Tag Archives: pet care

Popular Myths About Dogs: DEBUNKED!

Dogs are fascinating creatures. They are loyal, adventurous, curious, able to work dozens of different jobs and be our most loving companion. But there are many things we don’t know and understand about our four legged friends, and as it often happens, misunderstanding breeds misinformation. The dog world is filled with misconceptions and myths about dogs, from behavior to getting rid of worms.

Here is a list of some common dog misconceptions, a little insight into what’s actually going on:

Myth #1: Dogs only see in Black and White:

Some Russian scientists took this popular myth and turned it on it’s head. Research has proven that dogs actually see in shades of blues and yellows, but can’t see shades of red. Who knew?! Check out this link to read more.

I love that blue shirt you’re wearing!

Myth #2: If you put garlic on your dog’s food, will it help get rid of his worms?

You’ve clearly never read my post about human foods dogs should avoid. Forget you ever heard this one. Garlic can actually be very harmful to a dog’s health, so just stick to putting garlic in your spaghetti sauces.

Myth #3: You can calculate a dog’s age by multiplying it’s human years by seven:

Research has actually shown this method to be outdated. By the time your dog reaches one year, they’ve already become a talking-back teenager, and the way they age varies from as they get older. Check this chart for exact conversions.

Myth #4: A cracked window is enough on a hot day:

Not even going there. Just read this

Myth #5: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks:

I can attest that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, older dogs may suffer from hearing or vision loss, but that doesn’t mean they lose their ability to learn. This myth seems more like a human insult than a dog one.

I may be old, but I can still learn!

One of the first lessons I teach parents about puppies is how to reduce biting. Simply give them a treat, and if their teeth touch your fingers too aggressively, pull the treat back and make a loud pitched noise. The dog will know to slow down in order to finally get the treat. I have used this trick on much older (8, 9, even 13 year old) dogs and it works great! They’ve learned a simple, new trick, and I get to keep all my fingers!

Still don’t believe me? Check out this video of MythBusters putting it to the test.

Myth #6: A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth:

Back story: Dog saliva was once believed to be antiseptic, and some people still believe it has healing properties. No one knows how that belief came to be, but it is still a common myth today. Trust me, a dog’s mouth is not “cleaner” than a person’s mouth. Dog saliva is capable of fighting off some bacteria, but carries it’s own army of bacteria and infectious organisms. The types of bacteria carried by humans and dogs is different, mostly because of the differences in diet. There is a reason for the term, “dog breath.”

Myth #7: Sex, litters and fixing your dog:

While compiling this post, I was surprised to see that lots of people wait before getting their dog neutered or spayed because they believe letting their dog have sex is a good thing, or that they need to have one litter  of puppies “for the experience.”

But that’s simply not true. Sex results in puppies without homes or a good support system. Female dogs will not miss “the experience” of having a litter. There remains some controversy as to how early you should have a dog fixed, not fixing your dog leads to further animal population and control issues.

Myth #8: A fenced yard should be entertaining enough:

How would you liked being locked up in one space for long periods of time? The world is full of smells, sounds, animals to socialize with and trees to pee on. It’s important that a dog is exposed to all these things, not only for their socialization, but so they have the mental and physical stimulation to keep them from becoming destructive.

Sometimes adventure lies outside the backyard!

Myth #9: My dog should tolerate anything my children do:

This is a good way for your child to get a nasty bite wound. Children are terrible with boundaries, and they need to be taught to respect their doggie companions. Allowing a child to sit, tug on or tease a dog is disrespectful. Dogs are living animals that should be cared for, not tormented.

Myth #10: My dog understands me when I talk to him:

Even I fall into the trap of thinking I can “talk” to my dog. While dogs can understand about 500 words and a very talented Border Collie named Chaser can understand thousands, when we talk to our dogs they focus in on a few words, our tone of voice, facial expressions, and our body language.

Myth #11: Dogs wag their tail when they are happy:

A dog trainer I worked with actually debunked this for me. Dogs wag their tail for many reasons, but typically it’s because they are either happy or nervous. The important thing here is that you learn to read a dog’s body language. A stiff, rigid appearance is a good sign that your dog is nervous, even if their tail is wagging. Being able to read a dogs signals will go a long way to building strong relationships with them.

Who knew the dog world was filled with so many myths?

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Puppy’s First Weekend Away

Every year, Kira and I get away from the rain and dreary weather of Seattle to travel down to Santa Monica, CA for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament called Lei Out. There, we join thousands of other Ultimate fanatics for two days and three nights of sun, sand, Ultimate, and debauchery.

(I have to get this out of the way. If you don’t know Ultimate, watch this)

We go every year to take in some mid winter sun and to stave off the cabin fever of being stuck inside on the cold days of January and February. We usually don’t give it a second thought, taking off an extra day of work and enjoying the three day MLK weekend in style. This past weekend, however, was a bit different in that we had something else to worry about.

What were we going to do with Pickle?

We had never left our pup with anyone else, and in the four months since we got her, I’ve never been away from her for more than 6 hours. Seriously. So when we were planning on leaving for four days, I didn’t know how I was going to react.

We are lucky to have friends who love dogs. We didn’t want to leave Pickle at a kennel or with just any friends, and a good couple of dog owners were willing to help us out. A little bit of worry was lifted from my shoulders.

But not all of it. The days to our flight drew closer, and Kira and I were making sure that Pickle had all of her belongings. I began to get more and more anxious, trying to cover all the details. How much food would she need? Where would she sleep? Would she get along with my friends’ dogs?

The night finally came to drop Pickle off. Kira had homework to do and it was up to me to leave Pickle and her gear. I hauled her kennel, her blankets and favorite toys, and two weeks worth of food up the stairs in my friends’ apartment building, unconsciously slow, suddenly wondering if I should just turn around, cancel the trip and stay home.

What was I thinking? Surely one weekend would be fine.

Or would it? What if she didn’t sleep? What if she drove my friends crazy by not sleeping? Would she miss us? Would she pee in their apartment? Would she eat? Would she get scared and run out the door and escape down the three flights of stairs to the street and run out into the road and get hit by a bus?

I snapped back into it as my friends opened the door to their apartment to let me in. I was greeted by their two border collie mixes and a reassuring sense of comfort. I found myself going into way too much detail about her bathroom schedule, and giving them hints as to what her favorite chew toys are. I was the nervous parent leaving their baby for the first day of kindergarten. Yes, I was that dad.

We were all set. I said my thank you and walked out the door, but not without pausing on the outside, waiting to hear a whimper from Pickle’s little voice. All the way down to the car, I caught myself pausing, waiting, talking myself out of turning around.

I can’t explain it. I knew Pickle was going to be taken care of, she would be loved and exercised and would be happy. But I never thought I would wonder if my dog would miss me, or if they would be happy to see me when I came back.

We went to Santa Monica and had the best weekend we could hope for. We partied, hung out with most of the Seattle Ultimate players and made some great memories (and lost some). Yet, come Monday morning, as we headed to the airport to return, I was excited to see my baby girl. I was that dad.

Of course all my worries were swept away when we returned. Pickle was thrilled to see us, she was healthy and looked like she doubled in size. She was a ball of excited energy, jumping and licking anything she could get her tongue on. All of my time in a dog kennel and I finally understood why a dog was so excited to see their owner after only four days away.

But more so I understood a new part of dog parenting that I never knew before. When you are responsible for a pet, you learn to love them like a child. You raise them, teach them good habits, provide them with food and healthcare, and they become part of your everyday. Every minute is about keeping them entertained, making sure they don’t pee in the house or shred a sweater. When they are gone, even for a few days, there is a hole left behind. I grew up with a dog, but I don’t remember raising her as a puppy. I remember being sad when I left her for weekend trips, leaving for college, but this was a whole new feeling. This was what parenting felt like. As much as I wish for days off sometimes, when I finally got one, all I wanted was my puppy.

Love your puppy and they will give unconditional love in return. All it took was one weekend for me to see how important that all was.

Book Review: Animals Make us Human

Animals Make Us Human
Creating the best life for our animals 
By Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson
(Amazon, $13.24)

I received this book as a Christmas present and couldn’t resist sharing it and raving about the information inside!

Temple Grandin, who has a PhD in animal science and is a professor at Colorado State, has a unique perspective about animals. Writing as a person with autism, Grandin has taken her position as a scientist with autism to create several works about animals and how they interact with humans.

Animals Make Us Human is a great, in depth view on how we humans can strive to maximize the happiness of our animal companions. Using years of scientific data and citing dozens of experiments, Grandin dives into everything from keeping a lion in a zoo from pacing in its cage to keeping a dog happy when you leave home.

Of course, this is a dog blog, and I was totally engage with the ideas around dog training and behavior management. Grandin challenges the traditional approach of training dogs in which humans are taught to become the “dominant”, or “alpha” figure in their dogs life.  According to numerous studies cited in the book, dogs don’t quite act like wolves in the way we once thought. Grandin takes the “Cesar Milan” approach and spins it into a new light, agreeing that even though some situations (doggie daycare, for example) may warrant having an alpha presence, these strategies aren’t necessary in everyday training.

The problem occurred with studies done on wolves in captivity, taken away from their natural setting and put in “forced packs”. These dogs, unstable and insecure, created a pack pecking order to maintain structure. This resulted in more fights and lashing out then with normal, natural wolf families. The change in environment and familiarity with their mates caused drastic changes in the way they interacted.

As a former daycare worker and as a dog owner, I loved that Grandin was able to compare two opposing sides of methodology without completely denouncing either. She respectfully presents both sides of the coin and tries to help the reader understand that old methods are born from old understanding, and as we become more knowledgable, the methods change.

Gardin dives deeper into the idea that as dogs become further removed genetically from their wolf brethren, they lose their ability to express submissive behaviors, resulting in more aggressive communication between dogs. The escalation of emotion leads to more fights between unfamiliar dogs. For example, malamutes, who are genetically much like their wolf descendants, exhibited all the submissive signs that wolves do when they greeted another dog. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which are clearly very much removed from a wolf, exhibit none of these traits, and are thus more feisty (putting it mildly, that is).

Understanding the ideas behind dominance and submission are crucial when training a dog, but so are understanding there particular drive behaviors. Finding an outlet for a dog’s seeking and play drives, and learning how to handle their fear, rage and panic emotional triggers, are critical to developing a dogs well being.

The best way to handle all these drives, according to Grandin, is through proper socialization (and I obviously agree). I loved the quote Grandin used, from Patricia McConnell, “Socialization is not the same as enrichment. You need both.” I couldn’t agree more! And proper socialization can be the preventative cure to all kinds of later life issues. What I didn’t know about was a second socialization stage, between 18 and 36 months, when a dog becomes socially mature. This is a great opportunity to have your pup around positive adult-dog influences to steer them into the right direction through their teen years.

There is so much information about dogs in this book that I can get carried away. I’d also miss out on mentioning how Gardin talks about creating happy lives for your cats, for pigs, horses, birds, and captive animals in zoos. She talks about ways to stimulate their deepest instincts to help give even a caged lion a happy and content life. Believe it or not, an animal raised in the wild, yet put into captivity, tends to react better to being behind the glass in a zoo. You’ll have to read to find out why!

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in animal science and animal psychology. Scratch that, I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever cared for an animal and wants to better understand the way they think. Not every animal is dealt the best hand, but with a little help from us humans, we can totally give them the happy and content life they need. Grab your copy today to find out how!

Dog Food: Going Beyond the Kibble (Part 2)

Last week, I talked about some great ways to switch your dog to a whole foods diet while highlighting a handful of tasty and nutritious treats usually reserved for humans.

Unfortunately, not all human food is dog friendly. And though switching to a whole foods diet is great for your dog and your wallet, there are a handful of foods you should avoid. Here are a few of the most common foods to avoid:



The leaves, bark, and seeds of an avocado contain a chemical called persin. Dogs (and birds, rabbits, and horses) are especially sensitive to avocado as they can have respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the heart, and even death from consuming avocado. Though toxic to some animals, avocado does not pose a serious threat to dogs or cats. Usually a mild stomach ache can occur from eating too much avocado flesh or peel. Swallowing the pit can lead to obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract, which is a serious situation and you should get your pet to the vet immediately.



Dogs are extremely sensitive to the effects of alcohol (also refered to as ethanol or ethyl alcohol). Even a small amount of alcohol can leave your pooch severely intoxicated. Keep a close eye on your holiday champaign or wine, and don’t give your dog some of that beer your sipping! Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor (I’m sure many of you can relate). In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur. Keep a close eye on your pup if they are showing signs of mild intoxication, but if your dog cannot get up they should be monitored by a vet until they recover.

Onion and Garlic:


Ingestion of onions and garlic may pose a threat to dogs’ red blood cells. The odds of a dog eating enough raw garlic or onion to cause any serious damage is unlikely, but concentrated forms (dried onions, garlic powder) can pose a much greater risk. Damage caused by eating too much garlic or onion may not show up for a few days, when dogs become easily tired or reluctant to move. Take your dog to the vet immediately if they seem to be having trouble. In severe cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Grapes and Raisins:


Consuming grapes and raisins has been associated with the development of kidney failure in some dogs, though the cause is unclear.Also confusing is why some dogs can eat these fruits without harm, while others develop life-threatening problems after eating even a few grapes or raisins. Of course it’s better to be safe then sorry and just not let your pup eat any grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. As symptoms progress, dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, refuse to eat and may have a period of frequent urination, followed by little to zero urination. Death due to kidney failure may occur within three to four days, or long-term kidney disease may persist in dogs who survive the acute intoxication.

In case you missed it, don’t let your dogs eat grapes or raisins. In case it happens, successful treatment requires prompt veterinary treatment to maintain good urine flow.


Here’s the big one! Unless you’re planning for a New Year’s resolution and ridding yourself of chocolate for the year, chocolate is probably in your home and could be a serious problem to your dog. Foods like chocolate candy, cookies, brownies, chocolate baking goods, cocoa powder and cocoa shell-based mulches all pose a risk to your pup. Caffeine and theobromine, which belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines, are what cause the issues. The rule of thumb with chocolate is “the darker it is, the more dangerous it is.” White chocolate has very few methylxanthines and is of low toxicity. Dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines, and plain, dry unsweetened cocoa powder contains the most concentrated levels of methylxanthines. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, the signs seen can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures and death. Dogs showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Now you have the tools to switch your pup off the kibble. So have at it, get your pup on that whole food diet! Get them off the kibble and mystery meat canned food and help them get to a healthier, happier life!

Dog Food: Going beyond the Kibble (Part 1)

I live in Seattle, so the idea of a healthy, whole foods lifestyle isn’t reserved for just us humans. Articles galore online describe how easy it is to switch your dog from byproduct riddled kibble and mystery meat canned food to a real, you can actually see the ingredient whole foods diet.

Why would you bother? First, it’s healthier, especially knowing that your pup is getting real meats and vegetables, and you get to pick what goes inside. Second, in most cases it’s cheaper. A local pet shop owner tipped me off to a brilliant idea (and talked me out of buying some canned food). Throw some chicken in the slow cooker on a Monday morning, and you’ll have fresh chicken all the way till Sunday! Lean, healthy protein source for about 36 cents a serving, compared to about $1/serving for the wet food we feed Pickle. That’s a 65% savings!

Okay, now you’re intrigued, right? The issue now is what can we and what can’t we feed our dogs. Here’s a list of some great, tasty options to feed your pup that are safe for your pup to eat:

Fresh, cooked meat.

Fresh meat can be a great stand in for the mystery meat canned food you may be serving up now, and works great in a pinch if you accidentally run out of food. Chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, and chuck steak or roast are animal-based proteins, which help dogs grow up strong. Make sure to cook the meat well as raw or undercooked meat could transmit food born illnesses to your pup. Many pet health sites will advise against fatty cuts, including bacon, but I encourage moderation. A piece of bacon will make your dog happy, a whole pound may leave him with a belly ache. Lastly, cut meat into easy-to-chew chunks to avoid choking.

Sweet potatoes.

Pickle loves her some sweet potato! Mixed up in her food or as a stand alone treat, sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fibre and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are great sliced and dehydrated as a chewy treat for your dog.



A wonderful, crunchy, sweet and/or tangy treat for your dog. Apples with the skin on are full of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) and are a source of vitamins A and C and fibre. Be weary of the seeds, however, as they contain cyanide. Don’t let your dog eat the core, but don’t be too worried if they get a seed or two. Issues occur when they regularly eat seeds, but a couple shouldn’t cause an issue.



Another cool, crunchy, see treat. Carrots are good for a dog’s teeth, low calorie, high in fiber and beta carotene/vitamin A.


Fiber is a huge theme here, and pumpkin is no exception. Also a good source of beta carotene (a source of vitamin A), we use pumpkin as a way to regulate Pickle’s bowel movements. It’s a tasty treat that certainly keeps her regular (and her belly happy).

Nut Butters.

Move beyond the peanut butter when you are giving your pup a midday treat. We have used everything from almond butter to sunflower seed butter to help spice up Pickle’s meals and treats (especially spreading it on her antler chew, she digs it!) A great source of protein and nutrients. Try to stick with raw, unsalted butters.

Cranberries and Blueberries.

Cranberries and blueberries good sources of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Both are high in antioxidant content, which can help protect against free radicals that damage normal cells and tissues, are good for cardiovascular system and immune system. Cranberries have been used to help relieve to effects of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in dogs (still go to your vet if your dog is showing signs of painful urination). At the same time the effect of antioxidants can protect the structure and tissues from the radical damage and delay aging. So blueberries provide special benefits for older dogs.


Blueberries and cranberries should be fed in moderation so as not to upset the digestive system of your dog. Over feeding of berries could lead to upset bellies and diarrhea.


Yogurt is awesome for dogs! Not only is yogurt a great source of calcium and protein, but it is also a great source of stomach friendly probiotics for your dog! When Pickle was on antibiotics for her kennel cough, we gave her a small amount of yogurt everyday to keep her regulated, and she loved it. Choose low fat yogurts with no added sugar or sweeteners. On a warm day, frozen yogurt (with berries!?) can make a great treat for your pup!

Make sure to check back later in the week when we look at the foods that are dangerous for your pup and need to be avoided.

What are your favorite ways to spice up your dog’s meals? Leave a comment on our Facebook page or on Twitter!

Why I Love Being a Dog Walker

I consider myself a lucky man. Everyday, get to earn my living doing the things that I love, how many people can say that?

In the evenings, I am a math tutor, enriching the lives of young students and helping them to unravel the intricacies of numbers and equations. I get to be a mentor and an educator, not only helping kids to navigate the windy roads of the classroom, but also the roller coaster they call life.

But during the day, I get to do something else that I truly love: walk dogs. Now that may cause some to question my background and my goals (not to mention my sanity). So let me lay it out for you: I am a college grad, where I double majored in mathematics and business economics. My father always pushed me to be a teacher, yet I graduated more trained to work as a bank teller, able to work money and do all kinds of calculations. My path was leading me to a career behind a desk. Yet, something about that wasn’t very appealing. Why would I want to sit at a desk, cooped up and isolated from the wonderful things that this city has to offer?


Well, I didn’t want to. Then I walked into a job as a kennel assistant, handling 30+ dogs everyday and interacting with their owners, building relationships with the two-legged and four-legged friends. I built a love for obedience training and the commonalities that existed between working with dogs and kids. Especially the light bulb that hits them when a lesson finally hits home. Every time it happened, it was a new reason to pursue a job I loved.

So now, instead of showing up and facing coworkers shut up in windowless offices and choking on a necktie, I am welcomed into every home by a loving four-legged friend who only wants to attack me with kisses and love. How would you feel if you were welcomed into your job everyday by someone who expressed unconditional happiness and appreciation to see you? I wish all my math students felt that way.

How could that not rub off on me? It’s impossible to spend my day upset and to let anything stress me out. Do the dogs push my buttons sometimes? Sure. But a wag of their tail or a glance from their pouty eyes melts my heart, and any anger slips away, forgotten.


Furthermore, Seattle is an amazing place to explore, with all its nooks and crannies and mazes of parks and side streets. Dog walking has given me an opportunity to discover the nuances of neighborhoods that would have otherwise gone unexplored. Everyday, I find a new little library, a piece of street art, or even poem benches.


With every new neighborhood comes a new population of people to meet and have conversations with. Dog owners tend to be really social, and lots of people love to stop and chat about their dogs (and mine). Not only do I have the privilege to see the attractions in each neighborhood, but I get to meet the people who live and raise families there. Dog walking is like one big networking opportunity!

I know, your gut reaction is to say there is no way that a person can make a living doing this. But trust me, Seattle is a city booming with dog owners, and is a place in great need of decent dog walkers and sitters who can give their dogs dependable care. And I would be lying if I said it was easy (I still tutor for a reason). Besides, getting paid to be a pooper-scooper and running the potential of getting caught in the cold and wet weather makes me question my job choice.

But if I have to risk the one day every week that I may get caught in the rain, it is worth it to spend hours in the wonderful parks Seattle has to offer, meeting her residents and learning about her neighborhoods. The result was Paw Prints Seattle, my ticket to running my own business (thus justifying all those accounting and management classes I took in college) and going to work everyday with a smile on my face.

What’s not to love?

Ok, she’s Fixed, Can we Have Our Puppy Now?

I couldn’t blame her for being upset. If someone denied me breakfast I’d be pissed too. But her barking and howling seemed to have a feel of sadness, like she knew what was coming today. She was scheduled to get spayed, and the road to her procedure had finally reached its end.

The fiasco started a week ago, with a phone call to the vet clinic to confirm her surgery appointment. But instead of confirming, Pickle’s spay appointment was put on hold because the vet thought she was too small. This made sense to us, she was emaciated when she arrived from Georgia and was a small dog in general.

So we forgot about the appointment, planning on getting her checked again once she was bigger. The spaying was important, just on the back burner until it was approved. That is, until the text came yesterday from the rescue saying they wanted us to go ahead with the surgery.

Confusion ensued. Was Pickle too young, too small, was she ready for a hysterectomy? A series of panicked phone calls essentially led to me figuring out that the vet I thought was doing the procedure was not the vet doing the procedure. Long story short, there was an appointment at 8:30 the next morning at the Seattle Animal Shelter and Pickle was going under the knife.

And in the morning we were there, getting Pickle spayed and chipped. (Not sure if you’ve ever seen one of those chips, but holy crud!) After a big miscommunication with the rescue and having to scramble to even get the chip, here we were at the front desk checking in for Pickle’s procedure.

Now, I don’t know what it is with pets and the vet’s office, but the instant we walked through the door Pickle was shaking and whimpering. As I tried to hold her and fill out the preliminary questionnaire, her anxiety worsened and she almost squirmed out of my arms a couple times.

And then she was gone, behind the doors to the kennel area, only her barking and howling to escort me out to my car. Off I went to wait until the procedure was done and I got the call to take Pickle home.

When the call finally came, I struggled to hear the voice of the secretary over the barking of what I was sure to be Pickle. “I think she’s ready to come home,” was all I could make out. The SAS staff was very clear with helping to understand the procedure, assuring me that everything went normal, and steps necessary to help Pickle recover quickly and correctly, and Pickle weighed in at a whopping 8 pounds during her exam! She’s getting so big! Honestly, though, I was just happy to have my puppy back in my arms.

The car ride home was a bit heartbreaking. Every bump in the road, every time Pickle shifted in her crate, led to a slight whimper from the back seat. With each whimper, I don’t know which one of us was in more pain.


The major positive to come out of all of this is that now we can officially adopt our sweet little Pickle. Washington State law prohibits rescues from adopting out dogs that are unaltered, so we have been in limbo with the adoption process for the past week. As her foster parents she won’t see any change in our status as her mom and dad, but now we’ll officially be her parents!

As far as the spaying, the challenge now is figuring out how to keep a 10 week old puppy from getting too active. We were assured that puppies tolerate the pain well and are generally so distracted with the world around them that they don’t play with their incisions. Luckily Pickle is only highly active in short bursts, and like any baby, enjoys her naps. Now we are crossing or fingers the recovery process is smooth for her. After being flown in from Georgia, separated from her siblings, shuffled between houses and now going through a stressful surgery, it’s time for her to just be a puppy.

UPDATE: We had quite the scare last night. Pickle did not handle the food she ate after her surgery and at around 5:30 started to throw all of it up. Her little stomach couldn’t handle the effects of the anestesia, and was rejecting everything.

By the time my girlfriend, Kira, got home from work, Pickle was clearly uncomfortable. “She looks emaciated!” was Kira’s shocked response to the skinny, miserable puppy that welcomed her home. “Call the vet, now!”

An emergency clinic in the U-District assured me it was just a response to the drugs, and I reluctantly took their word and tried to reassure Kira. Pickle would have to go the night without food, but was drinking water, so that made me feel better. She stopped throwing up, and found a comfortable spot on her blanket and slept all through the night (she didn’t even wake us up to pee during the night).

When breakfast time came, Pickle was more of her tail wagging self. She wolfed down her food and hasn’t thrown up this morning. We did notice, though, that she is hesitant to pee outside right now, either because she can’t hold it due to some uncomfortable effects of the surgery, or if it’s because the weather is miserable. We don’t know, but Pickle will get some slack, for now.

Puppy Parenthood

I never understood the angst, the worry, the heart wrenching misery that passed the face of each customer that left their dogs to board with us. I grew up with and around dogs, and working at the boarding kennel had me around 20, maybe 30 dogs everyday. They were dogs. I didn’t see any reason for customers to be so choked up by being away from their DOGS for 3 days.

Then we got a puppy.

And everything became clear.

Leavin10580915_10154628325785711_8078712601226093434_og from the foster home (huge shout out to them for an awesome job!) the whole picture took place. What if our new puppy got sick? What if she got in the garbage and ate chocolate? What if she borrowed into her blanket and suffocated in her sleep?! All the irrational, crazy thoughts came flooding into my head in a flash, and I understood.

I was too young to remember raising my puppy when I grew up. She was 7 weeks, I was 6 years. In short, I didn’t raise her, my parents did. I didn’t worry about her shots, food, potty breaks, treats, training … my parents did. And even though I spent 17 years with that dog, and had spent the last almost 2 1/2 years in a dog kennel and dog sitting for friends, I was not prepared for the emotions that suddenly drudged their way up into my gut.

Worry. Angst. Nervousness.

All of my confidence was sucked away by a pair of muddy brown eyes. As my girlfriend and I welcomed her into our home, reality became about vet visits, proper dieting, safe potty breaks. Now, I understood why I had to console every pet owner that left their dog with us at the kennel. I understood that they were feeling what I was feeling, watching our new pup use her food dish and play with her toys for the first time.

This four legged wonder was more than just an animal in our world. They were loved family members. And now I belonged to a special club that I had once denounced and poked fun at, but now one that I have grown to appreciate:

Puppy parenthood.