Monday, September 27, 2010

Recalls and x-pens

Yesterday I practiced restrained recalls with the boys in my in-laws' back yard. They have a very large back yard, BUT it is on a main street. Scary! There are lots of distractions and it has the potential to be dangerous. I am looking forward to being able to practice (safely) in the woods behind my new house. 

Ike was a joy to watch run the length of the yard. He is not an economical mover. He leaps and prances, but the joy is plain to see. He loves to work - no matter what we are doing.

Bug is a little torpedo....when he is coming to me. It quickly became very apparent we need to build value in John. Bug was not 100% convinced he needed to "come" to John. Bug did some sight seeing and squirrel chasing when it was John's turn. We will definitely be working on this some more.

And voilĂ  ....the x-penned bed. Ike has already hopped it going up, not down. Bug hasn't yet - he has been very respectful of the x-pens. I hope that trend continues!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Remedy Kit

With Ike being ill the past month I have had need for some more unusual (to me) remedies. Ars. Album is a stand-by for me - I bring it, Arnica, and Traumeel with me whenever I trial. Belladonna? Thuja? Not so much.

Dr. F recommended I get an Emergency Remedy Kit to have the staples on hand. It arrived earlier this week. It is so cute! It is smaller than the length of my hand and I have small hands!

If anyone is interested you can purchase one at

Friday, September 24, 2010

x-pens! a new trend in home decor

My bed is now surrounded by x-pens. The corgi loves to use his stairs to get up on the bed, but not so much to get off the bed. He refuses to understand that hopping off the bed is the really dangerous part.

Compression of the spine and all...

We have purchased a new bed that is lower, but we are waiting to set it up until we are in the new home.

Last night we had a discussion. I told him his options: X-pens around the bed forcing him to use the stairs and only the stairs; or all-crate-all-the-time when in the bedroom.

Corgi and husband both cannot bear the thought of lost corgi-in-bed privileges so we are trying the x-pens.

The Schnauz HATES it. Of course, he hates change so that makes sense.

Even though the Boo agrees x-pens are a better option than a crate he finds them very annoying. He feels they severely inhibit quick exits from the bed for exciting events, like when John decides to have a late night snack.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not All Owners Are Created Equal

Poor Lily. I have mentioned her before. She is the wheaten terrier with an invisible fence on the busiest street in my town. Since the installation of the invisible fence about four years ago she has become increasingly dog reactive. She charges the fence line teeth flashing and snapping and then gets zapped by her collar (and yips - so I do know for a fact she is getting zapped). She reacts to dogs in cars driving by and across the street.

I will no longer walk downtown in the afternoon because I know she will be out in the yard and dive bomb us. The poor dog is out, alone, almost all the time. I can count the times I have seen her with humans and it doesn’t take more than two hands.

Earlier this week John came home and said, “I think they gave Lily a lobotomy.” My response was, “What on earth are you talking about?” “She didn’t dive bomb us.” The full implications of this didn’t sink in.

Last night John and I took the boys for a late night walk downtown. Lily was out in her yard. I got to see firsthand what John was talking about. Instead of dive bombing us, she moved away from the sidewalk and slunk down in a submissive posture. My heart BROKE.

Since the owners have done ZERO training with this dog the entire time they have owned her – ZERO – I am left making the assumption she was attacked by another dog due to her fence fighting. It left me emotionally quaking and muttering about *&%$! @ssholes who should not be allowed to own any sort of animal.

I was praying she would be inside when we returned, but of course she was still out. NO animal should be turned into the fearful submissive mess I saw last night. I know it happens all the time, but to watch it happen and have zero recourse because TECHNICALLY they are not abusing her, well there are no words for it. It sucks. It breaks your heart. It makes you, or at least me, want to break things.

I know some dogs can be very successful on invisible fences. There is another dog on an invisible fence on one of our walks and the dog is chill as can be. He just sits and watches when he is out, which is not very often. His owners do not use the invisible fence as an excuse not to walk and socialize their dog. I see him out and about with his owners often.

There is no good ending for this post. A good ending would involve dog-napping Lily and placing her with a family that cared an iota about her mental health. Having watched what has happened to Lily I cannot say I think invisible fences are a good thing. In fact I believe a significant amount of thought should be put into the merits of installing an invisible fence and I do not believe most people do that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good News

The vet visit on Monday was a success. Ike’s blood work came back normal. His GGT (a liver value) is slightly elevated at 8 vs. falling in the range of 1 – 7, but that is it. I will talk to Dr. F about it today. Dr. M wasn’t concerned given he has recently been on antibiotics and that could impact it.

I spoke to the vet about the unpleasantness requesting blood work and she said in the future to just ask one of the vets to call me back.

By the time his Monday vet visit rolled around Bug was no longer limping!! Dr. M went over him very thoroughly and said that perhaps he had a knot in his triceps brachii muscle. She could not detect any sensitivity, his range of motion was excellent, etc. I told Dr. M that when Cheryl adjusted him I did see the muscles in his triceps visibly release – so perhaps that is what it was. Who knows. Dr. M did give me 5 Deramaxx to have on hand in case something happens over the weekend in the future.

I almost forgot some additional good news…..Bug now weighs 31.7 pounds!! As soon as the move is complete and we are settled it is safe to start playing again!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Maybe Bug is trying to give me a nervous breakdown? : )

The limp does not look as bad today. Yesterday we saw the chiro. Cheryl could only discern that his tricep and behind his shoulder blade were tight - other than that he was totally in alignment. She thought he might have a slight sprain. She did a tune up and you could see the muscle in his shoulder release.

I spoke to the vet and she recommended ice and NSAIDS. Since I do not have NSAIDS for pups on hand we are doing Traumeel (which I am more comfy with anyway). Vet appointment tomorrow for both the boys!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Laugh or Cry

Ike appears to be on the mend. This morning Bug is limping.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Terrible Week

This week has been the week from hell. The only thing that could have made it worse was a death or serious injury. I am not sure if I am kidding.

Monday I was in a car accident driving to work. It was my fault – I was not present for an instant and rear-ended someone in stop-and-go traffic. Yes, I am an idiot and should perhaps no longer drive!

Then we discovered the septic plan for the house we are supposed to close on, on 9/24, has YET to be approved (install was supposed to begin 9/10). The lawyer suggested we need a reality check and thinks our closing is more likely going to be 10/24. We have told our landlord we are moving 10/16-17 – we have scheduled the movers. Our mortgage rate is only locked in until 10/8. We don’t know where the lawyer is getting her info – our realtor directly contradicts it. We started the process of a rate extension if necessary. People keep (helpfully) telling me home buying ranks up there as one of the most stressful things in life – it’s up there with weddings. Thanks, I’ve figured that out!

Tuesday I came home to vomit in the bedroom. Hmmm…I wonder… who did that? It was a small amount of yellow bile and green beans. Took the boys for a walk – about a quarter of the way through the walk Ike stops and starts straining followed by projectile liquid diarrhea. Immediately followed by vomiting up some white foam and the three mini zukes I had given him. Drat! Continue on the walk, more straining and diarrhea.

About three quarters of the way through the walk Ike starts acting very odd. He is on someone’s overgrown yard. He has his nose deep in the grass, walking back and forth, back and forth. Then he gently lies down. What? Pick him up and carry him home. Page Dr. F.

Dr. F prescribes Arsenicum album (Arsen. alb.). Dr. F feels this is a good sign. Homeopathic remedies work much like peeling an onion. After the initial remedy you often see older symptom that then requires a different remedy. Dr. F feels this is the resolution of the Lyme and what Ike has been going through for the past few weeks.

Tuesday night Ike has us up in the middle of the night for a walk. He stays with the in-laws during the day and I leave instructions on how to dose him with the homeopathic remedy.

Wednesday night we are up twice to take him out. I give Dr. F some additional details about Ike’s energy and symptoms in the a.m. and he has me pick up Thuja occidentalis (Thuja Occ.).

Finally Ike’s stomach seems to be settling down. We still have audible gas and “d” but we made it through the night without needing an emergency trip out. No vomiting since Tuesday.

Tuesday and Wednesday felt like far longer than 48 hours. The entire time I was worried sick I was making the wrong decision for my dog. I know if I go to the vet all that will happen is they might do an x-ray to rule out an obstruction and they’ll prescribe flagyl and give him fluids. Yet my anxiety is through the roof. I know homeopathy works, but it the midst of worrying about my dog I doubt so hard core. I guess homeopathy isn’t for the faint of heart. You need a rock-solid practitioner you T-R-U-S-T and even then I find it nerve-wracking.

Yesterday I called the vet’s office to see if I can move Ike’s blood panel from a vet visit early next week to a tech visit this week so the results will be there when the vet returns from vacation. I am told a “patient cannot request blood work.” Huh? I have requested all sorts of stuff at my previous vet’s office. I was so angry I cried after the phone call. I plan on talking to the vet’s other half today who handles a lot of HR like aspects – this is the second incident I have had with this receptionist. I like the vet practice – it is more integrative and progressive. You are $$paying$$ for it and since that is the case I don’t feel like yesterday’s conversation was a good sign. With my old vet everything was a battle, but at least he trusted my judgment and would do blood work when I requested it. Granted this isn’t the vet not trusting me – it is the receptionist/tech (not sure if she is a tech or not).

Today is Friday. I am so relieved. The week is over – finally. This weekend I have a board meeting for my agility club and will be packing. Hopefully dogs will be healthy and I can give Bug some much needed attention. He knows Ike has been under the weather and has been such a good boy. I do think I should buy some lottery tickets – I feel like I am due some good luck!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mindful Romp and Ikey P Update

Yesterday morning Bug and I joined Katrin and James at our second Mindful Romp. We were the only students! Talk about lucky - we had a private yoga lesson with our pooches and the weather was gorgeous!

I really, really like the instructor - and not just because she is a dog lover. She is an excellent "teacher." I commented that I really appreciate the constructive criticism she gives on our postures and the information about why it is important to do the postures correctly. She replied that she is a "teacher" and that there is a difference between "leading a class" and "teaching a class." I could not agree more.

I have attended a few different yoga classes throughout my life, begining in high school. I had one really good teacher, similar to Roz (teacher of Mindful Romp), and then a bunch of people who just led large classes. You see it in canine training classes, too; some trainers are excellent teachers and others just lead the class.

We will be moving on the date of the next Mindful Romp so we won't be able to attend, but I will definitely attend any future classes she holds. In fact, once the move is complete I think I will try to join one of her classes for "just humans."

Bug came home from yoga and proceeded to take a deep nap. It's funny how tiring he finds it even though he does very little during the class! I know it is still a stimulating environment for him and his "mum' is repeating odd postures!

On the Ike front, once I switched him to the homeopathic remedy I saw a huge improvement in his overall behavior within 24 hours. He has continued to have more energy and his appetite has returned with a vengeance!

We will touch base with Dr. F on Wednesday and refine how we will continue going forward. I am so relieved. I wish I hadn't waited so long to switch to the homeopathic remedy, but it was a hard decision. I will be very curious to see what his C6 levels are in 6 months. I have no doubt they will have dropped even further.

Now the question I bring him to class on Tuesday? He has a lot more energy and is acting much more like his normal self. However, he is still licking his left foreleg and right rear foot slightly. The left foreleg is the leg he was non-weight bearing on and the right rear leg is the leg Dr. M thought he was stiff in. The licking indicates he might still be feeling some pain (esp. since he is only licking the two legs he showed pain in during the acute onset) which causes me to lean toward skipping class again. I will see what he (Ike) thinks tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mindful Romp 2 Tomorrow

Tomorrow Bug and I will attend the Mindful Romp with Katrin and James. I am really looking forward to it. Here's a picture from the first Mindful Romp. I hope the weather is just as nice!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Ike played with Bug today when I got home. This is the first time he's run around like a maniac since he came up lame (2 weeks ago). Hooray!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Not a great quality photo - it is from John's phone - but a darling photo! If I do say so myself. :)

good news, perhaps?

I spoke with DR. F yesterday (CVH). I now understand his resistance to the acupuncture better. Although he personally feels you shouldn’t do the two modalities at once it is not that they cannot work together. He is afraid it would muddy the water; we would be unsure of whether improvements should be attributed to the acupuncture or the remedy. Yes, that makes perfect sense.

We decided to take Ike off the doxy; he has been on it a total of 12 days. He has been miserable-miserable-miserable. Antibiotics can impact how well a remedy works. At this point I just don’t feel like traditional meds are the way to go. The poor dog’s C6 levels have DROPPED, for goodness sake.

Dr. F feels Ike’s decision not to eat on occasion and refusal of treats and Nu-Pet chews (which he previously saw as a treat) is indicative of an appetite issue and an important thing to track.

When I last did any “training” with Ike (8/31 – I only brought him out to humor him because I was working Bug) – he quit after 5 minutes and wanted to go inside. That was unusual. Dr. F asked me to work with him yesterday before re-dosing him with the belladonna to get an idea of his current energy level.

Ike would not finish his meal last night, nor did he want the Nu-Pet Chews (again, I cannot stress how unusual this is for Ike). He was, however, more than happy to work as long as I wanted to work.

I did not give him his evening doxy and dosed him with the belladonna after working. This morning I dosed him again with the belladonna before our walk, per Dr. F. Interestingly he gobbled up the Nu-Pet chews and cleaned his plate. Could be the lack of doxy, could be the remedy. I know I was on strong antibiotics a few months ago for a staph infection – the stomach issues lingered after finishing the antibiotics. Of course, I am not a canine so it might be different.

For now we are going to see how Ike does with the remedy. Once we see where he is and whether he is making improvement we will either tweak the remedy choice or start the LD Support. I also scheduled a vet visit to do a SuperChem.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something I Liked

Since the CU class was not the best fit for me and Bug I feel like I wasn't that positive in writing about the experience. So, here is something I did like about the class.

At the start of each class S, the trainer, reminded us to think about how our dog had spent their day, how much exercise or lack of exercise they had, and to be mindful of how these things would impact their behavior and attention at class.

This is a very simple thing, but I think it is important and often overlooked.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lyme Disease Webinar

I just listened and watched a Lyme Disease webinar called "Lyme Disease: Natural Effective Results, Integrative Method" featuring Lee Herzig, DVM (runs a holistic clinic in Belfast, ME) and hosted by Geoff D'Arcy Lic. Ac. DOM. I found it interesting and it is definitely worth listening/watching if you or your dog has tested positive.

A few interesting facts:

Evidence of Lyme Disease has been found preserved in fox dna from 1884 (in Europe). It has also been found in mice preserved (in the U.S.) from 1894. One reason Lyme might be more prevalent now is because the deer population is not being culled to the same extent it was previously.

50% - 90% of asymptomatic dogs will test positive for Lyme.

Dr. Herzig has heard of, or noted (?), relapses around the full moon. My initial thought was "weird!/really?" Then I checked the calendar - there was a full moon on 8/24. Ike woke up unable to walk on 8/25.

Dr. Herzig does not carry the Lyme vaccine at his clinic, nor does he recommend it. He has treated 2 patients that travelled to his clinic after receiving the Lyme vaccine and subsequently died. He has treated multiple patients for neurological symptoms after receiving the Lyme vaccine.

D'Arcy believes in using andrographis paniculata, a natural anti-viral. At a low dose A.P. helps to modulate the immune response; at a high dose it can kill off the parasite. There is a belief that Lyme might spike 3 or 4 days a month. Having your dog on a dose of A.P. will ensure Lyme is unable to get a foothold. (This is one of the ingredients of LD Support.)

Very interesting stuff!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oh Ike

Friday when I got home to walk Ike he seemed like he was extra pokey and was moving gingerly. I called Dr. F and left a message - then we went to Ike's first acupuncture appointment.

Surprisingly it went really well. Dr. M feels Ike has slow spleen qi and his yang pulse is faster than his yin. She said this is not uncommon with people and dogs who are on antibiotics. While Ike never could fully relax he stood very patiently while Dr. M worked on him. She showed me how to do a type of massage similar to myofascia massage that works on the digestive points. You start by gathering a roll of skin right over the base of the tail. You slowly roll the skin forward up to the withers. Then you use a long stroke to release it. Do this three times. She said given Ike has had so much digestive upset I should do this 2 or 3 times a day. When I did it yesterday he immediately burped afterward! Success!

Unfortunately Dr. F informed me that acupuncture and homeopathy do not work well together. I thought I had told him I made this appointment for Ike, but obviously I only thought it and did not actually tell him. He told me to hold off cancelling Ike's 2nd appointment until we see how he does, but in general the two modalities do not work together. This is apparently because both modalities are working at the energetic level.

Ike seemed perkier on Friday evening, but by Saturday morning he was again curled up in a ball feeling like crap. The doxy is wreaking havoc on his poor belly. Dr. F had me re-dose with the belladonna.

Ike does not seem to want to eat certain things. I don't know if this is because he is nauseous or because his jaw/teeth hurt. I checked his teeth and gums and did not see anything that jumped out at me. He ate his duck necks no problem but didn't want his Nu-Pet chews until I broke them into smaller pieces.

We went to visit my mother yesterday and Ike seemed like he felt better than he had. He didn't ask to go home once, so we will see.

I am going to call the vet's office on Tuesday and schedule a CBC and have her look st his mouth and I am talking to the CVH about taking Ike off the doxy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

CU, Week #6

Last night was our last CU class. We missed class last week due to Ike’s health issues.

This week we started class by doing some passive attention followed by practicing our Emergency Protocol. I practiced smooshing Bug up against a wall as my homework. I decided to go with this because in a confined space situation that has been what I have actually done in the past. I think I will train an alternate behavior for street walking. I am not sure what though. Having Bug go behind me would still allow him to see what is happening and could make him feel more secure. At the same time, asking him to do something like a very tight front could tone everything down because there wouldn’t be any eye contact between dogs.

S had set up obedience gating down the center of the room. We brought our dog toward the gating and then did their emergency behavior. Then we asked for it as we returned to where we were seated. The final time we practiced S had us start to walk out and then she said “Oops! You see breed X (insert breed that will trigger your dog). Quick! back to your space and do the emergency protocol.”

While the other dogs were practicing their Emergency Protocol S had us practice Look at That! S suggested I lengthen the amount of time Bug gets to “Look” before clicking and treating because he definitely understands the game and is on the lower end of his threshold.

Next we worked Gimme A Break. We counted out 10 treats and asked our dog for a behavior multiple times over a period of 5 seconds using all 10 treats to reward. At first I was flustered because no way could I get Bug to do multiple sits in 5 seconds. Then I realized I could use hand touches or whatever behavior I wanted. D’oh! After the 5 seconds were up we gave a dismissal cue, sat down and our dog took a break for up to a minute while we sat. At the end of break time – restart play/training. We kept it short and used a HIGH rate of reinforcement. If your dog reorients to you before break time is over (which Bug did consistently) you were to reward by starting training/play and high reinforcement again.

Then we did some Mat Racing. This week the mats were much further away from us and there was a dog and handler team on each side of the obedience gating. The first time you walked quickly with your dog to the mat and asked for a default behavior. The second time you ran to the mat and asked for a default behavior. I was so impressed with how snappy Bug’s down has gotten. I hope it translates to sheep!

We finished with the Campfire game. We stood in a circle, facing OUT not in, with our dogs in heel position. One at a time a handler and dog walked around the circle rewarding for attention. How close or far you were from the other dogs and handlers was dependent upon your comfort level. We did this a few times and then we reversed so that dogs and handlers were facing inward and a dog/handler team was walked around BEHIND the dogs. The only dog Bug seemed overtly interested in was the Golden. There is something about the sporting breed’s movement that gets him a bit more amped. This Golden is VERY happy, too.

That was it. I did speak to the instructor after class briefly and she was glad I had e-mailed, etc. Or at least she said she was. She didn’t treat me any differently in class which was a relief and is a testament to her professionalism. I picked up lots of little tricks and things to think about in this class, but I overall I don’t think it was the right class for me and Bug. Would it be the right class for me with a dog in a different place – sure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I have a call/e-mail into the CVH. Ike vomited again on Tuesday night. He just doesn't seem to be tolerating the doxy well. I want to know exactly what we'd be doing if we went the pure homeopathic route, because that is what I am leaning toward.

Today I found a very interesting article about Samento. Samento is a form of Cats Claw (frequently recommended to treat viral infections). I have heard Samento mentioned on the Tick-L list before - one individual is a big proponent of its use in treating Lyme. The article is definitely worth reading if you or your dog have been Lyme+.

In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi

"In this study, two herbal extracts, Samento and Banderol, as well as doxycycline (one of the primary antibiotics for Lyme disease treatment) were tested for their in vitro effectiveness on several of the different morphological forms of B. burgdorferi (spirochetes, round bodies, and biofilmlike colonies) using fluorescent, darkfield microscopic, and BacLight viability staining methods. Our results demonstrated that both herbal agents, but not doxycycline, had very significant effects on all forms of B. burgdorferi, especially when used in combination, suggesting that herbal agents could provide an effective therapeutic approach for Lyme disease patients......

.......For example, some of the recent reports on animal experiments demonstrated that although pharma­ceutical antibiotics are effective in ameliorating disease, the infection may persist even after seemingly effective therapy, which suggested that Borrelia may remain viable even after antibiotic administration.14-15 If those pharmaceutical antibiotics only eliminate one form of this bacterium, the other forms could be the source of the persistent disease."


14. Bockenstedt LK, Mao J, Hodzic E, et al. Detection of attenuated, noninfectious spirochetes in Borrelia burgdorferi-infected mice after antibiotic treatment. J Infect Dis. 2002; 186:1430–1437.

15. Barthold SW, Hodzic E, Imai DM, Feng S, Yang X, Luft BJ. Ineffectiveness of tigecycline against persistent Borrelia burgdorferi. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Feb;54(2):643–651.