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

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I'm back!

Bugsy and Comet in the office chewing beef femurs

     Wow! I'm back. After a long unplanned break I'm eager to start blogging again! Sorry I've been away! These last months have been a roller coaster and a marathon. Lots has happened that has kept me very busy. As you know, I accepted a position at the MacBride Raptor Project(MRP)and have been enjoying my work there. In these past couple months lots of office work has kept me at a desk and out of the cold. The plus side of inside is getting to bringing my dogs to work with me as often as I like! Up until a month ago in addition to working at MRP I was also continuing to work full time at the group home as well as being a part time student. Add a special someone and the dog pack into the mix and I'm sure you can understand my having difficulty finding time to blog!
Captain in the farm field
     Even more important then all the busyness in my life these past months I must acknowledge the huge losses that I felt in 2012. Long time readers you know about the tough time I had losing my client whom I cared for during a sensitive period in her life. She passed away within a few days of my dog Harry passing. This was a very difficult time for me and it somewhat prepared me for the future ahead.

     2012 then felt the loss of a friend, Rilda Fish who was active in dog agility, a blog reader and an all around good woman. A shock wave was sent through my family when we lost my 16 year old cousin Clayton Johnstone in a car accident. There is just not enough I can say about this loss.Any of these losses. There are not the right words to express.. It is hard to start saying anything about loss because there is such a feeling of inadequacy when you try to describe any life of any person in a few short sentences in a blog. But these losses must be mentioned. Must be acknowledged. 3 good people who touched my life left this word in 2012, and I miss them all. I look at the decisions I have made, and see the reflections of my grief in them. Looking now at all 5 of my dogs, I think adding 3 dogs to the pack in one year was an unreasonable decision. Examining my behavior I come to conclude that it is no coincidence that I added 3 dogs to my household in a year when I lost 3 people. Of course I also lost ole Harry dawg too. As I carry on blogging I wont weigh down my posts with sad reflections on the people I have lost, and I wont recommend that you join me in having a 5 dog household(It is fun!), but I do hope that when you experience loss it can be few and far between.

Rilda Fish.      Lori Anne Shaver.      Clayton Michael Johnstone.        
I remember you.

     And Harry dawg, I remember you too. 

I miss you all. 

     So I guess you're wondering about the 5th addition....... Did I finally bag a border collie? Jump for a pure Jack Russel? Have I picked a giant? A Bernese!? A Newfoundland? Oh no. None of those. To my credit adding a giant dog would have added too much expense just now and I'm trying to save up for a really nice, fence that will cover the expanse of my yard. A scruffy Jack Russel or a black and white border collie would be a thrill but with all these dogs that would be a mistake. How would I ever keep up with all that energy? A senior dog is what I should have added to the pack, but would a senior dog enjoy making a life with my rowdy bunch? It would have taken a special senior for sure. Instead.....

Meet Miles!

Miles is proof that I am a sucker. A social worker friend of mine was working with a family who had a stray dog deliver puppies in their garage and she asked for my help. My friend was persistent so after recruiting help for the task I agreed to take the mother and all three pups as fosters. But when I arrived to pick them up, only this little guy was waiting for me. At 6 weeks old I was disappointed he was separated from his siblings. But the family had given the other dogs away.
At 6 weeks old Miles weighed less than 4 pounds. He needed to eat 4 times a day and couldn't be left alone for long. So, he went everywhere with me. He slept in my lap while I did office work. He rode in the car while I ran errands. He came to work with me every day at MRP. My boss and coworkers took him out to potty when I was busy or played with him when they needed a break. When I worked at the group home my special someone would take him to work with him. And we both became very attached. For the first several weeks we looked for homes for him but as time went on, it became harder and harder to think about letting him go. How could nobody want this adorable little guy? How could I not want him?
7 weeks old

Miles chewing the Kangaroo
     I got to see a picture of Miles' mother and his siblings. I think his mom looks like a Lhasa Apso. A grooming instructor who works on campus thinks Miles looks like a Lhasa Apso/Schnauzer mix and after looking up photos on Google, I can't say I disagree. So that's what we are going with, Miles Orson Cuddles, the Lhasa Apso Schnauzer mix. It helped his case that while visiting friends in Minneapolis this fall, I got to spend time with their senior Lhasa Apso mix whom they had just recently adopted and doted on entirely. Roadie, their Lhasa mix, put a soft spot in my heart. Miles' black and tan coloring and that black nose sometimes reminds me of Harry and the fact that he is likely a mini schnauzer mix makes me think of Rilda.

     I was so disappointed when there was only one lonely young puppy for me. I know the damage that can be done behaviorally when puppies are separated from each other too early. Puppies learn frustration tolerance and bite inhibition among other things from their litter mates, at 6 weeks old the lessons were just beginning.(Ideal age to take a puppy from the litter = 10-12weeks) I see these affects in Miles behavior. He is very sensitive to change, quick tempered and easily scared in new situations. I am working hard to socialize him, and he is not taking to new things as easily as I would like. Seeing an unfamiliar dog frightens him, also he became very startled when he saw a tall bald man. Instead of being curious he is more often scared of new situations and though he will eventually warm up and "be himself" he often starts by cowering, growling or hiding. He doesn't do these things at home of course, here he is an outgoing bundle of cuddles, wiggles and fun. I take it as a challenge to do everything I can to help this little guy become a confident member of the world. Fearful dogs have so much to teach us. I am eagerly jumping in to learn new things myself while I teach him.

                               ......What else is going on in the pack?

     Wonder Dog and Captain are taking Beginning Agility 1 at 4RK9's and both dogs are having a blast! Captain is easily the most adorable student (biased? maybe:) and Wonder may be one of the smartest and very likely the highest jumping. Bugsy and Comet and I continue to hike as we can and today after a lovely hike we headed home at dusk AND what did I see but a big mamma of a barred owl perched on a wire above the road scanning the ditch for prey! I slowed my vehicle to get the best view and it flew across the street to another wire further away from me. I was so pleased to see this! I see barred owls every day at work, no doubt. But it is something very different to see a healthy bird in the wild living out its wild predatory legacy. Also, barred owls are my favorite!

In other news....
     Wonder Dog is not enjoying the cold, and while the male dogs, who also happen to have plenty of coat, are happy to trot out to pee on the tree and the fence posts again and again, Wonder often runs away from the door when I give the invite "Wanna go outside?". Still, Wonder will go out when she needs to go and has no accidents inside. Even her embroidered coat or her monster sweater can't convince her to go out in these below freezing temperatures. I better snap some shots of her in her sweater and coat for you. 
That's right, I've got a dog with a sweater again.
Today the high was 21degrees.

     I'm still feeding raw of course and Miles has been eating raw since he first arrived here at 6 weeks old. It has served him well and he is now weighing in at almost 9 pounds! I just filled my freezers, so I will try to be diligent at photographing my meals to share with you all. Veggies are out of season,....no gardens growing in these below freezing temperatures, so I'm not feeding vegetables very often at all. A couple times a month at most. I am trying a new supplement that is going over well called canine wellness blend. I mix it in when I serve ground meat. Also I have been adding coconut oil this winter to help keep the dog crews coats in good luster in this dry winter.

New favorite dog toy?
The Wool Kangaroo by aussie naturals it is stuffed with coconut fibers and made of tough wool. The cotton rope can be damaged more easily if you have a persistant chewer but the treat pocket is fun and all in all this is a sturdy tug and chew toy. I like it because many dog mouths can fit on it at once.
HINT: I put a squeaker in the treat pocket instead of a treat to keep the dogs from ripping the pocket off.

What a face!
Longing for pancakes
snuggle smugglers

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