Tag Archives For: dog

01 Jul, 2014

I Solemnly Swear She Is Up To No Good

/ posted in: Pets

Time:  3 AM this morning

Freckles wakes me up.  She is panicky.  She needs-to-go-outside-RIGHT-NOW!  I open the door for her, she goes and does whatever, and then comes back.

I’m just drifting back to sleep when I hear her whimpering.  I can’t see her.  I just hear soft little whimpers.  I find her on the floor.  That’s weird since she always sleeps on the bed.

I get up and go over to her.  I whisper, “What’s wrong?”  She looks up at me and whimpers.  I don’t want to wake up the husband so I motion for her to follow me.  We go to the guest room.

She jumps up on the bed.  She isn’t gushing blood or anything obvious like that.  I pet her.  Soft whine.  I ask if she just needs a cuddle.  My delicate little puppy sometimes has nightmares that only cuddles fix.  If you don’t cuddle, she keeps crying in her sleep.  I tell her I’ll lay down with her and cuddle.

The second I lay down she shoots out of the bedroom at 90 miles an hour.

“What the hell?” I whisper.  I get up to go see where she went.

I find her sprawled out on my (now empty) side of the bed.

“No.  Just no.” I wag a finger at her.  She looks up at my with a look of perfect innocence like, “Oh, hi!  I thought you were sleeping in the other room tonight.”

“Move it.”  She obligingly moves down to her normal sleeping position without any fuss like she had figured it probably wouldn’t work anyway but it was worth a try.

20 Jun, 2014

Veterinary Choose Your Adventure

/ posted in: Work

Remember those books where you read a page and then you chose what happened next?  I loved those.  Let’s try it.

A lady takes her dog to the vet for an unusual swelling.  In the course of the exam she mentioned that this happened last year too on another place.  She took the dog to another vet, who she won’t name but who she will never go to again, and they recommended surgical repair.  When she denied that option they agreed to just drain it but told her it wasn’t the best idea.  They took the dog to the back of the hospital and he returned with a large bandage.  Three days later when he shook off the bandage the swelling was still there.

Should the owner:

1.  Realize that she chose a course of action that the veterinarian told her probably wouldn’t work so not be surprised when the swelling recurred, i.e. it didn’t work. Maybe she should call the veterinarian to discuss other treatment options.


2.  Assume that the veterinarian took the dog to the back of the clinic and did absolutely nothing but wrap the dog like she thought the owner wouldn’t even notice that the swelling was still there when the bandage was removed.  The veterinarian did this just to get her money obviously and therefore she will never go back there and she is still telling everyone about the scam a year later. 

When the tech and I looked her oddly and told her about option 1, she was genuinely surprised.  It had never occurred to her.  Why do some people automatically assume that they are important enough that other people concoct elaborate schemes just to mess with them?

08 Apr, 2014

A Mouse in the House

/ posted in: Pets

When we went to bed last night the husband asked me if Riley had come back in.  I didn’t know that he had gone out.  I was surprised because it was raining.  I might have whined a bit about “my poor RiRi.”  The husband got up to see where he was.  Riley came running back in the house as soon as the door opened.

That should have been it.  About 5 minutes later the husband and I realized we were alone in bed.  That’s odd.  We should have had 2 dogs and at least one cat.  Then the commotion started in the dining room.  The husband got up.  He came back to inform me that my “poor RiRi” had brought something in the house.

Freckles was under the dining room table hopping up and down.  Powder was sitting near her.  Riley was on the table pretending that he had nothing to do with anything.  I’m not sure where Under the Bed Dog was but I’m sure she was hiding.

Closer inspection revealed that Freckles had a mouse.  She wanted the mouse to stay between her front legs.  It is possible that she was trying to shield it from a very interested Powder.  She knows what cats do to mice and has tried to take them away from the cats before.  This mouse wasn’t cooperating.  It kept running away.  So Freckles would jump up, catch it in her mouth, lie down, and spit it out between her front legs again over and over. Freckles has a tendency to rescue rodents to death.

(I was impressed by her ability to catch it, usually in midair.  If you threw a treat to her it would bounce off her head.)

I grabbed a dish towel and told Freckles that she needed to give the mouse to me.  She didn’t want to.  It got away and was retrieved a few more times before I got the towel over it.  I wrapped it up and released it outside.  It is probably now trying to explain how it was abducted to the other mice and signing up for a lifetime of therapy.




04 Jan, 2014

Cabin Fever

/ posted in: Pets

We have a wee bit of snow.

It is causing much cabin fever among the inmates here. Look at all the sad that has fallen down and almost crushed Freckles in the back of this picture.

There is so much sad that all she can do is lay around and sigh. Sometimes she can manage a wag or two but they are slow, sad wags. She can go outside and play in the snow but then she realizes that it is freaking cold out even with a built in fur coat and she hustles back.

Riley is about out of his brain. He needs to get outside to chase and kill. He is trying to cope by killing things like garland in the house. We are being tolerant. Better garland than us. The other day Powder was walking past him and he grabbed her hind leg and fake bit it like he was a lion taking down a zebra. We all stared at him until he let go.

He sits and stares out the back door and then looks at me reproachfully because I won’t make it better. We stop him from going out but you can’t always stop stupid. He rushes out between the dog’s legs when she is coming inside.

Five minutes later:

I call this one “STFU and Let Me In!”

15 Nov, 2013

Horse and Dog Relay

/ posted in: Horses

This was a fun class to watch. It wasn’t very serious. Well, the horses were serious and did a fine job. The dogs were a bunch a cheaters!

29 Aug, 2013

Crime and Punishment

/ posted in: Pets

I was punished.

My crime was pet sitting.  Dog sitting specifically.  If you are keeping track – and Powder is – we have two instances of allowing unauthorized canines in the house for extended periods this year.  That is coming dangerously close to becoming a habit.

When Under the Bed Dog came, Powder made herself scarce.  I naively figured she’d be back to cuddling in bed as soon as the dog left.  I should have known better.  This is the cat who sat shiva on the wardrobe for 18 months after we got Freckles to Make A Point (emphasis hers).  She’d probably still be there if we hadn’t moved the bed she used to get up there and had to Learn To Deal (emphasis mine).

The day after UTB dog left Powder would sit next to me but not touching.  She would then pointedly ignore me.  If I wasn’t noticing that she was ignoring me, there would be quick meows to make sure I knew that she was having nothing to do with me.  Since she was sitting right there, if I would pet her or hug her, well, that was on me.  She was not encouraging it.  She would just sit stiffly with haughty disapproval.

I would point out to her that the offending canines belonged to the husband’s brother and ex-wife respectively so maybe her complaints are being directed towards the wrong party.  But, as a fellow female she obviously recognizes who is in charge around here and therefore I get the blame.

Last night she decided that I was repentant enough and decided to cuddle on me in bed.  I guess I’m forgiven.  This time.

22 Aug, 2013

In which I manage not to strangle a dog

/ posted in: Pets

Freckles woke up at 4 AM.

At least, that’s when I first heard her running up and down the hall.

Then she’d jump on the bed and sigh. Then she’d shake her head and make her tags jangle. I put her drops in her ears. I keep dog ear drops on the nightstand for just this situation. It didn’t help.

Run up and down the hall, jump on the bed, sigh, shake, cuddle, more sighs, move to a different part of the bed, shake, sigh, repeat over and over.

I got up to see if she wanted to go out. For the last month with Under the Bed Dog, every time Freckles goes to the door to go out, UTBD runs to a far room and hides. You have to get her leash and beg her to hold still long enough to attach it to her, and lead her to the door. At 4:20 AM? She’s right there ready to head outside with Freckles. So, I’m getting a robe on because it is way too hopeful to think she’ll come back with Freckles.

4:25 – I’m back in the house rummaging for a flashlight because I can’t see that $&@|~< dog in the dark. 4:30 - Get her back inside. Freckles is still agitated. She has a pre-breakfast snack. Twice. Finally, at 5:10 she lays down. Guess whose alarm goes off at 5:30 for CrossFit? Guess who decided while out chasing a dog before dawn that she had already had enough activity this morning? The husband emerges from his uninterrupted sleep. I mutter that the dogs have already been out. He looks at Under the Bed Dog and says, "You must have been such a good girl to come in so easily for the mommy!" I might have snapped a bit while telling him that I was chasing her around at 4:25. I fell asleep after he left. Freckles walked me to the door when I left for work. It was nice of her to interrupt all the snoring she'd been doing since 5:10.

14 Aug, 2013


/ posted in: Pets

I get beat up at night.

I normally sleep on my left side.  Freckles is behind my lower legs and Powder is in front of my chest.  I am suggestible at night.  They manage to push me around so that they are more comfortable.  I wake up with my back muscles spasming because I’ve been pushed into unnatural positions.  The husband sleeps secure on his side of the bed since he is an unmovable object.  I complain and he says, “I slept fine.”

Under The Bed Dog has turned into On Top of the Bed Dog this visit.  I wasn’t happy.  Adding another dog into the mix was going to be horrible.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  She slept between the husband and I and I was impressed by how unobtrusive her presence was.  Powder won’t sleep with us since there is another dog so I had all kinds of room.

I commented on how well I was sleeping and the husband snapped, “I’m not.”  I guess Under The Bed Dog is pushing hard against him.  Most nights he tries to shove her back but he eventually gives up and goes to the guest room because he just can’t sleep when he’s being crowded.  Poor baby.

Last night she wouldn’t lie down.  She sat between us and looked at him like, “Aren’t you leaving?  I want your spot.”

I’m having the best sleep ever.  Now when he storms off in the middle of the night I say, “Bye, bye” and he tells me to quit giggling.  He points out that she isn’t staying forever so we’ll go back to normal sleeping arrangements soon so I had best enjoy it while I can.


07 Aug, 2013


/ posted in: Pets

Under The Bed Dog is here.  She’s Z’s dog and she’s special in her brain too.  She inspires a lot of thoughts like, “Bless your little heart.  You’re as dumb as a brick, aren’t you?”

She is incredibly timid at her house.  She’s pretty brave here but she just has no idea how to be a proper dog.  She looks up to Freckles to find out what to do.  That is a good idea in theory.  ‘When in Rome’ and all that.  But her logic circuits break down at critical junctures.  For example, she sees Freckles sitting on the couch next to a human and decides that would be a good idea for her too.  Most dogs would go to the other side of the human.  Not Under The Bed Dog.  She attempts to occupy the exact space that Freckles is occupying.  Since that would fry the laws of physics she ends up laying on top of Freckles.  The proper response to that is for Freckles to tear her head off for being uppity.  That doesn’t happen.  The only reason that it doesn’t is because Freckles has learned that UTB Dog doesn’t learn anything from being reprimanded and Freckles doesn’t want to put out all that effort for nothing.  So Freckles squirms out from under her and goes somewhere else.

UTB Dog has chewed up a pencil and a razor since she has been here.  Yes, she was under the bed at the time so getting the pieces away from her was challenging.

This morning she got spooked because Riley looked at her so she refused to come inside after going to the bathroom.  She was running in our backyard and the neighbor’s yard.  I was out there in my bathrobe and crocs before dawn trying to get her back.  All I needed was curlers in my hair and a rolling pin it to be perfect.


Freckles was so sad on the first day that she let me make her into the bed. Of course the next day I covered up UTB Dog’s head with an afghan and she couldn’t figure out how to get out so she laid there for half an hour, bless her heart.

19 Jul, 2013

All the Plans of Dogs and Men

/ posted in: Pets

I was sleeping nicely the other night when Freckles woke me up. She was restless. She was off the bed and wandering around and whining.

I sat up and she came over to me. She put her head in my hand and stared up at me with the saddest face ever. I asked her what was wrong. She let out a little whimper. I figured she needed to go out so I got up.

Quick as a whip she jumped into bed and stretched out on the spot I had just given up and sighed contentedly.

I informed her in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable. (Since it was the middle of the night my addled brain expressed this all in a few choice words.) She got up and went back to her normal spot on the bed and went to sleep. I have no idea where she got that plan in her head or why she’d thought I let her get away with it.

19 Jun, 2013

A Bit Freaked

/ posted in: Pets

So, I was watching an episode of Supernatural in the bathtub.  (I set my iPad on the toilet and watch on Netflix if you must know.)  It was the episode where a bunch of family dogs in a town are actually skinwalkers who waiting for the signal from their pack leader to attack their families and turn them into an army of skinwalkers.  Right when they revealed that plot point Freckles gets up and licks my arm.  She then sat and stared at me with sad eyes for the entire rest of the episode.

I’m just a bit freaked.

30 Apr, 2013

What vaccines to give? – Part 1

/ posted in: Work

If I don’t recommend vaccinating for everything possible in dogs, what do I think you should vaccinate for?  Here’s a look at the common vaccines.

Distemper combination

This goes by lots of names – DAPP, DHLPP, 5-way, etc.

  • D = Distemper – Distemper causes respiratory and neurologic signs in dogs of all ages.  It is pretty rare in the pet population now thanks to vaccination.  It is still seen in raccoons, foxes, and other wildlife.  Cat distemper is an unrelated virus.  I have never seen a confirmed case in practice.  I’ve probably seen dogs with it but missed it because it is not really on our radar much anymore in the U.S.  It is still very common in areas where vaccination isn’t practiced widely.  (Side note – This is not “distemperment” and it is not related to fixing aggression in dogs.)
  • A/H = Adenovirus or Hepatitis – This is the same virus regardless of what it is called.  Adenovirus causes infectious hepatitis.  This disease is mild and dogs usually recover.  Again, I’ve never seen a confirmed case because we don’t look for it.  The vaccine is usually actually a variant of adenovirus that causes respiratory disease (A2) and causes cross immunity.  There have been suggestions that one vaccine is enough to cause lifetime immunity but all common distemper vaccines include this.
  • P = Parvo – Parvo is a disease that started in the 1970s.  It causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.  The virus destroys the lining of the intestine so no nutrients can be absorbed.  This is a disease that we see all the time.
  • P = Parainfluenza – If there is a second P in the vaccine it is parainfluenza.  This is a respiratory disease that can be one of the components of kennel cough.
  • L = Leptospirosis – This is the most controversial vaccine in the dog world.  It is a bacteria that people, dogs, and wildlife can get and spread in urine.  It causes kidney disease.  It is considered to be the most reactive vaccine.

So, lepto.  Depending on who you read you’d hear that the vaccine is a killer or that the disease is a killer.  No one can prove either one definitively.  I went to a lecture on this recently.  The speaker asked us to raise our hands if we had ever seen a reaction from a lepto vaccine.  Every hand in the room shot up.  Then he asked if we could absolutely prove that the reaction was from the lepto component of the vaccine.  Most dogs who have had reaction have had other vaccines in combination.  Some hands stayed up because they had reactions from lepto given alone.  He asked how many of them had had a reaction on the first time they had given that dog lepto.  Hands were up.  He said that proved it wasn’t an allergic reaction to lepto because you have to have been exposed previously to something in order to have an allergic reaction to it.  He used that point to blow off concerns about safety of the vaccine.  That didn’t go over well based on the grumblings in the room.

All of my very, very severe vaccine reactions have been in small dogs who got the lepto vaccine in combination with DAPP.  Two of the three were getting it for the first time.  Can I prove it was the lepto?  Nope, but something was going on when that particular combination of vaccines was given.

No one can even say for sure how widespread leptospirosis is.  The studies haven’t been done.  There is one large study looking at cases set to a lab in Ohio which is convenient since that’s where I am.  Lots of samples were tested.  Only a few came up positive. Personally, I’ve never seen a confirmed case of lepto.  I’ve looked.  I’ve had a few dogs with textbook signs who all came back negative on titer testing.

The way I see it is that I’ve seen hundreds of vaccine reactions ranging from mild signs up to death after the lepto vaccine and no confirmed cases of the disease.  I don’t want to give it to anyone.

Ask 10 vets about this and you’ll get 10 different answers.  We can’t even get a consensus between the three vets in my practice.  One vet gives it to everyone because it is being found more and more in wildlife in our area.  I want to see a notarized picture of the dog snuggling with a raccoon before I give it to anyone under 20 lbs.  We can’t get an answer from the manufacturer.  We called last week to see what the reported rate of reaction was and all they would say is that they couldn’t give us an accurate number because not all reactions are reported.  We told them to tell us what was reported and we’d just assume that the real number was a lot higher but they wouldn’t tell us.

What we do now is a lifestyle assessment.  We ask how much wildlife exposure the dog has.  I find that the answers are skewed based on the biases of the person asking the question.  Some of my staff is totally anti-lepto.  They start with the assumption that the dog in front of them will not get it and ask the questions to see if the dog really does need it.  Some of the staff is not opposed to it and they ask questions starting with the assumption that the dog will get it unless the owners want to opt out.  We are working on a more unified approach but it is hard because there is no real data to base anything on.

What do I do for my dog?  She has had a few DAPP vaccines since I got her at age 5.  She doesn’t get lepto.  I’m going to be moving her to a 3 year DAP vaccine from now on.  I may also start titer testing her to see what (if anything) she really needs.

What is my ideal vaccination schedule?  I think puppy vaccines are vitally important.  I see a lot of parvo.  I see parvo in the dead of winter when you’d think any contaminated fecal material would be buried under the snow so dogs wouldn’t be exposed.  I recommend that boosters start at 8 weeks of age and be given every 4 weeks until 16 weeks.  After that I’d give a DAPP booster at one year and then transition to a 3 year DAP vaccine at age 2.  Ideally, I’d give distemper only at this point but that isn’t an option in the current vaccines I have available.  Parvo is mainly a puppy disease.  I’ve never seen an adult dog who has been vaccinated get it.  (Knock on all kinds of wood.) I’ve seen a lot of adult unvaccinated dogs who have a puppy with parvo in the house with them who never get sick.  The only adult dogs I’ve seen come down with parvo were unvaccinated and part of a severe outbreak on a farm where all 10 dogs died.  They had several generations of unvaccinated dogs and I don’t think anyone had any immunity at all.

Stay tuned for more ramblings on rabies, bordatella, and other vaccines.


30 Apr, 2013


/ posted in: Work

More thoughts after reading Pukka’s Promise.  The author recommends limited vaccinations.  Vaccines are something that I spend a lot of time thinking about.  First, some background.

For the first 14 years I was in practice I was mainly a relief vet.  That means I went into a lot of practices when vets need time off.  Vaccine protocols vary widely.  There were clinics I wouldn’t go back to because I could not justify giving the number of vaccines that they required.  When we moved last year I started working for a wellness clinic.  One of my concerns was what their vaccine protocols were.  I did not want to be in a position where I was just giving dogs all the vaccines in the fridge.  I have way too many reservations about vaccines for that.  The vaccine policy at this clinic is one of the most sane that I’ve seen in practice.  For dogs it comes down to this:

  1. Dogs under 20 lbs never receive more than one injectable vaccine at a visit.
  2. If your dog is sick, you don’t get vaccines no matter how much you want them.
  3. The staff evaluates each dog’s lifestyle to see what vaccines to recommend.

Seems simple and logical right?  Oh, the wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth that happens sometimes.  I spend much more time in my day telling people I won’t vaccinate their dog than I do recommending more vaccines.  In fact, for dogs, I never recommend more vaccines.

The under 20 lb rule comes from studies that show that small dogs are more likely to have vaccine reactions than big dogs.  If a small dog is due for multiple vaccines they can come back in 2 weeks for the other vaccine and they won’t be charged an additional office call.  If the dog is sick with something I expect to clear up in 2 weeks (like an ear infection), they can take advantage of that too.  Because of that people can’t claim that we are just trying to take more money from them.

I’m sorry if you didn’t plan ahead and are leaving for vacation tomorrow and your Chihuahua needs a bunch of vaccines to be able to go to the kennel.  I don’t care if he’s had them done all at once before and it has never been a problem.  There are clinics that will do that for you.  We won’t.

People always want vaccines “as long as we’re here.” No.  Vaccines are not benign things that can be given whenever.  If your dog has been vomiting for 3 days I’m not vaccinating it.  Severe allergies and skin infection?  No vaccines.  My all time favorite was the dog who went outside at 4 AM and came back with both eyes out of his head.  They were dangling from the nerve.  The owner popped them back in.  I saw him at noon.  Noon.  Eight hours later.  The eyes were pointing opposite directions and one was obviously blind.  I was grabbing eye specialist referral sheets to try to save his vision and the owner kept saying he just brought him in for a rabies shot.  I made a new rule on the spot that if your eyes have been out of your head at any time in the last 24 hrs, you aren’t getting vaccines.

It surprises me that people think of vaccines as harmless. I don’t expect people to be up to date on veterinary literature but the idea that vaccines can have side effects is in the news a lot.  People often act like this is a new idea to them.  As a profession we’ve done a good job convincing people to vaccinate their animals and it has helped in a lot of ways but I think we’ve gone too far.

Everyone who gets a vaccine at our clinic goes home with a handout listing possible vaccine reactions.  These range from mild things like being tired or being sore at the vaccine site to severe reactions like hives, vomiting, collapse, and death.  What do we actually see?  I ask every time before I give a vaccine how they felt after their last one.  Most owners don’t notice any problems.  Some say they are tired or sore.  Sometimes there are reports of vomiting once but it can be hard to say if that is the vaccine or the car ride and excitement.  If they have hives or any other severe reaction we generally know about it when it is happening.

In the past year I’ve seen 3 anaphylactic reactions to vaccines.  I’ve never seen any before.  They are scary.  The dogs start vomiting over and over.  They are very weak.  They are pale.  Immediate treatment is needed.

What do we do if dogs have had a reaction?  If it is mild and their lifestyle is such that they should continue to have vaccines, we premedicate them with benedryl and maybe steroids.  If they have any more reactions with the premeds they are done.  We don’t vaccinate them anymore.  Obviously, one severe reaction means that they don’t get any more vaccines.

I say “obviously” but it isn’t.  I’ve had people fight me on this.  One of the anaphylactic dog’s owners wanted to give him another vaccine.  I’ve had dogs who have broken out in hives despite premedication with owners almost in tears because I said he shouldn’t be vaccinated again.

There are other dogs that I think shouldn’t have vaccines.

  1. Old dogs. Most of the diseases we vaccinate for are disease of young dogs.  I would rather spend a person’s money on bloodwork for elderly dogs than vaccines.
  2. Cancer patients.  They already have enough problems without adding more immune system stress through vaccination.  I had one owner with a dog who had been through chemo and was now in remission from lymphoma get furious with me for telling him that I thought the dog should not be vaccinated.   He said that I was the only vet saying that to him so obviously I didn’t know what I was talking about.

I think people are concerned that not vaccinating their dogs is a death sentence because they are going to pick up all the horrible infectious diseases that are out there the day after the vaccine officially expires.   The next post will be about what we actually vaccinate for and who should get the vaccines.

02 Apr, 2013

The Couch Chronicles

/ posted in: Pets

Ever since I met the husband six years ago we have been looking for a couch.  He wanted a sectional like his neighbor had.  Of course that couch came from a store that didn’t exist any more.

So for the past six years we’ve been testing sectionals.  He wanted leather.  I wanted comfy.  I can test every couch in a store in a few minutes.  I sit down.  I stand up.  I declare it uncomfortable.  Why would anyone want to buy a couch that isn’t comfy?

The other problem is cheapness.  We don’t believe in borrowing money for something like a couch so we need to save up for it and this is expensive.

Long, long, long story short he called me a week or so ago at work and said he bought a couch.  I went after work to see it.  He was leading me through the store and I saw one sectional.  I thought “At least I know he didn’t buy that one.”  Of course, he sat down on that one.  It is hideously ugly but it is comfy.

It is coming today.  Last night we moved the old couch.  The animals were horrified.  Powder used to panic when furniture was moved.  Her first people abandoned her when they moved.  She thought furniture moving meant we were leaving her.  Now she’s had enough moves to know she’s coming with but she was pissy.  “Why can’t we just pick a house and stay there?”

The overall worry though was “Where are we going to sit?”  Neither Powder or Freckles, my delicate little flowers, would consider sitting on the floor.  Who does that?  They are civilized pets.

All the comfys

Freckles spent the morning guarding the remaining piece of furniture in the living room. It also had all the pillows and an afghan on it for added bonus comfies.

New couch

Right now she is a bit afraid of the new couch. It is also cold so she doesn’t want to sit on it. I laid down on the couch and she immediately laid on top of me. Yep, we buy a sectional big enough for everyone to stretch out on and she’s still laying on me. Why am I not surprised?

31 Oct, 2012

A Hurricane Story

/ posted in: Pets

With all this talk about Hurricane Sandy let’s not ignore the littlest victims.

Tuesday morning I knew we were going to have a problem.  I came home from the gym and was face to face with happy wiggly doggy.

Freckles – It’s dog park day.
Me – It’s raining.
It isn’t raining at the dog park.
It is raining all over the eastern part of the continent so I’m pretty sure it is raining at the dog park.
It never rains at the dog park. 
No, you just never go if it is rainy.  There is another problem.  You know the big pond in the middle of the dog park?
Yay!! Go to the dog park and play in the water!
No, it has been raining hard for three days.  The park has probably flooded. 
Yay!! More water in the dog park! Let’s go!


It’s dog park day.

When that argument wasn’t working for her she pulled out the big guns.  She would crawl up on my lap and give me the spaniel eyes. 

Once she realized that I was settling in for a long day of sewing she went harrumphing off to pout on the couch.  Her only hope of getting happier was remembering that her daddy brings her home prime rib on dog park days.

Daddy came home with salad instead.

Freckles will be taking applications for new humans in the comments.

07 Aug, 2012

English Spoken Here

/ posted in: Pets

Yesterday I had the day off even though it wasn’t my normal day off. I got up and wandered with Freckles out to the kitchen. I was mentally running through a list of what I had to do to try to put them in order. Freckles headed towards the back door. I muttered, “You go outside and I’ll get my shoes and I guess we’ll go to the dog park now.”

All hell broke loose.

I wasn’t even 100% aware that I was talking out loud. I certainly didn’t think she was listening. But as soon as I said that she started screaming and jumping. Her plan to go outside was forgotten. She ran downstairs to the garage door and started throwing herself against the door to get to the car, screaming the whole time.

I followed her down and made her go outside through the garage.

Freckles: “Car. Car. Car. CAR!”
Me: “You have to pee first. It is a 20 minute ride to the park.”
Freckles: “Car. Car. Have to get in the car. WE’RE GOING TO THE PARK. RIGHT NOW!”

I drug her out and she peed as fast as possible and ran back to the car. I always worried about what I said around the birds because I didn’t want them to repeat it. I guess I need to worry more about what I say in front of the dog because she speaks a lot more English than I give her credit for.

27 Jul, 2012

A Girl and her Dog

/ posted in: FamilyPets

Z is not an animal person.  She claims to love them in the abstract but we’ve only recently stopped her from screaming whenever a pet touched her. Since she’s been staying with us this month she’s seemed to bond a bit more with Freckles.  She goes and hugs her.  Freckles sleeps on her bed when I leave early to go work out.  (That may be due more to the large stuffed bear that Freckles likes to rest her head on though.)

I noticed that after Z calms down from a meltdown she likes to give Freckles huge body hugs and talk to her about how horrible we are.  I thought that was a good thing to be able to have a non-judgmental ear to listen to her version of the story.  I forgot that Freckles is anything but non-judgmental.

On previous visits if Z has been carrying on, Freckles will walk out of the room while making big sighs.  We point out that her behavior is even annoying the dog.

The other day after a crying fit, Z came downstairs to the sewing room where Freckles was sleeping on the carpet. She dramatically fell to her knees and threw her arms around the dog.  She buried her face in her fur.  Freckles looked at me over Z’s shoulder and the message was clear:

“Get. Her. Off. Me!”

I avoided eye contact.  Eventually Z let her up and started talking to me.  Freckles took her chance and tried to quietly sneak out of the room.  Z noticed and called her back.  Freckles walked back with her head hanging and got another bear hug.  I avoided looking at her.  All I could think of was the old joke about having to tie a pork chop around a kid’s neck to get the dog to play with them.

A few days ago I got called back from the grocery store because Z was acting up.  I was met at the basement door by both Freckles and Powder.  They never voluntarily head to the basement – especially not together.  That gave me a clue that it was a bad tantrum.  They both just stared at me.  I guess I’m being held fully responsible.

23 Jul, 2012

Taste Testing

/ posted in: PetsWork

I’ve been taking an online Chinese food therapy course.  I’m most of the way through the lectures so I decided to start making some of the foods and testing them out on my pets.

First up – asparagus:

I kept hearing over and over in lectures that cats love asparagus.  That seems odd.  But last night I steamed a big bunch of asparagus for dinner.  I took the left overs and started chopping up the flowery end finely to offer the cats when I noticed Freckles.  She was at my feet in full on begging mode.  She usually reserves that for getting steak or cheese from her daddy.  I handed her a piece of stalk.  She slurped it up and kept begging.  Usually with veggies she takes it enthusiastically and then is disappointed that it isn’t something better.  She never lost her love for the asparagus.

I put the finely chopped flowery part in the cat bowl.  Powder gobbled it all down.  She had been eating her dry food but stopped and preferentially ate the asparagus. This is a cat who once ate an entire salad so I wanted to test Riley too.  I didn’t have a chance until this morning.  I had two ziploc bags.  One had chopped up stems for Freckles and one had chopped up flowers for the cats.  I put some in the cat bowl but Riley wasn’t allowed to have any.  Powder got them all.  So I went and hand fed Riley and he loved them too.

Meanwhile, I went to feed Freckles and left the stem bag open.  I came back to Powder with her whole head in the bag, gobbling up huge mouthfuls of asparagus stems.

Result – asparagus gets three enthusiastic paws up but the only vegetarian (Jules the parrot) hated it so she gave it one beak down.

Recipe two – marrow soup

Here’s where we get into hard things for vegetarians.  It called for chicken bones.  I don’t have that.  So I collected a steak bone and a pork shoulder bone from the husband’s meals this week.  Then I put them in a big pot, covered them with water, added 1/4 cup of vinegar and a handful of baby carrots.  The vinegar and carrots are to make the broth acidic enough to leech the minerals from the bones and dissolve them enough to release the marrow.  I cooked it on low for 5 hours.  The pork bone dissolved enough to let me crack the bone.  The steak bone didn’t do much.  Using the chicken bones makes more sense now because they would probably totally dissolve.

I strained out the broth and threw out the bones and carrots.


Cats- 2 huge paws down.  Maybe there was too much vinegar taste

Freckles – The. Best. Thing. Ever!!  I gave her a bit of soup and I’ve never seen her so happy.  She kept going back to the bowl to check if more had magically appeared.  I had a hard time getting her to come to bed since she wanted to stay by her bowl just in case.  For now she’ll be getting a bit daily until this batch is gone.  I guess the husband is going to have to start eating chicken wings every so often so I can get bones. 

Marrow soup is full of minerals and in Chinese terms it is a jing tonic.  That means that it is good for very young and very old animals because it has a lot of easily digestible nutrients from the marrow. 

More tasting testing to come…

22 Jun, 2012

Wedding photos – Freckles style

/ posted in: Family

Wedding 001

My peoples are getting married! Or I’m getting married. I’m not clear on the details…

Wedding 101

Sitting on rocks is fun but the camera lady kept saying, “Freckles look over there” and so I’d look where she was pointing and then she’d act all surprised. Like I can’t understand English or something.

Wedding 108

My daddy took off his glasses to be pretty so he couldn’t see anything. Mommy had to lead him around and she was laughing at him. I don’t understand why we were just walking up and down the beach for no reason at all.

14 Jun, 2012

Hard work

/ posted in: FitnessPets

I went and did my workout at 6:15 this morning. The timed part consisted of 5 repeats as fast as possible of a 400 meter run followed by 15 squats while holding weight over your head. I was doing 15 lbs.

I staggered back into the house and Freckles greeted me at the top of the stairs with a huge yawn and stretch. She works so hard in the morning to get off the bed and come see her person!