Christmas For Pets

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas is for pets plain and simple. Have you recently walked into a pet store at Christmastime and seen the festive displays of  pet stockings, seasonal pet collars with bells and ribbons, colorful green and red toys, antlers ears and even rawhide that is shaped like a candy cane? Some stores even put these items at 75% off the week before Christmas so they are not left with a surplus afterwards.

Ok, I admit I do buy my dogs Christmas presents, but they are my kids. And I do whisper when they are around as to what I bought them, so that they do not overhear what I am saying, because as you know they have excellent hearing! But I do not go overboard, as dog toys and bones are expensive. So this year, both of my boys got two presents each, one bone and one toy and one toy to share. That is all. I would say that this Christmas was a success, wouldn’t you?

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Barking Mad

Barking, the one thing that both of my dogs do best! When I only had Dickens and he was a young pup, I taught him to bark when I gave him the ASL (American Sign Language) sign for it. It was great! He didn’t bark at anything or anyone. But along comes his adopted brother, Eddie and at 10 months old he is out of control and a barker! He now has taught Dickens the bad habit of barking at squirrels, at unseen wall thumps, at leaves falling and anything Eddie deems necessary to bark at. Even if Dickens doesn’t see it, he will race around the house, barking at some unseen foe. Every time a person walks by in front of my house, opens their door across the way or even opens a curtain, it is important enough news that I need to know about it right away! I guess it is OK, as everyone wants a dog that will scare away strangers. But when they bark at every leaf that falls and every snowflake, well THAT presents a problem.

So since it is too late to teach Eddie sign language. I now say “that’s enough”, even when I hear a hint of a growl. Sometimes I have to say it louder than I want to. But lately I have been doing what all of the training books tell you to do. I have been giving them a treat every time they respond to my “that’s enough” request, when they are quiet. So now when they bark, I casually say, “that’s enough” and immediately afterwards it is a mad,mad rush for the two of them to fight for the best sitting position in front of my chair to get the treat.

Sometimes I think Eddie will bark just so he will get the treat for being quiet afterwards. For this I am painfully aware that he is much smarter than I give him credit for.

The Great Escape!

Angels again

Angels again

Eddy has become an escape artist! He knows not what he does. It is 85 degrees outside and I am getting ready to take my springer,¬†Dickens¬†outside for a walk. I usually tell Eddy to ‘wait’ when I go outside with my other dog, this time I forgot and so it goes. As soon as I open the door, Eddy makes his move and darts out behind me, knocking me against the wall and running out the door. He makes a run for it and heads out around my condominium building for the back common area and the creek! My other dog Dickens and I return to the interior, where I leave him and then go out the back through the garage. There I find Eddy running away from me as fast as he can. I go back inside to release my other dog and retrieve a coupling lead. The hunt is on. Eddy as big as he is, will soon run out of gas. He gets tired and hot easily. My springer spaniel Dickens will go ‘find’ him and bring him back. I slowing walk towards the two of them watching to see where they go. I call Dickens name occasionally to get him to stay closer to me which he does. I crest the hill in back and turn around heading back towards my garage, encouraging them to both follow me. Calling them by name, whistling, patting my leg as I continue to walk back. Eddy is starting to yearn for water and the safety of four walls as he does not seem to like being outside. Dickens and Eddy both start to run in my direction. Their tongues are hanging out, and their running has turned into an amble. When Eddy reaches me he stops so that I may attach his leash. He is proving more and more that he is a reliable four-year old. Both boys will receive much love and a rawhide chip for coming home.

Dicken’s Cyst Removal

This week Dickens went to the vet to have a cyst removed from his lower back. Originally the vet thought it was a cyst caused when two layers of his skin grew together and dirt and dander got in between the two layers to form the cyst. But it turned out after getting it out that it was a cyst that had no active cells with only scar tissue inside. Yea!!! No bad cells or cancer either! That’s my boy!

Dickens was a good boy during his ordeal! I tried to hold him while the surgery took place, since it was an out patient procedure, but standing up for longer than 10 minutes did me in so the vet technician took over. When I left the room, you could hear him starting to whine and going into his talking mode as if to say ‘mommy where are you going’?

I was given some pain pills to give him later if he needed them. (Which he did) Then we stopped off at the pet store to buy a cone to go over his head so he wouldn’t chew on his stitches. Wearing the cone lasted for about two days!

How long do I have to wear this lamp shade?

How long do I have to wear this lamp shade?

Poser Alert!!!

Poser Alert!!!

What a good dog Eddy is! So photogenic, he should be a model, don’t you think? He does make a fine companion though for his mom and brother for Dickens!

Training Mode

You can always tell when mom wants to teach us a new trick. Out comes the really good treats and Eddy and I are more that willing to comply. Sitting at attention at mom’s feet has never been a problem for me, as I usually can be found sitting or sleeping not at her feet but on them! Another thing I do is to bring her the ball when she doesn’t ask for it. Eddy does something similar he brings dead leaves to her that he has found on the floor in the living room. But my ball always works to get her engaged in play!

Eddy and the Skin Doctor

Eddy had to go to the skin doctor today. He has some weird growths growing on his head, tail, face, back and hips. Mom has been dosing him with Benadryl to help with the itching and chewing. She has also been putting apple cider vinegar on the sores and that has seemed to be helping. Amazing what good old household products can do!

Mom told the nurse that she just wanted to find out what was wrong and then to treat it the best we could. Well, Eddy doesn’t have mange, that was ruled out with a scraping from his ‘owee’. Next is the biopsy. Mom said it would cost a lot of money buy she told Eddy that she would work it out somehow. The skin specialist doesn’t know for sure but he suspects that Eddy has skin cancer or a similar skin disease which requires steroid treatment to minimize and stop the sores from spreading and reproducing. Mom has to put petroleum jelly on his sores to keep them moist. Good news is Eddy can be bathed and clipped now, I know he will like to hear that news!

They are going to call mom back in a month to set up an appointment for the biopsy and see how Eddy is doing. Poor Eddy.

Going to the P.A.R.K.!

When mom mentions P.A.R.K. or spells it out, like she did today, Eddy and I get really excited! I mean REALLY there are only so many hours in the day that we can sleep, right? I stick my head in my harness, talking the whole time about what I am going to do when I get to the park! Eddy is more subdued as he sticks his head in the harness right away, wiggling his rear and his big bushy tail!

Eddy and I are Animal Assisted Activity therapy dogs. We both have different personalities and go different places with mom. I like kids and like to go to the libraries and let the kids read stories to me. They also like to have me do tricks for them. Eddy is calm and more versatile. He loves kids and visits libraries as well, but he is also good with older folks as he is big and tall and they can reach him from a wheelchair or bed. The park we go to is on the property where Eddy goes to visit the older adults. Mom said that a lady who works there, told her that they had a fenced in area for dogs and that we could go there, so that is our park!

We got to the park and Eddy and I jumped out of the car. We were on leashes, so we walked/ran to the gate, as we knew where we were going, and we were excited! As soon as mom took our leashes off, we took off at a dead run! Well, until both of us stopped as soon as we smelled that WONDERFUL ODOR!! Our heads were stuck together like glue sniffing it, but neither of us could figure out what it was! Mom brought a tennis ball and Eddy and I took turns, running and getting the ball! Well, that is not entirely true. Eddy is the main retriever, mom can count on him to bring it back to her! When I get the ball I run towards mom and then veer away enticing Eddy to chase me! He tries to body block me, but I am too fast, the big lug! Since it was so hot outside it only took us 10 minutes to wear ourselves out…we were at the gate BEFORE mom! Mom gave us water before we got in the car, Eddy choked on his a bit as he was so thirsty.

The air conditioner was on full blast in the car and I stood on the console, right in front of it on the way home! Mom had to adjust the vents because I was blocking the main ones so Eddy wasn’t getting any cool air. Mom didn’t stop anywhere on the way home except to get a treat at the Starbucks drive-up. I guess everyone needs a treat every now and then. Sometimes we get a cookie there too, but I guess they didn’t have any today. Mom knew we were expecting one, so she gave Eddy and I a liver treat for being so patient and indulging her.

Early Morning Fun

I sleep in bed with mom every night, Eddy sleeps on the floor, but the cats and I share mom’s bed. By morning it is usually just Bella and I on the bed, but all I have to do is roll over to knock HER off and it is just me and mom! Mom and I have fun in the morning when it is just me. We even have our own game! I put my paw over her hand, and she will move it over my paw, then I will put my paw over her hand. This game goes on and on, then I will roll over for a belly rub, when my brain gets tired. Mean while on the floor Eddy is wanting to get involved, so he will jump onto the side of the bed! Mom will tell him ‘Off’, and he grudgingly will get off. But then I too will jump off so I can spend some time playing with him, because soon mom will get up and take us out for a walk and breakfast will be on the horizon!

Dogs are Children Too

How many of us have traded in our grownup children for a pet? I have no children but I have had lots of pets. My pets have always gotten the best care that money can buy, ‘cos they are MY children! I have a lot of friends who have had both and they have still found themselves treating their pets better than they did their kids. Or at least equal to their kids! But who really got the better end of the deal? My friends, their kids or the pets? I say all!

Think about how much stuff is out there for dogs in particular. You can dress your dogs in designer leather wear by Bret Michael’s, rock star. Cute little dresses or matching collars and leashes. You can train your dog from on-line videos, books or take them to a private training school. Just like children, dogs should be taught about boundaries and have structure in their lives. Training a dog is much like training a child to behave. When you put your child in a time out how different is that from putting your dog in a crate when he misbehaves? Not much, really! One of the best things about a dog versus a child is they rarely talk back! My Springer Spaniel, Dickens, has been known to sass me but it is more like grumbling and it still doesn’t get him anywhere. For the record I have only put Dickens and Eddy in rabbit ears for Easter, or holiday scarves.

We can feed our dogs cheap junk food or we can feed them expensive premium dog food. Considered gourmet food in some circles. Some people even feed their dogs raw meat which has been proven to be a bad choice! I have a friend that has a Bulldog that she spoon feeds out of a can, believe it or not! She claims the dog will only eat it this way and not out of a bowl. I have told her that she has conditioned her dog to behave this way and that if she put down other food, like dry, that her dog would not starve itself. My dogs eat the same dog food every day, twice a day. I have yet to hear a complaint from them!

What does this mean? Do our dogs really have the best of both worlds? Dog and human? Do we really treat our pets better than our children? In some cases I say yes. But I am sure that there are some current parents out there of young human children, that would disagree, until later down the road…when THEY trade their own children in for a dog!