Monday, March 31, 2014

Max and Maya on Monday

We finally saw the sun again today. I was beginning to doubt its continued existence. I can completely understand why primitive cultures developed religions based on the sun and other elements of nature. [I have a lot more difficulty understanding modern religions.]  Sacrificing a goat to secure the return of the sun and good weather seems like a small price to pay. After the cold, rainy day we had on Sunday, I would have happily chipped in for a goat if it would bring back the sun. However it happened, I was happy to see the sun today and took advantage of the good weather for a nice five mile hike with Mad Max. I hadn't walked with Max in a while. I have to be in the right (good) mood, and feel rested and strong enough. I've given up keeping him with Ochie and Charlie in the dog yard because the behavior it brings out in all three of them is just more than I can stand. It's not a good combination and it's not healthy for any of them or for me.  Since he's been confined to the kennel I felt I owed him a good hike and we had one today. Today's hike brought me up to a total of 128 miles for the month of March. I'm going to the vet on Friday and will get on the scales again.

I finished my work early, Clay is still out of town, and I had nothing to do for the evening so Maya and I went to James River Brewing in Scottsville. I owed her an outing too. She's been taking advantage of warm weather to do more and longer walkabouts on her own, so I've kept her inside for the last couple of days in order to keep her at home. It's good for Trinity anyway because the two girls play well together, but I know Maya needs excitement in her life.

She has several fans and friends at the brewery and she enjoys herself when we go. It's so different from our first public outings where she was shy, scared, and tried to hide in the corner under a bar stool. She lets strangers not just pet her, but love on her, and she even seeks it out, although she always keeps an eye on me.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Temporary Influx, Part Two

Argo is the black shepherd I met and took in several weeks ago--the one with the bad rear end and disorganized legs. He's been with another foster home in the area and by all reports is doing well with the kids, cats, and other dogs in the household. Aside from being able to reach everything without even standing up, they haven't had any problems with him and don't even need to crate him. They are going on vacation this week so Argo came to stay here temporarily.
Meeting Cabell

He met all the dogs without problem. His legs are such that he can't really do the stairs to make it up to the office, so I think he will be Cabell's downstairs buddy this week. The stairs are hard on Cabell these days too so mostly he stays downstairs although he comes up to the bedroom most nights, with some assistance and encouragement.
Getting checked out by Maya

I've got two big crates set up in the kitchen area. Cabell has never been crated but he has taken to using one of the open crates, mostly I think because he likes the big comforter that's in there. The other crate has a rug and multiple blankets and I will encourage Argo to use it. I had been using the extra crates upstairs and downstairs for some combination of Max, Ochie, Sparky, and Charlie at night, but with the warmer weather I've been leaving them in the outbuildings at night, at least some nights. With the extra dogs in the house right now (Argo, Trinity, and Toquima), it makes things a little easier.
Greeting Trinity

In addition to his orthopedic problems, Argo has a common shepherd digestive problem--he can't gain weight. The EPI test was negative so we are looking for a dietary solution. I had some of the raw food that we used for Zachary still in the freezer, so I pulled it out and will give that a try this week.

Trinity seems to be back to eating and pooping normally, as is Trooper, but last night Maya had me up at 4:00 a.m. wanting out and again at 6:00 a.m. You can hear an audible gurgling coming from her guts so she's fasting today and will get the chicken and rice treatment starting tomorrow (along with an Immodium and an acid reducer). There must be some bug going around because Maya is the fifth dog around here to have this problem. I sterilized food dishes today and will do so after each use for a while, but they have plenty of other opportunities to pass around something like this.
With Trooper

Our place can be a bit overwhelming
and intimidating for a new dog.
Argo seems to be looking for a way out.

I'm including this last pic for readers who don't see my non-blog posts on Facebook. It's a picture of former foster Patch, the inter-sexed miracle dog, who is now the resident shepherd, Lord Protector, and Vice President of Peaceful Passings, a rescue for senior dogs. Patch was adopted by the folks who run Peaceful Passings and he's now part of the operation. Patch is quite protective of those in his care and this little dog shown here with Patch is 14 year old Greta.  Peaceful Passings recently took in Greta after she was unceremoniously dumped by an owner into a dumpster like so much garbage.

Greta came with a host of medical problems as most dumped senior dogs do, just ask Patch. Peaceful Passings is a small operation with some big bills, so if anyone is inclined to help, donations can be sent to: Peaceful Passings, 2856 Cloverdale Road, Bremo Bluff, VA 23022, and you can "like" their Facebook page at:  Peaceful Passings Senior Animal Rescue. Just tell them that Patch sent you.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Temporary Influx

Clay left for Chicago today, and his timing was good because we are having a temporary influx of shepherds (just two) for the next week or so.
Toquima and Maya

It's a guy thing.
Toquima arrived today. He's a former foster and frequent visitor here when his family travels. He enjoys coming, he brings his own food, and he gets along with everyone so he's really no trouble, but he is one more crate, four more legs, and one more mouth to feed.
Toquima and Charlie, checking each other out

I'm not sure if he and Charlie had met before, I think maybe not. Charlie isn't the best at meeting new male dogs, but Toquima is very solid and predictable. Charlie acted like an ass at first, but Toquima didn't take any shit from him and they quickly came to terms without any real problems. They are still figuring each other out, as you can see in these pictures, but they both would rather play than fight.

Figuring it out
Maya is always the center of play and she also keeps the boys in line. Like me, they probably do what she wants just so she'll shut up. She plays with them for a while and then jumps the fence for some pasture time.

They will be fine.
A couple people have been asking about Trooper and he seems to be fine now, eating and acting normally.

Trinity had an unpleasant intestinal episode in her crate last night and woke me at 5:00 a.m. this morning. I didn't feed her this morning but she still vomited, last night's food was still in her stomach, largely undigested. She got an immodium, and just a small amount of chicken and rice today. Although she's still somewhat scared around me, she has now attached herself to my hip, seemingly convinced that I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all the matters in her world. Having a shepherd is good for one's ego.

Trooper, Maya, Ochie

Toquima, Charlie, Maya, and Ochie

Toquima and Charlie

Trooper, Ochie, and Maya

The new play group

Toquima, Charlie, Maya, and Ochie

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Building trust

Trinity is beginning to blow her
coat so I need to take a brush
to her, mostly it's blowing all
over my house. 
I don't usually have a lot of problems getting dogs to like me. I supply them with food once or twice a day, I'm around most of the time, and I smell like a lot of dogs. That's usually all it takes, but not with Trinity. She's extremely shy and skittish, particularly with strange men and she still regards me as a stranger, but lately I think we are making progress.
The eyes and ears on this dog are
as alert and intent as any I've seen.

I can touch her now if I
do it slowly.
She now follows me around, even if she likes to keep her distance from me. She comes up behind me and touches me with her nose, and even puts her head on my lap. The progress is not a straight line progression, however. If I make a sudden move, she jumps. When I want to get a leash on her I have to tell her to sit/stay and then approach slowly. When I want to get her in a crate she does a couple laps around the crates before finally going into one, and then it's likely to be a crate that's already occupied.

She's still a scrawny little thing, but I'm feeding
her a lot, I swear. I've just gone to 3x/day.
She likes to play with Maya and she's fine with the other dogs as well. Cabell doesn't care for her because she's jumpy and runs into him. She's a terrible counter surfer, seriously, the worst I've had around here, she needs to be either watched or crated. She's still very thin but I've now got her eating dog food twice a day and chicken and rice for a third meal. I may mix up a batch of Satin Balls for her this weekend. She certainly eats well and seems to be pooping well too.

I did two, four mile hikes today--one with Trinity and a second with Maya. I could take the two of them together actually. I've still got three collars on Trinity and I used two leashes on her when we walked, taking no chances. As I'm writing this, she is curled up on the bed in the corner under my desk, essentially between my legs. That's a first for her. That's Vince's usual spot and he's none to happy about her being there. I think the spay appointment for her is next week and after that she will move to another foster home.

She still sneaks up and checks
me out from behind. She's a
bit camera-shy too.

Pretty girl, pretty face

That's Trooper on the bed behind her.

It's only been the last couple of days
that she comes and sits near me.

Trinity on our walk this afternoon.

This was a first this evening.
She took Vince's bed under my desk,
she even laid her head on my foot.
Vince was not amused.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Miles and pounds

I've been racking up the miles on the hiking trails, three more hikes in the past three days. I'm working on the premise that there will be an inverse relationship between the number of miles hiked and my weight. I'm up to 96 miles for the month of March, so I should hit my monthly target of 100 miles with the next hike, hopefully tomorrow. I may even be able to make up the miles I was short for the month of February. The other factor, of course, is food consumption and I ate quite a bit this weekend, so I'm not sure if I had a net gain or loss. I guess it's time to get on the scales again. I'm still really enjoying the hikes though.

Saturday's hike with Maya, 10.46 miles.
Saturday's hike was with Maya for two reasons: (1) She had been out on a longer than usual unauthorized walkabout on Friday, so I was making an effort at keeping her confined on Saturday, but she still needed the exercise; and (2) It was a beautiful day--I expected a lot of people and other dogs out on the trails, so I needed an amiable, or at least controllable dog. And Maya has the energy and stamina for the good long walk that I had planned. We covered over 10 miles at a pretty brisk pace that included some jogging. We saw some deer and encountered a few people and dogs, but not as many as I had anticipated. It was long enough that her desire to roam was satisfied for the day anyway.

I was a stiff on Sunday, from the long hike the day before and because Gigi had me pinned in one position in bed all night. I wasn't planning another big hike but I needed a walk to loosen things up.

4.2 miles with Ochie on Sunday
I took Ochie, because he hadn't been out for a while, and I figured I could handle his bouncing and jerking for a short hike anyway.

We did 4.2 miles and it was just enough to work out the kinks I had developed over night. Ochie settled down a bit after the first mile or two and we had a nice walk, although we didn't set any records for speed or distance.

Monday was cooler, but the sun was shining, which makes it a nice day in my book. I got my work done and then headed out with Sparky, who had been complaining of neglect over the last couple of days.

The Monday Sparky walk, 5.28 miles
Sparky walks are always fun and we did over five miles in pretty good time.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New friends, old friends

Trinity and I are making progress. Today she would come up to me on her own and allow me to reach out and pet her, at least when she wanted it. These pics are from a 6.5 mile hike I did with her on Thursday, late afternoon. She was a bit wild and spooky in the beginning, but she settled down and enjoyed it. She didn't really pull at all, in fact she was often walking beside me and even looking up at me. That was nice. I had two leashes on her, however, a short attached to a choke chain, and a 4' lead attached to a snug martingale collar. I wasn't taking any chances.

I had thought that I would take her to the Pet Expo up in northern Virginia on Saturday, but Clay is working and we've got people coming out to rebuild part of the foundation for the house (part of the dining room floor repair project) so I need to stick around. While I was hiking with her yesterday my cell phone rang and it was her former owner calling to check up on her. He was a decent guy and moving in with one's in-laws is not something you do unless there's no better options.

Friday afternoon I drove out near Crozet to meet Zeus, another potential owner surrender. Nice enough people but they are in over their head with this dog. He's less than two years old, so he's really still a puppy because shepherds don't hardly start to mature mentally until they are at least two. He's aggressive towards strangers but it's really just fear and ignorance on his part, I think. He's too young and inexperienced to be in charge but he seems to think he's in charge of security. That's one of the dangers of raising a protective dog like a shepherd in the country where they are the only dog and the only people they really know are their own family.

I threw a ball for a him a few times and that's all it took to be his friend. I walked him on a leash and he was a bit skeptical of me at first but he followed and we had no problem. He's well trained, lives with children, and really has a lot going for him, but he needs an experienced shepherd person to guide him, and probably an alpha female pack member to keep him in line.

He's not in an urgent or desperate situation by any means so I left him there for now and will try to work on a plan to get him to a shepherd person.

Daphne and her mom live in Crozet so I stopped by there for a visit after meeting the shepherd. It was a beautiful day but I had no time for a hike. I hope to get one in tomorrow morning before the foundation repair work begins.