Sunday, June 28, 2009

Does Your Tongue Hang Low?

Does your tongue hang low?

Does it wobble to and fro?

Can you tie it in a knot?

Can you tie it in a bow?

Can you throw it o'er your shoulder like a continental soldier?

Does your tongue hang low?

Now that I have that song stuck in my head. Let me ask you a question...

Does this look like the face of evil?

Holli thinks Beth is bat-sh*t crazy.

Holli told me that when I was checking her whole body for bite wounds right after Beth tried to take a chunk out of Holli's nose. Poor old girl.

Beth has a problem. We think she is a ball-rage-aholic

Beth does not play well with others.

Holli doesn't care, she is a happy girl.

Yesterday a lovely retired couple came to visit her and they want to adopt her! They recently lost their 15 y/o border collie and are familiar with the needs of a senior dog. It takes a special family to adopt a senior dog.

I was going to take Holli to her new home today but we need to make a trip to the vet first. Yesterday Holli was stricken by the worse case of bloody diarrhea I have ever seen. She is still eating well, devouring her food like a maniac, however she is squirting large amounts of bloody runny poo out her backside on a regular basis.

Egads I feel like I am marooned on an island in the sea of runny poo.

I told her adoptive family about her changing condition and they said they would take her to the vet - but I cannot place a dog in this condition. I am hoping and praying it is something simple - from the stress of being dumped at the shelter then moved to two foster homes. (Just in case you are wondering...It isn't the cherries, we have them all picked up).

Say a prayer for Holli...that she is healthy enough for her new home very soon.

UPDATE: We went to the vet (thank goodness they are open 24 hours a day). The vet is treating her for stress induced colitis. She should be fine and is going to her new home tomorrow afternoon! YEEEHAW!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Canning, Cherries and Holli

I am a bad egg. My life is getting in the way of blogging.

This week I have been canning strawberry and raspberry jam and trying to figure out what to do with 14 gazillion tons of cherries from my back yard cherry tree.

Cherry trees are wonderful things and I love ours. The birds love them too. And the dogs love the cherries that the birds toss on the ground.

Do you know what happens when dogs eat cherries? I will spare you the nitty gritty details and/or pictures. Needless to say poop patrol took on a whole new meaning. I spent a couple of nights up every two hours letting Bonnie and Brynn outside for the Hershey Squirts. This time I was wise enough to NOT let them up on the bed when they came back inside. Nope, I learned my lesson from the last time.

Amidst the canning & cherry fizz we have a new foster dog!

Meet Holli

Brynn's nose is a little bit out of joint. She hasn't been here for foster dogs coming and going. Today she is extra special affectionate. I have had to correct her a few times from resource guarding me from Holli. The little stinker is licking my ankle as I type this. Poor baby is jealous.

Holli is a 13 year old border collie. Holli was dumped at the local shelter by the family that purchased her as a puppy from a breeder. They raised her and gave her a home for thirteen years then brought her to the shelter. The paperwork suggests they were moving and were unable to bring her with them. I am going to refrain from sharing my opinion of this...this is supposed to be a 'G' rated blog.

Holli is not your typical senior dog.

She is energetic and playful. LOVES toys and playing fetch.

She also has the most amazing set of teeth I have ever seen on a dog this age! Check out these choppers! Not a speck of tartar on them!

Holli loves to talk. She expresses her opinion frequently. If you don't feed her quite fast enough, if she needs to go outside, if you are ignoring her, or don't throw the ball fast enough. You know...typical border collie.

Just ask her "Whatcha Think?" and she will bark and bark until you say "Reeeeallllyyyyy!"

Holli LOVES the doggie wading pool.

I am looking forward to taking her down to the river tomorrow morning (when I get all my canning finished). I wonder what she will do when she sees the water for the first time.

Holli came equipped with a special skill. She is a Certified Fence Inspector.

Being recently abandoned Holli is anxious when I am out of her sight. This afternoon I put her in the back yard with the rest of the pack, when she was done doing her business she came to the door and barked a few times. I chose to let her stay in the yard rather than immediately bringing her in.

A few minutes later I saw John was driving down the road so I opened up the front door to greet him...much to my surprise there was Holli laying on on mat.

After some sleuthing John located the back yard escape route. She separated a section of our 6 ft tall wooden fence from the post and shoved her way through. None of the other dogs have ever attempted anything like this. Guess that tells us who is smarter huh?

Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill every time. The nice thing is when Holli escaped she chose to stay on the yard, even with the temptation of kids playing all over our neighborhood. What a good dog.

This morning when we were at Fido's I took her into the pen with the puppy sheep. She was VERY interested in them and wanted to chase them in the worst way. I didn't let her off lead because I didn't want her to get hurt or exhaust herself, but she sure had fun the little bit of time she was near them!

Holli is a happy girl and looking for her true FOREVER home.

Check out Holli's listing on the PNW Border Collie Rescue site.

Let me know if you want any cherries.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Little Hope

I hate trying to lose weight. Who ever said that it takes 15 days to make a new habit never had to get over an addiction to chocolate. And tell me what is point of living without ice cream? I am so sick of leafy green veggies, fish and low fat crapola that I could scream. This week I am finally on the phase of my so called 'food lifestyle change' that allows me to eat 2000 calories a day for the next 6 days.

Uhmm...How many calories are in a banana split? Anyone, Anyone...Bueller?

Have you ever seen those retarded commercials about the misguided idiots who are going on and on about eating all these delicious desserts such as Boston Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, Apple Turnovers etc, then they flash on the low fat yogurt in those same flavors? Let me tell you - it is one BIG FAT STINKING LIE! Okay, maybe the Key Lime Pie tastes pretty good - but I still feel robbed when I eat one.

Needless to say I have stayed steady at approx 20-25 lb loss right now. Which I guess is pretty good for one month. Perhaps too much? It keeps fluctuating from 20 to 25 lbs on any given day. From what my nutritionist said it is to be expected at this stage with all the strength training building muscle & weighs more...blah blah blah. I am not disappearing fast enough to suit me. I can expect to lose a minimum of 10 lbs a month on my current program. If I do that I can lose 120 in a year. Sounds good to me...but I just need to make it past that damn banana split calling my name.

The only place I don't dream of stuffing my face with ice creamy goodness is at Fido's communing with sheep and dogs. It is a good thing...albeit hot, sweaty, dirty, dusty, sometimes stinky good thing.

Bonnie has been coming along fabulously. So fab that I had to make three trips to Fido's last week alone. We are starting Bonnie on small outruns (20-25 yards).

Bonnie loves it

She has been doing pretty good staying back and giving plenty of room, lifting the sheep nicely most of the time.

She has been learning to read the sheep better.

When I walk about I change directions quickly and often. She naturally comes into balance each time.

Bonnie is respectful of my flag, but isn't freaking out about it like she did in Idaho.

She is giving me space on walk abouts and I don't have to run backward (thank Gawd) anymore to keep pressure on or to make sure she behaves.

I am able to walk comfortably without the sheep running me over (most of the time).

The more she is on the sheep, the more intense she has been getting. Her head is dropping lower and lower, and she has really started a creep.

She gives me lie downs, although sometimes they are difficult to get because she doesn't want to stop.

Sometimes Bonnie does try to cut in closely. Here she was up to her old tricks and tried to cut into my space.

I went after her with my flag. She understood quite quickly to back off. Before she would have quit - not now.

She backs off nicely and remains engaged. Taking pressure better each time.

What a good girl

I talked to the vet and he gave me the green light to let Beth work as long as we never got above a easy trot or walk. So we worked on driving some more.

I seemed to have reached the point where I can see what our problems are and know I need more help. (DIANNE - I need to come back to Idaho!) Beth doesn't want to take directional signals and I am unable to progress.

I was watching an Aled Owen video today when it hit me, Beth may not be taking my directional commands because she may not know what the words actually mean. When I send her on outruns I have always set her up on the side she is going to go on - I believe she has taken the cue for the direction from my body language and position rather than the words 'go-by' or 'away'. We need to do some work on that BEFORE we can move forward with driving. Maybe I will take this opportunity to begin her on the whistle too. (Suggestions???)

Beth has been moving further and further ahead of me confidently. She does occasionally look back to me for direction and that concerns me.

We move around the field quite a bit, through obstacles and other things to keep it real.

Here she started putting too much pressure on them and they split. She downed and looked back at me and gave me a look that said "So, brilliant one, what now?"

Doesn't her big shaved patch look awful? She has been fussing at it and managed to pull out two stitches. So now she has to wear a tee shirt backwards in the house. Her rear legs go through the arms and her tail through the neck. I keep it on her lower half by wrapping an ace bandage around her tummy. She is none to pleased with me every time I stuff her into it but it covers up her wound and keeps her from irritating it more.

Here Beth is packing the sheep up against John (who is taking the pictures). She turned them around him and brought them back to me down field.

At times I am overwhelmed with the "WHAT AM I DOING" thoughts and feelings. Self doubt works its way into my brain and seizes what little confidence I have. I look at my dog and myself and question everything I have learned. I allow worry to permeate my brain - overtaking my self esteem & leaving me feeling little, stupid and small in mind - really making me want to dive head first into a 1/2 gallon of Cherry Garcia.

I get so focused on my dog and what I am doing wrong that I forget to look up...

There are sights like this God puts in your day that send a message of peace and hope where you least expect it.

Maybe life isn't as hard as I make it out to be. I am grateful for what I have. My wonderful husband, my children, family and of course our dogs. Key Lime yogurt, green leafy vegetables, fish and low fat cheese too. I am truly blessed....

But I still want that banana split

Friday, June 19, 2009

Does Ranger have BCHADD?

I have a dream that one day Ranger will be a sheepdog. Because of this dream I refuse to give up on Ranger and put him on sheep at least once a month. It is my dream a spark will suddenly ignite the instinct buried deep, VERY deep within the dark scary recesses of his brain.

Perhaps Ranger's instinct is being overwhelmed by a severe case of BCHADD brought on by a traumatic puppy hood? (Falling out of a truck on a freeway then abandoned at the vet could cause permanent emotional scars).

What is BCADD? Border Collie Herding Attention Deficit Disorder

Border Collie's with BCHADD have trouble paying attention & controlling impulsive behaviors. (Wait, doesn't that describe ALL border collies?)

A Border Collie with with this disorder may have some or all of the following symptoms:

-Difficulty paying attention to sheep

-Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli, i.e. sheep sh*t

-Inability to sustain attention ("Another dog? There is another dog over there! HIYA!")

-Difficulty performing tasks that require concentration (flakes out when pressured)

-Frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another ("What is that? Birds?")

-Procrastination ("MOM! HI! I HAVE MISSED YOU FOR SO LONG!")

-Disorganized work habits ("Gonna go this way...or that way, or this way...'doh what was I doing again?")

-Failure to complete tasks ("LOOK DAD! LAMBS! Lambs running in that field!")

-Inappropriate social behavior

It isn't all bad news, often these same border collies can pull it together with the proper help and stimulation.

Provide consistent routine & structure

Give clear boundaries and expectations

Encourage and keep it fun

Reinforce positive behaviors verbally & physically.

Negatively reinforcing bad behavior by allowing appropriate consequences to occur naturally (If you bite the sheep, you don't get to play with the sheep)

Watch for moments to redirect if distracted

Gradually allow some independence if earned

Set them up for success

Praise and encourage often! Be ready to catch good behavior and reward it

Keep your training sessions short and always end on a good note

Maybe there is something in there after all?

Or I have allowed wishful thinking and photo editing to blur my judgement.