Dakota’s heart

We took the guys in to the vet this week for their checkups etc. and she confirmed what we had suspected. Dakota is in the early stages of congestive heart failure.

Dakota’s lungs are congested and her heart is enlarged, and she does have some arthritis in her spine. What we didn’t realize is that dogs who live in higher altitudes such as here, are more prone to the early onset of heart disease than dogs living in lower elevations.

Dakota retrieving a duck in 2010

For now she’s on medication to help clear her lungs and help with her heart, and a followup appointment next week to see how she’s responding to the medication. We caught it at an early stage which will buy her more time, but as with Sophie before her, Dakota’s time is now limited.

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Happy Birthday Elvis and Dakota

It’s hard to believe that our big boy is 7 and our wild woman is 11, but everyone celebrated Elvis and Dakota’s birthdays with breakfast sandwiches.

Front row: Doc, Elvis, Sophie, Mia. Back row: Dakota, Elettra

Front row: Doc, Elvis, Sophie, Mia. Back row: Dakota, Elettra

Elvis got a double treat when I bought him a chicken wrap yesterday as a treat for a rather long morning of therapy visits. And speaking of therapy, a speech therapist met with me and we are in the planning stages of Elvis and Sophie helping kids in speech therapy.

Spooky therapy visits

Friday was therapy visit day and with Halloween approaching, it was a spooky affair.

Sophie poses with skeletons while on therapy visits, 10-9-15.

Sophie poses with skeletons while on therapy visits, 10-9-15.

Sophie has been through it enough Halloweens and trick-or-treaters that nothing fazes her, and she posed with some skeletal friends at the end of our visit.

Elvis poses with witch while on therapy visits, 10-9-15

Elvis poses with witch while on therapy visits, 10-9-15

Elvis isn’t as Halloween savvy and growled at a witch before finally deciding she wasn’t real. He didn’t mind getting his picture taken with her but still didn’t trust her enough to get too close.

Water retrieves

Doc and Mia wait to be sent out for a bumper.

Doc and Mia wait to be sent out for a bumper.

With my little pond now full of water, it was a good opportunity to take the guys out for a little refresher training on water retrieves. Both the dogs and I were a little rusty on the obedience part of it, but it’s still early and there’s a whole summer ahead of us.

Mia returns with a bumper.

Mia returns with a bumper.

I took them out two at a time: Doc and Mia, Sophie and Elvis, and finally Dakota by herself. Since the Labs no longer hunt, for them it was just retrieving for fun with no training involved.

 

Doc returns with a bumper.

Doc returns with a bumper.

Mia takes the easy way out as she and Doc retrieve.

Mia takes the easy way out as she and Doc retrieve.

Retrieving is not everything as Mia and Doc go on point with my pigeons.

Retrieving is not everything as Mia and Doc go on point with my pigeons.

Sophie retrieves a bumper.

Sophie retrieves a bumper.

Elvis swims out for a bumper.

Elvis swims out for a bumper.

Elvis crawls up the bank with a bumper. Other than the pond's inlet and outlet, I left the banks of the pond vertical.

Elvis crawls up the bank with a bumper. Other than the pond’s inlet and outlet, I left the banks of the pond vertical.

At the ate of 10, Dakota can still catch serious air.

At the ate of 10, Dakota can still catch serious air.

As usual, Dakota enters the water headfirst.

As usual, Dakota enters the water headfirst.

Morning swim

We got our first water last week which meant water in the pond and the guys returning from the pasture wet and muddy. Unfortunately for our senior Labs, even a 5-minute swim in the pond is enough to aggravate their arthritis to the point that they need a Rimadyl afterwards.

Sophie takes a leisure swim

Sophie takes a leisure swim

Doc watches Dakota retrieve a stick

Doc watches Dakota retrieve a stick

Doc swims around looking for something to retrieve

Doc swims around looking for something to retrieve

Dakota launches herself to retrieve a stick

Dakota launches herself to retrieve a stick

And beats Doc to the stick

And beats Doc to the stick

Afternoon hunt with Dakota

I really don’t remember the last time that I took Dakota hunting by herself, but Saturday afternoon was her turn to do some duck hunting. I was hoping that the wind would push the ducks off the river and into the sloughs and ponds, and was a little surprised to find no other hunters at the first location we hunted.

 

Dakota began the hunt with a lot of energy but it didn't take long for her to wear down.

Dakota began the hunt with a lot of energy but it didn’t take long for her to wear down.

There wasn’t much flying, but since the sun would soon be setting, I figured it would pick up. In the meantime, I decided to jump shoot any ducks that might already be there. A small flock of teal swung by at high speed and dropped into a pond, so we went after them.

Judging the wind direction, I approached as close as possible to where it appeared they landed and then sent Dakota into the cattails to flush them. What she flushed was a flock of about 50 ducks but I miscalculated, and it would have been a longer shot than I was willing to take.

It's not snow but dried mold, which may have triggered Dakota's allergies that took 2 days of eye wash and antihistamines to cure.

It’s not snow but dried mold, which may have triggered Dakota’s allergies that took 2 days of eye wash and antihistamines to cure.

I could have brought several down, but it wouldn’t have been a kill shot and Dakota would never have been able to get a wounded duck in a pond that size; a wounded duck will dive and swim underwater to pop up somewhere else.

Dakota was beginning to slow down so we drove to the next area, saving us about a 2 mile walk. Here were 2 hunters  set up in cattails near one large pond, but I never heard any shots from them.

Dakota tracked down and flushed several Pheasants during our duck hunt,

Dakota tracked down and flushed several Pheasants during our duck hunt,

We hunted the sloughs for another hour and Dakota was noticeably slowing down and beginning to limp a little from her arthritis. At 9 ½ years old, her hunting days are coming to an end as with Sophie.

Tongue hanging, Dakota still works the cattails while duck hunting.

Tongue hanging, Dakota still works the cattails while duck hunting.

Seeing how she was slowing down, I cut the hunt short and we hunted our way back to the truck. The other hunters had given up and were gone by the time we returned, so it didn’t appear that they were any more successful than me. Although I may take Dakota out again for a short duck hunt, this was likely her only hunt for the year.