Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Because The Odds Weren't Against Her Enough

I spoke with Reyna's ortho surgeon this morning. He's concerned about the heart defects that were found last year during all the tests they ran to try and find the cause of her seizures. The surgeon wants Reyna to see a cardiologist about a month before the surgery to find out if there have been any significant changes. If the cardiologist clears her for surgery, there will still be a higher risk than normal with the anesthesia. If the cardiologist doesn't clear her, well, then, there's no surgery. I'm just waiting now for a call with the cost estimate for the chest x-rays and appointment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not Too Bad

Reyna is moving relatively well this morning. She's a bit stiff and slow every time she gets up, but her gait smoothes out as long as she keeps moving. She did have more trouble this morning in the part of the yard that's covered with acorns - she definitely wasn't as comfortable on the unstable surface as she is normally. I'm so glad last night's fall didn't hurt her any worse than it did.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It Freaking Pours

Duncan found a sure-fire way to give me a heart attack tonight. Reyna was running after her ball, and as she was turning to grab it, Duncan plowed into her. She hit the ground with her back legs splayed, spun a 360 on the grass, and slid about 4 feet. It was frighteningly similar to several nightmares I've had. Reyna got up and was able to move around, thank goodness. Duncan knew he was in trouble, though. I think it was a combination of my panicked gasp, Reyna's yelp, and the fact that she almost immediately went for his throat. Reyna seems to be moving around okay, but I'm afraid she'll have trouble after she lays down and gets stiff. To try and head that off, I gave her a higher dose of pain meds with dinner. Paws crossed she won't be limping in the morning.

When It Rains...

The truck's had a nasty shimmy between 49 and 54mph for the last couple of months, so I finally took it in yesterday for a tire rotation and balance and a transmission fluid flush. The mechanic called to alert me to some other problems they found (of course), so my boss went in with me when I went to pick it up. He's worked on cars for years, so I figured he had a much better chance of understanding and retaining the information. The mechanic said the truck has a leaking right rear axle seal and a leaking left rear wheel cylinder. But for a mere $500 (maybe) he could fix it. And I must do it now, because its not safe to have the truck on the road.

I called a couple of other places today for estimates (both were lower). My boss went out and looked at the truck, because he was concerned about me being on the road for several hours this weekend. He said the axle seal was leaking but that it was a slow leak that had obviously been going on for a while. Since we were out there, we checked the differential, which was nearly full. We also took the rear tires off to check the cylinders. The left looked like it had an extremely slow leak (again, long-term), but nothing significant. The right showed a lot of axle grease in the drum. We cleaned that up as best we could. Boss' opinion is that the axle seal definitely needs to be replaced, but its not exactly the safety hazard the mechanic made it out to be. I'm a smidge low on brake fluid, but I believe John can top me off tomorrow afternoon. I know what to keep an eye on, and I'm hoping I can keep this particular money-sucking stress off my plate at least until the new year. Have I ever mentioned just how much I miss my car?

A Wee Bit Chilly

There was a layer of ice a quarter of an inch thick on the water in the dogs’ pool yesterday morning. I didn’t think to check it this morning to see if we had a new layer – or if the old layer just refroze. I’m not ready for it to be this cold, this soon.

In other news, my “sight hound” can’t find her ball in the leaves. Her current basketball is brown, as are most of the leaves in my yard. Last night, Reyna dropped her ball in some leaves and was promptly distracted by Duncan. A few minutes later, I asked her where her ball was, and she couldn’t find it. She ran around the yard, went in the house to check, made a few more laps around the yard, and then happened to run within a few inches of it and spotted it. I’m glad she found it when she did, because she was starting to look pretty annoyed that it had gone missing. Duncan ran behind her the entire time, happily oblivious to the task at paw.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shameless Begging

Yesterday, John mentioned that I should have a PayPal account and a “donate” button for anyone who wanted to help out with Reyna’s surgery costs. I laughed at the idea, but it niggled in the brain for a bit. The more I thought about it, the more I realized something: I’m not embarrassed to ask for help when it comes to the health and well-being of my dog. So I now have a “donate” button underneath the money thermometer on the right side of the blog. If you’d like to help, that’d be really great. If not, don’t worry, I’ll still love you. And Reyna will still let you scratch her butt.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Three Years

Today is my 3 year blogiversary. It amazes me that, after 3 years and 266 posts, I'm still blogging. And to think, this is all Natalie's fault. She got me started on this as a way to pass the time and it morphed into something I actually enjoy doing. Of course, thats probably just because I really love talking about my animals. And showing off their pictures.

Fall Photo Shoot

After SAR Sunday, Jeff, the pups and I went to Harris Lake for our annual Fall Photo Shoot. We found some great locations but had to be a bit more careful this year because there were other people and dogs in the area. And even more distracting for Reyna were the motorboats. They were on water and they had engines. I'm amazed she didn't go tearing into the lake after them. Although, I could tell she was considering that once or twice... Here are a few of my favorite shots, in no particular order.

Reyna's Photo Shoot

Jeff met us at SAR training last Sunday and took loads of pictures of me and Reyna (mostly Reyna). It was foggy during our first search, so we waited until most of the fog had burned off and ran a second search. Below are a few of my favorites, in no particular order. I realize ten pictures may not seem like a very small sample, but there were over 150 from which to choose....

Courtesy of Photos By Jeff™, I present to you Reyna: A SAR Dog.

Friday, November 14, 2008

He Sneezed

Honey Goodness

After a long break due to illness (hers) and busy schedules (mine), Reyna and I started back with SAR training this summer. Some of you may recall that we took a few AKC Tracking classes in the late spring, but that just didn’t work out for us. Reyna is too much of a SAR girl to be given a scent article and then follow a trail to a glove some 500 yards away when the guy who owns the glove is standing right beside her. One of the Tracking trainers told me that Reyna is a sight hound, because she doesn’t follow a track with her nose to the ground. Um, yeah, three things about that… 1 – She very often follows scents with her nose nearly to the ground. 2 – She can still smell something even if her nose is a foot and a half above it. 3 – She’s freaking spectacular at wind scenting. Not to say she doesn’t have frighteningly intense focus if she sees something that really catches her attention. I think he just didn’t appreciate the fact that, on the rare occasions she did decide to bother going for the glove, she’d take the shortest distance instead of following a precise path. So, anyway, back to SAR we went.

We volunteered for the early session, starting at 7:00am. Initially, this was just because it was very slightly cooler at 7:00 than at 8:00, but then it just became nice to get the training done and be back home in time for a mid-morning nap. Of course, a 7:00 session generally means we have to be out the door no later than 6:15. Depending on the location, we may have to leave by 6:00 to get there right on time. Our first training day, I made the mistake of trying to get up early enough to eat breakfast before we left. I don’t like getting up at 5:00 if I don’t absolutely have to. So then I started looking for breakfast options that travelled well. It took me a couple of weeks, but I finally settled on graham crackers. I initially thought I’d eat about half a pack on the way to SAR and save the other half for the next class. Unfortunately, even a Ziploc bag doesn’t keep graham crackers all that fresh for an entire week. So then I was a bit disgruntled about wasting crackers, but didn’t find anything else to take their place. Then one morning on the way to SAR, Reyna solved my problem. I wasn’t paying attention to Reyna (actually watching the road, for some silly reason), and she stole the cracker out of my hand. Turns out Reyna loves her some honey graham crackers. From then on, we’d eat an entire pack each morning. I’d get a cracker, then she’d get a cracker. Then she would drool on my arm while I ate a cracker. Then she’d lunge and bark at a sign/tree/barrel/parked car, and then she’d come back and eat a cracker. This worked really well for us until the last two sessions. Surprisingly enough, Reyna does not like sharing her crackers with Duncan. I know, I was shocked by that, too. This coming Sunday will be our last SAR session – hopefully Reyna’s hips will let her get back to it next fall – and its just me and Reyna. I have one pack of graham crackers left, and we’re going to savor every last one of them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No More Hotdog

The dogs have a stuffed hotdog that they’ve played with quite a bit over the last few months. I’ve been very impressed with Reyna, because she used to just shred squeaky toys within a few minutes of getting them. Reyna’s favorite game is teasing Duncan with the hotdog (her second favorite is using it to try and get me to play with her). Duncan just loves to play tug with the hotdog. And even though she won’t admit it, Reyna enjoys playing tug, too.

They were having a grand game, and then the worst happened.

Once Reyna saw the stuffing, she just couldn’t control herself.

And Duncan was sad.

A Martyr

I got home late again last night, and before I went inside I stopped to chat for a few minutes with a neighbor. I could hear Reyna doing her high pitched excited bark, so I knew she was chasing her tail and spinning in the living room. There was another noise I couldn’t quite identify at first, though. The neighbor and I both stopped talking so we could listen, and I suddenly realized what the noise was. It was Duncan, lying by the kitchen window, moaning. The poor, pitiful creature whined and moaned the entire time I was outside. His suffering was so great, I’m surprised he didn’t expire on the spot.

Monday, November 10, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Here is Duncan's Mutt Strutt routine:

And here's the Tailshakers team routine:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

No, No, No! Its Too Early!

Monday night I was in my living room working on a scrapbook, and what to my wondering eyes did appear? A freaking Christmas commercial! This is ridiculous - we've barely passed Halloween and haven't even gotten to Thanksgiving yet. I guess this is how the networks are going to make up the revenues they're losing since they can't run election ads anymore. One of my coworkers told me yesterday that a radio station in Charlotte did a "Christmas Preview Weekend" and played nothing but Christmas music all last weekend. Christmas is already near the bottom of my "Holidays I Enjoy" list, and this certainly doesn't help. In a couple of years we'll be hearing Jingle Bells in July. Argh.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mutt Strutt Report

Saturday was a big day for Duncan. There were some minor scheduling problems, the biggest one being that no one informed our group that our demo time had been moved from 10:00 to 11:30. So, to occupy our time, Duncan and I participated in the Mutt Strutt dog walk. Duncan made lots of new friends, one in particular. According to the chat I had with Barney’s mom, Duncan and Barney have identical personalities. No wonder they hit it off so well.

The weather warmed up pretty quickly, so after the walk, we stopped for a water break.

John came out to watch Duncan perform and to tape the freestyle routines. I haven’t pulled the video off the camera yet, but when I do, I’ll post it.

Even though Duncan was hot and tired, he still performed beautifully. Never underestimate the power of the hotdog. And isn’t he so handsome in his red bow tie?

The team routine went fairly well, I think. Of course, I was paying attention to Duncan and no one else, so I really don’t know. Guess I’ll find out when I watch the video.

After the Mutt Strutt, Mary and I went back to my place to do some cropping. Before we went to get lunch, though, Mary gave me this awesome t-shirt that she bought for me. If you can’t read it, it says “As a matter of fact, the world does revolve around my dog.” Isn’t it great? And so true…

After lunch, we went for a stroll in the woods. The dogs found something at the pond that they’d never seen before. Whoever said turtles were slow obviously never saw one being followed by two interested dogs. When that turtle decided to head for the pond, it used some serious speed.

To thank Mary for coming out and taking so many pictures of his handsome self, Duncan allowed her to pose with him.

After that, it was time for Reyna to show off a bit.

Reyna said that her hips might be toast, but that doesn’t mean she can’t still put Duncan in his place!

Back in the yard, the dogs got to have some more play time.

After Mary and I watched "My Blue Heaven" and cropped for a while, everyone got to have a few treats.

And finally, at the end of a very successful day, Duncan was one pooped pup.