Monday, February 19, 2007

Fabio & His Toys Part II

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fabio & his toys part II
Category: Pets and Animals

I noticed the other day that many of the toys are starting to look bedraggled around here. I found some toys on sale and got even more through a catalog order and now the puppies have a wide variety of fun things to entertain them. Fabio found the stash and got all excited. While his head was stuck deep in the basket of toys sniffing, his back legs were excitedly kicking around and moving his whole back end back and forth.

Ah-hah! The first toy of choice was a yellow duckie. It fit the mouth perfectly, squeeked ever so wonderfully, and was promptly stolen by Mariah within 3 seconds.

Never fear, there are many toys in the basket. Next up - a green elf. Interesting texture on the legs, fun to toss in the air and push around on the floor with the nose. Yep, this will do. Promptly stolen by Mariah within 15 seconds.

Five toys later, it was time for all the dogs to go outside to use the bathroom. I found Mariah's stash tucked away in the corner of the couch for safe keeping. Poor Fabio. So when it came time to crate him, I put the yellow duckie in with him and he contentedly squeeked it as we fell asleep that night. Mariah had no further interest in the toys and instead sucked up to Tony for a frequent belly rub.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Turning into real pugs
Category: Pets and Animals

This morning at around 4am-ish, Ellie told me she was tired. The pups were starting to get to her and she'd appreciate a break from feeding. I asked her if she could wait till the alarm went off and I'd feed them for her. So this morning the pups got their first taste of something other than mother's milk. They dove in, wallowed around, and played with their food. Mom cleaned up their leftovers and their fur and made the nest all tidy again. At lunch they got more and even peeked up over the side of the pen to find more food. I should have known it would take food to make them really act like pugs - lol.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Overprotective Mothers
Category: Pets and Animals

A few years back, I took in a pregnant kitten. Only a kitten herself, she was already pregnant and due to deliver at only 6 months of age. She did a fine job, and had 3 lovely kittens. She was the type to prefer to find her own living quarters and if I got too close, she would move them. She settled in the guest room and so I let them be and tried my best not to peek under the bed and check on them. They were growing and I could hear their playtime sessions. The mom would come out and get her food, her attention, and then go back to tending her babies.

It grew to her laying by the door to the room so that she could keep an eye on what I was doing as well as her babies, and prevent them from wondering past her barrier. I would watch their direction too, and every once in a while I'd see a bit of fluff bounce out, then right back into place. Fascinated by their cuteness, I laid on my belly in the hallway one day, just watching. The mother studied me closely. It was business as normal for about 10 min. Then all of a sudden, she looked to her left, issued a meow, and the babies came flying around the corner and out to investigate me. I had been deemed worthy and harmless!

Ellie Mae has been just as protective. This is her first litter, and she wasn't altogether fond of us doing the initial developmental exercises on them. She hasn't issued the ok meow yet, but the pups are starting to cave to their curiosity. There's just such a big world out there to investigate! They've been interacting more with each other, with us and with the dogs, and it's so much fun to watch them grow. Ellie is starting to calm a little, but she keeps very close tabs on exactly where each one is at any given time and anyone holding a pup gets an intense stare and usually a chin on the knee till the pups are safely back in their pen.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mutinous Take-Over
Category: Pets and Animals

The bed. The little $10 bed I picked up at Walgreen's just before Christmas because it looked like the whole thing would fit in the washing machine. Who would think it would become such an object of dispute? Even as I write this, the tiny bed is holding Ellie, Petunia and Mariah, none of whom are willing to give up a tiny bit of their real estate.

Some dogs suckle even as they're older. There is speculation that the pups who do this might have been weaned too early, miss their mothers, weren't socialized, etc. We got Petunia when she was a pup and she never suckled on anything, she had the older pugs here who helped her adjust and socialize, and she did very well. However, when we got this bed, something came out in her. She would get into the bed, grab the bolster with her mouth, and her eyes would glaze over, like a cat with catnip. Beyond her control, her paws would start kneading the bolster on either side of her mouth and she would contentedly do this for hours and even fall asleep in this position if allowed. My mom came to visit the puppies and saw Petunia on the bed doing this ritual and was amazed. Have you ever seen her so sublimely happy?? Of course, the bed was in essence, Petunia's. It became one of her most valued possessions in just a short time.

When Daisy's pups got moved to the crate in the office, it was the easiest thing to grab and put by the crate for Daisy to sleep in while overseeing her pups. Petunia seemed ok with that, since she would use it in the office, too.

The problem is now. The pups are older. They need more playtime outside of the crate, and more interaction with their pack. At first, they thought it was cool to play with aunt Petunia from beyond the bolster. Then they thought it was fun to jump in with her and crawl over her. She has a pretty high tolerance, but every once in a while you'd hear a low growl while she was trying to calm them down so they could sleep. This evolved into puppies cuddling with her, but now they're so big they've chased her out and overtaken the bed.

Poooooooooor Petunia......

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The doggie door
Category: Pets and Animals

Right before Christmas we installed a dog door. It took us how long to get smart?? I guess part of the reason it took so long is because I've never had one and hearing stories of those who do and how hard it was to train their dog had me worried. I have to say that installation was a breeze (maybe that's because I just watched while he did it) and that training them just as easy. It just took once or twice through and they had the idea.

Now every dog seems to have their own doggie door persona. The majority of them will run through easily. Especially the boys - no problem and they will even use it on their own without me having to go outside with them. The rest prefer to wait for our 4x daily ritual of going outside together.

Ellie will go through, but it has taken her a while to figure out she has to use the top of her head to push it open. For the longest time she would close her eyes and use her face - no wonder she didn't like it that much!!

Daisy, who has me wrapped around her paw in a number of ways, prefers to go in and out the regular door with me. Since she's least likely to mess in the house, I continue to spoil her and cater to her wishes.

Tiki stands back and watches from the porch, afraid that the snow will bite her. I have to walk away from the door, down the stairs, then she will peek out the door and follow me. Then I have to run up the stairs, close the door and walk out with them while they go potty.

Petunia and Isabelle will run in, out, in, out, depending on where the action is so they don't miss anything.

And perhaps most strange of all is Mariah. She will wait till all the other dogs have gone out, and I have closed the regular door, then she will make her dash through the doggie door. If I stand there and watch her and don't close the door, she jumps high in the air, trying to make me hurry. As soon as the regular door is closed, she runs excitedly through the doggie door. I guess we all have little routines in life that make us happy!

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Friday, February 02, 2007

AKC tips for cold weather pet care
Category: Pets and Animals

Winter Care for Canines

*Briarwood's note: remember that all pugs and brachycephalics are temperature sensitive and do not adjust well to either extremes. They are most comfortable in moderate temperatures closer to 70 degrees. Their noses cannot regulate the temperature on cold or hot air entering the body. They should not be left outside unattended and should only be outside to use the bathroom when it is cold.

General Concerns

Winter's cold air brings many concerns for responsible dog owners. Keep the following precautions in mind:

Don't leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be attentive to your dog's body temperature, and limit its time outdoors.

Adequate shelter is a necessity. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

Be extra careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes, rivers or ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.

Groom your dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra cold, so consider a sweater or coat. Long-haired dogs should have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease snow removal and cleaning. If you do the trimming, take care not to cut the pads or other delicate area of the foot.

Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary.

Towel or blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. It is important to dry and clean its paws, too. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.

Don't leave your dog alone in a car. If the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger your dog's life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.
Health Tips

Dogs cannot talk to us when they are sick. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to pay special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season. Remember the following health concerns:
Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous. Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, it can be lethal.

Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your dog's feet after a walk.

Provide plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.

Frostbite is your dog's winter hazard. To prevent frostbite on its ears, tail and feet, don't leave your dog outdoors for too long.

Be very careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your dog. Make sure all fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.

Like people, dogs seem to be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.

Don't use over-the-counter medications on your dog without consulting a veterinarian.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Eclampsia woes
Current mood: worried
Category: Pets and Animals

At lunch today, Ellie's pups were all sprawled out, showing off those big tummies, so I was taking some pictures and getting ready to take a little movie of them waking up because they're walking so much better now. But then I noticed that Daisy was shaking.

We made an emergency run to the vet where she was treated and then went to work with me for the rest of the afternoon. Thank goodness the pups were already fed and that they are already accustomed to the supplemental feedings we've been giving them. I wonder if Isabelle knew that something was wrong with Daisy because as I let them out to use the bathroom, she stayed behind to try to nurse the pups. We have the best dogs with the biggest hearts!

Eclampsia is a condition where the mother has been producing so much milk that her system runs low on calcium and it is difficult for her body to absorb the calcium she takes in to use it where it is needed. It is very dangerous, is commonly found in toy dogs, and is life-threatening if not treated immediately. Anyone actively breeding should be familiar with the symptoms so that it does not go untreated. Knowing that it was a possibility is why we introduce the pups to alternative food sources early in life. It removes the resistance to changing food, it supplements the intake making it easier on the mother even when things are fine, and it helps to prevent the onset of eclampsia.

The vet said that even though Daisy is still shaking a bit, that her heartbeat is good and strong and she should be fine.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Puppy Update
Category: Pets and Animals

Daisy's: Here they are with a new pen, toys, food being brought to them, their every wish catered to, but the grass is greener on the other side. What's outside the crate? Hmm, that looks interesting. So they've been trying to climb out and this morning they just looked like they needed some good exercise and they're getting big enough to handle it. So I let the big dogs outside and let the pups have run of the office floor. They've been out a little, but never without someone keeping them rounded up into a certain area. This time they were free to run and investigate and they all went to different corners and checked things out.

I went to get my shower and when I came back 15 min later, all but one had climbed up into the dog bed I have there for Daisy's comfort. I found the straggler underneath a chair and behind a food bowl, softly whimpering a little. She came out running to me and we cuddled until the others woke up and got their second wind. After some more playtime, it was back into the pen for breakfast and they gulped it down - must have worked up an appetite!

So far they've been exposed to the surfaces of fleece, sherpa, puppy pads, hospital absorbent pads, the plastic bottom of their former whelping pen, the hardwood laminate of the office floor, and the bottom of a wicker basket. We'll be setting them up with some new challenges soon since they seem to be ready for them including new surfaces, different types of bowls, and I ordered the cutest puppy mobiles for their crate. The plush toys hang and they can bat at them!!

Ellie's: The pups have been trying to open their ears for a couple of days now. As of last night, it seems like they're all hearing! I go into their room when they're asleep and make little sounds to see which head pops up in search of the noise. This will be a week where will will not stress them, where they will spend as much time with Ellie as possible so that they can learn how to handle all these new sounds in a stabile environment. Next week we'll start introducing them to new sounds!

They are all wobbling, and spending more time trying to be on their feet. The little black female stood in one place for quite a while last night - I was so impressed! Tony picked up one and was looking it over, seeing how it was developing, looking at its face trying to predict what it would look like as an adult, and the pup opened her eyes real big, looked at Tony and squealed! LOL... Ellie had to come and make sure everything was ok and I got to tease Tony that he can't hold them this week because he scares them ;)

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