Tuesday, January 31, 2012

XS Dog Products

Why do extra small dog products only seem to come in two colors?

Princess Pink


Both of these are quality (and expensive) dog products that I would be happy to have in any color.  But why can't small dogs enjoy all the same color choices as bigger dogs?  I see no reason why I need to be asking myself if I prefer camo or pink when I probably would not buy either under normal circumstances.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What We Learned Today

Today we learned some important lessons-
  1. There is a reason that we but non-toxic cleaning and gardening products
  2. The dogs believe fertilizer is both delicious to eat and fun to roll in
  3. The Home Again pet emergency helpline is very helpful
The dogs ate and rolled in fertilizer that was left sitting out in the yard today.  I called the Home Again poison control helpline thingy and  they looked up this particular kind of fertilizer.  As it turns out this stuff only causes what their vet described as "mild GI upset" and I was advised to feed them to help pad their stomach from the onslaught of fertilizer and to bring them to the vet if they started acting unusual.

We got lucky because a lot of fertilizers (even organic ones) are really nasty and it could have been bad.  This is the reason that we try to buy pet safe and non toxic cleaners and gardening products, you never know when you are going to mess up like this.

"Not my fault- the puppy made me do it"

Friday, January 27, 2012

No more puppy proofing

Our house is properly dog proofed all the time- but up until yesterday it had added levels of puppy proofing.  I am proud to announce all extra layers of puppy barriers have been removed.

When Kerrigan was 12 weeks old we had two gates keeping her in the living room, a 9 inch tall small animal pen discouraging her from crawling behind the TV and another 9 inch tall pen keeping her out of the computer room but allowing Copley to jump it for access to the rest of the house.

The final piece of puppy proofing was one of said small animal pens keeping her out of the kitchen.  The dogs are not allowed in the kitchen at all.  We have taught them that there is an invisible barrier where the carpet meets the tile and they are not to cross it.  Copley takes this rule so seriously that he could be chasing a toy full out and stop immediately if it bounces into the kitchen, only to stare longingly at it from the threshold of the living room.

We enforce this rule for two main reasons.  First thing is that when someone is cooking it could be very dangerous in the kitchen.  Ovens open, sharp knives in the dishwasher, hot oil on the stove; it is no place for a dog.  The other reason is that dogs appreciate rules.  Having the kitchen there gives them some mental stimulation.  I do like that they can't just run around the downstairs without any regard for where they are going, they have to always think "this is my area- this is not- lets stay a little aware of where we are while we wrestle."

Kerrigan has been working on following this rule and was doing very well.  The pen was there just to help remind her not to go in there when I was not directly watching her.  It would have been impossible to teach her to stay out if she could just run in and out when I was not watching.  Finally yesterday we decided she was mature enough to behave without the pen and we were right.  It has now been two days and she has only had a few minor slip ups of a paw on the tile here or there.  She totally gets it and respects the invisible barrier.  Best of all I can stop tripping on that darn thing every time I walk out of the kitchen!

For a 6 month old puppy she really is doing very well.  I can't believe only three months ago she was this tiny little puppy who could really only be trusted in this pen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A cell phone update from the couch

I have a cold and have been sitting on the couch with Copley for two days while Ben works crazy hours.

Keeping Copley calm and resting has actually turned out very well. In fact I was beginning to worry that he had become lethargic. After careful observation I have come to the conclusion that a life of laying around under covers not having to move except to eat and pee might actually suit him.  It turns out after 4 days without walks or running around with the puppy or even jumping on the couch has not made a hyper bored dog, instead I have a head sticking out from under the covers.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whats Wrong With Copley

Who knows?  We have been to two vets and had a few tests to see what has been going on with him.  You can read about his epic hike where he refused to walk here.

We learned a few things.  First is that he does not have amazing hips (shocking that a vet would finally agree with me after I have been saying this for years).  The orthopedic surgeon does not think they are currently causing him any problems.  Apparently they do not look too bad and he has good range of motion.  So while not helping with any current problems we have learned that I was totally right that Copley is going to have some arthritis problems in his hind end when he gets older (I hope much older).

Second thing we learned is that he has knee pain in one knee.  Everyone agrees this is probably causing his problems.  It could be an auto-immune disease attacking his joints, or it could be a partial tare of his CCL, or it could be something else.

Whats our course of action?  We are resting him by not letting him run or jump and only taking short walks on leash (not that we took off-leash walks anyway).  He is on a pain killer and anti-inflammatory drug which seems to be helping.  In two weeks we will gradually resume normal activity and take him off the drugs.  If he still has pain we will test for the auto-immune issue.

The vets are all telling me it is extremely unlikely for a dog that small to partially tear a CCL.  I tell those vets that a lot of unlikely things happen in my life.

In the meanwhile Copley is doing good resting and has even learned to wait for me to pick him up onto the couch (what a smarty pants).  Our biggest problem is that when Ben gets home he rough houses, chases him and wrestles with him.  Spending all day carefully stopping your dog from doing anything only to find your husband roughhousing with him while you are not looking is a little but more than infuriating.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Blog Design

I know I just posted (you should check it out), but I forgot to mention that I got a great new blog design by The Cutest Blog On the Block.  I LOVE IT.  They really did a great job!

I also want to warn everyone not to google "dog orthopedic issues" in the time between when your dog starts limping and when you go to the vet.  There are some scary things that could be wrong with him- so lets all try to hope for the best.  At least we have both insurance and some money in savings or I would really be panicking here.

More Sheep!

Wednesday the whole family went on a hike in Valley of Fire state park.  The first half of the hike was really great- second half not so much.  Since I am in a good mood lets start with the first half.

For starters we saw another big horn sheep.  Unlike the last sheep we saw this one was just standing on the side of the road looking skinny.  It was a little sad looking but still cool.
After stopping to photograph the sheep we headed out on our hike.  The first half was really beautiful.

Here's Copley and Ben starting down the wash.
It is a little difficult to see in the picture (you should click to enlarge it) but this whole rock is full of quartz.  Or at least we think it is quartz- no one here is a geologist.  For a while every rock we passed was like this and there were even rocks coming out of the ground with these crystals in it.  Very cool.

We stopped for a rest and a snack.  Kerri actually did amazing on this hike.  I was prepared with her little dog backpack so that I could hold her once she got tired.  The little lady made it about two and a half miles before she started getting tired and crazy.  The rest of the hike she was happy to be held.
The goal of this hike was a spring.  It was really cool and there even was flowing water and reeds.

Another cool thing is that the whole way down the wash to the spring there were lots of bighorn sheep tracks.  They obviously also use the wash to get to this water source.
I also have to share this picture of the slot canyon it was really cool.
Then we headed off on the second half of this hike.  This was a follow the GPS, the washes and your map sort of hike so the second half was just through the desert.  This dosnt look half bad- right?
Well it was a little tougher going than I thought and we were trying to make it back to the car in time to get Kerri to puppy agility class (we eventually gave up on that).  Copley started limping and then eventually stopped walking so he had to be carried the last mile or so.  There were lots more little hills and dips than anyone expected so the going was tougher than we thought.  Overall it would not have been so bad if Copley was ok and we didn't have a time crunch.  Anyway I don't have any pictures of the second half of this hike until this one-
This is me and the dogs waiting at a pull-off while Ben walked the rest of the way to the car because Copley still could not walk more than a couple of feet.  

About two weeks ago Copley got a little less interested in his runs but we figured it was just him being tired from playing with the puppy more.  Then on Tuesday he was a total nut at agility class- refusing a lot of obstacles and running off to say hi to people instead.  It was a new instructor for this session and she just kept telling me how much better my recall needed to be, how maybe we should take an obedience class etc...  I know that we have really good recall and that this was out of the ordinary.  He had never refused a jump before so I knew something was up but hadn't really figured it out.  Now I see that the poor guy is having some sort of issue with his back left leg, it explains everything that has been going on.  We go to the vet Monday, so lets hope for something that is an easy fix.  He is walking and playing and acting fine today so I hope it is not too serious.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Simple Answers

Sometimes me and Ben really over think things.  Hardcore over-analyze simple problems.

Here is a real life example;  Kerri was acting funny, whining and jumping into our laps uninvited.  She is supposed to sit at our feet silently if she wants invited up in our lap.  Instead she was just going for it and then whining and barking if we didn't let her up.  Overall she was very clingy.

We were all worried.  Was she sick?  Was she becoming so attached to me that she couldn't handle not being in my lap all the time?  Was it another fear stage?  What kind of training do we need to do?  We were brainstorming plans of action for the next day.

Then I got up to put on my slippers cause we have had a little bit of a cold snap.  DING DING DING DING DING.  We have a winner!!!!!!!!!!!

Turns out when you weigh five pounds, have zero body fat and almost no fur on your tummy it gets a little cold.  She was clinging to us for warmth.  I put on her sweater and all was well.

She only has one really warm inside sweater, it was sent to her by her grandparents.  It is a cute little turtleneck  and is both warm and adorable.  Of course I don't have any pictures of her in that, but today she is lounging about in this very attractive hunters orange cotton t shirt-
I never thought I would have a dog that wore clothes.  To tell you the truth "dressed up" dogs put me off a little bit, but this girl is just plain cold.  Putting on a sweater is certainly better than having some horrible behavior problem, so I guess I can tolerate it.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Much to my surprise people seem to actually be reading this blog.  When I started I figured that no one would read it so this is an interesting surprise.

I also find myself worrying about being judged by those readers or driving them away.  Then I remembered why I started this blog in the first place.  I wanted a place to get my opinions out.  When people tell me I am going to turn my dog viscous by feeding them fresh meat I want a place where I can tell those people that they are nuts, wrong and to stop judging me.  Cause saying those sorts of things in real life doesn't get you anywhere, after all if their logic is that flawed to begin with I am not going to be able to win that argument with reason and fact.  So here is a list of what this blog is or is not- accompanied by slightly irrelevant pictures of my cute puppies.

  • This blog IS going to be funny.  It will be funny because my writing is sarcastic and I try to find the humor in life.  It is NOT going to be funny pictures of my dogs doing mischievous things.  That is because dogs being destructive and getting into things they shouldn't means that my dogs are under-stimulated, under exercised or not properly supervised.  Sure they misbehave, but I try to use it as opportunities to re direct them to a more appropriate behavior, not get out the camera.  Hilarious misbehaved hyper dogs are sad, unstable and need help.  In my opinion things like tiny dog hamburgers are much more hilarious.
  • This blog is NOT and advise column.  Do your own research.  I learned everything I know from reading books (mostly) and google (be careful with that).  Anyone else could learn the same thing.
  • I will try to keep my posts mostly dog related but when I also have these cute faces looking up at me I might be forced to stray into the rodent world from time to time.
  •  Yes that's a mouse.
  • I will not use this blog to judge you for your informed actions- I only judge people for uninformed stupidity.  It just drives me nuts when people judge others for how they train their dogs, what they feed them or where they got them.  There is nothing wrong with adopting a dog from the pound or getting it from a good breeder whose ethics you know and agree with.  You are not a horrible person for feeding your dog pre-made food.  On that note there is nothing wrong with me feeding a home made diet either!
  •  Lastly this in NOT the blog of a professional blogger.  I have come to realize most bloggers are one of the following three things- a writer, a stay at home mom or an evangelical christian.  I am not a writer or a stay at home mom (in fact I am not a mom at all).  I have a job that does not involve any writing at all beyond the occasional e-mail.  It is more of an image and vector based thing than a word thing.  While my religious views are totally irrelevant to this blog lets just say I am never going to be using it to bring people closer to Jesus.
  • In regards to the last item- I have no problem with stay at home mothers, writers or people who attend church.  I am just puzzled why they rule the world of personal blogs (not the writers- that actually makes a lot of sense).

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday

    Everyone in the blogosphere seems to be into this Wordless Wednesday thing, so here is my attempt.  Perhaps it will even encourage me to take more pictures of the dogs.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    They have been ours for longer than they have not

    We adopted Copley when he was a year and a half.  In January he will turn 3.

    We adopted Kerrigan when she was 3 months old.  In January she will be 6 months.

    That means both these dogs will have officially lived with us for the majority of their lives.

    When I first met Copley he has been in the pound for exactly 30 days.  His paperwork showed he did his intake and got his Bordatella/Distemper/Parvo vaccine on May 28th, we adopted him on June 27th.  Back then before I volunteered in rescue and before I knew Copley this didn't seem that odd to me.  But now I realize it was an amazing feat that almost no dog could accomplish, especially in this city. For thirty days he was locked in a kennel, thrown food once a day, cleaned up after and mostly ignored.  Now I am very familiar with the shelter he came from.  They are not huge like the shelter Kerri came from, but they are high kill.  Their very few animal control officers do what they can, but the dogs don't ever get walked.  If they are lucky a potential adopter can walk them around a very small courtyard where they are being barked at in plain view of all the other dogs.  This shelter does not have a lot of volunteers, the dogs don't have toys and beds are old and scarce.  At least it is clean and the workers have always seemed kind but there is only so much they can do.

    For 30 days Copley was in this place.  For 30 days he stayed healthy- because if he had even coughed he would have been put down.  Every morning he greeted the people at the shelter with a happy wag and hope they would come pet him.  Unlike so many dogs he didn't get scared, or protective of his kennel or his food.  He probably did not so much as growl or he would have been labeled aggressive and been killed.  And on top of that he avoided being euthanized just because his number was up.  Was there unusually low intake?  Unlikely.  Did the animal control officer who so joyfully said goodbye to him see how good of a dog he was and help him stay around?  Was he part of a court case and didn't get put out for adoption until later in the month?  I guess I will never know.

    We spend a lot of time talking about what his life was like before he lived with us.  His previous owner was not totally irresponsible.  He was neutered, house-trained, well fed and taught a few tricks.  There were several dogs who all looked like Copley in varying ages at the shelter that month.  I assume they all came in together.  They were not owner-surrendered because they did not have names, only numbers.  At that shelter the dogs without names stay without names and the dogs turned in by owners keep their names.  We have lots of theories, some based on little things we notice, about his previous owners but we will never really know.  I just hope he doesn't miss them anymore and that while he was with them they treated him well.

    The only thing I really know is that the dog that went into that shelter is not the dog that came out.  Not the dog I know today.  There is no way our Copley made it through thirty days locked in a kennel like that without some major trauma.  We can't make up for those days, nor is sitting on the couch hugging him and feeding him treats going to make it better (although a little of that helps).  We give him a stable pack, with lots of structure and lots of love.  We go on long hikes and we do agility and rally and got our CGC.  Actually we do a lot of agility.

    At our training center Copley just lights up.  He loves the place and the people and is a total nut while he is there.  He just hams it up for all the trainers and they just love on him.  For a long time I kept telling them that the happy-go-lucky dog they see at class is not the slightly worried, always lazy, structure-craving dog we have at home but I could not explain it.  Then Ben said something that makes perfect sense to me; "I think that the way Copley is at class is the way he was before the shelter."  I agree, that it probably close to the truth.

    That was long but really all I needed to say was that Copley has now officially been with us for the majority of his life.  I hope he knows he is here to stay and we are lucky to have adopted one of the best dogs on the planet.  He is the friendliest, coolest dog out there and we love him very much.


    Now Kerrigan is a bit of different story.  We were very prepared to bring her into our lives, having bought all the puppy supplies and such that we needed.  I stalked the shelters for a little chihuahua puppy to call our own.  Being that we live in the Irresponsible Breeding of Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls Capital of the World I saw several litters go through the shelters while we were still preparing for a second dog.  Finally all the baby gates and pens and vitamins came in the mail and Ben wanted to go to the shelter right away.  It was a big city shelter that has a bit of a spotty past and HUGE intake and euthanasia numbers.  I knew Ben did not have the willpower to leave that place without a dog.  Not sure I did either.  I had seen her listed online that morning so I was on the lookout for her.

    We saw her and she was just too cute and tiny to let stay in that place.  I brought Copley to meet her, he was the one who had veto power over the situation.  If he had growled or showed dislike we would not have done it but he accepted her and it was a done deal.

    The way I see it Kerrigan never had a family before us.  Her mother and her litter-mates were her family, then she had a brief time at the shelter (she was put out for adoption only hours before we adopted her) and then she made it to us.  She was a social butterfly in puppy class and I hope she is even on track to become a therapy dog some day when she calms down a little bit.  I don't think she worries for a minute about being abandoned and I doubt she has a lot of memory of her time before us.  I think whoever had her had bought a cute puppy off Craigslist then realized they were in over their heads and gave up.  Off to the shelter it was for her.

    In her time here she has gained about 2 lbs, outgrown a collar, and gone from a lanky, goofy puppy who could barely keep her legs under her to an agile spring of a young dog, sure footed and strong willed.  We still have many months left of puppy-hood before our work is done but so far it has been great.  Getting a puppy from a shelter is kinda like playing the lotto with personalities, but I think we hit the jackpot.

    I will leave you with these two pictures.  Both were taken the first day we had them, Kerri's in the car before we pulled out of the parking lot of the pound and Copley's shortly after he was home with us.  They didn't even have names yet.  I think they both have the same look on their face.  Probably thinking "who the hell are you and what is going on?"