Category Archives: life with dogs

Mud season

‘Tis the season where I have to towel off Gaby’s feet before letting her in the house. Except today we awoke to rain, which added in with temps above freezing for several days in a row and the resulting thaw and someone named Gaby’s overwhelming desire to bury something…

MUD. I mean, paws like snowshoes except snowshoes made of MUD. I tried toweling them off. Then I tried wet paper towels. Then dipping paws in a pan filled with warm water.

I finally gave up and bundled Gaby into the tub. Directed the detachable shower head at her paws, and marveled at the never-ending stream of filth. Dried Gaby off, then cleaned the tub. The floor. Bundled towels into the washer. Vacuumed.

I should learn to ignore the muddy footprints until they dry, at which point I can vacuum the resulting fine dirt. But then I need to put up with a floor dotted with paw prints, like a canine Marauders Map.

I will have to admit that once I got Gaby into the tub, she stood still like a good girl, and needed to be urged to jump out so I could dry her off. I gave her a cookie. She is dozing on the couch now, where she will remain until July.

Sunday dash-off post

Saw one of these during the morning walk. I need to take my camera on these jaunts.

Herself got skunked last night. A minor assault, as these things go, but enough to make her rub her face in the grass for a few minutes. Luckily, I had bought a bottle of Nature’s Miracle after friends raved about it. Managed to get rid of the worst of the stink. I will still try to get her to the groomers this week, though. There’s always that last bit of whiffage that I can’t get out no matter what I do.

Different dogs

T-storms last night and this morning. Rumbles. King would have been pacing, pawing me, trying to climb onto the bed. He hated thunder. Over the last few years, he even grew restless as the pressure changed.

Gaby…sleeps. Unless it rumbles hard enough to rattle the house, she pretty much ignores storms.

It’s strange, getting used to not having to do certain things because King is no longer around. No more emptying tissues and paper towel out of the open-top trash cans so he wouldn’t eat them. No more lowering the toilet lid to keep him from drinking. Last week, I put the pale green and white bedspread on the bed–King would always brush against the edges of bedspreads when he followed me around the room, and his hair really showed up on anything light-colored.

Yeah, I know. Trying to keep dog hair off the bed–what was I thinking?

I can even contemplate switching out the lava rock in the backyard for wood mulch. King used to love to chew on anything wood, and whenever he had a stomach upset he would eat anything to try to quell the burning, including mulch. Gaby’s not a wood eater.

Bladder capacity, however, is another matter. I have to make sure to set out the pads before I leave for any period of time because little Miss Teaspoon-and-a-Half sometimes can’t hold it for more than a couple of hours….

Happy Saturday, with doggy details

Ya-flippy dippin’-hoo.

Awoke around 8ish, and started getting prepped for a busy day of shopping and working when Gaby threw up on the hallway rug. Yellow liquid with foam. Good old bile, which had built up enough to irritate her tum because she hasn’t been eating enough.

She had yet to eat breakfast, and hadn’t eaten since Friday dinner, which was at 5pm. I fed her the canned duck food with the better consistency, and dressed it up with cooked chicken breast and dehydrated duck hearts. She did eat, but I had to add more hearts to get her to finish.

Took her for a long walk after. Everything stayed down, so I piled her into the car for our shopping trip.

There’s a newish pet food and supplies place in the small strip mall where I usually shop. I decided to check it out, and was happy to find a pretty extensive assortment of food that included a raw duck variety. I bought a sample bag, and gave Herself a few bits when we got home. She sniffed it for a minute or so–it’s a frozen variety, and even though it’s thawed before serving, it’s still colder than her usual food. Anyway, after she figured out what it was, she ate it. Licked the bowl clean, then hung around the kitchen as I put stuff away, coming close and sniffing every can and box. Welp. It was lunchtime anyway, so I gave her a half-cup more, which is one third the daily serving for a pup her size. After a few minutes, another clean bowl and additional sniffing around for more. I stopped there, though, because I didn’t want to overload her after a month of light eating.

I will get a little bit more of this stuff. If she still seems as enthusiastic, I will probably make the switch. Whether it’s upset over all the changes, missing King, food boredom, or all of the above, it doesn’t matter. She needs to eat more.

Hoping the balance of the weekend is nice and boring.

Life, and other things

Over on Facebook, I posted a link to a Roger Ebert essay on life, death, and things learned in between. I think it a courageous piece by someone who was staring mortality in the face. Lovely, in places. One line in particular stood out for me, a quote by van Gogh. “Just as we take a train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”

I’m not ready for the stars. I hope to put off that journey for a long time. But it’s a promise to ponder. Something to take out of my back pocket and examine, every so often.

That said, there has been altogether too much bad health news lately, touching people I know and people I’ve only heard of and read about. April has been living up to its reputation as the cruelest month, and it can stop it anytime now.

Gaby seems to be okay. Still not eating at pre-King levels. I had to take her to the vet’s on Monday for an inflamed foot; she was weighed, and looks to have lost a couple of pounds. 43.1, as opposed to the 45.0 she weighed back in August. Vet is not too concerned yet. Gaby could still afford to lose a little more weight–40 lbs would be a good weight for her. She’s playful, acting normally. I take her back in a month for a teeth-cleaning, and if she’s still off her feed and/or has lost too much weight, there will be blood tests, etc. Trying not to think about anything being wrong. She has been through a lot of change lately, and I honestly believe that she ate more when King was around because she knew that if she didn’t eat it, he would. She’s not a food-driven dog–she will eat when she’s hungry and not before, and if the food isn’t to her liking, she will pick. It could be that she’s tiring of the duck & sweet potato, and I will need to find her something else. Not looking forward to the possibility, but if I have to, I guess I will have to.

It’s still chilly, but the Time of Freeze seems to have passed, she said hopefully. Crocuses have bloomed, a little cluster of purple amid the brown. Lawn is greening here and there. Indoors, the sprouts are coming along. Tomatoes are an inch or so high. Basil, a bit shorter. No signs of life yet from the mesclun in the raised bed, but it has only been a week since I planted the seeds.

Looking forward to a long weekend in Chicago at month’s end. I will be spending a day at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. Not on any panels–attendee only. It will be my first comics convention. No idea what to expect, but I will wear comfy shoes and bring my camera.

Saturday thaw

After 4pm already. What makes things worse is that we lose an hour tonight. It takes weeks for me to adjust.

Gaby passed her temperament test at the kennel! That means that during days when I have a full schedule–classes, meetings–I have a place to take her where she can play outside and have fun with other dogs. This makes me happy.

According to one of the techs, Gaby wasn’t big on treats or toys. But other dogs, she fit right in. The staff remembered King–which was nice–so one of the first dogs they introduced Gaby to was a big Lab. They got along just fine.

People just like Gaby. While I was waiting in the front office to pick up her up, a man and his young daughter–6, 7?–came in with a very yappy young terrier. As soon as the girl spotted Gaby, her face lit. She came over, asked Gaby’s name and petted her–of course Gaby obliged by rolling over for a tummy rub.

She’s been sleeping since she got home.

While Gaby was off having fun, I drove and grocery shopped and drove. I was sooo hungry when I got home. Dug a container of last summer’s pesto out of the freezer. Sautéed onion, red pepper, and broccolini in a little olive oil. Added slices of sun-dried tomato and some leftover greens–spinach, arugula. When the veggies were a little soft and the leafy stuff wilted, I stirred in the pesto, then added some cooked rigatoni. OMG, was it good.

Tomorrow, I will have it with leftover salmon. During the week, some roasted chicken breast.

Weather’s warming. Snowmelt is rattling down the gutters, and the piles of white stuff are shrinking. They’re going to get even smaller tomorrow. Rain. High near 50. Mud season is coming.

Just another day

It’s been almost a week since King passed. Time goes so quickly.

I was picking through photographs, and found my favorite picture of him. Dad was still alive, which means it was taken in Fall 2001 or 2002, which in turn means that King was either 8 months or a year and a half old. He was bounding around the backyard as Dad and I raked leaves. I was toting the camera in hopes of getting a good photo, and took a short break just as King decided to check out the pile I had just raked. He sniffed the leaves, then plopped down in the middle of them and stayed there as they filled in around him.

Puppy in the leaves

Gaby seems fine–she’s eating, playful. Earlier in the week, she would hesitate and look around when I offered her a treat. It seemed to me that maybe she was wondering where King was. She doesn’t appear to be moping or quiet. I took her for a walk this morning, and she was so excited–nose to the ground the entire time…except when she spotted the deer. She really wanted to give chase.

Taking her to the boarding kennel for her temperament check tomorrow. She will be there for a good chunk of the day, which means I will be Solo Kris for the first time in months. I have plenty to do–errands, grocery shopping. The usual chores. But it’s going to feel weird.

I hope things go well. I would really like her to have the chance to play with other dogs every so often.

The day after

Thanks to all of you for the kind words and good wishes.

Memories. King used to follow me all over the house. He would lie in the hallway so he could watch me make the bed or fold laundry, or lie in the dining room and watch me work in the kitchen. He’d lie flat with his head on the floor, and just Stare. Sometimes, I swear he snored. I think he was able to doze with his eyes open.

He used to dance around his toys and bark at them. A 115-pound dog doing a hop dance is quite a sight.

After he buried something in muddy ground, he would walk around with a big wodge of mud on the end of his nose.

Sometimes in the morning, I would wake up to find him standing in the bedroom doorway with his food bowl in his mouth. If that didn’t get me out of bed, he’d grab one of my slipper clogs and run off, in hopes that I would get out of bed and give chase and maybe even, hey, feed him.

Gaby seems okay, as far as I can tell. She spent a lot of time outside patrolling the yard, barking at the meter reader. She often refuses to eat if she isn’t comfortable or if things are off, but today she ate a small breakfast and a little bigger lunch. Saturday morning, I’m taking her to her usual boarding kennel for a temperament test. If she passes–and I will be really surprised if she doesn’t–I will be able to enroll her in daycare play dates with other dogs. I would like to do this a couple of times a week. I think it will be good for her. I know she must wonder where King is, and she’s a very social little girl in any case. She needs that stimulation, I think, so she doesn’t get bored or depressed.

Friday

King had his monthly check-up yesterday. Still doing okay.

He’s on Tylan to settle his gut, which is getting a little upset from the chemo. They give it to me as a loose powder, which I am pretty sure is spray-coated because it flows too easily to be untreated. Even with a coating, antibiotics can be nasty-tasting. I was able to get away with sprinkling the stuff on King’s food for a couple of months, but by Wednesday night, Himself has apparently had enough of that shit–he refused to eat his own dinner, contenting himself with Gaby’s leftovers and whatever stray crumbs he could find on the floor. So, when I picked up his new meds yesterday, I asked if they could have put the Tylan in capsules. Well, they don’t do that, but they did give me the capsules so I could fill them myself.

Powders can be a pain to load into capsules. I asked if they had any glassine paper, which can be folded into funnels and is slick enough to keep the powder from sticking. Well, they didn’t have any. But on the way home, I remembered that I had a box of non-stick foil in the kitchen. The non-stick side is slick as hell, and a small square worked great as a capsule-filler. I felt like I was in the lab again, filling capsules for stability studies.

Hockey. The Blackhawks. They’re going to have to lose sometime. But hopefully not tonight.

Time. How in hell can it be March already?

Saturday morning, with snow

Looks like we got a couple of inches. Still falling lightly. Could get occasional fallage over the next few days, which means that we will have something that approximates snowpack.

Oh well. This is the Midwest in February. I knew the snowfree state couldn’t last.

I am at the garage, getting Kuro’s ::check engine:: situation sorted out and getting a new side mirror installed (to replace the one that got clipped/broken by a passing jerk last week). The drive wasn’t near as bad as I feared–main roads were just wet, with a little mushy churn at the intersections. After I get out of here, to the grocery store I will hie. Then to home.

King had his monthly check-up on Thursday. Still maintaining.

Pasta of some sort for dinner, I think. It’s a red sauce and meatballs kinda day.