What A Week

Another smoky sunset

It’s been one tough week in this household. It started early, early on Tuesday morning. We had to have Emmi in Billings by 7:30am–ugh–for her anal gland removal surgery. We live almost two hours from Billings so that meant an awful rising hour for the three of us! In hindsight we are very glad we made that veterinary appointment. Then we had hours to kill before yet another appointment for yet another Mohs surgery for the Cowboy.

We went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Billings–our only other experience with a ReStore was in Wickenburg, AZ–tiny store but awesome. The huge store in Billings was a dud. Lowes to check out back splash tile for the Arizona home, Costco where we wandered the aisles and finally it was time for lunch. We dawdled over lunch and could finally head for the clinic where they were quick to take the Cowboy back to a room.

This was by far the largest incision he has ever had for a Mohs procedure. It took multiple attempts to get all the basal cell cancer then a very large Z type incision to close the site. We were there for three hours.

During that three hours my phone vibrated, the vet clinic was calling. Emmi would not be having surgery as her blood work showed significantly elevated liver enzymes. A sonogram of her liver revealed she has a gallbladder full of “sludge.” This little dog is 12 years old, not an ounce of fat on her, active–would play 24 hours a day if someone would play with her. Emmi eats very well–the Cowboy likes to tell people Emmi eats prime rib and we eat hamburger! She had given us no indication she was ill.

So, we have to get rid of that sludge. We came home with two medications as the most important medication, urosodiol, a people medication would have to be compounded by a people pharmacy. As with all businesses during these times this pharmacy was shorthanded and it would take them until Thursday to compound the drug into a dosage and form for Emmi. I spoke with the veterinarian and he wasn’t happy with the wait but there wasn’t much we could do. On Wednesday I was anxious and called the pharmacy explaining how important this medication was for our little pooch. They were so accommodating and understanding promising to have it ready before they closed at 6pm on Wednesday. Off I went, making that 200 mile round trip once again. Audiobooks are my friend!

Emmi will have a repeat of her liver enzymes in 30 days. In the meantime she is all ready hanging her head when she sees me get the syringe ready to squirt the urosodiol down her throat–poor baby! Update–I mixed it with her food–she wasn’t happy I messed up her groceries but she ate it. It has to be better than squirting it down her throat twice a day for 30 days!!

The Cowboy’s face is incredibly swollen and he was just beat on Wednesday spending much of the day with an ice pack and his tablet. We are going nowhere near a dermatologist for a while, giving the poor guy a break!!

We order Emmi’s prescription dog food from Chewy’s and on Monday I had ordered a small bag to carry us through until we head south. Wouldn’t you know it–the vet wants her on a different prescription diet! I contacted Chewy’s asking if I could return the food we hadn’t even received yet. And here is the reply I received–

I’m sorry the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food, 6.6-lb bag didn’t work out as expected, but I’m more than happy to help. I’ve processed a refund to your Visa card and that’ll appear back to your account within 3-5 business days. If you feel it could still be of use, please feel free to donate it to a local shelter or rescue as our returns are on a case by case basis. We’d be happy to know that it’s going to help pets in need.

That reply made my day and almost made me cry! Amazing customer service!

I’m sure you’ve seen many of these photos across social media–tributes to the 13 Marines killed in Afghanistan–these in our own small town really hit home for me!–

We removed the Cowboy’s dressing on Thursday afternoon and he’s improved greatly! Still swollen and bruised but much better. Emmi is Emmi–as I said, she has given us no indication she is ill.

She loves to chase sticks but those weren’t good for her causing coughing when she would ingest some of the bark so the Cowboy created “sticks” from lengths of small plastic pipe. These sticks are all along our walking paths in the hayfields.

Recently I noticed an electric smoker for sale on one of our Facebook buy/sell groups. This tri-tip was my first attempt at using the smoker and the meat was to die for!!! Moist, flavorful and tender. Success!! Thanks for all the help and advice Jim!

A totally clear sky–first time in several weeks that there hasn’t been any smoke.

Sunday morning we woke to short lived rain then blustery, cloudy skies. The mountains have their first snow–

And I baked bread again–Amish White Bread

Thanks for following along with us this week!

33 thoughts on “What A Week

  1. Oh my….poor you! I can’t imagine how unhappy you must have been when you found out little Emmi was having problems! Dogs are so stoic aren’t they? And such an extensive MOHS procedure for the Cowboy! The caregiver finds time to bake bread – you’re a gem!


  2. Oh my, how I would love a big fat tri-tip sandwich made with that Amish bread. That has to be a tough go for Mike with those cancer cell removals. And poor little Emmi, it’s gotta be a tough go for her too. Better days ahead and maybe soon you all will be soaking up some Arizona sunshine. And happy belated Birthday to you:))


  3. That meat and the bread brings one idea to mind , ” food truck ” . That looks good enough to drive clear to Montana for. Mountains look pretty with the snow but I’m not ready for winter yet . Good luck with both of your patients .


  4. Poor, poor Emmi! Poor, poor Mike! Hope that is enough for the year!
    Bread looks delicious! Hot here, I made pizza outside in the grill!


  5. Poor, poor Emmi! Poor, poor Mike! Hope that is enough for the year!
    Bread looks delicious! Hot here, I made pizza outside in the grill!


  6. Poor Emmi!! It’s so hard to not be able to explain why you need to give them medicine. Hope the medicine take care of the sludge. Will you stay there until Emmi has surgery? Michael must be about ready to be done with the derm. for a very long time. Hope he continues to heal to quickly. I love seeing the snowy mountain tops but it means colder weather is on its way.


    1. The vet isn’t sure if Emmi will have to have the surgery. He seemed to think many of Emmi’s issues (frequent bouts of bloody diarrhea, pancreatitis, etc.) might be resolved if we can get the gallbladder emptied. I hope he is right! And yes, Mike is more than ready to be finished with the dermatologist!


  7. Well this is true Bless Your Hearts! Overwhelmed has to be the call.
    So happy results are sounding good!
    Your tri tip and yummy bread makes my mouth water!
    Question, what size smoker did you buy? Meat looks delicious.


    1. That tri tip was so good! The smoker doesn’t have a size listed–it’s about 18″ square and about 30″ tall. It has four racks. And it was cheap–in case I don’t like smoking meats!


  8. Thank you for sharing the bread recipe awhile back. I have made it once so far and love it. I had tried a few recipes over the years and was never happy with the results. We love your photos. We lived in Montana for 3 years and Arizona for 10 years so they bring back a lot of memories.


    1. I have never been a bread maker but I follow a blog–The Patchwork Times–and we’ve become friends over the years. She was a quilter and that’s where I got my interest in learning to knit. She bakes all her own bread and told me about this recipe. It’s easy and turns out right every time. I even do the kneading in my Kitchen Aid mixer as my hands are so arthritic. Glad you enjoy the photos!


  9. Wouldn’t you know it, Sometimes those health hits come all at the same time. The promise of better times ahead starts with the first snow and the prospect of a trip back to Arizona. Here’s to putting all that health stuff in the rear view mirror and to swift recovery for the entire family.


  10. While the surgery for Cowboy may not be pleasant both for him and you, still the alternative would be worse.
    Oh,, My, snow on the mountains already.
    Have a very good week.


    1. Yes, the alternative would be worse–so to the dermatologist we go–just not for a while this time. Four Mohs procedures in a summer is a bit much! We are going to a dermatologist in Tucson sometime this winter–spread out some of these medical trips.


  11. I swear we live on a parallel life! Seems what happens to us is also you or vice vera. Now it’s the dogs! So glad you didn’t quit blogging as your posts & pictures make my day. Enjoy that smoker! One thing I tried was shredded chicken on a tin plate & smoked it- makes truely yummy chicken salads, casseroles etc. Try smoking some fruits & veggies also😊


  12. Oh, that is a lot of misery for Emmi and Michael! I hope they’re both feeling much better soon. They’re both lucky to have you taking care of them. 🙂
    Isn’t Chewy the best? They stand behind their products, and they are so kind.


  13. Well your family is really piling on! Hope they’re both better very soon and that you’re taking care of yourself too. Beef and bread has to help a lot 🙂 Lovely to see clear skies and snow on the mountains, probably related! Nice to have the pharmacy and Chewy’s making it easier. Still plenty warm here so no rush!!


  14. Another of your admirable “superhero cape” moments… Glad everyone is now better. Comfort food really helps; smoked meat and bread are addictive. I cheat and use a bread machine, and will attempt to adapt your bread recipe this weekend. Smoked chicken sounds good in tacos or fettuccine alfredo. Our dog’s same backside problem resolved after discovering thru trial and error an allergy/ intolerance to most meats except fish. We were also told to feed only hard kibble as it expresses/empties those glands. The gall sludge is puzzling because Emmi is eating lo fat kibble. I hope this new change in her prescription food brings resolution.


    1. I wish I had not gotten rid of my bread machine–many people use those to mix and knead their bread then remove the bread allowing it to rise outside the bread machine then bake in the oven. Emmi eats dry kibble too and I agree–we found the gallbladder sludge puzzling as she has been on a low fat diet for at least two years if not longer.


  15. Somehow I missed this blog…poor Emmi! It’s so tuff taking care of the fur babies as they don’t communicate how they really are. As for the MOHs, I truly understand what you and Michael are going thru. I’m sure by now, he is much better. Your baking, especially bread which I have a weakness for, always makes my mouth water!


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