Sunday, September 27, 2009

Here, There, Everywhere

Yaaaawn.  One big yawn for a busy couple of days.

I suppose the first thing I should get to is the vet visit.  Well, to make a long story short, Marge's blood is on its way out to California tonight for some blood tests, most importantly a thyroid test.  As I found out, my vet does not ship blood out from his office, so I had to do it myself.  It was a very weird thing having three vials of dog blood in my refrigerator all day..

Other than that, my vet honestly didn't have much to say.  I was about to go back to May and recap everything to him, but he stopped me and outright told me that he's not the person I need to be speaking to about these things of things.  Though I appreciated his honesty, that is NOT what I wanted to hear.  He later revoked this statement to some degree, saying that Marge is still leaps and bounds from where she was when I got her last summer and urging me to not make a mountain out of a molehill.  He DID say that her noise phobias do bother him, though, and gave me the numbers for three specialty hospitals where I might find a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.  He threw out the words "amitriptyline" and "clomipramine" as two drugs we could possibly try through his own practice before I go that admittedly tough and expensive route.  

I'm not going to think too much about it right now. We'll wait for the blood work and then make our next move.  Though my gut feeling says no, it's always possible she could show up with a wonky thyroid.  I've been amping up the clicking and treating on walks rather than simply avoiding the problem by walking Marge at dead times, and it seems to be helping.  She had a treat-free romp in a decently busy field today with no problem whatsoever, and I have started walking her at night again too.  


The next order of business actually might deserve its own blog post, but I can't wait to spill the news...

I took a ride out to New Jersey to watch an AKC trial, where an upcoming NADAC trial will take place.  (Thanks so much for taking me out there, Louie.)  Though the name "East Freehold Showgrounds" sounded daunting to me (it's big enough for a horse show) and I was expecting to be let down, the place actually seems like somewhere that Marge would absolutely love.  Very quiet, a decent amount of fencing (the rings will be fenced with snow fencing, as usual), lots of trees and greenery to sniff, and it promises to be a small trial because there's an AKC one (and a Golden Retriever Specialty) that same weekend.

Of course, nothing is set in stone yet, but we may be debuting quite soon in the agility ring.  It may seem weird that I'm considering this based on our setbacks lately, but I honestly cannot convey just how different Marge is on the field (or even at a trial).  As long as I think she can handle it from a mental point of view, even if she knocks every bar and visits every ring steward.. as long as I think she can have a good time, we will go.  I've got five weeks to get it all together.  

I bought the super cool martingale leash in the picture above from Shadow-Max, a vendor who was there.  I have been looking for zebra stripes for a while now.. I like the way it looks on a black coat.  The price was too good to pass up, so the deal was done.  I like it so far!  Marge seems to get excited by it, too, but I'm sure it's just because she think she's going for a walk when she sees it. The woman was very nice and said I could mail it back for a new one if it didn't fit.

In other purchases, I bought a soft-sided, 42"(l) X 30"(w) X 37" (h) crate for Marge tonight.  Whether we trial next month or not, I think it'll really help if I get her used to staying in a crate.  We planned on doing this in the beginning, but, since I was a new dog owner, I kind of wriggled my way out of it thinking I was doing Marge a favor.  When it comes, I'll start by clicking and treating for her investigating the crate, work my way up into feeding her in it, then have her stay in it with the door open, giving her kongs in it, etc.  I expect it to take a good amount of time for her to be able to stay in it, but I think it's a good option to have, especially if we have any incompatible visitors to our house.


In non dog-related news, I ask that you please keep my grandmother in your thoughts.  Though I am admittedly closer with my mom's mother, my dad's mom has been sick in the hospital and the news isn't so good.  I'm not quite sure where they're at right now, but I know the whole thing is a very much unneeded stressor to my family, especially my dad.  As a person with a problem-solving personality, it bothers me that there is little to nothing that they can do for her.. but, I know the reality is that she is ninety years old and her body just cannot take any more surgeries or treatments.

Along with this, though I don't think I mentioned it on the blog, my mom's car was hit a couple of weeks ago while she was parked (and in it) after two cars collided with each other and came smashing into hers.  She is REALLY lucky to have escaped unscathed.  Though the incident did lead to a nasty dispute with the insurance companies, my parents now have whatever (little/unfair) compensation they received for the totaled minivan and are looking to buy another car.  Since the dealers just cleared out their lots with the Cash for Clunkers program, the prices aren't looking so good.  It's times like these where I think to myself about how happy I am to still be nineteen.. I've got a couple more years of fully avoiding those full-blown adult problems.

I hope all of you in the blogosphere are doing well.. several of you seemed to have disappeared to some degree!  I've finally gotten myself back into the swing of reading the blogs again, so I hope to hear from you all soon.


Scout and Freyja September 27, 2009 at 3:38 AM  

I agree - if my dogs don't go to Heaven I, too, may as well roast in hell.

Sending good thoughts for Marge and her bloodwork. I just hate it when I have to wait for results.

Scout and Freyja September 27, 2009 at 3:43 AM  

BTW, gonna check out that collar/leash, too, and, I'd go for the clicker training with Marge. I've always like the results and the "feedback" from the dog.

Dexter September 27, 2009 at 8:30 AM  

We will keep your mom-in-law in our thoughts.

It does sound weird to be carrying around Marge blood. I wonder what the UPS guy will say when you tell him the contents of the package. Hopefully those west coast vets know what they are doing.

I think that agilities sounds good provided Marge can keep her cool during the waiting period. I HATE the waiting which is a big reason why I stopped obedience after one competition with my airedale and showing after one competition with Mango. But that's just me.

Mango Momma

Raegan September 27, 2009 at 10:26 AM  

I have yet to see any concrete evidence that growing up is all it's cracked up to be, so I'm with you there. G and I send our usual good vibes your way (Gatsby must be sending extra this week, because he keep standing on me and staring at the laptop screen).

I really hope the agility trial goes well! Your run through videos are definitely my favorite part; it's hard to imagine Marge as the same fearful dog from all the text when watching them.

Scout and Freyja September 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM  

Domi, the therapy dog, has passed to the Bridge this weekend. Our blog contains her last letter to her friends. Please come to visit. It would mean so much to our momma and then go to Domi's blog to offer condolences. Momma is crying a lot today.

The Army of Four September 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM  

Wow! Very newsy post. First of all - Marge, you look TOTALLY cool in your new leash/collar! Very cool. VERY ... well, you know. I'd love to buy you a bowl of water some time.
As per the vet appointment - good luck with the blood tests and we hope you'll let us know the results. Granted we only heard part of what the vet said, but I think our mom would go looking for another vet. Drugs will only treat the symptoms of your phobias, not help you conquer them. Just my opinion... and coincidentally, my mom's too. Ha roo roo roo!
We will say a prayer for your (Sam's) grandmother - and hope the car search improves for your parents.
Good luck with the agility thing - it sounds AWESOME!
Play bows,

Sam September 27, 2009 at 5:27 PM  

Zim, I was actually decently happy with the things my vet said. He was not hesitant at all to draw blood for me so that I could send it out to Cali (though in his opinion there is nothing wrong with her medically), and really did give me a number of options as to what I can do for Marge. Any medication that Marge gets put on would (hopefully) help her calm down enough so that behavior modification and conditioning can work more effectively. I'm still tossing a few scenarios around, but if push comes to shove and I really need to, I'll suck it up and take Marge out to the behaviorist.. it doesn't come as a surprise to me that my vet doesn't know much about specific problem behaviors like this one, most vets aren't terribly knowledgeable in that area.

Marge heartily accepts your offer to go out for a drink of water.. you remind her of her old squeeze from the dog park days, a very handsome sleddog named Niko. :)

Astrid Keel September 28, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

Hugs for your Grandma and your family.

hope they get to the root of Marge's problems... though it sounds kinda creepy to have doggy blood in the fridge!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart September 28, 2009 at 4:15 PM  

I'm disappointed on your behalf that the doc didn't want to hear the whole thing. You'd think the staff could have told you they were not equipped to handle a case like this when you made the appt.

And, yes, I too felt completely weird taking viles of dog blood to the post office and overnighting them to CA. Made me laugh when I did it.

Our general practice vet also tried to help by starting with amitryptaline (sp?), which helped some, but when we had a full behavior consult (with a PhD, not a DVM), the drug recommendations were targeted MUCH more to Lilly's needs. Just our 2 cents.

I'm sorry to hear about your Gram and your mom's car.

Kathy Mocharnuk September 29, 2009 at 4:18 AM  

I LOVE NADAC and Lizzie is going to do a NADAC trial the end of October, Her trial debut, because there is good fencing and the courses are nice and flowey.
When is your blood work supposed to be done, it is weird to be sending blood, I have done it a couple of times but the first time was pretty weird.
I will keep your grandmother in our thoughts.

KB September 29, 2009 at 9:21 AM  

I'm glad that your vet didn't dismiss your worries and was honest about his lack of expertise in behavior. If you decide to try a specialist, it's always worth asking if they have any special pay structures for students. I was a student when I had my first two dogs, and my vet constantly gave me big discounts. Now, I donate to my vet's fund that she uses to help people who have trouble paying for vet care. It's conceivable that other vets have similar funds.

It sounds like all in all, Marge is doing pretty well right now. However, I think that it would be good to help her be less fearful if there's a medical way to do so.

I'm thinking of your grandma.

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