Thursday, August 27, 2009

“Friendly” May Be A Bit Strong

Since Reyna’s surgery, I’ve been able to keep the door in the hallway open, with just the baby gate separating the four-legged species. Because of this, the cats have reached an uneasy truce with Duncan – they no longer panic and flee when Duncan gets up and walks toward them. Duncan has been meeting me at the gate each morning and he likes to watch the cats as the walk around behind me. Lately, Belle has been following me to the gate and watching Duncan. Over the last week or so, Belle and Duncan have been interacting just a bit through the gate, with Belle rubbing along the gate, and Duncan sniffing at her through the wires.

This morning, Belle was rubbing her face on the gate and Duncan had his head hanging over it (this is a first for him – he usually keeps his head on his side of the gate). Suddenly, the worst thing in the world happened. DUNCAN LICKED BELLE. ON THE HEAD. The look on Belle’s face as she jumped backwards was absolutely priceless. It was a combination of astonished and offended, because OH MY GOD! She was LICKED! By a DOG! A DOG! It was awful! And horrible! She was so startled by the whole thing that she couldn’t even hiss. And then she got over it, and came back to the gate so I could scratch her chin some more. But then, oh my goodness, but then it happened AGAIN. LICKED! On the HEAD! By a DOG! Belle was clearly shocked that Duncan would have the nerve to do such a thing a second time. That’s when I decided it was time to move Duncan into the living room. Because, really, Duncan likes the cats and seems to have a particular fondness for Belle, and I want him to keep that fondness - and his nose – intact. And I wasn’t sure Belle would be so surprised by a third lick that she wouldn’t try to physically express just how offended she was.

Four Long Months

Reyna 16 weeks post-op today. Some days, its hard to believe its been that long. Other days, I feel every excruciating minute of it.

This week has been a good one for Reyna. She hasn’t been limping except when she’s stiff, and she seems to loosen up pretty quickly once she's out of the crate. We started taking walks again this past weekend, and Reyna’s very excited about getting out of the house. She wants to go a lot farther than I’m letting her right now, which is a good sign. We go back to the surgeon in 12 days, so we just have to keep it together until then. Which means we can’t have another morning like we did today.

My obnoxious neighbor did something that made me want to slap him stupid. Come to think of it, I still want to slap him. This is the neighbor with the motorcycle. Reyna hates his motorcycle. I know it, he knows it, I’m pretty sure the whole neighborhood knows it (Reyna isn’t the subtle type). The neighbor generally keeps to a schedule in the mornings, moving the motorcycle out of the shed at 6:30, leaving at 6:45. Reyna usually hears him leave his house and go to the shed, and she barks from then until he turns the motorcycle off in his driveway. And then she starts up again for a minute or so when he leaves, depending on how long he revs the stupid thing in the driveway. This morning, I let Reyna out of her crate to go into the back yard before our walk. She hadn’t been barking and it wasn’t yet 6:30, so I wasn’t worried about the motorcycle. Silly me. For whatever reason, the neighbor decided to move the motorcycle from the shed a bit early. Reyna took off for the fence, running, barking, jumping, twisting, and generally doing all sorts of things she shouldn’t be doing yet. Did the neighbor do the nice thing and turn the motorcycle off for 30 seconds so I could get Reyna on a leash and away from the fence? No, he did not. Instead, he sat there and revved the engine several times. And then smirked and walked back into his house.

This same neighbor has given me grief since Reyna’s setback in early July, talking about how its my fault she got hurt, and how he’s told me over and over what I’m doing wrong, and how its not his fault that she goes nuts over his motorcycle (I’ll grant him that her nuttiness is not his fault, but he enjoys revving the motorcycle unnecessarily and watching her flip out).

I took the pups for an abbreviated walk, hoping it would help loosen Reyna’s muscles and possibly reduce any damage from this morning. When I left for work, though, she was limping. Hopefully, that eases by this evening and we’re not looking at a replay of July because of his jerky behavior. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame him for starting the motorcycle when he did – after all, he’s not required to check and see if Reyna’s in the yard before he does that. What infuriates me is the fact that he couldn’t exercise just a bit of basic decency and turn the thing off when he heard Reyna barking. And yes, I’m sure he heard her, as he’s admitted before that he hears her barking at his motorcycle, even when she’s in the house (as I said, she’s not subtle). Instead, he chose to continue moving the motorcycle, and then chose to rev it unnecessarily several times.

I’m not sure any of us in the house can handle another four weeks of strict confinement without going completely off our rockers. Everyone cross your paws for us. And be prepared to send bail money when I’m arrested for assaulting the neighbor.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And THAT’S Why I Don’t Stay Up Late

When something like a second or third shift job isn’t part of my routine, my natural inclination is to get up fairly early in the mornings. I like to get up, get stuff done, and then have the evening to relax, followed by a reasonable bed time (normally between 10:00 and 10:30pm). This works well for me, particularly when it lets me enjoy activities with my dogs that I might not otherwise be able to do, such as early mornings in the woods for SAR training or in Pittsboro for sheep herding. After all, if I typically stayed up late, it would be very hard to drag myself out of bed at 5:00 so Reyna could look for strangers or Duncan could chase sheep. This isn’t something I tend to think about a lot, but it was brought home to me rather forcefully this past weekend.

Saturday, I was up at my normal time. For my birthday present, John (brother) took me to the Alan Jackson concert Saturday evening. It was fun, even though we were soaking wet by the end of it. I got home around 11ish, and since Reyna’d been crated while I was gone, I stayed up longer than I normally would have so she’d have time to burn some of the energy she stored up during the evening. This meant I got to bed shortly before 1:00 - well after my normal bedtime.

Sunday morning, I slept in until 10am. I haven’t slept that late in I don’t know how long. Normally, I’m up long before 8:00, and if I happen to sleep that late, I feel like I’ve wasted most of the day. So, got up at 10:00, dragged my groggy self into the living room to let Reyna out of her crate, fed the dogs and the bird, and then plopped down on the couch in something closely resembling a stupor. Didn’t do much more than that for the better part of the day. I did take a two hour nap in the afternoon, though. Still draggy at bedtime, but couldn’t actually get to sleep, since I’d slept so late and napped and such. And that was very bad, because I had to be up at 6:00 so Duncan and I could make an 8:00 herding session in Pittsboro (I took Monday off from work). Soooo tired on Monday. Didn’t get much done that day, either – although I did manage to sneak a nap in during the afternoon. I’m back on my normal schedule, but I’m still feeling a bit draggy. I can’t believe how long its taking me to get over one late night. I have to remember to not do that again…

Thank You!

Just wanted to say a quick “thank you” to everyone who took the time to send me a birthday card, email or instant message, to call, to pop into my office, or to post a comment on Facebook or MySpace. Each and every one of those is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

15 Weeks

Reyna seems to be over last week’s spinning and bouncing incident, but I’m not taking any chances. We’ll try a short, easy walk Saturday morning, and see how that goes. I’d like to be able to start walking her every morning, but I don’t think she’ll be ready for twice a day walks right away, even if we do keep them short. I’ve got to get her doing something to burn some energy, though – she’s still snippy with Duncan, and she’s started obsessing over her tail again. At first glance, her tail looks okay, but if you look closely at the tip end, you see that she’s already licked off the fur and some of the skin. She’s being sly about this time - licking in a spot that’s surrounded by long fur so its not so visible.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Freckle Face

I had a nice little chat with our vet this afternoon, and for once, it wasn’t about Reyna. Mikey has a brown spot on his right iris, and being the bad mother that I am, it took me quite a while to realize the brown spot was not part of the original package. Once I made that connection, I started looking through Mikey’s pictures, trying to pinpoint when it first appeared. It looks like it started in April last year, and by August it was definitely there, although not as large as it is now. After I narrowed that down, I sent the vet an email with the details, asking if I should bring Mikey in for a visit. Based on what I was about to tell the vet, he thinks its just a freckle (more scientifically known as iris melanosis). I didn’t even know cats could get freckles on their eyes. Apparently, some cats get a lot of small freckles, and other cats end up with one huge freckle that changes the color of the entire iris. But as long as the freckle stays flat, its not a problem. Here’s to flat freckles!

Mikey in 2003, not an eye freckle to be found!

Mikey today, not real impressed by my efforts to get a picture of his freckle for the vet...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

101 Days Of Reyna

Last Thursday was 14 weeks post-op. I know the actual difference is very small, but today is 101 days post-op, and that feels like a much longer time than 14 weeks. And to think, we still have 3 weeks left before we see the surgeon.

Reyna was allowed to start going on walks a week and a half ago, but since the temps went so high, I didn’t bother pushing that. Instead, I waited until this past Thursday to start walking. We took a short walk that evening, and Reyna did very well. Friday morning, though, she had a bit of a limp. I don’t think that’s due to the walk as much as to the fall she took Thursday. She was spinning around (as usual) and she ran into Duncan. Unfortunately for Reyna, she didn’t hit him hard enough for him to move, but just hard enough for her to bounce off. And when she bounced, her back legs went out from under her. She didn’t seem particularly distressed at the time, but between that and the Friday morning limp, I decided we’d put walks on hold again for a while longer. She’s still got a bit of a limp, and she’s started licking her surgical hip, right at the top of the implant, which makes me think that area is irritating her. So, we’ll wait til next weekend to try walking again. I certainly don’t want to push anything and have the surgeon extend her confinement. Especially since that’s starting to visibly wear on Reyna. The last week or so, she’s been getting a bit snotty with Duncan when she goes in her crate. She’s not crazy enough to snap at me (yet), so she still goes in her crate with no arguments, but once she’s in there, she starts saying nasty things to Duncan. It doesn’t get her out of the crate, but it does seem to hurt Duncan’s feelings a bit. He always sighs and puts his head down after she fusses. Of course, that could just be his way of tuning her out…

Thursday, August 06, 2009

13 Weeks

We’re 13 weeks post-op today, and things are going well. Reyna’s almost entirely limp free again (knock on wood), and we’ll start taking short walks this weekend. Another bit of good news (or bad, if you’re actually trying to keep Reyna quiet) is that Reyna is definitely feeling like her old self. I’d have been happier if she could have waited on that for another few weeks, but it is what it is. And what it is, is a wound-up, energetic, tired-of-being-crated, darn-near-crazy Reyna. So glad we start walks soon.

Moving On To Stupid

Last night, I was finally going through a stack of mail that’s been building up for a couple of weeks. Imagine my surprise when I open an envelope and find a certificate in recognition of Reyna earning her Level 1 Rally title. Now, I realize it has been a year and a half since Reyna actually earned her title, but since I wasn’t expecting a certificate (I was just thrilled we had ribbons), its not like I was stressing over it. As I was admiring the very nice certificate, I noticed the date the title was awarded – June 21, 2009. That’s right, 2009. And to make things a bit worse, Reyna actually earned her title on January 19, 2008. So they got everything wrong – day, month, and year.

I emailed a friend of mine who happened to be trial secretary for each of the trials we entered, asking her who I should contact to get this fixed. She gave me the email address and said she has all of records and will be happy to help straighten this out. She also said certificates are usually mailed within a month of earning the title. One month, 18 difference, really...

So, I sent the following email to the Rally Coordinator:

Hello -

I received a certificate in the mail a couple of weeks ago for my girl, Vereyna (R-07-5966), earning her Rally Level 1 title. The date on the certificate is June 21, 2009. Vereyna actually earned her title a year and a half ago, on January 19, 2008 (legs were earned July 28, 2007, July 29, 2007, and January 19, 2008). Is there a way to get a certificate with the correct date?

And this morning, I received:

Dear Janine:

Thank you for your inquiry. Title certificates are automatically generated each time trial results are processed. Your dog's trial records indicate the Level 1 title was not earned until June 21, 2009. We do not reconcile official records against exhibitor's personal records. If you would like a copy of your dog's official trial score log, please download the Administrative Research Request form off the rally website (it can be found in Forms for Exhibitors) and mail it to the rally office. Once it is received, we will send you a copy of your dog's trial score log and you can notify us of any specific discrepancies, which we will be happy to research for you.

I sent a response pointing out that, not only have we not entered any trials since January 2008, but on June 21, 2009, Reyna was at home recovering from her THR. Now, I know she has a lot of skills, but I don’t think she’s figured out how to drive the truck. Plus, I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed if she’d been gone all day on a Sunday (and no, I didn’t include those last two sentences in my email, although I thought about it). I also asked the coordinator if it would be possible for her to work directly with my friend, the trial secretary. After sending the email, I downloaded the form she specified. Its $20 dollars to get the trial score log, which I than apparently send back to them with the discrepancies marked. And then it’s another $10 to get a certificate reprinted (which I think they should waive, since its their mistake). Since I’m not inclined to spend $20 to fix their screw-ups, I’m going to try working this through my friend, first. And then maybe I’ll just put some white-out on the certificate and write in the correct date…

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Yes, I know we need the rain. And no, I generally don't mind it. However, I would really like to cut the grass in the back yard, and I can't do that when its soaking wet. I would greatly appreciate it if Mother Nature would hold off on the rain for a couple of days so the grass will dry enough for me to cut it. Then it can rain again.


My sweet boy is 9 years old today. Happy Birthday, Mikey!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Working Fun

Duncan and I went sheep herding Saturday, for the first time since late November. Our session started at 7:00, which meant we left the house at 5:40. AM. The getting up at 5:00 doesn’t really bother me, and the drive to Pittsboro doesn’t really bother me. It’s the drive back that kills me.

Duncan managed to stay awake for the drive down, which surprised me a bit. Of course, he wanted the graham crackers I was eating for breakfast, so I’m sure that was part of it. When we took the exit for Pittsboro, Duncan perked up with an “I think I know where I am” look on his face. With each turn we made, he got a little more excited, moving from a sniffing interest to dancing and pacing in the back. When we made the last turn onto Claire’s road, he started whining and moaning and licking my face. If I don’t know better, I’d think he was excited…..

The first comment Claire made was that Duncan has grown up. She said his face doesn’t have any more puppy in it. I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess she’s right.

Duncan had a wonderful time working the sheep. The only trouble he had was me. I’m planning to enter us in a herding trial in late October, so Claire was really working us on technique. Duncan picked up what she wanted him to do pretty quickly, which was basically to stay off the sheep unless he actually needed to get close to them. I was so impressed a couple of times – Duncan was about 15 feet away from the flock, and Claire asked him to turn the sheep. He didn’t even move, he just looked at the sheep, and they all turned. It was amazing. Then Claire had me work with the flock and Duncan while she stood in the middle of the arena, and it all went downhill from there. Duncan tried to do what I asked, but I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to ask the right way. Duncan got so frustrated a couple of times that he walked over to Claire and stood with her. She finally had to get almost to the other side of the arena so he’d stop doing that. I’m also having to learn techniques that are opposite from how I normally do things, so retraining myself is going to be a priority. By the end of the session, though, I think we were doing pretty well. Duncan and I were successfully moving the flock around obstacles at a steady pace, making turns, and stopping the flock. It’ll take some more work, but I think we’ll be ready for the trial.