Archive for the ‘Dogs We Love’ Category

A Few Words About Drawing Rocky for Wordless Wednesday

July 16, 2014

Just before my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, her dog Rocky passed away in his sleep. My mom really loved Rocky and wanted to have him memorialized with art. And not just art from anyone. She wanted me to draw him. :)

Portrait of Rocky the Dog

It really helps me to draw a dog if I have a great photo, and my mom had the perfect one of Rocky.

Third Sketch of Rocky the Dog

It took a few sketches to get the proportions of Rocky right.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 1

I traced the sketch onto acid free pastel paper. As always, the first color I added was to the eyes and nose using pastel pencils.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 2

The next part was coloring Rocky’s open mouth. This was actually far more difficult that I first thought it would be.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 3

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 4

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 5

I’m almost done!

Drawing of Rocky the Dog - Pastel

The final touches were adding Rocky’s whiskers (which is something I almost always forget) and adding texture to his long neck fur. This photo is actually a little dark compared to the original. Imagine the fur as white as in the previous image.

I was lucky enough to be able to complete this drawing while my mom was visiting me (which was just before I moved to Iowa). She was able to watch me draw and got to see me finish it. And I am proud to say that she absolutely loved it!

For more great pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop link below:

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Moving With Our Dogs and Getting Settled

July 11, 2014
Dogs on New Dog Bed Cover

Maya and Pierson resting on their new dog bed in our new house.

We’re finally moved and settled into our new home in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s been a rough journey for me because of all the things happening on or around the move:

We said goodbye to our housemates who lived with us for two years, my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, I found a lost dog, I participated in a pet event with my PetAutoSafety.com pet products, I went to visit my mom in Oregon, when I returned my husband started his new job in Iowa so I organized the contractors for painting and home repair, I took my final exam for statistics (and made an A), I wrote a report for my human relations class, we moved, I unpacked boxes and organized our household, Maya got beat up by another dog and I tended her wounds, my mom is still doing well but getting worse, someone wants to buy our house but wants other repairs done first so I am organizing that from long distance, I was really sick for a couple of weeks, and I am working on enrolling in a school here in Iowa so I can finish getting my degree.

Whew! We’re pretty much settled in now and I’m finally getting back into routine. But enough about me! What about Maya and Pierson?

DANGEROUS FOOD SCARE

While still at the house in Kansas, we had a huge scare with Maya and Pierson getting into food that the contractor workers left outside. Pierson ate half a chicken bone and Maya ate half a candy bar. I was so upset! Luckily, nothing came of it. Pierson later puked up the bone pieces with no ill effects and Maya only ended up with soft stool for a day.

DRIVE TO IOWA

The trip went very well. Maya and Pierson were very comfortable and very well behaved in the car. As you know, I use a number of pet travel products from my PetAutoSafety.com website. The newest one I got to try out was the Pet Dek. It is a lot like the Backseat Bridge with a few differences. Most of those differences are good, but there are a few cons. Read the pros and cons of the Pet Dek on my blog. And click the image below to be directed to my retail website.

Dogs Maya & Pierson on Pet Dek in Car

Look how much room Maya and Pierson have in the car with the new Pet Dek!

Maya and Pierson also wore their dog car seat belts. Pierson wore the Ruff Rider Roadie and Maya wore the ClickIt Utility. I had the windows down during the drive but they couldn’t put their heads out because I have the Breeze Guard car window screens in place. And I put Travel Calm on both Maya and Pierson just before we left. Maya is crazy in the car and Travel Calm helps a lot. It also has ingredients to help with car sickness. Even though Pierson hasn’t had trouble with car sickness for a long time, I still wanted to make sure he was comfortable.

FENCED YARD?

I mentioned in my post on May 15th that we don’t have a fenced yard anymore. Someone asked if we were going to get it fenced. The answer is no. There really isn’t any need. Maya and Pierson are indoor dogs. Even when they did have a fenced yard, they didn’t take advantage of it much. Don’t worry, Maya and Pierson are only out on a chain for a few minutes a few times a day and they are supervised the entire time. I did get a baby gate for the back porch. This will allow me to keep the back door open on nice days and allow them to enjoy the fresh air without having to worry about them being in the yard unattended.

Two Dogs on the Back Porch

We don’t have a fenced yard so in nicer weather, we will hang out on the back porch, which is blocked off with a baby gate.

LOCKED IN BASEMENT

A few days after we moved in to our new house, I accidentally locked Maya in the basement. I didn’t realize she had followed me down and so when I went back up, she stayed down there for a while. By the time I realized it, I was so worried about her. There was still a lot of junk in the basement left by the previous renters and I was worried rat poison might have been left down there. There was rat poison left under a bathroom sink, so I wasn’t sure where else this stuff might have been left. Luckily, the landlord confirmed that they did not put any rat poison in the basement.

MAYA GETS BEAT UP

Maya had some back luck with some dogs in the neighborhood. There were two incidents and they were completely accidental. I would not consider them the result of irresponsible dog owners at all. I will talk more in detail about that in a few days. Don’t worry, Maya is okay. She just had to wear the cone of shame for a while.

My Sad Dog Maya in a Cone

Poor Maya.

A quick little update on my mom – She is sleeping up to 22 hours per day now. Some days she does very well and other days she has problems with confusion and hallucinations. My stepdad is taking very good care of her and she now has help from hospice care. She is in good hands and surprisingly still in good spirits.

Thank you everyone, for stopping by. I think you will start to see me visit your blogs again. I’ve really missed everyone and can’t wait to catch up with all of you. :)

Almost Wordless Wednesday – Four Letter F-Word

July 9, 2014

Okay, so it’s not quite wordless. Is it ever?

The four-letter f-word at our house has a whole different (and much better) meaning.

Cute Dog Pierson

“Did someone say FOOD?”

Maya Handmade Dog Collar

“I’m pretty sure you said you were going to give me food for posing in this new handmade dog collar from our friend Yinghua.”

(Admittedly, the photo of Pierson is from a while back when we still lived in Kansas. But it isn’t a photo I have posted before. Maya’s photo, however, is recent. Our friend, Yinghua, made this for Maya and sent it to us just after we moved to Iowa.)

I hope you enjoyed the Wordless Wednesday blog hop! Check out the link below to see more cute pet photos.

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Nearly Wordless Wednesday – Our New House in Des Moines

July 2, 2014

We moved from Lawrence, Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa in mid May. Maya and Pierson settled into our new house very well:

Cute Maya Upside Down in Des Moines

Maya has a dog bed, but she’s made herself quite comfortable sleeping upside down on the hardwood floor in the living room.

Two Dogs Under My Desk

Somehow, Maya and Pierson both manage to find room under my desk when I work.

Dogs and New Dog Bowls

“Hey, our bowls are empty!” In celebration of our new home, I bought Maya and Pierson new colorful dog bowls and dog mats.

Pierson Looks Out the Back

There are a ton of squirrels and rabbits in our back yard so Pierson likes to sit here and watch.

Two Dogs on the Back Porch

We don’t have a fenced yard so in nicer weather we will hang out on the back porch, which is blocked off with a baby gate.

Dog Pierson Looks Sad

Pierson looks unhappy about his new home, but in reality he was pouting about having to hold still for the photo shoot.

Dogs on New Dog Bed Cover

Maya and Pierson got new bed covers for their dog bed. This dog bed is upstairs by the bedroom and their other dog bed is in the living room.

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Solo is Reunited with My Mom!

April 21, 2014
Dog Solo Sitting

Sweet Solo is happily reunited with my mom and stepdad.

On the 10th, I told you about how my mom and stepdad moved to Oregon and how my stepdad had to leave their dog Solo behind in Missouri because they got the wrong kind of crate for flying. Luckily, a neighbor was able to take Solo back to the house. And for the past 10 days, Solo has been living all alone on en enclosed patio of an empty house with the neighbor coming by a few times a day to care for her.

People go on vacation without their dogs all the time and pay for pet sitters or boarding kennels. But like my mom and stepdad, I couldn’t help but think about how lonely and confused poor Solo must be. It was a less than ideal situation. But at least she was cared for. And at least she was in a place where she’s comfortable.

Well, I’m happy to say that Solo is finally reunited with my mom and stepdad in Oregon. One of their friend’s/neighbor’s bought an airline approved crate and another friend/neighbor took Solo to the vet to renew the health certificate. And that same neighbor took Solo to the airport, two hours away, and sent Solo on her way.

I wish I had still been in Oregon so I could have seen the reunion. I can only imagine how happy Solo was to see them. I have no doubt that she whined and cried with excitement. And I can imagine that both my mom and stepdad had tears in their eyes when they finally got to hug her. And I bet you there were a few other onlookers at the airport who saw the reunion and got teary-eyed as well. As far as I know, no one took photos or recorded the union. That would have been awesome to see.

My mom and stepdad called me last night to tell me the news. Yes, my eyes got a little teary. But I was so relieved. And even though my mom has been in good spirits despite the terminal cancer, I bet she is in an even better mood now that she has her dog back.

Pierson is a Wanton Bunny Killer

April 17, 2014

Dog Pierson Wanted Poster

While I was visiting my mom in the Portland, Oregon area, my husband told me Pierson killed a bunny in our yard. That would have been the 2nd bunny he’s killed (that I am aware of). I’m also pretty sure he’s killed a squirrel when he lived as a stray in Pierson park. And I once watched him amazingly snatch a bird out of midair. Then the same thing again a few months later.

Yesterday was Pierson’s 3rd bunny kill, 6th total kill. I let him outside yesterday evening, and next thing I know is I hear a squealing sound. I look, and Pierson has a full grown bunny in his mouth.

I know it is just his instinct, but it still makes me sad… and grossed out. It also worries me because he has such a high prey drive. I have to really be careful with him around small animals. I can never have a cat. I probably shouldn’t allow him around small dogs. And I can never let him off leash anywhere except in his own fenced yard.

Do you have a dog that’s killed before? How do you handle it?

(Brief update on my mom, her dog Solo, and our move to Iowa: My mom is still doing well. Some symptoms are starting to show up, but nothing drastic. Solo is still in Missouri but the neighbor is still caring for her and will hopefully be able to get her on a plane by next week. We found a great place in Des Moines, but won’t be able to move in until May 10th. My husband is already in Des Moines working his new job while I’m still in Kansas trying to prepare our home for resale.)

 

My Mom and Her Dog Solo

April 10, 2014

I’m here in Oregon with my mom. She is still doing well, but she says her muscles are getting weaker and her eyesight worse. Despite this, her spirits are still up. Something happened regarding her dog Solo, though, that has got her down and I don’t know what to do.

My mom spent most of her life in Oregon before moving to Missouri a few years ago. Now with this diagnosis, she wanted to go back home to Oregon. So we got her a plane ticket and she flew ahead and is staying with a dear friend while also getting to see my sisters and brother and her niece and nephews. My stepdad stayed behind in Missouri to wrap up things at their property.

The plan for my stepdad and their dog Solo was that after my stepdad received their social security check, which was supposed to include a year’s worth of back pay, he was going to buy a vehicle, rent a trailer, pack up all his and my mom’s stuff, and drive with their dog Solo to Oregon. I was going to go along to help with the long drive.

The check never came, so my stepdad and I bought plane tickets to Oregon instead. I arrived Tuesday. He was supposed to arrive yesterday with Solo. He did arrive, but unfortunately the airline wouldn’t take Solo. They said her travel crate wasn’t airline approved. Luckily, the friend that had brought my stepdad to the airport was able to take Solo back home.

At this very moment, Solo is still in Missouri staying all by herself at my mom and stepdad’s old place. Their friend lives very nearby and is coming by a few times a day to feed and care for her. But otherwise, Solo is all alone.

My mom and stepdad are currently trying to figure out what to do. The coordination of all this is tricky at such a long distance. Can they count on this friend to do the legwork on finding the right crate and on making another four hour round trip to the airport to drop Solo off? I hope so. Not only that, this friend has to make sure he doesn’t forget Solo’s traveling paperwork and that this trip happens within a specified period before the paperwork expires. Otherwise, he will also have to take Solo to the vet again to get re-certified. And my mom and stepdad have to find a way to send this friend enough money to cover the crate, gas expense, and plane ticket expense.

I honestly can’t see this friend doing all this. I may be wrong, but I am still worried. I can only imagine how worried my mom and stepdad are too. This is what I am thinking of doing. After I get back home to Kansas on Sunday evening, I can work on getting an airline approved crate. I can also try to find the time to make the five hour trip to my mom’s old place in Missouri. I’d have to stay overnight, then make the two hour drive to the airport with Solo myself. From there, it is another three hour drive back to Kansas.

Finding the time to do this is tricky. I’m still packing our things for our move to Iowa. And I also have to coordinate painters, flooring people, landscapers, etc. in order to fix up our house so it can be put on the market. I WILL do whatever I need to get Solo reunited with my mom and stepdad. But if anyone has any better ideas, I’d love to hear them.

I think I’ve told you that Solo is a special needs dog and that she came from a terrible dog hoarding situation. As a result of her rescue by my mom and stepdad, Solo is highly protective of them and very close to them. She needs them as much as they need her. My mom especially needs her.

Update on Solo
My mom and stepdad found two friends in Missouri who can help out. One friend is going to find an airline approved crate. And the other friend will take Solo to the airport. Yay! :)

Help Working with Different Leash Reactive Behaviors

March 3, 2014

Does your dog react when he’s on a leash and sees another dog? The first thing to do is admit you have a problem.

Dog Pierson Sitting

Hi. My name is Pierson and if you’re a dog, I’m probably not going to like you. (Well, unless you’re Maya. I love Maya.) It’s nothing personal. If you’re a big dog, I go into protect-mode. If you’re a little dog, my prey-drive kicks in.

Dog Maya on the Chair

Hi. My name is Maya and I love other dogs. Well, except Pierson. Okay, I like him most of the time, except when he’s being a pest. Then I just tolerate him. But anyway, when I see another dog, I just get so happy that I start barking and lunging.

Pierson not liking dogs and Maya loving them both cause a leash reactive behavior. But because the causes are different, they require a different approach. To be honest, I have had more success dealing with Pierson’s aggressive behavior than with Maya’s excitement behavior. Just how do you deal with a crazy Labrador with GLS, anyway? (BTW, GLS stands for Goofy Lab Syndrome.)

If I see another dog while walking either Maya or Pierson, the first thing I do is cross the street. Because it has been more difficult for me to get their attention with the look command while still walking, I also make them sit. I give the look command and reward. I do this a few times until the other dog is passed.

This method works very well with Pierson unless the other dog reacts. He has made a lot of progress. However, this method is not working as well for Maya. When Maya gets excited about something, it is very difficult to distract her. She is so intent on what she sees (the other dog), that I couldn’t tempt her with a big juicy steak.

With Maya, I need to add another element to her training. If I see that she is going to start reacting, I need to turn her around and go the other way. So far, this is working, but it is not always possible for us to turn around. And I’m curious to know how doing this will eventually help her learn not to react. Any ideas on what training methods I can use for Maya? Keep in mind that when Maya gets excited, nothing, and I mean nothing can distract her. Not treats, not collars, not commands, nothing.

Wordless Wednesday – Pretty Portraits of Maya and Pierson

February 26, 2014

Welcome to the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.

Maya on Dog Bed Looks SadMaya Nose Portrait small Maya Nose and Stuff 007Portrait of My Dog Pierson 1 Portrait of My Dog Pierson 2 Portrait of My Dog Pierson 3
And because I can’t resist a few words:

Maya Brown Nosing

Thank you for stopping by for Wordless Wednesday. More fun pet photos can be found by clicking below:

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How Pierson Did on His Vet Visit

February 25, 2014
Maya and Pierson at Vet Office

Maya and Pierson are sitting in the main room of the vet office, waiting to be called into one of the little rooms for their annual examination.

Pierson went to the vet last week for his annual checkup and for one of his vaccines. He is terrified of the vet, so I wanted to try to make his visit more comfortable this time around. Last week, I talked about some of the things I was going to do. Today, I’m going to tell you whether or not they worked.

Firstly, I was unable to use the Thundershirt to help him because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked and looked and the only thing I could think of was that I donated it along with some dog seat belts to our local humane society. Secondly, I forgot that I had been given a K-10 calming product to sample. K-10 is a powder formula you put in your dog’s water. They have different kinds. They have the K-10 multivitamin, K-10 UT support, K-10 Omega-3, and K-10 Calming. So I put this stuff in my dogs’ water bowl for two days prior to Pierson’s vet visit.

Other than the two differences above, everything else I talked about last week was done. We visited the vet daily, I put some Travel Calm on him, and I took Maya with us. Did these things help? I think so.

Pierson was still a little nervous on his visit. But he eagerly ate up the treats that the staff handed him and he let them pet him. He seemed to do okay when we sat in the little room. Other than being agitated at the sounds of other dogs in the hall, he showed no signs of being nervous.

However, all that changed when the vet tried to approach him with a needle. She needed to draw blood to test for heartworms and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Pierson did not snap or growl, but his fear was quite evident so we had him muzzled for just in case. And when he was held and the blood drawn, he both peed and pooped on himself. But amazingly, he did not struggle to get away. And he still didn’t growl or try to bite.

So while he did better on this visit, I don’t think there is a way to help him get over his fear of being stuck with a needle. That is not something you can desensitize a dog to. So for next year, I think we will just continue to make occasional fun visits to the vet. This way when the day comes again, he won’t be nervous except for the needle-sticking part.

I am also considering getting some of his vaccines at the feed store and administering them myself. Pierson lets me brush his teeth and cut his nails so I seriously doubt he would have any trouble with me sticking him with a needle. I think his problem is mostly with strangers getting so close to him. Being petted by strangers is one thing. Being handled by them is quite another.

So what do you think I can do to help Pierson next year?


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