Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lord Malcolm Dictates a Letter

29 January, 2014
A dictation taken by a house servant to 
the Good People of the Land of Hagg

My Dearest People of Hagg,

I write to you in a long awaited response to the malignment of my good name.  It has long been advertised by some that I am hard to please, hard to deal with on a personal level and hard to control.  I am here, today, to tell you my side of this untruthful (in my view) tale.  As the budgets for running the Palace are tight in our troubled times, I have let my Royal Secretary take a very long leave.  Therefore, I am dictating these words to the underling who cleans the Palace and sometimes helps out in the Royal Kitchens.  I fear she is not the best choice, but alas, I must speak out against the malicious lies that have arisen concerning my personage.

For low these many months and yea, even years;  you have been told that I do not get on well with others of my race.  To this, I say "Pish-taw"!  I have proven again and again that if I am put in a position of feeling safe and secure, (and especially if there is some deliciously yummy morsel available to me), I do not even look at others of my race, but ignore them completely!  I recently went on an excursion where I proved that over and over again.  A large unknown canine was brought over to sit so close to me that I could do anything I wished to him.  And I wished only to taste that yummy morsel of goodness that was offered.  Then a smaller version was brought in.  I showed no malice toward him either.  I even left that place and went to a big open store full of nice smelling and pleasant foods and other unknown canines.  I layed down on the cool floor and ignored them to the point that the Commoners, who happened to be there, noticed me and came to tell me how absolutely wonderful I was.   I tell you now, that I am not the monster some have made me out to be.

I also would like to say that I seem to be unfortunately blamed for causing trouble within the Palace walls.  I seem to be blamed for eating things I shouldn't.  Let me tell you, Good People;  if you found a half of a beautifully roasted leg of lamb on the floor, would you not pick it up?  I say you would!  As did I!  I see nothing out of the ordinary in that!  And when asked where I was going with it, I put it back on the floor for the cleaning lady to deal with it.

More so, when visitors come to view the Palace (as they often do--it is a grand place);  Some would have you believe that I foam at the mouth with insane growling and barking.  Nothing of the sort!  I am a perfect gentleman while milady McKenzie screams and jumps and pounces on top of me in some sort of frenzied panic.  Someone has to control her so that our guests can be greeted properly.  So I take that on myself and put an end to her ridiculous behavior.  I surely can not be blamed for that.

Just the other day, some old friends from our last Palace came by to visit.  I had known them before.  They were members of my Dog Club.  They arrived and took a grand tour.  During their visit, having known all of us in our younger days, they made these very comments, and I quote:
"Brenda, where are your dogs?  What has happened to them?  Look how good these dogs are being"!  
And turning to each other exclaimed, "Do your dogs act this well behaved when people come over"?
"No.  I have to put mine in a kennel or they attack".  
"So do I.  They go crazy"!
"Brenda, how'd you train this"?

Now, I ask you, does that sound like I am out of control?  I think not.  And I'm tired of hearing the malicious rumors continually being thrown out to you, concerning me.  I'm glad to have this opportunity to tell you thus. You must make up your own mind as to who is exaggerating the Truth.  I tell you now, it is not me!

Your Faithful and Handsome,
Lord Malcolm, Chamberlain

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Degenerative Myelopathy

A.K.A. Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy
 An incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Onset is typically after the age of 7 years and it is seen most frequently in the German shepherd dog, Pembroke Welsh corgi, and Boxer Dog, though the disorder is strongly associated with a gene mutation in SOD1 that has been found in 43 breeds as of 2008, including the wire fox terrier, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, and Cardigan Welsh corgi.[1][2] Progressive weakness and incoordination of the rear limbs are often the first signs seen in affected dogs, with progression over time to complete paralysis. Myelin is an insulating sheath around neurons in the spinal cord. One proposed cause of degenerative myelopathy is that the immune system attacks this sheath, breaking it down. This results in a loss of communication between nerves in lower body of the animal and the brain ~Wikipedia~
You can see that she has no strength in her hind end.
While it's not entirely clear that Nessie Monster has DM, she does display symptoms that are in keeping with the disease.  Today, I would like to discuss the little that I know about it and give you some resources to help you cope with the disease if you ever find your dog in need of medical treatment for it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Malcolm's Progress

Progress:  n. prog-res or, esp. British, proh-gres
1.  a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
2. growth or development;  continuous improvement

Accoutrement: n.   uh-koo-ter-muh-nt 
1. personal clothing, accessories,etc.
2. the equipment, excluding weapons and clothing, of a soldier

With the new year comes renewed life, renewed energy and renewed determination.....

As many of our adoring public are aware, we have spent much time and effort in the past year to build anew, as it were, our beloved Palace of Hagg.  There were many consultations with designers, engineers, builders and cabinet makers and much traveling to and fro to oversee construction crews and to shop for the many accoutrements that would adorn the new Palace.  With all that work one can well imagine that there was little time for our usual Royal endeavors.  Our twice-weekly visits to our dog club had to stop abruptly and while we tried to maintain a training and workout regimen;   it became clear early on, that there was only so much time in a day.  While Lady McKenzie was able to enroll in an agility class for a time, she had to travel great distances and it tired her so much that she begged forgiveness from attending another class.  Needless to say, that our Lord Malcolm would have been expected to suffer the greatest loss in his education, as he has always been the Chamberlain in most need of discipline and developmental progress.  

Here are just 4 posts concerning him, none of which are about his digestive habits.  These are about his lofty attitude and are provided just in case you need a refresher or you are new to the Courtly life and need to catch up........

Lord Malcolm had developed a fear of unknown people, unknown places and unknown dogs. As it would be a very long story to go into all the whys and wherefores again, I suggest you dig through some of the past posts to find out all his issues.  Or, better, you can trust me when I say that he is not lacking in issues that affect his behavior in public.  So, he was always the chosen Chamberlain when it came to hanging out on the construction site during the building process.  Terrified?  Yes.  He trembled and shook and drooled and never approached a worker.  He was forced to stay at our Servant's side though as she talked with the people and watched what they were doing.  All the crews were given instructions not to speak with milord Malcolm.  They were not even allowed to look at him.  But he was there at her side at all times, during loud noises and during quiet times and during times of much conversation.  He was never in harms way as he came to find out.  And he eventually realized that no one cared if he were there or not.  In fact, they didn't even notice him.  So he relaxed more and more as the building process dragged on.  Lord Malcolm even turned events around a bit and actually made friends with many of the workers.

At some point, we were able to move in and the Chamberlains got busy helping the staff to unload and decorate the new Palace.  Still, training was neglected.  But now I realize that it is time to begin afresh, and with that in mind, I enrolled milord in a private lesson with an instructor the staff found on line.  They were determined to send Lord Malcolm to boarding school to be trained away from his environment, but I, being the Duchess (as old as I am, I am still in charge), decided that at least we should see what this instructor would teach and what her methods might be.  

So yesterday, I sent Lord Malcolm with my most trusted servant to a lesson.  What I heard upon his return was simply amazing.  

The teacher brought 2 dogs with her to the lesson, a Shepherd of some sort from Germany and a small Pincer or toy Greyhound.  Malcolm was allowed to get comfortable as he was quite nervous when he entered the building.  After a few moments, he decided he liked the instructor and they set to work.  Clickers and treats (freshly roasted chicken) were used as rewards.  The Shepherd came out first and Lord Malcolm completely ignored it.  It even came and sat right next to him.  Not one bit of reactivity.  So out came little dog.  Again, no reaction.  Little dog was practically sitting upon our Malcolm and he completely ignored it.   He did so well (as did my servant) that the instructor actually observed that my servant knew more about dogs that most (self called) trainers in the city.  She was told that never had a dog of such good behavior and a handler of such quality come in for a lesson.  Well.  I fear she wasn't seeing what we at the Palace know to be true..........
See how Malcolm has his body positioned?  He is stiff and tense and is further away from the worker-man as compared to the rest of us.  I, of course, was the first to greet him and make him welcome.  Lady McKenzie, as you can see is obsessed with her own enjoyment.
My servant was so full of herself after all those accolades and Malcolm's good behavior that she decided to stop at PetsMart on her way home.  A little nervousness from Malcolm, but nothing over-wrought.  He actually went in.  There were many people around and a few dogs.  Small dogs.  Malcolm laid down on the floor and watched them, but never made a move to lunge or to eat them in any way.  We are all very proud of him.  He walked the aisles and bought some needed items and left.

He then spent the next 4 hours at Best Buy searching for the best computer and tablet combination with my servant.  Again, slightly nervous at the new sounds and smells, but he calmed down very quickly and hung out with all the blue shirts for a very long time.  The most funny thing I heard he did, was to shake and sling a snot ball at the feet of some lady who was not amused in any way.  We all got a good laugh at that.

At the end of the day, Malcolm had had a marathon training session.  It must have been somewhat like Boot Camp for him.  We all marvel at his great attitude.  He did not make one mistake yesterday.  Not one.  He was a perfect dog and no corrections had to be made.  We couldn't be more proud of him.  His progress and training will, of course, continue and he will go on other escapades.  But the next private lesson will be for Lady McKenzie and we shall try and address her hyper-activity and barking (actually screaming) episodes.  It is my goal that before I am rendered an invalid, I should have m'Chamberlains well trained and ready to care for the Palace upon my eventual demise.  To be sure,  it may be they who kill me.

~Lady Nessie, the Monster,
  Duchess of Hagg