Sunday, 26 February 2012

Awww...what's in the dog's mouth now!!!!

The Portuguese Water Dog is a mouthy breed.  That's what all the textbooks and magazines say.  PWD's always have t have something in their mouth.  My question is, "WHY DIDN'T I LISTEN??"

My 10 month old is never without something in his mouth.  We've bought him all kinds of chew toys (both stuffed and unstuffed), we've bought him squeaky toys (they last about 10 minutes in those big strong teeth), we've given him special bones, balls, name it...there is no lack of objects for our pup to chew on...


Why the heck does he have to pick up strange objects off the street when we're walking!!!  We'll be walking along, he'll have his (annihilated unstuffed) ferret in his mouth, happy as a clam.  In the blink of an eye, the ferret is tossed aside and a new, foreign object is in his mouth!!!  How he does this so quickly will forever remain a mystery to me!!  I can be seen at any given corner trying to pry his jaws open, all the while pulling out used Kleenex, bounce sheets, Tim Horton coffee cups, branches,  cigarette packs (thankfully empty)!

Last week, as we were walking, I saw his head swoop down...but I didn't see anything sticking out of his mouth.  We kept walking a little further when he turned to look at me.  There, sticking out of his mouth, a used Q-Tip!!  Ick.  What could possibly have attracted him to that!!  I tried to pull it out, but let me tell you, I have enough trouble pulling out a stick or least they're wide enough for me to be able to get a good hold on them.  But a Q-Tip??  There's nothing to hold onto!! And I sure as heck didn't want to touch the cotton swab portion!!  So,  I did what I've always done..I looked for another piece of garbage to tempt him with, and once his mouth was opened and the Q-Tip fell out, I grabbed the leash and started running as fast as I could away from the offensive Q-Tip!!

Lately, pup has started going in my bathroom to sniff around.  I tend to keep the door closed, but he's learned that if he rams his head hard enough against the door, it will open for him!!   Let me explain a little bit about my bathroom.  This bathroom is mine!!  I share my home with my hubby and my 14 year old son, so this bathroom is off-limits to them.  It's my sanctuary.  I keep my make-up there, my cologne, smelly pot-pourris and of course, the things that my husband or son can never use..simply because they're male!!  So, what does puppy come out of the bathroom with?  Yep!!!  Now, excuse me while I try prying that out of his mouth..all the while looking for taller shelves to keep things on!

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Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Pedicure

We take care of our little 10 month old.  We brush his hair and teeth daily, we give him monthly baths, we are careful to feed him the right type of food, we limit his snacks, give him monthly pedicures and of course we give him lots and lots of exercise.

In the 8 months that we've had the little pup, hubby has lost 30 lbs and his blood pressure is at the healthiest level in years.  Our 14 year old son has grown about a foot in this time and his build is starting to get quite athletic.  Me?  Although pup and I do not see eye to eye on anything, although he and I have yet to bond, although he makes my life a living hell, still, I can't deny that I'm really happy with the way my body has changed.

Pup has changed too!!  He's a PWD of the curly variety.  Awfully cute, but when we had let his hair grow longer for the winter, he just looked like a puff ball.  Actually, although we knew his weight was perfect for his age and size, the occasional (well-meaning?) neighbour would make a comment about how BIG, pup was getting.  Hubby and I, always ready to come to our puppy's honour, would immediately tell the neighbour just how wrong he was.  We would tell our neighbour that pup was just PERFECT!!

Well, after his wonderful little curls started getting all knotted up because of the snow, rain, mud, etc....we had to get him shaved.  Well let me tell you, pup looked like a different dog!!  Apart from looking suspiciously like a schnauzer, pup now looked really skinny!!!  Too skinny if you ask me.  People, especially our neighbours, started remarking on how fit and trim pup was underneath all that curly fur!!  People couldn't believe that it was the same dog!!

Now, because we walk him so much, from June till January, we only had to cut his nails once per month.  The pavement would wear them down and they never got too long.  But, never ever having had a dog before, hubby and I didn't think that his nails might need cutting more often now that there was snow and ice on the ground!! The day that we took him to get shaven, he came home and we could still hear his nails clicking on our floor.  A couple of days later, I took him back to the groomer, thinking that they had forgotten to trim his nails.  Actually, the groomer told me the opposite.  Because pup's nails had gotten so long, the quick had gotten long as well.  She could only cut a bit...any more and the poor thing would bleed.  So, now we were in a predicament where we had to get his nails trimmed every 10 days...just so that the quick would shorten. We did this for a few weeks.

Yesterday, I took pup to the groomer again.  This time, the quick had gotten back to normal and she told me that I could start coming back again every 3-4 weeks.  Relieved, I mentioned that I had no idea that due to the fact that there was ice and snow on the ground, this would keep pup's nails from wearing out.  I told the groomer that I'd make a point of going more often when the next winter season would begin.  She looked at me and told me that was only one side of the equation.  She then said something that completely blew me away!!!  She said that most PWD's she sees are overweight.  This is due to the fact that they are such a high energy dog and the masters can't keep up with them.  But, she said that our dog was in phenomenal shape!!  She said that in all her years of grooming PWD's, she had never seen one as trim and healthy looking as ours. She said that the other reason his nails were growing so long, was that he didn't have all that extra weight that heavier dogs have, bearing down on his paws!!  There was no pressure on his nails at all!!  That got me thinking as to how lucky our pup was that he had committed owners that gave him the exercise his breed requires...but, most importantly, how lucky we were to have this pup that was helping us lose weight and not put so much pressure on our feet (organs, etc.)

Despite the fact that this pup makes me nuts with anger at times, I have to thank him for helping my family get healthier and happier.  Maybe one day, when I'm old and grey, I'll look back with fond memories about how much this dog meant to me...but for now...ugh, I'm off to walk him again, this time in the pouring rain!!!

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Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Fabulous Ferret

So here we are, having had pup for just over 8 months now.  He loves my hubby and my son...he LOVES them.    When they walk, pup is right next to them...heaven forbid he leaves their side..why he'd never forgive himself if something nasty were to happen to them.  He listens to their every command, and he is obedient when he's in the house with them.

And then there's me!!

Pup HATES me.  He doesn't care if anything were to happen to me on our fact, I believe he secretly hopes that I run away or better yet, fall into an open manhole cover, far down, away into the sewer...swept away by the tide only to re-emerge far, far into some far off ocean in some far off land.  You don't believe me?  Well why else would he walk so far away from me when I'm holding the leash?  Not only does he go to the end of the leash, but he starts running so that he can get as far away from me as possible.  When it becomes evident to him that I am not about to let go of the leash, he then turns towards me and puts the leash in his mouth, tugging hard, trying to make me loosen my grip.  He actually went through leash #8 this week.  Remember, we've had pup for 8 months and this is his 9th leash!!!!  I wonder if they make Kevlar leashes??

So anyway, along with the tugging, biting and pulling, my pup tries to get away from me by running back and forth (always at the end of the leash), either trying to wear me down or dislocate my shoulder.  Each time I get back from my walk, all sweaty and dishevelled, I always make a solemn vow that that was my last walk with him..Then of course, a few hours later, I take him out again.  Yes, pup and I have a real, "master and servant" thing going on..only he thinks HE'S the one in charge.

One night, I took him out and he started playing with his best friend, a lovely year old Golden-Doodle.  As they played, I noticed he kept taking a toy from her.  The Golden's master told me it was an unstuffed ferret and that my dog probably loved playing with it more that his dog did.  All of a sudden, a light bulb went off over my head.  The next day, I went out and bought a white, unstuffed ferret and hid it from him until it was my turn to walk him.  That afternoon, the second I showed him the ferret, he smiled, grabbed it and never let go.  The walk was priceless.  It was the best walk I had had with him in 8 months.  We walked everywhere together, for close to an hour!!

Next day, same thing, day after that, same thing.  Now, the 4th walk was kinda dicey.  The ferret, after 3 days, had become really filthy, and, because the weather had been quite mild, there was quite a bit of water on the ground.  Pup had been dragging the ferret in his mouth, but the water was seeping into the ferret, and it was getting heavier and heavier.  I guess pup wasn't use to having to lug around a heavy, wet ferret and just left it in the middle of the street.  In the nano second it took for the ferret to leave his mouth, the leash was back in pup's mouth!!  I kept trying to put the ferret back in there but it was impossible!!!  For those of you who have tried to pry something out of your dog's mouth, try imagining trying to do the opposite!!  The pup just would not put the heavy wet ferret in his mouth!

So, being rather resourceful, I kept looking for imaginative ways to keep the ferret there.  At first I tried to wrap the ferret around the pup's head.  I figured it wouldn't be too heavy and he had easy access to his mouth.  What was I thinking??
Then, I wrapped the ferret around his leash.  That way, every time he'd go for the leash, he'd find the ferret there instead.  Once again, what was I thinking??
So, I did the only thing I could do.  As I walked him I had the leash in one hand and the ferret held out in front of his like a carrot in the other.  Believe it or not, this worked really well.  The last 4 walks have been like this.  I just hold it out in front of him and he walks perfectly.  People on the street give me peculiar glances, but I don't care one bit!!  It works.

Now about a week later, my son took pup out for a walk.  When son came back, he casually mentioned that he had LOST the ferret in a school yard.  Horrified, I had looked at the empty hook in the garage that was home to the ferret for a full week.  As my eyes were filling up with tears, I started putting on my sweater, scarf, snow pants, hat, boots, gloves...and ran out of the house in search of the ferret.  I entered the school yard, and in the distance, I could see this dirty grey clump on top of the pure white snow.  I ran to that ferret, picked it up, brought it home and put it back on its hook.  Every member of my family knows never to touch that ferret again..It's MINE!!!!  It's the only way I can walk my dog and not come back with a dislocated shoulder.  The fabulous ferret saved the day!!!

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