Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bachelor and the new deck

Ravin is fine once more. It actually took 24 hours for her to recover completely... she would stand with her head at the same level as her back and her neck turned to the right. But she's happy as a lark again.

Recently, I had an email about Butler, the Whoodle pup that is available, expressing concern that he is unable to go up and down stairs. The problem is I live in a single story house and don't have stairs. There are a couple steps from the side porch (ie: deck... my age is showing) but pups aren't usually out in that yard. The "deck" was starting to deteriorate... it is getting up there in years (ahem)... so for Easter, Mothers' Day, my birthday and probably Christmas, the kids gave me a new deck. Of course, they're pretty sure old-timers has set in since I requested it be off the ground enough for stairs. Well, it's got a flight of 5 (AND eventually, I'm going to get a ramp.) The deck isn't finished, but I'm back to letting the dogs go out that door to the yard rather than constricting everyone to using the puppy yard. No-one has had a problem with it except the Goldendoodle "puppy" (he'll be 2 at the end of the month.) First, he stuck his head out the door and saw the new wood and said "No way I'm going out there." The other dogs made a bee-line out the door and up the stairs to investigate their elevated perch. Not Bachelor. I had to put a lead on him and force him to leave the house. Then, I went up and stood on the porch with the other 3 dogs. Bach (rhymes with Batch, without the "t") took 10 minutes to make up his mind that the steps were safe enough for him. Now I'm up there with 4 dogs. Three of them spy a rabbit outside the fence on the other side of the yard and off they go in hot pursuit. Bach goes to the edge of the stairs, quivers and backs away. He watches the others for a couple seconds then rushes the stairs again... but only to the edge. He backs off, looks up to me shouting HELP! with his eyes and is offended that I am laughing at him. I just walked off and left him there... where he remained for most of the time the dogs were outside. Finally, just as I was about to herd everyone indoors, he stepped down ONE step and then jumped the rest of the way... which remains his way of getting off the deck even 4 days later.

This is Bach in his winter coat and clipped short last Spring. He's about to get shaved again since it looks like the really cold weather is over.

By the way, Bachelor is up for adoption, intact or otherwise.

And this is a shot I got of Sage, a neutered Standard Poodle, who also is looking for a home. (And no, he is not living on the moon... a family of moles or something moved into the yard last year and the dogs are still trying to find it.)

Need I say that Sage has no trouble whatsoever with the deck?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tick paralysis

Last night my girl, Ravin (Labrador Retriever) started acting really strange... first she didn't play with the pups as she usually does while I'm watching tv. I didn't think much of it until I put the pups to bed about 11 and noticed that Ravin looked funny... her head was down and turned to the right, her tail was down, she was panting slightly and she both shuffled and staggered when she walked. She felt SLIGHTLY warm and seemed to be having trouble focusing her eyes. Also, when I put a hand on her, I could feel her muscles jumping and twitching. I watched her while watching the 11 o'clock news and almost decided to get dressed for a trip to the emergency vet. But she went outside with the rest of the dogs and when she came back in, put herself in the huge (Great Dane size) crate in the bedroom and laid down. She slept through the night but I woke up early and she really didn't seem any better. So I let all the dogs run out to the pot... not happy campers being waken 2 hours earlier than normal... and we left for the vet so we'd be there when they open at 7:30. JUST before we walked out the door I pulled an engorged tick from the center of her back. Do you know about tick paralysis?

My first case was in Georgia, a 7-8 pound Shih-Tzu who suddenly couldn't get up, could barely move. I walked in to my ancient country vet's office carrying her and he didn't even examine her... all he said was "Find the tick yet?" I had no clue what he was talking about. He went through her hair, pulled off a tick from her back and said "Now watch this." A few minutes later she raised her head and within 15 minutes she was sitting and standing.By the time I got back home with her... maybe 30 minutes from the tick's removal... she was walking normally.

Well, we've pretty much decided tick paralysis was Ravin's problem. I pulled it off and didn't even think about it until we got out to the car and I started wondering how long my back was going to hurt from picking up this hundred pound dog... and
she jumped in... clumbsily, but she got in. By the time I finally got into one of the exam rooms with her, she was pretty much back to normal. Jane (my vet) said it was their first tick paralysis of the year and thanked me for reminding them early... she said they always forget about it because they have so few until the first one shows up each Spring. By the way, something she told me that I already knew but had forgotten... it is only the FEMALE tick that puts out the toxins that cause paralysis. A dog can be covered in ticks and not have a problem. Also, it does affect people... 99.9% of them children.

I asked her about Seiz's double seizure last weekend and she said I was right in thinking it was a bad sign, particularly since all the dogs noticed his problem. It could get dangerous for him now... if I'm not there when he has one, the pups/dogs could hurt him. I've pretty much decided the next time he has a double or even a severe seizure, I'm going to do him the kindness of putting him to sleep. He is SUCH a brat I'll miss him a lot. Sometimes it's the bad boys that steal you heart.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seiz, my liver shunt puppy

Some of you know I often have dogs in my home who are looking for new situations because something has happened with their first... or second or third, etc... families. Well, right now I have an 18 weeks old tiny fellow who has (we think) a liver shunt. The prognosis for him is not good; in fact, it's dire. So I'm planning to keep him until whenever. I've named him Seiz which is short for "seizure." He used to have them just about every other day but over the last 2 months, they've gotten farther and farther a part... he actually went 12 days between them a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, they seem to be increasing in duration and intensity. The last one was Sunday afternoon and was 2 right in a row, the second just as he was coming up from the first. Normally, no-one pays any attention when he's seizing but this time the puppies he's living with were... I don't want to say "aggressive" but they were very interested and crowded around him. And all the other dogs in the house, no matter where they were, got very upset and vocal. It took him about double his usual hour to get back to normal. This is not a good sign.

He weighs 3, maybe 3-1/2 pounds and is a "blue." He's a strange looking little guy especially as he has what's known as color dilution alopecia which means he doesn't have a full coat. In his case, he has abundant hair everywhere except his ears and his tail... all 3 are totally bald. Normally his ears stand straight up, but of course, since I was taking pictures, they're down and you can't see them very well. And the little monkey kept looking at me so I never got a good shot of him from the side so you could get a good look at his skinny little hairless tail although the bottom pix does give you an idea..

One thing about this puppy, and I don't know if it's just his nature OR if he's been affected mentally by the seizures, but he doesn't seem to learn much... I'm not talking obedience training: I'm talking not biting too hard, not biting places where you're not supposed to (like noses and toes,) the meaning of words like "no," "stop," "mine," "dammit," etc. He gets along fine with his companions... Shadow (the standard Poodle) is his best pal... if fact, it took me some time and effort to get Shadow to stop packing him around in his mouth... and Ravin (my 100 pound Lab) is his favorite resting place when he gets tired. He plays nicely with the other pups... amazingly, they have never made him cry or he them. And he's a ball of fire tearing around the house and the yard at breakneck speed. He just seems to have a short circuit when it comes to people or at least THIS person.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grooming day

So I fought the traffic through town and wasn't even late when I got to the groomer. But I was having a hard time figuring out what all those cars were doing out and why were they all from out of state? Then, just as I pulled in to parking lot, it hit me. This is race week. I've only lived here 9 years but you'd think by now I'd have learned to jot down the big weekends and stay out in the country until they're over! But, being a glutton for punishment, I have grooming appointments scheduled for tomorrow AND Thursday. Maybe I'll stop at McDonald's one morning for a bacon-egg-and-cheese to reward myself for perseverance!

Here are 2 pictures of the darling Butler, the last of Emy and SHad's current litter. I took the first one while still at the groomer's because he got carsick on the way into town and I was afraid he'd be a mess if I waited until we got back home for the photo session.

Again, this boy is a smart cookie. Today was his first time on lead. He decided in no time that staying close to me was safer than trying to get away from that thing around his neck and the cord that attached us together. Butler's not ready for obedience competition, but it wouldn't take much. He's also not ready for steps... he's still having a debate with himself just getting out the kitchen door and down the ramp to the yard... just the few steps from the side porch to the ground were more than he was willing to deal with. But I'll bet by the end of the week he's bounding up and down stairs like a trooper!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring grooming, Who-Doos

It looks like the worse of winter is over so I've started clipping everyone. Got Emy and Di done... next to Sparky, they're the smallest and the ones I do myself. I didn't clip them in November, except for the back of the ribcage to the tail, because they were both pregnant and I keep the house really cool. All that hair kept the pups nice and warm. All those pups got the hair nice and matted! But it comes off easy then, like shearing a sheep. They went running out into the rain and came in soaked to the skin which they seemed to enjoy. Tomorrow Brogue is going to the groomer. He's not matted except for under his ears and where he's chewed a little on his rear, but he has a really thick coat and when it starts to mat it does it all over in no time. Keo will probably go this week as well. Again, she's not matted but has a ton of hair. Both Sparky and Shadow are still fairly short from their early winter clipping... doesn't seem like the hair grew all that fast this year which is odd since this was the coldest winter we've had in a long time. I actually liked it a lot!

My second attempt at a Who-Doo litter has hit a snag. Trying to get this Goldendoodle girl here from California is proving to be a job. She can't fly because we don't have planes coming in here big enough for the crate and so far, neither her owner nor I have located ground transport we're comfortable with. I remember sending a group of dogs to Idaho via ground several years ago and I was definitely unhappy with the service. If we don't get it worked out before Debbie-Doodle comes into season, all bets are off. I even talked with my vet... again... about doing surgical a.i. with Keo and Brogue. They are all for it... but it's not THEIR money (until I spend it there!) I really hate disappointing the people who have been waiting so long for one of these puppies. AND I'd love to have more Keo pups... her one and only litter was wonderful.

Sounds like maybe the rain has let up a little... I should try letting some dogs out and maybe get them all settled down before Dancing with the Stars starts at 8.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Rainy Day

This area has been in an extreme drought situation for 2 years, so rain has been welcome and we've had a lot of it this Winter. Not much snow, but plenty of rain. Days of it in a row.... It's not pouring but it IS overcast and dripping and really gloomy looking. The dogs have been content to stay indoors and seem to be feeling the gloom as much as I am... they're lying around, mostly sleeping, definitely not up for any tussling. Even the puppies.

Yesterday, Patch left. Poor guy. He knew something was up for him... they ALL seem to realize it's their turn to leave once I single them out from the "herd" and start taking them places and this last litter has been exceptionally intuitive about it. We, Patch and I, spent about an hour with the family and he was starting to relax a little until we put him in their car. He'll do fine, I have no doubt. The kids were nice... smart and well behaved and apparently they listen well to their folks because none of them rushed him. The funny thing, from my point of view, was Shadow's reaction. He's my guard dog and goes with me everywhere and is terrifically protective without being obnoxious or uncontrollable. Since he's Patch's dad, I took him to the meeting so the family could see him. (Mom... Emy... was soaking wet having decided to stay out in the yard and she doesn't like car rides anyway, so she stayed home.) Usually, I can just open the car door and ask Shadow to get out but yesterday, after he sat there for a while watching ALL THOSE PEOPLE (ESPECIALLY THE FOUR CHILDREN,) he REFUSED to get out. Even after I tugged rather seriously on the lead. It took me some time to convince him I was serious about wanting him out of the car... talk about embarassing! Some guard dog! He was more than willing to hop back in as soon as I let him. Don't know when he got so opinionated!

Friday, March 13, 2009

New beginnings

Well, they say "use it or lose it" and seniors are advised to try new things to keep their mental juices flowing. It's not enough that I have to have a website, now I have to bare my soul in a blog!
So I'm giving it a try.

Right now I have several pups who are old enough to go to their new homes. One left yesterday and another is leaving tomorrow. The young lady who picked up her puppy yesterday was tickled to death with her. She's already spent a small fortune on all kinds of doggy goodies and I'm sure the pup is going to be even more spoiled than she already is! The boy who is leaving tomorrow is going to a home with 4 youngsters... poor guy, he's going to be in shock when he finds himself loaded into a car with 6 people. He just yesterday discovered there are more 2 legged beings out there... his eyes were as big as saucers when we walked into the groomer's! Until then he was sure I was the only weird one in the world! But he did fine. And I was SOOO proud of him today... first time on a lead and he figured it out in about 5 minutes... followed along like he'd been doing it for months. Of course it helped his grandpa was along.Tomorrow I'm planning to take Mom and Dad with us when we meet the family, both for moral support and to let his people see where he comes from.

So that's it for day 1.