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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