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!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Old Dog, New Trick

This coming Wednesday I'll be driving across town after work to attend orientation at Field of Dreams.  The plan is to check out the Levels Program for pet manners/obedience training for Zoe.  I'm actually not overly concerned about Zoe's level of obedience, although there's always room for improvement.  She still has an occasional "puppy moment," but I think the worst of that is behind us.  I'm mainly interested in getting Zoe out of the comfort zone of her own house and yard to see new places, people and pets.  I've noticed that Zoe seems nervous in new, public situations.  When we took Zoe and Xander to the Dogtoberfest event at Saint Francis Service Dogs, she had a near "meltdown," when two Dachshunds came in our direction.  After speaking with the owner of Field of Dreams, I hope we'll be able to work together to help Zoe overcome some of these anxieties.  Thankfully, she's never shown a single sign of aggression, and is highly treat motivated.  We had her sitting for treats during the first week she was here.  My ultimate goal is to have Zoe accompany me to the Greyhounds in Gettysburg gathering at the end of April.  I know, I know . . . Zoe is a Whippet, not a Greyhound!  I still haven't ruled out taking Miss Roxie instead, but she's an 11 1/2 years old Grey, and tires very easily.  I wonder if a trip like this would be too tough on her.  Zoe and I don't have a lot of time to prepare, but I have faith in her.  We have a good 12 weeks, and will see how things go.  Whoever comes along for the ride will get to see lots of hounds, and meet some friends, not the least of which is Mr. Chester Hoover of For the Love of Chester!  I, for one, cannot wait to get a great big chocolate Chester hug!!  A special thanks to my new friend Christina at The World According to Lexi, for connecting us with Field of Dreams!!  Her new dog, Nitro, just graduated to Level 2.  Congrats to Christina and Nitro!!

Since we're on the topic of schooling this week, I'm happy to announce that Mike has finally taught Xander to shake with his paw for a treat.  The process of teaching Xander to shake has taken years, and I'm ashamed to admit that is not an exaggeration.  He had practically given up on the boy, when lo and behold, he appears to finally get it.  I figure if Xander can learn to shake, Zoe can overcome her social issues.  Hopefully it won't take her 5 years though!  Here's a short clip, and video evidence that Xander did learn a new, or should I say old at this point, trick!

In closing, I'll share a little purchase I made this evening.  As I mentioned, most of Zoe's puppy issues have dwindled.  However, one that we're still battling is her desire to destuff dog beds.  We've gone through a few since Zoe joined us last April, even despite spraying them with bitter orange.  I quickly learned not to invest in expensive dogs beds while Zoe has a desire to "eat" them.  Tonight I stopped at a CVS drug store on my way home from work and spotted a $10 dog bed in our very favorite "color," leopard print.  Knowing that Xander has been sleeping on a fairly mangled bed of late, I figured I would give it a try.  I think he'll get a good night's sleep, and if Zoe manages to sink her teeth into it in the future, it was just $10.  Hopefully she'll appreciate the fine leopard print style and leave it be.  (By the way, the package says it's for dogs up to 80 pounds.  I don't think that's the case.  Xander weighs about 35 pounds.  You be the judge.)

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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Snow Activities

We were basically spared by the latest massive snow storm to move up the east coast.  Compared to last winter, our snow storms have been small-scale, dropping just a few inches and leaving the roads quite navigable.    I've had to take advantage of the snowy days while they last, and get the fun photos while I can.  I still haven't finished sorting through the mounds of photos, but wanted to share a few more favorites.  

I'm including a short video of the dogs engaged is snow zoomies.  I apologize in advance for my poor videographer skills, but I think you'll get a kick out of Zoe's get-away strategy.  Sometimes it pays to be little.

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fierce FRIDAY!!!!

This shot of Roxie preparing to pounce on Zoe cracks me up.  Roxie looks like she means business.  I think if I were Zoe, I'd be getting the heck out of Dodge!  (Roxie's really a big teddy bear! Besides, how tough can one truly be when sporting a snowman collar?)  
Have yourself a fierce FRIDAY!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow Fun!!

We awoke yesterday morning to a nice dusting of snow.  It was only 2 or 3 inches, but plenty to throw the dogs into a nice case of the zoomies!  I took plenty of photos, and a filmed a short video of their good times.  To be honest, I took hundreds of photos, and now I get to enjoy sorting through them and choosing my favorites for upcoming posts.  The first photos I processed this morning aren't our usual zoomies though.  They are of Zoe enjoying herself by rooting around in snow.  Roxie and Xander aren't huge fans of snow.  They do their fair share of flying through it at top speed, and then they're quite content to get back to the warmth of the house.  Zoe, however, will actually sit down in snow and observe her surroundings, no doubt waiting for a stupid brave squirrel to enter her domain.  Yesterday's "snow rooting" never turned into a full-on snow roll, but she came close.  I'll have to watch for snow rolls in the future.  After seeing this behavior, I wouldn't put it past her to make some awesome snow-dog angels out there.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Zoe's Drinking Problem

Ok, I'll be honest, I feel a little guilty posting a video of my darling Zoe doing something that I've decided is (how should I put this) fairly odd.  It's not like any of us is perfect.  Let's just say that Zoe has a unique way of drinking from the water bowl.  I don't recall her doing this when we first brought her home, but it has developed into her normal manner of drinking.  Please have a look and judge for yourself.  If anyone else has a dog that drinks water with its nose propped on the rim of the bowl, I would be interested to know.  Maybe she's not as odd as I think.  Given that Xander is known for walking in circles, I shouldn't give Zoe such a hard time.  After all, her method does accomplish the intended goal.  :)

Happy Blog Hopping Saturday!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the New Year with Style

Today, I received notice that the lovable Huskies over at FibeSibes have selected Dogs Rock to receive a Stylish Blogger Award.  I'm excited to say that this is Dogs Rock's first award, and it's a thrilling way to begin the new year!  Thank you FiveSibes for recognizing Dogs Rock!!  We like your style too!  As a recipient, I was given instruction to select blogs worthy of Stylish Blogger Awards, and to share some fun and interesting facts about myself:
  1. I've always had a strong love of nature and all animals.  When I was a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up.  As a teenager, I took a job at an animal hospital, where I worked for eight years, throughout high school and college.  I quickly learned that I didn't quite have the stomach for veterinarian medicine, particularly the surgical and trauma aspects.  Some of this improved with time, but my career path took another direction.
  2. I fell in love with the first greyhound I met.  His name was Swanky Force, and his "hu-mom" was a client at the animal hospital where I worked.  I was struck by his quiet, calm nature and soulful eyes.  I knew that one day I would adopt a greyhound.  Roxie, now 11 years old, came from a racetrack in West Virginia, and was adopted through Star City Greyhounds.  
  3. I LOVE following sports!!  Favorites include college football (Virginia Tech Hokies,) Major League Baseball (New York Yankees,) and Pro Tennis (Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal!!)  
  4. I'm a very observant/visual person and love photography.  My dad had a nice Minolta camera when I was little, but I started with a Polaroid.  He taught me at a young age to pay attention to my surroundings and backgrounds when taking photographs, and I still do that today.  
  5. I am horribly afraid of spiders.  If I walk through a spider web, I have a complete "freakout," as I'm sure that somewhere on my body crawls the spider.  Shudder at the thought!  I hate the way they move, and they have way too many legs.  I would much rather encounter a snake, or so I think.
  6. I love listening to music, and it's part of the inspiration for the name of this blog.  My favorite radio station is Alt Nation on SIRIUS Satellite Radio.  In addition to alternative rock, I like classic rock, acoustic music, blues and classical.
  7. Dogs Rock is a creative outlet for sharing photos and thoughts.  I've enjoyed meeting fellow animal lovers, and their pets.  Animal blogland, as I call it, is a truly special community filled with creative people, fun-loving animals and great photographers.  I already have a blog or two in mind as deserving the Stylish Blogger Award, and hope they appreciate it as much as I do.
Thanks again to FiveSibes and their "Hu-mom" for the Stylish Blogger Award, and for starting our year off right!  Here's wishing everyone a rockin' new year!!