Friday, April 29, 2011

The Scoop

The scoop is, there is no scoop.  I'm so frustrated I could cry.  Scratch that.  I'm so frustrated I did cry.

We know it isn't Lupus (we knew that before I thought).  It isn't Cancer (Cancer? That is the first time that was even mentioned as an option.).  It is some kind of hyperkeratosis - which is essentially a thickening of her pads.  We could see that.  What we didn't know was the cause.  And we still don't.

They are still doing more tests but the regular ones came back with no answers.  They are thinking about increasing her Zinc and her Vitamin A even though her breed make-up isn't prone to these deficiencies and she is on a balanced diet that shouldn't cause issues.  Basically it wouldn't hurt to try it and seeing as there is nothing else to do...

The vet is waiting until next week when the other results come back to determine a treatment plan.  I'm no longer holding my breath.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

i heart pets

This week over at I Heart Faces, the theme is pets.  How could I not participate?

I've been struggling lately to take photos as my muse is out of commission for the moment. So I went back into the recent archives and chose one that never fails to make me smile.

Go over to I Heart Faces to check out all the other amazing entries.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The only times our dogs ran at the dog park yesterday was when they were running off (and barking at the same time) to check out a dog, or running back to us as we yelled their names.

Fortunately they did that often enough that they actually got some exercise.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Very Long Day

Coulee, Lacey and I headed up to Calgary yesterday to get Coulee checked out by a specialist. Unfortunately they couldn't tell what was wrong just by looking at it. Just like our vet, this vet suspected auto-immune or some other mystery illness affecting her pads. We decided the only option for answers was a biopsy. She also wanted to retest her kidney function as her creatinine levels were high last time.

So Coulee stayed there and Lacey and I went off to go for a walk and do some shopping.  The clinic called around 4 p.m. to let me know that they had knocked her out and that they were going to biopsy her left foot instead of her right one.  We had seen some damage starting on one of the toes on her left front foot and they thought that the right one wouldn't have enough good tissue left to stitch back together.  Turns out, almost all her toes are starting to become affected. I had noticed some greying on her other toes but thought I was being paranoid.  I'm so glad we decided to move forward as they are obviously all getting worse quite quickly.

They removed a section on the side of her pad and have stitched her pad to the skin surrounding it. They thought this would heal better than a chunk out of the middle.  Her foot is wrapped up with a split so she doesn't open the wound every time she steps.  She is supposed to be confined to a small room (I'm crating her when we are away), wear a cone when left unattended and go out in the backyard on a leash for potty breaks... for 2 weeks.  Then the splint can come off, the two external stitches will be removed and we'll see how well it is healing.

The blood work results (for kidney function) should be back later today and the biopsy results will be back early next week. We have a 70% chance of the biopsy telling us exactly what is wrong.  At the very least, it will help us narrow down our options to the remaining 30% and hopefully we'll be able to pin-point it from there.

I was a total emotional wreck yesterday (actually had a meltdown in the middle of a sidewalk) but I didn't get any sleep after 2:30 in the morning so I'm blaming it on exhaustion. LOL. I feel a lot better today.  I know we made the right decision to get the biopsy done and there is nothing we can do to change the results of the test -  we'll just have to adjust and cope with whatever they tell us.

She is currently hobbling around like a pirate on a peg leg.  I'm going to get out the clicker and see if I can teach her "Sad" and "Play Dead" in these next two weeks.  I'll keep you all up to date!  Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, advice and encouragement.  It has helped a lot.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Worth Thinking About

Earlier this week I found out that one of the daycares that opened up last year was closing down.  I feel bad for the owner as this can't be an easy decision, and it probably wasn't a cheap one either.  There were 2 daycares that opened up at around the same time and I wondered if the two of them would hurt each other more than they would hurt my business - and that seems to be what happened.  We had a few slower than usual months in early Winter but we are currently going as strong as we were at this time last year.  I think all their advertising has actually helped us.  LOL.

I debated taking over the lease and opening a second location.  I toured the facility, chatted about the opportunity with Amanda, Jo and Marlin and for a while was excitedly leaning towards going for it.  Then I called my Dad as he is always a great person to bounce ideas off.

He was encouraging but by the end of the conversation I had talked myself out of it.  Just thinking about doing it wasn't a waste of time though.  I learned something.

Whenever a client calls and wants to book their dog in for a day when we are full, I hate saying we can't take them. I feel like I am letting them down, that I am disappointing them and that my business isn't living up to their expectations.  I had never really thought about why it bugged me so much.

While I'd love a solution to saying no all the time, opening another location is not what I want to do.  I don't want more work, I want less (doesn't everyone?).  And I know that a second location would take me away from the best part of the job - hanging with the dogs. Getting a promotion or having a more successful business isn't necessarily better. I'm always surprised when people take a promotion just because that is what you are supposed to do.  What about what you want to do?

I'm looking forward to having some time off this summer, hanging out with Marlin, the pups, family and taking lots and lots of photos. Besides, the daycare is never as busy in the summer so I won't need to say no as much for the next few months and I'll have time to figure out a better way to say no less often next winter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moody Spring

Well the snow came back.  But hopefully not for long.  I was really looking forward to our walk today as I'd had lots of fun this morning outside with the daycare dogs.  But suddenly it was super windy.  And super unpleasant.  We didn't stay out very long at all.

I really need to start doing some mentally stimulating stuff to tire Coulee out. This lack of fetch is seriously making her coo-coo.  She would not stop "play" attacking Lacey today and a few times she just stood in the middle of the field and barked at me.  At home in the evenings, she is constantly chasing Jack or Lu or Lacey and is driving all of us crazy.

She has started hitching on her back left foot now.  I didn't see it today, but I've noticed it the last 2 days.  I won't be surprised if we see something in a couple of weeks on her pads... or it could be coincidence and she's just pulled something. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  If something does show up, we'll be going to a dermatologist.  I've been asking everyone I know (and emailing many vets) but so far, I haven't found any more information.

This picture cracks me up.

I haven't stopped running her, just playing fetch. That alone is a huge reduction in exercise, but I'm not sure if it is enough.  I'll be ordering her booties tomorrow from Ruffwear. They can't get here fast enough.  Although not sure if we should be playing fetch even with booties on.

Lacey is just happy as a clam as always.  Especially as she has no idea her sister is stalking her.

I really wish Coulee looked better in the photo below.  They are actually running side by side which never seems to happen for more than a split second.  And this is the only shot I got.

Nothing else too exciting happening here.  We are just trying to survive spring's crazy mood swings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 3

It is Day 3 of no fetch for Coulee.  I think we are both going a little squirrelly.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Taste of Spring

We had a pretty beautiful weekend.  This is as close as Spratly got to enjoying it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Split Paw Pad Disease

Our vet phoned yesterday with some more potential diseases.  One of them was "Split Paw Pad Disease". There is a dismal amount of information on this on the internet, but there is a book that has some information about it.  From the description and the pictures it looks like it could definitely be the issue!  Figure 4.32 is pretty much what her two pads look like.

It sounds like it is pretty rare and I haven't been able to find any information on treatment yet.  Anyone heard of this before?

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Paw Saga

Coulee's right front pads have done it again.  This time there is quite a deep crack (or fissure as the vet calls it) and she is limping quite a bit.  In just two days her pad has gone from healthy looking with a crack, to grey and dead.

Taken yesterday before the deadness set in.
We took her into the vet again and there are two options.  1) It is Lupus but the blood test was wrong.  2) She has coincidentally damaged the same paw and pads again.

I'm leaning towards it being coincidence.  It was pointed out if she has a certain gait, it is possible that she keep re-injuring herself in the same place.  I'm not sure why it has never happened before now but maybe it is because she is getting older and falling apart like the rest of us.  :)

So we are going to hold off on a biopsy but we are going to put her on some fish oils - if it is Lupus it may help, and if it isn't, it won't hurt her.  It is also good for her kidneys which we still aren't sure if we should be concerned about.

Anyway, sorry for the boring post.  It is just useful to have this written down for when I need to reference it later.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Lacey was practicing her "Stay" at the dog park.  She did pretty good considering we never ever practice anywhere but home.

Just Ducky

These guys just came up behind us out of the blue.  No time to change any camera settings, but it worked out pretty good!  I love the guy in the middle with his beak open.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Panning

You knew I'd have to try again right?  The first three were taken at a slightly faster shutter speed than yesterday - 250  instead of 160.

Then I had to try it in the water.  I slowed the shutter down to 200 for these.

Apparently when running in water you need to make a crazy face.  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I've been meaning to attempt panning for a long time and for some reason, I've never gotten around to it.  Here is my first attempt - courtesy of my obsessive border collie cross again.  :)  Frankly they give me a bit of a headache to look at.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Boonie the Snowman

The weather outside is frightful.

We got a whole bunch of wet, heavy snow and it is still coming down.  Oh yeah, and the wind is blowing too.

We attempted to take the dogs out for a walk.

It didn't last long.

Boone became a snowman in minutes.

We alternated between killing ourselves laughing as he tried to jump out of his newly formed snow boots and helping break off the snowballs for him.

We quickly realized that it was a never ending battle so we headed home.  Boone at least got a good workout carrying all that extra weight around.