November 26th 2013 6:54 pm
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Getting on Dogster is hard.
I have realized that the reason I have drifted away - perhaps it is the reason many of us have - is because seeing the profiles, all the dogs that passed away, it was always so sad to me. When I first joined, it wasn't as sad. Because it wasn't my dogs. That may sound selfish, but it's not that I couldn't empathize with the owners. I could. I knew it had to hurt to lose your best friend, your partner in crime, your furry companion, your pet. I knew how much it had to sting, how much pain each and every one of them were in. I admit, I avoided the sections of the site dedicated to pets who have been loved and lost. I avoided them because I empathized with the owners that much. I have never been good with people, so I always turned to animals. I empathize with animals far more than I ever have with people. So, seeing animals all over Dogster and Catster who had passed away. It broke my heart.
And then, it happened. Chance was the first to move on. He passed of old age in 2009. When I had joined, there were already pets I'd lost on my account. But I'd finished my grieving, or they were pets of my childhood, so seeing them didn't hurt as bad. But losing Chance was especially hard. I loved Chance for a decade. He grew up with me. And as I became an adult, he became a senior. I watched Chance go from a puppy ridden with illness because he'd been a stray, to a healthy dog who could romp around the yard with the best of them, and then to a senior with arthritis and senility taking over him. We thought we'd have to make the decision to put him down. During his last days on earth, he was in so much pain. He didn't want to get up, he didn't want to play anymore, he just laid there. Miserably. We were discussing the possibility that week. Then, he had a good day. He got out of his dog house, he barked, he played. We thought for sure he'd make it. That night, Chance passed away in his sleep. The next morning, we said good bye to a family member and I had to update his page to 'This pet is no longer with us'. That was the first time I felt a bit stung coming onto Dogster. But there was so much support from the community, that I came back regardless.
Then, we lost Spot and Gypsy. Their deaths happened so close together that we barely had time to grief the other before the second was gone. My mother took Spot's death hard. She has never cared much for cats, but she loved Spot as much as she had loved any dog she'd ever owned and been owned by. Spot was a cat full of personality. A real grouch, she was never a people cat. But my mom loved her. Gypsy was more of a cat's cat. He and Malik were the best of friends. When Gypsy passed away, Malik began his decline. I have heard and seen people swear that animals do not pine away. Watching Malik, I do not believe that for a second. After Gypsy passed away, Malik began to pine away. But with Malik's death, I'm getting ahead of myself. Eventually, I was checking the box for 'no longer with us' for Gypsy and Spot, too.
Then. There was Cinnamon. Cinnamon hit me the hardest. It would be a lie if I said I did not favor her. Like Sandy and Sweeney, Cinnamon was my own dog. She was a big part of my heart. She possessed a part of my heart, and still does. Cinnamon was one of the most gentle souls I have ever known. She would not hurt anything or anyone. She loved every animal, every person, everything she met. Watching Cinnamon explore the world was like watching a toddler do so for the first time. Everything was new to her, even if she'd seen it every day. She saw the world with wonder, with amazement. She seemed to appreciate everything, and took life in strides. I learned a lot from Cinnamon. She taught me more about life than any human has in my years on this earth. Cinnamon passed away suddenly. Her death was unexpected. We were not prepared. I sat beside Cinnamon as she left this world, and after she left me, I never really got past the grief. I will never forget how she felt, how she was in those last moments. But I will never forget how she was during her life, either. So gentle, so caring, so loving. Cinnamon taught me a lot about loss, about love, about life. And when I had to check 'no longer with us' for Cinnamon, I lost it. I mourned her for a year. I'm still mourning her in many ways. And we lost Malik that same year. I slowly stopped coming on Dogster and Catster.
And Lilo followed. Lilo was an elderly dog, so we were a bit more prepared. She had her first seizure a few weeks before she passed. We were told to keep an eye on her, so we did. She had her last seizure the day she passed away. I was not even home. I was not there when she was rushed to the vet. I was not there when the vet had to put her down. I was not there when she passed from the world. And my not being there hurts me even now. I checked the box for her, and I lost it all over again.
I try to come onto Dogster every now and then, but I often find that I cannot. Seeing Cinnamon's profile, Lilo's profile, Chance's, Spot's, Gypsy's, Malik's... profiles. It hurts so much. And it makes me realize that I still have so much grieving left to do. I loved each and every one of them, and I'm still grieving some of them. Each dog, cat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig I lose reminds me of how much of my heart I have given to my pets. And when they pass, we trade pieces of our heart. Some day, I like to think, that my heart will no longer be human because of how many pets I have owned. That same day... I will possess the same love, the same caring, the same hope, loyalty, wonder, devotion, passion for life as every animal I have and will eventually own. For now, though, I am mostly human. And the hurt is just so strong. I try to come onto Dogster, but I cannot. So, most days, I do not. I often find myself wondering - as I stare at the forums I used to frequent - if these thoughts, these reasons are the same reasons other people no longer log in. And I find that I can empathize with them even more now.
And I realize, animals teach us so much. We only have to listen. Listen to their silent tail wags, listen to their purrs, listen to their gentle stare, and listen to their souls.
January 16th 2011 4:12 pm
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It seems I was dog of the day recently and I completely missed it! I still got all the nice rosettes, though, and wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent them. :) Being Dog of the Day was an honor, even if I wasn't on that day.
December 18th 2010 2:10 pm
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I just wanted to say thank you to my Secret Santa for the rosettes. The poems are lovely and the gifts are, too. I don't know if you were given a new dog or not, but I'm grateful for the presents nevertheless and I'm terribly sorry that I missed out on half the month. I just wanted you to know that they are appreciated. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone's enjoying their holiday.
September 8th 2010 10:13 pm
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I've been meaning to update for a while, but school has had me busy. Sandy has helped me get through it, though. Every day when my mom picks me up, she brings Sandy along... and seeing her cute little face peeking out the window, looking for me... always brightens up my day. :)
Well, she's still getting her Proportions, of course. We're well into the next box now. (I honestly can't remember if it's second or third, because I can't remember if there were three or four) She is STILL gobbling the food down. She has only left it three times, and those were very hot days so I suspect the heat had something to do with her loss of appetite, rather than the food. I've noticed in the past week that the muscle in her back legs is starting to look more defined. I'll be honest, Sandy's never been a muscular dog. She's always been a little round, even when she's at a decent weight. However, about five or so days ago, she was trying to get my attention and standing on her back legs... when I looked down, sure enough, her back legs looked far more "muscular" than usual. The upper half of her body is starting to fill out, too. What was once chub has literally started turning to muscle. I'd say this is definitely a good thing. :)
Only bad thing I've noticed in the past couple days is that her coat has gotten a little duller. It had been getting softer, so I'm not sure if this is the food or not.
August 26th 2010 3:14 pm
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So, it's been a while since I updated Sandy and I's diary about Proportions. Sorry about that, I'm going back to school and it's been taking up a lot of my time. I figured I'd hop on today and post a quick update. (:
We're well into the second box and Sandy is still (much to my surprise, even!) licking her bowl clean. I cut back on the soup a little more again. It would be nice to have another option. The group said they'd be offering Salmon soon and since Sandy does great on Salmon, that's exciting. I got the card in the mail about the food... but I lost it. I think I left it in my moms car. I haven't looked into it yet, but if I do make it a permanent part of her diet, it probably won't be until I'm done with school, have a steady job and can afford it. For a dog her size, I'm sure it won't cost TOO much. Probably more than home-cooked, though. The card also said there are more options available, so I'm excited about checking those out! (Like feeding with your own kibble, for example)
Sandy is back to eating her veggies. I don't know why she hadn't been. bol She can be a quirky dog sometimes, though. In the evening, now that I'm only going to school, she'll only eat if I sit next to her. A few times I handed her the chicken pieces myself. It was a great experience. She's already learning how to cope with me being gone during the day and knowing that she'd get her Proportions soon after I got home definitely helped. ;)
August 18th 2010 3:45 pm
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I figured I'd let her write one. Since it is her diary and all. ;)
~ Not long ago, my family got some boxes in the mail. There was one little one and one big one and they both had ME on the box. That was ME on the box. I've had lots of dog food in the past and there was always a dog on the bag or the can. I remember one had a dog that kind of looked like me on the bag... he was a corgi with big ol' ears like mine... but... he wasn't me. This was definitely me. So, I was sure the food was mine. :)
And when I got to taste the food... I was amazed. I don't know who sent them... they just ended up on our steps one day. I'm convinced a dog food fairy really loves me, though. That has to be it. What else could it be? The food tastes great. Not like cardboard like some of those other brands I tried when I was a puppy. It's as good as home-cooked. Better than some home-cooked meals. I never want to leave even a piece of chicken behind. :)
I feel like I'm living the good life. Well, I've always been living the good life, but I'm sure you pups know what I mean. Thank you dog food fairy for the food. ;)
August 18th 2010 3:31 pm
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So, week one of the trial is almost done. Two more days worth of food before we open the next box.
The transition was easy, as I've previously mentioned. I don't think I've tried any food with such easy to follow instructions. I think it helped that they caloric count was already set up and available in the food. Set to Sandy's size, activity level, etc. So, I didn't have to figure out how much she'd need based on trial and error, because it was all already right there. I loved it. And now that she's on just the Proportions, it's still just as easy to make sure she's getting the right amount of food. I had to cut down on the soup a little, because she was starting to look plump. But other than that, she's been doing great on it.
The first week has been going smoothly. She's still eating all her food and licking the bowl clean. In the morning, she has a little dance that she does before feeding time. As soon as she sees her bowl, she gets up and stands on her back paws, jumping and sometimes there'll be spins. It's cute. She seems to do this more often for her Proportions. :) She doesn't do it in the evening, though. I'd like to get a video and might if I work out my cam technical difficulties. She's still very energetic, too. I'm still impressed with that. Her coat seems glossier. She's leaving the vegetables out more and more. I guess she's already got bored of that part. Sandy has never been a dog to eat her vegetables. I've tried to trick her by mixing it all together, but she's too smart for that. ;)
Only bad thing I've noticed is, the past two days, her poop has been... a few funny colors. That's not too bad, though. On home-cooked, in the beginning, it would come out different shades of orange. So I'm used to funky colors. My guess is that it's the veggies and fruits. Other than that, her poop is still firm and healthy.
We can't wait to start on the next box. Here's to hoping things continue going smoothly! :)
August 11th 2010 8:56 am
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Sandy's always been a very energetic dog. Between walking, running, chasing small animals (which I try to prevent, but she always does it anyway, her one training fall back), rolling around on the floor and wagging her tail, jumping constantly to ask for play... I can't remember one time in her life where she wasn't at least a little energetic. She can be a couch potato sometimes, but only when she's in my room and she knows it's time to mellow out. Since we started the Proportions Challenge, I have noticed an increase in energy. Which makes me realize that she was never as energetic as she could have been. I'm really starting to see that hound and/or terrier now. If I may be so bold to say it, but she's even more energetic than Lilo now. And Lilo is a purebred terrier!
I think, Sandy was her least energetic on Pedigree. I regret having fed it to her at one point in her life, but about six months after I got her, I tried her on one of their formulas (I can't for the life of me remember which one) and her throwing up slowed down a lot. She was still puking every now and then, but not nearly as much as she had been on the store brand that I had (also regrettably now) been feeding before. When she was on Pedigree, she could only withstand one short walk around the block at a time. Two times a day. That wasn't that much of a walk. Our "block" was only a small circle at the time. A fifteen minute walk. She also started getting fat. Which prompted me to switch her to another food again. I (regrettably now, of course) switched her to Purina ONE and Iams. (rotation) Her energy was boosted and I was amazed by THAT. And it was only boosted a little. Whereas she could go on one walk around the block at a time, she could now go on two. And I thought that was amazing. But when I started using the Nutrition forums here more regularly, I decided to switch foods again. She's been on a few of the better brands. Like Evo before Proctor and Gamble bought it out. Her energy spiked once more. She was, at that point, going on three walks around the block at a time. I think that, before now, she had her most energy on home-cooked. When I started cooking for her, her energy spiked again and she was going on eight walks around the block a day, four times each, two times a day. And that, to me, was amazing. I didn't think it could be increased any more. An hour each time, and she still had energy when she got home. However, since she's started Proportions, her energy has gradually increased. I don't know if it's the soup, or if it's the supplements, but now I'd say Sandy could handle going around four or five times a day now. Her walks no longer seem enough. Last night, she asked to be let out of my room in the middle of the night just so she could go to the living room and roll around on the floor for about thirty minutes. She's been a bit more playful. I think I may need to increase her walks, because when we're home, I can barely handle her.
I know for some dog owners, a spike in energy can be a bad thing. Especially if the dog has always been on a low quality diet and you've never seen their true energetic potential. But, for me, it's definitely a good thing. I like a dog with personality and the more Sandy's energy increases, the more she seems to have personality. I thought she was very energetic on home-cooked, and she was... but on Proportions she's even more energetic. I'm impressed, honestly. Both diets brought out her true personality, and I'm grateful for it. Even if I'm having trouble keeping up with her, I'm confident an extra walk around the block or two will do the trick.
August 8th 2010 5:13 pm
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Started Sandy on part II of the transition today. She has no complaints. She ate the dry food without hesitation. She loves lamb, so that was no surprise to me. She hasn't seemed to have any problems with the kibble yet today, so, so far, so good. The transition is going pretty smoothly. No throw up, no runny poops. I have noticed that her poop schedule is a bit different. It's usually pretty predictable. She usually goes once in the morning, an hour or two after eating and once in the evening, also an hour or two after eating. Now there's a bit of a longer gap after meals. (3-4 hours) Probably not a bad thing, though. Her stools are still firm and healthy looking and not runny. I'm not sure how she'll react to the chicken in the soup. A little chicken is fine, but too much of it irritates her sometimes. So far, so good, though. Maybe it was always just the chicken the cheaper brands of food tend to use. I've never tried lamb myself, but the kibble sure did smell good. Most lamb kibbles do, but that one has a distinctive smell. Sandy seems to recognize the soup pouch already. Whenever she sees it, she comes running. The transition pack was right about that part. I let Cinnamon get a taste of the soup yesterday and she loved it even more than Sandy, perhaps. Maybe I'll let Meepster have a taste tomorrow. The transition from home-cooked is going smoothly. Still might need help, though. I'm watching her closely to make sure the measurements are right. Can't wait to post again. Sandy says that, so far, she still gives Proportions four paws up. I should have pictures posted soon. :)
August 4th 2010 4:32 pm
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So, the Proportions came today. And, can you believe that there was a picture of me on the box??? How cool is that?! My name was even on it, so it was personalized just for me. Right away, my curiosity was peaked. I remembered getting the nice little samples, and I was wondering if this was the same thing. As soon as my family carried the box inside, I started sniffing, trying to figure out if it was, indeed, for me. When dinner time came around, I found out it was! Today, with some of my canned, I got some of the soup. Which was great, because it's my favorite part. I ate most of my food, eating ALL of the soup and only leaving a little canned behind. Of course, I licked most of the bowl clean, too. ;)
Going through the transitional pack first. Got Day 1 of it done. Well, the evening part of day 1, anyway. Day 2 will begin tomorrow. I'm very impressed with how easy the directions were to follow and have no complaints there. I made sure to read everything (twice) so that I knew what I was doing and Sandy wouldn't suffer. I like that all the different meals and days come in separate little bags. It's a neat idea and helps make knowing what to feed and when that much easier. I think the dry could come in one bag with directions on how much to feed per pound, though, so as not to waste too much on separate bags. Though, the fact that they do come in separate bags, also, makes feeding easier. Sandy loved her food again, which I wasn't surprised to see. I gave Precious a little taste of the soup and she ate it just as enthusiastically. So far, so good. Lets see what Day 2 of the challenge brings. :)
ETA: I might need a little help with transitioning from the home-cooked to Proportions. Will try to figure out the measurements tomorrow.
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