Thursday, December 31, 2009


The real horse vet came to x-ray Squirt's leg yesterday. The news was not too bad I guess. He has a lot arthritis in his carpal joint (that's the one that looks like the knee on the front leg) and she thinks he probably fractured off a piece of the proliferative bony tissue that you get with arthritis and that's what caused the sudden lameness. Now he has a lot of inflammation in the joint and so he's just hanging out resting for another 6 weeks. Not like I was going to ride him much in January anyway! If he's still lame after that may need to inject his joint to get him rideable again. I was a little surprised to hear that he had so much arthritis in the joint-it's not like he's ever been worked hard on a regular basis but then I remembered he is almost 14 and does not have the greatest forelimb conformation. I can't believe he's so "middle-aged." He always seems like a goofy young kid to me-maybe that's because of his dog-like personality and lack of professional training!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The End

Today was my last day at my "old" job. It was weird, everything was so normal and yet not normal at all. I saw patients I knew I would not be around to recheck, said goodbye to one of my favorite clients and her dog (one of my favorite patients) and finished all my files. We had some yummy pizza and cake at lunch-a little going away party! Then at the end of the day I just packed up all my stuff and left-after a lot of hugs. I'll miss a lot of people and pets but mostly I'm relieved and excited!

On another note I have found that Photoshop is not as "user-friendly" as I had hoped, so it may be a while before I have anything too impressive to share. I hope to figure it out a little at a time-there are a lot in instructions!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays

This is the picture I used on our Christmas cards this year. I wasn't totally happy with it but I was running out of time to get a perfect one so I made it work.

We had a great holiday and enjoyed many gatherings with friends and family. We got lots of nice things and all my readers will be thrilled to know I was given Photoshop software thanks to my obsession of altering/improving photos. So stay tuned for many new creations!

The dogs got quite a haul-so many new toys that I threw out some of the old crusty ones. Literally-crusty. Ew.

I don't think I mentioned this but Squirt has been lame a few weeks, he's not getting any worse, but not really any better so the "real" horse doctor is coming out later in the week to check him out.

Today was my last Saturday to work-yippee! Monday is my last official day. I have some tentative work lined up so I'm hoping to get a few actual commitments now that the holidays are winding down and settle into a new routine.

I'm also anxious to have some time to get back into training the dogs and some regular running. My treadmill would be very still except that Jerry has been using it. He's been fighting biceps tendonitis and so has been running instead of lifting weights. And of course I'll need time for my new Photoshop, blogging, reading (I have a few books sitting around waiting for me, actually I still have a few chapters left in Control Unleashed), and whatever else needs done around here.

I think those are all my updates for now. Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What we did today

Late this morning I was presented with a pit bull who was HUGELY full of puppies. I don't think I've ever seen a dog so pregnant. Due to a number of factors a normal birth didn't look likely so it was off to c-section land for the All Creatures gang. The surgery itself was kind of a nightmare-the uterus was tearing and bleeding everywhere. I pretty much delivered the puppies through the tears! I finally got all 12 pups out and the momma spayed. Sorry no pics of the surgery-all staff were working on puppies and quite honestly EVERYTHING was covered in blood and puppy goo. I'm prery sure I've never had such a mess in surgery! But amazingly the girls were awesome and got 10 of the puppies to live. Sort of made all the extra laundry worth it. We were all exhausted afterwards but here's what we had to show for it...

Dad was only described as "big." Not sure that they are going to be very cute but we'll see. Actually I kind of doubt we will see them again. The owners are not too bright or responsible, and have no money (a parent paid today's bill) but maybe they will surprise us. They have a long road ahead with a sick momma dog and 10 pups, they may be doing some bottle feeding before long.

Later in the day we had another surprise. "Santa" from the Portuguese Waterblog brought by some presents and Sue had made me this adorable bunny! Thanks Sue-she's adorable!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gettin it done

I think I'm officially done Christmas shopping now. I've got one thing yet to arrive and a few left to wrap but no more shopping!

My mom and sister were in town this weekend and we had a good time visiting and also got in some last minute shopping with them.

We also got a few things for the "kids." Lyric finally got a coat. It does have a hood but she can't see with it up!

And the kitties got this fancy toy.

I got a bunch of stuff done around the house today and even made some cookies (I never make cookies). Now I have the rest of the night to relax before a busy week.

Here's Jelly relaxing under the tree although she is not preparing for a busy week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Break

So you may have noticed in the last few weeks, other than one agility trial, there have been no updated on dog training. That's because other than one agility trial we have done no dog training around here! With Christmas coming, winter setting in, and preparing for a new job situation the dogs have been getting a winter break. Except Lyric who has to sit or down for her meals. Hopefully once things settle down we will get a lot more training in. I have some pretty specific goals for this year so maybe that will help. I want to get Zodiac more prepared for Utility so hopefully we can start getting some of those UD legs. And, I want to get Zodiac ready for tracking. I want to get Lyric ready for the agility ring hopefully no later than the end of 2010. Legend will keep working on agility skills and will likely start showing in Open Obedience sometime over the summer? And I need to get Zodiac's RAE finished-but we only have about 3 more legs to go!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Deck the halls

This has been a busy, but I must say, highly productive weekend. Yesterday I worked (only one more Saturday left!) and then we picked up a Christmas tree. While we were at Lowe's we picked out paint colors for repainting the master bathroom-I'll post more about that project once I get started on it. Then we went to the Springfield Symphony's Holiday concert.

Today I did laundry, decorated the house, Jerry put up a few lights outside, I did more laundry, wrapped some presents, addressed Christmas cards, did more laundry and then we decorated the tree. And watched football.

I have to mention that Jelly-who has been living in the garage has started to become much more social again. We had always planned to let her come in during the evenings when we could watch her but for the longest time she didn't even want to. She seemed to be enjoying her privacy. Lately though, she is obsessed with coming in and wants to be in all the time. So she spends most evenings with us and usually hangs out in the morning while we get ready for work. But she goes back to the garage overnight and during the day. We still don't trust her. But doesn't she look innocent napping here?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

As promised...

Here is some information about dental care for your pet. I'm starting with the many reasons to have a dental cleaning done...

Cleaning your pet’s teeth involves removing all the tartar and then polishing them so that they will be pretty and white just like after you go to the dentist.  

Better Breath
The tartar and plaque on your pet’s teeth is a major contributor to the "dog breath" syndrome. Having the teeth cleaned will improve your pet’s breath so you won’t mind as much when they give you kisses!  

Oral Health
Pets get dental disease just like we would if we never or rarely brushed our teeth. They can get reddened, inflamed gums (gingivitis) and loose or painful teeth just like we do. However, because pets cannot tell us that they have a toothache and may naturally tend to hide their pain so we may not realize that they are suffering. Regular dental care at home and cleaning by your veterinarian can prevent and relieve the mouth pain that many older pets are suffering from. Many owners have just assumed that their pet was "getting older" because they were eating less and sleeping more only to find that a dental cleaning by their vet returned their pet to an active happy lifestyle. You can imagine you would not want to eat or play either if you had a chronic toothache!  

Systemic Health
When your pet’s gums are inflamed and red the blood vessels come closer to the surface of the gum. This is important because the tartar you see on your pet’s teeth is 30-70% bacteria by weight and every time the pet eats or chews some of that bacteria can break off and get absorbed into the bloodstream. The bacteria can then go to any organ of the body (like the kidneys or heart) and cause disease. The damage is done slowly and builds up over the pet’s lifetime so that we may not see any signs until later in life when it is too late. As a result keeping your pets teeth clean is a way to help them live a longer more enjoyable life.  

So, now that you have decided to schedule a dental cleaning it's important to realize that not all dentals are created equal. Be sure to ask what all is included when you schedule your pet's appointment. You will want to make sure that the teeth are cleaned above and below the gumline in order to make sure all plaque and bacteria are removed. It's also important to polish the teeth after the cleaning is finished. A quality dental cleaning will also include probing all the periodontal pockets to make sure there are no hidden pockets where the gum is not adequately attached to the tooth. Deep pockets need to be addressed and may even mean the tooth needs to be pulled. Dental radiographs are also becoming more commonly available. There can be a lot of dental pathology that can only be picked up radiographically so having these done can really help your pet's mouth stay healthy. And as with any anesthetic procedure make sure your veterinarian is using quality gas anesthesia and appropriate monitoring, as well as pain meds if there are extractions or oral surgeries performed.

Once you have had your pet's teeth cleaned, or before they reach the point of needing cleaned home care is important. There are many products and foods than can help reduce the build up of tartar and plaque but the gold standard is daily brushing. It may take time to teach your pet to accept brushing but don't give up. It will be much better for your pet to have quality home dental care in between professional cleanings. Happy brushing everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My big announcement

Some of you already know this but most of you don't have a clue. But then again most of you won't really care either since it won't affect you. It does however, have a big effect on me.

I quit my job. My last day at All Creatures will be later this month. I have not been truly happy there for a while and some recent events have prompted my to go ahead and make the decision to leave now.

I'm sad to leave my friends and patients but very excited to go on to something less stressful and less time consuming. I don't have to dread going to work every day and I can have weekends off if I want!

So what am I going to do? I'm planning on doing some relief work ("substitute veterinarian") for awhile until I find a more appropriate long term position in a different clinic. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tulsa Day 2

It's good to be home after a chilly weekend in Oklahoma! Legend had a good run in Standard today and finally got another MX leg-now we have a whopping 2! But at least we broke our standard curse! Jumpers started out great and then kind of fell apart. So there went out Double Q. But on the upside she racked several faults and still ran a surprising 14 seconds under course time. I think they wheeled the course really wide-I've never seen a 47 second Excellent JWW course before. We'd have been happy to take the points if we had got them though!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tulsa Day 1

First of all I don't why driving in Tulsa always has to suck so bad. Somehow the directions to the hotel were bad or confusing or both. We drove around forever trying to find the hotel. Subsequently we are very tired today.

Anyway, Legend had a really nice standard run, with an off course tunnel. Ugh. More discrimination work is in her future. But the rest was great-nice off side weaves and nailed her contacts-no creeping!

Jumpers was nice but she somehow got off rhythym in her weaves and missed one somewhere in the middle. That's not a common problem for her so we'll just chalk it up to one of those things you can't control. We lost our connection at one point later in the course but it didn't cost any more faults, just time.

Overall she's running with more speed, confidence, focus, and consistency than she was two months ago and I'm really happy about that. She's shown a really steady improvement all fall but now that she's getting so close I'd really love to get some Qs. It's like she's teasing me!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Would have been

Today would have been Oreo's 15th birthday. For some reason I always thought I'd have him 15 years-almost made it. I guess some times you get quality over quantity. Anyway, to celebrate I thought I'd post a few more pictures of the years we did have.

I don't know if this song was really about a dog, but it always seemed to me like it should be...
My old friend,
I recall the times we had
hangin' on my wall
I wouldn't trade
them for gold
they laugh and they cry me,
and somehow sanctify me
they're woven in the stories I have told
and tell again...
...My old friend,
this song's for you
cause a few simple verses
is the least that I could do
to tell the world
that you were here
Cause the love and laughter
live on long after
all of the sadness and the tears
We'll meet again, my old friend
-Tim McGraw

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not enough time

Seems like lately I haven't had much time to blog, which is interesting because it seems like if I'm that busy I should have something to blog about-but I don't. Today I had the day off but didn't do anything too exciting, not even any dog training. I did get some Christmas shopping done though. Getting closer to getting it all wrapped up!

Zodiac had pet therapy tonight so he had to have a bath. Legend went to hide in her crate so she wouldn't have to have one but Lyric doesn't know the drill yet. She hung out in the bathroom with me and watched Zodiac get his bath. Since she's so little and was right there I decided to give her a quick bath too. We'll see if she catches on to this next time! Anyway it seems she and Legend both suffer from "Post bath zoomie syndrome." She went nuts bolting around the house after I got her out of the tub. It was hilarious. And that was perhaps the most interesting part of my day!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another weekend gone already!

We had a great time at the game, made better of course by a last second Tiger victory. Either way though it was an exciting game and I don't think anyone could have been too disappointed after watching (I know, easy for me to say!). Only problem was that whoever gave Jerry the tickets didn't mention that they were on the KU side of the field! Oh well, free is free!

Today started out nice but has turned quite windy and cold. We have stayed around the house most of the day but did manage to get the dogs out for a few minutes to run off some excess energy. So not really much to report today, just another lazy Sunday before heading back to work.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey and Cake

We had a great Thanksgiving with my family-I've been munching on leftovers ever since! Today I had to go back to work but Jerry went out and did some shopping.

Wednesday was our last agility class of the year. It was cold but fun and Legend ran well. It was also Legend's birthday. Hard to believe she's already four! To celebrate the dogs had cake from the Three Dog Bakery. It looked good enough to eat but I refrained. Speaking of eating my jaw is much improved-I hope to be normal soon!

Tomorrow I have to work (again) but then we are driving to KC for the MU/KU football game. Someone at Jerry's office gave him tickets. We will be late but still in time to see most of the game. Go Tigers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Catching up

Nothing much going on here. I've been trying to make some career decisions but have not come up with anything solid yet. Hopefully I'll get everything worked out for the best.

I wrote earlier in the week, or last week or whatever about my jaw muscles improving (at least I think I did). Anyway I was finally thinking I was really making progress and then I started getting a lot a soreness and swelling on one side again. I thought I better have it checked out and of course it has some infection in it. I sort of thought that may be it. So, now I'm taking antibiotics for a week.

I've also been working on some Christmas presents so haven't been blogging much. Also not much going on anyway. But maybe the rest of the week will be more interesting.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A surprisingly busy day

We started out with not much planned for the day but ended up pretty busy. We did some of our errands this morning then headed back home to meet my aunt and uncle-they were stopping by on their way home from Branson. We had a good visit and then I headed out with the dogs to meet Cheri at the park for some hiking. I took all three because I couldn't decide who to bring. I wasn't sure how far Lyric could go, she's not in very good shape, but she did great-didn't miss a beat and kept right up with all the big dogs.

Now we are headed to Silver Dollar City to enjoy the Christmas lights and some rides!

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's that time again

Merry Christmas Grandma! Hope you enjoy reading about the last year.

Love, Nicki

For those of you reading that don't know I print my blog into a book for my Grandma at Christmas!

Lazy Blogger

I've really been slacking off this week! I'm not really sure what has kept me so busy but must have been something. We didn't even have agility class this week so in theory I had an extra free night. Anyway I'm happy to say that more than two weeks after having my wisdom teeth pulled I can almost open my mouth all the way. Apparently one of the complications is your jaw muscles can tighten up and lock down. Tonight I even ate a sandwich! I had to squish the bread down a little to fit it my mouth but it was still quite a success. I still have an open hole where the stitches came out one side but I'm hoping it's all closed up by thanksgiving.

I did get in some obedience work with the dogs this week. It's hard to work on some of the stuff now that it's dark when I get home but there is quite a bit I can do in the house.

I have a good portion of my Christmas shopping done, or at least have planned what I need to buy. I do have a few people I'm stumped on though.

This is the first weekend in months that I don't have anything planned. It's kind of nice! I don't even have to work tomorrow!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Our local club's NADAC trial was this weekend and we had a great time. I had to work Saturday morning but was able to make it in time for 4 runs yesterday and was there all day today. Legend did great. I was so happy with how she ran. She was fast, confident and under control for all 10 runs. She never showed any signs of stress or shutting down at all. Maybe her confidence and maturity are both starting to show at the same time. She ended up with 4 qs, and all of her NQs were pretty much one off course every time-just something little (not surprisingly most of them involved tunnels-but she's getting better).

The highlights were
1) Open Tunnelers Q-second leg
2) Open Jumpers Q-second leg and awesome run
3) Novice Chances Q-new title!
4) Elite Regular Q-first leg
5) Nailed her contacts yesterday-perfect 2020 and waited to be released. Today she did get her contacts and waited to be released but was creeping in to the zone. But it shows we've been working on it and she's stopping to think. We just have more practice to do.
6) We did some layering! And it was successful! Had some other good distance work as well.
7) Nailed her weave pole entrances at top speed from both sides. Weaved fast and finished all the poles. She actually missed one entrance but it was after a pretty ugly front cross on my part.
8) My dog and I both had fun-and isn't that what it's all about?

Also of note, our friends Chesney and Linda got their first agility Qs! If it weren't for those nasty weave poles they would have had more. Chesney did great and has improved so much, even since her last trial!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Senior Wellness

Senior Wellness

Pets are generally considered seniors when they reach the age of seven, although this can vary some with size and breed. Senior pets, like senior humans, need more visits to the doctor to make sure they stay healthy. In addition to twice yearly exams and annual blood screening, there are several tests that can be performed to make sure you and the veterinary staff are doing all they can to keep your pet healthy and happy for the as long as possible! Any and all of the items listed below may be needed for your pet-talk to your veterinarian about what is recommended for your special senior.

 Dietary changes: There are prescription diets available that can assist in treatment with many geriatric diseases. If your pet doesn’t have a specific medical condition then a quality senior diet is the desired choice.

 Tonometry: This test evaluates intraocular pressure (the pressure inside the eye). The reason for this test is that many breeds are predisposed to glaucoma-a painful disease where the eye pressure becomes elevated. This test is quick and painless and gives us valuable information about a potentially painful disease process

 Chest Radiographs: Radiographs or “x-rays” of the chest will help us evaluate the size and shape of the heart, as well as evaluate the lungs and large airways. This is a very important test for pets with heart murmurs, coughing, or abnormal airway sounds.

 Abdominal Radiographs: Radiographs of the abdomen help us interpret abnormal findings on bloodwork or on physical exam. They can help confirm a potential mass or bladder stone among other problems. Often these problems are easier to treat if confirmed early in the course of the disease.

 E.C.G.: This test evaluates the electrical activity of the heart as well as any arrhythmias (abnormal rhythm). This test is important in pets with any heart disease and in certain breeds predisposed to cardiac abnormalities.

 NSAID Trial: Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs are used in the treatment of arthritis or degenerative joint disease. This is a common disease of older pets and can cause stiffness, reluctance to jump or climb stairs or overall decreased activity. Your pet may be a candidate to try one of these very effective drugs. Note-there are many other therapies for arthritis that I will talk about on a different day.

 Urinalysis and ERD: Evaluation of a urine sample can help us get a better picture of the renal system and urinary tract. It can also allow us to pick up on infections, diabetes, and other diseases in conjunction with our blood work.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nothin much

Not much going on here. I've been slowly trying to recover from my oral surgery. I woke up this morning still very sore-more so than I have been the last few days so I took large amounts of pain meds and took a nap. But first I had to drop Jerry off at work and then took Legend out to aunt Cheri to get her ears clipped again. She was looking like a Papillion, it's much better now. Also picked up some raffle stuff-our local NADAC trial is this weekend and I'm in charge of the raffle so I have a whole room filled with stuff to group together and haul to the trial site this weekend. Jerry is taking the car in to be fixed tomorrow so hopefully that will not be too long of a process. And that's about it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good news is that my Scentsy party netted over $900 in sales and I got a lot of free stuff. Thanks to all who ordered!

The bad-I finally had my wisdom teeth pulled on Thursday, something I'd been happily putting off for a number of years. But I finally got a cavity in one and it was no longer advantageous to put it off. My jaw is still sore and swollen up like some sort of freak but will hopefully start to improve before going back to work on Monday.

The ugly-Jerry got rear ended yesterday. He's fine and at least the people had insurance but here is the car

It's actually is worse than the photo shows. We are hoping the weekend gets better!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall Photos and Training

I love this photo of Zodiac. Isn't he pretty?

Anyway I finally had a non-rainy, non-freezing cold afternoon off. There was even sun! So we got to do some training and playing in addition to our photo shoot.

Zodiac got to do some tracking-first time in weeks. He was excited about it and was ready to go. I thought he did pretty good but Barney was not helpful-he went out ahead of me and ate some of the food off the track. Then we also worked in utility and that went pretty well too.

Lyric worked on sit, down, and stay. She's doing much better for the limited amount of practice she's had. She has a hard time controlling herself over the food.

Legend got to work on agility and then on to Open obedience exercises. She loves the dumbbell-like it makes her insane. I think one of her trouble spots will be the broad jump-she wants to cut the corner. I may need to put a post up for her.
But overall I thought they all did great today. Now they are napping-but I'm sure that won't last long!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Show-me Canines Agility Trial

Legend, Linda, Chesney and I went to Columbia for one day of competition at the Show-me Canines trial. Legend ran great-I was so happy with her. She was fast, enthusiastic and responsive. But she knocked a bar in each class. Since down bars are a rarity for her it was hard to be too bummed about it-but it sure would have been nice to get the Qs. I'm just hoping this trend of improvement continues, even though we only have a few more trials before the end of the year. The photographer got a lot of great shots so even though I really don't need more pictures I went ahead and got a CD of all of them. Here are some of my favorites.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Is this animal abuse?

I got the dogs a cheap stuffed toy for Halloween which the border collies promptly shredded and destuffed. The head fit perfectly on Lyric-we had a good laugh over putting it on her. We didn't get the greatest pictures because she wouldn't hold still. But can you blame her-stuffed in a blinding carcass and all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New England Photos

Obviously from the coast-I think these were all taken in Maine

At the Ben and Jerry's plant...

Pretty self-explanatory here

I don't know why there was a toilet in the street but it created a great photo-op

Along the Freedom Trail


Just to feel smart!

From a hike we took near Kelly and Nick's house