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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

tonights dinner

Roasted eggplant puréed with basil, tomato, green bell pepper ( from the garden of course). Stirred the veggie mix with leftover meat bits and juices from roasted (local antibiotic free) pork and served over bass fillets.
Not all the dogs enjoyed the bass. Bugs, my usual anti fish food snob surprised me by gobbling it!
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Friday, August 23, 2013


For years only a third of the front yard has been fenced. I hated that chain link and the dogs are so happy!
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Chicken necks with pork shoulder roast (left over from people dinner) gravy and organic egg with zucchini, beets green pepper from the garden.
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dinner for 5

Goat ribs, chicken thighs, chicken legs.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

building up

Miles builds up courage to jump in the lake.
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these wet dogs are not for sale


Purr-C Cat
Sometimes I feel like life is dragging me around by the hair and I can save energy by not kicking and screaming. Other times I get to walk lakeside with my dogs and am joined by juvenile eagles in the airspace above us. You just never know what life is going to throw your way or how long it will stay. Today I am reminded of the short time our four legged friends are with us. A family of friends, including two young boys, had to saw goodbye to their dog Rusty. My condolences go out to the family and I hug mine a little closer tonight. Also I am thankful that I spend my most recent weekend past basking in the joy of my 1 year anniversary with Michael. I promise not to gush, but gee whiz it sure was a nice relaxing weekend. One of the places we went was the National Mississippi Museum and Aquarium. Now on display is a wide variety of turtles and tortoises. In addition to the turtles there was aquariums of ocean and river fish as well as archeological and historical treasures, many interactive displays and other live animals including raptors! I recommend it if you are in the Dubuque, Iowa area. Dinner at The Pepper Sprout, also in Dubuque, was delicious. Order the baked brie with fruit salsa appetizer, it is divine. 

Again,I am hitting the ground running at work. I have begun a training program for the two American Kestrels that came into the clinic with human imprint and malnutrition injuries. After attempting to read about 100 different books about training wild animals and getting about 10% through each of them in fits and starts over the last year, I decided jumping in at the bird-perfect opportunity was my best option. Being lowest on the totem poll at work leaves all my decisions up for debate and sometimes my decree over ridden. 
But none-the-less my coworkers are supportive and I am determined.
Wet dogs.

Miles has been pushing the limits of his water curiosity and recently jumped in a lake! No, he jumped in two lakes! In the previous post there is a video of Miles and Bugsy at Lake MacBride, after that video was taken he eventually did jump into the water, but was still very shy about the wake from boats moving past. Then, after a hike with Comet, Miles watched Comet jump for joy off a dock into a lake and joined in. 
Just a reminder, don't shop....think first to adopt! 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Miles meets 3 American Kestrels in the rehab clinic

Quiet curiosity is encouraged among all species involved.
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Happy hikers Bugsy and Comet enjoy a hike at Squaw Creek Park

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Tonight for dinner I ate sauteed green beans, chunked red bell pepper, kale, onion, spiced with garlic and tamari.This served as a bed for the spicy pork sausage garnished with diced fresh lemon basil and cilantro. The green beans, onion, kale, cilantro and lemon basil all came from the garden and the pork is from a local farmer friend(who helped change me from a vegetarian to a conscious meat eater who supports local farms that take animal welfare, antibiotics and the environment into consideration). Summer in Iowa is a season of  delicious local food. Night after night I am called to the table by my weary hungry body, and I am satisfied by the fruits of my labor and the labors of others as well.(Michael comes to mind, he is a great cook!) MMM. Im getting hungry all over again.

I am strict about my animal meat intake. The lines for dairy consumption are more blurred for me. I am a sucker for a really good cheese. A smoked bleu. A sharp white cheddar. The rules I have for my personal diet have always been as strict as I can afford them to be, and that is a very real budgetary guideline. The same is true for the dogs food. I am now, and always have been on a budget and the number of dogs in my house, as well as the number of dollars in my pocket plays into the food that I can justify buying for my dogs to eat.

Not too long ago I made my second group bulk purchase from a company that sells meat for dog food that has been treated with charcoal to mark it as not for human consumption. The first time I purchased from this place I saw the prices and turned a blind eye to the details. What a deal! When I received a flier with my meat purchase proclaiming "We buy downer cows" a sad iconic image (if you have ever watched PETA videos, documentary's on factory farming, or similar topics you have probably seen this image) of a live cow being pushed, no, scraped across a paved cattle lot by a skidloader comes to mind. I immediately got the shivers.
But I fed the food to my dogs.

I keep thinking, downer cows can mean a few things. One thing it can mean is that a cow broke a leg at the farm and had to be taken to slaughter early, this may result in not being able to qualify to be sold for human consumption especially if the cow dies on the way to the slaughter house. The meat that is being sold, marked with charcoal as not for human consumption is undoubtedly the same meat used in kibble. From these thoughts I can draw 2 conclusions in the favor of my decision to buy this meat,....
1. That the raw ground beef (for example) is leaps and bounds above what it would be turned into after being highly processed with other ingredients and preservatives in order to create kibble.
2. That an animal, in this (imaginary) case a cow, that has been bred to eat and broken its leg should not be wasted. One way to look at wasting meat is to look at it as wasting the given up life of an animal.

But beyond those thoughts I keep thinking more of these......like that the way a cow is treated, exposed to trauma or humanely limiting suffering and stress, on the way to and in the slaughter house can change the color of the meat. Also, cows that end up in a bulk meat production warehouse are almost certainly animals from a factory farm. The amount of suffering ongoing in factory farms is comparable to that in puppy mills, were at least some of those animals escape to a humane life as oppose to a humane or inhumane death in the case of beef cattle. Add to that the likely hood of my otherwise healthy cow breaking its leg being a one in a million case while the others may have toxic loads of antibiotics, disease, or other skin crawling reasons for being unfit for human consumption. I have to say that when I think about food in the U.S.A. I am always surprised at how many things ARE approved for human consumption, and consumed regularly. Things that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.I think it is important for all people to have a good idea where their food comes from whether that food is for you or your dog. Better yet, know exactly where that food comes from as often as you can. Still, a lot of work has been done to better the lives and decrease the stress on livestock. The following video can tell you more about humane slaughter practices.

In recent conversations with dog owners I have heard one woman proclaim that "dogs are made to eat protein!" while another reflected that her dog was on a kibble with too high a protein that effected the growth of her dog. All this reminds me that my diet for my dogs (and myself for that matter) is always in flux. I think that is a good thing. Scientific research is always moving us into having more knowledge. Genetic research is now telling us that when dogs made the leap from wolves they evolved a gene giving them the ability to digest a wider variety of foods then their wolfy counter parts. And what a handy gene to have if you plan to be pal-ing around with junk food junkies like us humans.

So, am I right to save some $$ and supplement my dog food buying at the low price bulk store???? I don't know. The answer I've come up with is this, keep doing the best  I can with what I've got.
Here are some meals my dogs have eaten in the past month.

Ground beef with strawberries and blueberries.
Ground turkey necks with goat spleen and basil
Ground guinea hog with basil, beats and strawberries

Supplements I occasionally add. The one on the left is called "pet kelp"

After 3 pictures in a row of ground meat meals I feel compelled to tell you that tonight, this morning and yesterday the dogs all ate large chunks of meat on bone for meals. Eating meat on the bone, which requires a dog to chew his/her food, keeps teeth clean and is, in my opinion, an important part of a raw diet.

Miles, before and after groom pictures.

And now, I'm exhausted and wishing I had an editor as I am about the 
click the publish button with sleepy eyes. Here goes nothing,...CLICK!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Who you call'n rowdy? I'll show you rowdy!

The 5 packs plays rough.
After Miles has a weird but happy play session with a new friend, I am reminded of the many play styles of dogs and happy that all 5 of my crew are comfortable enough to play together.
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

a dog for everything

Despite the wet weather and many cloudy days the garden is growing. I'm eating home grown lettuce, herbs, radishes green onions and much more soon to come. Miles has become a wonderful garden companion and has developed his own hobby of attacking dirt clods. I keep a stick of string cheese in my pocket and bite off little pieces for him when he's doing something I like, usually the behavior I reward is sitting quietly not on a crop.

Comet, Wonder Dog and I are really enjoying flayball practice. Participating in a tournament is still a long way off, but we are having fun getting there. Comet brings his bouncy, fuzzy happy go lucky energy every practice and I love being silly with him. I'm really enjoying getting myself back into a training mind set. Wonder Dog has been very reluctant to pick up and bring back a tennis ball, which is a big part of the whole flyball thing! This road block has helped me to work on my timing, which I'll admit can be down right dismal. Having a challenge is a good thing! I only wish I had more free time to spend tackling the task! I was hoping to find more free time this summer then last, but that is just not the case.

Camping, hiking Bugsy.
Bugsy and Miles had a blast camping and hiking with Micheal and I. Miles stayed reliably close off leash and was allowed to free roam during any hiking that was not near a cliff, road or horse (equestrian trails area also offered at the park). Bugsy, who visited yellow river with me for the 3rd year, also moved up to off leash under those same hiking rules. Miles, a scared puppy who runs to Michael and I if ever a surprise comes his way, is a much different thing than grown up, speedy, curious Bugsy being off leash! He did so great! I am so proud of him.When a coyote called out in the woods Bugsy took off after it, but I only had to be worried a few moments, then back he came, proud of protecting us. I was just beaming with happiness watching him enjoy the privilege. 4 years ago I took him to yellow river and couldn't let him off leash for a second. I regretted taking him because he pulled the entire weekend and was very reactive to horses, people and other dogs we encountered. Last year I trusted him enough to let him off leash, while wearing a bell, in the camp site area after a full day of hiking on leash. This year, after hiking into our site I put a bell on him(and Miles) and we hiked around for hours off leash. He would run ahead and then stop and look back at me, sometimes I would just tell him "good boy", other times I would call him back to me and love him up. While hiking we saw a 6ft long black rat snake sun bathing on log. I stood and watched it for some time, it looked like a stick and I felt so lucky to have spotted it.

Captain has begun to abuse his off leash privileges at the farm. Once recently he ran off and almost went into the horse pasture. One of the horses in that pasture does his best to chase down and stomp dogs that intrude in "his" pasture and Captain is reduced to leashed walk privileges for a little while. What can I say, the dog just has too much fun! He doesn't seem to mind the change and spends plenty of time chewing bones in the yard or soaking in the dog pool. Recently he even visited the birthday party of one of my clients! He wore a little tie attached to his collar and lots of the folks at the party gave him bits of pizza crust and lots of love. My clients from the group home each took turns petting and holding him and then I took him around to all their friends at the party asking each if they would like to pet or hold Captain. Captain was perfectly well behaved and let all the different people pet or hold him in their different ways. The whole experience was very rewarding, I hope not just for Captain and I either!

fish and beef with dried kale, kelp and a drizzle of coconut oil
Oh, I must be forgetting so many adventures we have had lately. There is so much information to share, like today I fed fish fillets and ground beef with kelp powder, dried kale and coconut oil. But, after a long long day and another early morning upcoming, I'm throwing in the towel! Please enjoy some pictures from our camping trip!

Oh! And check out Buckaroo! He is now listed on Protege Canine Rescues available dogs page!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

puppy play

Miles and Captain show the cattle dog pup how to have a good time!
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's baby season. And,....You can't run from ticks

Two baby great horned owls.
It's hard to find the time to sit and write when the sun is FINALLY shining.
Then the rain is unceasingly falling.
The green house is bursting with plants to transplant.
The garden needs more planting and the garden needs hoeing.
Work is bursting with baby owls, baby falcons, baby hawks, baby animals of all varieties. My job is to avoid baby animals(sort of). Today alone I took over twenty bird calls,(meaning people calling the raptor clinic about birds) most of which pertained to young birds being clumsy and kind hearted people determined that those birds needed to be saved. Again, my job is to avoid those babies at all costs, because baby birds and other baby animals, are best kept in the care of their true parents where they can learn how to hunt, who to mate with and what a predator is. Convincing people that the clumsy, 12 inch tall, not flying raptor in their backyard is not in desperate need of medical attention can be a daunting task. Many people begin telling a long tale of discovery and concern, others talk so fast you can barely understand them and they themselves are running out of breath.
20minutestherearenototherbirdsaroundcomequick!"......( I dearly hope this fast talker never has an emergency requiring them to call 911- the operator will never understand her.)
It consistently feels anticlimactic to tell people that this is normal and no action needs to be taken. Some people are relieved, others in disbelief will argue and insist. Some people call me names like "honey-bun can ya come and help?" while others swear at me when I don't give them the answer they are looking for "You don't give a damn about this animal do you? What the hell do you do all day?!". Today I was alone in the clinic with a baby owl who had two of his talons (the toes on the feet that have long claws for hunting and perching) traumatically amputated (a.k.a. accidentally cut off)when the tree he was nesting in was cut down. I was examining the bird for other injuries when the phone began to ring. I ignored it prioritizing the INJURED baby bird in my hand, but the person called again and again and again. I wrapped the nestling barred owl in a towel and took him with me as I reached for the phone. The man on the other line said "Thank god! I thought it was going to be the voice mail again! My name is Mr. Recall Man (names have been changed to protect the innocent) I live at 1234 blah blah blah road in This City and I need someone to come out right away. We've got a bird on our back porch and its just standing there!" I gently asked the man to describe the bird, height? eye color? did it have a slightly fuzzy appearance? Together the man on the phone and I decided that it was indeed a young red trailed hawk and that it must be exploring the area after coming from  the woods just a few yards away. Yes, he had thought there was some baby hawks up there. Yes, it made since that he couldn't fly yet, must be a baby. The bird was too frightened to move and it would be best to leave the area.Yes, we agreed. I thanked him for his concern for Iowas birds of prey and returned to the baby owl in my hands, who is very likely doomed. Owls need their talons to hunt and perch, releasing an owl missing one talon would be okay, depending on what talon was missing, but two talons? One of them being the most important one of all? I called my boss to confer, she suggested I make the baby comfortable with pain medication, stabilize the foot, give the baby antibiotics and reassess in the morning. I cleaned the wound as best I could and wrapped it. I hand fed it a cut up mouse with the antibiotics. As I put the baby into a clinic cage for the night the phone rings again.

For as much time as I spend avoiding babies, they keep finding their way to me. This little buckaroo was found by my mothers neighbor and after going unclaimed in the area she called me to help. I have to give a big thanks to the wonderful volunteers of Protege Canine Rescue for taking him in. It just kills me to see little bitty pups in animal shelters and Protege is making sure he stays out of a shelter. I just can't walk away from a face like that! It's those same chemical reactions in the the brain working on me and on the people calling me about baby birds, saying...."take care of that baby! Don't walk away!" This little cattle dog puppy will be with me until tomorrow when I will take him to the vet for a check up, then drop him with a volunteer foster home. He wriggled and cried when I gave him a bath, but he doesn't stink anymore. He yelped when Michael and I removed his ticks, but he forgave us soon after.

Having this puppy around for a whole 2 days has helped me realize how hopelessly busy I am. No wonder I'm behind on blogging! It's that time of year. That time when things are bursting out of the ground and time slips away faster then the sun at the end of the day. A few weeks ago Michael and I went for a run in the woods at a nature area near me. We took Bugsy, Wonder and Miles with us and ran about three miles. One week later we were still pulling ticks off the dogs. The total tally must of been over 100 ticks all together between what Michael and I found crawling on either of us or any of the dogs. In addition to the tick problem the poison ivy has shot up around the edges of the paths and I haven't been to that park since. Even if I diligently avoid the poison ivy creeping at every trail edge, I can't keep the dogs from letting their paws brush against it. If  I even suspect they were in it I scrub them up in the kiddy pool in the yard with dawn dish soap to break down the oil and protect myself. I am highly allergic to poison ivy.

Posion ivy and ticks be damned. I'm going camping this weekend! Michael and I will be spending the entire weekend hiking and camping with lucky dogs Miles and Bugsy.  In other news Wonder Dog and I finished our fly-ball class and have been invited to join the Disorderly Conduct team! Last practice I took Comet along, and he really enjoyed it. Looks like fly-ball is in this dog packs future! Captain and Miles come to the garden with me every day to water the green house, pull weeds and walk through the field and farm. Captains favorite part is the giant field puddle he splashes then lays in. Then he runs around full tilt like his little fuzzy butt is on fire. Every time I see this I think ......I should make a T-shirt that says
"My pekingese has more fun than your Labrador!"

Raw duck neck and buffalo heart with green herbal supplement.
If you are thinking about adopting a puppy and think a cattle dog might be in your future, take the time to learn some more about this SMART, ACTIVE and LOYAL breed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


This week.....
A moment of silence to observe the sadness of the tragic event this week at the Boston Marathon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The sun came out in Iowa

Another busy week has flashed past us here at HMFT bloggy headquarters. Bugsy and I are working back up to our 5k and running on the nature trail this week we saw an American Mink. I  have never seen this animal before and was careful to take a long, good look at what I saw. The animal was a chocolatey brown color and was easily over a foot long. I gazed at the creature moving swiftly along the path as we were, it watching us, us watching it.

Then on the drive home from flyball training I spotted an Osprey! I was excited to have spotted it. Macbride Raptor Project has been instrumental in the osprey introduction plan in place here in Iowa. We keep tabs on nesting sites, band babies and have been tracking the progress of the birds as they continue to return to Iowa. Also, these birds just look cool. They're like the punk rockers of the Iowa raptor population.

Miles got a haircut!


 Doesn't he look cute!?!? I am so pleased with the care he has received at Kirkwood Community College. Miles has been groomed by the students of the dog grooming program at KCC. They have done a fabulous job of helping shy Miles feel comfortable. Both times I picked him up from his hair cut I found him playing with a student. Seeing him playing instead of in a crate made me really happy, but it was also a smart move on the part of grooming instructor Terry Anderson. Rounding off the end of a grooming session with some fun time is no doubt going to help Miles remember the groomers as a happy place to be.

After Miles' haircut I was inspired to take a group picture for a new blog header. I really like to have an outdoor picture as the blog head, but until the green spring and summer sun start improving the Iowa landscape the above photo is the new blog header. Below is one of the shots I took in my living room.(I altered it with photoshop so it looks like a drawing, it was not drawn by me!)

Miles and Captain enjoy an off leash hike

Monday, April 1, 2013

Good walk, poptart.

            This week, with the help of my trusty "Activity Manager" 
                                        the dogs and I have visited two new places. 
Ready to walk!
                      One of which really surprised me.....

  ...In the spirit of trying new things, I packed Wonder Dog in the car with me on the way out to the grocery store. I figured I'd find a place to stop somewhere in between the store and home for a dog walk. I could think of two parks, but she had been to them before. As I drove down a road I have driven down a hundred million times I noticed that there was a side walk in front of a small contrived body of water in front of a strip mall of businesses. The body of water was filled with floating Mallard ducks and Canada geese. The water was splashing over a spillway causing a misty spray to splash up on the sidewalk. Surely I had noticed this pond before, but never as a "place to go for a walk". I pulled over and hooked Wonder Dog to the 15 foot retractable leash and we walked down the sidewalk to the pond. The pond was very contrived, with large white gravel rocks 2 feet around its edges on all sides, a cement spillway took the water beneath the road and funneled it to a marshy area beyond. As we walked, Wonder Dog nosed the ground. She zig zagged back and forth in heaven with all the green poo and good sniffing. We left the sidewalk behind and began circling the pond, as we got further from the road, grassy prairie areas surrounded the mowed grass beyond the ponds graveled edges providing habitat for wildlife. The geese in the pond watched us and honked, seemingly agitated. Most of the ducks took off, flying across the street towards the marshy wetland. As we finished a half circle around the first pond we came to another small damn connecting this pond to another. Empty shells floated at the waters edge, and I imagined a raccoon having made a meal there. I recalled seeing many people fishing this pond over the years, both on the warms days of summer and atop the ice in the freezing winter. But on this day, Easter as it was, everyone was elsewhere. We trailed the edge of the 2nd pond and found it connected to a third. A great blue heron rose up from the waters edge having decided we were too near, and landed on the opposite side of the pond.  An amazing site, I watched the bird for some time as Wonder sniffed at, read the story on the ground, invisible to me. We circled around the 3rd pond, having leaped over a muddy creek bed, and again the great blue heron rose up and moved away from us. I watched the grassy areas, searching the trees for raptors and watching the tall dry amber shoots of dead prairie grass wave in the cold wind. The ducks made a commotion and just as I looked back to her Wonder leaped into the pond! I can't tell you weather she was overcome by the temptation of the quacking ducks on the water, or if some creature, a turtle? A fish? A muskrat? slid into the water just in front of her calling her to chase after it. Wonder popped back out of the water like a pop tart out of a toaster with a strong spring. The snow here has gone away, but for a few piles in shady spots. The weather has warmed so that I don't wear long underwear anymore, but the water still must have been frightfully cold. She had gone all the way under, and I'm not sure if that had been her intent, or if the pond dropped off so fast she hadn't had a choice. Either way she was none the worse for wear. If I could guess her feeling at the moment she popped out of the water, I'd guess she had decided it was too cold for a dip after all, but it had been worth a try. Wonder Dog shook off a few times and continued happily sniffing the goose poo all the way around the other sides of the ponds. She didn't give up her enthusiasm as we returned to the sidewalk and made it back to the car. I gave her a quick sniff. Her thin coat and repeated shaking had left no noticeable trace of pond smell on her. We drove to the grocery store. She perched on the console next to the driver seat, leaning forward as much as her seat belt would allow her. Her head leaned against mine. Good dog. And a good walk too. Not bad for a contrived triple pond. The sight of a great blue heron almost made the strip mall signs in the distance disappear.

Feel like chicken tonight?
Chicken for 5 dogs and 2 cats.

Or maybe...
Beef is whats for dinner?
Beef chunks with dried organic kale and organic coconut oil.
A tip from me...


I keep a spray bottle of water handy. I use it to spray the leaves of my houseplants, but I also spray the dogs home made food whenever I add dried things like dehydrated kale or any kind of dried herbal supplement. Nothing is more unappetizing than inhaling pepper, or breathing pixie stick sugar. I'm sure a nose full of dried herbs would be really annoying so if I add a dry herb, green or supplement I always make sure to spray it down with some water before serving.

Bugsy turned down the covers.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I learned it from watching you!

Wonder sporting her horse blanket style dog coat. Captain sports his natural coat.

There is so much information out there! So much to learn! Where do we start?!
 Where do we move on to once we think we know a thing or two?
This week I learned from my own mistakes. After reading through a previous blog entry I realized that I'm really in a rut. Here I am, with a house full of dogs, telling you and myself that, this dog walks best here, and this dog walks best on leash with this dog, and this dog gets to do this. After a long winter stuck in my routines leave it to spring to help me break out.

Post hike Miles snuggles in a towel.
With out a doubt it is important for me to know that for example, Comet is easily excited by people petting him and that he is likely bark if his head is being petted in a moment of excitement so I should discourage people petting his head, or petting him at all, during moments of high arousal if I don't want him to bark. Instead of letting that keep me from ever matching him as a travel companion with Captain who hears the bark and lets out a loud howl himself, instead of that I should practice with them together of course!

snowy hike.
I finally bagged myself a planner for my year in dogs. With 5 dogs, and two cats don't forget, in the house it is absolutely necessary to keep a calendar or planner with notes of who needs vaccinations, or flea treatment as well as vet appointment dates and when I might give out a heart-worm preventative. Last year my calendar was ity bity. Small enough to stuff in the tiny corner of a treat cubby and forget about it when I didn't need it. I had to abbreviate all dogs names, and anything else that needed documented because there just wasn't room to right. This year I picked up a calendar planner with at least a paragraph of space to write in each day and I have dubbed it my "Activity Manager". Every day I document what I did with each dog. When I started this I had an idea that it might help arrange my activities to ensure that if I skipped a dogs walk one day, that same dog wouldn't get skipped again soon after. But the results of my record keeping have already gone well above my expectations. I should have known! I have recently been reading "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. The book is full of exmples about how habits affect our lives, and can change them for the better or keep them in a rut for the worse. In one example a group of dieters was asked to keep a daily journal of all the food they ate. In the end all those that did keep the journals, they made a habit of them, lost weight. Perhaps because they were in the habit of thinking about the food they were eating. In the case of my dogs and our "Activity Manager" I have found myself not only successfully knocking out all daily walks, but I'm doing it in new places I have never gone to before. I have found myself taking note of where I have been and that I like to do new things,(huh, imagine that!). Also I have found that when I make the extra effort to go new places I have more fun, so do the dogs, and I find myself less often coming home from work and looking at the dog crew like a daunting to do list. Here is some of my daily entries ....

Friday- Captain, Miles and Comet to farm-Comet 15 ft retracto leash, Miles and Captain off leash in feild
Bugsy and Wonder short walk to park in AM
Bugsy and Wonder Long hike in natural area
Saturday-(cold, rain, slush and snow) Bugsy car ride, shopping trip to petco/petsmart obiedence in stores
All dogs 10 minute training sessions
Sunday- Captain and Miles spent the day at Raptor Clinic with me and had beef stuffed kongs mid-day -Wonder dog-walk around block in AM and walk in park PM-Comet and Bugsy had a long walk down the gravel road, saw 1 raptor and several deer
Miles off leash back and forth from mailbox
Tuesday- Wonder meaty bone to chew in her kennel during the day-Captain and Miles at raptor clinic,lots of people in and out playing with dogs today, raw bones in afternoon and short walk through campus end of day- Bugsy and Comet short walk around neighborhood
Wednesday - Miles went to office with Michael during the day-Wonder dog short walk in AM-Wonder and Captain walk in PM- Miles off leash to mailbox- Bugsy and Comet walk to park
 Thursday- Wonder dog and Jeni run a mile then short walk, Miles walk around the neighborhood, Captain Bugsy and Comet walk to park together.
Friday- Captain and Comet come to raptor clinic, have raw bones to chew in afternoon, get pets and love from janitorial staff and get a short walk around campus end of day, Wonder, Miles and Bugsy get kong puzzle toys while I am at work with C and C. Bugsy and Jeni run a mile then short walk.
Saturday-Wonder, Bugsy and Comet raw bones to chew in AM, Captain and Miles come to Coffee shop with Micheal and Jeni then a walk around post office park, Comet and Bugsy walk to park and around neighborhood, Wonder Long leash walk in the wild wood secret spot.

..........You get the idea. This is just a few of my entries, but you can see from just this that I have begun to try new things like "post office park" (which is actually a park I don't know the name of that is near the post office) and "wild wood secret spot" a place I have been wanting to go but hadn't dared, until now! You don't have to have 5 dogs to make this idea work for you. Trying new things with your dog is good for both of you! Also, having the habit in place of tracking activity of the dog crew will make me more likely to take note, literally, of concerning or positive behavior changes, diet issues or events that effect the dogs. Which reminds me I have to keep that puppy gate up to block the puppy from the basement until I can get that box of old records out of there! Miles keeps peeing on it, even though otherwise he is successfully potty trained. (Have I just doomed myself by declaring that?!?! Oh geez!)

---------diet plan----------------------
Good ole facebook (FB) popped this to my attention this week. This is a colorful and eye catching poster from Dr Peter Dobias, you can see his website address is attached to the image and I don't think I am breaking any copy right laws sharing this with you. Since I am saying to you that this is his poster, which he shared publicly on FB. Anyway,...This poster says "Carrots may cause problems with digestion in dogs" I can't get behind that statement. This poster caused a flurry of comments and speculation, friend him on FB to see for yourself. Many of the comments came from dog owners who were shocked and proclaimed to immediately stop feeding carrots to their dogs as they had been for some time. Others stated that they had fed carrots with success and wondered what the fuss was about. Here is what I know with absolute certainty - I have fed carrots raw, dehydrated and cooked. I have fed them from a can, I have fed them from my garden, I have fed them from the farmers market. I have fed them organic and "natural" and just plain regular. I have noticed that if you feed them raw in large chunks or offer as a whole carrot for a dog to chew that it will come out the other end just as it came in. In this case the carrot plays a role of filling the stomach(along with other foods!), for a doggy on a diet perhaps, also some claim this can help clean the teeth. I have read in a holistic care guide for pets that raw finely grated carrots can aide in digestion (fiber, more easily accessible) when your dog is constipated. I have used this method when I suspected digestive issues. For example when Comet was observed trying to go, but not going and licking his rear frequently I finely grated carrots and apples onto boneless meat and added sea salt and dried sage. During this time I also made sure he had at least 2 short walks a day. I then observed that Comet was able to "eliminate" and the licking problem subsided.
I might feed carrots, in one way or another once every two months, or several times a week and not, in my opinion, to the detriment of my dogs. Some of Dr Dobias ideas are worth a look into, his holistic sense makes him a far cry from the old school country vet I use, but lets be accurate.Lets eliminate scare tactics and hard and fast rules that don't fit into the working reality of a home preparing dog feeder. Later on his page Dr Dobias wrote "They are not harmful, they are just hard to digest for most dogs." Let this be a reminder to a lesson you already know, do your own research to back up claims of others. Don't throw out the carrots the instant you see a pretty poster protesting them.

Know your dog. 

Know your food.

Know your dog food.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

This week in dogs...

This week in dogs....I'm awash with my love for Bugsy. I'm just gooshy for all my dogs, and have no need to pick a favorite. Likely it is because, of all the crew, Bugsy and I have been together the longest, we've gone camping, hiking, backpacking, running, tried all manner of dog classes, including herding, agility, flyball and obedience. Bugsy knows me so well, and I know him so well. I wont fool myself, or you, by saying he listens to everything I say and immediately obeys any command anywhere. He is not a robot dog.

Bugsy is laying at my feet right now. Today him and I went for a mile run together and had the kind of post run love fest that only him and I can have. Bugsy is so aussie, and by that I mean, he just adores me. Aussies are known for being "velcro dogs", they just want to be everywhere there person is. Bugsy is so rewarded by receiving affection from me, he just gushes with happy wiggles when I drum pat my belly inviting him to put his paws up on me, he does a sort of happy snort and bobs his head up and down then if he gets really excited, like if for example I am rubbing his back and petting him in an excited happy manner, soon he will begin to nip at my clothes. The nipping is the point at which we have to calm down some so he doesn't let the teeth go crazy.Because I know his limits, I know where to stop and I think he also knows.
Wonder Dog and Comet- post hike in a muddy park in Iowa City.

Today Wonder and I started a flyball class, and as I observed her reactions to new faces, and activities I reflected on how Bugsy reacted to those same things some years ago. I can recall very clearly how he reacted, HE BARKED! He barked and lunged and had to be constantly stimulated, distracted and rewarded for the smallest good behaviors because when a dog ran by him, it was extremely difficult for him to control himself. I remember feeling overwhelmed at times. Remember Bugsy is a dog who, in younger years, chewed some of my wall off, destroyed a billion toys, barked, jumped, barked and BARKED. Bugsy has matured so much, and become this amazing dog with whom I have this wonderful line of communication with. We can move through a room, a field or a hiking trail together and read each other so well. A tip of the hand, head or a click of my tongue means a stop, a turn this way, or that. I remember being supremely frustrated with this same dog in his younger years, when we had less communication established, and he had energy that seemed to overflow. So to those out there with young overflowing dogs who keep you on your toes until your wits end, take heart. It wont be long until you are looking back on those few short years, laughing and maybe even missing them.

As I mentioned Wonder Dog and I are taking a flyball class! Whoop! Whoop! I'm so darn eager to see her progress over time. I am also pleased to be working on bettering the relationship between Wonder Dog and I. Ever since Wonder took that agility class, and was handled by Michael not me, she has leaned very much in his direction. The class is being taught by members of local flyball teams Skidmarkz and Disorderly Conduct.  Wonder loved all the team members and had no trouble scheming plenty of treats from every one of them. I could tell that Wonder was, as expected, somewhat nervous during the length of the class. Another thing I am eager to see in her, besides her ability to complete the goals of the class, is an increase in confidence. First class done, we had fun. As I walked out the training building door with my dog I couldn't help but wonder if the teams are actively looking for members and if they discussed their favorite hopefuls once we had all filed out.

Meet Sprinkles

This is Sprinkles, she is just 8 months old, a Pekingese and is adoptable through Peke N Chin rescue Midwest. This young dog, cute as she is, suffers from fainting spells due to the extent to which her face is flat. Flatter and flatter faces have become more en vogue over the years and breeders have been able to create these flat faced dogs by purposely breeding the flattest faces pups of one litter to the flattest faced pups of another litter. Flat faced dog breeds are called Brachycephalic breeds. These breeds, such as the bulldog and pekingese, so often have specific breathing problems due the shortness of their faces, the health condition has been called Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. You often see these dogs with their tongues hanging out because, like a hot dog in the summer time, they are trying to cool themselves, trying to breath and are getting that big tongue out of the way. This physical feature, the very flat face, wound not occur in dogs in nature. This is a man made feature breeders have selected to recreate and exaggerate. As you can see this young peke, Sprinkles, is similar looking to the now well known Malachy who won the Westminster Best in Show 2012.  Malachy had to be carried part way onto the carpet for the show, and after winning the show needed to spend time resting on a cold pack in order to keep cool. As you may know dogs keep cool by panting, something this Peke Malachy has trouble doing. Yet, he won the championship and now will be a coveted stud dog for life, fathering many expensive puppies. Many of those puppys, or all of them, will suffer the same physical set backs, having trouble keeping their body temperature at normal levels, and having trouble doing the most basic of necessary functions our bodies and the bodies of our dogs perform...BREATHING. When asked on The View(see interview below) about if Malachy has breathing troubles the owner replied, after having carried his dog on stage, "you have to watch them in the heat, but he has no trouble" and  David Fry host of the kennel club dog show added "he only has to get from the couch to the food dish". 
My question to them would be, what level of quality is there to a life only able to breath well enough to make it from the couch to the food dish?

Crufts banned the winning pekingese from contending in the champion ship due to physical characteristics causing health problems. Surgery is available to some dogs who need correction to there airways in order to keep them breathing more properly. The BBC documentary "Pedigree Dog Exposed" and the more recent Pedigree Dogs exposed 3 years after touch on the subject and the movies are worth watching if you would like to inform yourself of the scale to which aesthetics are pursued over physical health and well being in the show world, and the ways in which that is and is not changing over time. Sprinkles will no doubt make a wonderful addition to a special home that understands her needs. She is available for adoption through Peke N Chin Rescue Midwest. 
These two links provide viewing of Pekingese in a silent movie in 1932 and pekingese racing in 1964 and both are a hoot to view. I am so very glad that Captain, my beloved Pekingese, has no breathing troubles. Because he is a pekingese he has different needs then my other dogs, including regularly cleaning his face wrinkles with a dry clothe and monitoring him more carefully in extreme heat.
Weirdest thing I fed my dogs this week..........
Raw bison heart with sauerkraut and blueberries. 
Some of you may have noticed a growing trend on Facebook. Citizens are creating FB pages to represent states and you can post pictures of your lost dog on the page to share across your area. I am on board for this, as anything that helps lost dogs be returned home is a very good thing.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dingle Berries

Dingle Berries

Nothing is worse then relaxing after a good house cleaning to realize that your dog brought a little poo back inside with him. Poor Captain, he ran inside and went right to the corner and sat, sat right in what he brought in with him. He couldn't have helped it really. The snow was piling up out there, and when he curved his rump to do his business the "bloomers" (a.k.a. his butt fur) must have splayed out behind him neatly and caught all his droppings. His droppings having been the remnants of a meal heavy in veggies was a little softer than usual and so stuck to his bloomers which he then rushed inside and sat on, smooshing the problem further into his fur. Discovering the smoosh face had stink butt I sent him back outside to ensure all his business had been done, while I set up for a bath.

Later that night, 
      Captains luck changed...
                   I gave him his special 
     birthday biscuit from 
     Three Dog Bakery.

tee hee hee.
He couldn't believe his round little eyes. For someone who "dogs" her readers about science blog in and blog out, you might think I would forgo the silliness of a birthday biscuit with frosting that is made to look like chocolate. But no, science dork though I am, silly and fun go hand in hand with anything dog. I just couldn't resist. In the end I smashed the biscuit into pieces and all the dogs each got a good chunk. As you can see from the pictures Captain had plenty of biscuit to share!

Here are a few other biscuits I picked up in Omaha.  
They are cute and the dogs loved them, but the icing(I think) ran a number on Bugsy's stomach and
 soon I was giving another bath due to dingle berries. 

The humidity in the bathroom fogged up the camera lens.

It really seems a silly time to give a bath. Both days the bathes were given the snow was falling and the temperature dropping. I don't have any sort of dryer that I use on the dogs so they just dry slowly over time. As spring approaches the snow will turn to muck and we will all hold out hope that green grass will grow, flowers will bloom and gardens will blossom bringing us fresh food. Gosh, all that sure seems far away as I sit here next to a window boasting only gray skies and trees with bare branches reaching up, up. I see them as if they are throwing their branchy hands up in impatience with a sping that last year sprung much earlier than this..

BUSTED! busted cuddling, Comet is beginning to accept Miles.

In other news the "winter games" continue as I attempt to think outside the box for different ways to get the wiggles out of the dogs. There was a little while there when I was letting the daily walks slip, and it began to come back to bite me. Miles set off annoyance snark barks from Bugsy and Comet. Wonder, bullying the cats and being ever more territorial with the other dogs. Here is a list of some activities we have been doing in addition to the biscuit hiding in the snow I showed you in the "winter games" post......

1. Running off leash or on long leash in the farm fields and sniffing around the barns.
2. Impromptu agility in the park! A long time favorite of mine, I use the same principles used in agility to train a dog to jump over or onto something. I've got most of the dog crew sliding down slides, jumping over swings, walking on the top levels of bleachers, and in our newest adventure Comet, Bugsy and I climbed  through a large plastic playground tunnel system(like the kind you would see at a McDonalds).
3. Trick Training. I'm always putting this on the back burner for no good reason at all. It's fun and builds a better relationship between human and dog. 
4. Hiking or "slogging" as I am now calling it as I trudge through ankle deep slush in the rain.
5. Shopping trips that involve little or no shopping. Example I took Bugsy for a car ride in town while I ran errands, to change things up we took short "city walks" around town at each of my stops and also visited the local pet friendly pet supply stores for a sniff about and some obedience training. In this case we went to both Petco and Petsmart, and bought nothing as I have no problem using their facility without buying a darn thing.
Bugsy and I
One of this weeks meals...
Duck neck, beef lung, banana, butternut squash, fennel seeds and dried basil.