Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wichita Chronicles Part 3

Wichita has been doing great!  He passed his Canine Good Citizen test in November and he'll begin therapy dog classes in January.

But a little before Thanksgiving, I saw a little bump on Wichita's side. It was small, about the size of a pencil eraser, but sometimes it would shrink and be almost too small to find. Other times it would get bigger again. I tried to take pictures of the bump, but it was so little, it wasn't really visible in any of the pictures. So off to the vet we went (again). Dr. Weisz did a find needle aspiration and looked at the cells from the lump under the microscope. It was a mast cell tumor. Mast cell tumors are pretty unpredictable and they can be benign or they can be malignant and extremely aggressive. I have a friend whose dog had a mast cell tumor when he was a year old and never had an issue again. I also have a friend whose dog had a mast cell tumor and she died of mast cell cancer just a couple of months later. Yikes!

First step for Wichita was to remove the tumor. But it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I took him in, so Dr. Weisz scheduled surgery for the next Thursday and said we'd need to give Wichita Benedryl and Pepcid until the surgery. Mast cell tumors are made of mast cells which are part of the immune system and they can release histamine (hence the size change). If a mast cell tumor is big enough or aggressive enough, it can release so much histamine, that it can cause anaphylactic shock! Dr. Weisz also warned me that although the tumor was small, mast cell tumors are often locally aggressive, so when removing them, they always take wide margins to have a better chance of getting all of the abnormal cells. So she planned to take 3 cm on each side of the tumor, that would mean about a 5 inch incision!

Big incision
I took Wichita in for surgery on Thursday and everything went well. He got lots of love from the Allandale staff and they made sure to stitch up the big incision really well. I tried not to think about the histopathlogy report since it would be 5-10 business days before we'd get the results. We needed to keep Wichita fairly calm for about 10 days to avoid putting stress on the stitches and incision. That's not easy with a young, active dog! He never seemed to feel any pain even though the incision was so big.

I took Wichita to work with me the day after his surgery, clearly he wasn't feeling too bad. Lots of students came by to see him. This is one of my TAs, Ka'ohi, doing one of Wichita's favorite tricks with him. 

They gave us carprofen for pain, and we gave it to him for a few days, but I'm not sure he needed it. Wichita did not have to wear a cone, but he did have to wear a t-shirt to keep him from scratching at the incision. He didn't mind wearing t-shirts at all. I did catch him trying to scratch at the incision a couple of times, so when he was home alone, I put a bootie on his back foot so he couldn't scratch much.
Wichita scratched one of his stitches loose, luckily the incision was already healing well so it wasn't a big deal.
On Friday, 8 days after surgery, we got the histopathlogy report. All of the abnormal cells were removed with good margins!  And the mitotic index was a 2 which is very good! Mitotic index is a scale from 1 to 10 that measures how quickly cells are dividing. Cancer cells divide really quickly and very aggressive cancer cells divide crazy fast. A mitotic index of 5 or below is considered good for a mast cell tumor and no further treatment is generally recommended. So Wichita's mitotic index of 2, was great news!

Yesterday Wichita got his stitches taken out and Dr. Weisz said everything looks good and he's cleared for all activity (even swimming)! He does have a pretty huge scar that one friend said looks like "an alien worm coming out of his side" But his hair will grow back soon and hopefully the big scar won't be super noticeable...and even if it is, oh well, at least he's healthy!
hopefully when his fur grows back the scar won't be so noticeable
alien worm scar
We will always have to watch for lumps and bumps and get them checked out quickly because often (but not always) dogs who get one mast cell tumor will get more. But with his super short fur, bumps are very easy to see & feel on Wichita.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Wichita Chronicles Part 2

I left off on the first part of Wichita's story on Sept 26th, with him just beginning to feel better. After that point, he began to improve much more quickly. He started eating much better, gaining weight, and wanting to play with Roo more.

We went back to Allandale Vet Clinic for more x-rays to see if the pneumonia was gone on Oct 13th. Everyone at the office was impressed with how much better Wichita looked and how much happier and more confident he seemed. I really expected the pneumonia to be gone and for him to get a clean bill of health. Instead, Dr. Bello found a small spot of fluid (pneumonia) still left in one lung and he found that Wichita's bronchii are "thickened" or inflamed. He said that would be normal for an older dog, but since Wichita is only 2-3, that was concerning. We sent a sample off to Texas A&M to test for lung worms, which are very uncommon in Austin. But they live in extremely humid environments...Houston flooding anyone?? The lung worm test came back negative, so Dr. Bello said we'd revisit & decide what, if anything, to do when we came back again for more x-rays after 2 more weeks of antibiotics. He said in the mean time not to worry about it and to let Wichita be active if he wanted to, but not to take him running much yet.

So we did everything except running :)

Wichita loves to play with Roo now

and he loves to cuddle with Roo (and us) too. He'll even sit in my lap when I watch tv on the couch.
We went to the Love-A- Bull pub walk.
Roo & Wichita at the Love-A-Bull pub walk. Credit: Dogs of ATX
We went to Poochini's & Peticures at Lofty Dog .
Zoe's new dog Louie looks so much like Wichita!!
We took a day trip to College Station for a big tailgating party

We went out to eat.
at Fuzzy's Tacos
Wichita tested out of Obedience 1 and 2 at the Zoom Room, and began Obedience 3 classes. He learns very quickly. He's well on his way to earning his Canine Good Citizen certification.

We went hiking with Debbi, Greg, and Allie and found out Wichita can swim! He had so much fun!

I made Halloween costumes for Roo & Wichita
Wichita the SCUBA Dog
On October 27th, Wichita went back to the vet for more x-rays. Dr. Bello was out that day, so we saw Dr. Weisz. Roo usually sees Dr. Weisz, so I know her well too. She showed me the x-rays, we saw that the spot of pneumonia was gone, but Wichita still had the thickened bronchii. We talked about it. She said it may be due to a previous heart worm infection, a previous bout of pneumonia or other respiratory stress, but we can't know for sure. She said we should watch him for any respiratory symptoms, but as long as he's "acting healthy, like he is now" he is free to do anything- no restrictions. She did say to build his running mileage very slowly and watch for any issues.

Wichita's "sort of clean" bill of health came just in time for Canine Camp! You can read about our Canine Camp fun here. And he's now run up to 1.5 miles.

We finally got to have fun with Wichita and learn what a cool dog he is! He's smart, playful, sweet, and like Roo, he's calm in the house, but full of energy in the yard or at the park. He's still not super excited about toys, but he will grab a toy, and run outside with it to entice Roo to chase him. He loves to go for walks and runs. It's been 8 weeks since I brought Wichita home, and now that he's healthy, he's fitting into our family perfectly.

Fall Canine Camp

After having so much fun with Roo at The Canine Center for Training and Behavior's Spring Canine Camp, I definitely didn't want to miss Fall Canine Camp! But we couldn't miss work on Friday, so we went with the "Saturday Only" option.

Of course we have Wichita too now so it worked out perfectly that Jeff could go too- 2 people and 2 dogs!

We left the house at 6:30am on Saturday morning and drove out past Wimberly to 7A Ranch. It was a little hard to find in the dark, but eventually we made it and got checked in. We had breakfast and signed up for morning activities while the dogs hung out in the car. Then we walked around and explored the ranch for awhile. It's a pretty cool place, they have some guest rooms, an old west main street with small buildings including a cowboy museum and a real ice cream parlor. We walked down to the Blanco River too, but it was too cold for swimming.

Our first activity of the morning was lure coursing. Roo has run lure a few times at the Canine Center. Wichita and Comet (the other dog in our group) had never done it before. So trainer Shari had Roo go first to show the other dogs how it's done. Roo ran a couple of laps and Wichita freaked out! Shari was sure he was watching the lure move and wanted to chase it, not barking & whining at Roo. Either way, she had Jeff unclip Wichita so he could run and suggested we let Roo run with him, since the dogs know each other, she thought Roo might show Wichita what to do. Wichita did not need a teacher. He LOVED chasing the lure, and Shari was impressed by how fast he was! There were a lot of the super sharp grass burs in the lure area, and unfortunately, Roo kept getting them stuck in his paws. He always stops moving when he gets a grass bur and waits for me to get it out, so he stopped on the course a few times, while Wichita just kept on going. For some reason, Wichita barely picked up any grass burs and poor Roo was getting all of them. They got about 4 turns on the lure course and ran a few laps each time. Shari noticed that they were working together to chase the lure, which was pretty fun to see. Our one true failure at Canine Camp was that Jeff and I did not take any pictures or videos of the boys on the lure course. It was so fun and impressive, but I can't show any of you. I already knew that Roo really enjoys lure, but it made me so happy to see that Wichita clearly loves it!
Since I failed to get pictures, here's a random internet picture of a lure coursing machine and lure (the white plastic bag)
We still had a little time left before the next activity, so we went over to the tracking station for a few minutes and trainer Jyl showed us the very basics of laying a track and getting your dog to follow it. Since we only had a few minutes, I'm not sure if  either dog really picked it up well or not. But Jeff and I learned a little bit and can test it out at home now.

Our second session was field first aid with Dr. Zimmer. The dogs didn't enjoy that nearly as much as lure, since they just had to sit and listen. But Jeff and I found the information very helpful, especially since we like to hike and plan to go backcountry hiking/camping with the pups next summer. Dr. Zimmer talked about overheating & heat exhaustion, hypothermia, snake bites, cuts, bloat, and a few other issues.

Then it was time for lunch and a little more exploring of the property. We also got Wichita to jump an agility jump for the first time ever, we didn't realize this would be useful later.
Roo demonstrating the jump for Wichita
Wichita says "oh, this is easy"
Our next activity was hiking. Again, Roo and I had done quite a bit of canicross hiking at Spring Canine Camp, so I knew what to expect. I loaded Roo's pack with 4 full bottles of water and put it on him. Shari had a pack for Wichita to wear but we left it empty since he's not used to wearing a pack yet. We put on our hip belts and hooked up our canicross lines. We pretty much just walked around the ranch and down to the river and back since 7A Ranch doesn't have any real off road trails. We practiced commands like "Hike Up" to go, "Stop" to stop, "Easy" to slow down and "On By" to keep moving. We also practiced turns and swings. In canicross, the dog is supposed to be out in front and tow the person a little bit. In general, Roo is pretty good at it. We run this way quite a bit. Of course it was brand new to Wichita. It was also new to Jeff. I had told him all about it and how great it was after Spring Canine Camp, but getting to actually experience it makes all the difference! I heard Jeff tell Wichita, "Buddy, you're going to give me free extra mileage every day when we hike in Colorado". Wichita did fantastically as long as Roo was in front him and he wanted to catch up to Roo. Wichita was not so good at leading, but he'll learn.

When I saw the camp schedule, I didn't think Jeff would want to do "Advancing Your Nosework" with Wichita. I thought we'd swim or maybe Jeff & Wichita would do "Intro to Agility" but Jeff decided he wanted to try nosework with Wichita, even though it was the more advanced option. Inka the instructor was very nice about setting Jeff & Wichita up with 2 boxes to practice the "find the treat in the box" game. They went off to the side and practiced for awhile and next time Jeff & Wichita's turn came around, Wichita walked into the "harder than beginner but not quite advanced" course and found the proper box like a pro! By the end of an hour and a half nosework class, Wichita was trying to sniff around and look into every box he saw! Roo really enjoys nosework too, and for as little as we've done, he seems to be pretty good at it. Nosework is the next 6 week class I want to take at the Canine Center...with both dogs now.
Wichita working his nose like a pro
Roo working to find the scent, Wichita watching intently
Roo says, "I found it!!"
Everyone at camp participated in the Kidnapping Mystery. All the campers and their dogs were divided into teams. We had a great team: Me/Roo, Jeff/Wichita, Marla/Kona, Amy/Greta, Lory/Kida, and the one girl I didn't already know whose name I have already forgotten and her dog Brindle. Wichita was definitely the least experienced dog on our team. We knew we'd rotate through stations to find clues about who got kidnapped, who did it, why, and where the victim was taken. The stations would involve agility, retrieving, nosework, and air scenting.

We were at the air scenting station first, all 6 dogs did really well and we got all 7 clues there. We strategized so the dogs with more air scenting experience went first and those with no experience then just had to follow where the other dogs had been and it worked well for us. Even Wichita found Jackie's hiding spot with no problems. Since this was our first station, we weren't quite sure how the clues worked.
our air scenting station clues
We looked at clues and thought "maybe the kidnapper is an opera singer" Then someone turned around, looked at the Opera House behind us and went..."hey! maybe the place is the Opera House!" YES!!!
Of course it's the Opera House!
Our next station was agility, it was by far the toughest station. Each dog had to run a short agility course, you got a clue for a clean run, time did not matter. We had 3 or 4 dogs with a decent amount of agility experience and Wichita was the only one who had never done any agility. I took Roo through very slowly to make sure he hit every weave pole and didn't knock down any jump bars. Brindle had lots of agility experience, but her owner couldn't slow her down enough to get a clean run, which was a little sad because clearly she's an awesome agility dog. I was super impressed by Jeff & Wichita. Jeff had never taken a dog through an agility course (he has watched me run Roo many times, but never done it himself) and Wichita had never even seen most of the agility equipment before. Jeff took him through slowly and they got a clean run! Awesome! We got 4 of the 7 clues at the agility station.
a dog bowl and some small clothing...not so obvious
Our clues weren't so obvious this time. By the time we left agility, we thought maybe the kidnappee was a small dog who wears a visor.

On to the nosework station. For this one, we had the most experienced dogs go last, since there were 7 clues to find, the first dog had the best chance and the last dog would have to find the very last clue. All the dogs found their clues no problem, although Roo took a long time, he was second to last and "found" all the clues that had already been found before actually finding a new one. Our best Nosework dog, Greta, found the last clue in about 2 seconds!
We got all 7 clues here too and decided the motive for the kidnapping was love/heartbreak, but the Charlie Brown shirt confused us at first...then we decided that maybe Snoopy was the kidnappee and one of the Peanuts girls did it because she loved Charlie Brown. But which one loved Charlie Brown? They were all so mean to him! Lucy? Peppermint Patty? Marcy? Sally? Definitely NOT Sally, she was Charlie Brown's sister.

We'll figure it out at the retrieving station. Roo was deemed our ringer for retrieving, so we went last. Each dog took a turn going into the fenced area to find a "clue" pick it up and bring it out to the owner. Roo was the only dog on our team who loves to retrieve, so it was tough for most of the dogs. Wichita took a turn and went into the clue area and just stood there and looked at Jeff, didn't even sniff at the clues, and they were mostly fun "clues" like a rope toy, a football, a baseball, a stuffed toy, etc. Kida was the most fun. She went into the area and after some looking around, picked up the football. Lory called her, Kida stopped, looked at Lory, dropped the football, and went to Lory. She sent her in after the football again, Kida picked it up, ran around with it and dropped it again. Finally with all of us calling and encouraging her, Kida came out of the fence WITH the football, and we all cheered! Roo walked into the area, picked up a small stuffed Paddington Bear toy and brought it out to me immediately...he really does favor his Labrador genes. There was a little pepper shaker attached to the Paddington Bear so that confirmed the answer for me. I looked at Marla and held up the pepper and went "PEPPERmint" then held up Paddington Bear and said "PADDY". Marla said "YEAH!"

We told Shari that our answer was that Peppermint Patty kidnapped Snoopy because she loves Charlie Brown and she hid him in the Opera House. We were correct, so we qualified to choose one dog from our team to compete with one dog from the other qualifying teams to go find Snoopy in the Opera House. I told my team, if it's a stuffed Snoopy toy, Roo will definitely find it and carry it back, so they chose Roo to represent the team. We took off toward the Opera House with the other teams and went to check the women's restroom at the Opera House. Roo is sometimes nervous about going into small, dark, enclosed spaces. He got very nervous (plus I had no idea if Snoopy was in there anyway), so we turned around and kept looking. A few minutes later, Whiskey (and his owner) came out of the women's restroom carrying a big stuffed Snoopy toy and looking very proud of himself! DARN IT! We may not have won, but we had so much fun with the Kidnapping Mystery!

Next up was the Doggie Costume Contest. I had spent the week before camp making and testing Roo & Wichita's "SCUBA Dog" costumes. I didn't realize we'd have to parade down Main Street in the costumes! Everyone laughed at the poor SCUBA Dogs trying to walk in their fins! We got lots of comments on how cute they looked, how creative their costumes were and Jyl said that I put too much effort into these things :)  There were lots of other awesome costumes too. Judi & Poppi dressed as 20's flappers, the pair of Great Pyrenees were the Coke polar bears, Marla & Kona were rodeo clowns, there was a Ragedy Ann & Andy, a unicorn, a Hello Kitty and a few other great costumes. The Great Pyrenees Coke Polar Bears won the costume contest by popular applause. Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of any of the dogs in costume except Roo & Wichita.
A few pictures of my SCUBA Dogs: 

Jeff and I were starving by dinner time. We fed Roo & Wichita and left them in the car to nap while we went inside for a dinner of roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, salad, and pumpkin cheesecake bars (Pumpkin Crack as Jane called them).

I knew how much Roo would enjoy Canine Camp and I knew I would thoroughly enjoy watching him work and learn. I wasn't sure how it would go for Wichita since we've only had him 7 weeks, he's still pretty new to us. We're still learning and figuring out his likes, dislikes, and abilities. Wichita seriously impressed us! He was a champ at lure; he seemed to pick up and enjoy canicross hiking; he loved nosework; and he did shockingly well at air scenting and agility in the kidnapping mystery.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dog DNA Tests Wisdom Panel VS Embark

This is Quintana Roo
Roo definitely looks like a chocolate Labrador. But having had purebred Labs before, it's fairly obvious (to me and Jeff anyway) that he's not a pure Lab. We were very curious what other breeds he might be. Friends also had lots of guesses. Most common guesses were Chesapeake Bay Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, Australian Shepherd, Vizsla, Blue Lacy, Dalmatian, pit bull (aka Staffordshire Terrier), Weimaraner, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and coonhound.

Dog DNA tests have become pretty popular and of course we wanted to know what breed(s) Roo might be in addition to the fairly obvious Labrador. I told Jeff when we tested him, if it came back without any Labrador, I would be sure the test wasn't accurate. I did some research, looked at many brands of Dog DNA tests...Wisdom Panel, Embark, DNA My Dog, DogDNA, etc. I chose Wisdom Panel based on the price and the good reviews (knowing that I might do a second test as a "confirmation" later).

I ordered the Wisdom Panel test for Roo in March and got it in the mail just a few days later. Wisdom Panel tests cost about $60-80. Swabbing Roo's cheek was very easy, and the instructions were simple to follow. I mailed the kit off the next day. I got an email saying they had received the sample and then about 2 weeks later got another email saying my results were ready! I excitedly clicked on the link saw Roo's pie chart. 37.5% Labrador, 25% Chow, 12.5% German Shepherd, and 25% mixed.
Roo's Wisdom Panel breed chart
I had learned enough about the tests to know that all dog DNA tests only go back 3 generations and if a dog's great grandparents are highly mixed (mutts) the results will likely come back as "mixed".
Roo's Wisdom Panel ancestry chart
So I wasn't surprised by the Labrador or the mixed results. I was a bit surprised the Labrador percentage wasn't higher. I wasn't really surprised by the Germain Shepherd, and neither were most other people, they'd look at him and go "yeah, I can see that" even though he really looks nothing like a German Shepherd. He does act more dignified and thoughtful than most Labs, and he's got a big German Shepherd-y bark.

But the 25% Chow stumped everyone! They're fluffy, Roo has short hair, they have pointy ears, Roo has floppy Lab ears, they're stand-offish and wary of people (stereotypes anyone?), Roo thinks everyone is his best friend. But at the same time, Roo holds his tail over his back like a Chow, he has a shorter muzzle than a Lab, he's more dignified and patient, he's lighter in color and has "highlights". I even called and talked with a representative from Wisdom Panel. She was very nice and talked with me for a long time. She confirmed my suspicion that many Labrador traits are dominant, which might be why so many "mutts" look like Labs (Roo included). I was pretty convinced the test was accurate, but quite a few people said they didn't think Roo could be part Chow.

I really liked the format of the Wisdom Panel results. They give you quite a bit of information about each breed, you can set up a profile with information about your dog, and you can look at other Wisdom Panel dogs in "The Dog Park" and see what breeds they are. The site is fun to explore. Wisdom Panel tests for Multidrug Sensitivity, but no other genetic health issues. Overall I was really happy with the test.

I figured eventually I'd do an Embark test and see how it matched up (or didn't) with the Wisdom Panel test. Embark is more expensive at $199 (but here is a link for $30 off). So it's significantly more expensive than Wisdom Panel, but Embark also tests for 164 genetic diseases. When we got Wichita, we definitely wanted to do a genetic test since so many "pit bulls" aren't really pit bulls (aka Stafforshire Terriers, or American Pit Bull Terriers) at all.

This is Wichita. Photo credit: Dogs of ATX, Stephanie Conrad
The process was exactly the same and just as easy, order kits, swab dog cheeks, mail the kits back, get email confirmation and then wait. Embark takes longer to get results, they say 6-8 weeks. In our case right at 5 weeks. I got Wichita's results back 2 days before Roo's, I assume because Wichita's breed info ended up being very simple- 100% Staffordshire Terrier (aka pit bull). I wasn't necessarily surprised by the result- Wichita definitely looks like a pit bull, but I generally assume most "pit bulls" are mixes- not in our case!
Wichita's Embark breed make up
When I got Roo's results, I just thought..."well, that's interesting". Embark found 7 different breeds in Roo and none of them, aside from Labrador, were breeds that anyone had guessed. They did however, get Labrador at 30%, Chow at 13.9%, and German Shepherd at 6%, which are the same breeds (although lower percentages of each) as Wisdom Panel. In addition, they found Great Pyrenees at 8.6%, Brittany Spaniel at 7.7%, Rottweiler at 6.7%, and Doberman Pinscher at 4.6%. They also got mixed, what they call "Supermutt"at 22.5%. What a crazy mixed up mix!
Supermutt as defined by Embark
As I said before, Roo clearly favors his Labrador genes. He may have a few very slight Chow traits, and in Jeff's words "A Great Pyrenees is just a big, fluffy, white Lab" I'm not sure that's true genetically, but it's certainly true for looks. The other breeds are all such small percentages that I doubt you'd really "see" them very much in Roo.
Roo's Embark breed make up
Embark gives you the ancestry tree and breed info very similar to Wisdom Panel. But they also give you info on maternal and paternal lines. They include "advanced" information on things like coat color & length, shedding, and size. And the health info includes testing for 164 different genetic diseases. Roo came up clear for 163 diseases and as a carrier for Exercise-Induced Collapse (fairly common in Labradors). That means Roo will not get EIC, but he could pass it on to offspring (if he weren't neutered). All of the 164 genetic diseases are described, I had never heard of many of them. They even give you the breed mix by chromosome.
Roo's breed mix by chromosome
Honestly, Embark gives you so much information that if I weren't a little nerdy, it might be overwhelming! But to me, it's fascinating!

Embark has a great website, and for the amount of information they give, I think they do a great job of making it easy and user friendly. They let you set up a profile for your dog and see other Embark dogs, similar to Wisdom Panel's "Dog Park". They even give you a shareable link to Roo's info. and Wichita's link. Embark also has a blog that is a pretty good read. They even give you a specific report to sent to your veterinarian so he/she will know if your dog tested positive for any genetic diseases.

So why the differences between Embark and Wisdom Panel? Wisdom Panel says they use "1800+" genetic markers to compare each dog's DNA, whereas Embark says they have a database of 200,000 genetic markers. So it makes sense that you'd get more detail from Embark than Wisdom Panel. I don't think the differences mean either one is "wrong". I think the fact that they both included Labrador, Chow, and German shepherd means that they are both accurate, it's just that Embark has more markers and gets more detailed. I also think that Roo ended up being a bit of a tough case for genetic testing since all the tests really only go back 3 generations and most of Roo's ancestors, aside from a pure lab, are straight up Supermutts! I never would have guessed that Roo is quite as mixed as he is!
My Supermutt and my purebred Staffy
So which test did I like better? Hands down, Embark gives you more information, including genetic disease info and in my opinion, more detailed breed results. Embark will also update you with more info as their technology improves- that's pretty cool! I think Embark is definitely worth the higher price tag. For me personally, I think I'm glad I did both tests. I'm not sure I would have believed Roo's Embark results had I not already seen Chow and German Shepherd in his Wisdom Panel results. 

If you read this far, you certainly deserve a coupon! Here's the link for $30 off an Embark test.. It's a refer a friend program, so it should work for everyone. And here's a Wisdom Panel code for $15 off FF6097934HE, it says it's a "one time code" so I'm assuming it'll work for the first person who tries it but no one else.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Quintana Roo's 2nd Rescue Run Race Report

Hi, Roo here! I know everyone wants to know how my new brother Wichita is doing, so before the race report...a Wichita report :) He doesn't cough anymore and he has lots of energy to play with me now. My parents are teaching him to do easy stuff like sit, down, & shake paws. I like to show him how to do it, so we both get lots of treats. He does sometimes chew the ears off my toys, that's the only thing I don't like, otherwise having a brother is fun!
This is my brother Wichita
Now for my race report. Last year the Rescue Run was my very first race. Now I know all about running races. I still run with my mom really early most mornings, so we actually got to sleep in before this race. We got to the race site and parked in a big open field, the field was full of awesome smells! We walked over to the tents and race area and lots of people petted me and said hi. There were lots of other dogs too! I tried really hard to be good and I only barked at a couple of dogs who looked like so much fun!!
haha! I thought this was a real dog for a minute!
Me & my mom before the race.
I even got to meet some firefighters and have my picture taken by their truck
Finally it was time for the race! We got out on the street and lined up. I was so excited!! Then we ran!!! Yay! I ran fast because there were people and dogs in front of me and I wanted to be FIRST! We passed all but one of the dogs and then a guy said to my mom,  "hey that's cheating!" My mom laughed and said, "I know, right!! He makes me run 2 minutes per mile faster than I really can!" Then they laughed, so I ran even faster!

Then my mom made me slow down. She said, "Roo, I can't run that fast and you can't run that fast for 3 miles!" We were almost at mile 1 and then nature called...sigh. My mom always tells me to go BEFORE a race, but somehow, I never can and I end up having to take a natural break during every race. But we still ran our first mile in 9:30, which my mom said is awesome!

At the aid station at mile 1.5, I stopped and got a big drink of water and a very pretty yellow lab in a blue tutu came up behind me. I liked her a lot and tried to run with her after the aid station. I slowed down a little for miles 2 & 3. Don't tell my mom, but I think she was right. I really can't run super fast for 3 whole miles...maybe someday. But when we turned the corner and only had less than 1/2 a mile left to go, my mom said "ok Roo, you can go fast now!" so I went really FAST again to the finish line!

I had so much fun! And I raced really hard this time. I had to drink a lot of water after we finished. We finished 58 seconds faster than last year. So my mom and I are both super happy with our second Rescue Run.
After the race
I hope I get to do more races soon, and I hope I can get to the computer to write race reports too.

Peace, Love & Puppy Paws,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Wichita Chronicles

On August 18th a gray-brown stray dog was brought to the Missouri City Animal Shelter by animal control. On August 22nd, that dog came off of stray hold and needed a name to help him get adopted. Valerie, the volunteer manager, had just gotten back from watching the total solar eclipse in Wichita, Kansas, so she named him Wichita. On Friday, August 26th, Hurricane Harvey hit, and shortly after, it began raining and flooding in Houston (Missouri City is a southern suburb of Houston and was particularly hard hit with the flooding). The Missouri City Animal Shelter, along with most shelters in the Houston area, needed to clear out their dogs. Often in these cases shelter dogs are euthanized, but luckily Austin Pets Alive! (APA) stepped in and took hundreds of dogs and cats from Houston shelters (including Missouri City) to a temporary shelter (actually an old furniture store) on Burnet Road. Wichita was one of those dogs. He arrived at APA on September 1st

I met Wichita on Friday September 1st, the first day I went to the APA temp shelter. He seemed really sweet and was wearing a red paper collar that said “Wichita Missouri City” At first I thought that meant he had an owner and would be claimed soon.
The Missouri City shelter put red collars like this on all their dogs before they left
I continued walking Wichita and tons of other dogs the next week. I took a toy out one day while walking Wichita and he had no idea what to do with it. Even when I squeaked it or threw it, he watched it fall on the ground and then looked up at me. I took treats most days, and I was able to teach Wichita to sit in just one day. Wichita had some scrapes on his nose, which I found out were from trying to escape from his crate, they had to put a clip on the crate door to keep him from escaping.
Walking Wichita at the Burnet Rd APA temp shelter
On Thursday, APA announced that volunteers would have first choice to adopt any of the dogs at the temp shelter who had been confirmed to not have owners. Wichita was available for adoption. Jeff came over to APA to meet him and on Friday I brought him home to meet Roo. They seemed to like each other, but Wichita played a little rougher with Roo than I think is ideal.

Bringing a second dog into our household is a HUGE deal. As I told Serena, “we want to make sure we don’t make a mistake and ruin our perfect little life…but we have the potential to make our perfect little life a little bigger”. Jeff has said all along that he sees us having 2 dogs, and that I should “find another Roo”. If you know Roo, you know that’s a very tall order. I thought Wichita might be the right dog, but we were extremely hesitant to spend just one day with him and then commit forever. We ended up taking him back to APA for the Saturday public adoption event, hoping he would find the perfect home. But then we spent the entire day thinking about him…we finally decided that if he was still there at the end of the one day adoption event, it was meant to be and he would be our dog. Of course, when I went back, he was still there, and man, was he happy to see me!
New Tags!
We knew Wichita had been through a lot in a short amount of time. By then I had been talking with the people from the Missouri City Animal Shelter, so I knew he had had 3 very different homes in 3 weeks. We knew he was highly stressed and would need some time to recuperate and get used to us. A few friends had told us their newly adopted shelter dogs just wanted to sleep for the first week or so, then their personalities started to come out. So we weren’t worried when Wichita just wanted to sleep all the time.
"I'm just going to lean on this guy while I sleep"
We weren’t really worried that he seemed picky about food either. We figured he’d eat when he started to get used to us and our house. But after a week, he was sleeping even more, eating even less, coughing some, and just looked pitiful. I had made a vet appointment for Thursday when my vet would be back in town. But Monday, I called and moved the appointment up to Tuesday with one of the other doctors at the clinic.
"She makes a good pillow"
I weighed Wichita at the vet’s and saw that he had lost 4 pounds since we had adopted him, I knew he had lost weight, but I didn’t realize it was that much! He also had a fever of 104.9 (normal for dogs is 101-102). They did blood work and chest x-rays and determined that he had severe pneumonia in both lungs. They gave him IV fluids and antibiotics for a few hours, then sent us home with 2 types of antibiotics and instructions for coupage (aka beating on his chest and sides to help him cough the crud out of his lungs). They were very concerned that if he didn’t improve soon, he would need to go to an emergency clinic for more fluids, and tests for fungal pneumonia. The antibiotics would help cure bacterial pneumonia, but they wouldn’t help if it was fungal or viral. It was a very scary and sad day.
Pitiful Wichita
That night Wichita ate some chicken and oatmeal, more than he had eaten in a few days. But the next morning he wouldn’t eat again. Jeff went home at lunchtime and I got a text saying “he’s an Arby’s dog” he ate an Arby’s roast beef sandwich in about 2 seconds!
"I guess I'll eat some cheeseburger"
At dinner, I tried everything- kibble-no, chicken-no, canned salmon-no, hot dog-no, peanut butter-nope….so I got him a Sonic cheeseburger, he ate about half of it. On Thursday it was more of the same. I made bone broth and Wichita seemed to like that. I think we hand fed him every bite he ate. I took his temperature on Thursday night, it was 102.0, down 2.9 degrees from Tuesday…improvement, but it still felt like a huge uphill battle.

On Friday after work, I went over to Lofty Dog and asked Zoe and Erin to help me find anything that he might eat. They loaded me up with a variety of samples to try and some treats most dogs really love. Wichita was no exception, he loved the bacon treats and the Primal freeze dried food. He ate the most I’d ever seen him eat at once!
"These Gibson's bacon treats are yummy! Thanks Zoe & Erin!"
On Saturday night, for the first time ever, I set a bowl of food in front of Wichita and he ate it all and licked the bowl clean! On Sunday Wichita had more energy, he chased a squirrel in the yard and actually picked up a toy for the first time!
"This kitty is so ugly! But I like it!!"
Last week was sad, stressful, and exhausting for all of us. But this week is starting off much better. We still have a long road to full recovery. 3-5 more weeks of antibiotics and coupage and then follow up x-rays to be sure the pneumonia is gone. But Wichita is clearly feeling better. He enjoyed going for a walk last night and again this morning. He seems alert and happy now. And he loves to cuddle.
"I feel so much better!"