Thursday, January 31, 2013

Winter feed

Zeus, waiting for his food.
Someone is coming to meet Zeus
this weekend.
Food is fuel for the dogs in the winter and it is especially important for the outdoor fosters.  I like it if I can get by with feeding just once a day, but in the winter everyone eats twice.  Everyone except Zachary, that is, because I'm not about to do anything that might upset his sensitive shepherd digestive system.

Augie, Lana, and Barack all eat together,
very quickly.
I don't like feeding after dark, however, and winter days are short so the two meals aren't exactly evenly spaced.  They typically eat about 7:30 - 8:00 a.m., and again about 4:00 - 4:30 p.m. so everyone has plenty of opportunity to poop and pee before going in for the night.

Here's a few pics of the evening feed.

Barack learned to eat as soon as the
food is put in front of him.
Lana and Augie have both put on some weight
and look good right now.

You can't see it very clearly, but Hercules
is munching down on a raw chicken back.
He's been getting them the last couple days
and he loves them.  He stole this one from
his dish before I gave it to him.

Both Herc and Riley are getting the pancreatic enzyme
supplement now but only Herc is getting the raw food.
If he gains weight but Riley doesn't I'll start giving her
the raw chicken backs too. 

A very happy Trooper waiting for his food dish.

Trooper eats on his sentry platform.

Gigi is gaining some weight now too.  She's eating twice a day, including some of
Zachary's Bravo raw food, Taste of the Wild dry food, and brown rice with chicken that
I cook up for her, Cabell, and myself.

Lady and Vince eat together, outside the dog yard, on the new boardwalk that I built.
He tried going after her food, just once. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm behind on my work already this week and was debating about whether to go to Gigi's class tonight.  It was a beautiful day so she had been outside all day in the dog yard along with Zachary, Trooper, Bremo, and Zeus.  Even though the weather was so nice, Cabell, Lady, and Vince preferred to be inside.  Gigi would have too, actually, but I told her to stay outside and enjoy the day.  When it was time for class, I put her in the van when I brought the others back indoors.  I could tell the days are slowly getting longer because it was still light when I left for the 6:00 p.m. class, whereas a few weeks ago it was dark before I even left home. 

I'm not sure that Gigi would say she enjoyed it, but she didn't hate it tonight and I think she had a few moments of fun anyway.  She was definitely more relaxed and comfortable around the people and the other dogs.  She would let people touch her and a few times she even went up to strangers and initiated the contact herself. 

Justice, Trisha and William's big Pyr

Bandit is a cute little dog.
The first session of the class she had spent trying to hide behind me or otherwise make herself invisible so she could pretend that this wasn't happening.  She still sticks pretty close to me, but I don't have a problem with that and never will. 

I remember how Emmylou used to love meeting new people and would go around introducing herself and making polite conversation.  I don't think Gigi will ever be that dog, but it was nice to see that if we continue to work on it, she may become comfortable in social settings.  At least comfortable enough to look at a stranger and say: "Yes, I know I'm beautiful.  You may pet me now."   When we got home, she went directly up to the bedroom and stretched herself across the pillows and went to sleep.  Being nice to people is exhausting.
Bandit and the little cattle dog, Nicki. 
She is very smart.
Mickey is by far the best
trained dog in the class.
He's a German Wirehaired Pointer.
Great looking dog and very smart.

Black dogs are notoriously difficult to
photograph but Gigi sure does her part.
Point a camera at her and she poses.
Mickey in front and Gigi behind.
Notice that two different people are petting
Gigi and I am some distance away.

Gigi "downed" for me a couple times.
When I was training Gypsy to do this
she learned it, showed me that she knew it,
and never did it again.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bottling day

Clay looking like a proud daddy
carrying his first born.
The first batch of beer, a red ale, went into bottles today.  A second batch, a porter, was started two  weeks ago when I was in Gainesville, so we now have a production cycle going.  We will probably brew up the third batch next weekend, time and weather permitting. 
Vince, the beer hound.
We put everyone else outside for the bottling
process, but most of them were back in
before it was over.

Today we bottled the red ale and moved the porter into the glass carboy.  In two weeks we'll be ready to drink the ale and then bottle the porter. 

Here's some pics of the process, and some dog pics as well, because dogs are a part of every process around here.  A little dog hair won't hurt the beer.  Maybe we'll call it "Hair of the Dog." 

Gigi in her Anubis pose
Bremo on the bed behind her
Filling recycled beer bottles that we
washed and sanitized

Bremo (left) and Zachary (right)

The brewmaster

Capping the bottles

Lady on her nest of blankets
We got about 40 bottles today.

Vince the beer hound watched it all.
Gigi with Cabell on the bed behind

Testing the seals on the bottles

Moving the porter from the
fermentation tub into the carboy.
The ever-present beer hound
is watching from the crate below.
Sampling the red ale.  It's not carbonated yet
but it's clear and smooth, tastes good.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weight watchers

I watch our dogs' weight better than I do my own.  I always tell people that I may not be able to control what I eat, but I damn sure can control what my dogs eat--both what they eat and how much.  We don't have fat dogs, thanks to portion control and plenty of exercise opportunities.  What we do have around here right now are a few thin dogs. 

I had to go into town today to pick up 40 lbs. of Zachary's raw food diet.  It's made by Bravo, composed mostly of ground up chicken carcasses.  It looks like that pink slime that they add to hamburger in processing plants.  It's disgusting, but it works for Zach, in conjunction with raw chicken backs that I buy locally, and Taste of the Wild grain-free food.  Gigi is eating some of it now as well.  Anyway, I took Zeus, Riley, and Hercules along in the van for the trip to town and we made a stop at the vet's office just before they closed today at noon. 

Zeus's vet records didn't include a heartworm test or an actual rabies certificate even though they did show he had been vaccinated.  So I got him a shot, tag, and certificate of make him official, and had a heartworm test done as well (he was negative).  Zeus weighed in at 110 pounds today.  That's down a bit from what his prior records showed, but that's good and he's been getting a lot more exercise here.  110 would probably be a very good weight for him, although he needs to lose some fat and put on some muscle.  A solid 110 would probably be perfect for him.



The other two, Riley and Herc, were along just for the weigh-in. They don't need to lose weight, they need to gain it. They both weighed 66.4 pounds today. Hercules should be 75 probably. Riley, the rottie, would look great at 75-80. Both dogs have been wormed and re-wormed. Both came to me this way so it's a long-standing problem. Both are getting at least 6 cups a day of good quality dog food, and we've tried several different kinds. Both have been on an over-the-counter enzyme supplement. Both produce good quality poop. I wanted to get a weight on them today because it's time to get serious about addressing this problem. I have a tub of the pancreatic enzyme supplement and that's probably what we'll try next, and probably a trip to the vet for some blood work or other testing.

Riley, climbing up to give me a kiss
A picture of Herc without his ball is
not a complete picture of Herc.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Feels like snow

Barack has this grayish brindle coloring
on his legs.  Dutch shepherd? 
Barack and Zeus
This has been our first stretch of cold weather and I'm still patting myself on the back for getting all the stocktank heaters installed on Monday before this really started.  We had a dusting of snow on Wednesday I guess, and another dusting on Friday morning, but frankly, I have more dust in the house.


Riley is the thin one on the left.
Zeus is the not so thin one.
Trooper was trying to play with Lana (left).
Riley (right) kept interfering.
This is Trooper saying "back off, bitch."  She did.
It was cloudy and it felt like snow all day.  Fortunately, these cold days have been mostly windless, and until today, sunny.  The dogs stay active when they are outdoors.  Our household dogs have little appetite for the cold weather, although Trooper and Zeus have been staying  out with the fosters for much of the day.  Gigi goes out briefly, twice a day, to eat and do her business.  The rest of the time she is on her/our bed. 

Augie and Lana have both put on some weight,
which helps with the cold.  They eat as much
as the bigger dogs.
Barack loves to play.
Everyone has good shelter in the outbuildings, plenty of blankets and straw.  The boxers don't have much of a coat, but they stay warm at night and seem to stay warm by playing for much of the day.  Everyone is getting fed twice a day and increased quantities at both feedings.  I make the rounds of the dog yard with the pooper scooper at least 5-6 times a day in an effort to avoid coprophagia. 

Riley (rear) always wants in on whatever
is going on.

Zeus and Barack

This is the entire dog yard gang minus Hercules who is always off by himself with his ball,
and Augie who is probably holed up in the shed to stay warm.
Rear, left to right: Zeus and Barack
Front, left to right: Trooper, Riley, and Lana

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gigi cuts class

Cosette has complete heterochromia,
one eye is brown and the other is blue.
This was the third week of our dog training/socialization class, but Gigi skipped it.  She wasn't feeling well, probably as a result of eating mud again, which gave her diarrhea pre-dawn on Monday.  I didn't feed her Monday and she clearly wasn't feeling well.  I resisted the temptation to make another run to the emergency vet and she seemed a little perkier Tuesday morning.  She seemed interested in eating and I gave her some food, but less than her usual amount and she didn't even finish all of that.  I called the teacher and wrote her a note excusing her from class, but I went without her.

Cosette is putting on weight,
which she really needed.
Cosette is a sweet girl and is very food
motivated.  If I wasn't passing out treats she
would look around for someone who was.
My darling Cosette
Gigi was happy with that arrangement since she doesn't see the need for a training class anyway.  She has me pretty well trained already.  If it was a class on how to manipulate dad to get anything you want, she might be interested.  Come to think of it, she'd be teaching that class.

I dutifully went to class to learn what I could without her, and I handled the instructor's foster in Gigi's absence.  My darling Cosette is much more socialable than Gigi, and well, she's a dog.  I had a treat bag full of cut up hotdogs.  We got along fine.