Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday At Home, Sort Of . . .

Sleeping 'til 7:00 is such a luxury, and coffee to drink while reading in bed is even more of a luxury. No shows for at least three weeks, although depending on whether not Argus heals sufficiently, we may be done for the year. That's not all bad (although it would be very disappointing) as there are many things that need to be done around the house and yard.

Wondering if I want to start a new blog, one on raw feeding, Do I have time? It would be handy to be able to refer new raw feeders to a day by day discussion of feeding raw diet, but would I be able to keep it up?

Just checked the calendar to see when Tess's pups (assuming there are some) will be due, ready to be picked up, and when they will need vaccinations and BAER testing. ARGH! It could hardly be less convenient, as they will be 6 weeks old at Christmas. Even if I wanted to get BAER testing done at the Vet School (which I don't), they probably won't be scheduling appointments over the holidays. If I have to drive to Chicago for testing, what will the weather be like? Oh, well. Too early to know if she is pregnant yet, so we'll worry about these things later.

Plans are falling into place to bring Lucy down from Canada for the spring shows. She's one of the Argus/Boji kids and turned out very well, so it would be nice to finish a 5th champion from that litter.

Car goes in for a wash and vac this morning, so I can add the 3rd seat. We'll pick up my mother later today and take her out to dinner, as I know she's feeling neglected.

My list of chores is long. Better get started!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cheeseburger With Everything

Argus and I had an interesting day as I continued my attempt to understand what is going on with his back and leg. We had an appointment at a new clinic anticipating an acupuncture treatment, but ended up getting a total workup and a few concrete answers. Very cool to find a vet who does both chiropractic and acupuncture and is an advocate of raw feeding! She went over Argus carefully and adjusted a small spot in his back, and while going over his hindquarters found some arthritic changes in one of his stifles. When she showed me how to do it, I could feel it too - so why could the other vets not find it? She thought the issues I was seeing in Argus's back might just be compensation for some pain in his stifle, but had suggestions on things we could do to improve that - involving both stretching and exercises. In addition to the exam and discussion she did several xrays. Argie's spine looked perfect, absolutely no sign of injury or arthritis, and his hips still looked very good (he is OFA Excellent), but the arthritis in his stifle was confirmed by xray. She explained that it would have started with a small injury and progressed from there. He's not lame, but I can tell it bothers him occasionally, and she advised putting him on one of the joint supplements - which I had already done, Arthrisoothe Gold.

So, we will see what happens now. It's nice to have some kind of concrete answer to at least part of the problem, and I am curious to see if the stretching and exercises make a difference. We spent about 1 1/2 hours at the clinic, I learned a great deal, and really feel as if I got my money's worth. Argus behaved wonderfully. A little too happy and enthusiastic as he loves all the attention, but extremely friendly with everyone, even under some difficult situations, and had only kisses and a wagging tail for everyone. We got through the back xrays OK, but he did have to be sedated to get the hips and stifles done without wiggling too much. Because of the sedation he did NOT get the "cheeseburger with everything" that I had promised him, so I will make up for that this weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fighting The Evil Giant

For years I made an effort to use NW Airlines only when I had no other options for flying or shipping dogs. In addition to gouging the locals for flights to anywhere, we fought many a battle with the cargo and VIP people over crate size. A Dalmatian bitch should be able to travel in a 400 sized Vari Kennel, and they always could with every other airline, and from every other place NW flew. Here, they often insisted that the dog was "too tall" and needed a larger crate - so they could bleed us for more money. One cargo office employee confided that the "animal rights" folks would come down and check things out - but I ask you, how would "they" get through the locked cargo area door to do that? And what police powers did "they" have?

We anticipated that when NW was eaten up by Delta that the policies might change and we would be able to ship dogs just as they could/can from other airports. Yesterday we tried to ship 44 pound Penny in her 400 Vari Kennel. She was to fly Delta Dash to Richmond, Virginia because the only direct flight was on Delta, and because the cargo office would be closed by the time she arrived, Penny had to fly Delta Dash. Laurie made arrangements and was quoted a price of $400.00 or more - which is ridiculous to begin with as she should have been able to get a seat for that price.

So, we set off for the Delta Dash office which used to be the NW VIP Small Package office, and stood around waiting for half an hour (and only two people ahead of us). When it was finally our turn the woman at the desk decided that Penny was "too tall" for the crate. She pointed to the drawing of a dog in a crate, where the dog is rocking back on its front legs and standing with its neck extended and told us that Penny had to be able to stand with her head straight up like the dog in the picture. Excuse me, but the dog in the picture does NOT have her head straight up, and Penny would be able to stand just like that in her crate. The real argument of course is that dogs should NOT stand up in their crates anyway. I finally lost my temper and went back to the car leaving Jess to fight the battle I have fought all too often. The woman actually followed Jess out to the car, arguing her point. Yeah, right. Like we will be coming back with a 500 size crate to ship with Delta. So they can bleed us for $600.00 or so for shipping, a 2 1/2 hour flight.

Regulations exist for animal safety, but when they applied too rigidly it becomes a joke - except of course to the people who are trying to ship. When we shipped NW air cargo things were bad for awhile because of one particular employee at the cargo office. Once I figured out when she worked and avoided those times for shipping we had no more trouble. Before we learned that, I took Coral out to be shipped to Southern California to be bred. A nice direct flight, but I was told she needed a taller crate. So I shipped her American the next day in the same crate. We've had bitches come in for breeding, accepted in their crates at some other freight office, but been unable to send them home on NW in that sized crate. Why all the hassles at MSP???

So now we know that Delta is just as difficult to deal with as NW was, but of course it's the same employees. Should have canned them all. We will NOT be flying this Evil Giant either. Hope they go bankrupt. It's a very good thing that we are able to ship chilled semen nowadays, rather than having to ship bitches via Delta/NW . . .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gloomy Day

Eeewww, not a very nice morning. Raining and cold, but we do need the rain. Hope it lasts all day as they are predicting, but with no thunderstorms when Penny needs to be dropped off and loaded for her return flight to Virginia. Penny's crate is all ready, Jess took her in for her health certificate yesterday, and her direct flight to Richmond Virginia departs about 7:30. She will need to be at the airport by 5:30. This will be our first time shipping a dog since Northwest became Delta, so Penny will be flying Delta Dash instead of NW VIP. Because the cargo office in Richmond will be closed by the time Penny arrives, she is going "counter-to-counter" rather than cargo. The advantage is that the crates are last on, first off. I don't care for shipping dogs, but it does come in handy, and the dogs never seem to mind. It IS particularly handy that I live less than 15 minutes from the airport BUT not under a flight path. All the convenience without all the noise.

Finally unloaded all the dog crates and assorted dog show gear and will get the car cleaned and vacuumed this weekend - hooray! The hair really builds up during several months of traveling, and so much sand and gravel get tracked in on my shoes. Carpet will not need shampooing (I did that last spring because of all the road salt and chemicals that were on the floor in front) but it really needs a serious cleaning. I COULD do it myself, but the Downtowner Car Wash does a great job and it is well worth the money. No more multi-dog trips for awhile, so I will vacuum the mats that cover the cargo area and reload just one crate instead of three. Gosh, I might even put a third seat in the van so Ron doesn't have to sit on the floor when we take mom to dinner - he'll definitely appreciate that!

Acupuncture appointment tomorrow. Argus is definitely better, but something is still off, and during his walk last night he still held up his right rear foot a bit when we stopped. Back looked a lot better when I had Jess gait him on Sunday, but not sure that problem does not come and go. Hopefully the acupuncturist will have an answer. Can't say I mind sitting out for a few weeks as the judging panels were not appealing anyway, but I will probably get Cabin Fever after awhile.

Waiting for pictures of Sugar's new litter by Argus! If the girls look nice I will fly down to see the litter - November should be a nice time to visit Florida!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Done For The Season

A most successful summer, with Penny & Charlie finishing their Championships with terrific records! Jess did a great job of training and showing both of them. Penny will be flying home until spring, when she may come back for the Specialties and to finish her Grand Championship. Charlie may give his Grand a try too, but we will have to see how he looks next spring. An injury he received as a puppy may be a problem for him showing at that level. He moves quite well despite having hurt his left rear leg, but it may become a bit more obvious over time. I'm going to suggest to his owners that he goes on glucosamine as I worry a bit that he may become arthritic in that leg.

Someone asked how many liver champions that makes for us and I honestly don't know. Something over 60, I think. Having always had a passion for brownies, we've shown a lot of them over the years, and both my Best In Show dogs were livers, and both of them (Morris & Argus) are in Penny & Charlie's pedigree. Also in their pedigree is my gorgeous liver Torch who won many Best In Shows in Brazil where he was the #1 dog of all breeds for several years.

Argus seems to be moving more soundly with rest and aspirin, and he has his first acupuncture appointment on Thursday. I'd like to get him back in the ring as I have a few more goals for him before he retires! Next year I'd like to get a few performance titles on him too, at least a CD.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We Did It!

Did what?

Lots of things. Survived an incredibly busy 5 days. Got Tess picked up,bred, and returned. Finished Charlie Brown. Had some fun. Had a very successful summer!

Last Wednesday I drove to Iowa to pick up Tess who was to be bred to Argus. Got her bred on Thursday and Friday, and also got Argus in for a Vet appointment on Thursday. Collected Charlie Brown and drove to Des Moines for shows on Friday evening (oh yeah, I worked all week too.) Argus was pulled while he mends, and Penny came along for the ride, so only Charlie was shown. I've been dying to go antiquing, so we hit two of my favorite antique stores on Saturday, after visiting one of my favorite fish stores. Had not been to the Majestic Lion for quite a few years, but it is still a fabulous store, full of real antiques, not just "collectible" junk. Also a few quaint things, like the metal animals Jess is pictured with above. The large pink pig and the flying pigs were pretty cool! I even found some not-antique spongeware items I could afford. Although I love spongeware bowls, I am not about to pay $125.00 to $175.00 (or more) and the one I found looks the part for $12.00. Found matching salt & pepper shakers. Nice!

Charlie showed well and went Best Of Winner both days to finish his championship. He became Argus's 10th champion, so Argus is now a Register of Merit sire, and his kids have finished with a large number of Specialty majors. Charlie finished under Mr. Patton who remembered him from our Specialty, and how silly he had been in the ring that day. Also remembered Penny and wondered why she was not entered at Des Moines, and remembered Argus too. Said there was something "off" when he stacked. (There sure was, but he seems to be mending nicely.) Am always impressed when judges remember dogs. Will try him again with Argus if the opportunity comes up.

Jess waited for a show picture and I went out to see a litter of pups, then we headed for home, stopping only to buy a round of cheeseburgers, courtesy of Ginger. Dogs all enjoyed their burgers, although they left the lettuce and onions (in Penny's case, in very small bits). We dropped Charlie off, partially unloaded the car, snapped a few pictures of Tess, and then I hit the road again. 240 miles home from Des Moines, then 190 each way to Waterloo where I met Tess's owner Paula. Had a MOST interesting trip home from Waterloo, dodging giant farm equipment on two-lane roads in the dark. NOT fun.