adventures of beck

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blogging Buddies

To my left, Golden Boy Kayak.

To my right, The Black Crusader Sonar.
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Proud Parents

Gaurav, I thought the world should see he who hath wreaked havoc on our lives with thouest puppy. Honestly, could you deny this man a puppy if he begged for one? Posted by Picasa


So Kayak decided to see if I could fly today. Actually, he simply saw the rabbit and assumed that I did too. I was, of course, admiring the flowers. So he took off like a shot, on his Flexi-Lead, the menacing whining of which caused a flashback. When I was 13 or so, my best dog friend was Maggie, a Weimerainer and a dog who was one of a kind. Fraught with no small number of strange anxiety issues, Maggie was and is famous to this day for chewing walls down to the stud, chasing reflections, chasing flashlights, chasing squirrels over 30 foot drops to concrete, chasing ducks, eating remote controls and batteries, STEALING BAGELS WHEN ONE TURNS THEIR HEAD FOR 3.4 seconds, running across pool covers (and sinking,) and other such things that make one turn red with anger, and then with laughter. In any case, there was a day when I had Maggie on a Flexi-Lead, just like Kayak's. She took off, just like Kayak did, at Ultra-Top-Speed. Maggie was running to her mom, Kayak was running after a rabbit, but the result was the same. I went airborne. Completely horizontal in the air, before crashing to the ground and being dragged some 5-10 feet. With Maggie, I landed in woodchips, and only dropped her leash finally when her mom yelled to that it was okay to do so. Fast forward to today, with Kayak, and I landed in sharp, pointy gravel, and not wanting him to join the rabbit in going wherever it is rabbits go, I had to hang on. The force of the yank was enough to completely stun me, feeling as though I had been tackled. The force of hitting the ground was also terrific, and I writhed in pain, trying to catch my breath. Kayak, being NOT of Lassie's bloodline or training, utterly ignored me, wanting only to find the rabbit. Finally getting up, I surveyed the damage. Scraped knee (see above) scraped wrist, scraped elbow, scraped hip. Owwww. I couldn't be mad at him though, I just wasn't paying attention. That's why beagle mixes go on leashes. BTW, Kayak wears a harness instead of a collar for walking for just this reason- so he doesn't collapse his trachea trying to yank my body airborne. Posted by Picasa

Excavation Project #1

The little digger got a chance to test her skills at Gaurav's volleyball game. After first using echolocation to attempt to capture the moths that were attracted by the lights (night game) I then taught her that digging in sand is fun (and allowed, unlike digging the townhome association's grass.) She was overjoyed to dig. Fantastically excited. Thrilled, you might say. She dug till she was exhausted, and at several points, beyond. She was actually laying on her side, very tired, but continued to dig from that position. As if the fate of the world might depend on her not giving up the dig. I tried to encourage her to dig by saying "where's China?" But people started to look at me funny. Posted by Picasa

The Unexpected

First: She really wants to take the WHOLE fork. What a strange dog. Second- she was diagnosed with skin mites today- and the bald spot that was forming on her head- see pic- got even balder when the vet scraped it for a skin cell sample today. I got to see her mites on the microscope slide, the little bastards. I also got to dip her in the Amitrazan (strong chance I spelled/remembered the name of that incorrectly.) I had to put opthamalic ointment in her eyes before I dumped the "dip" on her so that her eyes would be protected. She did her best impression of small, pathetic puppy. The people who adopted her brother, "Socks" originally wanted to adopt Sonar as well, but we beat them by a matter of hours. Sometimes when she's being a pain I like to threaten to send her to live with her brother. Its a threat with no truth behind it, but nonetheless, I enjoy the retro-I'll-send-you-to-boarding-school-in-the-countryside-if-you-don't-shape-up feel to it. The word from the tech who runs the rescue organization is that Socks is getting just as big. Also I downloaded "picasa" a photo editing program by google to mess with my photos. It's free, and when I'm looking through my album I can click a button that says "blog this" and it goes right to my blogger with the pic. So very cool. Posted by Picasa

Howdy! (Kayak as a cowdog)
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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm not exaggerating.

You'll think I'm exaggerating when I say this. You really will. Sonar is growing like a weed. You think that's an expression, don't you? You think I'm being clever and that I don't really, honestly, truly mean that her growth matches that of the most tenacious, driveway-crack, overnight thunderstorms 3 nights in a row, laughs in the face of weed killer, thorny-leaved, snarly rooted, resembles-a-dandelion-on-steroids-WEED. Well, it does. Want proof? On a Wednesday, not so long ago, she weighed 19 lbs at her vet visit. Another Wednesday passed, and after that we went to my parents. On Saturday, so 10 days later, she weighed 25 lbs. That is 6 lbs in 10 days. That is a weed. That was last weekend. Today is Wednesday. She weighs MORE. Significantly. Like 2-3 lbs. I know. I carry her outside to pee. She laid down next to Kayak today, and she is approaching his length. He is 4 years old. She is 4.5 MONTHS old. Dear Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into? I've been playing chase games with her, and she's getting close to catching me in a straight-away sprint. (She chases a toy on a tug rope, not me.) She now knows the following commands, in order of ability: sit, heel (follow me while I walk backwards, sitting when I stop), down, shake, and staaaaaaayyyyyy. This last command consists of me rocking my weight back half a step, very very slowly. It is a hard thing to learn when 5 seconds earlier she was following me, eyes locked on the cheese in my fist. Wait, now you're moving, taking the cheese with you but you DON'T want me to follow? Weird.

Two days ago, I realized what was really driving me bonkers about her: she didn't really CARE that much what I wanted, while Kayak, being a very independent dog, still keeps himself up at night, worrying about what I might want next week. (Ok, now that IS and exaggeration.) And then I realized that we weren't being strong leaders. We forgot about the doorway thing (humans go out first) and the restricted access to the house thing (new dog stays downstairs only) and that walking nice on the leash is a task that takes TIME to learn. Ohhhh. That's right. She has the attention span of a gnat. Also, we weren't touching her enough. In our quest to do EVERYTHING RIGHT, we had forgotten that she was a cute, fuzzy puppy, and we weren't bonding enough. So now, when she brings the chase toy back, we spend time rubbing her belly on the ground (very good, since that puts her in a submissive position.) I also started being very firm in commands, but very very happy when she gets them right. Kayak can understand more subtle variations, even conversational tones. "Kayak, c'mere" and he'll come right over. "Sonar, c'mere" and she'll not even flip an ear back. I was initially really worried a couple days ago that she was trying really hard to be top dog, queen of the world, but after a couple days of structure with lots of attention and affection, she's back on track, better than ever. She's much calmer in her crate, and I think she understands that I'm leader now. Plus, she knows I know where the cheese is. Shoulda named her "Colby-Jack."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Return of the Ears

Sonar will have been in our household for 2 weeks tomorrow. It has been easily the longest 2 weeks of my life. People talk about how hard many things are: working for a paycheck, cleaning your bathroom, owning a home, a vehicle, choosing a major, even having children. They gab about the difficulties of customer service, of exterminating cockroaches, of choosing a place to live, even balancing their finances. Some talk about arresting a suspect, putting out a chemical fire, going through a divorce, and doing open heart surgery. But you know what? This all pales drastically in the face of RAISING A PUPPY. You expect the house accidents, the barking, the digging, the desire to chew, the energy, the need to play, even the whining. But what you don't expect is leaning over to tie your shoe, and having a puppy jump at your face. Or, walking through a room, and having a puppy attack your pants. Or even better, a small creature getting THAT EXCITED FOR FREAKING KIBBLE. Or: eating woodchips. And dirt. And rotten fruit. And poop. And fuzz. And water bottle caps. And grass, glorious grass. If you were THAT EXCITED FOR KIBBLE, then why are you eating everything else? Puppy toys are everywhere. Even in the front yard. Squeaky ducks, bones of every kind, rope toys, and things we didn't expect to be toys: cardboard boxes, stuffed aliens, plastic milk cartons (oh crap, she's eating that, get it away from her!) Things you forgot you trained your adult dog to do, you expect the new dog to just "know." But of course, she doesn't. Taking something from her usually involves her sharp puppy teeth nicking your knuckles, wiping her feet after coming in is the same. If I lay on the floor, Kayak will come snuggle in to me, laying his head on my arm. Sonar will come deposit her chest on my face, and chew on my hair (super glad I'm growing it out, so it could be a chew toy.) If I tell Kayak to "c'mere" he does, unless something smells really good, then he'll wag his tail, as if to say "I'm sorry, this smells good, I'll come in a minute." Sonar will just space out. Like she forgot her name. That's when you start grinding your teeth. The night she wouldn't stop whining, I woke up with a pounding headache, after grinding my teeth all night. I took her outside 3 times in 6 hours that night. She peed every time. Kayak is putting up with more of her crap than ever, but even he has his limits, and he gives her a good loud Bark-to-the-Face to let her know she's being a turd. People, strangers, constantly approach her "awwww, a puppy." They ruin all my training by letting her jump up, and I want to kill them. Or at least make them take her. Cute, huh? Well, see how cute she is when you get bit by those damned teeth. This weekend we're taking her to Michigan. Should be quite a trip. I'll post pictures. Her ear is starting to straighten out again, after briefly tipping over.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Some pictures of the cuteness:
From top-down 1.Kayak by flowers (barb style)
2. Gaurav and Sonar before a bike ride to the park
3. Genghis begging us to get rid of the puppy
4. Kayak and his greaseball mother
5. Kayak's new bandage after cyst surgery

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Very Odd

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (CBR) are large dogs, brownish, with a lab-like face. They have a curly back, and occasionally look a little like a labradoodle. CBR's are squarer though. They were originally developed to assist fisherman (shockingly, in the Chesapeake Bay) by diving into ICY waters to retrieve nets and fisherman who had gone overboard, much like labradors. CBR's have a somewhat naturally oily coat that repels water like a duck, and have, much like labs, a deep affection for water. They also have a characteristic smell that dog lovers would categorize as "interesting" and non-dog-lovers might term "weird and gross." In any case, they are loving kind dogs. The one that was on our exam table today was also nervous. Very very nervous. He continually looked for his owner with his bright, nervous eyes as Doc stepped back from him, remarking "poor dog," just as I walked up. "Why?" I asked. Doc pointed out some nasty rashy lesions on the dog's rear legs, by his belly. Doc was thinking it was probably allergies, and went to explain to the owner that allergy testing would be around $300, and would he be willing to spend the money (I imagine that's not a very fun conversation.) A tech and I stayed back with the dog remarking on his rash and attempting to soothe his nervous. The dog began panting very quickly, becoming more and more agitated. He began drooling. Drooling red bloody drool. What? The dog appeared to be bleeding from his nose. No, his mouth. Not it was his tongue. Maybe the roof of his mouth? Gums? We searched and searched, but there was no sores, no cuts, no punctures, no abrasions. Where was the blood coming from? A few minutes elapsed, and the source seemed to disappear. We mopped up the bloody foam and tried to figure it out. Of course, all I could think of was things like hemmorhagic fevers...ebola for instance. The tech's best guess was an autoimmune disorder, which may or may not also encompass the dog's rashy symptoms as well. Doc came back with good news: the man wanted to run the allergy tests. We drew a lot of blood and Doc decided to run both panels, allergy and autoimmune. I'll be interested to see what happens.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The next installment

Today was ridiculously slow, a couple surgeries, a few patients, did some gloves.

Then we adopted a big eared, 4 month old, cute as a button puppy. We named her "Sonar" for her oversized ears. And just so you all know: this was Gaurav's idea, NOT MINE. She'd been at the clinic for a while, needing a home, recovering from projectile pooping and vomiting, with her brother, "Socks." They have very little in background story except "shipped up from the South." She struck me as adorable immediatly, as did her brother. I spent more than usual time with them, walking them and petting their big big ears. So one day I casually mentioned that there was an extremely cute puppy with huge ears. Gaurav, then, in his infinite wisdom, when he was dropping off a urine sample for Kayak one day, actually, June 30th, asked to see this puppy. He then spent 45 minutes with her in an exam room, and was hooked. We talked about schedules, and making sure we had enough time for her, and whether Kayak could appreciate her, and decided to try her over 4th of July weekend. She did famously well, and so did we, with religious crate training and plenty of playing and exercise. We got her on Kayak's birthday (July 1st), much to his chagrin. He didn't like her at first, but 5 days later, he's more tolerant of her boisterous attitude, and has nearly forgiven us for our transgression of trust. He seemed so hurt the first couple of days that I was racked with guilt over her adoption, but he gradually came to understand that he was not being replaced, and has started to interact with her a very little bit. He's also come to carrying his bones in his mouth more, on walks even, partly because he's guarding them, but also partly because she has a retrieving nature and desires to put EVERYTHING in her mouth. This includes watermelons, bushes, grass, her toys, Kayak's tail, our fingers, our shorts, our shoes, chair legs, etc. And I do mean ETC. We have purchased (in the fashion of giggling children) several toys for her enjoyment, and have experienced fantastic success with simply distracting her with a toy when she goes to chew something undesirable to us-the key is to attempt to match the materials- like wood chewing: rawhide. Plastic chewing? Kong. Shorts/your hand/kayak? A stuffed animal WITH A SQUEAKER. I say WITH A SQUEAKER beacuse this describes the look on Sonar's face when you squeak the sqeaker. She looks at the toy, her eyes wide, and exclaims OH MY GOD ITS A SQUEAKER! And she promptly pounces on the toy. So far her favorite is a stuffed mallard duck toy. She fetches, too, the key is to trade out squeaky toys, making the next one SOOOOOOOO much more exciting than the one she just brought back.

So if you've never ever owned a dog, and you're considering it, let me dispense some invaluable advice: GET AN OLDER DOG. Kayak is approximately one billion times easier than Sonar is, because he has less energy, has a longer attention span, doesn't desire to taste everything, is house-trained, and we know EXACTLY how big he is. Puppies are adorable, but there is nothing cuter than a dog that knows how to pee outside. Cuter than all the fluffiest puppies in the world is a dog who doesn't jump up or chase the cats, or be a general idiot at the worst times. Dear. Lord.

On the upside, she's already learned to come, sit, and we're working on lay down. The "sit" has nearly eradicated her strong desire to jump up on us, and we're working on extending that to strangers. She is ridiculously smart, which we attribute to the shepard that is so evident in her enormous ears. The woman down the street has asked if she is a "Dingo." No, but that would have been a sweet name.

Wait, wait, Gaurav just called and "Kayak inadvertantly played with Sonar for 3 seconds." Now that is progress!