Sunday, December 30, 2007

So how did I do?

I just took a gander at this blog from this time last year. Wow, so much has changed. As for my new years resolutions for 2007, I did pretty well. I have become a much happier healthier individual. I exercise on a regular basis and I make wise and healthful food choices. Mentally, I'm the best I've been in a while, but still have a ways to go. I have become a better friend, sister and daughter. I was the best teacher I could have been, and now I'm the best Vet tech that I can be. I've made great strides in all areas of my life. Though the trials have been many, overall, its been a good year, I think. At the beginning of 2007, I could never have forseen the changes that were to happen in my life, or to this journal. We said Goodbye to Mocha, and hello to Sully. I moved to a different country. I decided not to start a family, in fact, never to start a family. I changed jobs. I changed my home, my friends, my priorities, my life. I survived it all. Now THAT is something to celebrate!

*Pops the cork on some sparkling cider*

Now for my 2008 New Years Resolutions

1) I will continue in the vein of last years goal to live a healthier lifestyle. This year I will go ahead and make a pledge to lose 100 pounds. I will exercise six days a week. I will weight train a minimum of twice a week, and I will work out at the gym a minimum of three times a week. I will stick to my Sparkpeople diet plan. I laid the groundwork for this last year, so I am ready to tackle the big problem now.

2) I will strengthen my relationship with the Lord. I will find a church home, I will attend bible study weekly. I will spend time in Prayer and in worship. I will seek His path for my life. Its clear that I cannot be trusted to steer this ship. Its time to let go, and let God.

3) I will cultivate deep, meaningful relationships with other people.

4) I will make important decisions about school, career and general direction of this next chapter of my life. I hope to have a plan mapped out by the end of the year, and a new set of goals for 2009.

I hope you all had a good 2007. I hope you met and exceeded all of your goals. Most of all, I hope that 2008 is better than you could ever imagine.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

I'm still here, still alive. I haven't posted much for two reasons. 1) Not much has happened of interest, and 2) my camera broke so I can't bless you with new pictures of my beautiful babies.

I have been saving up for a new camera, and I was going to buy it for Christmas, but I decided to spend half of it on a present for my Mom instead. I figure I can wait a couple more months, besides, seeing her open her present was well worth it.

Moxie got a new toy, a package of Greenies and a Bully stick for Christmas. I have never known Moxie to chew on anything for more than five minutes ever, but she sat down yesterday afternoon and ate the whole bully stick. It was a 12 incher. And as one might expect, she was puking this morning. I would have taken it away from her sooner, but I really didn't expect her to do that, its totally out of character. I'm going to take the excessive chewing to mean she's bored and has too much pent up energy so I need to work harder at wearing her out every day.

This year was Sully's first Christmas, so I tried to really do it up for him. We actually put up the Christmas tree, solely and entirely for his benefit, as neither my Mom or I care much about decorations. He's been amused by it. Since I shelled out a pretty penny for a new cat tree and scratching post this year already, I kept the presents light. I actually bought them a new feather attachment for their flying bird toy. I got it out and played with them with it a day or two before Christmas and Thurston destroyed it in a matter of minutes. So I went back to Petco and bought them out of feather flyer attachments. That should last this crew about a week or so.

Kobie has taken a turn for the strange in recent weeks. He's decided that he cannot eat alone. I must be in the room with him when he is eating his meals, or he will refuse to eat. At first I thought this was just him getting weird in his old age, but then the real reason for it came out. I've been nothing if not really busy of late. Between work and taking care of house and family and volunteering and cultivating friendships, I don't have much extra time to take care of me. Last week, I picked up an old journal, flipped to a fresh page and spent the twenty minutes I would usually pass doing nothing sitting in the room with Kobie, writing. So now I have daily built in journal time, to process my day, and set my goals for tomorrow. Its brought some much needed structure to my chaotic life, and I have my precious little neurotic orange cat to thank for it.

So thats the long and short of it now. Expect copious updates when the new camera comes in, featuring many pictures of the fuzzy beasts.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Whats in a breed.

What do you get when you take one of these:

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add a little of this:

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and a little of this:

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and a dash of this:

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Don't know? Well, according to the idiots at Mars Veterinary, you get this:

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Can you believe it! Its like instead of doing the test, they just threw darts at an AKC breed poster. These idiots are trying to tell me that my dog, that MOXIE, is a beagle mix!!! WTF! DO they think I'm stupid? Well obviously I am, I actually paid these people to do a DNA breed test on my dog. $85 wasted.

I'm so angry I could spit nails. I've been royally had!
What makes me even more angry than the money I wasted, is the fact that this company assured us that this test was complete and accurate, and something useful and factual that we could offer our clients. Now its our integrity on the line, and you can bet we won't be offering this test in our office anymore. Moxie's was the first profile we did, and I wish we had waited to offer it to clients until we had her results and were satisfied. As it is, we had two other clients do the test. I'm so ashamed. I just hope whoever is playing darts over at Mars Veterinary has better aim with their tests.

Believe me folks, don't waste your time, or money on the Mars Wisdom panel DNA breed test.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back to blogging

Well long time no blog. Moxie and I have been very busy with work and training and volunteerings.

I took a trip to Boston a few weeks back and Moxie and the cats stayed behind to torment my mother. I believe all but Moxie will have to be boarded next time I go out of town.

Sully has entered the "complete nuissance" stage of his development. He is constantly into everything he shouldn't be, and looking pleased as pie with himself when I'm retieving him from the shelf, or fishing something out of his mouth. He swats at me with his one paw and looks endearing with those blue eyes, and I just can't be mad. I remember this phase with Thurston. It lasted about two years. Oh brother, what have I brought into this house.

Kobie and Thurston both have ringworm, and I have no idea how they got it. I don't have ringworm, Sully has been over his for months now. Its a complete mystery. But it isn't too bad and it seems to be healing with treatment. I hate ringworm. Its one of those things I will ask God about when I die. "God, why ringworm?" I just hope Moxie doesn't get it.

Last Tuesday I sent off Moxie's DNA profile. I should have the results in another two weeks. Can you believe it! Two weeks and we will finally know what makes a Moxie thanks to the fine folks over at Mars Veterinary Wisdom Panel. We've already had several clients request the test. I'm thrilled because I was insistent that we carry it. I had to really convince my boss that I wasn't the only one CRAZY enough to spend that kind of money to know what breed mix my dog is.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I've been seeing other dogs.

Moxie has had her suspicions. First, the strange red hairs on my clothes, then, the strange collar in my car, and finally, the distinctive "canine" smells on my hands. Well her fears have been confirmed. I have been seeing another dog.

This is Bosley and he's stolen my heart.

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He's actually my bosses dog. I pet sit for them when they are away. They want to get Bosley into pet therapy so I've been working with him. He's great in the house but needs some work outside, so I've been taking him for long walks with Moxie and practicing our basic commands. He's getting much better. He's such a sweetheart though. He will sure bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of people in need. Just look at this smile.

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He's at the top of my dognapping list for sure.

Today Moxie and I went to "Bark in the Park" a community event to benefit the Hickory Creek Animal Shelter. My therapy dog group trains on saturdays in the front room at that shelter. The town has been very generous to donate the use of that space. They are raising money to build a new shelter, which is desperately needed, unfortunatly. Don't you wish there was no need for animal shelters at all? In a perfect world....every dog and cat would have a loving wonderful home.

This past week was the week of terrible pet owners at work. Some of the people I worked with don't deserve to have pets. I cry for those poor animals. Suffering at the hands of willfully ignorant, lazy and heartless owners. Sometimes I just don't have the stomach for my job.

After Bark in the Park, Moxie and I went to visit our friends, Kathy and Jally. I visited with Kathy, and Moxie visited with Jally. We all had a lovely time. After that we went over and took Bosley with us on a nice walk. Moxie spied something strange in their backyard. She couldn't quite figure what it was.

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After a short game of "chase the giant hopping rat" We played a game of "leave the kangaroo" that wasn't nearly as much fun according to Moxie. Bosley just ignores it. After all he lives with a lemur. He's already seen it all.

I'll leave the keeping wild animals as pets rant for another post. Suffice it to say, I don't agree with the practice.

But keeping Golden Retrievers as pets is perfectly acceptable!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Training Disaster

So tonight was my first night to teach basic obedience at my local obedience club and boy was I nervous. I have been on edge about this for the past 48 hours. So I pull up to the fairgrounds after work and I notice there are some people inside the building, which is very odd. I waited for someone else from the club (someone with some guts) to show up. Ann fit the bill, and apparently, the fairgounds double booked our building! We've had that building every Tuesday night for the past 15 years, but they gave it to the 4H club.

So that put us in a bind, and our students were beginning to arrive. We set up a makeshift registration in the parking lot. I had left my jacket at work and was freezing. Our first student is a finished champion smooth collie who wants to start on some competative obedience. Nice dog, the lady is going to be difficult. Then the rest of the class shows up. Three families, with FIVE 5 month old German Shepherd Puppies between them. Two of them are dragging small children behind them through the parking lot. Two are barking and lunging at the Collie. The fifth is hiding, cowering behind his owner. Oh brother.

So I explain to the parents that no, their children cannot train the dog in class. The mom informs me that I have the honor of informing her children of this. Great. I'm terrible with kids. So I broke the news, gently I hope. They didn't cry, thats a good sign right? We talked about collars, leashes, treats, class rules, and I talked a little bit about teaching attention. It was too dark to do much else so everyone left and we will extend the session a week.

So I'm thinking I'm in WAY over my head. I have a week to do some research and figure out how I'm going to handle this crew. The training director offered to see if our resident GSD expert would be willing to teach this session and I graciously bowed to experience. I really hope she says she will teach because I am really nervous about this. I mean, these owners with the GSD's are dog novices. Two of them have littermates in the same home. In watching them interact, they clearly know nothing about dog behavior, or basic training. The dogs are 5 months old and already a nightmare. I think they can be helped but I don't think 6 weeks at an hour a week is going to be enough time.

So, Lord help me.

If someone else takes the class I'm going to bring Bozley and put him through his paces every week. He's a great dog, just needs some manners. I've been babysitting the Boz man two out of the past three weekends, and his owners are going away again tomorrow until Sunday. I'll get some pics of him and let you all see how lovely he is. Such a sweet boy.

Moxie and I haven't trained in three weeks now because, first, I was sick, then, last week Moxie had the pukeys, and this week this mess happened. I hope to do some work with her tomorrow so she doesn't lose ground.

Sully is doing great and on NO meds or supplements. Guess what did the trick? the all canned food diet. If he gets into the other cats dry food, or the dogs dry food he gets the squirts, as long as he just gets his canned food, he has normal solid poops. I'm feeding him only the Wellness grain free varieties. He has no complaints about it. I wouldn't have dry in the house except Kobie is being difficult and won't eat enough of the wet and was losing too much weight. Meal time around here is a circus. I have to lock everyone in separate rooms and when I open the doors, dash in and pick up the bowls before Sully or Thurston run in and stick their face in the bowl. Little piggies! But I love them. Sully is getting so big. A little too big in fact. I've cut his rations back as he's a bit podgy already! Actually, I don't think I feed him too much, its all the food he manages to steal. I swear he's taking lessons in being bad from Thurston. Now I have a pack of little thugs terrorizing the house.

I am going to Boston next week! YAY! I'm going to visit Shawn. The kids are staying with Mom, with lots of backup phone numbers. I'm wondering if I should just ask someone to take Moxie for a few days but I just don't know what would be best. Maybe I should board the cats too, so Mom doesn't have to deal with the feeding fiasco. Or just Sully, with his special diet. I just don't know. This is precisely why I don't leave town more often. Any ideas?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Goodbye Hazelnut Latte Bear :(

I'm really sad tonight. Little Hazel, who was doing SO WELL, took a turn for the worse last night. I took her back to the animal emergency clinic when she developed labored breathing and a pounding heart beat, and began grinding her teeth, all signs of pain.

They admitted her to the hospital and gave her some pain meds, then ran some bloodwork. The results weren't good, their were significant changes from Friday mornings labwork. her liver values were about the same, but her electrolytes were all out of whack and her CBC was dangerously off scale. The bloodwork painted a much bleaker picture than I had originally thought for Hazel. We decided to treat her overnight and see what it looked like in the morning.

The doctor called at 10am and said Hazels labs were actually worse this morning, and that things didn't look good. At this rate Hazel was going to need a blood transfusion just to restabilize, and the list of possible reasons for her illness was full of dire prognosis. It just didn't look like she was going to pull through, no matter what we did. So I called Shawn and there was a coordinated effort between myself, the doctor and Shawns parents for a while, then a decision was reached to let Hazel go.

I met Shawn's parents a the ER, and we held her and stroked her and told her how wonderful she was as she slipped away. It was even harder to say goodbye once I saw her. She looked more alert than she had in days, and was managing a weak purr. I cried like a baby. It was like losing Mocha all over again. I feel so guilty for letting Shawn and his family believe that Hazel was going to be okay. I just never saw this coming. I really wanted her to get well. She was such a fighter. She never gave up. What an incredible little kitty.

Run Free Hazelnut Latte-Bear. Give your mom and your brother love from me.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Hazelnut is improving hourly. She is home with me tonight for feedings. Her eyesight is returning gradually, and she is more alert today and able to stand a walk a few steps. She will get better, there is just no other option.

Here she is tonight. Does someone look like her mama or what?
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Here is Mocha mommy and brother Tyler for comparison
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Hazel looks like an old cat after her ordeal. Very sunken and unkept. I can't wait until she returns to her former glory. She was quite a stunning cat before all of this.

All your thoughts and prayers are helping! Keep it up!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007



Hazel was found, ALIVE, one block from her house. She is dehydrated and emaciated but alive! She was taken by her rescuers to the Animal ER where Shawn's parents and I met up with her. I was expecting her to look alot worse than she did. She raised her head, meowed and made several attempts at grooming. She is very weak, just exhausted the poor thing, but very happy to be found for sure. I can't believe it! Two months to the day she dissapeared!

She had some labwork draw. Remarkably, her kidneys are healthy! Her liver enzymes are elevated and she is a little yellow - she probably has a condition known as "hepatic lipidosis" or Fatty Liver disease, common in cats who are overweight and stop eating. Good news, we can beat Fatty liver disease. I think she can survive this. We will see what my docs think in the morning. I'm up for the challenge, I'm just so glad she's been found! I had given up hope! Only just last week, Shawn's parents had given me all of Hazel's things and I never took them out of my car (not because I had a feeling, just because I'm lazy)

So everyone send your best prayers and healing vibes to Hazelnut! She's a fighter though, I really think she will pull through this. What a miracle! An absolute Miracle!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Beating the Drop on Recall Demon

Another breakthrough night at the training club! I'm so excited! Moxie and I have been working on the drop on recall exercise for open level competitive obedience for some YEARS now (though not consistently) and tonight it finally "clicked". I started out by leaving her in a sit stay and walking out about 20 feet. Then instead of calling her, I asked her to "down" in place. (This made possible though years of work proofing downs anywhere, anytime) I used her verbal mark, "yes" and praised then returned to her and gave her a treat. Then I would put her back into a sit, go back out, and ask for a down again. Mark. Treat. Repeat a few more times. Finally I left her in a sit, went out, and called her front then asked her down about five feet out and she dropped like a stone! I was amazed! No creeping. No hesitation. It was an immediate, picture perfect down on a single command! I through a puppy party over it of course. I was very excited about this down, which of course meant Moxie was excited about it, and is more than happy to do it again and again for all the praise and yummy treats.

I just can't believe that was all it took to get her to "get" it. I have tried every which way to teach this skill. I tried using a helper and a leash to stop her while I simultaneously give the down command. She was too smart for that one, she knew when she was tethered and when she wasn't. I tried proofing moving downs, drilled them and drilled them and she would drop on recall, eventually, but she clearly didn't understand what I was asking of her. I tried using her favorite game, fetch. I would throw the ball for a retrieve and as she brought it back to me I would ask for a down and the minute she dropped, I would throw another ball for her. Again, she would drop, eventually, but it wasn't an immediate response and she clearly didn't understand the concept.

But tonight was just brilliant! I was so proud of her! Our relationship grows stronger with each passing day. If only my people friends could read me as well as Moxie can. She's amazing. Other highlights from tonights session include an great improvement in heel back/backup. She is performing the skill correctly more and more frequently and with greater control and precision. We are getting there! Her attention and heelwork is spot on. I wish I had some good video of us heeling to post as it's quite flashy from where I am, I'm sure its fun to watch.

One negative, my new trainer is all about correction, which, I believe correction is necessary in training. Don't get me wrong. But its also imperative that you know your dog, and trust me, I know my dog. I cannot leash correct my dog. She shuts down. Moxie is a super soft touch. She works best completely hands off. All I have to do is change my tone of voice for her to know when she is doing something correctly vs incorrectly. So I use a verbal correction, "eh" or "wrong" in the right tone of voice is all thats needed to get Moxie to reorient to me and try again. So tonight I lost her attention for a split second during a heeling with distraction exercise and my instructor says "correct her!" which I did! I gave her an "eh" and then a command, probably a watch me, or a leave it, I don't remember, but it worked. But no, she wants me to leash correct Moxie. It doesn't work and I won't do it. She shuts down. She cannot be manhandled like that she's too sensitive. Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree with a leash correction as long as it is done properly and not overdone, done out of anger, or done to "hurt" the dog. I just don't agree with leash correcting my dog as she doesn't respond to it.

Fast forward to the end of the night, I asked the trainer to put Moxie through some heelwork as I'm trying to get her used to other handlers so she will be more responsive to the patients during the pet therapy sessions. So she takes the leash and moxie responds brilliantly to her. She was heeling Moxie in a weave pattern through a line of dogs performing down stays. Two of the dogs in the class are less experienced and are still learning the meaning of stay. One of these dogs is friends with Moxie, so when the trainer walked Moxie past her, she broke her stay and tried to initiate play with Moxie. This commotion made the next dog break his stay to move out of the way. Meanwhile the trainer is trying to heel Moxie through the mayhem and Moxie turns her head to watch the dog that is coming up behind her. The trainer leash corrects her. Moxie cowers down and turns her head away (sending her best doggy calming signals) and what does the trainer do, she gives ANOTHER leash correction. I was alarmed to say the least. I mean, all she needed to do to get her back was to say her name and "heel" in an upbeat voice and Moxie would again trot happily next to her. Fortunately, once the other two dogs were back under control Moxie recovered and finished heeling. The whole thing probably only took a couple of seconds, I just couldn't believe the trainer didn't read the situation better than she did.

The positive outcome was that Moxie did work for this other person. She did recover from the correction and we were able to end the night on an up note. So all's well that ends well I suppose.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New Frontiers!

Long time no update. Moxie is doing well with her training. We are working with a new trainer at the obedience club and are really being challenged. She loves working with me in class and learning. Its fun for her. We worked some on weaves the other day and she is starting to go out and do them without me next to her which is a huge step for us. There is a UKC Obedience comp in Denton tomorrow that I've decided not to enter as we are at the open level in UKC and not ready to compete. We have everything except a reliable drop on recall and dumbell retrieve. I am using the Shirley Chong method to teaching the retrieve and we are making real progress, but still have a ways to go.

I have the trialing bug though, BAD! I would love to find an APDT Rally trial, an ASCA obedience or agility trial of any flavor to compete in. Moxie and I are bored! We want some rosettes for all our hard work.

On the cat front, Kobie's paw has healed perfectly and he has had no futher complications. Sully has had a setback. His stools went soft on me again after I took him off his supplements, so I put him back on the slippery elm, probiotics and digestive enzymes. He's on a three times a week dose of budesonide and his stools are coming back to normal. This tells me, though, that we are probably dealing with IBD as it recurrs when we stop treatment. I was hoping it was just residual inflamation from the coccidal infection.

Finally, a bit of my own news. My obedience club, GTDOG, approved me as a trainer and I'm doing my first basic class starting next session. I'm super nervous and excited. It should be fun, I just hope I'm good at it!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lightbulb Moment

I'm reading the book, "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt and so far its been pretty good, but doesn't really apply to me and Moxie because Moxie doesn't have reactivity issues, and she rarely ever has a "shut down" moment any more. Though its all good stuff to know so I can help others who have dogs that do have these issues. Moxie's big issue that I was hoping the CU course would help with is she becomes so excited over certain things that her brain fogs over and she can't concentrate, listen, or learn anything. Its a big problem in agility, it also happens sometimes in obedience.

Last night, Moxie and I went to our twice a month visit to UBH to do pet assited therapy. On these visits, we set up a short agility course and have the dogs run the course, then get the patients to work the dogs through the course. Moxie gets SO WORKED UP she isn't listening to the patients commands and it ends one of two ways, either everyone laughs at the silly dog, or the patient feels like a failure, which is something I would really like to avoid. Something else she does on these visits is she fixates on treats. She won't calm down for petting, or pay attention to the patients. She keeps her eyes focused on me at all times, ever vigilant, hoping for a treat. So while I was reading the book last night, it was talking about rewarding calm behavior and I finally made the connection that half of Moxie's problem is she is overmotivated by food.

I started to really think about it, and I almost always feed her when she's in an excited state of mind. Including meals, she is always worked up and excited before meals and I reward that state of mind by feeding her. So, the new regiment is no food until she is relaxed. We are going to do some relaxation excercises with the ultimate goal being an ability to cue relaxation. I want to build in an off switch basically. The book has given me some good starting points, but if anyone has any ideas feel free to chime in.

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In other news, SULLY HAS NORMAL POOP! The budesenide has worked wonders for him and so far no unwanted side effects. I am slowly weaning him off all his supplements. Hopefully, once we stop the budesenide, he will continue to have solid stool. Everyone keep your paws crossed!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Declaw Remorse and Training Breakthroughs!

I got Kobie about six years ago, and as a matter of course, I got him declawed the same time I had him neutered. I was young and dumb and thought that 1)declawing wasn't causing any real long term harm to the cat and 2)that it would be impossible to teach a n adult cat how to use his claws indoors, and 3) that because my other cats were declawed, I had to declaw Kobie.

I have since discovered how wrong I was, on all three counts. I have since trained several cats to properly use their claws indoors. I have since learned of, and seen first hand, the deep psychological and physical damage that declawing causes. I have declaw remorse, in a bad way. And to make it all worse, six years after the fact, Kobie has developed a painful declaw complication. His toenail was not entirely removed in the first go, and has for the past several months, been slowing regrowing through the bone and under the skin of his toe. This has caused pain, swelling, infection, and drainage. He had to have surgery today to remove the bone spur and sharp little kitty claw. I almost cried when I saw it, I can only imagine how painful that must have been. And now he will need to recover from a (second) amputation of the last digit of that toe. My poor baby.

There are 101 reasons not to declaw your cat, and this is reason number 101.
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He deserves better than this. :(

On a happier note, Moxie and I had a wonderful night training with our club, GTDOG. We spent the first hour helping people from the community train their dogs to be well mannered pets. This is very rewarding in and of itself. You should have seen the look of sheer joy and amazement on this dear womans face when her 6 month old lab puppy finally "got" sit. The light finally came on, and she starting picking things up faster and faster as the night went on. I love teaching, its quite satisfying.

The second hour Moxie and I did some formal obedience practice. We started with heelwork and I must say Moxie was looking fantastic. She was flashy, she was correct, she was "On" and it showed. Her turns, her pivots, her halts, her finishes, she never put a paw wrong the whole night. I was so pleased with her. If we can perform like that in a trial we'll be coming home with a HIT and titles coming out our ears! *Dreams of a High in Trial Win* As icing on the cake tonight, Moxie and I finally clicked on two skills we've been working on for a long time now.

Get Out: Go away from me and around a stationary object as directed. This is something I have been trying to teach her for use in both agility and obedience. She needs to work away from me more in agility and Get out would make that easier. My dream would be to be able to stand in the middle of the ring and call out commands and let Moxie run the course (hey, we can all dream can't we?) This is also an essential skill for Utility level obedience and several skills in Advanced and Excellent Rally. Moxie, I could tell, was quite pleased with herself and happily "Got out" around an alley-oop, cones, bowls, toys, whatever I told her. She was having a great time. She knew she had "gotten it" and was quite pleased with herself.

Back up (Back straight) : Heeling backwards, both in a straight line and in a figure 8. We were getting this right 90% of the time by the end of the night. Right now she mostly just scoots or shuffles backward with very little control in her direction. But she did have a couple of good attempts were she moved her feet independently and deliberately. I think we are getting there. I think, as with Get Out, once she gets this, there will be no stopping her.

So overall, I am quite pleased. Now to find some trials to enter, both agility and obedience. I want to enter the TWANG ASCA Agility trial in December, and would love to find an obedience trial in October or November. Anyone has any leads, let me know!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Furry Angels

Well the therapy visit on Friday went really well (once I finally made it there). Moxie just LOVED the kids and they just LOVED her. They wanted her to play with them on the playground equipment (Which happens to be one of moxie's favorite things to do!) So she ran through the plastic tunnels and up and down the slides and over the swingy bridges and kids romped and chased and hugged all over her! I don't know who was having a better time, her or the kids.

These kids are going through some tough times. At the moment they are living in a safe house, their mothers have left an abusive relationship and many are in hiding, fearing for their lives. Most left with nothing but the clothes on their back. I loved that I was able to share my dog with these kids, give them a night where they didn't have to think about friends, homes, pets, belongings and lives left behind and the strange newness of their current situation. The moms were able to relax and have a good time too. They were eager to chat with regular folk. I'm sure they feel quite isolated and lonely. When a battered women makes the brave decision to leave the abusive relationship, it usually also means leaving behind her entire life, her things, her friends, her job, etc. I can't remember the exact statistic, but a shocking number of women who are murdered are killed by their partners, so the desperation these women are feeling is based in a certain cold harsh reality. I admire their courage. I wish I could do more for them.

Really, I don't know who benefited the most from our visit, Moxie, the kids, their moms, or me. It was a good night all around.

Today Moxie was the Rally Obedience Demo dog at the Bow Wow Pow Wow in The Colony. Moxie was proud to represent GTDOG and strut her stuff. She did well, unfortunately, no one really cared. I'm sure we would have gotten more of a response with an agility demo, but what people don't realize is that ill mannered dogs won't do agility either! Besides, Rally is such fun. Oh well, perhaps it really wasn't the right crowd.

Moxie has always been a challenging dog to work because her drive overrides her brain sometimes. She gets so worked up that she can't concentrate and listen to me. I was recommended a book called "Control Unleashed" that is supposed to help with this. I got it in the mail today and I can't wait to read it.

Update on the cats. I took Kobie and Sully to work with me yesterday. Kobie got his yearly labwork done and it was all normal. He also has a strange abscess on his toe that the doctors think is a declaw regrow. He will have surgery next week to investigate. This is reason like 500 that I wish I had never declawed him. I'm so sad, and so sorry that I did that to poor Kobie. He will never know the satisfaction of a nice full body stretch, never be able to properly climb or scratch. He may develop arthritis due to being forced to walk in an unatural position. And now this! He will have to have another painful operation to declaw him AGAIN. I could just kick myself. I should have known better. Thurston and Sully both have all the claws they were born with and I don't intend to change that.

Sully got his last kitten vaccine and his microchip implanted. We also rechecked his stool, which is still diarrhea, but showed nothing unusual upon anaylsis, as per ususal. We are going to try him on a course of a GI acting steroid called Budesenide. I was afraid to put him on steroids because of their immuno suppressive effects, but this is supposed to act only on the GI tract and no where else in his system, so I thought I would give it a go. For those keeping up with the homeopathy treatment, we are now on Slippery Elm, Probiotic mix, Digestive Enzymes, Psyllium Husks, and Collostrum. He's on an entirely grain free diet. The next step is to switch to a novel protein limited ingredient food, but I really don't think this is a food allergy issue, as protein allergies in cats are actually pretty rare.

So thats the scoop on the poop! Glad you tuned in!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

School is back in session

After a five week break in training, Moxie and I hit it hard again tonight. We did alot of heel work and worked on our open level obedience excercises. Its been a while since we've done any of that and it shows. Her drop on recall is hit of miss and her dumbell retrieve is awful! We didn't have a broadjump to practice with, I think I may invest in one soon. We don't get to use the broadjump often enough in agility or obedience practice.

She did wonderful as per usual. I have to really watch MY attitude when we train. She really picks up on it when I'm frustrated or tired. She had a couple of shut down moments on me tonight. During the dumbell retrieve, I think she got spooked when the dumbell clattered on the floor. We took a short potty break and moved on to something else and she perked right up. We ended the night with a fun game of fetch.

Moxie has a busy week coming up. We have a therapy visit Friday Night at Friends of the Family battered women's shelter. Then Saturday we have another visit at a nursing home and then we will head over to the BowWow PowWow in The Colony where our club is giving a Rally Demonstration. I'm looking forward to it. The weather has been so nice lately, hopefully it lasts through the weekend.

The cats have been spoiled this week. I bought them a new cat tree, a new scratching post, and some new litter mats to prevent tracking. Moxie's new food came in too. I decided on Wellness CORE Reduced fat. We'll give it a try and see how it goes. This is what the cats are eating now. Though, Now that I've settled on a dry food for the cats, I've about decided an all wet formula is best. Figures. I've two bags of their old food to give to some needy kitties somewhere. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Friday, August 31, 2007


Moxie got her teeth cleaned today. They did an excellent job and it was well worth the money I paid to have it done outside of our clinic. Here are the before and after pics.

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As you can see, they really weren't that bad to start with, but her breath was horrible and her gums were beginning to show the signs of peridontal disease so I wanted to get her mouth overhauled and I'm quite pleased with the result.

They ran some labwork before her anesthesia and everything looked good except for some very slight, very mild elevations in one kidney value (BUN). It's probably nothing, but I'll have it rechecked in a few weeks to be sure.

Being the OCD freak that I am, its making me rethink her diet, and I'm on the hunt now for the perfect dog food. I only just decided on the perfect cat food after almost a year of searching and researching. I've decided on a 100% canned food diet. I chose Wellness because they use human grade meat and their canned food is grain free. Of all the canned cat foods on the market I was most impressed with wellness. My only concern is they package the food in pop top cans, and there is some chatter about a link between pop top cans and hyperthyroidism in cats. I've decided not to worry about it though (yeah right!) To read why cats need canned food click Here

In other news, Sully's stools seem to be improving on the slippery elm and acidophilus supplements. He had one partly normal, partly abnormal stool yesterday. Its a step in the right direction and I'll take it. If he keeps this up much longer I'm going to seek out the advice of a specialist. I don't want him losing nutrition during his formative months.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I've been seeing other dogs....

Poor Moxie. I went to a dog obedience class tonight and I left her at home.

She was not amused. I came home smelling or Lamb chunks and lots of other dogs. I think I feel guilty enough to take her to work with me tomorrow.

Working Derby was alot of fun. I didn't know alot of his command words, which made communication difficult, but he and I seemed to generally understand each other. We worked on straightening his sits and they were looking fab by the end of the night. He heals like a dream really. He's just a chronic crooked sitter. He also does not stay sat or down for very long, but that was improving at the end of the evening too. Derby will make a fab little obedience dog, as well as cleaning up in agility. I wonder if Jamie realizes what a little gem she has. I also LOVED getting to use the clicker. I really enjoy clicker training. Too bad Moxie hates it.

I also got to glean some free training advice. I think I need to start seeking out and taking classes in different places every now and then, just to get a new perspective on training problems.

Well Moxie will got to work with me tomorrow, there is no therapy visit, it was canceled. She will get a bath at work. Friday she is going in for a dental cleaning. I know she will be fine but anesthesia always makes me nervous. I just don't think I could survive without my baby girl. There will never be another dog like Moxie. I coulnd't ask for a better friend. She's always there for me, even if I have been training other dogs.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

You are my sunshine...

my only sunshine
you make me happy
when skies are grey
you'll never know dear
how much I love you
please don't take my sunshine away!

As sung to the kitty in my lap at any given point in time.

I had a revelation this week. We had a gas leak and with workers in and out of the house I began to look at myself, my home and my life through someone else's eyes....and its weird! The first night when the inspector came over, he rang the door bell as I was feeding the cats. I answered the door with an open can of food in my hand, three cats swarming at my legs and a dog in the mix too. I lead the poor man down our hallway, shoving the play tunnel out of the way with my foot only to find it won't budge with a cat in it. Cat litter crunches on the carpet by the bathroom was he opens the hot water heater closet. In the garage I toss carriers and litter boxes out of the way in an attempt to clear a path to the attic. Suddenly I realized, I AM the crazy cat lady. This will be the house that this guy goes home and tells his wife about. Sheesh.

If nothing else, it shamed me into cleaning the house today.

Moxie is booked in for a Dental Cleaning on Friday. I'm going to have her eyes checked and her nails cut short at the same time. She's got some clouding in both eyes, I think its just age related lenticular schlerosis, but I want to be sure.

Wednesday I'm working Derby in a Rally class over at Woofgang. We have a therapy visit on Thursday. These are the dog days of summer so not much going on. Its too hot to be outside.

Roll on Autumn, Roll on....

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cool down

It was nice cool evening so Moxie and I filled up the poor bedraggled wading pool.
Dog + Pool + Nice summer evening = Magnet for every neighborhood kid in a three mile raidus. I spent a full hour supervising four boys, three of whom I'd never met until today, playing ball with Moxie. They had a blast. Moxie thoroughly enjoyed herself. The kids had an absolutely wonderful time playing with her. I was on pins and needles the whole time.

I was so worried that moxie was going to get over excited and go for the ball and accidentally catch a finger and then I'd have a lawsuit on my hand, or worse, irate parents calling for my "vicious" dog to be put down. These are sad times that we live in. If I wanted to be indignant about it, I would ask myself, where were these irate parents when their kids randomly invaded a strangers yard and started playing with her dog? Not one of them asked first. Its sad really, that instead of enjoying what really was a beautiful moment, where kids were being kids, and Moxie was being Moxie and all were having a great time, the video games forgotten, and a sense of community emerging, I was too worried about impending litigation.

No wonder I'm an old fuddy duddy. Just want to play in my own yard with my dog without having to worry about liability from every wayward child that wonders in. Its a constant worry, those neighbor kids. I drain Moxie's pool everytime we're done playing because I would hate for some neighbor kid to wander up to our property and drown in it. We'd be sued for sure. I can't store any of my agility equipment on the porch because some kid would try to play with it and break it. My mom has two wheelchair ramps, from the driveway to the porch and the porch into the house, and we have to block them with trashcans (read huge inconvenience for my mom) to keep the kids from riding up and down the ramps on their bikes and skateboards. I have two pets burried in the front garden, both of their graves have been desecrated by roaming hoodlums. Is nothing sacred anymore? Where are these kids parents and why don't they teach them manners!

Really wish I had a fence. :(

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Too Hot!

So for the past couple of weeks its been too darn hot to do anything outside. Even the pool water is boiling. So today, the only day its cool, and I'm too sick to take the poor dog for a run.

She'll be filing a report with the SPCA soon.

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Bored Border Collie.

Actually, I doubt she really minds that much. For such a high drive dog, she is really lazy. I have to crawl over her to get out of bed in the morning, she likes to sleep in. But bring out the toys or start some agility work and she's on it like flies on a rib roast...probably with all the same enthusiasm. She has an off on switch and its incredible to watch her switch modes. Its most apparent when we do our Thursday night sessions at UBH. We do agility demonstrations and let the patients work the dogs. Moxie can be on like a floodlight running the course, then off and into love and cuddle mode mere moments later. She is truly a marvel. Looking at my current ability, or disability depending on how you look at it, I probably couldn't handle a normal border collie. I definitely couldn't meet the needs of a pup like Cheetah. So maybe it's good that I'm not getting that border collie puppy. I'm developing quite a liking for Golden Retrievers lately. They have a nice working style too. Maybe when I get a puppy, it will be a Golden.

After all, there is nothing cuter than a Golden Retriever Puppy.
Except a Moxie puppy of course.

But all puppy talk is years off anyway. No puppies until Moxie passes. So hopefully, that will be a very long time off. Moxie HATES puppies. The older she gets, the less tolerance she has for them. I'm not going to make her miserable just so I can have my puppy fix. Besides, I've got this hooligan three legged cat to raise. I might adopt an older dog before then, but only if it was the right dog. Thats also probably a few years off too.

Sully still has diarrhea. We've officially tried everything medically to treat it. So I'm changing his food from Solid Gold to Wellness Kitten. I seem to recall having foster cats in the past that got icky tums on the Solid Gold. I've been wanting to switch to wellness anyway for a while. I just like their formula. The canned foods especially. They have a new grain free dry food called CORE that I bought a bag to try. I'm more keen on the cats having a grain free diet, as cats are obligate carnivores. An obligate carnivore is an animal that requires in its diet nutrients that are found in sufficient quantities only in meat or other animal products. Grains hold no nutritional value for cats. Some may argue that its the grains in dry cat food that cause our cats to become overweight. One of my cats is a carbaholic. We can't leave any bread product out in the house, he will find it and tear into it sometimes before we can even get it out of the grocery sack. Hopefully a high protein diet will make them feel fuller, longer and they can lose the excess weight and generally feel better.

I'm not so concerned about Moxie's food being grain free, as dogs are not obligate carnivores. Meaning they can derive nutritious from food sources other than animals or animal products. While carbs are probably not the best for Moxie, they aren't killing her. Her food, Solid Gold, contains Barley, which is a higher quality grain, easier to digest and with more nutrients than something like corn or rice. Besides, Moxie has done really well on Solid Gold. She's been on it for a long time. She has nice normal regular stools, she maintains a healthy weight, she has a good coat, bright eyes, wet nose, essentially the picture of health.

Who would have thought pet food could generate so much chatter or make me so happy! Well fed pets are happy pets.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Sully is: Feeling better, no more fevers, but still has soft stool. :(
Hazel is: still missing. We need positive thoughts and prayers.
Moxie is: Hot! and bored. Its just too hot to exercise outside. We have our therapy visit in the morning, the offending dog will be there, I hope all goes well.
I am: BUSY!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cat Crisis

I'm not having the best of luck with the cats lately.

Sully is sick. On top of his chronic diarrhea and fungal infection, he has developed viral pneumonia. He's on five different medications and has been on eight different meds since I brought him home a week and a half ago. He's feeling better this evening, but had a 105.5 fever earlier this afternoon and wasn't eating.

Remember me telling you about Hazel? Mocha's daughter. Tyler's sister. Shawn's cat that he left behind when he moved to Boston. Well I just got the call that she's been missing from his parents house since late Monday night. She's declawed, and never been outside in her life. She is also not up to date on her vaccines, surprise surprise. I'm sick with worry. I've made a poster that I will fax to the shelter and various vet clinics in the morning. I can't get round to check the shelter until the weekend. If there is anyone in the area that can check the shelter for me before Saturday, please let me know.

I lost Tyler, I lost Mocha, now have I lost Hazel too?

Incident at the Therapy Visit

So here is what happened Tuesday Morning

A new dog joined us for our regular 10am Tuesday morning therapy visit at University Behavioral Health, a mental health hospital. Shes a german shepherd and shes actually been with the group longer than I have, she just hasn't been attending this visit.

Moxie, the shepherd and a little Yorkie all arrived at the same time and we gathered in front of the facility to wait for any others to arrive. Sam the Yorkie came right up to greet Moxie and they said their hellos then Kadie the Shepherd came over to greet same. The three dogs were sniffing each other and wagging their tails and the owners are all chatting.

Suddenly the shepherd tears into Moxie. It was alot of noise mostly but it scared the pee out of me and Moxie. Moxie didn't aggress back towards the shepherd she just ran behind my legs and hid, shaking. The shepherds owner corrected her, then proceeded to blame me for allowing my dog to rush up to her dog. My dog didn't rush up to anyone, Kadie approached her, not the other way around. She claims that her dog has been attacked before and is wary of other dogs but she just never does that and she must have been scared, (Of WHAT, Moxie was minding her own business)
So she claims this is just because she doesn't know Moxie.

A little history, Moxie and Kadie met briefly once before about a month ago at a non-working group gathering. A very similar incident occured between Kadie and another dog that day. I remember thinking that the dog was a loose cannon and should she really be a therapy dog at the time.

So I get Moxie calmed down and we get up to go inside (thats right, she wasn't asked to leave!) and Moxie gets up from laying down and starts to walk with me towards the door and as we pass in front of Kadie she goes for Moxie AGAIN! This time Moxie wasn't even LOOKING at the sheperd. I had her attention and had her working in a heel, her eyes were locked on mine.

I was SO MAD! Whatever the reason for this dogs aggression, it;s dangerous and she should have been asked to go home. So I'm seething by this time, but I'm determined not to let it ruin the visit. We get inside and meet with some people in the lobby and Moxie relaxes and goes into therapy dog mode and everythings okay.

Our first stop was the childrens ward. They were all outside in the play yard. They all rushed up and loved on the dogs and wanted to walk them, then wanted to run with them, then someone got out a ball and a game of fetch broke out. Sam the Yorkie, the Dobie Holly and Moxie were all off lead running. and playing with the kids. Kadies owner kept Kadie on lead but told the therapy coordinator that it was because her dog and Moxie "got into it" outside. She told him that Moxie rushed up to her dog and they got into a fight. I was LIVID! He was looking at Moxie like she was about to attack one of the patients and I've been visiting there with Moxie for weeks now! That NOT how it happened at all! The whole time we are outside Kadie is giving Moxie the evil eye, Moxie had her full attention on the kids and is ignorning Kadie, so much so I have to call her away anytime she runs near Kadie as I'm afraid the dog is going to jump Moxie again.

Time's up with the kids and we move to the adult unit. In the halls Kadie is still pulling towards Moxie and eyeing her. The other team members are putting themselves between Moxie and Kadie. In the Adult Unit, we were inside in the day room. Moxie and I like to work the room, go from person to person, meet and greet. But the room is pretty small and we had to keep a wide berth of the shepherd. We ended up boxed in a corner. Moxie didn't mind but I was really mad at this point.

This shouldn't have been happening, Therapy dogs are supposed to be bombproof! They have to pass a test that includes working near an unknown dog. How the heck did she pass that test! I don't understand at all. The dog is fearfully reactive to new dogs. How can she work as a member of a team that gets new dogs and handlers all the time? This can't keep happening all the time, its dangerous. I think that the shepherd should have been asked to go home. She's a great dog, she's great with people, but she has a major training issue, one that should not be worked out in the theraputic setting, putting other people at risk and giving our club a bad reputation. I called the person in charge, who was there and saw the incident, after we left and told her my concerns. She seemed to feel that the Shepherds owner was aware of her dogs problems and was cautious and responsible during the visit, so it was not a problem. She too said that Kadie only responds that way to dogs she doesn't know. By this time I'm thinking of dropping the Tuesday visit, even though its my favorite one, because I don't want to have to deal with this dog every week. But I decide to contact Kadie's owner and see if we can work it out.

So I call Kadie's owner and recommend that we get together and walk the dogs before the next visit. That way we can introduce them properly in a controlled setting and hopefully avoid another incident. Well our schedules didn't match up and we couldn't find a time, so her owner says, well, you know, I think they will be okay, we'll just keep them away from each other. Oh, and she again tells me, it happened because her dog was scared because Moxie rushed up to her which didn't happen! Evil or Very Mad

So I don't know what to do. I'm thinking of trying again next week, but if anything happens and she isn't asked to leave, I'm leaving. I really think that kind of behavior is out of order for a therapy dog, and her problems need to be worked out before she is allowed to go on visits with other dogs. The dogs have to be able to work together. I'm afraid that something will happen, if not when Moxie is around, then another new dog, and someone will get hurt, or scared, and we won't be invited to visit there anymore, and we'll get a bad reputation in the community and won't be able to volunteer anywhere. The people in charge, though, don't seem to see it that way. I really love the therapy visits and I want to keep doing them, but I'm not comfortable with the way things are being run.

What should I do?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Moxie Reviews!

Welcome to the very first edition of Moxie Reviews! Each week Moxie will review a new doggy product.

This week, Moxie reviews the Holey Roller Ball.
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This ball came highly recommended by the fine folks over at Ruffdogs. I picked one up today at Petsmart for $8.89. A little pricey for a ball, but I was willing to give it a go.

Strait out of the bag moxie had little interest. It wasn't fuzzy, it wasn't a tennis ball, and it didn't squeak. A quick toss, however, and she changed her tune. The minute she picked up the ball she went puppy on me, dashing about the room, tossing the ball up in the air and catching it again and chewing and shaking the ball. An immediate Hit! The ball is lightweight and soft so it scores point for safe indoor play. The cagey build collapses in on itself and springs back into shape when released. It also holds up to moderate tugging and chewing.

During our outing today we also picked up a wading pool at Wal Mart on sale. I set it up and we headed outdoors for some more product analysis. The Holey Roller ball scores bonus points as a cool submersible toy, easy to find and grasp under water. Moxie dove for her new ball over and over again. This is actually the first time Moxie has willingly put her face under water repeatedly. Our 9 year old neighbor jointed in the fun and spent about 45 minutes playing with Moxie and the ball. The ball is easy to throw and its cage design means little fingers stay clear of border collie teeth. The ball is easy to toss, fun to tug and holds up well to long periods of rough play. The holey roller does roll, but does not bounce, so it loses a few points for lack of chase appeal.

Over all the Holey Roller ball gets four paws up from Moxie, one satisfied customer.
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Though its not really a doggy product, the wading pool purchased from Wal-mart and pictured above gets two paws down and a whine for an overall flimsy design that doesn't stand up to the rigorous play of a border collie or a nine year old boy.

In conclusion
Holey Roller Ball - Worth the price
Wal Mart wading pool - Waste of money
Nine year old boy with ADHD - Priceless!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The kitten that would not be named has officially called "Sully". I finally made the decision by purchasing two kitten collars and two tags, one engraved "Sully", the other engraved "Sushi". I put the tags on the collars then had mom pick the collar she liked, without looking at the tag. She picked the sully collar. I think Mom is a little attached to her grand cats. What do you think?

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Cats or Dogs

You Are: 60% Dog, 40% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.
You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.
And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

What makes a cat person, a cat person? What makes a dog person, a dog person? And what about those of us who, like me, are both?

I love dogs because I've never met a dog in a bad mood. Dogs don't have bad days. A healthy dog is always up for a romp, a walk, or an adventure. Dogs are pure love. Dogs are unselfish, forgiving, and great listeners. Dogs are what good people should aspire to be. My dog is my best friend and partner in life. I wouldn't/couldn't be without her.

I love cats because they don't need people, but they choose to share their lives with us anyway. I love how cats call the shots in their lives. They choose their humans, and they manipulate their environments to suite them. I love how individual they can be. I love how they are picky about the people they share affection with. I love the catitude. I love the very unique way a cat and a human interact. Its a whole new language you have to learn, but once you do, you stand in wonderment of these amazing creatures. Raising cats is what I imagine raising kids would be like, only better.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Why don't you talk about you.....

Someone asked me today, "Why don't you ever talk about you on your blog?"
Well, the short answer is, because I'm smarter than that. I kept an online diary for several years in college, and while it was very therapeutic for me, in the long run it turned out to be a bad idea to publish that much personal information on the world wide web.

The long answer is, because its not what people want to hear when they ask, "how are you?" No one wants to know how you really are when they ask that question. Its almost a rhetorical question, "how are you?" It's almost never meant as an inquiry into your present state of being. I try not to be this way, but I am occasionally guilty of it myself. After introducing myself on the phone during a business phone call, my first question is "how are you today?" I would be quite taken aback if anyone said anything other than "Fine, and you" or something similar. That just falls too far outside the social norm for formal conversation, or even casual conversation among people who don't know each other.

"Thats all well and good, but shouldn't you be blogging for you" you might be asking. Ideally, yes. In fact when I began blogging something like seven years ago, I did do it for me. But it is simply foolish, this day and age, to publish anything remotely resembling personal information on the internet. Its just going to come back to bite you in the end. So these days, I keep my private thoughts to the pages of my notebooks.

I didn't start this blog for me, I started it for my friends and family, who might want to keep up with me while I was off in Mexico. It was a well intentioned gesture, but as things got more dark, desperate and difficult in Mexico, my posts became increasingly vague, full of tails of outdoor adventures with Moxie at the center. As much as I would have liked for my loved ones to know what was really happening to me in Mexico, I could not post it here.

I still can't talk about what happened, but since I've been asked, I'll go ahead and share with you, "how I am doing" now that its all over.

In the words of Bruce Springsteen, it's like someone took a knife, edgy and dull, and cut six inch valley through the middle of my soul. Would that this was the only rift in my soul. It hurts every day. Images of places, voices of people, pictures of faces, that had infected my life for five years haunt me day and night. I take comfort in knowing that I held nothing back. I gave every ounce of myself. Given everything I know now, I'd do it all again, and hope for a different outcome. I think someone once told me that was the definition of crazy. A very smart man once told me, "What you give your attention to, grows in your life" the corrollary to which is, "What you ignore in your life, will eventually go away" So I don't spend much time thinking about the pain. I've thrown myself into my work, my family and my friends. Maybe someday that valley in my soul will have healed enough to let me look back in a constructive way, and make sense of this chapter in my life, or even revisit it.

Enough of this. Here is the lushious Sully. I'm waffling on the name again, I'm thinking maybe Vader (as in INvader). Sully just doesn't feel right. I keep coming back to Sushi, but Mom doesn't like it.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More pics of the new arrival

Meet Sully, named for the lovable blue monster in the movie, Mosters Inc. As he is both lovable, and a monster.

He has completely stolen the hearts of everyone in this house, He bounds from lap to mischeif to lap to new adventure. He is full of purrs and cuddles. He is wonderful.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

A Sad Farewell and a Warm Hello

I received an upsetting comment on my last post, it seems my friend Oscar the Airedale has passed away suddenly. He was only just over one year old. Oscar was my first Dogs with Blogs pal. He was a wonderful dog, well loved, and well deserving of love. He will be deeply missed. Run free at the Rainbow Bridge, lovely Oscar the Airedale

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Saturday afternoon, I welcomed into my home and my life, a new kitten.
He's a three month old Siamese, whose leg was amputated last Wednesday due to irreparable crushing injuries. He is very special, super affectionate and absolutely perfect for my family. He's adapting well to having just three legs. He walks, plays and washes himself with relative ease. He's pretty laid back generally, with spurts of playfulness. He will lay in my lap and purr for hours on end. At the moment he is playing with his catnip lobster.

He needs a very special name, as he is a very special kitten. Any input appreciated.

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He's a bit difficult to photograph as he's a wiggle worm.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Borrowed Dog

I'm pet sitting my boss' dog Bosley this weekend. He's a fabulous four year old Golden Retriever. What a sweetheart! He greets me at the door with a huge stuffed animal in his mouth and a wag in his tail. I took him for a walk today with Moxie and he got the hang of walking nicely on leash rather quickly. I could tell he doesn't get walked much. He pooped out after a mile while Moxie was still rarin to go! In fact a three mile bike ride/run, and a mile walk only took the edge off Moxie's energy. The dog is insane. Maybe my next dog will be a golden!

My boss wants me to get Boz evaluated as a therapy dog, but we need to learn some basics first. Sit, down, walk on lead, stay, and come. He has to know this solid to pass the test. Bosley has a rock solid temperment and he will pass that portion of the test with flying colors. So I'm embarking on a new adventure to train a borrowed dog.

I'm excited. This will be fun. I'm used to working with herding breeds so a Golden is a whole new ball game. Walking him to drain his energy won't take near as long for starters! Having a new dog to work should hone my skills as a trainer and maybe fill a void that having a second dog would fill. Since I can't have another dog for a while, this is the next best thing.

So my plan is, walk him daily, and two 15 minute training sessions a day to start. Lots of praise and positive rewards. Do I dare clicker? I don't think I will. We don't want competition obedience, just pet level obedience and he's quick to learn.

So pics of the handsome Mr. Boz tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Pics!

I got some new pics from a coworker today of the party. I thought they were funny so I would share.

First Moxie, the party princess!
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These pics are for mature audiences only, no puppy eyes, please.

This is Rio Bravo, AKA, Chester the Molester, having his way with every Big male dog that would stand still long enough.

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His poor Mom spent the whole time hauling him off other dogs. She really needs to get him neutered.

Some of my friends from the UK and I were having a discussion recently about cropped ears. Here is a Dane with cropped ears, and one with natural ears. Also, the dobe in the above picture has cropped ears. In defense of the owners of both of those dogs, they were cropped before the current owner adopted them.

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We didn't have training class tonight. I showed up, but no one else did. I'm sure I missed something, somewhere. I didn't go to the therapy visit this morning either because I was lazy. Moxie went to work with me, but she got stepped on twice and dropped once. So it wasn't a good day for Moxie. :(

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Pawty!

Today was Moxie's 8th birthday party at the Dog Park!

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Everydoggy, who was anydoggy, was there!

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Moxie shared her very special day with Dallas the Great Dane. He turned 1 year old today!

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Friends gathered.....

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Love connections were made....

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A good time was had by all!

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Moxie was treated like a princess!

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And got lots and lots of new toys!

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Thanks everyone, for making my birthday pawsome!

Licks, Moxie

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moxie's Birthday Blowout Extraveganza!

Come one come all to Moxie's 8th Birthday Party Extravaganza at Wiggly Field Dog Park, Denton Texas Sunday July 22nd at 2pm. Collect your party hats at the door!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Moxie's wounded paw

Took Moxie to the lake on Sunday for a swim. The water was so high the park was closed and we actually swam in the parking lot. Moxie cut her foot on something, at some point. But she was having too much fun to notice so she didn't tell me her foot hurt until I got home and gave her a bath.

She basically "scalped" her toe pad, tore the tough outer pad part off leaving a sensitive bloody nub. Nothing that can be sutured or closed so we have it bandaged to heal. Hopefully it will heal quickly. Moxie is not amused by her bandage. She was really good about not chewing it. She left it alone all night, until I went to take my Mom to the car dealership this morning. I was gone 40 minutes and she had it off when I got back. Grrrr! So its on with the e-collar while I can't watch her.

We went ahead with her therapy visit at UBH this morning but decided against going to training. She got lots of sympathy pets and cuddles from the patients in the hospital, but I could tell she was sore at work, so we just went home and skipped training this week. Hopefully she will be better by Sunday. Sunday is her big birthday blowout party at the dogpark. Everyone, who is ANYONE will be there! Loads of pics to come!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Well I tried to train today, but every time I got everything set up outside, the skies opened up. We got some weaves done, not much luck on our go on practice, it was thundering and she was distracted. I did find out, however, that Moxie will still chase a tennis ball during a thunderstorm, her obsession doth run deep.

So I went to Toy r us and picked up a child's play and crawl tunnel. I set it up in the living room and Moxie and I did a mini training session in left and right tunnels entrances. I would have gotten more meaningful work in, but the cats took an intense interest in the tunnel.

Moxie got tired of dodging cats and went on in pursuit of other interests.

Kobie, in particular, LOVED the tunnel. He spent well over an hour playing in the tunnel. I have never known him to play with anything that long. His assessment of the tunnel is as follows:

"This tunnel is a toy much too sophisticated for the canine tastes. The brilliance lies in the subtle detail...the velcro tassles, the mesh windows, the general rollyness, the swishy fabric. This is quite a versatile toy, one can play in it, on it, or under it, alone or with a friend! The tunnel also doubles as a secure snooze spot. In short, the tunnel is the best thing to hit this house since the advent of the cat tree. I give it four paws up!"

Moxie and I got some weave practice under the shelter of the porch. (please pardon my fat ass!)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Will it ever stop raining?

We finally had a break from the rain today so we got some outdoor work in on jumps and weaves. Her weaves are pretty solid on all sides and she is even starting to anticipate the weaves and work away from me a bit. I still have the channels open about an inch. I don't think she's quite ready to have them closed all the way. I want her to be confident and solid so I want to set her up to succeed by not moving on until she is ready. We are working "go on" over jumps. She does well as long as I throw a ball for her. I am also setting up the jumps at varying distances and heights to help regulate her stride and jump style. We also did some single stride jumps to make her more aware of her hind end. I wish I had known to do these things when she was younger, but at least its never too late to train the right way! Weaves are a prime example.

The Karen Pryor Clicker + arrived yesterday and its super cool. It has five different sounds it makes in soft and loud modes. I was hoping that the sounds other than the click sounds might work for Moxie. Unfortunatly, Moxie saw the clicker in my hand and it was all over. She has developed a totally irrational fear of the clicker, and I'm not going to fight it at this point. She responds best to verbal praise anyway so if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

We went back to UBH for a therapy visit on Thursday night and things went well even if Moxie was a bit hyped up. After 16 straight days of rain, she hadn't had any real excercise in weeks and it showed. She got the chance to run and went nuts. It didn't help that I brought treats and she was hungry. So I've learned two things about this particular visit, I need to wear her out ahead of time, and I need to feed her so she isn't begging for food the whole time. On another note, I recognized one of the patients. We were hospitalized together last summer. It was awkward, but I don't think he recognized me which is good. It was a nice example of how far I have come in a year, and a reminder of how much further I have to go. I am not so far removed from the state hospital and my illness that I could not return someday. Though I hope not. I also hope this young man finds some peace himself. Though a far cry from the mental hospitals of yore, being institutionalized is no picnic, thats for sure. UBH, being a private hospital, is considerably nicer than the state hospital, but its still no place you want to be. Its lonely and frightening. I'm just glad I have the opportunity to give back now, and bring some warmth and love in doggy form to the patients at UBH.

I find myself living my days in anticipation of my next doggy event, therapy visit, training class or competition. I think I'm addicted. Well I got paid yesterday, so I can go get the things on my want list now! Yipee! Shopping!

Sunday, July 01, 2007