Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not A Good Sign

The pups are staying at the PetHotel while I'm in Denver this week. I normally schedule them for day camp when they board, just to keep them (Reyna) from going batty with lack of activity. This time, I scheduled Reyna for two group plays each day, instead of a full day of camp. I knew she wouldn't want to play all day, and I didn't want to pay extra for her to just lie around. I got a call a few hours ago from the PetHotel, telling me they had to pull Reyna out of this morning's playtime. Apparently, she started getting snappy at other dogs during her playtime yesterday afternoon, and they had to pull her out early. This morning, they had to pull her out very early, because she went past snappy and moved on to aggressive. The employee who called said that Reyna clearly didn't want other dogs near her, but the other dogs weren't picking up on that until they go too close. The good thing is that the PetHotel folks are aware of her hip problems and they know her well enough to know that this isn't normal behavior for her. The bad thing is that its a clear sign that Reyna is feeling worse than ever. This afternoon and tomorrow, they're going to have Reyna do individual playtime; just her, Duncan and an employee, no other dogs.

Its a good thing her surgery will happen soon.

Flight Neighbor

I’ve been in Denver this past week for work meetings. The trip out Monday started at a horribly early hour, but at least I slept most of the first flight. The second flight was too much fun to sleep through. I was supposed to have a window flight, but when I got to my row, the guy in the middle seat asked if I’d be willing to switch seats with him – so his dog wouldn’t block the aisle. Turns out he was a K9 handler, his sweet Belgian Malinois had recently finished his narcotics detection training and they were on their way to Colorado for a job. I spent most of the 2.5 hours of the flight petting the dog and talking dogs with his handler. Odin realized very quickly that I have “sucker” tattooed on my forehead, and boy, did he take advantage. If he wasn’t getting his ears scratched, he was sleeping on my feet. This had to have been the best flight I’ve ever taken. Almost made it worth getting up at 3am.


Its hard to believe that this time next week Reyna will be getting a new hip. The stress and nervousness is starting to kick in. I still have so much to get done over the next few days. Being gone this week has not helped the situation at all.


After Duncan’s class Saturday, we went over to John’s to get his truck for the afternoon. While we were there, Duncan got to meet Cheyenne, the neighbor’s black lab. I wanted to make sure she and Duncan would be okay together, since Duncan may be playing with her occasionally during Reyna’s rehab. John and I also decided to let Duncan meet the Horses! up close and personal, to see how he behaved around them. He was very interested in the Horses! and really wanted to sniff them, but the Horses! didn’t seem to really appreciate that idea. Thankfully, Duncan realized pretty quickly that a butt sniff was not the best idea for a greeting. Indy was the most interested of the Horses!, and he was fairly tolerant of Duncan. Duncan was very calm around the Horses!, which wasn’t a huge surprise. John and I agreed that Reyna wouldn’t be nearly so relaxed if she got to be in the paddock with the Horses!, so when we introduce her (long after the surgery), she’ll be on leash and I’ll have a very tight grip. I’m not sure Duncan would be so relaxed around the Horses! if they were moving around in the pasture – you never know, he might decide he needed to try and herd them. Some of the pictures below aren’t the best, just because I was so close to Indy – mostly because I wanted to be able to get to Duncan quickly if it looked like things were going downhill.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Camera

Over a year ago, I sent my point and click digital camera to Ganna for her to use. Since I had my SLR, I didn’t expect miss the little camera. And for the most part, I didn’t. There were a few times, though, when I wished I still had my little camera, just because the SLR is definitely bulkier – it doesn’t exactly fit in my pocket for easy transport. But, for the few times I thought a little camera would have been useful, it wasn’t worth spending a bunch of money to get a new one. A few days ago, though, I found one online that received good reviews and was less than $100 (I really love To test it out, I took several pictures of the animals (of course). For its size and capabilities, it does a pretty good job.

Out On The Town

Duncan completed his last CGC Out On The Town class this past Saturday. The class was designed to get dogs who have their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certification to practice their manners out in public. It was only four sessions, which made it easy for me to commit us. The first class was at Baileywick Park, the second at Briar Creek shopping center, the third class was at Bark Around the Park, and the last class was at Cameron Village. Duncan was the biggest dog in the class (by a lot), and he had to work a bit harder than the others because I made him carry his backpack. It was definitely good experience for Duncan, and good for both of us to get out of the house.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Expensive Garbage

Wednesday afternoon, I wrote a long post in my head about a woman who really irritated me by basically saying that the kibble I feed my dogs is equivalent to a person eating straight from a dumpster. That conversation started when I commented that I just couldn’t see paying $42 (plus tax) for a 16.5lb bag of kibble, even if it was made from elk and salmon. Keep in mind, I pay about $40 for a 30lb bag of kibble that Reyna cleans out in just over a month. I meant to type up the post yesterday, but never had the time to sit down and do it. And now, thinking about that conversation and the resulting post just makes me tired. So I’m not going to bother. Instead, I thought I’d share a couple of things about some new canned food that I just recently tried on the dogs. Its green venison tripe. Reyna loves it. Duncan loves it so much, he doesn’t even care that it touches his kibble (that’s a lot of love). I can’t stand the stuff. It’s so foul smelling that I have to hold my breath while I’m scooping it out of the can. I’m pretty sure I’ve smelled similar odors working crime scenes. Which makes sense, if you think about what tripe actually is – partially digested stomach contents. Blech. But, the dogs love it, and it’s a good source of nutrients. So I’ll keep giving it to them, and it’ll make their kibble smell like really expensive garbage.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

And I Don’t Even Golf

I went to the doctor Tuesday for my semi-annual check-up. Doc likes to have me visit twice a year to make sure the meds aren’t screwing anything up. During this visit, I mentioned some trouble I’ve been having with my elbow for the last 8 months or so. It finally got bad enough last month that I decided I should probably get it checked. It keeps me awake some nights, and a couple of weeks ago, it was so bad that I couldn’t use that hand to close my front door or turn the steering wheel. Kind of annoying. I figured it was tendonitis, and the doc agrees. I have Golfer’s Elbow, as opposed to Tennis Elbow. The difference is the direction of the motion that’s causing the problem, and the side of the elbow that’s affected. Not much I can do to fix it, except ice it when it hurts and try not to do the motions that aggravate it. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out what I’ve been doing that’s causing the problem. Its probably a build-up of a lot of little things, which is going to make it very hard to stop.


My sweet-natured, foul-tempered, Mama-lovin’, cat-hatin’ baby girl is 12 years old today. Happy birthday, Belle!

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Dog Is Drunk

I took Duncan to the vet today to get his hips checked, since he was limping again this weekend. Naturally, there was no sign of the limp when we got to the vet’s today. Since the vet tends to take my word for this sort of thing, though, he did a through exam of Duncan’s hips.

He wasn’t able to pop the hips out of the sockets, which is a very good thing. Duncan didn’t seem particularly bothered by all the manipulations, which is also a good sign. After all, if it hurt, he’d let us know. He did say that the bones in Duncan’s right leg aren’t aligned properly, but that’s due to the slightly wonky angle of the hip. He also found a bit of movement in Duncan’s knees, which could be a sign of a cruciate ligament tear, but since the movement was the same in both knees, its most likely nothing to worry about. If there were partial cruciate tears, Duncan would be limping more than he does. The vet thinks Duncan’s intermittent lameness is one of two things – a soft tissue problem (sore muscle that flares up occasionally), or aggravation due to the bad bone alignment. Either way, there’s nothing special to really do for him. Just keep him on glucosamine and fish oil, and when he limps, give him an aspirin and a couple of days to get over it, and then get back to exercising. Activity is really the best thing for this, because it will either work out the soreness (if it’s a muscle issue), or it will continue to build muscle mass (if it’s an alignment issue). Of course, the vet also said that Duncan already has huge hip muscles, but what the heck, more muscle can’t hurt.

When I left Duncan at home, he was still drunk from the drugs they gave him in order to take x-rays of his hips. The poor guy could barely stand up on his own, but he seemed really nervous about sitting down. Almost like he wasn’t sure he’d make it back to his feet if he had to. He was also having trouble keeping his back legs from getting caught on each other. Before I left, I convinced him to crash on his bed. He’ll probably still be there when I get back home.

The really great news was his x-rays. The vet said that they would probably get OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) ratings of Excellent on the left and Good on the right. And the Good would only be because there’s a tiny spot at the bottom of the joint that looks like it might possibly be not quite perfect. It’s probably due to the slight twist of the hip, but I still wouldn’t argue with a Good rating. What this means is that Duncan has no hip dysplasia at all. Not to say he might not develop arthritis problems when he’s much older, but I’ll never have to worry about a hip replacement surgery because of dysplasia.

Thanks For Stopping By

Its a good thing I took pictures of the baby wrens when I did, because those birds are gone. They vacated the nest a mere two days after I took the pictures. Who knows, maybe I'll get another round of feathered visitors next month.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kittens!

Khar’pern, Parm and Per’la are all 4 years old today (or close enough to today, anyway). Its hard to believe they’ve been part of the household for so long. Of course, its also hard to believe that 20lb Parm was ever a small, fluffy kitten.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Life

There’s a wren nest in the back corner of my deck, just under the roof, that’s been used every spring for the last four years. This time, though, I was actually able to snag a few pictures. I had to break out the telephoto lens and stand in a somewhat contorted position to get them, but that’s okay.

Here’s Mom (or Dad) with part of dinner. If you look closely, you can see the babies in the nest. They blend very well.

I realize the bird’s butt isn’t the most attractive thing to see, but the focus of this picture is the four open mouths in the background. For such little things, they sure are loud.

For some strange reason, Duncan has decided that he just has to chase Mom and Dad every time they fly out of the nest. He looks so pleased with himself, I don’t have the heart to fuss at him. And the wrens are more than capable of confusing him. The other day, he was chasing one of them and it flew into the open space on the propane tank, under the lid. Duncan must have looked for that bird for five minutes, never realizing it flew out the other side. Duncan’s even started standing watch on the deck, sitting under the nest and just waiting for someone to fly out. I’ve never seen him this focused on anything before.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Did you see the fancy countdown timer over on the side of the screen? Isn’t it handy? Now I don’t have to try and figure out how many days there are until the surgery, I can just open the blog and look. One less thing to stress my poor, over-taxed brain.

At Least That’s Over

Mary took me shopping Saturday to get the last few things I need for Reyna’s recovery period – blankets and sheets for her crate so she’s comfy, and rugs for the floor so she doesn’t slip. And by “took me shopping,” I mean Mary went with me to ensure that I didn’t just give up after the first store. Which I probably would have done. Well, maybe after the second store. First stop was the Goodwill on 64, where I found a comforter, a couple of sheets, and a spread to protect the floor from the dog crate. Then on to PetSmart to buy kongs and kibble (on sale!), and then to Big Lots for rugs. Unfortunately, that Big Lots didn’t have any decent rugs for reasonable prices (considering my particular needs, of course). So, off we went to the Big Lots on Glenwood, where we spent a considerable amount of time looking at the various rugs and trying to figure out how many and what sizes I’d need. Thankfully, I had the living room and kitchen measurements with me. And I kept my receipt, so if it turns out I bought too many, I can return them. Then it was off to lunch, BJs, and the other Goodwill near my place. I found a couple more comforters and sheets for Reyna’s crate, so she should be set. And if she has an accident, I won’t feel bad about throwing a $3.00 comforter in the trash. So, thanks to Mary, all the shopping is done, and it was relatively painless. As painless as several hours of shopping can be, anyway.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Last Of The Pasture Photos – Until Next Time

Branching Out

This is in the woods behind John’s house (actually not in the pasture!).

I’m not sure what they found that was so interesting. And I really didn’t want to know.

Here’s Reyna, admiring the chickens. Trust me, they’re in there, even though you can’t see them.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Water Dog

Anyone who has spent time with Reyna on a warm day knows that she just loves water. Swimming is one of her absolute favorite activities, but digging and splashing in a wading pool or a bucket is right up there at the top of her list. The bucket at John’s was a bit smaller than she’s used to, but that certainly didn’t stop her from having a wonderful time. And after all, a lady has to keep her face and feet clean. Well, most of the time, anyway.

Always When I’m Not Watching

Reyna has never been one to roll around on the ground - unlike Duncan, who does it almost daily. She’s rolled maybe five times in her life that I know of. I’m not sure if its because she doesn’t like to be on her back or what. Its certainly not an issue of getting dirty, because she does that on a regular basis. At John’s last Sunday, though, she surprised me by rolling for several minutes. Naturally, since she was doing something unusual, I didn’t notice it until Duncan went over to check it out, and I was sitting down, so I couldn’t get any good pictures. Once I saw what she was doing, I got up and tip-toed my way over, fully expecting her to stop as soon as she realized I was watching her. And that’s pretty much what happened. I did get a few pictures at a distance and from a bad angle, but even bad pictures of such odd behavior are better than no pictures (if you enlarge the pictures by clicking on them, you'll be able to see more than just Duncan's butt and a brown and red blob in the distance).

Going down for the first roll...

Those are her front feet sticking up.

And yes, that’s her head.

Going down for the second roll...

Back foot and tail in the air

And then she just stayed in this position for a while.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Nuthin’, Mama

Duncan appears to be almost as interested in the Horses! as Reyna, but he doesn’t bark at them like she does.

Instead, he just tries to get under the fence and into the paddock so he can have a contact visit.

And then backs out when he realizes I can still see him.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Reyna is completely fascinated by John’s Horses! She talks to them and generally acts like she wants to play with them. She does get a bit carried away on occasion, though.

One of my favorite pictures from our last visit is this one. Reyna sat like this for several minutes, just watching the Horses!, ears forward, totally focused. And doesn’t she look snazzy in her RuffWear harness?

Unfortunately, Reyna spent more time talking trash to the Horses! than she did sitting quietly.

Even close to the end of our visit, when she was hot and tired and relaxing, she just couldn’t control her need to mouth off. Thankfully, Indy didn’t seem too bothered by her attitude.