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Alpha Rising
"Durgin has a remarkable gift for inventing unusual characters doing incredible things."

DogPlay ~ Connery

CH MACH2 Cedar Ridge DoubleOSeven CD RE XF EAC EJC CGC:

The Heart of Dog Story Collection

The Heart of DogThese are the updates in Connery's situation since the conception/production of The Heart of Dog. Current fundraising efforts are targeting a specialist consultation and the increased cost of his meds.

(Most recent at the top)

  • 2017: Some final results here for you all, a long time coming. Evidence of never being caught up around here!

    Connery's CT scan showed the extent of the damage to his sinuses, but offered no clues otherwise. His body temperature plunged and he stopped breathing during the scan, so they had to cut the procedure short. For the vet specialist, it was enough to rule out conflicting issues and confirm my insistence that a chronic infection, too long untreated, was causing his misery. He stayed on his inhaler at a lower dose, but it was still enough to wreck his stifles again. During that second rehab, we took him off the inhaler and he'd been on his infection protocol long enough so he tolerated the withdrawal.

    Since then he's had some difficult infections but been largely stable. He's been able to return to agility, obedience, and tracking, and succeeded (given the circumstances) wildly, singing his song of self all the way. He was retired in late November of '16, when he became the 8th Beagle to earn a tracking championship and the first breed champion MACH Beagle to do so.

    The book won't be for sale much longer, as we feel we can meet his needs now, including a recent major surgery for a splenectomy for which the tumor biopsy was negative and from which is recovery has been astounding. We hesitated to do such an extensive surgery on a vulnerable dog of his age, but are very glad we did!

    He is, and always has been, a dog of amazing heart.

  • Current needs are: Inhaler cannisters; auto-immune meds; rehab expenses. Goal recently met for CT Scan: 1000 books sold. Goal for flux.

  • Needs this anthology & donations have paid for so far: Endoscopic procedure; blood tests; Valley Fever test; post-procedural meds; emergency vet visit due to post-procedural issues; immunologist consult; internist consult and new meds; additional new meds; second internist consult; CT Scan, ophthalmologist consult, Inhaler treatment system, holistic consult...raising money for the second canister.

  • January: While waiting to have Connery's stifles stabilized, we continued with his mid-January, he went out on a 4F day and earned his AKC Tracking Dog title! The following week he went in for a precision ultrasound and the news isn't good. The steroids have left him too vulnerable to injury; he'll be in rehab for a year, with no guarantees of success--and unless we find an alternative to the inhaler, pretty much the opposite. It's going to be a very long haul for all of us. We're so grateful to have had the chance to earn his TD while we were waiting for this appointment!

  • December: What a gap in updates we had! There wasn't much to report. Connery remains on several prohibitively expensive medications to manage his quality of life (Atopica; a steroid inhaler), and continues to walk a very narrow line of health and comfort, with daily management and assessment.

    Connery started running again in July, and quickly earned half his remaining points to MACH3. In fact, he was doing beautifully until suddenly...he isn't. He's on the injured list again. Steroids are not anybody's friend, but this is a trade-off we accepted last year. We don't know how the future looks for him...right now it's one day at a time, with ongoing assessment and pending treatment. I cry when I think of him unable to run (so does he, every time I head out to do something without him). But his heart is as strong as ever, and his tail keeps wagging. 8) In the meantime, he's still allowed to track, and it's going wonderfully.

  • March: Connery's allowed to track; he's allowed restricted jumping. He's delighted! It's clear that I can't eliminate his symptoms without damaging his body, and he's in a constant battle with infections, but he's otherwise strong and happy. We're aiming toward June for lifting his remaining restrictions, and meanwhile he's on two hours of rehab activity a day.

  • January: It's been a while--not much exciting going on. It turns out that during the big splooge of side effects, Connery was weakened enough so he injured himself. In December he underwent treatment for stifle injuries and is on extensive rehab; it'll be months before he's allowed to track and longer before he can run agility. He's bored and frustrated; he missed the tracking test in late January. Naturally the treatment was a frightening expense, and it's obvious to me that Connery's expenses will keep us in the red for a good while longer.

    However, this latest treatment was about more than allowing him to continue with what he loves to do; had we done nothing, they would have worsened to cripple him. In the meantime, his headaches have receded; the inhaler side effects continue and prevent us from using a truly effective dose, but we're able to keep it from the critical issue it was in the past. I'm working with a holistic vet in an effort to bolster his system before allergy season starts, and to calm his auto-immune issues, but he isn't reacting predictably to the efforts. Nothing new there! :P

  • Later in September: we're still hunting a balance for the meds, but in the meantime Connery's had some very happy tracking sessions. It's nice to share that good news! It looks as though we'll have to raise his dosing frequency, so the book sales continue...

  • Mid-Sept: Connery's had a tough month or so. The side effects continued, and had a profound effect on his body. We had to pull the inhaler for a week; after that we started him on a new canister of a much lower dose. His body is slowly recovering from the side effects, while the new dose isn't quite strong enough. Still, I have hope that we'll find a balance that works for him. He's also seeing a holistic vet so we can support his body through this time. He's still running agility and loving it; he's just not very fast right now! As long as he's happy!

  • Early August: Connery seems to be responding to the inhaler! However, because his sinuses are so very compromised, he's having systemic side effects. We're trying to find a dosage that works for him while still reaping the benefits. Meanwhile, we're slowly reintroducing activities that he hasn't been able to do for nearly a year now!

  • Early August: Connery's detailed updates from this time can be found on my WordPlay Blog under the ConneryBeagle category. His CT scan eliminated the concerns of structural issues, as did the eye exam (necessary because of his significantly atypical eye/sinus involvement). Once again, the procedure revealed significant inflammation in his nasal/sinus areas. He's just started treatment with an $$inhaler$$ and is on antibiotics for the summer's constantly reoccuring infection.

    I'm so grateful we raised the funds to move forward on his treatment. Even a dog of much heart starts to grow depressed after nearly a year of pain. 8( We hope to see improvement within two weeks, if the inhaler will help. If it does, focusing in on a final dose will take some time. Think good things for him!

  • Late July: We've met the fund-raising goal for Connery's CT scan and rhinoscopy! Now we're down to hoping: the best possible outcome from here is that something is found on the scan and handled in the rhinoscopy. We're not thinking out loud beyond that right now...

  • Late July: Due to communications issues that left us uncomfortable with the first clinic, we had a second consult, where we were more comfortable and are proceeding with the CT soon as the CT scanner is repaired...

  • Late June: Issues flare up again; we're running out of time, with half the funds raised. The procedure is scheduled for early August, with a single month left to meet the fundraising goals.

  • Early June: Connery rallied from a week of unwell when offered the prospect to run agility, and blew away all expectations by finishing his MACH2 title with three fast, perfect days of running. CH MACH2 Cedar Ridge DoubleOSeven CD RE XF EAC EJC CGC!

  • End-May: I can almost return to Connery's pain meds. I'm also starting him on a new medicine; although the first attempts to do so were problematic when he reacted to a preservative in this compounded drug, we have a second batch on its way.

  • End-April: Initial promising results with the new meds have abated, even as the side-effects kick in. We're in a time of delicate balance right now. I can't return to the meds that give him pain relief until this course of treatment is concluded. The CT scan becomes more imperative than ever.

  • Mid-April: Connery is on some frightening meds to address the symptoms; we're managing for side effects and his mood, and he's on light training to stay happy. His trial activity is cancelled. Until we get the CT scan, we don't know if we're covering up a more profound problem.

  • April 6: The internist consult is enlightening. We do need to do a CT, for which we don't have the funds, and possibly another rhinoscopy. We're treating medically until that can be done, with drugs that are problematic for Connery and in the past have made him quite ill. It's been long enough since he had them in his system that we hope with this specific combo of meds and dosing, we'll be able to manage him. There are indications that this has been smoldering for quite a while. Poor guy probably never *doesn't* have a headache.

  • Late March: Mornings and initial moments of activity or excitement remain a significant issue, but I'm learning how to trigger the problem so as to give him a window of time in which he can play at the things he enjoys. He's back to working short tracks and his pain factor is under control with meds; we just don't know why he hurts in the first place.

  • March 18-19: In spite of a series of bad mornings, Connery had great fun at an agility trial. He seems to be able to run the short sprints without triggering the spastic upper airway reaction from the inflammation, although afterward he does often have to deal with it.

  • Mid-March: Connery (and his packmates!) are now on a whole prey raw diet. Boy, do they love it. It's had no effect on his primary issues, but I see signs that his body welcomes it, and hope to improve his ability to deal with whatever's going on.

  • March 14: One day is good, the next is hard. We're going about life--play & training--as normally as possible to keep him strong and happy, while working around the problems, hoping for some of the meds to kick it, and waiting to see a specialist.

  • March 8: The new meds aren't helping yet. The book goes live on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, & Kindle

  • March 7: Connery is back to cautious training in both tracking and agility. A test to see if he can go without anti-inflammatories fails. He's lost ground overall, but would still rather be active than not.

  • March 7: The book is live! Just barely, and I'm refining the formatting here and there before sending out the pre-order coupons. I'm dismayed at the difficulties inherent in their Set Your Own Price option, and am therefore still offering a PDF version via PayPal and check, with other formats to come later.

  • March 2: He's recovered from the procedure to a large extent, and is back to moments of training glee. The original symptoms have escalated, but he's trying to work around them.

  • Feb 26: He also gave blood for a Valley Fever test; results pending.

  • Feb 26: After a slow recovery, Connery finally showed some playful cheer on this day--and then almost immediately became violently ill. A rush vet visit gives us no answers, even as the event seems to be passing. One more short-term med in the mix for good measure, and he came home to recover (with me laden with support fluids, etc, in case he didn't). Sunday is weary for him but Monday he's back to moments of playfulness. Original symptoms persist. The mystery continues...

  • Feb 17, '11: Connery underwent an endoscopic exam of his upper airway. A biopsy of the intense inflammation was taken. The procedure exacerbated the inflammation and its symptoms, resulting in a week of blood-sneezes, but all results (as of Feb 26) are negative. Meanwhile he's on a slew of medications, the shotgun aproach to reducing the inflammation.

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