Thursday, July 30, 2009

Something to smile about

Fortunately for us, Legend's world does not stop turning for anything. I guess that's why she's "Living in Fast Forward" :)

The dogs don't really seem to notice the changes in our household but I am still adjusting to the emptiness of every room (among other things). It gets a little better every day, but is still very hard. Thanks again for all the support.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thank you

For all the sympathy and support everyone has given during this difficult time. I have been truly touched by all the comments, cards, flowers, blog posts and more that have honored Oreo's memory.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My best friend

For 14 years, 7 months, and 3 weeks my life was blessed with this amazing dog. Today, in the peace of the afternoon, surrounded by friends, we let him go. He was too good a dog to continue to watch deteriorate. He had ice cream for lunch and some stinky fish treats as we said our last good-byes. He was my running buddy in high school, my roommate in college, my first obedience dog, my first agility dog, and a therapy dog. He saw me through vet school, my wedding, approved our first house, helped us pack up and leave that house, helped me train two more dogs of my own and multiple fosters. He taught me most of what I know about dog training and also a lot about patience and perseverance. He was my shadow, my constant companion, and my best friend. His passing leaves a terrible quiet in our house and a hole in my heart. But he brought me so many more smiles than tears that I wouldn't change a thing.
We'll miss you sweet boy....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One day at at time

That's how we are taking it right now. Despite 3 days of IV fluids Oreo's renal values failed to improve. Wednesday seemed like a good day but Thursday he was lifeless and barely eating. We had prepared for the worst but Friday night he seemed to perk up and ate a bunch of junk food-hot dog, cat food, chicken nuggets and played with a new squeaky toy. So we decided to just keep feeding him fun stuff and as long as he finds joy in eating something and seems to feel good enough to follow me around and show some interest in life then we will just enjoy what time time we have left. I took out his catheter today because the vein was getting inflamed and I'm only giving him the meds that I think he gets the most immediate and direct benefits from. I think tonight we will watch a movie and just hang out. Please keep us in your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sport of Choice

ManyMuddyPaws recently wrote about and challenged others to write about the dog sports they have tried and what they prefer, etc.

I've gotta say agility is my favorite. When Oreo was younger I really wanted to agility when I found out about it. He was an energetic, athletic dog and I loved running around with him. But the prerequisite class for agility was basic obedience. So we signed up for obedience and Oreo did great. The agility classes didn't fit into my schedule at the time so I signed up for another obedience class. Oreo stressed about stays across the room from me and improvement was slow-then life happened and I went away to school.

Fast forward a few years and I had Oreo at school with me. I was still interested in getting a CD and maybe trying some agility and so I enrolled in Ann Gafke's Teachers Pet school. Oreo ultimately finished his CD, and then his CDX but was afraid of a lot the agility equipment. Finally after lots of training he started doing agility trials at age 7. So I guess I got into obedience by accident. I still enjoy it but I don't have the patience to train for super high scores and OTCH points. I just want to have a decent score and pass. I love the training and the competition of agility though. It's active, exciting and requires great teamwork and connection with your dog-close up and at a distance. The dogs seem to like it more too but maybe that's just a flaw in my obedience training!

I got into Rally because Zodiac was in between open and utility and I wanted to show in some kind of obedience at the BC specialty. So I did Rally-and Zodiac was great at it. So we have continued on with it-it's nice to have a low stress obedience environment for the dogs to work in. I even got an RN on Oreo-he came out of retirement to dabble in it and finished his title around age 12.

Herding is the one I would like for Zodiac to do but don't really have the time. He loves to herd though and he may even be good at it. At least he would have fun. But, we can't do it all.

So, what sport do you love?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting old is tough

Oreo is sick. He's been picking at his food for a few days. Yesterday day he only ate a little and today he turned up his nose at canned i/d and only wanted treats. Plus he's been vomiting little puddles around the house. I was hoping it was just a little GI bug but I was wrong. I checked a blood panel at work today and his kidney values have elevated (he's been living with chronic renal disease for 2 years). They are not too bad though and I am hoping that some anti-nausea meds and a day or two of IV fluids will get him back on track for a while longer. We may have adjust his meds or add some new ones in once he gets feeling better but hopefully this is just a minor setback. At least he gets to be sick at home though. Although he's pretty upset about being stuck in the crate instead of wherever me and the other dogs are. Please send some well wishes our way.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacation Photos-Finally

I know you've all been anxiously awaiting the rest of our vacation photos so here are the ones I have picked out to post. Saturday and Sunday I spent most of the day in class but Saturday night we got a chance to wander around town, eat dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and check out the waterfront. Sunday night we (Jerry, Kelly, and I) headed south to Tacoma to spend the evening at the casino. I was pretty excited to win $200 on the slots but then Kelly won $1500 on slots and became the big winner of the evening. Overall-a successful night out.

Monday I went to classes in the morning and then we drove out to Mt. Ranier National Park. We saw some great waterfalls and scenery but by the time we got further into the park it was too foggy to see much or do any hiking so we didn't actually see much of Mt. Ranier from the park, but you can see it from a lot of other places around the area.

Tuesday after classes we did some shopping around town in the afternoon. This included Pike's Place Market. We didn't see them throw any fish but they had amazing deals on fresh flower bouquets. This one was huge and only $10-make a perfect anniversary bouquet!
Tuesday night we ate dinner at the top of the Space Needle-we had great views and great food.
We got to see the city from the top in the daylight...
...and stayed around long enough to see it at night as well!
Wednesday we took the ferry (which was huge) to San Juan Island to take a whale watching cruise. It was cold but we got to see quite a few whales. We also got to see a few harbor seals but my seal pictures didn't turn out that great.

Thursday was out last day in Seattle and we drove out to Olympic National Park. You could see snowy mountains and ocean all from one spot. It was really pretty.

There were some deer that wandered up around the parking lot as we were leaving. They seemed totally unconcerned about all the people, dogs, and cars around.

After we got back from the park our final activity was a dinner cruise on the Puget sound. We got some really nice views of the city and the mountains from the boat.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Olympic national park

Here are a few pictures from the park today. It was actually warm enough to take off my sweatshirt today. Washington is beautiful but not warm enough for me to live here!

Yesterday we went on a whale watching cruise and Tuesday we visited the Space Needle and Pike's Place Market. I'll have more details and photos from those adventures when we get home.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mt. Ranier...sort of

We headed to Mt. Ranier National Park today after I finished with the lectures I wanted to go to. The park was really beautiful but when we got past a certain elevation it was so foggy (it's a cloudy day here) we couldn't see anything or do any hiking. So we didn't actually see much of the actual Mt. Ranier. But here are some things we did see.

Yep-snow in July!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A few Seattle pictures

The conference has been ok so far. I went to a few good lectures this morning but the afternoon was kind of a bust. But tonight Jerry, Kelly and I ate at the Cheesecake Factory and did a little shopping and exploring.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Into the west...

I may have forgot to mention this but I have been too busy to blog for a few days because we are leaving for Seattle today. There is a veterinary conference I am attending and then we are staying a few extra days. But I should be able to post some updates and pictures from my phone!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What would you do?

I get asked that a lot at work. As in "what would you do if it was your pet?" Most of the time I can't give a truthful answer to that question. That's because the people asking are usually not in the same frame of mind as me. Usually the pet in question has been allowed to deteriorate to the point of no return, is terribly injured from being hit by a car, has a very expensive condition to diagnose or treat, or is otherwise in a position I would not have allowed my pet to get into. I usually answer with what is best for pet, even if it's euthanasia.

The bottom line in most cases is that people are financially or otherwise unprepared to own pets. This may be offensive to some people but quite frankly, in my opinion, having a pet or child should be a privilege, not a right. It's not ok to get a pet because you want one and then let it suffer with fleas, arthritis, dental disease, or other conditions when you can't afford to treat it. Pets, even (perhaps especially) free ones come with basic needs that need to be attended to and cost money. Yet I see so many people who are unable or unwilling to afford even the basics, mush less dental care or minor surgery. If only I could impress upon people the importance of preventative medicine-it's so much cheaper and better and for your pet.

I understand that not everyone has unlimited funds to take care of their pet but letting things get out of hand and allowing the pet to suffer is not acceptable. Pet owners need to be prepared for the basics from the beginning and have some money set aside or credit card or something for the incidental costs of having a pet.

And unfortunately society seems to foster this idea that everyone should have a pet. Pet stores, most breeders, and even some shelters do not screen people before adopting out or selling them a pet. I can see this happening with those stores and breeders who are in to for the money but seriously there is no excuse for a shelter or "rescue" adopting out a pet to someone who only wants to give it a rabies vaccine and nothing else, or has multiple pets in their house who aren't on heartworm prevention or receiving other basic care. I realize there is a pet overpopulation but does that mean we let pets go to bad homes to make adoption rates look better? I don't know the answer but I do know that it's a frustrating problem.

End of rant. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Quite possibly...

...the best obedience weekend ever. The dogs did great this weekend-I'm so proud of all them. Here's how it went.

Legend was entered in Rally Excellent on Saturday and placed 2nd with a surprising 99/100 pts. This finishes here RE and will (at least for now) conclude her Rally career. Today she was entered in Novice B to try for another CD leg. She was vastly improved over her last leg and qualified with a much better score of 188/200. Only one more to go-she may get out of Novice yet!

Zodiac had an awesome Rally weekend! He got first place in Excellent B on Saturday-beating Legend with a score of 100/100! Then we also went on to get first in Advanced B with 99/100. He continued to do well today by again placing first in Excellent B with a 98/100 and then placed 3rd in Advanced B with 95 points. I thought this score was a little low in comparison to his other runs this weekend as it seemed as good as or better than those but I'm not the judge. On the flip side I probably would not have scored Legend at a 99 yesterday so I guess it all evens out. These were his 5th and 6th RAE legs.

And finally-the big debut in Utility A! I thought he made a really solid effort. Here's how it broke down. Signals-some of his better heeling (only one are of wide/lagging), stand and stay went ok but he failed to down or sit. Come and finish were nice. I was a little disappointed that did not do the signals as we have worked so hard on this and it's not like he didn't see it-he just opted not to. On to articles-upon turning to the articles he wandered off a bit as if he didn't know where to look for them but once redirected he got the correct article both times! Front and finishes were nice. Gloves-he struggled with turn but the rest was nice. Moving stand was nice-loss of only 1 point. Directed jumping was the only total washout (in my opinion) as he only went about halfway and then turned and looked at me. But he went straight and at a good pace. And that's one of things that I know we still needed some work on. So overall I was quite pleased. We need to do some more proofing and polishing but I think it can be done.

Also Linda and Chesney competed in their first ever obedience trial and got 2 qualifying scores in Rally Novice A!
In addition to all this good news our friend Cheri spent the weekend at a NADAC trial where she and Vixen earned the rest of the points they needed to qualify for the NADAC championships!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Almost show time

We are just a few days away from the obedience trial and I'm just not sure how prepared I am. Zodiac did do perfect articles today-all 12-so that was great. His go-outs were good but once he tried to avoid the jump on the way back. Gloves were a bit of a challenge tonight and he is creeping forward on his signal exercise. Even though I don't really expect to pass it would be nice if he at least did as good as I know he can. I'm not really worried about the rally, although I have not been practicing the exercises at all lately.
I have not been working with Legend nearly enough in obedience lately. But she did a nice novice routine tonight. I think it's more about her maturity level than the training. She picks up on stuff so quick and loves to work. Sometimes I think she may have an obedience career in her future (on the side of course-I want agility to be her main sport) but then she goes in the ring and puts on more of a comedy act. I think once we get past novice it may be better-she hates heeling but loves some of the other exercises-jumping, retrieving, etc. I'm not too worried about the rally with her either, although again, not much practicing.
We had a nice agility class last night. There was a good course set up for us to run. Legend did good but not great-never got through the course clean. I was a little disappointed that she needed so much help with the pinwheel-I had to go really deep into the pocket, since we've been working so hard on stuff like that. And she's blowing off her contacts which is really my fault-well, what isn't right? But I've been working so hard on distance, handling, speed, and discriminations that when she does the contact obstacle quickly or correctly chooses it over the tunnel I have not been enforcing her 2o/2o like I should. So today we went back to the target for a bit. She did great-flew over, came to a solid stop and held it until I released her. And I threw her toy when I released. The use of the target and the toy was great. It got her moving over it fast, stopping hard, and then bolting away again.
I think that wraps up our training update!