Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rex Update (2 weeks after surgery)

Rex has still been doing really well. He's walking better than he has in months, and his spirits are beginning to rise. He's finally done with all of this medication. We've started him on a new form of glucosamine, which he is taking much better than the other kind he was on. (We used to have to give it to him with turkey & peanut butter, but he eats this new stuff mixed with his food.) It's called Glyde, and it was actually sent to us in a care package from his former owner.


He had his 2-week appointment last Saturday, and though he was very nervous during the whole thing (probably afraid he was going to be operated on again!), his incision site is healing well. That means he is finally cone-free!

There has been such a huge improvement in his attitude now that it's not on. He was pretty good with the cone, but he liked it a little less every day, and would shake after I put it on him in the morning. But now he can turn around in his cage without catching his head on the bars, and he can sprawl out in all different directions. He's a lot calmer and doesn't give us those puppy eyes as much.

I can't believe he still has six weeks of recovery. He's done so well so fast.

currently listening to: Colors by The Head and the Heart

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Audiobooks I loved / plan to listen to

I've become a pretty big fan of audibooks in the past year due to being so busy with school. I found that as a student (and now as a graduate), I had little time to sit down and read. There was always something else to do. But I can listen to audiobooks as I walk to my car, wash the dishes, fold laundry, sweep the floor, make dinner, etc. It's a win-win.

The prompt for this Top Ten Tuesday is an audio freebie, so I thought I'd list some audiobooks that I loved and those I plan to listen to in the future.

Audiobooks I loved


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I listened to this one in a single day. When I ran out of things to do, I just sat at my desk listening to it because I was so hooked.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This one solidified my love for audiobooks. It was the first one that I really liked, and I proceeded to listen to the entire series and companion books afterwards. The narrator does such a great job.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I've talked about this one a lot, I know. But the language is so gorgeous that it needs to be read aloud. It reads like poetry. It wouldn't be the same if the words just sit on the page. They need to be spoken.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Honestly, I was kind of let down by this story. I didn't feel like it lived up to the hype. HOWEVER. It had three lovely British narrators and that worked really well. I love British narrators, and I think listening to the different perspectives brought another element to the story.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This one started off really rough and was hard for me to get into, but the last half was excellent. Since there are alternating narrators, it was nice to listen to their voices. You could really see the differences in their personalities come through.

Audiobooks I plan to listen to


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I know pretty much nothing about this but it came out kinda recently and the cover looks really cool.

Every Day by David Levithan
I read Boy Meets Boy back in the day and loved it, but haven't really read a David Levithan book since. I've heard countless good things about this one, though.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I've been trying so hard to get into Neil Gaiman. I read Stardust first and absolutely hated it. Then I listened to The Graveyard Book and liked it okay. So then I tried listening to American Gods because it was recommended to me and I caught it on sale. I got to about 40% before I had to give up. But I've decided to give Gaiman another chance with this one. So we'll see.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
This was kind of an impulse buy because there was a "buy one of these books and get another one free" sale on audible and this one has a pretty cover so yeah.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
And this was the other one I got for free. =)

currently listening to 
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Please tell me how you feel about audiobooks! Do you find them convienent? Do you have any awesome recommendations? Let me know. =)


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rex Update (1 week after surgery)

It's been a week since we brought Rex home from his surgery. In short, all is going well.

He had his surgery on September 9 and we brought him home the next morning. We decided to go with a TPLO repair, where part of his bone is cut and rotated to stabilize his joint. We went with this option because our goal is for Rex to be active again. We want him to be able to go to the park, run around, play, etc. The other option was better suited for smaller dogs or dogs with less mobility.

The surgery went well. He had a complete anterior cruciate liagment tear (the ACL for dogs), and he also had a bad meniscal tear.

The bone is held in with screws as the bone heals. Once it heals, the screws won't be needed. They're typically left in, though, to avoid additional surgery. But if there is an infection or something, they can be removed. And he doesn't have any exterior sutures.

When we brought him home, he was a bit loopy from all the medication. It was about a two-hour drive, but he took it really well. We bought a twin-size memory foam pad and cut it so he would have something soft to lay on. He slept most of the way.

At home, he's on strict cage rest. We got him the biggest one we could find because his cone makes it hard for him to turn around. He has to wear the cone for the first two weeks, but we take it off to let him eat/drink/go outside.

We were really nervous about how he would take the cone and cage rest because he's so touchy. We have another dog crate that is more enclosed. We got it when we adopted him and tried to get him to sleep in it the first two nights he lived with us, but he cried all night long. I tried to train him to get used to it for a few weeks, but it was clear he hated it, so we very rarely put him in a crate. (He spent a year in a shelter, so I think enclosed spaces kind of freak him out.)

He's taken the cage rest pretty well, though. He's pretty much in there all day long, minus the 3-minute trips outside. We put him in the living room so he could be around us as much as possible, and I think the openness of the new crate helps a lot. His medications helped a lot, too. He was initially on three different types, and one of them was a sedative, so that made the transition easier. He's finished with the pain medication now, but is still on an antibiotic (that I have to give to him at 6 am!).

He gets really nervous whenever he's in there by himself, though, which is why he's in my office with me right now. Luckily, we only have to leave him alone for a few hours during the work week because Deacon only has two classes a day.

But there have also been storms this week. He has always been afraid of storms, but it seems even worse now. He kind of has panic attacks. I've thought about getting him a thundershirt, but he's so touchy that I'm not sure he'd let me put it on him. (Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome!)

He's been eating and drinking well, and his incision site looks good. The swelling finally went down a few days ago, and now he's able to walk on it. And I mean like really walk on it. When he goes outside, he can hike up his left hind leg (the one that wasn't operated on) and put all his weight on the right hind leg. It's pretty amazing. He's recovered from the surgery much more quickly than we expected.


Next Saturday, he will go to a vet in town (one we've never been to before) to get the incision site looked at. If everything looks good, he'll be cone-free! He will still be on cage rest for six weeks after that, but I think he'll be much more comfortable without the cone.

He'll go back to the vet in Columbia for his 8-week checkup. If all goes well, we will most likely have them do the same surgery on his other hind leg, so this process will repeat. After seeing the progress, though, we're pretty confident that it's the right choice. We can't wait for him to be a happy, healthy pup again.

Thanks everyone for all the kindness you've shown to us. There's still a long road ahead, but it's looking pretty bright. =)

currently listening to: Local Construction by Relient K

Monday, September 5, 2016

a letter of encouragement to our Rex.


Dear Furry Puddin',

It seems we've been here before, but each time it gets a little worse and a little harder to reassure myself that you will get better again. Four months ago, you tore the ACL in your left hind leg, just after my graduation. I didn't have a job and your papa left for a summer-long internship that weekend. I spent a week alone with you in the house, curled up on a piece of memory foam on the floor. All your activities had been stripped away from you, and you were miserable. And I was miserable, seeing you that way--not just injured, but perpetually bored and afraid that you did something wrong. I slept on the floor with you for a month because I didn't want to leave you alone, especially not when the thunderstorms kept coming at night and you would wake up shaking.

But you got better. After a month of rest, you started being more mobile again. We finally could take short trips to the park. You were starting to get more confident with stairs. Deacon came home from his internship, and you felt at home again. I bought you a bigger bed and you got used to sleeping on that instead of in the bed with us. It was a slow process, but you were getting better.


Until last month. Your papa and I went out to grab dinner, and when we got back, you couldn't walk. You had been shifting your weight to your right hind leg as your left one healed, and the added strain on that leg caused you to tear another ligament. And with both hind legs injured, walking was nearly impossible, and just standing up became painful.

Rex, I have loved very few things in the way that I love you. You have bonded our family together over this past year in ways that we would have never imagined. We know that other dogs are less maintenance than you, shed less than you, are more physically able than you, and are more friendly to strangers than you. But they don't love us the way you do. They don't understand us the way you do. They don't make us happy the way you do. When we adopted you, we knew that you had had some rough patches. You  had a bite history and you had a clear limp when you walked. But even then, on that first day in the animal shelter, you were you, and there was no other dog for us. We chose you despite what logic might have said, and we have never regretted it.


I could barely eat anything the week you got hurt again. I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know if we could come back from that, and what it would mean. We drove you to the vet that weekend and I've never been more scared in my life. I didn't know what she would say, and I was afraid to know.

It wasn't a bad day, though. It was a hopeful day.


Your injury, though really sucky, is quite common, so there are a few options available. We thought your first injury would heal naturally after enough scar tissue had built up, but with two injured hind legs, you need surgery. It will mean more recovery time, but as a result, you'll eventually be back to yourself again.

That's why I carried you to the park today. You haven't been there in a month, and I know you hate pooping in our backyard. The mosquitoes are terrible and it's no fun to mark the same spot you've marked a dozen times before. You've gotten pretty good at walking now, and you've really been bitter these past few days about me carrying you down the steps to the backyard.

So I let you walk partway to the park, then carried you to the grass to let you pee on everything and kick the dirt up and gawk at runners, then carried you back to the house. Because I know that after this week, you won't be able to do very much for a very long time, especially if they operate on your other hind leg after your first surgery. I know it's a long road ahead.

But we're in this with you, Furry Puddin'. We're your humans, and we chose you. You're going to get better again, and we're staying with you every step of the way.


Sorry in advance for the cone, though.

Rex has an appointment at MU Veterinary Health Center on Thursday, September 8. His surgery will be September 9. On his eight-week checkup, we will decide on when to operate on his other hind leg. Although the procedure is simple, it is expensive. The first surgery will be $2,800. If you are able to help, we have set up a GoFundMe page. Every donation will go to  help Rex feel better again.

I would also like to thank everyone who has already donated and everyone who has sent us love and prayers. (Rex even got a care package from his former owner, which made us all weepy.) We love you all and appreciate all the loving thoughts we have received.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Wrap-Up

I realize that all of my pictures lately have been either of my bird feeder or Rex. Sorry about that?

- I got a job! I was finally hired as technical editor for graduate students at the university.  It's my first ever permanent full-time position. I feel much adult. :) I even have business cards now. And a nametag. And an office. Such wow.

- School started last Monday. And it's my first fall without taking classes since age 5. It's super weird but I'm not complaining. 

- But...I'm still teaching a class! So I took a position as an adjunct professor for this semester. It's enjoyable but it's a class I've never taught before (Intro to Technical Communication) so it's a lot of work on top of editing. But I'm certainly not bored!

- I'm plotting a new story. I have no idea if I'll be able to do NaNoWriMo this year because my schedule is so full, but a new story has taken hold of me. It's been in my head since early June, but an actual plot started to spontaneously develop overnight last week. So...we'll see. It will be my first contemporary! (It's about Youtube! and pizza! and dogs! and social awkwardness!)


- I'm trying out Grammarly. So far, I think I like it. Any other users out there?

- Why does August have 31 days? It completely breaks the pattern. Petition to give that extra day to February, then give Halloween to September and New Years Eve to November. I know that sounds drastic, but everything would make so much more sense.

- I always want to reread Harry Potter on September 1st. Here's to the Hogwarts Express and Sorting Hat!

Bed, Bath, and Beyond is life-changing. Deacon took me there for the first time earlier this month and oh. my. goodness. 

Hank Green is having a baby and if you haven't noticed I'm just a little bit excited about it.

No one should ever, ever space twice between sentences. It's an archaic practice that originated from the monospacing of typewriters. But we have word processing now so spacing twice isn't necessary. Or at least, that's what I thought up until a week ago, when I learned that the current edition of the APA style guide recommends two spaces. Now, my life is a lie.

rex report

Not the best news. Rex tore a ligament in his other back leg a few weeks ago and has to have surgery. For the first two weeks he struggled with walking and standing up. He is getting better at walking now and is on pain medicine, but he's back to no walks and no jumping. He's scheduled to see a surgeon on September 8 and his surgery will most likely be on September 9. Then we'll go back in eight weeks and he might need a second surgery on his other leg.

I'm planning to do a whole blog post on this, but in the meantime, I've set up a GoFundMe to help with the cost of his surgery.

tv shows
The Office 
(currently on season 5)

10 Cloverfield Lane (liked it)
Locke (liked it)
Spirited Away (liked it)
Good Will Hunting (rewatch - love it)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (enjoyed most of it)
Apartments by Sarah Marchant (liked it)
All the Bright Places (strongly disliked it)


currently reading: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Tell me how your August was! For recent graduates, how are you coping? How did you like Cursed Child? Did anyone else loathe AtBP? Can you believe I waited until 2016 to watch Spirited Away? Any fans of Grammarly out there? Let me know all the things!

currently listening to: Stand By Me (cover) by Florence + The Machine