"MMI Genomics, a subsidiary of the life science group MetaMorphix, Inc., announced today the launch of the first commercial, DNA-based, diagnostic test that can genetically determine the breed composition of dogs".
Living with the knowledge of the imminent death of an animal does weird things to a person. It helps you to appreciate life more for one, but it also takes you on an inevitable trip down memory lane. Brewster (see yesterday's post if you don't know who he is) came into my life after Dina was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is hard to look at him and not think of her at this time. After 7 years I still miss Dina so hard it hurts.
Most of us weirdo dog people trainer types believe that dogs come into our lives for very distinct reasons and to teach us what we need to learn at that time. I can announce with some certainly that if it wasn't for Dina I would most likely not be a trainer.
She was the sweetest of sweet spirits and there is no doubt that Dina showed me the path to professional training, pet therapy and stupid pet tricks.
Charlee has been very tuned into the drama that unfolded this morning when I rushed Brewster to the Vet. Brewster is very uncomfortable and has a swollen back foot and a brand new oozing wound. Although I know that Charlee knows I am sad, clearly she is dealing with her own worries.
This is Charlee when I came home from picking the kids up at school this afternoon. There were no tails wags and eager greetings today. She didn't even get up from her vigil from the top of the stairs when I opened the front door. This is a first.
Brewster has spent the day at ground level of our split ranch, not even attempting to come upstairs. Charlee barely acknowledged that we were home and we had to walk around her. They have pretty much grown up together. Brewster is 8 and Charlee is 7. Brew has been like family since the very first month that I brought Charlee home.
The Vet described Brewster as having something they call "death breathe". This is a new development. He is now on antibiotics, and pain and inflammation meds, as well as sterile washes a few times a day. Currently the plan is for him to go home this weekend and most likely he will not be returning.
My entire house is beyond sad.
Oh and don't miss the movie.
Just got finished cramming for agility class tomorrow morning. Here is a picture of Finn doing what does NOT come naturally to him. Walking on weird ground. Collies have a reputation for being cautious and I can surely attest to that!
Here I took my son's skateboards with the wheels removed, and placed them all over the floor, along with some wood and plastic things I had handy. If he steps on the end, the board raises and bangs back down. The goal is to make him comfortable on varied surfaces that may shake rattle and roll, and ultimately make him at home on the contact obstacles - the dog walk, see-saw and A-frame.
We have been playing for weeks on a Buja (tippy) board and Finney took longer than any other dog I ever met to get used to it, and even now, he is not that great at it. Finney is still unsure of what exactly it is that I want him to do.
To get any where in agility, Finney will need to gain a lot of trust in me and get tons and tons of rewards for putting his feet on anything and everything.
If he washes out in agility, that is ok, he is still a great boy. Plus, time spent training now will make him a braver collie of the future. Our summer plans include teaching him to pull a cart.
All in all, tonight's session went really well and finally Finney is offering behaviors instead of me eliciting them from him all the time.
It can be hard for me to switch training gears from Charlee who does things in super fast hyper drive, to MR. Careful Finn. Picture the Tortoise and the Hare.
Slow and steady won that race right?
Meet Gracie a 4 month old Puggle
My clients usually don't believe me when I tell them that their puppy is the cutest puppy ever. I swear I mean it at the time when I say it. I mean, come on...I work with the very cutest of the cute every day. Not unlike premier chocolates, my client's pups are my very favorites...when I am with them.
But Gracie's humans, a lovely retired couple from Standish, do believe me when I tell them that Gracie is the cutest puppy ever. They are hopelessly in love with her. Being of "advanced age" (their words, not mine!) , they recognize that they need lots of direction with this puppy, who, by the way is a major league spitfire. She has tons of energy.
Yesterday was our second in home session and as seen in the picture, we are working on relaxation techniques, and of course nipping. But but mostly we play hide and seek and she flies around the house trying to find us. When she does find us, she melts into a moosh of wriggles and delight. I am telling you, she is totally adorable. Hide and seek is a great game to help dogs and pups get their ya ya's out, and this pup has an extra dose of the ya-ya's!
To prove my point that cuteness runs rampant in my line of work, check out 9 week old Rosie - who fell asleep at the end of her first class today.
"Rose" and I took a training jaunt over to the food court at Maine Mall today. Here we are on the way in.
Here she is waiting for my sushi order.
And here she is hard at work on today's lesson, the ever important chill command.
When "Rose" eventually accompanies children at the hospital clinic to their office visits and procedures, "Rose" will be expected to just chill for long periods of time. We worked lots of meeting and greetings, and as I expected there were a few food surprises awaiting us on the floor, but she did great job at leaving each and every one. I can report that would not have been the case 2 months ago. uh uh, no way!
For a while there I thought "Rose" might even wash out of the program for thievery and general bad behavior. Somehow, I forget to mention that I awarded "Rose" November's Bad Dog Award, after she decided play tug-war with a clothe swag in her home. Problem was, there was a 20 inch TV sitting on said swag at the time and you guessed, "Rose" broke the television set!
Many of Rose's problem behaviors practically disappeared with the addition of a full life outside of the office that includes a new "Mom". Sarah has done a super job of tiring "Rose" out each day before work. They awake at about 5 AM and play for about an hour in the morning with two other dogs. Go Sarah!!!!
And here is a picture I shot of "Rose" during one of our training sessions at the clinic a few weeks ago. She is innately sweet and wonderful with small children.
Can I have an "ahh"?
Today I have found myself planning, not one, but two doggie birthday parties. Finn's litter turns one in February, and we are renting my good friend Gail's doggie day care facility, At Your Barkin' Call for the event. A bunch of Collies and a few close freinds both human and canine. Goofy? Yes! But why not? Will we have a doggie cake? Of course!
"Rose", my most favorite therapy pup in training, turns one later this month and the hospital clinic is planning a little something special for the kids and staff.
Rose is doing wonderfully in training and that is reason enough to celebrate. That dog brings more smiles to people than any other dog I know.
Do you celebrate your dog's birthday?
About the pictures
Pictures are Riley (Sable) and Emmet (Tri and Finn's litter mate). The pictures were taken by their owner this summer at Riley's birthday and they are posed in front of the cake she baked them. Allison will be making us another cake for the Collie birthday party. I will be sure to post the recipe.
Our collie party now has a sponsor! Aaron, from the DogHouse Kitchen has generously donated a BEEFDAY CAKE. Thanks Aaron!
Lots of people have contacted me to share their horror stories after reading my Xylitol blog from a year ago. Apparently Xylitol, a sweetener, is becoming more and more common.
Over on the always fabulous Vet blog Dolittler, Dr Patty in Miami has written a wonderful blog on the subject. This is a must read.
Dr Patty says: Rimadyl, raw onions and Tylenol have nothing on this sweetener. It only takes a few cupcakes left unobserved on the kitchen counter to kill even a large dog. Your three-pound Yorkie? A fraction of one offered surreptitiously by a well-meaning guest might suffice.
We’ve known about this toxin for some time but it’s only recently that we’ve discovered a definitive connection between even small amounts of the product and deadly liver toxicity in dogs. Dogs just don’t have the liver enzymes necessary to deal with this particular molecule.
Ingestion of a large amount (a box of cupcakes) can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) followed by seizures as soon as 30 minutes after ingestion. Smaller amounts can have delayed effects—up to twelve hours later. By this time, you might not be able to make the connection between ingestion and illness.
If your dog does consume xylitol, inform your vet immediately.
Xylitol is very toxic to dogs and it is found and in more and more products all the time. Wrigley's gum, and Sarah Lee cakes to name a few.
Please read labels and take precautions!
Remember, forewarned is forearmed.
Check out Frisbee trainer Zak George's video of his two Border Collies performing some great moves.
To start your New Year off, check out these training out takes over on You Tube of 8 Beardies from Hungary working on their Freestyle Christmas Video. After you watch the out takes, click here to check out the edited movie. It is a bit long, but lots of fun.