Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nothing is as nice as a productive weekend with good company!

Friday going into the weekend was less than stellar. In the morning I had a skip delivered to remove the brick and renovation rubble, old fencing wire and assorted junk from moving. So good to have it gone but trying to get it done meant me doing it on my own all Friday (which I probably shouldn't have done...) and then with Nic on Saturday and then finishing up this evening.

On the way home just as it's getting dark my car blew a tyre. And I mean really, truly BLEW... every bit of rubber on the whole tyre gone. No big deal - just put on the spare right? Problem: This WAS the spare. Just previous the regular tyre had gone flat and we'd not replaced it this week. So we're facing a $130 towing charge, plus a new tyre and no way I'd be able to make m appt Saturday morning. The fellow who showed up though is a local and said since we were so close it was $50 and if we'd give him the flat, a mate of his was coming over that night who could match it with a second hand one and would also drop it off at our house the next morning for $50. Just promise to bring the money the next time we're in town. Can I just say this attitude it one of the things I *love* living in a small town again???

Then today was the day of the BYP Victorian picnic get together in Silvan. Much excitement for us as not only as I love get togethers, and especially with BYPers (nothing like a bunch of folks who understands your obsession because they're just as obsessed!) but also because we actually had a real live guest here... two even! We almost never get people over which stinks as I love having people over but most of our friends are still closer to the city and not up for the long haul. BB and his wife Judy had come all the way down from the Albury area for the get together though and so we had them over in the morning before leaving for the picnic.

The picnic itself was great, nice to catch up with everyone and chat as always. Plenty of food to share around and a lovely BBQ site ensured a good lunch for all. BB also had a trio of adorable little Aylesbury ducklings from Jacquie which I had to fuss over. ;-) (I misssssss having ducklings!) Of course by the time we took this picture, you can tell a certain little person who'd gotten up 2 hours earlier than normal (never a good thing!) this morning was well and truly over-tired but on a sugar high from some pavlova which meant he didn't nap, so when asked to stop running for a millisecond and sit for a picture we got the resulting expression - check the zoom in!
"No picture mum! I wanna play!" Mind you three seconds later he was back off and running, grump averted. Thankfully Nic was able to play mum's hero and take La off to play a few times so I could have a break, sit and chat. Veeeeeery much appreciated, especially as atm I'm rather feeling in need of a break between the clean-out, general busy days and being pregnant!

The downside of the day was that a fair number of us brought our dogs as the picnic was at a dog-friendly park and Hope highlighted concerns I've been having about her. She was spooking out and panic barking at various things throughout the day, while refusing to approach and narking at a couple of other dogs from her crate. *sigh* This is something I've been seeing in her more and more lately. It's pretty much coincided with social maturity, which was my worry with her and something I'd been waiting to see if it'd crop up in her second year or so. I'd seen a few of what I suspected were precursor signs earlier on and believe much of Veri's difficulties are inherant and have a genetic basis so I'd wondered if I wouldn't see this emerge at this time even while crossing fingers I wouldn't. :-? After it seeming like the conformation isn't coming together with her pretty much nixing the showring, I'm not terribly happy with the idea sports being challenged by behaviour issues let alone the fact I'd hoped she'd avoid this for her own sake.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Anyone looking to move?

My neighbors are selling their property... feeling a bit sad, they've only been there a year, have two little kids and having to leave because he's had a work-related injury. But on the upside, anyone looking to buy - I know of a 3 bed, 1 bath house with good dams, great rain, big shed with 3 phase power, 4 space carport and good fencing for cattle on 15 acres. Comes guaranteed with the coolest neighbors! ;-pIn the meantime plans are for the stock fencing to FINALLY get under way in the next few weeks! Yay! (Finally!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Little man is THREE!

While I was snapping pictures of him I also noticed it was blooming from what was previously a rather unassuming little mass of leaves... and it rather amused me that it happened to be a green flower in blossom on his birthday, given green is rather his favorite colour. (I'm sure no one has noticed... LOL)His birthday started out as a rather lazy morning - having to get the dogs, cat, poultry etc taken care of before we could get a start in on any other plans. Meanwhile from the moment he woke he was asking every 10 minutes about his "bunny cake". Things taking the time they do of course means while everything is being done, one must play and getting oneself good and grotty. I asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday, since his birthday falls on a weekday and we weren't having the party until the weekend at least. (As one person is due to have her bubs, Nic's cousins are up in the air, I'm in a No-Fuss-We'll-Get-Together-When-We-Get-Together frame of mind of pregnancy and I'm sure La won't mind having multiple celebrations!!! LOL) Did he want to go for a ride on Puffing Billy the Steam Train, to the zoo etc?

He was pretty set he wanted to go to the zoo - he wanted to see crocodiles like Gator (his stuffed croc... and yes I've tried to tell him it isn't a gator several times but 2 year olds follow their own peculiar brand of logic and apparently this is a croc named Gator you see... imminently logical really) , pretty snakes, butterflies and helicopters. I did try to point out that helicopters aren't traditional zoo exhibits but again with that lovely sense of logic! *G*

At any rate, after a train ride in to the city (which took twice as long as driving, thank you Connex) we discovered the connecting train to the Zoo was somehow glitched and so I asked if he'd like to go to the Aquarium instead. Meanwhile he did get to see his helicopter - one flew fairly close to us for several stops getting to Flinders St which thrilled him no end.
The aquarium was a fair hit, though I think the most impressive bit for him was the fact there were several other little boys around with almost as much energy as him and they spent the time making fish faces, having hopping contests and pretending to be divers while running madly about.
(Fish face... note the pursed lips... Blop blop blop)
Part of the kid-sized walk through exhibit in the basement
After we made our way out we visited a few places in the city and he got to have a bit of junk food as he requested pizza, a snake lolly and a drink. Caught the train back, by that time tired.
Of course that just meant it was time for the most important part - the chocolate bunny wiggle cake with fires. After he blew out his candles, Nic lit a sparkler for him which he was delighted with even if it was difficult to get a decent pic!
After eschewing chocolate on his first birthday party and not being so sure of it on his second, he seems to have gotten over his distaste for it by the third. LOL The use of forks was quickly forgone for more... erm... 'effective consumption techniques' shall we say...The resulting mess after licking off the frosting and only nibbling on the cake resulted in a birthday bath and change of clothing...

I wanted to get a few non-grotty, non-wildchild shots in if possible so I plopped him on a kitchen chair and started asking him questions as I snapped.
"I wanna go OUTSIDE for my special photo!""How much longer is she going to keep snapping pictures?"
Apparently Newly Being Three does not confer any better skills at sitting still and not wriggling all over for three nanoseconds. ;-p Of course after a full ten minutes of sitting still we were rather over it but still... mum wanted one last one... had to get the girls in after all... poor La, can you tell he's rather tired here?

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I know in part it's hormones but I swear this has been the single most ANNOYING week...

Today was the straw on the camels back.

Anyone who has read here more than a few minutes knows I loved my old vet Dr. K. She was absolutely the best vet ever, bar none. Hence I've been doing the 2 hour trip while trying to find another since moving here! If I could have convinced her to pack up and move here too I would've. (I did ask... lol) Up to date on the latest information (I would kill for a vet here who has even passing awareness of Dr. Dodd's work...) but also recognized she had limitations (deferring to specialists when appropriate) and wasn't afraid to say, "I'm not sure but let me find out..." or acknowledge that some dog owners are actually quite well informed, will want to be involved and can pretty accurately assess a situation.

At any rate, I needed to get refills on Veri's meds and tried out a vets we'd decided to trial. Should be no trouble, it's a medication she's been on for awhile, both under the specialist and Dr. K and we're quite happy with so all he needs to do is write out the refill form. For those who don't know, Veri is on fluoxetine. This fellow started by telling me he wasn't familiar with fluoxetine (which, wow...) and wanting me to put her on clomipramine, as all SSRI's are the same or else he uses benzos.

Now for those who don't immediately see the problems...
  • First I believe that there is value in a specialists opinion who has studied additional to their veterinary degree on the subject and have extensive experience in working with a particular problem over a general practitioner. Besides, why change medications from something that is working so well!
  • Second SSRI's are not all the same - different ones affect different serotonin receptors to varying degrees making some more suited to particular expressions of anxiety than others. Likewise because all dogs are individuals they each differ in how the receptor types are distributed, how they will metabolise medications and which their particular chemistry will be most receptive to. In short, one size does not fit all.
  • Second - clomipramine, the medication he was telling me I should use instead as all SSRI's are the same, while sometimes mis-termed a SSRI is actually a TCA. TCAs work differently than SSRIs, affect norepinephrine, are less selective in their effects on the receptors and can have unpleasant side effects. "Isn't that a tricylic?" was met with, "Um, yes, actually, ah..."
  • Third I can't imagine why you'd use benzos unless both SSRIs and TCAs weren't doing the trick, certainly not as a long term daily med.
So I basically say I'm quite happy with the current medication - it's effective, I think it's got a better half life than clomipramine from memory, hasn't had any side effects and the only thing I've thought of is to look at dosage as I knew I'd been told I could bump it up a notch if we wanted by the behaviourist. So then he says he's happy to write the script if that's what I really want but wants to know what sort of techniques I've been using. The tone is a bit odd but I suppose he must want to know we're using it in conjunction with a behaviour modification program, though usually if you've talked to a behaviourist if you didn't go in knowing it wasn't a magic pill you'd certainly walk out knowing it! So I go over what we've done and accomplished he is not looking real impressed as he keeps pressing. I already suspect his style and what he's getting at having seen them selling a shock collar to someone in the waiting room with a maybe 6-7 month old pup but generally try to recognize everyone has a right to their opinion even if I personally disagree with it and expect the same courtesy in return. No such luck, he needs tells me in his opinion she's not really progressed (having never met her before today and been in a room with her all of 10 minutes while she took treats from me and Laurent while glancing at him when he moved around...) and I need to talk to an alpha leader trainer because her anxiety all stems from the fact that I'm not alpha in her mind and she doesn't trust me.


Okay, now everyone who has met Verity, me or seen me with dogs in general take a moment to pick yourselves up off the floor when you're done rolling around laughing at the absurdity, it gets better...

His recommendation is that I need to send her away to an alpha trainer for "bootcamp" (the name rather explains the mentality doesn't it...) where they will train the anxiety out of her over a few weeks before sending her back. Hn. Well that explains why he was grumping over the veterinary behaviourists choice of medications (never mind the countless studies, double-blinds, peer reviewed articles, etc by Dr Karen Overall, Dr Dodman and other leading specialists internationally) - she's also Delta accredited, so obviously using positive reinforcement, operant conditioning, and applied behaviour analysis means her veterinary and behaviour credentials are invalid. :rolls eyes:

Anyhow, managing to quell my internal devils advocate (who would love to debate the whole benefits of sending a dog to an outside trainer to solve the problem that by their own theory is with the owner...) I query how they address cases where the issue is a genetic predisposition (have yet to meet a training technique that alters DNA) and what methods they use to address remedial socialization. Oh he knows there is such a thing as genetic predisposition but in his opinion it's not really a big thing that has much effect, didn't seem to think much of the fact that for some dogs while training improves on genetic predisposition there will always be a tendency to drift-back and a degree of management. It's mostly just the owner failing to make the dog understand they're the alpha. Riiiigggghhhtttt. Okay, well - in for a penny... I query about the methods. Unshockingly the alpha way involves corrections. Mind you they can't tell me if that's in the form of neg reinforcement, pos punishment, neg punishment... that would assume they actually knew what they were talking about you see....

*SIGH* Have I mentioned I really, really, really miss Dr. K???????? Who besides being all over wonderful had learned about training sometime more recently than when dinosaurs roamed the earth and happily acknowledged it wasn't her area of expertise? At any rate, I got the script, took the papers with the suggestion to just look at them as he thought I'd find the program excellent (yeah right) and crossed another vet off my list of potential replacements for Dr. K

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A birthday conversation

" La, what do you want for your birthday?"
" Green balloons. Green fires (candles). Hm... green balloons... and RED balloons! Yeah, a green party! *looks at me waiting for him to say more, points to the paper* "Mum, write 'a party'!"
" Okay, so you want a party. Do you want a cake?
" Yeah!"
................. waits for anything else..........
"Okay, La what KIND of cake?"
"Oh! A chocolate cake."
" Good choice. What should it look like?
" Wiggly. Iced. Oh! I know - a bunny!"
"... *pauses* A wiggly iced bunny???"
" Yeah mum, a wabbit?"

At this point Nic asks him what he wants for his cake.
"Chocolate!" (Points for consistency I suppose...)
"Okay but what do you want it to look like?"
"A choo choo clock!" (Erm... a train/clock hybrid?!? LOL)

"Do you want presents?"
"What kinds of presents do you like?"

*sigh* I can see this is going to be like getting blood out of a stone... so far the only solid things we've been able to get out of him is that he wants green balloons and chocolate cake! LOL