Monday, 12 December 2011

Santa is coming soon....

With Christmas coming soon I figured it is probably time to post Santa Pictures.   Most people who know me, also know that Christmas is not my favourite time of year.   I am more of a bah humbug type of person, but when it comes to the dogs, any opportunity to have their pictures taken, I am there.   Hence the pictures with Santa, oh and let's not forget, the money goes to a good cause since it is a PEI Humane Society Fundraiser.

This year I may be softening a bit on the whole Christmas fiasco.   My tree has been up for a week now, which is odd to say the least and the house is decorated.   Most years the tree only gets put up the week before Christmas and taken down Boxing Day.  No doubt my friends are secretly planning an intervention to determine why the change.   So far the dogs haven't knocked it down, although there was a close call last week.   A friend dropped by and I was showing her the tree and Maddie thought it would be a good idea to walk behind it.   She had no trouble getting in behind it on one side, but getting out was a bit tricky.   She is not a small dog, and there is not much room behind the tree for her to turn around.  Her only option was to come out the other side, still tricky, cause one false move and that whole tree was coming down.   Thankfully she made it, the tree shook slightly, but remained standing, whew!    

Dexter is afraid of the tree, but the Santa that Mike brought home seems to be bothering him for some reason or another.   We have placed it on the mantle, up high so they don't destroy it but Dexter is obsessed with him.   He is constantly jumping up, barking at it and seems to think it does not belong in the house.  The first night he was put out Dexter spent more than an hour, watching him, barking at him, jumping up to sniff him.    I keep waiting for the day I come home and poor Santa will be destroyed and Dexter will have accomplished his mission.  Fingers crossed that he will survive the season.   


Dexter and Phoebe's pictures are from Christmas past.   They were taken in 2009, but Maddie's was taken this year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Winter is slowly creeping in....

Today's post will be short and sweet, who knew coming up with new stuff would be so hard.   Winter is not my favourite time of year because the days are just too short.   Maddie loves winter, because she loves the snow.   That first snow a few weeks back had her pretty excited of what was to come.   Dexter is not so fond of the snow, he would prefer to be snuggled on the couch and Phoebe can take it or leave it, although she does stay outside longer than Dexter.   

Thankfully when we built the house we installed light to light up the whole back yard.  Just because the days are short, doesn't mean the dogs have to stumble around the yard in the dark.   I hate to admit it, but I kinda wished that first snow stayed with us.   Selfishly, of course, because the alternative to snow, is mud patches in the yard, mud which all three dogs bring into the house.   They must figure that I am not busy and have loads of time to be scrubbing the floors every day and washing the blankets that cover the couches.   

And with winter comes Christmas.   Ok, so now we are entering the message part of my post.    I love my dogs, and I would not give them up for the world.   If someone said to me, "It's me or the dogs.", my response would be, "I will miss you."   Thankfully, my husband has the same attitude.   I also believe that everyone's life would be better with a dog and Christmas is time for giving gifts, but  pets do not make good gifts.    Pets are a lifetime commitment and a lot of work.   That puppy that you are giving will need to go outside many times through the night until they learn to control their bladder.    They also require exercise to keep them from getting bored.   Let's not forget the teething stage, shoes are chew toys, as are the legs of chairs, tables, remotes, phones, pretty much anything makes a good chew toy for a puppy unless you are there to redirect.   What is cute on Christmas day, may not be so cute a few months down the road, when your stuff has been destroyed and you are suffering from sleep deprivation.   This is just a phase and with time and patience, everyone gets through it, but is the recipient of the gift prepared to give this time and patience.    If you are considering giving a puppy as a gift, make sure the recipient is on board and is aware of the work involved in raising that puppy.     Mind you, once the commitment is made and the work is done, the end result is priceless.    

That's my message, until next time....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Introducing Maddie.

We did not plan on getting a third dog, but sometimes the best things happen unplanned.   Maddie came from NewMarket, Ontario, she was the last one left of her litter.    The breeders were considering keeping her as their own, cause she was just that cute, but luckily for us we were able to get her.   They had nicknamed her “mattie”, cause she was always chewing and playing with the mats in their house, that should have been a sign of what we were in for.    We didn’t want to change her name, so we named her Madeline, and called her Maddie.   

A friend had picked her up for us and make the long trek from Ontario to PEI with his own puppy and ours.   She arrived at our house at 4:00 am. I am pretty sure everyone in the neighbourhood knew that Maddie had arrived.   For a tiny dog, she sure had a set of lungs.  I think the shock of seeing two bigs dogs bounding out into the yard to meet her may have scared her a bit, because as soon as she saw Dexter and Phoebe the screaming started.   I have never heard a dog scream before Maddie came along.   I will later learn that Maddie is very vocal, she is not a barker, but she sure is a talker.    Dexter and Phoebe welcomed her into the family.  

Maddie is the complete opposite of Phoebe, in colour and in attitude.   Phoebe has a quiet about her, she has a calm personality.   Maddie on the other hand, she has energy, and lots of it.    If she wasn’t torturing Dexter, she was torturing Phoebe.   I couldn’t walk across the room with Maddie chasing my pant legs, oh and catching them too.  

She arrived in July so the beach was one of her first adventures.  At the beach we learned that Maddie has no fear.   She ran out into the water, not realizing that there were waves and she was still pretty tiny.   She no more got into the water and the waves rolled her back, when I say rolled, I mean the waves literally rolled her, she was tumbling back to shore.   I had thought that maybe that would have made her afraid of the water, I was wrong, five minutes later she goes back in to tackle those waves again.     She still loves the beach and has mastered swimming.   

I always say Maddie walks to the beat of her own drum.   Up until recently I wasn’t even sure whether she liked us, because she never sat still long enough to get any attention.  Even when she is sleeping she is tossing and turning, always on the move.   And she was a digger, always digging holes in the yard.   I would fill the holes in and she would watch me and then dig again when I was finished.  

The summer we got Maddie was also the summer we built our house.   We moved into the  house in late October, and it was a very rainy October/November.   We soon learned that Maddie loves rolling in the mud, and there was no shortage of mud in our unlandscaped back yard.   Her white fur was no longer white, even after a bath there was a pink tinge to it from the red mud.   When we went for walks to Upton farm, Maddie was always drawn to the mud puddles, there was no way of getting around them right in she would go.   

Maddie may have been tiny when she arrived, but she has been growing and growing and still growing.    She is a big girl now, with a large presence.    As she matures she is becoming more of a cuddler and actually looks for attention, but she is still walking to the beat of her own drum.   She hears, but sometimes doesn't listen.   If we open the downstairs door to let her in, she will look at us and walk up to the other door and wait for one of us to go upstairs to let her in.   

Winter is her favourite time of year, she loves the snow, and I like the fact that she stays white for a few months.  She will spend hours and hours outside.    

Now our family is complete, Dexter and his girls.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Introducing Phoebe.

In April 2009 Mike began the search for his German Shepherd.    Google had became his friend and he spent hours searching the internet for breeders nearby.    Then he stumbled upon the web site for Cedar Croft, a breeder in New Brunswick.   He called and luckily for us there was one female not spoken for.  He called me at work to say he found his shepherd, it wasn’t quite that easy though, finding her was just the beginning.    After a few phone calls and a long telephone interview we were approved to have the privilege of taking Phoebe into our home.     Phoebe had only been born a few days before, so we had to wait eight weeks before we were able to pick her up.   Eight weeks may not seem like a long time, to us it was eternity.  

Finally the day arrived for us to pick up Phoebe, the plan was we would pick her up on a Saturday so both of us could go.  The Friday before we were to go get her, Mike calls me at work to say he was heading to NB to pick up our baby.  He just couldn't wait another day.   Obviously I couldn’t just drop everything and go with him, besides, I had scheduled to take the following week off to help Phoebe adjust to our home.  He made the trip alone.   When Phoebe arrived it was love at first site.  

Even Dexter was drawn to this little black bundle.    

She was perfect, so calm and confident.   Phoebe became my little shadow, where ever I went Phoebe came with.  
Phoebe’s story is not nearly as adventurous as Dexters, she was a good puppy who matured into a great dog.  She did have one little mishap.   I was away for a week.   On the second day I get a phone call from Mike, Phoebe hurt her paw, somehow she cut her pad when she was playing outside.  Nothing major, a couple of stitches, wrapped, and a cone to keep her from licking it.   This slowed her down a bit for a few weeks.  

Oh, and let's not forget that day that she and Dexter decided to have a little fun with one of my plants.  Mike got home and there was potting soil everywhere.   He thought that by cleaning it up before I got home that I wouldn’t notice that I was missing a large tree.   Of course he blamed Dexter, but I think that it was a joint effort.   I am pretty sure it went like this:  
Dexter: Hey Phoebe, lets move this plant. 
Phoebe: Sure Dexter, sounds like a plan. 
Dexter: Darn, it fell over.  Hey, let’s just play with it, Mommy won’t mind.
Phoebe: Yeah, that would be fun... 
And the end result...

Enter the crates.    Surprisingly, the dogs actually like the crates and still like them.   
Phoebe and Dexter were best friends, they played together, they slept together and were living the good life.   

Our family was complete, we had our boy and girl.   

Or was it?   In my next post you will meet Maddie.  

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Introducing Dexter

I thought that I should give a little background on each of the fur babies.   Dexter came first, although he was not planned he certainly was special from the beginning.    As I said in my earlier post, Dexter was a freebee.   He came from a hunting pack, but I think he missed the memo on how hunting dogs live because he clearly had a different plan on how his life was going to be.   Dexter's first three months of life was spent in a barn with the rest of the pack.   Foxhounds are hunters, they are working dogs.   I think we should have explained that to Dexter.   From the beginning he was a snuggler.

In hind sight, I may have spoiled Dexter a little bit.   He was so little and so cute that I was constantly allowing him to sleep on my lap.   Seemed like a good idea at the time, but I had no idea he was going to grow into such a big boy.
Dexter also had energy to burn.   He was what some may describe as a little on the crazy side, with the running and jumping.   It is hard to explain to people who have not had puppies, but he would actually run circles in the room and sideways on the couches.    I watched many Ceaser episodes and bought lots of books to read up on how to fix this.   They all had the same answer, exercise, exercise and more exercise.   So it began, our evening trips to the dog park.    Nothing stood in the way of those trips, not rain, not snow and it was never too cold.   We made the mistake of wimping out one day, and Dexter's way of reminding us that exercise was a necessity was to chew the shingles off the barn beside our house.   Lesson learned.   Dexter had a knack for training us to exactly what he wanted.

Remember I said Dexter was a freebee, well I was soon to learn that nothing is free.   There are the expected vet bills, vaccinations, neuter, and annual exams.  Well with Dexter, there are the unexpected vet bills.   The first one was an injury, self inflicted of course.   Dexter was running so fast at Upton Farm that he forgot to put on the brakes, and he also forgot to look where he was going.   He ran smack into some poor unexpecting dog owner.  Luckily he cushioned her fall, but the screaming out of him was ungodly.   Mike and I moved pretty fast to get to him.   Nothing appeared broken, but he was limping and crying just the same.   A quick phone call to the vet, and off to the emergency clinic with him.  He was ok, no damage to his hips and no broken bones.  A $100 vet bill and pain meds and we were on our way.     
The next emergency incident is kind of embarassing.   We had gone to Halifax for the day and had someone checking in with Dexter  throughout the day, to let him out, feed him, and make sure there was water.    The last check in was 3:30 and all was well.   We arrived home at 6:30, and all appeared to be ok.  Then I noticed a chewed up package on the floor, odd, then I remembered that there was a package of birth control pills on the counter when I left and they were not there now.   Dexter ate a full month of birth control pills.  Another emergency call to the vet and off to the emergency clinic.   Something to note, birth control pills can be toxic to a dog, especially if they ingest the full month.    Stomach pumped, meds given and sent home, $200 vet bill.   
There were other trips to the vet, our first weekend camping with the dogs.  Dexter drank some water that he shouldn't have.  Phoebe knew better, one sniff and she walked away from it, Dexter on the other hand, not so bright.  After drinking the water, he immediately got sick, off to the vet, $100.   The next day that same weekend, Dexter thought he would try a piece of shrimp that my friend was planning on eating.   He kinda helped himself, allergic reaction in the form of swelling, no vet this time, thankfully there was Benedryl on hand.   We have learned that an emergency first aid kit is key to owning a dog like Dexter.    
Dexter is three now, and the vet trips are slowing down.   He still has his quirks, his unexplainable fear of pretty much everything, doors slamming, vacuum, and brooms.   He will only eat out of a certain dish which needs to be placed away from everything.   Oh, and don't forget the baying, hounds have a unique sound, not very pleasant to listen to.   He is special and we love him just the same.   
Ok, I could go on and on about Dexter, but enough about him for now.   In my next blog post you will meet Phoebe.   I am actually liking this blog idea.   The picture upload feature is troublesome for me, so no pictures today.   Until next time.