Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guard Duty

Otis is enjoying the sitting wall.

Seeing Otis peering over the wall makes me think of  a sentry, guarding the castle's gate.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cushing's Disease

We received Cooper's blood test results and he has Cushing's Disease. Dr Forman said that there are two treatment options: surgery or medication.

Surgery would be complex and involves removing the adrenal gland.  The vet believes the mass on the adrenal gland is cancerous. Removing it would stop the spread of cancer and should cause Cooper's hormone levels to return to normal. Our concern is that this is major surgery and Coop is 10 years old.

Medication could control the Cushing's symptoms. However the cancer would continue to grow and spread over time. The "good" news is that adrenal cancer is slow to spread.

Our regular vet, Dr Duffy, is on vacation until July 5. We will discuss Cooper's situation with Dr Duffy when he returns and then make a decision on how to proceed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fresh Flowers

This mix of yellow and orange flowers caught my eye. The label on the flowers said they were grown in Cranston, RI.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Picture Spot

Cooper and Otis seem to approve of the new walkway. Unfortunately, Otis will run down the hillside, instead of using the stairs, if he is not on leash

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oriental Lily

I rescued this bulb when the new walkway was installed. In its old location, the deer would eat most, if not all, the buds.  I  tucked the bulb in a corner between the edge of the house and the stone wall and hoped for the best.

As the spring days passed, the buds grew bigger. Frequent deer sightings, in the front yard, made me doubt this plants survival.

When I came home tonight, the lily was in full bloom.  Isn't it beautiful ?

Friday, June 24, 2011

What's in the Box ?

When Jeff and Cooper got home from the Cornell Vet Clinic, there was a box waiting at the door.  The box was from one of our favorite people, Linda F. Linda  had  read that Cooper was not feeling well and had sent a get well gift.

The box was full of dog treats, squeaky toys and Lindt chocolates (for Jeff and I). The dog treats looked so tasty, I was tempted to try one. Cooper and Otis gobbled up the treats.  I gave Coop one of the squeaky toys and he raced around the house squeaking it as he ran. I have not seen Coop that happy,  in a while.

A few minutes later, Cooper began to tear the toy apart to get to the squeaker. Stuffing is now sprinkled around the house. Thank you Linda, for cheering all of us up!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to Cornell Vet Clinic

Cooper is spending all day at the Cornell Vet Clinic in Stamford.

Coop is being tested for Cushing's Disease. The test consists of 3 different blood draws taken over an 8 hour period. Dr Foreman also wanted to run an additional test while Cooper is there.

We should know the results next week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Iris Ensata

Two of our 3 Iris Ensata have not survived. However, the third one is doing great.

I think these flowers are gorgeous.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

I would usually not cheer the fact that the Summer Solstice is here and daylight hours will be shrinking. However, Coop has been getting  up at the crack of dawn and yesterday woke us at 5:04 am!

Coop will not go back to sleep until he has been walked and fed. To be fair, Otis is often up at the same time or earlier, depending upon the owl activity in the yard.

We are hoping that less daylight will mean a later wake up call from Cooper.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Scenes from our yard

Unfortunately these pictures were taken after a full day of rain, so the flowers are droopy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Don't forget me!

With Cooper being ill, he is getting the majority of our attention. Otis has noticed this and is jealous. To get attention, Otis is again running around the house with towels, socks and shoes in his mouth. Otis rarely stays in the office when I work at home. Today, he did NOT leave my side all day.

Poor Otis does not understand what is happening.

I did see a spark of the old Coop, on our afternoon walk when he tried to chase after a chipmunk.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cooper Update

I wish I could say that Cooper is doing great, but  "ok" is more accurate. Cooper no longer greets me at the door. When I get home from work Coop is still curled up on his bed.

Cooper is eating a little, but not nearly his normal amount. I am not sure if this is due to the ulcer or the fact that he is on 4 different medications.

I look at Coop's pink belly and think of the tough road we have traveled these last 3 years. Cooper is a fighter and survivor. I hope Coop has the will to face the tough battle ahead.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Emergency Vet Visit

My personal philosophy is that birthday's are sacred. Jeff and  I took a vacation day from work with plans to spend my birthday relaxing. I never imagined that we would spend the entire day in the vet's office.

Cooper had been skipping meals over the past few days, but we were not worried. Missing occasional meals is something that both dogs do. When Coop did not wake us up at 5:15 am, I was pleasantly surprised. However, when Coop had to be coaxed to go out for his morning walk, I knew something was wrong. Coop came in from his walk and immediately curled up on the kitchen carpet, not wanting to move. Scrambled eggs could not tempt Cooper to eat.

That evening, Coop's back legs gave out when he was trying to squat and he struggled to walk up the stairs. Even though the house was cool, Coop stretched out panting heavily. We decided that Cooper needed to see  the vet. We thought that Coop was having joint pain and pain killers would fix the problem.

We called Norwalk Vet Hospital at 7:30 am and got an appointment with Dr Schwartzreich. The vet was concerned that this is the second time in 3 months Cooper was ill. He ordered blood tests and x-rays. The blood tests showed low red cell count, high white cell count and low platelets. The x-ray showed an enlarged liver. The vet said 2 possibilities were an infection or cancer. An immediate abdomen ultra sound was prescribed to further diagnose Cooper.

Our vet could not perform the ultrasound, so we visited the newly opened Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in Stamford, CT.  The Cornell Doctors are specialists and there is an emergency room for trauma. Dr Foreman, an internist,  examined Cooper. Coop's belly was shaved and an ultrasound performed. The ultrasound showed that Cooper's liver was enlarged, but no sign of cancer. Coop's spleen and kidneys were healthy. The test showed that Cooper has a greatly enlarged adrenal gland due to a tumor. The Dr suspects Cushing's disease. It is not known if the tumor is cancerous.  To confirm Cushing's a blood test is needed. However, this cannot be done until Cooper is stabilized (eating, off medications) for 2 -3 weeks. Cooper was also shown to have a stomach ulcer.

We left with a large bag of medication and were told to call back in 24 hours, if Coop still refused to eat. Cooper is now on pain medication, appetite stimulants, Pepcid (to control stomach acid) and antibiotics. We are hoping that Cooper will feel better over the next few days. We will then  test for Cushing's and determine our next steps.

I hope this is not a sign of how my new birthday year will go!

Monday, June 13, 2011

South Street Seaport

We spent the day at South Street Seaport in NYC.  It was a cloudy day, which kept the temperature cool, perfect for wandering the city.

We attended Bodies The Exhibition. This is a fascinating exhibit of the human body. Bodies have been dissected and preserved with polymers, so they do not decay. I never realized how small yet strong our bones are (4 times stronger than steel). The exhibit shows the different systems, muscles, and organs in the human body. I was amazed at seeing all the arteries, veins and capillaries that create the circulatory system. Seeing how our organs and bones fit together perfectly was truly amazing. Comparing a healthy lung vs a smoker's lung should be enough to get any smoker to quit. I would highly recommend spending the 2 hours it takes to tour the exhibit.

There are many shops and restaurants at the Seaport. We ate at Johnny Rocket's (great burgers and shakes) and sat outside watching the crowds of people wander by. Christmas in NY had hundreds of Christmas ornaments, but I resisted the temptation to buy one.

On the way back to Grand Central, we walked by Ground Zero. We could not see much because the fencing around the site is covered with fabric. However, we could see that trees have been planted for the memorial and the buildings are growing taller.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to get Wilton Diaries emailed to you ?

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Sorry for any inconvenience!

Feed Me

Cooper loves to spend time outside on the deck. When Coop kept running into the kitchen, I assumed he wanted to go soak up some sun.

I went into the kitchen and opened the back door. I then realized that Coop was not behind me. Coop was standing next to the kitchen counter with his nose raised, pointing at his food bowl.  Coop had not wanted to eat his breakfast. I had put his bowl on the counter, so that Otis would not eat it.

It was now 1:00 pm and Cooper was hungry. I put the bowl down and Coop quickly ate all his kibble. Dogs may not be able to talk, but they certainly can communicate.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Email Subscriptions

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Who's At The Door ?

I was on a conference call when the doorbell rang. Coop and Otis charged down the stairs and ran to the front door, barking as they went.

I raced to the door  with phone in hand and saw a delivery man holding a Happy Birthday balloon and a red box. I managed to push Coop to the side and opened the door. The delivery was from Edible Arrangements. Since Otis could not get around me, he decided to squeeze between my legs. I put the phone to my shoulder, grabbed the box with one hand and tried to push Oti back with the other.

The man said it is ok if they come out, I like dogs. I said, if they get out they may not come back. The man was holding a proof of delivery form in his hand. I asked if I needed to sign for this. The man was nice and said, you have your hands full (literally),  I can do that. He then shut the door, while I held Otis back.

I saw the man laughing as he walked back to his car. Looking back at the crazy scene, I am laughing too. So much for 6 weeks of good citizen/meet and greet training!

The box was full of giant chocolate covered strawberries. Once my phone call ended, I ate one. It was DELICIOUS! A big thank you to my LI family for the wonderful gift.

Friday, June 10, 2011

3 Years

Still miss you, Danny. Always will.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Turtle Crossing

When we walked the dogs this morning, I saw the turtle heading towards the driveway. Cooper and Otis spotted the turtle and began to bark. The turtle turned around and walked surprisingly quickly back into the pond.

I am wondering if the turtle is still interested in nesting near the walkway. I hope not, as I do not want the new landscaping ruined. Seeing the turtle twice in a few days makes me wonder.....

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Born to Run

Otis is a big dog and not very light on his feet. When I walk Otis, he follows slowly behind Cooper, sniffing every blade of grass.  However, Otis becomes a different dog when he is off leash.

Jeff was with Otis in the back yard. I was walking up the driveway. I was almost to the top of the drive, when I heard a noise behind me. I turned around and there was Otis running full out, quickly closing the distance between us. The sun was shining, Oti's coat was gleaming and I could see his muscles ripple as he ran.

Otis has never looked more beautiful. As I watched Otis run, I was amazed by just how graceful he was. Otis caught up with me and wagged his tail, as if to say, got you! Jeff and I were now at opposite ends of the driveway. Otis saw Jeff and raced off towards him. Otis was unbelievably happy to be running free on a beautiful morning. I could not help but smile.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Westport Community Theatre

With Jeff out of town, our Westport family invited me to dinner and a show. Dinner was at Bogey's in Westport. Bogey's is a casual restaurant with a menu ranging from salads, sandwiches, steak and seafood. Both the food and service were good.

The play was Sabrina Fair at the Westport Community Theatre, in the basement of the Westport Town Hall. I had never been to the WCT before. The theatre is fairly small and there is not a bad seat in the house. We had second row, center stage seats. The start of the show was a little rocky with audio and lighting issues. However, these were resolved and the play was delightful. If you would like to see live theatre at reasonable prices, consider going to the WCT.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

A Golden Celebration

We attended the Norwalk Community Chorale Golden Celebration spring concert. The chorale has been putting on free Christmas and Spring concerts for 50 years. This fabulous concert lasted for 2 hours.

I was very impressed by the range of music that was presented. Songs from Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, The Wizard of Oz, and Phantom of the Opera rang throughout the concert hall. 

One of my favorite parts of the concert was when veterans were asked to stand and be recognized for their service to our country. The Battle Hymn of the Republic was then sung in honor of all those who have fought or are fighting to protect the USA.

For the Chorale to learn so many songs and perform them perfectly, they must have spent significant time practicing. At the end of the concert, I cheered long and loud for all the members who brought a beautiful night of music to Norwalk.

Friday, June 03, 2011


It seems that our neighbors are not the only ones curious about our new walkway.

When Jeff went out the front door this morning, he was greeted by this turtle, who was digging in the newly planted grass.

 I am not sure why the turtle decided to dig up the hillside and destroy all the new grass.Thankfully, no eggs were laid. The last thing we need is hatchlings in our front yard.

I was surprised to see a turtle so far from the pond.  From the large size, I would assume this turtle is several years old.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Our Westport family stopped by with this beautiful bouquet of peonies from their garden. I think they are stunning!

 How nice to have family who are willing to share their garden's bounty.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Disappearing balls

I am starting to wonder if the raccoon plays tennis. I always leave tennis balls on the deck for the dogs to play with. I have noticed that over the past few days the balls are disappearing.

At first I thought the dogs were bringing the balls into the house with them. However, I have not found extra balls in the basement or upstairs. I thought perhaps the balls had fallen off the deck, but they are not in the yard.

I can't imagine anyone wanting a chewed tennis ball, but then again you never know.