JB: Summer camp is over

Bart and Carolyn just got back from their vacation to Hawaii and picked up JB at 11am.  He is a good dog but he was a bit of a pain.  He is a slow eater and had accidents in the house.  Mostly he would poop in the house like Kira did so it may be an age thing for him.  He also peed a couple of times if we didn’t keep letting him outside on a regular basis.

The most annoying thing about JB was that he picked fights with Troll dog (aka Tina).  He would follow her around and then nudge her.  She would put up with it for a while before she would finally light into him.  She never hurt him but she clearly let him know that she wasn’t happy with him.

On the plus side, on previous visits JB wouldn’t eat his food.  We had to melt bacon grease for his food to get him to eat.  But on this visit we fed him the food that our digs eat and locked him in the kitchen area behind the doggy fence and he ate like he was starving.  He still eats slow, but he actually hopped up and down when we were preparing his food.

Kira: Ashes Returned

I was having a good day.  Work went well for the first time in a long while and traffic was light.  I stopped at the store and got pizza fixings to make dinner.  I had the basic pizza laid on the pizza board and was adding cheese when the dogs started barking.

The UPS truck pulled up and stopped.  I washed my hands and wondered what it could be.  I hadn’t ordered anything online in a while.

The UPS man had me sign for a box that was addressed to me from a Pet supply store.  I took it inside and opened the box.  My heart sank and I just started to cry.  It was Kira’s ashes.

I really didn’t expect to get them this way.  I thought that I would go down to the vet and it would be a solemn thing with both Mike and me.  But instead it was this cold delivery.  I put the box on the table in the hall where all of the other dogs are and finished the pizza.  I took a Xanax and the rest of the evening was shot.

Kira: Farewell

On Friday May 19, 2017, Mike and I got up at 7am which is really early for Mike. I immediately started crying so I took a Xanax. It didn’t help, so I took a second one. The crying stopped.

I took Kira out back and I has second thoughts because she seemed so spry and happy. But I knew that I didn’t want to get to the point that she was miserable like the previous few nights.

We wanted her to have a fond morning in hopes that she would enjoy her last day. So we made a special breakfast for Kira. A few kibbles, a can of dog food, some cheese, and some stew. She gobbled it down like she use to do 5 years ago.

We then took her for a walk. Normally Kira would walk half way up the lane with Mike and then sit down and wait for him to come back and then she would limp home and collapse in her bed in my office. But today she walked the entire way up the lane with both Mike and me and came back without any problems. Her hips were clearly in pain but she seemed like she was a year younger.

It made me cry because I worried that I was doing this too early. But then I thought about the last few days and hearing how labored her breath was and the past month of her deficating while sleeping and not even waking up. I could be trying to humanize her, but she seemed upset when she woke and realized she had and accident. I realize that she was just an animal, but somehow I do think she got upset when she had an accident.

The Vet arrived promptly at 8am. We locked Clifford and Goofy McGooface in the master bedoom. Kira was laying on her bed that we had setup in the dining area and she didn’t take much notice of the Vet. We talked with the Vet for a bit and asked to pay before the doing the procedure. We did this in part so that Kira wouldn’t get upset thinking that something was going on.

I hugged Kira as did Mike and held her as the Vet injected something that would put her into a deep sleep. Kira jumped when the needle went in, but took it like a champ. She slowly fell asleep as I held her and talked to her. She stopped focusing on me as she went completely limp. Mike started chattering about what was medically happening and I asked him to be quiet. Mike then chattered with the Vet saying that he and I deal with this differently and that he needs to talk about it. I just wanted it to be solem and quiet. Even with two Xanax, I still cried my eyes out.

I had put a towel on top of the waterproof blanket knowing that she would pee when she died. My previous dogs peed when the drug was injected that put them to sleep. But Kira didn’t.

Kira’s tongue extended from her mouth and she was breathing silently but clearly sleeping. I pet on her a bit and looked into her eyes and talked to her to say goodbye. Then we told the Vet to go ahead and she injected the chemical that stopped her heart.

Kira died at about 8:30. After listening to her in various locations to verify that her heart had stopped, we waited about 5 minutes while the Vet prepared her vehicle to take the body to have it cremated. I picked her up in the towel and carried her to the door. I don’t know why there was a delay but half way to the door she peed. It was kind of the proof that she was gone for good.

I gently placed her in the back of the Vets Subaru. The Vet gently covered her and we went back in the house as the Vet drove away.

Mike and I didn’t talk much at all. We let the dogs out of the bedroom and we went to our respective offices. At about 11:00 we got into my car and drove about an hour to Lovettsville and had lunch at an eclectic place that Melissa Buckelou (the neighbor that cuts our hair) had given us a gift certificate for back at Christmas. We had not used the gift because neither of us could find the time to take off from work to use it. But this seemed like an appropriate time to use it. We weren’t celebrating anything. We just needed a distraction and to get out of the house. We didn’t talk much on the drive there but neither of us cried. The Xanax started wearing off while we were seated so I took another Xanax so that I would not fall apart at the restaurant.

Before we left, I bought Mass Effect Andromeda at full price (I had been waiting for it to go on sale) so that it could download while we were gone and I could immerse myself in the game instead of dwelling on what I had just done to my best dog.

Kira: The last day

The hardest time for Kira was always Summer. The summer of 2015 was a very hot summer and there were quite a few days that I was sure that Kira wouldn’t make it through the night for panting so hard after just going outside through the doggy door after dark. Then in 2016 she was blind and deaf and yet she still made it through the summer.

But in 2015 her arthritis was bad enough that she had trouble getting off the bed. She had long lost the ability to jump so I picked her up every night an put her on the bed. But in 2015 she would struggle to get up on all 4 legs and then would stand at the side of the bed contemplating jumping off onto one of the dog beds. I would get up and lift her to set her on the floor. Prior to 2015 she wouldn’t let you pick her up but during this year she gave up and let me help her.

In 2016 she lost bowel control. She could hold it most of the time, but when she would wake up to greet me at the door when I came home, there would be a trail of poop on the floor from half way down the hall from my office to the door that I came through when I got home. I couldn’t get mad at her but clearly she was upset that she had done it and would walk a wide birth around the poop.

During the winter and spring of 2017, it was clear that she wasn’t going to make it to 15 years old. By January 2017 she couldn’t get up off of her bed. She still had muscle in her front legs but couldn’t get her back legs under her. So I would need to lift her butt. I would take her outside and she had no interest in chasing a stick. Her bowel control got worse and she would poop while sleeping. At first she would realize it when it started but she couldn’t get up in time to get to the dog door so there was either poop wherever she was sleeping or a trail of poop where she had been.

Everything really got bad in May. Kira would want off the bed and I would set her down. She would then wander through the house as if she was looking for me. She would do her path where she would walk along the wall turning right into every room walking the wall and just following the outline of the walls till she smelled me. But it was as if she would awake from sleep and be disoriented. The saddest event was when I was in my office and she woke up from sleep and walked across my office and into a wall. She looked at the wall, then walked into it again, and again and again until I got up and moved her so that she was heading toward the door. She then walked perfectly fine, to the doggy door, out the door, walked the fence and did her job, and then came back in as if nothing had happened.

As a side note, during her life, Kira never under the physics of inanimate objects. She frequently would be playing ball and run into a large boulder (the neighbor uses boulders the size of a small car to delineate his property line), run into a tree, or run into a solid wall. It would clearly hurt and would sometimes form a bruise. But when she would run into something it was like she expected it to move.

At night she would get restless and would bark to have me pick her up and put her on the bed, then she would pace around, lay down, get up, lay down, get up, pace, lay down, get up, and then want off the bed. I would set her down and she would wander to the hallway and then come back and want on the bed. Eventually I would stop picking her up and she would pace around the room going from side to side of the bed giving one loud bark to get me to pick her up and would eventually give up. She would collapse in her dog bed beside my bed and make a loud sigh.

I started setting my alarm to wake me up every 2 hours so that I could wake her up and get her outside before she would have an accident. This worked somewhat but then there would be times that she would still have the accidents after coming back inside.

It all came to a tipping point on Wednesday May 17. She was restless but on this night she was panting constantly even through I turned the AC down to 70. She couldn’t get comfortable and kept pacing around the house. I started to cry because I knew it was the end for her. She never knew what the end was, but I did. I had told my doctor that this was coming and he gave me 20 Xanax. I took one and was able to sleep a few hours that night.

Thursday at work was just miserable. I knew that I had already made the decision but I hadn’t admitted it yet. I took a Xanax on the way to work and another at noon to get through the day. I texted Mike to tell him that it was time and that we needed to contact the mobile Vet. Kira always got so upset whenever she went to the Vet so we have a mobile Vet in the area that will come to your home for this kind of thing. We arranged for “Forever Home” to come out Friday. The offered 8am or noon and I said 8am so that we would not sit around the house all morning feeling sorry for Kira or ourselves.

At the end of Thursday I told everyone at work that I was taking the next day off and would be unreachable. That is a rare thing for me to do and everyone at work knew that Kira was having problems. So no-one said a word. The CFO sent me a message of sorrow for the event. I got home and had 2 shots fo Vodka, kept Kira close and did everything I could to make her happy. Special dinner, walking up the lane, laying on the bed listening to a book. She continued to be uncomfortable, panted constantly and appeared to be in pain. I cried myself to sleep Thursday night.

Kira and Goof got cold

Just as I was recovering from being sick and not able to eat, I woke up at 2am with both Kira and Goof laying tightly against me.  While it is normal for Goof to sleep near me, Kira doesn’t like to be within 2 feet of anyone and never against them.  Both were shivering.

We normally keep the house on a schedule to save energy and let it drop down to 60 at night.  But when I checked the thermostat it was down to 53.  I pushed the temperature up to 68 but nothing happened.  It was 19 degrees F outside.

I put a small blanket over Goof and one on Kira.  Goof stayed curled up and slowly stopped shivering.  Kira kicked her blanket off and kept pressed against me shivering.

First thing in the morning I called the AC repair company that installed the unit 2 years ago and they said they were booked but would try to find a way to fit us in for an emergency visit.  We pay $400 a year for a maintenance contract that includes the cost of any emergencies and adds a bit of priority to us.

During the day we tried various things and found that it we flipped the emergency switch by the unit that it could be brought back to life for about 15 minutes.  I didn’t think it was particularly good for the unit to keep flipping that switch.  So we found that going to the thermostat and turning it to off for a minute and then back to heat that it would run the same 15 minute cycle.  So, all day long the dogs huddled together and shivered while wore long coats and kept cycling the unit.  We got the house up to about 63 by 5pm.

At about 6pm the repair person arrived and after about 30 minutes of testing he found that a protective switch was failing and told us that we could keep cycling it without damaging it.  We got the house up to 66 but it will drop again.  We got out a little oil space heater and have put it in the room with Kira so that she won’t shiver so bad.

Goofy: The monkey

Well, now that the house is back to normal and I am not mad at Mike for bringing home the horse, I have gone back to calling the little brown dog “Goofy”.  He truly is Goofy.  I also call him “monkey” as he just crawls on everything and gets into everything.

He is a really convenient dog.  He has no sign of aggression and seems to be put together with rubber bands.  He flexes in every direction on his own.  His most goofy trait is that every morning at 6:30, he wakes up, gets on the bed, and then lays on me and paws at my face until I either grab his nose and play with him or crawl out of the bed and feed all the dogs.  Yes, just another case of the dogs being spoiled little things.

He only weighs 50 pounds even though he is the same size of Kira.  Kira is 85 pounds and hard to pick up.  But Goofy is so light that it is easy to pick him up and put him where you want him.  When I do “pick up”, he just lays there happy as can be.  “pick up” is where I grab the dog and turn it upside down and hold in my lap.  It is basically dominating them and reminding them that I am boss.  I do it to all of the dogs.  When I say “pick up”, Kira turns around ready for it, Remy turns around ready, Clifford runs away, and Goofy turns his head as if he doesn’t understand.  Clifford is the only one that hates “pick up”.  But occasionally I snag him too.

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Back to normal

Oh, it has been a wonderful weekend.  To a normal person this would be considered a hectic weekend, but when you put everything into perspective, going from 6 dogs to 4 is a very welcome thing.  I was able to open the windows and doors to the deck so that the dogs had free roam while I cleaned the pond.  I vacuumed without any growls, and was able to clean the bathrooms without worrying about JB sticking his nose in the Clorox.

Thank goodness… we are back to a sane balance of humans and animals.

The house is normal

Today Mike took Atlas and Apollo to work with him.  I left work a bit late so that I sat in traffic, but I looked forward to getting to the house because it would just be me and the 3 normal dogs.  I left at 4:30 and got home at 5:30 which is frustrating but not bad.  It is only 22 miles from the office to home.

As a side note, that Lincoln MKZ makes that commute really nice in that the engine just turns off and I am on battery most of the way.  So, sitting in stop and go traffic is not so bad since the car is so efficient in that kind of situation.

I got home and it was the normal Kira, Clifford and Remy.  Everything was back to normal.  They acted like the always have.  Kira was mildly interested that I came home, Clifford wanted to be hugged and petted, and Remy wanted his dinner.  No pooch was pouting and every dog was happy.  That is a big change.  The regular dogs have all been pouting and unhappy with the horse in the house.

Well… around 10pm Mike came home from dinner with HART and brought home Apollo and Atlas.  Immediately the other dogs seemed to change their disposition.  They really don’t like having the big beast in the house.

He has two applications that look good so there is a very good chance that Atlas will be adopted and leave this coming week.  Gees, I really hope that dog leaves.  On the one hand, I cannot imagine anyone wanting something like Atlas.  On the other, I hope someone adopts him just to get him out of our house.  He isn’t bad, doesn’t do anything wrong, but he is just too large to live in a home with normal sized humans.

Goof is going to be king of the castle

I never thought I would see it, but Kira just gave in to Goof.  Kira ia 15 and can barely stand up.  But when Goof challenged her, she growled and snapped and then laid down.

Goof has already put Remy in his place so all that is left is Clifford.  Putting a young 100 pound lab against a 50 pound Pit/Lab mix probably won’t result in anything good.  I can already see Goof challenging Clifford.

It is not horrible if Goof becomes dominant in the dogs, but it will be bad if he tries to do the same with Mike or me.  This is something we need to watch for.  In the dogs, there is a social order.  Goof just rearranged it.  But he cannot be allowed to think he is anything other than a dog to humans.  We need to work carefully with this pup to keep him in place.

Kira and my back, and Goof learning the electric fence

Well… first off… I am walking with crutches right now because Kira is having problems and I had to pick her up to help her out.  In the process of picking her up I didn’t do it right and pinched a nerve in my back.  My legs went numb and I haven’t slept in 2 nights because of the shooting pain down both legs.  I am wearing my brace and went to the doctor who gave me something to stop the muscle spasms but not make me go deaf.

On the other hand, I had to take half a day of vacation on Monday because Goof kept trying to get out of the fence.  I have a couple of electric generators that will kill chickens and rabbits but won’t kill a dog of his size so I wired them up and fixed up the wire at Goof’s nose height.  There are 2 wires but I only needed to electrify one.

Well… within an hour of electrifying the fence I heard Goof yelp and come running to the house.  It wasn’t an hour later before he touched his pink nose to the wire again.  This is why the wire is there.  It will keep him in the yard unsupervised.

But he is a stubborn little beast and he won’t accept that he can’t do whatever he wants.  He is going to be a handful.  But at least he doesn’t have the problems of Darby destroying everything in his path.  Maybe I have a moderate challenge instead of an extreme challenge.

I worked from home today so he wouldn’t live his life in a cage but so that he wouldn’t get into trouble.

Another week with Glenn

Well, Glenn isn’t so bad.  He is not socially educated with other dogs and does things that make the rest of the dogs mad.  But he is smart enough that I have trained him for a few things.  First, I trained him that he has to sit and wait till I let him have his food.  I do this with all the dogs repeating the word “stay” over and over and getting them to sit while I put the food in all of their bowls.  They all sit there waiting for me to say “go” before they will touch the food.  This method teaches them “stay” so that I can use it when in the yard to get them to stop chasing bunnies or birds.  After properly teaching them “stay”, every dog we have fostered will plant their but on the ground and drool but never go after something that interests them.

Glenn learned “stay” this week with his food.  Remarkably, he learned it quickly.  He also learned the doggy door and a few other basic words.  Intellectually, he is very much like Darby so I need to distance myself from him.  I adore dogs with intelligence, and Glenn is showing signs of being very intelligent.  He gets into trouble because he gets bored easily and wants to do something.

I need to avoid liking this dog.  He could easily be an emotional replacement for Darby.  And Darby had a very bad end.  Glenn is the kind of dog that is also very likely to jump the fence when not monitored carefully.

But, Glenn is a good dog.  Just untrained and not socialized with dogs.  He is learning quickly.  When I go to bed, he runs to his little area in the hall and lays down even without putting up the doggy gate or asking him to go.  He just recognizes the pattern that I turn out the lights in the house and it is time for bed.  He is intelligent.  He thinks through problems and is surprising that he can solve simple problems like the maze that we put in the doggy door.  That little maze normally prevents dogs from accidentally discovering the door and slipping out.  But the smart ones figure it out.

Anyhow, he is a very sweet dog and will be great with a family.  He is affectionate and after a little bit of work, he is now house trained and he is exceptionally friendly.  Once I fussed at him about knocking over Kira (14 years old), he stays 6 feed from her at all times just because I fuss every time he gets within 6 feet.

Overall, he is a good dog and will do well if someone will just give him some boundaries.

Kira: Taking it in stride

Kira has had good days and bad days. But no matter how bad the day was for her, she always perked up when she got to go outside in the grass.

At this point she still had a lot of muscle mass in her front legs and chest but her back legs had started to atophi because of arthritis in her hips and knees.

The remarkable thing about dogs is that no matter how much they hurt, they seem to just go on about life and they seem to still look forward to the things they have enjoyed throughout their life. Despite how much it must have hurt to chase a ball, she still ran with all she had to find a ball. We would have to give her pain meds after playing outside because it was clear that once inside she would be in so much pain that she would whimper when trying to get around.

Kira, Clifford, Remy: Our first big snow of the winter

I got up this morning, got completely ready for work knowing that there was sleet hitting the window as I fed the dogs this morning.  But I figured that the weather was saying the temperature would be 45 degrees so I would go to work.  Well… after getting all ready, going to the garage to put my stuff in the car, I looked down the drive and there were yellow and blue lights.  A van had gone off the road and they had 2 tow trucks trying to get it out of the ravine.  A police man was blocking route 50 and I would be able to get out of my drive.

So, I waited around and it took about 2 hours to get the van out.  And what did they do… they put it on a flat bed and then parked in my driveway.  By 8:30 I had already called the office and told everyone to go home and so my team was watching the customer support queue from home.

By 10am, it was snowing pretty hard.  And by 11am, there was about 3 inches of snow alternating with ice on the ground and drive.  I am fairly certain that if I had gone to work that it would be a miserable drive home.

At 11:30, I put on a coat and took the dogs for a walk around the property in the snow.  I got balls for each of them and they were just so excited and ballistic.  We walked through the front 4 acres and watched the work on the van.  The tow trucks left and the police left but the van was still sitting in my drive.

After checking things out, I walked around the yard for about an hour throwing the ball for Clifford and Kira.  Remy won’t ever give up his ball and just runs around trying to take the other dog’s ball.  Clifford leaps into the air and pushes off with his feet so hard that it looks like a snow plow with the amount of snow kicked into the air.  Kira seems to do better in the snow than in the summer and will give me the ball if Remy is not around.

I got them all tired out.  I put bird food in the feeder, and then we went into the house.  They all laid down and went to sleep giving me the rest of the day to myself.

Kira and Remy: Lyme’s Disease

The vet called and left a message for the dogs. Remy and Kira had tested positive for acute Lyme’s disease. Kira had been getting thinner and seemed to be in more pain than usual. So, we put them both on a 1 month plan for Doxycycline. So we started them today and will be done on December 30.

Raven: Good adoption application

I have loved having Raven in the house.  She is the most innocent thing I have ever seen and yet she gets in so much trouble.  But you can’t possibly be mad at her because you know she is just experiencing anything that catches her eye.

Drop a penny in the middle of a room and then let her into the room.  If that is the only thing that changed… she will immediately run to it, sniff it and then lick it.  She discovers absolutely everything.  And she is into everything.

I adore Raven and she is the only dog I have had since Darby that can leap onto the bed, pummel me, lick any exposed skin (usually my face or hands) and then jump on my chest without me getting upset at all.  I just giggle like a little kid when this dog is around.

And, she responds to me.  Mike has this “no no Raven” voice that she largely ignores.  But when I use the deepest most gravely dog voice that I have (that I use when reprimanding most dogs I train) she immediately responds, stops whatever she is doing and collapses on the floor or wherever she is.  She stays there till I come to her and apologize.  She really understands right and wrong if wrong is characterized by the deep voice.

But, she really just endeared herself to me when on Thursday night I was up late with a customer and then couldn’t sleep so I went to the basement and slept on the couch.  I do this because the basement has a bunch of servers that make a nice droning noise that puts me right to sleep.  That and that Clifford, Kira, and Remy had already jumped in my bed.  Usually they split up and I have 2 while Mike has 2.  But when I headed for bed at 2am, there was no room for me.

Well… I slept in the basement on the most comfortable couch you have ever seen… and slept well till about 4am when I hear Kira’s nails tapping on the floor overhead.  She is going throughout the house, walking into every room… and I suspect she is looking for me.  She does this whenever she realizes I am not in my normal bed where she sleeps also.

Eventually I hear Kira nuzzle the door open to the basement and come down the stairs.  But instead of the familiar sounds, she has a companion that is making a lot of noise.  I know that Raven is following her.

Kira is a sly dog and she knows where I am.  She comes in, looks at me, and then instead of coming over to greet me as she usually does, she just goes to her chair in the basement and curls up.  Raven is there standing in the room looking around.  It is as if she is looking for me but isn’t familiar with me enough to know my habits.  Her nose doesn’t appear to work so she lives by sight.  And I didn’t move.

Raven wandered around the basement with every little thing catching her attention… but it was dark and all lights were out.  I can see in the dark as can most dogs.  But she didn’t appear to have as good of vision at night as Kira.

Raven continued to wander and then from about half way across the room she realized I was there and she just ran at me like a shot.  Her entire body was wiggling like she does when I first come home from work.  And she leaped on me.  Just jumped on the couch and I was prepared.  I had 2 blankets over me (the house was about 50 degrees) and she landed square on my crotch.  As expected.

But she just curled up right on my chest and went to sleep immediately.  And there she slept… on my chest, from around 4am till 6am.  I slept too… as she isn’t very heavy… she is quite light.

She never moved, never did anything and at around 6am when I woke, she was laying there staring at me.  Wide awake.  Just waiting for me to wake up so that I could be her chew toy.  I pulled my arms from under the covers, and she started to gently chew on my hands and forearms like she does every morning.  She is gentle, never bites down… but always wants to just chew on my hands.  She doesn’t do it to Mike or anyone else.

We played for about an hour with her chewing on my hands, me teasing her nose by grabbing it and tugging on her muzzle, and then alternatively grabbing her feet.  She just rolls around like the pup that she is and played.

So… this is Raven.  Just a playful little dog that doesn’t have a care in the world, is smart as a whip, and seems to genuinely enjoy everything she encounters.

But, today she got a great adoption application.  A Stay-at-home mom with a 4 year old and a 10 year old.  She interacted with the kids and did great.  So, Mike Texted me to tell me of the pending adoption giving me a last chance to keep her.  I texted back that she should go.

We don’t need 4 dogs.  I don’t need a Darby replacement.  Raven is a handful and will be just as troublesome as Darby.  Kira doesn’t need the competition in the last years of her life.  And we don’t need 4 dogs.  I love that little dog to death, but I can’t keep her just because she makes me so happy.

Oh, don’t think for a moment that I won’t miss her.  I will cry when she leaves.  I asked Mike to arrange for her to go next Saturday after Thanksgiving so that I get to spend my 2 days off here at the house with her.  I’ll miss the little happy girl.  But then life will be back to normal when she is gone and some other family will be just incredibly happy when she is with them.

Raven: Gets into everything

Accidentally leave a door open?  She is immediately in there sniffing everything and finding something to run away with.  She doesn’t chew everything up like Darby did, but she takes it back to her bed. If you are in the house and things are a little too quiet… you better get up and start looking for her because she is into something.

Raven is just a bundle of joy, energy, licks, and belly rubs.  She knows paw and when she can’t get your attention, she puts her nose down, looks up out of the top of her eyes, and lifts up the paw.  Everyone just melts to that.

I think the only problem that Raven has is that she is skittish.  If you rush up to her too fast, she flops on the floor and closes her eyes like you are going to hit her.  If you raise your hand to her, she flops on the floor and closes her eyes as if she thinks she is going to be hit.

She loves the Piano, and loves to just crawl all over the other dogs.  Remy is just an old kremudgin with lots of growls, and leaving the room, but eventually he just lays on the floor while she chews on his tail, bites at his feet, licks his ears, lays on his head, and in general just mauls him.  She does the same with Clifford but Clifford eventually tires of it and lifts his lip and then swats her with his paw.  Kira won’t have anything to do with her but I have fussed at Kira for snapping at her so Kira lifts her lip and there must be some low growl that I can’t hear, but Raven jumps up and gets about 6 feet away from Kira whenever it happens.

She is a sweet little dog… but she is trouble if you don’t keep an eye on her.

Abe: Failed attempt

Well… I went away for the weekend to West Virginia and Mike brought home the latest dog…. Abe… Nice dog… but the moment he got near the house hie lit into Kira.  Kira… of all dogs… the queen of the house.  Well… the moment a dog comes into the house and attacks Kira… well.. that is the moment that the dog goes anywhere but our house.

So… Abe went to a kennel and we took in Clay.  We will see how this turns out.

Kira: Tongue in ball

I’ve read about dogs having to have their tongues amputated due to a toy that strangulated the tongue.  I have heard of dogs that licked a shredder and died because it shredded and pulled in their tongue.  But I always thought that I had dog proofed all of the toys in the house.

For more than 5 years we have had these toys that the dogs love to play with. Initially they are a large ball about 4 inches in diameter with little feet on the bottom and a squeaker.  What dog can resist a squeaker.

Well, they get the ball, rip the legs off, then break the squeaker.  Largely, no matter what toy they get, they destroy and either render it into little tiny pieces or a ball.  Then they bring you the ball.

Well, this morning I was playing with all 4 dogs outside when Kira come up to me with the red ball.  We have an Orange, Red, Green, and Yellow ball.  Once for each dog… though, they cannot find the green ball by sight in the yard.  Kira can find it by smell, but the other dogs don’t seem to use their nose when looking for the ball.

Anyhow, Kira comes up to me and instead of the ball being in her mouth, it was hanging from her tongue.  She had bitten down on the ball and it had sucked her tongue into the ball.  I knew what to do immediately and got a knife and pushed a hole into the other side of the ball and she pulled her tongue out.

What I am most surprised about is that this is the first time in 5 years that it has happened.  I gathered up all of the balls, got a knife and cut a hole in the other side of the ball so that it can’t possibly happen again.  Thankfully it happened with Kira and it happened while I was home.  Whenever she gets hurt, be it a thorn in her paw or anything that happens, she comes to me and presents me with the problem.  I pull the thorn out, or I fix whatever is wrong.  So, fortunately she realized something was wrong, came to me, and I was able to correct it.  But had it happened in the morning, I might have at worst lost a dog, and at best had a dog with no tongue.

Kira & Remy: Another reason that you should walk your dog on a leash

So, Mikey takes the dogs out for their usual walk, and when he returns, Kira and Remy reek of the smell of a skunk. Well, it turns out that during the walk, Remy found a skunk and chased it and then got sprayed. Kira apparently got only a peripheral spray. She stinks, but Remy smells horrible. Mike immediately took Remy into the bathroom to be washed and Kira is under my desk at the moment.

Kira: Happy 5th Birthday!

Today (July 5) is Kira’s 5th Birthday!  Unfortunately, I have to work today.  So, I won’t be doing anything special for her.  Kira has turned into a wonderful dog as she has gotten older.  We have had our share of problems:

  • The day we got her, we knew she was different.  She didn’t want to be pet and didn’t socialize with the other puppies.  She never exhibited any affection to any animal or human at all.  She spent most of the time hiding from me even when I was off for a year from work taking care of her.
  • Bones almost kills her at 8 weeks by chomping her head leaving her head permanently misshapen for her life and her left eye pointing a little off
  • Constant urinary tract infections causing house training to be difficult.  These lasted till she was about 1 year old.  Lots of meds and we kept it under control (If you are at the house and need a ladle for soup, ask first before selecting one.  I used a particular one to catch her urine.  Of course it is still in the utensil drawer!!!)
  • Allergies to freshly cut grass causing histamine blisters on her legs and between her toes.  These eventually gave way to black sores in her ears.  Now she is not allowed outside in the cut grass.
  • Lack of maturity making it not possible for her to have puppies or at least to get pregnant.  So, she got spayed. The original intention was to have her deliver one set of pure bred puppies so that one puppy could be kept to replace Bones when he dies and up to 8 others had been flagged for friends and family.
  • Yearly urinary tract infections that required constant treatment
  • At 3 years of age, she had an allergy in her ear and flipped her head under the bed rupturing a vessel in her ear and causing her ear to balloon up.  Treatment was to cut the inside of the hear and sew the wound open so that the two parts of her ear could heal together slowly.  We took the stitches out from the outside in to let more grow together.  After getting all of the stitches out, her ear is essentially a big thick scar.  The other option would have been amputation of the ear.  Imagine a Labrador Retriever without an ear!
  • She use to sleep on the bed till her allergies caused incontinence in the night.  At least 5 floods of the bed occurred before she voluntarily stopped sleeping on the bed.  She is a sensitive dog.
  • The summer that she turned 4, she lost her coat in the shedding season and nothing grew back.  My black lab was bald!  We tried lots of treatments and tests and nothing worked.  But, when winter came, she grew another coat that was soft and lush.  Her previous coat had always been very wirey and long making her less than fun to pet.  Her new coat is so soft and nice to pet.  Of course she hates being pet.
  • At 4 years of age she started getting infections in her anal glands.  The smell was horrible and we had to get them expelled once a month.  We finally opted for surgery to remove the anal glands and now the little girl has no infections at all.

Now my little girl is 5.  She stays with me and protects me.  She still doesn’t like being pet, still hides from people and other animals, and could care less about anything around her unless it is willing to throw a ball for her.  But, she stays with me … as long as I don’t pet her.  She knows a number of tricks and obeys me no matter what.  She very gently takes food from my hand, and knows she is the queen of the house as she always gets anything she wants from me.  When in trouble, she runs to me, and when at the vet, she sits on me hugging me with her front paws around my neck.

It took a lot to get over the loss of Grendel and I still cry when I think about Grendel, but Kira has managed to be a very special dog to me and I love her very much.

Happy Birthday Kira!

Kira-2006

Kira: OK… you can sleep on the bed…

I felt so bad for Kira when I would go to bed.  All of the other dogs would get in their bed, but Kira had no bed.  She wouldn’t sleep in the crate that we put the fosters in and she wouldn’t sleep in a dog bed.  She just looked pitiful at me from the floor while I was in the bed.  I felt terrible for her.  So, I gave in and let her on the bed.  She was so happy and went immediately to sleep. 

Kira is doing much better and her butt has completely healed.  The vet called back and said that there were no signs of a urinary track infection but that they noticed that over the 5 years that we have had her, she has always had very dilute urine.  I told them that she drinks water like it is going out of style and they suggested that we cut her water back to 2 quarts a day.  They said that Labs are prone to getting in a habit of drinking to much water and will deplete their minerals that regulate their need for water.  So, the theory is that if we regulate her water and she builds up the minerals, she will stop drinking so much and not have accidents.  The vet said that it would be about 3 months for us to see any results.

Kira: Please let me on the bed!

So, Sunday night was the night of the great flood in the bed.  Kira was mostly fine Monday night and just slept under the bed without much of a whimper.  She was mad at me on Tuesday morning and wouldn’t look at me or eat her breakfast until I left.  Then came Tuesday night.  At 3am I was sound asleep when I heard such a loud noise that I woke up immediately.  I sat there in bed listening for the sound again when my ears were assaulted by the sound again.  It came from right beside the bed.  I peered into the darkness of the room and saw two green glowing eyes looking straight at me.  Then I heard “thump thump thump” and recognized the sound as a tail of a dog smacking against the wall.  I reached over and it was Kira sitting on the floor by my side of the bed wanting on the bed.  I didn’t let her up.  She went around to the other side and tried to get up but was bounced off the bed by the ropes. 

I fell back asleep and then at about 4:30am, I was startled awake again by a loud noise.  I looked over and Kira was sitting beside the bed staring at me and she let out another bark.  She has a number of different barks for conveying what she wants.  A high pitched bark for wanting to go for a walk.  A medium bark for wanting food, and this very low but loud bark for when she wants you to either open something for her or move something for her.  There is the growly bark for when something is invading her territory, and the muffled bark for when she hears a strange noise in the house.  Her barks are not like “yap yap yap yap yap” like Remy.  It is a single loud BARK!  then a long pause, presumably to see if it got your attention, and then another loud BARK!  Well, I recognized this bark as the “help me, I want something” and knew she wanted on the bed.  I pet her and she put her paw on the bed but I did not relent.  She made a big sigh and went under the bed.

At 7am I woke up and Kira was under the bed.  She didn’t come out when I called her and she didn’t want to have anything to do with me.  I understand.  She has slept on the bed for 5 years and in one accident she gets kicked off the bed.  But, admittedly, it is nice to sleep on the bed without a pooch locking down the covers and without dog hair on your pillow. 

Kira: Back to her old game

Well, I went to bed at about 11pm Sunday night and Kira got in the bed as usual.  She seemed so happy and layed down with her rear end torward my pillow and was on her back with all feet in the air.  She only does this when she is really happy.  Well, I was laying there when I smelled something odd and the smell wafted over to me regularly.  So, I rolled over and ignored it.  Kira got up and changed positions so that her butt was at my feet.  In a bit, I moved my feet to find that the bed was soaked.  As I got up to check the bed, I put my hand beside my pillow to find that she had wet the bed both at the top and the bottom.  Ugh.

So, it is 3am and I get up and strip the bed, find other sheets, put the bed together, put ropes up around the bed and go back to sleep.  Since the bed lacks the protective plastic cover that she had just soaked, I couldn’t let her on the bed again.  Hence, the ropes. 

Kira: All healed up

The folks at work were good enough to let me bring Kira to work on Thursday and Friday.  She was on heavy pain killers on Thursday and just slept the entire day.  I took her around to various people’s desks and Kira did tricks for everyone.  The best trick is where I whine at her and then she whines back.  If I keep whining, she will let out the most shrill bark and everyone laughs as they stick their fingers in their ears.  Our CFO has a little golf set in his office and Kira discovered it.  She came prancing into the office with the small golf ball in her mouth.  I know it is bad for dogs to play with golf balls but she was so happy.  So, I rolled it around on the floor and everyone had fun watching her chase it.  When we got home from work she didn’t want to get out of the truck again, but I eventually coaxed her out.

On Friday, she took the last of her antibiotics and her last pain pill at 9am.  The incisions were looking like they were healing very well and there was no redness at all.  By noon the effect of the pain pills was wearing off and she began to get rambuxious.  I took her for a long walk around the office campus and then left a little early at 5pm to take her home.  By the time we got home she was fully off the pain killers and leaped out of the truck when we arrived in the driveway.  It was clear that she was feeling better.

On Saturday Kira was her normal self and ate her breakfast with her normal energetic munching.  She has gained weight from just laying around for a week, but it looks good on her.  Previously she was looking a bit thin so this is a good size for her.  She seems a bit more affectionate toward me but I am sure that will wear off the moment Mike pays her more attention than me.  Well, that will happen on Monday since Mike has Monday off for Patriot’s day.  I have to work and I suspect that when I get home from work, Kira will largely ignore me.  Still, I am enjoying her wanting to stay with me all the time.

As of Sunday, Kira’s incisions look to be completely healed as there is no redness at all.  Both incisions are now white and look like small scars.  It won’t be long before the fur grows back in and it will be difficult to tell that anything happened at all.  The smell of rotting fish is completely gone now and neither of the other dogs are even sniffing her at all.

Kira: I’m not getting out of the truck!

I took Kira to work today as neither Mikey nor I could stay home again.  I asked everyone in the office if they would mind if she came in while she was recovering and everyone was supportive.  So, I took her with me to work and she was excited to get in the truck.  We got to the office and she was happy to run in and knew exactly where to go.  She ran through the office and to my door and sat there waiting for me to get there to open it.  After getting in my office, she crawled right under my desk and went to sleep.  I put some water out for her but she didn’t drink.

I gave her the pain killers every 3 hours as directed and she slept the entire time.  People came in and visited her and she just slept.  At about 2pm I took her outside for a walk around but she didn’t really want to go.  She whimpered when she walked and she shook the entire time. 

As soon as we got outside she started to go for the truck, but the leash stopped her short.  We went back in the office and stayed there till about 6:30 and then headed home.  She was quite happy to get in the truck and once in, she just laid down in the passenger seat.  When we got home, I pulled in the drive and she perked up.  I got out of the truck and motioned for her to come, and she wouldn’t get out of the truck.  I went around to her side and she jumped to the driver’s seat and wouldn’t get out.  I went back to the drivers side and she went back to the passenger side.  I finally reached in and pulled on her collar and then she crawled over to the driver’s side and braced while I picked her up and set her on the ground.  She kept staring at the truck and wouldn’t come in the house until I started to close the garage door and then she darted into the garage.  Once I opened the door and the other dogs ran out, she ran inside and went straight back to my office and went to sleep under my desk.  I put food out for her, but she wouldn’t touch it.

She is now sound asleep under my desk.

Kira: Yay! Mikey is back!

Well, as I expected, the moment that Mikey returned, Kira left me and spent the night with Mikey. Since I had taken off from work on Friday and Monday to stay with her, Mikey stayed home on Tuesday. Unfortunately, our internet connection is flakey at best and it went down at about mid day and he couldn’t do work from home. I’m not sure what he did for the day, but Kira was definitely happy with being with him. When I got home from work, Kira greeted me but then went back upstairs to Mikey and stayed the night. I know, it is a dog…and I shouldn’t be insulted, but I am.

Kira: Don’t talk to me!

I took a nap with Kira and the pain medication started wearing off.  She started shivering and you could tell that she was in pain.  But, she is suppose to be taking the medication only 3 times a day instead of 4 which means spacing them out a bit more.  So, I waited till it had been 8 hours since her last pill and I gave her the pain killers.  I also had to clean up her butt and spray the freeze stuff on it.  She is so mad at me now that she is just staring at me with a super intense stare like you get from a dog that is about to attack.  So, I am being a bit more careful with her and I gently reached in the cone to pet her head.  She didn’t growl at me but she tightened up her lips.

I will be giving her a good bit of space until she gets over being so mad.  I bet when Mikey returns from NY that she will be his best friend and won’t come near me.

Kira: Feeling a bit better

I took the collar off Kira last night and she slept soundly throughout the night.  She is exceptionally needy at the moment and won’t let me out of her sight.  She slept with her head on top of my legs last night and at about 2am I felt her shaking so I got up and got the spray for her butt.  The vet says that it should make the area feel cold and numb, but Kira gets really upset when I spray it…she acts like it burns.

This morning we got up and I gave them food and put Kira’s pills in the food.  Kira didn’t want to eat and kept running to sit beside me.  So, I sat down beside her bowl and pet on her so that she would stay near the bowl.  I got her to eat almost all of it before she just layed down..  I checked the incisions and they were much cleaner and not as inflamed.  I got a warm wash cloth and held it on the area to melt away the scabs in her fur so that she wouldn’t try to bite at the fur and then put the megaphone collar back on her.  She didn’t fight me at all and acted like it was her regular collar.  She seemed to think that it meant shat she was going to get to go outside, so I took all of the dogs for a walk.  Before we could get down the driveway she was ready to poo and she did so in Jim’s yard.  So, I went over and picked up the poo and put it in our yard.

We walked about half way to the house at the end of the gravel road and then turned around and came back.  Remy wasn’t watching and did the entire normal walk before realizing that I had turned around.  As soon as he realized I was heading back, he went into a gallop and came running back to me.  Bones, on the other hand, just kept slowly walking along and did his own thing.

The neighbors are back from France.  They had quite an ordeal while on vacation.  Karen called and told me the story that they had stopped at the end of the day for a bite to eat at disney world and went into the Lion King theatre.  She set her purse down on the seat beside her and when the lights went down, the purse disappeared.  She said that everyone over there was rude and that they had nothing good to say about Americans.  She said that she just wanted to come home because everyone at the hotel was rude, the waiters wouldn’t wait on them at restaurants, and everyone around them just stared and talked about them.  Will and I had the same experience in Belgium but we had the fortune of having a friend there in Belgium that took our back and would fuss at people for being rude and would put them in their place.  Anyhow, Karen did say that American Express came through and bent over backwards to help.  She said that they wired over cash immediately, DHL’d a card to them the same day, and helped them get their paperwork straightened out.  They were able to get emergency passports that day and she said that the passport office was packed with people that were in the same situation.

Well, all of the pooches are sleeping in my office and it looks like the pain killers have taken effect on Kira.  She is out cold.

Kira: My butt is leaking

When I woke up this morning, Kira was not on the bed and I couldn’t locate her.  After a bit of searching, I found her outside trying to clean herself.  I brought her back in and checked her out and found that the incisions on her butt were very red, and when I pushed on them, a redish liquid came out.  I figured it was an infection so I called the vet and they had me bring her right in. 

They looked at it and said that it was definitely infected and that we would need to put her on more antibiotics and put a cone on her so that she would not lick it so much.  They took her back and expressed the infection and cleaned her up.  Blood was still draining from the incision and whenever she sat down she would leave a pool of blood.  I put a paper towel on her rear end as I paid for the work.  They also gave me a topical spray that would cool the area so that it wouldn’t burn so much.

While I was there, a man came in and said that the police had escorted him to the vet because he had stopped to catch a dog that was running loose on route 50.  It was a brown hound dog that looked like it had pups recently as her nipples were swolen.  The vet said that they were all booked up and that they couldn’t take her in so they called animal control.  That concerned me a bit because Leesburg animal control is terrible about putting dogs down without waiting for the owners to come get them and they don’t check for tags, chips, or tatoos.  So, we checked the dog for tags and tatoos and they got out the chip wand and couldn’t find a chip.  They looked in the medical database of all of their dogs and called owners with dogs that looked like her or were of the same breed but didn’t find anyone.  Leesburg animal control said that they would come at noon.  I told them that if no-one claimed her before noon to call me and I would foster her until someone claimed her because I would rather she get back to her home than to be put down.  Noon came and went and I didn’t get a call from the vet so I assume that they found the owner.  I hope so.

I gave Kira her meds and pain pills and that knocked her out.  When she woke up, she wouldn’t eat and she wouldn’t go to the bathroom.  We walked around outside for about an hour and she stuck to me like glue watching every move I made and staying right beside me the entire time.  Remy chased a ground hog that was living by the garden and Kira just ignored it.  We went back in the house and she went to sleep under my desk.  Mike called from NY to check on her and I told him what was going on.  He got concerned due to the infection and said I was doing all the right things.  I will take her to the vet again on Monday to have everything checked out.

At about 7pm, I gave them food and gave Kira meds but she wouldn’t eat.  She tried to go out the doggy door but the collar won’t fit through it.  Kira is a pretty head-strong little dog and she doesn’t understand physics at all.  She often runs into boulders and trees because she seems to think that they will move for her.  After all, the furniture and humans move whenever she runs into them.  Well, with this collar on her, she runs into everything, catches it on everything, and trips on it when walking outside because it catches on the grass in front of her.  She looks pitiful.  Remy and Bones have learned to stay away from her because when she gets excited because I put my jacket on for the walk, she just runs into them and knocks them over with the cone.

Before bedtime, I drained her incisions and put a warm compress on her.  I took the collar off and tried to get her to go to the bathroom, but she wouldn’t go.  She is sleeping on the bed right now and as soon as I give her the meds for the evening, I will go to sleep.

Poor little dog.  This is such an ordeal for her that I am sure she doesn’t understand at all. 

Kira: What happened to my butt?

Over the past 6 months, Kira has had infections of her anal glands to the point where she has almost continuously been on Clavamox and had to have her glands expressed monthly.  Each time they are full of puss and blood.  So, finally, we scheduled to have surgery to remove the glands.  Mike scheduled the appointment for April 5, and I scheduled time off for April 6 to stay home with her. 

At 7:30am I took Kira in to the vet and left her in their care.  She was suppose to get her surgery at 10am, but they did not get to her till about 1pm.  At 4pm they called and said that she was recovering very nicely and that I could come get her between 5:30 and 6pm.  I left work at 4pm to avoid the traffic that backs up on Route 50.  If you leave after 4:30pm, you won’t get to Middleburg by 6pm.  Anyhow, I left early and waited at home till 5:30 before heading out to get her.  They shaved her butt and a patch on her left front arm.  She was groggy when I got there and still under heavy sedation.  She had an odd look on her face as if the skin was melting off of her.  The pockets under her eyes were open by 1/4 inch presumably because she was limp.  When she sits down, she looks as if her head is not able to balance on her body and kinda falls to the side a bit. 

She was mad at me when I took her from the vet.  She wouldn’t look at me but definitely wanted to go home.  I got her to the truck and lifted her into the seat and then headed home.  She cried all the way home and was shaking.  Mike worked from home during the day and so while I was gone to get Kira, he took the other two dogs and went to get Pizza.  That was very thoughtful because when we got home, Kira gently walked around the house sniffing things out and wasn’t trampled by Remy or Bones.  She immediately headed for my office and layed down under my desk. 

The dog gave me some heavey pain killers for her that are to be given every 6 hours with the first to be given as soon as I got home.  I put some peanut butter on my finger and put the pills in the peanut butter.  She lapped it off my finger and took the pills.  They took effect within about 5 minutes and she was pretty much out.  Mike got home with the Pizza about 15 minutes after I got home and we let the other dogs into my office to sniff her and for everyone to know that everyone was OK.

As a side note, Remy was unusually affectionate when I got home.  Normally they all dance around and just want food, but when I got home today, Remy crawled up on my lap and kept wanting to sit on me.  Everytime I would put him down, and move, he would follow me, and then want back up on my lap.  Mike and I speculated that maybe he was thinking he might be the next one to go.  Roxy left on Tuesday in the car and never came back.  Kira left on Thursday and didn’t come back.  Maybe he was smart enough to think that Saturday is coming and he might not come back. 

Kira left my office and layed under the table while we ate the pizza.  She whimpered and shook the entire time but wanted to be around us.  After dinner she went under the bed and never came out.  I had been up till 3am the night before working on a demo for work so I went to bed at 8pm.  Kira hopped up on the bed at about 11 and shivered the entire time.  I couldn’t sleep from alergies, so I got up and started writing this blog entry.

Kira & Babe: Get that pooch out!

Kira is not at all happy with the new pooch. She is acting just as she did when Roxy was here. I am thinking that she is just not happy at all with having another female in the house. She is moping around today and despite getting lots of attention, she is still hiding under the bed. Whenever the new dog comes near her, she starts her low growl and will snap at the new dog if she gets to close.

Kira: Alergy season

Well, it is that time of the year again.  Alergy season.  on Friday I took off from work because we had construction crews at the house replacing the 14 columns on the front of the house.  They rotted at the base because the previous owner had the columns coated in tar on the inside and then painted the outside.  This trapped the moisture in the wood causing it to rot.  Anyhow, every time Kira would realize that someone was out in the front of the house, she would bark.  Two barks, and then she would flip her ears.  Two more barks, then flipping the ears.  It was rather clear that her ears were bothering her and that her barks made them itch.

I should have thought of the Antihistamine then, but I didn’t.  That night she had an accident and wet the bed.  It wasn’t a full flood as before as she must have realized it and jumped up.  It was about 1:30am when she suddenly jumped off the bed and ran outside.  When I woke up I moved over in the bed and my feet touched a cool spot in the bed.  She wouldn’t get back on the bed and was upset.

Well, this is why I have a vinyl cover over the mattress and then a soft cover over that.  She has alergies and they cause her to lose control some nights.  This time it wasn’t even enough to get through the soft cover, but I washed everything all the same.

Kira: Lots of wet snow!

20021209a-ScottKirasnow

It has been snowing since morning and there is no sign that it will let up.  Mike took the dogs for a walk and they were having the best time in the snow.  Then I got out the tractor to plow the driveway and the road to the main road.  The snow was about 5 inches deep at about noon and both Kira and Remy ran along beside the tractor the entire time.  When a large block of snow would fall off the plow, Kira would attack it and dig through it.  She just loves the snow and flops around in it like it is the greatest thing in the world.

After plowing I threw snow balls for the dogs.  Kira leaps into the air to catch them and Remy just closes his eyes and ducks.  Kira isn’t limping on her back leg any longer and it appears that the cut on her foot has healed.  In a few hours I will go back out on the tractor to clear the newly accumulated snow.

Kira: Still a bit worried about her leg

Kira is still limping on her back leg.  Mike tried to check it out but she wouldn’t let him do much.  I took a quiet moment when she was laying down and started looking at it.  She didn’t like it and tried to push my hands away with her nose, but when I persisted, she just laid down and let me look at it.  It is really red on one side between the toes and she winces whenever you push on the toes.  I think this is good news in that at least she didn’t tear a ligament or pull a muscle in her leg.  I was unhappy with Mike earlier in the week because I saw him out in the ice running her and throwing the ball.  It kinda urked me because he knew her leg was hurt but also knows that she will just about kill herself to play with the ball.  I yelled across the yard to stop running her around due to her leg, and he stopped.  I think he just forgot.

Anyhow, it looks like maybe she cut it on the ice when running around.  We will have to just wait for a while to see if she stops limping around when the area between her toes heals up.  If not, we will take her in for some XRays.

Kira: I’m glad that darn dog is gone

When Roxy was living with us, I noticed that Kira was very lethargic.  She didn’t chase the ball, she didn’t bring me things to tug with, and she just laid around without really moving much.  I thought she was sick and tended to her.  I tried to get her to play ball and tried to do the rope tug with her, but she didn’t want any part of it.  I thought she might be depressed that Roxy was getting so much attention but I had no proof.  Well…until now.

It seemed that as soon as Kira realized that Roxy was gone, she came out of her depression and started wanting to play and be around me.  Remy now seems slightly depressed and tries to get Kira to play, but the little queen will not have any part of playing with another dog.  I tried to gie Kira as much attention as always, but I think that Roxy was just such a live wire that she pushed Kira aside…literally.  Kira slides on the hardwood and Roxy didn’t care if she slid into a wall so Roxy always outran Kira for the ball when in the house.

Kira was back to her old self this morning.  She jumped on the bed and brought me the ball…did her rounds in the yard in the early morning (she hadn’t done her rounds in the past week), and then got her rope toy and shoved it in my face.  She did her morning wiggle on her back on the bed, and followed me around.  I guess it was obvious to Kira that I really adored Roxy.

Kira: My leg hurts…

While crying over Roxy, I noticed that Kira wasn’t moving around much. She tried to lay under my desk but was restless. When I went to the kitchen, she didn’t follow but tried to get up and couldn’t. With a little help, she got up and is limping. She won’t put her rear right leg on the ground. I checked it out and manipulated all of the joints without her wincing. So, I am guessing that she fell on the ice and bruised her hip. I got one of Bones’ arthritis pills and gave it to her to help ease the pain. She is sleeping now. The pills knock her out.

Happy New Year!

It’s been a long year with lots of changes.  Fostering dogs has added an interesting twist to life.

Kira has grown into a good match for me.  Almost a perfect match… always sick, distant, unaffectionate, and grumpy.  But, she is sweet and stays with me all the time.  She isn’t scared of the pool table and gets endless pleasure from chasing the frisbee.  She never has an accident in the house except for the occasional episode of wetting the bed while sleeping due to her infections.  So, there are some differences between her and me…  I don’t wet the bed, and I don’t chase the frisbee.  🙂  One of the best things about Kira is that she always stays close to you wherever you go.  When in the yard she stays within 10 feet at all times.  When walking on a trail, she never leaves your side.  And when you take her to the office or to a park, she shadows you all the time.  The most rewarding thing about Kira is that she is protective of me.  Although she never seems to want to be pet, when she and I are around other dogs or people, she gets between me and whatever else is there and she will growl and snap if they get close to me.  She doesn’t do this when they are just near her, but she is protective of me.  All I have to do is say “Kira, no” and she will back down and lay on the floor.  I think she likes me.

Bones is getting way up there in age.  He can’t see very well, can’t hear much at all, and he is getting feeble.  He falls down a lot on the hardwood floors and falls down on the front steps quite often.  But he still eats and wags his tail for Mike.  He is Mike’s companion and whenever Mike leaves the house, Bones camps out at the front door looking through the glass at the driveway for the entire time that Mike is gone.  Occasionally he howls and cries. 

Remy is just a mush dog.  He loves everyone equally and has no loyalty to anyone.  His loyalties are only in those that have food or are willing to pet him.  But, he is so affectionate and gentle that you cannot help but hug on him.  His fur is so thick that he is like hugging a plush teddy bear.  He is the most vocal of the dogs and will bark at you whenever he wants something, is happy, is frustrated, or is hurt.  Each bark is different, so we know how to interpret it.  He is the only dog that does a little dance every time he is about to get food.  It is so cute.  And he is very good at staying near the house when we are outside.  His only big weakness is that he won’t give the ball back when you play fetch.  I mean, he will not give it back.  You can try to pry it from his mouth and you will not succeed.  You get one throw and that is it.

The foster dogs have taught me a lot about doggy behavior and provided great reward when the dog readapts to human companionship.  Riley was out of control when we got him.  He was aggressive and almost unmanagable.  But, after Riley bit me and I learned that he responded to a firm voice and dog language (yea, I growled at him a lot and forced him on his back whenever he was bad).  In time, Riley turned around and became a wonderful little dog that loved to talk to you and wagged his tail so hard that he would bloody the tip.  He was still aggressive with other dogs and became protective of me.  He seemed to really take to me which didn’t make Mike all that happy.  After 3 months with Riley, he was adoptable and it was a matter of finding the right family.  Fortunately, the perfect family found him.  After 6 weeks in his new home I went to visit him and he was a completely different dog.  Playful, attentive, and not a bit aggressive.  He lives with a slightly older female that is about his size, and he seems really happy.  Seeing Riley like this makes fostering completely worthwhile.

And the open book in fostering is Foreman.  He is like “Santa’s Little Helper” from the Simpsons both in action and look.  He is a mix of Grey Hound and Labradore.  He has wonderful colors and markings and can run like the wind.  He is beautiful when he is running.  When walking, he looks goofy.  He has such muscular back legs that they dwarf the rest of his body.  When we took him in, he was so skittish that the wind blowing through the leaves scared him.  Really…the first time he was out in the back yard and the wind blew through the leaves, he tucked tail and ran back to the house and right into the glass door.  It has been about 3 months of fostering Foreman now and he is getting better.  Like Riley, he responded quickly to dog signals like barking, growling, and putting him on his back.  He favors me over anyone else but he also seems to recognize people.  When he is in a strange environment and recognizes someone, he immediately goes to them and seeks protection.  It doesn’t matter if the past experiences have had him hiding from them or not.  They are familiar in a sea of the unknown.  Foreman is not aggressive with people, but can be with other dogs when they come near me.  He is protective of me, and is actually the best watch dog in the house.  Kira and Remy hear a noise and just look, listen, and occasionally growl.  But, Foreman will hear a noise and sneak up to where it is, peek around the corner, and if there is something there, he starts barking this nasty growly bark that would scare most people away.  When someone invades the home and neither Mike or I are around, he will stand his ground and be nasty.  But, if they approach him, he runs for cover.  So, not quite the perfect watch dog.  Hopefully someone will recognize him as a good family pet and will take him in.  Till then, he will sleep under my desk and be scared of the wind.

Happy New Year to all.  I hope you are enjoying the stories of the dogs.

Kira: Fish tail

Poor little Kira… my first pure bred dog that cost quite a bit, and she seems to have nothing but problems.  Ear infections, hystocytomas on her feet when she plays in the grass, urinary track infections, and now anal gland infection.  She took all of her medication for the anal gland infection, but this morning she had puss from the infection that I had to clean off of her.  So, little Kira got to go to work with me today so that she could go to the vet. The vet was great at working her into the schedule so that they can see her between 4pm and 5pm. Since Bones sleeps all day and Foreman is locked in a cage, I have no doubt that Remy will get bored without Kira and chew up more cardboard.  Figuring on this, I put some cardboard out on the floor for him to destroy.  Better that I choose the cardboard than to let him choose it.

Sure enough, when I got home with Kira from the Vet, Remy has destroyed the box I left for him, but apparently that wasn’t enough so he went to the cardboard behind the trash can, and pulled it all out.  There was torn cardboard everywhere.  I wonder what he would have destroyed had he not had the cardboard.

Happy New Year Kira! 

OK… maybe we won’t go cold turkey on the bed

Last night I woke up to hear Kira whimpering beside the bed.  I reached down to touch her and she was shivering.  At first I thought she was cold so I lifted her onto the bed and put her under the top layer of the covers.  She stopped whimpering but kept shivering.  I held her and she calmed down.  She snuggled up to me in a more affectionate way than usual and stayed close the rest of the night.  When I woke up, she had gotten out from under the covers, but was still laying with her head on my pillow beside me.  I pet her in the morning but she started shaking again when I motioned for her to get off the bed.

So, it would appear that my poor little pooch was very upset that she was banned from the bed.  Remy took it well and slept in his bed.  He didn’t even try to get on the bed when I put Kira up on the bed.  So, maybe we will have to do this a little less abruptly.

I’m taking back the house… well, at least the bed

Well, after a year of sleeping in Remy’s fur, Kira pissing in the bed, and Foreman destroying the comforter by chewing on it, I am putting my foot down. No more dogs in the bed. I put a rope around the posts of the bed to make a fence and put a gate on the bed that they are scared of. Kira whined all night wanting on the bed but I didn’t give in. She was mad at me this morning but she will get over it. No more dogs on the bed.

Kira: Waterworld, the sequal is as big as the original

Well, the bed has been stripped to the mattress and
everything is being washed.   Kira had an accident last night and
flooded the bed.   Thankfully the plastic liner was on the bed from
the first time that she had an accident so the mattress was protected.  

Kira realizes that she did it and she got up off the bed and
ran outside.   She stood on the deck watching as the bed was stripped
and carried to the laundry room.   When all done, she slinked back in
quickly, and hid as far under the bed as she could.   I coaxed her out
and pet on her but she just shivered and whimpered.   I put a gate on
the bed and some rope around the posts so that the dogs wouldn’t get up on the
naked bed and I went upstairs to sleep in the guest bedroom.   Kira
hid under the bed all night, Remy slept in his doggy bed, and Bones never woke
up.   I don’t let the dogs in the spare bedroom so I put a gate
upstairs to prevent them from coming in.   Foreman sat at the gate and
whined constantly like a little baby.   Eventually he started howling
and barking so I got up and let him in.  He got up on the bed but I
pushed him off.   After 3 tries, he gave up and laid down by the bed
and sighed a few times.  

In the morning when I got
up, Kira was still upset.   After she got her breakfast, she was more
OK but she is still slinking around.   Poor little pooch.  

The bed is all put back together now but the gate and rope are still there to
prevent them from getting on the bed.   I will vacuum and clean the
carpets today to finish it all off.  

Kira & Remy: Great Falls

What a beautiful day!  So nice that we took Kira and Remy to Great Falls State Park and walked around for half an hour.  I had Kira on the 15 foot windy leash and Remy on a 6 foot leash.  The guards that take your donation just loved Remy and throught he was a handsome dog.  They didn’t see Kira in the back of the truck, but Remy immediately popped up between the front seats when I stopped to pay.

When we got to the edge of the service canal, Kira just took off and leaped into the water.  She walked the trip in the water and loved it.

Boxes! Cage! The house!!! Argh

I walked in the door today to find cardboard pieces everywhere in the family room.  Since we live out in the country where we don’t have trash service, we are careful to only buy recyclable containers.  To this end, we take all of our cardboard boxes and fold them up in a pile and pin them behind a trash can till we can take them to the dump or burn them.  Remy apparently decided that this was a good pile of play toys and shreded the boxes.  This isn’t the first time and as soon as I walked into the room and said “what happened here”, Remy tucked tail, lowered his head, and left the room.  I cleaned it up while fussing at him and he sat at the doorway with his head low.  I then made up with him and he was happy.

I went to the basement to get Foreman and he had managed to push on the cage so hard that he pulled the staples out of the wall on part of the cage.  I let him out and he took off upstairs to go outside.  I let him out and then went back to the basement to nail the cage back to the wall.  As I am working on it, Foreman appears.  He had let himself back in via the doggy door.  I took them all upstairs and fed them, and then let them out in the yard.  Foreman wouldn’t come in the doggy door while I was looking but after I left, I watched and he let himself back in after making sure that I was not around.

All: How the dogs react to my pain

So it is Thanksgiving Day and I am in the basement doing a half hearted attempt to work out while playing with the servers that host this site.  I started to feel pain in my right side which very quickly got so bad that I couldn’t stand up.  I was home alone with all of the dogs and I just sat down on the concrete floor and hold my knees close to my chest hoping the pain would go away.  I know this pain as I had it before in February.  It is a kidney stone and boy does it hurt.  I crawled out of the gym room and to the carpeted room and cried out in pain.  Kira had been laying in the chase lounge and Remy was on the couch.  Foreman was upstairs as was Bones.  When I let out the pathetic cry in pain, the reaction of the dogs was quite interesting.

Kira disappeared and was later found hiding as far back under the bed as she could go

Remy quietly got off the couch and came over to me with his head down low and his tail drooping.  He laid down right beside me and started licking my hand.

Foreman came running down the basement stairs and leaped on me and then started biting at my hand to play

Bones is so deaf that he never heard a word and never stirred out of his slumber

The pain comes in waves and between waves, I got upstairs and took some pain killer that I had left over from the last kidney stone.  I laid in the bed waiting for it to kick and Remy jumped in the bed and laid down beside me with his head on my pillow and put his paw on me.  Occasionally he would sit up and lick my arm and then lay back down beside me.  Foreman just sat in the hallway doing nothing while Kira was not to be found.

All: What a mess

Oh my gosh.  I got home from work today and
the house was a disaster.  Upon walking in the door I noticed a pile of shredded
cardboard.  I thought to myself…oh well…dog
must have been frustrated.  I made my way
to my office and noticed some dark spots on the floor.  The lights were out so I turned them on to
discover that there was dog poo from my office, down the hall, through the sun
room, through the kitchen, and up to the doggy door.  Gees. 

I get to my office and let Foreman out so that he can go outside and
when I get back to the hall, there is a puddle in the hall to the dining
room.  I turned on more lights to get a
full view of any other hidden treasures and I find that there is shredded
cardboard all over the place.  They must
have been having a field day pulling stuff apart.

The poo is obviously Bones’ and the pee was very yellow
which also indicates that it was Bones’. 
He is getting so old that he can’t hold it.  Usually it is rather solid and easy to clean
up, but this time it was semi solid and quite the mess.  To add insult to injury, I was picking up poo
in toilet paper and putting it in the powder room and flushing each time.  But, apparently it was to much for the toilet
and so it got clogged up. 

Foreman: Not having a good doggy evening

Well, the big brown beast of the house strikes again.  Foreman was under my desk and Bones came into my office while we were sitting in here chatting.  Bones headed over to my desk and next thing you know he was attacking Foreman.  No contact was made but Foreman was pretty scared.  Mike grabbed Bones and pulled him out of the office and fussed at him.  I am figuring that Bones is so blind and deaf that he had no idea that he was being fussed at.  We shut the gate and fed Foreman and he seemed to get over it fairly quickly. 

Foreman has also decided that he wants Kira’s place in the pack and so he has started trying to dominate her.  But, she won’t have any part of it.  He tried to take her spot under my desk while she was there and she growled a very low growl at him and he backed off.  He then tried to hump her and the moment he tried to straddle her, she gave that same low growl and he stopped.  It seems that she has figured out that he is a bit of a coward and she has taken to growling at him whenever he tries to take a toy or anything she is playing with.  I am guessing Foreman will remain number 3 of 4.

A visit to the vet for all

Mike took off from work today and took Kira, Remy, and Bones to the vet for their regular shots. Kira had a skin tag that was growing so I asked him to have it removed when he was there. He said that she did well. When I got home from work she had a 3 inch square shaved patch on her side with a tiny wound and a single stitch. Mike said that we needed to take it out in 10 days. I gave Kira some special food with her dry food last night. She was still mad at me and wouldn’t sit in the same room with me.

Foreman: time is a changing

For the first time since we took Foreman home (1 week) he slept through the night and didn’t get up until 5:30am.  Mike heard him cry so he got up and let him out of the crate and then let him out in the back yard.  When he finished peeing, he ran into the house as fast as he could and jumped on my bed and licked me.  He they laid down and went to sleep.  Kira wasn’t to happy about this and she got off the bed and laid on the floor beside me and then made a big sighing sound.

Later in the morning Bones was coming in from outside and walking down the hall when Foreman decided to try to play with the big beast.  To date Foreman has not been allowed around Bones to avoid a repeat of what happened with Riley and Bones.  He let out a playful growl and leaped at Bones.  Mike and I were watching and both yelled “No no!!!!!” but it was to late.  Bones lifted up his lips and gave a snarl and just kept on walking as if nothing happened.  It look like Bones and Foreman may be good together.

Foreman: Stop attacking Kira!

Ugh…I let Foreman out in the back yard and neither Remy or Kira would go out with him. He has terrorized them to the point that they won’t go where he is. Kira was in the bedroom and Foreman went in and attacked her. She started yelping and I ran to her aid and she was cowering in the corner with Foreman standing over her. Remy is slinking around like and peeks around corners before he goes into a room. When Foreman is locked in a cage, they all go back to normal.

How can a dog that is this skiddish terrorize the other dogs in the house? Ugh.

Foreman: On the attack

Remy and Kira are locked in the back of the house with Foreman and me. 
Forman is sleeping nicely in his crate and then the other dogs start
barking.  All come out and are in the hall at the gate that separates
them from the rest of the house.  Kira comes back into the office and
then Foreman lights into Remy.  Remy is such a submissive dog that he
gives in immediately and Foreman just attacks him.  I had to just yell
once and Foreman let go of Remy and ran to his crate. 

A bit later, Kira and Remy were by my side when Foreman darted out of his crate and ran over to Kira to nip at her.  Again, a stern warning and he ran back to his crate.  I put the leash on him and took them all outside so that he could pee.  He continued to do this sniper type of attack with all of the dogs whenever they came within visual range of the door to his crate.

It appears that Foreman is a bit nervous tonight and may need some quiet adjustment time.