Monday, July 31, 2006

Fresh roasted puppy

Like just about everywhere else in the country, it's really, really hot here in the Chicago area today. And we have little black dogs. (Okay, three black and one dark brown.) We're naturally very concerned about the dogs getting overheated, dehydrated, etc.

So what do they do the minute they get outside? Lie down in the sun. And not move. So one by one I carry them in. And tell Fran we have "fresh roasted puppy" on the menu today.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Alternative Medicine

A friend visited today with her Border Terriers. They were on their way home from hydro-therapy and accupuncture sessions. (Robbie was still kind of damp, and MacDuff's fur was standing on end!) We take our dogs to the vet for traditional medicine when they don't feel well, but if there's a chronic condition, I'm a firm believer in alternative medicine if it works!

We had a cat for a lot of years and his life was extended and enriched by both traditional and alternative medicine. We got him, full-grown, from a shelter and he already had a very severe illness. The vet saved his life more times than I can count, changing medicine, adding or removing prescriptions. In the last couple of years of his life Merlyn developed arthritis in his spine. A vet who also practices accupuncture gave the cat treatments regularly, and the change was remarkable! After a treatment Merlyn moved better and ate better.

MacDuff is ten years old, in excellent shape and going strong! He's a performance dog, just a couple of double-qualifying scores away from a MACH 4 (that's 4 Master Agility Championships). It's natural for any athlete at that level to develop chronic aches and pains. If accupuncture helps - more power to him!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Golly's Bath Day

Golly had a bath today. Now that may not seem like a blog-worthy event, but Golly is the princess and not to be messed with! Golly had not had a full bath in quite some time, since she gets her face washed every week as part of our "ablutions" ritual, and she's brushed twice a week (even short-haired dogs need regular brushing!). But we figured it was time, even for the princess.

After the water was carefully tested, Golly was placed very carefully in the bathtub (no washtub for Golly!) and wet down. Shampoo followed, with a good scrub. Picture Golly looking at me disapprovingly throughout the whole process. What an affront to her sensibilities! Golly's coat is extremely thick and lush, and apparently it held a tremendous amount of dirt, because the water coming off of her when the rinse began was grey!

More hair came off of Golly's little body during her bath than three weeks of brushing, I think! Talk about a ring around the tub! So, Golly is nice and clean, and even if she shed lots of dead fur, she's more fluffy so it looks like she's bigger. The princess is angry with me now and with her increased size her demeanor is impressive! I expect that she'll forgive me eventually.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chicago dog law - it's a good thing

Chicago may soon require all dogs to be microchipped. In the last couple of days we're reading about it in the Tribune, heard about it on the radio and on TV. The misinformation is astonishing - I even heard one radio personality claim that the chip will not only identify the dog, its owner and its address, but the animal's complete medical history, as well! Possibly useful, but at the moment, not possible!

I don't really understand the big fuss. Doesn't every responsible dog owner have her dog microchipped these days? Just on the off chance that one of our babies gets loose, isn't it a great thing to know they have a chance of coming home? The AKC's Companion Animal Recovery program has a wonderful success rate, returning registered animals to their families.

The Chicago legislation is actually a big win for people who love dogs. The original suggestion to the City Council was for breed-specific legislation. These lawmakers are showing uncommon good sense by listening to dog people and revising the proposal. No breeds will be banned in Chicago. Poor, irresponsible, and cruel dog owners will be liable for their crimes.

I know the arguments against government intrusion into another aspect of our lives. And, in all honesty, I know you can't legislate common sense. But maybe we're starting to put the responsibility where it belongs - on the people, not the dogs.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An occasional flash of inspiration

Every once in while I have a stroke of genius. Rather than sit and admire my momentary flash of semi-brilliance, I thought I'd share!

To make a long story much, much longer, I'll have to explain what's been going on with Dax. For a few days now, we've noticed her gnawing at her paws. She does have some allergies, so we just told her to knock it off and got on with things. But it didn't stop. So, after about three days, I finally took a look.

Dax had a cut on her paw. Her licking and gnawing at it, of course, resulted in redness and inflammation. I know. I'm a bad, bad mom. I apologized to her profusely. Then washed it, disinfected it and generally cooed and fussed over the girl for a while.

The issue, as any dog owner knows, is getting the dog to leave the boo-boo alone without constantly watching her and without the cone-shaped medieval torture device veterinarians encourage.

I got creative! (This is the brilliant part - please pay attention!) I used a little baby sock (from Old Navy - she's a very stylish pup) and a velcro cord-wrap! It's not too loose or too tight, she hasn't (yet) figured out how to get it off, and it's easy for me!

Dax is leaving her paw alone and we expect a full recovery in no time at all!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dogs Underfoot

My sister and I have, between us, four little dogs. This may seem excessive, except when we consider that I only have two and my sister has two. Be that as it may, even one dog is a lot when it's constantly underfoot! Golly is a Brussels Griffon - or, in breed lingo, a "velcro dog."

Golly is with me whenever I'm at home. And by "with me," I mean "with me." We learned early on to do the "Griffie shuffle!" Never, ever, pick up your feet while walking and the Griffs are around, or they stand a good chance of being stepped on or kicked! Golly is much better now than when she was younger, but she usually needs to at least be in the same room that I'm in. And, since she is the oldest and, ostensibly, the alpha dog, all the others follow Golly.

This morning, getting ready for work, I was as forgetful as I could get. I forgot to put my watch on! Back to the bedroom with my entourage following. I forgot my earrings! Back to the bedroom. Where's my purse? Now, what did I do with my keys? Back and forth with the dogs. So picture me getting to the kitchen, realizing I'd forgotten something, turning around and starting back to the bedroom with the dogs scattering in order to follow. And they don't get bored with this routine!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why didn't I think of that?

I belong to several discussion groups online - who doesn't? The topic of one of them is obedience training small dogs. There's been a recent discussion that made me want to smack myself in the forehead. It seems so obvious, once it's been pointed out.

The topic? Shoes. Specifically, what kind to wear while training/showing a small dog. One person asked the list for recommendations. And then it occurred to me - I am, as previously mentioned, a klutz. Roc, smart fella that he is, stays away from my feet. Which is problematic when you're trying to teach heel, front, "get in." In other words, all of the wonderful things dogs need to actually qualify in the obedience ring.

It's been my habit to wear gym shoes to train - good thick rubber soles so I don't slip and fall on my face. I didn't think about how wide my feet become in these clodhoppers. Of course Roc won't heel as closely as I'd like. His paws would be dangerously close to those behemoths at the end of my legs!

I'm going shopping. Ballet-type slippers, I think. Or teeny little Keds. After I start using the new shoes to train, I'm sure I'll come up with another wonderfully creative reason we don't qualify!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Be very careful what you wish for

Be careful what you wish for - wishes can come true in unexpected - and unwelcome - ways.

We wish(ed) that Ceilidh (Fran's Boston Terrier) was "normal." She's usually and completely nutsy pup - two speeds; full and off. As long as her routine is maintained and she gets to expend energy with regularly scheduled (and timed) sessions with her beloved latex soccer ball, peace at home is maintained.

That routine can get tiring. Sometimes you just want to go home and crash on the couch, watch a little television and go to bed. At our house, first you have to play with Ceilidh. Always. Before you can do anything else, or move on to the next thing, Ceilidh's special needs must be met. If compliance is not forthcoming, damp toys are thrust at you repeatedly, accompanied by irritating monkey-like chirping sounds. Forever. Until you get the latex soccer ball from the shelf, set the timer, and settle in for a round of fetch.

Ceilidh wasn't herself this weekend. She didn't want to eat, flopped her head/ears around continually, and cried if you touched her head. Not good. This morning I took her into the vet's office. We had to wait for over an hour. Usually, with Ceilidh, this is a recipe for disaster. Normally, I would have had to peel her off the walls. She would be wiggling, trying to greet every person, dog and cat. Crying when she couldn't. The stimulation of the sights and sounds would have prompted "kissing fits" and wild gyrations. It's not that Ceilidh isn't trained better - it's that she can't calm down, she never adjusts to new situations, and her brain just explodes from too many stimuli.

Today she curled up in my lap and slept for the entire hour we waited. She was frightened of the perfectly inoffensive chocolate lab that came in - she tried to bury her face in my neck.

It turns out that Ceilidh has a rather severe ear infection and feels crummy. She's just too pitiful to bear. I want my lunatic back.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Beginnings and more beginnings, dreams and nightmares

Okay, so you know how excited Hope was in her last post. We've finished packing and (mostly) unpacking onto our makeshift shelves and card table desks. The dumpsters have been hauled away from our old location, and we're trying to figure out where everything goes in our new location. Dreaming about how all the great Golly Gear products will look, maybe on gridwall, maybe shelving. As you can probably tell, since I'm posting a new blog entry, we do have our DSL line (yeah!).

But, our regular phone lines are a nightmare. We're caught in the SBC / AT&T cycle of hell. No, it's SBC. No, it's AT&T. And on and on. It turns out that our request to transfer our main line (with its attendant toll-free number) was never logged. Hope spent over 2 frustrating hours on the phone with various SBC or AT&T employees. I don't care if they all call themselves "the new AT&T" now - they're all demons! Hopefully we'll figure out the right person to call next week so that we get our phone back.

Strangely, though, our secondary number was transferred! Maybe you can figure it out, I sure can't.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Endings and beginnings

It's been an incredibly stressful, exciting, exhausting and strange couple of weeks around GollyGear and it's not over yet.

We started GollyGear in a corner of our bookstore - the bookstore we started 23 years ago. We discovered, quickly, that more people are interested in dog stuff than in books. Much as we love reading, we completely understand. Books can be highly entertaining, but they fall short on the cuddle factor.

So we decided to close the bookstore and move GollyGear out on its own. We found an adorable little store, just a mile from our current location, and we've been in the process of closing one business, moving another, and trying to stay sane. Wish us luck.