Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tis the Season...

Ok, it’s not Christmas yet, but it sort of felt like it to me this week end. I’ve really been looking forward to lure coursing with Nick since I got him and also couldn’t wait to get back to the field with Rosie. The Southeastern Greyhound Club hosted the ASFA National Greyhound Specialty on Saturday and an all breed trial on Sunday. We couldn’t make it Saturday, but were there bright and early for roll call on Sunday. Rosie and Nick were entered, Rosie in open and Nick in singles.

The field at Bear Creek Farm in Moreland is one of the nicest around. I was really excited about seeing Nick run for the first time. Rosie, as usual, was chomping at the bit to have her turn. She started bouncing around as soon as she saw the crates go in the back of the van on Saturday afternoon. Nick didn’t know what was going on, but picked up on Rosie’s excitement.

Nick ran very well, especially for the first time out scoring a 154 in the morning prelim run. They did certifications at lunch, so he ran again, and certified. Now he can run in open at our next trial. I pulled him from finals in the afternoon, figuring that two courses in one day were enough for his first time out. He ran as beautifully when he certified as he did in the mourning, and most importantly, he seemed to love it.

Rosie also had a good day, taking first in open. She lost best of breed to a Pharaoh from Texas.

I don’t have any pics of them running, but will post some as soon as the photographer updates his site with this weekends pics and I can order a few. Gotta have pics of Nicks first outing. Dan Gauss from Shot on Site Photography was there, and I’m sure took a few I won’t be able to resist. I didn’t look on Sunday as there were too many others in front of me gathered around his computer. I’m way to impatient to wait long, especially when I know I can see them later on-line. I also think I buy less when I wait until I’m at home alone and can think about exactly how much I’m spending.

Here’s a shot of my crew in the back of the van.

And a couple of them after we got home. Two exhausted, but happy, hounds.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Can't I Just Take a Walk in the Park???

Ok, I’m not usually a complainer, but I’ll be really glad when this election is over. I’m older that I care to admit and have lived though more presidential elections than I want to fess up to, but I don’t remember people being as emotional about their choice before. Now I fall solidly into the independent, middle of the road camp, and won’t reveal which candidate will receive my vote here. I don’t want to argue about it. I’m tired of being accosted while going about my day to day life by random strangers badgering me about the subject. There is one woman in particular who started showing up at the park where I walk the pups about a month ago. The first time I saw her we had the following exchange (I’m paraphrasing as I didn’t record the conversation at the time)

Random Jogger: “Someone with such beautiful dogs is bound to be a democrat right.”

Me: “I don’t discuss politics with random strangers in the park.”

Random Jogger: “You can’t vote for McCain. He hates women and will overturn Roe vs. Wade”

Me: “I don’t discuss politics with random strangers in the park.”

Random Jogger: “That must mean you’re voting for McCain. He wants to let babies die in our country because their parents can't afford health insurance. Obama is the clear choice for right thinking, intelligent people.”

Me: “I don’t discuss politics with random strangers in the park.”

Now after that, she jogged off and attached herself to another lone woman walking. I’m sure she intended a similar conversation. I was annoyed (OK pissed off) that this woman had disturbed me during my walk. It’s the only time in my day that is mine. I like to clear my mind and think about nothing while I walk. Now don’t get me wrong, I have my morning walking buddies that I see most every day. We speak, some of them pet and admire my dogs. I pet and admire their dogs if they have them, speak to their babies in strollers, etc. I’m not ant- social. I just don’t want to engage in a political debate with someone with extreme views on either candidate during my morning meditation/walking time. Truly though, about a minute after she left, I’d forgotten all about her.

That is until I bumped into her again a couple of mornings later. Similar conversation – slightly different versions of why John McCain is the anti-Christ and I’m a complete fool if I even consider voting for him. To sum things up, I’ve run into her five or six times in the last several weeks. Yesterday I finally, very abruptly, told her to leave me the heck alone. Hopefully she will.

Now she’s not the only evidence that emotions are running higher in this campaign than most. One of my closest friends has told me that I’m an idiot if I don’t vote for the candidate of her choice. She thinks we need real change in this country and there’s only one way to get it. Just about everyone seems to have firm views as to who they support. That’s fine – I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the I’m right and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is an idiot attitude, and I’ve seen it from supporters of both candidates. I have a right to my opinion, and you have I right to yours. I may not agree with it. In fact, I may stridently disagree. I don’t even mind discussing it. Real debate on the issues can be helpful and interesting. Name calling is hurtful and polarizing. I just don’t see the point.

Ok rant over!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hound High School.......

Think back to your high school days. When I remember school, I don’t remember much about studying. What I mostly think of is hanging out with friends. Primping with girlfriends before big parties. Late night gossip at sleepovers with the same girlfriends. What’s really neat about it is that my best friends even today are those same girlfriends. We’ve kept up over the years and are still very, very close. Anyway, I digress. Perhaps that’s fodder for another blog post.

Watching Wheeler this year has reminded me of the less fun part of high school – studying. He’s had a round of tests in the last week or two, and has been really burning the midnight oil. Wheeler is more of an auditory learner than a visual one, so before his elementary and even some middle school tests, he had me quizzing him and helping him memorize facts. Now realistically, I can’t keep doing this forever. He has to figure out a way to learn and remember on his own. I’m not in high school, and I won’t be going off to college with him. But the fact remains, he learns better when he goes over what he needs to know aloud.

He’s tried a couple of study methods this year – some more successful than others. His most recent idea may actually work pretty well. That is, if I can quit laughing about it. The other day, I came home from running errands and found him in the family room reading The Odyssey to Nick and Rosie. They both seemed to be listening raptly. He was also explaining to them who the characters are and how they relate to one another.

Later in the day, he was teaching them Ancient Egyptian History. Now Rosie, the Pharaoh Hound, may have more of an aptitude for ancient Egypt than Nick, but they both seemed pretty interested. It didn’t hurt that he, and as a result they, were snacking at the same time. I’m sure Nick and Rosie were more interested in the finer points of the Pharaohs than in the chips Wheeler was sharing with them - yeah right! At least he was making them offer a down before receiving the very nutritious potato chip snack.

All in all, I don’t think I’ll let him know I see humor in his new study method. Maybe it will help him learn, and the dogs love the attention even without extra snacks!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Zoomy Man and the Wild Child.....

Nick is fine. Three doses of Pancur and some metronidazole (sp) and Nick is much better in the poo department. Also, he doesn't look like he's lost any more weight since last Wednesday when we went to the vet. He may even have gained a pound. In fact, he looks pretty good to me. He also acts like he feels better - not that he ever acted like he felt bad, but he's much more animated that he was. I guess I'd be less energetic if my guts where in a knot!!

I've got to get some action shots of Rosie and Nick careening around the house and yard. My father in law's house, which I guess is our house now since his death a couple of years ago, has about three quarters of an acre fenced. The yard is built into a hill. The dogs love to run in a big circle up and down the hill. Rosie, being the wild child, instigates rambunctious chase games up and down the hill and into the wooded, un-landscaped (read wild and out of control) part of the yard. There are several large boulders at the top of the hill that she delights in jumping on top of and sort of lording over Nick. He barks at her - I can see her laughing at him. Silly greyhound, can't you even climb a rock. Nick, on the other hand, isn't sure why you'd want to climb on top of a rock when there's plenty of room to run in rock free zones.

I haven't been able to get any good pics of their antics mostly because they're both a lot faster than me. Rosie is really enjoying having a buddy her own age that she can play with. I'm liking watching them together. They are so different - sort of like fire and ice.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I'm a Little Concerned About Nick...Warning Graphic Poo Discriptions - Skip Post if Easily Grossed Out

Nick will celebrate his four week anniversary at my house on Saturday. We have been struggling with pudding poo ever since he got here. Also, he has been steadily losing weight. When we adopted him, he weighted 68 lbs. on the scale at the adoption kennel. The following Thursday, I took him to my vet where he weighed in at 63 lbs. I had them check the weight twice, but in the end chalked it up to the difference in scales and was unconcerned at the time. Also, his racing weight was 61 pounds, but his racing records show that he weighed about 66 when he ran 17 of his 22 total races. Why was his official reported weight lower – I don’t know. Anyway, he was ribby when I got him and didn't look overweight; he look just about right. I wasn’t initially worried about the pudding poo either, assuming it was caused by all the upheaval in his life. We also started treating itchy inflamed ears at the first vet visit. They weren't horrible, but you could definitely smell them and he was scratching at them.

I’ve fasted him for 24 hours twice and started him back on a rice/boiled ground beef mixture. Both times his poo has firmed up, but deteriorates when regular food is added. I’ve also been giving him canned pumpkin and plain yogurt every day. Sometimes I get reasonably formed poo, and sometimes I get liquid. Also, he looked like he was losing weight – so off to the vet we went again yesterday. He weighed in at 59 pounds. Now I’m getting worried. Also, his ears are still bothering him.

I feed my dogs raw meaty bones in the evening and a veggie/ground beef mixture for breakfast. Nick has never really worked up to the ground meat mixture. I’m feeding him a ton in a effort to get him to gain a little weight, way more than twice what Rosie, at 38 pounds gets and more than either Speedy or Sugar ever ate. Nick’s not a picky eater and relishes his meals. He loves to eat. I don’t think further upping calories is going to help. My vet suggested worming, metronidazole, and a prescription diet. I bought a bag of the food, and fed it last night and this morning. I’m not a big fan of prescription diets though and am kind of scared to read the ingredients. In any event, she’s not suggesting it for life. We also started him on another ear drop to try to clear up the ear inflammation.

I can’t tell how he feels, but on the surface he doesn't seem sick. He gets excited at meal times and when we come home. He likes to be loved on, but he doesn’t enthusiastically jump in the car when it’s time to go to the park for a walk. He often tries to stop to pee or sniff when we walk. Don’t know if he’s tired or if he’s just trying to walk me. He hasn’t won at this – it’s my walk and I let him come along :-)! The fact is, I haven’t had him long enough to really know him and how he acts when he doesn’t feel well. Don't picture a poor sick mopey dog though. He appears happy and engaged in our household.

Bottom, line – I’m more worried about the rapid weight loss than the pudding poo, but since they are likely related we need to address both issues. I’m hoping that the only problem is some worms and intestinal upset associated with the recent upheaval in his life. I'm likely just being a worry wart, and he will be fine in a few days. I'm open to suggestions though.