Monday, January 31, 2011

misty monday

Rob writes a weekly blog about his gone but not forgotten girl, Tippy.  I thought that was a great idea, which I decided to steal!

Moody Monday will now be Misty Monday.  A day to show never seen before (or old favorites) of Misty, won't that be fun?  Eventually, I'll run out of photos, but I'm going to strive for 52 weeks (that's a year, for those of you who are math challenged) of Misty Mondays!  I'm sure I can rummage up 52 photos.  I must have 1000's.  The hard part will be sticking to one photo a week!  I have so many good ones lined up.

This was Misty's last "moody monday" photo, but I didn't do moody monday last week, even though it was definitely a moody day.

Not much of a story behind this photo.  When I saw Misty in this position, half hanging off the couch, she made me laugh.  I feel as though Misty got in this position and thought, "Good enough," or "Why does there have to be a humongous blanket where I want to sleep?"  Then, she inevitably gave her long, drawn out Misty sigh of contentment.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

passed on sheltie traditions

My first sheltie, Munchkin, was quite the barker. Especially when we left or came home.  He'd stand on the back of the couch so he could bark while looking out the big window.

that's Munchkin on the left, Misty on the right
Kindly, he passed this tradition to Misty, who then, in turn, passed it to Oreo. 

Yes, we will always have a dog in the window, thanks to Munchkin & Misty.

Misty had some quirks of her own, which Oreo quickly picked up on.....

OK, Oreo has never scratched at the computer stand, but he does bark at the garage door.

I made this video a long time ago, but for some reason (embarrassment?) never shared it. Now, I'm glad I have video of Misty barking. I miss that voice.

Now if only Misty had taught Oreo how to be quiet when I vacuum, ignore the dust rag, and not attack the broom. Guess Misty wasn't a miracle worker.

She said, "I'm going to leave those lessons for you Ma."

"Don't forget, I always kept an eye on the road."

"Just like Munchkin taught me."

"I taught Oreo this important job.  Now, you will always have a sheltie on the lookout."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

who's the dummy?

Oreo and I went to agility class today. We haven't been to a class in well over a month. It was nice to go back.

I was a bit rusty. Oreo forgot some stuff.

We had a tunnel/dogwalk discrimination. Oreo was supposed to take the dogwalk. However, no matter how much I moved away from the dogwalk (in an effort to pull him away from the tunnel) he sucked right into the tunnel.

My teacher closed off the end of the tunnel, thinking that would help.

Nope. Oreo ran right toward where the tunnel used to be, and ran under the dogwalk.

I laughed. Thinking, he was pattern trained and assumed the tunnel would be there.

He wouldn't make the same mistake again, would he?


And again.....but he caught himself and was able to back up and get on the dogwalk.

"Oh, well why didn't you tell me you wanted me on the dogwalk? Why are you calling me dumb? You're the dummy!"
Other than that, Oreo had some really good runs, including a couple sets of awesome weaves.

new heeling

Oreo and I are starting a rally class a week from today.  I know rally involves a lot of heeling with attention, something we've been working on as part of our behavior plan. 

I decided I wanted to work on perfecting this skill, so I ordered Silvia Trkman's heeling video. 

If you've never seen her dogs heel, it is quite impressive.  Plus, I liked that fact that she teaches it as a trick, not an obedience move.

She gives a 7 step process on her dvd, taught exclusively through shaping. 

The first step is very much like the "elephant trick" Oreo learned years ago.  Unfortunately, Oreo only learned this in one direction.  Plus, back then I taught him most tricks through luring, not shaping.  He still expects my hand to be raised over his head when we do that trick. She said you can use a hand gesture, but not a lure.

So, we were pretty much back at square one.  Here is a video from yesterday. Obviously, Oreo excels at one direction.  I am shaping him to learn the oppsite direction, which will put him in the true heel position.  We've been doing this for a few days, and I thought we would be further along.  I may have to try a different pedastal, then maybe he will realize this is a new skill altogether. 

This step is supposed to help the dog have a strong idea of the "position".  Without that, we can't move forward.

In the video, she made a comment about how your dogs should be able to look at you, even if there is a treat in your hand.

Well, I know Oreo is incapable of doing that! He constantly looks at my hands, not my face.

Lightbulb moment for me. If I work on getting Oreo to look at me when there is a treat present, that may help teach him to focus on me when scary things are around. So, we are doing short shaping sessions for that as well.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Misty was euthanized at our local animal emergency hospital.  Jeff was really trying to get Misty to hang on until morning, so we could bring her to our regular vet.  He wanted it to be private, with people who knew us and Misty's condition.

Jeff's fears were unjust.  The doctor at the ER could not have been kinder, gentler, or more compassionate.  She even wrapped Misty up in a blanket.  She told us words that helped us know we did the right thing, we gave Misty the ultimate gift.  Misty wouldn't have made it until morning.

Afterward, we left behind Misty's collar by mistake.  They wrapped it up tightly in pink gauze, which helped ease the pain a bit when Jeff picked it up the next day.  Nothing worse than holding an empty collar.

The doctor's kindness didn't end in the mail, along with a sympathy card, I received this:
I sobbed at first, missing that paw desperately, but I'm so glad they stamped Misty's pawprint (2 in fact).

It was evidence that Misty's body had been treated with dignity, respect, and even love.   

Thanks Dr. Gavin and all the staff at the ER.

We won!

Yes, Oreo won the weekly cutest puppy contest!  WhooHoo!

Boy, it was a battle, but thanks to all my family and friends and complete strangers, the best looking dog won!

The blogger said that Oreo won his vote!  That was the icing on the cake.

I'm so excited.  You'd think I won a thousand bucks, not a $10 gift certificate to a burrito bar!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

misty's secret

Shhhhh...don't tell anyone, but Misty had a secret.  Yes, every night after dinner, while I was busy in the kitchen, Misty would jump on the couch and fluff up the pillows (that's the polite way of putting it), and sometimes toss them on the floor. 

Every time I would catch her in the act, she would stop and say, "You didn't see that ma, I'm just out here walking around, minding my own business."

Well, during her last few weeks with us, I was determined to catch it on film.  Record her little secret as evidence.  She made it difficult. Every time I opened the camera, she'd stop her antics. 

I had to hide, and pretend I was on the computer in order to get these few short clips.  Given we have very little daylight, they are a bit fuzzy.

I hope Misty wouldn't mind me telling everyone her secret.

Silly girl.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How's Oreo doing?

That seems to be the question on lots of people's minds.

Oreo is doing just fine.  He is playful, energetic, and eating normally.  No crying, whining, listlessness.

I had Misty scheduled for an acupuncture treatment today. I decided not to cancel and bring Oreo instead.  I figured his body may be out of whack from when he hurt his leg a couple weeks ago, and he might need some relief from the stress in our house.

Well, the good news....Oreo's emotional points weren't too bad.  I hope that means he's feeling ok about Misty being gone.

The bad?  Well, Oreo's body was all contorted.  Even his tail.  Must have been the way he was compensating when he was injured.  Both his shoulders weren't feeling so good.  Our doctor told me to see how he does on the peanut tomorrow.  If Oreo's better as a result of her adjustments and acupuncture, I can bring him to agility.  If he's still having some trouble, we'll have to wait a few weeks.

Also, Oreo has some scar tissue built up in his toes, due to the injury.  She wants me to do range of motion exercises with each joint in his foot.  He's having trouble extending the joints.  Who knew you could do range of motion for all those little bones?

Boy, good thing I brought him to the appointment!  Oreo really has no respect for his body.  He uses it to the point of abuse.  Obviously, he learned that from his grandfather, not me.

Overall, I've been trying to keep Oreo (and myself) busy.  Oreo and I are still "working the plan".  It is difficult lately to work on his fears, because most people are in hibernation mode.  Neighbors stuck in their house, no one is out walking about.

I have continued bringing Oreo to the large cemetery.  It is an awesome winter walking place.  Roads are plowed, but without road salt to burn his sensitive feet.

this is my favorite part of the cemetery, I love how the pine trees make a canopy

Since we're not encountering too many people on these walks, I've been working on our skills in the wide open areas, which usually have Oreo's head spinning like secret service.  I'm trying to encourage him to keep his focus on me, not the perimeter.

Here we are doing sit/stays:

Although Oreo prefers to work on recalls:

We have a follow up appointment scheduled mid February with our behaviorist.  I'm looking forward to hearing what new ideas she has for Oreo.

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

time to smile

I am simply overwhelmed by the support and love I received from all of you yesterday.  It really helped me make it through the day. I don't think there was one moment in my day where a comment or email wasn't ringing into my inbox.

I had started making Misty's 13th birthday video a few weeks ago.  Her birthday is April 29.....she will share it with a royal wedding this year.  I can't think of a better way to honor my little Princess, than with a fairy tale wedding.  I'm sure William and Kate chose that date specifically for Misty, right?

Anyway, here is a little tribute to my girl, mostly photos from her last year, with a few oldies thrown in at the end.

Thank you everyone for your kindess and warmth.  It makes me feel good to know that Misty was loved by so many.  Sometimes, when a dog dies, you feel alone in your sadness.  Not me.

Now though, it is time to smile and wag your tails.  That's how Misty rolled.

OK, if that made you cry instead of smile, watch this oldie:

Monday, January 24, 2011

set free

At 2:00 AM, Misty's sweet soul was set free. She was in congestive heart failure. Despite my sadness, I immediately felt a huge sense of relief. Misty's pain had come to an end. 
I'm having a hard time finding words.  I want to honor Misty, remember her for all she was before she got sick.  Then, I realized, I had already written everything to sum up my feelings about my special dog.

So, please read "misty's story" to find out how Misty came into my life.  Somehow, someway, I ended up with the best dog in the world.

Then read a post I wrote about Misty in 2007.  Nothing has changed since I wrote that post, except for her illness.

We will never have a dog as sweet as Misty.  

I miss you baby girl. Wherever you are, I hope you find squirrels to bark at, woods to walk in, some cool rocks to make a bed in, and a "food lady" who will give you lots of bacon.    Thank you for every enthusiastic welcome home greeting, being my blanket in the winter, waking your daddy every morning (it's cheerio time!), letting us know when it's snack time!(7:30PM, on the button), and annoying the neighbors when they were building yet another playhouse.  I hope you know how much we loved you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

thanks for your votes

Thanks to everyone for voting for Oreo in the contest. Boy, it is close. Everytime we move up, so does that other dog. Maybe I should have entered a photo from when Oreo was 8 weeks old. I think it would have been a slamdunk with that. Oh well. It was fun trying to get as many votes as possible.
Misty is not doing so good.  She took a turn for the worse on Saturday.  Misty's lungs sound like they are full of fluid, amongst numerous other problems.  She did eat most of her breakfast this morning though.  We'll see how she fares throughout the day.  Might end up at the ER vet to see if we can get something to help her breathe easier.

Trying our best to keep her comfortable.  ***sigh***

Friday, January 21, 2011


Go vote for Oreo....

We're in second place right now.......

Help us win a gift certificate to a local restaurant!



another delay

I've been trying to replace my header photo with a new one, and everything I try gives me a blurry photo. Annoying! Maybe blogger is having issues. I had to add a photo gadget instead.

I have yet another 2 hour delay. We only had one full day of school this week, due to the weather. Bad timing, since our midterms and state exams are next week. Our kids are losing valuable review time.

The dogs are happy about me having extra time at home though.

although they look kinda serious 

our picket fence is almost buried

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How's Misty doing?

Many people left such nice comments about Misty yesterday, and Rob asked how Misty was here is where we stand.
About a week ago, I brought Misty to the vet to have an X-ray done.  She has been peeing blood quite frequently, this is common for a dog with bladder cancer, but I wanted to make sure she hadn't developed any stones. 

While the x-ray showed no signs of stones, it did indicate that Misty has a bit of arthritis in her spine.  Nothing to be too concerned about.  However, my vet did not like the looks (or feel) of Misty's bladder.  There was a lot of shading on the x-ray, and she was concerned that it was a sign that the tumor may have spread.  She did a rectal exam and could feel Misty's bladder was enlarged.  That is why Misty is straining to poop lately.  It is uncomfortable for her.

My vet sent the x-ray to our internal medicine specialist, but he was on vacation for the week.  We had to wait for his interpretation and suggestions.

Well, we waited, and the specialist told my vet he couldn't tell anything conclusive from the X-ray.  Our options, perform another ultrasound or keep doing what you're doing.

I opted for "keep doing what you're doing." 

So, what are we doing?  My vet put Misty on tramadol (for pain) and baytril (for bacteria in her urine).  She's still taking the piroxicam,a NSAID, which has been shown to reduce the size of some tumors, as well as provide some relief.  She is also on numerous supplements and chinese herbs.

Our main goal is to alleviate pain and irritation, and if the tumor shrinks, that's a bonus. 

I'm happy that Misty still has a good appetite, despite being on all these medications.  She has spurts of short lived, playful energy.   She can keep up with us on a mile and a half walk.  Her personality is still intact.  She's my good girl.

It's amazing how dogs always make the best of things, without complaint.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

tricky t-day ~ doing laundry

Oreo learned a very useful trick this week......putting my laundry away in drawers.  I think Oreo would prefer putting dirty laundry in the basket, rather than clean laundry in drawers.  Too risky to encourage that trick!  I'd be buying all new socks/underwear.

Monday, January 17, 2011

moody monday....NOT!

Thanks to Martin Luther King Jr., I have today off!  Instead, the dogs will be on the job, doing what they do best!
Playing, running, jumping!

Squirrel Watching

Too bad it's only going to be a whopping 16 degrees F today... Brrrrrrrrrrrr.  Definitely a dogs in boots day.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

ridiculously cold

Boy was it cold this morning. Well below zero. Luckily, the building where they were holding league this week has good heat.

I brought Oreo's coat and was planning to leave him in the car as usual. However, when I got there I had second thoughts.  Afraid he might turn into a popsicle, I set up his crate in the crowded crating room.   I didn't want to risk an injury by not being able to warm him up.

The courses were pretty much the same for both standard and the game(jackpot). We ignored the rules for both, and did training runs.
For our first run, we did 4,13, tunnel, 7, 8, 9, 2,14. Our second run was, 5,6,7,10,3,4.

Our first run went perfectly. Oreo did all the obstacles and ran with confidence. I gave him treats two times (one a small jackpot when he had jumped past ring crew without hesitating) on course.

Our second run, Oreo really hesitated about coming out of his crate. We were one of the last dogs to run, so many people had been in the crating room packing up. There were a couple men standing by his crate having a conversation. I think that was the root of his anxiety.

However, when I brought him into the ring room, he was offering me tricks and seemed ready to go.

He went over the first jump(past a ring crew person), but didn't put one toe on the dog walk. My guess was he noticed the judge and got a bit anxious. I directed him to the tunnel (an escape for him), he took the next jump (past another ring crew person) and I jackpotted him. He did the weaves, tunnel and last jump with no problem. I treated him, then headed toward our leash and exit.

Well, Oreo had other plans. He did a 180 and took the #5 jump again. I cheered! Everyone else kindly laughed.

Oreo had gone right back to the source of his anxiety! He wanted to play some more.

Silly me is standing there holding his leash! That was a big moment for my boy.

My other proud, personal moment was how bravely he walked through the parking lot without freezing in his steps. Maybe because it was so cold out?  He also walked relatively calmly back to the death pull.

Overall, I feel as though we continue to make progress. Ring crew does not seem to be stressing him as much. We will work on desensitizing him to the judge.

Friday, January 14, 2011

silly sheets

I know I've posted a video of Oreo playing under the sheets before.  This week, he got made into the bed under the fitted sheet.  It was so entertaining, I had to grab my video camera.

We have a league match in the morning.  I've got a nice quick loop planned.  We haven't done agility in 2 weeks!  I'm hoping to have an eager dog. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

snow day

I had my first snow day of the school year yesterday.  We got another foot on top of what we already had. We are buried!
Jeff's poor, lonely convertible.
I had a strong feeling school would be closed, so I brought home a ton of work to do.
Did I get any done?

Did I vacuum my desperately filthy floor?
Nope.  Typical snowday. A day where you feel entitled to do nothing, but play in the snow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

tricky t-day ~ playing cards

Since Oreo hurt himself (he's better now), I had to find a trick which didn't require much movement.  Learning to limbo was postponed for at least another week.

When one is hurt/sick, what do you do?  Stay inside and play cards, right?

I'm not sure how much Oreo likes cards, but I thought he did pretty well for his first try.

Monday, January 10, 2011

moody monday

Oreo's leg is doing much better.  He has permission to resume normal (well, that's relative) activities this afternoon.  Makes me feel kinda silly for taking him to the vet on Thursday, but I guess it was a small price to pay for peace of mind that Oreo wasn't permanently broken.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

rent training videos!

My agility instructor gave me this website link, where you can rent dog training videos.  It's netflix for dog people!

How cool is that?

"Just great.  I wonder what sort of strange object I'm going to have to stand on now."
 If you've ever purchased a dog training DVD, you know how much they cost.  How often do you really watch it more than once?  This can save you a ton of money.

Thought I'd share.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

stick my tongue out saturday

"Ha, ha, you can't stop me from running!"
Oreo had a big case of fresh snow zoomies this morning....if he starts hobbling again, I'm going to have to put him on a leash in the backyard.  This dog is insane.

Friday, January 7, 2011

someone's not happy

Oreo is not happy about all this relaxing, nor the ice packs.  I really hope this is a short recovery like the vet said.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

oreo hurt his leg

Oreo got a little too excited when his daddy came home this afternoon.  Not sure how, but Oreo hurt his front leg.

He was limping real bad, worse than when he hurt his back leg.  So, after icing for awhile, we took him to the vet.

During the exam, she pinpointed the problem to the top of his paw.  His shoulder was also inflamed, but she thought it was due to him holding it up in the air so much.  An x-ray confirmed it to be a soft tissue injury on his front paw.  Whew.

Oreo had a laser treatment, where he took a little nap.

The vet expects Oreo to be 100% by Monday.  We'll ice it for a few days, and try to keep him from jumping. 

Yea, that's already not going so well.

I've got some deramaxx, if I think he needs it.  She'd rather I didn't give it to him though. 

Overall, a few days rest. 

Here are links to some photos from our last trial.  Obviously, if I'm going to be running and having my photo taken, I need to wear a hat.  These photos are hysterical.  Scroll to the right after you click on the link to see them all.  I think there are 4 in each link.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

tricky t-day~ Misty's workout 2

Thanks to Ricky for giving us the idea to wedge our peanut ball in between the coffee table and couch.  I think it is giving Misty a sense of security, and some independence getting on the ball.  I still have to lift her back legs onto the ball, but she puts her fronts on quite enthusiastically.

Thanks to Marie & Kathy for suggesting the disc.  Both my dogs love it.  Misty needs to use the nubby side for some extra traction, and I make it harder for Oreo, by giving him the smooth side.  They literally fight over who gets to go first, pushing each other off the thing.  Misty wins. She didn't earn the nickname "tank" for nothing.

After my scary Misty post (sorry, I didn't realize so many of you would react so deeply to my first paragraph, I should have started with a disclaimer!), I thought Misty's fan club would enjoy seeing Misty active, sparkly, and hungry.

The music I picked for this video makes me want to teach my dogs to do the limbo.  Hmmmmm.  I think I just inspired myself.

Now that Misty has gained some strength, we will be cutting back our workouts to every other day. This will leave us  more trick training time. Hopefully next week, I'll have a new trick to show you.