As I type this Hammond is licking my left hand, Truman is laying on my right, Fiona is rubbing her body on my face and the dog is ringing her bell to go out. Here is a rare look at my life behind the computer. It’s also a completely un-photoshopped picture of me without makeup on or having brushed my hair in the morning.
alternative title: How not to spend Christmas.
Normally we thing we are great pet owners. I grew up in a house with dogs. My whole family has dogs. I’ve had cats my whole life. Plus we watch a whole lot of Caesar Milan. That totally has to count for something. We’re great with animals. Right?
Being the fantastic dog owners that we are we thought it might be nice to get the dog some Christmas gifts. On Christmas Eve we stopped by the local pet store. We were going to be spending a whole lot of family time together so Busy needed a new sweater*. We also thought it would be great to get her a few treats to keep her occupied while we opened gifts. In addition to the sweater we purchased a pig ear and a roasted bone.
We got to the trusty in-laws, gave the dog the pig ear and she devoured it in about 30 minutes. We gave her the bone during the gift opening. Right around 8:00 the boy and the dog gave us the signal it was time to go home. More so the dog. During the car ride home we figured the dog was just tired since she was leaning against the back seat with her face pressed up against the window. That is until she hurled up a grapefruit sized wad of food onto the backseat of my car. Awesome.
That night she threw up in her kennel a few more times. In the morning she still wasn’t looking that great and just wanted to sleep on the couch. She wasn’t eating and looked miserable. We left her at home and while we were at my parents she threw up in the kennel a few more times. We all sat on the couch Christmas night (which I’ll remind you was a Saturday) and the dog started shivering on occasion. We called the 24 hour vet’s office and they said bring her in. On Christmas night. Which was a Saturday.
Derek called me from the vet’s office and said they wanted to keep her overnight to give her IV fluids and watch her. To the tune of $600-$800. Christmas night. Where we had just spent a ton of money buying gifts for people. The alternative was to inject her with fluid, give her some anti-nausea medication and send her home. We voted for option B. Poor dog came home with a giant hump on her back and periodically leaked on the couch.
Sunday morning we woke up and she wasn’t looked better. She started going outside frequently with the poos. She still wasn’t eating, she wouldn’t drink anything and just laid on the couch. By mid morning she was shivery all the time. Derek took her back to the vet’s. On Sunday.
They diagnosed her with a mild case of pancreatitis. It commonly happens to older dogs, mostly terriers and momentarily killed my grandparent’s dog earlier this year (they brought her back to life). They gave her more anti-nausea medication and sent her home again.
This morning she is her perky self and eating well.
So what caused all of this? The pig ear. Apparently pig ears are quite high in fat and a sudden increase in fat in a dog’s diet can cause this condition. Like I said it normally happens in older dogs. Busy is still considered a puppy. Our lesson from this and the one we want to pass on to everyone is to avoid this type of treat for your dogs. This type of pancreatitis comes on quickly and is quite scary. It is totally fixable, but mostly it is completely avoidable.
Here’s to 2011 with fewer vet bills.
*not because I like to dress the dog up, which I totally do, but because sweaters make her calm
It has been a while since I updated everyone on that 4 legged creature that lives in our house. ?It is strange only having one pet, but at the same time it is utterly exhausting. ?When we picked the dog’s name we had no clue how terribly fitting it would be. ?Busy is an understatement. ?The trusty husband took this dog to the off leash park for over an hour and walked her and she still had energy to spare.
The dog has so much energy she is using it in rather constructive ways. ?Such things include digging large holes, getting very close to jump over the 5′ high back chain-link fence, ripping the plastic slats out of said fence, figuring out how to open the back gate, figuring out how to open drawers, figuring out how to open the garbage can, counter surfing and chewing up things such as pin cushions.
It is a good thing that God made puppies so cute. ?Otherwise you’d try to kill them. ?While Busy is busy she is still cute and we still love her… we just spray garbage with bitter spray and employ a hefty dose of dog and cat repellent. ?Our backyard may smell like garlic, but it’s better than the holes.
To be honest, she is a very well behaved dog, she’s just slightly naughty. ?It comes with the territory of having a boxer puppy.
Did I mention she’ll be 1 year old on Friday? ?The boy thinks we should throw her a birthday party complete with cake.
You know how some animals have this compulsion to eat certain items? ?Growing up we had a dog that would raid the bathroom garbage looking for leftover girly waste. ?With 3 women in the house it was pretty much disgusting all the time. ?One of our cats has a compulsion to lick the butter. ?That’s particularly gross since our countertops are black and the cat litter is rather dusty leaving a little trail of paw prints every morning.
Busy also has a flavor for the unusual. ?Besides the kitty roca she lurves her some toilet paper. ?The first day we left her alone for any length of time we came home to a giant mess of TP all over her bed. ?That first day it was funny. ?The second time it was less funny and then we figured out that we should probably shut the bathroom door. ?Our toilet paper holder is such that she can pull the whole roll off.
We have all become rather diligent about keeping the bathroom door shut because frankly, TP ain’t cheap and she makes an almighty mess. ?Of course she’s been known to snatch a roll while the boy is taking a shower and the trusty husband is sitting right there.
The other day she was being rather quiet and I went to check on her. ?Sho nuff, she’d snatched another roll. ?Now I was only through my morning coffee, but I could swear that both bathroom doors were shut. ?I checked, they were. ?Where the hell did she get a roll of TP? ?Um yeah, off of the kitchen table. ?I had an allergy issue the other day and was out of kleenex so I was carrying around a roll of TP. ?It was in the middle of the table and the dog is now tall enough that if she puts her front feet up on the table she can pretty much snatch anything she wants.
She’s going to be one big girl.
Last weekend we were able to get out and enjoy the sunny weather. ?We took Busy for a walk at Chambers Bay and the sun was just starting to set (at all of 3:30 in the afternoon). ?By the time we got to the half way point of our 2 1/2 ?mile walk we stopped and I snapped a few photos of Busy. ?Thought I’d share my pretty girl with you.
Life with a gigantic puppy is going along rather well. She now sleeps in her kennel all night long with little troubles and no accidents. The last straw to the kennel training was the 6 nights in a row waking up to let her out at 2 a.m. and finding poop everywhere or letting her out at 2 a.m. for her to not really do anything then come back into the house, let us get almost asleep and then having her come back in our room to indicate that she had indeed pooped all over the house. Kennel training was like ripping off a bandaid. We threw her in there (with a few toys and a blanket) shut the kennel door, shut the family room door and ignored her. The first night I got up and put her out at 3 a.m., but after that she’s gone the whole night without much of a fuss. Now she still has a tendency to pee on the boy’s carpet. The dog is basically not allowed anywhere near carpet anymore.
One cat has pretty much adjusted to the dog. The other cat can’t leave well enough alone and the dog has yet to learn. If Busy comes within 10 feet of Julius (aka dumb) he growls at the dog. No amount of growling, claws out swatting or cat dying screeching will deter this dog or the cat. The cat is now taking his frustrations out on us and scratched the trusty husband this evening. He is old and we are cutting him major slack, but if he does it again I’m throwing him out in the rain. That’ll learn em.
The boy-dog relationship is also improving, but there is still the cycle of hyper and screeching that drives me batshit crazy.
And now I’ve gone from the crazy cat lady to the crazy dog lady. ?Hey, I was just here to show you photos. ?YOU’RE the one that kept reading.
Busy is and will be a blessing to our family. ?In time she will teach the child about patience and problem solving skills. ?She is very active and needs to be walked every day so she’ll be a great source of exercise for both me and the trusty husband. ?However, she came at a horrible time. ?We are trying to ignore that part and look at the good stuff, but this morning I locked myself in my bedroom to cry for a little while.
On the annoying scale the child has far surpassed the dog. ?Because of his sensory issues (mainly the smelling thing) he almost always refuses to touch the dog. ?He absolutely refuses to touch her when any food is involved. ?She wants to smell what he is eating too and tries to get up on the chair or couch when he’s eating. ?He refuses to push her away which results in the most annoying sound in the world, my child yelling over and over and over and over again, “BUSY NOOOO.” ?He repeats every command we give her. ?Busy out, Busy leave it, Busy no, Busy off. ?When we tell him to stop his response is, “weeeell, I’m the one in charge of the dog.” ?Fine child, if you are in charge of the dog you can go into the yard and clean up the poop that you keep walking in and then tracking into the house. ?I swear there is stealth poop out there.
The good news is the dog is about 97% potty trained. ?We still have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to let her out and then she thinks that it’s time to play. ?We have not gotten her kennel trained yet (at all). ?She still harasses the cats. ?The cats fall just below the child on the annoying scale. ?The old stupid one growls at the dog if she comes within 10 feet of her. ?The only person not annoying in the house is the trusty husband. ?Although he’s been studying for a test so he hasn’t had time to be annoying.
To top all of this off I’m quite sick. ?As in my sinuses are filled with nasty green stuff, I occasionally hack up a lung and I feel like I’m going to throw up all of the time. ?I really just want to lay on the couch and sleep, but I have to get up every 2 seconds to spray a cat, dog or child with the spray bottle. ?I need a super soaker that reaches further so I don’t have to get up.
This all may sound like one big giant bitch and moan, but I want to assure everyone (read: my MIL who bought me the dog) that it is mostly about me being sick. ?I do really well with the juvenile factor of my house when I’m feeling good. ?This is the second time this month that I’ve been sick and it is totally because of stress and lack of sleep. ?The smart thing to do would be to lay around for a while and rest. ?4 days before Christmas yeah, wight. ?I have 2 projects to finish and a little bit of Christmas shopping to do, not to mention 4 gifts to make. ?Merry effing Christmas.
At 5:00 last night the postman knocked on my door and said, “are there really 70 there?” ?Yes. ?It would have been more, but I have a few deliveries and some people did deliveries for me. ?78 orders in all. ?396 individual boxes of candy. ?2299 truffles and 2510 caramels. ?I would give you the financial figures, but that requires some math and additional clicking of things and I just haven’t had enough coffee for that yet.
What worked: the awesome help of my volunteers, the use of St. Mark Lutheran’s kitchen, a well planned out strategy.
What didn’t work: a fewer number of helpers on boxing day. ?It wasn’t that it didn’t get done. ?It’s just that I was working until 9:00 that night putting on labels. ?I appreciate the help of the ladies I did have that day.
What I would do differently: not get an 8 week old puppy during chocolate season. ?Especially one that has a serious case of worms requiring me to stop what I’m doing and take her to the vet.
Don’t get my wrong. ?I luuurves me my dog. ?She is too damn cute not to love. ?If I had my choice I would not have gotten a dog at this particular time. ?However, she was the last one available, the breed of dog we wanted (only with some added Mastiff) and an all around awesome dog. ?She’s just well… Busy.
The update on her though is that she weighs in at a little over 19 pounds (the size of the boy when we brought him home from Russia). ?She is 9 1/2 weeks old. ?She is going to be one big girl. ?The trusty husband, the vet tech and the vet were taking bets on how big she’s going to get. ?Derek says 65 pounds. ?The rest of us are thinking well over 80. ?That’s ok. ?We love her no matter what.
Now that chocolate season is done I actually have less free time than when I did during chocolate season. ?I have all of the work that I put off during those two weeks to finish, cookies to make, Christmas shopping to finish, a few remaining presents need to be made and finish potty training said 9 1/2 week old puppy.
The first two weeks of December are the single most busy weeks in my life. ?This year was especially busy because of the shear number of chocolates and caramels I had to make (1882 truffles and 2088 caramels to be exact). ?So far I’ve done 1941 truffles and 1804 caramels. ?I still have 216 truffles to make. ?And now you are wondering what public school I went to for that math. ?Extras people, extras. ?I have to have some kind of reward for doing all of this.
I will say that I could not have gotten as far as I have without the numerous volunteers that have helped so far. ?Last Saturday I had about 8 volunteers that did at least 4 days worth of work. ?The past 3 days I’ve had my girlfriend, Raissa, her to help. ?We’ve taken turns cooking dinner and it has worked out great. ?I have help tonight (none on Friday *hint*hint*) and a crew of people coming on Monday. ?I will get this done.
So with all of that work, I certainly did not expect to have other life things piled on top of it. ?Things like a puppy. ?Add to that a 5 year old and well… he’s 5. ?Enough said. ?Then he’s the 5 year old with some tactile issues (read: doesn’t like to touch the dog) and well… I need a little Prozac. ?Mom, can you hook me up?
Other than one “minor” incident yesterday when the dog decided it would be fun to crap allll over my bedroom carpet it hasn’t been terrible. ?It would be nice if we could get her to sleep in her crate at night, but she cries and wakes everyone up. ?She sleeps in there, but if we close the door it is like torture. ?Instead, the cats sleep with us (nothing new), dog sleeps in the crate and comes down to our bedroom to wake us up to go potty. ?We made it through the night last night without an accident. ?WooHoo! ?Of course this morning the cats both decided to simultaneously puke. ?One eats the Christmas tree and the other, he’s just a world class puker to begin with.
We are finally getting a rhythm around her. ?It includes closing the doors to every room of the house. ?It’s just better that way. ?The cats are also adjusting to the change. ?There is less hissing and scratching and they are not hiding in the bedroom anymore. ?I guess this is a good sign.
I’m sorry I don’t have any photos of dog or child for you today. ?I had a meeting first thing this morning, showed off the dog at preschool, came home to make lunch and then my friend Rai walked in the door at 1:00 and I’ve been laughing and having fun with her and her awesome kids all afternoon.
Rai and I spent the afternoon elbow deep in candy and trying to find a name for the dog. ?Her first suggestion was Sarah. ?That was quickly vetoed. ?I won’t go through the list of names suggested because it is at least 5 hours worth. ?I should start by saying that we have very specific criteria for naming our animals. ?The cats are Julius Caesar (aka Dumb) and Isis (aka Fat). ?Julius was names on a drunken dare. ?Isis, we poured over animal name books for hours in Borders one night trying to find the right name. ?While her name is technically Isis, we call her Kitty, Keeska, Fat Kitty, Fat, Titi, Baby Girl and anything but her name. ?Julius is usually called Bubba Dog. ?Needless to say our pets end up with nicknames. ?We won’t name animals people names. ?I don’t want someone going, “oh! my sister is named Sarah.” ?As a kid we had a dog named Chelsea because my dad loved that name. ?He later ended up naming my sister Chelsea.
Pet names need to be unique and fit the personality of the animal. ?I also don’t like cutesy names. ?While Puddles was a good name, it was too cutesy. ?Although, I love the name Mr. Muggles from the dog in Heroes. ?It is fitting for that dog. ?I once had a boss in Kansas City who had a Pomeranian. ?His name was Quick. ?Best. dog. name. evah!
I don’t name animals after famous people. ?While Julius Caesar was a famous person, he was more of a historical figure. ?I do like foreign names, but a pet’s name MUST be unique.
The short list of names (we started writing them down) ended up being Keats, Harlow, Marlo, Christmas (which was Rai’s suggestion and I wasn’t sold on), Sobaka (nicknamed Baka), Misha and Mishka. ?The trusty husband vetoed most of them. ?Rai and I were totally sold on Sobaka. ?Which is actually Dog in Russian. ?Until we got to thinking about it. ?If we called a dog Baka people would think her name was Chewbaca. ?Um, no. ?Christmas was not my choice. ?I liked G’s suggestion of Holly or Ivy better, but Holly is a people name and Derek said no on Ivy.
I’m not sure how it came about, but we were throwing out names and I said, “Busy.” ?If you watch Private Practice you will recognize it. ?We did not come by it after last week’s episode, but rather that the stories told about Busy were that she was a busy body. ?I fell in love with it. ?She looks like a Busy. ?Both the boy and his buddy Issaac agreed that her name was Busy.
The trusty husband wasn’t 100% convinced so we kept suggestion other names. ?The other name we came up with was Fosse. ?I threw it out there and both the boy and Issaac proclaimed, “NO BUSY!” ?Thus, the dog is now named Busy.
Our first night went well. ?She slept in her crate, but would only do so with the door open. ?If we closed it she would cry. ?Even if we were sitting there. ?The cats are not exactly happy with us, but they are adjusting. ?Busy has had a few warning shots on the nose from Julius. ?She will learn. ?The cats will not let her into our bedroom which is where her most prized possession is… daddy’s shoes. ?We are working on potty training and are very thankful for the wood floors. ?There was one minor accident in my car while waiting for the boy to get out of Preschool. ?Nothing a little upholstery cleaner can’t handle.
She is mostly a very quiet little girl. ?She is very busy and thinks the Christmas tree is a treasure trove of balls. ?It is far too cold right now to do any proper playing outside and we haven’t puppy proofed the yard yet so she is only ever out on a leash. ?In the coming weeks we’ll work on training and getting her more comfortable with the leash so we can start walks. ?We were not anticipating a puppy so this is a bit of an adjustment. ?We were very worried about having a dog in the house. ?What would it do to our family dynamic, the cats, our time, etc. ?It is going really well. ?I think it helps that I am feeling really good emotionally.