Have you ever seen a fat bird? No, probably not. But fat cats and dogs are, unfortunately, not an uncommon sight. I have to admit that my dogs are not on the thin side. I try to cut back on their regular meals but then the treats are slipped in here and there and now the veterinarian is giving me the evil eye. “He had lost weight,” he says, “What happened?” Well…
One reason is that we tend to equate feeding with love. “Good doggy,” I say and offer up a tasty morsel. Of course, if they are in the car with me, I have to reward them for being so well-behaved. (There’s a bag of treats in the glove compartment.) And I always keep a pocket full of treats in case I need to call them back to me in a hurry. I snap the clicker a couple of times, and they come running for their treat. Such good dogs. Then if I want to put them in their “special room” while we eat or sit with our human visitors, they need a treat for enticement. And so it goes.
Thank goodness they like to run after the ball or I just don’t know what they would look like.
I took a picture of this dog because I found he had such beautiful colouring. It wasn’t until I got home and loaded the picture into my computer that I realized he had one blue eye and one brown. This condition is known as Heterochromia iridis.
Melanin is the substance that gives our skin colour. In dogs (and people) with eyes that are a two different colours, there is an excess or deficiency of melanin mostly due to genetics, though it may develop over time. The dogs breeds that are most likely to have one blue eye are Australian sheepdogs, Siberian huskies, American foxhounds, Alaskan malamutes and shih tzus.
Heterochromia iridis is not exclusive to dogs and can be seen in other animals and even people. Jane Seymour, Mila Kunis, Keifer Sutherland, Demi Moore, and Alice Eve all have this condition. David Bowie’s eyes were of two colours but it was due to an injury.
I envy this skater as, unfortunately, my arthritic knee has kept me inside all winter. There is no negotiating the ice surface for those of us with osteoarthritis. One slip and it could change your life. I do miss skating though I never was very good at it.
Lucky for me my dogs love winter and they do not need for me to stand precariously on blades to enjoy it with them.
I have tried to keep this site on the light side but recently I read in the local paper that my veterinarian just got a CAT-Scan. I know I should be thrilled but to be honest I am concerned. For sure this will be another expensive procedure I cannot afford. It is certain it will be an option offered to me. After all, the vet must recover his investment.
Recently, I heard that a dog was taken away by the SPCA because the person was not taking care of its medical problems. These were not your run-of-the-mill medical problems: the dog had a huge growth on its face. I feel for the dog, but the SPCA made no effort to assist the owner with the medical expenses which would have required at the very least an operation to the dog’s face.
I could not bare to have something like that happen to me. My dogs have lumps and my veterinarian assures me that they are “just” fat lumps. But what if they weren’t? What if they had to be removed?
Many people hold the opinion that if you can’t pay for your dog’s care then you should not own one. But the cost of ownership goes up yearly. Every new medical discovery brings with it new expenses. It used to be that an owner who brought his dog in for neutering and vaccination was considered a responsible pet owner. Not so anymore. Now, when your canine has “something”, the guilt trip begins.
“We need to do X-rays,” the vet tells you and quotes you a price that would pay for your child’s first semester of college. Will that be the end of it? No! The X-Rays will maybe, but maybe not, provide an answer. Blood tests will also have to be done. And it goes on.
Veterinarians are special people. The schooling required is incredible. A doctor must know about people and only people. A veterinarian most know about reptiles, birds, mammals and I don’t claim to know the all of it. A veterinarian must deal with his patient and the patients owners. I suppose it happens, but I have never heard of a human patient biting a doctor or nurse. Yet the patient biting staff is not an infrequent occurrence at the veterinary hospital.
However, veterinarians may be pricing themselves out of business. Or at least pricing themselves so that only the rich can afford to own pets. Of course, there is insurance, but I am unsure of the regulations around these agencies. I don’t know anyone who has had insurance.
I’m thinking that it’s high time that I reconsider pet ownership. Just last week I paid $25 per dog to have them stay with me at a hotel. And still I cannot claim any of their expenses on my income tax. Dogs may be sentient beings, but they are not “part of the family”, not according to the government.
Recently one of my neighbors was walking her beautiful German Shepherd and another dog came out of nowhere and attacked her dog. The attacking dog ran off and she was unable to identify the owner. She spent a small fortunate on vet bills but to no avail. Eventually, her dog had to be put down.
You can imagine that I am a bit nervous since I think this vicious dog is still in the neighborhood. So, the other day when a dog came running towards my dog, I scooped my smaller Sheltie up into my arms. The owner was upset with me. She accused me of babying my dog and of being paranoid. She didn’t give me the chance to tell her why I was so cautious and why she should not let her dog run amuck in case he should come up against the vicious dog.
I can’t understand why anyone would be upset about the fact that I pick up my small Sheltie when a bigger dog down comes running down on him. If I had been able to I would have protected my bigger Sheltie too.
I am at a loss to explain that woman’s attitude. I always make my dogs give way to other dogs by pulling my dogs to the side and making them sit while the other dog walks by. This way little dogs don’t feel so threatened.
The following are questions I’ve secretly asked myself about my own dogs. I found the answers through internet research. Here I provide a short answer, and I have provided links where I found the best information should you want further knowledge.
Do dogs have boogers?
My dog has a very long snout so I figured that was the reason I never saw boogers coming out of his nose. In fact, it is rare to see dogs with anything hanging out of their nose unless they are sick. Mucus in a dog can be caused by an infection, allergies and injuries. If your dog has mucus running out of his nose you should bring him to the vet. This is not the same as little bit of watery discharge, which is normal.
Dogs go through similar sleep stages as humans. Within 20 minutes of falling asleep a dog will often start to twitch, quiver, paw-swim, and even growl. What do they dream about? They often relive the activities they experience during the day. That is, a dog will dream about chasing a ball, or barking at the mailman, or taking a walk with his pal. I assume that a working sheep dog will occasionally dream about a flock of sheep. (I don’t know if he will count them.)
I was in hospital and afterwards convalescing over several weeks. When I finally felt well enough to get down to the living-room, I noticed that when my dogs walked across the laminate floor their claws made a clicking noise, a sound that can drive me to distraction. As soon as I was feeling up to it, I got out the clippers and trimmed their claws. It’s winter and my dogs don’t get a chance to “file” their claws down on pavement or gravel or rocky surfaces so their claws were quite long.
Some vets recommend you clip a dog’s claws weekly to get him accustomed to the procedure. I find that if I have the luxury of doing it weekly, I rarely need to use the clipper, I just use a file made special for dog claws.
So when should you clip your dog’s claws? When he needs it. Check weekly and try to clip them at least monthly. Pay special attention to the dew claw which can curl back into the dog’s paw.
I always thought I’d love to have a border collie. It seems that they are more than well represented at obedience trials and show trials. However, I have spoken to a number of border collie owners and some have actually told me that they would never own another one. When I asked why, they said, “Because he outsmarts me.” And I thought, “Oh come on.”
But research proves it. If you don’t stimulate your smart dog’s brain, he will outsmart you. And that means that he will likely do so in destructive ways like collaborating with the cat to get food off the cupboard—this happened to me with a Labrador Retriever. Just check these dog shaming pictures. I think you will see that smart dogs are well represented.
I have had both and can tell you that either can be a great pet. People who get a breed dog may want to enter it in breed competitions. But there are other reasons to get a dog with a pedigree.
You should get a breed dog if you want a certain height or strength or personality. For instance, if you are looking for a dog that loves winter and might haul your child in a sleigh, you will probably be looking at a Husky or even a St. Barnard.
But keep in mind that there are never any guarantees. I like Shelties because they are not high enough to reach the table (and steal food) or strong enough to overwhelm me on a walk, but they are a hardy enough to go hiking– which happens to be my favourite pastime. However, I had one Sheltie that was such a slow walker I had to wait up for him all the time on open trails. This same dog would run through the woods when I took him hiking on trails through forests. So, much to my disappointment, I ended up leaving him at home when I went for a hike. To be fair, I also had a mutt who would take off when he was hiking and then “sneak” back. He looked exactly like a coyote so this was quite an annoying habit. Seeing a coyote-like animal coming at you at a slow, determined pace through the trees can make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.
All the other dogs I’ve had were perfect companions, stayed by my side, and never wandered off.
Here is a breed finder that may help you decide if you want a certain pedigree.