Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Momma Bird

I don't know if this is something I should be confessing on the internet...but...on occasion I like to pass food to Andy mouth to mouth. I'm not pre-chewing or regurgitating the food mind you (gross!), there's no tongue involved (yuck!), and it's almost always raw vegetables I'm talking about. I hold the food, a baby carrot stick for instance, in my my mouth and make Andy pluck it out to eat it. It's an exercise in trust and a way for me to bond with my boy. I've done this with all my dogs. Anyone else do this? Or at least willing to admit it? Or am I really just that weird? 

Review | Carolina Prime Sweet Tater Fries Dog Treats


Products made from sweet potatoes are all the rage lately for both humans and canines. There are a number of brands that currently offer dehydrated sweet potatoes for dogs, in a variety of shapes and sizes, and in my opinion as long as they're made in the USA they are more or less the same. Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber and vitamin A. Dehydrated sweet potatoes for dogs have the added benefit of being chewy, making them fun to eat while also cleaning your pup's teeth.

I recently picked up a bag of sweet potatoes from a brand called Carolina Prime at my local PetSmart. This is actually our second bag. Andy goes into sweet potato bliss anytime I give him one so I'm pretty sure he approves (see photo above!). I love that Carolina Prime Sweet Tater Fries are all natural. The product contains nothing but dehydrated sweet potatoes - absolutely no additives or preservatives. The fries offer Andy variety in terms of flavor and texture. A great natural, fat-free, healthy snack!

Carolina Prime Sweet Tater Fries Dog Treats
Available at PetSmart
5 oz | $3.99 (I got then on sale for $2.99)

Guaranteed analysis below:

Going, Going, Gone!

Andy weighed 20.6 pounds when we brought him home from the humane society. We thought he was going to get really big, 50-60 pounds, but he's actually topped out at 31 pounds. Good things come in medium-sized packages!

31 Days of attaboyandy!

attaboyandy has officially been live for one month now! I hope you've enjoyed your time with us and will continue to follow as we chronicle the ups and downs that come with raising this shelter pup we affectionately call Andy. This is my first foray into blogging and the experience has been both exciting and exhausting. Who knew coming up with original content and taking pictures could be so involved?  Well, I kinda sort of knew, but thought I'd take a crack at it nonetheless. I've managed to keep up a furious pace these past 31 days but I think I'm going to slow things down and blog at a more leisurely pace from here on out.  Spend more time with the pup and his feline brothers. Oh, and the husband of course. :)
I'd love to hear from anyone out there reading this blog - opinions, suggestions, and maybe even ideas for collaboration? Thanks for stopping in and I hope you continue following us as we live and learn with Andy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Contrite Pup

Purse Snatcher

About 2 weeks after we adopted Andy I came home from work one night to find him happily chewing on one of my purses. The sight of shredded leather filled me with rage and I fumed at both Andy and my husband; he was after all supposed to be watching the pup. I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to clothing and accessories...but this was my favorite purse! I'm talking beautiful, brown, pebbled leather, gorgeous brushed silver hardware, playful pink stitching and cloth interior. Sigh.

OK, so I exaggerated when I said the purse was shredded - it was only one of the buckles. I was mad at Andy for about 5 minutes before it dawned on me that the whole incident was really my fault. I shouldn't have left the purse where he could get to it. I was also reminded of something that I had read recently, about how it's not right that dog owners expect more of their dogs than they would a toddler, when in reality the two have about the same level of intelligence. Sometimes I forget that Andy's a dog and will do the (naughty!) things dogs like to do. While I don't advocate letting a dog reek havoc in your household I do believe there are times we have to accept that dogs will be dogs. We need to do what we can to prevent negative behavior, but when these incidents happen, there's really no sense in getting angry. And by the way, I still carry my favorite purse.

Sympathy


Briton Riviere | Sympathy | 1877

Penitent Pup

Interpretation #1: Andy's sorry for eating his mum's shoes.
Interpretation #2: Andy's sad they are no more shoes to eat.

Andy's Shoe Fetish

My husband and I have flip-flopped schedules. When he's at work, I'm at home, and vice versa. This arrangement isn't ideal because not only do we not get to spend a lot of time together during the academic year (he teaches) but Andy's gotten used to almost always having at least one of us around. When we go out together and Andy gets left behind he inevitably gets into some sort of mischief.

The latest victim of said mischief is a pair of winter boots. I'm embarrassed to admit that this is actually the 4th pair of shoes Andy's rendered unwearable. And this was after we thought we had put all the shoes in places he couldn't reach them. Sheesh! The boy doesn't seem to know what to do with himself when we're not there. How about a nice nap or patty cake with your brothers? If we know we're going to be out for more than a couple of hours we try to make sure Andy gets a nice long walk. He also has plenty of toys to keep him stimulated but obviously this isn't enough. Any suggestions?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Snakes and Skunks

I got a text from a neighbor tonight saying a snake had been spotted around our apartment complex. Not just any snake, but one that looked like either a rattler or a copperhead. Really!?! Why is it that whenever someone sees a snake it's always a rattler or a copperhead? Why isn't it ever a harmless gartersnake? Either way I hope to steer Andy clear of any snakes. And skunks for that matter. I got a big whiff of skunk when I took Andy out to potty tonight. Is there any smell worse than skunk? Pee Eww!

Pious Sunday Cat

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Closer Look

We came across an open mouth well at a local park recently. It was next to a spring house that was built in 1741. According to dictionary.com a spring house is "a small storehouse built over a spring  or part of a brook, for keeping such foods as meat and dairy products cool and fresh." The spring still flows and the water is clean and clear. Andy was curious about the well and attracted to the sound of flowing fresh water.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cultivating an Acquaintance | A Warm Response

William Strutt | Cultivating an Acquaintance | 1889
William Strutt | A Warm Response | 1889

Why Dogs Pant


When humans get hot we sweat to stay cool. While dogs do sweat through their paws (which contributes to that delicious corn chip smell their paws exude!) they don't sweat through their skin to cool off. Instead dogs regulate their body temperature by panting, which circulates air through the body and has a cooling effect.

According to PetMD panting can also signal heatstroke, be a sign that your pup has ingested poison or is having an allergic reaction, or may be a symptom of illness. It's a good idea to have a mental gauge of what is normal panting for your dog, say, during and after a walk or on a hot day, this way you can better distinguish between usual and customary panting and a potential crisis.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt for Pups

A neighbor recently shared this recipe for homemade "frozen yogurt" treats for dogs. It sounds simple, cost efficient, and delicious! I'm going to give it a go this weekend and will let you know what Andy thinks.  

Ingredients:
12 ounces of fat free plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
2 tablespoons of honey
1 banana

Instructions:
Blend banana, peanut butter, and honey  until smooth. Combine with yogurt. Distribute evenly into an ice cube tray. When completely frozen remove treats from ice cube tray and store in a freezer-safe plastic bag. 

In the Shade


Frozen Treats for Dogs at the Store



I've been seeing more and more frozen treats for dogs at pet supply and grocery stores as of late. At the grocery store I saw several options in the frozen food aisle, right next to the frozen treats for bipedal folk. At the pet supply store I saw a small freezer containing an assortment of frozen treats from the brand Freshpet; they're the folks that have the refrigerator units with "fresh" pet food popping up everywhere. The Freshpet items are packaged nicely but I don't think I'm ready to shell out $6.99 for 4, 3.5 oz cups of frozen yogurt when Andy would probably be just as happy with a plain old ice cube.

Beat the Heat

How do we have a severe storm warning and a severe heat warning at the same time? I'm flummoxed. I'm also ready to say goodbye to the hot and humid days of July and ready to say hello to...the hot and humid days of August. Huh. Not much of a tradeoff. We'll have to try to make the best of it and do what we can to help Andy beat the heat. Here are some tips to help your pup stay cool as temperatures rise:
  • Make sure your pup has plenty of fresh, clean water.
  • Keep your pup indoors. Exposure to extreme heat and humidity can lead to heatstroke.
  • Do not over-exercise your pup. If a walk is a must do it in the early morning or evening
  • Never leave your pup in a car, even with the windows rolled down, on a hot day.
For more tips on how to help your pup beat the heat visit petfinder.com's article: Keep Your Dog Safe in the Heat.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?

According to an article on animal.discovery.com (Animal Planet's website), 
Dogs use their tails to communicate strong emotions such as agitation, annoyance and anger as well as happiness...The original purpose of the dog's tail was for balance. It prevents him from toppling over as he makes sharp turns while running or swimming. The tail also balances him when walking along narrow structures, climbing or leaping. Over time, the tail adapted itself to playing a vital role in communication, particularly when a dog is just walking or standing around.  
According to the same article this is how to "read" a dog's tail:
  • wags to the right = happy
  • high and wags back and forth = happy
  • horizontal to the ground = nosy
  • tucked between hind legs = frightened or submissive
  • wags to the left = frightened
  • wags low = worried or insecure
“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag.”
               --W.H. Auden

Andy's Tail

Andy's coat is a lovely reddish-brown. His chest has a splash of white. He also has a dab of white on his chin and a wee bit on the edges of some of his toes. His muzzle has a touch of fuzzy black; like a five-o'clock shadow. His tail is...something else. The topside is 50% black and 50% reddish-brown. The underside is solid reddish-brown. It looks like another dog's tail got slapped onto his rear end. A touch of his mom and a touch of his pop I imagine. And yes, it does wag. It wags quite nice in fact and is a delight to behold.  

Jeff Wells | All My Patients Have Tales

All My Patients Have Tales
Favorite Stories From a Vet's Practice

By Jeff Wells
226 pp. St. Martin's Press. $24.95

I loved James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small as a child and have been a sucker for personal anecdotes about animals and pet ownership ever since. For the most part literature in this genre is fluff - it's warm, fuzzy, and mindless reading. I think most people would agree though that a little fluff now and then is a good thing. 

All My Patients Have Tales is written in the spirit of James Herriot, filled with unexpected encounters and curious patients; though it falls short of the spirit embodied by Herriot's prose. Wells starts as a greenhorn straight out of vet school and takes the reader through his early years of practice. By the end of the book he's a well seasoned pro, having learned how to handle not only challenging patients and problems but their owners as well.  I appreciate that Wells shares tales about dogs and cats but also includes ones about non-domestic animals. The book is a fast read, filled with lighthearted humor, moments of trial and triumph, and even a little potty humor. The stories are brief, making this a good non-committal pick-up and put-down sort of book or a fast weekend read.

Hiccup Pup

Ever since Andy was a wee pup he's had the hiccups at least once a day. We don't know when they'll happen but they always do. He usually gets out about half a dozen hics before it stops. His mum thinks they're adorable!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Calisthenics

Andy adds creek-side calisthenics to his exercise regimen.

Fat Boy

According to the Centers for Disease Control more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Given that startling statistic it's no wonder our dogs and cats are also suffering from the same threat to their health and well-being. 

This  is a photo  of Titus, a sweet beagle that saw me through  college and the first 2 years of my marriage. He died very suddenly, and though we'll never know what happened, I know his moderate obesity didn't do anything good for him; he was at least 10 pounds overweight. I didn't realize weight was an issue for Titus at the time and it only strikes me now, as I look at old photos of him, that he really was a husky boy. He was overfed and under-exercised.  Being a beagle also didn't help as some breeds are more prone to obesity than others.

I've learned so much from each of the dogs that have graced my life and I'd like to think that with each canine companion that comes my way I become a better and more responsible owner. I'm going to do my darnedest to make sure weight is never an issue for Andy. This means being mindful of his caloric intake, making sure he has a healthy and balanced diet, gets regular exercise, and visits the vet annually for a checkup.  If only I could do the same for myself!

For more information on canine weight and weight loss check out this article on WebMD's website.

Making the Switch

75% old | 25% new (days 1-3)
50% old | 50% new (days 4-6)
25% old | 75 % new (days 7-9)
100% new (day 10)

Frequent changes to your pup's diet aren't recommended but there are times when change is necessary: when your dog goes from puppy to adult, when food allergies develop, if your dog develops a condition that requires a special diet, etc. Generally speaking once you find a high-quality diet that works for your dog it's a good idea to stick with it.

Abrupt changes to your dog's diet can cause major stomach upset and changes should be made gradually; ideally over a period of 10 days. I'll be following the transition formula prescribed above in order to switch Andy to his new diet. Hopefully everything will be smooth sailing and I won't have to deal with too much mushy poop. Have you ever had to pick up mushy poop with a dog poop bag? Trust me, it isn't pretty.

Product Overload

A recent adventure at our local pet supply store.

Andy Gets His Grub On

I mentioned last week that Andy's ready to transition to an adult dog food. We took the pup on a field trip to a local pet supply store yesterday and after some comparison shopping purchased a bag of Merrick's Classic Real Lamb, Brown Rice, and Apple Recipe. I've mentioned before that I don't think there's much difference between high-end brands of pet food; Blue Buffalo, Wellness, Merrick, Natural Balance, etc. are all excellent options. There is however a huge difference between these brands and your average super market selection. The high-end brands are committed to using natural, quality ingredients: no animal byproducts, no fillers or artificial ingredients, and offer grain free or limited ingredient options (for dogs with allergies). I think we owe it to our pups to give them the highest quality diet within our means.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cat Envy

Andy thinks he's a cat. Or at least wishes he could move like one. He likes to climb things and jump off them but he completely lacks the nimbleness and grace of his feline brothers. This morning he jumped off the back of the couch and hit the coffee table on his way down. I cringed when I heard the loud thud. He limped and wouldn't put any weight on his right hind-leg immediately after and I thought to myself, "Please don't tell me he broke something." Thankfully Andy shook it off and was up-and-at-em after a couple of minutes. Reckless pup!

Poop and Scoop

Yes I'm "that neighbor"  - the one with the pup that likes to pee on the stairs, but, I am taking steps to correct this bad behavior. Speaking of bad behavior, what's up with dog owners that think it's ok to leave piles of their dog's poop on the ground? A basic component of responsible pet ownership is cleaning up after your dog does his business. Not only is it common courtesy it prevents the spread of parasites and disease.   

Growing up I was never allowed to run around outside barefoot. The one time I let my friend talk me into it I stepped in a pile of dog poop. Arg. I'll never be the cause of some kid's childhood poop stepping trauma. When Andy poops I'll always be sure to scoop.

Nature Calls


Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit. 
     -- From "A Dog Has Died," Pablo Neruda

Hold It!

In order to get to the grass where Andy can do his "business" we have to exit the apartment, walk about 15 yards down a hall, go through 2 doors, descend a flight of stairs, and walk another 15 yards or so. Sounds like an ordeal but in reality it takes like 30 seconds. Andy's gotten into the habit of peeing on the stairs as of late. He just stops mid descent and lets loose a waterfall of piss. It doesn't happen all the time but frequently enough that it's a problem.

He goes out every 3-4 hours so it's not like we're asking him to hold his pee for an unreasonable length of time. I've tried verbal cues, telling him to "Hold it," but it doesn't always work. I don't know what the deal is...what I do know is that it sucks running into your neighbors when your pup is busy defiling the steps we all have to walk up and down everyday. I hate being "that neighbor."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Compulsive Cat

According to an article on WebMD fur isn't the issue when it comes to allergic reactions to cats; it's usually the proteins in cat saliva, their urine, and/or their dander that are the culprits. Most cat allergies can be controlled with antihistamines and decongestants, and by implementing a systematic plan of attack: minimally you should always wash your hands after petting your cat, vacuum regularly (a HEPA filter is a plus), wash bedding at least twice a month, and give your cat a high quality diet to alleviate dander.

Review | Eureka Optima Pet Lover Bagless Vacuum

We bought the Eureka Optima Pet Lover Bagless Lightweight Upright Vacuum with Turbo Nozzle (model 439AZ) 4 years ago and it's still going strong. It's effective for a 12 amp vacuum and really suits the needs of our loft. The Optima is compact, lightweight, has a nozzle with 3 attachments, and a 20 foot cord. We don't have carpet or rugs in the loft so I wasn't looking for a particularly powerful vacuum but I'm actually quite impressed with this model's sucking power. 

The nozzle, when combined with the wand, is great for reaching out-of-the-way piles of dust, while the Pet Brush attachment does a pretty good job of tackling fur on the couch. The Turbo Pet Power Paw, a nozzle attachment with a spinning brush, is one of the few features I could do without - it makes a lot of noise and looks impressive, but really, it doesn't do all that much.

Lick

From what I've read dog fur itself isn't an allergen but the dust and pollen that get caught in a dog's coat are. I appreciate Andy's short coat because generally speaking it means a cleaner coat. A high quality diet is important for Andy because it keeps his skin healthy and means less dander, which plays a major component in most animal allergies. Dog saliva and urine can also trigger allergies. Here are some more tips on how to combat allergies to animals, this time from the ASPCA: "Are You Allergic to Your Pet?"

Allergic to Animals?

I'm highly allergic to my furry pals and have to take copious amounts of medications to combat the symptoms of my allergies, which are caused not only by the boys but to dust and pollen in the environment. If I don't take my meds or they start to lose their effectiveness my nose leaks endlessly, I sneeze uncontrollably, my eyes itch to no end, and I feel like unzipping my skin and stepping out of it. Why the heck do I own a dog and two cats!?! Either I'm a glutton for punishment, or, I value the companionship of animals so highly I'm willing to deal with the allergies because the joy they bring me makes it worth it. My boys are so worth it! If allergies are the only thing holding you back from adopting a pup or a cat please know that it's doable. My allergies aren't going anywhere but here are some things I do to ease my symptoms: 
  • I take an allergy pill daily. Sometimes I need to double down and take 2 pills - my usual daily allergy pill and something with pseudoephedrine in it to combat my runny nose (the symptom I struggle with the most)
  • I use a saline spray to keep my nostrils free of dust and animal dander
  • I feed my boys a high quality diet, which keeps their fur and skin healthy; this means less shedding and dander
  • I vacuum and sweep regularly
I have to admit I'm actually pretty lazy when it comes to doing things to combat my allergies but I've reached a comfortable balance between symptoms I'm willing to tolerate and how much effort I'm willing to put in to fight them. Check out this Better Homes and Garden article for more tips on dealing with animal allergies.

Shedding, Sweeping, and Sisyphus


How do people with hardwood floors stay on top of all the fur their pets shed? I feel like I'm constantly sweeping and the minute I slack off I get a pile like the one you see above. That's less than a week's worth of accumulation (and that's not even counting upstairs)! Even Andy's grossed out. Sometimes I feel like it's a pointless endeavor. I sweep. The boys shed. I sweep. The boys shed.
 

These not so lovely piles also include plenty of animal dander. Fur + dander = sneezing, endless nose dripping, and red itchy eyeballs. My allergies have gotten so much worse ever since we relocated to Pennsylvania, moved into the loft, and added a second cat to the menagerie. I'm constantly having to cycle through different allergy meds as each one inevitably loses effectiveness over time. I complain, but really, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my boys!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Andy Says Relax

What to do in an Emergency

We've been to animal emergency clinics on two occasions. Once, way back when, our dog at the time (Titus) got sick on a Friday night. By the time Saturday morning rolled around and we got in to see our vet she had us take him to the emergency clinic since her office closed early on Saturdays. It did not end well and Titus passed away later that evening. The second occasion occurred when Maxwell had a seizure in the middle of the night. We took him to the emergency clinic for tests, and in that instance, all turned out well.

Most vet offices won't see patients after hours and have very limited hours on weekends, if they're open at all. In case of an after hours emergency it's a good idea to know beforehand where the nearest animal emergency clinic is located. Having their number on your fridge or in your cell phone is also not a bad idea. I've consulted with a vet at an emergency clinic over the phone on 2 occasions. In both instances they were actually happy to help me over the phone and told me I didn't need to come in. I think they were just glad to chat with someone during their grave yard shift and happy to help a pup in need.

Be aware that emergency clinics do charge more for their services. It's always a good idea to call ahead and consult with the vet prior to heading over. Don't panic. In an obvious emergency (i.e. your dog was hit by a car and is bleeding to death) get over there pronto, but if the situation doesn't appear to be dire, keep a level head and give the clinic a call. If the vet doesn't think the situation is life-threatening he may give you instructions on how to handle it at home. If he determines you need to go in - you go in. I'm hoping to not ever find myself in this situation with Andy. Knock on wood!

Remembering Maxwell | Bees and Benadryl

Years ago, when we were still living in the Midwest, I let Maxwell out to do his business just before we were going to turn in. I watched him from the back porch as he walked the perimeter of the backyard. He was walking nose to ground, as hounds are apt to do, when suddenly he jerked his head up and shook it vigorously from side to side. I had a feeling he had been stung by an insect of some sort but thought little of it since he seemed unfazed by the attack and continued on his merry way. 

About 5 minutes later Maxwell came back inside the house and that's when I noticed a large welt on the side of his muzzle, where he had been stung. As I examined the welt the rest of his muzzle began to swell before my eyes. I started to panic when his muzzle nearly doubled in size. Since it was already past 11:00 p.m. I knew our vet wouldn't be around so I called our local animal emergency clinic. I explained the situation to the person on the other end of the line and she said it sounded like Maxwell was having an allergic reaction to a bee sting and that Benadryl should be enough to stop the reaction.

All Natural Prairie Pup

Adult Food for an "Adult" Andy

Andy's ready to graduate from puppy food to an adult diet. Chow formulated for puppies has a higher calorie content specifically designed to meet the needs of a developing and growing pup. Now that Andy has reached full size and is neutered our vet tells us it's time for him to transition to adult dog food.  Currently Andy is eating Blue Buffalo Life Protection Puppy Food, Lamb & Oatmeal Recipe. While we've always been satisfied with Blue Buffalo products I think I'm going to take this opportunity to try a different brand.

There are so many choices of dog food available nowadays it's hard to know what's best for your pup. Really, there is no one "best," but as responsible dog owners I think we owe it to our pups to do a little research. So many dog foods on the market have very little nutritional value and are loaded with animal byproducts and grain fillers. After doing some research here's what I'm looking for in an adult dog food for Andy:
  • It's made in the USA
  • Dry kibble  
  • It's formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages
  • Lamb is the primary protein (no animal by-products)
  • No corn
  • It's readily available 
Using the Dog Food Advisor website as a reference I selected the brands/lines above and will make a decision this weekend. I'm planning on taking Andy to our local pet supply store this weekend and doing some comparison shopping and I'll let you know what I settle on and why. Bon appetit!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tin Tin Reading

Roy Lichtenstein | Tin Tin Reading | 1993

Literary Aspirations

Straight from the mind of a pup. Andy is writing the next great book on canine cognition. A not-so-good book on feline fantasies will follow.

C.S. Lewis

Alexandra Horowitz | Inside of a Dog

Inside of a Dog
What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
By Alexander Horowitz
353 pp. Scribner. $27

It seems to me, until dogs open their mouths and communicate with humans in a language we can understand, much of what is written about the dog's mind is theoretical. Can we ever really know what a dog is thinking or why they do the things they do? That being said I still enjoy reading books about dog behavior and cognition and Alexandra Horowitz's book is interesting because she asks the reader to step away from the all too common practice of anthropomorphizing dogs, and instead, experience the world as a dog might by understanding their umwelt, or "self-world." In order to do this we have to recognize that dog's have vastly different sensory organs (eyes, nose, ears) than our own. These differences mean dogs perceive, and therefore experience, the world in a very different way. 

Words With Pablo


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review | Advantage II Flea Prevention and Treatment


Flea prevention and treatment, especially in the summer months, is an issue most pet owners have to contend with at some point. In a previous post
I wrote about how we generally deal with fleas in our household. The minute we spot a flea on any of our boys we bust out a tube of Advantage Flea Prevention and Treatment II and apply it to all 3 pets. Prior to settling on this product we tried going the cheap route - i.e. experimenting with brands readily available at your local big-box retailer: Hertz, Sentry, Bio Spot, etc. For the most part those products were completely ineffective. 

While Advantage is pricey (it generally starts at $50 for a 4 pack) it really has been worth the investment for multiple reasons:

Steady

Pup Tip | Grow Your Own Greens

Moderate consumption of grassy greens can be quite beneficial for our furry friends. Greens (such as wheat grass) are fiber rich and contain folic acid and B vitamins and are a great natural supplement to your pet's commercial diet. Both dogs and cats may benefit from eating grass when they're experiencing stomach upset. This is going to sound gross, but if they consume enough grass it'll make them vomit and help clear out their system. Cats get an added benefit in that grass can help prevent the build-up of hairballs. 

I generally wouldn't recommend letting your pets eat lawn grass if you can help it. Lawn grass may have been exposed to pesticides and harbor parasites. Pre-grown pet grass sold at pet supply stores are preferable as they're grown in controlled environments and contain nutrient rich grass (such as wheat grass) as opposed to your run of the mill Kentucky bluegrass. But at $4-6 a pop pre-grown pet grass isn't cheap so here's a fun and cost effective alternative: grow your own greens! 

6:45 a.m.

Andy slept in till 6:45 a.m. this morning which means I got to sleep in till 6:45 a.m. this morning! I imagine this is exactly how a breastfeeding mother feels. Well. Not exactly. (Props to all the breastfeeding mothers out there!)

Full disclosure: Technically this photo is of a sunset and not a sunrise, and even then, the sun rose at 5:46 a.m. this morning. I, for one, wasn't awake to see it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Amaxophobia | Fear of Riding in Vehicles

Andy suffered from severe amaxophobia the first month he was with us. Anytime we would walk towards the car he would pull back frantically on his leader trying to get away. He would vocalize intensely, as if he were screaming, "I can't go in there! If I go in there I'll die!". It was bad. One of us would have to physically pick him up and place him in the rear portion of the car (we have a small suv). Once in the car he would immediately lay down and start panting and drooling. At the time he was riding in a crate because he was small enough we were afraid he would get tossed around.

I don't know why Andy had such a negative reaction to the car and wonder if he associated it with a past bad experience (perhaps being abandoned at the humane society?) but because he would have to ride in the car relatively frequently we knew we had to retrain him post-haste. This took some time and tweaking. 

Summer Treat

Nice Things

When we moved into our loft 4 years ago we arrived sans couch. When we went to move our old couch at our previous place we discovered it was completely wedged into the spot it had occupied (it was a really tight spot!). You would think since we got it in there surely we could get it out but some mysterious force held it firmly in place and it just wouldn't budge. We ended up having to saw it in half and decided it wasn't worth dragging 2 halves of a couch to the new place.

When it came time to buy a new couch I fell victim to temporary insanity because as you can see vanity completely trumped practicality in my selection. I mean, who buys a light blue couch when you have pets? Even if it is covered in microfiber? But I just couldn't resist the color, the elegant lines, and the classic  tufted cushions. I knew it would be perfect in the loft. When the couch was delivered I was determined to keep Maxwell off it. Maxwell was determined to make it his luxury bed. Guess who won? In beginning I was vigilant about vacuuming fur and sponging stains off the couch. The first time Diego decided to use the matching ottoman as a scratching post I fumed. This is why we can't have nice things! I now wholeheartedly accept that fur, drool, vomit, pee, and occasional anal secretions (ew) are all a part of pet ownership and I wear them as badges of honor. Well, only the fur really.