Monday, December 20, 2010

Between the Schnauzer and the English Cocker

What do you guys think I should do?
 There are times in the park when I feel as though there are really three dogs out there with me; my dog, a good dog, and a bad dog. Cadie is the neutral dog, and by neutral I mean easily swayed, the schnauzer is the bad dog, and by that I mean easily tempted to go it's own way; the English Cocker is the good dog, and by that I mean, most likely to obey commands. Before the Schnauzer people get all upset, I don't mean that schnauzers are bad dogs, but they have a strong independent streak, like all Terriers. The English Cocker on the other hand, seems to have no other purpose in life except to try to please it's owner. You know I love Terriers, but sometimes their independence is a bit of a liability. Let me explain.

In the past 2 weeks Cadie and I have been forced to eliminate 2 neighborhood parks from the list of parks we frequent, why? because without warning she'll take off after a squirrel; in the worst case, she nearly ended up underneath the tires of a big, white van. So I eliminated that park right off the bat, it's just too close to the road, and the squirrels are dare devils.

This last weekend Cadie showed greater restraint. The squirrels tempted her, but she stayed where she was, earning her a big mouthful of liver. I know that Cadie will follow her natural instincts, but again, this park is just too close to the street, so it's a no go.

The thing I find funny, in a scary way, is in that moment before Cadie's natural instincts take over she's completely conflicted. She does a couple of false starts, she hesitates, and even seems to turn her head from side to side, as if she's listening to two people talk. It reminds me of those old time cartoons where the devil sits on the left shoulder and the angel sits on the right, and they compete for the chance to guide the poor, lost soul's behaviour. Instead of angels and devils I see Cadie being torn between the natural instincts of two of her base breeds.

What did you say? I can go chase the squirrels?
 The Schnauzer, as we said, is independent, and likes to do things it's own way, so if a squirrel dares to run past it's path, the squirrel better be quick, because the schnauzer is unlikely to allow them to pass in peace. Also Schnauzers are very barky, Cadie is not a barky dog generally, but at the park, she has been known to be more vocal.

English Cockers on the other hand, are less independent, and tend to be more trainable, and follow commands more quickly. They were bred to work with people, and as a result they want to do their best to make their people happy. Cadie is very much a people pleaser.

So the scene at the park goes like this:

Me: Cadie come
Cadie shuffles her feet, looks from side to side, and back at me.
Cadie: ruff ruff
Me: shrugs. Cadie come.
Cadie shakes her head back and forth rapidly, the shaking moves back to the front legs, then shudders down her body, at one point every muscle is shaking back and forth. The shaking gradually stops, the front stops shaking first, until only the tail is still moving.
Me: Cadie. Right here! pointing at the spot on the ground between my feet
Cadie stares at me.
English Cocker: We have to go, that was a command. We have to go!
Schnauzer: you don't have to go, she already loves you, you don't have to do anything she says now.
EC: Yes we do, if we don't go, bad things might happen. Besides she has liver, I like liver.
Sch: yeah, liver's good, but not as good as catching one of those squirrels. Look at them, all smug, thinking they can get away from you. You should go and show them that you're the boss.
Cadie turns her head from side to side
EC: No. No. We should go, we were called.
Me: inching forward slowly so that I can put my foot on her leash. Cadie I said NOW!
Cadie dances a little and chooses either:

Option A: to come to me, get her liver, be a good girl, and stay longer in the park;


Option B: to ignore me and go after the squirrels.

Why are we leaving the park? What did I do?
I can't complain too much, she chooses Option A most often, but every now and then, she is lured by the persuasive Schnauzer, and takes off after those pesky squirrels. The outcome is a couple of very tense and frightening moments for me, and that, if I'm lucky enough to catch her alive, we leave the park as soon as I possible. She's always surprised by this turn of events. Oh Cadie, listening to that Schnauzer voice won't lead you to anything good.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Milestone

Yes, this is my hundredth blog post. This blog, that started in February, just before the Olympics, is now 10 months old, and yes! has 100 posts. To celebrate, I took Cadie back to her two favourite dog parks Sherwood and Sunnybrook.

Friday was a great day for me, we knocked off work early, had a wonderful lunch at the Estates of Sunnybrook, and then I took advantage of the extra time by taking Cadie for a good long walk, and romp around Sherwood Park.

 It was the perfect day. Sunny and not too cold, and Cadie was able to play in the park for her usual hour in her favourite spots. But even with the early start, evening comes early in December, and the light is soon started to disappear, it was practically dusk by the time we left the trail at 4:30.

But, night also, must come to an end, and in the morning we headed up to the official off leash dog park at Sunnybrook. Again, the weather was beautiful, bright, sunny, and not too cold, despite the frost on the grass.

Normally I don't take Cadie's leash off in this park because she doesn't have the best recall there, but all the work we've been doing has paid off, and she came every time I called her, and soon her leash came off.

The morning wore on, and Cadie had had her fill of chasing balls, so we decided to spend some time exploring the foot trails that surround the park. This was a really nice treat. It was totally new scenery for me, and new smells for Cadie.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, the weather was perfect, and Cadie confidently trotted along, super happy, seeing this walk through an urban park, as an adventure...that's right, an adventure on the end of a designer leash.

After a good play and a good walk, we headed back to the car, and then home, where we warmed up under a blanket, while drinking hot tea.

I hope you've enjoyed reading our 100th post, as much as we enjoyed living it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blown Up in my Face

So just days after I let Cadie have the run of the house I'm in the middle of a personal panic. Her leg seems to be getting worse. I mean, she can still run, and jump, and walk, but she seems to be holding her back right leg more than she was even a week ago. Is she getting worse? Am I imagining that she's getting worse? Who can say. All I know is that I've decided to limit her access to the bedroom during the day because I don't want her jumping down from my mattress which sits almost 2.5 feet off the floor. I've also decided to step up her physio massage things that I've been giving her.

I know that I have a tendency to overreact, and last night I started to cry, thinking that she needed surgery, or that she was dying, or something. The cool light of morning shows me two things:

1) Her ears are down more than they have been in the past, this could be a sign that she's in pain, or it could mean that she's tired.
2) While Cadie may need surgery, she's unlikely to die, so I can stop playing that scenario out in my mind.

If nothing else, I'm determined to ensure that Cadie has a long, healthy and happy little dog life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Finally Happened

Yes, it's finally happened! I think I've finally broken through Cadie's need for lengthy exercise outings. well, not most of the week, only on Sundays. It seems that Cadie is much more interested in sleeping in on a Sunday morning, she lounges in bed until about 8, when she rolls over, stretches, has a quick look around to make sure that I'm still in bed, and then nods off again. The only thing that can derail this is my getting out of bed.

Yesterday I had the nerve to get out of bed, and be working on the computer, Cadie came and found me, and herded me back to bed. Once back in bed she threw herself on my lap so that I couldn't get up again. Alas though, it was too late, she was already so keyed up that she wasn't able to get back to sleep, so we headed out into the freezing cold to see the first snow of the year. Since Cadie isn't a big fan of precipitation of any kind we made our way home again within an hour. Once home, Cadie headed right back to bed, where she stayed mid day when I took her out to watch the Santa Clause parade.

Maybe her need for more sleep is a sign that she's getting older, maybe it's a growth spurt, or maybe it's just that Cadie is hibernating until the weather improves, either way, I'll take it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Doc's Advice

I know you've already seen this picture, but I wanted to show it again. As you know, my biggest fear is that Cadie will break her very long legs, and we will have to fix them. This fear isn't totally irrational as my last dog had a broken leg, and the care she required at that time haunts me still.

I had noticed a change to Cadie's gait a while back, and I kept asking people if her legs looked broken. They always answered no, but I was convinced that there was something wrong. So I brought it up with my vet. She had Cadie walk up and down the stairs several times over, then she watched Cadie walk straight across the room.

It turns out that Cadie has a ligament injury on her back right leg. So she's been favouring the right by shifting her weight to the back left (something you can see her doing in the picture above).

Not great news, but obviously it's not a break, so it's not terrible news. However, it means that we are now doing some light stretches after our walks to help ease the injury, in the hopes that Cadie will stop shifting her weight. This will also make a difference to the way we play with the tennis ball, no more high balls, from now on we have to roll them across the grass. I'm glad we caught this early.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dog Days of Flu Season--Do Dogs Get the Flu?

There 's nothing worse than seeing my fur baby sick, and Friday morning, I had to see her very sick. She was sicker than I had ever seen her. As expected, she made it through the illness, and is doing much better, though she now has an infection in her left eye. Luckily it's not a very bad infection, though it is unfortunate the she developed this infection while I am visiting my mother, without her eye drops. Oh well, this kind of thing happens, I suppose, and we are seeing the vet tomorrow morning.
Poor Cadie, she was sleeping soundly last Thursday night when all of a sudden the peace was broken. The worst of her sick day went on for about an hour, her stomach settled out after that, but she still looked terribly tired and drawn, which isn't all the surprising given what she'd been through. She flopped down on the couch and barely moved her head. I looked at her just wishing she could talk, so she could tell me where it hurts, and what was wrong with her. Unfortunately  I couldn't stay home with her that day. But Cadie and I are both very lucky to have Aunt C working at the end of our street, so she popped up to check in on Cadie at noon.

It was great Aunt C called me to tell me that my dog was doing better, she was tired, but frisky, interested in food  and visiting. I was most heartened to hear that Cadie had refused to come back in, because she was enjoying the cool grass and fresh air so much.

It's funny, in an awful kind of way, to think that our pets, perhaps even children or aging parents challenge us to handle things from which we normally shy away. As well paired as Cadie and I are, she has a tendency toward eye problems (this is her third eye infection) while I am totally creeped out by having to touch eye balls. I'm so freaked out by eye balls that during my first aid class--while looking at the picture of a pencil sticking straight up into an eye, I put my hand up and asked what a trained first aid person should do if they genuinely can't provide assistance to someone because their injury freaks them out too much. I was told to suck it up, and that when you are in the moment you won't remember your hang ups. I didn't believe them at the time. I know people who are terrified of needles, and then find themselves having to administer insulin shots to their pets. I have a friend who is creeped out by vomiting, she can't even listen to someone vomit, she is now the mother of 2 small children, and she still calls me to calm her down if she has to be with her children while their sick. It's so weird to think about what we can do if we have to. What's a person to do? if Cadie needs me to rub salve in her eyes, then that's what I have to do, just as my friends have to sit with their children and inject insulin. We do what we have to do, and somehow, as responsible care givers we dig deep and manage to muddle through.

So, Cadie and I have survived her first really serious illness, none the worse for the wear, but stronger and ready to face our next scary health crisis.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What time is it?

Time as measured by the 24-hour clock is artificial, if you don't know that to be true you should look at the way animals behave around the time change. They honestly have no idea what's happening. Yesterday, the first day when I really had to work with the new time Cadie was slow and reluctant to get out of bed, but then when we emerged into a bright sunny day--at 7 am--she was thrilled. She stood on the stoop and looked around totally bewildered, then she gave me an annoyed look that said that she resented not being brought out earlier. That too was fleeting, as she happily set off down the steps, and started trotting up and down the sidewalk. She sniffed, and there, wagging her little cocktail wiener tail the whole time. I was out of the dog house--that is until I tried to bring her back in the apartment.

Cadie was having none of it, she was here for a good time, and darn it, she was going to have a good time, and soon our happy walk dissolved into a battle between dog owner and dog owner's owner (dog). The dog owner won, but do you really win when you make your dog give up something that makes them so happy? I don't think so.

Cadie was further disappointed when I got home last night, in spite of getting home in good time, it was just too dark to head up to Sherwood Park. Instead we walked up Yonge Street, then back down Mt. Pleasant. We did find a park with lights on at one point, and Cadie was able to chase the ball for a couple of minutes at least. Still these hours will take some getting used to.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Groom A Ganaraskan

Cadie, planting her figurative flag on my chest. "This one's mine"
So I noticed by looking at my stats that one person found this site by googling "how to groom a ganaraskan". Unfortunately this is not the best site to show you how best to do that. This is the only good picture I have of Cadie with the proper Ganaraskan cut, this was done by the groomer when we picked her up, I have NEVER insisted on this in any subsequent grooms for 2 reasons:

1) At first my friend was doing my grooming and she didn't know how to make the eye brows (that's the lynch pin in the Ganny cut), and I was so grateful to have her doing my grooming that I easily compromised on the eye brows. Now that I am having her groomed in doggie parlours, they don't know what a Ganny cut is, and I end up with a schnauzer, which I don't like on her

Blurry I know, but she just looks so cute all shaggy!

2) I really like both the puppy cut and the shaggy dog cut on Cadie. They are easy fore me to maintain, and it makes it easier for her to fly around the park, so I think we both prefer a "do" with few bells and whistles.

So I apologize to any potential readers that were looking for some help with their Ganny cuts. I am, however, not totally useless, in that I think I can make a good referral. This site. is a great site. I suspect, based on the name of the people who run it, that they are connected to the breeding groups in Port Hope. I was in contact with them when I was first thinking of getting a Ganny, and they are very responsive and helpful. So happy hunting, and I hope you find what you're looking for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Blahs

Cadie and I have a routine, I get up at 6 and start getting ready for the day, while Cadie stays in bed. Once I'm ready to face the world, Cadie is supposed to get up and go through her morning routine. However, it's becoming more and more common for Cadie to put up a fuss. Firstly she doesn't want to go out for her morning "checklist". Then after fighting to get her out there, she won't come back in. However, once back in the apartment she heads right back to bed.

She will get up for her own breakfast, but she will make an appearance for a chance at stealing a mouthful of my breakfast, that's when I swoop in and try to make the bed, but Cadie is too smart and too fast for me, as soon as I head back to the bedroom she comes charging in, and I'm left making the bed around a persistently stubborn little road block.

In other news, Cadie did wear her costume lat night. At first she hated it, as you can see by the look on her face, but, once the kids started coming and making such a fuss about her she started to warm up to it. Though I have to say that I have learned 2 lessons:

1) tie the costume good and tight, it was much more wearable for her last night then it was when I took this picture.

2) I will never again get such an elaborate costume for her. In the days before Halloween I found an adorable lady bug costume that I like even better than this one, and it's much more wearable because it's just a shirt they slip on over their heads.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Maybe Tomorrow I'll Want to Settle Down...

Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

I know the Littlest Hobo is supposed to be a family show that is supposed to make us feel good about life, but the truth is that I can't watch it, or even hear the theme music without crying. The Littlest Hobo ran on CTV in the late '70s and early '80s, but was on TV in rerun from into the '90s, which is how I came to be familiar with it.

As I said, I find the show every sad. Firstly the Hobo has to help an miserable person, who hates dogs, of strays or life, or something. Then Le Misérable falls victim to some terrible event--the last episode I saw Le Misérable stepped in a bear trap and then fell in a hole upside down.

So course it's then up to the Hobo to save Le Misérable, so he tries to fix the problem on his own, but being a dog, and not having opposable thumbs, this is difficult. In the end, the Hobo always goes into a small town where he finds a kind-hearted person, who comes into the woods and helps Le Misérable.

Alright so the show is formulaic, I don't consider that its greatest flaw, but I just can't get over how sad it is to see a dog choose a life on the road instead of a life with people. After all Hobo, or London, was a German Shepard, not a wolf. German Shepards are very affectionate. They also like their comfort. It just doesn't make sense to me. Hobo, wouldn't you rather set up house with one of those many, many kind-hearted people, settle down, lounge on a couch, enjoy the fact that you now have access to food that was once accessible only by can opener.

But I guess not, because at the end of each show he just carries on. And I sit on my couch, pathetically trying not to cry. And maybe I should just try to let it go, after all, my dog is safe and warm.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You Gotta Appreciate the Effort

I have not been as strict with Cadie as I should have about mooching for food. I eat on the couch, and I know that I should push Cadie off me while I'm eating, but I don't I let her snuggle in, even though I know the only reason she's there is that she is looking for food, not love.

Anyhow, I've noticed some interesting behavior on Cadie's part. She sits on my lap and sticks her tongue out as far as she can push it in order to try to steal the food from my plate, held half a foot over her head. I know it's bed, I know I should be mad at her, but all I can do is admire her determination, and her belief that if she stretched just a little further, she'll be able to grab that food.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rainy Afternoon

Has it stopped raining? Can  we go throw the ball now?

The tornadoes from the American Midwest, the same storm that closed the airports in Chicago yesterday, blew into Toronto at 5:00 pm. I find it fascinating that we can track weather so precisely that we can know exactly when it will hit us.

Anyhow, those big fat rain drops started falling just as Cadie and I were heading out for our afternoon walk, and if you were reading this blog back in September you'll know that I feel that this is a personal attack. Although the more reasonable side of my brain knows that this is just a base conspiracy theory.

The downside of the downpour is that Cadie didn't get enough exercise again last night, and she spent most of the evening bouncing off my walls.

The upside is that the rain wasn't that bad, and so far it looks like today is going to be a great day. The other upside is that there's nothing I like more than wrapping Cadie in a towel and having a nice, long snuggle with her, which is exactly what I got last night.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Things Every Little Girl Needs

I have strict beliefs about the things that every little girl needs:

1) a teddy bear--though this hasn't worked out well for Cadie, who get so excited that she tears them apart in the space of 20 minutes, not worth the $40.

2) a pretty little coat to wear out on fancy occasions. I'd been eyeing this coat since last year, but I had been reluctant to buy it because I felt that $40 was too much for a dress coat. This last weekend, I picked it up for a cool $12.50. Totally worth it. It even has a little skirt. Very cute.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Carpe Diem Weather

I wish I could say that I hadn't been blogging because I was doing something important, but that would be a lie. Mostly I've been lounging around city parks like a bum. But, in my defence we've now reached Carpe Diem weather here in Toronto.

The point where you know that the number of warm, sunny days is far fewer than the overcast rainy days or the snowy cold days, and you make sure that you go out, lounge in parks, or sit on patios and soak up every last bit of faint fall sunshine.
And alright, we never had the amazing show of colours here in that Barrie had, or even Brantford and Hamilton, but it has been a nice, long, hot summer that flowed into a nice, long, cool fall, and it seems that we are now headed into the rainy beginnings of winter, with extreme cold and snow to follow shortly.

It's funny how time changes, it feels like only yesterday that it was August and I couldn't find any relief from the heat, and now the harvest is mostly in, and Thanksgiving is a distant memory.

Now the ground is covered in gold. It crinkles and rustles like a dress as we walk over it, is beautifully uncreased in the places where no one has touched it. We should take advantage because soon the ground will be covered in crystal, and crystal is cold, and wet, and makes nothing more than a barely audible crunching sound.
So Cadie and I have been sitting back and enjoying the weather while we can.

Because the times, they are a changing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One Person's Trick Is Another's Treat

Poor Cadie, she had no idea what hit her, when I came home last night with a bee costume. She initially thought that it was a stuffed animal for her to fling around and tear apart; but no, in actuality, it was the dreaded Halloween costume torture. But she looks so cute right? I thought it was adorable, Cadie's aunt C thought it was adorable, but Cadie just stood there, glaring at me, and waiting for someone to save her.

No one tried to save her, and in the end she decided she would save herself. The first thing she did was pull the hood off. The second thing she did was try to grab at the sides of the costume, and the third thing she did was chew on the tags. As the costume didn't fit it (way too short in the body) it was the tag chewing that mobilized me, as I wanted to be able to return said costume.

Here you can see just how small and tight this was
Aunt C and I did go back to PetSmart to see if there were any other costumes that might work, but everything was either too small and tight, or too large and floppy. I tried a shark costume on her that looked like the robe of a prize fighter. We also tried a shinny alien where the hood was so large that she couldn't see anything.

Oh well, I guess this means that Cadie will have to be a cheerleader again this year. Good thing that's a cute costume too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Latest Favourite Picture of Cadie

Can you see her eye lashes? Cadie has the most beautiful eye lashes, long and curly, very girlie girlie.

I had a party last night and Cadie was very good, she begged a little, but on the whole she was very good. I think she was completely overwhelmed by the number of people in the apartment, and the din that goes along with that.

I figured that she'd be exhausted today, but then when the alarm went off at 6:30 she popped up and was ready to go. So after dropping my mum and brother at the train station I took her for her usual walk, but then when we got home she crashed hard, and has been in bed every since, she got up briefly about an hour ago and I took her for a run. It was straight back to bed for her though, and just now she barely raised her head when I went in to see what she was up to. I love having a dog.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Dog and her Dragon--the Thrilling Conclusion

So I've been trying to upload the second part of this video for two days now, and I have to admit that it's just not going to happen. Instead I will show you some stills of the event. My vet is very particular about Cadie having stuffed toys, as she's afraid that Cadie will destroy them (which is a no brainer) and that she will eat the stuffing, which can become a serious health concern.
As you can see, this is a distinct possibility. Cadie really loves chewing, and goes to town on her stuffed toys, which is why there are so many pictures and movies of this event, as I stayed and sat with her so that I could take the toy away if it started to become a problem.

In all, I would say that Cadie spent a good hour "playing" with this toy, and that it was demolished by the time she was through. At one point I took the toy from her, and restuffed the stuffing into the dragon and gave it back to her. But it took less than 2 minutes for the couch to be covered once again.

Oh well, dog toys are meant to be destroyed, as long as there is enjoyment to be had in their destruction, The dragon toy had to be thrown away, but I guess that's to be expected. Cadie needed someway of managing her energy; an hour of dragon eating left her exhausted, which is exactly what I like in a dog.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movie Thursday--A Dog and her Dragon--Part 1

Later you can see the hilarious conclusion

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

So as you have probably heard me say a million times over the weather has been absolutely terrible this week, even going back to last week. Though we did get out for a walk under threatening  skies Wednesday night. I think if I had to choose a muse I would settle on clouds. Don't misunderstand me, Cadie is beautiful, and sweet, and I love her, but she isn't as ever-changing as a cloud.
These two pictures are of the same piece of sky at the same time, just with a different focus. It's just so funny to see how the sky changes depending on what you are focusing on. But this is a dog blog, so here is the dog ;)

She's looking scruffy, but she was having the time of her life. You might be able to see the desperation in her eyes, that's because she is annoyed with me for wasting valuable ball-throwing time by taking her picture. We did head into the off-leash trail and have a little walk, but it was getting dark so we only went around once. But those fifteen minutes were enough to change the world, and when we came out we were greeted by this sky.
I love this picture, it makes me think of the beautiful cinematography from Gone with the Wind. But more than just a reminder of beautifully stylized movie, this sky was a harbinger, do you remember the rhyme?
Red sky at night
Sailor's delight
yes, this sky indicated that better weather was ahead of us. And the next day the sun came out.

and the sky was so clear and blue all you could see was the trail of burning gas from air planes
And the leaves are really starting to put on a show. I'm now in the habit of taking my camera with me whenever I take Cadie out, so while I'm not a talented photographer, I'm just going to post my photos and let you enjoy some of the highlights that I was able to capture.