Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dog Owner Level 100 Reached

I really feel like I accomplished something today.  It wasn't that I have successfully integrated a feral dog into every day life with people, that I have solved problems with positive reinforcement that trainers told me I never would or that I have successfully raised a puppy.  It was today when I saw pieces of a Christmas ornament on the ground in a pile of puke and thought "this can be fixed."

I will say it is not quite as gross or premeditated as it may seem.  The items were in a small pile of just them, surrounded by a sticky kind of yellowish bile many dog owners may be familiar with.  I pulled them off the carpet with a paper towel.  On my way to the trash can I looked down and seeing as how everything was intact I figured I might just try to wash it off.  The plastic cleaned up beautifully, I found the ornament they fell off of and with a little bit of the proper adhesive everything was like new.  As you can see above it is like no damage has ever been done to the little reindeer.

How many people have an ornament on their tree that was once inside their dog?  This is certainly a next level of dog ownership.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

4 Years with Nova

It is hard to believe we have had Nova for 4 years.  The day I picked her up from the rescue's vet they warned me not to take her home.  She had been living feral, scavenging food behind a tire store for at least six months.  She had two puppies who both died a few weeks before she was trapped, was malnourished, upset and her first interaction with people directly was being trapped then going through surgery.  She was scared and skinny and it was hard to say what kind of dog was under all that scared.  It turns out now, 4 years later, she is actually a really amazing little chihuahua.  She is very smart, cuddly (with me), and she has great dog skills.

Her life isn't exactly the normal that a lot of other dogs experience.  She won't voluntarily let anyone but me touch her, however she will let me hold her for someone else to trim her nails and just a few weeks ago she made it peacefully through a vet exam and a rabies shot.  Nova does things on her schedule, so we try to concentrate on the important stuff and everything else comes with time.  

Most of Nova's day is spent wrestling with Kerrigan, throwing toys in Kerrigan's face and sleeping cuddled up next to her.  Those two are the best of friends, it is hard to imagine how we would have gotten Nova through these four years without Kerri.  Nova is still wary of new things, you should check out our facebook live video from her cake eating this morning.  The cake was new, and the setup was new so as you can see she is pretty unsure what to do.  Eventually she realized the new object is food and she calms down.  Letting her work through things that in return are self rewarding has been a great strategy for helping Nova learn to live in our house.

Most of her day to day life is actually very joyful.  When she is comfortable (which is most of the time) she is a fun, silly dog.  She wakes me up in the morning by bouncing on the bed, play bowing and jumping around.  As I mentioned she throws toys around to play, loves to cuddle and gets very, very excited when she sees her clicker.  Learning clicker tricks has given her a lot of confidence and is one of the things that has really helped us bond.  Giving her some control over her own life, and learning new things through positive reinforcement has been the key to her success.  It has been a long journey and sometimes it took weeks just to get to the next little step, but me and Nova worked together to get her where she is today. 

After our rather chaotic Facebook video this morning I decided to grab an interview with Nova.  She is in a much more comfortable enviroment in this video and the clicker is in my pocket.  I think it captures a little more of the excited and happy essence that is the real Nova I get to see every day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

We Are Back

Hello Everybody!

I am here to say we are coming back and sticking around.  Over the last couple of years this blog has fallen a bit to the side.  2017 is the year we come back!  Next week we are going to be celebrating a certain little chihuahuas four year adoption day and that will be our first regular post.  In the meanwhile please, please follow us on our social media Facebook and Instagram!  We are on twitter too but I can't make any promises there.

This blog got a little stale for me for a few reasons.  Mostly because I felt like I wasn't really filling a spot in the dog blogosphere.  I don't blog from my dogs point of view, my dogs are cute but not the Tuna Melts my Heart kind of cute.  For a lot of pet products I am not very advertiser friendly because I vocally feed a home made raw diet, but for hardcore raw people I am useless because I vaccinate my dogs and believe in veterinary science.  

In the end I think this blog can have a voice going forward.  It just might take a little exploring to find that again.  In the meanwhile here is a preview from our holiday card shoot.  The photo is by our good friend @ladylockoff

Thursday, February 25, 2016

We Gave Up on "Dog" Water Bottles

Instead of a long post about me falling way behind with this blog- let's just get back into the swing of things shall we?

If you have been reading for a while you would know we are outdoors people.  Not just casual, stroll at a big park people, but we camp, hike, backpack and generally spend a lot of our time in the wilderness.  Since most of that wilderness is in a desert water is a major consideration.  We have been through many different water packing methods for us and the dogs through our years out west and finally have settled on what works for us: the dogs just drink out of wide mouth Nalgene bottles.  On long hikes we will refill them out of the large water bladder we carry just like our own Nalgene.  For a long time we carried the Gulpy.  It is a fine piece of gear and for daily walks I do really like it.  The problem with the Gulpy is similar to every other method we have tried, that once you squeeze the water in the bowl portion it is there forever.  You have to squeeze out enough for the dog to lap up then you end up pouring out more water than your dog drank.  Let me tell you that on an overnight backpacking trip in the desert where you are lugging every ounce of water you have on your back the idea of pouring water out on the ground is extremely demoralizing.  The other issue with the  Gulpy is filling it with our water bladder.  Any dog water carrier out there has a lot of extra "stuff" on it as compared to a regular bottle and when you are looking to save weight on your back carrying several is not really an option.  This leaves you out in the woods trying to fill a tiny hole with water from a bladder meant to flow into large mouth nalgene bottles.  This is both not fun and a recipe to waste water.  Since our dogs are so small their faces can fit into a nalgene comfortably to drink it just started happening because it was the easiest thing to do in a pinch.  We even got Kerri a cute little nalgene that has a nice wide mouth but only holds a chihuahua sized amount of water.  Copley still needs the full size because his face is a little bigger, but he is going on less and less hikes in his older age so it is not a huge deal.

So now, after years of doing this or that we have settled on the dogs doing the exact same thing we do.  For the record I don't share water with the dogs, they do get their own nalgenes, but my husband I believe is not nearly as picky.  I try not to think about that- it is really gross.  I am curious what people with "full size" dogs do on backpacking trips.  A nalgene only would be comfortable for the little guys or maybe a hound with a long skinny muzzle as far as I can see.