Sunday, December 19, 2010

Still smiling!

Both Hokey and I are still smiling! I am still so in awe of his ability. What a dog! Of course, he doesn't get to brag too much here or Flash and Dani flatten him.

We have been lucky to share congratulations from so many wonderful friends. That makes our accomplishment even better. Best of all, we have heard from others with cancer challenged dogs who are heartened by our success. Of course, there are no guarantees and we have no idea how long Hokey's remission will last but I continue to do his supplements, special diet, etc and we will keep working.
We have quite a bit of snow so we are mostly working in the barn aisle, doing some utility obedience. I need to figure out a good way to work the ducks despite the snow. Haven't come up with that yet.

And we just ordered some custom bumper stickers - Canine Cancer Survivors Can Do! in bright green. Definitely one will go on my minivan :)
Deb E

Oh yeah, steak for THREE nights in a row!! Whoohee!! And other dogs got a piece each but *I* got lots of pieces.

I am back to work - learning utility which should be a snap for me since I am so brilliant but it may take a while to get Deb proofed. She seems to think I should hand her these white gloves when we both know the correct article indication is to lie down or sit by the glove. I love to run out and grab it, then shake it and bring it back to her and drop it. I mean, what more could you want?

And I keep warning those ducks that I plan to work their fluffy little butts off this winter. Deb and I will figure out a way to keep them in shape!
Yeah, life is good - just like those t shirts!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My version of our track - by Hokey

Whoa, yah! Deb didn't give ME a chance to post yesterday. I think you all need the real version of our track.

I was pysched - so psyched I was whining when Deb was putting the harness on me - bright neon green I might add and I look quite dashing in it! Plus festive for the season you know.

Forget the stupid sugar plums - I had visions of double cheeseburgers dancing through MY head! Deb had been stuffing green Xmas tree Peeps into her - guess she felt she might need a sugar high. She did tell me that I would get chicken RIGHT after the track but might have to wait until the drive home for my cheeseburger.

I was very glad to have that nice woman for my tracklayer. She has great scent :). Off we went, flying down the field, then up the hill. I am not at all sure why they felt the track should go under this creepy tree and right next to a big telephone pole on its side. That looked like the kind of place where my brother wolves might be hiding. Never fear though - Hokey's great nose could handle taking the turn a touch early.

I admit I had a lapse then - I saw a bright white thing and figured it might be an article, so we went off to check that off. No dice, nothing that easy! I put the old snoz back to work and lo and behold, we found a dark sock! Cool - one article out of the way. Of course Deb had no idea we, I mean I, had already handled one set of cross tracks. Ha, they couldn't fool me!

Now we trucked down a hill through some brush with nasty prickers - I really hate prickers! Blew through the other cross tracks too - do they think we are stupid? If they couldn't fool me the first time, why even try again?

What is this?! My track now went through this huge river! I am guessing a mile wide and probably about that deep. I don't mind baths or working in the rain (and it was raining) but putting my feet into water? UGH!

Still, double cheeseburger on my mind, so through the creek we went. Then I took us down this path in the woods. I find paths in woods to be hard to work, so I am glad we had practiced at the Westmo Town Park. Those cinder paths are tough!

And what should my competent nose find but a purple tie! Hmmm, guess we know why it became a tracking article - a bit bright for average the suit and tie crowd. By now I swear I could almost smell my cheeseburgers!

We went a looong way in the woods, then hit a field and I KNEW to turn left! Yes, back to the creek. This is where Deb almost blew it big time. All that work and now she hesitates to follow me down to the creek again?!!! This is the dog who HATES water, so if I say it goes there and *I* am willing to cross it again - what is HER problem?!!! She is even wearing our good luck shirt - the bright green one from Beauty of the Beasts that says Trust me.... I am the One with the Nose.

So I humor her - checking out the edge of the field thoroughly. Kind of interesting - different big mushrooms, including a bright orange one, some neat trash. Finally I am running out of options, so I insist we really need to cross the creek, finish this thing and let the judges move on to the next dog.

Deb follows me!!! Hallelujah!!! Across the creek we go and then there is ice. I really don't like walking across pure ice, so I kind of hop up onto the jump there. Got stuck with my line for a second but Deb's good old opposable thumbs helped us out there. I hopped back down to the path where it was mud now and WOW - WHAT IS THIS???!!! I snuffle, verify twice, turn to smile at Deb and sit - right there, even in the cold mud!

My glove - a sort of ratty small brown one but still, the glove of my tracklayer. Deb checks, she screams, everybody screams, I leap up and get mud on Deb, they all cry a bit and then, finally we head to the car for my chicken (cheeseburgers yet to come!)

Back at the car, Deb dried me thoroughly and stuffed me with rotisserie chicken. Good stuff - you can get it at most grocery stores cheaper than buying and cooking your own chicken - strip off the meat and save it for your dog. I could write a cookbook!

Anyway, I LOVE to be dried and rubbed with towels. Just feels good, you know? We had to wait a bit for my beautiful green and blue rosette but then we were on the road, heading for McD's for my double cheeseburger!!! And steak the last two nights too!

I am really rubbing this into Queezle's face. She thinks she is so hot being a top breed dog - well, that is nothing but looks. If I hadn't had a problem with a bit of equipment I could have been a breed CH too. But a CT is even better because *I* had to earn it!

Deb says no way we retire - she has promised me we will keep working. Doing some duck stuff - I am an awesome duck dog if I say so myself! - , maybe some utility obedience, more ASCA tracking and herding, yeah, lots to do, more cheeseburgers to earn!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Champion Tracker!

I am always humbled and honored to be the "dope on a rope" following my dogs on a tracking test. Hokey and I entered 13 TDX tests this fall. We got drawn in two and got in run in two others as an alternate. Oh, so close on a couple - including about a month ago in Virginia when two gun shots blew our almost perfect track.

I thought long and hard about not entering this last test in Virginia. After all, #13, the weather likely to be bad (on my end in upstate NY if not in Virginia) and admittedly, I was a bit discouraged. When we got in, I still waffled a bit. I would have to take my old car (yellow mini van with over 200,000 miles on it), had a bad cold, my good boots had a hole, etc. But off we went driving 400 miles down Route 81.

Sunday am was cold (temps in the mid 30s) and wet. It started off misty/drizzly for the TDs, but then started to actually rain when we went. Oatlands Plantation is a cool site with sweeping grass areas and plenty of three day event jumps (for horses) scattered about. The grass was manicured lawn though - literally cut closer than my lawn at home ever is! There were woods, a stream, some brushy areas.

Our draw items to determine our tracks were cute angel ornaments. We drew Track 2. Track one went off well but the BC got drawn down the cross tracks.

It was our turn. The wind and rain picked up but Hokey started right down the first leg. Then we turned left up a long, rolling hill. At the top, he indicated a turn to the right. The track actually went a touch further but he was hesitant to go between the low branches of an evergreen and a solid telephone pole log jump.

We almost blew it right then. Hokey spotted a white article (a piece of trash as it turns out) and did classic VST dog article search mode. Luckily when he realized it was not one of our articles, he worked his way back and came across one of our real articles! Yay - just two articles & hundreds of yards to go!

We went straight a bit and then turned right to go back down the hill. Hokey had now crossed over both sets of cross tracks with barely a nod. We went through a brushy/swampy/pricker area, then some more field and down a banking, over a creek into the woods. The creek was 6 to 8 feet wide in places and about a foot deep at its deepest.

On the far side of the creek, Hokey turned left onto a path through the woods. It was dirt and cinder, with a few old leaves around. The second article was partway down this leg. Good boy Hokey!!

We finally left the woods and came out into a nice field. Hokey immediately turned left to go back down to the creek. At the end of the line, he hesitated a touch. I honestly could not believe we would actually go over the creek again so I held steady. Poor Hokey then checked every possible permutation of the field edge and finally insisted we head down to the creek. Thankfully I did trust him - the words of Ed echoing around my head, "90% of the time, the first way the dog checks is the correct way".

I might add, this is a dog who hates water! On a 90 degree day at an agility trial he will not even go in the kiddie wading pools.

Hokey went right through the creek again and then onto a sheet of ice (which was over land, not water). We got the line caught on another jump right there but then he went straight to snuffle at a blob of mud. He snuffled, turned, smiled at me and sat! That is his stellar article indication and I ran up to see that the "blob" was a brown, wet, muddy glove, stuck in the mud!!

I screamed, he bounced around, the judges screamed, my track layer screamed and Hokey had (despite me almost blowing it!) earned his TDX which also gave him his CT or Champion Tracker title!

The title is a huge high of course, but best of all, is that Hokey is still alive and well, still loves doing things, training, traveling and competing. 14 months ago I was in terrible despair with a dog with a very guarded prognosis from an aggressive lymphoma. And from our despair came hope as he handled the chemo so well and now an amazing success!

The judges (Susan Ammerman and Judith Edwards) hustled off to the next track while my track layer (Sharon Kilrane) and I walked back up towards the start area where our cars were. I dried Hokey thoroughly and gave him a bunch of chicken.

Sadly, no other TDX dogs passed.

We had along drive home - made longer by stops for caffeine for me and double cheeseburgers for Hokey.

I am still in awe at my dog's ability. And our motto is "Canine Cancer Survivors Can Do"!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Catching up!

Boy, things have been busy! Between Tom's soccer and marching band I have barely had time to catch my breath.
My Belgian Breeds examiner column has just finished a really fun treat recipe contest. Check it out at . The recipes were fairly simple and our dogs loved all of them. The peanut butter and tuna treats were enjoyed by the humans too! I hate liver and hate even having it in the house but I have to say the dogs were thrilled with the winning treats.

Kate found a tick on Queezle the other day and I pulled one off Hokey a week ago. So don't figure that tick season is over. Boy, I really hate them!

Hokey continues to do well - now one year and one month post diagnosis. I have added organic, raw apple cider to his regimen - just 1 tbsp a day. The glutamine and arginine were dropped as he is well post chemo at this point. I just keep crossing my fingers that he stays in remission. He feels great, looks great!
Deb E

Oh yeah, I am doing just fine! I race and bark at the other dogs, I leap, I dance, I am!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Disasters - but minor!

I had hoped to have good news, but despite lovely conditions, Hokey and I muffed up a turn and failed our TDX test in Cleveland. I was crushed since it is so hard to get into a test, we started well and he was working just great. Still these things happen. No passes at all.
We were late alternates the previous weekend and are again this coming weekend, so no more tries for a while. With every entry I send I add a prayer that Hokey will still be feeling fine IF we get in.

This trip was not that fun except for the actual test. The Cleveland folks are wonderful and the site was great. The drive out and most of the drive home were in pouring rain. On the way home I ended up in the post football game Buffalo traffic. This slows things way down - as in 10 miles in 30 minutes plus you have to beware plenty of drunk drivers. Not fun!

Halfway home I also started itching and quickly realized I had bed bug bites from my motel stay! ARRGH!!! This meant doing laundry literally as I walked in the door at 9 pm and spraying my bag, car, etc. Kate keeps telling me I will find this funny at some point. I am not sure I will live long enough!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Yeah, we blew it. I had visions of my double cheeseburger dancing through my head and then suddenly there was fabulous deer poop - like everywhere! Kind of lost it a bit. But I am sure we will pass soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hokey's "official photo" & a great present

We got the digital file for Hokey's official CDX title photo today - Kurtis Photography. I figure he looks great and the judge and I at least look decent!

Hokey is also lucky to be part of a very supportive family - the Sensation Terv family. We got accolades from all his relatives. Then, today, from his favorite sister, T, Hokey got a GREAT toy! He loves the "wubbas". This one is a cute fox and has a great squeak. The one problem will be keeping it away from the other dogs.

Deb E

OH yeah, LOVE my sister T! Her humans are pretty darn nice too :). And their taste in dog toys is fabulous! I consider this to be all mine so I may have to hide it from the other dogs - especially those sneaky Aussies. I feel like the song from the Lion King - "It is good to be king!"


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hokey continues on his road to excellence!

On Saturday morning, up in Amherst NY (near Buffalo) the Western Lakes Training Club was holding obedience trials. I drove up the night before and stayed at a Motel 6 with Hokey and Kate's Aussie, Tia. Both dogs were entered in Open A.

In the morning, our judge was Diana McKienzie - lovely woman from Canada. Hokey ended up going first to separate Tian and Hokey. It was not pretty but he was qualifying going into the stays. The dog next to him got up and looked around during the Long Down but then laid back down. He stayed and qualified - finishing his CDX and taking second place!

Tia did her best work ever and was qualifying going into stays as well but laid down with 20 seconds left, so she nq'd. I had told Hokey he never had to do Open again (except next Sunday at Interclub) so he was done! Tia went back in the afternoon and was terrible so she was "removed".

It was great to see a bunch of freinds that I only run into at obedience trials and many, many local friends had great successes. A special tip of the hat to Barb Handelsman who took 4th with her St. Poodle in a very tough Novice B class. This was Barb's first time back in the obedience ring after a 16 year hiatus! And to Pam Cox and Schuyler who pulled off two qualifying runs in Utility A back to back!

Hokey got a double cheeseburger on the way home to celebrate and we had steak yesterday so he got a bunch of that too :). Coming on what is very close to his one year anniversary of his diagnosis of lymphoma, this is even more special. And best of all, he is still feeling fine and in remission.

Deb E

Oh yeah, who, who, who was THE dog?!! Hokey, Hokey, Hokey! Tia fell flat on her face (lying down with 20 seconds to go - how lame!) and *I* was the star! Deb was trying to be cool but she definitely had trouble. Mt double cheeseburger was excellent and the steak yesterday was a nice touch too. Oh, and I got to choose a toy for a prize so I picked out a tiger stripe fuzzy squeaky. It is mine, all mine! Ooooh, and a stunning dark blue and gold title rosette to go along with my red rosette for 2nd place! Yep, I AM the dog!

When my official photo comes in I plan to share it with all of you.

Hokey, now known as Sensation Coyote Heart Dance CDX VST HSAsd RAE AX AXJ XF plus obedience, rally, herding and tracking titles in other venues

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Duckling sort of a day

Whew! The ducklings are growing like weeds - or maybe even faster! Today I moved them down to the barn - with an ex-pen in a stall and a cover just in case Firecracker, our barn cat, thought duckling might taste good. He has never bothered the ducks but since these guys don't have a mama duck with them I want to be safe.

I then put them out for about an hour in the smaller pen inside the big duck pen. That way they can become acquainted with the older ducks and vice versa. Since everyone was safely confined, I went off to hang laundry.

When I came back down to move Pip and Squeak back into the barn, I realized that Pip, the tan duckling, had squeezed under the fence in one area and was in with the big ducks! Luckily, no one had gone after him.

The main duck stall inside is smaller than the outside pen so I don't want to mingle them until the ducklings have some more size. Just in case anyone gets territorial!

Never a dull moment!

Deb E

From Hokey - I don't know why she was worried. I LOVE ducks and I would have guarded the babies. (Editorial comment here - he would have, he does love herding the ducks and he is great with them.)

I am working at my obedience. I really like the retrieving and the jumping but the heeling is kind of boring. Deb has promised if I just hold it together one more time at a trial and pass I can stop ever doing this. She says we will work on Utility which is all fun. I hope she is right. I also get a double cheeseburger when I get that last Open A leg!

I track too. We are working on TDX out in the fields and woods which is also fun. I sometimes get distracted in the woods but I am working on it. Deb says when I get my TDX I will get a double cheeseburger AND a steak since that would be my CT (Champion Tracker). Good thing *I* don't feel any pressure!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Busy summer!!!

Boy this has been a busy summer! Making Tom's concerts at Eastern US Music Camp at Colgate University, doing agility and obedience, training in tracking and moving Kate back to Cornell, this time to an apartment with Queezle!
Hokey has continued to do well - even adding his second CDX leg with a first place! Best of all, he feels good and has stayed in remission so far. The end of September will mark one year since his diagnosis.
We have two new family members - Pip and Squeak - ducklings who hatched here. Unknown sex, but they "seem" like boys to me! Pip is the tan one and Squeak is the multi colored one. They are growing daily but at two weeks of age are still too small to join the adult ducks. No female claimed them so they are living in the back room at this time :)
I am now writing three columns - Utica Dog, Utica Pet Health and a national Belgian Breeds. Subscriptions are free - just hit the subscribe button on the top of the columns if you want to.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some days are golden

I am behind - I know! But I am still smiling as I go back to June 12. I was in Burlington, Vermont, heading for the campus of the University of Vermont. It was about 6 pm & I had Hokey with me. We were going to the draw for the VST (Variable Surface Tracker) test - the toughest competition within AKC.

What happened is here below:
I will try to go over the track to give you all as much info as possible. I have
one copy of the map (from Mike) & the writing is atrocious plus my mind blanked
out a bit but I will try :)))

Draw was at 7:45 pm & we had gorgeous huge clematis blossoms with the numbers
taped to the bottom. Must be a hybrid as my clematis doesn't look like that! OH,
and they had food from 6 pm on - chips, cookies, pizza, fruit, drinks. We got
track 3.

Dog 3 - us! Right off the bat there is an error as this says 667 yds & I KNOW it
had to be at least 6000 :)). We started at 9 pm, still a little natural light. I
did not use my headlamp.
The first leg was about 30 yds on grass, then a small dirt path, then grass,
then some sort of nonveg (either cement or brickwork, these were interchanged
frequently on campus).
As we started on our track, a large group of people who had been at some sort of
award thing started coming out of the bldg we were headed towards. All walking
more or less across our path. Hokey did accost one or two over their bouquets
First turn went right on the nonveg area & was fairly short. Then a turn down a
double set of stairs (all of this nonveg - cement or brickwork). That may have
been my MOT turn.

Hokey started out gangbusters & did this first third of the track in about 5
min. NOT ideal. As I was flying down the stairs I kept thinking that if we were
wrong we would quickly be beyond the chance of fixing things. At the bottom of
the stairs was article number 1 - a crushed tin can. Major relief!!! This was on
nonveg. I could hear the judges & gallery running (literally) after us!

Shortly after the article, a left turn (done on nonveg). We now had a leg with
multiple changes of cover - grass, cement, brickwork, paved area, dirt, mulch.
Hokey had checked out to the right thoroughly & at one point acted like article
search but went back to work.

We were working along a bldg & headed towards a cement patio & another bldg. He
was back to trucking all through here. Turned right before the patio - a short
leg on grass. Then turned left at the end of the bldg into another multi cover
change leg which had the next article midway (on grass). This was a leather
glove which worried me as that meant the last article would be plastic. It was
now dark & cooler so spotting it might be difficult & less scent due to the temp

That leg ended with grass to a road which we crossed & then onto sidewalk up to
a bldg & a right turn. He had trouble there, but worked it out. The track then
went around the bldg, so now a left turn. This put me in a dark area on all

Now I am VERY worried about the stupid article as I know neither of us will spot
it. Still Hokey trucks on, working quite fast (which also worries me)down the
hill on grass, crosses a road & onto a sidewalk. I thought I could spot
something shiny under a lamp post off to the side on the grass but Hokey was
cruising down the middle of the sidewalk. And suddenly there was a plastic cover
(like for a dog food can). Hokey sniffed it & before he could even sit the
judges & gallery came running up! 30 min total.

Everyone was so excited :))). Two dogs later, my friend with a Bullmastiff also
passed. So two out of six. She also does not have a TDX yet, so no CTs.

The night ended at 1:30 am. We got a large rosette, a photo frame, a cute
notepad made up by the club - "things to keep track of" & a big toy. Plus a
basil plant.

Hokey got roast beef back at the car after his track. Then there was an all
night McDonald's right by the Motel 6 so at 1:30 am he got a double
cheeseburger. We are having steak tonight :)))

For those who may not know – Hokey was diagnosed with a very aggressive lymphoma last September. He is currently about 9 weeks post chemo so this victory was even sweeter! Hokey is now officially Sensation Coyote Heart Dance CD VST HSAsd RAE AX AXJXF & lots of other rally & agility titles.
Deb E, still grinning :)))
PS Both Lisa (with Bullmastiff who passed) & I were entered at SOTC in obed - we decided we
were very glad we went tracking instead!
PPS The photo was taken on June 19th at a tracking clinic that both judge Mike Clemens & I were at. it wasn't ideal for photography at 1:30 am!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Working that nose!

Hokey and I have been working hard at tracking. Actually HE works hard - I try not to get in the way!

For tracking, the dog follows a path walked by another person anywhere from 12 to 5 hrs earlier. Along the way, they leave a couple of items which your dog must find. Dogs love the sport as they are in control - after all, they have the great noses! They work on a long line (up to 40 ft) and we humans simply follow behind.

All of our dogs love tracking. Dani, my older Terv, has her Champion Tracker title as does my daughter Kate's older Corgi. while they did their top tracking as older dogs, puppies and young dogs love to track too as it is a natural behavior.

Hokey is working towards passing his VST or Variable Surface Tracking title. He has to work on nonvegetated surfaces (so blacktop, pavement, cement, etc) as well as grass and often in and around buildings. This is difficult and so far only about 220 dogs ever have passed this test in AKC.

Last weekend we were at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass but had no luck. Hokey started strong but got muddled up partway through. I do have to wonder if his snuffling at the broken vodka bottle along the way was a factor :).

This coming weekend we will be at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. This was a fun test last year even though it rained and I had no passes. Lovely campus.

The photo, taken by Ed Presnall, shows Hokey working at a training camp on the SUNY Geneseo campus in upstate, NY.

From Hokey:
Man, I LOVE to track! Sniffing is fun & when you find articles, Deb gives me great treats in training! I love to eat too! I don't understand why I have not passed yet - I guess I get distracted or something. I hope I am a BIG star this weekend & then I can get steak treats for a WHOLE Week!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Boy, summer temps have hit us hard already! When it gets into the upper 80s in May, we are in trouble.

People in upstate NY are generally set for dealing with cold weather. We hunker down, add blankets, stay warm. But hot weather knocks us for a loop as most families do not have any air conditioning. I plan to lug some fans out of the attic tonight!

Hokey is working on his tracking with a little obedience thrown in. He has gotten better about his dumbbell again - at least a bit. I wish he would at least wade in a kiddie pool on these hot days but he rarely will even do that. The ducks love their pool & I put fresh, cold water in a couple of times a day.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Phew, it is warm! Which is why I think dogs need extra treats. That gives us more energy so we can pant harder. Makes perfect sense doesn't it?

As for water, if dogs were designed to get wet, we would have fins or flippers. I just plan to hog the space right in front of the fan!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To Texas and back!

Whew! We had a whirlwind week last week. I left on Thursday, April 22 for Pottsboro, TX, taking my two Tervs Dani and Hokey plus picking up Kate and her Terv Queezle on the way. It was the Terv Club's 50th anniversary & quite a lot going on. We had entries in tracking, obedience, agility and conformation. I had to bag my duck herding entries due to conflicts but we did have plenty to keep us busy.
Not many successes in the the way of ring awards or titles but we had lots of fun! Tracking was the best - and I love my little armadillo draw article :)Conditions were challenging but Hokey worked well. High winds hurt us with the tracks we drew. I was so proud though that he tracked through water - in some areas over 8 inches of water!
In agility we both had mistakes and in obedience we were 2nd by one point to Kate and Queezle in Wildcard Novice. Queezle made the first cut for BOB as did her daughter, Demi.
At the banquet I got my award for 25 years of membership and Dani got a gorgeous plaque for her Champion Tracker title.
Lots of fun, but I am still recovering from the marathon drive home - arriving at 4 am on Monday!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Oh man, my tracks were TOUGH!! I had high winds and one of my articles literally blew from Texas to Oklahoma (we were close to the border, but still). I also hate water - I don't even like the kiddie wading pools they have on hot days at agility trials. And my TDX track was about 1/3 under water!! I was SO brave - I went right through it. And everyone said I had the best and the cutest article indications of all the dogs :)
Great photo of me and Elma the Longhorn, huh?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Officially spring - sheep are nude!!

Now it REALLY is spring - the wool sheep were shorn this am & look quite funny in their "nudity". We also have 3 "hair" sheep - Kathadins, who do not have real wool. They do not get shorn but shed blobs of hair/wool. I like the wool sheep a tad better but it is getting harder and harder to find anyone willing to shear sheep. And I admit freely, *I* don't want to!

It is supposed to get quite cold tonight so we will make sure the sheep come in. It may require work by Hokey as I suspect they won't want to come into the barn again for a while after the shearing. We worked out today that Klara, currently our oldest sheep has to be at least 14 years old.

I put the shedding blade to the horses this am as well so we had hair everywhere! The donkeys won't shed for at least another month and then, they do best with a rubber curry grooming.
Deb E, figuring she inhaled her daily dose of fiber today with all the hair in the air!

From Hokey:
Oh yeah, I bet they will need the Hokester to get those sheep into the barn. Nothing like freshly shorn sheep to be a bit spooky. Good thing Deb has a GREAT herding dog to help her. Man, I am just indispensable!
And, do I need to point out - it is Monday and NO CHEMO!!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Good week!

This has been a good week! The weather was decent most days so all the dogs got mile long walks while Hokey and I also got in some tracking. A friend laid a nice half TDX track for him on Thursday and he did quite well. It is great when you can swap tracking laying with people and get your dog to new sites.

The grass is growing like crazy - EXCEPT in the duck pen where I really want it to grow!That would figure of course :). Oh well, rain today so hopefully that will stimulate some growth or I can throw some more seed out there.

I felt badly that a lovely snake I had come to know got run over yesterday. I think it was a red factor garter snake though I should look it up. Very attractive, good sized snake and with a stub tail from some previous accident. It tended to be a bit snotty when I would move it while mowing, etc but it was so attractive I didn't mind. Cars and snakes don't mix well.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Yeah, I got to track in a really neat new area - even got to work through some woods. I am hoping to be totally fit and ready for next Sunday when I get to track in Texas.

All three of us Tervs, me, Dani & Queezle, are going to the Terv Natl. It is the 50th anniversary so it should be fun. I want to be a big star but it will be tricky. Deb is getting 25 yr member recognition & Dani is in the Top Ten Tracking Dogs Invitational. So, I really need to shine at something. I am still not totally comfortable with my dumbbell but I think I am ready to blow everyone away in tracking & agility.

I couldn't do duck herding unfortunately as there was a conflict with tracking. Hopefully my sister Flame will be a big star there.

Ok, gotta go practice my mental preparations (that means take a nap!).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring colds

I am guessing it may be partly allergy associated but I always seem to get a bad cold in the spring. Usually the week of the Syracuse shows but it is later this week. I hate having a "fuzzy head"!

We are working away diligently on Hokey's tracking & also an exercise program to make sure he is in top shape. He loves getting the extra long walks & tracking is one of his favorite things to do. Yesterday we did some mini VST tracks at out local schools. Kate was home for the weekend so I had her lay Hokey's track while I laid one for our friend Maura & her Terv, Malibu.

We aged the tracks 3 to 4 hours & during that time the wind came up. Both dogs did very well, even in the tricky & difficult spots. You can start crossing your fingers (and any household paws) now for Hokey at the tracking tests at our National in 2 weeks. It would be great if he could do well - it is already fantastic that he simply gets to go to Texas!
Deb E, off to heat up a corn bag for my head!

From Hokey:
Yes! I was SO good on my track! My only problem was the playground where Kate took my track onto & over a wooden platform. I was not at all sure that was right & I wanted to simply duck under or around. I never lost the scent though & Deb helped me by encouraging me onto the wooden thing. I think that was cheating myself! Luckily Kate is one of my favorite people so I won't hold it against her.

We had Dani's birthday on Saturday - she is now 11!!! We all got some steak & roast beef so that was cool. Dani likes to point out that she is the best AND the top dog in our house. I tell her obviously her age is showing with her senility since *I* am the best! I only do that when I can run & hide somewhere.

Deb is feeling sick so I have to go take care of her. Actually Dani & Tia are the best nurses so I just supervise them!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Goals

I had hoped Hokey would get a CDX leg or maybe even two at the Syracuse shows but no such luck. On Friday when he ran out to get his dumbbell,grabbed it, turned & took about 2 steps back to me when suddenly he leapt into the air, throwing the dumbbell. He was definitely NOT playing with it - it looked like he got an electric shock! We never figured out what happened & he did the retrieve over the high jump (different area of the ring) just fine. He did not want to go near that area of the ring so I pulled him for the weekend.
It seems he has connected the dumbbell to the problem but we are working through it. (His teeth, mouth, etc are fine). I am putting peanut butter on the bar and letting him lick it. That was going fine. Then Queezle came over and, hoorah for sibling rivalry!, he grabbed the dumbbell and ran off! So maybe he will get over this quickly.
We are planning to head to our Natl in a couple of weeks - the 50th one for Belgian Tervurens. So today we were out tracking and he did a wonderful job.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, that was awful with my dumbbell! I love that thing but whatever happened was downright spooky!I wish I could blame another dog somehow or maybe the cat - yeah, I bet the cat was behind this! I will bet he booby trapped my dumbbell at home on Thursday night. Probably jealous of how great I am doing!

Oh well, I LOVE the peanut butter therapy. I may need it for a long, long time :))

And today I got to work my ducks AND go tracking! Doesn't get much better than that. I went by the clinic but just to pick up tick stuff for our trip and to get weighed. NO chemo!!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010


From Hokey:
WOOHEE!!! Can you say EXCELLENT?!!! Cause that is what I truly am!Today I jumped, ran, hit my contacts, earned 66 points (I only needed 60), did the send, was STILL 5 seconds under time when I finished AND got the last leg for my Excellent FAST title!!! I am now excellent in all three of my agility classes!!! OH and I got FIRST place!!! My cousin Ticket won her FAST class too!

Deb says no more FAST for me though. She figures 2 classes a day will be plenty for me & she knows I don't like having to go away from her like you have to in FAST. Still, this was cool as this was my only agility class she entered me in this weekend.

I gotta tell you, there were tons of hot Terv chicks (OK, so a couple of them are my cousins but still)watching & I think I blew them all away. This was my title so I got a big blue rosette for first place plus a pretty baby blue rosette for my title AND I got a cute sun squeaky toy. I had a hard time between the star & the sun but since I am the light of Deb's life, the sun seemed appropriate.
Oh, oh - I also got my very own hamburger on the way home!!!!
Yeah, Hokey is The Man!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


With Hokey in remission and off chemo we have plans for the coming weekend. There is a big 4 day show cluster at the Fairgrounds in Syracuse. I just entered him in Excellent FAST in agility and Open A in obedience. Neither of those have great pass or qualifying rates but he has 2 legs in FAST and one in Open so I am hoping we can pull off a couple of qualifying runs in both areas. That may be greedy but we can hope.

The best thing of course is that we will actually BE at something as I wasn't sure last September if we could get to compete together ever again. the last agility trials were a HUGE boost to me and hopefully we will have fun this weekend no matter what.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Yeah, cool. I am still negotiating. I figure since I am at upper levels in every area of competition and since I am a cancer patient in remission, I should get my own personal hamburger for every achievement. I mean,maybe even just for showing up!

Deb keeps saying we both need to lose some weight and get in better shape but really, I think that *I* at least look pretty good. It will be fun to get out and hopefully be a BIG star though. Kate is showing her girls in agility over the weekend, but to be honest, they aren't nearly as good as I am.
Hokey, figuring false humility never did anybody any good :))

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The nose still works!

One of my worries about after effects of chemo with Hokey was that his sense of smell might be messed up. He loves to track & is a superb tracker so if we had to stop doing that it would have been quite sad.
Today I laid a track for him at our middle school. This was a mini VST track - about half the regulation length with a moment of truth turn in the parking lot & a fair amount of nonvegetated surface. I laid the track, then went on errands, coming back to run it with him about 1 1/2 hrs later.
He was GREAT!!! Nailed it quite well, indicated all the articles plus the 2 plastic clothes pins I had for markers in the grass. Since it is quite cold out (about 35 degrees)I wasn't sure how he would do with the metal & plastic articles. Not a problem at all!
So we are quite happy. The photo attached is from a VST camp we did with Ed Presnall. Hopefully we can go on to TDX & VST work now.
Deb E

From Hokey:
HA! *I* knew my nose was just fine. After all, I could find my dinner every night! I LOVE to track! Tracking & working my ducks are my two favorite things in life - besides Deb of course, & my food & my wubba toy. I guess I am just lucky & I have lots of favorite things.
It was a tad embarassing that Deb had to let out my harness a hole but better a bit chubby than wasting away I say.
Hokey, having a very good day

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paw It Forward

Many of you may be familiar with the movie and the concept of "Pay It Forward". The idea being that if a kindness is done to you, you then do something kind for three people. If they then follow through, you can see how the acts of kindness will multiply.

Well, I heard about a similar idea, only it is "Paw It Forward".
Ricochet is an amazing Golden Retriever out in San Diego who believes in helping others. She does plenty of good works for charities and has been asked to be a spokesperson for the April 29th "Pay or Paw It Forward Day". I think this is something we can all work on in our individual communities.

If you have some neat ideas about how to "paw it forward' let us know!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Just so everybody knows, that is MY paw in the photo on Sort of like the women who do hand modeling for hand creme ads!
I personally like the idea of "paw it forward". I have always done my part. I am a certified therapy dog though we had to stop visits during my chemo due to worries about me picking up infections. I have done walkathons for Rome Humane Society. I am great at working with kids and ducks - I am REALLY good with ducks!
OK, I admit I am perhaps not the best about sharing treats or toys but nobody else wants to share with me either.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is sprung!!

Beautiful spring days here - teasing us actually as 60s and sunny is NOT typical upstate NY March weather. I was hiking the dogs in pairs this morning along the railroad right of way by our house (no longer any trains but a lovely path to bike, ride or walk on). The red tail hawks are in breeding seeason so their screams kept splitting the air as the smaller male kept following the female from tree to tree. Then they would fly off, dramatic swoops across a bright blue sky.

Closer to the ground, the crocuses are doing their best to smile. I think we totally missed the snowdrops who must have bloomed under the snow. I have crocuses of light and dark purple as well as white ones though, so the colors are striking against the brown grass. The horses continue to shed everywhere though the donkeys won't shed for a month or two. And the ducks are thrileld to be outside with their pool!

This weather also leads to the numerous "dead horse" phone calls I get from the area shelters. People phone in, reporting dead horses in fields all over the county. The shelters call me asking me to take a look. I have learned to simply tell them to call the people back in an hour or so. So far, all of the horses have miraculously recovered :). They simply lie on their sides, out enjoying the sun just like people sunbathing on a beach!
Rain and cold temps coming in on Sunday so we have to enjoy this while we can.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, oh man! Life is good! I have gotten to put my ducks out and bring them back in every day this week except Monday!I won't talk about Monday except to say it was my last chemo and it was tough. But now I am free, free, free! Still getting all the great food and supplements though.

Deb is even talking about taking me to the Terv Natl out in Texas. This is a BIG hoopla with all the best Tervs (especially the girls!) there. And yeah, I am neutered but a guy can still look.
Plus if all the BEST tervs are going to be there, I should certainly go. Dani will go to get her CT (Champion Tracker) award and Deb is getting a 25 year award. I will have to earn anything I get out there but hopefully I can work ducks and maybe track, as well as run agility. Without Tom I am not sure I can win the Terv 2 Miler again but I could try to drag Deb very fast.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Special Day

Before I forget, Kate's Aussie Tia, would like me to mention that today is her 7th birthday. So she feels the day is special just for that.
But for Hokey and for me, this day is special in other ways. Today was the last day of his chemotherapy regimen. It was a rough day as the drug today was adriamycin (also called doxorubicin) which has to be administered slowly over 20 to 30 minutes IV. His veins are a bit beat up from all of the chemo so we had to use a rear leg. This meant I then had to hold his leg still and extended for the whole time so the catheter wouldn't kink or get displaced. But we made it!
The fact that he got through the original schedule without going out of remission is very good news. I am extremely grateful to all my fellow vets and dog lovers who shared tips and treatment ideas. Our success is a tribute to all of you.

I will keep him on his supplements and once we are a week or so out from this treatment, I can assume his immunity is good and we are "back to normal". Of course, it won't be true normal as I will be checking him frequently for any signs of a relapse but we can get on with many of the things we love to do together. And tomorrow it is supposed to get up to 50 degrees with sun so I think we will put our ducks out - his favorite chore!
Deb E

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring is here!!!

Spring is officially here!

The tough purple crocuses are poking their heads up between the snow drifts. The horses are starting to shed so hair is blowing everywhere - and I need to arrange to get the wool sheep shorn.

Plus the male blackbirds have finally returned. they come back first to stake out the top sites for breeding and raising all their young. They can also empty out a feeder in 5 minutes flat.

Those are the good signs of spring - sadly the mud is now here too.
Deb E

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beautiful days!

We have had stunning days here in upstate NY. It has gotten down into the 20s at night so the snow has crusted over. The crust is hard enough that the big dogs and I can walk on it. So in the Early morning, right after barn chores, we hike around the cornfield/hayfield. The dogs love it! I do too - the bright blue sky, white snow glittering like diamonds, crisp, clean air.

Unfortunately though, while racing around, three of the dogs skinned their footpads. Probably the sharp ice/snow crystals scraped the pad off. Interesting though, that it was the right front foot on all three of them. The other three dogs are fine. Liquid bandage works great on the scraped pads.

The forecast is for 50s and rain this weekend which means we will be moving to mud season. I really hate mud! It is impossible to keep things clean with mud season. I wish I could go straight from snow to green grass.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Woohee!!! Another chemo free Monday and only one more treatment to go! I am SO psyched! I love the early morning runs on the crusty snow. And MY feet are just fine so I must be a superior dog. Dani and Flash have fine feet too.

Deb thinks maybe the white pads on the Aussies are less tough but Queezle has black pads. She does run very fast but I think I am faster. In fact, I am a lot faster right now because her foot hurts a bit. Ha! Superior dog - that is all I have to say.

There was no Open Training today which was too bad as I wanted to go but Deb says I get to go to obedience class tomorrow. I am sure I will once again be the star. But I have to keep a close eye on those Newfs. I do think they are bears in disguise.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What a weekend!!!

Wow, what a weekend! Since this was a nonchemo week, I had entered Hokey in our local agility trials. He is in Excellent B so all of his runs are at the toughest level - trickiest courses, fastest times, no errors allowed. I am not the world's greatest handler and of course, we haven't had much chance to practice. So on Saturday he had two really nice runs but we had errors in both. Then Sunday morning, we had a fabulous run - even ended up 5th out of a large class in Jumpers With Weaves! I was thrilled. I hadn't been sure we would ever get to run and compete together again, so getting to be there was wonderful to begin with and having Hokey do so well was icing on the cake. It was truly "sweet".

Today was his next to last chemo so now we keep hoping for remission to hold and deal with one more chemo in two weeks.
Kate had a nice run with a first place with Queezle in Excellent A Jumpers with Weaves and Flash had her usual spectacular but slightly messy runs. Tia was so slow that someone thought she must be our dog with cancer - not Hokey who was fast and active!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Yeah, I was smokin'. I was SO good, that all the girl dogs were blown away. Well, maybe not ALL the girl dogs. Our girl dogs never give me respect and a few of the others were faster - like the 4 who beat me. But still, I was cool and if Deb was better we would have qualified in one or two other classes. I did earn my very own hamburger though! Queezle got her own hamburger but Flash and Tia had to share. I love getting my own!

Today was a bummer. Back at the clinic for chemo. Deb says it is the next to last one though if I stay in remission. So I plan to stay in remission. I like the people at the clinic a lot but not the injections. I can visit to say hi without having to get treated.
Hokey, a star again!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Great quote

From The Postmistress by Sarah Blake:

"Long ago, I believed that, given a choice, people would turn to good as they would to the light. I believed that reporting - honest, unflinching pictures of the truth - could be a beacon to lead us to demand that wrongs be righted, injustices punished, and the weak and the innocent cared for. I must have believed, when I started out, that the shoulder of public opinion could be put up against the door of public indifference and would, when given the proper direction, shove it wide with the power of wanting to stand on the side of angels."

This conveys to me how much power words can have and how much responsibility is put on those of us who write to do the "right" thing. Sadly, that is not always the case. Perhaps that is why I like animals so much - they tend to be very upfront and forthright about how they feel and what is fair or not.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Oooh, I have been watching Olympics AND catching the latest weather. It says we may have a big snow storm tonight! Deb is concerned as it could be very wet snow which increases the odds of no power here but I still think snow storms are fun. Especially now that my hair is actually growing back! I still wear my cool blue coat out if I am going to be out for more than a few minutes but I am almost fuzzy now.
If we have a "snow day", Tom can stay home and that means one more human to pass out extra attention. Tom likes to build snow forts which I think is fun though I am not very brave about "storming the fort".
My one concern is that I was hoping to make Open Training tomorrow since this is a nonchemo week but I can train a bit in the barn aisle. The donkeys hate snow and storms so they are hoping it misses us again.
Hokey, who agrees with Deb that animals are more honest!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Agility fun

Our local obedience club, Syracuse Obedience Training Club, offers a really fun agility option in the winter months. We have an 'agility league' - 6 weeks of agility competition run on a team basis. Each week we do two runs each - one game run and one regular run. Kate and I are on the Bar Hoppers Team (all but one nondrinkers, so you know the bars we hop are agility jumps :)

On Hokey's nonchemo weeks I have run him and he has done very well. Since this was a chemo week, I was running Tia, Kate's little Aussie. Tia is generally very precise and does lovely weave entries. BUT, Tia is NOT fast. Now, *I* am not fast either, but even I tend to outrun her, especially since the human partner gets to cut some corners, etc. She is fun to run but I miss going flat out with Hokey or Dani.

Kate ran Queezle today and their weaving is improving by leaps and bounds. Queezle is fast, though none of our dogs can touch Kate's Corgi for pure, sheer speed, even at 12 years of age. Flash is an energizer bunny Corgi! Our team came in third but all the teams did quite well. Lots of fun on a cold, snowy winter day!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Well, this stinks. I did NOT get to go to agility league! I have been a top dog for our team.

At least Kate is home to visit for a couple of days. She is one of my favorite humans. And Tom comes home from his school trip tonight so that will be nice. I like having all my humans together! Plus when Kate is home, she does some of the care for her dogs and gives me some attention so I get LOTS more attention. Which I deserve and need of course.

I have been enjoying watching the Olympics at night. Our family basically doesn't watch TV so it is kind of a treat. I really don't understand why I can't have my own bowl of popcorn though. It is funny when Baloo whines and howls along with the ad that sings Happy Birthday. I think I could have been a snowboarder if I was a human. They seem cool and I could easily be a chick magnet.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good things and missing the big show

On the good things note, this is a chemo week for Hokey but we were able to adjust the protocol so he got oral meds this time instead of injections. This gave Hokey's veins some more rest and healing time. Best of all for Hokey, this meant I could draw a small amount of blood for his white blood cell count at home and then go to the clinic by myself. Since this treatment was cyclophosphamide he did need some extra fluids but I did that SQ (under the skin) at home, using the coat rack for an IV pole!

On Sunday, Hokey got to attend a half day agility seminar with Tracey Sklenar as the presenter. I highly recommend her to any of you if you get the chance. She is fun, a bit irreverent and an incredibly observant instructor. She got the tiniest of mistakes we made and had us all "Running like Europeans" by the end of the morning. That means driving hard, looking at all handling options, etc. I don't think she was quite convinced that Hokey has lymphoma and is on chemo - he was running hard!

On a slightly sad note, Chuck is off this week and he loves to watch the Olympics. That means for the first time in many years, I have not watched the nightly broadcasts of Westminster or actually been at the show myself. I am SO grateful they put the videos up on the site - I heard the Belgian sheepdog, Uri, took a Group 2. This is a very nice dog - we have seen him at many shows.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, we should have figured all this stuff out earlier! Chuck isn't the world's best vet tech type but drawing my blood at home was a ZILLION times better than going to the clinic. Though I did miss seeing my many friends at the clinic. Now, only TWO treatments left! I do hope I continue to get most of my supplements though as I like getting extra stuff.

And, once again, I was an agility star! I had to bark at Deb a few times to try to correct her handling but she wasn't too bad. And I was by far the fastest - except maybe Jessie Jane or Lexi or .... Well, I was one of the fastest, maybe the fastest boy (which is all that really counts) and by far the most handsome and clever.

Kate had Queezle but they didn't even come close to our league. Kate tried to point out that the Q is a year younger and had to take time off for a litter last year but I am NOT swallowing it. After all, Queezle has Kate for a handler and while Deb is more clever by far I think, Kate is definitely faster. So I reign supreme! I even have my own cheer: Hokey, Hokey, he's our guy - He can jump and he can fly!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Trying new things

This is a chemo free week for Hokey so I am boldly adding a new supplement. If he stays in remission he only has 3 more chemo treatments. Then we go forth, hoping things stay that way.
The canine cancer community is a wonderful group for sharing advice, support and sympathy. Everyone is willing to share what they have learned, both good and bad, in their personal fights with their dogs against these diseases.
Hokey just started his new supplement on Monday. Once he has been on it a few more days, so I see if we are going to have any side effects - good or bad, I will let you know about it. So far, so good!

My sympathies to those in areas that don't normally get much snow who have been hit with multiple blizzards this year. It appears that once again, we will miss out on the snow. In fact, we haven't had a real blizzard at all this year here in my area of upstate NY. One blizzard, without loss of power of course, would be nice. And then we can go directly from white snow to green grass, skipping the mud stage if possible.
Deb E
PS Check out my Examiner site for news and training tips!

From Hokey:
OK, another chemo free Monday!! No agility league for me to star in this weekend but since Tom will be off on a school trip, I get to go to the agility seminar. I expect to blow everyone away if Deb doesn't hold me back.
And hair, glorious hair! My coat is growing back in. Deb said something about a slightly funny texture but I think I am looking more handsome every day - not that I was ever really not handsome, mind you. It will be sad to give up my great blue coat though. I love it when Deb throws it at me and I duck to get my head into the opening. I am so clever! Oh, and Queezle is losing hair at a great rate so soon she will be the ugly duckling.
One of my new supplements is liver flavored. I don't see why ALL my supplements can't taste that good. Deb puts some down my throat and some get hidden in cheese but I really like the flavored ones.
Hokey, off to do barn chores - ta da da da!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Queen is gone

This morning Queen, our 13 + yr old Cheviot ewe died. It was not unexpected; she has been fading a bit for the last 6 months or so. Yesterday was a good day -she had asked to go out with the other sheep, she bugged me for her cut up apple and she seemed to be doing reasonably well. I had begun to think she might make it through the winter & get to enjoy spring.

This am when I went down for barn chores, she was down & she died almost immediately. Funny, but I was glad to be there for her departure.

We have sheep to train & work the dogs (as opposed to a "real" sheep farm where they have dogs for their sheep). My heart dog Beep was a wonderful working dog -never injured anybody but tons of presence & power. More than once I had to miss a herding trial run because even lying quietly at my feet he was too intimidating for sheep not accustomed to an upright herding dog.

And then along came a little lady Cheviot. Somehow Queen & Beep connected. She would work, quietly & steadily for him but she would also come up to him & lick his muzzle while he licked hers. NOT normal behavior for a Terv or a Cheviot! She acted as a steadying influence on new sheep that were learning about herding. She also got along with the horses & would sometimes scoot under the fence to graze with them.

Queen continued this relationship with Beep's son Hokey. Not quite as intense,but she obviously liked Hokey too.So her loss is a double loss - I miss her & I miss one of the few links I still had to Beep.

May you have green pastures, warm sun & lots of cut up apples, Queen!
Deb E

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Busy times

Busy times! I spent the weekend with Kate & her Terv Queezle at the Saratoga dog shows. We had fun, met some new friends, touched base with some "old" friends & Kate did quite well.
That however, left Hokey at home under the care of "the guys". Tom did an excellent job getting his medications & supplements into him but didn't notice all the small details I would have.
I came home to find Hokey with some diarrhea but that seems to be clearing (despite chemo yesterday) so all is going well.
It has been a funky winter - lots of ice, some rain, really cold at times and lousy cross country skiing snow. The dogs & I all feel the need for more exercise. So today I rotated the girls out for some frisbee using the Kong type disc. They were thrilled.
I told the boys tomorrow is their turn!
I have a new supplement to add to Hokey's list but I want to wait until the diarrhea is cleared so I can be sure he handles the new stuff fine. I am reading the book on the dog's ancestral diet which is quite good. I guess I may need to stock up on sardines! I personally hate them but I bet the dogs will like them.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, once again, a Chemo Monday! I am truly sick of this but I am trying to be brave. Deb says just 3 more treatments & we figured out a way to do one orally so only 2 more needle sticks for the chemo (plus 3 for the bloodwork but I don't mind those!)
My hair is growing back & I truly believe I will be even more handsome than before. It is still a bit chilly to go out without my neat blue coat though, so I wear that.
Deb said we all (as in all of us dogs) will get to try some sardines. Sounds good to me! I don't think the human kids will eat them which means more for me. Maybe the other dogs won't like them either & then I can eat lots of sardines!
Off to practice my obedience-

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dog Expo

On Saturday our obedience held their second Dog Expo. What a wonderful event for a Saturday in January! There were mini seminars and demos scheduled throughout the day along with breed booths and two parades of breeds. Spectators were admitted for a donation of food for the local shelter, no fee. Vendors had toys, artwork, treats and dog food for sale. Kate and I did a book signing which went well. The club held an extensive raffle to help cover costs.

This gave people a chance to check out obedience, rally, agility, tracking, freestyle and carting/weight pulling. Presenters gave demos and then were available for questions. Most had handouts as well. Seminars covered nutrition, health topics, grooming and massage. One family had driven almost 2 hours to attend and stayed all day. Just a wonderful way to give back to our community!

Flash (Corgi) and Baloo (Aussie) did carting, plus Flash represented Pembroke Welsh Corgis in the breed parade. She and Dani (Terv) did tracking, plus Dani helped with my health talk and represented Belgian Tervurens. Lots of fun!
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, I do NOT care that it is raining and very grey outside - it is still Chemo Free Monday!!! Deb is not sure what classes we will make this week but I am happy just to get to skip the clinic this morning. She found out about a new supplement from other dog owners who have dogs with the Big C and that should come today. I understand it is liver flavored so that would be great. I will let you know how it tastes. Deb will let you know the medical stuff on it I am sure. It all goes over my head but into my belly!
I am putting in a plug here for the Orbee Company (and no, I don't get a commission). We ALL, as in all the Eldredge dogs, LOVE the Orbee Mint toy. And so far, it has survived all 6 of us chomping on it at various times. Now, that's a real toy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Surviving Mondays

I guess our current goal is to simply survive Chemo Mondays. Hokey is calmer when I bring his breakfast (at least the kibble part) for him to work for after his blood is drawn. So we go into the clinic, he has his blood drawn & then while we wait for the blood count, we do obedience & tricks for his "treats". That does help. Unfortunately his veins are hurting after so many weeks of chemo & it took 3 tries to find a good one this time. Plus the doxorubicin has to be given slowly (over 10 to 20 minutes) to minimise cardiac side effects. He hates being still that long, especially with the catheter in a rear leg. We made it though & just 4 more treatments to go as long as he stays in remission! His full blood panel was perfectly normal once again!

There is a wonderful community sense among dog owners who have dogs with cancer. We all share tips, treatment things that worked, the small successes & the hopefully infrequent losses. It does bring out the best in the human halves!

This did mean Hokey couldn't do classes this week so I took Tia to agility. We have fun together - she is good & not too fast.
Deb E

From Hokey:
This STINKS!!! *I* have to get the needles & then I miss out on class & fun too! At least I could come home & run around in the snow with Queezle while wearing my stunning blue coat. Deb thinks my hair may be growing in a bit - doesn't really make sense with the chemo continuing but I know I am handsome no matter what!
My sister T has a camp up in the Adirondacks & she got to play in LOTS of snow this weekend. Some of our snow melted but I still had enough to chase Queezle through & dig into.
Ooops. Deb said I can do my obedience training here at home - yay!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Smashing Saturday!

Yesterday was a 5 gold star day. Hokey, Dani and I went to Agility League. We had a GREAT time - both dogs did quite well and our team ended up tied for FIRST place! Due to time faults, our final placement was second but a huge leap from our dismal (and distant) last place the last time!

Then Kate called from Hamburg, NY where she is showing Queezle in conformation and they went Best of Breed AND took a Herding Group ONE!!! No Best in Show yet but they are close.

Hokey has had such a great week that it will be hard to take him in for chemo tomorrow - but only 5 more treatments if he stays in remission. Tomorrow is doxirubicin which is hard - a catheter, slow injection over 20 minutes or more with fluids. He will probably have the catheter in a rear leg as his front leg veins are a bit scarred from his earlier treatments. He hates this but we need to stay a course a bit longer.

I also heard from another person facing lymphoma in their dog - this time an 11 yr old Golden. Hopefully she will respond as well as Hokey.

Well, off to put the snazzy blue coat on my buddy and head down for barn chores!

Deb E

From Hokey:

Who, who, who is THE dog?!! Hokey, Hokey!!! I was flying at agility - one little error - Deb was late with her rear cross but I was smoking AND hit all my contacts! And yeah, Queezle got a Group One but that is just for looking good. She probably even got a cheeseburger but I say, let's lay it down and see who does better agility runs.

I heard Deb mentioning chemo on Monday. Darn! She says just 5 more. I can do it - I know I can - but I want it to be over. I want to just go to the clinic to say hi to everyone, get petted and admired and then go home. Oh well. But, right now I am off to see my ducks and sheep!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time flies or humiliation on the run

I think I put off putting up a new blog because I would have to mention the obedience trial last weekend. With distance, the humor is more evident. Kate's Aussie was less than stellar (check out The PawPrint Chronicles). My Terv Dani is a wonderful dog, very talented, very clever. I actually thought that, despite minimal training, we could pull off a respectable showing in the Utility Wildcard class. This is a nonregular class at the highest level of obedience. I figured she would do at least one article & do her go outs as well as glove retrieve & the moving stand. Instead, she decided to be really funny. I will leave it at that. It is amazing that an almost 11 yr old BelgianTervuren can still leap & dance! :)

One of the best parts of the trial was working as a ring steward in the morning for Novice B. I was assigned to cover for someone who was absent with a very nice woman - hi Deb! - who had never done obedience herself or watched it very much. She was enthused & learned very quickly so that was fun, plus it was nice to watch so many friends & get to cheer for them. Too often at obedience trials we are off in our own mental "competition zone" & miss some of the camaraderie.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Well, all *I* can say is, they left the best dog home. I am somewhat selfishly glad there were no cheeseburgers for Dani or Tia. I did get a little popcorn & got to watch a Terminator movie. It is a guy thing :). And, ta da - this is a chemo free week, so *I* get to go to agility class today, plus obedience class tomorrow AND agility league on Saturday as long as all stays well!
I had thrown up my supper once or twice so Deb cut my Essaic Tea for this week in case that was upsetting my stomach. Seems to be the case as I have been fine since.
Whew, gotta go get "in the zone" so I can outshine Queezle at agility class. I just hope Deb is at her best - she does tend to hold me back in my exploits.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dealing with life

OK, time to just suck it up as my kids would say. I had miscalculated and thought this week was a "chemo free" week for Hokey. This fit brilliantly with my hopes to do the local obed trials this weekend, especially when I saw Wild Card Open first thing with Open A afterwards (sort of like a true practice chance!) BUT, it was a chemo week, so I have to go, be supportive of friends and my daughter while wishing desperately that Hokey and I were competing.

In the midst of my internal whining (so, maybe a few external whines but not many), I have to admit that given the choice of having Hokey's company for 3 more years, even 3 more months, or finishing his CDX, the extra company would win hands down. So I laugh at my semi nude dude who smiles, pokes his head into his blue coat himself and bounces on the way down to the barn for chores. Lesson One from your dog - live in the moment - totally, completely :))
Deb E

From Hokey:
Yeah, well, the big problem as *I* see it, is that if you finish a title you get a cheeseburger - at least I think you deserve a cheeseburger for a CDX which is SO much harder than a mere CD like Queezle got. So there goes my chance for a cheeseburger. I can't even go watch as the whole point is to keep me home, warm and safe. I am not really into watching anyway, I prefer to be the big star.
So, my backup plan for the weekend is to get Tom, who is also home, to watch some cool movies with Baloo and I. Maybe Narnia or a Star Wars or Harry Potter marathon. We could have popcorn, maybe some fresh bones, a turkey sandwich or two. Healthy party food of course. And when Baloo leaps off the couch to attack the TV like he always does during Narnia and exciting moments in the other movies, *I* can steal his treats! Sounds like a plan!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Agile Hokey

Saturday was a wonderful day for Hokey and I. Our obedience club holds an "agility league" in the winter. Six weeks of agility - two runs each with one run a game and the other a regular run. Since it had been a chemo free week Hokey got to go. We had a blast! Our team, the "Bar Hoppers" (quite ironic since only 1 of the 5 members drinks at all) came in last but Hokey was the star of our team. Lots of fun!

While we were at agility, Tom's Aussie Baloo managed to get the dog food and dog treats closet open. He had a little feast and apparently was hiding food for "hard times" as he put a couple of bags in the back of his crate! This led to a couple of bouts of diarrhea Saturday night and Sunday but he seems fine now.

Then snow, snow, snow all weekend. Unfortunately with really cold temps and lots of wind. The drift is getting near the top of the fenced yard so dogs won't be able to go out to play alone at all for a while.

Sadly, it is back to the clinic for Hokey today. Vincristine is on the protocol today which is one of the easier treatments in his mind I think.
Deb E

From Hokey:
Man, I was THE DOG on Saturday!!! I flew over jumps, zipped through weaves, dashed through tunnels and hit ALL my contacts!!! Just amazing and quite fast if I do say so myself. Deb needs work on her handling - especially figuring out times as we finished our game in 38 seconds and could have used 12 more seconds to add even more points.
Oh, and all the cute chicks thought I was hot, hot, hot in my blue coat! I don't wear it to run of course though - strip down to my aerodynamic best.
However, no breakfast this am which is not a good sign. I am really starting to hate this chemo stuff but Deb tells me not too many more as long as I stay in remission.