Sunday, November 27, 2011

Torturing Jack for a good cause

Saturday evening was the Festival of lights parade in Rockland. I decided to take Jack and walk with the local shelters float as support. Of course this meant doggy torture before hand for poor Jack. First he needed his feet trimmed, a nail trim, a brush out and then a bath. (followed by more brushing out) He is shedding so the brush out before and after the bath is definitely a must. Even his muzzle sheds! I am SO grateful we have a self serve dog wash at the Loyal Biscuit Co. in town. My own bathroom just wouldn't be the same after a Jack bath. Not only do I not have to clean anything afterwards but the raised tubs, and ladders to get the dogs in and out, save my poor back. They also have a dog blow dryer which also makes life easier. For him to dry all on his own takes HOURS!

He got a nice walk after the bath to burn off the pent up energy. That's when I snapped the pics at one of our local art museums. I didn't get any photos from the parade because I am still learning how to use my camera. Thankfully the weather was perfect for a night parade, cool as expected but not freezing. Tho Jack would have been fine with freezing with his coat. We were one of the "reindeer" pulling the "sleigh". If I come across photos of our float entry later I'll be sure to share them. The good news is that we won the "Spirit Award" for the parade. The shelter also collected a lot of canned goods and toys for the animals. After the parade we stopped by the biscuit for a quick rest before our trek back to the car. Check out store dog Chuck over seeing the crowds. He's such a good boy!!

Our friend Prudence was also there as a reindeer decked out in a cute lighted collar. She LOVED the attention from the crowd. She wanted to say hello to everyone who was cheering for us. She has peeps you know. For some reason I always forget how much attention Jack gets in a crowd. I answer a LOT of questions about him. Thankfully he loves the attention most of the time. I do watch him though to make sure he isn't overwhelmed. (and he wears his head collar so I don't stress about people getting into his face which some seem to be determined to do) He got to see one of his favorite people there as well, Monica who has known him since he stepped off the plane. He gets SO excited to see her that he jumps around and acts like a puppy again. It is always cute to see.
It was a fabulous night and I'm glad it went so well. Hopefully we can do it again next year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for the 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep I got last night. Having this puppy has jettisoned me back to the days my children were infants! There has been a lot of trips to potty in the middle of the night. I am also thankful that Zola is feeling better. She started acting odd so I switched her over to the Hills L/D prescription food as recommended by the doctors,*and the people on the canine liver e-mail discussion list I joined. (e-mail lists are great support when you have a dog with a chronic illness) Odd behavior in a liver shunt dog is serious because they can have hepatic encephalopathy.  (*it should be noted that I don't always listen to the doctors)
We also conquered the hurdle of "yes you have to potty outside even when it is snowy and yucky".  THAT wasn't easy! Luckily I had gotten her a new Fido Fleece jacket before the snow hit which I think helped. For awhile I thought I might have to cave and get her boooties as well. She didn't want to walk in the snow! She figured it out tho I do carry her to the yard to save her feet from getting to cold to quickly. One of the things I have been working on with Jenny is trying to get her nails shorter. Frequent nail trims just wan't doing it. Thanks to Jillian at Salty Dog grooming who has been dremeling them. This past tuesday was week two. I'm told both she and Zola are very cooperative and it looks like with a few more weeks we can reach our goal.

Her eye is also looking much better. We discontinued the ointment she was on and started using autologous serum instead. That is where they take some of her blood, spin it down, and use the serum on top (white blood cells) as eye drops. She will likely always have the dot scar but it isn't painful anymore.
Since she is feeling so much better now she is getting feisty. She has initiated play with Jenny a couple of times but her play skills lack some finesse. Jenny seemed to tolerate her antics though. I inturrupt them if I think it is getting to intense. One of the lessons I forgot to mention the last time was that co-workers get as attached and worry about my dogs as much as me. Sometimes more. I never thought about that when I decided to take on a sick dog. I feel a little bad about that. At least my family got to have a say in it. It is nice to work with people that care that much tho.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy your friends and family and pets!! Try not to overdo the food treats. Well at least for your pets. An extra piece of pie for you isn't the worst thing that can happen. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Puppy video and lessons learned

OK I got a few videos so you can see the true cuteness of Zola. Hopefully blogger cooperates and they load ok. The first one is her at dinner time last night. She is currently getting the Honest Kitchen Keen formula so I have to wait for it to hydrate. She didn't want to wait. If you listen close you can also hear Jenny doing her "OMG it's time to eat!" whine.

This is her being aggressive with the leash. At the time I had no idea why she was having a temper tantrum. I just knew it wasn't normal so I turned on the camera. It turns out dogs with liver shunts can have aggressive episodes when the toxins build up in their system. Thankfully at only 10 lbs it is easy to deal with when it happens.

And this is from the first day she was here.

I'm sorry that some of the videos aren't great. I know they are very "Blair Witch Project" at times. It's hard to video something so fast!
Things I've learned this week: A 10 pound pug who doesn't want to take a pill is stronger than they look. Don't put medication into a dogs food. If they don't eat you you've wasted both the medication AND the meal. You can lead a pug to lunch but you can't make them eat. The goal for a dog with a liver shunt on lactulose is a nice soft stool. (and 3 to 4 small meals a day) Lactulose is very sticky. A boot covered in deer blood is a target for resource guarding.
I think she is feeling better. Last night and today she even chewed on a bone for a long time like a normal dog. Jenny wasn't as thrilled about that as I was. I'm going to have to increase the amount of bones around for awhile so that doesn't become a problem. Her eye also looks better to me with her on the serum. The only downside to her feeling better is that she is becoming feisty with Jenny. Jenny is not one to back down so I'll need to watch that closely. So far so good though. Fingers still crossed.
Sidenote: liver shunt dogs need a low protein diet with NO red meat. It is also better if they have a dairy source protein. Keen is turkey but it is working for her for now. She wouldn't eat the Preference but I may try it again later with some cottage cheese. I am still learning so stand by for more info on diet in the future.

Friday, November 18, 2011

And her name is.......

......... drum roll please..........................Zola! I tried coming up with a good J name to go along with Jack and Jenny but none of them sounded right. She just seemed like a Zola to me. I know a human Zola who is simply fabulous. I think she will find my choice amusing. Now I need to get her a tag with her name on it.

It turns out she is sicker than the shelter realized. She is now on a couple of medications to help push the toxins out of her body and support her liver function. Based on her bile acid test she has a serious shunt. The good news is that the medications aren't expensive. They should help her feel better and want to play more. It should also help her coordination so she stops bumping into things. She has moments where she seems very normal and others where you think, wow she isn't right! Her eye is also not healing as well as it should. We are going to try something new tomorrow involving serum that sounds interesting. Hopefully it works. She has to hold off on breakfast until after we can get some blood drawn for tests. She isn't going to be happy with me in the morning I am sure! But we gotta do what we gotta do to make her feel better. Tonight I learned that if you wake her for her pill she will yawn which makes the task easier. Has anyone ever tried to pry open a pugs mouth that didn't cooperate? It's not easy!
I am so grateful that Jenny and Jack seem to be doing ok with her. Jenny is interested yet respectful. Tho she did have to school the puppy in "stay the hell away from me with my kong!". Thankfully puppy backed off. Jack is also keeping his distance for the most part. They did have a short game of tug the other day that was cute. She got pushy over the toy so he walked away. He was raised by a fiesty frenchie so he knows when it is prudent to end a game.
The day I picked her up we also started 2 new dogs at the prison. The first is Erica. She is listed as a pit mix but honestly I don't see it. I see hound and maybe mountain cur. I have a friend with a cur and one of the traits I noticed was that they both have the same hairy belly. (I have photos of this on my camera but you can see my previous post here: Birdie was identified as a mountain cur when she was traveling through West Virginia on a road trip after this post was written.)

 The other is Blue. You can see why he got his name. He is a husky lab mix though in person his muzzle looks very shepherd to me.

So with the puppy and new dogs AND two new handlers, on top of my regular work and clients, you can see I have had a very busy week. Puppies don't sleep in very late you know.
Because I have been a "blogging slacker" todays post will be long since I'm not finished yet. Since Christmas is coming I am keeping my eye out for interesting dog items that might fit the "perfect gift" bill.  My co-worker is drooling over this snazzy new product. It is called the release and run collar. It is a collar with a retractable leash included. She regularly runs with her dogs and has to loop her leash over her while she runs. (with the dog off leash) With this product instead of having to carry the leash the dog does it for you! It coils up inside the dogs own collar. I think it is pretty brilliant.
I personally am lusting over this jacket: It's a little pricey but look how perfect it is for someone like me! It would be even better with my new logo embroidered on the back and left breast. I wonder if I could write it off as a training expense? Hmmm
Want something not as practical but beautiful? Well slide on over here: I have a pawprint ring from him that I love. I used to be very into jewelry in my younger days and I can tell you that their stuff is amazing.
Looking for something for your dog? Or maybe a different kind of jewelry piece? Try this site: I LOVE their tags! I just get hung up trying to think of the perfect word or saying for my own dogs. And check out their blog for their awesome bracelets.
Those are just a few things I've seen lately that look interesting. I'll try to post more potential treasures as I find them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Living on the edge

Life has a funny way of giving you things you didn't know you wanted. I got word of a pug puppy with a liver shunt in need of a home in my area. Things got busy after the death in the family and I didn't get a chance to follow up. I heard that the pug ended up in a foster home for my shelter and I was relieved. Then I ran into her foster mom and we made plans for me just to meet her. That was my downfall. As you can see she is now here and we are fostering her. To be honest it is just a formality to make sure my two don't have any major problems with her. I've seen some behavior issues that I can hopefully continue to manage. She resource guards her toys when she gets wound up and she has shown some aggression at odd times. I was told today that can go along with liver problems.
Liver shunts are tricky things. There are so many unknowns at this point. She might have a long life or it might be very short. So much depends on what kind of shunt it is and if she can stay regulated through diet. (I don't have all her paperwork yet so I am not privy to all the details like how it was diagnosed.) We had a family meeting so I could tell everyone that I wasn't sure how long we might have her if we did adopt her. True to form my family said they didn't care. Of course she had to stay! (And what was I even thinking to consider otherwise!)
I can tell you that she is 8 months old, already spayed and is only 10lbs. She has no nose it is so flat. (Seriously, wait til I get a profile photo to share.) Luckily she breathes very well even after running. I've yet to see her pant. She has a scratch on one eye and has ointment for that. (if you see a blurry eye in photos you'll know why) Her head is also slightly lopsided which may show in some photos as well She has a serious underbite. Even for a pug she is a great example of really poor breeding. But she has personality plus and charms everyone she meets. She is a little clown for sure.
I know I may be headed for heartbreak. But seriously, aren't we all? I mean we share our lives with dogs (and other animals) knowing that we will most likely outlive them. We refuse to think about it on a day to day basis but we all know it is true. Someday we will have to say goodbye to them. In this little ones case we just know it might be sooner than later. Hopefully this doesn't go terribly awry for us but I am aware it could. The "chit" can hit the fan at any time. I waffle between thinking: "Of course I have to do this, she needs us." to "What the hell am I doing? She is going to get sick and it will be awful and you will hate yourself for putting your family through it." to "I can do this, I work at a vet, who better to try?" to "You needed a 3rd dog like another hole in the head."
But at the end of the day I feel good about it. She is a lovely little puppy who makes us laugh and deserves a chance at a normal life. I think we can give that to her. Now we just need to find her a name.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Just when I thought I was safe

Fleas!! Those insidious bastards! I found one on Jenny the other night which prompted an emergency trip into the tub. Flea fighting tip: you don't need a shampoo that is for fleas to kill the suckers. Any shampoo that lathers up will work. Just be sure to start lathering around the neck and down so they don't all run up to the head and become harder to get. (I don't lather the face, I use a washcloth instead so soap doesn't get in the eyes.)
Fortunately I had some awesome new shampoo from Mutt Nose Best to try. I won a gift bag of goodies at the "Pints for Paws" event my favorite local store the Loyal Biscuit Co. held as a fundraiser for our local animal shelter.

I got a large bottle of the green tea formula, a small bottle of the lavender formula with a matching bottle of conditioner. We also got ear wipes, nose balm and a bottle of lavender formula deodorant and calming spray. Oh and a cool frisbee. I give the lavender shampoo and conditioner a two thumbs up! Not only did it lather up well she smelled fabulous afterwards.

The best part? Mutt Nose Best is a Maine based company that supports various charities! So not only are you buying a quality product, you are helping them help others. You can read more about that here on my friend Prudence's blog. So if you haven't tried their product already, please do. It is another win/win for you. And who doesn't love those??

Calendar girl!

A couple months ago I submitted some photos of Jenny to the Owned by Pugs calendar contest. I am slightly addicted to their blog and saw that the calendar raises money for pug rescue. The photo shown here got chosen! She is just one of many cute pugs seen in "September". Go check it out! Oh and while you are there BUY A CALENDAR!!! You even get to chose which pug rescue group, or memorial fund, you want your donation to go to. Talk about a win/win!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Never say never

I had a pretty busy weekend with a lot of clients. So yesterday afternoon I treated myself to some fun for me. There was a Flyball tournament in the area that friends were attending to sell their awesome toys at. (Check out The Smiling Frog Pets for some super cute Christmas toys!!) Since I had never been to a flyball event before I decided to swing in. In case you have never seen flyball in person I have a warning, it is LOUD!! I took ear plugs with me because chaos is not my thing. Even with ear plugs it is a noisy place to be. I nabbed a few photos but most of them look like this:

Yup, lots of blurry fast dogs. So I grabbed a video so you can get a better idea:

I can honestly say I highly doubt I will ever be a flyball person. I just can't deal with the noise. Avoidance of chaos is one reason I prefer to see clients one on one privately instead of doing group classes. However I can see why people do flyball. All of the dogs I saw were deliriously joyful. I missed seeing one of my friends dog run. She is called a height dog. (the shortest dog on a team which is who they base the jump height on) She is the cutest terrier mix named Xena adopted from a shelter. That is something I do like about the sport, all types of dogs are welcome. You can see many other photos from the event on The Smiling Frog Pets facebook page. (Xena is there too!)
From there I took Jenny to the big city of Portland for a Freestyle clinic. I joined a group called Dancing Paws that my training friend Nancy Freedman-Smith of GoodDogz Training is a member of. Remember that demo I helped with at Woofstock? Yeah that was my gateway moment. Now I have to admit, I never thought I would be interested in freestyle. Dancing with dogs? No way, I am way to serious for that. Well it turns out freestyle is really just tricks strung together. I love the challenge trick training can offer. Jenny loves to work and I don't always get to walk her as much as she needs so this is a great way to prevent boredom for her. And you know what? It is FUN!!!
It is a great group of people with an interesting mix of dogs! We had a golden, a standard poodle (I think), a smooth collie, a border collie mix, a frenchie, a doberman, an italian greyhound and a terrier. I'm not sure who our official leader is but the clinic was taught by Diana Logan CPDT of  (you can find her freestyle videos on youtube at Clickerdoodles and she has a facebook page as well)
The clinic was on lateral moves specifically and Jenny and I made a nice break through. I have some tweaking to do but we've made a great start. Here is a video of it. I got greedy trainer syndrome though and didn't stop when I should of and we both got frustrated. You can see how her first couple of passes were excellent. I am using body language "pressure" to get her to move so I will need to fade that out eventually. It turns out that pivot work I did for Rally had other uses!

Here is another trick we have been working on. She goes around a prop on one direction and I go in the other. I freeshaped this after seeing it on Pam Dennisons shaping video. Every once in awhile she would start going around and then come around into a heel position at my left making a figure 8 move. To fix it I rewarded it anyway BUT when she went around the pole all the way correctly I gave her two rewards. It worked. She stopped giving me the figure 8. Tonight I upped the criteria so she had to go around it twice.

Unfortunately from doing rally her default is to sit at the heel position. I need to work on getting her to stand as a default instead. This is another trick we are working on. She puts her feet on mine and then I move forward or back. It is a bad angle but you get the idea.

Will I ever compete in this sport? I dunno. I would say probably not but as I've learned sometimes you don't know where a journey is going to take you. At the very least I will be having fun with Jenny and maybe even entertain people along the way. It will certainly help keep my training skills fresh and challenge me. What's not good about that?
Have you ever done something you never thought you would? If so how did it turn out?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And the winner is............

For those who like suspense don't scoll down to far. Instead watch the video to see who the winner of the prize package is. Remember, the package includes: The new "Dog Sence" book by John Bradshaw, the most recent APDT Chronicle newsletter, a new 4 foot leather leash, a metal "WOOF" leash holder and a sample of ALL the Honest Kitchen food formulas! To make the contest fair I let Jenny pick the name. And the winner is..........

Pixel Williams!!! Please e-mail me at your mailing address so I can send your package of goodies. Congratulations!!! For all those who entered and did not win I will be having more give-a-ways in the future so stay tuned. (we are working on Jenny's picking skills and hopefully she will be able to pass me the winners name next time)