First, before we get to the subject of this post — just a quick update to let you know that Cammie is doing great. She has completely recovered from her surgery to remove the shotgun pellets and the bullet. I had hoped to report what her new blood lead levels were following the start of her lead chelation therapy and then the surgery, but as luck would have it, Cammie’s blood sample was making its way across country to the lab just as the Arctic blast hit the midwest a couple of weeks ago. The courier service was disrupted en route, and by the time the sample eventually arrived at the lab, it had spoiled. So I took Cammie back to BEVS this week for another round of tests, and hopefully by this time next week we’ll have her current lead levels.
But she has finally started gaining weight and is now at 50 pounds … up from the bone-thin 40 pounds when she arrived back in December. We had not managed to get much weight on her until she began the lead chelation therapy, and then she began gaining rapidly. (Lead toxicity can cause gastrointestinal issues, weight loss, etc.) So I’m pretty confident we’ll see quite a drop in her lead levels.
Now for the big boy in the photo. That’s our 130-pound Maremma, Aaron, who guards the poultry on pasture in the spring, summer and fall. He’s outdoors all day, then spends the night in the house with us. His favorite season is winter … and the colder, the better. Really. He just loves being outdoors when it is even sub-zero, and prefers snoozing on the snow and ice on the deck and in the dog yard on winter days. There are many times when we have to insist he come inside when we think he’s been out too long for his own good.
Aaron has a coat like sheep’s wool … in fact, the undercoat IS like wool. So much so that when we shave him down in the summer because of the heat, we actually have to use a professional electric sheep shearer to cut through his coat. Ordinary clippers just can’t get through it. By the time we finish shearing him, there is this huge mound of white fluff on the floor and we’re looking at a much shrunken dog. We joke that he’s actually just 30 pounds of dog wearing 100 pounds of fur.
As I write this, it’s 22° (-5.5° C) outside with a biting wind from the northeast … and I can see him curled up on the snow bank on the deck from my office. He can come inside any time he wants, but that’s where he prefers to be. Every other dog is like, “Are you kidding me? You want me to go outside in this weather and pee?”
In that photo, he’s on the berm we created when shoveling out the ramp to the dog yard. The dark stuff under the snow in the foreground is wood ash we spread for traction when it gets really icy.
Maremmas are an Italian livestock guardian breed, but all the Maremmas we’ve had over the years seem happiest in our cold northern winters!
Finally … back to Cammie … here’s a bonus photo of our blind-and-deaf Pug Stella sitting on Cammie again:
Whenever Stella starts to do this, Cammie will give a low, gentle growl … which of course Stella can’t hear … so she proceeds to sit down anyway … and Cammie relents and lets her do it.
Leila King says
Stella, you are such a funny little girl! So glad to hear the good news about Cammie. Believing for continued progress for that sweet girl!
Renata Spiess says
I tend to impose my feelings of how it should be onto my pets. You have the foresight to consider what is making him not you happy. I still would find it hard to sit in a warm house when the dog (his choice) us outside. Your posts are the best thing on the internet. We need the love and care that you give the pets to remind us that there are still such good and caring people in this crazy world. Thank you for all you do.
Tonya Allen says
Cammie has such a pretty coat! So glad to hear she is doing so well. Too bad about the blood sample, I had no idea such things could happen. Hopefully the numbers will be even more strikingly improved after this delay.
Aaron does look a lot like a polar bear in this photo. My dogs seem to dislike the snow more with each passing year. For about two weeks recently we had ice on top of the snow, and it was just a special kind of torment for them. Oh, the sad, pathetic looks they gave me while they crunched around the yard, wondering why I had hidden all the nice grass….
While Aaron is enjoying the deep freeze, I imagine that everyone else is snuggled up by the woodstove. Stay safe and warm!
Barb Ribinski says
What a great post! I just love Aaron and was happy to see him featured. He’s the kind of dog you just want to hug! We don’t get to see and read enough about him and a lot of the others. Then the good news about Cammie. It’s terrific that she’s doing better. Will be waiting to hear about her test results. And of course, Stella!! What IS that about? I’ve never seen anything like it and it makes me laugh out loud. And that cute little face of hers – oh my goodness. Do you guys have any guesses as to why she does that? She has to know she is literally sitting on the other dogs. I’m guessing she hasn’t had another one of those odd episodes like she had back when she first got there. That’s a good thing. You should get a photos of her each time she sit on a different dog then gather them up for one of your posts.