Nicknames: Bianka Talyn von Westkante HIC CGC TT Therapy Dog
Birthday: April 24th 2004
Likes: Car rides and kitties
Pet-Peeves: Rude dogs
Favorite Toy: Squeaky toys
Favorite Food: raw bones
Favorite Walk: The park
Best Tricks: I know German!
Arrival Story: I adopted her from her previous owner, who got her as a puppy from a German Shepherd breeder (parents titled, OFA, etc...) Her previous owner flew with her to Milwaukee so I could adopt her.
Bio: Bianca is a therapy dog, blood donor, Ambassador Dog and a DSA Cadet Scout, ATTS Temperament Tested and Herding Instinct tested. She loves car rides, backpacking and playdates in the park.
Bianca had to have emergency surgery a few weeks ago. We had no idea anything was wrong with her until she suddenly started acting funny that afternoon. It all happened so quickly, the night before she had gone for a long 2-3 mile walk to the park and she was acting normal that morning as well.
The first thing I noticed was that afternoon, she was limping slightly, but when I called her to see if I could tell why, she stopped limping and was walking normally again. I felt her leg and could not find out why so I let it go. Then a while later she started limping again, and when I called her to me that time she was not wanting to get up, even when I had food, and when I checked her gums they were pale so I knew something was seriously wrong. So I rushed her to the vet. It turned out she was bleeding internally and had an enlarged spleen. She had to be transferred to the emergency clinic because it was too late in the evening for my regular vet to perform the surgery. She had emergency surgery to remove her spleen that night. When they did the surgery they found several masses that had ruptured on her spleen, that's what caused the bleeding. She also needed a blood transfusion during surgery.
We had brought her to this specific emergency clinic partly because this was the clinic where Bianca had been a blood donor herself for two years (retired recently because the age limit is 8 years), they have a volunteer blood donor program where people sign up their pets to be donors. Luckily for us they happened to have blood donor dogs who were there the day we had came in with our emergency and they were able to immediately use the blood from one of the donors for Bianca.
I highly recommend the canine blood donor programs, if your dog is the right size to be a donor(usually over 50 pounds) and friendly, many areas have these volunteer programs. Sometimes they have the volunteer programs for cats as well, one of my cats has also been a blood donor (they have to be 10 pounds or over and have the right temperament for it.)
Bianca went through surgery with no complications. Sadly this was not the end of things, as they had also found some small masses on her liver and took samples of those as well as of the ones from the spleen and a sample of the spleen lymph node to send for biopsy. The biopsy results came back positive for cancer (HSA).
We consulted with an oncologist who recommended a metronomic chemotherapy protocol.
Bianca is doing well right now, healing very well from her surgery so hopefully she will do well with the chemotherapy treatment also.
I'm going to let my human tell the story of my first visit to Dog Camp (Camp Dogwood in Ingleside, IL.)
I took Bianca to a dog camp for one day over the weekend. It is normally a 4-day camp but they have an option of just coming for the day.
Well, I discovered why Shepherds are called one of the most versatile breeds! We did a bunch of activities, several of which Bianca was trying for the first time and she did really well at all of them!
We did herding, tracking, lure Coursing, preparing for the Therapy Dog Test, agility, and carting.
The first thing we did was herding. This was a herding instinct test, we had to drive from camp to the testing site. Bianca did really great and got her "Herding Instinct Certification." She was very funny to watch because for some reason she bounced her way through the testing. If you've ever seen a dog bound through deep snow, that is what she looked like she was doing! I put up a video of part of the test on her Dogster page if anyone wants to see it.
Several of the other owners there commented on what a nice looking dog she was. One of them said they just couldn't take their eyes off her. smile
You can see some photos from her herding on her Dogster page too.
The next activity we did was lure coursing. I think this was Bianca's first time trying it, and at first she wasn't sure about chasing the lure, she kept chasing and then stopping. However the guy running it switched it to a furry lure and as soon as Bianca saw that one she was off!
The next thing we did was tracking. This was "beginner's" tracking. Bianca has done some tracking training in her previous home but I don't know how much and I've never done any tracking. They had the owners taking turns laying a straight track with an item at the beginning and a glove with food at the end, and then hiding near the end (with the dog turned around so they couldn't see where the owner went) while another owner worked the dog. The woman who was working with Bianca was amazed at how good Bianca was. The instructor said we should do the "tracking level 2" activity which was the next day, but unfortunately I was just there for the day so I couldn't go to that.
"Preparing for the Therapy Dog Test"-
The trainer for the therapy dog stuff was one I have taken classes with before (with Pooch mostly) so she knew me but she was surprised to see Bianca (she actually referred to me and Ginger when she made a comment to me because she had assumed I was with my Golden, then she looked closer and realized it was a different dog with me.) Bianca did very well. The segments of the therapy dog test we practiced were from the Delta Society test because that is what the trainer is experience in. The segments the trainers did were: Clumsy Petting, Restraining Hug, Staggering/Gesturing, Angry Yelling, Bumped from Behind, Crowded and Petted by Several People (two, since they only had two trainers there), Leave It (with toys) and Offer Treat. They also used a wheelchair and a walker to see the dog's reaction to a person using those and also to the items on their own.
Bianca did very well on all the segments. She was a little unsure about what was going on with the hugging but she didn't mind. She was also not quite sure what to make of the wheelchair but was not scared or anything like that.
Since she was still raring to go we did agility next. Bianca enjoyed it and especially took to the A-frame, she didn't really need the trainers' help on any of the obstacles. She has tried a few obstacles in the past but only briefly (we took a single session of a drop-in agility class before).
There was supposed to be a break time before dinner at that point but I had talked to the guy running lure coursing earlier as the schedule said he was the person to see about having a "mini session" on carting. When I got there he had a cart out already. He first had me walk Bianca next to the cart to get her used to it. She was kinda nervous about it at first but I encouraged her and she got over it quickly. Once she was comfortable with that he actually hooked her up with a carting harness and hitched her to the cart! He held on to the harness at first and we walked around with her hitched to the cart with me encouraging her the whole way and giving her the start and stop commands. We did a few turns and then she was doing so well that he let her go without him holding the harness (with her walking in between us, and me holding her leash.) She actually pulled the cart all by herself with no problem, including turning, starting from a dead stop and going uphill. The instructor commented that she was very strong and on how good she was doing. She even sat down while hitched up. He said that he thought we could probably have it all down in about a week if we practiced every day and that he thought she could be ready for a drafting test in a month.
Bianca did very well! I was hoping to use the camp to kinda see what dog sports she might be good at and like so I could decide what to train in, but she did good and enjoyed everything we did! So, that doesn't narrow it down any.