Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Sometimes a dog is just a dog. A regular family member. Hanging out in the evening, providing moral support when necessary.

Tooey shows Trice how to do her shoulder exercises

Tooey and Cooper help Russ relax after a hard day at the office

(Doesn’t everyone have a 500-sized crate as a nightstand?)

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Sometime ago, I wrote a post about how upsetting it can be when a dog is sick or afraid. I hadn’t really thought about how equally upsetting it can be when the dog is fine, but the person is sick.

Last week, I was very sick with swine flu. No body system was working properly or predictably, and I was feverish, coughing, achy, and exhausted. My only wishes were to lie still and to make it to the bathroom in time.

In ordinary times, when Russ is home, I could have done just that. But these were not ordinary times. My dear husband was out of town taking care of his parents, and I was home sick. With a dog to take care of.

Fortunately, only Tooey was home. Cooper was still up at the hunt trainer. And Tooey is relatively easy — she’s a cuddler who likes to spend long periods of time with her person. And spending it on the bed was OK with her.

But dogs have to be fed. They have to be let outdoors from time to time. And their minds, if not stimulated with exercise or training, can easily lead them into mischief. Like chewing papers, or pulling threads out of the quilt, or gathering and distributing the trash.

So on the worst day, I dragged myself* out of bed, put Tooey in the car, and drove to my formerly favorite boarding kennel. Maybe someone else could take care of Tooey, so I could take care of myself.

But when I got there, and they discovered that she’s intact (not spayed), they warned me that if she went into heat while at the kennel, they couldn’t guarantee that an intact male dog wouldn’t get to her. She’s a puppy, who hasn’t had a heat yet. But she’s old enough to have one. I couldn’t know what would happen, so I decided not to leave her there.

So we drove home again. Poor Tooey went into her crate, and I got back into bed. Except for short breaks, that’s where we stayed for the next 4 days, until Russ came home.

Gives me a whole new appreciation for single parents, whose responsibility is even heavier than mine. And it also makes me very thankful for the friend who came over, bought me groceries, and let her dog come in and play with Tooey.

This illness is why I haven’t posted anything for awhile. I’m still sick, but better. And Russ is home.

* Yes, I know “dragged myself” is a cliche’. But I’ll tell you, that is exactly how it felt.

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Today, Renae sent me some pictures of Tooey, taken on March 8th, when Tooey was 12 weeks old. In several of these pictures, she’s playing with Rod and Renae’s Rio, Cooper’s cousin.

Waiting to play

Waiting to play

Please play

Please play

Attack of the Clone

Attack of the clone

Yes sir

Yes, sir!



Smells like chicken

Mmm... smells like puppy

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Observation has led to a theory that squirrels have developed a telepathic-type ability to “single-track” the mind of a dog.

Through a currently unidentified mechanism, when a squirrel sights a dog, that squirrel sends a pulse or signal directly to the dog’s brain.

The result for the dog is that conscious brain functions are turned off. Control of the eyes, ears, and nose is transferred to the squirrel, and for a short period, ambulation is disabled. In essence, the dog becomes unable to respond to non-squirrel-generated environmental stimuli, particularly any originating from the dog’s handler.

Some change in the modulation or frequency of this pulse or signal then enables ambulation for the dog. This sudden release of energy, accompanied by the continued directed control over the eyes, ears, and nose, causes the dog to suddenly bolt in the direction of the squirrel. Hence, the squirrel is forced into sudden, extreme aerobic activity, with attendant (but relatively low) risks of being caught and eaten.

How this mechanism might benefit the individual squirrel is in question. One proposal states that this mechanism is employed by squirrels with a highly developed need for thrill-seeking behaviors. Another proposed idea notes that this behavior seems to be evident particularly in the autumn when squirrel intake of nuts and other calorie-dense foods is high, thus necessitating the usage of some factor which can motivate the squirrel to engage in frequent and vigorous aerobic exercise.

How this mechanism benefits the squirrel as a species is more obvious. Squirrels who activate the mechanism, and then do not run fast enough are swiftly removed from the gene pool. Another possibility is that the mechanism is actually used, not by the squirrel who is chased, but by other squirrels competing for resources and access to mates.

Further daily study of this phenomenon is required. Studies using local Irish Water Spaniels will be developed to test this theory.

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Well, it’s official. I’m a paid-up, tennis-ball carrying flyball team member. In fact, I picked up my team tee-shirt today.


Actually, I got two tee-shirts. This running around with the dogs can get a person all hot and sweaty. If Cooper actually gets to run in a tournament, I may need to change shirts.

He’s doing great on the box turns — mostly always hits the box with all four feet. He does well coming back to me (as well he should, since I’m running away from him as fast as I can so he’ll chase me).

He’s still not so hot at passing another dog. He wants to stop and play, or at least check the other dog out. Fortunately, the other dogs don’t give a rip about Cooper when they’re running — they just want to get the ball.

We’ll work on it. I have a lot of help.

The club is going to put on a demo the local Northwest Pet & Companion Fair at the Portland Expo Center on April 18th. We’ll see how we do in all the excitement. If you come to the fair on Saturday, look for the team in the bright orange shirts.

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