Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Look what I can do!

This morning Pleat was carried out for his morning pee ... And well, he kept walking ... And walking, 2 times today!! We are all so thrilled. His appetite is back in full force too. Thanks everyone for your positive vibes, prayers, happy thoughts, I swear it worked. Here's hoping that in a week he will be even better!! He may be 14, a little blind and little deaf, but he's our buddy and most of all my moms best boy - old dogs have lots to offer, it's a lifetime away from him being the super champ he was with Scott, but now, he's our champ!! Obviously the strong will and determination he had in his young years, the things that made him a great sheepdog are still there ... Go Pleat Go!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The miracle of Christmas

Pleat was fawned over and had a great 2.5hr session, Saturday at the Canine Fitness Centre in Calgary, they commented on how majestic he is, his muscled condition, his lovely structure for a 14 year old. It was concluded that while he had some vestibular symptoms, the main issue is a actually a Stroke. We were given an exercise regime to help him remember what gravity is, how to plant his feet in positions that a puppy would be, neck traction and head circles, as well as passive range of motion and massage (both if which I was doing daily, I figured it couldn't hurt). It was well worth the trip. Still unable to walk we were also given some power positions to try to give him confidence to stand - placing a step stool or bunches of blankets to prop him up as to do it 2-3x daily.

That was Saturday ...

And then Monday came ...

I sent out an email to friends ...
"Our exciting news is Pleat is starting to stand/shuffle, I used his willful personality and love for food to have him work 30 minutes for his food, he crawled, pawed, tugged on the dish and held his back end up for almost a minute ... Gotta love a stubborn, willful dog!!! He's fast asleep now ... Phew that was tiring."

Then Monday evening (Christmas Eve) came ...
It was time to feed Pleaters again, "there is no free lunch" is what my Grandpa always said. So, Pleat had to work for it again, and I'll be dammed... He stood up! He silenced a room f 12 half drunk adults, then we all cheered. By the end of the night, he stood 6 times, and took a poop!! It seriously made our Christmas.

Today is Christmas ... My mom woke up to Pleat standing -unassisted and looking at her. She even barged into my room and woke us up to tell us, like a little kid that got her gift from Santa!!

Oh and by the way he also walked to the Christmas tree this morning while I taunted him with breakfast... We carried him out to pee and he stood all on his own for a good minute.

It's the season for miracles, and I'm not a religious person, but I tell ya, that brought our entire family closer last night! Please have a Christmas toast to an amazing, stubborn, strong willed dog, who will do anything for food!! Here's hoping the upswing continues.

Here are a few photos of the past few days, I'm on the mobile blogger and I'm not sure how to put them in order, but you'll get the idea.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pleat update - day 5 ...we wait

Today was a better day for Pleat. From what I've read and what people have told me through emails etc ... Recovery is slow, and well it is. It's slow enough to make you wonder if you are doing the right thing. He's not in pain, he's seemingly relaxed, so that's good, right? Like everyone tells us ... We wait. My mom sleeps in the living room with him, she's been sleeping on the couch since Friday. And I'm over there in the afternoons taking care of him (a portable home office is very handy). Today i brought Kalebs harness over and we worked on moving his positions, and he's actually shuffling now a bit - still not close to standing but he can hold his head up better. The nystagmus is nearly gone and he can focus on us. He drinks water, he's eating more each day - my aunt cooked a few days worth of ground beef and sweet potato, a super nutrient packed mash. We made the same meal for Jane when she was sick, he loves it too!! I love old dogs, taking care of him makes me miss Jane, but it also helps me heal too - it's a complicated set of emotions.

He pees twice a day on the bed we make - he lays on the orthopedic back on track bed with a tarp then covered in a blanket/towels that get changed out each time. My aunt is great about making sure he is clean and dry :). My family is so caring and everyone is pitching in with feeding, water and general cuddling. He sleeps well, he's calm and sweet ... And we wait ...

Today he started antibiotics (treating for possible inner ear infection - disruption in the vestibular apparatus, a common link in treating this) and finished his motion sickness meds. I really hope he can recover, though he's only been a part of our family for 4 months we love him. I wish we knew him back in the day, the Champion - a powerful dog with such presence - a presence people still notice, sounds cheesy but if you've met him you get it!! There could be an underlying issue like a cancer, tumor etc that would hinder recovery, the next step will be bloodwork for a baseline, we've discussed we will treat him conservatively, my mom doesn't have the means for major diagnostic testing (either do we) so we wait... I would love to see him standing at the cookie jar again :) there are some techniques developed from people with the similar condition adapted to dogs, and we are going to hopefully get that done in the next few days - I'm a huge believer in hands on healing, it works. Time will tell how he does. For now, we wait. He might be old but I always feel if a dog still has that spark, he should be given a chance. I don't see him giving up - the look just isn't there.

The best news of all today was when my bro texted me to tell me he wagged his tail twice at him - that made my day.

Please send your positive thoughts for Pleat. We love you "puddy".

shiny and bright

shiny and bright :: 50/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Via Flickr:
'tis the season for christmas light bokeh, and cute dogs in the foreground :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holding out Hope

Life's been busy with the dogs, and we have lots going on 'tis the season! I haven't written much about Agility, training, daily life hilariousness, our herding adventures, kaleb being bad, Gyp being cute etc - but I thought I should write this post as it seems important to share, and maybe there are more out there who can share their experiences.

It started like any other day. I took the dogs for their morning walk and run in the 'hood.

I came home and got a call that Pleat had thrown up and was laying with his head sideways. He couldn't stand. I went over to find him like this - already wrapped in a pretty tartan scarf :)

When I looked at him I knew right away (unless I was totally wrong) that he had had a Geriatric Vestibular attack. So much is unknown about this acute disease, but from all the nice emails I have received, support from Jenny, and the visit with our amazing Vet, that he should make a full/ or almost full recovery (he may have the cute head tilt permanently). Our vet has followed up with us a couple times already and the hardest part of the is disease is the waiting - it could take a couple weeks until he is back to normal or "near" normal.

He hasn't walked or stood up since Friday, though he has made small improvements - he now will shuffle his position on the floor, and the Nystagmus (rapid side to side eye movement) is WAY less severe that is was, and last night he was focusing for a small amount of time. He can now hold his head up to drink, and will eat small amounts of wet food. He has 2 more days of his motion sickness Meds and then like we've been doing ... we wait. He is comfortable, calm and not in pain - but it is so hard to see him just laying there ... and not being his usual cute moochy self spinning the kitchen for a cookie.

And I have to say, Pete has been totally AMAZING through this - he carries Pleat out to do his business for the last 4 days - we pretty much just wait to see if he will Pee, Pete stays outside with him and waits. Often he pees on his towels (which is over a tarp on the floor), so we change it when we need too. Pete even went over to my moms house at midnight to take the boy outside. Pete is always sitting with the boy giving him kisses and cuddling with him - texting me to see if he is OK. It's funny for me to be the one having to tell Pete it will be OK - he's rather smitten with the old guy ... we all are.  I might have even caught Pete crying, he feels so bad for him.

My mom sleeps in the living room with Pleat, and someone is with him pretty much all the time, he is one LOVED dog!! Though we haven't had him as part of our family for very long - he IS a part of our family.

Come on Pleaters ... we need you to get better!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The girl knows what she wants.

And even if you are in a wheelchair she might push you out of the way to get her "Welcome" cookie :) I think this is her favourite part of being a Therapy dog!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Tis the season

As usual Gyp's on the nice list this year, no worries there. And for the first time in almost 11 years ... So is K :) I've got lots to write about ...i'll try to do it soon ...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Next time WIcca, you are signing a waiver.

Wicca spent the day with Kaleb and I yesterday, it was the least I could do seeing as Amanda took Gyp for me at 630 am, drove 4 hours to have her head put back on straight, poked with needles, injected with red juice, and cracked. (yes she saw our WONDERFUL rehab vet yesterday). I felt really bad when she said she'd also work her on sheep from me in preparation for the weekend. Her last lesson involved alot of teeth and confidence building, so we needed to dial it back a bit before the weekend.

I was warned Wicca was BAD, but really, she's nearly 9, how naughty could she be (says the person with a nearly 11 year old flat coat who has to have the garbage locked away in the pantry only to come home most days with the cupboards still opened in hopes he might find the garbage...)

Anyway ... here is her day in photos ...
It started out innocent enough, squealing, acting cute and rolling on Pete and I.
Things quickly took a turn for the worse,
when Wicca discovered the "Safe" AKA the Fridge.
one might call it.
Then I had to get some work done.
Wicca preferred the dog bed to be on the sofa in my office.
They I took them for a run.
Then I ate lunch.

Then Wicca relaxed (actual plotted as to how she might
get into trouble when I left her loose in the house with Kaleb)
as I got ready for a meeting and some errands.
Then I came home.  The place looked like it was intact, until I noticed
the reindeer knocked over, think Kathy Bates in Misery. Wicca pulled the kitchen chair out, and had a party on the table - can you see the paw prints? Then on closer inspection, the fridge also had paw prints, slobber on the door edges about 11" from the ground. Then I went to change out of my work clothes into my uniform of sweats and a hoodie, and noticed my laundry basket was tipped over, and my pants from the day before were out. And are you ready for this? She peed on my dirty pants - serioulsy!!! I have never laughed soooo hard!! I was only gone for an hour.

I didn't do it. It was Kaleb.
(urine samples will be back soon)
All was forgiven and we went to visit Pleat -
we quickly ran to his favourite spot in the kitchen for a treat, the others followed

Then we hung out in the yard for a while.
Pleat followed Wicca everywhere, she took refuge on the deck and
was sure a critter was in my mom's flower pot. There wasn't.

I didn't do it.
So if you've never spent time with a TRULY naughty dog you should, and if you've never owned one - find one. Your life will be MUCH MUCH MUCH more enjoyable. BAD DOGS RULE!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

self affirmations

self affirmation :: 48/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Beauty is everywhere.

Take time to breathe.

Do what you love, and love what you do,

Accept everyone's differences.

Aging is a wonderful thing, embrace it.

Take time to smell the geese.

A little drool adds character.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Too tired to blog much, I have so much to say ... But I'm too pooped to use up the last of my creative juice - my brain is fried! So I will leave you with another photo of Gyp sleeping ... I'm pretty sure she's counting sheep :)

Friday, November 23, 2012


Hey gyp, it's Friday ... You should be more excited.

... P.s. k is doing good. enjoying the softened food and enjoying the extra pampering :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dive in head first, right?

Yesterday Amanda and I drove 4 hours to play with our dogs, some wiley sheep and met some nice people and good dogs. One might call it Border Collie heaven.

We had a quick lesson in the fine art of penning (which to me is more like an abstract painting, or perhaps something from the Art Deco era ... a colourful, slightly abstract and instinctual experience), it was SUPER FUN!! We had another in getting around a ranch course, and I also saw my little dog take nice outruns the full length of the arena - and mostly listen to her lie downs. I wasn't sure what she'd do (run at their faces), or how she'd react (worried or confident). She kept her quiet Gyppie pace pretty much the whole time - didn't lose her temper and left wanting more, it was a nice feeling.

We SHOULD be able to get around the ranch course we treid with some help from me (we haven't done much in the way of driving)

So why not enter her in the Stockdog Series this weekend they said, Sure I said.

Oh dear, what have I done.

And while I was away having fun ... my boy was at the "dentist" getting a couple teeth out. He broke his premolar behind his canine a few weeks ago, and we've been watching it - but it started bugging him - not wanting to tug with his usual strength and gusto and not wanting to play with a toy, he would put it in his mouth then drop it, licking his leg and licking his chops alot. It was getting more inflamed, rather than better. He had broke the smaller one off behind that one a few years back and it never bothered him. We weren't so lucky this time. He's doing good, and enjoying the soft food he gets to eat!
I gots 2 teef pulled today ('cause I broke 'em and they were buggin' me) and all I got was this lousy bandana.

Monday, November 19, 2012

damn good dog

damn good dog :: 46/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Via Flickr:
Yep. Gyppie got a big juicy steak for supper last night (so did K-man)  She was running in an Obedience Trial all weekend. It was her debut in the "Open Obedience" ring ... and she came home with her CDX title. This little dog of mine is bursting with heart and a whole 'lotta try.
For anyone that REALLY knows Gyp, she is sensitive to the max and her feelings are easily hurt. She's not always the confident dog people seem to think she is. It's been a journey, let me tell you. She has learned to recover and not shutdown through a ton of reinforcement from me, and making EVERYTHING a fun game - she trusts me to keep her safe. Always wants to please, and tries to make the right choices. She's kind of like me - we try to hide when we are worried, but we aren't good liars. I am calm cool and collected with her - my blood pressure didn't even rise in the ring, she calms me and keeps me zen.

She ran in 4 trials - 2 under a woman judge, and 2 under a male judge, who I've trialed under with Kaleb, and I thought he would be soft spoken enough for Gyp to be OK with it, she really wasn't. Her first trial under him was pretty good (slightly spooked, but not bad)  - and literally only put one foot out of place all when she anticipated a dumbbell throw for an NQ - but that round would have been a 191. Her out of sight stays were ROCK solid in all 4 trials - she even fell asleep in a couple of her down stays. Her other scores under the female judge were 190 and 193 - I was THRILLED!! I always struggle with my handling and ring etiquette in Obedience, but we got better as the weekend went on.

It was nice to be able to go home in between trial and "reset" so to speak. That helped us big time. Both of us were able to step back in the ring with no memory of the previous trial, not time to obsess and get nervous. It worked well ... expect for when I nearly missed my run yesterday afternoon!!I also have to thank "The Lumineers" who kept me sane, calm and zen all weekend, their music played in my vehicle to and from the show ... it wasn't a gangster rap or hip hop weekend ... we save that for Agility :)

Her last run under the male judge was a bit of a mess, he had change jingling in his pocket and the show had cleared out and it was super quiet. She actually tried to leave the ring once after heeling. Her heeling got worse, and I actually helped her in the figure 8 and talked to her - I didn't care, I needed to help my dog, and she appreciated it. If she didn't recover at the Drop on Recall I was ready to ask to be excused. Her drop was nice, she did everything I asked. Her action exercises were VERY good and we hardly lost points. My little dog stuck it and out and kept trying for ME, She passed that last leg for her CDX.

I think that is what a team is, what a friendship is, and what can make the canine/human bond so special. We help eachother out. Thank you Gyp for being the most honest, loving and sweet dog I've ever known.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First times, an addiction and stuff. Mostly about Gyp.

the teacher and the student :: 45/52 

This weekend Aislyn, who is coming up 6 years old, got to run Gyp in her very first Agility run in a competition. Her mom and I were both teary eyed when they came off the course. They ran flawless in that very first run. She also ran Kaleb, and he did pretty good - but alas, wanted his mom when they were coming to the end of the course :) Acey is a very special kid. The two of them are so adorable, it's insane. Gyp is a great teacher. They have been inseparable since Acey was a baby, and Gyp was new to me. It's a true bond ... something you can't fake. Agility world ... watch out!!
Acey, Gyp and judge Deb Rhodes with her Qualifying Ribbon.
Acey and Kaleb
Then it was my turn to run the dogs!!! Gyp rocked. She ran AWESOME Gambles with most points of all the Masters dogs each day (98 and 116). I LOVE gambling, I love the challenge of distance and directionals, add some strategy, and it's the perfect game.. Here is the gamble from Sunday - a tricky one. We got both minis twice and the end gamble was super fun. It's ALL about the timing. She had a Jumpers and Standard Q too. A wicked challenge run ... until she ran past the chute, didn't even see it.


 K was a good boy too. His age (almost 11) is starting to show over running him a full weekend (6 runs) - he still runs with gusto, but it takes longer to make sure he is good and limbered up, and I ended up pulling him from the last run of that day as I felt he was done and I didn't want to push him ... thought in Kaleb stlye he would have happily obliged. The dog has NOTHING to prove, but we still have fun, so we keep playing!
Then Gyp went to her Pet Therapy job on Monday ... she runs in, paws up ... cookie ready from the counter lady. Repeat until cookies run out, or I say ummm, I think that's enough cookies for today.
ALSO ... This weekend Gyp is entering the Open Obedience ring for the first time ... I'm excited to play her in the ring ... must remember to keep those nerves in check, have fun, and remember why I love my little dog. She's also running Scent Hurdle. And K is entered in a couple Rally runs for fun.

Oh and we've been herding a bit when we can ... entering our first Arena class at the Highwood Series GULP. Did I just write that?

We are busy. And I like it that way, keeps me sane and out of trouble (mostly).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hi. Winter.

What's that Gyp? You want a snowblower for Christmas?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When 8 months feels like yesterday.

I really want to get to the day when I can look at pictures of Jane without crying. I'm not there yet. 8 months and I miss her like crazy. I'm so happy I have so many photos of her, sometimes it feels like she's still here, maybe that's why it's so hard. I miss you Janey.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Party like its 1998!!!

Well good 'ol Pleat celebrated his 14th Birthday this past Friday, he was born Nov. 2 1998, and like any nobleman he was served Steak, Pup-cakes, a donut (that he shared) and of course he had candles, balloons and was allowed to eat off the table. He brings my mom soooo much joy, I'm actually a little jealous :) we are so grateful for Scott and Jenny letting him come live out his golden years with my mom. He is so adorable it's insane, he follows her everywhere. I have to say its been great having an old dog around - Pleat has helped me heal, and he has no idea. Nobody guesses he's 14, all if those years as a hard workin' champion have been good to him ... Here is a bit more about Pleat if you are wondering who the heck he is: