Thursday, June 23, 2005


For almost a month now, Rowena has been taking a 3-part naturopathic remedy to help heal from her muscular skeletal injuries caused by the dog attack on her in February. Before the attack, she had been a happy, healthy energetic puppy. Afterwards, she was stiff and sore.

Being picked up and shaken at the hips by a big mean German Shepherd certainly qualifies as a physically traumatic event that can injure in ways that can be quite visual (puncture wounds) or a little more subtle (pulled and torn ligaments) that take longer to heal. I was determined to get her bouncing again!

When searching for something to help her recover more completely from those more invisible wounds, I did some research. That is when I found this naturopathic remedy, I thought it sounded like it had a lot of promise, could built her into a new puppy. The stuff is called "Winston's Joint Formula". It says it helps with a number of assorted canine muscular- skeletal problems and was very similar to a formula given to humans for similar problems. When we got it in the mail, it came in a small box that contained 3 bottles of supplements, each one having a different job to do. One helps rebuilt and strengthen bone, another helps strengthen and heal tendons and ligaments, the other helps heal and restore cartlidge. In this past month, I have seen Rowena's energy come back to where it used to be, and I see her return from a day of play not appearing to be stiff and sore. Her doggy chiropractor has noticed an improvement in her as well. Her last adjustment was quick and routine.

Half joking I like to claim that this formula is responsible for Rowena's ears standing more erect than usual for her. Yes, Rowena's ear cartlidge has been strengthening as well, and I have seen those soft black ears stand upright or nearly upright on more than one occasion throughout this past week. I look forward to beginning Rowena's second month of treatment with this naturopathic approach.

In the next several months, I would like to try Rowena in some doggy sports. I would like to check out flyball, agility, and some sheep herding workshops. She has that kind of playful spirit, and I want to feed it in healthy ways.

When she was first attacked, I was very distraught. I didn't like to see her in pain. Since I have started this remedy, I have seen Rowena play rough with her canine buddies, I have seen her jump, leap, have seen her run full speed ahead, and at the end of the day not be sore or stiff. My girl has recovered! I look at this girl now and I don't see any signs of her injuries from the attack!

Click on the above images to see a larger view^^^^ for more information on Winston's Joint Formula.

Rowena during our Sunday Training Session
-Sunshine Collection

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Be Still My Heart"

Rowena has been training well this past week. I have really tested her sit-stay and down-stay this week and had planned to do some playing and training with her to help her unwind from a boring business day. I packed up my backpack with her tie-out post, line and balls and put her on her flexi leash to bring her down to the park across from CHCS where she might get some extra distractions. It was about 5 pm so people were beginning to make their way home from town and from CHCS. As I knelt down to screw in her tie-out line, I placed the flexi -leash handle under my knee to hold her lightly in place. She took a few steps away to check out the surroundings when she realised that that horrible flexi-leash was slowly starting to follow her. This was the beginning of this horrible episode. She began running away from the leash (attached to her collar) and I did my best to call her to me... yelling, half panicked for her to come back to me. She headed for the edge of the sidewalk and I thought for sure she would freak out right into the road. I screamed for her to come to me. She moved from the road edge and began to kind of run towards me, but continued to freak out and past within feet of where I was. She then scrambled up the hill, nearly stepping off the sidewalk a couple of times, but never doing so. A woman who was walking up the sidewalk was able to step on the line of the flexi leash and stop Rowena from going any further. I ran up the hill to where the woman was and snatched up the leash handle. I thanked her and explained what had just ocurred... that my dog was terrified of her flexi- leash because it "follows" her a bit too closely for her comfort. I took some real slow deep breaths as I pulled Rowena in to safety and said "Thank you very much" to the woman as I returned to the bottom of the hill. I continued screwing in her tie-in and clipped her off the mean ole flexi-leash and on to the line that we usually train or plain on. I began crying. I sat down on the grass and pulled her close and pet her and kissed her as I told her "Don't you ever do that again. It is just a leash! It is not going to hurt you! Don't do that again." I just sat and hugged her for a little bit before I stood up and tried to do some work with her. I was going to play with the tennis ball to gradually get us back to play and work mode, but she seemed so spooked by the whole experience that I could not get her even to get excited over her tennis balls. She seemed very hesitant to move too much even with her tie-out line. Her energy she had shown me earlier had been sucked dry from the horrible flexi-leash chasing her around the park. I packed up her tennis balls, her tie-out and line and put her on her short work leash. I then hooked her flexi-leash to her collar and I walked around the grass in the park for about a half hour until she had gotten to the point where she could walk facing forward (as opposed to walking backwards while staring at the offending flexi-leash handle that dragged behind her). Then I walked a bit on the walk way until she could handle the flexi-leash dragging on the pavement. Finally I proceeded up the stairs, across the road and up the sidewalk towards home, all the while dragging the flexi-leash on the ground. Some kids questioned what I was doing. Then right near home, these three adults looked at me... even after I tried to explain what I was doing, looked at me as if I was somehow torturing my dog. Oh if only they knew how this beloved dog of mine had tortured me earlier. It was after dealing with these people that I decided that Rowena and I just needed to turn back around and go inside. I would take my PRN anti -anxiety medication so that I could breath and calm my heart down a bit. then I would just lie next to Ro on her dogbed and savor the fact that she was here with me and was okay. She is presently the best thing going for me in my treatment plan. To lose her would almost definitely put me back in the hospital. Before I go off to bed tonight, I am going to brush her out, give her her meds, take her out to go to the bathroom one last time before leading us both into bed. I will pray giving great thanks that Rowena is still with me. Tomorrow is another day. I'll see where she is then.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Rowena's Stats"

6/18/2005 Measurements:

Height at Shoulders=
20 inches
Length from base-of-neck to base-of-tail= 24 inches
Around Chest= 23 inches
Collar= 14 inches
Weight= 32.4 pounds

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Good Read: CHECK IT OUT...

A Book About a Border Collie...
REX, a Book written by Joyce Stranger

The book REX is a Border Collie classic. It is a book about a puppy born of an abused mother who runs off to live in the wild so she can keep her puppies. Rex is rescued and taken in by a man who tries to tame him. He has goals (and a bet) of raising Rex to be a herding champion. However, unable to get through to the young pup, a boy makes a connection and takes the pup home. This is a story about a boy and his devoted and loyal dog more than anything else. It is the Border Collie equivilent to "Lassie". My review doesn't do this book justice. I loved this book and encourage anyone crazy about Border Collies and all that they are to read this book. ***** (five stars) c. 1967 by The Viking Press, Inc.

Joyce Stranger has written these books as well: THE RUNNING FOXES and BREED OF GIANTS

Photo of Border Collies: CHECK IT OUT...

Photograph of Border Collies...
Change of Heartland: America's Great Plains

A boy in North Dakota holds an armload of Border Collie puppies as the parents (of the pups) supervise.
The article is basically about how the great plains region seems to be dying off, ghost towns... and how the area is looking for a new way to define its self. The boy's father (in the photo) is an organic farmer.

Meg and Ro play herding games.
-Sunshine Collection

Mud bath after a hot afternoon of high-speed playing.
-Sunshine Collection

Rowena (L) and Meg (r) play tug-of-war with a stick.
-Sunshine Collection

Meg chasing Rowena
-Sunshine Collection

"New Friends"

Two weekends ago when we went over to Saxl Park so Rowena could run in the field, pulling in to the parking lot after us was a woman and her Border Collie, "Kaleen", whom Ro and I had met in the field a few weeks before in the field. Kaleen is not one of those canine social Border Collies so she was not real thrilled to see the rambunctious Rowena again. However, with a few alpha takedowns, Kaleen walked down the path with us interacting with Rowena's energetic advances as little as possible. Kaleen's mom voiced how she wished that Kaleen would play with other dogs. I can't help thinking now how much easier Rowena's service dog work would be if she weren't such a social butterfly.

We were half-way through our walk when we saw a woman walking a dog on a leash. Rowena had to go check the dog out, however I was able to slow down her pace a little as she charged forth through the grass. That is when I noticed that the woman was walking another Border Collie... one I had not met before. The poor pup was wearing a Halti head collar and was trying to keep track of Rowena as she darted around her to sniff her out. The owner told us how the dog's obedience class instructors told her she was an aggressive dog. At this point, Neither I nor Kaleen's mom or Chris could see any aggression... and if there were to be any, nothing would bring that out like a hyper young Border Collie zipping around in her personal space. We talked the dog's mom into letting the dog off the leash to see how she'd do. Mom had never let the dog off the leash to play freely among other dogs and both Kaleen's mom and I were eager to see the dog in all her Border Collie glory out there for all to see. It took a little coaxing, but soon the dog realized she was free to play. That was when we finally got to meet "Meg", an eight year old, smooth coat, tri-color Border Collie. Her mom, Martha told us that she and he husband had purchased her through a friend. Meg was a rescued dog from Arkansas. Martha says she thinks Meg had been abused as she was so jumpy and skiddish when they had first gotten her two years previous. Meg and Rowena hit it off immediately. All of us watched with such happiness, as if we had freed a wild animal back into it's natural habitat. Meg bounded easily around with Rowena, keeping to the "circling-around-the-flock" style that Border Collies always seem to play in. Her herding instincts were easily seen in how she played with Ro. She was a beautiful sight to see. I took pictures as Kaleen's mom again voiced how she wished her dog would play like that. They (Kaleen and her mom) had to leave, but we remained in the field to let the two frolicking dogs a chance to unwind some energy and get to know each other. I gave Martha a "Border Collie Buddies" card so that I could send Martha the photos of Meg and Rowena playing together and so that we could set up other playdates. I think we had just enriched the life of this Border Collie's life and convinced her mom that she is not aggressive. She is actually a great dog and interacted wonderfully with Rowena. She is ALL Border Collie... not at all showing any signs of age, just all of the enthusiasm of a pup. Rowena had made a new friend!

"Good Puppy"

A couple of weeks ago, we had gone to our friends' home to see about puppy sitting for them for a weekend while they went south to visit family. Their oldest son, Chase, played with Rowena. Because Rowena is not fully "Child approved" yet, I watched closely as the two of them interacted. I began a game of fetch which Chase continued with the vigor of the energetic two-year old that he is. Throwing the toy overhand as hard as he could, Chase managed to get the toy to fly maybe five feet. Didn't matter. Just as enthusiastically, Rowena pounced to action to fetch the toy. Then she'd gallop back to Chase and dropped the toy at his feet. She'd then sit and look up at him eagerly awaiting Chase's next throw. The gentleness that Rowena had with Chase pleased me. It's like she understood how fragile Chase is, that he wouldn't be able to hold up against her thirty-two pounds of bounding energy with out being knocked over. It was wonderful to see how well Rowena responded to Chase... even with Chase's baby pronunciation, she pretty much understood what he was asking of her. It was a proud moment for me to see this all unfolding.