Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Pablo (left) and Riley, January 2014
In the last couple months Pablo has had some trouble and last week I found out he likely has gastrointestinal cancer.  In February I noticed that he was shedding a lot, even for the mild winter that we had.  He usually has a super thick coat with a full undercoat.  Over a month or so he lost most of his undercoat and a lot of his regular coat.  Soon after he started to lose weight.  He wasn't overweight to start with and went from about 10.5 lbs to 8.5 lbs.  He suffers from allergies and takes cyclosporine (generic Atopica) which sometimes makes his stomach upset, so at first I thought the weight loss was related to that.  But, he was actually super hungry and eating more than normal and still losing weight. 

Last week I took him to the vet for blood work, etc.  She suspected a thyroid problem because his symptoms matched hyperthyroidism, or possibly renal failure.  All of his blood work and urinalysis came back normal.  We then ran the more specific thyroid test and that came back normal too.  Thinking this might be a side effect of his medicine we decided to try taking him off it.  Within 24 hours of no pill he didn't want to eat, so I thought I try giving the pill every other day and gave him one that night.  In the morning he felt better and ate all his meals that day.  Skipped the pill that night and by the morning he was throwing up.  I could also tell he was starting to itch. 

This was Friday, so back to the vet we went because she said to bring him in for a shot if he was itching.  I also wanted to talk about what could be going on.  She was feeling his belly when I mentioned that since our last visit I wondered if he might have a tumor.  She said she was now wondering the same thing, or inflammatory bowel disease.  She thought his GI tract felt thickened.  An x-ray showed that most of his GI tract was thickened.  An ultrasound showed that it didn't look like inflammatory bowel disease, but more like a gastrointestinal cancer.

After shedding some tears, Palbo and I went home.  He's back on daily cyclosporine because he does better on it, and she said it could be helping because it's an immune suppressant like chemotherapy and steroids.  We're waiting to hear from an oncologist about other possible medications.  Although he might not do well with other treatments because he already struggles with his allergies/immune system.  Surgery is not an option because it's not really a tumor, it's spread throughout.

Pablo hanging out in his heated bed this weekend.
Pablo is eating, drinking, and cleaning himself, but he can't eat as large of portions so I'm feeding him more often.  His energy is low, but he's still getting around and very happy for lovin' and extra yummy food.  I'm giving him about 100 ml of subcutaneous fluids a day to make sure he's hydrated and I think it helps him feel better.  He's not in pain.  He's only 10 years old, which seems too young for something like this.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Brothers II

 Today was a snowy spring Saturday.  The brothers of the house were very cuddly today.

And a sister, who was cuddly with me.  :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Astro's Open Standard and Jumpers Titles

 It's been awhile since this happened, but it was a pretty big deal so I thought I should share it.  The last weekend in October 2013 Astro earned his Open Standard and Jumpers with Weaves titles.  I was super happy and proud of him.  Astro and I are learning agility together and I couldn't ask for a better partner.

 Astro was also very happy about getting his picture taken with the judge for his Open Standard title.  We finished our Open Standard title Saturday morning with a really nice run.

 He wanted to make sure that Judge Dan Butcher knew how much we appreciated him.  :-)

This is our Jumpers run from Saturday.  It was our second qualifying Open Jumpers run.  Pardon my shrill voice, I was a little nervous.

 On Sunday we had our third qualifying run and finished our Open Jumpers with Weaves title.  It was a great run with lots of turns that he nailed.  I thought it was smoother that our run on Saturday.

We are working on on our Excellent titles now and have also started entering Time 2 Beat and FAST.  Astro loves Time 2 Beat because the courses are designed to be open and fast.  When I decided to try agility I didn't really know how it would turn out because Zephyr and Astro are my first dogs, so of course I was/am learning along the way.  I'm so happy that we've made it this far.  The Excellent level courses have been really challenging.  The courses are harder and there is much less room for error.  But, it's a lot of fun.  So far Astro has one Excellent Standard qualifying run and two Excellent Jumpers with Weaves qualifying runs. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


 Spring has been here for awhile now.  In fact, unlike many other parts of North America, we barely even had a winter.  It was one of our driest winters, less that 2 ft of snow fell at our elevation of about 7,000 ft and there has been hardly any spring rain.  A normal winter has around 100 inches of snow followed by some rain.  So, now we are very dry and windy and have extreme fire danger.  To top it off, in the past week or so it seems that there is an arsonist around Flagstaff that has been lighting forest fires.

One day in March, a time that usually still has snow cover, the boys and I went out for a hike.  The forest roads were still closed at this time, so people can't drive into the forest.  It was a Red Flag Warning day, which means it was super windy and dry with high fire danger.

 This is what we came up on in the middle of the forest.  Someone must have come out and made this fire and then left it very hot with lots of coals and embers.  Within a minute of me taking this picture flames came up from the wind blowing on the embers.  I had about 3 cups of water that I poured on it that put them out, but then I dialed 911.  In Arizona we've had devastating forest fires start from things like this.

It was quite a hassle getting the fire department out there.  I actually don't have a smart phone, so wasn't able to give them coordinates.  However, I knew where I was and I'm really good with maps, roads, and directions (former geologist), but I'll make a long story short and just say that the people I was stuck talking to were not.  Very frustrating, I hope I'm never hurt in the middle of the forest and have to give directions to be saved.  I do have a GPS and have started carrying it more.  As I was walking along a small road toward the main road to try and meet the fire truck I met a man who was also walking his dog.  He helped get them the coordinates and came back to the fire with me.

 When we walked up to the fire it was in flames again.  At this point we had been told to just cover it with rocks, so we kicked in the pit walls to cover it.

Finally the local fire department came and they uncovered it, dug it up and dowsed it.  This was about a mile from houses.  This week our national forests, county, and city put fire restrictions in place.  Yesterday I was so happy to see that a forest road that people camp along and that comes within 1/4 mile of my neighborhood, but has technically been closed for a few years, finally has signs saying it's closed.  Just need to block the road now.  It can be scary living next to the forest, but it's hard for me to imagine living somewhere that I can't step out and be in nature with the dogs.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sedona Hike

 Zephyr, Astro, and I went on a nice hike in Sedona.  We took the Brins Mesa - Soldier Pass - Cibola Pass loop which is about six miles.  The weather was beautiful in the 60s.

 This month is the 3 year anniversary of Zephyr getting encephalitis and it's been a little over 2 years since he finished his chemotherapy treatments.  Everyday I remember how lucky I am to have him.  He's a super healthy boy.

Zephyr and Astro met lots of people on the trail and received some nice comments on how sweet they are.  They were on leash for the hike.  I just took their leashes off for the pictures.  They would have loved a run around, but there are cactus and it's a pretty public trail.
A beautiful day.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happiness is .....

running in the forest with a deer leg in your mouth.

Not the best pictures because they were taken with my phone.  But, they were so happy with their find.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dog Worker

Zephyr and Astro got the Dog Worker puzzle by Nina Ottosson today.  I've wanted to get it for them for a long time, but it's a little pricey.  But, I finally just did it and I'm glad I did.  I think it will be a lot of fun.

This is Zephyr's first time seeing it.  I was really happy with how he went right at it.  He likes to use his paws and nose.

Astro was game from the start too.  My click was late and then he didn't find his treat, but he continued.  I first saw this puzzle done by the Greyhound Carly, with Joan Malak.  Astro is related to Carly and I think it's neat that Astro used his mouth to lift the blocks like Carly.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Arizona Highways

 Last March Astro and I were asked to be part of a filming of the agility club in Cottonwood, AZ for the Arizona Highways Magazine television show.  It was a lot of fun and it was part of a show that aired in late May.  Here is the clip from the show.

Astro on Arizona Highways Magazine television show

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

All is Well

 Just wanted to do a quick post to say that we are all doing well.  Just haven't been able to update the blog in a long time.  Sorry I haven't been around to visit my blog friends in so long.  I've just been busy with work and basically just everyday things.  Astro is doing great in agility.  We are working on our Excellent titles in Standard and Jumpers with Weaves.

 Zephyr turned seven on January 6.  We celebrated with Surf and Turf, beef bones and salmon.

 We celebrated Christmas in Phoenix with my parents.

 The weather was lovely and the boys always enjoy the grass.

 Both Zephyr and Astro have been super healthy.

All of the fun left everyone feeling like this.  Hope everyone is doing well!