Monthly Archives: October 2011

Dusty Probably Shouldn’t Be Doing This

On Thursday, Dusty had x-rays done of his back end to try to determine the reason for his limp. It turns out our poor boy has minor hip dysplasia in both hips, cruciate issues in his left leg, and arthritis in both legs. So what now? Fortunately, the cruciate isn’t torn, so surgery isn’t recommended at this point. The goal is to put it off as long as possible. Next week, we’re going to start him on a round of Cartrophen injections to help rebuild the cartilage. We started giving him glucosamine back in July, but we’re going to get Sasha’s Blend for him, which we’ve heard great things about. The vet suggests that he not jump, not chase balls, not go up stairs, etc., etc. But he’s a young dog with a crazy amount of energy. How can we really stop him from doing stuff like this?

When our beloved JRT, Roxie (1995–2010), was four, we learned she had degenerative disks in her spine. We were told not to let her jump, climb stairs, do this, do that. She was a Frisbee dog. We decided at that time that we’d do what we could to maintain her mobility (largely through chiropractic treatments and glucosamine), but we weren’t going to infringe on her fun. Our motto became “Quality of life is for her; quantity is for us.” Her vet told us that by the time she was 10, she’d likely be paralyzed if we didn’t slow her down. She lived to 15, and on her last day with us, I took her for three walks. She defied the odds, and she had a fantastic life.

We’re going to take a similar approach with Dusty. We’ll cut back on games of fetch and chase. We’ll ice his leg after exercise and use heat on it at the end of the day. We’ll try the Cartrophen treatment and hope to see improvement. We’ll try hydrotherapy if it’s recommended, and I’ll continue to massage him regularly. We’ll do all we can to keep him both happy and healthy. Somehow, we’ll find a balance between what he wants to do and what he should be doing. Sigh.

Cora Getting Crazy at Snack Time

When we first brought Cora home, we had an issue with her some mornings. Although we were feeding her the recommended amount of food for her size, her stomach growled in the early hours of the morning, and she wouldn’t eat anything but grass. As we came to know Cora, we learned that she needed to have smaller meals more times throughout the day. So now, we have this routine:

7 a.m. Breakfast

3 p.m. Snack

6 p.m. Dinner

10 p.m. Snack

Meal and snack times are Cora’s favourite time of the day. That’s when we really see her get playful and bouncy and excited. But she won’t do it when anyone else is in the house, so earlier this week, I got 3 p.m. snack time on video. (Her costars are Hogan and Dusty.) Here it is:

Favourite Hangouts

It’s funny how the dogs pick a favourite spot to hang out, to just be. It’s fun to see them unconcerned with what anyone else is doing and just hanging out in their spot. I thought I’d share with you some pictures of them in their favourite places.

Hogan likes being able to see outside, and we recently moved our beanbag chair in the library in front of the window. It’s become his favourite spot. From here he can see the birds at the feeder and people walking down the street. And today, he’s watching the rain.

Hogan in his favourite spot: the beanbag chair

Cora has a few favourite spots. She’s really taken to Hogan’s crate, which is nice to see because when we first got her, she was scared to death of being in a crate (the condition of her teeth suggests she spent most of her life in a cage). She likes the love seat in the office and spends most of her days there. It’s also where she retreats to these days when a stranger is in the house. Before warming to the love seat, though, Cora found a little hidden corner of the office where we plug in our computers and store boxes of paper. She decided to make that her spot. After she tried to make a bed out of a box top, we put a real bed in the corner for her.

Cora making a bed out of a box lid.

Ahh! That's better, Mommy!




Dusty tends to pick the small beds









Dusty settles pretty much anywhere, although when he’s in a bed, he’s usually hanging out of it, rather than being in it. That Dusty sure is a silly one!

But even when he picks a big bed, he doesn't really spend much time in it before stretching out.

Hogan in Training

On Saturday, we took Hogan to his second obedience class at TAGS. We attended the same classes with Cora and Dusty, so really, we could train Hogan in the basics at home, but we decided to take him to the classes to help socialize him. He’s leash-reactive, although when we first brought Cora and Dusty to meet him, he wasn’t on a leash and was “reactive” anyway.

Last week, the class had only two other students, and Hogan was really good with one of them—Bailey, an adorable seven-year-old beagle who somewhat resembles Cora. He wasn’t quite as good with Mikey, a very handsome French bulldog/beagle cross. But he just growled a little, so he wasn’t too bad. We’d missed the first week, so when we arrived this past Saturday, we were surprised to find the class included four other dogs, three of whom are also leash-reactive.

Hogan knows "sit."

As you can imagine, it was a bit of a noisy class. Every now and then Gatsby, a beautiful black Scottish-terrier-looking dog, would lunge at the dog next to him, Butler. Andree and Lindsay, our instructors, were sure to help coach those of us with leash-reactive dogs. We were taught to give the dog lots of treats to divert attention from other dogs, with the goal of the dog ultimately thinking I like seeing other dogs; it means I get treats! When we had Joan Weston here to help us with Hogan, she’d used the same principle.

Hogan did really well for the most part. Lindsay’s dog Amber sniffed in his direction at one point, and Hogan snarled, but he didn’t get aggressive really at all.

At the end of the class, Bailey’s mom (I think her name is Amy) suggested we bring Hogan into the TAGS dog park. Since the others in the dog park knew about Hogan’s issues and were agreeable, we decided to give it a shot.

We were pleasantly surprised! Hogan sniffed other dogs and ran about a bit with them. He didn’t play like Dusty does at the dog park, but he did seem to generally enjoy gallivanting with the other dogs and on his own. He growled at two different dogs, but they were warning growls that weren’t followed up with any aggression. We now think we can bring Hogan to the dog park when we bring Cora and Dusty. Yay!

As for the training, Hogan’s slower to learn than we’d expected. Since he’s a terrier, and Roxie (click here to read about her) was so quick to learn, we expected Hogan to be just as easy to train. Most of the time, he will sit when we use the verbal or physical command. He’ll sometimes “stay” in a sit, although he will just as often jump up looking for his treat. He will lie down when we use the signal but not the word, and he won’t stay in a down position. For Saturday’s class, he has to stay down for 45 seconds. We’ve got our work cut out for us!

Cora’s Most Excellent Week

Cora has had a great week! I mentioned last week that despite the rat poison incident, she’d been more energetic than ever (while we were watching for lethargy). And this week she’s been even better!

This morning while waiting for her breakfast, for the first time ever during her waking hours, Cora let out a little bark. We were so excited to hear this because she’s only ever barked in her sleep. And it turns out, she sounds just like Dusty! Also while she was waiting for her breakfast, she yawned, which Dusty took as play and started mouthing her, and she mouthed him back! It was fleeting—probably only 10 or 15 seconds, but they did engage in a little play.

And that wasn’t the first time this week that she got playful with Dusty. On Thursday afternoon, Cora, Dusty, and Hogan were wide awake and ready for their walk about an hour ahead of schedule, so they were up on the love seat with me while I was working, begging for pets and attention, wiggling and wagging all the while, and then Cora instigated play with Dusty. It looked like this:

Cora and Dusty playing!

And then she decided to see about getting Hogan to play, but he was on the other side of me, so I ended up in the middle of it:

Cora seeing if Hogan's up for some play

And then when all the excitement died down, she and Dusty pretended nothing had happened:

"I won't tell anyone if you won't."

But Wes and I had both witnessed it, and it was a wonderful thing to see!