Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Can it already be two years?
We love you, Hunter!
Here is what you looked like two years ago:

© Pat Murkland Photo

You've never stopped smiling.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Presidents Day

© Photo Courtesy of the Cox Family

© Photo Courtesy of the Cox Family

© Photo Courtesy of the Cox Family

Ocho Cox, our Gryffindor guy in Texas, got dressed up as Abe Lincoln to benefit a local shelter's dog fund-raiser.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

© Pat Murkland Photo

It was snowing in Southern California,
snowing all over the apple blossoms and green, green grass.

Snow falls with a special silence. We listened.

Afterward, Blake loved walking in our winter wonderland.

© Pat Murkland Photo

© Pat Murkland Photo

© Pat Murkland Photo

The snow crunched as we walked.
We saw where the rabbit had run.
... And where the coyote had loped.

A breeze blew some stray snowflakes onto our footprints.
And Blake said: Life is good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Funny Valentine

Four weeks old, in 2006

This week our Ginny turns 5!
Her official AKC registered name is
Glenamadda Starkeeper Verity.
She gets to wear the crowns of SBIS (Specialty Best in Show) CH (AKC Champion) in front of that.

Her registered names each have meaning:
Glenamadda for the kennel of Susan Prokopenko,
and Starkeeper for the kennel of Jocelyne Gagne,
her wonderful co-breeders.
Verity means Truth.

The "V" name comes from being in the V litter.
But when she was a tiny pup, her litter nickname was Valentine.
In these litter photos, she is the lady in red.

When she came to her forever home with us,
she answered to Red.
She soon named herself Ginny
because of her crush on our Harry Potter.

But once you're named Valentine, you never lose it.
She's our forever Funny Valentine.
Our Heart Hound.

Have you hugged your heart hound today?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thanks, Harry

Harry and Ginny, 2006 (P.Murkland Photo)

Our Harry died several years ago. We still miss our dear friend.
His best friend, Ginny, pictured above, will be five years old this coming week.

Harry suffered from pneumonia when he was young, and we almost lost him then.

He was saved because our vet at that time was willing to try Rocephin, a drug we read about in Mary McBryde's amazing Irish Wolfhound book.

Since then, other wolfhounds around the United States have been saved by this powerful human bacteria-fighting medication, also known as Ceftriaxone.
Longtime breeder Mike Genovese, also a vet, shares his experience here.

But it is sometimes tough convincing vets that the protocol really works.
In a wolfhound, pneumonia can kill rather quickly.
An antibiotic that doesn't work can mean death.

The symptoms also can be rather subtle.
And this is where we thank our Harry.

Our baby wolfhound caught kennel cough, and we thought she had recovered.
She was playing, eating well, acting normally.
Then, suddenly, in the middle of a meal, she stopped eating.

She couldn't or wouldn't lie down.
She seemed agitated.
She was panting.
She was pacing.
She seemed to be trying to vomit.
She began drooling.
She was standing strangely, with her head in an awkward position.

These are all warning signs of bloat.
But her stomach wasn't distended.
She had just pooped, and she did vomit her half-eaten dinner.
A friend suggested she had a stomach-ache, and to wait and see if she began feeling better.

Her temperature was 103 degrees F.
And then I knew. Thank you, Harry.
The way she was standing, the way she was acting ...
these are symptoms of pneumonia.
Sometimes dogs with pneumonia don't even have a temperature.
But she did. (Here is a fact sheet for you.)

I rushed her to the ER.
Along the way, friends emailed a protocol, for Rocephin.
Already knew about it. Thank you, Harry.

Late at night, the ER vet said the x-rays showed a mild pneumonia in one lung. She thought Rocephin was too big a cannon. She said she would use a different antibiotic.
This worried us. We began searching for someone who could help us. When the clinic closed in the a.m., we found help thanks to our regular vet, and brought our wolfhound to a specialty hospital more than two hours away.

The x-rays there showed a collapsed lung (the one that had been clear in the ER).
Severe pneumonia, they said. They planned to use Rocephin, the vet told us.

It was a fight to save her.
Pneumonia can kill a wolfhound in less than 24 hours.
It has killed other wolfhounds, in recent months.

After several days in the ICU and an anxious wait for us, our baby made it. Two weeks later, she continues to recuperate.

If we had waited to bring her to the ER, she would have died. If we had never heard of Rocephin, we may have been more complacent about medications.

We have Harry to thank.
We sure miss that big goofy guy. He was so sweet. Anyone who met him, loved him.

During these past dark days and dark nights, we have been thinking of Harry often.
And we believe somehow, his spirit is with us, still.

He loved Ginny so much, and she loved him back.
He was her protector, her guardian. The Pack Patriarch.
And now he has helped save her baby's life.
We love you, Harry.