Friday, August 29, 2008

Sailor's Delight

My grandmother had lots of little rhymes she taught me. One was 'Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning'. When my puppies were expected, I spent a lot of time thinking up names. Being Portuguese Water Dogs, I wanted something to do with the sea or Portugal. Sky's name is Legacy's Red Sky At Night.

We had planned to take Morgan and Tess (Legacy's Let Me Count The Ways, from the Sonnets of The Portuguese) to the lake this morning. Tess loves the water and this would be her first chance to really swim. Plans are subject to change. When we awoke there was a thunder storm going on. We called J and she said it was cloudy, but not storming at the lake. We decided to go for a visit, but thought we probably wouldn't be able to go out on the water. Instead of Tess who is very excitable and might not settle down nicely in a strange house, we took Sky who is laid back and comfortable where ever we are.

When we arrived the sky didn't look friendly, but it cleared up, became sunny and hot and we hit the water. Grace really hit the water. She has taken up dock diving. She waits, quivering, while J throws a toy into the water, races to the end of the dock and launches herself into the air.

My poor slow camera couldn't keep up with her so all it recorded was the splash. I should have taken the video camera, but then I couldn't share these pictures with you.

Splash had to join Gracie in the water. You can't keep a good water dog dry.

Morgan is a seasoned sailor now. She can even jump into the boat by herself.

Sky got aboard without any sign of fear. He's a great rider in the car and the boat was fine with him. He and Grace haven't seen each other in almost a year, but they seemed to recognize each other. He and Splash got along well, too.

I really like this picture of Grace

Sky relaxed and seemed to enjoy the ride.

Grace kept her eyes on the destination.

Sky has never been as fond of water as his sisters and parents, but he went in with no coaxing. He was fascinated by Splash and Grace diving off the boat and swimming way out, but he was afraid to get too far out.

He was happy as long as his feet were touching the bottom. He really wanted to be in the water and for a first time he did fine. I think if he had more opportunities to be in the water, he'd swim.

Splash makes it look easy.

Morgan chose to stay on the boat with Rob today.

Sky had to tell Rob about his big adventure.

Grace started to stretch out in the sun, but then she realized Rob had snacks.

We couldn't stay as long as we would have liked because I had to get home to check on Noah and give him his meds.
He's taking pain pills and sedatives to keep him quiet.

Grace would have liked to stay all afternoon. She's tireless in the water. As long as someone will throw something, she'll go after it.

Sky and I shared a seat on the way home.

He seemed to want to drink in the air and store up the memories.

Both Sky and Morgan slept all the way home in the car. He played with the other dogs for awhile and now he's asleep at my feet. I hope we get the chance to get him near water again. I think he will swim eventually. Next time Tess gets her chance.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This and That

Noah is home recovering from his surgery. Thanks to everyone who wrote to wish him well. Dr B removed two tumors from his neck and since they couldn't be identified easily, they were sent to the lab for analysis. We'll have the results in a week. Dr Nicki did a smear and didn't see any cells, so we're hoping it's just a one time inflammation.

If it was closer to Halloween, Noah could go as Frankenstein. He has quite an incision running down his neck to his shoulder. No collar for awhile and even the harness can only be used for going to the clinic as it rubs a bit. At home he just goes naked.

His appetite has not been affected. In fact, when they brought the little guy to me, yesterday, they commented that he didn't seem to notice that he'd had surgery. He was hopping and spinning and pulling on the leash. The hardest part of my job is keeping him quiet for the next two weeks till the stitches come out.

Sky has a new bed that fits. He looks much more comfortable curled up in it. He would not cooperate for a picture this morning. He looked as if I was crazy asking him to get in his bed in the daytime. He hasn't even attempted to get on the furniture in the living room until last night. While Rob and I were watch TV, Morgan was on one sofa next to Rob, Samba was on my sofa next to me, Tsar was on the loveseat , Fudge was on the window seat and Monty was stretched out on the floor. Sky quietly walked over to a chair and climbed on it. He sat up very straight and looked around. Rob and I both started laughing and he ju
mped down and curled up on the floor beside me.

This week Chan's dog Mugsy joined our Lucy at the Rainbow Bridge. Chan told how they buried him in a garden beside another of their dogs. She referred to their Rainbow Garden. It made me think about the ways we say Goodbye to our best friends.

When I was a kid we lived in the country and had 300 acres most of which was wooded. When one of our dogs or cats died, we carried them into a clearing in the woods and buried them, usually marking their graves with a pile of rocks. A number of my childhood fur friends sleep there.

When I worked in the city I had a dog and sometimes wondered what I would do if anything happened to her. When she died the vet in Pennsylvania where we lived arranged for her cremation.

Since we've lived here we've lost four dog
s. There is a pet cemetery called Friends Of The Family not far from where we live. It's a quiet little spot where a pet can be buried. They also do cremations. You can get your pet's ashes back if you want to make your own arrangements or they will scatter the ashes there on the grounds. We have had our dogs cremated and their ashes scattered. We sometimes visit on a Sunday morning, sit on a bench and remember the happy times we shared.

Here at home we plant trees to celebrate our dog's lives. This cherry tree is in Pylon's honor. It has little pink and white flowers in the spring and is just the type of tree she would enjoy resting under.

Bentley chose his own tree. We had just planted this plum tree in the front yard when he got sick. He spent hours lying under it and so we have always referred to it as Bentley's tree. It has little pink flowers in the spring and produces plums that the birds and squirrels seem to enjoy.

Puppy # 8 never lived long enough to see the yard or lie under a tree, but when this crimson maple matures it should shade most of the back yard. The pile of rocks in the front of the picture is where the lower part of the fish pond will be located. It should be a nice area to sit and read a book.

When fall arrives and the weather is a little friendlier to young plants, we'll plant a river birch in the lower corner of the yard for Lucy. That was her favorite place to hunt for bugs. Every time she went out, she would head for that corner.

Tomorrow morning we'll put Morgan and Tess in the car and head for the lake. Splash, Grace and J have invited us out on the boat and Tess will get a chance to swim with her sister. It should be fun. Watch for lots of pictures of wet dogs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pill Poppers

It's always bothered me when friends don't teach their dogs to take pills. I've known people whose dogs as they grew older needed medicine for some serious illness and because they hadn't done the basics, they had to struggle daily with their pets to get the life saving medicine down their throats. Some people wrap the pills in meat or cheese, but suppose the animal needs the pill on an empty stomach or is too sick to keep food down. Often the dog will lick off the meaty coating and spit out the pill. Then what???

My dogs all learn to take pills at an early age. I start the pups around six months. They get a fish oil pill daily. They love the oily, stinky taste, so they happily chew them up. Occasionally I will open their mouths and put the pill down their throats instead of letting them chew them. Then I follow up quickly with a cookie.

With my big dogs, after breakfast and an outing, I count the pills into a dish, pick up a handful of cookies and sit at the table. I call them for pill time.

Every one sits or stands quietly waiting their turn. Samba like to take hers by herself. She gets five pills in the morning, and she swallows each as I hand them to her. Then she gets a cookie.

Monty lives by a strict set of rules and has a certain order for pill taking.

He needs a thyroid pill and an antihistamine each morning along with his fish oil. He sits beside me and opens his mouth for me to put the first two in. Then I hold his mouth closed while he swallows them. Then he likes to have his cookie which he takes into another room to enjoy. When he is finished with his cookie, he returns and I hand him his fish oil pill which he then chews. He likes fish oil for dessert, I guess.

Morgan get her pills put down her throat. As soon as I know they're gone, she gets her cookie and leaves. The group is getting smaller.

Tsar get two pills put down his throat, then I hand him his oil pill to chew. I have to watch him because sometimes he plays with it, tossing it in the air and grabbing it as it lands. He doesn't get a cookie until I know the pill is gone, so he usually complies.

The last two remaining are always Sky and Fudge.

Sky gets an anti-histamine put down his throat, then gets to chew his fish oil.

Fudge is last and he also likes to do it himself, so I hand him his pills and he swallows each one.

We repeat this routine at bedtime for those that need one. This has worked out well for us. Now, if someone gets an infection and needs an antibiotic, no sweat, they know how to take a pill and there is no struggle. It makes my life easier and it could mean life or death for them.

We have similar game
s we play for heartworm prevention and flea and tick prevention to make application easy. My gang all seem to look forward to our little daily routines. Look at all these happy faces after popping their pills.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Noah's Bad Day

This is Noah.

He was the smallest of our pups at birth and at 22 months is still the smallest. He is an active, happy boy who loves everyone.

Noah and his sister Lola went to be groomed today. We dropped them off early this morning and Noah rushed into the arms of C, his groomer. He was happy to see her and trotted into the back room to his kennel without even looking back.

About two hours later I received a call. While clipping Noah, C had found a sizable growth on his neck. She had alerted his Vet and they were asking for permission to aspirate it. Of course, I agreed.

Dr. B went over and did the procedure. A short while later we spoke on the phone. He doesn't think the cells look like cancer cells, but he's not sure what it is.

Dr. B said we should watch it for awhile and apply warm compresses to it. If it grows, we need to operate immediately.

When we picked the pups up the Doctor showed me the growth, which was much larger than I had imagined. Under all his hair I never discovered it.

After losing Lucy just last week, I told him that I would, of course, obsess about it until we knew what it was. He agreed that to ease my fears we should operate.

Noah is having surgery Wednesday morning to remove the growth on his neck and it will be sent to a lab, if necessary, for diagnosis.

Keep good thoughts in your heart for little Noah.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dogs on Thursday

I recently joined a group of bloggers known as Dogs On Thursdays. We post something about dogs each Thursday. That's pretty simple for me as I include dogs almost every time I post. Most of the people in the group are knitters so I feel very comfortable with them. We recently had a 'Dog Days of Summer' secret swap. I had Nichole and filled a box for her and her four furkids. It was so much fun thinking up things to send.

Yesterday I received our box from Paula. Boy, what a great gift box. She thought of everything.

My guys love getting presents. They think every box that comes into the house must contain something for dogs. That's not true, but it happens often enough to keep them excited. Monty was the first one to see the box arrive.

Surely there must be something for dogs in there.

Samba was going to help herself.

Here's how it looked when I opened it.

Look at all those packages. What fun.

Monty was sure this one was for dogs. He wanted to help open it, but I insisted on doing the unwrapping.

This one must be meant for him.

Lots of noses were getting into the act.

Snausage treats really got their attention.

Look at all this neat stuff.

There were treats for dogs.

This was the greatest idea. A tick remover will certainly be useful here in Missouri where the creepy crawlers seem to hold conventions. I wish I'd thought of the poop bags for my box. If there is one thing we have plenty of, with eleven dogs, it's poop. Fudge is going to compete in Rally in October and conformation in November. We won't have to carry those ugly Walmart blue bags. We'll have pretty designer poop bags.

There were dog toys.

We never have enough tennis balls. The pups carry them around all the time, and sometimes they meet untimely ends when the lawnmower catches them.

These are Monty's favorites. He wanted to have them, wrapping paper and all. I forced him to wait until I had pictures of everything. He picked the pink one and slept with it last night.

Isn't this the cutest thing? This fellow didn't get handed over to the dogs. He floats, so he's going to the lake with us next week when the dogs go swimming.

A duck and a whale for water dogs, of course.

There were treats for me. Rob reminded me how much he helped putting together the box for Nichole, so I promised to share the chocolate.

There were toys for me.

I love this little ornament. I firmly believe that dogs communicate with their tails. We just have to be smart enough to listen.

Paula sent two cards. One was to introduce herself and the other was a very thoughtful sympathy card for our little Lucy, who crossed the bridge last week. She was Rob's dog and he really appreciated the card.

My Mom taught me to knit when I was five years old. About fifteen years ago I thought the art of knitting might be disappearing. It was hard to find patterns and the yarns were pretty boring. Now it seems from the blogs and Ravelry that the art is flourishing. There are neat new patterns available and the new yarns are simply gorgeous.

I am enjoying the company of the DOT women and look forward to lots of doggy stories and knitting inspiration. Thank you, Paula.