Sunday, November 20, 2016

Frankfurter- My Wonderful Wiener Dog!

Hello, Friends!

Today I have a super long post about my favorite wiener dog
 in the whole wide world,

I apologize for not getting this out sooner.  I was writing it on Saturday night and fell asleep.  On the bright side, I've got Frank pictures!!  I must tell you that I took Frank's picture during what is normally his morning nap time.  He cooperated because he was way too tired not to!  So, if he doesn't look quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed as usual, he's fine.  He just happened to be falling asleep during our photo session.  :)

Now, I suggest you clear more time in your schedule, fix another cup of your favorite beverage, get another snack, go to the bathroom and then join me for a nice long Frank update.   

As I said in the blog post from last week, Frank is now 15 1/2 years old.  It seems impossible that it's now been more than
15 years since I brought home 
a tiny, sweet little dachshund puppy who was only 
6 weeks old and weighed 2 pounds.  

As much as I never wanted to have to live with my parents again because I wanted to be a healthy, self-sufficient adult, Frank is more than happy with our living situation!   I imagine he wonders why we waited so long to move in with Grandma and Grandpa!

Frank loves my parents and they definitely love him.  I spend a lot of time upstairs laying down.  There nothing exciting up here and the chances of me eating aren't that great.  Frank, on the other hand, likes to be where the action is, so he prefers to be downstairs with my parents most of the time.  They have to take care of him because I can't.  They have been more than willing to do so.  Frank and I are both very blessed by this.  As Frank has gotten older, he requires more actual care but he's still doing really well for 15 1/2.  He does have some health problems, though, which I'll outline below. 

Back problems and the need for surgeries are common in doxies which is why I bought Frank pet insurance starting when he was 1 year old!  It has been worth it!  Because of his back problems in the past, he has trouble walking sometimes.  Dr. Becky, his vet who loves him almost as much as we do, believes that there is scar tissue around his spinal cord from where he had his back surgeries.  That scar tissue is now blocking the messages from getting to his back legs to keep them working right.  His back legs tend to stretch out beside his body, almost like they're doing the splits, instead of holding him up straight.  Frank, ever the little genius, figured out if he has his back half do a little hop, his legs fall back into place straight underneath him.  This helps him get started and then keeps him able to walk.  If his legs start to stretch outwards again, he just hops to get them back into place.  His front legs still work fine.  He walks better in the morning and not as well at night when he is more tired from being up all day.  He also has learned how to look pitiful to get my Dad to pick him up.  He knows my Mom can't pick him up as easily because she is having problems with her wrists.  It is amazing to see the difference, as he seems to suddenly be significantly better when he knows my Dad isn't there to carry him.  It's kind of astounding because you would think the "poor little old wiener dog can barely go" and then he moves out when it's just my Mom and I, especially if there is food or a treat involved!  Frank is a Grandpa's boy and he knows Grandpa is a softie!  :)

We tried setting Frank up because when he lays down, his bloated middle spreads out to the sides making it look a lot worse than when he's standing up.  However, every time we sat him back up, he would slowly slide back down.  Poor little sleepy dog!

Frank also has a bad gallbladder.  It has a lot of sludge in it, which is what happens to people as well.  While people have it surgically removed, dogs take medicine to liquify the sludge and keep it moving through.  Dr. Becky keeps close watch on this.  She uses an ultrasound machine to check on it about once every four to six weeks.  Frank just lays on the table and lets her check it.  He doesn't have to be knocked out or anything.  Sometimes his gallbladder causes him to be bloated, othertimes, he is not.  During today's pictures, he was particularly bloated but it doesn't seem to bother him any.  We've noticed that sometimes this depends on what he eats, so we try to avoid foods that give that response, like broccoli.  Of all of his health problems, this is the only one that could be dangerous.  If it solidifies, that could cause the gallbladder to burst or other problems, like inflammation of his pancreas.

Another health problem Frank has developed is Cushing's Disease.  This is also common in doxies.  It makes him feel hungry and thirsty all the time.  The best news about Cushing's is that it won't shorten his lifespan at all.  Overall, he handles this very well.  During the day, he knows what time he gets fed and he doesn't beg for food other times.  He drinks a lot of water, but he can have as much of it to drink as he wants, so that isn't a problem for him.  The middle of the night tends to be a bigger issue.  Sometimes he can sleep through the night.  Other times, he might be up 3 or 4 times because he wakes up and he's hungry.  My Mom plans ahead and takes little snacks upstairs for him in case he wakes up and needs them.  He did not like the time change when all of a sudden we told him he had to wait an extra hour for his meals!  His internal clock definitely did not fall back an hour!  Thankfully, within a few days he had adjusted to the new time and all is well!

There is one other problem Frank had come up about 3-4 weeks ago.  Besides being concerned about his gallbladder, this one was the hardest for us humans to deal with, although Frank is doing fine!  Frank has lost his sight.  We found out almost 4 years ago that Frank only had sight in one eye.  We don't know if he was born that way or if he lost it sometime through his life.  The doctor who did his back surgery in Arizona was the first one who recognized it.  This never posed an issue.  However a few weeks ago when my Dad took Frank down for his breakfast, Frank was very disoriented.  While Frank is a Grandpa's boy, my Dad is equally a "Frank's boy."  He keeps close watch on Frank all the time and knew something was wrong.  Frank rubbed his eye frequently that day, as if he was trying to get it to work again.  A trip to Dr. Becky the next day confirmed that his retina had come lose and he could no longer see.  Dr. Becky was as disappointed with the news as we were.

Frank has adapted amazingly well, though, especially when his people accepted it and stopped acting like something was terribly wrong and started treating him like normal again!  You would never guess from watching him that he was blind.  He walks through the house like he always did and is able to go right where he wants, like his water bowl or a different room.  When you talk to him, he points his face right at you like he's looking at you.  Sight is actually the third most important sense to a dog, with smelling and hearing coming in first and second place.  His hound dog nose still keeps him informed and you can see him listening and concentrating to figure out who might be coming into a room or what that person might be doing...or eating!  Again, my Mom and Dad both make sure that Frank is okay with this new challenge.  My Dad, who loves Frank dearly, was the most upset with this news.  I made my Dad feel better about Frank's eyesight loss when I told him Frank would be alright because he had a seeing-eye Grandpa and he definitely does.  His seeing-eye Grandma helps all the time, too.  

Frank takes medicine which helps him a lot with the first three issues.  He's very good about taking his medicine most of the time.  Sometimes he gets tired of swallowing pills, but honestly I can relate.  I get tired of having to take medicine all the time, too!  We both do what we have to do, though, and are better because of it!

I know this all sounds depressing.  He really is okay and is doing well.  Thankfully the only real ongoing issue that could cause a big problem is his gallbladder.  When we found out there was a problem, we all began praying for Frank.  At the next check up, Dr. Becky said that she had never seen the sludge improve as quickly as she had in Frank!  I believe God made Frank, loves Frank and takes care of him like He takes care of people.  We all know that every day we have with Frank is a gift and we all treat it that way.  Frank has brought so much joy to our family.  He is so smart and funny.  He has facial expressions that show what he's thinking.  He is sweet and caring.  He loves his family.  He's just a wonderful dog and has been since day one.  I frequently tell him,

"Of all the little wiener dogs in the whole wide world,
God sent me the very best one."

I know all the other doxie owners would disagree with me and I understand that completely.  Frank and I have been through a lot together and he has always made the good times better and the bad times not quite as terrible.

Frank still has a good life, too.  Dr. Becky and all of her staff truly love Frank and takes great care of him  She calls him "miracle dog" because he always overcomes whatever problem comes up.  He has the full attention of three adults who are at his call twenty-four hours a day and who make sure he has everything he needs.  While I often can't help him with what he needs, I can sound the alert and get someone else who can!  He enjoys treats and bones and bites of people food.  He even gets a pass when he barks his head off because we're having pizza, which is his favorite food!

This picture shows Frank's white face, paws and legs.  You can also see white hairs beginning to creep down to his back.  His hair color change began with the black hairs on his chin turning gray and then slowly chagning to white.  Then his face and feet turned white.  Now that white hair goes all the way over his head and up his legs.  We think he looks distinguished!

We all love Frankfurter so much!  He's not just a pet but is the 4th member of our family.  I will keep you updated on Frank and his health.  If you're a pet owner, go tell your pet(s) how much you love those little blessings and give them an extra treat from Frank and I.  Then go enjoy some craft time for me!

Happy Stamping, Friends! 


Anonymous said...

Oh what a great post! More to come. Such a cutie!

Chris R. from Iowa

Samistic Designs said...

I absolutely love the first photo you posted today! Frank is a very Handsome Boy!
Love your card. Take care,
Samistic Cards

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your update on Frank - I was wondering how he was doing. He looks so sweet and reminds me of my dog Ruby. They are the sweetest breed of dogs there is (in my opinion)!! Everything you said about him I could relate to. I'm so glad you have your parents to care for you and Frank - that is such a blessing! I know Frank can feel the love you all have for him and I think that is what keeps him going. Take care...

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