Sunday, June 28, 2009

Keeping Busy

This dog certainly keeps me on my toes.

Last Sunday, Iris started having seizures again. Six grand mal seizures in 18 hrs. I got her in to see her regular vet Monday morning and we decided to start her on meds. Her vet was great. I think the appointment ended up being about an hr long. We talked a lot about what could be going on and a lot about what medication to start her on. There's no good explanation right now for why Iris suddenly has so many seizures at once. I can't think of anything in particular that would have triggered it. It was a rainy weekend, so we'd spent the whole weekend home and the seizures didn't start until Sunday night.

One odd side effect of the seizures is the Iris was starving. She was trying to steal food off counters while I watching. She never counter surfs. She tried to chew a hole in my sweatshirt pocket to get at a couple of crumbs. I was still wearing the sweatshirt. In hindsight, it was humorous. At the time, we were both pretty freaked out.

Right now, the decision is to just try and control the seizures with meds. We've tested her for tick borne diseases. We've checked all her bloodwork including thyroid. She is on the old end for the start of epilepsy, but it's still possible.

After a lot of discussion, we decided to try Iris on Keppra instead of Phenobarb. The drawbacks to Keppra are that it has to be given 3 times a day and its more expensive than Phenobarb. Also, Phenobarb has been in use longer than Keppra, so it has a more proven track record. The upside is that Keppra doesn't have the side effects Phenobarb does (Phenobarb can cause liver damage if used long term).

So far, Iris hasn't has any seizures since Monday night. She was got an injection of Valium at the vet, and had one more seizure later that night right as the Valium wore off. Since then, she's been seizure free. It seems like the meds are working. We took the rest of the week off from classes. This may have been a mistake. The meds made Iris very antsy (the vet warned me that Iris might be extra crazy for the first week! Seriously? Something that makes my Aussie more crazy?) She's acting a lot more normal now, thank doG. She was making me more crazy too!

In other news, we're officially moving again sometime in August. This poor dog. I'm her fifth home, and this will the third place we've lived since I adopted her. I'm sure she's dying for something more consistent! She adjusted to the apartment very quickly, so hopefully she'll be good for this next move. We're heading even further north this time.

The upside to the move is that I found a new herding instructor in southern NH. Actually, she's right down the street from the shelter I adopted Iris from. We had one lesson with her a few weeks ago (I canceled Iris' lesson for this weekend). I liked the new instructor. She was recommended by some Aussie folks, and her training style is a lot like Colleen's. Hopefully we'll be able to get out to do some herding more regularly after the move. I love agility, but I'm pretty sure herding is Iris' favorite.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Where Did My Dogs Come From?

We got tagged by Julie from Molasses Ain't Got Nothin' On Us to tell the story of how my dogs came to live with me. I've really enjoyed reading the stories on a lot of different blogs. I think just about everyone who reads this blog has been tagged. If you haven't please play along! I'm going to tag Lauren at Why Everyone Sould Train Dogs and Service Dog Sawyer.

I don't live with Henry Beagle any more (he's still living with my dad) but he likes to make an occasional cameo on the blog. Plus, he's got a pretty good story.

My cousin adopted Henry (formerly named Fred) from animal control in 2001. Animal control seized him when his first owners were arrested on drug charges.

In December 2002, my cousin called and said she was moving to DC, could we pet-sit for her Beagle while she was down there for a week to look at apartments? Henry came to stay for the week. Just for one week. One. My cousin wasn't going to take Henry to DC with her, so she was looking for a home for him. At the time, my cousin was working for the Archdiocese of Boston. One person who'd expressed interest in Henry was Cardinal Law. If you remember back to 2002, it was during the height of the Catholic Church sex scandals. At that point, it was looking very likely that Cardinal Law was going to resign and return to Rome.

This is Saint Peter's Basilica. It's in Rome.

If you can imagine, those tall ceilings probably give that room a pretty good echo. Now close your eyes and see if you can imagine what a Beagle bay would sound like in those halls.

This is Henry. He's a Beagle.

While "Henry Goes to Rome" might make a great children's book, I have doubts that it would have actually turned out well for the poor bugger. He'd have left quite an impression in those halls I'm sure. Needless to say, it's been six years and Henry never made it to Rome. He never even made it out of my dad's house.

After I graduated from college, I decided I wanted a dog. Specifically, I wanted to do agility. Henry was overweight and getting older. Not really a great prospect for agility. My dad relented and decided that 3 dogs couldn't possibly be much worse than 2 (at the time, Henry was living in the house all the time and Zeus was living there only on weekends). If you're considering a third dog, yes three is more than two. If one of those dogs is an Aussie, it will feel more like 5 dogs. And if one of them is a Beagle, it will sound more like 10.

I wanted an adult dog, and since breed wasn't really important I started looking at shelters. I was looking for a medium size herding dog mix. My first choice would have been an Aussie if I was going to get a purebred, so I was hoping to find an Aussie mix.

I had a friend who lived in NH, so I started checking out some shelters up there on weekends. I saw "Lula Mae" listed on the NHSPCA website but I actually wasn't going to go look at her. It was a little further away than I wanted to drive, but I couldn't put her out of my head. She sounded exactly like what I was looking for. I went up to visit her and she was so sweet and quiet. She settled down next to me and leaned up against me. She seemed very mellow for an Aussie (if you've read this blog at all, you know she's not really quiet or mellow). I asked someone at the shelter if they could tell me more about her, and I was told the only thing they knew was that she'd been surrendered for killing ducks. No big deal. I don't have any ducks.

It wasn't until after I got home and went through the paperwork from the shelter that I learned a little more about the dog I adopted. She'd been through a total of 4 other homes. Not only was she killing ducks, but she was chasing and nipping their kids and very "overprotective of the house." I believe that roughly translates to "barks at every car, kid, dog, human, insect, etc that passes the house and explodes at any person coming through the door."

Would I have done anything differently if I'd known more about her? Who knows. I'm glad I didn't.