Wednesday, June 16, 2010


R: DDare meets the ducks
L: Becky Hart and I and Boy #3 before we left AZ. His left ear came up the first morning home!

When it Rains.....

It pours.
Today I am the proverbial bug on the windshield. This post will be one of those therapeutic spews. Nothing terrible, just a general piling-on.
The Maggie update: she continues to do well, although she did suffer some side effects from last week's chemo (Vincristine). We arrived in Duluth last Friday afternoon without incident but as we were getting ready to leave the trial site to check into the motel, Maggie threw up everything she'd eaten that day. Yuck. I think it was the nastiest smell to ever afflict her crate. She was mortified, too. A call to the vet(s) yielded an encyclopedic tour of what might be, and some practical advice. We then procured Pepcid and turkey/rice baby food, administered the first, followed later by a little slurry of the second. It didn't stay down Friday night, but worked its magic by Saturday morning, and by Sunday Maggie was 100% recovered. She even ran one agility course on Sunday afternoon, and qualified. I felt as though we'd earned a championship on that run, just to see her vigor return. So now, we know that she may need pre-treatment when she gets this particular drug again. It's one of the repeaters on the protocol, so we'll stock up.
She had blood drawn yesterday in preparation for this week's treatment, and her WBC count was low--not critically, but enough to put off treatment until next week. This, too, is not unexpected. It means the chemo is working, and it kills the 'bad cells' and a few 'good cells' in the process. We'll try again next Tuesday and in the meantime root root root for the white cells!

The Winn update: we had a fabulous herding lesson with Marc Christopher on Friday before heading north. I think this man is one of the most gifted observers around, and he quickly spotted Winn's reliance on my physical cue to move off on an outrun. (hmmm, just like our start-line issues!!) Once I stopped moving, we got a much more thoughtful dog. And a nicer, square flank. Go figure. And this made my resolve at the agility trial hold up--I had to take Winn off twice, but he got the point and by Sunday afternoon was rock solid.

The Wrenshall NADAC trial can't be beat--even in the fog/mist/cool weather we always have a blast. The courses seemed especially fun; Ilze Rukis was the judge so it was having a friend in the ring, even if she was calling a fault; and two friends earned Championships on Sunday. Winn and I tried a 'bonus line' in Jumpers on Sunday too--we didn't get it, but we got a lot of it. FUN!

Puppy update: DDare has been here ten days already!! He is a great addition to the staff. Having said that, and meaning every word of it....
He's had a few pee accidents. Actually, it's me. I have forgotten just how often puppies need to pee. I have forgotten that you can't expect them to walk to the door, they must be carried out. I have forgotten that the whine is a reliable signal. And I had forgotten what an entire night's sleep was like until last night, when DDare slept 10:30-5:30. Bliss. and now.....
He has kennel cough. Although he was vaccinated last week, he woke up this morning (ah bliss.) and had the all-too-familiar "gack" in his throat. I waited until 10 am to decide it was not going away and up to the clinic we went. We're back (with pills and bills!) and he's being kept from Maggie and Winn.
The frustrating thing is that I suspect he came into contact at a puppy class. He may not have been fully protected by the vaccine yet, or the strain might be one outside the protection for that, who knows? I'll call the school and let them know, and wonder if there are sick puppies in the group tonight. I've spent the day letting everyone know who may have come in contact with him in the past week. The guilt is not insignificant, and my fear of course is for Maggie and Winn. We're keeping them at a distance, but the fact is that it may be too late. I can only watch and try not to worry. And cancel classes and lessons and take it a day at a time.

I am not a worrier by nature, I am a 'doer' so this is a lesson in patience for me, I guess.

On a much lighter note, at the trial the DDare fun was well-documented:

The Great Dane, "Norm" belongs to the photographer, Amy Johnson. Neither of them knoew what to do with each other! And the lovely "Siren" was content to let DDare pull her around for a while. Cute couple!

By the time I post again, we should be past this. No one will be coughing, everyone will be sleeping all night, and Maggie will be back to her healing. Right??

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Of course she handled it!

Maggie had her first chemo injection today. She charmed everyone she met along the way, greeting the receptionists, the techs, anyone in the waiting room--with a bark and a smile. She thinks it's pretty lousy that there are no treats in the exam room, but sighed and waited until we we were all sure she wasn't going to have any adverse reaction to the drugs.

I am full of hope. The protocol has lots of positive things going for it, statisically. And I have Maggie. She is such a spunky dog. The view from Mushtown Road today is great--sunshine!

Tomorrow is a vacation day: Winn and I will play agility, then Maggie will supervise my packing for the puppy trip. I'm excited to meet DDare and his family, and then bring him home to meet mine.

Winn had a terrific herding lesson today, too. We're headed up to try an AHBA trial on Sunday, and then we're home for a while to tackle puppy training!

I am so lucky to have a support group! Allen is the best. My friends are here when I need them, and all our critters bring joy. My work colleagues are tremendously loving and forgiving of my need to take a long lunch to get Maggie squared away, and sending all manner of healing energy. And the care and concern from all our friends across the country is felt and appreciated so much.
It's pretty amazing how connected we really are.