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Showing posts from 2009

The Best Cleaner for your Carpets

Like most people, I've probably tried 75,000 different things on the carpet to get urine and marking stains out. It's been a trying journey with Rocki who, although he's a bit slow to learn, does understand that he has to go poop outside. However, he never quite grasped the concept that peeing is done outside as well. Although I've tried every which way to train him, it's been a losing battle. So I've come to accept that during the day, Rocki will go outside with his brother and at night, he'll just go wherever and I'll clean it up.
It's not just the stains that drive me nuts - it's the lingering odor that is nauseating and guarantees the dog will return to that exact spot when it comes time to do his or her business. But now I've found something better than my old white vinegar and water solution and it's natural.

I've used this on the bottom of my light colored couch (which is microsuede) and on the carpet. (did I mention the carpet …

Selecting a Kennel

We recently had occasion where we had to go out of town and no family members were available to sit with our boys, so we had no option but to put them in a kennel. Now I thought I did my research - I looked up kennels in our area on the internet and thought I had found a good one. I checked the website of the kennel to see their facilities, I searched for good and bad reviews, and I talked to people in my vets office. We also had friends who left their Daschund and Jack Terrier there and were very happy with the treatment they received. The bonus with this kennel is that it was close to home. I found their site on the internet and was impressed by the tiled cubicles for small dogs. When I talked to the staff at the vets office who said they heard that this kennel was now under new management (and I too had seen the sign when I passed by it) and that people were starting to bring their dogs back (apparently they had a bad reputation before but no one would commit to saying why). I was to…

The Boys Visit the Veterinarian

It's that time of year when the boys need their shots so we make a quick trip to the vet.
Bruiser had been having some trouble with his ear - scratching it, repeatedly licking his paw and shaking his head - so I asked the vet to look at it. It turns out he has another ear infection. I can't figure out how or why he keeps getting them and Rocki never does, but now we have antibiotics and drops for him and it appears to be clearing up.
Rocki has been skittering around on his bum, so the vet had his anal sac squeezed and he seems to be okay now.
All in all, aside from the $380 bill, it was a good trip. They're both healthy and are at a proper weight. We have a follow up visit to ensure that Bruiser's ear infection clears up, but he seems to be doing much better than he was.
The vet has been asking if I will be neutering them. I said I would shortly but I'm the one who is squeamish about it. But apparently neutering them avoids many health related issues such as testicular…

The Geese Return

It's that time of year where the leaves start to turn shades of amber, orange and red. It's that time of year when the Canada geese gather at our little lake to prepare for their long journey south. And, it's that time of year when Bruiser absolutely refuses to go outside for any reason.
It's not that the dogs are afraid of the geese who parade through our back yard twice a day. It's not the incessant honking when the geese gather at night that spooks him. What frightens Bruiser are the "crackers" that go off at intervals throughout the day.
The "crackers" (as I call them) sound like a gunshot. The city has placed them around the lake because there are some individuals who live on the lake who don't like the geese. So, they complain to the city and the city puts in "crackers" to ostensibly scare the geese away. As far as I can see, the geese keep coming back. Some fly away when the "crackers" go off only to return shortly t…

City boys become country boys

After my mother-in-law passed away, we had to go out to the country to her home to help my husband's siblings pack up the house. The three hour drive was no joy given the circumstances. However, it is made even more onerous when the boys decide that, rather than use the entire back end of the SUV that contains their toys, bedding, water dish and other assorted treats, they MUST spend the entire ride on my lap. Both of them...together. Side by side. They switch positions every two minutes.  About 10 minutes away from our destination, they decide that perhaps it's time to go in the back and curl up for a nap. When we get to my mother-in-law' place, the boys perk up because they know that here they can run amok without leashes and still never run out space to roam. They water every tree, and when they run out of liquid they simply lift their legs at the remaining ones while looking puzzled that nothing comes out. Well, by the 35th tree you would think they would learn that not…

The Boys Lose their Grandma

The boys know something is up. We're gone for long periods of time, and they've seen more of our family coming and going than ever before. People are always dropping in and staying the night. And then we're all gone again for hours.

They haven't had their bath or brushing like they always did. Their walks to the lake have become non-existent. When their mom and dad come home, they don't do much more than fall on the couch and sleep. And through it all the boys are the most patient, caring little guys you could ever wish for.

Although they don't know exactly what's going on, we know they will never see their Grandma again because Grandma is in the hospital and, after being poked and prodded and tested for the last month, we are told there is no hope for recovery and she is simply being kept comfortable until she takes her last breath which, we believe, will be at any time.
The boys became close to Grandma when she stayed with us for seven months. Grandma ha…

The new bed?

How Rocki manages to fall asleep is truly beyond me. His new "bed" is at the top of the couch buried in the cushion. And yes, he is actually sleeping in this shot.

Are your dogs treated better than people?

I've often had people jokingly comment that my dogs are treated better than most people. And the fact of the matter is yes, at times they are. I treat people the way they deserve to be treated.
Why are dogs special? Dogs, and pets in general, remind us that relationships do not have to be complicated. Simple concepts like love, empathy and respect are lost in our day-to-day interactions with others, but our pets bring us back to reality and show us just how simple it can be.
Dogs just want to love you, no matter what you look like. When you are angry, stressed, moody or anxious, they are there to offer their love. When you are happy, all they want is to share your joy. When you are sad, they lick your tears away. All they ask for in return is food, water and the pleasure of your company. Dogs who are abused or neglected act out in many ways, either with anger or through destruction. 
People, on the hand, are more complex. They will pick on any physical characteristic that deviates fr…

Dog Food and "People Food" - Is there a difference now?

I'm seeing a lot of commercials for dog food that now offer beef, vegetables and sometimes, a bit of rice. For example, look at

Now when I last took Bruiser to the vet when he was sick, she asked what he was eating. "Is he still eating 'people food' like meat and vegetables?" She says "people food" with the same sort of disgust as if you were talking about feeding them human flesh. I lied...just dog food. Hmm, she says, pleased. So if I said "dog food" and was referring to the Proplan, what is the difference? The only difference I can see is that I actually know where my meat and vegetables are coming from. And that's my brother-in-law's farm where his cattle are free range and the soil where the vegetables are grown have never seen a chemical of any kind.

Coincidentally, this vet just happens to sell a certain brand of dry dog food as well as this company's wet food. I did…

What's with these Denta Stix?

The boys love Denta Stix. I'm not sure why but whatever they've got in there....the doggie version of catnip or dogs go crazy over them. However, the boys do eat goose poop whenever they can access it and moths, when they're in season, so nothing really surprises me.

What did surprise me though is how nice Bruiser's teeth are. Rocki isn't a good test subject because he doesn't actually chew anything...he breaks it into tiny pieces and swallows. I'm not sure how to teach him to chew, but that's another story...

I did have chicken-flavored toothpaste the vet gave me as well as a little finger brush. I tried brushing the dogs' teeth in the past, but they were more interested in eating the toothpaste and chewing the finger containing the brush rather than letting me scrub their teeth. So when I took Bruiser to the vet one day, the vet commented that he had a lot of plaque on his teeth. I much was his dental bill going to cos…

The boys get the flu

I never thought dogs got the flu, but mine did.

It started one morning with Bruiser when he threw up. I cleaned his mess and wondered what he had eaten since eating something they shouldn't is the usual culprit. However, the vomitting didn't stop but got worse. He also was running outside frequently with diahrrea and that's when I knew something was wrong. He wasn't eating or drinking and I had visions of Parvo all over again, so I called the vet and asked if I could bring him in and have him checked out.

Luckily, the vet was very accommodating and I was able to bring him in within the hour. They did a physical checkup and everything seemed okay. They used the rectal thermometer and his temperature was normal. The did the bum smear and that too came out normal. They also did blood tests to check for internal diseases but his blood work came back as normal. So, after $280 the verdict was that he had a virus and was given electrolytes to rehydrate him and a shot of someth…

Sleep Disturbances? It's just Rocki.

Rocki has recently decided that it is not okay for my husband to sleep in our home.

My husband works night shift and can often be found on the couch snoozing. It's not that he's snoring or making any noises, but the mere fact that he's sleeping drives Rocki to distraction. He will march to the couch, growl at my husband and, if there is no response, he will jump on him to wake him up.

If I fall asleep, it's okay. If Bruiser falls asleep, that's okay too. When my husband falls asleep, it's time to wake him.

What goes through his mind is beyond me. If I see him approaching my sleeping spouse, I try and coerce him over to me with toys, treats and voice commands. Nothing works...he is on a mission and will not be distracted. If I go over and pick him up and take him to another room, the minute I set him down he will make a beeline to where my husband is and start growling at him and jump on him. My husband's head is the favored landing spot, but his chest makes …

Sun Worshipping Shih-Tzus

My little boys are definitely sun worshippers, even though they're not near a beach.
In the morning, the front room faces the east and the sun's warm rays bathe them in light. This is their favorite place in the morning, especially since it's been ridiculously cold here. How does -47 degrees sound? And if you're wondering if that's Farenheit or Celcius, they meet at -42 so it doesn't matter.
Going outside is tough for the little ones. They're not out more than 5 seconds having the fastest pees in history. When it's this cold, they don't eat as much or drink as much. It's like they somehow know that if they eat or drink, they'll have to go outside at some point so they hold off until the weather warms up.
So this is how they spend a bitterly cold winter day - sunbathing on their favorite rug.

Renovations are over!

Life has returned to normal for the boys...except the carpet is missing. For me this is a joyous time. For the dogs, they just want their stinky carpet back. 
They continue to look in vain for it. Bruiser was even caught trying to search behind the couch, but then he got stuck between the end table and the couch and I had to rescue him. As far as the boys are concerned, the carpet just up and disappeared. They're still not too sure about the flooring but I think they'll get used to it after a while. Thankfully, they have found refuge in the living room because the carpet is still there. Although, if I get my way, it won't be there for long.

However, now that all the furniture is back in place and their bedding, toys and chewies have returned to the family room, life is not so bad. Rocki doesn't think so anyway...he looks pretty comfortable to me. Bruiser still appears a bit bewildered, but is slowly adjusting to his new circumstances.
For anyone interested in what porcela…