The Fur in Furniture

The Fur in Furniture (2)

The New Recliner is Feline Approved

Whether or not you allow pets on the furniture is often the subject of debate. It’s best to make a decision before bringing the furry family member into your home, so everyone in the household is on the same page. Of course, all decisions can go out the window when the new animal arrives.

Our pets are allowed everywhere except the basement and second floor rooms, which consist of a library, office, and spare bedroom. That wasn’t always the case; the doors upstairs were open until there was destruction. Annie managed to tear an office chair down to the foam, which is impressive considering that she was front declawed. Ozzy and Tiger left their mark in the corner of the spare bedroom, which was bizarre because they had impeccable litterbox habits. (I think this was likely due to scents left by the previous owner’s pets). As a result, the second-floor rooms became off limits.

With four cats and two dogs, I don’t have the time or energy to police every surface for out of bounds critters. There are methods to try to keep cats off certain places, but at the end of the day, you’re dealing with a cat. Therefore, we agreed that as long as nothing is getting ruined, we’re fine with it. Of course, stuff has gotten ruined, but it wasn’t because of fur, that’s for sure.

The cat furniture, as well as the people furniture, is often coated with a thin layer of fur. The cats are always the culprits, as the dogs’ fur resembles eyelashes when shed. The couch and loveseat are leather, but we use furniture covers, so the hair accumulates.

In anticipation of hubby’s impending surgery, we bought a recliner. I’m told he will need it for his recovery. While that may be true, did we really need a new chair table and lamp as well? I’m suspicious. Anyway, we had a recliner years ago that was destroyed by Annie and Moose and was never replaced. However, this new addition is memory foam and soft material, not leather.

For now, it is covered with a recliner protector, beneath a throw blanket that does not reach the bottom of the chair. I have not yet found an actual recliner cover (that stretches to cover the entire piece) because this recliner is over-sized. Hopefully any fur will be contained to the throw blanket. It looks like I will be purchasing a large blanket to cover the recliner, as it will be used as a bed for a little while.

All four of the cats have been on the chair, but only Moose has jumped in it. It doesn’t hold much interest for Red, as he has yet to check it out and we have had it over a month. He prefers to stretch out on the couch. The kitties are even more attracted to the recliner if someone is sitting on it. Because it is so big, there is more room on the arm rests for our larger cats, and the wider back can accommodate a third feline. Three out of four of our cats have lounged on it together.

I’m sure my hubby will be surrounded by fur kids as he convalesces. It stinks that he will be in the recliner more often than not, but maybe that means less cat hair left in other places. I hope he has a speedy recovery; his furry nurses will see to that.

The Fur in Furniture (1)

Moose Giving the Canine Seal of Approval on the New Purchase

 

Car Sick Canine

 

Car Sick Canine (1)

Snoozing After a Playdate (2006)

Moose and Red had an active social life when they were younger. They enjoyed play dates with other Italian greyhounds, and we found lots of dog-friendly activities and events for them to attend. Unfortunately, most of the time these fun outings involved a trip in the car.

Moose vomited once in the car when he was a puppy, but that was the lone occurrence. His issue was speed, not car sickness. As long as we were cruising along, he was fine. Stopped in traffic, or even for a light, Moose would bring on the whining. He would start low, increasing in volume to an ear-splitting level. Could you imagine explaining to an officer that the reason for speeding was because your dog has a need for speed? Thankfully I have never had this happen.

Both Moose and Red travel in soft-sided crates when we are in the car. At first we used a single crate, but Red’s penchant for car sickness made it necessary to crate them separately. If Moose could talk, I’m sure he would tell us how gross his brother was. He couldn’t understand why Red was getting sick yet he was fine.

As for Red, it didn’t matter if we traveled a short distance to a dog park, or hours to a play date a couple states away. He still got sick in the car. We were meticulous about his food intake close to car trips, but that didn’t matter. He could be sound asleep and wake up long enough to vomit.

We tried specialized medications for car sickness, together with his normal anxiety drug to no avail. We were at a loss as to what to do, because once we got where we were going, he was fine. I think he tended to get sick more often going somewhere rather than coming home. Maybe he suffered from anticipatory anxiety like I do now.

The pups’ grandmom usually accompanied us on play date excursions. She always rode in the back between the boys. We learned that she was fast with a plastic bag whenever Red started retching. There was no mess in the vehicle and disposal was a snap. Thank goodness for grandmom’s willingness to catch her granddog’s vomit. Whenever we road tripped with Moose and Red, we were sure plastic grocery bags were added to their bye bye bag.

Red was an adult when he had car sickness, but he has since stopped. Maybe he outgrew it, who knows. We no longer have to monitor food intake. In fact, he gets treats at the acupuncture vet and can enjoy a puppacino on the way home with no problems. Moose and Red can even share one crate now without fear of messes.

While the car sick dog no longer gets sick, old age has brought another issue to replace it. I’m not sure there’s a technical term for it, but it’s peeing in the car. Both dogs wear bellybands to prevent any accidents during their travels. It looks like I traded one leaky end for the other!

Car Sick Canine (2)

Plastic Bag for Sick Dog

Holy Voley!

Holy Voley 2

Young Moose Spots Birds

A few years ago in October, we spent a few days in Massachusetts. We left our beloved fur family in the care of our dear friend and pet sitter extraordinaire, who has watched our kids several times in the past. The critters are for the most part well behaved, but one of them had a surprise in store for her.

We were spending our favorite holiday in Salem, but we had plans to meet some friends in a nearby town prior to the Halloween festivities. Dinner was arranged at a local bar/restaurant that they had chosen. It was so nice to see them again, enthusiastic hugs exchanged in the restaurant’s waiting area. After we were seated, we got down to the business of ordering and catching up.

I believe the phone call came before the meal arrived. I never get calls from my pet sitter, as she usually keeps in touch via text, sending me a photo or two when I am missing the kiddos. I thought it was odd when her contact info came across my phone, so I answered right away.

She had a situation with Moose. The dogs were let out into the yard to take care of their evening business. While Red returned to the house, Moose refused to come in. Our yard is postage-stamp sized, and it can be viewed entirely from the house, with the exception of behind the garage.

But Moose wasn’t behind the garage. He was in plain sight, laser focused on something near the vinyl privacy fence. When he wouldn’t answer his sitter’s calls, she went out to investigate. He wasn’t paying much attention to her, but when she tried to get him in the house, he growled and continued to stare at something in the distance. My 20-pound Italian greyhound turned into a watch dog; it must have been a bit comical to see. I was on hold on the phone when she was trying to convince him to come in from the yard.

Defeated and likely annoyed, she picked up the receiver and told me that Moose was being stubborn and growling at her. We were both at a loss as to what to do, so she decided to watch television until the standoff in the yard ended. I hung up and continued with my night, wondering if Moose was going to square off against an intruding critter. Moose was always a lover and not a fighter, so I had my doubts that he would get into a confrontation with anything. Whatever it was should be thankful it wasn’t Red in the yard instead.

Moose at long last did return to the house unscathed. It appeared that he didn’t do battle with anything in the yard, as he bore no scars or brought any trophies into the house. We still don’t know what he saw that night, but my pet sitter believes it may have been a vole.

Of course this episode took place a few years ago when Moose was younger and had better vision. Now I don’t think he could see the intruder, his skinny frame not so intimidating anymore. I’m just glad that he wasn’t hurt, and was up to date on his vaccines in the unlikely event that he did get ahold of something. In case you were wondering, yes, we still have the same pet sitter, even after this unexpected adventure.

Holy Voley

The Beat Still Goes On

The Beat Still Goes On (2)

Moose’s cardiology appointment is always stressful for everyone. It’s a matter of hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Of course, I hope that his heart is no worse for the wear, but the fact remains that he is a dog of 17 years. Even though he is enjoying a long lifespan (he would be in his nineties in human years), the inevitable bad news we receive one day will still be shocking.

A cardiology appointment requires a day off from work, as it’s a comprehensive visit. Moose’s doctor practices in a large city out of state, which means that his dad escorts him to the visits. My better half is a pro at driving in big cities, while I am terrified of the idea. I can handle appointments solo if they’re in the suburbs.

Both of us are nervous before the appointment, but it is my better half that has to hear the results, good or bad. (For this reason I can’t say that I am envious that he goes to these appointments without me). He leaves our boy at the hospital for a few hours to undergo an exam and testing. The good thing about the city is that there is always something to do to pass the time, in walking distance from the hospital. Still, even though he finds ways to occupy himself, I’m sure it seems like an eternity until he can be reunited with Moose.

We have observed no serious deterioration in Moose’s health, other than a little stiffness when walking; a bit of an anti-inflammatory twice a day has greatly improved this issue. He does not seem to get winded, and we haven’t heard him coughing, which are all good signs that the heart condition hasn’t worsened.

When asked if Moose was still a candidate for teeth cleanings under sedation, the vet thought it best to leave well enough alone. Unless Moose were unable to eat due to a tooth issue, we were advised to forego any unnecessary dental procedures notwithstanding an emergency. Italian greyhounds are notorious for having bad teeth, with some pups requiring so many to be pulled that dogs are sometimes left with their tongues hanging out. So far neither Moose nor Red have lost the necessary teeth to cause this. To be honest, this was something I dreaded and hoped would never happen to them. (Although they would still be adorable).

I am pleased to report that Moose’s condition has remained status quo since his diagnosis three years ago. He has chronic degenerative valve disease, but he is not yet in heart failure. Moose remains on the same dosage of medication, as it seems to work well for him. I only pray that his disease progression is moving along at a snail’s pace. While I am elated over this news that he hasn’t gotten much worse, next on the radar is the boys’ annual checkups. Senior bloodwork will be done, and I hope that it won’t reveal any underlying problems. As I mentioned, we have recently added an anti-inflammatory medication to their routine to help with age-related joint stiffness. They haven’t had kidney issues in the past, but we need to be sure with the new drug. Every day with senior pets is a gift, one that I never take for granted.

The Beat Still Goes On (1)

The Long Arm of the Lawless Moose

The Long Arm of the Lawless Moose (2)

Hmm . . . I Didn’t Open This

Happy 2020! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year involves family, friends, and food. Lots and lots of food. Tempting treats abound, and not just for the humans.

We ordered a two-pound cookie tray from the decades-old bakery located in town, just down the street from our house. Their delicious gingerbread men, chocolate chips, and cherry cookies have become somewhat of a holiday staple for us. While they were intended for Christmas Eve, no one had any room for dessert after enjoying the rest of the substantial holiday spread.

Because we had more food than people and places to put it, the kitchen table became host to a variety of treats, including the unopened cookie tray. This table is small and round, so space to put things is limited. I put the treats closer to the edge than I should have, assuming that the dogs were too old to be interested. You know what they say when you assume.

We were getting ready to go out one day during the Christmas break. I knew the dogs were roaming free from the confines of the baby gates, and I thought I heard them go into the bedroom. I didn’t see them walking around, so I figured they burrowed under the bed covers, hiding out until it was time for us to leave.

I didn’t think anything of the stillness of the house until I walked into the kitchen. The pups hadn’t gone back to bed at all. They were quiet because they were eating the cookies that had mysteriously made their way to the floor. Moose and Red were helping themselves to the treats. They were taught the “leave it” command, which saved them from potential disaster one time when chocolate fell on the floor, but I doubted that they would remember it from their puppy classes. Even if they did, they couldn’t hear me anyway. Instead, I swooped in and removed their bounty, now in pieces, from the floor. The aftermath looked worse than it was. They don’t have a full set of teeth between them, so I doubted that they ate much before I intervened.

How did the cookie tray end up on the floor? I didn’t have to see it to know what happened. I have no doubt that Moose was responsible for procuring the cookies. He is a notorious chow hound, with special skill. He will stand on his back legs at any surface containing food, stretching a front leg to paw at anything edible that he can knock to the floor. My guess is that Red was innocent in this debacle, but stood by to share the fruits of his brother’s labor.

The moral of the story is never underestimate blind, deaf dogs. While those senses diminish with age, the power of scent remains as strong as ever. I should have known they could locate and get into the treats left too close to the edge of the table. I did order a replacement tray, and that one is out of the way from the old men that still have some puppy in them.

The Long Arm of the Lawless Moose (1)

Crime Scene

I Fought the Cat and the Cat Won

I Fought the Cat and the Cat Won (2)

Bloody Tears

What kind of trouble can a 13-pound dog get into when left to his own devices? In just a few minutes, Red got himself a trip to the vet, and an unexpected bill for us.

I knew on the way home that the dogs were loose and not crated. Their dad came home from work to feed them, but needed to return to work for an evening event. This meant the boys would be out alone for a few minutes until I could get home, which is no big deal.

When I came through the door, I saw the usual assortment of cats, and Moose was on the loveseat. Red was not in his usual spot on the couch. In fact, he was nowhere to be found.

I soon saw that the baby gate leading to the kitchen was moved, enough for an elderly Italian greyhound to fit through. My guess is that Red moved it so that he could jump onto our bed and burrow beneath the blankets. At his age, sleeping is his preferred past time.

Red was in our bedroom as I expected, but he was standing on the floor at the foot of the bed. Looking back, I remember that Tiger was laying on the bed by the pillows. I coaxed Red back into the family room.

I went about my business, but Red seemed out of sorts. He didn’t want to settle on the couch like normal. He was wandering around when I noticed blood on his face. I couldn’t be sure if it was coming from his face or eye. He wouldn’t let me wipe away the blood, let alone allow a closer inspection. Red was squinting the affected eye, so I decided a vet visit was in order.

We were seen fast, and Red was taken away for a quick test. The results revealed two scratches to his eye consistent with cat claws. We had four suspects at home. Red was prescribed two eyedrops, which he was terrible about taking. He turned into a tiny monster.

I’m happy to report that Red’s injury healed on its own with little intervention. He had a follow-up visit combined with his normal mani/pedi appointment. We’re not sure how much Red could see with that eye anyway, but at least he wasn’t in any pain.

What do I think happened to Red, and who was the culprit? I think he pulled the baby gate away from the doorway and went through the kitchen in search of our bedroom. Once in there, he likely wanted to burrow under the covers, which is where he sleeps at night. I believe he jumped on the bed, not realizing that feline brother Tiger was in close proximity. The cat may have been surprised, or simply protecting his sleeping space and lashed out, causing the eye injury. (It should be noted that Tiger regards our bed as his during the day. He probably wasn’t willing to give up his spot so soon in the evening). I’ll bet Red jumped off the bed as fast as he could. That would explain why I found him dazed in our room. Poor little pup.

I Fought the Cat and the Cat Won (1)

All Cleaned Up

The Moo, The Myth, The Legend

The Moo The Myth The Legend (2)

Happy 17th Birthday Moose!

If you said I would have a dog live to 14, I would be hopeful. If you said he would live to 15, I would be skeptical. Over 15? That’s crazy, yet here we are. Tomorrow Moose turns 17 years old, an advanced age for a canine.

He was our first puppy, and we made mistakes with him. For starters, we botched crate training. We didn’t know we were supposed to limit the space in his crate. We gave him a big crate, and we spent many late nights cleaning a dirty puppy as a result. We finally got the gist of it, and Moose became well housetrained, which is a major challenge with Italian greyhounds. That is one of the biggest reasons this breed is surrendered.

I remember being scolded on our first trip to the pet store. He was the tiniest, cutest puppy on the planet (if I do say so myself). As such, I was excited to show him off. I didn’t realize how dangerous that was, as he was a bit too young and hadn’t had all of his shots. He could have picked up something from other canine shoppers just by being on the floor. Fortunately he didn’t, and we only returned when he was fully vaccinated. He was always social and looked forward to adventures outside of the house and yard.

His first official bath (aside from the spot cleaning due to crate messes) was by a groomer. This person picked him up by his front legs at their initial meeting, and I should have canceled the appointment right then and there. Instead I spent the entire time he was getting bathed a nervous wreck. He emerged clean and in great shape, but after that experience, it was puppy shampoo and the bathtub at home from that day forward. Italian greyhounds don’t require much grooming when it comes to their coats. A bath a handful of times a year is sufficient, and Moose would agree, as they were never his favorite activity.

The first time I heard a reverse sneeze I was hysterical. It’s sort of a weird wheeze, basically their way of clearing out their nose. I thought for sure my little guy was fatally ill. It turns out that they’re normal and common in small breed dogs. Whew.

Moose’s first birthday was memorable. I bought him some sort of all-natural doggie cake online. What a disaster; he was so sick after eating it that I thought for sure his first birthday would be his last. I would be more careful about special treats in later years. Of course, his special day wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the store for a toy. We let him pick out his own special gift, and squeaky toys were his favorites.

Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate the time we have had together. I never expected him to live this long; that’s an old age even for a small-breed dog. His health may be declining, but I treasure every moment with my senior pup.

Happy 17th Birthday Moose!!! I Love You!!!

The Moo The Myth The Legend (1)

Flashback to Moose’s 5th Birthday Party

Dog Food Drama

Dog Food Drama (2)

Food Boycott in Progress

Why is it that dogs sometimes just stop eating their food, with no apparent medical issue the cause? I’m sure if I ate the same thing every day, I would grow tired of it, too. I don’t mind switching up their food, but why do they boycott it just after I’ve bought more cases of it?

Red is our household food critic. For a dog that once gifted his grandmother a bird he found in the yard, he has discerning taste. One day he stopped eating his usual canned food. Moose eats prescription food, so I can’t pawn off Red’s food on him, lest I upset Moose’s sensitive tummy. Make no mistake, Moose will eat ANYTHING. This is only the second occasion in Red’s life that I can remember him staging a food boycott.

At first I thought maybe he had a reason behind leaving his bowl near full, as he’s a senior guy. Sometimes he won’t eat much in the morning, but will empty his dish in the evening. I thought that was what was happening until I noticed the bowls weren’t being emptied.

It turned out that he was hungry and wanted food, just not that food. He was far more interested in what everyone else had to eat. He even found cat food appealing. That’s when I knew we were in food boycott mode.

The first boycott came while he was eating the chicken and rice recipe from a well-known brand. He and Moose ate it with gusto, until Red decided he didn’t want it anymore. I bought more varieties of the same brand until I found one that he loved. I have found that for Red, food love is fleeting.

Red ate every other flavor that I bought, so I chose a canned formulation of turkey, duck, and chicken as his main meal. He devoured it. When our usual pet food store ran out of the cans, I scoured other retailers in search of this magic blend. He seemed appreciative of my efforts, gobbling up the concoction. Then came the day he just stopped eating it.

We are currently in the process of changing his food. I have again purchased different flavors in the same brand, hoping that one will get his seal of approval. The kicker is, he will eat any flavor that is different from his current food. I think he enjoys variety, so perhaps that’s what we’ll do to prevent any boycotts due to boredom. Variety is the spice of life, right?

For the record, Red is more finicky than any cat I have had when it comes to food. What do I do with the rejected cans of dog food? When it comes to people, I hate to get rid of something someone else can use. The majority of my stuff gets donated somewhere. The same is true with cast off dog food. I’m sure there are dogs who would be happy to take Red’s food off his paws and enjoy it as he once did, so it gets donated to a shelter or rescue group. Bon appétit from Mr. Red!

Dog Food Drama (1)

Food Boycott Over

Exciting Announcement II

Exciting Announcement II

I am pleased to announce that I am again a contributing author, this time in Carol M. Ford’s Golden Linings II: More Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets. As with the first Golden Linings, author proceeds from sales are donated to animal rescue groups and shelters. As a writer and animal lover, I am proud to have contributed two tales. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, details can be found here. The animals and I thank you for your support!

Also, Tails of Mirth & Madness is now on Instagram! Check it out here.

Summer Schnoz

Summer Schnoz (1)

Insect 1, Moose 0

Many dogs enjoy fun in the sun when winter gives way to warmer temperatures. Some may enjoy it more than others; I would guess that dogs with thick coats would prefer to lounge in air conditioning given the choice. Still, even when you take precautions to protect your pup from harm, stuff still happens.

Moose was just a couple years old, a precocious young buck at the time, and our first dog together. We made sure he never walked on hot concrete, didn’t overheat in the sun, and we slathered him with dog-safe sunscreen on the necessary areas for playdates and outings. He was never left in a hot vehicle. We went so far as to get him a life jacket in the event he was near water. (Sometimes playdates included pools for both dogs and humans). Overprotective much? Sure, but he was our first dog, and we tried to be perfect dog parents. One hazard we didn’t count on? Insects.

Moose was in the yard one day and got stung. Or bit, we just don’t know. Just how he was injured, and what caused it, remains a mystery.

I arrived home one day to be greeted at the door by my happy Italian greyhound. He was his usual boisterous self, but there was something different about him, and it was as plain as the nose on his face. In fact, it was his nose. His muzzle was swollen!

Rattled by his appearance, I found my better half and asked what was wrong with Moose. Ok, maybe I yelled, “What’s wrong with his face?” He didn’t know anything was wrong with the dog, let alone how it happened. It appeared to be an allergic reaction to a sting or a bite. Not wanting to take any chances, with an eye also swollen, we carted our boy to his vet.

It didn’t take long before they whisked him back to administer a shot that would help him. We sat in the waiting room, hearing our little man yelp from the injection. Moose was a drama king from the beginning; perhaps this was the incident that started his flair for theatrics.

Fortunately his breathing was not affected by his misadventure. The medication worked fast, and he recovered quickly. To my knowledge, that was the only time he had a run-in with a bug, or at least got into a tangle with one and lost.

We thought we had all of our bases covered when it came to the summer safety of our pups. We asked our vet what we could administer ourselves in the event such an incident happened again. We later carried the recommended medication, along with dosing instructions, in their bye-bye bag whenever we went anywhere. I’m happy to say that we never needed it.

No matter how well you think you’re prepared for any summer hazards, there are some things you can’t anticipate. One thing is certain, I never saw Moose pursue insects in the yard after that. He would advise against getting a summer schnoz.

Summer Schnoz (2)

Swollen Moose