Elsie Broke Mum

When you have 70lb dogs, exercise is very important. They will release energy however they can. If you don’t give them a means in which to do it that you both enjoy, then you can wave goodbye to that nice  house you have because destruction on an unimaginable scale is soon to occur.

We hike, play soccer, run, etc. (Not in the same day.)

Saturday, we found ourselves on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, hiking Blood Mountain. The hike is a tough one, but well worth it.

As we returned from our tough hike, Elsie was pretty excited. She is still learning not to pull to keep up with Maggie and Donatello when she is walking with Mum. Thus, it was a bit difficult for Mum. (A 60 lb Bouvier puppy trying to pull you down stone ‘steps’ covered in leaves is terrifying and challenging.) As we finish the hike, several things happen at once.

Maggie and Dad finish the hike and are at the head of the trail hanging out. Maggie catches the scent of a chicken bone 20 yards off trail and heads to get it. When she does this, Elsie catches sight of her. Donatello is calling Maggie because no one wants their dog to have a chicken bone. I am trying to calm Elsie, “Yes, that is Maggie, but you are walking with me.”

Elsie takes off. Mum’s foot is between two boulders and it does not take off. Rather, it pops. And, this, my friends, is how you sprain your Mum’s ankle for her and make her relax with you on the couch for a few days.

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A Saturday at the Vet

Maggie went to the vet first thing Saturday morning. Friday night she would look at you and groan without any visible cause. When she was outside, she would squat to pee, walk a bit, try to pee, walk a bit, try to pee, etc. Identifying this as a UTI, I sent Donatello to the grocery to get cranberry pills. Being a guy, I was forced to walk him through the process of finding the AZO Cranberry with directions like “try the tampon aisle, next to the Monistat and Summer Eve.” Fortunately, he was successful and we were able to ease Maggie’s pain with an over-the-counter antibiotic, pain reliever, and cranberry pill cocktail. So first thing Saturday, we went to the vet. 
We took Elsie. She needed to be weighed and Maggie typically shakes like a cold Chihuahua at the vet, so you know… moral support. Maggie was confirmed to have a UTI and was given antibiotics. Elsie weighed a whopping 51.8 lb. We paid and as we left, I saw a man in his mid-sixties standing in the waiting room, heaving and crying, and holding a Dachshund with gray fur in his muzzle and ears.
I took my puppies to the car, dropped the keys in the seat and go inside without a word to Donatello. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I had to do something. So, I walked back into the waiting room as he was called back into a room.
Once the door closed behind him, our vet tech walked back out and asked if I forgot something. I hesitated and suddenly, I knew what I was going to do for this man.
“Um, that man with the Dachshund. Can I pay for the visit? It is pretty clear they are here for, um, euthanasia and I can only imagine how dreadfully difficult that must be and I want to do something. So, can I pay for it?” They let me credit his account the amount for the visit. It didn’t do anything to cheer him up, but at least he didn’t have to pay to let his best companion die peacefully.
Then, I walked back to my car with my husband and my two puppies. I petted them and told them they were not allowed to die. And, I went home and told my kitties the same thing. Once we agreed to live forever, we all watched some t.v. together and thought of anything but the vet visit.

Why Can’t We be Friends?

More than anything else, Elsie wants to be best friends with Ace.

More than anything else, Ace wants nothing to do with Elsie.

This has led to an eternal struggle for love and for space between two of our furry children. Yet, Elsie has been making some progress.

They have a while yet to figure it all out, but here is to hoping they do eventually figure it all out…

Smart Toys are Dumb

To entertain the restless creature that is an Elsie left alone, we bought a puzzle toy (below). Inside there are four chambers that act as difficulty levels. If you put food in the chamber with four circles, you require your pup to navigate the food/treats through three chambers before it pops out of the green side. The yellow side has a similar opening, but it is for you to open the toy to refill.

“We should get this puzzle for Else. It actually has levels, so she could grow with it.” I tell Donatello. He agrees. We buy it. Fill the second chamber, because we don’t want it to be too easy.  She plays with it for a while and is clearly a fan of the toy. We get excited, it took her a while to tire of the toy. Once we up it a few levels over the next couple of weeks or months, she ought to be entertained the whole day.

What optimists (fools) we were to think this. After work Monday – the toy was purchased Saturday, the toy was completely empty. I reloaded it Tuesday with nothing in the first chamber. It was low Tuesday, but some kibble blocked the third chamber. Today, we loaded it only in the last two chambers and trimmed the kibble to ensure it would not block the path. Then, handled it to Elsie.

I watched her play with it as I gathered my stuff for work. After ten minutes, she quit playing. I checked the toy to see if she just got bored or if it was actually already emptied. To my surprise, it was completely empty.

So, apparently, we have just been entertaining her for ten minutes…

I am in the market for a VERY good and VERY difficult dog puzzle toy. Anyone have any suggestions?

Why I am late to work today.

After breakfast and a shower, I had some time so I sat on the deck with all of the furry family. The swing on our deck is shaded from the morning sun by a very big something tree. The breeze was just light enough to prevent the summer morning from being stuffy and kept the deck at the perfect relaxation for me and the furries.

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Ace was lounging on a hand-me-down table surveying his lands. Two chairs from the hand-me-down set protected him from Elsie’s curious muzzle. Maggie laid next to me in the swing and pondered at the leaves lazily dancing in the light breeze. Elsie was filled with too much energy to sit still for a second. She watched the cats with the determined eye of a scientist hungry for knowledge and understanding. Otto climbed the something tree. As he climbed higher, he would test each branch tentatively to ensure his footing.

As I ruminated on the peace of the morning and the pointlessness of leaving for work, a humming sounded from the tree. Four set of furry ears perked up. Ace landed on the deck with a heavy THUD! He slinked off the deck. A horsefly could be seen for a moment between these two small panthers. The tree erupted into chaos as the early morning hunt and murder took place.

Simultaneously, the peace on the deck was shattered by the stomping of a fifty-pound observer wished to become part of the action. My seat on the swing is set into motion when Maggie pushed off it to join the drama as well.

I found that I couldn’t stop smiling. The peace of the morning was cut off suddenly and very completely in one moment by the dark humour of nature. Yet, I wanted more moments like this to fill my life. I looked at my phone and realised I was running late.

It was worth it.

 

Let’s go to the park!

Every evening, Mum and Dad pack Elsie and me up in one of their cars and takes us to the park. Even Elsie, who doesn’t like car rides because they make her sick, gets excited about hopping in the car after the ball for this trip. We know we are going to “get worn out,” which is always a lot of fun – though I am not 100% sure what they mean by it. It seems to mean free reign at the park and running and running and running until no one wants to play with the ball anymore.

After a short drive, Mum jumps out of the car and gets the ball from between Elsie and me. Elsie bolts out of the backseat, unable to contain her excitement. I get out, wagging my tail so much it makes it difficult to squeeze from Mum’s backseat and to walk straight. (Going to the park is my favourite activity!)

As soon as we are both out of the car, Mum chucks the ball as far as she can. And thus begins the games. Dad usually gets it the first time, and he throws it even further.

We all chase the ball for a while. Once Mum and Dad get tired, we get the ball more often and change the game from monkeys in the middle or soccer…

We prefer keep-away and tug of war.

Elsie sometimes snags it out of thin air!

We always run our hardest…

And, we always leave happy and panting!