Husky Demands New Sleeping Arrangements

Rebel has been coming inside at night for two reasons:

  1. He is severely underweight and it’s been getting cold at night: down in the 20’s.  He is a pure Husky and has the thick fur of a Husky, and loves being outside in the cold, but with absolutely no fat in his skin I fear it would be bad for his health.
  2. He gets lonely when he’s out in a kennel by himself, and his two kennel-mates (who are NOT Huskies) INSIST on going to their inside crates at night because of the cold.  I can’t crate Rebel inside with them because we’re feeding him a TON of food and he needs to go outside during the night to defecate.  When he gets lonely, he howls and yaps in what I call his Rebel Yell.

Husky says “NO CRATE! I want to sleep free like the others!”

I’ve been crating him indoors.  Most of the time he does okay in a crate, as long as I am in view.  If I leave the room, he fusses loudly.  I tried crating him in the bedroom with the rest of us at night, but the crate that fits in there is too small and he kicked and thrashed against it all night long.  So we moved to the living room where he can sleep in a large crate (we borrowed Callie’s crate and swapped out the bedding) while I sleep on the sofa.  That was better but he tended to get too hot and would paw the crate wanting out.  Often.

Last night we compromised. I fastened a long leash to the leg of the sofa where I was going to sleep. This kept him close enough I could monitor (and away from other dogs so they could sleep in other rooms — Rebel tends to want to trot through the house constantly) and he was near me so he could get skritchies and be told what a good boy he is as needed. He could choose from his open-door crate (rejected), two dog beds (tried each, rejected) or a blanket (liked this much of the time), or the bare floor (when he needed cooling off). We only had to get up three times last night (it was twice that the night before) to let him out for a breather. One time Blondie and Josephine went out with him and they all investigated something up in the woods. The yard is fenced so they cannot GO into the woods, but can see up there.  It got them excited, but they didn’t bark much. Bless their hearts: it was 2:30 AM, and the neighbors appreciated their self control, I’m sure! They all got along fine. Time for breakfast now as we launch into a new day.

Rebel’s Food Rebellion

Rebel is a Husky.  Huskies are opinionated about things.  Apparently they are highly opinionated about their food too.  Unlike most dogs, Huskies won’t wolf down anything you set in front of them.  Oh, no … Huskies like things the way they like them.  Linda Daniels is no stranger to picky eaters, she has a couple as live-ins as well as some in her former foster dogs.  She’s been helping me solve Rebel’s aversion to eating.  A few of the things she’s turned up about Husky dining habits are:

  • Huskies don’t like combined foods.  They’re kind of like those people who have to use segmented plates to keep their foods from touching or they can’t eat it,  We found that Rebel likes shredded, boiled chicken breast.  So I tried to ease him into eating the gastroenteric dog food his vet wanted him to be eating by mixing it into his chicken — a little of it each time.  That didn’t fly: he insisted that there be NO “pollutants” in his chicken.
  • Huskies prefer a varied diet.  Most dogs are perfectly happy eating the same food day after day.  Not Huskies.  And Rebel falls in line with this.  I got my hopes up a couple of times when he accepted a little of some food or other.  But the next time I offered him that food, he said, “I had that before.  Want something new.”  Except for the chicken, he has eaten several meals of that, but not consecutively.
  • Huskies can, however, be persuaded through peer pressure…

Rebel’s former mom said that he was eating normally until about three weeks ago.  Since then he eats very little and has lost a lot of weight.  He currently weighs 45.5 pounds and should weigh in around 70 pounds.  Under his thick fur, he’s just bones.

His reaction to almost everything I’ve tried to feed him. (video)

When I was unsuccessful in his first few days here to tempt him to eat  — and I tried a wide variety of kibble, canned dog food, and people foods — I took him to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital to see if there was a physical reason for is starvation diet.  They ran a G.I.Series with barium.  This eliminated suspicions such as megaesophagus, and bowel blockage.  They sent me home with some special dog food to soothe his gut.  He ate a little, then refused any more..

Yesterday was a good day: Marie got him to eat a some Critical Nutrition dog food, and Josie helped me get him to eat about two cups of Salmon and Potato kibble over the course of the afternoon.

Today, he’s back to refusing most everything.  He ate about 1/2 cup of chicken breast this morning, left the rest of it in his dish, and has refused everything else I’ve offered him.  So the struggle continues …



Sable and Night Barking

Last night Sable started in on a monotone, metered barking that went on, and on, and on. Around 9:30 we decided she was not going to settle down and I went over to the shop and set up the BIG crate for her.

When I let her out of her kennel, she raced out the door before I could put a leash on her. But she went only so far as the nearest good patch of grass, squatted, and peed about a gallon. When done she came back to me, started bouncing playfully and rubbed on my legs, obviously appreciative of my concession to her needs. She is housebroken and did NOT want to pee in her “house”.

I felt so bad for leaving her so long!

Since I already had a crate set up I decided to go ahead and take her inside.
She was a bit confused as we went out the gate (toward the truck), up the steps, and along the porch. When we got to the door she perked up. She peeked inside, ‘’Oh, it’s a house! It has weird furniture, but it’s a house!”

I took her to her crate and she scooted right inside. I gave her a cookie and bade her good night.

This morning, when I went to bring her back outside, she was still in her crate, the bedding was intact and dry, and she calmly let me clip on a leash and walked back to the play yard to relieve herself again.

She’s not giving me any trouble at all! I just don’t see the aggression she displayed at N.A.C. I suspect she will settle down quickly now that she’s here at Piney Mountain. That is often the case.

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I Was Born a Poor Black Lab

One of Highland’s favorite dog toys is — or was — a snake plush toy that has been gutted, leaving just the “skin”.  But Highland likes it a lot.  It’s his favorite crate toy.

Highland was neutered on Sunday.  He absolutely insisted on licking at his incision.  That’s bad, he must not do that.  I tried to dissuade him, but as soon as I looked away, he curled up and began licking.  So I tried putting him in an inflatable doughnut collar.  He defeated that.  SO I had to put him in a cone.

That upset him.  But rather than trying to rip the cone off, as many others have done, he became dejected.  His reaction reminded me of Steve Martin’s “And this is all I need” skit in the movie “The Jerk” ( if you’ve never seen it).

I cannot say that in the days since then Highland has become “happy” about the cone.  But once he mastered coming up the back steps while wearing it (at first I had to climb the steps with him, holding the rim of the cone up so it didn’t catch on the steps and flip him sideways) he lightened up.  Once he discovered that the thing can be “weaponized” and used to aggravate the other dogs (and us) he has decided it’s kind of fun.  He especially likes coming up behind Buddy Beagle and scooping Buddy’s hindquarters up in the cone.  Buddy hates that.  Highland thinks it’s funny.

Still, it’s not likely that he will be upset when I take it off of him in a few more days.  Just one more experience along his path to a forever home.

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Highland Houdini

I took Highland to the veterinarian today because he’d developed a nasty cough. Which, of course disappeared today. They needed to take his harness off to take a chest X-ray. He LIKED running around “nekked”.

After his exam we went back to the waiting room. It was packed! Lots of friendly folks to pet him and comment how handsome and happy he is. Several cats to say howdy to as well. When he started sniffing at things in that special way, I decided to take him out to the grass. Good thing too. When he was empty I decided not to take him back into the waiting room, but put him back in my truck. I clipped his safety strap on the passenger seat to his harness and locked the doors. I could see him through the waiting room window and checked on him frequently. Sometimes he was sitting up looking back at me, sometimes he was not visible, I figured he was laying down resting.

When I’d gotten his meds and settled the bill I went outside. A young fella was sitting in a large pick-up next to my truck. He rolled his window down and said, “He’s quite a Houdini! He was out of his collar almost as soon as you left him. He’s loose, be careful when you open the door!”

That amazed me, Highland had never even tried to get out of his harness before. I thanked him for the heads-up and VERY carefully slid in the drivers side door. Sure enough, the harness was laying loose on the seat, still clipped closed, but with no Highland inside it. He was bouncing around doing his Mr. Wiggles bit and grinning ear to ear.

That boy DOES like getting “nekked!”

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Ugg Learns a New Trick

Ugg learned a new trick while we were away at church today.
He’s been so lonely since his lil buddy, Blue, left on a rescue run.

When we got home about 12:30 Ugg met us at the wooden gate, grinning his face off and tail flapping madly. A neighbor said he was loose in the yard for quite a while, she first saw him around 11:00.  The roof of his kennel is all torn up.  The corner is shredded and there are many punctures to the tarp covering.

I moved Ugg into kennel #1, which is our Max Security cell, with mesh fastened in under the roof along the edges to prevent climbers from getting out. I had to move all the added hardware from his old room to the new one too.  That was Blue’s room since I figured if anyone was a climber, it would be a hyper Terrier.

Ugg discovered early on that he could yank his door into the kennel (twisting the latch) and get out. I installed a heavy chain with anchor shackles until I could order a second latch to mount down low. But even the second latch wasn’t enough so I use both latches AND the chain at night and when I go away.  He can’t get out through the door any more, so he went looking for some other way … and found it. Who’d have thought such a massive dog would be a climber?

I guess we’ll have to go to N.A.C. and find Ugg a new neighbor – and save another life.

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Follow the Leader: Blue Steele Style

Blue and Ugg are our “outside boys”. When Ugg arrived, Blue had already been here a couple of days and got lonely when no one else was outside.

When I first brought Ugg home, Blue growled at him and backed away. Maybe because Ugg is twice Blue’s size, maybe because Ugg stunk, maybe because I was with Ugg not Blue. Blue likes to be the center of attention.

It did not take long for Blue to change his mind about Ugg and they started hanging out close to their shared wall, getting to know one another.

Blue’s jealous/possessive trait kept them from playing in the yard together for several days, but we eventually got that worked out and they now enjoy spending their play periods in the yard together. They have worked out their pecking order: little Blue is the leader and Ugg is his stooge who happily follows him around like Pinky and The Brain.

Okay, maybe not
*that* hard

Today was a hot one, and their mid-day play time was mostly spent laying in a patch of shady grass, because that’s what Blue said to do. In the afternoon we had a short, hard rain that came late enough to cool things off. Too early in the day and rain makes things tropical and sultry once the rain stops.

With the cooler temps and wet grass for the evening play session, Blue invented a new game: High Speed Follow the Leader.

The way it worked is that Ugg would be following Blue around as they sniffed. Without warning, Blue would bolt off at a run. Ugg rose to the challenge and tried to catch up. Blue is much more nimble than Ugg, and when Ugg caught him, Blue would execute a sharp turn — which he managed, but Ugg tended to slew around in a wide turn, if he didn’t lose traction all together and go down to slide on his side along the wet grass.

Blue clearly thought this was hilarious. Ugg continued to play along with the game, not appearing to be embarrassed or frustrated in the least. Indeed, he thought this was a fun game!

Blue would slow to a walk and they’d resume sniffing until Blue sprung another surprise departure on Ugg. Over and over they did this until both were winded and ready for their treats.

Blue indicated their readiness by going to the mailbox where I store outside treats, toys, and small equipment and nosed the door, “I’m ready for my snack, get us our cookies!”

Blue is a little bossy, but really cute. And smart!

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Peanut Butter Moonshine

I spent just under four hours today making just over 1,000 peanut butter dog treats. Ostensibly these are for the Quilts and Canines event on the 15th of the month. In actuality, some will be needed elsewhere before then so I’ll have to make more next week.

The process of making these peanut butter treats left a large peanut butter jar empty. I like to give the empty jars to the outside dogs because they tend to miss out on a lot of treats the house dogs get. But today I decided to give it to Blondie Bear. She’s been feeling down.

There was a time when she and Cochise were the only house dogs. Occasionally a foster dog would earn enough Good Dog points to come in for housebreaking, but the vast majority of the time it was just the four of us and Cochise and Blondie got lots of attention from Marie and me. But then we adopted Josephine. And Buddy. And Callie. And Moonshine is an in-house foster dog. Blondie is pretty laid back and doesn’t get huffy when the others push in front of her to get the People attention. But it hurts her feelings. So I thought it might lift her spirits if I gave HER the peanut butter jar this time.

She was laying on the floor in the kitchen watching me work, everyone else was snoozing in the living room or the den. There should not be a big tussle as the others try to get it away from her.

I set the jar down beside her. She looked at it, looked at me, looked back at the jar. She licked tentatively at the rim and said as she stood up, “Too rich for me. I’m trying to watch my figure.” and walked away.

By now some of the others got wind of the fact that I gave her something that I did not give everyone else and came to investigate. First on the scene was Moonshine. At first she stood off about four feet, her glance darting around the room looking for the others. She glanced at me several times, judging whether that jar was fair game or if I would scold her is she approached. I just watched as I worked.

Josephine was creeping up on the scene from the other side of the table. Moonie decided it was now or never. She stepped up, still casting furtive glances, maybe deciding if this was a trap. It sure smelled GOOD! Josie was stepping closer, so Moonie lowered her head, ever so slowly, still glancing about, and took the rim of the jar gently in her teeth.

She paused, listening, glancing at me, glancing at Josephine, then slowly lifted the jar, turned, and tip-toed out of the room. Once she got into the hallway I heard her claws clickety-clacking rapidly down the tile floor to the bedroom.

I was cutting out treats and loading them on a tray while this was going on. Timing is important in this, especially when I’m doing multiple batches, so I had to keep going until it was time to put that tray in the oven. With that done I took a moment to slip back and make sure Moonshine wasn’t making a mess of the carpet.

She was lounging on a bed, thoroughly enjoying licking every morsel of peanut butter she could reach out of that jar.

As I came to the door she grinned at me, flapped her tail a few times, and stuck her nose back into the jar, tongue snaking out as far as it could to retrieve that peanutty goodness.

That thing kept her happily occupied most of the afternoon! I’m sorry Blondie wasn’t interested, but glad Moonshine enjoyed it. She has started her heartworm treatment and will be getting the injections soon. I’ll have to make sure I empty another peanut butter jar when she comes home from that.

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What we know about Callie

A good deal of info has been posted to Facebook about Callie and her history by the people involved in her rescue. The following is my distillation of those accounts.

Callie was originally the family dog of a couple with kids. It appears Callie was kept pregnant much of the time and they sold the puppies. The couple split up and he left, leaving Callie and the kids with her. She claims Callie was his dog, and it seems she took out her feelings about this break-up on Callie, exiling her to existence outside the home, with little or no care.

The Mom and kids went away for 3 weeks, leaving Callie outside with no shelter, food or water. A gentleman who lives nearby took pity on Callie and started leaving food, water, and a blanket for her to lie on outside his door. When he passed away, his son came to clear out the house, found Callie and took her home with him. They fell in love with her.

Callie was pregnant and close to delivering. While Callie seemed gentle and calm, she did snap at the family’s Boston Terrier when he got too close once. The husband feared that their kids might get in the middle of a dog fight if they let her stay and took Callie to the Humane Society of Jefferson County. Continue reading

Josephine’s Urgent Request

Josie's request

‘Scuse me, I have a request.

Josephine came to us with a request. We were sympathetic because poor little Josephine has had a hard road through life. When she became known to us she had been a pregnant stray, was mangy and terrified of being in an animal shelter. She came here as a foster dog for rest, healing, and sanity.

After working with her for a while we decided that the best thing for her … was to stay here.

Since then, she has met many foster dogs. She really liked some of them.

Fosters are sent away once they are healed and trained. That’s how fostering works. Recently Josie heard us discussing plans for our current foster dogs, became upset, and approached us with an urgent request … Continue reading