Sunday, January 31, 2016

Happy 3rd birthday, Pyg!

You know what's awesome? Facebook. Because of the power of the 'book, I connected with someone who knew Pyg in his old life in Alabama. She kindly sent me this photo of him from May 27, 2013- just a few days shy of his four-month birthday.

I learned that he had been adopted and returned, and that he lived with fosters for most of his time in rescue. I *almost* feel bad for the folks that adopted/returned him... He really is such a phenomenal dog that it's a shame they didn't put in the (very little) time he would have needed. I honestly haven't done much work with him, and he's just the best, most solid little dog. He's got such a good natural temperament. But mostly I'm selfishly glad that they didn't keep him, because I ADORE my Pretty Boy Pyg.

Happy 3rd birthday, buddy. Let's try not to spend anymore in the hospital, okay?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Can I give my dog ibuprofen? HELLS NO.

Yesterday I came home from work to find four happy dogs... and a bottle of ibuprofen in the middle of my living room, with the pills clearly chewed on and scattered about. I knew that ibuprofen is dangerous for dogs, so I called the vet. Because I didn't know who had chewed on the ibuprofen, nor how much may have been swallowed, they advised that I rush all four to the emergency clinic. That's where I learned how dangerous ibuprofen is. 

Ibuprofen does all kinds of bad things to dogs, including ulcers, kidney failure, and neurological problems. Worse, it doesn't take much to cause these problems. GI problems, like ulcers, can happen at a dose as small as 25mg per kilogram. For my three little dogs, who each weigh around 15 pounds or 7kg, give or take, that means that as little as 175mg - or less than one tablet of ibuprofen - can cause serious problems. Kidney failure is likely at about 175mg per kilogram, or for my dogs, about six tablets.

By the time we got there, Pyg was throwing up, was lethargic, and was swaying on his feet. Not good. They took him back first and made him throw up. After consultation, we agreed that all four may have eaten some ibuprofen, and so the best course of action was to take the other three back.

That's when I learned that recovery from ibuprofen ingestion is a lengthy procedure. First, everyone has to throw up. Then, they need to eat activated charcoal, which helps neutralize anything that's been absorbed. (Pyg got bonus lipids to help even more since he was so sick and problem ate the most.) Next, they need to have GI protectants (to prevent ulcers or tears in the stomach). Finally, they need at least 48 hours of IV fluids to flush out the system. Regular blood work and UAs are taken to assess if any kidney damage has happened. Hopefully the throwing up and charcoal and fluids prevents that.

We're about 24 hours in right now. Everybody is doing well, even Pyg. He's clearly tired, but he's not dull and lethargic. When I visited, he just wanted to lean on me. I'm waiting for their second set of labs to come back, which will tell us if there's any kidney problems brewing. We don't anticipate this happening with any of them since we got treatment so fast, but I'll update when they're home - hopefully tomorrow, but maybe Monday.

In the meantime- everyone should know that if your dog eats ibuprofen, it is an immediate emergency.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nine years of love!

Today is Maisy's 9th Gotcha Day - the anniversary of the day she came to live with me for good in 2007. I barely took any pictures of her as a pup, and most of the ones I have a over-exposed and/or blurry. Here's a somewhat decent one of her... but of course, it doesn't even begin to express how adorable she was.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

Well, hello blogging friends! It's been awhile. Despite that, blogger informs me I'm still averaging 250 hits a day. What? Well, hello! It's nice to know people are still finding their way here. Let's do a quick recap of the year, and look forward to the year to come, shall we?

The Reactive Champion namesake, who is really not all that reactive anymore. She does backslide from time to time, especially if we haven't been doing much. For example, she might lunge and bark at the pet store if it's been awhile since she's been exposed to other dogs. But other than that (oh and that broken rib last fall), she's been doing great. We didn't go to a single trial this year, but who cares? We've gotten lots of quality ball-throwing time in, and that's all that matters.

My 2016 goal for Maisy? More hikes!

Darling Lola. I am surprised by how much I like basset hounds. They are sweet, but stubborn. Couch potatoes, but with plenty of energy. Cuddly, but mischievous. Don't let her get bored or she'll steal something of yours! Probably toilet paper or paper towels or whatever else you left to the edge of a counter. And if she manages to escape the yard, well... good luck!

Lola's 2016 goals include developing a good recall, a drop it, and maybe even some loose leash walking. We'll see how ambitious I actually am...

I have to tell you, I have never, not for one minute, regretted adopting this dog. I'm glad I went for it, even though he became available right after Maisy had been terribly ill (and financially wiped me out. PS, have I mentioned how grateful I STILL am to all of you all?). But Pyg is just the BEST DAMN DOG. He is sweet and cuddly. He's playful. He's funny. He is up for anything. He gets along with EVERYBODY. Seriously, I love watching the way he will adjust his play style to each new dog he encounters. He is a seriously cool dog.

I'd like to work on getting him competition ready. (Finally!) Nothing fancy, just level 1 rally/novice obedience. And failing that, I'd love to get a good stay on him.

Oh, Napi. Napoleon has two settings: complete sweetheart, and complete asshole. (I tried to come up with a non-sweary way to describe him, but really. He's just awful.) I also completely love him. He's a pain to have around other people and other dogs, immediate family excepting, of course, but I swear he loves me more than the other three dogs combined. He just fills up my heart and I cannot imagine my life without him. It would probably be quieter.Napi is reactive, I guess, but that doesn't seem like the right word to describe him. He's reactive-PLUS. He's not really all that anxious, at least, not the way Maisy was. It's more like he's got, well, a Napoleon complex. He's comfortable around our house, and that's all I really need from him.

My goal for Napi this year is to work on crate games and/or the relaxation protocol. He absolutely loses his mind if I try to train another dog, and he can't handle having his crate door closed. I need him to learn just enough impulse control that I can put him somewhere safe while I'm busy.

On the Home Front
2015 was a pretty great year. I did get to meet my Guatemalan mother-in-law, which was fantastic! My Spanish really grew in leaps and bounds. Now I sound like a confused three-year-old instead of a confused two-year-old. The secret to learning another language is to speak it and not care if you sound stupid. I truly cannot conjugate anything beyond present tense, and I often mix up estar and ser, and I have less vocabulary than my dogs probably do, but you know what? It doesn't matter. You can communicate a lot with just the basics if you put yourself out there.

I started grad school in September (Master's of Social Work). I'm doing an extended three-year program, so I've only got two classes per semester this year and the next. I've been able to get a pretty good work/life/school balance down, which has been really nice. The downside is that I don't really want to be in school for three years, but it's gone okay.

Denise Fenzi continues to suck up my spare time/winter break... Last year I think I edited three books for her? I can't even keep up with that mad woman/ferret. She's truly a productive monster. I am honored to work with her, and flattered that she has been working around my grad school schedule.

My personal goals for 2016? I should probably say "blog more," but I KNOW that's not going to happen. My husband and I have (tentatively) agreed to train for a 5K. I have a love/hate relationship with running, so we'll see... I do want to hike more, and hopefully even squeeze in a backpacking trip with my friend Laura. I also have a love/hate relationship with backpacking. I want to speak Spanish more (we're hoping for a trip to Guatemala next fall/winter). I also have very good intentions of listening to the weekly Tara Brach podcast, meditating more, and getting back to yoga regularly (grad school life, yo).

Anyway... would love to hear what ya'll are up to! Drop me a line in the comments, yeah?