Category Archives: miniature schnauzer

Farewell Pepper

DSCN2307 Pepper has been a lovely pet. She’s never destroyed stuff, run off, dug up the garden, or been a pest in any way. She’s friendly. She’s kind. She’s not greedy for food, but she is pushy for attention and scratches. She’s low maintenance. If you want to walk, she’s there. If you want to nap, even better. She’s slowed down in the last year or two, and then three weeks ago she wouldn’t get off the couch one evening. We rushed her off to the vet, who initially suspected a herniated disc, but as she continued to decline suspected a stroke or brain tumor, She was in the vet hospital four days on IVs and medications, and she got somewhat better and we were able to bring her home. Once home, she perked up and seemed happy. She even went along on a walk, with her little tail wagging with glee.

Then, on Friday, she has an upset stomach and was tired. On Saturday, she wouldn’t eat her supper and so we sat on the couch together, which was her favorite thing to do.  She stood up, as though she was going to jump off the couch,  and then she stopped breathing and was suddenly gone. It  was like losing my own breath to watch her lose hers.  I wish I had more poetic things to say, but I am not very verbose at the moment.  She was 11 years old. She was our faithful companion. She will be missed.



Dog Problems

2013-07-01 12.35.42Anyone who knows me knows that I am silly about my dogs. I’m a dog person. When things are right with my dogs, things are right. I have companionship, loyalty, love and warm feet all rolled into these creatures that think I am the best person ever in spite of the fact that they are with me all the time. I have my own  personal trainer in Sasha who enthusiastically needs to be walked – a lot. I have amusement in Pepper’s extreme skills at laziness. They’re cute, and beautiful, and kind, and mine.

But when things go wrong with a dog, they can go very wrong. I haven’t written about it as it was still pretty raw, but Sasha had a brush with death over the Saturday after the New Year’s holiday.  We had overslept a little and when we got up, there was no Sasha there ready to greet us. Odd.  I called for her on my way out of the bathroom, and she whimpered and moved – she was under our bed, which she never does. We thought at first she had gotten stuck under there and hadn’t wanted to bother us, but when we called for 2013-08-19 22.53.31her she shimmed out easily and laid flattened out of the floor, eyes pleading for us to help her. We had no clue what was wrong. We took her outside, and she would walk some and then stop and cough and gag and then made some terrible whining and choking sounds. I called the vet. They told us they were booked out, as there was a backlog after the holiday and only one vet in, since it was the weekend. Then they heard her gurgled cry over the phone and said to bring her down right away, they’d figure out how to see her.


Here is Pepper trying to make a spot for herself next to Sasha on the couch.

Our vet is great.  He has partners but we usually bring our dogs to this same vet, and he was on duty when we arrived. He poked around and decided to X-ray her. If I had been thinking I would have snapped a picture of that X-ray on my phone but I wasn’t thinking about that at the time. The X-ray found that she had something roundish and fairly big, an inch all the way around, lodged exactly at the juncture between her esophagus and trachea. He had only seen this once before, and it was bad. He didn’t have the equipment at the clinic to support breathing if it shifted and blocked her airway – and if we drove her to the big Vet hospital in San Antonio, it could shift while we were on the road and she’d die that way too. If he tried to go in by mouth and move it himself, it was slippery and could go the wrong way. If he opened her up surgically from the front of her throat he would compromise her airway possibly forever. Can’t leave it safely, can’t move it safely, and can’t be sure what to do since we couldn’t tell the future. She was panicked, and now we all were too. The vet teared up with us.

We thought and discussed and prayed for a moment, and we decided to ask him to go in by mouth and do what he could, and we wouldn’t hold it against him if it went badly. We had to try, and so a plan was made. We were sent off to wait and pray, and they  prepped her for the scope and sedated her. Walking out as they were working on her was very sad- the staff, the vet, all were visibly upset about the situation Sasha was in.

It was a success. When she was sedated, most likely, she relaxed just perfectly and it moved out of her airway. It went down into her stomach, and so we didn’t get to see what ever it might have been, but from the Xray we suspect it was the last of a chunk of rawhide chew. Her esophagus and trachea were torn up and bleeding, but the obstruction was gone. Hallelujah! It was a very different scene when we came back than when we left her. It was a party – and the vet declared this a best case scenario.  He told us then that the only other time they’ve seen something similar, that the other dog died. She had to go on medication to help her heal and was placed on a restricted diet and sedation for five days.  We were able to take her home.

So things changed for Sasha that day. She hasn’t been allowed on the furniture,

Sleeping on the couch. Life is good.

Sleeping on the couch. Life is good.

since she is a big, shedding dog.  Well, when she got home that day she was invited up to sleep on the couch, and she’s still there. Now she’s napping on beds and sitting on laps and that’s causing some problems for Pepper, who had been the ruler of the house and couch up to that point. Pepper has compensated by  taking to competitive eating now, and keeping Sasha away from the food bowl, so we’re feeding them separately. We had to – Pepper has gained some serious weight trying to keep Sasha from getting any food. It’s always something when you have kids or dogs, but it’s a good problem to have. We are grateful that Sasha is still with us.  Pepper, she’s not so sure about that. :)


Adventures with Pepper the Neurotic Schnauzer

Can dogs be neurotic? Absolutely. Pepper is a great little dog; kind, loving, loyal, everything a dog should be, even if she’s not the sharpest tack in the drawer.  I do love my little dog Pepper, but that dog has issues.  Many issues; too many to discuss in  one blog post. The most significant problem is definitely  fear of thunder.

Before I had a smart phone to use to  check the weather , Pepper was the weather reporter around here.  If the dog is shaking and trying to crawl up your leg, there’s a thunderstorm in the area.  She would escalate to frantic running around the house and whining and barking.  She’s never run away in a panic, thankfully, but she has caused some problems.  We took her to the vet and the vet prescribed sedative for her, but in Texas, there’s often  not much warning when the weather is changing, and the storms can be over very quickly.  By the time the medicine got into her bloodstream, it was all usually over.  This was especially a problem in the middle of the night. When we ran out of the medicine the vet prescribed, we found out that benadryl works too, and so we tried giving her benadryl but it was too slow to be of use as well.

Pepper modeling the Thundershirt. Don’t judge.

Then there was the epic weather and laundry and Pepper  meltdown day about a year ago, that I wrote a blog about. A friend of mine, Sandra, read that blog and told me about the Thundershirt for dogs.  It’s this little coat thing that is supposed to help dogs with anxiety problems by applying pressure to their bodies, and it is can sometimes work right away! The advertisements said it works on 80% of dogs, so we figured it was worth a shot.  We ordered one, and waited for the next thunderstorm.

It took a long time for another thunderstorm to come up, since we are in a historic drought, but it finally came, and we were ready with our new dog Thundershirt, and with a handy bonkers  dog to go with  it.  I am happy to report that it works! Pepper was a little clingy but behaved very well, with no loopiness. This gave us the idea that maybe it would help with some of her other fears.  One of her other unfortunate phobias is big dogs.  That’s a real problem, because we have a big dog now, and Pepper will screech and bark and whine and carry on  like Sasha is tearing her limb from limb when Sasha is merely standing next to her.  Sasha thinks this behavior means,”Irritate that little dog some more!” and so Sasha will nose her around a little and that really makes Pepper crazy.  So we tried having Pepper wear the Thundershirt almost all the time, and do you know, it works.  Not 100%, but probably 75% less kookiness around our house.  Although this might be a problem, because now I have to look elsewhere for more blog material, we are grateful for a little peace and quiet.

round button chicken

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Prayer Time Funnies

Peppermint Patty, 8 years home

We love St Patricks Day.  First off, it’s a grand holiday when the mother of the household doesn’t have to decorate, clean, cook elaborate meals, or set up presents.  There’s no candy wrappers, no red dye, no list of duties from the schools. It’s just fun and memory making, and we have the extra added bonus of it being our dog Pepper’s Gotcha Day.  For some of us that live here, the day of birth and the day of joining the family is the very same day, but for others, the day of birth and the day they became part of the family are different.  The day of arrival at home is called the “Gotcha Day”, and that’s worth celebrating.  So in Pepper’s case, she came home on St Patrick’s Day eight years ago, and so she was named Peppermint Patty.   So in honor of this  auspicious St Patrick’s Gotcha Day, we had a nice dinner (green chicken enchiladas!) and ate a green cake (prepared mostly by Justin) and talked about Pepper’s big arrival, and St Patrick too.  Poor Pepper got dog food.  Again. But we did pat her on the head and treat her nice.

Caleb must have been paying attention to the birthday like goings-on.  We had two extra folks for dinner (Justin’s friends) and so it was party-like, especially with the cake. I say this because Caleb had  a remarkable moment at bedtime prayer.  When we put him to bed, we  pray with him.  I pray some stuff most of the time; That he will be strong and brave, truthful and kind, a man who follows after God, and that he will get up and walk. Other times we pray differently, more addressing the concerns of the day.  I ask for stuff; I ask God to help Caleb, and me.  Then, when it’s Caleb’s turn to pray, he says,”God?…………God? …………Amen!.” and that is all. Until last night. Last night, Caleb prayed. He said, “God?….. God? …… Can Jesus come to my birthday party? Amen!!!!.”

I think Caleb has it right – I spend too much time asking God to do stuff for me, and I should just be asking for time in His presence.  But still, it’s cute.