Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cherry Eye - You do not want to put these on your ice cream sundae!

If you don’t know what a cherry eye is, let me describe it to you. In most dogs it looks like there is an alien growing out of your dogs eye. About the size of a pea it is usually bright pink (hence the cherry part) and a little oozy.

Luckily this structure isn’t alien at all. Okay, it is a bit weird though. You see dogs have 3 eyelids! The same two we have plus another white one that comes up to protect the eye in an emergency.

Underneath of this cool membrane is a gland that helps make tears. In most dogs it stays hidden under there, their whole lives without a problem.

However in certain breeds (especially Cocker Spaniels and Yorkies) that gland breaks free of its ligament and POP everybody can see it.

Now it isn’t dangerous to the dog’s health at all, but if we don’t put that little gland where it is supposed to be, we can lose tears over time and create a condition called ‘dry eye’ (and yes it is itchy, scratchy, and uncomfortable as it sounds).

That’s also the reason we don’t just snip that gland out. Later in life we are going to need those tears, darn it!

So the best route is to surgically suture the gland back in place. But be forewarned. This is fragile tissue we are talking about. About 20-35% of the time, the gland pops back out and sometime whether we like it or not, we have to remove the gland rather than let it irritate the eye.

Many times before surgery we use antibiotic to quiet the inflammation and makes the dog feel more comfortable.

The moral to this blog? An alien is not living in your dog’s eye. Just have it checked out by your vet and your both will figure out how best to fix the situation!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I just said, Bad, dog, bad! The problem is…

My dogs like being called bad dogs.

It means they are one step closer to achieving world domination.

Besides, what is the point in being a good dog?

What does it get ya?

A pat on the head?

How does that compare to breaking into the garbage and downing a tidbit of chicken and Pringles crumbs?

And even when food isn’t involved, why come to Mommy when Mommy will come to you if you just look pathetic enough and shiver in the wind?

Plus each is bad in a different way so that they can cover the entire spectrum of badness.

Molly loves the sound of her own bark and will stake out food for hours for that one brief, glimmering moment Mommy forgets about it.

Orlin was once a good dog. The only one I’ve ever had really. Now he is going deaf.
No, please don’t feel sorry for him. Now he gets to do all kinds of bad things (jump the doggie gate, go explore the kitchen floor, check out the bathroom garbage) in the name of “Oh, I didn’t hear you.”

Princess, well, we don’t have enough room or time to list in how many ways she is bad. Let’s just say Land Shark and leave it at that.

And lastly Chief. I think he spends every waking moment I am not with him, figuring out how to torture me. It isn’t even like he does the opposite of what I want.

Sometimes he does 25% of what I want, then expects 100% of the credit!

So I live in a household full of bad dogs.

One might wonder if I weren’t a bad Mommy if I didn’t just get a face-full of kisses and a stranger complimenting me on having the happiest dogs he’s ever seen.

I guess it really is good to be bad! ☺

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Most days I have good dogs.

Other days the circus comes to town.

Chief won’t poo (no, he doesn’t have to, he has a special colon that doesn’t make poop, take me inside now!).

Princess is striking at everything that moves (and even a few things that don’t).

Molly is on some kind of bark-a-thon, and Orlin won’t stop licking himself (no, not his paws, somewhere else, somewhere that makes everyone in the room uncomfortable!).

I leave the room for a single minute and CRASH, BOOM, there goes the lamp.
Come back, “What the…”

I find four perfect dogs lined up on bed (back facing the offending, up-ended lamp), wagging their tail in synchrony. Smiling, panting their ultimate happiness at their Mommy.

I should yell. I should scold.

Instead I start believing (lamp to the contrary) that I have good dogs!

My dogs have magical powers…

Yep, each to his own.

Chief’s? (well, besides his mind powers which is a whole other blog). His is finding the magical perfect sun-bathing spot. Once he settles in, everyone comes over. Which of course blocks his light, so he finds another sun-magic spot, etc.

Princess’ is the magic stick. It seems every stick she finds is the most fascinating stick there ever was. They other dogs pester her until she gives it up. Then finds another magic stick and so on.

Molly? Well Molly can spot a dog walking on the beach a mile away. No, seriously I’ve calculated it out with binoculars (or maybe it was just lint on the lens). If Molly barks, you know something is going down.

And Orlin? Well, he doesn’t really have one, except to make everyone else feel like they have magical powers.

You see, it is him that goes over to Chief and congratulates him on a sun-bathing spot well found.

It is him that is starts the fascination with Princess’ stick.

And Molly? Oh, he’s got her back, every time. He’ll bark at air if that’s what she wants.

So I guess his magic is being the best big brother a dog could ever have!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Low Blood Sugar. It's Not Just For Models Anymore!

I know, I know, I usually write something funny here, but today I'm going to talk about a serious illness with our small breeds (but still try to throw in a grin or two!).

Little dogs = no survival instinct

When their sugar goes low, they tend just to curl up and sleep rather than look for food.

So if you have a tiny puppy or know someone who is getting one, be on the look out.

A tired puppy might be a sick puppy!

Even a 'good' puppy (you know, one that isn't barking, chewing, biting something he shouldn't) is usually feeling under the weather.

If your puppy isn't driving you absolutely crazy, there might be a problem.

And yes, young puppies tend to play hard then sleep hard, but they need to do the 'play hard' part first!

My strong advice? If you are worried, take the munchkin into the vet and have his sugar checked, then you will know for sure!

I promise something far more light-hearted tomorrow! :-)

Oh, and give your little one a kiss for me and remind them Princess still needs their application to her Evil Chihuahua Empire turned in! :-)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Power of Positive.... Barking!

Yes, my dogs believe they can control the universe, one bark at a time. And I fear, with their combined super powers, they just might be able to.

You see, I can tell what is happening based on who is barking. They each have their own areas of paranoia.

Molly (the Alpha Bichon - which, I know, I know, how did the Bichon end up Alpha, but she is) hates dogs... outside the yard. If she met them on the beach she would love them. If they came in the yard, she would love them.

On the other side of the fence, they must DIE!

Orlin (the 'stoner' dog of the group. He's just high on life :-) hates birds. The one thing (besides Alpha making him bark at other dogs) that really gets his panties (or feathers) in a bunch are birds. For some strange reason he hates his airspace being violated (and don't get him started on his obsession with planes for God's sake!)

Princess (your new leader now that you have joined the Evil Chihuahua Empire) hates... any stranger. To her they are serial killers. Each and every one of them until proven otherwise (and it is a long, mostly painful twelve step process to gain her trust!)

Chief (the 3-legged, 2# Chihuahua) basically only barks if danger is a safe distance away or if he thinks he can take whatever is on the other side of the fence (which amounts to mice and newborn babies which don't normal cruise the beach so usually he only barks just before danger arrives or shortly after it departs)

Now if the whole pack is barking I know that some strange serial killing human is walking their much maligned dog with a bird flying a short distance away!

It's just like being there!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Do Dogs Have Souls? Poignancy Alert!

I get asked this question all the time. And trust me we covered this in vet school in depth.

Our behavior professor asserted that dogs do NOT have souls. He pointed to all kinds of crazy ass stuff.

Like how dogs don't understand the difference between good and bad.

You are kidding me, right? Not only do my dogs know the difference between good and bad, it is their daily goal to get away with as much bad stuff as possible!

His reasoning? If a dog knew something was bad, they wouldn't do it in the first place.

Huh? Molly will ignore a plate of my left overs for hours to wait for that single moment when I have forgotten about the plate and get up to go the bathroom, then swoops on that puppy, grabs whatever she can off the plate then retreats to another room to consume her bounty.

Did she know it was bad? Hell, yeah. And she'd do it again right now if I gave her the tiniest window of opportunity.

Yet this prof would rail on and on about how dogs were soulless an hour a day, five days a week.

But dogs understand being sorry and even apologizing. I mean, that is pretty damn far up the sentience scale for me.

Even last night I accidentally squeezed Chief (2#, 3-legged Chihuahua = biggest baby ever) and he cried. I apologized, he licked my hand then curled up on my tummy.

Had I not apologized? Pouting, turning his back, and general sulking would have ensued for hours until I apologized.

And Princess? She strikes like a cobra at the dogs all the time and occasionally hits me instead. She immediately will kiss and kiss where she bit me and once I forgive her, she races over and yells at the dog she was originally attacking 'see what you made me do to Mommy?'

So contrition, forgiveness, and revenge all in one event.

But what happened yesterday made me think of that prof so long ago.

A good friend's dog, Danny, has suddenly been waking them up in the middle of the night. We all thought it was because of the snow and him holding it too long since he didn't want to get his feet cold.

He got scolded. He got reprimanded. He got put on down stays.

Then yesterday afternoon his sister dog was stricken with fatal cancer.

Dear God, he wasn't waking the family up for himself, but for his sister. He knew, long before any external symptoms appeared that his sister was ill.

He woke the family up, knowing full well he would get corrected for it, yet he did it seven nights in a row. Then when the last trip to the vet happened, he wouldn't leave her side, not until the end.

He was the truest of true friends.

So if I were asked who was more likely to have a soul, Danny or that Professor?

I'd pick Danny every time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

4 Dogs. 1 Destroyed Doggie Gate. A Mystery Fit For Sherlock!

I have good dogs. Okay, normally good dogs. Okay, they really are only good dogs when they absolutely have to be, otherwise they are kind of stinkers.

But destructive? Not usually. They tip more towards the demanding side. They would rather boss me around then chew on something. I mean if it isn't fillet, why bother?

Yet the other night we found the (very nice, solid wood) doggie gate nearly chewed through. And not just one post but three of them!

What? How? Why?

And of course, no one fessed up. So my roommate and I went all C.S.I. on them.

First we measured the smaller dogs against the highest bite mark. That got the two Chihuahuas off the hook, they couldn't reach.

Now it was between Alpha and the Goldenx. Now normally Alpha doesn't do her own dirty work (why should she when the Goldenx knocks food off counters and gives it to her, he digs holes for her, etc)so the usual suspect was the Goldenx.

But why? Plus if the Golden wanted out, he could just jump the fence.......

Then it all fell into place. The missing cat food. The lack of poopies in the litter box. The cat litter in my roommates bed.

It seems the Golden has been jumping the fence when we leave the house, eating the cat food, cleaning the little box, then taking a little nap in my roommate's bedroom, and once he hears us coming up the stairs, hops back into my bedroom.

Sneaky devil! And we never would have known if Alpha hadn't gotten pissed off and tried to chew her way out to follow him.

Yeah, with my pack, you have got to stay on your tippy toes!

Still, another case solved! :-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Chihuahua has turned into a Hyena!!!

On the rarest of occasions, even more rare then a werewolf's full moon, my most darling Chihuahua transforms into a hyena.

Okay, a really silly, wonderful, crazy hyena.

He 'smiles' (which I actually caught on camera!) He dances. He makes this crazy hyena-like cry as he writhes with excitement for me to pick him up.

For a creature that uses emotional withholding as his go-to technique to keep me his willing slave, these Hyena moments are like a break in the clouds.

Okay, then, of course, Princess gets jealous and bites me, but hey, it was totally worth that glorious moment of Hyena-i-ness!