Updates On the Two Black Beasts

I have some time, so I figured I should write about the two black beasts I know so the post doesn’t grow into a monster.

Tansy went to the vet for her annual checkup a month or so ago, and they said she looked great. They did comment that she does have a tiny bit of grey under her eyes. Nobody else comments on it, so it must be pretty subtle. Yes, Shmans does age. This is a big difference from Trix, who looked noticeably grey when she was only 3. Tans is 6, almost 6 and a half. This is good.

You can tell that Tans is ever so slightly settling down. She’s still nuts, but she calms down faster and tires out easier. Even the vet noticed that she was a smidge calmer. I didn’t think that was possible.

I also noticed that she’s not quite fearless. If we’re out on the balcony and the wind picks up in a certain way, she becomes insistant that we get our butts inside. You know what? As much as we’re probably safe out there, she has a point.

But I think she’s having a bit of a midlife crisis, or going through a late rebellious phase right now. Like I said before, she sometimes forgets the rule that she should stay in bed until I get up. She only does this if Steve is on the couch. I try to remember to tie her down if it looks like he’s going to stay on the couch. I tried only doing it for a short time, but as soon as I didn’t tie her down, she still got up and exuberantly greeted him at 3 in the morning when he was trying to sleep.

And just this morning, even though she knows the kitchen is out of bounds, she trotted in there like she owned the place. When Steve busted her, boy did she run back to bed and stay there.

Our buddy J was down for a visit. It was nice having him around. It felt like he had always been here. It was nice to think back on old memories. But I think Tansy loved having him around even more than we did! I swear, she would have gone home with him without a second thought! It was something else to behold, especially since they met once before without Tansy showing him all this affection. But this time, all she wanted to do was snuggle up to him, play with him, act like a total wackjob around him. It was a little spooky, since he said he was thinking about getting a guide dog, and it was like Tansy had decided she was the salesdog for GDB, trying to make it as appealing as possible.

Shmans is definitely quirky. Someone who sits near me started bringing their dog in. The dog seems perfectly good, and the person keeps the dog on a leash. It is interested in Tans, but it’s a dog, of course it is. But it behaves itself. Tans, on the other hand, started acting weird. Without provocation, she would get up from her bed and run to me. I would say hello and send her back to bed, and she would go back there, but this would keep happening. Then one day, Tans was playing with a couple managers that work nearby, they came over to see us. She got really excited, sprinted over to the other dog, played with it for a minute, and then came back. Now that I think about it, after she did that, she hasn’t been running to me every so often. Was she asking permission to go say hi to the dog, and that’s all she wanted?

She did something else weird, and slightly disturbing, at work. The fire alarm went off one day. Instead of just coming to me so I could leash and harness her up, she ran to some colleagues across the way. Um, chief? This is one of those times when I need you in a hurry!

I know I talked about Tansy barking at the door when she wanted to come back in when we were at the raisers place. Apparently, she will do it anywhere when she wants to get back in. When we were visiting Brad a few weeks ago, we went inside while the dogs were playing outside since Brad’s yard is all fenced. All of a sudden, we hear this squeaky yelpy bark at the door. There’s Tans, wanting to be back inside. Very very interesting. At least she doesn’t scratch the door or do other obnoxious things.

On the subject of Trix, she’s still doing well, but you can see that she’s 12 and a half. When we were there, Brad commented that it’s nice to see a dog making full use of the yard, since Trix just sort of sticks close.

Also, I saw how little Trix likes to chew bones. Shmans made short work of a chew that had been laying on the floor that Trix hadn’t touched in a long while, and found a bone that had just been laying out in the yard. We were sitting outside, and suddenly I heard “chew chew gnaw gnaw” and said “Um, what has Shmans found?” It was just a bone that Trix had left alone. That would not have been possible previously.

Trix has been nicknamed the bearded lady, since she has a definite white beard.

I could be crazy, but it seems like Trix feels the heat even more than she used to. After we came in from a walk, and had been in for a while, Trix was still going “puffa puffa puffa.” She would even do it if we hadn’t been out. I know it was hot that weekend, but woe.

But Tans still managed to annoy the heck out of Trix on our walk because she wanted to sniff every square inch of space, and Trix wanted to go go go! Brad says Trix likes to do that, but does not approve if she’s not the one calling the shots. Well well well.

It’s weird to see the dogs get up in the morning and not make a heap of noise. They just got up, I fed Tans, and put her outside to do her thing. Trix just sort of paced around and waited for Tans to get back in. I think she might have gotten fed. Then she went outside. Then they both came back in, puffed and snorted at each other and that was that. That would not have happened a few years ago. There would have been much chasing, wrestling, lion growling and roofing.

So here’s a scary factoid for the long-time readers. This coming Saturday, Trix will have been with Brad for 5 years. I had Trix for about 5 and a half. Wow. I’m so happy Trix has had a long, happy retirement.

I think that’s about it for now. I wish I had pictures, but I’m lame and didn’t even think of taking some when we had both dogs together and might have been able to convince someone to take them. Hopefully I’ll have more beast updates sooner rather than later.

Something For The Tans Fans

I’ve been very slow in writing about Tansy, which is a shame. She turned 6 back in May and I didn’t write a thing. So now that it’s been 3 months since my last deluge, have another one.

Finding the perfect amount of food for her has been a challenge. I switched to duck back in March or so when she had the UTI issue, and fed slightly more. Apparently it was too much because she packed on the hound pounds. But I only had to reduce it by a quarter of a cup before she dropped back to reasonable. But the weird thing is she’s been getting a lot of treats and is still maintaining her weight. Her metabolism baffles me.

A couple of months ago, I was kind of stressed out. Work was crazy, some stuff temporarily went splat with my benefits, I was getting ready to speak at a conference, life was a little crazy. I thought I wasn’t letting it affect Tansy, but she told me one day that I was wrong. One time I was walking a familiar route. I was basically on autopilot, thinking about life stuff and not travel stuff. Without warning, Tans came to a stop and looked up at me. It was like she was checking to see if she was doing ok because I probably wasn’t giving her feedback of any kind. I felt so bad. I got down on my knees and gave her a big hug and then all was well. But in our four years together, I have never seen Tans ask for reassurance. Sorry, bud. You’re doing just fine. It’s me.

I do notice that without realizing it, Tans and I have slowed down a lot, and I don’t know why. A friend got a new guide dog, and without any effort at all, she will leave us in her dust. I always considered Tans to be a fast walker, but she definitely slowed down since I was sick a while ago. But the encouraging part is she can move if we’re going to an interesting or new place, so I’m going to hope the slowness is just boredom. But how do I combat that boredom when we’re dealing with so much construction?

I saw Trixie again a couple of weeks ago. She’s still enjoying life, but she’s definitely slowing down. Tansy doesn’t even try to bug her into playing with her. She just sort of plays on her own nearby. Hmmm. Could that be a sign of Shmans maturing and knowing that not all dogs want to play? Woe! I never thought I would see that day!

I’ve talked before about Tans feeling the need to rescue Steve if he hides his face under a blanket. I don’t know why, but once, after she did her routine of freeing him from the blanket, she was still going nuts, and it looked like she was actually stressed out. She just kept doing circles of the room, growling at some imaginary thing and still trying to free Steve from a blanket that wasn’t there. We had to actually sit her down and convince her that all was fine.

Also, for some reason, when Steve imitates her by making snorting noises and flopping around on the floor, she goes crazy. I try to do the same, but it doesn’t have the same effect. Does she think Steve is making fun of her? Or is she so happy to play with someone who speaks her language?

So apparently Revolution is losing its effectiveness. It doesn’t totally suck, but the vets are starting to say we should move to something else. So they convinced me to put Tansy on something called Bravecto for the flea and tick bit, and something called Interceptor for the heartworm part. Both things are pills, so no more need to slather my dog with a tube of nasty goop once a month, which I’m sure makes both of us happy. But now I have to remember wacky schedules of pill-giving. The Bravecto is only every three months, and since I started it at the end of a month, it’s on a different day than the Interceptor. So far, I haven’t caused Tansy to miss a dose, although I managed to convince myself I might have, and had to check. Holy crap, both Bravecto and Interceptor are huge! I’m glad she just gobbles them down. I’m also relieved that they haven’t given her any nasty side-effects. I heard about Bravecto last year, but I heard the biggest side-effect was GI upset, and at the time, we were dealing with enough of that already! Thankfully, she’s had 2 of the 3 doses, and nothing nasty has occurred so far.

I’ve talked about Tansy being convinced that my blood pressure cuff was a magical treat dispenser, and bumping the heck out of me while I’m trying to use it. Now, she seems to have given up on jostling the thing when I take it out. Instead, she just lies down next to me. It’s as if she wants to have a calming effect on my blood pressure…or maybe she’s just hoping to be very close by if a treat does happen to fall out of that Velcro thing and she’s proven right.

This year, the client conference for the company was in Las Vegas. Whenever I would say that, everyone would cheer and go “Wow! That’s awesome!” I’m glad I experienced Las Vegas, but I don’t think it was my, or Tansy’s, idea of fun. I had heard that it was crazy and there was a lot of noise and commotion, but I was not prepared for it.

As soon as I walked into the lobby of the Bellagio, I was overwhelmed by the noise. I was always in a perpetual crowd near a fountain and a couple other sources of loud music. It was impossible to get a clue about navigation. Thank god for amazing coworkers. If not for them, I would have been totally screwed.

I also didn’t like the smell that greeted me. When I walked in, Foursquare said “Welcome to paradise!” and I thought “Paradise smells like a busy public bathroom?” I couldn’t figure out why I thought it smelled like a bathroom until I realized what I smelled was what reminded me of really strong bathroom air-freshener, which they needed to use to cover up everyone’s smoking, which they felt the need to do every friggin where.

I felt like I was at an NFB convention, because the pedestrians with which I shared the halls didn’t watch where they were going! People would just stop without warning to stare at this or that, or cut in front of us. On top of that, parents would let their kids dive out in front of Tansy without consequence, and hands would come out of the sea of humanity to sneak pets. Apparently people were taking pictures of us like we were part of the scenery. Tansy was constantly having to watch for people who obviously weren’t watching. She was completely exhausted by the end, so much so that when I was seated somewhere, I barely had to touch the leash because she was out cold at my feet.

And the sidewalks, oh the sidewalks! I knew Vegas was hot, and I even brought Mushers Secret to put on Tansy’s paws to help, but without thinking, I didn’t apply some before leaving for the airport so she would be protected as soon as we arrived in Vegas. We did fine until we hit a few feet of sidewalk that were being completely bathed in the sun. Poor Tansy started dancing from the heat. For the rest of the time, I applied the wax, and we were mostly in the hotel so it was ok. That was some crazy heat!

I do have to say that Tansy doesn’t like many of those indoor relieving areas at airports, the ones inside security, but she was fine with the one in Vegas. Thank goodness she was, since the outdoor relieving area was under construction.

I think those are the major updates that I can think of. I have no idea where the time is going, but Tansy just keeps on trucking.

It’s Tans And Trix Talk Time!

I am so overdue on doggy talk, and we just marched through that time of the year where there is a cluster of dog anniversaries for both Trix and Tans, so it’s a good time to talk about both beasts.

Well, I guess I can officially stop worrying about Tans pulling a LaniJo. She has been with me 4 years, and still seems to be going strong. Sometimes she looks a little sleepier than usual, but for the most part, she seems ready to go. I’m happy it’s spring, because I can take her to the park again.

Tans continues to be pretty healthy for the most part, but she did develop a UTI back in January. It was the weirdest thing. At first, she kept asking to pee and pee and pee, and sometimes when we were out there, she would act like she had to do the other, but it ended up being pee. She would actually whine like she does when she gets diarrhea, but it was pee. She must have been in a lot of pain.

When I took her to the vet, they said she definitely had a UTI and got her on antibiotics. But they scared the heck out of me because they said they wanted to check for bladder stones. Um, ouch. Thankfully, when they did, they didn’t find any, and so far, she’s been fine. Phew.

The weird part was they automatically wanted to put her on a prescription diet for treating bladder stones, or preventing them, or something. I wasn’t too sure about it, the calories were so much lower that I would have had to feed her a ton of it, it didn’t seem to have any meat in it if the label was read to me correctly, and the school wasn’t too sure about it either. So I switched her from salmon to duck because the guy at the pet store said that he might have heard something about a correlation between fish-based foods and bladder stones, and I’ve added a supplement with cranberry and vitamin C in it that’s supposed to keep things nice and clean, and so far, we haven’t had any more problems. But maybe I wouldn’t have had any more problems anyway. Who knows? Poor Tansy, I hope she didn’t suffer too long before making it clear there was a problem.

On the updates front, I have started bringing a toy when she has to ride in the hatch, to help her with her fear of it, and I think it might be working. I can hope so. I also noticed that if I call her actual name when I want her to come, and I don’t use a nickname, that seems to work, although it’s not perfect. I also asked about the issue of her wanting treats all the time, and I’m trying to use their suggestion. They said that although it feels counterintuitive, cut back on the praise, because she has associated praise with the hope of a treat, and only give her praise at spots where you were stopping anyway. It’s not perfect, but I’m trying.

God Tans will turn into a complete nutbar when she sees Brad, especially if we’re at the relative’s house with the other dog that we sometimes let play with Tans. The whining, the lunging, the complete disregard for anything orderly is a sight to behold. At least, usually, after she’s played with the other dog, she looks more respectable. She goes nuts over our buddy Anton, but not in the same way. I’d love to know what makes her decide a given person gets her seal of approval. It’s not always that they have a dog of their own.

She definitely has some quirks. If Steve is playing with her, and covers his head with the blanket, she goes absolutely insane. I’m not sure if she feels she has to rescue him or what, but she starts burrowing her head under the blanket, snorting, trying to throw it off or bite at it, and then running around the room.

And every now and then, she decides to test the whole idea of staying in her bed until I get up. It really sucks if poor Steve has decided to sleep on the couch, and she decides to run through the house at 3 or so in the morning. Sometimes I know why she does this, like the times there was a truck beeping outside the window that sort of sounded like the same rhythm as my alarm clock, but sometimes I have no idea what gets in her head. Anyway, when she starts up with this, she winds up spending a few bedtimes on tiedown to hopefully drive the point home that that’s supposed to be where she stays while I’m sleeping.

Sometimes, she definitely knows where things are more than I do, and she doesn’t mind telling me so. When I go out of the office, there is a pizza place a few doors down. Every now and then, I think we’ve already gone past it, and so I turn her around. She responds by digging in her heels. When I turn her back around, she will sprint even faster to the pizza place. Ok, ok, you win.

I never thought I would see a dog do this, so I feel like I have to mention it. In either February or March, we were going through periods of warm weather, followed by nasty ice and snow. One day, after we’d had some warm weather, I thought we wouldn’t need the boots. Tans was picking her way down the sidewalk so slowly that I actually turned her around and put her boots on. She never limped, she just moved super slowly. After I got her boots on, she moved normally. I think she actually asked for her boots! Wow!

For all her excitement and exuberance, she is super patient with my 2-year-old nephew. That kid loves Tansy, but he hasn’t figured out she has feelings. He will try to sit on her, scream into her fur, drive a little toy over her back, all of which we discourage. But the latest thing amazed me. He thought he could lift her. Of course he couldn’t, but that didn’t mean he didn’t try. There he was, both hands under her butt, trying and trying and trying. She just lay there and let him. My grandma saw her patience with him at Christmas and couldn’t believe it.

Now for the Trixie news. As of two weeks ago today, she is 12. Just try to digest that for a while. Trix…is…12. I brought her home 10 years ago April 15. She’s 12. Wow. We’re getting into that territory where we have no idea what may be on the horizon. She seems mostly fine right now, but you just never know.

You know how I said she couldn’t care less about toys? Now, she’s getting picky about treats! I used to think as long as she could demolish it, it was fair game. But now, that’s not even a safe bet. I didn’t even know what to get her for her birthday this year!

She has more old lady lumps, but they all seem to be the benign type. It’s weird seeing her now. Also, her cataracts are pretty noticeable to people. But it sounds like she still copes pretty well. The scariest old dog thing she has is she’s starting to drag her back end a wee bit. She can still move super fast, but after she’s been still for a while, she needs help up the stairs, and apparently her back toenails look more worn down, which makes us think she’s shuffling her back feet more. But so far, that’s not getting in her way.

You can definitely tell she hasn’t been working for a while. At Christmas, when we had everybody over, including the baby nephew, I thought it would be a good idea to contain both dogs when it was time to eat. I got Tans in the crate, and then took Trix back to Tans’s comfy bed and the tiedown. As soon as I picked up the tiedown to attach to her collar, she got super resistant. She would not lie down, she would only sit. I think she spent the whole time she was contained sitting and staring back at us. To her credit, she didn’t try to follow Shmans’s exampleand rip that tiedown out too. But she was not settling on that tiedown. I could just stuff that idea. Ah, how things change. The tiedown used to be her happy place when the thunderworks were afoot.

I think that’s all for now. But this is a message to both dogs. Please, please, don’t age anymore. Things are good right here.

Dog Poop Will Turn Your Roomba Into A Ruindba!

There’s a story going around Facebook that reminds me of something that happened to us when we had Trix that I somehow never put up here. Maybe it was waiting for its perfect moment.

One day, on a whim, I bought Trix a new puzzle toy. The dog is supposed to roll the thing around and get food out of it! Fun fun fun! It was called a tricky treat ball, and they should have called it a not for Trixie treat ball!

I put Trix’s meal in it and gave it to her. Then Steve and I sat down to eat our own supper. They said the dog could have hours of fun with this thing, so I figured I wasn’t being a jerk for not supervising. After a few minutes, I noticed that the sounds coming from the ball sounded less like bat, bat, crunch, crunch, and more constant and much, much quieter. When I went over, I found Trix holding onto the thing that should have been a ball…only now it was a misshapen mass, and the whole top had been ripped off somehow. I also realized that if I took the mass that remained and tried to shape it back into a ball, it was not nearly the size of the original ball…uh-oh.

At first we hoped that we just had to go on a massive tricky treat ball treasure hunt, and we would find pieces everywhere…but we were not finding many pieces…which led us to the horrible conclusion that Trix had eaten the missing pieces! We were especially worried about this because the next day, we were supposed to be going to a big office party with folks from my awesome job. I had only started working there on a regular basis shortly before that, so I was feeling pretty new. The last thing I needed was for my dog to have a massive puke or poop accident at this fancy place. Plus, this was in the era where work and home were about 35 minutes’ drive from each other, so it wasn’t exactly trivial to get our asses home if necessary.

Through the next day, Steve would sort of look for tricky treat pieces as he went about his regular daily routine, and I was watching Trix’s poop to see if it was looking less…well…normal. We weren’t finding any pieces, but things were looking pretty ordinary. So we went on with the plan.

Trix got through the whole party and I never would have known anything was wrong, so I breathed a sigh of relief. We came home, and after changing into more comfortable clothes, we both fell asleep in the living-room. And a few hours later, we…found the rest of the tricky treat ball. To be more accurate, Trix produced it.

I still don’t remember this part, but at one point, some part of my brain must have heard Trix throwing up, and while most of me was still asleep, I uttered the words “Are ya ok? Are ya done pukin’?” At the same time, Steve had come to his senses enough to notice an unpleasant smell nearby that he could not identify. As soon as I uttered the words “Are ya done pukin’?” he was wide awake. “Puke…puke…pukin’?! Who’s pukin’?! I’m not pukin’! Oh…that smell…oh!”

So, although we did not have a dog poop-filled house, like in this sad tale below, there was definitely some 3 a.m. dog accident clean-up to be done. At least no electronics were sacrificed in the process, like happened to this guy’s poor roomba.

So, last week, something pretty tragic happened in our household. It's taken me until now to wrap my head around it and…

Posted by Jesse Newton on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Giant Shmans Update

Tans is pretty long overdue for an update, so off we go.

Back in June, we had our follow-up, and for the first time, it wasn’t with Chuck. Because his coverage area is so huge, he’s started sending people to do follow-ups, unless I guess the person has a huge problem or he’s in the area. Boy, did I give the two ladies who came to do follow-up one heck of a chore. I’ve been trying to find a way to conquer the crazy area where there is some important stuff near my house. But this complex where the stuff is isn’t super pedestrian friendly. It took them a long time of searching and searching, but I think we sort of figured out a new route. They were amazed at how quickly Tans picked up the new route. They called her a patterning ninja. This I know quite well.

Lots of people only see Tans working, and are amazed at how calm she is. I’d love to show them the display she put on back around Father’s Day when we saw Brad and Trixie. When I let her loose, she immediately started running around Trix, making lots of play noises at her. At first, I thought both dogs were participating in the noise, but I reached down and touched Trix, and she was just lying there. Poor Trix barks at Tans a lot when she sees her because Tans is so nuts.

Then, the same day, Tans walked up to Brad, made weird grunting noises at him, and kind of play nibbled on him. What the heck? My dog still thinks she’s a tiny puppy.

Tans doesn’t really care much about storms like Trix did, but there was one particularly big storm with hail and heavy rain where she got worried, and it looked like she was almost insisting that we get inside in a hurry. Steve was out on the balcony, and out of nowhere, Tans started running out to the balcony and then back in, out and back in. Only when we came in and shut the door did she settle down.

Back a few months ago, we decided to get something we could use for exercise at home. We thought about some kind of treadmill we could fold, but we settled on a rower. It has actual water in the tank, and it stands up super small when we’re not using it. It’s pretty cool, at least we think so. Tans, on the other hand, always kind of eyes it suspiciously. She’s pretty ok with it when it’s standing up now, but at first, she would stay away from it when she came in the house, or spend long times staring at it. Now, when we lay it down to use it, she does not like it at all. If she’s not staring at the tank or nuzzling the thing you pull on to row, she’s staring at it from a distance as if it might come after her. At first I thought seeing the water in the tank weirded her out, but I really don’t have a clue.

I always thought Tans was made of steel and was pretty unflappable, but I think I may have found something that scares her. She used to climb into the hatchback section of a car without a second thought. But that all changed after one ride she took in June. It was the night before Steve’s buddy Greg’s wedding, and there were a bunch of us in the car, so we put her in the hatchback section. This is just a section behind the seats. I can reach back and touch her if I wanted to, and she could, and would, lick my ear if she wanted to, so it’s not like I put her in the trunk.

There were a few things with her in the hatchback, but I didn’t think about that. Apparently, I should have, because during the ride, they tended to slide and bump her. By the time we arrived, when she got out of the hatchback, she shook off and snorted a lot, as if the ride stressed her out. Now, it’s a fight and a half to put her in one of those places, and she spends the whole ride shaking and trying to get out of the hatchback into the seats. She doesn’t care that there is no room for her to go, she’s going to try to come down anyway.

I’m not sure quite what to do, since I don’t really have access to a hatchback all the time, so it’s hard to desensitize her. I’m going to try and bring her favourite toy to play with, or one she likes, so maybe it won’t be so scary.

This summer, we were at a lake, and we tried to get Tans to swim. I thought she’d take to it like nothing, but I was wrong. She would come down so far, then stop. When she was carried in, she sort of liked it, but got back out again. I’ll laugh if, when she retires, she once again decides she likes water.

Although Tans has beds to sleep in, she has this way of finding wacky little corners to curl up in, or if she’s feeling especially lazy, large chunks of the middle of the floor to sprawl on. Lately, she has decided that the little space by one of our couches is just big enough for her. She’s so tucked away that I forget she’s there, and almost step on her.

I wouldn’t call Tans clingy, but if one of us is sick, she knows it, and will plant herself next to the couch or bed. I call her our little nurse.

They always say if you know the calories per cup on a food, then you can figure out how much to feed. If they’re gaining, cut it back and you’ll be good. But I have learned that it’s more complicated than that. Back in April, we had our issues with Tans’s food no longer agreeing with her. I switched food, and boom! She was all good. This food had more calories per cup than I thought her old food had, so I thought I’d just keep feeding her the same amount. If I saw her packing on the hound pounds, I’d cut back.

Well, I saw her shedding hound pounds. At first, it wasn’t much, and then more, to the point that the vet said she shouldn’t get any thinner. She also started trying to eat anything she saw that looked appealing as we passed it.

So, I decided to feed her more food. As soon as I did, it was like Tans had gone back in time. She had more energy than she’d had in a while, and she just felt like she had more bounce in her step. She wasn’t eating everything off the ground, but she kept asking for treats all the time as we worked. All she had to do was find something, and she’d start looking up at me as if to say “I do believe a treat is in order.” I’m still dealing with that little quirk, I think that has to do with boredom because we haven’t been able to go to new places, but I’m just so happy to see her energy is back. She’s also gained the weight she lost, so I don’t feel like I’m depriving the poor beast.

Back when she was new, I had a little trouble with her just laying on her bed when I would call her. I thought that had resolved, but now it’s back with a vengeance. Even back then, as soon as I put the leash on her, she would get up. Now, even that isn’t enough. Sometimes I hold out a treat to get her to come, but I really don’t want to do that every time I want her to move. Sometimes I have gotten all excited, but often that doesn’t help. Other times, I’ve had to give her leash a tug to get her up. I don’t know what is the right thing to do to get what I want.

I don’t know what Tans does, but back last Thanksgiving, she shook off her school tag. Now, this September, I noticed her Avid microchip tag had gone AWOL. I thought it would be a little bit complicated, but I had no idea what I was in for.

First, whatever they tell you about your AVID chip being recognized all over the world is complete garbage. Apparently, you have to register it in every country you live in. So if you’re like me, and go to GDB and get your dog there and then return to Canada, the AVID chip registration they do isn’t recognized in Canada. If you want to register it in Canada, you have to deal with a company called PETIDCO, or at least that’s the rumour.

Oh me oh my, where do I begin with PETIDCO? Let’s just say that if Tans and I ever got separated, I think I would have better luck running around KW yelling Tansy’s name than they would have reuniting her with me if she were ever found and scanned. I don’t know what their qualifications are, but the standards aren’t very hi.

  • they tried to tell me that the whole department that handles registration was on holidays. That whole department was one woman.
  • their whole site went up and down so many times when I tried to use it that I did it over the phone. Because I couldn’t use the site, they tried to make me send them all kinds of extra verification by mail. When I asked them why I wouldn’t have to do that if I did it on the site, all they could say was “Well, no, you wouldn’t have to because you’re confirming online that this information is correct.” Hmmm, can’t see anything wrong there, can you?
  • When I did, the person taking the registration kept asking me if Tansy had been neutered even though I told her she was female. They also couldn’t grasp the idea that I didn’t have her for her entire life, and that she had come from the states.
  • After they registered her and sent me a tag, without asking me, they passed my information on to Petsecure, a pet insurance company. I happened to miss their call, and when I returned it, none of them had any idea who I was, or why they had called.
  • Finally, when the tag arrived, it had a different number. Because this whole process had been a clown show, I took tag and dog into the vet to see if they could figure it out. After they scanned Tans, and went to a microchip-lookup site, they found that this was a valid microchip number, but it hasn’t been registered to anyone.
  • When I called PETIDCO back, they told me that she was registered, and basically insinuated that my vet was the incompetent one.

As it stands, I have no idea what to do to verify that she’s properly registered. PETIDCO insists she is, as does AVID in the states. The vet doesn’t understand why she’s marked as unregistered, and I’m left wondering if the microchip would prove useful if the unthinkable ever happened. It’s not a nice feeling, so if anyone knows anything, I would love some ideas.

When we got our bathtub replaced, we lost our telephone shower head that I use to bathe Tans. I thought I would have to buy some wacky adaptor. But lucky for us, when they replaced our shower heads later, they gave us a brand new telephone shower head. Woohoo! I hope we have that one for a while. The idea of finding a groomer or do it yourself bathing station wasn’t thrilling me.

That’s the bulk of the Tans updates. There are some other bits that I feel like need their own posts. I hope you’re not bored.

An Update From The Land Of Brad And Trix

I’m so glad Brad did this update, complete with pictures. Now we can catch up on the life of Trix, which is still pretty good. Take it away, Brad.

Rumour has it that it’s been quite some time since we last heard how good Ole Trixie is doing. Well my hound-loving blog readers, we’re about to change that. If memory serves, the last Trixified update we had was back in either late Winter or early Spring. I seem to remember writing about her liking her new beds. We’ll start in April, right around her birthday. Trix turned eleven this past April ninth. She got a couple new bones, a lot of petting, and a hike to her favourite place, Global Pet Foods. For what more could a dog ask?

In May we went for her annual all-point inspection, complete with the senior canine blood profile. The old beast is still in prime condition, so sayith our fearless veterinarian. Her cataracts are not much worse, and she is in “amazing shape for a dog her age!” Anyone who has seen her knows she’s a fine physical specimen, much like her owner.

With this summer being as obnoxiously and disgustingly hot and humid as it was, walks were a little shorter, much to Trixie’s chagrin. She had it in her head that it was fine to do our usual five or so daily KM even though her tongue was down around her feet. I tried to go later in the evening, but she goes a little squirrelly around dusk, so it wasn’t always enjoyable. Let me tell you though, she is a huge fan of this cooler weather. Heck, so am I!

She does a lot of sleeping, which is a good thing, as I’m pretty sure that that place I go every day to keep the bills paid is secretly trying to work me to death. No one should have to work seven days a week, should they? No? I agree. I did manage to wrangle two whole weeks off this summer, though! One week in July and one in August. I went camping for both with my aunt, uncle and the cousins, and we have some pictures of Trixie doing campy things.
Blurry shot of Brad and Trix at camp site.

We were up to Silent Lake Provincial Park in July and Algonquin in August. Trixie seems to be a sizable fan of camping, despite her advancing years. The squirreliness around dusk is a little worse, and she develops an almost unhealthy obsession with me and my whereabouts, but, overall she loves it. Her favourite activities include hiking in the bush, which is well documented in previous posts, and wading belly deep in the lake.
sandy-and-trixie-at-the-beach

She seems to have given up swimming, at least in large bodies of water. I think I’ve finally figured out why. I think her deteriorating vision makes her a bit nervous of large open bodies of water. She has no problem with going in up to her belly, but she won’t swim out anymore. She will, however, dive into my neighbour’s new fish pond if the gate is left open, and its five feet deep at the one end. She swims laps in there until someone fishes her out. It’s only about ten feet around, letting her see all the sides. Good, I’m glad you fine folks agree with my powers of deductive reasoning.

No matter how long the hike we chose for the day, she thought she had to lead the way, along with Sandy, my aunt and uncle’s practically eight year old Australian Shepherd, who is in many of our pictures. You may remember from long ago posts that these two were not always so chummy, but they have put that in the past and let bygones be bygones. The average hike length was between five and seven Km, similar to our walk routine here. The difference is that this is over rocks and roots, up and down hills. Sandy runs loops around everyone for the entire time, and Trix seemed to think she had to do likewise. She slept very well after most of these. It’s possible that we did, too.
everyone resting after the big hike

There are some absolutely massive rocks up North, you know.
Brad and Trixie on a rock

Brad, Trixie, cousin Ben and Sandy with a huge rock in the background.

As you’ve seen, Trix seems to have a little mountain goat in her DNA somewhere. She found her way up a trail at the back of the rock, but thought she should follow me down the front, a good ten foot climb/jump. Luckily she listens well, or we may be reading her obituary rather than this lovely little number.

Not everyone likes to move at the same pace as Trix and I, though.
Brad leading the trek through the woods.

I didn’t take Trix out in the canoe this time, as it was pretty warm on the water. She has been before, and doesn’t mind it. She hasn’t quite figured out the whole balance thing, but we’ll work on that.

There’s not much more to tell. Trix is doing well, is loving this cooler weather, and is always up for a walk, and food! Stay tuned for more updates. I’ll end this off with a few other random pictures of Trixie that I wasn’t quite ambitious enough to cleverly work in to the text.

Cousin Ben rubbing Trix's belly

Brad squatting, Trix laying
Brad with cousin Ben on his shoulders and Trix watching

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.

A Beastly Post

Brad sent this in. I’m so glad he did. I can’t really tell Trixie stories because I don’t see her every day. It’s so nice to have a few more, and this one has pics! Woo! So in honour of Trix’s recently-passed 11th birthday, here’s Brad. Oh, and here’s the post about the nail disaster.

It’s been quite a spell since you fine Vomiteers were blessed with any sort of Trixie update, and, before I fall asleep, I’m going to get this written, thereby rectifying the previously mentioned lacking of such a post.

The big black beast turned eleven last Saturday, the ninth of April. I have to admit that it went by relatively unobserved due to the fact that I had to work for upwards of ten hours, then go out of town to a friend’s buck and doe, however, tomorrow, or today depending on when this is posted, we are going to celebrate properly with a trip to Trix’s favourite two places, Global Pet Foods, and Dairee Delite.

I’m not sure if Carin mentioned Trix’s problem last Fall. Her nails started sort of chipping off, and were very soft and caused her some discomfort. It turns out she has something called Lupoid onychodystrophy, which is similar to Lupus in humans. It took some time, but we’ve got it under control now. The vet actually had to pull three of her worst nails out. They have since grown back and look pretty good. The treatment is fairly simple, a lot of fish oil, a supplement I was giving her anyway, as well as Vitamin E. She is completely back to normal now, hour walks and off-leash trail hikes and all.

Last Fall, right before the Nail disaster, Petsmart had dog beds on sale, and I got Trix two of the memory foam ones that are supposed to be good for older dogs. She absolutely loves the things. There’s one in my room where she generally sleeps at night, and one in the livingroom where she spends the day. There are pictures of her on the livingroom one near my fireplace.

Trix enjoying her new memory foam bed
Nobody can say Trix isn’t well-cared-for

There are also some pictures of her while we’re hiking. There’s one of her in a field of long grass roaming around,
Trix in long grass
Sniff sniff sniff…
as well as a couple of her charging up and down a hill in the snow. Trixie running down a hill from behind
Trixie running down a hill towards Brad.
Ooo this is so much fun…got any treats?

We actually got sort of lost early last Fall and wound up doing an almost seven hour hike. We left the house around twelve thirty, and didn’t make it back until after seven thirty. We both slept well that night.

I think that covers most of the Trixie adventures.
Happy belated birthday Trixie! Enjoy your ice cream and Global treats.

Thanks from Tansy to Trixie

One thing I neglected to talk about in the latest holiday wrap-up was the fact that Tansy inherited a couple of gifts I gave to Trix that she didn’t care for. She got the neat-looking squeaky duck, andthe much-sought-after Skineeez raccoon that Tans stole from Trix over and over again.

Today was kind of a gross day out there with all the freezing rain and other garbage, so we didn’t go far. Tans had needed lots of sleep, but now is bored. So I got out the duck…and she loves it. Its entire mid-section has been slobbered upon and she has chomped on most of it, and the duck looks strong as ever. We have a winner!

We got thinking. Steve wondered if the reason poor Trix destroyed so many toys is that was the way she dealt with stress. Now that she’s not stressed anymore, she doesn’t care for toys anymore. Or maybe she’s just getting older. Who knows?

At any rate, we know the duck and the raccoon will be well-used in the land of Tans.

Trixie’s Terrifying-Sounding Nail Disorder

There is one Trixie-related topic that I didn’t throw in the avalanche of stuff in the last post.

Years ago when I still had Trix, when I changed vets to the one she liked, the vet noticed that her nails were weird and would split easily. One time when she was cutting her nails, she nicked the quick. She had said at the time, “Those nails split funny. We should keep an eye on that, it could be an autoimmune disorder, or other scary things I don’t want to mention.”

It never got any worse, or never caught her attention again.

Then years later, after she went to Brad, she got some weird soreness in her feet, and her nails were sort of falling off or breaking funny. At first, the vet thought it was a fungal infection. Things seemed to get better, but at the end of last month, she had problems on multiple feet. Whenever they would try and get at the toenail and have a look at it, poor Trix would scream. They ended up sedating her and taking off the messed up nail, and are going to keep it around to see if any bacterial stuff shows up. But they think she has something called Lupoid onychodystrophy. Um, eek.

So apparently that would be the autoimmune thing Trix’s old vet was referring to. What a weird disease. They have no idea what causes it, it might be genetic or autoimmune, and the only way to *diagnose* it definitively is to lop off an affected toe. This won’t cure it, just make sure we know what it is. Yikes.

Thankfully, it sounds sort of manageable, and doesn’t evolve into anything else terrifying. So, hopefully, Trix’s nails will get stronger, and she’ll be ok. Phew. That was scary.