Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smartypants Jaildog

Reyna had to go to the vet school this morning to have blood drawn for a GI panel and a urine sample taken to check her kidneys. She trotted in, perfectly happy to be there, although she was a little disappointed that the receptionist and the lady in the waiting area weren't excited to see her. The tech was happy to see her, though, so she forgave the other folks. She went to the lab with the tech with no trouble at all, and I stayed in the waiting area hoping it wouldn't take too long.

After just a few minutes, I heard a commotion, looked behind me and saw a nose coming through the door behind the reception desk (turns out that was the door to the lab). My first thought was that I recognized that nose, and my second was that they'd done a great job of getting both samples so quickly. My third thought was the realization that there was no one on the other end of Reyna's leash.

Reyna ran past the stunned receptionists with the tech chasing her. The tech nearly trapped her in a corner and then I called her name. Reyna turned, blew past the tech and headed straight for me. I had to walk her back to the lab - she wouldn't go with the tech. The tech (and the receptionists) said they'd never had a dog manage to open that door before. It had a push-down handle, which Reyna certainly knows how to work (that's why I have to keep my storm door locked all the time), but it was one of those heavy wooden doors that take a fair effort to push open. I have to admit, I'm very impressed with Reyna's ability to execute a jail break from the vet school lab.

About ten minutes later, I heard another commotion, looked back and saw a nose poking through the door again. I was happy to see that the tech was holding Reyna's leash this time, although it was obvious that the tech had absolutely no control over her. Reyna had her leash in her mouth and she was determined to get to me as fast as possible. As our trainer (and others) can attest, when Reyna really wants to go somewhere, the person holding on to the leash doesn't have a lot of say in the matter. The tech told me that they were able to get both samples, although it took three people to hold her down to get the urine sample. I was a bit surprised, because the folks at our regular vet's office never have this kind of trouble with her. Apparently, Reyna is tired of being poked and prodded.

We should get the results of the GI panel sometime next week, and possibly this Friday for the kidney results.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So Fast, He's Just A Blur

Well, he's actually a blur because he was moving too fast for my camera's flash to catch him and it was just a bit too dim for the speed setting. But the pictures are still pretty neat, I think.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finally, More Info

The Internal Medicine vet was supposed to have all of Reyna's paperwork to me yesterday, but that didn't happen. The student called yesterday with an update, but I don't particularly trust her (we had something of a personality clash) so I wanted confirmation from the actual vet before I posted anything. After only a little harassment on my part today, the vet finally called shortly after 6pm. She apologized several times for the student and took the time to answer my questions, both of which I appreciated. So, here's the scoop, along with our next steps.

The spleen: The aspirate indicates that the nodule is benign, thank goodness. When I asked the vet how the spleen would go from "unremarkable" at the end of June to "moth eaten" now, she said that this type of change is actually fairly normal as dogs get older. She also said that the vet school's equipment is a lot more sensitive than what is normally used by regular vets and its possible Reyna's spleen didn't really look great in June, but the equipment made it hard to see the actual condition. She said its the same with the nodule - it might not have been there or it might have been very small and unnoticeable. I will be running all of this by Dr. L to see what he thinks.

The nose: An odd bump appeared on Reyna's nose Monday - I swear, it was not there Sunday. Dermatology thinks that its a focal bacterial infection due to mild trauma (darn that Kodiak and his roughhousing). They feel confident that the new antibiotics will clear it up. If not, well, what's one more thing?

The weight loss: There's some question about whether or not Reyna's weight loss is due to whatever is going on with these sores or because of the change in her diet. I had to point out more than once that she actually regained a bit of weight after her surgery and then lost it again after the mass reappeared. Which is a bit backward, if you consider she was a lot more active right after the surgery, rather than lying around like a slug. Anyway, when we realized she'd lost weight again, Dr. L had me start feeding her more. She hasn't lost more weight since then, but she's also not regaining any. And she's eating an obscene amount of food, especially considering her lower activity level. She's eating more than Duncan, for crying out loud. The vet wants her to go in for a blood test next week to run a GI panel and make sure she's actually absorbing the nutrients. If she is, but she's still not gaining weight, we'll set up a consult with the Nutrition department and see if we can come up with something that doesn't hurt her stomach or break my bank (Ha! Good luck with that!).

The follow-up: Reyna's on three weeks of antibiotics, and the vet wants her to do a follow-up with Dermatology in two weeks. Unfortunately, Derm couldn't fit her in their schedule until four weeks out. The Internal Med vet will do a follow-up first and decide whether or not she needs to stay on antibiotics longer while we wait for the Derm appointment.

So, next week she'll go for the GI panel and they'll make another attempt at getting a urine sample to check her kidneys (still not sure why they couldn't get it Tuesday - apparently my sweet girl can defeat multiple vet techs). The week after that, she'll see the Internal Med vet again. We'll discuss the GI panel, urine test (assuming they can get a sample), and current condition of her nose and belly, and consult with Nutrition. Oh, and according to the paperwork I received this evening, the Internal Med vet also wants to take x-rays of Reyna's hips so Ortho can make sure the implant hasn't been affected by whatever is going on internally. I can't say I'm too upset by that, considering the consequences if there is a problem with the implant. Two weeks after that (unless there's a significant change), she'll see the Derm vet. And then we'll see what comes from all of that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back From The Vet School

I called the vet school for an update around 4:45. They were still waiting for the dermatology consult, but figured she'd be ready for pick up around 5:30 or so. We finally got home about 6:30, had dinner, and Reyna is pretty much passed put cold now.

Reyna's ultrasound was mostly normal. Her spleen looked "moth eaten" (which just can't be good) and they found a nodule on it. They took an aspirate of the nodule to determine if its cancerous; we'll find out sometime Wednesday. The kicker is that the spleen was "unremarkable" when she had an ultrasound done on June 27.

Dermatology found a lot of bacteria in the open sore on her belly. Can't say that I'm surprised, considering she's been running around with an open sore on her belly for several weeks. They've put her on 3 weeks of a new antibiotic. Reyna goes back to Dermatology in 2 weeks. If the bacteria has cleared up enough they'll run more tests to try and determine the underlying cause of the recurring masses.

As far as the other tests go, the chest x-ray was clear and the blood panel looked good. They couldn't do a urine/protein test because Reyna wouldn't pee for them, and she apparently took it poorly when they tried to take a sterile sample. Dermatology will try again at her follow-up, just to make sure her kidney levels are back to normal.

So now we wait some more.


Reyna's hanging out at the vet school this afternoon having several tests done. She's getting a full blood panel, urine/protein ratio, chest x-ray, abdominal ultrasound, aspirates taken of the sores, and a consult with dermatology. The internal medicine vet has a few ideas about what may be going on (some bad, some not so bad), and she's trying to rule out the worst possibilities. She's concerned about Reyna's weight loss along with the non-healing sores. We should have most, if not all, of the test results this afternoon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brotherly Love

To The Vet School

Reyna has an appointment at the vet school tomorrow morning for an initial consultation with internal medicine. They gave me an estimate for the work-up, which we won't be able to do until I find the money. We'll see what the doctor says tomorrow.

Kodiak's Photo Gallery

Kodiak's photo gallery is finally ready for viewing! Go to Bella Luce Photography and click "Your adventure begins here." On the page that opens up, click "Proofing" and then look for a tiny little blue box in the lower right corner. Type Kodiak (and it is case sensitive) in the blue box, and you should be able to see his photos.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I took Kodiak out to Claire's today to see if he could function around the ducks and chickens and goats and turkeys and sheeps and Albert the Ox. I'm very proud of my boy - he did really well around all those new sights, sounds and smells. I also wanted to see if he had any interest in the sheep - after all, he is part herding dog. We tried him at Meredith's back in April and he was a little interested in the sheep, but more interested in running off to the far end of the arena. Five months is a long time for a pup his age, though, so I was hopeful we might get a different response from him this time. Boy, did we ever!

Turns out, Kodiak has a LOT of natural herding instinct. Very likely even more than Duncan does. In fact, he made me realize how much effort it sometimes takes to herd with Duncan (poor Duncan, he's such a worrier and he prefers to herd from right behind me which usually pushes the sheep ahead of me). Kodiak was soooo easy and just seemed to know where he needed to be to keep the sheep behind me or at least not running away from me. He does get very worried when I stumble, though, and he deals with that by wandering around off contact (Duncan's usual response is to run up to me, scattering the sheep in the process). He's going to have to learn to deal with that, though, because I tend to trip a lot around sheep. For such a little fellow, Kodiak has a lot of sheep-moving power. They were definitely very aware of him. Claire commented that Kodiak seems to have a natural talent for rating himself - he knows when to work the side and front of the flock, and appears able to gauge just how close he needs to be to the sheep to get them moving. I was also thrilled to see that Kodiak could focus on the sheep enough to lose his concern about the environment. I'm really pleased with how today went. I definitely have to get Kodiak back out to Claire's sometime soon, preferably with my good camera rather than my little point-and-shoot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Just talked to Dr. L. He really thinks surgery done by a specialist is the way to go. Anyone got a few thousand dollars they'd be willing to loan poor, sick Reyna? She's good for it, I swear.


Heard from Dr. L via email this morning. He's worried. He thinks our options are coming down to testing/surgery with a specialist (which means I need to work on my bank robbing skills) or continue waiting and hope nothing gets worse. I'm guessing Reyna can't stay on antibiotics indefinitely, and I really don't like her walking around with open sores and no protection from some unrelated infection. We're going to try and hash things out over the phone sometime today.

If anyone has any fundraising ideas (other than robbing a bank), I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Kodiak passed his Canine Good Citizen test today!

He is now ReyDunc's Wiley Little Bear RLPX, NTD, CGC.

Baby Girl

Sent this picture to the vet this morning - just waiting for a response. This is the mass that popped up a couple of weeks after the surgery and ruptured. We've been monitoring it and treating it with antibiotics since late August. The dark red area is the original part of this sore that's been very slow to heal. The pink area above it is where the sore has expanded a bit, developed a new drainage hole and is draining again (all since yesterday). Yet another small mass has appeared just below that sore and has grown overnight. I have no idea what we're going to do next. Unfortunately for Reyna, her health care options are severely limited by my lack of funds.

Kodiak's Photo Shoot

Kodiak had his photo shoot Sunday evening at the seminary in Wake Forest. Its a beautiful area with a lot of great background options. These three photos were posted by the photographer as "sneak peeks." The full gallery should be up in a week or so.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall Down, Go Boom

Duncan has been keeping me company on my pet sitting trips this week. He loves the place, partly because the cats are nice to him (one even stands there while Duncan licks her) and partly because there are chickens in the back yard. Our routine has been that we go in, Duncan licks Monkey, then he goes out on the back porch while I feed the cats. Duncan helps me feed the chickens and then he hangs out while I give the kitties some lovin's. Of course, this means Duncan has ample time to explore the back yard. The down side of this free time is that Duncan still has not learned how to go down stairs, and there are about 10 from the porch to a small platform that leads to the yard. I swear, sometimes I think he just builds up too much momentum and his bulk prevents him from stopping (or even slowing down).

Yesterday, Duncan got a bit too exuberant when I came out to feed the chickens. He made it down the first couple of steps and then appeared to launch himself in an attempt to get down the stairs even faster. Well, he made it down quickly, but it wasn't pretty. He hit one of the lower steps, knocked his front legs out from under himself and planted a facer on the little wooden platform. And then he slid. When he stood up, he seemed a bit confused (no surprise) and started licking his nose. I checked for splinters and damaged teeth and thankfully didn't find either. He walked a bit funny for a couple of minutes, shook it off and went about the task of guarding me from the chickens.

When we got home yesterday, this is what his snout looked like (hint: all that pink is not normal):

I didn't check it this morning, but I did look at it this evening. All that not-good pink has spread, even to his lower lip:

Lucky for Duncan, the pet-sitting gig ended today. He won't have to face those vicious stairs again any time soon.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Reyna Update

The new drainage tract doesn't seem to be draining anymore, which is probably a good thing. The swelling has gone down and the area around the scar looks good. The only thing that concerns me is that the size of the sore doesn't appear to be decreasing. Dr. L says we're just going to give it more time, since she still has several more days of antibiotics.

Unfortunately, Reyna has been unable to get herself into the truck this week (she could do it last week). Dr. L thinks this is just the progression of her really crappy hips, and I'm sure he's right. Thank goodness she's just over 70lbs, since this means I have to lift her into the truck.

Fun At Suzie's

As always, the pups had a great time today at Superior Dog Training.

After doing some nose work, Reyna decided it was time to get down to some serious playing:

When Kodiak's turn came, we decided to work on some agility equipment. He has come so far regarding jumps and tunnels. It wasn't that long ago that I literally had to shove him into a tunnel to get him to go through it. Today, he was taking jumps and going through the tunnel all by himself. He's had brief introductions to the dog walk and teeter-totter, but he hasn't spent much time on them before today. Its a constant surprise to discover what freaks him out and what doesn't - little things can really bother him, but he confidently handles something you'd think would send him into a panic. Go figure.

Here's Kodiak running a short agility course - chute (minus the cloth part), jumps, table, dog walk, tire and tunnel.

Here he is on the same course, but going the other way. You may not realize it, but changing direction changes everything. Just because we know its the same obstacles doesn't mean Kodiak sees them the same way.

And here's Kodiak running a partial course. Its partial because he refuses the teeter-totter at the very end. That wouldn't be so bad, except he spent several minutes going back and forth over the teeter-totter before we had him run the course. Our guess is that he was tired, and when he's tired, he stresses very easily. Maybe next time we'll have him start with the teeter....

Have no fear, Duncan had his turn at training, too. We just didn't take any videos.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Pooped Pups

Today was a busy day for the pups. First, Kodiak had his CGC-prep class. He did really well, which is good, because the final exam is next week.

After taking him home, Duncan went with me to Zebulon for the pet sitting I'm doing this week. My client has six cats and three chickens (the two dogs went with her). Each cat has its own food and special requirements, so its a bit of a process. Duncan's in love with the cat named Monkey - he loves to sit and lick her. While I was feeding the chickens today, I noticed an interloper in the coop:

And a close up:

If my client wants me to kill the thing, I'll have to borrow her .22. I don't think bug spray would have any impact on that.

After bringing Duncan home, Reyna and I headed off to the bank. She's been very patient about not being the dog going places lately, so I figured she deserved a treat. Thankfully the storm kept her on her best behavior during the ride.

Everyone is now happily snoozing away, and I'm about ready for a nap, myself.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Poor Abused Puppy

When Kodiak was a puppy, I fed him in his crate to keep sanity in the household (at meal times, anyway). He's so used to it that he runs into his crate when I start prepping his food. Lately, I've been asking for a few behaviors before he's allowed to eat - wait, touch, paw, watch, and occasionally a down. According to Kodiak, this is nothing but pure torture. He's so abused, he even has trouble keeping his butt on his bed because he's jiggling so much while he waits for me to release him.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Below are some of my favorite, never-before-seen photos taken this past month. And speaking of photos, Kodiak won a free photo session through the first "Cutest Pup" contest held by Bella Luce Photography on Facebook. He won by a landslide, actually - he had 34 votes, and the next closest pup had 4. No surprise, really, since he is freakishly cute. Hopefully, we'll get that photo shoot scheduled soon.