WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS

Bishop, our oldest dog … a gorgeous, shaggy Australian Shepherd … had a nasty infection in his foot. It had been there off and on for a long time. Mostly on, rarely off. I’d taken him to the vet several times and he’d had multiple rounds of high-powered oral antibiotics.

75-Bishop-in-Snow_18

But the infection was back. Again. With a vengeance. The antibiotics knocked it down temporarily, but never knocked it out. As soon as the prescription finished, a few days would pass and the paw would be red, raw, swollen, and obviously painful.

72-Bishop-110715_6

I didn’t see the point in another trip to the vet or more antibiotics. The vet had no idea what was causing the infection or what would cure it.

72-Bishop-Home-1024_013

I was feeling that particular kind of helplessness one feels when a pet is sick — and not getting better. When you’ve done everything you can think to do … and it isn’t working. Being me, I had to do something, however ineffectual or lame, so I slathered his paw with over-the-counter triple action antibiotic cream. The stuff I keep in the house for my own and Garry’s cuts and bruises.

Bishop Almost Christmas

The next day, the paw looked nearly perfect. Most of purple mottling and swelling was gone. I slathered the paw again that morning and a second time in the evening. The next day, there was no sign of infection. Unable to believe I had somehow cured an antibiotic-resistant infection with an over-the-counter remedy, I kept applying the cream to his paw for another few days. Then, when there was no sign of returning infection, I stopped. And waited.

When the frame is completely full, your picture is by definition in the middle!

Three weeks later, his paw looks normal. No limping. He will let me hold the paw and examine it without any sign of discomfort. He had that infection for more than a year. I despaired of curing him, yet in less than a week, it’s gone. My son wonders if maybe, that was all Bishop needed in the first place. Antibiotic cream applied directly to the infection site rather than oral antibiotics. Hard to argue, considering the outcome.

72-Bishop_08 q7

Talk about a Hail Mary pass, this was a classic. I did it because there was nothing else I could think of to do.  It worked. If it weren’t me, I wouldn’t believe it either.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pets

cee's fun foto chall

ANNOYING THE DOGS – THE HUMAN-CANINE COVENANT

I read an article the other day. It announced (with great solemnity and employing many big words and more than a few pie charts) that dogs — our dogs, your dogs, pet dogs — don’t like being hugged. Not merely do they not like being hugged and display measurable levels of stress when hugged, but they really totally hate being kissed and nuzzled.

72-Cartoon-Bonnie-with-Gar-020316_06

The article suggest a pat on the head … and a treat … would be much more appreciated.

Not by Garry or me.

I know they don’t like being hugged. It’s obvious. They stiffen and put their ears back when we hug them. They also don’t like it when I grab their tail and refuse to let it go. That’s what all the growling and head butting is about. You can almost hear them sigh, wondering when you’ll be through with this nonsense and get on to the important stuff, namely distributing cookies.

I told Garry about the study. He said: “Tough. They’ll just have to cope. Because I like it.”

My thoughts exactly.

72-Bishop-Portrait-122415_15

Our dogs are disrespectful. Messy. Flagrantly disobedient. They are masters and mistresses of selective hearing. Do I believe for a single moment when we tell them to go out and they stand there, in front of the doggy door, ignoring us, that it’s because they (a) don’t understand what we want from them, or (b) cannot hear us? That if I stand in the doorway calling them to come in that they can’t hear me or figure out that I want them to come inside? Of COURSE they hear me. They know. They’re just playing us.

If they can hear the click when we remove the top of the biscuit container from the other end of the yard, they hear us just fine. It’s a power play.

72-Gibbs-031616_22

Since they persist in disrespecting us, they will have to deal with our periodic compulsion to give them hugs, nuzzling, and the occasional (“Yuck! Stop that you stupid human!”) kiss on their big moist noses. It’s the price they pay for sofa lounging, high-quality treats and silly humans getting down on the floor to play with them.

We put up with them? They will have to put up with us, too. That’s our deal.

It’s a Human v Canine Covenant. I’ve got their paw prints on file.

BISHOP IN WINTER

71-Bishop-3-2_05

Bishop, our Australian shepherd, thinks winter is the best season. The colder and snowier, the more he likes it.

We have a doggy door, so none of our pooches have to stay in — or out — unless they want to. They are free to enter and leave as the spirit moves them, except for first thing in the morning when I throw them all out (lazy bums!) … and last thing at night, when we throw them out again.

75-Bishop-Bonnie-snow_50
During the day, they go out when they hear something they deem bark-worthy. Usually, the sound of an engine — or an animal. It turns out they have no problem with the UPS guy or the mail person. It’s their vehicles that get them all worked up.

72-Vertical-Sunset-New-Years-Eve-2015_16

People are not worth paying attention to, unless they are near food, in which case their attention is riveted.  Sunday night, the plow guy knocked. He came into the house, walked up the stairs to the living room.

None of the dogs noticed until he was actually in the living room. At which point, they walked over to sniff him. When they didn’t smell food, they went back to their beds.

75-Bishop-in-Snow_18

The snow stopped falling Monday morning. It wasn’t enough snow to block the dog flap, so they were going in and out freely. It was mid morning when I was in kitchen. Bonnie and Amber were in the kitchen cadging biscuits, but where was Bishop?

72-Bshop in Snow020916_02

He was, it turned out, outside, hanging out in a snow drift. Sometimes, he sleeps out there. Not because we don’t let him in, but because … he likes the cold. He likes snow. The colder it gets, the happier he is about the weather.

It’s nice that someone around here likes winter.

72-Snow-020616_014

WRAPPED UP

72-Inscribed-Christmas Card Tree

It’s here. Christmas Eve. To all of you with whom I’ve shared this blogging year, Merry Christmas. May your next year be the best ever. Joy to the world and let’s have a little bit of peace!

Bishop's ready! Doesn't he look ready?

Bishop’s ready! Doesn’t he look ready?

It is Christmas Eve. The packages are all wrapped. The pies are baked. The family will be here later, but meanwhile it’s nice and peaceful.

72-Tree-Christmas-Eve--122415_02

72-Bishop-Portrait-122415_12

72-Tree-Christmas-Eve--122415_02 (1)

THE EYES HAVE IT

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: EYE SPY

Bishop has laser eyes. He uses them primarily to guilt me into giving him my breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Or maybe that’s just the way he looks at the world.

72-Bishop-Eyes-3-2_05

I’ve asked him, but he just looks at me and somehow, I’m pretty sure it’s really all about my sandwich.

72-bishop-eyes-120215_25

Or anything else I might be eating. Because when all is said and done, Bishop will eat anything that does not eat him first.

DOES IT SUCK?

If you own pets, buying a vacuum cleaner is a big deal. Regular non-pet owning people go to a store and buy a vacuum. Any reasonably good machine will do the job and last for years.

72-Q7-Bishhop--032115_12

For those of us who have more than one furry friend, buying a vacuum cleaner is a major life event.

In this house, pet hair is not a sidebar: it is, as David Frye says, a condiment. During high shedding season, the house looks like someone slashed open a cushion and spread the stuffing around. Vacuuming and sweeping is a daily task. Failing to vacuum for a couple of days might make the house a candidate for condemnation.

When our Australian Shepherd is blowing his coat, no amount of vacuuming is enough. Everything is covered in fur. I always swore I would never own a dog with so much fur, but promises are made to be broken.

72-Bishop-Dogs-March_6

If you happen to own a heavy coated dog or cat (or several), you are always looking for a better vacuum cleaner. It’s a mission. Thus a purchase is an event requiring consultation, discussion and complex negotiations.

What are the parameters? Mostly, that baby has to suck. I want a machine that will pull the wall-to-all off the floor, suck the cushions off the sofa and eat the draperies.

Bonnie morning

It has to be easy to clean because pet hair really clogs the works.

Last, but far from least, there’s the price tag. If I don’t keep clearing it, no vacuum will survive. Small, light machines are a waste of money. Cheap gets expensive when you have to replace it twice in three years.

After burning out two vacuum cleaners in a year, we got a Hoover Commercial Portapower Vacuum Cleaner.

Small and agile, it has done surprisingly well. The review that sold me said: “This little commercial vacuum cleaner is one of the best buys out there. I can clean up Great Pyrenees hair with ease and empty out the bag and start over again without clogging up the vacuum like other machines I have killed with dog hair.”

So far, so good. Against all odds, it is still working. Now, does anyone have a recommendation for an upright? Something that will really suck, please.

CEE’S PHOTO CHALLENGE – BLACK AND WHITE ANIMALS

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: ANIMALS

The Great Blue Heron is basically a black-and-white bird, making him something of an ideal subject for monochrome studies. The only problem I encountered was making him “pop” out of the background.

72-BW-HERON_031

I also got into making it look a bit like an old-fashioned wildlife study. Not sure how well I succeeded, but here’s my Blue Heron, in living black-and-white.

72-BW-HERON_044

Next, we have Bishop. He is not sleeping. He is faking it, hoping that I will go away and take my camera with me.

72-BW-Bishop-052015_07

Nan is next. She enjoys photographic attention more than any other of our dogs. She is the only one who will sit for her portrait without trying to run for the hills.

Nan in BW monochrome

Thank you Cee, for being the ever-perfect hostess.