Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I've been called to Active Duty!

Some of you may remember when I 'joined the Army' last year.    It was shortly after I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Well, I've finally been called to action!
I received the following email (copied and pasted here for you) today:

Grow the Army of Women
On-line survey for breast cancer survivors
If you know of anyone who has ever had breast cancer, please share this with them!

Dear Nancy,

We need women in the United States who have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including LCIS and DCIS) to take part in an on-line survey developed by researchers who are trying to identify individual characteristics that may put some breast cancer survivors at higher risk of developing uterine cancer.

Studies have shown that the drug tamoxifen, which is used to treat women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, can increase a woman's risk of developing uterine cancer. These researchers want to identify certain personal characteristics that might influence whether or not a woman taking tamoxifen goes on to develop uterine cancer. It is NOT necessary to have taken tamoxifen to complete this survey.

Please read on to learn more about what's involved and who can participate. And please don't forget to tell any of your friends or family who are breast cancer survivors about this on-line study!

What's the study about?

The research team wants to develop a tool that can determine whether a woman with breast cancer is at higher risk of going on to develop uterine cancer. Women will be separated into two groups: 1. those who developed uterine cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer and 2. those who did not develop uterine cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Comparing the two groups will allow the research team to investigate the specific individual characteristics that are associated with developing uterine cancer after being diagnosed with breast cancer. If you were diagnosed with uterine cancer before you were diagnosed with breast cancer, you can still participate in the survey.

What's involved?

If you sign up for the Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer, and YOU Study, you will be sent a link to an on-line survey. The survey is confidential. This means that you will be asked to provide basic demographic information (such as age and ethnicity), but that you will NOT be asked for any identifying information (such as your name or e-mail address). The survey will ask questions about your smoking and exercise history, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment history, reproductive health and menstrual history, and personal and family medical history, including whether or not you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Who is conducting the study?

Michael Milam, MD, MPH, at the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center, in Kentucky


Anywhere in the United States – this is an on-line study

Who can participate?

You can join the Breast Cancer, Uterine Cancer, and YOU Study if you match ALL of these MAIN categories:

• You are a woman over the age of 18
• You have been diagnosed with breast cancer of any stage (including LCIS and DCIS) at some point in your life
• You have access to the Internet and are willing to complete an on-line survey
• You live in the United States

If you RSVP for the study and are found to be a match, you will receive a link to the on-line survey.

If you're a Breast Cancer Survivor and interested in joining, click below.

If you know of someone else who might be interested you may share information with them by clicking here:

~ end of email ~
Even though my cancer was 'hormome-sensitive and in spite of the fact that Tamoxifen has been proven to reduce the chance of a women having a recurrence of Breast Cancer,  I chose not to follow up my mastectomy with Tamoxifen, even though it was suggested by my surgeon & oncologist,  partially because I had heard (and read) that it can increase a BC survivor's chance of developing uterine cancer (not to mention blood clots).   I'm glad that this subject is being studied so that we can learn whether or not it is worth the risk to take it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Needle Felted Friends...

 I've been a busy lady!
I've almost completed my very first needle felted critters.

I still have detail work to do on the polar bear and the PIT BULL PUP is only about half done.  I've just started adding the white on him and am beginning to work on his "back half".

I have to confess:
(affectionate term for a Pitbull)

He'll be much cuter when he's done.

I think I may incorporate my Felted Friends into Fundraisers for BCCR.
The little black bear turned out pretty cute...

And the Polar Bear is FUN.
He sits or lies on his back, kicking up his feet!

I hope you like my Needle Felted Friends and that you'll consider bidding on them to help raise funds for Bluff Country Canine Rescue.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


One of my goals with BCCR is to provide companion dogs to military personnel.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sable shares the good news...

Sorry for not getting back to you yesterday with Hero's good news but my back went out and I was not able to MOVE!  It's still pretty bad, in spite of two prescriptions from my doctor, but I was able to shuffle into the office to make this post.  The video was actually filmed yesterday ~ before my back went out.  Sable threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't let her tell you the good news...


What do you mean you can't understand Sable?  Well, that's the silliest thing I ever heard!

OBVIOUSLY, Sable is excited to tell you that Hero will be staying here, with us, for EVER! 

Many of you know that I was really struggling with how I could possibly part with him ~ ever since he first arrived at my door.  I can still remember the first time that I laid eyes on him.  The couple that found him, pulled up my driveway and the husband got Hero out of the back seat.  As they walked from the car to my garage I thought:  "this is my forever dog!"  I loved him from the very first moment that I saw him.

Of course, I love ALL of my rescue dogs.  Each one is special in it's own way and I form a bond with each and every one of them.  That loving bond makes me want, all the more, to find them the perfect forever home.  Except with Hero.  From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew I would never want to part with him.  Of course, the traumatic experience we went through a couple weeks later did nothing to diminish that bond.  There's nothing like literally holding an animal's life in your hands  to deepen the connection between human and animal.  (not that I needed any deepening of our connection!).

But I was torn.  As much as I love the big lug, Hero is a rescue dog.  Technically, he belongs to Bluff Country Canine Rescue.  Donations to the rescue paid Hero's vet bills.  His adoption fee is $250 which would add desperately needed money to the coffers of BCCR.  Lord knows I can't afford to pay the adoption fee and I felt that just keeping him would be like stealing from the rescue.  Oh, how I struggled.  To make matters worse, there was a very nice lady (who lives VERY far away from me) who had expressed an interest in adopting Hero. 

I spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what the right thing to do was.  I prayed. I asked for a 'sign' of what I was supposed to do.  Of what was the right thing to do.   I prayed a LOT.  I wrote to a very dear lady (in rescue), whom I love and respect and asked her advice.  When she wrote back, I was devastated.  She agreed that Hero belonged to the rescue and that it would be morally wrong for me to just keep him.  She reminded me that I will fall in love with many dogs in this endeavor.  I sobbed the whole time I was reading her letter.  She pointed out that the fact that someone wanted to adopt him so soon after I got him was probably the sign that I'd been praying for.  My heart was broken but I felt that the letter that Ginny had written to me was my sign.

I contacted the lady that wanted to adopt Hero and told her that we could move forward with the adoption.  She had some concerns about possible health complications that could arise from the abdominal surgery that he had to undergo because he had a retained testicle.  Apparently, she and her husband had a dog with a similar experience, in the past, that developed complications later and it was a very difficult and expensive ordeal.  She also asked me if Hero was accustomed to staying in a kennel.

I checked with my vet and he assured me that Hero should not be at any higher risk for further health complications as a result of his surgery than a dog that had been neutered the 'traditional' way.  I was, however, very concerned about the question of Hero being used to a "kennel".  What did she mean?  Was she talking about a crate in the house?  I have no problem with that.  Many people teach their dogs to use a crate in their homes.  In fact it is recommended that dogs learn to stay in a crate when necessary and many dogs actually love it.  But she said "kennel".  Which to me means and outdoor house and fenced in run.  I needed to talk with her before we could proceed with the adoption.  I did not want Hero staying in a kennel.  He needs to be an "in the house" dog.  Part of the family.  Even though I was assured that it was a very nice kennel, with heat and air-conditioning, I could not let my big, black dog go live in a cage!  I asked the potential adopter to call me so that we could discuss this.  Several days later, I got an email from her saying that because of her concerns over possible health complications from Hero's surgery and the difficulty arranging transport to get him to their home, and because she knows how much I love Hero, she had decided to pass on adopting him and they will get a dog from a shelter closer to where they live.

THAT is, most definitely, my sign!

My incredibly wonderful, sweet, kind, generous Baby Sister had already offered to pay Hero's adoption fee for me (when I was crying about having to let him go) as her birthday gift to me.  It just so happens that my birthday is this weekend and Penny said she couldn't think of a better gift to give me!

So...Hero will be spending the rest of his days with me and Bella & Sable.  The girls both love him and he's so gentle and sweet with other dogs that he'll do just fine with me still bringing in rescued dogs.  To say that I am blissfully happy would be the understatement of the century.  My dog is home.  It is as it was meant to be


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saying Prayers ~ Fingers Crossed...

One way or another, there will be GOOD NEWS for Hero today!

Monday, February 20, 2012

What I was working on last night...
PHOTOGRAPHS from the Bluff Country

I even figured out how to add music! Unfortunately, we have to put up with occassional ads popping up. :-( Just click the 'X' in the upper, right corner of the little ad box and it will go away. I hope you like my slideshow!

Good Intentions..

Well, I tried!
I've got a slideshow uploading to Utube right now but it clearly won't be done by midnight.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2007 and 2008

Because I want to save one post for other things...

2007and 2008 were a time for endings and new beginnings...
A heavy snowstorm caused the roof of the old, abandonded (except by the rams!) barn to collapse.  The barn wasn't much, but it did provide shelter for the rams.  Plus, I LIKE old, abandoned barns!

I said a final farewell to my marriage AND to the old barn...

To make way for my new life and NEW BARN!

Of course, it was my neighbor, Julie Chapman's, fault that I got the goats.
AND the chickens!

For the first and only time in all the years that I've raised Shetlands, I lost a lamb during delivery (due to malpresentation).  Thank God it never happened again and the twin ~ a beautiful, HST ewe lamb ~ survived.

                 I made a very difficult decision to say good-bye to a Dear Canine Friend...

It was actually in Dec. of '06 that I said good-bye to PACO
I'm including it here because I didn't include it in the '06 post and it was SUCH a hard sacrifice for me!  At least he didn't die.

I've been looking through my 2008 posts, trying to find something "happy" to end this post with, and I can't find anything!    Now, THAT is sad!

This is the best I could do:

SIX YEARS...six posts!

Today is the sixth anniversary of my very first blog post.  I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say for today's post and have finally come to the conclusion that there is NO WAY that I can sum up the last six years in one post.  So, I'm going to do SIX posts today!  Yes, I know ~ I haven't been very good about doing ONE post a day and now I'm going to do six?!  Yes I am.
As in all of my blog posts, click on any image and it will 'biggify' so that you can see the details better.  I will also included links that take you back to some of my very favorite posts.  I debated whether I wanted to do a post for each year or posts of six different topics.  I've decided that it will be a combination of the two.
What the heck am I talking about?  I can't "plan" a blog post!  I just start writing and choosing photos and who knows where or when it will end...

Wow!  Skimming over my old blog posts brings back
 all sorts of memories!  
Some good:

(I was told Shetland sheep will eat snow, as opposed to drinking water in the winter.  That is true of my ewes but my wussy rams would trudge through chest-deep snow to get to their heated water bucket!
The wusses ;-)

 This being at attempt to get a GOOD photo of my breeding rams!

The shot I wanted!
 It was on April 30 of 2006 that my beloved "Zodiak" presented me with beautiful, twin, HST (white on the Head, Socks and Tail) ewe lambs.  One of which you all know as "DREAM"!

My beautiful "Bellamica"
And some Not so Good:

It has taken me over THREE HOURS to do this post!  Not because I am enjoying reminiscing over old photos (although I am), but because Blogger keeps messing with the formatting!  When I 'preview' what I have thus far, there are HUGE spaces between text and photos.  I have to go into 'edit html' in order to fix it but then it reverts back to the messed up form anyway!  If it looks right when I preview it now, I'm going to publish and go take my dogs for a walk!

six posts indeed!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

With Friends like THIS...


Who the heck needs enemies?

Don't be fooled into thinking that "poor, little Jill" is getting picked on by those big boys!
In fact, she is most often the instigator!
In the photo below, Cisco has run to Hero for protection.
Notice Jill's humble submission to Hero's masculine presence...

Cisco is much braver when Hero 'has his back'!

Have the boys managed to subdue the smaller statured Jill?


This feisty little girl fought back from pneumonia and from blindness ~ she's not going to let a couple of DOGS keep her down!

 Note Hero still protecting Cisco (who's obviously terrified!)

I have so many more photos but I'd better stop.
Nobody will ever be able to download this blogpost!
I think I'll make a SLIDESHOW and post it to my Facebook Page...
That way you can see the 'rest of the story'.
Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Where'd my "widget" go?

I have a little widget, on top of my sidebar, that is supposed to count down the days until my blog's anniversary.  I know it was getting down to the wire and then the stupid thing stopped functioning!  I was afraid that I'd missed my own "Blogiversary".  Fortunately, through Blogger, I am able to go back to my very first post (that wasn't even actually published ~ it was just me 'testing the waters') and see that the date was actually Feb. 19, 2006.  So I still have a couple of days.  Which is a good thing as I want to do something special for that blog post.  Not sure just what it will be yet, but I want it to be special.

Watch:  the pressure of having just said that will make me not post at all...

The above photo was the original photo used on my blog.  It is one of my all-time-favorite photos.  It shows Alice, as a yearling, napping by the big tree in my pasture.  That tree was the centerpiece in many photographs that I took of my sheep over the years.  Even today, the two remaining sheep on my property, Kahlua and Tia Maria, have chosen the base of that tree as their favorite place to relax.

I'm heading outside now.  I want to take a BUNCH of pictures of the sheep and the dogs for another post.  Perhaps I'll sit with the sheep for a while and ponder what I want to do for my Blogiversary post...

Wishing you all a Spendiferous Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Look at Me"

"Look at Me"

Three very valuable words when training a dog. 

 They come in very handy for a number of circumstances.  Such as if you are walking a dog that tends to pull.  It's hard to pull if said dog is turning around to look at you. 

 And if looking at you is rewarded with a treat, the dog even moves back toward you when it hears the command. 

 It's also an excellent tool to prevent a fearful or aggressive dog from becoming over-excited when encountering another animal while on a walk. 

Think about all the ways that having your dog turn and look at you might help you to gain more control.  

I snapped all of these pictures while Cisco and I were out for a walk the other day.

It is really nice having your dog focused on you when out for a stroll!



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