Monday, January 30, 2012

Doggy Drama

Last Wednesday, courtesy of Kodiak’s very intense interest, I found a mass on Reyna’s rear, just under her tail. Yes, Reyna has a mass on her ass. Or, if you prefer, a bump on her rump. Dr. Lapham thinks its an infected anal gland and it should be better after 10 days of antibiotics, hot packing and cleaning. Paws crossed he’s right, because he’s concerned about the fact that its on the same side of her body as the masses on her belly a few short months ago. If this thing isn’t dramatically improved within the 10 days, we have to consider the possibility that its connected to whatever caused the other masses. Which would be very much not good. Poor Reyna, she’s got an infection, she’s taking antibiotics that make her feel ooky, and her mom is messing with her butt twice a day. Its no wonder she’s not a happy pup these days. And naturally, this all occurred two days after I told WakeMed that Reyna was ready to go back to work…

Duncan apparently decided I didn’t have enough stress in my life and he had a grand mal seizure Thursday night. I awoke to a loud thump and then took a few seconds to realize the noise I was hearing wasn’t the pups roughhousing. I talked to Dr. Lapham Friday morning and we agreed to hold off on medicating Duncan. His first grand mals were last June, and his last seizure was December 22, which put him just a bit outside the 30 day window of concern. I decided to go home early to check on Duncan and get Reyna ready for her appointment. I’m glad I did, because I found significant evidence that Duncan had another grand mal during the 4 or so hours I was gone. Another call to Dr. Lapham resulted in “bring him in, its time for meds.” So now my poor puppy is on a (relatively) low dose of Phenobarbital. With luck, that will be enough to control the seizures but not cause too many side effects. I still have nightmares about all the side effects Reyna went through when she was on it several years ago. Since its Dr. Lapham and not the vet school handling the case, we’ll have more flexibility with the dose. So far, I’ve only noticed a slight increase in Duncan’s lack of coordination. Of course, its Duncan, so a lack of coordination is something of a given… No grand mal seizures since Friday morning, thank goodness. We’ll just have to keep our paws crossed and see how things go.

On the good side of things, the mass Kodiak got from his rabies vaccination is still there, but it is significantly smaller than it was. It should continue to shrink with time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Junior Herding Dog

Way back at the end of October, Kodiak entered his first sheep herding trial. Turns out he's pretty darn awesome! He ran the Junior Herding Dog course each day, qualified both times, and earned his JHD title. So proud of my little pup!

Renee took the video for me, but those darn trees were in the way of so much of the action. They had a photographer out there, and thankfully she had a good vantage point.

Kodiak had been having trouble focusing during our practices runs - too many distractions - uness we were moving quickly, so thats what I did Saturday. I didn't actually run, but I was moving at nearly a jog, which turned out to be not such a great idea on really wet ground. You can't see it well in the video, but I do a lovely fly-and-slide near the far panels. Kodiak was great - he didn't panic at all like I was afraid he would. He just waited til I got up and then kept on moving the sheep (he did have to stop and check the tree that had been watered by a dog a couple of runs before him). Kodiak even had a nice stop at the pen.

You can actually tell that I was moving fast in the photos.

Right before I launch...

Thanks goodness the ground was soft. I even managed to slide a bit. In my defense, I was not the only person to hit the ground that day.

And then we calmly strolled off to the pen.

Sunday went better in that I stayed upright, but the sheep were a little more reactive to Kodiak. I didn't set him up quite close enough to the fence, so one sheep decided to bolt. Kodiak did a pretty decent job of getting the sheep back to the flock, but he did take a bit to have fun chasing it first. Our repen wasn't quite as nice as Saturday's but that was due to the sheep being spazzy and the fact that I hadn't worked Kodiak very much on holding sheep calmly. But thats okay - he qualified!

I love this shot of his take-off.

No sheep, but a gorgeous photo.

Once we had the flock together, Kodiak did a great job of staying back so they wouldn't bolt. I was still moving briskly, but certainly not jogging.

The photographer also got some great candid shots of Kodiak over the weekend.

Overall, I was really pleased with the weekend. Kodiak even handled the environment pretty well. He had a bit of a fright when the wind blew a chair over at one point, and he certainly wasn't keen on people coming up to pet him, but thats okay. His tail was up most of the weekend and he was very rarely truly stressed. And he did a great job with the sheep! I can't wait til I have time and money again and can get him back to practicing. It'll be fun to see how he handles a regular course.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Stocking #2

I finished Mikey's stocking tonight. I ended up choosing the Grey Heather yarn because it has the same silvery sheen as his fur.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

So Pleased With Me

Several years ago, I bought Christmas stockings for everyone and had their names embroidered on the cuffs (burgundy for the girls, deep green for the boys). It wasn't an issue last year, since Kodiak was just a foster pup who'd be heading to his new home the following month. Or so I thought.

This Christmas, I realized I was one stocking short. I checked with the place that did the original stockings, but they weren't selling them anymore. Obviously, Kodiak couldn't have a stocking that looked completely different from everyone else's. I thought about buying some generic stockings at Wal-Mart and writing their names on the cuffs with glitter, but I generally suck at that sort of thing. I pondered the problem for a while, and then one day I was working on an afghan and it occurred to me - there MUST be crochet patterns for Christmas stockings out there somewhere! I hunted around, found a book with designs I liked and a couple of patterns on the internet, smushed them together into something more personal, and voila! We have Christmas stockings!

I started this one yesterday afternoon and finished it up a little bit ago (didn't get much else done yesterday). I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially since the only things I've crocheted so far have been afghans. Everyone will get a different color and a slightly different look to the cuff. Belle's stocking is Victorian Rose, Reyna's will be Wine Country (a nice deep red), Khar'pern is getting Persimmon, and Per'la's will be Sunshine. For Loki, Mikey, Parm, Duncan and Kodiak, I have Light Country Blue, Sage, Ocean, Forest Floor, Orchid and Grey Heather (yes, I realize I have one color more than I do boys). I just haven't settled on who gets which color...

Buh-Bye, 2011

I have to confess, I'm glad 2011 is over. Don't get me wrong, good things happened, but the bad things were really stressful.

In the good column (in no particular order):
Kodiak officially joined the family.
Reyna became a therapy dog.
All of the pups learned new skills and earned various titles/certificates.
I learned to crochet.
After two years, I finally got a job that pays reasonable money and might actually last more than a few months.
I started selling Mary Kay.
We had a successful raffle raising money for Reyna's medical bills.
I met a great guy who gives me deer parts to feed the animals.
The switch to raw has been great for pups and kitties alike.

In the bad column:
I had to stop working with a great pup trainer due to schedule conflicts (this one isn't bad like the others, it just makes me sad).
I had massive financial issues due to lack of work, stress over potentially losing the house, problems with the state about taxes, and general "how do I pay for this" worries.
First there were problems with Reyna's kidneys, then we spent months dealing with multiple masses on her belly, including surgery and so many useless trips to the vet.
Duncan had two grand mal seizures in June and what appeared to be a mild seizure shortly before Christmas.
My sweet Mikey was diagnosed with lymphoma two weeks before Christmas. He's still fighting, but he's having a rough time.

So, yeah, I'm glad 2011 is done. Paws crossed 2012 will be better.