Friday, May 27, 2011

No One Likes Spinach

Love this picture!

Callie is a living, breathing, garbage disposal. She will eat pretty much anything. We've managed to teach her quite a few food manners - she does not eat food found on the ground outside, she spits it out whats in her mouth if we ask, if we say no begging it means no begging, and be gentle with our fingers. Pretty good if you ask me! She generally gets a lot of veggies, usually the scraps from our meals or the leftovers in her dinner on occasion. I'm very careful to pick the healthy options and cut down on her kibble when she has more then just  a snack. Callie could eat prime rib for weeks and still be just as eager to gobble her kibble the next day. 

But she HATES celery. She'll take it from you sure, but then will chew it into itty bitty pieces and leave said pieces all over the damn apartment. She also doesn't like spinach. She'll eat it, mind you, but only as a last resort or if you coat it with a bit of olive oil or chicken broth. So last night I decided to test her out. My usually scavenger of a dog was being picky! The proof:

Just spinach - "ew do I have to?"

Spinach with a bit of sweet potato - "Meh.."

Spinach and steak - *GOBBLE*
And poor Rocket. He has the most ridiculously sensitive stomach. One night I gave them a bit of sweet potato at dinner time and the next day we could barely finish our walk because poor Rocket needed to stop every five seconds. I might have him checked over for any other physical problems because it's a bit ridiculous for two reasons: one, hes ALWAYS hungry. He want's food all the time, and sniffs around outside like I'm starving him. Two, he's now taken to eating grass, which also doesn't sit so well. He's tricky about it too, he walks up like he's going to take a pee and then bam! He mows down some grass. Basically I have to watch him like a hawk.

He seems to handle this one chicken and rice treat that Ryan's parents gave us so he gets one occasionally. He can also eat my homemade liver treats without problem. Mostly I've taken to having a few of his kibbles handy so if Cal gets a piece of cucumber Rocket gets a kibble. Not his favourite alternative but I can't handle his unpredictable bowels!

Poor wee man with tummy troubles

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bath Time!

I finally got the courage to throw Rocket in the tub. He trusts me well enough now and lets me pet him all over so why not add soap and water to the mix. And surprise: He didn't even growl! I think it was because he was too freaked out to even pretend to be mean. But man, I should have bathed him weeks ago! He didn't look dirty, he didn't smell dirty, but a bath was definitely long over due. I had to shampoo twice for god sakes. I was shocked to see just how dirty the rinse water was after the first shampoo. I wish there was pictures so I had proof of his dirtiness but anyone who has attempted to bath a dog knows water gets EVERYWHERE, and water and electronics don't mix. After the second shampoo he was fresh as a daisy, and I wrapped him up, rubbed him down, and let him loose to do the crazy after bath hyper fit that all dogs seem to do. 

Callie was next, but she's pretty easy. I just point at the tub, tell her to get in and she hops in - with a look of utter hatred mind you - but just hops right in like a good girl. I can usually even get her to shake off while still in the confined space of the tub which saves the walls, mirrors, and ceiling. After is Cal's favourite part - the towel rub down! She gets right into it, sticking herself right under the towel and leaning in to get all the hard to dry places. Then Revolution time! I'm supposed to start June 1st but I'm cheating a little because we're going to be moving into our new condo the rest of the week and I wanted to get it done before hand. It always leaves Cal with the stupid little Mohawk for days after ward. 

I read this article that claimed bathing weekly can actually help cut down on shedding. You can read that here at Dogster. I can't really see the whole wearing doggy clothes thing being practical but the other tips may work. I might bath Rocket a bit more because it also seems to help with his itching, but Callie generally gets dry skin and even with the soothing moisturizing shampoo I have now I think it would make it worse. I might pick up some dog conditioner and give that a try though. 

I ended up having to turn the A/C off because poor Rocket man was freezing his butt off. His bed is right beside the cold air vent so that may have had something to do with it. After they were dry I brushed them out a bit. Rocket's fur is slowing down the shedding thing, but of course Callie is still hairy as ever. 

For some reason I decided to take them to the dog park after they were all clean and dry, but thankfully it was pretty dry there. Rocket does what he always does when there's no little dogs for him to play with: picks a boy dog to follow around and constantly sniff them until they bark at him, quickly run away, sneak back moments later and repeat. Kind of a weird thing to say, but I think Rock is gay... I read a book last year by Steven Kotler called A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life - a great read by the way - in which the author devotes an chapter exploring the idea that maybe dogs can be gay, after observing his rescue Chihuahuas preferring rather intimate relationships with members of the same sex. I think I'll give it a re-read and pay more attention this time around. Rocket definitely prefers to intimately sniff male dogs, and even has a rather close relationship with a male Italian Greyhound that frequents one of our parks. 

Revolution Mohawk!

We had a little incident with Callie. I thought it was kind of funny but the owners of the other dogs felt so bad. Cal was playing a tug-of-war with this giant stick and two other dogs. Totally adorable. All of a sudden Callie and one other dog notice a squirrel getting a little too close to the fence and both drop the stick at the same time. The third dog gave a good pull at the last minute, and so as Callie and the second dog let go, the third dog wacks Callie right in the face with the stick. Pretty hard too. Callie squeals and comes barrelling over to me and hops into my lap she thinks she's somehow lost 30 pounds and is now a tiny lap dog (kind of adorable though). The other owners came over to make sure she was okay (she was more shocked then hurt) and give her some cookies and kisses (her favourite) and all was well, except she wouldn't leave my side afterwards. I decided it was best to take her home with the sliver of ego she had left and she was completely fine. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rain Rain, Go Away!

Rocket with his Daddy watching some TV

It wont stop raining! It's led to a lot of pouting and snuggles inside. I've been planning our walks around brief breaks in the rainfall. All that means is shorter walks and filthy dogs. Good news though! I can wipe Rocket Man down, head to toe, without protest. 

I brushed the two if them out yesterday and I wish I took a picture. The hair, oh the hair! Rocket has that coarse Jack Russell outer coat that manages to wiggle its way deep into your clothes and furniture so your finding it two years after having a Jack around. True story - I babysat my mom's Jack and I swear I was still finding his hair in things before we got Rocket. I have a few dog grooming tools: a regular bristle (meh), a comb (no long haired dogs here!), and a FURMINATOR. My brush of choice is fairly obvious. The furminator is a dream of a brush. It would have freed up so many hours of my childhood if we had one then. Only problem is, it doesn't work as well for the damn Jack hair! It works better then the comb and brush, it's just not as satisfying as it is with a thick double coated dog. Speaking of which...

Callie has one of those soft double coat BUT it doesn't seem to stop shedding no matter what season. Which is incredibly frustrating by the way. When you have a double coated, shepherd like dog  your supposed to deal with only a couple big coat shed's a year. I grew up with a giant Husky and a Akita mix, so I'm used to the two epic fur sheds a year. No big deal. Just sit the dog down and brush the hell out of them until it's manageable. Vacuum a bit more. Easy peasy. 

Not my darling dog. She looks all cute and innocent but under that adorable face is an evil, year-long shedding nightmare. 

Don't be fooled!

The vet even noticed when we were in this winter. No physical problems causing it, she's just an evil doer. The vet thinks once she gets older her coat might start to understand the whole season thing and give me a break. Right now she's loosing her undercoat in her legs and her least favourite part - her butt! In my experience most dogs hate having their butts groomed. I don't blame them really.. When I attempt the unimaginable Cal always turns around to give me that "Are you kidding me? Hells no!" look. 

In a way I kind of don't want Callie to get big dog hair. She`s over two and a half years but still has the super soft puppy like fur. The guard hairs are getting gradually coarser, but she still even smells like puppy. And there`s NOTHING better then puppy smell. 

I took a quick video of the two of them playing. I love how dogs understand they need to change their play styles for size differences. Rocket jumps for her face and neck while Cal just gentle paws him away or flings him with her head. I love watching Cal trying to entice Rocket to play with her. She just takes her paw and smacks him in the head, sometimes holding her paw on his face until he moves it away. Anywho, here's the video:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two Weeks In

Callie surveying her (hopefully!) new digs

It's been a busy week! Ryan and I are apartment hunting and it's proven to be a bit ridiculous. We found a perfect apartment, in a perfect part of town but alas, no luck thus far. This building has its own dog play area, dog day care, dog spa, and is across the street from a large park area where all the neighbourhood dogs get together to play after work. Basically city-dog heaven! Oh and of course it has all the amenities for the two-legged family members too. Problem is, the building is brand spanking new so the moment a unit goes on the market 87 people apply for it and boom, its gone.  Very frustrating, but we're working with a great realtor who just lucked out on an apartment in the same building.

Rocket loves it here!
Rocket man is doing well. The pee thing has gotten 99% better. I'd say completely fine but then two nights ago he pee'd in the living room. Although I will admit that anxiety over being bounce home to home seems to be the most likely culprit, I'm still sticking with he was just being a jerk. Example: One day I was petting Callie and Rocket comes running up, trying to squeeze himself in between me and Callie to get attention. I told him no, it was Cal's turn and said what I usually say to get him to calm down, "Rocket, don't be rude." He calmed down all right. He was so calm he walked about 4 feet away and release his bladder on the floor. We had JUST been outside. So yes, I'm going with his problem was out of doggie spite, no matter what you say! That moment was a good one though because I finally caught the little bugger in the act! So, as I held back my laughter (a spiteful dog? That's funny, come on!) I was able to tell him he was bad and send him to his time out bed. And he's only pee'd once since!

Yes Rocket has a time out bed. And yes, it actually works. He's VERY attached to me, and always wants to be right there in the midst of things, so when I make him sit alone in his time out spot after being bad he comes out Lassie good. Like yesterday I was getting ready to take the dogs out for a nice long walk. Rocket caught on once I grabbed the water bowl and started bouncing around the apartment like a ping pong ball on crack. I asked him repeatedly to calm himself down to no avail, so finally I sent him to his bed. I don't lock him in a crate or anything, I just ask him to stay on his bed until I say it's okay. Sure it takes a great deal of consistency, especially with a determined little terrier on your hands, but he's getting the point. I took this new found freedom from my constant shadow to take my time getting ready. I praised Callie for being so calm. I took the time to lace up my shoes for once.  Finally both Callie and I were completely ready, minus our fifteen pound friend that had been burning a hole through my head with his death stares the entire time. I asked him to come. He got up, walked nice and calmly to me, sat down ever so politely until I had his collar on, heeled by my side into the hall, sat down patiently in the elevator and even did a "Ladies first" move as we all left the building. He acted like a perfect gentleman! 

On that walk I even got him to go into the water! Only like an inch or two, but I was so proud of him for trying.

Me attempting to write this blog post.. 
I think Rocket really needs to find his forever home. He's been passed around a lot and I think it's going to get harder and harder on him. He's quite attached to me right now and it happened so fast. So bad so that on walks, if Ryan's walking him, he will refuse to move unless it looks like I'm coming. Last night Ryan and I came home from dinner out and Ryan went to let the dogs out. I went into the apartment while Ry grabbed the leashes and headed into the hall. Rocket barked and barked for me until I stuck my head out and told him to shut the hell up and wait for the elevator to come. He also follows me around constantly. 

My new position as his idol has given me super powers. He listens to me more, he behaves better around me, and most importantly he let`s me pet him wherever I choose. We`ve gotten to the point where his back and belly are fair game, which is good, but I still get a little nervous with strangers. Yesterday, after our walk, I wanted to clean his toes off. After the last toe wiping incident I was a little hesitant to say the least. But he was dirty and I had just washed the floors! I made a whole show out of wiping Callie down. Oh was she ever a good girl! Isn`t being wiped down oh so fun? It helps that Cal absolutely loves it. Then it was Rock's turn. I put the towel on the ground and asked him to come stand on it, thinking that at least if he freaks a little dirt will come off on the towel. I put one hand under his neck - I like to hold him that way when I'm doing things he doesn't like because one: he's little enough I can stop him from turning and snapping (although he's never really tried too hard), and two: I can feel him starting to growl and stop him. I start with his front legs, which he doesn't seem to hate as much. No problem! Easy peasy. His back toes produce the ever so slightest grumble but one "Don't you dare" and he was fine. 


Oh yah, I took a video of him attempting to play catch. His eye to mouth coordination needs some serious work. Just moments before I had managed to get him to at least attempt to catch the ball. It was adorable and I wanted to catch it on camera. Soon as the camera came out he didn't even try! And this was the result:

Friday, May 6, 2011

One week

A moment of oh so sweet silence
One week. I already feel like Rocket has been here forever. We've made a ridiculous amount of progress in just these last seven days. 

I can pet him where ever I choose! Well unless I choose his toes, because he doesn't like that... But if he's good I'll let him up to cuddle a few times a day and he just LOVES that. I can even pet his belly! He's learning to sit nicely if he wants some attention, rather then try out his impression of a kangaroo. He does lick a lot of we're working on the "I'll pet you when you stop licking me" thing. God does his breath stink. No matter of bones or brushing seems to help the smell. 

We had a little hiccup today after our walk in the woods. I left the dogs in the hall to wipe their feet. Generally Rock tends to stick to the trail - he's a bit of a princess and princesses don't get their royal feet dirty - but of course Callie had to pull her signature "Follow me into the mud!" move. I apologise to any owners whose dogs have fallen for Cal's irresistible charm and of course ended up completely covered in mud. She seems pretty determined to get every last dog filthy. Hence the need for a foot wipe before we entered my nicely cleaned apartment. I knew it was going to be an issue. He HATES his feet touched, unless your sneaky about it and pet his toes lightly when your cuddling. But I was determined. I grabbed the scruff of his neck so he couldn't bite me and got to work. I'm convinced my neighbours now think I'm abusive. LOTS of growling and snapping and then whimpering when he realized he had no choice but to let it happen. But eventually he did just that, let it happen. Clean paws, he got in the apartment and immediately demanded food. We're working on that too...

Follow me! Don't I look fun?!
We have another problem. He pees! Pees all the time! And I don't mean on walks - although after having girl dogs for the last year and a half I must say the whole lifting his legs on eevverything is a bit annoying. He pees in the apartment! I've narrowed down to a semi-full bladder and excitement or he's just messing with me because he's a jerk.Yesterday morning I woke up and went to the bathroom to get ready for the day. When I left the bathroom I walked straight into a trail of pee, the length of the hallway. Deep breath, it's okay. As I went to get paper towels I step in more pee. Great. I go into the living room to tell him how I feel about walking in all this pee and bam! I walk in more pee. It was first thing in the morning, so I can understand a full bladder but I was up rather early and I take maybe ten minutes getting ready in the morning. He couldn't wait that long?! He was also rather excited and he's pee'd in excitement before but why pee when I'm in the other room and not when I first wake up!? He does it other times of day, sometimes only an hour or two after before out and sometimes without any form of excitement. The most annoying thing: he's sneaky about it! Like the bathroom thing, it's always in a different room and I always find it after the fact. 

Sorry about the gross factor here, but it's dogs, come on. My foster pup Bruiser used to always do these magical, stealthy poops. He'd somehow sneak out of the room and head to anywhere someone left the door open and poop in there. Always away from where we were, and he never took long enough for us to even notice he was gone. He could be outside for hours, poop seventeen times, but he seemed determined not to be fully house trained. And I rarely caught him in the act so it was hard to tell him it was wrong (I've never felt comfortable yelling at a dog way after the fact because it's hard to know if they understand why your so mad). After weeks of this smelly torture and complete lock down at the house a friend at the rescue told me to try the only thing that worked when her foster did the same thing. When you find the present left for you, don't get mad or at least take a minute to calm down. Then go grab your dog, sit them down beside the present, and calmly but sternly tell them you disapprove. I laughed at this idea but I was out of options. So next time Bruise did his ninja moves I walked him over, sat him down, and told him he was being inappropriate. After just a handful of times, no more sneaky poops! 

I made try this move with Rocket. If my neighbours don't already think I'm a crazy dog murderer after the feet wipe situation, their definitely going to avoid me after they hear me saying "Now Rocket, it's inappropriate to pee in house. I would appreciate if you didn't do this any more."

You do look fun! I'll follow you!

Monday, May 2, 2011


Confession time. I call myself a dog lover. I condemn those who make generalized statements about breeds. I've been known to let my inner hippy out and march against the current breed specific legislation in Ontario. I even wear a BSL button on my jacket for god sakes. But I... I.. I rrreally dislike Jack Russells! I see one coming down the street and I get shivers. These itty bitty little dogs get my heart racing and my palms sweaty. I get tense. I pull my face as far away as possible when I sum up the courage to go for a head pat. 

I dislike the basic jack personality. Sure, no two dogs are the same, but ever jack I've known has had similar traits: Jumpy, barky, nippy, obsessive. Some, like my uncles dog, can be your best friend one minute and then launch into a ball of fury at a passing canine. Some, like my mom's dog, can be your best friend for years and then in one moment you miss his body language and he bites a chunk of your nose off (thanks for that awesome scar by the way). Maybe my jack russell anxiety comes from my (thankfully) fading scar but none the less, I'm at the very least, fearful and nervous. 

In comes my latest impulse decision. After a nice break after Keisha, and a sunny vacay down south I thought we were ready for a new furry friend to open our ridiculously small apartment to. I found a nice rescue, Adopt a Dog/ Save a Life  and after a (rather intense) home interview we were on the list as a willing foster home. I get a call: a dog currently in our care needs to be re-homed because his current owner is a student who is going home out west for the summer. "Sure!" I say, "I'm ready and willing!" Of course after my enthusiastic acceptance I was informed my soon-to-be-foster was a fiery little jack russell named Rocket, with - wait for it - growling and nipping issues. Perfect.

Did I mention how nervous I get? My hearts beating a little faster just thinking about it. Of course, if you've ever dealt with a dog before you'd know how your energy can greatly effect you interaction with your four legged friend. I see it first hand everyday with Callie. Callie and I have always managed to be on the same page - a major reason I adopted her. I get nervous and all of a sudden her hackles raise, she gets nervous and I end up looking over my shoulder and eyeing anyone who dare walk by.

Now poor Rocket has been re-homed so much my heart just goes out to the little guy. He entered the rescue, got adopted out, was returned due to some stupid excuse (I think it was new and sudden allergies), was put into a great foster home, and then sadly ended up at my door. After talking to his old foster mom I have a feeling the home he was adopted out to was not ideal. Apparently Rock gained almost ten pounds, and became extremely distrustful  when it came to being petted. So much so there was x-rays done on his spine to see if there was a physical cause. Nothing was found and after being thrown back into the rescue system Rocket lost all the extra weight and started looking for attention. When Cal and I went to meet him I was prepared for the worst. I had only really talked to the rescue so I only knew his back story. I figured, mix his nervousness with my fear and it was going to be disastrous. I was shocked when after a good ten minutes of following Callie around Rocket finally noticed me and came running. He jumped up and licked my hands as I rubbed his ears. Maybe he wasn't so bad. 

A friend of mine who he just met, rubbing his belly!

So Rock came to live with us just a few days ago. The first day or so I kind of ignored him. It was half my nervousness and half the fact he was a wee bit hyper and I wanted to let him settle down. After the first day he was already attached to both Ryan and I and he even spent the morning snuggled in bed with us. The second day I took him to an off-leash park and he came when called and was nice to everyone he met, both the dogs and the people. He already has a decent understanding of our meal time rules (sit and wait nicely, not bouncing like you have springs for feet) and he sits patiently in the elevator and at stop lights. We've been figuring each other out quite nicely, at least I think so. He's figured out I'm more responsive to him begging for attention if he's calm and I've figured out how to pick him up only touching his belly so he doesn't get mad. 

Him coming to live with me is definitely a learning experience for both of us. I have never been intimidated by a dog like I am with him, or any jack russell for that matter, so I'm determined to get comfortable. He's already amazed me at how far he's come within days so I can only imagine what a cool little dog he's going to be as time progresses. Maybe I'll actually learn to love the little devil dogs. Maybe...