Sunday, March 28, 2010


I was just looking at old photos of my first Sheltie Duffy and my first bi-black Gryffon. I thought I would post their baby pictures. It's funny how it's the little things you remember, I remember the first time I saw both of my boys. Duffy was only 5 1/2 weeks old and the breeder was just getting them accustomed to the outside. All of Duffy's brothers and sisters trundled off to explore the world but Duffy stayed and pulled on my shoe laces. I hadn't picked a puppy at that time but that made my choice, Duffy picked me.

Gryffon was one of two pups in his litter that hadn't been yet adopted; his sister was more outgoing but Gryffon had markings I had always dreamed of, a full white collar and blaze. I picked Gryffon.

No matter how long they are with us; it is never long enough. I had Duffy with me for 12 1/2 years but I lost Gryffon at only 7 1/2 years as result of an abdominal wall infection. They are never far from my thoughts and are always in my heart.

My friend Colette also lost her first Westie, Darcy unexpectedly. She recently lost her second Westie, Bogart (Bogie) at 14 1/2 years old.

Duffy and Darcy were the best of buds. They were both great dogs and they were bilingual, too. Colette even brought Darcy to visit with Duffy in Moncton NB while I was posted in England.

I wish that we had them with us longer but at least we have such wonderful memories. They are such a big part of our lives, those who have never loved an animal cannot understand the place they have in our hearts.

From the first time you hold them, they steal a piece of your heart.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ceilidh's Journey - Week 7

This week I had a scare when I came home on Wednesday to find that Ceilidh had had diarrhea and had vomited bile. The diarrhea had some blood in it. I cleaned everything all up and called the animal hospital, the vet tech advised me to take her off Palladia and she would speak to Dr Bravo the oncologist on Friday. On Thursday, Ceilidh again had diarrhea but there was no blood in it and she hadn't vomitted. Ceilidh is now on an anti diarrhea medication and if she doesn't have any diarrhea over the weekend, she will have her next dose of Palladia on Monday. Her stomach must have been very upset as she didn't want to eat much at all, even the poached chicken that I had made. Today, she ate much better. I bought her some high protein kibble and some high protein wet dog food. I also bought a bunch of stuff to entice her to take her pills or to eat a bit for the next time anything like this happens, canned salmon, sardines and pate.

Today, I started to get my agility equipment out of the shed. It was a bit nippy today so I didn't get it all out and I really want to rake the lawn first. And in any case, I'll be going home this week to visit with my parents for Easter so there wouldn't be that much time to use it before I go anyway. I hope Ceilidh is alright while I'm gone and that Juanita and Joe don't have any problems. I hate the idea of missing any time with her each day is so important now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ceilidh's Journey - Week 6

Today, marks two months from the date of Ceilidh's surgery to remove a mast cell tumour. We are starting to come to grips with dealing with the possibility that the cancer will return or that she will develop serious side effects from the chemotherapy drugs. But today was not a day to dwell on those things, it was a day to play agility with her and to see her energetic and happy.

Tucker has a bit of lameness so we pulled him from his events and ran in his place Ceilidh today. That meant she ran six runs, two Gamble, two Standard, one Snooker and one Team. Her first Gamble, she did the opening nicely even doing the mini, a jump, tunnel layered with the dogwalk back out to a jump but, after doing the teeter, she wouldn't go out to the second obstacle, a jump in the main gamble and it wasn't even the distance obstacle. Her second Gamble, was beautiful, she wouldn't do the mini but the main Gamble was made for her. The first obstacle (no refusals) was also the distance obstacle, a tunnel under the dog walk, back over the jump which she had seen in the mini in the first Gamble, then six weaves just 6' from the line where I was on the offside, followed by two jumps. Ceilidh completed the course in 58.27 seconds. As a mini Vet she had a course time of 65 seconds so she was well under time. Popped weaves and missed contacts cost us our Snooker and Standard but she had a good time. Our team run was very nice, if you don't count the off-course, and for the first time in the day, she completed 12 weaves.

I'm hoping that the weather will be nice enough this week that we'll be able to get our agility equipment out.

Ceilidh's next appointment with the oncologist is on 9 Apr and on 15 Apr we'll be taking her to see the holistic vet. I hope he'll be able to give me some help with diet and supplements.

While Tucker went to visit his Westie cousin Toby, Beckett came with us today as a spectator. He enjoyed his time with a little more attention from me than he got last weekend. I don't know people run three dogs.

It was a wonderful day, hopefully there will be many more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ceilidh's Journey - Week 5

This week has been a good one. The reduction of the doseage of Prednisone has seen a lessening of the side effects that Ceilidh was having; she is less aggressive with Beckett, has fewer incidents of incontinence and seems to be more of her perky self. I have noticed that she has changes in appetite, things she'll eat one day, she turns her nose up the next.

We also went to our first agility trial this Saturday, 13 Mar 2010 at Morning Star in Kingston. It was our first trial since Nov and, in Jan, I would have said that the Nov trial was also her last. She ran for the first time a Veteran dog. While her first run wasn't fast, she did fine, only popping the last weave. Her second standard run earned her a qualifying score. She did beautifully even though my front cross between jumps was late. She made all of her contacts but in her last two Stds had difficulty with the weaves. She was quite tired that night, as was I, so I was glad we had only entered on Saturday.

She had surgery to remove a mast cell tumour on 21 Jan 2010. You can see in the video where she was shaved for surgery. Her fur is taking a while to grow back but at least she is black all over now. We are enjoying all the little things together.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Red Gate Fun

Yesterday, 6 Mar 2010 we went to Red Gate Arena for an agility fun trial. It was the first time we had run agility, other than a few practice sessions in the basement, since Ceilidh's surgery to remove a Mast Cell tumour. It was a beautiful day for March, sunny with a high of about 9 degrees C. It was also the anniversary of Red Gate's opening so there was cake for everyone, well for the people at any rate.

I was pleased with Tucker, he ran fairly well, especially once he realized there were treats in the ring. He did the A-frame without hesitation in one direction but would have nothing to do with it going in the other direction.

Beckett was there as a spectator and although I didn't get him out as much as I planned, he did get to meet many other people and dogs. He also figured out that he could jump over the back of the seat and into the trunk area of my SUV; no more leaving the tail gate open now.

Ceilidh did the two Gamble runs and had a great time. Her contacts were solid and while she didn't get the Gamble, you could see her learning to flip away from the jump to the A-frame each time we did the main Gamble. The problems she had going to the tunnel were likely due to my handling but I was pleased however that she worked fairly well at a distance. And, of course, I was very happy to see her so active and alive. Enjoy every day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ceilidh's Journey - Week 4

Ceilidh had her second recheck today, 5 Mar 2010 with Dr Bravo, the oncologist at Alta Vista Animal Hospital. Ceilidh had maintained her weight; last time she had lost 0.3 kgs in two weeks. At this recheck, they did blood work which came back as normal. Dr Bravo kept Ceilidh's chemotherapy medications at the same dosage but did reduce the amount of Prednisone she is getting as Ceilidh had been showing some aggression to my puppy Beckett and had become incontinent when she slept. I have also noticed some change in her appetite which might be due to a little nausea or maybe her jaw is painful as it was her kibble and sweet potato treats that she stopped eating. I found her some softer jerky treats and am now putting liquid in her kibble and warming it up. I have also added some cottage cheese to her diet as it is a natural anti-histamine and soothes the stomach as well. Our next recheck will be the Friday after Easter, 9 Apr 2010. Hopefully, we will have no new bumps or lumps to worry about during that time.

Tomorrow we are going to an agility fun trial. Ceilidh will get to do two Gamble runs. The first real agility she's done since Nov. Next weekend, we will go to an agility trial where Ceilidh will get to do her first runs as a Veteran agility dog.

Our next steps will be to slowly change her diet to a grain-free kibble and to make an appointment to see the holistic vet, Dr Beltran at Blair Animal Hospital.

We are guardedly optimistic now that we will be able to compete at Regionals and enjoy a wonderful summer together.

Bogart - 9 Aug 1995 to 5 Mar 2010

A very dear friend had to let her Westie, Bogart go on to Rainbow Bridge today. Bogart was over 14 years old but no matter how long they are in our lives it is never long enough.
Colette had taken Bogie, as he was called, to the vet earlier in the week as he had not been eating. With some IV fluids, he was able to eat a little and seemed to perk up for a little bit. Colette was able to have him home with her yesterday but this morning the look on Bogie's face told Colette it was time to let him go.
He joins his brother-before Darcy and my two Sheltie angels, Duffy and Gryffon, now all waiting for us at the Bridge.