Life update with Rufus & the pack

Rufus March 2020 © Johnny Ortez-Tibbels |

Rufus March 2020 © Johnny Ortez-Tibbels |

By Johnny Ortez-Tibbels

Hello friends. Does this ever happen to you? When you’re going through something profoundly personal (perhaps like the experience of an ailing canine companion), and instead of going out in the world brave face, strong and welcoming the support of our community at large, you retreat to your own private bubble?!? 🙂

Well, if you haven’t figured it out from our inactive presence on social media, we — Rufus, his pack of hounds and humans, have found solace and sanctuary away from prying eyes and questions by staying home. And, that’s not a reflection of you or your sweet comments and concerns for our wellbeing, but just us living in the moment and taking each day as it comes (and never really knowing what to expect). We’re enjoying life in real time, and choosing not to stop and share it with everyone (right now). ❤

People love to ask how’s Rufus doing. And the answer is always the same (for now). He’s sustaining and maintaining. I personally feel like he’s a on a razor’s edge and at any minute he could fall fast and decline in a very short span of time; but thankfully through some very regimented and specialized care, he’s thriving (considering he has little to no kidney function).

For example, we discovered that we can only leave Rufus alone for about 4 hours. Often anything longer results in us returning home and finding some accidents in the house. Which is totally fine with us. As doting dog dads, we’re not intimidated by pee, poop or vomit. We simply, thoroughly and properly clean it up and move forward. But, I imagine it bothers Rufus when he has an accident in the house. He knows it is not right, and he strives to please us, but for whatever reason his body is betraying him. So for us personally, we don’t want to put Rufus in that position, if we can help it. Which means, at least one of us – mostly me, staying close to home. ❤

Additionally, Rufus continues to do well, because we get subcutaneous fluids twice a week religiously since the summer of 2019, and in all that time we have only missed a few appointments in January when his humans got ill. We have found that animals (like some humans) really benefit from regular routines and consistent schedules, especially when they’re not well. Think dachshund hospice.

In February 2020, it was Rufus’ two year anniversary since being diagnosed with kidney disease, and here we are 25 months latter (March 2020) and we’re surprised as any, that Rufus is still with us. But, of course, we’re extremely grateful for each and every day.

If you’re curious about our girls, Emily & Lily, they’re doing great. Both went for their annual anesthetic dental cleanings the last week in February. 🙂

Emily (who will be 9 years this November) had two teeth pulled, which were her first two teeth since we had her, and Lily (who will be 7 this July) had no extractions. She has two extraction early in her life, because a few baby teeth didn’t fall like they should have done. Overall, we’ve been very pleased with the oral health of our chow hounds’ teeth.

In 15 years, Rufus had four teeth pulled on three separate occasions. And, this will be the first year (after 7 or 8 years of consistent dental cleanings for him), that he will not go under. The teeth cleaning might help prolong his life, but there’s also a risk. A risk, we don’t think we’re wiling to accept at this stage in his life.

Rufus’ appetite has been strong these days, and we take him out often to pee throughout the day. I even wake up in the middle of the night to take him out. It’s been about 9 months, since I have slept 8 uninterrupted hours. But I usually get two sets of 5 hours; so I can’t and won’t complain. 🙂

We weren’t sure if Rufus was going to be here this time last year, but he is. And my spouse and I had to re-evaluate our aims and commitment to him. We have some tentative travel this summer (as we do most years, a combination of work and pleasure) and although it’s enticing to travel, #FOMO, we’ve agreed and reaffirmed, I will stay home – by choice, to care for Rufus.

We could hire people. We could fly out family to watch Rufus, but at the end of the day, no one knows him like we do. Like I do. And I’m not resentful about it, but happy to rise to the occasion and be there for the dog, that has been there for me these last 15 years 6 months and 20 days. ❤

I take Rufus with me everywhere I can, in his BK Atelier dog bag, and he gets out frequently. He loves (and lives for) his daily car rides. We don’t visit dog parks often these days because we stopped his flea and heart warm medicines this past August when we almost lost him (in July) from an UTI. We didn’t want to put any additional strain or burden on his organs, which means we have to be judicious with our public outings (at parks etc).

So friends, that’s the latest and greatest. Rufus sleeps a lot, and often sleeps hard. Many times, I find myself checking him just to make sure he’s still breathing, because he’s not always responsive to my calls. Sometimes when we come home, all the other dogs will run to greet us and we’ll find Rufus tucked in the master bedroom asleep or on pile of dirty laundry unaware we’ve returned. It’s certainly a departure from how he used to be, but that’s our new normal, and however it looks today, we’re just happy to have him with us, for as long as he wants to stay with us. ❤

Big thanks to all for the continued well wishes, love and support from around the world. ❤ We appreciate it and you!!! Your messages, texts, comments, likes, etc help to make this difficult time a little less hard. Thank you! ❤

We you all.
Instagram: @jorteztibbels, follow us!
Rufus March 2020 © Johnny Ortez-Tibbels |

Rufus March 2020 © Johnny Ortez-Tibbels |

Rufus March 2020 © Johnny Ortez-Tibbels |

Rufus March 2020 © Johnny Ortez-Tibbels |

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4 Responses to Life update with Rufus & the pack

  1. Denise Beard says:

    My heart breaks for you. I too went thru a doxie with kidney failure years ago & we were doing nightly sub q fluids, which kept her active & “normal”. It was hard to not think about what was to come & live in the moment. I am so thankful you are able to do that & cherish every single moment you have with him. Sending hugs.

  2. Helen Draviczky says:

    I think of Rufus often. I am happy to know that he is still with you and living each day to the fullest.
    Sending hugs your way.
    Take care.

  3. Lauri says:

    You are lucky to still have Rufus with you. I know your care is keeping him comfortable & still here. I did the same for Jacob and enjoyed every second with him as he went downhill in 2 week time. I really miss him❤️

    ❤️To Rufus & all of you

  4. Lynn Prehn says:

    ❤❤❤ to all of you, you’re taking fantastic care of Rufus, and I’m certain he knows and is grateful. ❤❤❤

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