We’re Back!!!

Hello Faithful Blog Readers!!!
I apologize for our lengthy absence. So much has been happening over the past months, but other than updating our social media accounts, I haven’t been great about updating our followers here.

I’ll do a quick update, and then hopefully I will get back into more regular blogging. Please don’t give up on us.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I last wrote.

To start, Arizona’s puppies went to their homes in March. We get pretty regular updates. Everyone is doing really well.

Our keeper puppy is a girl named Kiana, or REBELFIRE’S FORCE OF NATURE. She is all we wanted and more from this litter. Kiana is smart, athletic, confident, and very good looking. She has a bit more bone, more feathering and a little longer coat than Arizona. She gets along really well with everyone, and I think Ari loves having her around.

If you check out our Instagram page (@ruledbypaws) or find me on Twitter (@ruledbypaws), you will find pictures of Kiana.

Paw Print Genetics had a sale on this spring, so we got Kiana, Arizona and Canyon tested for various conditions goldens can get. Arizona has already been tested for the more common issues, so we just did the supplemental panel with her. She came back clear for everything, so she’s only a carrier for PRA 2.

In January news came out about a new issue in goldens called NCL. It is a neurological condition that causes death by two years of age or so. I wanted to make sure the puppies were safe, so both Arizona and Cutter were tested. Both came back clear, meaning that their puppies are also clear.

I did both the standard and supplemental panels with Kiana and Canyon. Both Kiana and Canyon came back clear for everything, except they are carriers for ichthyosis. It is a skin condition in goldens.

If you find your golden having skin issues on a regular basis, I would consider testing them for ichthyosis. It can be mild or really extreme.

In May or June, Arizona finished her RO2, then in August, she earned her RO3, along with points towards her UKC rally championship and a pass towards her rally excellent title. RO2 is the second level and RO3 is the third level in UKC rally. To earn her championship, Ari needs 100 points, so far she has earned 4. To earn her rally excellent title, she needs 10 passes, and so far she has one. We tried for a couple passes in October, but she struggled with the food distraction. It was a figure eight, that had four metal bowls with liver inside. The poor girl just couldn’t help, but check them out, lol!!! I am thinking food distractions are going to be where she struggles the most.

In September, Arizona finished her CKC rally advanced title. Then in October and November, she earned her CD (or novice obedience) title with scores of 193, 193 and 192.5. We were pretty proud of our wild child!!!

In September, Kiana earned her WC (working certificate) a week before turning 8 months of age. She also earned one pass towards her JH (junior hunter) title. She tried for two other passes, but ran into problems in the water. Kiana has learned that after two retrieves the game is over, so she has decided that it will be more fun to play with the second duck. We will hopefully try and finish her title in the spring. Field/hunt work seems to be her strength. She is an excellent marker, we just need to work on calmly walking to the line, delivering to hand, and always bringing the duck back. She is young, so we’ve got tons of time.

On November 10th, Kiana attempted to earn her TD (tracking dog) title. Sadly, she was unsuccessful. She overshot the second corner, and didn’t know how to work her way back. I hope to try again in the spring.

In May and October, Rogue attempted to earn her TDX. She was extremely close in May, but it was really warm, so I think she ran out of fuel. She also missed the intermediate articles, as she cut corners. In October, Rogue didn’t start well, so I wasn’t sure the track would work out. I was right. She made it to the second corner and then decided to turn right instead of left. Rogue’s start was good, but she moved really slow and kept wanting to stop to eat grass. These are usually signs that she is uncomfortable. Huib wonders if maybe she was nervous about wild animals. We were in BC for the test, so the animal smells would be a little different.

In September, Rogue attempted to earn her UTD (urban tracking dog) title. She was SO close!!! Rogue cut the final corner, so was not lined up with the final article. She was about eight feet away, and turned right instead of left. Poor girl!!!

As you can see, it’s been an exciting and busy year for the ruled by paws crew.

Two Weeks

The puppies turned two weeks of age on Monday. Their eyes are open and they are all walking. They are not completely stable on their feet, but do quite well.

Arizona is spending less time in the whelping box, only going in to feed them about every three hours. She still stimulates them from time-to-time, but they are able to relieve themselves, so the box is getting a bit dirtier. We now change the blanket twice a day, replacing the stuffed toys each time.

When they were about a week old, we started placing stuffed toys in with them, so that they would need to problem solve in order to get around the toy. We usually put one larger toy, then one or two smaller ones.

Within the week, their ears should begin to open, so we’ll start playing various music and sounds. We will also start putting toys in their box that make noise.

Over the past 11 days, we have been introducing different scents, as their noses are the main sense they use right now. We have offered them: orange, lemon, snow, cedar, peppermint, banana, oregano, goose, sage, cinnamon and leather. Some of the scents the puppies liked or were curious about, while others they strongly disliked. For example, all really enjoyed the leather, while no one liked banana – I love these guys!!!

I am a fan of leather, but totally dislike banana too, lol!!!

Another thing we have been doing with the puppies since they were six days old, is Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS). Each day, we handle the puppies, putting them upside down, right side up and on their backs. Then we tickle a paw with a Q-tip and place them on a cold surface. This procedure is meant to get them used to low levels of stress, as well as with being handled in various ways. A couple of the puppies do not like being on their back, but most don’t mind.

It has been amazing to watch their personalities develop. Some are out-going, while others are more observers. Some are loud, while others are quiet. We know we shouldn’t, but it’s hard not to have our favourites.

Here are a few pictures from this week.
Close-up of a sleeping puppy's face.

A pile of puppies sleeping with a stuffed duck.

A puppy laying near a sliding glass door.

Until next time, you can find us on Facebook by searching my name or Instagram under @ruledbypaws.

Puppy Update

Arizona’s puppies are now nine days old. They are all happy, healthy and gaining regularly. As of today, they are between 1.8 and 2.1 pounds.

It has been an amazing experience, watching them grow and learn to navigate the world. Right now, they can only crawl, but I think they will all be walking really soon. In the next few days they should have their eyes open and be able to hear, so it will be even cooler to witness.

Arizona’s energy has returned to her pre-pregnancy level, so she’s beginning to spend more tie outside of the whelping box, and needs long walks to reduce her restlessness. She is still a wonderful mom.

Here and here are some pictures of the family, as well as a couple of individual ones. We have assigned this litter the theme of names inspired by songs by P!nk, so their names are: Trauma, Trouble, Fun, Party, Hazard, Escape, Love, Toast, Revenge, and Fire.

Until next time, stay safe and have fun!!!

They Have Arrived!!!

*** This post is backdated ***

At about 2:00pm, Arizona went into labour. She had been restless for the past couple of days, but did not really give us any clear-cut signs the time was coming. As a result, her breeder wasn’t able to make it until after the first puppy had arrived.

Ari was a bit unsure when the first puppy, a girl, arrived. She was interested in licking the puppy, but also wanted to get out of the whelping box, so I sat in it with her, while Huib did what he needed to do with the pup. After each, he tore open the placenta, tied and cut the umbilical cord, and then held the puppy for Ari to clean, before handing it off to me for drying. Once the puppy was dry enough, we weighed it and then put it onto Arizona. She was a great mom once her maternal hormones kicked in.

Her delivery of each puppy went so smoothly, that we were able to leave the prior puppies nursing while the next arrived. She just laid on her side and let her body do its thing. Her breeder was pretty impressed, especially when it only took her five hours to deliver 10 puppies.

The first and last puppies were girls.

In total she had, six boys and four girls. Initially, we thought it was five and five, but after a few days, we realized our count was off, lol!!!

This link will take you to a Facebook post where I share photos of the new family. It is public, so you should be able to view it.

So far the puppies aren’t too much work, but by the time they turn four weeks, things will get very busy!!!

I will try to post semi-regularly. I do post on Instagram and Facebook almost daily.

Getting Back to Blogging

2018 was a good year for the ruled by paws crew. It was not such a great year for the blog.

This brings me to my first, and only, New Year’s resolution. I am going to try and do a better job of blogging. This resolution’s success may be bolstered by the fact that we will hopefully be welcoming a new addition.

For those who have not been following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or who might not have seen my last post, Arizona is pregnant!!! She will be welcoming puppies around January 14th.

As of last Thursday, Ari is 6 inches, and 8.8 lbs. bigger than usual. She is finding it difficult to lay comfortably, so can be restless at times. Just 14 more days to go!!!

As mentioned earlier, 2018 was a good year. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Arizona earned her PCD (pre-novice obedience) title in February.

2. Ari finished her JH (junior hunter) in May.

3 Arizona earned a few rally titles in August, September and November with both the CKC and UKC organizations.

4. I completed 4 races this year. Not only doing 3 5k, but also walking/running a 10k in August.

5. Canyon earned his TD (tracking dog) title in November!!! This means all three of our current dogs have their TD.

In 2018, we also lost an important member of our crew. On October 15, we said goodbye to Cessna, after her health went downhill. We are all missing her.

I don’t really have any resolutions, but do have several goals.

1. I’d like to train more regularly with the dogs.

2. I would like to finally run races, and no longer walk parts.

3. We’d like to finish off Ari’s rally advanced title, and try out rally excellent.

4. We would like to finish off Ari’s UKC conformation title, and maybe attempt the next level of UKC rally.

5. I would like to have Rogue earn her TDX (tracking dog excellent) or UTD (urban tracking dog) title.

6. We would like Canyon to try for his TDX.

7. We would like Ari to earn her WCI (working certificate, intermediate).

For the most part, our goals for this year are focused on the dogs. They are all things they enjoy, so not really goals that need to be written down, but it’s always a good idea.

Looking back, I think 2018 might be one of our best years so far. Let’s hope 2019 brings some new adventures and maybe a few challenges to keep things interesting.

Exciting News!!!

We’ve already announced this on social media, but I thought we should also mention it here.

Arizona is expecting!!!

She had an ultrasound Thursday, and the vet saw 9 puppies!!! As long as everything goes well, the puppies will arrive January 14/15.

Here is a picture of her ultrasound.

Away Awhile

Boy, it’s been a while since I last blogged.

The tracking and field seasons have started.

In field, Arizona has finally, possibly, overcome the water issue that has been plaguing us for more than two years!!! We have been training for about four weeks now, and she has not refused to enter once – Good Girl!!!

In addition to our usual Tuesday classes, we have started taking Ari to Sunday sessions in Wyebridge. We can’t do it every week, as Huib sometimes needs to work, but we try to go as often as possible. I think it might be helping her, as she’s working around different people and a variety of dogs.

This weekend, we have entered two junior hunt tests. I would love to finish her title, but I’d be satisfied with even just one good quality pass.

If Ari continues to work well in the water, I would really like to have her do her WC (working certificate) in the US, as well as earn her WCI (working certificate, intermediate) here in Canada.

**********

On the tracking side of things.

All three dogs are facing challenges, but they still seem to enjoy themselves and don’t give up.

With Rogue, we are going to take a step back, and try tightening up her searching and get her to be more persuasive when she knows she’s right. At times, Rogue goes back and forth in a very wide pattern across the track, making it easy for her to miss an article or possibly even a turn. In addition, at times, she is not a confident dog, so I need to work on this. I need her to feel confident enough in tracking, that when she feels she knows we are going one way, versus another, then she needs to put a good amount of pressure on the line, so know what she is telling me. Sometimes, when she is not completely sure, her indications will be difficult for me to read, so I need this to change. Since we will not be entering any tests until the fall, Laura is going to work with us to fill in these gaps we’ve found.

With Arizona. Now that she has her TD, we are introducing hard surface and other urban features. So far, she is doing well, but finds contamination difficult to work with.

Finally, with Canyon. Huib is seeing improvement, but he is still a bit frantic or overly excited. With lots of practice and repetition, I think he’ll be ready to enter a test in the fall.

*****

Usually in the spring we stop obedience classes, but this year we have decided to continue. Ari is doing well. We are working on fronts, stands and automatic sits when I halt. Her stays are great, and her heeling on leash is coming along. I think our obedience work will help us in the next levels of hunt and field, as she will need to start working off leash when coming to line and honouring while the next dog does their first retrieve.

*****

On the breeding front. It sadly appears as though the breeding did not take. 🙁

We did an ultrasound on day 30, and the vet did not see any puppies. Ari seems to show some signs of possible pregnancy, but not enough to be able to say yes or no.

We are leaning towards no though.

We will retry in early December, when Ari comes in heat again. If that breeding is successful, her puppies will be born on, or near, our 13th wedding anniversary, which I think is pretty cool!!!

Stay tuned.

*****

On the personal fitness front.

I had to buy new jeans a month ago, as mine are getting to be way too big. I am now wearing a size 10-12 in jeans, which is pretty darn exciting!!!

I haven’t been swimming too often over the past couple of months, but I have been walking lots and running when I can get out with my guide. Now that the Cessna stress has calmed down for the time being, I hope to return to regular swimming.

To keep Ari fit for future puppies, we have been taking her for brisk walks that tend to be over five kilometres long. She usually goes biking that distance, but since we weren’t sure if she was pregnant, we didn’t want to have her biking.

I entered a 5k race for June 24th, and I am still considering one on the 21st. I just need to get in some more runs, or I don’t think I’ll be ready to run an entire race…

The temperatures are getting warmer, so my body needs to adjust to that as well.

Before I go, here’s a quick update on Cessna and Canyon.

In my last post, I told everyone about how Cessna’s having some health issues. We have chosen to go with palliative care, as opposed to trying to fix things.

Cessna has been taking 100mg of Gabapentin twice a day, along with Metacam in the morning. She also gets her thyroid medication twice a day and a hormone every few days for her incontinence. We had hoped to only use the hormone once a week, but she seems to need it every three days. For her UTI, we have been giving her colloidal silver three times a day. We will be taking in a urine sample tomorrow, to see if the infection has cleared after three weeks of taking the CS.

Cessna has good days and not so good ones. On her good days, Dad takes her for short walks in the park, where she likes to sniff and run around a bit. On her not-so-good days, we keep her safe and comfortable. For now, her bad days aren’t too bad, they just aren’t ones where she should be going to the park. On the bad days, her hind end gives out more and she is more wobbly on her feet.

As for Canyon and his seizures. He has not had one since April 12th, so we have kept him on the same dose of CBD oil, 6.6mg twice a day. This weekend will be a bit of a test, as we need to leave him home with Rogue, while we take Arizona to her hunt tests. Canyon often gets anxious when we are gone for long periods of time, but we’re hoping the CBD will keep the seizures at bay.

I hope everyone is having a great spring. I will try and write more, especially since we’re getting busier with training.

Cessna Concerns & Other Crew News

An update on the members of the ruled by paws crew.

On October 30, Cessna turned 14. Over the past six months or so, she has begun to have hind end weakness and gastro issues. Added to all of this, her fur has become extra patchy and quite thin in spots. Despite all of this, Cessna’s mood has been good, and her activity level has been pretty high, considering her age.

Saturday, we took her to the vet, for an exam, and for a refill on her thyroid medication. A few days before the appointment, Cessna started to look as though she was declining. She was more unstable on her feet and her gastro issues were happening every day. Not sure what to do, Huib and I decided to stop all meds and supplements that were not completely necessary, such as her incontinence medication and golden paste. The incontinence med is known to cause diarrhea and the turmeric paste contains olive oil and appears to have stopped helping. We also switched her from a raw diet to canned Merrick food and steamed/mashed sweet potatoes. For months, we have wondered if the raw food is becoming too rich for her gaining system. We have played around with it, even moving to a pre-made raw, but nothing worked.

When Bianca came into the exam room, she was surprised by how much weight Cessna lost (she’s now about 51 lbs.) and with how thin her coat has become. We explained what has been happening, and described the changes we have been making over the past several months. Bianca suggested we do a blood test to check her levels in a variety of areas, as well as to have a urinalysis done. Huib set up an appointment for the blood draw to be done on Tuesday, as she did not have her thyroid meds early enough for the draw to be done at the exam. She also felt Cessna looked to be having some pain, so prescribed her 100mg of Gabapentin twice a day.

It has now been six days since her appointment, and Cessna seems to be improving. We aren’t sure if it’s because she is actually getting nutrient from her food, as she has not had problems in over a week, or if it’s the Gabapentin. She is moving around better, a lot less wobbly, and she continues to be interested in taking part in household activities. Since she isn’t taking her incontinence medication, she is having some leakage issues, but we just give her a quick wash and change the blanket or bed cover. We are still waiting to hear about the blood test results.

We are prepared for it to be bad news, but as long as Cessna is comfortable, we’re okay with where she is at. She will be 14.5 on the 30th, so we are not going to take any drastic measures to extend her life – it’s not fair to her. We are just going to enjoy the time we have left together. If the news is good, then that’s even better!!!

**********

I didn’t have an opportunity to post this last week, so we have the results of Cessna’s blood test and urinalysis. Among other values that are off, which can be explained by her gastro issues, Cessna has a very high cortisol level. Bianca said it is sort of like she is on steroids, but actually isn’t. She is concerned that Cessna may have Cushing’s Disease, so scheduled an ultrasound for this morning. Added to this, it looks like she may have a urinary tract infection, so once we have a better idea of what is going on, Bianca will probably prescribe antibiotics.

At 8:00am, we took Cessna to have her ultrasound. Bianca has an internal medicine specialist come in to do the ultrasounds, so we were hopeful he would give us an idea of what might be going on. After the ultrasound, Bianca’s tech brought Cessna back to us and said the vet would like to talk to us before we left. Huib was worried that something was seen on the scan, as it didn’t take them too long.

The good news, and not-so-good news, is that they did not see any problems on the scan. The doctor even took a look at her heart, which they said looks good. Bianca said we can’t totally rule out Cushing’s unless we do some more extensive testing, but given her age, we’re all in agreement that it’s better to just go the palliative care route, treating the symptoms. Once Bianca gets the report from the ultrasound, she’ll give me a call tomorrow to let me know what our next steps will be.

Before we left, she mentioned possibly putting Cess on Metacam with the Gabapentin (for pain), a low dose of estrogen (for her incontinence), and maybe an antibiotic for the UTI. Her concern regarding the antibiotic, is that Cessna had the runs last night, and cannot really afford to lose anymore weight, so she worries that antibiotics will further irritate her gut. I did some research last night on more natural UTI treatments, and learned that colloidal silver can be used. I am going to mention this possibility to Bianca tomorrow. Finally, she suggested we consider trying acupuncture with Cessna, as it is supposed to be a good treatment for pain, as well as in overall body wellness. The clinic’s current practitioner is leaving after next week, so we are going to wait until their new person starts in May.

**********

In puppy news. We are on day 18 from ovulation, assuming the AI was successful. We have scheduled an ultrasound for Arizona on May 5, so we can find out if she is pregnant. In the meantime, we’re just making sure she doesn’t over-exert herself, so no biking, and we’re feeding her a balanced diet with the appropriate supplements.

Even though Ari might be carrying embryos (at the moment), we’ve continued her tracking, field and obedience training. We want to make sure she stays fit, so we’ve also begun taking her for long walks (at least 5k) every other day, in place of her usual biking exercise.

I will continue to post puppy reports from time-to-time.

**********

Rogue and Canyon are both good.

Canyon continues to take 6.6mg of CBD twice a day. He had a mild seizure on April 12 – which means he made it 11 weeks without. 🙂

We decided not to increase his CBD at this time, since there were some factors which may have contributed to the seizure. For instance, Arizona was in heat and our weather was extremely unstable – including an upcoming ice storm. Hopefully he can go another long period without.

I’ve got nothing real special to report on about Rogue. She ran with me and my guide runner, S, yesterday evening. It has been a while since she was out running, as I did the race and then life got in the way of my training. We had some gorgeous weather over the weekend, so S and I made sure to find some time for a walk/run.

I used Rogue’s new running leash with her, and it worked nicely. She was a bit excited at first, so I had to keep her close, but after a bit, she figured it out.

S wrenched her knee Saturday, so she wasn’t sure how the run would go, so we decided to do a brisk walk for the first 1.5k. It also gave me a chance to stretch out my legs, since I hadn’t run in a while. We then picked up the pace, doing a light jog and brisk walk combination for the rest of our route. In total, we did 4.8k. We are going to try and get together again near the end of the week or over the weekend.

S has said she would like to do both of the runs I’m considering in June. The Solstice 5k is on June 21, in London, and then the Big Little Run is on the 24, at Guelph Lake. So far, I’ve registered for the Guelph Lake one, but will probably enter the Solstice 5k soon.

Until next time, enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

Date with a Michigan Stud ;)

An update for our blog readers who do not follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

We took Arizona to Michigan over the weekend for breeding. This is the first time we have ever gone through the process, so we really didn’t know what to expect.

Arizona was a rock star!!!

Usually, Ari isn’t a fan of dogs trying to mount her, so we really didn’t know what was going to happen. I guess nature took over and since she was ‘ready,’ she was completely receptive to Cutter’s attention. Unfortunately, the poor guy had some performance anxiety, so after a couple attempts, we decided to go with AI (artificial insemination).

Cutter’s owner’s friend is a lab breeder, who frequently uses AI, so she was able to help us out. I think it was probably easier for both dogs to have the procedure done in a home setting, as opposed to in a vet office.

The first AI was done on Saturday afternoon, while the other was done Sunday evening. Arizona was a bit fidgety on the Saturday, but really didn’t seem to mind the procedure on Sunday. I wonder if it’s because she knew what to expect…

We got to spend a lot of time with Cutter and the other two dogs who live with him. They are all well-mannered and behaved dogs. I loved the individual personalities of each of them. Cutter is a lot like Arizona, so it is going to be really interesting to watch their puppies grow up.

Here is a picture of Cutter and I.

Michigan was expecting snow Monday morning, so we decided to head home a couple hours after the procedure. We thought it was better to get home and relax Monday, instead of rushing home and then Huib having to return to work Tuesday without any real relaxation.

If all goes well, Arizona should have puppies around June 8th, I think.

We will have an ultrasound done around day 30, so we know what to expect. It will probably not give us an exact idea of puppy numbers, but it will at least let us know whether or not to prepare for their arrival.

This is an exciting and nerve-racking adventure. I will keep everyone posted on what happens.