Archives for April 2012

Drafting Workshop

As mentioned in an earlier post, we have signed up for a Drafting Workshop with Canyon. For those who do not know what drafting is, you can check out this blog, which has some videos and posts on doing various tasks in carting.

Today I received our confirmation e-mail for the workshop and I can’t wait to see how Canyon enjoys it. The workshop did not fill up, so the instructor said we’ll have a lot of chances to get one on one direction and to get to know one another. it is an all-breed workshop,so I am really interested to see what breeds other than bernese mountain dogs show up.

I will write about the workshop when we return home on sunday.

Aspen, Cessna and Rogue are all staying home with a dog-sitter. Our landlord and her 14 year old granddaughter have offered to come stay with the girls while we take the golden boy to Barrie for the workshop. This will be the first time we’ve left all three girls home together with a sitter, so I will also let everyone know what sorts of mischief they get into. I’m not too worried about Aspen, but the labs can be a little much at times lol!

What If Your Dog Were Your Life Coach?

If Cessna were my life coach, she’d tell me to stop trying to be someone I am not. She’d tell me to celebrate my uniqueness.

If Aspen were my life coach, she’d remind me that no matter what life throws in my direction, I’ll never have to face it alone. She’d tell me that there is always going to be someone to catch me if I fall.

If Canyon were my life coach, he’d remind me that happiness is not found within the things I possess, but within the things I enjoy. He’d tell me to forget about everything that does not bring me joy.

If Rogue were my life coach, she’d tell me that enthusiasm is always the way to go. She’d remind me that no one ever reached their goals without it.

If your dog was your life coach, what advice would they offer?

Quick Announcement

Just in case anyone wanted to check it out.

I was asked to prepare a guest post for the blog, Dawg Business: It’s Your Dog’s Health, and you can read it here.

Please don’t feel obligated to do so though 🙂

Remembering Endora

Once upon a time in the sunny state of California, there lived a little female yellow Labrador retriever named Endora. Like other dogs before her, this little lab was preparing to make a difference in the life of a blind individual. She studied tons. She worked hard. She knew there was someone out there who needed her, and she was determined to make her mark on the world.

In September of 2002 Endora waited patiently in the kennels of Guide Dogs for The blind to be given her assignment. She had been pulling all nighters, trying to get the commands firmly implanted in her memory, she knew her time had come. There had to be someone in this class that needed her expertise.

Meanwhile…

In Nova Scotia, a determined young woman named Lynette, was boarding a plane bound for California. Lynette’s first guide dog, Aries, was not cut out for the job, so after years of trying to make the partnership work, she made the tough decision to retire Aries and give her to her parents. She knew it wasn’t going to b easy getting a new dog, but she also knew Aries was happier as a pet, so off she went.

Like Cessna and I, Endora and Lynette were a match made in heaven. They were matched both in size and determination. They had their struggles, and they had their disagreements, but from the beginning it was hard to believe they had not always been a team. Lynette found it hard, at first, to put all of her trust in this little power house, but almost immediately Endora showed her how wonderful it could be to work with a guide dog. She guided Lynette with confidence, and with care. she took her job seriously, and glared at anyone who dared to try and distract her.

Unlike Aries, Endora took her responsibilities to heart – this was what she was meant to do.

I met Endora shortly after Lynette brought her home and almost immediately nicknamed her the little snobby American Princess. She had no qualms about coming up onto the couch and cuddling with me, but if I had something to say, there was no way she was going to listen. Endora made up for her small stature in attitude. If Endora didn’t want to do it, then she wasn’t going to do it.

When Lynette texted me to say that Endora was not well, I was almost in tears. I couldn’t believe it was time for Endora to leave us. She was only 11 years old and still so full of life. But, I guess someone had other plans for our American Princess.

On March 19, 2012, Endora left this world to make her mark on another. From what the vet could determine, she was full of cancer. She had developed a lump around the bottom of her rib cage that was, at first, just a fatty tumour, but at some point it changed. Endora began licking and chewing at the lump, causing it to become severely infected and without immediate vet care, had gotten too out of hand for her poor body to handle. The vet thinks the infection is what caused her rapid decline, but that she had most likely developed the cancer months earlier. We’ll never really know if she could have been given a little bit longer, if it had not been for the infection, but I guess we should just try and be thankful for the time we had to spend with this amazing little yellow lab.

I will always miss her “bear rug imitation”.

When Endora was upset about something, she’d lie on the ground with her head lying flat between her paws, so it looked like she was a rug instead of a dog.

I will miss our games of tug.

Endora was an amazing tug of war player. She’d not only tug with all her might, but start growling and barking like she was about to eat the hand of whoever was on the other end. During one of our many games of tug, I actually had Aspen barking and growling at Endora because she was worried I was in danger lol! Aspen is such a big suck, but she will try her best to defend her family.

I do not normally develop such a strong bond with my friends’ guide dogs, but for some reason, Endora will always be special to me. Maybe it was her attitude that reminded me of myself. or maybe it was her fierce determination that inspired me. I’ll never know for certain why Endora left such a mark on my heart, but I do know that she will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace my little American Princess friend. Take care of Phoenix for me and remember that you guys will always be in my thoughts.

Message To A Younger Me

Yesterday on Twitter I saw a tweet asking what you’d say in a message to your younger self, and thought this would make an awesome blog post.

Dear 13 Year Old Brooke,
Despite what everyone says, the world is not a perfect place. Even if you follow the “rules”, you will still have to struggle for independence and prosperity. The world is not made for people who are “different”, but instead, caters to those who fit into the mould of “perfection” and “normal”.

You will find out through trial and error, who is worth making an effort to keep in your circle of friends. You will be surprised at the outcome. You will feel guilty for cutting ties with some, but you will quickly learn that it is necessary in order to live a stress-free life.

You will find it difficult to watch your friends date in high school and university, and wonder if you will ever find someone to love you as more than just a friend. It will happen though. You will meet him in your second year at the University of Guelph, and your friends and family will wish they could clone him. He will treat you like a queen, and stand by your side through the good times and bad. He will never make you feel inferior to him, and even though others outside of your relationship will try to come between you, he will stay true to you. Together, you will build a life full of love, compassion and adventure.

Life will not be easy. You will get frustrated by the limitations you encounter, and you will become discouraged by all of the closing doors around you, but you are strong. You will move beyond the disappointments and find a way to make a difference through your love of dogs, and your desire to help others.

No matter how often you are told by family members and friends that you need to change, you won’t. You know who you are, and know you are meant to become more than just another statistic. Your passion and determination for life is what will keep you going. You will never accept the status quo, and you will never stop marching to your own beat.

As Dr Seuss once wrote: “Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive, who is youer than you”.

No matter what life throws at you, just keep on swimming.

The 32 Year Old Brooke

The Learning Never Ends

At 5:00am on Thursday, I awoke to the sound of Rogue heaving, or at least I thought. I quickly helped her off the bed and squatted down beside her, rubbing her sides and calmly talking to her as she continued to make this awful sound. It lasted about 30-45 minutes, with short intervals of Rogue wagging her tail and licking my face, so I was at a loss as to what to do. I checked her throat to see if I could find anything lodged. I felt her neck and belly to see if I noticed any difference. I gave her treats and water, hoping it would help calm her stomach (I thought she was trying to throw up). I tried to stay calm, knowing that she didn’t seem panicked herself, so wanted to continue keeping her that way.

when the episode seemed to have finished, I helped Rogue back onto the bed and we laid together, waiting for Huib to return home from work. I told him what had happened and he checked her over and couldn’t find anything wrong, so we decided to have a nap and then reassess after that. Rogue had a few more episodes and Huib reaffirmed my observation that this was not your typical “I need to throw up” behaviour. Instead of sounding and looking like Rogue was trying to expel something, it looked and sounded as though she was trying to clear her sinuses. It was like she was experiencing post nasal drip and was trying to get it to stop.

At some point, I went onto Twitter and posted a tweet about my observations and was informed that what Rogue was experiencing sounded like Reverse Sneezing. I had never heard of this and was delighted to learn that it was not serious and that it was actually quite common (I had never seen one of my dogs do this before).

Reverse Sneezing is quite scary to observe. It looks and sounds like the dog is gasping for air. it is quite common in flatter faced breeds such as pugs, but can also happen to other breeds. According to this article, “the most common cause of reverse sneezing is an irritation of the soft pallet and throat that results in a spasm. During the spasm the dog’s neck will extend and the chest will expand as the dog tries harder to inhale. The problem is that the trachea has narrowed and it’s hard to get the normal amount of air into the lungs.” Reverse Sneezing can be caused by a number of factors, but in almost all cases it is not serious and will resolve on its own.

Since Thursday, Rogue has had less episodes, and as of today has gone over sixty hours without Reverse Sneezing.

Huib got a short recording of her the other morning to send to Dr B and we were told that it should resolve itself, but to keep her posted. We are thinking that maybe Rogue was reacting to something outside since the grass has begun to go green and the trees and plants are beginning to bloom. I’m really hoping this is a one time thing, but I guess we’ll know more as time goes on.

It’s amazing to see how much more we have to learn from our dogs. After having Phoenix and dealing with all of his health issues, I thought I was set, but then Cessna taught us about coconut allergies, and now Rogue has introduced us to Reverse Sneezing.

**Just a quick note: Blogger has decided to begin implementing their new platform so I have begun to set up our blog over at WordPress. I will try to continue having posts up here as well as over at http://ruledbypaws.wordpress.com, but if Blogger does not improve their accessibility then I will be forced to completely stop posting here. I hope you will all join us over at WordPress, if you need any help with doing this please leave me a comment and I will try to help you out.**

Huntsville to Chatham And Everywhere In Between

Last week Huib and I took the dogs to southwestern Ontario. I had my final examination for my Business and Consumer Law course, and Canyon had his third conformation event. My sister is still in a bit of a “my life sucks and everyone should feel sorry for me” mood, so instead of staying at her place Wednesday night, Huib and I decided to leave early Thursday and just quickly stop in to check on Dad.

After eating lunch with Dad and letting the dogs drink some water and stretch their legs, we got back into the Expedition and made our way to Guelph. On the way, my aunt called to see what our plans were for Friday night and informed me of the true facts surrounding my sister’s new mood and odd behaviour. I was under the impression that she was just going through her usual “poor me” phase because of not being able to find regular paid employment, but it looks as though it is more emotional and disceittful. My sister had been dating a guy around February who was not a good person. According to my Dad, he’s lazy, immature and has an explosive temper. My sister can be lazy and also has quite the temper, but we were all happy when she said that the relationship was over and asked us to have Dad come stay with us for a bit. Well, it looks as though this was not the case, or at least not the case for more than a few days because now I’ve learned that she has been lying to us and that she is still dating this guy. I have no issue with the fact that she chooses to date a guy who is not good for her, I don’t support the relationship, but I won’t tell her who she can or cannot date, but I do have an issue with her treating us like crap and lying to us, while continuing to request assistance financially. I’m not sure what will end up happening there, but I do know that we won’t be helping her out and that she will be finding new living arrangements.

In guelph, we stayed with our friends kelly, Ace and Archie. Kelly made a wonderful dinner for us and was an amazing hostess as usual. I love visiting her and her boys (Ace is a 3 year old male black lab & Archie is a 9 year old male orange and white tabby). Ace makes me laugh because he loves wrestling with Rogue and thinks all of the girls (Cessna, Aspen & Rogue) appreciate him mounting them, even though they tell him otherwise.

On Friday morning we woke up early to get Canyon ready for his show, and me ready for my exam. Huib dropped Cessna and I off at the University of Guelph and then took Rogue and Canyon to Chatham. Cessna and I spent most of the morning in the University Centre because I didn’t feel overly comfortable with walking around the campus with her. Even though I attended the University of Guelph with Phoenix for five years, I find my sight to be less since my troubles in January of 2011 so find it difficult to navigate even familiar places. So, Cessna slept while I drank a Starbucks latte, surfed the internet and did a bit of studying. Around lunchtime I decided to take Cessna out for a bit of fresh air and thought we’d see if we could find the hot dog vendor who has been a fixture on the campus since Phoenix and I were students there. I had Cessna walk along a path and then asked her to go along another one that I knew led to the hot dog guy. We never ended up finding him, but she did point out another service dog or puppy in training and got a chance to relieve herself before we returned to the University Centre. After eating a sub, I packed up Cessna and my stuff so we could head to the library where I was scheduled to do my examination. We found the building without too much trouble – Cessna needs to learn to walk in straight lines – and almost made it to the room where I had to sign in, but got a little turned around. Thankfully a nice woman saw us and offered to help me find the room. My exam went okay. I left the exam feeling as though it could have been good or bad, which is often a good sign since I tend to do horribly if I think it went amazingly well or amazingly horrible. After the exam my proctor (the woman who read my exam and filled out the answer sheet) offered to walk with me to Second Cup where I was meeting my aunt’s guy friend. Along the way, we let Cessna run a bit and had a good chat about her own pet dog, a 3 year old female australian shepherd. At Second Cup, she helped me get a drink and then offered to stay and wait for my aunt’s friend but I didn’t know for sure when he’d arrive so told her I’d be okay and got my computer out for company. My aunt’s friend arrived an hour and a bit later and we headed to London where I met up with Huib, Canyon and Rogue.

On Saturday we woke up somewhat early to head back to Chatham for the final day of showing. I was so glad to be able to attend with them because I got to see my friend Amy and her one year old female dalmatian who was also showing. Unfortunately Waverley did about as well as Canyon did, so it was sort of a crappy weekend for everyone. After both Canyon and Waverley had shown, Huib and I started the drive back to Guelph where Aspen was staying with kelly. On our way we stopped at a grocery store and bought some turkey, duck and pork for the dogs (we feed raw) since it was an awesome price, and then stopped at Ren’s Pet Depot in Kitchener to pick up Kelly’s house keyes. of course, we also picked up a few new toys for the dogs – a long pink monkey with brown hands, feet, tail and face that squeaks and is somewhat stretchy, as well as, a squeaky penguin and squirrel – and a new winter coat for Rogue since the RC Pets brand jackets were on for 40% off. We ended up getting her a coat that is grey with teal and white clover leaf like designs on it. She can wear Phoenix’s red one still, but I also wanted one that matched her teal training vest and one that she could wear outside while Cessna wore Phoenix’s red one when it was really chilly. When we got back to kelly’s house, Aspen and Ace were really excited to see us all. Huib took both Ace and Aspen for a quick walk and then we got ready to go for dinner with Kelly (who was going to be home from work soon).

On Sunday, Huib and I left Guelph just before noon to head back home. The Expedition’s bearings were making some odd sounds, so we wanted to start out early enough and take it slow so we got home safely. We stopped in Huntsville to see Dad and let the dogs stretch their legs and then continued our drive. About twenty minutes north of North Bay the Expedition started making a really loud clunking sound and Huib started to panic. he knew it wasn’t going to be good and he wasn’t looking forward to the cost to fix things. We pulled over and called CAA to come tow the truck to New Liskeard. When the tow truck driver arrived, he told us that he could only allow the labs into his truck because he felt there wasn’t enough room for the four dogs and because they were service dogs (Rogue is in training) he wasn’t going to refuse them. I was so angry! I couldn’t imagine leaving my goldens alone in the truck while we were safe in the tow truck. The driver wouldn’t change his mind though so I refused to talk to both him and Huib the entire ride, worrying about how the goldens would be affected. The driver was nice though, he made sure the Expedition was totally secured and stopped a couple of times during the drive to make sure the dogs were okay – of course, both Aspen and Canyon were true to their breed description and could have cared less about the arrangements. Rogue slept in my lap the entire drive in the tow truck and Cessna fell asleep at my feet after the first hour of driving. Cessna is a bit of a stress ball when it comes to loud noises and bumps while driving, which are both problems with trucks so it took her quite a while to settle. In new Liskeard our landlord met us at the Ford dealership and drove us all home.

It looks as though the Expedition has seen it’s last drive south with us. The mechanic at the dealership says something with the drive shaft is detached so it will cost over $2000 to fix and that doesn’t even repair the bearings or replace the muffler, so Huib and I have decided to get something new. We did some research and shopped around a bit on Monday and tuesday.

As long as all goes well, we should be picking up our brand new 2012 Chevy Orlando early next week 🙂

Chatham Show: No Good

This past weekend was the kent Kennel Club show. Even though Huib and Canyon didn’t end up gaining points, I’m quite proud of my boys.

the show venue was horrible. It was crowded and cramped. There were too many competitions going on. Not only were there dogs showing, but there were also dogs competing in obedience and rally-obedience. The rings where the show organizers had the dogs showing were poorly situated and during at least one of the three days, they had the larger breed dogs showing in a small ring, while the toy breeds were in a large one. To add to all the chaos of the small venue, Huib also found the judges themselves to be poorly organized.

On Friday, Canyon was the only dog competing in the Canadian Bred Dog Category, so of course, he ended up with first place and went on to compete for Winners Dog. In the winners Dog ring, he was competing against three other dogs. Huib knows for sure that they did not end up with first place, but that’s about all he can say for certain. The judge had them standing in the spot where the second place dog stands, but she did not give anyone other than the first place dog a ribbon and she didn’t tell anyone else a thing.

On Saturday, Canyon was again the only dog entered into the Canadian Bred Category, so went on to compete with the Open Dog (who was also the only dog entered into his category). Normally, the judges have the puppies enter and then call the adults, so Huib ran over to the crate area to grab some extra treats. For some reason, the judge decided to do things differently and called Canyon in first, and about four minutes earlier than scheduled. All Huib heard was their number being called and the words “last call”, so took off running into the ring with Canyon. canyon showed flawlessly, but Huib was flustered so didn’t show him as well as he could have. We can’t say for certain that Huib’s emotions didn’t effect their placement of second place (out of two dogs), but from watching the results of the females competing, I think it was Canyon’s colour (not Huib) that influenced the judge’s decision.

We saw the female puppy from the show in December that canyon got Best of Opposite with and her owner/handler said to Huib as she passed by “see, it’s a white weekend”, so I’m not too discouraged by our results. It’s really frustrating to see how much personal preference effects the show scene, but then, I guess I knew from the start what we were getting ourselves into.

Our next show will be in august. As I mentioned in my previous post, we’re taking the summer off from showing to start learning the sport of drafting.

Pawty Time!

Today is Hurricane Rogue’s 1st birthday!

It is so hard to believe that our little caramel monster is already a year old. Even though we haven’t had her an entire year, it seems as though she’s been a part of our lives forever. She is definitely maturing, but she’s also a little party animal 😉

Since we were heading to Southwestern Ontario for the weekend, Huib and I decided to give Rogue her birthday toy early – a pink bunny that you can put a plastic water bottle into. As soon as I handed her the toy, she ran around the house like a fool, shaking and tossing the bunny around. Unfortunately though, Canyon also felt the bunny should be his, so as soon as she stopped running around, he went over and stole it from her mouth. In addition to the pink bunny, we got Rogue a new collar and leash that is a light grass green and different blue colours in a sort of hawaiian pattern (I think) and a big pillow bed for her kennel – both of which she has had for about a month. Then, because our little caramel monster is a coffee lover, we got some chicory root and made some coffee flavoured treats for her to enjoy. We weren’t sure how the cookies would turn out, but during and after baking, they smelled quite deliciously coffeeish.

Today I have a final examination for my Business & Consumer Law course, so Rogue is gone to Chatham with Canyon and Huib. I’m sure she’ll have a good time with them and I know she’ll be spoiled.

Happy 1st Birthday my little Hurricane, may you have a day to remember. You have brought so much love and laughter into our lives, that I don’t know if I could ever imagine life without you.

Before I sign off, I’d also like to wish Ruby, Snickers, Josie, Cody, “Flower” and “cole” a very, very Happy 1st Birthday!

Showing In Chatham

This coming weekend is the Kent Kennel Club’s conformation dog show in Chatham. Canyon and Huib are entered into the Canadian Bred Dog category for Friday and Saturday. We have a judge from Columbia on Friday and then an Ontario judge on Saturday. We decided to forgo Sunday’s show because the judge is an actual golden retriever breeder who likes their white goldens over the Canyon-like ones. We got our confirmation letter in the mail today and it looks as though there are five males (not sure what ones are in which categories) and four females entered.

Canyon injured his right front leg somehow last month and we’ve been working really hard to have it healed up in time for the show. It is completely healed as of late last week, but he still wants to lick the area while the hair grows back in, so we’ve been making him wear one of Huib’s old long sleeved shirts. He doesn’t bother it at all while the shirt is on, but for some reason when it is off he still insists on licking at the old injury. We aren’t totally sure how he injured it, but we noticed a medium sized scab and immediately made him begin wearing the Elizabethan collar (cone) and treated the area with antiseptic spray. We’re not convinced the hair will be totally back by Friday, but we’re making Canyon continue to wear Huib’s shirt so that he has the best opportunity of regrowing his hair back in time.

If Canyon doesn’t do well on Friday, Huib is thinking we’ll forgo the Saturday showing because I have a final exam for my Business Law class on Friday so cannot come with them, which means after their showing on Friday they are driving back to Guelph. Chatham is about two and a bit hours away from Guelph, so Huib is thinking that there is no point in doing the extra driving on the Saturday if Canyon’s not even going to have a chance of doing better than last place. I told him he didn’t have to come back to Guelph after the show on Friday and that he could stay with Canyon in a hotel that night, but being Huib, he knows I really want to come watch them Saturday so he is doing the drive out of love 🙂

After looking at the various shows scheduled this summer, Huib and I have decided to make this one the last for a few months. We are going to focus on teaching Canyon to heel properly and begin learning the sport of drafting. We have a drafting workshop in May and are thinking that this might be the next adventure for us to take with our golden boy once he finishes up his Canadian championship title.

Please wish them luck!