Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saying good bye to my dog

I'm getting divorced and moving to New York.
I started writing a new blog — both for the therapy of writing my way through all of this and to give the folks in my life here in Michigan a way to keep tabs on me while I get started on a new adventure in the big city.
It's been a while since I've posted here. First, adjusting to a new job. Then, wrapping my head around divorce and the awfulness of saying good bye to the dog that has always been the muse for this blog.
For the time being, I'll continue to post here every once in a while. There will be a dog in my life in New York and either way, I intend to start volunteering at a shelter once I get settled.
So there will be dog stories yet to come. And with or without Sensi, my love for learning about canine behavior will not be dampened.
In the meantime, here's an excerpt from my post about why I'm leaving my dog. Follow the link to read the entire thing.

Truly loving dogs, especially your own, means making sure that your decisions are based on what is best for the dog and not what is best for your own emotional wellbeing.
I’m not an idiot, though. I know Sensi is going to be depressed without me. Animals have emotions. It’s so much harder to think about the story of Hachi now.
This isn’t a situation where I can have it both ways — decide what’s best for him and not hurt him in the process. Whether I bring him or leave him, I hurt him. The decision left to make has to be based on what hurts him the least.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Doggie dental and ear surgery: Watch how it's done

Sensi just after receiving anesthesia
Today's post is more or less a video-blog (which I believe is called vlog), but I just wanted to add a bit of information to the video.
I took Sensi to Oxford Veterinary Hospital recently for two procedures — a doggie dental and minor surgery to fix a blood clot in his ear.
My veterinarian, Dr. Stephen Steep, is awesome and allowed me to film the whole thing.
The ear is a procedure we've had done once before — not on the same ear, but the other one. Essentially, Sensi's allergies are driving him to scratch and shake to the point that he's breaking the blood vessels. The blood clots up and if allowed to stay, would eventually wrinkle up his ear like what we call cauliflower ear or wrestler's ear in humans.
Besides being bothersome to Sensi, I just can't handle my good lookin' boy becoming all disfigured when it's something that can be fixed.
There is more than one way to tackle this problem, but considering it worked so well for us on the other ear, it was no brainer to employ the same method once again. Let's hope it's the last time!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Running from deer flies

My senior guy at Addison Oaks earlier this year
Deer fly season is here.
"I have a feeling we're going to be doing a lot of running today," I said to Sensi as I leashed him up for our daily walk/jog/hike (I never know whether we'll do one, a mix or all).
I was right.
I'm not sure how else to deal with the deer flies.
Too many of them attack us to wait for them to land and swat them away. And quite honestly, there are some bugs I don't mind swatting with my hand and some I do. Deer flies fall into that "I mind" category, yet I will swat them to avoid getting bitten or have my dog get bitten.
Those of you with long-haired pooches may not have as much of a problem dealing with deer flies attacking your dog, but for short haired dogs, it's so easy for the pesky bugs to land a good bite just about anywhere on my dog's body.
He's mildly allergic to them too, every successful deer fly bite leaving a nice big welt on him. (I give him Benadryl to help with that).
And as for me, well. I do love the great outdoors. Biting flies make me love it a little less.
I've noticed the deer flies out and about in increasing numbers every day this week.
Today's walk — we just returned from it — was particularly bad.
The only solution I can come up with is maintaining a decent clip. So we jog. At a few different points today, the flies were particularly nasty — chasing us fervently, determined to land a bite. So we ran. Fast.
One of the park deputies (driving a golf cart) spotted us at the very beginning of the 2.5-mile loop, just after hauling butt up a trying hill. It's a good way to get ourselves moving, I figure.
"You look more tired than the dog," he commented. Ha ha. Thanks for the reminder that my senior citizen and fur-coated dog is in better shape than me.
Half-hour later he saw us at the other end of the loop, just finishing up.
"Wow, you're making good time," he said.
I smiled. "Yeah, lots of running today," I said.
I wanted to say: "Yeah, lots of running from all the damn deer flies today."
The upside of all of this may just be that I could very well be in the market for a new belt pretty soon.
I've worked my way down not one or two or three belt loops, but I'm all the way to the tightest loop now. The downside is that I also need new pants (I don't like shopping). Even my blue jeans are all bunched up around my waist.
I hope it goes without saying that bug spray doesn't deter biting flies one bit.
So, Sensi and I will be running our little hearts out this summer.
And he, of course, will be making me look bad the whole while.

Do you have any deer fly solutions? Please, if you do, share them.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Can dog breed impact who dates you?

Busy this week, but not busy enough to pass up blogging about this fun study.
Want to get married? Get a golden.
The makers of a new iPhone app called Klooff — I think it basically makes a social profile for you pet — conducted a survey of 1,000 single pet owners to figure out what kind of impact the breed of dog you own may have on your date-ability.
"The vast majority of men think that a woman who owns a Chihuahua is more likely to be dumb," states the press release. "Men are more than 5 times more likely to see a woman who owns a Chihuahua as someone to only have a one night stand with."
I am neither surprised nor offended by this.
As for where my dog's breed ranked on the list, I'd be in trouble if I were a single man.
"Women are 10 times more likely to see a man who owns a Pit Bull as slimy or sketchy than a man who owns a Siberian Husky," it reads.
Both sexes view Golden Retriever owners as marriage material, so if you're looking to settle down, there's one breed that may help you get there.
The Golden Retriever ranked as the top dog breed to attract men and the second top dog breed to attract women. For women, it was German Shepherds that made men most attractive.
Here's more:

Men are most attracted to women who own: 
1. Golden Retrievers
2. Labrador Retrievers
3. Chihuahuas (Hmmm, for that one night stand? Dirty men.)
4. Poodles (seriously?)
5. Beagles

Women are most attracted to men who own:
1. German Shepherds
2. Golden Retrievers
3. Labrador Retrievers
4. Siberian Huskies
5. French Bulldogs

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New dog behavior question for read and win contest!

The first person to email me (karen@oakpress) a correct response to the below question can select a prize of his/her choosing from this list of available prizes.

UPDATED: We have a winner — Deb Runyan (three time winner now!) of Commerce Township, who emailed that number 4 is the correct response! Deb also said: "Wish people would give me some competition here!  I love doing stuff like this, but it's more fun if other's are making it hard." I agree. Where are all my readers?   

My post Even friendly dogs should be kept on-leash should help you answer it.

Today's question is multiple choice, and it is:

When a dog becomes extremely/overly-excited, it means ...
1) The dog is in a very happy and friendly mood.
2) The dog wants to play.
3) The dog is displaying obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
4) The dog is in an unstable mood that can quickly change.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Read and win contest to continue Wednesday with new dog behavior question

I still have lots of prizes and books available in my 'Read and win' contest.
The contest goes like this — I post a question about dog behavior and the first person to email me ( a correct response can pick a prize of his/her choosing from this list of available prize packages.
This week's contest question will be based off my post Even friendly dogs should be kept on leash.
So, read up.
The question will be posted promptly at noon tomorrow.
As soon as I have a winner, I'll update the post to reflect that.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lab/pit bull mix from Clarkston area needs to find new home

Daisy, lab/pit bull mix, needs a new home
As noted in my earlier post about the pit bull overpopulation problem in Southeast Michigan, it can be difficult to get pit bulls and pit bull mixes adopted into new homes.
Every once in awhile, I hear from pit bull owners who, for one reason or another, need to find a new home for their dog.
Many good dog owners, faced with a situation that forces them to say goodbye to a beloved family member, will do everything they can to rehome the dog themselves to avoid giving it to a shelter. But when your dog is a pit bull, it's just not that easy.
The Starkey family recently reached out to me, hoping I could lend them some advice on rehoming their pit bull/labrador mix.
"It is with a heavy heart that we, as a family, have decided to find new homes for our dogs. Due to a loss of job and a growing family, we cannot financially support our dogs anymore," wrote Amy Starkey in an email to me. "Our chocolate lab has already found a new home with a great family."
The dog they are now looking to find a new home for is Daisy. She is 6 years old, spayed and up to date on shots.
"She is a sweet heart who loves to give kisses and likes lots and lots of attention. She will chase a tennis ball all day long," Starkey wrote.
Starkey said the dog has been with them since she was just six weeks old. The couple has two children, a 3-year-old and 9-month-old. 
"She does wonderful with (the kids)," Starkey said.
As for her temperament, it sounds like Daisy would love a low-key household. Since she has lived with another dog, she may enjoy having a canine companion again. Starkey wrote this:  "She does sometimes get nervous if there is too much going on around her, but she will generally just go lay down somewhere or curl up next to me or my husband. We have been a two dog household until recently and she has always gotten along with other dogs. She does put her gaurd up at first around new dogs, but will settle down after a little while."
As for cats, Starkey said: "She has been exposed to cats and gets really excited about them, but again will settle down after a little while."
She is certainly a pretty girl and I wish the Starkey family all the best in finding a good forever home for her.
If you're interested in being that forever home, feel free to contact me ( and I'll put you in touch with the Starkeys.
"Daisy needs a good loving family who will spoil her and give her all she needs," Starkey added.