The Tanser Bear Birthday Bash!

It’s almost Tansy’s birthday. The beast turns 5 on Tuesday. Can you believe it? I can’t, and I know it to be a fact. Since I have missed all the other anniversaries this year, it’s time to have a giant Shmans chatter fest. Goddamnit, her life needs to be documented too, even if it has to come in giant inundations.

Poor Shmans has been dealing with my go-rounds with the captain, and I think they have left their mark. For one thing, for a while, she was not a fan of scooching into bathroom stalls. It was almost like she was afraid of the door. I can only theorize that in my haste to get the hell in there, get her in there, lock the door and get to business, I must have unintentionally had a few close calls where I almost got her stuck in the door. She’s good stuff, and still goes in there, but I had to be a little more conscious of where all our limbs and parts are when closing the door. The funny part about this is she doesn’t make nearly as much of a fuss about getting into cars, and she has good reason to fight that one. Strange beasty.

We have two more songs to add to the Tans goes nuts soundtrack. When she retires, I may have to make a CD of her favourite songs. We might have enough by then. Now it’s S.O.B.

and Unchained Melody.

I’m less sure about Unchained Melody, but I know S.O.B. does it consistently. I can’t figure out what makes a song good to her. I heard this song,

which to me sounds similar to S.O.B., but Shmans couldn’t care less.

This year has been quite the year of odd veterinary issues for the bear. You’d never know it, but she’s been making us scratch our heads for quite some time. For example, suddenly, in the winter, she lost a patch of hair on one of her back paws. My coworkers blamed it on the boots I put on those feet, but I would think she would have lost it on both paws if that was the case. The vets didn’t think so, but as a precaution, I used only Pawz on her for the rest of the winter. We have no idea why it disappeared, but it appears to be back.

Then, one day, I noticed her cyst that felt hard suddenly felt soft and fleshy. It reminded me of a zit that was ready to pop. I guess I was right, because the next day, while I was at work, it burst, and random ooze was coming out of it. Um, sorry for the graphic description.

Without thinking, I called the vet and told them what was up. Of course, their first question was “what colour is it?” A fine, sensible question…that I couldn’t answer. The first words out of my mouth were “I don’t think it’s blood…I sniffed the ooze and it didn’t smell like blood.” Wow, disgusting much?

There’s nothing like walking into a casual meeting and selecting a colleague that might be ok with answering a question as nasty as “Excuse me, what colour is this ooze coming out of my dog?” But that’s exactly what I did. Thankfully the answer was a good one, “yellowish whitish.” Ah, pus! I had it checked out in a couple days, but all was good.

But the weirdest issue we had was one that appeared a smidge before her cyst burst. One day, without provocation, she took off across the office like an out of control freight train. Shocked, I got her leashed up and I sat down to work. Not 5 minutes later, “Yee yee yee!” Realizing she might have to go fertilize the snowy lawn, we made for the exit…and when I say we made for the exit, I mean I think we nearly mowed down 8 people to get there. Sorry, folks. When we got out there, good lord the…output was no good, and not easy to pick up.

This didn’t stop, so I took her to the vet. They first gave her some antibiotics and treated it as a one-off, but as soon as the antibiotics wore off, we were back to the nasty poops again. We eventually figured out, after trying all sorts of antibiotics and probiotics, and running a whole, heh heh, butt-load of tests, that she had become allergic to lamb. Now that she’s switched to salmon, after a little delay while everything wore off, things are back to normal. I’m glad we didn’t have to resort to a prescription food.

It is here that I’d like to call myself a dumbass. Remember when I mentioned those treats that didn’t agree with her? Remember when I said I would scan bags of treats before putting them in the pouch in case they didn’t agree? Well I didn’t follow my own advice, and guess what? Treats from the latest bag I gave her set off anger within her. But because I was stupid and didn’t scan them, I’ll never know what was in them so I can figure it out. But I gave her those treats at the worst time…2 weeks after the last antibiotics were given. So I thought we were headed for another round of detective work in doggie doodoo land. But thankfully, after not feeding her any treats, miraculously, everything went back to normal.

To her credit, she had not a single accident. That could not have been easy for her. Tans, you rock.

Another small oddity I noticed since about April is her face is itchier. Before April, if she has to wear her gentle leader, when I take it off, she rubs her face. Now, she doesn’t even have to wear it for her to start grinding her face on things.

I’m happy that through all of this, she still has no grey hair. Trix had some grey at 3 years old. I haven’t heard one comment about Tans having any grey. I hope that means that the beast will stay young-looking even when she’s old. I’ll never know if Trix’s early greys had to do with stress, but it makes me wonder sometimes.

She’s had enough changes to make some hair turn grey. Between the constantly-changing bus stops due to construction, needing to change entrances because of rennovations around the building, and my desk changing locations, her little brain keeps getting work. The desk location change made some of my hair turn grey, that’s for sure. But before I mastered it, she had it figured out. This became clear one night when I went to get her food. In my old spot, I didn’t have to go far to the water cooler to put water on her food and then come back, so I’d just leave her on her mat. But I couldn’t do that here. Well, once we got the food all ready, Tans took a shortcut I didn’t understand…and, hey! We were back at my desk! That’s when I knew that she had it figured out. From time to time, colleagues said she looked frustrated when I didn’t know where to go and she did. Somebody described the look on her face as, “What in god’s name does this woman want?”

Why does this always happen to me? When we lived in Guelph, they replaced our telephone shower head, you know, convenient for bathing dogs, with a straight shower head. That made me have to find a groomer. I was lucky enough to find a place where I could bathe her myself for a reduced rate. When we moved here, we noticed we had a telephone shower, yea! Then, when our tub broke and they replaced the shower head, what did they do? Stuck a standard shower head in. We’re going to have to see if we can change it back, but in the event that we can’t, I am looking for options.

I never want to have to leave her at the groomers for hours, for so, so many reasons. There’s the obvious, my schedule isn’t full of flexibility…and I don’t relish walking around with my cane for hours just so the groomer can go “la-dee-da, taking my time grooming your dog.” But there are other less obvious ones. I’m pretty protective of her, since she’s more than just a pet…so leaving her in some rando’s care doesn’t really thrill me.

Tans got to do something Trix never did. We went to a Blue Jays game. Here’s a tip: If you’re going to take your guide dog to a Blue Jays game, make sure you request an accessible seat. Things are much more roomy, the chairs are movable, and the food folks actually ask you what you want, so you have a shot of getting some food during the game. Tans seemed to be relaxed, although I noticed her head swivelling around a lot.

I feel bad. Ever since the captain, I’ve been less good about taking Tans to the park. I’m going to try to do better this year. She deserves all the sniffy time we can give her.

Here’s another small brag I feel like documenting. One day when I thought our one relieving spot had melted enough to use, I discovered too late that I was wrong. There I was, teetering on a steep slope of ice. If I fell, I would land in the parking lot, and it was dark and I might not be seen. Tans let me edge forward, and dig my heels into the slushier bits of ice to give myself a bit of security. Then, and only then, did she jump off the curb and bring me with her. How she knew to do that, I’ll never know, but man was I proud of her.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned Lucky by name, but he was one of the dogs in this building. He would always walk next to Tans, never bug her, but definitely express that he was a fan of hers. I learned that he was 17, and wondered how long he would have. Well, before he made it to 18, he passed away. I never thought I’d miss some random fellow dog in the building, but I was sad to hear that he was gone.

I do have to say that most of the dog-owners in this building keep good control of their dogs. Man, does that make life better for us. I’ve had a few dogs growl and snarl at us, but no incidents like those in the Mylo days.

Before I wrap up this monster of a post, I have to mention a couple of Tans’s quirks. I have no idea why, but the act of doing laundry seems to stress Tans out. As soon as the cart comes out and gets filled with clothes, she starts chasing us around, being super excitable, and occasionally, leaping on one of us. I wonder, does it resemble packing in her little canine brain? Is it just that I’m zipping around more than usual, so she feels like she has to be vigilant? Whatever it is, it’s definitely a thing.

While we’re talking about her jumpiness, in the sense of being super alert, I’ve noticed that since we have a few loud neighbours and neighbours that just come by and knock on our door randomly, if one of us is not home, she’s a lot more keyed into noises outside the apartment door, and will run to the door at the slightest noise. It’s kind of cute…I just hope she’s not stressing out.

That’s about it for *this* post. I really hope you’re not bored. That was quite the Shmans deluge.

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