About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my fifty one years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty four dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I became a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. Currently, as a Dog Walker I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to experience their unique personalities. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Old Guy's Still Got It!

Spin to the left...
Spin to the right...
Circle around me once, twice, three times...
Follow on my left...
Come to me...
Follow on my right...
Weave thru my legs...once, twice, three times...once more...
Spin and Take a Bow...

"I'm old", says Pogo, "not dead" 

A little dancing with my heart this morning.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


My dog, Belle, has started slowing down on hikes...she sleeps alot...shows chronic stiffness...and seems a bit depressed.  There is a slight abnormality in her right eye.  There is a slight head tilt to the right.  She is weight shifting off her left side.  Accupuncture, laser and chiropractic work have not given her any significant relief.
She is not in acute distress.  She doesn't cry or complain when her limbs are stretched and manipulated...she has no fever...she is eating, drinking and eliminating normally.  Her blood work and urinalysis showed no issues.  She still plays with the other dogs. 
But she is not herself.
Yeah she's getting older - she'll be 11 in June.
But she is not herself.  She seems...worried.  That's the best way I can describe it.

It was not a surprise that her yearly 4DX Lyme test came back positive.  But when we did the follow up quantitative C6 test, we did get a surprise - a nasty one.
Any result over 35 is considered worrisome.

Belle's result was OVER 640.

Now before I freaked out, I did some research.  This incredibly high antibody count could mean that her body recently had a huge immune response to exposure to the disease.  It isn't really a measurement of "how lyme positive" she is.  The test is used to determine if subsequent treatment results in a significant drop in the number.  That tells you if treatment is successful. 

I am hoping that doxycycline will result in Belle feeling more like herself.  If it is going to help we will know pretty quickly.   I am hopeful that we can treat her lyme successfully.

I am worried that there is more going on , as is my vet. But at least we have an immediate course of action for now.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Poor Belle

I HATE it when my dog is hurting and we cannot get a definitive diagnosis or treatment plan.
Belle has battled with lameness, soreness and general discomfort for several years.  Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Laser therapy has offered little relief.  She has good and bad days.  Yesterday she presented with weight shifting off her left side on both front and back legs and also with a slight head tilt.  2 wks ago she presented with unexplained (or diagnosed) swelling around her right eye.
I fear the worst - a neurological issue.
Note her right eye appears smaller than the left -her left eye is the normal shape.

Notice her weight shift off her left side. Not as noticeable on the bed as the floor, but her right legs are perpendicular to the ground while her left legs are angled to take the pressure off them.

Please send good thoughts our way. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My dogs bite

Pogo will try to bite me if I restrain him. He has to be muzzled for grooming now. He will snap his jaws like an alligator if I have to pick him up. Bath time is a chore now. Even with a ramp, getting in and out of the car can be challenging.  He bit me in the face a few weeks ago because I held my face close to his a little too long.  I just wanted to smell him a little bit longer , you know? 
I am trying to memorize his unique grapey scent.
At 15 he is a bit senile.  He gets disoriented.  He gets scared.  Other times he acts like a puppy, prancing around, wanting to fetch or chase the other dogs.  He can't really do either any more, but he gives it a good effort and appears to be enjoying himself.  He can still do the weave poles...
In truth Pogo has never enjoyed alot of close contact.  For this reason he has never been restrained by anyone other than myself at the veterinarian's office.  He trusted me and would tolerate the handling from me. Sure, it makes me sad that in his discomfort and confusion now, I no longer have that trust.  But I adore this dog and patiently deal with his "aggression". He gave me so many wonderful years... 

Mamacita is a 16 mths old.  She was not well socialized as a puppy.  She is intense and reactive to sounds, movement, strangers, new dogs...well...pretty much everything!  She resists handling and restraint.  After 8 mths with us she is ALOT bettter.  Tons of desensitization and reinforcement for calm behavior in the presence of her triggers has made a HUGE difference. I no longer need a muzzle to do her nails - hooray!  She no longer tries to throw herself onto route 4 to chase cars! She can walk through my training room off leash and stay focused on me, rather than barking and lunging like a wild animal!  Like I said, she's ALOT better.  
But her intense personality still causes her to use her teeth inappropriately when she is hyper aroused.  She sometimes grabs my pant leg when I am rushing around the house.  If not asked to sit  first, she will grab my hand when I put it on the doorknob to let her into the yard.  She has grabbed my wrist when I have restrained her by the collar.  She looses her mind when she gets excited.  She's a little shit. :-P
We are working on her impulse control. 
On the flip side though, her intensity and quick reaction time is an advantage in Agility training. Given timely direction she is  super fast and accurate.  She is gonna be a fierce competitor.
I adore this dog and patiently deal with her "aggression".  She will give me so many wonderful years...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dogs amaze me

Tucker is 10 , almost 11, yrs old.  He came to us a year ago with a history of aggression toward the odd adult , kids, cats...and other dogs were iffy as well.  Now he lives here with 7 other dogs and a cat.  He goes to work with my husband.  He goes to work with me.  For the most part he does all that without issue.  We are careful and we know what we are doing, but honestly he is a good dog when his needs are met and his anxiety is addressed properly.  He is not all that hard to live with.  Not sure why he went through three families before landing with us.

Last night a friend, who was not feeling well, spent the night here with her 2 dogs.  Her male Collie and Tucker have been on an occasional hike together and they've had a few cross words...I was worried that Tucker would be a jerk and cause my friend (and her dogs!) angst - the last thing they needed! 
So I put up a gate or two...let the dogs into the yard in shifts and...Tucker was fine.  He knows that there is another person and two dogs here...but he is not forced to deal with the dogs and so he chooses to ignore the whole situation.

I love how adaptable dogs can be when managed correctly and given the personal space they need.
Good boy - Schmuck - Schmuck .

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feeling like a doorman

With 8 dogs in the house now I am beginning to feel like I spend an awful lot of time letting dogs in and out the door!  Especially since James can only be let out supervised or after I have scooped the yard (he likes to snack - yuk)...and Belle likes to sleep in...and Lupie needs to go out at 5:00 in the morning...and at 15, Pogo needs to be let out whenever he "asks" (pacing)...and Tawnie and Cita think that every time I stand up its time to go somewhere...
You get the picture.   Its not like they all go out in unison!
And if you recall, the adrenaline level at the door was getting a bit out of control, so its not a quick task to let them out.  It takes thought and a bit of time to make sure they are relatively polite (or at least not dangerous!)
An old friend who lives with multiple dogs, thinks I'm crazy not to install a dog door.
Most everyone else thinks I'm just plain crazy.
But I look at it this way - Sitting at the computer and sitting in front of the TV for long periods of time is not healthy, so...by requiring my doorman services, the dogs are really helping me out.

That's my story - and I'm sticking to it.