Saturday, March 19, 2016

Howie's Page

Fate works in mysterious ways doesn't it?  After we lost Ollie, we were both beyond devastated.  We knew we could never replace Ollie, but we missed having him around, and in time we knew we needed another bully in our lives.  I mean, you never realize how loud a bulldog is until their gone!  I missed his snoring so much!  In the months between Ollie & Howie, I did a lot of searching on bulldogs including health issues & cancers.  I searched on bulldog breeders, rescues, & adoptions.  I applied for rescues in other states, in our state & cried reading their stories.  

After a couple months with no leads, I was frustrated.  Why were there no puppies for us?  There were so many rescues, but no matches for us.  How come?  Well, I know this sounds weird, but I finally asked Ollie for his help.  I told him, "Ok Little Dude, it's up to you!  I'll let you pick out our next bully."  And then it happened....

One afternoon in September 2007, my mother-in-law had gone to a local pet food store & called me saying she had saw a business card with bulldogs on it posted on the community board for a breeder 3 hours north of us (we found out later that a friend of her's had just placed the card there that week).  She didn't know if there were puppies available, but she gave me the name & number & urged me to call or at least check to see if they had a website.  I did a search & sure enough...there was a website.  While searching the site, I couldn't believe my eyes...they were expecting a litter within a month!!

Well, I immediately emailed & inquired about the upcoming litter.  I explained that we were interested in getting a puppy, but of course understood the chance of getting a puppy of this litter was not realistic.  When I received the reply I was told it was not known how many puppies they were expecting, that there were already some families lined up but that they did want to know more about us because it's important to make sure the puppy & family are the perfect fit.  

During the next few weeks we emailed quite a bit.  Then one day, we got an email saying that 5 puppies were born!  About a week later we knew that we were getting one of the two boys!  After the puppies were 3 weeks old, we got to visit the puppies....when we walked in we were told which was our Howie!  He was the sweetest thing!  We got to see the puppy room & Howie's momma.  It was a great experience!!  I even got to bottle feed him!

Having a great relationship with the breeder prior to Howie's arrival at our home really made us feel like we were a part of his first 8 weeks.  It was great to receive emails almost daily on how the pups were doing & getting the photos were so fun!  

I thank Ollie everyday for bringing Howie into our lives!  He's now 3 years old & is still working off his all puppy all the time stage!! He LOVES everyone!!  As a puppy he had so much energy I enrolled him in a puppy agility class & he impressed the instructors.  Hey, bulldogs CAN do agility!  He loves playing with Vivian & Doc, but can easily keep himself entertained for hours!  He's such a sweet boy with a great temperament!  He does need a job though, so we'll be hitting the rally obedience ring soon.

Howie was never going to be a replacement for Ollie, but he has definitely found his place in our hearts!  He's our original monkey & we love him to pieces!  

And just all started with a little card at a pet food store!

Howie Updates 

June 2009:
Howie had cruciate (ACL) surgery in June 2009.  We chose to do the basic cruciate surgery versus the TPLO or TTA surgeries.  It was a hard decision to make, but we did our research & are very happy with trying the much less invasive basic cruciate repair than the cutting of the bone & metal implant of the TPLO or the TTA surgeries. 

He is just at the beginning stages of his recovery & doing well so far.  He has been doing 5 min slow walks since 2 days after the surgery & has even put his tippy toe down while on his walk which is great!  Surprisingly my "always on the go" bully has taken to his confinement & rehab in stride.  We still have quite a bit of recovery time ahead of us, but taking it one day at a time.

October 2009:
Most of Howie's summer was dedicated to his ACL recovery.  He was the perfect bully patient; always enjoying time in his space & never trying to overdo his activity...which was really surprising to us.  I really thought his recovery process was going to be stressful since he was always the one bully that you could find running from one side of the room to the other.  Not sure if it was age (he turned 2 in September) or if the neutering done in March finally kicked in, but he really has mellowed out quite a bit.

His fur is still trying to grow back, which is kind of crazy since it's been over 4 months, but we've just gotten used to it.  His rehab went really well & he took to the walking, stretching, pushing & pulling all in stride.  One thing that has changed about him is that he's now a cuddler...he never used to be & now if you're sitting on the couch, he's very likely to join you!  It's great!

We do continue to monitor his activity, don't want him to get too crazy or do any damage to any of his legs.  One ACL surgery & recovery is enough for any bulldogger AND bulldog to go through in my opinion!!
February 2010: 
Howie had his first annual exam since his ACL surgery in June 2009.  EVERYTHING looks great...other than his hair still not growing back all the way yet!  It's growing back, but I would have thought it would fully be back by now.  Dr Jim said Howie's legs look great & his muscle mass has improved quite a bit since the last time he saw him!  Yay!  Now...if we could only get that hair to grow back!

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