October 5th 2010 12:26 am
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Good grief, took me almost a year to finally post Bows'es memoirs. Without further ado....
After having Buttons almost a year, there were times where she was wearing us out. In the evenings when we were trying to relax, she kept putting toys on our laps to play. I thought maybe another Sheltie playmate would help to keep her busy, so I started looking around. I found an ad from a byb who had one left. The guy was in a hurry it seemed because his wife was getting attached to her. If we decided to take her, the wife wanted us to keep the same name which was Sarah. I told her that wouldn't work with one Sarah in the house already. The husband probably thought the odds were better for the sale if he brought her to us instead of us going to his house. It was better that way anyway since we could see first hand how she got along with Buttons. As soon as she arrived, the two of them started playing. It didn't take long for us to decide to keep her. Once we made that decision, I wondered out loud what to name her. I said "what would go with Buttons?". The husband was joking when he said bows, but I said that's perfect, so we now had Buttons & Bows.
Bows turned out to be a real whip. She was outgoing, a little rambunctious and smart. We were a little worried that she would boss Buttons around. Later there was one time Bows did something to Buttons that she did not like and nipped Bows on the nose. Bows came to me all upset. I knew then that Buttons would really be the boss. Buttons was a bit timid with some things. One time on a walk I even saw her run away from a butterfly. In the house she was finally confident enough to go up stairs, but not down. It got to be a pain when she went upstairs and then barked for us to come get her to come back down. Bows ran through the house like she owned the place. She showed Buttons how it was done and soon Buttons followed suit and started to come down by herself. One area Bows gave us a fit was one game she liked to play. She loved to grab Button's tail and shake it with all her might, much like she would in later years when tearing up a newspaper or playing tug of war. Poor Buttons put up with a lot and never did scold her for it. But she was losing the fur on her tail so we tried everything to stop her from doing it. Even putting bitter lime on her tail didn't stop it. At one time there was little fur left on her tail, it looked so pathetic. Thankfully, Bows grew out of it and Button's tail grew back all the fur.
One main problem we had early on was her house training. She was suppose to be trained when we got her and during the day, there were no accidents. She let us know when she had to go out. But at night she would pee in the same spot on the carpet. This is where we screwed up with training. Buttons was our first dog and we paper trained her, but we did not do the proper job with Bows at first because of our lack of experience. Only as a last resort did I finally buy a crate which should have been the very first thing we did. While she wasn't thrilled with the crate at first, she only had one or two accidents inside it before she would finally be perfectly house trained. Bows turned out to be a den dog, she loved to relax under some kind of shelter. Once she got use to the crate, we wouldn't even have to put her in there, she'd go to bed on her own. Outside she liked to squeeze under the shed in order to have her den. While there were times we considered her our problem child, it was more our lack of proper training that was more to blame. That and she was intelligent, which even with kids, sometimes results in trouble. One of those times was when I was finding chewed up pencils in the living room. I thought Matt was doing it at the time. Later because of all the troubles Matt was causing I install a security camera in that room. Viewing the tape I soon saw that Bows was taking a pencil off of the coffee table to chew on. The problem was solved when I made sure no pens or pencils were left on the coffee table.
My original reason for getting Bows didn't completely work out the way I planned on. It was fun watching the two of them chasing after each other, but more often than not, it meant two dogs now wanting us to play all the time, and boy could Bows play. She would chase a stick or ball until she almost fell over. In fact a couple times she got so overheated that I worried about heat exhaustion and carried her home and squirted her down with the hose. After awhile my elbow started killing me from throwing toys so much so I changed to Frisbee which wasn't so hard on my elbow. She turned out to be a pretty good Frisbee dog and when we'd talk to some of the neighbors and talk about Bows, they would say, 'oh yeah, the Frisbee dog'. Unfortunately, Bows was so aggressive with her play she'd often take Buttons toy from her. After awhile, Buttons didn't even want to play fetch if Bows was around.
Buttons was very spoiled with her food when we got Bows, often snubbing what she was given. We'd buy rather expensive food to get her to eat at all. But Bows must have been the runt of the litter, she wolfed food down like there was no tomorrow. So when she was done and Buttons threw up her nose at her food, Bows had no problem eating that too. Buttons finally got the hint that if she didn't eat what was given to her that she wasn't getting anything else. It was good that she finally started to eat regular dog food, but instead of being the sweet dog who ever so gently took food out of your hand she instead snatched at everything handed to her if Bows was around. You could see her look for Bows after almost taking your fingers with the food. Yes, we screwed up a lot with training back then.
In her younger years we had two close calls with Bows. The first was when she developed a high fever for unknown reasons. We noticed something was wrong when she didn't want to come out of her crate. I felt her and she was burning up. I took her outside and she did want to play some, but I soon took her home and we then headed for the Vet. She ended up spending about a week there recovering. She seemed a little different at first when we picked her up. She didn't even get excited when we pulled up to the house, but once inside safe and sound she started to act normal again. The second time was during one of our routine daily walks around the block. A lady opened her door to get something when their Chow squeezed past her and ran straight for Bows. I ran and yelled at the dog to stop, I was one step behind when he caught Bows. He bit her once, she yelped and rolled over and he left her alone. I scooped her up and looked for Buttons who ran off in the commotion. I finally found her on a neighbors porch down the block from where we live. Bow acted normal the next day during our walk, but then refused to go the following day. She wouldn't go on our daily walk for a couple months.
Once we moved to the country the girls adjusted to their new surroundings. With no public land or even sidewalks near us, we couldn't go on long walks. But they now had a much bigger yard and house to roam around on and play. They liked being able to chase each other in a circle from kitchen to foyer to living room to dining room back to the kitchen. They just didn't like having to hit the brakes to keep from sliding on the kitchen linoleum. Outside they soon learned not to go into the woods so you could often see them patrolling the perimeter of the grass line. The biggest problem was the number of obstacles in the yard, trees, septic tank, etc. One day while playing Frisbee Bows was watching me and the Frisbee instead of watching where she was going and at full speed hit head first into the wishing well. You could tell she was seeing stars as she staggered back toward us. She didn't appear to be seriously hurt so even though we tried to comfort her, I still couldn't help but laugh. On another occasion years later there was another funny situation. Once in awhile we'll have the same cat feral or otherwise, come into the yard. Not being a lover of cats and trying to save the birds at the feeder, I encouraged Bows to chase after them. One day one of the usual suspects comes up onto the deck, so I tell Bows that there's a cat out there. She's looking real hard out the back door trying to find it when the stupid cat jumps up on the door to look in. Face to face Bows was taken back for a split second and then barks like mad. The cat looked like a Sylvester cartoon when he jumped straight up and with legs going in all directions tried to get turned around in mid air. When he hit the ground he was spinning wheels to get out of there.
Having grown up as a puppy with her, naturally Bows was very devoted to Buttons. While Buttons didn't flinch if Bows was taken somewhere without her, especially if she was left with me, Bows would get highly upset if Buttons was taken somewhere without her. She would whine and cry for an hour or so and just sulk until she came home. When Buttons died, I don't think Bows was ever the same. She moped around and seemed indifferent to a lot of things. I think she also lost some of the play in her. In addition to losing Buttons, Bows health issues started to mount. She was having problems with arthritis, chronic ear infections, and a seasonal skin problem. After trying her on a couple different meds, someone told us about Deramaxx for the arthritis. She seemed to do much better on it and it worked pretty good for a couple years. Unfortunately, our old Vet office let her ear infections go on for too long. After changing Vets he soon sent us to a specialist who said that it progressed so far that the only way to fix it was with an entire ear canal removal. We went ahead with the procedure but when we saw her after wards, we felt so bad for her we weren't sure we did the right thing. She looked so bad, but part of it was due to nerves moved around which had an affect on her ear and face. It's a good thing we had it done, a mass that one Vet said was scar tissue, turned out to be cancerous. The surgeon said it was just turning into cancer and we got it in time. Later tests showed no signs of it spreading. After a couple months of recovery she was looking much better and she was no longer in misery from ear infections. It took almost a year for her ear to stand back up. Alas, the skin problems got worst and became a year long problem. We tried all sorts of treatments from the Vet and over the counter but we never were able to completely get rid of it. Through it all Bows was such a trooper. All the Vets loved dealing with her and we received a few comments that they preferred Bows over Buttons. Some even said they thought Bows was prettier than Buttons, which we were a little surprised about. Once when Bows had an x-ray for stomach problems, the Vet told me just how well she did, I was so proud of her. Another time before the ear surgery as the Vet was sucking out junk in her ear she yelped in pain a few times, but did not flinch. You couldn't ask for a better dog during Vet visits; I just wish she was that cooperative at home when taking her pills. With that she often gave us a hard time.
Even as she got older and racked with health issues Bows became the Queen bee after Buttons was gone. Even before she liked to take over at times. If I got two steps away from my Lazyboy she jumped right in and then protested when I kicked her out. Now she took over as alpha as we started to get into Sheltie rescue. Each dog we adopted or fostered soon learned she was boss, even the ones who were bossy themselves. Maggie was a pushy female and bothered the boys so much that they stayed upstairs to get away from her, yet she wouldn't mess with Bows. Sparks was a rambunctious, pushy boy twice her size. One day he tried to sneak food out of Bow'es bowl. According to the wife, she got behind him and let him have it. He jumped straight up and ran from her as she chased him around the kitchen island.
As her health problems increased, I felt so bad for her. Unlike Buttons who loved to be carried from the time she was a pup, Bows wasn't very comfortable being carried. When she showed signs of having difficultly getting around, we more and more often carried her past obstacles. She gradually figured out the best position to take when being carried and she seemed to like it better. As her skin problems spread, she must have been miserable, but she like always was a trooper and seemed to take it in stride. She would like to just lay in the cool grass, I'm sure it made it feel better. Often times she wouldn't come in while laying there and we'd have to carry her in. On her last day I did something I hadn't done in awhile. I gave her a nice massage. As I rubbed her down, I again felt so sorry for her, she felt so frail. A couple hours later something happened, she lost control of one front leg and she was very agitated. I believe she was in a lot of pain. We immediately took her to the ER. The Vet there said the leg was cold, she must have lost circulation to the leg somehow. She said there was a problem with her shoulders as if her legs went straight out from her sides. We said her legs sometimes gave out on hard floors and they would flair out like that. However, we don't know if that could have had anything to do with the circulation problem. The Vet said the only thing they could do that late is take an x-ray and wait for a specialist to come in in the morning. I thought that by then the leg would be dead if it lost circulation for that long. I asked her what we could expect in the best case scenario. After hearing the options, thinking about the leg in that condition for 8-10 hours and thinking about all the pain Bows was in, we decided it was time for her to join her beloved Buttons and be free of all the pain she had to endure on a daily basis. When I posted about Bows passing on Sheltie Shack, forum members who knew her from the posts I made of her good days and bad, were saddened as well. One even said of all the forum Shelties who crossed over, Bows hit her the hardest.
Bows will always have a special place in our hearts right along side Buttons. Our girls are always in our thoughts.
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