Friday, March 22, 2013

I have finally lost my mind... I think.

            I am going to eat a lot of crow with this post. A lot. Like about $3,000.00 worth. For a long time I always thought that I was a sane person. I really did. Little did I know I am no saner than the crazy cat lady down the street. Here is how my discovery went down.
One of my absolute favorite pictures of Seven.
This is her in a nut shell. 
            The Big Brown Dog has been limping for about 2 months now. At first not bad just after she had been running around a lot.  We just thought well she is older this kind of thing is going to happen. Well it has just gotten worse. Now it’s every time she gets up, and it’s real bad if she has been running around for a while. It has gotten to the point that while she is standing she lifts the offending leg. At first I was concerned that it was her hips. So off to the vet we go. They gave her some meds and I could tell that she was feeling great after the first few doses. She was acting like her old self and running around like a puppy. I was hoping that the round of anti-inflammatory medication was going to do the trick. That lasted for a while, but then went back to limping. Well we went back for a second round of meds and that worked a little but it has just steadily gotten worse. So we went back to the vet and he suggested that we get x-rays done just to see what is going on in there. He said that he could feel the swelling in her left hind knee and that he thinks that the joint is unstable and that there could be some ligament damage. Not surprising for a dog that chases everything. And I mean everything; squirrels, trucks, school busses, snowflakes, the mailman- the list goes on and on. The vet said that surgery might be an option and then gave us the price tag of about $2,500 to $3,000. This is where I realized I am one of those people, because I almost, almost didn’t bat an eyelash at the price tag. Now really Seven doesn’t get much fancy treatment, but this time is making up for all of that time that she was treated like a dog. The up side is it's not her hips.
Her "hour a day" outside. Oh come on I take her out more than
that. She just hates being on the leash. 

Hating "House Arrest"
            The hard part is that there are two different surgeries that she could potentially have. The first being much cheaper than the second but the second surgery is a definite fix to the problem. There is the potential for her to tear things again with the first surgery. So now came the dilemma how much is Seven worth? Well to me she’s worth the world. That dog and I have been through so much. As cheesy and cliché as that sounds to say about a dog. Then there is the fact that she is still a very active dog. She acts like a puppy. It’s not like she is an older dog just laying around – then this blog post would be on the art projects that I have been doing to distract me from all of this. I guess the hardest thing of all is watching her limp and restricting her from running around. It’s heartbreaking really. You can tell she is bored. It’s almost worse than the time I took her canoeing. She really hated that. At times she almost looks depressed, and there was a time that she didn’t finish her food. I immediately called the vet after that incident; said it was most likely pain that was causing her to not want to eat. This dog never doesn’t want to eat. She is doing a little bit better though she now has a pain medication along with the anti-inflammatory. We have started calling her the inmate. She does not like house arrest anymore than we do, but I am willing to do whatever I have to for her. How can you not for a dog that has only ever asked for breakfast, dinner, a good pet every now and then and a tennis ball?
Patiently waiting for her.
I can't wait to get her back to this.
          Our consultation with the
surgeon is this week. So fingers crossed. And then some divine intervention might be helpful to get her through her recovery. Yep it’s official I’m a crazy pet person.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

State Park Tour 2013

            Here is a little update on how our Virginia State Park Tour is going.

            First off I am determined to make some really sweet tour t-shirts. It only seems appropriate. I mean every great tour has a t-shirt right? Not sure on the design yet but it is forthcoming.

Putting all of our patches on the curtains
Reminds me of my Girl Scout days and my sash
            More importantly here is how the parks are shaping up thus far…
Our first trip was to Shenandoah River State Park (Front Royal Va). The weather was a bust; it poured down rain most of the time, but had it not been for the camper we never would have gone so I consider the trip a success. The park was very clean and very empty. We were the only ones there besides the park staff, which was great actually. The park offers several hiking trails which unfortunately due to the several inches of rain that fell we didn’t get to do much of. There was one trail that was graveled that we took the pups on with minimal mud puddles. It took us by the river and was a lovely time since we had been stuck in the camper most of the day.
            On the same trip to Shenandoah River, we took a day trip up to Sky Meadow. Again the weather was not the best; cold and rainy, so we didn’t get to do much exploring. The visitor center was very nice and the girl there was ever so pleasant and helpful. Always nice to meet someone pleasant when you have been cooped up in a camper with two dogs that are wet.
Pet Ladybug Ruby. She still lives at
the beach though
Gabe's awesome find.
            Recently we took the camper east and headed for the coast. We decided that we would stay at First Landing State park and beach it for a few days. The campsites were good, a little sandy but you can’t help that. We stayed close to the water right near the boardwalk that took you to the beach. It was nice to hear the waves at night. And again not too many people. But with it getting warmer I am sure that will start to change. Our nephews joined us for part of this trip and had a blast. I got some great pictures of them. It’s hard not to though they are so cute anyway.
Flying the kite with Uncle Charlie... kinda
            After a night of s’mores and I dare say the best dessert ever of Reese’s eggs and graham crackers, Charlie and I decided to head over to Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles VA. Have to say not impressed. Many of the campsites were in an open field, which in the summer means no shade at all. There are some huge lodges that looked like they would be great for a large group, especially if that group were into fishing. There is a pier and boat launch in the park and there were a lot of trucks with boat trailers in the parking lot. Other than that I don’t think that Kiptopeke has a lot to offer us anyway.
Sand Angels. Not sure why he did it
but he did
            Our next stop was Chippokes Plantation State Park (Surry Va). This place is hands down one of the best places we have camped. And that goes for both the tent and the camper. We have made it a point that if we are just doing a day trip, that we at least go through the campsites and check them out. The tent sites there look just as awesome as the camper sites were. One of the best features, the swiveling grill grate with the dutch oven hook. Made cooking our ham steak a breeze. Charlie now wants one in the backyard. Again the bathhouses were very clean and very warm which was awesome as it was chilly. The sites were tucked in the woods but open enough. The best thing was that it didn’t look forced. It wasn’t a huge field like Kiptopeke, but the campsites were plenty large enough with plenty of trees around. The Plantation there is quite lovely. We drove through to check it out, but I would like to go back when they are running tours. There is a beach there that would be great for small kids, and apparently there is an abundance of pre-historic sharks teeth that get washed up from the river bottom. Weird to think if sharks in the James River. We didn’t go search for any as low tide was after dark but it is definitely on the list to come back to, and maybe with the nephews. The trails are well marked and looked clean. We didn’t do much hiking as we were headed to York River State Park for a short day trip.
James River Ferry. The one picture of me on this trip.
Look close in the side mirror
          The cool part about York River was where we were coming from we had to take the James River Ferry to get there. Now York River doesn’t have any campsites so it is for sure a place for a day trip. They did offer some nice picnic areas and several horse trails if you are lucky to have that kind of four-legged friend. We took the pups on a short walk down to the river. Again nice trails and a great visitors center with artifacts. The fishing here is apparently a great attraction as we saw several people walking around with fishing poles.
         For our trip in May this year we are tossing around the idea of heading west and hitting almost all of the parks left on our list. It’s either that or paddling somewhere. I think that next year we start a tour of all the national parks. I wonder if our little trailer could hold up that long?