Debby put on her red shoes..

Let’s Dance!

The genesis and evolution of this blog has been on my mind.

Some years ago I set up a page within the FleetFire Timbers website called What’s News. The page was designed to look like a newspaper. I’d add something now and then; adding content was a challenge because of the cumbersome design. It was my chiropractor, Jason Steinle (and great narrator of Ancient Treasure – The Remake), who introduced me to blogging and recommended WordPress. What’s News changed to a blog within the FFT website.

Around the same time Nate and Rick came home with an off-road vehicle, a Suzuki Samurai. After a photo shoot of the Trailer Queen, Nate went to Facebook and quickly shared the photos. Facebook wasn’t yet a household name. Show me that again! He did, but I didn’t really grasp the concept.

Time marched on. I began noticing ‘interactive’ websites, which I later learned ran with Web 2.0 technology. I joined Facebook with the intent of learning more and discovered my nieces, nephews and their children. Bonus! Listening to podcasts, particularly photography podcasts, I was introduced to Twitter before it, too, became a household word. With some of this newfound knowledge the website transitioned into a blogsite.

At first I wrote a lot on the blog, often waking up extra early with words pouring out of me. I took photos specifically for the blog. Somewhere along the way life and time created stumbling blocks. Or perhaps….writing blocks. In 2009 every extra minute was spent working on Ancient Treasure – The Remake, gearing up for the presentation at that year’s National Specialty. Was it then inspiration left me?? From my perspective – and I suspect from yours too – the blog became mundane.

No more! I am once again feeling inspired! I am ready to write about things from dogs to gas stations to photography to dogs to gardening to dogs to reading to dogs. And whatever else I feel like writing about. I won’t be writing every day, but I’ll write at least twice a week and include photos too. I am ready to make the blog better than ever, my own version of Artful Blogging.

David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” has been playing over and over again in my head this week. “Let’s dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues.” The blues. Ah, music that sings to my soul. Red is my favorite color. I had a dog named after this song. Champion Fleetfire Put On Your Red Shus. His call name was Bowie.

To kick off the blog’s renascence…

Notes from the heart

Ah! More treasures decluttering! On the back this series of note cards titled  Notes from the heart, ” Colorado artist Laura Mehmert has become know for her moving paintings and sculptures. She creates her cards, journals and prints from these original works of art.” This one it titled Lily.

I groomed Lily her entire life and fondly remember those freckles on the end of her muzzle. She was a sweet dog with a big heart.

What fun surprises I found exploring Shop on Laura’s website. More clients! All of these dogs have passed, but Carol and I had the good fortune to groom each of them for most of thier lives. Abner grew up with a little girl. Her father would drop him off and request ‘manly’ bows…said Abner was actually a pit bull in the witness protection program.

And Shu Shu. She represented the Shih Tzu in Animal Planet’s Breed All About It on the Lhasa Apso.

Shu Shu died several months ago. Thateus went to live with her owner and Cinsha.

The RD paper…

is now online. It will be 15 years in June since Gabrielle was diagnosed with Renal Dysplasia, beginning our quest for knowledge and our dedication for a useful tool for breeders.

Novel Allelic Variants in the Canine Cyclooxgenase-2 (Cox-2) Promoter Are Associated with Renal Dysplasia in Dogs

Peer-reviewed and published online at the Public Library of Science, I am very proud to be one of the co-authors on this paper.

Mary H. Whiteley1*, Jerold S. Bell2, Debby A. Rothman3

1 DOGenes Inc., Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, Massachusetts, United States of America, 3 American Lhasa Apso Club, Conifer, Colorado, United States of America


Renal dysplasia (RD) in dogs is a complex disease with a highly variable phenotype and mode of inheritance that does not follow a simple Mendelian pattern. Cox-2 (Cyclooxgenase-2) deficient mice have renal abnormalities and a pathology that has striking similarities to RD in dogs suggesting to us that mutations in the Cox-2 gene could be the cause of RD in dogs. Our data supports this hypothesis. Sequencing of the canine Cox-2 gene was done from clinically affected and normal dogs. Although no changes were detected in the Cox-2 coding region, small insertions and deletions of GC boxes just upstream of the ATG translation start site were found. These sequences are putative SP1 transcription factor binding sites that may represent important cis-acting DNA regulatory elements that govern the expression of Cox-2. A pedigree study of a family of Lhasa apsos revealed an important statistical correlation of these mutant alleles with the disease. We examined an additional 22 clinical cases from various breeds. Regardless of the breed or severity of disease, all of these had one or two copies of the Cox-2 allelic variants. We suggest that the unusual inheritance pattern of RD is due to these alleles, either by changing the pattern of expression of Cox-2 or making Cox-2 levels susceptible to influences of other genes or environmental factors that play an unknown but important role in the development of RD in dogs.


We wish to thank J. Kassis for careful review of the manuscript. The authors wish to dedicate this work to the late Dr. John B. Armstrong, canine geneticist and poodle fancier. He gave much of his time to educate the breeders and owners of purebred dogs about the importance of genetic diversity. His careful analysis of Poodle and Lhasa apso pedigrees with respect to RD were invaluable in the inception of this research. The authors pay tribute to Chiata, a Lhasa Apso who opened the door to discovery. We are grateful to the many dog owners who submitted DNA samples for this study.

Chiata’s page.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign

Who remembers that song? Who remembers Five Man Electrical Band?

One of the arctic freeze days last week Mitch must have been bored. I got home from work and there were lots of fun signs waiting in my inbox. This one is funny…or not. It’s so true!

Mitch lives at the top of a mountain. I mean the top! There’s a 360-degree view. There’s no way but down, right Vickie? When you approach his house he has a bunch of signs…like ‘Forget the dog, beware of owner’. Here’s another for his collection…


Really, I haven’t forgotten the blog! Counting down to October 27th…after that life will surely be less hectic. Right?