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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Chaotic Journey to Dallas

FouFou Dog has been working day and night for the past 4 months to design, develop, and market a completely NEW collection of breed-specific products targeting the gift and toy industry, called "Love Your Breed".  The initial launch of this collection was set to take place in Dallas, TX at the "Dallas Finds Show" for the home and gift market.  This show was booked months in advance and paid for in full.  Samples, display items, and signage were also shipped to the show site ready and waiting for the FouFou Dog teams arrival to build the backdrop, set up the showroom, display the products, and educate the rep team in Dallas on the best way to market this exciting new line.

Cheryl and Mike started their journey to Dallas, TX yesterday afternoon when I dropped them off at the Toronto airport around 3 pm.  Their trip had a scheduled stop over in Chicago, IL which turned out to be a complete disaster.

Their flight in the air was met with turbulence as the captain warned them of severe thunderstorms building in the Chicago area.  Upon landing, they were faced with tornado warnings and hundreds of flight cancellations throughout the O'Hare Airport. 

All passengers who had been stranded at the airport were forced to take cover in an underground tunnel as the tornado made its way through Chicago.  Below is an image taken from Cheryl's camera phone of the tunnel or 'hideout' that they were in.

Once the tornado had passed, and things were slowly starting to return to normal, it was still uncertain as to when flights would be able to leave the O'Hare Airport again and the night was still young.  Cheryl and Mike attempted to book a hotel nearby with the assumption that their first available flight out might not be until the next morning, however, all hotels within a 40 km radius were fully booked.  And so Mike resorted to sleeping in a charging pod.
Below is an image of other passengers who were given cots to sleep in at O'Hare Airport.
Finally, Cheryl and Mike were airbound again and en route to Dallas, TX where the show had already started without them.  Upon arrival, their booth was empty and on barely 2 hours of sleep, they were forced to hustle in order to get the show set up with products displayed nicely so as not to waste anymore time.  Every minute that went by could potentially be another sale lost.  

Four hours later, the FouFou Dog team made a miracle happen and the booth was set up, all products nicely displayed and were ready to start selling their butts off.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Update On Ernie

Ernie has been doing very well since his Cataracts surgery over a week ago.

Ernie says "Look mom! Another conehead!"
Initially, Ernie absolutely hated wearing his "cone", Cheryl was convinced that Ernie was holding a grudge against her because she felt that he was probably thinking it was her fault he had to wear it.

Ernie has been limited to restricted activity, no long walks or play dates in the park. He has not been able to get a bath and has been wearing his protective "cone" 24/7. He's been taking an oral liquid medication every morning with his breakfast along with 4 different types of medicated eye drops, three times daily, in addition to his daily allergy pills that he's been prescribed to since before the surgery.

While Ernie has learned to adjust to life with his new "cone", it still prevents him from running up and down the stairs easily and so he needs to be carried. He hasn't quite figured out that he needs to tilt his head upwards when he tries to go upstairs and so bangs his "cone" into the step everytime before he bounces back. Walking down the steps is easier for him, but I still carry him in fear that he might trip on his cone. Better safe than sorry right?

Ernie has also learned to drink water out of the water bowl by lowering the cone underneath the bowl so that his tongue could reach the water, we just have to remember to keep the water bowls full.

Eating was messy at first, and so we did resort to hand feeding Ernie, like a big baby.

Today, I brought Ernie to the Vet for a follow up appointment where the Dr. has advised us that Ernie's left eye is healing perfectly well and he is well on his way to a full recovery.

I think Ernie recognized the Vet's waiting room because as soon as we sat down, he began getting anxious; and seemed to desperately want to get out of there.

Below is a video of Ernie at the vet earlier today....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ernie's Surgery Day

Cheryl has just picked up a groggy and drugged up Ernie from the vet after he received surgery this morning to remove the cataracts in his left eye.

Cheryl reports that Ernie is doing well.  While he was very happy to see her, he was a little dazed from coming off of the anesthesia. 

Ernie must wear the protective "cone" around his head for the next two weeks to prevent him from scratching at his eye during his recovery period and also to avoid accidental injury to the eye while healing.

The Dr. has given Cheryl 4 different eye drops to be administered for the next few months: 3-4 times daily, waiting 5 min between drops.

There are also 2 types of oral medication plus pain killers to allow him lots of rest.

The Dr. has instructed that Ernie stay home and try to remain inactive for the next little while to limit his exposure to people and other forms of excitement so that he does not strain or over exert his eye.

The surgery was not a mild procedure and is not something to be taken lightly.  While it is one of the most common surgery's performed on dogs, with a success rate of about 85-90%, it was still an intrusive one that involves a small incision to remove the lens fibers (damaged by cataracts).  This is done using a small pen-like instrument that produces ultrasonic vibrations to break up and simultaneously vaccuum out the lens material.

After the lens fibers are removed, a lens implant is inserted into the lens capsule which significantly improves near vision.  The cornea is then closed with tiny sutures that absorb over the next 4 weeks.

Below is a video of a cataracts surgery performed on a canine eye that I found on YouTube.

We are wishing Ernie a quick and painless recovery.  We will definately keep a close eye on him for any changes or complications in his healing process.

Thank you to everyone for your warm wishes, continued love and support.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Sad Day for Ernie

A few days ago, we noticed that Ernie looked like he had a bluish grey circle in the center of his left eye, resembling a small marble.  He didn't seem bothered by it at all and was playful and upbeat as usual.  Cheryl decided to make an appointment with Ernie's veterinarian to be on the safe side for the next day.  The following day, Ernie's spirit and demeanor seemed to have deteriorated over night.  He looked sleepy and was constantly wincing his left eye.  At times both of his eyes would be squinting as if in pain or as though there was a bright light shining at him.  This concerned Cheryl and she rushed him to the vet as soon as they had an immediate opening.

 The Dr. ran some tests and told Cheryl that his eye was infected but that the pupil was responding to light, shrinking and enlarging, meaning he was still able to see.  However, he recommended that Ernie see an eye specialist in case he was starting to develop cataracts.

Eye drops were administered for the infection which caused Ernie's pupil to enlarge grossly to the entire size of his eyeball.  Ernie's left eye now looked glossy and at certain angles, as if it was made of glass.  We assumed the pupil would eventually shrink back to the small marble size but by nighttime, there was no change.

Last night, we tested Ernie by covering his "good" eye and held objects in front of his face to see if his left eye would follow the objects around.  He didn't respond at all which made us think he could be going blind.

Cheryl was able to get an appointment with the eye specialist referred by our vet for today.  The specialist has confirmed that Ernie is completely blind in his left eye.  In addition, his right eye is beginning to develop cataracts and could potentially be completely blind within the next 3 years.

The Dr. advised a few options:

1) Leave it as is and administer medicated eye drops for the duration of his life
2) Undergo surgery that has a 90% success rate with a 1-3 month recovery period (plus the Dr. has guaranteed that cataracts will never develop again with this procedure)

The cost associated with Option # 2 of course is NOT cheap.  The surgery alone will be about $5,000 plus medicated eye drops, follow up appointments, and other unforeseen complications could be another $1-2,000 in vet bills.

In addition, this is just for the left eye. 

We have decided as a family that the best route for Ernie (being the playful, rambunctious, young at heart pup that he is), it would only be fair to try to give him the best standard of life that we can.  If the surgery with a success rate of 90% will salvage the sight in his left eye and guarantee that his left eye will be free from cataracts forever, then it is really the best option to take.  One day, if his right eye is consumed by cataracts, then at least he will still have the vision in his left eye and we can discuss the options with his right eye if/when we need to.

Cheryl says, "I highly believe in pet insurance.  Ernie has been with Pet Care Insurance since he was 12 weeks old.  I had him with the top of the line insurance package that costed me $80-90 / month.  As pricey as that sounds, at the end of the day, your dog becomes like a child, they are a family member and I will do everything in my power to give him the best quality of life that I can.  Thank goodness for Pet Care Insurance because they will be covering up to $5,000 under the eye category."

We will continue to keep you posted of Ernie's surgery, his recovery period, and the aftermath of it all.

Please keep your fingers crossed for Ernie and we thank you for your continued support.