Sunday, June 8, 2014

Agent Jake of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Look what I got! Mom got them in the mail, it's badges made like the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on TV and movies! Mom made one for all of us... it was after Zoya passed away so we didn't get her one, but it's okay.

Mom said that the height options were too big for me and Atom, so she just did the smallest size for Atom and then a few inches bigger for me. And there wasn't an option for "Tri-Color" under hair color so Mom just picked "other".

Caninsulin Adventures Begin: Dealing with Canine Diabetes

The weather got really warm really fast! I want to go for more walks but I've been feeling yucky. After losing my sister, Zoya, Mom and I did a few walks but I started feeling sick. I was getting clumsy, like falling and stuff. I lost weight too, so I was excited at first...

These are from one walk after Zoya passed away...

I found a bird nest!
It was empty though...

But then I started having... accidents...
A lot of them... like, I'd move and just tinkle.... or I'd try to hold it and I couldn't....

At the vet's clinic for a little lab work...
I don't like needles so I couldn't watch... "Tell me when it's over!"
Atom, my little brother, came for support... he watched.
Needles don't bother him when they're sticking in someone else...
Mom noticed how thirsty I was all the time too and she brought me to see the doctor. At first he was afraid it would be something called renal failure, but when my lab work came back he called and told Mom I have diabetes.

I weighed about 18.2 kg which is just around 40 pounds. Last year I was 55 pounds... about 24.5 kg. I thought I was doing well, losing all that weight, but it turns out that a lot of it was a thing called muscle atrophy.... Mom says it's when the body eats muscle because it isn't getting what it needs from food. In my case, I was eating but I wasn't able to use the glucose I'd get from the food so over time my body started attacking itself to survive and I lost weight from that.

It's scary to have something that you didn't have before and now it'll be with you for the rest of your life. I didn't know what to expect, and I don't really understand what's going on.

The doctor said it hasn't been going on very long, it's just good that Mom and Dad saw symptoms to bring me in to the vet clinic. If it went on longer I could have been really sick. I don't feel great now, but I'm starting to get better.
Caninsulin... the insulin Mom has to give me every morning and night.
Right now we use these needles, but Mom is going to get a thing called VetPen so Dad can help too.
I'm practicing making this face a lot. Whenever I do, Mom snuggles me and gives me kisses.
It's only been a few days, but I've been trying to be good about taking the injections every day. I have to have a bigger dose in the morning, after I eat, and then a half-dose at night, also after I eat. The thing is, I'm not always hungry when I need to be to stay on that schedule -- Mom's been trying to help. She mixes enough food with some canned food so I eat enough before getting my injections, then leaves the regular dry food for me to pick at during the day if I want.

I like to sneak Atom's food sometimes. It's tiny, like little candies! But the doctor said I can't do that and Mom and Dad have to be extra careful about it. I also have to change to a different food. It's one with a prescription. Luckily, I can stick with Vet-Concept... Oh! Did I mention that? I was using the Hill's Metabolic Diet, but then I stopped enjoying it and Mom decided to switch to Vet-Concept like Atom gets. I was eating a Care Pack food from them, for older dogs... but now I'll start to switch to the prescription food for diabetic dogs. I hope it tastes good!

 Vet Concept Care Plan

 Vet Concept Low Carb

Mom can also get the low-fat canned foods to add to my morning and evening dishes, so I eat enough when it's time for injections.

Life changes are tough! 

They're tougher when you just want to make a change but have no real consequences for making or not making the changes... in this case, I have no choice but to change things in my life or I'll get more sick and probably die. I'm just not ready to go yet, so... change it is!

Jake's Diet Updates for 2014 - Dealing with a Loss

I haven't posted in a while. The winter was yucky for exercising. It was very cold in the mornings, and the ice on the sidewalks made it slippery, which hurt my hips and knees too much to walk a lot.  But we didn't get much snow, so it was just cold.

Then it got warmer during the days, 60 degrees or higher! Great for walking in the morning... but something happened....

Dealing with a Loss in the Family Pack

My Mom and Dad went on a short trip in April. Zoya, Atom, and I stayed in a dog hotel. It wasn't a bad hotel, we had our own room to share, and it was big. With a chair and beds and blankets to snuggle on, fresh air, walks every day, plus time to play in a fenced yard -- we got to play with the small dogs, no big scary ones to make me nervous. It wasn't a long stay, only about a week, and everything seemed fine. But the last night we were there, we all went to sleep but Zoya never woke up.

Mom and Dad were very sad. Zoya was my big sister for about 10 years... she was only about 12-years-old, or so we thought... but Mom says that sometimes animal shelters estimate ages as young as possible, to give dogs the best chance for adoption. They told us Zoya was about 2-years-old... and that was in 2004. In reality, she could have been older. She never got white hair like me and Atom have... she always looked like a puppy... Mom joked that Zoya "moisturizes so she stays young"... I don't get that... must be a person thing.

Adjusting After a Loss

Anyway, so now it's just Mom and Dad, me and Atom. Our Pack feels a little small... Dad always said "no more" but after Zoya passed away Dad said "Okay, probably more... but probably not until we move back to the States." I don't know when that is... Mom said it depends on work and school situations for her and Dad, so I guess we'll see.

It's an adjustment when a Pack gets smaller... everything is quieter. Zoya was always the loudest at barking... and she was always afraid of stuff, but I miss that. For the first month, Atom kept sleeping on her bed in the bedroom every night. I wanted to sleep there too so sometimes we shared. He misses Zoya too, even though he's younger so he only knew Zoya as a big sister for 6 years. It's still all he ever knew, so he's been sad.

Getting Better After a Loss

I think things are getting better now... we're still sad. Mom is still sad sometimes, but she puts on a strong face for us so we know everything is okay.

Everything will be okay... As long as Mom and Dad are around, I know everything will always be okay.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Starting a New Week

So this past week, a LOT happened!

On Tuesday Mom had a test so we decided to try something different. Atom, Zoya, and I went with a nice lady that let us play all day with some other dogs! Usually, I don't like being around other dogs... just my family... but I think it's okay when I go to see that lady. Mom says I always behave when she's not around, but I'm not so sure.

I also got mail last week. First, my scale came! Dad was surprised the box was so big but he said it wasn't heavy. Mom set the scale up and let me try it, but I wasn't sure if I should stand or sit, so I sat... standing is a lot of work. But the thing is... I'm a little round. And When I sat down on the scale I slipped right over the edge! So Zoya tried it out first...

Mom said she will get the sticky things that make the bathtub safer so you don't slip, and she will put them on my scale so I have some traction.

On Friday, Dad came home at lunchtime and brought me a big box that had my food. FINALLY! It was shipped on 21 August and didn't arrive for over 4 weeks! But Mom said that's ridiculous because she ordered jeans online last week and they arrived in a week. I guess the mail is slow for some things...

Anyway, Dad already ordered my food through the vet here on the base, so I can now start transitioning from the other food to the new food and keep going with it. I tried it out for the first time Saturday (yesterday). Zoya and Atom tried it out too. Atom struggled a little but he always struggles because he's tiny. He gets his own small food anyway so it's not like he'll starve. He acts like it sometimes though!

I loved the food! I tastes good and it's crunchy... not too big but big enough to get some good chewing in. When you have to chew the food, it's more satisfying. When was the last time someone said "Oh, I'm so full from this Jello!" lol

So I started yesterday with the food but since Sunday is the start of a new week, let's call today the new Day #1 :-)

I'll share some more soon, about my walks, my adventure (or misadventure) at a local farmer's market, and my official weight and measurements which Mom said she will take today.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Visiting the Vet and Weightloss Update

After my walk yesterday, Dad took me to the vet on the base. This was my first trip to the vet here. When we first got here, Dad just had to bring them paperwork; no visit required.

Anyway, Mom learned that she can order the Hill's Metabolic Diet Dog Food through the vet, since it's a prescription dog food and they checked to see that they could actually get it. Since it was on the list for their distributors, they just needed to see me in order to give me the new prescription for the food.

So yesterday, I went for a walk with Mom then Dad took me to the vet before he went to work. It was cool going in the car with just me and Dad... usually it's not just me.

At the appointment I had a check-up and they weighed me....

I am down to 44.6 pounds!

Mom was so happy because she was sure I was over 52-55 pounds a month ago. Comparing my weight to a fully-loaded BowFlex SelectTech Weight which holds 55.2 lbs. I was definitely heavier a month ago. So this is GREAT NEWS!

Dad placed an order for my food, getting me the BIG bag. The one Mom ordered in late August still hasn't arrived yet, but I'd like to think it'll arrive any day now. That one's only the medium-sized bag though, so it won't last long. Probably just long enough to transition use from the food we're eating now to the Hill's Metabolic Diet completely.

I'm still waiting on my scale too.... but I'm glad to know my weight is going down and I'm pleased with my progress so far.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Jake's Diet: Progress and Disappointments

So far, I've been able to go for a walk most days over the past few weeks. I'm carrying my Outward Hound Backpack with every walk, though I do not always carry stuff in it. Mom makes a decision based on how I'm walking if I can carry stuff or not. She insists that the backpack alone is enough to make me feel like I'm "doing something."

I do feel better, though. I don't think I've lost much weight yet but I am feeling better.

It has rained a lot the past week in Germany and so Mom walked me one morning in the rain but if it's raining too heavy we don't go. It's not worth getting sick, especially since it's cold now.

Diet Expectations

I don't expect to be a stud.... ever.  I was a good looking Beagle when I was a puppy and a younger dog but let's face it... I'm "fixed"... No one's looking at me for "breeding stock" so I don't think I'll ever get that "stud appeal" no matter how much I exercise and diet.
Mom estimated my starting weight at about 55 lbs. I was 45 lbs about a year ago in Virginia, but Mom had surgery again and with the move and spending almost two months in a hotel.... Mom thinks that I was about 55 lbs. because I was about as heavy as one fully-loaded BowFlex SelectTech Weight... give or take. 

That's HEAVY for a Beagle! No wonder my legs and knees and hips have been bothering me so much! And my back too... ugh....


I need realistic expectations so if I aim to lose 10% of my starting body weight, at my next weigh-in I should expect about 5 to 5.5 lbs lost. 

Which brings me to my disappointments...

Diet Disappointments

Mom ordered my Dog Scale and it was shipped 21 August.... it's now 13 September. Apparently, it was shipped "parcel post" which is not what we though. We had ordered from the company before and they shipped Priority Mail, as we selected. This time, though... it's like they don't ship the scales Priority Mail so it was shipped parcel post and it'll take a long time to get here to our APO address. It's been like three weeks though, so hopefully in the next 1-2 weeks it'll arrive. Until my scale gets here I can't really check my weight so that stinks...

UPSIDE: I have a vet appointment on Monday to get checked out and make sure everything is healthy. They will weigh me then so I'll know on Monday what my weight is at the moment.... Maybe that's not an "upside" lol

Mom ordered the Hill's Metabolic Diet Dog Food on the same day as the scale. It was also shipped, and we specifically say that they ship Priority Mail. Other people here have said they use the same website to order their dog foods without issue. Yet my order is still not here yet. That is a real disappointment because the Metabolic Diet Dog Food is what I'm counting on -- the research Hill's (makers of Science Diet) have done show that the Metabolic Diet Dog Food results in an average 28% fat loss in the first two months of use. Do you have any idea how much that would change my life?! 

But it's not here yet... so I can't use it... I've just been trying to avoid overeating with my current food, but it's a good food still.
Hill's Metabolic Diet Dog Food
Research suggests it will help me lose an average of 28% of bodyfat in the first 2 months of using it.
I can't wait! But it's so hard to get things "conveniently" when overseas... but that's "part and parcel" of having a Dad in the Service.
UPSIDE: At the vet appointment on Monday, I will be able to order the Hill's Metabolic Diet Dog Food once the vet checks that I'm healthy. I couldn't order through them because I need a prescription for the diet food and I had not been seen by the new vets yet. Mom had called Banfield where I used to go, and my old vet gave me a prescription for the food so I could order online. This will be cheaper too, once I see the vet here.... then no $25 in shipping fees! 

Diet Updates

So where it stands today, I have done 30-60 minute walks most days, at least 4 or 5 days a week, and a couple of long 60-90 minute walks too.

I wait outside because the bakery an cafe and grocery stores don't allow dogs inside, but most other places allow me to go in.

All the towns and cities here have flags showing the name at different places throughout... 

Lately I've been seeing kids going to school while I'm on my walk. They think I'm cool with my backpack :-) 

A "No Pooh" area...
I have needed my pain medicine only once in the last month... and Mom only gave it to me because she didn't want me to be sore after Zoya knocked me over the edge of the stairs outside and I fell into a bush... don't ask, it was embarrassing.

I'm still waiting for my scale and my Hill's Metabolic Diet Dog Food to arrive, But once I can start the food, I am certain my weight loss progress will become significantly more dramatic. I can't wait!

And last, but not least, I am still hopeful that I'll make enough progress by my birthday to get a real birthday cake!