Saturday, August 30, 2014

Scary beach?

A couple of days ago, Bill and Hiker went to the beach.  It wasn't too busy, the sun was shining and the tide was out.

Within a minute of our feet touching the sand, three young children came towards us and one little girl asked, "Can we please pet your dogs?" (A thank you to all who teach their children to ask first!) With permission granted, Bill and Hiker enjoyed the attention then we walked on.  A couple of minutes later, one of the little girls ran up and asked, "Can I walk your blind dog?" Now, with Hiker, there really isn't anything required but the little girl was quite pleased to be walking the blind dog.

After the girl left us to our adventure, Bill found his very own island.

 Then Hiker found a jelly fish. 

They had great fun running in the water and exploring.

On the way back to the car, Hiker suddenly decided that there was too much going on.  She began to shy away from seaweed on the sand, then away from the waves coming in. Then there were smells in the sand that seemed to startle her.  

It got to the point where Hiker refused to walk. No amount of verbal encouragement, no amount of pats on the shoulder (our usual methods to get through "scary places") would work.  What to do with a 30 pound blind dog that refuses to walk? Yes, I picked her up, wet and covered in sand and carried her to the car. 

We will go the beach again and if required, Hiker will be carried past the "scary" parts.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Molly update

Our black lab Molly who is guest/foster/boarder...not sure what to category she falls in!  For now, we'll just consider her a foster.  

Molly came to us about three weeks ago and has calmed down considerably. Thank goodness for that! She was beyond hyper when she arrived and didn't respond to anything, not even her name.  There is still a lot of work to be done but the potential is there. 

For the first couple of weeks, Molly wasn't expected to do much except settle in and observe. She was initially hand shy, in a manner that made me think that she had been pushed away frequently. As she observed the pack receiving many pats, cuddles and hugs, her habit of shying away disappeared.  Molly will now do what the rest of the pack does and rest her head on a lap and lean in for some attention.

Molly now easily goes into her crate and will sit quietly while meals are being served, she has figured out the "sit" command to get a half of an unsalted soda cracker with peanut butter and is learning "drop it".  The appeal of items of clothing is very strong.  So far only one casualty - a sock with a hole chewed in it. She is fast!

The chuck-it ball is still a favourite but is now being left more often for a Kong or a Nylabone. She loves to chew both and is more settled and therefore chewing more and not running around almost continuously. 

Molly and Chuck
The wild and rambunctious wrestling sessions with Trail continue and often times, Brook will try and join in. Brook gets knocked around a bit since she is so much smaller and blind and partly deaf but she stays with it true to her tough Australian Cattle Dog breed.

We are seeing more of these relaxed times.

Bill, Molly and Trail
I've only had contact with Molly's former owner once she moved into our home.  I doubt that I will see him again and the plan continues to be for Molly to be re-homed, likely in the spring.  She is a wonderful dog and as I said before, it isn't that we don't want her, she isn't what we want. If we are to add another dog to the pack, it will be a special needs. For now, we are very happy to have Molly with us.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trail's day

A couple of days ago, it was all about Trail. Almost the entire day.  We started out with a visit to the vet to have his right knee and weight checked. Trail is down four pounds to a nice 50.8 pounds. 

Trail's back legs tend to be very straight and he walks and runs slightly stiff-legged. We've had him to the vet previously for a check but he has developed a slight limp so we wanted that checked. It is not something that photographs well, but take a look.

For comparison, here are Bill's back legs.

Trail will have some x-rays taken this fall to see what is going on with his legs and to also have a starting point in case anything develops further.  In case you are wondering, yes, this was something that the rescue and his foster Mom told me about prior to adoption.

After our vet visit, we ventured to the city. (For you trivia buffs: the only city here on the island has a population of just over 34,500.)  Once there, we headed to the waterfront and checked out the latest cruise ship arrival.

Then wandered around the yacht club to see how other people travel.

We just had to get a picture with the cow in front of the Cows Ice Cream shop. 

They claim it is the best ice cream on the island (locally made) and the other side of the building claims the best in Canada. It is yummy but we didn't get any this time.

While we were wandering, I was surprised at the number of people who stopped to comment on and pet Trail. We even had some city workers stop their truck and ask about him. Everyone said variations of the same thing - he's such a handsome boy!  Of course Trail was his usual charming self and loved the attention.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Big Step

Have you ever taken a photograph and found it too funny to not share?  One of those that you just have to show somebody?

I know some people think it probably isn't nice to laugh at a little blind and partly deaf dog happens. You have to. Our vet suggested it when Hiker was adopted. "If you don't laugh you'll feel sorry for her and she won't do anything. As long as she is no danger, find the humor and treat her as a normal dog."  That is how both Brook and Hiker have been treated and as you know, they do almost everything a "normal" and sighted dog does.

The look on (blind and partly deaf) Brook's face as she contemplates heading outside from the barn is too funny to not share.  In fairness to her, it IS a big step. One which she can easily navigate.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Mischief

When the weather is nice, there is no better place to dry laundry than outside.  Unless you have an inquisitive and boisterous black lab named Molly like we do. 

While hanging laundry yesterday, Molly grabbed a t-shirt out of the basket and ran. The freshly laundered and damp t-shirt was no longer clean.

Molly of course thought this was great fun. A new toy (in her opinion) and a game of chase with a human! She is learning the command "drop it" and with a little help opened her jaws and let it go. 

Trail watched the whole episode with interest and then checked on the condition of the shirt. 

No harm done, the shirt is, as I type this, in the washing machine again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Broken and Cracked Teeth

Bill was at the vet yesterday to have his broken canine tooth removed and I was told that I could check in with them around 3:00 pm to see how he was.  Before I had a chance to call the clinic, they called me. When they were cleaning Bill's teeth they discovered that he also had two cracked teeth, one with the pulp showing.  

I had wondered if his bug catching was a possible cause of the broken canine tooth since his teeth come together with such force as he chases and catches bugs.  Now with the addition of two other teeth being damaged, I suspected there was another cause.  In speaking with the veterinarian, we determined that it is likely from chewing on antlers.  Since the antlers are so hard they could damage teeth. Like humans, some dogs have softer teeth.  

We will now be trying softer chew items, so a trip to town and the big store is planned soon.

Meanwhile, Bill is home, being kept quiet and recovering. (just another excuse to lay outside in the sunshine)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chuck and Molly

Our deaf boy Trail found the blue "chuck-it" ball when he arrived and it has become his most favorite toy. No other ball will do, it has to be the ball now known as Chuck.  Then along came Molly. She also found Chuck and they have become almost inseparable. Uh-oh. Two Chuck obsessed dogs and only one Chuck.

Yes, we went and found another Chuck.

Now we have two Chucks and two happy dogs.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A toothache

Our Bill has a toothache.

Here is why -

See what is missing?

Yes, Bill has broken off one of his canine teeth.  Not sure how.  The only contributing factor is that he is a bug catcher and a noise often heard outside is his teeth clicking as he catches bugs.  Possibly he had cracked the tooth after repeated snaps and it finally broke off.  We don't know. What we do know is that he is having the remainder removed tomorrow.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A black lab

A couple of days ago, at work, one of the front end staff called me:

“There is a gentleman here who is looking for someone to take his dog. Would you like to talk to him?”

I went up to the front of the store and followed the elderly man out to the parking lot and heard his story.  He said that it was just him and the dog. Last winter was really hard on him with all the snow so he had decided to move to a senior’s residence.  (He did say that he was only staying for the winter but we all know that it is not a seasonal residence. He will be staying) The man went on to say that he had been asking around but “nobody wants her.” 

Further conversation revealed that his dog was a 14 month old black lab named Molly that he had gotten as a puppy.  (Lets not even bother with why an elderly person gets a puppy) She had broken the chain he “put her out on” a couple of times and went to the neighbor’s dog to play. “The neighbor don’t want her either.”

I asked about Molly’s health - “real good”  and was she spayed? Yes. 

Well, you know where this going, don’t you?

I told him that he could get in touch with me at the store, expecting sometime in October/November.  

An hour later, he returned with Molly for me to take her home.  He said, “I just want to get this done and I am afraid that you’ll change your mind.”

Between you and me, I think that he was overwhelmed with such a young and rambunctious dog. My main thought through all this was that the man was desperate and I was afraid that he would give her to the first person who would take the leash (which is actually what did happen) and who knew what type of person or home she would end up with. At least here, she will have a warm, dry and safe inside place to be, a large, secure fenced area to play and regular nutritious meals. On top of that, there are playmates, lots of love and of course, the treats.

I met the man the following day and I brought her home.  

Molly does not know anything. Nothing. I’m not sure she was called by name very often since there is no reaction. She is, however, a very typical, lovable and very rambunctious lab.

There is going to be a lot for her to learn but I know we can do it.

So far, Trail loves her (somebody his size), Brook is excited, Bill is nervous, Hiker does not really care and Callie is annoyed.  The reactions are about what I expected.

A few people have commented that I might never see the man again. I realize that. My primary goal in this is to help Molly. If I don’t see the man again – all I have is his name, nothing else – then I will, at some point, re home her. It isn’t that I don’t want her forever, it is, as I always said about our foster dogs, she/he is not who I would chose to add to our home.

For now, she is staying with us and will learn to be a part of the pack and learn basic obedience.  We’ll keep you posted and have better pictures of her too!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Trail and the creek

Just in case you only glanced at the title, no, creek is not the name of a new addition! A name like that would certainly fit though, wouldn't it?!

The creek we are referring to is the creek on our property.  

I decided to venture out the back with Trail, through the overgrown fields to the wooded acreage.  As we approached the creek, we thought of Blueberry due to what we saw on the remains of a beaver dam.

It isn't Mr. Bill, but a Santa toy.  Likely from the tenant's dog or maybe just maybe the coyotes have toys?

Trail was very interested in the creek.

"Should I go in?"
Once he got his feet wet, there was no stopping him.

Of course, after a swim, there is nothing better than a roll in the grass.

Since Trail is deaf and the entire acreage is not fenced, we had to leave the leash attached but that didn't bother him at all.  Note to self for next time: use two or three roaming leads.

Friday, August 01, 2014


Hiker loves dirt. She doesn't eat it like Bill does, she just likes to lay in it. 

It wasn't quite to her liking after resting for a while, likely due to how hot it was in the sunshine.

Some human assistance made it more comfortable.

Then along came a friend to hang out.

That is how a blind dog spends the afternoon when it is too hot to go to the beach.