Friday, December 25, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Now people have been asking me, (and some of you may be wondering) why I have to get them done anyways, as "don't I feed raw?" Yes, I do feed a raw diet, but I do not feed raw bones. Well, I don't feed whole raw bones. They do get them, but they are ground down and already in their food. I used to give raw lamb ribs and pork backs, but I stopped because the girls would eat them and then vomit them back up. Cleaning the pre-digested bones up one time, I noticed the broken, chewed bones that had been previously (albeit briefly) in their stomachs were still shards as sharp as chipped ice. I decided right then that even raw, I didn't really trust them nor did I want to risk splinter-like bones having to make the dangerous pass through their entire digestive system. Don't get me wrong, they get plenty of things to chew. They usually get bully springs and y-tendons; things that with a bit of chewing and saliva usually turn into a sticky mush rather than a ball of meat and bone shards. But the chewing alone doesn't quite do it. And I have been neglectful in my end of the deal: brushing their teeth. I'll do it and get on a schedule, and then miss a day and the system will fall apart. I have to now do better and be more diligent to make sure they don't have to do this again. For all of our benefits.
A routine dental cleaning for our hospital is over 400$; a moderate or severe goes up from there, depending on the number of dental extractions and x-rays needed to make the mouth healthy. We do get a generous discount at work, but that is going to be changing (see a future post). And even with it, I don't have that extra money to be spending to just have a little bit of plaque removed under sedation every year. And I know that all of that anesthesia is not healthy for them to begin with. So I scheduled these procedures knowing that I would have to pick up the slack, and keep my end of the bargain; which translates to actively brushing the girls teeth during the week to help keep them clean.
So I booked the dentals for the Tuesday right before Thanksgiving. I had a few PTO ("paid time off") hours to burn through, so I took a half day; that way I could work in the morning while the other dentals scheduled for that day were done, and then I could spend some time with the girls when they were knocked out and then woken back up. I had no intention of staying out back through the whole procedure; that kind of pressure wouldn't be fair to the Dr. or the tech. I planned on bringing a book and staying to read or something. But then I was approved to do a few extra hours of work (reminder calls, it turned out to be ) in the time I was not with the girls, so that ended keeping me pretty busy. Heidi had to go fist because she kept trying to eat that pesky catheter out of her leg. Yes, she ended up in the "cone of shame" because she wouldn't stop trying to chew it. She took the pre-med sedation pretty well, and fell right asleep with the anesthetic too. They had no trouble with the intubation, and her dental took less than an hour.
The technician came to let me know she was done, and I spent the next little while with her in the cage snuggled up with her; I know how tough it is to wake up to sedation: you don't know whats going on, or where you are. Your delusional and you try to fight off the meds. I wanted the whole process to go as easy as it could for the girls; they don't know what just happened or why. Poor Heidi was swaying and licking her tongue out of the side of her mouth. I kept trying to put it in STRAIGHT, but she kept forcing it out the side so it just hung there, limply. But overall she took the wake-up quite well. They had her tucked into a blanket and a pillow for her head, and she just slept it off. But her sister was a bit of a different story.
Her sedation was a bit more difficult. First the premed didn't seem to have any affect on her at all. They actually had to give her a second dose to make her a bit more sedated. She went from standing up right and wagging her tail (1st dose) to lying down with her head hung drowsily. Then they put her on the table for the actual anesthesia. She fought this too. She actually remained standing for a few seconds before it over took her. Then she fought the tube! Bad dog! But then she went ni-nights and went off to Sheltie dreamland too.
A little while later, the doctor came to find me to discuss that pesky incisor I had shown her. She said that she did x-ray it, and although it wasn't in trouble right this second, it didn't look healthy and its root was so close to that of the canine tooth, that she thought it might become even more troublesome later on. So we decided to pull it. I finished up the last of the calls and then went to go check on the girls. When I walked out back, this awful screechy sound met my ears. Yeah, it was Shelby who appeared to be in a delusion-induced panic. I went over to her cage (while passing Heidi's-who was fine, but had a look like "PLEASE shut her the hell up so I can get some sleep!") and saw that she had her mouth open, her tongue hanging out and was in a wide-eyed SCREAM. I crawled into her cage, as I had done for Heidi, and wrapped my arms around her. It took a few minutes, but the screeching then turned into a dull, but monotonous whine. A little while later, she had settled down enough for me to eat some lunch and make the plans to bring them home.
I didn't just want to scoop them up right there and whisk them away, because both were still quite drowsy. I wanted to make sure that they were OK and it was safe to bring them home. So I took Heidi out for a potty break (which it turned out she didn't need, because she had wet the blankets in her cage =0( and then offered her some food. I was sticking with The Honest Kitchen because although "raw", it being dehydrated and processed eliminated a lot of the bacteria in it (unlike their regular raw). Its also pretty gentle so I knew it would be an OK "bland-ish" diet for them while recuperating. Heidi ate with gusto...she ate about 1/2 of a regular meals worth and kept it down no problem. I asked one of the technicians if they could feed Shelby while I went to run some errands (including hitting the bank to get some cash to pay for the dentals!)
I went back about an hour and a half later to see if they were OK to pick up. Shelby had eaten (and like Heidi, happily and with no problems) but she had also peed in her blankets. She was in her cage with 2 warm saline bags, as her temp had dropped while I was gone. But I checked with everyone, and they said they were both fine to go home. I packed up the car, packed up the ladies and took them home where they could sleep off the rest of the drunkies.
Heidi passed right out; she just slept and slept for hours. Shelby still seemed to want to fight the sedation that remained in her system. She kept pacing and not wanting to settle; she'd get on the couch, sleep for a little while and then move again. When she finally DID get to sleep, it was with her head on my hand...as it slid down as she drifted into a deeper slumber, her teeth were dragged along the skin of my hand! Those nice clean teeth left some pretty deep impressions, let me tell you!
When it was time for all of us to go to bed, I picked Shelby up off my lap and put her in my bed. When I went to go get Heidi, I couldn't wake her up easily. I picked her up and put her on the bed too, and then went to get something to drink. When I came back, I REALLY couldn't wake her up. I kept smacking her thighs and calling her to no avail. Just when I started to really panic, I grabbed some of her scruff and shook. That did the trick. She just blinked blearily up at me like "Ummm...do you mind? I'm trying to get some rest!" Talk about holy-heart failure! I decided as both were still pretty out of it, I couldn't be completely sure that they wouldn't roll off the bed. (Especially Heidi, who tries to sleep upside-down but sometimes just rolls over...) So I put their beds from my room on top of their doggy-stairs in case someone fell off; those stairs would hurt! I know, maybe this seems a bit much but Heidi has fallen off the bed WITHOUT being high on meds, so...I wasn't taking any chances!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Let me tell you folks, if you CAN find and receive the vaccine, I think I would get it. It really is that much worse than the regular flu. And I can say to get the vaccine only because hindsight is 20/20. I procrastinated getting it because I had an appointment with the cardiologist this past Tuesday, and wanted to ask which one I should be getting, if any at all. My Dr. has always said that it was up to my parents and myself if I wanted to get the seasonal flu vaccine. My dad used to make me get it every year, until he passed away in 2000. Every year I would dread going because it seemed like I would always get sick after receiving it. So I haven't received the vaccine in years. And with the H1N1 being a new strain, I of course haven't ever been exposed to it or vaccinated against it. But with it being reported as being pretty serious, I wanted to see what exactly my Dr. thought about it; there are always risks with vaccines (which is why my dogs don't get them!) and this is a vaccine that hasn't ever been given before. I also knew that if the dr. did recommend it, I would probably need his help to find and receive it.
So I put it off. I mean, as of right now, its just 2 weeks into November for crying out loud. The risk wouldn't be that big, would it? Boy was I wrong!
I woke up the Wednesday right before Halloween feeling pretty ill. My body hurt, and I immediately started coughing. As the day went on (it was my scheduled day off) I got worse and worse. I couldn't find a thermometer that hadn't been used on the dogs (you know what that means...) so I couldn't tell if I had a fever; but I had body aches and chills worse than I ever have. I woke up Thursday feeling even worse. It wasn't like the flu I usually got- I didn't have any "head cold" like symptoms; just a nasty cough and feeling lousy. But then I started getting so cold that my fingers were blue. That's right. BLUE. Like "Scary Smurf" blue. That's when I called my GP. They said they didn't like the sound of my breathing (because I really couldn't due to the coughing) so they told me to get my ass over to the ER pronto. I told them (truthfully) that I really was too sick to drive. They told me I should go, but I told them Id have to wait to get a ride.
A few hours later though, I felt OK enough to drive (and I had tried to get warm in the hot-tub to no avail) so I decided to go to a local ER (versus Mass General). I waited for a while until I got triaged, where I found out I had a fever of about 101. I waited a total of 5 hours (masked, might I add) before I finally got a bed and was seen by a dr. They did a rapid flu test and found I was positive. The dr. said that "as it is too early for the seasonal flu, it is H1N1" (which doesn't make sense to me, as the seasonal flu doesn't abide by the calendar...). He wrote me out the prescription for the Tamiflu because I am "borderline" high-risk with my cardiac issues and he didn't want it to develop into pneumonia. He also told me that I would be out of work for 7 days. At that point I got a little upset. Work had changed its "paid time off" policy from paying us out for unused time off at the end of the year, to "use it or lose it"; so I had used it all, and was now looking at taking sick time without pay. I wanted to make sure I could go back to work as soon as I could, and he wrote the note for the parameters set by the CDC-either going back to work 48 hours after the fever breaks (24 to be fever free, and then 24 to make sure the fever doesn't come back) or 7 days (which is what a lot of employers are requiring to make sure it doesn't get spread around).
That night I ate a little (I hadn't eaten since Wednesday morning, but did not really have any desire to) and then took the Tamiflu. I went to bed with the blankets piled on because I was still freezing cold, and tried to get to sleep. I woke up at about midnight soaked in sweat. I also felt so nauseous that I got up and took some pepto. I tried getting back to sleep, but was still hot and sick. Then I found myself sprinting to the bathroom, hoping I would make it. Yeah...I puked until I was dry heaving. It was AWFUL. I haven't been sick like that since I was under 10. I was SSSIIIICCCKKK.....
I did feel better after I had finished, and was able to get back to bed. I didn't have any more vomiting, but it changed course if you know what I mean. That's when I knew that I did have the H1N1 and not just the flu. The gastrointestinal pyrotechnics are kind of a hallmark of the sickness...
So I spent the next few days out of work (Thursday, Friday Saturday-which is my normal day off, and also was Halloween-and Sunday) and went back on Monday. Needless to say I did NOT pass out any candy to trick-or-treators on Halloween! The girls were happy because they didn't have to dress up as hot-dogs this year. They were so good to me; they really do know when I'm sick. They were great when I was going through everything earlier this year, and were even better with me this time around. They both layed and snuggled with me on the couch. Usually its just Shelby that lays on top of me, but Heidi got right up there with her and settled in too. They really were the best medicine; definitely better than the chicken soup and Tamiflu!!
So it really was 5 miserable, awful, crappy days. Not only because I FELT sicker than I have in probably years, but because of the additional nerves of having to miss several days of work and pay. This happened the same week I was given a 2200$ estimate from my mechanic for a 60,000 mile tune up, 4 new tires and 2 sets of new brakes. Yeah, it was fun times... but now I'm feeling much better; a little more broke (as I did end up getting the tires and brakes...apparently they're important...) and I still have a cough, but I'm back to my regular activity.
So I lend this tale to let you know what to look for in terms of symptoms, and hoping that if I can convince someone to get the vaccine (especially any high-risk people reading this), I might save them several days of virus-induced torture.
On another note, I received an email from a dog friend about another disease that's going around. In order to try and protect even more people, I share this info with you now:
Urgent Notice: Potential Danger of Dog Hair......
In a press release today, the National Institute of Health has announced the discovery of a potentially dangerous substance in the hair of dogs. This substance, called "amobacter caninii" has been linked with the following symptoms in females: Reluctance to cook, clean or do housework, a reluctance to wear make-up, good clothes or high heels. Reluctance to spend money on home or car repairs until after 'Baby' has new collars, leashes, beds, treats, food, blankets or toys.
"Amobacter caninii" usually results in long hours away from home and exhaustion which may lead to a loss of physical contact with other humans (especially husbands and boyfriends). "Amobacter caninii" is thought to be addictive, driving the need for additional sources - this may lead to a "pack mentality" or like the potato chip commercial, "you can't have just one". Beware! If you come in contact with a female human infected by this substance, be prepared to talk about dogs for hours.
Surgeon General's Warning: Dogs are expensive, addictive, and may impair the ability to use common sense.
This message is from the CDC-Canine Disease Control
(actually this is a picture of Heidi wearing a body suit from K9topcoat.com. I bought it to keep the dog hair out of the pool when I have them swimming in it during the summer; apparently dog hair in the pool filter is pretty bad...)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The flea situation was, after all, blown a little out of proportion. I of course freaked out by finding them, because I had lived through an infestation many many years ago with the first dog I ever owned. I can just remember how costly it was in both time and money to finally eradicate them all. I definitely did not want the problem to get to that point. I wanted to stop the problem naturally before it got out of hand and I was then forced to use some not-so-natural (and down right dangerous) products to free us all of the fleas. So I did my research and came up with an action plan to get rid of them.
The firs part of the plan was to kill any live adults. This was done by first treating the dogs, and their immediate quarantined area (the kitchen). I had already removed their bedding and crates from there and provided them with temporary sleeping arrangements of an old sleeping bag on the floor. I got one of the doctors at work to write them a prescription for "Capstar", and it was given to them that same night by my mom. When I got home several hours later, I only found one dead flea on Heidi. That's when I started realizing that the problem might not be so bad after all. If I was finding them both covered in dead fleas, I may have been a lot more worried about what could be living in the house. Now I wasn't really thrilled about using the Capstar. But again, I did a lot of research online to find any reports of adverse reactions or problems that people have reported using it. I didn't find any. In fact, I found some information stating that some states allow groomers to use and dispense it without a veterinarians input or approval at all. Although it is a pesticide, and although it is given orally and gets straight into the bloodstream, the amount of time it is in the body is very short and it does the job very quickly; usually without the need of a second dose. So, I bit the bullet and gave it to them. Again, it did obviously seem to work, but I did find some vomit on the sleeping bag the next afternoon. It made my stomach clench quite guiltily when I found it; I hadn't used anything else yet to treat the fleas so I assume it was one of their little Sheltie bodies trying to rid themselves of the toxin...luckily they (which ever girl it was) had no more symptoms after that.
The day after the Capstar dose, I brought them up to our friends shop and did a thorough grooming. Here my spirits and hopes were further lifted as while I thoroughly brushed, bathed and blow-dried them, I did not find ONE SINGLE FLEA one either dog, alive or dead. WooHoo!!! And while I was cleaning the dogs at the shop, my mom was helping out and cleaning the house. Like really thoroughly cleaning it. She did everything! Vacuumed, washed the baseboards, washed the hard floors and vacuumed carpets. I, in turn, the following day took everything that was too large to fit into our washer and dryer to the laundromat. I washed the dogs beds, sleeping bag, and the beds for their crates in the car. With everything washed (including the dogs), I felt it was fairly safe to let them back into the rest of the house.
But the plan did not just include cleaning. It also involved treating; treating to make sure that any remaining eggs or adults that may have escaped the cleaning purge would not live much longer after that. And I was still hard pressed to figure out where the girls picked them up in the first place. I mean, we were in the woods, at the beach, around other dogs...I could have even brought them home with me from work! So I also wanted to make sure that if we were to come into contact with them again, that the house would be a very unwelcome place for them to stay. Again, after reading a lot of old issues of "The Whole Dog Journal" and consulting with friends who own shops that cater to people who want to use natural and safe products, I decided on a small biological army. I chose to use "Para-Clear" by Azmira Pet Products- which is food-grade diatomaceous earth (D.E.), "Flea-Busters"-a borax powder, and "Natural Defense" carpet powder and spray-a blend of essential oils that are natural pest-repellents. The D.E. is made up of the crushed fossils of hard-shelled algae. The fine powder allows the shards of the fossils to pierce the exoskeletons of fleas and ticks and kills them. The "Flea-Busters" powder works in a similar way, further drying them out. And the "Natural Defense" powder would hopefully cause any more pests thinking about coming in to rethink that idea.
All of the powders had a similar consistency and texture-like a light floury, confectionery-sugar type feel. This made for very easy application and spreading, but did cause a cloud of fine dust to rise and linger during the spreading process. I decided to mix the powders together for and easier, one time application. I used 2 parts D.E., 2 parts "Flea-Busters" and 1 part "Natural Defense". I put it on all of the freshly washed items like the dogs beds, carpets, floors, baseboards and even in the radiators. I used the brush from the vacuum to really rub it into the fibers and into the cracks and crevices in the floors. I let the powder sit on everything over night, and then vacuumed it up the next day. For a fine powder it came up really well. There was a bit of residue on the hard floors, but I just went over it with a dry Swiffer and it came right up. I only treated everything that one time and still have almost a full jug of both the D.E. and the "Flea-Busters" (which both came in 3lb. tubs). (here's a picture of the powder spread on the kitchen floor-before vacuuming!)
As for the dogs, I upped their garlic intake (as garlic is known as a natural pesticide; it is thought to make the blood distasteful to the parasites) and had planned on using the "Natural Defense" spray on them too. However, this spray is very VERY oily. Even if you use just a spritz, it will easily bog down your pets coat with a greasy residue. It probably goes on better if diluted with water, but I don't know if it is as effective. The nice part is, is that (in my opinion anyways) the oils smell LOVELY. I really do love the smell of this spray! (The powder smells the same, so it was nice to have the house smelling like the oils!) But before I tried to use a diluted form of the spray, I found "Flea-Free"; also a spray made up of essential oils. I liked this ones scent too (its a little less powerful and strong) and it seemed like a much lighter spray. So I bought and used this. It seemed to work really well; I mean...I didn't find any fleas or ticks! Then I noticed the label...yeah, it definitely has CATS on it. Ooops...oh well. The Shelties are quite secure in their canine-ness, and are OK with using a cat-spray as long as it keeps them flea-free!
So that's our story up until this point. I haven't seen ANY more fleas, and we've just about passed the "danger mark". Apparently dormant eggs can hatch for another 3-6 weeks after treating, and we've just passed the 6 week mark so I think we're OK. And a bonus is that most of these products also work on ticks! Indeed, as I checked the dry Swiffer pad last week, I found a dead adult (not engorged) tick on the bottom. There is no reason for it to be dead, I mean...we all know how hard they are to kill. Even if I had trodden on it while swiffering, it wouldn't have died. I could only attribute it to being exposed to the powders still lying on the floor. I even decided to test the powders myself by putting a crawling tick that I found on Shelby in a small gladware container with some of the mixture. It was dead withing a half hour. I got the same results when I tried with two more ticks. I now use the D.E. powder whenever we go out for walks-I keep it in a baby-powder container, and shake it into their coats before we go out walking. It works WONDERS!
Now I know that everyone has their own opinions and ideas about whats best for their own furkids. Parenting of any form can be fraught with tough decisions and many words of advice (asked or unasked for), but it really is up to each one of us to make those tough choices in the best interest of OUR kids. No one can tell you that this one way is the best or only way to handle something. I can't say that using my plan will help a flea problem that you might be having. I can just say what worked for me; what worked for me, and what I felt COMFORTABLE doing. Sure, I could have used harsh flea dips, bombs, collars and topical pesticides, such as Frontline. But I don't think that those types of products are in the best interests of my girls. I'm not saying that you shouldn't use them. That's why this is America. You can do whatever you want. But just as we have the freedom of choice, and the ability to make our own decisions, we also have the responsibility to make informed ones. Please do you thorough research before using ANY type of product on your furbaby. Don't just take your vet's advice. There are many MANY stories out there, all over message boards and email lists about peoples furkids being seriously injured or even killed using topical pesticides. Do your own research, get second or third opinions. Even though more information can make your decision more difficult, in the long run you'll always feel more comfortable with it.
So that's our flea tale. I know, its not enough of a circus to have kept us away from the blog for 6 weeks, but there have been lots of other things happening in that time...most of them a lot more fun than fleas! I hope to be able to post about those soon! Thanks for reading, and I promise with wont be another 6 week wait for another Sheltie Story!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
So, I'm trying to get us all out and about more to practice on some skills that have gotten a little rusty (heel, stay, leave-it etc.) and to get us all a bit more exercise as we can all stand to be a bit trimmer (which I'll chat more about in the next post). Now walking has become a bit of a challenge; gone are the days of walking in the woods or open fields due to the arrival of the dog-days of summer. Those quiet, pristine places are not off limits due to the awful amount of ticks my girls bring back with them. So we've been confined to pavement walking: hitting the local parks and sidewalks instead. And these places are neither quiet OR pristine. Not only are we dealing with a lot more in terms of distractions (litter on the ground, people going by with skateboards, bikes, strollers etc.) but we're also having to deal with the sheer NUMBER of people with and without these additional things.
Now, don't get me wrong. My girls are BOMB-PROOF; they have seen, experienced and dealt with all of these things before. They ignore just about all of them;they are not reactive in any way. They just let them pass right along by. BUT they are having to relearn what it means to "get in close" as we are now on a narrow paved path with these things and they need to learn to be polite and move aside so there can be room for us all.
If it was just these things then our walks would still be fine. I mean if anything, they would enhance our training sessions and make us all stay on our toes. But there is one BIG, HUGE incredibly ANNOYING consequence that we are also having to deal with: CHILDREN. Lots of them.
I cannot STAND children. I have always been like this. I can't stand anything about them: the way that they are always sticky, they smell, they don't know how to behave and most don't listen. Now don't get me wrong; as long as they are not affecting me in a negative way, we can coexist without a problem. But am I going to knowingly seek out their company or want to "hang out" with them? Absolutely not. I always joke that I was born with a "defective mothering gene"-I only feel those warm, maternal feelings towards small furry beings. The sounds of babies (crying, etc) to me is like nails on a chalk board. But a puppy whining or even barking immediately sets my brain into nurture mode. I can easily turn a deaf ear to barking and just tune it out (I do live with Shelties you know!) but the sounds of screaming children makes me want to pound my head into a brick wall.
Again, its not like I go around wishing harm on all of the children in the world. I don't stand up and cheer when I hear an awful story on the news about something tragic happening to someones kid; I feel bad just like everyone else. But I really am getting sick and tired of dealing with stupid parents who let their obnoxious children run amok.
I took the girls out to the park for a quick early morning walk before breakfast. The walk takes place at a park where there is a big paved path forming two connecting squares around some ball fields and a play ground. It is a pretty popular park for walkers, and parents: both of dogs and kids. There are at least 5 poop pick up stations around the park, lining the paths. Clearly the rec. department knows how popular the park is for dog owners and want to ensure that we take care of it so we continue to be welcomed. (Its funny that you'd be hard pressed to find even one small piece of dog poo, but there are candy and ice-cream wrappers littering the ground around the play ground...but I digress...) So I take the girls for a walk, having their leashes, treats and poop bags stored in my pocket. The paths themselves are pretty quite, but there are already some families on the play ground. No problem; we'll just steer clear of it.
As we're about 1/3 of the way around for our first pass, it starts to rain. So I hustle the girls up (as none of us wants to end up soaked) and we start to head back to the car. When we get there, the rain is letting up a bit, so I ask the girls if they want to play ball (we never go anywhere without their Chuck-It!) so I grab it and we make our way back to the field. As we're walking back, this little girl RUNS off the play ground and starts chasing my girls. Well, they want to play ball and 4 legs are always faster than 2, so they out run her. We make our way to the field and I huck the ball. The girl is still running after them trying to pet them. Now, NORMALLY if the girls father (who is half-heartedly following this annoying child trying to marshal her) had ASKED can she pet them, I wouldn't have had a problem. But he was just LETTING her chase them, so I kept throwing the ball in the OPPOSITE direction; keen to SHOW HIM that NO, I did NOT want his little girl getting near my dogs. Apparently he never got the hint.
So finally after a few minutes of ball throwing, they were sufficiently tired (and wet!) enough for us to go home. Heidi, being normally a little slower than Shelby (and now being really tired) was making her way slowly toward me when the little girl started chasing her again. I FIRMLY said "DON'T CHASE HER!" when the little girl caught up to her, WRAPPED her arms around her waist and then FELL ON TOP OF HER. I YELLED. I mean really YELLED "CAREFUL!!!" and went over and picked Heidi up. I was so INCENSED with anger, I couldn't even get the words out that I wanted to scream at this father who was muttering a feeble"sorry". I wanted to SCREAM at him "look buddy, if I don't let my dogs run up to your kid, what makes you think that you can let your KID run up to MY DOGS? If she had bitten or snapped at your daughter it would have been MY DOG that would be put to death. A bit UNFAIR, don't you think?!?!?"
I STORMED off and carried Heidi all the way back to the car where I gave her lots of good snacks and told her what a wonderful and brave dog she was. (And of course I told Shelby the same and gave her snacks too).
I CAN NOT believe the ignorance of some people. I mean, HONESTLY?!?! What makes it OK that your kids can accost mine? What if my dogs were NOT friendly and Heidi HAD bitten her? I mean, this is RIDICULOUS. As far as I am concerned, if a little kid puts themselves in situations like that (and the parents ALLOW IT) if they get bitten, they DESERVE IT. Maybe then they will learn the lesson to ASK before petting strange dogs. And if you don't like that way of thinking, think about a dog as if it were a hot stove. Would you just let your child run up to a stove and put its hand on it? Or would you check first and make sure it wasn't hot? Or better yet, keep them away from the stove at all?
And if your a parent, put yourself in my shoes. What if you were at the park, and some huge, off-leash dog came RUNNING on to the play ground? Would you just ASSUME that the dog was friendly and willing to put your child's safety at risk to test the dog and see? Even if the dogs tail was wagging, would you take the chance? Wouldn't you be screaming at the ignorant dog owner to get her pet under control and away from your kids??
So let me just say this: I am now going to be taking a MUCH more active role in leader and protector of my dogs. I've already stepped up my safety arsenal of preventing dog attacks by carrying a whistle, air-horn and direct stop. You bet your ass that I'm going to start protecting them from rogue children now too. No, I probably can't MACE the kids who come running up, but be sure that I am going to now start employing body-blocks and using a loud commanding voice to tell kids to "BACK OFF" and deter them from charging the girls. And short of shaving them and painting them black and tan (to have them look like mini-rottweilers), I'm going to also be wearing this to the park:
Hooded Sweatshirt - CafePress
Shared via AddThis
If this doesn't deter stupid people and obnoxious children, I don't know what will. I'm sure that this is probably going to anger some people, and may even change peoples opinions about me. But look, all I am looking for is the same thing that anyone else is: respect. Respect for my feelings, respect for my space, and respect for my dogs. If I can give it to you, and ensure that my dogs do as well, cant you give it back? I mean, a little common sense and common courtesy goes a long way...
Thursday, July 9, 2009
My mom was out cutting the grass (or doing other various yard-tending duties that I generally leave to her) and found a big pile of poo. I looked at it and very quickly figured out that no, it did NOT belong to either one of the little Shelties; or to any of the cats or bunnies that roam freely through the neighborhood either. Lets put it this way, this poo-pile was easily the size of one of my girls' HEADS. Yes, the pile was that big. (You'll have to take my word for it, as no, I did not get any of the pictures of the pile of poo.) The other observation (other than me thinking/saying out loud: "HOLY CANOLI THAT IS A BIG PILE OF POO!) was that it was FULL of seeds. Like, seed from a neighbors bird feeder seeds. So, as I am not a wild-life expert, I did not know what had left this mass of mess. Maybe it was a deer? They eat seeds right?
Anyways, most of the critters entering our yard have been fairly harmless; I mean the snapping turtle that out-weighed both dogs put together was a little less than friendly, but I've been able to keep the girls away from and prevent them from tangling with the more "dodgy" sort.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Usually, though, these dreams are obviously harmless enough. They usually just inspire hours of day dreaming and contemplation. But sometimes, the dreams aren't dreams. Sometimes these all to real nightly visions are bad; they are the nightmares.
For a lot of people, nightmares involve you in a scary situation; sometimes accompanied by the ones you love (which makes the nightmares all the more scary!) A lot of people report nightmares of being chased by someone, or being in a situation where the lives of you, and your loved ones along for the ride, are in mortal peril. For me, these are all true. But the loved ones who I'm usually accompanied by, are my dogs.
Of course I dream about other people (friends and family) in them too, but my girls always make a regular appearance. They are usually in the fight or flight scenario too, which makes these nightmares all the more scary. In a lot of the nightmares, we are either being chased, or trying to escape something (like a tornado). They are always off leash, and I always find myself having a hard time getting them to come with me and to then stay by me as we run away. They usually dawdle, or move too slowly...or sometimes they are paralyzed by fear. I always snap awake just when something really terrible is about to happen, and grope in the dark for their furry bodies. I find them (of course) and breathe a huge sigh of relief. Feeling Shelby's warm weight as she rests against my legs, and Heidi's naked pink belly (as she sleeps upside down on my other pillow) always brings me out of the nightmare induced shock and panic and back to reality.
My nightmares lately, however, have grown into more specific visions that directly endanger their lives; versus endangering all of our lives for example.
Last week I woke up from a nightmare so vivid, that if I think about them, I can still see the images as clear as day; as if they had been permanently burned into my memory. Even though the odds of you all thinking I am completely insane for dreaming this (not to mention now typing it for the world to see) are pretty high, this is the dream: Shelby was flying a jet. Yes, that's right. FLYING A JET. We were out in the back yard of my old house and she saw birds in the sky. (She LOVES chasing anything up there...sparrows, planes, clouds...the MOON...) The next thing I know, she is in a jet chasing the birds through the sky. I of course was frantic. Not because I was thinking how my dog couldn't possibly fly the plane correctly, or hold the stick because of a lack of opposable thumbs, but because I was afraid she was going to crash. So the next thing I know my mom and I are running through the streets of some city (Boston?) looking for a building large enough that I can stand on the roof and flag her down. I ended up trying to run up the ramp of a parking garage trying to get to the roof when I saw a plane collide with something in the air. Although it was another plane, I undoubtedly knew Shelby's was next. She then ended up crashing, and I found a fireman running down towards me with her in his arms; charred, wet and shaking. I screamed and went to grab her. That's when I woke up.
The next one I had was about Heidi. This one was more real to me, as the circumstances in the dream were ones that could in fact, happen. (Although I know Shelby is smart enough to fly a plane, I doubt anyone would grant her access to a cock-pit.) I dreamt that I found Heidi on my bed, and her eyes were rolling back and she was unable to stand. She kept falling over, as if she were drunk. I yelled for my mom and said that I was bringing her into work (our 24 hour facility) to have her looked at. The doctor who saw her was a man, but isn't an actual doctor that I work with (yeah, I have no idea where this guy came from). He took her out back, and they put her in oxygen as she wasn't breathing properly. They then said that they needed to tube her to assist in her breathing, and showed me pictures of some scan (a ct? glorified x-ray?) that showed that she had a blockage in one of her veins in her liver. They needed to do surgery, but she would be OK. That's when I woke up.
I think this second one was brought on by the fact that I had brought both girls in that day to work and had them get their annual physical and had had blood work done. I was nervous about their results because it had been so long since the last time they had had any done (Sept '08). I usually try to do it every 6 months (because they are on raw, and I am a hypochondriac so I think f they are going to get something, at least I can catch it early) and I had only waited because money was so tight due to my short leave from work earlier this year. I felt like a TERRIBLE mother, so as soon as I did have a little money, this was the first thing taken care of. (Yes, my sneakers still have holes in them...)
The reality of the situation is that their blood work actually looks good. Some of their stuff was a bit off, but I also normally fast them before having it drawn and this time I had fed them breakfast. The numbers weren't off so much that their doctor was concerned, so I figure I'll stick to my same routine and have it done again in December. Of course if anything comes up with them between now and then, we will recheck it, and compare it as we now have a baseline.
So as I wonder about my own dreams, I also wonder about theirs too. I think they must have the ability to have clear, vivid dreams as we do, but...do they remember them? Do they seem so real that the line between dream and reality sometimes get blurred? Do they spend hours after waking up wondering what all of those crazy sleep-induced images meant? (I don't think so, as they are often role models for the ability to live in the present.) After reading a lot of Patricia McConnells work, I share her belief that our dogs (and many other animals) do share our emotions, both primary (fear, joy/happiness, anger, etc.) and secondary (jealousy, etc.). But I wonder if their emotions, like ours, affect their dream-lives as well. I wonder if their night visions are permeated by smells and sounds rather than visual images. I don't think anyone out there can argue that dogs don't dream. Anyone who lives with dogs have witnessed first hand their somewhat active sleep habits: thrashing limbs, twitching whiskers and noses and whines and growls. Who knows whether they are having an enjoyable dream of chasing squirrels, or a terrifying nightmare where their lives (and their loved ones too?) are in danger.
But although I may never know what my girls are dreaming about, or how those dreams affect them, I can rest assured that they are happy and healthy; and knowing that helps me sleep better too. Even when the nightmares come, I awake knowing that they were just "scary dreams" and the truth is my girls are still by my side; usually sleeping peacefully.