Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Night Only

The musical stylings of Duncan and John

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Reyna will be 6 years old March 1st. Since that falls on a Monday, I decided we’d celebrate today. Mary came over to celebrate with us and to take some pictures. She did a wonderful job!

As always, Reyna and Duncan enjoyed the Pup Cake from Gourmutt’s Bakery.

Happy birthday, Reyna! May you have many more!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


At long last, Reyna is finally doing better. I’m going to keep her on a bland diet for a couple more days, slowly adding in her regular food, just to make sure we don’t have a recurrence. She’ll also be getting rabbit instead of venison during Friday’s physical therapy, as I don’t want her eating too much red meat just yet. I’m sure she’ll be happier when she gets back to her full dose of pain meds. Such a relief that she’s on the mend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Continuing Unpleasantness

Reyna is still sick and she’s staying home from physical therapy again tomorrow. I chatted with our vet for a bit today, and it turns out that I’m already doing everything she recommended. Apparently, I’ve been paying attention during all those vet visits over the years. Who knew? The vet said that if Reyna is still sick on Thursday, I should bring her in and we’ll start trying to clear things up with medication. The vet and I are in agreement, though, that the fewer drugs we can use, the better. As part of that, Reyna is down to the bare minimum of pain meds, which unfortunately means that she’s hurting pretty badly. We just came in from outside, and she’s having trouble making it up the ramp on her own. She really needs to get over this so we can get her meds back to normal.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sick Puppy

Reyna’s still not feeling well today. She’s doing better than yesterday – no sudden trips outside – but her tummy still isn’t right. I made her stay home from physical therapy and she had to suffer through two more meals of boiled rice with rabbit broth. I’ve decreased her meds hoping to make things a bit easier on her stomach. The downside of that is an increased pain level. Late tonight will be 48 hours since this started, so if she doesn’t seem a good bit better by late tomorrow morning, I’ll probably give our regular vet a call and see what they suggest. She’s drinking a lot of water, so at least I know she’s not dehydrated.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Poor Baby

Poor little Reyna’s been sick since late last night. I’ll spare everyone the details, but trust me when I say its not been pretty. Thank goodness Reyna knows to get herself outside in time. I was happy to discover I had some rice in the cupboard, and days like this are exactly why I froze several containers of broth the last few times I stewed rabbit meat.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Herding: Not Just For Sheep Anymore

Duncan and I spent several hours at Claire’s yesterday. While there, we worked with sheep on outruns, obstacles, gate work and boundary herding.

Duncan is doing very nicely with boundary herding. He’s slowly getting more comfortable with moving around the entire grazing area, although he’ll get more practice with that when he gets to work a larger flock. During Friday’s session he also managed to spend some time relaxing on the far side of the area opposite me. That’s a big deal, because he generally doesn’t like to be that far away from me.

The line of stones is the boundary on this side. Duncan's staying right along the edge.

The sheep have moved, but Duncan is still behind the stone boundary.

Since the sheep are moving, Duncan is doing the proper thing and moving with them to make sure they don't leave the grazing area.

Duncan is waaaaay off to the far right of the photo. Thats the farthest he's ever been from me while working sheep, but he handled it very nicely.

Duncan stays outside his boundary line while helping me take the sheep back to the arena.

Back in the arena...

Here we're working on guarding the gate while I sort out some sheep. Duncan's job is to keep the sheep from rushing the gate as a group while I let two of them go through. He's also responsible for suggesting to any extra sheep that try to go through the gate that, just maybe, they don't want to do that.

And this picture is in here because he's an extremely handsome German shepherd, even if he is mostly covered with muck.

Now we're working on moving the sheep through an obstacle. The goal is for me to stay outside the obstacle while the sheep walk through it. Duncan's job is to push them through, but not go through it himself.

Same goal, different obstacle.

One thing Claire noticed during this session is that the faster Duncan's tail wags, the more likely it is that he's going to try to grip one of the sheep. Its a great indicator, except that he should always be behind me when we're moving around the arena.

Since Duncan has some trouble with ducks, we started herding turkeys (well, trying to herd them, anyway). The birds are big enough that Duncan isn’t quite as inclined to pick them up as he is ducks, but he still gave it a try a couple of times.

Turkeys just don't pick up quite as easily as ducks do, although not for lack of effort.

Notice the turkey third from the right in the picture below. Notice her pretty white wing and tail feathers.

Remember the turkey with the white wing and tail feathers? Duncan brought one home as a trophy. After he plucked it from her.

Our biggest problem was the goats – not that Duncan was trying to herd them, but that they really did not like him. Claire had to pen them while we were working because they kept harassing Duncan. My poor pup has been nervous around the goats since one of them head butted him a few months ago, and he’ll go out of his way to avoid them (or to use me as a blocker). As we were trying to leave yesterday, we had a bit of an incident. Duncan wanted some water, but the goats wouldn’t let him near the trough. Claire and I were trying to get out of the arena, but Duncan kept wavering – go, or get water? Claire backed off of the gate and the goats started towards her, so Duncan headed for the trough. As he was finally getting a sip of water, one of the goats suddenly rammed him in the side. Duncan fell over, and I actually heard the air being knocked out of him. My response, of course, was to start smacking the goat with my stock stick so that he’d back away from Duncan (the goat was staring at him, looking like he was daring Duncan to get up). Claire grabbed the goat and I got Duncan out of the arena. Thankfully, it appears that Duncan’s very sturdy ribcage took the blow. I didn’t find any injuries or indication of soreness, so I think Duncan was more startled that anything else. Claire said that when the goats start getting obnoxious with her dogs, she encourages them (the dogs) to use their teeth. Unfortunately for Duncan (but fortunately for the goat), fighting back just isn’t Duncan’s personality. I have a feeling he’s going to be even more nervous around the goats from now on. But I also think that Claire will make sure Duncan’s not put in a situation where this could happen again.

Poor Duncan – he had a rough day. He had to work - and watch us work - for five hours (never mind the additional three hours of drive time), he was attacked by a goat, and to top it off, Albert the cow bonked him on the head with a horn because Duncan tried to give him a kiss. It’s a good thing Duncan loves herding so much…

Moving On

Now that I’m past the stress of the certification application and exam and I’ve recovered from the mild heart attack Mikey gave me Wednesday, I figured it was time to move on to something more fun – like pictures of the pups playing in the snow!

Our second snow of the year dropped a couple of inches of soft powdery stuff on us. The pups had a lot of fun playing in it Saturday morning, although Reyna wore out pretty quickly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Gotta Start Locking That Door

Duncan and I picked Reyna up from physical therapy at 4:30 and were back home by 5:00. We followed our usual routine, which included going outside to play for a little while, then coming back inside so Reyna could bark and spin and I could finish up a few little things. At 5:30, I walked into the living room from the hallway. Reyna was still spinning and Duncan was laying on his bed. And then something I never expected happened – I heard the dog door flap. That struck me as odd, since neither dog was near the dog door. When I looked towards the door, I realized a cat had come into the living room. My first thought was that one of the local semi-strays had decided to move in. Then I realized it wasn’t a stray, it was Mikey. Mikey! He’d apparently gone out while the dogs and I were gone and he’d decided it was time to come back inside. I think Reyna was just as startled as I was, which gave me time to grab her so she didn’t run after Mikey and possibly scare him back outside. He calmly (although with his tail puffed up a bit) trotted past the three of us, hopped over the baby gate, and went into the bedroom. I’m still shocked by all of this. I have no idea where he was while the dogs and I were outside playing – the dogs obviously didn’t realize he was out there, and I certainly never saw him. I’m thrilled that he decided to come back inside, since he could just as easily hopped the fence and disappeared. I think I’m going to have to start locking the dog door when the dogs and I are away.

Oh, and I did a head count after that – everyone is where they’re supposed to be. Now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Woo-hoo, hooray, and yay for me! I love that exam results are provided within minutes, rather than days or weeks. They used to give numerical scores, but not anymore. I guess it doesn’t really matter, because passed is passed. In a few weeks, I’ll have a fancy certificate to hang on the wall in my office. Now I just need to get an office.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not Exactly The Betty Ford Center

Reyna has been to physical therapy twice. I don’t know if she enjoys the therapy portion, but I know she likes the people and she certainly doesn’t seem to mind being fed chunks of venison. Monday, she managed two 10 minute sessions on the underwater treadmill. Today, she was able to go 12 minutes both times. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering her current physical condition, I’d say she’s doing pretty well.

Right now, the therapists are working on retraining Reyna’s gait. The way she’s had to compensate for the hip pain has caused her to completely change how she walks, and how she walks now is not good – it actually causes more problems. So, they’re using the underwater treadmill to force her to relearn the proper way to move. As she progresses with the treadmill, they’ll also change the volume of water and the speed of the treadmill to make her work harder. Once she’s gotten the hang of the new gait and has built up a bit of muscle in her hips, they’ll start using additional therapy methods. What’s interesting – although not surprising, really – is that the therapy does not make Reyna tired. Instead, it seems to wind her way, way up and make her very bouncy. Even after two sessions, she seems to be moving a little easier at home. Of course, that could also be due to the increased amount of pain killers. I guess we’ll just have to see how things progress.

The folks at VetHab are very nice. There’s one in particular that Reyna likes. I’m not sure if she just senses something really friendly about him, or if its because he’s the one that feeds her venison when she’s on the treadmill, but she was absolutely thrilled to see him this morning. Since I can’t be with her during her therapy, they very kindly agreed to take a few pictures and a bit of video of her in the underwater treadmill.

The container in the bottom of the picture is her broiled venison.

She doesn't look too happy here, but she's obviously not fighting them. I think its just the way she has her ears that makes her look upset.

The leash isn't actually pulling her along - they use it to walk her into the treadmill and to provide a bit of support and physical contact.

This is the video they took today. She's clearly handling the underwater treadmill with no problems. The guy feeding her and talking to her is the one she likes so much, and she's definitely interested in the venison.

I See That Cat Quit His CRaP

(No, CRaP is not a typo).

I know, I know…its not the best mnemonic ever created, but its one I can remember - and that’s the most important thing, right? I’m sure I’ll forget it as soon as the exam is done, since its not likely anyone will ever ask me for the 9 Knowledge Areas after that. And its no worse than IPECaC, which is the one we were given in class for the 5 Process Groups.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sooner Than I Thought

I found out yesterday afternoon that my application for the PMP certification has been accepted (and so far, without landing on the audit list). The next step is to schedule the 4 hour exam, which I just did. Unfortunately, my options weren’t as varied as I’d hoped, so it looks like I’ll be taking the exam next Tuesday. I’d hoped for a little more time, but the next opening is March 1, and that’s farther out than I like. I’ll be doing a lot of studying over the next 6 days. On the upside, Reyna’s in PT for 3 of those days, so it’ll be quieter at the house than usual. Keep your paws crossed for me!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rehab For Reyna

Reyna’s appointment at VetHab was at 1:00 this afternoon. Dr. Sherman was nearly 30 minutes late getting to us, but its hard to be annoyed about that when you consider that he spent about an hour and a half with us. I really like him, and Reyna seems to like him, too (ignoring the fact that she tried to bite him a few times…). He told me about his approach to assessing and working with orthopedic problems, and then he asked for Reyna’s life story. And he really listened. He asked a bunch of questions, answered all of my questions in detail, and then he asked more questions. And he listened. He spent most of the appointment on the floor with Reyna, baby talking to her, petting her and bribing her with Pupperoni. Reyna was very sweet with him, right up until he started examining her.

We went outside to do some walking so he could see her move, both at a very slow speed (so she couldn’t cheat) and then at a slightly faster walk. Then the painful part started. He tried to have her lay on her side while he checked her legs, but she didn’t particularly like that. While she was on her side, though, he tried to exam her feet and wrists. That’s when Reyna bypassed her normal warning signals and went straight to trying to chomp him. Twice. Apparently, her wrists hurt. When he moved on to her rear legs, she got really agitated, so we muzzled her and had her stand for the rest of the exam. She was definitely happier standing, but by that time, happy was a very relative term. As he went through the exam, Dr. Sherman showed me a few of the problems that he was talking about, and had some very nice, clear explanations for much of what he was saying. Not so much of the vet-speak, which was nice. After the exam, he looked at the x-rays and files that had been sent over by our regular vet and the vet school (he prefers to talk to the owner and exam the dog without any preconceived biases he might develop by reading other vets’ comments).

So, the results of all this are: her muscle mass is crap in her hips and along her spine (no surprise there). Her left hip has good flexion (leg moves forward) but bad extension (leg moves backward), and her right hip has decent extension but bad flexion. Her left shoulder is extremely painful, and both wrists have the equivalent of shin splints. Dr. Sherman wants me to step up the Tramadol, and he put her on Gabapentin and Amantadine for pain, as well as generic Pepcid to help keep her stomach settled and extra fish oil for the anti-inflammatory benefits. He’s also planning to make her some neoprene wrist supports to help prevent future shin splints. Reyna starts rehab on Monday (he wanted to give the meds time to kick in, as well as get past the storm that’s forecast for this weekend), and she’ll go three times a week for a few weeks. All I have to do (for now, anyway) is drop her off and pick her up. She’ll spend the whole day at the rehab facility, which will let Dr. Sherman work with her at a pace she can handle. Dr. Sherman said that she’ll never be like she was when she was two years old (thank goodness!), but he’s confident that we can get her back to where she enjoys playing with her ball and she can go for walks with me and Duncan.

I really hope he’s right.

Monday, February 01, 2010


The snow started Friday evening (a few hours earlier than the weather people had said it would) and continued coming down until Saturday afternoon. And then we had MORE snow Saturday evening. We ended up with about 4 inches of snow after it was all done. The pups and I got out as often as possible to play. Saturday was great, because the snow was soft and powdery, and even Reyna didn’t have any trouble moving around in it.

By early Sunday, though, Reyna was tired of the snow because it was just hard enough that she couldn’t break through and walking on it was difficult for her.

Yesterday afternoon and today, Reyna’s activity has consisted of relaxing under the deck while Duncan and I play with his Jolly Ball.