With Christmas just around the corner and the end of the year fast approaching, we are looking forward to celebrating Beamer’s 14th birthday. Just a few years ago we never would have believed that he would have made it to this age. Beamer is a dog of many lives and much love!
We are so blessed to have this sweet old boy still with us after both his paralysis that began in February of 2012 and lasted until the summer, followed by his cancer and Post Mandibular Surgery that removed half of his lower jaw in October 2013. He has never fully recovered from the paralysis. His legs and body still shake from the trauma and effects on his immune system and he’s not as strong as he was prior to the incident. Of course, eating with half of his bottom jaw has also been a challenge after the cancer surgery, but he has adapted well and we feed him in tall-sided bowls with home-cooked soft foods. Thankfully, his cancer has not returned.
The fact that he has been through two very difficult illnesses and is still with us is nothing short of miraculous. Over the past several years he has developed many lumps, bumps, and warts resulting from an immune system deficiency, but they are not a health problem. He doesn’t exercise as much as in the past and he has developed fatty tumors. Normal activities, such as getting up and down stairs and getting up from hardwood floors, have become more difficult for him, but then, who among us doesn’t have trouble with getting up and climbing stairs as we age. He still has his perky moments and can run and leap and play. It only lasts for a few minutes these days, but Beamer still has some spunk left in him, or as we say, a little of that piss and vinegar from the feisty old boy of his youth. Those bursts of energy give us great joy.
He also travels with us whenever possible and enjoys the perks of hotels that are pet friendly. We even have sitters in some towns that will come and hang out with him. He definitely has made friends along the way and is a rockstar. 🙂
As I look back at the pictures from just a few years ago, I can see the age in his eyes and in his movements, but I’m so happy he’s still here and I know Beamer is happy to be with us. To all of the folks who found us through Beamer’s Corner and called and sent emails and were ready to give up when their dogs were diagnosed with either Coonhound Paralysis, vaccinosis, or cancer and were faced with radical surgery or long recoveries, we hope you never gave up on your dog. They are resilient, but they need your love and reassurance that you will be there for them during the recovery period.
They are so innocent and helpless and depend on us for their needs. Beyond the best medical care you can give them, all you can do is love them and nurture them, feed them well, and be there for them. There were times when I thought for sure we were going to lose Beamer; he had given up the fight and he didn’t understand what had happened to him. Rather than say goodbye, we fed him with syringes, I put water on my fingers to keep his mouth moist, and fed him by hand. I slept on the floor by his side many a night, crying my eyes out and begging him to hang on and guess what, he did.
One of the reasons I know Beamer has done so well is because we give him homemade food. Many of his treats, however, are purchased because they have additional nutrients that he doesn’t get with home-cooked meals. They also are hard and keep his teeth clean, which has been a challenge because of the way he has to chew now. Of course, they are all made in the U.S. and many are organic. When I do make homemade treats, I will either make Pumpkin Treats or these Fall Pumpkin Bites. It you make these thicker (as in the photo) they will be softer and chewier. If you flatten them out more, you’ll have a crunchy treat for your pup. Either way, your pooch will love them, especially because you took the time to make something special.
I used homemade cooked pumpkin to prepare these and brown rice flour, but you can certainly use canned organic pumpkin and the whole wheat flour the recipe calls for.
We look forward to the New Year and officially celebrating Beamer’s 14th birthday on December 29th. I think he deserves a batch of these treats, don’t you?! Maybe he’ll even share them with Santa on Christmas Eve.
Happy Holidays to you and your four-legged family members!
Fall Pumpkin Bites
Adapted from Home Cooking for a Healthy Dog
Makes about 36 treats
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (I prepared these from fresh pumpkin, cooked and mashed)
4 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups (9 ounces) whole wheat flour (I substituted Organic brown rice flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend together the pumpkin purée, molasses, water and vegetable oil.
Stir in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda, to form a soft dough.
Roll the dough into balls, put on a baking sheet, flatten them and prick with a fork.
Bake for twenty-five minutes, or until hard and crisp.
* These treats will keep up to a week in an airtight container.