it's a fuzzy fuzzy world…

posts from the heartland, about dogs, cats, fire departments, and gaming

Nick, Debbie and Pete

Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Foster-dog Trevor learns about life

Tomorrow marks the end of Trevor’s second week here at Reddog Central, and he’s come a long way in a very short time! Big improvements in housebreaking, crate training, knowing his name and the meaning of “No!” and, best of all, being able to play outside with both of my dogs! He’s been on doxycycline for eight days now, so three weeks more ’til he can start his heartworm treatment.

Trevor enjoys the run of the yard

Except for the very first day, he hasn’t tried to mark in the house, but he was tethered to me for all of the first week, so he had very little opportunity. I’ve now received Belly Bands that fit him, so he can have more freedom without me having to worry about the furniture, but I’m not sure they were necessary. He seems to have quickly realized that marking is Not Allowed in the house. He’s had no accidents in his crate after the first couple of days, either, which makes me very happy.

[lj-cut text=”This week’s milestones…”]If he knew his name was Ponzi at the shelter, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been confused by the name change. He didn’t respond much to his name (or any words) for the first few days, seeming to hear everything I said as Charlie Brown’s Teacher-style gibberish… “Wah wah, wah wah, wah wah wah.” “Outside” and “inside” were the first things he started to reliably respond to, and I suspect that something-side just means “go through the nearest door” to him at this point. It works, so I’ll take it. He’s pretending that “kennel up” isn’t in his vocabulary yet, but “Do you want dinner? Kennel up!” pretty reliably gets a response (though he’ll come right back out if his food bowl doesn’t appear immediately). He’s responding to “Good boy!” now, which certainly makes the rest of the training easier. Now we just need to work on leash manners, which should be easier since the snow is gone (again), making the street safe for walking.

Best of all, though, this morning was his first opportunity to interact with Drummer with them both loose out in the yard. The background here is that Drummer is an intact male and fully convinced that he is the alpha critter at my house. Trevor is intact and won’t be neutered until after he goes through heartworm treatment, and he outweighs Drummer by about 10 pounds. Trevor has shown all the signs of being happy to not be alpha, but I like to take my time and manage the introduction carefully, so I let them get used to each other for the first two weeks without actually being loose together, and I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to make that all-important first real introduction.

Today, I was home from work for the morning dealing with the remnants of water in my basement after Sunday night’s epic rain-and-thaw cycle. It was a lovely day out… sunny, cold enough that the ground was frozen again instead of soggy, and it was a weekday, which meant that if there was an altercation, I wouldn’t be paying emergency vet prices if somebody needed stitches. So I let Thunder and Trevor out first, and they started their normal morning circuit of marking every tree, shrub and fencepost, then I went back in and got Drummer and his Flying Squirrel, draped a couple of my favorite slip leads around my neck Just In Case, and out we went into the sunshine.

Thunder and Trevor were down in the far end of the yard, still making the rounds, and Drummer was totally focused on the Flying Squirrel. I saw him notice that Trevor was outside, but the desire to investigate the new guy was far outweighed by the excitement of waiting for me to “Throw it, Mom! Nownownow… what are you _waiting_ for?!?!?” and we got in several good returns before the other boys came up to investigate. I kept the game going, and watched as Trevor started following along, chasing Drummer as he chased the toy. So far, so good!

Then I made the crucial mistake. One bad toss put Drummer’s favorite toy right at Trevor’s feet. Oops. Trevor reached for the Flying Squirrel. Drummer came zooming up and barreled right into him while making a tunnel-visioned grab for the toy. They looked at each other from opposite sides of 10 inches of orange and blue toy. There was very brief (and very normal!) snark that signified “Hey, new guy, that’s mine!” and it was over. Trevor happily backed off, ceding possession to the fuzzy redhead. And that was it. All my worry about how their first meeting would go and there was just a growl, an acquiescence, and then they continued to play. That couldn’t have gone better!

The boys play in the yard for the first time

With no drama, they come running back to me.


Next steps… leash manners, “sit,” “wait” and taking treats gently (those last two are related… to each other and to my bruised finger).

And so it begins

The vet called with the results of Trevor’s last test today. No intestinal parasites! Yippee! I knew the shelter had wormed him, but the wormer they use doesn’t kill whipworms, and finding out whether he was clear of those was the last barrier to him being able to have unsupervised play time in the yard with my guys.

[lj-cut text=”A tale of meds, and dogfood, and testosterone…”]I stopped by WalMart (ugh) after work to get Trevor’s doxycycline prescription filled. 60 100mg doxycycline is listed as the 90-day dose on WalMart’s “30 days for $4 or 90 days for $10” plan, and since the rescue is going to invest a substantial amount of money in this boy, I thought I’d save them a little money and pick the antibiotics up at WalMart instead of paying $25+ for the same thing at the vet. The whole experience pretty much reminded me why I don’t shop at WalMart… the “sales associate” who put the order in the system quoted me a price of $97 and then insisted that “that’s what the computer says and we don’t question it.” Thankfully, I had read WalMart’s PDF of covered drugs on their web site and I’m more stubborn than the chick at the counter was, so she kept saying that was the only price and I kept asking if that meant that WalMart didn’t actually honor their published pricing information on 90-day prescriptions. She insisted that they didn’t have a copy of the list. I offered to pull it up on my phone. She said she couldn’t do anything other than charge the price in the computer. I pointed out that the only reason I’d come in at all was because they published a program price of $10 for 60 100mg doxycycline. She finally realized I wasn’t going to just give up and go away, and she flagged down a “pharmacy technician” who said (lo and behold) that “maybe we should check the list,” at which point she pulled out a printed copy of the very same PDF I’d been quoting. Gee, I guess they did have a copy of the list!

Apparently the big scary difference was that my scrip was written just for “doxycycline” and their program specifies “doxycycline hyclate.” The tech was still going to insist that I needed the $90+ dollar version, but I insisted on knowing what the difference was, so they finally (grudgingly) flagged down an actual pharmacist (go figure!), who said that substituting hyclate for monohydrate wasn’t a problem and yes, it should be $10 for 60 pills.

Sheesh. It was only going to be about $25 from the vet, so by this point I was wondering if the trip to WalMart had even been worth the time and aggravation. They took my phone number and said they’d page me when it was ready… probably 35 minutes or so… and I took that opportunity to duck down the street to PetCo to look at dogfood. Food was my next dilemma for this boy. Awhile back, I posted about my quest for the perfect food for Drummer and Thunder, which led me to Evo Red Meat Large Bites. The Evo was fabulous, but they raised their prices twice and when a 28.6-lb bag reached almost $75, financial reality insisted that I find another option. I changed to Canidae ALS Grain-Free, and the boys have been doing well on it, but there are still weeks when I can hardly afford to feed me after I buy their food (there’s a rant about the economy coming, but I’ll save that for another day), so feeding a third dog Canidae wasn’t really an option. As much as I hate to feed a foster something “less” than what I’m feeding my boys, I had to go shopping for a food that wouldn’t break the bank and which also wouldn’t make me feel like a total hypocrite. Adding to the need for something different, Trevor needs more carbs and a more normal level of protein than the Canidae Grain Free (which is extremely high protein, which works for my Very Busy Boys), since he needs to put on weight fairly quickly (basically, I’ve got a month to put weight on him before he starts the immiticide treatment for the heartworms).

So… off I went to PetCo to see what my options were. After looking at pretty much everything they had (or at least everything that I hadn’t already ruled out), I finally walked out with a bag of Nutro Max. $35 for 35 lbs, and a $5 coupon knocked it down to $30. It’s a three-star food, compared to five stars for the Canidae or EVO, but it’s still substantially better than the grocery store crap (and probably also better than what the very underfunded shelter could afford to feed him when he was there). Trevor thinks it’s yummy, so I’m going to try not to kick myself over not feeding him “the good stuff” . As a friend pointed out, while it may not come up to my normal standards for dog food, it’s a far cry better than being dead, which was his next stop if we hadn’t gotten him out of the shelter.

After all of that, I went back to WalMart (which still hadn’t texted me to say the scrip was ready) and waited… and waited… and waited. Almost an hour after I’d dropped it off, my bottle of doxy was ready and I paid my $10 and headed home, where I was greeted by very happy dogs who were very ready to get outside and play. Apparently the three-day weekend spoiled them. Yes, boys, it sucks that mommy has to work, but that’s how she pays for the dogfood!

While they were out romping about, I got their dinners and meds ready. I normally take my guys off heartworm preventative in the winter, putting them back on in the spring when the mosquitoes come out. Since I have an infected dog in the house this year, I’m not taking any chances, so I went ahead and got Interceptor for Drummer and Thunder while I had Trevor at the vet last week. Since Trevor turned out not to have microfilaria (baby heartworms) in his blood, and since those are what infects mosquitoes who would then transfer it to other dogs, I probably would have been safe waiting ’til my normal time (usually mid-May) to start HW meds for my guys, but it’s just not worth the risk. A couple of extra months on prevention is imminently cheaper than treatment if one of them did get infected! Tonight, for ease of tracking, I started all three dogs on their heartworm meds… Drummer and Thunder on Interceptor and Trevor on Heartguard… and started Trevor on his doxycycline. The doxy’s in capsules, so it will be easy to just open them and dump them on his food twice a day, so I don’t have to convince him to swallow pills. Everybody gulped their HW meds down like treats, and then Trevor got some Canidae as a treat and Drummer and Thunder got a few bites of the Nutro Max (it wasn’t their “normal” food, so as far as they were concerned, it was a treat!).[/lj-cut]

So now I spend the next 30 days giving Trevor his antibiotics and trying to put some weight on him. Also, continuing to introduce him and Drummer. I tried yesterday… Trevor and Thunder were out in the backyard, and I took Drummer out on lead. They started off just sniffing, but then there was some generalized grumbling from both of them, so I wasn’t willing to turn them loose together quite yet. Boys. I swear. You could cut the testosterone with a knife.

It’s going to be an interesting few months, I can tell!

Meet Trevor (formerly Ponzi)…

The new foster dog is settling in nicely, and I think he’s a Trevor. It came down to Trevor and Sparky in the end. He could be a Sparky… I think he’s got the personality for it… but I think Trevor works better for him learning things, since it’s vaguely close enough to the sound of Drummer and Thunder that calling any of the names in the backyard tends to get the whole pack moving (which is usually what I want if I’m calling them in from the yard, for instance). So he’s getting used to “The nice lady yells something that ends in “-er” and we all run back to the house.” Hey, it’s a start… I’ll take my training babysteps wherever I can get ’em.

[lj-cut text=”Yesterday was busy”]Yesterday started with getting up early and hustling the boys through their morning romp, since I had a 9 a.m. class at the zoo (the first in the process of becoming a Naturalist Interpreter… basically, one of those volunteers who stands around and answers questions about the animals). I haven’t let Trevor and Drummer out together yet (boys will be boys, and I want them to be a bit more used to each other before I start that), so I took Trevor out on leash in the front yard while Drummer and Thunder went out to play out back. Picked up a stool sample to take to the vet for worm testing (the other reason he’s not allowed out in the back with the other boys yet) and hustled everybody back inside while I got ready to go to the zoo.

On the way home from class, I managed a major grocery run, because there was nothing in the house for me to eat, then got home just in time to pick up Drummer and head back to town, since he was due for his rabies shot (how we missed that when we looked to see if he was coming due for anything when I had him at the vet before Christmas, I’ll never know). He’s pretty much maintaining his weight at about 33 pounds, no matter what I feed him, so I think I’m going to give up on trying to add weight. He looks a little thin to me, but the vet isn’t worried, his energy level is great and his coat looks wonderful, so I’m going to stop obsessing. He got treats and got loved on by the vet techs, who all think he’s adorable, and I had a brief chat with the vet in the hallway (she was dealing with an emergency, so I didn’t slow her down) and got the next steps for Trevor.

We had added an additional test to Trevor’s blood work after he turned up HW+, and the results of that were back… microfilaria test was negative, so no baby heartworms in his blood, which is a good thing. Now he gets 30 days of doxycycline and started on Heartguard. The doxy will kill a parasite (Wolbachia) that lives symbiotically in the heartworms, and according to DogAware, killing the Wolbachia “weakens the heartworms and makes them unable to reproduce, lessens their adverse effects on the body and greatly reduces the chance of adverse reaction during heartworm treatment.” So I have a scrip for doxy to get filled at WalMart, where it should be on their $10/90-day plan, which is $15 cheaper than getting it from the vet. (The estimate for treatment is approx. $450, and Above and Beyond has approved going ahead. I’ll link to Trevor’s sponsor page on A&B’s site as soon as I get a writeup and pictures to them and they get it posted… they’ll be looking for donors to help offset the costs, since the combination of heartworm treatment and neutering will cost substantially more than they’ll get back in the eventual adoption fee. A&B is a great group… I’ve fostered and transported for them for years, and they really stand behind their dogs and their foster families.)

After the vet visit, we stopped by Purrs and Gurrs to pick up some treats, and to get Drummer’s nails dremelled… he’ll let me do them, but he’s much less squirmy for them, so it’s worth the money when we’re in the neighborhood. I picked up one of their filled peanut butter bone cookies to split between the boys… Tuesday was Drummer’s birthday, this upcoming Tuesday is Thunder’s birthday, and Trevor got sprung from the shelter, so I figure that deserves a bit of celebration. :-)[/lj-cut]

Finally back home, poor Trevor was going a little stir crazy with nothing but leash walks, so I decided he could have some supervised time out in the yard with Thunder. The two of them played like puppies… it was so cute! Lots of play bowing and bouncing around. Trevor definitely has a good repertoire of doggy body language, and he doesn’t really show any effort to be alpha, so that bodes well for him and Drummer getting along (I may do that introduction this afternoon).

[lj-cut text=”Pictures and a Movie”]I don’t have any good pictures yet with the big camera, but I got a few with the phone. Thunder is the one with all the black markings and Trevor is the lighter of the two.


The shrieking you may hear in the background of the video is Drummer, who had to stay inside and miss all the fun. He was not a happy boy!

New foster dog…

Short update until I have time to post more. I have a new foster dog (who currently needs a name). He’s an English Setter, very sweet, picked up as a stray in New Castle, IN, a few weeks ago. I picked him up from the shelter yesterday and ran him by Caring Hands for bloodwork to (a) check his heartworm status and (b) pull pre-op bloodwork in hopes that heartworm would be negative and I could schedule him to be neutered ASAP.

Unfortunately, my vet called me this morning to let me know the heartworm test was positive, so I guess he’ll be with me for awhile while he goes through treatment. 🙁

More when I know it. Working with my vet and the rescue to formulate the plan for going forward.

perfect weight (for the dogs…)

Tuesday was annual check-up day for Drummer and Thunder, so I bundled them both into the Trooper and we headed off to Caring Hands to see Dr. Roach. I’ve been considering changing vets and finding one closer to the new house, but I really like Dr. Roach, so we made the trek.

Thunder’s been fighting an ear infection, but he’s in perfect health other than that. When I got him, he was fat and had skin problems. Now his skin and coat look great, and he’s lost 20 pounds (down 30 from his high weight according to his records from his previous vet). At 64 pounds, he’s a little on the ribby side, but Dr. Roach said he’s perfect and she loved his muscle tone. He got his three-year rabies shot and had blood drawn for titers, and I’ve got antibiotics and an ointment for his ears.

Drummer weighed in at 34 pounds and Dr. Roach thought he looked fabulous too. Yay for playing frisbee in the hilly backyard… it’s apparently kept both boys in really good shape. 🙂 The techs had trouble finding a vein, so poor Drummy was more than a little stressed by the time they finally got his blood draw done. He’s got another year on his rabies shot, so he didn’t have to have any shots, at least.

Both boys were really good in the exam room. I wasn’t sure how it would go, having both of them in there together with nothing to do other than play with each other (and me), but they managed not to totally bounce off the walls. They were remarkably calm after the blood draws… I think the subtext there was “If we’re really really good, will you keep the vampire ladies away from us??”

Mr. Murphy has a home!

Mr. Murphy, originally my sister’s foster dog but who became a joint project when she moved back east and he stayed in Indiana with me, finally found his furever family and went home this weekend.

He’d been taking his time about the whole process, having had meet-and-greets with a couple of other families before this one, but we were really hoping for that sometimes-elusive “perfect match”… the one where the humans fall head-over-heels in love with the dog, and where the foster mom (or moms, in this case) thinks “Oooh… I like them… I like them a lot!”

[lj-cut text=”details and pictures back here!”]We’d met other people who I liked a lot (and who will make outstanding adopters when they find their perfect Shiba!), but this was the first time we’d hit the magic combination of excellent approved adopters who also just absolutely fell in love with Murphy.

We got together for the first time last weekend, and I opted to do things a little differently this time. Previous meet-and-greets had been at a dog park in West Lafayette, which was a great meeting place but which put Murphy on unfamiliar turf and provided a lot of distractions. This time, to give him the best opportunity to make a good impression, and to have the best controlled environment for him meeting the potential family’s current Shiba, we met at my house.

Granted, that’s not always an available option (due to needing to meet people partway if they’re travelling, etc.) but I really think it worked in Murphy’s favor this time (it helped that the potential adopters were local, so I wasn’t having to meet them part-way). He and Lola (their year-old female Shiba) hit it off immediately and had a grand time playing, first in the house and then out in the yard. I put the big boys in their crates for the duration since they can be a little, well, overwhelming when there are newcomers.

The initial meeting went really well and they spent about an hour hanging out and getting to know Murphy. By the end of the visit, he was making overtures to both of them (after a bit of typical Shiba wariness of the strangers) and I was convinced that I could be happy sending our boy to live with them. (If you haven’t fostered and you’re consider doing so, make sure you’re working with a rescue who gives the foster a lot of input into the final decision… at that point, you’ll know the dog better than anybody else in the rescue!)

Wednesday was their home visit, and they were so excited about Murphy that I think they’d’ve picked him up on Thursday if we could have materialized all the necessary paperwork that quickly! Instead, we settled on Friday after work, so I could get paperwork printed up and get all Murphy’s stuff together, and so I’d have one last night to get myself ready to let him leave. (Naturally, the little rat chose that night to hop up on the bed and sleep with his head on my ankles… he’d never slept with me before, and I’m convinced that he knew something was up!)

Then it was Friday, and it was time for me to get ready to let the little guy go. I picked up a bag of the Evo Red Meat that he’s been eating, and gathered up his favorite toys, then we headed out into the yard for a few last pictures.

lying in the grass

lying in the grass

Murphy in the sun

Murphy in the sun

Murphy... all grown up

Murphy... all grown up

He was content to just hang out, and didn’t seem too interested in romping with the big boys, so we headed back in the house to wait for Allie and Richard.

smiling dog

smiling dog

And then they were here! Murphy couldn’t decide whether to bark at the front door or to run back into the living room and look out the window. I caught him and let them in the house and after a few minutes of visiting, we settled in to do all the adoption paperwork. With the formalities out of the way, we got him “dressed” in his new finery… a red IU harness and a blue collar and Colts leash, and then I got a few pictures of the happy family.

Murphy and new family

Murphy and new family

Murphy and Richard

Murphy and Richard

Murphy relaxing

Murphy relaxing

Getting ready to leave

Awww... they look so happy together!

Murphy takes his leave

Murphy takes his leave

G'bye, Mr. Murphy!

G'bye, Mr. Murphy!

As much as I miss the little guy, I’m thrilled that he finally has the perfect family of his own. He’s got a Shiba playmate who’s just a few months younger than him, and people who love him and want the best for him. He’s settling in nicely and looks happy and relaxed in the pictures from his first night in his new home.