Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Plum Blossom

Life is back to normal...nice good food, fun walkies in varied directions, lazy snoozing in the sitting room, and Nobunaga shows no signs of being worse for the wear after his vertigo a meet and greet with friends he was boisterous and wanted to play, and when we got to the plum grove in the park he bounded up in a wee sit, stay, here! informal recall training session which he loves. Spring is just around the corner, judging by the budding plum blossom. Feeling grateful.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Vertigo Attack

Really scary episode with Nobunaga Saturday evening, he was a bit skittish in the early evening and I thought he was just getting peckish, only suddenly he collapsed on the sitting room floor, his eyes rolling wildly, his head undulating like a snake and while he kept trying to get up he was reeling like a drunk, flailing, unable to coordinate his limbs. I pulled him over onto my lap and held him, massaging his neck and spine, and then I held his eyelids shut with my palm, feeling the muscles twitching and pulsing wildly, and we rode with it as he slowly calmed down. Still holding him I called the vet (thanks to the cell phone era where things are mobile) and confirmed that it was indeed too late at night to rush him over, and that I should look for a more local emergency vet, but I felt it was better to just keep on holding him and ride it out with him. After a bit he vomited, not that there was anything in his stomach that was off, and then we simply sat together, until he staggered outside and collapsed, so I had to carry him back in again. I put a petsheet under his bum and laid him on the doggie sofa, head propped on the armrest, and he seemed relieved that he wasn't going to pee inadvertently or create a mess, and fell asleep exhausted finally. After about two hours when he woke we were all ready for bed but I gave him a bowl of veggie soup broth because he seemed a bit dehydrated, and he gulped it all down and had a second helping. And fortunately yesterday and today, he's been okay and things have settled down, so I'm keeping a close watch. I found a blog post, In a Spin about just such an episode:
Can dogs get vertigo? ...the answer is yes. In dogs, it’s called vestibular disease. ...
Vertigo (from the Latin vert(ere) = whirling or turning around) is a type of dizziness, a sense of motion when one is stationary, due to a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It is often associated with nausea and difficulty standing or walking.
“Vertigo is a human description of a feeling; dogs can’t tell us what they’re feeling, so vestibular disease is the term used,” says Beverly Sturges, DVM, associate professor of clinical neurology/neurosurgery at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
According to Dr. Sturges, the most frequent cases are referred to as idiopathic or “old dog” vestibular disease because it’s most often seen in older dogs and there’s no obvious cause. “It’s benign; we still have no real understanding why it occurs,” she says. “It’s self-limiting, [requiring] no treatment except supportive care and comforting the dog,” she adds. ...
That frightening eye-darting ...? It’s called nystagmus, a rapid, involuntary eye movement, side to side or, less frequently, up and down. “Nystagmus is not seen in all cases, but [it] is common,” says Dr. Sturges. “It lessens as the dog gets used to the sensation. Nystagmus can be profound in old-dog vestibular disease; a few days, or perhaps one to two weeks later, it’s almost always gone. It’s a reliable symptom: if there’s nystagmus, it’s vestibular disease and not usually a seizure. But you can see a drunken gait—ataxia—and other symptoms without nystagmus and it could still be vestibular disease.”
Nystagmus, vestibular disease, big long words, and all new to me...not new are those precious moments holding your confused and frightened suffering dog in your arms and knowing that your presence and stroking is helpful, not rushing off to DO something, but just BEING there 100% together as long as it takes to feel relieved and relaxed, accepting the flow of the moment. Chiaro di Luna must have popped by with the super moon and invited Nobunaga, but he's not going waltzing off with her just yet if I have any say in the matter...

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hunting Mitts

Thanks to the snow in Yokohama and my wee setters being a tad in the senior category I've been able to postpone walkies in favor of finishing these beautiful fairisle mitts designed by Helen Gray Designs of Scotland. The pattern will be available for purchase soon. I've been test-knitting, trying to get a Scottish feel with popular and readily available Japanese yarns like Daruma and Diakeito...but I admit, the addition of tweedy, heathered and marled yarns such as Jamieson's, Rennie's or Rowan from the UK here and there serve to give it the extra something that was lacking, in spite of the lovely colors available in Japan. It's been so cold I haven't ventured into Tokyo to get the real Scottish stuff.
Meanwhile a friend on FB was teasing me that these were shooter gloves...well of course for the sporty mama of hunting dog setters, I need that UK look, a hunting dog owner with no I have the UK accessories instead :P 
As for the dogs...Sherlock loves to be all snuggled in sleeping when it's cold and wet out, perchance to dream of the real Nobunaga, or maybe just Nobunaga our samurai setter, who is a model of male setterhood...
Nobunaga enjoys the new toys we were kindly given, the bigger the better, and all the carroty limbs for easy pick up and shake! I just had to throw out Stitch, gutted and forlorn, a mere raggedy shell of his former stuffed bravado...
Not to be outdone, Claire goes wild. Nothing like new toys! Woohoo.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A second helping

I was blogging yesterday about making fingerless mitts as a test knit for knitwear designer Thistle West of Thistledown Knits. These are her Crisscross Applesauce mitts released on Ravelry, and I'm loving them so I had a second helping. This time in perky yellow lightweight dk tweed from Rose, a Tokyo yarn boutique by Japanese designer Misa Onozuka from the late eighties and early nineties. Sadly no longer in business (The opening of her store Rose featured in Japan Vogue Keitodama 1988 Autumn), but I have a huge stash of her gorgeous goodies.
Being a US design they're a little big for my hand, so I went down a size in needles and added a couple of stitches between cables for extra height since the yarn is less bulky...getting the perfect fit. Sherlock definitely approves! Now to knit the right hand after walkies and chores and ....oh well, soon!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Crisscross Applesauce Mitts

When there's a cold snap and you have to walkies three large doggies you really need gloves, but you also need your fingers to juggle leads, get out poopie bags and fumble with zippers and pulls to access treats, not to mention the finger licking process of actually feeding the fingerless mitts are the ultimate accessory for the fashionable setter owner. The minute I saw these beauties Crisscross Applesauce on the testknit thread in Ravelry I knew I had to have them, and instantly offered to testknit them for young knitwear designer Thistle West.
Testknitters work through knitting the pattern looking for errors in the charts and making suggestions about size and pattern expressions, measurements and readability, and offering project photos to help make the knit come alive when the pattern is released. 
The doggies were sleepy after the good long walkies round the snowy park so I let the housework and other work slide and settled in for a marathon knit session. Claire gave the mitt her seal of approval. Yep! The perfect accessory for a setter mama. Thank you Thistledown Knits!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Still a lot of snow on the ground and ice where it melted and froze over again...but we managed to go round the whole park on a long walkies, sometimes using the railings to haul myself over an icy patch.
Claire was happily checking things out, and when she's hunting she gets pretty oblivious to treats, but I had lovely venison to get attention for best on Sherlock, of course...
Nobu is more about the interaction than the treats, he wants me to do recall work to show how good he is at everything...