Monday, March 12, 2012

Week One with Gracie

This past week with the new puppy, Gracie, has been, as most arrivals and settling in’s of new puppies, or babies, an intense period of figuring out the schedules and rhythms of the needs and wants of the new arrival. With my crate training efforts, most of which have been good, it has taken a serious paying attention and learning on my part to distinguish when Gracie is looking for that “special” place or just burning up some of her ample energy. There have been a few accidents, but I am greatly surprised at how well she has gotten the idea. My timing on taking her out, plus the follow by example thing from her watching what the big dog, Heidi, does has really greatly helped.
The first week has not been without its drama however. Gracie has fallen once, as more or less expected, into the pool. I was right there and immediately fished her wet rat self out and we dried her off with a hair dryer, and she fluffed right back up and learned to stay away from the edge of the water. After she learned to climb the steps to the back porch, once she got quite cocky about it and charged them, made a slight
miscalculation, and tumbled back down to the bottom carport floor. Embarrassed and shaken by the fall a bit, it took some time for her to retry them, but now she takes their potential danger seriously and hops up them carefully and with focus.
And so the learning curve on life on the farm continues, and it is a long curve with much  for a small puppy to learn, especially one so little, and as tenacious as she is. Having the attitude of big dog in a pint size has its inherent dangers, but also amusements. We were in a hardware store on Saturday, along with several locals, one of whom remarked that he had thought I was carrying a pet squirrel. I laughed and said that no, I was carrying my new guard dog in training. Gracie has proven her potential on this field already, by bravely barking at my daughter’s visiting black labs. ( They were safely on the other side of a glass door but the principle was made. She rules, but don’t tell the shepherd that.)
I had just posted the blog from the other day when I heard a slight cough in the small crate behind me. Heidi went over to investigate, sniffed, and laid back down. I heard no more and went about doing something else, figuring that Gracie, was sleeping once again and was fine. After a bit more time had passed I opened the door to her crate and found out just how wrong I was.
Pressed against the back of the crate wobbled a bleary eyed puppy, who only an hour or so ago had been chasing puff balls across the floor and killing them like a velociraptor. Gracie shook  uncontrollably and would not come to the door. Then I noticed that there was a very small bit of upchucked food by the side of the door, the result of the earlier cough, I surmised. Things did not look good, and my guess was based on her signs, that it was a blood sugar issue. It looked like there was a big crash coming.
I grabbed her on out of the crate and went to the pantry to get some Karo syrup to give her a boost of sugar to get the system back up, then got the vet clinic on the phone and said I was coming in with her. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the clinic where they were ready for me with a heating pad on the exam table and a crew ready to get to work on her.

After drawing blood from her neck which held the only vein large enough to get any from,  my vet sat the pup on the floor and several of his assistants came in to watch and see the puppy. Gracie wobbled and swayed, occasionally taking a step if startled by something, but was otherwise zoned out. I had a real sinking feeling coming on in a “please not again” way. We watched her and waited for the results of the blood work.     
The Karo syrup had done some good by now and her eyes were a bit brighter, but it also messed up the diagnostics of whether she actually was a bit hypoglycemic or not, and the blood work showed her levels to be within the normal ranges. Various other tests were performed and all results said normal, but this was still a very sick puppy. My  vet said she had a case of ANDR, acronym for Animal Not Doing Right. We laughed as only you can do when faced with being basically helpless to diagnose the whys and what for’s of anything, and not to be able to act on it. The only thing for certain was that Gracie was not going to be able tell us why she upchucked and felt so bad. 
Having had a Yorkie before, and having lived through learning how to deal with Jack’s hypoglycemia and diabetes, I had seen the swings of blood sugar levels and how quickly it could affect them, but I was shocked at how quickly this one had come on. One minute I am playing fetch with a rough and tumble little puppy as normal as can be, and the next I am hoping to catch her before the seizures come, and possible death. Winston said, in his older, experienced vet voice, that “bigger dogs get sick, but the little ones just crash.”
He gave her a painful stinging shot to help combat the vomiting, and I was told to go get some Pedialyte, (baby electrolytes), to keep her hydrated, keep her warm, limit activity, no food, and give her some Karo before bed. With this prescription  we headed home. Once home, she slept covered up in her little bed, quietly snoozing. Periodically I tried to get some liquid down her tiny throat, with varied success, but mostly let her rest. 
I kept watch through the evening and at about nine pm, when I heated up a leftover pizza for us to eat, the little runt came back to life and then some, and by golly wanted some pizza too. She was suddenly ravenous and despite my vet’s words on not feeding her, she was not going to take no on this issue and let any one sleep. So I gave her a teaspoon of some canned food he had sent me home with, and she devoured it and was satisfied. The food did not reappear and she seemed to feel oh so much better. So did we.
I have no idea what caused the crash but my guess is that she ate something that made her sick, which caused the blood sugar swing. So now I have added watching what she is chewing on to my vigilance list and, on to my own learning curve. 
Today, the outside yard is filled with curious, new noises and men with machines to clean the house. These intruders into the relative quiet of the farm, I know will cause me no problems, because I know that my Yorkie is en guard and at my defense,  and what a relief that is. That's not to mention my shepherd who has recently been sporting a pink Yorkie bow she borrowed, as her backup.
All in all, the efforts of bringing a new puppy to the farm have been rewarded by smiles from all who get to watch the unbridled flurry of the energy of a puppy at  play. Afternoon playtime by the front porch is the closing of the day as we sit and marvel at this tiny bundle of energy in motion. This is followed by dinner "bites", sweet puppy licks and nibbles on fingers, then quiet and gentle sleep. The cycle of sleep, eat, play, and potty roll in a continual pattern for now, and hopefully without too much more drama for a while. And so closes week one with Gracie.


  1. Gracie is so darling! Sorry to hear about your scary experience with her! I haven't ever owned a Yorkie. Are they prone to hypoglycemia? Is it only from certain breeders, or is the breed pre-disposed to it? I would have never known what to do in that situation except get her straight to the vet! Happy she is doing well again!

    1. i think small er breeds are more prone but when they are small their livers are not large enough to hold enough energy for long periods of time.. think hummingbird metabolisms. i also had another terrier who developed diabetes so i learned how to deal with blood sugar issues with him. but she is doing great.. thanks