Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

txs2013For some odd reason I keep typing 2014 rather than 2013.  Boy, talk about being ahead of time.  Anyway, I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving along with your furry children and family.

txs20133One thing we always do during Thanksgiving is take a lot of pictures.  One year we failed to do so and the following year was not a very good one.  We took so many pictures and only one came out pretty good.  Most of them looked like the above photo.

txs20134After we finished our Thanksgiving dinner, we fed Alex a nice portion of turkey, Cynthia took the most inner part of the turkey that did not have any seasoning, and mixed it with her kibble, and you know what?  That girl inhaled her food.  By the way, do not feed your dog turkey, chicken, pork, etc., in large quantities.  The only reason Alex got a nice helping of turkey is because I mix her kibble with human food on a regular basis, lately 1/2 kibble 1/2 human food so she is used to it and I always make sure that there is no seasoning added to her food.  Alex, in the above picture, got inpatient and was leaving because Cynthia was taking too long to put the turkey away.

txs20135Of course she made a U-turn when she saw Cynthia getting ready to put away the turkey for she wanted to “help” her with this task.  What a helpful child.  Can you see how attentive she is?  We had a great Thanksgiving because we were all toghether and we hope all of you did the same.

Alex’s ACL Injury

brace1I thought that Alex sprained her leg like she has done a few times in the past, but after taking her to the vet for a consult, x-rays, blood work, etc., she was diagnosed with having an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, also known as cranial cruciate ligament.  According to what the vet told me and what I read, this is one of the most common injuries in dogs.  I had no idea since Alex, although a senior dog, never had such an injury.

brace2I asked Cynthia to go with us to the vet because honestly I was really worried about Alex.  The vet referred us to a surgeon, and the next day I made an appointment for them to see her and schedule her for surgery.  Unlike other times when she starts eating in about 1/2  a day, this time she did not want to eat at all for 3 days.  We went back to the vet for an upset stomach, but I asked for them not to sedate her anymore.  With the medication given to her for her tummy, she finally ate, but I was really frantic and was ready to take her to have surgery, but Cynthia said, “Let her recuperate first and then we’ll do whatever is best for her.”

brace3We thought about it and considered all possibilities and we decided, ok., Cynthia convinced me, that it was best to start with the least intrusive way to address her injury.  With that in mind, we did some research and ordered an A Track Dynamic Brace.  We got it within 3 working days and it took us longer to measure Alex for the brace than it took Cynthia to put it on her.  Before the brace, she walked on 3 legs, but as soon as she had the brace on she started to put weight on her injured leg, hind left leg, and I was amazed. She has a long, long way to go, but this is, at least for Alex, a good start.  In a couple of weeks, when the knee gets better and stronger I’ll be looking into hydrotherapy and acupuncture.

brace4For the next couple of weeks, I have to get her to walk inside the house for no longer than 5 minutes at a time about 4 to 5 times a day, and increase time little by little.  She wears the brace during the day, but when is time to go to sleep, the brace is removed and Alex sleeps inside her kennel which she loves, but rarely ever uses in order to limit her movements.

IMG_6434Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and now more than ever, specially after this crazy and worrisome last week with Alex, what I am most thankful for happens to be my girlfriend, Cynthia, for getting me to see things clear when I am panicking, and my Alex, ok. fine I’ll share, our Alex, for making me appreciate the things that many times I overlook.  Doesn’t Alex looks like a cute dominatrix?  I know, I know, that is probably an oxymoron, but that is just my opinion.  Anyway, I’ll continue writing about Alex’s progress, but for now let us wish you and your family a wonderful, happy, and healthy Thanksgiving.

Exercising Alex, My Senior Dog

exercisesenior1The above body language from Alex signals to me that she is ready to go around me making a circle while on a retractable leash a couple of times.  Oh boy, every time she does that I am dizzy, but I know she loves it.

Alex is 11 1/2 years old, and even at that age she is a very active senior dog.  After she got over her sprain, I started to walk her a little more each time and lately we have been taking walks 45 – 60 minutes long.  And you know what?  When we come home she runs around the house like the walk did nothing to her.  This past weekend she ran around me at full speed and fell down hard.  Yes, you guessed it.  She sprained her leg again, therefore she’ll be out of commission for a couple of weeks, yes, again.

Alex

Alex

Alex, to me, is the epitome of what an active dog is all about, but I know that she should not run like she used to so  I’ll do my best to stop her from running at full speed, and I’ll start looking for places that offer canine hydrotherapy.

I am a huge advocate for keeping dogs active, but make sure that your canine companion is not overdoing it, like in Alex’s case.  Even dogs that are very active will slow down as they age.  The goal is to fulfill your dog by tailoring exercise, diet, naps, etc., according to his age and needs.

IMG_4981My girl’s favorite pastime now is taking long naps, and my job now is making sure that she is comfortable, relaxed, and healthy.  Enjoy your senior dogs and have a great week.

Alex Sunbathing

Alex loves to sunbathe regardless of what time of the year it is.  You look at her and she seems to be in heaven.

wed1Dogs with short hair like Alex tend to get cold very easy and maybe because of that they crave the sun.  I was reading not too long ago about senior dogs, now one of my many favorite subjects since Alex is a senior doggie, that discussed things that senior dogs should do such as: exercise, proper diet, message, and sunbathing, to name a few.  I remember the article about sunbathing because Alex enjoys doing that, and according to what I read sunbathing is good for them because it gives them a, “healthy boost of sunshine into their systems.”  If you want to read more about it, check out this website,  http://www.pekinews.com/why-do-dogs-like-to-sunbathe-the-reason-behind-your-pekingeses-sunbathing/

wed2Now that the days are pretty cold, Alex prefers to sunbathe inside by the sliding doors.  What a life!  Enjoy the rest of your week.

What Is The Most Sensitive Part On Your Dog?

The first thing a pet parent should remember is that each dog is an individual, and as such his sensitive area(s) will vary from dog to dog.  With that being said, I’ll be using my girl, Alex, and some of her furry friends, Gir and Roxy, to illustrate my point.

sensitiverump1Alex’s sensitive area is her rump.  Years ago, when she was a little under a year old, I tried to move her by touching her rump and she growled at me.  I was pretty surprised because Alex, even as a puppy, was always very easy-going.  What did I do?  I worked with her, little by little, using treats so I could get her used to having someone touch her “sensitive spot,” and after a short while she was fine.  But, even after all these years, I still have to be gentle when I am brushing and wiping her cute rump.  She never growled again, but I am always aware that I need to be more careful when it comes to her sensitive area.

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Gir’s sensitive spot is his ears.  Once, while petting him he moved away from me while trying to nip me when I touched his ears.  What did I do?  Every time I touched his ears just for a couple of seconds was after our long walk, and while he was asleep on my lap.  He seemed to mind less and less having his ears touched.

Roxy’ sensitive spot is her hair.  Yes, her hair, and she has lots and lots of hair.  Roxy’s mom told me that she did not like to be brushed very much, so from her very first stay with us I took her for long walks, followed by a nice gentle session of brushing and wiping.  I did not use treats, but rather exercise to desensitize her to the brush, and get her to associate brushing with something pleasant.  Since Roxy comes to stay with us often, she knows our routine:walk, brushing, wiping, and breakfast/dinner, and does not mind being brushed any longer.

sensitiverump3Once you figure out your dog’s sensitive part, make sure you work alongside a reputable behaviorist or dog trainer on desensitizing him to whatever it  is that is causing him to growl, nip, bite, etc.  The examples I used to illustrate my point are that of dogs that are not aggressive, exhibiting symptoms that I’d consider mild, but I’d strongly recommend to consult a behaviorist or dog trainer to help you with these type of issues, and remember that what works for one dog may not necessarily work for another.

Luca Passed His Canine Good Citizen Exam

I met Luca, a tall and handsome GSD mix, a little over a year ago, and he was a very challenging dog because he seemed to be afraid of so many things.  His pet parents worked with him under the guidance of a trainer, and the “new” Luca is so different from the dog I met a year ago.

20131004_113437Isn’t he handsome?  I took this picture during one of our many walks in Crofton.  Luca’s pet parents put a lot of work with him, along with patience, consistency, and money, of course, but I do believe it paid off.

20131103_124753Today, Sunday, Luca and his mom Holly took and passed the Canine Good Citizen exam, and I was able to see them in action and provide moral support, although between you and me I don’t think they needed it, but I went anyway.  I was so proud of him, of his mom too, let me not forget that, that I think I squeezed her arm a little too tight.  Sorry about that Holly, but I was just so happy to see them work together so well.

20131103_133606After I congratulated both Holly and Luca for passing the CGC exam, I went home and took out my girl, Alex, to stretch her legs for a while.  By the way, I think, I might be wrong, but I doubt it, that the sweater that she is wearing is the first one that she actually likes.

Whatever you decide to do with your dog regarding, training, exercise, behavior, etc., make sure that you set up your dog for success.  Work with reputable trainers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Have a great Sunday.