Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Montana situation update

They're getting them out!
The dogs are being seized by local authorities today.
(Prayers to various deities requested!)

Officials return to seize dogs from kennels

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just sent a message out to tick-l

I HATE ticks.

Chandler got a faint hit on his 4X snap test during his yearly vet visit.
It took them a little over a
week to actually run the test (I guess they do them in batches), and I
assume his blood sample had been stored since his visit. After finding the
faint positive, they sent more of his blood out for a CBC, which came back

I haven't seen any overt symptoms. His appetite is excellent, and he hasn't
slowed down any, and he isn't favoring any of his legs. The only times I
have heard him cough are when he's straining at the end of his leash because
of a big distraction, (such as the neighborhood suburban fox). He may be
taking a bit longer to squat when eliminating, but it is hard to tell as he
does have minor hip dysplasia that is controlled with supplements. His hips
sometimes seem to be sore if he's been a "weekend warrior"- he will sit down
if slight pressure is placed on them, but once again, that could be him
overextending when he has dysplasia.

My veterinarian has recommended waiting. I asked about retests, and they
said to do another CBC in six months. I'll admit that I have some trust
issues because the last clinic I took Chandler to misdiagnosed his hip
dysplasia for two or three months (despite having taken an x-ray), and also
failed to remove a lot of dirt, wood chips, and bark when they removed a
stick he had impaled himself upon.

Anaplasmosis can be very serious. *SIGH*

So...I've just sent out a message to the major tick disease list online.
It was recommended by some people from the ES lists.
Here's to hoping I can get some great advice from the experts.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The "kids" and their toys

Here are the post-Christmas photos.

Chandler really liked his Skinneez fox. It seemed appropriate, given how he's gotten all excited every time he sees our local suburban fox.

Yes, he REALLY liked it.

I got organic catnip "lemons" for the cats. They're big enough that I don't have to worry about Chan picking one up and choking on it.

Rowan was enthusiastic.

Thankfully she did eventually run out of energy.

In contrast, Ashke is more laid-back about such things. He had to wake up...

But he did eventually take some notice and rub his cheeks against his lemon a few times.

Friday, December 12, 2008


At times it is really tough to be 36, living with my parents, and have no income because I am working on getting a Master's degree and a new career. Most of the time it is just background frustration with my life, which is admittedly not that screwed up compared to how bad some other people have it. I"m really concentrating stepping forward and working toward my goals.

But sometimes things come up that make me kick myself for not having independence and my own place to stay.

This is one of them:

Sheriff's Deputies Take Animals from Ballantine Woman

Yes, dogs again. English Shepherds (aka Chandlers) to be precise. I'm nothing if not predictable.
But National English Shepherd Rescue is likely to be overwhelmed by this event.
We're a small breed community, with not too many resources.
With my life as it is, I can't offer to foster any of these dogs, and I can't send much money.
All I can do is offer transport if needed. :(

Edit: 7 pm
I really should not have watched the footage and looked at the search warrant they now have posted. Too many black and white sheppies that look like Chan.

Plus the warrant says they pulled 3 dead pugs and 10 dead ES. *cry*

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Warning to foxes- this yard is protected by a suburban farmdog

Well, this is a new experience for me. I just took Chandler out for
his mid-afternoon "bladder break", and he suddenly focused on the
pines that separate our yard from the neighbor's. It turns out our
local red fox was coming through right at that moment-it took one look
at Chan, turned around and hightailed it away!

I can't say I blame it, Chandler was all puffed up with his tail raised and hackles up.
He was also straining forward on his leash and making harsh excited
breathing noises.

Maybe the fox will learn to look before trying to cross into this
yard. :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

From Ashke (some of my friends insist he's a vampire)

...and Rowan (my demonkitten...check out those eyes...I KNEW it!)

...and Chandler (some days, your dog just gets possessed by forest spirits).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Third Birthday

My overgrown puppy is three years old today. :)
Happy birthday Chandler!
(Yes, he does love his cake.)

Here's some recent pictures of him(wearing hiking bell) playing with Bridget(wearing bandana).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Chandler's sire is dead :(

Goliath was euthanized on his 10th birthday.
I'm hurting for Chandler's breeder today,
and sad because I see some of the things she's said about Goliath in Chan.
Their vet thinks he had leukemia, or some kind of tick borne disease.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Feline Update & Graduate School!

Almost two weeks ago I totally shocked the staff at my veterinary clinic.

I brought in Ash and Rowan for their annual physical, despite the fact that they didn't need shots.
I keep on hearing that cats in general get less veterinary care than dogs (ie, that care is neglected);
perhaps this is evidence that that is true. I think I had to mention three separate times that I was there even if the cats did not need shots.

The results of the visit turned out pretty well. Ashke has gained weight back after his mystery illness last year. He's 14.8 lbs...and I'm thinking of watching his food intake as he seems to want to add to that.

Rowan was a bit more problematic. Her IBS has been acting up, and she'd even started vomiting her Instincts canned cat food, and the cooked chicken has not been working well. I decided that we'd probably gone as far as we could controlling her IBS with diet, and it was time to try something else. She's been on prednisolone since the vet visit, and seems much less fussy. She's eating more at one seating and symptoms have disappeared.

The only problem is getting the pills into her. So far it involves a wrestling match. I'm really glad she's not prone to using her claws.

Not bad for 13 year old kitties. :)

I've also started graduate school again, this time for Library Science.
I'm hopeful this will be the right thing for me, considering how much I love books,
and also like to help people out.

Anyway, I have three internet classes, and one on site at SCSU. They're all looking interesting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Give your heart to a dog to tear...

This post is dedicated to Chan's friend Duffy, who died one week ago today.
It is also dedicated to both of Duffy's families, who miss him terribly.

I recall a friend once expressed to me her surprise about how owning a dog was actually a very social thing. We had been talking to a bunch of people in a dogpark near her home while Chan tumbled with another puppy. I hadn't thought about it, but she was correct. I've met many wonderful people because of Chandler. Susan is one of these.

She was one of the people that announced the happy arrival of her family's new English Shepherd puppy late last winter. Seeing as she lived in the same state I did, I finally caught up to her in the spring and emailed a suggestion that we meet to take a walk together. She happily agreed, but then the event was delayed, because Duffy was exhibiting some troubling behavior-growling and lunging at the neighbor's children.

When we finally met, Duffy and Susan were standing about half a soccer field away from the training center that Chan and I were exiting (the very same place that Duffy had puppy class), and he was barking nervously at the class now entering the building. I'm not sure how much time it took to get over to them; I didn't want to put too much pressure on Duffy if he was nervous, but when we did get over there, he decided that anybody who carries cooked chicken must be ok, and that Chan was pretty cool too, despite the fact that Chan wasn't about to let a pushy puppy get away with much. The dogs got along well during our short hike, and Duffy apparently had to copy almost anything Chan did, which was quite amusing. We only had problems when we encountered anyone else on the trail, as Duff would tense up and start barking again.

This would be the first source of my new friend's heartbreak, as that reactivity and barking got worse over time. Despite working one on one with a trainer, going to the dog park and daycare for socialization, attending three separate obedience classes (over time), consulting with Tufts behavioral department, and a prescription for buspar to calm him down, Duffy's behavior became more unpredictable. Quite honestly, suburbia was too stressful for him, with too many perceived threats and not enough of a job to do. With her family situation, there was no way that Susan could guarantee that Duffy would not get out and possibly bite somebody, so she made the difficult decision to take him back to his breeder, who promised to find him a farm home that he would be better suited to. She and her husband made the trip, and Susan was somewhat comforted to be able to remember Duffy joyously running free playing with his sister.

A month or so went by and the news was good. Duffy had settled into the routine of the farm, made a place for himself, and his breeder had decided to keep him. She was very impressed with all the manners Susan had taught him, and he had actually become her star herder. He had found his work and place in life, and was helping to bring his sister out of her shell. Susan missed him, but was happy that Duffy seemed to be a happier dog. She kept up the link with me, now bringing her older ES, Bridget, for walks with Chan.

I wish it could have lasted longer, for everyone's sake.

Some time in the early morning of last Tuesday, something attacked the farm's chickens, killing at least two. Duffy was unlucky enough to be struck by a car on the one lane gravel township road while "seeing off" whatever predator caused the problem. We're proud of him for doing his job, and sad that a farmdog's life is not without risks. At least he had a brief period of happiness without stress.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cheerio & Who moved my bone?

Chandler had an eventful Sunday, as we drove up to my parents' lake house in MA and took a side trip to see another ES named Cheerio.

After seeing Cheerio, we arrived at the lake for an afternoon of relaxation. I'd brought a couple of his recreational bones for hanging out by the water, but unfortunately a couple got covered by ants-so I chucked them over two retaining walls and down into the lake to get rid of the ants. Chandler's reaction was along the lines of "*gasp* MY BONES!", leading to a charge down two stairways and into the water to find them.

I waded in to get the one that had landed in deeper water, then turned around to find out that Chan had come up with an interesting solution to getting the other one. So of course, I threw the larger bone in again and filmed it. :)

What I found interesting in this segment is that he makes a mistake and then immediately corrects himself and gets back on track. Sorry about the video quality...Sunday was the first time I used the movie function on my camera. I just regret I didn't get any footage of Cheerio and Chan.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chandler & cats updates

Chan's obedience classes are going quite well. His biggest problems are probably his enthusiasm, and the fact that he is "environmentally challenged" as the instructor says. As far as the latter goes, he finds EVERYTHING interesting and gets distracted, although this has improved greatly through Family Dog 1 & 2. For the former, he just gets so excited, and will have difficulty listening. If he's revved, he'll just start throwing out a bunch of behaviors in the hopes that one will work, and never hear that you were asking for "paw". However, he is listening to me much better, and has been offleash several times in the last week and listened to my "leave it" when people were at the foot of the neighbor's driveway; this is a big improvement from charging while barking. Unfortunately he did decide on Tuesday to take off across the street after the mail truck. Thankfully we live on a dead end. In the fall, I'm going to have to teach him that he must wait politely at the mailbox for his biscuit from the mailman, instead of chasing after the truck barking.

His socialization seems to be going quite well. We were up at the lake two weekends ago, and he crashed the neighbor's party. Well, he did hold out until they cut the cake, and then he broke. He was fine with all the men that were guests, and even the yorkie that doesn't like other dogs...but of course, he was focused on mooching cake. Sometimes I wonder if he comes from a long line of farmdogs that hung out in the kitchen. *laf*

We went for a walk with his second cousin Addy two Wednesdays ago. She's about 5 months old, and a little spitfire. I think her owner was glad to finally find a dog that would play with her. Apparently they have an older lab that just goes "ugh", and another dog in the extended family has started hiding when he sees her coming! Well, she never got to jump all over Chan, because she couldn't catch him at first, and then he started chasing her- which I think emphasized that he had decided to be in charge. They did end up having a blast. :)
Rowan seems to be doing well on her chicken diet, although I've been trying to slip her some of Ashke's canned food because the chicken is not totally balanced. Sometimes she wants it, sometimes she doesn't. Mixing in bone meal seems to be working well, and I've been investigating cat vitamins. Most of them seem to have stuff mixed in that would probably upset her digestion. Soy is common enough, but cellulose seemed a bit strange- its not like she's a termite. I'm probably going to go with Wellness Welltabs for cats, as those ingredients seem to be absent.

I've been struggling a bit with the recipes in the Strombeck book. It's not the most user friendly. I finally found that clams were added to the recipes for the tuarine...three chapters after the main chapter of recipes. Clams are out due to my mother's allergies, so I'll have to look into a taurine supplement for safety, if the Welltabs don't cover it. I tried adding hard boiled egg and vegetable oil on Saturday. She ate it then, and then "foofooed" it this morning. *sigh* I'll have to try again later, and meanwhile stick to the plain poultry recipe. Hopefully she'll actually eat the vitamins.

Ashke is fine...except he seems to be getting rounder. I think I need to cut back on his calories. He's put weight back on with the Instinct cans, but I don't want him to overdo it.

Heh...their fall checkup should be interesting...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chandler therapy for toy poodles

I was rather surprised to hear from a friend that "Chandler has saved
another dog!" today. My first thought was "Wait...what?" It turns
out that she was speaking behaviorally, but the story is still funny.

About a month ago, we went out hiking with Kit, her sheltie who is
Chan's best friend, and Jess (a friend of Kits) who has a active 14
year old toy poodle named Babe. Babe had been attacked by a golden
retriever a few years ago, and had been afraid of dogs ever since
then. Beforehand, she'd been a very social and happy dog, but now
she'd practically try to climb up her owner's leg if she even saw a
large dog.

Chandler has always been really good with small dogs and is very
social, so we figured he'd be safe to have on the trail with Babe.
Things were going pretty well; all the dogs were offleash and Babe was
relaxing a bit when he passed her on the trail.

Then it happened. Babe was out in front with Jess a few feet behind
her. Chan had been sniffing something, and suddenly decided that he
needed to zoom up the trail and get back out in front. He passed me
at a run, and zipped right past Jess on the narrow trail-only to find
a toy poodle suddenly in his way and very little time to react.

So he jumped right over Babe.

Babe's reaction to having 60 lbs of English Shepherd fly right over
her was the canine version of "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! HELPHELPHELP!"

I felt really bad, and was afraid we'd accidentally reinforced the
fear reaction. (In retrospect, I'd do leashed walks before trying an
off-leash walk.)

But apparently since then, Babe has been back to her normal self.
She's happy and wagging out in public, doesn't panic around other
dogs, and will actually greet some of them. The only thing I can think
of is that for her, the absolutely most scary thing of having a big
dog looming over her happened...and she didn't get hurt...and the hike
went on...and the big dog still didn't hurt her.

Today she sniffed noses and rears with Chan and wagged her tail.
English shepherd fly-over therapy is not something I'd repeat, but I'm
happy to say it seems to have worked for Babe. Now all I have to do
is stop laughing...

Sunday, July 6, 2008


...is more self satisfied that usual, lately.

This is both good and bad.

The last batch of chicken cat food I got seemed to disagree with her, causing a vomiting, unhappy kitty.
I've pretty much exhausted the possibilities with commercial canned cat food, I think,
so she's been eating cooked boneless chicken breast for most of the past week.

Turns out she's 100% less pesty and fussy, and has an amazing tendency to eat everything in her bowl.
However, plain chicken isn't a balanced meal for her, so now I'm doing massive research into making cooked meals. Most of the pertinent information out there is now all about raw food, which makes it a bit harder,
as the parental types I'm living with at the moment would freak out over raw meat. *sigh*

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Second Cousin!

Turns out that the pup arriving soon in South Windsor is Chan's second cousin.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Somebody is a neighboring town is getting an English Shepherd puppy!
That makes three new pups in CT this year, and this one is really close!
I can't wait to find out more about it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rowan's moment of triumph!

All the interesting stuff happens while I'm at work.
(Or maybe I'm just better at managing my animals than my parents.)

My parents cooked a ham last night, and carved too many pieces, so they left two on a plate on the counter.
Somehow, Rowan managed to jump onto the counter unseen while they were eating, grab the two pieces of ham, jump down, and consume most of one piece before being discovered.

I must say she is looking very self satisfied this morning.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The boy was fabulous today!

So, this morning was our first Family Dog 2 class-

Chan got a little "herdy" during playtime before class,
but immediately recalled out of play group,
so interrupting him wasn't a problem.

Despite being a total flake about heeling all week,
he practiced heeling with minimal distractions.

He spent most of his time focused on me,
and it was fairly easy to regain his attention
if it wandered.
I could drop the leash for most exercises.

The only bad part of the night occurred when a thirteen month old golden decided to resource guard one of the other people that was not his owner and flattened a five month old golden puppy during free play. He was quickly grabbed and corrected.

I'm going to have to watch the older golden and encourage Chan to be gentle with the baby.
It'll be interesting to see how the instructor handles play after this incident.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I owe an apology to my cat...

...for almost forgetting her birthday.
I hope she'll buy the excuse that I was very distracted by some of my friends having a crisis with their 16 year old dog. (We wish Mel a quick recovery from her attack of Vestibular Disease.)

Happy birthday Rowan-kitten!
13 years of utter peskiness and cuteness!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Life and the suburban farmdog

My suburban boy decided to chase some "big game" while I was off at work tonight.

Chandler apparently spotted a large perched redtailed hawk at the edge of the woods before my father did, and silently launched himself at it in full charge.
The hawk quickly decided to leave in a low swoop across the yard, and Chan changed direction to chase it.
Then of course, the fun ended as he hit the end of the 28 foot flexi lead. (Poor boy.)

This has me a bit curious. He hasn't been taught or encouraged to chase perched birds, but other members of his breed reportedly do keep birds of prey from swooping down on the chickens and guinea hens. I'm wondering if this an innate English Shepherd behavior of some type, either driven by prey drive, or farmdog sense of "things that should not be here."

Given the difficulty of figuring out what a dog is thinking, I'll probably never know.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

1st Anniversary of Disaster

...and I'm two days late, because I was working on Friday and doing homework for my class yesterday.

Last year at this time Chandler was recovering from his impalement accident. I love my dog and am so glad he survived that; although it is still hard to remain totally calm when he starts running in the woods. I don't know if I'll ever get over it. I'll give Chandler two dried turkey medallions today. I feel like it is his "unbirthday" or something.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I really can't call this improvement.

Ashke seems to have recovered.
Rowan now seems to have caught what he had.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm not liking 2008 so far.

I spoke too soon. Ashke is still sick, which resulted in much wash being done to clean up "accidents", and his confinement in "Alcatraz" with blankets and a litterbox. He is complaining mightily.

Chandler also managed to scrape one of the "stopper pads" on his right wrist this morning. It's bleeding a bit so he's wearing a sock. I swear the dog is danger prone...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ashke update

Ash seems to be feeling better...
he's walking around, wanted to play, and just ate 1/4 can of kitty food.
Gads...I hate it when he has these "sick" episodes.

Nailed again; sick kitty

The person I was filling in for at work is back. YAY! No more leaving at 3 am or later.

I had a good time at Jen's yesterday, except Nixie bit Chan again (no damage done except psychological).
I'm feeling a bit sorry for Nixie; she was stressed the entire time she was out of the living room. Unfortunately, got beat up by another dog when Jen had to leave her with a friend once, and she now has an "I'm gonna get them first" attitude. This is hard on poor Chan, who was being just a bit TOO friendly.

Ashke is not feeling well today- diarrhea, no appetite and just lying around. No idea what threw him off. I'm hoping it is just a one day thing. However, it is a reminder that he's been losing weight this last year, and he is going to be 13. *sigh* I think he actually gained a pound in the last month too.