Sunday, November 18, 2012

I love Sundays....

Life is good today. I've been knitting Christmas presents and hanging out with the dogs, catching up on my Chicago Fire addiction (great show, by the way!).

My girlies decided that they wanted, no needed to be close too.... Spike, being an old grump headed upstairs to nap on the bed but the girls stick close to me, almost all the time.

Rease, chewing on a bone. Complete with the envelope she stole off the table too, ha!

Sophie on the couch. Samples of a new knitted blanket to be,  on the chair. It's going to be a soft, cozy blankie when it's finished!

Rease- why stay on the dog bed when you can lounge on the back of the couch?!?

Yummy bone!  Great spot to chew on a bone; she can reach over and give kisses from there.

Murphy- why not steal Sophie's place on the couch?!?

Murphy and Sophie.  Sunday cuddles!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blogging Changes....

It has been so long since I have written, I have wondered if it was time to shut the blog down.  But, I don't think so- I think I am realizing that life is just starting to shift and change and my blog is reflecting that (or would if I wrote!).  Anyway, so I am back and I want to warn you, this all may morph but it's ok. There will still be dogs. But, there might be more- plans for the future ( I am again seriously thinking career change!), crafting I've been up to, maybe even some book reviews will show up here. Maybe even stories from teaching- so hard to know.  But, the dogs will still be here, I promise. :)

Anyway, just to catch you all up.... Reason is 8 months old today. She is a total smarty pants- a quick learn who can have focus when she wants to. But, she's turning into a bratty teenager and Spike and Sophie have become WAY too easy going and let her get away with murder. Seriously, I need some tough dogs to sort her attitude out!  She needs it, just a little! ;)

Murphy went through a phase this fall where she broke out of her crate, numerous times, until she actually demolished the old one.  I had a mouse problem and Miss Murph took it upon herself to help- once I figured out what she was doing, I felt much better. Mice are gone and she's content in her kennel again.

Sophie is becoming a bit of a stately ole' gal at times. She is happy to sleep on a bed, cuddle on the couch and be spoiled rotten. I love that girlie of mine; she has rough edges to her for sure and she can be SUCH a brat but she's totally wormed her way into my heart.

Spike has been struggling with gaining weight of late and I kinda wonder if his back is out. I think a trip to the vet is shortly in order- he's 7.5 and it was recommended I get blood work done. I haven't done it yet, but I think it might be time. I just want to make sure he's ok.  In his last agility trial, he was slowing down, jumping 22" so I decided to move him to the veterans class- he is now jumping 16" so it'll be interesting to see what that does to help him out.

Otherwise, I've become very focused on the idea of bringing Dock Dogs to Saskatchewan. I have no idea where to start, but I am feeling pretty determined to figure this out.  Step 1:  Find a pool to train in!!

Oh, and the current idea of what might be ailing me is that I may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, I am doing a trial with a light box, trying PhotoTherapy.  For anyone who lives in Canada and struggles with shorter days in Winter, I have to say the lightbox is AMAZING! Try it!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Relentlessly Huge Hole in our Hearts....

The world lost a beautiful dog yesterday.  Mango Relentlessly Huge passed during the night, in the company of the Mango Momma, after he suffered an intestinal rupture and infection that was just to great to fight.  And, the bloggy world caught their breathe at the moment of the announcement and a gigantic wave of sadness rolled through us.

Mango was a gorgeous, brindle mastiff, a gigantic dog with a heart just as big.  Mango Momma blogged about his antics over the last years and we all fell in love with him.  I  spent yesterday afternoon crying in fits and spurts over this news and I've grieved alongside the blog community.

Mango, Dexter (his labrador brother) and Mango Momma welcomed me into the bloggy world when I started on this journey. Their blog was one of the first I started to read and comment on, and I was always touched by the responses I received back.  Mango Momma always responds with compassion, sharing in tears and laughter.  She made me feel like I was part of the community!

I am so sorry Mango's family for your loss!  We grieve alongside you, as everyone was shocked by how fast Mango was gone.  I am grateful for your wisdom and compassion as you knew it was time to say goodbye to your very special boy.  Know that I am praying for you during this time. Thank you for sharing his beautiful spirit with us.

Run free, Mango! Bounce in peace and say hi to Mortimer for me!

Friday, September 14, 2012

6 Months Already?!?

I can't believe Rease turned 6 months old, on September 12th. Where does time go??

She is turning out to be a lovely, sweet, gentle dog who is quite crazy-high energy when she wants to be. But, she can chill on the couch with me, as long as I'm willing to cuddle. I rarely say no to puppy cuddles! :)   Rease is all legs still- a bit gangly and lanky and she is still a bit uncoordinated. But, at 38lbs and a little shorter than Sophie, I suspect she is pretty close to full grown.

So, all in all, Rease is EXACTLY what I wanted!

Not great pictures, but you get the idea at least of how big she is... Rease, and big sis Sophie.

Rease, Sophie and Spike. OF COURSE, no one wanted to look at the camera. Sigh.

Monday, September 10, 2012

We're back!!

Well, Black Dog Blog has officially moved and we are residents of the "big" city!  It's been a bit of an adjustment getting used to traffic again and a smaller yard, but I haven't regretted the decision yet. I LOVE my new house, the dogs are getting used to it, and are even starting to cope with the really slippery laminate floors, ha!

Anyway, I am back to work- been back to teaching for a week already!  It feels like I didn't get a summer and the dogs have been telling me it's not an easy adjustment for them to be crated again while I work. But, we will settle in. Fall is definitely on the way; days are getting shorter and my leaves are starting to turn. I know that routine will come back soon.

Everyone is fine around here. Sophie and Spike look a little greyer. Murphy has been struggling with a big, huge, horrible hot spot on her neck but I think we've turned the corner on it for now. And, Rease has become all legs.  She's tall and scrawny at almost 6 months. She's a beautiful, fine boned, lovely little lab and she's a darling to live with.

I promise video clips of Reason and Spike swimming next post. And, maybe some updated puppy pictures....  at least I posted and let the few of you still following my blog know we are kicking around....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

We are MIA....

The big move is coming fast.... sorry we have been a bit absent lately from posting/commenting. But, I am in the countdown until I get possession of my new home!  Once I have the dogs there and a bit settled, I'll post for sure. Until then, know that I am reading as much as I can, but commenting is just beyond me. And, know that Sophie is feeling better (her tail is healing!), Murphy is continuing her quest for world domination, Spike is his same gentle self and Reason is growing like a bad, bad weed!

Later all... from the new house!! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

We figured it out!

I am away this week, marking Provincial Exams.  So, my dogs have been left in the very capable hands of Rebecca, my go to dog sitter extraordinaire.  Rebecca took Sophie back to the vet yesterday to get her thyroid function retested and the results came back...  Sophie's T4 level was 1.0  weeks ago- normal is 1.0-4.0.  Because it was so borderline and she's a high risk breed, she was placed on a very low dose of Thyro with instructions to bring her back in a couple weeks. So, her test yesterday came back at 3.0!  The meds are working!!  It remains to be seen if her tail is healing up- it takes weeks for that hair to grow back and I haven't seen her since last weekend so I have no idea.  But, when I get back, I am sure I'll notice a difference.  If she wasn't having issues with her tail not healing plus some flakey, scaly skin on her tummy, I would likely not realized for some time that she was starting to show thyroid symptoms.  Glad I caught it and she's starting to feel a little better!

Can't wait to get back to the clan early next week... then it's on to packing up the dog toys and making the big move to the new house! :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

We MIGHT have a diagnosis....

Sophie is my expensive dog. If someone is going to get sick, have a joint issue, do something stupid and blow a knee, it's Sophie. So, no surprise I guess that yesterday's vet visit was a $300 touch just for blood/urine tests.  And, they are somewhat inconclusive.

What we do know is Sophie has a bald tip of the tail that refuses to heal. She has a couple other balding/scaly spots too. She is just not her bouncy, happy usual self.  So, Dr. O took one look at the tail and took it seriously- so seriously that if Sopher's tail doesn't heal soon we may have to amputate the last inch. :(

But, Sophie's bloodwork came back and while early tests showed an issue with her white blood counts, but the further CBC tests showed they are low normal so she isn't fighting an infection or anything worse we don't think.  Her thyroid test came back as Borderline. Thyroid issues in Labs are very common so I think this is likely what's causing the issues. So, Sophie is starting on a low dose of the thyroid meds with a repeat of the test in two weeks to a month.  If she perks up, her tail heals and her other spots start to grow back in then we know. But, it could also be Addison's. I figure, let's start with the more common problem and take it from there...

Poor puppers. I wish she felt ok. I am sure I'll be keeping you posted on where this all goes.  Cross paws that Miss Sophie perks up and starts to act herself. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vet Visits...

If you can, spare a good thought for Miss Sophie today.  She has been a little under the weather lately and I am not sure whether she isn't feeling well or if it's just a case of jealousy.  Sophie loves puppies and she has accepted Rease into the home with little issue. But, there's still a little jealousy when someone new comes in as it means my attention is spread just a little thinner.  Plus, there's LOTS going on around here with the advent of packing and cleaning. And, finals start today (hope my grade 7 and 8's do ok on their finals... some are looking freaked out and some are refusing to study!) so my attention is incredibly split.

Anyway, Sophie is missing a big patch of fur on her tail, at the tip. And, she's lost some fur around her nose and eyes lately. So, it's to the vet we go because combined with her general lethargy, I am worried.  She'll get her checkup and shots but I'm also getting bloodwork done to make sure her liver is ok with the Deramaxx she takes. And, I'm getting her thyroid checked. I hope she's alright and it's an easy fix....

Friday, June 15, 2012


It's official!  The dogs of Black Dog Blog are moving!!

I have to be out of my current rental situation August 15th, because the owners are returning to Canada and want their house back. Strangely enough, they don't want to have a roommate who owns 4 dogs (and no rats- long story, to be told another day. Let's just say terriers and rats do NOT mix! :( ).

Anyway, so I have long dreamt of buying a house and thanks to the kindness of my family who assisted me in my ability to make this dream come true,  I am now the proud owner of this lovely gem of a house!!

You will have to forgive the photo. Clearly, I was sitting in my van as I took this photo! I should have gotten out and given you all a better look at it.

But, there it is.... the SOLD SIGN!  My house!!

Just a few details about it:  My house is a 98 year old 1.5 story house. It's two bedroom, one bath and it's been totally renovated.  The former owners loved this house dearly and their care shows. They did ALL the big work- plumbing, electrical, furnace, water heater, roof. All that remains is a tiny bit of paint to bring the colours to my taste. But, the house is lovely. I walked in and sighed with contentment before saying, "This is HOME".

The black dogs and oddball want you to know they are super, super excited to become city dogs who go to dog parks and get to run and play with their city friends. And, they have a gorgeous backyard with a great fence, since the former owners had 3 dogs of their own. Yeah for moving to a HOME!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Photo Shoot

I have no idea where time has gone. It's been a hazy mess since Reason came home. Not because there is a puppy in the house, but because life has been busy and I've gotten into the year end paperwork at work. It's a mad dash now to the end for me.... the end of June cannot come fast enough!

Anyway, I was privileged to have a photographer come and take photos of the dogs last week.  So, I have to share a few of my favs....

My black beauties...

Sophie.  Love that face!

Murphy. She was the toughest to get to sit still for a photo.

Rease, looking so sweet!!

Happy Spike!  There's a soccer ball held behind Ellie's head to achieve this photo. That explains his attention and happiness. :)

Murphy just hanging around. Yes her feet are off the ground. :)  

The canine family.  Love this shot!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I present to you, the cutest, sweetest, best behaved (not even joking!) Labrapup in the world....

I naps, ma!

Leave me alone, I gots a bone ma!

I cute, ma!  

Yes, you might detect the tiniest (well, it's not that tiny, sigh) little scratch below her eye... poor little pup, Murphy has decided to be jealous and took it out on her yesterday. End result, big cut below her eye and blood everywhere, along with a screaming puppy.  
Any suggestions for helping Murphy learn she is still my little terror girl?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

There goes sleep for awhile!

Rease has arrived! She is HERE and she is an adorable bundle of black fur and deep, brown eyes. She is dainty- way tinier than Sophie ever was. I realize that now that I see her. I can imagine this lovely pup growing up to be a slim, fine boned Labrador which is what I wanted. I see POTENTIAL stamped all over this pup.  She is smart, she is receptive, she is a thinker. She is playful, curious and motivated. She is truly showing her Labrador colours already, being incredibly food motivated. She's already learned the food cupboard and has been known to sit by it and bark.  HA! That reminds me so much of Sophie!!

Anyway, sorry for the repeat photos from facebook, but for those of you who aren't on there, here's my baby dog...

She was tired when she arrived. Deserved some cuddle on the lap time!

Rease is constantly looking for little "hidey spots" to avoid Murphy!

Sophie and her baby... she LOVES Rease already

My girls!

If in doubt, nap on top of the yarn/wool box!

Rease is already a concern... she can climb up stairs like crazy and the very first night, she managed to get on the couch to nap. All by herself. I turned my back and there she was...

Those eyes are TROUBLE! :)

Under the desk, hiding again. Of course, the Kleenex box will save her from the Mean Murphy, HA!  This was moments before she chewed through my phone cord, running to the modem. :/  Yes, she NEEDS supervision!

The Labrador Girls!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby Sophie/Baby Rease...

Thank goodness for my mother who had pictures of Sophie, the very day she came home. She was 7 weeks old and a sweet little ball of black fluff.  So, I can compare faces now...

Sophie at 49 days....

Rease at 7.5 weeks....

Sophie and my mama's dog Lucy.

Sophie, taking it all in.

Reason (AKA Rease for short...)

My hands are going to be full with this one... she is NOT barking here, but that's Miss Rease's troublemaker face, haha!!

Yes, I think Sophie is bigger boned that Rease is. Soph is only 52 lbs, so that bodes well for a light little labrador, quick and agile. I am so excited and can hardly wait for Monday night, when she should arrive!!

Bring on the baby labrador!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Old Lab, New Lab...

I finally know who my puppy is and I am SO excited. Eromit's Here For a Reason, AKA Rease is moving home hopefully on May 8th. I am in the throes of last minute preparation; going to buy puppy food tonight after work and I'll be ready.  I've been showing pictures of my Rease on facebook, but someone commented that she looks nothing like Sophie did at that age.

So, I have been prompted to try and find some puppy pictures of Sophie when she was tiny. I don't have any on my computer for some reason, but I KNOW they are out there. I'll have to get my mom to email me some, so I can compare the two cuties.  I do know that Sophie was bigger boned and was a roly poly pup. She didn't look much like Rease.

But, here she is... I am getting Bernadette from the Big Bang Litter... Verona/Ace pups born March 11.

Rease was about 4 weeks old in these two photos, I believe. So cute! 

Miss Rease, on Friday. This was pretty much exactly the same age (7 weeks) that Sophie came home. Rease is smaller than Sopher was for sure.

Look at her go!  She has spunk to her for sure!! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Sophie!

I can't believe my Sophie-Bug is 5 today.... where does time go??

This was Sophie, at maybe 6 months of age?? 

It seems like yesterday I brought my little pup-pup home!!  I have no idea where time goes- or why I haven't blogged in FOREVER... sorry everyone!  I know that I am hoping to be back to blogging as soon as my newest family member comes home.  She's going to grow fast and it's great to have a record of that.

Anyway, it has bee a busy, BUSY few weeks.  Daydreaming about Eromit's Here For A Reason coming home (tentative registered name).  Getting report cards done. Entering into the final homestretch of work for the year, which is always a nightmare busy time for a regular teacher, much less a Special Ed. teacher (PAPERWORK, here I come!), cleaning the house and on and on...

But, in the meantime, we are celebrating Sophie's big birthday today with bones for everyone...

Yum Yum!  Beef bones!

Spikey gets one too...

Chomp, chomp! Sophie has hoarded at least 2 more bones over there, beside herself.  She's in heaven while I ma meanwhile spring cleaning my house...

Murphy is forced to hide under a chair to avoid loosing her bone to a big, black dog.

In other news, it's 2 weeks until Rease (I think that's her official name!) is coming home... Can't wait. They have hit that adorable, roly-poly 6 week puppy mark. I should find out in the next week or so which girl is mine too. Exciting!

And, I've been quilting again. This time, a baby quilt for a colleague. I think it turned out adorable...

The gal already knows she is having a boy, but she likes green and is using loads of green in the baby room.  So, my EA's and I went together on this quilt- they bought the materials and I finished sewing it last night.  I love it!

I have a new sewing machine that does many, MANY quilting stitches so each of the blocks ended up with it's own heirloom stitch... I love that little detail that makes the blanket seem even more special to me.

Other than that life around here is pretty normal. Except, I am thinking the rats may just have to find new homes. Murphy is starting to discover her true terrier nature and I am struggling to keep her out of the rat room, keep her sane and not torture the poor things. :(  Any suggestions of what to do with a brood of adorable, SWEET ratties??

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Puppy Pics

Good morning all!

I am sharing photos of the puppies this morning... thought you'd smile too, seeing the photos of the 2 week old babies all sleeping in a pile...

There they are.... 8 black babies! Erin is GREAT! She provides puppy pictures everyday, and occasional videos. It is so cool to watch these little guys grow and change almost daily.  They are named as the "Big Bang Theory" litter and we've been told that Leonard is walking- not just struggling along, but WALKING around the pen already. Raj is likely to be the first with his eyes open as the "glue" is starting to dissolve. I now understand the value of going through a breeder who is dedicated and LOVES what she does. Erin doesn't breed that many litters a year; she focuses on raising the puppies and giving them the best possible start to their lives. By the time my cutie comes home, she'll have been introduced to fetching and retrieving duck feathers and she'll be used to be around all the agility equipment. SO COOL!

Anyway, check out her page...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I guess the news is out....

Yup, thanks to the wonders of facebook and relatives who talk to my mom, she now knows my "big secret"... the biggest change of my spring. I've not said a great deal until now, because I was waiting to make sure it was absolutely going to happen. But, yes, it is...

I'm getting a puppy. My puppy was born just over a week ago to a breeder (an AMAZING breeder) in Northern BC, and this is my dream dog. She's a little labrador- she should grow to be Spike sized, so a tiny bit smaller than Sophie. She comes from amazing hunting lines and her momma is an agility superstar.

Yes, the timing is not ideal. But, puppies happen when they happen. I've been reminded that several times over the last while... it's never going to be a "good time" but when the puppy is there, sometimes you have to jump and take the chance.

So, more about her.... she is 1 of 8 puppies born to Verona and Ace... Verona is a tiny little Black Labrador. Ace is a not much bigger Yellow Labrador. These dogs are built for speed. And, smarts... they are the ideal agility lab. :)  I will not know which is my puppy yet- not for weeks yet, but all I know is I'm getting a girl. And, she's BLACK! YEAH!!

Why??  Well, my thoughts made it clear to me that it actually might be the right time... Sophie is retired, of course. Murphy is my wild card; she may never be anything more than a beloved pet. She is training agility but it's 2 steps forward, 3 backwards with her and I have no idea where it will go.  By the time my puppy is old enough to run agility, Spike will be 9- staring down the backend of a career together. So, I need a dog to run. And, this litter fit the bill.

So, sorry mom you found out there the wonders of facebook. But, now you are in the loop too...

I'll try to get some photos up in the next few days; Erin has given us permission to share our babies photos with the world.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Love that Spikey...

I'm very proud to announce that Spike and I took our second certification exam with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program and we have been approved to work with children!  It's the first step in my campaign to take him to work with me, to hang out with my special needs students. :)  Makes for a great weekend!!