Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ghosts from Christmas past?

26 December 2012

Like many collies who come from questionable beginnings, Milo has moments of what seems like PTSD where he reacts with fear to seemingly normal situations.

Periodically he "forgets" how to come up the stairs from the basement and stands at the bottom whining and barking.  That occurs every few days where there is not confidence on how to do it.  When this happens, I offer encouragement and then have to let him figure it out and summon up the courage to do it on his own.

The kitchen still bears a stigma that is daunting to Milo.  Even though we have treats in there. I imagine that the periodic banging of pots and pans have a great deal to do with that.

Our latest hurdle has been coming into the garage from the back yard.   Milo has periodically felt "pressure" at doorways and I need to be very careful when calling him to me.  If I am full face on to him it is too much pressure and he can't do it.  So I turn to the side being very careful not to loom over him. I always pat my leg calling the dogs to me so as not to put pressure on them.

We've inadvertantly made this worse recently.  As I called in the dogs from the attached garage door to the yard, everyone trotted in and as I was shutting the door Milo suddenly turned to escape.  I didn't see this until too late and caught him in the door as a shovel propped next to the door also fell.  So now that entrance is REALLY scary. You can bet that we are working on changing that around with lots of treats and praise.  

We worked out his issue of being alone by putting his crate next to Leo's so they can "hang out" when I am gone.  He does take great comfort in being with Leo.

Milo does still panic if he can't find me in the house, pacing and pacing.  So being crated and calm with his pal is the best option for him.

Catching up with Milo

26 December 2012

Last week he spent the day at the groomer for his first official bath and groom.  Reports are that he LOVED the brushing out portion.  He was leaning into the brush and putting out his paw to ask for more.  He even tried to turn around the the table for better access.   The groom really fluffed him up and now he looks so big compared to Leo!  Leo is very long and lean and Milo is shorter and more rounded.  When you feel the difference in their chest cavities, Milo's frame is totally different from Leo.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More from Dog Day event

15 December 2012

The official photos are in and the images speak for themselves:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Milo's true calling

8 December 2012

Milo attended Dog Day Afternoon at Macalester College where alumni, faculty and staff bring their dogs to share with students who are entering into finals this week.  I knew that Milo would enjoy this event, but I had no idea how much.  Normally, I stagger my dog's participation so that they don't get overly stressed out.  As the organizer of the event, I am there for the duration of it - typically 2 to 3 hours.

Milo was working the crowd for 2 1/2 hours.  I'll let the photos tell the story:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

the mystery continues

5 December 2012

Milo's tests came back and were all negative.  We tested for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis (tick diseases) and a couple of fungal diseases.   So the mystery of monocytosis continues.

Since he seems to be feeling great - running, playing, wrestling with Leo - we are adopting a wait and see stance for the time being to see if he just needs more time to heal.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


29 November 2012

Milo gave a lot of blood today to send in for testing.  Hoping for some answers to explain the monocytosis mystery.   Tick disease - the unusual suspects like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever - and fungal tests.

Big needle, 2 syringes and a missed poke to the jugular and Milo was glad it was over.  He was a good boy.  


29 November 2012

Last evening Milo disappeared after dinner which is served in the basement area.  I assumed that he had put himself up in the bedroom crate as he now does sometime.  But no, he wasn't in the bedroom..

I soon discovered that he never made it back up the stairs and was, indeed, in a crate but it was one of the wire crates in the basement where the dogs stay when no one is home.  Also where they are fed.  Milo was contentedly napping in "his" wire crate with the door open.

It seems that he forgot, once again, how to climb the basements stairs.  More coaxing, encouragement and sending Leo down and up, down and up, more encouragement and cheer leading.  Nope!  Not going to do it.  So I took the other dogs out the back door which is across the entryway from the basement stairs.  Milo could hear us leaving to retrieve garbage cans at the end of the drive.  Before heading down the driveway, I  peeked into the house.  Yep!  That had done the trick.  Milo was up the stairs and looking for us.   Sibling rivalry is a powerful tool.

Silly boy.  I'm not making a big issue of the steps issue other than giving him a "good boy!" once he gets up.  He needs to find his confidence and decide to do it even if it is a bit spooky and scary for him.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give Thanks

22 November 2012

Thanks to all of the people who volunteer, donate and support efforts like Minnesota Collie Rescue, Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and rescues in general which help animals like Milo, Leo and Sabrina find new hope and health so that they may experience life and a find their future full of love, treats, snuggles and pets in a forever home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

photo mash up

November 21, 2012

Here are some photos I took of Milo and friends today.

Confessions of a post teenage shoplifter

Wednesday, November 21

Every time we visit Chuck and Don's pet food store, Milo visits with all of his friends who have witnessed his transformation over the last few months.  They have commented on how much he has blossomed in both looks and personality.  He is so much more outgoing and happy now that he is more healthy.  It is a delight to hear that testimony from people that have watched his journey.

However, when we are at the pet food store I need to keep a sharp eye on him because he is a terrifically sly thief.

Milo accompanied me around the store greeting people and even sat nicely for a treat from one of the workers.  After we purchased our items and were on our way out the door, I turned away for a second and he snagged a treat out of a bin!  He has very fast reflexes when it comes to treats for sure.

Milo's comment on his pick pocket status?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend update

November 18, 2012

Milo had a new snuggle buddy for the weekend when niece Mariah came to visit.  All of the critters took advantage of the extra pets and snuggles.

Milo, Mariah, Mao the kitty, Sabrina - on couch
Second row:  big bear
Third row: Bird the kitty

and another point of view:  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Disappointing news

November 14, 2012

Milo had a CBC test done last evening and the results are disappointing.   The monocytosis that he had when  he came into rescue in June is still at the same level.  This indicates that there is something still going on with this little immune system, but we don't know the underlying cause at the moment.

Perplexing for sure.

Have not yet determined a course of action.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Give me some love

Sunday, November 11

Milo had a big week last week.  He appeared as a special guest for Red Lake Rosie's Rescue and Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue at a fundraiser called Pause for Paws.  It was a pretty swanky event with a heavy hors d'oeuvres dinner, drinks, silent auction, music, auction and booths for rescues that were being supported by the monies raised.  The venue was an entertainment center so it was kind of like walking into a nightclub environment.

Needless to say, Milo has never been exposed to an environment like this!  It was kind of crazy.  We arrived to find lines of people out the door, but were ushered in since we are part of a booth.  Milo took the opportunity to nose touch any hand in reach to see if they might pet him so it took a bit of coaxing to get him inside the building!  Once inside it was crowds of people and dogs being walked around.  Milo was a bit nervous so I was relieved when we located the Collie Rescue booth.  Milo was relieved because they had a basket of chicken strip treats on the table for which which he immediately dove and knocked to the floor.  Yeehaw!

Overall he did very well, but he was a bit nervous and overwhelmed with all of the action and distractions so it was difficult for people to get good photos of him.  Here are a few that actually worked:

A new friend

Milo draws a crowd
Milo visited the Red Lake Rosie's Rescue booth to thank them for helping him.
He checked the table for treats!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The scary kitchen

6 November 2012

Milo has suddenly become wary of the kitchen.  Lots of pots and pans clang there and sometimes (not often enough) there are brooms.  

Treats are doled out there, so hopefully that will help convince him that, once again, good things happen in the kitchen.   When the other dogs get their treats, he is pacing back and forth at the two entrances his nails on the hardwood floor are tickety-ticking with worry.

We are working for a more zen-like kitchen experience.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

talking back

November 1, 2012

The reason I began this blog back in June is because I knew that it would be a very long time of recovery and challenges for Milo and, because he is a foster dog, I'm accountable to many people for updates on his progress but I know that the many people who helped get Milo into foster and from Red Lake Rosie's as well as Minnesota Wisconsin Collie Rescue would also want to be able to follow his recuperation period. So I thought that by making it public, everyone could check in on him if they wished and catch up at their leisure.

What I couldn't imagine is how much this exercise has helped me keep track of the series of issues and challenges that have cropped up along the way.  It is very hard to try to explain to someone all of the illnesses and issues Milo faced when he came into rescue and then the other issues that developed over the summer.  Because there are so many, it is difficult to remember them all!   I've also been very conscious of taking photos to document his progress because I'm sharing it and - let's face it - pictures are more fun!

I have received some comments from various people to which I've not responded.  Truth?  I don't know how!  This method of journal-ing is somewhat of a one way street and the comment area doesn't capture an e-mail address. So...just let me say THANK YOU to all of the kind comments and well wishes for Milo's health and well-being both publicly and privately over the last few months.  I wasn't ignoring anyone... just perhaps a bit ignorant??  :)  Milo would lean on you for a hug if he could see you right now.

It is wonderful to know that there have been so many people pulling for Milo all these months.  I'm sure all of this positive energy directed his way was beneficial to his recovery.  Thank you for being a friend.

Catching up with friends

1 November 2012

Milo stopped in to visit his pals at the local pet supply store.

They were very pleased to see him, but I've found that they are enablers of his shop-lifting habit!  You see, they place their bins of treats right on nose level so what's a guy to do?   He even snagged and discarded a few cat toys just to see if they MIGHT be food.  Silly!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Safe haven

29 October, 2012

At about 8 pm Milo disappeared last night.  It was unusual for him not to be in a spot where he could keep an eye on me.  I knew he was in the house somewhere.  I looked in the basement.  No Milo.  I went into the bedroom and there was Sabrina crashed out on a dog bed.

After turning on the light I checked the crate and this what I found:  

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Milo lost his confidence about doing the stairs. .

Milo forgot how to go up them last night.  This is a problem because the dogs eat in the basement, so after dinner there was much pacing and some whining mixed with some frustrated barking and other dogs showing him over and over how easy it was.      Up and down, up and down.  (Mostly Leo - go figure).  We are old hats at this since most of the foster dogs that have been with us don't know how to do the stairs.

He's  been doing them for months, just like the cowardly lion he lost his courage.

What finally did the trick for Milo was having Leo and Sabrina at the top of the stairs with me and Milo at the bottom watching them get loved up and have a fuss made over them.  He couldn't take it and came right up to be a part of it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Then... and now

October 26, 2012

Milo in June

Milo in June at 50 lbs

Milo near the end of October at 65 lbs! 

In the beginning....

the beginning of Milo's rescue that is...

I found these photos taken at Red Lake Rosie's upon Milo's intake back in early June.  I don't think I've posted them here before.  I met Milo after he was shaved, so I didn't get to see the full effect of his huge matted and crawling with ticks coat.

The enormous cyst on Milo's neck

Milo's neck, ear and eye are badly infected which is why they are cocked at a funny angle. 

You can see why it was necessary to shave this all off.  Milo was  matted down to the skin.  If the skin doesn't breathe it can become infected..  Plus he was crawling with ticks.  Ick. 

You've come a long way, baby!

October 26, 2012

Big news!  Milo now weighs in at 65 lbs which is 2 lbs more than Leo.

Milo's check up from his August surgery is looking good. Still has the dis-solvable stitches - which is not normal - but surgery site looks good. Concerned about his cough and heavy breathing although lungs sound clear.  They took blood to do a titer so they could check for tick borne diseases that may have eluded the SNAP test. 

Leo's SNAP 4dx test came up positive for anaplasmosis so he is on a 28 day regimen of doxycycline.   Worrying because Milo recently had 3 embedded ticks on him.  

This is a GREAT reason to ask your vet about the adding the tick test to your annual heartworm test.  It is a little more expensive, but in the long run very worth it to know so you can treat your dog early before they show symptoms.  The SNAP 4dx test will test for heartworm, Lyme disease, erlichiosis and anaplasmosis.  All best treated early in the disease.  Leo is the 3rd dog I've had to have a tick disease show up with an annual test.   Off my soapbox now... 

Milo's fur is coming in lush and thick and he looks and acts like a completely different dog than when he first arrived.  He now can concentrate on playing and learning new skills - like a recall in a situation with distractions(!)    
He is a good boy, but can suddenly disappear only to be found with new "friends" - both canine and human.  

Here are some photos taken today with our collie pals at the park.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stock dog?

Sunday, October 21

Milo had a very big day today.  He met sheep up close and personal which was very exciting for him.  He has seen livestock on many occasions, but has never been given the opportunity to work them due to his compromised health.

I kept his session very brief as Milo is still not 100% healthy.  He needed no encouragement to gather up the sheep.  He changed direction and brought them to me several times, which shows natural gathering instinct.  He wasn't confident about going between the stock and the fence, but I think with time he will become more confident about that.  He did some force barking - barking to try to get the livestock to move - but that is common with green dogs when they are trying to sort out what makes them "go".  Milo was very excited about this new opportunity.  He came to me on several occasions to make sure he was being a good boy, but went back to work when I told him he was being a good boy.

I took him out before he got too tired and also for the first few times it is best to quit the dog while they want more - before they get too tired mentally and physically.  

 It was a VERY exciting day for Milo!

His fur is beginning to come in nicely.  In the last week I've found 3 ticks on him.  Two were deer ticks and one wood tick so I used Frontline on him yesterday.  I've not found any ticks on the other dogs.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Wednesday, October 17

As I knew would happen once Milo was really healing, he is transforming into a different collie.  No longer is he the collie who trots docilely  along at the dog park,   Tonight not only did I need to intervene during some escalating play, but Milo "forgot" his name and his recall and then needed to be led out of the park by his collar because he wanted to go back in and mix it up!

Now he is becoming a REAL collie!

Still has stitches trying to dissolve from the last surgery, so he is not quite there yet, but making good progress!