(Photo is by Rebecca Frankel. Read more about the dogs serving in Afghanistan here.
(Photo is by Rebecca Frankel. Read more about the dogs serving in Afghanistan here.
Here's a story about the brave dogs that searched for survivors at Ground Zero after 9/11. It also explores the close relationship between humans and dogs.
Last year, an animated movie come out called Up. It's a great movie in many ways. One of those ways is a talking dog named Dug. The writers did a wonderful job with a script that sounds how you expect a dog to talk. For example, upon meeting the main characters Dug says, "I have just met you and I love you." Anyone with a dog realizes how true this is! The actor also does a fantastic job with the characterization of Dug's voice.
The other reason I enjoy Dug so much because he reminds me of my dog, Chief. If Chief could talk, I would expect him to talk and sound like Dug.
Bella and Chief did it last night. They got skunked. Just as I'm getting ready to start the grill for dinner, this noxious odor somes throught the windows. Skunk!
Chief is rolling in the yard trying to save his nose. Bella is barking incessantly. The skunk is backed up against the deck, unable to get under it, unable to get away. I couldn't get Bella without getting sprayed myself.
So I got Chief in with a treat and washed his face. As Bella was then roiling in agony in the yard, still barking mind you, the skunk slunk off into the bushes. So I got Bella over to another part of the yard and washed her. She then went inside.
Both then received round two of washing. They need a third this morning but most of the smell is gone.
You must act quickly and get the smell and skunk oil OFF of them BEFORE they come inside. Else, in their attempt to rid themselves of the smell, they'll rub the oils all over your furniture and carpet. It can take a week or more then before the smell is gone.
You can spray with odor remover frequently to help cut down that time, but it's best to prevent your dog from bringing the smell inside the house.
Wash them with a solution that's equal parts of Dawn dishwashing detergent (or any degreasing liquid dish soap), hydrogen pyroxide, and baking soda. Wash the dog, primarily the face as that always takes the brunt of the spray, then rinse. You may need to repeat a few times. But even after the first time the smell is nearly gone. I've used this solution several times to great results.
Forget about the tomato juice idea. The idea is that the acid in the juice cuts the smell. I've just found that then your dog will smell like a skunky tomato. Use the solution above. Works like a charm.
A friend of mine who is going through some tough times recently remarked that she wanted a dog. She said she needed some unconditional love. It's so true. Dogs just want to love you. They don't ask for much in return: shelter, water, and food.
It reminds me of a story. A young boy had just lost his family dog to old age. He was trying to understand the loss. Why do dogs who love us so much live such a short time? In the innocence and clarity of youth, he told his mom, "I think I know why dogs have short lives. God sent us to Earth to learn how to love each other. It can take people a while to figure that out. Dogs already know it. So they don't need to be here as long."
Beautiful and true.
It certainly has been the winter of the coyote. There are several roaming our neighborhood and nearby woods. One is quite large - about the size of German Shepard - and one is apparently younger as it is smaller, about 35 - 40 poundss.
During the winter, I only let the dogs out in the front whenever it was dark where I coudl still see them as opposed to the large backyard. This was quite a disappointment to them. And in winter, during the week while I was at work, it's dark. Now, that it's lighter earlier and later in the day, I can let them out more. One benefit of this though is that my front yard is well "fertilized" over the winter. I have the greenest, lushest grass ever. It needs to be cut about every 3 days. (Oh yeah, the dandelions thrive in it too!)
One afternoon, the dogs were out and Bella was barking even more energetically than normal. I walked out and saw the smaller coyote casually walking through the neighbor's backyard. I took off yelling and screaming and doing my best "crazy human lady" imitation. The coyote took off for the back are behind our two houses. Now, he's about 20 feet away from Bella. So I pick up a branch and bang on a tree. Then he ran off. Until that time, he seemed completely unconcerned about me. Bella's barking may have kept him away (too much bother, perhaps, he thought), but they clearly are not intimidated by people as their advocates like to say.
I haven't seen them since but they're out there with very full and lush fur coats. They're obviously well fed. Kind of like my front yard.
My daughter just read an online article that said the smartest dog breeds were: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Border Collie, and Poodle.
I have no idea about poodles, so I'll let them slide.
I know Border Collies are smart because the herd and move cattle, horses, sheep, etc. More on this later.
But hounds - including beagles - get a bum rap on this. These lists assume that obeying and training constitutes intelligences. Oh contraire.
Retrievers - Labs or Goldens - obey and are very trainable because a characteristic of the breed is to be so. They were bred to follow the commands and instructions of the hunter: "Go get that duck I just shot down. I'm tired of walking." Off bounces 70 pounds of canine eager to please and obey. Who's the smart one - the dog or the hunter?
On the other hand, consider the hound. The hunter stands around, maybe riding a horse, while the hound does all the work. It finds the prey, follow the prey, flushes it out, and then makes the kill. The hunter then walks up, picks up the fallen critter and smiles for his picture. In this case, who's the smartest? Who did all the work. That's right, the hound.
So I vote that hounds are smarter. And having watched my strategize against each other (yes plot and plan), I feel I've seen it with my own eyes. The downside of the hound's intelligence and instinct to do it himself is that he's stubborn: "Why should I listen to you? I do all the work while you stand there and take all of the credit." Meanwhile, the retrievers do what you want and smile up at you with that big goofy grin that says "boy oh boy are you smart. You made do a stupid trick for a lousy kibble."
I'll agree that border collies are smart. They do both - work independently and follow the master's commands. So I'll give 'em that one. But what do you think? Who's smarter - hounds or retrievers? Give your vote in the comments.
As with any human or table food, don't feed your dog too much, but dogs seem to loooove popcorn. We find that about a ratio of 10 for me, 1 for you works out pretty well! Mine especially love to catch it in the air. Of course, their skills vary.
Chief has excellent eye to mouth coordination. If you lob it up, he catches it nearly every time. Actually his timing is amazing. He opens his mouth at the exact second to catch the kernel. Kind of like a frog.
Bella, on the other hand, is not so talented ... unless she means to hit every piece with her nose. Yep, she goes to bite it out of mid-air yet it always hits her nose. Then she has to scramble quick to get it before Chief does. She also does better with a line drive than a lob. Then she tends to bat about 250. Not bad, but not all-star material either.
Bella and Chief love to chew. Anything. Even though they are now more than three years old, they still love to chew. Wayward shoes and socks don't stand a chance. Blankets and thows are in trouble. Pillows? Forget about it. But buying chew toys is expensive - especially when they go through them in a few days.
Here's my new solution: make them myself.
I have a rag drawer with old t-shirts, pajamas, and more. They're destined to be used for cleaning and dusting rags. But frankly, I don't clean or dust enough for all of them. At the rate I'm going, I have nearly a 20 year supply of dust rags. No joke.
But these old shirts make great chew toys. I've taken them and literally tied them into knots. Now, they look similar to the expensive tug toys you buy at stores. And - best of all - they don't look like clothes any more so the dogs aren't being trained to eat our shirts. Five days running and all three tjat I made are still in commission. Dogs are happy. Rags are being used. Good socks, shoes, and more are being saved. And I'm saving money too.