Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Totally car related.

My car problem has turned out to be a leaking oil pan gasket and a problem with the oil pump.
Luckily its a free fix because the new engine is under warranty.

Monday, November 26, 2007

About that curse removal I had mentioned...

Good news: Chandler's stitches have been removed and he has a reissued license to zoom.

Bad news: The car is leaking something and is at garage to be repaired.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chandler update

Chandler's drain is out, and it looks like he's healing up well.
Stitches are due to be removed in a week.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chandler is home after his surgery

The boy is home, and prognosis is good, so far.
He's hardly slowed down by the surgery, despite having a tube hanging out of him.
What is slowing him down is the lampshade stuck around his head. (Poor boy)
It keeps getting caught on things.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chandler's lipoma

I'm zooming off on errands and then to work,
so here is the short version.

The lipoma was related to the impalement incident.
Chandler was apparently to control and expel a bunch of "crud" from his body.
He's staying overnight for treatment in the morning, and has a drain in him.
My poor boy. :(

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Overdue update, as usual.

The cliff notes version:

I'm finding working second shift to be exhausting. It doesn't to fit well with my life or feline feeding schedule. *laugh* I need to convince the cats to make some adjustments.

Speaking of cats, Ashke is still losing weight, but seems otherwise healthy. Prescription: get him to eat more for a month and reweigh. Unfortunately, the high calorie-no grain foods seem to make him sick, so we're looking for other solutions.

Chandler is going in to the vet on Wednesday to have his lipoma removed. It has been growing and is beginning to bother him, so it is time to get rid of it.

I've signed up for an online library science class and I finally feel like I am moving forward.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Chandler!

Yep, my boy is two years old, and officially a young adult dog.
Ironically, (considering this summer's bee swarmings)
his gift (that I bought MONTHS ago) is a small stuffed beehive,
with removable squeaky bees.

Hopefully we'll both get some satisfaction as he plays with it. ;)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weekend report

Saturday was not noteworthy.

Sunday Chandler and I drove down to my Jenn's to have some fun and so that Chandler could get a bath. (Mutually exclusive activities, for Chandler at least-but he should complain too much because at least the water was warm.) As Jenn used to groom, Chandler got the works, as far as he was concerned (I draw the line at doggie colognes), so he had his ears and other crazy fur trimmed. He still looks pretty natural, but is now managing to be less of a furry beast after the grooming.

After the bath, we went on a hike with two of her ES girls-so Chandler could get himself messy again, or course. :) Then Jen and I went out for dinner- Mexican followed by ice cream. The night wrapped up with another walk around the neighborhood with all four of Jenn's ES girls. Chandler was thrilled to be out with the girls...even if he knows better than to mess with them.

Chandler should be feeling rather spoiled at the moment. Jen gave him a stuffed goose toy for his upcoming birthday, and a collar she had been meaning to give him last Christmas. She also gave me a spare reflective coat and bandanna for Chandler that she had, when I asked her where I might be able to find something like that for our nighttime walks. I'm feeling better that he'll be more visible to cars.

Jen's also got a friend who graduated from the library program at Southern, so I may be able to get some more information about it. (Yay!) Leaning more that way.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chandler hip update

I got Chandler rechecked by the orthopedic specialist last week, and did a PennHIP at the same time. PennHIP is a measure of joint laxity that is done by the University of Pennsylvania Vet School. ( As it uses three x-rays in different positions, many dog people think it is more reliable than OFA screening. Chandler's results just came back yesterday.

As usual for Chandler, it's not that great, but it could have been worse. DI 0.61/0.57, putting him in the 30th percentile, with no sign of Degenerative Joint Disease (yet) This translates to is left hip can come 61% out of joint and his right 57%. This puts him in the lowest 30% of the English Shepherds that they have on record, and the laxness means that he has a greater chance of developing degenerative joint disease later in life.

However, the specialists thought there were some small changes occurring on the right side.
There's no signs of changes in the neck yet, but they thought the ball may have started being remodeled a bit.
Their orthopedic specialist found no problems in Chandler's knees, but was able to pop both hips out of socket fairly easily.
(After which they slid back in.) Both left and right thighs are evenly muscled.
Both specialists that I talked to at the clinic say he has hip dysplasia, as the joint is not "normal".
His right side only has about 40% of the "ball" in its "cup".

I suspect when Chandler is having a major problem, one of his hips has popped out and back in.
So far that's only twice this year. Once when saving his sheltie buddy from another dog, and once when I think he got stuck in the mud in a pond. over exercising, no agility, no flyball. *sigh* Herding might be ok, and swimming would be great.

I need to win the lottery, buy a farm, and stick a swimming pool in the back yard. ;)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ashke home update

Ash is looking 100% better. He just asked for "brunch" after having breakfast at 6 am, and is now busy cleaning up after eating. He spent last night on my bed, doing his best to snuggle up and immobilize me. (I wonder if it is coincidence that he prefers to lie on the side of the bed that I have to get out of?)

He seems a little more sensitive to the dog's presence, but of course Chandler had to snuffle Ash all over when he came back from the vet. His highness did not appreciate that.

The only problem right now is that Ash's "eau d' vet clinic" is making Rowan (the other kitty) not recognize him, so we've had some hissing and growling going on. Rowan is in a snit, and is now taking it out on Chandler by growling, hissing, and whacking him. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Follow up on "Toto"

Well, that was a waste of time.

If a mother cannot control her "mouthy kid",
(direct quote from her there)
she obviously has no hope of controlling her "not aggressive dog"...
(another direct quote) partially evidenced by the 6 screen repairs she says they have done on that front door.

I wished her good luck.
I'm wondering how to protect Chan if the dog breaks through the screen again.

My mew is home!

...and looking more alert and comfortable.
We're waiting on the pancreas test stuff,
but in the meantime, Ashke is eating.

Plus, his cover has apparently been blown.
The vet techs say he is a sweetie. *gasp*
I was told that he was rubbing at the cage bars trying to get somebody to pet him.


So, a few weeks ago I was walking Chandler, and a little terrier broke out of its house and charged him to attack. Luckily no harm done except for Chandler's psyche; he thinks all dogs should play with him. The owner apologized.

This morning I walk by the house and "Toto" sees us and goes crazy by the screen door. No biggie, except one of the kids is at home and is saying "Good boy, get that doggie!" (Argh)

Which means I am dropping by the house later to mention this, and point out a few things to this boy's parents.

1. Their dog is small, and not all dogs are marshmallows like Chan. If this behavior is encouraged, the dog could end up dead, or very hurt.

2. They have small children. If their dog starts something, the kids could get seriously hurt.

3. I like my marshmallow, who happens to have a Canine Good Citizen certificate, and don't want his temperament ruined by dogs attacking him. Their son was encouraging that sort of behavior.

I am not looking forward to this discussion.

Ashke update 3

Eating, no vomiting yet.
I'm supposed to call them after 2 pm now, to see if I can pick him up.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ashke update 2

Nothing on x-rays, barium went through fine.
So no blockages or foreign objects (probably).
He's getting a blood test for pancreatitis.
Unfortunately IBD and cancer are still possibilities. :(

He's staying overnight so the vet can monitor him.
Last I'd heard he'd eaten 1/2 can of food.

Went out to the gaming group from 8-11
to keep myself from fussing all night.

I miss my kitty. :(

Ashke update

Well, it could be anything from a foreign body, to pancreatitis, to a tumor.
Ash is staying at the vet's for xrays and maybe a barium series.
He's lost about a half pound of weight since he was there last month.

Still trying not to freak.


*sigh* He threw up all the chicken at 11:30 pm last night.
I'm really afraid he might have some type of intestinal blockage.
Vet appointment at 9:40 am.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Sick kitty.
Ash is off his food, and I've been coaxing him to eat cooked chicken since yesterday evening.
Looks like a trip to the vet tomorrow.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Curse removal wanted.

(Half) seriously...feeling like Chan and I are under some kind of a curse this summer.

We just had our third or forth bee attack. I'm losing track.
Yellow jackets this IDEA where they came from.
We'd just walked through the same area yesterday w/o problems.

Chandler is VERY sensitive to ANYTHING landing on his fur at this point,
so I knew we were in trouble when he suddenly looked at a light spot on his flank.
Despite beating a rapid retreat up the sidewalk, the little &#)$&#) were persistent,
and I had to beat them out of his fur.(I hope I squished a few.)

My bee phobia is really being tested this summer. *sigh*
At least I managed to beat them off him today.

I made out with no stings, and I think Chandler has only got one.
So the boy is now dosed with Benadryl.

Other Chandler news-
Unfortunately I've found a benign fatty tumor on him.
The literature says nobody knows what causes them.
I'm kind of suspicious about the stick he impaled himself on,
it's in the same area.

Other news-
job search continues.
I don't think I'm getting much done after today's bee incident.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sheep Herding Clinic

Yesterday Chandler and I headed out to a sheep herding clinic in MA. He's fine. I'm still recovering.

He apparently did very well, although I have to email the herding instructor to get more information on just what he was good at.

You see, my reaction was more of a "CALM DOWN, you maniac!"

The minute he saw the sheep he was crying to get at them, and trying to lunge forward if they moved too fast. This continued throughout the day, which meant that I didn't get to take pictures (many thanks to the person who gave these photos to me) or really watch the other dogs because I was busy leading my enthusiast away when he got too excited. Unfortunately he was so revved up I think he never got the point that he got led away when he starting crying and was allowed to watch the sheep when he was quiet. (We spent a lot of time away from the ring.)

When in the ring, I'm sorry to say the sheep were better at sticking to the instructor than I was. I suppose I was trying to balance watching Chandler, not getting run over by the sheep, staying out of the way of the pole the instructor was using to ward him off, and keeping up with where the instructor was. As it is, I was stepped on a lot.

He apparently has good instincts, and also the drive to do herding
He's very biddable to instruction (I guess his obedience training helped)
...and he's a "strong dog" that would be good on cattle. ( MARSHMALLOW? Well, he did keep trying to rush in a "grip" the sheep's legs.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Cats' trip to the vet

Ashke and Rowan got their yearly visit on Thursday.
Rowan is doing great, but Ashke had lost two pounds.
So we did a round of bloodwork that turned up...not much.
He could be headed toward hyperthyroidism, but its still in the (high) normal range.
We're unsure whether my stress was effecting him, or if physical problems are starting.
So I get to spoil him for two months, and take him for a recheck.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ongoing Chandler Saga.

Well, we went to the vet for a "I moved back into town, this is my dog that you've never seen" visit.
I really do prefer this guy to the other place; he is so much better at communication.
One interesting thing happened, however. He felt Chandler's knees, and thought that the
right one was just a bit puffier, like he had "water in the knee".
So....maybe Chandler did have a knee injury last summer, and it wasn't the hip?
Or maybe he'd had problems from both?

Anyway, the plan is to do a PennHip, to check the hips, and have the knee looked at
at the same time. Otherwise, keep everything the same, given that he's got good muscle mass.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lake Adventure

Having had great success in terrifying turkeys, Chandler decided to
try his paw at chasing/herding ducks yesterday.

Unfortunately for him, he tried to do so while swimming.
The ducks were not impressed, despite the nice wake he was creating.

This time, his recall did work, perhaps because he suddenly realized
how far from shore he was. Interestingly, the ducks followed him back
in, which helps me see how Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers do
their job.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The joys of suburban life: turkeys!

Late last afternoon I was out in the yard "walking" my two indoor cats,
and just disconnecting after a conversation on my cell, when I see the local wild turkey and her seven chicks walk around the corner of the house.

My first thought: "Uh oh."
Yes, Chandler has already launched himself, and *totally* ignores my recall yell.

Turkeys and dog disappear around the corner of the house to a soundtrack of much gobbling, and then some sort of poultry explosion happens and suddenly there are turkeys flying everyplace.

My second thought: "Wow...I don't think I've ever seen a turkey fly that far." (Chandler has managed to scatter them across three or four yards.)
My third thought: "Bad dog!"

When I manage to get to the scene, Chandler is frantically rushing about in the woods next to the house, looking for turkeys. There's no way I can go catch him, and it takes multiple commands to get him back in the yard and calmed down. And of course I can't yell at him once he has come...

I retrieve his 30 foot lead from the garage and practice a few recalls in the back yard. Of course, he does these just fine. The cats are looking at Chandler in disgust like he's a maniac...or ruined a perfectly good chance to stalk turkeys. He stays on the lead for the rest of the outing.

Honestly, it was rather funny, except that he didn't listen and someday he might decide to rush into a street after something. It looks like he'll be wearing his long lead while the cats are out,
and I'll be practicing more recalls with distractions, if possible.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The hazards of suburbia.

This is turning out to be one of those days that I should have gone back to bed.

Chandler and I got attacked by "bees" for the second time in two weeks this morning.
This time he got stung more than once, although I didn't get stung at all.
The dang things burrowed into his fur.
I feel bad because I have a bee phobia and couldn't get them out.
(Taking a grooming rake to his coat when we got home was nerve wracking.)
I suppose we were lucky they weren't yellow jackets like the last time,
or he could have been stung multiple times by one bee.
Although I didn't think honeybees nested in the ground...?

one call to vet in Naugatuck,
one trip to CVS for Benadryl,
one stop at the local vet to verify the Benedryl was correct,
and after an excessive amount of panic,

the dog is ok,
and he's getting all sleepy on Benedryl.

I'm thinking that I should order that book on pet first aid that I saw on Amazon.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Ow! Ow! Ow! Yellow Jackets.

It's looking to be a bad day, and its not even 8:30 yet.

Nasty hot and humid weather most outdoor stuff is not possible with Chandler.
This is why I took him out really early for a shorter walk...
and of course, on the way back, right in the driveway,
we get attacked by yellow jackets for no known reason.
Chan snapped at one, I don't think he got stung.

My arm hurts, even if it was only one sting.
And now I'm flinching even when a fly approaches me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moving home...

I'm moved into my parent's house while reassessing my life.
Better mood today so far.
I chatted with two friends yesterday, so maybe that helped,
I also got Chandler out for an hour long walk this morning,
so we've both exercised.

I decided to try him on the shorter flexi lead, as I was wondering if some
of the nervousness I've been seeing in him was due
to not being able to maneuver on the 6 ft lead.
It seemed to work a bit, so I'll try using the flexi for a while.
At the least, if he starts at some noise and I just keep on going,
maybe he'll get the idea that he's being silly.

I'm otherwise pleased that Chandler has been behaving so well
while the cats are outside for their "walk".
He's been leaving them alone when I tell him to
and mostly lying around in the grass while I watch the cats.
The only slight problem I have is that he tends to want to
charge in when they are stalking rodents, or if the cats start running.
But he took verbal corrections very well today for such misbehavior
and lied down when I told him to.

The books are unpacked, and I've been sorting through
all my stuff to see what I can clean out.
Cleaning out books is tough, but I keep telling myself
I'll have more shelf space to buy MORE when I finally move out
and get my big bookcases back.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Well...apparently I still have some work to do with the boy.
I think the change in location freaked him out a bit.

He broke out of and destroyed his nice big canvas crate,
which I hadn't expected, given that he had been fine at home.

He was also alerting to every sound in the hall, which he doesn't do at home.
At least by the end of the week I had got him to cut down on barking and charging the door.

He still has issues with men, and was unfortunately starting to show some more dominant challenging of guests coming into the apartment. Getting banished to the patio for 5 minutes seemed to improve his attitude, but I think I need to work on doorway/doorbell behavior.

That said, he was pretty well behaved around the apartment, aside from two retrievals of stuffed animals from the bedroom. He was a bit TOO fascinated by Lucy the hamster, but biddable to correction and banishment from the room.

The good news is the kids screaming (in fear of dogs) and then chasing him (what the HECK is with that?), does not seem to have traumatized him for life. He's been ok around kids since.
(Edit 2010: Actually I spoke too soon on this one, the incident set off a nervousness around kids that I worked 3/4 of a year to fix. )

He had a really good time at the Maryland English Shepherd Gathering. Lots of zooming around, chasing frizbees, and splashing into kiddie pools. The highlight of the gathering was discovering that the dog that Chandler immediately seemed to bond with was actually his brother Kirby-kind of an odd thing because Kirby is from the litter after Chandler, meaning they had never met before.

Chan & Kirby:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is the universe trying to tell me something?

So, in the time since I've entered my grades, cleaned up my classroom,
handed in my keys, and left my teaching job forever...
(Really, I think I was much too nice to be a great teacher *sigh*)
I've found two four leaf clovers.
One on each day.

I hadn't seen any (despite looking) since last June.

Is the universe trying to tell me something?
If so, what?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Woohoo! CGC!

Saturday Chandler and I attended an outdoor "dog days" benefit for one of
our local shelters. While there I decided to try Chandler on the
Canine Good Citizen testing. To make a long story short, he passed
the CGC and was complimented for being such a pleasant boy.

Now I'm not sure where we're going with his training, as CGC was my next goal. More proofing, of course, but I've also had people suggest training him as a therapy dog since he's so snuggly.

I also broke down and let Chandler try flyball. He'd been crying all through the frizbee, police dog, and flyball demos, and the jumps were short. He's a bit of a bull in a china shop...but apparently has some talent. His hip will probably preclude anything, however. He had this bad tendency to get excited and zoom 20 feet off the end of the course to help himself to the bucket of tennis balls. Perhaps this is the curse of an intelligent dog...anyway, I still need to work on fine control offleash.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


I just got back from taking Chandler for his morning run in the park.
While walking through a stand of pines I noticed a massive 6 foot long splinter of fresh wood lying on the ground,
and was a bit perplexed about where it could have come from...
...until I turned around.

Two of the pines had been struck by lightning last night.
A strip of bark 30 or so feet up had been blasted off both trees,
and the wood underneath splintered.
A wooden birdhouse attached to one of the trees had also been blasted off. (Intact)

It was impressive to say the least, and there were splinters all over.
I picked up a small one, but it seems to have escaped my pocket.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Chandler's two month update

Chandler is progressing nicely. The only thing I notice these days are that he sometimes lies with that one front elbow sticking out....when his legs are facing in the opposite direction. So I suppose the muscles are still recovering.

Otherwise, I'm trying to work his hind legs back into shape. He ended up putting more weight on his bad hip, and lost muscle mass from resting so much. So he seems more likely to be having some pain in his hips, but it seems to go away quickly, and isn't slowing him down much.

He had a great time playing with his new Kong Wubba in my parents' yard today. I think he didn't want to go back inside, but I thought he was getting a bit too tired.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

One Month

It's been one month since Chandler had his accident, and he's much better. His limp seems to be mostly gone, and all he wants to do is run. Unfortunately, I don't feel safe letting him, because we're still pretty iced up here in Connecticut. He's still not as active and bouncy as he used to be, but his interest in toys and playing is returning. He also seems to have gotten out of the "sleeping in weird upside down positions" stage, which I assume was putting less pressure on his shoulder. However, he's still likely to stick that leg out when he's lying down.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Ashke!

Snow day!

So, I'm doing work...
getting rest...
nursing Chandler...
and spoiling my Ashke kitty,
because it's his birthday. :)
12 years of cattitude,
and many more to come.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Teflon fur

Well, the oozing has stopped for now.
I'm amazed that Chandler's throat fur has returned to pristine white.
I'd tried to clean him up yesterday with middling success.
However, it seems that within 24 hours his coat has repelled all the bloody ooze stains.
I knew he had a Teflon coat but this is almost unbelievable.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More updates

After having a good night, Chandler proceeded to have an awful day.
The wound finally decided to break open and drain.
I'm not sure if it was painful or just extremely disconcerting for him,
but he was frantic to try to get the fluids off of his fur.
Maybe it's some instinct that says he shouldn't look or smell wounded.

Anyway, he looks a mess despite my efforts to clean him up.
I've got towels thrown down all over, and have created a giant nest of them
in a blocked in area next to my bed.

*sigh* methinks I shall be washing a lot of towels with bleach this week.
At least his appetite is still good,
and someone from the ES list has offered to make me a bach flower remedy.

Friday, February 9, 2007


Chandler seems to be doing very well, although I'm sure a lot
of that is the pain medication. He has a nasty looking swelling in
his neck but seems to be getting around ok.

He apparently took my father on a running (for my dad) trip around the
apartment building. We think he was looking for me and gave up when
there was no recent scent. Otherwise he spent most of the day
sleeping on a pile of blankets. Now he seems to be following me
around, as usual.

One can of canned dog food was quickly eaten, although he was less
enthused about his dry food this morning. He probably thinks I made a
mistake and give him a giant bowl of canned cat food! (Doggie heaven!)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Freak Accident

I have a GOOD dog.
I also have one of the luckiest unlucky dogs in the world.

Yesterday Chandler was zooming through the woods and somehow managed to impale himself upon a stick. Getting him to the vet when he screamed whenever I picked him up or the car went over a bump was an ordeal in itself. Unfortunately, I didn't know what had happened since the stick had broken off inside, and there was no blood, so apparently they didn't find it until they did x-rays.

It turns out the stick was over 7 inches long, an inch wide, and had passed right between his jugular vein and thoracic artery to become embedded in his lower neck. The entire staff of the vet's was impressed, to say the least. (I'm thinking I need to find his guardian angel and send cookies or something.)

And during all this, he never tried to bite ANYBODY. Not me when I had to pick him up, and not any of the vet's staff. (I have a VERY good dog.)

He's home today, stuffed with antibiotics and painkiller. I'm amazed he's limping around. I'm just glad he's here.

If anyone has any suggestions about what I can do to make him more comfortable while he's recovering, I'd appreciate it. The vet was decent about "here's the pills" but less so on the other stuff. I may be mounding up the cats' blankets for him...