Friday, April 30, 2010

the gold star goes to....

This week's Wordless Wednesday gold star winner is.........

new hip dad!!!

Here is what new hip dad wrote:
don't even think about touching my ball

showed her who was boss didn't I?

I had so many great entries, it was very difficult for me to choose. They all made me laugh, and some were so right on!

"New Hip dad" has never written a quote for a Wordless Wednesday before. So, why this week? Surely, it has something to do with it now being a competition. Hip dad can't stand to come in second. That would mean he's the first loser.

Hip dad once challenged a 2o something year old to a race. Hip dad was 50 (60?) something years old. Guess who won, and guess who ended up in the hospital.

Thanks to everyone who participated, I truly was entertained by your comments. You all deserve gold stars, but I had to choose a winner, and Marybeth thought hip dad's was best.

Well done hip dad! Excellent work. You always have been good with words. At least this competition didn't land you in the ER.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's Misty's Birthday!

Today my sweet, sweet Misty~girl turns 12. Hard to believe. From the day she came to live with us, I always thought of her as my "young dog".

I remember the way Misty pranced around the backyard on our initial meeting. I had to have her. It was a rough first couple days as she acclimated herself to her new home, and new sibling (Munchkin), but I don't think she even remembers her former owner anymore. Seems like Misty has always been mine. Our relationship was meant to be.

Misty is a complete treasure. My good girl, who gives me no trouble. Nothing but pure sweetness. Sugar.

Today's your day sweetie! I promise to ignore that black & white thing and give you all of my attention. You deserve it!

Here's to many more cuddles, kisses, arm pit scratches, long naps on the deck, belly rubs, neighbors to bark at, and deer scat to roll your face in.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

tricky t-day ~ put away your toys

I thought I'd build on last week's trick and have Oreo pick up his toys.  I mean, he needs to do something to earn his keep around here.  Right?

He did pick up his toys, begrudgingly.  Oreo did not find this trick fun at all. 

"Why put the toys away?" he seemed to be telling me.  "It would be much more fun for you to chase me around the house, with me carrying one in my mouth!"

I guess I just don't understand why Oreo wouldn't want to help me out a bit around the house.

Sorry about the camera angle.  I should have put myself on the same side as the camera so you weren't staring at Oreo's two white spots the entire time!

My mom thought I should post this photo of Oreo:

Jeff braided a headband/crown out of tissue paper from my nephew's birthday gifts.  My youngest nephew wore it on his head for about 3 seconds, then Oreo wore it, and eventually it ended up around Misty's neck.   

Monday, April 26, 2010


At my nephew's birthday party, I found the perfect underwater treadmill for Oreo, and other herding breeds who prefer to walk in circles! We could walk him against the current for added difficulty! Brilliant, right?

Now, how do I get them to allow dogs access?

Here is what Oreo looked like on the way home from NJ:
Oreo was still quite shy around everyone, and preferred to be by me or Jeff.   I set up his crate, but Oreo never felt the need to go in it to escape.  That was a sign of improvement.  Plus, Oreo ate fruit loops right out of the hand of my 4 year old nephew. 

Misty, on the other hand, followed around any child who had food. 

At one point, both dogs were involved in a game of Twister.  Unfortunately, they were twisted up in me.  My sister and I quickly realized that Twister should have an age limit.  Once you reach 40, it may be physically impossible.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Thankfully, we have entered the home stretch of our underwater treadmill shenanigans. Today, we had our 7th session. Oreo did almost an entire mile, at a speed of 1.8mph. It was fast!

A new behavior began as well. Oreo started "tripping" over the black seam on the belt. There is really nothing there for him to trip on.

I'm not sure if he thought it was a black hole, the strip was startling him every time it cycled around, or if Oreo is simply neurotic. Regardless, the tech and I got a good chuckle out of it. Not so sure Oreo appreciated our laughing at his expense.

Here is a video comparison of our 1st time & 7th time in the UWT. Only 5 more to go....

The dog garden is starting to green up, and come to life again. I can always count on finding Misty and/or Oreo hanging out there. Basking in the sun, or nibbling on something dog friendly.

We'll be away for a couple days. Off to NJ to celebrate my nephew's 8th birthday.

Hope everyone has a good weekend, and if you're trialing, good luck! We're cheering for you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

we have a winner...

My sister, Marybeth, really liked Ricky's comment on my Wordless Wednesday post.

Here is what Ricky wrote:

Oreo is telling Misty a joke that she can't help but laugh at and then tries hard at the end to pretend that she didn't think it was funny!

Marybeth liked Ricky's comment so much, she thought I should have a weekly "caption this photo" contest.

What a great idea! Clearly, Ricky is the winner this week! Although, there were lots of good entries.

Unfortunately, since all my money is being spent on physical therapy for my overindulged dog, I have no prizes. So, you will just have to be OK with getting frequent praise, a gold star, and your name mentioned on my world famous blog.

The next time I post a wordless Wednesday photo, you too can earn a gold star. I know how you all secretly miss getting those gold stars on your papers like you did in elementary school. You'd peel the star off slowly, and stick it somewhere else....maybe on your cheek?

This one is for you Ricky. Great job! Very creative! Good storytelling!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

tricky t-day ~ tissue clean up

Jeff & I were both sick with a cold last week. Tissues were piling up everywhere.

When I was a kid, I would throw my used tissues on the floor. My over indulgent dad would always pick them up and throw them away for me.

Now, I have to pick them up myself.

Or do I?

That's right. I have dogs. One of these dogs LOVES to get his teeth on my tissues. He is interested in shredding them. Could I use this obsession to my advantage?

Let's see what happened on my first try.....

Oreo, Misty & I went to an agility class last night...outside! Pulling into the field, Oreo started crying. He never does that.

I felt like I had come back home. I didn't realize how much I missed being there.

My teacher's husband put some weave poles outside the ring for Oreo to use, and got me one of his border collies, who runs a lot like Oreo, to run.

It was fun to walk a course. It has been months since I have walked a course. I haven't gotten any better at remembering them, but I didn't care. I wasn't there to perfect my game.

I ran the course with my teacher's dog a couple times. She was a good sport, tolerating my rusty handling and following along with me.

I did bring Oreo in the ring once, and he seemed at home too. No nervous jitters, like the first time last year at the outdoor field. I sent him in a tunnel, and he went in happily. He did some poles, a couple tunnels, and snuck a jump in. That's when I realized it was time to take him out, and just reward him for being there. Listening to the cows "moo" in the distance.

I drove home, watching the sunset as we wound our way down the mountain. I forgot how a night at agility class gives me such a sense of peace. At least for a couple hours.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

thanks, and an update

Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my Chinese food post. Reading your comments was really special for me, because I didn't realize how a typical day at school could evoke emotions in others. I wish you all could spend a day at my school, and see how dedicated my colleagues are to guiding these wonderful, yet trying, kids through the world.

Back to dogworld. Oreo is almost at the halfway point in his hydrotherapy. For the past two sessions, he has done .70 miles, at a speed of 1.4mph. He still is not thrilled about the whole process, but is tolerant. He is no longer turning around, trying to get out, or riding the belt to the back. He has figured out how to "cheat". Oreo knows exactly where to stand to avoid the belt. He will scrunch his whole body into the corner, so he can get all 4 feet off the belt. Once we turn the belt on though, he walks.

I think I'll take another video at our 6th session, Wednesday, to do a comparison with his first session.

Starting this week, I am also going to try to attend some agility classes. I thought I'd use this down time as an opportunity to reward Oreo for being around the ring, going in the ring, having my teacher feed him treats in the ring, having classmates feed him treats, etc. It has been hard to go to any classes, because all our vet appointment have been at the same times as agility. However, my teacher just started new classes on Mondays, and I think we can make those after his laser therapy.

The best news of the week, Misty is no longer crying at 4:30AM. She is using the bed ramp, rather than relying on one of us to get up and help her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

tricky t-day ~ object discrimination

My agility teacher had sent me some ideas for sedentary tricks. We practiced this one, when Oreo was still on strict rest. We hadn't practiced in a couple weeks, but thought I'd shoot a video and see how it went.

Most of the video could have been a blooper reel.

Oreo has 3 objects in front of him. I have 3 of the same objects behind my back. I show him one, and he needs to "point" to the same object in front of him.

He was much more consistent when we practiced with 2 objects, rather than 3. Maybe we need more time, but Oreo clearly finds this trick incredibly BORING. I think I was confusing him as well. I didn't have real clear criteria about whether I wanted a nose touch or a paw touch, so some of my clicks were delayed.

Here is where we are at this point:

Monday, April 12, 2010

moody monday

Back to work after more than a week off. Usually the first day back is nice & quiet.....until after lunch! Then, everything is crazy as usual.

I have 2 seniors who I am hoping can get their acts together and graduate on time. They are really on the borderline right now. Why do they stress me out like that?

It has been 2 months since I first noticed Oreo limping. That time has surprisingly flown by. Funny how preventing Oreo from jumping/running has become a way of life around here.

Hopefully, the time from now until summer vacation flies by too! Maybe by June 24th, he'll be allowed to run free. Sooner would be even better.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

better day

Things went much better in the hydro tank today.

The vet tech decided to let Oreo stay in the tank by himself. She thought maybe her presence was making it more stressful for him. I was thrilled to hear her say that, because I knew it was true, but wasn't sure if there was some liablity clause that said she had to be in the tank with him at all times.

Oreo was able to keep his head up when the belt began. He did try and turn around a couple times, but not as bad as last time.

The tech noticed that every time Oreo looked up at me (I was standing on a ladder to be able to feed him treats), he stopped walking.

So, I sat on the ladder. Then, Oreo and I were eye level with each other, and he really got into a good walking flow. He stayed toward the middle and front of the treadmill for the majority of the time. I think he liked being able to see my face the whole time.

time elapsed: 26 minutes
miles walked: .50

I left feeling much better, now that we have tweaked things to make it a less stressful experience for Oreo.

3 sessions down, 9 to go.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

ramp training

Misty is getting older, and lately she has been crying at 4 in the morning, wanting to get back on the bed (she tends to jump off the bed in the middle of the night and sleeps somewhere else, but likes to cuddle toward morning). In the past, Misty would just jump up. Now, she wants to be lifted back up on the bed. Plus she makes a loud, "hmph" sound when she jumps off. Can't be good on her joints.

Given Oreo's condition, and his inevitable, sneaky bed jumps, I've been looking for a ramp to help them get up & down off the bed. I saw some online, showed them to Jeff, and knew what I would hear, "I can make that."

Have you priced ramps for dogs? Holy moly. They're not cheap, especially the taller ones. Clearly, I don't mind spending money on my dogs, but if I can save some by having Jeff construct something, I will!

Yesterday, Jeff built them a custom ramp out of aluminum. That helps keep it lightweight for me to move around, but sturdy enough to hold the dogs. It saved us lots of money, and hey, it is environmentally friendly. You can recycle aluminum!

You should have seen how happy Misty was when we first got her up on the bed via the ramp. It was as though she was saying, "Thank you, I've been having such a hard time lately. This is great." It was really sweet.

I've been training both dogs, intermittently with praise and treats, to use the ramp properly.

Here is a video from our third training session. No treats this time. I'm trying to keep Oreo's use to a minimum, because I don't want him doing too much climbing. However, I do want him to know what it is for. He'd rather practice his agility contacts on it, which is completely bizarre because we haven't worked on contacts in well over a year.

Last night, at 4:30AM, I hear Misty crying. Guess she forgot about the ramp. More training to do today.

Oreo, on the other hand, was up and down it several times this morning.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

oreo goes to the torture chamber

Oreo is gaining quite the team of doctors. Yesterday, we added a chiro/acupuncturist to his therapy team.

First, Oreo suffered through being waterboarded in the hydrotherapy tank. When the tech first turned the machine on, I think it startled Oreo, and he forgot to walk. He ended up dunking his nose under. Not a good way to start. For the first five minutes, we struggled to get Oreo to walk forward. He kept stopping, and tried to turn around and leave the tank.

Eventually, he got into a flow and walked. It was a new tech, someone we had only met briefly before, and maybe Oreo was a bit unsure about her being in the water with him.

He walked 20 minutes, and did about .34 miles.

Then, onto the next torture chamber, where Oreo's bones would be twisted, and needles poked into him.

This room was cozy, dim lighting, soothing music. The vet and tech sat on the floor while Oreo was up on a slightly elevated platform.

The vet asked me a lot of questions first.

"Does he dream?" Yes. "Does he talk in his sleep?" Yes.

"Does he have fears?" Oh, where to begin.

We talked a lot about his anxiety issues.

She typed all my answers into a computer, then began feeling for pressure points and alignment problems.

The chiro adjustment took much longer than I thought. She basically covered every bone in his body.

When she got to his neck, she asked, "Does he go right better than he goes left?"

I laughed, and told her how he is pretty much OCD about going right. He spins right, circles right, etc.

She said, "Well, it is very obvious, and that is probably why he is having problems with his right knee, because he pivots so much on that leg."


One other thing she asked was if he comes down hard on the A-frame and dogwalk. I don't think he does. She told me both of his middle toes on his front feet show signs of frequent impact.

Oreo really seemed to enjoy the adjustment. Closing his eyes and laying his head down.

Then, we went onto the acupuncture. She put about 25 needles into Oreo. Including numerous needles in points to help his anxiety. I wish I had taken a photo. He had needles in his head, all down his body, even in his feet. He looked like a pin cushion!

I had asked if the acupuncture would help his anxiety, and she said it would, but warned, "It won't turn him into a lab."

I know enough to be realistic.

Again, Oreo really relaxed during the treatment. The needles were in for about 20 minutes, and he closed his eyes and dozed a bit.

We will go back in two weeks, because he still needs some serious chiro adjustments, and we'll do some more acupuncture.

Since we had discussed Oreo's anxiety in depth, she recommended some chinese herbs to try. I've tried several different western herbs, and haven't really noticed much difference in his anxiety level. I'm hoping these might work. They are designed by a veterinary neurologist and are only available thru veterinarians.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Here's an article about the great dr. we saw yesterday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

for Eva

Eva's mom had tagged us well over a week ago. She asked us to go to our first photo folder, go to the 10th photo, and then tell the story behind the photo.

Well, this is what I found:

A disgruntled Oreo. A content, chewing Misty.

Misty had taken Oreo's bone or bully stick. Oreo was forced to watch her from a safe distance while she finished it off.

Misty is never interested in a new bone. It has to be nicely softened up by Oreo first. If Oreo happens to set it down for one second, Misty swoops in like a hawk and takes off.

That's the story behind the photo.

If anyone else wants to play the game, feel free! It was fun!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

tricky t-day ~ PT-tricky

Honestly, trick training has gone to the wayside this past week. All treats are being reserved for PT activities, vet visits (3x a week!), and keeping Oreo from boinging while I'm doing some spring cleaning around the house. For some reason, Oreo thinks every cleaning implement is his new tug toy.

Therefore, this week's video is comprised of PT-Tricks. Specifically, ball work, or as Jeff pointed out the first time he saw it, "Hey, that looks like a giant peanut." Yes, the ball is actually shaped like a peanut.

All of the activities you'll see are designed to help strengthen Oreo's hind leg by encouraging weight bearing. The rehab vet explained it to me simply, "We have to teach Oreo how to use that leg all over again."

Oreo loves the the activities. We are currently spending about 8-10 minutes a day on peanut work, except on days when we have hydrotherapy scheduled.

The first few times, I was terrified he would fall off! Oreo caught on quick though, and I no longer hover over him in fear. Although, I do watch for signs of fatigue. This is harder for the dog than it looks. Their core muscles are pretty much working the entire time. Oreo takes a long nap after each session.

I hope you enjoy this unconventional tricky t-day video.
By the way, the PT tech told me that having Oreo circle clockwise is good for his leg (more weight bearing stuff). Yea, no problem there. He will do that all day long around the coffee table.

Monday, April 5, 2010

moody monday?

I've got the day off (week off!), so we're not so moody today!
Maybe we'll actually shoot a Tricky t-day video today!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hope everyone has a happy Easter.

Here's a rerun from last year:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Oreo got tanked

He did it! At first Oreo tried swimming, which didn't surprise me. Even when Jeff holds Oreo above water, he starts paddling his feet in anticipation. So, the vet tech had to lower the water a bit to encourage Oreo to keep his feet on the ground and walk the treadmill.

Oreo did 15 minutes altogether in the treadmill. Over the next 11 sessions, the time will increase, the water level will decrease, and the elevation will increase. This equation will hopefully increase centimeters in Oreo's muscle mass.

I wouldn't say Oreo enjoyed the experience, but he took treats the entire time, and tolerated a towel off from the vet tech.

His favorite part was when we entered the room for the first time and Oreo noticed himself in the wall length mirror. Oreo could not get enough of himself. His nose was practically attached to the mirror, he was so impressed with his stunning looks.

Here's a quick video of Oreo in the tank. The video was shot toward the beginning of his walk, he did get a little more comfortable later, and I think next time will go a bit better. The vet tech suggested bringing his orbee to float in the water. I had visions of him bobbing for his orbee like he did last summer on vacation!

today's the day

After a day of sunbathing...

....Oreo is off to the under water treadmill. Was I supposed to buy him some swim trunks?

I'm just hoping he gets all 4 feet wet!

Jeff said, "I'll give him some water therapy. I'll throw him in the creek!"

That may be what it comes down to....I'll let you know later.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oreo Update

Oreo has been doing really well. A week ago, I started weaning him off his deramaxx (antiinflamatory), and tonight will be his last dose. I'm hoping he doesn't need to go back on it again.

I haven't seen any limping in almost two weeks. Plus, I have been gradually increasing his activity level.

I am keeping a notebook with activities and times listed (I have a stopwatch in my pocket all the time), just in case a limp returns. Then, I will know how much I need to cut back. However, I'm hoping I don't have to take any backward steps.

Even with a few uncontrollable bursts of "zoomies" and an occasional, sneaky bed jump, Oreo is still showing signs of improvement and bearing more weight on that leg.

Oreo is enjoying doing his weave poles in the yard. I don't even have to give him treats or a toy. He just goes around in the circle....weave, walk over jump bars, weave, walk over jump bars..... over and over, for about 3 minutes.

My spring break starts tomorrow, so I will have lots of time to spend stretching, strengthening, heating, exercising, and icing!

Still waiting to hear the orthopedic surgeon's opinion about Oreo's X-ray.....

I'll try and get some photos or video of Oreo in the water treadmill on Saturday.