Thursday, July 8, 2010

Broken Renegade

We had quite the scare over the long weekend. We decided to take Renegade and Jasper over to the nearby park for some exercise before a day of chores and errands. Jasper was enjoying sniffing and stopping, not so much enjoying the walking and exercise part. Renegade was enjoying galavanting and fetching. We cannot really let Ren play "moving" fetch as he tends to break himself in his zeal to get the toy. So, we put him in a stay, walk several yards away, toss the toy, and then release him. Well, this strategy failed miserably in the attempt to keep Ren from breaking himself this walk. He hurdled the log, ran 20 yards past the toy, ran back to the toy (at which point I asked Keith if he was limping), got the toy and by the time he got back to us he was clearly only using 3 legs.

Keith proceeded to examine his legs and was ignoring my pleas to check his pads (I assumed he had a thorn in his foot). He informed me "something is really wrong"! After my panicked response, we sent Keith and Jasper for the car and left me sitting in the shade with Renegade trying to keep him quiet. He really wanted to follow dad, but was also clearly in pain. Jasper clearly did not want to "run" with dad back to the house to get the car... He wanted to sniff the roses.

After what seemed an eternity, Keith returned with the car. He then had me feel where he had felt "something wrong". I freaked! You could feel what sure felt like a bone poking out the side of Ren's left front leg. We got him loaded in the back of the minivan with Keith keeping him company. Luckily, my vet actually was open on Monday (July 5th). I got them on the phone and told them we were on the way.

We arrived at the vet and the vet agreed it felt like his arm bone had totally fractured. We gave him morphine to get x-rays to determine the extent of the damage. Much to everyone's surprise, the x-rays came back with no fractures! Further examination revealed an "entry wound". Turns out he had a 3 inch stick embedded in his leg. It had gone through the muscle and passed between the ulna and radius. Picture below of the stick - the key is for scale.

Seemed like good news to just have to remove a foreign object instead of having surgery to repair the break and 8-12 weeks of rest (with Ren that would have been torture for all of us). The vet did surgery and removed the stick. Report was that it came out cleanly, the muscle was going to need time to repair and the nerves were likely irritated but not permanently damaged. We brought the patient home for some R&R.

Later that night I had another scare as he recovered enough to get up and start walking around. He had no motor function below his elbow. He wasn't able to bend his wrist at all. He was dragging the foot around like a dead fish. After a conversation with the vet she convinced me that it was likely just irritated and that we wouldn't worry for a few more days. However, the "worst case scenario" although she only gave it a 1% chance was amputation so of course I worried! Luckily we woke up the next morning to find him using the foot.

Now 4 days later he's back to 90% and wanting to be more active than he should be. He's trying to rip the bandage off so he's wearing the cone which slows him down a little bit at least. Looks like he'll be back to full speed by next week!

On a side note, I'm really glad we practiced "handling" and restraining Ren so much when he was younger and smaller. He was a perfect angel about being lifted and carried into the car and the vet clinic while he was clearly in a lot of pain.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kale, Cauliflower, and oranges...

OK, this isn't really about the dogs in my life, but I just had to write about it anyways. Thanks to facebook, I was able to read about several of my friend's experiences with CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture). Basically, you join a farm group and get regular boxes of local, organic fruits and veggies. After some searching, I found one that seemed to make the most sense for us - the big selling point - they deliver to your door! So, I signed up with Farm Fresh to You.
Basically, every other Friday we put our empty box on our porch

And at some point during the day, the empty box, magically turns into a box full of new fruits and veggies!!! (OK, I have to confess, a van pulls up and takes the empty box away and replaces it with a new box full of our stuff)

Our CSA has several options that includes your choice of mostly fruit, mostly veggies, a combo of both, and different sizes. We belong to the regular size fruits and veggies option and receive deliveries every other week. Here is our delivery from this week...

The cool thing about this is that we are eating healthier and trying produce we never would have tried other wise. Every other weekend we make several meals using our delivered produce instead of going out to eat or eating left overs. Tonight's meal was a Leek and Goat cheese tart (Super Yummy!). This was our first recipe that we tried out of the cookbook I just bought called "Local Flavors" by Madison. I think we're going to enjoy many more recipes out of this cookbook. Tommorrow we're going to try a cauliflower and brussel sprout dish (yes, I'm skeptical, but I've found that I've been surprised frequently by what I like from this experience) and a bok choy, feta, and potato pie recipe.
The new cookbooks I've purchased are another bonus - I found I needed a new source for recipes, as the current cookbooks we had were limited on recipes involving things like kale, leeks and bok choy. So, I found a few cookbooks focusing on local produce and organic recipes. Tons more options for the produce we receive in our boxes.

The only downside I've found to the boxes, is that you do tend to run out of ideas of what to do with certain produce during its "season". We've had leeks coming out of our ears the past several weeks. However, if you spend the time, there are surprisingly many different things you can do with leeks. Can't say that I ever intentionally ate a leek before we joined the CSA, but I have an appreciation for them now - same thing for kale and bok choy! I've also found it encourages us to stretch our minds as to what to make - after an overload of oranges, Keith made Duck L'Orange to use up our oranges - was a wonderful dinner that we normally wouldn't have made except for a special occasion.

I always enjoy checking to see what's going to arrive in our box the friday before the delivery and have been having fun planning what to do with it. I always consider it a major success when I find a recipe that utilizes 3-4 items from our box!

We're eating healthier, trying new things, and cooking at home way more than we were before. Can't really see a downside to this!

The dogs wish they were more a part of this whole process, but unfortunately the lettuce seems to be the only thing we don't regularly finish and they're not fond of lettuce. Also, the food we've been making has been so tasty, they haven't gotten to sample as much as they would like. Although they did get to enjoy left over crepes after last weekends scallion and bok choy crepes. We had a few left over crepes that weren't going to keep well. Keith got 4 paws up for this meal including the presentation from the dogs!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January Black Diamond Hike

We've done a lot of hiking over the holidays. We ended our holiday hike fest with a 7.6 mile hike at Black Diamond Regional Preserve near Antioch. I had done this hike during the summer - it was very hot and not too much fun then. Here's a picture from that hike - the hills are much prettier green than brown!

Today was a much better day for the hike. It started out very foggy, but cleared up enough that we could see some of the views by the end of the hike.

It probably would be worth coming back in April when it wasn't foggy and there was water in the creek.

Today we hiked with friends and their dalmation Izzy. Ren and Izzy both agree that running is fun, chasing cows is more fun (so they were on leash when we passed the cows in the fog above). Posing for pictures is ok as long as they get cookies for doing so.

Ren spent most of the hike doing his usual cavorting and finding every puddle he could.

He also took some time to pose for some pictures for us with the pretty scenery once the fog lifted.

He had fun climbing on every rock and tree we asked him to...

He took some time out to play keep away with Izzy

Towards the end of the hike, Ren and Izzy were very interested in the cow skeleton we found (and the people were equally disgusted)

A few more poses before the end of a challenging, but fun hike. The humans rushed off to find sustenance while the dogs napped peacefully in their crates (the humans were too hungry to get a picture of this).

All versions of these pictures, plus more available at:

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ticks, ticks and more ticks

So, over the past several years, we've become "immune" to the grossness of ticks on our dogs. We go hiking, they get ticks, we pick them off. The alternative is to not go hiking which is pretty much impossible with Renegade in the picture. I'd have to take up marathon running to get him enough exercise on a leash. We do use frontline which in the past has kept the ticks from burrowing in, but this year it doesn't seem to be accomplishing that goal. We've found a couple of burrowed ticks that appeared to be dead, but most burrowed ticks are happily sucking away.

It is a particularly "good" tick season this year from what I can tell. And Ren has proven that he is a tick magnet. He gets a zillion more ticks than the other dogs doing the same hikes. All I can figure is that he covers a lot more ground, or his blood smells better? We've been pulling off 50-60 ticks per hike from him the past week (most just crawling on him 5-10 partially or fully burrowed). Zack meanwhile averages more 10-12 crawling with 1-2 burrowed.

The good thing about ticks is that they tend to migrate to the dog's head for some reason so you can pick most of them off before they burrow in as long as you check the dog's head regularly. However, sometimes a few get past us and we find them later all burrowed in and engorged. A few also always stop at the belly so we have to check that regularly too.

While Ren hates the tick check stops during the hike (especially when we make him do his "bang" command to check his belly), he thoroughly enjoys all the petting/attention after the hike as we make sure he's tick free.

Today's hike seemed to be particularly tick-full and I had my first 2 ticks try to burrow into me. We've occasionally found a few crawling on the humans, but not often, this is the first time I had them actually on my skin and starting to burrow. I'm completely grossed out and checking for ticks every 30 seconds now...

I should have gotten a picture of ren when we got out of the car and he had 10 ticks just perched on his head, but I was too focused on getting them off to think about that. Or a picture of the 6 ticks in his belly (including two in the same location) on our hike last week, but once again, more focused on "saving" my baby than taking pics!

All in all, ticks are gross, but haven't caused any problems so far for the dogs. The alternative of having Renegade under exercised is not appealing to me so we're just going to have to deal. Also, it's much better dealing with ticks than it is with the foxtails and rattlesnakes we encounter on summer hikes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A snarl is not always a snarl

I've been quite remiss in posting updates. I promise a more thorough update in the coming week. However, in the meantime, I've been reminded by a friend that a photo is not always what it appears. We have 3 goldens clearly playing...

However, if you ask yourself what their intentions are given only a photo of a single dog's face... - taken out of context, they all look quite ferocious.

Given the picture, I don't think there's any question of the fact that they're all having fun! However, it is important to remember that a dog's body language and posture is all context specific!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Update at the Krehbiel House

I've been sadly remiss in blogging lately, so I figured I'd do an update.
Keith: Keith has been in korea a lot lately. He did a 2 week trip last month and is currently in Korea again for what we hope is only a 2 week trip, but could turn into a 3-4 week trip. He's developed a love for kimshi, and a love/hate relationship with Soju. It's not fun to have him gone so much, but it's great that he still has a job right now when so many don't.

Grayeagle: Keith, Ren, Zack and I went on our annual Grayeagle trip in September. We had a great time and it was a much needed relazing week. I think we hiked somewhere around 25 miles in 6 days. Zack slept for a week after, while Ren as expected had more energy when we left than when we got there. Gray Eagle Lodge ( is a wonderful dog friendly place with good food, hiking right from your cabin, no tvs, no cell service, and beautiful scenery. Pics from our trip are posted at:

My mom was kind enough to fly out and stay with Gerkin during our trip and we decided that Jasper would be happier laying on the couch sharing popcorn with grandma than being left behind in the cabin every day when we went on hikes with the other dogs. (Ignore the fact that the picture is of Zack :D This is how Jasper spent the whole week)

Jasper: Jasper is still enjoying life, still cancer free, but not as physically able as he'd like to be. He is now only going on shorter walks and can't do the big hikes any more now that he's 10. We've been struggling with thyroid and other random medical issues with him (seizures and hair loss) for a while now. We were trying to avoid running a full thyroid panel on him (vs the more usual t4 test) as it required us to take him totally off the thyroid supplement for 2 weeks. In the past, low thyroid probably contributed to his seizures and we didn't want him having any more seizures. We finally decided we needed to do it, so we gave him some herbs to prevent seizures and got through the 2 weeks with only one minor seizure. Results are now back and he apparently is making lots of t4, but doesn't have the ability to convert the t4 into t3. So, we're going to start him on t3 supplements instead now. We'll see if this helps...

Zack: Zack is still enjoying life as my main demo dog for classes. He loves to mooch off all the people during puppy play time. Other than that, he's not as active now that he's 8. He still likes to hike, but can't do back to back days of big hikes.

Ren: Ren and I have been enjoying the new sport of K9 Nosework ( Basically it's drug detection work turned into a sport for dogs. Eventually he will be searching for the scent of cloves, birch oil or anise in indoor, outdoor, and vehicle search situations. They hold competitions where you have a set time to accurately identify where the scent is hidden. We're up to the point where we're starting to have him search for the birch scent instead of his toy. There are a few videos of our training sessions (pre-birch scent) available at: (look for the ones prefixed with Ren nosework).

Fostering: I'm now starting to foster for border collie rescue. I have a really nice 3 yo border collie (might be a mix) named Hank staying with me right now. If you know anyone who's interested, let me know!

Gerkin - 12/92-10/09

A few months ago we got the sad news that Gerkin had lymphoma. It wasn't a big surprise as he had been "off" for a few months before that and we had gradually been working through various tests with the vet to figure out what was wrong. Because he was 16 we didn't want to do anything invasive. We ended up treating him with prednisone and a chemo drug we could give at home that didn't seem to have any side effects. This treatment bought him an extra month and we did our best to make this a happy time. However, finally it was time to say goodbye.
While it's definitely a sad time, I was smiling a lot as I went back through old photos of him to write this post. He was one in a million. There will never be another cat like him. I got Gerkin in the spring of '93 while living in Rochester, NY. I remember his kitten phase - he liked to shred toilet paper (it had to be kept in a drawer instead of on the roll until he was at least 3 years old), he loved to watch cartoons upside down from his spot under the tv, he LOVED ice cream, he was completely uncoordinated and usually face planted any time he tried to jump on something, he loved drinking water from the tub faucet even though it meant he ended up totally soaked cause he put his head right in the flow of water.

Because I got him while I was in college and was moving from school in Michigan to co-oping at kodak in NY every 3-6 months, he was extremely well socialized and loved new people and going to new places. He made road trips almost every weekend with either me or my roommate Connie. One of his most annoying (but quite hilarious) phases was when he figured out that he could play the messages on our answering machine. He would hit play over and over (and I'm guessing he occasionally deleted messages we never knew existed). He then took it a step further and started answering the phone when it rang. If we answered one phone, he would run into the other room to answer the other phone and would then listen as we talked. Since my roommates and I were interviewing for jobs during our senior year of college, the phones and answering machine all ended up in drawers as well since saying we didn't get a message cause my cat answered the phone before the answering machine could pick up or that he deleted messages before we got him didn't seem like the best way to get a job.

After college, Gerkin quickly became part of the dog pack. He slept with the dogs, played with the dogs, and generally thought he was a dog. Yes he knew tricks/commands. He had a pretty good recall, he could sit up, give kisses, sit, and was good at the "lay down or get off" command (yes it was a choice - if you ever petted Gerkin and got his tail in your face while he had you scratch his back you'll remember why this command came to be). Over time, I realized that my allergies were significantly worse if I snuggled him, so he became Keith's cat. They were inseparable if Keith was at home.

He was brilliant in his job as a "cat tester" for rescue dogs that we needed to see if they could be placed with a cat.
He was an amazing cat who thought he was a dog...

He is remembered with love and smiles.