Tag Archives: dog

Today we said goodbye

Today we said goodbye to one of our beloved patients. As a licensed veterinary technician who works in an oncology (cancer) department, I often hear the Oncologist quote things like “with [his type of cancer] the median survival rate without treatment is 3 months and with treatment: 12-18 months.” “T”, as I will call him to give his family the privacy and respect they deserve, outlived those statistics living to a staggering 31 months after his diagnosis! 

T was one of those dogs that everyone was scared of when he first came in, a breed that tends to be “not-so-nice” in the veterinary world, but I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight for me! His mom, tough as nails (just like me), his dad, a big teddy bear kinda guy who laughed despite wanting to cry. I met T right after his diagnosis, a scary time for his owners with a lot of unknowns. They were scared he might bite me when we met and insisted he wore a muzzle every time! Over time though, I showed them that their boy trusted me and that I understood him. In the last two years, we rarely ever muzzled him. 

He was one of those dogs that announced he was in the building, the kind of dog that would bark and bark until you gave him attention or treats! I fell in love with T and his family as each week/month/year passed. T truly has a special place in my heart. 

I’ve written about euthanasia before, and how hard it is for the veterinary technician to deal with the loss of someone else’s pet (so I’ll save the repeat post for another time). But, today that loss is as real as ever – it’s hard not to connect with animals especially when you see them so often and for so long. 

Today, as I saw those eyes, they were not the same as they have been in the past. His pain showed, his lungs struggling for air, my heart broken for him, for his family… I thought about all of the great times I had with T. All of the times I snuck away to hug him and give him extra treats, All the times I laughed with his mom about his quirks. Today, after we said goodbye, I cried, I sobbed, I even hugged multiple people (which is a clear indicator of how sad I was because of you know me, you know hugging just isn’t my thang).

T is sure to be one of the pets who leaves a stamp on my heart forever, one that I will likely shed tears for over and over again.

Tonight, I hope you hug your pets a little tighter… I know I will…. 

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Spending the day with my pups & new diet plans

Today has been a pretty standard day – woke up, walked the dogs, watered the Christmas tree 🎄, and ate breakfast. Breakfast wasn’t too standard though … I’m trying someone “new”!!


Breakfast today was 1/2 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup shaved Brussels sprouts, 2tbsp shredded taco cheese, 1/2 grapefruit, and a packet of stevia in the raw. This “new” plan I’m trying seems so obvious – focusing on eating mostly plant based foods, some lean protein, and limiting high carbohydrate processed foods – but as someone who has been trying to recover from binge eating disorder it’s taken a lot for me to get to basics rather than trying to yo yo my way  back to a healthy weight. 

As I mentioned, the basic principle to this plan – which is “the skinny” but I won’t call it that because of the implication of that word – is to eat whatever you want, BUT you must have a serving or two of vegetables before. The idea is that you fill up on veggies, then lean protein and by the time you get to the carbs you may take a bite or two but you’re too full to finish. As you can imagine this is a bit more complicated than that and that’s why there’s a book about it – but I guess the point here is that I tend to make nutrition so much more complicated than it has to be.  

The book describes different options and gives a very clear discription of how to eat  – and surprisingly it is a lot of volume. What really got me what just that – the volume! I’m what you’d call a volume eater – I’ve never done well with diets or nutrition plans that are super restrictive. What has drawn me to this book is the simplicity – and the statement that you can literally eat as many vegetables as you want – fill up on veggies, then lean protein – snack on veggies all day – you can never eat enough veggies. 

Now, the drawback for me is that I am not a huge fan of veggies, but I’m open to learning how to cook with different vegetables and maybe I can learn to like something other than green beans and Brussels sprouts! 

As you can imagine the plan is pretty low-carb for the first phase – but if you ask me, I feel that if you listen to your body you can play around with the carbs. What I like about it is there’s no need to count – eat as many veggies as you’d like – you can probably eat an entire cup or two of veggies and be full and only accumulate 30-50 calories where the same cup or two of cake would be 300-500 calories (or more) and you’d be hungry right away.

As I get further into eating more veggies I’ll try and post some recipes, if you have a favorite recipe please share below!! 

On another note I’ve made it a priority to spend time with the fur kids  …

Played tug of war with charlie and even got Louie to play a bit with the laser pointer (Louie doesn’t usually play with me much).

Miley has never been a big fan of playing with others, so she’s just been hanging out by my side as I’ve enjoyed some play time with the boys.  


The rest of today is pretty much going to be full of relaxing and enjoying my last day off before the week starts – it’s really freeing to know I can begin a healthier eating style without a whole lot of stress – recovery isn’t easy but it’s much easier when there’s less emphasis on what you can and can’t have and more emphasis on eating more healthfully!

What are your plans to get back on track after the holidays? Why wait?

What are your favorite vegetables? Share your recipes!

 Do you struggle with an eating disorder? Have you had trouble staying true to a healthful diet plan due to your history? My dogs help keep me calm – what do you do to take the pressure off of yourself?

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24 Day Challenge: Day 18/19 & Pup update!

Day 18 started as a pretty standard day.. with less than 7 days left of the challenge, I’m feeling pretty good! I skipped the gym because I really wasn’t feeling well, my throat hurt and I just needed a day, but overall my meals went good. I found myself slipping a bit around mid day when I found myself in the break room at the vending machine followed by snacking for no good reason. A huge difference between me and a regular person, is my disordered eating sneaks it’s ways in regardless of how good I’m doing. What I’m learning is how to handle those moments. So instead of thinking “I ruined it, I can’t do it, I might as well quit while I’m ahead” I said “it happens, brush it off, no journey is a straight line” and continued the remainder of my day. Although I recognized this, I also have to remember that I can’t just eat whatever and then let it go and accept it for what it is every time because then I wouldn’t make any progress – it can happen once in awhile not everyday!

When I got home from work my dog was acting funny, she wasn’t walking, and she was crying out. I brushed it off for a few but then she started scooting on the floor and crying so I checked under her tail and she had an anal gland abscess which hadn’t ruptured yet. I was not happy, I felt bad, but we just spent so much money on Charlie all I could think about was how this was very convenient that now Miley has an issue. I packed her up and we headed into the animal hospital.

 I’m lucky I work at a specialty clinic because the doctors are great! Luckily they weren’t too busy so I was able to get her in quick!  Poor girl has an ecollar and she’s obviously unhappy… Poor mama

but I gave her a bow to make her feel better… Not sure it worked!!

Anyway, Day 19 has been better. Miley seems to be feeling a bit better, Charlie’s almost all healed from his surgery almost two weeks ago, and I didn’t do too bad with food. For lunch I had a sandwich which wasn’t the best choice but I dissected it and made sure it wasn’t full of cheese and extras! I also had a weird “craving” for eggs today. Kind of random but I really wanted eggs on whole wheat toast – no cheese, no nothing – just eggs- preferably a little runny, on whole wheat toast…. (PS I didn’t have the crave check sr tabs today)

For dinner we went to Elevation burger which I really like because it’s organic grass fed beef in a lettuce wrap with tomatoes and onions – yum! 

Tomorrow I start my On Ramp classes for crossfit! I’m excited! I’m not sure what to expect but I’m hoping that crossfit can bring me to a whole new level of fitness!

Have you ever had two sick dogs at the same time?

Have you ever done crossfit? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?

How do you handle cravings and/or when you find yourself in a sticky food situation?

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Dealing with euthanasia: a vet tech perspective 

I recently read a blog by a veterinary technician about how vet techs cry even though you may not see it. At the time I thought “wow this is so true” but today it hits home more than ever (I can’t find the link but once I do I will link to the post). 

Sometimes as a vet tech we have to deal with owners making the hard decision to euthanize their pet, sometimes we have to witness the owner unable to make that decision and therefore the pet essentially suffers until they make the decision for them. As an oncology technician I feel like we may deal with these decisions more often than we’d like to – not because chemo “doesn’t work” but because our patients don’t typically live for 5-10 years after treatment (don’t be mistaken, I’ve seen some beat some pretty grim odds). Typically our patients live anywhere between 3 months and 3 years after we see them, many come to see us for quite a long time and weekly to biweekly – so as you can imaging we become attached to our patients, and their parents. 

I personally feel like I get attached to some parents more than others, mostly because they come the same day at the same time so I tend to do their appointment. These last few weeks have been trying. First we lost one of our most favorite patients, he had lymphoma and wasn’t responding to treatment, his owners ultimately decided that they no longer wanted him to suffer and decided to let him go. I think of him often, and wonder if his sister (who always came in with him as a support buddy) is doing well as an only pup. I miss his mom and dad, they were dedicated and loved him very much but were also becoming like family – since we saw them so much. 

Then we lost one two many of our other patients – some from sudden deaths others from euthanasia. 

Last night one of our long term patients came in through the emergency service – when I saw him this morning my eyes welled up because he just wasn’t the same happy pup I have grown to know and love. He was just in the other day, bobbing along, wagging his tail. He’s always been so happy and today he just was not that way.  

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in the best of moods this morning, and selfishly stayed away from him as to not bring down my mood more. Before I left though, I made sure to say goodnight, and hug dad – the worst part of my job is when I see their parents crying. 

I consider myself a very strong person, I rarely cry in front of people, but what most people don’t realize is when I get in my car on my way home, I cry. I cry all the way home – I cry for my patient, I cry for their family, I cry for my team, I cry for myself. 

This is not an easy job – it’s not easy to love someone else’s pet like they are your own and not be able to make any life decisions for them – when a pet parent can’t bring themselves to end their suffering sometimes I wish I could make the decision for them – because it breaks my heart to see their baby (my baby) suffer – it breaks my heart to see them (as the owner) suffer. 

The next time you go to the vet, please remember that the people who are caring for your animals love them, and in time will grow to love you as well. Remember that we, as veterinary professionals may not cry with you, we must be strong – but boy do we cry… Even the strongest. 

Tonight I will pray for my friends dad, I will pray for him and pray that his suffering ends soon. For now, the kiss I gave him before I left work will be a “see you later” as I don’t like goodbyes.

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Protect your pet from the winter weather!

As the cold weather approaches, many pet owners don’t know how to protect their loved ones from the cold!
Here’s a few things to remember as the snow starts to fall:

Bundle up!

If your dog doesn’t have a plush fur coat make sure to bundle him/her up when the temperature drops! Be extra careful to ensure that your male pooch doesn’t urinate on the belly strap because this can exacerbate frostbite!


Be sure to use pet friendly “salt” for ice, and if you’re not sure what your neighbors are using or your apartment complex uses regular salt, make sure to either have your pup wear booties or wipe their feet before coming inside! The salt can cause mild skin irritation and if ingested, can cause some gastrointestinal issues (think vomiting/diarrhea). I know my pups hate the salt, and seem to really be affected by the salt if it gets stuck between their toes, so make sure to pay close attention to where your pups are walking and clean their feet if you have no choice but to walk on the salt!

Check your car!

Although it’s advised to keep your cat indoors during the winter (if not all year round) there are some who still let their cat outside. Strays and outdoor cats look for warmth and what better place but under the hood of your car? Make sure to bang on your hood BEFORE you turn on your car, especially if you see paw prints on your hood!

Frost bite bites!

A short walk outside is probably not going to cause a problem, but if you take your dog out for prolonged periods of time they can develop problems that can result in frost bite (or worse).
Their ears, prepuce, vulva, tail, and toes are especially susceptible to cold so keep an eye out for the following signs:
– Redness
– Coolness to touch
– Swelling
– Eventual sloughing of the tissue (necrosis or death of the tissue will cause it to essentially fall off – think about what happens to people who climb Mount Everest frost bite leads to loss of tissue).

If you do notice any signs of frost or frostbite, make sure to bring your pet into a sheltered, warm area immediately. DO NOT actively heat any area, it’s important that the areas of your pet that are essentially frozen be re-warmed slowly to prevent further injury. It is also important not to rewarm the area until it can be kept warm. If you warm the area and then have to re-expose the area to the cold air, you can cause more damage. If you have no warm water nearby breathe on the area through cupped hands being careful not to touch the area too much. You can also use your body heat to slowly warm the area.

It’s important in all of these cases to seek veterinarian advice to make sure pain medication, salves, or antibiotics aren’t necessary.

Keep your pets safe and warm this winter!!!

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