Archive for category dogs

When a dog has nine lives

When a dog has nine lives, there has to be one last one. And our Frances used all of hers up on Sunday. She came from Richmond, California and died in Richmond, Surrey, UK. Born on January 3, 2001, she graced our lives for nearly 11 years.

But let’s be honest. She earned her nine-lives stripes. Born to an abused and neglected dog, we plucked her from a craigslist ad when she was three months old. A lab mix, a rescue with a stunted tail and an outtie belly button/hernia. Our Frances. Named after a badger in one of our childhood books.

Frances' good side; taken in the spring.

We went through several vets throughout the Bay Area before she was diagnosed with a severe case of IBD at just 1.5 years old. Her doctor said he had never seen a case like hers at such a young age. A horrible disease. Consequently, she was a waif of a pup. Bone thin, starving most of the time. Couldn’t eat this or that. Picked on by other dogs in the neighborhood. But she turned out to be a real alpha, peeing higher on walls than any male dog in the neighborhood. And she carried her IBD badge with honor. Her life was saved or extended by budesinide. We had that stuff shipped from the US to England. Couldn’t live without it. And thanks to the parents for shipping it over.

For most of her life, she was on special diets, hand fed, given fresh food (hello whole chickens, potatoes, ground beef and turkey, weighed food). Heck, we even got her a sibling to get her competitive eating juices going (thanks, Mickey). Then came pancreatitis. Five days at the vet. Another painful time in her life and another new, diet.

And then, a year ago, after six months of paperwork and stateside quarantine and one week before she got on a British Airways plane to England, Frances was diagnosed with one of three things. Her head had pretty much caved in on one side of her skull in less than a week and before we put her through the stress of the trip, we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing. Without doing any invasive medical tests or MRIs (our request), the vet diagnosed atrophy of the temporal muscle due to trauma, another autoimmune problem, or a malignant or non-malignant tumor. Because she wasn’t exhibiting many signs yet, they said she had three to 18 months to live.

And live she did. For 12 more months. Weekly walks to Richmond Green, Ravenscourt Park, Old Deer Park, Richmond Park with her little dachshund brother, Oliver. And snow. Boy, did she enjoy the snow drifts in her own yard.

But 12 months later, blind in one eye, unable to drink water properly, her legs going one by one, bumping into things, becoming unbalanced, and oh, the painful head. The spark faded. Quickly and in front of our eyes.

Frances leaves a legacy. She was the second and longest serving dog of Piedmont Stationers – greeting customers and blocking their way in front of the counter or on the sidewalk. She accompanied Shelly to work every day, because that was her job, her life. When the store closed, Frances had to retire, very reluctantly. Because of her, we went through more paper towels and white vinegar than a 7-11 (IBD = lots of throwing up). A superb travel dog, she made her way up and down Highway 5 to Los Angeles and back. Loved the pee spot at Anderson’s Pea soup. Got to see Utah and Tahoe, and places in between. She got herself stuck in the loft of a cabin and took a ride down a ladder in a duffel bag to freedom.

And Frances was smart. Very smart. Listened. Trusted. Obeyed. And loved us back unconditionally. We let her go with dignity. Before her condition took too much of her soul. She will be missed. Oh, so very missed.

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The dog and Sears story

I read this SearsKilledMyDog.com recap on Bart last night and am posting it on my blog because it has a little bit of everything I am interested in: dogs, customer support, customer experience, pissed off customers, happy customers, resolution, horror stories, social media, and the list goes on.

It’s also about Sears and refrigerators both of which are not on my “interested in” list, but you could just about insert any company name and/or appliance to relate to this story.

There is an ending to the story – whether you think it’s good or bad is your call.

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Have a dog? Here’s how to spend $575 in 90 minutes

This recipe is just for guidance. You can replace “a dog” with any companion or feral animal and “chicken” with any kind of meat that has bones. Also, cooking time may vary. It might take you a while to figure out what works best for you.

Apparently serves only 1.

Enjoy!

1. Take one 14-pound dog (in our case, we used a male dachshund)
2. Let him have access to all parts of your house within reason of course (we keep the door to the backstairs closed)
3. Boil fresh, skinless chicken until done for your digestive-impaired, 65-pound female dog
4. Debone cooked chicken (wear rubber gloves for safety) and dispose of bones in plastic-lined garbage can under kitchen sink. In our case, we disposed of approximately 15 thigh bones.
5. Close sink door, aware that it sometimes doesn’t latch
6. Leave dogs unattended with access to all parts of your house (see #2) and go shopping
7. Return home an hour later to find two guilty looking dogs (ears back, tails tucked, the slightest hint of nervous dog grins), an opened kitchen sink door, a tipped-over garbage can, and about seven discarded thigh bones
8. Add a bit of confusion as to what dog actually consumed the leftover bones
9. Marinate both dogs for a few hours, feed them both, and ignore glassy eyes, slowness in walking, and bloated appearance
10. Convince your spouse that both dogs are fine. Eat your own dinner. Salad is recommended.

What follows is where time and prices may vary. In the following case, about 90 minutes transpired.
11. Start to observe that the small 14-pound dachshund is looking rather fat, lumpy, and has difficulty moving
12. Call emergency vet (after hours of course)
13. Humor the vet by bringing, or in our case, whisking, your now very heavy and painful sausage dog to the vet
14. Watch in disbelief as the vet assistant records your dog’s weight at over 17 pounds
14. Humor the vet again by allowing x-rays even though she says he seems fine
15. Nod your head – and remain calm – as the slightly worried vet gets your signature on a pricey estimate for inducing vomiting
16. Nod your head again as the vet returns with a limp dog, now with a lump of saline on his back
17. Nod your head as the vet can’t even describe how much stuff was in your dog’s stomach, aside from the fact that the bones were chewed. Nice.
18. Put limp dog on the counter as vet assistant (see #14) rings you up for $575
19. Return the dog to his home, knowing that he’s going to sleep very well because of drugs
20. Be very thankful that you’ve got pet insurance

And finally, it’s recommended that you try this recipe only once or better yet, never.

Our little space cadet

Our little space cadet

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A dog, a checkbook cover, and a bit of separation anxiety

Oliver has been with us for three months now and he continues to surprise us. He has been left alone all day during the day, has never peed in the house, and is generally pretty well adjusted, or so we thought. Now that he gets to spend his entire day with his dog sister, Frances, and his “for the time being, stay-at-home” mom, he gets a lot of attention. But is he getting too much attention? And if so, what does that mean?

The other day, Shelly had the gall to hang out in the basement while two guys were attempting to install a new washing machine. She left both dogs upstairs together so they would be out of the way. Well, Oliver heard Shelly’s voice and freaked out a bit. He wanted to be with her. So, he did the next best thing in his mind. He found her checkbook with the leather cover and ate as much of it as he could before Shelly came back upstairs. Needless to say, he didn’t learn any lessons from the eyeball incident and we’ve yet to see any evidence of said checkbook.

At least he didn't eat any checks ...

At least he didn't eat any checks ...

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What happens when your dog throws up an eyeball

When we were in LA over New Years, Oliver got hold of a few rubber dog toys that my mother-in-law keeps around for her grandpuppies. The hideous red-antennaed squeaky thing quickly lost a few of its antennae. We pulled some from his mouth, along with some squeaker parts from other toys. We finally took the toys away when we noticed one of the bug-eyed toys was missing both of its bug-eyes. One was on the floor, but the other was MIA.

Thankfully, one of the antennae showed up days later in Oakland. Apparently, antennae in, antennae out. But the eyeball didn’t surface and we were a bit worried. Fast forward two weeks later to a very sick Oliver. Sick enough to go to the emergency vet at 7am on a Sunday. His symptoms (throwing up, painful bloated stomach, crying when moving) were way too similar to what we had experienced with Mickey so taking him that day was a must. But $500, many x-rays, and a blood test later, the vet chalked it up to gastroenteritis. The x-ray showed a small thing or two in his stomach (hello nylabone pieces), but nothing that would cause his distress. I peered at the x-ray, looking for that eyeball, but nope, it wasn’t there. The vet did point out the hairline fractures and a weird alignment thing with his hips, and three metal sutures in his leg. Metal sutures? That’s where the limp comes from. No one told us about a messed up leg. This little guy has really been through a bit of everything.

So, Oliver got better and we were very relieved to say the least. But that’s not the end of the story. A week and a half after our excursion to the emergency vet, Shelly came home to some dog puke surrounding a few weird looking things. She was as startled as I was when she showed them to me a few hours later. Apparently, rubber eyeballs grow when hanging out in canine stomachs for a few weeks.

The watch is for scale.

The watch is for scale.

I really don’t know why we couldn’t see that thing in the x-ray. The stick, seed, and valve were stuck inside of the eyeball waiting, I guess, for the ride out.

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A faux review of dog beds

Reviews were conducted in December 2008 using two test subjects, Oliver and Frances; and two beds, one purchased, one DIY. Each dog was compensated with a treat following the tests.

A round, soft, portable, and washable classic dog bed. A perfect bed for a 15-pound dog.

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Laundry basket filled with dirty clothes and sheets. Not a proper dog bed for any animal, although Oliver disagrees.

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A round, soft, portable, and washable classic dog bed. A perfectly sized bed for a 15-pound dog, but not a 70-pound dog, but Frances couldn’t resist. Note the placement of her left paw, as if she is trying to hold the bed together. Surprisingly this little bed stood up quite admirably to the Frances test.

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I guess it really doesn’t matter what kind of bed it is or what you consider the correct definition of a bed is. If it’s off the floor and it’s soft and warm, it’s a bed fit for dogs.

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Doxie Tales: Squirrel hunting

Well, make that squirrel hunting from a second-story bedroom window. Great view, but no physical contact. Makes for a no-fuss, no-mess squirrel hunt.

Here’s Oliver complete with feral sounding growls and whines:

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