Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

Can you believe that little tri sheltie in the photo above is the LIL' MOUSE! Zinna has turned out so cute but is still so tiny. In the photo she is almost 10 months old and seems to be not much bigger than the papillons!

So Christmas is all over for this year. It was a tough one; since it has been exactly 3 months since Hex died. Olympia was difficult to follow; on one hand I wanted to cheer everyone on and on the other hand I just wished it would go away as it was a reminder to me that Hex was gone. Olympia and Christmas just seem to go together for us now. Christmas was a quiet one this year. We couldn't even do a long walk as I will not leave the pups for very long. We did go for a short walk on both Christmas day and boxing day with Pax and Jordan. Zen cannot go as I will not let her leave the pups just yet. Walking with Jordan and Pax alone is difficult as both of them are getting on and do not like to walk either fast or very far. Another reminder that they are getting older. Jordan will be 13 next month and Pax is now 12. Hopefully once Zen and the new pup can start walking that will perk up the two oldies.

Luckily the pups do not give me much time to think about sad things; they are great little distractions. They are becoming slightly more active; they last for about 10 minutes at a time when they are awake.

Chubsy Wubsy Pork Chop Cutie Pie Itsy Bitsy Some great christmas presents came my way this year. Terry sent me this great PINK banner flag. She says people put them on their tents at the agility shows to be able to find their way back to their tents. I will have to fly it on the caravan at agility shows this year! Won't Dennis be happy to be flying a pink flag? HA! For now it hangs above the puppy pen as it matches their pink fleeces.

Dennis came up with a wonderful gift this year. In the USA we have what are called "vanity" plates for our cars. You can get lots of things written on them and you do not have too many restrictions. Here in England the license plates do not work the same way; you have to buy plates that are already issued and see if you can get one that sort of say something. People use numbers that look like letters to try and spell things out. For instance a "5" looks like an "S" or a "6" can look like a "g". And if you find a plate that you like; you have to buy it outright and it is then yours forever (or until you want to sell it on). Some plates go for thousands of pounds. Anything with "K9" on it is really hard to get and can be very expensive. So Dennis found this plate for me and it now makes my doggie mobile complete!

I am not sure this video will work; ;it is the first time I have tried to download directly from blogger. If it does, the video is mainly for Johanna. She was with me when we found this cute toy car in the charity shops and bought it for the pups. A perfect puppy toy; noisy and it moves!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Girl Power pups at 3 weeks old

Tomorrow (christmas day) the pups will be three weeks old. They are quite a noisy bunch; they make alot of grrrrr grrrr noises when they are playing with each other. We added the pen around the whelping box now so that they can start to roll down the ramp and be more active. This is what the pen starts to look like but it changes as they get older and we add more toys.

We have also begun bringing out all the talking, ringing and buzzing toys that we collect during the year. Some last for a few litters and others burn out when the pups decide they are fun to wee on.

Today was their first encounter of these toys. Pork Chop and Chubsy Wubsy are the more advanced of the four; I think just due to their sizes. Itsy Bitsy and Cutie Pie seem to be a little less developed. This is typical and they will catch up soon. From watching litters of other breeds; I have noticed that shelties (or maybe just my shelties) seem to develop slower and are infants for much longer.

Here is Pork Chop on the electric piano. She has the one handed technique.

Chubsy Wubsy likes to play the synthesizer side of the electric piano.

Chubsy Wubsy is definitely the poser of the crew right now.

Here is a silly video of Pork Chop on the Speak and Spell. Yes at the end she does say "Dog" followed by "square". I wonder what the meaning of that is?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here come the girls: Puppy catch up

The pups continue to do well. They turned 2 weeks old on Thursday. Pretty soon they will become more active but for now they eat and sleep and get cuddles.

Zen actually delivered 5 girls on 4th December. These pups were very early; I was not expecting them until three or four days later. The first pup was born at only 3.5 ounces. Sadly the second pup was born dead; it was obvious that she had died a day or so earlier and this is probably what triggered the early labour. I am very lucky that Zen went into early labour or we could have lost all the puppies. The next three pups were normal and alive but all were small at 3-4 ounces.

All the pups nursed and were active immediately but the small size worried me. Three of the pups gained weight right away but one of them actually lost 1/2 ounce by the second day. She seemed to be nursing and active but I was not going to take a chance so I started supplementing her right away. I learned my lesson with the Lil Mouse last time; just because they look like they are latched on and nursing does not necessarily mean that they are getting any milk. You must keep an eye on their weights.

This little one was so tiny (even smaller than the Lil Mouse puppy) so I fed her with a medicine dropper. One thing I have never learned to do was to tube-feed a puppy and that is something I wish I knew. Tube feeding puppies is actually safer and easier than bottle feeding. But, for now, I stuck to the little medicine dropper.

By the 4th day she gained her first 1/2 ounce and I felt comfortable that she was going to make it. Here are the pups in some sort of formation next to their snuggle heating pad. I wondered what they were trying to say.

Now that the pups are older, I have taken the electric heating pad out of the box but they have two microwave heating pads and they always gravitate to them when Zen is out of the box. The microwave snuggle pad is fantastic; you microwave it for 6 minutes and it stays comfortably warm for quite a few hours. Zen is a great mom; I just leave her to it. She gets in and out as she feels necessary.

This is a fun litter where I can indulge my love of the colour PINK. I have bought lots of pink fleece and we have been given loads of pink toys by the pups aunties.

I did not pose these two pups; that is how they fell asleep!

As usual the pups have gotten Neurological Stimulation for the first 2 weeks.

They received their first taste of food off my fingers. Mushed up liver and yogurt; just a tiny taste.

Today they took their first trip into the kitchen. All the pups have their eyes open but only one seems to be able to hear yet. The others should begin to open their ears in the next day or so.

They have their puppy names now. They are very sophisticated names....

From left to right: Cutie Pie, Chubsy Wubsy, Itsy Bitsy and Pork Chop.

So you all know the "Here Come The Girls" song by the Sugababes. That is the theme song for this litter!

Here come the girls...

Mmmmm oh yeah...

Whoah Oh I don't need no man with me


Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)

Slipin' on my little black dress
5 inches I'm bound to impress
Turn it up, I'm a little temptress
Monroe's got nothin' on me
Read my curves like poetry
Tonight we rule the world, beware cos here come the girls
Tonight we rule the world, beware cos here come the girls

Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)

Here the whistle as I walk by
Shine like a crystal all through the night
One look will make a grown man cry
Step aside I got a starring role
Camera, Action, Here we go
Tonight we rule the world, beware cos here come the girls

Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)

I'm filled with sexuality
With or without a man I feel complete
Stop speculating, I'm a regular girl
All independent women know
We got the guts to run the show
Don't let no boy tell you nothing
You're in control

[Chorus x2]
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)
Here come the girls! (Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

4 Little Blessings

One week ago Zen presented me with four little blessings. My first all-girl sheltie litter. This special litter was brought about only through a little help from my friends and much praying.

Whichever pup decides to stay here with us...she will never be Hex. She may be better, she may be worse...but she will certainly be different. She will be her own individual unique little "person" and that will be just fine with me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And so it goes

It has now been 6 weeks since Hex lost the battle. It seems like it has been a year and it seems like it was yesterday.

I have not been able to post again to the blog nor really communicate to people as it is hard to do so without breaking down. I am so grateful for the love and support I have received both before and after that saddest day. Having so much love and support has made me want to be a better person. When you have such tragedies you remember how much friends and family help you get though the days. When my mother passed away 6 years ago (1st Nov 2002) I had my whole family and all my mother's friends surrounding us to give us strength. When you lose a dog; you feel as if you should "get over" it quicker yet you do not have the rituals of funerals and wakes to put a closure to the loss. And at the same time I do NOT want closure. I want my dog back. I want someone to tell me this had been a horrible mistake.

The phone calls and visits, the cards and flowers and the memorial for Hex in the Agility Voice have all been very much appreciated. If I fail to say Thank you personally please forgive me. Even now I have a hard time reading the cards although I know that in time they will be a great comfort. I am touched by how many people took the time to write. While I will not be around agility for a long time now; please when you do see me do not feel hesitant about coming up to say hi, to give me a hug or to even speak about Hex. It will eventually help to know she will not be forgotten so easily. It may make me cry but hopefully that will lessen in time.

I do not know when I will return to agility. I am sure Zen will draw me back in eventually; but for now I will just be a spectator. Even though I only actually ran agility with Hex for one and a half years; it seems like I never knew agility without her running with me.

I miss Hex more than I can say. When we lost Joy only two years ago it was sad but she had led a full life and we had so many memories of her to make us laugh. Losing Hex has been very different. I just look down or put my hand down at my side and expect her to be there and sometimes the realization that she is gone just takes my breath away.

People tell me there must be a reason for all of this. God knows I want to find that reason.

Only recently I received an email from a lady named Tami who also lost her special dog to mushroom poisoning. The story of her dog's tragedy and others is on the website below. Please read it and pass it on.


Friday, September 26, 2008

My Heart is Broken

Agility Champion OBay Truly Wicked
05/05/05 - 25/09/08
My heart is broken and I have lost the most precious gift.
I have had the privilege of having Hex with me for three years.
I could not have asked for a better dog to be by my side.
She made me smile.

I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Hex. I cannot post on the blog anymore. It may be a long time before I can open this page again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hex update wednesday

Hex is not doing well. We are trying everything possible to keep her with us and I want to give her every chance possible. I just want my sweet little dog back with me, by my side.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hex update sunday

We have been to see Hex each day for the past 3 days. It is so painful to see her yet I feel as if I need to see her each day. Dennis has been coming with me the past 3 days and he takes photos of her but I just cannot put them on the blog. They are not the Hex I want to remember. The Hex I know is naughty and barky and full of life. This Hex is subdued and quiet and obviously still not feeling well at all.

I was slightly more upbeat yesterday as she ate some of the ice cream we brought her. Just tiny bits licked off our fingers. But today she just turned her head away and anytime she was offered any type of food she tried to walk away. She must still feel so nauseous and horrible. I guess I expect a continued progress and wasn't expecting an up and down ride.

The vet nurse there said she had fed Hex about 3 hours earlier. She just syringed some soft food into the side of her mouth and Hex swallowed the food and even licked a little off of the syringe. She thinks she had about 15 mls of food. So maybe that was alot for her that morning.

The nice thing is that on the in patient board in the kennel area, next to Hex's name, the nurses have drawn little red love hearts. It helps me to know that Hex is being loved while she is there.

The vet says her kidney levels have improved slightly and he has been able to take her off the diuretic and will watch to see that she can keep producing the urine output on her own. I have stopped looking up "acute kidney failure" on the Internet as whatever I read is very pessimistic. My eyes immediately scroll down to "prognosis" and I do not like what I see.

After we left the vet's office we stopped at the West Whitterings beach to give the three girls a little exercise. They are suffering because we have restricted their exercise as I will not let them out on the grass during the day alone. And I have just not been up to walking them without Hex. So I am trying to make a concerted effort to get out with them each day to do something.

The West whitterings beach is so lovely for the dogs. It was crowded today as the weather has just been so perfect.

I am looking for any good signs that Hex will get better and be back to the Hex I know and love. We took this photo of the girls at the beach. Even after cropping it again and again I just couldn't get that other dog out of the photo on the top left hand corner. I kept cropping it and re-centering our three dogs and still There "IT" was! Then it dawned on me...that dog was a German Shorthair Pointer! So I have decided that was my sign from my sweet Tess telling me that Hex will be ok.

Here was my other good sign. We passed by all these boats and I did not notice any names on the boats until this one. My best and favorite aunt is my aunt Mary so I have decided that this was also a sign of good things to come.

This was not a sign but it just made me happy for a few seconds. Zen smiling and having such a good time in the water. My dog who doesn't like water! She was running in the surf, chasing rocks and sticks and trying to steal tennis balls from labradors! My sweet Zen who is usually scared of big dogs!

So on we march one day at a time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hex update

I am sorry not to have updated sooner. The last few days have been very very difficult. I have too much time to think and cry yet not enough time to actually do anything positive other than think about Hex.

She is at the specialist in Winchester; about 1.5 hours from here. We were referred there on Wednesday afternoon after I dropped Hex back at my vet. She had spent the night at home with us trying to get her to eat anything. I took her back to my vet that morning; just expecting her to go back onto fluids to get stronger. I was devastated to get a call only a few hours later from my vet telling me to come get her immediately and rush her off to the specialist. She was in kidney failure.

The specialist vet seems very competent and very knowledgeable but he is also very honest. Her prognosis is guarded. Her kidneys are damaged quite badly from whatever toxin was involved. She is on very high doses of fluids to try and get whatever kidney function is left to start working. She is on a painkiller patch, diuretics and doses of human albumin. She has even had a blood transfusion as her blood cell volume was down to almost nothing due to the bleeding in the gut. She has not eaten anything for a week.

I wait anxiously for each call to tell me if anything, just anything, has improved.
We went to see her yesterday and she was up on her feet and greeted us by putting her head in our lap. Dennis even got a kiss. The vet nurses are lovely; one said that she would gladly pay for all of Hex's treatments if she could have her! Another is doing Reiki on her in the kennels. At least I know she is being loved while she is there; that does help.

As of today the kidney levels have improved the tiniest little bit. At last finally something is going in the right direction. He was still very guarded but he said at least the numbers are moving in the right direction.

Thank you for all the phone calls, emails and cards. Every little helps. I still cannot believe this has happened and feel like I am living in a nightmare. Everyone knows how much I adore this little dog. I do not care if I ever stepped into another agility ring with her.(Although I am sure she would have something to say about that!) All I want is for her to be by my side again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We took Hex to the specialist today. My worst fears were confirmed and it looks as if she has kidney damage. Her prognosis is uncertain. All we can do now is pray.

The irony of it all is that this vet is only 20 minutes from where we go to Leslies for her agility lessons which is 1.5 hours from me. She had been scheduled to have a lesson today at Leslies which, of course, I cancelled last week. Instead she was a the specialist at the same time as she should have been at her lesson. God how I wish we were at that lesson....

Unfortunately no good news yet

It was a long night and we tried almost everything but Hex would just not eat. You could see how nauseous she was; twice she actually took a piece of chicken from my hand and then just let it drop out of her mouth. She would just turn her head away from any food.

I have been syringing water into her mouth and she did drink a little. I have been putting Nutri-stat (hi calorie paste) in her mouth. Last night I actually just put blobs of baby food into her mouth and she swallowed a little. I was a feeling a little positive last night as she seemed to keep it down during the night. But this morning she vomitted twice after I tried the same thing. She still has diarrhea with blood.

So Hex is back to the vet this morning and he is putting he back on IV fluids. And hopefully talking to a GI specialist to see if there is anything else we can try.

She is getting injections of antinausea medication and well as antiobiotic injections and the fluids. Her temperature is normal and her heart rate is good. Her gums are still pale and they are doing more blood work today.

I keep telling myself it has only been since Saturday afteroon; so only 4 days. It seems like forever. Thank you all for your suggestions and just for your good thoughts. I take all the suggestions on board and also ask the vet about them. If I do not respond to you right away; it is just because I get very emotional everytime I write about her so it is easier to do it just once on the blog.

Please keep the good thoughts coming and if you have any ideas, however crazy you think they are, just let me know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hex update

I wanted to update everyone on our progress so far. I am trying to stay positive; including continuing my exercise bootcamp in the knowledge that Hex WILL get better and the two of us will enjoy Olympia in December. (That doesn't mean that I am not eating way too much chocolate due to the stress!)

I spoke to the vet this morning. The good things are that her heart-rate is getting to a more normal rate. She seems alert. The hemorrhagic diarrhea has slowed to just drops of blood rather than streams. She has not vomited during the night.

The bad thing is that she must still be extremely nauseous as she will not eat. So she is still on the IV fluids. He is going to let me take her home tonight to see if getting her in her own environment will encourage her to eat. I am not optimistic as I think she is just too nauseous to eat; my shelties will normally eat everywhere and anything. (obviously that includes poisonous mushrooms!) But in the hopes that we can encourage her to eat I have been shopping for anything and everything that I think she will like including chicken breast and baby food and yummy canned food that I can warm up for her. I have also picked up some of the High calorie Nutri paste for dogs that I can just let her lick off my finger. It is really just high sugar content but maybe it will stimulate her appetite. If she doesn't eat tonight I do not know what the next step is or if she will have to go right back to the vet tomorrow to continue on fluids....I cannot wait to get her home but also am so worried that she will take a turn for the worse.

Yesterday was spent foraging for mushrooms (fungi!) in our garden. Thru a fantastic set of circumstance and wonderful friends I was able to bring all the types of mushrooms (in a shoebox)to Mycology specialist at Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, London. I think I got to meet the fungi expert of England! How refreshing to meet someone who is such an expert on their subject and obviously loves it. I was so impressed that he took the time to look at my "shoebox" of mushrooms and give me a detailed list of each and everyone. So far I have a list of 14 species; 6 of which are toxic to some degree.

We now know for sure that many of the mushrooms that we have have the potential to cause the symptoms that the dogs showed. The puzzling question is why did Hex show such a severe reaction this second time around. Normally the reaction from these mushrooms look worse than they are; the tearing and salivation and GI upsets are normally short lived (as we saw with Jordan and Pax) and cleared up with supportive care. Did Hex have a different stronger mushroom? Or did the fact that she had two episodes one after another make a difference to the toxic level? Or did she have a mushroom with a parasite on it also? So many questions that may never actually be answered.

A few months ago I was making the "big" decision on whether to try out for the World Agility Team this year with Hex; I made that decision based strictly on money. I did not want to spend thousands of pounds for any agility competition. Little did I know that I would be spending thousands of pounds at the vets! I must say I will be happy to spend that money now if I just get my Hex back safe and sound.

I am lucky that Hex is insured and hope that most of her fees will be covered. These are the things that make the insurance worth while! Who would have expected such a thing to happen? My first claim ever on insurance with Hex and it is going to be a BIG one! Pax and Jordan are not insured. But.... well I am lucky that both of them have been so healthy all of their lives that a couple of hundred pounds at their age is nothing in the scheme of their lives.

In the long run our biggest expense is going to be re-jigging the garden for the dogs! We either have to extend the decking or add concrete to give the dogs an area to hang out in where they have no access to the grass and possible mushrooms. If I had to do it right now I would call in the concrete guys have have them cement the whole area over! But I think I have to think longer about it and not rush into things! ha! Needless to say Pax is most indignant about having to go out and pee on gravel! She glares thru the temporary fence at the grass wondering how to get out there.

Keep the good positive thoughts flowing and thank you to everyone who has been so supportive in so many ways.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Nightmare few days

I cannot write a normal blog post so this will be quick.

Hex is in the vet hospital again. It is very serious.

This is the 2nd time this week this happened. At the beginning of last week Hex became sick from possible mushroom. We assume it is mushroom as we do get them in our garden and the symptoms were so exact to muscarine poisoning. The poison control agreed. If anyone knows of any other possible poisons with those symptoms (excessive tearing, salivating, watery diarrhea, vomiting, decreased heart rate) please let me know.

Hex was kept over night the first time and seemed to bounce back by the morning after a night of being on fluids. I kept her from the Paws in the Park agility show this past weekend as to not overdo anything with her and let her fully recover. It made me so sad to leave her behind. But little did I know that now I wished she had come with me; as by the time I got back from Paws in the Park on Saturday my husband had rushed all 3 dogs that I left home to the vet.

I have picked up the two older girls (Pax 12 and Jordan 13 years old) last night after 2 days on fluids. They seemed to have bounced back quickest. Whether it was because they did not have as much poison or because they only had one exposure. Hex is still at the vet. She was and is the worst affected. She is not doing well after 2 days on fluids; but they are optimistic. When she arrived at the vet on Saturday night she was almost dead; her heart rate had dropped to nothing and her eyes were pinpoints. I am grateful that my husband got her to the vets so quickly. When I saw her Saturday night and the vet told me that she almost died on the table; I just could not believe it. Of all dogs why Hex?

Please keep the wicked one in your prayers. I am praying that she will be back being the naughty barky sheltie that I love.

Pax and Jordan seem good this morning. I gave Pax a bath this morning so that she can join me on the bed. The vets said she was naughty all the time she was there. She chewed the IV fluid line and complained severely that she was not being fed. Tim and Marion call her a "fiddle-arse" and she lived up to that name at the vets office. I think they were glad she was leaving? As for Jordan, they had asked me if Jordan was usually so calm as they had to poke her a few times to make sure she was alive! Jordan likes to sleep and is deaf so she sleeps so soundly. She is so calm and doesn't expend any extra energy unless it involves dinner time.

Right now our grass is fenced off and the dogs only have freedom in the gravel run area where we can watch them 100%. We have scoured this area with bleach and picked up any thing that could hide a mushroom. We are now letting the garden grass grow so the if any mushroom pop up we can photograph them. Prior to that we had been going out daily and clearing up any mushrooms we could see. We need to be able to identify the culprit if possible. My research on mushrooms is not going well; it is such a complicated subject with ID being very hard. Basically I think I need someone to come here to the house. But for now I will try to photograph what I can. Yesterday I picked alot of mushroom and bagged them but I think I would have been better photographing them right in the grass as a whole.

I am so frustrated, tired and angry but mostly just scared silly about Hex. Saturday night the vet called me every 2 hours thru the night to let me know she was still alive and how she was doing. This vet was brilliant and I am grateful he had more experience than the last vet and got in touch with poison control immediately.

I do not think I could stand this if this happened again. I cannot believe I have left her again at the vets. I am ready to move house.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hex is feeling better!

Just a quick update. Thanks to all who wrote sharing stories and just giving support.

Hex is doing much better. I picked her up at the vet and she looked like her normal bouncy wicked self. She was so hungry; not surprising as she had not eaten for 24 hour and had emptied herself out with the vomiting and diarrhea. I had to be careful not to feed her too much too fast, although she was not happy with that method!

Of course she went for another 24 hours without having a poo and I was anxiously waiting to make sure it was normal. Oh what makes us happy these days! A normal poo occurred this morning at 4:30am and I was so happy even though it was 4:30 am. HA!

I have done internet research on mushrooms. You know what? You cannot get rid of them! I am still going to see if the local agricultural college has any ideas or can help me at all. The only positive ideas I found on the internet was to fertilize (high nitrogen) as the mushroom prefer high carbon. We don't usually put anything on our lawn (fertilizer, pesticide or insecticide) but I will give fertilizer a try.

I have been keeping the lawn short and am mowing it nearly every other day; just so that I can SEE any mushrooms. They are darn hard to find! The large white ones are easy; but there are little tall brown ones, low round brown ones that look like stones and of course the scary red ones.

I will not even mention just how much Hex's one day at the vet cost. All I can say is thank goodness for insurance and I hope they cover most of it other than the excess. I now know that she was definitely in shock when I brought her in. Her gums were white and cold and even the tips of her ears were cold. I do not know how the night would have went if I had kept her home. Would she just have gotten over it? Can a dog in shock recover on it's own without fluids? I do not know.

So Hex will be taking it easy for a week or so. No agility training, no swimming and no agility show this weekend for her. We will go for a nice walk this afternoon and see how tired she gets. Hopefully she can return to her swimming next week. I know how I feel after a stomach flu: tired and weak. Although she looks happy enough I think a rest will be safer for her. She has different ideas and was not happy yesterday when I would go out in the agility yard to do a few lessons. She expects to get her chance also.

I love this photo of Hex gazing out into the agility yard.

So today is September 11th. I almost do not want to watch TV or read the paper as I know they will be telling all the stories again. Last night I watched a program on survivors of the Marriott Hotel which was directly under the towers. I tried NOT to watch it but then left it on and of course couldn't turn away. Between that and watching an episode of the Dog Whisperer about a family deciding to put their old dog to sleep.... well it was a teary night! The story about the dog kept reminding me of Joy and then got me thinking about losing Hex and well there you go! Aren't we ridiculous sometimes?

Anyway I hope my next blog post is more cheery! I have some good news and some great photos that I will try and get up tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Scared sh**less

I should have been writing a post about my new exercise program (Sussex Bootcamp) and how stiff and sore I feel today.

Instead I am writing a quick post about how scared I was last night when I had to rush Hex to the vet. You all know how I adore this dog and I was scared shitless that I was going to lose her. All of a sudden (of course at 7pm right after the vet closes) Hex started vomiting and having diarrhea. It was so quick; she went from being bright and happy to being severely ill within minutes. It had to have been a bad mushroom. The fluids were just pouring out of her; she was salivating from the mouth, tearing from the eyes, vomiting and diarrhea like water was pouring out of her while she was just lying there. It was obviously a toxic poisoning of some sort.

I have had something similar happen about 5 years ago with Pax and Joy so I immediately thought of the mushrooms. We always have bad mushrooms (toadstools)popping up in our garden; I go out every morning to clear them up and at this time of year cannot let the dogs just hang out in the garden by themselves. I must have missed one as they are so hard to find and Hex probably ate it quickly.

I called the vet right away. At first the on-call vet started to tell me that I should just withhold food and water for 24 hours and see how she was the next day. Uhhhh No freakin way! I insisted that I bring her in immediately. This was not a normal intestinal "bug". Then when I get there she says "Oh it could be because your vaccines are out of date or maybe she has Addisons disease:....ARGHHHH! Yeah like she has come down with Addisions disease within the last 1/2 hour.

I am glad that this vet has 24 hour emergency call out but it is frustrating to deal with an in-experienced vet. Anyway no matter what the cause the important thing was to get her on fluids and then pray that there was no liver/kidney damage. They did do blood tests last night and they all seemed normal. She gave her an injection to induce vomitting in case there was anything left inside her but she had already gotten everything out of her system herself.

This little girl has never been sick and it just broke my heart to leave her overnight but I wanted to make sure she had every possible chance. I am grateful that the vet was there to work on her. I got home after leaving her and Johanna called. She called for no reason other than she had a feeling telling her to call. That was a huge help as Dennis is away and I needed someone to cry to! Johanna knows (having Hex's daddy and brother) just how special this dog is to me.

I spoke to the vet this morning and she is doing much better. I am going to pick her up in the next hour. I cannot wait to see her!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Message for Emma in Scotland

This blog is temporarily interupted to let Emma know that my emails to her are being rejected/blocked by her server! Try emailing me again from another email or see if you can unblock my email address.


And now back to our regular service.....Not much going on as it is rain rain rain! I had to cancel almost all my lessons this week due to the rain and wind; I need an indoor arena. I need to win the Lottery maybe? Or need a Rich husband? Oh no that is what Johanna needs! hehe

I am planning on going to Stour Valley this weekend. I have never been to that show and am hoping the weather cooperates. I have to bring all the girls along as Dennis is away and it would be too long a day to leave the oldies at home alone. It looks like a small show so I am hoping I have time to walk the old girls around as they really enjoy mooching around the show.

I am planning on training/improving my start-lines with Hex! Can anyone tell her?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Some Hex video

Here is the video of Hex's semi-final run. It was a very straight forward course; I am glad we didn't have such an easy course for the medium final. Luckily for me, Hex is one of the faster smalls right now so a straight forward course is OK for her. For Zen, in the medium height against the Border collies, such a course would have made it difficult for Zen to outrun a border collie. It is amazing how the type makes such a difference. Anyway I went into this semi saying that I wanted to get 3rd place. Guess what? We did! It sounds strange wanting 3rd but I had my reason.

When we run at Olympia in London we run in reverse order of our placement at the semi-final. Last year Hex won the semi and so ran last at Olympia. I did not want to run last again! It was too stressful! 3rd is far enough down that I will know what I need to do but not too much pressure and hype.

Here is the video. Damn she is so cute but we need some work on her start-line stay!

On an exciting note Johanna (being Johanna) is plotting to get a new lovely boy into Denmark. I am hoping this happens as he could be a good match for Zen. Guess what colour he is: Bi-Black! Yeah that means more black puppies..... Why couldn't she import a nice sable? Damn her! hehe

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Large dog handlers just cannot pose for photos!

On at the same time as the small dog Olympia semi-final was the "last chance" Large dog semi-final. (The large dogs have multiple semi-finals during the year as there are more large dogs competing). This was our only small dog semi-final.

The KC tries to make the semi-finals run like Olympia with commentators announcing each handler and dog for the spectators. We are supposed to fill out a little comment card with our names and details along with extra comments on our dogs and ourselves. It is supposed to be something like "Hex and I are super dooper handlers and have won 10,000 major finals and one million champ classes to make us like the bestest team evah". I just can't do this as I am really quite modest and usually end up leaving it blank. Sometimes I like to see what the commentator fills in on his own and they are usually quite nice. Some people write funny things but I am just not clever enough to think of them at the time. Some people are very sweet and write loving and tender things about their dogs. I do not want to be too sentimental in my comments as bursting into tears before my run is not conducive to a winning run. I cry way too easily!

This is one of our most popular commentators, Dave Ray. He is really good at speaking in front of crowds and I envy people who can do that! I would be stuttering and um-uhh-ing all over the place.

But...let's face it...Dave is getting older. So we need new blood in the dog-agility commentating world. Here he is brushing up on the line-up sheet so that he can get the names correct.

It was good to watch the large dog handlers (real proper handlers) compete over the same course as us; which is not typical because usually they compete over different courses. The large dogs handlers really had to go for it as only 5 got thru on their semi-final. Tracey ended up in the "unlucky" 6th place spot which then became lucky because one of the top 5 handlers had 2 dogs qualified. For Olympia, you can only qualify one dog in each height division. This happened again in the smalls when Miranda qualified both of her shelties; so the "unlucky" 11th handler in smalls was very happy! I am not sure why they only allow one dog to qualify per handler as if they qualify they should be able to run! But I am sure there is some very good reason that I do not know about. Or maybe it is because they know that only the most fit person can actually run around the huge Olympia course TWICE! haha I am lucking that Hex and Zen are in different height classes so I get to run both of them at Olympia. Also I am grateful that they are competing on different days so that I will have time to catch my breath in between runs!

Here is the small dog line-up for Olympia 2008. Hex looks like an angel in the photo but only 5 seconds before was trying to kill Miranda's boy sheltie who dared to sniff her. You got to love the wicked one.

Now you would think they would learn to pose! What is with these large dog handlers? Do they use up all their energy running their real dogs around the agility course? I think am going to organize a training day on photo posing; people will be lined up to attend. Along with my DVD on strategic finger pointing I should finally become rich on agility!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Yeah for Hex!

Hex has qualified for Olympia 2008!

There will be more info and video to follow. For now; just one very happy me! (note to self: must wear different baseball cap once and awhile)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Mouse at 6 months!

Dennis is home in NY this week; so he got to visit with Terry and Zinna (aka The Mouse). Not the greatest photo but I thought it was funny that she had the "Zen" tongue hanging out!

Zinna now weighs 6 pounds. It is amazing how far she has come!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sexy Hexy at KC International Festival 2008

Here are some random runs from Hex aka The Wicked One at the KC International Festival 2008. She had a great weekend with 100% clear runs! I feel like Hex and I are getting our groove back! :-)

I should update the blog with videos as soon as I get back; but it takes me a few days to be able to sit down and watch my runs. Is it just me? I am so critical of myself when I watch and I need a few days before I am brave enough to watch them! That aside, I do find it invaluable to have the runs videoed as I can then look at the runs and realize that I still have some work to do. It would be boring if we were perfect and had nothing to train! Notice on the first run I had two push-thrus or go-arounds! Yeah! They are still not as effortless as Ms. Leah Gardner's go-rounds but I was pleased we could do them. Same time last year I would have been hesitant about doing them in a course.

This past weekend was a nice one with relaxing and no agility shows. I have done some training with the girls but mostly just nice walks with Dennis and the dogs. This coming weekend is a nice local agility show; just 15 minutes away! Perfect! I can even go early just to watch some runs from friends and students which is always great. Some of the shows are just too big and I do not get the chance to watch other people.

The new car will get it's first outing at an agility show. Look out for the Turquoise Sheltie Machine; it might blind you with it's brilliant shine!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My New Car!

We picked up my new car today! It was sad to say good-bye to my Suzuki as it was my first car here in the UK. I have had it for 7 years now and it was a great little car. I initially bought it because I was so scared of the narrow roads and small parking spaces here in England. Now I am a little braver and have upgraded to a slightly larger car. It is still no where as big as my old Dodge Grand Caravan or the huge SUV's back in the ole USA; but I am very happy with it! It is a Renault Kangoo.

Above is a side by side comparison of the old and the new! Yes the colour is almost the same; although the Suzuki was more Aqua and this car is more Turquoise. I really wanted a yellow car (my first two cars ever were yellow) but there were no yellow kangoos in all of England and I did not want to wait until next year. So here it is!

I am so excited as I have ordered bespoke crates for the back of the car. They will be two levels with two crates up and two crates down. Room for lots of shelties! This is the company that will be doing my cages.
MMG Dog Cages

I saw the exact same car as mine at the recent KC International Agility Festival. The cages she had were done by MMG and were really nice. They fit the back of the Kangoo perfectly. I cannot find any photos of my type of cages on his website but it will look something like this (although the cages will be black and the cages can be removed). I looked at alot of different manufacturers but like the sturdiness of the MMG cages. Also they had a good reputation whereas there were other manufacturers who I know have sold dodgy cars to friends (just ask!) so I will not patronize them. Also I think the strength of the cages are so important and not worth skimping on; they will be protecting very important doggies!

So soon all the shelties will have their own little cages to sit in rather than all being smooshed into one big cage like my old car. Still it worked really well for 7 years! I will be selling this cage once I get my new ones in case anyone is interested (it is a Barjo). Unfortunately my cages will be taking 8 weeks to make! So this one will go in the new car until then.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Zen will run for anyone!

We had so many runs over the weekend at the KC International Festival. I actually missed quite a few runs with Hex. I do not let anyone else run Hex; but almost anyone can run Zen in jumping as long as they promise to reinforce her start line stay. This jumping course did not suit me as it was too big and I dread those straight lines and straight tunnels. HA!

Andy has run Zen once last year so I asked him if he wanted to run her on this course. He is on a winning streak as the last time he ran her he won the class also!

For Pat (and Grady and baby Clipper)

Sorry I have taken so long to do this course map for you! Hope you still love us! :-)

For everyone else; Pat wanted the course map for this 6-7 Jumping course from the Lune and Barrow show.

The course itself wasn't too hard; it was just trying to remember the darn course.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

KC International Festival Days 3 and 4

This is a neat photo; you need to click on it and open it up in full screen to really see it better. Dennis took a few photos of the venue and then "knitted" them together with some program. It looks like a panoramic photo and just shows the size of the venue and the camping areas.

It did take me days after coming home on Sunday night to recover! I do not know how people had the enthusiasm to go onto Dogs In Need (a week-long agility show) after the Festival. I am agiliter-ized-out! The dogs were tired and I was tired and I still haven't finished clearing out and cleaning out the caravan.

I forgot to mention that on Friday Nancy and Naught Niamh also qualified for Olympia in the large division! I know she will do a full write up on her own blog but thought I would put this funny photo on here. I know she is at DIN so she won't see this for over a week and I won't get in trouble! haha Don't you love how both Nancy and Niamh both have their tongues sticking out to the right?

Saturday's finals were fun to watch but unfortunately Andy and Kizzy and Daniel and Bailey both incurred faults in their runs so no Crufts wins for them this year. Even so, both teams looked good and the dogs enjoyed themselves and that is what counts in my eyes; I like to see my pups happy in the ring!

On Sunday in the British Open finals the Obay shelties did really well. From the qualifiers on Friday the top three dogs going into the final were: Nicky and Indy in first, Me and Hex in second and Peggy and Timmy in third! More of that please!

The British Open finals are run with the top 15 dogs from the qualifiers on Friday in each height (small, medium and large). The top dogs compete against each other for the title of British Open Winner. In addition, they make up teams of 3 to compete in a "Nations Cup" against all the foreign teams that have attended. So there are two separate competitions: The British Open and the Nations Cup. They combine the top 6 english dogs at each height division and make two teams for "The Nations Cup". So the "England 1" team was actually an OBAY team of shelties!

The British Open Course was fun to run. Hex ended up in 3rd (is this becoming a habit?). It was won (for the 2nd year in a row) by Nicky and Indy. This sends them to Crufts to represent England in the international competition. A poodle came in second, Hex came in 3rd and Timmy came in 4th! Too bad that poodle snuck in there or we would have had a nice OBay sheltie sweep on the podium!

Here is a photo of the Small British Open winners. I wish Nicky would work on her podium photos in preparation for Finland! hehe

In the medium Open, Lisa and Chi put in a really good run to win. So I guess having one OBay win the small and one winning the medium is pretty cool.

The "Nations Cup" consisted of a jumping and agility course. Although Indy and Hex ran lovely double clears, unfortunately Timmy picked up 2 Eliminations. Poor Peggy! Usually Timmy is so consistent; I think Peggy was feeling the nerves. No worries; it could have been any of us that made mistakes. Well except Nicky as she is always perfect and we hate her for it! hahaha

By the end of the last final; the heavens opened up and a huge rain storm blew in for about 1/2 hour. What a shame as it sent all the spectators running back to their caravans. I don't even know who ended up winning the Nations cup. I did hear the Japanese Large team won which is awesome!

I am working on getting some videos together and will post separately.

All in all a great long weekend of agility. The KC did a great job in organizing this show and I only see it getting bigger and bigger. I was very proud of my two girls. Girl Power!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

KC International 2008 Day one and two

We arrived at the KC International Agility Festival on Thursday morning. It was nice to be allowed to set up early; this year you could arrive at 10am and that gives you all day Thursday to set up the caravan and garden and just relax.

I actually didn't relax too much and helped out a little in checking campers in. What an amazing amount of work to try and sort out over 500 campers! The set-up crew had been at the showgrounds since Monday marking out all the camping spaces. I just helped check people in; which was good fun as everyone (well mostly everyone!) was in a good mood and excited about the show. I enjoy helping when everyone is relaxed and having a good time.

Thursday was Dennis' birthday so I brought along a cake and we did a little BBQ to celebrate. Thanks to everyone who came by to wish Dennis Happy Birthday. And thanks to Mandy and Arthur for giving us such a nice camping spot with a special welcome for Dennis painted on the ground! Here is a photo of our camping spot before we had the doggie-garden set up. You can see Happy Birthday painted on the grass.

I had a cake made for Dennis with this photo of him and Pax taken up in the Lake District last month. I love that photo of the two of them.

Friday was the first day of competition. We did not get much video during the day as Dennis was working on a ring. He is really great and puts down to help at most of the bigger shows. I had some fantastic runs with Hex that I was really pleased with but she came 2nd each time to her brother Indy. Indy and Nicky are so on form for the Worlds in Finland; I am expecting great things from the two of them! Anyway those two 2nd places qualifed her for the British Open Final on Sunday afternoon. Lisa and Chi also qualifed for the medium finals along with Nicky and Indy and Peggy and Timmy in the small open final. To add to the great showing of the OBay Shelties this weekend: Andy and Kizzy qualified for the Novice Cup and Daniel and Bailey qualifed for the Starters cup which were both held on Saturday afernoon. If only Karen and Toddy had ENTERED The novice cup qualifers we could have had a 100% showing of Obay shelties in the finals! Ahh bless her; Karen didn't enter the qualifiers as she did not know back a few months ago if Toddy would be ready. As it turns out he is more than ready and racked up three 1st places this weekend in his other classes. Good boy Todd!

Zen had some great runs on Friday but we got eliminated in the British Open jumping so that put us out of the British open finals for Sunday. I wasn't really too dissapointed because I knew that Hex qualifed for the small finals and Zen still had the Olympia Semi-final to do on Friday Afternoon and that was our main goal.

So did we achieve our goal?? Ta-da.........Zen is going to Olympia 2008! She has come back from pups better than ever and I am so glad we took this year slow and let her recover from pups. Zen came in 2nd in the Olympia Semi-finals and joins the 9 other medium dogs that are going to Olympia. As we did not tryout this year for the World Champs nor the EO; Olympia was my big 2008 goal for Zen and me. What a sweetheart she was in helping me achieve that goal.

I pushed her as hard as I could (yeah really I was pushing and don't laugh at me as I really thought I was running!) as we ran in the middle and there were still loads of the medium border collies left to run. I could not play it safe. Last year the semi-finals were dominated by the medium border collies and in the end 8 out of the 10 medium dogs qualifed to go to Olympia 2007 were border collies. This year turned out very different and we only had 1 border collie qualify to go onto Olympia 2008. Look at the line up of the dogs qualifed; a nice variety if you ask me!

Here is the Medium Olympia line-up for 2008.

And here is our semi-final run. Hurrah for Zen!

More about the KC Festival later as I get more videos and photos sorted out.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

KC International Agility Festival 2008

We leave early Thursday for the Kennel Club International Agility Festival. It is a 3-day show.It is unbelievable how big this show is!!! My feet hurt just thinking about it. I have fingers crossed for good weather; we deserve one show this year with nice weather.

Here are the numbers for this show. You are reading them correctly! It is now billed as the LARGEST Agility show in the WORLD! I have not found out how many foreign competitors will be there; but know there will be a few different countries represented.

  • 2545 dog competing. Yes that is 2545 dogs!
  • over 18,000 runs! (not including finals)
  • all over 18 rings

On Friday is our Medium Olympia qualifier. Yippee!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

EO 2008 Closing Ceremony

Tracey; one of our groupies!

Greg taking a photo of Dennis taking photos. Notice what is in the other hand. Drowning out his sorrows?

The fact that the EO has four rings is good and bad. Good as we get more dogs running and get through more dogs quickly. Bad in that you CANNOT watch all your team-mates run. Everyone did their best to run around from ring to ring; but it was really impossible.

After all the team runs on Sunday; it turned out the one of the large teams had won BRONZE! Hurray for the youngsters aka The Brat Pack.(Lee, Katie, Marc and Anthony) They really deserved it and they all ran beautifully. I hate that they all can run so fast though! Darn kids! ha!

The rain continued on and off; the main downpour being when my team was in the jumping ring! And the second big downpour being right around the closing ceremony time. I was gutted that the rain was so bad and it messed my hair up big time. I tried to fix it but Dennis and Sonia both suggested a hat for the closing podium photos. Boo-hoo. How the heck did Katie and Leah keep their hair so perfect for the photos?

Andy won the jumping individual so he got a trophy for that. Surprise! He was not informed that he would get a trophy and a chance at a podium photo. So instead of just going up for the applause and photo by himself; someone suggests he take a substitute dog! How ridiculous is that? Now all the world (well anyone who took a photo) thinks Andy won medium individual jumping at the EO with a cocker spaniel!

Notice the dog in the 2nd place is a SHAVED sheltie! Yuck and double yuck! Lovely dog to watch run but WHY shave it?

This gorgeous cocker gets around though; here is Lee Windeatt wishing he had a medium dog himself. Or maybe if he had a nice medium dog he wouldn't get into so much trouble?

Here are some podium shots. The large team podium shot would have been so much better if those french winners did not have such loud stripes on their shirts! It clashed with the lovely union jack flags! hehe Plus, I have already been getting emails from single American women who would love to meet some of these guys!

This lady won a silver medal in the individual large with her lovely rescue dog Herbie. I am not sure exactly who she is........hehe. Just kidding it is Leah and Herbie; we wouldn't forget you!

And just because it is my blog: some more photos of me and Hex! I like this one because you can see the rain drops (it was raining pretty hard by that point) and also you can see my skull/crossbones lucky socks!

Thanks to Natalie for this photo. It is very artistic!

So that is it! I will not go into details about the loooong ride home or the idiot coach drivers who thought we would get through Calais port without them checking all the dogs! Sigh...

Thanks to all my team-mates for being such good sports. And congratulations to all the winners! Next year....Gold? :-)