Monday, March 23, 2015

Fashion for Paws and the Bumper Sticker You Can't Live Without

As you know, every foster dog I've had since Sandy came from the Washington Humane Society, the DC area's open-admission shelter. I really love working with this shelter. They are really committed to helping as many animals as possible, even when it requires complicated medical care and a lot of behavioral rehabilitation. And, they are just really, really friendly, as well as humorous and supportive to their volunteers.

So this year I decided to try to help out WHS in another way in addition to fostering--by volunteering as a fundraising runway model for the Fashion for Paws Runway Show! In exchange for raising as much as I can for the shelter, I get to walk down the runway at a wild fashion show on May 2 in DC. 

To convince everyone that this is a cause you really need to support, I'm offering one-of-a-kind bumper stickers that I made MYSELF (with Fozzie's help) to everyone who donates! 

Yes, these wacky bumper stickers proclaim to the world your appreciation for those cool, fresh noses 











and those paws that smell like savory, crunchy, toasty baked corn snacks. 




Yes, of course you need one of these.












Any donation of $10 or more at my Fashion for Paws page gets you either the Cool and Fresh bumper sticker



or the Toasty Fritos, 



and a donation of $20 or more gets you both! And if you need another reason to stick one on your car, Cool and Fresh features a photo of Fozzie's nose.

Toasty Fritos is 3" round and Cool and Fresh is 3.75" x 5.65."

Email me at peacefuldog [at] yahoo [dot] com to let me know you donated and your sticker preference--and your address! 

And if you're in the DC area, you don't want to miss the Fashion for Paws event May 2 at the Grant Hyatt Washington! You can buy your tickets here too.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Evanger's Wild Salmon Freeze-Dried Treats from Chewy.com

I'm a bit late to put up my March Chewy post, which means that many of you
already know about the taste sensation that is Evanger's Wild Salmon Freeze-Dried Treats



Well you really can't go wrong with freeze-dried treats. And these in particular have a ...potent... smell that I can imagine, if I were a dog, would make them irresistible. 


Given that I am a human, these are the kind of treats that I encase in several layers of plastic before I put them in my pocket.






Which I did, and then Fozzie and I went for a walk in the snow. 

Emerging from the wooded path into the park we go to, there were some dogs off in the distance but these treats kept Fozzie's attention just fine.










Back on the porch, Fozzie was intrigued enough to tolerate the proximity of the nail clippers

But we still had to take it slow. 

Not even these foul-smelling salmon treats were enough to convince him to sit still for a full nail clip.











With a less anxious dog though, I think Fozzie and I can provide an enthusiastic endorsement. 

Evangers wild salmon treats would make the perfect high-value adjunct to your training and desensitization program. Thanks again Chewy!




Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baby Girl is Back Home!

As you know from that notorious Post That Shall Not Be Named, Dahlia's been at the shelter for two weeks getting treatment for an incision that ripped open and then became horribly infected, requiring a bandage that was actually sutured to her butt and had to be changed every day. 

For two weeks I thought about everything she'd been through and just wanted to know that she wasn't in pain. Last weekend when Florian and I went to the shelter to see if we could visit her, we were told that the wound was still pretty big but that she was doing well, and lots of staff and volunteers were smitten with her sweetness and took time to cuddle and comfort her. 

We were afraid of upsetting her so left without seeing her, which made our reunion when I did go pick her up on Friday all the sweeter. In the shelter, the staff were so sweet and applauded when I got there, and then they brought Dahlia out and she climbed up on my lap and kissed me again and again. 

She is supposed to be on crate rest, 

so we're keeping her there when there's the potential for her to get really excited. 











But her wound looks really fantastic. When I got her home Friday night it was looking a little oozy, so I put Granulex spray on it the last two days and now I just can't believe how well healed it looks. 








And that's the last time I do that to you, I promise.

She is still a little bouncing bean, though continuing her gradual trend toward less hyperactivity. On Sunday, when we had a nice sunny day, it was so great to just let her enjoy some time in the sun with her buddy Fozzie


and then to again have her ridiculously loud snores right by my side. 
I'll say it again, there is nothing quite like a petite snoring pittie pup. 

Welcome home, baby Dahlia! Maybe now I can get some sleep too. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Momentarily Terrifying Hike

While Dahlia recovers and stays at the shelter for her daily bandage changes, we had the chance to take a hike with just one dog and enjoy the remaining snow before it all melts this week (we hope). Florian drove me and Fozzie up to the Pawtuxent River near the Triadelphia Reservoir. A great choice, because there was absolutely no one out there and it turned out to be a beautiful trail undulating over the hills near the river. 

After descending the first of those hills, we got to the river and of course Fozzie, being a dog, ran right out to the edge of the ice. 

And if that photo gave any of you a strong premonition of something about to go awry, give yourself two points for an accurate sixth sense. Indeed, Fozzie fell right through the ice. 

Now Fozzie is a strong swimmer, and immediately started trying to find a way out, swimming to the left of where he'd fallen in. 

Off to the right the ice tapered off close to the bank, so my first thought was to try to get him to swim that way. Despite his panic, I could see him listening to us and trying to follow directions but when he turned around and swam right he got stuck in the hollow created when he fell through. 

Couldn't stand watching that for long. Next thing to do was to inch out to the edge of the ice and grab him. The look of relief on his face when he saw I was going to help him was absolutely priceless and pure Fozzie. Of course then the ice broke and I joined him right in the freezing water, which fortunately was not very deep. I was able to easily boost Fozzie up onto the thicker ice, and then Florian gave me a hand and pulled me out too. 











A chilly adventure! And a bonding experience with my Fozzie. 











Who then decided to dry himself off by rolling around in the snow.





Which apparently worked for him, but I was soaked from sternum down. But it was too nice a day to cut short our hike, and fortunately the sun was shining and after the first few minutes I didn't feel too cold. 

It was good to get up some hills and away from the water


where we could enjoy some majestic views and get a good workout trudging through the snow. 

Then back down to the water's edge for a while, this time with a certain young man on his leash!

Whew, that was an adventure. Fozzie and I will sleep well tonight, in our warm dry bed.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Really Nasty Post about Dahlia's Wound

I'll apologize in advance for this post, which gives me the heebie-jeebies just to look at even as it fascinates me. Because even though large, open, oozing wounds with underlying muscle and fluids clearly visible may not be most people's cup of tea, some will find it useful as a reference in case they encounter such a wound themselves. 

So Dahlia had a small lump, that the shelter vet decided to remove. 






The incision had to be large because they had to remove a lot of the tissue around it, in case it was cancerous. The good news is that it wasn't; the bad news is that the incision is on the edge of her butt, in an area that gets stretched every time she sits, stands, stretches, pees, poos, walks, or basically does anything.
Feb 20

With the result that a few of the stitches on the original incision pulled out within a few days of when she had the surgery. 









Now the first mistake I made was letting Dahlia move around too much when she had those staples. The second mistake I made was to take her back to the vet when a couple of those staples ripped out, instead if just keeping her still and letting it heal. 
Feb 24

Because the vet then put even more staples in, making the surrounding skin even tighter, which meant that a good number of those staples ripped out the very next day, 









probably when we went for a walk and she saw another dog and launched herself onto Fozzie as he reacted. 


Feb 26
Ick. When I saw that, I hauled me and Dahlia all the way back to the clinic. But the vet said that basically there was no point in sewing her back up, there was no more skin to stretch and the thing would surely rip open again. 





So I brought her home with a weeping hole in her leg, and no stitches no bandage no antibiotics, oozing bloody fluid all over, getting dust and dirt and dog food in the wound, and making me feel just a bit faint anytime I happened to look in the direction of her butt.

Apparently such things heal--they just take longer, about 3 weeks, as the skin grows in around the hole, while with stitches the skin can grow back together in as little as 10 days. And better to leave them unbandaged, as the oozing keeps it clean and having something on there would just trap bacteria, possibly leading to serious infection. 

I heard that a product called Granulex could really speed healing in open wounds and that animals with wounds larger than Dahlia's had healed OK in a couple of weeks. So I ordered some, thinking I could just do this at home. 


Feb 28
Then it started looking like this. 










At which point I freaked out. 

Took her to the emergency vet, where they kept her overnight and cleaned that sucker, gave her some heavy duty antibiotics and pain meds, and gave her a bandage that is actually sutured to her skin and has to be changed daily by a vet. 

She'll be staying at the shelter for at least a few days until that gets better. 


Holy crap! I thought this post was going to be a much different thing, with a bit of icky stuff at the beginning and then an inspiring story of healing. Sure didn't go that way.

I think I'll stop now. Here are some goats to make up for what I put you through. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Harper's Ferry Winter Hike

This weekend we had a big snow on Saturday, so big that we couldn't really go anywhere in the car. So it was an afternoon to suit up in the jackets and go for a walk in the neighborhood. Fozzie feels about sledders and skiers about the same way he feels about skateboarders, so I decided to put his head halter on to manage him a bit better. 

Which meant that he got the implacable urge to rub his head against something to scratch the head halter itch, which meant that he became a snowplow. 


The good thing was, he couldn't get too demonstrative even when Florian himself took off on the sled, 



which I think upset him even more than watching a stranger move in such an unusual way.









Sunday dawned clear and warmer, a perfect day to go enjoy the snow on some trail a bit farther from home. We ended up at Harper's Ferry, one of my favorite places. 


A very scenic, historic town with beautiful architecture, nestled in the crook at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. 

A bunch of trails converge on Harper's Ferry, 


including the Appalachian Trail, the Maryland Heights Trail--where we went years ago with Fozzie, Lamar, and Sandy--and the C&O Canal Towpath, which you can follow all the way down to Georgetown, DC or up all the way to Pittsburgh.

We crossed a bridge to C & O Canal Trail, for a nice flat hike that would be easier in the snow. 

It was so bright and sunny, and such a relief after the ghastly weather we've been having to enjoy the relative warmth.

The dogs were in high spirits, especially Fozzie who loves the snow and who despite his short pittie fur does not seem very sensitive to the cold. 


There was still a fair amount of snow on the ground and even though it was flat and we weren't out that long, the pups got nice and tired.

I am so grateful to live in a place where dramatic natural beauty is so accessible! And to have canine and human family members who enjoy being out in it as much as I do. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Smart Chips Peanut Butter Chews

Did you know that February is Dental Health Awareness Month? 

I sure didn't, until Chewy.com let me know and offered some dental treats to celebrate. 




We chose Smart Chips Peanut Butter Chews by Smart Bones. 








Since we've been working a lot with freeze-dried treats, which are super high-value and go down quickly, I wondered what it would be like to use a treat that takes longer to chew to work on something challenging like nail clipping. 







Apparently these treats smelled really good, and the dogs were eager to try them. I broke up one chew into smaller pieces and gave those out just in exchange for the dogs looking at the nail clippers. They took these chews off to their respective spots, and it took them a while to get through them. 

That's the good thing about these chews. Like rawhides, they take a while to chew, but unlike rawhides they are 99.2% digestible and made from ingredients like chicken and vegetables. 

So if you like to give your dogs a long-lasting chew, but worry about intestinal blockages, worry no more. 


We got to where the dogs could enjoy the chew with the clippers touching their paws.













I was hoping that with a longer-lasting chew, the dogs would be able to just relax and enjoy the chew while I trimmed their nails, and be so engrossed in that peanut-buttery goodness that they wouldn't even notice that the Grooming Tool of Death was doing unspeakable things to their little footies. 

But I'm afraid it will take some more work. Dahlia made it pretty clear that she's not ready to get close to those things for long. 

So we'll just take our time, and slowly build associations between those ghastly clippers and really, really high-value treats.


And we know where we can always get those! 

Thanks Chewy.com for all your help with making grooming less scary.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dogs on Ice

I have to say, around this time of the winter I start longing for spring flowers, warm breezes, and swimming holes. But the frigid temperatures are no excuse to stay inside, and this season has its joy and beauty if only you seek it out. 

One of those joys is bringing the dogs for a hike along an icy stream, like the Difficult Run trail near Great Falls, 

throwing a stick onto the ice-covered waterway to get both dogs out there,


and watching the fun as they stop short, thinking that stick is right THERE, within their grasp,


and then proceed to slide all over the place,

paws going every which way.


Is it wrong that I find that so enjoyable?