Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Milkbone Box

Canines can do the funniest things--while often finding joy in life's numerous simple pleasures--silly antics which always bring smiles to their owners' faces. Why, Rose makes me laugh everyday!! Just by being her sweet, playful, curious self. We purchased my mongrel a box of crunchy Milkbones on Tuesday. I typically buy the brand's chewy treats in chicken flavor. Plus sometimes I purchase Milkbone's soft Healthy Favorites with beef, carrots, apples and oats in its recipe. But, since this chain of treats are relatively new, our local WinCo did not carry any!! Bummer!! So we purchased the box of small-sized, plain-flavored, hard, crunchy Milkbones, instead!! Not a problem. My food-loving girl of course likes them!! As I poured the cardboard box's contents into a large Ziploc-type baggie, she instantaneously wanted some!! So I gave her one!! Rose grasped the crunchy Milkbone between her teeth, ran through our great room and played with it!! That's a good sign!! Then her Milkbone was eaten!! Shortly thereafter, I held the box. I was reading a cute, humorous story on its back. Rose began acting crazy. She seemingly wanted the vacant cardboard Milkbone box!! Really? But it's empty!! I showed her the box. And, to my surprise, she sniffed it!! Seriously!! Her entire nose navigated inside its minuscule opening atop the box!! I laughed and laughed!! I pulled it away, but Rose wanted the vacant box again!! I showed it to her. Same thing!! I took it away. She burrowed her nose inside. I laughed and laughed. I even placed my own nostrils to it. Wow.... This empty Milkbone box does smell of those treats!! No wonder she wanted to navigate her talented nose inside it!! Quickly, this became a game of the sorts. I showed Rose that vacant box. She burrowed her nose inside. I laughed and laughed. We repeated this several times!! Ah.... I laughed so hard!! Now, I am considering buying small-sized, hard, crunchy Milkbones all the time!! Just for our little interactive game, plus Rose's excited reaction to them!! But... I may purchase their flavored biscuits....

Monday, July 25, 2011

Unselfish Friend

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog." ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

So true, so true!! Rose literally defines this quote's words. She certainly does qualify as ungrateful, never treacherous, my absolutely unselfish friend!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's In A Name?

Rescued from the streets.
Our (My!!) sweet, friendly mutt.
Strong-willed like a preschooler.
Enjoys lounging lazily on my bed.

Eats nearly every kind of food.
Loves her Mama!!
Is a wonderful friend.
Zips full-speed after squirrels.
Adopted from our local shelter.
Baying Beagle mix.
Envies it whenever I embrace Uncle Michael.
Totally unique.
Happy and contented.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Only Enough Love

Based solely upon my observation, the majority of dog-owning households have more than one canine. Two, typically. A male and a female. Or three. Twain boys, plus one girl. Or vice versa. Occasionally people own an even four!! Or five. Plus, I recently met an acquaintance at Wal-Mart who owns six purebreds!! She used to breed them. Seriously? Six?! As for me personally, I am a single-dog owner. One is more than I can handle!! I have Rose. She is a "project" of love, training, and attention. I devote myself wholeheartedly toward her. Every day!! If I owned twain canines, there would not be enough love within my heart to divide among them. Honestly!! If I adopted a second dog today, he would become the center of my life.... Leaving poor Rose feeling abandoned. It is essential that owners get to know their canines--temperament, plus instinctive natures--I cannot imagine doing that with six!! Sounds overwhelming to me!! I do not know how this happened, my preference of one dog. I often feel like that spoiled-rotten, hoity-toity neighbor in "Cheaper by the Dozen" which stars Steve Martin. When her only son, Dylan, asks his parents why they did not have more kids, she responds by saying: "Because.... we wanted one perfect child and that's what we got." Really? I cannot imagine owning more than one canine, yet I respect those who do. Besides, isn't every human family different? Divorced parents. A stay-at-home mother. Twelve children. One. With Rose, all my love goes to her. Every ounce of it!! No need to balance one dog over the other. Rose gets all my patience, training, and attention. No beast is left behind. And everybody appears to be happy!! I think Rose likes that. Well.... She is my one perfect girl....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Six Word Challenge

I have recently been visiting some "dog blogs". Two of them borrowed an idea from Ernest Hemingway. It was a challenge, really. He encouraged his writer friends to tell this short story.... In only six words. These twain bloggers described their canines.... After being challenged themselves by author/blogger Patricia McConnell. She had just lost her dog, Lassie, and was paying tribute to this beautiful creature. An excellent idea, I thought!!

~Six Words For Rose~

She's my beautifully unique strong-willed mongrel.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Song For Rose

This song was composed with parents in mind, written for daughters. But, although I do not in any way, shape, or form equate Rose to people, its lyrics seemed nevertheless appropriate enough. They completely capture my deep, never-ending, unconditional love for her!! An aroused feeling that I know countless dog owners can relate to!! I have cut the song's final verse because, well, it is an anthem for little girls.... (Not canines!!)

In My Daughter's Eyes
Recorded by Martina McBride
In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes
In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes
And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hanging on when your heart has had enough
Giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

I am so thankful for Rose--"God's Gracious Gift", her name's meaning--she is such a blessing to me!! Such a blessing.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Swear By Pumpkin

Last November, I learned something very important about canines that literally saved Rose from being returned to the shelter where we adopted her: Pumpkin is a natural dog laxative. "Really? I didn't know that!!" While we were struggling with Rose's accidents which occurred whenever I left home, my neighbor Deborah suggested that we try this laxative. She fed it to her miniature Schnauzer, Sophie as a puppy. At that point, besides Rose's accidents, she had also become constipated.... Twice. This worried me!! So I asked Deborah if there was "some sort of fruit we could give Rose to help control her bowel movements". Deborah replied rather nonchalantly: "Yes. Pumpkin." I had never heard of such a thing!! And I am a veteran canine owner!! I have been sharing my existence with these beautiful creatures for well over ten years!! This just goes to show you that one is never finished learning!! So twain nights later, at 9:50 PM, I opened a can of pumpkin. Found one tablespoon. Dug it into the can of pumpkin. Called Rose over. Served it to her. My treat-loving mongrel, of course, instantaneously liked pumpkin!! Deborah warned that this laxative may take a few days to work its way through Rose's system. Be patient, she said. But twain days later, we saw immediate results!! I continue to serve Rose a tablespoon of pumpkin each night at 9:50 PM. She even excitedly anticipates it!! My bright girl seemingly understands the word pumpkin!! Seriously!! I am not imagining things!! Some nights, I will say: "Rose, ready for some pumpkin?" and that is all it takes!! She comes bounding into our kitchen, awaiting her laxative. Other nights, I pull a pumpkin can out of the refrigerator. Walk up to our counter. And simply pound it against the surface. This catches Rose's attention!! Into our kitchen she bounds, sits, then patiently waits!! Rose's forehead furrows and her ears perk as I prepare it. My dog's tongue licks the air. I serve it to her. She laps the pumpkin off its tablespoon. Makes small messes on our laminate flooring in the process. Which of course, she happily licks up!! Then, the following morning, plus afternoon, Rose poops.... Outside!! "Good girl!!" Pumpkin has been such a godsend for us, I practically swear by it!! Honestly!! Every canine owner should know the benefits of this natural laxative!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The LONG Weekend

I love Independence Day!! For its American history, patriotism, unity in spite of political beliefs. We start up our barbecues, attend colossal fireworks shows, gather around close family. Plus, I just love the colors Red, White and Blue!! Every year, I vehemently anticipate Independence Day. Plan for it, even!! Every July 4th, I dress myself in as much Red, White and Blue as my imagination can conceive!! I go absolutely berserk!! For example, this year, I wore my "Star Spangled Bandanna", a Patriotic cross necklace, Red/White/Blue nail polish, (On every other finger/toe.... I looked like a teenager!!) hitter, baseball and pitcher Silly Bandz, (Red/White/Blue colored, of course!!) plus my new Old Glory/eagle T-shirt. What can I say? Independence Day is truly one of my favorite holidays!! But Rose has an entirely different opinion!! Every year people all around us attempt to "blow up the neighborhood".... Or so it seems!! They light highly expensive store-bought fireworks, invite friends over, build their own bottle rockets. Or "bombs", as I have called them!! Bottle rockets are my favorite kind of firework--minus the boom--because they explode in our nighttime sky. But, as seemingly everybody purchases or makes them, our cul-de-sac and beyond feels like a war-torn nation!! Honestly!! I am not exaggerating one bit!! Just ask Rose.... With the 4th of July landing on a Monday, people have launched both store-bought and home-built fireworks all weekend long.... So we swiftly learned how my mongrel reacts to them!! If I am walking her when one shoots off, she does an about-face. Literally turns us around and marches home. If we are inside, I become a virtual "refrigerator" with Rose as the magnet. She sometimes hides beneath our great room table, as well. If we are outside when one launches, same deal: An about-face toward the sliding glass door. Really? Does Rose not hear herself bay? Shouldn't that high-pitched howling hurt my Mongrel-Hound's ears? Apparently not!! Getting Rose to urinate before bed, however, was our greatest challenge!! (We temporarily nixed all evening walks.) I would link my girl's red leash to her collar, encourage with a "Let's go outside!!" and the battle begun!! I lead Rose toward our backdoor, then every muscle within her neck seemingly tensed up!! I would gently, yet firmly pull my stubborn canine toward outside, and she jerked back. With a harder force. She simply refused to go outside!! Once finally in the backyard, I repeatedly encouraged: "Go potty." Then our tug-of-war continued!! I lead Rose to her new favorite location, she yanked back!! Midway, my mongrel would sit, like the strong-willed three-year old she is, certain that a firework would pop at any second!! Poor thing!! Not that I blamed her!! Given the pattern of those things randomly being shot off, my baby's fret was actually quite valid!! Seriously!! It was a battle of wills. A battle constantly lost. There were tears on my behalf, feelings of defeat, emotion aplenty!! A long weekend.... Whenever we heard one and Rose seemed frightened, I sat with her. Spoke in an unnatural meek tone. Stroked her velvet-soft fur. Hummed any tune that entered my brain. This was Rose's first Independence Day with me. I wanted her to understand that I'm here, and I always will be. Finally, the main event. We initially hung out together in our great room. Then beneath the kitchen table. Uncle Michael and I sang to her. "America the Beautiful", "My Country 'tis of Thee", and "God Bless America". We played a CD entitled: "Patriotic Country". Sung to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA!". Word for word. Time passed. Dusk came. The fireworks grew more frequent!! And, in our cul-de-sac, from three different directions, bottle rockets exploded!! Rose about had it with those!! Too loud, too close, too intense!! Rose only suffers from twain noise phobias: Hiding and trembling. When the cul-de-sac "blew up", she was not shy in revealing this!! Rose shook, like I have never witnessed her shake before. I felt so helpless!! In our house there is no basement. Zero "escape" places. Or isn't there? Up my dog stood. Where is she going? I wondered. To the "Boy's Bathroom"!! I followed. Sat on our toilet seat. Touched Rose's fur. Instantaneously, as if by a miracle, her tremors stopped!! Wow.... I sat on the tile floor with her. Leaned against our sink. She is remarkably smart to seek shelter in this bathroom!! Although we could still hear the "bombs", their heart-stopping booms were surprisingly muffled!! I continued to sit with Rose, petting her soft paws. Until it was obvious that my mongrel's nerves were calmed!! I stood up and walked toward our living room window. Watched some gorgeous bottle rockets explode. Checked on Rose every second. She appeared fine!! A resilient one Rose is!! Then I sat with her again. She drifted off to sleep, even--while the fireworks kept going--something I could never do!! Rose's eyes closed, her hind legs began twitching.... A sound sleeper that girl!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July

This may come across as cliché information, but I will post it anyway!! For everybody--even those who do not own canines--understand that fireworks frighten dogs. Newscasters faithfully announce this every year, newspaper articles express it, radio broadcasters remind us. But still.... Well-known or not, the message that canines and fireworks do not mix ought to be spread whenever July 4th comes around!!

This is some information taken from a Summer 2011 dog newsletter:

"Every year, many companion pets escape and are lost or injured because of their fear of fireworks. While many of us love the big bangs and beautiful lights, our companion pets do not share our sentiment. Many dogs and cats escape their homes, some never to be reunited with their families. We encourage each of you to please take the necessary precautions to make sure your companion pet remains safe, at home and healthy. If your pet is easily frightened by sudden noises or bright lights, talk with your veterinarian about a mild sedative to ease your pet's anxiety. Keep your pet in a safe place when the fireworks begin. Options include the pet's crate, a safe room or the basement. Turn on a radio for background noise to help muffle some of the bangs. Provide a high quality chew toy to help keep them busy and distracted. Provide their favorite stuffed toy, blanket or other item that helps them feel safe. Every year all animal shelters see many pets that have escaped over the July 4th holiday."

And.... According to its veterinarian, there is actually a name for this so-called pathological fear: Noise Phobia!! She writes:

"With the Fourth of July right around the corner, fireworks and loud noises are plentiful and for some pets, it's anything but a happy time. They can become anxious, stressed, terrified or uncomfortable and can suffer from a fear of loud noises known as noise phobia. Learn to recognize the signs of a noise phobia. Signs commonly seen are: shaking or trembling, excessive drooling, barking or howling, hiding, and trying to escape from the house, fence, or other enclosure. Some animals will lose control of their bladder or bowels and some may experience prolonged diarrhea from the stress. Keep in mind, dogs that escape can end up with wounds, lacerations or worse-hit by a car. To help you manage your dog's anxiety, try these tips: keep you dogs at home. Keep dogs inside in a safe, quiet room, turn on music and pull the window blinds. Remove any items that might be chewed. Take your dog for a walk prior to the start of the noise. Provide a safe "escape" place. For safety measures, make sure your pet's ID is current. If needed, visit your favorite vet for medical help with the noise phobia/anxiety behavior to ensure a safe holiday for you and your pet. "

Not every canine is afraid of fireworks. I can name five dogs who I've known on one hand that aren't the least bit fazed by them!! Seriously!! Five!! Even so, owners should heed this advice. Do not drive King to fireworks shows, even if you think he will tolerate them. I have witnessed some poor, frightened canines whose masters brought them downtown. Do King a favor: Abide by the veterinarian's words and leave him home!!

(I acknowledge completely that some facts were repeated in this post. My apologies for that!!)