Archive for the ‘pit bull’ Category

Second bath in a week…. this can’t be good….

So I took Frankie to the dog park today.  We have been several times now, and he does so great.  I usually walk around the path which follows the perimeter of the fenced off area, and Frankie follows me or meanders around.  He does not usually interact a whole lot with the other dogs other than to just greet them in a friendly manner. 

This evening there were four of us there, with four dogs.  Instead of walking around the path today, I approached the other three people and their dogs.  Frankie joined me, and after proper doggie intros, was trotting and running around with the other three dogs.  He ended up playing and running and chasing much more than any other previous visit.  Was it because I was socializing with the other humans, so he felt it OK to socialize with the other dogs?  Or was he just more comfortable with the park in general, and these dogs were more the type he wanted to play with?  I find it an interesting question.

This being the cursed state of Oregon, at one point it began to rain pretty hard.  The four humans were standing in the field, still chatting.  We looked over to realize…..  our four dogs had gone under the overhang cover, out of the rain, and were completely dry.  So much for humans being smarter.

The humans trooped over to the shelter, and the dogs ran a muck for a while longer.  I don’t mind a wet dog, especially when I saw how much fun Frankie was having with the other dogs.  They were Angus, the Beagle; Suzy, the pointer mix; and Sara, the border collie type.  As we stood under the shelter and watched our dogs run and play together, the subject of pit bulls came up.  Sara’s dad admitted he is uncomfortable around pit bulls, and was nervous seeing Frankie and I come in the park.  However, he then said he thought Frankie was “a really nice dog.”  Angus and Suzy’s parents, a married couple, said when they went looking for a companion for Angus, they purposely passed by the pit bulls.  They are a bit disturbed that some people think Suzy (only 10 months old) is a pit bull mix.  They hope that she retains her slim, long-legged features so no one thinks she is a pit bull as an adult.  Frankie had given both husband and wife kisses when they bent over to pet him, and they thought he was great. 

It broke my heart to hear each person talk about their prejudices and preconceptions.  I had hoped things had improved for the pit bull’s perceptions after the whole Michael Vick debacle.  I remember telling a few different people after both Anna and TeddyBear passed on last summer that I would never own a pit bull again.  Why, they asked?   Because I am exhausted from the effort of fighting prejudice and breed specific legislation, I am tired of my heart hurting to see people cross the street to stay away from my dogs, I am sick of being afraid of my dogs being stolen by those who want to fight pit bulls.  And yet…. here I am again.  I love this breed, and I love my Frankie.

But……. back to the dog park.  Frankie found something to roll in.  Over and over and over again.  I am glad to say it was not poop this time, but with all the rain, he ended up covered head to tail in mud.  *sigh*  The bath actually went a bit easier this time.  I did, however, get rid of my clothing beforehand, and once he was in the tub, Frankie seemed a bit more resigned to the process.  Right now, he is sound asleep, curled up in a dog bed next to my computer desk.  Full, tired, and clean.  A lot more than I can say his life was just three months ago.  

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Lessons

Things Frankie has already learned within the first two weeks of being here:

-Give Chloe wide berth.  (this is lesson numero uno)

-Do not use momma’s shoes at toys or chew things.

-I must sit before I get my food or Kong, even though this is VERY HARD.

-Ziggy does not find it amusing to drag him around the house in his dog bed.

-Do not use dog beds as throw toys, even without little dogs in them.

-I fit through the big doggy door.  I do NOT fit through the small doggie door.

-Jumping around or on momma like a rabid kangaroo gets me nowhere.

-I like to meet new people and go new places.

-I am allowed to run off my leash with doggie friends.  Momma is hysterically happy if I go towards her when she calls me.

-If I want to get out of the car to go play with my doggie friends, I need to calm down and get my harness on, then wait til momma says it is ok to get out.  This is SOOOOOOOO  HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!

-I love riding in the car.

-I REALLY love the Zoom Groom brush thingy.

-Momma does not like it when I lay on her head.

-I am part of a new family, and we are all still learning about each other.

TeddyBear’s trip to the beach… a pictorial.

No narrative needed, just look at that happy face!  The trip is half the fun….

Nothing like hanging your head out in the wind!  (Yes, I took that while driving)

It’s windy and cold, but who cares!

We are at the BEACH!!!

TeddyBear made a beeline for the water…

Playing out in his beloved waves.

Two hour drive to find an open beach, 10 minute walk through dunes and over jetty to get to it, only 20 minutes play time before fatigue sets in, but this face…. PRICELESS!!!

Tired, happy boy, ready to ride home.

Riding home.  (How’s this for talent… took the picture behind me while driving, and did not edit it at all!  lol!!)

The end.  🙂

Anna and TeddyBear

It has been noticed that I haven’t written much of Anna and Teddy lately.  I suppose there are a few reasons for that.  They have slowed down considerably in their old age, and so they are not having as many adventures as their younger Peke siblings.  Plus, the Pekes are all still essentially new family members, so I am watching their personalities emerge and blossom.

TeddyBear is still plugging along, even after his supraventricular tachycardia episodes, requiring a late night emergency vet visit in August with the dog sitter.  His arthritis pain in his hips and deformed left wrist seem to be under control on metacam.  Teddy continues to love life, be a therapy dog, and take his co-pilot duties very seriously while I am driving.  Every time I think he is ready to be helped on to the Other Side, he bounces back for more.

AnnaBanana has not slowed down much, despite her spinal cord compression.  Her back feet slide along the floors and carpet, instead of actually taking steps.  She likes to run in the halls of Green Valley, doing the bunny hop with her rear legs.  But after a long day of searching for treats and scritches, her legs are notably weaker.  The good news is that she does not appear to be in any kind of pain.  Anna still wants to play and be silly at home, as well as come to work with me.

At 11 and 12 years old, respectively, I am very blessed to have Teddy and Anna still with me.  They do not seem to be leaving me any time soon, either, despite various old age problems.  Their spirits are going strong.  They teach me every day about determination and perseverance, and about having fun no matter what age you are.

TeddyBear has always loved to have his nose covered up while he sleeps.

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My utterly gorgeous boy.

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Still buddies, all these years later.

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A similar pic from eight years ago.

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Anna doing her favorite thing…. sunning herself on the deck.

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Hello, my beautiful girl, always wagging your tail.

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Birthdays, celebrations, and other stuff

I realized I am behind on sharing some news and pictures here.  Peanut and Chloe celebrated their 3rd birthday back on June 10th.  I figured since they share everything else in their lives, they would like to share their birthday, too.  😉   And GREAT NEWS!!!!!  Chloe passed her therapy dog tests!!  She is now “official,” even though she has been working as a wonderful therapy dog for months now.

Peanut, Chloe, Ziggy and I went to beach last week.  They all had a great time running around, playing in the sand and surf, and the boys got to pee on everything.  LOL!  Here are some pictures.  The pups are color coded…. Peanut in the dark blue harness, Chloe in the pink (of course) and Ziggy in yellow.

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Some sandy noses at the end of the fun…..

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In other dog news, poor TeddyBear has had a quite the month!  😦   He has gotten three hot spots on his tail and hip area, probably due to a combination of allergies and stress.  Stress namely in the form of incredibly annoying fireworks for weeks, plus the new dog in the house.  I am so happy to report that he is now on the mend.  No more hot spots, please!!  I won’t show any pictures of those, but here are TeddyBear and Anna, so they don’t feel left out.

The oh so handsome sleeping TeddyBear

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The lovely AnnaBanana soaking in the sun

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Last but not least, the three amigos…….

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My heart weeps.

I wrote just not that long ago about how a choice would be coming up for me to make with TeddyBear.  Today took things one big step closer.

I got to work this morning with Peanut and TeddyBear, got them leashed up, and told them to jump out of the minivan.  Teddy couldn’t do it, he couldn’t get out.  I tried to coax him every which way.  His tail was wagging, he wanted to do it, but he just couldn’t.  I had to eventually leave him, both our hearts breaking.

After I got in the office, I was able to get help.  I pulled the van right up to the front door, and two of Teddy’s “aunties” came out to assist.  Cajoling and cookies just didn’t do the trick.  I had to lift him out and put him on the ground.  Once there, he was happy as could be.  But my heart still ached.

So here we are, at a very significant cross road.  Teddy is now at a point he can no longer do his therapy dog work, he can’t come to work with me anymore.  Friday is Halloween, and I will bring him in one last time, dressed up in his costume, and that will be his last day.

This isn’t fair at all.


Good stuff, sad stuff being a dog mom.

Most of the time it is really fun and great being a dog mom.  Sometimes, though, it can really break your heart.

Yesterday was one of those fun days.  Roo and I did the R.E.A.D. program at the Eugene Public Library, where the kids pick out books and read to Roo.  I lost track of how many children ended up reading to Roo, but I do know I now have the book, “Mutt Dog,” pretty much memorized.  😉

Roo lay down on the quilt, and sprawled out, big fellow that he is.  He rested his head in my lap and gently dozed as the kids pet him and read their stories.  It is an utterly amazing thing to see, children and their parents fascinated by the gentle giant, stroking him, asking me questions, and he soaks it all up.  The kids completely adore him, and treasure the bookmarks with his picture that they get when they complete their reading.  I’m not a big kid person, but volunteering with this program always gives me the warm fuzzies.

Friday night, well, that was a sad time.  TeddyBear was diagnosed with severe hip dysplagia and spinal bone spurs when he was six years old.  There were times I never imagined he would make it to be TEN!  I feel so blessed to have had all this wonderful time with him.  I have tried every imaginable supplement for arthritis, acupuncture, laser therapy, raw diet, home cooked diet, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.  While nothing in and of itself showed amazing results, I think the culmunation of all of them has certainly extended Teddy’s life and kept his pain under control most of the time.

I know, however, there is only a finite amount of things available to help my heart boy.  In an effort to increase his comfort, I received a Level I Reiki attunement back in 1998 or so.  Now, I am a Master Practitioner, and became certified as a Canine Massage Therapist.  While I am in the process of starting a second career in these areas, my first motivation was to assist Teddy and ease his pain.  My vet and I are in agreement, though, we have really run out of options.  My TB is on a generic form of rimadyl, and so far his liver has tolerated it just fine.  There will come a day, though, when NSAIDS do their damage, or the pain meds no longer do their job.  That is the point where you have to argue “quality” vs. “quantity” of life.

We have new offices at work that are now significantly further away from our rehab gym.  TeddyBear won’t tolerate me going to the offices without his supervision.  These longer walks are taking a noticeable toll.  Twice on Friday, even though I had slowed my pace down considerably, Teddy just stopped.  As I looked back to see where my companion was, he stood there, with pain in his eyes.  I softly encouraged him to keep going, and, of course, tenacious soul that he is, he limped the rest of the way to the rehab gym, where he lay down on his mat.

That night, I lay on the floor with him, gently stroking and massaging where he could tolerate.  His lumbar spine and hips are often too tender to even touch by the end of the day.  I was watching the TV show on CBS called, “The Ex-List,” which takes place in Ocean Beach, San Diego.  It is where Teddy and Anna and I lived during their early years.  It was where Teddy could run and swim at Dog Beach for hours, go hiking and running The Cliffs like a billy goat.  Now, as I lay on the floor with my beloved boy, I felt an overwhelming sensation of lost youth from him.  Does he remember those carefree days, when he was King Of The World?  Does this old and painful body have memories of sunshine-filled times when he ran and swam and caught frisbees and pulled a draft cart and obsessively played with his soccer ball?  I believe he does, and I truly believe he misses those days.

OK, so you say, simple solution…. retire him from his therapy dog work, don’t take him to the nursing facility anymore.  Um, yeah, did you see my comment about “quality” vs. “quantity” of life???  TeddyBear LIVES for accompanying me to work.  His extended pack is there.  He has a harem of women he grins for, drools on, and woos on a daily basis.  (Yes, you know who you are….it is a long list)  And what of his work buddies??  Tyler and John can’t possibly get their work done properly without a little Teddy supervision and a lot of tail wagging.

My point being, his body may hurt at the end of the work day, but his heart would break if he was left behind at home.  I know I will have to be the one to make the decision to release him from this broken down body, because TeddyBear has too much heart and too much spirit to quit.  It is a question I ponder every single day.  Is it time?  Is it too soon?  How will I know when it IS time?  Am I being selfish keeping him here with me?  Am I being selfish by thinking his time is coming soon?  Sure, life would be easier without the constant vigilance, the expense of the medications, the wear-me-down worrying.  But my life will be so empty without him.  The over-heated-never-quite-comfortable-kicking-me-JUST-as-I-fall-asleep-lump-under-the-bedcovers-every-single-night-for-the-past-ten-years.  And that is just the tip of the iceburg.   I won’t bore you with further mushy details.

So that is it, my friends.  There are many joys in being a dog mom.  Many, many many.  Indescribable and unforgettable moments of life being shared with another being, another spirit.  Complete trust, honest communication (if you put the effort into understanding their “language”), unconditional love.   That same joy also becomes a heavy burden.  When that time comes to make that decision, to figure out what is best, to know what is the “right” thing to do, remember ….. total trust, honest communication, unconditional love.