Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I haven't mastered putting photos up in any wonderful way, so here's a bunch stacked up

Weekend Update (now I suppose I'll hear from SNL)

I haven't posted nearly enough, have I? The hours and days fly by. Work is busy--the book business seems to have changed overnight and keeping up is a challenge! The e-book revolution, predicted to be a slow march away from physical books to "e", is not slow. It's more sprint-like even, and what we knew months ago is no longer true.
I've been in the book business for 35 years now, and have survived other big changes, but this one is breathtaking. A page turner, for sure---twist ending? We'll see.
On the home front: Maggie is at the vet as I type this, awaiting her chemo. She got a (planned) week off after the "big gun" dose of Doxorubicin/Adriamycin. This drug gave her a short-lived bout of bloody diarrhea (sorry) and made her RBC count drop. They shouldn't be allowed to send out a lab report with the word "PANIC" on any values!! But as I am grateful to see them each week, I did not panic. I called and was reassured that this happens, isn't cause for too much concern, and to keep an eye on Maggie for lethargy or pale gums. We then consulted with Dr. Heather Evans, Maggie's chiro/acupuncture support team member, who advised that we could boost RBC growth (which should recover on its own) with some rich foods (yay! raw beef liver!) and vitamin B. Regarding her gums: after the first few inspections, Maggie was heard to mutter "poke them again and you WILL feel teeth." Yes, they were fine. Lethargy? Nope--in fact three days after the treatment Maggie turned in one of the fastest agility runs of her long career.

Today her labs came back nearly perfect. have I observed how remarkable it is to see these rebounds? The whole experience is awesome, in the literal sense of that over-used word. I was thinking about it driving back home this morning. The clinic has just added an oncologist to the staff, and we met her this morning. The mere fact that this is a required specialty now speaks volumes about canine care. I am sure that cancer is both more prevalent and more often diagnosed than it was even 10 years ago. And the treatments abound! This means that we are responsible for making decisions that weren't available to be made. The decision to treat this "touch of cancer" was made because the alternative was certain (Maggie would have left us by now, untreated) and the predicted outcome with treatment was very positive. But in the end, all our lives WILL end. One of the vet techs is changin jobs at the clinic to work exclusively with the cancer pups, and I heard she was a little reluctant because of the end-of-life scenarios. I don't blame her, but I hope she will get to focus on all the good work she is doing--the during-life! We're all gonna leave these bodies some day, it's a fact. So let's make all the days before then count.

OK, the other corgis are demanding some words here.
Winn has been such a great partner this summer. Although he has his "middle child" moments around home, he's been terrific on the course--either agility or herding. He has more initials behind his name than a law firm, and ribbons adorn my office. Last weekend was a dream--he was clean, fast and perfectly in tune.
His herding is improving, too--actually it's MY handling that's improving. I have decided that I need to treat my herding lessons the way I treat an agility class. Run the course, then discuss what happened with Susane, then pick out pieces to re-run in an improved manner. This seems to be a solid approach. I can wish I'd thought of it sooner, but frankly until this summer I wasn't really sure what the options were, so it's all good. We're aiming at qualifying at the Corgi Nationals. There, I said it.

DDare! continues to provide much joy. Puppies are a lot of work, but the rewards are certainly there, sometimes instantly and mostly over a short time. Potty training: dare I say that it's been nearly two weeks without a goof? (sure). Bite inhibition: I have NO current scabby spots on my hands and arms! Tricks: the "wave" is coming along, the "roll over" is next. In the meantime, he remains confident, fast, and happy. He will fetch a toy dozens of times. He loves life. We love him It's a good deal.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Photos from Puppy FUNdamentals class

Puppy Class

DDare has started his Puppy FUNdamentals class with Jane Fallander at AGoodDogNow (same building as Agile Canines, and Tuesday nights after Winn's agility class--handy!) and after two classes, I am darn excited about this pup.
He's confident without being pushy, very operant, and a happy guy. In one session we shaped a "down" and started crate manners (sit/stay until released). Last week he attacked the wobble boards, ladder, and irregularly shaped platforms--they were lined up in a row like a dogwalk--no problem: FUN
Jane brought out a wastebasket so we could play "101 Things to do with a Box" but instead I put him in it for fun. We also started "spoon heeling" and hand touches.
Puppies are a LOT of work. Puppies are a LOT of fun.

Maggie: is doing really well. After our celebration at no side effects from Vincristine, this was her first week of Doxorubicin/Adriamyacin. It can be hard on the heart, so it's good that she has a strong, athletic one. I'm also supplementing with CO-Q10, yet another trip to the coop (bonus--they have great tuna salad, for me!) She is officially in remission and we are so hopeful about her future. She's been cleared to run agility this weekend and we'll take it the way we always do--on her terms, run by run, and always with joy!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

This is a photo taken by Becky at DDare's first class. Such a ham, he is.

Counting my blessings

As the ride continues here, I am trying damn hard to look on the bright sides, of which there are many.

Maggie restored her white blood cells and then some! (this is normal, we hear) so last week Allen took her to Blue Pearl while I was in Nashville for the day. The week's chemo consisted of a pill at the clinic and two take-out doses. While waiting in the Nashville airport that afternoon, unsuccessfully standing-by for two earlier flights, the clinic called. After Maggie swallowed her pill, was observed for a bit to make sure she was "good", and Allen and Maggie went home......a pill was discovered on the floor at the clinic. So very Maggie. The office manager, bless her heart, delivered a new pill which I gave her once I got home. No side effects and Maggie rode along to Little Falls for the USDAA trial, in her management role. This week she had a most excellent CBC report and was given a lower dose of Vincristine in hopes of killing cells without the vomiting. We'll know tomorrow about the meantime she continues to look good, feel good, and likes the people at the clinic(s). Brad, the vet tech, calls her "babe" which just cracks me UP!

Winn and I got to work with two of our favorite agility clinicians--Stacy Peardot-Goudy and Dana Pike. I had a blast. One of the most satisfying things EVER was to hear that both of them thought we were looking great. It's been so much fun to train this dog, and now when we are at a seminar, it's more practice and fine tuning than learning too much new stuff. Great fun!

On the weekend, Winn ran 11 times at the trial and was 7/10 and also ran in Steeplechase Round 2 (only 8" dog, he won $7.50). This was our most successful USDAA weekend ever and it was a lot of fun. His teeter performance was much improved, and although he didn't care for the dogwalk slats, he agreed to run on them (smile. Such a gamer). He did sleep all the way home--rare.

DDare also rode to Little Falls and was the perfect puppy all weekend! He played with the many other puppies there, made new friends, and was generally very happy. He didn't sleep all night on Saturday, but since I was in bed by 9 pm I was completely understanding at 3 am. And this week he is sleeping until 5:30 or 6 am!! Our puppy is becoming a dog! (ever so slowly) This week he attended his first Puppy FUNdamentals class with Jane Fallander of AGoodDogNow and had a blast. He is confident on "funny" surfaces. He likes to come when called. It's pretty easy to shape behaviors with him. But he will not potty on the that homework??

Winn had an awesome herding lesson this week, too. Allen came along and brought DDare to watch, so I have a witness. We worked in a fairly small area since Susane's A course is still wet, and it's really a good area in which to proof all the basic movements. Herding progress has been marked by inches. This week I felt as though we advanced about a foot.

By now, you may be wondering where the non-brightness is. Well......

Kennel cough continues to plague the training school, and although neither Maggie or Winn have gotten it so far and DDare's case was so very mild, it's still worriesome. I honestly don't think that DDare started this outbreak, but since it's impossible to good friend Becky said "if there is no blame, there should be no guilt" and I am focusing on that.

Fleas. Ugh. In 23 years we have never had 'em. Now we do. And I don't like putting Frontline on the dogs. Now I have. I've been reassured by the vet team that it will be OK for Maggie, and still.......but it was clear that they weren't going to die without intervention.

Potty training. DDare is improving but I still have failed a few times to get him outside. The only solution is to have him crated unless I have 100% attention on him. He likes the crate and it isn't hard to crate him.....I just need to do it before I start (typing) (watching baseball). It is getting better. It is getting better.

So, that's the view this week.