Christmas 2004, Wherein Rossi Learns of Doggie Crack®


When we feed the dogs, we give them their food, then a treat. Bella Greenies as her treat; Annie gets a knotted rawhide. Greenies are toothbrush-shaped, green chew treats that clean dogs' teeth and freshen their breath. From empirical evidence, they taste really, really good: Bella will howl until she gets her Greenie after dinner, which is our routine: dog food, then treat. She demands her Greenies. Now, now, now! if she doesn't get one immediately after she's finished her do-I-really-have-to-eat-it dog food.

It's so bad, we call Greenies by their real name: Doggie Crack®.

This Christmas, we're dog sitting Rossi. For those counting, that's one (Bella), two (Annie), three (Rossi) dogs. Their code names are The Little One (Bella at 29 pounds), The Big One (Rossi at ~90 pounds -/+) and The Bad One (of course, that's Annie, at 35 pounds).

The Bad One doesn't get Greenies, as she doesn't actually chew them. Instead, she bites them into three pieces and swallows the chunks without chewing. Kinda defeats the teeth-cleaning purpose of them. The chunks can be seen the next day out in the backyard in Annie's poop. Bella will later eat these tasty chunks of Doggie Crack®.

Before we started dog sitting, we were told that Rossi gets two cups of food a day. Normally it would just sit in a dish, but our dogs would eat it, so instead she gets one cup twice a day like our dogs do. Rossi has learned to eat it when she gets it, or go hungry until the next eating time. She also gets a treat when everyone leaves, because she has separation anxiety.

Well, as Ros is a bit overweight, we're giving her less food than the two cups. We did, however, start her on the after-dinner treat routine by giving her a doggie biscuit after dinner. We haven't been giving her adios-dog-we're-leaving-you-alone treats, because she hasn't seemed to need them.

After a few days of doggie biscuits, Rossi started getting rawhides. She didn't get a new one every day, as she never quite finished them. After a few more days of this, I thought I'd give Rossi a choice: a dog biscuit like she's been getting, a rawhide like The Bad One gets, or Doggie Crack® like The Little One gets.

When presented with the three options, Rossi sniffed each one in turn. Hmmmmm, I've had this biscuit before, it's dry. Hmmmm, yes, this rawhide takes me FOR-EV-VER to eat. Hmmmm, what's this? It's different. Now, what are these smells again? She sniffed each one in turn, then sniffed again. Then sniffed again. Finally, she put her mouth around the Greenie, er, Doggie Crack®, and waited. She didn't pull (Liza training, I think - you can't pull food out of a 2 year old's hand without some repercussion, so bite gently and wait). Instead, she just waited for me to say okay. Little did she know I was starting her on a path of no return: she loved her first one.

Now, when we try to feed her dinner in the evening, she doesn't want to eat. She wants her Doggie Crack®. She sniffs her food ("Bah. Dog Food."), then hurries over to me ("Where's my Crack? Where's my Crack?"). I have to tell her several times, and point, and command, "Eat! Food before Greenies!".

I think she's starting to understand the routine. Food first. Then Doggie Crack®. Food. Crack. Food. Crack. That's the way it works at Krikitt Downs.

Another Bella Seizure


Bella had another seizure tonight. I was in the office (working on MPUL stuff), and Kris was in the living room, playing online poker. I heard Kris say, "Bella, what's wrong?", before he yelled for me to come quick.

I dashed out to the living room, to see Bella in the green pillow, all tense, with very shallow breathing. Kris was standing over her, just flapping in arms looking down at her. When I asked him what I should do, take videos (the vet wanted a video of her behaviour to confirm diagnosis of seizures) or something, he said, just hold her, pet her.

So, I cuddled up next to Bella, started talking to her, making soothing noises. The seizure lasted about 4 minutes: 11:24 to 11:28, according to the VCR.

And Kris. What did Kris do? What did he do after I started petting Bella, soothing her to relax while this nasty seizure passed? What did he do?

He went back to play online poker.

Yay, Kris.

Not on the dog!


Kris and I took Bella and Annie for a walk tonight. When we're short for time, or just lazy, we'll take them up to the school and let them run around the big field. They get to run around, we get to walk and talk: a big win all around.

Well, on this walk, Bella stopped at one point, and started chowing down on some cat poop. I have no idea why this dog likes eating cat poop [1] (a google search answered that question quickly), but it annoys me to no end. I can't stand the shit-breath she has when she's done.

So, on the leash Bella goes, and we start walking home.

$25 to Hump a Stranger's Leg

Annie, the beagle

Annie went to doggie daycare today. Kris was up at 6:10 (much earlier than we get up normally, by a LOT), and out the door by 7:00. Since this was Annie's first trip to the doggie daycare, she needed to arrive early so that she could greet other dogs as they came into the room. The alternative was introducing her to a mob of 20 dogs (stressful for any dog!).

The doggie daycare (DDC from now on) has a webcam where you can watch the room. Whenever I watched, Annie looked lost: standing around looking sad.

Bella the taskmaster


This evening, after working all afternoon on a project with Mike, I did not want to go for my daily run. I was supposed to have an SFUC game, but the weather didn't cooperate, and the game was cancelled. So, the daily 2 mile run was on the schedule instead.

As mentioned, I did not want to go on this run. So, I head into the office to start working again on the project. Bella, the short, stinky one, comes up to me and starts pawing my leg. She was so cute, I started petting her.

We often play a game of chase. It usually starts with my getting down into the doggie I-want-to-play position (think: all fours, front paws out in front, butt in the air). When Bella catches on, she'll bay, then run away, usually to the other side of the house. I get up and chase her. When I catch up to her, she bays again. I then turn and run the other way to the other end of the house. She chases me, and bays when she catches me. We then repeat this until either I get tired, she gets bored or Kris yells at me for creating a Crazy Dog.

After a few moments of petting Bella this evening, she got into the I-want-to-play position and started baying. The chase was on!

We chased each other through the house for over 5 minutes. When we were done, I was all warmed up and ready for a real run.

Despite my rump being sore from last night's workout, I ran the set 2 mile loop in exactly 18 minutes. I was pretty happy (considering Tuesday's night run in 19.5 minutes).

Bella the task master. I'm right on schedule with my ultimate off-season training

Broken Bella Beagle, part 3


Broken Bella Beagle went in for surgery today. She's getting TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) on her back left leg.

A description of the surgery's function:

All of the other cruciate repair techniques replace the cruciate ligament
in some manner.  TPLO instead changes the bone structure in the dog's 
knee joint so that the bone angles are different and the cruciate ligament
isn't as critical.

Rotating the tibial plateau until it is level changes the biomechanics 
of the knee joint. After leveling the tibial plateau, the patellar tendon
and the caudal cruciate ligament take over the function of the ruptured
cranial cruciate ligament. The cranial cruciate is then no longer needed.

Bella comes back tomorrow.

Broken Bella Beagle, part 2


Yep. Bella's injured. After a full night of carrying her everywhere, Kris called the vet this morning. We took her in for an appointment, where Dr. McClenahan checked Bella over.

Two relatively howl-free X-rays later, we had confirmation of a torn cruciate ligament.

We're supposed to keep Bella off her leg as much as possible, but let her walk if she wants to (she can't injure it much worse), give her painkillers daily, make sure there's no rough housing with Annie, run Annie a lot to tire her out, and see how Bella is in a week. If she's having problems in a week, consider surgery.

Surgery. Great. After the $300 bill for the diagnosis, we'll have another $3000 bill for the surgery. Whoo.

Now, why didn't we get a cat?

Broken Bella Beagle


In an effort to help both dogs with their weights, we've been trying to run them more often. When we take them up to the big open field at the school, however, they tend to walk around the periphery, sniffing away. Not much exercise there.

So, I've been chasing the dogs to encourage them to run. When they start running at some point, I run after them, next to them, with them, whatever it takes to get them running.

During a run fest tonight, Annie and Kris took off running across the field, and Bella started chasing them. After about fifty yards, Bella slowed, stopped, then sat down. I hurried over to her to see what was up, nervous the exercise has caused another seizure. Her tail was down, her back arched funny.

Well, no seizure, but she wasn't putting any weight on her back left foot. Oh, not good.

Kris ran Annie home and returned in the car. I met Kris at the curb with Bella. A sure sign it's something bad: Bella let me carry her without squirming.