Dog Blog

Friday, January 26, 2007

Peaches is all over her kennel cough now, but I took both her and Bubba to the vet yesterday for a checkup. Both were in fine condition according to Dr. Fisk. She was quite taken with my new adoptee, and it's easy to understand. She's such a nice little dog. A real sweatheart who just worships the ground I walk on. We bond more strongly each day, but like Daisy, she gets upset (and naughty) whenever I leave for very long, even with Bubba here. I am likely to come home to find a shoe or other personal item that has been transported elsewhere, but she doesn't chew them, thank goodness. Not that I'd much care if she did. They're only things. Things can be replaced. A dog's special brand of love can't.

I've taken them to the park the last couple of days and slipped into the baseball diamond through the hole in the chain link fence. If they didn't keep us parkgoers locked out, people wouldn't cut holes in the fence. The ball park is safer because it's enclosed. I don't dare let Peaches off leash just yet if there's no security. She gets very easily spooked by things and doesn't always come when I call her, although she's getting better. The other day when I took her to the park, she got scared of the big lights in the park. She kept looking up at them as though they were big green monsters. Today when I got both dogs inside the diamond, Peaches took off after some sandpipers and Bubba took off after her. I haven't seen that much life in our old boy since before Daisy died. They raced side by side, then Peaches whirled around and let out a big bark at Bubba, which ended in a full basset howl. I think it surprised her. She paused for a moment as if thinking, "What was that?" It was a delight to watch. She had not been very vocal up until now and we tried to get her to howl along with Bubba early on, to no avail. She is becoming more relaxed in her new life, I think, and becoming fully basset. Both dogs slept in the bed last night and when I awoke and looked at Peaches she was belly up and wanting a tummy rub. A sure sign of a happy, relaxed dog.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Peaches is still battling the kennel cough, which is now more like allergies, with violent sneezing and asthmatic wheezing. She was carrying on so last night that I called the vet today and insisted she prescribe a different antibiotic for Peaches, which she did. The Benadryl that I'd been advised to give her seemed to have no effect whatsoever except to induce sleep in me when I also took a pill in desperation for that purpose. Now she's on Clavimox (Amoxycillin) for the next week, which I hope will knock the rest of this foul kennel curse out of her. It seemed she was a little better this evening after just one pill, so I sure hope things will improve for her. I know it's been uncomfortable for the little girl at night, and none of us has had any quality sleep the past two weeks. Adopting a new dog is not much less sleep depriving than having a new baby, it would seem.

Something kind of funny happened tonight, and it was fortunate we were here at the time or it might not have been so funny. I noticed Peaches standing apparently frozen in place beside the dining table. It alarmed me because she seemed hunched over and I worried that she was sick or something. She didn't whine or complain, though. At first I thought she was afraid of the wooden box that was upturned in front of her, but when I moved the box, she still refused to budge an inch. When I came down to comfort her and find out what was the trouble I then realized her collar was hooked on something and she couldn't move. It was hung on the button of my coat, which was hanging on the chair. A button had slipped neatly through the ring that held her ID and microchip tags. I removed her collar, unhooked it from the button, and replaced the too large ring with a smaller one so that hopefully won't ever happen again. Again, I'm glad that I was at home to release her. Daisy used to bark too much, but I wish this dog barked more than she does. I've heard her bark only three times since we've had her, and two of those were tonight when she saw a cat on our walk. I hope she'll find her voice eventually.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Peaches and Bubba are getting along much better now. He's far more tolerant of her than he was at first, and her presence has actually sparked up his life quite a bit, which I'm glad of. I was concerned at first that he might have been happier as an only dog, but I think he's glad to have a roommate, especially when we have to leave the house. He gnaws on rawhide chewies with great enthusiasm now, whereas he never paid them any mind before. This behavior is probably mostly competitive in nature, but he really does seem much more lively than in the months after Daisy died. He just lay around all the time before looking really bored and dejected, but now he comes out front in the garden with Peaches and me. He didn't even do that very much when Daisy was alive, mostly because she always bullied him out of his spot. He was afraid of her, I think, but he's on more even ground with this dog, who seems to adore him and craves his attention. She's fortunately undaunted by his occasional grumpiness. This morning when we got ready for walkies, she ran up to him and gave him kisses on his nose and batted at his face, which he amazingly didn't mind. Two weeks ago he sure would have. I need to keep the camera at the ready more than I have been in order to catch some of these moments.

She is still adjusting to her new life, though. Last week when we had a new leather (and slobberproof) couch delivered, I put both dogs in the back room while the men made the delivery because I worried she might slip out an open door. After they left, I let the dogs out of the room. When Peaches caught their scent she completely freaked. She raced out the dog door and into the back yard and refused to come back inside. She did it again yesterday when a neighbor came over. Someone strange had been here, and she knew it. I interpreted her behavior to mean one of two things: Either she feared someone had come to take her away (as probably happened in her previous homes) or she had some kind of flashback to when people came to take her puppies away from her. She's had at least one litter, I know. And I also know she was reliving some trauma from her past. Sadly, most people underestimate how sensitive these and other living creatures are. If they understood, perhaps they wouldn't do the terrible things they do to them.

I also know that Peaches lived with children before. She seems to love them and goes all waggy whenever she spots kids. Today we were walking around the block when we encountered three little girls. Peaches ran right up to them, which she does not do with strange adults. She's very fearful of all adults she doesn't know. Unlike our Daisy, who was fearful of children, Peaches wanted to make friends with the girls, so we let her. It was nice to feel confident again that my dog would not snap at a child (or anyone else). As we walked away, she stopped and looked back longingly at the girls. It made me feel very sad that she had to give up her former life and that we have no children for her to play with and keep her entertained. I'm sure she gets a bit bored around here sometimes, especially with me typing away a lot of the time. Indeed, she would probably have been happier in a home with children, but apparently the home with children did not want her. As I said to her, a home without children in it is better than no home. I'm certain that she agrees.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Peaches is blending into her new home as smoothly as peanut butter on a Kong toy. She's such a love and can't seem to get enough of it from me. She has really bonded with her new mom, and I couldn't be happier having this darling little girl in my life. She is by far the sweetest, most affectionate basset I've ever had, and I've had some mighty sweet ones. Tonight she lay on the carpet with me like Daisy used to while I stroked her and sang to her, which she really seemed to like. It's like she's trying to soak up all the love she's been missing the past three and a half years of her life, and I'm only too happy to give it. Her kennel cough is improving. We probably shouldn't have taken her for walks today because there was such a brisk wind, but she gets stir crazy staying indoors all day long. I put on her hand-me-down red striped sweater from Bramble, which fits her perfectly, even though he was just four months old when he wore it. She's so tolerant of my putting it on her. She lets me do anything without complaint and takes her pills easy as pie. Daisy would have fought me like a tiger if I'd tried to put a sweater on her. Since our poor ill-fated little Brammie never got to wear it much before he died, I'm glad she is wearing it. It looks like the sweater from the children's book, "Where's Waldo?" She looks so funny in it and kind of like a wiener dog because she's so long and skinny. She's a real peach and a keeper. Why she was surrendered not once but twice I'll never know. I suppose there are any number of lame excuses for dumping a perfectly good dog. Whoever did doesn't know what they missed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy Birthday to me. I blew out a candle on some cake, but I really already got my fondest wish in finding my new basset buddy, Peaches. The Maxwell nominations were certainly some wishes come true, too.

I took Peaches to the vet today, a day early, for the "free" exam you get when you adopt a dog from the SSPCA, which of course never ends up being free. I took her in today because her coughing and sneezing seemed worse. They checked her over thoroughly, and she does indeed have kennel cough. She is in excellent health otherwise. The virus runs its course in three weeks, but I insisted the vet give her some antibiotics to hasten her recovery. Poor little girl has been through enough already. They told me I could give her Robitussin to ease the coughing. I'll need to take her back for a Leptospirosis vaccine, but not until she's over the kennel cough. Her body is already fighting that infection. And when I do, I'll be taking her to my regular vet, which is not a VCA facility. After my terrible experience with Daisy, I will never take my dog to another one of these corporate-run outfits. All they care about is making a buck off you, in my opinion. At least that is my perception of every such vet I've been to. My pretty Peaches deserves the best.

I had a scare when the vet clinic I took her to called late in the evening to tell me to be sure not to give her anything with acetominephin in it, which is toxic to dogs. When I looked on the Robitussin label, the first active ingredient listed was acetominephin! I can't believe they told me to use that; surely they must have known what was in it or they wouldn't have left the message on my phone cautioning me about it--too late, unfortunately. I could have done great harm to a smaller dog than Peaches. I was very upset because I had just given her the second dose that day. Fortunately, I gave her only about 1/3 of a baby dropper full (part of which she spit out because it tastes so nasty), but I was still worried. I called an emergency vet who assured me that I had probably done no harm because of the small dosage and her body weight, which is just under 40 pounds. I called our regular vet the next morning to be sure and was told I probably don't need to worry about any liver damage but to observe her for the next week, just in case. It takes about a week to work out of their system. No more cough medicine!

Bubba, who is still top dog at the Wright house, tells me it's bedtime.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another year has begun, and I heard that in Atlanta at midnight they dropped a giant peach instead of a ball like in NYC. Seems especially fitting that I have named my new dog Peaches. Unfortunately, she has picked up some kennel cough at the shelter, even though she was vaccinated for it. I don't understand why shelters don't inject the dogs before they ever set foot in those places. I would never have lost my little Bramble I adopted in 1995 to distemper if the city pound had done so.

Of course Peaches would start in coughing on New Year's Day when no vets are open. The incubation period is five to seven days, so this would be about the time that symptoms would appear. Fortunately, I found some amoxycillin from one of our other dogs and gave her two tablets, one this morning and one this evening, which seems to have helped. At least I've started her on antibiotics, and tomorrow when I take her to the vet, he can prescribe some more for her.

Those poor little dogs go through so much, both emotionally and physically, when people dump them at shelters. They are so devoted and dependent on people, but their people are too often insensitive to their misery. It's those who dump dogs and cats and fail to spay and neuter their pets who are at fault for the pet overpopulation problem and the destruction of perfectly adoptable pets. They are the ones who should be behind bars, not the animals. I still find it hard to believe that this sweet dog was surrendered not once but twice at two different shelters. She is the sweetest, most loving and docile dog I've had in a long time. I'm so glad I found her. I knew when the time was right, I'd be led to the right dog for me, and she is. My pretty Peaches has finally found her forever home, and we are richer for her coming to stay with us.

Again, Happy New Year to everyone! May 2007 be better than 2006, in all respects.