Ally, Ally… One sick little puppy! Part 1

The lead up

Life gets crazy. I intend to do so much in the little time I have throughout my day and things get away from me. I finally get a visa that allows me to work, only to find out I need to go to school in order to work in the field I was in before moving to Australia (my education and experience from New York was not recognized here), so I did… and the blog gets pushed into the back of my mind with a million other things and on the bottom of the to do list where getting to it looks dismal.

Until today. My normally funny posts, which I love writing, have been replaced (hopefully temporarily) with a series that’s ongoing and difficult to write. Trying to write factoids and not a novel, is always a challenge that I usually fail (look a funny!… or not, depending on if your reading this willingly). I will do my best to keep everything up to date for those interested in this unusual journey we find ourselves on.


First picture as a couple. Mykalyn named Allymare after her character in a novel she has been writing and will someday release.


Cuddle time with a very tired mommy

So in my last post, I barely introduced my Allymare.. puppy extraordinaire as a new love in my life. I am one of those people who irrationally (some have told me) fall in love with my animals to the point where it’s hard to distinguish much difference between them and the people I love. I have been on the I-want-another-baby-kick, and transferring that need onto Allymare, I know that.

From the first second, I knew I was screwed.. she is everything I didn’t want in a dog.. She is big.. Black (mostly)… She looks scary to everyone else. But she has those eyes which melt your soul. Like I said.. screwed! I wanted another Papillion.. little, cute, always puppy-sized and can be carried everywhere and the food bill would be non-existent (I had one when I lived in New York.. I love you Lizzy! RIP). You know a girl’s dog. Hahaha

Growing up, she was nearly perfect.. no accidents.. barks when she wants in or out. Crate trained at night, right in our master with us, no table food but the occasional carrot or zucchini slice, occasionally getting some broth to sweeten the deal. Obsessed with the ball, loves car rides and gramma’s farm and the really big dog’s there (the cows). She loves all things water…. The pool, lakes, rivers and beaches, so it is a good thing she inherited her mom’s webbed feet. Ally has a best friend named Aurora which we met in puppy school and she loves playing with the crickets in the yard, until she confusingly can’t get them to play because she accidentally killed it. She loves everything and everyone.. perfect.

I only say nearly perfect, because she can be stubborn as hell. If you are not giving her what she wants, she can give you the cold shoulder better than anyone I have ever met. And she sulks.. and makes sure you know it. The love affair she has with Matthew is like no other. I am pretty sure she feels like she is his spouse and I am just that lady who takes care of everything.

On a lovely day in early October of 2014, she had a seizure. We were home and thought she was choking. She came running in to us from outside, fell to the floor and stopped breathing. She was making funny noses and convulsing. We managed to get her to the vets and they ran tests and gave us the diagnosis (which until 6 months ago I was still in denial about). They said “We will watch and see if she has another one. Some dogs only have one and that’s it. Others will have one or 2 a year and act like it’s nothing at all”. So we did…2 months later, nothing… 6 months, nothing.. 9 months, nothing.. they must be crazy.. My dog choked on something..

In late September of this year, she had another and I had to face the truth that the first one was really a seizure. The regular vet said if they are that far apart, they would only go into more watch and wait. They wouldn’t treat it unless they were very regular and frequent, as the medication could cause damage to things like the liver after prolonged use. Then a week later, another one. So back to the doctor and they recommend just that.. on the medication we went. I researched it all, as I always do and was not happy about it. But what do I know, I am not a medical professional. So now Ally was on Phenobarbitone.

The first 2 weeks was quite scary. She was acting drunk and bumping into stuff. Stiff joints and groggy. She knew she was not right so she would always be right with someone. We headed to the vet a couple more times and they said although scary, everything was quite normal because it takes time to work into the system. I’m not feeling great about this as it is.. Now I like it even less. But then as it worked in she slowly shifted back to normal, and I was beginning to feel more at ease with the decision. It only lasted until Thanksgiving though before weird stuff started happening.

First week of December – She started doing the weird, groggy, drunk walk and having trouble getting in the car (it’s a minivan so she needs to jump up to get into it). The medication needs to be given consistently every 12 hours, so we blamed ourselves because the administration of her medication was bouncing a bit from 10 hours apart to 15 hours (7:30am and 7:30pm is not always easy when your children have activities before the end of the year causing you to not always be home at that exact time).


I’m not feeling so well mom!

Then went her appetite, which we also justified. She used to have moments where she just was not hungry. We joke that she might be part Papillion (They are a very sensitive little breed that are very picky eaters, usually). It was never a bad thing though. Seeing her parents were Golden Retriever and Australian Kelpie (a working farm dog breed that is used to running from sun-up to sun-down to help control livestock), its odd she wouldn’t eat everything in sight. How cool it is to have a dog that eats when she is hungry and doesn’t over indulge. She always ate well, just not gluttonous. It changed when we got the cat. The parental genetics kicked in when she thought the cat might steal her food. So we now needed to be careful not to over feed her. That’s been the norm for the past year. So when she skipped meals or started eating later, we figured she reverted to pre-cat times.

Second Week of December – We however could not justify the puddle on the floor. That was when we booked the appointment, which was 2 days from the call. Then the next day, our bed was wet, while she was still laying in it. She was soaked as well. My alarm bells went from worried to frantic.

Wednesday, December 9th – So off to the regular vet a day early to find out she had a serious temperature. The average Temp for a dog is around 38.5c (101.3f) and hers was 40.3c (104.5f). hey said they get nervous at anything over 39.5c (103.1f). They ran a blood test and a urine analysis and gave her an injection of antibiotics to help reduce the temperature. They also sent us home with a puppy version of electrolyte booster (like the pedialyte you give to kids when they are sick).

Thursday, December 10th – Back to our regular vet to see about her temperature, get another check-up and see what’s going on with her blood test. They ran cultures on both blood and urine which would not be ready until Monday, likely. The blood tests revealed she was completely missing white blood cells in her blood and that her red blood cells were much lower than normal. The doctor looked at a slide of Ally’s blood and could not find even one white blood cell! So where the hell are they?

Ally’s temperature was down and we were booked in for another check the next day and sent home with the antibiotic seeing its doing something to ease whatever this is. Plus with no white blood cells, she needed to have the antibiotic to help fight off anything she could potentially contract. Hopefully they could come up with a reason this is happening over night.

Mind you, every time I am with a doctor, I bring up her anti-seizure medication. I have read up on everything I could find, not knowing what is accurate and what’s not. I get the same answer every time.. It’s highly unlikely so we need to rule the more likely things out first. She is still eating, just not alot and antibiotic needs time to work through the system. If she is no better tomorrow, then more tests will occur to start trying to find a source.


Cuddling with the couch pillows makes me feel better.

Part 2 should be released in the next day or 2.




Should have been said long ago…

Dearest Grams,

It’s been a while since I have written you anything and I am very sorry for that. I know we talk all the time, but I know how much you like getting something in the mail so I thought I would drop you a line and give you a few updates since we chatted last.

As you know we have new babies in the family. Jaime’s son MJ is the most beautiful bundle of love. I was lucky enough to see him born, the way you where there for Myki’s birth. I couldn’t be prouder of my sister in that moment. She made it look so easy and I know I will have that memory for the rest of my life. I refer to MJ as my ol’ lil’ turtle because he had this old mans face with all these wrinkles that remind me of those huge turtles that can get to be 100+ years old. And of course, your daughter Cyn has added to her family another beautiful little man, Martin, which we prayed for everyday until he was home safe and sound. It was a long road for Martin but like everyone in this family, he is a fighter. They just turned 2 years old and I see pictures of them all the time, and usually can’t believe my eyes at the size of them. I get to hear them on the phone yelling and laughing and Martin even chats with me when I call. They are both very strong happy boys and I frequently joke that Cyn and Jaime wanted to turn the tables a bit and balance the boy/girl numbers.

Mike and Mandy are together and mom tells me they are good. I talk to Mike once in a while but it’s not easy with the time difference and the busy schedules we both have. They have also had another child, naturally a girl. Haha You know my love for girls. Pink dresses and lacy bonnets, little MaryJane’s and all things pink. What’s not to love. So that makes 3 girls for Mike… And a brand new house. Mom says its cute and that he has been working very hard on it. If there is one thing I know, my brother works hard.

So the big stuff that has changed. Remember Matthew? He is the man I would always be talking to on the computer when I would come up to visit. I know I would drive the family crazy walking around with a laptop chatting away half my vacations at your house. Well turns out I made that crazy move to Australia. I will not lie, it was not the easiest move. It took a lot of organizing and time. Lucky I was taught the how’s and when’s by some great women in this family. Other than the organizing and running around to get it all done, when it came down to moving, I was very much at ease with the decision. Matthew is an amazing person and I couldn’t be luckier to have him in my life.

Mykalyn came with me, of course and as funny as it sounds, it has been a very natural progression of going from an only child to one of 6. Matthew’s boys (the younger 3) spend half their time here and consider her just as much family as they do each other. Matthews older 2 are here less frequently but always seem comfortable around Mykalyn so I hope they too will build that relationship, in time. I couldn’t be happier with everyone’s progress. Matthew and Mykalyn act as if they were just always there for each other and Myki brings tears to my eyes when she calls him dad, or refers to the boys as her brothers.

It’s funny, I was ironing Matthew’s shirt for work the other day (god I’ll be happy to be able to work again-I still hate ironing) and there was a stack on handkerchiefs. In moment’s like these I can’t help but think about Gramps. Matthew reminds me so much of him. His soft-spoken, reserved way about him, but when he is engaged he can be laughing with that deep boisterous laugh and teasing someone for something. The way he always went to work looking pristine with his handkerchief in his pocket and the respect of everyone he knows. Those goofy limericks he would sing when the kids weren’t around. Matthew even makes me laugh in that way only Gramps could do. Matthew even did the ultimate…. not intentionally but it brought tears to my eyes and a laugh to my soul. He was in the bedroom messing with the TV while I was in the living room watching some show, and somehow he made our machine go on the fritz and it was changing channels all over the place. Turns out he didn’t know that would happen but it reminded me of when Gramps would tease you by changing your soaps using the remote from the back room. When Matthew did it, I could even hear you yelling out in my head “Bob, would you knock it off and change it back” with a little laugh out of him in satisfaction. Those memories have always made me feel so happy. Just knowing how lucky I was to have been a witness to it. To be part of it. And now having these moments for myself. It’s come full circle.

I wanted to tell you how lucky I am to have you in my life. You will probably never understand the sheer volume of knowledge I have learned from you over the years. Spending almost every vacation and holiday in your presence has been the biggest gift I could have ever gotten in all the years I have been in this world. You taught me to be kind and compassionate. That soft-spoken has its advantages, haha even if I am still the loudest one in the room. You taught me how to cook, to listen, to laugh, all at the same time.  You taught me how to understand, to appreciate those I love and the things I have, to always lend a hand and work hard. How to cry. To be in the moment but plan for my future. You and Gramps taught me how special true love is. What it looks like and how to nurture it. Both within yourself, and each other, but you also showed me how to teach my daughter those same things for her future. You taught me that life is not always as you think it will turn out, but that the living happens every day and that’s whats important. You are my guide and my rock. And I know that if ever I am having a hard time understanding the path of my life, that I can tell you anything and you will be there to listen.

I need to call mom and tell her how lucky I am to have her as a mom as well. Without her driving every dime she could save, into some crap car so we could spend our free time with you. She made huge sacrifices for the 3 of us.. not because she had to, but because that’s how she made it through her day. She lives for her kids, even now that we are all grown with kids of our own. I would have never learned these lessons without her. She has been an amazing mother, and until I moved away from everyone, I would never have understood any of these life lessons.

This hasn’t been the easiest letter to write. I originally sat down to write a letter to my 16-year-old self for a personal project. But in that moment, I felt my time would be better spent writing to you. You have been such an important part of my world and even if I didn’t always show it before, I wanted you to know now. It’s been over 2 years since I have written you, so I felt this was long over due. It’s been 2 years since I have heard your voice. Gotten those amazing hugs that I loved growing up. I wish I could have made it to your funeral, to have said goodbye, but instead I was with Jaime sharing in the moment MJ was born, as I know that’s where you would have wanted me to be. You always had a way to celebrate life, another lesson I hope to understand some day. Until then, we talk every day, sometimes my family thinks I’m going crazy. I frequently blurt out “I love you” and they all yell it back. And I always have a smile on my face when they do because I’m thinking about you and Gramps up in heaven watching over my wonderful family. My only regret in life… that they will never meet you and Gramps in person, to see all the wonderful things that I could see growing up.

I love you always,

Your favorite Granddaughter (Haha, I won’t tell the others, if you don’t)



Love you for always.


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