Friday, December 15, 2006

Reyna's Seizures (Update)

I don't think I've mentioned this here (although I'm sure I've told some of you), and I know its a bit delayed, but then again, so are most of my posts... This has been on my mind a good bit the last few days for some reason, so I figured I'd toss it out. Reyna started having seizures back in September. The vet thought she was having partial seizures (as opposed to Grand Mal), but had no idea why they'd started. Then, in early November, they went away. The vet thinks that the stress of all my business traveling was what set them off. Since my last trip was in late October, he figures it just took her a bit to believe I was staying home and for her stress level to go down. Granted, I traveled a lot between April and September, but usually no more than 3 or 4 days a month. In September, I was gone for an entire week, and then October was freakishly insane. Even though Uncle John was staying over - which I thought would be less stressful (not to mention less expensive) than boarding - its not the same as having Mom at home. And Reyna has always been a Mama's Girl. So, periodically, I think of all this and feel like a horrible person. After all, how many people can say they gave their dog seizures? And I find that, as I contemplate various options for my future, I'm factoring that in to my decision-making process. Maybe I shouldn't, I don't know. But I do know I would have a very hard time taking a position that comes with a lot of traveling built in, knowing that it could easily cause my baby girl significant health problems.

Duncan, of course, was totally oblivious to the fact that I was gone.

Friday, December 08, 2006

This Is What Frightens My Dog

The other morning, I let the dogs out the front to walk to the mailbox. Reyna was all the way to the edge of the yard before she saw The Scary Things. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her skid to a halt like that…. Reyna had her hackles up and was barking at the bags before Duncan even realized something was wrong. As soon as he did, though, his hackles were up and he was barking, too. They spent about five minutes sniffing and running around the bags. When we went out this morning, the bags were still there, so Reyna immediately ran over to check them out. Hackles up the whole time, of course. And Duncan decided he really would rather just walk with Mom....

Picture Time

This is one of the portraits John and I had taken right before Thanksgiving. These are the first professional pictures of the two of us since I was a year old.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

She Who Runs With Sharp Objects

Reyna has once again proven that she is, indeed, my child. This morning, she cut her nose on her soccer ball. Yes, she was cut by a round object. The ball has a few holes in it, courtesy of her obsession with the ball, and it stayed outside all night. Apparently, frost makes soccer ball edges very sharp. We were outside playing for a few minutes before work this morning, and I saw blood on the ball the second time she brought it back. I figured she’d bitten her tongue, because she’s done that before. But, no. She’d actually managed to slice the top of her nose open with the edge of the hole. Only Reyna...

It's Totally Totaled

John and I spent most of the day before Thanksgiving dealing with our little fender-bender and trying to get back home. Oddly enough, the fender is the only part of my car currently in my garage, and that will last only until I get my check. The adjuster called last Thursday to tell me they’ve decided to total the car. Thankfully. So, if the bank ever cooperates (apparently, they’re being grumpy for some reason), the insurance company will pay off the remaining loan and then send me what’s left of the money. And there’s enough that I am quite happy they’re totaling the car. Once I get the money, I’ll turn in my tag, cancel the insurance, and call it a day. I still have the pup-wagon, so I’m not going to stress over getting another vehicle any time soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

He's a Ruff 'n' Tuff Pup

I’m so proud of my boy...he showed his protective side in the last preagility class. There’s a crazy border collie (is that redundant?) in class, and he was taking his turn going through a series of obstacles. He ran out of the chute towards another dog, who fiercely protected her toy. That growl sent him veering away from her, straight toward me. To my great surprise, Duncan popped up like somebody’d poked him in the butt and lunged at the border collie. If I’d not grabbed his scruff - and if the border collie hadn’t shown some intelligence and immediately turned the other direction - Duncan might actually have made contact. The official response, of course, is “Bad dog. We don’t do that.” But the real response is “Good boy! Mommy’s so proud of you for protecting her! That’s my good Dunkin-punkin!”

Friday, November 10, 2006

Duncan's First Routine

Duncan performed his first canine freestyle routine last night - it was required for him to pass the class. And he did a wonderful job. He did so well, in fact, that we're entering the WCFO video competition later in December. We'll clean the routine up a bit, find appropriate clothes for me, and submit an entry. I'm so proud of him!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Sign That I Definitely Need Some Time Off....

Last night, I got home from work about an hour and a half late, which usually isn’t too bad, but it was dark and cold and I was grumpy. So I put on my usual after-work attire – sweats and slippers. I’ve been really sleepy lately, and I think its because my Tegratol (John calls them my “Death Meds”) dose has been doubled, and these are extended release, which is probably why I’m feeling it more in the afternoon and early evening. I didn’t doze on the couch last night, but I did come close to it. I realized about 8:45 that Reyna has managed to lick another hole in her tail, so I made a point of staying awake so I could keep her from messing with it.

But on to why I need time off... When I was getting ready for bed last night, I wanted my slippers next to the bed, because those Pergo floors are freaking cold in the morning (no rugs yet, because I keep picturing the cats horking up all over them and can’t bring myself to spend the money) and I like to put on my slippers before my poor feet hit those nasty cold floors. The last place I remembered seeing them was by the foot of the bed, so I looked around the bed, under the afghan, and then got down on the floor and looked under the bed. No slippers. I looked in the closet. Twice. No slippers. I was getting really annoyed, asking the cats what they’d done with my slippers. I even checked the bathroom. No slippers. As I was headed back to the closet to check one more time, I head a noise that made me look down. Lo and behold, I found my slippers! ON MY FEET. Sigh.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Some Days, I Really Hate Being Right....

There are times when I do things that I know I shouldn’t do on my own. Today was one of those times. I’m working on cleaning up the garage so that I can get my car in there, and one of the ways I decided to increase my space is to hang the dog crates on the walls. One of the garage walls is unfinished, so instead of sheet rock, its just the bare studs, and the occasionally sharp, pointy nail still sticking out. There are 4 crates – 2 big and 2 travel, and hanging them is a good idea. So, I went to Lowe’s and got some big hooks to screw into the studs. I measured the crates, figured out the best way to hang them, and put the hooks in the studs (thanks again, Brian, for the laser level).

This is the point where I told myself that I really should wait for John to get here tomorrow so I’d have help getting the crates on the higher hooks. I knew I’d have trouble getting those heavy things up high enough on my own. And *this* is the point where I told myself, what the heck, you don’t know what you can do til you try. So, I set the ladder up in front of the wall, got up on the second step, and managed to get the crate up to where it was propped on my leg. And I tried, I really did, to get the thing high enough, but even I knew I was pushing it to go up another step on the ladder. After several attempts, I decided that I was right, I needed to wait for help, and that my best course was to get the crate back on the floor without damaging it or doing something really bad, like rupturing another disc in my back.

Well, the trip down didn’t go quite as smoothly as the trip up. As I was stepping down, I slipped, and started to fall forward. I had a quick flash that, if I dropped the crate, I was in a prime position to catch myself on one of those exposed nails, which would be a bad thing. Unfortunately, trying to hold on to the crate didn’t help much, either. My foot came off the ladder, the ladder slid backwards, and I went down. Backwards, which meant no nails, but which also meant no way of stopping myself. When the dust settled, I was on the floor on my hip, hoping I’d not broken my wrist. I hit it on something, the ladder, the garage door supports, the crate, who knows? It’s swollen and purple in a few areas, but it still works. My hip is purple in a few spots, too, and I have a feeling it’ll be sore for a day or two. I thumped my knee on something, and my back has decided that it is also upset with me. No ruptured discs, just very grumpy.

I’ll be fine in a day or two, but the worst part isn’t the actual falling. Its that I’d already given up. Not that I have an interest in falling on cement floors, but I’d rather have done it while I was still thinking I might succeed, when it would have been a real “told you so.” Falling after admitting defeat really is just insult to injury.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Poor Girl Just Can’t Catch A Break

Reyna’s having a rough time these days. On the up side of things, her tail is beautiful again, she’s off the puppy prozac, and the aspirin seems to be keeping her hip pain to a tolerable level most days. On the way down side, though, she’s now having seizures. The only part of her that shakes is her head. The first time I saw it, I thought for a second she was rubbing her chin on the floor to scratch an itch, but that wasn’t it. She lays down on the floor in a sprawled position, not one she would normally use, and her head twitches and shakes back and forth between her front paws. She looks at me the whole time – at least her eyes are looking in my direction. I’ve not tried moving around to see if she can follow me. The seizure usually last about a minute to a minute and a half, and then she lays still for a bit, and then shifts position to get more comfortable. I’ve seen 4 in the last month, which is apparently enough for the vet to be very concerned (especially since I’ve been gone almost two weeks of the last month). Based on my description, he thinks they are partial seizures, and not something like epilepsy. He wants me to videotape the next one, so I have my camera on the kitchen counter, all charged up. Once he see the tape and decides if what he heard me say and what he sees match up, he’ll decide where we go from there. Most likely, the first step will be a complete round of blood tests, to see if they can find a problem. If not, who knows? I’m hoping that, for some freakish reason, the combination of prozac, aspirin, and glucosamine are what set these off. That’s highly unlikely, but it’d be nice if that was it, since she’s all done with the prozac. Just another wait-and-see sort of thing...

It’s Official…

Duncan really is part pony. He weighed in at a whopping 101.5 pounds Wednesday (and he's only 15 months old). The vet thinks his hips are okay, but he couldn’t really tell, because Duncan was fighting him the whole time. He said that, if they are bad, they’re surrounded by a huge amount of muscle, so there won’t be any trouble with them, anyway. I’m not sure, but I think he was saying that Duncan is really strong...

We're famous! Sort of....

Check out February, and then tell Jeff what great pictures he takes.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Newest Canine Good Citizen

September 13 (yes, once again, I am a slacker), Duncan took and passed his Canine Good Citizen test. He is officially a Good Dog. Of course, everyone who knows him already knew he was a good boy, but now he has a certificate to prove it. What’s really neat is that, since he’s AKC registered, his certificate has his full name: D’Can’s Dark Warrior Dreaming. Passing this test means that he can now take specialty classes, so he started canine freestyle two weeks ago (we missed orientation the first week and class this week because of my business travel), and he’s signed up for Pre-Agility, which starts later this month. And no, he’s not going to do Agiliy, at least not until he’s full grown, and most likely not even then. But the Pre-Agility class will help build his confidence and get him used to going over, around, under, and through new obstacles. And considering how cowed he is around Reyna, he needs every confidence-builder he can get...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Drugs Really *Are* Your Friend

I started Reyna on one buffered aspirin twice a day on Thursday. The difference is amazing. She’s hopping up and down off the couch again, chasing the birds out of the back yard again, and being more playful (and less snotty) with Duncan. I know that, eventually, two aspirins a day won’t ease the pain anymore, and we’ll have to go up to the next level of pain killers. But you know what? I’m so happy to have my girl back that I’m not even worried about that. We’ll deal with it when we get there.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reyna's Hips

For the last two months or so, I’ve noticed that Reyna has been having trouble getting in the truck and that she’s been limping occasionally. She even yelped once when she crouched to potty. When I asked the vet about it, he said it was probably just a pulled muscle, because she was acting fine otherwise. I didn’t particularly agree with that, but hey, what do I know? I’m no vet, I’m just the person that lives with the dog every day.

This past weekend, the issue finally came to a head. Reyna fell out of the truck twice because she couldn’t get in far enough. She was having trouble getting off the floor, and moving very stiffly (although it would smooth out after she’d been up for a bit). Marie noticed her limping, too. When she was running circles in the yard – one of her favorite activities – she would occasionally fall down, because her back leg would give out. She was also favoring whichever leg was inside the circle, and she was bunny hopping. So, Monday I called the vet and managed to squeeze in an afternoon appointment.

When we got to the vet’s office, she was just as excited and crazy as always. The exam, though, put a quick end to that. He extended her left back leg first, and she immediately started crying, whining, and trying to get away. When he extended her right leg, she lost it, yelping and crying and struggling. When he messed with her back, though, she just stood there, looking around the room. The vet said he felt some crackling in her hips, which was a potential sign of arthritis. He said he needed to get x-rays, and would need her on her back. I pointed out he’d need to sedate her for that, so we scheduled the x-rays for Tuesday morning. Before we left, he said it could be a back injury (doubtful), or just arthritis (also doubtful).

Tuesday morning, the x-rays showed just how bad the hip dysplasia really is. The right hip is severe, the left is moderate. The bones of her right hip have already become deformed; the ball is flattened (mushroomed) out somewhat, the socket has flattened instead of curving around the ball, and there are several arthritic spurs. Her left hip isn’t quite as bad yet, with fewer spurs and less deformation. Neither hip has any cartilage left, though, and both balls are wedged into the sockets, so she’s running around rubbing bone on bone.

According to the vet, the level of treatment we provide now depends on Reyna. We’re starting with Glucosamine for a month, in hopes that it will rebuild some of the missing cartilage. He doesn’t want to put her on pain killers just yet, because she’ll be on them forever, just at different levels. I think I’m going to over-ride that decision today, because she’s so clearly in pain. When my tough, stoic girl limps and yelps, there’s a lot of pain involved. Depending on how quickly the dysplasia progresses, its very likely that she’ll need a hip replacement – we just don’t know when. So, to help offset the cost, I’ve started a savings account specifically for that. For now, we’re having to restrict some of our more strenuous activities, which are, of course, her favorites. I guess it’s a good thing that its hot and we don’t live near any really tough hiking trails, since that’s something we both enjoy. She’ll never be able to be part of a SAR team, because her hips won’t tolerate that type of activity – long hours and generally rough terrain. I’m checking a couple of places this weekend to see about swimming, since that’s the best exercise for her. With luck, we’ll be able to find the right level of treatment to keep her pain free for as long as possible.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m late.

I turned 30 last Thursday, and while I know that’s supposed to be a milestone, it really doesn’t feel any different than 25 or 28. I guess that’s actually a good sign, since I’m not stressing over being “old” or still single at 30.

Lots happened over my birthday weekend – new floors in most of the house, several projects completed, etc. But the best part of my birthday was my friends. They got together, gave me a party, and sent me to the spa for a day. Huge thanks to Marie and Natalie, who had the stressful part of the whole thing – the planning and coordinating. They did loads of work, making sure the decorations were great, everyone knew what was happening where and when, and setting up the group gift. And during all of this, they managed to keep a good bit of the specifics a secret. Very impressive.

The party was at my place, which I thought was great, because I didn’t have to go anywhere. And while I love the fact that it gave me the push I needed to finish a few inside projects, John may not have been as excited about that. But he survived the experience, and that’s what matters.

Lots of folks came, we had beautiful decorations, the food was great, the dogs were thrilled, Reyna fell in love again with baby Brianna, the “gentle roast” was fun, Brian got lots of photos, and the loose balloon didn’t destroy the fan. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.

Drugs Are Your Friend

Reyna’s puppy prozac kicked in about 2 weeks after she started taking it. I noticed it one evening, all of a sudden. There wasn’t a gradual change – one day she was insane, the next, she was relaxing in front of the couch. Its amazing. She still loves to play, and she still spins and chases her tail, but its not as frequent or as constant. She’s been a bit snottier with Duncan, but now that I know what else is going on with her (see Reyna’s Hips), I tend to think at least some of the snottiness is because she’s in pain. And that’ll make anyone grumpy.

The changes have been holding steady for a bit over a week now, and I’m still amazed every evening. If I settle down on the couch or in the office, she’ll spin for a minute or two, watch me for a bit to see if I’m getting up, and then she’ll lay down. I’m pretty sure she’s not napping, and she’s quick to hop up if I start to move, but otherwise, she just relaxes. Its great. I asked the vet if I could keep her like this for the rest of her life, and he said that if we found a nice, low dose where she still has her drive but isn’t totally nuts, he’s okay with it. As far as I can tell, nothing about her personality has changed except for her ability (and willingness) to just relax. I really like this.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lock Me Up and Throw Away the Key

Its official – I am, however unintentionally, a baby bird killer. Would that be negligent aviacide or birdslaughter?

A small bird has been nesting in my dryer vent for most of the summer, which was fine. I would periodically check it, though, to make sure it wasn’t blocking the air flow. This Saturday I checked it and realized that there was a lot more debris in the vent and that it was blocking the air flow. And as much as I’m willing to help a bird in need, I’m not keen on the idea of my dryer getting messed up because the vent wasn’t working properly. I started pulling out some of the debris, and a nest popped out suddenly. There were five eggs in it, so I put the nest back in the vent, but not the rest of the debris, and I hoped that Mama would be okay with the new setup and not all upset that some human had been messing with her nest.

Sunday, John came over and we did laundry. When we went outside to play with the dogs, we realized that the air in the vent had pushed the nest out. Sadly, two of the eggs were broken. It never occurred to me that all the other debris was there just to keep the nest in place. I now have the nest – and the remaining three eggs – in one of my plant baskets outside, so it will get the warmth and hopefully be protected from any predators that might want to snack on little bird eggs. With any luck, these three weren’t horribly damaged in the fall and will actually manage to hatch. I’ll deal with the feeding and releasing to the wild issues later...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tail Tips

My poor Reyna has a wound on the end of her tail that just will not heal. Of course, the reason it won’t heal is because she won’t leave it alone. You’d think she would, because it appears to hurt when she bites down on it, but oh, no, not her.

We went through the first round of antibiotics over a month ago, along with bandaging the end of her tail. The wound was starting to heal, and then she tore the skin off of it. So we started round two of antibiotics, as well as a round of prednisone in case there was itchiness that was making her chew on it, along with bandaging the tail again. As far as I can tell, all the prednisone did was make her eat every scrap of food she could find, including Duncan’s, and the antibiotics made her feel bad. But the wound looked like it was healing again. Then one afternoon, I noticed a couple of small cuts under the injured spot. And the next day, she ripped the skin off again. So what was a nickel size injury is now a nickel with three cuts below it and a gouge running from the top over it across the top of her tail.

And thus began round three of antibiotics, more bandaging, and the added bonus of puppy prozac. My dog has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (just as a side note, my regular doctor thinks Reyna and I should stop drinking the water – I keep telling him I drink bottled and she drinks tap…). The vet said the puppy prozac shouldn’t change her personality, it should just help distract her from the OCDs. He also said it should take about two weeks to see a real difference, and we’re nearly there. So far, no difference. I’m supposed to call him this Friday with an update, and I have enough pills for two months, so we’ll see.

On top of all this, about six weeks ago she suddenly became very hesitant to jump in the truck. When I realized it was happening every time, I started stressing that now that she’s two, her hips are going bad. The afternoon of August 3 (the same day we went to the vet to get her prozac), she actually fell out of the truck while trying to get in it. Its been pitiful to watch her, because its so obvious that she’s scared to even try. The vet says it may just be a pulled muscle, which would be great, but how do you convince her that she really shouldn’t be chasing her soccer ball at full speed? I’ve seen her limp a few times and show other signs of injury, but she’s not consistent. Most of the time, she acts like she’s just fine. Of course, this is the same dog that didn’t indicate she’d nearly cut off the tip of her tail, and then when I was messing with it, didn’t react at all until I accidentally folded it in a direction it wasn’t supposed to go. And even then, her only reaction was to turn and look at me.

So, anyway, we’re going to try and heal the tail. Again. And then we’ll deal with the potential hip issue. And then I’ll ask for a pay raise so I can pay off the medical bills.

Hippy Hippy Shake

On August 2nd, Duncan and I went to the German Shepherd Club meeting, as we try to do every month. This month’s speaker was a vet from the NCSU Vet School, who specializes in orthopedic problems in dogs. His talk was on osteoarthritis in dogs of all ages, which, while interesting, really isn’t relevant to this particular post.

Duncan was up and down throughout the talk, visiting with folks and trying his hardest to get to a female dog that he likes. Apparently, the vet’s assistant was watching him, and she thought he was having trouble getting up and down, so she asked if I would let the vet look at his back legs. I’m always up for a free hip exam, so I agreed. Duncan’s breeder heard, and she immediately started insisting that he was perfectly fine, just hadn’t grown into his back legs. Which I tend to agree with.

So, the vet watched him trot and then did a quick manual exam of his hips – took maybe a minute. He then announced that Duncan has a disease called genu valgum. He said its mild now, and it might stay mild, or it could cripple him. No way to know without tests. He also said its been a relatively recent discovery in dogs, for vets to recognize it for what it is and diagnose it. A cat scan would apparently prove it, but wouldn’t necessarily show the extent. And for those that are scratching their heads and saying “ge-what?”, genu valgum results in a look that is similar to knock-knees, but instead of the knees coming straight together, the hip is rotated in to some degree. Its caused by a bone growing longer on one side than the other, and the only way to correct it is major surgery that involves cutting out the longer bone, pinning everything together, weeks of recovery, and lots of rehab. Somehow, I don’t think its particularly inexpensive…

While the vet is telling me all of this, the breeder is insisting that everything is fine, he just hasn’t finished growing. Of course, what set her off is that the vet said genu valgum is hereditary. So she’s naturally stressing over the potential for issues with Duncan’s littermates, the litter before his from the same parents, and how to find out which parent might have this gene. The vet also mentioned this might be why Duncan has trouble getting into the truck, although I’m more inclined to think that’s just laziness. But who knows?

After the meeting, I looked genu valgum up on the internet. I found a few articles about it in humans, but nothing much about it in dogs. Since I was at my regular vet’s office the next day, I asked him about it. He’d never heard of it, but he said that this vet is basically God’s gift to canine orthopedics, and that if this vet were to look at his dogs for even 45 seconds (never mind the whole minute Duncan got) he’d take anything he said as the gospel. He did say that he’d probably wait til Duncan is 2 years old and full grown before getting a cat scan, since they would be able to determine the severity a bit better then. So that’s what we’ll do. Sigh.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mycroft!

My sweet Mikey is 6 years old today. His first few months with the family were a bit difficult for various reasons, but he grew up to be a good natured, affectionate boy. Happy birthday, Mikey!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What Am I Thinking??

Clearly, I feel a need to punish myself for something. Not only am I working on my MBA, but I just enrolled in a 6-month compliance certification program. Granted, the company is paying for it completely and it will most likely boost me up a pay grade and title, but still... Unfortunately, there will be some unavoidable overlap between the certification classes and the MBA classes. So, anyway, if you don’t see me much from, say, August to March, this is why:

Commerce/EAR 8/24 - 10/4
State/ITAR 10/5 - 11/15
Operations Management 11/7 - 12/18
Documentation 11/16 - 12/27
Project Management 1/9 - 2/19
Ethics 1/11 - 2/21
Final Exam TBD
Strategy Formulation & Implementation 3/13 - 4/23

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Home-grown Shredders

Duncan has developed the fun new talent of pulling papers out of my office trash can and scattering them throughout the house. I’m pretty sure Reyna showed him how to do this (and I know she participates in the scattering and shredding) because she used to do it as a puppy. The reason I’m assuming its Duncan pulling the papers out - and not Reyna – is because he will meander over to the trash can while I’m sitting at my desk and start rooting through it. He clearly hasn’t made the mental leap from being told “no” when he does that to the idea that maybe Mom would say “no” all the time. I hate to admit it, but its really kind of cute. I heard them happily ripping and shredding this morning, and I just didn’t have the heart to go fuss at them. And as long as its just trash from the trash can, I doubt I’ll get upset. Now, if that suddenly morphs into taking stuff off of my desk, we’re going to have a little chat. Reyna clearly thinks she’s ridiculously cute when she brings me a piece of paper. And she’s right, she is. They both just look so pleased with themselves……

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It's Not a Tumor

Mikey went to see the vet today to have a lump on his side checked. Doc was able to get a needle in it and suck out some of the ickiness (ew) and check it under the microscope. He said that it definitely wasn’t attached to anything, that he could move it around, and it was just inside the skin (again, ew). He also said that he’s seen that kind of lump a lot before, and it's never anything to worry about. Basically, it's all the crud that normally comes out of the pores, but the pores right there are blocked, and so all the crud is backed up. He said it could get bigger or smaller, it could go away and come back a year later, it could stay the same and never bother the cat, or it could become a huge irritant. He also said that if it gets very big – a size I don’t like looking at – he can lance it or even cut it off. Apparently, that’s almost always a cosmetic issue, and very rarely done because it's actually bothering the cat. So, yay! Mikey doesn’t have a tumor, or anything else really wrong with him. Just a few blocked pores. We can live with that.

Up on the Catwalk, Yeah...

The cats now have a way to get from the back of the house to the front still avoid the dogs. A catwalk was installed - through much hard work and cussing - over the 4th of July weekend. There are three platforms on the hall wall between my bedroom and the guest bathroom, and the actual platform starts over the guest bath doorframe. It runs along the hallway over the library and office, around the corner to the front door, and over to the wall separating the living room and kitchen. In the kitchen, it runs from one set of cabinets, across the bay window, to the other set of cabinets. There’s still a bit of cosmetic work to do, such as caulking and touch-up painting, but it is functional. I thought about painting it some fun colors, and then realized that would annoy me in less than a week. So, the boards match the color of the walls they’re mounted on.

Khar’pern has used it several times…she really seems to enjoy the idea of coming out for a stroll. Mikey is using it a good bit, too, but mostly so he can stay up high and watch everything. He hasn’t used it for a foray into the kitchen (or even out of the hallway) yet. The others aren’t using it, but I figure it’s a matter of time. Reyna and Duncan just don’t know what to make of it. Reyna was very excited to see a kitty strolling along above her, and Duncan just looked vaguely offended by the whole thing. What is really funny is that if someone talks to a cat, Reyna looks up now, instead of at the hall door.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Duncan!

My sweet puppy turned 1 year old Tuesday. He's getting to be such a big boy!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

News Flash

Gee, here's a shocker....second-hand cigarette smoke is bad. Who'd'a thunk it?

Friday, June 16, 2006

An Epileptic Mouth

The spiking pain on the right side of my head that has confounded doctors for two years finally has a name. I have been tested for temporal artery inflammation (and later told that was impossible – I was too young), had cat scans done on my sinuses, had my teeth checked and my eyes examined, taken antibiotics, endured repeated blood work for who-knows-what possible illness, been told “you get headaches” and given medicine that would eat my stomach if I took it for more than 6 weeks. And then one day, almost two months ago, I went to a new dentist. When I got there, I realized it was a woman I knew when I was teaching at the dance studio – she’d gotten married and changed her last name since then. After my cleaning and x-rays, she said she had no idea, but that I should go see an oral pathologist, and she gave me a referral to one in the area.

I saw the oral pathologist Wednesday. After two years of hearing “I dunno,” he had it pinpointed, diagnosed and explained in under 10 minutes. I love this man. Just knowing I’m not insane (about that, anyway) was a huge relief. The short version is that I have epilepsy in my mouth. The longer version is that I have a tic douloureux of the middle superior nerve bundle in the upper right soft palate. The easy version is that some nerves in my mouth have become exposed and cold temperatures trigger a seizure (the epilepsy connection) that sends a horrible spiking pain up the side of my head. But it can be fixed!!

There are some surgical options, which I’m not nutty about. I mean, really now, who wants to think of some doctor cutting open the roof of their mouth and pulling out nerve bundles??? There’s also radiation to kill the nerves, but doc says that’s not too reliable, that the relief period varies for everyone, but never lasts more than two years. So, first we’re going to try some medication, and my regular doctor will have to monitor the dosage and side effects, and I’ll have to have blood drawn periodically to make sure its not screwing up something else. The meds will basically raise the seizure threshold a good bit, so that it takes a much colder temperature to trigger an attack. Doc says I’ll be able to drink sweet tea and eat ice cream pain free, once we get the right dosage. I’ll probably be on these the rest of my life, but if they work, I’ll deal. And who knows, maybe they’ll come up with a less hideously invasive and yet more permanent solution.


Happy birthday to my sweet boy! He came from Mecklenburg County Animal Control, so I’m not totally sure of his age, but I picked June 15 as his birthday. Based on the information they had, Loki should be 8 this year.

No Talent Required

Reyna and I entered the Hand and Paw Pet Hospice “No Talent” Talent Show. We were supposed to do our freestyle routine, and were interviewed by a lady from the Chapel Hill News prior to the event. Thankfully, we didn’t get a lot of space in the article, because Reyna refused to perform. It was outside, hot, at 6:00pm (not her best time), with no significant shade. When we started, I got the opening move out of Reyna, and then she walked off. We tried again a few minutes later, and she wouldn’t even do the opener. She had absolutely no interest in doing anything but finding her brother and getting a drink of water in the shade. The coordinator gave me a “My Dog is Better Than Your Dog” t-shirt, anyway. She said she knew that if Reyna had actually done it, we’d have won easily. After all, the dog that won did nothing more that chase his soccer ball between his mom and dad. Next year, I’m going to enter her again, but her talent will be “Digging a hole in the water bucket.” I think we’ll be able to take the division with that.

The Video Taping

We did the video taping for the MDSA film festival a few weekends ago. It just wasn’t fated to go well. When we got to the Elk’s Lodge, the guy that was there didn’t know we were coming. And then it turned out that they’d had a wedding reception there the night before, but it hadn’t been cleaned up. So my good friends - who came to watch, not work – helped clean the place up. The guy who was working there didn’t even come help for more than a few minutes. We had to clear off and move tables, clean up the floor, and take down decorations. Poor Reyna followed me around for a while, and then I put a bowl of water for her, and she just stayed next to it. I had a feeling the distractions were going to be a bit much for her – after all, the place reeked of beer, there were chicken wings scattered around, and the remains of a roast in a tub on the bar. She also kept finding interesting tidbits on the floor.

Once we were ready to go, we tried it first without treats, doing the 1:30 version. I lost her attention so often, it was ridiculous. I always got her back, but it was easy to tell she was focused on everything but me. And the guy kept coming in and out of the little kitchen attached to the main room, snagging her attention every time he opened the door. So we tried it with treats, which meant we had to do the 2:30 version. It felt bad, but after watching it, I realized that even though she didn’t do everything I asked, and even though I forgot a couple of moves, there’s only three obvious times when I lost her. The biggest one was because I dropped a treat, and she found. The second time, we passed by the same spot, and she decided to double-check and make sure she hadn’t missed anything. The third time, she started to walk away from me, towards the kitchen, and I’m betting that’s when the guy decided to leave the room again. I gave it one more shot after that, but she was done. She did the opening “stick ‘em up” and then walked off the floor.

The funny thing was that I had more difficulty with the humans in the room than with the dog. There are parts on the video where, even though I specifically told everyone to be quiet, because there shouldn’t be talking on the tape, certain voices are very clear. Jeff got some spectacular pictures, though. And it was definitely a good learning experience for me. Of course, I was also glad to hear that several other people in the group had trouble getting their dogs to perform on video as well as they’d done in practice.

Our goal now is to really wean Reyna off of treats before the next film festival. I’m going to start listening to music again, and try and find another song I like, but I’m certainly not going to stress over working out a new routine for a while.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Its just too much...

I can't get over how much I love this picture...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

My animals bought me a Mother’s Day card. They pooled their allowance (raided my change jar), and their Uncle John picked it up at the store. After all, its not like one of them could just stroll into Hallmark and buy a card...

Artistic Pups

There was a Dog Painting Booth at the SPCA walk last weekend. Duncan went first, and then Reyna. Who knew they had so much artistic talent inside?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Final (hopefully) Back Update

On the upside, the physical therapist has released me, as I generally feel okay. On the downside, I still have to be very careful about my activities, as certain things will cause my back to hurt for a few days. For example, walking the dogs, which is great exercise, tends to upset my back – mostly because Duncan can’t walk next to Reyna without pulling. Mowing and weed-eating doesn’t feel particularly spiffy, either. The worst part is the sheer frustration of having to ask for help with something I was perfectly able to do just a few months ago.

I went to the neurosurgeon today for my follow-up, and he said everything looks great, but that I need to continue being very careful with my activities and keep up with the stretched the physical therapist gave me. He also wants me to start doing some light aerobics and regular exercise to help strengthen my back muscles (not to mention just generally get in shape). Doc said I don’t need to come back and see him unless I start having significant problems again.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Silly Puppy

Duncan was napping on the couch a little bit ago when he rolled and fell off. He landed with all four legs propped against the couch. Now, instead of getting up and moving, or acting like something was wrong, or even making himself more comfortable, he just looked around, closed his eyes, and went back to sleep.

CF #8

I just picked up Reyna’s performance collar. It’s a pink froufy thing made of different types of material. I think it’ll look cute on her, and I can coordinate my shirt to match. And one of the materials in her collar is a gingham, so we get that little bit of country in it, too.

We video the routine in two weeks, and I’m still not totally positive she’ll do everything without a fuss. I’m really banking on her love of performing. And her interest in the treats I’m going to put in my pockets. And the fact that she’ll be hungry, because I’m not giving her breakfast before we go. I really do think she’ll do fine. I just have to remember to not stress if she changes the routine halfway through (she has one place where she’s supposed to turn around me, but she likes to shoot under my legs instead). I’m pretty sure that, as long as she doesn’t just stop or walk off, we’ll look cute, no matter what. And the audience will clap, and that will make Reyna very pleased with herself.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wobbly Boy

Duncan weighed in at 92.5 pounds Friday, and the vet upped his full-growth estimate to 115 pounds. It’s a very good thing he’s so sweet natured. Especially since he likes to put peoples’ various body parts (like heads) in his mouth.

Anyway, while we were at the vet’s Friday, he voiced some concerns about Duncan’s back legs. He said that any vet or orthopedic doctor would watch him walk and assume he has horrible hip displaysia. After all, he should have grown out of the wobblies by now. When he walks, he criss-crosses his back legs. When he runs, they straighten out on their own. And when he trots, he has the cutest sashay. After manipulating Duncan’s hips, the vet said they felt okay. He said I should talk to the breeder about him, and might need to consider x-rays. Unfortunately, the cut off for any type of corrective surgery for hip displaysia is a year and a half. Duncan’s at 9 months, so there’s still time, but the vets can do more when the dog is younger. Of course, it could just be that Duncan has “sissy” hips.

I emailed the breeder this morning, and described Duncan’s legs. She said she’s had several large puppies that took longer growing into their back legs, just because they were so big. She also said that the sloped back makes it look worse than it is (but I’ve seen adults with steeper slopes than Duncan’s walking without the criss-cross motion). At any rate, its good to know that she’s not concerned about his legs. I am, however, a bit worried about this “growing into them” thing. After all, how much bigger is he going to get???

Friday, April 28, 2006

Two whole years...

As of the 24th (yes, I'm a few days late), I have been in this house for two years. Seems like it should be time to move again, doesn’t it? Don’t worry…I’m not planning to go anywhere. Its amazing to me that I’ve lived here that long, and that I don’t have to pack up and do it all over again anytime soon.

With the exception of grass (I don’t really have any – two big dogs will take care of that), the back yard is almost the way I want it. I’ve planted some more trellising plants along the fence, and I have some great flower beds and hanging plants. And most of them are safe from Duncan. The front yard is slowly coming along, with a couple of flower beds and a small tree that will hopefully do something this summer. There’s no good grass to speak of, thanks to the previous owners killing most of it and my slack self not replanting in the fall, but one of my coworkers promised to come over this fall and aerate, lime and fertilize.

I’m still working on a few touches inside, but I’m not as stressed over those as I was my first year here. Although, I probably need to get someone a bit more artistic than myself in here to stencil my hall door...I’m pretty sure I would mess that up. Now, if only I could decide what to do about my floors...

Belle and the Door

This is what Sam was thinking of (see comments on Belle's birthday post). When she was a kitten, Belle would jump from the floor to my dresser, and then on to my bedroom door. She would lay there, draped across the edge of the door, like it was the most comfortable spot around.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mirabelle

Mirabelle will be 9 years old on Sunday. She came to me during the summer of 1997, after I returned from England. Belle has been a wonderful cat all these years, very sweet and affectionate, and definitely a Mama’s Girl. She hates the dogs - actually rode Reyna once - but has come to accept (eventually) all of the other cats that live with us. No matter what, tho, she maintains her position of honor as Head Cat, and is the only one allowed to sleep snuggled up to my chest.

Happy birthday to my sweet Belle. May we share many more years.

CF #7

Two lessons ago, Reyna wasn’t particularly interested in working. That’s understandable, we all have our off days. She was really balking on her spins, tho, which was a bit odd for her. As the week passed, my sweet, stubborn girl decided she wasn’t going to do any more spins. At all. No matter the reward (bribe). She would simply stop and look at me. And then she began to stop moving and look the other way. And then she just started walking off when I asked for a spin. I’m not too stupid…I got the hint. At our last session, we totally redid the routine, taking out all of the spins, except for a couple of spirals that she seems perfectly happy to do. She’s still refusing to do any spins, the little snot. Thankfully, tho, she seems happy with the new routine. I’m just really grateful they gave us an extra month to send in our video, since we revamped the routine Saturday, and were originally scheduled to tape on Sunday.

To the Kittens!

The kittens all turn 1 year old this month. I know Khar’pern’s birthday is April 16, so it seems reasonable to celebrate all three at the same time. After all, Parm and Per’la can’t help the fact that there weren’t any people around to mark their entry into the world.

Happy birthday, Kittens!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Scary Thought

Duncan, who is not yet 9 months old, is now taller than Reyna. I haven’t had him weighed in a while, but I think it’s a safe bet that he’s heavier, too. He’ll never be as long as she is, but he could potentially get a bit taller. GSDs usually don’t reach full height and weight until they’re over a year old, so he could easily get bigger. And I’m thinking he’ll hit 100 pounds, easy.


Khar’pern actually came out while the pups and I were outside working Saturday. I’d left the baby gate down, so she came under the hall door and wandered out on the porch. Reyna was a good girl and left her alone. Of course, to Reyna, if I’m outside, there’s nothing more important than the soccer ball. Duncan spent most of the rest of the time we were out there on the porch with Khar. He was nice the entire time, nosing at her a bit, and then just laying down next to her. He really wants to be friends with the kitties. He spends a lot of his spare time with his nose and a paw under the hall door, waiting for one of them to come play.

I brought out the wading pool Saturday, too. Reyna kept running through it every few minutes, and occasionally plopped down in it to cool her belly. Duncan wasn’t so sure what to do with it, but he finally walked through it a few times, and once I even got him to lay down in it. Poor guy, his black fur was so hot.

I also started back to putting out birdseed – I put a feeder up outside the bedroom windows for the cats. Turns out a squirrel heard about the new buffet, and has been snacking. The cats are thrilled, but its making Reyna nuts. Every time she heard him with those big satellite dishes on her heard, she would go streaking out the door. I hate to hurt her feelings, but she will never be able to sneak up on it, especially not if she keeps barking.

Moans and Groans

After the epidural last Monday, and a week of physical therapy, my back finally seems to be doing better. According to the PT, all the sitting I do is one of the worst things for it. Unfortunately, being active is also bad for it. So that leave standing, which is terrible for my knees. No winning this one. The therapist (who has already labeled me a problem patient because of my activities, by the way) informed me last week that, because I feel better from the shot and want to go do things, I could actually aggravate the disc and make things worse without evening realizing it. My theory on that is, if I don’t realize it, how bad can it be? So I spent some of last weekend raking, and this past weekend cleaning, raking, putting up some fencing and sowing some grass seed. What can I say? It was pretty out, and chores needed to be done. Yes, my back is now sore, but nothing too out of the ordinary. In fact, it is other muscles that are protesting the most. They seem to be complaining because I haven’t done anything with them in over a month and a half. Go figure. My poor knees got a double whammy, tho...not only did I somehow manage to wrench my bad one a bit, Reyna accidentally caught it with a tooth as she ran by me to get her soccer ball. So now I have a big old bruise on the inside of my knee. Serves me right, for being between her and that soccer ball.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Second doctor much better than first.

Today was second opinion day for my back (I got lucky - the neurosurgeon had a cancellation and they managed to squeeze me in)….turns out this guy isn't so quick to hop on the "slice 'em open" bandwagon. He also thought that just sitting and waiting - especially while trying to do normal activities - was totally insane. Of course, that means I'm back on light duty, so no vacuuming or poop-scooping. Of course, since no one else is volunteering to scoop poop, I’ll just have to figure out a way around that. Assuming I can bribe my dear, sweet, wonderful brother John into driving me to Cary Monday morning, I will be getting my first epidural shot. I can get up to three in six months, no closer than two weeks apart. If they work, great, if not, on to plan B (whatever that is). Hopefully, the shot will ease the pain and inflammation enough to where its not the only thing I think about all day long. And, I get a day off from work. Apparently, they don’t like people to drive after getting loads of meds in their spine. Go figure. How effective the shot is will determine when I go back for round two. I also have a physical therapy evaluation tomorrow. Doc wants me to start doing things that will help loosen the muscles in my back and legs, which should also lower the pain level - lucky me, I'm gonna get a doctor-ordered massage. I know the first doctor said that stuff like this will just delude me into thinking I'm doing something useful and that it really doesn’t speed the healing process at all, but you know, I'm okay with that. Delusion is a good thing, sometimes.

Monday, March 20, 2006

CF #6

We have our routine choreographed, and we're dancing to "Man, I Feel Like a Woman". Now it’s a matter of me learning it and getting Reyna to dance for one minute and twenty seconds without needing treats or losing focus. She does pretty well for short bursts, so we’ll have to build that up a lot between now and April 16. I’d hate for a simple thing like needing a treat bump us down from the novice level to the fledgling level. Plus, if we have to participate at the fledgling level, we have to do a minimum of two minutes, which means we’d have to adjust the choreography. I know she can do it...I just have to convince her its worth it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I hate doctors

So, I went to the neurosurgeon yesterday morning, hoping for something that would at least reduce the constant pain, if not totally alleviate it. Before I even got to see the doctor, we had a lovely insurance saga in the waiting room. Apparently, the receptionist at my regular doctor was confused about my insurance, which had changed. They didn’t have a copy of my new card, but the new information was written in my file. Unfortunately, no one had transferred that to the computer. When he scheduled the appointment, he asked if they took my old insurance, which they did. They do not, however, take my new insurance. So, my options were to skip the appointment and wait who knows how long for an appointment with someone else, pay upfront and file the out-of-network claim myself, or pay from my FSA. I paid with my FSA. I was not going to wait another two weeks to see someone.

After that fun, the doctor told me, based on my films, he didn’t know why I was in pain. But then he said a guy was in earlier yesterday with a ruptured disc that covered the entire vertebrae on his film, and he was just mildly annoyed. Obviously, pictures only tell them where the problem is, but not how bad. He then told me that my two choices were to wait it out or surgery. He said that the average healing time is three months, but that those numbers really aren’t any good, as the time ranges from two weeks to a year, depending on the person. He then said that, with surgery, he’d recommend I stay out of work for three to four weeks, but that people frequently go back within one to two - they just takes longer to heal – and that he tries to be out of the patient’s life within two to three months. Hmmm...let’s think...potentially a year of waiting, or three months...

I asked about other options, and he informed me that things like physical therapy, steroids, anti-inflammatories, and going to the chiropractor don’t actually speed the healing process, they just delude the patient into thinking they’re doing something useful. I say, delude me. Especially if it’ll make it stop hurting. He wrote a prescription for a pain killer that he said might not make me so drowsy I can’t be at the office – but it also might not really get rid of the pain. Gee, that’s useful. Doc also said I could go back to doing my regular activities, but to be careful, because overdoing it could hurt my back worse. But not doing anything could also hurt my back. And I shouldn’t walk the dogs, because if they pull and jerk me, that could hurt my back. And I should make sure I’m facing forward when I sneeze, because sneezing while twisted could hurt my back. But I’m allowed to go be active. And then he told me that when I reach the point that I’m really frustrated with how this is affecting my life (um, now?), to give him a call and he’d schedule my surgery.

He’s the first doctor I’ve ever been to that’s been that quick to offer surgery. Usually, they suggest a lot of other things, first. And you know, I’m not exactly eager to have another operation. I’d willingly wait this out, if it just didn’t hurt so freaking much. And so constantly. I am pain-free approximately 10 minutes a day – just when I first wake up, before I get up and start moving around. Once I start moving and putting weight on my leg, it flares back up. Its ridiculous.

My regular doctor agrees that the “two options only” idea is a bit insane. So I’m waiting for a call back from a different neurosurgeon, who will hopefully have a few other ideas. And, if nothing else, I am fully willing to be deluded into thinking I’m doing something useful.

Yay, Duncan!

Duncan graduated last night from PetSmart’s Basic Obedience class. I had originally planned to take him directly from Sylvie’s into the Intermediate class, but PetSmart teaches a lot more in their basic class than Sylvie did. And it worked out for the best, since we missed a couple of classes, courtesy of my back. We’ll probably hold off on the next level until May, to give my back time to heal before we have to start working again. Especially since I have two trips for work coming up.

Friday, March 10, 2006

For Carlos and Natalie.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Canine Freestyle Seminar

This past weekend, Reyna and I attended a canine freestyle seminar in Hampton, VA. Duncan and Natalie both went with us. I had asked Natalie to join us when I first planned it, thinking the company would be nice, and that a second set of hands would make things easier if I decided to take Duncan. Because of my back, having Natalie along proved to be invaluable. She was a huge help, with loading and unloading the truck and dog crates, exercising Duncan, and video taping the instructional and demo portions of the seminar.

The dogs were both very well-behaved, and Duncan learned how to climb up on the bed all by himself (he’s taken that to the next level, and will now climb up on the couch without assistance). I don’t think Natalie much appreciated cold wet snouts in her face at 6:00 AM, but that’s part of the fun of big inside dogs. The only behavioral issues were Reyna occasionally barking when she saw dogs doing stuff and she was stuck in her crate, and Duncan’s incessant whining every time Reyna and I were working. A fair chunk of the video has the background noise of him whining and crying. The boy has some serious separation anxiety to work through. Reyna did have one outburst that I remember while we were working, and she and a male Dalmatian just did not get along. But other than that, I was very proud of her behavior.

The seminar was a nice refresher on some things, and really made me feel like Reyna and I have come a long way in just a couple of months. We had to choreograph two short routines – one was a minute, the other 30 seconds. At the first seminar we went to, we had to do the same thing, and we did relatively well, considering all we really knew was sit, down, stay, come, and spin. This time, though, I was proud of both of us. We did several variations of turns and spins, but we ended the first routine with me straddling Reyna and both of us backing up. Got lots of applause for that, and even Carolyn Scott said she hadn’t been expecting something like that. For the short routine, our big move was Reyna’s “stick ‘em up” trick, and that got a really nice reaction, too. We also did some music matching, with “I’m from the Country” being the crowd favorite, followed by “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.”

One obnoxious thing that occurred was a lady who said she’d worked at a GSD show kennel for years started insisting that I needed to be showing Duncan. She just kept oohing and ahhing over him. Which is fine, but as soon as she realized Reyna doesn’t have papers, she totally ignored her. All she was interested in was Duncan. She wouldn’t stop insisting I show him until I pointed out that he’d been neutered. She seemed to have no real concept of having a GSD as a pet.

But ignoring the crazy pushy lady, several women complimented Reyna – both her looks and her skills – and one woman was genuinely interested in learning more about GSDs, specifically about why some have sloped backs and others don’t. I even got a couple of compliments for my handling skills.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the seminar schedule, but I don’t think I’ll be putting my back through that again until its much better. I had a blast, but I am now paying for the fun I had last weekend, and I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if Natalie had not come along.


Jake has been officially adopted by a very nice couple. They have two yorkies, a lab, a grandchild, and a granddog. And a good-sized fenced area. The guy told me yesterday that the only thing Jake has done was chewing up his vet paperwork the very first night there. So, yay!! Jake has a home!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oh, my aching back...

So the MRI results came back with an L5 S1 left-sided disc herniation, and my regular doc wants me to see a neurosurgeon/spine doc. The appointment was set for March 16. Since it was going to be so long, I was a bit stressed about what I needed to do between now and then (especially since the nurse kept saying they were going to get me in this week or early next).

So, after several very annoyed phone calls to the doctor's office, I finally got a nurse willing to provide actual information. The herniation is more centered than left, which is apparently better than being fully to the left. Since it is pinching a nerve, though, they want me to wait to see the neurosurgeon rather than an orthopedic surgeon. The regular doc doesn't want to prescribe treatment, and prefers the neurosurgeon do that. The nurse gave me a few suggestions on ways to help alleviate the pain, since I can’t take the painkillers they gave me last week and actually function. She also gave me a list of activities I am not allowed to do at all, as well as tips on how to do some of the more basic stuff that has to get done in a house. Sadly, I am not allowed to vacuum or mop… The majority of the suggestions were fairly obvious, such as crouching to pick something up rather than bending over, or using tongs to get items out of the washing machine instead of bending. Basically, no bending. And no twisting. That's going to cause some difficulty with more than a few household chores, so I have to ask for more help than my stubborn self would like. I'm also not to lift heavy objects, which makes me question how I'm supposed to get my laptop to and from work. Oh, and she told me to try not to sneeze.

Last night, my brother, John, and my friend, Natalie, came over for dinner and helped with a few of the chores that needed to be done. And we successfully strapped the pups’ travel crates on the roof of the truck for this weekend’s trip. John also told me to start writing up a "honey-do" list, and he'll take care of things in the afternoons after work. My friend, Kim (mother to Dante and Mia, Reyna and Duncan’s buddies), is coming over while we’re out of town to sweep and mop and vacuum. I will SO owe Kim for that.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Birthday!

My sweet Reyna is 2 years old today. Happy birthday, precious girl!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Stupid People

Why do people think that animals have to become best friends in 24 hours or less? Why don't they understand that animals can learn to coexist, but they need more than a few hours?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

CF #5

Reyna was very good in class today….she showed that she really has been paying attention during our practices sessions. And she worked for a full hour today. The poor girl was so ready to leave when we were done. Today was mostly about picking some music, so I had a CD already burned for class. I’m going to take it with me to the seminar next weekend, and ask for opinions from Carolyn Scott and the other freestylers. The songs we’re considering are:

Find Me Somebody to Love – Ella Enchanted
San Antonio Stroll – Tanya Tucker
I’m from the Country – Tracy Byrd
Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun – Cindy Lauper
Man, I Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain
Brown-Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

I decided we needed something a bit slower than I had originally thought, because even though Reyna heels at a fast pace, some of her moves are slower than others. Her spins are fast only if she’s chasing her tail. Having a song that’s a smidge slower than I’m really comfortable with should help her, as well as accommodate some of her slower patterns. She has some faster moves, and we can choreograph those into the faster spots.

Fingers Crossed

It looks like Jake has a potential home. The dad and kid love him, and the mom likes him, but she's worried about her cat. I tried to make sure she understood that most cats won't become friends with a strange dog (especially if it is the first animal ever seen outside the vet's office), but I'm not sure she fully realizes that. They're keeping him for the weekend, and I'm hoping they'll decide to keep him permanently. Once he settled down, he totally ignored the cat, but that certainly doesn't mean he won't chase it if it runs. I got the impression they aren't as strict as I would be, but that's totally up to them. So, anyway, keep all your fingers and toes crossed that this house works out for him.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Rock

Somehow, I neglected to mention that Reyna has been the best dog ever during this painful time. Duncan is confused about why he can’t crawl into Mommy’s lap right now, and Jake is just a pettins whore, so he’s constantly up my butt. Reyna is keeping Duncan from jumping on me, and is keeping Jake almost constantly away from me. She doesn’t let them run into me if I’m standing up, and if they start bothering me while I’m on the couch, she not-so-gently removes them if I tell them to back away. She’s spent the last few days going out only when she’s had to, and the rest of the time she is either on the floor in front of me or on the couch beside me. She checks on me periodically, by whining and rubbing her head against my arm, or licking my cheek. She is letting me use her as support to stand up, sit down, and crouch down if I have to get something from the floor. She’s also been following me a little more closely, and leaning against me for support when she realizes I need it. I told my boss I was going to start bringing her in as a service dog if my back doesn’t clear up soon. Everything she’s been doing has been entirely of her own choice and decision. I don’t call her over or ask her to do any of this. She just knows something is wrong, and she’s doing her best to help.

Back pain very much bad.

Last Saturday, I managed to royally screw up my back. Still not totally sure exactly what happened, but I hope to never ever ever do it again. A few weeks ago, I pulled a muscle lifting a 40 pound bag of dog food wrong (we go through those pretty quickly at my house), but I didn’t think much of it, since it quit hurting in a day or two. Since then, I would occasionally pick something up that would twinge my back, but would only hurt for an hour or so, and I would generally smack myself in the head and give myself the “lift with your legs, not with your back” lecture. Sunday the 12th, I felt it twinge again, but that didn’t hurt for long, either. During the following week, I was attending a seminar, and my back would start hurting after sitting in those hotel chairs for an hour or so, but as soon as I got up to walk around, it would stop. And driving didn’t bother me, so I assumed it was just the hideously uncomfortable chairs.

Saturday, though, I decided to come home early, in an attempt to beat the really icky weather that was supposedly coming through the area. So I loaded up the truck, feeling an occasional twinge, but nothing significant. Got the dogs in the truck, helped Angel move the dog house back to its original spot (being careful to not bend over while I was doing that), and finished tossing dog bones and toys and such in the truck. And then I suddenly couldn’t walk.

Thankfully, that eased up after a few minutes, although I couldn’t swing my legs back and forth to scrape the mud off my boots, so Angel had to get a stick for me to do it the hard way. It took me (literally) 5 minutes to get into my truck and get my legs positioned so I could reach the pedals, and then Angel had to close the door for me, since I couldn’t lean out to get it. I also had to stop for gas, which was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life.

After getting home, my brother came over to unload the truck and feed the dogs and do laundry (I love my brother). He even brought lunch and ice cream over the next day. I was actually scared to sit down Saturday before he got there, because I really didn’t think I’d be able to get up. And going to the bathroom was certainly not something I wanted to try. In fact, doing that at 2:00am Sunday morning actually made me nauseous. Trying to pee when none of your muscles will relax is not an easy thing to do. I would also like to point out that muscle spasms are BAD. Especially the ones that make your leg and butt muscles hurt, too.

I went to the doctor Monday, and she gave me lovely drugs and told me to go home from work and take them. So I did. And I stayed out of work Tuesday. Spent a few hours in the office Wednesday, and I’m currently planning to be here all day today and Friday. I have an MRI scheduled for Sunday morning – doc thinks I may have a pulled muscle/slipped disc/pinched nerve combo. Leave it to me to do as much damage as possible. Needless to say, Reyna and I will not be attending SAR training Sunday. I’m hoping to make it to her freestyle class Saturday, since we’re picking music, and I was pretty slack about working her while we were at Angel’s.

CF #4

We’ve temporarily given up on trying to make Reyna move side to side in a heel position. She’s really fighting the concept, and why make us both grumpy? We’ve also modified her “around” as she was getting it confused with her “finish” pattern. We did pick up a few new moves at our last session, though.

"Grapevine weave" – she weaves thru one leg, I do a step-together-step away from her, she weaves thru the other leg, repeat. Seems to work better with her long body than a regular weave.
"Spiral" – in heel position, she spins clockwise, while I move around her counterclockwise.
"Rock-n-roll" – she does a half spin, I cut her off, she does a half spin the other way, I cut her off, etc.
"Jazz" – she’s in front position, does a half turn and backs thru my legs.

This coming Saturday, we’re going to work on picking out some music. I’ve found some songs I like that are at least fairly appropriate to the situation, so now we just have to see if Reyna responds to any of them. My biggest problem is that I really love swing and big band music, but I had to keep in mind that we’re not supposed to be running around the ring. So, sadly, most of my swing music went out the window. But I found about 15 songs that I like, and I’m hoping she’ll respond to at least one of them. We’re attending another Carolyn Scott seminar in March, and I’m going to ask her to do a music review for us, since she ran out of time at the last one.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Who knew...

...that pretzels could settle an unhappy stomach?

Monday, February 06, 2006


This sweet boy needs a home. He’s and 8 month old pure German Shepherd. I’m fostering him while we look for a forever home. He’s very sweet and affectionate. He responds to correction easily, but some of his behavior makes me think he was mistreated. Jake gets along wonderfully with my two shepherds, and is quickly learning the rules of the house (thanks to Reyna’s enforcement tendencies). I was told he isn’t housebroken, but he knows how to use the dog door, and hasn’t had any accidents in the house. Jake is still intact, but I’m hoping the neutering will occur in the next week or two. He seems to be very smart, and really just wants someone to love him and play with him. If you’re interested – or know someone who might be – please let me know.

Monday, January 30, 2006

CF #3

We started putting a few moves together this week, and Reyna and I both have to learn to wean her off of the treats. She has to be able to perform for up to 2 minutes with no treats or rewards, so it could take us a bit to get there. We also decided to change her “move” from going away from me to going towards me. She seems to like that better, and this really is all about her. She still doesn’t take her back end with her, though. We figured out that its not that she doesn’t realize her butt is back there, its that she doesn’t feel like bothering to move it. She figures, if she can get the treats without moving her rear, why exert the energy? I knew she was a smart girl… Since she doesn’t want to move her butt, she now gets to wear a towel wrapped under her belly, just in front of her back legs, so that I have something to pull to force the motion. Sooner or later, she’ll realize its easier for her to just move her back end than to fight the towel.

A Nervous Day

Today was a big day for the canine members of the family. I left them out of their crates this morning when I went to work, and I left the dog door open, too. I spent most of the day stressing that they would either trash the place or jump the fence and run amuck. This was Duncan’s first day loose, but he’s so attached to Reyna, I knew he wouldn’t go anywhere without her. This was the first day in about 6 months that Reyna’s been left loose all day. She hasn’t been particularly reliable, but I figured Duncan would give her someone to play with. When I left this morning, she was very calm and laid back, which is usually a good sign. She normally only trashes the place if she thinks she was going to go somewhere, and then got left behind. Let me tell you, that girl can hold a grudge. The dogs did wonderfully….no damaged furniture, no doggy accidents, and no visible attempts to leave the yard. Definitely a good thing. They have to get used to this, because in two weeks, they’ll be spending their time in my best friend’s back yard while I’m at a conference.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dark Warrior

Reyna will be 2 years old March 1st. She weighs about 78 pounds, and should be done growing. She’s tall and thin, but she’s basically 78 pounds of lean, hyper-active, searching, dancing, spinning muscle. There is no fat on her at all. Having said all of that, I’m getting a bit nervous about the size of the horse that lives with us. Duncan is 6 and a half months old, and weighed in tonight at 73 pounds. 5 pounds less than Reyna. He’s shorter than her right now (a bit in the height, more in the length), but I expect that to change over the next few months, and he’s certainly not pudgy. Although he has, thankfully, lost the super-skinny look he had for a while. 73 pounds. At 6 and a half months. And he still likes to sit in my lap.

Oh, and my slack self finally managed to send off his registration paperwork. Duncan’s official AKC name is D’Can’s Dark Warrior Dreaming. But you can still call him Duncan.

Monday, January 23, 2006

CF #2

Reyna and I are working hard, and she’s definitely figuring out what I want her to do. Reyna’s still having a bit of difficulty with remembering to bring her butt with her, but we’ve come up with a few tricks to help that. I’m going to start using a dowel rod as a touch stick, for two purposes. One will be to tap her back end as necessary. The other is to teach her to go for the stick instead of the treat, so I can start weaning her off of treats as lures. She knows the word “touch” so I don’t think this will be a real issue for her. We also worked on walking over flat bars, so she would start paying attention to what was happening with her back feet.

New moves we learned this week:

“Back” – with Reyna in front of me, backing away, instead of beside me and backing with me.
“Tween” – Reyna and I walking together, with me straddling her back and her looking up at me.
“Around” – Reyna circling me.
“Paw” – Reyna sitting and putting her paw on my bent leg.


The pups went to day camp yesterday and got baths while they were there. They smell so good now. And I absolutely love how clean fur feels – all soft and fluffy and shiny.

There's one in every class...

I’m taking an accounting class as part of my MBA degree. This class is kicking my tail. The concepts of debits and credits as the world of accounting views them make no sense at all. The book is atrocious. And the amount of homework is insane, considering this is an online class and we all have real jobs and lives outside of class. As part of the homework, we were given a midterm last Wednesday night. It was 30 multiple choice, and written next to the right answer was “(Correct).” Was it an accident? On purpose? We’ll never know… I actually went through the questions to make sure I got the same answers, and amazingly enough, I did. Thursday afternoon, though, Nora - one of the girls in class - posted a message telling the instructor what he’d done. Why? Why would someone do this? What’s the point, except to make your classmates hate you? The instructor fussed about people complaining, so he posted a new midterm. 25 true/false and 25 multiple choice. The second midterm was all theory, with no math at all. I ended up having to guess on some of the answers, because I couldn’t find the information in our book or notes. According to the online word search for our book, the word “voucher” was never used. This is the point where Nora should be very happy she lives far, far away from me……

Monday, January 16, 2006

CF #1

Reyna and I had our first Canine Freestyle class Saturday afternoon. I made sure we took enough quick play breaks to keep her excited. She seemed to enjoy it, and it definitely made her tired. After just 45 minutes, she was actually ready to lay down for a nap. I should have started her on this when she was 6 months old…

We learned some new moves Saturday, and how to modify some moves we already know. Mind you, when I say “learned” I mean we did them a few times and figured out the basic concept, but we’re going to have to practice them a lot before they qualify as something Reyna and I know how to do.

We worked on “heel” which Reyna can do beautifully on the left, but heeling on the right confuses her. Which makes sense, considering that for more than a year, she’s heeled on the left, and I’ve never asked her to heel on the right. “Spin” will also be a directional problem. She can spin to the left beside me, or to the right in front of me. She’ll need to be able to go in both directions. We also tackled:
“back” - walking backwards beside me in a heel position
“front” - her walking towards me as I back up (not hard for her)
“move” – her in heel position, and both of us moving to the left
“weave” – her going under either of my legs

Besides the newness of some of the moves, Reyna also has the challenge that all long dogs face…remembering to bring her back end with her. Her front end will “move” or “weave” but her butt gets left behind (so to speak). When we “move” I have to step across with my right foot (since we’re moving to the left), and then nudge her butt with my left foot. It works for now, but we’ll definitely have to phase that out quickly. When she “weaves” I have to tap her rear to remind her to get it out from under my leg.

Its easy to see how it wore her out.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Attitudinal Change

My dog is a wonderful dog, and I’m really tired of feeling like I have to defend her to people who don’t know her. Yes, she had issues as a puppy (and frankly, I’m amazed I didn’t kill her before her first birthday), and yes, she can still be a real snot sometimes. But you know what? She’s an alpha female German Shepherd. That’s just how they are. She’ll be like that for the rest of her life. Reyna is sweet, loving, friendly, frighteningly intelligent, stubborn, and a hard worker. She’s even becoming more of a couch cuddler as she gets older.

Following on the heels of the Sylvie/Drill Team “Reyna’s a liability” issue comes a multi-email discussion I had last night with a girl on the board of a rescue group that I’ve volunteered with and fostered dogs for.

She sent out a foster home plea yesterday for an absolutely gorgeous 8-month-old female GSD. After thinking about it for a while, I sent an email saying I would take her, and hopefully, she and Reyna would get along. Mind you, that was not said out of concern for my dog’s “attitude” problems, but because I know sometimes dogs just don’t like each other, just like people don’t get along with everyone. And strong female GSDs don’t always hit off really well. But the description of the pup did not make her sound like a strong female. It said she was being bullied by the male GSD she lived with. No alpha female is going to tolerate that.

When I got home, I’d still not gotten a response, which was unusual, so I emailed her again and asked if anything had been decided. She said no one else had offered to foster her, but she didn’t want the pup in my house because Reyna has issues with dogs that challenge her, like Gus did. She also said she’d rather we didn’t foster a dog that hadn’t already been fostered by someone else, so we’d know about that dog’s temperament. I hate to break it to her, but even dogs with great temperaments don’t always get along.

Let me explain quickly about Gus. He was a very large GSD mix that I agreed to foster. Very sweet with people, most of the time. He jumped my fence twice, tried to break through my hall door to get to my cats, and tried to bite my neighbor when he put Gus back in his crate – turns out he had confinement issues. On top of that, he humped Reyna incessantly, and bullied her as much as possible. She didn’t respond in her normal fashion (by putting him down), which worried me. Made me think she knew something wasn’t right with him. The last night he spent at our house, they had played as usual, and Reyna was sleeping on the floor by my chair. With no warning at all, Gus attacked her. And it wasn’t play fighting. I had to separate them (I know, I know, never separate fighting dogs by yourself, but what was I supposed to do…wait until he got tired of mauling my dog?), and he bit me in the arm. Once I got them apart, and everyone calmed down, I called the rescue and told them Gus had to leave. He ended up spending almost a month boarding at the vet, and came very close to being put to sleep. Even the vet commented that Gus must have just been responding to Reyna’s dominant response to his challenge. Um, hello? She was ASLEEP. I’ve heard he’s doing well, now, as long as he’s kept away from crates, cats, kids, dogs that are more alpha, and walked on a leash for exercise. Needless to say, no one has adopted him yet, he’s still being fostered.

So, I took offense that someone would use the Gus incident to decide Reyna had dominance issues. I pointed out that she’d never had trouble with any other foster dogs, and that she tolerated Gus’ crap a lot better than I did, and that the fight with him wasn’t her responding to a dominance challenge, it was her fighting for her life from a vicious, unprovoked attack. The girl then said that we all know Reyna is very choosy about who she lets share her space (aren’t we all?). I reminded her that Reyna has never started a fight for no reason, although she is more than willing to finish one. She doesn’t bully dogs, or pick on them. If she doesn’t like them, she simply ignores them. She will enforce the house rules, however. I also pointed out that I am more than capable of controlling my animals, and know how to work around any issues that come up. No response.

At the same time, I was talking to another girl who works for the rescue, about something else entirely, and was telling her a bit about what was passing through the emails. She said that she was told the pup was a “high energy bratty female GSD” and so she had decided against fostering her. She also said she thought more information had been discovered about the dog. So I sent the first girl an email, asking if that was true, that she had more information about the dog than what she had given me. No response.

This morning, I withdrew my offer to foster. I told her I did not appreciate feeling like I had to defend Reyna for being herself, nor did I like feeling that the rescue didn’t trust me to control my animals. I also told her I was concerned that she didn’t seem to be sharing all of the information about the dog with me.

I’ll probably end up pulling my name from the foster list. If they don’t want to place anyone in my house on the basis of one bad incident, then I don’t need to be seeing all the emails of dogs that need help, knowing I won’t be allowed to do anything about it.

I’ve also decided that there will be no more explanations of how Reyna’s come so far since she was a puppy, no more descriptions of how many obedience classes we’ve taken to get here, no defending her to people who make assumptions about her because of one action or just because she’s a GSD. My dog is wonderful, and if people can’t recognize that and appreciate her for what she is, that’s their loss, not ours.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Peyton Marie

This is my niece at her 1st birthday party last September. You can tell we’re related, because she clearly loves her cake icing. She’s the daughter of my brother, Josh, (the middle of the half-siblings), and his wife, Stephanie. Peyton has definitely reached the point where she is an entertaining child. And she can be freakishly cute (no, I still don’t want one). She and Josh are currently working out who’s really in charge. He’s tough, but my money is on her. Watching him tell her to not drop something, and then her deliberately throwing that item, is absolutely hilarious. I’m hoping that when I’m visiting with my best friend in February, I’ll be able to stop by and introduce Reyna and Peyton. Steph said Peyton’s been around big dogs, so Reyna shouldn’t scare her. And we all know how much Reyna adores small children.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bobbing for Kibble

Duncan has a brand new game. The silly boy has started taking a mouthful of kibble and dropping it in his water bowl. A few minutes later, he’ll stop eating the dry kibble and start trying to get the wet kibble. Its hilarious. He almost always ends up snorting, with water up his nose. And he’ll leave some in the water, eat some dry, and try again. It usually takes him most of his dry meal to finally get all of the wet kibble out. Reyna just sits and stares at him. I’m sure she’s mentally shaking her head in older-sibling doggy disgust.


I was boxing my CSI reports for attic storage this weekend, and I came across this poem. It was written by one of my CSI coworkers when we were having some really hard times in the unit. The department was telling us they had no money to give us raises – or even keep us in gloves and fingerprint tape – but they had $80,000 to bring in an efficiency expert to tell them where the problems were in the department. We also had a supervisor who refused to back us, even when officers told us to do something that was clearly against the rules. For some reason, it didn’t bother him (or anyone else in command) that most officers didn’t seem to have a clue about what was actually legal in a crime scene search. We got a sergeant as a supervisor before I left, but the problem with that was that the CSI unit was civilian, not sworn.

From what I’ve heard the times I’ve had to go back to testify, things never really improved in the unit. Between that and the record high of homicides last year, its hard for me to really miss the place. I miss the work sometimes, and being outside, and the relative freedom. And being trusted and respected for my abilities by those higher in the chain. Unlike some folks, I didn't mind belly-crawling through body fluids, if it got me what I needed. Or that sometimes it took four showers and three days of driving with my windows down to get the stench of death off me and out my car. But then it’ll rain for two days, or the temps will be in the high 90s for a month, and I realize that desk work really isn’t such a horrible thing. Plus, even though sitting aggravates my knee, it doesn’t hurt as much as standing on it all day. Every now and then, though, I just sit here and wonder what the heck it is I’m doing with my life. Granted, I’m good at what I do, but I don’t enjoy it like I did the investigation work. I miss being allowed to think for myself. I miss the challenge. I miss figuring out what happened to someone, and how, and looking at a scene and pulling out the information that all those inanimate objects can provide, if you just know how to ask the right question. I just can’t help but think I was meant to do more than sit at a desk and push paper around.

“Work smarter not harder” is to be our new decree.
Haven’t seen it yet, but sounds good to me.

Things will be changing, but not over night.
Haven’t seen it yet, but there’s a chance they might.

Study groups and meetings are set into place.
A lot of BS instead of lying to our face.

They’re waiting on this, they’re waiting on that.
We’ll only wait so long before smelling a rat.

“We’ll leave no stone unturned” is what we’re told.
From what I’ve seen, I’m not sold.

Actions louder than words, you better get it in gear,
Or some day soon none of us will be here.

We’re broke, fed up, and tired of this shit.
What will you do when we all quit?

“We’ve got stacks of applications, you can all be replaced”…oh, give me a break.
Just who’s going to train them, for God’s sake?

No budget for training, supplies, or increase in pay.
City manager got a raise, what can I say?

Two helicopters, an urban assault tank…
Did all other departments rob a bank?

Stepping in blood, brains, and bile…
Have city council try this for a while.

Just continue to search for where the problems fall.
If you want the answer, we’ll be out searching for a person in charge who has balls.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Reyna's baby

My friend, Marla, has a 6-month-old girl, Allegra (LG). We got together a few weeks ago to take LG and the dogs for a walk. Duncan wasn’t too interested in the baby, but Reyna adores infants. All infants. Any infant. Most kids, too, until they hit about 8 or 9 years old, and then she can take them or leave them, unless she already knows them. She’s good with kids, but she’s obsessed with babies. And once she’s licked a baby, its her baby. To the point that I’ve seen her get upset with a baby’s parent because she thought the parent was hurting the child.

Back to the walk with Allegra. The baby was thrilled to see the dogs, and kept grinning and giggling at Reyna. While we were walking, Reyna would check on LG every couple of minutes. If the baby cried (or sneezed, for that matter), the walk stopped while Reyna made sure she was okay. Reyna didn’t show any real interest in any of the people we passed, until one person started walking towards the stroller with her hands out, reaching for the baby. Reyna immediately planted herself between LG and the stranger. She didn’t bark or growl, but it was very clear that that person would have to go through her to get to the baby. Thankfully, that person wasn’t an idiot, and didn’t force the issue.

By the end of the walk, Marla had decided that Reyna could baby sit anytime she wanted. Now, if we could just teach her how to feed the baby and change diapers….

Stinking Dogs

I love my dogs. I really do. And most of what they do really doesn’t bother me. They play-fight constantly, and sound like they’re killing each other, but they’re just having fun. And they’ve rearranged the furniture a few times while they’re playing, just by slamming into stuff. But this morning, they went a bit too far. Thankfully, they have hard heads. They were playing, and had apparently gotten over beside my curio cabinet again, which is the one piece of furniture I’ll fuss at them for getting to close. This time, though, I was in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher when I heard a loud, not-good noise. When I went to the living room to see what happened (and to yell at them for getting near the curio cabinet), I saw that they’d broken some of the glass. On the up side, no one was hurt. On the down side, an entire pain of glass is ruined. The pane runs from the bottom of the cabinet up to the middle, where it attaches to the frame. The bottom half of that pane is gone, and there’s a crack running up the rest of it to the center frame. No clue how I’m going to get it fixed. It’s a good thing I love them.