Thursday, April 16, 2009

Me and My Shadow

I've fallen behind in my posts, but with good reason; I have this puppy who demands all of my time and attention! Since there are only so many hours in the day, and I still have to divide my time between my other dogs who feel they are equally entitled, things get a little hectic.
Quinn tolerates Izzy and has only given her a gentle warning when her leaps on his head got a little out of hand. Mostly because he was attempting to poop, and imagining you can concentrate while having a dutch shepherd dance on your head is asking too much! Jinx hates Izzy, as she does all puppies until they are old enough to play tug of war and roughhouse with her. Then, I guess, they enter into the realm of acceptable creatures. It is much like my feelings toward babies, who poop and scream and drool on themselves in a most unpalatable way. Once they can talk and entertain, they become pretty cool little animals. So I can't fault Jinx for echoing my sentiments toward my own species. Still, I wish she was a little more Roya-ish in that regard. Cooper, on the other hand, is over joyed to have a mini-me who adores him.
Izzy sidles up to his kennel and does the puppy grovel, hoping for a shred of acknowledgement. When outside, she follows him everywhere, ducking when he comes flying back to me and launches himself over her. His favorite thing, however, is introducing her to the joys of water. Cooper has not yet met a body of water he does not like. Pond, creek or ditch, they were all meant to run through! These are the great adventures of youth and Izzy is the younger sister who is allowed to ride in the car; she doesn't know where she is going, but thrills to the fact that her brother let her tag along!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Miss Izzy

Izzy, whose full name is Aura vom haus Becher, joined the FoxTal household yesterday and already she has stolen hearts, human and canine alike. The cats are reserving their opinions.

Izzy was born January 16, 2009. Her dam earned her SchH3 title before she turned 2 years of age. Her sire is a Walworth County patrol/narcotics detection dog named Argos. My very first dutch shepherd, the dog who caused me to love this breed, was also sired by the same officer's patrol dog! Whether you call it fate or kismet or just plain luck, but many years later I again have a female dutch shepherd with the same history.

SYLKIIE (carries blue dilute)

Dutch Shepherd's color description is based on their undercoat color; they are either gold brindle or silver brindle, no matter how heavy and dark the overlay is. Dogs with alot of overlay are dark, such as my Cooper, with small amounts of gold brindling visible. Izzy, on the other hand, has much of her base coat showing, and a beautiful black mask. At the moment, her ears haven't made a commitment to standing, but do go erect when something catches her attention. She has what I call "aileron ears", meaning they can fold back and flat against the head. Cooper's ears are like his mother's, small and permanently erect. Sofie, my first dutch shepherd, had the aileron ears. I would call "flaps down" when she would accelerate, as if the ears would become aerodynamic pinned against her head and cause her to go even faster. It seems I will likely seek out things about Izzy that are similar to Sofie. Maybe this serves to justify adding yet another dog to the household, or simply to forge a bond with the past.

Izzy's breeder is my god-daughter's step father, and when I stopped to pick up Eeva on Friday I saw the puppies in an exercise pen. To this point, I had not been interested in getting one of the puppies. In fact, it breaks all the rules that I suggest for buyers; neither parent has had hip Xrays submitted for evaluation and there is no registration. After the fact, the breeder is putting together the history so that the litter can be registered but they are not yet registered. I had avoided even handling the puppies for the most part when I had seen them when they were younger, not encouraging any behavior that would endear them to me. So, there I was on Friday, standing next to the pen and noticing that one of the females seemed like a little firecracker. There were ten pups in the litter and only two females. The anecdotal evidence is that the puppies "take from" what surrounds them, so if there is one or two females surrounded in the womb by males, they absorb testosterone and this would be the litter to select a female from if you wanted a strong one. Which I do.

Still not ready to dive off the deep end, I asked Chris to bring her to schutzhund training on Sunday. Later, when I called home to advise my husband I was bringing home another dog I had to admit I had loaded up a puppy crate, so clearly there was more premeditation that I will admit to. I played with her during training and observed that she was oblivious to the gunfire and the other dogs, whips cracking and commotion, and was happy to chase and kill her toy, with a hearty head shake. This is not to say that she wasn't aware of those things; she was. She just was not frightened by them or concerned. She trotted around carrying a toy in her mouth, that little whip of a tail going the whole time. And all I could see was my old Sofie.

When I arrived home, I unloaded my adult male malinois, Quinn, to take him up to the kennel. Izzy didn't have a call name yet, but she accompanied us, running underneath Quinn and trying to be noticed, but not killed! He ignored her and blessedly avoided urinating on her head. She walked with us to the kennel and when I opened the door, she ran in, too! She showed the same lack of fear when it came to entering the house. The door opened, and she came flew in, daring anyone to tell her she didn't belong! Tom and I discussed names and although it was mentioned, I knew there could not be another Sofie. Something about the name "Izzy" appealed to me. Not that I have a fondness for a character on Grey's Anatomy who sees her dead boyfriend and is likely dying of cancer, but I think it's just a cute name. It spoke to me. And it fits her.

She had thrown up twice on the way home, but since then I have been careful not to travel with her on a full stomach and we have not had any problems.

Today we went to the vet for our "well puppy check up" with Dr. Jay Peters. Once again, Izzy marched in and made herself at home! After chasing and grabbing her toy, she lay on the slippery floor like a frog, hind legs splayed out. She weighs 15.8 lbs and scales are no threat to her. She was pronounced well and happy, with no murmurs, defects or wormy poops. A stop at the pet store prior to our visit outfitted Izzy with multiple chew and chase toys suitable to a puppy, some of the dog food she has been used to eating and a new pink collar that says "Princess."

This afternoon, Izzy took a walk with Cooper and I, down to the pond. She ran as fast as she could, trying to keep up wtih him and when he would pause, she would wrap herself around him and underneath. Cooper was wonderful with her, as well. There was not so much as a growl or rough play, and once when she suddenly placed herself in his way, he leaped over her. She even followed him into the water of the pond! I told him that she may be his girlfriend, but he felt she was a little young for his taste. Back at the house, we continue working on having eating/sleeping/potty on a schedule. She loves to jump on my cat, Kia, who just lays there and ends up with wet ears but no damage, and I figure if Kia doesn't like it she can get the heck out of the way! I've had to remember what it was like to puppy proof the house and to keep an eye on things if a puppy disappears from view! No good can come of that!
So, anyway, there is a new striped addition to Casa Krsnich and her name is Izzy. World, look out!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where are the water wings?

Jinx had her first hydro-therapy appointment today, at the Animal Referral Center in Appleton. First, being the polite patient that she is, she greeted our therapist, Andrea, with an Easter basket and a treat. Dr Bruce examined her shoulder again, and pronounced it to be very good, very solid, but yes, there is brachial nerve damage.

While Jinx and I were waiting for him in the exam room, and I had her go through her party tricks for me, I noticed that when I asked her to extend her paw to rest on my knee, the paw was curled. This is one of the signs of that damage. It reminded me of patients in comas, or with brain injuries where the hands curl inward. I inquired whether it would be helpful to massage her toes and extend them, as well as to manipulate that joint and the vet and therapist agreed that would be helpful. Another exercise is born! I've had opportunity to perform that several times today and I think this will be good, as I can feel the tension and resistance in extended the paw and toes. I have a feeling I should be placing cotton balls between her toes and painting the nails hot pink!

After our exam, we proceeded to the water room. Jinx has to stand in an enclosed tank, much like a shower stall. On the bottom is a treadmill. The water fills very rapidly, not like filling a bathtub, where the water first tickles your toes and then slowly rises. I am amazed at Jinx's adaptability and understanding, as you might imagine a dog (perhaps a less well trained one!) assuming they were about to drown and struggling to escape the enclosure. She was not cross-tied or secured in anyway, but I stood outside the enclosure on a stool so that I could pet her and give her treats and that was good enough for her to realize there was no danger. The water was raised to mid-leg, just high enough that Jinx would be required to push through it as she walked. I watched Jinx's tail raise and laughed that she wasn't thrilled about getting her "girl parts" wet, so I asked her to sit. That took additional encouragement, and, yes, a bribe, to convince her that she really wanted to sit IN the water!! Once she unconcerned about her position and being wet, we were ready to begin.

Andrea advised "ready" and the treadmill was started.

Jinx has never been on a treadmill before, so this was a new experience. What else is there to do but begin walking? If you stop, you float backwards and then have to catch up! She worked for six minutes, had a brief rest, and worked another six minutes. It was apparent that this will really assist in strenghthening her leg and in getting her to move it forward and strike the ground properly. She was extending it nicely in her push through the water but about one in six times, would knuckle. I will use that frequency to measure our progress.

We have appointments scheduled twice a week for the next two weeks, and will reevaluate at that time. I whisper once again in Jinx's ear that I feel the muscles rippling under her skin already! She offers a paw and a smile.