An Update on This Column's Dog Stars

 |  Feb 28th 2011  |   2 Contributions


Thebestpartof writing a column about dogs is getting the chance toimmortalize one's own dogs. Too often, we forget all the endearing thingsourdog starsdo,because there's precious little time to pen a journal chronicling their exploits. The camera is never handy when they've done - or are in the process of doing -something worth a thousand words.

But here, in the fabulous forum that is Dogster, I am very lucky tobe ableto publicly appreciate my dogs' antics, for better and for worse. Sometimes, I evenhave the camera handy. And hopefully, some of whatmy dogs and Iexperience here in our animal house is useful to my fellow Dogsters.

As revealed here, my rescued pit bull Lazarus believes it's hissolemn mission to remove the stuffing from miscellaneous home furnishings. He's un-stuffed small pillows, quilts, even full-size memory foam mattresses. It's a good thing he's so adorable, because there have been times I've been sorely tempted to unstuff and re-stuff him myself.

Happily, there are dog toys created, it seems,with Lazarus in mind: "unstuffed" toys (pictured above) from WestPaw Design, maker of the rain coat (left) that motivates rain-o-phobe Laz to step out in foul weather.

These ingenious playthings are intended to prevent the annoying chore of picking up toy stuffing from the various surfaces in one's home (not to mention the surprise offinding it in a dog's poop). Picture a very skinny plush toy with two loud squeakers built in for stereophonic squawking. Dogs enjoy givingthisfurry objecta vigorous shake, pouncing on and gnawing at it, carrying it from place to place, resting their heads on it, cuddling up with it, and generally doing to it whatever they would do to an ordinarystuffed squeakytoy.

Meanwhile, Tiki, my Chow-Rottweiler, is walking more and more slowly as a result of his conscious proprioceptive deficits. As explained here, this is causing him to have diminished control over his hind legs. We recently tried aproduct called Power Paws, which are socks designed toprovide "freedom and movementfor senior dogs." These are made of breathable cotton and elastic, and they stretch for a snug fit, so they take afew secondsto put on; but oncethey're on his problematic hind feet, Tiki has a much easier time moving around the house and weavingamong his younger packmates.

In other footwear news, the gash on Rudy's pawhealed up beautifullywithout any vet assistance, thanks to the PawZ rubber bootie I made him wear on outings in the salt-encrusted streets of snowy New York City. Rudy's grateful for the leg-up but glad he doesn't have to wear the bootie now; hewas getting really tired of having to "paws" before each walk while I applied this snug rubber balloon to his foot.

My sweet little Cupcake beganexperiencing digestive issues to the point that shewas rapidly shedding pounds she could not afford to lose. Happily, she's now producing picture-perfect poopsthanks tofrequent snacking on Natural Balance Vegetarian Formula canned dog food, a tip borrowed from herneighbor, friend andfellow rescuee,Piggy.

After recovering froma fierce case of kennel cough, Zoli the pup has finally been neutered and is ready for adoption. When I picked himup from the vet, he was wearing a ginormous cone of shame. Except he was wearing it in a most unusual fashion: attached to his regular collar at three points, and hanging wide open. Something had happened to the tabs clasping the thing shut, and they were no longer doing their job.

The effect was something to see: With every step the poor dog took, therigid plastic was madlyflapping and scrapingagainst the ground.He looked like a K9 kite that was too heavy for liftoff. I managed to snip the offending plastic contraption off ofZoli's collar with scissors; once we were safely at home, I replacedthat horrific conewith a soft, inflatable collar;Zoli promptly sighed and went to sleep.

Zoli must be crated while he convalesces, or he risks busting up his stitches the way he busted up that ridiculous E-collar. Happily, his crate is a comfy, cleanden of healing thanks to the new Crypton crate mat, which isstain-resistant, spot-cleanable anddisinfectable. As soon as he's recovered, it's off to the dog park, where his new testicle-free look won't irritate the other males.

My magnificentMagnus has grown into an absolutely gorgeous 80-pound hunk of dog. Everyone who stops to petMaggy remarks on the softness of his coat. I atrribute that silky quality to a variety of moisturizing factors, applied inside and out: TheraNeem Pet Shampoo, which contains super-emollient Neem Oil and has no chemicals to dry out a dog's skin... Neem Supercritical Capsule supplements, hidden in canned food...plus a teaspoon of Nordic Naturals Pet Cod Liver Oil drizzled over hiskibble twice daily.

Today is mild and drizzly, a perfect day for an outdoor grooming session with my fuzzy, double-coated dogs, Tiki and Sheba, who are both blowing their coats. Must grab the Furminator and run - catch you later!

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