Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just chillin'....

Well, today is Thursday and finally, finally we get to do some agility this coming weekend! It's been months since any USDAA trials have been close enough for us to attend. 

Mum, Gracie and I have been doin' some brush up exercises getting ready. Me workin' on my gambles, and Gracie on her distance, teeter and weave entrances.

Can't wait to have fun playing with my Mum! Must make sure that Mum remembers how to Snooker, maybe I can get some blank labels and help her make a cheat sheet, BOL! 

Hope all of you have a pawsome weekend! We'll report on Facebook how things are going this weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


OMD!!!! That's what Gracie screams when she sees a squirrel!!! 'Cause once you get your teeth into a squirrel, you can never go back!

Those that know Gracie, know she doesn't really bark. She arrooooos! And then when she gets really excited, like watching BC's run agility, or when she sees deer running, or when she's after a squirrel....she screams! I don't mean it's a little arrooo/scream, she screams like a banshee!

And of course since she did get her teeth into a squirrel not too long ago, she just has to have one in her teeth again, must have!!!! So what doesn't she do, yes, she SCREAMS!!! And SCREAMS! And SCREAMS! 

Mum thinks she needs to get the band back together, complete with drums, guitar, exceptional keyboards, bass and then Gracie can be the lead singer of a heavy metal band, 'cause they scream a lot! 

Am I right, or am I right!?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alien Bug!!!

Well it sure looks like a Alien, don't ya think?

Actually it's an Eastern Eyed Click Beetle. One bug that Mum and I have never seen before. But one day it just appeared on our back deck. Pretty cool huh?

It's a common beetle in much of the Central and Eastern US. But it likes to hide which is maybe why we've never seen one.

According to Organic Gardening, the neat thing about this beetle is "when it feels threatened, it drops onto its back and then flips itself into the air—sometimes several inches high—until it feels safe. The beetle performs this trick by snapping the first section of its thorax—the segmented middle part of its body—into a groove in the second section of the thorax. This hinge action makes a "click" noise (hence the name click beetle) and launches the insect into the air."

It didn't flip at us, but we found a vid on YouTube! Check it out!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh I think these two are up to somethin'!

This is Wiggy and Gracie, checking out all the wildlife that hangs around our back woods past the deck. They are obviously up to something, and I don't think it's  good!

So later in the day, Mum lets all of us out on the porch together, two kitties and two dogs. She knows it's probably not a good idea, given my extreme herding skills. But we all worked through it.

The deck is about 9 feet off the ground at it's lowest spot, about 12 feet at the highest. Suddenly, Mum looks over where Wolfie is and WHOOOSH! He disappears! 

He jumped down to the ground from the 9 foot area, can you believe it? He's 18 years old, that's well over 90 in human years, silly kitty!

So Mum rounds Wiggy, Gracie and me inside, then runs out the front door and around the back of the cabin and sees Wolfie chowin' down on some grass. No worse for wear. 

Maybe he needs to be an agility kittie! 

Or at least maybe Mum needs to put some type of memory foam mattress down there so he can have a soft landing, BOL! Better yet, we need to screen in the back deck to keep us all safe, K? Mum?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wallace: Underdog to Wonderdog

If you've never heard of Wallace you are missing out on an amazing story of courage, love, determination, and never-give-up-ness.

If you have heard of Wallace you share in the joy that is dog, through and through.

We were incredibly fortunate enough to get a free advance copy of the new book about Wallace from the publishers to review a few weeks ago.

Written by Jim Gorant, a Sport Illustrated senior editor and also author of the wonderful book The Lost Dogs, the story of the Michael Vick dogs, Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls--One Flying Disc at a Time is a great read about the life and rise of Wallace, a celebrated champion of disk dog and poster boy for how amazing pit bulls really are if only given a chance.

The story starts with an introduction of Wallace, most probably from a litter of  potential dog fighting dogs, yet rescued by a well meaning and caring individual who was at a loss to handle Wallace's extreme energy.

Photo by Josh Grenell

Surrendered to a shelter, Wallace had the potential of becoming a euthanasia victim because of his extreme intensity and energy. He was not doing well in a shelter environment. Thankfully he was championed, saved and fostered by a young couple, Roo and Clara Yori, that understood Wallace, and that he only needed a job to live up to his full potential of being a great dog.

Photo by Josh Grenell

They worked with him with weight pulling, eventually finding disc dog as his favorite 'job' of choice. And Wallace, in true determination, joy and energy took them all the way to become the USDAA Cynosport Games World Champion in 2006.

Wallace's story starts out very typical of misunderstood breeds, but leads to an amazing story of the making of a champion, bringing with it a new understanding by many of just what pit bulls can be - loving, athletic, amazing, cherished, caring breeds that can change your life, and become underdog to wonderdog.

After knowing about Wallace for years, we really enjoyed reading about where Wallace came from and all it took for him to reach Champion status. Written in reporter style, the book is a factual, thoughtful account of just how a dog can change lives and change minds.

At disc dog competitions back in the mid 2000's, Wallace was something to see. Such an unlikely disc dog, yet combined with Roo's athleticism, they woo'd crowds and brought on cheers, oooooo's and ahhhhh's. Watch Wallace do his thing! And don't miss Wallace play disc from Roo's perspective.

Get Wallace, the book in Hardback, Kindle Edition, and Audio Book.

And here's good news!!! You have a chance to win both Wallace and The Lost Dogs books! All you need to do is leave a comment on our blog (US only please) and we will draw randomly from those who comment through Please check back on this blog or on our Facebook page to find out if you won (we'll need to get in contact with you via email for further info)! Deadline is September 24, 2012.


Note from Johann: Just this past week Wallace and his family suffered some devastating news. He has been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, a rapidly growing, highly invasive variety of cancer. If you would like to help Wallace, his family has posted ways you can on his Facebook page. Our hearts and love go out to Wallace, Roo, Clara and his fellow two and four legged friends and family.

This is what can happen when you have a run in with a big kittie!

This is what can happen when you have a run in with a Maine Coon mixed kittie, i.e., Wiggy, my kittie bro!

A little ouch!! (Bigify to see the blood, ewwww!)

I've only had this type of run in with Wiggy a couple of times in my life. The first time was when I was super young and he scratched off some black on the tender part of my nose. It turned white that time and Mum wondered if it would grow back black again. It did! No sign of the run in at all.

This time, Mum put a little Heel Traumeel Ointment 100 g (Google Affiliate Ad) on it and a day or two later it's gone! The best part we like about Traumeel is that it numbs ever so slightly so it doesn't hurt when Mum puts it on, and it doesn't matter if I lick a little either.

Guess I'll have to check into cpshades next time Wiggy is on a rampage!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Gracie's bout with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme!

One morning we all woke up and took our usual trip out to do our business.

Gracie went around the back of the cabin and did the good deed, but Mum noticed she looked really tired. As Gracie made her way back around the cabin to come back inside, she limped a little and then just collapsed in the yard. She was alert and breathing, but just couldn't walk.

Mum carried her inside and as she was carrying Gracie, she noticed she seemed very warm. Mum immediately took her temperature. It was a dangerous 106°. A dog's normal temperature should be anywhere from 98° to 102°. Mum knew right at that moment, Gracie was in danger, probably from a tick disease.

We immediately got in the car and made our way to take Gracie to the vet. Even though we didn't have an appointment, they took Gracie into the back room right away to draw some blood, take a chest x-ray and urinalysis to check her kidney function, and then began running tests.

It would be five days before we would get the final test results back. But the vet, just like Mum, knew that Gracie was battling a dangerous tick disease - most probably Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as the symptoms came on so quickly and so severely.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is one of the most dangerous diseases from a tick bite from the American Dog and Lone Star tick; dangerous because it can be so immediately severe in acute cases. Quick and immediate veterinary attention is imperative.

Even without knowing exactly what Gracie had because of the delay in getting all the test results, she was immediately given Doxycycline (an antibiotic, preferably prescribed for dogs for any of the major tick diseases).

We finally got home at about 2 PM. Throughout that day, Gracie was in a lot of pain and we gave her pain meds in addition to the antibiotics. She began to improve hourly - from not walking at all, to starting to walk again. But when she walked she would wobble, veer to one side and seem disoriented. Those neurological (which are common with RMSF) symptoms began to subside as the days progressed.

It was five days later that we received the blood test results, and like many tests for tick diseases they were not completely conclusive. But they did believe she had both Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, from other indicators, like red and white blood cell counts.

So how does a dog get Lyme and RMSF? Many of you may know, but I'll share the info for those who don't. Dogs (and humans) get these tick diseases from bites of infected ticks.

For RMSF, the RMSF infected tick only has to be attached for a minimum of 2-5 hours to infect and
transmit R. rickettsii. And it's usually only about 2-14 days after the infected bite that symptoms may begin to show.

Lyme transmission occurs a bit differently. Lyme is transmitted from the infected deer and western black-legged tick and is only transmitted when a tick is attached to the dog for a minimum of 18 hours (according to our vet and many trusted sites on the Internet). The initial and ongoing symptoms are very different as well, as the dog usually presents intermittent lameness. The kicker is that once a dog gets Lyme, and their immune system is affected, they may very well have symptoms off and on throughout the rest of their lives.

Doxycycline is also utilized to treat dogs with Lyme, just like it is with RMSF. But because of the potential of recurrence of the Lyme, we will need to keep Doxy on hand throughout the rest of Gracie's life, in case symptoms begin to present themselves.

None of the tick preventatives for dogs on the market would have been effective in preventing Gracie from getting RMSF, because it's transmitted within just a few hours of biting and the tick preventatives don't kill the ticks that quickly.

We never found a tick on Gracie, and surmised that she may have been bitten and the tick quickly fell off. Gracie getting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever was just bad luck, pure and simple.

It's been three weeks since Gracie came down with those severe symptoms, and she is doing very, very well. Almost back to her normal wacky, sweet, BC self. And definitely back on Squirrel Patrol!

We go back next week for more tests to determine if the medication has rid her system of the disease.

UPDATES: Since Gracie's bout with RMSF, we've learned several things we wanted to share:
  • Even though Mum knew about RMSF, she is very glad  that at the time she didn't know just how close Gracie was to death. RMSF is a very, very serious condition that demands quick veterinary action and assistance. Because Mum took her temperature, she knew Gracie was in trouble and rushed her to the vet. Investigating in that manner saved Gracie's life. 
  • It took Gracie about a week to get back to her normal self. After three days on the Doxy, and pain medications (as she was in a lot of pain), she began to plateau in her recovery and was still very lethargic and wobbly. But on the the fourth/fifth day is when she really hit her recovery stride, and never looked back. She ended up taking the Dozy for six weeks.
  • As we mentioned tick preventatives would not have helped Gracie and prevented her from getting the disease, because an RMSF infected tick transmits the disease so very quickly, within hours. We've learned that they only way to keep the ticks at bay is through repellents; and both our vet and others agree that sprays/powders that contain Neem are the best course of action for repelling ticks.
  • Follow up tests that we implemented many weeks after Gracie was off the Doxy were again very inconclusive as is very common with tick tests for dogs. Gracie tested both for Lyme and RMSF, however the numbers were lower than the previous test. 
  • Since Gracie's bout we've worked diligently to build her immune system through vitamins, omega 3's and herbs, and it's worked very well in keeping the Lyme disease symptoms at bay. She's not had any ill effects since the initial occurrence. And thankfully now she is immune to RMSF.
  • RMSF presents differently and in severity with different dogs. Purebred, GSD's and some Spaniels may show more severe cases. Learn more about the range of symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • According to the CDC, RMSF can be found in nearly every state.
Tick image provided by

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

One size doesn't fit all...

Today is the Dog Agility Blog Event Day, a day when dog agility bloggers share posts about certain topics. Today's topic is '"What makes a good coach/instructor?"

Being a dog, I've been lucky to have only one coach and instructor my whole life, and that's my Mum - my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the trusted guardian of my life.

Mum didn't know much about dogs when she adopted me - I'm her first dog ever, her entire life. So when she adopted me she had a lot to learn about dogs. And being my trusted guardian, I trusted her to find whatever was, and is, best for me.

The neat thing about Mum is she knew when she got me that no matter what she'd do what ever it takes to make my life with her the best life possible. And that she has!

She didn't know how to handle a wacky pup like me, so the first thing she did was seek out advice and help.  She researched and found some amazing trainers and instructors that helped her understand me and the fact that I 'needed a job.". After my first obedience class at a year old, we found that 'job.' It was and is agility, so we started agility training straight away.

We went through several trainers in that few months, looking for one that fit with us. I wasn't good in a class environment, because I got too wacky. I wasn't good in a closed in, smaller room because I couldn't get a good run on. Waiting my turn in a class just about flipped me to the bad side. And on top of all that, I was a super fast learner, so going slower in a class frustrated me.

But after some misses and a couple of months of trying out different folks, we found the perfect fit. A person that understood me, with a place to train with wide open spaces to run. We did private sessions so I could concentrate more effectively, and we got good individual and 'just right for me' progressive instruction, so I could know what I needed to do quickly and easily.

A good move I think, because it led me to competing in my first trial just after about six months of training, and getting lots of blue ribbons that first day out on the course. What fun!!!

When Gracie came along our training life changed, a lot. Gracie didn't come out of the womb good at agility like I did. We had to find a different way for Gracie to learn. Coming from a hoarder she came with some baggage; baggage that a lot of the trainers Mum and Gracie went to really didn't understand and couldn't help them with.

Despite what some folks told Mum, she knew Gracie liked agility, but had a hard time with the training and trialing environments, and with some of the methods that some of the trainers recommended for them. So Mum stopped training her with trainers and decided to train her herself, taking all the information that she had learned, using what she believe would work for Gracie, and creating an amazing positive environment for Gracie to really understand and 'get' agility.

And it's paid off! Gracie is starting to Q and got her first title ever in Snooker not too long ago. And the best part is those runs that Gracie has Q'd, she's received first place in every one!

Mum, Grace and I have trained with a wide variety of trainers over the years. In the early years, we attended classes with instructors that held small classes and progressed to attending seminars with top US and World competitors. We have enjoyed most all of the experiences, a few not so much.

One thing we found in training with all these folks over the years is that for us one size, just doesn't fit all. One training method just doesn't work for every dog or for Mum.

One way of running a course may not work for Gracie, the way it works for me. Gracie loves shaping. Me? Can't stand it, it drives me up the wall with frustration.

Dogs are different, just like humans are different. We all have different motivations, personalities, likes and dislikes! When we worked with trainers that didn't get that, we weren't successful and we didn't have fun at all. Yet, when we worked with those instructors that did get it, we learned faster, more easily and had tons of fun.

So what are the traits that make a good trainer/instructor for us? Someone who is honest and open to an exchange of new and old ideas, is super positive and supportive and holds a lot of respect Mum, me and Gracie, just the way we are. We also like someone who isn't afraid to be wrong or not have an answer; but is willing to help us seek out what we need. And we want to work with someone who is willing to listen to our concerns, and is open to trying new things.

But above all we only want to train with someone who wants to have fun. Life is much too short to have it any other way!

For those of you who are visiting my blog for the first time, I'm Johann, the dog, an eight year old rescue and accomplished agility dog. My Mum, Leslie May, is my agility handler and trainer, pet business marketing consultant, co-host of my other blog Raise A Green Dog, best friend, constant companion, and has my heart through and through. If you'd like to read about this subject from other dog agility bloggers point of view visit the main group blog.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Today is the anniversary of the day I got got!

Mum made my day very special on my special day today; just by being with me, playing with me, and cuddling with me....oh and I got some extra treats too, BOL!

Today is the the anniversary of my Gotcha Day!!! It's been 8 years since Mum made that trip to the Southside Animal Shelter and adopted me on the spot. She told me this morning she is really glad she got me. Me too, Mum, me too!!
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