Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Miss Hotty Pants

So, we spent the weekend in Bristol, CT at the Southern New England Brittany hunt test. It was much nicer weather-wise this past weekend then the weekend before. Much cooler...
Kyler and I were the only Senior hunter brace on Saturday. We actually needed a bye dog, which means another dog who is not actually competing with you, the judges choose who they want. For us they chose a nice Wirehair pointer named Jack. He was a tank of a dog who had just finished his Master hunter the brace before ours.
So the back course of this test was all through the woods, with lots of prickers, just what you need when you have a crazy bird dog! They are required to have some birds on the back course, so I was expecting to encounter some. Kyler went on point about 10 minutes into the run in the middle of some brambles. I spent several tense minutes trying to find the bird in amongst the prickers. I finally located it tucked under some roots, buried underneath a pile of leaves, nice find, Kyler! The darn bird was tucked in so tight that there was no way this bird was going to fly anywhere. So, I had to pick up the bird and throw it. That was our downfall right there...Kyler broke on the flush, throwing a bird is such an unnatural thing to do in a hunting situation. Miss Kyler decided then and there that she was going to be bird insane for the rest of the test. She seemed oblivious to the wirehair on point, I guess we have to work on honoring other dogs other than Momo!
After the failure to honor Kyler found 2 or 3 more birds that I had to flush out, luckily for us, it was just a training session at that point, since she broke, so I could handle her how I needed to. We finally made it into the bird field quite a while later, the wirehair had already entered the field and had his bird shot for him. He was being led away when we finally entered. The judges graciously let me try to finish out the brace. Kyler had one find about 30 seconds into the field that ended up being a stop to flush (the bird flushed wild and she had to hold her ground and not chase), which ended our session. At least we ended on a good note!
At the end of it all the judges said, "wow, you have a nice dog there, she is just a bit too hot today! She has what it takes!" At least they liked my crazy dog! I basically got the idea from them that she would be a great field trial dog, which we have thought about, but don't know enough to pursue quite yet, perhaps next year!
Sunday was a better day for Kyler, but still no "Q". She just wouldn't honor her bracemate, everything else was fabulous! In her favor, the poor bracemate dog was so old that he basically sat down when he went on point. I couldn't even tell that he was pointing. He was a 13 year old Brittany, a Field Champion and Amateur Field Champion. He basically walked the whole course because he was just too old to do much else. He almost didn't make it into the bird field. While it was kind of nice to see the old guy still enjoying working birds, it was almost to the point of cruelty because he just couldn't handle the distance he had to walk to run the course. They had to set up a bird for him to point so Kyler could try to honor and so he could retrieve it. He did a great job, but it made everything for us much harder.
The judges kept staying back with him on the back course, while I was desperately trying to get Kyler through the back course without finding any birds on which to screw up on. She found 3 and worked them all very well. I had to keep stopping and waiting for them to catch up, and in the end they said I needed to slow down and that then Kyler would slow down. (I didn't tell them that I was purposely trying to get out of the back course!)
Oh well, one for experience anyway, perhaps after a few more training sessions Kyler will honor a breed other than another Vizsla!

No pictures, as I was handling the dog and I couldn't deal with a camera at the same time!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On the way!

So, we got up at 4:45am on Saturday (I don't even get up that early for work!) to head to the Mayflower GSP hunt test at the Crane Wildlife Management area in Falmouth, MA. We had entered Kyler in the senior hunter level. In this level they have to find a bird, point it, stay steady until the gun goes off, retrieve within a step of it's handler, and honor another dogs point. (this means they have to point the dog, not steal the point from the other dog)

It was a warm day, even warmer in the actual bird field, it was a hot day for the dogs to be running. We were braced with Momo, Andrew's dog from The Regal Vizsla . This was a bonus for us I felt, as we had trained with Andrew the weekend before and the dogs worked well together. Momo had made a great dog for Kyler to honor, as that was the thing I was most worried about. We haven't trained much on her honor...

Kyler broke away from the start with an impressive speed and began to quarter in front of us. She was ready to go! We were moving so fast that the judges had to ask us to slow down for a bit before we got to the bird field, we were not using enough time. We stopped and watered the dogs several times, I wet Kyler's underside several times throughout the test.

When we entered the bird field it did not take Kyler long to find a bird, I was a bit suprised as the ground and air was so dry the scenting could not have been very good. I came around her right side, where she could see me so I wouldn't spook her. She held her point nicely while I flushed the bird. The gunners shot and Kyler broke shortly after the bird went down. She is steady to shot at home, but not yet in competition. After taking a second to find the bird, and trying to pick it up while it was still moving, she brought it to hand! A great piece of bird work on her part.

After finding a bird in the upper testing levels you should be trying to carefully not find any more birds, it just gives you more chanced to screw up. So, with this in mind I attempted to get Kyler to search where we had already been, so we could just get in an honor and go home! Of course, my bird finding fiend went on point a few minutes later. This bird was right next to a nasty hedgerow. The bird ran back and forth for several minutes, and Kyler relocated, which I wasn't sure was "allowed". I finally got the bird to flush and she stayed steady to wing and shot. She had a nice heal away from the find and then within a few minutes Momo was on point so Kyler could come up and honor him. As soon as she saw him she stopped dead, a perfect honor. In seniors you are asked to collar your dog (hold them by the collar) so that they do not interfere with the other dogs retrieve. Good thing I did, because as soon as Momo's bird went down, Kyler jumped about 3 feet in the air wanting to get to the bird before him!

This ended the test, thank goodness, both dogs were very hot and tired, and I didn't want to risk finding another bird!

At the end the judges really liked Kyler's performance and she ended up with a qualify and excellent scores, 9,9,8,7,9. The lowest score was for trainability, basically how well she listens to me. I called Kyler a few times to come near me and she either didn't hear me, or was to busy doing other things. In this case I should have kept my mouth shut and her score would have been higher. Oh well, I will remember better for next time!

Here is the end of the day photo with Kyler, Jozsi, and Momo, everyone passed their tests for the day! Jozsi ended up with an impressive 10,10,10,10 score, almost unheard of!

Kyler is due in season at any point, so we don't know if we will be able to make any more hunt tests this season or not... I would love to get her SH title done before her litter comes, but that is unlikely to happen, since she needs 3 more legs to finish. If not, we will continue in the fall and finish the title up.

In ending, I thought I would include a picture of Kyler relaxing in our house after a training session last week.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A medical scare!

So, Cedar went to work with me on my last overnight last week. He has had this little skin tag on his toe that I wanted taken off so that I could stop thinking and worrying about it. He nicely dontated a unit of blood at the same time. (We have a blood donor program at work) We did regular bloodwork at the same time, including a vaccination titer for distemper and parvovirus. We sent the little tag from his toe off to the pathologist, just to make sure. My boss thought by the looks of it that it was a viral papilloma, nothing to worry about.
I went into work this week and the histopathology report finally came back (it takes about 5 days). On the report I saw words that every veterinary proffessional dreads, Hemangiosarcoma.
This type of cancer when on the organs, the most common place, kills many, many dogs every year. I see it several times a week at least, usually in Labradors and Golden Retrievers (another reason to never own one of these breeds!) It is usually found on the spleen or the heart. Dogs who have this sadly can bleed to death quickly when the tumor ruptures. Most owners don't know that their pet has it until they collapse from blood loss.
I had never heard of this type of cancer being on the skin, some of my veterinary co-workers had not heard of this either, apparantly it is caused by the sun and it is rare. Just my luck, to have a rare diagnosis. Just an FYI, people who work in the veterinary field tend to have animals that get rare diseases. For some reason we just seem to end up with animals that get medical issues, maybe in some cosmic way it is meant to happen...I had a dog, Aspen, a Rottie Lab mix who at 4 1/2 was diagnosed with nasal adenocarcinoma. Nasal cancer accounts for less than 1% of all canine cancers, and it is almost never seen in dogs under age 9. Just my luck...Poor Aspen passed away right before his 5th birthday.
Anyway, back to Cedar...So, luckily, with this type of Hemangiosarcoma, as long as it hasn't spread, the prognosis is excellent with a full resection of the tumor. The margins on Cedar's tumor were clear, which is great, but we are going to resect a bit more of the skin on his toe just to make sure we don't miss anything. Small price to pay for him to stay alive! Initially we thought we were going to have to take his toe off, Ouch! Luckily the research shows that is not necessary...Phew...
So, being caused by the sun, the recommendations are to use sunblock and wear sunblock clothing (these tumors are usually found on lighter colored skin on the abdomen). The surgeon and I laughed at that one, my Vizsla with sunblock on his toes and SPF 50+clothing on! Let me tell you, he would love it! Maybe I will get him some Doggles too, to protect his eyes!
So, if you see a large pasty white Vizsla with a lovely Luau type shirt, pants and a sweet set of glasses, it is probably Cedar!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pictures from Paradise

So I was finally able to get some of the pictures from the trip downloaded...Here they are!

Our 3rd day of the trip we were in Dominica, which is mostly jungle, it was beautiful!
Here is the view we had when we first arrived. It was overall a pretty cloudy day, warm luckily...

The picture below was me about to do my first zip line on the canopy challenge we did. Yikes it was high! After the first drop off the platform the rest weren't quite so hard.

This is a picture of George, my brother in law, about to drop off this platform with a swinging rope. It dropped about 10 feet then you had to swing across and grab a rope net and climb up to make it. This was the most difficult obstacle on the course and there was an alternate route for those who didn't want to try it. They said you had to have a lot of upper body strength to do this one. I skipped it...

Then George after jumping off (no he is not kicking the tree as it looks like). Shortly after this picture was taken he hit the net, grabbed it, lost it and then did a flip and was upside down for a bit. He swung back and was able to grab it the next time. Mike was taking the picture so there are no pictures of him doing this part. I can say, however, that he screamed louder than I have heard him scream in a while when he jumped off!

Our day ended with this cute towel elephant on our bed after our formal dinner that evening. They did a different animal every night, it was really fun to see which animal we would get next!

On Antigua we ran into this fellow who made me, or rather sold me, a basket made of palm fronds with some other animals on sticks also made of palm fronds. I didn't catch his name, but he had been making these things for 28 years...30 seconds after this picture was taken it downpoured for about 5 minutes, then it was sunny and beautiful again.

Then onto St. Kitts, we had a nice garden tour, then a hike through the jungle to learn all sorts of cool things about all the plants and trees on the island. This is my favorite picture from that day. This is a bell tower at what was a plantation, they would ring the bell to start and stop work for the day.

Then, after dinner, we returned to this cute monkey swinging in our room.

Our last day on the cruise was in St. Maarten. It was our first "real" beach day, as we had been so busy on excursions previously that we hadn't had time to just sit on the beach and do nothing. We made the day of it and sat under our umbrellas, went swimming, then rented jet ski's for a 1/2 hour, it was wonderful!
Then, last night we worked with the dogs on a few quail, just to get their minds going again. We planted 2 quail each for them and they worked them well. Cedar had 2 beautiful points, but I dind't have the camera out in time for them. After I ran and got it I got one shot of him in the woods in our training field. It is a bit dark, but Cedar had pointed a bird that jammed itself under the roots of this tree. Mike was not able to get it out. He had a nice heel away from his point to continue hunting other birds.

Then we took out Kyler who started out a bit slow, but once she found a bird she turned on the gas. Her points are very steady, not the most stylish I would say, but she doesn't move a muscle. Here she is while Mike is looking for the bird she pointed, then on another bird after the
flush. So intense!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

We're Back-Sadly

So, we are back from vacation, having flown into Logan airport, in Boston last night. All I can say is Brrr...We were really hoping that the snow would have melted a bit more while we were gone, but I guess it is New England!

We had a fabulous time, we visited 6 different islands (St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, St. Kitts and St. Maarten) We had some wonderful adventures on most of them, including a canopy challenge on Dominica (pronouced Dom-in-eeka). This involved being 30+ feet off the ground in an obstacle course of logs and cables, with a few zip lines. The toughest one for me invloved about 20- 5 inch diameter logs hanging on end by some rope and having to walk across this 30 foot bridge. For obvious reasons the logs swayed every which way, it was a tough one!
I will post some pictures from our new camera as soon as I can get them off of Mike's computer.
We traveled with my sister, Michelle, and her husband, George. We get along wonderfully, and Mike and George have a lot in common, this made for a great trip! As always, there are talks of pipe dream moves to one of these places to operate a jet ski business, but alas...Where would the dogs play with birds!? It is not meant to be!

The dogs stayed at a friends house down the road and were spoiled by hiking a mountain every day with their 2 dogs. They also got to play with cats at the house, which they haven't seen in a while. Apparantly they did fine and didn't try to eat them, luckily!

Jaida stayed at Grandma's house and was spoiled for a whole week, I was actually suprised that she wanted to come home!