Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fall fun on Fernandina Beach!

Why is Island dog peering over his shoulder?

Maybe he's looking out for Halloween spooks:

Island Dog loves trick-or-treaters. I'm sure he can't wait for the big day!

Life is always great on the Island!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Long overdue update

Summer flew by. This is Pat. I'm Island Dog's voice. I underwent a bone marrow transplant this summer at the University of Iowa Hospital. I spent some time back home, but now I'm back in Iowa for a second go-round.

It's good news: I'm undergoing a second (tandem) transplant because the first one worked so well--it just didn't get all of my cancer. 

Pattie is back home with Finnegan. Her Sister, Mary, and brother-in-law, Tom, are staying with her to help.

I'm told the weather is perfect. Finnegan sits by the door, waiting for me to come home. But grab the leash and all bets are off! Here's a picture of Island Dog tracking a gopher tortoise or some other dune dwelling creature:

I miss our boy--and our Calypso Kitties, too. But my doctor is very positive about my prognosis. I should be walking with Finnegan on the beach real soon.

I can't think of a better place to recuperate.

Life is always great on the Island!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Island Dog is back!

We promised to post pictures of Island Dog's recovery.  We almost lost him!

Here's an excerpt from a blog post I ran about him on, along with pictures:

Our Island Dog, Finnegan, almost died last week.  Most likely ate something toxic on one of our beach walks.

Finnegan has always “prospected” for food on our walks.  We try to pull him back on a short leash, but once he gets a hold of something he considers edible, good luck getting it away.  We could tell he wasn’t feeling well, and took him in late last week.  Finnegan was running a fever and his liver values were so high, the vet’s in-house equipment couldn’t record it.  So they sent blood work out and it came back at almost 6000; high value in the normal range is only 120!


Three days on antibiotics and IV fluids and hopefully he’s turned the corner.  He got to come home over the weekend, along with a big bag full of doggie meds and special food.  So far, so good.

Our Vet, Dr. MacKenzie Easom, did a wonderful job, coming in late to check on him and probably saving Finnegan’s life.

 Image result for Dr. MacKenzie Easom


Finnegan remains on a modified diet.  He’s taking meds to help cleanse his liver and help his spleen function more efficiently.  Toss in three different antibiotics and the poor guy is taking more pills than I do.   He’s lost a lot of weight, but considering Island Dog is almost 12, we think he’s doing great!

Finnegan is the last of a dozen or more rescued dogs Pattie and I have embraced over the years.  At one point we had 8 adopted sled dogs.  We would each harness up four dogs and hit the trails.  At the time we lived an hour or so south of Lake Superior in what they call the snow belt.  It seemed like winter never ended.  I remember one year it snowed November 3rd (we were ecstatic) and there was still ice on our lake and snow on the ground until the end of April.

During our compressed spring, summer and fall (leaves often had fallen off trees by the first or second week in October) we would use three wheeled carts to take the dogs.  They were all between three and five years old when we rescued them.  Never thought about them all getting old at the same time.

All but one lived at least 12 years, pretty good for large dogs.  Finnegan was our only “not husky or husky mix.”  We took him in as a favor to a friend.  What a great decision!

I’d post some family pictures, but they were all taken using old fashioned film and aren’t digital.  We had a lot of fun back then; living in a cedar sided dome home on 30 acres out in the middle of the woods.  Pattie was battling cancer part of the time–and we never had enough money–but it didn’t seem to matter.  Seems like a lifetime ago...

I wrote that over two weeks ago.  Finnegan spent four days in the hospital, then came home with us to continue his recovery.  We're pleased to report that Island Dog is back to his old self!  We're already having trouble keeping his nose out of potentially toxic situations.

Great news like this makes it easy to see why,

Life is always great on the Island!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring Update: Plenty of drama!

Finnegan wants to apologize for not posting on his site more often.  He's been busy supervising the construction end game on our new home on Fernandina Beach, taking care of me and taking walks along the beach; the reason Island Dog moved here in the first place.

To review, Island Dog is Finnegan's blog handle. My name is Pattie Killingsworth.  My husband, Pat, and I are to blame for not helping Finnegan post more often.  Even though most all construction is complete, I started a new job, too.  And as many of you know, Pat has a form of bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma.  He relapsed just before we moved.  His care takes a lot of time; Island Dog and his herd of rescued calypso kitties have been pitching in.

We normally share a lot of pictures here.  Pat and I will do that in a day or two.  But we wanted to let you know that Finnegan has been very sick.  He ate something he shouldn't have on one of his beach walks, and he was just released from the hospital after a long, three day stay.

Pat is also sick.  He's on a new, three drug chemotherapy schedule that's hard on his white blood counts.  He's been running a fever--a very serious thing for a cancer patient during therapy who's relapsed four times.

But things are looking up!  Island Dog is the editor of his site.  He's feeling good enough to review photo options for our next post.

 So Finnegan wanted to remind everyone that life often throws us curve balls.  But scary medical news or not:

Life is always great on the Island!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Construction nears the end. Island Dog will miss the action. But how about the dust?

Yesterday I explained why Island Dog has been out of touch.  We posted some pictures of renovations we've been working on outside on our new Amelia Island home.  Let's jump inside for a moment, before seeing the eye popping construction of our over-sized pool enclosure.

Remember the screen porch?  As I wrote, we added windows and a new door.  Pattie was so excited she wanted to get a nice floor down right away.  So her brother-in-law, Tom, and I needed to jack up the floor first:

Finnegan is always supervising.  Pattie decides to lend a helping hand:

The floor looked so good, we decided to upgrade the walls and ceilings, too.  Then we removed the old slider and opened up the room to the main house:

Fun!  Pattie handled the island decor.  Time to move back outside and check out construction of the pool enclosure, or cage, as I call it:


I should have taken more.  Next step, finishing the interior of the pool.  So one week later:

Again, I should have taken more pictures.  I thought I had; cage installers tight roping beams and attaching cross braces and screen.  I think I stopped because I was in the way.

Admittedly, this type of instruction is beyond Island Dog's pay grade.  But he was there to help out throughout the heavy construction, too.

Here are some pictures of the finished project.  Landscaping still needs to be started.  But we're swimming and the cats have their outdoor paradise.  Note a variety of plants and grasses that Pattie left out for them in pots at the far end:

You can see the finished porch in the second photo.  And if you carefully view the third, you'll notice my reflection in the slider glass taking the shot.  Also, note the sight line through the home and out the front door.  Turn that around and that was the guiding vision that Pattie and I had when we purchased the home; a long, fun and colorful view of pool stretching as someone walks in the front door.

We learned that when you try and do something like this on a tight budget, it doesn't always turn out like you wanted.  Things morph and change along the way.  Sometimes for the better; sometimes not.  But that long pool view was the cornerstone of our plan and it turned out just like we hoped.

We added sliding screen panels across the garage door so the cats can see out.  The neighbor feeds peanuts to squirrels; the cats line up each evening to watch the show!  They have so much more room here than in Weeki Wachee.  Of course, a neighborhood stray has already found us and become part of the family, becoming rescued calypso kitty number seven.

Always room for one more?  Let's hope not--although rumor has it Finnegan is looking for a wife!

Life is always great on the Island!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Island Dog starts his new life on Fernandina Beach!

Not to worry; Island Dog is alive and well, living with Pat, Pattie and a half dozen rescued calypso kitties at our newly renovated house on Amelia Island.

Island Dog (Finnegan) has been helping Pat finish the house, after an old back injury acted up, making it too hard for ou general contractor to complete the project.

Pattie helped.  So did our brother-in-law, Tom, a retired roofing contractor who's been driving over from the Gulf Coast to work a few days at a time.

There is still some landscaping and smaller projects to complete, but most of the work is done.  Next project is to repair and complete an old fence so Island Dog can roam the grounds and explore the surroundings untethered.

Pattie is working at the dialysis clinic on the Island.  Despite relapsing for a third time, Pat is still writing and speaking at multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) events.

Is all of this a good enough excuse for not posting all summer?  Finnegan doesn't think so!

Time to catch up.

We live in Fernandina Beach, a town on the south side of the Island.  Our home is a short, three block walk to the beach; we can hear the breakers from our front deck.

The exterior of the house was in pretty good shape.  An awesome new tin roof really sets off the beachy bungalow look.  But the house didn't have a pool, so the plan was to add a big pool in the back of the house, taking advantage of the big picture windows and sliding glass doors in back.

Of course, adding a pool creates a big mess. But with Island Dog supervising, what could go wrong?

Lots of rain, misunderstanding and late delivery of pavers for our pool deck delayed completions of the pool by over 3 months.  It should have been finished by June when we moved; we swam for the first time in late September.  Delays like this don't show up on HGTV!


Note the screened in porch.  Island Dog came up with a great idea, suggesting adding windows and making it a real part of the house.  We were careful to use original openings and keep structure intact to avoid permit issues. I'll post some shots of the interior a bit later.

Six weeks late, paver crew did an awesome job with pool deck:

Our septic backed up into the house after workers ignored my instructions and drove their heavy machinery over the pipe leading to the septic field. Here's a shot of them fixing it, two weeks later.  We could only use our toilets--and showers--part of the time.  Are we having fun yet?


But with Finnegan's help (He's a great digger!) things started to come together.  I'll share some interior shots in another post tomorrow.  Yes, tomorrow; not six months from now!  Sorry, Island Dog!  Moving, renovation delays, Pattie starting a new job and an unexpected cancer relapse can be so inconvenient!

Island Dog wanted me to close with pictures that reminds us that it's all worthwhile:

Never forget: 

Life is always great on the Island!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Exciting Easter News!

Has it really been since January since Island Dog ran a post?  Sorry about that!

Our boy has been busy.  We have some exciting news: our family is moving to Amelia Island!

It's true!  Island Dog is really going to be living on an island!  Pattie and I bought a "fixer" (home that needs lots of work) on a half acre lot, filled with huge oaks covered in hanging moss.  And it's only a short walk to the beach.

One reason we bought the home; dogs are allowed to walk on the beach everywhere on the island.  It's a very dog friendly neighborhood.  Finnegan is very excited!  So are the kitties; we're adding an extra large pool cage.  It will double as the world's largest cattery!

More about the move as moving day approaches.  This post is about Easter.  Of course we took pictures of "T," the giant manatee at Homosassa Springs State Park.  It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the mid 70's:

Our home in Weeki Wachee is near the beach on Pine Island.  It's picturesque, but very small.  Amelia Island is over 20 miles long; a real community.  Island Dog has hit the big time!  A reminder that:

Life is always great on the Island!