June 28, 2012

Riley the Hunter!

Our girl has developed into quite the hunter over the past few months. Here are some fun pictures and a video of her stalking a bird in the backyard. :)

On point with her first planted quail!

Quail-on-a-string (first point)

Point - perfected! Her tail was quivering!

June 26, 2012

My silly girl

Riley has been such a goof lately... here are two pictures to show what I mean:

I love my silly V girl! <3 <3 <3

June 23, 2012

Group portrait

I tried to get a group shot of Riley and her chihuahua buddies... this was the result.

June 21, 2012

"Wanna go for a walk?"

Riley & I have a new morning routine of walking around the neighborhood with her harness on & me being slowly dragged behind her. I can see her thigh muscles getting bigger - it's exciting! Today we went to the park and she was so excited to sniff all over the grass field that strings of foamy drool were pouring out of her mouth. It was hysterical! I was laughing so hard I forgot to take pictures. Well, here are some pics of the journey home. :)

June 18, 2012

Healing and Re-Conditioning

It's been 2 months since the accident and we are finally starting to see Riley using her leg completely again with minimal limping. I purchased a harness ($5 on sale at Petco) and we are having a Springer bike hookup delivered from Amazon today. I've decided to start out her re-conditioning with daily walks and then after about a week I will transition to the bike. Yesterday, we went on two walks and she did really well. It goes against everything in me, but I'm forcing her to pull against me in the harness when she walks so it will build up her leg. She doesn't quite understand why I am making her pull, as we have worked on NOT pulling during walks ever since she was a baby. She kept giving me looks yesterday like "Can you PLEASE walk faster?" and "Why do you slow down every time I speed up???" Haha... the poor girl was so confused. This morning we did a nice, brisk 20 minute walk and she pulled HARD almost the entire time. It was great because we both ended up getting an awesome workout. She hardly limped at all, which made me really happy.

As you can see in the picture below, her right leg is massive - extremely muscular from all the time she compensated for the bad left leg. I like to call this her "hulk" leg! :)

I affectionately refer to her left leg as her "gimpy" leg. The muscle is visibly smaller and she tries to keep weight off it as much as possible. We're not sure if it still hurts or if this is just a habit from when she was really in pain and not walking on it. As you can see in the picture, she doesn't put much weight on it when in a resting stand and it always looks like she's on tip-toe. Our goal with re-conditioning is to get her to use her left leg more and build the muscle to compensate for whatever weakness she now has in the knee.

We will be scheduling a vet appointment for either the end of this month or the beginning of July at Davis to have her checked out and to make sure that there isn't any other underlying damage that needs to be treated. I am contemplating requesting an MRI to make sure that there isn't something else going on with the joint that they can't see through x-ray. There has been a sizable lump on the inside of her left knee ever since the accident and I'm hoping it's just scar tissue and not something worse.

In other news, I grew so tired of her boring leather collar that I heated up my soldering iron and made it pretty! She is an excellent model! :D

June 14, 2012

9 months!

I can't believe my girl is already 9 months old! She is more beautiful every day. :)

June 4, 2012

Vizsla Heat Cycle - A Female's Perspective

I went on a trip to the pet store this past Tuesday to pick up some dog undies and liners and was absolutely shocked to find only a few, dusty packages of items that have probably been sitting there for over a year. It made me realize just how spay-happy our country has become!

Just recently, I had someone ask me why I didn't get Riley spayed before her first heat and tell me they didn't think it was "nice" or "fair" to make a girl go through it. My remark was that they must think it's so much nicer for the pup to be cut open and her ovaries ripped out when she is just a baby. I go through this every month... why are people so afraid of it?

Riley - modeling her stylish blue underwear

Here is what my breeder has to say about spay and neuter:

"A little truth on Spay and Neuter. First, you all know that I run the Southern California Vizsla Rescue. I am a huge proponent of Spay and Neuter (at the right age). Your vets will try to talk you into spay and neuter way to young for your Vizsla. My vet recommends 18 months for a male and at least 12 months for a female. Many females will never experience their first heat at 12 months. However, if yours do I will walk you through how to keep her safe! Just contact me. The tactic used by the vets is a scare tactic - the big C word (cancer). So let me give you my personal experience. No Vizsla that I have ever had contact with has EVER had: breast cancer, cervical cancer, or testicular cancer! So how many could that be? Lets see, between mine, my puppies I have bred, my vizslas parents, grandparents etc - well over 250 Vizslas. Please contact me if your vet is pressuring you to spay an neuter young. Spaying a 6 month old female is like giving a hysterectomy to a 6 year old girl! Please dont fall for the cancer scare."

Riley is on day #6 of her first heat cycle. It's been very easy to deal with so far. She wears a pair of undies inside the house with liners that we replace every few hours. If she is in her crate, we leave the undies off and change out her blanket every day. She actually does a really good job of keeping herself clean most of the time. I used Nature's Miracle Pet Stain and Odor Remover to clean up any little blood spots she left behind (they were very tiny). I was a little nervous about her first heat cycle, but now that we are about 1 week into it, it's really no big deal. The one thing I was not prepared for was how many bully sticks she would go through... she's chewed through an entire bag of 12 inch sticks in 6 days!

Our breeder gave us this advice on preventing any unwanted pregnancies:

"I want to cover how a heat works for a girl - in case any of you experience it and how to keep them SAFE: Usually between 12-18 months (but some can go as early as 6 months - very rare) their back end will swell - you will know. It looks like something is inside and making them pooch out. They will start bleeding. This is subtle, and you don't see a lot of blood but may notice red drops on your floor"... "Bleeding will last for 7-10 days. Then the discharge will turn pink or clear. THIS IS WHEN they usually get PREGNANT. I say usually because Cheyenne conceives while bleeding - which the vets tell me is NOT possible. The pink/clear part lasts 10-15 days. I keep my girls inside for 30 days from beginning to end to be safe so I never have any unwanted pregnancies."

So there you have it... the Vizsla heat cycle is not very difficult to deal with at all. I actually ENVY Riley - she only has to go through this every 6 months! :) 

If you're looking for some cute undies for your Vizsla, these undies are both adorable and useful. I just purchased women's pads and used those as liners. It worked perfectly!

June 3, 2012

Sunday Evening Musings

Ever since the accident, I've wondered if I've done the right things for my little girl. I know you can never predict what will happen in life, but I like to think I consider all possible outcomes before trying something new. My #1 goal with Riley is for her to have a happy, fulfilling sort of life - free from pain and discomfort. At times I feel like I've failed her in this aspect, which makes me very upset. Every time she looks up at me from the couch with her big, sweet eyes I just melt and feel horrible for the condition her leg is in.

Her last day on pain meds was about 3 days ago. She is definitely limping on the leg quite a bit more, which really concerns me. I'm going to give it a week to improve and then we will take her back up to UC Davis. On top of all this, she went into heat last week so she's been super moody, needy, and generally upset about things.

I have been taking advantage of this time to work on retrieve training in the house. We started out playing tug-o-war games when she was a tiny pup, so she's learned to bring things to me if she wants to have a good time. At the same time we did tug-o-war, I introduced "drop it". I started saying "drop it" sooner and sooner after she brought me the toy, so now she will immediately release the toy in my hand on command. Just within the past week I have been putting her in a standing "stay" before she can go get the toy that I've thrown. She holds a beautiful point at the toy until I release her! I am very proud of her progress and just wish we were a little farther along on the bird side of things. Some days I get very depressed about the slow healing time of her knee, but other days she will do such a beautiful point at a bird in the yard, it just takes my breath away and I am hopeful for a moment that she has a bright hunting future ahead of her.