Monday, August 29, 2011

No News is Good News

I'm finding it difficult to find things to blog about these days.  I seem to be posting more and more 'sound bites' on FB than coming up with meaningful topics to blog about.

Yes, we had an earthquake last Tuesday.  I was at James Madison's Montpelier volunteering when it hit.  That put me less than 30 miles from the epicenter.  I volunteer in the Dupont Gallery in the visitors center.  The damage in the visitors center/gift shop was minimal.  The gift shop had a lot of cleaning up to do as breakables well, they broke.  In the Dupont Gallery, lots of pictures were catty-wampus and the chandeliers swung quite a bit.  I think that is probably the strongest earthquake I've experienced and while there have been some pretty good aftershocks, I've only felt one of those.  By the way, the damage to Montpelier itself was limited to some cracked plaster and chimneys, nothing structural.

At the end of last week, everyone on the East coast braced for Hurricane Irene.  The track the storm took left us with some fairly strong winds and just a little rain - we didn't lose power.  Our friends to the east, in Richmond and on the Virginia coast, saw a lot more damage and rain.  Fortunately, as far as we know, everyone is ok but the clean up will take a while.

Thursday of this week I'll be boarding a plane for a flight south.  I have a real, face-to-face job interview with a large company on Friday.  I don't want to say who yet but, think good thoughts.  It seems like a wonderful opportunity for me in a lot of ways; career advancement, location and, oh yeah, I'd be employed again.  When I know something, you all will.

And, last but not least, agility classes are scheduled to resume on September 7!  I am so excited.  Moira does so much better when she has a chance to get out of the house and visit with her agility friends.

My next post will be something special so be sure to check back......

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut....

Coconut, that is or, rather, coconut oil.  A few weeks ago a Beardie friend posted on FB regarding the health benefits of coconut oil for the dogs (Dogster Post).  So I did a little on line reading to determine if it was something I wanted to try.  For the last year or more Sam has had terribly dry skin and no amount of supplements seemed to be helping - not even salmon oil.

After determining that coconut oil wouldn't harm the dogs in any way, I went ahead and bought a small jar of Virgin Coconut Oil from Whole Foods.  My first surprise was that when I opened the jar the oil had solidified.  Coconut oil solidifies at 76 degrees or lower so, when I took it out of the highly air-conditioned store, it was in a solid state.  It has fluctuated between liquid and solid since I brought it home but it doesn't need to be refrigerated.

This weekend I groomed all the dogs and, for the first time in over a year, Sam's skin wasn't dry and flaky.  He's been getting 1-2 tsps of coconut oil, daily, for the last 3 weeks.  His coat feels great too, very soft and silky (I know, that's not really correct for a Cardi).  Overall, I'm thrilled with what I've seen.  Coconut oil doesn't have the anti-inflammatory properties that salmon oil does but it seems to have a lot of other benefits so I think I will continue giving it.

Do some research for yourself and see if it is something you want to add to your dog(s) diet.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

But is it really a sport?

Over the last few weeks, UHM and I have had lots of conversations about things that are objective vs. subjective.  UHM is a highly competitive person who has always played sports (although if you ask my mom, golf isn't really a sport).  The sports she has played are of the objective variety; golf, soft ball, field hockey.  Either you make the putt, or you don't; you score a goal, or you don't; you hit the ball, or you don't.  You don't get any extra points for doing any of those things stylishly.  There is a referee or 'judge' involved but he/she is there to make sure the rules are followed and is rarely expected to make a subjective call.

While not a sporting type myself, my competitive endeavors have usually been more subjective in nature.  I was on the forensics (speech) team, played in the band, a member of the livestock judging team and showed livestock.  Those experiences make the ups and downs of showing dogs - while still sometimes frustrating - a little more understandable to me.  The judges in speech competitions decided, subjectively, who had the better speech.  We competed for first chair, second chair, etc. in band and the director was the subjective judge of who played better.  Showing and judging livestock, like showing and judging dogs, is extremely subjective.  It is an individual's interpretation of which animal best represents the breed or style of animal currently favored.

Given the conversations UHM and I have had, it seemed serendipitous when my friend Karen, at Dog Show Newbie posted a link to an article/editorial on  In the piece, the writer likens breeding and showing dogs to art more than sport and I think he's right.  What's really great is, the piece was written by a long-time Cardigan breeder; Paul Chen of Afara Cardigans.  Take a couple minutes to check it out and see if you don't agree with his thoughts - as well as get a chuckle out of his description of what it's like to breed and show dogs.

Monday, August 15, 2011


My dogs have taken joint supplements off and on for years but it's really only been in the last year or so that I've been consistent about giving them.  I got better about it right around the time that Sam was prescribed Tramadol for the pain associated with arthritis.  We were reluctant to put him on a straight NSAID because, at the time, he was having some kidney issues.

The vet and I had discussed other options for dealing with arthritis in the past but it had really gotten to the point that, for Sam to continue to enjoy life, we needed to make a decision.  The NSAIDs still had the concern associated with kidney damage so Dr. Hillary and I talked about Adequan.

Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is a sort of injectable version of the more common oral supplement, glucosamine.  When Adequan is injected, the joints preferentially take it up and it provides additional cushioning in those joints.  It acts as both a treatment and preventative for arthritis.

Last week we finished the four week loading dose period with Sam (2 doses per week).  The first few weeks I didn't see too much difference in his behavior.  Around week three I started seeing him feel a lot better on his shot days.  After the 6th dose I saw a real and extended period of time where he was feeling great and it has continued.  Today he had his first maintenance shot.  He'll get one shot per week until it seems like that is no longer effective - then we might increase it.  He still gets Tramadol on the nights when he seems particularly sore but those are fewer now.

Sam's arthritis is too advanced for this to act like a preventative but it is making him more comfortable and, at just under $8 per shot, it's affordable for me.  My vet agreed to teach me how to give the shots (the packaging calls for intramuscular but recently it's been determined that subcu works too) so I don't have to make a trip to the office all the time.  Drs. Foster & Smith has the best on line pricing for Adequan that I've been able to find and shipping is free on prescriptions.

I'm a firm believer that all dogs should receive a joint supplement, even as puppies, and especially dogs that participate in any sports (agility, herding, fly ball).  With what I've seen and read about Adequan, I would even go so far as to replace an oral supplement with the Adequan when a performance dog starts to age.  I'm considering starting Moira (who'll be 6 this year) on it in the next couple of years.

Talk to your vet about arthritis in dogs and Adequan.  While there can be some mild side effects, and not all drugs work for all dogs, I've been really happy with the changes I've seen in Sam since he started on it.  For more information on Adequan you can visit the Novatis website,

Friday, August 12, 2011

On the Road Again

Bogey and I leave today to retrieve Georgia from North Carolina.  UHM and I dropped her off with Liz (her breeder) and Marian (pro handler and wonderful lady who whelped G and her siblings) last Sunday.  Georgia has been at Dog Show Boot Camp/Cheer Camp for the last week.  She's entered in the Greensboro cluster of shows which started on Wednesday and go through Sunday.

Wednesday G was reserve winner's bitch, yesterday nothing and today Cardis were on at 9 but I haven't heard anything - which usually isn't a good sign.  She'll show tomorrow and Sunday and then we'll head home.

Wish us luck!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Class Pictures

Ahh yes, summer is coming to a close (at least chronologically if not meteorologically) and thoughts turn to back to school.  New school clothes (my personal fave), new school supplies (lunch box anyone? or are those passe?) and class pictures.

I won't share any of my old class pictures.  I think they are all in storage anyway and, generally speaking, incredibly unflattering with the exception of 5th grade.  In the spirit of those class pictures, we took the dogs to Chris Green Lake yesterday to get some head shots.  Let me just say that Moira and Bogey are terrific models, the rest of them are difficult to work with.  Sam is too excited about being out of the house, Ginny is too excited about having grass to eat and Georgia is still too young to really want to hold still.  None the less, here are some of the better photos from today....

Sam, he's actually an alum.  Can you guess which fraternity he pledged?

This is an oldy, but goody of Gin.  She just didn't want to have her picture taken.

Moira.  The other really good shot of her looked like a mug shot.

Bogey.  Doesn't this look like your classic 'senior portrait?'  The pensive, staring into space look.

And our 'first grader,' Georgia.