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. http://coyote-run.net. 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 - westminsterkennelclub.org. 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! http://www.examiner.com/x-37369-Utica-Dogs-Examiner

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-