Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Not-So-Happy Feet

Last fall, we took the puppers on a hike to a gorgeous mountain lake.  The trail was busy with people and their dogs that day.  On our way up, we passed a couple of girls with a large golden retriever that had torn his pads walking on the rough rocks.  We checked our packs for vet wrap, but realized that we had used it all up when our spaz dog tore her toenail off a few months earlier.  Note to self:  reload pet first aid.

Do you like my highlights?
We made it to the lake and I decided to hang back with Happy while my Sweetpea took the other two dogs to play in the snow on the other side.  Watermelon snow.  Sky returned looking like she had been attacked by an orange highlighter.  She can't resist rolling and sliding down the snow, no matter how little snow there is.  Happy didn't go because the trail to the snow was rocky and I wasn't sure she could safely navigate the rough path.  The rest of the hike should be easy though - it was mostly downhill back to the car.

When the furmily was reunited, we started back down the trail.  Happy seemed to be slowing down.  My Sweetpea commented that she would probably get a second wind if she saw a deer she wanted to chase.  We had just reached the scree field, where the trail is cut into the side of the mountain.  An adorable pika popped up from the rocks and let out a loud squeak.  That was all Happy needed.  Second wind had arrived and she took off after the pika.  Her bumbling feet started sliding down the loose rocks.  Then, she started tumbling down - rolling on her side as she bounced off the rocks for 50 to 100 feet down the mountain.
The last picture I took, as we reached the scree field
Needless to say, I was a total wreck.  Sweetpea and I went down the mountain after her, while some other hikers held on to Jack and Sky's leashes on the trail.  Happy's front pads had been completely scraped off, but nothing seemed to be broken.  We hoisted her back up to the trail a few inches at a time.  Since we already knew that we were out of vet wrap, we had to improvise.  Her feet were bandaged up with gauze, my socks, and medical tape.

With the combination of wet trail, poor bandaging, and hurting feet, we didn't make it very far.  We tried to make a sling out of our rain pants to assist Happy, but the trail wasn't really wide enough to make that work.  She laid down on the trail and rolled onto her back, signaling that she was done.  Out of options and still 2 1/2 miles and 1500' of elevation from the parking lot, there was only one solution.  We took turns carrying her 70 pounds of dead weight on our shoulders.

Three days later, Happy (thought she) was ready to hike again.  I think she recovered faster than Sweetpea and I did.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Yesterday, Jack's other family sent birthday greetings for him.  We don't really know when his birthday is, but that was the day that they adopted him eight years ago.  He is now somewhere between 13 and 16 years young.  They still love him and he will always be part of their family, too.

Back in November, we celebrated our one year anniversary with Jack (Jack-iversary?).  In fact, we ended up taking him on almost the exact same hike as we did one year earlier.  Back then, he had only been in Colorado for a few hours after a late-night drive from Oklahoma.  He didn't know what hiking was.  Now, he is a pro.  He and his sister, Sky, inspect my clothes and shoes as I get dressed each morning to see if it is going to be a hiking day.  If they decide that it is, then we had better not try to sneak out of the house without them.  With a hiking buddy this adorable, why would we?

Jack's first day:

One year later:
I think we'll keep him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy (Weekly) Birthday!

You know that your dog is old when you throw a little party every week, just because he made it another week.  Time to refill the pill dispenser!  "Operation Spoil the Shit Out of Andy" has gone into extra innings.  We did have to increase his dose of kitten food, though.  Small price to pay for this fuzzy muppet.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Treated With Love

For the holidays, "Grandma" sent a big box to our home.  There were loads of toys for the dogs and cats, presents for my Sweetpea and me, and a plethora of homemade goodies.  Included was a note aimed specifically at some mischievous pups:

If you remember from the year before, said pups helped themselves to the people treats, then assaulted us with bodily functions for several days.

Now, "Grandma" is extremely generous to us and the furkids, and even admitted that she would have made treats for them, but ran out of time.  To reward them for not eating the people treats this holiday season, I decided to make them some homemade treats of their own.  Afterall, doesn't everyone want to be popular in their own home?  A little effort goes a long way with these dogs.  My Sweetpea totally brought me back down to earth when he reminded me that our babies don't exactly have a refined palate.

Whatever.  They liked the treats.  I'll take that as a compliment to the chef.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rug Rats

As soon as we stepped foot in our new house, we immediately began ripping out the carpet.  If you've ever done this, you totally understand how disgusting carpet really is.  Yes, you can see the pet hair on our hardwood floors all of the time, but I'd rather see it than hide it.  Plus, we didn't want to constantly be cleaning carpets when the dogs tracked in mud - or worse.

Fast-forward three years, and we have some aging dogs that sometimes have difficulty getting (or staying) on their feet on those same hardwood floors.  We have been solving that problem, one area at a time.  First, it was a welcome mat (with dog bones, of course) next to the couch to assist traction when the "running" start failed to boost Andy as much as he expected.  Instead of having his back legs end up underneath him (and the couch), he was able to stay on his feet and make a second attempt.  Next, it was a large outdoor rug in the middle of the living room to help Andy get on his feet when he wakes from his nap on his bed.

Now, we have added another rug in the bedroom for the same reason, a mat by his food bowl so his hobbit feet don't slide out from under him as he eats, a runway of rubber mats and bathmats from the rug in the bedroom to the back door, and another mat behind his bed in the living room for when his back end slides off.  My Sweetpea had already built a ramp off the back door, which also has welcome mats screwed to it for traction.

Our house is starting to look like a remnants sale at a carpet and flooring store.  If our visitors don't like it, I'll happily pull the welcome mat out from under their feet and find a more suitable spot inside for the old dogs.  Problem solved!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pup Tent

On a recent hike with two of our four dogs, we decided that it would be fun to take all of them on a camping trip.  This is something that we've never been able to do, mostly because camping also usually involves hiking.  Not all four dogs are physically able to hike anymore - especially Andy.  Our walks in the neighborhood are limited to going a few houses down the street and turning around.
A plan was hatched.  We would camp close to home.  REALLY close to home - in our backyard.  We got home too late that night to set up the tent, since there needed to be a thorough poop pick-up first, and it was already dark.

The next afternoon, the tent went up and was filled with a queen-sized air mattress and multiple dog beds.  We left the flap open for the dogs to come and go as they pleased.  The firepit was lit and we all shared s'mores after sunset.  (Now that I think about it, the graham crackers could have contributed to the increased dog flatulence.)

As we settled in to the tent that night, Andy decided that his massive couch-sized dog bed - complete with doggy sleeping bag on top - wasn't good enough.  He immediately climbed up on the air mattress at our feet.  I tucked the sleeping bag around him and he was cozy all night.  My Sweetpea's feet were his pillow, while my own feet had to hang off the mattress or be curled up so as not to disturb Andy.  It reminded us of the old days when Andy could still jump up on the bed.  I think we should camp in the backyard more often.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Campin' Jack

Packed Jack
Back in April, we took Jack on what was probably his first camping trip ever.  For this special occasion, we chose Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It is one of the only national parks that allows dogs in places other than your car or the campground.

We chose this particular weekend because of the full moon.  What we forgot to check was the weather - specifically, the wind.  Jack could have used some doggles, for sure.  When the wind really whipped up, I would scoop Jack up and try to shield him from the sandblasting as much as I could.  Good thing that he totally loves to be cuddled like a little baby.

April nights at the dunes are still a bit nippy.  We brought a doggy camping bed for Jack and some blankets, but he refused to stay in his bed.  Eventually, I would give up and just tuck him under my blankets with me.  It didn't help that his sister, Sky, was with us and isn't a fan of being anywhere but her house after dark.  By the last night, both pups (and people) were so exhausted that we all slept soundly.

While we were in the area, Jack and Sky got to meet some other animals.  There is a local alligator tourist trap (not recommended) where dogs are welcome.  The gators didn't deter the puppies at all, but Jack was terrified of their giant tortoise.  Well, it WAS bigger than him, so can you blame him?

Stay tuned for another doggy camping adventure - this time with ALL of our pups!
Pretend that you see leashes