Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sophie’s Run… Home, safe and [almost] sound…

Hi there… sorry for the delay in this last instalment of Sophie’s Run.  Yes, we are home… Chuck, Lucy, CJ, Kathy, and even the Princess have arrived without any further ‘excitement’. We did have to wait out the weather.  Just like cruising on a sailboat, we had to check the forecast each day (often twice or three times) and then adjust our plans accordingly.  The major winter storm that swept across the coastal and mid-west US stopped us in our tracks.. but, after 3 days it finally swept by and the weekend (last) was very obviously the time to carry on.  We knew it would be cold (down to 21 degrees overnight) but the path north was the only way home… so we bundled up and headed up the I 5 Saturday morning.  Knowing there had been gusts of wind as high as 60+ MPH at ‘the Gorge’ (Columbia River running between Portland and Vancouver, Wa and our next destination) during the previous days, and that the winds were scheduled to pick up again by  mid afternoon, we left early enough to arrive at the 99 RV Resort by early afternoon.  It was cold, it was small, it was right beside the freeway… but it was a place to park for the night and we were grateful.  The next day we were up early and on our way to our next (and last) RGV park for this journey.  The Pacific Border RV Park just outside White Rock, BC was quite nice, although not particularly dog friendly (you have to walk your dog off the property to do their business).  Again, we parked for the night and were on our way early the next day (Monday), caught the 1015 Duke Point Ferry and were home in Crofton/Duncan by early afternoon.
Now for the news of our little pal’s future.  While there are lots of details I could rattle on about… I think I will just say the following.
We have an excellent Vet in Duncan and he has been ‘with us’ for most of this past ‘journey’ with Sophie.  We’ve kept him up to date with respect to her injuries, the treatments and her condition.  And, we’d asked him to confer with the Victoria-based orthopaedic surgeon and specialist with respect to the options for Sophie’s future. There were many, serious considerations in discussing both the injury, the success likelihood of a complicated surgery, and the less than stellar quality of life Sophie would most likely have to endure over the next year or so, should the repair of her knee be attempted. 
The good news is (yes, there is good news) that Sophie will be happy, free of pain, and able to live out her life without continued visits to the vets and without the complications that would arise as the result of major complex surgeries.  She will do well, and she will be able to continue with some of her favourite hobbies (like walking, playing, sailing, hanging out, and learning Spanish).  The sad news is the vets agree that with the kind of damage she has suffered to her leg… the only surgery that might (and they stress might) work is a complete knee replacement (and that is still in the experimental stages)… and they agree that kind of surgery on an older dog could be fraught with problems and lead to ongoing follow-ups etc.  The vet specialist said that while he has, in the past, done dog knee repairs in cases like Sophie’s(where all ligaments have been severed), they have not been successful and he doesn’t do them any more.
Discussions with our Vet, and our own research, have convinced us that dogs do get along quite well with three legs; dogs are not emotionally attached to limbs like we humans are; dogs make the best of each day as it arrives… and don’t worry about the past or the future… and Sophie has certainly proven she is capable of that.  As well, she’s had over a month of practice at getting along on three legs and, in fact, her ‘not so good’ leg just gets in the way quite often. Our vet posed the option of amputation to us several days ago… and after some time in complete denial mode, we started to think about Sophie and what her life would be like dragging around a half-cured appendage, and the continuing visits to the vets offices.. etc.  vs. a clean ‘break’ from the broken bit, a solid healing, and getting on with the rest of her life (no one can believe she is 13… and she apparently isn’t aware of that fact either.. carrying on like she does.. as if she was maybe 7.  Who knows how many good years she has left).  Once we got over our fears, and after speaking with the vet, our decision was pretty obvious, and has been made with Sophie’s best interests in mind.
Sophie will soon join a very special group. They call themselves tripawds… seriously.  You can read about them at www.tripawds.com and please do.  We’re going to take a lot of their advice to heart… about how to help her adjust and about how to support her in her new life.  So friends, we hope you will join us in being ‘happy’ that Sophie will not suffer any more or any longer than necessary… and that she will continue to have a happy and healthy life.  We remember all too well that we almost lost her completely.
So, that’s our news for now.  The Princess was to have her surgery today… but we have just received a phone call to say the surgeon is ill… and so we wait, assuming there will be a delay of a few days.  TV anyone?  With the rain coming in, we’re going to hunker down on the couch and catch up on our movies….  aaaaah,,,   ‘tis good to be home.
Adios for now…  CJ
PS:  In case you were wondering (and I know some of you are) between September 16th and November 17th, good old faithful Chuck added 13,007 kms to his resume.  Phew!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Update to travel plans… Nov. 12th

Good morning folks… Well, we’ve just checked the weather forecasts for the road(s) ahead… and it ain’t good.  Nope, rain, freezing rain, snow and high winds… just about everything you can imagine… is forecast for the various legs north of us.  And then there’s the weekend, which is about when things are going to lighten up.  Sooo, yes, there is a new plan.

It’s quite nice here at Seven Feathers :-)  Good thing cuz this is where we need to stay until the roads ahead of us look warmer and dryer.  If the forecast stays about the same, then we should be able to head out of here on Saturday and drive to Vancouver, Washington.  Then Sunday we hit Bellingham and Monday we head home.  That’s if the forecast doesn’t change too much.  Only time (and Mother Nature) will tell.

So, for now, know we’re safe and cozy in our little Lucy (I gotta tell you, between Lucy and Sophie… we’re never short of folks to talk to and who ask us about our story…).  We hope all of you are cozy too and enjoying the changing seasons.  We finally got to see Maple leaves changing to fall colours (not just dying because of lack of water).  They were gorgeous… and we’re surrounded by some now.

Bye bye for now… will let you know if the plan changes (again)….  CJ, K and PS.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sophie’s Run… Nov. 11th

Good morning folks.. just wanted to let you know we’ve checked the weather and road conditions and decided that, rather than lolligagging here in cool but sunny Red Bluff (Durango RV… which remains quite beautiful), we are going to press on.  The next leg involves Mt. Shasta, Siskyou Summit, and then Grants Pass before we arrive in Canyonville, OR at the Seven Feathers lovely RV Resort.  There’s enough heavy rain in the coming days to motivate us to get up, get going, and get through the next two legs (hopefully then to Vancouver, WA) before the heaviest rains fall.

So, that’s it.. we’re on our way… will check in later, tomorrow or the next day (remember no news is good news).  Take good care.. enjoy your day.. CJ

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sophie’s Run… days 5,6,7 and 8

Hello there… thought I’d check in and let you know how far we got before throwing out the lunch hook, and then doubling it up with an overnight hook :-)  We’re sticking to the plan and so packed up and left beautiful Patagonia Lake State Park (PLSP)after a day of rest for the Princess and ourselves. 

It sure is good to have her back, although she looks like she was dragged through a harvester backwards… what with needing to wear two ‘preventers’ (one inflated collar and one 'cone of shame’) to prevent her from attempting self medication (licking) of her wounds. And, we’ve discovered that the wound isn’t as healed as we’d thought so we’re now bathing and wrapping it each morning (which also helps deter the licking). She seems to be doing really well, despite her owies.  In fact, yesterday morning, while out for a ‘nature break’ I caught her trying to chase her tail (one of her favourite ways of making people laugh).  This is one happy puppy and her spirit is shining through.  She’s much calmer now and just seems happy to hang out with us (like she could do anything but).

We left PLSP and headed north and west, to Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonopah, AZ.  It was a comfortable drive (about 246 miles) and we arrived in time to enjoy a sit in the sunshine. This is an older park with mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, but we thought it was just great and met our needs very well.  The washrooms were older but clean, the sites flat gravel with not too many trees, but they were just fine (power, water and sewer). AND, it was a Passport America site so the bill for overnight was $16.00….  tough to beat. Even a pool, tennis court and pickle ball courts for the energetic.

The next morning, yesterday, we were up and on the road by the early hour of 0930 (funny how the definition of ‘early’ changes from time to time :-) And, after another comfortable drive (212 Miles) we pulled in to The Outdoor Resort, in Cathedral City, CA where we were met by our good friends Ron & Dal.  We’re here now and all set up.  We’ll be here for a couple of days and plan to pull out on Sunday the 9th.

So, for now, know we three are safe and relaxed. Once we leave here we’ll be doing the “stop and go” method of travelling.  That’s where you pull in, don’t unhitch, run the trailer up onto a couple of boards, spend the night, and leave quickly the next morning (cuz you don’t have to do the “hitch it up two-step”).  The planned (and plans can change) route for now is ORPS to Bakersfield (Orange Grove RV), then to a resort in the Fresno area, then Durango RV in Red Bluff, Seven Feathers in Canyonville, OR, then Vancouver, WA. then Blaine, then home.  I’ve only bored you with this list in case we get abducted by aliens along the way.. at least you’d know where to start looking.

I must admit, we’re a little nervous about coming home to a BC winter.  We’ve become kind of used to perpetual summer. Guess we’ll have to break out the fleece wear….

So for now, adios….  talk to you in a few days… CJ, K and PS.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sophie’s Run… Tuesday, Nov. 4th

There we were (yesterday) reading your emails… so many loving messages… as we drove south towards Nogales, MX.  Your words brought tears to our eyes.  Thank you so much to all of you (and there are many) who have continued to support us with your messages and thoughts over these past weeks.

 Sophie is well.  Dr. Tere met us when we arrived and the Princess joined us shortly thereafter (right after the groomers had finished fluffing her up).  After many hugs (and some teary eyes from the Vets, Dr. Tere and Dr. Jessica) we bade farewell to Sophie’s home and friends for the past 23 days.

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The vets and their staff cared so well for Sophie…we were blessed to have found them in time.

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Soph’s ordeal isn’t over yet.  First she has to endure the long drive home with us and, once there, she will undergo specialized surgery to re-connect her right knee. After that she’ll need to rebuild her muscle strength and general condition. But for now she’s getting along very well.  Her back wound has healed, but for one final spot where the drain was located… and cuz she’s a lickin’ kind of dog, she has to wear her cone collar for most of the day and night… for now.

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 Today our plan is to hang out and rest up.  The sun is shining and we’re grateful to have the ‘family’ back together. Tomorrow we’ll be heading to a place called the Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonopah, AZ., which is about half way to Cathedral City (Palm Springs). Hopefully we’ll have internet connection there… it’s been difficult without it here at Patagonia. Thursday we’ll be heading in to The Outdoor Resort (Cathedral City) for a couple of days (more rest and a visit with Ron & Dal, and maybe a grapefruit or two :-).

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 We hope all is going well with you folks.  Our hearts go out to friends (several) who are going through their own personal tragedies and challenges. Life, it seems, continues to roll along… dishing out the good with the bad… in no particular order.  Stay well, look after yourselves and keep loving, laughing, and living.  To all of you from all of us…  CJ, K and PS.

 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sophie’s Run…

The next 10-14 days are dedicated to “Sophie’s Run”.  That’s how long we figure it’s going to take for us to get her home safely.  We’re currently in Patagonia Lake State Park about 20 miles north of the border crossing at Nogales, AZ and we’ve been here a couple of days now (without internet). The good news is that Dr. Tere feels certain she will clear the Princess for travel Monday morning.  Her wound has finally reached an infection-free state and the stitches and drains will have been removed. We are all very happy and proud of our little pup.  The vets are both amazed at how well she has recovered… claim she’s responding like a puppy half her age. 

I know some of you have probably wondered about how and why we would spend this amount of time (and money) saving such an old dog… but, those of you who know Miss Sophie and those of you who have known her long enough to be part of her pack… well, we know you understand.  And, I guess if professional vets can see the value in hanging on to her…well, enough said.  This creature, who has given us so many years of joy and unconditional love deserves to live out her life in the best way possible and that’s what we’ve set out to provide.

So, today we move sites in the park… to a site with a bit more privacy.  We’ll pick Sophie up on Monday and then give her a day to catch her breath (Tuesday) before starting her run home. We have a plan (of course) about the route we will take as we head north and, unless weather stops us, it should get us home by mid-November (including a couple of times where we’ll take an extra day to rest up).

The next two weeks will be devoted to keeping our families and friends up to date with our progress… sorry but it will be a little dry. Better stories will follow once we’ve reached home and settled in. A lot will depend on the Princess as she still needs serious surgery on her right hind knee.  For now, we’re just darn glad to be getting her back and heading her home.  Talk to you soon.  Bye for now.  CJ

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yahoo! Yipee! There's something happenin'...

Okay folks, here it comes...We have a green light! Sophie had her 'sew 'er up' surgery today and came out of it looking like a puppy! Vet said she couldn't believe she was her age... she was all happy and rarin' to go... (like if you could speak "poodleeeze" you'd know she was saying.. "okey doke... we're outa here! bring on Chuck, we got places to go!!").

Anyway, seems the princess is ready to continue her long lineage.... Vet wants to keep her for 7-10 days to make sure no more infection is going to raise it's ugly head... but, truth is, with all the vaccinations and drugs we've pumped in to this here puppy over the past 13 years.. it'd be hard for the common cold to survive... really...

Okay... it is true that Kathy and I have been driving each other crazy...waiting for the call.. Ok maybe not crazy but at least and mostly nuts. I admit, I'm not much of a nurse.. and Kathy has been the model patient (according to her... and I'll leave it at that, seeing as without her kind navigation I'd be driving in circles for months... talk about circumnavigating).

Okay.. the plan.. First a STATUS REPORT:

 THE BOAT: (SV Shannon's Spirit) is tidy and clean and has a new bottom. She's going back into the storage yard Monday morning. We'll see her when we see her and, if not before, then next October.

THE TRUCK: (MV Chuck) is going well for an old guy. Threw a hub cap the other day, but it didn't even slow him down. He just looks more like an old Mexican "gentletruck" now. Anyway, he's ready to go... and he's getting fabulous mileage, like loads more since he's not carrying the weight of our load and towing Lucy (svelt thing that she is).

THE TRAILER: (TT Lucy) doesn't even know she's waiting for us... but she is.

KATHY: Her knees are getting better each day... as is her pain level. We've had to replenish the first aid kit, and have a new respect for burn pads, non-stick gauze pads, and good adhesive tape... and, she's rarin' to go too.

CJ: as always

MISS SOPHIE: came through todays surgery (sewing up her back wound) with bells on and, if there's no sign of infection in 7-10 days, will be released for travel to her Canadian vets who are waiting to fix her leg.

THE TRAVEL PLAN (remember plans can change):

Monday - Oct 27 We'll head north, across the border to Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico. (we'll stop at the vets for a puppy dog hug on the way through.)

Tuesday - Oct 28 We'll drive to Yuma and book into the Microtel Hotel. We'll stay there the following day and night while we ready the trailer and we'll enjoy a visit with our friends MJ and Leona,

Thursday - Oct 30th We'll drive across to the Patagonia Lake State Park and we'll stay there until we get the call Sophie is ready to travel. Once we get the green light we'll be able to hop across the border and pick Sophie up. We'll bring her back to the State Park for a day so she can catch her breath... and then we'll head north... Likely up the I 5 and/but watching the weather and road reports so as to, hopefully, avoid any snow and ice along the route.

So, that's our plan for now.... or at least the best we can offer you. It's all good and there's sunshine ahead. We feel very lucky to have found a good Vet in Mexico and to have a wonderful Vet at home.(Sophie's glad too :-) Will let you know if plans change, but that's where we are today...

Hope all of you are well and enjoying your life. Here's wishing Nick a Happy 30th Birthday (on the 24th).... Love you all... CJ