Friday, February 3, 2012

Please Keep Your Cats At Home

This is my neighbor's cat, sitting on top of the privacy fence watching my bird feeder.  He's thinking about hopping down off the fence and stalking birds.  We haven't seen him in the yard as much recently, hopefully because the neighbor is keeping him indoors, or only letting him out in their yard with supervision.  I've warned them that if the dogs catch him in the yard, I am not responsible for what happens to him.  Ron has already rescued him from the dogs, hurting his knee in the process.  Josie ended up with a slash on her nose and the cat lost some hair in the process.
This is Josie watching the cat.  She's quite sure that one of these days she will catch him in the yard.  He's no different than a rabbit or squirrel to her.  A small furry critter that she would like to catch.  Many breeds have strong prey drive, and even though they may live peacefully with cats, any strange cat hunting in their yard is fair game.  There are no dogs running loose in the neighborhood, but for some reason cat owners seem to think they are exempt from the law.   I've noticed fewer roaming cats for the past few months, so perhaps the coyotes are moving in and picking them off. We had what appeared to be a sizeable free-roaming cat population here.  Go Coyotes!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Bit Of Variety

This promises to be a very busy day, but at least I'll only be working half a day.  Well actually I'll be "working" all day, but only in the office for half the day.  The rest of it does not seem like work!  And it will be a nice change of pace, with a variety of projects.

First chore of the day was to use the cheek swab kits on Coral & Argus, to be sure they are free of Degenerative Myelopathy.  The diagnosis based on the DNA results will be clear, carrier or affected.  I expect them to be clear, but I do think that it's important the breeders take advantage of all new health testing to be sure they are aware of any issues.  The test kits are very simple and easy to use, and the dogs merely thought I had gone crazy when I rubbed the swab on the insides of their cheeks for 10 seconds!

When Argus went outside I took along a container and did a first catch urine sample.  So much easier to do with boys than girls.  Tough to slide a pie pan under a girl, but boys don't seem to mind a hand and a cup between them and the object they are peeing on, in this case the back fence.  Argus gets blood work done at least once a year as it can show many potential health issues while they are still manageable, but he had that done in December.  Things like kidney and liver issues will result in elevated results.  The urinalysis will look for crystals, signs of infection and test the specific gravity for any indication of kidney issues.  We no longer do yearly vaccinations, but the dogs all get to the vet at least once a year for blood work, particularly since three of them are seniors.

After I drop off the urine sample, Argus and I head off to Inver Grove Height Animal Hospital for a semen freeze - in case we want Argus Pupcycles long after he is no longer at stud!  Because we will also be doing a chilled semen breeding next week, it's a chance to be sure he still has an abundance of healthy sperm.  Argus likes to visit Mary-with-the-magic-fingers and knows what he is there for.

After I drop Argus off at home I'll head to the office, but before doing that I'll move the cooler and sodas into the back of the van and pick up some ice so they'll be cold for the fish club meeting tonight. 

Gone To The Dogs or Something's Fishy.  Always.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gone To The Dogs

Gonna be a crazy animal-oriented week here!  Argus and I went to obedience at the regular place last night and will be tested (for class placement) tonight at the school I want to attend.  Am not happy with the out-dated training methods and the one-size-fits-all mentality at our current school, and I want to do more positive training.  Argus could probably qualify for the competition class, but I want to do one of the earlier classes where we work more on basics.  Be interesting to see how this goes.

Have a Thursday appointment to do a semen freeze, banking a bit more of Argus's assets.  So wish I had done this with Rob years ago.  I'd love to have another Rob litter . . .   I want enough from Argus to do about a dozen litters.  It may never get used, but if I don't do this now I am sure I'll regret it.  No need for any more than that, but I do think he's a good enough stud dog to possibly be of some value in the future.

We'll be visiting Mary-with-the-magic fingers again later in the week as Argus has a wife-to-be this week too.   Seems as if no one ships bitches anymore, as the airlines have made it so darned expensive.  This will be another collect and ship.  It's a lot easier to drive him to the Repro Vets than it is to entertain a visiting lady for a week, but I kinda miss getting to know them.  This girl has a lot of Paisley in her pedigree, including several shots of Rob and Morris too.  Of course she has all her health testing and her CHIC number too.  I'm opting for a puppy rather than a stud fee.

On Thursday night we have a fish club meeting, and in my new position as hospitality chair I have to pack up a cooler full of soda and a box of assorted snacks.  We'll go heavy on the diet soda and I need to find some healthier snacks to add to our assortment.  Many of our club members could do a better job of eating healthy so I'll probably have to grit my teeth as people who shouldn't, will be buying the high calorie treats.   Feel as if I am selling out!  Repeat as often as necessary, "I am NOT their mother.  I am NOT their mother."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Of Course They Are Lapdogs

I've been going through old pictures recently, since I want to post them to Facebook for the new feature called Timeline.  Ron took this picture of Ch. "Morris" CD sitting on my lap, perhaps 15 years ago.  Mo was breeder-owner-handled by us to a wonderful show record, one that still stands, and one that Argus was not able to beat.  Mo loved to sit on my lap, but always managed to dig an elbow into my chest.

Mo was a very mild-mannered easy going dog, a good show dog and trustworthy companion.  He lived to be 14 1/2 and is from the wonderful combination of Ch. "Rob" CD and Ch. "Eloise".  His pedigree combines all the best Paisley dogs of the past.  His 14 year old Granddaughter Coral still shares my home.

Spent a very fishy weekend, doing the fish club auction on Saturday, and redoing several large tanks on Sunday, but I also squeezed in a visit to the Dog Park with Argus, a long off leash run for Letty as well as a pet store visit, and dinner with my mother.

An early morning call from Meg to let me know the Bennett/Crystal pups are looking good at one week of age.  Three boys, two of them liver, three girls including one liver.  The black boy got off to a slow start, but is holding his own.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Raw Feeding CAN Be Easy

As I was fixing breakfast for the dogs this morning, it occurred to me why I didn't start raw feeding sooner.  I "dabbled" in it long before I actually switched all the dogs.  It was because the only list that I could find (was it called Wellpet?) was so militant about what should and should not be fed to dogs. As I started reading and researching, and after I finally got through Billinghurst's "Give Your Dog A Bone" - good information, but oh so badly edited and poorly organized - I got brave enough to try it.  I was fortunate to also find several good mentors - it really helps to have a mentor when you switch to raw.   Hard to believe it was so long ago!

My personal feeling is that dogs were not really carnivores, but are actually opportunist scavengers - they ate what was available at the time. They could catch and kill small animals, and perhaps bring down larger ones if they ran in a pack, but they also ate what they could find.   Dead things most likely, the leftovers from someone elses kills, eggs if they happened upon them, over-ripe seasonal fruits perhaps, and maybe even succulent greens. Living in the wild was tough, and fresh meat was not always available, even to the largest & strongest & fastest predators.

I've always tried to remember Billinghurst's advice - to feed a variety of fresh healthy foods, and balance over time. Feeding dogs is not rocket science any more than feeding children is. Let's observe our dogs carefully, see what works best for each of them, and be relaxed about this.

The breakfast shown above is ground turkey, cooked vegetables, some canned green tripe and a raw egg.  The salmon oil doesn't show.  The veggies change from day to day, tripe is fed only occasionally but the meal might include a big spoonful of canned duck or mackerel  instead.  Eggs are fed most morning.  The evening meal with be chicken necks or back, turkey necks, occasionally some other bony meaty piece.