Archives for December 2011

A Wild Ride

Since today is the final day of 2011, I thought I’d look back at what has happened.

2011 started out with Phoenix recovering from his acute onset of Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. Even though it technically happened at the end of 2010, he was still in recovery mode at the beginning of 2011. All of us, both two and four legged, were grateful to be able to begin a new year with our faithful friend.

Unfortunately, for me, the year did not start out as smoothly. After dealing with migraines and their auras, my vision went almost completely for the first two weeks of January. I was pretty scared by this sudden change, but thankfully it began slowly returning. My vision did not return to the same level of acuity as it had been since the age of 13, but the deficits aren’t too life-changing. The doctors still do not know why it went, or why it returned, but are almost certain it will probably happen again.

In February Huib and I took Canyon and Cessna to have their eyes tested and were given some unhappy news. Due to a virus during the first six weeks of life, Canyon has scarring on his retinas. This does not bar him from breeding, he will not pass it on to his offspring, but because goldens are not a rare breed, we have been advised to forgo using him as a stud since it would be highly unlikely that another breeder would want to use him with such a defect. To add to the sadness, we also learned that Cessna is beginning to develop cataracts on both eyes. She has two tiny ones on one eye and three tiny ones on the other. At this point surgery is not an option since the scarring from the surgery would be larger than the cataracts themselves, but maybe in the future. We will have her eyes tested again this spring and are hoping that the cataracts will not have grown.

With the news regarding Cessna’s eyes, Huib and I decided to seriously begin our search for her successor. After researching and then e-mailing numerous lab breeders in Ontario, we settled on Red Labrador Retrievers in maidstone (which is near Windsor). On June 10th, we picked up a 10.8lbs, butterscotch colour female, we named RLR’s Babe In Total Control or Rogue for short.

On August 11th, Huib, Rogue and I said goodbye to our faithful old friend. Phoenix had begun refusing to eat around the 11th of July and went progressively downhill from there. Dr. B offered to run some tests and put him on pain medication, but she felt he had already made the decision for us. It was a sad day, but we also knew Phoenix left on his own terms, just the way he had lived his life.

In September I started an online course through the University of Guelph. It was a bit of a transition getting back into the whole student mindset, but overall I did well. I would have done a lot better if I had not had to take the midterm, but was satisfied with my final mark of 76%.

lastly, after talking about showing Canyon for over a year, Huib and I finally did. Canyon made his debut at the Elora Gorge Kennel Club’s Conformation Dog Show on December 27th and came home with three wins and three second place ribbons. At the Retriever Specialty Huib and Canyon defeated the dog who had been beating them during the All-Breed Shows, and went on to receive Winners Dog and Best of Opposite!

As you can see, 2011 has been a year of mainly downs, but we’ve all made it through with just a few minor bumps and bruises.

Everyone seems to think 2012 will be the year for improvement so, let’s hope for that.

Until next year, the ruled by paws gang, would like to wish our friends and followers a safe and very Happy New Years Eve!

The Occupy Movement

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we see beyond them a seashore and a bridge]”id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5692410139998556066″ />

After participating in last month’s Disability blog Carnival, I decided to take part again. This round is being hosted by Sharon of After Gadget, and the topic is Occupy – as in the Occupy Movement.

When the Occupy Movement first began, I thought it was kind of an interesting concept. People joining together to “take back our democracy and build a new economy”.

As time has passed though…

I have found myself more and more skeptical of its effectiveness and continue to wonder if the ‘99%’ includes people like myself.

If the Movement were successful, would I benefit? Would the world become more accepting and accommodating of people with disabilities?

Or would we be pushed aside, and left to fend for ourselves in an even more undemocratic and economically unbalanced society.

I’ve given these questions a lot of thought. Though I do not feel my life is where I’d like it to be, I’m not sure I want to support a Movement that lacks clear direction and that has not explicitly told me how my life will be any better without the corrupt politicians and money-hungry corporations.

I wonder if Canadians realize that in order for the Occupy Movement to truly succeed we would have to agree to reduce our standard of living…

Maybe I’m wrong, but I really do not see that happening.

I have friends who are huge supporters of the Occupy Movement and feel that this is the beginning of something better, but I do not fully agree.

If we didn’t have the multinational companies such as Apple and Microsoft for example, people like me would not be able to be independent, participate in social media or even work in some cases. Do you really think a “Mom and Pop” shop would choose to invest in creating accessible products for people with disabilities? The products made by the multinationals are already expensive because the target user group is small, so why would a “Mom and Pop” shop choose to take such a risk?

When Steve Jobs passed away in October of this year, many disabled bloggers wrote posts on how he had changed their lives. Without companies like Apple, who have made accessibility out of the box a priority, many of us would not be able to enjoy cell phones that connect us with the world, or even communicate with others independently outside the home.

I couldn’t imagine a world without screen readers, Braille displays and accessible cell phones – could you?

Even though I think it’s wonderful to see people from all walks of life joining together for a ‘united’ cause, I’m not sure, a single person has stopped to think about the repercussions of such a movement succeeding.

I have, and this is why, I am not willing to support The Occupy Movement.

Canyon Makes His Debut

The Elora Gorge kennel Club held a Conformation Dog Show this week. Since we have friends in the area and Canyon’s co-breeder does not live too far away, Huib and I thought it was the perfect place for Canyon to make his debut.

There were not many golden retrievers entered in this show, which means Canyon did not have much of an opportunity to compete. We entered him into the Canadian Bred Dog class, since we did not know what the Open Class was all about, there was only one other dog entered along with him. Canyon’s co-breeder said it was unusual for there to be so few goldens being entered, but she felt it also gave Huib and Canyon a chance to get used to showing.

In all three of the All-Breed competitions, Canyon ended up receiving a second place ribbon. Since there was only one other dog entered with him, this means he just got last place. If there had not been another dog entered into his class, Canyon could have ended up with a first place ribbon (which seems silly to me). Each day of the competition, Huib and Canyon seemed to become more comfortable with the ring and Huib started to find ways of keeping Canyon’s attention on him and away from the other dog and its handler.

Our first day was a little rough, Canyon was the second dog to show so kept trying to run after the dog in front. He never once tried to sit though and self-stacked almost perfectly. Our judge is a breeder of English style golden retrievers, so receiving a second place was completely expected, since Canyon was slightly darker than his counterpart. I also don’t think it helped that he wanted to play with the other dog lol!

On the second day, Canyon was a little less interested in the other dog, but kept wanting to sit and was distracted by the other handler who was constantly squeaking a toy while the judge was examining Canyon. I think he had a chance of winning on the second day, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

On the final day, Canyon had two competitions since there was the regular All-Breed and then a Retriever Specialty. Similar to the first day, the All-Breed judge really seemed to like his lighter goldens over the darker ones, so we again received a second place.

Then the tables turned in our favour…

The judge for the Retriever Specialty, the husband of the second day’s judge, absolutely loved him! Huib and I had decided to allow a professional handler to do some touch-ups and I think that, as well as the fact that Huib had figured out a way to keep Canyon’s attention, did the trick.

When we saw that Canyon would be competing against the same dog as in the regular shows, we figured we’d be getting yet another second place ribbon – we were wrong!

Huib said he was shocked when the judge pointed to him first to come over.

Canyon’s co-breeder was beside herself with excitement, and the women sitting in front of us were cheering.

Huib had no idea what he was supposed to do next, this was uncharted territory!

They next competed with the winner from the Open Class (there had only been one dog entered so it automatically got first) and they won again!

Canyon’s co-breeder was so excited, and was wonderful at describing the judge’s every move and telling me about how Huib’s face was getting redder each time he received another first lol!

After getting Winner’s Dog, Huib and Canyon moved on to compete for Best of Breed.

In the Best of Breed category, there were five goldens in total – Canyon (Winner’s Dog), a young female (Winner’s Bitch) and then three Champions (goldens who already had their titles). The judge had each handler move around the ring with their dogs, watching closely. He then thoroughly examined each one, even making various noises to see what sorts of reactions he would get. I think it was at this point when Canyon decided to lean forward and give the judge a kiss lol! The judge asked the handlers with the champions to leave the ring and then re-examined Canyon and the young female. When Canyon’s co-breeder saw the champions leaving, she was amazed because it was uncommon for judges to choose younger dogs over champions, especially in a Specialty situation.

The young female received Best of Breed and Canyon got Best of Opposite Sex.

Canyon was done at this point, he had had enough of the show ring and Huib was relieved to be done because he felt Canyon’s exhaustion would have for sure caused problems. As they walked back to where I was sitting, Huib was stopped by a breeder, who asked how long Huib had been showing. He told her it was just his third day and she was shocked. She said congrats and told him that she had been showing for 10 years and had never won at a specialty. I think this made Huib’s year!

With these wins, we think Canyon has accumulated two points towards his Canadian championship title. As mentioned here, Canyon needs to earn ten points in total, so we’re already a fifth of the way there!

Presents, Presents

Hey There,
It’s Cessna here. I asked Mommy if I could come on here to tell you all about the presents Santa Paws brought us. We were spoiled this year!

Since Rogue is the baby in the family, she got pretty spoiled, with lots of toys and treats. She got:
• A light pink Hugglehound corduroy rabbit
• A stuffed penguin that squeaks
• A plush Santa toy that holds plastic water bottles
• A short rope bone
• A Skinneeez raccoon
• A package of beef flavoured Snausages

Aspen doesn’t like to play as much as the rest of us, so she didn’t get as many toys, but she loves her presents! She got:
• A soft squeaky gingerbread woman wearing a pink skirt
• A long, soft, squeaky brown dog
• A big rawhide candy cane
• A package of beef flavoured Snausages

Canyon thinks all of the new toys are his, but he got some of his own presents as well. He got:
• a brown Hugglehound corduroy reindeer
• a Skinneeez fox
• a big squeaky toy that looks like a hard candy wrapped in a felt brown, orange and red wrapper (Mommy says he got this because he’s the Candyman)
• an orange canvas bone that squeaks
• a package of beef flavoured Snausages

And last but not least, here’s what Santa Paws brought me!
• A green rubber ball that has long, black nylon ribbons going through it and little green rubber balls on the ends of each ribbon (this is an awesome toy for shaking around and playing tug!)
• A soft, panda bear that has a rope going through it
• A package of beef flavoured Snausages

When Mommy and Daddy helped us take all our presents out of our stockings, we had a blast wrestling and chasing one another around the living room. Mommy says this year is the first year she can really say we looked like human children on Christmas morning!

Me and the rest of the ruled by paws gang hope you and your families were also spoiled by Santa Paws.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Lots of Kisses and Tail Wags,

Cessna

A Word From Canyon

Hey There Friends & Followers!
Mommy asked me, Canyon, the most handsomest stud of all, to send you all a quick message from the ruled by paws gang.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

We hope your holidays are filled with never ending laughter and wagging tails!

Christmas Is Love

Here’s another Christmas poem a friend sent me via e-mail that I had to share. I could totally see Rogue as one of these puppies.

It’s the day before Christmas

And all through the house

The puppies are squeaking

An old rubber mouse.

The wreath which had merrily

Hung on the door

Is scattered in pieces

All over the floor.

The stockings that hung

In a neat little row

Now boast a hole

In each one of the toes.

The tree was subjected

To bright eyed whims,

And now, although still splendid,

It’s missing some limbs.

I catch them and hold them.

“Be good”, I insist.

They lick me, then run off

To see what they’ve missed!

And now as I watch them

The thought comes to me,

That theirs is the spirit

That Christmas should be.

Should children and puppies

Yet show us the way,

And teach us the joy

That should come with this day?

Could they bring the message

That’s written above,

And tell us that, most of all,

Christmas is love.

Aiden’s Four!

Today our first foster puppy for Autism dog Services, Aiden, turns four.

This is so hard to believe!

It feels like just yesterday we handed off his leash to the Carroll family forever.

Aiden was such an amazing puppy to raise and train. He had so much life and enthusiasm. I think this is why Huib and I love rogue so much, she reminds us of our big caramel goofball.

We get almost daily updates on how our boy is doing, but I really have nothing new to report. He continues to attend school with Kamaran, still loves apples and to play fetch until he can’t walk.

We’re hoping to get together with Aiden and his family in the new year, but until then, here are some of my favourite Monkey Man pictures.

Happy 4th Birthday Aiden, Amber, Teal, rody, Libby, Taz and Marley!

If You See A Fat Man

I got this from a friend via e-mail, so thought I’d share it here, to bring a little Christmas spirit.

If you see a fat man

who’s jolly and cute

Wearing a beard

and a red flannel suit

And if he is chuckling

and laughing away

While flying around

In a miniature sleigh

With eight tiny reindeer

To pull him along

Then let’s face it

Your eggnog’s too strong!

Where’s The Christmas Spirit?

I don’t really ever write about issues I’m having with Huib, but this one is a bit of a constant one, so I’m hoping that by writing it out, maybe it will stop bothering me so much.

Christmas has always been an exciting holiday for me. I love shopping for that “perfect” gift and then the anticipation of waiting to present it to the particular friend or family member.

I remember Christmas shopping with Mom when I was old enough to understand that Santa Claus was not real. She would have a list of things to buy for this person and that person – often multiple pages long. Dad would drop us off at the front door of the mall and I’d push her from this store to that store, as we searched high and low for the items on her list. Even though I knew Santa wasn’t real, Mom never asked me to pick up my own gifts, she’d leave those items on a separate list for when she’d shop with her friend.

Dad was never one to enjoy shopping, but he’d always take the plunge at Christmas to surprise Mom with something special.

When we were young, Brandi and I used to wake up early Christmas morning, so that we could open our gifts from Santa. Dad would make his usual breakfast of French toast and Mom would patiently listen to us babble about how excited we were about this or that gift. We’d show her all the various features of the new toys and put on a bit of a fashion show so she could “feel” how our new clothes fit. After breakfast, we’d all put on something new and then Dad would start piling presents into the car so that we could begin our three hour drive to visit Granny and enjoy our family dinner.

Now that Mom and Granny have passed away, we no longer have the big family dinners, but Huib and I still get together with Dad and Brandi during the holidays.

Huib has never been overly fond of Christmas. He has always been a bit of a Scrooge. We seem to always get into arguments during the holidays over this. I love shopping for people, he hates the expectation of having to shop and give gifts. I have tried, over the years, to explain how I feel about Christmas and how sad his behaviour makes me, but no matter what, he always seems to ruin the holidays for me.

Being married is a balancing act. Spouses sometimes need to make sacrifices for the other. I feel as though our marriage has been a little too one sided lately in the sacrifice making. I moved away from friends and a place I felt comfortable so that Huib could gain experience working in a small hospital. I spend multiple days a week alone with just the dogs and cats for company, so Huib can get as much work experience as possible through working part-time in two units, instead of full-time in one. And, even though I agreed to move here under the expectation that we would continue to go “down south” every six weeks, I have been patient about the lack of trips we’ve had since he switched from full-time to part-time.

In return….I’ve asked for very little.

I’ve asked him to help me train Rogue and get her into public places when he is not working – something that is not happening nearly as much as I’d like.

I’ve asked him to become more involved in the training I do with the dogs, in an effort to keep things a little more consistent – something he’s said he’d start doing, but has still not done.

And I’ve asked him to stop making promises that he cannot keep – a continued struggle.

Now that it is Christmas time…

I have asked him to help me shop for the dogs, my Dad and sister. I’ve drastically cut down our usual “shopping for” list in an effort to make things a little less stressful for him, but we’re still arguing.

He actually seems even worse this year than previous ones.

I know he doesn’t like shopping for gifts. I know he doesn’t like receiving gifts. And I know he doesn’t like the whole idea of Christmas overall.

But, I wish he’d make a sacrifice for me.

Humour me for once.

I wish he’d embrace Christmas. I wish we could have fun decorating the house together. I wish I could have fun looking for that “perfect” Christmas gift to give him and others, without having him make it really frustrating to do so. I wish it wasn’t such a struggle to get him to help me fill out and send Christmas cards. And, I wish he’d surprise me with a special gift at Christmas, not just buy me stuff whenever he sees I like it. It’s the whole thought behind it that I want, not the gift itself.

I wish he’d be more like my friends’ significant others and just embrace the fact that I like to do things he does not.

Most of all, I wish he would stop being such a Scrooge and ruining Christmas for me.

Huib is honestly the most amazing man in the world, but this is one area I wish he’d attempt to improve.

Reece Is Three!

Today our second foster puppy for Autism Dog Services, Reece, turns 3.

We haven’t had a chance to connect with his adoptive family in over a year, but have gotten a few updates from friends who see them once in a while. I’m hoping we can get together with Reece and his family in the next couple of months and post some up-to-date pictures on the blog.

Last year I wrote an entry which explained a bit about raising Reece and why we decided to forgo adopting him. Reece was a wonderful boy, but he just didn’t fit into the pack and Huib couldn’t overlook all of the issues we’d had with our big chocolate boy.

I miss Reece tons, but know he’s been adopted by a wonderful family and that he is just a phone call away if I want to check in.

Happy 3rd Birthday Reeces Pieces!