Sunday, August 29, 2010

Take your dog's vomiting and stomach issues seriously!

Having experienced Sue's GSD, Eco's bloat & stomach torsion earlier this summer as well as Laurel's vomiting due to "food poisoning", I have been sensitized to vomiting and stomach issues in dogs. Then today, I received the following email from a friend, Juli, who has a lovely SDiT, Josie (Lab-Border Collie):
"We had a scare with Josie! She started vomiting Friday at 4:20 pm. She vomited all the time when I first got her - in the car. But once she got over being carsick, she never did again. We have had a time with her having bowel issues til we got her immunity and health straightened out, but no vomiting. I called the vet to be sure I knew how to treat vomiting going into the weekend.
They said the doc that sees Jo was in emergency surgery but should be finishing up and would call me soon. Within 20 minutes by the time Dr. Anne called me, Josie had been sick 6 times. She said, I am not taking chances with Josie - bring her right out so I whisked her off to the vet ... about a 30 minute drive.
After much poking and prodding, and rectal check - much to Josie's great indignation, she  discovered that Josie's throat was swelling on the inside. We think she may have eaten a spider or maybe a bee or had a bee sting. I had been gone that day for about 4 hours and left Josie home (you know, the not develop separation anxiety thing) and it was a really nice morning. We had the sliding doors onto our screen porch open. There are some gaps around the porch and bugs do get in, so it is possible. 
They gave her Benadryl, cortisone, and something to settle her stomach - 3 shots Josie didn't particularly like. She normally does not care, but Jo was NOT feeling herself at all. Then, since they were closed, we all sat in the waiting room for half an hour and waited. Jo gradually started to perk up and look better, drank some water, ate a small treat and it stayed down so they sent us home."
Laurel had an allergic reaction once to a bee sting or spider bite in her mouth. Her mouth and face swelled so we raced her to the emergency clinic where she was successfully treated. I wouldn't have thought that vomiting could be an indication that her throat was swelling though so again, please, everyone, take your dog's vomiting and stomach issues seriously.
Thanks, Juli, for letting me share your story and I'm thrilled to hear that Josie is back to her bright normal self!

5 days before we see Hardy again!

Not that I'm counting but it's 5 days until we head back up to Guelph to see Hardy and bring him  home! This weekend, he participated in DogFest 1, an overnight camping event held at Sue and John's farm for dogs and their people. According to Sue, Hardy is no longer a little pup; he is now a giant pup (and I've seen the proof on Facebook). Apparently, he was "... a perfect gentleman and helped all his dog friends to enjoy themselves in the yard. He was a good boy on the walk and was snoozing on the back porch." Sue also mentioned that he is a teenager now ... a bit of a warning, in case I was expecting him to be wonderful all the time. Apparently, she forgets that my other Lab is Laurel - Miss "No Natural Self Control" and whose brain was apparently on back order and didn't show up until she was 3 years old. So she's had a brain for a year now and although I do enjoy it and probably even take it for granted some, I do remember what it was like before it showed up. Thank goodness, Laurel has always understood the difference between when she is working and when she is being "just a dog". I'm also grateful that she doesn't act as though being a service dog is too confining; the fact is, she still makes it fun - just with a ton more control than she otherwise demonstrates. Although Laurel may not have been the easiest dog to work with and train as a service dog; I'm hoping that the difference in Hardy's temperament makes it easier for him to do the job! I think I owe it to the dogs I decide to train as my service dogs to try to choose ones who are most able to do the job with a minimum of stress. Although Laurel is an amazing mobility and alert service dog, that is probably against all odds and although I do everything I can to keep her stress levels down, I think it's important to take all that I've learned through my experience with her to make it easier and better for my next service dog candidate (lucky Hardy!).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hardy's having another tough day

Apparently, Hardy had another tough day. He was in the crating room during another first puppy class and barked his protest at not getting to participate. Sue and John put him out with the other big dogs on the truck where I guess he continued to bark. I knew that even with such a balanced puppy with good natural self-control, he would still go through some difficult periods of testing the limits and trying to figure out what will work. I know I wouldn't be enjoying this period if he were here with me but having him away with Sue and John isn't making it any easier. We're getting very excited about going to pick him up in a week (and even though Laurel would probably deny that, I think she'll be pretty happy to see her little buddy again).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hardy's either trying out his independence or has forgotten everything he's learned

Based on the report I received from Sue and John, Hardy doesn't seem to have had the most successful day yesterday. Either he is trying out his independence (and pushing the boundaries) or has forgotten everything he's ever learned. (Thankfully, I know this is a part of his development and he actually does know everything he learned!)
They took him to run errands dressed in his pretty yellow vest (that Sue made him) with a purple patch (that I provided because we have lots of things in purple). Uncle D'fer (Sue's service dog) went too . Suddenly, Hardy lost his brain and instead relied on his nose to find a peach mushed into the asphalt. John wouldn't let him move forward unless he was giving eye contact with a loose leash so Sue and D'fer went into the store, did their shopping and came back out before Hardy managed to almost make it to the entrance. 
Then they headed to the training hall where Hardy had the opportunity to practice taking turns some more. Uncle Eco got to practice his go outs; Uncle D'fer got to do some freestyle while the poor little brown puppy had to wait until the end of the evening for a chance to sit around being cute and eating treats with a bunch of people . Then he got a pig's ear, only all the people kept taking it away to look at it (to prevent resource guarding) so what fun is that?
On the up side though, he no longer needs the eye drops and all the goop is gone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hardy had another big day at Dogs in the Park

John posted this last night on Facebook:

"Hardy Update: Little chocolate lab enjoyed 2 Puppy Classes, followed by a great outdoor puppy walk with friends Brody, Gulliver, Lexie, Cooper, Akira, Cheyenne and Lacy! Then the little guy protested through the 7pm puppy class - telling us all how grossly unfair it was to not be his turn."

When I pointed out that with four hours of puppy class and puppy walk, Hardy should have been sound asleep at 7:00, John responded:

"Yes, you're absolutely right, Linda! And by staying in his crate during the 7pm class and sleeping through parts of it, Hardy is beginning to learn both how to take turns, and how to self regulate. BTW, he thoroughly impressed his classmates with a fantastic whistle recall from out of group play, in the lake and out of sight! He is one well trained and smart little pup!"

Since I did the homework after the Instant Recall workshop in July, and actually blew the whistle and then treated 50 times in one session each day for a week, I'm hoping that helped his ability to do such a great job with the recall!

I understand also that although his eyes are still somewhat goopy, they are getting better and don't seem to bother him at all!

Also, not that I'm counting but in 11 days, we'll see the little puddly in person again!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today, Hardy attended his Shiloh Shepard friend, Lance's first birthday party. He has been taking puppy class with Lance's younger brother, Kai, so John took him to the party. I've heard from Lance's people and John that Hardy was generally a perfect gentleman, although he got very excited when he saw Linda and jumped on her. He met a ton more people and had a fabulous game of chase with Lance and Kai. Apparently, Lance didn't make it around a corner and a hurricane lantern was destroyed but a great time was had by all!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hardy has an eye infection

Heard from Sue this morning that Hardy had a nasty eye infection. She took him to see Dr. Mark at Cornell Animal Hospital where he checked for corneal scratches. There were none - apparently Hardy had just put his face into something teeming with bacteria (like a swamp or the manure pile or any number of his and Uncle Eco's favorite places) and got an infection. He has eye drops and should recover with no problem.

Hardy attends a teddy bear picnic and meets a hockey team mascot

Hardy is continuing to have a great time in Guelph. Today he attended a teddy bear picnic and got his photo taken with some kids and a hockey team mascot. Here are some photos:
Hardy, John and Stormy
John, Hardy and some kids at the Teddy Bear Picnic

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heading back to life in Cleveland (and waiting for the little brown puppy to come home too)

Hardy and hand Zen

And now, floor Zen
We've had a couple busy wonderful days in Guelph and we're leaving first thing in the morning to head back to Ohio. We took Laurel and Hardy Thursday afternoon to Fergus to see our friend, Sharon practice herding with her Shelties. Hardy sat on my lap while we watched - he was very sure that he could chase the sheep and didn't seem to understand the finer points to herding. We headed back in time to make it to our last Thursday night puppy class and graduation. Hardy was a terrific little guy in class and passed Level 1 again. He did beautifully on the recall game and was very competitive in the down stay competition. Here are some photos from our last Thursday night puppy class.
Friday during the day, we got all packed up and ready to go and in the evening we attended Sue's seminar on dog play. Laurel and Hardy were featured in several of the videos so that was kind of fun! 
Hardy doing his down stay
Today, we attended a loose leash walking workshop all day. I handled Hardy and Brent worked with Laurel. We had a great time, although it was a very long, very hot day! Then we took Sue and John to our favorite restaurant, Fugi's, a great all-you-can-eat sushi place. First thing tomorrow morning, we head home.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting ready to go home

Wow! After a really terrific summer here in Guelph, Ontario, Laurel and I are actually getting ready to go home. I have decidedly mixed feelings about leaving - of course, it's not easy to be leaving Hardy, even though I am convinced that is what's best for him; everyone here has been terrific and we have made some great friends; Sue and John have been so generous and have made me feel at home here and I feel very sad about leaving. On the other hand, of course, I am very excited about spending some time with our son, Devin and Brent and our cats; being home again; getting to see my mom and step-dad and our friends at home. It will be nice to be back in our home and in my adjustable bed. We took Hardy to get his rabies vaccination early in the week. According to the doctor, he looks great, seems very healthy and is growing nicely.
Brent will be here today in time to go see a friend do some herding practice with her Shelties and then to attend Hardy's last Thursday night puppy class  and graduation. In the meantime, I am spending extra time playing with my little brown boy and thinking about packing up everything.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Good and bad news

So, this week we have some good news and some not so good news. The good news is that my chest wall, and hence, breathing and moving, are feeling much better. Laurel has relaxed and I'm feeling much more comfortable. Hardy is continuing to do great! He loves our training time, loves eating his breakfast out of a food toy in the little yard (and hasn't escaped from it into the big back yard recently) and is getting along with all the big dogs! 
The less than good news is that while my van was parked in front of the house, another vehicle clipped the front drivers side, damaging the quarter panel, bumper and light. Obviously, we'll have to get it fixed but no one got hurt, the van is drivable and it didn't affect the ramp or other mobility modifications. So although it will be inconvenient, it isn't devastating.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to Cleveland again!

After a busy, fun-filled time at the Hillside Festival last weekend, Laurel and I headed back to Cleveland on Wednesday (July 28th). I had medical treatments on Thursday and Friday which went well. On Saturday we relaxed and Sunday we represented Lake Erie Assistance Dogs along with Canine Affair Center at Dog Days at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. We had a blast, a lot of people stopped by and the volunteers and staff at the Garden were incredible to work with. We will definitely plan to go back and do it again next summer.
Before I left Guelph, Sue and John gave me something to think about with regards to my future plans for Hardy. We are scheduled to all go home August 15th to spend some time with our son, Devin. Sue and John suggested that we leave Hardy behind for four weeks so that he could do some more puppy classes, loose leash walking and socialization with them in the continuing hope that having time away from me will help him avoid separation anxiety. He'll understand that I can come and go and that time away from me is no big deal. Part of me thinks that it is a very generous offer and the other part doesn't want to leave Hardy. I talked to Brent and Sue and thought hard about it. If there's a chance this is in Hardy's best interest and since I trust Sue to know that, I've decided to leave him until Labor Day (3 weeks).
See, I can eat my way down the stairs
and then up the stairs again!
While we were gone, on Thursday, Hardy went and met some little friends at a Guelph Museum. Although it didn't make it into the paper, a newspaper photographer took a great picture (which I can't show you because we don't have rights or permissions). Hardy has also been busy working on stairs, the proof of which Sue put on Facebook. And I've put a couple photos with this post.