Thursday, October 28, 2010

He's on to Me

Jack has been on meds for three days now for a yeast infection.  He gets a pill, an eye ointment, and ear drops two times a day.

The pills are not a problem, in fact they're the only part of the medication routine he likes, because they're administered wrapped in a treat.  The real problem is the eye ointment.

First he needs to have his eyes flushed with a saline solution because they're still goopy from the infection, and then he gets a half inch line of ointment applied into his eye (or as close as I can get it).  Sounds somewhat simple, right?  Jack, however, feels this is torture of the worst kind.  He’s invoked his rights as per the Geneva Convention, and is protesting this inhumane behavior on my part.  Now, as soon as he sees me coming with the bottles of saline and meds in hand, he will run and hide, then run and hide again.  This process repeats its self until I’m worn out from chasing him and fall over into an exhausted coma.

After having to practically wrestle him to the ground the first day, I decided there had to be a better way.  So.. 

Day two I decided to take the indirect approach.  I waited for him to take his nap, and then ever so gently washed out his eyes and put in the ointment.  It went very well.  It was less stress for the both of us, he didn't struggle, and went right back to sleep when I was done.  Yay!  I'd found a method that worked, right?  Right?!?

We're now on day three, and Jack is on to me.  I fed him his breakfast this morning, after which he goes outside to potty, and then usually settles in for a leisurely three hour nap on his chair.  After he came in from outside, I left him alone for awhile so he could settle on into his nap, and after about an hour went to give him the ointment.

Wait, Jack's not on his chair...  Where is he?

After a short search I found him curled up in his crate, his nose pressed into the far corner where I couldn't possibly reach him. 


I'm a patient person though, I knew I could wait him out, and that eventually he'd turn around and put his face toward the crate opening.  Every time I got up to get coffee I’d wander past his crate to see if he’d turned around yet, and eventually he did. 

However, I'm not as stealthy as I'd like to be.  He heard me coming, opened one eye, and immediately put his nose up into the air pointing towards the ceiling of the crate; putting his eyes once again out of my reach.

I looked at his posture, nose in the air, eyes closed tightly, and thought, “My dog is snubbing me!!”

He sat like that for awhile, unmoving while I tried everything in my bag of tricks to get him to look at me.

“Jack, kisses?” Kissy, kissy noises…  Nothing

“Wanna treat, poopy dog?”  Shake, shake of the treat box…  Nope.

“Come on, give me a kiss.”  More kissy noises…  still nada.

I scowled at him, but as his eyes were still closed in anticipation of me trying to stick crap in them, it was less than effective.  I’m sure if he’d seen how much distress he was causing me, he’d have melted into a little puddle at my feet and begged me to medicate him, but as it was, we were still at an impasse.

Then I remembered the new doggie sausage I’d purchased just yesterday, in anticipation of having to change his diet as per his new vets recommendation.  I popped into the kitchen and cut a slice up into treat sized chunks, then went back to take up my post at the door of his crate.

Jack had not moved.  He was still sitting nose up, eyes tightly closed, pretending he’d been adopted by some other, nicer, lady.

I pulled a chunk of sausage out of my pocket and waved it in front of his nose.  He took a sniff.  Another wave, an eye popped open and regarded me disdainfully.  One more flourish and I had him.  He put his face down to gobble the new treat, and grudgingly let me torture him while I stuffed his face.

Score another one for the evil lady.  I only wonder what he has in store for me tomorrow, now that he’s on to me.



Friday, October 15, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention

I just witnessed probably the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  It left me upset, furious, and I can’t decide whether I want to cry or throw up, so I decided to blog instead.

I’ve always been a cat person.  I never owned a dog, and didn’t really care to own one until a big, dumb lump of stinky puppy fell into my lap.  Being a cat person, I never imagined I could love a dog as much as I love Jack, or that I would become a vocal advocate for a breed that a mere eighteen months ago I thought was vicious…

It is what it is though.  Jack cuddled his way into our family, and I love and protect him like one of the kids.


I’ve had a lot of people question my sanity for having a Pittie as a first time dog owner.  I knew right from the start that I had my work cut out for me though.  I did research on the breed, and different training methods.  I told John right off the bat that if we were going to have a Pit Bull, he was going to be one of the best behaved Pits on the planet.  I did NOT want my family to be the focus of any news stories.

So right away we started training, and while Jack is not THE best behaved Pittie on the planet, he does ok for himself.  He’s technically still a puppy though, and we see progress with his self control every day.  He’s a good dog, and a very friendly one, but still, we take a lot of steps to ensure that he and everyone he comes into contact with, stays safe.  He always wears a collar; if he’s outside, he’s on a leash; if he’s in the car, he’s buckled in with his doggie seat belt harness.

Since I take these, and other, simple precautions, I am pretty confident that Jack can be easily controlled if the need arises, and that’s probably why I’m so upset by what I saw this afternoon.  Because it could have been so easily prevented…



As I pulled in to pick up my youngest daughter, I got stuck in the usual after school traffic jam.  A flash of white caught my eye as I was impatiently drumming my fingernails on the steering wheel, and I looked over to find two fawn and white Pit Bulls trying to tear each other apart. 

At least five adults were ineffectually trying to separate them, too afraid to do more than wave their arms in the general direction of the dogs, and many, many more children were watching in horror as blood sprayed from the dog’s wounds.

Neither dog had a leash on, and only one of the two had a collar, so there was no way to grab and hold the dogs without putting oneself into the reach of those snapping jaws.  One of the owners pulled futilely on his dog’s tail, while the other waved her jacket at the dogs and screamed incoherently about her dog being attacked.

It appeared that the young lady had left her dog in her car while she ran up to the school to get her child. Her dog was unrestrained, in a vehicle with the windows down, with no collar.  He more than likely jumped out the window when he saw the other dog running in an unfenced yard without a leash or chain.  Both dogs were just accidents waiting to happen.

I threw my van into park and with a quick reach into the back seat to grab Jack’s short lead, I was ready to jump into the fray.  One of the first things I learned with Jack is how to easily break his hold on anything (no matter how much he doesn’t want to let it go), and after watching the dogs I could see that they really didn’t want to harm any of the people around them.  The man pulling on his dog’s tail was unscathed even though it was clear he was causing the dog pain, and both dogs would break off the fight anytime a human stepped near.  The main problem was there was no way to hold them apart because of the lack of leashes and collar, so they quickly escaped any grasp and engaged once again.

Silly as it may seem to those of you reading this, I was not afraid of those dogs, even though they were doing their best to tear each other apart.  I was not afraid they would harm the people around them.  I was, however, distraught that they were being allowed to kill each other while children watched, because of their owners incompetence.

In the end, my intervention wasn’t needed.  Another man stepped in and grabbed the collarless dog in a bear hug, pulling him far back from the dog being restrained by his tail.  Once out of confrontational range, the dog immediately calmed down enough for his owner to step in and put him back in her vehicle.

Both dogs were injured pretty terribly, one had most of his ear torn off, and the other had a nasty gash on his throat. The police were called, and I’m saddened to think that one or both of those dogs may meet a sad end after today’s events.  The big question is; Why!?! 

Why is it so hard to put a collar on a dog?  Why can’t it be leashed when leaving the house? Why not restrain them in the car?  Why?  Not only are these three things common sense, but in most areas they are also the law!  Dogs are required by law to wear collars that display their license and rabies vaccinations.  I don’t know of a single community that doesn’t have a leash law, and most places are beginning to realize that an unrestrained dog in a vehicle becomes a high speed projectile in an accident, and are therefore starting to mandate restraints on traveling animals.

So why did this have to happen?  The simple answer is; it didn’t.  It was short sighted owners, thinking it couldn’t happen to them, or that their dog would never do something so terrible, that caused the problem.  It happens though, on a daily basis, and it’s not just a Pit Bull problem.  If you have a dog, follow the law!  Whether it’s a Daschund or a Doberman, keep them safe, keep everyone safe!

And for the love of Pete, if you have a big dog, especially one with a terrier’s tendency to be animal aggressive, know what to do in that situation!  If Jack ever got off his leash and got into a scuffle with another dog, I would immediately know what to do to break them up and defuse the situation.  Would you?  If you’re a dog owner, and the answer is no, then it’s really time you learned.  The life of a furry family member may depend on it.



I came home and hugged Jack.  I cried into his fur a little bit over the injustice of it all, and how now he’ll have even more people fear him because of reckless acts from a few humans.  I cried over two beautiful dogs who will be forever scarred, and maybe euthanized because the people who were supposed to protect them, let them down.  And then I promised I would never let it happen to him. 

I really wish all dog owners out there were willing to do the same.