Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Weekend Gone to the Dogs

Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada, and after two busy weekends (one spent out of town without the dogs and the other at home but with too little dog time), I decided to ensure that my long weekend was a dog-focused one.

To that end, Cora, Dusty, and Hogan played, snuggled, walked, explored, hunted bunnies, and learned all weekend long, with walks by the lake and at the conservation area, an agility lesson for Dusty and a tricks lesson for Hogan, plenty of cuddle time on my new library chaise (with a street view that offers endless amusement), two separate doggy play dates with their friends Jake and Misha, and some quality time with their BFF, Nick (all interrupted by only one emergency, but that’s another story).

I didn’t have my camera with me as much as I should have, but here are a few pictures from our weekend!

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Cutie-pie Hogan

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Pretty girl Cora

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Handsome Dusty

While Dusty and Cora adventured into the brush as much as their long leads allowed, Hogan, never one to get his feet wet or dirty, tried to stick to the paved trail whenever we emerged from the woods.

While Dusty and Cora adventured into the brush as far as their long leads allowed, Hogan, never one to get his feet wet or dirty, stuck to the paved trail whenever we emerged from the woods.

Hogan learning to go in the box.

Hogan learning to go in the box.

Prissy boy Hogan

Prissy boy Hogan (see caption above).



























And to top it all off, here’s footage from Sunday’s late-night rabbit hunt:


A Near-Bloat Experience

We were lucky. Yes, it was the long weekend. Yes, it was late at night. Yes, it cost an arm and a leg because we had to go to the emergency clinic on a Saturday at 10 p.m. But we were lucky.

Dusty showing off his normally trim belly.

Dusty showing off his normally trim belly.

Dusty had none of the typical symptoms of bloat, other than extreme thirst and a distended belly. He was resting peacefully (no pacing or arched back), and I had been watching him carefully for hours. At 7:30 p.m., about a half hour after he ate dinner, I noticed the distended belly. Remembering one of the many things I had learned at my pet first aid course, I gave Dusty half a Gas-X tablet. I debated going to the clinic. He showed no evidence of discomfort, but I know the twisting can happen fast. Once I heard and smelled the Gas-X working, though, I thought, We’re in the clear. The air was coming out of him. (Boy, was it ever!)

However, at 10 p.m., when his belly was still really distended—seemingly more so than it had been—I woke Dusty from his sleep and took him to the emergency clinic. Since I was home alone this long weekend, it meant leaving Cora and Hogan alone for God knew how many hours (it’s never a short visit). I had been hoping to avoid it, but better safe than sorry.

Dusty with his bloated belly waiting for the vet.

Dusty with his bloated belly waiting for the vet.

I believe this was Dusty’s fourth visit to the emergency clinic in the two and a half years we’ve had him. He should get a frequent visitor discount by now. His digestive system has caused so many problems, and this one was just the latest and potentially the most serious. However, you’d never know by Dusty’s behaviour that anything was wrong. At the clinic, he wanted to say hello to all the other dogs and all the people, and he wagged his tail (his whole body, truth be told) nonstop. He put several smiles on several sad, concerned faces, and I think he believes that’s his purpose.

It didn’t take long for Dusty to be called in to see the vet tech. Vets take bloat symptoms seriously. The vet tech examined Dusty and noted that his abdomen palpation was abnormal and his heart rate was slightly elevated, possibly due to pain but also potentially a result of his excitement since he so enjoyed meeting another new person. We had to wait a while to see the vet, which suggested to me little cause for concern on the part of the vet tech, setting my mind somewhat at ease. Dusty lay down on the floor and slept, still burping and farting up a storm, while we waited. Once we saw the vet, she recommended X-rays to ensure his stomach wasn’t flipped. The X-rays showed an excess of stuff in his belly—food, water, and air pockets—but, fortunately, no signs of twisting. The vet recommended inducing vomiting to get it all out of him. I consented.

Dusty's innards--the black parts in the abdomen and stomach area are air pockets. The rest is a whole lot of food and water.

Dusty’s innards–the black parts in the abdomen and stomach area are air pockets. The rest is a whole lot of food and water.

It turns out there were about three to four cups of food in Dusty! He gets just over a full cup a day (at two feedings), so the quantity of water he drank must have increased that food volume exponentially! Once it was out of him, we were able to go home and have a mostly restful night (with one bout of diarrhea). Phew! Crisis averted.

Going forward, my dogs won’t have access to the water bowl at meal times. I’ll wait half an hour to an hour after feeding them to return the bowl to the floor. I think it was the water that caused Dusty’s issues (none of the other causes fit the situation). Let’s hope that our first bloat scare was our final one!

The Junebug Mystery Solved!

Thanks, everyone, for playing guess Junebug’s breeds. And huge thanks to Cathy for inviting me to host it. As I said, Junebug is a bit of a Popeye dog. Definitely living up to her looks.

Junebug7Before I got the results I expected her to have golden retriever, husky, and collie or sheltie. I also think the way she paddles around in the water must be what duck tollers do (though I’ve never seen that).

Here’s what the DNA test said—her silky golden fur and friendly nature have many people guessing (correctly) that she’s part golden retriever. Her pointy nose, watchful nature and loyalty is all collie. Her outdoorsy tendency, her black stripe, and her independence comes, as Nick guessed, from her husky ancestor. She also has a bit of Labrador retriever, which I think accounts for her wedge-shaped ears and pink nose and her love of water and balls, though that is tempered as I mentioned. Her wildcard, though, was completely unexpected. It is another sporty/athletic dog—the German short-haired pointer. I do see a few spots on her white paws (though that could be from the collie), and I’m told that GSPs are the best all-round athletes and hunters. I think that’s where the pointy head comes from, too.

Looks as if the winner is Johanna with three correct—golden, collie, and husky. Thanks again! October is adopt a rescue month. Junebug is a poster girl for that!