I'm not really a history buff like some of my siblings, but I do like to watch the occasional autobiographical movie or read books on real people. I have, however, always been an Abraham Lincoln fan. I'm so excited about the new movie coming out and hope it does not disappoint. (Lincoln - the trailer). Needless to say, I'm also a big fan of President Lincoln's quotations.
All posts in category Kenai
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 18, 2012
A Facebook friend, Goliath Laycock, made and offer to photoshop pictures of people’s dogs for them in really cool settings, for just $5 each. The proceeds go to buying dogfood for the ASPCA. And having been thinking lately about my late Kenai, how he loved cool autumn air and snowball games… well, here are the results:
He was such a beautiful boy, my Kenai.
And he was my first attempt to deliberately train a Great Dane to be an assistance dog.
I’d dabbled with previous ones; Taj, pick that up for me, or Shabah come have some love time when I was sad.
Just bits and pieces of tasks, before I knew there was such a thing as a service dog for someone who wasn’t blind. But Kenai was my first puppy with a pre-planned purpose.
It’s been nearly 5 years since I made up my mind to wander my way into owner training a service dog. Most lessons were learned the hard way, which I suppose, is why they stuck.
In the ten months since Kenai’s passing, I’ve really had to be careful how much or how deeply I thought about him. I refuse to entertain any sense of “failure”, or to allow thoughts that “if I had (blank) it would have created a different outcome”.
I know myself well enough to know that when I’m sorrowful, such sensations would be the first ones through the proverbial door, and the most intense. That’s just me, the PTSD‘s alterations to the functioning of my heart and mind.
I’ve had yogis say, and various others say, “just let the feelings come and wait for them to pass”. But they don’t pass for me. I admire people who can feel even intense feelings and recover relatively quickly. Unfortunately, I don’t: I become physically ill with fibro flares, migraines, hyper-reactive, the works.
So I do have to nibble away at feelings of loss, and shut those feelings down when they become so intense that I realize they will dig deeper ruts rather than weaken. Much the same way I came to try owner training, dealing with the loss of my boy loves has been in bits and pieces over time.
I can look at the raging red leaves of the maple trees and think how much Kenai would have loved to pounce in the growing piles with a bit of a twinge rather than an urge to go to my room and cry.
Everyone has their ways. And it’s never a good idea to force yourself to “get over it” when you think you should. Only one’s heart knows when.
I actually love looking at these pics. Goliath’s “mom” did such a wonderful job. Kenai was beautiful enough to belong in the high end boutique window. At least in my opinion!
Memorials become testaments to the beauty that someone brought to our lives, and the wisdom they left us with. Even just a photoshopped picture or an open field can be a memorial.
I do miss him and his silly brother. The Brothers Grin. A yin and yang pair if ever there was one! Mr Majesty and Mr Goofy!
If you would like to have your pic’s photo-shopped, here is Goliath’s owner’s facebook page link. Just private message her, and upload the photos. Or you can go to her website if you’d rather. The cost is nominal, and the proceeds will buy a food for the ASPCA, so it’s a win-win for all.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on October 17, 2012
Life can be hard.
There’s a blog I follow that I simply love, and this is one of the most peircing posts on it I’ve read for awhile. I so completely understand this lady’s words that I have a visceral “YES!! That’s what I’m feeling myself” reaction.
It seems everyone I know is having a tough time with one thing or another, some with many things all at once. I like to be the one who can say, “It’ll be better soon”, to give some optimism when the glass is half-empty for my friends. I also like when my friends do the same for me. People can be amazingly wonderful!
My glass is half-empty right now. Despite the wisdom of past experience, despite some wonderful people I know through the internet, I feel more than half empty these days. The laundry list of why doesn’t really matter, because we all sometimes find ourselves there with totally different why’s.
Me being, me, my habit is to try to delve beneath the why-list and look at the undertow that has pulled me down. I learned long ago that it’s not the feelings or circumstances that are the problem; it is the beliefs we hold so deep in us that we cannot readily see them, like the roots of a plant.
If the above ground part of the plant is withering, better check below ground…
A gardener knows that a seedling gives off moisture and other things through their leaves. Yes, plants ”breathe”, by taking in water and oxygen, giving off CO2 and humidity. This is when they have sufficient moisture and nutrients at the root zone.
A seedling in a pot whose roots leave the pot in search of water and nutrients are “air pruned”. They cannot find soil or water, so they will harden up and stop growing. That’s when the warmth and sunshine every plant needs becomes detrimental rather than beneficial. The warmth and sunlight dries the plant out further. An air pruned seedling really needs repotting to a larger container, or to be planted in open ground.
Danes have always been warmth and sunshine to me. But of late, however dear I loved them, BB and Kenai’s needs followed by Levi’s difficulties dried me out and left me air pruned. My lovely beautiful boys and some issues at home took more out of me that I could afford to give out. My proverbial roots are parched and hardened.
Comparison is a dangerous game to play. Comparing yourself to others is an obvious mistake. No one can walk in your shoes, can have in your memories and experiences, so a person to person comparison is apples to oranges.
But there’s a comparison game that can go unrecognized: comparing your circumstances, your emotions, your situation with the picture you have in your head about “what should be”. Expectations we have and don’t know about are immensely powerful things.
Take Levi’s problems as example: it wasn’t Levi, it was my expectation that I should have been able to help him adjust. I have experience with dogs after all, I have some skills as a trainer and dog owner. I wanted so badly to prove to some nay-sayers that a Dane most certainly can tell one color from another and build a remarkable task list to help me.
I expected somewhere inside that if I worked hard enough, was a smart and good enough trainer, that little Levi was gonna prove what a Dane can do. And I was gonna prove what I could do, disability be hanged. I’m no failure, durn it, “I CAN”. I can overcome, and adapt, and be (____).
God’s truth, the ordeal with Levi made me deeply doubt whether or not I am still capable of working and living with dogs. 3 dogs in a row, washed. Yes there were their illnesses, there were problems with their aptitude for the job. But I couldn’t overcome those problems. I took those “fails” personally, as if it reflected on my personality, my ability, my judgement.
Living with my Mom, well, she’s so far down in depression and PTSD that she is incredibly needy and demanding as well. It’s a mess, and an exhausting one at that.
So I was hell bent on having a success, having a loving Dane that could be nourishing, and warming, and assistive to me just by being the loving, gentle creatures they are. Oh how I miss that flow of love and nourishing between me and a dog…
But I’m hardened and parched, so can even a Dane penetrate that dried out ground? Probably not. I need to deal with me, to face and feel and consciously consider my expectations and needs. It’s up to me to soften, and open, and stop avoiding.
My usual treatments aren’t working: biofeedback, medicine, vitamins. On the advice of an internet friend, I’m going to try something new and a bit foreign to me. This friend is an energy healer, who explained much of the complexities of chakras and energy flow through the body in a simple clear way for me.
Her terminology for air pruned and hardened is closed chakras, not allowing my emotions and physical state to balance itself and be healthier. The biofeedback can’t help as much as once because my heart and body has shut itself down and closed off.
So it’s Kundalini yoga time for me. It’s physically challenging right now, and the meditation part is difficult for me too. But I am tenacious. That I have proven to myself. I can endure and keep trying rather well. I was just enduring and keeping on with motives and expectations that were becoming destructive.
Don’t worry, I’m not moving to India or wearing hemp anytime soon! But if this new tool in the shed helps me, then I’m glad to have it. It’s called in the Bible “redeeming the time”, while I wait for the right little fur-man to come into my life, with the aptitude and personality that dovetails with my own. He’s coming, this toddly playful baby Dane. I want to be ready when he appears…
Thank you Kenai, and BB, and Levi. You’ve each brought me wisdom, and I love you still, always.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 7, 2012
January 6, 2012 my beautiful boys crossed the bridge…I couldn’t watch them be sick and miserable anymore, knowing they would never be well again.
I could not keep them lingering, though they might have made a few more months before their bodies were really wrecked. Kenai’s spirit already kinda was; that confident bombproof rugged boy was so timid and fearful.
He and his brother both were down yet again with Ehrlichiosis, and neither could tolerate the antibiotic treatments without gastritis, pain, nausea etc. Unlike other past loves, it didn’t “feel” like it was time to put them to sleep.
Yet my head chose to let them go now before they were gaunt, given up in spirit and ruined in body. So I held them as they passed, and I swear their spirits stayed with me that night. I could feel their presence, and have no words really to tell you what it was like.
Then after hours of tears, I felt them ”say” goodbye to me, one at a time, in their own ways. Kenai with his signature softness, BB with his playfulness…They were then free, and gone.
Their spirits left, together as they had always been. I hope against hope, and pray for all the mercy heaven can afford that they never ”come back” to check on me. I miss them so terribly, but I want nothing more than for them to have such joy and happiness, running and playing that they do not miss me.
I haven’t yet sterilized and given away their beds, nor have I given away what is left of their food. I need to, soon. I also do not know what to do with this blog: it was started to cover the socializing and service dog training of a majestic little boy who is not here anymore.
But there is so much of my life, his life, life in general in the archives, and knowledge in the pages that I hate to just end the blog. Perhaps a new purpose for this blog will present itself? Until then, I will keep it going. And I will keep going until I also find a new purpose for myself.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on February 16, 2012
Good morning beautiful sunshine! Kenai 3 yrs
The Big K and Little Bro BB are in boy heaven these days; in and out as they please, not too hot, not too cold (is it ever too cold when you have a fur coat?). I’ve gotten Mom to dine, achem, al fresco on the back deck a couple times, and have the windows et all opened up most of the day.
There is a bit of trouble in paradise though, with Kenai in particular. Three weeks of doxycycline for the tick diseases has resulted in the absolute worst, most distressing side effect of all: anorexia.
Big guy won’t eat. He won’t touch the raw food at all, and will only eat small amounts of kibble if I gussy it up some. Since he cannot digest kibble at all, he has to have enzymes with it, and his coat invariably goes to pot. But it’s that or…
So I’ve bit down on the bullet and ordered some elk, venison, and goat meat from an online company. It doesn’t contain bone, so I’ll have to scavange about for ground bone, but if they eat it and do well, I hope it’ll be worth it. www.elkusa.com
If I even get Kenai to eat half raw/half kibble, that would be a major improvement. He does need off the kibble though. He can’t digest it, it gives him tummy troubles, the works. It took months for the anorexia to wear off last time. Hope it’s shorter this time.
Being the big time outdoorsman that he is, Kenai is mentally pretty darn perky with the whole lotta extra fresh air and sunshine!
Morning or evening, he just loves to stretch those legs. And cold doesn’t bother him until it gets blistering frigid.
Thankfully our winters aren’t usually so chronically bad that the golden grizzly has to “hibernate”. You northern folks know what I mean: out to pee, in for the day.
My health hasn’t improved much, so the outside time doesn’t involve gardening, but such is life…I’m managing to keep the guys fed, exercised, and dinner for us. Sometimes the sweeper or carpet cleaner, but really, not much by way of activity for moi.
Mom made the mistake of letting both guys out together (Kenai! You dont’ run doors), so I had to go collar and fetch. Beebs was looking for rescue too. He’d made the mistake of thinkin that was gonna be fun, free together at last.
Kenai’s play is fairly vigorous, so Beebs got the thunk and wunk treatment, knocked down once before I got there. Droopy ears was happy to see me! Kenai collared up fine and walked very politely with me, and booby butt tagged along behind best as his sore spots could go…poor guy!
No harm done though, other than being a bit more sore and slow than usual. Some traumeel did the trick and he’s back to bouncy butt now. He still wants outside, just not with big bro. Alone isn’t fun either. Crazy auntie and a ball is his idea of the best!
last light, time to go in…BB 3 yrs old
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on September 28, 2011
8″ of comfort…plus the bone!
To help big K with his soreness, I broke down and ordered a orthopedic dog bed for him. BB will use the crib mattress, but Kenai won’t and I felt bad for him laying on a hard floor there in the living room.
It wasn’t too bad a budget buster, considering what some ortho beds cost, only $150 so I decided we could skimp on other stuff. He was in obvious discomfort, ya know? He’s back on doxy for the tick disease symptoms, and that helps some, too.
He liked his new bed right away, and had considerable entertainment sniffing the shearling cover. It holds scents pretty well, and I imagine he know every human that touched it by now!
He and BB are loose together most all the time again, and the only “challenge” is keeping BB off Kenai’s new bed. I put a new blanket over BB’s crib mattress, and they both flopped down, let out the “that’s better” sigh, and had naps. Awww, such good boys.
Naturally, a fella needs his outside time, and here he is checking the perimeter as usual. He’s not wanting to run as hard or as much, poor guy.
But he still has his jog, his fence check, and just out of doors fresh air time. He’s gotten cool about going in the kennel so BB can be outside with him.
He waits his turn pretty well. Getting BB in the kennel is a pipe dream though. He tries to dig his way out! Leave him unattended and BB will turn up somewhere in outer Mongolia…
I’m really looking around for a different raw food for the guys. The Bravo distributor is so unreliable…it doesn’t seem to matter how much extra I buy, I keep running out of their food since the distributor shorts orders, doesn’t show up with orders etc.
It’s not good business for customers to spend that much money and still have the endless worry of running out of the dogfood. So frustrating. The 5 cases of beef I ordered is going to be only 3 cases today and is 4th order in a row that was late or only partially filled.
That has the boys down to the leftover chicken that makes them shed and itch. I’m gonna have to talk seriously to the pet store owner. At least they’ll have the beef today, but still.
The weather has be absolutely wonderful, cool, and finally, raining every few days. The yards are greening up, though I doubt we’ll have much if any fall color thanks to the drought. It’s nice enough to leave the AC off, and even have a touch of heat in the mornings.
So much better than summer!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on September 23, 2011
lovely weather for a fella to be outside in! Kenai 3 yrs.
I think fall is here (unless saying so jinxed it)! Monday we were 1 degree shy of triple digits, and the next day we barely made it out of the 50′s F! The Brothers feel PERKY! The drastic change isn’t playing well with my fibromyalgia, but it is with the boys for sure.
I’ve been worryin a bit about BB–his abdomen seemed too full last weekend, and I could feel the segments of colon, so I’ve been giving him small amounts of mineral oil as a stool softener. It’s seemed to do the job, and he’s not as restless and uncomfie.
Kenai’s been in a hidey hole or outside while I deep clean the carpets. I only do small areas at a time, like one bedroom which took 4 hours, but I wouldn’t quit until the rinse water was clear. It’s hard work so I hope I make myself keep up with it rather than let it all get so grungy again.
With the boy’s and my skin being so sensitive, rather than use the chemical-laden solutions for the machine I soak the carpet with All Free n Clear sensitive skin laundry detergent solution and sprinkle Borax on it. Then I use the shampooer like a shop vac to get all the dirty water out, and rinse, rinse, rinse.
No body’s had any rashes or itches, so the idea worked.
Kenai’s been showing more pain, being in his second week of treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted fever. And when BB starting spiking fevers too, he got slapped on doxycycline too.
Poor guys, the extra pain means the antibiotics are working but I hate to see them nibble their legs. I know they’re hurting, so I’ve added a homeopathic pain reliever called Traumeel to their medicine “cabinet”. It helps at least.
One thing they are both enjoying is the cooking frenzy all this cold weather’s set off: beef stew, lasagna, homemade mac n cheese, roast beef…oh the smells of winter comfort food! The noses are in the air, and I think they seem to understand a little about seasons.
At least as much as what gets cooked when will stick as an association for them. Cool = yummy stuff.
Just you wait little boys, till I cook my first corned beef and cabbage of fall! They love that stuff, would willingly take their scoldings for mooching it too!
A funny (sorta) trivia about corned beef is the preservative, potassium nitrate, is also used in fertilizers, stump killers, and gun powder…Still love corned beef, even if I’m eating stump killler.
Come tomorrow, I’ll have 5 cases of Bravo Raw Beef Blend for the fellas. It’s essentially the ingredients for a beef stew plus bone and liver, all ground up. It’s got the carrots, and the veggies all in there, just like mine only raw.
It does tend to give them loose stools, so I occasionally add a tiny bit of digestive enzymes too take care of that. Their coats and muscle tone just plain do best on red meats. I still miss that discontinued elk they did so well on, though.
BB’s harrasment of Kenai had stopped for a long time, but now he’s at it again. I wonder if his feeling poorly has made him more insecure so he’s gone hyper again? They do need more exercise, which means I need to spend time outside with them. Maybe that’d do the trick?
Here’s the back view of a BB gallopol…what a funny butt.
I got my lovely wool blend sweaters out, so I don’t have an excuse outside of lazy I guess. I’m being treated for tick diseases too, and mine’s brutal.
I have this tendency to malaise when I really feel rotten. Still, it’d be fun to play get your tush and see the zoomies.
Maybe that’s going up in the to-do list?
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on September 15, 2011
things’ll be getting clean now…
I finally have a carpet shampooer! I spent a day last week getting all the carpets in the house clean-er, rested a couple days, then spent a whole day in the 2 bedrooms getting the carpets clean clean. 4 hours for each, after 5 mo of grunge accumulation.
The carpet formulas don’t work very well, I found. So I soaked/scrubbed with a bucket and rag the bedroom carpets with laundry detergent and borax. Then I sucked that all up with the machine and used plain water to rinse until it came all clean. Wow do the bedrooms look better!
Next will be the living room, which means staying up until I can run Mom off to bed. I’m hoping for 11 pm. It will take most of the night to do and dry the rest of the way so the boys can be on it the next day.
Kenai reacts to the machine as expected: hunts a hidey hole! Silly boy.
The weather has definitely turned fall like, so boys o boys are outside alot. Kenai invariably barks, so I’m making him wait until a decent hour to go out, ie not before 6:30 am. Who wants that noise first thing in the morning?
But the 40′s at night and 70′s in the afternoon are prime doggie car ride weather! Kenai went just last night to gas up the car and stop at Braums for a burger and milkshake. One thing he hasn’t done is the lawn mower games, since we haven’t had rain in forever.
Ahhh, a lovely afternoon to be outside for a boy! We’ve not done any garden work, but with the nice weather, the air is off and doors are open.
So its in and out as he wishes! He like that. That’s cool for a golden boy.
A trip to the store is in our future, just for groceries, but he’ll like seeing our bag loading lady. They like each other quite a bit.
Kenai’s been okay without his elk meat, though I wouldn’t call it great. The doxy has at least stopped the break outs of his skin, but the buffalo and the chicken Bravo formulas just aren’t as good. He did better on the beef blend but I’m out until next Friday.
Not to neglect the other half of the Brothers Grin, BB also has his happy weather time! He’s such a goofy gus, and wants nothing more than attention.
Since starting him on the doxy, he too has been better and worse. His fevers are fewer, but at the same time I can tell the RMS tick fever is aggravated by the medicine; he chews at his hock joints like big bro.
Two weeks isn’t going to resolve the infections, that’s for sure. So I’ll be switching my antibiotic to another one and keep refilling my own doxycycline script for him and Kenai.
I’ll leave them on it until the symptoms resolve and give another couple weeks after that. I’ll like to come as close to eradicating the tick bacteria as possible. It’s almost impossible to get rid of it totally, but I’m gonna try.
Don’t want to do this again in a couple months, ya know?
Also since starting the antibiotics, the boys have calmed down about each other! They are rarely seperated by the baby gate anymore, just chillin in the living room, or following me around. The butt sniffing, ding dong smelling gross stuff is dramatically reduced. Whew. I was ready to duct tape their noses!!
I suppose they are just aware of infections in each other before symptoms show up? The nose knows…
Here is a fine good laugh to end with:
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on September 9, 2011
daybreak boy…Kenai 3 yrs
The tick titer’s back, and Kenai’s positive for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. That’s the bad news. But no ehrlichia! That’s the good news. So he’s back on doxycycline like me for as long as his tum can take it. We’re shooting for 14 days, or longer–a couple weeks after symptoms disappear if he can make it.
Hopefully he’ll bounce right back if we caught it early enough, huh?
We’re having what might be the last blast of high heat, so he and little bro both are bored indoor boys. But this weekend and beyond is supposed to be normal weather, and that will mean more outings for them.
Having switched to the beef blend slowly (Bravo raw), BB’s coat has improved alot, and Kenai’s has some. It was a surprise, since they’d had trouble with it in the past. I’ve looked into buying bulk elk meat and it’s pricey, but at least now I know I can if we come to need it again.
So…semi-stable once more, finally.
Being on Facebook so much, naturally I’ve found Dane places. http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/190601924310411/ is the Dane yard, and it’s lots of fun. Some Dane sites can get really combative about things, but not this one. Lots of good laughs and some funny but questionable Dane antics!
I’ve slowly started removing the baby gate between the guys again, now that BB seems to have calmed down again. He was harrassing Kenai like crazy–wonder if he could tell his brother was sick again before the symptoms became obvious to me. His own kind of alerting?
Laurie is somebody I’ve followed for awhile now, http://smartdog.typepad.com/smart_dog/ and she’s an amazing trainer. She was Talos’ puppy raiser, a now placed Great Dane service dog. If I had half her energy…there’s almost aways something good on her blog or facebook page.
Today will be a big exercise day for my two boys, with the Orkin guy coming between 3 and 5 pm. One will go outside, to reduce the goofy and noisy underfoot action. I’m usually feeling pretty rotten about that time of day, so out with ya boy, whichever is the most unruly (usually BB).
They prefer a good romp outside anyway!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on September 2, 2011
peekin pup, Kenai 3 1/2 yrs
Kenai’s latest “funk” had me genuinely worried Saturday, since he didn’t want to play much, licked and chewed his lower legs, and stayed mostly on my bed all day. He just really doesn’t feel good.
Possibility 1: Since Bravo discontinued the raw elk, I’ve been carefully trying other meats and the results just aren’t as good. The buffalo makes his coat break out, the turkey makes his breakouts worse and adds shed, he won’t eat the chicken, and the beef traditionally gives him runs-to-the-grass.
I have to call Monday and see if the venison came in yet. He’s never liked it before, but he really needs a red meat.
Possibility 2: he’s gotten into something in the yard, maybe the compost again? He hasn’t had any throwing up, but alot of burps and reflux. The sevin and such are put away in the shed and stay there, and besides, I haven’t used any pesticides in the garden for weeks.
Possibility 3: the steroid he was on? I discontinued it last week (only 5 mg anyway), but he hasn’t seemed to have any die-in-the-rears that he gets from it sometimes. As for its immune suppressing side effects, the breakouts aren’t all that bad and his ears need cleaning but they aren’t full of galloping cooties.
Possibility 4: not active enough. He like me seems to get more sore and stiff if he doesn’t get his wanders outside and general moving about. He still wants outside, so perhaps he just needs more exercise.
Possibility 5: dread this one–could he be having an ehrlichia flare, from chronic to acute? His lymph nodes have been swollen lately, and the skin/coat is not in great shape. But his eyes aren’t bloodshot, and no messy stools.
I don’t know! Grrr
Whatever it is, it’s progressively worsened for about a week now, and I think Monday I’ll also call the vet and get him in. A few tests might show us something? CBC, liver panel, kidney panel and the like.
Anyway, my big K love has been doing alot of this…snooze on my bed. And it doesn’t seem to be a comfie snooze, more like a snooze till I feel better thing.
At least we haven’t had grumpies since I stopped the prednisone!
Why did Bravo have to discontinue the only meat he was healthy on? Dang but that’s frustrating.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on August 29, 2011