We’ve been gone for 8 days now and we miss Luna, Mouse and Orso terribly. Luckily, both Mary and Nichelle have been sending us updates so we can get a furkid fix every now and then!
Luna and Mouse have been behaving well for Nichelle and she says that Luna in particular is loving the cold weather! Nichelle says she is especially frisky and vocal! Below is a picture Nichelle sent us of Luna and Mouse waiting attentively for any sign of a food reward!
Orso has also been behaving for Mary, which is great news! We switched him off Wellness Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy because he was getting very gassy and always had soft stool. Following a recommendation from Mary, he is now eating Fromm Gold Nutritionals Large Breed Puppy Gold and seems to be doing well on it. Thanks, Mary!
Below is an email and photo that we received from Mary today:
Orso is doing well. He is having tons of fun working on his obedience and conformation, and just hanging out chewing bones. He’s eating nice, lengthy meals (about ten minutes – we’ll go over that when you come get him) and no accidents in the house. He got up in the middle of the night last night, but I’m not sure what that was about. He peed when I took him out, but he wasn’t desperate to do it. Other nights he’s been very good, so hopefully that was a fluke.
I’m attaching a couple pictures (from left to right: Pistol, Orso, Apple & Timber). I went ahead and got a new bag of food for him, and he loves it. His stool has been much more regular and not soft since he started eating the new food. I think he’s also less gassy.
Hope you are doing well, Mary”
As everyone read in our post from a few days ago, Orso is spending a couple of weeks with Mary Majchrowski of Bravo Dog Training in Plantation while we are in Mexico vacationing over the holidays. Mary is kind enough to send us photos and emails regularly, for which we are wholeheartedly grateful since we miss our boy so much! She even lets Orso borrow her computer so he can send us emails that he types himself! Thanks, Mary!
From Mary on December 23rd:
“Ethan and Orso ready for a walk (don’t worry – I hold the leash outside!).”
From Orso, who borrowed Mary’s computer, on December 25th:
“Hi Mom and Dad!
It’s Christmas! Did you know about Santa?? He brings yummy dog cookies. I hope he found you too.
I went for my very first bike ride today! It was so much fun to stretch my legs and get some exercise. Mary wouldn’t let me go too far, because she didn’t want me to get sore, but wow, biking is cool! I behaved myself and didn’t pull Mary down, not even once. She even thinks I started trotting at the end. She got really excited about that and told me “yes” and that I was such a good boy. What a fuss!
I’m sending you a picture of me. Hope you like it.
Lots of Love and Merry Christmas,
I have a few people to thank for these photos, which were taken before we left town for our holiday vacation:
We are currently vacationing in Mexico, but send everyone very warm wishes for a beautiful Christmas or any other holiday that you celebrate!
There is so much truth to this saying that it’s not even funny. The last few days have been very hectic in our house, to put it mildly. When I first started writing this post, it was a long one. REALLY LONG! Then I reconsidered my rant and decided to shorten it significantly.
ROUND ONE – On Sunday, Orso stole a raw beef bone from Luna. He literally stole Luna’s bone from her jaws – a bone that was 6-8 inches in length and a couple of inches in diameter. Then he swallowed it. Whole. No chewing. No enjoyment. Swallowed it WHOLE. I then spent 2 days staring at Orso’s poop to make sure it came out and that we were not possibly dealing with an obstruction.
ROUND TWO – We are leaving town tomorrow for the holidays and we have been engrossed in preparations for the trip. Part of our preparations was to get Orso ready to stay with Mary Majchrowski of Bravo Dog Training in Plantation for 14 nights of doggie bootcamp. Luna and Mouse will stay at home with Nichelle – like they always do – but Orso is still too young to be left alone for too many hours during the day while Nichelle is working. We are happy to know that he is staying inside Mary’s house with her family and that she is an exceptional positive reinforcement trainer, but we were also feeling horrible that we had taken him out of our house, separated him from Luna & Mouse AND from us for the next 14 nights. Not a happy feeling. We dropped Orso off with Mary yesterday. It’s been really quiet around here.
ROUND THREE – I get a call from Mary within hours of leaving Orso that as she was making dinner, she noticed ants in her house. Following their path, she arrived at Orso’s brand new $60 bag of dog food. She tells me that when she opened it, there were THOUSANDS of ants in it. A brand new bag of food!!! Thankfully, Mary was able to go to PetCo and resolve this issue so that Orso the piglet could eat dinner last night.
Before night’s end, Mary had sent me an email letting me know that Orso was doing really well. She had started working on slowing his eating by placing large rocks in his bowl. I’m sure that was entertaining! She also sent us a photo of our boy hanging out in her kitchen, see below.
ROUND FOUR – Luna overdosed on human vitamins yesterday. As I am dealing with the dog food issue with Mary, I get an email from home with a photo attached, see below, that Luna had been a very bad girl while we were out of the house. When he got home, he found Luna on the sofa gnawing on all kinds of caplets, gelcaps and softgels. She had also had accidents in the house. That’s when he sent me the email. My first reaction was one of anger. How could she do this??? Does she know how expensive all those pills are??? What was she thinking??? As I tried getting home, I immediately realized that we could be dealing with a poison issue. My anger turned into extreme guilt. How could I have been so stupid to leave these pills on the counter?? What was going through my head???
I called home and told him not to throw away the pills that she had not eaten. I knew that I could figure out how much she had actually ingested by working backwards. I knew how many of each pill I had packed, so calculating how many she ate would be easy. I rushed home and started doing my math. Turns out that she ingested over 140 pills, including 8 joint supplements, 38 fish oil soft gels, 8 sleeping pills, 17 multi-vitamins, 51 cranberry softgels and 16 gingko softgels. HOLY. FREAKIN’. CRAP. I put in an emergency call to Dr. Pane who gives me all the information for the Pet Poison Control Hotline. By the way, anyone who doesn’t have this phone number should write it down somewhere accessible RIGHT NOW!!! 1-800-213-6680. After giving the lady at the hotline the exact names of each pill, she basically told me that it was too late to induce vomiting and that she had to go to the vet emergency. Dr. Pane’s office wasn’t going to have a vet on staff all night so he sent me to an emergency clinic near my house. I packed up all of the pill bottles, wrote down the pet poison control case number and hauled butt to the clinic. By the time we got there, Luna was already showing signs of toxicity. She couldn’t keep her eyes open, was having a lot of trouble walking, she had tremors and was bloated. The team at the clinic started to work on her immediately. Thankfully, her vital signs were good and her bloodwork was all normal. She had an irregular heartbeat, which was causing concern. Aside from signs of poison, we were also concerned that all the softgels could clump together and cause an obstruction inside her. It was too late to induce vomiting, so they pumped her stomach with liquid charcoal to absorb whatever her body had not yet absorbed and started her on IV fluids. Dee Hoult from Applause Your Paws came to clinic to keep us company – thank you, Dee, for being such a spectacular friend.
After Luna was somewhat stabilized, the team sent us home and told us to try and get some rest and that Luna would probably be OK. They told me to pick her up before 7am and to watch her all day on Wednesday to ensure she has a bowel movement that would indicate that we are not dealing with any obstruction. As told, I picked her up this morning and she was her normal self again. As of this evening, we scored a bowel movement and I don’t think I have ever been so happy to Luna poop.
This morning, I stood in the kitchen and saw a familiar sight – Orso, Luna & Mouse all on the couch hanging out. The dogs were all asleep. It was a very serene sight. Serene enough to allow me to take it in and realize that Orso is so big that I can’t remember what he looked like when we brought him home a few months ago. I scrambled to grab my camera, which is never more than a few steps away from me, and took a couple of photos of the lazy couch potatoes. I compared them to a photo from August 17th, almost exactly 4 months ago, and another photo from September 3rd, and gasped at how much Orso has grown!
Luna, Mouse & Orso received some very special early Christmas gifts from their Grandpa Frank & Grandma Eva! Now that there are new toys in the house, maybe Orso will consider sharing some of his old ones with Luna & Mouse. Thank you, Grandpa Frank & Grandma Eva, for all the fancy (& durable!!!) new toys!
Orso got a brand new collar for his 6-month birthday! It’s a black nylon martingale collar and we love it for him! It’s much kinder than a traditional “choke” chain, so Orso is also happy about it. You can see him wearing it in the video compilation from the previous post. Yeah, he got his gift early…
Sadly, tonight was our last night of nose work class. Dee bought some birch scent to start teaching the dogs how to search for a specific scent. She also bought 15 new boxes so that it would not be confusing for the dogs to work with a new scent. There are 3 of us in class, so each of us got 5 boxes. We started by marking one box with a star and that was always the target box used to find the birch scent. Dee put drops of the birch only in this one box and the other 4 remained unmarked. We were instructed to bait that box over and over again so that the dog would start to associate the scent of birch with food and thus a reward. By our 2nd or 3rd time, we decided to make it more difficult for Orso by no longer including food in the box. In other words, Orso had to identify the scent of birch alone. He was great at it! He loved it! We progressed the level of difficulty by moving the boxes around, arranging them differently, spreading them out, bunching them up, etc and he still would always immediately locate the birch box! Near the end of class, we brought back all the boxes into one area and only left one birch box – so now it was 12 unmarked boxes and only 1 birch box – to really challenge the dogs. Again, Orso always sniffed out and alerted us to the correct box. Just like with the smaller group of boxes, we would progress the level of difficulty by changing the configuration of the boxes. Such a shame tonight was the last class… Below is a video compilation that runs just under 6 minutes with lots of small clips from the class! Enjoy!
Orso went to see Dr. Pane at South Kendall Animal Clinic today for his check-up & rabies vaccine and weighed in at 79.0 pounds! We have already increased his food to approximately 3.5 to 4 cups of food twice daily plus his training treats, for a total intake of almost 8 cups of food daily. Despite this, his ribs stick out, his hip bones stick out, sometimes his spine shows! It’s amazing! He is undoubtedly a hard gainer!
We have been tracking his weight since we brought him home in August and he has gained an average of 0.51 pounds per day for the 116 days that we have been tracking his weight. Below is a spreadsheet I created to track his weight. What a piglet!
Sadly, tonight was our final class.
Orso was quite distracted during the entire class and I felt a little frustrated that I could not keep his attention on me. The wind had picked up a lot after our nose work class ended and the leaves were blowing everywhere. I helped Dee set up our course and the signs were also flying around. Mother Nature was not on our side for our last class. I also think Orso was having a puppy tantrum and didn’t care to focus on work. He wanted to play with all the fun things flying around. It didn’t help that I was utterly exhausted from being in a strenuous fitness workshop since almost dawn. After going around the course a few times with less than mediocre performances, I politely excused myself and told Dee that it was time for us to go home. She and I laughed at Orso’s refusal to cooperate and my inability to redirect his energy. We ended up going home a few minutes early.
Before leaving, Dee and I started talking about the Rally Fun Match Orso and I did on Saturday. As we were discussing it, she brought to my attention that what she teaches in class is actually Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Rally, NOT AKC Rally. Dee is one of the few Certified Professional Dog Trainers in the South Florida area and this is one of the professional organizations of which she is a member. Duh! Boy, did I feel stupid! The match that Orso and I went to on Saturday was an AKC-type match, which has different rules than APDT Rally. In particular, in APDT Rally, you are allowed to enter the ring with food bait and can reward your dog at certain signs, unlike AKC Rally that forbids the handler to even have food in pockets or anywhere on him or her. There are some other minor differences, but the food one is a big one for us! Phew! Thank God!!! Food in the ring! Yay! Now, if we could only get some APDT events to come to our area………
To learn more about the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, click here or go to http://www.apdt.com/default.aspx.
Also, to visit Dee Hoult of Applause Your Paws online, click here or go to http://www.applauseyourpaws.com/Applauseyourpaws/Home.html.
Below are a few photos from tonight’s class. Enjoy!
Class was fun today! Dee did some new stuff with us that we loved! I arrived to class a few minutes late because I had an all-day fitness workshop. Orso has really taken a liking to nose work. He enjoys searching by scent and gets excited when he knows it’s his turn to “go find” the hidden treats. Dee set up the boxes tonight lined up from the very beginning, almost the way luggage would be arranged at an airport security checkpoint. Only 1 box was baited and Orso did a great job of finding it pretty quickly. She added some plastic boxes covered with fabric to the line-up and again Orso did great. He has gotten really good at alerting us when he finds something. He will either paw at the container or he will sit and stare at us. What was really different about tonight’s class was that Dee wanted to teach the dogs to search for items outside of the area we have been working in up until now. She bungeed plastic boxes to trees surrounding the parking lot and placed treats in all of them. One box was high up in a tree. Our job was to reward Orso when he’d show any interest in the boxes. Orso did really well with this new exercise and although it took him a few minutes to figure out that he was supposed to be finding something in or on the trees, once he did, he started to alert me immediately. He’s so smart! Below is a short video clip of me working with Orso at the beginning of class and a few photos from the rest of the time in class, including a couple of shots of one of Orso’s classmates. Enjoy!
Founder & Owner