Friday, November 14, 2008

Boxers and cancer

Polly has a histiocytoma, which aside from being a pimple, is the best case scenario. A histiocytoma in the dog is a benign tumor. It is an abnormal growth in the skin of histiocytes (histiocytosis), a cell that is part of the immune system (thank you Wikipedia).

It should go away on its own eventually, but Kelly said that if it starts to get bigger we should remove it. So we'll wait and see.

On an unhappy note, Cammi has been lethargic lately so Kay took her to get bloodwork done. The bloodwork showed wonky liver values so Cammi is having a liver biopsy done today. I'm as worried for her as if she were my own dog! Please let it be nothing serious!! Of course with boxers, your thoughts always go to "The Big C".

Also Raven, a boxer from Flordia, has been recently diagnosed with lymphoma. She is only a few months younger than Apollo. Raven is a great agility dog, she has her MACH3 (and I think she was the first MACH2 and 3 boxer - although maybe she was the second to Kala) and was our main competition for the #1 boxer spot for invitationals and for 2008 and even though I have never met her, I am really going to miss 'competing' against such a great dog.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Polly's Pimple

At the end of USDAA nationals, Apollo had what appeared to be a pimple starting to grow on his nose. And it grew and grew and grew (he didn't even tell any lies!) I sent the photo to Charlie the goldens mom, who happens to be an AWESOME veterinary oncologist and she said she we should aspirate it :(. So tomorrow morning I'm dropping Polly off at her practice to get that done. He won't be very happy to be left there, but he likes Kelly, so hopefully he'll be ok!

And here's to hoping that his pimple is just that!

Here's the pimple (I think it might have gotten a bit smaller).

Polly's Private

Today we went to Sandy's Brisbane facility to share a private with Terry and Heath to prepare for invitationals. The surface there is very close to the surface in long beach. It's been a while since I actually did lessons with Apollo. I pulled him from class a while ago because we really weren't 'getting' anything from them. But I sure had fun with Polly today! Sandy set up some hard sequences for us and Polly ran them very well, he's such an honest dog. He did drop one bar, but Sandy said I didn't support him on it. There was a general theme that Apollo wants me to wait for him, so no lateral motion or I'll pull him off a jump. If I call him too soon or do an early shoulder pull, he'll come with me instead of taking the jump. His point of commitment is so much later than Icon's! It's funny how I have forgotten the fine points of running the most awesome boxer in the world so quickly.

So my goal at invitationals will be to stay right with Apollo and support every obstacle, ESPECIALLY if it's an obstacle where I would take off and leave Icon :)

Terry and I are going to try to share one more private with Sandy the week before invitationals. I'm getting pretty excited :) I think Polly will love not having to share me with that silly black and white dog (he might miss Foster though, but Cammi will keep him company :).

Polly was so tired by the end of the hour that he just laid down with his head on the ground while we chatted a bit. That was a lot of work for an old man boxer!

Polly's Progress

I've been continuing to work on Apollo's contacts, mostly the dogwalk since I think it is easiest on his body and can translate to the other contacts somewhat. I will probably get the a-frame out within the next couple of days as well though.

When we were in Pahrump, I was lamenting to Moe about what on earth I need to do with Polly's contacts because after the last standard run on Sunday, they were looking pretty pathetic. I think in retrospect he might have been a bit freaked out at Scott Chamberlain running so close to him because he sped up after the a-frame and that was really the only run where his contacts were BAD.

When I was whining to Moe, it was really just that. Me whining and not expecting anything. But I had forgotten that Moe is the Queen of All Contacts! She gave me some great ideas to work on with Polly. A couple things i was already doing (or trying to do), like making contacts the most fun thing in the world for him, only doing a few repetitions, and rewarding immediately after getting into position. But some other things she suggested were using the BEST food in the world for him, not just good food, but the BEST. I had been previously using cheese and hotdogs, which works great for Icon, but while Polly is kinda into it... he's not totally into it. When she asked me what his favorite food was, that was a no-brainer. Steak! She also suggested throwing the food on the ground and releasing him to it. Well a problem with that is Polly can't pick food up from the ground! (he's a weird-o boxer :). When I mentioned that to her, though, she asked, "How about a BIG piece?".

Why, yes, he can pick up a big piece. And by golly, I bet a bug hunk of steak thrown on the ground after doing his contacts would really get him excited!

So after a trip to Safeway and a Club Pack of New York Strip Steaks (they were on sale for $4.99/lb!) I was set to get back to training with him! (I did have to cook it first - Polly likes his steak rare, but it needs to be seared on the outside).

So I have to admit that I am happy with the results I am seeing so far! He's looking pretty good :)

Polly's work on the dogwalk from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I am so awesome

I removed the last two stumps! Luckily they were really easy to remove (the roots were mostly decayed). I cut down the two apple trees because they were pretty much dead and now I know why... The loquat tree I just cut down for more yard space. I'm not a loquat fan.


Finally this morning, almost a week after USDAA nationals finished, I actually feel like doing something aside from being a vegetable! It was really nice to not have to work last week, but I do wish I could have been a bit more productive at home. I didn't even empty my RV fridge until Friday!

I was supposed to install my kitchen backsplash last week, but it arrived while I was away and there were 3 boxes of tiles that were damaged and my cleaning lady sent them back. I haven't been able to contact the store so I have no clue when I'm getting the undamaged tile and I can't start until I get it! I'm really excited to put it up because I love the colors. And by the way, the Tile Shop customer service center sucks. I left 3 messages with them last week and they haven't returned my calls. I'll try once more tomorrow and if I don't get in touch with them, I'll have to get nasty.

But it's not like I did NOTHING all last week. I mowed my lawn out back, which was like a forest because I didn't have a chance to mow it before I left. I also got most of my videos from my trip online. I'm finishing them up today, but it's mostly the team runs left. And the biggest thing is that I did a a huge job of removing a big loquat tree stump from the ground. I took the tree down... Oh... about 6 months ago and added that "stump decay accelerator" to the left over stump. It was a huge job to remove the stump and took me 2 days (and I almost died when the head of the axe I had just bought came off and almost hit me in the head!), but I do think the accerlator stuff helped out a bit. Now a have a huge hole in my grass :(. But by next summer it will be pretty again. I still have 2 stumps to remove though (apple tree stumps this time)! And I have zero urge to do it. I haven't even added "stump decay accelerator" to one of them yet. Guess I should do that.

But I really haven't felt like doing agility all week. I finally got my dogwalk out the other day to get back to remedial contacts with Polly but I skipped Icon's class last Tuesday and I was supposed to have a private with nancy on Wednesday that I moved to Friday and then subsequently cancelled. But I think he needs a break. I was really happy with how Icon did at nationls, he did everything I could have asked of him. But he was really slowing down by the end, I think he was tired. It was probably a combination of a lot of things, like the heat, the slippery grass and the long trip but I think my biggest mistake was taking him to the 3 day Pahrump trial before. Well, now I know! I probably should have done the 4 day one after natioanls if I wanted to make an extended trip. Oh well :). He has the next 2 weekends off to recuperate!

I do have a semi-private planned for Apollo on Monday with Sandy. Terry will be bringing Heath and we're going to ramp up for invitationals! Tuesday I'm going to class with Icon, but I'm guessing Jim is teaching since Nancy has seminars next week. And then next Thursday Icon and I head to Toronto to visit my family!

Oh, and my puppy was born :) I'm guessing he'll be either Spot or PB, but I think Whitey and Roadetta are cute too :)

His name will be Rampage!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am SO PROUD to be

a Canadian living in a America.

Or something like that.

But seriously, I'm so happy that Obama won. I have a good feeling about the future of this country I chose to live in :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Resting up and the secret to Polly's success

I'm sitting in my rv resting up for the steeplechase finals tonight. A lot of people are confused as to when everything is starting, although I know shirts will be available at 5pm and I need to get there pretty much on time in order to get the size I want. Aside from that I guess I'll just wait for PA announcments. I'm also having dinner because I think it will be pretty late before I have a chance to eat. The event is supposed to begin at 6:30 pm, but it often runs late and 26" dogs are last and Icon the 2nd to last of those. So it'll probably be after 9.

I'm sure all of america was sitting at home pondering, as I was, how a boxer could finish in 3rd place in the PNS finals. Well I remembered just as I was falling asleep that Apollo had eaten half a loaf of bread while I was walking the PNS finals course. Normally this is something that I would remember and blog about immediately. After all, the blog is called Feed Polly for a reason. It was originally created to follow the exploits of how Apollo managed to get into food (usually because I forget I have a bottomless stomach for a dog and leave it within reach).

The SC finals course is online and all I'll say about it right now is ICK.