Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Preview

Here is Lee in part of her costume. For the full thing, check back tomorrow on Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Post I loved

I read a lot of other dog blogs now. I read some great ones (see the side of this blog for them).

There was one post recently that made my heart both ache and sing at the same time. Maybe it is because Mattie reminds me of Loki in appearance and in health.  Check it out at:
The post is Giving Comes Full Circle.

Have the tissue ready.

Feline Friday - Baggy and the vet

On Wednesday of this week, my much neglected Bagheera, went for a check up at the vet. He hasn't gone for too long. It is not that I have meant to neglect Baggy, but we haven't had problems with him, and my demanding dogs, have taken a priority.

I realized today how well I am known at Ottawa Vet Clinic.
Receptionist "I haven't seen you for a while. You have gotten your hair cut. Looks great."

Here is how our trip went:

Brought crate up from basement. Hailey went insane sniffing it.
Put crate on the coffee table. Put Baggy in. No problems with him.  Hailey went insane.
Threw cookies to distract Hailey so I could get Baggy out of the house.
Drove across the city in rush hour traffic listening to an audiobook that suddenly had a cat meowing chorus.
Got to the clinic too early as traffic not as bad as I thought. So I got to enjoy the craziness of an emergency clinic.
Baggy got weighed. He is just over 17lbs. In his youth he was close to 16lbs, so not too bad. He is a big boy.
Baggy waited well in the waiting room and enjoyed walking around the exam room.
Baggy growled the whole time Woody checked him, but unlike past visits didn't try to bite or hiss at him. We chatted about how Woody's kids are (I use to babysit them), and the fact that they are fostering 5, 3 1/2 week old kittens (had to resist the urge to want one of these new kittens - I think my cats would hate me).
Baggy appears in pretty good shape for a 16.5 year old cat. He has some arthritis in his back hips and legs. He is going to start on glucosamine. I think he gets the arthritis from my mom. (I have told her that, I think she was a little insulted).
Then Baggy went to get blood work. Sat in the waiting room listening to my screaming cat as they took his blood. (Apparently, when they changed the position and had him lay down he was fine. It is just like when I get blood taken, if I am not laying down I can't do it).
Baggy was done and I had to sort out picking up medicine for Lemew, Aunt C's cat.
The drive home I got to listen to Baggy loudly telling me how horrible a person I was for taking him out of his help for 20 minutes.
Hailey went a little insane when I brought Baggy in. Baggy was so relieved to be home, he let Lee sniff him a lot.
We survived the trip!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I am traveling a little more for work. It is a love hate thing. I would love it more if I could bring my dog (although I do enjoy having the entire bed to myself!) At any rate to help me with my puppy separation problem, I got my husband an IPhone so I can FaceTime my dog, oh and of my husband of course! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baseline Data

I am a behaviour analyst and I am going to try and get Hailey to allow me to cut her nails without her freaking out.  I plan on using systematic desensitization, a tool I have used effectively with other populations. Here is where we are starting from!

From Hailey: Hate being used as an experiment!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

10 Life lessons from my dogs

In no order - 

1) Greet those you love with enthusiasm every time you see them, you never can be sure you will see them again.

2) Embrace every day with sheer delight. The world has so much to offer, even at 5 am!

3) There is no problem you can’t solve with perseverance and determination. (This was recently demonstrated with Hailey’s determination to remove Frog’s eye. When she could not pull it out, she removed his brain, so she could go in the back of his head to get it).

4) It is ok to just kick back and relax and have a nap. Life doesn’t have to be all about work and play, relaxing time is important.

5) Exercise and fresh air -  the key to healthy well being.

6) It is ok to talk to strangers. You never know where you are going to make a new friend. 

7) Stop and smell the roses (and the grass, and the tree and the sidewalk and . . . . ).

8) Try new things. It will keep your mind active and show you can do more than you thought.

9) There will be no love or grief the same as that you feel for your dog. 

10) Make sure you are being fairly rewarded for the work you do. Hailey will only show off her tricks if she thinks the pay back in cookies is worth it! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feline Friday - Ummm, that is my food

In our house the cats are fed in the basement (the dog free zone) and Lee is fed in the kitchen. Sometimes, Nin (aka Cinder or Ninny), gets into Lee's food. He will either get in the way when Lee is sitting waiting, or he will push his way in. When this happens my poor girl just stands and watches. Normally, one of the humans in the house has to shoo Nin away so Lee doesn't starve:) 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The bed

Lady: "Lee's I would like to talk to you about the bed."

Lee: "What about it? I haven't peed on it lately."

Lady: "No you haven't but . . . . "

Lee: "But what?"

Lady: "Well, I am not sure I like your new fondness for unmaking it all the time. I really like going to sleep in a nicely made bed, not one with all the sheets and blankets in the middle."

Lee: "Oh. I think you are wrong Lady. I love you, but covers shouldn't be flat and sheets shouldn't be attached to the bed. They should be in a big ball on top. You have to dig it and make the perfect pile. It is actually a lot of work and an art to get it just right."

Lady: "I don't love it. But what I love even less is the fact that you are now trying to bring that gross piece of raw hide and burying it in the bed. I told you if you were going to dig it out of the garden and bring it into the house you needed to keep it off the furniture."

Lee: "I am sorry Lady, but the only safe place for it is in the bed. The bad cats won't steal it there. But don't worry, I finished eating that one, so it is not a problem."

Lady: "Great. While on the subject of the bed, what is with sleeping on it. Last night when I fell asleep you were curled up under the covers between me and the man. I think I liked it better when you slept under the bed."

Lee: "I liked it better when the house was the correct temperature and I wasn't freezing. Maybe if you weren't so cheap and would turn the heat on, I wouldn't have to snuggle for warmth."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


She did it - 6 days without destruction. We won't talk about her stealing a meatball when my back was turned (although when I gave the command to get off, she did, which was impressive and therefore she only got half a meatball)  or running away at the dog park today (she was safe, just didn't want to come out of the woods). Rather we will focus on the positive, 6 days without destroying any non-toy items.


Let's pray for 7!

Fingers crossed

Today could be day 6 without destruction. If this happens it will be a monumental day in our house.
After my analysis of my dogs behaviour comments from all of you (thanks), we have been trying to get our girl more running time. This was easy on the weekend, but not as easy on a workday.

Yesterday, was a dog walker day, and the one day this week, Lee was alone all day. I was very nervous that she may be destructive. In the morning before I left for work, I went out into the backyard and did everything I could think of to get her to run and play. I threw the ball, but it was me who ended up playing fetch alone. Lee looked at me for a few minutes, standing in the rain, running after her ball, turned around and went back inside. She doesn't love the rain, and would much rather spend her time inside.

What are the odds that she will spend her day laying quietly and being good?  Fingers crossed!

Lee, chil-axing on a rainy day. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wish I had my camera

We went to the dog park yesterday and I decided to leave my phone at home. I regret this because I would have had a great video of Lee playing with her new best friend Axel. Axel, is a little Shit Tzu, who is the same colouring as our Loki was. He looked a lot like Loki, so watching them play made me think about what it may have been like if Loki and Hailey had met and played.

Axel and Lee ran and wrestled until both wanted to go home. It was so much fun to watch. And most importantly Lee was tired after.

I will be sure to bring my phone next time, if not I may miss something!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A full day of fun - maybe

Yesterday was a Lee centred day and may I say, we tired her out! If only everyday could be like this!

It started with us attending the Aware Festival at the Rideau Carleton Raceway. I am always looking for free things to take her to that will give her new experiences. While she was very happy to arrive, she did not love being inside with dogs and people. She was a little stressed. We were  there during the pet blessing time and I thought given my luck with dogs and Lee's personality, she might need all the help she can to get to double digits (this is my goal for her). She sat impatiently during the prayer service but HATED being blessed by a stranger. My husband and I decided after that maybe she does have some devil in her given her reaction to a man of the cloth (sorry if this offends anyone's religious beliefs, Lee is being raised in a household of agnostics with Judeo-Christian tendencies). 

From Lee: "I don't know why this strange many was trying to touch me, it was horrible. I was interested in the horses. If I could have run with them, this outing may have been fun."

Lee watching the horses at the Raceway. 

On the way home from her blessing, we stopped at PetSmart as our Greenie supply was getting low. While we were there, we decided to take a tour of the PetHotel. We have been dog owners for almost a decade and have never boarded our dog(s). We do realize this new one is a little crazy and our potential dog sitters read this blog . . . . she is a lot to ask working people to care for. This is something we have to consider. While we were on the tour, Lee had to stay with the staff. So we stressed her out again. We were impressed with the facility. If we think we have to board her, we will take her to daycare for a few days before to get her use to the place and staff. 

From Lee: "Why would my people leave me with strangers? I know they were looking at other dogs. Are they trying to replace me? I can sort of forgive them because they weren't putting costumes on me in the store and they bought me a new toy. I love my pumpkin ball. It squeaks!"

After this we stopped at the local dog park. Lee had a fantastic run with her new best friend Lily. Watching these two run was like watching twins. Lily is a blue healer, lab, and other mix. She had the colouring of a blue healer, but her body and head shape are just like Lee's. Apparently all the others from her litter were black like Lee. This is leading us to think maybe our girl is part blue healer. It has been suggested many times. Perhaps the mystery of our mutt has been solved! After about half an hour it started to rain so we left. In total we were out for almost 3 hours. Lee has pretty much slept since.

From Lee: "I loved running at the park. I loved Lily. She ran just like me. I need to nap now."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Feline Friday - Please play with me

A little background. Bagheera is one of our cats. Baggy (aka Gheera, Baggy-Pants), has always been an independent fellow who like attention when he wanted it and liked who he liked. He spent approximately 8 years hating us for bring our first dog Loki into the house, and lived a self-imposed exile in the basement. I tried to point out that he started it with Loki, by attacking him when he was a pup, but Baggy won't listen. I do know that my darlin' Lo loved to chase the cats, and he and Gemi made a great hunting team who tormented both Baggy and Nin for 5 years. 

When Lo died, Baggy started to mellow (Gemi hunted less without her partner) and Lee has always been scared of Gheera. 

While Hailey is cautious around Gheera, she does try to make friends with him.
The other day, she brought him her ball.
Baggy then yelled at her and Lee was scared. She wanted her ball back if Baggy wasn't going to play with her, but was to afraid of him to get it. (After the picture I gave it back).

It is clear in our pack, Baggy is the alpha-animal! 
"Want to play?"
"No and bugger off!"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Analyzing my dogs destruction

Since Hailey’s destruction is driving me batty, I have decided to put on my behaviour analyst hat and try and figure out what the function of this behaviour is and what we might be able to do about it. 

Possible causes/function of the behaviour (from my internet search):

1 Separation Anxiety: Upon further research into this, we don’t know if it is true separation anxiety because when we leave, we don’t hear any barking etc immediately. All the research I have read suggests the behaviour should occur as soon as we leave. The neighbours have never complained about obsessive barking (and they would complain!)
2  General Anxiety: It may occur because of anxiety caused by things like storms. We do not have storms that often, so occasionally it may be due to this, but not always.
    Lack of exercise: We are averaging at least 1.5 hours per day and sometimes more. On Caesar they only suggested 2 hours per day for a much bigger, part wolf dog.
4Curiosity Propelled Chewing – Occurs mostly in juvenile dogs (which she is) as they explore their environment.

We think it is curiosity propelled chewing. (It does happen sometimes when we are home)

To help prevent this we:
  • Provide her with things to chew on – she is left with treats, including a Kong, as well as access to many of her babies.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise!
  • We tried crate training, but this did cause separation anxiety and worst destruction, so we are not sure we should try that again.
  • Clean the environment to keep anything she may want to chew (but she is smart and tries to find new things!)
  • Pray she outgrows it – well, we will, but we don’t want to have our house eaten first!

What scares me is that some of the research suggests that some dogs never out grow this! Especially sporting breeds (which is likely in her mix). If anyone has suggestions for us, please, please share!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lee is learning to play fetch

Since we got our girl we have been trying to teach her to play fetch. This has been unsuccessful and ended with her usually eating the tennis ball. On our walk the other evening we came across a lost orange dog ball, and brought it home. This is apparently what she needed to play fetch. She isn't perfect as the video will show, but she is getting better!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things Lee is thankful for

In honour of Thanksgiving, Hailey has created a list of things she is thankful for:

-Nin - he lets me hump him.

- Baggy - he hasn't hurt me, although he has threatened too.

- Squirrels. I would be more thankful if they ran a little slower and didn't climb so well.

-Sunshine. I love to be out in it and my Lady takes me on better walks in it.

-Walks - I love to sniff, sniff, sniff and see who has been around the neighbourhood.

-The dog park - I love to run, and there are lots of squirrels there. (Generally I don't care that much about the other dogs)

- My babies - I get to rip the m apart and I am thankful my lady lets me keep them spread out on the floor so I can watch them. You never know what they may try to do.

- Treats - especially Greenies and Kongs and my new antler.

-My big holes in the backyard  -  I am trying to dig  to China.

- My people, especially my Lady. I don't think others would be as patient with me as she is. I love her!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Things I am thankful for - Pet edition

In honour of Thanksgiving, here are the pet related things I am thankful for (in random order):

- Morning walks on cool, clear mornings.
-The health to walk and walk and walk my dog and Advil and hot baths for my legs after!
- Two cats that have lived to the senior life and keep on purring.
- That Bagheera is not scared of Hailey, and has returned to his kitten like days.
- My dog walker.
- The time we had with Princess Gemini.
- The staff at the Ottawa Vet Hospital. They have always treated my pets with compassion and love and made difficult moments a little easier.
- All the wonderful people in the dog community at large who I share, the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly about having having a dog and who read my blog!
- That Hailey usually decides to run back to me.
-Hailey, for all her flaws, she brings true joy to my life. She is both the ying and yang in my life.
- All the people who work to save and protect our animals, especially those at Catahoula rescue who saved Hailey.
-Humane Society International - the work they did and are doing to save the over 600 recently rescued dogs is amazing.
- Pet Stores - so I can spoil my pet! (There are so many things I wouldn't know she needed without them)
-Dog parks in Ottawa - love having places I can watch Lee run!
- Hardwood floors - so much easier to get dirty paw prints off than carpet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Speechless - I can't believe you did that!

The background:

First, last evening the man and I went out to get the groceries and do other errands. One of the errands was pet food. While visiting Global Pet for the first time we decided to purchase Lee her first antler. She loved it and spent like 3 hours chewing it.

Lee and the antler

During the chew-fest, because my legs were (and still are) very achy from all the walking I had a hot bath. While bathing, I left the bedroom door open. The man was sitting downstairs in the living room watching TV. When I came out of the bath, Lee was sitting chewing peacefully. While I was putting my pjs on, she got up on the bed and dug it apart. I assume she did this to bury her new treat and thought nothing of it (she usually does this while I am getting ready for bed). When I was ready, she and I both left the bedroom and came downstairs. I closed the door.

Fast forward a few hours: We go upstairs to bed. The man pulls back the covers to remake the bed Lee dug apart. The bed is soaked. On closer examination it is clear that she peed on the bed and by covering it with the duvet, pee is everywhere. We stood their speechless. In the 13 months we have had Lee as part of our pack, she has only had a handful of accidents, most when we were not here. The fact that she peed on the bed while we were home, is so unexpected.

We changed the sheets, started the washer and went to bed slightly worried that something is wrong with her. We will watch her. Maybe like a kid with a new toy, she was just so excited about her antler she forgot to go to the bathroom.

At least she always gives me something to blog about!

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Feature - Feline Fridays

The cats in my life say that they have not been getting enough press. They appreciate that Hailey is far more demanding and perhaps interesting to some, but they want their time. So now on Friday's we will feature something about a cat!

This is Lemew - Aunt C's cat. Several weeks ago I had a picture of him asking for Chinese food.
Here he is trying to get my sandwich.

The bad begger strikes again.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Evil Swiffer

When you use the vacuum, Hailey may run and hide. When you use the broom, she takes her things out of the pile. When you use the Swiffer thingy . . . . . .

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dog walker day 1

So yesterday was Lee's first walk with her dog walker.  This is our conversation after.

Lady: "Did you have a good time with Stephanie?"

Lee: "At first I was kind of scared. I didn't really want to go with a stranger. I thought she was stealing me. I tried to hide, but at the same time, since you neglected me I really needed my walk. So I went."

Lady: "How was it when you went?"

Lee: "It was great! She ran with me. You don't run with me. I didn't mind the running, but I needed some sniffing time too. She let me sniff. She was mean and didn't let me chase the squirrels either."

Lady: "Stephanie said you were really good. You didn't pull or anything."

Lee: "Of course I was good. I am a perfect angel. And she gave me treats, I love treats."

Lady: "You seem tired. Will you be good when I am out seeing clients this afternoon?"

Lee: "You have a 50/50 chance of this."

Lady: "I noticed you whined when she left. Do you think you will like going out with Stephanie on Wednesday?"

Lee: "Yes. I look forward to my time with her."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Grammie!

Wishing my Grammie a very happy birthday. 
I love to jump on my Grammie more than any other person in the world. Everything she talks to me I have to jump on her! I love her that much! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saturday Outing

On the weekend we try to get Lee out to a place we don't have time to visit during the week.  This week we went for a walk on the trails off the Ottawa River Parkway. We had a grand time. It wasn't as long as Lee would have liked because her Man rolled over on his ankle and needed to come home and ice it. (Last check the ankle didn't appear sprained,  just strained. This is great because the other ankle is sprained).

Lee was great! She sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. Clearly deer and other creatures had walked the trails recently. My favourite part was the chipmunk that was playing chicken with her. If she had been off leash, the chipmunk would be no more for this world!

Lee: "I have no idea where we are. It smells so great, but I am not sure."

"What is over there?"

"Lady, stop making sit there is too much to smell.
I refuse to look at you when you stop me."

"This isn't much of a trail, but I think a deer came this way."

"I was a good girl. I was waiting, and I didn't eat the dead mole thing when you told me to leave it!"

"There is a squirrel. Can we get it?"

"I love being in the wild!"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grief at month 2

It is hard to believe that it has been 2 full months since I said good bye to my beautiful princess Gemini. One one hand it feels like it all just happened yesterday and on the other it seems so far away.

Looking back, August is almost all a complete blur. I can still feel the crushing grief and those moments where I wonder if I am ever going to be able to breathe again. There were moments I truly didn't know how I would go on. This is not to be confused with being suicidal, rather a crushing paralyzing grief that makes one believe this horrible feeling will never, ever go away.

As time has gone on, this crushing feeling has lessoned. I am now able to think about Gemi before the accident. I can smile when I think about her. I still have moments of grief, but when it comes it is not as crushing and passes faster. 

I have changed some from the accident. I still struggle with anxiety at the dog park, but I am now able to go without crying or having a panic attack. I can only go alone at off peak hours, but it is progress. I have become "obsessed" with my dog, which people like to point out.  I think this has happened for several reasons. One, the premature loss of both Loki and Gemini have taught me that our time with our pets is too short and I am trying to squeeze in every second I can with her. Two, I still suffer from some guilt for the loss of Gemi and I catch myself thinking if I can just give one dog the perfect life, help one other dog, maybe I can be forgiven for what happened. Also, when I am stressed I tend to suffer OCD tendencies, and I am channeling this OCD into my dog (not to mention the fact that she needs lots of exercise and attention). It probably doesn't help that I have I become a dog blog follower addict:) 

I also think that Lee and I formed a different bound during those first difficult days. Yes, I had many human friends and family with me during this time and I am very, very thankful for them, but it was Lee who was with me those first long dark nights, and it was her needs and her care that got me out of bed those first days. The dog I got to help me with my first grief was both the cause and the solace of my second grief. Because of this, she and I will always have a different relationship.

We continue to move forward through the good days and bad, and try to find ways to celebrate the life of Gemini.

My princess