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, 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)