Thursday, January 29, 2015

4 miles x 3 dogs = Tired Brent

I wish I had a "head-on" picture of us. I
think it would be an impressive shot.
It was only four miles and the pace wasn't record-setting by any means, but this evening I feel like I ran a marathon carrying a backpack. Diesel and Maya decide when I've wasted enough of the day with work and they start agitating for their walk. I didn't think I'd have time for more than one today, so I decided to take along a third dog. The new lab, Scooby, enjoyed it so much yesterday that I decided to bring him along again.
This is Maya's "why are we stopping?" look.

They all walk together pretty well when we are on a defined trail. It's a bit chaotic when we first start out, but once we are on the trail with the noses all pointed in the same direction, we look like a well-disciplined pack. That discipline all falls apart if we come to an open field, however. Everyone then has their own idea about which way we should go and no one seems interested in my opinion. That's where my back comes into play. They pull me just as I pull them, so we are all pretty tired tonight.

Maya has developed into a very good trail walker and although she's not pushy with the other dogs, she's the one who knows what's going on out there and they all get with her program for the most part. I mentioned before that I'm teaching her voice commands ("right" and "left") when we come to intersections in the trail and she's beginning to pick up on it. If she spots the intersecting trail she will slow her pace and sometimes even look back at me, knowing that I'm going to indicate a preference of which route to take. Occasionally the intersection is less obvious, however, and she will blow right past it and then seems surprised if I announce and effect a change in direction.

The only time Diesel pulls really hard is when
leaving the house and getting to the van when
we are heading out for a walk.
Maya will sometimes cross underneath
Diesel if she wants to get to the other side,
but I can usually pull her leash back and
guide her over if I need to change the line up.

The only way I can get any face shots is to stop
to take pictures, but if I take too long, they get bored.

Scooby is a great looking dog and very well mannered.
Maya is turning them all into deer hunters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cold but sunny

I'll take a cold and sunny day over a rainy day of any temperature, anytime. Yesterday I had done two walks and felt winded and fatigued after the second one. But I had a good night's sleep, my cold is waning, and I discovered that "behind-the-counter" Sudafed is a miracle nasal decongestant. Thanks to the goddamn redneck meth heads, you can't get decent over-the-counter cold remedies any more, but they still sell the real stuff behind the pharmacy counter, without a prescription, if you don't try to buy enough to cook up a batch of meth for your local trailer park. Invigorated by fully oxygenated blood, the cold air, and sunshine, I set out on a full afternoon of dog wrangling.

I started with Maya and Diesel, who have come to expect and demand their daily walk.

Then it was a trio, Maya, Daisy, and the new lab, Scooby.
Scooby was particularly excited to go.

L to R: Daisy, Scooby, and Maya

Next, everyone's favorite couple:  Maya and Trooper.

Sunshine makes everything better.

And finally, Maya and (Mad) Max.

I'm teaching Maya the words "right" and "left" to indicate
which way to go when there's a fork in the trail. 
Maya will walk with any other dog as long
as I'm on the other end of her leash.

Today's route was about 6.5 miles.

On the final walk of the day, I found
tracks from the first walk we had done.
Diesel's footprints are easy to spot.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First snow

Today was the first snow we've had here that was more than a heavy frost, and it wasn't much more. Not that I'm complaining, although I do wish it would get cold enough to freeze the mud.
That's Groot on the left heading into the A-frame, being
chased by Daisy and Barkley. The flying blur is Trooper.

It was enough to get the dogs riled up on their morning romp, however. The pictures are blurry because it wasn't fully light yet and the dogs were moving, of course, and I didn't use a flash like I should have. So the pics are poor but you can still see the fun.

L to R: Groot, Barkley, and Daisy
Barkley in the back and that's
Charlie in the front.

The lab boy, Scooby, on the
front porch of the shed. He will
play with the others but he's not
really into the rough play style.

I thought that Groot had lost weight when he
came back, so I'm feeding both him and Barkley
two large meals each day and I'm worming them
both again too just for fun.

I've been fighting a cold this week so I haven't been getting in as many miles on the trails as I would like. About mid-day I took Diesel and Maya out for a short two miler; Clay came along with us and walked Trooper. Later in the afternoon I did a three mile walk with Maya and Max. Sparky is getting shortchanged this week, but I just don't have the energy and stamina for a Sparky walk right now.

Diesel had a little relapse of soft poo the other day.
I think it was because he found and chewed a marrow
bone that is not part of his diet. He fasted for a day
and is back on food now, and metronidazole.

It was still cloudy and cool for our first walk, but by the time I went
out with Maya and Max, the sun was shining. The snow is long gone.
I hope to get Clay out with us more often; it means more dogs get
walked and it was nice to have someone to talk to who pretended to listen.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bath time

Diesel's feet are much improved, to the point that we haven't been soaking them lately. Yesterday's weigh-in seemed to show some weight gain. The swollen scrotum is shrinking and he's looking better than ever, but the dog still stinks. The smell is from a yeast infection on his skin, I think. His ears had it too, but I've been cleaning and medicating them. Today it was time to do the same for his skin so Diesel had a bath.

I had Clay to help me and I anticipated needing his help and maybe even a few more hands, but Diesel surprised us yet again. I led him into the bathroom and he stepped right into the tub on his own, without a fight, without even really being asked. He had obviously done this before. The former owners did some things right with this dog. He was the most cooperative dog I've ever had in the bath. He even let me flush out his ears with warm, soapy water. I used a shampoo containing both ketoconazole and chlorhexidine to attack both yeast and bacteria. It wasn't a very sudsy shampoo so I ended up using most of the bottle. I really wanted this stuff to work so we took our time and kept it on him for a good 10-15 minutes.

The combination of his height and his complete cooperation made it the easiest dog bath I've ever given. I didn't have to lift him and I didn't have to bend over -- the two things that usually make bath giving difficult on my back. His short coat dried quickly and easily with a few towels. And he smells much better.

Flushing the ears clean
I had a busy work day and didn't get out for a hike until about 4:30 this afternoon, but thanks to the lengthening days we still got in five miles with usable daylight.

Shaking the jowls

Maya overlooking the river
Clean, shiny cow dog

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The big man gets bigger

I didn't have time for a hike today, but I had to make a trip to town so I took Diesel and Maya along for the ride. We made a stop at my vet's office just to use their scale. I didn't have the nerve to get on it myself, but I wanted to weigh Diesel to see if he was gaining any weight.

It's not the same scale he was weighed on when he was neutered almost two weeks ago, but assuming they are both accurate, it appears that he has picked up at least two pounds over the past two weeks. 

He's eating eight cups of food each day and his poop is great, so he should be gaining weight and it looks like he is. The skin is still an issue, but I think a bath with a medicated shampoo will help sort that out. Maybe one day soon we will do that. Giving him a bath in the tub is going to be interesting. 

Scooby, the new lab boy, is doing great. He was fine in the crate at night, and fine in the dog yard during the day too, although he wanted to come in. He's hanging out downstairs in the front room with Clay this evening. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I'm not having much luck with adoptions lately and Clay is already betting that Diesel will be staying (although I'm not planning on it), so I decided to take in a lab. That's a no-brainer, right?  How can I fail to find an adopter for a lab?  Who doesn't love a lab?  Well, that's what I'm counting on.
This blur is Trooper (left) and Maya
(front) meeting Scooby. He was fine
with everyone right from the start.

Actually, I've only fully committed to keeping this guy for Promises Animal Rescue for a week, if another foster can be found, but if he ends up here as a foster I'm fine with that. He arrived Monday evening, along with two others (they went elsewhere), from that same shelter in Frankfort, Kentucky where Fanny came from. 

His name is Scooby and/or Jude.  Although I've always loved the name Jude since reading Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure," I'm thinking that this guy seems more like a Scooby.  I'm not sure why he arrived with two names and he doesn't seem to answer to either of them. 

He's a young dog, about three years old and his paperwork has him listed as a Dane/Lab mix. He's probably a Lab mix of some sort, but I'm not sure I see any Great Dane there. He's a nice dog, friendly, good with other dogs, sits on command, and he was fine with his first night in a crate. He seems to be very food motivated. He was staring at me intently because I was eating animal crackers while I was taking these pictures. Even Diesel and Daisy sat for me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

An easy day

I did 13-14 miles yesterday and I was feeling it this morning, so I decided early that this would be an easy day. I knew I needed to get out and walk off the stiffness, but I also knew I couldn't handle another long or fast hike. I took Maya and Max (because Max had been left out of yesterday's walks) and we did a litter pick up walk at Pleasant Grove. Handling two dogs and picking up trash was a bit of a challenge, but we didn't go very far (2.6 miles) or very fast.  
One of several bags of trash I collected.

Mostly it was trash that had blown from the mowed areas to the edges of the taller, uncut grass. And beer cans in the bushes, plenty of beer cans. All I can say is that it's true when they say that bad people drink bad beer. They were mostly Coors and Natural Light, some PBR, and nearly all in tall cans.
Diesel meeting a new dog.

Later, I called Erica to discuss Diesel's swollen scrotum, among other things, and she was just heading out on a hike with her kids so I joined them with Diesel and Maya. We had a nice visit, and a slow and easy 2.5 mile walk. It was easy for me, anyway, how she manages it with two kids I'll never know.

A good size comparison between Maya and Diesel.
She can and does walk right under him when he's in her way.
Diesel is feeling better, wanting to play, and is being more vocal. He's scratching a lot still and I wish I could give him a good bath but I think I should wait until it's been 10 days after his neuter anyway.

Erica took some pictures of me with the dogs, and these are a couple of the better ones.