Thursday, 29 March 2007

Kizzy and Poppy playing

Every morning Kizzy and Poppy play together. They are very good friends and interact really well together without getting too rough. One of our concerns was that Kizzy wouldn't have any doggy friends at home as the collies are so much bigger but Poppy has been wonderful and Kizzy adores her.

Immaculate sheltie

Kizzy was groomed and combed today. Doesn't she look gorgeous! Not that we're biased of course.

You can see Poppy and Murphy in the background trying to get in on the act!

Murphy's chances at Scunthorpe crushed by large object

Murphy and Niamh were having their usual morning game while we were having breakfast. It all went very quiet so I went to investigate an this is what I found! Luckily the camera was to hand as we tend to keep it out in our attempts to get pictures of Kizzy.

Murphy is currently recovering from this trauma!

Monday, 26 March 2007

What have we been up to

We've been very busy lately hence lack of posts to the blog! Lots of time taken up with visits to Mum who is improving albeit very slowly. We're still not sure how well she'll be at the end of the day but she has come out of the coma.

I've done three training days in the last two weekends which I thoroughly enjoy but which totally wipe me out! Last weekend was a lovely day at Sue Dennison's with a great bunch of people and dogs. As a bonus the weather was glorious and I actually ended up with sun burn!

This Saturday I was near Oxford on Saturday doing a session for Wallingford Club and then near Faversham on Sunday doing one with Amanda Pigg for Southern Border Collie Club. Both were great fun with lovely people and dogs but very hard work as there were many levels and sizes of dogs to train. I had a 3.5 hour journey home on Saturday as there was an accident on the motorway and then had to be up early for the SBCC training day which felt like getting up in the middle of the night as the clocks had gone forward! What a weekend to agree to two training days!

Kizzy is just starting to sprout some shiny coat - to go with her new teeth we think! She is full of herself and incredibly naughty. She has so much energy it's amazing! Luckily the weather has been a bit nicer so she's had quite a bit of time out in the back yard and loves nothing better than teasing the collies by stealing their toys and then running into spaces they can't infiltrate!

At home her best friend is Poppy. They play really well together although sometimes Kizzy gets a little wild. Poppy deserves a medal for the patience she shows. Mostly Andy walks his three together and I walk mine. We find it calmer and more enjoyable than always trying to walk six dogs. When out walking Kizzy's hero is Murphy. She's still on an extender lead when walking with the other dogs as we're ultra careful with our pups in terms of them not over-exercising at an early age or being run over by the big dogs. Consequently Andy spends most of his walk impersonating a maypole! He reckons the local dog walkers think he's madder than ever!

Abbey is doing really well. She has come right back to her old self and is once again really enjoying her walks and acting the fool and barking a lot. Bernadette warned us about noisy shelties but believe me our sheltie will never match Abbey!

We have taken delivery of our new caravan. It's really lovely but so far we haven't found time to pack it. This is getting worrying as the Easter Celebration show is now less than two weeks away! We must find half a day to disgorge the contents of our old caravan from the garage and into the new one!

This coming weekend we have Scunthorpe show. With 5.5 dogs (sorry Kiz) it's easier for us to drive up and down in a single day. This means getting up at around 3.30 am on Saturday morning to make sure we arrive soon after 7.00 am. It's a long day but it's always a show we enjoy. It's at lovely venue with good classes and wonderful catering. One of our favourites but such a long way!!

Amongst all this we are in the process of trying to tie up a deal to move house. We have offered against a property and accepted an offer on ours. But, nothing is final until the fat lady sings. After the two consecutive training days, I'm almost out of voice!! No comments will be accepted on this statement!

We plan to take the video and camera to Scunny so will hopefully have some piccies to post!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Glorious Day for a walk

We all went for a walk together at lunch time. Once the big dogs have calmed down Kizzy is safe to walk with them under supervision. Mostly she is on her extender lead but for ten minutes or so we put Niamh and Becky on the lead (the two mad ones) and allow her a little bit of freedom to rummage around with the others who are much calmer.

We went to Eridge Forest which is our usual walk and it was absolutely glorious, not a cloud in the sky. Abbey enjoyed her walk today, we kept things at a very leisurely pace for her.

Kizzy is teething at the moment and her left ear has dropped, we're hoping it will sort itself out when her big teeth are all through. I joined her with teething problems today, one of my back teeth broke and I had to go to the dentist for an emergency repair. It was horrible. I needed to get if fixed before Saturday in time for the training day I'm doing at Sue Dennison's. I'm looking forward to that and as a bonus the weather is looking good!

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Abbey again

It was such a lovely sunny morning here that I decided to take Abbey along on my dog walk. We had a lovely wander round the forest and met up with a gorgeous rough collie who all my dogs loved and had a game with. Abbey adores rough collies and shelties and was having a real flirt with CoCo. As we got towards the end of our walk I noticed that she was going a bit wobbly and she had another heart attack. I carried her back to the car as she couldn't walk at all. The other dogs were really good and waited in a down inside the gate whilst I got Abbey settled in the car. She has made another good recovery although it took a bit longer this time.

I wish I hadn't taken her on the walk today and for the next couple of weeks at least I'm going to walk her separately and just on local walks where I can get her home quicker if needed.

She's very settled at the moment so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. Will keep the blog posted of her hopeful progress.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007



Abbey went back to the vet today and had another ECG and Jim also re-tested her blood pressure and did a chest x-ray. Her diastolic pressure is high and she has a little fluid around one side of her heart. The ECG readings are not normal and show that she has sustained some damage from Friday's heart attack. She is on medication to try to disperse this fluid and is now permanently on Vetmedin. She is very sleepy from being sedated for her x-ray but otherwise seems fine. I stayed with her while her tests were being done, just had to step out of the x-ray room when Jim did those otherwise I was with her all the time so I was there when she woke up. She hates going to the vet so it's nice that Jim lets us stay with our dogs wherever possible. Now we just have to hope that things stay stable.


Kizzy had a wonderful time at Mid Downs show on Saturday. She met lots of new people and dogs and was very tired by the end of the day. We really enjoyed the day it was great seeing people again. Kiz was totally unfazed by all the noise inside the building. She met up with her friend Kodak (Mandy's puppy) and they had a good play. At one point Mandy looked like a maypole as the two pups tied her in knots with their leads! Andy took over and he didn't fare much better. She had a good cuddle on Andy's lap when we got home!

Bernadette measured Kizzy while we were at the show and she is now 12.25 inches and so it looks very likely that she will be medium dog in agility terms. There was always a good chance that she would as she was the biggest of her litter. We don't mind whether she ends up small or medium, she's gorgeous and that's all that matters.

Her sits and downs are progressing well both in execution and duration. She has also started learning the startline position. This is in the form of a sit with her toy placed behind her bottom. She has to sit and accept tension on the lead and then is told "OK find it" to release backwards onto her toy. She likes this game which is good! The biggest breakthrough is her recall which is now pretty darn good. In tandem with this we've had a huge breakthrough with the 'backing off syndrome' for want of a better phrase. She rarely does this now and instead waits patiently to be patted or have some tension on her collar. We don't always treat this behaviour but sometimes reward instead with a toy which she's just as happy to accept. Progress we like!

Naughty Niamh

The Naughty Niamh was a good girl at Mid Downs. We had a run off in our jumping class (grade 3-5) for 1st place. Sadly Niamh's handler let her down and we took 2nd prize. I am very happy with that as I want to stay at level 5 in order to be eligible for the KC Novice Olympia Stakes. I know you need two wins in jumping but I would prefer to win on agility, I'm a bit old fashioned like that. Part of me would love to win a class with Niamh but not just yet. We had a rather irratic season for one reason or another last year (mainly down to weaving issues) and so I really want to enjoy her at novice level this season. She also got clear in her other two classes with a 15th in Grade 4-5 agility, we didn't manage a place in the grade 5,6,7 agility. I think she'll be OK in grade 6 at some point but not just yet - she's too much of a clown as you can see from this picture.

That's about all for now. Thanks to those who asked about my Mum.

Friday, 2 March 2007


I was out on my dog walk this morning and happened to look round to make sure Abbey was following (sometimes she gets involved in a sniff and then panics and runs off looking for me usually in the wrong direction). Anyway, thank god I looked round because she was dragging her rear end and staggering along trying to catch up with me. I ran back to her and she just collapsed on the floor. I checked her eyes and they weren't oscillating but I still thought she'd had a stroke. I managed to get her back to the car, part walking her and part carrying her. I called Andy and he rang our vet, Jim who said to bring her straight in. Luckily he isn't far from where I walk.

He was due to go out on farm visits but cancelled so that he could see Abbey. I just don't know what we'd do without him. We hooked her up to the ECG machine and he confirmed that she'd suffered a heart attack. Her blood pressure was also pretty unstable. Jim gave her a jab of something which I can't remember the name of to help stabilise things. She also has Vetmedin to take. She began to recover whilst I was there and by the time we left she was looking pretty good and walking much better. She's going back early next week for more tests once she's settled down. Jim is going to do a chest x-ray amongst other tests.

Right now, she's curled up asleep under my desk on one of her many beds and seems very content. She'll be thirteen exactly one month from today and I'm praying she gets over this glitch.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Today's News

"Well there isn't any because I ate it!"

The naughty little sheltie was having a race around the office this morning and decided to take a look at the headlines. She obviously wasn't impressed because she ate them.

Whilst she was shredding the day's news, Andy was on a business call and wasn't too impressed so Kizzy and I were banned from the office (suits me fine!)

This week Kizzy had her first 'agility' lesson. We went to training on Tuesday and for one reason or another all the people in my beginners class were absent (are they trying to tell me something I wonder?) Anyway, we decided to use the spare slot for Jan and Teazel and Andy and Kizzy. We did lots of name response exercises, sits and downs etc. Then we moved onto recalls through jump wings and some pipe tunnels. Teazel, being a collie, is much larger than Kizzy but they worked well together and were totally focused on their toys and handlers. Andy thoroughly enjoyed the session, it's the first time Kiz has done anything alongside another dog and he was really pleased at how focused she remained. By the end of the session Kiz and Teazel were still up for it, sadly the same couldn't be said of their handlers!

We've both been working hard on her recalls, sits and downs. With some advice from Bernadette we've made real progress. As with everything, Kizzy does all these exercises with huge energy and speed. Even in the above photo where I had to get her to sit (otherwise she was a blur amongst the torn up newspaper!) she does so with energy. She doesn't just flop into a sit but is upright and looking for reward, play or release. In fact, we've never seen her do a puppy sit.

Kizzy will be exactly four months of age tomorrow. This is good timing as it means she can 'legally' go to Mid Downs agility show on Saturday. Andy is judging in the morning and really looking forward to taking Kiz round her first agility show during the afternoon. Hopefully the weather will be reasonable. It can't get much worse than it has been recently that's for sure. Mind you can't complain, it's very sunny here today.

Tomorrow afternoon Andy's off to Ardingly to set up his course and he'll take Kizzy with him for that outing. I would normally go along to help but I'll be taking another journey into London to visit Mum in King's College hospital. Sadly, she is still showing no sign of improvement and is now in day 12 of a coma. It's an awful time and you just have to keep doing stuff in order not to dwell on things all the time. Thanks for all the kind comments.