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Showing posts from August, 2007

The Boys Go To Grandma's

I can't even say the word "Grandma" around my oldest because he goes goofy! Both boys love when she comes to visit and love it even more when we take the two of them over to her house. She has a huge fenced yard where they can run, dig (well, they try but I stop them!), sniff flowers, bark at the neighbor's dog (who gets into trouble because he barks back and he's been to "no barking" school), chase each other around the apple trees, play hide and seek under the big old spruce, eat leaves, play "get the stick" and generally cause mayhem.

But dogs are a lot like people. Sure, we take them for walks...usually the same old boring route. Make no mistake...they are just happy to be out with us in the fresh air, but they too need some variety. Taking them for a visit to a "dog friendly" home is a great outing for them. They can explore the yard or house, be around new people and generally they tend to be more well adjusted when they have ne…

Creating a "no pee" zone

Shih-Tzus are stubborn...there's no getting around that one. Even if you train them, there are times where they are going to defy you because they are mad and will pee wherever they feel like it, regardless if you are there watching them.

My oldest did that when I first brought Rocki home. He was in such a full-blown snit that he trotted over to the couch, lifted his leg, proceeded to pee on the couch and carpet, and then looked at me as if to say "so what are you going to do about it?". Then he marched away with his held high, sat in the opposite end of the room and turned his back to all of us. When I tried to get his attention, he's turn his head the other way and stick his little snout in the air.

Shih-Tzus can also be high strung. When Rocki gets really excited, he often has a slight accident. Just two or three drops, but enough to create a smelly mess. When the two of them were particularly frightened during a severe storm when we were hit with an extremely loud …

Do you want to be my dog?

A guy I know asked me today if he could apply to be one of my dogs because he thought they had a better life than a lot of people he knew.

I guess in a sense that's true. They are well loved, well groomed and, judging by their somewhat finicky taste, well fed.

But owning a Shih-tzu, or any pet for that matter, is a serious commitment. They are not toys to be played with when you feel like it; they are not little dolls that you dress up when the mood hits; they are not ornaments that you just look at. These are living, breathing creatures with feelings, wants, needs and individual personalities. They are relying on you to care for them because, in our world, they can't look after themselves.

Some people just don't think when they run out to get a dog. Can you afford all the things they need, including regular grooming and veterinary services? Do you have the time to take care of them and give them the attention they need? Do you have a fenced in yard to keep them safe? Do you …

Can a dog be mentally challenged?

I've wondered about whether a dog can be "slow" and have questioned vets on this matter. The simple answer is yes.

When Rocki was born, our breeder told us she had come just come into the room. She ran over to Rocki when she noticed the placenta was covering his face and he was unable to breath. She removed it and began giving the little guy mouth-to-mouth until he started to breathe.

Now we know in humans that babies who lose oxygen during the birthing process often have some form of disability (yes...I know...not politically correct!) but the amount of time spent without oxygen will determine the severity of the disability.

In our case, we don't know how long Rocki was without oxygen. What we do know is that he did not and does not pick up on things the way his brother does.

For example, if I caught our oldest peeing on the floor, I'd raise my voice, say "no" sternly, and he would put his head down and promptly shimmy to his kennel which was the "tim…

Who do you believe when it comes to your dog's health?

We all care about the health of our pets and, in particular, keeping them around as long as we can. After all, they are a part of our family. But when it comes down to what you feed them, who do you believe?

I've recently talked to many dog owners who tell me they are really cutting down on commercial dog food and dog treats because of the latest poisoning scare. In particular, what is really frightening, is that a handful of dog food manufacturers produce most of the brands. So if one bad supply comes in, it affects many different dog foods and dog treats.

People are also telling me that they are starting to feed their dogs more "people food" in an effort to protect them from the risk of tainted dog food.

On the other side of the coin, we have the vets. When little Rocki was in the hospital, the aides and the vets all said do not feed them any people food. In fact, when we mentioned our dogs loved lettuce, one told us that lettuce causes diahhrea. I've never seen eith…

Can I change my dogs' names?

When we first get our precious little pups, we have so many names we've chosen it's hard to pick just one. Finally, we do make a decision and our pup grows into a healthy dog with it's own distinct personality. And that's when we often find their puppy name just doesn't fit and we come up with all sorts of nicknames for them.

For example, our oldest is named Bruiser. Why? Well, he was the runt of the litter and typically had to fight for food, a place to sleep, a toy and just about anything. When all the other puppies were too frightened to venture into the backyard, our little guy took the lead and boldly went to inspect the concrete sidewalk. The other puppies followed hesitantly and, in the end, just dropped onto the concrete too scared to go any further. Our little Bruiser, though, dared to go where no other pup would go and ventured forth to the bedding plants where he found a wonderful place to dig.

Our youngest, Rocki, was named for the boxing movie (althoug…

Beware of veterinarian retailers

After bringing Rocki home from the pet hospital, we got a call from the vet saying they forgot to give us a couple of items that we had paid for. So, my husband drove back and picked them up. I wasn't surprised that there was a bottle of antibiotics. What did surprise me was there was a case of canned dog food.

When did they decide they had the right to arbitrarily charge me for this and then tell me after the fact?

I could see from the can that it was a wet food. Both of my dogs hate wet dog food and have refused to eat every brand I've tried on them. Thankfully, this turned out to be a blessing because of the recent contaminated dog food scare which was mainly in wet food. But, thinking that maybe there was a reason that they gave us this food, I opened it up to give to the dogs. Firstly, it looked like pre-chewed food. Not good. Then, I divided up the can and put it in their dishes. They wouldn't eat it. So, I left it for them in case they came back to it later. Of course…

The Temperamental Shitzu

We were pretty excited to bring Rocki home from the pet hospital as the house just didn't seem the same without him. We also hoped to bring some life back to his brother, who had been despondent since Rocki left. So, imagine our shock when we arrived and Rocki's brother was in a complete and total snit.

He was so mad he was salivating. He turned his back on Rocki, growled at him whenever Rocki approached and refused to be anywhere near him. I couldn't believe it!

When the vet called to tell us we had forgotten something at the hospital, we asked why Rocki's brother would be so mad at him. The vet speculated it was because Rocki smelled of other dogs. Hmmm...so perhaps our oldest, who has always been Rocki's inseparable companion, thought Rocki was "cheating" on him! If only he knew what that poor little guy had been going through.

As night turned into the next day, Rocki's brother finally started to come around a bit, but not much. I thought perhaps if I…

My puppy wins...the Parvo virus loses!

The little guy pictured on the right has beaten the Parvo virus!

Although dogs can be hospitalized for up to 10 days before they are well enough to return home, my little Rocki was released in just 2 days and boy, was he glad to come home! After a good night's sleep on his favorite lambskin rug, he has been seen running circles around the coffee table, doing flying leaps from couch to floor to chair, beating up his stuffed toy, and gobbling up every piece of food he can find.
Although he has 10 days worth of antibiotics that I must cleverly conceal in a dog treat, his recovery is heartwarming. I knew he was a healthy dog before getting the virus, but his determination to get back to normal and winning attitude has just blown me away.
So this story is one of hope: even though the Parvo virus is deadly, a healthy happy dog can recover from it's effects.

Beware of the Parvo virus

Thought Parvo couldn't happen to you? This blog is about Rocki, our little cinnamon and white Shitzu pictured in the bottom right of the photo. We rushed him to the animal hospital last night where he was diagnosed with Parvo, or Canine Parvovirus.

Parvo is a severe infection that causes intestinal damage. This leads to septicemia and severe dehydration that could be fatal. For some reason, certain breeds (Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher and English Springer Spaniel) have a much higher fatality rate that other breeds. It is a highly contagious virus that requires aggressive medical treatment immediately.

In our city, there is an epidemic outbreak of Parvo. Clinics are running out of supplies. I read about it in the paper but thought our little guys were very secure on their home turf. How wrong I was!

Because the main source of the virus is from the feces of infected dogs, I stopped walking my dogs in the area as poop is one of their passions: they love to sniff it and touch it. If it…

Shitzus going snakey...

There are some nights where I don't know what has gotten into the little guys but they go completely snakey. Nights like tonight where there is nothing happening outside but they are poised to leap...where no one is in another room but they are dying to get into that room to the point that they leap and jump at closed doors while they cry incessently...where if you are not with them they whine, bark and throw themselves at chairs and other objects that they don't normally go after.

It is a weirdness I see on rare occassions and quite frankly, on nights like tonight when I'm home alone, it's kind of creepy.

I'd like to blame the full moon but we don't have one tonight. Nor anything close to it. If I could point a finger at a party next door, firecrackers, a loud car, sirens or anything else I would. But our area is still and quiet as can be.

I've seen it a couple of times and with two of them I get double the fun... one is either emulating the other or they…