Friday, September 28, 2012

Three Ways to Enjoy a Frozen Treat

In our house, there are 3 ways to enjoy a nice, stuffed, frozen Kong or bone.

There is the butt in the air approach.

Or you can always enjoy your treat in style and comfort.

And lastly, the classic, take-it-to-the-privacy-of-the-backyard approach.

How do your dogs enjoy their special treats?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hurley, Puppy Protector Extraordinaire

As all truly great Hurley stories go, it happened on a trip to the dog park with the Hubster.

Hurley encounters a 10lb Shiba Inu puppy soon after arriving at our favorite dog park.  Hurley loves him some 10lb puppy but the dog's person initially freaks out, telling the Hubster that Hurley's too big and that he will hurt her.  Though we know that one of Hurley's best qualities is how gentle he is with small dogs and puppies, the Hubster calls Hurley to walk on, understanding that not everyone wants to play with a 90lb dog.  Hurley disobeys (because he loves him some small breed puppies) and after witnessing his gentle play bows, the Shiba's mom starts to relax.

Good thing she does because soon after, an altercation at the dog park breaks out.  Now, when fights happen at the dog park, Hurley's M.O. is to run and hide, usually behind our legs. He gets as far away from the fighting and as close to safety (us) as he possibly can.  This is another one of his best qualities.

But not today.  Today he crouches over his new-found friend.  He growls each time one of the dogs involved in the altercation gets too close.  He protects her.  The dog who normally gets as far away from confrontations as possible stays in the middle of a fight to protect his tiny new friend. 

So we now have a new nickname for our lil hero, Hurley the Puppy Protector. 

This week, instead of focusing on the Really, Hurley? moments (and he did have a couple doozies this week), I'm going to bask in the glow of Hurley's moment of heroism.  He's one helluva dog!

This dog = awesome!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday This n That

I've got small tidbits of thoughts today but no real post.  And since it's been a while since my last post, I thought it way past time to post something.  Hence, Friday This n That.  Hopefully my half-baked brain will return to normal status next week and you'll get some actual full posts out of me.

Dog Shaming

Without a doubt, Hurley could own the dogshaming tumblr.  Not only do I have loads of historical trouble but he continues to provide me with new material.  And for the record, I do think the site is sometimes hysterical and most times harmless.  Laughing at the antics of my dogs is something I do on a daily basis and it's vital to keeping my sanity.

But here's the issue:  Hurley is incapable of feeling shame.  Hurley Badger Don't Care.  So I have yet to do the whole dog shaming thing because I find it disingenuous to post a picture of him looking guilty as that would be totally false to who he is.  Dude couldn't even find it in him to be just a little bit ashamed when he busted out of a window screen (we weren't home and this bad mom forgot to check to make sure the window was closed) and ran next door to steal an ice cream cone from our 4 year old next door neighbor.  I'm sure he made her cry.  I'm sure he didn't care.  Luckily, we have amazing neighbors who laughed it off and put him in the backyard until we got home.  Now, this could go down as the best dog shaming yet.  Unfortunately, Hurley Badger Don't Care and shame's not his game.

What are your thoughts on the dog shaming site?  Hilarious? Harmless?  A sign that our society is doomed?

Shop Dog Hurley

It's been about 3 weeks since Hurley started coming back to the store with me.  Though we've had a few bad days, he is doing amazing!  He's graduated from staying in a kennel in the storage room to being in a kennel at the back of the shop.  I really thought he would struggle with being able to see dogs enter but not being able to greet them/warn them off (depending on his mood).  But he proved my worries groundless and, other than a bit of whining, he has been amazing with just observing the dogs in the store, seeing them get treats and attention from me and having NO ISSUE with it.  Of course, I liberally award treats and praise when another dog is in the store and I have also asked all customers to keep their dogs out of the aisle in front of his kennel so he has plenty of space.   The first week back, I definitely pushed him too far too fast and we had a bad day as a result.  So now I am taking extra, extra time with each step.  

Maggie Reactivity Progress!

Maggie made a huge leap in her leash reactivity last week.  I was walking her and Hurley, which tends to magnify any reactivity but she walked on the opposite side of the street as another dog without a reaction beyond raised hair.  Woot!  I was so so proud of her progress.  A lot of it was due to keeping Hurley distracted with the following blog tidbit:

Watch Me Replaces Leave It as Sarah's Mostest Favorite Command

Though Leave It has long enjoyed mostest favorite command status due to its versatility and its ability to help me help my dogs control their reactivity, my new favorite is Watch Me.  It's all due to Hurley.  He is a Watch Me Pro.  We are quickly turning Watch Me into his fail-safe command - that one which can get his attention no matter what.  I see him getting excited about seeing another dog on a walk and about to bark?  Watch Me!  His head turns to me ninja fast.  N-I-N-J-A fast.  Seriouslys.  He whips it around and he'll even run full speed towards me if he's not right by my side when I say it.  This has helped us tremendously both at the store seeing other dogs and on walks with his sisters.  He's so reliable about it that I can ask him for a Watch Me, tell the other dog to Leave It and we can walk by a dog-in-yard scenario with no one going craisins.  I'm super proud of him and am doing everything I can to continue to reinforce the command.  I wish I could take video of how quickly he whips his head around but it's most impressive when there are distractions around and that's exactly not the scenario where I'm going to waste any time whipping out a camera or phone.  

Them's the half-baked tidbits floating around in my brain today.  And your Married with Dawgs update for the week, jam-packed into one post.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The BEST News

Quincy is going to be OK!!!

As of my last update on yesterday's post, everyone was fairly certain that Q had the big C-word.  He was transferred to the cancer specialists he had previously seen for testing but all the prelim tests at his normal vet pointed in that direction.  We were all deeply saddened and terrified at the potential outcome.

But it turns out that Q has an enlarged spleen and pancreas but no signs of cancer on either.  He should bounce back with medication and care but may have to have his spleen removed at a later date. 

He is now at home with his Dad.

We couldn't be more relieved!  Thanks to everyone for your well wishes, kind words, healing thoughts & prayers.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Worst Case Scenario

Three or four weeks ago, one of our very good friends was in town for a quick visit.  Among the topics of discussion was an experience she had the previous week while dog sitting.  To make a long story short, her friend was out of town, the dog suffered a catastrophic injury, my friend was unable to reach her friend (who was out of the country) and had to make the terrible decision to put the dog to sleep.  Worst nightmare, right?

This was right before we embarked on our 3 week dog sitting adventure with Quincy, whose Dad was taking a trip overseas.  After hearing this story, there was much crossing of fingers and knocking on wood. While we are always more than happy to take care of our friends' pets, the worry of medical emergencies was foremost in our mind when Q's dad dropped him off.  Quincy's an old guy.  Happy, cancer-free (he lost one of his hind legs to cancer several years back) and other than being old, is in good health and great spirits.  But three weeks is a long time with a great dog who is undoubtedly in his twilight years.

Fast forward to last Sunday.  Q has been with us for 2 weeks at this point and while he's chilling out & warming up to my dogs, he is exhausted that particular morning.  He won't get up.  I think this is probably somewhat normal old 3-legged dog behavior who's spent the last 2 weeks moving around a lot more than normal in order to boss my trio around.  But I'm terrified when he turns up his nose at his kibble.  Q is nothing if not enthusiastic about food, especially for an old guy.  I help him outside to relieve himself, encourage him to drink a bit of water and pull out one of my many getting a dog to eat tricks: Honest Kitchen.  He eagerly laps it up, while still laying on his bed.  Kibble is still a no go until I figure out that eating from my hand makes it so much yummier and pretty soon he's finished his breakfast.  By mid-afternoon, Quincy was back to his normal self if hopping around with just a little less energy.  But he's himself enough to lick the side of the Monkey Bread we break out for dessert at our BBQ that evening.  In fact, he beat Hurley to licking/stealing any food.  Quincy's OK and I sigh with relief.

Until Wednesday morning.  When I get out of bed, Quincy's not moving.  He won't eat.  No kibble.  No canned.  No Honest Kitchen. No eating from my hands.  I help him outside.  No doing his business.  I help him back to his bed & officially start freaking the f*** out.

My only comfort is that Q's dad will be back the next day so I let him know that Q isn't feeling well and ask to schedule his pickup.  Crap!  I totally got his return date wrong and he won't be back until Saturday.  This is not good.

At this point, I'm trying to balance that tendency-to-overreact o' mine with an over abundance of caution.  It's so difficult to make decisions or even help a friend make their decisions remotely.  I don't know how much of this is Quincy being super worn out in a bit of pain versus seriously ill and I have no history with him to guide me.

I stop home mid-afternoon to check up on him.  He hasn't touched the food, won't get up and now he's got a goopey eye.  Triple f***!!! I had spent the entire morning telling myself he was going to be fine. Going to be his normal self when I checked on him. He wasn't.

Quincy's dad and I decided to go ahead and make an appointment for today. Q's only slurping liquids this morning but there's a lot of nutrition I can pack in a slurpy mess: chicken broth, greek yogurt, pumpkin, and more Honest Kitchen.  So long as it's slurpy and not solid, he'll at least eat a little of it.  And as he has done since his dad dropped him off, his tail is still wagging every time I talk to him.  It can't be that bad, right? 

Please keep Quincy in your thoughts today and maybe do some finger-crossing for us, K?  I'm super worried about this guy.