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.

 

Origin Story: “How Much is That Dog in the Window–er, I Mean Cage-like Kennel?” The Tired Girl Asked.

Thanks for joining me! And, Annie, of course. I figured before getting on with the other happenings of little Annie’s life, I’d share our “origin story”.

Be prepared for some sappiness. Seriously. This post will probably have enough sap to leave you sticky after reading it.

Also, a warning! This post touches on some dark parts of both Annie’s life and mine. So, this post won’t be as silly as others will; however, I think readers knowing our backgrounds and how we met will help you all understand why Annie and I are so attached to each other.

This post will be longer than most of the posts that’ll come after.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Annieadoptionday_sept222017
Adoption Day, September 22, 2017

I’d been thinking about getting a dog for a couple of months….The dog I grew up with, a sassy maltese named Buttercup, had passed away at the age of 15 in December of 2016.

Part of me felt awkward about getting another dog just the summer after my childhood dog had passed away, but another part of me couldn’t stop thinking about it.

So, the summer of 2017 I started looking at the Facebook pages of local animal shelters. (After volunteering at an animal shelter, I’d already decided my next dog was going to be adopted.) And new pictures of dogs needing homes were uploaded almost daily.

I think one of the things I missed about having a dog was the innocent, loving cuddles. You see, I was struggling bad in my personal life. I’d kept it from most people, but in the past year I’d ended up in the ER twice because of self-harm. I still have scars.

The hospital gave me paperwork stating they thought I had depression (What a shocker!), things to do, and the second time I was there, a doctor came into the room and talked about what was going on and what needed to be done.

He brought up the idea of me staying for a few days at the hospital’s crisis center. I was against that from the start. Even if I could freely wander around the place, I didn’t like the idea of others constantly “looking out” for me. That would just be another stressor.

I already felt so stuck. My life was nowhere near where I wanted it to be after graduating college, and to help things along, I’d just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia–a life-long sentence of chronic illness that made my ability to ever get where I wanted in life seem even more impossible.

My “previous” healthy body was gone, and now here was this…this thing in its place that was constantly getting in the way. I was used to being able to make a plan to do something and then just go for it if I thought it was the right thing to do, so I had big plans. However, chronic pain and fatigue made it a struggle just to get through a normal day, forget about the future.

As you can guess, I got depressed, dangerously depressed to the point where it was questioned if I was okay to be alone.

This was the state I was in when looking for a dog to adopt.

One day while looking on Facebook, I saw the picture of a little beagle. The description said she’d been through a lot, and they were calling her Baby Girl or something similar. She was missing most of her hair and had sores all over her body. I connected to the sad look in her brown eyes.

I messaged the shelter to let them know I was interested, and I visited the next Friday after work.

The shelter was small, almost cramped, and the lighting was dim. When the lady led me to the kennels, the dogs started barking immediately. But not the beagle.

She was curled up on a little dog bed trying to sleep. I wondered if she was cold, seeing how the floor was concrete and she hadn’t much fur.

I crouched down next to her kennel, and she whined at me. What a sad whine! I was able to reach my fingers through the metal meshing of the kennel and pet her around the ears. She liked being petted and whined a bit more when I stopped.

When I went back out to the office, I told the lady I was interested in adopting the beagle.

She told me I wouldn’t be able to adopt her just then since she was still getting treatment for mange and couldn’t be released until she was better.

I said okay and asked if there was a way I could put my name down for her, and they could call me when she was better.

The lady told me their shelter didn’t work that way. It was a first come, first served set up, and so the person who adopted the little beagle would be the first one who asked for her after she was well enough to leave.

Not the answer I was hoping for, but what could I do about it?

The lady suggested I come back in two weeks.

So I did. But the beagle still wasn’t healthy enough for them to adopt her out.

So I came back the week after that.

And the week after that.

I was set on getting this dog. Why? Well, despite her lack of fur, I still thought she was cute, but more than that, I’d felt a connection to her as soon as I’d seen her photo. And the more I went to visit, the more solid that connection became.

I learned that along with being sick, the people who’d had the beagle before “hadn’t treated her well” to use the wording of the ladies at the shelter.

Here was this little dog, stuck in a kennel all alone, life had been rough for her recently, and she was sick and in pain.

We had so much in common.

Except….

Except her illness was curable; her pain would go away. I could help with that.

And I could get her out of the kennel.

One Friday after visiting, the shelter ladies seemed to give in. They had me write down my contact info and said they’d call when the beagle was well enough to have me adopt her.

I guess I’d bugged them enough to show I was serious.

It took me a while to pick a name for her, but I had one by the time the shelter called and asked if I still wanted to adopt the beagle.

Pshh! Did I still want to adopt her? It wasn’t like I hadn’t already bought a leash and collar or anything….Oh, wait.

When I picked her up on September 22, 2017, she whined and wagged her tail at me. She was still mostly bald except for her head, chest, and a line of fur down her back, a red-haired orphan waiting for a home.

The ladies took the customary “adoption” photo of the two of us, and then, paperwork in hand, Annie and I went home.

That was the start for my Annie dog and me.

Annie_1_bw

Hello! This blog is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now. In case you can’t tell, it’s focused on experiences I have with my beagle, Annie.

And sometimes just the funny things she does.

With today being National Pet Day, it felt like time to launch this “pet” project.

I’m a total animal lover, so along with telling (mostly) short stories about Annie, my goal is to also raise awareness about the needs of animals in general, but especially those we’ve domesticated into potential family members.

Welcome, everyone! I hope Annie can help light up your day like she lights up mine.

A Girl And Her Dog