Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Agility Training Part Two

It's been over a year since we took some agility classes. We only went through a series of classes and had to stop due to financial and health reasons (Maya broke her tooth). I thought about going back several times, but hesitated, because, the group of classmates are much advanced and I can no longer join them, and most importantly, neither Maya nor I were having fun.

Don't get me wrong, the trainer was great. She competes with her dogs and won so many titles. She focuses on the foundation and makes sure we take every step carefully so the dogs or handlers won't have any bad habits. However, that's just not for us. Maya was relatively young, and all she wanted to do was to greet other dogs or sniff around, so for an entire hour of sit and stay, I had to keep pumping treats into her mouth. For me, I felt frustrated handling the only out-of-control pup, while all the other dogs sit nicely and stay quietly on command. It was a torture for both of us.

Fast forward a year, a relative of ours opened up a doggy gym, Zoom Room Belmont, in our neighborhood. I decided to give agility another try and signed up for some classes. This time around, it is much better. In the eyes of many agility enthusiast, we are probably doing it all wrong, because we skipped a lot of the foundations and went straight to using the equipment. However, I don't care and this works for us. For half the price I paid for the "formal" training, we had a full hour of fun and exercise. If someday I really want earn a title with her and have to face the consequences of "bad habits", I'll bang my head then. For now, competition is a plus, but not a must.

Another reason I like the place, is because the classes don't come in "series". After purchasing a pass for certain amount of classes, I can go to any classes as long as Maya passed the prerequisite (or evaluation). We then advance to the next level when we are ready. No need to wait for classmates or felt left behind. It works well for someone like me, who may need to travel or have occasional crazy work schedules.

There was a related discussion on the forums a while ago about training. I didn't participate since I usually stay away from online arguments, but I agree with some members who said that we should set realistic goals and that life is too short to be frustrated over training a dog.

We took Maya to her first class a few days ago, and was pleased to see her having so much fun!

Maya's first class and her fluffy classmate

Monday, May 13, 2013

Three Dogs in the House

Over the past week we've been looking after Caspian, who was adopted about a year ago from a local rescue. We weren't so sure if he'll be okey to be left at home during the day, especially when he's in a new environment, because he had some separation anxiety. However, he did well with Maya when we were out, though he sometimes gets over-excited when we return. He doesn't like car rides much and would get too nervous. I was debating whether to bring him along when I took Maya to see Dr. M. Poor Caspian threw up on his way back.

Halfway through Caspian's stay, Tachi joined the pack as well. We were a bit worried, since it's our first time having three dogs in the house, and that Tachi never met Caspian before. We were careful and brought Caspian outdoors to meet with Tachi first when she arrived. After a short walk together Maya joined in, and as soon as they were let off-leash, the three were playing like crazy. Maya and Tachi both know Caspian is smaller, and played much gentler with him than with each other.

The biggest challenge was to walk the three dogs at the same time, because they have very different potty habit: Tachi likes to stay on the road, and only jumps on to the grass area when she really has to go; Maya likes to sniff around the grass to find the "perfect spot"; while Caspian likes to walk by the bushes so he can keep marking. Imagine me tangled up in 3 leases when they all want to go separate directions.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Monthly Expenses: April 2013

April 2013
  • Vet & Medical: $481
TOTAL: $481

Vet & Medical

This month, all the expenses happened in the vet & medical department. We started some new treatments with a different holistic vet, and the two visits cost us $175 and $85 respectively. 

We also got a blood test done with Hemopet, which costs us $155 for the blood test, $56 for the regular vet visit to get the blood drawn, and $10 for shipping the blood sample.

Yes, it's a bit crazy... Sigh...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Busy Weekend

Maya had a super busy weekend. On Friday evening, we went to Zoom Room Belmont to check out the classroom. Maya had a lot of fun trying out the agility equipment as well as tasting some yummy treats. Zoom Room Belmont's owner is good friend of ours and we are so happy to have a doggy gym in the neighborhood. We'll probably start taking some agility classes in the up-coming weeks.

On Saturday, we went on a hike with a group of Shiba Inu owners. Maya met her old friend, Tachi, and made some new friends. She was even out-fluffed by a long-coat Akita! We met the Akita's owner on Facebook through Tachi's owner, and later realized that our dads were coworkers, our sisters were kindergarten classmates, and I used to hang out with her sister at our dads' office when we were kids. What a small world!

On Sunday, Caspian came to visit us. He will be staying with us for the next week while his parents go on a vacation. He was a bit nervous when his mommy left and kept looking at the door, but he adjusted pretty well afterwards. This is our first time looking after a non-Shiba, and boy they are different! As oppose to Maya's aloofness, he's such a cuddle bug with 110% recall. This will be a week with lots of hugs and kisses.

Thyroid Test Results

Maya's Thyroid test results came in on Friday. Not sure if I should feel happy or not, everything seems normal. Her T3 is lower than normal, but they don't think it's thyroid related.

The actual numbers:

Result Specific Range General Range Unit
T4 1.70 1.40 - 3.50 0.80-3.80 ug/dL
Free T4 1.00 0.85 - 2.30 0.55 - 2.32 ug/dL
T3 15.5 30.0 - 70.0 30.0 - 70.0 ug/dL
Free T3 1.90 1.60 - 3.50 1.60 - 3.50 pg/mL
TgAA <1 <10 %

Besides the thyroid test, I also ordered a few more tests, including Heartworm, Complete Blood Count with Differential, and Chemistry Panel. Most of the results look good but there were a few numbers that landed out of the "General Range". Even though they all had an "ok" next to them, it's always a bit worrisome to see abnormal numbers:

Result General Range Unit
Sodium 156 139 - 154 mEq/L
Potassium 7.3 3.6 - 5.5 mEq/L
Na/K Ratio 21 27 - 38
Chloride 125 102 - 120 mEq/L
Lipase 75 77 - 695 IU/L

The assessment from Hemopet:

"Thyroid levels look good overall here so there is no evidence that thyroid dysfunction is contributing to Maya's itchiness. Low T3 level is most likely due to a non-thyroidal issue. The rest of the panel is normal. Recommend annual retesting."

Since I don't know how to read the numbers, I guess I'll have to consult the vet to see if there's anything that needs to be done.