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

Tangled Up in Two Cords (Part Two)

Tangled Up in Two Cords (Part Two) (1)

So Cute, So Destructive

In my last post, Red had an unfortunate accident with a laptop power cord. I wish that was his last run-in with an electrical cord, but he continued to be his usual clumsy self. However, this other incident caused him injury.

I don’t use candles in my house because I always say I have too many tails around for me to burn them safely. To enjoy my favorite scents, I use candle warmers, which melt the wax via electricity rather than flame. These shouldn’t present a problem, unless you have a crazy dog like Red.

Again, Red was much younger than he is now. I had a large 22-ounce candle melting in a warmer on the family room end table. I’m not sure how he got there, but Red was between the end table and the hearth bricks. This is not at all a large area. Red got himself tangled in the candle warmer’s cord, knocking it over.

This candle was melting for hours and was completely liquefied.  I quickly righted the candle, observing the destruction. Blue candle wax slid down the off-white wallpaper, covering the mauve carpet and fresh air return cover. The outlet was now covered in a waxy blue glaze. What else was covered in candle wax?

My crazy Red dog was now red with blue patches. He dumped the candle over on himself, all over his back. He seemed stunned, but silent. I was relieved that he wasn’t in any pain. But how do you remove candle wax from a dog? I can’t remember if I did an internet search (I believe this is a very old incident that may have predated the internet), but into the tub Red went. I guess I was trying to remove the waxy mess as fast as I could, before it could solidify. I don’t remember using anything other than his usual doggie shampoo. Whatever I did worked to remove the aftermath of the candle incident, and he never smelled better, thanks to his new candle cologne. His fur was super soft, and there was no difference in his appearance.

Overall Red fared just fine, the house not so much. To this day blue wax remains on both the wall and the carpet. We tried to remove it to the best of our ability, but since the spots are largely concealed by furniture, it’s not much of an eyesore. Out of sight, out of mind. However, the outlet has never recovered from the effects of the candle spill. It’s still functional, but prongs tend to come loose from the outlet, cords falling to the floor like dead snakes. Replacing this outlet is on the list of repairs for the electrician.

The candle warmer has since been relocated to the mantle, far out of reach of the dogs. The cats are another story. There was a time when one kitty would investigate the mantle, but that is no longer an issue. The candle has melted incident-free since Red knocked it over.

Red doesn’t look for trouble, but trouble finds him. So far Red has found himself tangled up in two cords. I just hope he doesn’t provide me a reason to write a third post about cords. Stay tuned.

Tangled Up in Two Cords (Part Two) (2)

Lingering Blue Wax

Tangled Up in Two Cords (Part One)

 

Tangled Up In Two (Part One) (2)

Whatever is in the Big Round Hole is Needed to Charge the Computer

Red was a klutz long before he had neurological problems. When he was young and boisterous, his misadventures cost his dad and I both time and money. And for Red, it would eventually cost him a tiny bit more than just his dignity.

One day I was sitting on the couch using my laptop, with the dogs playing on the floor. I had the computer plugged in and charging, working diligently until Red went roaring by in a red fawn blur. The PC hummed along without missing a step, but I noticed that the screen got darker. It was no longer running on its AC adapter, because Red stumbled through the cord as he was charging through, pulling the cord out. The laptop switched itself over to battery power. I checked Red, who was temporarily tangled in the cord. He was more scared than anything, no worse for the wear, but the same couldn’t be said for my faithful computer. I tried to plug the power cord back in, but there was just one problem. There was no longer a port on the side of the laptop to plug it into.

It would have been much better (read cheaper) had Red pulled the cord out from the wall. I could have plugged it in and continued working with no problem. Red managed to do the opposite, pulling the cord out of the computer, leaving the plug in the outlet. Not only did he do that, but he pulled the plug out along with the cord, so there was no place to plug in the adapter. If the computer ran out of battery juice, it would shut down. There wasn’t any way I could charge it with a broken port.

It could have been worse; Red could have been hurt. He was fine, wagging his tail at my distress. The sidelined laptop was my writing computer, and not the household computer. That computer is safe in its confines of the home office. Both have weekly backups, so nothing was really in danger of being lost. Whatever I was working on at the time was safely backed up to the cloud, just in case. The situation was more aggravating than anything else.

The following day I brought my battle-scarred laptop in for repairs. I bristled at the repair person’s assessment that it was in fair condition. Sure, it had seen some mileage, but it wasn’t that bad, was it? I sheepishly explained that my dog got tangled in the power cord, pulling it and the port out of the side of the computer. It was fixable, but that would come at a price.

I was without my laptop for a little while, but it was returned to me with the ability to run off the AC adapter restored. They declared it in fair condition, yet now it had glue remnants from said “fair” sticker slapped on its lid. Insult to injury.

The laptop cord was the first cord that Red managed to destroy. He was left unscathed, but the next cord caused damage to both property and dog. More on that in my next post.

Tangled Up In Two (Part One) (1)

An Angel (When He’s Asleep)

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

Nite Nite Bedtime

NIte NIte Bedtime (1)

Zzzzz

When my brother was little, he would grab his pj’s and tell our mom he was ready for bed. He was one kid who looked forward to bedtime, while I tried to delay the inevitable for as long as possible. Now I have a doggie equivalent of my brother, a pup who can’t wait to go to bed.

Red’s bed is our bed. Known as “velcro dogs,” Italian greyhounds love to cuddle close, and most of the time they sleep under the covers with their owners. If you think that’s weird or gross, this might not be the breed for you. We have baby gates keeping the boys in the family room, where we are most of the time in the evening. The gates prevent access to the rest of the house, including the bedroom, located on the first floor of our Cape Cod.

When Red would like to go to bed, the pacing and staring start. If that fails to get any notice, he ups his game by grabbing a toy if one is laying around, and walking to the baby gate and staring at the bedroom door. He continues to pace back and forth to the baby gate with a toy in his mouth, before dropping it and barking at us as a last resort.

Even though we know what he wants, all we have to do is ask the magic question, “Nite, nite bedtime?” This gets Red even more riled up. By this time we have to relent, but not before he goes outdoors one last time. As soon as he returns from doing his final business of the night, he runs into the bedroom, the baby gate already removed. When he was younger, he could jump onto the bed and start burrowing by himself. Now he will bark to let someone know he is ready and needs help. We turn down all the covers before picking him up and placing him onto the mattress. He wastes no time burrowing under, although sometimes he plants himself too close to the edge for my liking, so I scoot him closer to the center of the bed. We cover him up, turn on the fan (weather permitting), leave the light on low, and he is content to stay there the rest of the night. He is even generous to move over when the humans come to bed.

You may be reading this and think, “What about Moose?” Moose doesn’t do any of this. When Red goes into bed, Moose is content to hang out with us on the couch. Once in a while he will join his brother, but he often won’t stay settled until we come in with them. Red on the other hand knows we will come in eventually, and that is good enough for him.

I never thought I would have a dog I would have to tuck into bed. This is something that makes Red unique, and I just love it about him. I wouldn’t change this little guy for anything.

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Serious Sleeper

Meal Time Mayhem

Meal Time Mayhem (2)

Pantry Shelf Meal Prep

I mentioned in a previous post that feeding time is a production in my house. We have two dogs and four cats, not to mention the bunny. Here’s why keeping them all alive can be a bit time consuming.

Breakfast is served at 6:00 a.m. during the week. Sometimes it’s the same time on the weekends, and other times it may be an hour or two late. The dogs are at an age where they would rather sleep than eat, but the cats remind us when it’s past feeding time.

I gather the six bowls and line them up on one of the pantry shelves. I don’t try to get everything together on the counter because I think I will be bombarded with cats, although hubby does this with no problem. They are content to gather at my feet during meal preparation. I start with the cats. I open one large can of wet food and distribute it among four bowls. Dry food is then mixed in with the wet food. Done! The cats are easy. No one is on medication.

The dogs’ meal prep is more involved. Each dog gets wet food, because Moose and Red no longer eat dry food. Not only have they started refusing it in their old age, but Moose has 14 teeth and Red has 12 teeth. (Dogs should have 42 teeth). I figure that they have made it this far, so I am not going to force the issue. I’m just thankful that they still have good appetites. Since they eat exclusively dry food, I put a teaspoon of canned pumpkin on top to help prevent loose stools. Following the pumpkin begins the med distribution.

I cut up one chondroitin/glucosamine chew into quarters, and each dog bowl gets a quarter, saving the other two quarters for the next day. Moose has a probiotic capsule that I open and sprinkle onto his food for his frequent tummy grumbles. Red gets a quarter of a pill for his nervousness and Moose gets a tablet for his heart. Whew!

After all the food prep, it’s time to eat! The dogs eat first, in their separate crates. Moose was food aggressive when he was younger, so we learned early on that eating apart from Red was best. I give Red his bowl first, which sits atop paper towels, because he is a slob who will get the concoction all over the crate floor. Next comes Moose, no paper towels required.

By now the cats have zero patience. Vlad gets shuffled into the laundry room, Tiki gets her bowl on the counter, Tiger eats in the bathroom, and Barnabas gets his food in our room. I would love to just feed them all together, but I doubt that would be possible. Vlad in particular is a chow hound; he is always trolling for any leftovers from his brothers and sister. This method works well for keeping track of who is eating and who may not be at any given time. I don’t free feed, meaning I do not leave dry food out during the day for the cats to graze. Our beloved Ozzy was on a strict food regimen, so we’re not used to leaving food out anyway.

After breakfast the dogs go outdoors, come in and snooze on the couch. The cats are sometimes seen but not heard from until it’s time for dinner. They are grateful for all the food prep, right?

Meal Time Mayhem (1)

Tiki Seems to Have an Opinion on the Cuisine We Serve

The Beat Goes On

The Beat Goes On (2)

Waiting for the Doc

Moose is in good shape for his age, with his recent vet appointment results consistent with a dog of 16 years. Just as humans have specialists, so too, do dogs. A cardiology appointment for Moose always brings about some anxiety for us. We hope for the best yet prepare for the worst, but fortunately, the news was good.

Moose hadn’t seen his heart doctor in a while, so we scheduled an appointment to check his degenerative chronic mitral valve disease. He is on a medication to slow its progression, and we wanted to see if it was helping with his issue. Perhaps a change might be needed.

Moose and Red tend to do everything together, but in this instance, we felt it best that Red stay home. He wouldn’t have been able to be with his brother during tests, and he would have been antsy stuck in an unfamiliar place for a few hours.

The waiting room was filled with pets waiting to see various specialists. On this visit, Moose was his normal outgoing self, curious about the other animals and their people.

A veterinary student called Moose back for a quick exam. He passed his weight, heart, and lung check, but failed for dirty ears. As much as Red licks his ears, they should be spotless. We plan to address this issue at their next mani/pedi appointment with their regular vet.

After the quick checkup, Moose was taken back for further study by the cardiologist, to emerge an hour and a half to two hours later. Luckily there are plenty of places to eat in the area, and his appointment happened to coordinate with lunch time. It was just sad that the little guy wouldn’t be there to share the meal.

Of course, the time frame elapses at a snail’s pace when you’re waiting for your best friend. When you first see your baby, you’re elated but then worry about the results. The doctor put our fears to rest.

Moose had an echocardiogram during his visit. The medication is working well. There were no changes since his prior visit, and the course of treatment remains the same. The cardiologist couldn’t believe that Moose will celebrate 17 years in November.

Moose had the best visit we could hope for, and another visit in 6 to 9 months is recommended. We were advised to continue to check his respiration rate to be sure it is in the normal range, and we should also be wary of any signs of his condition worsening, such as coughing or wheezing. I admit that I try to keep Moose in a bubble so his heart doesn’t get worse. I also make sure he isn’t exerting himself too much or overheating under the blankets. Walks are rare, but the vet encouraged us to get him out more. His heart is stable at the present time, but now I’m the one going to need a cardiologist after all the stress, but it was worth it for my Moo.

The Beat Goes On (1)

Chillin on the Couch