Archive for the ‘Dogs We Love’ Category

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?

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.


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