Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fit Friday: Injuries and Pred

I've kind of been missing in action. Not a whole lot is happening around here. Koira is feeling pretty good. She really wants to romp and play, but is still on rest for another 6 days or so while we finish off the prednisone.

Unfortunately, her recovery is going to be long. Really, really long. Not only did she have the neck injury (which needs to be treated carefully even if she doesn't think so) but the prednisone had some pretty severe side effects for her. There is the normal constant hunger and the drinking excessively. Which means extra peeing and pooping as well. But Koira has also had some pretty severe muscle wasting. In the past 2 weeks, she has lost 3 lbs.

Photo of Koira taken on Wednesday, after almost two weeks on prednisne

The vet says the muscle will come back once we stop the steroids and can start exercising. However, I'm worried about doing many activities at first with Koira so... soft.

For comparison, here is a photo of her from last summer.
The lines are from a structure analysis. But you can see the muscle definition and tone that is lacking in the recent photo I posted above.
The photos are slightly different- the one above is a forced stack (I placed her in position) while the one below is a free stack (she naturally stopped like this at the park). And of course the lighting is different with cloud cover versus full sun. But I think it is still very obvious to people used to analyzing dogs that Koira has lost a lot of tone, and her muscles are very soft.

We're off to a flyball tournament this weekend. Koira won't be running due to her injury. Pallo won't be running due to his mental problems. I'll be boxloading for one team and running a teammate's dog on the other team. My dogs will be spending the weekend hanging out in their crates.

That said, we'll have to come up with a conditioning plan for the future. I need something low impact and gradual. Swimming would be ideal, but with it being winter, we would have to drive up to Portland for an indoor heated dog friendly swimming pool. Four hours of driving round trip seems a little overboard, even for me. But... if that is what she needs... On leash walks (with the leash attached to a harness that puts no pressure on the neck) will obviously be another part of our rehab.

The long and the short of it is, injuries happen. They suck. Completely. Sometimes the treatment causes additional problems as well. But, you just have to suck it up and deal. Move forward. And that is what we are trying to do.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: New Bed

She's curled up in her new bed, and mad at me that she isn't allowed to romp and play or do anything fun.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Quick Update

I was super busy all weekend, but wanted to post a quick update on Koira.

She is doing great on the steroids. The effect wasn't immediate from them, but she is moving much easier and wanting to be active. She isn't allowed to be, though. Vet's instructions are for her to remain a mellow house pet until she is finished with the steroids. At that point, we will be able to slowly increase activity. Even swimming, normally the only activity an injured dog can do, is out, since she would still have to keep her neck and head above water, which might stress the injured muscles. She doesn't really approve of this plan. I have no way of explaining to her that it is for her own good. I am hopeful that with the proper rehab she will be back to her old self and be able to do all of her favorite things again.

Pallo is doing good as well. His flyball practices have been showing the occasional spinning before the start line, but overall he is doing pretty good. Which is good, since he now gets to fill in for Koira in California this weekend. Everything might fall apart, but we'll hope for the best and we'll have fun, and that is what really matters with it, right?

Also, this is the week that I slacked badly in the photography department. The only thing I took a picture of with my actual camera is the broken latch to my new dog crate (well, broken latches, plural). The shots above are from this weekend, but were taken with the rather questionable camera on my cell phone, simply because the dogs were being cute at the time. I even had a whole plan last week for a cute Valentine themed photoshoot on Thursday, but it all fell apart when Koira got hurt. The pups did get a new bed yesterday, though, so maybe I'll catch some cute pictures of them curled up in that.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

FitFriday: Not So Fit

Koira went to the vet today. This morning she was very down, obviously distressed, and yelping in pain randomly. She couldn't settle at all through the later part of the night and kept moving around, adjusting, and whimpering a bit, quietly. Sometimes the yelps were when touched, sometimes when she was just standing or laying still with nothing touching her. The vet thinks Koira injured her neck somehow.

Best guess is that Koira chased something in the yard in the middle of the night and ran into the fence. Other possibilities though are that she hurt herself jumping back up on the bed, or some other stupid way.

For now, she is taking steroids. They should show serious improvement within 24 hours and do appear to be working. We will likely be adding therapeutic laser treatments as well as a tapering dose of steroids in an effort to get her to heal as quickly and as completely as possible.

Of course this means she will not be competing in either of the flyball tournaments coming up. She won't be going to flyball practice. She won't be going to the park, or on walks, or playing with the flirt pole, or any of that. Her job for now, and probably for the next six weeks or so, is to rest. She gets to be a couch potato whether she wants to be or not.

I am hoping that Koira recovers and can eventually get back into doing the things she loves. But with a serious neck injury, there is a possibility that she will never play flyball again. We just have to see how things go.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: What's This?

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What's that?

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What is that thing?

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Starfish cave!

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Lots and lots of starfish. (Yes this photo is right side up, the starfish were on the underside of this rock.)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oregon Coast

I normally try to do a tasty Tuesday post for Tuesdays. But we've been snowed in since Thursday, with rain only turning the snow to slush so far.

Last week on Tuesday, though, I went to the beach for my birthday. And it was amazing.

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Line up of Rogue beer at their brewery

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View out the window at the Rogue brewery during lunch

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Gorgeous, clear, still day- Newport bridge, from Rogue Brewery

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This dock is just a short walk from Rogue brewery, taking you out into Yaquina Bay

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Boats docked in Yaquina Bay in Newport

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Fishing boats on the north side of the bay

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Part of one of the public docks in Newport on the north side of the bay

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A ship named Newport- fitting, given where we were

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And just for kicks, a sea lion. These guys have a dock down on the Newport Bayfront where they hang out sunning themselves. They were being really loud and grumpy this time.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Black and White Sunday: Snow

The snow may be ice crusted and melting now, but we have pictures to remember it by.



Friday, February 7, 2014

Conditioning Progress Report

Well, it has been a week since I first posted the fitness conditioning plan for Koira. I'm hoping to get her into great shape for our upcoming flyball tournaments at the end of the month.

Our first week went great. Friday we went to the park for a while. The dogs ran and had a good time, as planned, followed by a rest day on Saturday. Saturday was a rest day more because I was scheduled for double shifts than because the dogs really needed a rest, but it worked out.

Sunday we took off to the park again for some more free running. The dogs had a great time and we ended up spending a few hours walking all the way to the far end of the park and back. We also spent some time walking through the wooded trails there, rather than just walking through the main fields.

Monday was another day of double shifts for me, but I didn't want to make it yet another rest day for the dogs. Instead, I made sure to get in our ball work in between shifts while I was home for a few hours. I cleared out the house of extra stuff this past summer, including the exercise balls I didn't use much. I just kept one egg shaped one. It is smaller than the ball I used for the dogs most of the time, but is the one I use myself, so I kept it. Since it is smaller, it took Koira a lot longer to start feeling steady on it compared to the larger ball. I think she got a great workout doing simple stand, sit, and down on the ball.

Tuesday was my birthday, and I had plans to spend the day at the beach. That is exactly what we ended up doing. It ended up being my mom, me, and the dogs out at the beach for the day, but we all had a total blast. We found a few whole sanddollars and some awesome agates and fossils and the dogs had a great time running around and playing on the beach. It was a little chilly in the morning, but became a gorgeous blue skied day in the afternoon.

The dogs and my mom walking on the beach

Wednesday was scheduled as a 20 minute walk when I originally posted our weekly plan. On the advice of a friend, I cut that down to a 10 minute walk and did extra stretching, since the beach and park and ball are all pretty intensive. I do stretching and massage on Koira almost every night before bed, but I made extra sure to really work on her Wednesday. Her shoulder is still a bit tight, but she seems to enjoy the body work.

On Thursday we woke up to about 3 inches of snow on the ground. By afternoon, we were up to 8 or 9 inches. I was still determined, though, and headed out to the park with the dogs for their run time. Instead of driving to the park, we walked there. This particular park is a good 20 minute walk away, so we often drive to give the dogs more time at the park itself. There was no way I was driving in the snow for something that silly though, so me and the dogs all bundled up and headed out. I think we were gone for a total of 3 hours or so, walking to the park, around the park, and home.

Walking to the park

At the park shortly before starting our walk home
Overall, I think we have been doing really well. The dogs are certainly napping a lot! Scheduled for today is some flirt pole fun- we'll get to see how the flirt pole works with 10 inches of snow on the ground. One week down, three to go!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Rogue Brewery in Newport, Oregon

Today is my birthday, and I am off to spend the day at the coast. Every year I try to go to the coast on my birthday, and I especially like stopping in at the Rogue Brewery in Newport for my free birthday beer and t-shirt as a member of Rogue Nation. My birthday also marks the Gotcha-Day for Koira, Pallo, and Theodore Trex. Though each was adopted on a slightly different date, all three of them were birthday presents to myself. So here is to 6 years with Koira, 4 years with Pallo, and the end of a great first year with Theodore Trex.

My water glass, and the beer sample glass (drained of beer)

 All of these photos are from our beach trip a little over a week ago. I gave in to the cravings and hit Rogue while we were there, even though I knew I would be back for my birthday soon.

Koira chilling with her provided water bowl

For those who aren't Oregonians or beer nerds, Rogue Brewery is a small, local brewery located just south of the bridge in Newport, Oregon. Their signature beer is the Dead Guy Ale, I believe. Rogue is popular enough that it is available outside of the local area- though not their more specialty varieties.  Rogue Brewery also has a number of eateries- one attached to their brewery south of the bay in Newport, one on the Bayfront in Newport, and a few located elsewhere in Oregon (Portland, Eugene, Seaside, etc). I've only ever been to the locations in Newport, however.

The outdoor seating area

One of the best things about the Rogue Ales Public House (the location on the Newport Bayfront) is that it has a dog friendly outdoor seating area. Despite the weather being sunny and clear, it was a bit chilly still when we went last time, so we were the only ones sitting on the patio. There are leash hooks on the walls so you don't have to hold the dogs' leashes while you eat. A dog bowl full of water is provided to the pups. And there is even a dog menu, which changes up every so often.

The front of the dog menu even features the Rogue Chairman, Brewer, in whose honor Brewer's Memorial Ale Fest is held every year (benefiting local animal shelters). You really know these guys love dogs and aren't just grudgingly allowing them in the outdoor areas. In fact, my dogs both became honorary Rogue Nation members, complete with their own Rogue Nation ID cards.

I'm not actually a big beer drinker, or drinker in general. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer, but I go to Rogue for the food. I ordered something new this past time, and it was amazing. I haven't ever been disappointed in the food, though, so that shouldn't be surprising. I tried the Kobe Bleu Ball Sandwich, which is basically a meatball sandwich, but with the meatballs stuffed with Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue cheese. Basically, a party in your mouth. I'd be happy to order it again, but I might have to keep exploring their menu.

Pallo even got to help me with some of the potato chips. I figured he had burned enough calories on the beach that morning that a chip or two wouldn't hurt!

Basically? If you are on the Oregon coast, check out Rogue. Eat at the Bayfront ale house, tour their brewery, check out the distillery. While you are south of the bridge in Newport, you can stop by the Hatfield Marine Science Center (admission is by donation, suggested at $5/person) or even the full Oregon Coast Aquarium, which once housed the famous Keiko- the killer whale in Free Willy- as part of the effort to return him to the wild. And of course, make sure you hit the beach!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Little Teeth

As long time readers of my blog have probably noticed, Pallo has his teeth sticking out in about half the photos of him playing with Koira. And Koira tends to be the toothless wonder dog, with not a single tooth visible in any photo.

Sneak attack!

Well, yesterday during our romp at the park, I caught Koira with her mean face on. Only, it looks more like she is about to sneeze...

I think she just has too much lip and not enough tooth, while Pallo has plenty of tooth and only a single helping of lip. Koira's lips are seriously about 5x as thick as Pallo's, and I do think that makes a huge difference in how toothy she is while playing.

Sunday, February 2, 2014