Monday, October 30, 2006

Dory, Dory Pumpkin Eater...

There I was just carving a pumpkin when I felt this furry being under my feet. It was Dory and my mission on Sunday was to carve a pumpkin for the contest at Chris's office. Silly I know, but it was a fun way to waste a windy and cool Sunday. Of course when I realize Dory was eating the few pumpkin seeds that had fallen off the table I went into panic mode.

Would she get sick, are pumkin seeds toxic to dogs, the list that raced through my mind was endless. After washing the goo off my hands, I raced to GOOGLE and checked - apparently pumpkin seeds are harmless and may even deter dogs with coprophagia to not eat their own feces. Dory (thankfully) doesn't do that - but at least there was an upside to what I feared would harm her.

Of cource after this evening I realize Dory will eat anything. Since Chris wasn't around and I had no desire to cook for just me, I though Chinese take out would be a tasty treat.

Dory begged and pleaded and finally I relented and gave her a taste, and apparently Dory loves Chinese food. She liked the egg roll tidbit and even the hot peanut/sesame sauce coated dumpling was just fine by her.

Every day Dory makes me laugh, surprises me in big and small ways and is always up for cuddling. I'm relieved the pumpkin seeds won't bother her and glad to have a friend to share some take out with.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Charity - it's a good thing!

Today's blog is by Dory Blue Young

My mom was tired after a long hard day at work, so I decided to take over blogging duty today. My ears sure hurt, but my doggie toes are fine so I thought I’d get writing.

After going to the puppy doctor the other day Mom and I went shopping and I got to go in the store with her!!! It was very exciting. There were smells and things that before now were only in my dreams. Mom said we were here to find just the right things for a gift basket. Now, I have no idea what a gift basket is but I definitely want one of my own!

We got doggie treats, a leash that stretches out, pretty collars, doggie bandanas, rope toys, bobble head labs and SQUEEKY TOYS! Boy oh boy, I monitored Mom closely just in case she wanted to share the gift basket with me – but no such luck.

Mom said the gift basket was going off to Connecticut to be raffled so other Labbies like me can be rescued and find new homes. I hope this raffle helps lots of Labs like me, because I have two special rescue angels Auntie Cindy and her friend Edee, a great mom, a really nice family and super new friends. I get to go on boat rides, learn new things at school, snuggle with my humans, write a web blog and there is always good food and treats every day. My wish is that all my furry friends could be so lucky.

Here I am with our final product - I was in charge of quality control.

So if you are near Hartford, Connecticut, please go to the dog expo there this weekend (10/28 & 29) and find the Labs4Rescue booth. They have a great basket full of nice doggy stuff that you can win and when you win - lots of homeless Labs win too.

Good night! WOOF!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Malassezia pachydermatis

Just the name sounds creepy!

On Friday after Dory’s apple crisp feast downfall and beginning obedience class triumph we had a vet appointment to see what was up with the divine Miss D’s ears. Sadly to say, the news wasn’t good.

Dory has a yeast infection in both ears, the right ear is worse than the left. The doctor flushed both ears and said that her little ear canals were so sore and so full of gunk that it was impossible to see if the right eardrum was perforated, but she had a suspicion that it was.

Needless to say we left with drops, pills and for some odd reason a picture of the yeast from the swab slide. I know technology is great and there are some fun applications, but having a printed copy of the yeast laden slide image is not really something I need to see!

Dory has begun to understand that she doesn’t need to put me on auto-ignore for hours after giving her a pill or putting drops in her ear – I’m hoping at least in some small way she understands I am only trying to help her feel better. My only worry now is that she will scratch her ears and make them worse or worse yet she will hit her ear while shaking her head and wind up with a hematoma (SP)! If she thinks drops are bad wait till she sees a cone collar!!!

All we can do is wait and see. Any time a young baby or animal is sick or hurt it just kills me. They have no way to tell you how bad it is and you really can’t explain to them that it won’t be forever and all the stuff you are doing to them is to help not hurt.

So for now we need to keep our collective fingers crossed and hope this yeast ear infection responds to medication!

Pomp and Circumstance

If you had asked me Thursday afternoon I would have said Dory would not be graduating from Beginner Obedience.

The day started out well, Dory had a routine morning and I went off to work as usual. Dory was in her crate and all was right with the world. I had a doctor’s appointment, so I came home to have lunch and change before heading back out. Dory seemed so good and calm before I left,that I had the bright idea to leave her loose while I went out – after all I was only going to be out just a little while….

Well in typical Boston fashion, the doctor was late, the traffic was heavy and it took me longer than expected. I said to myself – don’t worry Dory will be just fine.

Well Dory was fine, as it turns out full, and definitely fine. Before leaving I thought I had secured everything in the kitchen. Knowing that Dory was a notorious counter surfer I thought I had made sure everything was out of reach. The only thing out was up way past where she could reach – or so I thought!

Somehow, the dainty Miss Dory reached the Pyrex glass 8-inch cake pan that was on the stove pushed to the back burner. In that pan were the remains of the apple crisp that I had created for Chris. I don’t know how, and I am contending it was a miracle, not only did Dory reach the pan; she somehow slid it off the stove (a good 30 + inches high) and on to the floor without breaking the dish. She then proceeded to remove the foil covering without tearing the foil and ate the brown sugar drenched apples, crisp and all.

When I got home I could not believe my eyes – there was my cake pan, foil daintily pulled back lying empty on the floor. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or scream.

So if you had asked me if Dory was going to pass Beginner Obedience, my answer at that point would have been a resounding "NO". I figured that between being home alone and gobbling at least two hefty helpings of apple crisp that she would either be bouncing off the walls or so distracted she couldn’t think straight.

To my surprise by the time class rolled around Dory was in fine form. No apparent tummy ache or sugar high – she sailed through her class and is now a proud graduate of the New England Dog Training Club (NEDTC) Beginner Obedience – Class of ’06.

I am very proud of her and I swear that I will never figure out how she got that cake pan down without breaking it or ripping the foil. Dory enjoyed a leisurely weekend the past couple of days, but we both have hard work ahead of us in Advance Beginners. And who knows, maybe we can think about tackling Canine Good Citizen certification – that is unless it involves apple crisp!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ears, glorious ears!!

I suspect that Dory has some sort of ear issue. She has been shaking and scratching at her right ear for all she is worth and over the weekend I decided to get some ear cleanser and cotton balls to see if I could help the situation.

It was just a simple act of caring and I never thought that Dory would mind. Boy, was I wrong.

My normally happy, loving, cuddle bug of a dog squirmed and whimpered her way through the cleaning and when I was done she high tailed it to her crate. I took one look at the gunk on the cotton balls and knew all was not well.

After the cleaning materials were all put away I tried to make amends with my girl and to my surprise she wouldn’t even look at me. I called, I begged, I bribed – but all I got was a cold shoulder and a nasty sideways glance.

I was heartbroken, all I was trying to do was trying to make her ears feel better and all of a sudden I was a pariah in my own home. Chris got a good chuckle out of this but I was devastated. The indignant behavior lasted for several hours. Who knew Dory would react to ear cleaning so badly!?

The next day, Sunday, I thought I should treat her ears again and yet again I was put on auto-ignore!

Well, clearly Dory has something amiss in her right ear – but I’ve made a vet appointment for Friday. I’ll let her be mad at Dr. Bergstrom and not me for a change. Hopefully it is nothing too serious and I have certainly learned my lesson!

Here is Dory seeking consolation from Chris - Next time he cleans her ears!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

If it's Thursday, it must be obedience class...

I am please and proud to report we had a very good dog obedience class tonight!!! The trick is to give Dory down time before the class and drive right to the class - no pit stops.

Marjie the training leader says that Dory is doing an awesome job and just needs more practice and socialization. We aren't really sure why, but once she sees a small dog - that is all she can focus on. So this week is practice on our basics so we can shine next week at our final class. I think we will sign up for advance beginners - the dog club folks are very nice at it is good for Dory to socialize and for me to be up and moving on my new knee.

Dory is in deep sleep and after a shower to wash off the doggie treat grunge I'm headed to bed too!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hunting Stories

Okay when I was a kid my father was a big fan of Justin Wilson, he was a Lab loving, duck hunting, Louisiana based Cajun cook, well sort of.

Anyhow he was really more a southern comic that cooked and was big with the Orvis wearing, LL Bean shopping, gun toting, retriever training, Ducks Unlimited member type folks.

Well we had this album with a bunch of his “routines” on it and I like two stories in particular. One was about a retriever who couldn’t swim and a retriever that could count.

Since I have been slacking on the blogging – don’t blame me, blame Christopher Columbus because the extra time off messed up my whole schedule – so I am including my versions of Mr. Wilson’s Lab stories and a third someone sent me via email recently. Since we are all mourning the passing of summer to fall I though a little humor might help.

The first story starts out with a man from New York looking to buy a good Lab for some duck hunting. He finally ends up down in Louisiana and this local guy offers to show him a few of his dogs.

The local has two dogs with him and as they sit in a duck blind and begin shooting some game he sends the first dog out. And the New York fellow is impressed by the dogs marking ability and so on and asks how much for the dog. The local fellow says $2,000 and he is yours.

The New York man says “Well, what about that dog over there, how much for him? Can you send him out so I can see him work?”

The Louisiana man says “No sir, you don’t want that there dog, he no good. I can show you his retrieving but he no good, he is only $200.”

The New Yorker persisted and finally a duck was shot and the second dog runs out of the blind. The dog is quick and goes trit trot walking right on top of the water, not getting wet one bit and comes straight back with the bird. Another duck is shot and again, to the New Yorker’s amazement the dog walks on water right out to the duck and come back the same way.

The New Yorker say, “WOW that dog walked on water, why did you say he was no good?? This is a miracle, a phenomenon!”

The local guy says. “No, no, that dog is no good, I never could teach the darn thing to swim.”

The second story starts out with Mr. Jones who is also looking for a retriever to go duck hunting with. He talks to a lot of his friends and ends up at a breeder who lives down in Cajun country in Louisiana.

The breeder brags to the man that he has a Lab who can sneak out, find ducks and come back and tell you how many fowl he saw. The hunter thinks this is just too good to be true, but the breeder says, “Let me show you, lets take the dog out for a little test.”

So the breeder, the hunter and the Lab all go out in the marsh country. The breeder tells the hunter to hang back while they send the dog over to the water. The dog bounds over a hill and through tall grass and is gone for several minutes. When the dog comes back he barks four times, and the breeder indicates that there are four ducks on the water.

Sure enough the two men walk over and sure enough there are four large mallards sitting in the marsh waters. The men repeat this a few times and each time the dog accurately predicts the number of ducks the men will find and barks to indicate that number.

The hunter says he wants to bring a friend who will co-own the dog out to show him this miracle dog. The breeder agrees and says to the hunter he and his friend can take the dog hunting the following day.

The two hunters go out and just a couple hours later come back to the breeder. Both men are battered and bruised, one man has a cut and is bleeding and the other has cuts all over his arms and legs. The hunter says to the breeder, “Come over here and get your dog, we aren’t buying him, he just went crazy.”

The breeder is alarmed and runs over to the truck to see the dog all disheveled, tied up and in a crate. He turns to the hunter and exclaims, “What the heck happened?”

The hunters say that the first time the dog went out he came back and barked nine times and when the hunters went over, there were nine ducks just sitting and waiting. The second time the dog came back and barked twenty times and sure enough there was twenty ducks.

“The third time we sent the dog out he came back with a big stick” the hunter started, “and he just ran around hitting us with the stick acting all crazy and wild and we just didn’t know what to do. It took the two of us just to get him in the crate and we hurried right back over here. The dog has gone loco or something. All we know is we can’t hunt with a crazy dog that hit’s us with a stick so you’ll have to take him back.”

The breeder leans back and starts to shake his head. He lifts off his cap and lets out a big sigh. “Man,” he says, “ you don’t know anything. All that dog was trying to do is to tell you two knuckleheads that there were more ducks than you could shake a stick at out on that marsh”

And the third goes like this…

A guy is driving around Maryland and he sees a sign in front of a house: "Talking Dog For Sale."

He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a Labrador retriever sitting there.

"You talk?" he asks.

"Yep," the Lab replies.

"Really, now!!! So, what's your story?"

The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.

I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running. But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. Then, I met a gorgeous female Lab, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."

The guy is amazed. He runs back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

"Ten dollars," the guy says.

"Ten dollars??? This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"

"Because he's lying. He never did any of that spying' stuff."

Dory the Distracted

Dory and I have good nights at Obedience Class and then we have not so good nights. Last Thursday was a not so good night.

I piled Dory in the car and headed off to class with a slight detour to Dunkin Donuts for some iced coffee. Dory was in the back and somehow spied a seagull walking across the parking lot as we were going through the drive-thru. Honestly she lost her mind – she yowled and whined and hopped and woofed.

She wanted that seagull. Who knew?!

When we finally got over to the armory for class it was pretty clear that Dory had checked out for the evening, she was distracted, disobedient and unruly. I tried to bring her back to reality but there was no hope. By the end of class I was exhausted,limping and embarrassed.

Chris says I’m doing great with Dory and shouldn’t be so hard her or myself. I never thought of myself as competitive but I guess in some small way I am. When I was young (and surefooted) training was never an issue, but then again I was training a puppy I’d known from birth.

All I can say is we need more practice. Practice, practice, practice.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Visiting 101

Okay, I demand equal time here - my Mom has been hogging up the computer and being all misty and thoughtful.

I have to admit I was worried when she loaded me into the car last Friday, I mean she had been packing and tidying for a few days, so I knew something was up. I also have to admit that I was just a bit worried that I was going to a new home to be left at. I mean we were in the car for a long time, Mom brought toys and treats and I didn't have a lot of experience with "weekends away".

I liked Gramma's house and I made some new friends, Mom called them my doggy cousins. All I know is the short fat girl was fun to play with, that boy was a little too attentive and wow, the old Golden that Mom calls Lucy can really lay down the law.

I was romping in the house with Tubby, er a well I guess her name is Mollie - anyhow we were having a grand old time dashing around the house when Lucy let out a mighty "STOP ROUGH HOUSING" WOOOOFFFFF!

Yep, they were good canines and the people weren't bad either. Gramma had good doggie cookies and Uncle Harvey just loved to pet me and call me a "nice lady dog"! He snuck me some table scraps, that really made my day - just don't let Mom know.

Mom and I got to hang out, watch football (I was surprised Gramma shouts and sings that "Hail to the Victors" song too - it must be a family thing) and best of all we slept in.
All in all I wish I had understood visiting before we actually went on a visit - but I am very excited about visiting more people and going back to Gramma's house too!! Confidentially, Mollie said Thanksgiving and Christmas are doggie holidays where you can have all the treats you can steal...very, very cool.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Home Again

Dory and I drove out to Saratoga on Friday for our first visit with my mom. We got an early start and arrived mid-afternoon. Dory was very vigilant the whole ride out, I’m not sure if she was enjoying all the fall foliage or not. As I was driving I did get the sinking suspicion that she might think she was being taken away to a new place. I tried my best to reassure her she was okay and we were going someplace fun, but not speaking “dog” can be a barrier and I don’t think my endless human jabbering and singing along with CD’s would reassure anyone of anything.

We were just a mile or so away I called Mom and she let her three dogs out in the yard so Dory could have a peaceful entry. Once we pulled in I defiantly knew Dory was thinking “Oh gosh – is this another new home??!!?!”, but I tried to ease her fears as best I could lavishing lots of love.

Once we spent some time inside we joined Mom’s Labs, Zachary and Mollie and her Golden Retriever Lucy. It all went very well and Mollie who is around 7, the youngest of the bunch and closest in age to Dory was so happy to have a playmate who wasn’t a geriatric case.

The weekend went very well, I’m not sure if Dory understands the concept of “visiting” or “friends”, but she was surrounded by family who all loved her and dogs that accepted her into their pack without fuss.

It was good to be home for a few days and now with the big question of Dory meeting Mom’s dogs being over and done with we can look forward to future visits, holidays and so forth in the future.

Someone once asked me why I call Saratoga home when I have lived in Massachusetts for over six years now, they asked me do I feel better when I go home, does it feel somehow different.

At the time I had no way to answer that. Home for me has never been about a specific place, not a certain house or definite street. We moved around while I was going up, and while I loved seeing different states I was always envious of the friends I made growing up that had lived in one place all their lives. I was jealous of the continuity and innocence that went along with going up in one specific place.

As I grew up the term HOME for me took on a very different meaning, it wasn’t about the house or town, it was about being somewhere with your things and those that loved you. Home to me is not just my mother’s place in Saratoga, it is my friend’s place in New Jersey, Kentucky, Colorado or Alaska. Home is where my cousins live in Hawaii or Michigan. I suppose you could use the catch phase I’ve heard before, Home is Where the Heart Is and for me nothing could be truer.

So as we drove out and back this weekend Dory and I were both going home. I’m not sure Dory understands it; I’m not sure I understand it completely. I just know that no, driving into Saratoga did not make me feel better or different, familiarity is not was home is to me, it is being with those who love you and always welcome you with open arms.