Saturday, January 24, 2015

Letters to my Crew

We're participating in a blog hop started by Murphy & Stanley called "Letter to my Dog".

In no particular order:

Dear Napolean,
When I brought you home I wasn't nearly prepared for the big personality you would eventually grow into. I had no idea that cats could be so cool. You are almost more dog-like than cat-like, which just makes me adore you even more. It's been an interesting ride trying to figure out your food allergies, but because of this you helped me learn a whole lot about dog and cat food. I'm also really sorry that you hate going to the vet, as a young kitten you had nothing but bad experiences there. However, I do really appreciate that you let me treat you at home be it blood draws or vaccines, and I am thankful you are easy to medicate. You are the best cat I have ever had, you're also the only one I've ever had to make it well into adulthood. I love you buddy!

Dear LiLo,
When I decided to take you on I had no idea of the things I wanted in a dog, I just thought you were super smart and that you would turn into a great dog. I had no idea that you would turn out to be insecure with new people, I did what I thought would be helpful - taking you places and have positive introductions. Over time I just realized that dealing with strange people just wasn't your thing. You turned out to be a wonderful companion, I love how reliable you are off-leash and how well you listen [most of the time]. I'm sorry if you feel like the third wheel sometimes, but I really enjoy having you around.

Dear Seth,
What do I even say? You came into my life when I tragically lost my cat Pause. When I saw you at the counter I just had a feeling that I wanted to take you home. It wasn't anything in particular that you did, I just wanted to have you. You are an absolute dork and I love that about you. I love how easy going you are, I love how gentle you are when you jump on me [or other people haha]. There's just something about you, you are my heart dog and I am completely sure I will never find another dog like you.

Dear Seppel,
I feel extremely fortunate that our paths crossed. I never thought I would own a Pit Bull. I admired them when I was younger, but quickly realized that the bull headed/terrier type mentality was not for me. I was not sure what I was going to do with you when you came here. That first year was pretty rough when we were learning about each other. I'm so glad you are the way that you are. Because of you I am able to participate in a sport that I have admired since 2010. Although your impulsiveness drives me nuts sometimes, and, you kind of freak me out when other people get you wound up - you are an awesome dog. You have completely turned me on to the Pit Bull breed. I love your big personality and your willingness to overcome hardships. You inspire me.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

FHO X-rays: Then and Now

I noticed yesterday that Seppel seemed a little bit off. He still seemed that way this morning as well so I felt him up and his iliopsoas muscle is sore. He's always been really hard to read as far as pain goes. [Well, if you poke him with a needle or cut his nails too short he is pretty clear about that!]

Anyway, it kind of freaked me out so I x-rayed Seppel's hips. It was a good idea anyway because we are 1.5yrs out!

Here is Seppel's x-ray before surgery, it's a crappy cell phone pic, I should email myself the xrays - I just have been to lazy to do so.
The hip on the left [his right] is the bad one.

Xray after Surgery.

Xray Today.
As you can see, everything has healed really well. My boss says his good hip looks great and that he is probably just experiencing muscle soreness. You can see in the x-ray from today that he has gained most of his muscle mass back, although the right leg is still slightly smaller than his left one. I am really happy that his good hip is still good!

I'm going to give him some nsaids for a few days and rest him [to the best of my ability]. The guy just doesn't stop. Here's a little #tbt action, back to his surgery day in June of 2013:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

He's Impulsive, I'm Impulsive.

I thought I would get a little bit real today and talk a little bit about myself.

I can be a very impulsive person, I'm also really impatient. Generally speaking when I want to do something I want to do it now, and get it done now.

A friend of mine is planning a breeding for September of this year. Her dog is the #1 apbt bitch in the country, #4 in UKC. I contacted her and started to get the ball rolling on placing a deposit.

I talked to my dad about it a little bit, and in not so many words he did not seem nearly as excited as I was about it. He said he would think about it.

I convinced myself that this was a good idea. I had it all thought out in my head, I mean, the puppy would not come home until early 2016, so there is a lot of time to get things done.

Things I thought up:
-Seth and Seppel will be 7yrs old this year, so they are both getting older.
-I can get Seppel's BH this year, as well as his IPO 1, and if we didn't get the IPO 1 we could just get protection titles.
-I could start the puppy next year and start it the right way for IPO and OB.
-One more dog would not be that much work, nor would it cost me that much extra.

It all sounds well and good, but I came home to talk about it more with my dad. He didn't REALLY say no, but the way he went about it, I knew it would not be a good idea to pursue it. He brought up a good point - we need to get two of the rooms in our house organized and go through some of my mom's things before I think about taking on another dog.

Also, after really thinking about it, getting another dog right now would not be fair to the dogs that I have. I have spent the last two years investing time and training into Seppel. If I got another dog for IPO, a lot of the focus on Seppel would be taken away. Let us also not forget Seth and LiLo. Seth could go for another OB title, I have also been working on some obedience with LiLo and it's something that she could potentially do a little bit of. As it is, working full time, especially when the weather is crappy can make it hard to get my dogs out for exercise. I do have the slat mill but nothing compares to a good game of ball. If I added a 4th dog to the mix that be just one more dog that would need exercise and mental stimulation.

I realize now that it was incredibly selfish of me to think that getting a puppy was a good idea. I have three dogs that I can do things with. The biggest kick for me was that it was going to be an awesome breeding, with health testing, and I would probably get a really fabulous dog out of the deal.

This is a great lesson in patience for me. I know that when the time is right, I will get my next dog. I shouldn't be in a rush, Seppel sure isn't slowing down any time soon. It's important to be realistic about your lifestyle, your time, and your goals.

Here are a few pictures from training today:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

1.5yrs after FHO Surgery

I haven't made an FHO update post in a while. I suppose it's because everything has been going well and not much has changed. *knock on wood*

Seppel has been doing GREAT! His FHO leg has not slowed him down or stopped him from doing anything. We still drive down to Salem once a week for Protection training, we joined the Salem Schutzhund club and will start training with them this year in all of the phases of IPO.

Here is a video I took of Seppel doing bitework using my sister's GoPro:

 I still feel like I made the best decision for my dog. A few months ago he was sore on his good hip, but with some rest that went away. His knees are nice and tight, I was warned by someone who felt the FHO on their dog failed, that my dog would be blowing out a knee if we did the surgery. So far so good, everything is holding strong. I do give Seppel an Adequan injection once a month. I believe I have mentioned it before, but I give all of my dogs Adequan and they have all done really well with it. I also give them fish oil and flaxseed oil, I don't know about helping their joints  but it sure keeps their coats nice and shiny!

I wish I had other exciting things to add, but all I can say is that Seppel is doing really well. I only notice a difference when he is running - the FHO leg is a bit out of control, but other than that I hardly remember he had it done. I haven't measured his leg in a while, it is still smaller than his good leg, but you wouldn't be able to tell if I didn't point it out.

Here are a few pictures of Seppel being active that I took yesterday:

This song would be Seppel's theme music :p

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Moe's Meats, Columbia River Naturals, and Feeding Raw

This blog has been primarily about my dogs and mostly about Seppel, I was thinking that I haven't really written about what I feed my cat, why I feed it, and where I buy his food.

I feed my cat Columbia River Natural and I purchase it from Moe's Meats in downtown Portland.

I have been purchasing food from Moe's Meats since November of 2013. I've been feeding my cat raw food since sometime in 2013.

My cat Napolean has severe food allergies. When I got Napolean as a kitten he had an ear infection, we thought it was ear mites but it was just yeast. I treated his ears with different medications, a few weeks went by and he started to scratch his face, to the point he had broken off several whiskers and was creating small hot spots on his head. Our vet suggested that Napolean had a food allergy. It's been so long now, [he will be 10 this year!], but we have tried nearly any cat food you can possibly think of. He seems to react the least to fish based foods [which is a bit odd as fish is considered a common allergen], I've tried multiple prescription diets all of which contain peas, which he seems to be allergic to. We even tried going to a holistic vet who basically told me that even though my cat is allergic to chicken, that he could handle it raw and I should feed it to him. While I thought that was stupid [if you are deathly allergic to peanuts in general, would you try them prepared another way? Probably not!], I did give it a short go and my cat scratched his face off.

It was sometime in 2013 that I decided to give raw food a good solid go. My cat would not touch Instinct Raw, it smells like tea leaves - that's the best example I can give for the smell. My dog Seth won't even touch the stuff and it doesn't matter what protein you buy, it all smells the same. My local Nature's Pet carried Primal Raw and at the time they had Pheasant and Quail but they only make Pheasant now[they also have a few other proteins to choose from]. I was paying $30 for 12 days worth of food. So that was about $60 for less than a month's worth. At some point after eating the primal for several months Napolean started getting finicky and wasn't always finishing his food. He has had issues with hair balls on and off, I suspect he really wants to have IBD, so it isn't uncommon for him to occasionally not eat as well for a meal or two because he needs to hack up a hair ball. However, he was not finishing a lot of meals and unfortunately I was having to throw the food away which was a huge waste. I started googling raw food companies and found that Columbia River Natural carried ground pheasant and ground quail, they also had guinea hen.

Since we started buying from Moe's I have gotten pheasant and quail exclusively. It comes in 2lb chubs and costs me $6.75 per 2lbs. I buy 20lbs at a time and it lasts me several months which is a huge savings. I also add Evanger's Wild Salmon to his food to make it more palatable, I have not been able to convince him that raw food is totally food.

My cat does extremely well on the raw food. There is no way to tell but he seems to be allergic to meat protein in general. As I mentioned before we have tried several different kinds of food from prescription diets, to grain free, and holistic brands. Often times he could eat certain foods for a few months before he would start itching. Unfortunately a lot of the grain free dry foods all contain peas or contain similar ingredients, and even if they contain a lot of protein they still have ingredients he could be allergic to, processing has a lot to do with it as well and it's impossible to know what he's really reacting to. I will say on the cat forum I was on, everyone always said to feed raw, because it would fix everything.

Switching to raw has NOT fixed everything. Several times a year he still goes through periods of scratching, however, it is not nearly as bad as it was when he was eating canned/kibble. He doesn't get horrible ear infections anymore - which he did prior to switching to raw. He has also not had a steroid injection in a long time. For several years of his young life I had to give him a depo-medrol injection to keep the itching at bay.

I do feel that for cats, raw is a biologically appropriate food. In the future if I ever had other cats, I would feed raw. I think a lot of the allergies and urinary tract problems we see are from feeding kibble. Napolean has been blocked before, because of his allergies I could not switch him to a prescription food, I switched him to all canned which completely eliminated the crystals in his bladder. He has had no issues with crystals since he has been on raw as well.

Below are pictures of the food I am feeding. This particular chub is pheasant, the quail is a bit bloodier.

The last picture is what his food looks like when I feed it to him. I add water to it, as well as 1/4tsp miralax, and 1/4tsp of crushed up taurine. The ground raw contains organ meat[heart and liver] but I worry that there may not be enough taurine. You can't really overdose them on taurine, so I add it just to be on the safe side. You can read here about taurine deficiency. I add the miralax because commercially prepared raw foods tend to contain a lot of bone - which can lead to constipation.

Hope this helps some folks out, Moe's sells food and bones for dogs too! Their prices are really reasonable and they have been easy to purchase from, so if you are in the PNW you should check them out.

Lastly, here is the cat in question:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Life Changes and 2015 Goals

I've kind of been absent from the blog, there hasn't been much to write about by way of IPO or training or FHO recovery. However, with the new year here and a few changes in the house I finally feel like I have something to write about.

First, I'd like to talk about the life changes that have affected our household.

Back in the end of September I talked about renovation woes, my parents had an entire kitchen renovation. We turned a three room section of our house [family room, living room, kitchen] into a larger kitchen and one big great room. This kitchen renovation has changed my dogs lives significantly. The way that the house was set up before, the dogs could only access the family room and kitchen. There was a doorway into the hall that led into the living room but the dogs were not allowed to go through it. Since the renovation the dogs were allowed throughout the whole house and spent a good amount of time in my bedroom, sleeping there and being contained there when we weren't home.

The remodel was finished in November, unfortunately my mother also passed away unexpectedly the same week. The dogs had to adjust to a new house, a new routine, and had to deal with my dad and I dealing with the loss of my mom.

So, it's fair to say things have somewhat been turned upside down, which leads me to the issue I am dealing with.

About three weeks ago[sometime before Christmas], Seth went after Seppel. I *think* he was resource guarding my dad, that incident was followed by Seth growling at Seppel when Seth was getting attention from my father and Seppel came up - like he always does. Both dogs are always competing for attention but it has never gotten super jealous or violent. After that happened, a few days later we were all in bed. Seth was on my left and Seppel was on my right, I moved my legs between the two and Seth growled at me, he immediately got kicked off the bed and got into trouble. Seth has grumbled here and there at Seppel for moving around, even in the past when I was living at my grandmother's house he would grumble occasionally, but it definitely seems to have gotten a little worse. Lastly, Seth also had an incident where he growled at LiLo, I am not sure what he was guarding, no one was receiving attention, but he got all weird and whale eyed and walked off. There have also been a few issues with the sharing of dog beds.

Initially I kicked everyone off the bed. I was house-sitting for a week and my dad put them back in their old routine, Seppel in his crate at night and Seth and LiLo in the family room. He completely restricted access to my bedroom during that week. When I returned home I decided to keep it that way, but after a few days missed the dogs [oh em gee, fur mom moment!], and I also decided that I don't think the bed is the big issue.

I don't know WHY Seth is being this way. Other than the fact that our lives have been turned upside down, I can't find a good reason. Seth and Seppel are both going to be 7yrs old, so their personalities should be set. They get regular exercise everyday in the form of ball play or running on the slat mill. Since this issue has popped up I have made exercise even more of a priority.

The only thing I can think will help is spending more individual time with each dog, which brings me to the other part of my post - Goals for 2015.

Due to my mom's death I really didn't feel the holidays this year. I don't typically make resolutions or goals anyway, but I have in the past and I think it is good to help keep you focused. I've had some time to think about it so here goes:

  • Spend more individual time. Seppel goes to Salem for training once a week and has been my focus for the last two years. I need to make it a point to have days where I just take Seth somewhere and do something with him, by himself.
  • Work towards the URO3 title. I know Seth hates the ring, but I think he is capable of getting his 3rd Rally title with UKC. We can work on things like backing up, standing, and fine tune our heeling. He likes to work and he likes the treats, I can also work on making the ring more exciting for him.
  • Tracking. When Sepp and I get to go to IPO club I am hoping they will let me bring Seth with just to track, he's good at it and tracking titles are a possibility for him as well.
  • Earn his BH.
  • Earn his IPO1
  • Get his URO2
  • Work on heeling, work on the retrieve.
  • I'm always saying I want a herder. It'll either be an apbt, a doberman, or a GSD in my future. I have a herder like dog here at home who only knows tricks. This year I want to teach LiLo how to heel [she does something similar, I use the word 'wait']. 
  • I would like to teach LiLo a new trick, I haven't taught her anything new since she was young.
  • I need to spend some individual time with her as well, she never really got a chance to be an only dog and she gets put on the back burner a lot because I am not doing anything with her. She can't do obedience - too much sitting, but she is a great companion.

So this is just a few of the goals I have made for the dogs for 2015, I feel like they are mostly attainable and will hopefully help with Seth's attitude. I really would hate to become a crate and rotate household but I have had Seppel long enough that I would do it if it were necessary. I don't really think we are headed in that direction, but it's something I am aware could be a possibility. I'm really hoping this will all blow over peacefully.