Thursday, December 30, 2010

Riley Recovering at the University of Minnesota

Well, it turns out Riley had a herniated disc in his neck .  The bulging disc was pressing on his spinal cord which caused partial paralysis in his limbs, especially his hind legs.  The fantastic surgeons at the University of Minnesota were able to remove the disc material that was causing all of his problems, and now he is recovering there and is doing very well.  It will take some time for the function to return to his hind legs, but he is able to move all four legs and has good sensation in them as well.  We're not sure when he can come home yet, but his vet, Heidi,  is wonderful and we completely adore her.  We feel comfortable he is in good, safe, caring hands with her.  He is charming everyone he comes into contact with.  He is such a doll.  Heidi herself stated, "He has pretty much stolen my heart", to which I responded, "I'm not surprised in the least!"  We are so lucky and relieved things have gone as well as they have.  Too many times we have been on the sad end of things as far as our beloved animals are concerned.  So it is a blessing that Riley's ok and getting steadily better.  Thank you god, and thank you everyone that prayed for Riley and for us.  Hug your pets tonight.  They open up the world to us.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Sweet Sweet Boy

Riley has now been with us for nine-plus years.  He has been a constant friend and companion, a true love of my life.  But now he is sick and the docs don't know what is wrong with him.  He has been falling down and yesterday his back legs just stopped working.  I took him to the University of Minnesota to get the best possible care he can get.  I pray to God that they can help him.  He has so much life in him.  This morning he wanted to get up and play ball like he has always loved to do, but his body just wouldn't behave.  Riley is just the sweetest, most gentle big guy that I have ever had the privilege to know.  You'll be okay buddy.  You will.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Our beloved Roan.  Two-years-old, smart as a whip, and always up for a game of fetch.  In fact, she would rather do this more than anything, as any labrador worth their salt would.  You can't see her big brother Riley in this picture because she has left him in the dust, or to be more factual, in the snow, perhaps even stuck in a snow drift.  Riley used to be the star player in this backyard, spinning in the air with actual "hang time" to catch a fly ball.  But he is nine now and has earned his time to play second fiddle.  Although if he had it his way, he would show Roan how it's properly done.  Despite their friendly competition, they are best buddies.  They sleep on each other, wrestle on the bed and just happily keep each other quiet company.  Roan has become a gift to us as Riley has been all these years.  

Riley is so tired from playing with Roan, he is fading into the bed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

We Can Survive a Blizzard but Not Our Clumsy Selves...

Despite the 17.2 inches of snow and the 30-degree-below windchill, it was not the weather that takes us down.  It is our own ridiculous spastic selves.  So I was cozy in bed last night, warm dogs strewn around me soundly asleep.  Trouble was, my blanket was trapped under these warm heavy dogs.  I had little more than a flimsy sheet to pull up around me.  So I took hold of the blanket and began tugging.  I was making no progress, half asleep and being defeated with the weight of a hefty black lab.  I grabbed that blanket and pulled as hard as I could.  A split second later, my right hand slipped it's grip and came careening back into my right eye, knuckle first.  When people say, "I saw stars", I know exactly what they mean.  I thought I'd wake up to a black eye.  It's not black, but swollen and bright red.  If you can imagine, I look really pretty.  

Fast forward to this morning.  I laid in bed resting until the sun fully lit up the bedroom.  No need to rush out of bed.  Most everything was still closed.  We were all still holing up in our respective igloos.  I heard JA in the bathroom, then softly padding down the stairs.  A second later I heard what sounded like someone threw a sack of potatoes down the stairs.  JA had tripped in the dark on one of Roan's many stuffed animal toys and had fallen down the stairs to the landing where I found her in a heap.  She's okay, twisted her foot and skinned her knee.  Poor thing.  I hated to find her like that.  

Now we can laugh about these things.  We are both okay.  Banged up, but okay.  It's funny how we can survive like pioneers in this sometimes godforsaken climate, and then get nearly taken down by our own stupid selves.  Maybe we'd have been better off stuck in a snow drift somewhere.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Red Night

We have had a crap load of snow here in Minneapolis.  According to the news, 17.2 inches.  It's really a lovely snow, the definition of powder.  Doesn't necessarily feel like powder after shoveling it for three hours.  The shoveling was complicated with the exponentially decreasing amount of places to put the snow.  Shoveling and hefting snow is one thing.  Shoveling and having to walk 6 feet or so and then having to heft the snow over an 8-foot-fence is another.  It's still early enough in the season that I'm almost happy to do some shoveling, "some" being the operative word.  I'm still relishing in that superior-than-though feeling I'm having towards the big neighborhood guys blowing their snow with man-tools.  Will I be feeling this way in March?  I doubt it.  I may not even be feeling this way come tomorrow afternoon.  But tonight I am satisfied with my Norse-heritage appreciation for braving through harsh conditions that would reduce the faint-hearted and the southerners to tears.  Yes, I am feeling superior to many. I am made of lutefisk, lefse, and goose down.  Tomorrow the wind chill is supposed to get down to -30.  Am I daunted?  Hardly.  We may just have a weiner roast to celebrate.  We are Minnesotans.  And we are mighty.

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