Friday, August 22, 2014

My Dog Did Something Dumb

Golden retrievers are generally considered bright. At the very least, they are extremely trainable because they are so willing to please. But for some reason, I only have come to live with the golden retrievers who are a few milkbones short of a box. And I mean that with all the love in the world.

Who, me?

Brooks, for example, was the sweetest, gentlest, kindest, most amazing golden I've ever been lucky enough to share a home with. But he couldn't turn himself around if he walked into a corner. This is true. After a surgery, when he was wearing the cone of shame, he got himself stuck in the doorway and just stood there. He didn't back up, he didn't try to maneuver out. He didn't even bark or whine for help. He just stood. Thankfully, I was home and could help steer him through the doorway. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been home, how long he would have stood there.

Here's Brooks with his cone. I think he's asleep.

Well this brings us to Ike. Last night, Ike got stuck under the bed. Yup. Stuck. Under the bed.

About 3am I was awakened by the sound of toenails scraping against a wood floor. If you are anything like me and have a crazy imagination and also are afraid of anything that moves after dark, you can imagine what sprung to mind when I heard the sound of toenails scuttling under my bed. What kind of creepy eight-eyed slimy green monster was under the bed, anyway?

Turns out that Ike had somehow gotten all 70 pounds of himself under the bed, and couldn't get out. Ike has his own cozy bed to sleep in, and he usually starts out there, but during the night he might get up and sleep in Kelly's bed, in the hall, or on the floor beside our bed. Since our bedroom is pretty small, there isn't much wiggle room between the bed and the wall, just enough space for a golden retriever to lay down. But if he wiggles in that wiggle room, then somehow he must push himself under the bed.
I know. It happened before.

Ike hasn't quite got the hang of this bed thing.

So I got up and pulled Ike out from under the bed. He didn't do anything to try to help me out either, just laying there dead weight. I pulled his hind leg a little and part of him slid out. Then I crawled around to the front and pulled a little. I had to reach under the bed and lower his shoulder so that it could fit back out from the bed frame, and pull on the front end a little more. This was no easy feat with me crawling around on my hands and knees in the dark. But I got him out, and he wagged his tail and jumped up on top of the bed.


Much safer. I only hope he won't fall out of bed.

Has your dog done something silly, or let's face it, dumb, lately?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paws to Reflect

Ike and Kelly enjoyed a paws to reflect at Lake Champlain in Vermont.  I think Ike wanted to jump in for a swim. Do your dogs prefer swimming or watching the view?

We're joining Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tips for A Pet Friendly Vacation

Our recent summer getaway had to fulfill several requirements:
1. inexpensive
2. doable in a long weekend
3. allow dogs

Kelly and Ike meet Bently at our friend's camp.

It's always a bit of a challenge, but I think we pulled it off. First, we visited a friend at her lake house. We could clearly tell that the dogs were thrilled to be in the country, nose-to-the-ground dashing about in a Family Circle-like pattern. They usually get a little stressed when we are away from home, but they seemed perfectly at peace and comfortable. And so were we! Just what a vacation should be, sitting on a deck, looking out at the lake, with good food and good conversation.

Dog Vacation Tip #1- find a friend with a lake house.

Ike eyed the bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Next, we traveled to Burlington, Vermont, to visit friends and family. We made sure that the hotel was "pet friendly." The hotel was lovely, and it did allow pets...but that's where the "friendly" part ended. There were no designated places to walk the dogs, no handy trash containers for the poo bags. The complimentary breakfast was in a sit-down style restaurant which didn't allow dogs. We worked around these issues, but it made me think that pets were allowed, however the hotel didn't really cater to making the experience convenient.

Dog Vacation Tip #2- ask these questions before booking a hotel:

1. Is there an additional fee for pets? (ours didn't charge a fee)
2. Is there a weight limit? (one hotel we looked into the weight limit was 50 lbs, the other was 80 lbs.)
3. Do you have any designated areas for pet walking?
4. Are dogs allowed to be left alone in the room? (In ours, they weren't)
5. If not, do you have the number of certified pet sitters?
6. Do you offer amenities such as beds, bowls, treats?

What else did we do on vacation? We visited friends. We ate good food. We walked on the boardwalk on Lake Champlain. We stopped at some shops and tourist sites. 

Kelly enjoys beautiful Lake Champlain.

The Boardwalk is one of my favorite places.

Dog Vacation Tip #3-  Research sites to find out their dog policies, and you may discover that more places are open to dogs than you thought. Burlington was full of dogs on Church Street Marketplace and the boardwalk.

We saw a golden retriever carved out of a log.

Ike took a liking to an old truck at Vermont Flannel.

We came home tired and happy.

Dog Tip #4- A vacation is special when shared with your dog.

I hope you all have wonderful vacations!

Friday, August 15, 2014

How Can We Keep Our Dogs Safe from Dangerous Dogs?

A very sad story locally.
Two dogs, a mastiff and a pit bull, jumped out of a window of their home and attacked a small terrier being walked down the street.

Sadly, the little dog died.

This, of course, brings up a lot of questions. How did the dogs get out the window? What steps had the homeowners taken to keep the dogs securely inside? What provoked the dogs to jump out the window, leave their own property, cross the street, and attack? Did the dogs have any aggressive history?

Turns out that one (or both) of the dogs had bitten dogs several times previously, as well.

What triggered the dog's aggression? Had the owners taken the dog through any training to help understand what their dogs need?

My dog friends Charlie and Murray are exemplary canine citizens.
Now, an innocent dog has lost his life, and the dog's family is grieving. And two dogs are facing possible euthanasia, and at the very least are being removed from their home to live in a kennel.

When a judge demanded that the owners surrender the dogs to a shelter, the owners refused,  and hid the dogs at a friend's house. Then, the owners requested permission to euthanize the dogs, rather than surrender them to a kennel. According to the August 8, 2014 Albany Times Union, the judge demanded that the dogs be surrendered alive.

I know that a kennel is no place to live compared to a good home, but to think that the dog owner's would wish their dogs dead boggles and saddens me. Is it fair that the dogs should lose their lives because the owners were negligent and left a window open and neglected to properly restrain dogs already proven to be dog-aggressive?

So the dogs were surrendered and are now living in a kennel to await their verdict.What should happen next?

I don't have an answer. Well, I guess I would say that I'd prefer the dogs to go to a home away from other dogs, with a knowledgeable owner who understands how to care for dog-aggressive dogs. Foremost, we need to protect innocent people and dogs, and when I say that, it's because I see loose dogs when I'm out walking my dogs, and I am often afraid of dangerous encounters. In most cases, it is the dog owners and not the dog to blame for the behavior. I definitely don't think such dogs should be returned to the owners. I also don't think there should be a one case fits all law. Every case needs to be judged on its own.

I'm not sure what will happen to these dogs. What do you think should happen? What steps can we take to keep our dogs safe?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Grow, Zeke, Grow!

My granddog, Zeke is now four months old!  Watch him grow.

5 weeks old

8 weeks old, the day we picked him up.

9 weeks old

10 weeks old

11 weeks old

12 weeks old

13 weeks old

14 weeks old

15 weeks old

16 weeks old

I think he's going to be big! What do you think?

I'm joining (almost) Wordless Wednesday.