Friday, October 26, 2012

Starting To Show

Holly is doing well, and is starting to LOOK pregnant, getting wider and a bit rounder of belly.  She sure ACTS pregnant, very "squishy" and needy.  If I raise my voice at Fernly, Holly his the deck and says, "It wasn't me!"  She's hungrier now too, not leaving food in her bowl for later.  Walking her is much easier as she's much less inclined to drag me after squirrels and bunnies.  She certainly fits in well here, and is accepted as one of the gang.

Fernly started to learn the treadmill last night, not because I plan to run her on it yet, but because learning to use it will be a confidence builder.  When I first turned it on she barked at it - Fern's typical response to new things.  I brought Argus down to run on it for awhile and Fern decided that if it meant treats it was not all bad.  Soon she was walking on the treadmill with Argus, sharing bits of chicken.  Tonight she does it herself, just walking up and on the ramp for treats.  We'll work for a few minutes every night and before long she will probably enjoy it as much as Argus and Pauli do.  Have not had a Dal who was a startle-barker before, or at least not in a long time.  It's common in many other breeds, but not something I expect to see in Dal pups - but each dog is different, of course.

Fish Club Auction tomorrow - can't wait!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Better Than Good

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about the lack of a blog post yesterday.  Nope, none of the things I was worrying about actually happened, at least not yet.  Things are fine here, but not so terrific that it makes me nervous.   If things are going too well, I tend to think, "Gosh, this can't last.  Something bad is sure to happen".  Need to be like my dogs and live for the moment!

This morning is off to a terrific start - RAIN!  Over 3/4 of an inch, the first decent rainfall in 4 months.  This is more than our total rainfall for the past 4 months.  Thank you Mother Nature, keep the precipitation coming, preferably in liquid form.

Dogs were good about going out in the downpour, even Coral, although Watson The Little Prince was less than impressed.  Holly was the exception and informed me that she did not do rain.  My call, Holly.  I dragged her out to the dog yard where she grudgingly complied, while giving me hurt looks about my abusive behavior.

Fern went to Jess's for a bath and nail clipping last week and came back looking pristine.  She's kind of gangly right now, all legs and no body, but with lots of bone and good sized feet.  Her face has always been cute and her head is improving, Very dark eyes, cute heart-shaped nose, and an excellent bite. She still has the things I really liked on her as a baby, including a very nice outline with a level back, flat croup and good tail set, things hard to find in this breed.  She has a huge long side gait - when she can collect herself - and should look very good going around a large show ring - if I can keep up!

Because she is a very intense dog, Fern sometimes still startles and barks at novel things, so needs to continue with the socialization.  Can't leave her sitting at home, but it will be a lot easier to get her out when/if my splint comes off next week.  Both she and Argus will go back to obedience classes then, Argus to get ready to show in obedience nest year, and Fern just for the manners and socialization.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Give Up! Get Up!

At 5:00 AM I knew it was pointless.  Although still tired (am I always tired ?), there was no point staying in bed thinking that I could get back to sleep for an hour. That blessed last hour of sleep, snuggled up in my flannel sheets, savoring the luxury of one last hour. Not today, my dear. Because I'd already been awake for an hour, I knew it was hopeless. Tonite was a Haunted Night.

There haven't been many Haunted Nights this year, and I've been sleeping well until recently, a blessing it seems as most mornings I share an elevator with some poor soul who apparently never sleeps.   I drop off immediately, propped up on pillows, bedside lamp on, some unfinished magazine or book on my lap, with an inch or two of milk still in my glass.  Getting to sleep is rarely a problem.  Staying asleep can be.

How I dread waking up at 3:00 or 4:00 AM, at a time when all problems are magnified and the smallest issues become unmanageable.   I try not to think about anything, absolutely nothing at all, in hopes of getting back to sleep.  Sometimes it works, but at other times a stray thought slips in, and the night is lost.  Again.  Sitting at the computer, coffee in hand, seems to be the best therapy, but now even that is an issue.

One more week to wear the splint.  Will my hand be healed?  Have I been careful enough, or have yard work, housework, dog training, aquarium water changes, carrying groceries, raw food, and laundry baskets put strain on that stupid little bone and kept it from healing properly?  When I took off the splint so I could use my right hand on the computer keyboard was I careful enough with my hand? Surely, if I can take off the splint when I shower, it is OK to take it off occasionally when I just can't BEAR typing with one hand/one finger. Is it?   And what about all the extra strain on my left hand, elbow and shoulder?  Is this what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome feels like?  Is the Bursitis coming back in my elbow?  Will the Impingement Tendinitis reappear in my shoulder?   I've managed these things for years, but now they CONCERN me.

And poor Coral - how much longer does she have?  Are the pain pills helping her? Are the mammary tumors cancerous and have they spread to other organs?  Does her life still have quality and is she really as content as she appears to be laying beside Ron on the sofa in the evening?  Will we know when it is time to say "Good Bye"?  I think I'm prepared, but will Ron ever be?  14 1/2 is a good live for a dog, but it never seems to be enough.  And what of Jess & Don's beloved Simmie?  She's very old for a GSD, but that will not make it easier.  Please, don't let them pass at the same time, and please, not over Christmas.  Time out to wipe my tears and hug Coral.

And what will Ron's MRI show?  He's so secretive about health issues.   I finally asked him if he had PAD, Peripheral Artery Disease.  He confirmed it, and the test results will show how seriously affected he is.  Will he require surgery?  Is he a suitable surgical risk?  Or will he just take MORE pills? And how will he manage recovery if he does have surgery?  In his condo which he only "visits" once a week?  Surely not here with my steep stairs and only one bathroom - upstairs.  And hopefully not while Coral is hanging on.  It's only because he is home that we can still manage her.

And what of Mom?  How much longer can she live alone?  Have I been neglecting her?  Do I need to visit more often?  What if she falls?  Is she eating right?  Should we be pushing for assisted living?  How will we know when we should?  Should I let her take Metro Mobility to her Doctor's appointment or should I take her?  Is she too frail to do these things on her own, or should we continue to encourage her to be independent?

Thank you Jess for giving me no current worries, at least no more than mothers always have. I think worrying must be part of the Job Description for Mother!  But is my sister still working three jobs?  Does she have health insurance?  Did she get her cholesterol checked?  Has she finally stopped smoking?  Are my nephews OK?  And my brother-in-law?  I need to call my sister and check on everyone.  And my brother? Are he and his wife OK?  I wish he'd call me!  And how is Laurie doing?  And Meg?  Are they really OK?

Can I hold out for two more years before retiring?  Will I be ready to retire then?  Will I be able to afford to retire then?  Will I be able to keep up my house payments?  Will I be able to sell the house?  But where will I live instead?  Will the drought end soon?  Will the new trees at the Dog Park survive?  Will Mai Village be able to avoid foreclosure?  Will my car continue to run OK? Will I be able to afford a new one?  So much to worry about.  But behind it all looms The Deposition, the one I will have to drive to Illinois for next month. The one related to the motorcyclist who sued ME when he ran into MY car while I was making a left turn.  How many years ago did that happen?  Will it ever end?  After the Deposition will I think about it more, or less?  I know this is why I can't sleep.  That wakes me up, and then all the other concerns flood in too.  I need THAT to be over with.  Too many things going on right now.

More coffee. Time to send the dogs out.  Hug each one, play with Fern.  Take pleasure in the moment and get on with my day.  It's raining, hooray!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Coursing? What fun!

What fun!  We had the best weekend and tried a new event with some of the Dals - Coursing!  If you know what coursing is, you probably think in terms of an event for Sighthounds - Greyhounds, Afghans, Whippets and such, chasing a "rabbit" (really an artificial lure consisting of white plastic bags) over a course.  It's not straight racing like at a dog track, but rather a 660 yard course with corners and angles.

About 18 months ago, the AKC approved Coursing Aptitude Tests for all breeds, and the sport is really catching on.  These tests can only be offered by Sighthound Clubs, so there are not a lot of tests available yet, but this sport will grow.  It's fun!

We entered Argus, 9-year-old Josie and Argie's granddaughter Meribel.  To complete the CAT (Coursing Aptitude Test) title the dogs have to qualify three times, and because there were only two tests offered, we could not complete titles - but we could start them.   Most Dals have very high prey drive and will chase almost anything, especially squirrels and rabbits, and friends in other parts of the country were running their Dals successfully.  Josie has always been obsessed with critters, and is slim, sound and fit at 9.   Josie's friend Sue Kelly came along to run her on Saturday.

The show site was fantastic with lush grass and secure fencing, and was cropped to an appropriate height by the Lhamas who normally live there.  (This did result in a few dogs taking a roll in Lhama dung!)  Weather was ideal and the Greater Twin Cities Afghan Hound Club hosted a wonderful event, complete with a great $5.00 lunch each day.  And to make it even better, the owner of the site (King's Ranch in Ramsey) also sells raw food, so we came home with 60# of turkey heart, ground turkey with bones, and ground salmon.

There were 125 dogs entered each day, a wonderful variety of dogs including Bassets & Beagles, St. Bernards, Poodles, lots of Viszlas and other sporting breeds, small terriers, Dobes, Boxers, you name it!  And Dals.  The Dals ran even better than we had hoped, and were extremely fast and intense.  On Saturday Jess ran Meribel & Argus, and Sue ran Josie.  They all qualified and are pictured above with their ribbons.  On Sunday Don ran Meribel while Jess filmed, Jess ran Argus and I ran Josie.  They ran even harder and faster than they had the previous day, doing something they absolutely loved.  What a thrill to watch them, it just gave you shivers.  The 660 yard course had to be completed in 2 minutes - the Dals did it in half that time and were so totally focused.

Meribel Coursing.   Take a look at this video.  What fun!