Jeannie and my Vet are seeing an awful lot of each other lately...

Hello!  I'm so sorry that it's been a long time since my last post.  Jeannie is getting ready to graduate with a Master of Science degree in Justice Policy and the last thing she needs to do is also the biggest and most time consuming:  the dreaded Master's Thesis.  She really cares about low-income moms and minor kids living in these family structures, so she decided to do her project on moms of minor children in jail.  Since this area is not very well-researched, she has to collect her own data.  So, her thesis is a very, very big job AND she works full-time.  She's so crazy busy that we haven't posted in 10 days! :(  

Believe it or not, two more medical issues have sprung up since my post about kennel cough -- what terrible luck!  On Saturday, I went to Camp Bow Wow to play with friends and had a grand time.  Everything was great, until the staff clipped my toenails and found something scary in between the toes on my back left foot -- an inter-digital cyst!  Jeannie didn't know what it was and it looked very icky -- almost like a sharp rock, or glass was surrounded by fluid and discharge.  Jeannie has learned that if something could go wrong with me, it will. (I mean, good grief! What's the deal?!) So, she took me to after hours pet emergency.  The vet on-call that night was nice, but it wasn't our regular vet.  He told Ben and Jeannie just to soak my foot in epsom salts twice a day (no small feat with a big doggy like me) and promised a full recovery in 3 - 4 days.  Well, on Wednesday the cyst didn't look any better and Jeannie took me to see my usual vet, Dr. Metzler at the Alamo Heights Pet Clinic.  Dr. Metzler confirmed the emergency vet's diagnosis but suggested antibiotics to speed the healing process up.  

All was fine in our house for a measly...30 hours?  Then, this morning something very scary happened.  At my usual wake up time (7:00 a.m.), I left my sleeping spot on the couch and stumbled into Jeannie and Ben's bedroom to sneak into bed with them.  But, I was walking very strangely.  My front left leg hurt very much, so I was barely putting it on the floor at all and teetering on my remaining three legs like a wobbly table.  Jeannie said I was acting like I'd been hit by a car (imagine how very large I am and how off-balance I might walk without a working leg!).  It was very scary.  Jeannie woke Ben up and interrogated him about the walk the night before -- Jeannie was very tired from a very long and very early day at work that day, so she snoozed while we went out.  Ben sleepily tried to remember.  We walked together like we usually do, found an interesting ramp set up on some church steps, walked up the ramp (you know I love stairs!), then walked home.  Ben noticed at some point during our walk that I was walking slightly funny.  He thought he detected a hint of a limp, but I wasn't really obvious at that point.  He thought nothing more of it until this morning.

Well, if you read my blog regularly, you know I love stairs because I live with Ben and Jeannie at the very top of a three story building.  They had an awful time trying to support me (emotionally and physically!) down three flights of stairs.  It was very hard, but we got through it as a team.  They brought me across town to my vet's clinic for drop-off hours and left me there until 11:30 a.m. when Dr. Metzler called with the results of our exam.  She told Jeannie that she wasn't sure if the pain was in my foot, my elbow, or both!  During the exam, she checked my foot first and I didn't like that at all. I cried a bit, but it was nothing compared to how I reacted to her touching my elbow.  She said I yowled and that if I could, I would have leapt right across the room!  She had to sedate me just to get an x-ray!  But, Dr. Metzler was stumped -- nothing showed up on my x-ray and I seemed to be in wonderful health otherwise.  So, Jeannie and Ben will have to watch me closely for a week -- if I still have a limp, they will do a second x-ray. Hopefully, by then any possible hairline fractures, etc. will appear more clearly.

She and Jeannie talked about how difficult it might be for me to go up and down stairs with this type of pain, so Jeannie and Ben decided to board me at the clinic.  This was very sad for them. Jeannie had so much information to share with them about me that she drafted this "Mayli Care Sheet" and brought it along with my food, favorite bone, and favorite orange squeaky toy.  Do you have something like this all prepared and ready to go?

"Mayli" Hahl-Tidswell

Description -- Black Lab/Dane Mix

Commands/Phrases I know 
  •  Sit – release with “OK!”
  •  Lay Down - say this while pointing one finger at the ground; release with “OK!”
  • Stay -- use during Lay Down or Sit; release with “OK!”
  • Back - say this while pointing to the wall behind me.  I’ll walk backwards when I hear the back command, which is helpful when stuffing me into my crate. 
  • Wait – I’ll stand still until I hear “OK!” I must do the wait command before crossing streets.  I usually need a lot of help to do this consistently.  So, take a handful of treats on our walks.  Show the treats to me while you say the command, and I’ll do it without complaint.
  • IN! -  say this while pointing at my crate.  This is my most reliable command –  I don’t need any treats to do this.  If I’m standing within 6 feet of my crate, I’ll go right in when I hear this.  Greater distances make this command more difficult.
  •  Bed – This command tells me to lay down on a comfy bed (or couch!) until I hear my release word – “OK!"
  • Spin! – say this as you move your hand (with a treat!) in a small counterclockwise circle just above my head; I will walk around in a complete circle and end up facing you.
  • Touch – I will touch my nose to the back of your open left hand, but remember to: 1) give me a treat every single time I do this and 2) show me the hand you want me to touch when you say this command.  This command is very, very helpful if you need to gain my focus (especially around other dogs), or get me to walk anywhere.  I will follow the back of your hand (and therefore you! J) until I touch it with my nose.
  • Go poop!/Go pee! – Once I hear Mayli, go pee! I do it immediately, but Mayli, go poop! takes a little more effort – I need to walk around and around until it happens.  Use go pee! to make sure my bladder is empty before you leave me in my crate.  I WILL ONLY ELIMINATE ON GRASS.
  • Wanna go for a walk/ ride – You’ll notice my eyes get really wide when you say these phrases.  I love to do these two things!

Feeding Routine:
  • Brand:  Blue Buffalo Large Breed (dry dog food) – please don’t feed me other dog food.  It might upset my tummy.
  • Amount:   Daily total = 3 ½ cups.  Feed me 1 ¾ cups at 8:00 a.m. and 1 ¾ cups at 5:00 p.m.  Smaller meals help prevent bloat in big doggies like me.
  • Special instructions:  I must do the lay down command before I eat.  (This helps me remember that if I want food, I should lay down and not jump all over the person eating a sandwich!)  Depending on time, you can: 1)  hold a piece of the food, point to the ground and say lay down or 2) hold my food bowl patiently and wait for me to remember to do lay down.  Jeannie and Ben do the second one.  Always say “OK!” to let me know that I’m free to eat.
Helpful hints: 
  1. Dogs don’t generalize well.  So, even though I know lots of commands in my house, I might not know them in the Vet’s office yet.  Be patient and use lots of treats (check my bag!).
  2. I will do nothing without the promise of food - Use my treats!  Also, I’m a Dane, so I will probably need to hear these commands 2 – 3 times before I budge an inch.  This will be especially true in these new surroundings.
  3. If you show me a treat, I might start to perform lots of behaviors that you haven’t asked for – I know lots of commands and sometimes I get confused .  Wait until I do the right behavior to feed me the treat.
  4. I will do ANTHING - even get into the bathtub! - if you promise me a dollop of peanut butter (check my bag!) or a piece of bread.  Also, if I don’t seem to enjoy my bone, put a bit of peanut butter on it and I’ll go nuts! 
  5. I love my squeaky, orange toy and always like to have it in my crate.  Don’t forget, OK? 
  6. I don’t know how to “ask” to go potty like other dogs.  Instead of walking to the door, I just get really lively!  I chase cats, jump around, gnaw fingers, etc.  If I start acting crazy, see if I need to Go pee!/Go poop! I typically Go poop! twice a day (morning and evening) and Go pee! as often as I go out.


  1. Great idea about the care sheet, my mom has never thought of that before. I'm so sorry that you haven't been feeling too good, I'm not a fan of going to the doctor either. I hope that you get better soon! And good luck to your Mom with her school work.

  2. Oh Mayli! I'm so sorry about your foot and elbow! Is your kennel cough all better at least? I bet Jeannie and Ben miss you SO much pretty lady! I'm glad to see I'm not the only over-bearing puppy mommy with a list a mile long to leave with our caregivers :) My friends always make fun of me and wonder what my list for a babysitter will look like when I have human kids someday, HA!
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery! Keep us posted.
    Loves & Kisses,
    Katie, Nugget & OScar

  3. Oh dear poor you! I hope it not some kind of fracture in your elbow. Hopefully it is just a a muscle sprain or something minor like that. How's your kennel cough going so far? I hope you are getting better.

  4. Well that's really useful information. I think they really appreciate it at the clinic :)

    I hope you get well soon!


  5. Oh, goodness, how frustrating for you all and poor Mayli. I hope she is feeling better today.

    I have a sheet for both dogs, which was created for when we board them (which has only been once). It's so easy to worry about them not being understood (and then wondering why those people aren't doing the same things as mom does).

    Good luck on the thesis; interesting topic. I wrote a paper (not a thesis) years ago on capital punishment for minors (depressing, yes) and there was next to nothing published on the subject. (So you'd be a ground-breaker.)

  6. Hi Y'all,

    I have my paws crossed for you Mayli. The worst part is being away from your Humans. Hope they fix you up soon!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  7. Hi Y'all,

    Stop by tomorrow and pick up an Award.

    Hope Mayli is feeling better!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. Bender hurt his leg like that and had no visible damage on an xray but lots of swelling. They immobilised it for a while and he was all better. Hopefully it's nothing serious and will heal up quickly!

  9. Hi,
    My name is Elijah and I'm a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence. I'm raising my first pup, Dembre (dem-bray). For five years before I started puppy raising I fostered for the humane society and a small rescue! I really like your blog! If you'd like to stop by our blog the address is:

    Elijah & Dembre