The Inmates have taken over the Asylum

It has been a while since we had an installment about the inmates and how they run roughshod over lives. I am not really up to full sentences so I think I will go with bullets:

  • We had some lilies that were sent to me when I was sick. The other day we noticed that Zoe had a little golden patch on her side. I guess the flowers (which were on the table) got in her way as she was lounging and barking on the dining room table. Now, please resist the urge to ask why the dog is on the table. It will do you no good.
  • WWF – we have a little problem with our little girls. We like to envision them as sweet as little buttercups prancing through the meadows while they all gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes.* Screech!!! Change directions!!! We have the WWF** The scrap, Zoe, Gemma Joy and Piper are unapologetic little scrappers and Zoe is the scrappiest scrapper of them all! The other night we had 3 fights in bed. They are jealous and jockeying for position etc. This of course is all our fault. We never really expected much from the pug – doing her business outside, coming when called and the occasional sit was all we really required of her. Then Gemmie came. She has terminal cancer so we really did not expect her to do anything but eat and make up for the crap life she had before. Oh and look cute.  Then Zoe came. She is cute and had a crap life and well, you expect shihtzus to be a bit rough around the edges. We have now put them on the nothing in life is free and they must sit when told and come when called. Zoe has been getting the ‘perp’ walk the most as she never wants to come when she is called unless food is involved.

Don't believe everything you read!

Look at this face!

Do I look guilty?

  • The other day, Deb made a lovely Caesar salad (ok, it was leftover Caesar salad from Swiss chalet the night before) with chicken on it. She put it on her desk and walked away. Deb is not used to having to put food up high when left unattended. She learned the hard way. Kiefer apparently likes Caesar salad. He was kind he left her 2 leaves of lettuce. There was another incident where Deb had stuff from White Spot – most likely and her food disappeared. She found the french fry container under a dog bed the other day.

That is not lettuce you see between my teeth.

  • Sleeping is becoming related to pain. I end up with one or two of the little WWF sisters (they are no longer bacon sisters because I can’t eat bacon for some reason, nor eggs…hmmm) pressed up against me all night. I only get to move if I get up and then I have to re-position myself and move them over a bit.

*I know a great definition of anthropomorphism
**Ok, I know it is now the WWE but I grew up knowing it as the WWF

December 3, 2009 Mitzvah Update

Today I sent flowers to one of my staff because she just had surgery. I sent them personally because we don’t have any money for that at work.

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Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Inmates have Taken Over the Asylum – Part 2

It has been a long time since I have updated everyone about the dogs. Lots has happened at Chez Thomas so here we go.

We welcome Gemma Joy who came to us from SAINTS via Turtle Gardens. Gemma was rescued by Turtle Gardens up north where she was a puppy mill dog.

Gemma Joy after her shave

Gemma Joy after her shave

Gemmy is a shihtzu and is now starting to show all the characteristics associated with shihtzus. She is playful and tenacious and she is learning to play. She loves to cuddle and she just soaks up all the attention she wants. There are some concerns about her health as she had some mammary tumours removed (please get your female dogs spayed early, it reduces their chances of getting this awful disease by over 90%). Three tumours were removed and one was an aggressive cancer. The surgeons said they got good margins and we are hoping it did not metastacize before they removed it. She seems like a dog in good health:
Gemma Joy running on the dikes.

Gemma Joy running on the dikes.

Gemma had many litters of puppies and now she is treating all of the toys in the house like her ‘babies.’ She carefully gathers them up and sleeps with them. It is both cute and sad at the same time. We are pretty sure that she does not think they are her ‘babies’ because she chews on their heads.
Gemma and her 'babies'

Gemma and her 'babies'

Everybody please think good thoughts for Gemma. She will have an x-ray in about a month to see if the cancer spread. We are so hoping it has not and that she will be with us for a very, very long time!
One other thing – Gemma is continent! She is the first dog from SAINTS we have had who is continent!!! It is the little things that are important!
Now on to Molly. She is the oldest of our dogs at 20. She is a former SAINT and she is still going strong. She does her ‘pilates’ everyday. Since Gemma Joy came she has been doing a lot more stretching so that she makes sure she is noticed. We had to shave her a while back because her mats got really bad. She hates to be combed and we do not want to unduly stress her out. We had her in a little sweater for some time because it was still cold.
Molly yawning - notice the lack of teeth!

Molly yawning - notice the lack of teeth!

Speaking of haircuts, the day Molly was shaved Deb and Angelina also shaved Clio and gave her a mohawk. I thought it was very mean and they thought it was cute:
Clio with a mohawk

Clio with a mohawk

Madison is now 16 and is deaf as a post. It seem to come on all of a sudden. We have been working with our vet to manage her pain. Unfortunately, the one medication that would really help her also causes gastric upset so we have to further reduce how often she gets that med.
Madison laying down

Madison laying down

She is still mommy to all the little girls. We often see her curled up with them in the big beds.
Kirby is doing great! He has become quite self-actualized and is not afraid as much anymore. He loves going in the truck with Deb and she has a really hard time getting out of here without him. Kirbs is 10 this year! He loves getting jiggy in the morning and lives for his tummy rubs!
Kirby

Kirby

Sienna, who is Angelina’s dog, lives  with us as well. Lately, our living room has been turned into a toy paradise and all she wants to do is destroy them. Poor Sienna! Sienna loves to play fetch and go to the park. She is a such a sucky pitbull (the way they are supposed to be) and she makes some incredible noises when her ears are being rubbed. She is also doing quite well in Rally-O.
Sienna

Sienna

Tucker is our other foster dog from SAINTS. He has overcome his vestibular disease. Then he got giardia. He seems to be doing much better now that he has taken his course of flagyl. Unfortunately for Tucker he got stuck eating canned gastro food for the time he was on meds. It will be back to raw for him today.
Tucker at the dikes

Tucker at the dikes

Piper the punk is doing really well. We were worried that she would be upset and jealous of Gemma Joy. Nope all she wants is for Gemma to play with her. It is really quite amazing to see the efforst she puts into trying to make friends. I am sure, that over time, she and Piper will become a duo. They are already barking together as they guard the house.
Piper at the park

Piper at the park

We are a little concerned about Mackenzie as her aggression seems to be escalating. She took Piper’s spot in Rally-O (because Piper has no obedience skills, sigh) and she is doing very well. Mackenzie loves to go to the park and chase and kill balls. We go through a lot of tennis balls!
Mackenzie at the dikes

Mackenzie at the dikes

And last, but certainly not least, is Kiefer. He is not the shy wallflower type. He talks a lot and soemtimes it is very, very loud. He is especially joyful in the morning. Kief lives to eat and does so with gusto. He is also very handy when I take too much food – usually the leftovers will all fit into his waiting mouth.
Kiefer at the water even though he does not swim.

Kiefer at the water even though he does not swim.

Bella

Bella

I have saved the best for last. Bella, our Maine Coon cat, is in love. She adores Lynn. Her new favourite game is to crawl up on to Lynn and put her but in Lynn’s face while she kneads her. She will then turn around and knead other sensitive bits. This cat is no light weight either. She weighs 25 pounds and has talons for nails. Since Bella peed in Deb’s shoes everyone is afraid to do something to piss off the cat. Getting the cat off of Lynn can be a 2 person job now as we try to convince her that it was her idea to get down.
Life is never boring here!
Here is one last pic:
The notorious Bacon Sisters

The notorious Bacon Sisters

I have bacon on the weekend the little girls all gather around and they share. Needless to say I do not get to eat much bacon!

The Inmates Have Taken Over the Asylum: The Geriatric Club

A senior dog is loosely defined as being over the age of 7. If we were to apply that definition we would have 6 dogs who fit in that category. Although to see some of them in action you would have no idea!


The oldest dog in the house is Molly, who is 19, had an entire blog post dedicated to her and her antics. She has had several strokes and kind of does everything to the right. She is a force to be reckoned with and most of the other dogs are afraid of her.

My favourite pic of Mabel. It captures her confidence!

My favourite pic of Mabel. It captures her confidence!

The next oldest dog is Mabel at 17. She has also been the subject of several blog posts: here, here, and here. Mabel continues to do quite well. She is our little despot. She still sleeps most of the time in the laundry room – entirely her choice. She has many beds to choose from and she does rotate through them all. Lately we have had to evict her from the laundry room for short periods of time so that Tucker can eat there and she gets seriously pissed off. She will immediately voice her displeasure and go and pee on the floor even if she has just been outside. She continues to bark to go out, come in and eat. Her daily ‘constitutionals’ around the yard are back and she can successfully find her way back to the door. What is really funny is that Mabel doesn’t know when the door is open. Sometimes we don’t close it and sure enough, when she is ready to come in she will bark in front of the open door. Mabel is a little deaf, a little blind and a whole lot stubborn!

Madison with Molly and Clio

Madison with Molly and Clio

Madison is our next oldest dog and she is 15. We adopted her from the Animal Rescue Foundation about 10 years ago. Madison often takes the role of mother to the little dogs no matter how old. She can often be seen cleaning them especially the pug. Madison has much in common with Eeyore. She is sure that no one loves her and everyone hates her. She greets new visitors with the hope that maybe, just maybe, they will really love her! Madison is a loved and cherished member of our family. Unfortunately some dogs are never able to overcome their pasts. Madison went through several homes in her first five years of life. She became somewhat aggressive after being tormented by a 12 year old boy. We were the perfect family for Madison because there were no men in our household. Over the years, Madison has mostly been desensitized to men and can enjoy their company. Young boys are still problematic – she is unpredictable and can be aggressive. Luckily she has never bitten a child and we are highly vigilant. Many people (see here and here) feel it is just fine to re-home a dog and that it really does not affect them. For many dogs, instability in their ‘pack’ cause irreparable damage that the dog may never overcome.

Laughing Tucker

Laughing Tucker

Tucker is a foster dog from SAINTS. He is 15 years old and spent almost all of his life in a pen. He is a very good dog. There are serious consequences for a dog who spends his entire life, by himself, in a pen. He was never socialized with other dogs. For him this means that he has never learned how to be with other dogs or what it means to be a dog. He is now slowly learning, at 15, how to interact with other members of canine society. He is realizing that humping everyone is not the best strategy. He never learned to hold his bladder. If you live in a pen rather than a house toilet training is not a priority. It means that Tucker is incontinent. He may have been incontinent at 15 anyway but we will never know. Tucker has an incredible need to be touched and loved. After 15 years there are not enough people or enough hours in enough days to make up for what he has lost. It is very sad. This insatiable need for affection contributes to Tucker’s anxiety. He is always concerned that he is going to miss something and he is always on alert. Tucker is also mostly deaf. As a result he devises strategies to know if the humans he has now fallen in love with move. He will lie so that he is touching my chair so that I cannot possibly get up without him knowing. Another consequence (and one that is simultaneously amusing and disgusting) of his lack of socialization is that Tucker never really came into contact with female dogs. Enter our little hussy, Piper the pug. On several occasions now I have seen Piper laid out, on her back, like Miss September and Tucker enthusiastically ‘cleaning’ her. That is all I will say on the subject.

Kirby

Kirby

Kirby is our next oldest dog. He is 10 and he also came from ARF. Kirby was painfully shy when he came to us as a foster dog. He had this unique ability to blend in with his surroundings and stay perfectly still making it very difficult to find him. Although, who, in their right minds, takes a brand new dog to the park and lets him offleash? Well, we did. It was dumb. It took us a long time to find him that first day and he was right by us. Kirby was so timid he was almost euthanized at the vet’s office where he was dumped. He was saved by a very eager and talented vet student who had done his neuter. She could not handle the fact that he was about to be put down and she contacted ARF. It was clear immediately, to Deb anyway, that he was not going anywhere once he had arrived. Almost 10 years later and he is a treasured member of our family.

Mackenzie smiling.

Mackenzie smiling.

Mackenzie is about 8 years old and she has lived with us for all but about 4 months of her life. She started her life being tied up in a yard and left to the elements and the loud noises. This has affected her greatly. She is very scared by thunder storms and fireworks have made her seizure from anxiety. She was also kicked to maker her aggressive and into a watch dog. They succeeded on the aggressive part for sure. She was human aggressive when we got her and has remained dog aggressive. Mackenzie has been the focus of a great deal of soul searching and agonizing about quality of life. She lives in a multi-dog household and this means that she must be separated from everyone else as her aggression, while predictable, is severe. Mackenzie spends a lot of her time in Deb’s office. She gets lots of exercise and for the most part seems to have a good quality of life.

What is clear from our seniors is that there are real and palpable consequences to how dogs are treated. Dogs who spend their lives on the ends of ropes or chains outside become fearful and unpredictable. Dogs are pack animals and need to be with their people. They are social animals who need to learn to the cues from both other dogs and humans if they are to navigate their way in society successfully. Having the pleasure of having a dog in your life comes with serious responsibility. Dogs can be expected to live between 10 and 20 years and if you are getting a dog you need to be aware. Dogs require good quality food and regular vet care. Please if you are thinking of getting a dog make sure that you do your research into breed characteristics and learn something about training. Many dogs lose their homes because their people did not research the breed adequately. If you get a Border Collie you need to know that have to work or they will become destructive. Pugs were bred to be companion dogs – they need to be with their people. Northern breeds have high prey drive. While not all dogs of all breeds will display all of the breed characteristics it is good to at least be aware of the potential. One last request, if you are thinking of getting a dog please check out your local shelters, rescues and pounds. Please don’t support a puppy mill.

Edited to add: I just saw this post from Turtle Gardens with some more discussion about consequences for dogs brought on by human failures. Excellent post.

The Inmates have taken over the Asylum: The Littlest One

Molly, a former SAINT, is our littlest, slightly crazy, neurologically screwed up purebred Pomeranian. She has had more than a few strokes and she kind of walks like a question mark and does everything to the right. She is a fierce protector of my office and she will ‘shark attack’ any four-legged creature who comes near my office door or her food. She especially has it in for the cat. I am not sure why given that Molly weighs 5 pounds and the cat – 25 pounds.

Bella on a hot day

Bella on a hot day

Molly

Molly

Just a little size differential! But the truth is everyone here thinks she is crazy and Molly uses it to her advantage. Even the 130 pound Newfoundland Dog, Kiefer, is a little wary of her. What none of them know is that Molly has not teeth. We promised her we wouldn’t tell them!

For a dog her size Molly has so much chutzpah it is unreal. When she first came here and was recovering from having all of her teeth removed we fed her wet commercial dog food. Within a couple of weeks though we kept catching her with raw food – chicken legs, pork bones, beef etc. She was stealing it from whoever she could get it from but mostly Clio. So we decided to start giving Molly raw. The only problem is that because she can’t chew the bone she can’t get all the value and nutrients of bone so we do have to supplement with ground bone for her. For a dog who has no teeth I have never seen anything quite like how she is able to strip a raw chicken leg in under 10 minutes. Here is the evidence”

Molly with her two chicken legs

Molly with her two chicken legs

About 20 minutes later here is what is left:

What is left...

What is left...

Molly is perhaps one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met. She gives herself, wholly and completely to those she loves. Sometimes, when we are outside, we will play this little game where she runs away from me. I admonish her to come back and she looks at me, turns on her little feet, and spins a little further away. I call her again in a happy voice and clap my hands. She comes running and I bend down and put my hands out and she jumps into my arms. It is so very sweet. She loves to be held, but only a certain way to accommodate for her neurological issues, cuddled and stroked.

Perhaps her biggest claim to fame is her pilates and yoga routine. When Molly wants attention she will stretch her backlegs out very purposefully, one at a time. Then she will engage in some yoga poses that we have named ‘downward dog and ‘the frog.’ It has been very difficult to get pictures of her doing this but I think we successfully got some video. Check out Molly’s YouTube Video:

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 12:36 am  Comments (7)  

The Inmates have Taken Over the Asylum (part 1)!!

Right off the start I will preface this post by saying I know that I am slightly mad. Living in a house, willingly, with 10 dogs indicates a certain level of craziness. But in my defence I think our dogs are a little over the top when it comes to service expectations of the lowly humans who inhabit this house. So, let’s take them, one by one, and you can see what I mean.

Piper:

Piper on the table

Piper on the table

Piper has a serious sense of entitlement – evidenced by her feet being firmly planted on the dining room table. Now, I did not teach her this (Deb did) but I must admit to being weak when it comes to getting her to not put her feet on the table. We try and impose some discipline when we have company but you know it is a little too late by that time. Of course it would also help if she were not allowed to lick plates off of the table – but I digress. The pug is cute and she knows she is cute and she pretty much gets what she wants. Oh, she is also a hedonist. I actually witnessed her laying on her back, not less than a foot from my feet, while Tucker ‘cleaned’ her the other day. I am sure this went on for at least a full five minutes. The whole time her little eyes were closed and when she did open them a bit all I saw was the whites as they were rolled back into her head! I finally had to suggest that they get a room – preferably one that I was not in.

Kiefer:

Keifer

Keifer

Is gorgeous! But man what a pain in the ass. In fact, I think he has the market cornered on being a pain. Keif lives to bark. He barks when he is happy, when he is not, when he wants out and when he wants back in two minutes later. He always likes to be somewhere other than where you are and then he will bark assuming that you will come running to do his bidding. When he gets up in the morning he greets the day with a bark. Then 1/2 an hour later he is hungry and, wait for it, he barks. Then he gets to eat then he starts barking because he is done and wants out of his crate. He really is like little Lord Fauntleroy.

He loves Sienna and lives to get her by the collar and not let her go. It is so bad that Sienna cannot have a collar on if she is going to play with Keifer in the back yard. He and Sienna really seem to have a solid bond and they too, sometimes, should just get a room.

Well that is it for this installment of “The Inmates have Taken Over the Asylum!

Published in: on August 5, 2008 at 11:54 pm  Comments (2)