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.......