Saturday, September 22, 2007

Shaking it up Baby

You can shake things up in your house with little effort. I moved the crates into the dining room for a bit. I probably don't do it as often as I should-the purpose is really just to get the dogs used to being crated somewhere else besides the bedroom. This is useful if you are ever going to travel with your dog.

Of course, traveling with your dog is great stimulation and training too. Greta will be riding shotgun next month when I go to Houston. I'm still up in the air as to whether or not to take a second. Both Cody and Prissy could benefit from sharing Greta's love of the car.

Another good shake up is to train your dog while YOU sit down-useful if you ever end up in a wheelchair or need to shout a command from a park bench.

The thing is, those little changes provide mental stimulation for your dog, with very little effort on your part. Training is more about every day things than a once a week class. (Not knocking the classes at all-they are essential-even trainers take classes).

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Oldest and the Youngest

Prissy and Bitty were off to the vet this morning-Prissy to get her bum checked and Bitty for bloodwork. The oldest and the youngest (by two months). And Prissy was very well behaved in the communal crate this morning. She is really showing some hopeful signs of becoming a decent little dog.

It really is true-a dog isn't mature until at least 2 years old. Mentally mature, I'm not talking about breeding. Around about a year and half, the tide starts turning, and viola-you "suddenly" have a nice dog on your hands.

Sadly-many dogs end up in shelters at around 6 months-the worst stage of a dogs life and one that lasts for around a year. I have a theory that most people should not have puppies but rather young, trained adults.

That is one reason I would like to breed-because I could do the raising then place them in forever homes (Hah, it would never happen).

I really really would like to go pick out a dog, work with it, then rehome it-but it's the last part that I can't seem to do. And there is the almighty dollar factor, in that I can't afford to do that unless I am reimbursed for the time/vet bills.

The neighbors have all heard Bitty's story and agreed that she should be here and isn't a bit of trouble. (I'm two dogs over the limit, but I could, if I had to, say the old ones live at Mom and Dads'). Theoretically we have 6 dogs we can spread out over 2 yards and I think Carol would let me use her yard too.

Oh goodness-I just had a vision of a neighborhood that rescued dogs and built a community of caring. Imagine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Department of Animal Welfare

I went by the "dog pound" on another errand yesterday so I walked in and checked them out. The new building is really nice, the cats have great playrooms and there are playrooms for potential adopters to visit with potential adoptees. AND, they have the most awesome wheelchair access in the city.

I'm glad I stopped in because it has vastly improved over the past 20 years and I needed to know that. There are people here in Oklahoma who care. Attitudes towards pets are largely rural here, but they have progressed.

I said a prayer for all the dogs and cats currently there and took a volunteer form to ponder.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Someone in a better mood than me


This is a link to a Chuck entry on the Dooce blog. Heather knows how to treat a dog right!

Rescue Community

The rescue community seems to be a bit warlike these days. One of the big issues on craigslist right now is how much to charge for a rescue and here are my feeling about paying for a rescue:

If you want a dog that has already been vetted and had shots and possibly some socialization so you can crow about how "I rescued a dog" and you want that dog for free-then shame on YOU. It costs money to vet a dog, time to care for administer any meds and work with any behavioral problems. If you can't afford a vet you can't afford a dog. (direct quote from Geraldine Whitaker). If you have to choose between beds and toys and things the dog needs vs. the price of a dog-you can't afford that dog.

I think people who want to "rescue" a fully vetted, possibly trained dog for "free" because they are just good people and want to do the right thing are kidding themselves. When you adopt a dog from a rescue organization, that dog has already been rescued and taken care of-by participating in the cost of said rescue, you are participating IN the rescue.

Go out and find a "free dog" that is full of fleas, heartworm, not potty trained and see how much it costs to rescue that free dog. If you don't have the time and money-you can't afford a dog.

I don't rescue dogs, but occasionally one comes along that needs a little help. The reason I don't run a rescue is because I couldn't stand the people lined up wanting a handout dog so that they can make themselves feel better about how they "saved a dog" without doing any work or spendng any money.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kitty Update

Pasht is old and has allergies, new rabies vaccines and a new vet file. But, she's gonna be all right, and that's what counts.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Old Dogs/New Tricks

Bitty came to stay on Friday. She started in with the pack routines on Saturday. Tonight she marched into the house at bedtime, waited in the kitchen while those that needed them got their meds, and marched herself down to the bedroom and got into her crate and waited to be fed.

Amazing and wonderful.

Sick Kitty

Pasht got ill again so I took her to the vet. It was after 5 when I heard that she'd be ok, but there till in the morning. I was fine till I got home (still not knowing her fate) and I realized this is what it would be like to come home to no kitty.

So, the official word with the girls on my lap band forum is that I have a sick critter-and I DO. Prissy's bum needs to be soaked. But there is no way I can make myself look decent in the time I have left to go have coffee and I don't want to start bawling again. And I would.

Pasht is fine (for an old girl) she just has some allergies that are causing her a little grief. And she's slow because, well, she's old. Probably around Bitty's age. But she's never been sick before and it scared me to death. Ok, not to death, but it really scared me.

Except for the time she got out and was gone a few weeks, Pasht has never NOT been here. Here is a relative term-she's always home. Even when the dogs are not. I can't imagine a home without her.

Concessions for the Elderly and Infirm

I'm not a good task master. Bitty is just too old and frail to spend all morning out-so after a romp and a treat, when the crew is ready to go back out again I let her stay behind and sleep on the couch while I work. She is bonding with the gang, and she adores both my parents, so I don't think I'm in danger of setting her apart from the pack.

We did work on a behavior before her nap-she doesn't like to take food from the hand. Cody was like this too. I can understand her not wanting to join the boisterous hand feeding circle yet, but we practiced a whole yummy sticks worth on taking food from my hand and eating it in the same spot-not running off with it. In my household, once I call a dog's name and hand that dog the food, no other dog will take it. Granted, that's the perfect scenario, but we have few issues over food.

I believe hand feeding is a time for training and bonding and I do a little bit each day and whoever goes to see Mom and Dad get hand fed as well from Mom. If I go down before they finish breakfast, Mom will feed her eggwhites to the dogs. I think that's good for both Mom and the dogs.

With the cooler weather I've put Bitty and Dottie and Prissy on a bit of that high calorie paste. The KD has put a little weight on Dottie but Prissy and Bitty are a bit thin. Just a little bitty bit.

Dottie is still on three heart meds a day, Prissy on her antibiotics and butt compresses 2 X daily-she loves that part. This week it's been a little like a MASH unit for dogs and cats. Oh, Pasht is over her hairball problem-finally.

My prayer today is that all the cute fashion accesseroy chihuahuas and yorkies are well taken care of when they are no longer young and fit. Maybe some of them are special angels sent to teach spoiled young girls about caring and compassion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Letting Go

Oh my gosh-it's hard to do the right thing. I put Bitty out with the pack today for the first time alone-she trotted right out and part of me was happy and part of me wanted her to NEED me. I'm sitting here now typing and the cat is curled around my shoulder like a lovely tortoise shell muffler-yes dahling, I do wear fur.

Our relationships with our animals mirror those with people (well, we ARE human) only maybe more intensely. It is so tempting to keep Bitty for myself, just a little extra attention, a little favor, and she would me MINE, loyal and devoted and loving only me. AND (all caps for emphasis) she's old, so what would it matter? Really, woud it hurt anything?

But, it isn't the best thing for her. She's already bonded with one person, who had the ill fortune to die, leaving her alone an unbonded. I truly hope I outlive this old dog, but what if I didn't? And, she can love me and my parents and the crew, and that has got to be a more secure feeling than having all your heart in one place.

She's crying at the door and has been out for a good hour, so I'm going to let her in, along with the rest of the pack.