27 September, 2007

Things change

Probably because I said in my last blog post that nothing'd really changed, things changed.

The first thing that happened was that Haku brought us another dog - we're calling her Curly, and she's a very sweet little cockapoo type dog, who is now safely ensconced with Haku out by the garage. Curly will be delivered either to the humane society or to a new home soon - she needs a bath, but she's clearly the kind of dog lots of people want - cute, small, friendly and not scary at all.

By 'soon' I don't really know when I mean. Maybe a friend of ours will come out and take her home (a gift for her mom, who needs some cheering up). Or maybe we'll actually have to surrender this dog to the humane society, during their draconically limited admissions hours (9-6, but at least 7 days/week). Either way, she's going to be just fine. She deserves to have the good home that she'll find for herself.

Then, shortly after the arrival of Curly, our dog Sally started having problems. It began on a Tuesday morning at like 3am - she woke us up crying and yiping. Just lying on the bed - but yiping in a way that was clear she was serious. John stayed home with her that day - and she was yipey and stressed and clearly felt TERRIBLE. So, we called our vet and made an appointment to bring her in - Thursday morning was the soonest they could see us. In the meanwhile, our vet suggested giving her some of the Rimadyl that we had left over from Roxie's near-spay experience. That seemed to help a lot.

Thursday morning was this morning - I took Sally to her appointment, and the vet drew blood so that they could check for valley fever and tick fever, among other possible causes. Happily, Sally was feeling much better, even without any Rimadyl. So, it could've been just a muscle strain or something...at least we hope so.

We'll get some of the results of the bloodwork tomorrow or Saturday, but other tests will take longer; so it'll be maybe a couple of weeks before we have a complete picture of what's up with Sally. And, while we were there I was chatting with the vet about Roxie's situation.

Roxie is a few days away from being done with her antibiotic for her tick fever. I was under the impression that we could make an appointment for her to be re-tested, and possibly schedule her spay for very soon after that. But, our vet told us, the special, accurate tick fever test she'll have to have can take 20-30 days to come back. So, it could be another month after she's done with the antibiots before the spay can come - and that's if they worked! Otherwise, longer.

And I learned how to tell if a dog is in heat, and I can now safely report that Roxie is, in fact, in heat. She's visiting Haku often, and so, well, there you have it.
We're hoping for the best w.r.t. spay before pregnancy still, but with the possibly extra month or more of waiting, it seems very unlikely. AND our vet said 'well, you don't want to have puppies that were conceived when the mom is on doxycycline, either...'. This was followed by a facial expression that one might expect from someone who'd just sniffed poo or something icky. I'm guessing, but did not ask for confirmation of the guess, that if Roxie gets pregnant while on the antibiotics, there's a strong possibility of pups with birth defects. But, of course, we'll do our best to be sure there's no pups at all...

...but, of course, that'll be up to the universe more than it'll be up to us.

23 September, 2007

Brother and sister, night and day

In the weeks since my last post, not much has changed - but the routine has solidified. Each morning and evening, after we feed Zero, Sally & Gator, we send those guys outside and open up the door to the dog room so that Roxie, Dash and Dot can come in and eat. Well, about half the time we have to call Roxie in from the front door, due to her continuing escapes, but that's kinda part of the routine too.

Roxie rockets in, and love-pummels any human in range before settling in to eat her meal. Dash and Dot trot down the stairs, Dash being very careful that noone's behind him who might close the door and prevent him from having a clear means of escape if needed. They follow us to the kitchen while we prepare their peanut butter spoon treats (with or without hidden pills as the dosing guidelines require). Dash and Dot will follow you anywhere if you have a spoonful of peanut butter for them to lick.

Then, there's a lot of dog munching of kibble - Dash participating iff there's a clear escape route and nothing weird is happening. The other night he got fixated by a scene from Survivor: China which was randomly on the telly while dinner was being served, but mostly he just stays hypervigilant.

Then, at some point, Dot decides to play. She climbs up on the couch, or the chair or the loveseat - whichever there's more room on, and starts chewing on the blanket or pillow nearest to her nose. That's the humans' cue that they're allowed to pet her. You can sit down next to her on the couch and pet her a lot, especially if some of the petting involves tummy rubbing. She still shies away if she's just walking around and you reach for her - but playtime is petting time and she's ok with pretty much anything then.

So, clearly the Prozac is working for our little girl dog. But Dash has shown virtually no change yet. Poor puppy. He's such a sweetheart, I think maybe the most loving and gentle of the bunch. But he's still really scared. I don't know whether this means that the Prozac experiment is a bust for Dashie or if there's still hope it'll kick in in time...but I hope something will change for him soon. We need to give him some pets and kisses!

09 September, 2007

On being able to touch Dash and Dot

We are a bit more than 2 weeks into our Dash and Dot socialization project, complete with the Prozac and the coming inside to eat and all. They are now very willing to come downstairs into the main part of the house, so long as it's clear that their escape route is clear. They're eating from bowls on the living room floor, and they've even learned how fun it is to lick peanut butter off a spoon. A spoonful of peanut butter is a great place to hide a pill, so this is a very good thing. I think they may even be willing to approach a stranger, should that stranger have a spoonful of peanut butter on him/her. Or just be smeared with peanut butter.

The hard part is going back upstairs after the meals. Roxie doesn't want to go back up there, she clearly wants to stay downstairs and join the family. She's even learned to jump up on the couch and curl up as if she's always been a couch dog. So, we have to make it look like lots of fun to go back into the room, and then we need to stay with her up there for a while and give her a belly scritch.

Yesterday, while I was dutifully scritching the Roxie belly post-prandially, Dash and Dot decided to get into the fray by licking Roxie's face and generally enjoying a good tussle. So, I just reached over from Roxie's belly to Dottie's, fully expecting D to panic and stand up to shake it off. But she didn't. She let me pet her tummy, and her neck and her ears - pretty soon everyone else had walked away and I was still petting her. It took a while, but eventually she decided that this was weird, and she should leave. But it felt like a kind of a breakthrough.

And then this morning, I had sneakily put up the puppy gate in the hallway (thus blocking their escape route) while D&D (and Roxie) were still licking their peanut butter spoons. Dash and Dot got scared, and I just sat with my back at the gate and acted bored so that they would calm down and eat their kibble. John was sitting on the couch acting bored, and Roxie climbed up there with him, and also acted bored.

Dash and Dot were pretty fixated on trying to peer over the gate and stuff, so while they were distracted I took the opportunity to pet Dottie's chest and neck; she didn't even seem to notice. Dash was right there too - he let me pet him as well. As long as they were concentrating on something else, they didn't seem to mind.

So, we still have to be sneaky about it, but technically we're now able to actually touch them. Which is really good - and as the Prozac begins to kick in over the next week or so, maybe we'll start seeing more progress!

Meanwhile, Roxie's been in and out of the yard quite a bit - but she's always been around when I call her to get her tick fever medicine. And we were able to get her back to the vet to get her sutures removed from her near-spay experience. She's hanging out with Haku when she's outside, so I'll be shocked if she's not pregnant by the time we can get to the actual spay - but at least we're able to get her medicine to her on schedule, and she still thinks she's our dog.

She's a very, very, very lovable girl.