A year ago I started this blog primarily as a way to tell Annie’s story. I didn’t know what more I would add, if I would have much more to say or even what other direction it might take. I figured I would give it a try and then re-evaluate in a year, if I was even still posting.
Much to my surprise, I still find things to write about since as probably any pet owner will tell you, there are always funny moments and observations when you share your life with animals. I’m enjoying this process of discovering my “voice” on the blog and decided I’d like to have a better picture on the main page that would represent who we are. I also wanted to capture this special time of Winn being added to our family. Newfoundland Dogs grow so quickly I knew it would seem like I blinked and her puppyness would be gone forever.
I loaded everyone into the car for the first time (they all fit, hooray) and we headed into the city to meet Liz Wallace a pet photographer. I had met her last summer at a Newfoundland get together and I loved the pictures she had taken of Annie and Maisie.
It was a beautiful day, there weren’t too many people at the park and Liz was so patient and gave each of them her undivided attention. Maisie has always been easy to photograph, Annie and Winn were more of a challenge because Annie stays close to my side when we are away from home and I had only just begun to train Winn on the basic commands.
We did some walking:
We found a shady spot to rest where Winn gave everybody kisses (she also did clean up duty bringing me a straw, a paper cup and a dead bird):
We had a few breaks for slobber maintenance:
We watched Winn play in the grass:
Then we finished up close to the water:
I didn’t know what to expect and gave Liz very little direction. I really didn’t want to be in the pictures and wanted a group shot of the three of them. She took some more pictures as we were walking back to the car, and I knew when I saw it that this was the one. I’m so glad I trusted her to just keep shooting!
I have always loved exuberant eaters. Babies, kids, adults, dogs. Bailey loved food so much that she would race through her meal hoping for seconds. Charley became a fast eater because he didn’t want Bailey to get his food. Even though it was entertaining, it’s not good for them so I was very relieved when Maisie did not do this. In fact she is the opposite, she’s the first dog I’ve ever had that will walk away from her bowl when she’s finished even if that means there is still food left!
Now we find ourselves back in a familiar situation. Annie loves her food but she doesn’t have all of her teeth so that slows her down to a healthy rate. She generally finishes before Maisie, but will stand patiently by her side and wait to see if she can claim any leftovers. I would put Winn in the fast eater category. Recently she seems to be speeding up so that she finishes first. I’ve caught her shoving her head into Annie’s bowl, obviously this not good for so many reasons. (Maisie now eats in her crate because she didn’t like the pressure of having the other two watching her after they were done.)
I’ve always been terrified that one of my dogs will get bloat. It’s a deadly condition that primarily happens in big dogs and eating too fast is thought to be one of the causes. You can read more about it here. It’s such a concern that my vet was telling me about a technique that can be done to tack her stomach so it won’t twist if she does bloat. I need to do more research about this and it would be done while she has her spay surgery but we won’t be doing that until she is over a year old so I’ve got time to decide.
Eating slowly is better for dogs. A slow eater is at less risk for bloat and obesity. One of the ways to slow down a fast eater is with a puzzle bowl. I first noticed them a couple of years ago and wished I had gotten one for Bailey. Since I want her to have healthy habits, I got one for Winn. This bowl style challenges them and allows them to eat like they would in nature by using foraging techniques.
So far I would call it a success. This morning Annie finished eating and let herself out and Winn was still eating. It doesn’t seem to frustrate her. She uses her nose and tongue and spins around to change angles. I just hope she doesn’t get too dizzy while she eats!
disclaimer: I have included a couple of links to the products that I have chosen, I am not affiliated with these companies and I have paid for these products myself.
Summer has arrived and so have the high temps!
It seems like every summer I get caught off guard when a heat wave arrives. We go from high 70’s to low 90’s in a flash. It usually only lasts for 2 or 3 days, but I have found several things that seem to relieve the dogs’ discomfort while we wait for the normal temperatures to return.
- Ice in the water bowl: In a addition to keeping their water cool, they like to bob for the ice. Getting their snout all the way into the water seems to cool them off quickly, I just need to keep my feet out of the way because it’s pretty cold when they come by with water dripping out of their jowls!
- Cooling mats: Over the years I’ve tried several different brands. The options are limited for big dogs because many of the mats are too small but last year I found one that is big enough and isn’t too heavy to move around. It’s gel filled and claims to keep cool for about 6 hours. It is self cooling, no need to refrigerate and isn’t filled with water. We had one of those years ago and it leaked which made a big mess. At night Annie moves from her bed to the mat and then back again and seems to be very comfortable when she’s on it. https://www.thegreenpetshop.com/product/cool-pet-pad.html
- Cooling vest: In addition to being a senior, black dog Annie’s body temperature is consistently on the high side of normal. I don’t walk the dogs when it is over 80 degrees, we try to go out in the morning or evening when it’s cooler but even then I noticed Annie slowing down and panting a lot. I found a cooling vest for her and it really did seem to make her more comfortable. We still go on shorter walks but with the vest, she keeps her regular pace. It’s easy to use, I soak it and then wring it out. It keeps her cool without saturating her fur, she really isn’t wet when I take it off but her fur is noticeably cooler.https://www.chewy.com/techniche-international-evaporative/dp/141830
- Backyard kiddie pool: we don’t go to the beach if it’s too hot. There is not enough shade and the sand can be too hot for their feet. Our backyard is very shady so I fill the pool and they can wade in and splash around when they want to. Dogs cool through their paw pads, so a quick dip will give them immediate comfort.
- Fans, fans, fans: I keep a fan on the floor and at any given time there is at least one dog in front of it. I think they like the feel of the wind in their hair and it helps to keep the air circulating when they are in their crates. Because I hate how dirty the blades get and I worry about long dog tail hair getting caught in the fan I just ordered a bladeless fan with and an attached air purifier. With 3 dogs it seemed like a good idea. It didn’t arrive in time for this heat wave but I look forward trying it out. Saving the best for last,
- Frozen treats: After searching for all natural brands and spending too much money on “doggie ice cream” made by other people I decided to do it myself. I use unsweetened natural yogurt as a base and blend in different flavorings. On this day I made a batch of peanut butter banana and blackberry. I also put watermelon chunks in the blender and made watermelon ice. They get so excited when I pull these out of the freezer. It’s their favorite after dinner treat!Because it is so important to be aware of the signs, here is a link for an article about heat stroke in dogs. It’s a serious threat for our beloved pets and can be fatal if not attended to quickly http://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/heat-stroke-in-dogs-what-is-heat-stroke-and-when-does-it-happen
Wow! Another year has gone by and we are celebrating Annie’s birthday. This birthday is a big deal, she’s 11 and is still in really good health. Last year before her party, we had just come from the vet. She had her stitches removed from the removal of a cancerous lump as well as an EKG to evaluate an irregular heartbeat that appeared while she was in surgery. Not only did she have a clear pathology report, her heart rate was normal which was a huge relief.
Since then, she has had a couple of ear infections but nothing else major and she continues to let her personality shine. She has also responded so well to Winn. She’s actually more lively and playful with Winn around, and she seems so happy.
We invited one of the neighbor dogs to join us, I baked pup cakes using the same recipe I used last year for her cake, got pictures of everyone in party hats and had a very fun party with lots of laughs.
It’s no surprise, Winn was not a fan of the party wear.
She was excited about the pup cakes, but then saw Maisie’s hat, snatched it off her head and played keep away.
Annie LOVED her treats and kept coming back for more. She even started pawing at the plate in an effort to bring them closer so she could grab them!
Our guest wasn’t sure what to think about it all, but she seemed to have a good time and got a pup cake to take home and enjoy without being stared at by other dogs.
Last year we celebrated Annie’s birthday for the first time and I wanted to do it in a memorable way. I was planning on going to our local dog bakery for a cake but then decided to bake it myself, after all, I had made the majority of the birthday cakes for everyone in my family so making one for Annie should be pretty simple. I looked at several recipes and settled on this one from Allrecipes.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 peanut butter (I use natural peanut butter, stay away from anything with Xylitol as it is toxic for dogs. It is used as a sweetener in gum, peanut butter and toothpaste)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 6 cup ring mold, bundt pan or cupcake pan.
- Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
This year I decided to make pupcakes with the same recipe and they turned out beautifully!