Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | December 7, 2010

How to make a dog mom worry: from chocolate and raisins to ticks!

So just a quick update. Everything is a-okay. Yes, indeed. Despite the chocolate-raisin scare, the induced vomitting, the passing of said chocolate-raisin-goji-berry energy bars (which means all was not vomitted). One emergency clinic and two follow-up vet visits later, and I’m fine, except for my getting in more trouble.

So Lauressa, she spoils me–it’s that new mom syndrome. She takes me everywhere. And when she got a chance to go hiking with her friends Steve and Tina (aka Stina), well, she thought it would be a blast for me. They took me along to Snow Hill Road in Oviedo (aka Little Big Econ State Forest). I got to see horses for the first time–I was really more interested in what they left behind (wink, wink) than I was in the horses themselves. Big things scare me, but stinky things do the opposite. Yes, I love the stink. Oh, yeah, and also I got to see a squirrel with its little heart ripped out! Yeesh! Had to be a bird of prey (mean old things)! Anyhow, I digress. Lauressa thought it’d be fun for me–and it was! Near the end, she got so confident about my trail following abilities that she let me off the trail a little to go check things out. I checked out a gopher tortoise hole. So Steve begins to explain how the hole is home to many little creatures, not just the gopher tortoise who created it. Other little creatures make little caves of their own within the gopher tortoise hole. So Lauressa forgets until WAY later the story her neighbor told about how her daughter, as a young child, had once lay across the opening of the gopher tortoise hole and then came into the house saying, “Look, mom, all these little bugs are running up and down my shirt!” She was covered in ticks! Nice! So Lauressa puts two and two together (but way too late as usual) and realizes that a home for many little creatures must just be a superhighway for ticks waiting to hitch a ride and grab a little food. Did you know ticks can go two years without feeding? Yes, and when they do finally feed, females can lay like 5000 eggs. Sweet.

Superhighway of ticks!

Anyhow, and deer ticks, those are the worst because they carry Lyme disease. We think that’s what these were. I’ve been sleeping in alot and Lauressa was worried that I could have contracted Lyme disease. But then, I’ve tried to let her know that it’s just that the weather has sucked for the past week–rain and clouds and now cold. . . too cold for my little thin-haired butt. She kind of gave up the worry. My CBC bloodwork, done at Animal Hospital at Baldwin Park, all looked good.

Anyhow, for more info on ticks and Lyme disease. Check these out. You gotta love University of Florida IFAS Extension. They give us lots of cool, scientific info. And there will be more to come about ticks and fleas and controlling them naturally in the near future! Stay tuned.

 http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ig088

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in300

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg204

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Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | November 24, 2010

Chocolate, raisins and doggie morphine

Well I had the kind of night that could show up in the doggie version of Sid and Nancy. It all started when Lauressa was getting her Thanksgiving groceries out of the car. She left me in the house with my Tug-a-Jug snack. Of course, I’m so good with the Tug-a-Jug that the dribble of kibble she put in there did not last long.

So I outsmarted “the mama” when I saw that the door wasn’t quite latched shut. I nudged it open with my snout (this big schnoz often comes in handy) and headed down to see what else I could get into. And there it was—the holy grail—3 or 4 bags of groceries all by their lonesome until I arrived to keep them company. I looked around—Lauressa? No where in sight—still out in the car messing with something. Ahhhh, perfect. I had my choice. Spinach? Nah. Green beans? Uh, maybe later. Rutabegas? What was she thinking? Brazil nuts—those look pretty good. But hmmmm. . . what are the dark brown, sweet-smelling chunks of goodness? Living up to my namesake, I tore into the bag like a FLASH. And boy am I thorough. . . not even a crumb left in that bag, baby. Here’s where it starts to get ugly.

Lauressa walks in with another grocery bag in hand. “What are YOU doing OUT HERE?” she questions.

I say nothing, hoping to remain under the radar. Damn, the bag, the empty bag! It’s right there on the floor. I’m busted.

“WHAT did you get into, Flash?!” asks Lauressa, this time with a little more concern in her voice. She riffles through the bags. “Ah, shit, Flash. Not the raw cacao goji energy bars!”  

“But I thought they were organic!” I’m quick to reply—a weak offer, but at least it was something! “What, you can’t share?” Another good one!

“Flash, you know dogs cannot eat chocolate! Even worse, I think this stuff has raisins in it! Ughhhh! You are in for a not-very-fun night.”

Lauressa spent the next hour squirting droppers-full of 3% hydrogen peroxide down my throat, about a teaspoon at a time every 15 minutes and jogging me around the complex and Lake Underhill. I felt a bit fizzy inside, but otherwise fine. Lauressa kept saying, “C’mon, Flash, you need to puke or else you’re going to have to go to Animal Emergency Center. . . and you really are not going to like that.” I just gave her that helpless look and thought, “Sorry, mom, nothing’s happening.”

One phone call to Whole Foods Market and internet search later—

Organic Raw Cacao Goji Energy SquaresIngredients: Organic Raw Dates, Organic Raw Sunflower Seeds, Organic Raisins, Organic Raw Apricots(may contain rice flour), Organic Raw Cacao Powder, Organic Raw Sesame Seeds Unhulled, Organic Sunflower Meal, Organic Raw Shredded Coconut, Organic Raw Goji Powder, Natural Flavors(gluten free,msg free).

Chocolate–“can be lethal at rate of 1 ounce per 10 lbs of body weight.” [Lauressa checks receipt: .32lb, that’s 1/3 pound or 3 oz + I weigh 32 lbs = trouble for me)

Raisins–“can cause renal failure in dogs, even just one or two raisins in a small dog”

“Dammit, Flash, I’m sorry, but get in the car; you have to go.”

An hour and a half after I’d enjoyed my food escapade, I was getting poked, prodded and INJECTED with apomorphine. Let me tell you, I have no idea what junkies see in this morphine stuff. It made me puke immediately and profusely (and has left me today with the most drowsy hangover I’ve ever had in my life!). Then I had to eat this black stuff called “TOXIBAN”—some kind of activated charcoal. That wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I’ll eat anything, after all—haven’t I already proved that?!

Another hour (and $200+ dollars) later, I was home, chugging water from my bowl like a race horse—soon to be peeing like one too. 1 a.m.—Pee time! 5 a.m.—Gotta pee again! And these were not little pees, my friends! These were like a dam breaking. After the second one, though, I was out. The sedative effect of the morphine kicked in and I’ve barely wanted to lift my head since.

And apparently, this party ain’t over. Lauressa found a few of these chocolate chunks—completely in tact, mind you—in my poop, so she’s still worried. We’re headed to spend more of her money later this afternoon. I think I’m turned off to these raw cacao chunks for good! But don’t tempt me. . . even those with the best intentions easily fall off the wagon.

Delicious, yes, but not worth it!

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | October 18, 2010

Click or Bust?!

Hey guys,

Quick and overdue update! Lauressa made me go back to that crazy clicker training last week. She even bought me the rotisserie chicken and Honeycrisp apple at Whole Foods Market to entice me (and BTW, dude, check out this recipe for rotisserie chicken pot pie–Is that stoner food or what?! Well, it is Whole Foods, after all.) However, as soon as we got into this room where I started hearing all kinds of clickers and other noises, I started trying to run for the door. Not only that, I started quivering all over! This place has high ceilings and terrazo floors so the sound is loud and echoey and just totally freaks me out. I did the commands Lauressa asked me to like a little soldier–after all, I wasn’t gonna pass up those delicious chicken and apple chunks!

Honeycrisp apples have a short season and they're excellent this year. Get some!

I even came when Lauressa called out the “come” command. But I have to admit that if the chicken wasn’t there dangling from L’s greasy fingers, this chicken would’ve headed for the door. Whew! I was so relieved when the class ended. I was in a down-stay, but when Lauressa said, “Okay, Flash, let’s go,” she didn’t have to tell me twice, ya know what I mean? I bounced up quicker than water droplet in a hot oiled pan. But I was so freaked out by the overall experience that I couldn’t even poop until like the next afternoon.

Lauressa’s trying to figure out what to do next. She let me skip class tonight. She said that last incident stressed her out too. She left with a headache and claimed she had a doctor’s prescription for a glass of wine. (I told her she didn’t owe me any explanations for the wine, but for that scary experience, she has some explaining to do). So anyhow, we skipped clicker training tonight. Lauressa’s worried she’ll have to pay the full amount anyhow. Buuuuttt, she says she just couldn’t put us through that experience again.

So instead, we’re starting Bark Busters home training. I don’t like the sound of anyone “busting” me. But I’ll listen to what this new lady has to say at least. Supposedly, these guys won some “Best of the Best” award from the SPCA. I’m an open-minded guy. I just can’t seem to contain my excitement; that’s all. Is there anything so wrong with that? If you’ll recall my “Jump for Joy” entry, I mentioned that I just don’t understand why humans need us dogs to act so prim, proper, stuffy and well, human-like. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I have to say it makes me laugh to see humans spending so much time and money trying to figure us out. And I also have to say that none of these training methods have totally won me over yet.

Will it be a "bark" or a "bust?"

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | October 9, 2010

I’ll stand for a treat, too!

Hello guys,

Quick update on the clicker training, which you’ll see from last post, I don’t like. Lauressa’s replaced the clicker with a word “marking” when I do what she’s asking (they told her not to use “GOOD,” but she does anyhow. They told her to use “CLICK,” which is completely unnatural, but she’s trying out “EXCELLENT,” and that’s going well.) It’s working great! In one day, I learned the motion that means “stand” and so now, not only do I sit and lay down on command, I also stand. I’m getting the most awesome treats like chunks of apple (honey crisps are finally here from NY!), Pet Greens chicken & wheatgrass bites, romaine lettuce leaves (yes, I love these) and this morning smoked buffalo jerky (this is new and yummy)! This is lots of fun because heck, I love food so much, I’ll do all this stuff just for my Acana grain-free kibble (which, BTW, won pet food of the year 2010-11)!

healthy treats

Pet Greens treats are grain-free, pure natural goodness with wheatgrass!

Also new and unbelievably scrumptous:  Lauressa cooked me split peas and red lentils and added that to my kibble. OMG–I couldn’t get enough. She says it’s easy to make. She didn’t need to add a thing, and I loved it!

But lemme tell you, I STILL dislike the gentle leader or halti thing, even though I know I don’t have a choice other than to wear it. AND I HATE the clicker. The clicks of this little computer are annoying enough.

What are your favorite treats?

Award-winning, grain-free, kibble from Canada

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | October 5, 2010

Training part two: click and leave?

So Lauressa has called about eight or ten different trainers. She’s heard back from all but a few–and she tells me the whole thing is rather complicated. There are so many different philosophys and types of training. Last night, she took me to a clicker-training class in “Basic Manners.” I think I’m a pretty polite guy, but I guess the jumping up on people and some of my leash antics have landed me in this remedial class. Neither one of us are sure we like this clicker stuff. I did like when the lady gave me a big bite of fried chicken, but other than that, the sound of the clicker freaks me out. In fact, when Lauressa was watching these videos, I had to leave the room. I’m happy to follow Lauressa’s hand in any direction for a treat, but the clicker has me looking around for a weapon or something and all my attention goes out the window. Lauressa and I were both drained and exhausted when we got home. We’ll see if we return for next week’s class.

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | September 18, 2010

And it’s King of the Hill that’s got me now

Okay, in the last post I told you that I suddenly LOOOOVE “Family Guy.” But, I gotta tell you, “King of the Hill” woke me out of a dead sleep last night! Oh yeh, I’m not kidding! It was this funny episode where one of Hank Hill’s neighbors adopts this great golden retriever (the epitome of perfect doggie for most) through a program that connects civilians with the pets of active members of our armed forces (as a sort of civil service). Sounds all good, right? Well, when the crate arrives at Hank’s house, guess what happens when he opens it? Hank heard this! I kept perking up my ears. This sound moves me to all fours quicker than just about anything! Poor Hank didn’t get that dream pet at all. Just got a pain in the rear.

I found out that foster services like this actually do exist.

This memorandum by a CPT of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps at the Triple Army Medical Center in Oahu, Hawai’i, explains what military personnel should do and also lists organizations dedicated to helping find temporary homes for pets of deployed military personnel by providing a network for matching foster homes to military pets:

 And this info on http://nokillpuppyplacement.tripod.com  offers this list of resources for military personnel:

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | September 15, 2010

Brian from Family Guy

I just got through watching Family Guy with Lauressa. I know, I know, I’m a little late to the hype on this one, but I don’t watch that much t.v.

This episode was all about Brian quitting a dog competition because Peter wants him to beg for a treat. Yes! This dog is so cool. I mean, I don’t support all of his politics, and he’s got some personal problems at times (the drinking and the smoking. . . c’mon kid, dogs are above that!). But I really relate to him on so many levels!

After all, Brian is also a writer: http://www.familyguyepisodes.tv/family-guy-season-8-episode-15-brian-griffins-house-of-payne.html

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | September 15, 2010

A gorgeous evening for a long walk

and not happily wearing it, either

Really? You expect me to walk wearing this horse thing over my snout?

The things we'll do for treats.
As you can see, I’m not happy about walking in this head halter.

This head harness is totally cramping my style–in so many ways. What do I look like, a horse?

Poor bird

You wouldn't believe how often we find bird nests on the ground. Poor birds; so much work, all gone to the dogs.

Posted by: pharaohhoundflash | September 15, 2010

New moon, strange week.

The night of the new moon in Hindu religion, according to hindu-blog.com, is Amavasya, or Amavasi. Since the moon is invisible on this day, it is also referred as no moon night. It holds great importance in Hinduism, and many Hindus choose this day to make offerings to the dead ancestors. In the Indian calendar, this day during the period from September through October is highly auspicious. For this year, September 8 was the day (of especially great importance to the Kashmiri Hindu community) which was dedicated to dead ancestors, parents and relatives. On this date, Lauressa’s grandmother died, and so did the father of a friend of hers. Both deaths ending long periods of suffering for the two who died. Many other unusual and somewhat heavy things seemed to happen that day and on the following days, as well.

I had never seen Lauressa cry before and, as a dog, it’s hard to know what to do, other than lick away the tears and stay close by. We dogs make excellent companions when folks don’t really want to talk about something. When they’re ready to talk, they’ve got their human friends, but we’re around all the time, even when they don’t want to shower or get out of bed. Leave it to a dog to get a human out of bed, though. There’s no getting around taking us out, which, of course, is good for humans, whether they like it or not.

Onto more weird happenings, though. Lauressa and I had a heck of a strange week. A dog who lives in our complex–we’ll call him Cujo for the sake of anonymity (I don’t wanna get sued)–charged me in our shared courtyard. AND he was packin’–>bearing teeth, that is. Whenever he sees anyone and especially any other dogs, this guy is always snarling and pulling on his ineffective harness while clawing at the pavement viciously. And his owners don’t seem to have a clue about how to set him straight. When the dude approached me so rudely in the courtyard (where I was just minding my own business and relaxing), I started to snarl and yell right back. I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a violent guy; in fact, I’m quite the opposite. However, I’ve been bit before, and I’m not going to let it happen again. Luckily, Lauressa’s friend Nicole was with me and got in between us. She says he then bared his teeth at HER, as well. She was stunned and then even a little scared. Our neighbor saw it too and said he’d charged her dogs as well.

But that’s not the end of the weird. Less than 30 minutes later, this ill-mannered dog and his untrained companion were out front walking on the leash. (We all have to be leashed here, even if we’re out for a quick sun bath or pee.) The dog started with his aggressive lunging and barking. Lauressa put me into the car, and, thinking that the target of his aggression (me) had been safely tucked away, she made the overly-trusting gesture of offering the back of her hand to the little beast. Wouldn’t you know he BIT her! Unbelievable. Truly. I mean, for one dog to bite another is aggressive yet somehow understandable–we all speak the same language. But for a dog to bite a human–and break the skin, at that–now THAT is simply insane, not to mention, quite cocky. Who does this white dog think he is? But I digress, the real problem, of course, is that his companion lady has NO idea how to handle him–and neither does her husband, though he, at least, is a little more heavy-handed on the leash. Neither she nor her husband ever correct his rude and aggressive behavior. And she constantly remarks that she “doesn’t know why he does that.” Well, lady, get a clue! Figure it out! He’s not going to start speaking English and tell you. It is you, the human, who must take responsibility for learning to understand us dogs. After all, you domesticated us. We didn’t volunteer for it.

Just like Jada Pinkett Smith says (here) that Cesar Milan taught her: “It’s not about the dog. It’s always about us. It’s always about the owner. It’s up to us to create an environment and circumstances in which the dog can thrive and be itself.”

To add insult to injury, Cujo’s companion lady called Lauressa to “make sure” she was “alright.” When Lauressa tried to very politely suggest training, the lady responded to Lauressa in her Southern drawl, “Well, I’ll tell you what. Once you get Flash trained the way you want him, you can come over here and train Cujo. How about that?”

“Uh, she doesn’t plan on getting training for Cujo and herself, Flash,” Lauressa told me later. That little phone conversation moved Lauressa from a place of compassion and cooperation to a place of reporting the incident to property management and Orange County Animal Services. Sorry lady, you should have taken the incident and your dog a little more seriously.

And so, all this has exhausted both Lauressa and I. Being a dog, of course, I’m a bit more steady; nothing really gets to me. Lauressa, however, is quite a different story. Libra that she is, her balance is easily tipped–and, oh my Dog, does that ever get to her. Sensitive gal that she is, I’m glad I’m here to take care of her.

CATS and STRONG PREY DRIVE 

So I’ve been diagnosed with SPD: strong prey drive. Apparently, to humans, this is a bad thing, considering I’m a suburban dweller (and a condo one at that). If I could only land a hunting gig, then my SPD would be an asset. However, Lauressa appears to be quite upset by my cat-chasing antics. You see, because by law, sometimes, and condo rules, the rest of the time,  I’m on a leash almost all the time, which means that when I want to prowl and then POUNCE, Lauressa gets literally jerked around. I don’t mean to hurt her; I just can’t control my natural urges. (Lauressa says she’s heard that one before). From what I understand, this sounds somewhat like addiction. I looked into joining a Cat Chasers Anonymous group but did not find one. Apparently dogs cannot do 12-step programs because of that part about writing a fourth step; kind of hard to write with paws. Anyhow, all that group “sharing” is not really, you know, doggie style. Instead, we’re more about just kind of moving on without a whole bunch of discussion. People should take note. 

Strong prey drive in action

Pouncing upon, shaking and tearing apart stuffed animals are signs of strong prey drive

Anyway, the biggest problem for me is that I’m not sure I want to give the stuff up, ya know? I mean, cats. . . they just contain an entire world of forbidden excitement. First of all, they get away with all kinds of stuff that dogs cannot: they aren’t required to wear leashes, they can poop wherever they want (and let me assure you: they don’t all bury it), they are allowed to kill stuff and eat it if they want (except for those poor sobs who’re stuck inside 100% of the time, but that’s another blog entry). And to top it all off their food and their poop are like delicacies to me and so it stands to reason that they’d taste pretty damn good themselves, which is why, of course, I lick my lips every time I smell a cat.   

One of the sources of cat evil in my Life

The cat named "Tiger": One of the sources of cat evil in my Life

Anyhow, things are getting serious. Gone are the days of my sweet, velvet-lined, designed-especially-for-sighthounds, Martingale collar. Lauressa says the little tug of tightness used to work as a “correction” for me, but recently, I just manage to ignore those tugs when I see a cat in the bushes before Lauressa does. She’s already got the leash tied around her waist like a running belt, but when she has the leash in hand for even a few seconds, craziness often ensues.   

DOG COLLARS FOR WALKING, RUNNING AND CONTROL   

Today I met  the Top Paw Control Ease Head Collar, a version of “THE HALTI”—treacherous thing. When I was first adopted, Lauressa briefly introduced me to “Easy-Walk” harness, which I managed to convince her was no good (because we run —> chaffing under the front legs, ouch!). Then there was the Yuppie Puppy non-pull mesh harness (there’s also another called Yuppy Puppy; different spelling; go figure), which was okay for me; however Lauressa found that she couldn’t use it to control me very well. And we also tried the “Gentle Leader” today. Of course, I’m not fond of either of them. However, the  Top Paw Control Ease Head Collar (Petsmart’s brand; apparently there are a few brands of these as well!) offered a little soft lining on the bridge of the nose, had a clip to hold the extra length of the strap, and was easier to get on and off. I got a bunch of treats just for trying them on, but believe me, after about 60 seconds, I was trying to pry that thing off with my paws. Lauressa says I’ll get used to it a little at a time. But I plan to put up a fight.   

Yeah, this is the package because I won't be seen in this thing.

DOG TRAINING   

The last bit of news on all this, which I overheard, is that Lauressa’s looking for an animal behaviorist. She’s was checking the Association of Pet Dog Trainers website and making calls to people. They spoke about the latest in humans trying to figure us out. It seems there’s quite a rift between current animal behavior training and theory and the methods of Cesar Millan, the self-called “Dog Whisperer” on National Geographic channel, who they consider “old school,” coercive and negative. They swear that their positive reinforcement only methods are the new school. Apparently, this Cesar guy is quite controversial despite the devotedness of his television audience and his widespread pop culture icon status.  Did Cesar get his “way” because he’s so hunky (according to wikipeida, Jada Pinkett Smith, before she was Mrs. (Will) Smith, gave him a big boost.)? What did he give her?   

Leader of the Pack

Pack leader or just another pretty face?

Coming soon, an update on the trainers we’ll be trying out: Lauressa will be interviewing, and I’ll be testing.

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