Help feed shelter dogs!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Busy busy busy!

Sorry to have been away from the blogosphere. It seems like forever but it's only been about 2 weeks. In the meantime, I am way behind in my reading of my favorite blogs as well as updating my own.

Speaking of updates, there are plenty. I started the new job in Boston and am thankful it is part-time. There was an accident on the highway the other morning and it took me nearly 2 hours to get to work! I've been working from home for 5 years so I am a bit "soft" when it comes to dealing with rush hour traffic. In the meantime, I am still keeping up with my full-time job as a freelance magazine writer and am up to my eyeballs in work. A blessing and a curse, as they say.

As for the animals, Peanut the cat is settling in nicely. Waldo wants nothing more than to play with her, and she wants nothing more than to try and rip his face off. All in all, there is order in the animal kingdom.

Peanut is the typical cat. Here she is loving up her cardboard scratcher (all the better to sharpen her claws so she can swipe at Waldo!)

He is thoroughly confused by her cat-like ways; such is the case here where he can't figure out why she is sitting in this box. Note the look of annoyance in her eyes as she waits for him to leave.

And here is a cute but totally gratuitous photo of Waldo watching a dog show. I wonder what he was thinking...?

Oh, and Waldo passed his interview at his new daycare place. His first day there is tomorrow. They do not use bark collars and will put a dog in time out if he gets too riled up. I spoke with the daycare manager about how they deal with the dogs throughout the day, and this place seems to be more aligned to how I like to communicate and how I like to discipline. They will certainly call and/or let me know at pickup if there was anything out of the ordinary.

Sorry for the short update. More to come....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three months today

It's been three months since Watson's passing. I look forward and see the holiday season.... and imagine Watson standing in the kitchen waiting for a taste of whatever is cooking. He was so patient when he wanted something. He would sit and watch me intently, waiting for any kind of signal that I was going to give him a bite of food or the lick from a spoon headed for the kitchen sink. Eating was his absolute favorite activity.

I look back and it seems like yesterday that we were bringing him to the vet's office for the last time. He rode in the car so well. He would just settle down in the back of our SUV, lying on top of the folded-down back seats. It seems like the memories from his last day are right over my shoulder. If I turn around fast enough, I can catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye.

Now when I hear paws on the tile floor, it's Waldo.... who brings me much joy and entertainment, but has yet to fill that space in my heart that was occupied by Watson's companionship.

For all who have experienced the loss of a good friend (canine or otherwise), I wish you peace and comfort as we begin the holiday season.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Interesting Link from Lesley

Lesley just left this story link in the comments section and I wanted to elevate it as a full post.
"Welsh Assembly To Ban Electric Shock Collars For Dogs"

I will post more later, but for now I am in the crush of deadlines, extra work because next week is a holiday, Peanut the new cat and a stress headache that makes my noggin feel like a bowling ball.

We can't all have as much fun at work as Graham does.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Waldo gets a sister!

We are picking up Waldo's new sister today! Peanut, a three-year-old girl cat, is joining our household this afternoon. Waldo has already snacked on her cat litter (good thing it's all natural, right?), so it should be an interesting weekend.

I'll be off the blog for a few days but will post about Peanuts arrival next week.

Perspective Watch - I'm glad I live on high ground, and not here... or here....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blah-g entry

I have a few things to write about today and I couldn't think of a proper title. So today is the generic blog entry.

First, the neck update: The infection has cleared up, the scabs are gone and we have fur (woo hooo!) I have loosened his collar enough that it sits below the bald spot but I have to be careful as it can still slip over his pinhead. There is a bit of baby fur coming in, so hopefully it will continue to fill out and I can leave his collar on full-time again.

We were recommended to another daycare/boarding facility by a co-worker of Rich's. The place is in Grafton, MA; it's a bit more out of the way. I did ask how they discipline the dogs. They don't use bark collars; they spray with water or a hose, do time-outs or just ignore them and let them bark until they have a headache. I like that they do training there as well. Waldo likes his trainer, but some reinforcement while at daycare or while boarded will do some extra good. He needs his kennel cough shot first, so we won't have our intake interview for about 2 weeks. Of course, I will post about the visit when it happens.

Through this whole neck thing, I have gotten emails and posts about how my perspective is screwed up; how I shouldn't be sweating "small stuff". That is a matter of opinion, for sure. What's small to you may not be small to me. Of course, there are always larger issues that take precedence and priority over "stupid" things like the use of a bark collar on a dog. To this end, I have added a Perspective Watch that I will include at the end of each post. Yes, there are bigger issues... but give me the freedom and right to focus on whatever issues I deem important in my daily life.

By the way, the Tuffie toy is also still holding its own. We are at two and half days and counting. I am impressed. The stuffing is all out and now there are 2 holes in it, but the stitching is holding together. Waldo has extracted 2 of the 4 squeakers so far but he is having problems with the last 2. So far, I feel like the $12 was worth every penny!

Oh, and when did Winter happen? I am sitting here typing and the gentle voice from the local NPR station just pleasantly announced that there is a chance of snow showers on Friday. Blech!

Perspective watch - At least I was not born with 8 limbs nor am I paying $8 for gallon of gas
(Sorry to blog readers in the UK. I don't mean that as a dig. I don't see how you guys manage with those gas prices though!)

Monday, November 5, 2007

the myth of the indestructible dog toy

Besides the hard rubber and nylon chew toys like the Kong or the Nylabone, I've always thought that fluffy, fuzzy or squeaky dog toys labeled "indestructible" were a joke. A clever marketing scheme to get us to buy endless amounts of chew toys, only to have them ripped to shreds in a matter of minutes right before our very eyes.

I've had dogs most of my life, but Waldo is second only to a crazy beagle my mom had when I was in college in expertise in ripping apart dog toys. He is adept at finding the absolute weakest point in a chew toy and working on that one spot to eviscerate it. He will attack the toy like it is his sole mission in life to disassemble it in record time. Have you ever seen those scenes in movies where the highly-trained military officer can dismantle a gun in seconds while blindfolded? Yeah, that's Waldo with a new chew toy, except that he's not blindfolded.... nor does he have thumbs. =)

I had to run to Home Depot this afternoon and stopped by Petco on my way there to get him a new toy. I found a chew toy called Tuffie's, the world's "tuff"est soft dog toy. Well, okay... I have tried almost everything else in the chew toy aisle so why not. I have spent $12 on worse causes.

The toy has 4 layers of material and 7 rows of stitching (woo hoo!). The label even says "Tired of paying $$$ for dog toys only to have them destroyed in minutes?" YES! Of course! Here I am getting sucked into marketing writing again.... ironic considering I do that for a living. "No matter," I think to myself. "This one will be different. The label says so!"

The Tuffie has 4 fabric layers (600D nylon, PVC, another layer of 600D nylon and then the soft fleece outer layer) and each squeaker is sewn into it's own compartment. The fabric also has a repeating cross-stitch to keep the layers intact. Yippee.... I have high hopes that this one will last the night!

It's been two and a half hours since I gave Waldo the Tuffie and this is what I have to report: he's breached all 4 layers, yanked out about 5 handfuls of white batting, and has managed to remove and destroy one of the 4? 5? squeakers sewn into the toy. Here he is on his favorite rug in the kitchen, working his way to the next squeaker.

I do give this toy props in that it took him hours and not minutes to rip it. I think he will have it fully eviscerated by tomorrow.

Anyone have other experiences with tough chew toys that last longer than 5 minutes? Leave a comment and let me know.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Somehow I am the bad guy?

To the anonymous commenters, I think there has been a misunderstanding. Please take a look at this photo of Waldo's neck, taken this morning. This is a direct result from a bark collar used on him. His neck is bald, irritated and also got infected. How can you look at this and tell me that I can't be upset?

ADDED NOTE: For the record, I have never used the word "abuse" in any of my posts. Abuse is a serious word that I would not use lightly. Please be clear that I am not accusing Dogma of abuse. My point seems to have been lost in the flurry of comments.

This situation is a result of poor communication and my inexperience with doggy boarding. This injury happened to him when he was there from Friday to Sunday, over a weekend and not when he was there for daycare during the day. I had asked about his food for the weekend but because I did not know that boarding/daycare places use bark collars, I did not know to ask. On the flip side, I was never told about this practice either.

I would like this discussion to be constructive. People should know to ask about these things. And if they are okay with it, then great! I am not a fan of those collars and yes, he is in obedience classes to help control his barking. He's been in obedience classes since we adopted him! But bassets are stubborn and he is a slow learner. =)

Anyway, someone please tell me how to prevent this from happening again. Is there a cream or a supplement he should be taking to help his skin from reacting this way? Are there other places like Melisa's recommendation of PetSmart Petshotel that will just let them bark to their hearts content?? What are the questions that need to be asked when boarding your dog?