Beagle Birthday Blog

ConneryAt the end of last week, ConneryBeagle (CH MACH2 Cedar Ridge DoubleOSeven CD RE XF EAC EJC CGC) turned eight.

ConneryBeagle: Yes I DID!

This isn’t something I was sure would happen a year or so ago.  In fact, last year at this time, I was just launching the Heart of Dog anthology in an attempt to fund the very necessary tests that might help us determine why he was in such pain and distress–headaches and infections and ongoing spasms of his upper airway.  He was no longer able to track, and he was losing interest in playing, agility, and…well…just being a dog.  He spent most of his time curled up in a miserable ball.

ConneryBeagle: I’m going to pretend I do NOT REMEMBER.

Well, the book splashed out into a sea of digital releases and has done modestly, which means that the kindness of friends–and some strangers–have made a big difference to us.  In August, Connery finally had the CT scan–just shy of a year since his mysterious symptoms started.  (Here’s more detail about his history and his recent journey.)

At that point he was declared to have an idiopathic problem and the Connery Fund bought an inhaler and the little air mask he needs to use it.  The inhaler contains steroids, which weren’t supposed to go systemic, but promptly did.

ConneryBeagle: Because I am SPECIAL.

Very true, but let’s just call this bad luck.

It took a week to realize the intensity of those side effects, and then another week to get the dose down far enough to reduce the effects.  But it was long enough to reduce his muscling to practically nothing.  And in the following weeks–during which the meds did their job and Connery felt well for the first time in a long time–he romped hard, without having the muscular support he was accustomed to, and…he wrenched his stifles (his doggy knees).


So off we went to another specialist, where (thanks to the Connery Fund) he had an ultrasound (revealing that he had an old, lesser injury he’d never told me about), and prolotherapy, and went on severe activity restrictions and two hours of rehab a day–for six months.  That was mid-December; we’re looking at June as a Freedom Date.

ConneryBeagle: BAWHSOME!  Freedom!

In the interim, we’ve discovered that there’s no dose of inhaler that controls his symptoms without overwhelming his body; I do my best to walk a very fine line.  We’ve learned that he needs pulsed antiobiotics to stave off the infection–every other week.  That, too, will likely have its cost.  He’s on Atopica for his ongoing autoimmune issues–and yes, that too will one day exact a toll.  There are times I look at him and know what it’s taking to keep him feeling well and know that there’s a limit to what we’ll be able to do and how long we’ll be able to do it.

BUT.  Connery has been able to track again, for the last month.  He’s been able to go biking for the past six weeks, weather allowing.  He’s started a careful jumping program for agility.  He’s strong and happy, and when he sleeps he no longer curls into a tight ball…he sprawls.  A happy sprawl!

So, it gets better.  Because Connery isn’t a natural tracking dog.  He had to learn how to do that.  No, he’s a natural at trailing and searching, which is done differently–and he understands that task very well thanks to the tracking work combined with some of our games.

So Friday, when I heard that a friend’s cat had been attacked and badly injured by a large dog earlier in the week and that she was looking for a scent dog to help her search the neighborhood–she was in despair that the cat was mortally injured or perhaps already dead–we headed out.  We ended up in a warren of an old adobe neighborhood–nooks and crannies and high adobe walls, impassible except by humans who were willing to scale said walls and pass the dog back and forth.  We had clumps of cat fur and the cat bed for scenting and reinforcement, and we crawled through a series of yards (those neighbors had been sympathetic, but didn’t happen to be home), and ended up in an area of congealed items (let’s call it open-air storage), where Connery said:

ConneryBeagle: The cat is HERE.

And he was right.

The humans weren’t as good as ConneryBeagle at what they were doing, so…the cat has not yet been contained.  The cat, in fact, was in no mood to truck with humans at all, never mind one gently investigative Beagle, so the cat departed from his impossible little hidey hole with some speed.  But he also obviously wasn’t mortally wounded, so we were all ecstatic anyway, and all the right things are being done to make sure that Mr. Kitty gets home.

ConneryBeagle: And I got COOKIES.

The circumstances were right for success in some ways, and terribly difficult in others (see above, high adobe walls).  But I look at Connery, and I think of how glad I am to have him, and how grateful I am for the help we’ve gotten over this past year, and I’m wondering if there might not come other circumstances that are right for other cats.

Just thinking…


ConneryBeagle: BAWH!



About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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14 Responses to Beagle Birthday Blog

  1. Heather says:

    Happy Birthday Connery. What a special dog you are.

  2. Giselle says:

    Happy Birthday, ConneryBeagle!

    Ever look into Homeopathy, Doranna? Can look up some links, if you’re interested.

  3. Deborah says:

    Happy Birthday! The world is obviously a better place with you in it!

  4. NancyB says:

    Happy Birthday, Connery! And congratulations on the successful tracking job.

  5. Tina says:

    Happy Birthday Connery. You’re a very special dog.

  6. Marilyn says:

    Happy Birthday, Connery Beagle! You have taught us all quite a bit about intelligence, stubbornness and perseverance in the face of adversity. You are one special Beagle!

  7. Patty says:

    Love the cat tale! Way to go Connery! Happy Birthday!

  8. Adrianne says:

    Happy Birthday CB!

  9. Sue Farrell says:

    It’s good that Connery is feeling better and can enjoy himself some. I totally understand the anxiety with a beagle’s health problems. I count every day that I have Angela and she is enjoying herself as a gift since two years ago when she suddenly had a ruptured disk and lost all use of her back legs. After a fast trip to Minneapolis for surgery that couldn’t be performed here we had a year of therapy that we had to do ourselves because there are no dog physical therapists here in the north woods. In the beginning we had to hold up her hindquarters with a handmade sling so she could start learning to walk again. Absolutely no stairs at all for six months so we had to carry her down the 2 steps to the yard. Thankfully now she seems almost normal–the only ones who can notice that she moves a little funny are the vet and us. But still and forever no jumping or crazy rough-housing with the other beagle. She does get to run and smell and chase chipmunks—and what a joy to watch her—but always hoping that she doesn’t make a move that could hurt that back again.
    Good luck and enjoy every minute that Connery can enjoy with you.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday, ConneryBeagle! Very glad you’re feeling better and can enjoy your birthday. If I could teleport dog cookies to your location, I would. You are an extraordinary dog, who makes yourmom very happy even as she worries about you. You are much loved by many people who know you only through yourmom’s writing and photographs…we admire you, and we wish you well…in addition to a very happy birthday.

    • Doranna says:

      Thank you for all those good wishes for Connery!

      Elizabeth–awfully kind sentiments, thank you!

      Giselle–have tried, not impressed. I’m eyeing a holistic vet in ABQ, but must get past the ongoing press of “do I have Lyme, or don’t I?” Eats so much time.

      Sue–I wish I wasn’t so familiar with your story, but I am…Miss Belle has had similar issues. I know very well the kind of persistence it takes to bring a dog back as far as your girl has come, and the ongoing concerns. I hope Angela stays happy and well!

  11. Morgan says:

    Happy Birthday, Connery! I was just wondering the other day how old you were. Didn’t realize it had been so long since you were a brand-new puppy. Congratulations on finding the cat, too.

  12. Barbara says:

    Connery! I’m so proud of you.
    It takes a very special kind of dog, to help out his fellow cat.
    Congratulations on being special. and I hope you had a wonderful birthday.

Comments are closed.