May 31st 2011 5:20 pm
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Pups, I had an awesome weekend! It was FIVE DAYS LONG! We went up to camp on Friday and just got home today, which is TUESDAY! WOOHOO! Here is what I did this weekend:
-Walked, walked and walked some more. There's not much I love more than flaunting my furry tushy as I strut past all the pups tied to their picnic tables on their sites. They all woof hello when I pass by. They are so jealous.
-Checked up on all my dog pals. The big Bernese across the street is back. The little yippety Schnauzer mix is still yipping. The big Mastiff is (still!) sleeping in the sun. The Shepherd is still pulling her owners all over the campground on "walks", BOL! The big white pitty/bull dog is still the best behaved dog in the campground. And, most importantly, the little brown Chow mix three doors down from me is back and she still gets all kinds of excited when I walk by!
-I gave Cat Lady a funny look when I saw her take her kitty for a "walk". No, she doesn't use a leash. She holds the kitty on her shoulder and walks him around the block. Weird.
-I visited with Nana, Papa and my aunt and uncles. Papa gave me lots and lots of people food.
-I let my uncle sleep in MY bed, which he claims is HIS bunk bed. I was so tired, I didn't really care that he was back in the bunk room. I just passed out on Mom and Dad's bed and I didn't woof at all!
-I watched the sunset with mom and Nana all 4 nights and made sure to protect them by eating all the mosquitoes that dared come near the jaws of death.
-I CHOKED ON A CHICKEN! I went on a walk with mom and we were checking out a camper that had a "FOR SALE" sign, because mom is nosey. Anywho, we were snooping and I found a CHICKEN BREAST in the dirt next to the grill! AND, it was WHOLE! OMD! OM NOM NOM! I picked it up and tried to swallow, but it was too big! It got stuck and that's when mom noticed me hacking and saw the chicken sticking out of all sides of my mouth and me trying to swallow, BOL! Mom said "DROP IT"! And I said...well, I'll censor what I said and we'll just say that I said "NO!". Next thing I know, mom has my head back between her knees and her fingers on my top and bottom jaw and she kung fu gripped my jaws and stole my chicken! She threw my chicken into the fire place so I couldn't get it. B*&ch.
-Most importantly, I was a very good boy and was nice to all of our visitors that came to camp this weekend and there were a LOT of them! I didn't snap, lunge or show my grumpiness at ALL. I did growl a little bit and I barked once or twice, but mom says that's OK since that's how I communicate. Mom was very proud of me.
Whew! After such a fun weekend, I am EXHAUSTED! It's tough being a good boy. Now, I must sleep. I am so happy the peeps go back to work tomorrow. I need a three day nap!
May 22nd 2011 5:21 pm
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We went to camp yesterday for our first overnight of the season. As soon as we got there, I went for a walk and claimed the neighborhood as mine. Yup, that's right...THREE poops in one walk! Now the other pups know who owns this joint.
Anyways, we raked, we weeded, we swept. We set up my crate with new fleecey blankets and cleaned the camper.
OK. Maybe mom and dad did all of that while I took a nap on the bottom bunk bed. What can I say, I was tired and it was all wet out! This weather stinks and makes me exhausted! It's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights and everything is soggy. I'm ready for it to stop raining. Me and Mother Nature had a little talk. You see, camp is ready now. Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. That is one of my favorite weekends and I am ready for some BBQs! So, it had better stop raining! Or else!
May 16th 2011 3:35 pm
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Today I puked on the floor! No urka gurkas. No warning. Just a cough and BLECH! RALPH! Tossed my cookies right there on the rug!
Just when I was about to put them back where they belong (in my belleh!), Mom yelled "LEAVE IT!" and swooped in with paper towels and the trash can. She stole my snack! She is so mean.
May 11th 2011 6:10 pm
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Pups, my pal Trusty needs a whole bunch of POTP. He is a member of the faboo Oliver Lewis's pack. The details are in OL's diary, but the long and short of it is that it could be the big C. Can you all please send OL, Trusty and their family some warm thoughts and POTP? Thanks!
May 9th 2011 6:27 pm
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I have a new addiction.
Have you pups ever tried popsicles? NOT Frosty Paws. No. These things are fruit. Frozen fruit on a stick. Mom gets them and as soon as I see her pull one out of the freezer, I am ON IT! I waddle over to mom and sit. And stare. Until she gives me a bite. When she offers, I go for the kill. I have been known to chomp a whole popsicle right off the stick. Deelicious!!!!
You pups have to try them! Just make sure your mom buys you the real fruit ones. DEELISH!
Hey. Wait. Mom, did you type WADDLE up there?!?! I do NOT waddle! I saunter and I sashay but I do NOT WADDLE!
May 7th 2011 2:34 pm
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Ok pups, get your coffee or a nice beer or a snack...this one's a long one! I let mom type it up for me since I got tired and needed to take a nap, BOL! Some of this may seem familiar since we borrowed a lot of it from our ADOPT 2010 entry. "The Story of Chipper" keeps getting longer and longer. We're going to write a book someday, BOL! OK....here goes...
ADOPT 2011; A Tale of a Dog Who Changed My Life
Adoption. What does it mean to me? To me, it means making a promise. Making a promise to a dog who is not just a dog. He is my dog and I promised him that I would never give up on him.
Chipper came to us in March, 2006. He was the most adorable little black Chow mix that I had ever seen. He had a heart melting story. He was found homeless on the streets of New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina. He spent four months in the shelter system, eventually ending up at the NHSPCA. He was heartworm positive and needed some TLC. I knew he was mine from the second I saw him in his kennel. We had to wait two weeks to bring him home because he was scheduled for heartworm treatment and they needed to hold him for one week after treatment for observation. Chipper came home with us on March 7, 2006, still very sore and grumpy from the heartworm treatment.
Chipper was distant, he was aloof, he didn't like to play and he was kinda grumpy. All of which we expected from our little Chow boy. This is the Chow by definition, after all. Chipper chose me as his one and only person, the "chosen one". I expected this. After all, it is what Chows do. So far, my little black dog was falling right in line with what all of my research told me to expect. What I didn't know was how hard I would fall for him. I fell in love with him on day one. I looked down at the little black dog sleeping beside my bed that very first night that he was home and I said to him "Chipper, I love you. You are home now and we are family." I had no idea what we were in for.....
We noticed pretty quickly that Chipper was a momma's boy. He connected with me immediately and we formed a quick, intense bond. I thought it was great and I couldn't get enough of my new furry friend. All was well until one night Chipper decided to chew on a raw hide bone at 11:00 PM. He brought the bone into our bedroom and began to gnaw it on the wooden floor. The bone was thumping on the floor and it was making us a bit crazy. Brad got out of bed, walked up behind Chipper, reached around him and pulled the bone out of his mouth. Chipper jumped up and bit him on the hand with one quick strike, backed away baring teeth and growling. He didn't break the skin, nor did he do any damage at all. But it was scary.
I had no idea what to do. The next day, I called the SPCA for advice and they told me to bring him to obedience classes. I had already planned on doing that and quickened the pace of the search for good classes. I also threw all of the rawhide in the trash.
Things were going OK with the three of us. Chipper was bonding even deeper with me and he was getting a bit grumpier with Brad. He growled at him a bit here and there, but overall, they were doing OK. Chipper had started to growl at other people. He lunged at my uncle at a family get together. He was grumpy with other dogs, barking, growling and lunging on a regular basis.
One night, a few weeks later, we had ordered a pizza. I was lying on the floor in the living room with Chipper and I heard Brad talking to someone. I didn't think twice about it and all of a sudden, Chipper jumped up, ran through the house, pushed Brad out of the way, out the door and down the front steps and bit the pizza guy in the calf. Again, no damage, no broken skin, didn't even rip the pants. But this was too much. I immediately burst into tears. I didn't know what to do. I was up all night crying, thinking about all of the what ifs. I called in sick to work the next day.
I called the SPCA for advice again. They again told me to bring him to obedience classes. I didn't see how those would help. I asked if they would take him back and adopt him to someone more capable than me. They said they would take him back, but that they could not adopt him back out. I burst into tears and hung up the phone.
I called my vet and they asked me to come in to talk about it. I told them everything and we did some checks for some medical-related stuff. They pointed out that Chipper was SERIOUSLY attached to me for a dog who had only been with me for ~1 month. They thought a lot of this had to do with guarding and recommended training classes or talking to a trainer. We also talked about "options". Rehoming Chipper was NOT an option. Essentially, I had two choices; I could euthanize Chipper or I could work with him and change his behavior.
I came home and talked to Brad about it. The decision was unanimous. We were NOT going to put Chipper to sleep over this. We had to work with him. We were signed up for training classes the next week.
The only problem was that those classes sucked. The trainer was terrible, her methods were archaic and I was too uncomfortable with the tools she provided to ever use them outside of class. Plus, she was afraid of Chipper and did not speak kindly of him. She dismissed a lot of his behavior on his breed and to tell the truth, I think she flat out did not like Chows in general.
Additionally, Chipper kept getting sick. He contracted kennel cough and/or upper respiratory infections FOUR times while we were at class. In one of Chipper's many vet visits, we discovered that Chipper had a collapsing trachea. Our vet said to ditch the training tools the trainer recommended. We told the trainer and she told us we were crazy and that Chipper "needed a choke collar". We walked out and never went back.
We did the only thing we knew how to do. We took things one day at a time and we managed the HELL out of Chipper's life. Thank God he was crate trained because that crate saved his life. Chipper was kept on a strict schedule and his whole life was regimented. If we couldn’t manage a single minute of Chipper’s time, he was put in his crate. We had no clue what we were doing, but somehow, it was kind of working.
In August 2006, the SPCA called for a check up. I was honest and told them everything. The woman I was speaking with told me that the SPCA had a class for aggressive dogs and that the trainer was fantastic. I figured what could it hurt. We signed up and we started classes at the end of September/beginning of October. Our trainer pointed out 8 million things that we were doing wrong. Ouch. But he was right. He was oooohhh so right.
We were also doing some things right. Our trainer liked our management and liked our schedule. He asked us to step it up a notch and we fully instituted NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free). Chipper worked for every single privilege in his life. He was hand fed for about eight months. Every single kibble was earned through a sit, down, stand, touch or some form of training. Chipper went on walks twice per day and learned how to pass other dogs out in public. It was a hard lesson for him to learn that he did NOT own the neighborhood, but he got it with some persistence, training and a lot of redirection.
We went to class religiously. We graduated from "Ruff Dog" and moved on to "Clear Communication". Within four months of me crying on the phone to the SPCA, Chipper and Brad took the CGC and got 9 out of 10!!! Of course, they didn't pass, but I was elated! Chipper did so great! We celebrated by purchasing a 6 month supply of heartworm pills. We had been purchasing monthly preventatives one month at a time because we were never sure if Chipper would be here the next month.
We completely changed our lifestyle to fit the things that Chipper needed. He needed leadership. He needed rules. He needed to WORK. He needed consistency, a schedule, physical exercise and mental exercise. We went to training classes every single week for a year and a half. Chipper was improving and our collective hard work was paying off. Of course, it was not all smooth sailing. There were bumps along the way. For a long time it was three steps forward, two steps back.
In July, 2007 our biggest set back occurred. Chipper bit my sister in the hand. He didn't hurt her or break the skin at all. There wasn't even a bruise. But it was still upsetting. I cried for two days. I remember e-mailing my trainer. I will never forget his response. He asked how bad the bite was and what prompted it. I told him that he didn't break skin, it was a single strike and release followed by growling. My sister was giving him treats and asked for his paw. He didn't know paw, so she grabbed his foot while he was chewing a treat. I told my trainer that this may be the end and that I didn't know what to do. My trainer's response: "Kathy, you are being ridiculous. He gave you 1000 warning signs and you missed them all. Stop thinking about it, give Chipper a big hug when you get home from work, forgive him, come to class this week and we will work through it." He was right. When I told the story, all the other dog owners were sympathetic and understanding. They also reminded me that Chipper did not "bite" my sister. He warned her. And it was completely preventable. There were so many factors, so many triggers and so many warning signs that I still can't believe I didn't see it happening a mile away.
We worked through that issue and we worked even harder to rebuild relationships between Chipper and my sister, her husband and my family. That one set back motivated us to work harder and to be more diligent with Chipper. The big take home message....listen to Chipper. He was giving us hundreds of signs that we were pushing him too hard. We should not have put him in a situation that he couldn't handle. It was our fault, not Chipper's.
We continued training classes for two more years after the incident with my sister. Chipper was becoming more and more tolerant of strangers and other dogs. The management of Chipper’s life began to ease as his tolerance increased. Slowly we were progressing towards being a normal family.
We stopped attending formal training classes in the fall of 2009. Chipper continuously battled with upper respiratory infections and it seemed like every other month we were at the vet for antibiotics. We finally decided that the risk of Chipper contracting another URI was not worth the training. We had the skills we needed and felt that we could find socialization time in other venues.
We also came to the realization that we needed to realign our expectations of Chipper. Chipper will never be more than a tolerant dog. He’s not going to love strangers. He’s not going to seek attention and affection from anyone other than those closest to him. He’s not going to love other dogs. He’s not even ever really going to like other dogs. We needed to accept this. So, we did. We ask no more from Chipper than tolerance. He doesn’t need to like other dogs or strangers. He needs to tolerate them. He can NOT lash out at them for just being there. He CAN use his communication (growling, showing teeth, barking) if the stranger or other dog is making him uncomfortable. But, he needs to be tolerant. We are now OK with this and we are careful to ensure that Chipper is not put in situations where he may be pushed past his tolerance level.
Now I sit here, five years after adopting a sad little black Chow Chow. I am so happy that I never gave up on my little buddy. He is now a happy, pushy, loving, grumpy, protective, tolerant dog. He goes everywhere with me and functions in a society. We go to the pet store, we go to the park, we go on vacations, road trips and more. We have worked through so much together and we have never given up. We still have a lot of work to do and Chipper will forever be a work in progress. However, one thing is for sure. I no longer consider my "options". Chipper is here to stay. I cannot imagine my life without him.
I thank God every day that this little black dog came into my life. I thank Chipper for being my teacher and showing me what being a dog owner is all about. I had no clue what I was doing when I brought Chipper home. I needed to learn and I needed to learn quick. Chipper has prepared me for all future dogs that may come into my life. He has also taught me critical life skills, such as patience, determination and more.
This is what adoption means to me. Partnering with a dog through the thick and thin. Accepting the dog no matter their history or issues that they may bring. Adoption to me means a new friend, a new teacher for life.
May 6th 2011 5:48 am
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I'm a daily diary pick today!!! WOOHOOO!!! Thanks Dogster!
I guess that means that I should update my diary more. Mom has to work today in a few minutes and doesn't have much time to update. So, here's a quick update to tide all my fans over until the BIG update coming this weekend:
-Spring has sprung and the flowers are blooming. More targets to whiz on during walks.
-Mom has vowed to get more exercise so we are going to Wagon Hill for a good hilly walk at least once per week.
-CAMP IS OPEN! We haven't gone up yet, but we will soon!
-Spring has sprung and my allergies are going CRAZY! I'm all coughy and my eyes are leaky. BOOOOOO!
-Mom's getting that second dog tug again. OMD. Woman. It's not going to happen. Stop talking about it. I won't allow it.
That's it for now pups! Me and mom are furiously working on our entry for the ADOPT 2011 contest. Our diary entry is going to be a doozy and we can't wait for all of our pups to read it. Aren't you all excited to read "The Story of Chipper"?!?!
April 28th 2011 2:21 pm
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Pups, mom found a lump on me. Don't worry, I'm OK. She found it earlier this week when she INSISTED on rubbing my belly, much to my dismay. Anywho, she found a marble shaped lump right on my sternum.
Today, I went to the vet for some shots. While I was up on the table, mom asked the vet to feel my lump. At first they couldn't find it, BOL! I was hiding it to make them WORK, BOL!
The vet finally found the lump and was a teensy bit concerned. She asked mom if she could "take a sample". Mom said OK and next thing I know, the vet shoved a needle into my lump and sucked out part of my lump.
She put it on a slide and told mom that it looked like a lot of fat. She was going to test it and see if there was anything but fat on it. She's going to call if she finds anything. I'm sure it's nothing and the vet is confident it's nothing.
The important thing to note here is the moral of the story. You see, I did not grumble, growl or anything when I got my two shots. When the vet stole my fatty lump. I didn't grumble, growl, or even move. I stood there and took it like a man. You see I knew. I just knew that the vet had EZCheeze for me and that she was going to give me some for being a good boy. She gave me a Milk Bone with an EZCheese topping and THEN, she put a nice stream of EZCheese right on the exam table for me to lick. YUMMY!!!
The moral: Good behavior during fatty lump testing = EZCheese to feed said fatty lump, BOL!
April 25th 2011 6:09 pm
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Last night something tragic happened. I was happily snoozing away after the big Easter dinner. I was all snuggled up in mom and dad's bed when it happened.
Five minutes later...
OMD. What was that noise?!? Was it aliens? Was it robbers? Was it Armageddon? WHAT WAS IT?!?!
I couldn't take any chances. I jumped up and ran and did the only thing I knew how to do.
I sat on Mom and Dad's heads. Yes. Both of them. Somehow, at the same time. Chow a$$ on dad's face and Chow Mane on mom's face. I laid there and I panted. And panted. And panted.
Finally mom woke up. She said "Chippy, what's wrong? I'm tired. Go to the foot of the bed and go to sleep. It's 2:00 AM. I'm sleepy."
Clearly, this was a sign for me to cuddle harder. So, I got up and climbed onto mom. Hug me. Hug ME!!! HUG ME!! NOW!!!
Then...it happened again. beep-boop.
OMD! I admit it. I whined a little. I whimpered. I was convinced the aliens were coming. I panted more and more. I whined and buried my head in the covers.
Mom tried to settle back in to sleep. I was too wound up. beep-boop.
OMD! I ran all around the bed and flopped down on mom again.
Mom didn't know what was wrong. She was unaware of the alien invasion.
Mom thought I was hot. She got out of bed and tried to put me on the floor. I scurried over to Dad and burrowed under the covers. NO! I'm not going woman!
Mom got back in bed. The panting continued. She thought maybe I needed water. She got me a small cup of water and put it on the bed. I took my paw and WHACKED it over on the bed! NO! Water will NOT kill aliens! GET BACK IN BED!
This time mom heard it too. She rolled her eyes and said "Oh. My. Goodness. Chippy, I'll fix this." And she walked right out to the alien lair. She brought her cell phone in and plugged it into the wall. She kissed my forehead and said "Chippy, that noise is not aliens. It's my cell phone telling me that the battery is low."
Clearly, she had either a.) been brainwashed by the aliens or b.)is under the trance of a talking cell phone. I don't know which one it was, but I wasn't accepting it. I pushed myself up against mom and made her cuddle me for the next hour and a half until the alarm went off for mom and dad to get up.
You know, one can never be too safe. It was worth the panic.
April 25th 2011 5:36 pm
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I am a daily diary pick today!!! WOOHOO!!!! Thanks Dogster!
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