Tag Archives: dog

day 3339: odin and pushkin enjoy their first ( and maybe last ) drive-in movie.

day 3339: odin and pushkin enjoy their first ( and maybe last ) drive-in movie.

we’re lucky enough to have a drive-in theater nearby in richland center wisconsin and decided to take odin and pushkin to see turbo because, sadly, the theater might be closing soon.

at the end of 2013 films are no longer being distributed, well, on film. and it costs about $70,000 per screen to convert to digital projectors. the starlight website says they are going to start a fundraising campaign soon, but it seems a bit late in the game. next weekend is their last showing for the season and if they don’t raise the money they won’t open next year.

i hope they raise the money and we’ll certainly kick in some to help because it’s a whole lot of fun to lay on the ground on a blanket and catch a movie!

i thought the movie was funny and cute, but odin said he’s seen better 🙂

day 3339: odin and pushkin, the day after i almost put pushkin down.

day 3339: odin and pushkin, the day after i almost put pushkin down.

08.28.13 update: we got results back from his blood panel and it’s not good news. his blood platelet count is disastrously low and his white blood count is very high. our vets opinion is that he has fairly advanced cancer and we should put him down sooner rather than later. one of the possible cancers could lead to his slowly bleeding to death which is certainly not something we want to have happen. sad news. i guess we’ll have to put him down within days.


odin and pushkin have been best buddies since we brough pushkin home from the animal shelter and into our lives 7 years ago. there have been many “a boy and his dog” stories and moments over the years, some of which have been told, most of which haven’t. when odin wakes up in the morning pushkin is at the foot of his bed and when odin goes to bed pushkin is at the foot of his bed. they are inseperable companions.

pushkin came from the shelter with severe lyme disease and has had bouts of anaplasmosis over the years. every year or two he gets lethargic and doesn’t want to eat so we take him to the vet to get the lyme test and, sure enough, his bacterial loads are high so he gets a round of antibiotics and is all better until next time. in fact, the Dog Food Burrito Incident occurred the last time he had a flare-up. it’s been a familiar ( and annoying ) pattern cycle of lethargy, lack of interest in food, lyme and treatment.

around odin’s birthday, pushkin started puking everything he ate and stopped eating entirely. it felt a little different than the lyme cycle. he dropped 15 pounds. fast. we took him to the vet and his liver enzymes were high which could be from an infection ( or lots of other even less fun causes ) and he tested positive for anaplasmosis so we started him on a treatment of antibiotics with prednisone to help increase his appetite.

the treatment has sort-of worked. he’s been able to eat and keep most of it down. but he’s still lethargic and definitely not the old pushkin. but it’s been hard to know how much of that has been due to side effects from prednisone and recovering from anaplasmosis. this week we finally weaned him off the prednisone and were all really, really hoping to see our dear friend bounding about happy and healthy.

instead, he started puking up everything he ate and then stopped eating entirely.

having had dogs for most of my life, dealing with the decision to put a dog down is familiar and never easy ( over a decade ago i told the story of the day harper went to the vet and didn’t come back ). but when a dog isn’t eating, it’s probably close to time. i believe it’s infinitely more humane to decide to do it quickly because in the end whatever is causing the problem – most likely cancer – is not going to get fixed. if we had thousands of dollars laying around i’d give hundreds of kids access of clean water over giving a dog a few more months to live.

we came close to going to the vet and putting him down but couldn’t do it. not yet. there’s a small chance he’s not cleared of the infection, so we decided to do another blood panel and put him back on prednisone and wait for the results. the good news is that he’s eating and keeping food down.

we’ll enjoy each day with pushkin not knowing how many we have left. hopefully there are many.

a vignette of Life With The Girls and Pushkin.

a vignette of Life With The Girls and Pushkin. I.

and so, after moving 3 yards of dirt from one place to another i thought it’d be nice to take a rest on the lawn and say hello to The Girls who are normally a little wary of The Big Man, but are willing to abandon The Raspberry Patch to investigate when he has A Bit of Food.

a vignette of Life With The Girls and Pushkin. II.

being well-versed in The Way of The Chicken, i do believe they are thinking, “WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? WHATCHADOING? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD? GOTSOMEFOOD?”

a vignette of Life With The Girls and Pushkin. III.


a vignette of Life With The Girls and Pushkin. IV.

being The Great Defender of All Members of The Pack, pushkin decides it’s time to investigate The Situation.

without being too anthropomorphic, i recognize well the slight furrowing of his brow indicating Worry that Someone or Something May Be In Distress.

a vignette of Life With The Girls and Pushkin. V.

all is Right As Rain, though, with a good scratch behind the ears.

say hallo to odin’s new buddy, pushkin! and an answer to an obvious question.

say hallo to odin's new buddy, pushkin! and an answer to an obvious question.

odin has a favorite book called "three questions" which is a children’s adaptation of "three questions" by leo tolstoy. in the book, a boy named nikolai which has a dog named pushkin and lately odin been telling us that he’d like to have a dog named pushkin. so, after some deliberation we decided to grant his wish and went to a local animal shelter and collectively fell in love with a 1.5 year-old bernese mountain dog/labrador retriever mix who shall forevermore be called, not surprisingly, pushkin.

soon after getting home, pushkin, got a bath ( in process in this photo ) 🙂

without going into the details pushkin was severely abused as puppy by his first owner, but was loved by his second owner before he was taken to the shelter due to "lifestyle changes". he’s smart and obedient and loves getting big hugs from odin. we trust he’ll be a happy member of our family for a long, long time to come.

all this, of course, begs the question – where’s mauja? well, there’s no easy way to break the news but after living a decade, about the average lifespan for a large-breed alaskan malamute, mauja is now running around in doggie heaven, free of the pain of the hip dysplasia that afflicted him since he was 9 months old. the veterinary surgeon who operated on him when he was 9 months old said he would probably be lucky to live until he was 4 or 5 years old. we couldn’t feel more fortunate that mauja proved him wrong and provided us all with many years of happiness.

mauja passed away last spring and we decided to keep it private, not knowing quite how to convey the news to his legions of fans during what was obviously a difficult time for us.

so, join us in welcoming a new friend, while remembering fondly an old, dear one.

oh, while sir moo moo is somewhat indifferent to the newest member of the family, truck is a little more vocal in her unhappiness ( which is odd since she got along with mauja and pushkin doesn’t seem particularly interested in her ). hopefully cat and dog will be living in harmony soon 🙂

the eric update – day 352: mauja and odin’s first day at camp!

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! I.

yesterday we went on an ocean adventure, so today we thought it would be nice to visit our family camp in whiting, maine on what’s known as “indian lake”. ( for the two people that might be interested, the first white settler of whiting, general john crane, was involved in the boston tea party, the french and indian war and the american revolutionary war. and it still has a two room schoolhouse! but i digress. )

not more than a minute or two after we arrived we walked down onto the wharf with grandma rier to look across the lake and were all suprised to hear a splash not more than 10 feet away near the rock wall at the water’s edge.

at first we all thought it was a fish jumping in extremely shallow water, but then about ten or so feet from the sound of the splash we were shocked to see a loon come up from a dive under water. ( parenthetically, when it came up from the dive, we saw that it seemed to have an impossibly large 5 or 6 foot wingspan, which we all thought was far larger than normal. it’s funny that after a lifetime of observing loons none of us had ever seen one so close to know that it’s actually an average wingspan. )

of course, mauja jumped in the water and for the second time in as many days, tried his best to get himself a bird dinner.

by the time i ran back with the camera, the loon had lured mauja into relatively deep water and was being much more devious than yesterday’s gull by letting him get relatively close, not flying away, and making loon calls that undoubtably could be translated into “i bet i know which of us will drown first!”

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! II.

unlike yesterday, mauja didn’t quickly turn around and within minutes he was so far out in the lake that we began to fear that he might not make it back to shore!

finally he decided to heed our calls and started to head back. but he’s old and we had a brief conversation about whether or not it was possible to pull a fully water laden 120 pound malamute into a canoe.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! III.

the loon dared to come back relatively close to shore which made us think that perhaps we had unintentionally disturbed a nesting mother ( ironic considering this comment about yesterday’s photos and the downside of letting dogs run on beaches in the spring ).

we didn’t see any obvious nests in the rock wall and nobody can remember a loon nesting the cove in the entire 50 or so year history of the camp, but the loon’s behavior would certainly seem to indicate otherwise.

unfortunately for mauja, until we conclusively rule out a nest, mauja will definately need to back on a leash.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! IV.

the family camp has always had a relatively large and vocal loon population, which makes for hauntingly beautiful nights on the lake.

if you’ve ever heard a chorus of loons you’ll know what i mean.

you can click on each image for a brief description.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! V.

grandpa kirk in happy to see mauja make it to shore.

grandma rier has lived in saint lucia for quite a few years which is where she met and married kirk.

he’s a very nice, soft-spoken man and, as you may have guessed, odin loves to play with his dreads.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! VI.

grandma rier and odin share a quiet moment.

eventually grandma may figure out that i can take a photo with the telephoto lens when you don’t even know it 🙂

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! VII.

after harrasing a local loon, mauja still had enough energy to run around and sleuth out a muddy mess in a nearby bit of wetland.

obviously according to the dog’s handbook of life, he’s having probably his most funnest day in a long, long time.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! VIII.

odin enjoys sitting on what might look like an ordinary red couch in the family camp.

little does he know that this very couch has not apparently aged at all over the past 30 or so years; regular readers might even recognize the couch as the very same one that auntie m and i shared for a special moment more than a few years ago.

day 352: mauja and odin's first day at camp! IX.

this photo is far more interesting when you realize that the long time family friend on the motorcycle who is talking with grandma rier and odin is david watts whose surname almost assuredly means that he’s a direct descendent of samual watts who we very recently learned is also a member of odin’s family tree and whom played a part in the first naval skirmish with the british during the american revolutionary war.

if it’s not apparent, david is quite a character, in the very best sense of the word.