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". http://www.examiner.com/x-37369-Utica-Dogs-Examiner~y2010m3d22-Paw-Pay-It-Forward-Day-April-29th
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 examiner.com. 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!