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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Good news about R

Good news today - R's test for leukemia/lymphoma came back as normal. We're relieved about that, but there is still the issue of figuring out why his blood cells have been increasingly abnormal over the past 6 months. We'll be consulting some more experts, without a doubt. But, for today, we're relieved.
Here R is sitting next to his sister during an evening hike. Several of you have asked if Shyla is "petite", and indeed she is. She recently gained about 6 lbs of muscle but she still is a very small Labrador. I love her size (48 lbs).
We took last week off from socialization training in town while Shyla recovered from her spay surgery. Now, the only remaining sign of her surgery is her shaved patch.
So, we restarted Shyla's socialization training in town on Saturday and again today. Unfortunately, it has not gone as well as I hoped. Her sensitivity to loud sounds seems amped up, and her fearful reactions to strange people and objects seems to have become more extreme again.
Today, we spent an hour with our awesome trainer in town, and she agreed that Shyla has slid substantially backward compared to a couple of weeks ago. I have to admit that I'm feeling a bit discouraged. I like to believe that, if I try hard enough, I can achieve whatever goals I make. Yet, that's not necessarily true when it comes to socializing Shyla, at least not yet. I knew, when I met Shyla, that overcoming an isolated puppyhood is extremely difficult but I threw my heart into it.

We may still achieve that goal but I'm also beginning to accept that we may not. In any case, I'm not giving up yet. My trainer has seen dogs who started out more fearful than Shyla who eventually, after a year or more of training, became normal dogs who could handle everything that life threw at them.

The good news is that, no matter what, we have grown to love Shyla, and we're blessed to have her in our life, even if she's not comfortable with some parts of the bustling world. Moreover, she adores the mountains, forests, and meadows where she spends the majority of her time. She's never scared when she's out in nature.
I won't go into details about her basic training of everyday essential behaviors (heel, stay, etc.) or the details of her new "tricks", except to say that her "basic" training is still going stunningly well. I realized today that her vocabulary of "commands" now exceeds 20!
And she has grown to adore playing retrieving games. Most mornings, I bring a retrieving toy on our snowbike ride but I forgot today. Shyla found a stick, and brought it to me for a game of fetch. She now is almost obsessed with playing fetch, enthusiastically returning the object to my hand time and time again. That's a huge contrast to her apathy about retrieving when I first met her.
 Look at the fire in her eyes!
So, life is a mixed bag right now. We are grateful that R doesn't seem to have cancer. We are grateful that Shyla adores life in the mountains and training games. And, we hope that she can eventually adapt to the bustle of the human world. No matter what, we'll keep loving and caring for our Labraduo.

44 comments:

  1. Great news about the blood work. Hopefully, you can find out what's going on.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

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  2. Great New's about R!
    The Pic of Shyla and R is stunning worthy of printing and framing.
    All good things take time.

    xo Cinnamon

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  3. Great R news!

    As for Shyla, she'll find what's meant to be -

    Just as we humans do....eventually!

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  4. So glad to hear the good news about R, but I also hope the vets can figure out what is going on too.

    Cindy

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  5. Wonderful!! R, you are a real winner, and Shyla, you might well be like me, I do not like crowds, busy town and city roads, noisy places, lifts or elevators,( and airplanes!!) and being a home-loving girl, maybe you are one too, destined for something else we do not yet know.Greetings from Jean

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  6. That is just fantastic news about R! (We are still going to keep our fingers crossed that the experts can figure it all out.) In the meantime, we're elated and are jumping for joy.

    We think that Shyla was meant to be a free spirit. Just look at how happy she is romping all around. Love ya Shyla!

    Hugs,
    Lily Belle & Muffin

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  7. I am so happy to hear the the Cracker R's results came back negative. ANd oh dog did Shyla pull at my hearts strings with that stick!
    Blessings,
    Goose

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  8. Such wonderful news about R!! Until something else presents itself... IF it ever does... life is good, eh?

    I suspect dogs have their phobias, same as adults. I hope Shyla can be coaxed out of her wariness of the bustling world but if she can't... well... then she & I speak the same language. :-) I stay home as long & as often as I can get away with. I just prefer it that way... and it sounds like another gal feels the same.

    That old Carpenter's song just came into my head... "We've Only Just Begun". You can hum that song as you go out in public with Shyla:

    We've only just begun to live
    White lace and promises
    A kiss for luck and we're on our way
    (We've only begun)

    Before the risin' sun, we fly
    So many roads to choose
    We'll start out walkin' and learn to run
    And yes, we've just begun

    Sharing horizons that are new to us
    Watching the signs along the way
    Talkin' it over, just the two of us
    Workin' together day to day
    Together
    Together

    And when the evening comes, we smile
    So much of life ahead
    We'll find a place where there's room to grow
    And yes, we've just begun

    Sharing horizons that are new to us
    Watching the signs along the way
    Talkin' it over, just the two of us
    Workin' together day to day
    Together
    Together

    And when the evening comes, we smile
    So much of life ahead
    We'll find a place where there's room to grow
    And yes, we've just begun


    --Andrea
    XOXOXO

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  9. Yay for R! I'm a petite Rottweiler at 80 pounds. Mom calls me her teacup Rottweiler! BTW, R...I can totally relate to your annoyance with your puppy sister! Sheesh!

    Ruby

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  10. That is such good news about R!
    Love you photos of Shyla playing fetch with the stick.

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  11. We are sharing your joy about the negative cancer test for R! And one thing for sure Shyla - the daughter of the mountains- is learning at her own speed.
    We celebrate with you----
    your devoted love to both R and Shyla.
    love
    tweedles

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  12. Howlingly happing news about R's test! Yes, there is still a mystery but at least you have a pretty good idea of what it is NOT!

    It wasn't until I went to college that I developed any social confidence and grace. Every flower blooms in its own time, do not fret over Shyla. She is amazing and has accomplished SO much in such a short time. Enjoy the give and take of the process whether it takes a week or five years.

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  13. GREAT news

    Stop on by for a visit
    Kari
    http://dogisgodinreverse.com

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  14. GREAT news about R.

    Sending you smiles!

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  15. We are so happy to read this news, R! You are such a handsome boy!
    Our hearts are singing to see you loving life so much, Shyla!

    Love ya lots
    Mitch and Molly

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  16. Awesome news! Glad to hear Shyla is making her own way in the world...love the light in her eyes!!

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  17. Wonderful news!! I just adore R... I was curious as to whether you have taken R and Shyla out into public together, and whether or not having R with her makes any difference in her comfort level?

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  18. I'm so happy to hear that R has had good news! That must be a huge relief for you.

    Could Shyla's backwards steps have something to do with her surgery? I can recall a couple of dogs we've had over the years who took a couple of weeks to be completely "right" or "themselves" after going under anesthesia. I guess it could also be the fact that she was away from those noises and things for a week and then she was more sensitive to them when she heard them again. Don't give up yet! She's still very young, in spite of how fast she's learning everything and her old soul, and she may grow into her confidence yet.

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  19. I'm so happy for R about the good news!!!

    Great stuff!!

    Marilyn

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  20. So thrilled to hear about R. You must feel such relief. I would suggest having your vet(s) look into auto immune disorders.We had a dog with one and it gave him weird blood results.

    Living with a dog with some anxiety, I can understand your frustration when the gains you want aren't met. Reading your blog, I am sure you will help Shyla become an amazing confident girl.

    Happy biking.

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  21. KB, I'm so glad R's tests were negative. I know you'll continue to seek an answer and try to ensure that he remains healthy.

    Sorry to hear Shyla has suffered another setback in her fear issues. There are probably few people who would work as hard as you do to help their dogs through this. She is in the best possible hands--she's so lucky she ended up with you.

    Hope you are doing better with your spine/pain issues.

    Susan and Wrigs

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  22. So happy for the news about R. Best wishes with Shayla. I can't imagine what you are going through, but I know that Shayla is with the best person she could be with to help her.

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  23. Shyla always looks so happy! Such a smart girl and obviously loving the time in the wilderness. Just a curiosity question, if I may. Are you exposing her to town and all it's scary stuff just to expose her? Our boy Forest is very fearful (severe neglect as a puppy) but I've never bothered to get him used to town since he does so well in the wilderness and I prefer it too!

    Glad to hear that the results of R's test were negative but how frustrating to not know what's going on.

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  24. SO relieved to hear about R!! And Shyla is doing better and better. She might have moments where she regresses, but with you there at her side, I know there's NOTHING she can't conquer!

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  25. Glad to hear about R. Now Ms Shyla more screaming at strangers. Shyla being so smart and having such a good trainer, we are confident she will adjust when she is ready
    Snorts,
    Benny & Lily

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  26. So glad to hear the good news! Whew!

    It's funny, I've had issues with my red blood cells lately. After months of monitoring them they are back to normal!

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  27. So great to read about R's results! Hopefully they can get to the bottom of it.
    -Corbin

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  28. Glad to hear about R's results. Hopefully you'll find out what it is in time.

    Give Shyla time - she's still a baby!

    Woofs
    Nadine & goldens Neeli & Elle

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  29. That is great news about R! Celebrate today....the mystery can wait for tomorrow. :) And we have NO doubt that your love and devotion to Shyla will help her come around.

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  30. Some dogs just don't like bustling crowds or traffic. But then again, it may just be a little set back for her. Either way - I know you love her and will work with her to make her as comfortable as you can with the world!

    Good news about R, but also frustrating that it's still a mystery illness.

    Shyla's collar is beautiful against her fur!

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  31. What wonderful news about R, but I'm sure the search for answers will continue. LOVE the picture of R and Shyla together. R has such intensity in his eyes and Shyla eyes reflect curiosity and wonder. They are certainly a beautiful duo!
    As for Shyla's training, don't let the steps backward discourage you. With your continued positive training and diligence, she will come around. It just takes far more time than we would like. You have done amazing things for Shyla and the process will continue. She is a work in progress and you, the sculptor, still have work to do in shaping the final product. Stay the course and you will both be rewarded!

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  32. So glad for the happy news on R.

    I never thought Shyla looked small, just slim and fit. But I can see next to R that she is petite.

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  33. Hooray for R!

    I wouldn't worry about Shyla, she should relax the more you work with her, but she may always be an anxious dog. She is very smart and my vet says that the smart dogs are often the anxious ones because they spend far too much time remembering the past and anticipating the future.

    Think of her anxieties like water pouring into a bucket with a small hole in the bottom. All the little anxieties in her life fill the bucket faster than the hole can drain it. Eventually something adds just enough to overflow the bucket and she melts down. You need to work on judging her level of anxiety and giving her enough time and space to drain enough of it to avoiding overflowing. I suspect the surgery brought her close to the brim and she needed a bit more time off socialization and/or a more gradual reintroduction to her triggers.

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  34. Both R and Shyla are very lucky dogs indeed! So happy to read the news on R, and we just love that first photo. As for Shyla, these things often take so much time, so please don't lose hope!

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  35. That is lovely news, I am so happy for you.

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  36. Hi friend, I'm so glad about R, KB. What wonderful news. As for Shyla, could it be that the step back might be that she is still getting over her being spayed? I just think of strangers and lots of noise etc might have impacted her. She is still young and I'm confident that with your training her, she will mature and relax. Hunter has changed since he turned one-which seems so different to me(never had a dog change at that age)-but he has become quite the watchdog. There are skills I don't think he'll master but that is o.k. BTW, I saw on the news last night that a mountain lion attacked a Lab in Evergreen-made me think of you all-so stay safe please.
    Hugs and Happy Valentine's Day.
    Noreen

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  37. Woof! Woof! Golden Happy to hear the good news. What a relief. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  38. That is great news, hope you find out what is happening soon.

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  39. Happy to hear the good news about R! I hope that you find out more soon.

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  40. So glad to hear about R's results. And we know how frustrating it is to have good news but still not know why something's wrong. Sorry for that but enjoy the good news for what it is.

    As for Shyla's setback - setbacks happen. Fearful dogs can get more fearful as they age so you'll have to brace yourself for the occasional retreat. But she had gone through a lot just before that so give her just a bit of time and I bet you'll see she gets back to where you were before faster than it originally took you to get there.

    That is one thing we've learned with Bella - even when it seems we've set her back to the very beginning, she's much more willing to get back to how far she'd come before the setback.

    I think Shyla has a very good chance of becoming all the dog you hope her to be - she's still so young and you are working so well with her.

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  41. Thank dog and praise cheeses about R. As far as Shyla... set goals but i think accepting what you have will get you much further later on. I found once I accepted who Loki was, everything became sooooo much easier to deal with. instead of fighting against it and trying to change it, i worked with it. to this day, he still develops weird fears. a few weeks ago, he was hoping into the car crate no problem. then one time the mat moved and all hell broke loose and he will NOT hop into the car crate. No amount of treats will get him to hop in on his own! i have to put him on leash and lead him in (i don't have to correct or force, just the leash alone makes him do it). OR NOW i let him jump into the car and he has to navigate around the crate door (stupid thing opens on the right --hinge on the left-- and the crate is safely on the right side of the car, so he jumps in on the left, then i hold open the door and has to squeeze under my arm and walk safely into the crate. At least he does it tho. We now have slip proof Soggie Doggie mat in his crate. but it's a little too late now. Anyway, that's my way of saying, I'm ALWAYS dealing with a dog who gets a fear in his head and doesn't let it go and I have to deal with it. Juno? she so gets over anything within 30 seconds. I guess the point is, I stopped being frustrated and just started thinking like he thinks and find ways of working things out that work for both of us. He now looks to me all the time when he's nervous for direction because he trusts me and that is so huge. He started doing that in Switzerland and i noticed then and it dawned on me how awesome that was that he would turn attention to me BEFORE he reacted. it was because we reached that stage. I STILL have to manage it, but its so much easier now and for a dog who HATES to leave the home to even go for a walk, i managed to take him out of the country and on many trips because of this "acceptance" of who he is. Hell, i even took him on a GONDOLA ride above the alps, TWICE! talk about nutters... so i have high hopes for you and Shyla. Work toward a goal but at some point and at some age, you will come to a time when you realize you have the dog you have and no amount of work will suddenly CHANGE her but what it becomes is management. At the end of the day, that management gets easier and easier. i personally think she'll make huge gains in this early time but at the same time, it's not the end of the world if some part of her never changes... she's lovely. and I like her "petite" frame!

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