Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fans, Timing and Depression

*Author's note, my blog is classified as kid friendly (unlike me) so all rude words are substituted with any of the following !#$%^&*()

Ninja Cat - Something to cheer you up before you read.

Okay so I have not updated the blog so much recently, reason being the s#$t has struck the fan...  You know those times when it just pours down on your head?  I won't b@#$h and moan... oh wait a minute, this is MY blog, I can moan as much as I want...

I am not going to do this in chronological order, because I don't want to.  First off I will give you the full story on my Voltenstein...  Last week Wednesday, the Stein vomited in the morning, now since dogs (and especially puppies) eat stupid things and then need to vomit it out, I wasn't too concerned.  I cleaned it up, made sure there were no alarming objects in there, took his temperature which was completely normal and went on with the day. He was his lively normal self, but this was not to last.  By the afternoon he didn't even want to go outside to play, so off to the vet we went.  Temp was still normal, but he was definitely off and even attempted to vomit at the vet... dry heaving was all that happened, since there was nothing left in his body at this point.  At this point he was not dehydrated.  He got some jabs of antibiotics, vitamins and stuff for stomach cramps etc. and I took him home... just to watch him get worse through the night.  I spent the whole night looking after him, syringing water, checking temps etc.  I rushed him back to the vet first thing in the morning, where he was admitted and put on a drip.  Full blood work was done, nothing, nada, zip zero.  X-ray... also showed nothing.  He spent the night there on Thursday night and was taken on off the drip on Friday afternoon.  He seemed okay when I went to pick him up, really fine, but I guess his excitement to see me fooled us all...  By Saturday morning he was worse than before.  He was admitted again, placed back on the drip and a Barium study was undertaken.  I visited him several times over the weekend, by this time the one of  the x-rays had picked up a 'slight, possible' obstruction in his lower intestines???  Sunday morning when I visited, I took him out for a walk and he finally had a bowel movement... and it was orange???  Not solid, I mean it was a normal... poo, but it was orange?  Anyhow, whatever it was, it loose and gone and the rest of the X-rays were perfect...  Anyhow, on Monday morning they once again removed the drip and by Monday evening he was home and this time he was really fine.  Well I am lying, he was very miffed that he wasn't allowed to train or play... so yeah, he was really better.  Went for a check-up today and he was given the all clear.

Obviously I hate my dogs being sick and I want them to be better ASAP, but it really bugs me that I don't know exactly what went wrong... would have made it easier to avoid in the future right?  May I point out all the odd factors of this case?    He was constipated through-out the whole experience, but vomiting like a projectile.  His temperature never rose.  I mean it just weird.  And I also need to point out that my dogs are never left alone in the yard if we are not here, they are always crated... yeah puppies tend to nom nom nom weird stuff very quickly if unattended for like 5 seconds, but still...

Meanwhile, my own health wasn't stellar either. Not going to bore you with none dog details, but I have issues with my hands and wrists that spans 15 years.  Now I am used to swollen and sore fingers and wrists, but on Tuesday, when my two of my fingers started turning blue, well I guess it was time for an emergency visit to the doc, which of course led to multiple needle pokes (I am apparently undead and have no veins or arteries) and meds and tests and warnings and ordering to bed rest (haha, as if)... just to wake up the next morning to find the me Eckel Steckel dog is in severe pain.  It was one hell of a cold morning and Echo just refused to get up...  My old man is nearly 14 (eeeeek, freak out moment), I KNOW that this is life and his time is coming closer and if there is one thing that I promised myself a long time ago, it is that I will NOT let this dog suffer long term. He has given me everything he has in him, that is the LEAST I owe him.  So off I was to the vet again... it has been six months since he has had a full check-up, so I opted for full body x-rays and blood work on top of the anti-inflammatory injection.  If I have to be very honest, I was preparing myself that he might not come home...  I had never seen him in that much pain.  Luckily his blood work came back A-okay... however, his spondylosis have deteriorated SO much since his last x-ray (less than 6 months ago), despite the joint diet and supplements AND his milt is enlarged.  For now he is very comfortable on his higher dosage meds and thinks he is a puppy (oh, don't worry, I DO NOT allow him to go over board), but it has been the real wake-up call that my old man might not see the end of the year.  I am not going to get all sentimental and recount to you the ways this dog has changed, full-filled and saved my life right now.  At the moment I am just enjoying him.  I will take every day as it comes.  Right now he is not understanding the excessive hugs and love and kisses and indulgences, but that is okay by both of us.

My Autistic Dog , that make s my life  a little bit more complete.

Now I am going to back track for a bit.  Two weeks ago we had two shows... on Day 1 Chaos completely forgot how to do the poles?!?!?!?!  He couldn't find entries, he popped out.  I was totally gob-smacked, HOWEVER he had the most spectacular contacts he has ever had in a show... sub 2 second DW, sub 1 second see-saw and a 1.2 ish A-frame, all with perfect stop...  I was still hopeful for Day 2, by which stage he had remembered how to do his poles perfectly with me tapering about 8 meters by the way...  BUT he released himself on EVERY contact, despite me correcting them... That is the FIRST time he has EVER done that.  I was completely miserable!  And to make things worse, the Quake monster was running as well on day two...  Arg, 'kicks self', so we got this really stupid, crap, hard, ridiculous grade one contact course, which in retrospect I should have just withdrawn from (yes, I know hind-sight is 20/20), but instead I ran him.  I was on a high from his previous show, where he got all those placings and ran perfectly (well for him). Now the problem is that there were 3 jumps with a CRAP angle onto the dogwalk, and to make matters worse a tunnel staring the dogs right in the face wrapped under the dogwalk.  Not on people!  Especially since Quake has never seen this.  Now let's keep in mind that I have never run a dog with such low confidence and such high 'freak out capacity' as Quake-e-star.. wait, hold on one sec pleas... *kicks self again*... okay back to the story.  I actually tried that, why I DO NOT know... Anyhow Quake stopped dead, panicked and well... froze... no problem of course, I just ran past the dog walk (TOO LATE) and the very next obstacle was the poles...  But I had lost my poor little dog and that was that for the day... he ran each course perfectly until he got to the poles and then his mind just said cheers and good-bye.  *keeps on kicking self*.  After the weekend I was in a very deep dark hole, because I don't know what I am doing wrong anymore... I mean with Quake I did, that was an easy one, but with Chaos... Eish, the dog deserves more and if I knew WHAT to give, I WOULD.

NEXT  S$%t is of course my friend Alison's unjustified dilemma, if you haven't seen it yet:

Now this has been eating at me since the day it happened as Alison and Rob and their dogs have been a major part of my life for many years.  I cannot actually describe how I feel and how much this has affected me.  And to add to Alison's expenses, please keep in mind that our trip to the UK was to visit THEM, which we were unable to do.  So please I invite you to refund us as well!  Oh and can you also refund us the fact that we don't know when we will see our VERY close friends again???

By this stage of course I was grumpy as hell, BUT it gets worse... Now the following *pisses me off factor* pre- and post-dates all of this other crap  If you go back a few months, you will pick up on my rants and raves about the South African Agility System, in general...  to do a quick re-cap of my feelings... there are two basic systems world-wide in Agility, the consistency based system and the win-based system.  Now most countries have started combining the two, but if you use the two countries that have the largest amount of dogs competing, you get a pretty good idea...  The USA (I am mostly talking AKC, since it is what I follow the most), have a consistency titling system.. you get your double Q's toward your MACH right?   Yes, I know there are a LOAD of titles that you can achieve there, but I am trying to keep this relevant to our system...  May I point out that the USA uses a completely different system to determine World Team members and have a lot of medals to show for it? So next up is the UK, which is mostly a win-based system:  You get to Champ (Grade 7) and you have to WIN to get the Champ ticket.  Do that three times and your dog is a Champ.  This is basically how our system used to work, until a few years ago, when with much fighting and screaming and tears, the system was modified to allow the top three dogs with a clear round (no course faults and no time faults) (depending on entries) to win a Qualifying Certificate.  Win three of those and your dog is a Champion, however minimum speeds were determined to ensure that the standard 'did not drop'...  so basically the system was 'dumbed down'.  I kind of disagree with it, since I am all for wins, BUT I could still accept this.  For a local competing system this is fine.  HOWEVER my huge issue has always been with our points system that selects the team to go to the AWC... I am not going to get into the whole explanation, I am not going to give any details... because that is not my point.  I will say this:

A World Championships in ANY sport is meant to determine the best of the best.  It draws the most competitive people in the world.  It is NOT for everyone and it is not SUPPOSED to be for everyone.  Now please understand that I know and you know and the whole world knows that not ALL 400 odd dogs entered into the AWC every year have the potential to win... And I also don't think there should just be 20 dogs competing (that have the potential to win), how boring would that be?  What I am saying is that every country should be sending some of THEIR best dogs that have the potential to win.  So in other words, if your system ends up sending a dog three years in a row that do not make the times locally (or over-seas, trust me) or a dog that misses a contact EVERY single time around...  to me that is not right. If an international event inspired these handlers to come back and work on those problems and correct them, I would STILL be for them attending... but that is DEFINITELY NOT what the results have shown.

My Heart and Soul dog Chaos - He only knows how to give.

Anyhow, after coming back from the AWC (as a spectator last year) I took on a personal project.  Now my general outlook was, if you don't succeed, study the best and try to follow their example, so  I started research on all the competing countries's qualifying procedures.  This was hard work, it is only us, the USA, the UK and Canada that considers English as our primary language (or one of them).  And apparently not a lot of Europeans etc found it valuable to respond to my requests of information.  Anyhow I started comparing the qualifying systems I could find to the amount of medals won and the general competition circumstances in each country...  Haha yes, if you want a full analysis of that for YOUR country, I might just have it, so give me a shout :)  I was stupid enough to tell a few trusted people about this... now since our qualifying system has not changed AT ALL in 11 years, people listened and convinced me to take this further.  Sigh, okay going to make a long story short now:

1.  People personally attacked me, claiming that I was trying to give myself an advantage.  Erm, okay everyone, time to wake up... if a blind person selected our team for this year, he wouldn't even have selected me if I was giving him sexual favours.  I suck at agility this last while.
2.  People that 'had my back' and supposedly agreed with me (no I was not holding a gun to their head at any point), would suddenly turn against me.
3.  People ignore the facts.  I quoted many statistics in research, half of the time it was answered with 'yeah, but...'.  Dudes, I wasn't making a PERSONAL point (oh I could make a lot of those if you really asked, but I DIDN'T), I just wrote down the facts... fine YOU go and do the calculations then.
4.  Certain parties tried to make out that I was being sneaky, mean and corrupt and that my suggestions and thoughts were already a done deal.  That I had done all of this, gotten it submitted etc, without telling anyone. Haha, you so funny hey?  Lil old me, that knows NO-ONE and actually couldn't care, writes one little research document and all of a sudden I am Evil Kineval, The Joker, Magneto, The Silver Surfer, Terminator (the first one) and the Talented Mr. Ripley?  Oh my HAT.

Let me use yet another South African Analogy (I am not allowed to use SAA, it has been trademarked by South African Airlines :) ) right...

We just got these wonderful new four lane highways (apparently it had NOTHING to do with the Soccer World Cup)... Now I am fine if you want to drive 80km/h, you will still get where you want, cool with me, but then DO NOT drive in the fast lane (yup, it is the right hand lane on our side of the world)... stick to your left hand lane...  And if you are a formula one driver that has to use the public roads, go into the right hand lane and I will stay out of your way.  Oh and if you are taking the off-ramp, don't break 3km before in the left-hand lane, that is why highways are designed with OFF-ramps instead of intersections.  And if you DO drive 80km/h in the right-hand lane, don't get all upset with me and show me middle fingers if I come and sit on your arse and hoot at you and flash lights at you.

And trust me, I will have to get A LOT better at agility if I want to do all of this to give an advantage to myself... in fact that is my point!  I want to encourage people to be BETTER at agility.  I don't want to dumb down the system so that everyone can succeed at what they are doing(badly).

Arg, I will stop here.  I am pretty sure you get the idea. And if you don't, you are either a socio-path or you REALLY need to read all of that again.  So to make myself clear, for those of you that the above applies to (you KNOW who you are), I did the RESEARCH, you do the math.

And I actually have MORE to b$%ch about, but I am tired now, so not even going to bother.

So that brings me to my next point with all of the above (yes, the entire post), it did not leave me much time or will or energy or anything to do actual agility training with.  I still spent a ton of time with all my dogs, played with them, loved them, cuddled them...  I mean I have been having conversations with them for HOURS in the last two weeks... yes, I know I am weird and I know I should be institutionalised.

Regardless of al the loving they got, Chaos and Volt got severely depressed.  Chaos especially.  The Spaz wandered around the house whining, refused to eat, was just down, down, down.  Same with Volt.  Quake?  Well he lost all his confidence... the reason I am mentioning this, is because I have read a lot of blogposts lately about 'dogs only doing agility for their owners'... no sh$t Sherlock... have you EVER seen a dog train itself to do agility (I read this part on someone else's blog and then my laptop restarted randomly and I lost it, so if it is yours, please let me know and I will credit you)?  But  the point is, that once you bring agility into your dog's life, it becomes part of THEIR life and they start living for it.  It is the same as a heroin addict... SOMEONE had to introduce them to it right?

Okay so this is a very negative, tear-jerking, clinically depressed post, BUT

Today, for the first time since 26 June, I did some proper training and it actually brought tears to my eyes to see how happy my dogs were afterwards.  They were glowing!  They ate better tonight, they look healthier... they are just HAPPY.  So despite all my crap, and unhappiness... they don't care, but they DO love agility and they love me.  I gave them their heroin tonight and I promise them I will get over my $%^$%^$%&$% and give them their fix in the morning.

Love you my boys!

My gorgeous, divine Sheltie boy that brings spirit to everyone's lives.

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