Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Christmas wrap up

Not a creature was stirring..............

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I had photos all set for a Christmas blog post and just couldn't bring myself to get online. I probably should have done one up ahead and set it up to post automaticly. As a matter of fact I think I stayed offline, including facebook, for a whole 2 days! It might be a record for me. (sad but true) I admit I am still behind on my e-mail. It was nice to just relax with the family.
Zola is doing great. So great in fact she drives me crazy at times. Clearly she is feeling good. She can play for hours. If you try to ignore her she finds some way to pester you so you have to pay attention to her. She is learning it won't work. At least with me. When she gets pushy she loses her couch privileges. Of course this means I have to put her down a bajillion times. Jack and Jenny cave into her pestering and play with her most of the time. The kids are home on vacation this week so they have been helping out a lot with her and taking her out for potty breaks while I am at work. One day my son got distracted and left her in the living room unattended a little to long. Our new leather couch got a slight make over because of it. Fortunately she chewed the cushion cover in a spot it can be hidden. Hopefully I can order a new cover. I also know how much she has charmed my husband because the text I got about it was "Wait til you see what Schmoopy did today". (Schmoopy is a nickname for a puppy in the house) That or perhaps he has just given up on having nice things. VBG

Jack got a cow trachea for his Christmas nom nom, and Jenny got a wizzle. Zola isn't allowed to have those kinds of treats so she didn't get any. Don't feel to bad for her though. Since she isn't used to getting them she doesn't know what she is missing. All of them got some fabulous gifts from Prudence and The Smiling Frog. A stuffed squeeky Rudolf, a squeeky bone, a denim ball plus they all got their very own stuffed Christmas tree squeekys. I wish I had video of the hilarity that ensued. There is nothing quite so funny as watching multiple dogs try to play with all of their new toys at once.
The Rudolf toy seems to be the favorite at the moment. I think it's because of the antlers. They do love to play tug! Prudences' mom also made them some super yummy, and healthy, dog treats. I did let Zola have a small taste of those. (small bits) They were a big hit.

Today I went and got all the dogs liscensed for the year. I learned the hard way last time that the late fee for forgetting is ridculously high. If you have a dog that doesn't get rabies vaccinations due to health issues you can get your vet to write your dog an exemption letter. I do this for Jenny due to her allergy issues. You can only vaccinate a healthy dog after all. (or that's how it's suppposed to work anyhow)
I appoligise for not getting my holiday post up in time. Maybe next year. Now I need to think about my new years resolutions. Because I am so good at those and all. VBG What do YOU have planned for the new year?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Of temperment shots and failing microchip scanners

File this under awkward doctor photos. She's cute tho isn't she?

Something happened at work that I felt was important to blog about. A couple of things actually. The first is that a person said her dog didn't need the temperment shot because she doesn't bite people. After discussing this with some co-workers we realized there are far to many people out there that think a distemper vaccine is actually a "temperment" shot. Um, no. This was not the first time that it was referenced to in that manner and it won't be the last I am sure. I think the word "temper" is throwing some people off. If there were a vaccine that changed a dogs temperment (behavior or demeanor) then aggression cases would be FAR easier to address. That is not the case. Distemper is actually a virus. You can read more about the details of it here. Sadly it can be fatal if not caught soon enough. We had a case at our hospital where a dog had it manifest with neurological symptoms and seizures. You can see video of that dog's "gum chewing" seizures here. Sadly that dog eventually had to be euthanized. So while it seems funny that people think it is a shot to prevent dogs from acting bad, it is much more important than that. While I know my blog readers aren't exactly my target audience for this post, I think we need to educate people on the difference.
The other thing that happened was that our "universal" microchip reader failed to read a microchip we knew a pet had. When the doctor called the company he was told it wasn't the reader but the chip. (made by a different company of course) After doing some research and making more calls to various microchip companies he found out some disturbing information. (one representative even admitted the companies hated each other) It turns out that in the microchip company wars one of the things companies did was the change the frequency of their chips slightly so other companies couldn't read them. I forget the details of why they did it exactly. (tho I'm sure it had to do with money) The disturbing part is that this means that some supposedly "universal" microchip scanners don't actually always work on all microchips. That's right, they don't work on all chips as they say they do. To me this is a BIG problem. If they are saying that their scanner can read all the chips, and it can't, how many pets are being adopted out from shelters who didn't find a chip? Or even worse, how many pets are being euthanized because the scanner didn't work for them? This is horrible.
I find it sad that companies that SAY they are about protecting pets can't freaking work together to help ALL the pets, not just the ones using their companies microchip. It is ridiculous. The company sent us a newer scanner that does pick up the other chips. It's a good thing we knew the pet had that other chip though or we might not have picked up on the problem. So pass this information on so others know. Microchips are NOT always the best protection. A collar with tags is your first line of defense when it comes to a missing pet. When people find a lost pet with a collar and tag they know it is a loved pet and they have the tools they need to find it's home if they chose. I have always recommended microchips in case they lose their collar, or if you need irrefutable proof a dog is yours a microchip works better than a photo. (especially in the case of purebreds who all like similar)
So if you use a microchip scanner in any capacity, please check it frequently with other chips. I think the only way we can try to hold these companies accountable for their "universal" scanner BS is to make sure we check them frequently and CALL them on it when we find it isn't working as advertised. So pass this information on to get the word out. Damn how I hate that money is all some companies care about!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless (kinda) Wednesday

From the vault: My first dog with my first child about 13 years ago.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I take it back!

Maybe I don't want winter after all. Going from 50 degrees, green grass and mud in the yard is suddenly much better than 10 degrees in the middle of the night. Brrrr!! We also got a little snow finally. Jack LOVES it. I have to practically drag him inside now.

The girls, not so much.

I'm quite sure they are grateful for the new easy on and off coats right about now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thank you Nicole Wilde!!

I want to give a huge shout out to Nicole Wilde for a generous donation of books and a video for our K-9 Corrections program. Our program is very small so donations help us greatly and are much appreciated.
The dogs and handlers are doing great. Here are a couple short videos of them doing some pivot work in preparation for one of the rally exercises. This is Erica. She is a little shy with some new people. I think she would do best in a home with no young children because of that.

And this is Blue. He will need a home with an active owner or another dog to play with. He and Erica play together very well but he can be quite rough.

Both dogs are available for adoption through the Humane Society of Knox County. We also got a new set of APDT rally signs made up finally. Our last set somehow got misplaced. It was aggravating because I had made them up myself along with all the sign holders too. And now the fencing I used for those has been discontinued. It is a tough time of year to find any type of garden fencing as well. Thankfully I think I may have found a solution using PVC pipe pieces with slots cut into them. I'll keep you posted on how it works.
Thanks again to Nicole Wilde for her donation. We couldn't do this without the support of our community, the facility, our facebook fans, and other trainers like her. I just cannot express my appreciation enough. Thank you.

Is winter ever coming?

Not that I'm complaining actually. It is nice to not have to shovel to take the puppy out. However green grass and high 40 degree weather in December is NOT the norm for Maine! I am a person who does like snow on the ground for Christmas however. I wouldn't mind some frozen ground either. At least then the mud would go away.
Today while I was at The Salty Dog Salon getting the girls nails dremeled, I picked up new coats for them both. They each have a Fido Fleece but I wanted something easier to get on and off that might not be quite so warm. They were made by Ooodles of Poodles who also happens to be a client at the vet I work for. She and her husband are always taking in older poodles in need of homes. They are wonderful people. I picked an Argyle design for Zola.

This is her in profile. Between the lack of nose and her underbite she has quite the look! Thankfully she breathes really well in spite of her extreme flat face. (of which as I've mentioned before I am not a fan of breeding this trait: &

For Jenny I picked the Plaid. I thought it made a great mis-matched set between the two of them. I'd say we are ready to walk even the most uppity big city streets now!

Zola has been full of zip lately. She played so much the other night she was panting at the end of the session. Jack knows how to wear a puppy out! They finally graduated from just tug games to include the classic "bitey face" game.

I also happened upon a cute decoration at the Hallmark store that I just had to buy.

You can see why of course.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A cute video and a puppy update

OK this time I have a good excuse for not posting lately. I am exhausted! The good news is that Zola is feeling pretty good. Her eye has healed so we are done with the daily drops. She will still have a small scar on her left eye but that is minor. It doesn't hurt her anymore. Even though I am not normally a big fan of the Science Diet foods, I have her on their prescription L/D formula. I am just to paranoid to try something else. I have to admit she has improved since she started eating it. She wasn't eating the dry very well until I started soaking it so it was soft. I think the kibble was just to big for her tiny mouth. (and her questionable under bite)

She has a bad knee so I am not teaching her to sit on cue. Because she is a resource guarder of food I am also not teaching her to love a kong toy. Normally I use kongs for crate training as a classical conditioning response. However since Jenny is already obsessed with Kongs I thought that might just make things tense between them. Zola has already learned to stay away from Jenny when she has one. Because of Zola's special diet she hasn't learned how to beg for table food either. Jack and Jenny both sit and watch us eat because I haven't been able to stop my husband from feeding them from the table! Thankfully he understands how serious Zola's problem is so he isn't slipping her any extras.

We have been working on crate training and she is getting better. She sleeps in her crate at night as well as she is crated for part of the day while I work. (when she doesn't come to work with me) She likes her crate and runs into it for her treat now. She was fine the first week but she slept all the time so it wasn't a problem. (because she wasn't feeling so good) Once she started feeling better that wasn't the case. She is still getting up very early in the morning but I have just adjusted my own schedule for now. I have to admit it wasn't easy. I am NOT a morning person! Thankfully the few times she is wakes up in the middle of the night she goes back to sleep after I take her out for a potty break. Housebreaking is taking a bit longer with her because I do not withhold water like I would with a normal health puppy.

One thing I found that was a help was the Molly Mutt Armor bedcover. She had a couple accidents in her crate which meant extra laundry for me. The waterproof armour cover goes over the bedding so you don't need to wash everything when it gets wet. I put a towel on top of it so the urine had somewhere to go (to keep it off her) and because a wet towel is easier to wash than the whole bed. I can just wipe the armour cover down with Natures Miracle and put in a clean towel. Ironically after getting the waterproof cover she has only had once accident since. (Maybe it's a magic cover?) I also use a towel because they don't make a Molly Mutt cover small enough for her crate. (I fold the armor cover in half to make it fit.)

She is learning not to resource guard her toys. Thankfully Jack and Jenny both could care less about hoarding toys. Jack just wants to play tug but he won't challenge her for it. If she growls to loudly/intensely he backs off. She is learning that if she wants him to play with her she needs to be nicer about it. It isn't as much fun to guard when the other dogs walk away!

I cannot stress enough how much easier this whole process has been with 2 already trained dogs in the house. Zola goes outside on leash but Jack and Jenny can be off leash. If I needed to have all 3 on leash it would be so much more work for me. Jack and Jenny don't need to go out as much as the puppy either. Dogs that don't guard their toys and that listen when I tell them to leave something has also helped a lot. The puppy was intimidated by Jack the first couple of weeks so I just told him to leave her alone. So he ignored her until she approached him. I knew she would eventually. He really is the perfect uncle dog with puppies.

Jenny has also been far more tolerant with some of her antics than I imagined she would be. She does tell Zola off when she is getting to big for her britches and so far Zola has responded well. I am keeping a close eye on them though because 2 females in a home can be tricky if they don't have a good give and take relationship between them.

We did run some more bloodwork and other tests. They weren't as good as I'd hoped. It looks like the 8 months of no treatment for her shunt caused some damage. The general consensus at work is that if I hadn't started her meds when I did she might not have made it this far. We will retest her again later and see if maybe the current diet and medications have helped her levels. (L/D food in 3 meals a day, Lactulose after every meal, Denamarin every evening.) I don't want to get more specific because I have found not everyone agrees with my choices when it comes to how to handle her treatment. I refuse to feel guilty for doing what I am able and that is not up for discussion. The good news is that she has a good quality of life for now and is a happy puppy.

I know I have been slacking with the blogging but to be honest it takes more effort to blog than post on facebook. (especially when blogger doesn't cooperate) I do try to post daily there so check out my page if you want more recent info and updates. I will try to post more here when I can. I know I promised to post more Christmas gift ideas but I haven't been surfing sites very much. Here is a post by my friend Prudence with some great ideas instead. I also highly reccomend The Smiling Frog Pets handmade dog (and cat) toys. The bunny in the video is one of theirs. They make great stuff!

Happy gift hunting!