Monday, April 29, 2013

Feeling Good !

photo by Wendy Devent

On Sunday while I was in Medicine Hat Wendy brought Tate to his appointment with Dr Veronica Devall.  She is a dog chiropractor & Tate has been seeing her since he was 7 yrs old. She now comes to Lethbridge every few months which is awesome.

Tate was still very sore in his right shoulder area .  She adjusted his neck/shoulder, thoracic spine & pelvis.  We will wait & see if this helps him.  If not she suggested an xray to see if he has any spinal narrowing or shoulder joint problems.

He is still on his metacam as well.  This morning on his walk he was actually trotting the entire way instead of slowly walking behind, so I think he is feeling much better after his treatment!

Love this dog ! ♥

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oh Puffin!

Don't let this sweet face fool you!...

Ouch!.... all was forgiven shortly after :)


Monday, April 22, 2013

The F Word

 Fibromyalgia .......what did you think I was gonna say ?  :)

On Saturday I attended a talk on Fibromyalgia.  It was given by a local chiropractor by the name of Dr Helen E Cox.  I found it quite informative & I learned a few things I didn't know.  I appreciate that this Dr took time on her Sat. to try & educate the public.  It was sad that only 5 people, including me, showed up .

She talked about 7 steps to help us have a better, pain free life.  I was diagnosed about 2 yrs ago.  I don't have it as bad as alot of people, but I do have interrupted sleep & wide spread pain.

The plan she suggests is quite easy to follow.  I also like the fact that she said NOT to do it all at once, but to pick one thing each month to change.  I have picked water this month.  I am trying to drink at least 6 glasses a day, I've made it to 3 :)  Dehydration is something we never think of & most of us are dehydrated.  Being dehydrated also raises your blood pressure, I have high blood pressure, big surprise.

Here are the 7 steps, not as in detail like our handouts :

1) Sleep
Spending at least an hr before bed winding down, no tv, no cell phone, no computer.  This will probably be the last step I work on lol!

2) Healthy Eating Habits
More fruit, cut out breads, rice, pasta, make homemade meals, etc.  Eat 6 times a day. Use organic food when possible.  Nothing here I didn't know already.

3) Nutrition
This is where all the water, fibre, fresh food comes in

4) Supplements
For pain, a magnesium and malic acid combination, natural anti inflammatories like glucosamine, chondriton, MSM, & flaxseed oil .  I do this stuff for my dogs, why don't I do it for myself ???
For Stress & Anxiety, B Vitamins, calcium & magnesium, .
For Fatigue, Co enzyme Q10, Vitamin B12, the magnesium/malic acid combination
We also got a list of natural supplements for various things
Dr Cox did recommend talking to my Dr before starting any supplements as I am on quite a few medications.

5) Body Detoxification and Cleanse
Self explanatory

6) Stress Management
Napping if needed !, getting together with family & friends, I find this hard, I want to be home more often then I want to go out, going for a walk, that is my favourite thing to do, just me & my dogs

7) Aerobic Exercise & Conditioning
Sorry, ...aerobics & I broke up years ago when my hips & knees fell apart :)

Dr Cox also has this state of the art machine, the first & only chiropractor in Lethbridge to have it.  It analyzes the spine and nervous system without the radiation of an x ray. Computerized sensors measure the motion of each joint and if an adjustment is necessary.  The spine & the vertebrae show up in different colours depending on what is out of whack. Then if you chose to address the problem the machine does the adjusting with a computerized intrument using rapid, gentle taps until the computer senses that the joint is moving consistently which is specific to each person & the joint.   

I am going for one of these on Wed. Dr Cox offers it for just $20 , not sure if I will have anything done after that.  I am actually quite wary of chiropractors so I will have questions but it sounds amazing :)

At any rate I am slowly going to try & do these steps to see if one day I can actually be medication free, that is my goal .

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How Is This For You? Part 2

Today I began my observations of Kort while out walking.

I wanted to really observe him & remember exactly what he was doing in certain situations, the ones that cause him extreme arousal & over stimulation.  I already knew some of his hot spots, but today was about observing exactly when he was reacting to them so I could be proactive in helping him out, instead of reactive when it was too late & the situation had already escalated.

Just down the street from us is his arch nemesis, Rex.  Rex is a golden retriever that actually comes to the daycare where I work.  He is an awesome dog, except when he is in his own yard, with a fence separating him from the people & dogs walking by.  Then he becomes a crazy lunatic of barking, lunging , charging madness !
Kort , always a good sport, is more then happy to reciprocate the behaviour, scream, bark, charge, for scream , bark charge :)   ya, I'm sure you can picture it.

Today I watched as he walked out at the end of his flexi. Rex was not outside, however, Rex's cousins live next door. 2 mixed breed dogs that I have never seen leave their yard, & they react pretty much the same way as Rex.  We were 3 house lengths away when I noticed Kort start to react, wow! I had not seen that before.  His ears were up, he was focused forward instead of just casually walking, & he started to slightly pull.  Before I could react to the situation the cousins started to bark in their house, Kort started to whine, I calmly called him to me & pulled out the treats.  I continued to treat him until the dogs stopped barking & Kort stopped twitching his ears in their direction. I had to repeat this a few times as the cousins would start up barking as soon as we moved, & I was 3 houses away! 

Suzanne calls this a Red Zone, the dog is over stimulated, his breathing quickens, he may bounce or lunge, pulling hard toward whatever is exciting & he may begin to bark.  The dog will often have difficulty responding to the handler.  His tail will be up & may be wagging fast.  He may refuse treats or take them very hard.  I have had all of the these at one time with Kort.
She suggests we increase the distance between the stimulus & the dog. Go to where the dog can be responsive.  Wait patiently in a good place until the dogs breathing, head, eye, & overall state returns to normal. She also adds, THIS IS SERIOUS: Contact breeder or trainer for help.  Wow, I have been dealing with this for 5 years, poor Kort.

We were able to continue on in the same direction & watch for other hot spots.
We passed by a fence that has a labradoodle behind it, I have been working with Kort at this spot as well, even before the seminar.  The difference here is the dog has never run toward the fence, she barks a couple of times & stops.  Today, Kort had no reaction to her!  He just kept on walking up the sidewalk, hurray for small successes.

The rest of the walk was without incident until about 10 minutes from home.  Kort all of a sudden started to whine & his tail went up.  I had heard or seen nothing.  Then about a beat later I heard a scuffling & a dog 3 houses away was charging up to his fence.  Kort has had run ins with this dog as well.  So I did the call to me, feed feed feed until Kort had his brain back,  The entire time this dog was barking, once I saw Kort's eyes change, they softened, I knew he would be able to continue on without reacting to the dog.

Tomorrow my plan is to start getting Kort's attention at least a house "before" the ones he reacted at this morning.  I need to get Kort into the "think and learn" zone, so first we need to get out of the Red Zone.

I have already gotten the basics down, Amanda has been working with me for years to learn skills to handle these situations.
It will always be a work in progress but Kort is worth the effort.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How Is This For You?

How is this for you?  5 simple words that are soon to make a huge difference in Kort's life.

I attended at seminar this weekend by Suzanne Clothier. My mind is so filled with new knowledge that it hurts !  What an amazing , gifted , wise, honest, truly awesome speaker Suzanne is.  Her insight into dog behaviour is so simple, yet I never was able to understand it so clearly before I listened to her speak.

How Is This For You?  Ask your dog this in EVERY situation you put him in.  Look at him, really look at him.  Watch, observe, listen to what he is telling you.  Is he panting, head jerking around looking in all directions, whining, barking, ?  If so, he is stressed. Is he eating, sleeping?  If not , he is stressed.  The situation you have put him in is not a place he is able to be in right now.  You need to step back, before the situation becomes "sticky" & start there.  Figure out what you can do to help your dog overcome his worry or anxiety.

There are many skills Suzanne offered this weekend that are going to help me with Kort.
As I sat listening to her on the first day I knew I wouldn't be putting Kort in our Obedience Trial in June.  I really really wanted to enter, it's our first trial here, in my own city...BUT...Kort has clearly been telling me this is not a situation he is ready for. I need to go back, waaaaaay back, I need to get Kort comfortable again with just being in a training situation. I need to work on the calming techniques that Suzanne showed many many things to do.

I am excited to begin, I need to go over all my notes again & make my plan.  I will never look at my dogs the same ever again.

I will always look at them & ask, "How Is This For You?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Champagne Kinda Day :)

Today Tate is 11 years old!!! 11 on the 11th, his Champagne Birthday :)

He is doing amazing, although I did have a scare this past month when he totally slowed down & could barely even walk.  I was worried it might be his heart as my last collie died at this exact age from heart disease.  It turned out to be some pain/inflammation from the arthritis that he has in his elbows, pasterns, & shoulder.  A few days on pain meds & he's back to his crazy old self ♥
He sleeps alot heavier these days, not hearing me most of the time, which in itself can be scary!  Once I thought he had died as even touching him did not get him to budge.

Tate is such an amazing dog, & because of him I got involved in many more dog sports.
Tate is my very first Agility dog. My first Rally Dog.  My first Tracking Dog, & my first certified Therapy Dog.
He has an amazing temperament, nothing rattles him.  He is a gentle soul who even aggressive dogs don't challenge, he seems to have a calming effect on them.

I know how lucky I am to have an 11 year old collie, 13 years is average, but I do know of some collies who have been around at 14!

I don't know how long Tate will be in my life, I cherish every single day with him.  I enjoy the small things he does. On Tues. during our walk he came up from behind me & grabbed the poop bag out of my hand & went running off with it!.  Yes, it had poop in it!  Silly dog, I think he thought it was the toy I usually carry, I had a great laugh seeing his expression when he realized something wasn't quite right !♥

Sometimes I will walk in the kitchen & there he is standing all alone staring at the cookie jar, hoping someone might walk by & give him one, or maybe he thinks they will magically jump into his mouth!  I have no idea how long he's been there, patiently waiting :)

In honour of his Birthday I arranged to take him out by himself for a photo shoot .

Thank you Amanda for taking the pictures :)  I love them!

 ♥ Happy Birthday Tater Dog !!!!! ♥

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Simpler Life

1964, my brother Brian, cousin Janet, me, & sister Joanne on my neigbour's steps
The other night I had an idea to see if I could find the girls I was friends with in public school, mostly grades 3 through 6.  I only found 1 as the others have either married & their last names are changed , or they are  not on Facebook .

It was so weird to see Heather's picture, (the one I found), after all these years.  In my mind I pictured her a brunette with cute freckles & about 9 , however, she is 52 & blond now, but still has freckles!

Last night I couldn't sleep & I started to think about Heather, things we would do together, our group of friends etc.  That lead me to thinking about growing up in the 60's & 70's, & the fun we had, & how different it is today for kids.

I decided to write down some of my memories of my childhood :).......

The kids in our neighbourhood would get together & play 'move ups"  It is baseball & the gist of it is you start out as a fielder, then move up to 3rd base, then 2nd, then 1st, then pitcher, then a batter.  You get to stay a batter until you are out, at which time you have to go back as a fielder.  We would start out with just a few players & in no time the entire neighbourhood of kids would be joined in, so fun!

My dad & our neighbours dad would build a skating rink in the back yard in the winter, it would span between both yards, all the kids skated there.  Nowadays every house is separated by a fence of some sort.  We also had a hill in our back yard, it was "the spot" to go for tobogganing every night until bed time.

There was a garage station in behind our house, in the winter they would pile huge mounds of snow back there.  We would all go & crawl all over the mountains & build caves. I loved to climb on these huge snow piles!

There was a field of grass separating the back lane of our house with the garages parking lot.  One summer my brother set the grass on fire, what excitement as it was so close to the gas station. My brother got in big trouble for that one lol!

At  public school there was a "boys" side & a "girls" side for recess, seriously!! Boys & girls did not play together at recess.

I remember my street would get tarred once a year, it was a big hit with the kids, watching the big trucks come to tar the roads.

I also remember over head power wires that lined the streets of our neighbourhood, now they are mostly under ground.

We walked to school everyday, only kids in the country took a bus.  We also went home every day for lunch, only the country kids got to stay & eat at  school.

I remember walking to the rec center in the winter to skate. Mom would give us money to buy hot chocolate, it was so much fun.  The downstairs of the rec center was lined with benches  & they were totally filled with kids putting on their skates.  I can still smell the canteen  :)

Upstairs of the rec center was where I went once a week for Brownies , I was a leprechaun !

Every year there was a winter carnival there as well. The rec center has of course been torn down & replaced with a fancy one :(

Every Friday night there would be movie night in the auditorium of the school, it was super cheap , they would sell popcorn & everything.  It was always full with kids.

I have many many more memories, it was such a great time to be a kid.

My kindergarten picture below....Heather is the girl sitting in the second row, second from the left, with the bow on the front of her dress :)