Thursday, April 3, 2014

Belated West Updates!

Photos from his two-year adoption anniversary!

Some days I feel like this

But most days I feel like this

Or this

I love those long walk on the beach

Always something new to dicover

More pics:

Adorable recent video:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A new harness

For Christmas, Reiker and I got some new gear.

This fall, I got a dog scooter and Reiker and I were having fun with it, but my x-back harness doesn't fit him and the regular nylon harness we were using just wasn't a good idea long term. So, we needed something else.

After looking around at several sites, I really liked the Urban Trail harness by Alpine Outfitters. They offer a starter kit for scootering that includes a tow line, a collar and a belt for humans!

I really, really like the belt. It has no plastic parts at all, and the clasp is such that when I (or a dog) pull on the belt, it tightens into the webbing so it can't come loose by mistake. My least favourite thing about most pet waist-leash belts is that they have plastic clips, slides, clasps, etc.

This one is also padded and super comfy. I bet I could wear it with just a thin tshirt underneath without chafing/hurting me.

Reiker LOVES this harness. We can't scooter (it's icy outside) but I have gone running with him a tiny bit with it. We also have been using it for tug games, and it is fabulous for taking pressure off his neck.

Using the flyball handle Alpine put on the harness for me.

With the Premier harness and the EZdog harness, he would sometimes choke or cough when the harness would come up under his chin and put pressure on his throat. This harness doesn't do that at all, even when I'm letting him lean into it with his front feet off the ground. And it's super secure.
The harness does do up with two plastic clips, because I specifically wanted the adjustable version. It fits a bit loose how it's adjusted now, and I might tighten it a bit to see how Reiker feels about it. We love it, seriously.

We also got this fancy limited slip collar with a huge O ring and my phone number embroidered on it. It's somehow become his everyday wear collar, and I use it for tying him out as well (He's inside a fenced yard, the tie out is for additional security). I LOVE the Oring. Why don't all collars have O instead of D rings? This is an awesome idea.

He's wearing it here.. I made the photo big so you can really see it.
You can just see the phone number embroidery on the collar under his fur!

We haven't used the towline much yet. I have used it hooked to the belt and harness, and the bungee is great. It's supposed to be reflective so I want to play with it in the dark. Mostly, it's for the scooter, so that will have to wait until spring.
It is NOT intended to be held by hand, and it's very rough. The couple of times I have grabbed it with my hand, I've regretted it, so no more of that!!

Disclaimer: I received this product as a gift from a friend, with no connection to Alpine.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Reunited with West

On vacation, so I'll write more later, but thanks to Valerie for meeting me so I could see West again!

Monday, August 26, 2013

And more updates..


Archie has spent quite a bit of time "on vacation" up at my mom's place over the past few months. He loves it up there, has free reign of the land, and plays with her new boy, Vegas. But when he's here, we do the usual activities.

Archie also gets to play IPO/Ring!

From Archie 2

And Ttouch:

From Dogs at ttouch aug13

And Tracking:

And Agility:

And Nosework:

From Nosework - July - Fri PM

Okay, so it's been a while..

I've got West updates to post from months ago, and we've been busy!


Last I left off, Reiker and I were just experimenting with Disc. Since then, we've attended a fabulous evening seminar with Dana Gallagher, and learned a ton. Plus, she provided us with some "real" discs. I'll note that Reiker has not yet destroyed a SINGLE ONE, despite chewing on them madly. He also prefers them very much to the hard plastic dollar store ones. Wahoo.

That's just some of the video from the seminar. It really was great.

We've got a small local group together working on IPO/Ring stuff, and Reiker got to bite his first Leg Sleeve the other day. He loves this game:

From Reiker 2

We're auditing Shade's IPO101 Tracking course at Fenzi Academy, and have worked a tiny bit on scent pads. I haven't gone much farther with it yet.

And we had a blast doing some Ttouch workshops in Vernon. Reiker got to work one on one with Linda Tellington-Jones, AND Robyn Hood. He did amazing and I had a great time.

From Dogs at ttouch aug13

Reiker and I, notice the slack leash!

Finally, we've also done a nosework seminar and a bunch of practices. I haven't got the video edited for that yet, so it'll come soon.

Plus, the usual agility and Rally-O. Here's the final week of the agility class we took in June. This was Reiker's first real agility class.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A month later, more frisbee

Those previous videos were from early May. We had daily long frisbee sessions while I was house sitting :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nosework with Reiker!

Reiker and I attended a Sniffinar with instructor Dana Gallagher a couple months ago. She's coming back in July!
Anyway, she graciously allowed us to video the seminar, and said I was free to share the video of Reiker working through the stages as long as I stripped the sound. So excuse the music, or turn off your volume!

We had four turns. The first turn was just an intro, the second was similar but Dana handled our dogs while we set boxes. The third we took off our leashes. My dog was the only one who left the 'search area'. And the fourth was puzzles and blind hides. Fantastic seminar. We have been practicing nosework once a week after my class, and both boys love it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reiker and the border collie

Kaylee really wants to play with him. Reiker really wants her to stay away from his frisbees!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Recovering well!

You can still see the marks on his face and his shaved leg, but he's doing far better

From Reiker 2

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kibble Snorfle!

Reiker scoops kibble up off the lawn:

From Reiker 2

And a couple dogs I looked after are hunting kibble for the first time:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

West update!

From West's Adoptive Family:

Hi Courtenay
I'm sending a few clips of west as promises.
Better late then never !
Nina and West have become great buddies.
Can't remember if I mentioned that Nina has arthritis in her spine.
No more trials for her, I still practice with her and she really enjoys it.
West is doing great, we're off to a trial in Cloverdale as I write.
Let me know went you are coming to Victoria, we'll try and connect.
I've decided not to do Regionals with West this year, too early.
I hope Reiker is doing better.
Poor guy looks like he went through a rough time
All the best

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eosinophilic Furunculosis - AKA Face Rot

I posted a photo a few days ago of Reiker's facial.. abnormality. It's been a long week, and I'll document it here in case it helps anyone in the future.

Reiker was eventually diagnosed with Eosinophilic Furunculoses. This condition is thought to be caused by a spider bite or bee sting, and is a sort of localized auto-immune reaction to a trigger. It's generally self limiting, and very easily treated with short term steroids. I read this paper and this brief article on the subject, and found them useful.

On Sunday, Feb 24, I let Reiker outside in the morning. I was looking out the glass door at him, and it looked like his face was stuck funny in his Gentle Leader. When I brought him in, I had a closer look and determined one cheek was swollen. Assuming an insect bite or something equally as benign, and since he wasn't bugging at it or showing any signs of discomfort, I gave him a Benadryl around 11am, and checked on him every couple hours. The swelling gradually decreased, and was basically gone by Monday morning.

I didn't see anything else until Wednesday morning. Once again, he had a bit of swelling on the top of his face. Nothing major, but strange. I immediately gave him half a Benadryl (all I had left) and again watched him carefully. He started out with just a bit of swelling, then developed a couple red spots. I assumed due to the location, that he had scraped/bonked his nose under the deck or under the shed.

This was taken Wed morning:
From Maligator

By Wed evening, it was looking a bit pustulated. He still wasn't showing any signs of discomfort. I held off on the Benadryl, as I didn't want to mask anything.

This was taken Wed evening:
From Maligator

Thursday morning, it looked basically the same. By Thursday afternoon, when I took him out to pee, it was open, terrible looking and ulcerated. We were heading to see a tech friend that evening, so I had her look at it. She recommended high doses of Benadryl, and to come in the next morning if it wasn't drastically improved.

Another tech friend saw the photos and immediately recognized it as EF. I mentioned this to the vets I saw, but until the biopsy came back, they were reluctant to consider it seriously.

Thursday night, I started Reiker on Benadryl, and washed his face up with Chlorhexadine scrub. And fed him Cheez Whiz for tolerating me. Lots of it.

Thursday Night's photos:
From Maligator

From Maligator

From Maligator

Friday morning, it was still getting worse. I called and got the only appointment left of the day. We saw the vet on Friday afternoon. He prescribed antibiotics, and booked a recheck for Wednesday in case it wasn't cleared up. I continued the Benadryl on my tech-friend's recommendation, and though the vet had recommended Metacam, I held off as I was still thinking he'd need steroids.

In the interest of giving the antibiotics time to work, Saturday came and went rather uneventfully.

Photos from Saturday morning, after three doses of antibiotics and benadryl:

From Maligator

From Maligator

From Maligator

And from Sunday night:

From Maligator

From Maligator

Sunday it was still getting worse, so Monday morning, I called the vet hoping to get in for Prednisone. The vet felt strongly that the biopsy needed to be done before he could prescribe the Pred, so we were booked in for Tuesday morning and instructed to "keep it clean for the next 24 hours".

Monday afternoon, things got bad. Reiker decided his face was itching terribly, and couldn't leave it alone. I tried distractions, muzzle, cone, sleeing with him,.. nothing helped. By 2am, I was exhausted from almost 12 hours of trying to keep him from it. I took the cone off, put him in his crate, and let him scratch until morning.

We were at the vet by 8:15 Tuesday morning. After talking to the Surgeon about my concerns around Reiker's dog/cat reactivity and ... enthusiastic nature, she agreed Dex/Torb premedication in the exam room would be best. I was happy overall with her anesthesia recommendations, and knew the tech personally. He was given IV premed, topped up with more IM, then once he was flat out, we took him to the back for induction and two biopsy punches. A stitch in each, and he was recovered. I left, and returned a few hours later.

I did not speak to the vet at this point, and was given steroids and buprenorphine with instructions. I was not instructed to continue the Benadryl, and was not given any further instructions around the antibiotics. I wasn't given any cleaning or wound care instructions except to bring him back in 14 days to have the stitches out. I asked if they could send me home with a blade to do it myself, and they easily agreed.

After one day of steroids, the photos show drastic improvement already:
From Maligator

The clinic called and had me pick up more antibiotics on Wednesday (one day of steroids). When I went to pick them up, I brought a list of questions and left them with the clinic staff. They were very happy to take my questions.

Two days later:
From Maligator

I spoke to the vet on the phone on day 2 (Thursday). She answered my questions, and I felt good about the information I was given.

When the biopsy results came back on day 4 (Saturday), I spoke to a third vet about the results. She explained it was EF, I explained I wasn't surprised. She encouraged me to continue the steroids a couple more days, and gave me more Buprenorphine as well. She also recommended giving him Benadryl again, so I started the benadryl then too.

Five days later:
From Maligator

Six days later (I think the cone came off at night around this point):
From Maligator

And ten days later, I stopped the steroids at this point due to some side effects (Cone was off permanently a day or so before this):
From Reiker 2

And today (13 days after the biopsy and he started the steroids). He was playing on the deck and opened up a tiny spot. This has happened a few times, it clots and I don't worry about it much.
I suppose I can take the stitches out any day now.
From Reiker 2

From Reiker 2