Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back in Action

Thanksgiving weekend marked a return to the agility ring for Robbie since he injured himself on July 13th.  We entered a 3-day agility trial in Merrillville, IN which is one of the regular ones we enter every year.

He has hit the ground running!

Friday we were probably both a little rusty, not having competed since the 3rd weekend in June.  Our first run, in Standard, was not a qualifying run but he was happy and game.  We had a couple bobbles but I was pleased with his attitude.  Our second run, in Jumpers-with-Weaves, was clean and he had good speed, clocking a time that is quicker than usual for him.

Saturday, Robbie qualified in both standard and JWW, earning a double-Q.  Both runs were a blast and he had fun, judging from the wagging tail and happy attitude.

Sunday, Robbie qualified, again, in both standard and JWW, earning his 2nd double-Q of the weekend.

Out of action for 6 months and we return to run 5-for-6 on a three-day weekend.  What a delight!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Changing things up a bit at home

Quite a bit has happened since my last post at home, nothing really negative, just different with some changes in routine.

I was going to feature Ghilley in my next blog post as she really is a major positive change in the household.  I cannot explain the bright light she has brought into my life and the boys lives.  She is very good with both boys, albeit a little rougher with Robbie.  She picks up terms very quickly.  I am continually amazed by my bright little girl and how happy and willing she is to listen.  She has a naughty side too, but that is to be expected.

Talk about a personality that can take the steam right out of my temper.  Ghilley has that.  She was determined to continue to try to get into things in my kitchen this morning.  She kept at it even up to the point where I was trying to get ready to leave.  I finally moved things, walked away and just growled to my self and complained out loud.  I did not yell at her but my tone was enough to send Robbie running for his crate.  Ghilley's reaction?  She comes up to me, stands on her hind legs and places a paw on my knee, cocking her head and wagging her tail.  That took the steam out of my system.  I smiled at her and said, "You want to know what my problem is, don't you little girl?  I'm nuts, aren't I?"  She received a pat on the head and a body rub from me in thanks, before I kissed her head.  What a sweetheart she is (my boys too).  I called for Robbie to tell him life was okay too.  Dear boy.

Anyway, the real purpose of this blog post was MacDuff.  Robbie's annual exam is around early November.  I figured since he is 10 years old, I would have a complete blood test done on him.  I also figured it is probably worth testing MacDuff too.  So, two weeks ago I stopped by to get a blood sample taken with a fasting test for them.

It turns out that everything checked out really well on both boys.  All levels on just about every function was well within normal range.  A couple exceptions did exist.  Robbie shows a CPK reading of 263 instead of normal 200.  This tends to point to a muscle issue, and can indicate concern with the heart muscle.  But we know that Robbie has mild cardio myopathy so that range was within expectations.

MacDuff's thyroid was normal but he was low normal.  Duff's CPK reading was 488 compared to 200.  What the heck?  I thought.  We decided that the best thing to do was to bring him in for a day for various tests for his heart which would include chest x-rays, EKG and blood pressure tests.

All tests were performed last week and I had a chance to talk to his vet on Friday.  It turns out that Duff has arrythmia with spiking t-waves (do not ask me what that means though).  The course of action would be to put him on some medication (digoxin) to see how it works.  Everything else, the x-ray, blood pressure, etc. shows that he really is in good cardiac shape.  In fact, Dr. Prunsky indicated that Duff has a healthier heart than Robbie, who is 4 years younger.

Looks like I will have the old man around for quite awhile and since I am no hurry to part with him, that pleases me a lot.

One additional issue that showed in the x-ray was the severity of the arthritis in his back.  I knew his mid-back or L2/L3 were about fused and showed signs.  He also has severe arthritis in his spine just behind his shoulder blades.

Duff swims, at home, 5 days a week and once a week in a larger heated pool.  He receives acupuncture as well.  We are going to explore changing arthritis medication for him but do not want to add anything more since he is already on new medication.

The big change, at home, for Duff is that after hanging out in a crate while I am away, he is now going to be allowed to be loose where he can move around a little more and find comfortable positions to sleep in.  We have to watch the water availability because he will drain any water dish so priming the pump is not going to be allowed so much.

A report from their dog walker on visit #1 today (#2 is later on) is that he was comfortably resting on a dog bed outside of the crate when she came over.  I was afraid he would be hanging out by the doors, waiting.  I am glad to know that he seems to have adapted alright.

I had thought about having him loose for awhile now.  Apparently, their dog walker, Pat, had the same thoughts.  When we talked yesterday, she brought it up and I responded with a "funny you should mention this, because I have been thinking about the same thing."

We have told MacDuff that he has earned the right to rule the roost.  Keeping my fingers crossed for no accidents though.  ;-)

Friday, November 06, 2009

All Fours Senior Dog Birthday Bash

Tonight (Thursday), we celebrated birthdays for the old doggies at class.  Present were Rowdy (turns 14 in Dec), Bailey (turns 14 in March) and MacDuff (turned 14 in Oct).  Emily, Rowdy's mom, made dog and people cookies to celebrate.  She made a great cake with all the dogs' names on it.  Included, as well, was Angel, who was not at class tonight.

We planned this event more than a month ago.  I recall because when Emily sent a reminder, I sent her a private email feeling bad because one dog we thought of celebrating for as well was Golly, who would have been 14 with MacDuff.

We miss you little one.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The crate training device...

photo courtesy of

That is Ghilley.  Quite the confident puppy and also a handful.  Cute as can be, in my not so humble opinion.  I love just about everything about her.

That leads us to what I do not love and that is the whole potty training thing.  Puppies are always stressful.  Friends of mine insist that puppies are cute for a reason, we would kill them otherwise.  ;-)

Ghilley has come very close to "getting it" with the potty training.  What has not helped our cause is all the rain we had in October.  October officially had two days (out of 31) that qualified as "sunny days."

Well, Ms. Ghilley has decided that she can potty outside but prefers to poop in a more hospitable environment, inside my condo.

The accidents are few, but they still occur.  The time I take with her outside increases as she decides to hold out and make me walk her back and forth outside for 20-30 minutes.  We come back inside with no success and I figure she does not have to go.

My mistake is not restricting her enough with crate time if she does not go.  Frankly, with the days I am at work, I honestly feel bad denying some freedom to my dogs when I am home.

The trouble is, a puppy is not so sure of what to do with all that freedom and needs structure to understand the rules of the house.

I finally reached my boiling point with Ghilley when she decides she has to go, she dashes upstairs and makes it a "you cannot catch me" game in order to go poop inside and not outside in the rain.

I have a twitter account ( that I decided to keep track of the boxing rounds with Ghilley vs. Mom.

Rounds 1 and 3 went to Ghilley.  But I have owned Rounds 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and now 8 (this morning).

Ghilley was quite put out this morning when upon our first visit outside she chose to be distracted instead of doing everything.  I have decided that she gets 5-10 minutes to do all of her business, when I figure she has both duties to do.  After that, it is back inside but she is not given free range of the house to blast around.  She gets to hang out in her crate while I get dressed and prepare breakfast for everyone.

After breakfast, which she barely touched, we went out to success and she got a cookie.  Her big brother, Duff, got a cookie too for going.  She then got to go on a little walk with Robbie while he did his business.  It was a nice break.

I hated leaving to go into work.  I was off on Friday and Monday mornings, Ghilley resists the crate for my departure.  I pick her up, giving her hugs and kisses, telling her I would rather stay home with her.

I always hate leaving my puppies (whatever age) home.  Need to find that job where I can bring them in.