Friday, October 30, 2009

Drugs and Dolls

Farm Town has gotten in the way of life.  I have discovered I have a raging case of OCD.  Who knew.  I find myself arranging my crops in patchwork quilt patterns, then challenge myself with finding the right combination so the entire field will be ready to harvest at once.  It is like a giant puzzle and I am finally SICK OF IT!

But isn't my farm pretty? 

My butt is growing wider in my computer chair, my arms hurt, my hand hurts from all the stinking clicking and I seem to have a perpetual head ache.

So, I am calling for a ban of all things Farm Town for least this very moment in time.

Good thing too, because last night Bonnie and Brynn decided to poison themselves. Just like little kids, when mom is distracted they do everything they can possibly think of to maim themselves. 

I was playing Farm Town last night  (imagine that?) and heard a weird crunching sound.  I shouted for John to look and see what it was (since he was closer).  He darted into the living room quickly and then back to his computer where he messaged me on Face Book (40 feet away mind you) from his office (because he is now addicted to Farm Town too) that he took a chewed up pill bottle away from Brynn.

I freaked out...and started yelling "WHAT PILL BOTTLE"

His response was to dart into my office and toss the mangled bottle onto my desk only to fly back to his office to complete harvesting someone's field.

I looked at the pill bottle and freaked some more.

As a nurse I have been trained to handle emergent situations by remaining calm, in control and  gifted with an ability to remove my self personally from a crisis situation.  It is a skill that has come in handy over the years raising too many children.  Like when my son was standing on the roof of the garage with a bed sheet tied under his shoulders - ready to jump off and parachute to the ground like daddy.  Or the time when I pulled into the drive way to watch my son leap out of the second story window - fearing the imminent crash onto the hard ground beneath I was suprised to see him suddenly bounce 20 feet into the air.  The kids had moved the trampoline under the window.

I made it through years of trauma brought on by raising children.  Only unhinge over a chewed up pill bottle...pathetic.

"WHERE DID THIS BOTTLE COME FROM?" I shrieked.  Then sent John racing around the house searching for the site of the crime, hoping to find pills on the floor (meaning they had not eaten them).

He found nothing.  Where ever they took it from (we suspect my daughters room).  They ate every last pill (if there were any left).

The bottle holds 90 count 10 mg Loratadine/Antihistamine (generic for Claritin).  Who knows how many were in the bottle because everyone in the house suddenly were struck with a acute case of amnesia.  

I immediately called the vet.  They told me to call the poison control line - because that is what they would do if I brought her in.   

Did you know the WA State Poison Control has had budget cuts?  If you are calling for information pertaining to a pet, you have to pay $30.00.  The nurses on the phone only have information about people...not pets or how human drugs will metabolize in a canine.  I waited on hold forever and found out nothing more than I already found searching the  internet while on hold.

The internet can be a very dangerous thing, when you are on the verge of panic.  I read this and freaked even more.

Loratadine is a tricyclic long-acting antihistamine with selective peripheral histamine H1-receptor antagonist activity. In humans, loratadine is well absorbed orally and extensively metabolized to an active metabolite. Most of the parent drug is excreted unchanged in the urine. The mean elimination half-life in humans is 8.4 hr. Loratadine appears to have a large margin of safety in laboratory animals. No deaths were reported at oral doses up to 5 g/kg in rats and mice. In rats, mice, and monkeys, no clinical signs were observed at 10 times the maximum recommended human daily oral dose.

Treatment of antihistamine toxicosis is primarily symptomatic and supportive. Emesis should only be considered in asymptomatic patients. Activated charcoal may be useful for recent ingestion. Cardiovascular function and body temperature should be closely monitored. Diazepam can be used to control seizures or seizure-type activity. Physostigmine is recommended to counteract the CNS anticholinergic effects of antihistamine overdoses in people, although the risk of seizures associated with this drug may limit its use. IV fluids should be given as needed.
Mind you, if the pill bottle had been even half or 3/4 full Brynn or Bonnie could have gotten up to 500-750 mg of Loratadine.

Our friend Cindy (who was a vet tech prior to becoming an RN) suggested we try and get the dogs to vomit.  Which we did.  I grabbed a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide and a syringe.  Then we tried to force the hydrogen peroxide down their throats.  After loading Brynn up with approx 20cc of Hydrogen Peroxide.  She never barfed.

Bonnie was another story.  She inhaled it, she spewed it, she began frothing at the mouth.  She looked like Cujo.  She also bit me.  Although gravely insulted at the man handling, she didn't vomit either. 

Needless to say, the vet said to watch them closely.  I didn't crate them and kept them both on the bed with me all night.  At about 4 this morning Bonnie went into her crate when I was asleep and I woke to hear her vomiting.  She hasn't been right most of the day.  She didn't want all of her breakfast - and if she doesn't perk up by tomorrow we are going into the vet.

Personally I think Bonnie is in a snit.  She is mad at me for force feeding her hydrogen peroxide (have you ever tasted hydrogen peroxide?  I would be mad too!).  She may not have wanted her breakfast but she had noooooo problem eating mine when I was distracted on the phone this morning. 

That brings me to another story I will share tomorrow.  At our lesson with Scott Glen last week he had some very interesting observations about Bonnie.  (More on that later with pictures and video).  See what Farm Town has done to me?  I have these fantastic pictures, video and great stuff to share about three dog's lessons with Scott - and here it is 11 days later and I still haven't written about it.

Farm Town sucks...errr, well, the combination of Farm Town with OCD sucks. 

Our final casualty of the week...

Sarah is a large goofy 'doll' that I have had standing in the corner of my living room for 15 years.  While she is a Christmas decoration, I found if I just turn the Christmas bag around she can be displayed all year.  I loved her long flowing hair, lovely little wreath that sat on her head.  She made me smile...

Sarah was scalped by Brynn.

Her long flowing hair was spread across the living room carpet. Dress ripped, buttons missing, delicate necklace mangled, wreath half eaten. 

 Sarah's next stop...the bin.  Nothing can help her now. 

A bored border collie will make their own entertainment.  Time to kick Farm Town to the curb - or at least exercise some restraint while imbibing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Farm Town Fanatic

I have never played a computer game in my life.  I have often scoffed at my children while they play Halo and/or save up their money for the latest release of Call of Duty XXXII.

On more than one occasion my son tried to get me to play SIMS with him, then it was Civilization.  I would shudder and walk away. 

Nope, I said...I am not a computer game type of person.  (whatever that means)

A good book is all I need.  Or so I thought...

Until my former friend Cindy manipulated me into trying Farm Town on Face Book.

It is an evil application. The work of  Satan himself.   I believe it is transmitting subliminal messages into my brain.  That is why I didn't get to bed until after midnight last night.  

What is happening to my brain?  To my life?

The poor dogs.  They had to go to the river with John today.  Because I didn't get dressed until 2 PM.  I forgot to feed them dinner last night.  No wonder they were pathetically gnawing on their bones looking at me like I was evil incarnate at 11pm. 

This morning I made soup - errr well it is left over from last night - I never took it off the stove.  It was shabbat after all.  They eat the same soup for dinner again tonight.  Oy...

Something tells me that a computer game is not part of Shabbat. Eh? 

Hi, my name is Carolynn.  I am a Farm Town addict.  I have no control, I am weak and pathetic.

Speaking of Farm Town...Anyone want to be my neighbor?  If I get enough neighbors then I can really move up levels!!!  I send LOTS of gifts too!

Dagnabbit, I forgot to feed the dogs AGAIN tonight!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vaccinating Ewes

Sunday morning dawned with clearing skies and sunshine.  A wonderful respite from our dreary fall rain.  My friend Cindy invited me over to help with vaccinating over 500 ewes at Ronnie Smith's farm. 

The day for Ronnie and his workers started well before Cindy and I arrived.

All of these sheep (click for larger view) were gather from the fields and...

...stuffed into this paddock next to the sheep barn.  It may not look like it in this picture, but there are approximately 500 ewes in this paddock.

The object of the day was to push groups of ewes from this paddock into the lower part of the barn, where they are held and shoved up a ramp into a chute in the upper part of the barn - tightly packed to minimize movement - vaccinated, the released to wander back out into the fields.

Our first job of the day was to help Cindy refill syringes (I didn't get any pictures of that because my hands were occupied trying not to vaccinate myself).  After a little bit Cindy sent us down to the lower part of the barn to help push the sheep up into the chutes.

Lots of sheep awaiting their turn.  

Ronnie & his faithful dog standing in the chute checking to see how long before the next batch needed to be pushed up the ramp.

Right before they would finish with the batch he would have Beth and me start pushing the sheep from the far end where he and Pedro would force them up the ramp to the chute.

Beth enjoyed this part.

The sheep were a wee bit cheeky and did not hesitate to challenge Beth.  

She wasn't quite sure how to approach sheep that did not move when she stared at them.

One ewe in particular was being a resistant pain.  She even dared to walk up to Beth and sniff her face.  Beth bared her teeth at her.  She then decided to test Beth and WHAM turfed her.  Beth bounced back up and went at her.  I grabbed her leash and pulled her back.  After talking to Cindy I learned that I should not have corrected Beth's reaction, rather let her take a piece of the ewe's hide off.   Lesson learned...

Baa'aad ewe

Looking at the next picture, I can understand why you never put your dog in a down this type of a situation.  Kinda puts them at a disadvantage eh?

Cindy is showing Pedro how to set the syringe to measure the correct dose of vaccine.  (see Ronnie in the background peeking). 

Pedro and Cindy had a good system going.

He was Johnny on the spot refilling the syringes.  Not like me who was being too 'nursey' and muttering things about 'aseptic technique' and 'cross contamination' which led to my banishment.  Things like that just don't apply in vaccinating sheep. 

Cindy stabbed over 500 ewes.  I don't know about you, but my arm would have fallen off.

Brill, (formerly  Kiddo) was assisting too.  

They made good time.  All the sheep were vaccinated before 10 am. 

As they got down to the end the ewes were released, ready to stuff more into the chute.

From where I was in the lower part of the barn I could see the freshly vaccinated sheep running for the pasture.

Time for the next batch


As we pushed from below the sheep would begin up the ramp, then turn the corner down the chute.  Where Cindy would begin poking them in the butts with a crook - packing them tightly into the chute.  

When the chute was full, they would close the door and we would wait for the next batch. 

As needed we would head into the paddock to push more sheep into the barn.

We didn't do much other than stand there and play 'road block'.  When working with a flock of sheep this large they can spill away from pressure (unsure of how to explain this properly), not neccesarily going where you want them too


Think of a large rock in a stream.  The water pours down the stream around the rock.  The same thing can happen with a person or a dog when moving a huge flock of sheep.  If you push in one spot they can simply spill around you like a rock in a stream.  Instead of going where you want them too (in the barn) they go the other direction...*sigh*. 


Oft times it takes more than one dog.  Or in this case Ronnie and his dog and one inept person with her dog.


In case you were wondering *raises hand* I was the inept person.  I don't think my ineptitude had anything to do with the camera I had stuck to my face.  Do you?  


On more than one occasion I heard "WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING".

Then Ronnie would turn and look at me, standing in the wrong place...shake his head.  My cue to move....

Once the barn was refilled the process would continue.  

Upteen gazillion times.

Soon all the sheep were back where they started from, happily grazing in the pasture.

In the shadow Mount Rainier

Tired, but happy border collie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ranger's Commercial

Long ago and far away Ranger had a call back audition for a Washington Lottery commercial.

In May I wrote about it here Life With Ranger

They needed a dog that would chase and retrieve a Frisbee on a beach.

 Right up Ranger's alley.

At the audition, the animal talent agent brought along her Irish Wolfhound mix.  A few weeks later I saw the commercial on TV and there was her dog.

What do they call that?  Nepotism?  Errr...Dogpotism? I guess they thought he would be a better fit for the part than Ranger.

I think they were right...but I sigh every time I see this commercial.   Ranger would have been so perfect - in my eyes of course..

Poor Ranger, always the groomsman, never the groom...or something like that.

Egads, could you imagine the outtakes?  

Ranger, I won the lotto with you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fishing Ranger

"I am Ranger the The BraveDog."

"Behind me I have whole army of my packmates, here in defiance of tyranny!"

"We have come to take back our river!"

"Fight fishermen and you may drown. Run and you will live... at least awhile."

"You come to our river, take all the salmon, leave your litter behind.  McDonalds bags, beer cans, cigarette butts, fishing line & hooks that can hurt wildlife.  What is wrong with you?"

"I will not die with regrets."

"When I am dying in my bed many years from now, I will not regret taking this chance, as a young dog, to show our enemies that they may take our fish but they will never take our river!"

"It's our wits that make us border collies

The test of a border collie is not in his speed, it is here... in his head."

"Go back to your homes, and tell them there that this River's sons and daughters are yours no more.

Tell them the Carbon River is free to dogs once again!

Uhhhooohhh.  Who is that? "

"Oh, that is Dad in his fishing gear.  He doesn't look happy."

"Oh Hiya Dad, don't listen to Ranger, he is an idiot."


"Well Ranger, you do have a few points.  It is sad that so many of my fellow fishermen do not respect our beautiful river, or the bounty it provides.  It is a darn shame that they litter and leave so much garbage behind. We have all worked so hard to restore the salmon in our rivers, then humans treat our landscape like this.  It is sad."

"Ranger, why don't you come out in the river with me and I can show you some fish?  Fresh salmon will not harm a dog (do not bite them), but the dead smelly fish will, so you have to stay away from those.  They can make a dog very sick."


"I dunno Dad, there are things moving around in that water.  LOTS OF BIG THINGS THAT WILL EAT MY LEGS!  Mommy...."

"I will be brave...  I will look around and see"



DAD, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE! (see the large salmon swimming right in front of Ranger, then another to the right?)

Aggggghhhhhhhh!  Five of them getting away!  DAD!

 "Ranger, pace yourself.  The more you run around in this water the less salmon will come up the river.  They are all waiting below the rapids for you to leave.  You need to be quieter Ranger."

"Ranger can't be quiet, he is an idiot"

 "Hey, maybe you all shouldn't be out there, the fishermen up river might get angry when all the fish stop swimming."

Cant beat'em, join'em.


 Oh, my....Ranger pounced on one with his paws.   DO NOT BITE IT!  (We shooed him away before he could get his teeth into it *PLEASE SEE IMPORTANT NOTE BELOW*)

Ranger, we practice what we call "Catch and Release".  After we catch the fish we let them go so they can finishing spawning.  We have plenty of fish at home in the freezer, there is no need to be greedy."

Ranger liked the idea of letting his fish go - so he could pounce on more!


Dad has a new fishing buddy.

Watch Ranger fishing on YouTube

If you make a trip to a Pacific Northwest River during salmon spawning season it is essential your dog has a reliable "LEAVE IT" and you keep your eyes on your dog every minute.  The dead and decaying carcasses are a tempting delicacy for most dogs and they can contain a lethal organism which has deadly consequences.


Salmon Poisoning Disease 

This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.
Fishing can be wonderful recreation, but sharing the catch with your dog can be an act of kindness that kills. 
Salmon Poisoning Disease is a potentially fatal condition seen in dogs that eat certain types of raw fish. Salmon (salmonid fish) and other anadromous fish (fish that swim upstream to breed) can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. Overall, the parasite is relatively harmless. The danger occurs when the parasite itself is infected with a rickettsial organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. It’s this microorganism that causes salmon poisoning.

“Salmon poisoning occurs most commonly west of the Cascade mountain range,” says  Dr. Bill Foreyt, a veterinary parasitologist at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He adds, “Canids (dogs) are the only species susceptible to salmon poisoning. That’s why cats, raccoons and bears eat raw fish regularly with out consequence.”

Generally clinical signs appear within six days of a dog eating an infected fish.

Common symptoms of salmon poisoning include:
  • vomiting
  • lack of appetite
  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • weakness
  • swollen lymph nodes 
  • dehydration
If untreated, death usually occurs within fourteen days of eating the infected fish. Ninety percent of dogs showing symptoms die if they are not treated. 

Thankfully, salmon poisoning is treatable if it’s caught in time. A key to its diagnosis is telling your veterinarian that your dog ate raw fish. If you have a dog that wanders, or raids trashcans and you are unsure of what it’s eaten; consider the possibility of salmon poisoning.  Salmon poisoning can be diagnosed with a fecal sample or a needle sample of a swollen lymph node. Detecting the parasite’s eggs as they are shed in the feces confirms its presence. The rickettsial organism can be detected in a needle sample from a swollen lymph node. The combination of symptoms, and the presence of parasite eggs or the rickettsial organisms, are enough to justify treatment.

Given the severity of the condition, treatment is relatively simple. Your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic and a “wormer”. The antibiotic kills the rickettsial organisms that cause the illness, and the wormer kills the parasite. If the dog is dehydrated, intravenous fluid are given. Once treatment has been started, most dogs show dramatic improvement within two days.

Next time you are fishing or purchase raw salmon and you hear the familiar begging whine of your dog, ignore it. They may not understand it, but not sharing the fish is the best thing for them. This will save them from suffering salmon poisoning, and save you from a veterinary bill.

This Pet Health Topic was written by Sarah Hoggan, Washington State University, Class of 2001.

View article here