Thursday, November 19, 2009

Willow Update and Other Stuff

(Photo by Dan King)

Willow had her one-month check up at VSH on Tuesday. Here's what Dr. Kozicki, her oncologist, had to say:

Willow looks great today! Her lesions are flatter and less inflamed and have decreased in size, which is really good news. Her bloodwork is also normal. Willow will need a complete blood count in one week with Dr. Scott. We would like to see her in two weeks for her six week Palladia recheck. If things are continuing to go well at that point we will extend her appointments to every 6-8 weeks.
So it's looking good for Willow at this point. Of course I was cautioned at the beginning of treatment that how she was doing at 6 weeks would not necessarily be predictive of how she will be doing at 6 months, but at least so far it seems there's cause for hope.

For her part, Willow is pretty much her same old self, doing all the stuff she loves to do. Her lesions truly have reduced, and some have even disappeared, though she still has one that's rather ugly looking. But given the way this cancer has behaved, I know that just because it's (partly) gone now doesn't mean it will stay gone. Here's hoping Palladia is a new wonder drug for dogs with mast cell tumors!

Mount Pleasant SDT
There was a lot of good, bad, and ugly at Mt. Pleasant last weekend. The drive was changed from the right hand drive of years past to a left hand drive, and that made a huge difference in the number of dogs who lost sheep to the exhaust on the drive. In fact, I don't think anyone lost sheep to the exhaust on the drive (in ranch and open) this year. Unfortunately, there were quite a few runs that never got started, thanks to the sheep bolting back to the setout. With fences, driveway, barn, and vehicles up there, there was just no way for a dog to catch the sheep and save the run (unless the dog was very fast and would slice its flanks). There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to which sets would bolt for the barn. On my two open runs on Sunday, I even tried stopping both dogs short and risked lifting the sheep sideways to try to circumvent the mad dash for the barn, but to no avail. By then the sheep weren't just running for the barn, they were also splitting one and two, so even though Pip looked like he could catch them, once they split, it was all over. Twist lost both her sets to the barn, though on Sunday she tried to catch them all, first covering the two that went to the set out pen, and then turning back for the one who was trying to circle the barn via the driveway (and again losing the first two in the process). I had sent Twist right and Saturday, which meant she was running opposite the pressure to the barn, but I figured she comes in deep enough at the top that it wouldn't matter, but the sheep were able to outrun her.

That said, I did have a few good runs. Pip placed second in open on Saturday with a score of 81. We timed out in the shedding ring and a hole opened just as the timer went off, so I called him through anyway and completed the shed just to help with his confidence since he's relatively new to running in open (his fourth open trial). I had fallen down the outside steps in the rain on Wednesday and wasn't moving very well, so I couldn't really help him much at the shed either. I was proud of him.

Lark did a great job on Saturday in the ranch class, ending with a score of 75 and first place. Phoebe had on her listening ears Saturday as well. Her run was a little less clean than Lark's, but I was pleased with the fact that she seemed less frantic and didn't mess up flanks by reacting before I got the flank out. She placed third with a 66, I think. On Sunday, Lark lost her sheep to the exhaust, one of the few dogs to do so all weekend (now there's something to celebrate!). The problem was the same one as for many of the other dogs--the intense draw to the barn. They pushed way offline to their right, and even though Lark was able to prevent them from going to the barn and brought them down the field offline, here's where her clappiness kills. She'd get to their heads to stop them, but wouldn't turn them back into the field, and each delay caused by me having to tell her to get up just let the sheep push that much further downfield. They finally got behind the hill that masks the exhaust and when sheep came back over the hill, there were just two, so we retired. Phoebe modified her listening ears on Sunday, and although she was still listening, she also decided she needed to push an awful lot more, making for an extremely ragged run. I don't think we hit a single panel, except the occasional sheep here or there by accident (okay, so we were close, but when Phoebe gets that pushy and the sheep are running, it's hard to make panels). We didn't get our pen either. And yet we still placed third. And were overall reserve champions for the weekend (hint: just two ranch dogs managed to get scores both days, so they ended up champion and reserve).

At least the sun came out on Sunday, making for a very picturesque view of yellows and reds on the mountains behind the farm.

A disappointment. All the hype had me believing I'd see a great show, and I dutifully set my alarm for 1:30 a.m. and went outside to view the night sky for about an hour. I saw maybe five meteors, only one of which could have been called spectacular. At least it wasn't freezing cold, but I sure would like to see a show like we had a few years ago when I still lived in Elizabeth City!

There are none! Okay, let me correct that. I've applied to lots of jobs, and I've gotten lots of rejections. The upside: at least I know I wasn't selected, which is better than wondering about the black hole into which most applications seem to disappear. The downside: I still don't have a job. I'm looking harder than ever though.

My Back
My back is a whole lot better. I stopped taking meds earlier this week, and although I still have pain if I do something foolish (setting up a round bale, for instance), I am well on the road to recovery. I'm guessing that the speed with which I have recovered means I didn't do any serious damage, though parts of my back are still extremely sore to the touch. (For those of you who don't know, I did the banana peel thing in the rain on the wet steps out front. My foot went out from under me and I fell backward, hitting my hip and back on the stairs on my way down. It was very painful.)

I've come to the conclusion that my tunis ewes did not get bred by the BFL ram last June. I have no lambs, nor any sign of impending lambs. I don't know what to blame it on, since the ewes are first timers as was the ram. I expect it was already too hot in June for his sperm to be viable, since he obviously bred the ewes (he was wearing a marking harness). I will try again this spring and put him in much earlier (I was late this year because I didn't get the ram till May and he had to be quarantined before going in with the ewes, hence it was June before I got them all together.)

Reading Corner
I don't think I've commented in a while on what I've been reading, probably because most of the books have just been fun/easy reads and mostly limited to what I can get from my local library. So I read Dan Brown's latest, and I rediscovered Rita Mae Brown's foxhunt mysteries (I've read a lot of her stuff, but don't always notice when new books come out). I also read and enjoyed Every Last Cuckoo, by Kate Maloy. Right now I am reading Rita Mae Brown's autobiography, Animal Magnetism, suggested to my by my sister Jean.

And I guess that's it for catching up here at Willow's Rest.


Barbara said...

Wonderful news about Willow! :) Congrats again on the trial results. With all this good momentum, job news is sure to be next.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed watching Pip's run on Saturday.


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better, sorry to hear about the botched breeding. I hope you're right about the heat...