Friday, September 28, 2012

Hound and Bitch in a Landscape

George Stubbs | Hound and Bitch in a Landscape | 1792

Random Act of Drooling

Maddie The Coonhound

maddieonthings/Theron Humphrey

It's Friday and I think you should check out Maddie the Coonhound at maddieonthings. The gorgeous and whimsical photos you'll find there are the work of Maddie's owner, photographer Theron Humphrey. She is a rescue with a very special talent for balancing on objects and holding bizarre poses...though I suspect some of the photos have been Photoshopped. Either way this pup is a master of self-control and a delight to behold.

Andy Claims a Tree

Andy: "I don't care if this is the George Washington Bicentennial Memorial Tree. I will pee on it and it will be mine."

*Confession: I've never actually witnessed Andy lifting his leg to pee or "mark territory." He pees like a girl, you know...he's a squatter. Maxwell was the same way his entire life. I always wondered why this was and only bothered to look it up recently. I didn't spend too much time looking but from what I gather squatting to pee is fairly common in male dogs that are neutered young. The whole lifting-of-the-leg to pee thing is typically done by older, more mature dogs, to mark territory. Neutering young apparently removes this drive.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Over the Shoulder

I Spy

A couple of photos I spied on Camp Bow Wow's Facebook page of Andy at day camp yesterday. The photo above is of him looking into the "big dog's yard." They split the dogs up according to size and temperament and even though Andy's is a smallish medium size  dog he wants to roll with the big pups! The photo below is of Andy wresting with a German shorthaired pointer puppy named Bullet. Apparently they were at it all day and when the puppy wanted to take a nap Andy wouldn't let him. The little bugger! (Andy that is!)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Post Day Camp Wipe Down

Andy's always a little grimy when he comes home from Camp Bow Wow. He spends the day running around tussling with other dogs, both indoors and out, so it's really no surprise. His paws get especially dirty and dusty from the gravel that covers the outdoor play area. In lieu of giving him a bath every Wednesday night, which is impractical and wouldn't be good for his skin and coat, I've taken to wiping him down thoroughly with a baby wipe once we get home. I picked up a package of Huggies Naturally Refreshing Cucumber & Green Tea Baby Wipes at Target a couple of weeks back ($1.99 for a pack of 56 wipes) and so far I'm really happy with the product. The wipes are sturdy and one is usually enough to freshen Andy up and get rid of the dust on his coat and paws. The scent is light and refreshing and a great alternative for folks who don't like baby powder scents. The next time I see these wipes on sale I'll probably pick up a second pack for the car. 

I've seen specialty "pet wipes" at pet supply stores that sell for around $5-10 for 50-100 wipes. That's a little pricey for my taste. These "pet wipes" typically differ from baby wipes in that they contain coat and skin conditioners, but really, if your dog is eating a high quality dog food his coat and skin should already be in great shape. Many are also labeled as "veterinarian approved" - which I think is just a gimmick to get us to spend more money on a product that isn't really necessary. As far as the baby wipes are concerned, I figure if they're good enough for a baby's bottom, they're good enough for a dog. Of course there is always the off chance your pup could have an allergic reaction to a particular brand of baby wipe, so it's always smart to proceed with caution when trying out a new product. These Huggies wipes have worked well for us so far and I foresee us always having them on hand to keep the pup fresh.

Day Camp

Andy's at day camp today...aka doggy daycare. He seems to have figured out our new Wednesday routine and gets super (super!) excited when we head towards the front door. I'm pretty sure he knows he's headed to Camp Bow Wow. As soon as he hears the jingle of his collar he goes nuts. I love that he's enthusiastic about camp but unfortunately this enthusiasm translates into uncontrollable whining and barking the entire drive to camp. He did the same thing last week. I'm interpreting his behavior as nervous anticipation and would like to find a way to break this pattern. Arg. If it's not one thing it's another. Here's a shot of Andy at camp I snagged from the "Camper Cam." Looks like the pup is having fun hanging with his day care buddies and a camp counselor.  

Pup Pizzah

Andy waits patiently for his Pup Pizzah treat. We picked up half a dozen of these delectable delights at the farmers market on Sunday from a local dog "barkery." Seems like "boutique" pet treats are all the rage. I imagine they're having a tough go at it in this economy. I'm not normally into "boutique" products like this, fancy cupcakes, gourmet biscuits, cookies, etc. for dogs, but I wanted to show my support for this local family business. This particular product was relatively inexpensive and Andy loves em!

The Pup Pizzah is made of garbanzo flour, skim milk ricotta, egg, and water (crust) + tomato paste, mozzarella, basil, and oregano (toppings). 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

That's a No Go on the New Hardware

So I tired fitting the Easy Walk Harness on Andy today and it doesn't fit correctly. Blurg. Based on the sizing chart from Premier (below, click to enlarge) I purchased the harness in a medium but it's just a tad too small. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense because I measured Andy's girth and it's approx. 23 inches - which should put him right at a medium. Looks like we need a medium/large. Andy's a fairly petite pup so this sizing chart is all out of whack. Something to consider if you're thinking of picking one of these up. I hope the harness actually works well enough that it's worth all this hassle!

Ankle Deep

New Hardware for Andy

Andy's new harness (the Premier Gentle Leader Easy Walk Harness) is here! We're going to start test driving it today. I've already started doing some basic obedience with the pup using one of the training DVDs from K9 Living. In both instances, getting Andy comfortable with the new harness and with obedience training, I'm using treats to reward good behavior. 

Hotdogs were recommended by both the DVD and a coworker. According to Kathy Santo giving little pieces of hotdog, aka human food, to your pup in the context of training won't lead to begging at the table. My coworker's vet recommends low-fat hotdogs. I opted to pick up some mini Natural Balance Dog Food Rolls (Lamb Formula). I used to give Maxwell little slices as a treat and he loved them. They have a drier texture than a human sausage - more akin to a very dry salami - and they also have a strong (but delicious!) scent. I'm hoping Andy will respond well to them and be an obedient little pup. Wish us luck!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Obey Diego

Kerchief Pup

Andy wearing the kerchief that came with his allthingsdogblog giveaway win.

Give a Dog a Bone?

So I mentioned in this morning's Farmers Market post that we picked up a smoked beef bone for Andy yesterday. Some folks we know that sell at the market recommended them as did other vendors and dog owners. The bones looked and felt sturdy and smelled delicious, so it was no surprise then that Andy was all over it. It got me to wondering though how safe is it to give a dog a real bone? I was a little creeped out by the fact the bone had soft marrow in the center - uh, salmonella anyone?

Growing up we always gave our dogs bones from the table. The bones were never from chicken but from beef and the occasional ox tail. They loved it and we never had any problems. Digging around on the internet however yielded the fact that the FDA made a recommendation back in 2010 that dog owners not feed real bones of any kind to their pups. According to their consumer update the potential risks involved are many, including: broken teeth, bone fragments getting stuck in the intestines, constipation due to bone fragments, and severe bleeding from the rectum (ouch!).

The debate appears to be raging on. While many vets recommend avoiding bones altogether others say it's ok to feed your dog raw bones (they're less likely to splinter). I guess as dog owners we each have to decide how much risk we're willing to take when it comes to the health of our pups. From past experience I can say with confidence that giving my dogs bones never caused any issues but reading this FDA report has me feeling less confident about how safe they are. I hate to be overly protective of my pets, but then again, I think why take the risk? Yesterday Andy was focusing on nibbling off the meaty bits on the outside of the bone and the marrow that he could reach on the inside. Today he started really focusing on the bone itself and was managing to break off little pieces.
I took it away at this point to be on the safe side. I'm on the fence about this and would love to hear what you think.

Farmers Market

We took a field trip to one of our many local farmers markets yesterday. It was an outdoor venue so Andy got to come along and take in the sights and sounds. Talk about sensory overload! He was overwhelmed by all the attention he got but super excited to say hello to a variety of folks and others pups. It was a good opportunity to continue socializing him. We picked up some kale, which I sauteed with hens of the woods mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt/pepper, and olive oil for dinner last was delicious! Also scored with $1 eggplants and lots of fresh corn. Andy got to chomp on his very first bone. It was a freshly smoked beef bone that kept him occupied while we enjoyed shredded roasted pork with rice and beans for lunch. The weather was lovely and all in all it was a perfect day.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dog on a Log

Winslow Homer | Dog on a Log | 1889
“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
         -- Martin Luther

Andy | Hound X

When we first saw Andy at the humane society he was described as a hound/pit bull mix. I'm not gonna lie, for a split second all the negative things I had read about pit bulls ran through my mind and I momentarily dismissed the idea of adopting a dog with pit in him. As I observed Andy and all the other pit bulls in their cages, both full and mixed breeds, I was taken with how unique each dog was - each in possession of a singular personality and qualities all their own and each with the potential to be a loving companion.  I'm sure glad we gave Andy a chance. At this point I don't know if he actually has any pit in him, our vet doesn't seem to think so, but even if he does it matters not. Andy has his forever home.

Breed prejudice is sad and unjust. The case of Lennox, the dog in Ireland that was euthanized simply because he was a American bulldog-Labrador mix, is a prime example of the injustice of breed prejudice and breed-specific laws. Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog,” said it best when she wrote, "We must target the deed not the breed...We must hold irresponsible pet owners accountable. Dogs of any breed can be fantastic, and dogs of any breed can be dangerous."

Stop Breed Prejudice

Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Don't Eat That Andy!

Andy discovered rabbit poo today.
I caught him snacking on it like it was popcorn.

The Dog Father

Waiting for Andy's New Harness

Andy's been a puller from the get go and when we first adopted him it was apparent the ol' leash and collar wasn't going to cut it. It's a combination of poor training on our part, bad manners on his part, and that darn hound nose of his. Once he catches whiff of a scent trail there's no turning back! We started Andy off with a gentle leader, a collar that looped around his muzzle and fit around his head. In theory it was supposed to combat pulling, lunging, and jumping. In reality it did no such thing and rubbed his muzzle raw to boot.

For the last 2 months Andy's been wearing a body harness he inherited from Maxwell. I think it was the cheapest one we could find at a local big box pet supply store. While it does give us better control over him than the Gentle Leader overall, its design is flawed. The adjustable straps are always coming loose (it's made of nylon but has a shiny, almost silky, finish if that makes any sense, and allows for more slide), the strap that goes around his torso frequently detaches from the rest of the harness, and the middle section (where the leash clips) migrates from side to side when we're walking. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I never really thought anything in particular about black cats, that is, it never occurred to me not to adopt a cat just because of its black fur. Diego came into our lives by happenstance - he happened to be hanging around our apartment complex back in 2009. He was, and is, a lover boy. He had me at meow and has been with us ever since. I love that he's a little rough around the edges, that he gets his jollies by thumping his brothers on their heads, and
that he could care less about covering his smelly turds in the litter box. He has lovely long whiskers. It also doesn't hurt that he smells like cookies.

Black Cats Are Beautiful

Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Random Encounter With A Water Pup

Andy met this Golden Retriever at the park the other day. His owner had him off leash and they were playing fetch in the creek. He was super friendly and stopped by to say hello. Of course the water pup had to have a good shake once he got within sniffing distance of Andy...much to my husband's chagrin. 

Pet Jerkey | FDA Summary Report

The FDA is continuing to investigate reports of pet illness and death related to jerky treats manufactured in China. They released their first summary report of their investigation last Thursday. According to the report the FDA has received approximately 2,200 reports of illnesses related to the treats, including the report of 360 canine deaths and one feline death. The FDA states that these illnesses/deaths "may be related to consumption of the jerky treats" but that  "no definitive cause has been determined." 

Despite the fact the FDA is not explicitly linking these illnesses/deaths to jerky treats manufactured in China at this point they seem to be implicitly implying that consumers should avoid them. The reports states that "the FDA is reminding pet owners that jerky pet treats are not necessary for pets to have a fully balanced diet, so eliminating them will not harm pets. Commercially produced pet food, which is very safe, contains all of the nutrients that pets need."

Personally I'm erring on the side of caution and avoiding any edible pet product  manufactured in China. This is actually quite easy given the number of companies nowadays that manufacture their products in the United States. Of course even this isn't a guarantee as U.S. manufactured dog foods are regularly subject to recall. There are however less risks involved with products manufactured stateside as plants in the U.S. are subject to closer inspection and more stringent oversight. 

A Steady Rain

It's raining. Hard. And has been since about 2:00 am. I think this might be Andy's first really heavy rain. He was confused when I took him out to go potty. He kept trying to shake off the water. He kept looking up at me, his expression seemingly asking, "What the heck is going on?" He refused to poop. I walked him around for about 10 minutes, getting increasingly wet and agitated, all the while yelling, "Poop!". He would not, and did not, poop. The last time I brought him in without pooping in the morning he proceeded to take a dump on the floor about an hour later. I'm going to be so annoyed if that happens today. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week 2012

Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week 2012

September 17th to the 23rd is Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week. The week is sponsored by Petfinder and is meant to highlight animals in need of homes but that are less likely to be adopted. This includes senior pets, pets with behavioral needs, victims of breed prejudice, fearful or shy pets, pets with medical needs, and pets that need to be only pets to name a few. Please consider opening your heart and home to a special animal in need. For more information check out's page dedicated to the week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Car and Hunting Fox

Umberto Boccioni | Car and Hunting Fox | 1904


I won a giveaway last week from All Things Dog Blog, a blog with lots of useful information for dog owners and frequent giveaways. We received the package today and Andy scored some really nice swag: 3 training DVD's from K9 Living, 3 vouchers for Castor and Pollux dog food, a t-shirt, a couple of bandanas, and other sundry goodies. I'm really excited about the training DVDs - they're exactly what we need! The three titles included are: "Beginners and Puppies," "Beyond Beginners," and "Good Dog, Bad Habits." They feature dog obedience expert Kathy Santo and are supposed to offer a humorous and effective approach to dog training. 

We're going to start with the first DVD this weekend. I'm determined to teach Andy some good manners! I've done some very basic training with him but not nearly enough. I'll let you know how it goes. What a cool start to the weekend!

Bird's Eye View

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review | TradeWinds Tapeworm Tabs

A month ago we came home from vacation and discovered that both of our cats were infected with tapeworms. Arg. Once we got over our initial disgust I did some research on the internet  to find out what our options were. It used to be that as soon as something was wrong, or even remotely wrong, with any of my pets I would run to the vet. I've since learned to be more patient - to take the "wait and see" approach if a situation doesn't appear to be dire. I've also started experimenting more with home remedies. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this course of action for everyone, but I trust we have enough experience and common sense to know when we really need to go to the vet.

One product quickly rose to the top as I did my research - TradeWinds Tape Worm Tabs Cat Tablets. The active ingredient in these tablets is Praziquantel, which is proven to be 100% effective and safe for the removal of common tapeworms in both dogs and cats. This is what a vet would typically prescribe for the treatment of tapeworms but the product is now available without a prescription. One dose was all it took to rid both cats of this parasitic pest. How do I know? Brace yourself for some grossness...Body segments of the tapeworm are passed through the cat's feces or the segments will pass straight through the cat's anus. Before treatment I saw visual evidence of dried out segments it comes...even saw a live segment "crawling" around Diego's butt. Ew. The medication seemed to work immediately and I haven't seen any evidence of tapeworms in almost a month now. I think it's safe to say the cats are tapeworm-free.


We adopted Pablo from a PetSmart in 2005. It was a spontaneous decision, one of the best spur of the moment things we've ever done. His name was Bill at the time. Who names a cat Bill? Pablo is a sweet, friendly cat. Very social. With humans that is. He barely tolerates his brothers. He's obsessed with sandwich meat. Oh, and he's also a dry humper. I never knew cats were into this - I always thought it was a shameless dog thing. He's stealth about it. He'll sit in your lap and ask to be petted, then he'll start massaging you, and next thing you know he's thrusting his hips. Dirty cat. He's done this to company and most times they don't even realize what's happening. Awkward.

Doggy Day Care

We're now officially "those jerks." You know, the ones that take their dog to doggy day care. This is something I never would have considered doing in the past - it just wasn't necessary. Maxwell was a well behaved dog, for the most part, and did fine without supervision. Andy on the other hand has way too much puppy exuberance at the moment and doesn't handle being alone very well. Taking him to doggy day care once a week is the only real option that makes sense at this point. 

I'll be the first to admit we haven't done enough to deal with Andy's separation issues. Part of me is hoping he'll just grow out it...but the other part of me has a feeling it's not going to be that easy. Doggy day care is a temporary fix, one that we're going to experiment with this semester, but I know we need to address the situation more aggressively. It sucks being a prisoner to the pup and never knowing what we'll come home to when he is left to his own devices.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Simon's Sister's Dog 'Fed Up'

That's a Lot of Sausage!

I just read this article on Yahoo about a 70 pound dachshund. Wow. According to this article the average dachshund tops out at 32 pounds - Obie, the pup in question, weighed 77 pounds at his heaviest. To put things into perspective: Andy weighs approximately 32 pounds. Obie is now on a calorie restricted diet and his new vet tech owner hopes to ensure he will lose weight through proper diet and exercise. Just as for humans there are many heath risks associated with obesity in canines: diabetes, stress and strain on bones and joints, heart disease, and a decrease in the quality and length of a dog's life to name a few. 

I've read that calorie intake is key in preventing obesity in dogs. This means ignoring the "serving" instructions for most brands of dog food and figuring out the actual number of calories that is optimal for your dogs breed and size and feeding accordingly. Calories from treats and snacks should also be taken into consideration. One thing that I committed to when we adopted Andy was to not feed him table scraps or processed human food (raw fruit and vegetables are ok) right from the get go. I had a bad habit of doing this with Maxwell and because he got used to it I found it really difficult to resist sharing my meals with him. He ended up overweight at some point and had to go on a calorie restricted diet. So far Andy is pretty good about not begging for food...human food that is. He still sits impatiently by his bowl and begs for kibble when he knows it's chow time.

Sunrise | Sunset

Fall is right around the corner. Saturday, September 22 to be exact. The days are already getting shorter. I love the fall - the cool, crisp air, the changing of the leaves, the smell of the earth. I don't love waking up at 6:00 am and having it be dark outside. The dark makes it that much harder to get out of bed...and Andy demands we get out of bed promptly at 6:00 am to be taken outside to do his business. To be fed the minute we walk back in the door. We think Andy was born around January 1 of last year. This will be his first fall, followed by his first full winter. I'm looking forward to seeing how he'll react to snow. He doesn't have a lot of fur on his belly so I'm a little worried his under carriage will be too cold or get chapped. My husband jokes we should get Andy a tin of "udder cream." Do dogs get seasonal affective disorder?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend Encounters

1 Northern water snake
1 tree trunk covered in moss and mushrooms
1 butterfly (unidentified)
1 bird of prey (unidentified)
1 water pup

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Arnolfini Portrait

Jan van Eyck | Arnolfini Portrait | 1434

Good Boy

Remembering Maxwell | Feeling Out of Sorts

I've been feeling out of sorts lately. Sadness, anger...moments of self-doubt. I've come to realize there are times I wallow in self-pity. Two things help keep me grounded: my husband and my pets. My husband reminds me that I'm one half of a partnership. When I feel down it affects my partner; and vice versa. I can turn to him for comfort and advice instead of bottling things up inside. My pets keep me connected to the day to day, a routine and practical needs (food, water, potty), as well as providing me with companionship and furry loving. 

It's times like these I really miss Maxwell. He was my buddy. Andy has a very different personality, granted, at 9 months old he's still a puppy and growing into himself. We're still very much in the "parent/child" phase and have yet to reach the "parent/child/friends" stage. I'm still constantly having to tell Andy to calm down, to stop biting, to submit to me. Patience is key. I love the pup and know we have a lot to work on. We'll get there. With time Andy and I will be buddies as well.

I'm still mourning Maxwell's passing. It's been 7 months but sometimes it feels like he was with us only yesterday. The last month of his life was rough. It was basically hospice - he was dying and we did what we could to make what time we had left with him comfortable. I'll write about it some day. I'm not ready yet. They say time heals all wounds. I wonder if it really does. Time. Time is what I need. I feel better all ready.

Friday, September 7, 2012

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

   -- Mark Twain

Synchronized Couch Surfing