Posted in life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Danger of Leaving Your Dog Alone Outside Even in the Suburbs

A few months ago I wrote a warning article on my Make Time For Happy blog, a fun blog inspired by my little pup, about the dangers of letting your dogs outside without keeping a close watch after a hawk or an owl came within feet of my back door. If it had happened when we first moved in 14 years ago, I could have understood. As very few of the lots in our neighborhood had been built and it felt like we were in the middle of the country. But now ever lot has been built on, and areas that were once nothing but trees have been cleared and transformed into neighborhoods and more and more it feels like we have been swallowed up by the city. So you would think that it would be safe to open the door and let our little dog spend some time roam his fenced in backyard.

For the first few years we had Happy, we often did that. But every once and a while we would notice the shadow of a hawk passing over heard and heard the birds madly screaming as the mocking bird or black birds gave vigorous chase. Oddly, as the houses sprang up around us, we were surprised one day to look out our window and see a hawk sitting on our fence. For a few days after we decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, and accompany Happy as he ran and played. When, after a few days, there was no sign of the hawk, we figured all was safe and we let Happy out as normal.

On and off for a few years, there would be a pattern of the occasional visit by the hawk for a few days each year, and then an all clear for the rest of the year. At first it seemed like there was nothing to worry about as the hawk would only relax on our fence for a few minutes here and there for a few days, and take off at the slightest peep. For those few minutes we were able to enjoy the priviliage of beholding this breathtaking predator from our family room window.

Then one year, there was a somewhat worrisome change, yet it took time for us to recognize how unnerving it was. After years of making the occasional visit and taking off, we noticed that instead of taking off the moment that we opened the sliding glass door, it would linger and let us admire it from the safety of the porch. Our hearts thrilled with amazement as we stood on the porch and enjoyed this rare view. As soon as I had the chance I got out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures, thinking how lucky I was to be granted this rare priviliage.

Then one day I tried opening my porch door and take a few steps outside so I could get a better picture. And to my surprise, the hawk stayed and let me take a few picture.

And after a couple of days take a few steps in its direction and take an even better picture.

It would seem that alarm bells should be going off at this point that this wild bird felt comfortable enough to let us open the screen door and get within 50 feet of it and then calmly turn its head and let us take its picture. Overcome with the excitement at being so close, it never occurred to us that this wild bird was slowly losing its fear of us, and that this could put our dog in danger.

Continue reading “The Danger of Leaving Your Dog Alone Outside Even in the Suburbs”
Posted in life, Uncategorized

ODE TO A FAITHFUL NATASHA DOG

I came across this poem the other day and it brought back so many memories.  My family was privileged to have Natasha in our lives for  9 wonderful years.  Like my adorable little Happy, she slept on a pillow in the corner of my room and followed me wherever I went. She was a wonderful friend and faithful companion. More than once my special pup had found a way to alert my parents to the fact that I was in need of medical care. One time she spent over an hour going from the front window over to my Father, then over to me to smell my breath, before heading back to the window.  When my Father figured out that she was trying to tell us that something was seriously wrong and called 911, I had to be rushed to the nearest hospital because my blood pressure and pulse were both over 200. Or the time she cried mum with such pathos that I knew my Mother needed to go to the ER, and ended up spending a week in the hospital because she had water building in her lungs

There is so much more that I would love to say about my special dog.  How she loved to sneak bones out of the box when we were gone.  Not so she could eat them, but so she could hide them in the sofa, chairs, or even our made beds so we could find them and play a game of chase with her when we returned. How like Happy, she found joy in startling my mother. Of the time she gave us a fright when she found my plate of chocolate chip cookies and ate every last one when no one was looking, the way she hated riding past run down homes, and the proud smile on her face when we finally moved into our dream home.

Continue reading “ODE TO A FAITHFUL NATASHA DOG”

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Happy’s Pain

Last week I wrote about how the ants had infiltrated my garden box and infested it to the point that my family and I had to take down one of our man made garden boxes because there were so many and they were causing my little dog Happy Go Lucky problems.  He was getting so many bites that he was experiencing reactions to them that left him miserable.

To add to Happy’s misery, it seems that Happy is in the process of developing arthritis.  We noticed that over the past few weeks he has been having more and more trouble jumping up unto and down from the sofa to enjoy his favorite past time of sitting on our laps. A couple of weeks ago the discomfort got to bad that he could not even lay comfortably in his bed, but would slowly hobble around the house in circles with his head hanging low vainly trying to find a way to get comfortable. And he was in so much pain that we had to carry him to and from the backyard. When we took Happy to the vet he noticed that Happy flinched when his back legs were moved and told us that he probably developing arthritis.

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Within moments of being under the warm heating pad, Happy stretched himself out for a comfortable nap.

 

Probably because the greater concern was Happy’s upset stomach that was keeping him from eating, we left the office only with a medication to calm his upset stomach.  But while he might be in the early stages and not yet in need of a strong pain med, it was clear that he was in enough pain to impact his choice of activities.

We were worried and wanted to be able to help alleviate Happy’s pain.  But how?  Not knowing what else to do I took to the internet to find some natural remedies to help my little Happy pup.  And I came across several articles recommending the use of a heating pad.  After consulting with my parents we decided to give it a try and pulled out their old electric blanket.  Within moments Happy, who had reached the point that he was reluctant to sit for more than a moment on our laps, had settled down and fallen asleep. By the end of the first treatment he was limping short distances in the backyard and within a couple of days to our relief he was back to his bouncy, eagerly barking self.

Now every morning Happy jumps onto my lap to enjoy his time under the heating pad. And if I should forget he lifts up his head and gives me a funny little stare until I remember and pull out the blanket.  Then he stretches himself out and takes a short nap.

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Thanks to his daily dose of warmth, Happy is back to his curious, eagerly barking self once again.

 

While I am so glad that this treatment is working for my little Happy, I find it so funny how we are so ready to do things for our four footed family members that we never would think to do or would make time to do for ourselves.  As I sit here typing I am lying in a half curled ball on the sofa leaning on a pillow and the arm of my sofa for support because I am in pain.  Yet until this moment it had not even occurred to me to pull out the old heating pad to see if it would relieve my own increasing pain.

It’s an amazing thing, if we are the ones in pain we find it so easy to brush it off and determine that it can wait for a more convenient time to be dealt with. Stopping to deal with it only if the pain becomes so unmanageable that we cannot move.  But let one of our four footed friends show the least sign of discomfort and the world comes to a halt as we hover over our little friends frantically trying to find a way to bring their suffering to an end. It just shows you what the power of love and a pair of heart melting eyes can do.