Saturday, June 18, 2011

Inspiration Award!

The other day I was so happy to learn that the boys, the blog, and I were given an Inspiration Award by Itsa Greyt Day!  This was really nice because she said the reason she gave us the award was because of how I have been taking care of Zephyr and handling everything with his encephalitis and recovery.  It's amazing how a few kind words from someone you don't even know can help you out and make you smile.  If you haven't already, you should check out the beautiful pictures at Itsa Greyt Day and Itsa Greyt Day for a Photo.  These hounds have a truly talented mom!

Friends Marlies and Mathew came over for dinner last night, so the big boy got lots of lovin'.

So did the little boy.

A quick Zephyr update before I pass on the award.  He is doing well and I've been getting him out on more walks.  We go out in the morning and/or evening for easy walks about 30 minutes long.  He did have another seizure last Monday, so much for the every one month idea.  This one was short, less than two minutes.  All of his seizures have happened in the early morning or middle of the night.  I read that seizures usually happen when they are really relaxed, so this makes since.  His phenobarbital dose was doubled to 45mg twice a day.  This is still a low dose for a dog his size.  Dr. Knowles probably would have liked to start him at 60mg twice a day when he went back on the phenobarbital, but I was really worried about the side effects so we started low and are now working up.  This last seizure was much shorter than the previous one, 5-7 minutes, but only one week from the previous.  After going to 45mg twice a day Zephyr had some side effects for about 48 hours but they weren't bad.  Just some slipping of the feet or slight incoordination, some hyperactivity, and maybe some drowsiness.  The hyperactivity seemed to occur about 11 - 12 hours after having a dose.  Then he'd be wanting to play and run and I'd notice the slipping more then.  I had to make him calm down a couple times.  I think the side effects were pretty minimal though and were gone after 48 hours.  Hopefully we'll get the seizures under control.

Here are the rules for the Inspiration award.

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded this to you.

2. Link posts by you and ten fellow bloggers that you find inspirational.

3. Forward the award to those ten fellow bloggers.

It's sure hard to pick only 10 blogs, but here goes.  If this is your second Inspiration Award, then it's doubly Inspirational.  :-)  And, if you don't do the award thing because your off doing lots of other fun things, it's no problem.

1.  Two Greyhound Town is a blog that was usually written by Jack the Greyhound, with the occasional post from Scout his sister, or their Momma.  Very sadly and suddenly Jack passed away this month from cancer.  Jack inspired me because he was a very funny hound who had me laughing many times.  He also had great insight and ideas about many topics.  Now his sister Scout has decided to try and keep the blog going.  I think she's a little unsure of this, but I know she will do a great job.  Their Momma is also doing a great job of taking care of Scout and getting out on some new adventures during this really hard time.

2.  Never Say Never Greyhounds is the first greyhound blog that found.  Jennifer Bachelor and her greyhounds do agility, obedience, and lots of other fun things and have achieved some very outstanding accomplishments.  Her blog has really inspired me to do more, and to hang in there, with my boys.  Her blog was also one of the inspirations for me to start Hiking Hounds.

3.  The splorin' Wolfies is a blog of the adventures of two Irish Wolfhounds, Guinness and Maggi, in Nova Scotia.  Maggi is a new addition to the family who came after they lost Saige at a very young age.  Maggi is about 4 years old and was rescued from a bad situation, I think it was a bad breeding program, maybe a puppymill, and Maggi is blind.  Despite all this she adjusted so well to her new loving family and all of the great adventures they go on.  I have a friend who's boxer is about 3 years old and losing his eyesight.  I've shared Maggi's story and adventures with her many times.

4.  Jennifer Zalewski is an artist who's subject is often greyhounds.  She and her hounds are always off doing something fun.  She did lose Clifford not long ago and a year ago or so she lost Lucy.  Jack has big shoes to fill, but he's doing a great job of course.  Every time I see Jennifer's drawings I think to myself "You need to start drawing again, go take a class".

5.  Genji's Corner is a blog by Gyeong about A LOT of hounds!  In fact, it is not uncommon to see about ten different hounds and dogs sprawled out in their living room.  In addition, they are often taking care of other hounds or dogs for friends while they are out of town.  And they are usually off doing some fun things like their recent trip to Barkwell's, so cool.  I love Beth, a 13 year old recent addition to the family who seems to have fit right in, despite the nick name of "Grouchy Pants".

6.  Jets's Furkid Palace is a Down Under blog about Barbie, Bender, FrouFrou, and Mittens.  Barbie is the first greyhound to earn the CGC certification in Western Australia.  This is really cool because people are still learning about Greyhounds in Australia and in some places or states they still have to wear their muzzle when they are out in public.  

7.  Aragon Greyhounds is authored by a group of people who all have greyhounds from the same litter of puppies.  They are all active and successful in training, showing, agility, and obedience.  I've gotten a lot of good training ideas from them and ideas about new things to try with the dogs.  Someday we're going to give Tracking a try.

8.  Terri's Knitblog is about three of my favorite things; greyhounds, knitting, and food (often scrumptious baked goods).  Terri is the designer of a knitted greyhound sweater pattern that I've just started making.  They lost Sabrina during the winter and now have the new addition Ava who is a cutey.

9.  Greyhounds Can Sit is another Down Under blog, from New Zealand, about Beryl the greyhound and Frankie the pig dog.  I love the name of this blog and it says a lot about what they do.  They are also always learning and trying new things including doggie dancing recently.  She also does a lot with letting people in New Zealand, and elsewhere, know about greyhounds.

10.  Learning About Life With Greys is an Alabama based blog about Dan, Set, Gypsey, and Trixie.  Their mom works as a veterinarian technician, which can be hard sometimes.  I really admire her willingness to deal with some of the bad situations she has to sometimes.  I can't imagine how frustrating it is.  They also live near the area that was devastated by the tornadoes recently.  Luckily they were okay.

I hope you all enjoy these great blogs!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Today was my last day at school, so now it's summer!  I am so looking forward to spending time at home and with the dogs and cats, taking some agility classes, and hopefully getting out on some nice hikes.

Zephyr is doing well.  He's three weeks past his last chemo treatment.  This round of chemo went well.  His white blood cell count dropped pretty low, 1,900, but he didn't have any problems.  Just some tiredness.  I made sure that he took it pretty easy.  No walks for five days before the lowest days, and no walks for about 4 days after.  And, I'm only taking him on slow easy walks of about 30 - 45 minutes.  He and Astro do run and play in the yard and house.  I think I'll start taking him on more frequent short walks now to start getting him back in shape slowly.  It does make me sad to not be able to take him out running in the forest, or to have to leave him home while Astro and I go off to class, etc.  I have to remind myself of how sick he was and that he had a pretty big brain injury and still needs to heal.  Dr. Knowles also reminds me of this frequently.  :-) 

This past Monday Zephyr did have another seizure.  :-(  It was 31 days after the first seizure (since being home) and, I realized that both seizures happened almost exactly 2 weeks after having a chemotherapy treatment.  I asked Dr. Knowles if the seizures could be related to the chemo, she said she didn't think so, she still thinks they're likely from scar tissue in his brain from the encephalitis.  She said she had another patient with "inflammatory brain disease" have seizures a few days after the first Lomustine treatment.  She asked the oncologist, Dr. Hershey, about it then and Dr. Hershey said she uses Lomustine all the time and hasn't had seizures.  Still I wonder if it's related.  I'd rather the seizures be from the chemo because it seems like then there would be a better chance of them going away. 

This seizure lasted longer, I think at least five minutes.  I missed the first shot of diazepam.  To give it you have to put the syringe (no needle) in their bum.  It doesn't have to go in far, but he was shaking so much it was hard to get in his rear and I missed.  I think I got most of the next one in, but the seizure didn't stop.  So, after a minute I gave another.  The seizure still went on for a bit, I don't know if I did a very good job with the diazepam.  Zephyr's heart was pound so hard during the seizure I could hear the swooshing sound of the blood pumping through.  Not fun, I worried that he would have a heart attack.  So, Zephyr is taking phenobarbital again.  I was worried about the side effects so we started him on a very low dose, 15mg twice a day.  For comparison, when he came home from the neurology center after having all the seizures from the encephalitis he was taking 90mg twice a day.  Dr. Knowles said in cases like his, where the seizures aren't that often, a low dose is all that's needed control them.  After he didn't have side effects from the 15mg we did raise the dose to 22.5mg today.  We'll see how it goes.  I can guarantee you that when it's about one month from this last seizure I'll be pretty nervous waiting to see what will happen.  The good news is I didn't get sick after this seizure.  :-)  Best of all Zephyr has been just fine since!

This weekend is the Flagstaff Kennel Club's show and I am showing Astro.  I'm just going with the attitude of we're going for the experience and fun.  I've really only started training Astro for conformation again in the past 2 or 3 weeks.  He's doing really well, but I think the standing still for the exam and the teeth might be hard.  Plus, Astro is under the impression that everyone wants to play.  He'll be two years old at the end of July, but he is still total puppy and to me he still looks like a puppy too.  This is actually fine with me, and I'm sure that has something to do with his prolonged puppyhood.  :-)

In other Astro news, we started taking agility classes again three weeks ago and he is doing great!  I am so proud of him and I think he really likes agility.  He is doing a great job with his "take a bow"  contacts (two on, two off).  I was really impressed when he ran the dog walk fast and then nailed the contact last week, so awesome!  He's doing really well with his focus on me too.  And, I have to say, Astro gets the zoomies a lot less than Zephyr did when he was a little babe.

Pablo thinks that while we are out doing all this hiking, agility, and other nonsense this summer, he will just stretch out and take a nap.  Maybe he will venture out to the back deck or even yard, maybe.