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!


  1. That treat thing is so cool! I'm glad Nova's with you.
    Nola's Mom

    1. Yeah, it is a lot of fun, and you could do it with home-made broth or even by mixing a jar of baby food with the water for flavoring (that's a favorite trick of our for ice cubes). I do like the ice pups though.

      We are glad Nova is with us too. I have been thinking lately she might have some doxie in her. Not a lot but with her face and her short legs. What do you doxie experts think?

    2. Maybe a tiny, tiny, bit? The eye set is a bit Dachshund like, but the domed head and short muzzle is not Doxie at all. Doxies and Doxie mixes also tend to have thicker, more muscled and less dainty legs with big, spade like paws. So, maybe a little bit but I mostly see Chi!

    3. Thanks! See, this is why we ask the experts. I think that I am so used to Kerri's head- her muzzle and forehead is soooo chi like that Nova's seems way different but I guess it is just more like a normal dog. Nova does have very dainty paws and skinny chihuahua legs.