Posts belonging to Category It’s A Dog’s Life

Dervishes, Two, Type: Whirling

I had one of those “what the hell have I done” moments last night as both dogs were orbiting my feet like furry demented satellites.  While they aren’t terribly rough with each other, they tend to be quite energetic, going over, under, and through anything in their way, including me.  I’ve got the bruises to prove it.

New Addition

I’d been contemplating getting another dog so that Boots would have a canine companion.  I wasn’t in any particular hurry, figuring the right dog would probably present itself at the right time (kind of how Boots showed up when she did). 

The Friday before last I took Boots with me in the truck when I went to drop off some shirts at the dry cleaners.  The lady inside noticed Boots in the truck and asked me if I liked dogs.  I said that I did and she asked if I wanted another one.  It turns out that she bought the dog for her 19-year-old daughter, who will be going away to school and isn’t really taking care of it very well.  Further, it’s a Collie and she doesn’t like having dog hair in the house (with a Collie, you’re approaching 100% certain that there will be dog hairs floating around in the house). 

I told her that I would consider it and that I’d call her on the Saturday after I got back in town.  So yesterday I called and made arrangements to go see the dog and to let Boots meet him.  They got along well enough, although I got the impression that might be a little too rambunctious for Boots’ taste.

This is Malcom:

He’s an unaltered 10-month old Collie (soon to be altered, but don’t tell him that…).  He’s obviously still very much a puppy inside a grown-up dog body.  He’s actually kind of funny, since he acts like he hasn’t quite figured out how his legs work.  Now that Boots has been around him a little longer, she seems to have mostly accepted him.  There was a lot of playful barking, running, and nipping last night and this morning.  The only downside is that they decided to bring their play session onto the bed this morning, where I was attempting to sleep.  It’s rather difficult to remain sleeping when two 60-lb dogs are dancing on top of you (I’m just waiting for the bruises to show).  The only issue I see is that Boots is a little jealous, and tries to get up against me and prevent him from doing so.  But it’s nothing major (i.e. it’s fairly playful and there is no growling or snarling).

So far he hasn’t chewed on anything or had any accidents, which is good.  But he’s got tons of puppy energy, which may prove challenging. 

On Monday I’m going to contact the vet’s office to have him groomed (he has some horrible mats that I’m not even going to attempt to get out, lest I hurt him), examined, chipped, and snipped. 

Close Call

It now appears that I was incorrect in thinking that I was giving Boots safe food because I was giving her Alpo or Pedigree.  I learned this morning that Purina has recalled Alpo Cuts in Gravy because one of their plants obtained wheat gluten from the same Chinese source as Menu Foods.  They claim to have traceability of ingredients and are able to limit the recall to specific date/plant codes.  But when I heard about it this morning I just tossed all of the Alpo food in the house.  Fortunately I saw it on the morning news before I had a chance to feed Boots.  I wasn’t going to take a chance of fiddling around with date codes.

The wheat gluten was found to contain melamine, which is an ingredient in some plastics as well as used as a fertilizer in parts of Asia. 

So now I guess it’s back to Pedigree.  Although I got an email on my last posting that claimed Pedigree is horrible and that a vet told them that it’s like feeding your dog chocolate.  Frankly, I can’t help but think that many vets do this sort of FUD to try to sell their overpriced special food.  I’ve fed Boots Pedigree for years now and she’s shown no ill effects and all of her vet visits have been fine.  So I’m not buying the anti-Pedigree snobbery.

Taking No Chances

The news of the pet food recall for about 50 different brands only served to confirm my suspicion that most of the so-called high-end brands weren’t too different from the store brands and that the distinction is mostly marketing hype.  It’s really interesting to see that the same company makes Eukanuba, Iams, and Ol’ Roy.  And apparently does so with many of the same ingredients.

Fortunately, though, I’ve been feeding Boots Alpo or Pedigree canned food along with either Kibbles ‘n Bits or Goodlife Recipe dry food, none of which are made by Menu Foods and aren’t affected by the recall.

But I often get her Old Roy jerky treats, and this morning I ended up throwing away an unopened canister.  The treats aren’t listed in the recall, and it’s entirely possible that Wal-Mart sources them from another company, but I just couldn’t bring myself to give them to her.  I’ll look for something similar from one of the other companies when I go to the store tonight.

The risk just isn’t worth it.

Pavlovian Reaction

I written before about how my dog is afraid of thunderstorms or any other sudden, loud sounds (fireworks, gunshots, bubblewrap, etc).  The picture below was taken during a thunderstorm one day when she wormed her way under my desk to hide, making it rather difficult to get any work done.

Boots hides under desk during storm

But she has gone so far now as to associate the sound of a UPS switching to batteries with storms.  We had a short power outage the other night around 1:00am.  I was awakened to beeping (from the UPS’es) and whining (from the dog).  Even the little “click, hum” of the weekly test on the big UPS I have on my media server causes her start whining and trying to worm her way under my desk.

She’s a fairly intelligent dog, and a quick learner.  Unfortunately, it’s not just positive lessons that she learns.  She’s really quick to pick up on any little pattern related to something unpleasant, regardless of whether it’s really malign or not.

Canine v Skunk

I can now confirm that a mixture of baking soda, water, and vinegar will remove skunk odor from a dog.

I went out with her around 8:30 last night and lost track of her for a bit in the high grass in the field behind my mother’s house.  When I heard the first bark I realized something was up because it was her playful bark, but there wasn’t a corresponding burst of movement, which told me that there was something other than a cat or rabbit.  Sure enough, as I got closer and pointed my flashlight I saw her jumping back and forth barking at the skunk.  Then I saw the skunk turn its tail toward her and I knew we were in for trouble.  I yelled at her to get back and to come to me, but when she’s excited I might as well not exist.  However, I will note that *after* she got sprayed that she had no trouble minding me.  smirk

I was a little concerned, though, because this is the point when the skunk turned towards me.  A skunk that acts agressive is a warning sign that it might be rabid.  When I pointed my light directly at it, it turned and waddled away, which I suppose is lucky for all of us (although Boots has had her shots I certainly have no desire to have anything to do with a rabid skunk, and the skunk is lucky not to learn what .40S&W Hydrashocks would do to him).

We weren’t certain of the exact ratio to use in the mixture so what we ended up doing was mixing a bunch of baking soda with water in a bucket.  I then used a large cup to scoop out the mixture and added vinegar to the cup and poured it over the dog while it was still foaming.

The original recommendations I’ve seen are to use hydrogen peroxide rather than vinegar, but we didn’t have enough on hand.  The oxygen released by the peroxide reaction is supposed to neutralize the thiols from the skunk smell.  Vinegar releases carbon dioxide from the baking soda rather than oxygen, but it still seems to work.

Joys of Spring

Ah, spring!  When one’s fancy turns to …  DOG HAIR!  And the occasional doggie hurl.

Oh well…  as a wise man once said in comments:

You can have a nice, clean, mud- and dirt-free house.  Or you can have a dog.  Dogs are better.

How true:

Random Thought

While the ramifications of the explosion are trivial in comparison, a wet dog is best regarded as a ticking timebomb.

A Sudden And Unexpected End

There was a sad note to last week’s vacation, though.  My mother’s dog, an 11-year-old black lab named Chula died suddenly at the end of the week. 


From the time I realized that something was wrong with her to the time she was dead was about 10 minutes.  Her symptoms indicated to me that she had gotten into something poisonous.  Whether this was due to a snake-bite, something she accidentally ingested, or something she was given is impossible to say.  But in my more suspicious moments I can’t help but wonder if the people who recently moved in across the road didn’t have something to do with it.  Chula had a habit of running out to the road and chasing anyone who rode a bicycle in front of the house.  She didn’t mean any harm by it and if you understood dog body language you would know she wasn’t a threat.  But I could see how a young child (such as the boy who lives across the road) would be intimidated by her.

I just hope that my suspicion was misplaced.  Unfortunately, we’ll never know for certain what happened to her, and I suspect that it will always bother me.

We buried her near her favorite tree, where she used to spend hours watching and waiting for squirrels.

Squeezing In…

Every time we get a storm around here, Boots worms her way under my desk.  It’s a little hard to work when there’s a dog cowering between your feet, squeezing you out from your own desk…