Finnley Friday!

I am stealing an idea from Draft Mare who does Wynston Wednesday and I am starting Finnley Friday. You can also follow him on Instagram at Finnley.the.cata_whattt

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About time I got some respect around here!
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You are cooking that food for me right?!?!
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Yet another “very durable” toy dead. This lasted about 2 minutes.  So glad I spent $13 on it. 
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Winter Woos

Can this winter be over already???? I know that I just posted on my clinic but that was back in mid-November. Recently the weather has been FRIGID and riding has been tough!

Luther

Luther has been enjoying what I am calling his winter of bareback! I have not actually put a saddle on him since October. In the last couple of weeks it has just been walking and maybe a little trotting because the weather has been below zero. He is just too stiff in this weather but he needs to get out and move a bit. It has warmed up a little today and I will be out to ride him. We may do a little canter but we shall see how he is feeling. Side note: my trainer saw me cantering him bareback for the first time a couple weeks ago and her response……. “You canter him bareback???? I would never trust him to do that….. but I mean good for you!” Told you he is Lucifer! Lol

Tried to do a nice photo shoot with him but he had other ideas. Oh Lu….

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Temper tantrum when I did not get his cookies to him quick enough

Winifred

Winifred has done a little more than Luther but not too much more. We have not been able to jump in a few weeks but we have done some flat work. Win needs to be in a steady program or else all of his pent up energy turns into nervous energy. Even though he has lived in our barn for 3 years his nervous energy makes the indoor seem like a house of horrors to him. This past week I rode him Monday and he was not terrible but Tuesday through Thursday was far too cold to ride. I did get him out for some hand walking and on Thursday I let him run around the indoor with my friend KD’s horse Charlie. Charlie is actually Luther’s pasture mate but I had a brain freeze and thought he was Winifred’s. Oops! The boys did great together though. I expected Winifred to be the crazy one but Charlie took on that roll. Charlie was running around with his tail straight up like an Arabian and would stop to do a guttural snort every so often. Lol! Win just followed him around a little distance behind him. The best part was watching Winifred jump on his own. Why was not I not videoing that?!?!

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Are we going to be friends????? YES!

I rode him on Friday and everything concerned him! For some reason his “concern” gets a lot worse going to the right. Saturday we did a flat lesson and he was phenomenal! He was totally relaxed and we went around on a nice loose rein then Sunday he went back to thinking that Pennywise was going to jump out and get him. Oh Win……

Since we aren’t doing much we have been focusing on lateral movement and transitions. His transitions up are great but his downward transitions need a lot of work. This boy just wants to canter, canter, canter! He has been doing good with this lateral movement except for Sunday for some reason. We have been doing lots of circles including spiraling in and out, moving off the wall then back to it, just going around with his head in or out, and walking triangles. Always open to any other ideas if anyone has any. I have been way too lazy to dissemble jumps to do our ground pole exercise since I would then have to reassemble them and nobody wants to do that in this cold!

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How does this happen????

Finnley

This cold has really been affecting Finnley too. He is already a SUPER energetic dog and that is with regular bike riding. It has been too dangerous to spend too much time outside even with his coat on but I have forced myself to take him out for a little bit when it was safe. He has gone on a couple of short walks and has gotten to play with his friends Gus and Cleo. Our barn owner was so nice and let us bring the three of them into the indoor when it was empty. They had so much fun and even jumped a few of the jumps! Finn got to meet the new barn dog Gypsy. She is a super cute beagle basset hound mix. She was not too sure of him at first but it was a little overwhelming to her to have 3 new dogs on her turf looking to meet her. Once we walked her and Finn together away from everyone they settled down and it seems like they are going to be friends. 🙂

Frozen whiskers!

 

World’s Worst Blogger

I am legit the world’s worst blogger! I tend to do really well posting regularly until something major happens (back surgery and then Oscar passing away) and then I take a hiatus. I am kind of superstitious and wonder if I should even start blogging again for fear that something majorly bad will happen again but I am taking that risk. I am taking this risk because I am using this blog as a way to keep track of where I am in my riding, how far I have come, and how far I need to go. Since my last blog was May of 2016 there have clearly been a LOT of changes in my life.

I still miss Oscar every day (literally tearing up right now). He was a once in a lifetime dog that no one could ever replace. With that said, my house was far too quiet and empty without a four-legged child in it so enter my terrorist also known as Finnley (or Finnie the Foo, Foo-fur-son, Fooer, Finsta, Block Head, Honey Bear, psycho-pants, and of course just Finn). I wanted to stay with a Catahoula but my family begged me not to. They loved Oscar too much and thought that a dog that looked like him would be too painful for them until I showed them that Catahoula come in red leopard too. It was an instant “we need to find you one of those moments”!  Not sure if I ever mentioned that I had been looking for the last 2 years of Oscar’s life for another Catahoula to rescue. I don’t want to get too much into this because it still upsets me but I found lots of them in the southern chapter of the Catahoula Rescue group but I was told that since I was from Michigan that I had to adopt through the northern chapter. Well in the 2 years that I looked the northern chapter had never once had a single dog. I hoped that I could just have a representative from the northern chapter come and do a home check and I offered to drive to Texas so that they could meet Oscar and see Oz interact with the dogs but they told me no! I found a few (non-Catahoula) dogs up around me that I liked and applied to 4 different rescues. Of those four, two of them I never even heard from, one called one of my references but then I never heard back from them (I swear my reference was good!), and one did come through completely. They approved me and I met the dog, Asher, that I was interested in. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. He nipped at me when I touched his ear. If it was truly just me I would work with him on that but I have nephews that come over and I could not risk them. Good news on Asher though. I saw him about a year later at a random dog event and he was adopted by a woman who adores him and he looked so happy!

I finally gave up and started searching for reputable breeders. I found one in Corinth, Kentucky which is about 6 hours south of me. From the first time that I talked to N I knew that she was who I was going to get my puppy from. Not only was she a horse person but she really cares for her dogs, doesn’t over breed, and keeps in touch with you after. I also liked that her husband made sure that I had experience with Catahoulas because they are not a breed for everyone! A couple more things that drew me to them was that they require that if you cannot for any reason keep your dog you must give it back to them (while I understand that is not really enforceable it was in the contract and I liked that they thought about it) and I thought it was cool that the KY state police reserve dogs from them to use for the KY state K-9 unit.

Finnley was born on 5/17/16 and I brought him home on 7/17/16. He is NOTHING like Oscar!!! This is good because Oscar was a one of a kind but sometimes I wish Finn would settle down a bit. He is such a clown! He literally makes me laugh every day and you can see that he makes himself laugh too. I do still struggle with his boundaries, such as this week he stole the tv remote off the table and chewed it, but I love him anyway. He is lucky he is cute! Lol

Luckily and completely unplanned, three of my friends from the barn got puppies at the same time and they were all born within a week and a half of each other! One of them my friend, J, got is a German Short Haired pointer named Gus. He is truly Finnley’s bestest friend! The other two are Ibizan Hound sisters, Cleo and Callie, adopted by C and T. Finn has every man’s dream of twins as his girlfriends. The girls LOVE him. Don’t get me wrong they love to play with Gus too but Finnley is the apple of their eyes (especially Callie’s). We call them the HR Puppy Squad and got matching collars. (For those of you who didn’t know I ride at Hunter’s Run hence “HR”.) Below is a picture from their Halloween party. To solidify their three-some relationship Finnley was a hotdog and the girls with ketchup and mustard. LOL! Gus was a super cute Superman.

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Oh by the way you can follow all of Finnley’s shenanigans on his Instagram page, Finnley.the.cata_whattt

Well this is running long and I have so much more to update on like ponies. Yes I said that plural! I have two handsome ponies in my life right now. I know, lucky girl! I will give them each their own posts soon. My goal is to post at least once a month but for now I will post a bit more just to catch up and so that you can meet my new men.

The Toughest Decision & Hardest Goodbye

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Just looking handsome

I know that I dropped the big news that I started riding again and then disappeared. This has been the hardest month of my life (and for those who know me know I have lived through some very difficult things). It has taken me a week to even post this.

I made the decision to put Oscar down on April 23rd. He had been battling various symptoms of sickness for 3 weeks prior and on Friday he woke up with a huge swollen hind leg. I took him to the vet and they x-rayed it. It was an infection causing edema and he was given antibiotics. Oscar was pretty good that day and even walked around the yard a bit. The night though was bad. He as in a lot of pain and stress. By morning he would not eat or drink and he was very dehydrated. I took him in again and they did blood work. His red blood cells were off the chart low and his white blood cells were high. He was having some autoimmune reaction and the swelling in his leg was caused by him bleeding into it. The vet at my office (not my vet she was gone this whole weekend) sent me to the animal hospital where she wanted him to spend the weekend getting iv doses of antibiotics and steroids as well as have a blood transfusion.

The vets there did not have a positive outlook on this and neither did my friend’s friend who is a vet tech at an animal hospital. She said that most dogs who have to get transfusions are gone within 2 weeks after the transfusion anyhow. The vet we saw was very kind and told me that with the 2 issues of the autoimmune and the leg infection/bleeding that it was not a great chance of survival. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make but I decided it would be more selfish of me to put him through all the pain and stress especially since I had to leave for DC the following Wednesday-Sunday. Once I told the vet that I made the decision to put him to sleep she agreed that it was the choice she would have made because she really felt that the other course of action was just a bandaid and that he would be back in the hospital while I was gone. I would never ever forgive myself if I was not there for him in his last moments.

I asked the vet if she could give him some pain meds to help make him comfortable for a few hours so he could have a good last day.

We went to see his bestie, Zoey, where the meds finally kicked in and he played with her. They ran the fence line like they always did. He sun bathed on the deck, had a ribeye for dinner (luckily he got his appetite back since the pain was gone), I took him to our favorite ice cream place we used to go to all the time especially after my nephews’ baseball games and got his pup cup, we then went home.

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Oscar and Zoey. They ran that fence line so much there is a trench.

He walked around the yard a little but at this point his head was low and his tail was down. We went back in the house and he just laid in the bed. My mom and I loved on him for a while and then my sister came with the boys and when he saw them he lifted his head for the first time since he had been in bed. They used to play every day with each other. With my whole family there I told my mom that I could not make the decision to leave and asked her to say it.

He was back to panting when my mom said it was time. He actually perked up a bit and went to the car. He laid in the back seat with me and smiled the whole way. When we got to the office he did not act scared like he normally did. He climbed up on their couch and my mom and I loved on him. When they did it I knelt next to him and just held on to him as hard as I could. The vet tech held his head so it would go down easy. He went very peacefully. I held him a bit longer and apologized to him that I could not fix him.

I want to thank my family for being there for him (and me). I also want to thank Nettie for being there with me and helping me give him a great last day. And also for letting me bring Zoey home with me as my “loaner” dog to help comfort me. He loved her so much even though a Catahoula and Pitbull looked like such an odd couple. Lol

Oscar was the most amazing dog. He was the mascot for my nephews’ baseball teams, all time tackle when they played football, he went everywhere with me (camping, the lake, horse shows, hiking) and everywhere I took him he brought joy to people. While his eyes were unique it was his smile that people most commented on. My 2-lap dog (he thought he was a lap dog but it took 2 laps to hold him). As hard as this is I still thank God that 9 and a half years ago Oscar found me and jumped on to my lap at Quarter Horse Congress. It really was one of those life changing moments. Before I even saw him he knew that I was his. I say it that way because I don’t kid myself, I did not own him because the reality was he owned me. He was my soulmate, my best friend, my baby bear….

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He loved spending time at the lake. If there was water he was in it and would swim until he exhausted himself then would panic until I came and held him in the water. Lol
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He tolerated my nephews so well!
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I got it!
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My bed feels so empty now. 
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The best face in the world to wake up to.

Oscar was always such a talker. My house was not a quite one. Every day I came home he would meet me at the door then after a hug would run to the bed where I had to come and give him more love and attention. This was when he talked the most and would tell me all about his day. The video below is a day when I took too long getting to him so this was his bitch session. Lol! Notice how it all goes away when he hears a certain word.

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Goodbye my happy happy boy! You will be missed more than you could ever possibly know! You brought so much joy to my life that I could never re-pay.

 

Lake time!

Since Tango is still hurt and waiting for chiropractic care today, Oscar gave me the subtle hint below that he deserves another post just about him.

Real subtle Oz!
Real subtle Oz!

I am going to be a bragging mom today. If any of you know the culture of Michigan you know that you must go to a lake for the 4th of July! I was invited by to go up to my friend A’s lake house and she was amazing to let me bring Oscar since finding a dog sitter can be very hard on a holiday weekend. A has a 22 year old son so there was a lot of youngsters partying with lots of loud music and Oscar was so calm and listened to me most of the time. Lol. This was a big deal to me because there was a time when loud noises and groups of people made him super nervous and when he would get nervous he would get protective of me. He is automatically a bit happier though when he gets to go swimming. He can swim until he just exhausts himself!

Mom can I jump in now???
Mom can I jump in now???
Coming back in after a good swim
Coming back in after a good swim
Just chilling on the beach
Just chilling on the beach
Making some friends on the dock. These dogs were on a boat that stopped by for the Poker Run.
Making some friends on the dock. These dogs were on a boat that stopped by for the Poker Run.

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He loves it but swimming takes a lot out of him so he needed a nap before going back out!
He loves it but swimming takes a lot out of him so he needed a nap before going back out!
Goofing off with K!
Goofing off with K!