Saturday, August 22, 2015, 11:51 AM
~~ Cowdog Hawk Update…Saturday, August 22, 2015 ~~
As this past week went along, Cowdog Hawk was showing signs of her bone marrow’s progress reversing to the “not good” signs. Friday morning, out the door at 4 AM, calves fed, cowdogs out for a very short run around, Cowdog Hawk loaded up in the Dodge and to the N to the Vet Hospital by 10 AM. The news of Hawk’s blood diagnostics was terrible…more than terrible. The signs I had been noticing since Tuesday confirmed my worst fears. Hawk was in dire danger. The doctor team asked if I wanted to try the GCSF again, did I want to let Hawk wane on her own, or did I want to euthanize her. I opted to try jump starting her bone marrow again. Why? Well, there were various things I assimilated in my mind. She was not nearly at the point she was 21 days ago. She received her last Minocycline capsules on Friday morning (for the Ehrlichia) and that particular drug is so harsh on an animal’s system…side affects include appetite depression and I knew that Hawk’s appetite was thrown in the toilet because of the three drugs that she had to take…all of which were appetite suppressing drugs. So I had the question in my own head of, “If Hawk no longer has to take the appetite suppressing drugs, will she mount another valiant effort with her bone marrow…just as she showed us 2 weeks ago?” So. I waited from 10 AM through 5 PM as Hawk went through the slow drip administration of another round of GCSF…knowing full-well the next 48 hours of my life would be 24×7 to watch Hawk for the coming issues she and I would be faced with: rapidly elevated temperatures, higher respiration rates, bone pain, muscle pain. We got home at 6:15 PM, she ate like a champ, drank a good amount of water and was ready to rest. This was the best appetite she has had in weeks. By 9:30 PM Friday night, the temperature racing began. I was proactive with the ice packs, and Hawk was grateful for the coolness and curled herself around the packs and rested. By 2 AM this morning, Hawk was peaceful, resting comfortably. I rolled her over to assist with keeping her lung walls from thinning, sat her upright, she wagged her tail and drifted off to sleep. 6:00 AM, she was hungry and ate like a champ, drank well and dozed off again. 7:00 AM we did our drugs and nebulizing. By 8:00 AM, Hawk wanted to go outside, she did her lawn watering, came back in, plopped down on her bed, took in the fan air, and I left to do cattle chores. By 10:00 AM, Hawk’s temperature was mounting another high rise so I proactively gave her the ice packs, repositioned her fan and left her to rest. While I was seriously sad yesterday to get the confirmation I feared, today I am in better spirits by having seen different positive signs for Hawk. Maybe I shouldn’t love her so? But, I believe the doctor team felt I made the right decision yesterday. And so do I now.
There is a saying, “Life does not go as planned.” When I was in my 20’s through my mid-30’s, I did have unexpected things happen in my life that fit “life does not go as planned” but I was enthusiastic for each day regardless. I fought through some terrible marriage issues to be loyal to my marriage. Yet, ultimately I had to give in and give up. My 40’s gave me another dose of broken marital promises and I had to give in and give up. Here I am in my 50’s and facing more choices of “to give in and give up”. Being the persistent person I am, I am not ready to give in nor give up on Hawk. Hawk has been dealt a terrible hand but she is a fighter and as long as the quality of her life has more positives than negatives, then it is my responsibility to follow my heart and my problem solving mindset and stay the course. I prayed the entire day yesterday to God. Reminding Him of how grateful I am for His ability to help me throughout the years with some terrible life altering circumstances. Then, I asked God to not force Hawk to pay for some sort of error on my part for not realizing what was so terribly wrong with her during the later part of June and early part of July. Please do not take her because of my mistakes.
Most people will not understand all these feelings but I can assure some folks that you too will face similar events in your life as you grow through your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Scoff now if you so desire. But some day you may look back and remember these doodlings and think, “I understand.” Being coarse and harsh in life is not a rewarding set of virtues as you progress through life. Being proactive now in shaping and forming your life into a humble being may be worth the challenges as you grow closer to the end of your youth. ~Tearful, Hopeful, Grateful
August 19 at 10:14am ·
~~ Energizing the Base ~~
Nothing energizes the base more than an inch plus of rain overnight (some are saying 3″ of rain), a 20 degree drop in temperatures, a high of the 60’s today instead of near 90, flies knocking on the windows and windshield of Ole Red the Flatbed because they feel the pickup’s internal temperature is greater than the 60 degrees they are being bogged down in, and seeing the flies of all varieties moving in “s..l..o..w….m..o..t..i..o..n” while I feed the steers and heifers this morning. Then, the stock saunters to top off the rumen with water then lazily lay down and ruminant or nibble at some crabgrass remnants. By gosh…now that is how to “Energize the Base” around this cow/calf and cowdog ranching outfit! Plus, Cowdog Hawk is out in the yard guarding some 12-grain bread slices and a dish of milk that “she owns” and tells her kids Ducchess, Bandit, and Levi, “Not my bread you don’t!” Hawk feels better this morning than she did yesterday. After running a 105+ fever and being iced from 9:30 PM through 2 AM this morning…she is feeling better. I feel like doing “not much” today. That said, I am grateful for the rain shower, the cooler temps, the overcast sky and an “energized base”. ~Yawnnning
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 2:12 PM
~~ Dogfood Dilemma is Over ~~
Since 2002, I have primarily been a PMI Exclusive dog food user. One winter, the Purina staff came out and wanted to reformulate their PMI dog food line and I had an ideal set-up plus had been asking about including probiotics or protein/carbohydrate digesting enhancers in their top of the line dog food. All was good until the contract for the manufacturing of the dry food was changed to a different company/set of companies. Some of the sourcing of the ingredient suppliers changed as well. ADM had approached me to help them with a redo of their top of line dog food. I helped them too. Used their product until I began to notice issues with the dog poo, the dog eating habits, the lack of desire to eat. Turns out the company had made a change in the manufacturing entity and that entity was sourcing ingredients which while labeled “the same” were definitely “not the same”. The animals used in the dog food commodity were eating different rations/diets than the previous sources of dog food commodity ingredient suppliers. The end result was the poultry industry diets were different therefore the dog food industry products were now performing differently. That old saying, “You are what you eat” was letting the cat out of the sack. After several months of pleading, a ton of better dog food and then back to terrible dog food…I made a change. I spoke with a friend who raises sled dogs and runs in the circles of some of the winning teams and breeders for the Iditarod racing and other sled dog races. I contacted a company called “Redpaw”. Roots of this company were in Iowa, then moved many years ago to Wisconsin, and a company that did not start as a corporation but as a person with dog sled breeding and racing roots. I placed an order for the three products in these photos and got 3 ton of product in. Nearly 50 days later, I am completely sold on how the cowdogs are turning it around. Improved appetite and excited to be fed. They eat less. Their poop is spot-on healthy. Hair coat shows more sheen. But the greatest benefit so far in the regular working crew is their condition, stamina, heat tolerance and overall attitude change of being out traveling and working in the heat and humidity. All that said, I know that I am excited to see how the winter performance is going to be. A big shout-out to the company owner for his visits with me. A thank you to the distributor for Redpaw for setting my account up and for the excellent delivery service. What a relief to have a product line-up to test and to be happy with!
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 12:54 PM…there are several photos on the FB sites.
Life around this outfit has been sorta hectic the last few weeks. The care for Cowdog Hawk has been the priority. Hawk was in ICU for 9 days and I was there with her every day even if it meant getting up at 4 AM to get the steers and heifers fed and a few cowdog chores done. Getting home late at night and finishing cowdog chores and not getting much time to eat or nap. The haying came to a halt at home. When I brought Hawk home, her nursing care came first and I snuck in haying a rent place and pouring some calves and cows…done by 1 AM and back up and at it at 4 AM. Hawk had a pretty good day yesterday and today is off to a good start as well. I snuck off to do the steer and heifer feeding, got in the broken leg heifer and nearly gutted steer to check them out, cleaned up the steer and kicked them into a grassy lot, pulled the tank plug and cleaned out the trough so they could have fresh water. It is humid and hot today so I wanted them to have fresh water. The cowdog travelers and I headed NNW to the hay field which has been sitting idle for nearly 4 weeks. The bluestems, the prairie dropseed, the switchgrass, the Indiangrass and the sideoats grama are in full stride and nearing the end of their blooming. I am not excited about firing the hay mower back up but I am going to have to mow some since it is thick and matted. But I also intend to leave a lot for the cows to use as daily forage, calving bedding, calving shade for the calves, and winter insulation for the cows and calves to bed down on when it gets cold. The weather guru folk are chattering about cold, wet, precipitous weather for winter…time will tell yet I intend to be sort of prepared. The warm season grasses and the done spent cool season grasses are tall enough they give shade to the cowdogs while I snap fotos. Back at home, it is nice to observe the weanling calf poo is fly free and not a breeding ground for more fly babies…proof that my added all-natural ingredients to the feed mix are working! One for the home team! Feeling like a slackard today, but I did enjoy getting the steer cleaned up, seeing that my impossible to heal this broken leg heifer is going to make the replacement heifer cut, the native warm season grasses let me smile and think of the days when I had nothing but these grasses to graze and raise horses and cattle on, and the victory of the concoction to heal up the ergot toxicity issues in the steers with the bonus being “no fly poo”. And…Ms. Hawk is sleeping peacefully. It is nice to be able to breathe again. ~A Day the Lord Has Made. Amen.
August 15 at 10:29am
~~ Cowdog Hawk…Update Saturday, August 15, 2015 ~~
Friday…out the door at 4 early bells. Hollering, calling steers and heifers to get out of bed and travel home for daily dose of supplement, head count, fast check of health and general welfare. Cowdog crew in tow to run, do personal business, help with general things. Home by 7, get Hawk back out of bed, do her morning ritual of her care schedule which takes an hour. Splash fresh water on my face, toss work duds on floor, jump into town duds, tell Hawk, “Hey, come on…let’s go. Time to load up and go see your doc.” 8:15 and on the road again…heading N to U of MO Vet Teaching Hospital for 9:30 appt. Grab a mocha double latte and a regular latte as I buzz through Jefferson City. I’ll be wired for 3 days now. Doc visit results from blood work and other reviews. One step forward, two steps back. Platelet count was moving in a positive direction. Red and white blood cell counts moving in wrong directions. I felt like an inflated balloon with someone holding the end open and letting air squeak, squeal and sizzle out the fluttering end. Just staring at the paper. Everyone on Team Hawk seemed a bit deflated and blank. A lot of students and docs are excited to see Hawk, happy to see her walking, wagging her stub tail, smiling and they greet her with expressions of, “There she is…Ms. Queen Hawk…miracle dog that was not expected to make the first few hours in ICU.” Hawk’s primary care doc told me yesterday, “You and Hawk made a liar out of me. I told everyone she would not make it. But look at her.” I replied, “I could see it all over your face at that 3 AM discussion. You expected Hawk to die at any second.” While yesterday’s results were +1, -2…we move ahead. Hawk moves off of certain drugs this week. I monitor her, encourage her to eat, feed her when she feels blah and not interested in food. I am encouraged that she is willing to drink water out of her dish since last night and this morning. Hey…baby steps. In some parallel thinking, Hawk is like a person that has bone marrow suppression…such as going through chemotherapy and the harsh impact of the chemo on the red & white blood cells, the platelets and the neutrophils. Feeling blah, not interested in eating, happy some, stoic some. I at least see that the vet staff can see that I will give Hawk all conceivable options to help her improve. Hawk, Bert and I built a nice cattle and cowdog program here and I’ll be damned if I will say, “Well ole girl. It was nice knowin’ ya. Time for you to move on.” Uh, wrong answer. We stay the course. I might be tired, brain fried, over caffeinated, can’t sleep, not eating right and uncertain of what day it is…lol…but, I can still pray for the healing to remain in Hawk’s future. I can be grateful that God has not left our air space. I can remain grateful for all the love, hugs, prayers and wellness wishes being shared for Hawk’s recovery. And I can still feel grateful for every good word that each of you have given up for Hawk and me. ~We Press On
FB post…Thursday, August 13, 2015, 9:27 a.m.
~~ Cowdog Hawk…uPdAtE…Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 ~~
Not off to a good start. Feeling feverish and dumpy. Not interested in moving. Not interested in food. Not interested in me and the dish of pills, ointments and syringe with needle, not interested in nebulizer time. She slow-motion popped out of bed when I was getting my ranch work duds on, she walked to the door and waited on me, looking with a drooped head and half-hearted eye stare. Not so fast missey…you are not going along. You must rest. Your fever is up, up. Here is some fresh water. I’m feeling anxious and uncertain. Wednesday time for me was putting the hay swaths into rows and letting the Deere baler suck the rowed grass into tight rounds and tying the rounds tight with twine. A guy stopped to chat when I was walking from one field to another mowing machinery, “You sure are late in getting your hay up this year, aren’t you?” I couldn’t even muster a smile. Thinking, “Ok. He’s a city person. Smile Tammy.” I replied, “Yes, the rains from mid-May through mid-July were really nice and that cost me about 50-60 days. Then, I shut everything down for two weeks with a sick dog in the ICU at the U’s vet hospital. I brought her home Saturday and she needs round-the-clock nursing care. It’s just been a different summer.” Smiling and walking on. He was still talking the further I walked towards the Deere. He might still be talking at me for all I know. You know the drill…don’t sweat the small stuff, right?
Outside off and on last night and the Milky Way was pretty but not one shooting meteor. Sure was black out without a moon. It was cool and damp so it would have been a great night for the cattle to graze in leisure. It didn’t take the sun long to find us again and make fast work of burning off the damp air which was hovering close to the ground. Have you noticed? Fall is nearing…another season cometh. I see it is in the hundreds from border to border…S to N. Central Missouri will once again be below 90. Yesterday sure was pleasant. It was pleasant enough that the fickle AC in the Ford 7710 raking tractor was once again cooling…it left me hanging out in a sweat bath back when I was raking in the 100+ weather. Fickle rip. Thought 100 times yesterday that I was so glad I did August and September pasture work back in early July when it was rainy. I’d be a nauseated mess if I still had that work to do. Calving is just around the corner and I’m not sure how I’ll get ready yet. Feeling a tad ill with the coming onslaught of work. But. No time to think of my own despair…I’ve got work and stock depending on me in the immediate present. Another day of suck it up and move on. Spending a few minutes in the my own back yard was worth the mental recharge time. ~I Got This. I Got This. i GoT tHiS
Nine photos are posted on the FB sites.
FB post…August 12, 2015, 8:35 a.m.
~~ Cowdog Hawk…Update, Wednesday August 12, 2015 ~~
Tuesday morning after the methodical left to right across the kitchen countertop and all ten pills/shots/treatments…I asked Hawk if she wanted to go see Gma…my mom. Hawk was all in! She stood by the door while I go the ranch gal duds on and off to the iron steed we went. Hawk put her feet on the step, I picked her up and sat her in her Queen Hawk seat and off we went to Gma’s house. The exchange of happiness between the two was nothing short of sheer emotions of joy. Hawk made a lap around her Gma’s house and parked in the most loved room…my dad’s room…his office, the den. Yep, next to the black walnut desk and book shelves that Mr. Simmons made for my dad out of a large prized black walnut tree that my dad harvested back in 1968. A tree harvested specifically for “his” desk. That is where Ms. Hawk loves to stay…in the den by my dad’s black walnut desk. Fifteen minutes later it was time to “load up” and go back home to the comforts and solitude of the basement for her resting until I would come back at 11 to give her more care. I raced off to feed the calves, put the bucket on the Deere, to S to make a crossing in the road ditch so that I could get into a field to mow for hay, back home to drop off the bucket, hook up the mower, take off to mow for 3 hours and get back home by 3 for more care for Hawk time. In the in between time, I did cowdog chores at the E facility, the W facility and at the home tie line. Five and a half bells came and I figured I had time to unhook the mower, hook up the tedder, head back to kick around the ends of the hay field where I have to drive over the swatches on turn arounds. Heck, by short of 7 I was done kicking and fluffing up the mowed grass and back home in time for the 7 PM care for Hawk session. Ain’t no moss growing under my feet. 10 to 11 PM I was back at the kitchen counter gathering the last round of pills/shots/treatments for the day and Hawk was in bed by a little short of midnight.
And here we are again, new day, same drill. Wednesday is going to be glorious in the weather department…nice N breeze, not much for humidity, mid-80’s, a day to head S with the rake and baler and row, spin grass into rounds, tie it all up…fitting another day into Hawk’s schedule. Crossing my fingers, saying my prayers and thinking of how grateful I am to all of you for the prayers and cares. Total strangers or just like friends forever…I am grateful for the spiritual support you have raised up or bowed your heads for. I only hope that I can return the same exchange to all in need, if and when, the need arises. Regardless of who we, we are all in store for the challenges of life. I am hopeful that Hawk’s next doctor visit brings more good news about her bone marrow responding to the human drug treatments she received. And I am grateful to the University of MO medical hospital for having that drug available to give to the Vet Hospital. My head is so full of “I wish I could thank”. Hoping for a wonderful day to everyone. Time to wake Hawk up and take her home to begin her day of rest and my day of off to the races. ~Carry On!