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How Living With A Pointer Is Like Living With A 2 Year Old

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I present, the POINTER

I present, the POINTER

1. You do things for “their own good”, but they cannot comprehend that.

2. They cover their eyes when you turn on a light while they are sleeping.

3. They snore.

4. They pee on the floor if not wearing a diaper.

5. They have selective hearing, and sometimes choose to ignore you.

6. They have no regard for their personal safety.

I present, the toddler

I present, the toddler

7. Don’t understand how lucky they are to be alive.

8. Both don’t realize that whining about something only makes you angrier and makes you want to withhold the desired item more.

9. Both will be entertained by walking through my bathroom with the two doors while I am using it. Over and over again.

10. Both respond to treats.

11. Both have NO patience.

Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime

Reincarnation Is For The Dogs

I didn’t think I believed in reincarnation until I got my two dogs. Now I am pretty sure it does exist.

Hear me out.

Dave's knowing eyes.  And wanting me to scratch her butt.

Dave’s knowing eyes. And wanting me to scratch her butt.

I feel very certain that Dave, my Lab/Chow has a lot more going on behind those eyes and in that brain of her’s than just normal doggy thoughts. Dave is planning, studying, and memorizing our constantly changing schedules. When the German Shorthair Pointer Parker has to go outside, Dave might say, “Oh no, I don’t have to go out.”* Which she usually, in good weather, will always go outside when Parker does, just to be nosy. When I come back inside with Parker, it is then very clear why Dave wanted to stay indoors–usually a food-related opportunity. She will have consumed food left on the coffee table (at perfect muzzle height) by my toddler, or found the dog food bag erroneously left open by a human distracted by the toddler.

Dave is an incredibly smart dog. For some reason, she always pees (multiple times!) when I take her to the pet store, but she has never peed indoors while visiting my mom’s apartment building, even though I know that the double sliding doors and elevator make her tuck her tail in fright.

Mommy's favorite

Mommy’s favorite

She knows just how to sneak up on the bed so that you never realize she is there (until you try to roll over). She can be very stealth for a 60 pound dog.

For all these reasons and more, I truly believe that Dave has been a dog many times over. I believe her next go around, she will be a human. A very naughty human, but a human all the same.

Parker is a whole different story. He is a cat trapped in a dog’s body. I believe that he used to be a cat, and this is his first go-around as a dog. So he is still learning the ropes.

Parker and Dave don’t like each other. They tolerate each other, but they are not buddies. If they both didn’t have tails that wag and the ability to bark, I wouldn’t even think they they are the same species. Maybe that is why they are not friends, because Dave is more human than dog, and Parker is more cat than dog.

Parker is very demanding. If he doesn’t get his way, he uses his urine as his revenge, much like a cat would. He had even peed on my bed before.** (He almost lost his cushy, warm home over that one.)

He likes to escape and patrol the neighborhood like a feline would. When he gets tired, he stops at the nearest house and begs to go in, like a cat would. Except that he is not a cute, fuzzy kitten. He is a 55 pound hyper monster of muscle and legs. So, of course, we are soon called to go and pick him up. Some people are nice enough to even deliver. (Bless those people.) Parker has run away many, many times. He has taken a swim in the nearby lake and crossed the busiest road in the county by the dark of night. He came millimeters from ripping open the main artery in his leg on a metal fence post. I am sure he had nine lives, and is on his last one now.

What did I do to myself?!

What did I do to myself?!

He rubs himself on the corners of my bed, and on the edges of the carpeted stairs, just as a cat would. Oh sure, he does it under the guise of scratching his doggy ears, but I know the truth. He also gets VERY excited when he encounters a cat. He barks at them incessantly, as if to say, “Hey, it’s me! I’m a fellow cat. Let’s play!” The cats are not happy about that. A cat a block away once tried to attack him and scratched his nose. All Parker was doing was walking by ON A LEASH!

Parker wearing my son's pajamas, so that he will be "nice and comfy"

Parker wearing my son’s pajamas, so that he will be “nice and comfy”

He is a good snuggler. That may be his only redeeming quality. He is very warm, and can curl himself up into a very tight circle on the bed or the couch, despite his long, gangly legs. But, beware. Just like a cat, I have seen him sit on my husband’s head in the morning when he wants to get fed.

If we had trained him to be the bird dog he was bred for, I believe he would have been very good at it. Not because he is a GSP, but because his feline side would have taken over.

Dave and Parker are nothing like my asbestos friend’s dog, Joe. He is just a big dumb dog. He is friendly, loyal, and only has to go outside like twice a day. Joe is a dog you would see in a cartoon. Dave bosses Joe around like a human would. Parker bosses him around like a cat would. Poor Joe, canine through and through, probably wonders what the hell is wrong with those animals that look like dogs and smell like dogs, but sure do not act like dogs.

I wonder if I had them DNA tested, if it would detect any anomalies. Or a TSA scanner.

Dave already loves beer, and has very definitive tastes (not that she ever gets very much). Maybe I should just quit fighting it and treat them like their inner souls. Maybe I need to pick up some catnip for Parker at the store 😉

For more stories about Dave and Parker, please visit my People of Interest page.

* DAVE DOES NOT ACTUALLY TALK. Trust me, if she did, you would know about it. I would have her muzzle on every newscast and talk show across Northern America. (Hey Canadians! Love you and your hockey!)

** For a great recipe on how to get dog pee out of your matress, please visit: http://www.dogchatforum.com/dog-urine-removal-mattress.htm

A Determined Dog Cannot Be Fenced

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My asbestos friend always laughs at me because I bought a house with a fenced in backyard, yet we at my house wage a constant battle to keep our two dogs in the yard.

It really isn’t funny.

STOP LAUGHING!

We got Dave in 2004. I think the first time she escaped was during the first week we had her. I left both the front and back doors to the garage open. Whoops. E. The back door is within the fence, the front is not. So she just walked right on through, and sniffed her way three houses down. I caught up to Dave just at the same moment a lady popped out her back door and gave me a funny look. “Just getting my dog,” I explained. Apparently that lady is still mad about that, as she brought it up to my sister-in-law last summer: eight years later!

Fugitive #1

Fugitive #1 – Dave

The next time, my husband left one of our three gates open. It was garbage night, so Dave wandered across the street to sniff the neighbor’s garbage. My husband had to chase her in his socks. Luckily, in both these early Dave incidents, she had her nose to the ground and was traveling at a pace very conducive to recovery.

Dave was great until…she would see the dog next door outside. Over the fence she would go. Or a dog passing by on the sidewalk. Or two. Or three. (We live in the city, on a very busy corner.) A four foot high chain-link fence, a 60lb dog. But she would just scale it in no time. We had to start putting her on a lead when she was outside unsupervised. We learned real quick that the collars with the plastic, snap-together closure are not meant for tie-outs. Also, we learned to change the tie-outs annually, before they could break on their own. Both of these incidents ended with Dave in the neighbor’s yard. Once they put their dog back in the house, she would stand there like “Wait, how do I get back into MY yard now?” Apparently, climbing a fence requires the appropriate motivation.

I contemplated buying some of that fence topping stuff they use on high school baseball fields. You know, it looks like plastic drainage pipe for a field? (Sorry. Maybe you only know that if you live in rural Michigan.) I went as far as going to a lumberyard to price it, but the salesman pretty much laughed at me and discouraged me. I think it would have worked too, because it would have been too wide for Dave to wrap her legs around and get a grip. But, in the end, old age seems to have been the best deterrent for that behavior.

Now, when we moved in, our backyard was fenced in, as I mentioned earlier in this post. But the back door was not.

“What?” you ask…

The previous owners added on a laundry room past the back door, which I am forever grateful for. But this made the backyard gate NEXT to the backdoor, instead of within it. It wasn’t a problem with Dave. She would just run around the corner to the backyard, no problem. Parker, we would hold on to his collar as he went around into the yard. Parker is a German Shorthaired Pointer and a real flight risk. Sometimes the gate still got left open and the dogs escaped.

Fugitive #2

Fugitive #2 – Parker

Well, just Parker.

If Parker got past the five nearest houses, it was impossible to catch him. Usually we had to wait for him to quit running, and stop at someone’s house. (I am sure he was looking for a couch to lay on.) The good samaritan would call us, and we would go pick him up. One time some high school kids found him and brought him back to our house. It was a cold, freezing rain night (that is when he chooses to run away 95% of the time). He was curled up in the backseat of their warm car and didn’t want to get out and go in the house. I could have strangled him. One time a couple brought him back, and he smelled like the woman’s perfume. He must have rubbed himself ALL OVER that poor woman to smell that strongly.

The only time we ever found Parker on our own once he left the immediate vicinity, he was running down the sidewalk. We followed him in the car. We clocked him doing 18mph. As my husband said, that was just “cruising speed”. One hot, summer day (part of the other 5%), Parker decided to take a dip in a nearby lake. Talk about a bad wet dog smell!

So, I was finally fed up. I measured and called to see how much it would be to get fence and another gate for the back door. I think it was about $350. I made sure I got a wide gate so that our back door could still be wheelchair accessible for my (other) sister-in-law.

The newest part of the fence, enclosing the backdoor.  See old fence restricting a toddler in the background.

The newest part of the fence, enclosing the backdoor. See old fence restricting a toddler in the background.

Best damn $350 I ever spent.

Totally worth it when the fence guy was backing out of the driveway and I let the dogs out. The concrete for the fence posts wasn’t even set yet. They ran into the backyard as usual. Parker peed, then ran at FULL SPEED up through the former gate (that was sitting open) and jumped on the new fence like “NOOOOOOOOOOO! What IS this thing blocking me!” I laughed so hard. He was even whimpering. It was great!

Space next to the garage with new fence

Space next to the garage with new fence

But, alas, Parker still found ways out. There was a small space next to the garage, a few feet wide. Parker would try to go there, so we would block it with a pallet. He would get past the pallet, to the old, rotten fence. He got past that. We put in a new section of fence, where the pallet used to be. Parker figured out he could crawl UNDER the back of the garage and escape beyond the fenced area. We had to block that “crawl space” with the leftover fence from the other barricade.

Barricade for under the garage. The remaining gap can still be seen to the right

Barricade for under the garage. The remaining gap can still be seen to the right

Where the house met the chain-link fence, there was a tiny gap. You wouldn’t think a 60lb Pointer could get his rib cage through there, but he did. There was another such gap where the chain-link and the wooden privacy fence came together. [Have you ever heard of a yard with SO MANY FENCES having so MANY dog escapes?] We put metal posts in both locations to block further escapes. The posts worked well until April 2, 2013, when Parker tried to impale himself on one [click here for more details].

The corner post that Parker injured himself on

The corner post that Parker injured himself on

Now, we are mostly fortified. I think.

Except there is still some open space under the garage. And the place where it looks like a dog head-butted the wooden fenced and warped the wood.

One day, I saw a Pointer run past my living room picture window and down the street. My heart instantly started to race.

Then I checked the couch.

It wasn’t my Pointer.

Good dog

Good dog

What I Learned This Week – 4/28/13

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This week I learned that Crystal Bowersox is really nice. Last weekend I happened to be in Blissfield, Michigan (my hometown) for Railroad Days, and Crystal, whose hometown is Toledo, Ohio (very close proximity), happened to be dining at the same restaurant as my family. It was Lena’s Italian Restaurant. (Their pizza rocks. If you are ever in the neighborhood, check them out!)

Adrian & Blissfield Railroad, Railroad Days, Blissfield, MI

Adrian & Blissfield Railroad, Railroad Days, Blissfield, MI

RAILROAD DAYS, you might ask? I know it sounds dorky, but if you are interested in trains, then it is not. I was raised by a mother that when she rode me around on the back of her bike, we would stop for the train and wave at the engineer. When we were riding around in the car out in the country, she would race to the tracks for the train.

NO, SHE WOULDN’T TRY TO CROSS THE TRACKS IN FRONT OF IT!

She would race up to the crossing, and then we would stop and watch the train go buy.

I do similar things for my 2 year old son, M, who is very interested in Thomas, and can identify most of the major parts of a steam engine.

Anyway, Miss Bowersox was eating with her family, including her son, who seemed very interested in my son. My family and her family chatted and she was nice enough to give me an autograph. I TOTALLY wanted to get a picture with her, especially since I had my brand new higher megapixel camera with me. But I was too chicken.  (Check out my new page of Celebrities I have met, called When Stars Align.)

It was totally awesome that she was there, because, well, no one famous EVER comes to Blissfield. I think the last time was when Little Texas stopped at the Blissfield McDonald’s in the mid 90’s.

Crystal Bowersox Autograph, 4/20/13

Crystal Bowersox Autograph, 4/20/13

I also learned this week that I am employable. I HAVE A JOB! It is only part-time, only pays half of what I used to make at my previous job, has no benefits, and is a further commute (by like 3 minutes). But, it is also only part-time, so maybe if my husband gets a full time job, I can still fit this job around his. And I don’t have to clean any bathrooms. And the button-down uniform shirt actually fits me better than my own button-down shirt I wear for interviews-go figure.

PARKER UPDATE: The Vet says he had good healing tissue, and she is no longer going to check his progress every week. We are putting prescription cream and aloe (alternating days) on his wound right now. After two times sewing up the wound (and it coming back apart both times), she is just going to let it grow back together on its own. Which means there is a big hole in his doggy armpit still, which I try not to look at. If we put a T-shirt on him, he can roam around the house (supervised) without his cone collar on.

Q.  What do you call a Pointer wearing a cone collar and a major injury?

A. Still a flight risk!

What I Learned This Week – 4/7/13

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This week I learned that squirrels are more evil than I ever suspected.  Just look at what one did to my dog!

The leg is still there, just heavily bandaged.

The leg is still there, just heavily bandaged.

Now, I do feel like I may have helped to manifest this. I did tell my dog, Parker, he should kill the squirrel in our yard. I even told him that if he got bit or scratched in the process, I would take him to the vet and get him fixed up. I also had a plan on Friday to go to the vet and purchase more heartworm preventative.

But, well, Parker impaled himself on a metal post in our yard in what I can only suspect was pursuit of a squirrel on Tuesday afternoon. A metal post that would not have even been there except we put it there to prevent him from escaping out a gap at the bottom of the other two fences.

The scene of the injury.  The squirrel runs up the tree on the other side of the fence.  The green post used to be straight up.

The scene of the injury. The squirrel runs up the tree on the other side of the fence. The green post used to be straight up.

I feel a little guilty. I did momentarily forget both dogs outside. But that was for like 10 minutes. Parker had been left outside unattended longer. (We have a fully fenced in yard. Not that that keeps my dogs from escape or mayhem.) And really, who expects their dog to crucify himself on a 4ft tall metal post?

Tuesday afternoon, my husband is just walking out the door to go to work. He attempts to let the dogs in for me. We discover that Parker has what is (let’s put this delicately) a giant hole ripped in his front right leg doggie armpit. I grabbed my first aid kit. My husband, who JUST started a new job as a temp and CANNOT be late stayed 5 more minutes. He helped me get the injury wrapped up, and put Parker in the car. (Dude, that dog weighs 60lbs. I can’t exactly cradle him in my arms.) I called the vet. They said the doctor was out on a call and wouldn’t be back for an hour. She made it sound like I should hang out at home for a few more minutes. Then she said I could come in if I wanted and they could pressure wrap it while I waited.

When I got there, she said my wrap job was good, so they just left it til the doctor returned. The doctor, without looking at it yet, said it would be 30-45 minutes and asked me if I wanted to wait or come back. She said she would give him something to make him sleepy. I waited.

I skipped laying my son down for a nap because I just couldn't bring myself to close the curtain on this poor, injured dog.

I skipped laying my son down for a nap because I just couldn’t bring myself to close the curtain on this poor, injured dog.

I could tell when they removed Parker’s bandages. The assistant came in and told me he ripped quite the hole in himself. Then she came back in and asked if it was OK if they did a chest X-ray, because the doctor was worry he may have punctured his lung. (He didn’t.) Then the doctor came in and informed me that my dog had tried to rip his leg off, but luckily he was unsuccessful and had missed the muscle, tendons, etc. He was lucky he had missed his main blood vessel (which apparently she could see beating). If he had clipped that, she said he would have bled to death before I could have gotten him to the office.

They ended giving him full anesthesia and intubating him. We were there for another two hours.

Now, you might think this is a lucky dog. But remember, he is also a determined, stubborn, entitled dog.

In order to not pull out the stitches, they wrapped his whole front leg to his body. Essentially, he is a tripod. Except, well, he knows his leg is still there and tries to get it out.

Thursday morning my husband took Parker to get a dressing change. By the time they arrived back home (approximately 20 minutes), Parker had worked his leg out. Back to the vet they both went. My husband arrived home a second time–with a dog who had 4 legs visibly showing. We went back the third time that morning, and got re-wrapped again.

This time we tranquilized him. Probably a little too much. The tranquilizer was to keep him from messing with his bandage or doing silly things like trying to get on the couch.

The vet also recommended greatly confining him. But my incredibly tired and exhausted husband didn’t get around to it. Or maybe he thought the dog didn’t need to be.

By Thursday afternoon, he was laying in front of the couch (an obvious play to make it up on it) and he had used his back leg to scratch at his bandage, exposing his drain. (Gross, I know. Sorry.)

So, I re-bandaged a drugged dog who couldn’t stand up as well as I could. He is leaky, but at least we didn’t have to take him back again.

By Friday morning, the dog had made his way into our bedroom. This is the furthest spot from the back door, where he needed to be taken out because he hadn’t been outside in hours and hours. So, using a beach towel as a sling around his torso, I half-walked/mostly-dragged him out the back door. After a brief rest, he did pee. (Ya!) After another brief rest, he ate and drank and took more tranqs. (Ya!)

On Saturday morning, Parker had another vet appointment. He was hobbling in on his three legs, all pathetic. He got as far as the lobby and stalled, as if he did not have another ounce of energy left in his doggy body. That is, until the resident cat walked by in front of him. He did a couple of lightning quick dives trying to get it, but only ended up with a face plant.

They decided to leave off his bandages because the skin was suffering from too much moisture and a lack of fresh air. So, he has his leg back, but is favoring it. We are to keep him tranquilized til his next appointment on Monday. He has a giant doggie cone collar on, but I was worried about him scratching his injury with his rear foot. My mom came up with an excellent idea to put a sock on his back foot to reduce the damage. He was a little more himself today.

There is a good chance he might have to have a few stitches redone where the skin is necrotic. I am worried about how concentrated his urine is, but that could be because his water intake and trips outside are way down. He is eating and drinking and pooping and peeing though, so I will take those all as good signs.

My 2 month old son seems jealous of all the attention Parker is getting. So is Dave, my other dog. I am just exhausted from being a caretaker. The dog is on 9 pills a day right now. And we have to keep his wound clean and dry and put Aloe Vera Gel on part of it.

I was originally going to give potty-training my boy another try next week. I think it can wait a little longer. Oy.

I saw the squirrel in the backyard today. It could have just been the light or his coloring or that he had just scratched his licey, flea-bitten body, but to me it look like he had a scratch on is side. It would make me feel better about all this damage to Parker if I knew he had least took a little hide off that squirrel.

Watch out, squirrel. Remember…I have TWO dogs.

What did I do to myself?!

What did I do to myself?!

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