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Bianca hits the surf!

Wesley - the Wave Runner!

The Terrier Tattler
December 2004
I had anticipated a newsletter full of all kinds of fun this month – I was planning to tell you all about my great
vacation to Florida.  Unfortunately, life changes on a dime and we had some great sadness in our home
this past month.  The oldest four-legged member of our family, Tillie, passed away.  I never thought I’d say I
miss a CAT, but there is an empty spot on the loveseat where she used to sit next to Wes & me.  So this
month’s newsletter includes a special tribute to Tillie.  

We also had a 'surprise' surgery mid-November.  Wes had an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist
and surgery was recommended and performed!  So, this month I’m  including an article on Patella Luxation
– a knee problem that Wesley and many ‘small’ dogs are afflicted with.  We also discovered Wes has two
vertebrae fused together in his low back - I included a copy of the x-ray because I thought it was kind of
neat!  The specialist said the back issue shouldn't be a problem right now, but
he's got some arthritis!  Anyway, Wes is doing well and will get to run and jump
soon - he was sentenced to 3 weeks of confinement - no jumping, running,
stairs, etc.  Basically, no fun for me.  I've been having to rely on chasing Isabella
(the other kitty left in our household and a real pistol).  Can't wait for Wes to be
back to 'normal'.  

Lastly, I have to tell you all about the great fun Wes and I had in Florida.  
Swimming in salt water with waves was a bit challenging at first, but once I got
the hang of it I just loved it.  

Well, all kinds of bustle around here with the holidays and all.  Hope you and
your family have a great holiday season.  
Ab Fabs!!
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Carley Retires!!!
My friend Carley announced to the agility world that she is retiring this
year.  Last weekend at Smack Dabs she ran her farewell agility trial.  
For a 10 year old, Carley is very agile - which she demonstrated last
weekend with perfect runs.  She's also CONSISTENTLY GOOD -
she's #3 on the UKC AGII Agility All Stars!  I'm struggling to get above
#20 and here's a 10 year old that's always at the top.  Not to mention
her other activities - obedience titles and she's a great therapy dog
bringing joy to many.  

Best of luck to Carley as she enters retirement.  I keep teasing her
that maybe she can be like Michael Jordan and change her mind
about that retirement thing and come back to competition!  We'll really
miss her at the trials.  Oh, and of course we will also miss her
handler, Jill.  They are quite a team and a great example of what we
can accomplish.  
Matilda 'Tillie'
1984 - 2004
Matilda was a part of this family long before I ever came onto the scene.  My
assistant, Tracy, brought Tillie home from the Waterloo, Iowa Humane Society over
20 years ago!  Yes, Tracy was only in her mid-20s then!  Tillie was a darling little
tabby, with a bunch of toes.  Tillie was polydactyl – she had extra toes on each of
her paws!  Two extra on each paw - what feet!

She had some great adventures in her life.  There was the time that Aunt Lisa
opened the sliding door on the deck and that night Tillie decided to jump down to
the ground below (even though the deck was on the 3rd story!).  Lisa and Tracy
were very worried - but she came home after a day and a half and never told any of
us where she went or what she did!

In just the past few years she took a couple of hikes around Naperville.  She didn't
get out of the house often, but when she did she went exploring.  There was a spot
in the fence that she could slip through and  even after John fixed it, she checked it
every time she got outside, just in case it was open again!

Tillie was a very special cat and many, many animals loved her.  She will be greatly
Tillie with one of her biggest fans
my 'cousin' Blake
Summer 2004
Patella Luxation
(A.K.A. Slippery Knee caps!)
Next month I will resume my monthly review of various dog-activities.  However, this month I’m focusing on an ailment affecting
many little dogs.  Wesley just had surgery this past month for this.
Rebel & Mike Rule!!!
My border collie friend, Rebel, won the 2003 All Star
competition last summer.  I featured Rebel on my All Star page
last summer, but just this past weekend I noticed her handler
Mike with a really cool jacket.  Since I knew Scott would be
envious, I had to include a photo here!  

It's pretty cool to run with the best dogs!   (Not to mention that
last weekend I actually beat Rebel for High in Trial - ok, we all
get lucky once in a while!)
Vacation Heaven
Early November I convinced Tracy to take me on my very first 'real' vacation.  No dog shows or family events, just rest and
relaxation on the beach!
The patella, or knee cap, glides in the stifle joint as a dog bends it’s leg.  In some dogs the patella may luxate or slide to the side
and dislocate.  The patella normally moves up and down in a groove in the lower femur bone.  This groove is called the trochlear
groove.  In patella luxation this groove may be shallow.  If this groove is shallow, the patella doesn’t stay seated in the groove
when the leg bends and makes it easy for the knee cap to dislocate to the side.  
  1. Patella
  2. Femur
  3. Patellar ligament
  4. Tibial Tuberosity
  5. Medial Luxation of Patella
  6. Lateral Luxation of Patella
Patellas can luxate either medially (toward the inside of the leg) or laterally
(toward the outside).  
Medial luxation is the most common form of patella
luxation and is often congenital.  This affects many small breed dogs.  

Lateral patella luxation can be congenital or the result of trauma to the
knee.  It usually affects larger breeds of dogs.  Wes’s orthopedic surgeon
was surprised to find that Wes had Lateral Patella Luxation – his knee
cap on his right knee would easily slide to the outside of his leg.  

Generally, the prognosis is better when corrective surgery is performed
early in the course of the disease; many of the malformations in the
bones and joint occur over time and can be prevented with early
correction.  Since Wes is only 3 years old, his doctor thought surgery was
a good solution

There are several surgical options available, depending on the dogs’
degree of injury, age, etc.  Wes had Trochleopasty – a deepening of the
trochlear groove.  A chondroplasty technique was used, which involves
cutting out a taco-shaped wedge of cartilage,  removing a small portion of
bone beneath it, and then replacing the cartilage.  The result is a deeper
groove.   This procedure can only be performed on very young dogs,
because their cartilage is thicker.  There are other techniques, but all are
basically aimed at the same result – deepening the trochlear groove.  
Wesley is doing really well.  The first couple of days were  
pretty rough - you can see how pitiful he looks in his e-collar.  
And the incision on his right leg is pretty ugly, plus his leg
gets really cold without fur!  The most difficult thing is that I
can not play with him.  He is not allowed to run, jump or have
any fun for three weeks.  One more week to go and  I can not
wait to chase squirrels with him!
I heard from many friends and fans with feedback on my First Annual Halloween Costume Contest (see November Newsletter).  
Both the contestants and  those viewing the great entries had a bunch of fun.  

My friend Skippy (you may recall the Devil Dog!) suggested a Holiday Photo Conest - what a great idea!!!  So many of us have
really fun or really serious holiday photos.  Send me your favorite holiday photo by
December 23 (  I'll
post a special holiday edition of the Terrier Tattler in time to bring you a little holiday cheer!  
Clyde Earns his AGI!!
One of my class buddies, Clyde, is a large, beautiful collie.  He's
been working hard at class and it's paid off.  At the Smack Dab's
Agility Trial over Thanksgiving weekend, Clyde earned his AGI
title.  It's only just beginning for this dog - you'll be seeing his
name again here soon!
Life this year has been pretty hectic.  Lots of Agility training and
competition, a few trips to Iowa, trying to keep the yard free of
squirrels - it's just a never ending rat race.  Well, I really needed
to get away from it all - a vacation that was all about relaxation!

With the help of my assistant Tracy, I found a great island off the
Florida panhandle that is very laid back, has nice beaches, not
alot of tourists and best of all is 'pet-friendly'.   I found the perfect
house for us to rent - right on the beach - with a huge covered
deck, a huge great room with tall ceilings and sliding doors
facing the deck and beach and bedrooms that also opened onto
the deck.  I could lay in bed and gaze at the ocean (ok, it's really
the Gulf).  
Our Vacation Home
View from the beach
View from our deck
Time for my daily siesta
We spent 7 days just hanging around the house, playing fetch on the deck
(which was really long) and taking walks.  I loved walking on the beach
and chasing the 'sea squirrels' (Tracy called them 'birds').  It wasn't
crowded at all - some days we didn't even see aanother person on our
walk.  Wes also took long walks with John around the island.  I didn't like
venturing off the beach.  The vegetation there is really bizarre.  I thought I
had experienced some pretty nasty burrs in some of my Iowa trips, but hey
were nothing compared to the sand burrs I stepped on.  They were very
sharp and hurt alot.  But the beach was safe - no burrs there!

The house also had heated, private pool - but John likes to follow rules
and the pool sign said 'no pets' so he wouldn't let me  in the pool!  I
thought he was being a real party-pooper, but then I discovered
swimming in the ocean (yes, it's technically the gulf but it's just like the
ocean as far as I'm concerned - salt water and waves!!!).  I took my trendy
life jacket since the waves and current were pretty strong for me.  The first
day was a little rough - I was not at all used to salt water and I got it in my
nose - which was gross.  But by the second day I had learned to handle
the waves (turn to face them, then rear up and lean into them).  It was the
most fun ever (and I've had lots of fun in my life!).  Wes was another story.  
His nickname was 'Wave Runner' since he RAN from the WAVES.  By the
7th day he was starting to go into the water up to his knees and
sometimes actually letting his under belly get a little wet!  Whereas I was
swimming out 30 feet, waves crashing over me, in water way over my
head.  I've included a couple of videos for you to witness the spectacle
(see links to the left).  
Puppy Pics
There's not much cuter than a puppy and I love getting puppy photos more than any other email!  And what could be cuter than an
8-week-old  WESTIE puppy!!  

Check out Emmitt from California!  Yes, those West Coast Westies are heart throbs, huh?!   Huge thanks to Mari (mgr of my favorite
Starbucks to walk to) for sharing my website with her dad Carl.  He's the lucky human that Emmitt gets to share his life with!!!