Monday, April 19, 2010

Gypsy Digs a Hole

The girls are enjoying the spring, and the backyard, immensely. This weekend, Gypsy decided what the back yard really needed was a very big hole.

Enjoy the video.


video

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Allergy Season

It's allergy season in the great white north - both for people and for dogs. Maisey is suffering from seasonal allergies, so she had the requisite runny nose and eyes. The most troubling symptom, however, is that her paws are super itchy. So she's in the Cone of Shame until we can get her symptoms under control. We're using Benadryl and seeing the vet this evening to see what else we can do to keep her comfortable.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day Maisey!

One year ago, we brought Maisey home. Happy first Gotcha Day, girl!

Monday, April 5, 2010

What would a holiday weekend be...

without a trip to the emergency vet?

On Sunday morning, Maisey scraped a paw pad on her first trip outside in the morning. We checked it out and it was the equivalent of a skinned knee - a little skin had lifted but there was no blood and she was walking on it fine. So we cleaned it, bandaged it, and put her and Gypsy in their crates shortly afterward.

When we returned from running errands (Ikea!) we let the girls out of their crates and Maisey was limping and clearly in pain, so we loaded her up and headed over to the e-vet. She got a thorough exam, a pretty blue bandage, and some pain pills and we headed home. Because the skin wasn't completely broken, we got to skip the antibiotics, but we have really specific instructions on how to check for infection just in case.

Maisey was drowsy with the pain meds, so we all took it easy on Sunday night. And of course she got to sleep with us, which was a treat for us all. Well, all of us except for Bunny and Gypsy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cookie Monsters

Maisey has made some excellent strides!

Our biggest behavioral problem is that she would bark obsessively at stuff - mostly squirrels and the neighbors. Not normal dog barking, but obsessive, hackle-raising, in-a-trance-that-we-couldn't-break barking. It was this kind of barking that broke two windows because she slammed up against them in her frenzy. When she got like this, nothing could pull her away. Trust me, I tried, and got nipped once. (No blood, no broken skin - but that was the point at which we called the behaviorist.)

I'm proud to report that we are now able to verbally call both Maisey and Gypsy away from any situation with the sound of our voices. The world's biggest squirrel could be taunting them from a tree, there could be an entire construction crew on the other side of the fence... it doesn't matter.

We simply call out, "Girls! COOKIE! COOKIE! COOKIE!" We changed the "treat" word to cookie. It's very distinct sounding and the girls "got it" immediately. So no matter what they're up to, no matter how intense the situation, we yell COOKIE and they drop what they're doing and run to find us. We reward them with a dog biscuit, some broccoli, or maybe popcorn. We keep tossing or handing the treats until they calm down and forget all about the squirrels. Once they're calm, we release them, and all is right in the world.

Guess our old gal can learn some new tricks.





Did someone say cookie?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More updates

Maisey is tolerating the Prozac well, which is to say there have been no adverse side effects. It will take a month to see if it has therapeutic value for her.

Other measures we have taken (sealing off our very loud mailslot, using a "DAP" pheromone diffuser, and lots and lots and lots of training and positive reinforcement) have helped her come a long way. The awesome thing is that Gypsy is a better adjusted dog as well, because she is experiencing all of these things as well (with the except of the medication).

If you have a dog that suffers from anxiety, I highly recommend a DAP diffuser.

Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) mimics the properties of the natural pheromones to reduce or eliminate stress in dogs of all ages. Dog Appeasing Pheromone has a relaxing effect for both the young and adults dogs. It is an effective natural way to help your dog cope with new and fearful situations such as fireworks, thunderstorms, holiday stress, traveling or moving to a new environment.

We've been using a DAP for about six weeks now. We can't smell anything, but the dogs sure do. We noticed a change in behavior recently (they were both sort of skittish and easily agitated) and we realized we were a week overdue in replacing the DAP refill. A few hours later, things were back to normal.

If you decide to give a DAP a try, shop around for the best deal online, especially when it comes to replacement cartridges.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Maisey Update

Over the past few months, Maisey has been struggling with what seems to be anxiety issues. So we brought in a qualified (DVM) behavior specialist a month ago to observe her behavior, both good and bad, and help us to help Maisey.

We got some really great ideas about environment modification and training and she has been steadily improving. But this past week she had a set back and broke a window (her second) freaking out over the mailman. She's also started snapping at her treats instead of receiving them calmly. So we checked back in with Dr. R, who now believes that in addition to behavior modification and training, Maisey may be a good candidate for medication. We're taking her in this afternoon for a full work up (to ensure her problem isn't physical) and bloodwork that will help the doc determine the best type of medication to help ease her anxiety. The plan is to use meds for about 6-12 months and continue with the behavior modification and training. At the end of that time frame, ideally we can wean her off the meds but continue the training and Maisey will be right as rain.

The pic below is Maisey "standing guard" on the front porch.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yawn

Apparently we've been keeping Gypsy up past her bedtime.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lazy Sunday

For a pup who never used to be able to settle down outside of her crate, Gypsy sure has warmed up to the notion of napping.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thanks, Hank!

Our good buddy Hank (a.k.a. Captain Wetbeard) sent the girls a belated Christmas present.

The artist captured the girls perfectly! We have a matching one of Lucky Bunny from a few years ago, but that's already packed away with the other decorations.

Thanks Hank, you're really super (even though for the first year we all wanted to ship you on a slow boat to a land far, far away...)



Monday, February 8, 2010

Maisey Ate a Smurf

Or, rather, she came over for some scratchies when I was in the middle of a pastel piece. I blend colors with my fingers when I'm doing abstract pieces, so my fingertips were covered. Oops.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Backyard Project




The back yard is open for business! The fence is now solid and the deck crawlspace has been covered with lattice work. The girls love it. Having such a safe and secure space means the dogs can spend a lot more time outside. Sitting at the dining room table, which we do a lot, we have a nearly panoramic view of the backyard, so we can watch them while they run and play. They pulled up the remnants of a weed tree and it's like the greatest toy on earth. They love to carry it around and fight over it. Only downside is that it looks oh-so-slightly like a limp squirrel, which has scared the krap out of us on more than one occasion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Proof of Sleep

Gypsy is a busy dog. She is constantly on the go.

She does crate up beautifully and lounges in there contentedly, but when she's out of her crate, she is is constant motion. Always up to (or, more likely, into) something. So today I share a rare photograph of Gypsy snoozing outside of her crate.

What a lovely evening it was.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Things We Do for Love

We've decided to refurbish our back yard for a number of reasons, the greatest of which is that it boasts a 7' privacy fence which will allow the dogs to run and run without worry of them barking at passersby or the neighbor dogs. Job one was to hire a contractor to replace a fence panel that has been missing since we moved in. He's coming on Tuesday.

Job two. Oh, job two. We have a very large deck in the back yard which has crawl space underneath. Just big enough for the dogs to get under. We've peeked under there before and it's full of spider webs, broken bottles, and other trash. So naturally we wanted to make it safe for the dogs.

So let me set the scene. It's January. In Minnesota. So there is a LOT of crusty snow out back. So I carved out a space to gain access to the underbelly of the deck. Readers, I am not a small woman. But I love my dogs, so I grabbed a bucket and belly-crawled under that deck to gather the trash. Among my new-found treasures were beer bottles, bits of tin foil, a Matchbox car, barrettes, a femur of animal unknown, lots of feral cat poo, and, naturally, a dead squirrel. Good times.

We cleaned it all up, but decided to install latticework around the periphery of the deck to block dog access... just in case.

The things we do for love.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jail Break!

It was an interesting day at Casa de Shelter Hound today. Babs and I have to lay off the crime drama - they're a really bad influence on the dogs! Don't worry, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.

They broke out of their crates!!1!

Their crime spree began early this morning. I had just put Lucky in his room with a nice bowl of kibble when I heard the tell-tale sound of mischief - the collar jingle. Who should I find on the other side of the door? Maisey, quite proud of herself and happy to see me. I checked her crate, which was perfectly intact albeit with the door hanging wide open.

That's odd...

Learning from our mistakes, we made extra sure the crates were latched when we headed off to work. Maybe we didn't latch Maisey's crate so well last night. We should be good now, right?

Wrong.

We arrive home in the evening and heard that extra jingle as I went to unlock the front door. Gypsy decided she needed some extra free time today too! Thankfully she hadn't destroyed anything, including the three shoes she carried over to their play area. Well, if you don't count her crate. It's like she blew the entire front panel off with a stick or two of dynamite! I had to use all my strength to wrench it back into place.

If nothing else, she is thorough.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

3

Having two coned dogs has its upside.























These two have really bonded over the last week. This level of cuddling is quite new!

2

Sweet Gypsy

1

That's right, mom! We need a whole entire year devoted to us!!! You go take pictures of your art and stuff. We'll be having our photo shoots done by pop!































psst...Gypsy...Your cone is on upside down!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

the dogs protested

they want their very own, special, magic blog and asked me to move my 365 business elsewhere. the nerve!

anyway, if you want to follow my 365 blog, you can find it here:

http://365-days-with-babs.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 1, 2010

Imagine My Supplies - Part I

I'm working on a whole shoot of my art supplies, because they are art unto themselves. But I'm on the wrong computer tonight for uploading, so I'll leave you with this iPhone image of my new carousel. Oh yes folks, she swivels.

Whatever Gets You Through the Day

An apology to those of you who read "for the dogs". The dogs aren't going anywhere, but in 2010 they will be joined by a host of other images as part of Project 365. Today's pic is entitled Whatever Gets You Through the Day and is an homage to nicotine gum.

I started smoking in 1984 and quit in August 2006. Because I fell in love. I haven't smoked since then (except in dreams, which always leave me in utter panic upon waking). For the first six months of being quit, I was miserable. I craved nicotine constantly, a physical and mental longing that occupied far too many of my thoughts. Then my officemate introduced me to my new love, nicotine gum. I like it straight up - uncoated and unflavored. I don't need any mint getting in the way of my little nicotine rush.

Lucky for me, my heart's in excellent shape, so I continue to chew the gum with my doctor's blessing. And what a blessing it is. When the world feels like just too much, I lovingly unwrap a little piece from its foil package and pop it in my mouth. Instant soothing.

What do you do to get through the day?