Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homecoming

Our pack was incomplete for a few months.  T went to visit her grandparents and enjoy summer fun like Zoo Camp and Science Camp at Auburn University.  She had a good time enjoying carefree summer days with little to do.  That's what summer means, after all.  But we missed her terribly.

For the first few weeks, Matt and I came home to quiet.  We thought we'd be excited to have time away from the 13 year old.  There's only so much excitement in watching True Blood in the middle of the day.  We looked at each other and felt sad.  A part of us was missing and far away.  As the weeks wore on, the sadness lessened and we enjoyed each other's company.  We're best friends, soulmates, so the time spent was wonderful.  But somewhere in the back of our minds, we were always missing T.

My boss rescued some kittens and brought them to the clinic.  She wanted to make them visible to clients, and I offered to bring little Haimmie's cage for them to use.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to clean out Haimmie's toys and hammocks.  I didn't expect Nyxie's to sniff and paw at the cage, stuffing her snooter into each hammock desperately trying to find him.  It had been a couple of weeks since he crossed the Bridge.  I thought she understood that he was gone.  It was bittersweet to see her concern.  I caressed her and distracted her with tennis balls.

T came home this past Sunday.  She ran to us at the gate and we hugged her hard.  We had breakfast at The All Good Cafe, one of our favorite diners in Dallas, and came home to relax.  She had missed her dogs, especially Nyxie who is always up for a cuddle or a game.  At the sound of her voice, Nyxie let out one stern bark and then started to whine.  We let them out of their crates and both dogs ran and danced, tails wagging, zooming with joy.  There's nothing quite like the joy of dogs.

Before she left, Nyxie was in the habit of barking at T when T would come out of her bedroom.  We couldn't figure out why, and it was an obnoxious behavior that we were continually trying to break.  Since she's returned, there hasn't been a single bark.  Not a single, solitary squeak.

Maybe like us, she didn't realize how much she's miss her when she was gone.

T and her shadow...


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Please keep in mind that this is prime heartworm disease time, and rad my article for The Examiner Dallas about heartworm disease - "What you don't know could kill your dog"  A refresher on the basics can't hurt, right?

Also, I wrote an article for Hello Dallas about dogs and water safety, "Doggie Paddling Through the Long, Hot Summer" about tips for water fun with Fido.

As always, please let me know what you think either here or directly on the sites themselves.  Thanks and happy weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Earth tried to eat my dog today!

The earth tried to swallow Arwen today.  It’s true.  We were on our early morning walk, racing the clock to beat the rising heat.  There were just a few clouds in the sky and everything was just waking up.  We could hear the birds chirping and the zooming of cars in the distance, grasshoppers waiting until the last second to reveal themselves, then jumping for cover. 

The heat has been oppressive and truly dangerous here, reaching triple digits in Dallas every day since July 2nd.  That’s 19 straight days, folks, and it’s really getting old.  But before I complain more, I was reminded by a Facebook friend today to put our heat issues into perspective.  While we’re complaining, there are others carrying weapons, wearing full combat gear and hoping not to get shot in the same weather we’re dealing with – we should count ourselves lucky.

I thought I was alert on our walk, keeping an eye out for small creatures Arwen might try to chase.  Clearly not alert enough.  Arwen stepped into a mammoth sized crack in the earth, her entire paw disappearing far below the path.  She didn’t yelp, but looked down surprised.  I immediately checked her paw to look for injuries.
“Well, this is new”, she surely thought.

The earth tried to swallow my dog today.  We really need some rain. 


Watch out!


Nyxie's paws are huge - compare for scale!
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You can read a bit more abut why this happens here in Dallas from my Hello Dallas story.

Also, please check out my piece, A Farwell to Fleas on The Examiner Dallas.  We can all use a refresher on dealing with fleas.  YUK,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Disc Dogs rock!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to do a story on disc dogs for HelloDallas ,  with a special focus on our local Dallas Dog and Disc Club.  I dragged poor Matt out of bed for the group's monthly meet-up in Walnut Hill Park so early for a Saturday that I heard many HBO words.  We were greeted by some pretty fantastic and passionate people - busy professionals by day who  in their off time, train and compete with their high drive, disc-loving pups.  It was a good time, even worth Matt's early morning.




We were particularly moved by their love for the dogs, some of whom are former shelter dogs pulled in the nick of time for the very reason that probably landed them at the shelter to begin with - their energy and drive!  These folks were truly meeting the needs of their dogs.  They'd found the balance between companion and working partnership.  Symbiosis with grace and positivity.

video

As many of you know, I'm a huge proponent of dog-human working partnerships.  It's a beautiful thing to see a balanced, fulfilled dog working alongside a person who knows their dog's potential.  Isn't that what this whole partnership was all about to begin with?

If you'd like to read more about the Dallas Dog and Disc Club, please read my full article here.  Feel free to follow my feed (say that 5 times fast) and let me know your thoughts!

I also wrote an article about dog ear cleaning for the Examiner - you can find that article here .

Have a great weekend!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Open Letter to My Dogs

I was busy this morning and had what seemed like a hundred things to do. I rushed about, tying loose ends, then readying for work. I packed my work and gym bag, and plopped some leftover shepherd's pie in a tupperware.

All the while, 2 fuzzy bodies watched my movements. Two sets of eyes hoping I'd pick up that tennis ball again and throw it just one more time. Or reach into the freezer for just one more round of doggie ice cubes. Muffled whines from Nyxie as the ball rolled under the couch. I absentmindedly moved the ottoman and retrieved it. Her tail wagging joyously - thankful I had noticed. As I gathered my clothes and prepared to shower, you quietly moved your bone and ball into the bedroom. Arwen placed her head on my lap, half- hearted ear scratches are better than none. I showered with Nyxie lying on the bathroom mat, ever watchful, nearby, reliable.

And me, with my hurrying and my schedule and my stuff. Always something.

I will be home soon, my girls. And you will forgive me like always.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spinal Rule Breaking

Painful sciatica was pinching my back.  I slinked to the floor in front of the TV, trying to stretch the soreness away.  I bent my legs forward, backward, to either side.  I laid on my back and hugged my knees to my chest.  I leaned forward onto outstretched legs.  Nothing alleviated the pain.  Mind over matter, I decided to just be still and let my back stretch on the floor. 

It was at this point that Matt laughed from behind me on the couch.  He’s accustomed to see me contort myself into pretzel-like positions to ease sore muscles.  This was nothing new, so his laugh caught me by surprise. 

“Why don’t you try and see if Arwen’s position will help”

I looked over to where she lay just a few feet from me and laughed.  Arwen’s lower back was pressed against the floor, hind legs sticking straight into the air.  In defiance of all spinal rules, her front half lay parallel to the ground, front legs outstretched and neck pulled backwards into a letter “L”.  In an instant,  I attempted to imitate the position – it couldn’t hurt, right?

As I turned my body to synchronize with her, Arwen got a sudden itch.  Whether the itch was a true scratchable one or just an excuse to show off her flexibility, I'll never know.  She bent over farther and nibbled on her knee !  This meant her spine formed a "U".  She'd broken all the laws of physics that I was familiar with, so I let out a sigh.  

"OK...you win.  You're more flexible than I am.  But I still have thumbs!"




Saturday, July 2, 2011

Haimmie the Great White Weasel

Today we helped Haimmie cross the Rainbow Bridge.  Haimmie was our 7 year old ferret, who for over the past year and a half, battled an ever-growing tumor on his pancreas that wreaked havoc on his insulin secretion.  If you've ever had the pleasure of sharing your life with a ferret, you already know they're fearless, joyful little sprites.  They dance, laugh and hop about in play.  Truly - they're able to hop in every which way at once, making "dook, dook" sounds of joy!  They do this with absolute mischief in their eyes, mouth open like playing puppies.  They're curious to a fault, landing themselves in some pretty dangerous situations in seconds.  Like the time Haimmie danced himself right off the bed and landed on the hardwood floor with a SPLAT!



We bought Haimmie in Maine, and he was just a little sprout - black and white like a panda.  As he grew out of his "kit" (baby ferret) stage, he became more and more white.  He retained a single black spot just behind his left front leg and towards the end, even that black spot dwindled to just a few dark hairs.  Haimmie's hands and feet were soft and would grasp your fingertips when you held him.  Haimmie had some seriously long canine teeth, which would tap the floor as he sniffed, earning him the name "The Vampire Ferret" by T.  His little whiskers were in a constant state of perpetual motion, sniffing out his silent world.  We believe he was deaf, but I always had my suspicions...



Insulinoma is the name for the cancer Haimmie had.  The tumor that ended his life stopped him from regulating his sugar intake - like reverse diabetes.  Regular ferret kibble was too high in sugars for him, so we began a diet of meat baby food; high in protein, low in sugars - what probably should have been his life long diet.  But when you see a name you believe to be reputable on a food bag, you trust it.  Ferrets are like cats, though, and primarily need meat, their natural, wild diet being mice and other small critters.  I can't be sure a meat diet from the outset would have changed his final outcome, but I wish I had known better then.  



Over the past year and a half, he's been fed at about 4-6 hour intervals - half a jar of baby food, mixed with water and warmed for 11 seconds.  Most of the time, he could ferret walk to his food bowl, but towards the end, we carried him to the food bowl on the 2nd tier of his cage.  The tumor grew to such a size, that his mobility was compromised and he mostly stumbled rather than walked.  For the last two weeks, he couldn't use his potty without messing himself, and as ferrets are clean creatures, this must have been miserable for him.  He adjusted to the daily baths with a calm reserve.




So today, we helped him cross the Bridge.  A ferret life without playing and dancing is no life at all.  We cried and held his soft little head.  I felt his heart stop and knew his pain was gone.  When we came home, we opened a beer each and celebrated Haimmie's life.  The last few sips, I poured into the earth - libations for the loved and lost.


Godspeed, to you Little Man, Great White Weasel.  You will be missed.