Archive for the ‘Dogs We Love’ Category

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?

Pierson is Terrified of the Vet

February 17, 2014
Pierson Head Down Looking Up

Is it time to go to the vet again?

My poor Pierson has a vet appointment tomorrow. Don’t worry, it is nothing bad. It is just time for one of his vaccines and his annual checkup. So why poor Pierson? Because he is absolutely terrified of the vet. At his last appointment, he peed all over the place. Pierson can be skittish at times, but this was the only time he’s been so terrified that he peed. What happened to my poor baby boy to make him so scared?

When I first got Pierson he was nervous at the vet, but not terrified. He did just fine on that very first day I caught him and took him in for a checkup. Three days later I took him to the emergency pet hospital because he had a severe bloody nose. He had to stay overnight. And while I doubt the experience was pleasant for him, he was not terrified when he went to the vet a couple weeks later for booster vaccines. Nor was he when he went another couple weeks later to be neutered.

It was probably a combination of all these vet visits that made last year’s annual checkup visit so terrifying. So I vowed to do some things to make Pierson’s experience more pleasant this year:

Travel Calm, Maya, and Me

Travel Calm helps keep Maya from acting so excitedly on car rides.

Canine Calming Remedy
I have a product called Travel Calm, which I use for Maya when we take long road trips. Maya gets excited in the car and this stuff helps her to relax. Travel Calm is an all-natural product from Earth Heart. It contains bergamot, lavender, tangerine, and other calming ingredients. Earth Heart also makes a product called Canine Calm. It is the same thing as Travel Calm but Travel Calm also contains ginger to help with car sickness. Pierson doesn’t really need the ginger, but it won’t hurt him either and I don’t have any of the Canine Calm.

Pierson Wearing the Thundershirt 003

Doesn’t Pierson look comfortable in his Thundershirt?

Pet Anxiety Shirt
Another product I have is the Thundershirt. I’ve tried it on Pierson before and loved how it fit. But for him, his anxiety about the vet was just too strong. However, with a combination of the Thudershirt, Travel Calm, and the below methods, I believe this shirt will make a positive difference for him.

Visit the Vet Regularly
For the past couple of days I have been taking Pierson to the vet for a visit. He doesn’t go to get a checkup or anything. He just goes so that he can hang out for a bit. Even though Pierson is just stopping by to say hi, the staff has been very helpful. If they have a moment or two, they come and introduce themselves to Pierson while at the same time bribing him with tasty treats.

Take Maya
Sometimes when Pierson is afraid of something but my dog Maya isn’t, Pierson calms down. Maya absolutely loves going to the vet so I will take both her and Pierson at the same time. Perhaps her attitude about the vet will help influence his attitude.

New Vet?
I don’t know if these few visits are enough to help, but I’m hoping so. I’m also thinking of having the new doctor check on Pierson. The two doctors at this office that Maya and Pierson usually see are males. But they have a new doctor who is female. I’m interested in seeing if this can make a difference. We’re going to the same vet office, but seeing a different doctor. If all this doesn’t make a difference, next year I may have to try a new veterinary office.

Wish us luck! I will try to follow up later this week to tell you how his vet appointment went. Let’s keep our paws crossed and hope for the best.

The Rest of Pierson’s Gotcha Story – Part 2

January 28, 2014
Pierson Playing with Ball 1

The Wobbly Nobbly dog toy ball was one of Pierson’s favorite toys, until he chewed it to pieces.

In Part 1 of Pierson’s story, I told you how I convinced my husband to let us keep a stray and about how he had to be treated for fleas and ticks at Pawsh Wash. Today, I’m going to tell you about a very expensive mishap that occurred after only three days of having Pierson in our home.

Crate Training Disaster
Pierson did very well on his first night in the crate. The second night was a very different story. Pierson not only cried, he also fought his way out and actually succeeded. I think he did some damage to his nose in the process because the next afternoon he had a terrible bloody nose. I suspect he bruised his nose while trying to escape the crate and the heater on in the house made a blood vessel burst the following day.

Pierson Watching the Rain 1

Pierson is wishing it would stop raining so he can go outside and play. This photo was taken after he lost his thick winter coat.

Second Vet Visit and Emergency Hospital
I took him to our vet in town. They couldn’t do anything so they sent me to the emergency vet, Blue Pearl. Blue pearl is a 45 minute drive. I can’t even begin to tell you how terrible the back seat of my car looked after Pierson sneezed blood all over it! Thank goodness for Oxyclean.

We Can Put Him Down
When I brought Pierson in to Blue Pearl and told the staff I just got this dog and how I got him, they assumed I wouldn’t want to pay for his treatment. I imagine it happens often where people bring in a stray animal that is ill or injured and just want the dog taken care of but don’t want to pay for it. It’s reasonable to want to help a stray animal but not be able to afford emergency medical care. Emergency vets are expensive. But I had made a commitment. When they hinted they could put Pierson to sleep, I made my position clear. No way! Do what you can, I told them.

Pierson with Legs Out

Frog Dog – I’ve had many dogs in my life but I do not ever recall having a dog that could do this with his legs.

Recovery and Reunion
They couldn’t stop the bleeding with a cold compress or by putting gauze up Pierson’s nose so he ended up having to stay overnight. When I went to get him the next day, I paid $800+ and was rewarded with Pierson being very happy to see me. He had been very shy the first three days at our house, so this warm welcome was very heartwarming. Yes, I cried.

Fitting In
Every day brought Pierson closer to me and my husband and to Maya. He learned his name very quickly. His shyness with us slowly wore off and the real dog began to blossom. He learned to play with Maya and he learned to play with us. He came housebroken, which was bonus! As he got more comfortable, though, bad habits became evident. But those are other stories and already told in previous posts.

Maya & Pierson Sleeping on Dog Bed

Maya and Pierson are often found sharing the same dog bed, even though I have one for each.

There you have it, the rest of Pierson’s Gotcha story; told in full detail.

The Rest of Pierson’s Gotcha Story – Part I

January 27, 2014
Pierson at Pierson Park 1

Stray dog living at Pierson Park in Kansas City, Kansas in December-January 2012.

On January 10th, Pierson’s official Gotcha Day, I told you about how he was finally caught after living in a park as a stray for nearly a month. But his adventure didn’t stop there. Coming into a strange new home took some adjustment. So let me tell you the rest of Pierson’s story.

Take Him to the Shelter?
When we first started trying to catch this stray dog, my husband didn’t think it would be a good idea to take in a stray. He was worried about bringing in a dog with unknown behaviors and unknown diseases. He suggested that if we catch this dog, we should take him to the humane society, let him go through the adoption process, and then adopt him. There are some no-kill shelters in the Kansas City area, so it was not an unreasonable request. Also, considering he was a stray, it would give his previous owners a chance to claim him.

Pierson Playing with Toy 001

The day Pierson first felt comfortable enough to play in his new home.

No, I want to Keep Him
But when I finally got Pierson in the car, I did not want to take him to the shelter. So on the 40 minute drive home, I began to think of reasons why we should just keep him. For one, it was unlikely he would be claimed. He had no collar and already been living in the park for three weeks. And an officer who had also been trying to catch him said she called local shelters and no one had reported a dog of his description as missing.

Prepared to Beg
When I got him home, I introduced Pierson to Maya. He didn’t like her, but at least he didn’t outright attack her. There was hope. So I called my husband at work, prepared to present my argument about why we should keep him rather than let him go to the shelter first. To my surprise, it didn’t take much to convince him. All I had to do was give Pierson a bath and take him to the vet.

Maya and Pierson 006

Pierson loves to chase and Maya loves to be chased.

Fleas and Ticks
I took Pierson to Pawsh Wash, a doggie boutique with half of the store dedicated to grooming. I could pay someone to bathe Pierson, or I could pay a smaller fee and use their facilities to bathe him myself. I opted for the later. Pierson was so well behaved during his bath! I must have been there for an hour-and-a-half combing him, bathing him, and pulling out all the ticks. One of the staff at Pawsh Wash helped me even though I had opted to not to pay for the full grooming service. I believe it was Chelsea who helped me. One of the other staff members helped me pick out a good nutritious food for Pierson. Chelsea and all the Pawsh Wash staff are PAWSOME!

Vet
Next stop was the vet’s office. It was an easy visit. Except for the fact you could feel his ribs, there were no visible signs of illness. Blood work was done and vaccines were given.

Maya & Pierson 005

Pierson warmed up to Maya rather quickly.

Smart Dog?
Remember the post on the 10th of this month where I told you we got Pierson because my husband said he wanted a smart dog? Someone asked if my husband was satisfied with Pierson’s intelligence. My husband has very little experience with dogs, so he didn’t really know what he meant by a smart dog. But he is very happy with Pierson, despite a few mishaps. What mishaps, you ask? Come back for Part 2 tomorrow where I tell you about Pierson’s emergency room visit three days after we brought him home.

Rocky Goes Over the Rainbow Bridge

January 26, 2014
Rocky the Dog on Couch

Rocky has gone over the Rainbow Bridge.

My mom just called me. She said her dog Rocky died in his sleep last night.

Rocky was very special to my mom and stepdad. Like me, my mom has had dogs her entire life. That was, until she lost Beethoven, her poodle. After Beethoven, she swore she would never get another dog because it hurt so much when they left. But then she met my stepdad. After they married, they went searching for a dog together and opted to search through Craig’s List.

Now I know you’ve heard bad things about getting dogs on craigslist. But this was before a lot of people posing as rescue groups sold their dogs there. And before there was a known problem about people in dog fighting getting bait dogs off unsuspecting families looking to rehome their dogs. Rocky was from an actual family who was trying to find a home for him because they realized they didn’t have time for him and being tied up in the back yard was no life for a dog.

My mom and stepdad fell in love with Rocky right away. One special trait of Rocky is that he was so lovable. I mean really really lovable. If you didn’t like dogs and you met Rocky, he would impose himself on you until you learned to love him. And there was just something about his black eye, black lip, and his small ears compared to his big head. He was just too cute.

Rocky What's Up?

Seriously, how could you not fall in love with this goofy face?

Portrait of Rocky's Happy Face

Rocky has one black eye and one black lip. Silly-cute.

Another special trait about Rocky is he was not very bright. My mom and stepdad often joked about how dumb Rocky was. But they made fun of him lovingly. They didn’t care that he wasn’t smart. He was loveable.

Rocky Standing Over Mom

Rocky like to be on top of things, like laps, shoulders, etc.

Rocky also had a cute way about hogging the bed. If my mom went to bed before my stepdad, Rocky would lay next to her. Then when my stepdad went to bed and try to get Rocky to move, Rocky would grumble about it for a bit before he’d decide to move.

Rocky Sleeping

Rocky would complain if he was told to move from his spot on the bed.

Yes, Rocky was a very special dog. My mom and stepdad are understandably upset. Me too. I’m crying as I write this. It is going to be strange visiting my mom next time and not having a 75 pound dog rest his head on my shoulder or try to climb in my lap. We will all miss you Rocky. I’m glad your passing was peaceful and I am positive you’ve found some friends to play with over the Rainbow Bridge.

Rocky and the Snowman 2

My mom’s dog Rocky and his twin brother.

How Bad Would My Health Be Without My Dogs?

January 23, 2014
Maya on the Couch

When I’m not feeling well, I put a sheet over the couch and call the dogs up. Maya loves to cuddle with me. Mentally, it really helps me feel better.

Did you know about 1/4 of people with fibromyalgia are considered disabled? I do not consider myself disabled. Over the years I have learned how to manage most of my symptoms. Maya and Pierson help a lot. I imagine that without them, my symptoms would be far worse.

I wrote a post in November about how I was starting up a treatment that was supposedly going to cure my fibromyalgia. Well, it didn’t. I did everything I was supposed to. I did not have the support of a doctor, but that is only because there are no fibromyalgia specialists in my area. I did, however, buy a book that explained the treatment in detail. It required an over the counter drug, so I was able to implement everything to a T.

Anyway, since it didn’t work, I have to continue to manage my symptoms. This is where Maya and Pierson come in. Most days are pretty good, but I still have some bad ones. Yesterday, for example, I had to go to the emergency room. Before you worry, I was okay. I went at the suggestion of my doctor even though I was reasonably certain it wasn’t serious. It was my fibromyalgia acting up again.

Yesterday, I had an unexpected and terrible pain in my jaw and my mouth started to feel tingly. I was in extreme pain for several minutes before the pain slowly started to dissipate. This pain was unusual for me so I called my doctor and she told me to go to the emergency room.

Apparently, the painful jaw and tingling of the mouth is a symptom of a stroke. So when I got to the hospital, they immediately checked me in and began running a bunch of tests. All tests came up normal. They didn’t find anything wrong. Whew!

When I got home, I did my own research. I searched and searched about jaw pain until I finally found one that sounded like it could fit my situation. It said about 1/4 of fibromyalgia patients experience jaw pain. And the pain is more in the muscles than in the jaw. So there it is folks! I wasn’t having a stroke. It was just yet another symptom of my fibromyalgia. Ugh!

By now, it is well known that there are several health benefits to having a pet. I wholly believe this to be true. Sephi, Maya, and Pierson have been wonderful blessings in so many ways, including my health. Regular exercise is one way I am able to keep most of the fibromyalgia symptoms at bay. Maya and Pierson are great at helping me with this. We walk and play together all the time. Stress can trigger fibromyalgia symptoms as well and my dogs are great at helping me to alleviate stress.

Pull No More dog harness

Walking makes me feel better, and Maya too! :)

If you ever tell anyone you’ve heard pets provide health benefits and they don’t believe you, tell them you know someone who knows it is true. Attribute it to the placebo effect if you want. Whether my dogs are the sugar pill or the medicine, the fact remains that they are still a real remedy. They provide not only health benefits, but they hold the key to happiness. I don’t even want to imagine what my health and my life would be like without them.

Pierson and Mr. Monkey Dog Toy

Pierson’s cuteness helps lighten my mood whenever I’m not feeling well.

Thank you, Amy Shojai, for letting me reference your article about the health benefits of dogs.

Monday Mischief and an Award

January 13, 2014

Monday Mischief Blog Hop

This is my second Monday Mischief post ever. I don’t do these often because, well, Maya and Pierson are mostly pretty good. Don’t get me wrong, they do get into mischief. But not often enough for me to remember to grab my camera and take a photo. So for my second ever Monday Mischief post, I want to share a video I made of Maya and Pierson riding in the car. Some of you may have seen it on my Pet Auto Safety Blog. If not, check it out. Maya is definitely up to trouble in this funny dog video.

Cute or shameless promotion? Perhaps a little of both? Either way, it is mischief. :P Maya would definitely be sticking her nose in my face or trying to climb in my lap if she wasn’t buckled up. I will be making another funny dog video of Maya and Pierson soon. It’s going to be hilarious, trust me.

Maya Pierson Car Talk Cover

Okay, now that I’m done showing off the video I put together of my two little cuties, I want to let you know about an award we got from Clowie. Clowie is one very well-mannered Great Pyrenees dog. She’s never into any mischief. Seriously. She always has an interesting story to tell, a story that passes along an important lesson. Go check out her blog, Clowie’s Corner.

This award recognizes friends and followers and I am very honored to have received such recognition from Clowie. Thank you so much Clowie!!! ❤•.✿.•❤

Friends Followers Award

I am supposed to pass on the award. However, I am having a hard time narrowing down who to give the award to. To be honest, all of you deserve one. So consider yourselves all winners of this award. Thank you so much for stopping by and for being loyal followers of Maya and Pierson. :)

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