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Friday, April 30, 2010

Frankie's Friday (16) | Canine Good Citizen

Frankie the Canine Good Citizen here!!! Yay, I did it! I passed. I couldn't wait to share my experience. It was pawesome! I felt safe and loved throughout my test. Thank you my fabulous trainer, Ms Cyndy Wood, for teaching me how to be an asset to my community. Thank you Olivia for putting up with me and helping me pass the toughest part of my test. Let me share the details about the AKC Canine Good Citizen test items.

Before taking my test, mommy had to sign the Responsible Dog Owner's Pledge. She mumbled something about me taking the test and leaving her out of it, but when she realized I couldn't even take the test, she signed. Then it was my turn. The test was on a pass/fail basis and the way to fail it for sure was to go potty or worse during taking it. I had to keep my legs crossed the entire time.

There were 10 items on the test

1. Accepting a friendly stranger - If they're friendly, I accept them

2. Sitting politely for petting - Piece of pizzle, I love to be petted

3. Appearance and grooming - I look not so bad in general

4. Out for a walk, on a loose leash - How else would I do it? If I pull, I choke my chiweenie self

5. Walking through a crowd - I would like to thank all of Petco's personnel for being my pretend crowd. (no photo available)

6. Sit and down on command and staying in place
I think you can tell by my ear position, how obedient I was

7. Coming when called - Is that a joke? I come even when not calleded
Another easy one. All I had to do was wait for my mommy to call me and I jumped and ran in her arms. I had missed her holding me

8. Reaction to another dog
See the gorgeous spotted Dalmatian? She's Olivia, another AKC Canine Good Citizen
She's one happy smiley girl and I'm grateful she helped me pass the hardest part of the test for me

9. Reaction to distractions 
These are the objects of my torture, a loud cart and a blue plastic bowl that got thrown about five feet away to gauge my reaction
I stayed cool! (but I was trembling inside)

10. Supervised separation: No fun! I had to be away from mommy for three whole minutes! It was not too easy. (the photos of me as I waited for my mommy were too pathetic to post)

The test was over and I was spent! I got my hug and a star though

Here I am posing with my star and my certificate

I am now officially 100% certified AKC Canine Good Citizen

I have to tell you, I took the test with my tumor having gotten bigger, while Linguini stayed on an XL heating pad at home. We're both feeling better, but mommy is not happy. I overheard her on the phone with her friend the other day saying, "The vet told me to watch the dog tumors, well, I am watching them. I'm watching them . . . grow. I'm watching two tumors and a limping dog and there's nothing I can do." 

Until we figure out what is wrong with our health, we're going to enjoy the recent news of my success. In a few days, Linguini will be allowed to exercise again and mommy promises to take us on short hikes with our furiends. There's nothing like hiking with dogs to get your mind off things. 

Frankie the Canine Good Citizen

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hiking With Dogs | The Joys and Perils Of Dog Hiking

We're so lucky that our M loves hiking with dogs. She knows it's a great way for all of us to stay fit while having a ball, utilizing out senses and getting stimulated by our surroundings. Before Linguini's latest bout with dog tumors, we used to go on hour-long hikes at least a couple of times a week. You see, M does not like to leash walk the three of us around the neighborhood. She didn't enjoy it. About a year ago, when Linguini was attacked by two neighbor dogs, we stopped our local walks all together. I know the attack was traumatic on Linguini, but since she wasn't physically hurt, I'd like to thank her for the outcome. We now mostly get to hike off leash regularly.

We love out dog hiking the most when there's water involved
We love to get muddy, dig in the mud, drink fresh water, and swim

We particularly love hiking with dogs that are our furiends
These are Linguini's hike buddies, Hank and Sue, the rhodesian ridgeback duo

Even a tea cup chihuahua like myself can benefit from the unstructured exercise and explorations

Of course, when out in the wild, one must always keep an eye out for predators

Check out the chiweenie legs on the left
She's bucking in view of this gigantic track

If you're a pup that likes dog hiking, find an alternate method of transportation for when you tiny legs give out

Always stick with your pack
otherwise you may feel lost

Hiking with dogs is safer when done in large numbers
This way you get assistance in case you get stuck

Beware of raging rapids, especially if you're tiny

When you're not hiking around water, make sure to have your biped bring some for you
Bipeds can last for a couple of days without it, so don't feel guilty if you want the last drop, besides, haven't you learned anything from my dog training tips yet?

Hiking with dogs is pure fun and joy if you're careful
I love to hike and I can't wait for my sissy to get better so we can go again.

Of course, before setting out for your first hike you need to be in good physical condition. During your hike, get frequent rests and water breaks, hike when the local predators are not in hunt mode and rattle snakes are in hiding. Behave when off leash and listen to your human pack leader. Always wear your tags, have your vaccinations up to date, your flea meds in place, proper sun protection for those who need it, and ideally hike with a person who is knowledgeable in canine first aid cautions and procedures. Your local Humane Society most likely offers courses in dog hiking safety and there is even a rattlesnake vaccine available. 

This post got me all excited. I can't wait for our next hike! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dachshund Pictures, Part Deux

Due to unforeseen ailments, I felt the need to revisit one of my favorite days at the barn with Dexter the doxie. Not only do these dachshund pictures make me happy, they also make my furiends happy. No dwelling upon the dog vet visit today, just a brief update at the bottom.

Happy playful Dexter the doxie

Petey the doxie, Dexter's brother

Not a doxie
This is Petey and Dexter's brother, Nathan
See the family resemblance between Dexter and Nathan? 

They both love grass and they even share the same hair color
L'Oreal Preference #4.4 Dark Auburn

Fun times between doxie and tea cup chihuahua

Additional chiweenie bonus shot

Friendship is . . .

What the bug!

Dexter's brother, Owen
He used to charge after Linguini
He eventually figured out it wasn't such a good idea

He's adorable
Linguini has forgiven him

Speaking of our Linguini

Linguini's health update: Not the best news to report. She's having more difficulty moving around today. We can't help but wonder how much the dog tumors are affecting her, but at least she's not in pain when she's not moving around. It could be that it's plain arthritis, that geriatric dogs are prone to, since it rained all night long and today she's worse. We're keeping her warm and safe and surrounded by love. Dog vet's orders, not really, M's orders more like it. 


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dog Tumors On Geriatric Dogs . . . (continued)

We were counting down the minutes to get to the dog vet. M was really worried and the atmosphere was heavy. We got in the car, fully aware this wasn't a fun outing. Geriatric dogs need regular dog vet visits and this wasn't routine. We were about to find out about Linguini's dog fatty tumor that we've been "watching" for about a year now. There's one in particular that had grown in size overnight, causing her to limp, shake, and whine. Poor Linguini's gotten into so much trouble over the years, that she's terribly afraid of the dog vet. 
I don't wanna go!
Prior to this, Linguini had made mom pick her up to load her in the car
(she couldn't get in on her own)

Once we arrived, the dog vet made us wait for over an hour. The chiweenie and the linguini had one last shot at pleading with M.
Can a chiweenie dog's eyes get any bigger?
They gave it their best puppy eyes, but M was unmoved
"Dog tumors are serious and you both need to be checked out"

Then shoot me now
(Oh, we will, you have two shots due)

The dog vet's assistant walked in and ...
Hey, put me down! Wrong dog! 
I have no dog tumors, none. Heelp!

M let him take me away. She even mentioned something about a muzzle. What the pup! I got my nails chopped off. I hate getting my nails messed with. When they're longer they add to my height, its like wearing shoe lifts. 

A few miserable short minutes later, I was back waiting with the praying chiweenie to see what was really wrong with our sister. 

The dog vet giving Linguini a thorough exam

The dog vet checked Linguini out rigorously. They even left Frankie and me in the exam room alone, while they went for a stroll outdoors. They said they wanted to watch Linguini walk, but all I know is that I was left behind. Finally, after typing away at his computer for a while the dog vet, came up with a verdict about Linguini's dog tumors, her discomfort, and her limping. Here it goes. Her musculoskeletal exam was abnormal. While he didn't detect a canine mast cell tumor, he feels that the existing dog tumors are still just fatty and not contributing to her lameness. He suspects some strain or sprain to her right front leg and he prescribed no other than Rimadyl. Yay, doesn't this sound great? Not to us. We're not at all satisfied with the guessing and approximation. We were hoping for concrete answers. Linguini got two shots and was told to cut back on her food intake. Good luck with that M. Linguini is a regular Harry Houdini when it comes to helping herself to edibles. Of course, as far as Linguini the glutton is concerned, Rimadyl equals yummy Greenies Pill Pockets, and she's fine with that! 

Lil' chiweenie went next
She didn't make a peep
She stoically awaited her execution

The verdict: No dog tumors, but indeed her left submandibular lymph node is inflamed. Report or recheck if any changes occur with the size of the lymph nodes. Great, another uncertainty looming over our heads. What is wrong with my sisters? The dog vet added that Frankie's gum coloring is abnormal and M should keep an eye on that too. He didn't flinch when M told him she's basically color blind. 

To sum it up, we are of course relieved not to hear the words "canine mast cell tumor" but we're still concerned. Both Frankie's and Linguini's diagnoses were educated guess work. A year ago, when Linguini developed her first fatty tumor, M lost her mind. Thanks to many of furiends, we now know it's not the end of the world and that Linguini can still have a great quality life with them. A year later, we're still watching... Now we need to keep an eye on the chiweenie too. We're going to have to move on and hope for the best. For now, the most important news is that Linguini was instantly relieved with the Rimadyl and she's clearly in less pain. Frankie is bright and alert and shows not indications of any serious illness. As for me, I have gotten a tad shorter after the nail trimming. 


Monday, April 26, 2010

Dog Tumors On Geriatric Dogs . . .

I wanted to avoid this one. I wanted to post happy horse barn photos, or more fun dachshund pictures, something enjoyable to start the week with. This is a post I'd rather skip, but at the same time, I feel it would be dishonest. After all, you my furiends, are braver, and you share both the good and the bad times. I'll join you. 

This past weekend was a bit rough for family. About a year ago, M discovered ... dog tumors, on her beloved Linguini. She was ten at the time and M freaked out. For once, she lost control and the worst thoughts entered her mind. She's not afraid of saying goodbye, she's more afraid of having to make the ultimate difficult and at the same time loving decision. For a couple of weeks, Linguini got tested and retested and finally we were told that she had fatty tumors and to watch them. They're common on geriatric dogs. The general rule for dog fatty tumor treatment, is let it be unless it becomes a problem. Mast cell tumors in dogs are another story, one we haven't had to face, yet.

Dog tumors are camouflaged on a spotted breed

We spent a year, aware of the tumors, but after the first few months, we relaxed a bit. We tried to live a normal life hoping that things could go of like this indefinitely. Friends recommended we gave Linguini K-9 Liquid Health Glucosamine with Chondroitin and MSM. It seemed to work like a miracle, and perhaps it did for a year. Linguini started hopping and goofing around like she was a born again pup! But we knew we were treating her joints instead of the the dog tumors.
Well, this past weekend, Linguini started to limp all of a sudden. M checked and her fatty tumor in her leg joint had more than doubled. Linguini had moments of discomfort when she would start to shake, and she spent all her time within inches of M. When our girl is sick or scared, that's where she finds comfort.
We're taking Linguini to the dog vet in a few hours. We don't know what's to come, and we're all very concerned. Most likely, the offending fatty tumor will have to be surgically removed at this point. They'll have to run a new biopsy to rule out canine mast cell tumor. Geriatric dogs are prone to both types. 
If it's a canine mast cell tumor, nowadays these dog tumors do respond to modern therapy which usually entails a combination of surgery or chemotherapy, even radiation, complimented by immune system enhancers. 

Sometimes though, when it rains, it pours, and Murphy and his Law rule. Unable to take Linguini to the regular dog vet during the weekend, M didn't want to risk the emergency dog vet clinic, she decided to conduct an extensive dog tumor screening. The strangest thing happened. She found a small tumor on Frankie's neck. 

Dog tumors usually are well hidden and can go by undetected
Screen your pets regularly for dog tumors
If you have geriatric dogs, the more vigilant you have to be

So, we have an appointment for both my sissies. Of course, we're all hoping for a dog fatty tumor verdict on both. M even hopes that the chiweenie only has an inflamed gland. We shall see...

The question now is,
who will take care of whom in this equation

We're a bit in shock at the moment, but we're not sad, just concerned. We love our quirky designer dogs and we don't want them to suffer one bit. We have a wonderful dog vet who we trust a lot and we're looking forward to good news to share shortly. 


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dachshund Pictures

We went to the horse barn again the other day. The weather was beautiful. The sun was shining and there was a gentle cool breeze keeping us all at the perfect temperature. I love going to the horse barn and watching my human sissy take horse back riding lessons. I like visiting with dozens of rescue dogs like myself. What I wasn't counting on, was Dexter the doxie. He took my pack by surprise.

Dexter approached us in his playful doxie manner

His playful doxie ears were a testament to his intentions

He tried to engage both Frankie and me in play, yeah right...

Persistent lil' doxie

Never before seen photo op
I'm playing! I guess I like playing. 

OMD! Frankie's actually playing too!

Even Dexter's brother, Owen joined us all.
What a blast!

The two siblings stalked us from afar

Dexter played hide and seek with me
I'm telling you, even I am shocked looking at these fun dachshund pictures!

Finally, Dexter got the chiweenie on her back

And then he posed for this photo victoriously (with a tiny leaf hanging from the corner of his sweet doxie mouth)

I set things straight

Playtime was over
I spot squinty chiweenie eyes and a pink tongue
Frankie was exhausted

It was one of the best days I have ever spent at our horse barn. I hope you enjoyed my dachshund pictures and the fun times I shared with you. 


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