Thank you, HOA

October 6, 2017

Chris, our wonderful HOA manager, put out an email about dog rules. Yay!!


Linked Essays and Home Depot

June 18, 2017

When I read the email cover letter to send in the sample of my manuscript for Drinking Out of the Trough, I read that it was referred to as a collection of “linked essays.” Huh? What is that?

Linked essays are those that relate to each other by subject and through a timeline.

While all essays weren’t in perfect order, I could see that they had a natural progression with regard to a timeline. That was the reason for going to Judy’s house with her crazy long dining room table, and sorting out the essays. As it turned out, the essays were mostly in chronological order. Had I known what linked essays were, it probably would have confused me more that the simple directions of adding photos to this blog. I have an IT person, who is quite brilliant, but darned if I can follow the directions. I will work on this today while it is hot today.

My submission to the publisher I want is done. I only have to wait. Judy says this publisher has a pretty fast turnaround, so I’m not going to send more entries to other publishers until I hear the outcome of my submission.

So today, before going to the dog park, I decided to have Ivy practice for her next lesson in her Canine Good Citizenship class, which is meeting this week at Lowe’s. We went to Home Depot. What a great little dog! Ivy, who loves everybody, started jumping up and down on her hind legs to meet the nice employees who thought she was the cutest thing they’d ever seen (she is). I asked the to let her sit first like a lady, then love on her all they wanted. Ivy was in doggie heaven.

Next, we started shopping. We looked at granite countertops, light fixtures, and other hardware items. I had to call her back to heel a few times, but she did this right away. We practiced sit stays, and down stays with me circling her while she remained in her stay. When people just wanted to walk by, I told her to “Leave it,” and she complied. It helped that I had treats in her treat bag hanging from my shorts. Good distraction technique if you ask me.

What I was most proud of was when she saw a woman running a huge machine to clean the floor. Ivy didn’t even react to it.

All in all, it was a successful trip.

The dog park was crowded. All her friends were there. Boy, can that 34-pound puppy run! Fast. Ivy is fast enough to catch up to a black poodle she likes. Ivy is mostly poodle, so it makes sense that she is as fast as one. But she’s only nine months old. We spent about an hour and a half there, and it was time to come home so she could drop down into a deep sleep. She is out in her dog pen now, sleeping like she’s dead. I’ll hold a mirror up to her nose in a minute.

Have a great Father’s Day.

 

 


Dances with Kittens

May 31, 2017

Have you ever looked closely at a veterinarian’s hands and arms? If you have, you would see tiny lines of scars on them, a memory of the cats that have scratched them. I myself have plenty.

I have two scars that I actually cherish. When Cowboy Joe was coming out of anesthesia, he was a little goofy, and raked the back of my wrist with his back claws. There are two long, thin scars, memories of a strung-out kitten. It’s a memory from a cat I dearly love, so I am happy to look at them. At the time it happened, 2004, I was not amused. Since my cat was loopy, I understood.

The other scar I treasure was put in place by Pruney, the cat of my life. While living at home with my mom after college, I decided that Pruney, an inside/outside cat, should wear a collar. Many cats wear collars just fine. Pruney-not so much. She managed to get the collar stuck in her open mouth, and when I got her off the window screen where she hung onto dear life, she raked the same wrist with her two canine teeth. After over 40 years, I can still see the reminder that not all cats can wear collars. The last cat I tried a collar on was Kitty Alexander, our 20-pound tuxedo, who promptly got hung up on a door hinge. I had to unhook him. Now, I know how collars should fit on animals. No mistakes there. It’s part of what I teach my clients. These were just two freak accidents, and since Pruney was my last outdoor cat, there really is no need for collars on my cats. And a heads up to our humane society, I don’t license them, either, when they get their rabies vaccinations. Bad Mary.

In practice, my favorite part of well kitten visits is to educate people about how to care for their cats properly. The most important part of this lesson is, “How Not to be Killed by Your Kitten.” You see, people like to have Kitty chase their fingers across the room, or wave their hand back and forth on the carpet. It’s so much fun to see him get so riled up he can’t think, and runs around the room like he’s possessed. Bad idea. Kitty gets the idea that, 1. It’s OK to bite the finger when he catches it, which is instinctual, and 2. It’s OK that human body parts make great chew toys. They are not. NEVER use hands to play with your cat or kitten. Instead, have a toy or string that they cat catch and play with. For strings and similar items, be sure to put them away when you are finished playing, as the strings could be swallowed by an unsupervised cat and wind up stuck in his intestines and will have to be surgically removed.

The same play rules are true with human feet, except Kitty will add hiding for pouncing on and biting the feet. If you like being attacked by an unseen ball of fur, by all means, go for the foot fetish. It can, however, be very painful in the sensitive area of the top of the foot. Picture Tiger lying in wait until you come home from work, looking at the mail when, WHAM! You are attacked from below-a direct hit to the ankle.

Also be that cats like to climb things, like the drapes. Bad Kitty. This behavior is reinforced by thinking it’s cute for Kitty to climb up your pants with his razor sharp claws.

So what to do if your cat is the Kamikaze who actually gets to you even after you stop playing with hands and feet? First, don’t physically discipline an animal, ever. The cat is only acting on its instinct of preditory behavior. Second, you have only three seconds to react until the devious act is out of Kitty’s mind. Fill an empty soda can with small rocks, and have it ready to shake at Kitty when he is bad. Making a hissing noise is cat talk for “Look out, I’m going to get YOU”! You can also turn and walk away, play time is over, period. Be strong, even if he wants to start playing with you again. Nope-game over.

What’s more fun than playing with a kitten? Nothing! But be aware of safe ways to play with your little furball so no one, you or Kitty develop bad behaviors and gets hurt.


Hey Lady! It’s a DOG Park

May 16, 2017

I am wary about dog parks. They are great business for veterinarians. This mean that dogs can get hurt at a dog park. Yet I serve on the Parks and Recreation board (16 years total so far,) and when we build a new community or large park, we include a dog park. That’s what the people ask for in a park.

I cringe whenever I see a dog off leash. I live next to a dedicated prairie, the Cathy Fromme Prairie, dog laws strictly enforced. But still, every time I walk Ivy on the paved trail, some yahoo has his or her dog off leash.

One dude on a bike was running his mutt off leash while he pedaled in comfort. I asked him to please leash his dog. His reply, “Oh get over it.” Oh well, there are only so many park rangers, and they are usually elsewhere.

On the prairie, there are an uncountable number of rattlesnakes in the grass. Want to see one in the heat of the day? Surprise one. It doesn’t want to eat you, you are too big. So is your dog. However, the coil and strike maneuver is the snake’s defense mechanism. I’m teaching Ivy the word, “sidewalk,” so she knows not to yaw off the trail. If you want to go and look at a snake, go in the early morning, when they are basking in the warmth of the pavement after a cool night. When it warms up, the snakes retreat to the cooler underbrush.

The dumbest thing I’ve seen on the prairie was a grown woman with a black Lab, and a tennis ball launcher. She actually was going to have her dog chase balls through snake-infested grass. Oy.

In my old neighborhood made up largely of college students, I asked dog walkers to please put Fido on a leash. Their retort: “This dog is on voice command.” Sorry, dudes and dudettes, there is no such thing. Sure, your dog may come with you and be good for regular  or boring things, but if it sees something exciting like a racing bunny rabbit, pause for mental image of a racing bunny, voice command is no more.

So today I took Ivy to the dog park. It’s on the east side of town. I live on the west side. I go to this park because it is not frequented by students and their largely untrained dogs, who prefer the west side dog park at the very end of Horsetooth Road. We people know each other, and our dogs know each other as well. A lady came in with her doodle-it’s fun to see an adult version of my Ivy-and promptly yelled at a man with what she called an aggressive dog. He wasn’t aggressive. He met dogs with a bark, and maybe a chest bump. Then he settles in to play. She took her dog to the end of the park. She stayed there. Her “dood” came back to the other dogs to play.

Just as there is no voice command, at the dog park, there is not much obedience. The dogs are there to run and play. If we leave them alone, they work it out. Once, I was there with just a few people. Two women came in with a truly aggressive dog, the women oblivious to the sign prohibiting them. The dog went after our little cadre of mutts. We nicely said that her dog was aggressive and should be removed. Totally different behavior than the man’s dog who settled down. This dog didn’t, and attacked again. The ladies got the message and left.

Ivy loves the dog park, and she is a popular figure to see. It’s kind of like the TV show, “Cheers” where everyone shouts, “NORM” when he enters the bar. She knows how to play appropriately and socialize, which will serve her well.

Go to the dog park, don’t go to the dog park. It’s entirely up to you. But before you go, read up a little on canine behavior, OK?


Cleaning the kitchen floor

June 17, 2009

I am going to let Franklin keep you posted on Earl. Can’t do it myself right now.

I will report that I now have to clean the kitchen floor. Not because Earl is gone, but for the first time since 1983, I don’t have a dog. Our cleaning lady fully washes the floor once a week, but in between we do spill stuff.

The other day, I spilled some popcorn someone had brought to us. Usually I just leave it there. “Here, Tipper, a snack for you!” I realized that no longer could I rely on a canine garbage can to pick up dropped food.

I guess this is going to be a learn as I go process.


Dogs chained in pick-ups: unenforceable?

April 28, 2009

Our county commissioners have tough issues regarding enforcement of dogs in the back of trucks. Commissioner Steve Johnson, a veterinarian, agreed that dogs should not be loose in the back of trucks, but said the county can only go so far in telling people what to do. I concur.

Veterinarians see injuries inflicted on dogs by dumb people who think it’s cool to have their best friend riding in the back of the truck. It’s not cool, it’s negligent; but who is going to enforce idiocy? Animal Control is plenty busy.

We were driving back from the airport on I-25 behind a pick-up that had a sheepdog chained in the back. The truck hit a bump, and the dog flew out, hanging by his neck. Fortunately, the chain snapped, and the dog skidded off the road. It took a few minutes for the truck to stop and come back. By that time, my sister, my husband, and I were helping the panicked dog. It was OK, except for road rash on all four paws, and some missing claws. It could have been far worse. The drivers were told where the CSU hospital was, but all they did was put the dog back and drive off without so much as a thank you.

If abuses of animal owners were to be imposed 100%, Larimer County would have to make a new Department of Animal Stupidity. I don’t think this is within the budget. The dogs lose.

 

 


Through good times and bad

February 26, 2009

There is more grim news today about difficult economic times and family pets. Local shelters are seeing an increase in surrenders of family pets due to finances.

One local columnist who focuses on animal behavior wrote today about how a local shelter is about to go under due to lack of funding. She asks for support for this shelter.

I commend the efforts of any legitimate group for rescuing and caring for animals abandoned for any reason. However, I struggle with the attitude in our society that a pet is a disposable asset to be surrendered when inconvenient to keep.

One of the articles today discussed how much it costs to own a pet per year. This should be considered before getting a pet. If there is not enough money to care for a pet, do not get a pet. Volunteer at a local shelter, set up a dog walking business, pet sit, or do anything to be around animals that for whom you don’t have to bear any financial burden. You may discover a new source of income!

I have previously discussed how college students dump their pets at the end of the school year, leaving helpless dogs and cats to fend for themselves, usually unsuccessfully, and about horses being abandoned in tough economic times.

I am not in a financially disastrous position where I have to think of cutting costs and focus this on my pets. I cannot imagine someone so desperate that they would surrender their best friend to save a few bucks. Perhaps the pet was not their best friend. Imagine your noble, loyal dog, King, who worships you for the food you give and the balls you throw for him. He guards your home and protects your kids, happy to be paid with praise and tummy rubs. Now, fast-forward to tough finances, and imagine King staring at a stranger from inside a chain link cage, trying to wag his tail to show how friendly he is, hoping beyond hope that someone else will love him and keep him through good times and bad.