Dawny update here for any and all who care… and, honestly, who doesn’t care about sweet Dawny Virgil???

Bottom line:  She is doing GREAT!  I have certainly seen the difference.  Friends have commented on how wonderful she looks.  But it is always good to have solid clinical data to back up what our mere human senses detect and suspect.

The main thing the vets have been tracking through Dawny’s battle with kidney disease is her creatinine level.  Creatinine is a perfectly normal waste product produced by our muscles and filtered out of our system by the kidneys.  Kidney disease inhibits this process, though, and that is why creatinine builds up in the system and is a handy marker to test disease progression.

When Dawny was first diagnosed in March of this year, her creatinine was at 2.2 (1.6 is considered too high).  When I had her tested in May, the creatinine had more than doubled to 4.7.  The vet said she would not be able to survive another doubling of that value.  I figured that if she lived to see August it would be amazing.  She lived.  And she is amazing.

This visit, her creatinine level had only climbed from 4.7 to 4.9.  Incredible!

After the May appointment, I returned to the vet to be trained in subcutaneous fluid injections to help keep my girl hydrated, critical when combating kidney disease. I nearly fainted just looking at the needle and the bag of fluid I was expected to try to slowly squirt into the back of her neck somewhere, somehow.  Yeah, I failed.  And it made me miserable.

So I doubled down on the food side of the battle, shifting most of her meals to home cooked, supplementing with a prescription food from the vet.  In my post of March 21, I talk about Dawny’s diet, specifically what nutrients are best for someone with ailing kidneys.  I will repeat some of that here, although I go into more detail in the earlier post.  If you would like to check that out, you can find it in the archives box to the right.

Here is what we have been doing for the past six months:

Morning and evening meals:  Ground beef (not lean–fatty is better because it is lower in protein) mixed with a roughly equal amount of white rice (not brown, which can contain toxins in the hulls).  Add some sweet potatoes mashed with green beans.  Mix with water to make it like a stew (hydrate hydrate hydrate!).

Lunch:  Hills Prescription Diet K/D dry food (add water) and a heaping spoonful of plain yogurt, which helps her intestinal health–the evidence of which can be seen when she poops nice, solid poops compared to the horror that was exiting her backside last spring.  I feed her the prescription dry food so that she will get some of the nutrients that she may not be getting from my home-cooked meals.  You do need a prescription from a vet to get this food, but the nice thing for a traveler is that you can pick it up at any PetSmart around the country.

Since her original diagnosis last March, our girl has clocked in roughly four more years in human terms.  Four good years.  That is how it would be counted if you figure one dog year equals six human years, which is about what it is for a doggy of her size (30 pounds or so).  That is a lot of time.

In that time, sweet Dawny Virgil has enjoyed our journey from Florida to workamping jobs in Virginia and Pennsylvania, followed by a non-working trip through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois to discover new smells and see old friends in Missouri.  A sharp turn back to the east brought us rolling through beautiful Kentucky and Tennessee and then to more jobs in Virginia.  She has witnessed a rare eclipse, celebrated a major birthday (mine), and relished cookies and lovin’ from the hands and hearts of so many, many dear friends.

So, as my girl and I celebrate another Thanksgiving together, I am most grateful for this gift of time–both its quantity and quality–with my best buddy.  I hope each of you have many wonderful things to be grateful for in your lives, as well, and that you enjoy a safe, peaceful, yummy holiday season.

Toodle-oo :)

Thank you cherished friends and readers for accompanying me and my sweet Dawny (sweet as long as you are not another DOG!) on our journey these past three years.  I do believe the time has come to wrap up the blog postings.  Although, who knows for how long?  All I know for sure is that my traveling companion needs loads of love and attention and care and that is where I wish to place my time and energy and love.

So, let’s not linger on the page, let’s not get tangled up in words, and let’s not pay undue attention as health fails.  It is a respect thing.  A privacy thing.  I would like nothing better than to drive off into the sunset with my girl in a colorful flash of uncommon grace, waving the Queen’s wave from a workamper’s work cart, Dawny smiling at my side…  Later, Alligator!

For Dawny’s friends, her good days still outnumber her bad days.  For this, we are grateful.  Were she to be fully informed on the ins-and-outs of the blogging world and the potential everlastingness of the written word, I believe this is where she would like to be remembered.  Healthy enough to enjoy long walks and still full of sass.  Excited and eager on road-trip days.  Happy to receive cookies and loving from friends, old and new.  Ready to bite some random dog’s head off.

Okay, okay, I hear you.  I am placing all sorts of human feelings and motives onto a dog.  Well, since she has responded with more feeling and exhibited more honest, raw motives than many bipedal beings I have encountered, we shall claim poetic license and craft things how we please.

It is, after all, our blog.  Our journey.  Every bit as much hers as it is mine.  So, yes, this is a fitting time to pause.  Paws.  Four happy paws and a sassy wag of the tail…  After a while, Crocodile!

At this point, my hope is to find a productive focus despite my own dwindling energy (sadness has an insidious way of sapping time and energy from the day, peace and rest from the night).  I would love to concentrate more on ebook stories.  It is such a cool way to create and communicate.  I will keep you posted on any (if any) future publications here, should you wish to continue following the blog.  If you stop following, though, I will certainly understand.  Life is so full of options.  Clutter.  Noise.  Options.  Sometimes it takes real effort to sort through and find the peace.

Meanwhile, Dawny and I shall quietly retreat to a more private space.  We will continue to roll down our beautiful together-path as long as Time allows.  What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

We wish all of you simplicity, honesty, and peace in your lives and loves.  Beauty and laughter lining your roads.  Thank you for sharing ours these past three years.

Toodle-oo, Mr. Magoo! —

Carol and Dawny Virgil Prewash Sassy Generous Evans (a.k.a. Midnight Unicorn…  a.k.a. Best Road Doggy in the World…  a.k.a. Best Doggy in the World)

Assuming a Position

Everybody knows the definition of “assume,” but it is so relevant to today’s post that it bears repeating.  Assume is where you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”  Hahaha.  I always loved that one.

As to its relevance to this little blog space, well let me tell you!  Dawny and I were recently enjoying a morning walk around the campground loop.  She had just finished watering a particularly interesting spot, when I heard a persistent pounding on the window of a nearby RV.  The window glass was darkened so I couldn’t see anything, but I didn’t look too hard, either.  As Dawny and I resumed our walk, I wondered if perhaps someone had been taken hostage and they were trying to get our attention!

Well, that’s just silly.  One must be careful about assumptions, both the wild ones and those more easily tamed.

It didn’t take long for it to occur to me that the pounding had started after Dawny had pee’d.  The pounding probably was not from a hostage, after all, but from a camper who thought Dawny had poo’d and I didn’t pick it up.  The problem is, being a girl dog, she assumes the same position for No. 1 and No. 2.

It wouldn’t be the first time someone assumed my dog and I were a dastardly duo.  At a campground in Ohio last month a man and a woman strode boldly out from their campsite and approached us yelling, “Hello, Ma’am?”

Oh, how nice, I thought to myself.  My neighbors are going out of their way to talk to me!

They continued, “Are you going to pick up that excrement!?!?”

Oh, my!  I responded that there was nothing to pick up and that, as a girl dog, Dawny squats for both functions.  They kept coming at us, yelling at me to pick up that excrement, jabbing their index fingers at me and my dog.  I pointed to my fanny pack full of plastic bags for picking up poop and told them, as nicely as possible, that I always pick it up.  They finally backed down and returned to their campsite muttering loudly about how they saw Dawny do it earlier, too.  What can I say?  She’s a heavy drinker.

When I was workamping in a campground in Texas, a fellow volunteer came running over with a baggie for me to pick up after my dog.  When I told him she had pee’d, he launched into a long, detailed, increasingly uncomfortable description of how a dog holds its tail differently depending on what sort of business they are doing.  Not only was he calling me a liar, he had obviously been paying way too much attention to Dawny’s tail end.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Finally, I just turned around and walked away while he continued to lecture me.  That pretty much colored our working relationship afterwards, and not in a good way.

For my part, I have to try to be nice when defending myself and my doggy, and that is not easy.  Gracious defense does not come naturally to me (Dawny and I are a lot alike that way).  But it does help if I remind myself that most people don’t become poopy dogmatists out of nowhere.  I see loads of dog poop in campgrounds and other public areas that people have not picked up.  It is extremely annoying when people do not clean up after their pets.

Such a simple, considerate act.  There seems to be a terrible shortage of that nowadays which, I suppose, exacerbates the tendency of many of us to assume the worst.  The problem is, when we jump to the wrong conclusion–especially an ugly one–we often leap over a lost opportunity, such as a friendly chat, a simple smile, a lighter step.

Now, excuse me while Dawny and I get ready for this morning’s walk.  I want to make sure that the hostage is okay.  On second thought, maybe the knocking had nothing to do with me at all.  It could well have been the sound of little elves making shoes and then using the heels to pound picture hooks into the wall.  Or, better yet, someone was having an amorous morning.  Yes, that must be it.  How lovely is that!