Thursday, September 23, 2010

He Was A Good Bird

Niko, who joined our family in mid-November 2007 and spent countless hours playing with Reyna, passed away this afternoon. He'd been acting a bit odd the last couple of days, sitting on the bottom of the cage and looking less alert than usual. This afternoon, he was perched on his food bowl and then dropped down to the bottom of the cage. I heard him wheeze out three chirps, almost like he was deflating, and then he was gone. He's now resting peacefully in the flower bed under the tree in the back yard. I know that Reyna, in particular, will miss him. He was a good bird.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poor Pup

I took Duncan to the vet Tuesday to get his ears checked and he has a nasty yeast infection in both of them. The vet put him on ear drops for a few days, and I’m supposed to call him Friday with an update. Duncan really, really hates those drops but they’ve done a great job. After only 3 doses, the redness is gone and Duncan’s ears are back to their natural pink color. The amount of crud has significantly decreased, too. Duncan still shakes his head a good bit, but that will hopefully ease off in a day or so.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Before Posted! Part 2

The last few favorites from earlier this year...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Never Before Posted!

I've finally been sorting through pictures I took earlier this year and I decided to share some of my favorites...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Duncan hasn’t been very interested in playing for a while, but its hard to know if that’s because he hasn’t been feeling well or if its because of the heat, or a combination of the two (which is my guess). I’ve also gotten the impression that the Doxycycline has been making him feel a bit icky, so I’ve increased his yogurt intake. Monday afternoon, Duncan gave me a very pleasant surprise – he picked up his purple Jolly Ball and started tossing it around. Now, I have no idea if he felt like playing because the weather was a little cooler, or because the yogurt was helping with the Doxy, or if the Doxy is actually having an impact on the Ehrlichia. There’s just no way to know right now. But he definitely played more Monday afternoon and evening than he has in a very long time. Paws crossed that this trend continues…


Reyna’s definitely enjoying her herding lessons, and she’s picking it up really quickly. We’ve moved up to the front graze, which means Reyna has four sides to patrol and the sheep tend to move around a lot more. She’s very good about figuring out where the borders are, but she has to test them occasionally. She’s excellent about watching all of the sheep, even if they split into multiple groups, and she doesn’t pay much attention to me at all. Reyna is amazingly good about letting a sheep graze right up to the edge of the graze, but not over. A couple of Claire’s sheep like to push the limits with Reyna, and she’s been wonderful about controlling her responses. During our last two sessions, she’s only lunged once. And last time, she was able to walk right up to the sheep and do nothing more than stick out her tongue (I gotta start carrying Benadryl with me, just in case she ever gets a mouthful of wool). Its really fun to watch her stalk the sheep when they get too close to the border. When she can’t see them because the brush is too high, I can see her air scenting. Reyna’s learning that she doesn’t need to spin constantly or bark incessantly. She’s figured out that simply turning her back on the sheep and sitting down is an excellent way to take the pressure off (and when that’s not enough, a little spinning and snacking on some grass is okay).

Our sessions have been starting at 7pm, so a couple of the pictures I took Sunday are a bit dark…

Here's Reyna straining against the leash, desperate to get to the sheep that Claire was moving into the graze. The look on her face was pitiful...

Minding the border, watching her sheep.

Coming towards a sheep who is getting dangerously close to the border.

Watching her sheep from the far side of the graze.

Coming around the corner, ready to correct the problem.

Encouraging the sheep back into the graze.

Everyone's relaxed.

She may look like she's taking a break, but she knows exactly where her sheep are.

A nice finish to the evening.

Friday, September 03, 2010


Duncan and I have gone swimming with my friend, Renee, and her dogs a couple of times. We always have a lot of fun and end up staying in the water much longer than I would have by myself. On our last trip to the lake I took a waterproof disposable camera (I'm always afraid I'll drop my little digital in the water), and I think it did a pretty good job.

Duncan seems like he's really enjoying the whole swimming thing. Of course, he still panics for the first few minutes, and he still thinks the safest place is on my shoulders, but we're making progress. This picture looks like he's smiling, but if you look really closely, he looks a bit deranged around the eyes. He's probably gauging whether or not the risk of drowning me during his climb is worth it....

Renee's dog, Merlin, likes to be held while he takes a break from swimming. The first time we went to the lake with them, Duncan saw Renee holding Merlin several times, and he decided that wasn't such a bad idea. So now, everytime Duncan swims to me, he tries to get me to hold him. There's one significant difference between the dogs, though - Merlin only weighs 40 lbs. Duncan and I have worked out a relatively satisfactory solution. As long as I can brace myself before he climbs into my arms, we do okay. Duncan usually ends up with his front feet on my leg and my arm under his back legs. Thank goodness for Duncan's life jacket...

When Duncan has me hold his front legs (which is what I'm doing in this picture), I'm not sure if he's actually kicking his back legs or just letting them dangle. I know he's not bracing himself on the bottom. I really think he's trusting me and his life jacket to support him.

Anytime I swim away from shore, Duncan follows me. Sometimes he turns around before I do, but he always comes back out for me. I've started letting him pull me back towards the shore. Its funny to watch his hips when he's doing this, because they move side to side fairly slowly, until I let go. He picks up a lot of speed when he dumps all that extra weight...

And here's Duncan's opinion on the whole thing...

Of course, he wasn't complaining when we stopped at Bruster's for ice cream (they have pup treats, too).

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I got Duncan’s genetic test results today. He’s a carrier for Degenerative Myelopathy, which means he only has one DM gene. There’s no real worry about him developing DM since he doesn't have both DM genes, but that means one of his parents is at least a carrier (no way to know which parent, of course). One more thing to mark off the list!