Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oh Why Not

I feed certain treats in crates or solo situations only, so that each dog can enjoy it without competition. But, then there is Prissy.

Prissy, like Dottie before her, is a saver. She eats a bit now, buries some for later. In the spring, later is best when it's outside and in a sunny spot, in winter, a sunny floor will have to do.

Prissy has amassed quite a collection of stubs and has started bringing them out each morning. At first I put them back, citing "it's not fair, I'm not giving the others a treat"...but you know what, it's not fair to Priss either. If she chooses to wait to enjoy her bone in the grass, why the heck shouldn't she?

I don't lock Cody up-it isn't fair to him becaue he won't be getting a treat. But you know what, sometimes Prissy gets her entire bone, sometimes she has to share. If the other ignore her to soon, she'll walk in front of them with her bone waving.

Sometimes it's best just to let dogs be dogs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Let them Romp and Eat Cake?

I really had intended to do some dog walking yesterday, but when I went out back the gang was having a rousing and joyous romp. They would have been delighted if I had wanted to join them, equally delighted to go on a walk, but I chose instead just to watch them roll and bark and cavort.

It was kind of coolish outside, but sunny and no wind, perfect romping weather. Each dog had lunched on a sparerib in his or her kennel, enjoying the entire (tiny thing really, not great at all) thing without worry from a maurader. This was after a morning of light kibble.

This afternoon I gave them pickings from a cornish hen and some baked carrots-so no doubt they will be a bit dismayed at the bedtime ration of....a little kibble.

I'm not maniacal about everything my dogs eat, but if they get treats, it's generally food quality something or another, and they get a reduction in standard issue rations to compensate. Since I've learned to pen Cody up for Al Fresco dining, he has a waistline again and the rest get their fair share.

Everyone has their own philosophy, mine is that it is possible to feed a varied diet and still maintain a healthy dog. They have really cool programs to calculate that, but I just look at waists, coats and eyes. And while they all eat pretty much the same thing, I take in age, activity level and current weight to gauge relative portion size.

It's really not as complicated as it sounds....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spay Day....Yay!

Yesterday (Wednesday) was spay day for Lily. She was not pleased with the morning's activities being interupted, and the solo trip to the vet. Solo walks, solo trips to Starbucks are welcome events-solo trips to the vet never bode well for a happy outcome.

Lily also has another challenge that makes it trickier for her-she's deaf as deaf can be. So, for her, living in a pack is a very comforting thing-she can take cues from the other dogs. The vet and the entire staff know each member of my pack very well, so she will get extra solo care while she's there.

There has a been a huge bruhaha in the chihuahua community about merles, breeding for merle, whether or not there were outcrosses and so on and so forth. Because of the research on Aussies, I think it's pretty apparent there is an association with the merle gene and some physical issues-eyes and ears mostly. However, I am not a scientist, and that's just my opinion and I really don't even want to debate it.

Now, Lily is not a tragedy by any means. She's a lovely dog, her life is good, she's well cared for. Tragedy comes when people end up with a handicapped dog and breed it anyway.

If you recall, Lily had a traumatic birth as well, so her deafness may not be genetic at all. But when in doubt, don't breed. If you can't make sure that all pups are rehomed responsibly with homes that will spay/neuter-don't breed.

If you are breeding because you need to show a profit-don't breed. It is not a profitable business if done correctly and with the dog's best interest. If you need to make a profit-go buy designer purses at the goodwill and sell them on e-bay-it's easier, the money is better, and no one gets hurt.

If, however, you are looking for a companion animal, please consider shelters and rescues. KNOW what you want from a dog and what you are willing and able to give the dog in return, and match yourself to the appropriate dog. A warm fuzzy idea that you'd like a dog is not enough reason to go and obtain a dog-dogs need planning, space, time management and money.

Ok, today's post was a lot of blah blah blah, but I feel like if I post pics of cuties I also want to post the other side of the cuteness so that people are informed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More simple pleasures

A nice friendly snuzzle to the ear.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Nothing like a good sniff in the grass.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Strange Pack Indeed

Oliver the parrot is a pack member. It has happened over time-he knew dogs in his previous homes and he's told stories of dogs being yelled at and hit. He wakes my dogs each morning and then supervises their activities in the backyard. If there is a fuss or a ruckus, he runs to the window to inspect.

When they come in for midday naps, he expects his treat as well before he settles down in his cage for his nap.

They are all building various degrees of trust for each other, some allowing him to sample their nose and ears with his powerful beak. All of this is carefully supervised and so far through cage bars-he is more a threat to them than they to him.

When I started holding the dogs up for his inspection was also the point he came to realize that humans and holding could be a good thing. We've come a long way in our own trusting bond since then.

As for the dogs, they aren't quite sure what to think. He's clearly much bigger than the birds they chase out of the yard, he's in the house, he talks bird AND human....One of the good things about having a pack is pack rules apply-Leader (me) allows a new member, then that new member is a pack member, feathers and all.

When the pups are older and have more self restraint, I'd like to bring a gerbil into the house and see what the pack makes of it....or the ultimate test of the pack structure-a squirrel. I get shivers just thinking about it.

In actual fact, it might not be that difficult. Cody has always had a thing for picking up grass snakes if he can find them, but has never acted agressively towards any snake I was holding, no matter what the size. Still, I would love to see what he'd do with a pesky flippy tailed squirrel....hee hee hee.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I was reading a book on whole foods cooking for Parrots (yes indeedy I was) and most of the pack let themselves in the back door (or perhaps it was the wind) and announced it was time for dinner.

Oliver the parrot was delighted and I had to hold each one up for his inspection and then they all filed in to their crates, were fed and went to sleep.

Bitty and Lily couldn't figure out the door thing, so I carried them in, took them to see Oliver too (why should they be denied) and then tucked them in as well.

What was so amusing is how amused THEY all were. Sometimes a little change in routine is just the bomb, isn't it?