Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cat adjustments

The new cats are getting more used to being at Surry. At first, it was hard with Isaac because he hid all the time. It appeared that he wasn't eating or drinking. I was worried. I moved him to a bathroom where there was no place to hide, except crouching in the bathtub. He's coming around and is doing better, eating much better, purring loudly and generally not being as secretive.

The Siamese kitten Esther is having fun. She runs and plays with toys, has an incredible purring motor, and has taken to Rachel.

Even Rebecca is adjusting to life without Abraham. She used to hide all the time but now comes out, purrs, and rubs against my legs. I think that loneliness has made her come out of her shell.

So things are starting to quiet down. I finally opened the card from the vets, Drs. Shong and Rockwell. I just couldn't open it at first because I knew that it was a sympathy card about Abraham. His ashes are back from the crematorium. I don't have my big black cat anymore but there are other cats and dogs who have my attention. Life moves on.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hoffa and Labradors are good ambassadors

I've been taking Hoffa and a couple of the Labradors to various dog parks in the area. The James Island Park is really the best, now that there is a fence. I also like the one at Palmetto Islands County Park. It is large and there is a fence.

It seems that everyone who meets Hoffa the greyhound,Stella, Tobias, Clara, and any of the other Labradors falls in love with them. People are amazed at how fast Hoffa can run and how sweet she is. They always ask what breed the Labradors are because they aren't used to seeing the English type.

Dogs at the dog parks seem to have a wonderful time. Occasionally, there will be a growl but mostly everyone just runs about, getting dirty or muddy, and seeming to enjoy socializing.

People at the dog park are interesting too. Most everyone stands around looking at their dog and talking to others about their dog. People want to know about your dog but always speak proudly of their dog, almost like it is their child. In most cases, the dog is like a child to them.

I've come to enjoy the outings. I'm able to let Hoffa go and run to her heart's content. And by taking the Labradors along, they get to have a great time as well.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Deacon on the road

I made a decision to put Deacon out with Rusty and Jenn Howard for a couple of months. He is a nice boy and is at the age where he still looks good. His coat is nice and his movement isn't sloppy.

He was shown at the LRC of the Piedmont and placed first in his 12 to 18 Black Dog class under an English judge on Sunday. He is a hard dog to handle because he is crazy about the GIRLS! Deacon has discovered that there are lots of smells associated with females that drive him crazy. Consequently, he is focusing on quite a bit of things besides me.

So I thought that Rusty and Jenn would be able to get his head straight through lots of handling and dog shows. We'll see how it goes.

Handlers will definitely get him out there more than I am going to do. I've gotten to the point in life where I don't want to travel a couple of weekends a month to show dogs. Dragging crates in and out of buildings, walking dogs every few hours, and the general lack of sleep from staying in hotels is something that I'm glad to take a break from for a while.

I think that in the long run, considering the price of gas, entry fees, and hotel expenses, it will be less to put him out with a handler. And hopefully, there will be some beneficial results.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kitties to love

Since Abraham died, I've been mourning his loss. No black cat to greet me in the morning, no kitty tail across my face when I'm fixing the dogs' breakfast. So I made a decision that I needed to adopt another cat.

Abraham came as a feral stray. I haven't seen any strays on Leadenwah in years. And believe me, if they were out there, they would eventually make their way to this house where they would receive the best food and have the best bed. Word would be passed--"Hey, check out Surry you furballs. It's where the good life is."

Anyway, I checked the paper and saw the Pet Helpers ads. I went there today with my cat carrier box. It was overwhelming. There were over a hundred cats in two rooms. Not in cages but just hanging out. Some were walking around, others were sleeping on high platforms or in beds.

I checked out several black males and decided to get Isaac. He is black and large and friendly. He has lived for 2 years at the shelter and needed a home.

But I also adopted another kitty. A seal point Siamese named Expresso who I'm going to call Esther. Esther is 2 months old and very playful.

So far, Rachael has hissed at Esther but they are dealing with it all. Esther just plays happily and ignores the hissing. Isaac has decided that he likes sleeping in the drawer of a workbench. Rebecca misses Abraham and is hoping that her new friend will decide to come out and play. It just takes cats a while to adjust. It took Abraham about 3 months before I could pick him up without being scratched. I'm patient and these cats have been well socialized. Isaac just needs a bit more time than Esther the Siamese who a Siamese if you please or if you don't please.

So now two kitties have a forever home. Abraham must be purring away.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My beloved Abraham

Yesterday was a very sad day here. Abraham, my black cat, died from massive heart failure.

Abraham was special for sure. He helped me train all the puppies to accept cats. He would walk nonchalantly out into the yard when I had the puppies out and wait for them to approach him. He would tolerate all the puppy stuff unless they got a bit rough and then he would deliver a swat. Immediate respect was ingrained in the minds of the puppies. He never tired of puppies either. One would think that he would not want to be around a bunch of bouncing Labradors but Abraham always wanted to be there. In fact, he wanted to be everywhere we were. If I was working in flower beds, Abe would come over and flop down to watch. He loved to be with his humans more than anything.

Abraham came to Surry as a feral stray who looked as if he had been in a knife fight at a bad bar. His legs were ripped up and his neck had been bitten. I don't know what the other cat looked like but Abe was a mess. It took a while of feeding him before he became tame enough to touch. Eventually, I was able to lure him into a trap and take him to the vets. He was neutered (sorry Abe but it was best), checked over, given his shots and came home to live. He remained somewhat feral for a while. He would scratch or bite if the mood struck him. All the raging male cat hormones were still in his system.

But eventually, Abe became the most docile and loving cat. I could cut his toenails, have him curl up on my lap, scratch his tummy, and do anything to that cat. He was a special one. He would greet me every morning for his breakfast, would sleep in the chair all day, and generally followed me everywhere.

Abraham, we miss you. I wish that we'd had a chance to say Goodbye but maybe that wasn't necessary since we were always saying Hello to each other. Until later, Abe.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to the Dogs

Dogs deserve to know our love every day. But on this special day, how about a Valentine treat? Here's a good recipe for Peanut Butter Doggy Treats. Use a heart shaped cutter and you have the perfect gift for your dog's Valentine's day.

3 tbsp. peanut butter
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup fine cornmeal


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Beat together peanut butter and eggs. Gradually beat in oil and water until well-mixed.
3. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine flour, oats, and cornmeal.
4. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and blend well to form a dough.
5. Roll out the dough to approx. 1/4" thickness and cut into shapes, or just slice them into squares if you don't have cookie cutters.
6. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch between biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes until browned. Turn off oven, but leave the biscuits inside to "crisp". Once the biscuits have hardened, remove them and treat your dogs! Store the remaining biscuits in an airtight container.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kidney infection in dogs

I noticed that Tilly didn't seem as active as usual, even though she is 13 years old. She seemed a bit lethargic and was having some urine incontinence. After she was shown in Veterans at the CSCLRC supported entry, I knew that she was not feeling well. She just wasn't perky at all and didn't want to be in the ring which is unusual for Tilly.

So I took her to our vet for a check up. Dr. Shong found that she had a kidney infection. We know that the kidneys are vital organs which maintain the balance of certain chemicals in your dog's blood while filtering out the body's wastes as urine. The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure, help regulate the production of calcium and phosphorus metabolism, and produce a hormone that stimulates red-blood-cell production.

The structural units that work as filters in the kidney are nephrons. The nephrons are susceptible to damage due to many causes such as poisons, aging, infection, trauma, cancer, auto-immune diseases, and genetic predisposition. If any of these occur the entire nephron stops functioning. Fortunately, there are millions of nephrons. If damage to nephrons occurs gradually and the surviving nephrons have enough time to hypertrophy, a kidney can continue to function with as few as 25 percent of its original nephrons.

When the number of functioning nephrons drops below 25 percent or when damage occurs too suddenly for the remaining nephrons to compensate, kidney failure occurs. There are two types of kidney failure. Acute kidney failure is a sudden loss of function that is sometimes but not always reversible. Chronic kidney failure is an irreversible loss of function that occurs gradually over months or years.

Dr. Shong suspected that Tilly had an acute problem. He did a blood workup and found that her levels of creatinine (a chemical byproduct of muscle exertion) were higher than normal. All of her other blood work was good, her joints were good, and her heart was good. He suspected that her infection would respond well to antibiotics.

Tilly was started on Baytril and has gotten much brighter and more like her old self. There is a lot of information about kidney disease in canines on the web. This site has a lot of information that may be useful.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

LRC of the Piedmont

This weekend is the LRC of the Piedmont specialty. I spent the day at the specialty. I really like specialty shows a lot, and this has been one that I've been going to for many years. In fact, I think that I went to the first one held by this club and have only missed a couple of shows since then.

As usual, it means getting up at 6 AM, walking the dogs, giving a few cookies but no breakfast, and then showing in various classes. There is a little time to just sit down and relax but not much time for that. Most of the time, I have to walk dogs, make it to the ring in time for my class, and walk around to watch the other rings. It's also a great time to catch up with old friends and talk to people about their dogs and promising puppies.

Specialties mean that there is only one breed being shown, in this case Labradors. All breed shows have entries of every breed. There are many more all breed shows than specialties. The competition at a specialty is fierce because there are so many nice Labradors present. Today, Mary Wiest's lovely Beechcroft boy won WD and went on to take the Breed. It is really an unforgettable thing to win at a specialty. I won Best of Breed with my Ch. Surry's Interstellar Overdrive several years ago at this very specialty. It was a great moment to savor.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hoffa's morning at the beach

Hoffa hasn't quite decided what to think about waves and surf yet. She has gone to Sullivan's Island several times, most recently with her Labrador pal Stella. Stella loves the surf and wades about. Hoffa finds the water a bit scary so today she had to be carried around the rip rap! She walked part of the way and then came to a screeching halt. She dug in her toes and said, "Nope, I'm not going around any more rocks or out into this chilly water". Her greyhound friends Cayenne and Cooper lie about in the water regardless of how cold it is.

I'm sure that in time Hoffa will learn to love the water just as her buddies do. Until then, I'm just glad that she doesn't weigh 85 lbs like the Labradors do!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Floyd has crossed the bridge

I got the word that Am.Can. Ch. Surry's Dark Side of the Moon crossed over the Rainbow Bridge today. He joins his dam Ch. Fernwood Miss Daisy and his sire Ch. Sugar Hollow's Can't Touch This. I'm going to include the message that I received from Orlando Fernandez who co-owned Floyd with Sheila Wheatley and with whom Floyd lived in Spain. I think that it says what everyone has felt when they have a beloved animal leave this life:

"It is with great joy and sadness that I write this letter to you, joy because of all of the years of joy and happiness that our boy Floyd brought to me, the wonderful memories and in fact all that he taught me with his ways.

Sadness because as we know time does not stop and he has become very fragile and weak, I thought that perhaps it would be a very symbolic thing to send him over to Rigger and the rest of his cronies up above on his birthday, May 31st. Well this is not going to happen, I have been looking for a sign from him telling me when its time and I got it last night, his tail is not wagging any longer....I have made a very painful decision to send him to my Rigger and the rest on Monday morning, I don't want him to suffer and I believe that from this point on he is. Age stopped being kind to him a few months ago and it has been a fast track downhill.

So to the both of you I thank from the depths of my heart for having allowed me to share my life with this wonderful being, and I know that he will always carry a special place in your hearts as well. I speak for Sheila as well.

Today I am very sad, Monday will be a bad day too, but I hope that shortly thereafter I will as I have with the rest of the clan that has let me, be able to rejoice and celebrate the memories that he left me with.

I will give him a hug for the both of you."

Friday, February 01, 2008

Greyhounds in Bed

I'm glad that I've not let Hoffa up on the bed after seeing the video above. It's a wonder that the bedspread isn't shredded after the whirling!

I've never let the Labradors in bed either. For some reason, I don't want to sleep with a snoring man and an 85 lb. snoring, shedding dog. There just isn't enough room! And those stiff Labrador hairs...well....what more can I say because I have a quirk...I iron my sheets! Can you imagine what would be worse for a sheet ironer than to have dog hairs in bed???

Just something to make you smile on this Friday!!