Saturday Morning Shenanigans

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Did I hear dog beach?!?

Another gorgeous Saturday morning. After my cuppa, we’re cruising to dog beach.

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Scout is on morning bird watch.

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The birds are chirping and twittering in the trees, luckily, just out of reach. I’m not a fan of the “presents” that Scout brings to me.

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She’s Breaking out the Camera Again…

It’s been a bumpy couple of days. Yesterday, I took Kona to the vet because he was throwing up and his eyes were swollen.

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Turns out he was having an allergic reaction, so the doc gave him a shot of Benadryl and we were on our way. Kona came home and crashed in his bed, sleepy from the meds.

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Oh, no. Mom’s got that black box stuck to her face again.¬†

This morning, Kona’s back to normal, and I’m inspired to start taking pictures again.

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Camera time. *Sigh*

Pumpkin and Scout are pretty excited about my rediscovered passion for photography ūüôā

Midnight

Midnight

Midnight

Midnight is a stray that has been making more frequent appearances lately. We’ve¬†been feeding her scraps of fish and chicken to help her through the cold weather.

Are those scraps for me?

Are those scraps for me?

Currently, she’s raising¬†a litter¬†of kittens. She’s a good momma, and takes care of her babies. Though¬†Midnight is¬†friendly, she¬†won’t let anyone¬†come too close. The good news is our¬†neighbor said she’s going to get her spayed and take her in. ūüôā

Switching to a Raw Food Diet

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

Hard boiled eggs and ten pounds of ground beef

I surrender.

Season after season of watching my dog scratch and lick himself raw, paying veterinarians hundreds of dollars to tell me they don’t know why my dog (and¬†so many other dogs they treat) have these¬†skin issues, and reading heartbreaking accounts about deaths¬†stemming from contaminated commercial dog food has led me to switching Kona to¬†a raw food diet.

He¬†typically¬†starts scratching¬†in June, when flea season blossoms¬†with¬†the¬†warm, humid¬†weather.¬†Though I have yet to see a single flea on my self or in my home, I have spotted a few¬†crawling around on Kona during the summer. His belly turns pink and he scratches and chews himself bald. I take him to the vet, they tell me he’s probably allergic to flea saliva¬†and hand me a bottle of Prednisone and antibiotics, which brings only temporary relief. When summer comes to an end, his scratching usually stops and his fur grows back.

This year the scratching hasn’t stopped, and Kona is miserable. It’s December and it’s cold out, so I doubt there’s an abundance of fleas around.¬†This seems like something beyond flea allergies. I’ve noticed he has a stronger¬†odor, and his skin feels sort of waxy. I bathe him once a week, just to keep his smell under control. His typically silky fur feels brittle, and he’s licking¬†his paws excessively.

I decided to try the homemade approach.¬†I was a bit¬†overwhelmed by¬†the wide variety of¬†homemade dog food sites there are. Should I cook it, or go raw? My husband likes the¬†prey-model raw food diet. I suspect he fancies himself¬†tossing whole raw chickens into the yard while Kona gnashes on them like his wild wolf ancestors.¬†I wasn’t too comfortable with this one. The reality is my¬†dog¬†would most likely bury it instead of eating it, and we’d eventually end up with a raw chicken graveyard in our backyard. Eew.

One night I typed in “home made dog food” and this popped up. I found¬†simple recipes for both cooked and raw diets, and nutrition information.¬†The site eventually brought me to their product site, where they describe Kona’s exact symptoms, most likely caused by yeast (Candida albicans) overload.

Symptoms Of Yeast:

‚ÄĘ Dog has stinky skin that comes from the inside. Does your dog stink right after a bath?
‚ÄĘ Dog has goopy, stinky ears. Do you clean and deodorize your dog’s ears continually?
‚ÄĘ Dog has irritated skin, paw licking and skin rashes. Are you up all night listening to your dog lick and dig?
‚ÄĘ Dog has oily fur, flaky skin and brittle coat. Do you hesitate to pet your dog because of what ends up on your hands? Does your house smell like your “stale frito” dog?

I decided to order a box of Dinovite for large dogs with a bottle of fish oil. I received it on December 5th, and made a large-batch of raw food following their yeast starvation recipe. There is also a video that shows how to do it. I also bought ten small plastic containers so I could freeze individual portions and just pull them out of the freezer as needed.

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Looks kind of like meatloaf!

Kona loves it. He inhales his food and seems to have a bit more energy, though so far his scratching is about the same. It’s been less than two weeks, and the website suggests using the product for three to six months because the yeast takes a while to go away.

At this point, I’m cautiously optimistic. There are hundreds of positive reviews about this product, so this give me some hope. Like most things natural, it will take time.

What kind of diet is your dog on? Have you ever used Dinovite, or fed a raw food diet to your pup? I’d love to hear from you!

Kittens First Year

Scout and Pumpkin riding to their new home on June 27, 2014

Scout and Pumpkin riding to their new home on June 27, 2014

Celebrating one year of kitten joy!

One late afternoon, just over a year ago, I received a call from my mom. She was at the market, and there were two girls standing at the entrance trying to give away a litter of kittens.

“Can you come and get them and give them to the rescue organization¬†that you know?”

Kittens? Ummm… well… I’m not sure how that’s gonna go over with the others in my household.

She explained¬†that the girls had been there all day and their parents had arrived¬†to drive¬†them¬†home.¬†“They’re going to take¬†the kittens to the animal shelter.”

“Ok, I’ll come and get them.”

By the time I got to the market, two out of six kittens were left. I peered into the box and smiled at the tiny creatures huddled together. The darker one, with his scrawny tail and skinny legs, was most likely the runt, and his light-orange sibling was considerably bigger.

The girls told me they discovered the box of kittens in their backyard that morning, and their parents had made it clear that they could not keep them.

I really did have every intention of turning them over to the rescue group. After all, Kona chases the neighborhood cats and has made it clear that he won’t¬†share his home with other animals. He’ll make their lives miserable, right? Finally,¬†my husband dislikes cats.

On the drive home, they started meowing. Such a tiny sound! They were probably hungry. I wasn’t even sure they could eat solid food yet. The girls told me they had tried unsuccessfully to get the kittens to eat the canned cat food, and I was not looking forward¬†to bottle feeding these babies.

When I arrived home, I pulled out the box and casually walked up to my husband. “Look what I got!” I said, smiling enthusiastically, “two kittens!”

He just looked at me as I quickly explained the situation. “Don’t worry, I’m going to turn them over to the rescue folks. I know that¬†Kona won’t accept¬†these little guys.”

I brought the box into the spare bedroom and placed the kittens on the bed. They looked at me with wide, unfocused eyes, then began wobbling around.

Kittens First Day from Lori Elm on Vimeo.

 

I put some cat food on my finger, rubbing it gently on their mouths, and breathed a sigh of relief when they started licking their lips. In a matter of minutes they were voraciously eating the cat food from my hand. So much for bottle feeding!

The next big test was to see how Mr. Baloney Head was going to react to his new roommates. I let him into the bedroom and he stared at them, tilting his head when they meowed. They looked¬†at him and hissed. He walked¬†up to them and sniffed, then backed away¬†slowly as they¬†wobbled¬†up to him, purring, as if saying¬†mommy’s here!

I was pleasantly¬†surprised by Kona’s reaction (or non-reaction) to the kittens. I think it was fortunate that¬†they were too young to have any¬†fear of the giant dog looming over them, so he pretty much left them alone. I guess it’s no fun when you can’t scare ’em, right?

Photo of Kona and kittens

Are you my mommy?

Over the past year, these little rascals have given us hours of entertainment. Why watch television when you have KET (Kitty Entertainment Channel)? It truly has been hilarious and heartwarming to watch these two grow up together.

Brothers

Brothers

Most importantly, they have managed to pounced, purr and wiggle their way into the hearts of all of us.

Daddy Takes a Catnap

Daddy Takes a Catnap

Dogs, Cats and Big Love

“Until one has loved an animal a part of¬†one’s soul remains unawakened.”
~ Anatole France

I have always adored dogs, in an obsessive kind of way. When I was I child, I wanted to be a dog. I would put a bowl on the ground and pretend to lick water out of it.

My relatives¬†seem to enjoy¬†reminiscing¬†about this. “Remember when you were little and used to crawl around on you hands and knees and bark? Ha ha ha ha.”

The other little girls in the neighborhood, for reasons I could never understand, loved to play “house.” They would fight over who was going to be¬†the mommy or the daughter. I wanted to be the dog. No one ever argued with that.

Dolls seemed kind of creepy to me, so my main childhood toys were stuffed animals and a few Tonka Trucks. Pee Wee, the tattered creature below, was my favorite.

Sir Pee Wee

Sir Pee Wee

Perhaps¬†you’re wondering why a grown¬†woman is holding on to her stuffed animals. This¬†little guy, along with my living dogs, cats, hamsters, and rats, were my world growing up. They helped me to survive a complicated childhood. As¬†an intensely shy, introverted kid,¬†I always felt¬†somewhat baffled¬†with human behavior and a consequential awkwardness when I participated in social events.

I feel¬†safe with dogs. I trust them, and they usually trust me. We have an understanding.¬†We don’t lie to each other, or abandon. We don’t play silly head games (well, I might accidentally because I’m human). We give one another Big Love.* *

Note – not the same kind of Big Love like in the HBO series.

This pure love also holds true for cats. My I-am-not-a-cat-person husband was less than thrilled when I came home with two tiny kittens eight months ago. Since then, Pumpkin and Scout have pounced, kneaded, and purred their way into his heart.

My closest human friends share the same passion for their pups. We enjoy swapping funny stories and pondering the inner landscape of the canine psyche, hence the birth of this doggy-blog.

Life with animals is a lesson in love.

Dogs in the ‘hood

We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood of dog enthusiasts. Our house is across the street from an elementary school with a large fenced-in grass area, which turns into an unofficial dog park in the evenings and weekends.

Reading my pee-mail

Since I tend to be somewhat introverted, Kona plays a key role in helping me get to know the neighbors. It’s really a win-win situation, because the dogs get to build their social skills as well.

Getting to know my neighbors and their dogs continues to be a rewarding experience. I have come to appreciate dog folks Рthey really are a special breed!

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