A blog about my life with dogs.......

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fight for your right to bite!

     With a few blog posts in the making I have come upon an e-mail asking me to sign a petition to stop the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) from publicly adopting a policy against raw feeding pets. WHOA! With all the pet feed recalls from processed dry and canned pet food and treats that have rolled through the country killing or sickening dogs the idea of this public policy seems down right outrageous. Also, this policy is funded by organizations sponsored by pet food companies.

     Blog readers, I have made mention that I've met a few vet tech students who have been "formerly trained" by Science Diet about proper pet nutrition. You know that my own vet, and likely yours too, sells processed pet food out of the vet office. Did you also know that Delta Society, a leader in therapy dog certification, will not certify raw fed dogs as therapy dogs? You also know that I have been feeding my pets raw for years and you can see their health and well being for yourself in my blog.

     I would like to urge you, if you do not feed raw, to learn about any policy initiatives your bag dog food may be sponsoring. I am open to a variety of nutrition and feeding styles for our pets. Why can't Purina and Hills do the same? I have to say it makes me think of reading "Rin Tin Tin The Life and Legend" by Susan Orlean because as it tells the story of Rin Tin Tin it also tells a little bit about the story of processed pet food. It makes mention of Rin Tin Tin being sponsored by a pet food company who made the dog's owner sign a contract agreeing never to feed Rin Tin Tin raw food in public.

Here is a link to an article that was sent to me through a raw feeding network I'm involved in. Check it our to learn more about this issue and as always do your own research and find your own answers that are right for you and your pet.

Wonder Dog loves raw!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh girl!

nap time
     Oh, the heat is dreadful. All animals in my house, myself included, are making up for all the times through-out the year that we don't have time to nap. It is just too hot! Poor Comet pants and drools after even the shortest of walks. Poor guy, I know he really wants to run. The good news is Wonder Dog is encouraging all the boys to play, play and PLAY! The lot of them wrestle the evenings away in the living room. We take short walks in the morning and after dark. Also I'm working on some obedience and trick training. Frankly, after watching the video below, I'm feeling like a realy lazy dog trainer! Look at what this dog can do! I've got to get to work with my crew!

    After sharing this video with a friend I was led to another great blog SmoothSailinAgility. This blog is a great example of awesome dog stuff going on in my area. Thanks to my friend Rilda for sharing!

    Speaking of awesome blogs if you don't read Patricia McConnells blog The Other End of the Leash(and you should!)she has had a few great posts lately that I wanted to share. The first was guest written by Karen London and talks about both dogs and humans feeling that runners high.The second is by McConnell herself  writing about a new product on the market that automatically electrocutes your dog!!!!

More on.....

     Wonder was born on September 8th 2011 and was given to an animal shelter as part of an unwanted litter. She was adopted by a family in November of 2011 and kept crated for many hours as the family was busy and had small children. She was loved, but the family realized they did not have the time she deserved they gave her up to Protege Canine Rescue(Some of you may recall that I have fostered and volunteered for Protege here and there over the years). Protege, found out that I was considering adopting a female terrier and suggested her as a good fit for me. I fostered her for a short period and then decided to adopt her.
Wonder choosing to nap in her open crate. Notice the crate bed, which fits her crate exactly.       
     Little Wonder had the same fate of so many unwanted puppies,....being taken in by a family when she was cute and young, then as she grew, the family realized the level of care and responsibility required by a dog over it's lifetime and decided to give her up. She is, like so many young dogs, a reminder of how much thought SHOULD be put into picking the right dog for you. And how easily our brains can get flooded with those happy hormones when we see that baby face and wagging tail looking eagerly up at us.
Every puppy becomes a dog and every dog needs a loving home, proper nutrition and (arguably) a fair amount of training!  :) ( I bet, if you are reading this blog, you agree,...right?      :)
Investigating the cupboard after Purr-C cat had been napping inside.

Wonder has been running with me! We have run a few 3 miles runs and she is doing great. We are working on staying beside me, but despite her vigerous enthusiasm she usually keeps to one side or another.

     When Wonder arrived she regularly dug and kicked out the bottom pan of her crate. She also pawed at and bit the crate doors in an attempt to escape. I observed that she regularly chose to snuggle in Captains crate which has a washable bumper pad/bed inside. So I bought her one and the behavior of digging out her crate pan has stopped. I also leave a small blanket in her crate so she can "dig" that around if she likes. No doubt more exercise and spending less time in the crate overall is also helping this issue. The first few days she would bite and paw at the doors furiously, even breaking an extra clip I had added for security. I decided it in the best interest of all parties to NEVER open the door while she is behaving like that, I ask her to "sit" and when she does I open the door. I still have an extra clip on her crate door, but she knows sitting politely gets the crate door open. Also, as she becomes accustomed to our routine I think she is feeling more comfortable, more secure and thus less crate panic.

     So far (knock on wood) Wonder has been the easiest dog I have ever switched to raw. The first night she was here, I didn't know what brand of kibble she had been previously eating, so could not slowly transition her. I was out of back up kibble at my house and so I just gave her a small piece of chicken back which she ate with gusto. I continued to feed her small portions of raw for a few meals until I was comfortable she wasn't about to explode with diarrhea.(occasionally some dogs need to transition slowly to raw diets or may become stricken with diarrhea until their systems adjust) Wonder Dog takes it all like a champ and has now transitioned from chicken to beef. Good girl!

Wonder Dog eating a beef trachea
In other adventures...

     This week Wonder and I ran into another brown snake or DeKay's snake after a run. They aren't poisonous and if they do bite it is unlikely to cause more harm than a small puncture.......I'm starting to wonder if I've got the guts to just go ahead and pick up the next one I see. Why not take a closer look, right?

     Other firsts this week included handling injured hawks at the raptor center. If this doesn't sound dangerous to you, then you haven't seen a Red-Tailed Hawk inches from your face and you clearly haven't seen its talons. No worries, the Red-Tailed Hawk did me no harm nor did I do any to him. At this stage in the game moving these injured birds from dirty cage to clean cage, a task done daily for the injured birds at the clinic, is a learning process. I know that positive reinforcement works wonders, so I'm working hard to do things the right way and be proud of myself, instead of doing something the wrong way and getting a talon to my soft human skin to learn from. Eventually, some bird is going to get me, that is a risk I'm willing to take and part of the job. Learning the hows and whys of wild bird handling is a skill I'm pretty satisfied to be building in myself. How many people can say they have held an owl in their hands? Or a hawk?
      Later this week I will take part in an educational program where I will present a Saw-Whet Owl. Is it too early in this new job to pick a favorite bird???? Because this little owl could easily be my pick at this point. Oh, and I can't forget to mention that, an American Kestrel landed on my head at the clinic AND that when I mentioned to one of my new bosses that I had adopted a 4th dog and could thereby be known as a whack-a-doodle dog lady my boss responded by saying that until I adopt 7 dogs she will hold that title because she has 6. 3 Dachshunds and 3 Italian Greyhounds. Clearly I am in good company!

Why not add a video about Italian Greyhounds then........

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


     I've been wanting to tell you all that I was fostering a little female terrier mix, but I couldn't because I was wanting to first decide weather or not to adopt her and add her to the pack! I've been wanting a terrier. I have missed having a busy sassy little, eh ehm, bitch, around the house. Losing Ginger all that time ago, left a soft spot in my heart. Then Matilda came and went. When Protege heard that I was keeping an eye out for the right terrier they let me foster this sweet Jack Russel Terrier/ Basenji mix to see if she was the right match for me. She is younger then what I thought I was looking for, and a little bigger. She has some great high jumps just like a JRT and she is very smart and has a thoughtful look to her, like a Basenji. After her spending time with the pack we have unanimously decided she's a keeper! I have named her Wonder Dog! (Wonder for short) And I have decked her out in red white and blue starred collar reminiscent of wonder woman. (If you see any wonder woman dog collars out there you better send me the link!) Wonder has swept the whole pack off their feet! Even Bugsy is smitten with her. They play and wrestle and chase a ball together. Captain is enthusiastic and rough with her, I think he is pleased to have a playmate more his size. Comet and Wonder romp wrestle-mania style as often as they can.

     Ms. Wonder is a counter surfer, so we have that to work on. Also she needs a good foundation built on the basics like "off" "back up" "paws up" and a good recall. First things first though, we are working on recognizing her new name, and polilte door manners. Both of which she is catching on to with lightening speed. After being asked to sit, lured into the position with a treat and then rewarded for sitting a time or two Wonder now sits at the door and waits after being leashed up. She has even begun readily waiting for my release command, as the door is opened all the way. Good girl!

     It's a constant chore to beat the heat around here. I'm walking the dogs early in the morning, or late in the evening. Captain has become a pro at jumping in and cooling off in our new pool. When the hose is hooked up, he digs at the water and chases it around. It's adorable. Bugsy hasn't been enjoying running with me lately and I don't blame him. If I had to run in a coat in this weather I would want to quit too. Comet, poor guy, is full of energy and then gets outside and over heats so quickly, I keep a close eye on him. Wonder on the other hand, ran 3 miles with me last night and was ready for more! After our run I misted her with a spray bottle and gave her water to drink, but if there was a sign over her head in that moment I think it would have said, "What are you stopping for? LETS KEEP GOING! WHA_WHOO!"

    I started my new position at the Macbride Raptor Project last week! Oh geez, it has been a lot of fun! I'm learning a lot and enjoying meeting and getting to know the people of the Raptor Center and Macbride Recreation Area. Of course, the best part of all, is getting to know the raptors. I have helped hand feed two injured birds so far, a barred owl and a red tailed hawk. Today I did cage maintenance for several of the raptors, cleaning feathers, feces and lunch leftovers (A.K.A. rat and mouse guts) out of the cages. It was no easy task, the temperature soaring through the 90's, but it is just so awesome to be in the same space with a wild bird like an bald eagle or barred owl. I don't mind picking up mouse skulls one bit believe it or not! Tomorrow I get to handle and present my first bird for an educational program, an eastern screech owl. I am very excited. Also, I'm eager to get through this first and learn from any mistakes I may make.
In case you aren't familiar with the adorable and wild screech owls check out this video!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

walk on

A video about a breed of dog I don't see very often, the Basenji. 

     This week Captain decided kongs are so valuable he should begin burying them in the yard! Of all the dogs to dig and bury  treasure in the yard, my guess would not have been for Captain to begin this habit! So far, he is keeping his dirt digging activities to the confined space of what was long ago a flower garden. This triangular space in the yard just next to the deck is free for doggy digging. Bugsy likes to dig up fresh cool dirt there and lay in it on a hot day. Harry used to do the same thing. 

     While hiking this week I saw a De Kays snake that was none to happy to see me. And Bugsy, Comet and I saw a badger, of all things, cross the road in front of us during a walk! 

     Oh the adventures continue.....more to come soon. Now, I have to get back to work, reseaching birds of prey, like this Red-Tailed Hawk!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Exercising the Functionality of Obiedience

     It is another busy week here, as usual. How did you and your pooch fair the fourth? Poor Bugsy, he is shocked by each and every bang. Poor me, as my neighbors care not for my dogs fear and exploded fireworks directly over my backyard for 2 hours. I sure hope they got it out of their systems. The heat is unforgiving and today I hiked with out any dogs. Nor did any of my dogs even get so much as a walk. The heat is extreme. I am dripping sweat just taking the trash out! Poor Comet, his coat is perfect for playing in the snow and weathering extreme cold. His skin is easily sunburned and I will not be shaving him.
Comet staying cool in our new pool.
      Today Bugsy had a vet appointment. I had just finished one of my long overnight shifts and came home to give the dogs some love and let them out before leashing up and heading back out again. I'm happy to report Bugsy has a clean bill of health and had his vaccines updated. As the vet finished the last of the blood draw he and his tech assistant both commented on how good of a patient Bugsy was. They said he was "a nice change of pace from the bouncing and wrestling we have been doing all day.". Good boy, Bugsy! I felt a little grin coming on for all the times I felt like I was getting looks from people who may have been thinking....why is she carrying dog treats around with her? That dog must be so spoiled!
Spoiled? Who?

     I always bring treats to the vet with me. I try my best to come early and I always walk around the outside of the clinic so my dog can sniff and pee on things before he goes into the office, thereby lessening the likelihood of my dog marking in the office. I don't know about your vet office, but mine has a corner of desk that each dog must walk by going in and out of the clinic. I have seen so many dogs mark that spot. Even a potty trained dog will find it hard to resist marking a spot like that, but if they are out of pee and you recognize and avoid the marking zone then you will start out your vet appointment on the right paw!

     Each time I visit the vet some one takes us to an exam room and we wait there, just me and my dog, for the vet to arrive. I take this time to remind my dog how the slippery metal exam table is a wonderful place where rewards happen. I lure my dog onto the table with a treat or give him a command he already knows (in this case the command "paws up" for Bugsy). Then when my dog is securely on the table I give him a yummy treat. Then I give the "off" command and when he jumps off, yup you guessed it, another treat! Then when my dog is comfortable with that I use the foot petal on the floor to raise the table while my dog is on it. I do this just a few inches then give him a treat. Repeat.
No, I didn't ask my vets permission to play with the power exam table.

     Bugsy has been to enough appointments that he knows this drill. So we had our whole routine done well before the vet arrived and so I just sat and petted him and told him he is a good boy. Then when the vet arrived I used the same methods, and rewarded him again. When the vet drew blood from his paw I asked for a "watch me" and Bugsy drew his eyes away from the vet and the needle in his paw and watched me. I gave him a yummy treat.
     My vet is an old fashioned fellow. He's been vetting animals for my family for longer than I've been alive. He is a wise man who knows many things I do not, no doubt. But years ago when I fed Natures Variety and rotated the protein sources they offer, he disagreed. He is a science diet man. He sells it from the front of his office and I've seen him recommend it to customers. I, as you know, now feed raw. I am vehemently opposed to feeding my dog anything that has corn as the first several ingredients. So, I never told him that I began feeding raw. He doesn't know now. We disagree on this issue of food so, I chose not to discuss it.

     All that considered I was ready for a battle when I broached the topic of delaying future vaccinations or having titer tests done to measure my dogs immunity levels instead of vaccinating him when it may not be necessary. More and more I read evidence that we are over vaccinating our dogs, and that it may be causing cancer and other ailments. While I want to protect my dog from the dangers of rabies for example, I do not want to over vaccinate either. To my surprise my vet agreed.  "It's a topic over morning coffee" he said of conversations between him and the other vet in the office. He agreed to put Bugsy on a three year schedule for testing and see him annually for a check up.

Captain with his new hedge hog toy. Comet hamming it up.
.....On the Subject of over vaccinations and titer testing......
I wish I had a great website I could recommend or a source of any kind that I felt was worthy of passing on to you. At this point, I just don't have that. I am learning and I encourage you do the same. It seems like titer testing and vaccinations are a hot topic and discussions get heated. Everyone wants to do the best thing for their dog! I encourage you to do your own research and make your own decision on this topic. Good luck!
And remember to take into consideration the age, health, and lifestyle of your dog as you consider this as an alternate to annual vaccines. Bugsy does not board at kennels, or go to doggy day care (he doesn't like doggy day care and he is naughty there). Bugsy is an adult dog, lives inside and is in good health.

Practice makes perfect!
     Above is a picture of the boys doing my "settle" command. This routine has grown and changed over the years I have had dogs. "settle" means do not move forward and show me you are relaxed by sitting or laying down. I use this command at the door when they are going to go outside. Then I release each dog by name one at a time(or, I release them all with "okay"). I use a body block-I put my body between the dog and the door- if a dog becomes over eager and tries to sneak out early. This exercise prevents door guarding issues that can sometimes happen in a pack. Also using this routine helps the dogs learn patience. And they look cute doing it if I do say so myself. Good boys!

     Another way obedience saved my day today involves a kitchen full of broken glass. My glass of water was safely-or so I thought- on the kitchen table. The dogs were playing together on the floor, when Quimby cat came in, the dog play startled the cat who suddenly jumped on the table and knocked my glass onto Bugsy where it then bounced off of him and onto the ceramic tile shattering and scattering across the floor.
Captain and his hedge hog.
"wait" I said and looked sternly at each dog-unsure if they would do what I hoped they would do and freeze. The wait command means- don't move forward or backward. Captain has had little exposure to this command but is a quick study as he is very observant of the other dogs and one smart little smooshy face! Each dog did exactly what I had hoped, they stopped in their tracks and looked at me. I held my hand signal for wait out to Comet and Captain who were on my left and near to the door to outside. Bugsy was across the room to the right, a sea of broken glass between us. I looked at Bugsy "Backup." I said giving him that hand signal with my other hand. "Good." I said as he backed up. "Down" Bugsy laid down in the far corner and watched me eagerly. "Bugsy, stay." I said firmly. Then "Comet, out" I said and waved my hand to the doorway into the living room. Comet walked out of the room. "Captain out." I said wondering if he would follow, but he began walking in a path of glass and I swooped him up and carried him out of the room. I sent Comet and Captain outside, shut Quimby in the bedroom and then went back to sweep up the glass. Bugsy kept his stay and I handed him treats as I finished the job.

     All these events in my day exercise my dogs obedience skills. These skills are so functional, and I use them daily. Don't ever let anybody tell you that obedience is for the show ring, or for single dogs or dog packs only, or only for weirdos like me who call their dog "smooshy face". Obedience is for every person and dog. It opens a line of communication that will deepen the bond between you and your pet and could save your dogs life someday. Today, obedience definitely helped save my dogs paws from broken glass.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The heat is on!

Yogurt, peanut butter and strawberry filled Kongs.
      The heat is on. The dog pool is full at all times. Frozen Kongs with peanut butter and/or plain yogurt are at the ready. And finally, after it was 92 degrees in my house well after the sun went down, I gave in and turned on the air conditioning. Today I took Captain with me while I drove out of town to meet and assess a few dogs for possible transfer from one rescue to another. Both dogs were well behaved and, though it took some time for them to warm up to this stranger, they really enjoyed the time eating treats on the grass and getting some sun. While handling one of the dogs I was about to re-enter the building when I realized a man had a 6 month old black lab bounding around the lobby off leash. I backed away from the entrance with the leashed dog, not knowing how he would do with other dogs. Then, the door opened and the young dog bounded out of the doors ahead of its person and jumped all over the leashed border collie in my hand.
"I do not know how this dog is with other dogs, he does not belong to me. Could you move your dog away?" I said
The border collie began to growl annoyed at the young dog and his rudeness.
"It's fine. He is fearless." The man said as he put some things in his truck. First ignoring his dog and then walking over grabbing it around the belly and hitting the border collie with his other hand. "Quit it!" He said to the dog on my leash.
Oh boy! Is that guy lucky that wasn't my own dog. If it had been I would have gone wacko on him! Sheesh! And boy is he lucky that this particular dog turned out to be very tolerant indeed. A shelter dog, stressed and confused, not knowing where he is exactly, or who his person is anymore, then rudely licked, jumped on and generally clobbered by a stranger dog and finally smacked on the head by a person! Biting could have been his next move! But it wasn't. Good boy!

     So often people let their dogs, young or old, clobber other dogs. The dog whose space is being invaded may respond with a growl to warn the invader that his behavior is indeed very rude and unwelcome. This behavior, on the part of the growling dog, is appropriate! Learn more about how and why by reading this article called "He just wants to say, HI!"

     After leaving the clinic Captain and I went for a stroll in down town Cedar Rapids. I had thought the farmers market would be on-but I was wrong :(  so we just strolled around a block or two until Captain began to look tired. Then we stopped at the farm. Off leash, Captain took off out of site and had me looking all over for him! My mom found him and attached a bell to his harness so if he went out of site we could easily find the little investigator! He was only out of sight for a few minutes, but in that time had worn himself out again and was ready for a nap in the shade.
Comet enjoys sitting in the bay window.

     Earlier this month(June has flown by!) Captain was my special helper in the strawberry patch in the backyard! The first time I went out with him, I set the first strawberry into a little container as I searched for more. That first time, there was only one strawberry and when I looked back at my container Captain was eating my one and only berry! Next time, he came along  I kept my berry container very near, beneath my chest as I bent over the berries. Then, when I found a berry that had been pecked my birds I captured Captains attention and threw it into the grass encouraging him to "Find it!". He loves this game.

     By now you all know that I save my peanut butter jars, then when I get 3 (one for each dog) I let the dogs lick them clean before I toss them out. Captain loves this, but the peanut butter jars (actually they are plastic not glass jars) are small and Captain can't get his smoosh face into them. Bugsy and Comet-the pointy faces dogs as they have now been dubbed- have no trouble.
Commence the saving of yogurt containers!
Perfect size for smoosh face dogs to stuff there whole smoosh faced heads into!

     Another 'pointy face' breed I love is the Jack Russel Terrier or the JRT (or Parson Russel Terrier). I was lucky enough to hang out with one of my favorite JRTs at Camp Bow Wow while I was working there this week, his name is Rebel. He is a typical JRT with his high jumping and white and tan coat markings. In honor of the adorable JRT I thought I would share the Dogs 101 Jack Russel Terrier episode.
Here it is!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Taking off!

Things are really taking off.
     I'm pleased to announce I have accepted the position I was hoping for at the Raptor Center! Yahoo! I will start in July! Bugsy and I are kicking butt at trail running, attacking hills I used to huff and puff just hiking on. As well as our trail running, Bugsy and I are hiking trails carrying packs in preparation and in the hope that I can find a hole in my schedule big enough for the two of us to fit in a three day backpacking trip on the Ice Age Trail . AND, as you can see from the above video, Captain and Comet are two peas in a pod. I'm working lots of hours, this week close to 70(thank goodness for my dog sitting mother!). I'm gardening, and running and of course walking a certain 3 dogs daily, so you can see why I've been slow to catch up with my blogging!
Please forgive me.

Check out this blast from the past.......

These pictures turned up recently and I just had to share. I sure do miss ole Harry Dawg.

(below)Here is how Comet is keeping cool. I have put a step stool next to the tub so Captain can choose to hop in easily but so far he is choosing to stay out of the water. We shall see as the temperatures continues to climb.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer here we come!

Captain, after his bath drying his handsome fur in the wind and sun
      Wow! Spring is flying into summer fast and my planner looks like the aftermath of a tornado! Scribbles of plans, appointments, work schedules on every day! Busy, is a good way to be. Next week I will meet with the Raptor Center in the hopes that I might snag a job there(that I am TECHNICALLY maybe not 100% qualified for since I'm not a trained vet tech,so cross your fingers for me!), or maybe just a volunteer spot. Either the job or volunteering would get my foot in the door working with wild animals. At first thought to most folks, animals are animals, but wild animals and domestic animals are very different. Cows, horses, sheep, dogs, cats, pet rabbits, are all domesticated animals. All these previously listed animals I have worked with in some form. Wild animals on the other hand, like snakes, skunks, eagles, hawks, deer, and moles, are very different indeed. As a friend put it, volunteering at the animal shelter you see sweet faces that bond with you and you want to take them home. A turkey vulture is awesome, but you will never feel the urge to cuddle it or bring it home. So true!

     Last Sunday Bugsy and I ran our 5k. We didn't walk a single step of the race. We ran! Bugsy did amazing! I was fully prepared to avoid all runners and dogs from a good distance should his herding drive urge him to treat the other participants like sheep. Just as we practiced on all of our training days before, Bugsy ran by my side or slightly ahead, never once exhibiting herding behavior inappropriately. I am one proud red tri-colored Australian Shepard from an animal shelter lover!

In the last week of our training Bugsy and I jogged by many compliments.
"Beautiful dog!" One power walker said as he strode by.
"What a good boy." Another walker said.
"Did you see that pretty dog?" A biker called out to her companion.
Good thing Bugsy can't understand all English! With all these compliments he might get a big head!(hardy har har.) On our very last training day a couple of women stretching in the same shade I was stretching in asked me if I always run with my dog. "Sure." I replied. "We have been training together for 2 months and run our first race tomorrow!" As the conversation continued I made sure to mention that  Bugsy, whose behavior was being constantly complimented on(they struck up conversation after we jogged by and I had Bugsy jump over some obstacles and then balance on a horizontal post.), was adopted from the Cedar Rapids Animal Shelter.
"Really?" One of the woman said unbelieving. "THAT dog came from a shelter!?"
I beamed with pride and told of Bugsy's transformation from a smelly unkempt dog who was barely leash trained to this wonderful running companion at my side. 
Good boy, Bugsy!

     This week Bugsy and I are increasing our training by trail running on the slopes and through the forest of the Wickiup Hill Learning Area. After rewarding myself for my 5k success with new trail running shoes we had our first pass at the trails yesterday with much success. I was amazed at my own ability to keep moving at a jogging pace up the hills over and over again. Bugsy loved it. I think we both enjoyed the change of scenery from the pavement and fields of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail to the forest foliage and shade of the Wickiup Hill Learning Area. Instead of cranking up the tunes like I had been on the last few runs at the nature trail, I opted out. Instead I listened to the birds and the rustle of wildlife in the greenery around us. The birds and wildlife are plentiful there and so are the mosquito, which I have found I cannot out run.

    Speaking of itching, guess who got poison ivy?!?! Yup, you guessed it! I did! On a hike with Bugsy and Comet through Wickiup 2 weeks ago we found that trail maintenance was well over due (at many of the  parks this year signs are posted apologizing for this and asking for patience. Infrequent maintenance caused by budget cuts, vote for trail maintenance people! and save me from poison ivy!). Luckily I had just recently looked up poison ivy to remind myself of just how it looks in order to be prepared to avoid it. I was smart to have done that, because that evil plant was creeping all over the trails. I found myself jumping and hopping around like a child pretending the ground was lava. I began avoiding contact with my dogs when I saw them rustle through the ivy leaves as I zig-zagged a path to my own safety. Eventually, we made it passed the worst of the problem and in the open meadow we continued on until a familiar sound of movement through dry leaves stopped us in our place. 4 feet away from me, to the west, was a creature moving above ground and scampering about the dry leaves. The animal was below a coverage of greenery. I struggled to identify this creature as I wondered why an animal would stay here so close to 2 dogs and a human. At this point I did realize that between me and this creature was a distance of four feet scattered with poison ivy. Holding tight to my leashes, I held my ground unable to deny my curiosity. I waited.

     Eventually a gray creature moved its way through the underbrush and over a pile of decaying leaves before ducking back underneath those leaves likely to scavenge some bit of food or hunt for insect prey. It was a mole. Perhaps because the west wind was at its back it paid us no mind even as, when it's body became momentarily visible, Comet barked and lunged near to it, pulling me into the patch of poison ivy. A single leaf grazed my ankle. I, being highly allergic to that nasty plant, immediately hiked out of the park, and drove home to shower. I quarantined the dogs to the yard until I could properly wash them and put all hiking clothing as well as collars and leashes into the wash. Still, I developed  a rash. But, with minimal exposure and a round of prednisone the rash is already subsiding and with diligent avoidance of itching did not spread much beyond my ankle.For this I am thankful.

    Besides our runs Bugsy joins Comet and I on a daily walk that is a distance of about 2(+?) miles. We walk past the neighborhood and further into the country where we pass by a skunk den and sometimes its resident. We practice our obedience on the road. I ask for a sit or a down when we see a deer staring at us 100 feet ahead on the road. Comet will oblige me, but as soon as he is released he gives in with a loud bark and a lunge toward where the deer had been. Bugsy has more self control, but still becomes excited. We walk, then "Sit" I say and we pause to watch the pair of geese and their goslings move away from us. From one pond to the next they waddle on the banks of the ponds' connecting stream. The adult geese watch us closely. The dogs watch the geese closely as well.

     When the pavement turns to gravel we turn around to avoid getting gravel in my shoes. We stroll by the purple flowers growing up tall in the grassy ditches. The dogs stop to smell each of the smashed down grass paths made by skunks or raccoons that come out in the night. The last leg of our walk we cross a bridge that hovers over a stream where minnows swim and the dry grasses around it sometimes are occupied by snakes sunning themselves. If I am lucky I see the snake before curious Comet scares it away. After this we move beyond the picturesque farm complete with white wooden fences bordering the green pastures where 4 large calves feed. If the calves are in one of the pastures near the road they come up to the edge of the fence to greet us and we stop to watch them watch us. The dogs put their noses in the air. I take notice of how quickly the cows are fattening up and hope to meet the farmer near the rode one of these days to ask him if any of that beef  or beef bones might be up for sale(for me and the for dogs as well). How funny it might be to eat an animal I have greeted countless mornings in these green pastures bordering fruit trees.

    Captain never makes it so far as the farm or the skunk den. Instead his big adventures come in the form of sniffing the wildlife paths made in the tall grass in the ditches near home. He sniffs and sniffs and covers himself in dew. I then give him a quick check over for ticks before we move onto the next path. Undoubtedly these paths are the highways for snakes, skunks and racoons the later 2 of which likely come into neighborhood yards at night to scavenge through left out trash or compost piles.

     Believe it or not, at night I have a little "spare time" in which I am reading a great book I have got to recommend to you! If you haven't already read "In the shadow of Man" By Jane Goodall ,I am only at chapter 6 and already I think you all should read it! I'm having a lot of fun reading it. The part in the book when Jane starts leaving bananas around camp to attract the brave wild chimpanzees made my brain go "Hey look! Training! Positive reinforcement!" Training and positive reinforcement are everywhere.  Has anyone noticed how I have been rewarding (positive reinforcement!) myself when I meet my running goals and adding incentives like music, new shoes or new locations to my running? I'm training myself!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Busiest time of the year!

     Spring is butting up against summer! Rain and chill meeting muggy days with temperatures in the 80's. Today Bugsy and I ran further than ever before, and it almost made me puke.(no pain no gain, right?) The air was thick and the sun beat down on us. My new pact to myself, GET UP EARLIER! I woke up this morning, looked at the clock which said 7:45 and in my sleepy haze counted back from the time I thought I fell asleep. I deduced that I still had 20 more minutes before I achieved 8 full  hours of sleep and went back to bed.....for almost 2 more hours! whoops.

     I've been up late reading a book given to me by an awesome lady friend whom has just accepted a position at the Born Free Primate Sanctuary in Texas. I am so proud of/jealous of her! (seriously though, WAY TO GO RAYCHEL!!)She is an inspiration. The book I am so glued to is "Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers" By Amy Sutherland. If you enjoy not just dogs but all sorts of animals and if animal training is of interest to you this book will fill you with an intense realization of what opportunities there are for animals trainers and what it takes to be a good one.

     It's hard to believe I have any time to spend reading at all. I am taking steps to begin college courses next fall, applying for volunteer positions with animals, taking two physical fitness classes now and hoping to add another 5k to my schedule, still working full time at the group home, planting in the garden, running daily with Bugsy and hiking every other day with Comet in the pull harness. Also, next week I will excitedly return to Camp Bow Wow to take a position as a "Camp Counselor". As a camp employee I will work with groups of dogs. I will monitor play, as well as do a far share of poop scooping, cleaning and feeding.

     Comet and I have been hitting the trails as time allows. I attach his leash from his pull harness to the waist belt on my back pack and I hike hands free. Comets eagerness does not fade as we climb hills in the rain and neither does mine. As a matter of fact, if it is raining I'm harnessing him up and heading out because the rain seems to reduce the amount of ticks we bring home. When we are done hiking and arrive back at the car I work on Comets agility and encourage him to walk the wooden beams that outline the parking area with me(Bugsy and I also do this after our run). I remember in obedience class, both as a pup and later as a young adult, Comet saw the nearly 5ft high beam with ramps on each side and ran up then across it with ease and pleasure. At the park these wooden beams, only about 1.5 feet off the ground must bore him because he continually jumps off to sniff things. We are working on it. I can't help but think a trip to Penicon Ridge where the trails are not so well kept up and often we must navigate large fallen trees or leap over water ways might peak both our interests instead of these low flat beams.

     Every day Captain surprises me by becoming more and more MY dog. He is continually opening up more and more.Wonderful on day one, 2 weeks ago, and even more so today. Dropping toys for me to throw instead of bringing them to me and circling around, tugging if I grab for the toy and not ever wanting to give it up. During our first games of fetch I kept 3 soft squishy balls in my hands because he wasn't bringing anything back to give up to me. Lately he brings toys to me and drops them near my hands. (of course, always the trainer, I am rewarding this behavior and ignoring the unwanted behavior) He sleeps, belly up, right next to me in bed if I let him. Or he sleeps on my feet and when not welcomed into the bed he makes himself at home on the dog bed, not usually the small one I bought just for him, but instead the matching one 3 times the size that is meant for the big boys. His joyous nature, somewhat reserved when he arrived is now peaking out more and more as he wrestles Comet, attacks a cat toy or launches himself 2 feet into the air to land on the bay window sill and watches the world outside. Each day I adore him and am glad I chose him for so many reasons.

     Captain is a lazy bones and for this I am glad because if I had adopted a Jack Russel Terrier (I thought about it!) I would be exercising that dog to no end. My dear Captain, if taken on a walk to long will become so slow or just lay down that I have more than once now carried him home. This pleases him just fine. Busy, Busy me is pleased as well because when I leave him to run with Bugsy or hike with Comet he is as eager to take the piece of pig ear I offer him and nap my absence away as he is to greet me when I come back. Balance is being achieved with him in my home.
Here is Comet on a break from our hike (in his pull harness).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Everything in its place

The time is rushing by.

     Each morning I wake up and feed all the pets and myself as fast as I can. The sooner we can run together, Bugsy and I. An hour after our stomach's settle we drive to the trail. Me in my purple running shoes. Bugsy wearing his lupine green cow harness. I stretch and he pees on things. Bugsy has worked out at what marker on the trail we start to jog and he does me a favor and poops BEFORE we get to that spot on the trail. I bag his poo and toss it to the side of the trail where I will pick it up on our return trip. When we hit the marker we start to run. My ankles wobble with the first few strides. Bugsy struggles to ignore the smells rushing by us.By the time we pass the patch of purple flowers brightening the trail on the right of us, we are sailing smooth. We have doubled our distance since we started. We walk before, mid and after we run and we are making marked improvements. For a dog born to run Bugsy is incredibly patient with me. He runs just at my speed, which he could easily double, or triple. I am really enjoying myself each run, and if the days events don't give us time to hit the trail, I miss it. Could I be the same person who hadn't run half a mile in her life a few weeks ago? Still, the 5k is a marker yet to be hit, and I may do some walking (Lucky for me it's a walk/run so I wont feel bad about it if I do walk some) in the race, but I'm working towards not. On a hike today I found a flyer for another 5k and looking into running that one as well.

     Not rain, nor thunder, heat nor wind has kept us from our run yet. There is something about running in the rain against the wind that makes me feel like maybe there is a little super hero inside me. Should I find myself weeks or months from now uninspired I hope someone might remind me to read this blog as reminder, because I am loving our morning jogs!

     A jog with Bugsy. A walk with Captain-this is when the world starts to slow down. Captain slowly wondering down the road with me, sniffing every blade of grass, peeing on every mail box post. Both of us with the wind in our hair. Me searching the ditches for snakes, him searching for who knows what. Then, a hike with Comet.

     Oh! A hike with Comet! I have been avoiding the trails for months. First for back pain reasons (which have mostly subsided hooray!!! ) then to save on gas. I'm living frugally, and while I don't skimp on buying organic milk for me, or the raw meat for the dogs food, some things have had to be cut from the budget. Gas is so expensive and a regular jaunt to the woods adds up. But, after reading an article in Backpacker Magazine  (be still my wild heart, I will return you to the woods very soon!!!) about scientific evidence that hiking and camping, especially for 3 day trips, can actually make you smarter as well as calmer, I knew I had to break out. Comet and I hit the trail on this sunny day late morning when still no one else was in the park. I'm not sure who was more excited to be in the woods again, both Comet and I were ecstatic. Unlike Bugsy and I, who now-a-days easily find each others rhythm, Comet and I were continually raining on each others parade. Him launching himself forward in big happy romping leaps, getting ahead of me and choking himself. Me, decidedly slower then him despite my best efforts, continually stopping and waiting for him to remember that in fact I'm in the woods with him and my hand is indeed holding his leash. Despite this struggle, our happiness continued. Only a third through the hike I realized this, my dear enthusiastic Comet, must be my dryland mushing dog! Comet, so long as he is attached to me, stays to the trail, but yearns to move, move, move! By the time we climbed our third hill, I am dreaming about our future hikes together and any stress still on my shoulders slides away into the chirping forest. I can feel how much stronger my legs are since the last time I hiked here. The 5k training is paying off. Comet is much faster than me, but I am climbing the hills with greater ease than I remember. Once we reach the bench above the meadow I take a break to drink in the view. I sit on the bench and call Comet up to the bench with me. He sits up right looking out over the meadow with me. I see him fixate on this or that area, but can never see what he....smells?  The clouds are fluffy puffs of white, the trees are green and I am in love with nature. I want to sing a song but can't think of any happy enough to turn our pleasure into sound so I stay quiet. As we hike down the hill I make a mental note to remove the rabies tag and dog park tag from Comets collar and to find a better way to store my car keys. With all this jingle jangling its doubtful we will run into any wildlife today.. I can just imagine the sun bathing snakes sliding away from us and our jangling. Just writing this makes me want to run back to the forest. But here, back at home, I've plucked at least half a dozen ticks off of Comet and a few off myself too. The regular ticks you often see, the bigger ones, and the tiny deer ticks too. I should probably wear a hat next time. Right now, I don't even care. Ticks be damned, I am adding hiking (and the gas$ to get me there) to my list of priorities and camping plans are forming in my mind.

Today is a great day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Officially a raw eater!

     Captain is officially a raw eater! He's come a long way, from starting by nibbling on boneless ground beef to devouring a meaty lamb breast bigger than his own head! The lamb breast bone took an hour for him to finish, and I didn't feed him much the next day to make up for his gorging. I'm so proud of him! In the last few weeks Captain has eaten buffalo tripe bone in ground chicken and beef, chicken gizzards and beef liver. Captain has chewed and eaten all or most of his lamb trotters, lamb femurs, lamb breast bones and beef chunks. Captain no longer looks at his food as if it is a puzzle he is too lazy to solve, instead he excitedly chews, pulls, drags and chews some more. Good boy, Captain!

To the left:
A meal for Captain-chicken necks and the last the of spinach and berries. He chewed and chomped like a champ!
In my neck of the woods....
I'm looking forward to some humane charity events sponsored by the local humane society including the Cedar Bend Humane Society Furry 5k and the Cedar Valley Humane Society Woof Walk.

     Today Bugsy and I went for a jog! We are planning to participate in the Furry 5K and while Bugsy is a pro at high speed foot work, I on the other hand have my work cut out for me. 3 cheers to setting goals and working towards them!! Woof !Woof! Horay! I have been stepping up my personal routine this week, and planned to begin my jogging when the new running shoes arrived. Today, the shoes arrived( I love them!!!). Along with the shoes I ordered a Skijor harness which I am super excited about. The plan was to have Bugsy wear the new harness when we run so he can give me an extra boost, and because I know he longs to go much faster than I am physically capable of! 

     I should back up,...Skijoring is the sport of skiing while attached to your dog who, wearing a harness, pulls you along. I recently read an article in BARK magazine about Dryland Mushing which follows the same principle, but in this case you are running on dry land not skiing threw snow. Upon receipt of the skijoring harness I realized in my haste and excitement I had overlooked some not so minor details. The harness does not provide the control it requires for us to navigate a narrow path with traffic, such as the bike/nature trail on a busy day, or the Furry 5k. I also will need some more equipment, BUT hey, this turn of events means that running with Bugsy may just be a regular part of our future, and less likely a passing single event with the Furry 5k. 

     After today, running on the trail together, Bugsy and I are both excited. Bugsy was so clearly thrilled to get one on one time outside, moving fast. He had a look of pride to him as we made our way home. So did I! Bugsy ran right beside me the whole time, keeping pace with me and never darting off. A passing walker even commented as she strolled by "What a good dog!". That's when the look of pride grew onto my face.

     On a good night, if you peaked into my window, you might see me running circles around my living room, playing tug of war with the dogs, dancing and singing to this song................sing it with me!
"I hope you could hear all the screams from the forest, all the ghosts in the trees and the love of a dog"

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Street dogs film and the foot bath battle

A film to watch for....Street Dogs of South Central.

     Captain has made some strides in raw eating this week. He chewed on a lamb bone in the yard, and he ate salmon which was served in a 5 inch long chunk! The salmon he first knocked around, and then ate some but didn't finish it all. After 20 minutes in his crate with the salmon I took it away and fed it to Comet. The next meal was also salmon and this time he gobbled it up! The lamb bone he jumped at the chance to get into his mouth, but then wasn't sure what to do with it. He held it for a minute, then dropped it. Then walked around to see what the other dogs were doing with their bones. Below is a picture of him watching Bugsy chew on his bone. Can you just see the thought bubble above his head....
"So that is how this is done. I see."
Captain looks over at Bugsy chewing on his bone. I have a theory that he is learning by Bugsy and Comets example.
Captain gives the bone a try as Bugsy chews away on his lamb 'trotter'
'Tilda update!
I hear Ms. Matilda was recently spayed and is currently wearing the "cone of shame".
Geez! She sure is cute, isn't' she?
     Captain and I took a walk around the block just the two of us, and half way around he laid down. I coaxed and coaxed but he was done. So I carried (yes, yes I carried my dog. This is a new Jeni/dog relationship!) Captain the half block home. Naturally some neighbors slowed there truck while passing by to yell "Now, that does NOT count as walking the dog!". All in good fun. We both had a laugh and I certainly hope neither of their two dogs ever decide to quit while walking with them as these particular neighbors have a very large German Shepard Dog and a Great Dane.

     Peke N Chin told me that Captain had a reputation for being a bit of a wonderer. So until this week I hadn't attempted to do things off leash outdoors whatsoever . However, this week, after much time with him on leash and him never showing particular interest in leaving my side, I have begun to do off leash work with him. First I (with treats in hand) let him walk with me from the front door to the cars  few times. Success! Then I walked out to the back yard (which is not entirely fenced) with Captain. He learned quickly that staying right next to me and looking up at me got him bits of roasted chicken. He never so much as peed on a bush he was so focused on me! We have done this 4 times now, once with me pulling some weeds between treats, and twice with Comet along with us on leash. Each time his focus stayed with me. I'm one proud pekingese person. They, pekingese, are notoriously difficult to train, says the literature.

     "What made you go from big dogs to little dogs?" One neighbor asked me. Oh, I've got all sorts of reasons, such as: this particular dog was just the perfect fit for me(and Bugsy, Comet, Quimby and Purr-C too). Captain eats a whole lot less than Comet, so I could argue for cost effectiveness. I have two high drive, high energy dogs who, being herding dogs, like to bark....and although I was very tempted to adopt an Aussie, Sheltie, Border Collie, English Shepard ( I could go on) it did not seem wise to push the pack further into a reactive bark at anything that moves, high drive, high energy, flurry of flying fur. Now if I lived on a farm and had sheep to herd this would be a different story, but I live in a sort of rural, country-suburb hybrid. I do not have sheep but I do have neighbors.

     I also considered hunting breeds, maybe a bird dog. Oh English Setters, you are so handsome a breed of dog!. The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon has also long been on my list of dogs I simply must have in my lifetime. But as much as I yearn for my Aussie to herd, I would yearn for my Setter or Griffon to hunt and until I learn to shoot a gun and hunt something, maybe those dog breeds would be putting the cart before the horse? Future hunter or not, these breeds have plenty of energy and I'm not sure I'm ready to add that much size AND  'spirit' to the pack at this time.

   You have read the many goings on of this dreaming blogger and all the breeds I fancy. When I was on my search for the right dog for me I kept an open mind big dog, medium dog, small dog it didn't really matter. What I missed when Harry passed was that clam center asleep on the couch. A dog who might bark and become aroused at this or that, but not at everything. A dog who might be lazy enough to enjoy being by my side outside even if I was not moving. Captain has all the qualities I searched for. Captain is no Harry, but I did not look to replace him! No dog ever could! Still Captain has filled an open spot on the couch and a lazy piece of my heart. I love him more every dog gone day. <3

     Comet has dealt with me putting drops in his ears, and on his paw twice daily for a week now. Poor guy, when he sees the medicine dropper he walks quickly away and plops in a pile on the floor. The first vinegar/water foot bath went terribly. I should have known to positively reinforce him through-out the steps instead of putting the pot of water and vinegar on the floor and then bringing him to it. He pulled away and fought me. Me stubbornly trying to get him to hold still and Comet probably thinking something like "what the $*#%!".  Poor guy, what the heck was I thinking? Man handling him into a foot bath like I don't know how to handle dogs? Day 2 I brought out the roasted chicken, placed the footbath on a towel and put the other animals out of the area. It took a minute or two for him to come near the "evil pot of doom foot bath", but once he realized it was me, his loving, chicken treating person and not the evil footbath forcer he came over and reluctantly let me handle his foot, chicken, place his foot in the footbath, chicken, chicken chicken, then I petted him and waited a few seconds, chicken, petting, waiting, chicken, "goodboy" petting,waiting, chicken, and on and on for a few minutes as his foot soaked. The rest of the weeks baths went easily and with some but less chicken. The last bath putting Bugsy and Captain outside backfired because the neighbors were playing a rousing game of fetch and Bugsy could not contain himself. I brought the two of them in and Comet stayed in position, chicken, Bugsy "down" chicken, Captain "cabin" (cabin is code for crate) chicken, and so it went the entire footbath. Oh what fun! I'm glad it's done. :)

Oh! I keep forgetting! Captains previous people, his loving foster home, have a face book page for him and  are still keeping it up(at least so far.)Check it out and Feel free to friend him! Lisa, Captains foster mom, clearing has skillz with the pics! To avoid confusion I will share the knowledge that before he was with me Captain went by the name Ben. I still find myself calling him Captain Ben now and then, but honestly more often than not, I call him "Cappy"

Monday, March 26, 2012


     I saw this youtube video and found it very interesting. For one, ouch! It looks like this greeting was a little uncomfortable for the woman involved! These are, as you can see, wolves, not dogs. These are wolves in a zoo and are displaying tail wagging, face licking behavior upon the return of a human they have bonded with. In the background towards the end of the clip some of the wolves are displaying behavior of aggression/dominating or submitting/appeasing to each other. It gets me thinking about groups of wolves......

     Often wolves in zoos are not a natural pack, or family group, like what would be found in the wild. Zoo wolves are often individual wolves grouped together that are not family. It is thought that aggressing between group members, creating a constant struggle for power between each other  is caused, in theory, by this false group dynamic as well as the stress of zoo life. As some of you know, this behavior of one wolf  standing aggressively over another wolf, is what the whole dominance training "hold your dog down and force them to submit" mumbo jumbo is based upon. The constant, aggressive combat for power displayed in captive wolves is now thought to not be a natural behavior displayed by wolves (and then thought, to be passed down as a natural behavior for our dogs, hence the dominance theory based "alpha roll"). It has become popular belief that this wolf behavior, of  group members being aggressively ladder climbing/power hungry, is not natural at all, but a struggle created by humans when we pushed non family groups to live together as packs in zoos.
     This following documentary segment shows an established wolf pack, known as "The Druids" (which by the way, was formed initially by humans who picked wolves from Canada, attached tracking device collars to them and then released them in Yellowstone National Park). At one point the commentator notes that the pack has "a constantly shifting power struggle". But, if you watch the whole Wild Wolf 1,2,3, 4and 5(available on YoutTube) you will notice that once established the male and female rein for years. The commentators even take notice of the alpha male and females age, and their graying fur. Certainly the younger, more spry wolves could challenge them, kill them and take over, but they do not. Instead, as shown in this segment the younger wolves willingly submit to the elders. These wolves follow a family order, respecting the groups leaders. Wild wolves kill prey and aggressively defend territory from other packs, the pack functions as a family group amazingly well. Without team work, this group would not succeed in as many ways as they have. For certain, functioning in a pack is advantageous for the group members.

     Our dogs, they are not wolves. But isn't it amazing how their body language is so much the same! I find both creatures to be absolutely fascinating. Please, don't go thinking adding a wolf, or wolf dog hybrid is the next step on your big adventure(if you fancy any such ideas you must have missed the post where I recomend you read "Part Wild"). Like the wolf, your dog has found it advantageous to function in a pack. Your dogs pack may consist of mostly humans, a few other dogs, or a mix of both, but one thing is for certain:
Being a leader worth following is one of the best things you can do for your dog.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


     Science and dog lovers are going to want to add The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum to your list of places to visit.  All the way in London the museum is a LONG way from home for me.  Someday....someday. The visit is a big lure because of the amazing exhibit featuring 837 preserved animal species including 80 domestic dogs. This article, about the origins of the Pekingese, has some enlightening photos taken at the museum of the domestic dog display.

     Not going to make it to London (dream big!)? Check out this fun and factual dog blog "Dog Spies". You are going to love the first photo in her latest blog post "H*mping" which is a great snap of a dog humping a cats head.

A picture of Frida, the super amazing rock climbing dog.
OH! Have you heard about the many dogs who have become ill or died because of bad chicken treats? See this story about Wagon Train treats.

This is Captains new favorite meal.
Ground chicken, potatoes, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, sea meal and fish oil. 
 So far Captain is refusing to rip and tear apart large pieces of meat. For example a chicken thigh, or chunk of beef heart he will lift or knock out of his bowl. So we are still adjusting to the new diet. The ripping and tearing that comes with larger pieces of meat is so good for the teeth! Captain has so many little tiny teeth crammed into that little mouth of his. In order to keep Captain and his tiny teeth healthy, hopefully we can graduate him to ripping and shredding soon.

Just look at those pearly whites
Comet saw the vet today, and just in the nick of time. Last night he was keeping me up with his head shaking, a sure sign he has an ear infection. Because he has a history of ear infections, I clean out his ears once a week, but now and again he still gets an infection. Also, Comet has been chewing on one of his paws and it is red and irritated. Turns out it is also a minor infection. So the poor guy has to have special drops in each ear and some in his paw which then has to be wrapped.Also, once a day a vinegar foot bath for his sore paw. Other than that a clean bill of health! The vet gave us a special ear wash which he hopes will be better than our current product and prevent future infections, also Comets meal portions will be increasing since he was lost weight since his last vet visit. What can I say, the dog is all fur!

From the front yard flower garden!