Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Small world

Freckle and I walked over to pick up my car today from the mechanic and while there, bumped into the owner of the transmission shop just down the street. Some years ago, he replaced the transmission on my car and met our rescue girl Sassy. He was all over Freckle and told me he and his family had adopted a boxer, perhaps four years ago, from Boxer Rescue Canada. He loves this dog - his first boxer, I think. It has natural ears and a natural tail - and unfortunately, I didn't ask its name or even whether it's male or female. He said they've been thinking about getting another, so I'll be going by the transmission shop later in the summer to see if they did.

That's a photo of Freckle from the walk this morning, on the disused train tracks that run behind the transmission shop and the mechanic's garage - it goes for miles and miles and is a bit like a country path in the middle of Vancouver.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Screening test for canine cardiomyopathy now available

You can now get your dog tested for the gene mutation that causes boxer cardiomyopathy, Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC). I blogged about this early this morning, saying that the test would be available later this year - well, it's now available through the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. You can send in a blood sample or a cheek swab. Details are available on the Colleges website here. I'm cross-posting this information to spread the word as widely as possible.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dealing with separation anxiety

A Twitter tweet yesterday by @sarchet62 (Pills for your pets OMG inspired me to finish a blog post I started two years ago describing our experience with Sassy, our rescue boxer, and her severe separation anxiety. My non-professional writing efforts often bog down, ending up in my drafts file never to be revisited. I dusted this one off today, updated it to reflect time passed and a some references, and have posted it to my blog [link]. Sassy died in 2006 – I miss her to this day – so writing about her keeps her alive in my memory.

The blog post is long – too long for this space – so head over to my blog, meldinme, to read it. It describes our experience and the help we received from the boxer world. I've included some additional references at the end if you want to read more.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Boxers and the heat of summer

Every year at this time, I worry that there's something wrong with our boxer. It's happened with all three - their breathing becomes laboured, their tongue is hanging out more, and they're just plain sluggish. Toys aren't all that interesting, even treats are sometimes turned down. Now that we're on boxer number three, before panicking, I sit back and remember that this has been going on since 1993 and that it's just the change to warmer weather that our boxers are having problems with. It's the time of year when the mid-day walks have to be reconsidered in favour of early morning and late evening. We train outdoors in group classes on Saturday mornings and it can get pretty hot on the field. Last summer, we bought a "swamp cooler" vest to help Freckle (aka Lexi) deal with the heat. I'm going to have to dig it out and have her wear it soon, along with a wet bandana. For information about dogs and heat, check out Summer Health Tips for Dogs from the University of Minnesota - it includes information about assessing and preventing heat stroke.