Thursday, July 29, 2010

Introducing Glacier! The Walking Garbage Can!

So, he's done it again. Glacier has managed to eat himself into trouble. I don't know what it is about this dog, but this is the fourth time in less than two years that he has eaten so much food that his stomach has gotten huge! The first time was totally my fault. I had no idea he would eat like that-Jetta never did. After that I became hyper vigilant and yet he has still been able to get himself into trouble. The second time he did it, vet attention was necessary and it was a hefty bill that my friends generously let me borrow some of the money for. At that particular instance the vet had to make Glacier vomit and his weight was a kilogram and a half less than after the vomitting than before. He still pooped elephant poops for three days afterwards.
The third time was while I was here in Michigan visiting Mr. K and his family. His dad came to visit and has a nine month old yellow puppy and he lets her graze from her dish, which I was unaware of. So, Glacier got into a bit of food then, but it was quickly rectified after a few walks and a few good bowel movements.
This fourth time was the same food, but Mr. K's dad and puppy are gone and so I thought the food was gone as well. I had kept Glacier on leash while they were here after that to ensure it wouldn't happen again despite Mr. K's dad's reassurances that Glacier couldn't get into the food bag. After he left, I thought it was safe, but apparently not.
Yesterday around five PM, I hopped in the shower after exercising and that is when it happened. He came upstairs carrying the bag in his mouth and that is how Mr. K knew it happened. His stomach was gigantic and I contemplated taking him into the vet since "bloat" is a real possibility with the amount of food he ate and how fast he ate it. I decided to keep him home and monitor him instead. We were supposed to go to church, but I chose to stay home and tend to my garbage disposal dog.
I sat on the floor with him for a while and just gently massaged his entire body. I don't know which way the dog's intestinal tract runs, so I didn't touch it. In massage school we were taught how to massage people's abdomens in order to relieve constipation. I tried looking up the direction of the tract on Google, but nothing was helping and I couldn't see any of the pictures that were popping up. So, I remembered the school talking about how relaxation massages cause the parasympathetic nervous system to fire, which then gets digestive juices flowing. After I massaged him for a good 45 minutes, I gave him time to rest and then took him for a slow walk and thankfully he had a bowel movement. When we got home I just had him rest again.
I knew Glacier was very thirsty, but I didn't want him drinking too much because the water could make the food in his stomach expand even more or he could gulp air while drinking. That meant restricting his water intake. Every hour or so I'd let him have about twenty slurps and then I'd make him stop. It was hard because he kept whining because he was thirsty and kept trying to take me to water the water dish or toilet.
I walked him twice more with no poop, but with the hope of getting his metabolism moving. The walks were very slow and controlled because over exciting the dog can also cause the bloat to become worse and could cause the stomach to flip.
Finally, at midnight I called it a night. Mr. K was awake though and he kept an eye on Glacier for another two hours when he finally laid down to sleep too. I woke up at eight this morning and immediately took Glacier outside. He peed, but still no poop. I was beginning to worry that the food wasn't moving out of his stomach. I could still feel the large bulge where his stomach is. I brought him back in and gave him more water than before and brought him back out to try to get him to go and he did. I've never been so happy about a dog pooping before.
Since that fantastic bathroom break, we've spent the morning resting and drinking little bits of water now and then. He's ben out again and went and on palpation it feels like the food is moving out of the stomach into the intestines. The stomach isn't as swollen, but there is a bit of a bulge in the intestines now. His stomach isn't as hard as it was before either.
All and all, I think things are going in the right direction, but keep your fingers crossed because he's definitely not "out of the woods" yet.
It's been pretty scary. He whined a lot in the first hour or so because his tummy felt so bad. Roscoe was very concerned and kept coming over to Glacier and sniffing and giving him kisses. They are really best friends. I'm not sure what I would do if something happened to Glacier: I don't think Roscoe knows what he would do without Glacier either. We love our big fat head.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Pearly Whites

Yesterday morning Mr. Kim and I harnessed our dogs up and headed off to the dentist's office. It's probably been almost ten years since I've had a trip to the dentist so this trip was definitely not joyful.
Both of the boys were excited to get out and work. Glacier was prancing in his harness as we made out way along the sidewalkless road toward downtown. When we arrived at the dentist, Glacier found the counter as instructed and I signed in. While I was filling out the paperwork, another client was standing behind us patting his leg. I didn't notice and Glacier didn't react-probably because I had him trappped between my legs and the counter-but Roscoe was getting increasingly more and more excited. Mr. K gave him a good collar correction that sort of accidentally flung Roscoe into the counter. I'm pretty sure the waiting clients were horrified, but people don't realise that the dogs being distracted like that is unsafe for us. I hate when people distract my dog, which then forces me to correct the dog. How is that fair?
Anyway, I headed into the treatment room and got Glacier settled. I was a bit woried about how Glacier would react, but he was fine. He was a bit curious while the hygenist counted my teeth. He got up once when she first startec cleaning them, but then settled into a pile of snoring puppy for the rest of the cleaning. He didn't even move when she busted out the polishing thingy. The cleaning probably took an hour and a half and I have the start of some kind of weird gum disease, but no cavities. The gum disease won't progress any further as long as I keep brushing as muc as I do, floss and make sure I go to my regular six month cleanings. When you're a student some things fall by the wayside, but no more. I will have sparkling, clean teeth!
After we were finished at the dentist, we walked over to the park and let the boys run. It was pretty warm out so they only ran for about twenty minutes and then we headed back home.
Despite the painful grinding experience of the dentist, it was a good day.
Off to get my cup of coffee and then to brush my new pearly whites.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dog News

I phoned home last night to check on Kyo and the report was good. There hasn't been another biting scenario with Jetta, which means he's gone a week without biting her. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I am glad, but also apprehensive because I'm worried that there are other circumstances keeping him from biting her. For example, my mom can see him, so what if she can if he's going to bite and is able to stop him before it happens? That is good, but I'm not sure how that is going to work for Mr. K and I because neither of us can see. I also don't want to get my hopes up because it's important to stay aware of the fact that he may do it again for no reason. What if he decides that biting Jetta is not his idea of fun because she yelped, but he continues to bite Glacier because Glacier never says anything? I guess it's just a lot of "wait and see" for the next couple of months.
Mr. K and I had discussed implementing a time line that would dictate when we would re-visit the idea of re-homing Kyo, but Mr. K suggested that perhaps we should extend the time line. Originally, we had agreed that we would talk about Kyo was doing at the end of October, but Mr. K thought that maybe we should wait until after Christmas. I'm glad he came to this conclusion himself because I would have given Kyo longer than the end of October, but convincing Mr. K would have been difficult. Kyo has been through a lot of upheaval in the first couple of months of his life with us, so it would make more sense to see how he does under more stable conditions for a longer time period. Plus, he's been with my parents the whole month of July and they are definitely not as strict with dogs as I am and they aren't as consistent. Neither of my parents are doing formal obedience sessions with Kyo and I was, which think helped him improve at the rate that he did. So, as long as we can keep Glacier and Roscoe safe from the very hard play biting, then I am thinking Kyo has had his trial run lengthened. I really hope we can stay his Forever Home.
On a lighter note: my parents went to the beach yesterday after supper because it's incredibly hot, both in most of Ontario and Michigan. My Dad took Jetta on a leash out into the lake and played with her in the water while my mom took Kyo in with her. Normally, the dogs would play off leash, but it's a people beach and my parents didn't want the dogs bothering the other families that were there. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Kyo really can't swim. He tried once in Cambridge and nearly panicked himself into drowning when he realised that the bottom dropped out from under his paws. I don't think his first family bothered taking him for walks or car rides, never mind taking him to the beach. When Mr. K and I were visiting Sault Ste Marie in June, we went out ith Tenie and her little sister to their grandparents' camp and went swimming. It was absolutely freezing and it was threatening to rain, but nothing, except for lighting of course, was going to keep me out. Mr. Kim waited on the dock because he isn't much of a swimmer and Kyo was with him. Glacier and roscoe were i the cabin because there was no way Mr. K could hold on to 235 pounds of dog in such an exciting situation. Kyo was not happy I was in teh water and barked and howled so Mr. K let him go to see what he would do. Well, he waded in as deep as his chest and tried leaping over the water to me and he tried drinking the water out of his way. When none of that would work, he tried to grab me by the hand and drag me out. He was not swimming!
So, when my mom decided that she wanted to get a bit deeper than her knees, which would put Kyo almost up to his neck, he was not having it. He started making silly noises and grabbed the leash in his mouth and started running backwards pulling her with him. Just thinking about it makes me laugh because I know what he had been like when I was in the water. I wish I had seen it. :)
As for Roscoe and Glacier, they ave had a pretty quiet and boring week. I'm hoping tomorrow we can walk over to the ball diamond and let them run. It's just been so hot that running them might be bad. We did try to trim Glacier's claws this morning, which was interesting...two blind people trying to cut a 75 pound lab's claws. We got both back paws, but only three toes on one front paw. lol The boys really need a bath, so he can get the rest of them done when we send them to Pet Smart to the spa. :)
Anyway, snack time. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"That Thing I Remember" Number One

I think others have done something similar to this, but I've been thinking lately about a way to incorporate some of the memories I have floating around in my brain into my blog. My solution has been to create an entry called "That Thing I Remember." So, I'm going to try to make a habit of writing one of these at least once a week...hopefully on a Tuesday. That way, it should actually get done. :) So with no further adieu I give you "That Thing I Remember" Number One!
Today's memory is about where I grew up. It's not about the house, or the street or even the general area, but more about the city itself. Sault Ste Marie is a city of about 70 thousand or so, but it definitely has a small town feel because it is plunked in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest biggest city being a four hour drive away. There are many things that make this city attractive not only to Her residents, but to Passers Through as well. I think though, one of the city's biggest draws is Her water front. Sault Ste Marie Ontario is not only surrounded by hundreds of little inland lakes, but most of the Great Lakes, including Lake superior, touch Her borders. There is also the the Saint Mary's River flowing right along side the downtown area. The Saint Mary's River serves many purposes as it is a breeding ground for salmon at the end of the summer; a water way for recreational boaters and fishermen; the watery boundary drawing the border between Sault Ste Marie Ontario and Sault Ste Marie Michigan; and has one of the oldest operating locks system in Canada. There is a boardwalk with intersecting docks that skirts the banks of the river where people can walk, run, fish or just watch the boats come in. I feel that is these docks and boardwalk that gives Sault Ste Marie Her unique charm.
There are always commercial and non-commercial boats going through the Locks System or docking over night at the marina. When I was little my parents and I would walk along the docks and my Dad would excitedly describe the different boats we were passing and I would make him read the boats' names. I always marvelled at how boats were named and the stories that just had to be behind their names. One boat was named "Lacey" and I pretended that She was named for the captain's wife. Another was named "Lucky" and I decided that it was because they had gone through strong storms with Her and always made out it safely. My Dad would explain the colours each boat was painted and explain the size of them. Sometimes he would say "you could fit maybe two of houses in that one. No. Maybe three," or "that one is just small. They just use it on the river. It's a bow rider." I loved these trips down to the boardwalk full of exploring and ice cream. We even saw two baby beavers swimming in the river once. There is something about that place that I could never find replicated anywhere else.
I've stood on a peer in Santorini Greece listening to the sea slam against the rocks and it wasn't the same: don't get me wrong, it was amazing, but not the same. I've climbed up a bridge that over looked the ocean in Belgium where the wives and children of World War II waited for the war ships to return home. Again, amazing, but not the same. There's a sound in Sault Ste Marie that, until recently, I didn't notice was missing from everywhere else-the boats' horns. No matter what end of town you are at, you can always hear the gigantic ocean liners, freight ships or passenger ships blowing their horns. It's a sound that echoes through the city. I always knew it was a foggy night if I heard the horns blowing frequently. It's not an abrupt, harsh noise, but more of a distant echo that you don't even notice until you move away and realise something is missing. Even when I lived on the river in Cambridge there was never a single blast of a ship's horn.
The mind is a funny thing-the things it will grow accustomed to and then remember later in a completely different situation that it is missing something. I look forward to this summer wen I will hear the spuratic blasts and will always remember it even when life sends me elsewhere. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Lazy Day

Glacier and I have not been up to much today-it's just one of those days where it's better spent inside curled up with a book. The weather has been gorgeous pretty much the whole time we've been in Michigan so I guess I can forgive Mother Nature for the rain she's given us today. :)
It's a good day to catch up on a few things. I've been organising locations for my bride's maids to pick up their dresses; reading more about "bite inhibition;" played around on Facebook and just generally have been doing nothing. Glacier doesn't seem to mind. He's curled up on his blue, fluffy blanket at the side of my bed. Yesterday had been a busy day for us because Mr. K's two sisters and all of their children came over for supper. There are four of them between the two of them and the kids range in age from 2 to 8. It was a lot of fun, but I am definitely enjoying the quiet of the house today.
Anyway, I'm off to read a book...or maybe take a nap. The beauty of being on vacation after being in school for eighteen months straight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


It's one of those mornings when I woke up way too early and worries have been gnawing at the edges of my brain. Today I'm mostly bothered by Kyo's biting problem. I've talked about this before, but the issue was brought back up this past week when he bit Jetta while trying to play with her at the park on Wednesday.
As I mentioned before, Kyo is staying with my parents while Glacier and I are in Michigan. My mom is doing a really great job of making sure Kyo gets the proper amount of exercise and stimulation and he seems to really like her. Just the other day, she was lying on the couch and he climbed up beside her and laid his head in her lap. He's a great snuggler! That said, in his excitement and puppy playfulness, he bit Jetta on the back of the leg at the dog park and made her yelp. This concerns me for the obvious reasons-like how he should not be hurting dogs-but it also may mean that I'll have to give him up. I really don't want to, but I can't figure out how to get him to stop. It seems that after he gets comfortable with a dog, he is likely to bite them while trying to play with them. My mom says it looks like puppy play, but because he is so big, he accidentally hurts the other dog. Again, he's not biting other people's dogs: just the dogs he knows like Jetta and Glacier. He doesn't bite roscoe, but I think it's because Roscoe tells him "no" just by looking at him. If humans nd dogs alike draw boundaries for him, he seems to respect them. My other parents' dog Flash, is a bit grumpy and doesn't like other dogs in her space and all she had to do was growl at him once and he leaves her alone. When I've been doing obedience with him, he picks it up quickly and is eager to learn. He has separation anxiety (as many Great Danes do) and this makes him a people pleaser.
Part of me doesn't wonder if the biting is out of anxiety. I got him in March and things weren't quite stable. Mr. K would be visiting us for a couple of weeks and then he would be gone again for another couple of weeks. Now, Kyo is at my parents' house in a strange city with two new dogs, which isn't exactly stable either. I'm hoping with more consistent living conditions and more obedience training this biting problem will stop. If not, I will have to find a new home for Kyo and that pains me grately. Everything I've read about dog misbehaviour always makes comments about dog owners giving up on dogs when their problems can be fixed. They talk about how dogs end up in shelters all of the time because they are not given what they need to thrive. I don't want to be one of those people-but when is enough enough? Why can't I seem to get any help for this behaviour? I can't seem to find any literature that addresses this particular problem. When I talked to the dog trainer about it, she didn't really know and just suggested that I distract him with something else like a toy. She didn't really explain how to perform this or the logic behind it. I thought that if I gave him a toy while he's biting Glacier then I am rewarding him for biting? I'm at a loss. I've thought about getting another dog trainer when I'm back at home to see if they can help me solve Kyo's biting problem. If anyone out there has any ideas, please send them my way. My heart breaks to think that he may seriously injure a dog and/or I'll have to find him a new home. He's already been through the surrender/adoption process I really don't want to do that to him again. :( I just feel like I am/have failed him somehow.

Friday, July 09, 2010

What Got into Them?!

Glacier and I have been on the move again. We packed up our bags on June 27 and headed to visit my fiance's parents for a month. (I am going to refer to my fiance asMr. K from now on because writing my "fiance" every time is a bit too long). I also thought it would be time well spent since Mr. K is moving ot South Carolina at the end of the month and we won't see each other very much in the next year. So, Kyo stayed at my parents' house and Glacier and I are staying in Michigan until the end of July.
That means there is plenty of opportunity for Glacier and Roscoe to have some fun.
This afternoon, while I was trying to do my sit-ups on the hall floor, the two crazy labradors engaged in a crazy, frenzied battle in the living room. There was plenty of snorting, growling and racing about; so much so, I could hardly finish my workout because I was laughing so hard. After completing my 65th crunch I ran down to the living room to see what all of the commotion was about. I found the two of them fighting to the death over a tiny Barbie doll pillow. It is maybe an inch and a half in width and diameter and fit perfectly into Glacier's gigantic mouth. When I reached the crazy battle scene, Roscoe was trying to fit his mouth into Glacier's in order to get the covetted prize. Of course, I corrected them and said a very firm "no," but I must admit, I was laughing so hard I nearly fell over. Usually these two dogs can lie side by side or curled up together and you would never know there were two dogs in the room-Kyo is the sh** disturber-but for some reason today, Glacier and Roscoe just couldn't help themselves. I think Mr. K and I may need to take a stroll over to the local baseball diamond and let these two go for a good run tonight. :)