Cessna’s Teeth

On Friday, Huib and I took Cessna to see Dr Fraser hale. Dr Hale was participating in the free oral exams for service dogs program, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to have him look over Cessna’s mouth and let us know what needed to be done with the premolar Dr B had pointed out.

Cessna was not happy with this appointment. She doesn’t really like having people poke and prod her, so having some strange guy hold her mouth open and touch her teeth was not fun. She was a trooper though, and let Dr hale do what he needed to do.

Dr Hale found not only the premolar Dr B had already pointed out, but three additional issues. Cessna needs to get the premolar extracted in addition to three incisors. She chipped one of her top incisors a long time ago, which has Dr Hale worried about infection, but she has also caused two lower incisors to become loose. I’m not really sure what happened to the lower incisors, but I’m thinking it might have something to do with her attempts to catch frisbees and other toys while we play fetch.

She’s not exhibiting any discomfort at the moment, so we have scheduled the extraction for August 14th, which happens to be the first appointment time Dr Hale has available.

Next Sunday we’re taking Rogue and Cessna to have their eyes tested, hopefully we’ll have better news to report there.

Annual Check-Ups

Last Friday, Canyon, Cessna and Rogue went to see Dr B for their annual checkups.

Just before going into the clinic, we let them all go to the washroom, hoping for a feacal sample. We didn’t end up with a sample, but Cessna found her own feacal sample to try out. She rolled in goose poop, and smelled horrible! Huib tried really hard to get the smell out of her coat, but wasn’t overly successful so, stinky Cessna came with the other two into the clinic.

Rogue was the first to be checked out. Dr B listened to her heart, lungs and abdomen. while listening to her heart, she commented on how relaxed rogue was – she said her heart was beating nice and slow. After the physical examination, rogue had blood taken for her Heartworm and Lyme tests, and for her distemper and Parvo titters. We have the dogs on a limited vaccine protocol, so they have titters done every other year to make sure they still have the right level of immunity. the only vaccine we don’t run titters for, is the rabies one, because it is really expensive. After the blood was drawn, Dr b asked if there was anything that concerned us, we mentioned rogue’s possible soft trachea issues, and her need for some sort of carbohydrate (oats, rice, quinoa, sweet potato) in order to be less gassy. She said it’s possible she has an extra flap of skin in her trachea, that is swelling in the summer, but she said to continue what we’re doing, if it’s working. As for the need for carbohydrates, she said that works and that we can also add them into the diets of the others.

Next to be examined was Canyon. He had all of the same blood tests done, but was also due for his rabies vaccine. After checking him over, Dr b looked at the spots where he had scratched and licked his fur away, sometimes causing wounds. She called them hot spots, which I don’t agree, but told us to clean them thoroughly and then put this stuff on them called Allederm. She also asked if we had any concerns, and we told her about the couple of times he’s woken up with left hind leg pain. We said it looked as though he most likely had a leg cramp, since it went away within a few minutes, and had only happened a few times, a few months apart. She couldn’t find any signs of a problem, but told us that she recommends people start their large breed dogs on Glucosamine at 5 years of age, but that we could always start him now if we wanted. She also examined the tiny cyst on the lower lid of his left eye and we discussed neutering. Other than a higher chance for prostate and testicular cancer, there isn’t really a big push for neutering, so we agreed that we’d rather leave things as they are, but said we’d watch the cyst to make sure it doesn’t grow.

Finally, it was stinky Cessna’s turn. She had been hiding under my chair while the others were checked over. Dr B did a physical examination and took blood for her heartworm and Lyme tests, as well as, for titters and for a geriatrics work up. Cessna will be 10 in October, so we wanted to check all of her blood values, to make sure she’s as healthy as possible. After that was done, we had Dr b re-check her fatty lumps and asked her about the choking and coughing Cessna has started to do more often. i told her Phoenix used to also do it, and that I felt it might be related to the fact that both were trained (by their school) using choke chains. She said that older dogs tend to need to clear their throats more, but she checked her throat, mouth and lungs and heard nothing worrisome. the only issue Dr b found with Cessna, was a slightly broken back molar. It happens to be the same back molar Phoenix broke at the age of 10, so I’m guessing git has to do with age. I told her I’d make an appointment sometime this summer with the doggie dentist who did Phoenix’s tooth extraction, and since Cessna isn’t bothered by the tooth, she said that was fine.

When she was done checking over the dogs, Dr b asked us what they were eating and what supplements we are giving them. She was happy with everything, and said that our plan to return to giving them Kelp is a good idea. Retrievers have a high rate of cancer, so anything we can do to help prevent this is a good plan.

We haven’t received any calls regarding their blood work, so I assume everything is perfect, or at least in the normal range.

Now that our wallet is a lot lighter, it’s time to save for their next vet visit, lol!

Itchy Canyon

We’re at a loss…

We don’t know what is wrong…

But, for the past few days, Canyon has been panting, scratching, licking and biting himself.

This happened last summer, right around this time, but, like now, we had no clue how to help him.

We talked to the vet last year and she checked him all over. She couldn’t find anything wrong.

We tried allergy medication for a month, just to see if it was the pollen causing him to be uncomfortable. It didn’t help.

we tried spraying him with doggie insect repellent to prevent the black flies and mosquitoes from feasting on him, it didn’t seem to make a difference.

The only way we were able to stop the obsessive scratching, licking and biting, was by making him wear t-shirts and sometimes booties on his back feet.

so, guess what?

canyon is back to wearing t-shirts and booties on his back feet.

Since we’re taking a break from conformation, Canyon developed a cyst on the lower lid of his left eye in january that needs to be surgically removed, we decided to try leaving him alone and seeing what damage he’d do to his coat and skin before he stopped.

Well, within just a couple of days, he has a small scabbed area behind his left ear and on his chest.

so, leaving him to his own devices isn’t going to work.

Thankfully, he seems to like wearing the t-shirts, and tolerates the boots.

We gave Canyon and Cessna baths this morning, she was also scratching a bit more than we’d like, so we’ll see if maybe there was some dirt in their coats.

While combing Canyon this evening, Huib noticed that he has a bit of a heat rash, so we’ve sprayed his groin area with some stuff that is supposed to help with itchiness. we’ve also turned the central air on so the house is nice and cool.

He seems a bit more comfortable tonight, and really hasn’t been panting, so maybe it’s the heat, maybe it was a bug bite or maybe it was dirt.

But, since it’s Canyon, we’ll probably never know. he’s such an obsessive dog when it comes to some things.

Rest Peacefully Our Golden Princess

On Thursday, March 14th, 2013, at approximately 3:30pm, we said goodbye to our Golden Princess.

Aspen stands in a blanket of fallen leaves.

We didn’t know Aspen was seriously ill. We had decided to take her to see Dr B because she didn’t seem to be herself and she was beginning to refuse her meals.

On Monday, Aspen was wrestling with rogue.

On Tuesday, Aspen only finished half of her turkey wing, so we thought her jaw might be sore from chewing beef bones and icicles, so Huib gave her a can of salmon instead, and she slowly ate it.

On Wednesday, Aspen seemed uninterested in interacting with anyone, and was hesitant about eating both her breakfast and dinner. I decided to brush her and look for any abnormal lumps or sores, but found none. I did notice that her heart seemed to be beating a bit quicker than normal, but I thought it might have just been her hatred for being groomed. but, I sent Huib an iMessage and he suggested I try to make an appointment with Dr B.

Thursday morning we woke up really early and piled everyone into the Orlando. aspen seemed tired and was panting a bit, but again, we weren’t too worried – it was 3am. when she went to jump into the back of the Orlando though, she didn’t quite make it and Huib had to help her – this made us worry a bit. On the drive, aspen sat up a few times and panted, but she always laid back down and didn’t seem distressed. when we arrived in Guelph, we let everyone relieve themselves and Aspen did both, so we returned to thinking it was going to be okay.

As soon as Dr b entered the examination room and saw Aspen lying on the floor, panting, she said she was concerned. She checked her heart rate, her temperature and listened to her lungs before she told us she didn’t feel it was going to be happy news. she was worried about Lymphoma and tumours on her spleen, but when she shaved her abdominal area to do an abdominal aspiration (to check for blood), she found unexplained bruising, and began to worry about anemia. she took some blood and sent it off to be tested.

She asked us to stay in the examination room with aspen until the test results came back because she wanted aspen to remain calm and relaxed. We sat with her for three hours, taking turns sitting on the floor to pet her.

When the test results came back, it wasn’t good news at all. We had known something was wrong from the way Aspen had begun to have more and more difficulty breathing and getting comfortable throughout the day, but we were hopeful that Dr b could do something to help her.

Aspen was diagnosed with a very aggressive case of Leukemia.

Close up of Aspen from our walk along the closed road near our house.

Dr b told us that Aspen’s white blood cell count was through the roof and her red blood cell count was beyond being anemic. She felt that Aspen wouldn’t make it through the night, let alone through a chemo treatment. She said that if we decided to try chemo, she could have aspen in for a round in the evening, but we all worried that she may die on the treatment table. It was so hard to get all this news. We were in complete shock and felt helpless. We worried about giving up too early on our golden girl, but we worried even more about putting her through a treatment that could either kill her or cause her pain and suffering that wouldn’t even end up giving her back any semblance of a life.

We sat for two hours with Aspen, talking about the options and spending as much time as we could with her, because deep down, I guess we already knew what our decision was going to have to be.

By 3:00pm, aspen was having more and more difficulty breathing and getting comfortable. She was so warm and it was heartbreaking to watch her struggle. at 3:20pm, we told Dr B that we had decided to let Aspen go. she felt we were making the best possible decision.

Aspen sits in front of a flowering apple tree.

Huib and I sat beside aspen, while Cessna, rogue and Canyon laid around us. Dr b began inserting the anesthetic and Huib said aspen passed before she had even finished inserting half of it. We feel as though she must have been ready to go. her body was just having too much trouble fighting to stay alive.

I meant to tell our blog readers about her passing sooner, but her sudden death has left us in a state of confusion and disbelief. It just happened so suddenly, that we are having trouble coming to terms with it all. We know time will heal some of the wounds, but we still keep wondering if there is something we missed or something more we could have done.

Rest peacefully and chase all the leaves you desire our Golden Princess. You and Phoenix are back together and I know you’ll both take good care of each other.

We all miss you little girl, and the paw prints you’ve left on our hearts will never be forgotten.

Aspen Update

It’s now been about a month and a half since Aspen’s surgery, and two months since we first noticed the large, firm lump that ended up being an inflamed lymph node.

It has taken a while, but the lymph nodes are pretty close to normal feeling now. This is a relief, because Dr B was getting a little worried about the inflammation being a sign of something much worse than just an infected, broken canine tooth.

Aspen also started a glandular made by Standard Process for her Hypothyroidism about a month and a half ago, and it seems to be doing something. Aspen has always been an anxious dog, but over the past few weeks we’ve noticed a more relaxed girl. She didn’t really show any of the classic signs of Hypothyroidism, but we’ve also noticed her gastrointestinal issues have decreased. In a couple of weeks, we will be going on another road trip, so we’ll have a really good idea from that, regarding whether or not Aspen has become less anxious.

about four or five years ago, Aspen began developing a whitish spot on her left eye. Over the years, the spot has grown, but Dr B hasn’t been able to figure out what it could be other than a scar. At Aspen’s spring visit, Dr B again commented on the spot, which is now like a white crescent shape, and suggested we get in contact with a doggie opthomologist. We haven’t had a chance or the money to do so, but had planned to take her in the new year.

Thursday night Huib was bored at work, so decided to try researching Aspen’s eye problem. After a bit of Googling different combinations of search terms, he had found the answer to the mystery.

Aspen has Lipid Keratopathy, or fats in the eye that appear as a white crescent shape. The condition is common in dogs with Hypothyroidism and is a sign that there is too much cholesterol in the bloodstream. there is no pain associated with the condition, and we aren’t sure if it is reversible, but it is recommended that dogs with the condition are put on a low fat diet with Omega 3 fatty acids (or fish oil) and extra fibre.

We had begun to notice Aspen’s right eye getting a similar look back in the spring, but it has since cleared up, so we’re wondering if the raw diet, which for Aspen consists of a lot of fish because of her gastrointestinal issues and requires an Omega 3 supplement, was part of the solution.

Huib has printed off the 2010 article he found in a veterinary journal for Dr B to see, and we are going to make sure Aspen no longer gets meats with skin and when possible a little more fish and daily fibre.

It’s been a good week for good news on Aspen. It’s scary to know that she has been dealing with the Hypothyroidism and Lipid Keratopathy for close to five years, but now that we are aware and know of how to improve things, I hope we’ll be able to spend many more years with our golden girl.

Aspen’s Recovery Update

Aspen lying on the floor and looking over her shoulder at the camera with a pouty look on her face.

As you can see, Aspen wasn’t a very happy camper after her surgery.

it has now been six days since her canine extraction and she is recovering well. She eats soft foods each meal to prevent any irritation of the surgery site and gets Medicam each morning to help with pain. In addition, she is taking Clindamycin and Arnica for the infection.

Her lymph node is about half the size it was when Dr B saw it last week, so we think the antibiotics are working and that it should be back to its normal size soon. Knowing that the lymph node continues to shrink makes us quite happy because Dr B was beginning to worry that it might be signally something much more serious.

I will continue to give everyone updates on Aspen.

Three Days In Guelph

Now that we are back home I thought I’d do a longer entry about what we did on our three days in Guelph.

As I mentioned in the Halloween post, Aspen had her surgery to remove her broken canine tooth on Wednesday morning. Since Huib worked a twelve hour day shift on Tuesday, we had to wake up at midnight and leave the house by 1:30am in order to get Aspen to the vet clinic for 9:00am. The dogs thought we had lost our marbles when we woke them up a few hours after going to sleep, but they were good sports and slept the entire drive. When we arrived at the clinic, I had a bit of a discussion with a rude receptionist about not leaving Aspen until they were ready for her – she seemed to believe that because it was “their routine” and because “no other owners seemed to have an issue with it” that I was going to just hand Aspen’s leash over and let them put her into a kennel until they got around to her surgery – but I told her that it wasn’t going to happen. We waited with our golden girl in the waiting room until the vet came out to talk to us, and a nicer woman came and took Aspen back for sedation. The vet explained what would happen before, during and after the surgery and said that it would probably take longer than most tooth extractions because the canine tooth is one of the more difficult to remove. I found this link that gives a pretty good explanation of what the vet had told us.

after leaving the clinic, we met up with our friend, Kelly, to go to Pet Smart and do some training with her four and a half month old Australian Shepherd, Piper, and to let Cessna pick out a birthday present. Kelly also has our friend, Ace, but he stayed home so that Kelly could focus on exposing Piper to new things. At Pet Smart, we walked through the different aisles looking for the perfect Cessna toy. On the way, we picked up Canyon’s wolf hat, Rogue’s lion costume, a Halloween stuffy ball that squeaks, a plush purple monkey that holds a small sized water bottle, a cute tiger stuffy that squeaks for Aspen and then finally, found a toy for Cessna’s birthday – a plush dog with thick legs that hold long rubber squeakers. After paying for our items, we headed back to Kelly’s house and let the dogs play with one another before heading to a Chinese food buffet for lunch with Kelly and the labs.

Lunch was awesome. We had several items from the buffet itself, and then ordered a few plates with various pieces of sushi. The labs were quite well-behaved, quietly sleeping under the table while we ate. After lunch, I called Dr B’s office to see if she had received any updates on Aspen, and was told that she was out of surgery and slowly waking up. I was also told that they would be sending someone to pick her up and that we could come to Dr B’s office in a couple of hours. Kelly needed to get something replaced on her vehicle in the afternoon, so we put our gang back into the Orlando and drove over to the mall to do a bit of guide training with Rogue. Cessna stayed in the vehicle with Canyon, and we took Rogue into the mall. We practiced finding doors, turning left and right, staying on my left side and not curving in front of my feet, and then finding/stopping at curbs. Rogue is starting to find doors really well and her curb work is coming along, but she is still struggling with directions and needs more work on keeping her nose to herself.

Around four o’clock, I called Dr B’s office and was told that Aspen had still not arrived at the clinic, but the woman who had gone to pick her up had also not yet returned. I was a little annoyed with the lack of organization, but was reassured by the receptionist that Aspen had indeed been picked up and was doing well and that they should be back at the clinic within minutes. I asked when we could come pick up our golden girl, and was told to come at 5:45pm. It was a long wait, but we arrived at Dr B’s clinic right at 5:45pm and talked to Dr B about the surgery, about her concerns regarding the size of Aspen’s lymph node and then about what we would be doing about her Hypothyroidism. For the post surgery care, we were given Arnica and told to give her some Medicam (an anti-inflammatory) and to only feed her soft food for the next couple of weeks. As for her lymph node, we reassured Dr B that it is shrinking and she gave us another 10 days of antibiotics (a different one this time) and asked to keep her informed on its progress. For Aspen’s Hypothyroidism, we decided to go with a glandular made by a company called Standard Process (the same company that made Phoenix’s herbal anti-inflammatory). We will get her thyroid values reassessed in 4-6 months, but since she really isn’t symptomatic, we decided to go with the glandular over the medication. When Dr B brought Aspen out of the back area, she was very excited to see us and ready to go home. For the first 24 hours she was a bit growly with the other dogs, but sucky with us, so we knew she’d be okay.

On Thursday, I had an appointment with my family doctor to discuss how my migraine medications are working. We went over which of the medications she prescribed had worked, which worked a bit, which ones didn’t work at all, and then what dose of each I was taking. Dr Thomas was happy to hear that the current medications I am taking, Gabapentin and Candesartan, were working. She then told me about a new study she’d read about and suggested I start taking 150mg of Coenzyme Q10 and then try to decrease the amount of Candesartan to see if I need it. Coenzyme Q10 is a supplement like B12, so if I could eliminate Candesartan from my migraine regiment and only take Gabapentin on a daily basis, then I’d be really happy. My step dad is a bit of a pill popper, so I have this constant worry about taking too many medications and not really needing them. Dr Thomas increased my dose of Gabapentin from 300mg three times a day, to 400mg and said to continue taking Zomig or Codeine and Toradol when needed. I really don’t like the number of medications I am having to be prescribed for my migraines, but I am hoping that once we figure out what will work as a daily preventative, then we will be able to eliminate the “when needed” ones. While at the appointment, both Cessna and Rogue laid quietly under our chairs, and Dr Thomas was impressed by their calmness. I didn’t realize, but Dr Thomas is nervous of dogs, and has just given her children and husband the go-ahead to purchase a dog – they are picking up a golden retriever puppy in a week or so 🙂

After the appointment, we went to Quiznos for lunch and then took the labs to Second Cup to use the internet. Rogue has a tough time just sitting around in public places, so this will be one area of training where we’ll be focusing. Kelly met up with us at Second Cup after her class finished and we got some pictures of Rogue and Cessna on the University of Guelph campus.

In the evening, we met up with our friend, Karen, and had some more sushi. Kelly had to take Piper to a class at 8:30pm, so Huib, Karen and I took Rogue to Home Depot and Walmart for some curb and distraction training. I asked Karen to pretend she was a random customer and stop at different shelves in different positions so I could practice having Rogue pass by without sniffing. It always took Rogue a couple of passes before she’d keep her nose to herself, but I think with time, she’ll get the idea. At Walmart we practiced more “leave its” with Karen holding kibble at different levels while I walked past and told Rogue to “leave it”. She did well when the kibble was held six inches above her head, but had more trouble as it got closer to her level. We also practiced “leave it” by having Karen put kibble at different points along an aisle on the floor. We found that Rogue failed this test miserably if we started walking and the kibble was too close to our end of the aisle, but that if we had the kibble closer to the other end of the aisle, then she seemed to find it easier to control her nose. As we walked back to the vehicles, we had an opportunity to do tons of “find the curb” work. As Rogue became accustomed to when the click and treat would appear, she started to anticipate the reward and would turn her head towards us within a couple feet of the curb. I think that this reaction is a good sign of her brain making the right connections.

On Friday it was time to go home. We packed the Orlando and began our long drive north. On the way, we stopped to get some chicken hearts for Laya, my maine coon cross, and then at Costco to get supplements for the dogs and to do some more public exposure work with Rogue. When I don’t have Cessna with me, Rogue wears her maroon Active Dogs vest that says “Service Dog” on her back and has a black guide harness attached. Rogue is learning to accept the movement and feel of the guide handle, but she is not yet ready for me to pick it up. Nevertheless, at Costco, people continually commented on how eel-behaved my guide dog was and at how attentive she seemed to be.

I really think my little Hurricane is growing up!!

Overall, I think our trip to Guelph was a great experience for everyone. Aspen had her tooth removed and is on her way to a full recovery. I had some medication changes, but am on my way to being a little more migraine free. And, Rogue got a chance to meet an Australian Shepherd and to work on her guide skills. The only thing that has concerned me with my little caramel girl, is that if her collar is grabbed or she puts any pressure on her throat, she begins gagging and coughing. I have thought it before, but I think I am now convinced, that Rogue might have a soft trachea. I have a couple of friends whose dogs have similar issues, but if anyone has suggestions on how to deal with this issue, I’m all ears. In the meantime, I’ve decided to change her collar from a regular flat to a soft martingale one, since there will be times when someone will need to grab her collar and I am hoping that the martingale will help spread out the pressure instead of it being only focused on her throat area. For walks, she already wears the Premier Easy Walk Harness, so she’ll continue to wear that until I can get her walking with a perfectly loose leash.

***For those who are interested, Cessna’s birthday dog with the squeaker legs lost his head within minutes of being given to her. Rogue and Cessna had decided that tug was a good game to play with him lol! And, the purple monkey bottle toy lost his face, but Huib (the plastic surgeon for toys) has reassured me that he is fixable.***

Halloween 2012

Since we had to bring Aspen down to guelph for her tooth extraction, we decided to spend some time with friends.

With it being Halloween, we dressed everyone up and walked around the neighbourhood so the dogs could experience the interesting sights and sounds of the night.

Cessna was a monarch butterfly

Cessna lies in front of a black leather couch wearing orange, white and black butterfly wings.

Rogue was a lion

Rogue wears a mostly tan coloured costume.  it covers her torso.  It has a tail that hangs down by hers and a hood-like thing that goes on her head with ears and a mane.  She's standing and looking towards the camera with her mouth open and tongue sticking out.

Canyon was a wolf

Canyon stands looking towards the camera wearing a brown hat that has pointed ears.

Piper was a ballerina

Piper, a 4.5 month old Australian Shepherd wears an orange, green, black and purple tutu.  She's standing, but not really looking at the camera.

Sadly Aspen wasn’t able to join us on our walk because of the surgery, but I’m happy to report that she’s recuperating well and should be back to herself in a a week or so. Dr B gave her some new antibiotics to take because she didn’t feel the lymph node had decreased in size enough, but we told her it was half the size, so hopefully these new antibiotics will finish off the fight against whatever infection caused the inflammation. I’ll keep everyone posted.

It Could’ve Been Worse

The past couple of days have been a bit of a blur.

On Tuesday evening while combing out the tangles from Aspen’s fur, I found a firm lump under her chin to the left of her trachea. I immediately called Huib over and showed him what I’d found. We were extremely worried about our golden girl, but the vet office had already closed, so we decided to call first thing Wednesday morning.

We were in luck. Dr B had an appointment time available for Thursday at 2:30pm.

Thursday morning at 6am, we piled the dogs and our stuff into the car and headed south. We arrived in guelph about half an hour before we were due to be at Dr B’s office, so we stopped at Tim Hortons for some coffee and so I could check my online discussion forum.

At 2:30pm we walked into Dr B’s office with Aspen, expecting the worst.

But, she immediately calmed our fears. It turns out Aspen had broken her upper left canine tooth and it had become infected. The lump we felt was her lymph node inflamed. Dr B said the tooth looked to be freshly broken, so was impressed at how quickly we had reacted.

To be sure of the diagnosis, and to make sure there were no more issues with Aspen, Dr B took samples of the fluid/tissue from the swollen lymph node and some blood for the lab. She also sent us home with two weeks worth of antibiotics and an appointment for Aspen to get her canine removed on Halloween.

Aspen started her antibiotics last night and has been eating oatmeal and soft fish, so that she doesn’t injure her tooth further and so that her belly isn’t bothered by the antibiotics.

Dr B called us this evening with the lab results. The inflamed lymph node is indeed a result of the infected tooth. She also received the blood results and the only issue she found was with Aspen’s thyroid levels. She told me that Aspen’s thyroid levels are so low, that they don’t even register on the tests they run. We will be discussing thyroid medications in two weeks.

I know it sucks that Aspen has an infected tooth and that she needs to have it removed. and I know it sucks that Aspen needs thyroid medication, but it could’ve been much, much worse.

Our Oakville Trip

As I’m sure everyone has figured out from my earlier posts, we went away for a few days with the dogs.

Our first stop was in Etobicoke to visit with Phoenix’s foster family. Alice and Ray are in their mid-late eighties, so we really try to see them every trip we make south. This visit was quite good. Alice seems to be getting a bit of memory loss, but overall her health is good and Ray seems to also be well.

We had originally planned to stay in guelph with our friends Kelly and Ace, but recently they had a new addition join their family, so we ended up staying with friends in Oakville.

Della and Kelsey live with two female black labs, Hasia and Betty, and three black cats, Tess, Steel and BK. Hasia is a former breeding dog for The Lions Foundation of Canada dog Guides, and Betty was fully trained and just days from being placed with a blind person, when she decided she’d had enough and wanted to go home.

It was a lot of fun to stay with them. Our dogs got along fabulously with one another, and Hasia made herself comfortable with Huib and I at nighttime. Thankfully Della has a queen sized bed because otherwise it would have been almost impossible to sleep with Hasia, Rogue and Cessna insisting on snuggling for the night.

We didn’t really do much on Saturday and sunday after the shows, but Monday we took the labs to Hamilton to get some new McMaster University gear – a black hooded sweatshirt for me, and a black baseball cap and navy blue and grey rugby shirt for Huib. I was hoping to find some dog related gear, but it looks like this year they didn’t make any. After picking out our new clothing, we walked over to Williams Coffee Pub and I got a vanilla bean latte, while Huib got his signature black coffee.

while walking around the university campus and sitting at Williams, I really started thinking about how amazing Rogue is doing and that I had better get moving on her training, because she is definitely ready to go.

Monday evening we headed into Guelph to run a few errands, and then took Aspen for her second Chiropractic adjustment. Dr Leslie was quite impressed with how well Aspen’s first adjustment had held, and said that she only found a couple new areas and did a bit of maintenance work.

Tuesday morning we packed our bags and loaded everyone back into the Orlando. We stopped in Mississauga to grab a couple cases of chicken backs from the Maple Lodge Farms Factory, and then stopped in Barrie to get supplements and stuff at Costco.

Since it was a beautiful day, and because we had no reason to rush home, we stopped at Arrowhead Provincial Park so the dogs could swim. The dogs had a blast. Canyon, Cessna and Aspen swam for over an hour, fetching their new bright blue Jolly ball, and green neoprene turtle. Rogue wore her red life jacket and swam a bit, but mostly bounced around the shoreline, greeting everyone and their dogs that came to the water’s edge. Her favourite, by far, was a male German short Haired Pointer. they played together so well, but the owners weren’t interested in just staying by the water, they had their dogs follow them along the shoreline while Rogue watched. then When her friend returned, she was ecstatic, but it was short lived, because the owners climbed back onto their bikes and headed back to their camp site – poor Roagie!

The rest of our drive home was quiet and uneventful. The dogs were thoroughly exhausted and, I think, really happy to finally see their beds and toys.