don’t know that there’s much to report.

I’m within inches of having my solar hooked up – frighteningly slow process and I still don’t know if it will work and/or if it’s enough panels/power. A lot of money for a lot of questions at this point. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Winter hit and then went away again, thankfully. I am reasonably certain it will return. The lower temperatures have necessitated renewed relationship negotiations between Roxy and Wallee. I’m trying to stay out of it but these negotiations tend to occur in my lap – that frequently complicates my neutrality. The outcome has been some civilized nose sniffing between them so maybe happier days are ahead.

Speaking of winter…

Wipe my paws? But why?

Remarkably, Roxy has continued to stay in her roundup. There were a couple of days about a month ago of escapism, possibly due to Fed Ex. But even with people traipsing over the property lately (occasionally without me), she’s stayed in and I don’t know what to think. I’m grateful certainly. It’s been lovely to do something other than fix the roundup. And she is using her dog house in bad weather, so I’m reassured on that score. I added some reflective insulation inside it and if/when it gets genuinely cold, she can wear her coat like the rest of us. So I’m almost convinced she will survive the winter in good form, if mildly unhappy. The couple of cold mornings we’ve had thus far, we’ve walk out to the car and I start it for defrosting purposes. I step out of the car to see her running back to the trailer. Wishful thinking on her part. Mine too for that matter but someone has to pay the bills.

Also somewhat remarkably, she can be disappeared into the woods and if I call/whistle, she turns up at a dead run a minute or two later.  Mostly that works on work day mornings when she knows it’s about time for me to leave (aka cookie time). Or she doesn’t. I have no way of knowing if she doesn’t hear me or elects not to respond. I don’t think I’d bet money either way.

In house news, I have hired an architect, a woman. After talking with a couple of male architects, it was more or less a no-brainer. We met with a septic guy yesterday to determine where and if a standard septic system was feasible. He seemed to think it was possible with the caveat that the price could go up once they start digging – no telling when/where they’ll hit rock. So a bit of a gamble albeit necessary. As a side note, I don’t believe he’s convinced he will be able to get his backhoe back up the hill, gravity being the bitch she is. He’s going to write up a proposal of best case/worst case numbers.

My architect met with a guy from the County yesterday as well. I couldn’t get away from work for that one and she’s not reported in as yet this morning so I don’t know what came of it. We’re hoping he’ll give an okie-dokie of the house site so we can proceed from the topos we have (based on satellite photos and not terribly accurate). We know roughly where the house will sit but there are enough bits of slope over 30% that we need him to tell us if that will work and/or whether (or when) we need to get a full contour survey done. But with his green-light and the beginning of a septic plan, we can start with the fun part: designing the house.

I could do with some fun – so far all I’m seeing are dollar signs and the ongoing panic attack(s) that accompany the sight.

I think for the most part, we’re doing well in our little trailer. So I leave you with the visual portion of our program.

I have no idea what was or was not inside but this went on for ages. I missed the video of the full airborne backward leap.

Dog versus watering can 1 and 2:

I like this picture – she looks so relaxed. Speaking of (and don’t tell her I told you), she has, just once or twice, tried sleeping on her back. Mostly those long legs of hers just keel her over onto her side but the intent and trust is there! Hooray!

Queen of all she surveys

So there you have it, six months in the trailer and still (more or less) sane. Calling it a win.

Love and hugs to all,

Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa

September 21st, 2018

A Quick Update

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

The wedding was lovely and fun with a lot of laughter and all kinds of good things. My niece looked gorgeous and the family members I had some concern about were on their best behavior so bail money was not necessary. Hotter than anything and Nevada, bless their pointed little heads, still allow smoking inside particularly in casinos so the weekend was a misery for my respiratory system. Better now that I’m home in clean air, even if there is less oxygen.

Yes, I had to turn up at jury duty Monday – brutal morning (plane was more than an hour late getting in Sunday night). GPS had me drive right past the courthouse without bothering to mention it so I was late and flustered. But I did get excused just after lunch after much whining on my part. So success!

Picked up Roxy from boarding and drove home with the mantra “I just want a nap …” repeating through my head. Made it home and slept for a whole half-hour until someone decided we needed protecting. I had to get up anyway to go to an appointment and then pick Wallee up from my friend’s house.

My return that evening gave me further evidence that Roxy has made up her mind to stay in her roundup. I had been gone for maybe two hours and came home to her greeting me at the car. She was out having punched a(nother) hole through the wire. Clearly she had not been home long enough to ensure the perimeter was sufficiently secure to remain in the roundup. Tuesday and Wednesday when I got home from work – in the enclosure as has become the new normal. So there’s that.  I do wish I knew what changed her mind. As always, the Roxinator’s English skills are severely lacking.

And I am pleased to report that I came home to a fully functioning refrigerator, ice and everything! Even the water leak in the bathroom stopped while I was gone. Sadly, it has now redoubled it’s efforts. Anyone know a plumber? I think perhaps a betting pool should be started on whether or not I survive the winter in the trailer. Or possibly what will break next. Seems like someone should make some money on this fiasco.

So there’s the answer to your burning questions about my weekend!

Lots of love to you all!

Teri, the Roxinator and Angel Isa


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