Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The GREAT Joy of Plans Gone Wrong.....

I’m still playing that blog catch up game and I need to share some of my happiest news yet.

Now, to some, this may not be “big news” but to me, it’s HUGE…

What is so huge you ask??

Well, my newest baby!

We made a 9 hour drive the first weekend of October to bring home Jasper, a 6 month old Great Dane puppy.

Jasper at 6 months old
Great Danes are my OBSESSION (even more so than the goats if you can believe that!)….. I grew up with them, odds are good there isn’t a question about the breed I can’t answer.. My kids learned to walk while holding on to an ever patient gentle giant… These critters just tug at my heart strings.

We lost my “Heart Dog”, Brutus almost 4 years ago to cancer…. To this day I still tear up when I think about him.. He was my 3rd child & weathered some of the hardest times in my life with me.. ..There is simply too much to say about him here, but one of these days, I’ll give him his own post.

We had been on a waiting list for 6 years for a Dane puppy.. I know to many this is just weird. Why wait for a puppy when there are tons in the classifieds??

Jasper riding in the truck on the way home to Texas...
Well, I wouldn’t settle for just ANY puppy.. I refuse to support BYBer’s (backyard breeders who just pair up dogs with no thought to genetic potential) or puppy millers. I will only purchase dogs from someone who actively shows and has AKC pointed dogs. This is not a status symbol, this is my proof that breeding stock was evaluated by an outside source and found to conform to the breed standard. This isn’t just about a “pretty” dog…. Good form is followed by good function…..

Jasper's Sire
Next is the health testing.. I have rescued & fostered many poorly bred Great Danes over the years. I have dealt with hip dysplasia, Wobblers Disease, Von Willibrands, Addisons & Severe Canine Epilepsy. The heartbreak in dealing with these things is awful… I had to sit with a 21 week old Dane puppy when she was put to sleep because she was so severely dysplasic her hips were missing the sockets & she wasn’t even a candidate for hip replacement. A foster boy we took in would hurt himself in violent epileptic fits & was unpredictable when coming out of the siezures...

Jasper's Dam
The anger that follows such heartbreak is hard to deal with......especially knowing it all could have been avoided if folks who shouldn’t breed, wouldn’t breed. Breeding isn’t just “pair male #1 with female #1” You need to understand genetics. When breeding, a breeder needs to be motivated by improving the breed by producing sound, correct, healthy puppies & not motivated by how much money they think they can make off a litter...

You need to have your stock evaluated by outside, knowledgeable sources to determine if they adhere to their breed standard… You need to be sure the breeding stock is of sound temperament, you need to have your dogs health tested after 2 years of age.. This doesn’t mean “My vet looked ‘em over & he’s heathy” I want to see OFA certificates, I want to CERF clearances, I want to see genetic testing. I want to see a background of healthy, long lived ancestors....

When having a dog this size, you want assurances that they are of sound temperment...... Poor temperment is genetic & you certainly don't want a dog of this size with fear or aggression issues...

Jasper & Tator playing...

Jasper making himself at home with the kidos his 1st morning with us.

So given my criteria for buying my puppy, you can understand why it took me so long to find a puppy. There were a few puppies we could have gone with sooner, but the timing was wrong. Then, a dear friend of mine had a litter planned and I waited anxiously for her to finally do the breeding. In September I waited for news of my new baby… Only to get the heartbreaking news that there was a single puppy, and he was stillborn. We had worked ourselves up for this all year and it was a huge let down.

Long story short, a friend gave me the contact info for a breeder who may have something to suit us… I was skeptical. The puppy was the wrong color.. A fawn whereas I had my heart set on a Harlequin or Merle. He was also 6 months old and I wanted to start fresh with an 8 week old puppy to have an easier time meshing him into our diverse home.

Wrong age, wrong color…. All of that went right out the window when I met him. Love at first sight!

Got lip??!!? How could ya not love a face like that??
Jasper has a docked tail due to an injury and I swear his lil “nubbin” is too cute!! When the breeder first told me about the tail in an email I was a bit put off…. How strange would a Dane look with no tail??

But it turns out, a Dane with a lil nubbin’ of a tail is cute as can be (especially when he’s really happy) & it’s SAFER!! If you’ve ever been beaten with an iron rod like Dane tail.. Or have a refrigerator in your kitchen with DENTS in the door from a happy Dane tail, or ever watched an entire shelf on the entertainment center be cleared in one giant tail swipe, you can certainly appreciate the perks to a Great Dane sportin’ a nubbin…. Plus did I mention it’s freaking adorable?!?!

Jasper lounging on the couch watching the chickens through the patio door
I really worried about him & the free range chickens due to his age…. Surprisingly he did amazingly well with them, though he was a bit freaked out by them in the beginning. Once he settled in, he had one “iffy” moment in which he showed a lil too much interest in some hens who were running & squawking like crazy, but a sharp “No!” from me, and an angry rooster to back it up and he got the hint and keeps a safe distance now… The goats creep him out.. He’s ok with through the fence nose touching with the does, but the bucks scream & stink to high heaven & not a thing in the world would make him willingly approach the boys… Can’t say I blame him though……

Jasper has this silly quirk of collecting things… Socks, a hairbrush, a glass left out, a toy, a shoe….Just the most random things and he’ll bring them to you like a present and gets so excited if you act like you just love these “gifts” . So far he’s not destructive unless he finds a bit of newspaper… He simply can NOT help himself & must shred paper…. But once he’s done, he’ll grab a blanket from his kennel & cover the mess…lol

Jasper hiding a softball under all that

He is my constant companion….there hasn‘t been one day since he came home that he hasn‘t made me laugh & nothing is better than snuggling up with a Great Dane & a good book when the kiddos are at school.

He needs some socialization & work on perfecting some basic commands, but so far he’s proven to be a quick study and very eager to please….. We’re hoping to get his CGC after the holidays & am contemplating doing therapy work with him as he has the perfect temperament for it.

And since everyone seems to ask me this: Yes, he surely does live in the house… Yes I surely do let him on the couch (it’s why I have easy to clean leather furniture).. Yes of course he plays with my kids, he's quickly become their constant playmate & companion..... He hasn’t been here long but has already claimed them as HIS kids and heaven help anyone who troubles them…... This is a breed that is highly bonded to their humans…..they thrive on close contact to their people & make excellent, calm house dogs. I know many who have Danes that keep them outside…. That is simply something I could never, ever do…. I’d sooner make my brother live outside! lol

I’ve found this breed to be one of the most level headed guard dogs…… Fierce & brave when needed and in the same thought can have a toddler climbing all over them. Jasper is proving to be a good watch dog so far despite his youth…

I had some men come over late one night while hubby was in Oregon wanting to buy scrap metal… Very weird to say the least. Jasper was doing the very best Cujo impersonation…he stood firmly between me & the open door quietly growling.. If the men tried to come up the porch, he went NUTS, but as long as they stayed on the side walk near the drive way he just quietly growled & watched. I was happy for such a fearsome show, made me feel much safer. And as soon as they left his lil nubbin' was going 90mph and he was bringing me every single toy he could possibly find.... I think he was also impressed with how he handled the situation.....

When people come over, he’ll make a good showing of barking & carrying on, but the second I tell him “It’s ok” he’ll stand by me and wait for an introduction… Once he’s introduced then the poor visitor is attacked by Dane lovins galore… they get “hugs” (yes he wraps his head around you & squeezes), leans & if he really likes our visitor, odds are good he’ll bring out his favorite toys to show off.

He may have been kind of spur of the moment… He may be the wrong color. He may have been “too old”, the last minute, 9 hour drive may have been tiresome (and the 10 hours home in bad weather was even worse)….But I could not be happier. Our whole family is 100% smitten and it feels as if he’s been here his entire life.

Jasper & Shayla fell asleep watching Toy Story 3

Thank God for plans gone all wrong!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sprays of Urine, Home Grown Gossamers & The Sunscreen

Once again I had one of “those days“…the exact kind of day that inspired my “Noodleville Adventures” almost 5 years ago…

Start off… Jerimiah got a very last minute, once in a life time opportunity to go on an elk hunt (and fly by private jet!) on a 42,000 acre ranch in Oregon and on my “To-Do” list that day was to finish up a bit of his laundry so he‘d be set to go.

I needed some help getting the buck's feet trimmed (the boys are in rut aren’t exactly easy to work with alone sometimes) so my mom agreed to come & stay for a few days while Jerimiah was away….. Which meant I needed to tidy up the house a bit…

So my “To-Do” list consisted of a quick bank trip, laundry, wishing for Mr. Clean to appear in my house, picking up the kids, homework, then shower & get the kids ready to go out to dinner with my father in law before he & my hubby left for their elk hunting trip the next morning…

Simple, uneventful plans.

Why oh why could it not be as simple as it sounds on paper?

What actually happened was this:

First Casper, one of my Lamancha girls (the wild one) escaped…My fault, I left a perfect step stool for her next to the fence and she happily went right over… She’s in season, been screaming like a lunatic and I’m keeping her from the boys (don’t want her bred yet)….

Anywho…she takes off and heads down the road. She won’t come to me and I surely can’t chase her… Finally took her sister, Comanche, out on a lead to entice her to come… Comanche acted as if me leading her down the road was some form of torture & did not do anything to make the task easier…. Long story short, almost 3 hours later I had Casper & Comanche safely contained once more. Though part of this trek included me carrying one idiot goat while dragging the other one…. Of course it was up a freaking hill too….

This put me behind on my chores quite a bit… Made a mad dash to the bank….Some bank error was going on……..showing the wrong name on my account… Took 30 minutes to fix it… A very quick trip turned into an hour & a half of time wasted (drive time wrapped up in that).

Finally get home to start cleaning…. Got the dishes done & glanced at the kitchen clock..

OMG! OMG! I’m late to get the kids!! How on earth could I be late to get the kids? I’m NEVER late!!!!!

Rush as fast as possible watching storm clouds roll in along the way…

Sit in the parking lot for 15 minutes before I realize that I did not adjust my kitchen clock and I’m in fact early…really early.

If I find whoever invented Daylight Savings Time, I’ll happily kick the fool right in the gut!!

Do I wait? Or do I go home? Contemplated waiting, but the storm clouds looked like a nasty one, so I decided to rush home, open the barn for the boys & get my round bale of hay covered & protected from the rain…

Lots of wasted time, wasted fuel, aggravation & I’m home with the kiddos, the clouds blew away, no rain, no noticeable house work done & I don’t have much time to get homework done & get ready to go out to dinner.

This my friends is where it all goes to hell.

I set the kids to their homework & go out to take care of the critters before dressing for dinner..

The feeder in the boys pen was broke…bent to fix it and in the process Sam decided to perfume himself… Hitting me with a steady, strong stream of urine in the process!! Hits my hair, shoulders and I feel this sickening warmth run right down my spine….

Stupid, stinking, nasty goat bastard!!!!!!

So now of course I have to wash my hair! I have longish hair, very thick, prone to messy waves & frizz…’s not easy to make it look civilized …It requires a flat iron to tame the masses. Flat ironing it takes forever.

Woo freaking hoo! As if I needed another thing to eat up my time, which at this point I no longer have any time to waste.

In the shower I hurry… in my rush I grabbed a bottle of water proof sunscreen instead of conditioner. Don’t ask me why it was sitting on the side of the tub…despite questioning, no one in the house knows how or why it was sitting there….

I’m slick & oily as a duck who waddled around in a tar pit.….three shampoos later & I still can’t get the damn sunscreen out…. My hair feels NASTY…can’t even run my fingers through it. I hop out of the shower & head for the kitchen for the Dawn dish soap…. You see those commercials of once oil slicked wild life happily restored thanks to Dawn… Had the images of adorable lil critters going through my head as I lathered up….

If you ever run a ginormous handful of waterproof sunscreen through your hair, Dawn is your ticket to clean hair…just FYI. Though you will be forced to deal with a dry, itchy scalp later… Cute lil critters don’t have that disclaimer on the stupid commercials!

I quickly check the kids homework & send them off to change out of their dirty school clothes while I tackle blow drying (I do so loathe the blow dryer & I’m really ticked at being forced to use the hand held cooking device!)….

Hair dried and doing it’s best to look like something off an awful hair band album cover… I really considered throwing it in a pony tail and putting on a ball cap…. But when I do that I look like a truck driver of an undetermined gender…. The look doesn’t flatter me at all so I decide I’ll flat iron just the front pieces and the top layer so it at least looks tame… I’m loving this plan and my hair actually looks ok.. Not great, but much better than looking like a gender confused truck driver.

Out to check on the kids….. Clayton changed his shirt….. then crawled under the porch to fetch a hidden egg & had what look suspiciously like chicken poop on his fresh shirt… dear, sweet Shayla was in her freaking Halloween costume!!!!

God why?!?!?!?!!?

I tell them both to just put their school clothes back on and wash their hands & face & go to get myself dressed.

Had a cute grey sleeveless top picked out to go with one of my few pairs of jeans that aren’t stained and ruined by mystery substances & possible unmentionables.

Oh, it actually looks semi cute!!
Oh wait!!
What’s that??

Oh, it’s only an armpit pelt!!

Damn it all to bloody hell!!!

In my frenzy to get the sunscreen out of my hair, I forgot to shave!!!! I’m sure my inlaws don’t want to sneak a peak at the armpit Gossamers I’ve been growing so I need a different shirt…. I don’t care that it was in the low 80’s… I found a blessedly clean long sleeve t-shirt & that’s what I wore…
Get everyone in the car & on the road I start to breathe again. I think:

“It’s all okay….mom changed my diapers, she’ll forgive the messy house”

”We’re only going out to a casual Mexican joint so the kids in school clothes is okay, even if they are a lil dirty from the play ground”

“My father in law isn’t picking up Jerimiah until tomorrow morning, so I have time to finish up the rest of his laundry tonight..”

Then the call comes…. Hubby letting me know that they are leaving after dinner instead of the following morning!!

Ok, I almost panic (I like everything planned & scheduled…deviations of any sort make me panic, no matter how trivial the deviation is, stupid yes, but it‘s one of my many character flaws)….. Instead I hit an ATM, get cash so hubby can buy a pack of socks (all the whites were in the washer… time to dry them) and meet my father in law, sister in law, her fella and all the munchkins for dinner.

Had a pleasant dinner, all went well, company was good, food was good..

Once the kiddos were in bed, hubby was on the road & I was sitting with mom watching TV I felt my sanity slowly, but surely seep back into me.
Yes, I had to chase, carry & threatened escapee goats, I wasted gobs of fuel & time running all over the place. I accomplished nothing on my to do list…

I suffered urine in my hair, on my skin and on my clothes…

I had a frustrating battle with various sudsy products in the shower trying to remove an impenetrable film of hair matting ick…
And yet, I made it to dinner, EARLY & civilized looking……even if I did have two lil Gossamers growing under my shirt!

Yea, that’s just the way I roll… I’m kind of awesome like that sometimes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blood, Bone & Bleuberry

Shayla & Bleuberry

As some may have noticed, I’ve been kind of absent from the whole blogging bit….. If you did not notice, do my ego a favor & pretend you noticed my lack of posting!

Been sick, busy and did I mention sick?? Started off with this nasty, deep to the bones ache & complete lack of energy…went away for a week…then came back with what I’m guessing is some upper respiratory junk…coughing, congestion, some fever, aches & snot.

Three weeks later and I’m still coughing like a life long smoker…. I’m way behind on almost everything & I think I’ve scared folks with my haggard, hacking self when I’ve been forced to venture out.

Despite all of that, here I sit, alternating typing and coughing…feeling quite pleased with my multitasking this evening. Going to do my best to catch up my blog….

ANYWHO, I’m obviously side tracking myself, so I’ll get on to the subject of the title..

In the midst of the worse part of my sick I was in rough shape…. Just making it out to the pens to feed was a struggle so I altered my milking schedule so I wouldn’t be due at the barn until 10am or so…

One lovely morning I finally manage to wobble out to the barn, milk Sabrina, fed the milk to the chickens (too tired & gross to be my typical uber sterile self) & was about to go toss myself in bed when half way to the house it dawned on me that Bleuberry, one of my Alpine does who never, EVER misses so much as a scrap of hay, did not greet me (read mob me) at the gate.

I stood there on the porch in the remains of my Nyquil induced fog & considered chalking it up to the ever constant antics concocted by goats to drive you insane, but thought better of it and went back out… I swear the walk to the barn felt like 2 miles…..

I cussed Bleuberry the whole entire walk, just knowing that as soon as I got out there, she’d be bounding around, smug with satisfaction of making me put out extra effort on her behalf.

Well, I do admit, profanity was the first bit out of my mouth when I saw her….. She stood in the back corner of the barn, leaning on the wall, head hanging and her entire body shaking violently. …Pools of blood were visible on the floor and she had a nasty leg cut…

Cut after 1st cleaning. It extends down & around another few inches under the bloody area shown

Cut was on her rear leg, about 7 inches long, straight down the front…cut so bad the bone itself was visible and even had a gouge on the bone!! Looked like someone took a potato peeler to her leg in an attempt to leave nothing behind but bone! The cut was shaped like a shallow backwards “C” with flesh from the top & sides puddled in the center instead of firmly attached in their proper places….I couldn’t get the lower half of the cut to show in the pictures, so you’ll just have to use your imagination on that…..

Ran in to get supplies, washed with Triodine 7 & tried to put the flesh back in place, but it just kept sliding down the leg making this grotesque lil puddle…

Stitches were definitely needed, and I would have happily stitched her up, but the wound must have occurred late in the night or very early in the morning as the flesh had already shrunken… Despite my best efforts I couldn’t cover the entire area with the missing flesh as it had shrunk so much…

In the midst of this I realize I’ve made unnecessary trouble for myself….. Something as simple as a CD/T Toxoid Vaccine would have saved me a mad dash into town…Typically I’m very good about giving the vaccine, and the booster 21 days later every year (booster is essential to seal immunity)…This year, I didn’t get around to it…So not only did I have the drama of this nasty wound, I had tetanus to worry about too!

Ran into town (40 minutes away) and got the much needed Tetanus Antitoxin….something every goat owner should have on hand for emergencies as it provides instant, short term protection against tetanus… So my goat friends who read this, go NOW, make sure you have the antitoxin on hand, and better yet, make sure your CD/T’s are current!!

Before leaving I cleaned it as best as possible, locked her up alone and gave her a nice shot of Banamine to help ease the pain…..Banamine is another essential for your goat medicine cabinet. It eases pain, reduces inflammation/fever and in really sick goats, it can ease their suffering enough to allow them to eat, thus keeping that ever important rumen functioning properly.

Came home, got the Tetanus Antitoxin in her and then sat with a new dilemma… I’m sick and wobbly…Bleuberry is a big girl…taped at 165lbs and she’s in pain. I have no help…

I drag my big metal milk stand through two gates and into the lil pen I have her in, then lift her, one half at a time to get her on the stand…then get crushed against the wall in her attempt to get away while I was trying to hold her head in the head gate and lock it.

I confess….in the middle of this struggle, I contemplated goat BBQ…only for a split second, but I seriously didn’t feel up to this.

Washed her as she alternated between panicked shaking and frenzied fighting. I had to pull the piled flesh back and flush it as it was a real nasty mess….This chore earned me a kick to the shoulder and one square in the chest which knocked the wind right out of me…. As I laid flat on my back in the dirt, goat manure and other unknowns gasping for air I once again thought of goat BBQ….. But I had to remind myself that Bleu is such a sweetie (generally) and my best quality Alpine so she could not become BBQ, no matter how bad, at that very moment, I wished I wasn’t dealing with this mess…..

A very stressed out Bleu resting after our doctoring ordeal

I got it done though….. Once flushed well, I sprayed down with Vetericyn VF (GREAT stuff BTW) and then packed EMT Gel under the flesh, pulled the flesh back in place as best I could then coated the rest in EMT Gel…. Applied a non stick gauze coated in EMT Gel….. Took 4 gauzes before I finally got one on her that she didn’t kick off…Then taped it down and wrapped in pretty pink Vet wrap…. Let me tell ya, trying to get the wrap on properly, without disturbing the gauze underneath, with one hand was quite the adventure, but when all was said and done I was THRILLED…

Bleuberry rockin' her new bandage

Yes, I am woman, hear me roar! I triumphed over goat, blood, ick and sick.

Banamine was such a huge help…. Once it kicked in she finally started nibbling her hay, where as before she wouldn’t even touch grain. We topped this off by stabbing her with a shot of Biomycin (antibiotic) & Bo-Se (to help boost her immune system).

We went through the cleaning, redressing, shot of Biomycin & Banamine in the evenings and eventually when she saw me coming with my “Bag O’ Tortures” she tried to stay as far away as possible… Poor gal. Future dressings were much less dramatic, thanks to my helpful hubby…He’s a great assistant.

Bleuberry warily watching as I approach with my "Bog O' Tortures"

Now, she’s barely got a limp and I’m beyond pleased with the looks of the wound. I swear by EMT Gel… I’ve used it on dogs, horses, sore, raw hocks on bunnies and now Blueberry…kind of pricey, but worth every single penny!!! Here is a picture of the wound now….No signs of infection, no swelling, and the white you see is where it’s healing over the exposed bone where I didn’t have enough flesh left to pull over it. That white bit looks like it’s a slimey coating or something, but it’s actually got the texture of firm skin….The flesh puddle (like my sophisticated medical terminology?) is firmly attached, and the open areas on the outside of the wound are getting noticeably smaller with each redressing (which we redo every 4-6 days now)..

Bleu's healing leg 13 days after injury

Front view of Bleu's healing leg

Just keeping it wrapped now to protect it from the awful plague of flies we’ve been dealing with here lately and once there is no longer an open area, I’ll leave it unwrapped...below is the most recent shot of her leg & I'm so thrilled with the progress... Once it's time to change this bandage I think I'm going to leave it unwrapped.

Looking good!
 I don’t even think it’s going to scar as bad as I originally thought.