Who Stole My “Get Up And Go”

I have no motivation to do anything.

I have no real desire to play fetch with Canyon.

I have no energy to train with Rogue.

I have no will to get up from the couch and do anything more than surf the internet or read a book.

I’m so blessed to have the dogs I do.

While I write this blog entry…

Rogue is using my hip as a pillow.

Canyon is napping by my feet.

Cessna is sprawled out on the love seat.

And aspen is snoozing by the side door.

I guess we’re all lacking in the motivation department.

Four Months Old

Today Rogue is four months old.

Here are 4 new commands she has learned this month:

1. Down
2. Off (used when she jumps up or to have her get off furniture)
3. Leave It
4. Up (used to have her jump up onto furniture or into the truck)

This past month has been a little stressful with Phoenix, so we really haven’t had a chance to do too much with our little girl.

Other than some training each day at home, we’ve taken Rogue and Cessna to see two movies at a local theatre (Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows and Pirates of The Caribbean), in addition to the usual shopping adventures, when Huib has had some time off.

Otherwise, Rogue has already gotten four of her very front adult teeth, and has almost grown out of her first collar and puppy coat.

Here are some pictures from our St. Jacob’s Market trip we took last month.

Feeling Helpless

It will soon be a month, since Phoenix started refusing food. It’s been a really tough month.

Especially the past few days.

I feel as though I should be doing something.

But, I’m at a loss for what to do.

We’ve tried feeding him anything he will take. This worked at first, but now he’s refusing everything.

We’ve tried forcing him to eat, but this only works to a point. We put homemade beef jerky or hot dogs onto his tongue near the back and wait until he swallows.

Today, we’ve decided to try creating a puree. Huib got some catheter syringes from work so we can squeeze the puree into his cheek and wait for him to swallow. We’ve been doing this with his glucosamine and anti-inflammatory for the past couple of days, and it really seems to be working out, so we’re hoping the pureed food idea will as well.

I know we’re grasping at straws here, but I can’t just sit back and watch him dwindle away because I didn’t try everything possible to save him.

Tomorrow at 1:00pm, we have an appointment with Dr B. I’m not sure what she will tell us, but I don’t foresee it being good. I think we’ll have some blood drawn, and have her look him over, but I’m not sure what else she will do.

Phoenix still gets up to drink water and go outside. But, he spends the rest of the day, sleeping. I try bringing him over to wherever we’re sitting, but often he’ll just get up and go to his favourite spots to sleep.

I really feel as though I’m about to lose my beloved companion.

This picture was taken around Christmas time, a few weeks after his recovery from his sudden onset of Idiopathic vestibular Disease.

I just hope it’s on his terms, and not through a decision I may be forced to make.

Canyon’s Obsession

Canyon ABSOLUTELY LOVES toys, especially balls.

He’ll do anything to get a toy.

If Canyon sees anything on a walk that resembles a toy, he’ll pull towards it and won’t give up until he gets the okay to go over and check it out – he actually found his red Planet Dog ball, this way.

If another dog or human is playing with a toy, Canyon has to get it. He can’t just ignore it, he must figure out a way of getting it for himself. This is part of why the girls (Cessna & Aspen) refuse to play with him, I think. And why, I cannot have any of my many stuffed animals laid out in plain sight.

When we come home, Canyon will always greet us at the door with some sort of toy in his mouth. If there are no toys available, he’ll grab a couch pillow or sock.

Canyon loves the game fetch.

He’ll continually bring a toy over to you, trying to entice you to play with him. He’ll touch you lightly on the hand with the toy, and if you move, he’ll move it away quickly, hoping you’ll come with him to the door. If you don’t pay attention, he’ll start to pace, until you either take it away and put it out of sight, or give in and play.

If Canyon leaves one of his toys outside, or one of the other dogs leaves one, he’ll stare out the window or pace by the door until someone lets him out to get it. We’ve tried ignoring him, but he won’t stop until the toy is safely back inside.

Canyon’s toy drive is so extreme, that we actually won’t allow the other dogs to play fetch at the same time. When someone throws the toy, Canyon just gets so focused on getting it first, that he doesn’t watch where he’s running, or who is running with him.

He’s sent Cessna flying, when he collided with her back end.

He’s injured Rogue, running over her when she stopped in front of him.

And, worse of all, he gave Aspen a concussion, when he collided with her head.

I know we should be trying to curb his toy drive, but it’s also something that makes Canyon who he is and therefore, we just accepted it as one of the many Canyonisms.

I’m Horrible

I’m an absolutely horrible handler. And and even worse trainer.

Today, I decided to practice jumps with Cessna and Canyon in an effort to be ready for our return to agility tomorrow. I cleared off the coffee table and flipped it upside down. Our coffee table has a piece of wood that goes between each of the legs, so it makes for a good jump. I first put Canyon into a down-stay and then got Cessna to sit about three feet from the first “jump”. As soon as I called her “over”, Canyon broke his stay and got into her way. I firmly told Canyon to go back to his spot, not realizing this action was the start of a rough session with Cessna – she had become unsure because of my tone. I then returned to Cessna and still did not notice her demeanor. I asked her to go “over” and she proceeded to walk around the legs instead of jumping over the wood between them. I immediately said “wrong” and called her to return to the spot where she’d started. I still hadn’t caught on to her nervous behaviour. I again asked her to come “over” and she again proceeded to walk around the “jump”. I’m terrible, I raised my voice. I didn’t realize she was already nervous. I lost sight of my goal and just wanted perfection. When I raised my voice, she walked away. I should have taken the clue and stopped everything for a cuddle session or game of tug, something she enjoys.

Instead, I proceeded to work on the “jumps” with Canyon. After he got the gist of what I wanted, he was a star. I should have checked in with Cessna. I shouldn’t have ignored her feelings. I just didn’t realize she was upset until I called her back for another try.

I finally clued in. I got all excited and did some easy commands for treats. She perked up and seemed eager to try something new. I then took her collar and showed her what I wanted. She did okay.

I should have noticed. I should have thought about how my actions would effect her. I should have remembered that she still has those underlying worries. I shouldn’t have raised my voice. I shouldn’t have been pushing for perfection.

I’m a terrible handler. And an even worse trainer…

Good Luck Dawsen

As of Friday, it’s been two weeks since my sister handed Dawsen’s leash over to a man who fosters for Golden Rescue. Dawsen was with my sister for seven months, but she just found it too tough.

Dawsen is a two year old, rusty colour, golden retriever with moderate epilepsy. He came to Golden Rescue at the age of 22 months, because his family just found his behavior to be too much to handle. According to the family, Dawsen had pretty much spent his life living in a crate, coming out for walks and short wrestling matches with their teenage sons. They said he had only had two seizures with them, but that he’d just gotten to be too much work. His first foster home taught him to sit, lie down and wait before getting his meals, but by the time my sister adopted him, Dawsen was still in the learning phase.

Over the seven months Dawsen lived with my sister, he learned to sit, lie down, wait, give a paw and how to play appropriately with other dogs. It was a bit of a struggle at first, but my sister stuck with it and Dawsen slowly settled into his new life as a beloved pet. As time went on though, there was one thing my sister was not able to break him of – his food obsession. As a result of the medication Dawsen receives for his epilepsy, he cannot control himself around food or anything that appears edible. Therefore, it was really hard for my sister to keep him safe and out of trouble, but for the most part she was successful. When he came to visit us though, he had to stay on leash or where a muzzle because it was impossible for me to feel comfortable enough with his behavior and safety.

Around the beginning of May, my sister learned that her landlord would be selling the home she was living in, so she began the search for a new job and home, in Huntsville, since she was really not happy in Kirkland Lake. She found a job almost immediately and then found a townhouse for our step-dad and her to share.

During the moving process, Brandi took Dawsen on trips to visit family and friends and found it almost impossible to keep Dawsen from stealing food and/or trying to eat anything that looked enticing. She moved in June, and Dawsen’s behavior got even more difficult to tolerate. She was really hoping that she’d be able to accommodate his needs enough to keep him safe, but This was not the case, so after a couple of weeks, she asked me to take Dawsen until Golden Rescue could find him an appropriate foster home. Dawsen stayed with us for over a week, but returned to my sister for a few days when we had to go “down south” for Rogue’s vet visit and the Red Labrador Retrievers’ annual reunion. It was really hard for my sister to be responsible for handing over Dawsen, but I also think it was important for her to meet the man who would be fostering him and see how easily Dawsen took to his pack – 2 golden retrievers, a boxer and toy poodle.

Since leaving my sister, Dawsen has begun to learn off leash recall and has made really good friend’s with the man’s 2 year old male golden retriever, Octane. He has already sent us a couple of updates and has complimented her on the level of care and training she provided. I’m really hoping Dawsen will find his forever home soon, but in the meantime, I know he is having a blast with his new pals.

My sister still cries about the decision she had to make, but I personally think it was the best one for both her and Dawsen because, in order for her to keep him safe, she would have had to either crate or muzzle him when she wasn’t able to be right by his side. I tell her that she isn’t a bad person, that maybe Dawsen needed her to teach him the valuable life skills he’d need to find the family of his dreams, but she still finds it hard to think about.

If we get any further updates on Dawsen, I’ll post them here.

Rogue Pictures

Huib finally had some time off work, so labelled some of the many pictures we took of our little Rogue puppy. Instead of presenting all of the ones we have
(there are over 50), I’ll just pick some of the better ones.

As you can see, we’ve been quite busy with our little girl.

Right now, we’re taking a bit of a break though because she developed some red ring-like spots on her underside. We think it might be ringworm, but cannot get into a vet here in Northeastern Ontario until Tuesday afternoon. In the meantime, we’ve been giving her daily baths with a herbal shampoo (found the recipe online) we made from 8oz of Castile soap, 15 drops of oregano oil, 15 drops of tea tree oil and 15 drops of clove oil, and apply an anti-fungal cream we got from the pharmacy that treats Athlete’s Foot, Ringworm and something else that I can’t remember. When we started, the spots were about the size of a quarter, but since Wednesday evening, they’ve shrunk to the size of mosquito bites. I’m going to call our vet in Guelph and see what dr B says since the spots will most likely be gone completely by the time we get to Tuesday.

Rogue Update

Rogue is now 10 weeks old! She’s been with us almost 2 weeks now and has settled into our lives so easily, that its like she has always been a part of the family.

Here’s what we’ve been up to since day nine.

Day Ten

• slept between Huib & I, as well as on pillows until 6:00am
• sat immediately when Huib asked before putting down her bowl
• chased Canyon & Aspen while I played fetch with them
• climbed the 5 steps outside to reach the water bowl I’d brought out
• no accidents until just after lunch when she missed the puppy pad & peed on the carpet
• sat when I asked for a “sit” before giving her lunch & then dinner
• came immediately 3 out of the 5 times I called her while outside (the other 2 times, she came after a minute, but not directly to my hand)

Day Eleven

• slept until 7:00am before needing out, then slept another 2 hours
• still being asked to “sit” before getting her meals
• slept while we ate lunch at Pizza Hut (people must think we eat out a lot lol!)
• rode in cart at Food Basics (new people, strange sounds, strange smells)
• ate dinner in her new crate (made sure to watch & let her out as soon as she was done)

Day Twelve

• cried off & on while in crate overnight, but stopped when I said “Rogue, enough” & slept until about 5:30am (had 2 accidents in crate overnight)
• ate breakfast in crate, barked/cried after done, so we waited until she was quiet for a few minutes
• had a 2 hour nap with Huib (he worked nights)
• played a bit of tug with Canyon
• played with Canyon in the yard at the new house
• watched Huib & Caleb paint (wanted to help so went on tie down)
• fell asleep while Huib finished sanding & plastering the kitchen
• peed at the door of new house, couldn’t get there fast enough to get her outside
• played with the rest of the pack while Huib mowed the lawn

Day Thirteen

• slept in crate until 5:30am, whimpered just a few times before falling asleep, slept another 4 hours with us in bed (no accidents)
• ate breakfast in crate, before coming out we started working on “wait” (I’d begin opening crate & close it if she moved, called her out when she stayed in one spot)
• jumped on to couch without assistance
• hid under couch for a few minutes after Phoenix barked at her
• watched Huib use the power saw to cut baseboards for our bedroom
• chased Cessna while Caleb threw the toy for her
• napped while Huib hammered nails into the baseboards
• ate dinner in crate & sat quietly until Huib let her out
• still not coming when I call her & jetting off when I come towards her (think it’s because she knows I cannot see to grab her)
• responding well to “Rogue, enough” when we don’t like something she’s doing (chasing cats, barking/growling at others to play, scratching/pulling at carpet, etc)
• independently walked up steps again without too much coaxing (not allowing her to do down)

As you can see, Rogue is experiencing tons and doing quite well. I’m beginning to think this whole reporting her daily adventures is kinda boring for everyone, so I think I might switch to just reporting the more interesting things or doing a weekly recap – what do you think?

Tears Of Gold

Hi Everyone, it’s Aspen here. I’ve never been given the chance to take over the blog, but Mommy said I can let you all know about the e-mail we got from Grandma Doris last night.

It wasn’t a very nice message…

Grandma Doris told Mommy and I that Daddy (Kantung’s Nugget of Gold) and Uncle Nugget (Allen Parks Echo), passed away this winter…

I’m really sad about this.

I loved going to visit Grandma Doris in the summer and running with Daddy in the field behind their house.

Uncle Nuggy wasn’t as into running, he turned 15 this past year, but I still liked visiting with him.

I’m not sure I’ll like going to visit as much anymore, because now I’ll just have my pesky half-sister Moose stealing my Grandma.

Uncle Nugget was born in 1995 (Mommy couldn’t find his exact date of birth). He sired several litters, before retiring the year I was born (2003). He was a wonderful boy, full of happiness and personality. He passed away just after new Years from natural causes – he was 15.

We’re really going to miss you Uncle Nuggy!

Daddy, Max, was born on May 5th, 2001. From what Mommy could find, he sired over thirty different litters and has tons of daughters, sons and grandpuppies who are now breeding.

The last time we saw Daddy, was about two years ago, when I stayed with Grandma Doris for a week or two. Grandma Doris wrote Mommy to tell her about the adventures I was having with Daddy. We ran in the forest together on walks with Grandma Doris, and I liked running circles around him.

He had a cancerous tumor removed from his neck last fall, but the vet thought they had gotten it all. When Uncle Nuggy died, Grandma Doris says Daddy got really sad and stopped eating. They changed his food several times and after clearing up some tummy issues, they thought he was on his way back to health. Grandpa Larry’s Mommy passed away around the end of January and then Daddy also crossed the rainbow bridge a week later. They aren’t sure if the cancer returned or if he just died of a broken heart.

Mommy and Grandma Doris say I am a lot like Daddy, max. We both have a sunny disposition, but aren’t very smart. I just think we both know how to get away with things we don’t want to do…but, I didn’t tell you all that – shhh! Daddy’s favourite thing to do in the summer was to catch frogs in the creek behind Grandma Doris and Grandpa Larry’s house. Like me, Daddy Max never killed the frogs, but like to jump in the water to catch them and then let them go before they got too scared.

I’m really going to miss Daddy…

Rest in peace Uncle Nuggy and Daddy Max, we’re all going to miss you guys, but know you’re in a better place together…

Before I sign off, Mommy found this poem for me to share with you all…

My Forever Friend

I know that it must be different,
now that I am no longer here.
I realize how much I was loved
and how all of you did care.

I know it will be hard at first
when you look around for me.
Expecting to find me in my bed
or beside my favorite tree.

Someday you will begin to see,
although it’ll take some time,
the happy times you shared with me,
the memories are yours and mine.

I’ll remember you, my family,
and how much you meant to me.
So please don’t grieve and don’t be sad,
it was just my time to leave.

– Author Unknown –

It’s Been A Crappy Friday!

Do you ever wake up and wish you could climb under a rock until the day is over?

Well, today is that day for me…

Yesterday Huib and I decided to pick up some fresh beef bones from the butcher to keep the dogs busy. They loved it! But I don’t think Canyon’s tummy did, because he woke us up at 6:30am panting and pacing. After some explosive release though, he slept soundly until about 11:00am. We fed him some rice this morning instead of his regular kibble and thought this had settled well, until we came home from an hour in town, to find two neat little piles of rice and a couple pieces of bone. Since then, we’ve given him some Pepto Bismal and opted to skip dinner and he seems to be feeling a little better. I think the pieces of bone irritated his stomach and now that they are out, it’s begun to settle because he hasn’t had any more explosions in the long grass and we haven’t found any more neat little piles.

And, if that wasn’t enough fun and excitement for a day, it looks as though Canyon is getting another eye infection. He had an infection in both eyes about two weeks ago, but after seven days of Polysporin, it went away. Today it looks as though the infection in the right eye is back, so we have begun the Polysporin again and will do it for ten days this time. It’s so sad to see his eye all gunky!

Then, if that wasn’t enough to worry about, Huib noticed that Phoenix’s right ear flap has become engorged with blood. This happened to his left in November, so we know what needs to be done, but I had hoped that his ears were finally going to give us a rest. Since changing him over to the raw diet on January 25th, we’ve started him on a homeopathic remedy and his ears have finally begun to move in a positive direction. We’ve been cleaning them every other day and trying to keep him from shaking his head too much, so we actually thought things could be looking up for the old guy. Well, we were wrong, because now it looks as though he will have the crinkled look on both sides, instead of just on his left. I’m glad the hematoma doesn’t bother him, but feel bad that he has to wear his ear on the top of his head in a vet wrap – at least it’s a nice teal colour though…

I’ve also been dealing with a lot of migraines this week because of the unstable weather, so having to worry about the boys really isn’t helping.

Hopefully next week will be a little better for us all.