Posts Tagged ‘dog’

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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Sillyboy Fluffypants

May 22, 2014

I admit it. I like to watch Spongebob Squarepants. It’s idiotically silly, to say it nicely, and it makes me laugh. Nautical nonsense, indeed. For whatever reason, I’ve attributed the silliness to my boy Pierson. One of his many nicknames is Sillyboy Fluffypants, named after Spongebob Squarepants. The Spongebob intro song gets stuck in my head sometimes and so I’ve put my own words to it about Pierson:

Who gives me snuggles and doesn’t have fleas?
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
On bushes and hydrants and corners he pees;
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
If cutie dog nonsense be something you wish,
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
Then go get some kibble and fill up his dish!
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
Silly Boy… Fluffy Pants!

My Dog Pierson and Spongebob Squarepants

SillyBoy FluffyPants!

Incidentally, when I need a mood lift, I play this video:

Admit it… you know you sing silly songs about your dog too. I know I’m not the only weird one out there. ;)

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.

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! :)

How to Deal With Your Dog’s Destructive Behavior

March 13, 2014

Puppy biting shoe

As you may have suspected from my previous post, I am taking a bit of a break from blogging in order to spend time with my mom. So what I have here is a great and informative article written by Helen Cole:

It’s normal for dogs to chew, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When chewing becomes destructive, however, you must control the behavior to keep your pet safe and your belongings intact. Learn more about why your dog chews to prevent this inappropriate use of teeth:

Reasons for Destructive Chewing and How to Prevent It

Dogs chew for a variety of reasons. Puppies do so while they are teething to relieve pain and help adult teeth break through, according to the Humane Society of the U.S. By providing your puppy with an appropriate chew toy, you help her feel better while also teaching what what is appropriate to chew. Anytime her teeth get too close to a furniture leg or other off-limits item, interrupt with a loud noise, such as a clap, then offer an appropriate toy and provide praise when she takes it.

Kong offers a line of chew toys for puppies. They feature soft rubber and are freezable to provide numbing relief. You can find these products at pet supply stores.

A poorly trained puppy can grow into a destructive chewer. That being said, certain circumstances can cause even a well-trained adult dog to chew. They include:

  • Medical issue — A poor diet or intestinal parasite can lead to pica, an abnormal desire to eat substances not normally eaten, which can be mistaken for inappropriate chewing, veterinarian Dr. Kristy Conn points out. She also states that gastrointestinal problems can cause nausea, which can trigger chewing as a way to cope. She recommends seeing your vet to rule out such issues.
  • Separation anxiety — If, in addition to destructive chewing, your dog whines, barks, paces and forgets his housetraining when you are away, the cause may be separation anxiety, according to the ASPCA. The organization offers a lengthy description of this behavioral problem as well as ways to deal with it.
  • Boredom — If you rule out a medical issue and separation anxiety, simple boredom could be the cause. Try upping the physical and mental stimulation you give your animal. Add another walk to your daily routine or hit the dog park for off-leash play with other dogs. Food and treat puzzle toys engage a dog’s mind. Nina Ottosson toys, for example, require your dog to use his mind — plus nose and paw — to get a treat.

No matter the reason for destructive chewing, you must control both your dog’s behavior and access to items you don’t want chewed. Move what you can out of reach and spray taste deterrent on what you can’t, such as furniture. Crate your dog when you cannot provide supervision.

If you catch inappropriate chewing in the act, the Humane Society recommends the same actions as given for puppies. Never punish after the fact, as your dog cannot associate the correction with something done even a few minutes ago.

A Separate Issue: Fabric Sucking and Licking

If your dog doesn’t chew but instead sucks and licks on your fabric furniture, the above advice works as well. Instead of using a taste deterrent spray, which could stain the fabric, invest in removable covers for your furniture. Wayfair.com, for example, sells machine-washable futon covers that are easily replaced.

Back to me, Dawn. I have been lucky these past several years in that I’ve had very little problems with Maya and Pierson chewing on things they are not supposed to. The last time I had issues with a chewing dog was with Sephi in 2002 when the little devil dog chewed up all my bibles! What are some crazy experiences you’ve had with your dog chewing?

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.

Challenges of a Leash Reactive Dog

February 13, 2014

Progress
Pierson has made a lot of progress with being better on his leash when he sees another dog. Two things helped. First, we cross the street when we see another dog. I have Pierson sit and I use the “look” command to distract him. He gets rewarded with lots of treats every time he pays attention to me and not the other dog. Second, I was fortunate enough to find a group of people who were willing to get together once a week or so to help work with our dog’s leash reactive behaviors. We walked our dogs at a distance from each other and the distance depended on our dogs’ own individual thresholds. Pierson was always last in line and furthest away. But by the end of fall, he was able to get within a few feet of those other dogs without reacting.

Pierson Group Walk Group Photo

Everyone is proud of Pierson’s progress.

There have been four major challenges in trying to overcome Pierson’s leash reactive behavior:

Challenge – Walking Two Dogs
Pierson’s leash reactive behavior is due to his high prey drive. He could even be called aggressive, although it is difficult to imagine such a cute ball of fuzz with a girly bark as aggressive. But that is what it is. He whines, he barks, and he lunges. Maya’s leash reactive behavior, on the other hand, is due to excitement. She loves other dogs and really wants to go say hi. She barks and lunges too, but only because she is so happy.

Needless to say, I can’t walk Maya and Pierson together. Maya’s happy bark makes Pierson’s aggressive bark more intense, and vice versa. So in order to properly work on their behaviors separately, I need to walk them one at a time. By the way, the “look” command does not work on Maya when she is excited. I need to find a different training technique for her.

Pull No More dog harness

First I walk Pierson, then I walk Maya.

Challenge – Loose Dogs
One day when I was walking with this group down a nature trail, someone coming up from the other direction had two dogs not on a leash. When the dogs saw us, they ran towards us. Their mom called them but they didn’t listen. They ran straight for Pierson. In order to keep something terrible from happening, I quickly picked Pierson up out of the way. Luckily the two dogs were small. That would not have worked if the dogs had been bigger. The lady was apologetic but she didn’t really grasp what had almost happened. Luckily, the group of people I was with explained to her just how close her dogs had come to being injured. Having a good recall is extremely important, and this trail was not an off-leash trail. I think the reality of the situation sunk in and I hope she learned her lesson.

A similar situation happened in my own neighborhood. A Lhasa named Barkley is often allowed off leash in his front yard when his mom is out with him. I have met Barkley a number of times and know that he usually has a great recall. But one day, there was just something about Pierson that he had to investigate head on. I picked Pierson up out of the way. Barkley’s mom kept saying that Barkley was friendly. I told her I knew that, but my Pierson was not. She finally understood. And the next time I met her while we were both walking our dogs, she called Barkley back and put his leash on while I went across the street. She complemented me on being so responsible.

Challenge – Other Leash Reactive Dogs
Pierson is very good about paying attention to me when we cross the street and I use the “look” command. It works most of the time. The only time it doesn’t work is when the other dog is also leash reactive. If the other dog reacts, Pierson does to and no amount of bribing with treats will distract him.

Pierson on a Leash with Look Command

The “look” command helps me to distract Pierson whenever we see someone else walking their dog.

Challenge – Winter, Fewer Dogs
We are getting a little out of practice this winter. Even though I still try to walk Maya and Pierson every day, we seldom see other dogs. In fact, we have gone over an entire week without running into any other dogs. I fear Pierson will be greatly out of practice when spring arrives.

Do you have a leash reactive dog? If so, what are your challenges?

See what other people with leash reactive dogs are doing to manage the behavior in the WOOF blog hop below.

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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.

Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Happy and Stress Free During the Holidays

December 20, 2013

I wasn’t going to write a holiday pet post since everyone else is doing the same thing. But Ryan Novas offered to write one for me and this is a great article:

Cat Under Christmas Tree

With all of the visitors, travel, food and general stress that can come along with the holidays, they can be hard on a person, so just imagine what all of this is like for a dog who doesn’t even understand what is going on!  Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take that may help your dog deal with all the stress and stay happy.  From keeping your pet away from ornaments and wrapper paper, to keeping them on their routine, here are 5 things you can do to help keep your pet happy through the holidays.

1. Keep your dog away from the Christmas trees and presents

Bows, bells and boxes might mean presents and ornaments to us, but for a curious dog, these may just be things to explore and chew on.   Maybe you spent an eternity picking out the the perfect pair of dog slippers and then wrapped them up.  However, it may only take your furry friend just a second or two to tear off the wrapping paper and turn them into their newest chew toy. You may want to keep the room with the tree and presents off limits to the dog until everything has been cleaned up and put away.

2. Keep your dog on his or her routine

With everyone zipping around from one party to another, cooking, eating, and shopping, it can be hard to keep a schedule.  Despite this, keeping to your dog’s normal routine can help bring a little bit of normalcy back into their lives.  Try to make sure you are still feeding and walking your dog at the same time every day, as the familiar structure can be a relief to them in times when they may be feeling ignored.

3. Have a plan for when guests arrive

Some dogs are terrific with guests, and others aren’t.  You probably know which one yours is, and acting accordingly may save everyone human and canine plenty of stress .  If your dog is just jumpy around guests, take them for a walk, play fetch, and get them tired out beforehand.  If this isn’t enough to keep your dog on his or her best behavior, you should probably just have him or her secured in another room with a closed door before anyone sets foot in your home.

4. Let guests know the rules for your dog

Just like it is important for your dog to be on his or her best behavior around the guests, it can also be important to let your visitors know what is and isn’t ok to do with your dog.  This can mean letting adults know it isn’t ok to share bits of food with your dog during the holiday feast, or letting kids know not to pull puppy tails.  Taking these preventative steps may help make everything go smoothly and safely for your dog during the holidays.

5. Give them something special

Even if you follow all of the above steps, your dog may still get stressed out during the holidays.  So, why not show a little compassion and holiday spirit by doing something special for them?  Maybe give your furry friend that extra treat, a long belly scratch, a new dog toy or invite their friend along to the dog park.

Maya Playing with Killer's Toy 4

Maya is never short on toys to play with.

Even though most people consider the holidays something to look forward to, they can also be stressful.  Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to make them easier for your dog.   From keeping them out of areas with sparkly lights and gifts that can become chew toys, to letting your guests know what is and isn’t ok, these tips should help you to keep your dog and happy and safe through the holidays.


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