Saturday, December 20, 2008

Zoey News!!

Those of you that followed the "old" blog will remember Zoey. She was a dog I rescued from the pound and fostered until the perfect home came along. And a perfect home did come along. We miss her.... a lot..... but we take comfort in knowing that she is living with a really good family who happen to be friends of ours. So we're lucky to get updates frequently on how Zoey is doing. She has fit right into her new family which includes two kids and a dog-sister, Misty.

My understanding is that Misty has never been this accepting of other dogs. But she and Zoey must have a special understanding.....enough so that they are able to share a bed!
Who in the world could resist this blue-eyed girl? Tricia, her mama sure couldn't!

How many puppies do you know will nap so peacefully when their skin-sister is napping? I tell you....she's gotta be the closest thing to perfect I've ever been around in terms of dogs!

How absolutely adorable is she? She loves to sleep and evidently has a liking for M's chair!

It's a good thing she's already in her home, or I don't think I would've been able to give her up. I absolutely LOVE this picture of her. She rides along to drop off/pick up her skin-siblings from school.
My heart is full knowing Zoey is with such a wonderful family---THANK YOU to the "R" family for loving her!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Echo at 15 weeks and some progress!

Echo is now 15 weeks old and 48 pounds. She experienced her first snow yesterday and was very curious. She thought the best part of it was eating it! But she definitely HATES the cold!! I literally have to push her out the door and then she takes two steps and pees instead of going to the back of the yard where she usually goes. I will post snow pictures with the next post.

The above picture shows Echo doing what she does best......latching onto anything that comes close to her mouth; in this case, my hand. This is why doing something as simple as petting her is very difficult. She won't even let your hand get close to her without clamping down on it....and it hurts! This morning I decided that things HAVE to change. She's missing out on such crucial socialization because no one can get near her for fear of her chewing them up.....quite literally! So, this morning, I spent a good while standing in front of her and attempting to pet her. Latching on to my hand was the first attempt (as well as many subsequent attempts). After this first time, everytime she started to go for my hand, I pulled it away and signed "no." I then waited and when she was "calm," I signed "good girl" (thumbs up) and attempted to pet her. Eventually, she let me touch her without trying to take my hand off. I was signing "good girl" to her with the other hand the entire time I was petting her.

She finally decided that having a good ole head rub wasn't such a bad thing. As soon as she would move and show her teeth, I stopped petting her and just kept repeating the whole process over and over.

She finally relaxed SO much that she was like butter in the chair, enjoying a good head scratch. This may not seem like a big deal to others, but this is HUGE.......!!!! She will still go after things with her mouth but I feel like we made a breakthough and with work, she will actually begin to learn that someone touching her is a very positive experience and one to desire!!
This LWT has a really horrible smell. Can't quite explain it. So this morning, she had her third shower! She does really well and actually just stood there, waiting for me to finish washing her. If I got close to her face, she would try to latch onto my hands or the shower head, but otherwise, she did well!
I have renewed hope that things WILL get better!!

All relaxed after lots of good scratches!!
I got out Zen's old kuranda bed for Echo and of course....she LOVES it! Here, she was watching me wash dishes :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Christmas Package!

What an AWESOME surprise today.....a package just for the crew from Addie and Zoe!! Other than the gift exchange we participated in last summer, this is the first time the kids have gotten a surprise like this in the mail. I've been under so much stress and this act of kindness literally brought me to tears! Thanks Addie and Zoe (and their mama)!

For Comparison

I figured I'd show you a picture of Willow in her crate so you could get a real feel for the size of the crate with Halo in it versus Willow in it! This crate is considered the colossal size crate, the largest one made to my knowledge. Willow isn't so fond of her crate and is 100% housebroken and isn't too much of a chewer, so the only time she's put in her crate is when we leave the house and if she needs a "timeout." As soon as Echo outgrows her current crate, she'll take over this one and Willow will have free roam of the house.......

We were on our way out the door (hence the coats on the girls!) and so Willow had to "go to bed."
She's waiting for the girls to bring her a treat for going into her crate! She can see them in the kitchen and is intently watching them!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Big dog in a little package?

Halo may only weigh 9 pounds but she certainly thinks she's the biggest dog in the house. I'm sure that not having eyes and therefore not being able to see the other dogs, she has no clue just HOW big some of the other dogs are in this house!

Yesterday, Halo decided to take over Willow's crate! I think we could've fit another 50 of Halo in there with room to spare :)
Doesn't she look like a little lamb in this picture? You can see her neck area where the vet shaved her fur in order to treat her wounds. The hair has yet to grow back but the skin is totally healed now. She's also done now with her course of steroids and she seems to be doing very well. No more crying or yelping out at all. Now we're just waiting for her confidence to be back to what it was!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Echo at 14 weeks

I'm a bit behind in posting, but wanted to make sure I posted about Echo's progress at 14 weeks before any more time passes! She turned 14 weeks this past Monday. She had a visit with the vet and she has actually gained weight, which I've been so worried about because of her GI issues! She's now 43 pounds and is definitely getting taller. She no longer has the runs but still has a few days left of her meds. I can only hope that her follow-up stool sample is free and clear of any 'bugs!'

Echo has really tested my patience lately. Of course it doesn't help that it has been a rough week in general. My dad had a heart attack on Saturday (he's back home and healing well now) and then my middle daughter had a follow-up appt. to see if her ear surgery in August was a success or not. Unfortunately, it was not and we're back to square one. Anyway, Echo has been wilder than ever. She has knocked down the Christmas tree twice this week, has ruined multiple pieces of my clothing from jumping up and latching onto them, then ripping them. One day I actually looked at her and thought there must be a feral dog in my presence! I truly don't think anymore that this has a thing to do with her being deaf. I think it is simply her disposition and I can only hope it improves with time (and LOTS of work!).

There have been no new signals this week, as she's just not ready for them. We've focused on just being able to have her out of her crate and around the other dogs and us!! She's almost fully transitioned onto the NB Fish and Sweet Potato food. She inhales it just like the other food! I introduced carrots this week as a "treat" and of course she loves them. We went on a van ride and she busted through the van barrier (anyone know of a really heavy duty barrier that will work for a van....let me know!) and chewed a hole in the leather seat. I'd crate her in the van but with three danes, there's not enough room for a crate in the van!

I can't wait to get her started in a puppy class but that won't be until mid-January when she's finished with all of her shots (she received the second round this week).

Here she is, standing between my of her favorite places to stand. And no...she didn't pee on my pant leg, that's where the water spilled from her dish!
Practicing her "sit and wait" commands. If only she were this calm all the time ;)

This is the FIRST and only time so far that I have ever seen her laying down outside of her crate playing with a toy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Why use ACV?

Marvin's mom asked me about apple cider vinegar (ACV) and why give it to our dogs. As with many therapies, supplements, and holistic approaches to the care of our dogs, there will be varying opinions about the use of different things. I had never heard of adding ACV to the dogs' water until Willow and Echo's breeder suggested it. Not long after that, I started seeing comments about it on some of the dog forums I belong to.

So what are the benefits? It is known to reduce common infections, skin problems, increase resistence to disease, prevent muscle fatigue after exercise, and it normalizes the acid production in the digestive tract. You'll find many other benefits of ACV listed when reading about it on the internet! When buying ACV, buy the organic variety to get the benefit of naturally occurring enzymes. It helps to give the immune system an overall boost.

There are many resources and link on the internet that talk about ACV and dogs. Recommended amounts in relationship to the dogs' weight can also be found easily on some of these pages.

I can't swear by the ACV.....all I can say is that since adding it to the dogs' water along with a regimen of other supplements for Kai, he has hung in there for 1.5, almost 2 years since he first displayed signs of the debilitating orthopedic problems he has. That's enough evidence for me to keep giving it to the dogs!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Doggie ornaments

So....I was feeling quite guilty about the dogs not having ornaments. So I was "thrifty" and made them each one! I found plain wooden ornaments for .99 and painted them....then had a friend at work who has nice handwriting write their names on them (plus the year). I think they turned out really cute! AND best thing of all.....they were CHEAP!!

I couldn't get the lighting quite right when taking the pics, but I think you get the idea :) And yes, they each have one but I thought it silly to post five of (essentially) the same picture!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Potpourri of stuff!

The weather has been so nice lately, so we've been trying to spend as much time as possible outside! Willow has discovered this HUGE ball that has been in the yard for years.....why it's suddenly the best toy around, who knows! But she has the most fun trying to play keep-a-way with Echo and runs up to Echo, drops the ball and just when Echo goes for the ball, she grabs it and runs away. They can play like that for quite some time, neither tiring of the silly game! Willow is now 9 months old and her latest weigh-in put her at 115 pounds. She is 34" at the 'withers' and I certainly hope she slows down with her growing! She is still eating the Natural Balance Fish and Sweet Potato food and doing quite well on it. I've just upped her to 6 cups a day and so far she's tolerating the increase without any problems. She also gets raw meaty bones during the week, a raw egg mixed in with her food a few times a week, plain yogurt in her food occasionally, as well as supplements sometimes. I also put apple cider vinegar in the dogs' drinking water.
Kai is still hanging in there! Truly, I'm amazed at his will. He and Lucy are the very best of friends and where you see one, you'll usually find the other. Every morning, Lucy runs full speed to see Kai and it's like Christmas morning all over again. She jumps for joy, trying to reach is muzzle to give him kisses. And he just soaks it all up!
She keeps my feet warm when she's snuggled under the covers at night, but do you suppose she's keeping him warm? ha! But the company is appreciated, I'm sure!
And the LWT....well, we've been dealing with another issue now; giardia! UGH!! When is it all going to end? Thankfully, she's on meds that seem to finally be helping and she no longer has the runs. I've also upped her food and started the slow switch over to the same food that Willow is eating plus she's up to about 4.5 cups a day. I'm sure she'd eat more but I don't want to move too fast given her GI issues for the past month! We're still working on the same hand signs and I've *just* introduced down but we've got a ways to go with that one! She's a smart one, though....the minute she sees me walking toward the food bins and I sign "eat," she runs to her crate and waits to eat!
Echo also got her first taste of peanut butter by the way of a 'stuffed' kong! Willow was going crazy for it, but I made her stay away so Echo could enjoy it. And enjoy it, she did! At 13 weeks, she weighed in at 37 pounds, but is still underweight due to all the GI issues. She has definitely gotten taller and just in the past few days, it seems like she's finally putting on a bit of weight! She goes back to the vet on Tuesday, and I'm anxious to see if she's gained anything.
And as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we've been enjoying the nice weather. So we decided to head up to the foothills for a hike last weekend and unfortunately, the wind was blowing horribly. We did manage a 45 minute walk or so and the dogs did really well. Better than the kids, I might add!
(Willow is wondering why it's taking so long for our friend, Teresa, to snap the picture. Just try getting two little girls and two pups to ALL look the same direction......not so easy!)
*I don't have a current picture of Halo to post, but thought I better mention the latest with her as well! Several weeks ago, we had to return to the vet with her because she'd shriek out in pain at the oddest of times. Even when she was asleep. It seemed isolated to her neck and was getting worse, so in for an exam she went. It turns out that her cervical vertebrae were injured in the attack and so is on prednisone (a weaning dose now) and seems to be doing much better, thank goodness!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Christmas Tree (and DWB/FTLOD card exchange)

Yesterday, we put up our Christmas tree. We had a hard time figuring out a) if we should put up a little one on a table top or b) barricade a floor tree or c) not put one up this year. Well......"c" was shot down right away. We almost went with choice "a" but in the end didn't simply because those trees were only $5 less than a tree twice its size! We were able to put the tree up without barricading it (YET!) after moving furniture around slightly to accomodate the tree in a corner. We've never had the tree in this particular spot before but it actually works quite well. Willow has sniffed the tree but otherwise could care less about it and of course the little white tornado (aka LWT) has taken two ornaments off the bottom and then run full-speed across the house with them. I was *smart* and we didn't put any glass ornaments on the tree this year, the ones that have some sentimental value are at the top, and only half the ornaments were even unpacked and put on the tree. That way if there's a catastrophe with the LWT, it won't be the end of the world!

This was Kai's way of helping.....trying to sit in the ornament box. Thankfully, L "caught his butt" before he was able to!

One of our favorite "doggie" ornaments....This one says "Six Great Danes Growing"!! And speaking of ornaments, I unpacked several of the dogs' ornaments that were personalized back in 1998....which means that none of our current pack has a personalized ornament! How did that happen? Unfortunately, I don't see them getting one this year either. Not with 3 danes to feed at the moment.....ha!

And poor Halo.....she was displaced in order to fit the tree in a spot out of the way. Her two beds are usually in the corner where the tree now is. She spends A LOT of time in those beds. She feels protected having them in the corner and she is totally lost now that they've been moved. She kept going to the tree and sitting underneath it, as if to say, "excuse me, this is MY spot and I'm not moving!" She did finally figure out where her bed is now and slept the rest of the evening in her bed!

And we're SOOOOOO excited! The DWB and FTLOD cards have started to arrive! We received a whole handful of them yesterday. Here is Willow posing with Arabella's card :) I promise to get ours in the mail tomorrow....they're ready to go! Now my question is do you all display (or plan to display) all of these cards? I want to hang them up but am unsure of the best (and nicest) way to do it. Ideas??

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A different type of pupil!

*UPDATED* I did manage to get a picture of Echo's eye, albeit not a really clear one. Click on it to enlarge the picture and you can see the starburst shape of her pupil!

Not long after Echo came home, I realized that her eyes looked different.....and not just because they are "ice blue." Her pupils seemed different; odd-shaped even. So I set out to try and figure out if I was "seeing things" or if there really is a name for the shape of her pupils. Well, I was not seeing things and there really is a name for her pupils. They're referred to as "starburst pupils." I tried, without success, to get a close-up picture of Echo's eyes, but it was not to be. I don't know who I was fooling to think I could actually get her to sit still long enough to get that type of picture! But I did find a picture of a starburst pupil on the internet. Although there can be some vision impairment related to this type of pupil, it most often just lends itself to the dog being very light sensitive. This makes sense because Echo really squints when she's outside.

The reason for the light sensitivity is due to the inability of the pupil to constrict the way it should when in bright light. I suppose I will need to buy Echo a pair of doggles also and start getting her used to wearing them. I'm sure she'll think I've lost my mind when I put them on her!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Echo at 12 weeks

I've fallen a bit behind on posting about Echo's here's my catch-up post!

I haven't weighed Echo lately because she is still obviously underweight as a result of the horrible diarrhea she had with her run-in with the coccidia. My guess is that she is probably 5-8 pounds underweight or so. Her last day of meds for the coccidia was today, so late next week, I'll take another stool sample in to see if she's free and clear. Fingers and paws crossed!!

The mouthiness has improved some. To date, she has torn a pajama top, one leg of pajama bottoms (not in the same set, of course!), and the sleeve of a shirt. All due to her latching on with her little shark teeth and then yanking as hard as she can. Lovely, eh? I guess it could be worse! She has more periods of being quiet and sitting for some pets and loving. Granted, it doesn't last long, but I still view it as progress!

She's still doing super good with the housetraining. No accidents in the house nor in the crate either. I think this is really great especially considering her bout with the runs!

Unfortunately, no outings for socialization this past week...not until she is coccidia-free!

And as far as the training goes, we're still perfecting "sit, "wait," and "off." And of course, she sees the "no" and "good girl" signs as appropriate. I've also just introduced the "drop it" sign. She has no clue what it means yet but we'll continue to work on it!

Here's a couple of short clips on a few of the signs we've been working on. You'll have to pardon Willow's annoying howling/barking in the background. She was so upset that she had to leave the kitchen while we recorded these clips!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all had a quiet (and lazy) day around here. It was a treat, really, to not cook and not have to be anywhere. Hope all of our friends had a great Thanksgiving!

I can't remember the last time I sat down without a dog (or two or three....) on me, leaning on me, near me, etc!)
And I'm beginning to think that the furniture really is just for the dogs...... What will I do when Echo behaves well enough to get on the furniture? There's no room!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do you Facebook?

I'm curious if any of you out there are on Facebook (and/or Dogbook!)? If so, drop me a note and let me know so I can add you as a friend and/or on Willow and Echo's pages!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My sweet old man

Heading to bed the other night, I realized Kai wasn't in my room on his bed. So I walked into the living room to see if he was in there......and yes, he was. I was rather surprised to find him sleeping while sitting up on the couch! I snuck out of the living room to find my camera and managed to tip-toe back in and snap the picture below. It was a "blind shot" in the dark, so not very clear, but you can see how he was snoozing!

Kai will be 8 years old in a couple of months. I honestly didn't think he'd live this long, given all of his health issues. His will to keep going really astounds me! He has really "aged" in the past few months and has slowed down tremendously, but he's still the loveable and easy-going dog that won my heart over almost 8 years ago. He seems to know when I need "someone" to lean on. He's always right there ready to listen and willing to let me hug him and cry when I need to, which has been a lot lately. I talk to him about Zen and how much I miss her and how heavy my heart still is over her death. I struggle with everything that happened with her and he just always knows when I need him. I have no other friend quite like him. He's not a fairweather friend like others....he's steady and non-judgemental. Are we ever lucky to have such a friend more than once in this lifetime?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If I Didn't Have Dogs...

I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety. My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated. All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of hair. When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel.

If I Didn't Have Dogs...

When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading through fuzzy bodies who beat me there. I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several furry bodies would need to get comfortable. I would have money.....and no guilt to go on a real vacation. I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I put their yet unborn grandkids through college.

If I Didn't Have Dogs...

The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit, down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE. My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers. My house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere. My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and an extra leash.

If I Didn't Have Dogs...

I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L, F-R-I-S-B-E- E, W-A-L-K, T-R-E-A-T, B-I-K-E, G-O, R-I-D-E I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside. I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE dog/cat ties them down too much. I'd look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of dreading 'mud' season.

If I Didn't Have Dogs...

I would not have to answer the question 'Why do you have so many animals?' from people who will never have the joy in their lives of knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel as they will ever get. Remember, D-O-G spelled backwards is G-O-D!

How EMPTY my life would be!

Friday, November 21, 2008

We have a diagnosis!

This sweet little ball, I mean, skeleton of energy has a reason for the explosive diarrhea. Her stool sample was positive for coccidia. YUCK! But at least we now have a reason for the diarrhea and lack of weight gain. So the entire doggie household is on meds as a precaution. She had her first meal today of chicken and rice and will continue on that for the next week in order to help her tummy rest.....she's not complaining at all! Once she's back on her food, I will then start a slow switch from the NB Ultra to Taste Of The Wild (TOTW) Pacific Stream.

In the past couple of days, we've started taking a daily walk around the block in order to get Echo used to the leash. She is not a puller and watches me constantly to see where I'm going. Once her energy is calmed, I foresee a dog super easy to train!!

Echo at 11 weeks

Although Echo feels heavier, her weigh-in at 11 weeks proved otherwise. She is still 30 pounds and she is looking super-skinny....and I am worried. Her appetite is excellent, she seems to be starving constantly, but with the really loose stools and sometimes liquid stools, I was afraid to up the amount of food she's eating, which is currently 3 cups a day of the NB Ultra. Plus she gets lots of treats throughout the day to aid in her training. If her stool doesn't get better, it's to the vet with a stool sample to check for parasites and/or infection.
The mouthing has not improved and she is rarely still. I have yet to see her "laying around the house." Our saving grace is that she does EXCELLENT in the crate and sleeps peacefully in there and the only time she whines out is if she needs to go outside to do her business. The above picture is her right after I signed "sit" to her. She is spot-on with the "sit" sign and responds to it 100% of the time. I've now added the sign for "wait" and she seems to understand the concept. I have been using it after she sits and when I'm setting her food bowl down in front of her. I don't want her rushing the dish, so she has to wait.
She LOVES to play with Willow and Willow enjoys Echo just as much. They are in a constant state of motion if Echo is out of her crate! I'm working with Willow to "be gentle." So here she is pawing Echo instead of pouncing on her!

Although it's important for dane pups to stay on the lean side because of their rapid growth, she is most definitely on the skinny side. Her back leg/foot is turning out in the pic, but it's just this particular's not always like that!

Echo at 10 weeks

Here is Echo at just a few days shy of 10 weeks. Although I didn't measure her height, her weight was 30.2 pounds. She has a fantastic appetite and was eating Pro Plan at the breeder's house. We immediately started the transition to Natural Balance Ultra Premium and she is all about eating! We are using the NILIF principles and having her sit before she gets anything; that is, her meals, treats, and attention. She is picking up the sign for "sit" very quickly, it's just a matter of her sitting still long enough to watch my hands!

She is super in tune to where I am at all times and watching me. I think this should make training easier. Biggest problem at this time is her uber-hyperactivity and mouthing/clamping down on any and everything. Right now we're removing her mouth, putting our hands around her muzzle and signing "no." She's not getting it.....yet! Patience, I tell myself.......patience! The other current issue initially is loose stools. Other milestone at 10 weeks......first set of shots.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Hello to all of our old friends and new friends too! My focus will be mainly on the danes but I won't leave out the dachshunds either! As I learn about raising a deaf dane, I hope to add information about deaf dogs that may help someone else out there. I'm still working on setting up this blog and it will be a slow process, but leave me a comment and let me know you found your way here! Thanks for following along on our new adventure.......