Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nova Update & Hot Weather Fun

A lot of people have been asking about Nova lately so I thought I would post a bit of an update!  Also it was 99 degrees out today and I got some good shots of all three dogs enjoying some cooling activities.  

First with the fun cold stuff.  I took a product called Ice Pups by Honest Kitchen and made a broth, then I threw in three kongs and a nylabone and froze it all in a bowl.  It is mostly water so I didn't have to worry about the dogs getting too much (it was so hot I bet over half ended up melted on my lawn, not in the dogs anyway).  Copley and Nova had a good time licking it, Kerri is a princess and does not like cold things so she mostly ignored it.

Now Nova (some of you know her as "the tire store chihuahua" but to my regular blog readers she has been Nova from the beginning!)!  Nova continues to improve every day.  I never would have imagined when I took her into the house 6 months ago that she would be where she is today.  This is not to say that she is a "normal dog" at this point- in fact she is far from it, but things are going well.  Most importantly they are still going- in the right direction- and that is all I need to see.  She is still timid and to a certain extent human aggressive.  We are at a point where her fear aggression is very sporadic (not to say it is random- in fact I can predict it with %110 accuracy) and is on the decline every day.  I remain careful and she wears a muzzle whenever there is any question, or people are over and I can't have my eyes on her all the time.

Try telling me these two are not related

She goes on a walk every day now.  We usually go to the mailbox down the street and while she remains fearful of ANYTHING out of the ordinary on her walks she is beginning to look forward to them.  Her basket muzzle lets her stop and do a lot of sniffing when out of the house and she is loving chasing bugs at the park and in the backyard.

Finally in these last few months I see she has connected to me.  For the first time she is initiating contact with me, following me around the house, bringing me toys and allowing me to gently pet her on the chin.  I also am able to pick her up and when I get home I am greeted with tail wags and a happy face.  She is not trustworthy of people in general but is relaxed and trusting of me- so that's a start.  Honestly that can be the end if it needs to be.  That is why me and Ben kept her in the first place, she had no connection or trust whatsoever with people and we knew it would be difficult to get that at all.  Once she trusted someone there was no way we could put her through loosing that, and now that she trusts me that's fine.  Everyone else can come slower if they need to.  I'm not going anywhere and if she is glued to my side for the next 15 years that's not all that bad.

It is difficult to describe how happy I am to just see her finally relax!  I think for the first 3 months she spent the whole night standing in her pen staring at us.  She must have only slept while we were out of the house and considering I work a lot from home that wasn't a lot of sleep.  Now she has all of her favorite spots, two dog beds and a lot of human furniture to relax on and believe me takes advantage!  She is catching up on two years of lack of sleep and food by napping all day and eating anything she sees (I make sure she sees a lot of local, pastured, high quality meat and farmers market veggies along with North American made healthy treats and supplements).

Her new favorite activity- believe it or not- is trick training.  I started clicker training her a few weeks ago and not only did she "get it" in only two sessions, but she is volunteering more cute behaviors than I have time to name!  Of course we are learning sit, down and touch- but on the way we have sit pretty, crawl and lots of other cute stuff.  Nova is one smart dog and can't get enough of clicker tricks!  As long as we are alone- she will not perform with anyone else around, even Ben, but that also will come with time.

"Take one of my good side"

I am not at all worried about her life with us, I think she ended up here for a reason.  Some dogs have a way of getting themselves into the lives of the people who are able to deal with them and Nova has done just that.  I just sincerely hope her struggles are over.  I almost don't want to type this, but she has been skipping on her hind legs a little bit.  I think she might just get ahead of herself, or need a good trip to the chiropractor after being tense for so long, but she is a chihuahua.  And chi knees...  My "good vet" is out of town right at this moment and she is coming over right when she gets back to check her out.  Lets hope I have good news to report and that all her joints check out fine.  I have (unfortunately) met the orthopedic surgeon at the referral center and he is very nice, but I am sure he would no rather see a biting, screaming, thrashing chihuahua than she would like to see him.  I have high hopes though- she is not in any pain and is not doing the typical luxating patella "kick"- so maybe I am just seeing things.

"Look Ma- no ribs!"

I think that is all I have to say today!  Except one more thing- THANK YOU to everyone who was involved in saving Nova.  She is a kind, smart dog who deserves a better life and I couldn't be happier to have her in my pack.

And if you are in southern Nevada check out A Home 4 Spot a 501(c)(3) Rescue.  They saved Nova (and George and Papoose) and have a lot of other adoptable dogs needing homes!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bugsy's Box Review

Time to review another monthly subscription box!  They seem to be all the rage these days- and personally I love them- so  when I was contacted by the people at Bugsy's Box to do a review I was happy to say yes!

What is Bugsy's Box?  Here is what the company has to say about it-
"Each Bugsy's Box includes 5 to 7 items which are a variety of high quality, hand picked, well reviewed dog treats, toys, care items, healthy supplements, accessories and more surprises such as coupons which are often included as a bonus.

The idea is to let dog owners spoil their best friend with more exclusive and higher quality items which are usually harder to find in a local pet store. Not only do we save you the cost and time of actually going to the pet store but we also provide you with better items, a more exclusive selection and of course, much better prices."

The other great thing about Busy's Box is that all the treats and edibles in the box are made in the USA or Canada.  As you all know this is a must for us.

Copley Immideately sniffed out a carob treat sample that was in there.  You can see him enjoying it above.
Overall I give Bugsy's Box a thumbs up.  Judging by this box it is at least equal to, and perhaps a little higher quality than other subscription boxes I have tried. What was in the box you ask?  Let me tell you-

Incredibubbles-  I wish these would photograph well but they do not.  They are however the coolest thing!  They are very strong bubbles that the dogs love to chase then pounce on the ground to pop them once they are landed.  Nova LOVES them, and as you all know if Nova loves it they are here to stay.  My one criticism is that they are made in Taiwan- and are semi-edible so they seem to break Bugsy's Box's rule about USA treats a little bit.  From our perspective they are worth it though- if only because Nova loves them so much.
Eco Planet Doggie Bags-  I have been wanting to try out there for a while.  They are made out of plant material and eco-friendly.  They are the biggest, thickest, sturdiest dog bags I have seen ever!  I looked on their website and they are very reasonably priced.  They are going to be my go-to poop bags from now on.  If you have a bigger dog you should really try them.  I bet these are big and sturdy enough even for mastiff or great dane poop.
Animal Safari Toy-  I am loving this toy.  The dogs have been trying to destroy it for days and it is still completely intact.  That is saying a lot around here.
Fetch & Glow Ball-  These are pretty cool, glow in the dark balls.
YumZies Treats-  These are decent training treats and the dogs have enjoyed them in the past.  
The Barking Box- An animal cookie-like box of dog treats.
Loofa Light- The loofa toy we have all seen around but without stuffing! 

In conclusion I just have two criticisms for Bugsy's Box.  First I would prefer all USA toys as well as treats.  Second it would be nice if they provided websites for all the products in the box so it is easier for me to find them if I want to buy more.  That would not stop me from subscribing though, and I think they are worth checking out.

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Justin Bieber + Exotic Pets = Bad Idea

Left to right- Sandy, Tia, Tamara, Tubbs, Wicket (and Moose's nose peeking out in the back hammock).  Sandy was returned to Petsmart by someone who shouldn't have bough her in the first place, Tia and Tamara came from a hoarder, Wicket out of a feeder bin.  Tubbs and Moose were not rescues.  Over their lives these six rats cost me over $2,000 in vet care.

 You may know I have more animals than just my dogs.  In fact before I got Copley and became involved in dog rescue I volunteered with a rat and mouse rescue.  Currently I own two cuddly, lovable boy rats named Eggplant and TO and a girl mouse named Nick.  We also have 13 hermit crabs that are being taken care of properly (and properly is not in that plastic container you buy in the mall, they have very specific requirements and if given those can live 20+ years).

A big pet peeve of mine is people seeing these "pocket" or "exotic" pets as throw away, or as toys, or as accessories to be tossed off once they are not cool anymore.  They deserve better than that and if you don't plan to at the very least properly house, feed, and clean that animal for it's whole life then DON'T get it.

Squeaks the mouse was adopted from an Animal Control Shelter and lived out her golden years happily at our house.

That brings me to Justin Bieber.  My problem with him is that he is idolized by a lot of people, and has a lot of influence wither he wants it or not.  At the very least he should try to show some respect to other living things.  Or hire someone to do that for him, I mean I am sure he can afford it.  Over the last little while he has been buying exotic pets and dumping them in what seems like grossly irresponsible ways that I am sure were extremely traumatic for those animals.  The one that bothers me the most is his hamster PAC, who he gave away to a screaming fan in the middle of a concert.  Maybe it is because I love hamsters so much, or I have seen my mice who get scared when I put the vacuum too close to their cage, or maybe it is that I have half a brain and know not to bring a prey animal the size of a ping pong ball to concerts- but this just rubs me the wrong way!  It just makes me go EEERRRRRR.  I mean I don't really think he is a horrible animal hating person, just irresponsible and a little out of touch with life right now.  Still I am erked.

Observe hermit crab beach- one part of our 135 gallon hermit crab habitat.  You can see Big Red (my only crab identifiable on sight) and another one going for a swim.

The entirely irresponsible behavior does not stop there.  There is also a monkey named Mally who was seized after Bieber flew him out of the country without the proper paperwork and now Bieber seems to be just leaving her there even though he could produce the proper paperwork and get her back.  Oh, and the snake he auctioned off for charity.

I am so frustrated I just don't know what to say.  Other than this- Please Justin, if you are listening, don't buy any more pets for a while.  They are animals who have feelings and get attached to you.  At the very least do it for the betterment of the rest of society.  These species have enough trouble gaining respect and finding permanent responsible homes without celebrities treating them this way.  Use your influence for good- or just stay out of the pet world for a while.

This whole thing just makes me cringe. I'm going to go to bed and try not to think about Justin Bieber anymore.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


With a dog named after the square that was bombed yesterday I feel like I need to say something here but I have no words.  Assholes did a horrible thing to a city I love and lives were lost.  If you want to know how I feel read this article.  It is a lot more articulate than me on this subject right now.

All of our friends and family in the area are safe- luckily none of them were watching the marathon this year.  Other families were not this lucky.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Camping Trip- Complete with EXPLOSIONS!!!

I am not from out west.  At all.  In fact I am from a place called liberal-peace-love-WhyDoYouNeedaGun-enviromentalist-ville.  Well we went camping on a friends BLM mining claim in Nye County.  Nye county is the opposite of liberal-peace-love-WhyDoYouNeedaGun-enviromentalist-ville.  I am pretty sure that EVERYTHING that the federal government allows to be legal is legal in the wild west that is Nye County.  Gambling?  For sure!  Prostitutes?  Absolutely!  Fireworks?  Ha- did you even have to ask!!  Guns?  LOL.  Of course guns.  Oh- I almost forgot!  While you are out with your AR15 in the desert and shooting off fireworks feel free to tell the prostitute you hired that she can stay occupied by panning for gold on government land!

That may sound a little sarcastic- but honestly there are some things I am liking about living out here.  One of them is that I get to experience a lot of new things.  Like on this trip I shoot a handgun!  And I must admit it was kinda fun.  Don't tell Ben, or he might divorce me, but I am kinda excited to go to a range and shoot more.  But that is just handguns.  I personally am happy to never hold an assault rifle ever again in my life.

You may be asking "Annie, what do the dogs think about all this shooting stuff?"  I am happy to report that Kerri could care less about gun shots.  Copley does not mind the 22s.  (P.S. 22,  .22, Twenty Two??  How does that look on paper?  What does it even mean??).  He looks around a little uneasily with the rifles that are meant to shoot rabbit/deer with (I'm good at these technical gun terms eh?).  Overall they are fine tied up at a campsite with people shooting nearby as long as they have a friendly person sitting with them.  They are however NOT ok with exploding targets.  That's right- EXPLODING TARGETS are a thing that both exist, are legal and you can go buy at Bass Pro Shops and other fine retailers.

So the first target went off and it was a little boomier than I had imagined.  Copley totally panicked and I had to spend the whole rest of the time while they blew these things up in the car with Copley and Kerri in their car crate and the music and AC blaring.  I will not be torturing the dogs like this ever again and exploding targets are offically not allowed while Copley is around.

I do have to say that this camping trip was exactly what our family needed.  It had been a rough month and we needed some time out in the wilderness.  Turns out redneck time in the wilderness is still relaxing so everything worked out just fine.  The dogs were POOPED for this trip.  They had just spent a week with our friend Mosby and his people and they were totally wiped out from all that playing.  It was an emergency trip, the sort of thing where you call your friends and drop your dogs off with them on your way to the airport at midnight, and I am so grateful that we have friends who are reliable and trustworthy enough to help us out like that.  Truthfully I don't even know if I sent them with any food.  Mosby eats raw too so I am sure they managed but I can't say I even left them prepared.

Back to the camping trip.  Lucky Kerri was tired because she never had to use her legs on this trip.  On our first day of camping we were with some young people one of whom could not get enough of Kerri.  And we all know Kerri loves kids as much as they love her!  They have a dog at home but the whole family was just goo goo over how small she was and held her all day.  The second day we were joined by Kerri's favorite person (who incidentally is also Nova's favorite person, the first person she EVER approached and took food from other than me) and Kerri's favorite person's girlfriend who is probably Kerri's second favorite person.  Why does Kerri love these people so much?  They fall for her chihuahua charm and pick her up any time she looks at them.  They also come running every time she whines and generally cater to her every wish.  Kerri was in chihuahua heaven.

As you can see from the pictures Copley literally slept the entire trip.

I probably should have blogged more about the new harness we got and the new tie out system that is working great and how Nova is still not coming on camping trips but is getting better and lots of other dog stuff like that... but you know, it has just been one of those months.  So instead I will round this post out with desert wildflowers we saw on our trip.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chihuahuas Are...

My favorite part of this blog is breaking down stereotypes about chihuahuas.  In that spirit I am going to start a new weekly photo series to go live every wednesday starring Kerrigan called chihuahuas are...  Enjoy the first one!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Agility Video

Kerri has been doing really great at agility.  We have made it through 5 classes all the way up to Novice Prep!  THAT means we get to compete in the novice class soon.  Just recently Copley came back to agility too- so it has been a whole family affair.  Enjoy a video of us doing a little jumping course and a bit of handling, then a big open course where we both manage to handle rather poorly anyway!  At least we have a lot of fun.

Just a warning- I used awful country music that youtube picked for me to cover up really bad audio.  So feel free to mute if you wish.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Nova Played With Me!!!!

Stop the presses, be still my heart, party like there is no tomorrow and every other celebratory cliche out there!  For a few days Nova has been bringing me toys and play bowing.  I know that was a small step in a big direction for her.  I would reach down to grab the toy just like I do with Kerri and as soon as I moved she would bolt.  Well today I gave the dogs this bone.  It has a squeaker but it is really quiet so Nova likes it.  She brought it over to me wagging her body and play bowing.  I went down to grab it and she just playfully hopped back.  As I grabbed it she pounced on my hand and made on of those adorable chihuahua playing noises.  I reached up and tussled the side of her muzzle then pulled my hand back and she pounced on me again.  Then I grabbed the toy and threw it.  Nova ran after it then the neighbor opened his garage door and she ran into the other room.

That people is why I rescue dogs.  They give back to you just when you need it the most.  You may have noticed my absence from this blog lately.  It is because our human family has experienced some hard times.  Since the middle of the month I have been in Florida for the passing of my amazing Grandmother.  I have not been the same since I came back a few days ago and I know the dogs can tell.  Maybe Nova could see that just like her my world also was flipped upside down and I needed a little something to warm my heart.  More likely it was just something that had been coming and today was just the day.  No matter what the reason I am so happy about it.  This means there IS a real dog in that little body.  Every day she keeps making these little improvements and they just give me so much hope.