Wednesday, February 27, 2013

a fun-filled special day!

Foster mom had me out and about all day today!  I had to take a ride with her to Hope Vetertinary Specialists because one of the Street Tails dogs had to go for a recheck....he was a very loud beagle pup who was hit by a car a few weeks ago!  The doctor said he is now ready for his home!  Yay Fenway!!

While we were there, mom tracked down her all time favorite Critical Care Doctor...Dr Donahue (who saved mom's Madison Rose years ago when she was in ICU with pneumonia) so she could listen to my lungs.  Great news- so far, so good!!  I knew I was ok (and I'm pretty sure mom did too)...but she always likes to double check anyway!

When we arrived back home there was a package waiting- WITH MY NAME ON IT!!  My first package!!!  It was such a great thing to come home to!  So this post goes out to Fudgie Bunny and her mama, Laura!  Thank you thank you THANK YOU!! 

As you can see....I love everything that they sent.  Foster mom posted a video on my facebook page ( if you'd like to check it out.  I took my first step FORWARD just to get to my new toy!  Facebook is fun in that manner....I can post videos! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lunch break at work...

We are still plugging away!  Lentil is growing continuously at a rate of 1oz/day, so we seem to be right on track!  We were caught in the act for our lunch break at work! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Where there's a will....there's a way!

Sometimes we all just need to think outside the box!  As Lentil is maturing, he is becoming more and more difficult to feed.  We have our routine down, and everything is going well...but now he sees me and sees the tube and he becomes excited because he knows that his belly is going to get full. 

It's important to feed him upright, so his Aunt Sarah and I got together and started our first prototype of Lentil's new "feeding station"!  This is him getting fit for his "hammock".  The way that this will work is that his legs will fit through holes on the hammock which is stretched over the wood base.  Lentil will be comfortably strapped in, and with his legs free underneath, he can paddle and "nurse" without the fear of his paw getting near his actual tube!  It looks like a night of sewing for me!  We are hopeful that this will work to stabilize him as he feeds and keep him at the safest angle for food intake!  Fingers crossed!!!  We should have the finished design ready by tomorrow!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Bean got a love note!

My name is Lentil...

And I can SIT!!!!

Making every day the best day ever!

I spent the entire ride back from Cornell trying to figure out how to put
into words what is now going on in my head after his consult.  The Doctors
were amazing, and all of them are on board with our fight, but they are
all extremely concerned with the severity of little Lentil's deformities. 
Somehow I was lucky enough (or probably bc it's that I don't take my eyes
off of him), but I was able to get a very clear photo of a yawn (below). 
This photo was able to give the doctors a better idea of what is going on.
The main concern, at this point, is getting Lentil to the age where
surgery is even an option.  (9-11months).  I'm still waiting for the time
line they are going to send, but basically his game plan is at 6-8wks he
will go in for an esophagostomy tube which will allow me to feed without
going through his mouth.  This is step one.  As he grows more and more, he
will have to go for a CT scan- which is when they will be able to see just
how bad the soft palate really is.  The first, of probably multiple
surgeries, will be between 9-11 months.

With any bulldog, the risk of aspiration is high, but with Lentil, it's a
constant fear.  He has zero protection to his trachea.  So every feeding
has to be perfect.  One cough, one sneeze, one wrong move on either of our
parts can be detrimental.  I feel as though I have the weight of the world
on my shoulders.  He has so many people following him, rooting for him,
and loving him...and we are so grateful.  I refuse to give up.  I told him
when we met that I would take him as far as he is willing/able to go, and
I meant it.  Even the best Doctors and medical treatment can't predict the
future and they can't underestimate the spirit and drive that this little
boy (and his foster mom) have.

For those of you that know me, you know how afraid of pneumonia I am...but
you also know my dedication.  Twelve years ago, my Madison Rose, an
English bulldog, spent 3 wks at UPENN in an oxygen cage with pneumonia. 
Each day was a battle, and there were times that the Doctors didn't think
she would pull through...but no one on her team gave up...and eventually
she did come home to me.  Madison gave me an amazing 6 years of her life. 
We lived every day in fear of her aspirating, but we enjoyed each day and
cherished the time we had together.  Sadly, she passed away, unexpectedly
after 6 years...because she vomited and aspirated.  I miss her every day,
but my experience with her taught me to always keep going- and that is
what we are doing.

I enjoy Lentil so much, so I refuse to let this news make me sad in any
way. It's just making us stronger.  Thankfully, we have a huge support
group of doctors who are always available to us, and who will be ready to
go if a situation ever arises.  We have the backing by all of you, his
followers and donors, who are allowing us to continue this fight.  I
promise all of you that I will do everything I can, every day, to get this
bean to where he needs to be.  I know every noise he makes, every breathe
he takes, and I will be on top of any sign of something changing for the
worse.  I hope you are all comfortable in knowing that I will truly do
anything for this pup...he has taken my heart.  Each day has been, and
will be- a new challenge, but we will continue to update all of you and
celebrate the good things that come our way!  Today, Lentil is a pound! 
(1.1lbs) to be exact!  :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Home safe

We made it home safely and now we are awaiting the official reports from today's consult. All of the doctors, students, and staff fell in love with little Lentil. Here he is with one of them :)

Waiting rooms are BORING....

All checked in and waiting for the Dr!


When I was young, I was always really into animals, and my parents would often say "you will go to Cornell one day".....I'm not sure if THIS is what they had in mind, but I am. 

We had a nice drive up here, and last night was good.  I'm glad we chose to come up early, so our morning isn't rushed and Lentil is able to rest before his big consult day.  We will be leaving about 10:30am to head over...I'm just hoping for some good news...and at the very least, the start of a game plan for the future.

Thank you to everyone for all of your support and your thoughts- we are all in this together!  Lenny is lucky to have such a huge family.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We've arrived!

Lentil has arrived in Ithaca and we are settling in for the night. Full bellies are good! We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow!! Please keep him in your thoughts!

Off we go!

Cornell University- get ready to meet your cutest client! We are locked, loaded and ready to go! Apparently rescue gets the red carpet treatment-- one of my friends who is a critical care dr at Cornell has graciously offered to allow lentil and I to spend the night at his place--so we are headed up early, and we will be ready for our appointment in the morning!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cornell University- Here we come!

17 days old and 14.6oz!  Our little bean is growing up!  As you can see from the pic, he's already outgrowing the bowl that I weigh him in each morning!  Sorry it's so blurry....he's an active little pup! 

Everything seems to be on track-thankfully-with his feeding, growing, and to look a bit more closely into planning out the future for his medical care.  Lentil and I will be taking a road trip this Thursday to meet with the doctors at Cornell University to figure out a game plan!    We promise to take lots of pictures and update everyone along the way!   This first visit will only be a consult...most likely any surgery won't take place before he's 6-12months, but I would like to be able to have them meet Lentil and answer my million and 1 questions that I have bouncing in my head! 

Each day becomes more and more of an adventure when it's feeding time!  Since Lenny's eyes are open, he's at the point that he sees me...then sees his orange tube and he starts his kicking and snorting--being all excited that he is "eating".  It's getting tough to keep him from pulling the tube out of his stomach!  (don't worry...I have it under control)!  What an adventure!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lentil's ears are growing!

Look who's ears are beginning to stand!

The best view of my palate so far...

So...this is my palate/nose...some may call it my "defect"- foster Mom says its what makes me special!

Introducing a very special Bean!

This is the story of little Lentil Bean, as told by his foster mom...that is- until he is old enough to put his “own” perspective into words!

Eleven pm on February 3, I received a phone call from my FBRN Foster Manager asking if I was up for tube feeding 2 newborn Frenchies with severe cleft palates and deformed noses. I told her that I would have to think about it, but the truth is -- I was already gathering up my heating pads and baby supplies before we even got off the phone! From that moment, I was in “mom mode.” Anyone who knows me, knows that I can't say “no” to a bulldog....especially one with special needs.

The next morning, I had called her back and agreed that I would take them on. By 5pm, I found myself driving to northern Jersey to pick up a box of babies that would change my life forever.

The drive back to Hope Veterinary Specialists seemed as if it were taking days. I'm sitting next to a cardboard box with these 2 little “beans” that I have yet to even hold, and already, the attachment to them was huge. At one point, I peeked in, and promised them that I was there to take them as far as they were willing/able to go. I am dedicated to doing just that.

After getting our supplies of tubes and syringes, the 3 of us headed back to my house to set up for the long road that was ahead of us. Edamame, Lentil's sister, was extremely lethargic and suffering from severe aspiration pneumonia. The fluid in her lungs was so bad, you could feel it without even having to listen for it. The night was long, but the 3 of us pulled through...somehow. I had never given up on Edamame, but it was obvious from the start, that she was tired. Edamame passed about 17hrs later. Whether you've had a dog in your care for years, or just for a few short hours, it's always difficult to lose them. However, I do take comfort knowing that she was loved.

It took me awhile to gain the courage to actually write this blog. With any baby, but even more so a special needs baby, life continuously has its ups and downs. Lentil and I are still plugging away....and this is our story...

Day 1 with me, Lentil weighed in at a mere 5.7oz- it's hard to even put something that tiny into perspective- and even harder for me to believe that something that small can have such a strong will to survive. It seemed as if there were so many odds against him, and after losing his sister (which was the third in the litter to pass on), life became much scarier for both us.

My daily routine is now focused around him. Instead of sleep, I have 2hr naps. Every morning at 8am, it's weighing time. Once I have his current weight for the day, it's time to calculate food intake. (I knew math class would come in handy one day)! Then it's insert tube, check once, twice, and then a third time (because I'm an overly cautious “mom”) that the tube is in his stomach. Once I'm confident, remove the dry syringe and place the formula filled syringe onto the tube to feed. Wash everything and repeat 2 hours later... I've bottle fed countless homeless pups over the years, but this is much different. The act of having to insert a tube into a tiny baby's mouth and into his stomach every 2 hours is something that I don't think will ever become less frightening. And as he grows, and becomes more of a puppy- it becomes even more stressful. He now sees me, sees the tube and gets excited to be able to “eat”'s tough to keep an excited pup under control! Although, I have to say, I would much rather my task be harder, as it shows that his life is becoming easier.

We are now on Day 15 together. We've seen our vet more times than I'd like to admit...because it's usually me that's having a panic attack. I can truly say at this point that the doctors and staff at Bethel Mill are more caring and patient than I could have ever asked for, and I can't thank them enough for dealing with my craziness! I can't stop looking at him and worrying. Each day he changes. He's grown now from 5.7oz to 13.2oz this morning! And on Valentine's Day, he gave me the gift of opening his eyes!

Lentil has a long road ahead of him, but I feel as though we are on the right track. We still don't know what the future holds, so he and I make sure to make every day special. I cherish every moment I have with him, and I wanted to be able to share these moments with anyone who is interested in reading it. This is the story of Lentil....the puppy who eats from a tube <3