Sunday, 28 July 2013

Goodbye Toenail, Hello Crazy Mom

A while ago Chili ripped out one of her back toenails. Yep, she ripped it clean off. She decided that she didn’t like the side of the gate she was standing on, so she jumped over it. On the way over, she caught her toenail and well, let’s just say it didn’t make it all the way over the fence with the rest of her. It stayed behind.

It must’ve hurt. I mean, she ripped her toenail out so it had to hurt. Chili being Chili just landed, limped around for a minute, and then ‘walked it off’. Nobody knew exactly what she had done at the time. She’s always doing stuff like that and since she didn’t really seem hurt, then no worries, right. That night she was lying on her bed and I could see a red glow coming from her back toe. I was staring at it wondering what the hell I was looking at. She shifted and it stopped glowing. I figured I was imagining things, as usual. A little while later, I saw the glow again. That’s it, this calls for an inspection.

I got the flashlight so I could get a good look. Chili was not impressed. She shot me a dirty look and tried to get away. I could see that she did something to her toe, and I suspected she ripped out her toenail but I couldn’t be sure. So I did what any other normal person would do. I grabbed the camera, took a few shots, and loaded them on the computer.

Ummm, let me tell you right now. There are some things that are not meant to be photographed and viewed at a large size on a computer screen. They really aren’t.

I’m quite certain that even the most innocent scratch will look sinister when it’s blown up. I don’t know what I was thinking. All I managed to do was scare the hell out of myself. It was like a car wreck. I wanted to look away, but I just couldn’t. I was looking from the picture to Chili and back. She knew something was up and took off to the other room where she felt she would be safe from my crazy.

Yeah, run Chili, run, mom is going into crazy mode.

I figured that since a toe is on the ground a lot, this was one of those injuries that was ‘vet worthy’. Besides, that picture looked pretty scary and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Stupid picture.

After 3 vet visits, a few weeks of fighting with Chili to keep the wrapping on her foot, and ridiculously chasing her around trying to spray her toe with Vetricyn, I eventually gave up and decided I wasn’t giving the vet any more money and I was leaving Chili alone.

Her toenail would eventually grow back without any issue and a crisis wasn’t even a crisis. Or, did I avert the crisis by doing exactly the right thing and that’s exactly why she healed so well. Hmmm, there’s something to be said for being a little crazy.

Here’s to every crazy animal mom who’s just working to do the best they can.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Lesson of the Greys

As the years go by the inevitable happens, grey hair. Nobody likes it. Especially when they start to appear on the ones we love. Last week Chili turned 5 and I don’t like it one bit. I see the bratty beast who still enthusiastically and not very gracefully zooms around the backyard, gives me the shifty-eye, showers me with kisses, then waits for me to use my ‘serious voice’ before she decides to listen. It seems like she’ll forever be the lively little girl. Then I see the grey hair creeping into her beautiful black coat. The odd stray dots her body, but I see them slowly gathering mostly around her muzzle. I guess it’s supposed to be a sign of maturity but I think it’s there as a reminder.

Time moves on and we need to hear this message the greys are sending and stop to appreciate those around us who make our lives beautiful. I’m not only referring to our animals but to anyone who brings a smile to our faces and encourages us to shine. There are people in my life who fit this bill, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to simply talk about Chili. Why? Because that’s what makes me happy at this moment. See, I am learning from Chili.

To appreciate Chili and learn her lessons means letting go of those things that are supposed to be important. Artificially important. Chili leaves behind her a trail of dog hair tumbleweeds, destroyed plants and flowers, and zoom ruts. I could give more examples but I’ll stop there. We could stress over the dirt and destruction or laugh about it. I’ve chosen to laugh because the other option just doesn’t make sense.

Most of the dog hair on the floor comes from us petting her, and her happily wiggling around to make sure we’re hitting the right spot. As she gives herself a good shake in a beam of sunshine there’s a puff of hairs left swirling around that brings me back to watching cartoons as a kid. The destroyed plants and flowers, and zoom ruts, usually come from playing with her in the yard. A misdirected Frisbee sends her to crush a plant, or her overall excitement throws her into zoom mode leaving ruts where she corners, and sheared off flowers that she fails to jump. It’s hard not to get sucked into the moment when you see that big smile and feel her excitement.

So here comes the choice, or the weighing of the options. Do you worry about the dog hair, and the destruction, and shut the whole thing down? You’ll definitely have less hair, and a nice yard. Maybe only pet the dog outside and take them to parks to play. Make the yard the place to show off and impress the neighbors with your skills. Or, do you let yourself be free to get lost in these spontaneous moments and appreciate them for what they are. I do appreciate a clean home and the beauty of a flower and a well groomed yard, but I appreciate Chili and those moments more.

For me, appreciation isn’t just about the person, or the dog, it really is about the moments. How many moments have you lost because you’ve always made the more controlled choice? I know I’ve lost quite a few. Luckily there isn’t a time limit on change so no matter what time we have left with those who are special to us, we can always make the choice to let go and allow ourselves to get lost in these moments.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Chili the Explorer

Chili has a very curious nature or to be more accurate, she’s nosey. Absolutely everything new or different must be checked out. If you try to keep her away from something she has in her sights, well, it just makes it worse. Now, she really, really has to check it out. Have you ever tried to keep a very determined dog away from something? Not an easy task. We can tell how determined she is by the level of crazy face she’s wearing. She doesn’t forget either. You can drag her away but a couple of hours later, as soon as she sees an opportunity, she’ll run to the spot you tried to keep her away from.

The Poor Bee. All it was trying to do was warm up in the sun, but no, it had to be stalked by a big crazy faced beast. Chili loves sticking her nose on things and stomping them with her paw to see what will happen. It’s all a part of the exploration. We did keep her away, but it made her even more focused and as you can see from the picture, the crazy face was on. Of course I didn’t want the bee to get hurt, and I didn’t want Chili to get hurt either. I knew what would happen if I let her explore this one, she’d end up with a bee sting on the end of her nose, then knowing me, we’d be throwing her in the truck and going straight to the vet. No waiting to see what might happen, just straight to the vet just in case. Call me crazy, I call me cautious.

Everything new that’s brought into the house has to undergo a thorough inspection. She’s got her head stuck in every bag or box. “What’s in there, let me sniff it. Is that a new shirt? It looks better with a nose print, don’t you think?” Oh yes, she sticks her big head in the bags as you’re carrying them in. You wonder why the bag suddenly feels so heavy. When you look down, all you see is her body and her head buried in the bag. She can’t even wait until you put them down. Her favourite bags, the grocery bags of course. There’s always something interesting in those.

Today, I pulled out a cowboy hat that I had bought in Mexico a few years ago. I was sitting on the back step wearing it when Chili came by and sat beside me. Then she mashed her head into my neck and started licking me. At first, I thought she was just being loveable, I should have known better. She had an ulterior motive. She had to check out the hat. It didn’t matter that it was on my head, she was going to check it out and that was it. Before I knew it she was on top of me licking my hat. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t push her off. Of course this just made it worse.

Why haven’t I trained this out of her? Some of it I’m working on and some of it I’m not. Although we protest a lot, we laugh a lot too. If I trained everything out of her, then I’d be left with a dog that just lays there not being allowed to be herself and explore and love the life she’s living. I think there’ll be plenty of time for lying around when she’s older. Although I have a hard time picturing Chili just laying there and watching things happen instead of being in the middle of it. To me, she’ll always be crazy Chili.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Menace of the Sky

Now, for the most part, Chili doesn’t really bother much with the birds. Now and again, she might make a half-hearted attempt at catching one when it lands but not really. Either she’s already in a playful mood and it’s landed in her zone, or it just happens to land close to her when she’s lying down and after watching it for a minute she makes a mock charge. She lies under the hummingbird feeder while the hummingbirds hover over her feeding and she completely ignores them. Ahhh birds, nothing to get in a fuss about. Or is there?

There is one menace of the sky that stirs up the beast inside. She knows its cry, and recognizes it immediately. Its presence calls for a full on ‘battle station’ alert. If only she could convince us to let her out, if only she could catch one and teach it a lesson, but for some reason, mom and dad won’t cooperate. No matter how much she protests, growls and begs for us to open the door, we keep getting in her way. What is this black demon that torments her so? It’s a crow, of course.

You might think it has something to do with the size of the crow, but it doesn’t. We get quite a few Pileated Woodpeckers in the yard that feed on the suet and although Chili watches them, she doesn’t get crazy over them. You can say her name and she’ll turn around and look at you which tells me she hasn’t gone into that dark place in her brain. She recognizes that the woodpecker isn’t a crow, even though they are about the same size, and acts accordingly.

So what made her crow crazy? As with most things, it was likely us. Not that we don’t like crows, but we don’t like the crows on our suet feeder, they eat the whole thing. Three of them usually arrive and take turns pulling chunks of suet out of the feeder. With them around, a suet that should last at least a week, only lasts about 2 days. So, when we see them there, we want them off. Chili sees our reaction and reacts accordingly. Now that we’ve created this crow-hating monster, we need to uncreate it. Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, it’s much easier to create the monster than it is to get rid of it.

The only thing I can say here is, “Boy are we dummies”. We know better than this. You know why she doesn’t mind most of the birds, we don’t react to them negatively. With the Pileated Woodpecker, she was interested in the beginning but it was what I did that changed things. A few times Chili and I have been in the yard when a Pileated has flown over. Typically this is their scope out fly over. Since I love watching them up close, I picked a good spot close to the suet, then put Chili in a down and spoke to her calmly. Finally, when the Pileated would arrive at the suet, I wouldn’t let Chili get into that dark place. I would keep her in a down and sit beside her while we calmly watched the woodpecker. Each time, it’s gotten better and better. Now, when she’s in the house and sees one at the suet, she just sits and watches, as opposed to the crazy show that happens when she sees the crows.

I guess we’re destined to keep learning the same lessons over and over again. It’s not that we actually forget, it’s just that we’re going about our daily lives. Simply doing what we do. Chili, along with us, is doing what she does. Just trying to be a productive part of the household and help out Mom and Dad when we need it. She tries hard, she wants to make us happy, and that’s something we must remember. Now it’s going to be a win for the crows as we turn Chili from being a crow hater to a crow ‘who-careser’. (Yes I know that’s not a word and I don’t cares-er)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

An Afternoon with the Cousins

Chili loves people and she’s pretty certain that everyone loves her. Now, she’s a lot of dog and will run at you with top speed, put the brakes on at the last minute, then cover you in kisses. If you’re not quite used to it, it can be a lot to take. Chili doesn’t get to visit with her cousins very often so her enthusiasm can be a bit much in the beginning. I understand though, they live with a little dog, Rocky, who you can pick up and tuck under your arm. There is a big difference between little dog enthusiasm and big dog enthusiasm.

When we arrive, Rocky usually runs over to us all wiggly and squeally. He jumps right into the truck then tries to jump on us and give us little Rocky kisses. He’s a happy boy and is always happy to see us. When you finally get to sit down, he wants to jump right up on your lap and settle in. Thankfully, Chili doesn’t try to sit on anyone’s lap. That would be awkward. Chili runs to greet everyone and wraps herself around them with her tongue flying everywhere. Now Chili doesn’t know this, and I don’t want to break it to her, but not everyone likes big Chili kisses. They can be kind of wet and slimy, and, depending on if she’s just eaten, a little stinky too.

So, we’re sitting on their back deck and Chili is thoroughly enjoying their big back yard and running around with Rocky. Every now and again she would come and check in with us, throw a few kisses around and run off. Everyone would pull their hands and legs in to avoid being slimed. Chili is a persistent girl so after a while, everyone just gave in to her affections.

This visit was the first time Rocky wasn’t intimidated by Chili. He ran up to her, they said hi, and all was great. He even ran around trying to get her to chase him. He also took every opportunity he could to be Sir Humps-A-Lot. Chili was good about it and would just shake him off.

Chili’s three human cousins are pretty amazing at soccer and they have lots of soccer balls hanging around the back yard. Chili isn’t too shabby at ball handling herself so once she saw the soccer balls, she was in her element. For a few hours, the cousins kicked the ball back and forth while Chili ran between them chasing it. She got a few... once off the head and another off the shoulder, but she didn’t care. She was having the time of life with her family. She actually did get a few and when she wanted to rest she would just sit on the ball or tuck it between her legs. She did start to slow down but with a little rest, she was ready to go again. When there’s fun to be had, there’s no stopping Chili.

All in all a pretty great day for Chili. It was a pretty great day for all of us actually. Spending the afternoon outside with family and enjoying a few drinks while all the kids, both humans and dogs, played together in the yard. It’s nice to see Chili finally fitting in. It’s taken a little while, but it’s happening and I’m very happy about it.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Ritual of Sharing

OK, so call us bad dog parents if you like, but we enjoy sharing our people food with Chili, just like we did with Ruby. The only thing is....Ruby was a seagull, and Chili....not so much. There’s kind of a ritual to sharing your food, you and your dog, hanging out together. You pick up one fry, dip it in ketchup and eat it yourself. Then you pick up another, dip it in ketchup and give it to the dog. Then there’s the complete look of disbelief you get from your dog when you forget to dip it in the ketchup. “Whoops, sorry, forgot.”

Whatever Brad ate, Ruby ate, even if she didn’t enjoy it. The sour face she would put on when she was given a pickle was priceless. She didn’t have to eat it, but she would. After all, her Daddy just ate one and whatever Daddy would eat, Ruby would eat. The only things she wouldn’t eat was lettuce and medication. We would give her a piece of hamburger on the bun with all the fixins. She would swish that thing around in her mouth, chew a bit, then spit the lettuce out. It would just fly right out. She would do the same thing if I put any pills in her food. She ate so fast I don’t know how she even knew something was in there, but there she was, frantically eating her meal and somehow out the pill would fly.

Chili would like to eat everything we eat, but she has a more refined palate and more things upset her belly. In the days when we would share with her she was still picky. She’s the put it in her mouth, spit it out, sniff it, pick it up again, spit it out, eyeball it, then maybe eat it kind of girl. Can you believe that she’s even done this with fresh raw bones? I’ve stood there amazed as she’s sniffed a nice big raw knuckle bone, then given it a few licks, walked away and turned her back on it. “You are a dog, right?” Yes, the mysteries of Chili.

A few months back when Chili was diagnosed with pancreatitis, we stopped sharing food with her. If she really did have it, then we didn’t want to be contributing to her getting sick. This was not an easy thing to do. She still looks at us with those big eyes, then her Dad looks at me with big eyes. “Can’t I give her some?” She knows which one of us is the weakest. The thing is, I want to give her something. I want to share with her. I don’t, but I want to. OK, she does get the odd thing, but we’re definitely more careful about what the odd thing is. Sometimes I’ll even get a few nuggets of her food and just give her a piece now and then while we’re snacking on something else. It’s not the same though. She knows.

Many of my animal memories from growing up involve food. We always had cats and we shared with them. Or they would just take it. I can’t count how many times I would be holding food and a cat paw would come out of nowhere, claws would sink into my hand, and then drag it over to the waiting cat who would just eat the food as if I didn’t matter. Then there was the ice cream truck that would always stop when Toke the Great Dane would run over. He’d be standing by the truck, then a hand would come out of the window with a huge soft serve ice cream on the cone and Toke would lick it up.

When you really look at it, they’re all rituals of some kind. The things that made us smile, or just the things that we lived with, like ninja cat paws, that we secretly loved. Enjoy them, they make great memories.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

It's a Tough Life!

Poor little Chili has such a tough life. For one, here Momma is so mean. Oh yes, I am certainly one mean momma. The things I do to her sometimes, are unthinkable. I know she wonders why I’m so mean to her...why I do these terrible things to her. I can’t help it. I’m just that way. I’m her momma and that’s what momma’s do.

It starts innocently, I don’t want to tip her off. I grab a handful of towels and playfully ask Chili to follow me upstairs. I’m very sneaky. When we get there, I shut the bedroom door to ensure there is no escape. At this point, Chili knows something is up. I can see it in her eyes, the look of concern, and the crinkly head. She’s thinking, “No momma, NO, I don’t want to and I’ve worked so hard to be stanky!” I speak to her ever so sweetly, luring her into the chamber of torture. Ha, Ha, Ha, she has no choice but to follow. There’s nowhere else to go. I pull out the carefully chosen all natural mixture and step into the chamber. The torture apparatus is turned on. I take my time making sure the temperature is just right. Yes, I’m so mean. After all, Chili now has the perfect stank on that she’s worked very hard at. Day after day of building it to a point where it’s refined, then in steps her momma, to wreck everything.

I call her into the Chamber and close the door. Now the real torture begins. Chili must stand there and take it. I soak her down and put the all natural mixture all over her. Yes, a special mixture to make sure she doesn’t get dry skin. Ha, I’m so mean. Then the worst of the worst... the full body massage. Oh yes, she’s so tortured, just look into her eyes. I carefully and thoroughly rinse her down then the final step of the process. The towel of torture. Chili knows it’s all ending soon and starts to get antsy. Biting at the towel, shoving herself back and forth between my legs and hopping around as much as she can. Shaking and shaking to soak down her torturer. “Take that Momma!” Then the biggest insult of all, she gets a treat. How could I be so mean? Someone or something must pay for this.

Once her toes are dried, the chamber door is opened, but she can’t leave. She must wait for the signal that it’s OK. She’s already planning her attack. There’s no way she’s the only one who will be tortured today. Once she is released she heads straight out of the chamber in search of a victim. Who will it be? The unstuffed squirrel, no..... the wingless chicken, no...ahh the victim has been chosen, it’s the headless giraffe.

Chili pounces on her giraffe, grabs it with her mouth, and shakes it so hard it goes flying across the room. “Ha, so there giraffe.” Then she bounds down the stairs and zooms around the house looking for a bodycheck victim. Oh look, there’s daddy, perfect. He did allow momma to torture her so he shouldn’t get off easy. She bounds into her daddy, and stomps all over him. “So there, daddy, now you’re wet too!”

The life of Chili is a tough life. Baths, toe-nail clippings, and rules to follow. She only gets two meals a day and isn’t given human food because it upsets her belly. Who do mommy and daddy think they are? Not sharing their food and treats, it’s an unspeakable offense to such a sweet little girl. And toe-nail clipping, who ever thought that up? Ridiculous. Oh yes, Chili has a tough life.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Slobbered and Stomped

Not a day goes by that I’m not slobbered or stomped. I don’t think I know what it’s like to be polished any more. Shiny shoes are a thing of the past and if I washed my hands every time I touched the dog, my hands would be washed away by now. Then there are the slobber marks that seem to be permanently on my jeans but they just change their location. That’s the way it goes when you’re the mom of a little girl who is lovey, licky, and likes to mash dirty, slobbery toys into you.

When I’m out shopping and I see a cool pair of shoes or boots, I get all excited then I think to myself, “how easy will these be to clean once they’re licked and stomped?” Then I walk away. This just isn’t right, I should have her trained to at least not stomp on me any longer. I wish. Everyone has to have the mark of Chili or their life just isn’t as great as it could be. The thing is, it’s not that I like being slobbered and stomped, it’s just that she’s so damn cute doing it. It’s almost impossible to get mad at her and when you do, you regret that you did because those big brown eyes are staring at you like she just did you a favour and you didn’t appreciate it.

Playing with her means you’re going to be slobbered. It’s imperative that she bring her toy to you and mash it into you before she lets you take it. It’s a must, like some unwritten law. The dirtier the toy, the better the mashing. You don’t even have to be actively playing with her. You could be standing over the sink, doing the dishes, when suddenly you’re goosed with an unstuffed squirrel. She not exactly subtle and she doesn’t really care about boundaries. If mashing the toy in your ass gets your attention, then that’s what she’ll do. After all, she knows you want to play with her, she’s just giving you an excuse.

Of course there’s the dog hair. I admit to constantly hugging Chili. I can’t stop, she’s too irresistible. This explains why I’m always covered in dog hair. If you come over for dinner sometimes, stop reading. Yes, if you’ve eaten dinner here you’ve eaten Chili hair, likely. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been boiling water for spaghetti, looked into the pot, and saw dog hair. Of course, I pick them out, so I do try to cut down on the Chili hair intake, but you’re eating them. Live with it. I was eating lunch at work one day when I looked down and saw a hair on my plate. For a split second I was grossed out, then I realized it was a Chili hair that fell off me. Once I figured that out, I just picked it off.

Now if any of this was due to another human, I would not be impressed. Human hair, disgusting. Human slobber, gross. Being stomped by a human, that’s rude. Put them all together and that’s one person I want to knock out. But somehow, because it’s a dog, I put up with it and even like it sometimes. You really do learn to relax about things when you have a dog. I’m sure that applies to any type of animal. It’s a good thing, to relax. The other day Chili’s cousin, Rocky Rocks, was so excited to see me that he was jumping in and out of my truck. As he usually does, he dribbled, but this time he was on my seat. My reaction, oh well, give me a cloth to wipe it up, no worries. If that had’ve happened 3 ½ years ago, I would have lost my mind, seriously lost my mind. Ahhh progress.

A better state of mind, beaten into me....courtesy of Chili.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Sounds of Spring

What a great weekend it’s been so far. We’ve been spending all of our time out in the yard just enjoying the warm sun and the sounds of spring. Yes, the chickadees chirping, the hummingbirds humming, the woodpeckers pecking, and the dog barking and charging. Oh the sounds of spring.

Every year we have to remind Chili that the sounds of spring are different than the sounds of winter. She always forgets and spends the first few times in the yard sniffing the air, standing on alert, barking, and charging when anyone goes by. It’s so enjoyable for everyone. Yes, that’s sarcasm. It’s not exactly fun, but we spend the time retraining her so we can enjoy the rest of the season. We could leave her in the house but we like having her with us and I’m pretty sure she likes being with us too so we all endure.

There she lies, all pretty and cute soaking up the sun. She looks so content when suddenly she springs up like a breaching shark and starts growling and sprinting across the yard. Luckily a sharp, “Chili, Here!”, stops the charge and brings her to my side whining, protesting and moaning like I just kept her from saving the world. Half the time we look around and can’t even figure out what she’s charging at. So, I keep her at my side and stay ¼ focused on what I’m doing and ¾ focused on Chili and every sound and movement around me. I’m good at knowing what will set her off so I quietly ask her to look at me when I hear different noises and when she looks away, I tell her, “No, no...look at me.” Even when I’m successful for half the day I can’t let my guard down. If she jumps up and charges just once, it takes a while to settle her down.

Then there’s the sound of children playing. Chili loves people of all ages but there’s something about the sound of children playing when she can’t see them that she simply can’t take. There are no issues when she sees them, she just glances and goes about her business. She’s been like this from the day we adopted her so I figure there’s something in that first 6 months of her life that she experienced that triggered this reaction. The mysteries of Chili.

Of all the things that set her off, the one thing that rarely gets her going, that I would fully expect would send her into a fit, is the sound of the neighbourhood dogs barking. There are a few barkers in the neighbourhood but for the most part, she ignores them. I always watch her when they start barking and the odd time when I can see she’s priming herself to bark too, I stop her before she gets going. I don’t need her to be the neighbourhood barking dog, I have enough to deal with.

So the first few outdoor days of spring aren’t exactly relaxing but we make the most of it and do what we can to acclimatize the Chill to relax and just enjoy the sun, and ignore the sounds. She’s committed to her cause but so are we and she may be one stubborn girl, but that one stubborn girl is up against her mom and dad who are just as stubborn, ask anyone. Two against one, you’d think that would give us the’d think.

What I find interesting about it all is she doesn’t react to anything that is happening if it’s on our property. A car can pull into the driveway, someone can walk into the yard, kids can play, and all she thinks is, “Hey look, someone is here to visit me and play.” Then she gets all wiggly and her tail starts thumping. I don’t know....the mysteries of Chili.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Little Miss FussBucket

It’s no surprise I live with a Princess, or should I say Court Jester, or to be more accurate a Little Miss FussBucket. She’s got her habits and her fits, her routines and her protests. I actually think she’s given me the ‘off with her head’ look a few times. Yet still I do stupid things just to please her. Well, I realized this week that I’d created an absolutely ridiculous situation for myself. Of course I got there because I was digging myself deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of food, and Chili, in Chili form, took full advantage. It’s just the next chapter in the food saga. I was crossing her over to a mix of new food, but in the meantime was still using up the last of the other food and also mixing in a bit of other food just to get rid of it. Her mealtime consisted of a mix of 4 different foods. It was just temporary. Ultimately the plan was to end up with a mix of just NRG and Nature’s Logic. Yeah, that was the plan.

A few nights ago at about 1am, Chili threw up her whole dinner. Poor girlie. The next morning I wasn’t really sure what she would do, but she ate her food mix as usual so I was relieved. At dinner, she sniffed her food, looked at me, then ate it. Uh oh, I knew what that meant. The next morning at breakfast Little Miss FussBucket staged a full on food protest. She wouldn’t even sniff it. She backed away from the dish and looked at me with those, ‘mother, do something about this or else’ eyes. So, here we are at 6:30am, staring at each other. I don’t really have time for this, but what am I supposed to do. I picked a few pieces of the NRG out of the mix and tried hand feeding it to her. She wouldn’t even look at it. OK, no NRG. So I abandon her mix and start taking fresh kibble from the bags and presenting one at a time to her to see what she’ll eat. She turned her nose up at one, but she ate the other two. For now, crisis averted.

At dinner, since I had more time, the master plan was to again present her with all the options and see what she’d eat. Picture this, Chili standing before me as I put taste test after taste test on a plate in front of her. Even as I’m doing it I’m laughing at myself. What has this dog turned me in to? Surprisingly, she turned her nose up at the NRG again, and the Fromm. Luckily she had no issues eating the Solid Gold and the Nature’s Logic. OK, new plan, mix these two until the Solid Gold is done, then just feed her the new stuff. That’s the plan anyway until Chili decides to change it.

Have you ever stopped to think about some of the ridiculous things that you do either for or because of your dog? Some would shake their head at me and call me crazy, and it kind of is. It’s really laughable, a lot of laughs that I wouldn’t have had if there was no Chili. If you have a dog, think about how many times in a day you were just going through the motions then suddenly looked up at a big or little goofball doing something stupid, and just smiled or started to laugh? I know for me, it’s countless. Put it all together and that’s a whole lot of happiness and laughs in my life just because I have a dog.

Yes, although my dog can be costly, can be frustrating, and makes me go damn near out of my mind sometimes, she’s also the best girl in world. Don’t you love how the mere presence of a dog completes things?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Crazy Routines

I find it funny just how routine dogs can be. There’s a ritual to almost everything. It’s like they’re superstitious or something. You can almost hear them thinking, “If I don’t twirl 3 or 4 times before I pee or poo, the boogie beast will bite me in the bum.” They don’t just have plain routines, some of the routines are site specific, or time specific. I wonder sometimes, what exactly is going through Chili’s head. Actually, I don’t think I want to know.

The Flip Flop: After breakfast every morning, Chili goes into the bedroom and flip flops her body all around the floor. We can hear the thumping and the growls as she’s flinging herself from side to side, rubbing her dirty body all over the carpet.

Stick to the Left: Chili is fanatical about being on the extreme left of the stairs when she’s going up or down. If you’re on the stairs and she’s coming up or down behind you and you move to the left to give her room, she’ll bulldoze her body between you and the wall or railing to ensure that she is still on the extreme left as she walks up or down the stairs.

After Daycare Treat: This one is time specific. Five days a week, when Chili comes home from daycare, she gets her paws cleaned, then once she’s given the OK, she boots it up to her crate to get the treats that are waiting for her. What I find interesting about this one is that she knows the treats are only there when she comes home from daycare. She doesn’t even go check it out any other time when we’ve been out, only when she comes home from daycare. Somehow, she knows.

Me First: There’s just something about heading up and down the stairs (what is it with stairs) that makes Chili barge her way by and make sure she gets there, wherever there is, first. If you’re coming up fast behind her, she’ll pick up speed to be sure she gets to her destination first. She can’t be beat.

Scratch My Ass: Exactly when did we turn into ass scratchers? I don’t know, but it’s happened. One of us will call Chili over to give her some lovin but just as she gets to us, she whips her back end around, backs up and throws a look over her shoulder, “Scratch It, come on, scratch it!” Well, she’s cute no matter what she does, but sometimes I’d just rather have the cute end as opposed to the stinky end. Actually, both ends are kind of stinky, let’s just say I’d rather scratch her head and ears sometimes instead of her behind. Oh well, she happy.

Psycho Beast: My least favourite of the routines, one that I’m constantly trying to change, and this one is place specific. When Chili is in the truck and a dog walks by, she goes a little psycho, but only sometimes. For example, if she’s in the truck at the daycare parking lot and another dog is walking through the parking lot, no problem. She’ll just watch them walk by and wag her tail. However, if the dog is walking down the road in front of the daycare parking lot, she lunges at the windows and acts like a psycho beast. There are certain places where we park that dogs can walk by no problem, then there are others where she just can’t take it.

Yes, all dogs have their quirky routines for whatever superstitious or crazy reason. For the most part their routines just make us laugh and shake our head, then there is the odd one that we’d love to change. What are your dogs routines?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Chili Fuel Change

We were a couple of weeks in to the new food when I saw the inevitable signs of a protest to come. I would put the dish down and Chili would give it a sniff, look at me, sniff the food again, then reluctantly eat it. I recognized this pattern. I’ve seen it twice before. It’s her way of telling me she’s not impressed with this food and I better do something about it before she stages a full on protest. Well, she decided not to wait. A couple of days after, she refused to eat it. I had to mix it with an old food of hers just so she would eat. She still wasn’t impressed but she did eat it. I could see her trying to sift through the food to pick out the good stuff. I knew my time was limited because I’ll only get away with this for a few days before she makes me start hand feeding her. All I needed was for her to last until the weekend so I could go back to Your Pet Pals to find something else.

I don’t live by the ‘if you don’t eat it, then starve’ mantra, when it comes to Chili. She’s at daycare all day and with her high energy lifestyle, I want her fueled up. She doesn’t have the option to run up to the girls in the middle of the day and say, “Hey, I’m really hungry, can you give me a bite to eat?” It shouldn’t be their responsibility to manage it anyway, it’s mine. I need to send her to daycare with success in mind. Sending her hungry, well, unless I’m doing it for a health reason, just isn’t right.

I always seem to forget that Your Pet Pals opens at noon on Sundays so I end up sitting in the parking lot for a while. For how often I’ve been there in the past few months you’d think I’d clue in, but I don’t. Luckily Lori saw me and waved me into the store. I knew we were at that point where I had to do something different, even if I didn’t really like it, or to be more accurate even if I didn’t like the potential cost. It’s time be creative.

I sincerely believe that Lori and her staff are motivated by their love of animals. I’ve never felt like I’m just being sold a bag of dog food. They’ve been extremely helpful and patient through our whole food search. Between Chili being a fussy girl, and then having to find a food that won’t bring on a bout of pancreatitis, it’s not been easy. I was starting to feel guilty about how often I was going in and bugging them, but as usual, once I get there, I’m greeted with a big smile and hello and they start quizzing me about Chili. I wasn’t alone in this, they were there to help me and it felt good to have people who were knowledgeable about dog food and nutrition on our side.

As I said, I knew I wouldn’t be just walking out of there with another brand of kibble. You can only do the same thing over and over again for so long before you realize that change is needed to make a difference. Lori suggested I try a mix of kibble and NRG which is dehydrated whole food. To say I was jumping on board right away would be a lie. I was hesitant and not because I didn’t agree with her, only because I didn’t like the costs involved. However, if I’m mixing it with a well-made kibble brand that would help stretch it out and make the cost easier to manage. It would also increase the nutritional quality of Chili’s meals. So that was it, we’ll see how this goes and maybe get lucky.

I sometimes shake my head at the things I do for this dog who seems hell bent on spending all my money. How is it that a stray has become such a bratty princess? Maybe in another life she was a princess. Hmmm, knowing Chili I imagine her more as the court jester.