We have a routine here at The Swamp. Sawyer was born with a congenital liver shunt that means the enzymes he needs to digest his food don’t really make it into his belly. Everyday he has to have a pill. Sawyer is a notoriously picky eater. He rarely will take treats and if there is a pill in one he will be forever suspicious so there is no hiding them. We tried a pill popper and that didn’t work.
So, we had to resort to shoving it down his throat. This is my job. Everyday we do the ‘good boy’ routine. I go around the house asking if we have a ‘good boy’. Sawyer dances around and gets all excited (so do the other dogs, especially Ozzy) then all of a sudden I ‘see’ him and he goes nuts. Then I get him to sit or hop up on the couch or something, pry his mouth open and stick the pill down this throat and the part resumes with wild abandon. Sometimes he will take a treat chaser but more of the time he doesn’t. In essence, I have trained him to come to me, to sit, have his mouth opened and a pill shoved down his throat.
Never, ever discount the power of the party when dealing with dogs. This selfie was taken right after his pill.
Well, it’s November again. The rains have begun in earnest. It is also National Blog Posting Month and I am going to try to blog every day for the whole month. I am not holding out much hope this will actually happen but a woman can dream. Hopefully you will all be treated to my unique, critical-thinking take on the world as I discuss politics (Obama good, Harper bad), feminism, music and of course, dogs. So here we go with the first post of the month on, you guessed it, dogs!
First up is Jesse. When he first arrived we thought we were going to have a challenge integrating him. He had pain issues, he had never really lived with other dogs, he had severe separation anxiety and stunk to high heaven. After a couple of months with good pain management he has fit in like a dream. Things are still a little foreign to him at our house but he is learning some key lessons. He now seems to understand that we go out and we come home. He is not screaming as much when he has to go into his crate which means hopefully the neighbours won’t call the police thinking someone/something is dying or actively being killed. He seems to really enjoy the softness at our house; the soft petting and caressing, the soft beds, the soft couch and the soft touch of Sawyer’s tongue on his face. You can just see him relax and lean into it a little bit more. It does seem though that some things cannot be unlearned. He does not really like raw at all so we do have to feed him a combination of commercial dog food and some home-cooked. He will pretty much eat anything as long as it is not raw.
When Gracie first arrived we thought she had weathered the chaos of her previous lives well. We were wrong. Gracie seems to be a dog who never had much stimulation so she began to chew on herself as a way to deal with this. At our house she has lots of stimulation playing with Sawyer and getting attention from us. However, when we seem to be winding down for the day like watching tv and/or getting ready for bed she begins her self-stimulating behavior. She has been to the vet, done 2 rounds of antibiotics and a medication that allowed her skin to heal and stopped her from scratching. We are now trying rescue remedy to see if that will settle her down a bit. She is truly one of the nicest dogs we have ever had.
Everyone else is doing well. Mostly. We are having some issues with the girls. Zoe, who is old and intolerant, is bitchy, Gracie wants to play and is relentless. She does not pick up on Zoe’s not so subtle cues that she doesn’t want to play. So they snarl a little and then Piper inserts herself, determined to finish whatever is going on. It has been mostly noise, however I did notice that Zoe had a little puncture above one of her eyes. Oh, and it would be useful if Zoe realized that she really doesn’t have enough teeth to be snarling at younger dogs. Meanwhile, they boys snuggle with each other and get along fine. Who knows?
Ruby (aka Tuber) is doing so much better. Some of you may remember the post I wrote a couple of months ago: Fixing Ruby. Ruby had never known that human beings could give her good things in life. She has come so far. Gone is the sad little dog who wanted to hide in her crate all the time. We now have a bright-eyed confident little dog. Her tail is up and her ears almost stick straight out from her body. She loves life. She is following in the tracks of many dogs at The Swamp who try to kill the humans by sticking so close to their feet that we trip over them. She goes to the park and enjoys herself immensely. I would regale you with pictures but she hates the camera.
My health has really improved lately. Sticking to a routine has really helped my fatigue levels. I no longer sleep in on weekends. I used to sleep 12+ hours on the weekend just to be able to work all week. This morning I was awake and up at 8:30, which is early for me. Clearly all of the things I have been doing to look after myself have worked. Getting back in touch with the things that make me happy and contented was a good plan. Luckily, I will likely never run out of things to crochet for people. I have started on a new Realta afghan for my best friend Joe. I am making it queen size, which means it is roughly 4 times the size of the last one.
Piper has lost 2 pounds! This is ½ of the weight she needed to lose according to the vet who did her soft-palate resection last year. Her breathing is so much better even in this heat.
The rest of the dogs are doing well. Ruby and Zoe are hardly coughing at all now on their Lasix. Kiefer seems to surviving the heat ok. He likes to lay on the cool tile by the front door or in the living room in the shade. If it gets much warmer I will have to set up the air conditioner in the living room for him. Sawyer is still cold. He is always looking for a blanket to go under.
 Tuber as in potato. She is about as bright as one. But she is sweet, so very, very sweet!
 She still won’t sleep anywhere unless it is a dog bed.
– We are at my mother’s for the annual trip we do. My sister has a new mutt puppy who is so incredibly sweet. She and Sawyer and have been tearing up the yard playing chase; Sawyer loves to run and Gigi has never met a chase she didn’t like. The problem is that Gigi wants to play all the time and poor Sawyer, who is not an overly active dog, can’t seem to get any rest to save his soul. He tries to run down to the bedroom occasionally for respite. Secretly though, he is enjoying himself immensely!
– My brother-in-law loves to watch boxing. I don’t get it and I find the noise offensive. I now have my noise-canceling headphones on and I’m listening to music.
– Piper is also having a mostly good time. Maya attacked her like a little viper last night when she came in. We have really clamped down on Maya today and she has responded well.
– My sister is mostly holding it together. I just agree with her and all is fine. She really is stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. Both her husband and our mother will not allow her to sit for any length of time. They treat her like a slave. She is volcanic in her behavior and no one is ever sure what might make her erupt. When she does go she spews vitriol everywhere and you just try to duck and not get hit.
– My mother really cannot stand the dogs. She doesn’t even want them to play in her general vicinity. I asked her if she liked watching them play and she said no. I don’t get that. I love to watch the dogs play; sometimes it is better than TV.
– The one thing I really don’t understand is why my mother is smoking while she wears oxygen. She complains about feeling crappy all the time and doesn’t get that she is causing herself all these difficulties. People can live a long time with COPD as long as they don’t smoke. She is not eating so when she catches something she literally has nothing to fight with. It worries me but I recognize there is nothing I can do about it. She is depressed and really has no interest in carrying on. She has never had to cope with any kind of health issues before and she is really not up for it.
– The best part of this trip will be getting to see some really great friends in Calgary on Tuesday. We are going to the Cactus Club for dinner.
 The maltese we got for my mother late last year.
Things have been going relatively well at The Swamp. We had a minor roof leak that was caused by some shingles being too tight up against the chimney. The roofing company I called fixed it for free. They say we need a new roof but I don’t really buy it. Good news is that the leak is fixed.
We had a huge willow tree that had to come down. It had been dropping huge branches and I was worried it might just come down on our house or across the road. It was a huge liability. The Urban Lumberjack in Maple Ridge did a fabulous job of getting it down. However, one of the rotten branches fell on the hydro and cable lines knocking both of them out. Hydro was back on quickly but they decide to cut the cable line. When I first called Shaw to get it reconnected they were quoting a date of March 2. Anyway, I worked my magic and they were here the next morning at 8am. I am really glad the tree is down now as it is really windy here today.
Tru has picked up. She is eating more often than not. Her stitches are out so she could finally have a much-needed bath. She absolutely reeked! Now we will know whether her swampy smell is coming from her needing a bath or her horrible teeth. Regardless, she is soaking up the love and companionship at The Swamp. She still likes to greet you by tasting your hand. It is cute.
We bought a home theatre system last week. We set it up without too much difficulty. The speaker stands took much, much longer to set up! The system is amazing. It has solved the problem of the TV being too loud for Deb as I now have a speaker beside my right ear. Music sounds absolutely fabulous! Diamond Stereo is a fabulous place to get great advice and products.
We also decided I should get better car stereo speakers. They went in yesterday and they sound so much better. The sound is much richer. I have actually heard things in my music that I did not know where there. Music is so important to my self-care that these investments in my sanity are very important.
I have been feeling much better the last couple of weeks. I really hope it is a result of some nutrition changes. I have had more energy for work. Getting up and going has not been the burden it is at other times. I do seem to experience a winter improvement in my ulcerative colitis. I am hoping it is not just the winter bump.
All of the dogs are doing well. Zoe is a bit of a worry at times because she is old but she is fine. Kiefer gets a little sore after going to the park. Piper and Sawyer are such a bonded little duo. They love hanging out together especially in Deb’s truck. We are so lucky to have such a great crew of dogs! The Cat is still doing well. She is as demanding as ever and is showing no signs of being sick. She is still using her litter!
 Hydro says it was for safety reasons, tree guy said it was laziness. I am going with the tree guy.
 The only error we made was putting 2 of the speakers on the far right ports as per the diagram. However, our receiver can actually take 6 speakers (plus a sub-woofer) so the first 2 ports on the right are not used if you are setting it up as a 5.1. It took a little thinking to figure it out and we (buy we I mean Angelina) fixed it the next morning.
We had a photo shoot with the Food Lady recently. She adeptly captures all the different personalities of our dogs! If you want great pictures of your dog get in touch with her. Enjoy!
Great picture of the Punk running. She always looks kind of goofy when she runs.
Sawyer in a quiet moment. I love the teeth.
I Seriously, this picture should have the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire playing. Zoe rarely runs anywhere which makes this picture rather rare. Her tail is so perfect! I have working on getting her tail to grow out well and we are there. I adore this picture (and the dog!!).
What can I say? This dog is adorable.
We were trying to get some action shots that day but it didn’t work. Oh well.
We left Kamloops around noon today. I love the drive from the desert down to the coast where things are greener. I watched the temperature slowly decrease to finally 23 degrees when we got home. The transition makes me very happy and it is why I call this place home.
It was so nice to see the other dogs when we got home. Kiefer came running up to me and his tail was swishing back and forth. Zoe was thrilled as well to see us too! Sawyer apparently did a somersault when he saw Sienna. Later they were crazy playing later and Sawyer got the zoomies. Watching the dogs play is better than TV.
I am so looking forward to my bed tonight! After almost a week of sleeping in a twin bed it will be nice to be able to spread out. I have also missed my heating pad that stays on all night. I sleep with it on low and it really helps my pain levels. Plus it will be nice to sleep in our cool air-conditioned room!
Well we got out of the house about 45 minutes late but all went well. We made good time. Piper did well once she calmed down. No more out of control of panting. We stopped once for gas and then in Merritt. The dogs were very well behaved as usual.
We love the hotel we found. We are at the Podollan in Salmon Arm. They have a fabulous pool and hot tubs but we didn’t bring our bathing suits!! We didn’t bring them because I thought the only place we would be able to use them was Radium and I didn’t think we would be able to get away.
The room is great. A king-size bed, a flat screen TV, chairs I can sit on, and a kitchenette! The floors are tile, which is great for dogs. We will definitely stay here again next year if/when we come through. We will be in Radium tomorrow.