Friday, July 29, 2011

Work Faster!

I know it hasn't been very long, but I was really hoping we'd be seeing a little more improvement by now, particularly regarding the swelling. As best I can tell, the swelling hasn't gone down at all and the spot is actually looking a little oozier. The area does appear to be better defined now, rather than just one big mess. Thankfully, it doesn't look quite as raw as it did Wednesday. Reyna's being really good about not obsessing over the spot, although she does try to sneak in a lick every now and then. I also have to watch the boys. Duncan especially keeps trying to check the spot every time we go outside. I left a message for the vet with an update (and emailed him these photos) so we'll see what he thinks. I'm guessing he'll say something along the lines of give the meds more time, but he's the one that said he wanted to know if the swelling hadn't decreased within a couple of days.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reyna's Latest Owie

I was outside with the pups earlier today and noticed that Reyna's belly looked like she'd been licking a lot, so I checked it. I found a spot where she'd licked the skin off and it was oozing a bit, so I called the vet to set up a time to get some meds. After all, she licks hot spots up often enough (although none in several months) so I wasn't too concerned about getting in today or even tomorrow. While I was on the phone, though, she sat down, and I saw that the area she's been licking was very swollen. That's not a normal hot spot for her at all (green with infection, yes, extremely swollen, no). We couldn't get an appointment but they said they'd work us in if we showed up, so that's what we did.

Dr. L came out to the waiting room for a quick look shortly after we arrived. He thought she might have an abscess and said a tech would be out to get us shortly. While we were waiting for the tech, though, the office manager's dog got out of the office and decided to visit Reyna. Not good. When I saw him, I got a tight grip on Reyna's leash, stood up to do a body block, and yelled "loose dog." No one came out to the waiting room to help, and the other client sitting there (with no pets) did absolutely nothing. By that point, Reyna was going ballistic over this strange dog who kept trying to shove his nose up her rear. I was holding her as far away as I could while stomping my foot at the other dog, telling him "no" and "go away." That dog just would not take the hint. I know Reyna was telling him in no uncertain terms what she was going to do if I let go of her leash just a little bit, but he would not back off. It took a ridiculous amount of time for any employees to get in to the waiting room to help, and the office manager never did apologize. Thankfully, Dr. L seemed to realize that Reyna was not to blame for any of what happened. He asked if any teeth had connected, and I said no, because I know how to handle my dog to keep that from happening. Of course, if that dog had been more aggressive (rather than just plain stupid) we could have had a major problem on our hands.

After all that drama, we finally got into an exam room. Dr. L was initially planning to do a needle stick and take a sample of the abscess, but after poking, prodding, and getting up close and personal with it, he decided not to. Thankfully, its not as close to a lymph node as he originally thought from his first quick look. At this point, he thinks the swelling isn't an abscess, rather its Reyna's way of making hot spots more fun and exciting than they used to be (she so sweet like that, trying to keep things interesting). However, he does want to know whether or not the swelling has gone down in a couple of days. If yes, then I report in again five days later. If no, then we're looking at another visit. She has ten days of antibiotics to take, hoping that the meds help while not making her too incredibly sick (good thing I picked up more goats milk yesterday, although I'm not sure I have enough for ten days). She also has a topical spray for the spot that will hopefully keep her from licking it so much (yeah, right).

This first picture was taken with Reyna standing. Her belly is to the right, and my fingers are holding back the fur just inside her right hip.

In this picture, Reyna is sitting. The sore is obvious, the dark red around the sore is the swelling, and the light pink fur covered skin to the right is normal.

We'll see how things go over the next few days.

Monday, July 25, 2011


The boys had an APDT Rally trial this weekend. I'm very pleased with both of them. Duncan ran Level 1 and Level 2, racking up points, Qs and QQs for advanced titles. Kodiak stayed in Puppy Level, working very hard for his Puppy Championship.

Duncan's Level 1 runs were great. He had scores of 204, 201, and 208. Sunday afternoon he earned a perfect score of 210 with a flawless run! He also had three great Level 2 runs with scores of 204, 203 and 205. We had a bad run Sunday morning (scored 187), but most of that was my fault (the lagging and crooked sits were all him). I screwed up an exercise, did a 360 turn rather than a 270, but thankfully realized I was going the wrong way before I officially missed the next exercise and NQ'd us. When we got to the bonus, I wasn't clear in my "stay" command and he broke his stay before I took two steps away from him. The judge let us try again even though we couldn't get any points for it and Duncan executed the exercise perfectly. Naturally. That one low score put a damper on Duncan's weekend for no more than a couple of minutes. He now has 4 more Qs towards his RL1X (only needs 2 more), and 4 Qs towards his RL2X (needs 6 more). He also earned 3 QQs towards his ARCH (needs 2 more). I'm so proud of how well Duncan did this weekend. Even his 180 left pivots weren't too bad, which is impressive since he just recently discovered what "back" means...

Kodiak had a rough time this weekend. He was mostly fine with meeting and greeting, especially when folks had really yummy treats, but seeing the audience from the ring really freaked him out. And the walls were scary. He started out with a 191 Saturday morning, with his biggest problem being that he really, really did not want to have his back towards the audience, and he didn't want to walk towards them without me right beside him. He dropped to a 180 Saturday afternoon - still didn't want his back to anyone, and he also started stressing over the scary walls with their terrifying air vents. Sunday morning was the worst, with a score of 173. He was stressing over everything, from people and noises to walls and signs. The stationary exercises are hardest for him, because they give him just enough time to start thinking, which almost always leads to panic. When he's moving, its not so bad. We got lucky Sunday afternoon. The course had the required stationary signs, but there was enough heeling to get him moving. One of the other folks gave us some chunks of seasoned steak, which really snagged his attention. I also changed how we entered the ring. Instead of getting him out before the course, putting him up while I walked it, getting him out and trying to get some focus, and then asking for focus in the ring before we stated, I left him in the crate until it was time for him to go into the ring. I told the judge we were going to enter and start, no prep activities first. That seemed to help him quite a bit (no time to think about all those scary staring people). He did beautifully. He held his stay when I asked for it, did his down with no problems, and heeled like a dream. He even managed part of the bonus exercise. Kodiak earned a whopping 202 with that run, and the 4 Qs for the weekend gave him his Puppy Championship title. I'm so pleased with how well he bounced back for that last run and I have seasoned steak on my list for the next Rally trial.

Here's Kodiak in his crate after he finished his last run.

Duncan with 8 qualifying ribbons. At this level, they don't give placement rosettes or prizes anymore, just qualifying ribbons.

Kodiak being smug about his ribbons and toy (notice his tongue sticking out). He technically wasn't supposed to get any rosettes for placements, either, but one of the judges thought he deserved them anyway. The toy and big rosette are for his RLPX.

He's a bit more dignified in this one. And before you say anything, John, yes, he's just as afraid of the ribbons as he was the STAR Puppy medal. It took quite a few tries to get pictures of him sitting in the chair, rather than bolting from it.

In a couple of weeks we should have some great photos from the trial. They had a photographer come in and she'll be sending me a CD with all the pictures she took of Duncan and Kodiak over the weekend. Can't wait to see those!

Friday, July 22, 2011

He's A Star!

As part of the Puppy Confidence class that Kodiak recently completed, he tested for the AKC STAR Puppy program. This is for puppies under a year old, a pre-Canine Good Citizen certification. It includes some basic obedience, with and without distractions, and allowing someone else to pet him. Kodiak passed with flying colors, naturally. His certificate and medal finally arrived in the mail yesterday.

Reyna's Baby

At the hospital last week, Reyna met her absolutely all-time favorite patient, Baby. Baby's grandmother actually saw us in the hall and asked us to come into his room. Baby was a 15-week-old who'd been in and out of the hospital since birth. He has a big dog at home, so he wasn't the least bit worried about Reyna. After greeting Mom and Grandma, Reyna was totally focused on Baby. She was very careful with him, clearly aware of the various tubes attached to him. She would stare at him for a bit, then pat him with her paw. When he smiled, Reyna would lean up and give him a few delicate little kisses, and then she'd settle back and stare some more. It was all really sweet.

Reyna was acting fairly peppy today, so we headed to the hospital despite the heat. Since we started in Pediatrics last week, we started in Cardiology today. After we finished that floor, one of the nurses checked to see if Baby was still registered. He was, so off to Peds we went. When we got off the elevator from Cardio, I asked Reyna if she wanted to go see Baby. She grabbed her leash and started trotting down the hall towards the elevator for Peds (the hospital is a bit confusing regarding which elevators actually go to which floors, but Reyna knows her way around pretty well). After making nice with some of the staff, we checked in with Child Life Services and got a list of kids to visit. I made sure they knew we were going to see Baby, since they generally don't have us visit infants. We visited with a kid who was heading to Surgery shortly, and then I started in the direction of Baby's room. As soon as Reyna saw the doorway, she bolted for the room. We were past the door before I got her stopped and could ask Grandma if we could come in - a bit of a moot point, since we were already in there.

Reyna saw Baby and started wiggling and whining. Happily, Baby was free of tubes and bandages today. Grandma tried to pet Reyna, but Reyna wasn't having anything to do with that. Mom brought Baby over, and Reyna just lost it. She was vibrating and licking and whining while trying to sit politely (that's harder to do than you might think). It was so wonderful to see Rena's utter joy in being with her Baby again.

It turns out that we got there just in time - they were getting ready to take Baby out for some tests. Just a few minutes later and we'd have missed him entirely. Mom sat in the wheelchair with Baby while they waited on the orderly who was going to push them. Reyna planted herself directly in front of the wheelchair, ears forward, eyes focused on Baby. She completely ignored the various people who came up to pet her. The orderly commented that Reyna thought Baby had food (he was gumming his fingers) and then he asked if she'd watch him like that if he started chewing on his fingers. My response? Not unless you suddenly turn into a 16-week-old infant.

When they were finally ready to go, I told Reyna to say bye to Baby. She put her paw on his foot, he grinned, and she bounced up to kiss him a few times. Multiple "awwwws" from the folks standing around. Then she sat directly in front of the wheelchair again. I told the orderly he'd need to back it up and turn around - there was no way Reyna was going to let that chair move forward. He pulled the chair backwards, turned it around, and started down the hall. Reyna popped up and started trotting along beside it - until she got to the end of the leash. Let me tell you, Reyna was not happy that I wouldn't let her accompany Baby.

Mom said there was a good chance they would be going home on Monday. For their sakes, I hope that's true. I have a feeling that Reyna will miss seeing Baby next week, though. They took a bunch of pictures last week and today, and I asked if they'd be willing to send me some for Reyna's scrapbook. Mom said she would, so I left her my email address. I hope she does - I'm sure some of those photos are absolutely adorable.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Duncan's left ear has been bothering him for a bit, so I finally took him to the vet to get it checked. I swear, the fact that it took me so long to get him there isn't because I'm a bad parent, its just because the pups have been costing me a fortune and I can't afford to go for low-level problems. The only reason I took him last week is because he's started indicating that the ear has become more aggravating, and the last thing I need is for him to collapse on the floor at the rally trial this weekend, grinding his ear into the floor because it itches. So, Friday we went to the vet and got some ointment. It does seem to be helping, although Duncan shoots me dirty looks every time I clean his ear and reapply the goo.

As far as I know, Duncan's not had any seizures since that really bad weekend. He still has some off behaviors, though, so I mentioned them to the vet while we were there. The options seem to be that Duncan is either taking a really, really long time to come back to normal, or he's having partial seizures that I don't see. I'm not completely sure which of those options worries me the most....

Reyna seems to be slowly but steadily improving with the new diet. I'm not ready to say she's all better, but I think she's headed that direction. Knock on wood. Of the three pups, she's the one most bothered by the nasty heat (current forecast shows temps of 100 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday - ugh!), and she's pretty lethargic even in the A/C. I'm not sure if we're going to go to the hospital this Friday - the rooms on the floors she's assigned to stay pretty warm. She had a good visit last Friday, though. She was able to do a bit over 2 hours, and I credit a lot of that to the 20 minutes she spent adoring a 15 week old infant. She absolutely loved that baby. The nice thing was that the family requested we come in and they were totally fine with Reyna being as close to the baby as she could get. They seemed to think it was a distinct possibility they'd still be there this Friday, so if we go, I'm going to make sure Reyna gets to see the baby again. You know, I've got to start carrying cards with my email address on them and asking people to send me copies of the pictures they take. I know they got some great shots of Reyna and her baby last week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Birthday Boy

Duncan is 6 years old today! We celebrated Saturday with cake, pressies and Aunt Mary.

Duncan says he's tired of posing, its time for cake - just a little taste!

Oooh, what did Aunt Mary bring for the birthday boy?

Funny how Duncan doesn't mind waiting for cake when there might be cookies, too...

Duncan with his birthday goodies.


Yes, Kodiak is eating his cake in his crate. Its really safer for everyone that way.

"Mmmmm....cake good."

"Wait, she's not coming after my cake, is she?"

Gotta make sure he gets every tidbit. Kodiak even cleaned the floor of the icing the big dogs left behind.

Happy birthday, Duncan! I hope we get to celebrate many, many more!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Puppy Confidence Class

I got an email late last night with pictures that Adele's mom took at graduation. I'd forgotten all about them, which is odd considering I'm the person usually nagging everyone to send me their photos...

This is Adele with Kodiak.

Ollie and Hoobie (the beagle). Kodiak and Ollie were the shy pups in class. The other three had plenty of confidence.

A cute shot of Kodiak.

Holly and Adele (front), Ollie and Kodiak (back).

Holly, Ollie and Adele. Holly is a German Shepherd/Malamute cross, and she's absolutely gorgeous. She's assertive with the other dogs, but she learned to not mess with Kodiak. Its so cute - she outweighs him by 20 pounds or more, but she's submissive to him.

Adele and Kodiak.

Holly, Hoobie and Ollie in the front, Kodiak's pants and tail in the back.

Adele and Hoobie. Hoobie is so submissive, but he was determined to hold on to the toy.

Kodiak on the puppy walk.

Kodiak jumping the tire.

This is the closest we got the mortarboard to Kodiak's head. Even with the cookie, he wasn't going to wear the thing.

Kodiak's such a good boy!

This is a great shot of Holly. Like I said, she's a gorgeous girl.

I think we'll be in the CGC class with Ollie. It'll be nice to see a familiar face. And who knows, I might eventually learn her mom's name...

Thursday, July 07, 2011


We've had a lot going on in the last week! Well, maybe not a lot, but its certainly felt that way.

Saturday, Mary came over to do some scrapbooking. Thats always fun (and tiring). I spent the day working on the pups' award book - matting certificates, mounting ribbons, and adding photos. I'm very pleased with the way its turning out. Kodiak even got into it, offering his opinion on Mary's project:

Monday evening was spent keeping Reyna calm. I was expecting fireworks, but the thunder was just as bad. She couldn't settle down, and kept moving between Kodiak's crate, the hallway, the end table, and me. This is not her happy face.

I was hoping Monday would be the last of it, but because of the storms, they moved the fireworks to Tuesday, so the poor girl had to go through it all again. I'm not sure if Kodiak is nervous about thunder all on his own, or if he's picked that up from Reyna, but he's getting to where he can't really function when its thundering. Not good, considering all the thunder boomers we have during the summer (its thundering as I'm typing this, as a matter of fact).

Tuesday was a busy day. Kodiak graduated from his Puppy Confidence class! He was even voted Most Improved Pup. He's come such a long way in the last six weeks! Of course, the mortar board was terrifying, so there was no way we were going to get a picture of him wearing it.

After graduation, Kodiak and I went to see someone very knowledgeable about puppy nutrition. I'm trying really hard to keep Reyna on the absolute minimum amount of meds, especially since she generally has so much trouble with side effects. The deworming probably did some good, but it certainly didn't solve the problems. I haven't started her on the other med the vet gave me, primarily because I wanted to give the deworming time to work. I've also been concerned that she's not getting the nutrients she needs since her diet has been so limited the last several weeks.

I got a lot of great suggestions from this fellow, the first of which was to stop feeding her rice. I'd told him about her allergies, of course, including the fact that she does much better on grain-free kibbles. I also mentioned that she'd been extra itchy lately and with my luck, she was developing an allergy to turkey. The conversation went something like this:

Him: So, she's allergic to grains?
Me: Well, I'm not positive that she is, but she does better with grain-free.
Him: And you're feeding her rice?
Me: Yes.
Him: Why?
Me: Well, she has stomach trouble, and the standard response to that is to feed rice and chicken for several days. Of course, she's allergic to chicken, so she gets turkey.
Him: But she has grain allergies.
Me: Maybe.
Him: And you're feeding rice. But you think she's developing an allergy to turkey?
Me: Maybe. I know she's been really itchy for a while now.
Him: And you're feeding rice.
Me: Well, yeah. Why do you keep saying... Oh. I'm an idiot.

In my defense, even the vet and our regular trainer both know about her food allergies and neither of them ever questioned the rice. In fact, the vet's the one that told me to feed it. So, anyway, Reyna's not had any rice since Tuesday morning, and she's already itching less. A coincidence? Maybe...

I'm also adding some raw food to her diet, rather than cooking for her. That'll help with the nutrients problem, and it is healthier. Another thing the guy suggested was raw goats milk. Its apparently a wonderful thing to give dogs, and if she's drinking the milk I can theoretically stop giving her yogurt and Pepcid. Thats my kind of supplement right there. Turns out all of the pups LOVE goats milk. Duncan and Kodiak both follow me around from the time I pull the carton from the fridge to the moment they get their bowl. Reyna loves it, too, she's just too dignified to follow me around. She knows I'll bring it to her.

I know its only been a couple of days since I made the dietary changes, but I swear she's already improving. She's less itchy, there's been no vomiting, and her stool is more solid than its been in a long time. We'll see if the trend continues, because I'm fully aware it could just be a brief upswing (she's had several of those while she's been sick). Paws crossed!

We had our regular training session Wednesday. Reyna worked on her nose work skills (excellent, as always) and Duncan on his Rally moves (seeing major improvements in some things). Kodiak had to do some obstacle work. The silly pup still won't go over jumps unless he's put directly in front of them, but he did just fine for his first experience with the teeter-totter. Go figure. After training, we made a quick stop at a friend's place. She'd worked some show at the fairgrounds this weekend and managed to get a bunch of kibble sample bags. Its great - I can feed Kodiak for nearly a month!

Now for some cuteness! I have tons of little squeaky toys in the house and yard. Its usually Kodiak that plays with them, but Duncan and Reyna both still have a bit of puppy in them.

Kodiak loves to get Duncan riled up. First the squeaking starts, and then the game of tug, generally followed by a wrestling match. As pesky as Kodiak is, though, Duncan never hurts him. Kodiak's not so great about pulling his punches...

With luck, next week will be a bit quieter. We still have hospital visits for Reyna (she's not quite ready for a full two-hour shift, but she still enjoys her therapy work) and regular pup training. Kodiak won't go to his next class until August, and the break is nice. Especially since the boys have a Rally trial coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm a bit iffy on going, as I'm worried about Duncan. As far as I know, he's not had any seizures since that awful day a couple of weeks ago, but he's not quite right. There are some odd behaviors that make me wonder if he's having small focal seizures or if something else entirely is going on. There's nothing I can really take to the vet (Doc, its awful! He walked behind the chairs during training!), just small things that aren't normal for him. I've got until the 18th to get my pre-trial entries in, so we'll see how things go next week. And I guess I could always leave it until the trial and do day-of entries. I dunno. I'll figure something out.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


To wrap up the month of June, which was a mix of good, bad and indifferent, here are some never-before-seen photos (all taken this month). They're in no particular order, just how they happened to be in the file folder.

Suzie took this one at training. Getting all three dogs to sit (or stand) next to each other isn't as easy as you might think. I have to laugh every time I realize Duncan still has his back feet on the other side of the jump...

I disturbed her beauty rest....

Pay attention to the look on Reyna's face. She's getting ready to remind Kodiak that the ball is hers and only hers.

"Mom! Kodiak's bothering me again!"

And a couple of cute videos....

Suzie and I are trying to teach Kodiak to walk Duncan. This was our first attempt at "Walking the Dog." Sadly, we have been unable to reproduce this particular trick. We're going to keep working on it, though, because its going to be really darn cute when we can get the boys to do this on command.

Another musical number from Big D and Lil' K. Kodiak doesn't yet have Duncan's staying power for holding a note, but he's working on it.