More Doggy Stuff

These are answers to questions asked by people after my last post in which I TRY to help out with frequently asked dog related questions (All answers courtesy of Google I am not an expert!)

 

How Do I Safely Remove Weeds From My Garden Without Harming My Dog?

First try tipping boiling water onto the weeds, straight from the kettle. Or if the weeds are between slabs use a pressure washer if you have one.

Syringe bleach down to the root of the weed, do this at night after late night toilet time giving a good 8 hours to work then hose thoroughly first thing in the morning.

You can burn the weeds by using a weed burner or blow torch.

Use a groove knife to remove the plants by hand and at the root.

If that doesn’t work spray them with vinegar. It contains acetic acid but be careful of overspray it will kill all plants, it is not selective to weeds. Keep the dogs inside and spray in full sun.

Vinegar and salt should ensure that the root is killed too, so no regrowth.

Adding washing up liquid won’t make the solution more efficient but its stickiness helps the solution adhere to the weeds instead of just running away.

The quantities would be

1 gallon of vinegar

1cup of salt

1 tablespoon of washing up liquid.

 

Sugar is good for killing bushes and vines which are difficult to pull out. (Add chili powder to stop it from attracting insects) Just sprinkle around the root.

Cornmeal has a chemical called a pre-emergent which stops plants germinating this will kill the weeds but not affect nearby plants.

I spent some time looking for a product that you can buy which is GUARANTEED to be not harmful to pets. I couldn’t find a definitive one so can’t recommend. If anyone knows of one I would be really interested.

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If you have to use a manufactured weed killer read the instructions to the letter and keep pets away for as long as possible. Cover the area if the product permits and don’t leave your dog unsupervised for at least three days.

Hope this helps. Back with more later. Throw any questions my way and I will gladly try to find out for you

Just Doggy Stuff

I often have to look up things on the internet about my dogs and thought it would be handy to post some of the answers. I will choose a couple of topics each day, please feel free to add any interesting questions in the comments section and we can learn together.

Why do dogs bury bones?

I always found it strange that my well-fed dog would desperately look for a place to bury a bone, treat or a new toy. Well, it’s instinct from thousands of years ago, when scavenging dogs found plenty of food they would hide some for the following day. The reason they buried it was to put it in a cold place away from sunlight to preserve it for longer and also to keep it hidden from view, it is a dog version of our modern fridge. Some breeds bury more than others. The dachshund has short legs, great for burrowing and hunting badgers which they were originally bred for.

Why do Dogs Eat Grass?

It’s a worry when you see your dog eating grass but unless it is excessive, in which case you need to see a vet, it’s nothing to worry about. Dogs do this sometimes to make themselves sick. Like humans, dogs know that they feel better after vomiting. The long blades that they choose to eat tickle the back of their throats to induce vomiting.They also do it to relieve gas or gastrointestinal upsets. Some vets believe that they eat grass to make up for a nutritional deficiency or even just because they like the taste.You don’t need to stop the dog eating grass, he will know instinctively what type to eat, usually the dark green long grass close to a fence or tree where the lawnmower has missed.The dog will spend time sniffing around finding the perfect blades of grass to eat. Just make sure the area isn’t treated by pesticides and check for slugs and snails which are harmful.

 

The Long and Short of it.

It’s approaching two years since Darcy came to stay with us. Sometimes I feel like my training fell upon deaf ears, which anyone with a dachshund will experience on a day-to-day basis. Ask them to stop barking at next doors cat  for the umpteenth time and they happily ignore you , but one creak of the biscuit tin lid  and they will hear it from a mile away.

We had long-haired standard dachshunds in the past which we trained from nine weeks old. The house would always be filled with (other people’s) children and I never had a moments worry about the temperaments  of these two, they came on holiday with us and generally slotted in to a busy household.

So, you would think that the addition of a mature short-haired miniature rescue  dachshund  wouldn’t be too different?

How wrong could I be?

They were not just like a completely different breed but a totally different species

Here is a brief description of the behaviour characteristics of the mini dachsie

“This breed is intelligent but not particularly easy to train since it has a curious nature and a mind of its own. It can be very difficult to overcome the hunting instinct and train the dog to come when called. Early socialisation is required in order for it to learn to get along with cats and other dogs. Socialisation will also help it overcome its natural wariness with strangers.”

Ok, that’s not too bad

Now throw into the mix :-

A dog who has been unsocialised and kept in a kennel environment and used as a stud dog.

A dog with no sign of recall, he didn’t even have a name.

A dog who was unwanted, neglected and abandoned by all four of his previous owners.

So actually Darcy has adapted well considering his genetics and unfortunately bad start in life. His separation anxiety is improving, he is house trained (as long as it isn’t raining) and there is now a moment’s hesitation before he sinks his teeth into you.

Unfortunately he still  guards his toys with his life, gets easily anxious with unfamiliar people  and can be extremely stubborn.

Mr Darcy1

I hope the next two years can bring further training advancement and enjoyment to Darcy’s life, he has certainly enriched ours and he makes me smile every day. He will never be perfect but he is to us and that is all that matters.

 

What is that you have brought home?

When we lost Alfie suddenly, one of my main concerns was for Holly, who was his constant companion for the whole of his nine years,  They did everything together sleep, eat they even pooed in unison! Holly was the oldest and definitely the boss but Alfie was her protector and soul mate, I can honestly say that they never had the slightest tiff.

It wasn’t  like that in the beginning, far from it!. Holly was five and had got far too clingy with me. It was lovely to have such a devoted dog but I was  worried for her. She seemed to be forgetting that she was a dog , just focusing her whole life around me. She is a chihuahua mix and reading about the breed they do tend to attach themselves to just one person.

So, I set out to find a friend for her. At the time I wasn’t involved in dog rescue and I’m ashamed to say that we bought Alfie from a breeder. I am cringing as I write this but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

We chose a puppy who would grow to a similar size as Holly , with a very laid back temperament.

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If I’m totally honest it wasn’t just Holly I wasn’t thinking of, my daughter had left home and I had a very bad case of empty nest syndrome.  The desire for a puppy in my life was like a physical need, a pain in my stomach that would only heal by the smell of puppy breath!

We bought Alfie home and introduced him to Holly outside the house on neutral ground just like the books tell you to.  Holly took one look at this tiny ball of black and white fluff  bouncing all over the place and bared her teeth. She hated him!

I was so concerned about Holly hurting the puppy I kept them separate  and only let the two meet under strict supervision. To say I was worried was an understatement, I could never see Holly accepting Alfie, What had I gone and done?

Three days after he arrived I was doing some housework and became preoccupied. I looked into the garden and there they both were….playing! I must have left one of the doors open. I can’t tell you how relieved I was . Holly had accepted Alfie and they were never apart until he died of cancer in April this year.

The Healing and Therapeutic Power of Dogs

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This is a guest blog by my daughter….

You’ve already been introduced to Rosie my 5-year-old Cavapoo who came into our lives in 2012. Little did I know when we decided to get a puppy just how important she would become to my wellbeing and how much she would help me through some extremely difficult times.

Having been married for a year we decided that the time was right to add to our family with a four-legged friend. Having grown up with dogs it was very exciting to be getting one of our own, the addition of a puppy seemed to make our house a home.

We had spent some time choosing the perfect breed for us. One which ideally didn’t shed too much (as my hubby has a phobia of pet hair) and a pup that would fit in with our lifestyles. It didn’t occur to me that the dog we chose would become a source of therapy and support.

It was a year or so later when we first realized that growing our family wasn’t going to be straight forward for us and that four-legged babies may be the best that we could hope for.

Throughout the rollercoaster of emotions that infertility brings Rosie has been my rock. I call her ‘mummy’s angel’ and she is just that. When I’ve been at my lowest she has seemed to just know! She would come and wrap her front legs around my neck, hugging me just like a human would do. She is by my side through thick and thin and picks me up when I’m feeling down.

Infertility really knocks the confidence and can make you feel inferior, incapable and very low, but the beauty of a dog is that no matter how you feel about yourself, they accept you and adore you unconditionally.

I’m not a particularly spiritual person but I do believe that she was sent to me, to help me through what was to be a difficult time. She gives me strength when times are hard and reminds me that although we don’t have babies of our own I am the centre of her little world and she sees me as her mum.

It’s difficult to explain to someone who isn’t a dog lover just how strong the dog/owner bond can be and I would imagine that some would find it strange that a dog has provided me with comfort and support through such hard times just by being there.

It’s not surprising to me that dogs are used for therapy in children’s hospitals and retirement homes. They can help lift the spirits of a person receiving end-of-life care and can calm young children with autism or behavioural difficulties.

Rosie is the most affectionate dog that I have ever known and I honestly can’t remember life without her. If we never have a baby of our own I feel sure that I have then next best thing!

If you ask me dog therapy should be made available on prescription!

IMG_20170112_203942_978Mummy’s Angel 🙂

Because They Are Worth It

The Power of The Dog

by

Rudyard Kipling

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair, –
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent,
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long –
So why in – Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

 

A beautiful poem that asks the question;

Why do we subject ourselves to the heartbreak  of losing a dog?

When a pet dies the grieving process is hard to describe , but many have been there, vowed to never go through such heartbreak again, then welcomed another into their hearts. I interpret this as, the person equates the happiness gained in his or her life from the companionship of a dog , is more powerful than the devastating grief of losing one.

We grieve because the dog was there when we wake up and when we go to sleep, there when we depart and there when we arrive. The dog has never judged you as a person, said harsh words or deliberately hurt you. He has been by your side through good times and bad, seen you at your very worst yet still gives unconditional love.

Can we say that about a family member, spouse or friend?

So that’s why we repeat the process of dog  ownership over and over again.

Because they are worth it.

 

Do Dogs Dream?

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Anyone who has ever sat beside a dog pawing the air, growling and yapping whilst supposedly fast asleep will have no doubt that dogs dream.

And experts agree.

They believe that dogs enter the R.E.M stage of sleep just like we do. That is the deep sleep or Rapid Eye Movement stage when we have those bizarre , memorable dreams that can often wake us up. It usually happens when the dog has been sleeping for twenty minutes.

But what are they dreaming about?

Chasing rabbits, warning burglars or digging holes?

Maybe, but some people believe that our dogs dream of us! They see our faces and dream about making us happy! How brilliant is that?

They also play out the previous days thoughts and experiences just like we do.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

The old saying holds a great deal of truth. Just like us ,if a dog is disturbed in the middle of a dream it can easily snap  and children should be taught to not touch a sleeping dog.It is a natural and healthy reaction , not to be confused with bad behaviour. If a dog seems to be having a nightmare , wake by saying his name softly.

A Dogs Life

Fast asleep and curled up small

I dream of running to catch a ball

The sun is shining, the grass is green

My nose tells me where a fox has been

From up above the birds say hello

I give a reply, then off they go

Another dog enters my space

I smell his fur and he licks my face

Then a new smell enters my nose

Chicken, gravy and roast potatoes

Wake up!  Wake up!

I cannot miss!

Hot chicken and gravy in my dish

Then a small nap I will yearn

I close my eyes and my dreams return.

 

Pet Names, How Do You Choose?

Labs

HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A NAME FOR A PET?

Is it down to taste?  emotional attachments to the name?, or do you think your pet looks like a Ben or Lady?

The most common pet names for 2016 are: –

Max                                                                              Ben

Bella                                                                             Alfie

Charlie                                                                         Sam

Bailey                                                                           Bobby

Daisy                                                                             Lucy

My own dogs are called Holly because she was born on Christmas Eve and Mr Darcy because he was an unwanted rescue and I wanted him to have a name to be proud of. We recently lost our boy Alfie who was named just because it suited him.

I also have nick names for my dogs which naturally evolve over time. I fostered a Jack Russell with a black mark in the middle of his head and he became Spotty Man. I could not possibly repeat the names I have for Darcy!

I do tend to go for old-fashioned names with a comical twist, there was a guinea pig called Mabel and a house rabbit called Albert. The hamster who lived to a grand old age was called Malcolm. There was also a grey rabbit called Macy (not the most original I must admit).

Paris Hilton has owned Chihuahuas called Tinkerbell and Peter Pan. Barack Obama has a Portuguese Water dog simply called Bo. We don’t tend to hear the more traditional nonhuman names like Patch, Rover, Spot and Lady these days. If you think the pet will bring a source of luck to you then Lucky is an option, especially if the pet has come from a rescue situation. Maybe something more unusual like Bijou, Latte or Phoenix?

Experts tell us to pick a short, snappy name that the pet can easily pick up. Watch out for names that sound like a command i.e. No and Joe. Consider the pet size and personality when they are fully grown and of course don’t pick a name you would be ashamed of shouting in public!

Don’t Overlook the Golden Oldies

My experience in dog rescue bought to light how overlooked the more mature dogs were when it came to be considered for adoption. I completely agree that a puppy comes with no emotional baggage, can be trained easily and after all who doesn’t love a puppy?

Having said that, choosing to adopt a rescue puppy is so much better than going to a breeder so highly commendable, but in some instances a mature dog might actually be a better decision.

MICKEY

I fostered Mickey an eight year old Yorkshire Terrier who had been handed in to rescue because family priorities had changed. Mickey had never been abused, he had never known hunger or felt the cold. However he did know what it was like to go from being the star of the show to practically invisibile once the children came along.

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A lovely , newly retired couple adopted Mickey. They had hit a void in their lives when their previous dog died and they had time on their hands. Its hard going from a busy working life, routine and structure to suddenly having endless hours to fill. Adopting Mickey gave their lives a focus, they gained from the exercise of dog walks, made new doggy friends and felt a great sense of satisfaction that this little dog had regained a loving home. They had rehomed a dog who was house trained , fully grown and extremely unlikely to start eating the furniture. Mickey was happy to be the main attraction once again and flourished in his twilight years. Six years later and Mickey and his adopted parents are still really happy, Mickey is a sprightly fourteen year old and still in good health. So it was a win, win situation for all concerned.

I know the main concern of adopting an older dog is;

‘Why did he end up in rescue?’.

Well, in lots of circumstances it is absolutely no fault of their own.

When you buy or adopt a dog you have to make a fifteen year commitment and its a long time; things change, families evolve, relationships fail and sometimes people have no choice but to surrender a much-loved pet

To be more certain of a dogs needs go to one of the many rescues who keep their dogs in a home environment with a fosterer. This way any problems come to light whilst the dog is under assessment and will be tested with children, cats, other dogs etc and any medical conditions will come to light.

This is a poem I wrote to highlight the plight of older dogs in rescue.

The kennels were quiet

Now the gates were closed

The puppies had left for forever homes

Old Patch and Old Billy remained in their pen

Not surprised to be staying again

Their eyes were cloudy

Their muzzles grey

The people would stop then just walk away

For Old Patch and Old Billy there was no surprise

They didn’t want oldies, loyal and wise

They wanted the young ones

Eager and small

But the years weren’t always kind to them all

So, next time you visit with a new home in sight

Consider the oldies and their sorry plight

For Old Patch and Old Billy deserve a break

Their eyesight is failing

Their muscles ache

Next time you visit there is your match

Look no further

Than Old Billy and Old Patch