Thursday, August 31, 2006

Leaving for California

With Ernesto headed off to the north, I'm heading out to California tomorrow to judge a show near Sacramento. I'm so glad that the storm has headed away from Charleston. There was a lot of rain and some of the streets downtown were flooded but all in all, it wasn't bad. I had a meeting down town and was able to check on the rain coming down from the hotel where the meeting was held.

I probably won't be back on line for a couple of days. I have 90 Labradors to judge which is a good entry. I will take a red eye flight to come back to Charleston by 9:30 AM on Monday. I want to have at least a few days of the weekend free.

Hope that every one has a nice Labor Day holiday.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Barrett is back and it is as if he never went on the road or became a champion. He is happily bouncing about, knows his kennel, plays with Timmi and the puppies and is in general the bozo boy that I love. Like his namesake, he is darkly handsome, energetic, and a bit off his rocker! I received his championship certificate in the mail which was quick by AKC standards. Tobias is now out with Rusty and Jen looking for the two majors that he needs to finish. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that occurs.

Aggie and Amelia are now separated in the kennel. Aggie looked as if she had swallowed a watermelon on Sunday, so it appears that she was gobbling poor Amelia's food. Aggie is now on a bit of diet and Amelia is getting her normal portion. Both are kenneled next to each other so there isn't a huge amount of separation anxiety. They still play together in the puppy pen. Aggie is definitely the ring leader and more rambunctious of the two. She was one of the two puppies bitten by a copperhead in the spring. She is irrepressible with nothing slowing her down. Must be that Stella gene!

Here's hoping that tropical storm Ernesto decides to stay away. A little rain is okay but let's keep the wind to a minimum. I have to fly out to judge in California and hope that there are no delays on Friday. Here's hoping that everyone and their dogs will be out of harm's way.

Monday, August 28, 2006

You can't reason with hurricane season

With Ernesto churning in the Caribbean, my mind turns back to 1989 when Hurricane Hugo came to town. What an evening that was, and what a mess the days after were!

We didn't have but a few dogs then so all were brought inside the house, put in crates and covered by a blanket. Charlie and I stayed in a closet under the stairs. After we lost all radio and TV and rain began pouring in from the ridge vent, we decided that we were in for a bad event. The wind roared but we stayed dry and safe. Our house had just been built so we were a bit anxious about how it would weather the storm. We didn't lose a shingle! We lost a lot of branches and limbs to trees but all the big trees stood strong. It took us 3 days to cut our way out to Maybank Highway. We had no electricity for 23 days.

So when hurricane season comes around, we think about having many more dogs and the 3 cats. We have a generator that is powerful enough to kick off our well pump and provide some electricity to the house. We have our camping supplies in order. It's best to be prepared and just hope that we escape the wrath of Mother Nature for another year.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

CSCLRC meeting

The meeting yesterday was very informative. Dr. Billy Roumillat and Dr. Linnea Bredenburg gave a great presentation on first aid for dogs. Those present learned about heat stroke, bloat, snake bite care, toxins, CPR, and numerous other topics that were spurred by questions from the audience. There was even a stuffed Labrador for them to practice on. We had a good crowd for the meeting and all really appreciated Billy and Linnea's talk.

The El Bohio restaurant staff were wonderful as usual in hosting the meeting. Many thanks to Alex, owner of the Pour House and El Bohio, for taking care of all of us so well.

If you haven't joined a local Labrador club, it is a great opportunity for you to learn what's going on with your breed and to have fun with other Labrador owners. AKC has a list of clubs and there might be one close by.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Barrett coming home

Barrett will be coming home on Sunday after a couple of months at the shows. I'm very pleased that he completed his AKC Ch. and can now just have fun and goof off. Tobias has gone to Atlanta to meet up with the handling team of Rusty and Jen Howard. He needs a couple of majors to complete his Ch. and we are hoping that he will get that. He is in good coat and looks great.

Our Coastal South Carolina LRC membership meeting will be held on Saturday from 3-6 at El Bohio Restaurant on Maybank Highway. Dr. William Roumillat will be speaking on canine first aid. It should be a good discussion and the food is great. Hope that those of you who are within driving distance will turn out for this interesting talk.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dew claws

I received an email from one of our puppy owners indicating that she would like to have the dew claws removed on her girl who is an older puppy. We don't remove dew claws on our puppies for a couple of reasons. First, as you can see in the photo, it requires actually snipping off the joint of a baby puppy. Ideally, this would be done at around 2 days of age. We don't like the idea of cutting off the thumb of a baby, having empathy when it comes to our own thumb. Taking off a dew claw is the equivalent of someone severing your thumb at the knuckle joint. Not a very pleasant experience for a baby puppy. The second reason that we don't remove dew claws is that the dog actually uses the claw like a thumb. Watch your dog sometimes with a chew toy and you'll see how the dew claws are used to hold the toy. We have heard the stories about claws being ripped off in the field. I haven't seen one but in terms of risk, I'm willing to take that chance rather than cut pieces off my puppies.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday, Monday

Today was one of those days that you summon all your strength to get your work done quietly and efficiently and hope to get home at a decent hour in order to relax. Unfortunately, after doing the dogs in the morning, I got ready for work and jumped into doing some evaluations for employees. After that I edited a manuscript for a colleague and then went to the Director's meeting since my Director and his Asst. were out of the office. I guess that I was the third string or something like that. Anyway, that lasted until 4 PM. After completing the work day and changing into my rowing duds, I headed to Bristol Marina thinking that the dragon boat crew would be there. Unfortunately, the date had been changed due to a bunch of festivals until Sept. 18, so we won't be getting back together until then. I still will have rowing in the 6 person gig on Thursday and my single to mess about in on the weekends.

At the Muncie, Ind. show this past weekend, Susan Otto and I both discussed the fact that it is nice to have other things in our lives besides the dog activities. I think that the exercise activities that I do are a great complement to my dog activity. Although I love specialty shows, I've gotten increasingly tired of showing at all breed shows. The atmosphere isn't as much fun as the specialty shows and the loud noisy conditions with all the other breeds, lugging crates in and out, and all the travel has just gotten tiresome. I would rather send the dogs with good handlers than to spend my weekends driving to dog shows. Judging is one thing but I think that just going to a few all breed shows that are close by in order to socialize puppies makes more sense than traveling great distances.

Maybe it's just my mindset today--just like the lyrics to that rock classic, "Monday, Monday, can't trust that day..."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Judging in Muncie

My judging assignment was pleasant, although I must admit that I left Charleston with so many things on my mind that were unsettling. It had been a week of emotion in so many ways. The idea of flying off to a strange place where I knew no one wasn't all that appealing. The good side of it was that I met Susan Otto who is a Rottweiler breeder and a very nice lady. We shared the ride from Indianapolis to Muncie. While I was in my room feeling very much alone, Susan called and asked me to join her for dinner. We ended up talking for a long time and sharing our life experiences and our dog experiences. It was a nice way to spend an evening.

Judging was a neat experience. I was totally focused on the dogs which is what judging should be about. It's a way to put aside all other thoughts and just concentrate on the job at hand.

Sea Smoke

I received some very sad news prior to and during my trip to judge in Indiana. Surry's Sea Smoke had developed a large tumor in her mouth and palate that was causing problems with eating. Also, her breathing had become increasingly laborious. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma about a year ago. The cancer was located in her mouth. However, she had been doing very well until about a couple of weeks ago when she appeared to become uncomfortable.
Berta took her to Drs. Shong and Rockwell who determined that indeed she was failing. So Berta made the very tough decision to have Sea Smoke euthanized on August 18. She went peacefully feeling gentle loving hands on her.

Sea Smoke was born into my hands and was a cutie right from the start. It was Daisy's first litter (sire was Ch. Ashlyn's Don Giovanni) and we were thrilled that there was a lovely black female in the litter. After retirement from showing and motherhood, Sea Smoke went to live with a couple who professed love for her but later at age 10 she became too much trouble so was returned to us. We gladly took her back, although we never understood the psychology of her former owners. At any rate, Berta met her and fell in love. So Sea Smoke moved down the road about 3/4 of a mile to live with my good friend. She had the life of a queen and other Labrador sisters to play with. The last 18 months were probably the most wonderful for Sea Smoke as she was the center of attention and had lots of treats and could sleep on Berta's bed. Bonding was rapid and everlasting for both human and dog.

I say it every time--it isn't fair that our dogs don't live longer. I envision Sea Smoke romping with her mother, Clondike, Haley and all the others who have crossed the bridge.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Off to Muncie, Indiana

I'm leaving to judge at the Muncie, Indiana shows. It will be my first provisional assignment and I'm very excited about it. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go on a research cruise due to a schedule conflict. However, it is hard to plan these things out when one has to sign a contract so far in advance. At any rate, I'm looking forward to this assignment and hopefully many more to follow. If I'm not up on the blog for a few days, it's because I'm out of state. The major bummer will be the restrictions on any liquids, etc. What a mess! I have to repack all my stuff and hope that my shampoo doesn't run as they sling the bags around. More later after I get back.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tooth cleaning

It's really worthwhile to check out your dog's teeth to make sure that there isn't any placque buildup. We regularly get the teeth of our older dogs cleaned. It does involve anaesthesia so that the dental tools to chip away placque buildup can be used. While it may be possible to brush the teeth of your pet, we just don't have the time to brush the teeth of all of our dogs. We regularly look in their mouths and especially check the molars to determine how clean they are. I tend to look in the mouth a lot and that isn't always good, as some dogs will get mouth shy because of constantly looking. It certainly is better to have good clean teeth which makes the doggy kisses pleasant!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dragon Boat Team

Tonight I joined up with the Dragon Boat Charleston Community Team. Dragon boats have been around since the 5th century and the sport is becoming increasingly popular. Charleston has an MUSC team of cancer survivors and now it will have a community team composed of interested rowers.

Tonight we learned the basics about stroke and position. Then we actually got to row out in the Ashley River and try out synchronized strokes. It was a lot of fun and a beautiful evening. The dogs probably missed me but it's good to take a break and be on the water. I enjoyed seeing the setting sun on the water.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Barrett is a Champion

I got word today that Barrett finished at the Harrisburg, PA shows with a second major under Tom Bradley. He is now Ch. Surrys the Madcap Laughs! I am thrilled to say the least. Barrett will now be coming home and Tobias will be going out with Rusty and Jenn to be shown.

I'm off to bed. It has been a long, delightful day and it's time for a good night's sleep. The temperature is perfect and the light rain that has been falling is so soothing.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rowing and salsa

We had 5 people at the oars on the gig last night. There was a thunderstorm that we had to wait out by going to Salty Mike's and getting some liquid refreshments. Then, the skies cleared and we were able to head out into Charleston Harbor. We rowed past the ship graveyard where the R/V Anita rests on the marsh. The Anita was built from lumber of oak trees on Wadmalaw Island. She served as our estuarine research vessel for many years. I did several projects off the Anita and up until recently she was used for our shrimp and crab survey. It was determined last year that she was too old to repair and so the Anita was sold. Not long after she left the marine lab at Ft. Johnson, she sank in Charleston Harbor and was refloated to her current resting place next to a large steel hulled life boat and several abandoned sail boats. It seemed so strange as we rowed past to see the Anita with bow on the bank. I'm hoping that her owner will decide to restore her back to running condition.

After the row, I changed clothes, had dinner and headed to the South End Brewery for salsa dance night. The music starts at 10 PM and by 11:15, the dance floor was filled with lots of talented dancers. It was my first real attempt at club dancing and luckily my insstructor was there to offer support. There were also other dance class members and I didn't do half bad since I was dancing with one of the more experienced men. I left when the beat changed to Marenga. I have a hard enough time with cross body moves, twists, turns and other complicated stuff that isn't in my genetic makeup. It is fun to watch the really good dancers move though. They make it look effortless. Maybe after another year, I'll be more confident.

Tomorrow is another rowing day. This time we may try to sink the 34 ft. gig and then reright it. Not sure for the reasoning of doing that since I was pretty shocked about capsizing in the Ashley. Another day, another experience.....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Eternal Whistler

This was sent to me by Adrienne. Many thanks to all who sent condolences about Clondike.

The Eternal Whistler

It is the eternal whistler
Who goes whistling up the sky
And at his heels are the weary dogs
That have come to him to die,
He whistles them over the far off clouds
And up to the Golden Gate
And then he whistles a softer note,
While they sit and they pant and they wait.
Then quickly he whistles a shriller blast
As slowly the gate swings wide
And when nobody's looking, St. Peter winks
Then hustles them all inside.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hennings Mill Clondike: May 11, 1994-August 8, 2006

We lost a very good buddy today. Clondike was put to sleep with Charlie and me holding him and our caring vets tearfully stroking him. He came to us from Jack and Dot Galvin and has been a wonderful friend and great comfort over the years. Spondylosis that got progressively worse and congestive heart failure, along with failing kidneys, forced us to make the hard decision that we made today. Over the last several days, Clondike wasn't eating well and had a lot of nausea. The spondylosis was causing weakness and pain in his rear, so much so that this morning he couldn't get up. Our vets thought that increasing his steroid dosage would only further upset his digestive system and cause more vomiting. It would be a vicious cycle that would soon result in his becoming very weak and debilitated. So the hard decision was made. Clondike, you were a wonderful dog and we miss you.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Quiet and hot weekend

Charlie has been working on painting the walls on the new addition. We are adding a wing onto the main house that will incorporate a master bedroom and bath downstairs as well as a large library upstairs (shown in picture). The flooring is now down and the sheet rock up. Charlie has begun painting the master bath. It was better to stay inside today than to be outside. Tomorrow I'll be rowing in the morning with my single. I'm hoping for a little breeze, at least enough to stir the air. It has been a crazy weekend on the water as the Rockville Regatta is this weekend. It is called the biggest floating cocktail party in the state. The Sea Island Yacht Club is the host of the regatta which is really more of a party scene than a sailing event. I usually row on Leadenwah Creek but with the number of crazies in the water there, I'm going over to the Ashley River to row. Hopefully, early in the morning will be less congested on the water.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A good evening for rowing

Tonight I rowed with 3 others in a gig in Charleson Harbor. There was a light breeze, just enough to take away some of the heat of the day. We were flying a "Don't Tread on Me" Gadsden flag which was neat. We made our way out of City Marina up the Ashley River near to the Citadel. Flanking us on either side were two Dragon boats, one with 2o rowers on board and another smaller boat with 10 rowers on board. It was quite a sight to see them sprinting along and then coming to a halt. We weren't the sprinters with our heavy gig but the endurance rowers, keeping up a steady stroke and responding to commands from our coxswain. I needed this after a day of sitting in an 8 hour meeting talking about budgets and how to divide up a multi-million dollar increase in a national project budget among the South Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean. Marine science isn't all diving, sampling, and sunsets. It is mostly about keeping projects going, trying to get more money to do additional projects, or writing up reports and analyzing data on the projects that have just ended.

After getting home from rowing, I played with the dogs a bit and then fed them. Charlie was nice enough to clean the kennels for me. Clondike is doing better and is eating his boiled chicken and rice dinner now. He will go back on regular kibble once his GI tract is stable. I'm off to bed to get ready for another day of meetings tomorrow. I'll dream of being on the water in the twilight.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

smelly dogs? check the rear!

Have you ever noticed a musky skunk like smell emanating from your dog? It's entirely possible that your dog may have impacted anal glands or may have discharged the anal glands. The anal sacs are located on each side of the anus, just under the skin. They open to the outside by tiny passageways or ducts. Glands within the anal sacs produce a dark, foul-smelling substance. The sacs normally empty as the animal has a bowel movement. Their purpose is unknown although one theory suggests that they were once used to mark territory.

For many reasons, sometimes these tear-shaped glands get blocked. This means that while more and more liquid is produced, none is being expressed into your dog's stools. Signs of blocked anal glands include butt scooting, bloody stools, strong odor or a swollen anus.

You can express your dog's anal glands but many people find this distasteful.
I wear latex gloves and am very careful when I clean out the anal glands. It isn't my favorite job for sure! Whatever you do, I would advise not getting any of the anal sac fluid on your clothes or hands. Vets regularly get sprayed with the stuff and it is totally nasty.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

another hot week

The Dog Days are certainly here. I'm longing for a sea breeze in the afternoon but it's just blowing hot air. No one stirs in the paddocks except for Aggie and Amelia who play endlessly.

Clondike came home and seems to feel better. He had a bought with gastroenteritis. I'm glad that he is feeling better. It worries me when my old buddy isn't himself. He is undoubtedly one of the sweetest dogs that I've ever been around. Just a kind hearted guy who enjoys life, cookies and his play toys. What more can anyone ask? I attribute a lot to his sire, Ch. Scartho Frost, who was also a very sweet dog. Called the Boss, he was one of the most striking Labradors that I've ever seen. I have photos of him when he had just been imported and was being shown at Potomac. What a gorgeous dog! It is sad that so many of the dogs that I've known are no longer alive. Sadly, they don't live long enough.