Saturday, March 12, 2011

Better Safe Than Sorry

Since Zoe has been going to obedience class twice a week for the last month or so, I've spent some time thinking about her safety riding in the car so often.  I always drive carefully when she's along for the ride, but I certainly don't have control over other motorists, or Zoe if she's launched by a collision.  

Soon after we adopted Roxie in 2001, I had similar concerns.  With good intentions, I purchased a safety belt harness for Roxie right before she was to travel with us to the beach on vacation.  We buckled Roxie up and took off down the interstate as one happy, beach-bound family.  About an hour into the trip, we were jolted by the sounds of a SCREAMING greyhound in the back seat!  I immediately pulled over, and found that Roxie had somehow managed to turn around in the seat and tangled herself in the safety harness like a pretzel.  It was a challenge to free her, and after the trauma we all experienced, the harness was never used again.

On the way home from class on Tuesday, Zoe and I stopped at Petco to check out the safety belt harnesses.  While I don't wish to relive the dog-pretzel incident ever again, I know that Zoe's safety makes the harness worth a try.  Today will be our first time trying the safety belt harness with Zoe.  I'm hoping for a positive experience, and welcome your comments regarding traveling safety tips or harness trials with your own dogs.  Please wish us luck!

Petco photo, for example purposes.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we'll leave you with a cute JibJab video of Xander Leprechaun, and a couple of photos of the Dogs Rock hounds relaxing.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Roxie and Zoe

Xander and Zoe

Welcome to this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Few New Tricks

Today is Zoe's 1-month anniversary of attending obedience training at Field of Dreams.  As I've mentioned, my primary reason for enrolling Zoe at FOD is to help her overcome fear in social situation involving new people and dogs.  The untimate goal is for Zoe to be confident enough to join me on a weekend trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to see lots of friends at the end of April.  I've been very pleased with Zoe's progress over the last month.  I knew she had the capability to learn new things, and after three weeks of attending classes, she was promoted from level 1 to level 2!!  I'm especially happy to see Zoe's comfort level has greatly increased, from having to be coerced through the door and trembling throughout class, to actively participating and curiously checking out her furry classmates.  Every dog has a different set of challenges and I enjoy watching the interactions between various pups and their humans.  Zoe and I are still working on "the basics," but we're taking it slowly and moving through the process at a pace that's comfortable to her.  Here's a quick sample of some of the things we've been practicing.

In addition to Zoe's school activities, our dogs have been enjoying a few sunny spring-like days that have come our way.  I'm getting outside more with them and the camera, which certainly makes me happy.  Here's a quick little movie I made of a game of "take away" that Zoe and Xander had going the other day.  I love the expressions on their faces, especially toward the end.  Enjoy!!

We're excited to participate in this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 3/2/2011

Roxie (Zoe background)
Roxie (Xander background)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Squirrely

We're excited to participate in this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Warm February Day

I kept a close eye on the weather forecast this week, and was more than pleased when our temperatures reached the 60+ degree mark.  By Wednesday, my mind was firmly set on requesting a vacation day on Friday.  Thankfully, my request was granted, and when I stepped outside at 8:20 a.m. on Friday, it was a balmy 65 degrees outside, and it eventually reached the 70 mark in the afternoon!!  Ahhh, February perfection!  I know it won't last, but it does offer a glimmer of hope for warmer springtime days that are ahead.  I went outside a few times with the dogs to capture their enthusiasm on video.  Even our senior-girl Roxie had some spring in her step!  Here's wishing all of you a lovely, springy weekend.

We want to wish Zoe's BFF, Miss Sasha, a speedy recovery.  She's at home resting her leg after "surgermy," but I hope Zoe and Sasha are back to their silly adventures together in no time!!  

We're excited to participate in this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Zoe's Funny Valentine ♫ ♫♪♫♪

It's official!  Zoe's Valentine wish came true . . . Nigel Buggers, chief hound at Life With Dogs, has agreed to be hers for the day!! 

While we all know that Nigel is the original playah, you can't blame her, given his dashing good looks.  I'm sure Nigel will be back to his galavanting ways in no time, but for this one day he's her Love Bug.

I sincerely hope she stays far away from the "purple palace o' shame" this time.  Let's just say that we're still paying for the vet bills associated with the last episode.

Hopefully Nigel paid close attention to Chester's Cruisin' post.  He really knows how to treat his lady friend, Truffles! 

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

There Will Be Zoomies!!

I've noticed this week that there's more daylight when I leave work around 5 p.m.  I guess we're getting to that time of the year, and it helped that we didn't have the immense cloud-cover to which we've become accustomed this week.  During the summer months, my favorite way to unwind after work is to grab my camera the second I walk in the door, and take the pups to the yard for some fun!  It's a real bummer when the winter months arrive and it's pitch dark when I leave the office.  So, when 5 o'clock finally rolled around today, I had a couple of things on my mind:  1.  The sun is shining, and 2.  Mike, who is normally home with the hounds during the day, was out of town today.  The dogs had been cooped up, and alone most of the day with the exception of about 35 minutes I had with them on my lunch break.  I knew one thing was guaranteed when I arrived home, there would be ZOOMIES!!!!  

(Pardon our scary-looking, winter grass.)

I love those instances in which I consciously notice specific changes around me that indicate a new season will be along soon.  In addition to more daylight, I saw two birds chirping and frolicking as I got out of my car at lunchtime, and I think I saw the first blades of Crocus pushing their way through the ground.  I know we have a way to go, but as the temperatures approach 60 degrees this weekend, I'm sure I will feel a little spring in the air.

This Saturday will be Zoe's third obedience class at Field of Dreams.  As I've mentioned, the primary focus of our class enrollment is to expose her to new situations, people and dogs, in hopes of easing her nervousness in new situations.  I was impressed with Zoe's participation in last Saturday's class; she really did better than I expected.  However, our second class was not impressive at all.  The class was almost at capacity, and there were four or five boisterous dogs in attendance.  Zoe was nervous, had no interest in her treats, and didn't participate in the slightest.  I felt sorry for her.  We walked around and took a couple of trips outside for breaks.  Despite her nervousness and lack of participation, the instructor said they've seen much worse, and some dogs that have to leave all-together.  We're certainly not going to give up after just two classes.  I'm feeling anxious about the next class, but hopeful too.  We'll be armed with an array of tasty treats to tempt her, and if we have a repeat of Tuesday's class, we'll deal with it as best we can.  Wish us luck!
Happy Valentine's weekend!!

We're excited to participate in this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gearing Up For School

Today is Zoe's big day; her first day of "school" at Field of Dreams!!  I attended orientation Wednesday night, and learned more about their training philosophy, and was given a list of things to bring.  I was impressed by their positive approach to training, and their gentle reminder that our dogs are just that, dogs.  They think, communicate, behave and learn differently than we do as humans.  It can be easy to lose sight of these facts, particularly when dealing with dog-related challenges.  I'm looking forward to obedience training with Zoe, and perhaps more importantly, helping her overcome some of her discomfort in new situations.  You never know, she might surprise me and have a great time!

Among the items I've prepared:  a collapsible water bowl, a couple of toys, our clicker that FOD provided, tasty treats and a houndie tote to carry all our stuff.  As a training aid, Field of Dreams suggested hotdogs cut into very small pieces, no larger than raisins.  We aren't accustomed to sharing "people food" with our dogs, so this should be interesting.  They also said that we will go through a lot of treats, especially during the first classes.  I'm planning to take two hotdogs tomorrow.  I simply cannot imagine little Zoe consuming more than two hotdogs, and definitely don't want to make her sick.

One of my top priorities tomorrow is Zoe's safety.  She's going to be in an unfamiliar situation surrounded by other dogs, and while it's never happened before, the thought of her slipping out of her collar has crossed my mind.  To ease that concern, I decided to buy a harness for Zoe to wear when training.  After having to exchange the first one for a larger size, I think I've got it right now.  Zoe doesn't seem to mind the harness, and has worn it around the house a little to get used to it.

Since she has a harness now, and a collar, I decided to pick up a cute, new tag for her while I was at PetSmart.  

(On the back is our phone number.)
I think we're ready to go.  I'm looking forward to the new experience and lots of fun with Zoe.  Before class, we're going to stop in at the vet for a quick nail trim.  I have a feeling that Zoe won't see the fun in that, but it definitely needs to be done.  I hope you all have a great weekend, and thanks so much for visiting!!

We're excited to participate in this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Day At The Beach

My fiance, Mike, and I have known for a while that he had an upcoming work-related trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina scheduled for this weekend. I was invited to come along, but sat "firmly on the fence" for weeks in indecisive mode for a few reasons. The primary reason was our three canine family members. Our preference has always been to find pet-friendly lodging when we go out of town, so the entire family can stay together. All of our dogs travel well, but finding the right place to stay with them always adds a degree of difficulty. This trip, however, is a short Friday to Sunday event in which Mike has meetings at a specific resort right on the beach. 

On Wednesday evening, the subject of my coming along came up again, and Mike's mother had graciously volunteered to babysit the hounds at our house while we were away. The weekend weather forecast looked really nice in S.C., and I decided that a quick trip to the beach would be rejuvenating. I reported to work the next day, and taking Friday off was easily approved. I started getting excited about our little road trip and hurried home from work to start preparing. I was alarmed to find that one of the dogs had a very upset stomach. I will spare you the details, but I immediately took all three of them outside for observations to determine which one had the "accident." 

My thoughts immediately focused on the fact that we had changed their diet a few weeks ago. I knew this could be the culprit, but wondered why it would have taken weeks to cause a problem. The diet change was really prompted by Roxie's occasional disinterest in meals. She has always had a hearty appetite, and we used to laugh at how quickly she could "inhale" her dinner. However, with age she had become a bit finicky about her food, and would frequently walk away from freshly prepared meals without one bite.  She and Xander had been on a senior diet for a few years, and I speculated that she had grown tired of it, but she appeared to have a real interest in Zoe's non-senior food.  I figured the ingredients in the two foods were quite different, but seeing her eat with such enthusiasm made me happy.  At any rate, a decision to try all three dogs on Zoe's food was made.  I figured at Roxie's and Xander's ages they deserved to enjoy their meals.  

Everything seemed fine for 3 weeks, but here we were the day before a planned trip with a sick Xander, and my instinct told me the food change was the culprit.  Luckily, I had some Endosorb and Metronidazole on hand, which quickly settled his stomach.  He slept well Thursday night, and I decided to have him checked at the vet first thing Friday morning.  Better safe than sorry!  After an exam, the vet agreed that the diet change had probably caught up to Xander.  The senior diet had a higher fiber content to keep things regulated.  I recalled that Xander has sensitive stomach issues in his younger days until we found a food that suited him.  The vet loaded us up with prescriptions, special intestinal food, and sent us on our way.  He felt that Xander would do fine with a sitter, as long as she could dispense his pills.  After delaying our trip a few hours to make sure Xander was alright, we finally hit the road.  

We've had good reports from Mike's mom this weekend.  All the dogs are fine, and we'll be heading home soon.  I was able to enjoy our little getaway, and can't wait to get home to see the babies.  As for the rejuvenating effects of the beach, the trip was priceless and has definitely ignited my Spring Fever!  With the waves crashing, sun shining, and birds chirping, the beach is my favorite place to be, and it's even better with a good hound, or two or three!  Hopefully they'll come along next time!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Zoomies, Zoomies, and More Zoomies . . .

We're excited to participate in this week's Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!  Thanks, as always, to the Hop hosts, Life With DogsTwo Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume.  Happy hopping, and happy weekend too!