The photo above says it all. She is sweet. She is beautiful. She is a member of our family. Our family has had a total of three dogs so far. We adopted our first dog, Chinook, from my husband's sister. She was a Husky/ Shepherd mix, and came to us pre potty trained. Chinook was a wonderful dog, so smart and friendly. She was the kind of dog we could walk to the icecream store, tie her outside while we went inside, and when we came to get her, she would have a crowd of admirers all about. She was prone to running off, and one time we got a phone call to come and get her. She was in the intersection of Devonshire and Sepulveda, stopping traffic. When we went to retrieve her, there were about six people patiently waiting, hoping we wouldn't arrive, so they could take over ownership of our beloved pet. One time she just up and dissappeared for three days. My poor husband was distraught, and the fact that it was just before Christmas, and we would be seeing his sister, and he would have to tell her that Chinook was gone, only served to deepen his dispair. I, for some reason, just knew that Chinook was okay. It was a wonderful exercise in blind faith, if you will, and by golly, on Christmas Eve, as we were placing gifts under the tree (my husband with tears in his eyes over missing Chinook), I heard the jingling of her chain on our porch. I opened the door, and there she was, fat and greasy. We later learned that she had been hanging out at Holiday Burger feasting on a diet of burgers! That's probably where she was headed when she got caught up in the intersection. We enjoyed Chinook for several years, and then she got cancer and died.
It was awful not to have a dog, but we had young twin boys, and decided that getting a puppy would be akin to having triplets, so we decided to go to the German Shepherd Rescue and adopt a full grown dog. When we arrived, we saw a beautiful pure white male Shepherd and decided to adopt him. He was terribly thin and seemed timid. We were told that he was about two years old. We were told that his name was "Nick" but we decided to call him "Nike" like the tennis shoe. We brought him home and had him checked out by the vet who informed us that he was closer to six, had three different parasites, had had a broken limb which was never properly set etc. This poor dog had been severely abused, we later discovered. He didn't like men, so my husband had to be careful. Hated flies with a passion, which made him a good fly catcher. Wouldn't walk through open doorways if anyone was standing near, wouldn't allow anyone to put a foot anywhere near him (had he been kicked?), and was afraid of brooms (had he been beaten?) He also wasn't properly leash trained and had severe seperation anxiety. After thousands of dollars of treatment, he turned into a beautiful looking dog, but he was still damaged beyone repair. He then got cancer and died on us just after the birth of Buddah Boy. Poor Nike had chronic diarrhea, the twins were yet to be potty trained, and we had an infant to keep clean. So MUCH poop!
Still, we could not stand to be dogless. We decided to start fresh with a puppy this time. Hubby's mom knew of a nice family from her parish who had Shepherd/Doberman pups which they were giving away.Since I was busy with three little boys, my husband went alone to "look" at the puppies, but decided that he would bring one home. What was I going to say,"No- take her back?" She was a homely thing, pure black with a long rat tail and floppy ears. I thought she was perhaps one of the homliest dogs I had ever seen, but hubby interjected that both of her parents were beauties. She had a lovely disposition- although very hyper and extremely hungry all of the time. She would jump 4 feet in the air trying to access her food dish while I was setting it down. We named her Aki, which is Japanese for "Autumn" which is the season during which we adopted her. She was a people pleaser from day one. She didn't chew on anything unless we handed it to her or left it on the lawn. So amazing to me that a teething puppy didn't steal little boy shoes and toys! She was pretty easy to potty train too. Well, at least a lot easier than those boys were!
Aki had a bit of a rough start- contracting Parvo while still getting her initial shots (I still think she got exposed at the vet!) She survived that, and we bought pet insurance for her. Then there was the tendon slicing incident where she almost bled to death and had to be crated while recouperating, and just out of that she had to be spayed as we were leaving for France for three months and didn't want to foist a dog in heat on my most generous brother who offered to care for her in our absence. When we came back from France, Aki had been trained to do all sorts of things. To this day she loves my brother.
So Aki has been witth us for nearly 14 years now. Never did she soil in the house, harm any of the cats, destroy any of our furniture, or intentionally bite anyone. She bit Buddah Boy once, but it was an accident as she was only trying to bit the water stream coming out of his squirt gun. The only time we really had to reprimand her was when she thought Shelly, the tortoise, was a walking chew toy, and tried to eat her. After two attmepts, for which Aki got spanked, she never bothered Shelly the tortoise again, which I thought was remarkable. She learned to ignore her instinct in order to please her masters. We could all learn a thing or two from her!
She has aged quite a bit in the last few years. No more big walks to Viking park. Possum catching days are slowing down. Her hearing is nearly gone, and she's had vision changes. She is anxious. When she's in- she wants out. When she's out, she wants in. She always thinks it's meal time. But she still keeps herself immaculate, has a shiny coat and good teeth, eats, sleeps, poops, and is always glad to see us, but no longer gets up to greet hubby at the door. We don't think she can hear his car on the driveway anymore. We've really noticed a decline in her mobility. When it is cold, she has a heck of a time getting up, and oftentimes when she does get up, poop just falls out, seeminly without her knowledge! The first few times we gently excused it, but it has become a common practice now. Seems she poops inside more often than out! Oh what to do?
With our crazy schedule, it was nearly impossible to get her to the vet. And we didn't want to pay $300 for an exam only to learn that our dog is, uh, well, old. But we couldn't continue with her poo pooing all over the house either. So I went online and did some reading up on hip displasia, aging canine care, etc. Kind of the same way I handled my dad's back pain. I learned that just as there was treatment for my dad, there was treatment for my dog. I read dog blogs singing the praises for cortisone shots and anti- inflammatory medications that magically restored much missed mobility. Could this be a possible treatment option for "Aki?" I really wasn't comfortable just giving up on our four legged famly member who had been nothing but loving and loyal to us. We finally managed to get her in for a long overdue checkup, and the $300 exam did confirm our conclusion that Aki was indeed old. Old, but in remarkable shape. And not at the end of the line just yet. Not even ready for a cortisone shot. He prescribed some anti- inflammatories, chondroiton glucosamine tablets and very expensive doggy vitamins. He also gave a very clever recommendation to begin feeding her in the AM so that when she is inside during the PM, the BM will have already occurred, preferably outside. Now why couldn't we have thought of that? It's been two days since the vet visit, and I tell ya, Aki is on the mend. I saw her prancing with a ball in our back yard. She still can't hear, and is still anxiously going outside and in, but the stairs are not nearly so difficult. I will contine with my faith in the healing powers of the $300 exam. This website offers a wealth of info on aging canines: www.peteducation.com. Glad I checked it out.
A Dogs Soul
Every dog must have a soul, somewhere deep inside
Where all his hurts and grievances are buried with his pride.
Where he decides the good and bad, the wrong way from the right,
And where his judgement carefully is hidden from our sight.
A dog must have a secret place, where every thought abides,
A sort of close acquaintance that he trusts in and confides.
And when accused unjustly for himself, He cannot speak,
Rebuked, He finds within his soul, the comfort he must seek.
He'll love, tho'he is unloved, and he'll serve tho'badly used,
And one kind word will wipe away the times when he's abused.
Altho' his heart may break in two, his love will still be whole,
Because God gave to every dog an understanding Soul!
* Worlds largest dog..... The worlds heaviest as well as longest dog ever recorded was an Old English Mastiff named Zorba. In 1989, Zorba weighed 343 lbs and was 8 feet 3 inches long from nose to tail!
* Worlds tallest dog..... The tallest dog on record was named Shamgret Danzas. He was 42 inches tall (at the shoulder!) and weighed 238 lbs.
* Worlds smallest dog..... The smallest dog in history was a tiny Yorkie from Blackburn, England. At two years of age and fully grown this little dude was an incredible 2.5 inches tall by 3.75 inches long! He weighed only 4 ounces! HE was approximately the size of a matchbox.
* Worlds oldest dog..... The oldest dog that has been reliably documented was an Australian cattle-dog named Bluey. He was put to sleep at the age of 29 years and 5 months!
* All dogs, from the German Shepherd to the tiny Poodle, are direct descendants of wolves. They can all breed together and produce fertile offspring. Technically they are of the same species.
* Dogs can very easily regurgitate. In fact, after eating wolves can travel significant distances back to their dens and regurgitate the food at will to feed their pups!
* Dogs can see color but it is not as vivid a color scheme as we see. It is much like our vision at twilight.
* Some authorities estimate that some dogs sense of olfaction (smelling) is as high as 1 million times greater than ours.
* The basenji, an African wolf dog, is the only dog that cannot bark.
* A dog can hear sounds 250 yards away that most people cannot hear beyond 25 yards. The human ear can detect sound waves vibrating at frequencies up to 20,000 times a second. But dogs can hear sound waves that vibrate at frequencies of more than 30,000 times a second.
* Dogs cannot see as well as humans and are considered color blind. A dog sees objects first by their movement, second by their brightness, and third by their shape.
* A dog's heart beats between 70 and 120 times a minute, compared with a human heart which beats 70 to 80 times a minute.
* A female carries her young about 60 days before the puppies are born.
And- doesn't anyone know a J. Davis who lost an iPod? Email Jewel if you do. See the July 07 archive.
Life lessons learned from a dog
1. If you stare at someone long enough, eventually you'll get what you want.
2. Don't go out without ID.
3. Be direct with people; let them know exactly how you feel by pissing on their shoes.
4. Be aware of when to hold your tongue, and when to use it.
5. Leave room in your schedule for a good nap.
6. Always give people a friendly greeting. A cold nose in the crotch is most effective.
7. When you do something wrong, always take responsibility (as soon as you're dragged shamefully out from under the bed).
8. If it's not wet and sloppy, it's not a real kiss.
A minister was asked to dinner by one of his church members. He knew she was a bad housekeeper but agreed. When he sat down at the table, he noticed that the dishes were the dirtiest that he had ever seen in his life. "Were these dishes ever washed?" he asked his hostess, running his fingers over the grit and grime.
She replied,"They're as clean as soap and water could get them". He felt a bit uncomfortable, but blessed the food anyway and started eating. It was really delicious and he said so, despite the dirty dishes. When dinner was over, the hostess took the dishes outside and yelled, "Here Soap! Here Water!"
* "The dog's kennel is not the place to keep a sausage." - Danish Proverb
* "To live long, eat like a cat, drink like a dog." - German Proverb
* "Three things it is best to avoid: a strange dog, a flood, and a man who thinks he is wise." - Welsh Proverb
* "The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread." - Portuguese Proverb
* "The barking of a dog does not disturb the man on a camel." - Egyptian Proverb
* "Children aren't dogs; adults aren't gods." - Haitian Proverb
* "Beware of a silent dog and still water." - Latin Proverb
* "The greater love is a mother's; then comes a dog's; then a sweetheart's." - Polish Proverb
* "One dog barks at something, the rest bark at him." - Chinese Proverb
* "Do not respond to a barking dog." - Moroccan Jewish saying
* "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun." - Indian Proverb
* "Those who sleep with dogs will rise with fleas." - Italian Proverb
* "Show a dog a finger, and he wants the whole hand." - Yiddish Proverb
* "If you are a host to your guest, be a host to his dog also." - Russian Proverb
* "A house without either a cat or a dog is the house of a scoundrel." - Portuguese Proverb
* "An honest man is not the worse because a dog barks at him." - Danish Proverb
* "Every dog is allowed one bite." - US Proverb
* "A good dog deserves a good bone." - US Proverb
* "If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end." - Saudi Arabian Proverb
* Dog does not eat dog. - Proverb
* Give a dog a bad name and hang him. - Proverb
* Why keep a dog and bark yourself? - Proverb
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