Sunday, 11 March 2018

Time For A Dog Post

Corky is an amazing dog. He really has no idea that he IS a dog.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

My First Ring!

 I finally got the nerve to cut a strip of my precious 18 gauge silver sheet and try to make a ring. It was a big deal for me, because a) I rarely wear rings so one made for me would sit in my jewellery box forever, b) I have hands like a stevedore, so a ring made for me would have to be a size 11, using a LOT of silver, and c) making it for someone else would be silly since I didn't know if it would turn out and I really didn't know anyone who would wear it any more than I would.
So, yes, it was a big deal.

 It's a spinner ring. No way was my first attempt going to be a plain band.

Considering the fact that I didn't do a lot of measuring and I really didn't know what I was doing, it turned out okay. I might wear it.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Addison's Disease In Dogs

It has been a while since I posted about my dogs. The following subject is very important to me because Corky, my heart dog, has Addison's Disease.
He was a year old when I got him from the breeder. This breeder is very popular and her pups sell
quickly, so it was very unusual for her to have an older dog. I have a suspicion that he was always "just not quite right" and that's why he wasn't sold or adopted.  He seemed fine to me other than the fact that he just couldn't put any weight on. I worried about it to the vet one day, saying that he had no reserves if he got sick. She wasn't concerned, saying that it was better for a dog to be too thin than the opposite.
Our Addison's journey started, like so many other dogs, with a misdiagnosis on both our parts. My dogs each get a bone once a week for their teeth but I had been in the bulk barn and for some reason, decided to get them rawhide bones. (Don't! Ever!) They loved them and before I knew it, had stripped and swallowed half of them. The next day, Corky was very "off" and wouldn't eat. The day after that, he wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, and I took him to the vet, thinking he had an impaction from the rawhide. She took X-Rays, palpated his stomach, but couldn't find anything except a stomach full of air, gave him something for his stomach and sent him home.  I can't remember the exact timelline because it was a stressful blur, but 3 emergency trips later, she diagnosed him with kidney disease and finally, after 5 days of no food or water, put him on intravenous fluids. The only thing that saved his life is that the vet thought he was in such bad shape, she didn't want to leave him alone in the clinic overnight, and suggested that I take him to the Atlantic Vet College. Within an hour of admittance, he was diagnosed with Addison's Disease but by this time he had been without proper treatment for days and it was touch-and-go if he'd survive the crisis. Luckily for him and especially me, he made it through, but he was so weak and still not eating that he had to stay at the college for 4 days. The only way I got him eating again was to stop on my way to visit him and get a roasted chicken burger, throw out the bun and hand feed him the chicken.
This is a long post, but Corky's story is so similar to so many other dogs that it is important. Some vets have never seen a case of Addison's Disease. Because it was rare, it wouldn't be something they would look for. It's still fairly rare, but becoming common enough that every practice would probably have at least one Addison's dog. If they were diagnosed before their death. The genetic pool of dogs has become very small and diseases that require two recessive genes, like Addison's, are becoming more common. Poodles are highly represented but getting a Doodle won't decrease your chances because we're seeing more incidences in Labradoodles and Golden Doodles.
Knowing the symptoms could save thousands of dollars and your dog's life.
Addison's Disease occurs when the adrenal glands, located on the kidneys, fail to produce enough hormones to sustain life. The sodium levels drop dangerously low and the potassium rises dangerously high. One of the hormones produced is cortisol which regulates stress in the body and this is why so many dogs are diagnosed after a stressful occasion. They have been boarded for a week, they've had a trip to the groomer, they flew, had their teeth cleaned...anything they might have been stressed over requires the cortisol they are not producing and their body starts to shut down.
Some dogs just gradually fail, over such a period of time that you don't realize how sick they are until they are really sick. Corky probably fell in this group with his lack of appetite. I did agility with him and he loved it at first but had got a little reluctant and I had blamed that on my training. He had been sleeping more but I attributed that to the fact that he wasn't a puppy any more.  Little, imperceptible things that you'd never add up.
The main symptoms of Addison's:
Lack of appetite
Weight loss
Exercise intolerance
Frequent drinking or urination
Tremors or shaking
Low heart rate
Coat Changes
Hind end weakness
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, when you are having them checked, ask your vet about Addison's. The only definitive test for Addison's is the ACTH test. It isn't cheap but if your dog could have Addison's, it could save its life. Not to mention spending a few hundred to save thousands. Many Addison's dogs are initially diagnosed with kidney disease because the symptoms can be similar and a dog with Addison's will have abnormal kidney values. Ask. It is truly worth it to ask.
Any breed or mix of dog can be affected by Addison's Disease but some breeds are highly represented, like Standard Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, West Highland White Terriers, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Bearded Collies, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, and recently Labradoodles and Golden Doodles. Jack Russell or Parson Russell Terriers seem to be showing up more and more on the Addison's sites. But the disease doesn't discriminate.
If your dog is diagnosed with Addison's Disease, if properly treated, they can live a normal life and have a normal life span. They will be on lifetime medication and optimizing that medication is key. As I said, many vets have never seen or diagnosed a case of Addison's Disease and their treatment plans are guided by the drug companies and often much more than needed.
I was incredibly lucky when I started my Addison's journey with Corky to find two Facebook pages: Addison's Disease In Dogs, and Canine Addison's Resources and Education (CARE). Unlike most FB pages, these two have years of research and education behind them. The file section of CARE has research papers done by reputable scientists and surveys done on hundreds of dogs. Their membership is in the thousands, which tells you that the disease is not as rare as is thought.  The administrators of both groups are extremely knowledgeable and the membership includes many vets.
Corky is now a happy, healthy dog, with (almost too much!) padding on his ribs and a regained love of
agility. He has typical Addison's and must receive a shot of Percorten once a month and a small dose of prednisone daily.  He happily takes his 1/2 mg prednisone rolled up in a piece of chicken and doesn't even move when I give him his subQ Percorten shot. I keep a record of all blood test results and his injections. My vet has been wonderful, reading all of the information I printed out for her and jumping on board with low dose protocols developed by Dr Julia Bates. We work together to optimize his health care and it's great to understand what is going on. I read both Facebook pages daily and every day I learn more from them about understanding the disease and how to read and interpret blood tests. CARE has produced a wonderful brochure about recognizing Addison's Disease and they will send copies free of charge to anyone wishing to read or display them.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Natural Prehnite

Another step in the Learning To Walk journey. This one incorporated a few more steps but it didn't turn out quite like my vision.  I got a little excited putting veins in the leaf and now it looks more like a feather. The water droplets on the top of the design look suspiciously like scratches. But I'm getting there....slowly.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Bezel Set Cabachon

I have spent the last (couple? I lose track) year having fun experimenting and pushing myself, trying to learn new techniques with jewellery making. Jewelry, for you Yanks. Through this blog, I've shared all of my attempts, strange ideas and disasters.
My latest series of flops involved gallery bezel wire. Delicate and lacy, it looks so pretty when it's wrapped around a stone. It doesn't look so pretty when it's melted into a blob, which is what I've managed to do every time I tried to make a bezel with it.
In an uncharacteristic fit of adult thinking, I realized that I had been trying to run before I even learned to walk. I had never wrapped a stone with a plain bezel, let alone a fancy filigree bezel. So a baby step was needed, but pragmatic me was still battling with adventurous me, so the baby step became a walk
to the park and I used scalloped bezel wire.

I didn't melt it! The first piece in a long time that I was half-assed proud of. It couldn't be perfect, of course, so the heart cut into the back plate is a little wonky and it cut my stamped anchor in half.  Next time!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Ode To Rosaline

Oh, the ocean
The huge, lonely ocean
Taking us away from all that we love
Our home, our family, our friends
Ripping us apart
Because our souls are left behind.

What is this world?
Where people kill, maim and destroy
Some in the name of a god
Some just because they can.
It makes them feel powerful
They have no idea
They are just sick and sad and evil.

They don't know beauty and joy.

When will it stop?
It seems that when men are not at war
They make war in their own land
You there! We don't wear those hats here!
God is mine, not yours!
What flaw do we carry?
What is this human imperfection?
Is it not enough
That nature itself
Can kill us?

So the ocean carries me,
Empty, hurting, frightened
My soul in pieces
As so many have come before us
And so many must still come
To our refuge
Not yet our home.

This place, this country
Can diminish us in our need
As people diminish us with their word
With a shattered heart
Can we regain our pride?
Will we always be less?
I will give thanks
But I cannot yet give my heart
Or my soul
That never crossed the ocean.

I am powerful
I am strong
I will not use that for evil
I use it to survive
To hope that some day I can return
But know that home is forever gone.
Monsters tore apart that world.
I will use my mind
And search for beauty and joy.
Here, across the ocean
I will find beauty and joy.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Gluten Free Christmas Cake For One

Having to go gluten free hasn't helped my waistline at all, because most gluten free products are full of either sugar or fat to help them taste better. So recently, I stocked up on coconut and almond flour and leaned more towards the Paleo diet. So far, 23 pounds and counting! I'm trying to do it more as a lifestyle change than a diet, so I can stick to it forever, have the occasional treat and not be constantly craving.
And speaking of craving...I was picking up some nuts at the Bulk Barn yesterday and chatted for a few minutes with a lady buying candied fruit for baking Christmas cakes. I never like Christmas cakes much before I couldn't have them, but watching her scoop her fruit, that's all I could think of! So, of course, I bought a small container of mixed candied fruit, having no idea what I could do with them. And with no intention of making a whole cake of any kind, because I have no willpower and would eat the whole thing in two days.
Yay Google! I found a recipe for a vanilla mug cake on Luckily, I had everything needed, including stevia for sweetener. My mother would have been proud of me, because usually I substitute something, if not several somethings, when I make a recipe. So I mixed it all together, let it rest for a minute until it thickened a little and then mixed in a scoop of candied fruit. It took all of 1 minute in the microwave. Oh, dear Heaven, it was good! Originally 352 calories, I don't know how many I added with candied fruit, but it was worth every decadent bite.
Here's the ingredients but you should visit for complete instructions. And by the way, I used vanilla.

  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil (measured solid, then melted)
  • 3 tbsp Unsweetened almond milk (or any milk of choice)
  • 1 medium Vanilla bean (seeds scraped) - or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, see notes*
  • 3 tbsp Almond flour
  • 1 tbsp Coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Erythritol (or any sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp Gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 large Egg