Saturday, November 28, 2009

Brynn Update

Just a quick update on Brynn.

Brynn ingested approximately 4 ounces of cocoa powder in addition to 2-4 oz. of dark chocolate chips (she weighs 34 lbs).  I found the following table that can be used as a rough guide to assess if the amount of chocolate consumed by a dog is likely to pose a serious risk.

With the exception of continued excessive urination (she has peed on our bed twice - yes, TWICE!) she seems to be recovering without incident and finally starting to act 'normal'.  Well, as normal as a tri-colored monkey can act.  The vet cleared her for normal activities & diet.

Today we worked sheep at Fido's. I got in a little over my head, tripped over a water bucket, and almost broke my neck, but Brynn was amazing.   Bonnie is going to be the death of me.   Beth was a pleasure.  John worked Gryff again this time our friend Cindy went out in the field with him and gave him some excellent pointers. 

Later we went over to Cindy's house where she took some fantastic pictures of all the dogs.

Brynn, healthy happy and chocolate free - but I swear her brown is just a tad darker.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Cookie Monster

I didn't sleep all night.  Not a wink.


This is why...

Yesterday I made cookies for Thanksgiving.  A double batch of chocolate mint cookies, made with unsweetened cocoa powder and dark chocolate morsels.

As I took them out of the oven I let them cool on the rack - pushed back on the counter.

Guess who counter surfed and ate approx 16 cookies? 

I thought my son ate them.  I was wrong...

The evening started nicely, Brynn settled in to sleep.  Then at 11 pm, it was like someone lit a firecracker  under her butt.  Did you know one of the symptoms of chocolate toxicity is hyperactivity?

All the nights I spent rocking colicky babies puking in my shirt & screaming in my ear paled in comparison.

After a frantic phone call to the vet in the middle of the night he calmly talked me through figuring out approximately how many cookies were missing, the ingredients used (1 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1 cup dark chocolate morsels) and helped me calculate out approximately how much Brynn had ingested.    He told me I could expect many of the signs and symptoms of a large chocolate ingestion - if she gets worse I am to bring her to the vet immediately. 

Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. Theobromine is a xanthine compound in the same family of caffeine, and theophylline.     That is the bad news. 

The good news is that it takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine 100-150 mg/kg to cause a toxic reaction (there are variables to consider like the individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration). 

The level of theobromine and caffeine in chocolate varies between the type of chocolate, the brand and the fact that the natural occurrence of these substances in cocoa beans is variable. Broadly
  • White chocolate - 1.1 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
  • Milk chocolate - 64 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
  • Dark sweet chocolate - 150 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
  • Instant cocoa powder - 151 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate;
  • Unsweetened baking chocolate - 440 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate; and
  • Dry cocoa powder - 808 mg of theobromine and caffeine per ounce of chocolate
 Xanthines affect the nervous system, cardiovascular system, peripheral nerves, and has a diuretic effect as well.  Much like caffeine effects humans. 

The symptoms of Theobromide poisoning are numerous and they appear within a few hours or up to a day after the chocolate ingestion. Chocolate stays in the animal's stomach a long time. As the Theobromide is absorbed into the bloodstream, the animal can exhibit the following symptoms;

Clinical Signs
Hyper excitability
Hyper irritability
Increased heart rate
Increased urination
Muscle tremors

There is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning.  The half life (the time required for half the amount of a drug to be eliminated from the body) of the toxin is 17.5 hours in dogs.   If you catch it in time, induce vomiting in the first 1-2 hours if the quantity is unknown.   Administering activated charcoal may inhibit absorption of the toxin. An anticonvulsant might be indicated if neurological signs are present and needs to be controlled. Oxygen therapy, intravenous medications, and fluids might be needed to protect the heart.

If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate contact your Vet immediately! They can help you determine the the proper treatment for your pet.

References for the preceding information. 
Dogs and Chocolate Toxicity
7 Questions about Dogs and Chocolate
Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

NEVER AGAIN will I make chocolate cookies...and assume they will be left unmolested on the counter. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

John & Gryff

Meet Gryff

Gryff is the one in the back.   It is next to impossible to get a picture of Gryff that is in focus.  He moves too fast & my camera is too slow. 

You may remember that Beth was John's dog.  He fell in love with her when we adopted her from rescue.   I took over as Beth's handler when John started working oodles of overtime.  It was logical since I had recently become unemployed.  I had the time and she needed the attention.

I can't let her go - he can't have her back.  I am a woman who loves too much.

So our friend Vicki had a suggestion.  Maybe John would like to work Gryff?  Gryff is loaded with talent and loves men.  Why not give it a try?  On Sunday, we did just that.

I don't know...I am not sure John likes Gryff?  What do you think?  

Gryff was started by Sue MacDonald and ran Novice in a trial with Vicki a two months ago.  Gryff was badly injured this summer and required a long recovery period and was unable to train.  After being crated for almost two months Vicki entered Gryff in a trial (for grins and giggles).  He placed right behind Beth. 

At first Gryff was a little unsure of John.  Zipping around the sheep.  John kept the session with Gryff light and fun, with lots of reassurance and praise.

Once Gryff settled down he gave John some nice work.

Gryff is fast.  But he respects his sheep and is nice to them.

They are just beginning on their communication

Whoops....Gryff snuck by John

Gryff likes John

John likes Gryff.

Now we have a shared custody arrangement with Vicki.  Gryff will spend the weekends John can work him at our house.    I wish I had a picture of the two of them last night.  I found them both sound asleep together on the bed, Gryff snuggled right smack up against John.

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Gryff fits nicely into our pack.  All the dogs know each other already from many walks together on the river.  Beth even accepts Gryff.   Perhaps it was meant to be?

Welcome to our pack Gryff - even if it is only part-time.  Thank you Vicki for giving John this opportunity to work with this special boy. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maggie McClure, Beth, Brynn & Bonnie

Last week Cindy and I boarded the ferry to Vashon Island for an afternoon with Maggie McClure.  It was beyond wonderful.  Maggie has a way of explaining things that clicked into my brain.  Beth thinks Maggie hung the moon.   She was all happy and googly eyes at her.  Which is no small feat.  

Beth had a challenge in her lesson with a stubborn, aggressive wether.  He must have spotted something, a weakness in Beth and exploited it.   The weakness 

I hate this sheep.

Is it 'okay' to have such feelings of negativity for a sheep?  Woolly bastard. 

Dog food, I tell you.

You are witnessing the anatomy of a turfing, Sheep vs Dog

Notice the idiotic handler in the purple?  The one with the the stupid "what do I do now" look on her face  and a big  "L" on her forehead? 

Yep, where's her sign?


Finally, she moved her butt to the right place and actually helped her dog.


What the idiotic handler should have been doing was this...See Cindy grab the sheep (this wether was a problem for all of us).  She is telling Kael "GET HIM".

Later Brill (our former foster Kiddo) did just that...he took care of him - properly - on the nose.

Good boy.

This is what I am working on with Beth.  No more corrections.  Build her confidence.  Put her on challenging sheep in close up situations, pens, chutes and alleys.   I learned a valuable lesson about correcting my dogs when they are gripping.  I have been so careful of Fido's sheep & hyper vigilant about any of my dogs gripping that I have corrected every single time Beth has opened her mouth - even when she should have been gripping.  I created this and now I need to fix it...if possible. 

I am hoping someday I can be the handler Beth deserves.  She is such a wonderful little dog with so much heart.    One thing was very clear to me.  Once Maggie started working with Beth, her confidence level visibly increased - it is clearly handler error.  *sigh*

Moving on to more positive things.  Brynn, my little monkey is growing up so nicely.

She has lots of push (is that the right word?).  Very no nonsense approach.

Careful & attentive.  Her flanks are naturally nice and wide.

These were the same sheep that challenged Beth.  They didn't try that with Brynn.

The assignment I have to work on with Brynn -  While Brynn generally has nice natural balance, I have been compensating for the times she does not come into balance by moving one direction or another.  For example on the come-by side -  As she has been flanking around, she is not fully coming into balance at the top - so I start moving to my left - which is a 'no,no'.  I need to stay put, allow her to come to balance on her own - THEN - back up & give the 'walk-up" & "there". 

I need to keep it fun and build her confidence on the sheep.  She is still a puppy - no commands, nothing harsh and no stress. 

The thing that was the most valuable for me in my lessons with Maggie was she finally got through my head how to correctly use the flag/stick or arms and how they relate to balance.  So many have tried to explain this to me before.  I thought I had it.  But for some reason it just didn't click.  But the way Maggie showed me - I cannot explain it - it clicked in the deepest recesses of my brain.  

Pointing the flag at Bonnie's head doesn't work for us.  My brain moves too slow & Bonnie moves tooooo fast... I end up waving my stupid flag around well past the time I should have put it away and missed the communication opportunity - thus the flag means nothing - except in Bonnie's case "OMG HURRY UP AND GET AROUND IT" (that is what she was thinking, I promise you, I have been gifted with the ability to read my dogs mind - they also call me horrible names that I will not repeat here). 

Balance?  What is that?  Bonnie doesn't do balance.  She does, however race around like a bunny on uppers - over flanking constantly.  If I were to stand still - she would circle around and around and around and around and around and around....uhm, get my point?    I clearly remember sheep camp this summer when I was in the back field with a flock of 50 ewes.  I fell down and Bonnie kept circling the flock - packing them in tighter and tighter - right over the top of me.  *sigh*   I have Post Traumatic Sheep Disorder. 


So with Bonnie - I am no longer pointing the flag at her head.  NOPE, nyet, nein.


The minute I point the flag at Bonnie she speeds up.


That is because of my history of waving the flag around like a hurricane.  It has lost its meaning.


Now I am using the flag to block, create the negative space. 

When she comes in too close I correct her with 'garbly growly' sounds.  Not wave the flag at her and threaten her with it.  I am also using words, such as "no".  What a concept!  I can quietly say  "no" to her when she doing something I don't want.  Guess what?  She responds.  She stops and looks at me, you can see her think "well then, what?"


Once I stopped whipping the flag at her head & communicated - she settled down.  Peace was felt by all.  Most of all by Bonnie. 

Ever have one of those moments that you know will be emlazoned on your memory forever?  Like the birth of a child?  Maybe the day you said "I do".  Or the day your forehead met the windshield in a car accident? 

I am going to add today into my list of all time 'memorable moments'.

While working Bonnie this afternoon at Fido's I had an epiphany, a lightening bolt of awareness - suddenly I grasped what why and when you use "There".

Not only did I use it consistently at the right time, but Bonnie's eyes lit up and I could see she finally understood what the hell I meant  "Oh you want me to stop here, okay then" - she stayed in balance and walked up on the sheep in a STRAIGHT FREAKING LINE!  Not once, not twice but several times. She stopped the crazy arse flanking and darting around like a bullet on crack.  I was able to walk backward at a nice pace (until the sheep stepped on my boot, I fell down and Bonnie gripped another one in the butt - but that is another story).  I was so happy I almost wet my rubber pants.

Bonnie was pretty pleased with herself too. 

And finally for those of you that didn't believe that picture of the white monkey was a fair representation of my new hair color.  Here you go... the monkey has much nicer teeth. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hair Color, Twix & other Non Sequitur's

All in the spirit of trying to take care of myself & get out of the funk I am in - I made an appointment at the hair salon.

I love the gal who cuts my hair.  She is tall, thin, elegant and blonde.  Everything I always wanted to be and never was.  I used to dislike people like that, just on principal.  However since she was wielding a comb and messing with chemicals near my face I thought I would put my malice aside for the day.  She is, after all, a genius. 

I have been frustrated with the gray in my hair for years.  Thanks to my lovely silver haired mother (and her mother and her mother...etc ) my hair is more than 50% silver at 43 y/o.  The hair growing in at my temples is 100% silver. 

I have been coloring my hair for years.   Once every six weeks I lock myself in  the bathroom, change into a threadbare house coat mix up the purple potion and slap it on my head.  Woe is the person who knocks on the door during the 45 minutes of hair color exile.  The kids better be bleeding profusely or missing a limb to justify interrupting my dye job. 

No matter how pretty it is the week or two after - it eventually grows out.   I hate it when it grows out.  I end up with a white strip down the middle of my head, just like a skunk.  

I feel older than dirt when I look in the mirror and see that. 

It was time to bite the bullet and accept my gray.  The skunk stripe was only going to get worse. 

Back to my hairdresser.  She is a genius - she told me how we were going to color my hair so that it will camouflage  the grow out.    She spent 2.5 hours delicately selecting hair with the heaviest concentration of gray - and then foiled that hair platinum blond - so it  looks silver.  (Does that make sense?).  Since I had so much color on my hair the silver/blond is lighter at the roots - which is okay with me.  Now as my hair grows out she will continue with the silver/blond gradually less and less until it is grown out. 

You would think with all the technology we have in this world, someone would figure out how to color hair gray?  Apparently you cannot do can remove color and put a gray 'rinse' on it, but the gray will not hold and washes out quickly.  How frustrating.  So you have to go blonde....

It is different and will take some getting used to.  I scared the hell out of myself in the mirror this morning.    I have never been blonde, or white.  Just red or brown. 

I kinda like it.  Once I stop freaking myself out....

Tomorrow, I promise I will write about the dogs & sheep. 

Brynn says it is about time...

She thinks I am a freaky silver haired woman.

But I give her sheep,  so she wisely sheep keeps her opinions to herself.

Who is this fluff ball of adorable? 

This is Twix, a four and 1/2 month old border collie puppy.   My friend Vicki is fostering Twix.  Twix is available for adoption through PNW Border Collie Rescue. 

Click her for Twix's Bio

Twix came into rescue after her former owner accidently ran her over with an ATV.  Her leg was fractured beyond repair.  Her owners asked the vet to put her down - instead the vet elected to save her life.  He amputated her leg & called Border Collie Rescue. 

Sometimes you see God through simple acts of kindness.  I would like to give that vet a big hug. 

Twix is a serious little girl. She enjoyed watching the dogs work sheep. 

She is very talkative.  She reminds me of both Beth and Brynn - rolled into one.  

She is tri-color like Brynn with Beth's ears.  How cute is that? 

I think I am in love.  I know my friend Cindy is in love with Twix too...but Vicki is mean and won't let either of us have her.  I have tried to talk her into it.  I even said I would trade in Ranger. 

But mean Vicki said no.  She says Twix  needs to go to a home where she is going to be the center of someone's world.  She is too special to share. 

Is dog napping illegal?