Monday, September 24, 2012

Sick Mouse :(

This is Bean the mouse.  We named her Bean because we think she looks a little bit like a coffee bean (please use your imagination with that one.)

 This lump on her thigh above her foot seems to be a tumor.  Here at the DogInTheDesert household we have way too much experience with rat tumors.  I think one month I had four rats in surgery to remove tumors.  Our mice growing these things- totally new to us.  Poor little Bean is a very sweet mouse although she is approaching 2 years old.  Sadly for a mouse 2 is quite elderly.  I am also very worried about what the vet will say because mouse surgery just seems like such a fragile ordeal.  Rat surgery is bad enough but at least they weigh a little more.  By a little more I mean probably 10x more.  We will do whatever we can to make little bean's elderly years as comfortable as possible- if that means tumor removal then that's what we will do.  The vet appointment is Thursday so I will let you guys know how it turns out.

Oh, hi Nick.  This is Nick, Bean's slightly crazy sister.  She would like to know why Bean is getting all the attention.
 Nick is a really cool mouse too.  My favorite thing about her is her beautiful Siamese coloring.  In these pictures she really looks like a PEW but I promise those eyes are ruby and she has the most adorable dark points on her nose, ears and tail.  I just LOVE it!  Mice are some of my favorite pets, maybe not as interactive as the dogs but they sure are adorable.  Plus they always seem to be busy doing something interesting like pulling apart this bird toy or running on the wheel.  Never a dull moment when you are a tiny prey animal I guess.  I just wish they lived a little longer- and didn't grow tumors on their legs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Social Media!

I am trying so hard to get more involved in social media outside this blog!  Trying just as hard as Kerrigan is to eat that bone.  So far I think I am doing a good job.  If you are interested in following DogInTheDesert it would really help encourage me to sink more time into these things.  Particularly pinterest- it is as easy to waste an hour on Pinterest as it was on facebook in 2007.  I'm still not on twitter though.  I stand by what I've been saying for years- twitter is just a fad that will fade in time.  Like cars or the internet.  So follow me followers!  If you want!  Yay!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dinner Time!

Hey- If you don't like looking at raw meat that may still slightly resemble the animal it came from don't read this post!

First of all- hooray for my new camera!!!!

Second of all- horray for dog food!  It just so happened that on the day I bought my new camera (to replace the stolen one)  I also made dog food.  As you all  know we feed raw.  I call what I feed "prey model plus."  It is 70% muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% organ and 10% veggies.  Not to say that it what is in every meal, but it is what I strive to over time.  Also not saying that we feed the best diet out there or anything- I know lots of doggies thriving on home cooked, BARF and prey model.  With that said I thought I would use this opportunity to share our cooking adventures.  This happens every 2 weeks- because that is how much dog food fits in my freezer at one time!

All the veggies this week were not only local like from Southern Nevada/California and the farmers market- but all local to this very valley.  Horray for being uber local not even on purpose (usually everything is at least regionally local and bought directly from farmers).  We have pea shoots from Boulder City, summer squash from Boulder City, apples from Las Vegas and green beans from North Las Vegas are on the bottom of the pot.  The veggies we feed vary from week to week based on what is available locally.  Apples and squash are two of our favorite bases. 

The picture at the top of this post is Copley's meals.  This one here is Kerri's.  In this meal she has a chicken foot, some gizzards and hearts, a piece of beef kidney and a dalop of veggies.  I add various supplements and coconut oil to the veggies, depending on what dog I am feeding.  This particular meal would also get an egg cracked on it but I do those fresh.  We've always got some local eggs from somebody's chickens in the fridge.

People always ask me why I cook for my dogs.  The simple answer is that I believe whole, fresh foods are healthiest for my animal.   I also do everything in my power to support local farmers and not support feedlot animals.  Honestly it was that second thing that first motivated me to go to raw in the first place.  The commercial meat industry is a horrible thing.  For me those two reasons are enough and now that I see the change in my animals I would never go back.  There are some other surprising advantages though.  I used to buy a bag of kibble that lasted Copley about 3 weeks and cost $30.  Using some magic math I have determined it would cost me $50 to feed that same kibble to the dogs living at my house for 2 weeks (that would be 18lb Foster Dog George, 22lb Copley and 6lb Kerrigan).  On this round of food that is going to last me the same 2 weeks I spent less than $30.  This week didn't even include any free/really cheap meat that I usually get.  Feeding raw has also led me to meet a lot of cool other raw feeders- including my amazing Vet who I never would have looked for if I hadn't been feeding raw in the first place!

Now I must end this post so I can go to the DMV and register the car I wish I never had to buy.  It could take anywhere between 15 minutes and 4 hours- wish me luck.

Monday, September 10, 2012

We Love Our Vet!

I don't sit on my hip like this anymore :)

A while back I wrote about why we dumped our old vet and promised you a post about how much we love our new one.  Well it has taken me a while but here is why we love our new vet.
  • She is a really cool lady and I really like her personally.
  • She is a big fan of a raw diet.
  • She splits her time between a primarily holistic practice and a primarily conventional medicine practice.  This means she brings a lot to the table.  Sometimes I find holistic vets a little too out there- and sometimes I find conventional medicine too closed minded and vets in particular seem easily bought out by pet food companies and pharmaceutical reps.  This new vet thinks for herself and has a lot of tools at her disposal.
  • She is not anti-vaccine, she just is for reasonable vaccine schedules based on scientific fact, not based on ripping you off every 6 months.  This is good because I am equally annoyed by (scared of?) the people who claim all vaccines are evil so you should never vaccinate ever and the people who want me to uselessly pump a grate dane sized helping of parvo/distemper vaccine into my 6lb chihuahua every year.
  • Her office DOES NOT SELL DOG FOOD!!!!!!!  Or at least if they do have prescription diets they are hidden away and you would never know they had them if you were a regular client there.  Cutting corn filled kibble out of my life even further feels so, so good.
  • She does house-calls but also has a physical building we can go to if we need (and for blood draws and such).
  • She gets results.  Under her care Copley has gone from a lump on the couch that "there is nothing wrong with" to an energetic, happy dog.  He even got back to agility just the other day.  I am so glad we found her.  As I said in my last vet post Copley was in a scarey place.  I truly believe if we had followed our vets advise and gone on pain meds, prescription joint care kibble and limited activity Copley would have declined fast.  By the time we found the TBDs I am sure it would have been far too late for his organs to recover.  I really believe we have bough Copley another 10 years of life.
  • Did I mention her office does not sell dog food?
I could go on and on but really it is just more of the same points.  This vet fits us so well and I can't believe how lucky I am to have found her.  It took a lot for me to take the plunge and break up with our vet.  They were good people- and good vets- just not for us.  I wish I had "shopped around" sooner.  My take away message is this- There is no harm in trying new vets out till you find one you love- so don't be afraid to look!  We found our perfect vet and so can you.  For the record I feel the same way about human doctors.

It's been a year since this picture was taken?!?!?!?

P.S.- You may be curious how we found this vet.  Well we were at a totally non animal related social gathering and noticed a car in the parking lot with a magnet on it about a local veterinary house-call practice.  It turned out one of the people we met there was said vet and we tried her out.  Fate I think.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


So it's been a while hasn't it?  Well my camera got stolen and on it was all the cool pictures of stuff I wanted to blog about.  Also I have been too busy to go out and get a new camera so blog posts have been lacking because I assume you readers would rather have posts with cute puppies in them than these text based monstrosities.  Well today I do have something to talk about that needs no pictures and I really want some input- so feel free to share with me your personal experiences.  It is about dogs carrying around toys.

I know dogs who carry toys around with them so that they will have them to play with.  For instance some dogs carry a toy into their crate at night.  I have a friend whose dogs each take a prized toy with them to the car when they are going for a ride.  More recently I have a foster dog named George who carrys things around to play with all the time.  If I go upstairs he will pick up a kong and bring it with him to chew.  He also has discovered "self fetch" where he throws the kong down the stairs and then catches it while it is bouncing around at the bottom.  Here the thing about it- my dogs don't do that.  If I go upstairs they just stand around up there looking bored.  Or they will go down to the toy box and play with something there.  Lets say I give them bully sticks- they just drop where I put the stick and chew there.  Is this strange?  I never thought about this before George was around and suddenly dog toys started appearing upstairs.  All of them were transported by George so he would have something to do up there.

Is George just really smart- smarter than Copley and Kerri?  Depends on how you define smart.  When it comes to complicated puzzles and situations Kerri certainly is the smartest dog in the house that way- by leaps and bounds.  George reminds me of a boxer (even though he is a pug mix)- goofy, lovable and fun.  He has learned sit/down/stay and mind manners quickly but I don't think he is one of those dogs who will be retrieving the "red triangle" from the pile of colored objects if you know what I mean.  That's kinda the best part of dogs though.  They are so different from us that they can really demonstrate how smarts can be measured in different ways.  "Don't judge a fish by its ability to run a marathon"- or something like that was said by someone famous.*  Using that logic Copley should be judged by his interpersonal skills with other dogs and ability to raise well rounded puppies.  Kerrigan should be judged by her problem solving skills and great athletic ability.  Finally I guess George should be judged on his ability to think into the future and carry toys to places where he wants them later so he will never be bored.

So back to the task at hand.  Dogs carrying toys around?  Yes/No?  Are Copley and Kerri crazy?  Is this normal?  Do you live in the Las Vegas area and want to adopt George????? Discuss.

*"Don't judge an Annie by her ability to remember famous quotes or who said them."