• Dogs,  family,  Uncategorized

    Rest in Peace Zadoch

    Yesterday about 1:30 PM (on March 31st, 2019) I had Zadoch put to sleep at Briarcliff Animal Hospital. I took the above picture the day before (March 30th, 2019)

    His back hips had slowly been deteriorating for about a month. I took him into the vet two weeks ago and discovered that he definitely did have arthritis, which German Shepards are very likely to get, and maybe some other more severe hip problems that are difficult to diagnose and not treatable that German Shepards are likely to get as well. The vet put him on a prescription and dietary supplement and we were going to regroup in a month to see how well it worked.

    Fast forward one week. The medicine does seem to be helping with the pain somewhat, but it does not seem to be making his hips any better. In fact, his hips continue to deteriorate. What was before just a problem with one leg now seems to be a problem with two legs and he continued to have greater difficulty standing and sitting. There were a few falls too, which never happened before. Also he would drag his back legs sometimes.

    Then last Wednesday we start having the power issues, which necessitates us leaving for an AirBNB and then later the apartment. We left Zadoch at the house with a battery powered light – he seemed happy to not have to move and just slept a lot – we added some painkillers to his medical routine and kept up the other medicine.

    He then got progressively worse and could only stand with my assistance, or so it seemed anyway – he could drag himself around on just his front legs, but as for walking with his back legs for very far… that was out of the question. He could not lift his back legs up far enough to propel him forward and the top of his feet was pointed toward the ground for some reason (more on that later).

    Then came Saturday night – I went over to get him – and take him back to the apartment and he was suffering terribly. His back legs weren’t working at all, but he dragged himself to get in the car with me. I made a judgement call to take him to the apartment so we could spend one more night together and all say goodbye.

    At the apartment he felt even worse (though the pain meds did help a bit) He whimpered in obvious pain but once he settled down and realized we were all together I think that made him feel somewhat better. He had good and bad moments throughout the night (I would wake up during his bad ones) and I made the call to take him in that day (Sunday, his normal vet is only open Monday through Saturday). Then I took him into Briarcliff.

    I could not have asked for a better vet at Briarcliff Animal Hospital. The vet techs had to help me get him into the clinic (they “wheelbarrow walked” him to the clinic by putting a towel around his midsection and letting him use his front legs – I thought that sounded weird but it worked very well). And then I met with the doctor who was very kind and reassuring. Basically the situation: If there was a fix for the problem then the medication the first vet gave me would have worked, and the only other possibilities were non-fixable. Also, for big dogs, mobility problems are more or less fatal – there is no way they will stay off their feet and they just make a bad situation worse. I think the phrase she used was death sentence. The tops of his feet pointing towards the ground was also indicative of a blood circulation problem.

    The procedure went fast and he went peacefully knowing I was there.

    We got him on March 15th, 2010, slightly before Staci and I got married and well before Marleigh was born. His name from the original owner (it was a reseller/rescue operation of some kind) was Bam-Bam, but we renamed him Zadoch after an obscure relative of mine. Everything started off well – he was our third dog at that point (Drex was still living and Dagney was just coming off of puppydom). He happily settled in as the Alpha dog, and since he could jump the fence we went on many, many long walks together (averaging about five miles a day the first spring/summer/fall).

    He calmed down a little over time and at some point developed the skin allergies that would bother him off and on for his whole life (though less in his later years). When Marleigh was born they became fast friends at even a very young age – he was always hanging around her crib and bed, and she was always drawn towards him. She renamed him Z-Dog when she was two or three – and the name stuck for the rest of his life.

    He had some problems with the neighbors dog, jumping the fence at one point to get into a territorial dispute. He would also jump our fence periodically and for some reason jump into cars and wait to be driven somewhere.

    We had many happy years of family and dog life – he and Marleigh grew ever closer and he was a constant 100 pound fixture of the house – always with a great happy personality, always great with children – always ready to protect if need be. Life with him was a happy normal.

    Zadoch was a great dog and he will be missed. Marleigh has taken it quite hard, and I guess Staci and I have too. I thought we would have several more years with him, but that was not to be. Rest in peace.

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  • Dogs,  Freedom House,  photos,  Video

    Home is where they feed me

    Assuming no one calls from the found dog signs I’ll be putting up tomorrow, it looks like Drex has a new playmate. Her name is tentatively Frida. I think someone abandoned her today. She’s very sweet and submissive and gets along surprisingly well with Drex. They both seem to have agreed that he is the Alpha of the two. Beyond that he doesn’t really care. Hopefully she can stop him from freaking out during thunderstorms.

  • Atlanta,  Dogs,  Personality

    Tornado parties and the kindness of strangers

    So, last night I venture out into one of the more interesting parts of downtown to go to a party at the offices of my good friends at Lucky Fish. I carefully check the weather beforehand so as I can be home before any thunderstorms so my dog won’t have his usual psychotic break that happens when a storm comes and I’m not there. The storms were supposed to come around midnight and I planned to leave around 11:00 PM. All was good.

    It was a great party, with casino games and cool people. I’m near the door around 9:30 when I notice the wrath of God happening outside. Someone checks news on a ubiquitous I-Phone and says that CNN Center and the Georgia Dome have just been hit by a tornado. The first tornado to hit downtown in living memory. The history is made more notable by the fact that the party is a quarter mile away. Crap I think. I’m not worried about my personal safety as we were in a converted 100 year old well built factory . Nonetheless leaving is out of the question. I’ve driven through one tornado and I’m not driving through another one.

    We all head down to the basement, and the party continues. The power goes out too, which makes for a very fun party by candlelight. The second tornado warning passed around midnight and I made my way back home through downtown Atlanta.

    Not surprisingly the city looked like a tornado had just passed through (photos from the AJC here and here. My house is about four miles from the first link and two miles from the second.). I resign myself to the thought that the dog had destroyed the remaining blinds in my office (his favorite target) and hope for the best in terms of structural damage.

    I return home to find the house untouched, the blinds shredded, the back door open, and the dog gone. Fresh teethmarks on the knob tell me that he had opened the door to come look for me when the thunder hit. I also make the unpleasant discovery that the back door no longer latches (hence his ability to open it).

    I first look in the jungle/backyard area beyond the fence where has sometimes jumped, to no avail. I sneak through all my neighbors backyards and can’t find him. I drive around the neighborhood looking for him, and he’s nowhere in sight. It was quite dark and foggy and the odds of finding him were close to zero, so after several hours I decide to wake up at dawn and look then.

    I get a call at 3:50 AM from someone asking me if I was missing a dog! I thank them profusely and congratulate myself on the custom tag I’d gotten him with my name and phone number. I then rushed over to where they were.

    Somehow he’d make it all the way to the East Atlanta village, a distance of two miles. All the power was out in that neighborhood, even emergency power. I find the very nice people on the sidewalk standing over an exhausted but unharmed pooch. Apparently he had stopped to rest and they came over to him thinking he was hurt, and found my number. Why and how he made it all the way over there I have no idea. I thanked the good Samaritans profusely and went home. Drex was almost asleep by the time we got back and he’s been sleeping for most of the day.

    And that was my Friday adventure.

  • Dogs

    The circle of life

    We now have mega bright lights in the parking lot to dissuade potential car thieves. One side effect of the lights is that the wooded area is much darker since the trees shadow the lights in that direction. I was walking Drex around midnight and we walked to within 3 feet of a cat (who was in the wooded area, about to pounce on a field mouse) before Drex noticed his natural enemy.

    Needless to say, he was overjoyed and pounced. I was just barely able to pull him back in time. This scares the cat out of the way, and the field mouse escapes.

    Drex is still quite hyper two hours later.

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  • Atlanta,  Dogs

    As it should be

    Just got back from the vet to pick up Drex. He seemed very calm and good spirited and had has his nails cut (which makes me think they drugged him). All is back as it should be here in Steveland. It’s amazing how much of an empty space is created when pets aren’t there.

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  • Atlanta,  Dogs

    Solid Quality

    Dearborn Animal Hospital (no site that I know of) gets a solid thumbs up from me. I just got back from Drex’s first appointment there, and I’m very impressed. Good people, knowledgeable and kind, and surprisingly well priced.

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  • Dogs

    Any dog in a storm…

    I get back from the Luxury Kings show last night and find out that Drex has had a …. strong reaction to being alone when there’s thunder outside. It is a nice picture of the two of us together. Note the hole in the wall (about two thirds of it was already there, but still, this was a bit excessive.) There are new teeth dents in the doorknob too.

  • Dogs,  Home Stuff


    I just pulled a chicken bone out of my dog’s throat. Who doesn’t know that dogs choke on those?

    Here I am walking my dog (on a leash, as always) on my private (but physically accessible to outsiders property) and I notice my dog acting a bit funny. After a quick check his mouth seems a bit strange so I open it up, see the bone, and then have to pull it out of his freaking throat. He’s fine now but who doesn’t know that chicken bones kill dogs? And what the hell are they doing littering on private property anyway?

    No one who lives in this condo complex ever actually parks there (it’s not that convenient to any of the units) and the only person I’ve ever seen there is some woman checking a map, though I’ve seen her do that several times.