December 16, 2012

The Miracle Pill and The Mailbox Surprise

When I'm not busy peeking on or feeding the worms, I have two energetic dogs to entertain- an 11 year old cockapoo and a 1 year old cocker spaniel mix (bloodhound? lab? beagle? no idea).

Last year, the cockapoo started limping like crazy on his back left leg. It seems to start suddenly, so we assumed he pulled a muscle. Except it never really got better- it just kind of changed in degrees of severity, from a slight favoring to an all out limp or completely holding it off the ground.

I took to the internet, and found a lot of dog owners with similar problems had used Cosequin DS to help. I started him on it, and he improved significantly over the next month.

Then a few weeks ago, the same thing happened with his front left leg, but very suddenly and much worse.  He didn't want to walk at all on it, and he hunched his back and seemed like he couldn't lift his head all the way.  In the morning, he could barely raise his head. In addition, the back leg seemed weak again. We could tell he was in pain, and of course we felt terrible. Clearly the Cosequin wasn't doing the trick anymore.

Immediately we had him at the vet. She gave him an exam and said it was arthritis. She gave us some Tramadol to give him twice a day, along with some information on range of motion exercises we could do with him.

But I just couldn't give up that easily. I wanted a miracle pill. I understand that dogs are going to age, and it wasn't unreasonable to think he had arthritis...but this came on so quick and severely that I really felt like it was something...I don't know...maybe fixable?

Back to the internet research!

I quickly found a product called Nzymes. Their website had a lot of  hype and testimonials and blah blah, but at this point I was open to just about anything. To be sure I wouldn't do more harm than good, I asked the vet about the ingredient list. She said that even though the ingredients were more for digestive issues, the treats would not hurt him and might even help. 

The testimonials spoke to the product improving everything from skin issues to coat luster to joint and muscle problems- I was SUPER skeptical, but stayed open minded.

I ordered the Antioxidant Treats for Pets for $21 online at their site. (Interesting point: they also sell them for people.)  Within three days, they arrived.

Here's what came in the package:
nzymes treats
Yes! Two bottles for the price of one! I was pretty pleased already.

But what would my dog think of them? Rather than treats, they looked like giant vitamins. His reaction:
nzymes treats
 After some sniffing, he was a little skeptical, too. Here's his skeptical face:
nzymes treats
The only thing left to do was give it a try. I gave him one pill in the morning and one in the evening. I also continued his Tramadol, as directed by the vet.

Within a week, he was walking stronger. The hunch disappeared. He was lifting his head and raising himself up and down without effort.

It was two weeks since the first pill this weekend, and we took a two mile hike today. He did some running, and had no soreness afterward.  The hunching hasn't returned, and all of his legs look strong and even.

Just for kicks, I also gave some to my friend who has a schipperke mix with super-itchy skin (another of their cure claims). I asked her how it's going- no more itching. Crazy.

Do I think this is a miracle pill? Right now, YES, I do.

I am going to cut his Tramadol down to once a day and see if the improvement continues. I'll keep you updated on him and the schipperke mix just in case you have or know someone with a pet with similar condition.

In other news, last week I got an amazing gift in the mail from an amazing lady!

After corresponding with the original bag holder creator, she sent me one of her very own designs!  I love gifts and getting mail, and this was extra-special since hardly anyone I know shares my love of trash clean ups like she does:
trash bag holder

trash bag holder
As I expected, hers is much more lightweight and ergonomically sized for optimal trash picking up than the imitation one my husband and I created.  Hers even has a separate bag for recyclables!

I drove down the hollow today, and another trash pickup is right around the bend- so thank you a million times over to her!

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December 2, 2012

Unique and Efficient Holiday Lights

Christmas lights are a debatable topic for us immediately following Thanksgiving.  Every year, we claim we are going to change it up and get a whole new holiday lights plan for outside- and every year we do the same icicle, wreath, garland, white lights thing.

Not this year!

At first I was determined to get a disco ball box with the light and reflector that makes it look like it's snowing on your house constantly...until I read the reviews, which all said the mirrors fall off the disco ball, the light only works for two weeks, bad weather ruined the electric components, and on and on with the terrible things that were going to happen. 

But then I took a look at the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section on the page and found a super unique and efficient type of lights: Lawn Lights!

I got two giant sets (2827 sq ft each) to cover both sides of the yard.

Pricey? Yes, but after so many years of having the norm, I was ready to pay for originality. 

In the environmentally friendly department, these LEDs are rated for 50,000 hours of use, and each one only uses one outlet and 3-5 watts of power (equivalent to an incandescent nightlight, they say in their FAQs). Plus, I thought they'd have a big enough impact that I didn't need any other outside lights.

The box arrived:
Lawn Lights
And inside were the components to make my yard look like sparkle-land:
Lawn Lights
Pretty simple so far.

Don't these look familiar? (Pay no attention to random dog wandering around!)
Lawn Lights stakes
Just like my garden stakes from this spring! There were extras after setup, so they will get put to use next growing season.

My husband did the install and said it took about an hour for both sets to be spaced and staked. They are connected kind of like a giant net, with about 6-8 feet between lights, and you prop the lights off the ground with the stakes that hold them into place. (Of course I came home and then re-staked them a little more evenly.)

During the day they are pretty much camouflaged in the grass, but at night they look amazing! Cars have been slowing down to take a look, and the effect is really unusual- no one else has anything similar that I've seen, so mission accomplished.

The company says that they can be buried in up to 8 inches of snow and that makes them look even sweeter, so I'm on the lookout for a winter storm...

I'm going to try to take a pic tonight to add to this post of the lights actually in action, but you can also view the gallery from the company to get an idea of the effect they produce- so cool!

In worm news, I turned a ton of Halloween/Thanksgiving pumpkins that were ready to be thrown away from friends & relatives into a never-ending wigwam buffet. Hubby de-seeded and chopped up four more this week, so I'm expecting an big increase in vermicompost output this month (and fat worms!).

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