Monthly Archives: February 2012

Tis the season….

….for projectile shedding. Yes that’s right, I am back to furiously sweeping everyday- although by the looks of it, you’d never even know it. I imagine Klaus is like most other shepherds, blowing his coat twice a year- leaving piles of fur that collect in the corners of every room, under every piece of furniture, on every inch of clothing.

For a few months there was respite with him only mildly shedding but I should have known this day was coming! If you look at him it’s as if the fur is jumping right off of him.

With so much hair to spare, and me being generally crafty by nature, I decided to put my wool felting knowledge to use and try my hand at dog hair felting! When my husband and I got married we made felted acorn ornaments as wedding favors. Using real acorn tops we felted little wool bottoms and glued them in. I applied the same idea to dog fur and surprisingly it worked out- though it was generally more work because the fibers are shorter.

I have decided to offer this opportunity for a donation to other GSD owners. Here’s how it works…..You make the purchase through the Klaus von Hayden Store through the blog. I will then contact you to let you know how much fur I need and where you will need to mail the dog fur to. What works best is mailing the fur in  a ziplock bag in a regular sized envelope. You’d be surprised just how little I need to make an acorn- I know you have plenty to spare!

It’s best if you brush the dog after a bath to avoid any odor, though I can give the fur a quick hand washing. I haven’t really had any issue with odors with the acorns I’ve made from Klaus’ fur- so unless you have a particularly stinky dog I don’t think there will be any trouble!

Please allow for natural variations in the size, shape, and color of the acorn tops. That pile of fur might appear to be a lot but when you roll it up into a loose ball, it’s about the circumference of a half dollar- which is a pretty good gauge of about how much I would need. Sending a little bit more is always recommended however I could always felt some of Klaus’ fur into it as well!

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It’s been awhile

I seem to have fallen out of blogging daily- even weekly. But real life gets in the way of a lot of things including maintaining blogs. But I have a lot of catching up to do!

I have begun to panic slightly with the amount of von Hayden Security Systems window decals I still have. Realizing that I can very easily sell the German Shepherd ones as not everyone owns a von Hayden dog I am now offering von Hayden stickers at a reduced price of $4! That is $1 off the original price.

Also added is a new item- Felted Dog Fur Acorn Ornament. You supply me with your own dog’s fur and I felt the heck out of it and make it into an acorn ornament. These are rather labor intensive to make because the fibers are shorter than in wool roving. A donation price of $6 plus shipping is a steal! And what a unique item to have on your Christmas tree or hanging as a decoration! *As a side note, this will only work for dogs who have longer hair, and especially with dogs with double coats.

There’s been an awful lot of things happening around the Klaus house. We are gearing up for a street wide yard sale come spring to rid ourselves of clutter as well as make some money for Klaus’ surgery. The Gertrude Hawk candy bar fundraiser is not a feasible option for us as you have to commit to selling at least 16 carriers- with 40 candy bars in each! So we are looking into other money raising events including checking out Sam’s club for some bulk candy to sell.

I had contemplated harvesting and selling my eggs to a fertility clinic. I know that sounds wacky but I was driving around running errands the other day thinking about all our bills and Klaus’ surgery and generally feeling so overwhelmed and a commercial for a donor egg program came on and it felt sort of like a mystical calling. I’m not 100% sure about all the health and side effects concerns. Plus you have to go through a lot of testing to see if your genes are even worth passing on. I know it’s not a realistic option- it feels sort of steeped in fiction. But it’s definitely an interesting little tid bit of information to share in regards to what we (well myself) are considering to make this surgery work!

I have a large pile of clothes I plan on bringing to this store we have in town called Platos’ Closet. You bring in your gently worn name brand clothing and they buy stuff off of you. Whatever they don’t take is going straight to our yard sale.

We have trimmed down our monthly budget to just bills. I have cancelled my life insurance policy so we will be saving that monthly premium. I looked into cheaper options for health insurance premiums but I can’t even begin to look at that until August because I’m locked my current plan for a year.

I’ve listed a number of items on Craigslist but have only had annoying spammers contact me. We have tons of DVD’s we’re trying to sell. Oh well- that’s why we are having a yard sale!

Probably the biggest news of all as of late is my sister is moving back in with us. When we first bought the house she moved in to kind of get a handle for living on her own. Once we got married she felt like a bother- which is funny because she is the epitome of a great roommate. So she moved out on her own. She moved once more before moving back to the neighborhood but is unhappy with the rent price. When she moves in she’ll be saving money and we’ll be making money on rent so it’s a WIN-WIN situation.

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Quick little update

I wanted to touch base with our breeder and find out about the Facebook “like” campaign and understandably things have been turned on end with the passing of dear old Nando so I was patiently awaiting her reply but……

So far the grand total is 158 new likes which equals $165.90 being donated to Klaus’ hip fund! The breeder is keeping the campaign going because of various public events they will be participating in with their therapy dogs as well as SAR certifications going on.

The funny thing is that I’ve been reminiscing about how much ass I kicked selling girl scout cookies back in the day- partly because my mom and dad both brought the sell sheets to their work where no other daughter was in a troop so you can imagine the frenzy it caused. Recently my mom had a great idea to look into selling Gertrude Hawk candy bars which I definitely will be because I know both my parents’ places of work will jump on that in a heartbeat.

It’s just that I feel loads better offering an item in return for a donation. Not that I don’t appreciate the donations that we’ve received because you have no idea how humbling and appreciative it is to get that notification that another generous soul has contributed!  We appreciate sooooooo so sooooooooo very much the support we have gotten thus far. Seriously, Klaus thanks you as well!

This is a picture of Klaus from the other night when I wasn’t feeling particularly well. He was such a sweetheart he came over and put his head in my lap. This moment was quickly replaced with barking in my face to play ball with him. But you’ve got to relish those sweet moments when they happen!

 

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In loving memory…

It is with a heavy and sad heart to have to say that Klaus’ grandpa, Nando passed away. He was 14 years old and THE most magnificent dog I have ever had the pleasure to meet. When we went to go meet Kimberly from von Hayden German Shepherds and check out her facility, this is the dog who I fell head over heels in love with instantly. This is the dog who rolled over onto my feet, the beast that he was, and presented his tummy for a scratch- barely knowing me. This is the dog who whenever I gave a call to Kimberly to play catch up or ask for her advice on something to do with Klaus, this is the dog who’s unmistakeable bark could be heard in the background. This is the dog who was still balls to the wall even at his age. This is the dog who with great naivete I believed could live forever.

This is the dog that if Klaus grows up to be a fraction of the kind of dog Nando was, I will be pleased.

Nando, what a special and amazing dog you were! You have touched so many lives and your memory lives on in your progeny and in the lives of your non-fur family.

Rest in peace buddy!

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Please consider donating……

This story just about broke me heart. And honestly my situation pales in comparison. Please please please consider making a donation. Klaus made a donation on his behalf!

 

Taken from the German Shepherd Dog Community’s facebook page:

For those of you who wanted to help the homeless man and his two GSDs Houdini and Ceaser (his name is AJ Hawk), HERE is the information needed to do so. I will be posting this periodically at different times of the day and night so that everyone who wants to donate or share his story can do so!

There is a link for cash donations included on the chip-in page, and I also set up a PO Box for him for donations for the dogs (like treats or toys) if you’d feel more comfortable sending the dogs something.

Chip-in link: http://ajhawk.chipin.com/aj-hawk-and-his-two-german-shepherds

The address to mail the dogs something is:
P.O. Box 140003
St. Louis, MO 63114

Once again, thanks everyone for wanting to help him, you are all THE BEST! ~Cheryl

Here is the original story:
I had a call last night that really got to me, in a good way (for those who don’t know, I am a police officer).

I had a call for a suspicious occupied vehicle, and it was occupied three times, by a man and his two German Shepherds (yes, really, two beautiful black and tan saddleback GSDs, lol!) The car had reportedly been parked there for over an hour with no one getting out. As I spoke with the driver, he seemed to be evading my questions for a time, and I eventually got to the bottom of the reason why.

He had lost his job, and then lost his house. He had been living for more than four weeks, out of his car, with his two dogs. He told me that he was “sorry” for not telling me the truth right away, but he was really embarrassed about being homeless, as he had never been this poor before. After concluding my investigation as I was getting ready to leave, I told him that I thought he was a ROCKSTAR for hanging onto his dogs, and not dumping them at a kill shelter somewhere as most people would have.

His response? “I could never do that. They are my family.” ♥ I almost cried….and damn near hugged him. 🙂

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Cornell diagnosis and discharge

DIAGNOSIS:
Hip dysplasia, bilateral
HISTORY AND VISIT SUMMARY:
Klaus, a 1 year old male in tact German Shepherd, presented to Cornell’s Orthopedic Service for evaluation of previously diagnosed hip dysplasia. Klaus was diagnosed in October of 2010, at which time radiographs were taken. His radiographs at the time revealed evidence of subluxation of both joints, with the right worse than the left. He was prescribed Tramadol and started on neutraceuticals (Duralactin, NuVetPlus, Dasuquin and fish oil). He has been given Tramadol on an as needed basis; this was only given twice, the last dose in December. His exercise level was decreased and hydrotherapy was performed for one month (Nov-Dec 2010).

On January 19, he presented to a board-certified surgeon to be evaluated for surgery. He showed decreased range of motion and pain on flexion and extension of both hip joints and positive Ortolani signs on both sides. Blood work and urinalysis were normal and a total hip replacement was recommended once he was fully grown and mature. He was sent home and has continued physical rehabilitation and has been kept restricted in his activity. He has been otherwise doing well at home and is up to date on vaccines. He is not presently on any medications apart from heartworm and flea and tick preventative.

On presentation, Klaus was bright, alert and responsive (BAR) and his vital parameters were within normal limits. His physical examination and basic neurologic exam were also normal. On orthopedic exam, Klaus had a grade 2/5 (consistent but weightbearing) on both of his hindlimbs, with the right worse than the left. He was painful on palpation of the lumbosacral area of his spine; this is likely related to his hip pain. There was some soft tissue popping in his hock joints bilaterally, but no pain was elicited. His hips had decreased range of motion and pain on extension bilaterally. The remainder of the exam was normal.

The options for surgical correction of Klaus’s hip dysplasia were discussed with the owners, who elected to take him home and discuss their options.

DISCUSSION:
Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition, passed down through generations. Unfortunately there is not a cure for this disease and with time, this condition can worsen. Our goal in treating animals with hip dysplasia is to take as much stress as we can off the abnormal joint and to keep them as comfortable as possible. Medical management can sometimes be the only management needed for animals with hip dysplasia. The treatment of hip dysplasia is multifaceted: reduce pain and discomfort, decrease clinical signs, slow the progression of the disease, promote the repair of damaged tissue, and improve the quality of life. The main components of medical management are weight loss, modified exercise, and medications such as NSAIDs (ex. Metacam, Rimadyl) and nutraceuticals (chondroprotectants; ex. Glucosamine, Chondroitin). It has been shown that dogs that are kept on the thin side or just slightly underweight do better and feel better long term. Activities like walking on grass and swimming can be great exercise. However full out running and walking on concrete surfaces can be hard on joints and are discouraged. Klaus has been appropriately medically managed since his diagnosis in October. Due to the severity of his condition and the goal of getting him back to some atheltic function, surgical correction is recommended. Surgical options include:

1. Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy: This is a procedure where the part of the femur that articulates with the hip is cut off and removed. This removes the source of the pain from his hip joint. He will not have a completely normal gait, as one leg will be slightly shorter than the other, but it will be better than his current gait and much less painful. The muscles around the free end of the femur will contract around it and scar tissue will form to act like a false-joint. The range of motion in the hip following this repair is not as great as with a total hip replacement and how well they do following surgery greatly depends on the quality of post-operative physical therapy. This procedure will require committment to building up Klaus’s musculature and allowing him to adapt to the new positioning of his “false joint.” He should be able to return to some level of athletic function without pain; however, given his size and the nature
of the procedure, it will not return him to as normal function as would a total hip replacement.

2. Total Hip Replacement: This procedure involves removing the head of the femur and replacing it with an implant that mimics a normal femoral head with an attached stem. The socket portion of the joint in the pelvis is also replaced to fit with the new acetabular implant. This will ideally give Klaus a pain-free hip with more normal function. The outcome for this surgery is less dependent on intense physical therapy, as most dogs do well very shortly after surgery however strict post operative care is essential for a postive outcome. Complications of a total hip replacement include infection, hemorrhage, nerve damage and implant failure. Please note that hip implants do have a finite, unpredictable lifespan (typically estimated to be 10-15 years). An additional complication of THR is femoral fracture, and this risk is increased in German Shepherds because their femurs are thin compared to other breeds.

For either of these procedures, the right hip would be fixed first and it may become necessary to fix the left. If an FHO is performed, it will not be possible to go back and place a total hip replacement. Conversely, however, if a THR becomes infected, an FHO would be the final result. Increased loading and stress on the left hip following surgical correction of the right will occur with either surgery; however, it may be decreased with the THR. Post-operative management will be a commitment with either surgery. Following THR, Klaus should be kept on STRICT exercise restriction, on a leash at all times and crated if necessary. NO jumping or running should be allowed. Following FHO, Klaus should begin to use his hip early to promote scar tissue formation for the “false joint”, and this will require several months of physical therapy. Either procedure carries a risk of infection; however, this risk is increased when implants are used.

A Complete Blood Count, Chemistry panel and urinalysis should be performed to rule out any infection before surgery is performed. This and pre-operative radiographs may be done about a week before surgery. Either of the surgical options would help to make Klaus more comfortable. If have any more questions before making your decision, please do not hesitate to call. In the meantime, please continue to medically manage Klaus. He is at a perfect weight right now and his exercise should continue to be controlled. The neutraceuticals he is presently on may be continued. If he appears more painful than usual or becomes acutely worse, please call the hospital right away.

Thank you for bringing Klaus to Cornell University’s Hospital for Animals. If you have any other questions regarding his treatment options, do not hesitate to call Dr. Knapp-Hoch at (607)-253-3060.

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FHO vs THR

We had our appointment today with Cornell. We were under the impression we were there for x-rays, blood work and urinalysis however we only had an initial physical exam with the surgeon as well as an in depth discussion of our options. I have to say this meeting was much more personable, a lot less rushed, and we felt way more comfortable than at the other place. Instead of meeting with any old doctor, we met with the actual surgeon which was very nice.

Though she agreed with the other diagnosis she also explained she has done Femoral Head Osteotomy or FHO’s on larger breed dogs before- and it is a possibility. German Shepherds have thinner femurs which make the surgery tricky. We have to sit down and really weigh all the pros and cons of each one but I think because Klaus’ left hip isn’t perfect, if we did an FHO on the right, the probability of having a surgery on his left increases.

With the THR his hip is as good as new and he will be able to put all his weight on it thereby alleviating any pain and arthritis in his left. But the THR is a risky invasive and expensive surgery. Both surgeries have risks but with an implant comes way more risks. He could get an infection and if that happened they would have to go in, remove the implant and give him an emergency FHO, which is the only option after a THR. He can also fracture where the implant was put in.

Healing times are much longer and strenuous for the THR. With the FHO the healing time is much less- and especially so if we’re diligent with his physical therapy.  But if we go with the FHO on the right we can not do the THR in the same location.

I have to admit, it’s hard for me to follow the procedure of the FHO. They remove the femoral head completely, allowing scar tissue to heal and essentially make a false joint. But I just can’t picture a socket in such a manner. The surgeon assured us he would be pain free, he could run and jump and do everything a dog could- but his gait would be forever affected. For us that isn’t the issue and we were actually sold on the FHO- up until she said he might have to have his left side done. This graphic best explains it, it’s just hard for me to think of how this is possible:

Ideally we want to avoid anymore surgeries in the future so even though a THR is more expensive, it might not be in the end if we have to have both hips done for going with the FHO. I’m not sure I can take a risk like that! Too much to think about and consider. If I drank I would probably down a whole bottle of wine right now.

To cheer myself up and for your viewing pleasure………

Look! Stupid cheesy photo filters! I have to preface this by saying I had an iphone and I loved it. But in maintaining a better balance of our monthly bills, I downgraded. I hate my new phone. I hate all the apps. And especially the camera. It’s good for the novelty of it all I suppose.

Oh! And I wish I could trim down like Klaus has- he has lost 10 pounds and is at his “most perfect, lovely, ideal weight” as per the surgeon. I was thinking he was looking teeny weeny in the waist but this will help his hip pain so much.

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