Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Love Is...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Doggy dental mishaps, Bender the Unlucky

Barbie had to have teeth out a few months ago, and the vet encouraged us to give her more bones and things to chew on.

I bought her smoked bones from City Farmers and she had a great old time gnawing at them, making no particular progress.

Bender then stole them and had more of a go at them. He had some time with a lamb shank before I noticed he was actually biting chunks off it, then I threw it out.

When we went to New Zealand, we put the dogs in the kennel. When we got back to pick them up, the guy at the kennel said Bender had a lump under his eye which had come up overnight, but went down after he treated him with Benadryl. The lump came back a few weeks later and we took him to the Vet. Unfortunately it was a new vet who seemed petrified of him. She lifted his lip tentatively and he growled, and she 'teleported' to the other side of the room. She gave us antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and said she thought it was an abscess and that his premolar was broken and would have to come out. We decided that we would take him back and see our regular vet, Beryl, to get a second opinion.

In the mean time we went down south on our road trip, and Bender managed to fall down the stairs, so the anti-inflammatories did more for him than just help his tooth.

The abscess resolved with the antibiotics but he was still eating his dinner slowly and his tooth had a distinct brown line on it where it was fractured. When we took him back to the vet he was scheduled for surgery pretty much the next day.

Bender was very nervous at the vet, and when N dropped him off for his surgery, they drugged him straight away. I don't think they could get him into the holding cage. Poor guy has had too many vet visits in his life!

It was a difficult operation physically for the vet. She had to cut the tooth into three pieces and make some incisions into his gum to get the tooth out. The vet said it was a shame that he had to go through this as his teeth are perfect. This is a dog who eats exactly what Barbie eats, and is two years older. Just goes to show that genetics have as much to do with dental health as the diet of the dog.

When Bender came home he wanted to play, even though he could barely hold himself up. His eye was a little watery and that side of his face is a bit swollen. He looked like me after I had my wisdom teeth out. I gave him his regular biscuits for dinner soaked in a bit of water to make it easier for him to eat them. I will probably do that for the next couple of days so that his mouth can heal.

Hopefully he won't have any more teeth problems since he is now middle aged and has perfect teeth. I will watch him closely with any bones from now on, and they definitely won't be getting any more 'long bones', which are hard and can lead to tooth damage.

I previously thought that only 'cut' bones, like marrow bones split in half, were the ones that caused dogs to break their teeth, unfortunately for Bender, I was wrong!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The loss of a dog articulated so well...

Neil Gaiman, brilliant author that he is, also has a blog. I had no idea until another blogger linked this post about the loss of his dog, Cabal.

It's a touching story and a sad one.

He quoted Kipling:

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day; 
And when we are certain of sorrow in store, 
Why do we always arrange for more? 
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

For some light relief after reading Neil's post, here are my dogs, tearing up my heart, or fighting to win it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Play Dead!

She looks a bit too cheerful to be dead!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rodney the Foster Dog

I have been thinking about short-term fostering a dog for a while now, and Rodney had been at the clinic at Swan Vet for months on and off. He is a young (5 month old) pup and he needs to be out and about to learn human house rules and just generally how to behave in a domestic situation. I offered to take him out for the weekend so that he could get some home time.

When I picked him up he was very wiggly and happy. I put him in the back seat of the car but before I could get the key in the ignition he had come through into the front, stomped around on the dashboard and then climbed into my lap.

I had to put him in the back behind the cargo barrier, and I'm glad I did because he had a little accident which I needed to clean off the plastic 'hosable' floor in the X-Trail.

When I got him home, I left him in the car and shoved Bender and Barbie outside. I bought him into the house and they met through the door. Rodney is a very plucky and confident fellow, so the introduction was easy. He hit it off with Bender and Barbie right away.

The cats made themselves scarce for the first 12 hours or so, which is fair enough because Rodney was doing his best doggie tornado impression with Bender. Barbie even played chasey with him in the yard for a little while.

The cats finally came to check him out when he was eating his dinner in his crate. He didn't show much interest in the cats, and they decided that he was safe to be around very quickly. Froufrou sat on my lap whilst Rodney was hanging around and Mittens was rubbing her head on his face by Sunday morning.

The first night, Rodney tried to steal my dinner right off the plate, but after that he seemed to learn to stay away from human food. He seemed to be more praise motivated than anything else and was constantly trying to climb into my lap and mouth my arms. I managed to redirect most of his mouthing towards toys and I also got him retrieving balls and toys, though not with the over the top enthusiasm Bender has for the task!

I put him in the crate and he did whinge a little, but he did have another accident in the crate, which may have been why.

I took him to City Farmers and at first he didn't think he was allowed to go into the store. When I convinced him it was OK he was pretty good. I got some toys for everyone so that Bender wouldn't get annoyed about sharing his.

Did I mention walks? Rodney got two walks on Saturday night - one with each resident dog. He walked very well with Barbie, and he pulled on the leash a bit more with Bender. He was definitely modelling his behaviour on the resident dog he was with at the time. He also walked a lot closer to Bender. A lot of the walk they were touching. Bender didn't seem to mind. It was very cute.

Saturday night I fed him in his crate as is the routine now. He was very good, I left him in there until Bender finished his dinner, and Bender takes his time! He didn't complain though his tail and body went into a crazy wiggle every time he caught sight of me.

We all went to bed at 10.30pm and Rodney was quiet as a mouse in his crate. Barbie woke me up at 5.30am, so I let everyone out for their wees. I put Rodney back in the crate with some breakfast so I could get some sleep and went back to bed. I got up at 7.30am and he was lying quietly waiting. No accidents, his little tummy had settled and he did a proper poo outside.

On Sunday morning I took him to the river on Bender's long leash we used for tracking so that he couldn't get into trouble. He made a great impression on everyone there.

I overheard people talking about back yard breeding and puppy farms and how outrageous it was that dodgy people are still breeding dogs.

A lady said 'until every dog in Australia has a home, there shouldn't be people breeding them'. I took that as an opportunity to introduce Rodney to them. Everyone was impressed with him and how friendly he was with all other dogs and people.

The guy there said he would tell his friend about Rodney, and the lady who was originally talking about puppy farms gave me $10 for Rodney's care, which I passed on to Swan Vet when I returned him this morning.

I was pretty sad to see the little fellow go back but we don't have great fences and I don't want to take the risk. It might be better that he is at the clinic during the week anyway as it makes it easier for potential adopters to meet him!

He certainly needs some training, but I think he's so willing to please that he is going to bond really well with his new owners and the sky will be the limit with him. I can definitely see him doing the Canine Good Citizen test in the future!

LATE EDIT: Rodney is going to a more permanent foster carer tonight, but he's still looking for his forever home.
Anyone in WA who wants to adopt Rodney should check out his profile here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Show off your dog's waistline campaign

People tell me my dogs are skinny. I tell them my dogs look skinny because up to 60% of Australia's companion animals are overweight!

So when I read over at Rescued Insanity that Dawg's Business were hosting a 'Show off your Dog's Waistline' campaign, I decided that I would participate to add to the healthy waistline examples.

You see it at the beach - fat labs, pudgy beagles, barrel shaped staffies.... all struggling to run on the soft sand!

Well my two are quite fit, and it's not like I do a lot to keep them that way, so I guess we are lucky. We walk for half an hour every night, they play with each other in the yard, and in the house, and I measure their food every night.

Barbie, being a Greyhound, has a lovely svelte figure, and compared to the infographics on what dogs should look like, she might be on the 'skinny' side of ideal. She has put on a couple of kilograms since I got her though, and it's all muscle mass as Greyhounds tend not to carry body fat like other breeds.

You can see her ribs, but vets are all generally happy with her weight, appearance, appetite and shining bright eyes.

Bender also has a nice little waist. He has been wider in the past, but I reduced his dinner portions a little as he has a problem with his right wrist and does pull up stiff in the hips after too much running. The lighter the better for Bender-man.

You can't really see his ribs from the side but you can feel them easily. He does tend to carry more fat than Barbie - he is a couple of years older so perhaps he has a slower metabolic rate now.

I couldn't really get good photos of the cats as they are both very fluffy, and I wasn't going to wet them for the purposes of a blog entry.

Mittens is on the skinny side, and she is fussy about her food, so we have to make sure she eats all her dinner.

Froufrou is the only animal in the house that the vet has ever really expressed concern about when it comes to weight. Unfortunately she gained quite a bit when she became an inside-only cat, so now I allow her day time sojourns into the garden, where she runs, jumps, climbs and balances on fences. She has lost a bit of weight since then and has regained the rock hard athletic body she used to have!

I really think the secret is watching their food intake. Treats do add up. Regular exercise is good for their mental and physical health as well.

I am glad that I don't really have to worry too much about the weight of my pets, for now, but as always I will stay vigilant for changes as they age.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - New Heights

Friday, January 4, 2013

Boxed Mittens

Mittens has never lost her kitten like obsession with boxes. Recently I got a full bike sized box which contained a frame I had shipped from the USA. Mittens had been curious about the box but I didn't think she would be able to jump high enough to get into it.

Well I guess I was wrong. She must be a brave kitty to jump into a box without being able to see what is inside. I wondered how she would get out so I waited with the camera ready. She spent at least 10 minutes just sitting in the box. I think Frou prowling around on the other side of the cardboard was disturbing her though.

Like the action shot?

She leapt for the opening, held on to the edge and kind of scrambled out. I think I will find her in the box in future, until I get rid of it anyway. It is a pity she doesn't like her 'carry box' so much that we use to take her to the vet! ;)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Magic Drive Thru Food Window

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