Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cardikids IN the Flowers

As promised. . .

Saturday, May 26, 2007

We Love HollyDays!

Around here, all holidays have been officially renamed HollyDays, and boy, do we ever love a HollyDay! Although it does look like this particular long weekend is going to involve lots of rain; good thing we weren't planning any special outdoor related activities. Would be nice though. Maybe we'll still sneak some outdoor fun in between showers. We did manage a good walk on the bayou this morning, and we're headed to cardigrandma's for a home cooked family meal. Yum yummy!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

I don't know what kind of wild flowers these are, but we have thousands of them on the bayou. And I don't know what I was thinking. . . I promise to get pictures of the kids in the flowers this weekend! Oh, and some other flowers, 'cause once I start, I can't seem to stop.

Ready or Not, Here We Come!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Strawberries give Mikey the runs!! TMI!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lots 'O Stuff

Be patient, there's lots of photos to load, but they're worth the wait.

Congratulations to Patrick and Jane Smith owners, and Barbara Tannahill breeder, of Ch. Llynhill Autumn Breeze, Best of Breed at the National! Here is a picture of Autumn going Best in Show at the Portland Rose City Classic this year. Owner handled all the way! Woo hoo! And Twinroc Settting Hearts Afire, bred by Paul and Doris, and owned by Susan Givens & R Graef Jr, went Winners Bitch at the National! For complete results go to CWCCA.

Mikey was awesome, as usual, at agility class on Thursday. We had a 16 obstacle course that was very tight and technical. Mikey is soooo repsonsive to my signals and voice commands, and sooo fast. I have got to haul @ss to keep up with him. That's really the only problem with handling Mikey. It's just soooo hard to keep up with him, and he kills my knees every time!

Thursday also was handler fall night. All three of us busted our butts, but thank goodness no one got hurt. It's so great to watch not just Mikey's progress, but the progress of my classmates too. There is an adorable yorky that has been in our class ever since we started with J; she has come so far since we have started, and her handler has improved even more! They are awesome to watch together, but when we first started, not so much.

Holly didn't get to play since she has been lame on and off for the past couple of weeks; hoping that she will be able to go next week. And J, proving again how great dog people are, is going to work with me as far as paying for classes so that I can continue to go to classes even with the dental/Enbrel expenses.

Holly, Meg, my dad and I had our second Rally-O class yesterday. None of us were 'on' like we were at the last class. But on the other hand, we didn't do badly either. I think the courses this time had more stations, making them seem a little bit more choppy and making it a little more difficult to get in the 'groove'.

Holly also was a little more full of herself this time, and definitely had her sassypants on! She told me off several times when she got frustrated with me; either when she couldn't understand what I wanted, or when I asked her for something she didn't want to do. Technically at a show she might have been penalized for excessive barking, but she just tickles me so much that it's hard to correct her. I'm sure it's not the effect she's going for, but she is adorable when she's being sassy. She didn't bark at the last class, and I suspect that at an actual show, in a place she's not familiar with, she won't be so sassy. I'm planning on showing her at least a little at the big Reliant Shows cluster. Money is tight, but hey! the dogs are my only extravagence.

Cardigrandma and I took a walk around her 'Heron Lake' this morning. I got lots of pictures of the baby ducks, and a few of the herons. The heron nests were high in the trees with the morning sun behind them, so I wasn't able to get any decent shots of them. It is a beautiful lake, and was a beautiful morning.

And then we took the kids for a walk on the bayou over by her house, which they thought was awesome 'cause it's always great to smell new smells. Cardigrandma got some great shots of Holly and Mikey.

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed that farking Unicare cooperates so that I can get my next refill on Enbrel this week and continue my course of treatment. I can't begin to say how much better I feel. The joint pain is lots better, not gone, but much better. The huge difference is in my energy level! There are just not words to describe how much better I feel! I actually felt up to agility class this week for the first time in months! And then rally class yesterday, and the lake walk this morning. Just a few weeks ago all I wanted to do was sleep all the time on weekends; and making it through the work week was pure toture! Think good thoughts!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mid-Week Roundup

First let me say 'waaaaa' everybody went to the Cardigan Nationals but me! Ok, maybe not everybody. . . but still wish I could have gone. Next year's not looking so good either, since I will still be paying off dental work in May of next year. Let me repeat 'waaaaaaaa'!

Next, Holly has been gimpy on and off since the cardikids stormed my parents backyard a couple of weekends back. Same front leg that she hurt playing with Mikey months ago. I'm not too worried about it for the moment because she mainly seems to be sore right when she gets up from laying around, and it works out quickly. However, I am worried about her looking toward the future. The dogs didn't really do anything that strenuous at my parents, just typical rough and tumble play. I would hate it if this old injury is so sensitive that I might have to curtail her agility career before it even starts. I've been 'treating' her with 1/2 an aspirin once a day as needed, and keeping walks to a minimum. Obviously she won't be going to agility class tomorrow.

Final order of business; my bloody Enbrel prescription. Got a letter from Unicare Monday stating that they will not cover the Enbrel at all. Folks, this is a $1500 a month prescription! Their stated reason was because I have not 'failed' other forms of treatment first. The two other standard treatments are a chemotherapy drug and a malaria drug, both with more possible side effects than Enbrel. However, there are a couple of options.

First, I found out that the dr didn't have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis on the pre-authorization form that was sent to Unicare; she still had a 'diagnosis' of chronic fatigue and polyarthritis (arthritis in multiple joints). After calling the drs office early Tuesday, her nurse assistant called me back and said that the dr had updated the diagnosis to rheumatoid and they would resubmit the paperwork to the insurance company. Not holding out a lot of hope for that, since the stated reason for not covering Enbrel didn't mention the diagnosis, but not trying other (cheaper) treatments first. Also, I know that Unicare covers Enbrel with a copay of 20%, 30%, or 50% and originally I paid 20%. You do the math. While paying off the dental work (which still isn't finished) there is really no money left over to pay the 20%, much less 30 or 50%.

Another option is to get help from the makers of Enbrel (Wyeth). Funny, because I worked for Wyeth years ago. But I can't really pursue that option until I know what, if anything, Unicare is going to cover. I took the last dose I had tonight, so it would be nice to get everything worked out in the next week so I can continue with out a break in treatment. It's really all soooo ironic, because through the later part of last week and this past weekend I really felt like the Enbrel was starting to work, both on the joint pain and the fatigue. Oh, and based on the injection tonight, it's always going to burn like he!! when I inject into the left leg (I'm supposed to alternate injection sites). [Update: My mom says that she always has one leg that burns more than the other when she does her Enbrel injections, so it's not just my imagination!]

Here are some pictures of the great storm clouds from yesterday evening.

Currently reading 'The Protector's War' by S. M. Stirling

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Someone Stop the Bunny!

That little energizer bunny is just causin' all kinds of trouble! I had my dental appointment yesterday, but no, it's not over yet! And MORE pet food recalls yesterday! That bunny is just pure evil! But if you don't want to hear any of that, just scroll on down, 'cause you can never go wrong with puppy pictures.

So, Royal Canin recalled has recalled eight Sensible Choice dry dog food products and seven Kasco dry dog and cat food products. . . from rice protein concentrate purchased from a company called Cereal Byproducts, who received it from Wilbur-Ellis. And now fish can be added to the chickens and hogs fed melamine contaminated feed.

Feed contaminated with an industrial chemical was distributed to 57 fish hatcheries and fish farms in Canada, according to the federal food watchdog.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed Friday that Vancouver-based Skretting Canada supplied the fish feed, tainted with the same contaminated Chinese wheat flour linked to the recent poisonings of cats and dogs in Canada and the United States.
Canada’s food watchdog says 57 fish hatcheries and fish farms bought melamine-contaminated food pellets.
CFIA officials said it’s unlikely the contamination would spread to the human food supply since the feed was given to young fish.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Skretting distributes its fish feed to 198 U.S. companies — 60 of which are estimated to have received the tainted product. FDA officials noted two of the American customers produce fish for human consumption.
CFIA is holding at the border and testing all shipments from China of wheat, rice, soy and corn gluten and protein concentrates.

And I had two root canals and a filling done yesterday (happily done under IV sedation, it's sooo worth the money!). And I thought that would be the end of that, but no, not so fast! The dentist couldn't quite get to the last little piece of pulp on one root on one tooth. So I will be making a trip to the endodontist that did two root canals for me last year soon, and hoping that he can get the job done.

Sorry I've had so little Mikey and Holly related material lately; all three of us wish there was more fun stuff going on too! No agility for four weeks; three rain outs and one where I just felt too crummy to go. And no agility play in my parents back yard for a long time, also because I have just felt too crummy. No shows; going to try to finish Mikey at the big Reliant Series in July. Next Rally-O class is next weekend, and please don't tell the instructor that I've only done the bare minimum of practice since our last class.

Please doG, soon life will swing back in a better direction, someone will put an end to the Energizer Bunny's rampage, and I will have lots of fun agility, rally, and conformation stories to share.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Oh, and dont' let all the toys and stuff in these pictures give you the wrong idea, Holly and Mikey are NOT spoiled!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mikey's Fine

All back to normal today. Cardima has been known to be a 'bit' of a worrier.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sick Cardikid

Mikey is making me very worried tonight. He has vomited twice, and is restless and whiny. I'm always worried that the dogs will snatch up something they shouldn't eat on the bayou when I'm looking the other way. If he keeps vomiting or seems in any way worse, we're off to the emergency. I'm making some plain white rice for in the morning, assuming everything goes ok tonight. This is one of the icky parts of dogs; knowing something is wrong, but they can't speak and tell you what it is. . . Just a couple of hours ago he was fine and chasing pink ball up and down the hallway.

And I thought I was actually going to get to bed early tonight! To take my mind off the worry (if that's really possible) I'm going to briefly catch up on some recall related issues.

First, the FDA had another press conference today, live blogged as usual by Christie over at Pet Connection. Today's antics include reports of farmed fish in Canada that were fed contaminated feed. No word on if any of these fish have entered the human food chain. Also, both the wheat gluten and the rice protein concentrate are actually wheat flour! Looks as if the Chinese decided to cheapen the product even more by not even bothering to process the gluten out of the wheat flour. And this may explain why there has been an explosion of sickness, because only a small amount of melamine or related contaminant would be added to boost the nitrogen content of wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate. But because wheat flour is mostly carbohydrates, a lot of fake protein would have to be added to make the nitrogen levels high enough to pass for wheat gluten or rice protein concentrate. And so the plot thickens.

And about all those chickens and hogs that consumed the melamine contaminated feed. . .

The USDA has lifted the quarantine on the 20 million chickens they detained on Friday that may have eaten tainted pet food in their feed. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said that “testing found that the contaminant, the industrial chemical melamine, was so diluted that any human exposure from the meat or eggs of the animals would be thousands of times lower than the level considered safe.” So, now these chickens will be released into our food supply.

This is in stark contrast to
From the official transcript, FDA-USDA Update on Recall of Pet Foods , April 26, 2007:
REPORTER: Could I follow up that question? The parts per billion that you found in the urine, is there an acceptable level? You told me what the level is. But how much higher is that than what’s acceptable, or is there no acceptable level?

DR. MCCHESNEY: This is Dan McChesney. I’ll try that one. Currently there’s no tolerance for any of these compounds, either melamine or cyanuric acid. So because of that we really cannot, the likelihood of this leads from very low likelihood of any problems resulting in food that contained these as Dr. Acheson said is really extremely low. However, we just don’t know when we get these mixtures together. So there is no acceptable level.

And finally a quote from the comments section at Pet Connection that just really says it all:

TC Says: May 7th, 2007 at 4:42 pm
We are on our own. I don’t care what the label says or doesn’t say, or who “endorses” what, or which hour of which day the FDA gives the all clear, or the USDA’s pitful attempts at job security promising me the moon with NAIS.
Whatever these other groups, organizations, govt. agencies or my great Aunt Minnie says will from now on be merely “advisory” to me. I will it take under consideration. I won’t take it as a guarantee that someone actually DID the job I thought they were hired to do. Or trust what is said without seeing if I can verify it myself. I will reject out of hand anything that just doesn’t make sense, I am not even going to TRY to make sense of nonsense anymore.

Mikey says 'Errrp' and Holly says 'Hi'.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Mikey Got Sh!t Faced

I know, it's a terrible title to use. But true, just not in the way you think. Mikey rolled his sweet little face in cat sh!t this morning. He's such a little darling! After all, I really wanted to bathe half a dog before work this morning! What a way to start the week off!

Now for something a bit more pleasant. Cardigrandma sent pictures from yesterday morning, AND some pictures of the cardinal babies, including a little fellow that decided he was old enough to leave the nest today. Cardigrandma and I agree he looks a little young to have left the nest, and we have added him to our worry list (ha, HA, ha).

Also, tomorrow, May 8, there will be an online panel at about the pet food recall and related issues: invites you to attend a special panel discussion of the pet recall crisis, on Tuesday, May 8 at 10 PM Eastern Time.When Menu Foods, back on March 16, announced its first recall of pet foods due to melamine contamination, the mainstream media was only briefly interested.To a small group of bloggers, it was apparent from the first days that this story was much larger than most people thought. They began compiling data, comparing information, collecting personal stories, and digging for facts.

Joining us will be:
Gina Spadafori and Christie Keith of
Ben Huh of
Therese Kopiwoda of and
Kim Duke of

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