Friday, August 17, 2012

My Dog is a Cone-Head

Chevy has been licking and chewing on his feet incessantly for weeks.  At first we thought it was mildly annoying that he had the personal hygeine of a cat, but then it became clear that we had a problem.  The dog would slurp and lick throughout the night.  We did some Internet diggign to see what could be the cause of the obsessive paw-licking and came up with the following possibilities:

1.  He is stressed.
2.  He is aimless, probably because he should be a working dog and we have turned him into a comfort-loving, comfort-giving playmate.
3.  He has an allergic reaction to something

It was clear that I wasn't going to be able to quickly solve any of those issues, so today I took him to the vet, Dr. Erin Russel at Brookfield.  Again, the quality of vet that fell into my lap continues to astound me.  She has so much to say, so much advice to give, so much knowledge to impart.  She rolls options off her tongue, keeping in mind my pocketbook (although my pooch could never be called cheap) and the practically of the time commitment she's recommending.  There are so many things I could be doing better, but somehow she never makes me feel like I should have already known how to better care for Chevy. 

Her opinion is that Chevy is having an allergic reaction to something, which is causing the paw obsession.  The licking is causing inflammation to his paws and causing an acne-reaction to his face. There is a multi-step process to fix it.  First, Chevy needs to wear a cone to keep him from doing more damage to his paws. (He is not a fan.) Second, a "people" allergy medicine like Benadryl or Claritin once a day. Third, a topical steriod spray to help his paws twice a day.  And fourth, a pill anti-biotic to fight his issues from the inside. 

In addition to those things, we should also avoid plastics (no more using plastic containers as cheap food and water bowls at the beach), stop giving him Costco's duck treats (they come from China, which doesn't have safe food controls), return the Kirkland Signature brand of flea medication and buy Frontline (apparently the KS stuff is full of toxins), and start him on a heartworm medicine (since we took him to Eastern Washington). 

Once we get the current paw licking under control, we need to keep an eye out for what was causing the allergy.  Is it his food?  Consider switching to a different protein.  Does it happen again after we return from Eastern Washington? We also need to keep an eye on his feces to make sure his parasite hasn't persisted. 

As I type it, it seems like a lot...but it does feel doable.  Hopefully it is.  You know I'll keep you all posted, whether you want me to or not!  =)

One last pic of my cone-head, Chevy.  Note the tongue is still in action, he just can't reach his paws!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

It is BIRCHBOX time!!!

It's here!  Yes, my new BIRCHBOX has arrived.  I'm sure you were all waiting with bated breath just like I was. 
This is just the inside packaging for BIRCHBOX.   I'm not sure why I thought it was necessary that you all see that picture too.

First up in this month's box is a pair of  ear buds in bright pink and green from Glamour.  I figured I'd slip this into Sydney's Christmas stocking for the coming holiday season, but Sydney checked out my BIRCHBOX and already is pining for the ear buds.  Even though she knows I'm Santa, we still like to pretend that she doesn' saving it for her stocking won't work.   That doesn't mean that I'm handing the ear buds right over to her, though.  I'd like a little more time before my precious girl turns into one of those annoying kids that is always saying "What???" because they can't hear with their ipod plugged into their heads. 

Next up is a uber bar (imagine I went to the effort to find the umlaut key for the U) fro Larabar.  I'm not a huge protein bar fan, but this looks pretty good.  Sweet and Salty with a little fruit thrown in?  Yummy.  It is the perfect size to throw in the beach bag for a trip to the lake too.  

This is a skinny liquid eyeliner from eyeKO.  I've got a regular black liquid eyeliner, but not a "skinny" one.  I do have to work to make my regular one be thin enough on my eyelid, so perhaps a skinny version will be just the ticket.!

A nourishing hair mask and oil treatment from Amika will probably be used on Cheyenne's hair.  She's got such crazy hair and I'm constantly buying new product that moisturize in the hopes that it will lay down nicely.  I have heard of Argan Oil so maybe this one will be a winner.  It is nice to be able to try brands that I've never bought before...and to get them in sample size amounts so we aren't trying to use up a 12 oz bottle if we don't love it.  

Can I be honest?  I have no idea what this one is. B.B. Cream with SPF 27 PA++ from bosca.  Hmmmm.  B.B. cream.  I would assume it is a moisturizer of some kind?  Or a primer?  It says it has a "self-adjusting shade for all skin types" which means there must be some pigment to it.  I love oil free.  I've been switching to oil-free moisturizers for my face.  Any clue what PA ++ is?  Sounds pretty scientific.  Someone should probably tell me what this is before I end up using it on the wrong body part!

And last but not least, a new scent.  I love the lemon-grapefruit nature of this one.  Just perfect for spring/summer and for someone that doesn't like heavy perfumes.  Just something light and fresh smelling for me!  Feel free to walk up and sniff me if you want to know what it smells like. 

Do I really only get one more of these fabulous boxes?  This is like mourning the coming Monday on a Sunday morning.  I should just enjoy it while it lasts, right?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Birch Box: Samples Galore!

My little sister purchased a delightful birthday present for me: a 3 month subscription to BirchBox. I had never heard of BirchBox before but I think the idea is fabulous. Every month they send you a box full of samples (home, beauty, health, etc.) for you to try out. You declare what you are interested in on the website and then they send you a random set of stuff every month. What a great way to try out new stuff!

I can't wait to give this first sample a try. It will give me a reason for one of those 40 minute tubs that I'm always taking. It is a pore minimizing mask that disappears into your skin; after 20 minutes, the mask is gone and hopefully my skin looks years younger. Who am I kidding? I'd settle for months younger.    

Cynthia Rowley Band-Aids??? Totally cute, but my kids don't rate designer Band-Aids and I haven't worn a Band Aid in forever. Still, I think they are cute and I'm glad to have them in my first aid kit!

 Next up:  Denizia Olive Oil soap.  We really don't use bar soap, although this stuff looks delicious enough to make me want to try it. Or I could save it for a cute teacher gift bag someday...

"Staniac Balm for lips and cheeks???"   "Hmmm", I thought, "looks funky".  But then I tried it and I like it!  It is just like the difference between paint and stain on a deck.  Regular lipstick (like paint on a deck) sits on top of your lips.  Stain soaks into your lips.  When you first put it on your lips, they feel a little bit sticky (like stain on a deck while it is drying) but then your lips dry and just a little color remains.  It really doesn't look like lipstick.  There is no shine or obvious product on your lips;  they just look "stained" with color.  It's a keeper.  I think it might be going into my car since I don't think it will melt in the sun like lipstick does. 
Hee Hee!  When I was taking pictures I thought that this little peice of paper was the "parfum", but then I realized there was a little sample tucked inside.  I haven't worn the scent yet, but I sniffed it and it smells good.  The note inside declares it not to be a perfume but a scent used in making perfume.  Someone should tell the designer (Juliette I presume) that that distinction is lost on us little people.  I'd tell her myself, but Juliette Has a Gun! 

All right, that's the contents of my BirchBox sample box.  Can't wait to get a new one next month!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Really, who is the stupid one now?

Today was not a stellar dog day.  If fact, there was a fair amount of yelling and crying about the dog today.  But when I think back about the day, I wonder if the dog is really to blame.  At this point, it is really just our stupiditiy for not recognizing those things the dog is surely going to do.

Today the kids and I took the dog to the park for a walk.  I was feeling lazy and didn't put the dog kennel into the car.  I know better than that, right?  I already know that the dog eats seatbelts and  refuses to stay in one seat.  So should I really have been surprised when the dog refused to stay in one seat?  At least he didn't eat any seatbelts today. I was smart enough to not attempt to put him on a leash in the car ('cause I KNOW he would have eaten that!). 

Then I decided to let him go off-leash at the park.  Well...not exactly off-leash, since I left the leash connected to his neck.  I just dropped the leash so he could run around a little.  This was working just fine for awhile.  He was getting great exercise running back and forth.  He and Cade would run ahead on the trail and then I'd call Cade back and Chevy would follow.  Then Chevy discovered the marshlands.  He went crazy.  Super crazy.  He started jumping into the water like he was trying to catch something underneath the reeds.  Then he started running, running so fast and he crashed into Sydney.  So she shrieked and howled.  So he ran faster, back and forth, and crashed into her again.  The shrieks turned into gut-wrenching sobs.  I started to wonder what the occupants of the houses at the borders of the park must be thinking.  I recaptured his leash and walked us back to the car.  Chevy apologized to Sydney the best that he could and everyone was getting happy again...until I realized that wet, dirty Chevy had to get into the car without the benefit of a kennel, or a towel, or anything that might contain the mud.  And Chevy refuses to stay in one seat.  Now it was my turn to cry. 

We got home and I attempted to clean up my car's interior.  Later that night I picked up Subway sandwiches for the kids.  I even said to them "don't let the dog get your food", but apparently that warning went unheeded.  I was upstairs when I heard sobbing.  Cade was crying "I can't find my sandwich".  He said "I don't know if the dog ate it, but I can't find it".  That is not world class sandwich watching.  I found a pile of olives on the living room carpet, proof positive of Chevy's guilt.  See, Chevy doesn't like olives so he took the sandwich into the living room where he could remove the olives in private. 

So there you go...three seperate crying/yelling experiences and they all could have easily been predicted and prevented.  So who is "stupid" now? 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Totally Gross

That stupid dog, whom I love....

I think that is how I might start every dog post from now on.  I wonder if "whom" is grammatically correct.  I'm sure one of the grammar nazis that I count among my friends will be glad to chime in about that.

Today the kids and I took the dog on his daily walk.  At one point, Chevy stopped in the middle of the road and laid down.  I first thought he might just be enjoying the warm concrete under his back, but then he started wiggling his back around.  "Does he have an itch?" I wondered.  Unfortunately for me, no, it wasn't an itch.  Chevy had found a large splat of fresh bird poop and was rolling around in it.  Totally gross.  It turned his collar white with green smears. 

I've seen him do this several times before with deer poop and Sydney said he's also done it with dog feces.  What is that all about?  It is totally gross.  Did I mention that yet?  Totally gross.  What innate sense in dogs tells them to rub the feces from other animals into their fur?  And why on their backs?  I guess I could understand if he wanted to smell it, but roll in it?  That's just...(wait for it)...totally gross. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Smart Dog, Groggy Mom

Chevy, at about 17 months old, is about as smart as I was when I was 15 years old.  I say this because the dog has figured out something that I figured out when I was 15.  That is, mom is not coherant at 6:30 in the morning and will likely allow anything that doesn't require her to get out of bed. 

Chevy knows that he cannot sleep with us on the bed.  He is allowed to take a snooze on our bed during the day, but when nighttime comes and Scott and I crawl in...he has to get off!  Lately, he has been crawling back on the bed about 6ish in the am.  As long as he stays at the bottom of the bed, I am okay with that.  But he doesn't stay.  He slowly inches up to be with us.  Yesterday he came on to the bottom of the bed and then moved up so he could lay his head on my body.  By the time 7 am rolled around, he was fully stretched out next to me with his head on my pillow.  Yes, his head was on my pillow next to mine and somehow my arm was around under his neck.  I was snuggled up to the dog like he was a person.  Sigh.

I'm sure it was such a funny sight that I thought about re-creating it for a picture, but that would only confirm for the dog that he belongs there.  That's probably not a good idea.  Chevy already has illusions of grandeur that we are going to have to train out of him.  His master plan is probably to take over my spot on the bed and make me sleep on the floor.  That will never happen (although I've said a lot of things would NEVER happen that he's managed to fanagle)!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Dog Diaries: again, dog????

The Dog Diaries: 

Its been months since I posted about Chevy.  I continue to love that stupid dog (yes, again with the "stupid" word) and he continues to respond by chewing up my house.  Mostly Cade gets the worst of this relationship. There is a larger porportion of Cade's things able to be chewed that are laying on the floor...legos, cars, truck, stuffed animals... than anyone elses.  I've been fairly accepting of this problem.  After all, it isn't my stuff that is getting chewed to bits. 

Except today, when he chewed up my favorite flats.  That ticked me off.  Admittedly, I've had these flats for years.  I loved them when I bought them.  I even blogged about them when I bought them.  Just this side of Crazy blog "Gotta go with the mood that strikes ya"  It was Friday, August 14th 2009.  Now I can put an end date to my tombstone of my shoes 9/2009 to 5/2012.  Sigh. 

Taking care of Chevy has gotten easier.  There are many possible reasons for this:
  1. a couple of weeks ago I had three dogs (I was pet sitting for my sister) and now one dog seems pretty easy in comparison
  2. I've really lowered my expectations
  3. I've finally bought most of the gear that I needed and so now I have enough options to care for my pooch
  4. He snuggles with me on the sofa most evenings, which makes up for a multitude of sins during the day
  5. I've stopped feeling guilty if I need to leave him in his crate for 4 hours.  I still feel guilty about more than that.
I still really need a fence in the backyard.  It will be really nice if I can send him out to play occasionally, especially when other people come over.  We are still not sure about a traditional fence or an invisible fence.  We've ruled out the other wireless fence that we were hoping for...apparently those don't work on sloped property. 

Well, I should probably go downstairs and clean up the chewed bits of my shoes all over the carpet.  I bought a new vacuum cleaner attachment to pick up all the dog hair on my upholstery.  Maybe I'll try that out.  Oh yeah...that's one more thing you can put on the "Chevy's an expensive dog" tab!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Chevy gets a home "outside" of home for when we need to be gone for longer than a few hours.

First let me say that it is hard to type with a 60 lb dog on your lap.  For a few minutes there, I was doing more backspacing than I was typing.  But he has wandered away...probably to go eat something he isn't supposed to. 

Given my reluctance to crate Chevy for hours and hours, it became quickly apparent that I need an outside solution.  I was trying to never be gone for more than a few hours at a time but that just wasn't working.  We often have back to back activities and it was really limiting us to have to run home in between to play with the dog and let him out for a bathroom break.  Limiting, and fairly expensive in gas costs! 

So today I went to Costco and picked up a dog house they had for sale.  Check it out!
Scott had 2 helpers putting it together:  Cade and Chevy!

While I was busy picking up the doghouse, Scott found and procured a dog run on  What would we do without Craigslist?  It would have been $750 to buy a comparable dog run new and we spent $150 on Craigslist and the seller was here in our hometown.  I love it when things like that work out. 

For now, the dog run is on our back patio.  It will keep Chevy from being able to dig under the dog run (unless the dog has nails that can cut concrete) and it is shaded by the deck above (you know, for all the sun we've been having).  Eventually, I think we'll move it to the front of the house next to the garage, but  we'll need to pour a concrete pad for that. 

Now I have to figure out how to make it more of a home for the pooch.  Do you think Chevy needs any posters on the walls?  I wish I knew of how to give it a bathroom.  I assume that if he needs to "go", he'll probably do it as far away from his doghouse as possible...but it still seems quite unwelcoming to have to potty in the corner of a concrete patio.  Perhaps a few magazines?  He could read them, tear them to bits, and then poop on them.  Perhaps I should put down a mat or a rug? 

I'll keep thinking about that...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Can I get paid for this?

I shall harness the power of my pen (or in this case my MSi S6000 laptop) to give a shout-out to StarMark for their awesome training collar.
Walking Chevy has been a painful experience.  He is just so exuberant!  We've tried a number of things to keep him from pulling us around when we go on walks.  First we tried just yanking his leash and stopping whenever he started to pull, but his response to that was to ignore us (and keep pulling) or bite through the leash.  Then, at the advice of our dog trainer, we worked on positive reinforcement by giving him treats and positive praise whenever he stayed with us.  That works for as long as you have treats in your hand or until he sees a dog/cat/squirrel/deer...whichever comes first. 

We tried retractable leashes, which he has a hard time biting through.  But that didn't stop the pulling either.  I was getting pretty frustrated because I wanted to take that blasted dog on a walk for both of our sakes, but I wasn't looking forward to the chiropractic adjustment I would need afterwards. 

I considered a pronged collar, but I just didn't like the image of my pooch having that metal chain and prongs around his neck.  I know when I look at a dog on a pronged metal collar, I think the dog looks agressive and I get a little nervous.  I don't want other people to think that way about my Chevy.  Then a friend told me about the StarMark collar.  It is great because it has a solid plastic outside band that hides the fact that it is pronged.  No one would look at Chevy and guess that he has a pronged collar on.  The prongs seem a little more gentle to me as well.

Our walks have been sooooooo much better with this collar on.  Chevy stays with me during 95% of the walk.  If something catches his attention, he might dart away but the collar "reminds" him to not pull before he's had the chance to disconnect my rotator cuff.  And I know he doesn't really mind wearing it because he is eager for our walks and he doesn't complain when I put it on him. 

I'm a believer!  I got my collar on for about 10 bucks!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Cage or Crate?

Everyone says I need to get past the notion that putting Chevy in his crate is the same thing as putting him in a cage.  Everyone except that little voice in my head.  And, of course, that voice talks to me far more than the average person.

That voice says that Chevy is a dog made for hunting, a dog yearning to travel long distances looking for a tasty mallard.  That voice says that Chevy barely gets enough exercise between our walks and throwing the ball around the yard and because of that, confining him into a small space can't be pleasant for him....even if that is just for a few hours at a time. 

The other day I decided to undergo a trial run of leaving Chevy alone in the house without putting him into his crate.  I wouldn't feel as bad leaving the dog if he didn't have to be stuck in that little crate (cage).  I was gone for an hour and a half.  The trial was certainly unsuccessful.  I came home to broken dishes on the floor, chewed up Star Wars legos, Sydney's lunchbox licked clean, and the remains of boxes strewn about. 

So the next day, it was back to the crate for Chevy.  I put Chevy in the crate and left to work at Cade's preschool.  When I got home after preschool, Scott was home and Chevy was running around.  Scott said to me, "if you are going to leave Chevy out of his crate, you ought to make sure there is no food on the counter".  "Well", I said, "I didn't leave the dog out of his crate."  Apparently Chevy let himself out of the crate...again!  That makes 3 times that he has unlatched the top latch of his crate and squeezed himself through the opening. 

The next day, Scott put a bungie cord around the crate when we needed to head out.  Our hope was that even after Chevy unlatched the crate door, he wouldn't be able to open it. When we got back, Chevy was out.  He ate through the bungie cord and let himself out again.  The dog is smart and destructive...a fairly lethal combination!

Today I tried a good old twist tie around the latch on his crate.  Apparently all the dog's smarts can't make up for the fact that he hasn't fingers to untwist a twist tie.  Chevy was still in his crate when I returned home.  So for now, it is still the crate for Chevy, accompanied by a twist tie.  I still yearn for the day when he can be in the house alone without needing to be in a crate.  However, given the constant destruction of the dog of everything he can get his teeth on, he'll be in the crate for some time to come. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Bad Dog

Well, it's been 4 weeks now and I have less and less to blog about.  Chevy has either stopped misbehaving as much or we are learning how to care for him better.  We've gotten into the habit of being gone for an hour or two during the day and Chevy goes into his crate.  He goes in there willingly (which is a major improvement from when we first got him) and we think he spends the time in his crate fairly quietly...without barking or whining.  Of course, we're not home to know if that is really the case, but we think he is good. 

Today the kids are home in honor of President's Day, so I put Chevy in the crate about noon and took them to the mall for some ice cream and errands.  When we returned at 2:30pm, Chevy met us at the front door.  How does he do that?  He opened the top latch of the crate again and squeezed himself through.  It cannot be comfortable to squeeze yourself through the half-unlatched door of a wire dog crate. Immediately I started looking around to see what mischief he got into while I was gone.  This is what I found:
In case you can't tell what that is, it is the remains of a box of Girl Scout Samoa cookies.  The dang dog found the cookies that I need to deliver and helped himself to a box.  Grrr.  It would have been better if I had ordered myself a box that I could use to replace it, but I blew all my girl scout money on Thin Mints.  So now I'll have to order a new box of Samoas to deliver.  Add $4 to the cost of the dog. 

Of course, Chevy knows he's been bad, so he stays glued to my side for the next 15 minutes as I try to clean up his mess and move the rest of the cookies to higher ground.  I don't know about you but when my kids are bad, I wouldn't recommend that they hang out underfoot for the next 15 minutes.  It is like he is waiting for me to pat his head and say "good dog".  Well., he can just keep waiting.  Why can't he go hide in a corner until I'm ready to forgive him? 

Another little "bad dog" issue that we are dealing with is that the dog doesn't seem to have good bladder control.  He's excellently house broken.  He has NEVER peed or poo'd in the house on purpose, but he gets so excited when we come home that he almost always leaves a piddle trail on the floor as he leaps out of the crate to say hello.   We can't seem to get him out of the house fast enough to keep it from happening.  And he is able to hold his pee for much longer than 2.5 hours when he isn't excited.  All you experienced dog people out there, any thoughts on that one? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Chevy, the budget buster

Before we got a dog, I did a fair amount of asking around about how much a dog would cost me.  I asked several friends with dogs the question "What is the annual cost of owning a dog?".  The answers ranged from "not much" to "just food and occasional vet bills" to the classic blank stare (as if the question of a total yearly dog expenditure amount divided by 12 for the montly budget was a weird question to ask).  I decided those answers added up to about $1200 a year, or $100 a month.  That assessment might have had something to do with the fact that I had a monthly bill of $107 that was ending soon and I could easily repurpose that money to a dog category.   But whatever the reason, that was the amount that I decided to plan for. 

I am here to tell anyone who will listen that owning a dog is more expensive than that.  Take a gander at the first 21 days of dog expenses:
  • $13.00 pet shampoo and deoderant spray (oatmeal based, for his dry skin)
  • $31.50 King County License
  • $77.00 first 6 months of flea medication
  • $200 first trip to PetSmart.  Dog crate, dog bowls, dog food, tennis ball, treats, dog toy, etc.
  • $250 cost of rescuing Chevy from the Humane Society. Includes a 6 week training class.
  • $15.00 lint tape, for getting dog hair off my clothes
  • $13.00 dental chews, because the vet says he's got tartar/plaque
  • $11.00 bitter green apple spray, so he'll quit chewing through his leashes
  • $14.00 Nylon bone, to give him something he is allowed to chew on
  • $176.02  Cost of lab workups and meds for Chevy's first vet visit.  Vet waived the labor cost of the first vet visit for rescuing the pup from the Humane Society. 
  • $76.00 cost of medication after we learned that Chevy had a parasite
  • $20.00 dog bed from Costco (total waste of money. He prefers to sleep with the kids)
  • $30.00 barrier for keeping Chevy in the back of the Honda (Chevy destroyed it in minutes)
  • $300.00 cost of replacing the seatbelts in my Honda Pilot
  • $20.00 2nd leash, retractable
That comes to about $1300.00.  Yep, thats a big number for the joy of falling in love with a dog.  Good thing hubby wasn't that expensive in the first 21 days!!!

Chevy's expenses aren't over yet. The big expense that we still have looming is a dog kennel and fence solution. Or maybe that is an either/or scenario. Costco has a dog kennel right now that is around $300 (or was it $400?) that looks really nice. 6 ft high fences all around (important since we've got a jumper) and a 10 ft by 10 ft. area for him to hang out in. I found one that looks the same on, but its price says $750 so it must not be the same one, but you get the idea!

We have a difficult yard to fence, so we are looking into non-physical fencing solutions.  There is the Invisible Fence option that we've considered, and another option that is basically a wireless version of that.  I'm leaning toward the wireless version. It is called PetSafe Wireless Instant Fence.  You basically install a transmitter on your house and put a collar on the dog.  The dog gets a shock if he goes outside of the radius allowed by the transmitter. One of the benefits is that the wireless version is portable enough that we could take it with us when we go to the cabin.  Another benefit is that we can install a 2nd transmitter on dad's house and Chevy would be able to run through both the yards.  I bet the 2 transmitter solution with collar will run us another $750.  So...basically $2500 for the dog, just to get everything set up for him.  Sure, ongoing costs won't be as much.  Yearly vet bills, yearly flea medication, daily food and some toys.  I'm still hoping those numbers will come in under $100 per month.  Unless you count the bigger vehicle that I'll need to haul him around!  =)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Week 3

This week has been full of fun surprises as I learn about my dog.  My first suprise came on Friday as we enjoyed the fabulous weather.  Chevy had already been out for a morning walk, but it was afternoon and I wanted him to be able to enjoy the sunshine.  I decided to open the door to my enclosed deck so he could hang out in the fresh air.  Chevy loved to go out alright, but he didn't care much about the "enclosed" part.  That dog sailed right over the deck railing on his way to freedom.  I don't even think he was on the deck for 4.5 seconds before he had grass between his toes.  He trotted right around to the front of the house to be let in...presumably so he could do it again. 

My house has a daylight basement and my deck is on the main floor, so there is about a 13 foot span from the top of the deck railing to the grass below.  So now I know:  Chevy is a good jumper.  Who would have thought???

Another fun tidbit that I learned about my dog is that he pees a little when he is afraid of getting in trouble.  I can already recognize the look on his face when he's been into something and he doesn't want me to know.  He usually hears me coming to check on him and he'll run to meet me in the other room so I cannot see the carnage (like the knocked over kitchen garbage or Sydney's chewed up boot).  Last night I was lying in bed and I heard something being knocked off the kitchen countertop.  I got up and headed downstairs to figure out what he was up to.  He met me on the stairs as I descend.  "Chevy!" I scolded "what are you up to?".  His response was to duck his head and come pee on my feet. 

Really dog?  You have to pee on my feet?  I wasn't going to hit you...I just wanted to tell you "no!".  Now I have to spot clean the carpet, wash my toes, and then clean up whatever you were into downstairs. 

Sheesh...good thing I already love that boy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Dog Diaries: The first bath

Well, the vet said we brought home more than just one animal when we brought Chevy home from the shelter.  He has a parasite.  Boo.  The vet gave us medicine and recommended we give him a bath. 

Chevy is adept at avoiding the medicine.  I've tried mixing it into his dry dog food, but in 4.5 seconds the dry dog food is gone and the medicine remains.  I've tried wrapping it in cheese and putting it directly into his mouth, but he manages to chew up the cheese and spit the pills out.  I even put the pills into the center of a donut.  I snuck one of the the two pills into him that way, but he spit the other one out.  Scott says that hiding it in cheese should work, but that I'm giving him too large of a slice of cheese.  The goal, apparently, is for him to gulp the cheese without any chewing, thereby not noticing that there is a pill tucked inside. 

The bath was less eventful than I feared.  I called my friend Carrie to come help me and we brought the dog up into my bathroom. It's got a tile floor and a soaking tub, so that seemed like the best bet for the dog bath.  (Note:  someone else told me they put the dog in a tub of water in the bottom of the enclosed shower, but I don't think I have a rubbermaid tote big enough to put Chevy into.)  Chevy did not want to get into the empty bathtub.  I tried to coax him in with treats, but that didn't work either.  Carrie eventally just picked him up and put him into the tub, and then we used a bucket of soapy water to scrub him down.  He didn't wimper or cry, but the first opening he saw he tried to jump out of the tub.  We were able to push him back into the tub.  I don't have a spray nozzle in my tub, so we just dumped buckets of clean water over him to rinse him off. 
That's when he decided he had endured enough and Chevy exited the tub. It turns out that my dog has a large shake radius.  Who knew he could get multiple walls wet at once?  I tried to towel him off as well, but it seemed like he stayed wet for hours afterwards.  Am I supposed to dry him with a hairdryer?

Check out that tongue!
Hopefully that's the end of any pesky parasites!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Week 2

Week 1 of the dog was certainly eventful.  Week 2 is proving to be a little easier.  Chevy continues to steal food, but we are doing better with crating issues.  Just yesterday morning I put a new cube of butter in the butter tray and then went to use it a few minutes later.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  I thought I was going crazy until I remembered that I now own a dog.  Sure enough, I found that Chevy had "borrowed" the butter tray and licked it clean.  Hopefully the "back end" of that problem isn't too gross! 

Yesterday I took Chevy for his first vet appointment.  Thank goodness for qualified, caring professionals.  Our vet, Dr. Erin Russell at Brookfield Vet Hospital in Redmond, was FABULOUS.  She had so much to say and I, being a dog newbie, have so much to learn.  My take home list of things to do/think about from the vet appointment is a tad overwhelming.  Here's my "to do" list:
  • Register Chevy with King County
  • Order a chain leash that he can't bite through
  • give heartworm medicine tonight
  • give  heartworm medicine again in 2 weeks
  • bring in a stool sample in 2 weeks for follow up parasite testing
  • order Trifexis, a flea/heartworm/parasite medication
  • look into Trupanion insurance for his first year
  • consider the Leptospirosis vaccine (because we spend time in Eastern WA)
  • review vacation boarding suggestions (for our trip in March)
  • get a dog shampoo with oatmeal for dry skin
  • buy some "greeny" dental chews for his teeth
  • get a Kong or related toy for playing with while he's in the crate
  • figure out a fence solution (no more playing fetch with him in the back yard without a leash! bad mommy)
  • consider buying a weighted vest for him to wear on walks to better exercise him
  • consider "calming" options to help him when we leave him alone and to help with training
    • a "behaviorist"
    • a hugging vest
    • a calming pheremone collar
    • herbal medication
    • doggie prozac
It may take me awhile to get through all that.  The vet called back this morning and said that Chevy does have a parasite, so I need to get him started on some medication and give him a bath.  Hmmm....I wonder how the first bath is going to go?  I think Scott will be helping with that one!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Days 7 & 8

How I would love to tell you all that everything has settled down and the dog is now a well-behaved part of our family, but I’d be lying. Instead I must choose which of the stories of the last two days to tell…

Yesterday wasn’t actually too bad. The dog stole some food, chewed on a shoe, and knocked a kid or two into a wall, but he also played nicely in the yard, behaved for a trip to PetSmart, and handled the presence of lots of little children well.

Today it would be hard to give the dog a passing grade. Today he snuck past me to get out of the car at the bank, nearly knocking me over, slipped off his collar when I tried to catch him and generally refused to behave when I tried to recapture him. That was fun (for him). But that wasn’t the naughtiest part. The naughtiest part was when he locked me out of the house.

We’ve been working on crate training. This morning, Chevy successfully hung out in a locked crate for 15 minutes while I quickly drove my preschooler to school. So this afternoon, I thought I’d try it again for a half hour. I decided to take the kids door to door selling Girl Scout cookies. Chevy might have been hard to control if there were other dogs around, so I put him in his crate and gave him a treat to keep him occupied. Then out the door we went.

We were gone about 30 minutes. I knew I was in trouble as we walked up to our house and I could see the dog through the front window. Umm…wasn’t he supposed to be in his crate? Then (of course!) the kids started yelling “mom, the front door is locked, the front door is locked”. Apparently Chevy had been able to slide the catch on the top of his crate door and squirm out the top. The crate door was still locked from the bottom, but the top wasn’t. He must have really had to fight to get himself through the half-locked crate door because the crate was not in the same physical placement as when I left. Then he proceeded to the front door where he scratched the door, trying to get out. In the process, he turned the knob on the dead bolt…and locked us out. Of course, the garage door keypad was out of batteries and my parents weren’t home and I didn’t bring a cell phone with me.

It took me just a minute to figure out how to burglarize my parents’ garage door keypad to steal their battery and install it into my keypad. When we got into our house, I found that the dog had helped himself to more treats and spilled a glass of milk all over the floor. Besides that and the scratched front door, there wasn’t much damage.

Still, what’s next? Do I actually have to put a lock on the crate?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Days 4 through 6

Naughtiness continues...

After the first three days with the dog, I thought he was really well behaved at home and with the kids.  He might have had some behavioral probalems when I tried to confine him or leave him, but he was great in our presence.  I'm reconsidering that label of "great" and sticking with "naughty".

That dang dog is getting into everything.  I've learned to be concerned if I realize he hasn't been in the room with me for more than 5 minutes.  I realized last night that I hadn't seen him for a few minutes and went downstairs to figure out what he was doing.  He had knocked a closed tupperware container off my kitchen counter, opened it up (all over my floor), and was proceeding to eat the chicken noodle soup it contained.  Bad Dog!  I should make him do the mopping.   I'm fairly sure he ate some cookies off the counter too.

We've gotten pretty adept at ignoring him or shoving him away when he's pestering us at the dinner table.  But yesterday, I had several different little children playing at my house during the day.  The dog is bigger than the tots and his size is scary for them.  I tried and tried to keep that dog from going over to lick them "hello".  I finally put him on a leash and kept him next to me as I chatted with the moms..  What did that dog do?  He ate through the leash again.  Chevy says "what part of NO CONFINEMENT don't you understand?"

I booked a training class through the Seattle Humane Society that will start in 2 weeks, but how am I going to get through the next two weeks with a dog that can't be out of my sight?  If I seriously have to spend my date-night babysitting money on a dog sitter so I can go to the grocery store, I'm gonna be unhappy! 

On the up side, he laid by my side and snored while I watched TV last night.  I had to turn up the volume a little to hear over the pooch, but I still kinda liked it.  =)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Days 1 through 3. What have we gotten ourselves into?

We’ve been looking for a family dog. On Friday we headed down to the Humane Society and selected a lovely black lab/german pointer that we named Chevy. He’s a year old, but a pretty good sized pup. When we brought him home on Friday night, we put him in the back of our Honda Pilot. Unfortunately for us, he didn’t stay there on the way home. Despite our best efforts to keep him in the back, he was seated across Scott’s lap in the middle row by the time we reached Sammamish.
Knowing that we were going to need Chevy to be a good car dog (given all our trips across the mountains), we went out a bought a barrier system for the back of the Pilot. It’s a barrier system designed for large dogs. We thought we’d be fine.
So Sunday morning, Scott headed off to work and I put the kids and the dog in the car and headed off to church. Chevy started whimpering pretty quickly and by the time we were half way to church the kids were informing me that he was chewing threw the rear seatbelts. Seatbelt 1 was severed. What do you do when the dog is chewing the seatbelt? I could stop the car, but that would leave me on the side of a road with 3 kids, a dog and a severed seatbelt. So I kept going. I probably should have turned the car around, but I didn’t. I drove to church and took the dog out for a quick walk. I made sure he had his warm blanket in the back of the car and plenty of fresh air, and put him back into the car.
When I came back after 45 minutes, Chevy had eaten through both rear seatbelts, moved the barrier system so he could squeeze by it, and helped himself to whatever he wanted in the front of the car …including my coffee and the other three middle row seatbelts. I then tried securing him with his leash, but that didn’t take long for him to chew through that as well.
Sigh. I love this dog, but those seatbelts are going to be expensive to replace, not to mention the annoyance of not being able to use my car to cart my children around. Sweetness (I’ve really got to fine a new moniker for her during these tween years) cried all the way home from church; she was just certain that her mommy would never keep a dog that destroyed her car AND drank her coffee. I don’t want to get rid of the dog. I already adore him. I just need him to not be so…naughty!
 So I find myself wondering, is it the confinement of being stuck in the back of the car, or is it the abandonment that we left him behind when we went inside? I’m leaning toward the confinement issue because he was chewing the seatbelts while we were still in the car with him. Still, I NEED to be able to leave this dog alone and I can’t trust him to leave him wandering around my house…so I need to be able to crate him and that’s confinement. But that’s non-negotiable, right? I’d better go look into some training classes.