Everything is a bit of a blur when you’re raising two puppies at the same time, especially two border collie puppies who are just 13 months apart. In the ideal world, I would have had all or most of Clover’s basic training done before we got another puppy, but that’s not how things worked out. So, I’m sitting here with Clover now 2 years old and Tori 1 year old, and I’m taking stock of where we are now on the dog training front. Let’s just say I’ve not reached my goals, and I’m feeling rather bummed about it. Warning — long post ahead.
A couple of weeks ago, I drove Clover out to Valdemar Farm for her herding instinct test with our herding instructor Cathy Balliu. You can see the video highlights (and bloopers) below, but let’s just say Clover did much more harassing than herding. Here is a recap of what we looked for, what we saw, and what comes next.
Bark and Lunge: Saving My Dog from Training Mistakes is a memoir by Kari Neumeyer, who is a fellow freelance / independent writer. It tells the story of a German Shepherd Dog named Isis (bought from a breeder on impulse). Let me just say that the breeder specializes in police and military working dogs. With just that bit of information and the book’s title, you can probably guess where the story goes from there.
We threw together a quick 90-second video, showing how Lilly is doing 2 weeks since her most recent setback and 5 days since the ER run to find out why she was feeling so lethargic. Not bad for a puppy-girl who could barely walk 2 weeks ago and who refused to get out of bed last weekend.
Friday, June 7, 2013, marks 500 days since Lilly received the ill-fated rabies vaccine that has forever changed all of our lives. Her widespread brain and spinal cord inflammation remains and requires numerous daily medications and others (including a chemo drug ~ 4 injections, over 2 days, every 3 weeks) to keep her alive. June also marks a full year since Lilly became completely incontinent (both ways). Taking care of her (and working a lot to pay her veterinary bills) consumes my every day. This is our new norm, and that’s OK … until I look at old videos and remember how strong she used to be. Then I’m super sad.
It has been a ridiculous week in Lilly Town. Here is a quick recap of our efforts to help Lilly recover from a terrible bladder infection. It stems from her symptoms and treatment for rabies vaccine-induced brain and spinal cord inflammation. We are now 13 months into this saga.
You have our apologies for the lack of blog posts this week. Just too-too-too much going on with Lilly, with work, with my mom (who is terminally ill). Here is a little VIDEO recap of Lilly’s recovery so far.
Keep in mind that her ultimate prognosis is unknown. We could still lose this battle. This new treatment regimen could fail. BUT, for now … this is how Lilly looks and acts (much of the time). The rest of the time, she sleeps … a lot.
For now, we are simply grateful for each DAY, whether it is a good one or not.
Deep inside Lilly remains Lilly — despite the brain and nervous system trauma caused by her adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine earlier this year. Her emergency treatment and ongoing treatment for meningoencephalomyelitis / meningoencephalitis, however, required she go off (cold turkey) the meds we gave her for years to treat her fears / anxieties. So, how has that turned out?
Next up in our gallery of changes since Lilly developed meningoencephalomyelitis / meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) after an adverse vaccine reaction to a rabies vaccine is this video showing how much trouble Lilly has holding a simple sit. Sometimes, her front feet slide out. Sometimes, we joke that she must have “butter on her butt.”
Our veterinary neurologist points out that Lilly’s brain inflammation has more to do with body awareness and control, but this sure looks like a strength issue to me. What do you think?
Monday, we showed you some agility highlights as Lilly recovers from her neurological troubles. Today, we prove that it isn’t always pretty.
At our last veterinary neurology appointment, Lilly got the OK to do agility and other more strenuous tasks so that her brain can start figuring out how to rewire certain movements. I convinced myself that Lilly jumped differently and weaved weirdly, but after looking at old agility videos, it seems more like Lilly exaggerates her movements following her “brain injury.” Videos, ahoy!
When Lilly’s brain and spinal cord went kerplewy with inflammation, it greatly affected her ability to move her once-agile body. Her cognitive responses to things like verbal dog training cues are also impaired (for now), but we’ve made a few adaptations around the house to help her be where she wants to be and do what she wants to do … on her own.
For the last 24 hours, Lilly has dramatic tummy troubles every 2-3 hours like clockwork. The diarrhea came on quickly Tuesday (2/7) afternoon and got worse overnight, despite the piles of rice I fed her to bulk things up. Our veterinary specialty hospital discharge instructions warned us this might happen as a side-effect from (primarily) the steroids Lilly is taking, but also as a consequence of the immune-mediator drug Lilly needs.
It is NOT a sign of her primary disease, but instead … just an icky outcome from the now 7 medications Lilly now takes as part of her recovery from meningoencephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) after having an adverse rabies vaccine reaction.
All of us at Chez Champion of My Heart remain in awe of the outpouring of love, support, and prayers in the wake of Lilly’s near-death experience with meningoencephalomyelitis. We have one more request … in addition to sending mojo for NO seizures and FULL recovery, please add SLEEP to our wishlist. We are tired!
Lilly has monster insomnia from the steroids (we assume). She only sleeps for 15-30 minutes at a time. Of course, it doesn’t help that she is crazy thirsty and needs to pee all the time — day and night — as well, but it breaks our heart that she hardly sleeps.
She cried, whimpered most of last night. In other words, no one around here is getting much sleep.
Rather than write a single comprehensive dog product review of the ThunderShirt, I’m going to write a series of reports over time so that, together, we can work through the ups and downs for our fearful canine heroine.
After last Friday’s post, where I first raised the question of ThunderShirt expectations and results, a helpful discussion got underway both in the blog comments section and on our Champion of My Heart Facebook Fan Page. Huge thanks to everyone who weighed in with how the ThunderShirt did (or did not) help their dog.
I alluded to the fact that our real-world test of the ThunderShirt wasn’t going as well as I had hoped. Here are some additional, early, details.
The whole New Year thing bugs me. I’m not big on resolutions because the truth is that every day could be considered an important threshold — not just December 31. So, this little reflection takes root in one dramatic realization that came with the onset of truly cold temperatures.
Here’s how it went down.
Longtime syndicated columnist and dog writer Steve Dale recently published a new eBook through Tribune Media Services — Good Dog. Since I don’t have a Kindle, I’ve not had the chance to read it. However, when I asked Dale about the history of dog training — going back to before I was born — he shared some interesting insights.
You see, I knew that the dominance / punishment style of dog training that I loathe really took hold back in the 1960s. What I did NOT know is that positive reinforcement practitioners were also on the scene back then.
I could use some help establishing expectations about Lilly’s ongoing struggle with anxiety. Living with a fearful dog can be a day-to-day, minute-by-minute thing, and I’m used to that. However, I’m trying to get a grip on what I can and cannot expect going forward as well as what shifts in dog behavior matter at this point.
Come May, Lilly will be 8 years old. That means we’re 7 1/2 years into her fearful dog reality as a member of our family and a good 5 years since we saw a major shift in her fearful behavior as she reached social maturity (around age 2 – 2 1/2).
In summer 2008, 8ur dog behavior modification work (combined with dog anxiety medications) got underway in earnest (after a couple of years of trying herbal and other scent-based remedies). This includes the Dog Relaxation Protocol MP3 files for which we are now famous for recording and providing FREE downloads.
Subtitle? How Lilly spent her holiday vacation. Being a crazy-smart girl, Lilly knows how to ride a snow sled while being pulled along, but she also sometimes rides down the hill with me. Over our holiday break, we enlisted Mr. Champion of My Heart to shoot some video.
I’m not keen on being immortalized in video bundled up in my bulky snow suit. We thought you might enjoy seeing what we did with all the snow that fell on the Winter Solstice.
To balance the posts lately about Lilly being less than great to Ginko, here is a dog video showing how much the dogs really do love each other. Our holiday message for 2011? Nibble on the ones you love. Ho ho ho!
It’s December 22! We made it. That days now get LONGER again. In celebration of Yule, two videos from years past of Lilly showing happiness knows no single season. Continue reading
Our decision to return Lilly to the full dose of her anxiety medications came in part from her escalated treatment of Ginko. Lately, she has been acting like Gandolf.