Saturday, February 28, 2009

Live like an ostrich

Roc's health has been our overwhelming concern the past week. To recap: I took him in to our regular vet because of a coughing/hacking sound he makes about once a day. I thought he probably needed some new medication to deal with his gastric reflux. Since it was our second visit for the same issue, our vet recommended some x-rays and blood work.
When I went to pick Roc up, the vet was extremely concerned about some anomalies she found in his x-rays: his trachea was constricted near his heart, his lungs were expanding extremely unevenly, there was an indistinct shadow in his stomach.
We decided that to figure out what we were dealing with, I should take Roc to the veterinary specialty clinic for an ultrasound of his abdomen.
I did, and it wasn't fun. The internist and the radiologist decided, probably without ever laying hands or stethoscope on Roc, that they "did not appreciate any abnormalities" in the x-rays. I kept after it, asking about and pointing to the areas of concern on the x-rays.
But they'd decided that nothing was wrong; offered no explanations and basically made me feel like I was an idiot, wasting their time, and suffering from Munchausen by Puppy Proxy syndrome.
I went back to our regular vet, whom we know, trust, rely on and respect. And we talked about Roc. The upshot is that whatever's going on with him doesn't really matter. If we were to discover tumors, what could we do about them, considering their location and probable lethality? We'll treat his symptoms, we'll keep him happy and comfortable. And if we lose him to any of the nasties the x-ray suggested, we're going to report those "specialists" to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
We actually hope the specialists were right. But we're not counting on it.
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Friday, February 27, 2009

A Different Schedule Makes Everyone Unsettled

Hope has an Agility Trial today - no biggie since it's her regular day off. But she took Dax with her! Roc did not approve. He's gotten all the attention the last few days, so he felt he should be the one going with Hope in the car! Roc was sulking after Hope left. Hope naturally had to leave the house at the crack of dawn for the trial - it was before my breakfast, anyway. Roc usually keeps me company while I eat, but this morning he was face down in his bed. Sulking. I would have thought that Roc would welcome Dax's absence for a while since he puts on his pitiful face when she tries to sit next to him or even gets near to him. But I guess the fact that Roc didn't get to go wherever it was that Hope went, was more important than Dax being gone.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

All clear - maybe

I really, really loathe talking to veterinary specialists. It's like trying to nail Jell-o to a wall. The upshot is: they "appreciate no abnormalities" in Roc's x-ray, see no reason for further testing and generally looked at me as if I were insane when I asked if we shouldn't do the ultrasound our regular vet sent me up there for.
So - what do I do now? The vet who's been taking care of our dogs for a couple of decades, has fantastic diagnostic skills and who's never been wrong thinks something's going on with Roc. And the specialist tells me nothing's going on, since he has no acute symptoms and no obvious abnormalities.
That sound you hear is my head hitting the desk. Repeatedly.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Life changes in an instant

Yesterday at 4:30 p.m. my biggest worries were the agility trial Dax and I are entered in this weekend, finding a new address for the store, and finding some new jeans that fit. Then I went to pick Roc up from the vet's. He'd been having a blood test and x-rays because we were a bit concerned about some coughing/gagging sounds he's been making and a bit of weight loss.
Now I'm waiting for a call back for an appointment at the veterinary specialty clinic for ultrasound. We need to find out what those suspicious areas are near his heart, lung and stomach. I'm trying to stay optimistic, there's a chance it could be nothing. And there's a chance that my precious, funny, adorable little guy is riddled with cancer.
If the universe was trying to give me a slap upside the head to keep my priorities in order - a gentle tap would have been sufficient, thank you very much.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dog Show!

We went to the IKC Dog Show today at McCormick Place in Chicago, Huge place, huge fun! If you've never been to a dog show - GO! Look for someone holding a catalog with a pen in hand and ask them to explain what's going on. Seeing the dogs is wonderful, understanding the show is even better!
We met the Chicago French Bulldog Rescue Group there. This is their Rescue Wagon - with its adorable contents.
I took lots of pictures of Frenchies - you can see them on Flickr.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

French Bulldog bowling

Agility class was great fun Thursday night! We started with "Movie Night." When our instructor finds a great video of agility handling, instruction, etc. we all get to watch it projected on a wall in the back room of the training center. Due to technical difficulties, the whole projection thing didn't work, so we all watched the warm glow of her laptop. Fortunately, we're a well-behaved and hygienic group, so it worked!
Then we had our class and Dax did wonderfully! The first jump of our first sequence was a triple jump, and Dax dropped one of the bars. When she did that at our last trial, she totally freaked out and never recovered, even though I ignored it and just kept going. This time, she ignored it, too!
And she dashed over the A-Frame, teetered tentatively the first time, then warmed up, bounded over the broad jump, and then said "uh-uh, no way am I doing that double jump!" Repeatedly. So I put a couple fingers under her collar and guided her to the jump - telling her her "lift-off" point.
There was a gasp in the room - apparently we're really good actors, Dax and I! The class thought I threw Dax over the jump - said it looked like I was bowling! Our instructor assured everyone it wasn't the case (absolutely true - no way can I toss 20 lbs. with two fingertips!). The next time I helped her again, but the third time - she sailed right over it!
We have another trial this coming weekend. I'm at the point that while I'd really, really like to qualify, I'll be happy if Dax is happy. I want her to love doing agility wherever we go, not just in class.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Whoopee!! More snow on the way!

I'm so excited! A Winter Storm is scheduled for tonight and tomorrow! 4 - 8 inches of snow are expected. More shovelling - cardio-vascular exercise! Challenging driving - I get to use 4-wheel drive! and parking - more 4-wheel driving! It'll be quiet in the store - I'll get lots of work done! Golly and Roc will bark at it - they'll get some exercise!

Can you tell I'm really trying to put a positive spin on this?
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just a bit unbalanced

Home is good. I like home. Home is nice and warm and cuddly - four dogs keep it that way. So why, this week, am I going to be away from home three evenings and Sunday? Because of dog stuff: Tuesday is Obedience Training; Wednesday is a board meeting of the obedience club; Thursday is agility training and Sunday is the International Kennel Club dog show, which we're attending just for fun. And if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, there's an agility fun match that's pencilled in for Friday evening.
Slightly obsessed, wouldn't you say?
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Back to the routine

So, I'm back at work, all refreshed and rarin' to go, all set to dive in! But first I have to catch up on what's gone on here at Golly Gear while I was gone. My mail pile at home was about a foot high, but my stack at work was nowhere near that high, thank goodness. Last night, though, I had the hardest time remembering which dog got which medicine - and was it after dinner? before breakfast? Not to mention which supplement. Who gets pumpkin? beans? chicken? And the re-entry shock was certainly lessened by Hope filling me in on problems and outstanding issues. But, darn it, she didn't do the Income Tax Return.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where'd it go?

Well - I found the trap. No sign of the mouse and absolutely no idea how it wound up under the upright piano.
On the positive side - I've also neither seen nor heard the darn thing since the trap went off. Maybe it dashed into some hidey-hole and succumbed to a heart attack. I know the trap snapping startled the heck out of me!
The dogs are under the mistaken impression that winter is over - Golly is shedding like crazy. Dax thinks that just because the sun is out she should bask in it. The look of betrayal on her face is priceless when she realizes she just planted her butt in the quicksand/mire/swamp that's now our melted yard.
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Saturday, February 07, 2009

It's getting personal - and creepy

Yesterday I set a snap-trap to get the mouse. Baited it with peanut butter. And as I was getting ready to go to bed, I hear the trap go off. This rodent has an knack for knowing when I'm in the bathroom. So I waited a few minutes, got my "ewwww" cleaning equipment ready (dustpan inside plastic bag, long pole for pushing) and went to clean up. Just what I wanted to be doing at midnight. And I can't find it. Not the mouse. Not the trap, sprung or otherwise. Get the flashlight, look under everything. Nowhere in sight. This rodent is really starting to creep me out. And my faithful, adorable canine pack? Completely useless. Getting a cat is starting to sound very, very attractive.
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Friday, February 06, 2009

Eleuthera Bahamas

Another beautiful day. A little chilly for snorkelling (65 degrees... OK, I'm chicken.) but gorgeous nonetheless. Princess owns a portion of the island and we had a beach party today, with a BBQ picnic for lunch.
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The mouse must die

Last night I'm sitting, relaxing, watching tv after agility class. Four dogs napping around the room. And the !@#$%^&* mouse that's taken up residence in our house for the winter dashes across the room. Right under their adorable canine noses! No reaction whatsoever. I know that we've been unsuccessful in ousting the darn thing from the house, but do the dogs really think we've adopted another pet? I don't think so!
And this morning!! Absurdity piles on! I hear a rattling noise from the living room while I'm brushing my teeth. So I go to see what the dogs are up to. It's not the dogs! I'm watching one of the dogs' chew toys rattling around by a teeny, tiny hole in the baseboard by the front door. The darn mouse is trying to steal the dog's toys. And I'm playing tug-0f-war with a rodent at the crack of dawn. Not funny. It's serious now. The mouse must die.
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Thursday, February 05, 2009

At sea

Kind of a rough and ready day at sea today. The outside temp is about 65 - not too many people at the pool, especially when you factor in the 27 knots wind speed. I don't know what that is in miles, but it's pretty windy. The first pic is of the waves. Beautiful day, even if it is kinda windy.

Saw the Ruby Princess cooking show today and toured the galley. Amazing - they create about 20,000 absolutely 1st class meals a day.
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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hi from sunny, windy, chilly Cozumel

Fran says: Say goodbye to any hair style today in Cozumel. The wind is fierce, and the waves are too. Glad I'm not swimming today. The boat picture is of one of the tenders coming back to the ship from Grand Cayman yesterday. The other pictures are from Chankanaab ("little lagoon") Park. Dolphin Discovery is in the park. A natural water facility where they have 18 dolphins (2 are calves under 2 years old).
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On the home front...

We're doing a bit better around here. Golly's adjusting - she even stole Roc's toy and ran around like a little scampy girl this evening! She had a wonderful time watching the game last Sunday. Our friend Betsy brought her dogs - Robbie and Golly's boyfriend MacDuff.
Betsy's boys love to "sing" - and it's very, very loud. Golly joins in and looks absolutely adorable trying to round her mouth for a proper howl. And for the first time ever, we heard a tiny little "woooo-oooooo-ooooo" joining in. We looked around and Roc joined the choir! Cuter than you could possibly imagine.
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Grand Cayman day

Fran says: Looks a lot like Jamaica, but two other cruise ships are anchored here. Yup, anchored - tender boat to shore.

I snorkelled with stingrays today. Well, I snorkelled, they just swam. Early sailing today - a front is supposed to be coming in. It's already drizzling.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Jamaica, mon!

Fran says she's thinking about me while she's on vacation. Yeah, right. Gloating maybe.
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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pitiful pup

Our Griffies are such one-person dogs. Golly spent all of last evening sitting in the dining room, watching the door, waiting for Fran to appear. We told her Fran's away for 10 days. But Griffs are really, really good at guilt.
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