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Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

So, since we got Max, my blogs have revolved around all the bad things he’s done and how I wonder what we were thinking that stormy, tornadoey day. In all honesty, the little booger is a sweetheart. In honor of him and JD (and of course, as an ode to the greatness of Julia Stiles movies ) this post is about ten things I don’t hate, in other words that I love, about each of my little furbabies.

Ten Things I Don’t Hate About JD

1 ) I don’t hate the way, no matter what, when you see I’m upset, you come over and comfort me.

2 ) I don’t hate the way you always want my attention and snuggle into me.

3 ) I don’t hate the way you give me face kisses just because I’m me.

4 ) I don’t hate the way you curl up into me on the couch.

5 ) I don’t hate the way every time we say squirrelbunnykitty you really do go looking for the mythical animal that is never going to exist and yet you still hope against hope.

6 ) I don’t hate the way you optimistically look for toys that we pretend to throw but that we’re still holding.

7 ) I don’t hate the way you lie on top of me and look up at me like I’m the best thing in the whole world.

8 ) I don’t hate the way you watch Animal Cops like it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen every time we turn it on for you.

9 ) I don’t hate the way you wake up from naps with your face fur all smooshed up and just stare when we call it “bed face.”

10 ) I don’t hate the way that you lie on the club chair next to whoever’s there, even if the computer is there as well, even if it’s irritating sometimes.

 Ten Things I Don’t Hate About Max

1 ) I don’t hate the way you’re always so excited to see me, even if I’ve only been in another room into which you can’t go.

2 ) I don’t hate the way you give drive-by kisses, when you run in, jump up on the couch, kiss my face, and then run away again.

3 ) I don’t hate the way your little behind seems unconnected to the front of you so that when you wag your stump, your whole behind wags, legs and all.

4 ) I don’t hate the way you run up to me, jump up on me, and make me go outside with you when DH says the word “outside”.

5 ) I don’t hate the way you lie on the back of the couch right near my head to be close to me but not on top of me.

6 ) I don’t hate the way you take my hand, put your paw on it and pull it into your tummy for a tummy rub on demand.

7 ) I don’t hate the way you stand looking at JD, lean back a little bit, then pounce forward for a not-so-stealth stealth attack.

8 ) I don’t hate the way you bound around with your back legs flopping out behind you in opposite directions.

9 ) I don’t hate the way that you look up at me with the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

10 ) I don’t hate the way you lie next to the chair I sit in and curl up there without getting in the way.

 Most of all, I don’t hate the way the two of you make my life better simply by being here and making the house not seem so quiet and empty. So, for all the complaining I do, I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

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Max(imum) Destruction

Max should be renamed Destructor. No, really. He’s like a comic book supervillain. Just when we think there’s nothing left for him to do that he has yet to do? He finds another way to surprise, shock and amaze us. Not really in a good way, either.

It must be duly noted that last night’s debaucle was partly our own fault. In all seriousness, we’ve notice that he has insane storm anxiety. He can tell a storm coming a solid eighteen hours before it hits. He’s a better indicator than both an old man’s arthritis or the news. He gets into serious trouble when he pulls these stunts. He has, prior to storms a-comin’ – eaten a hole in a chair, destroyed yarn, destroyed projects, thrown a remote off the coffee table, and defecated in his crate then stepped in it. That last one, incidentally, was totally my fault. I didn’t want him to have an accident, and everyone knows dogs don’t like to mess their crates. Not our Max.

Yesterday, obviously, was a storm. Winds hitting upwards of 40 miles per hour. Noise from rain and branches flying around outside. All of this was enough to give me anxiety, let alone him. He was willing to go outside, for a change. However, he stared out the windows as though the end of the world was coming.

We had plans with some friends. They arrived, came in the house, and dropped some accoutrements off. Max and JD greeted them excitedly. The four humans went out to dinner. An enjoyable dinner, it was. Arriving home, however, not nearly as enjoyable. This is what we came home to:

Yes, those pieces of wood would be bamboo double pointed needles. Those round purple things would be the “grapes” from the adorable wine glass flip flops my BiL and his girlfriend gave us (one of which you can see in the upper right hand corner of the picture, sans grapes). Also lost in hurricane Max was a Denise Interchangeable cord. A piece of which was clearly visible in the x-ray at the emergency vet to which he was promptly taken for a visit.

Now, as to why I haven’t yet punted him out a window? This is the reason:

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Let’s Go! Red! Sox!

Woof woof woofwoofwooooof! (JD and Max celebrate the Red Sox winning the ALCS at 12:30am Monday morning) JD was a bit tired by this point, but there’s nothing like watching Theo receive the trophy:

Max was more excited though:

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Perfect fall weekend. Changeover to new trash system starting on Monday (meaning no massive cleaning). What does all of this mean? FOOTBALL, KNITTING, READING and…karaoke. Yup, the random conglomeration of activities that describe my life.

Friday night we went to Koy (the bar attached to a local Chinese restaurant) for karaoke. How much better does life get than opening a two performance sequence with All Jacked Up by Gretchen Wilson and closing with Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. That’s right. It doesn’t. Unfortunately, some of the regulars were extremely nonplussed by the idea of some good old fashioned punk rock blasting in a rather off-tune tone. It also didn’t help that anarchy had broken out in Baltimore and Boston about the same time as Anarchy as supposed to be “sung” in the bar. DH could barely contain his excitement at the Bosox winning the AL East. Either way, definitely good times. Definitely.

Knitting and football are best ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday. Although Notre Dame did not win, they did manage to score a few TDs with Sharpley looking rather good. Thanks to Girl is Crafty , I had me some fantastic gold and blue yarn to work with in my humble attempt to make a Notre Dame scarf. Her football-along swap package came the other day with all the goodies thereunto appertaining. Talk about hitting the motherlode:

100_1486

See that yarn? 5 skeins Wool of the Andes in blue, 4 in Daffodil to make an HP house scarf in Fighting Irish colors, which, incidentally, are also my undergrad alma mater colors. Also, notice those macadamias sitting there waiting to be eaten? Directly from the great state of Hawaii they are. Girl is Crafty felt that since I had to wait for my swap package while she lived the high life on a Hawaiian vacation, I deserved a little giftie from there as well. AWESOME. All other projects have been shoved aside for the making of said Fighting Irish rooting scarf, including the baby blanket for a little guy who was born a few days ago. At least, I know that I’m not the one holding up his birth. I was convinced for a brief time that he wasn’t planning on arriving until he had some hand knit goodness to keep him toasty warm.

Of course, nothing can go completely smoothly in this household. While I was looking over this week’s fantasy football matchups, a little Mr. Someone (Max) decided he wasn’t getting enough attention. There’s nothing like turning around after being desperately disappointed with the players that you’re going to have to play to see several projects pulled from their happy little homes, sitting on the floor, with one of them having the working yarn chewed off. Of course, being so proud of himself, he needed to have his picture taken and tagged.

iz steelin ur projekt

 See that little bit of yellow and dark blue? Right, that would have been the chewed off scarf yarn from the Notre Dame scarf. Stupid Max. Stupid teething. Stupid.

I finished Blink before going to bed last night. I began thinking about whether blind grading of my students would be a good idea. One of the major themes of the book is that the more information we have, the worse our decisions become, at least when it comes to big decisions. Gladwell talks in depth about behind-the-screens auditions for different symphonies helping the maestros get better musicians because they are less focused on the visual aspects of the musicians’ playing or perceptions of how different genders play different instruments. This discussion harkened back to ye old law school days where in the larger classes, particularly in the first year, the exams were graded by number, and the professor did not know who was who until grades were entered. I began thinking about how my grading system of knowing students is both a positive and a negative for students. I tend to compensate for my personal feelings by doing the direct opposite of how I feel about them. In other words, if I really like you, I’m probably harder on you than if I don’t really like you. However, with writing and wanting to help students overcome their individual issues, this technque might not help them. Students’ personalities are one of the aspects of teaching I enjoy most. I enjoy getting to know the students and watching them grow over the course of the semester. I wonder, however, if I do any of them a disservice by getting to know them so well. I try to be as objective as possible. I have set standards for what I use as a grading system. I follow it as best I can. I weigh the aspects of their papers and usually give them the benefit of the doubt. For example, if 5 of the criteria for a C are met and 4 for a B, the student will end up with a C+. I try to keep things as mathematical as possible which is odd since I am not a math person whatsoever. I try to be as fair as possible, especially since writing can be viewed as extremely subjective and since I always hated that part of it when I was a student. However, do my personal feelings or the information I’ve gathered from students in class get in the way? According to Gladwell, most likely they do, at least subconsciously. How can I keep these from getting in the way? Should I perhaps employ, at least for the shorter papers, some form of anonymity? Should I try to get them to put their names on the last page of the paper instead of at the beginning so that I am truly grading each paper on its own merit without knowing who it is? Should I just resign myself to the fact that life isn’t fair, and I can’t always be fair? I can’t change it for this semester. I may talk to some other teachers I know both in and out of school. However, the impact of my subconscious on something potentially life-changing for my students is beginning to concern me. In the alternative, maybe I’m just overthinking things. Anyone with any ideas would be welcome to help me work through this logic problem.

Now that I’ve decided to solve yet another of the mysteries of the universe, since today is a perfect football Sunday, I should go watch my fantasy teams lose on a beautiful Autum day.

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My Pet Shop Boy

Maxie. Poor wee little Maxie. As people who know me know, we’ve had a lot of problems with little Maxie. The day after we brought him home, he was diagnosed with Giardia. We gave him his round of medicine. He seems better now.

However, the looks received when I point out we got him at a pet store are becoming intolerable. In all honesty, until Max came along, I was one of those tskers. Tsk, a pet store. Tsk, not a breeder. Tsk, those dogs have problems. I’ve been fighting the tsks for the last week. It is not a reputable breeder. I had always said that I would never buy a puppy from a pet store. The literature on why not to buy a dog at a pet store is compelling. The majority of the arguments are irrefutable. The Humane Society outlines them all very clearly on its website. In all honesty, many of the problems they discuss, little Max has.

1) We were impulsive about when we got Max. We were not, however, impulsive about getting a second dog. So, yes, the pet shop catered to our desire to get what we wanted when we wanted it.

2) Nope, no one asked us what kind of home into which we were bringing him. Although, bringing JD to meet him ahead of time would have tipped off anyone that we were suckers for our dogs.

 3) He was sold to us as a Cockapoo (tee hee! cockapoo!). However, our groomer is convinced that he is more likely a Maltipoo. Does it matter to us? Nope.

4) He does, indeed, already have several little health problems. Aside from the Giardia, his dewclaw on one side was removed poorly leaving scar tissue, but not trimmed at all on the other side. His tail was cropped too close which can cause anal gland problems. However, other than that, he seems to be ok so far. He has been given medicine for his Giardia, and he seems healthy.

Now, am I angry at the manner in which we were treated? Oh, golly, yes. Do we want to go back and fight for some money back? Oh, you betcha. Was some of it our fault? Once more, I answer in the affirmative. Additional review of his medical records from the store indicates he had dirty ears, kennel cough (which we had already noted at the time we got him), and a previous instance of bloody stool. He had previously been treated with the dewormer we gave him. However, at no point in these records is there a record of a test for Giardia having been done. For his sake, and on his behalf, my anger swells.

Now, other articles on the pet shop dogs discuss issues including not being housebroken, not being leash trained, and having aggression issues. He had a bit of a problem with housebreaking and leashes. However, his personality is stellar, and he is becoming an affectionate little man. If only he would stop chewing flip flops.

Some of the behavioral and health issues revealed after bringing the dog home are partially the buyers’ faults. For example, we did not know what the medicines given to Max meant. We were not proactive enough to have researched that his medical record of bloody stool had severe ramifications. These were our fault, our ignorance. They are mistakes that would not happen again. Prior to purchasing a pet, regardless of where the pet comes from, potential owners should educate themselves about things that are common to the pet in question. Purchasers should know what to look for in the behavior of the puppy and be clear as to what puppy characteristics they want. True, if the dog is sick, this may not be foolproof. However, some of the behavioral problems about which people are warned, such as agression, can be seen prior to purchase if the buyer looks for them. In that respect, buyer beware is buyer be learned.

We’ve been toiling over the idea that Max might have had more serious healthy problems if he had been left at the store. However, not buying the dogs is not going to stop the puppy mills or save these dogs. Particularly with the rise of internet dog sales, puppy mills are probably making a killing, in more ways than one. Local breeders are often hard to find as they do not advertise widely. People will turn to the internet and out of state breeders for the purchase of a puppy.

Purchasing Max was not a mistake nor was it cruel. Demonizing people for purchasing a dog in a pet store and patronizing them when they feel they have rescued the poor animal is unnecessary. By telling people that they are as bad as the puppy mills when they bring the puppy home, some people ignore the fact that these puppies would not get treatment and would be allowed to simply fade away. In attempting to protect these female dogs, the puppies themselves become victims. The breeders are not going to magically release these female dogs. They are not, additionally, going to stop breeding dogs until it becomes illegal. Ignoring the plight of the puppies themselves in a futile effort to protect the moms from being bred again is tantamount to a death sentence for some of these dogs. Giving people a look of disdain for taking a dog home from a pet shop ignores the fact that this dog will likely have a better life than it would otherwise have had.

There is no cure for puppy mills. Defending them is not an option. Cursing them is not a cure. These puppies, however, should not be punished anymore than their mothers should be. Puppy mills will continue to breed. Until the demand for pets dies, puppy mills will supply pets. As there is no option but for making them illegal, no recourse exissts to prevent these “breeders” from making puppies. Why should the puppies suffer? The answer: they should not. Encouraging people to ignore pet store puppies or puppy mill puppies is a good idea, in theory. The reality is that both of these institutions are here to stay.

All that being said, for as many horrible stories of pet shop purchases, there are likely an equal or greater number of positive stories. Max is one of those. Watching him play tug of war with JD and watching her respond to him is a joy. My little pet shop boy is just as wonderful as my well bred girl. Perhaps instead of acting condescendingly towards the purchasers of pet shop dogs, we should focus more on people like Deion Sanders and his willingness to lend his support to Michael Vick.

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Maxi(n a)million

Here we are on Day 3 of Puppy Invasion. It’s been a long few days. At least he and his sister are bonding. They played a bunch yesterday, and he just thinks she’s the bomb. He wants nothing more than to snuggle right up to her like this:

Remember how I mentioned that yes, I was aware that we shouldn’t buy a pet from a pet store? Right, I know that everyone is correct. However, I think that seriously, poor Maxie was rescued from what could have been the end of days for him.

I pointed out previously that Max is four months old. Poor little fellow had probably been at Puppy Center for a good two months, assuming he was moved there when he was able to leave the litter at eight weeks. When we got him home on Thursday night, we invited every relative in a 30 mile radius to come see the little fella. While hubby’s sister was visiting, little Max had an accident. A nasty, diarrhea-like accident that, seriously, smelled to high heavens. We assumed he had no idea how to go out and do his business. Swiftly picked him up, brought him outside, and cleaned up. All in a day’s puppy training. Around 3:30am, he woke up DH, and they went outside. Max did nothing. About a half an hour later, still squirming around, yes, on the bed, yes, we’re suckers, I brought him out and the poor little guy was sick again. Well, ok, maybe it’s just being in a new surrounding, it happens a lot to puppies. I slept in the sunroom with the little guy. At 8am Fri morning, he had another indoor accident. This time, in cleaning it up, I noticed there was blood. Freak. Out. Central. Seriously. So, I called the vet.

In the meantime, everyone I’m talking to is telling me that it’s nothing. That dogs do this when they’re stressed out. That when they got their puppy, he/she/it had the same problem and there was nothing wrong. The vet, on the other hand, suggested I bring him and his “sample” in to be checked out.

Now, one of the things that made us fall in love with Maximillian was that he was pretty darn calm, as puppies go. He spent most of Thursday night looking like this

Apparently, he was so calm as to be categorized “lethargic” by the vet. After doing a test, Max was diagnosed as having Giardia, which is apparently fairly common. Giardia is, after much research on my part, basically a one celled protozoan that burrows into the intestines. Apparently, many dogs can be carriers and never have outbreaks so no one knows they have it. Long story short, many times it is undectectable since the cysts that form only come out in the late stages of growth/attachment which can take up to about a month. As the cycsts form, the nutrients from the food pass through the dog’s system without being absorbed. Had he stayed at Puppy Center much longer, where no one seemed any the wiser to this problem, he might have become malnourished. (See? And who says getting pets from a pet store isn’t rescuing them?)

Stress can bring on “bouts” of Giradia. All of the excitement of being taken from Puppy Center and being introduced to a bunch of new people and surroundings probably didn’t help the poor little guy much. Although the actual manifestation phase will pass, he will always have the parasite in him. Hopefully, once he is healthy, his immune system will kick in, and he won’t have nasty poops anymore. Sadly, poor healthy JD is likely to get it at some point. It is also possible that it can pass to humans. So, looks like we’ll become one heckuva sanitary household so that none of us, nor a kid when it comes along, can get it.

Friday and Saturday, we tried forcing the Flagyl pill, to help him feel better, down his little gullet. The pill is bitter, and we managed only one full dose, out of three, in an eighteen hour period (mind you, it was my mother in law who managed to get it down his throat, not us!). We lost three pills in the process. He was taking it in with food or peanut butter but then vomiting it up. After talking to the vet, we changed him to Panacur, which are granules that you put on his food. He started being a bit more lively and pooping better. Until this afternoon. When things started acting up again. Sigh. I think we’ll have a long and winding road here.

He is, however, an adventurous little climber. We should have named him Monkey instead of Maxie. My husband and I have turned into little puppy playscapes. Up one side of our chests, over behind our heads, gets stuck, then finds a way (with help!) to climb back down. Maximillian is definitely one Max in a million.

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Today we welcomed the newest addition to the family. Max, Maxie, Maxwell, Maximus. Whatever name we call him by, he’s quite the sweetest little fellow.

Come on. Look at that face. Look at those eyes. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t have done the same. Fine, I admit; I’m a sucker. Still, you think that he’s not cute, you’re just heartless. Go join the Tin Man. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

How does this come about without all the planning that usually goes into large, life changing decisions in my world? Easy. My husband is a softie. A total. Stinkin’. Softie.

We’d been talking about getting a second dog since we got our first, the irrepressible JD. Cockapoo extraordinaire. She’s a great dog. Mellow, sleeps late, not terribly needy but for snuggles and attention. For several reasons, we always wanted a second dog. First, one of my concerns as someone who never had a pet before she was an adult was that if something happened to the family pet while a child was still young (which it inevitably would since the dog would/will be approximately 4 – 5 years old by the time a baby comes along) a kid would be devastated. (See? I’m already looking out for the emotional well-being of my unborn spawn!) Second, when the time came for us to put the good ol’ Doodlebug down, I did not want to be without a pet. I’ve come to love having a dog around. I didn’t want to replace her so soon after what would inevitably be her untimely demise, given any demise would be untimely even at a ripe old age. Third, when we have a human baby, we didn’t want JD to be upset because the human baby was taking away what had theretofore been her domain. A puppy would be far better a choice for ruining her doggie existence. All that notwithstanding, my husband kept telling me that now was not the right time and that no, we wouldn’t be getting another dog any time in the foreseeable future.

Until, apparently, today. Today, I keep getting emails with these adorable links to adorable cockapoo puppies all available to good homes. I found several that were absolutely, without a doubt, undeniably, adorable. Sure, great, thanks for the great big tease.

In the meantime, today we had some pretty intense weather out here in good ol’ CT. There was rain. There was wind. There was, apparently, a funnel cloud that touched down. Around 3:30pm, I get a phone call. My husband rarely calls me. That being said, as soon as I picked up the phone, I knew it didn’t sound like a land line. You know how those sound. Cell phones sound…echoey. They have a distinct almost feedback sound. Fuzzy even, regardless of how clear or how few dropped calls. I knew he was not sitting in his veal fattening pen cube. He says to me, “How would you like to get a dog?” I looked at him like he was insane, or would have had he been in the room. Sadly, he wasn’t. He tells me he’s at Puppy Center, the local puppy mill purchasing pet store. Right, I know. I know all of the reasons not to buy a pet from a pet store. The lecture? Unnecessary. Really, I know. So, I say, “well, it’s raining like crazy and – (as I gaze at the television in apprehension) -wow, there’s a tornado warning in our county.” “Oh, there is? Interesting. Well, do you want a puppy?” How can someone turn that down?

No, really, how do you turn that down?
So, in the middle of pouring torrential rain, I buckle the dog into her car seat (yes, a car seat, at least she doesn’t nearly get me in an accident by climbing around the car) and drive to Puppy Center. Upon entry to the building, I see my husband sitting in a little cube with a tiny little black and white and apricot puppy who vacillates between hiding in the corner and jumping up giving kisses and snuggling between my husband’s legs. I bring in JD who tries to sniff and chase. The puppy, soon to be named Max, cowers a bit at the over exuberance of a three year old dog at least twice his current size. He will, however, soon grow to be somewhere between eight and ten pounds (albeit he will still be smaller than his sister’s 18 pounds). At that point, I think he’ll give his big sister a run for her money.

JD seems to be acclimating well. She occasionally goes to investigate the newbie in the household. I think that she’s thinking this is a temporary situation. Poor little thing. Maxie, for his part, follows her around like, well, a puppy.

I think we’re all going to be one, big, happy, little family.

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