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Loving Baker

Sadly, we lost Baker last week from lymphoma.  The story is somewhat different, I think, and I wanted to share some of our experience in the event another DK dog is affected the same way.

He had been acting a bit 'off' (not wanting to climb stairs, little things like that) & it's easy to pass that off as sore hips, because he was 10 years old.  Thinking back, at that time, he was losing the fun parts of his personality...Baker was a smiler at everyone he liked, a real, big smile.  My granddaughter tried & tried & no smile.  Every night at 8:30, he would run & get a toy to prance around with...stopped doing that.  Lots of little things that made Baker Baker were no longer there but we didn't put it together.

A few weeks later, his right eye started weeping & almost instantly clouded over.  We ran to the emergency vet who diagnosed uveitis (inflammation in the center of the eye) & told us she suspected cancer.  The canine ophthalmologist drew some fluid from his eye for testing, which came back positive for b-cell lymphoma.  He had no swollen lymph glands, just the eye that kept getting worse & was ultimately removed.

He had X-rays of his abdomen & lungs more than once, extensive blood work, ultrasound of his abdomen & lungs, every test recommended by every vet (we had 3) & all tests came back normal.  Again, no swollen lymph nodes ever.

He was on chemotherapy for 9 weeks with the blood work prior to a treatment always fine.  The vets were pleased with his progress.

Suddenly, he took a turn & was falling down, disoriented, & very weak.  We let him go when the emergency vet detected high blood pressure & a slow heartbeat, which, after testing with medication, indicated the cancer was in his brain.

Was it there all along?  I suspect so, perhaps in the area where it allowed him to function but robbed him of his personality.   

We had no pet insurance, but there was no question that we would do anything to have more time with him.  He was wonderful, one in a million, & was loved so much by so many.  

What I'm trying to say...if your dog is acting 'different', pay close attention & try to put two & two together.  I don't know if it would have made any difference in the end, but we missed it & the vets missed it.  We were hoping for a lengthy remission period & ended up with none.

These doodles are exceptional dogs & we all hope for long lives for them.  Get pet insurance so you can do all you can if your beloved dog gets sick.

We will miss Baker forever.

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The Golden in Goldendoodles.

It seems like forever since I was on my DK page.  I used to spend hour here and felt like I knew everyone!  But life changes.

We lost Mater to hemangiosarcoma in May 2018.  I can still be caught with tears whenever I think of him or someone mentions him.  More than our heart dog, he gave so much to others.  Thousands of hours of therapy visits with R.E.A.D. in school and with my husband at the VA every Tuesday for over 8 years. If you didn't know him, he is the big, shaggy red doodle in the photos.  Famous Mater people used to call him because he was so recognized even in a metro area as big as Indy.

And now cancer strikes again with Ozzie.  After three months of testing, we finally found it - T-cell lymphoma in his bone marrow and spreading to the liver.  He started CHOP in March and almost immediately went into chemically-induced remission. With 10 of the 16 treatments behind us, I was starting to feel pretty hopeful.  Then it came back, with calcium levels even higher than when he was diagnosed and platelets very low.  He was given a rescue drug that seemed to help, but only a few days later he completely stopped eating.  So this past Tuesday he was switched to a new (for him) chemo drug.  He still wouldn't eat anything for several days, and we were getting desperate.  I gave him some Cerenia even though he didn't act like his stomach was upset.  Even that was hard to get down him as he would lock his jaws to anything.  But it seemed to help enough that slowly we could begin to put him back on prednisone and his clotting medication and other meds, plus what the holistic vet had recommended.  He is eating again and back to playing ball.  So it was a close call, reminding us that he's living on borrowed time and to love him every minute we have him.  But we know he is terminally ill.  And isn't life terminal anyway? 

It's just an emotional challenge for us when we are still grieving Mater.

So one thing I want to say to ALL Goldendoodle owners is be sure to find pet insurance you trust and love!  Ozzie's diagnosis alone was over $8,500.00, and without insurance we could not have spent that.  With the diagnosis and chemotherapy we are now over $15,000. 

Our primary goal is to make sure Ozzie's quality of life remains good.  If it comes to where he is in pain, I won't allow things to progress.  I can't bear to think of him hurting.

So life has been interesting.  The craziest thing of all is that after losing Mater, I surprised Tom with a Golden Retriever!  Their cancer incidence is very high, the insurance on him is more and their average lifespan grows shorter each year that the cancer in them grows more dominant.  But Gus is sweet, and I now see where Mater got his loving nature.  He was an f1, and my personal thought is that multigene breeders need to breed more Golden Retriever back into today's dogs.  I hear of so many hyper and poorly behaved doodles, and that has typically been behaviors associated with smaller poodles.  Just my 2 cents.

I   hope all is well with our many other DK families!
3356637110?profile=originalMy Ozzie


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On March 20.2019,  Brodie passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. He was diagnosed in January 2019 with Stage V leukemia (rare form) of the bone marrow. He was my rock. I miss him deeply everyday. 

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Lab and Mini Doodle

Shadow is my daughter's 14-year old Labrador.  The Lab acted as a surrogate mom to our Goldendoodle, Holly, when Holly was a puppy,  Here is a YouTube video that my wife did with Shadow and her younger brother, Duke the Mini-Goldendoodle playing in our pool...

Holly was not allowed to join in because she has been developing ear infections when swimming...

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My Toby passed away

It has been so hard, my darling Toby died while having a seizure on Dec 1, 2016, the day before my only grandchild was born (a wonderful granddaughter). I haven't gotten any dog since, and I miss the companionship-but my health is such that I will have to get a smaller dog. 

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Scout has crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge

It has taken me 7 months to be able to write this post. We had to have our  2 1/2 year old Goldendoodle, Scout put down due to severe aggression. We had a behaviorist working with us but it was determined by our veterinarian that "Scout wasn't wired right" for lack of a better term. It was a sad day for us because 80% of the time she was fine but we never had a clue when the 20% of aggression was going to happen. As she grew, so did the episodes of aggression.  Scout attacked me and then a couple of weeks later, attacked my husband while on a daily walk. Neither situation warranted her to protect herself or attack. Since I have young grandchildren who are often at my home, I couldn't take the chance of Scouty actually hurting someone else. Also I feared continuing to walk with her with the possibility of her attacking anyone. We were very sad to lose Scouty, especially at such a young age.

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With a saddened heart I have to say that my beloved Jake passed away a few weeks ago. He was taken too soon from us for he was only nine. But those nine years he lived like a proud prince, He touched so many people and so many people loved him. And he knew it. I can take comfort knowing that he didn't suffer. Actually was healthy as could be. We think his heart just couldn't keep up with his body or he had a stroke. He was fine one minute and the next just went limp and fell off the couch. Within five minutes he was gone. Never felt more helpless in my life. But he was surrounded by his loved ones and I know he knew that. We just comforted him and told him how much we loved him. Then a lot of tears fallowed for days. Couldn't believe how much our hearts hurt. My fourteen year old son was crushed. I felt so bad for his pain and I knew there was nothing I could do but let him go through the grieving process. He is doing better now. And my strong husband was brought down to his knees. He didn't say much for days and I knew I couldn't do anything for him but listen and hold him. I'm still grieving but in the acceptance stage. Thank you all for all the prayers support and flowers. We know Jake is up there in Heaven guarding the gates. What a welcoming thought that maybe Jake will be standing at the gates of Heaven waiting on us. RIP Jake. We will always love you my sweet sweet boy.

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Rest in Peace LIlly

Well here I go again. I had to make the hardest decision no pet owner ever wants to make. I thought was Lilly grieving when her brother Gus died unexpectedly 3 months ago. Sadly though it was more than that. She was diagnosed a couple weeks ago with an incurable brain tumor. Unfortunately she went down hill fast. My vet came to the house today and ended Lilly’s pain. My beautiful girl is going to be missed by many. She went from the nervous rescue when Linda, myself and Gus drove to Florida 11 years ago to get her to become an amazing therapy dog. She was the first “Paws to Read” dog with 2 of our libraries here in Charles County the past 7 years. The only relief I have is knowing she’s not in pain anymore and is happily running around with Gus again with Linda throwing the ball for both of them now. My house feels so empty now.


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A Goodbye to my Best Friend Buddy

It has taken me 4 months to be able to post on DK of Buddy's passing.  It came quick, and I know he didn't want to go.  He had things to do and Nosework trials planned.  This was the only way I could handle him leaving me, no lingering illness, just fun and play all the way to the end of his splendid 13 years of Life.  There will never be another dog like him in my life, and I cherish each and every memory I have of him, especially the sassy ones :)  Thank you to all my friends for loving him too...3356637385?profile=original3356637478?profile=original3356637715?profile=original3356637792?profile=original

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Honey 1 Year Old!

Honey turned one year old on Wed. 1/9/2019! She is a mini Labradoodle and stands approx. 14" at her shoulders and is approx. 16" long and weights approx. 17.4 lbs. Her hair is still as soft as when she was a baby, hope it stays that way. She is full of energy, loves the outdoors - even the cold weather. She is very social with other dogs and people that she meets.

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Powerful Story

Sad but heartwarming story... Toby is a young Cocker Spaniel + Poodle mix who lost his leg as it was shattered beyond repair when Toby was hit by a car. Toby was our foster and we found a wonderful home for him...
Toby's mom has trained him as a therapy dog and they visit our local Children's Hospital as well as working with the Wounded Warrior Foundation.

His mom recounted that during a recent trip to Chidren's Hospital, a little girl who had also lost her leg asked, "Does Toby cry at night because he lost this leg?" Toby's mom answered, "Toby used to cry but he is adjusted now. See how happy he is!" The little girl pondered that and then replied, "I guess that I won't cry anymore either."
WOW! the power of a dog!

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Rest in Peace my sweet boy Gus

Sadly my boy Gus died at the vet this past Monday. He got up that morning and seemed under the weather and wasn't interested in his breakfast. He was fine all weekend and I just thought he wasn't feeling good. I got a call at work from the dog walker saying Gus couldn't get up. I took him to the vet and they discovered his body temperature was dangerously low so they started to try warming him up and give him fluids through a IV. Initially they were thinking Addison's disease from the symptoms he displayed. While waiting on the results of blood work they tried to get some urine to test and couldn't get any even with a catheter. They were preparing to do a ultrasound to check why his bladder was empty(after being given a lot of fluid through the IV) he went into cardiac arrest and they couldn't save him. In the end they determined he had sudden onset acute renal failure. The senior vet told my later that he's only seen acute renal failure happen this fast only 2 times in his 43 years.

My other doodle Lilly has spent most of the week wondering where her brother is. She's slowly starting to get back to old self. We're going to take the long Veterans Day weekend away in Gettysburg, PA for a change of scenery.

Rest in peace my sweet boy. You had a amazing 12 1/2  years and are going to be missed by a lot of family and friends.


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Two letter difference

I saw a heartwarming movie out about the difficult training program for guide dogs for the blind, and follows a litter of lab puppies from birth to adoption.  Its called Pick of the Litter.  I told a friend about it, and she thought I said Pick up the Litter.

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Earth Animal No Hide Salmon Chews

I know there were discussions before as to whether or not these chews were safe, at the time we did determine they were safe. I have recently read articles that they are not safe, the advertising is misleading and different sources have determined these are made of hide....any thoughts on these? Toby loves them, always supervised, and only gets one occasionally. Now I am doubting if he should have these as I would never give him rawhide, and I am afraid now that is what these might be...

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Feeding an orphan puppy...

We are fostering a Maltese puppy who came to us from the San Diego Humane Society at seven days old.

The Humane Society provided us with the milk replacement that they use.  It is excellent and surpasses any previous milk replacer we have used.  

Of course, mom's milk is the best!  However, there are times when a lactating mom is not available.  The Breeder's Edge Canine Milk Replacer really has been doing a great job.  This little guy is lively and gaining weight and there have been no signs of diarrhea which has been a problem with some milk replacers we have used previously.

At at about four weeks of age we will begin feeding him Royal Canin Health Nutrition Starter Mousse Canned Dog Food along with the milk replacer.  We have saved the lives of several puppies with this food.

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Second Opinion

Hopefully this post will find all of you in good health! However, if any of my friends on DK have any serious health problems and/or are contemplating serious (and possibly life changing) surgery, I strongly recommend that you get a second medical opinion before proceeding with that plan of care.

I had serious back problems. My back hurt me so badly that I could not sit up, I had to eat my meals lying down and a car ride was excruciating in the pain that it caused me.

The first orthopedic surgeon that I saw stated that she could operate but warned me that I would always be in pain and would not recover a normal range of motion.

My wife (who is a registered nurse who taught nursing at the college level) researched physicians and we decided on another one for that, all important, second opinion. That doctor specialized in minimally invasive back surgery. I had to wait for an initial appointment and wait longer for the surgery. Which is a good sign, I wouldn't want a doctor whose schedule was so free that he could see me the next day.

Anyway, on the day of my surgery, I could not sit up for the half hour trip to the hospital. My pain was so severe that I had to lie down on the back seat of our car. I was operated on in the early afternoon and the next day walked out of the hospital with just minimal pain and not needing any brace. The pain soon receded and I was absolutely fine. Here is a picture of me not too long after the surgery after I had caught this 40 pound roosterfish. That fish is one of the hardest fighting species in Pacific waters,,,

What prompted me to write this post is that a dog rescue friend was suffering from bone cancer which was centered in her leg. She received radiation and chemotherapy and a local doctor gave her the bad news that he would also have to remove her leg to save her life. My wife recommended that she get a second opinion at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center which has a wonderful reputation for cancer treatment.

They told her that: #1 the original doctor ordered the radiation and chemotherapy in the reverse order to which it should have been administered and that they could try to remove the cancer from the leg without amputation.

Anyway, she had the surgery there and it was successful. It appears that they were able top remove all the cancer and have given her a glowing prognosis for full recovery.

Always remember that half the doctors out there probably graduated in the bottom half of their medical school class. Get a second opinion for any serious health issue.

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Another Reminder About Xylitol

Hey everyone, long time no see! I just wanted to write because we recently experienced a really big scare in the family and I thought it would be worth posting a reminder.

My sister's 2 year old Maltipoo almost died this last week, after getting into gum inside of her purse while they were asleep. He ate around 15 pieces of the gum - it was Ice Breakers and the first ingredient is xylitol. They rushed him to the emergency vet when they found out what he'd done - and they kept him for a day flushing out his system, and trying to get as much out as possible. One of his liver enzymes was over 1000, which is liver failure (I believe a normal value is between 50-120). Eventually they were told to take him home and prepare for him to die. According to the vet, as a 12lb dog the 15 pieces he ate should have killed him and he was lucky to have made it as far as he did. They said there was really nothing else they could do but wait. They prescribed him honey to manage his blood sugar levels but beyond that they were told that they should prepare themselves for him not to make it.

I am so relieved and happy to say that he's still going, and the vet says the prognosis is much more hopeful given that he's made it a whole week now. She said there is a good chance he will be fine now and his liver will eventually recover. But it's been a very scary time and he's been very sick. Poor guy. :-(

It's just a good reminder to be extra cautious - even if gum is hidden away you just never know when they might be able to get into it. I believe that xylitol is now an ingredient in a few peanut butter brands as well - none of the mainstream brands that I know of. I believe the brands are lesser known, in the healthy or low calorie genre of peanut butter. So read the labels!

Let's just hug our pups and double down on being vigilant! 

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Chase Crossed the Rainbow Bridge Today

I haven't been super active on DK in recent years, but I know that some of the older members will remember my dog Chase. He was helped over the rainbow bridge today after a sudden illness. 

He was the dog that was sent here to teach me. We had a difficult relationship in the early years, a combination of his anxiety and reactivity and my inexperience. Over time people came into my life to teach me and as I learned more about behavioural problems in dogs and came to understand him more, we developed a wonderful relationship. The last few years of building trust culminated in recently attending a Barn Hunt workshop where his behaviour was impeccable. I'm going to miss my crazy little Chase-dog. Run free little man.


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Fireworks and Doodles, Oh My!

I hate fireworks. I am not going to beat around the bush and start by saying I only hate some fireworks, maybe just the loud boom ones. No, I hate them all. As a kid I used to watch them and later when I had kids, we would drive somewhere in horrible traffic so we could watch an hour’s worth of flashes only to have to try and get back home before dawn in the bumper to bumper traffic. It was never my favorite experience and knowing me, I probably offered bribes to my children to make it more worth their while to stay home than to go.


Now that I have dogs that fear fireworks, I really hate them. We live at the lake and had I known that lake living means neighbors shoot off fireworks for days….last 4th of July it went on for five days….I really don’t think we would have moved here. My daughter tells me I am getting old when I complain. Keep in mind, she is also the same daughter who has no problem saying, “mom, that’s not a good look for you,” on almost every Skype call. I have tried explaining that in order for me to look better on Skype, I would have to have ten foot arms and the ability to use them to hold the monitor a good distance away from my face.  All she ever says is,  “maybe dad can hold the monitor in another room.” Even my grandson now says, “Meemaw, show me your creepy face,” sometimes when we Skype. I make a big production of screwing my face up in all kinds of different poses, but I suspect with parents like his it won’t be long until he says, “No, Meemaw, make your regular face!”


I am fine being called old, but watching my dogs suffer during all the loud booms makes me sad and mad. This year I decided to get some medicine for Fudge to take the edge off of her anxiety, but realized after one night, that the vet needs to tweak the dosage because Fudge was stoned. And by stoned, I mean out of her mind. I had to bring her in from outside because she kept getting herself stuck under a washtub I have on our patio for growing vegetables. She was convinced something was just outside her reach under our fence and seemed to think pawing the space in front of her would make her imaginary prey appear.   Fudge also had the munchies. She is a dog that eats like a bird, but that night, she ate her food down so quickly that of course it made a reappearance later in the evening. She kept prowling around the counter where her treats were kept and I was afraid at any time she was going to jump right up on the counter to find something that satisfied her cravings more than kibble. Fudge also kept licking and sniffing Vern, something she never does, and walked right over a sleeping Vern several times when walking around the living room. If you fail to see something as large as Vern in your path, there is a problem. I didn’t know if there was some kind of “fifty shades of Fudge” thing happening or she really didn’t see him, but I knew right then Fudge would never get the same dose of medicine again. The next morning, after finding her licking the bed sheets and making a mental note to self to change all the bed sheets, I called the vet to adjust her medicines.


We have had almost nine days straight of fireworks and loud booms and we still have to get through the weekend. This means we have had nine days straight of trying to move freely around our house without a dog underfoot. Nine days straight of going to the bathroom with two dogs crowding into your space and making even getting to the sink a trek. Nine days straight of trying to find Fudge’s hiding place in the house and telling Vern he is a brave boy. Nine days straight of second-guessing whether we can go out for a bite to eat or if we should just stay home. Nine days straight of cursing our neighbors and dreaming of a quieter place to live. I can honestly say the 4th of July is now my least favorite holiday ever. My worst memory ever of a 4th of July incident at my sister’s party when some guy asked our daughter, Hayley, if he could use her fork when she was finished, has now been replaced by the loud booms of this holiday making it sound like we are under attack. I swear if someone really were attacking our house, I am pretty sure I could single handedly take them down just imaging they are the ones making my life miserable this week. I am not usually a violent person, but I have been shouting things like, “I hope someone sticks a firecracker down their pants and their horsetail blows off!” and “I’d like to stick a roman candle up their nose!” Nose has also been replaced with other body parts on several occasions. Can you tell I have been researching names of fireworks to see if they are all legal in our area?


Around here, it seems like this holiday is THE one. Two restaurants that we visited this week had closed signs when we got there saying they were closed for the entire week. A niece sent me a quote from someone she knew and I will clean it up just a bit, but it essentially said, “When did a one day holiday become an excuse for drunk people to shoot off fireworks for an entire month?” The answer is I don’t know, but I have had enough fireworks in my life this week to last me my lifetime.

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Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation.