Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sometimes I Wish Fred Could Talk...

Key word here is sometimes. I think if Fred actually could speak it would go something like this..."Hi Mom! What are you doing? What are you going to do next? Can I help? Can I get on your lap? Now what are you doing? What was that? Where are you going? Mmmmm I like my bone. Where's my rope toy? Oh there it is! Oh, I heard something. Where's the cat? Let's go for a ride in the car. Why are you putting your shoes on? Can I go? I really want to go! Look Mom! Mom Look at me! Mom Look! You're not watching me!" Well I'm sure you get the idea.
Picture a word bubble with Fred's jabbering in it. There's a lot going on between those ears.
Back to my original thought. Our daily routine starts like this, I let Fred outside, while he's out I get his food and water ready, same for the cat, make my coffee etc. Fred comes in, eats his breakfast, then lays over the furnace vent until it cycles off, so and so forth. 

Lately I'd started to notice he hadn't been finishing his breakfast, sometimes after he would come in he would just walk over to it, take a sniff, maybe a drink of water and wouldn't actually eat until later in the afternoon. Very un-Fred like. I just figured maybe he was growing up and he wasn't that hungry first thing in the morning. He did all of his other usual things. About a month ago I noticed he had a "doggy" smell going on. I used to be able to go for at least a month sometimes more without giving Fred a bath and there was never an "odor". Boston's are good that way, they really require little grooming. Now only after a day or two, the stink would come back. So naturally I figured, well it's spring, it's probably plant allergies or fleas, or something environmental like that.
At times he did seems a bit "off"
A couple weeks ago Fred and I went to the pet store to buy a training clicker and I decided to consult with the groomer. She looked him over pretty good and it wasn't fleas (thank heavens) she said it was probably a food allergy. I mentioned to her that he has been eating the exact same food since I brought him home. Well, I guess it's normal to "acquire" an allergy as they mature. Well crap, I wasn't looking forward to changing his diet because the other thing that Boston's are notorious for is...FARTING!
He has been doing fine on this particular diet, and I rarely hand out any table scraps, mostly because of that (gas) and also because I don't want Fred to be a beggar. So began the search for new food. I've wanted to feed him Blue Buffalo for quite some time, but my check book said no on that. So I searched and searched and finally settled on a mid priced food, with the ingredients that looked to be nutritious without ugly fillers and such.
I immediately started on his new food, very slowly I might add, and already, I can see a marked improvement in his skin and coat, no odor, and he woofs down all of his food as soon as he comes in.
So, it seems I've been feeding Freddy food that he not only hated, but it was making him sick on top of it. Boy, do I feel terrible. This is why I wish sometimes Fred could talk.
Now I'm stuck with some old dog food that I guess is going in the trash. I'll never feed it to him.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Experiment Part 1

I am sure by now you have figured out that I truly love my dog. More than anything. There are times, however, when I just need "My Space".  Without me really realizing it, Fred is always either sitting next to me, on me, following me, staring at me, sleeping with me, going in the car with me, etc. always, even when he goes outside he comes to the patio door, looks for me, and depending on the weather goes back to sniffing around, then comes back to get a look at me and so on. Then he comes back in and we start the whole process all over again. On the few occasions when I can't take him with me I know he's thinking about me, as I am usually thinking about him. I don't know if this is healthy or not, it is what it is. When your home a lot and only with each other, I think it just ends up evolving like that.
Lately I have noticed that my left shoulder has really begun to bother me, kinda stiff and achy, and it seems to be migrating up the left side of my neck. It makes me cranky. I realize now it is because Fred manages, without me even knowing it, to sit right under or over my left arm and in turn makes me sit very off kilter. He's very clever, he knows if he sits in just the right "spot", I will pet him, and pay attention to him without me actually knowing I am doing this. Works for him! I guess it's all about Fred.
Anyway, today I am conducting an experiment. I am going to try to go a whole day here without Fred on me, by me etc... Already Fred is showing signs of distress, he is sitting on the floor staring up at me with his huge eyes, every once in a while, a barely audible whimper comes out of him. I can't look.
Another "funny" thing about Fred. When he is distressed, excited, or frightened he sheds profusely. Under normal everyday conditions he really doesn't shed at all, but throw a little wrench in his routine and the fur flies, he's like a porcupine, it shoots off of him. As he sits now, staring at me, I can see the white hairs from his neck dribbling down onto the black part of his body.

I should do a time lapse, but I'm sure Fred would not cooperate. So, right now, Fred is not sitting on me, and it's a very nice relief for my shoulder. Of course, I will be vacuuming later. Fred wins...again.
The only way I can keep Fred from coming up onto the chair with me is to put an obstacle on the spot where he usually makes his "nest" by me. For right now, I am using a large cook book.
Not much room to sit, but it will have to do for now.

To tell you the truth I'm really not that comfortable sitting with my cook book. Fred wins again...If I don't do this, he will be in his spot under my arm with out me realizing it. Let me explain this phenomena. When I read, or am focused on something, I do not pay attention to what is going on around me. I do not do this deliberately, it is just how I am. I seem to be able to tune out everything.  For instance, I cannot read and listen at the same time, if I try, nothing sinks in, not what I'm reading, nor what the another person in the room may have said to me. It's a blank spot that needs repeating. Like a black hole. I don't know if this is good or bad, I may have a mild case of attention deficit disorder, who knows.
Fred knows this little quirk about me, so he lies in wait, watching me until I am thoroughly engrossed in something, then he makes his move.
"Won't be long now"

It is very slow and very deliberate, he assumes "Army Man Mode". One little creep at a time, until he is right at the chair, then, very carefully and quietly, he slithers, first the front feet come up, one at a time.
"I don't think she's paying attention, 2 up 2 to go!"

Then the back feet come up, one at a time. At this point he still isn't technically in the chair, he's kinda hanging on by his toenails. He hesitates, looks up to see if I am noticing, then makes his move to complete the maneuver. Noses himself into position, and there he is, under my left arm with my hand conveniently placed on his head and shoulders or tummy, depending on which way he "settles" in.
Obviously I'm not in the chair, but this is basically the position for optimum petting. Usually my arm somehow ends up under his chin. See how he's all tucked up there? Cute...

 At some point I will notice this, but it usually isn't until I realize my shoulder is starting to ache.
So today, the experiment continues. Fred's cranky and I need a heating pad. ;-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Just Wanted To Take A Nap...

I have a blue sofa that is a very nice napping couch it’s not pretty, but it works for me. When I decide it's time to lay down to take a nap, there is a process, I move one of the couch pillows out of the way, I fluff up my bed pillow and lay it precisely where I want it in order to get the full snuggle effect, then I lay out my tan blanket just so, so I don't have any extremities leaking out. Like I said, it's a process, and one that does not get lost on Fred, he knows what this means, nap time, he also knows, that when I take my nap, it is the only time that he is not allowed to be on the couch with me. He hates it, but usually he steps up his own napping routine and jumps into the rocking chair, fluffs up the pillow with much purpose, turns around 3 times etc., it too, is a process. Or he does the same with his snoopy bed. Sometimes both.

A few weeks ago was quite a napping week for me, I seemed to have caught a flu bug or something, general malaise, achy, tired, stuffy etc., On this particular day it was a 2 nap day. Sheesh! So, I get all set up and lay down, take off my glasses and prepare for snoozeland.

Well, Fred had had enough of this napping crap, so just as I was dozing off, and he had just got his little nests all set to his liking.

He decided it really wasn't a good time for him to have nap time. He proceeded to become obnoxiously noisy. For instance, instead of just tic tic ticking across the linoleum, he added extra steps, kind of like tic a tic a tic a TICKING, with a vengeance. Drinking water very loudly, he's a loud drinker anyway he snorts, and slurps, chokes, it’s nuts, sometimes I’m not sure he will survive, this too was magnified. Then of course, a really LOUD burp, just for good measure. All the while glancing at me to see if I was asleep. I wasn't. Then the MIGHTY protector in him decides it's time to dash into the living room while "snort barking" just in case there might be bad guys out there (he never does this), high alert, for cripes sake. Ok, this is not working for Fred, I’m still feigning sleep, so next, and I can hear his wheels spinning, he decides it's time to get the toys out (I have a basket they go into at the end of the day), all of them. Short note on this one, for reasons I will never understand, it is an ordeal to get the toys out of the basket, it looks like he may be diffusing a highly explosive bomb. Every move is done with extreme care, very precise and very slow for each one individually, it’s an ordeal. This is why I put them away every night so he has to get them out of the mean basket, hoping someday it won’t be such an ordeal for him (3 years?).
Scary Basket
He grabs the rope toy, gives it a few really good heartfelt noisy shakes, drags the ball out, the other rope toy, and the string, then last but not least, it's time for the nylabone. He positions it in such a way, that it makes a seriously loud grinding noise when he chews on it, the floor is vibrating, widows are rattling, to his utter delight.

He was doing this much louder on that particular day, but you get the idea.

 As “cute” as this all is, I'm getting irritated and firmly asked him to quit, and he did. Eventually, I did finally doze off, seconds, minutes, who knows, not very long. I woke up, opened my eyes to find this ginormous googley eyed monster about 2 inches from my face, ears perked, just staring at me.

Who can get mad at that mug? I certainly can't, so I got up. I think that is why, on that particular day it was a two nap day.

Now, honestly I am not sure if the problem was me napping or the fact that I had made this napping site soo cozy and he wasn't invited. Personally I think it was the latter. So, after making quite sure that I was fully awake and up and about, he proceeded to hop up on the cozy couch and take a nap. I was not quiet.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Playing with Video 2: Frolicking at the beach

I found this video hidden deep in the depths of my computer. I thought I lost it in my "last computer crash" which I might add was devastating. But low and behold, I had actually been thinking before "the crash" and backed this up on an external drive. Yay! This is a video of Freddy tearing it up at the beach, he is just over 1 years old here. Please keep in mind I am not a professional, and I certainly don't pretend to be. It has taken me the good part of this day to get this on here. (I need serious help) I am just glad I did.
My daughter and I decided to take a beach trip for my birthday 2 years ago. Fred had so much fun, this is the only video of him. We had just unpacked the car and decided to take Fred down to the beach. The last time Fred was there he was pretty little, but he still ripped around pretty good even then. This time he is much more coordinated and very hard to keep in view with a camera. I would suggest just muting it because about half way through Fred was getting a little too close to the water and panic set in for my daughter and I, there is a bit of hollering going on and the video gets a little rough (sorry). It's funny though, you can tell Fred heard us just fine, he wanted to add that extra little bit of excitement, just for good measure. He's looking at us pretty much the whole time. I tried to edit, but I gave up, some kind of formatting error grrrrr.
Anyway, I hope you get a giggle out of this. Oh and BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVES!
That's me with the braided pony tail. I got in the way...sorry
Fred really wants to go back out and play!
You know the saying, "He wears his heart on his sleeve"? Fred wears his heart on his back. 
Wiped out after a big day playing on the beach.
A Beautiful end to a beautful day! Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Snuggler

I was going through my pictures today and I stumbled on this one, it was hidden, long story, suffice to say I think something (a gremlin) gets into my computer at night and randomly rearranges my pictures. It's the weirdest thing.

Fred has this uncanny ability to find or create the perfect snuggle spot. He is the King of snuggledom! He worked pretty hard on this one, and I did help out a bit. That blanket is my favorite napping blanket, and it is usually folded out of Fred's reach. Obviously this time I forgot to put it back, and he quickly made a little nest for himself. Quickly is a relative word here, there is quite a bit of twirling and adjusting that goes on to achieve the perfect spot, and hopefully soon, I will be able to get this process on video, my words can't really give it justice. Trying to film Fred doing his weird Fred things are next to impossible. He always has one eye on me so when I go to grab a camera he stops whatever he's doing and focuses on what I'm doing. Then he comes up to me and get his face so close to the camera that I can't even get a decent shot of his mug.
I took 13 pictures of him tonight and this was the best I could do. It doesn't even look like him.  

 It's very frustrating because he literally makes me laugh out loud at all of the goofy things he does. I guess that is his job though and he is very good at it. I probably should carry my camera around like my daughter clutches her damn phone. Then maybe I will have success, since having some apparatus on me at all times will become the norm.

Actually, I really don't see myself doing that. I'll just hope for luck.

Monday, May 2, 2011

To the dog park we go!

I have had this story in my mind for quite some time. I have experienced a bit of a "writers" block as to how to begin, so here goes..
I have been a member of  a Small Dog Meet Up Group since Fred was old enough to attend, I'd say around 6 months or so. He had to get his vaccinations and such before we could attend. Anyway, every other Sunday or so we would go, it was indoors, and there were plenty of fun things to play with and obstacles to climb, Fred seemed to enjoy it. At that time, Fred loved to be chased, he would go up to one of the small dogs and jump around and bow "dogs invitation to play" and take off running hoping for a good chase, it was pretty fun to watch. Every so often he would come and jump in my lap to make sure I was "OK" and then run off and play some more.  After a while, I grew weary of all the little dogs barking in their little high pitched non stop yapping. There was one dog that just stood in the middle of the play area and barked..non stop, indoors ugh. Every time we were there, so was this little dog, it was like he was directing traffic or something, who knows. The other people there would give the owner the stink eye, but nothing was ever done to stop the racket. It was like she was so proud of her "Little Barker". I couldn't take it any more, so we left. Our visits grew fewer and farther in between, until we finally stopped going all together, I think Fred started to get tired of the noise too because the last time we went, he really wasn't into it that much. For the next year and a half or so we pretty much stayed home and kept each other company.
Last February and e-mail popped into my inbox inviting us to a Small Dog Meet-up in a couple of weeks. I thought about it for a while, then started searching for Boston Terrier groups in my area and I found one! I was thrilled, I thought it would be so neat to meet other crazy Boston owners and talk about how great these little dogs were and so on a so forth. I noticed that there was a meet-up the following Saturday and promptly joined the Boston Terrier Meet-up group and RSVP'd for the outdoor meet-up. I was so excited, the weather looked like it would be decent. (45 degrees and partly sunny) I was really looking forward to watching Fred romp around and play with other little dogs that looked like him, how fun! I was already contemplating on what I was going to wear for cripes sake, this was a big deal for me, and Fred!
Well the day finally arrived, we packed up some poo poo bags, a bottle of water and a bowl, leash, collar, camera, we were all set. We pulled up into the parking lot, there were lots of dogs, large ones, small ones, all kinds, everywhere. Fred was really excited, he was squealing with excitement, I gathered my things and searched for the Bostons. Well apparently the meet-up group actually reserves a designated spot for a certain amount of time, so there was an enclosed area that had double gates for us to go through. I must have had a huge grin on my face, I could hardly contain myself, I was so happy to see these other dogs and their owners. We strolled into the enclosure and I walked over to a couple and said hello, I greeted their little dog and proceeded to take Fred off of his leash. He just stood there, unmoving. There was a little Boston that was playing a rousing game of fetch with his owner, a few other dogs that were chasing each other around, and Fred just stood there.
It was kinda funny to see a big burly biker dude playing fetch with his little dog. His dog is brown and white, a bit hard to see here, but boy, that little dog was fast!

 The kind gentleman that I was standing next to, stooped down and gave Fred a comforting pat, stood back up and before I knew it or could even react, Fred peed on the guys leg. OH GOD! I was mortified, he didn't know, and I had to point it out. I apologized profusely, and before I knew it another little Boston strode up to Fred and proceeded to "mount" him, Fred bonked his head on the metal fence post while that was going on, it was awful. I quickly walked Fred away from that to see if he would get comfortable just walking with me, he pooped, I scooped, then I looked down at him and he was drooling! Not just a little drool, this drool was coming from both sides of his mouth and hanging down in big fat strings, he looked like a walrus, I took a picture but you can't really see it. You can see how miserable he his, back all hunched up.

This poor little guy was a wreck, I felt awful for him. We walk back to the group, Fred's still drooling and now shivering just for good measure. There was a pregnant lady that we walked by who was stooped down talking to her little dog and Fred almost peed on her. That was it, I'd had enough, and obviously Fred was really done with this. So, long story short, it was a bust. I never really had a conversation with anyone.
Fred is showing me the way to freedom.

I have not given up though, I will try again. Next time I will wait for better weather, it was pretty cold and breezy that day.