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paper dogs

This site features the poetry and photography of Shari A. Mann. I found “Motivation” particulary moving…I guess it really hits home because of Lilly’s current state of declining health. Also “For Maddie” is very powerfully written; again, having had a dog many years ago with ‘rage’ myself, it really strikes a chord with me. The pictures on the site are great, too.

A companion for Mojo?

When we first got Mojo, we had been discussing for some time getting two dogs; we each wanted a dog that we could work with in obedience, etc. and we also wanted the dogs to have each other for company. We knew Lilly wasn’t going to be around for much longer; Lindsy is getting up there in years too, and is very set in her ways. The problem with adding a single new dog was that neither of the current dogs would be very good company; Lindsy is very aloof and does not play at all–at most she will tolerate the company of another dog but not interact with them, and Lilly is of course no longer able to really have much to do with anyone, she’s too frail and her mind is too far gone. So we discussed at length the various strategies we could have for introducing a new dog or dogs. In the end we decided that trying to raise two puppies at once would be too much, so perhaps we’d start with one, get them settled, and then get another. Part of this plan was to start looking for a house with a nicer yard once the lease is up, and we didn’t really plan on getting anyone new right away… then unexpectedly, along came Mojo.

Mojo’s upbringing with other animals made him a good match for our household but we didn’t anticipate that it would also be a problem for him. He is used to playing and interacting with other dogs and spends a good deal of time trying to do so with our older dogs. Lilly, as I mentioned, is totally ‘out of it’ at this point. Lindsy mostly growls at him and avoids him in the house, then outside sends “mixed signals” in that she will try to play to a point, but then gets mad at him for playing back. She is a very strange dog, originally a shelter dog, and has never played with other dogs even when she was younger — we aren’t sure she even knows how. To try and play with Mojo is a monumental accomplishment for her, but just serves to confuse him because she initiates play, and then rebuffs him for responding. The other day we were outside with all the animals and it broke our hearts to see him very carefully and politely (for Mojo ‘politely’ is quite an effort!) lay down close to where the two girls were snoozing, only to have them both immediately get up and leave.

So we’ve been discussing getting him a companion, who would also be Joy’s dog to work with in obedience and possibly agility (this is what we plan on doing with Mojo). Right now we have Lindsy in beginner class with Mojo but with her age and an old shoulder injury we really can’t go any further with her once that class is over. Another factor here is that Mojo is unfortunately showing signs of being a ‘spinner’ (spinning is obsessive-compulsive tail chasing, a fairly common problem in his breed) and we were hoping it would help reduce his stress level to have an outlet for his urge to play and cuddle with other dogs. Along this train of thought, we’d also discussed doggie daycare for him but just don’t feel comfortable entrusting his safety to strangers.

The list of reasons not to get another dog is about as big as the list of reasons to get one. It’s a huge decision, and it’s not like we can change our minds once committed. Are we ready to turn the household upside down once more, to have to go through housebreaking again now that Mojo is finally reliable, to add another mouth to feed? To add another family member that will (with our typical bad luck) contribute his or her own unique set of health problems to be managed? And how do we go about finding the right dog — one who will fulfill what Joy wants in a dog, but also what Mojo needs in a playmate? What if the additional excitement makes Mojo’s obsessive compulsive problem worse instead of helping it?

:::sigh::: The contemplation continues… we just want to make absolutely sure we make the right decision.

Our Nocturnal visitor

Ok, so there hasn’t been a good night’s sleep to be had in this house in over a week now. Some of that is because of Mojo’s diarrhea, but a lot of it is because Lindsy kept going off in the middle of the night for what seemed like no reason. There’s nothing like being woken up out of a sound sleep by a large dog going crazy through the house like someone is breaking in. If we got up and checked we’d never see anything, but in the morning she would be all over the yard, sniffing at the fence in particular.

The other night I let the dogs out fairly late — this was when Mojo was still having his problems — and Lindsy went around the side of the house where the porchlight doesn’t reach and then proceeded to start barking ferociously. I certainly wasn’t going to follow her when I couldn’t even see her, let alone whatever she was barking at. I called into the house for Joy to bring a flashlight. Here’s what we saw:

possum_tree.jpg He was on the fencetop just sitting there looking at us, but then crawled into the tree because Lindsy was still barking at him. At least now we know what she has been barking at. We’re keeping all the blinds and windows closed at night now so she can’t see out and spot him, though I am tempted to leave a cat-food trail to the neighbor at the corner’s yard. Let her dog wake her up all night barking, as payback for her bringing the yappy little monster to our yard every morning to take a dump, and then not picking it up.

BTW, I saw the opossum again early this morning, he was on the fence holding very still trying to be invisible, and his tail was hanging down. I couldn’t resist — I had to touch it lightly just to see what it felt like. It was like a big rat tail, and the possum looked offended and then scuttled away along the fence. There are more pictures of him on our at the Critterweb on the Critters page.

Luna back from the vet’s

Well, it looks like the lump on Luna’s neck is what we suspected it was, an abscess. The vet aspirated some of the fluid from it and checked it, gave her an antibiotic shot and a cortisone shot, and sent her home with antibiotics. The cortisone was because she is itchy again; but no sign of mites this time so he thinks she has allergies. Guess she can join the club with just about everyone else in the house on that.

The bill came to $101 and coming on the heels of Mojo’s $107 bill from this past Tuesday that pretty much leaves me flat broke until payday. Oh well, you have to expect things like this when you have a bunch of animals…at least she didn’t need surgery, and the lump isn’t a tumor.

Lilly and Lindsy have a weigh-in

This morning I dropped Luna off at the vet to have a lump on her neck checked (it looks like an abscess but I am still waiting to hear back from the vet) and brought Lilly and Lindsy along for the car ride. Actually, there was an ulterior motive there — I wanted to weigh them both on the vet’s scale as they are looking a bit on the chunky side lately, especially Lilly.

Lindsy weighs 66.7 pounds. That’s not too bad; she definitely needs to lose a few pounds but is at least not up to her all-time high of 73 pounds. Lilly, on the other hand, has bloated up to 52.8 pounds, much to my surprise! A good weight for her is somewhere around 45… when she was really doing poorly she’s been as low as 41 but I have not seen her weight up this high since maybe about seven years ago, when she was on really high-dose Prednisone for her skin and I was free-feeding her.

The solution for Lindsy is fairly straightforward: ‘stop feeding her so damn much’ but as for Lilly, I’m trying to weigh (uh, no pun intended…) what to do about this. The extra weight isn’t good for her joints or her organs, but eating is the one last joy in life she has left. At 13 1/2 years old with her health issues, she probably doesn’t have a great deal of time left, and I want her to be happy for however long she has. Also, with her stomach issues, if we cut her food too much she will start vomiting again. Joy and I will have to talk and see if we can come up with some sort of compromise for her — a way to keep her content without hastening her demise, so to speak…