Saturday, May 21, 2011


 This is Sugar.  The kids had finally gotten to an age where we thought they were responsible enough  to help take care of a dog.  We went to the local animal shelters and had in mind to adopt a dog, not a puppy, but after a few days looking and just not finding the "right" dog, we spied this puppy in with her 2 sisters, and another cage with her 2 brothers.  This was our puppy! 

I'm sure all of you can guess what happened.  I ended up being the one to get up in the middle of the night to take the dog out.  I had to remind everyone it was their turn to feed the dog.  I am the one to walk the dog in the morning.   I clean up when Sugar makes messes.  But that is okay, she is my dog, she loves me best!
Most of all I love our morning walks.  We walk 2 miles behind our house.  Past the orange grove, past the neighbors houses, turn right and down the dead end road to the property where the house was torn down and it's just a creek with a homemade bridge and beautiful old Oaks, and some years wild blueberries.  

I do let the kids play with her sometimes, though I think putting their underwear on the dog and then letting her swim in the pool, maybe a bit too much.

And though she loves to run around outside and play, she is quick and you have to keep an eye on her or she is gone.  If you think you are quick, just try taking the frisbee, or ball, or pull toy away from her.  She dares you!

I'm sure though that she likes her time spent with me most. 

(just don't look at those feet used to running around barefoot!)

Other than the foot of my bed this is the place I liked to find her most.  A small couch in our master bedroom, next to the sliding glass door where she could watch the world outside.  Unfortunately when we had the couch recovered John said she's not allowed on the couch anymore, and believe it or not, it only took about 2 times of telling her no, and she doesn't even try to get up there anymore.
Sugar is a Florida Cur, a dog bred for hog hunting in Florida.  Though we don't use her for hunting she is a very strong dog and I have to be careful when walking her, for if she sees a squirrel or rabbit and lunges for it, she can pull a full grown adult over.  

When Sugar was about 2 years old, one morning we set off on our morning walk and about a block away her back legs just gave way.  I had to pick up the 60 lb dog and carry her home.  She was able to stand, but would then collapse.  We took her to our vet, who said it was probably some back strain from getting hit from other dogs at the dog park.  But she did not get better in the next few days, and  I noticed the funny huffing sound she was making before she barked getting more pronounced.  We saw Dr. Jen, another vet at the practice, when we took her again a day or two later.  Dr. Jen had me try to walk her back and forth.  She immediately mentioned a disorder I'd never heard of before and the only way to determine if  that is what she had was a blood test that would need to be sent to the only place in the US where they do the blood work.  A week later we knew for sure Sugar had Myasthenia gravis.  A rare disorder that actually happens to humans also, I later found out one of the older gentlemen at our church also has the disorder and takes the same medication as Sugar.  It affects the receptors on the muscles being able to receive a message from the brain telling it to do something.  It can affect only certain muscles, like Sugar whose back legs were affected.  It is also common to have an enlarged esophagus with this, which was causing the huffing sound, and affected her eating, so that we had to make food that she could swallow in large chunks and feed her in an upright position.  Luckily the medication the Dr. Jen, with help from a neurologist friend, figured out for Sugar to take  helped quickly, the problem was it was very expensive, $500.00 per month.  We got her stable, and most of the symptoms dissolved,  though she still makes a small huffing sound before barking sometimes.  We weaned her off the medication, and she was seemingly back to normal, when we went on a vacation for 10 days.  We had a great dog sitter come to stay with her, but Sugar had a relapse, and by the time we returned she looked so ill again.  Back on the medication again, it's been almost 2 years now.  After she was stable for about 6 months, we took tiny reductions in the medication, and have very slowly been reducing but taking a very long time to do it, so hopefully we could wean her off and have her stay in remission.  Most dogs do, never to have problems again.  We just went on another vacation, and made sure we didn't make any reductions in her medication close to when we were leaving.  This time a close family friend came to stay, and since he is the older brother of my boys best friends, who are over all the time, I think she felt right at home with them.  We came back from being gone a month and she looks wonderful.  So we will again work on reducing the medication an see how things go.  No matter what she is a loved member of our family and is worth the time and money spent on her (though luckily Dr. Jen found a much cheaper source of the medication!), we love her dearly.


  1. What an interesting story about your beautiful furbaby. Hopefully she will be better with all the love you give her and the meds...Keep us updated about her..
    Have a beautiful week!!!

  2. Loved your story! Although we temporarily live in OH now (hubby's going to college up here) we are sorely missing our FL home! I knew as soon as you mentioned orange groves that you had to be in FL. We used to live on a cattle ranch down there, hubby was a cowboy, so we had a lot of dealings with Florida Curs as cow dogs. Yours is so cute! I love the picture of her draped over the couch!

  3. Thanks for you comments! Stephanie, what part of Florida did you move from? There is a big cattle ranch about 40 minutes from where I live, my uncle used to do guide hunting out there. I visited both of your blogs, beautiful!

  4. Sugar is so lucky she ended up with such a caring family. I always know I have a great client when they ask if they can bring dogs in for photos with their babies. Non dog people are to high strung, dogs help us keep it real. Good luck, I hope Sugar stays in remission after she is off the meds!


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