Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Keep on truckin'

Given the lovely fall weather I figured I needed to get out of the house and practice some agility   Legend did a couple of perfect A-frames, ran up, ran down, and did a perfct 2o2o and released on command.  So we are at least getting somewhere in our training.  Even if it doesn't show in a trial!  I also practiced some discriminations and they were both 100%.  Not surprising for Legend, since she is usually pretty good but for Lyric it's a nice improvement.  There might be some hope for my little tunnel-sucking diva yet.

Then we went out for a run.  Did I mention I have been taking Legend running with me when I can?  We figured, in addition to providing me with some companionship, that it might make her a little more tired when we try to watch TV at night.  Really, the difference seems to be marginal so I may in fact just be making her more fit which could end up being counterproductive to a peaceful evening.  But that's ok.  The reason I ended up with a BC in the first place is I wanted a running buddy.  And I love that they are always up for anything, anytime.  At first she seemed a little unsure of this whole running thing but the more we go, the more she seems to like it.  And she has acclimated pretty quick.  In no time at all she has gotten to where she runs 7 plus miles with no trouble.  And then wants to play ball when we get back home.  So if this whole agility thing doesn't work out, we can always just run!

And for the first time in maybe ever I have run greater than 100 miles in a month.  It seems agility-free weekends and part time work can do wonders for your monthly mileage.

Abby went off to her new home today.  She went to a great family of a very active retired couple and a handsome older border collie.  They all seem delighted with the situation.  In fact she jumped right into their car and settled down on the back seat for the ride home.  Later, I was thinking it always seems to go that way.  Pretty much every foster dog I have ever had simply walks away, tail wagging, without ever looking back.  I suppose that could make me sad but I'd like to believe they know what's going on, and that this new home is forever and that's why they don't look back.  Either way it's a happy ending for all.  I should know, I have three happy endings living here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Looks like that was the magic number this weekend.  Lyric, unbelievably went on to Q in standard all three days!  I'm so proud of her.  She did such a great job on each run-placing third each time.  Her speed was not tremendous but each day she got a little faster and today earned a very respectable 15 points.  This gave her a total of 34 points for the weekend ( would have better if it was 33 huh?)  She had three pretty lackluster jumpers runs though, getting three NQs with skipped poles and knocked bars-mostly related to lack of motivation and and rhythm.  Not sure what's up with that.  Hopefully she's a lot perkier with two full weekends of NADAC coming up.  (I was hoping for a QQ today because it would have been her third.  No such luck.)

Legend refused contact obstacles in standard all three days but had three picture perfect jumpers runs.  But knocked a bar driving around a corner on Saturday.  It's so sad to me that she has developed this phobia. At this point in her career we should just be running for fun and enjoying whatever happens.  Anyway, this has earned her at least a temporary hiatus from the standard ring.  Really, there is no point.  She's stressed, I'm stressed and chances are we are not going to Q (that seems like three pretty good reasons).  Probably a more effective plan would be to also relieve her of all classes with contacts in NADAC as well but that's not going to happen.  Again, three reasons-we are relatively close to a NATCH, I want to try and go to championships next fall, and refusals are not called in NADAC so technically we can still Q.  We may not be proud of it but we'll take what we can get.  Once all that is accomplished I can reevaluate the situation.  Meanwhile we will just keep training-you never know, she might get over it!

And because I am a crazy person, after getting up at 5:30 in the morning to drive to the trial on Saturday I had entered a twilight 5K in the neighboring town.  The same place as our 5K fail from over the summer-we decided to go back and do it right this time.  So after hanging out all afternoon I ended up running my second best time of the year and guessed it...third in my age group!  Good thing too, because had it not gone well I was really going to resent that I had to get up at 5:30 again this morning.

Currently, I am exhausted.  Why do we do this again?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trial Results

I know, been a while right?  But we have a good one to report today.  Not only did Lyric do the teeter, table, and weaves-she actually got a Q in standard.  First one in a year!  She knocked a bar in jumpers though, so no such luck on the QQ.  She was kind of draggy today too.  Apparently Poms need to be "in the mood" to run fast.  Silly toy breeds.  But we'll take it.  And hope that she doesn't decide overnight that that the teeter is scary, the table boring and the weaves too hard!  We did a little heavily rewarded practice when we got home just to reinforce how great the teeter and table really are-trying to tip the odds in my favor as best I can.

Legend, on the other hand (or paw), continues to be my greatest source of pride and frustration at the same time.  She is easily the most successful agility dog I have had and yet has been chronically plagued with issues.  Just think if she didn't have all those issues.  Anyway, there was really no change as she picked up refusals at the dogwalk and the teeter.  She flew over the A-frame with reckless abandon, only hitting the contact by chance as she didn't even slow down at my command to "touch."  I have no additional theories or conclusions for this so I guess we'll just continue on with our training and see what happens.  The rest of her day was pretty nice and she had a really lovely jumpers Q.

Now to see what tomorrow holds...

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Although relatively rare (fortunately), Rabies is probably the most important infectious disease we can vaccinate for-at least from a legal and human health standpoint.

Rabies can affect all warm-blooded animal including humans.  It is nearly worldwide in distribution.  There are some areas of the world (mostly island nations) that are rabies free.  These include Hawaii, Great Britain, Japan and several others.  Traveling to or moving to these areas with your pet requires extensive preparation as there are very detailed protocols in place to make sure these areas maintain their rabies free status.

The rabies virus is spread via wounds, most commonly a bite wound.  From there is replicates in the muscle cells and then penetrates local nerve cells.  It then follows the nerves to the brain.  Average time to reach the brain is 20-30 days but can be up to one year depending on how far from the brain the bite wound was.  Prior to reaching the brain, the animal is only incubating the virus and is not considered infections or able to transmit the virus.  Two to three days after reaching the brain the virus is present in all body secretions, including saliva, and clinical signs begin to occur.  Once clinical signs begin the animal is able to transmit disease.

There are three stages of infection.  The first stage is the Prodromal stage and is characterized by a change in behavior, personality or the sound of the voice.  The second stage is the Excitative ("mad dog") stage where the animal shows no fear and suffers from hallucinations.  This would be the classic "Old Yeller" presentation.  The third stage is the Paralytic stage where the drooling occurs because of the paralysis of the larynx.  Ultimately the animal dies because the muscles that control breathing are paralyzed.  Symptoms can vary, and be hard to recognize, especially if the full history is unknown.  There can also be atypical presentations so rabies should be a differential for any unvaccinated animal showing neurologic signs.  Especially if exposure to wildlife is known.

Once clinical signs begin, death occurs in approximately 10 days or less.  There is no treatment and the disease is considered uniformly fatal.  There are one or two reports of a person surviving but the treatments used on them have not worked on subsequent cases.

So, why not run a test on suspected cases?  Warning-the next part is a little graphic.

The only way to test for rabies is to cut off the suspected animals head and submit the brain for testing.  Naturally, this is not ideal for most pets.  So, what happens in real life?

If an animal has bitten, or is showing signs consistent with rabies then it can be quarantined for 10 days.  Because we know death occurs within 10 days of becoming infectious, if an animal remains alive and well for the 10 days we know it was either not exhibiting signs of rabies, or was not able to transmit the virus.  Remember, it could still be incubating the virus, meaning that the person it bit will be fine, but the pet will ultimately succumb once the virus reaches the brain.  Sometimes an owner elects euthanasia and testing anyway, depending on the situation.  If a pet is known to have been bitten by a wild animal, then vaccination followed by a 6 month quarantine may be suggested or even required, especially of the animal has subsequently bitten someone.

Prevention is aimed at routine vaccination and limiting exposure to wildlife.  Dogs and cats are vaccinated at 12 weeks of age, then again in 1 year.  After that local laws apply.  Three year vaccines are accepted in most areas although some only require vaccines yearly or every two years.  There is a vaccine specifically designed for cats which requires annual administration.  The most common wildlife to carry rabies in the US are skunk, bat, fox, raccoon, and coyote.

Laws regarding bite wounds are also very regional.  However, the rights of the owner are significantly better if the pet is current on it's rabies vaccine.

More information about rabies can be found on the CDC's Rabies page as well as their page on post-exposure protocols.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Those things they do

Over the past several months I've been collecting videos of the cute and quirky things that make my dogs who they are.  So, without further adieu...

Zodiac and the towel
Lyric makes her bed
Legend as my eternal puppy
And the most difficult to capture on video-my whirling dervish!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I had to

One of Icy's nicknames is the Ice Princess, so when I saw this t-shirt is Alaska...well...I had to...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Abby update

Abby is doing great!  She's housebroken, crate trained, never barks, likes kids and is getting along with everyone in the house. 

She's a little afraid of thunder but as long as you just put her in her crate and don't make her go outside she does fine. 

She's actually so well behaved we've been letting her sleep loose and stay in the bedroom with out dogs when we are not home. 

However, she is a pretty good beggar and I think would try counter-surfing given enough time and opportunity. 

She loves all her balls and is starting to play with the other toys as well. 

It seems like she might have some herding instinct but because she is still overweight and out of shape it's hard to tell how much sustained interest she might have.  But hopefully she's losing some weight-I plan to get her on the scale again this week. 

In other news I have been taking Legend running with  me some days now that it's cooler.   At first she didn't seem to be that impressed but I think she's starting to enjoy it more.  There are a few 5Ks that we can do with dogs so I want to have her ready for that.  I'd like to say it wears her down some too, but she had a pretty quick rebound time so not as much luck there. 

Yesterday the girls and I ran a 10K.  We all finished under an hour and although I was a little slower than the previous 10k it was better than I expected.  Next year I hope to get under 50 minutes at some point.  Don't think I'll get there this year as the last planned 10k we have in next weekend. 

And after that three weekend of agility in a row!  And yes, we have been doing some training.  Lyric is still working hard on teeter, table and weaves but we are also doing some discriminations since we have a lot of NADAC planned.  She runs hot and cold on that.  But practice makes perfect.  Or, at least better.  Legend has been working on her contact retraining but throwing in some NADAC stuff as well-hoping to finish that NATCH next year. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kids and Bunnies

For whatever reason these photos didn't turn out that great.  But still cute.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lyric's Party

According to the only records we have, today is Lyric's birthday-six years old already!  So, naturally we had a party! Yesterday I picked up some special goodies on my way home from work-they looked just perfect for the special occasion.
 I tried to get Lyric to pose with the cake, but the temptation was too much.  She had to go for the icing.
 Really, there was no stopping her.
Don't worry.  Shortly after this I divided everything up and she shared (if reluctantly) with her brother and sisters.  I'm pretty sure Abby thinks she has stumbled upon the best place ever-but since birthday cake isn't really part of her diet plan she has to skip dinner.  I haven't told her yet.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Remember those dog beds?

So I had bought three different sized dog beds for the bedroom.  One for each size dog.  How do you think that is working out?  Let me show you.

Zodiac in the "small" bed.  He thinks this is the best thing ever and sleeps in it night and day.  I think Lyric has only slept in it once.
Here are Legend and Lyric sharing the "medium" bed.

So who does that leave on the "large" bed?

Oh well,  at least they are all happy.  This arrangement does vary from sometime to time.  Mostly because Legend, Lyric, and Icy often sleep with us!

And sometimes, they even get it right...

But not often.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I know this is a truly intense post-pictures of our new carpet.  So please, share in our joy.  Seriously though, we are very pleased with it except for one thing.  My Dyson has so much suction you can't hardly push it on the new carpet.  So we had to add a second, cheap vacuum to use on my expensive new carpet.  Ironic. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

The rest of Alaska

These first several are all from College Fjord where there are several glaciers all together-all named after Ivy League schools.  You can see three or four all lined up here in the first picture. 

 The rest of these are from the land portion of our trip.  This is Mt. McKinley-I guess we were pretty lucky to see it, they don't have a lot of sunny, clear days up there and only about 30% ov visitors get to see it. 
 We didn't get to see the Northern lights though.  Right time, right place, but no such luck.  But the hotels will put your on a list and call you overnight if they do come out so at least you won't miss them just because you were sleeping. 

 There are swans in this one-can you see them?