Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sammy the incorrigible

Dear Kathy,
I'm sorry I haven't updated you for so long.  Thanks so much for Sammy.  Bill is in love with him.  As much as he likes Robin, she IS a little lady and Sammy is much more rough and tough.  He is fearless, too, never cautious as Robin is about new situations.  They are night and day, and both so much fun I can't imagine how I lived without dogs for so long.
We haven't had any company yet to take pix of the 4 of us, so I may have to have Bill take ones of me with both dogs and I'll take them of him with both.
Sammy is growing so fast too.  He'll be 16 weeks next Wed, and will be getting his rabies shot and another parvo.  He's almost as tall as Robin, although that isn't saying much.  She is still only 13 inches, and weighed 12.2 lbs at the last vet visit.  SHe had been up to 13 lbs, but eats even less in the heat and runs it off in the morning and evening.
Robin is going to be spayed on August 1, but I don't think I'll have the new x-rays done.  SHe is completely sound now, and her eyes are all well too.  So hopefully the spay will be HER last vet bill for awhile.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

July socks

Here are my socks for July. I have a Tofutsies pair on the needles, but it doesn't look like they will be finished in time. The socks here are all Cascade 220, and are for Children in Common. I try to keep a pair of these going all the time, and I work on them when watching a DVD and my other projects are at a point to require paying better attention.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Robin's vet bills

Dear Mom,
In answer to your question about Robin's vet bills: Not long after we got her, she started acting real lame, although she didn't favor any one corner and didn't yike.  SHe just limped. I talked to the vet about it everytime I took her for puppy shots, and we finally had to xray both shoulders and do blood work to rule out Valley Fever and West Nile Virus.  That cost a lot, and showed that her shoulder blades were roughened but not yet dysplastic.  Recommendation to limit activites and recheck when getting her spayed.  I turned down medication because I didn't want her to overdo and injure herself from not having it hurt. So we didn't go for any more walks, and I usually left her in the yard when I ran up and down to the chicken compound or the trash barrels or the recycle bins.  She didn't like that, but I told her not to jump the fence, so she didn't.  It was a small problem because she early on decided not to pee or poop in the yard unless urgency demanded it.
Then her eyes swelled up and developed pimples on both upper and lower eyelids that would finally pop and weep, then start over.  It didn't seem to itch or hurt, but she could hardly see for the swelling sometimes.  So off we had to go to a dog ophthalmologist, and boy is THAT pricey.  It is called meibomitis, and is a staph infection triggered by an allergy to something.  Her actual vision and eyeballs are perfect.  THis is actually a skin problem.  SO I've been giving her prednisone and antibiotic eyedrops for a  couple of months, along with 2 followup visits.  Yesterday she got a clean bill of eye health, but now I have to ease her off the prednisone for the next couple of months. That I KNOW how to do.
And we are trying to eliminate all the allergens we CAN control, like corn, wheat, soy, beef (most common dog allergens).  Airborne ones we are already fighting because Bill has allergies.  I wash all the scatter rugs once a week and mop constantly, and use only natural products.
Oh, and don't forget the seizures.  She's had 4 in her life, 2 when she was real little, and I pretty much decided she had gotten a whiff of ant killer and switched to dish soap and vinegar in water per the organic gardening book.  SHe also had 2 more when her eyes first swelling up, and we were at a total loss as to what caused them.  THe first one I thought she had been poisoned and put salt down the poor thing and made her vomit and vomit.  They didn't last long and she never lost consciousness.  We never did figure out what caused it for sure, but the 4th one I have since decided were caused by the wet Swiffer Sweeper cloths I was using on the floor.  I have since read about other small dogs having convulsions from smelling those.
Here's the best thing though.  SHe is no longer lame at all and hasn't been for months.  She runs and runs just like any other Aussie with no problems.  She doesn't really jump, and that is fine with me.  That way I can leave her in the yard or wherever, and be sure she'll be there when I come back, so far anyway.  I'm having her spayed the 1st of August.  I was going to wait until her growth plates closed, but the breeder called and said that Robin's only littermate had gone in for a spay and she turned out to have ON uterus or ovaries and only one kidney, although quite healthy otherwise.  Also the eye vet says that the meibomitis often never returns once the dog is spayed, although it doesn't work 100 % of the time. Keeping our fingers crossed. 
Sammy is a typical little boy, destructive and rowdy and loud, but a real lover.  He never gets tired of loving on you and will keep licking and snuggling until you send him away.  Bill really loves him, and wayy tolerant of his behaviour(obviously he doesn't have to witness most of it).  We have always thought that Robin's behaviour is just too perfect to be real, and Sammy makes you realize just HOW perfect Robin is.  He'll be fine; he's intelligent, healthy, and way more athletic than Robin, but SHE is my dog and will remain so.  I'll have to obedience train Sammy, but I have to wait until I generate some income.  Right now about all I can afford to do is stay home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wonderful dogs

And as long as I'm at it; here's Robin at 7 months and Sammy at 13 weeks.

Closeups of Quilt for sale

I promised to post pix of various blocks for an eBay possible-bidder, so here goes.

Monday, July 09, 2007

a 2-dog family

This is rather a surprise to me, as we, or anyway, I wasn't planning to get another dog until Robin was at least 2 years old.  I even said no in the first place, and DH had to talk me into it.  He did that by taking much more ownership responsibility for Sammy than he ever has for Robin.
Here's the story.
Robin's breeder called and left a call back message early last week, but I didn't get back to her until Thursday because my new cheaper cell phone doesn't work until I get closer to town, and I never left home until Thursday when I taught a class at Cotton Fields. whew!  Well, when we finally connected, she asked me if I wanted another puppy, since Robin has had so many vet bills and there is no end in sight.  I was very leery, because I thought that meant she wanted to take Robin back, and I'm NOT EVER giving her up.
That wasn't it. Kathy(breeder) had 2 3 month old black tri male pups for pet homes, with great temperaments and good conformation, although not conformation quality, but highly athletic and suitable for any kind of performance dog.  She told me all about them and offered me my pick of them, but I needed to come get the pup ASAP.
I waited until DH got home and told him about it, but said I didn't really think so.  I wasn't willing to take on another whirling dervish when the first one is only 7 months old and still a handful most of the time.
Like I said, he talked me into it.  I drove to Winkelman and picked out Sammy last Friday.  Lance was there, who takes care of the dogs when she is away, as Kathy was gone to Texas.  Actually, I've seen Lance more times than I have seen Kathy, as he was the only one there when Pat and I picked up her puppy.
Sammy was already named, and he comes to it, so we let him keep it.  He's a cutie, and VERY active, and not shy in the slightest.  Submissive to us, but stands right up to Robin.  That's good, because she is feeling great lately, and would harass him constantly if he didn't make it clear that "I AM TAKING A NAP NOW!" He's athletic too; goes right up on the chairs, although not quite up to the beds yet.  He has great fun going back and forth from one of us to the other and giving kisses and getting pets, then back to the other, etc. 
Just what I needed, another one peeing on the floor whenever you turn your back, but oh well.  Brick mops easily, and it does force me to keep on mopping.

the bees, the bees

There are bees everywhere here, covering all the lily pads and edges of the pond, the bird bath, all the chicken waterers, the wildlife water tank, buckets we keep for chicken waterer replenishment, and the 2 large waterers dedicated especially to the bees. In this heat, they are totally focused on taking water back to the hive to fan the queen and brood cells to keep them alive. We people and dogs walk thru clouds of bees anywhere near the waterers but are never stung. Actually, I've never BEEN stung by our bees except by accident, as when I pick up the hose with a bee on it, or put my hand down on one when I am grooming the pond plants. They really only sting when they are protecting the hive, and we don't even know where that is.
We originally got the small box-starter-hive (I can't remember what it is called) and put it down on the second bank of the wash under a tree. When their numbers were too many for it, some left and colonized elsewhere. I wanted to buy the hives and all and harvest honey, but DH didn't. He just wanted them for natural pollination. So, by this time there have been several generations of them, and they are, I guess you could say, feral bees.
I sure don't see any evidence of a big die-off, but their hives are obviously not full of chemicals put there by the beekeeper to control mites, and they are not forced to drink irrigation tailwater full of agricultural(boy is that a misnomer) chemicals. And I HAVE heard that the die-off is confined to commercial beekeepers that DO use chemicals, and beekeepers who manage their bees as organically as possible have had no problems. Wonder why the media doesn't report more of that!
AJ in AZ