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*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘pets

Countdown Begins

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Prepare for blast off. Make sure your seatbelts are fastened, seat backs forward, and tray tables are in the upright position.

‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house… Airports are busy and homes are gaining inhabitants. It’s a short week of work in front of a long weekend of gathering with loved ones.

Oh, and food. We are under a dangerous consumption advisory, after all. I’m ready to commence snacking.

Cyndie and I will be spending Thanksgiving with her family at her parent’s house this year, but we are traveling in shifts. She heads over there this afternoon to begin preparations, and will spend the night with her mom and dad.

I will tend to things at Wintervale tonight, then in the morning, after animals are all fed, I will head west to join the Friswold clan for turkey-day festivities. There is a Vikings/Lions game that will be a great compliment for large portions of Chex-mix munching. The Thanksgiving feast will follow the football.

As if I’ll have room in my stomach.

Then I race back to the ranch to show some Thanksgiving love to our horses, chickens, dog and cat. Pequenita has been practicing for her post-Thanksgiving lounging on my legs in the new recliner. She seems to know the drill.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Hays relatives whom I won’t be seeing tomorrow, and also to all of my readers here and abroad.

It’s just the beginning of the grand holiday season, so prepare for the long haul. Consume in moderation and take good care of yourself so you will be fit and inspired to share love and happiness with everyone in your circle of influence.

If need be, your seat cushion is available for use as a floatation device.



Written by johnwhays

November 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

Safety Glass

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One of our Barred Plymouth Rock hens was checking out the scene on the deck this morning while Delilah napped nearby.

Apparently the dog wasn’t in a deep enough sleep to miss the vibes of a creature entering her sensory field.

Delilah spent a lot of yesterday barking at the sound of gunshots. It was the first day of the deer hunting season. Maybe this has her on a heightened sense of alert today.

We are grateful there was a safe glass barrier between our animals for their encounter this morning. No feathers were ruffled, although the dog did suffer a brief abolishment from the bedroom for her unrestrained outburst against the glass.



Written by johnwhays

November 19, 2017 at 11:12 am

Mostly Healthy

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Other than choosing to regurgitate the entire undigested contents of her stomach on our bed the other day, Pequenita is leading our animals in staying healthy.

The good news about the others is that all are showing promising signs of improvement.

Delilah had a quick relapse to yelping in pain after her promising signs of normalcy a week or two ago. Happily, that regression was short-lived and she has re-emerged with more of her old vim and vigor once again. We remain cautious about encouraging too much rambunctiousness, lest she experience another similar setback.

She has a second visit to the doggie chiropractor scheduled for next week. We are trying to constrain her activity a reasonable amount until then.

Cayenne’s swollen eye has settled down nicely, but shows signs of still being irritated. Cyndie washed it out again yesterday. Since all the horses were due for a fall visit from the veterinarian, we will have a chance for her eye to be seen this morning when the Doc comes to give all of them some attention.

I’m doing my best to keep up with everybody else’s progress and enjoying increased mobility and reduced pain with every passing day. ‘Nita does her best to keep my legs stretched out and warm for me. I think my tight hamstrings do me no favors at avoiding problems with my lumbar discs.









I have been grossly negligent about stretching and exercising for best back health, but as soon as the trouble showed up last week, I became a planking maniac again. The problem with that was that the muscles of my torso became incredibly stiff and didn’t want to take on the load my ailing back wished they would.

Stretching like a yoga master became the third option.


Written by johnwhays

November 10, 2017 at 7:00 am

How’s Everybody?

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Basically, we are all good, but there are some health concerns that continue to linger for some of the Wintervale crew. Time has not healed all wounds.

After the most recent hoof trimming, Cayenne’s showing a tiny bit of improvement. What we cling to there is that she is, at the very least, not worse. She still shows a fair amount of hesitation on her movements, but she doesn’t appear to be in extreme pain.

It’s possible she may have developed a habit of anticipating pain, and she still limps because that is what she has grown used to doing. It sometimes looks like she steps gingerly to protect herself, not because it hurts too much to walk normal.

Now, Delilah, on the other hand, is behaving quite the opposite. She keeps trying to act like she is fine, but continues to have moments of extreme pain. On Tuesday, we resorted to ordering x-rays of her spine and a more thorough blood analysis.

The results of her blood work are not in yet, but the x-ray showed a minor compression between discs 3 and 4. We were told there also appeared to be some abnormal marks or possible lesions on those vertebrae, which the vet is hoping the blood analysis will inform.

We have returned to restricting her movements to a bare minimum. Regardless, she continues to maintain a pretty happy attitude between moments of looking like she’d prefer to do nothing more than lay down and convalesce.

It’s been a long summer of rehabilitation for Cyndie’s shoulder, but it’s not over yet. She continues to have regular physical therapy appointments to improve range of motion. The good news after her most recent follow-up with the surgeon was that he deemed it unnecessary to put her under and break the scar tissue by force. The bad news was the alternative being extended PT with painful aggressive measures to do the same thing.

The therapist used the infamous “cupping therapy” to stretch the scarred tissue across the grain. Makes sense to us, despite a broad belief that cupping is pseudo-science and any benefits are from a placebo effect. Cyndie is growing tired of the pain from her exercises and the ongoing need to push her limits of stretching and rotation.

At the same time, she continues to find ways to function in her daily activities with only minor limitations.

The rest of us are enjoying a grace period of good health. The chickens will be seeing snow for the first time in their lives. Pequenita is happy to be an indoor cat. We brought the horses in out of the windy wet precipitation last night, but we’ll give them a short shift outside for some fresh air before letting them back into their stalls again tonight.

I avoided hitting any deer on my commutes this week. Yesterday morning, I was lucky to not be a part of a 10-car chain reaction crash,  –nor get caught in the significant backup of traffic behind it– when a vehicle hit a deer on I94, right at the bridge between Wisconsin and Minnesota. I had already passed that spot and was well on my way to work by then.

Everyday I don’t hit a deer in October and November is a successful day.

That’s my update on how everybody is doing today. We are thankful for all our good fortune.



Written by johnwhays

October 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Pain Transfered

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Don’t let this image fool you. Delilah is almost completely back to her old self.

Tuesday, when I got home from work, Delilah was so full of energy that she wouldn’t leave Cyndie alone. After they came in from a walk, Delilah grabbed one of her squeaky toys and begged Cyndie to chase her around the house.

When Cyndie laid down on the bed for a moment, Delilah started repeatedly hopping straight into the air for more attention.

If she has any leftover pain, it wasn’t readily apparent.

Last night I gave her a fraction of a walk, keeping the leash short so she would walk beside me, at my pace. She strained to speed me up the whole way.

Every indication is that she is feeling just fine again.

On the other hand, or I could say, hoof… Cayenne seems to have picked up where Delilah’s pain left off. That mare has suddenly become almost incapacitated over an apparent flare-up of laminitis in her front feet again, particularly the side that hadn’t previously been giving her as much trouble.

It is heartbreaking to watch her struggle to move. I immediately isolated her from having access to grazing in the pastures, closing her into the smaller paddock. It seems like too little, too late, to completely turn the tide for this condition which is proving to be rather chronic for her.

Cyndie said Cayenne didn’t show signs of a problem earlier in the day, so maybe by cutting off her grass-grazing right away, this flare-up can be calmed quickly. I fear it is all part of a trend for Cayenne that may be out of our control to alleviate.

We’ve spent the summer watching George shape her hooves in increments to improve the orientation and provide her some relief, but it is a long, slow process because you can’t trim too much at a time. Now, just when we were hoping to have her beyond this problem, she is showing a turn for the worse.

We’re very happy to have Delilah free of pain, but seeing an extreme discomfort move from one of our animals to another puts a damper on our urge to celebrate our dog’s improvement.

When our animals hurt, it tends to inflict a fair amount of sympathetic pain in us, too.






Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Third Diagnosis

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Finally. After seeing a third veterinarian in the past week at the clinic in River Falls (because they were gracious enough to squeeze her in without an appointment at the end of each day), we have a diagnosis that seems the most logical and believable. Maybe the third time was the charm simply because the first two had ruled out other possibilities. This time, Cyndie came home with antibiotics to treat Delilah’s external yeast infection.

In my uneducated opinion, I’m guessing the back pain was probably referred pain from the infection, but I don’t think that was the prevailing opinion at the clinic. Cyndie seems to feel they saw this latest affliction as occurring in addition to the back problem.

I don’t understand why Delilah would suddenly suffer from these two issues concurrently.

Whatever. I’m not going to fret over it. Now we have another two prescriptions purchased and the dog is going to be spending some time in a cone of shame when Cyndie applies a cream to Delilah’s underside.

One silver lining I saw last night from this predicament Delilah find’s herself in: It significantly curtailed her usual uncontrollable barking toward the scary rumbles of thunder rolling in from the distance. She tried a couple of times, but gave up in short order. I think she was just too uncomfortable to persist.

It led to a bizarre sound that started as a bark and morphed into a yelp.

Just laying quiet appeared to be her preferred coping method.

Thank goodness for that.



Written by johnwhays

October 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

True Love

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First, let me report that Delilah is no longer emitting as many outbursts of shrill vocalizations of pain as a couple of days ago. Maybe the meds are taking the edge off. However, things are still definitely amiss. We are seeing behaviors that are obvious indications that she is incredibly uncomfortable.

Between moments of normalcy, she is suddenly out of control in reaction to something that even she doesn’t seem to understand. Her behaviors give me the impression she wants to crawl out of her skin. I think, …allergic reaction.  To her meds? Then, she focuses on licking at her groin, which isn’t easy because she still looks like it is hard to move, …like her back is still a problem.

We wondered about maybe a kidney stone?

Of course, it was Sunday, so we have waited until today for our next consultation with the vet. Delilah is managing incredibly well for extended periods of time between her bouts of discomfort, so we decided it wasn’t an emergency situation. We also recorded a video of her weird behavior to show the veterinarian.

Life around the house is relatively normal, with just an odd fraction of the impression that things are not alright. I think Pequenita is aware, but unsure how to respond.

She gave us a good laugh last night while we were laying on our bed. Cyndie always talks about how ‘Nita is totally in love with me, but doesn’t think that much of her. As she often does, Pequenita was laying across my extended legs when Cyndie slid over to lay next to me with her leg across mine.

Pequenita didn’t move a muscle, other than to make sure Cyndie wasn’t touching her.

We started laughing about it after Cyndie pointed out the scene to me, and suddenly our cat turned and gave me a look.

At first, I wondered aloud why she was looking at me. It was Cyndie who was horning in on her love.

Then, in an instant, Cyndie and I came to the same conclusion.

That look seemed to be saying, “Are you going to do something about this intrusion on our space?”

‘Nita didn’t look happy with our outburst of laughing to tears.



Written by johnwhays

October 2, 2017 at 6:00 am