Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lovely spring days

One of the things I will miss when I get a real job (if I ever do, heh heh) is my current ability to plop down in a chair in the backyard and enjoy the flowers, sun, and breeze of Central Texas springtime. Texas spring is a very short-lived and unpredictable month (two months if you're lucky). Most years it's sunny and pleasant, and we all rush out and do our gardening before miserable summer gets here. Occasionally it will even rain.

Bloom, wisteria, bloom! Summer's around the corner!
Yes, that's agility equipment in the yard. Star and I have been practicing, now that the weather is nicer. Star's problem is not so much in the doing, but in which obstacle she should be doing. She happily does them all, in any order she pleases, rather than pay attention to my hand signals, commands, or body orientation. The cheese she receives for doing things in correct order just isn't enough of a motivator; I'm tempted to try a squeaky toy, but I'm worried that that will be a little bit too exciting, and her pea-brain will explode.

Worst of all, Star is no working dog. Although she enjoys agility at first, she quickly gets tired (usually within 15 minutes), and her performance degrades significantly—to the point where she walks around or even through jumps. She knows those bars fall out, so why would she jump them when she can just push them over? So, I have a very short window during which to engage her.

Although Star is not really an agility dog, I think the agility is good physical and mental exercise, so we keep it up.

Too... much... agility... zzzzzzz....
The crib mattress has been very popular—so popular that I bought a second one. Dozer and Star are roomies, but no matter what Star thinks, they are NOT friends. Dozer refused to share the crib mattress with Star. If she picked a spot beside him on the mattress, he immediately moved to the floor. This defeated the whole purpose of the crib mattress, which was to provide a soft sleeping place for Dozer's old bones.

So I got a second mattress, and the dogs each sleep on one. Yes, Dozer is spoiled rotten.

"Mooooom, her mattress is touching mine!!"

The raw feeding experiment has come to a halt. I ran into several difficulties, compounded by the dogs acquiring a stomach bug (not related to the raw food). The major problems were the fire ants and flies that were immediately attracted to the food, mere minutes after the food appeared outside. Fire ants are a particular problem in Texas and Dozer is allergic to any kind of insect sting. The only way to avoid the fire ants is to raw feed indoors, something I have determined is just not sanitary. I also ran into some minor difficulties, including Dozer not wanting to chew bones (he prefers soft foods nowadays) and Star spitting out any and all attempts to balance the nutritional value via eggs, fish oil, veggie mash, or anything else. When the dogs got the stomach bug, that tipped the scales, and I put them back on the expensive allergy-free kibble so that I could get back to a "last known good" configuration. I will probably retry raw feeding in the future, but I need to figure out how to deal with the peculiarities.

"You will throw this. Now. Pleeeeeeeeese."
Dozer had his annual vet checkup the other day, and tests came back with borderline low thyroid. We are going to watch and see if it crosses into hypothyroidism. Byrd has hypothyroidism so we already know a bit about it. Speaking of Byrd...

What is he doing to our back door? Well, because the house isn't painted yet, the unpainted door and doorframe have been exposed to the elements for a zillion years (okay, five). Consequently, both door and frame rotted.

I would just like to state for the record that I WAS RIGHT. I WAS 100% RIGHT.

Last week....
Me: Honey, the doorframe looks icky. I think it should be replaced before the house painters start.
Byrd: Haha, oh sweetie, you're so cute when you try to talk about manly things.
Me: No, really, when I tap on it, it sounds hollow. I think it's rotten.
Byrd: Nonsense, I know everything about houses, and there's no way it could be rotten.
Me: I'm sure you're right, but I'm so dumb, I just don't get it. Can you please demonstrate to me how it is not rotten?
Byrd: Of course, dear. Look how solid this wood is.
(Pokes doorframe with screwdriver, which sinks straight into rotten wood.)
Byrd: Well, it wasn't supposed to do that...
(Pokes doorframe again. Doorframe crumbles.)
Byrd: This doorframe is rotten!
Me: No way! That's impossible!

And so, we replaced the door.

The new door lacks a window, but once the house is painted (in one week!!), I intend to get a screen door. That will make it easier to enjoy pleasant Texas spring weather!


Kari in WeHo said...

Im sure you have tried, but what about home cooking? Using the ingredients in the expensive kibble might be a lot cheaper


happypitbull said...

Kari, that's a really good idea. I might give it a shot. It would at least be cleaner than raw meat. Unfortunately, Dozer seems to be allergic to most animal proteins (I noticed he was starting to get staph lesions after eating the raw beef and poultry... sigh). So I have to find a cheap source of rabbit, the only thing he seems to not react to. :/ I'll have to ask at the local meat markets. I haven't seen rabbit meat for sale. I don't even know how to cook it, but hooray for the Internet. :)

Melanie said...

We put a thick towel under our dogs when they get a meaty bone. When they're finished it goes right in the laundry. It did take some effort to teach them to stay on the towels, however ;-)
They sell rabbit at Central Market and sometimes at some of the Austin farmer's markets. Unfortunately, it's a little pricey. My dogs (and cats) love it and all I do is pop it in the crockpot with some water and veggies.

happypitbull said...

Very cool, thanks, Melanie! I hadn't thought of Central Market, and that also makes me think of Sprouts, which is closer to me. Did I see rabbit there? I feel like I might have. I will definitely look at both places. Also a big thank you for your rabbit cooking advice. I'm terrified of using the oven, but I can totally do crockpot!

who wouda thunk it?? said...

add iodized salt to his diet. Iodine is required for good thyroid function, or use kelp which contains same.
Isn't funny how the Pitbull mind seems to find such activities (agility) as purely foolish and will just choose to ignore your insane request? I have one that just stares at me and wags, as if she is waiting for ONE GOOD REASON to do what I am asking of her, no matter what it is.

Daisy Dog said...

The Wysteria is lovely. We have a festival here where I live since the biggest vine in the country is here. The Wysteria Festival!! LOL! We call it the Hysteria festival. This year it poured all day. kinda rained out. I an anxious to hear about the new foster :)