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

Monday, October 26, 2009

We're back

We had a great time on our trip-got to see lots of New England and had a super visit with our friends. We spent a day in Boston where we saw MIT, Harvard and Boston U-we all feel really smart now. Also went by Fenway Park, Freedom Trail and had dinner at "Cheers." The next day we headed off to Vermont to tour the Ben and Jerry's plant but that was kind of a let down. The tour consisted only of a 6 minute video, looking at the production room from above and watching another video about the parts we couldn't see, plus they weren't even making ice cream that day, and then downstairs for a sample. It was really more of a glorified trip to the ice cream parlor than anything else. But it was a nice scenic drive there. The next day it rained but we did take in some of the sights of Maine-checked out the coast and some lighthouses. And then it was back home and back to work. I'll try and get some pictures posted tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A tale of two kitties

Meet Lefty (gray) and Barney (Tabby). Just hanging out having a nice time on the steps.
"Oh what a lovely leaf you have found there"
"Will you share with me if I groom your face?"

"No, I most certainly will not. Now back off fool!"

"Mmmm. That Barney sure tasted good."

"Just kidding. He's over there pouting. It was just a leaf. Geez."
Meanwhile, we are headed to NH to visit friends! Enjoy the week everyone. I may post some while we are gone.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Photos

We took a drive the other day to enjoy some of the fall scenery and got a few good photos. Some of these were enhanced using It's a free program and it can really enhance what your camera can do. Assuming you have a pretty non-fancy camera like me! I'm a little obsessed now with making every photo perfect. But it is a little time consuming!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What breeds would you choose?

ManyMuddyPaws suggested a fun activity for everyone to play. If you had to choose a breed from each of the seven AKC groups of dogs which ones would you choose, the ones you currently own excluded.

My choices are...

Sporting: Golden Retriever-this was the easiest one for me. I've always loved Goldens, but it would have to be a big, blonde, fluffy one-the stereotypical breed standard type

Hound: Whippet-I'm not much of a hound person but these little guys are so cute

Working: Newfie-totally impractical but how can you resist!

Terrier: Probably a Jack Russell-they are so cute and fun, but I think Skye terriers are cute too-I just don't know much about them

Toy-Until recently this would have been a Pom but since they are now on the "breeds I own list" I'd have to say Italian Greyhound-so cute

Non-sporting: This was the toughest one for me as I didn't have much interest in any of them. I finally decided on American Eskimo. I know they can have a reputation for biting but they really can be pretty. I'm sucker for a fluffy dog I guess.

Herding: I'm going against the fluffy theme here. I'd choose an Australian cattle dog. I think they are very striking and also athletic and a good size.

So what would you choose?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Congratulations are in order

First of all I'd like everyone to stop by and give a big Congrats to Sue and Fudge and Linda and Chesney. These were both Novice A teams that finished their Rally Novice titles this weekend. I'm so proud of both of them!

As for my troop Zodiac earned leg number #7 on his RAE. He scored a 97 in Excellent and a 96 in Advanced for a 3rd place. His effort in Utility was not much improved from his attempt in July. I think we need to do a lot more proofing and solidify the exercises a little more. Or a lot more actually. But at least we know where we stand.

And as for Legend-she finally finished her CD. It took 3 years, lots of maturing and plenty of tries but in the end she Q'd in 3 straight attempts. Her score was not great, thanks in large part to her on-lead heeling. But she did it, plus we got one of these cool rainbow title ribbons.
After the trial I enjoyed lunch with some friends and then Cheri and I took the dogs hiking in a nearby park. It was a good day but I'm beat.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What do you think?

I've never had a small agility dog before and I've been trying to decide if I should do running contacts or 2o2o. My initial thought was running contacts but she seems to have some lack of self control issues-she's very excitable and VERY food motivated. More food motivated than any dog I've ever had or worked with. So now I'm thinking she might need something alittle more defined. Anyway, small dog people-what's your thought?

Meanwhile the big dogs are getting ready for the local obedience trial this weekend. Since I work (fooey) I will only show Sunday. Legend will by trying for her last CD leg and Zodiac will work on another RAE leg and get some more ring experience in utility. He's been having trouble with metal articles lately but everything else is moderately solid (as in he can do it all but not usually all on the first try on the same day). Like I said, we're just looking for more experience!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cool stuff

I got photoshop's free iPhone app. I recommend it for all iPhone users. Definately worth the price.

Here were the originals

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hip Dysplasia

Someone asked in a comment on my last post if Border Collies get hip dysplasia when they get older. I decided to write a post about this since the answer is not, shall we say, black and white (yes-pun intended).

First of all hip dysplasia is not something your dog gets, it's something your dog has. A perfectly sound young dog can be dysplastic. The term hip dysplasia simply refers to abnormal conformation of the hip joint, not necessarily the clinical signs of the disease. Generally speaking dogs are born with dysplastic joints-largely due to the breeding of poor genetic specimens (i.e. the parents had bad hips) and in some part due to bad luck. A normal hip joint fits like a ball and socket-the head of the femur should fit deep and smooth into the hip socket. In a dysplastic dog the socket is shallow and the head of the femur not perfectly round. There are varying degrees of severity but the outcome is an unstable joint-basically the hip is permanently partly out of joint.

Over time, the normal wear and tear on the joint causes secondary arthritic changes and increased discomfort associated with the joint. These changes can include thickening of the joint capsule, bony remodeling, and decreased range of motion.

An important point to note is that the clinical signs don't always correspond to the radiographic signs. In other words a dog with radiographically severe dysplasia might not limp much but a dog with mild dysplasia might limp a lot or start limping at a younger age. This is not always true but don't be fooled into thinking your dog is normal just because you have never seen it limp.

It's also important to recognize that arthritis doesn't just occur in conformationally abnormal joints. Arthritis or degenerative joint disease generally results from normal forces on abnormal joints or abnormal forces on normal joints. So a dog with all the genetic clearances in the world may ultimately develop painful degenerative disease when we subject them unnatural forces-this may be agility, frisbee or even the overweight lab who mostly sits around the house!

Hip dysplasia is more common in medium and large breed dogs just as luxating patellas are more common in small breed dogs. However it can occur in any size, breed, or mix and even in cats. Smaller dogs are less likely to show clinical signs because they don't carry as much weight around and in many cases are also not working dogs.

This is just a brief overview of hip dysplasia but hopefully it clears up some of the common misunderstandings. Maybe one of these days I'll write about treatment options too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jumpers Video

As promised, here is today's jumpers run.

Sooner State Kennel Club

We spent this weekend in Oklahoma doing agility. Had I known there was obedience going on too I might have brought Zodiac but I guess he will just have to wait until next weekend.

Anyway it seems if you leave your dog crated at work all day, put her in the car for six hours, then straight into the hotel room for the night and turn her loose on the agility course first thing in the morning you will keep the judge and scribe very busy. Our standard run was total chaos and we racked up more letters on our scribe sheet than I have ever seen! Then she settled down for jumpers and we got MXJ leg #5. I was really proud of keeping her out of the off course tunnel.

Today we started in standard again where she blew off her teeter and dogwalk contacts, skipped some weave poles and also did a jaunt around the ring before doing said dogwalk. Then I did something I've never done. I called my dog back to me and carried her off the course. I don't think it made much of an impression on her since she was probably thinking she went out had fun and ran a course, albeit a short one. And I didn't really want it to be negative, I just didn't want her to continue to get away with that kind of ridiculous behavior. I guess we will be working a lot of contacts for awhile-I've let them slide for too long. Fortunately we also have a NADAC trial coming up so I can do some training in the ring if needed.

Then she turned in another beautiful jumpers run for leg #6. I almost sent her off course but was able to make the save and got some really nice distance on the course. I will post video when we get home.

Overall she had a great attitude this weekend. It may be coincidence but I've been feeding her a LOT of treats while we wait in line at the last few trials and I think it's helping her relax. I figure she will start to think that waiting in line and going to the start is really fun if she gets tons of treats just for hanging out. And that seems to be where she stresses the most. Time will tell as usual.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Annual Blood Screening

Since I posted this on Dogs on Thursday this month I thought I'd post it here too. Blood screening in pets, like blood screening in people becomes more important and more comprehensive the older your pet becomes. The tests your vet offers may vary from what is below but this gives explanations of some of the more common tests.

Why does your pet need annual blood screening?

Blood work allows us to evaluate things we cannot see on physical exam and gives us a more complete picture of your pet’s health. This way we can identify potential problems early and intervene with treatment or further diagnostics early on. Problems that are identified and treated early have a better prognosis for long term health.

Blood work lets us know what is normal for your pet. Each value on a blood screen has a reference range of what is normal for most pets. Annual screening will let us know where your pet falls in that range. That way if he or she ever becomes sick we will know what changes on the blood work are significant or abnormal for him or her.

Blood work allows us to see trends in your pet’s values. A value may be in the normal range for many years but may be continually creeping up over time. This can alert us to an impending problem and we can institute an appropriate therapy as needed. This is why it is especially important to have the blood screen done yearly.

What is included on an annual blood screen?

Heartworm test: Heartworms are a very serious parasite. All pets in Missouri need to be on heartworm prevention. If they are not yet on prevention this test will let us know if they are negative so that it will be safe to start a preventative program. For pets that are on routine prevention this will let us know that our preventative program is effective.

Complete Blood Count
1. Hematocrit or Packed Cell Volume: measures the percentage of red blood cells to assess anemia and hydration status
2. White blood cell count: White blood cells can be indicators of infection, disease, or allergic conditions
3. Platelets: Platelets are a part of the clotting system and adequate numbers are needed to prevent excessive bleeding

Serum Chemistry Panel
1. Albumin: Albumin is a serum protein that helps evaluate hydration, hemorrhage, and intestinal, liver, and kidney disease
2. Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP): ALP is an enzyme that can indicate liver, gallbladder, or Cushing’s disease. It also indicates active bone growth in young pets.
3. Alanine Aminotranferase (ALT): ALT is an indicator of liver damage
4. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): BUN can be an indicator of dehydration, kidney, or liver function
5. Creatinine: Creatinine is an indicator of kidney function
6. Globulins: Globulins are blood proteins that often increased with chronic inflammation and certain disease states
7. Glucose: Glucose is a blood sugar. Elevated levels may indicate Diabetes and other diseases. Low levels can cause collapse, seizures, or coma
8. Total Bilirubin: Elevations may indicate liver or hemolytic disease. This test can help identify bile duct problems or certain kinds of anemia.
9. Total Protein: This is an indicator of hydration status and provides additional information about the liver, kidneys, and infectious diseases.
10. Other values are assessed in older pets because they are more prone to age related diseases and these additional values give us a better picture of their health.

Thyroid hormone level (older pets only): Decreased levels of thyroid hormone, or hypothyroidism is a common endocrine disease in older dogs. Increased levels of thyroid hormone, or hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine disease of older cats.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

TAC Trial

Legend and I competed just one day this weekend at the TAC trial. No Qs but it was not without success. In standard she started out faster than she has in months and went up the teeter-no problems. Then she proceeded to take three off course tunnels. Oh well. Jumpers started out a little slower and she then managed 3 off course jumps before she got settled in about jump 7 or 8. After that she was awesome. Fast, happy, controlled-finished beautifully. I even layered something, granted it was on accident-I hadn't walked the course that way. I actually got to run the dog I wanted, the one I trained-wish she would show up more! Maybe we are turning a corner, always hard to tell with her though.

This picture is not of the greatest quality, but I liked that they were offering fun captions for them. I thought this picture went perfect with this caption. Also reminded me that we are not going to "get it" all at once!
Legend is probably both the most frustrating and the most talented dog I have had. Oreo may have had issues-but I could predict what they would be, and Zodiac is laid back and reliable, but this girl-she's another kind of adventure. Either way, I love her-she's pretty much had me hooked since day one!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pinecone art

When I was mowing the lawn the other day I collected a bunch of pinecones from the yard. I figured I could do something with them better than just running them over with the tractor.
I remembered seeing wax covered pinecones at a store and thought maybe I could try that. I found candle wax and dye at Micheal's. The wax melts easy and the dye mixes right in. I found it was best to let the wax cool a few minutes before dipping as the wax fresh from the stove was so hot it didn't stick well. But once it reaches optimal temperature it only takes about 3 dips to make a nice pinecone. I dipped them in cool water between wax dips. Next time I think I will fill my cups a little fuller so I can dip all the way up to the stem. I actually have some gold dye too and I think the three colors together will make a nice Christmas collection. Add a cute basket and you have a pretty easy project! Clean-up however, is a downside. I would recommend disposable cups for the dipping and minimal use of any other dishes or utensils you use. It's a little hard to get the wax off but letting hot water run over it for a little while seemed to rinse most of it off. You have to use water hot enough to burn your hands though so it's a bit tricky!

These are not the best photos but you get the idea.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Help wanted

Every time we hire someone new at work we get to read all the applications. Tragically, this is frequently very entertaining. I have decided to share with you some excerpts of the less than stellar applicants. I should have been writing these down from the beginning but I didn't think of it until now so these are all from the last few batches and what I can remember.

On the section where they list reasons for leaving previous jobs

  • got pregnant

  • had baby

  • was having my baby (right now?)

  • moved away

  • quit

  • pregnant

  • needed to finish my house

  • quit for school

  • no brakes (yes that was the spelling they used)

  • wanted new job

  • unwanted home visits from management (???)

For the answer to the question what do you think is the most important part of this job

  • making sure the doctor has his "heart beat tool" in the exam room (I can only assume this person meant a stethoscope. And did I mention this person had an on-line vet tech certificate)

For the answer to the question how are you unique

  • one arm is longer than the other

  • tolerant of animals scratching/biting me

  • have done rudimentary stitching

  • raised on a farm and have "messed with" all kinds of animals

For the answer to why do you want to work here-this usually includes some version of how much they love animals but we have also gotten the following

  • I like all animals except arachnids

  • need job

  • this would be a really cool experience

  • it would be an easier job for me because I'm pregnant and I love animals

  • Because I love animals. Especially dogs. I have a golden retriever mix. (exactly as written-no editing here!)

Other interesting tidbits

  • "I have work in nursing for 10 year"

  • using the word "poopy"

  • using the term n/a under some portion of the education section (such as did you graduate high school, um should we assume that's a "no"? Because then you should just put "no")

  • Abbreviating assistant as "ass"

  • One misspelled her name on her resume

  • One person listed his biggest job disappointment as failing a drug test. Same person answered the why are you unique question by stating he was a perfectionist. Did I mention he turned in an application that had clearly been wadded up at some point?