Saturday, June 20, 2015

New Name, Same [sort of] Blog

We're back! Not sure if anyone is still out there, but if you are - welcome back! We've got a new name, and renewed energy. It's been almost two years since my last post and a lot, a lot, a lot has changed since then. So let's break it all down.

First, let's start with what led to the break. I started this blog when I was in law school. After I passed the bar I looked for a job for many, many months. Finally, in October 2012 I interviewed for a job in San Francisco. They called me the next day and asked if I could start the next morning. So, with about 18 hours until I had to be at my new job I packed up Astrea and Ora and we moved back home. After a few months working in San Francisco I found a more permanent job in the East Bay. Trying to manage being a first year lawyer was more difficult than I anticipated and I couldn't keep up with finding things to write about. So after a few months of trying, I just kind of let things go here. I never forgot about the blog though. I occasionally posted on my facebook page, and kept thinking that someday I would get back here, so here I am.

So, you may be wondering about the name, well - that's what we're working with here - a blind dog and a toothless cat. How did that happen you ask? Well, let's start with the dog. Astrea was always a little different when it came to playing. Her all time favorite thing to do was chase shadows. We would spend hours in the grass while she chased the shadows of the birds visiting our neighbors feeders. It was cute and it made her happy, and I had no idea it could be an indication of a sight problem. In the summer of 2013, Astrea fell in the pool at my parents. And it happened more than once. It didn't even cross my mind that she may be having trouble seeing, I just assumed she wasn't paying attention. As the year progressed, around November, we noticed that at night she was starting to bump into things. Again, I really didn't think any of it. It's a big house, lots to see and hear, I just thought she was being clumsy. Then, she started to get apprehensive about going on her walks. I left early in the morning for work, so we would go on our walks at night. It was pretty clear she was having trouble seeing when it was dark so we started taking a flashlight, and even fashioned her a custom doggy headlamp! With the additional light she was on her way. By late January 2014, she was refusing to go on walks at night altogether. We went to the regular vet and he took a look in her eyes. He couldn't see anything scary - no injury, no growth - but he did notice that her eyes weren't dilating normally. Now that didn't surprise me. Her entire life Astrea had very large pupils that didn't seem to dilate normally, but it was never of any concern. She got around fine, loved to play, she had her little quirks (her love of chasing shadows, and hatred for looking up toward the sun) but I never had any inclination that her eyes were having any trouble. Since the regular vet didn't see anything that jumped out as wrong, he sent us to the ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist would have much more powerful tool to really see into her eyes and figure out what was going on.

After the first falling in the pool incident.

On Valentine's Day 2014, I took the day off work, we drove to Stockton and went for our appointment at the doggie eye doctor. It was really, really uneventful. He turned off all the lights, took a look in her eyes and within a few seconds said, "She's got retinal degeneration." That was it. Turned the lights back on and after a few minutes of discussion, we were on our way. Based on her age, she had probably been losing her eye sight since she was born. There's nothing we could do. Most people have no idea their dog is losing their eye sight until the night vision goes. Once the night vision goes, the rest of the vision is gone shortly after. It's been a little over a year now, and Miss Astrea is essentially blind. She does best during the day time because she can still perceive shadows a bit, but otherwise, she's relying on her other senses. It's definitely an adventure, but we're learning. I'm sure there will be many, many posts to come about Astrea's sight, or rather, lack thereof.

Astrea right after we saw the ophthalmologist.

Toothless cat? Yup. This is actually old news. It was about two years ago that I first posted about the decision to pull Ora's remaining teeth. Not long after Ora came to live with us we discovered she was a sensitive girl. She had some skin issues and a few of her teeth were in bad shape. No matter how much we tried to manage her teeth and gums, her stomatitis was progressing quickly and the best thing for her comfort and health was to pull the teeth. It definitely has not slowed her down one bit. Ora is the queen of the neighborhood (a.k.a. neighborhood bully) and continues to be a master hunter. There have been some casualties, but luckily, her prey is often presented still alive and we've have many successful rescue missions. Pro tip - the easiest way to catch a lizard in the house is to throw a dish towel over it. It will stop running and you can scoop it up to release it outside. Ora still loves her dry food, and aside from the occasional treat, she refuses to eat wet food. She's gone for many a checkup, and her mouth looks great since having the teeth pulled. She's in great health and happy as a clam.

A baby squirrel Ora admired and tried to pay with one morning.

So that's where we are now. Even with a fairly recent new job, I finally have the time and energy to recommit to the blog and I'm ready to share our adventures with you! I hope you'll be with me in this new chapter!


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