Thursday, July 31, 2008

Still doing ok

Icy is doing fine-she did not eat well yesterday but has no fever and her bloodwork looked good today so I tried her on appetite stimulants and she had 2 reasonable sized meals. We had to replace her IV in her other leg-I hope it is still working tomorrow. Hopefully we are well on the road to recovery!

In other news Zodiac is back to working a little obedience this week since agility was cancelled and he actually seems to be getting the scent articles now. I have been using 2 dumbells and he brought back the correct one consistently after checking both of them out. Yeah!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Icy is Home

I got Icy home this evening. You can see in the picture she still has her IV in case we need it (covered in pink) and her feeding tube in-although it has never been used, but just in case. It's the white thing coming out her side. You can see most of her incision in the photo but it does extend futher than you can see in both directions! She may look unhappy in the photo but she had just been let out of her carrier, flopped on the floor and started purring. She seems very comfortable on her pain meds and is not terribly excited to be confined to a dog crate!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Thanks to all Icy's well-wishers. She is doing better today. She is out of the oxygen cage and has had her chest tube pulled. She is eating well and her bloodwork today looked good. If all continues to go ok I will be picking her up tomorrow afternoon!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Icy's Saga

We had a week of unusual cases and weird diagnoses at work that culminated with my own sweet Icy. Friday night she became suddenly very ill-we returned from a few errands to find her acting painful and breathing hard, very lethargic, not eating, etc. Saturday morning she was no better so I brought her to work with me. I started her on pain medications and antibiotics and took an x-ray. The film showed a large gas-filled stomach similar to a dog with bloat. I tried to pass a tube to relieve the pressure but was not able. We gave her some Barium ( a liquid that shows up on x-rays to show movement through the GI tract) to see if she was just swallowing air secondary to another source of pain or if the stomach was somehow obstructed. No barium moved out of the stomach in an hour so we decided this was a surgical problem and the girls rescheduled some of my Saturday AM appointments so we could do surgery. I was still unable to pass a tube even when she was under anesthesia so we proceeded with an exploratory surgery where I made the surprising diagnosis of a diaphragmatic hernia (a hole in the muscle between the abdomen and chest cavity) and that her stomach was trapped in her chest! This is not a problem we are able to handle so I closed the incision, quickly saw my last two appointments and drove her directly to the Vet School in Columbia ( a place that consumed most of my life between 2000 and 2004!). The surgeon on call was actually one of my classmates who had returned for a surgery residency and she did a great job. She was also unable to pass a tube and so in addition to her abdominal incision she had to make a small incision into her chest to decompress the stomach. They then put all the abdominal contents back where they belonged and repaired the hole in the diaphragm. Part of her stomach and spleen had to be removed as they were too damaged to save. She also had eaten a large piece of hay (from the rabbits) that was looking like it might not pass through the intestines so they took it out just to be safe.

Icy is still in the ICU and in the oxygen cage just to be on the safe side, has a chest tube for drainage, a feeding tube in case she does not eat well, and an IV for fluids and medications. She is stable but still not out of the woods, although we have passed the biggest hurdles already.

How this happened is still a mystery-usually these are a result of a trauma but Jill seemed to think it was pretty recent and not related to her previous accident. So how a house cat managed to get that kind of injury is unknown. Leave it to Icy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Last year I had a tremendous crop of blackberries. This year looked like it would be another great crop as well-but then we got beetles. First it was just little beetles and they died when I sprayed with Sevin. But before we left for vacation we started getting big ugly beetles that congregate on the berries and suck the juice out. I sprayed but it didn't work-they are totally infested with big beetles and little beetles and then they invited the flies. So we switched to Ortho Max Bug-B-Gone and that seems to be helping. I will check them again tomorrow in the daylight. Hopefully I will be able to salvage some of the crop although they definitely won't pass for "organic" at this point! My carrots are still growing but since carrots grow underground I don't have any idea of when they are done. Guess I'll dig one up occasionally.

Here is another random vacation picture.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back to work

It was great to be off yesterday to have some time to recover from our trip but today was back to work again for me (I did work monday-barely) and also for Legend who headed back to agility class this after a few weeks off. She did great-especially for not doing any agility since sometime before our trip. I was quite pleased with her. I really need to get Zodiac back into training for Utility if I have any chance of showing him in October.

These pictures are of Oreo playing ball at the cabin last week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We arrived back home late Sunday night. We had a good time on our trip and could easily have filled another week with stuff to do. I have posted some of our favorite pictures from the trip.

This photo is of Rainbow Falls which is I think the tallest waterfall in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It's about a 5.5 mile round trip to see it, which got kind of long going up but it was worth it when we got there. Tennessee is having a drought so I'm sure it's even better after a good rain.
This is a picture someone took for us at a scenic overlook on our way to our white water rafting trip. However since there is low water right now the rafting was not very exciting. We spend a lot of time pushing the raft off the rocks instead of flying down the rapids. Our guide had to get out and drag the boat several times. We did a discount though.
There is only one trail you can take dogs on in the park and here is Oreo off the side of trail hanging out at the river. It was a nice flat, scenic trail so we got to take our time and make several stops along the river. He seemed to enjoy it and we were able to get back to the car before he got too hot and tired.
This is a deer right along the side of the road at Cades Cove-one of the most scenic areas of the park.
Here is a fawn we saw with it's mother along the road but I can't remember where.
This is probably our favorite picture. It was taken at a smaller waterfall we passed on our way to Rainbow Falls.
Here are Oreo and I along the doggie trail.
These last three are all along the Cades Cove area-I said it was very scenic didn't I!

I'll probably be posting more photos over the next few weeks-we have a ton!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Cats Part 5: Icy

In January 2007 a terrible ice storm hit the Springfield area. The clinic I work at spent 11 days without power. Towards the end of the first week someone showed up with a cat they had found-they reported she had not ate, drank, or moved since they picked her up the day before. They had no money to take care of her and if we didn't take her they said they would just put her back where whey found her. We couldn't let her be put back in the cold to suffer and die so we decided even if we had to put her to sleep we would take her. Since the week had been so miserable already the staff asked if we could please try to help her instead of put her down-I agreed we would try to save her. It didn't hurt that she looked oddly similar to Squall but with long hair. The stray cat had a broken jaw, broken teeth, missing teeth and something clearly wrong with her pelvis but since we could not take an x-ray we didn't know how bad it was. She also had fleas and intestinal parasites and was dehydrated. So we started with what needed to be done first. We put her under anesthesia and since the afternoon light was fading I wired her jaw back together by flashlight. We started her on pain medication and antibiotics, treated her for parasites and gave her some fluids. "Broken Kitty" started purring over the next few days as we carried her around in litter box we had made into a bed. Even though she found it very hard to walk she only failed to drag herself in and out of her actual litter box one time!

When the power came back on we found that her pelvis was fractured in 3 places but in such a way that didn't need surgery-just rest. So for 4 weeks the broken kitty-now "Icy" lived confined in our bathroom. Every time we went in to check on her you could hear her start to purr and she would hobble over and sit in my lap. It didn't take long to get attached to her but she was very afraid of dogs. We worried that she would not fit in here but in time she learned not to be afraid-of anything!

Icy made a full recovery and even had her broken tooth root canaled! She goes everywhere she wants in the house-including places we would rather she not go and places Jelly has never dreamed of going. She gets into a lot of stuff she shouldn't and has broken a few things. She is not afraid of the dogs or the vacuum or anything else, even if she should be. She does not appear to be a particularly smart cat (she sleeps on the edge of everything, has fallen off several pieces of furniture trying to do stuff she shouldn't, and will fall asleep sitting up) but makes up for it with sweetness (she's very loveable and cuddly) and cuteness. We just blame her "specialness" on her head trauma!

Icy loves to pose for pictures, get in the way when we are doing stuff, harass Jelly, and snuggle. She likes everybody but is mostly "my" cat. We never let her outside-she has survived so much already. She and Jelly are our house cat princesses.

We don't know if she was separated from her family during the ice storm or if she had already been a stray cat but no one ever came looking for her. I probably would not have given her back anyway!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Cats Part 4: Pumpkin and Squall

These cats are no longer with us but have a story anyway...


A few years ago we noticed a large orange and white cat that kept appearing on our deck outside the bedroom. He would run off if you approached or opened the door but kept coming back several days a week. I asked Jerry what we should call him since "orange and white cat" seemed a little long. He said we should call him Pumpkin because it would be October before I caught him. October came and nearly went and the cat hadn't been caught. I went out to feed the horses on Halloween night and there was the cat-in the barn. Surprisingly he let me approach and pet him and so I scooped him up, locked him in a cage and neutered him the next day. Once he allowed us to catch and pet him that first night he was a very sweet and docile cat. However he wasn't meant to be our cat. Shortly after I got all his vaccinations boostered he began wandering off. A few times we picked him out of someones yard and brought him home but he wouldn't stay. I guess he just found a place he liked better. Every once in awhile I still see him wandering the neighborhood. I don't know where he lives but I hope they appreciate the free neutered cat!


A few summers ago Squall was left at the clinic as a tiny kitten weighing 1.3 pounds. The tiny screaming kitten was pretty hard to ignore and I thought a new barn kitten might be fun-I'd never had a tiny kitten of my own before. All the other cats were older kittens or young adults when we got them. So she came home to live with Barney and Lefty. We were very careful to keep her locked in a cage in the barn and started letting her out gradually over the course of a few months so that she would get used to staying in the yard and not be scared off.

Squall was very entertaining-she helped with all the chores and especially loved gardening-she liked to chase the weeks we pulled up and threw out in the yard! She was also an excellent bug hunter. She was very sweet and social-she'd let me carry her around anywhere and would come running (always meowing) at the sound of the back door opening and she would always lay in the windowsills and look in whatever room we were inside of if we were in the house. Sometimes she would also climb the screens.

One evening in the fall we came home from dinner and did not see her. The next morning she did not come running when the back door opened. A short search ended with me finding her little body across the street-clearly hit by a car. She was just barely 6 months old. We buried her in the middle of the yard between the house and barn so she could still see everything that goes on. Squall's death left our yard quiet and our windowsills empty. We were very sad but it left a place in out house for a kitty that very much needed some help...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Cats Part 3: Barney

Barney was picked up by a co-worker at a gas station where he had been seen multiple times eating out of a dumpster. He jumped right into her car when she called him and went right on home with her. She called him "barn kitty" and although she was quite fond of him had to find a new place for him to live due to personal circumstances. I agreed to try out "barn kitty" as another barn cat at our house and so he became Barney the barn cat!

Barney is a lazy cat. He loves to sleep and eat and will run into the house and find a comfortable place to spend the night if you let him. He is a very curious and social cat-always hanging out wherever people are outside and watching any activity that goes on. He walks under the horse during shoeing, gets on the hay during unloading, and wanders around and on the agility equipment during training. Barney is also very sweet and not shy at all. He's pretty easy to deal with unless he's getting any kind of injection-he does not like needles! And at 15 pounds (he's now dieting!) he can be pretty scary if he wants to be.

Barney is very territorial. He does not allow any other cats in our yard and will spend all night waiting up to make sure he keeps them run off if needs too. He has been injured in more than one fight but lately seems to be winning them all or else just scaring them off with a growl. He and Lefty are the best of friends however, and he never bothers the house cats when he comes inside.

Although Barney rarely hunts anything besides cat food we did come home once and find him lying in the barn next to a freshly killed adult rabbit. Since it is doubtful that a rabbit just wandered into the barn to die and Lefty was nowhere to be seen we had no choice but to assume that Barney had caught and killed this rabbit!

Barney rarely leaves the yard and is a very handsome addition to our outdoor zoo- and sometimes our indoor zoo too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Cats Part 2: Lefty

When we moved here in November 2004 it didn't take us long to notice that a little gray cat was sitting on the deck looking in the door at us. We questioned the previous owners of the house and they responded with "we feed him but he's not ours" followed by "if we could have caught him we would have taken him with us." They must not have tried very hard because it only took me a few days to be able to catch him. Anyway, the cat that was left behind became known as Lefty and has been our barn cat ever since.

It didn't take us long to realize that Lefty was running with a much younger black kitten. She was pretty wild and we called her Spooky (see the picture above). Around Thanksgiving Spooky disappeared. I waited another month or so to make sure he was really staying, and then hauled Lefty into work for vaccines and neutering.

In the first few years we had him Lefty would often spend a large amount of time roaming and sometimes we would not see him for days at a time. As soon as I was sure he was gone forever he would come trotting home again. These days however he spends more time at home and is almost always waiting with the other barn cat for breakfast-they are dieting right now and thus always quite hungry in the morning.

Lefty is a shy but sweet cat, most people cannot catch him or get near him and he runs and hides if there is any noise or much activity around the barn. He is a pretty good bird hunter, although we would prefer he catch mice and moles!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Cats Part 1: Jelly

For those of you that have ever wondered-yes, there was at one time a "Peanut Butter" to go with Jelly. The picture to the right is the only picture we have of Jelly as a kitten and the only that ever existed of Peanut Butter-who was never our cat anyway. When I was in Vet school I was a part of the Mule Club and the other members and I decided we should have some barn cats to help with the mice. One of our professors had recently adopted a pregnant cat and was quick to offer us our choice of kittens. Two adorable calicos were selected and the sisters were named-you guessed it-Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Initially we kept the kittens locked up in the tack room when we were not at the barn and then began letting them out more frequently. Shortly after this Peanut Butter disappeared and Jelly, who was the more wild of the two, became very friendly and dependent on people. So much so that she was following students around in the parking lot and there was a lot of concern that she would accidently get run over. The ruling finally came that the barn cat had to go. Although we had many offers to take her the mule club members decided that she should stay with a club officer and I was the only one in a position to take her. So Jelly came to live with us and be a pampered house cat.

At first Jelly was very much my cat. She would sit on my lap every day when I came home to study and eventually we would fall asleep on the couch. She slept on my pillow every night and would wake me up at 3AM almost every morning kneading my head. She has actually continued to sleep intermittently on my pillow for several years.

After I acquired a second and then a third dog Jelly became more of Jerry's cat. She likes to watch TV with him when the dogs are not home and every night jumps up on his side of the bed to be petted. Every house sitter we have ever had reports that Jelly is "the sweetest kitty ever" but as her veterinarian I can tell you that is very much not the truth. She is difficult to do anything too whether it be simple things like nail trimming and applying Revolution or more difficult prodecures like blood draws. This year when 3 people and a cat bag could not hold her down for her annual blood screen I had to anesthetize her! So the sweetest kitty ever-probably not, but when the house is quiet and she's in the mood-sure.

Jelly hides when company comes-until she's sure they are ok, she can train any dog on how to respect cats, her favorite toy is a red leg off a caterpillar the dogs used to have, and she loves to paw at the water in the bowl for no apparent reason. She also sits in a chair at the table at dinnertime (when we eat at the table, which is rare) and politely waits for her bite to be served!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. Doesn't seem like it has been that long does it? Anyway I prepared this and several other posts for this week before we left on vacation so hopefully this works and you are actually reading this as planned on Monday the 14th! The rest of the week will be about the various cats we have now or have had in the past!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Almost ready and stuff about fleas

I had to work this morning and we have spent most of the rest of the day getting ready for our trip. We are going to Gatlinburg, TN for a week. It's a long drive but we are looking forward to getting away for awhile. Oreo is coming with us but everyone else is staying home with a housesitter. We have a few things left to get done around the house and to pack but then we will be all set.

I'm quite ready for a break from work-I'm getting tired of shaving fecal matts off dog butts and diagnosing fleas. I swear in the summer I spend half my day charging people $35.85 to tell them their dog has fleas plus a varying amount of money to treat the secondary skin infection and itching plus the Frontline or Revolution they should have been using already to prevent the problem in the first place. This does not seem like an adequate use of a 7-year college education but it does pay the bills for said education!

While we're on the subject of fleas I have found that there are two kinds of people. The first are the people who didn't know their pet had fleas-even if it's a white dog with a thin coat, and the second are the people who know their pet has fleas but fail to believe that it's the fleas causing "all that itching and hair loss." There is a subset of the first group that not only didn't know their pet had fleas but adamantly denies it-despite their admission that they are not using flea control and the pet is only chewing on it's back end which is very typical of fleas. Usually if you look long enough (or sometimes not very long at all) you can find a flea on these pets-which is actually pretty satisfying. This is the Show-Me State after all! There is also a subset of the second group who fail to understand why this dog itches but the other one who also has fleas does not (varying allergic response to flea antigen) and why they have to treat the dog who is not itching as well (constant reservoir for the allergic dog, not to mention fleas carry disease and cause anemia and are annoying even if you are not allergic). It is a nasty flea and tick year here in the Midwest so I am sure this saga will continue throughout the summer. Makes a good year for the makers of Frontline, Revolution, and other products that actually work!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


We have a client who found a very pregnant stray cat a few weeks ago and we decided it would be best to let her have the kittens since she was so far along. A friend fostered the cat since the owner is blind and may not be able to manage watching over the pregnant cat. Yesterday the cat had one kitten and then just quit. Today we tried to induce labor and only got one more kitten so around noon we headed to surgery for a C-section and delivered the last kitten-sleepy but very much alive:) I know that pretty much the last thing the world needs is more kittens but when you go to the effort and expense of a C-section a live kitten makes the whole thing more worthwhile for everyone involved. Plus I spayed the cat while I was there which we were going to do eventually anyway. Momma and babies are all doing well tonight although momma is still kind of sleepy. I don't usually tell work stories here but this one was kind of different and fun.

We are busy here getting ready for vacation-only a few more days! Moses was limping pretty bad earlier in the week but after a few days on meds he is a lot better.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rabbit updates, etc.

Here is a recent picture of Spring-still growing! Wiggles is eating rabbit pellets again. Which isn't live saving because rabbits can live without them-but he hasn't been eating them since he got sick so it's just one more step towards normal! I think after we get back from vacation I may start moving toward the original goal of them living in the same pen! I have done nothing with my free afternoon except read blogs and work on mine. I'm a blog junkie. Why did I ever start this anyway...Oh well. It's fun. I think people like reading it-a few people anyway.

Monday, July 7, 2008


We spent part of our weekend visiting the Butterfly Rainforest in Branson. Here are some of the pictures we took. Not all are of butterflies but are still pretty. I was a little disturbed by the number of dead butterflies that were there however. I realize this will happen but you would think someone would go around and pick them up. Also I know the fruit is to attract the butterflies so they congregate up close to where people can see them but brown banana chunks make for an unsightly photo!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sedalia Rally Results

Zodiac and I headed to Sedalia today for the Rally trial. He competed in Excellent B and Advanced B and earned a 98/100 and First place in both classes. This was his first RAE leg!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

5K Results

As promised I did run in a 5K this weekend despite a decrease in my training over the last 6 weeks. The weather was cool and cloudy and the course relatively flat. I managed to finish in 27:09 which I would describe as not impressive but not a total embarrassment either. And remarkably it was good enough for 3rd place in my age group. Jerry finished ahead of me despite running less than 10 miles in the last 6 months but did not place in his age group.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Legend's Story

It's been awhile but finally here is Legend's story. If you have not yet done so you might check out Oreo's Story and Zodiac's Story.

Legend is a product of too much free time (which seems odd, because I never have free time), the internet, and some luck. As it happened I was killing time one day browsing Border Collie rescue sites for fun because it was not a time when I was looking for or needing another dog-but then when is there ever a time? Anyway, as I hit the Nebraska Border Collie Rescue site an unusually marked red merle puppy with an eager expression and big ears was staring back at me. Just under a year old and listed as high drive I clicked on the picture to learn more. The bio went on to describe the puppy as very sweet, very driven, good with other animals and an agility prospect. She would be everything I was looking for if I was looking for another dog-which I was not. But over the next few days I could not get the picture of that little dog out of my head. I finally decided that even if the time wasn't ideal, the right dog does not come along every day. So I submitted the 10 page adoption application and waited. Apparently someone got their application in ahead of me and I was notified that "my" dog had been adopted. Now for the luck part of the story-it seems that the new family's current dog did not like Legend at all and she was returned to rescue. The following week I drove to Nebraska to pick up a dog I have never met in person.

It only took a few days for her and Zodiac to be best buddies and for her to learn to leave Oreo alone. She was very busy and loved to play with her toys. But she stayed out of trouble and was very well crate trained. We tried to let her sleep in the bedroom but she was too energetic and would wake us up at odd hours of the night to play. She now sleeps all night withought trouble but is still very busy-right now she is sprinting around the living room for no reason!

Since it was winter when we got her we spent several months working on obedience and agility handling skills on the flat and targeting, all in preparation of classes starting in the spring. She then progressed to doing a few simpler obstacles. In the spring she started more formal agility training and loved it! By June she was competing in her first Rally Trial and on her second day of competition she got a perfect score and first place!

In the fall I entered her in agility at the BC National Specialty and was pretty nervous. She did not have that much experience running courses and she had never been turned loose in a strange place. I shouln't have worried though-as soon as we stepped out on the course she thought of nothing else but agility and qualified on all four of her runs that week. She even had a clean run and first place her first time out. She has since gone on to finish her NA, NAJ, OA, OAJ and has a leg on her AXJ. All since October! She also has and NAC in NADAC and points toward several other NADAC titles.

She has also finished her RN and RA with several perfect scores and first place finishes to her credit. She knows a lot of the obedience exercises-even some of the more advanced ones and someday she may be controlled enough to compete in the obedience ring but for now she finds it too rigid and dull!

Legend loves to play and to snuggle and she doesn't do anything slowly or with subtlety. She is a fun dog to train, compete with, and live with. We have a lot of high hopes for her agility career. She has a lot of natural speed and energy and if I can continue to focus those things on agility then I think she will acheive a lot of great things. Hopefully this is just the beginning of her story...