Foster Dog

A couple of weeks ago, my coworker Kristin noticed a stray dog outside her office window. I went out to say hello, and found that the dog was so afraid that he’d freeze anytime he saw a person, even far away. I stood still for five minutes or so, and he stood still too, just terrified of me. I felt awful for him but went back inside, hoping he’d go away and we wouldn’t see him again. I didn’t think there was anything I could do.

He was back again the next day, and was just as scared. I called the animal control place in Little Rock but they didn’t have anyone they could send to catch him. And then it was the weekend. Continue reading “Foster Dog”

Sick Puppy

Poor Hayduke.

He had a really nice visit to New Orleans last week. He behaved well in Aunt Dot’s backyard, when he was there, and when he was allowed in the house, he was a gentleman. He rested in our spare bedroom, played nicely with Emma, and even when he escaped to the living room he didn’t do anything more rambunctious than sniffing and wagging. He got to spend lots of time in Julie’s backyard playing with her dog┬áBourbon, and we took him to the NOLA City Bark four days in a row.

He’s also really good in the car. We couldn’t ask for a better traveling dog – he slept on his mat most of the time, and didn’t need pee stops any more often than the rest of us. We’ve been careful not to feed him fast food or snacks, ever, so he can share a backseat with a teenager and a cheeseburger without anything more than a vaguely left-out stare.

And now he’s sick. He has a terrible cough, which started really suddenly. I thought he was choking on something – he coughs so hard he gags himself, a reaction I remember clearly from his “I’m a Puppy and I Eat Mittens and Other Very Inappropriate Things’ phase. But he’s not choking, and he hasn’t eaten anything bad. He’s just a sick, sick puppy.

Water Dawg

Hayduke loves water, so when when we decided to buy boats early this year, it seemed unkind to consider getting into a hobby he’d love, in a way that excluded him. So I chose my boat with the intention of paddling with Hayduke. We brought him with us to the lake when we tested boats. I only looked at buying boats that his wet doggy body would fit in, and that he could get in and out of while out on the water. We practiced. I chose the Native because it seemed to work well for this, and once home, I put the boat in the living room floor and taught him to get in and out of it, and encouraged him to lie down inside.

A fat lot of good THAT did – the dog more or less totally refuses to get into the boat on the water. I’ve tried and tried to teach him to ride with me. I’ve put soft things in the bottom so that it would be less slippery. I’ve tried using a tab on his pinch collar to hold him. I’ve tried bribing him with snacks. I’ve given up. Continue reading “Water Dawg”

Waterversary

One year ago today, we took our puppy swimming for the very first time. At the time we really didn’t know if he’d like the water. He did – so much that we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate his first Waterversary.


So we went back to the same spot – a nice swimming hole on the Little Missouri river, a couple of miles’ hike in from the car. We invited Kathy and Jarion and Ivy, who were with us last year. We also asked Adam and Bonnie to come along, because we like Adam and Bonnie. (Note: Redheads do not always remember to wear sunscreen, even as adults. REMIND THEM.)

What a pretty day. We swam and played in the water. Mandy tried out Kathy’s new GoPro. Kathy took a hammock nap and I stayed near her while the others ranged upstream to play in the water with the dogs. Hayduke, ever the mama’s boy, ran back and forth between his playmates and me, while I sat on a warm rock reading a book.

Poor Hayduke

Hayduke’s been swimming so much that his ears have been bothering him. We ordered some stuff online that was recommended as a sort of dog swimmer’s ear remedy. It reviewed well, and we figured it would help.

Last week, we noticed some little bumps on top of his head. No big deal, we thought – they’re probably some kind of bug bites, or scratches from sticker bushes incurred while crashing through the underbrush in the woods somewhere.

But this week, on Monday, the little bumps were all over his poor head, and they were bothering him. All around his ears, and all down his neck, were little bleedy bumps. On Tuesday they were worse, and by Tuesday night they had spread to his muzzle. His eyes and mouth were all swollen. He was really feeling bad, and it was scary for him and for us.

First thing Wednesday morning, he and I were at the vet’s office. The awful hives and the swelling were an allergic reaction to the ear stuff, they said. He got a terrible haircut and some benedryl and steroid shots, and I stayed home all morning with him until the antihistamines kicked in and the swelling started to subside. He’s got different ear medicine now, and some oral antibiotics, but it’s going to take awhile for these awful itchy bleedy hives to go away.

And the worst part? He’s not allowed to swim for ten days. So stay away from “Vet’s Best Ear Relief” or else your $12 in over-the-counter product will turn into a $150 vet bill!

Obedience Class for Dogs

Hayduke went through a puppy kindergarten this past spring (Blue Sky Dogs) with flying colors, though with perhaps a little bit too much enthusiasm. We took the class from Colleen who runs a pet shop on Cantrell Road, and it was worth every penny and every minute we spent.

For his beginning obedience class, we switched to the Little Rock Dog Training Club. They have a much more extensive lineup of courses for people who want to show their dogs, but we thought that many of the skills involved would translate well to just having a good, obedient, reliable family hiking dog.

Boy, were we wrong. What a waste of time and money! We spent nearly eight weeks relearning all the things we already knew from puppy kindergarten, except that we spent time to learn them in a snooty, dog-show way.

Hayduke had already learned that when I say “sit”, he should put his butt on the ground. He’s very good at it. Sit. Butt. Ground. Good sit. NOT a good sit, according to the snooty dog show people. He should sit THIS way, doing THIS, and not do THAT. Hayduke wasn’t interested, and I wasn’t either. He’d sit sideways, or stick his leg out, or lean on me. He and I were both so grumpy about the ‘new rules’ that I really believe he started sitting wrong on purpose. In fact, when he’d occasionally get it exactly right, he’d realize it and get up and sit again, pointing backward.

When we practiced ‘recall’, I’d call him from across the room. “Hayduke, COME!” I’d say in a happy, excited voice, and he’d run as fast as he could straight to me. But was this correct? No, it was NOT. I was supposed to say it sternly, in a voice of authority. “Hayduke, COME”, in a frowny loud tone. I pointed out that the students who said it this way had dogs who walked slowly to them, or ignored them completely, or wandered off to someone else. Mine was the only dog in the class who actually appeared to want to mind his human.

Most of the class was completely impractical pickiness and time spent fiddling with skills already learned. We were both disinterested and frustrated. I had to invent games for Hayduke to play or he’d get bored waiting on other dogs to do things perfectly.

Ugh. We finished our class, and we got our certificate (that’s it, up top), and phooey on them. We’re not going back.

 

Backpacking with Hayduke and Isabel

Our friend Isabel just turned five, but she’s been outside a lot. Her parents are both active, outdoor people – they both cave, and Amy runs and backpacks, and Spike hunts a lot – so Isi’s quite accustomed to sleeping in a tent, to eating noodles while sitting on rocks, to peeing in the woods. No problem. Isabel is comfortable in the big wide world.

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So it was no surprise that Isi’s first backpacking trip was a resounding success. We’d been planning it for months. We met up at Fairview campground on Friday night and did a quick car-shuttle before dropping into the Ozark Highlands Trail near Ben Hur. Continue reading “Backpacking with Hayduke and Isabel”

Adoption Announcement

It's a DOG

We’ve decided to keep the puppy. He’s been trying to be a good boy, and has already learned some commands like ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and ‘come.’ He’ll grow up to be big and strong enough to stay outside during the day, and he’ll like coming with us on backpacking and hiking trips. We’re getting him at the perfect age to teach him to behave and cooperate. And he really needs a home, so even if we aren’t perfect puppy parents, his life with us will be a lot better than just being out on the street, or stuck in a shelter, or chained in some guy’s backyard.

We’ve enjoyed having Hayduke underfoot the last couple of weeks. We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of dog he turns out to be.

Making himself at home

We’ve had a “FOUND PUPPY” sign up out by the busy road for two weeks now. I’ve only received one phone call, from a woman who lost her little black pomeranian. “I’m not sure what this dog is, ma’am, but I can tell you for sure he’s not a pomeranian.”

I brought him inside on the first night and slept on the couch with him, since it was chilly and there were thunderstorms. I just didn’t feel right about letting the little guy stay outside by himself. Now he stays outside during the day, while we’re gone, but spends his evenings in the kitchen and sleeps inside, too. Continue reading “Making himself at home”

Kind People Live Here

Dogs show up in our neighborhood and around our yard on a pretty regular basis. They’re usually unfamiliar dogs, and they’re usually in good shape, clearly just stopping for a little smell around on their way someplace else. We’re not above patting a head here and there, or making a phone call if there’s a number on a collar tag. We provide a bowl of water if a drink seems to be in order. But for the most part we don’t get very involved in the business of itinerant dogs.

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You may remember that, about a year ago, two beagles showed up at our house and took a long nap in the shade. They didn’t seem inclined to leave, once we’d scratched their ears and given them some water. They were tired and seemed like they needed some help. We put out signs and put ads in the paper and took care of them for about a month. Finally, we helped them find their home. Continue reading “Kind People Live Here”