Doggin’ It!

I do not try to disappoint
Or mean to disobey
There is no reason you’d suspect
I’d go another way
For we are born to what we are
With choices we must make
I see no point in taking sides
I see no sides to take

~John McCutcheon’s Bird Dog

‘Could I possibly meet Jack,’ I said.  ‘We could come on Sunday, ‘ I said.

…Jack has been with us ever since that day.  He was impossible not to love.

You see, our senior girl, Lady-Jane passed away about ten months ago and her passing was heart-breaking as she became quite ill with an awful infected lump on her haunch – after never being sick a day in her life….

Well, we now have a new pup and heading, head first into another decade and a half of fur-face lovin’.  This guy’s name is ‘Jack’.  He is hilarious and goofy and very loving and, yes, even chill, at times.

Jack was listed on Kijiji, the same way we adopted Lady-Jane, actually.  Unbeknownst to my friends, I had been perusing the Kijiji re-homing ads for several months.  This time I wanted a goof-ball dog.  No more of this big pointy ears and pointy wolfish snout.  Lady was a fabulous girl, (as were Delta and Grizzly before her) but, almost daily she scared the bejeezus out of people and other dogs.  She was just so ‘ON’ it protection wise.

Jack, on the other hand, has had Acadia U. students at my door to just pet him for a minute.  Folks have said things like, ‘Thanks, I needed that!’ after running their hands through his puppy fur and, burying their face in his fur and smelling his puppy smell.  Other friends have received the exuberance of a four foot high jump, so excited was Jack to meet them!

Jack is a black standard golden-doodle who was being trained to be a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) service dog.  Unfortunately for the PTSD folks, he failed his trials.  ‘Too bouncy’ was the verdict.  So after being with the breeder in Montreal for four months, he then went to the trainer for two months in Halifax.  Now he is with us in Wolfville.

We have loved him since the moment we met him. He comes to my office with me and is settling in very nicely.  Here’s a picture of him on the couch (no other dogs have been allowed on the couch), splayed out in the reverse flying frog posture – letting it all hang out – throwing caution to the wind.  Just so chill.  I felt very pleased to see this.  He is AT HOME and he knows it.  He is with us for his fur-ever.

It is wonderful to have a fur-head again.  He has brought much joy.  One young student, while petting Jack at my office door said, ‘Dog’s are here to love us, you know’. Wow.  Isn’t that the truth.

can hat marti

He has gone for the snip.  He thought he was going to the ‘tutor’.  Turns out, he was going for the ‘neuter’! He was very very tired afterward and then it was ‘the cone of shame’ for a few days.  All went well and now he is back to being his goofy self, lying beside my chair awaiting his next soft hand, or treat or walk.

By the way, Jack has his own Instagram account.  He’s pretty funny: @jackthewolfvilledoodle check him out!

(All photos are mine).

The Case of the Shit-Breath

A Magnum P.E.I Mystery

Lady Jane was our black shepherd mixed-breed dog that we rescued when she was ten-months old thanks to an ad that Dean saw on Kijiji (which is like ‘Craig’s List’).  He fell in love with her picture instantly and asked me could we go see her.  By then, our two big Northern dogs had passed away, each in their thirteenth year and buried in our back yard with collars hanging from an overhanging limb.  They had been good dogs but, sadly, their day was done.

Normally I would have jumped at getting a new dog but at that time, I was feeling pretty over-worked with the house, the yard, the business and the various students we would take in for months at a time.

I would hear other moms saying that the dog care always came down to them.  That’s how I perceived it.  It was me who worried about them.  Me who made sure they were walked, or who got after Leo or Dean to walk them.  They had been a lot of work that I felt relieved to be rid of.  However, the look on Dean’s face after seeing the picture of that black tapered snout and high, pointy ears.  Well, I could not disappoint. (That’s how he used to look at me, I realized).  I told him I would go see the dog but, ‘no promises,’ I said.

Lady Jane on hike
Go?  Let’s Go.  D’wanna Go?

She was gorgeous.  Dean couldn’t stop patting her and saying sweet nothings in her direction.  I said we needed to give it a tiny bit of thought.  What I actually wanted was Dean to promise to take a more active interest in her.

So the sales pitch began by Dean: ‘I promise I’ll do it ALL for this one!’ he pleaded.

Next we went to the Farmer’s Market and met up with a friend from across town.  Dean told Wayne all about the dog we had just looked at.  Wayne wondered what there was to think about.  I chimed in that having a dog again could be rather inconvenient.  Wayne says, without skipping a beat:

‘The best things in life are inconvenient.’

We looked at him.  We nodded.  We turned and went to get our new dog.  That was nine years ago.

Lady Jane, 2 years old
Lady Jane, 2 years old

Besides running off several times as an adolescent, sometimes being nasty when meeting other dogs while on leash, and an awful patch of killing chickens that nearly cost me a dear friend, she has been the best dog ever.  She has never been sick.  She rarely makes a mess.  She doesn’t steal food.  She doesn’t chew and she doesn’t over bark.  Get this: she bites her nails.  We have NEVER cut her nails, and they are fine.  Of an evening, we will hear her surreptitiously biting them while laying on her mat.

But lately…there had been this mystery of the shit-breath that we could not figure out.  And when I say shit-breath, well, that’s an understatement.  I would have to roll all the windows down if it happened while out in the car and spray lavender water at her.  And it would seemingly come from nowhere.

I decided to take a good look in her mouth.  Perhaps it was an abscess?  What I thought I saw in there, and it wasn’t easy to keep Lady’s jaws wide open, was a broken top molar-type tooth at the back.

Off to the vet we go and wow, were we impressed with this vet who was as high-energy as a boarder collie.  She got right down on the floor with Lady and really checked her out well, while asking us various questions.  She told us that Lady was in fabulous shape.  Great teeth.  Good pulse.  Good eyes – no cataracts.  She asked us what we fed her.  Our answer: kibble and plenty of table scraps like meat, potato, cheese, carrots.  Fresh water with a bit of organic apple cider vinegar (which instantly pretty much cured some piddling that was occurring after a run).  She asked about vaccinations.  We don’t do them, we said.  We do get her seasonal tick and flea treatment though.  (The thought of a dog being crazed by itchiness saddens me).

Then she asked about when the shit-breath occurs, because at that moment, it wasn’t there.  We said it’s odd.  It just happens seemingly out of the blue and lasts for a few hours.

‘Ahh’, she said.

‘Ahh?’  we asked.

‘Has she ever had trouble with blocked anal glands?’

‘Yes.  We would sometimes see her scooting.’  And I knew from reading James Herriot in my teens, that scooting was a sign of blocked anal glands and that what would come next would be REALLY gross.  And, by the way, what the hell are anal glands good for?

The vet took a look (with gloves on) and sure enough.  Blocked anal glands.  She explained that Lady would be licking at them to release the blockage.  At this point we almost hurled, but, held it together while the Vet squeezed them for a few minutes to drain them…I’m almost sick as I write this.

Mounds of grey gunk came out on her paper towel.  She showed it to me while I turned green.

‘Lady should be fine now.’

Lady?  I’m pretty sure she meant we.  We should be fine now.

Mystery solved.

I know I'm pretty. Ho Hum
Don’t hate me for being beautiful