Furry Heartbreak

Jasper

Annie and I have sad news to report.

Little Jasper was run over in February. It happened when he was following Annie and me on a walk. It was somewhat traumatizing to witness as he didn’t die instantly, and I’d rather not go into graphic detail.

I sobbed on and off the first couple of days. Annie seems to be grieving in her own way. She’s been whinier than usual, and sometimes when she first goes outside, she waits on the step for Jasper to come and tug on her ear in the “C’mon, let’s go!” fashion that he used to.

She’s also been even more of a cuddle bug lately.

Little Jasper will be missed. He was an energetic fur ball who was always eager to play. If you sat down next to him, he saw it as an open invitation to sit on your lap.

He was only a couple years old. In one sense, I hope he rests in peace, but in another sense, I hope he’s up in heaven romping around with all the other dogs.

It sucks when a pet dies. What are ways you cope with the grief of losing a pet?

Annie Kind Of Has A Brother?

Annie and Jasper

For the past year, Annie dog and I have been living with my parents due to financial and health problems. However, something I haven’t mentioned until now is that my parents also have a dog: a white and tan pomeranian named Jasper. He’s a few years younger than Annie and a lot more energetic.

When Annie and Jasper first met each other at Thanksgiving a couple years ago at my grandparents’ house, they chased each other and played. Annie, being bigger, would sometimes roll onto her back as they played. I learned that this is a behavior bigger dogs utilize when playing with smaller dogs to keep from hurting them, a way of evening the field so to speak.

When I first moved back in with my parents, Annie and Jasper continued to play like this, excited to have a playmate. However, as time went on I realized they were developing a sibling relationship that had things in common with human sibling relationships.

They still play together, but they don’t get nearly as excited to see each other now that they are with each other every day. Jasper likes to pull on Annie’s ears, especially when they first go outside as if to tell Annie to hurry up. Annie’s good-natured about this and doesn’t get angry at him for doing it. In fact, they tend to stick together when they are outside.

But there are other times when they seem to argue or get grouchy about each other’s presence. In fact, I’ve seen Annie go after Jasper if he tries to get her food, and Jasper growls at Annie if she tries to eat his.

If I’m cuddling with one, the other acts jealous, coming up beside me, wagging their tail and whining. Sometimes one even tries to push themselves in-between me and the other dog.

Jasper, like the typical younger sibling, wants to have the same things as Annie. He likes to chew on her toys, and lay in her bed. And Annie puts up with it.

They definitely remind me of a sister-brother pair.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of us start thinking of love, mostly romantic love and relationships, but it’s crossed my mind how much love is ingrained in us and in animals. We crave love, and so do animals. And, well, animals showing loving relationships with us and other animals is just cute.

So, here’s to Annie and Jasper adopting each other.

A Dog’s Selfishness Is Different

Happy New Year!

Annie wearing her bandana

I’ve spent more time away from home the second half of 2019 than I have before in the two years I’ve owned Annie. This also means that I’ve spent more time away from Annie than ever.

She’s been a pretty good sport about it, which is saying a lot considering how bad her separation anxiety was when I first adopted her. My little Annie dog has gotten stronger. Pardon me for feeling a ping of pride when I think about that.

Some things have happened in my personal life that have left me thinking about what people expect from each other and how no relationship realistically (as far as I can tell) exists without each party being a little selfish. After all, you should feel comfortable asking for things in an authentic relationship, right? They should be reasonable things, and each side has to be willing to give, of course.

Personally, I struggle with asking for things from others. I may think about it, but it’s difficult to say.

That’s one reason why I love dogs: their selfishness is different than humans.

Annie is open about what she wants and doesn’t hide how she feels. It’s all there in her body language. Yet, when she’s being selfish, demanding my attention for more cuddles more letting me know it’s time to feed her, there’s an innocence in it that I don’t see in adults. I never feel used or like I’m getting the bad end of the deal. It’s simple, open, loving communication. I give her love, and she gives love back. There’s no need to make it complicated.

Annie’s selfishness is innocent.

How grateful I am that I have Annie dog, and that she looks past all the faults I have (if she even notices them in the first place) and simply loves me. She gives me hope, and that’s a powerful thing to give.

Push The Bowl

Annie by her water bowl


We’re back! It’s been a while since the last post. Annie and I are doing good: Annie’s paw is all healed up now, and my fibromyalgia symptoms haven’t been as bad lately.

Though I’m not by any means over-scheduled, I have been busier lately, and Annie’s demeanor shows she’s feeling a bit left out. She jumps up on my bed every night now and wants to cuddle every time I sit on the floor, even if that means messing up whatever I was doing on the floor in the first place.

Despite this behavior, she’s still come a far way from the terrible separation anxiety she had when I first adopted her. And she’s gotten used enough to my parents’ house that she doesn’t constantly whine when I’m not home (I’m sure my parents appreciate that).

I guess I’m reflecting on how pets are like four year-olds, sensitive to the amount of direct attention you give them.

Annie developed this “push the bowl” habit not too long after I adopted her. She knows her water goes in her blue bowl, and you should know that she drinks a LOT of water. So, it’s not unusual for me to glance over and see that her water bowl is empty. However, if I’m preoccupied and fail to notice that she needs a drink, Annie will start pushing her blue bowl around. It makes a scraping noise on the plastic mat or kitchen floor, and the sound is Annie’s way of getting my attention to let me know she’s thirsty.

While I’m glad she has developed methods of letting me know when she needs something, I wonder how often Annie feels the need to “push the bowl” in other areas in order for me to give her the proper attention. I try to make sure she feels loved and is cared for, but what is the proper balance between loving and caring for your dog and overdoing it? I don’t want to be neglectful in any way, but I also don’t want to be that crazy chick who overindulges her dog, treating it like a royal baby.

Maybe I’m overthinking it (That seems to be a habit of mine.), but if I’m going to care for an animal, then I want to do it right. And Annie’s been through enough in her past. She should feel secure with me.

What do you think is a good balance between owner and pet?

Human, That Is NOT Food!

Annie hugging her toy

Annie has had a rough couple of weeks. She’s been in heat (No, she’s not fixed.) and had to wear diapers. If that wasn’t enough, she hurt her left front paw somehow.

She started limping one day, and when I checked, I saw that in-between her paw pads was a swollen red. I cleaned her paws with epsom salt water and tried to keep her paw clean. She wasn’t bleeding or anything, and I’d hoped she’d recover on her own after a day or two.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and we ended up going to the vet. Annie was fine in the waiting area, but as soon as we entered the examination room, she started pacing and whining. There must be a scent in those rooms–probably given off by other animals–that makes her feel uncomfortable since this was the first time we’d been to this vet.

The assistant ended up holding Annie while the vet took a small pair of forceps and investigated the most sensitive spot on her paw.

Well, as you can guess, Annie didn’t like that at all. She struggled, whined, and even tried to snap at the vet. Poor thing. I felt bad, but we needed to find out what was going on.

The vet ended up pulling out a tiny piece of what looked like a brown thistle. He said, it seemed strange that her paw would hurt so badly because of such a small piece, but there was infection too.

Before sending us on our way, the vet gave us some antibiotics and pain reliever. And, in case you’re wondering, Annie doesn’t like pills either. The vet assistant found that out when she gave her her first dose. She put each pill in a treat pouch, and Annie was okay with that when it came to the pain pill. However, the antibiotic pill was in capsule form, and Annie wasn’t having that. So, what did she do? She maneuvered the treat pouch around in her mouth so that she could eat the treat, but then she spat out the untouched capsule at the vet assistant’s feet.

Yep. She wasn’t afraid to tell us what she thought of that pill.

Back home, I had to either trick her with cheese or basically shove the capsule into the back of her mouth to get her to take it, and even then she managed to spit it out half the time somehow. For such a sweet dog, Annie can be really stubborn when she wants to be.

Annie just finished her pills, and I can happily say her paw looks a lot better and she’s no longer limping.

And we’re both glad we don’t have to fight the battle of the pill anymore.

I wonder how many other dogs (or pets in general) also manage to be so tricky when given pills or medicine? If you have any such stories about your pets, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Cuddles Help The World Go Round

Annie dog cuddling with me on one of my bad pain days

Last time I wrote about what I am doing to get Annie’s fur back to a healthy, full state. This time I’m going in the opposite direction and writing about how Annie’s helping me.

If you don’t remember from an earlier post, I have fibromyalgia-and the depression that came with it. These chronic conditions wear me down some days, to the point I become an emotional glob, especially if it’s a bad pain day.

But something I love about Annie is her own capacity to love. Despite all she’s been through with the terrible case of mange, spending months in a tiny shelter, and the supposed mistreatment from her previous owners, Annie’s always been eager to love and be loved.

She greets me every morning with a wagging tail, and on those rough days? Well, she does what you see in the photo above: she cuddles up to me as if contact will help me feel better. And, to be honest, her cuddles usually do.

Annie’s not registered as any type of service animal. She’s had no special training. But there’s something about her earnest sincerity that let’s me know she’ll love me no matter what kind of a mess I am in. I don’t have to worry about her being disappointed in me. She doesn’t care if I can’t do all the things I feel pressured I should be able to do. She’s not hung up on my potential being wrapped in what I can accomplish. Annie just loves me for being me.

And I feel that superpower of hers in her cuddles.

Everyone Asks About The Fur

Annie just chillin'. You can see where not all of the fur has come back on her sides.
Annie just chillin’. You can see where not all of the fur has come back on her sides.

It’s a question that almost everyone who meets Annie asks: What happened to her fur?

When I first adopted Annie from the shelter, she was still overcoming mange (a skin condition where parasitic mites wreak havoc on the animal’s skin). Aside from her head and a streak of fur down her back, she was basically bald with irritated skin.

I was under the impression Annie’s mites had been taken care of and her fur would grow back quickly.

Well, that didn’t happen.

First, it took months and more medication until the skin scrapes taken by the vet proved the mites were dead and gone.

Second, I’ve had my Annie dog for a year and a half now, and she still hasn’t grown all her fur back. Given, she’s grown some of it back and her skin is a lot healthier now, but I really want her to have a beautiful coat of fur. Her cute and loving personality deserves a cute appearance.

So…what now?

Well, my own observations and research coupled with a few vet visits has me thinking two things:

Her skin received a lot more damage from the mange than anyone realized, and she might have problems with her thyroid since the bald spots are mostly symmetrical on each side.

She doesn’t act sick or lethargic in any way, so I am trying some things before seeing the vet again. I’m trying to incorporate dog food and treats that are high in omega 3s to help her skin and coat. I put sunblock on her if she’s going to be outside for a significant amount of time to prevent more skin damage. I scrub her well when she gets a bath to clear away any potentially dead skin and improve circulation.

I feel this is helping, but I can’t say for certain yet.

I hope you are all loving on your furry friends, and if you know of anything that might help my Annie dog, feel free to leave a comment. I’d appreciate it.

Head Hide and Seek

Hello from Annie and me!

I read something on the Internet recently about things people do that their dogs don’t like, and it stated that dogs don’t like to be cuddled tightly or have their heads hidden because it makes them feel trapped.

That’s so not the case for Annie. She loves to cuddle. If I lie down on the floor, she comes right up to me and wants to snuggle by my shoulder and neck. If I sit up to get out of bed, she’s there with her paws on my knees wanting a hug, tail wagging.

And she hides her head all the time. She sticks it under pillows and under blankets. Sometimes, when she’s on my bed with me, she’ll try to burrow down and hide her head against my back or stomach.

So, is Annie just weird that way or did that writer not really know what they were talking about? How much misinformation is out there about dogs anyway? It’s kind of a scary thought.

And in case you want proof of Annie’s behavior (and because I love showing off my dog), here’s a video of Annie hiding her head.

Sniffing: A Life Goal

Today I’m going to talk about Annie’s favorite hobby: sniffing. Now, I know that all dogs like to sniff to some extent, but I was surprised by Annie’s behavior. Sniffing isn’t just something to do for her. When I watch Annie sniffing outside, it’s like watching her pursue her passion.

Searching for a scent is the first thing Annie does when she goes outside. If her feet are on dirt or grass, then you can bet her nose is down to the ground. Most of the time it’s fun to follow and watch her meander around, chasing after some scent (usually an animal’s or person’s).

But sometimes her desire to sniff gets in the way. For example, when she’s intent on a scent, she doesn’t pay attention to her surroundings. A road with cars? Pssh! Like she cares, there’s a smell to follow! I’ve had a number of times when I’ve had to pull on her leash (good thing she was on a leash) to stop her from walking into traffic.

Other times it’s as if she’s got Sniffing ADHD. I’ll see her in the backyard of my parents’ (not on a leash) and call for her to come inside. Well, first I have to get her attention away from sniffing long enough to notice me, then when she’s trotting toward the back door it’s not unusual for her to veer off-track suddenly when she catches a whiff of an interesting scent. Then she slowly zig zags her way to me, still sniffing.

I had one time when I was walking with her outside my apartment that she was walking normally, suddenly stopped, and literally walked backwards (like a car in reverse) because of a scent.

My silly little Annie.

I like that she enjoys sniffing, despite the struggles I sometimes have getting her attention because of it. As a type of hound dog, it’s no surprise she has a knack for it, and I often think I should train her to seek.

If she was trained to seek, I think we could have a lot of fun playing hide and seek with people and objects outside.

Yep, I’m definitely thinking about it.

A Ball? What Do You Think I Am? A Dog?

Hello from¬† Annie and me! Now that we’ve got the serious part of our story out of the way, I’m going to focus on more light-hearted parts from here on out.

The Annie tale (Get it? Tale/tail?) this week is shorter, but it’s about one of Annie’s behaviors that’s always confused me.

When I got Annie, I was a bit flummoxed about what type of toys to get her. My previous dog never took to dog toys, instead choosing to claim someone’s stuffed animal as her own every once in a while.

I ended up going with a stuffed bunny toy with a squeaker and a ball. Because dogs like to play with balls, right?

To my surprise, it took Annie at least a month before she would really play with toys at all. I think part of it was due to her still not being fully recovered from mange, but it was also almost as if she didn’t know how to play with toys and people.

But once she did start playing, I discovered something: she couldn’t care less about the ball.

She’d play with the bunny just fine, chase after it and everything. But the ball? Nope. When I tried to get her to play with it, I was lucky if she even gave it a sniff.

And if I threw it?

She’d watch it go before looking back at me as if to say, “A ball? Really? Wow, what a stereotype. You get it.”

To this day, Annie refuses to play with a ball. I have no clue why. Maybe it’s too “mainstream dog” for her.