September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Beach!

It's (mostly) Wordless Wednesday time again - and today's word is BEACH!

Rita finally got to go back to Fiesta Island!
Here is her super-excited (although blurry) face on the way there.

September 24, 2012

Monday Mischief: How Rita Spent Our Vacation

I survived The Gulag
Hi everypawdy - it's me, Rita, again. I know I promised last week to tell you about my time at The Gulag, so here it is. Since it's Mischief Monday, let me just start by saying I didn't really get up to any mischief there. (Well, not too much anyway...) I was a very good girl! (No, it's my pawrents that got up to mischief - after all they left me to go to Maui!)

At The Gulag, they made me go on a diet and I think they drugged me! [Note from Rita's Momma - yes, they did probably give her less calories than we do, but that was a good thing since (1) the vet said she needed to lose a couple of pounds and (2) she was getting less exercise. And, yes, they gave her some benadryl to help keep her quiet since she was on restricted activity for 2 - 3 weeks because of possibly having panoesteitis.]

Here are some pics of what I did there. Mostly I had to work:
I had to guard the gate

September 21, 2012

Human Shaming: It's the Dogs' Turn

Have you heard of the popular Dog Shaming site? If you are not familiar with this phenomenon, there's a pretty funny video/report about it from CNN here. (Of course, given the opening lines of What the Dog Ate, wherein the main character, Maggie, finds out her dog has eaten her hubby's mistress's panties, this sentence from the report was the one that really caught my eye: "...underwear eating seems to be one of the most common misbehaviors.")

Anyway, the folks at Kol's Notes and My Brown Newfies thought it would be fun to let the dogs have a turn shaming their humans, so they declared today:

September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Rita & Ray

Hi everypawdy - it's Rita. My pawrents went to Maui last week and all I got was a trip to The Gulag and this manta ray toy. (Remember I went on that "trial" sleepover to The Gulag, well now I know that "trial" means it's going to happen again!)
Me and my ray, Ray.

September 18, 2012

What the Dog(s) Ate: Wrenches, Hair Ties & Bras. Oh My.

Did you know there is an annual award for pet x-rays? Well there is! Yes, it's time for the annual Pet X-Ray Contest 2012 Winners! (Also - keep reading for another chance to win a paperback of What the Dog Ate!)

September 13, 2012

Ciao to My Chow Hound?

What Happened to My Good Eater?
Rita, as far as we know, is a German Shepherd/Beagle mix. Until very recently, her beagle side has really shown through any time there's food in the picture. This was a welcome change (back to what we were used to with our beagle, Bailey) from Abby, who was obsessed with keeping her super-skinny super-model figure.

In related news, we won something again! Yes, AGAIN!
But, about 6 weeks or so ago, a weird thing happened. Suddenly Rita wasn't such a chow hound anymore. You might remember we won a sample of Honest Kitchen and she loved it, so we bought her some and had started mixing it in with her Blue Buffalo kibble. For a couple of weeks, she was all over it, licking her bowl so hard that it would slam up against the wall. But then she just went off of it.

Food! Rachel Ray's Nutrish, from
I tried just the kibble. I tried just the Honest Kitchen. She didn't seem to want either one. Around the same time she went off peanut butter, which every dog I've ever known loves. She used to love it herself! The other night we made pizza, and she turned her nose up at the "bones."

The only way I could get her to eat was if I cooked something for her myself and mixed it in with her kibble. So, if we were having chicken, I'd set aside enough for a few meals worth for her and boil it along with some greens and then dice that up with her food. Or I'd do the same with some fish or turkey. I'm not a great cook - but she LOVED it! (It's nice to have someone enthusiatically gobble your cooking!)

This is the Lamb Stew. Rita's intrigued...
As I said, this has been going on for weeks now, and I had been trying to figure out what the heck happened to her appetite. But I finally figured it out! When she got the diagnosis of the panosteitis, one site I looked on said that dogs who have it can become depressed or even anorexic. Well, she'd actually gained some weight from all the laying around and not exercising, so that didn't really make sense to me. But, I started to think, maybe the only reason she didn't become anorexic was because I started trying so hard to vary her meals and mix in some home cooking that she kept eating her meals. Plus, she never went off her treats - I mean, she's not crazy.

Anyway, while I was writing up this post I searched again on panosteitis and, more specifically, whether it affects the appetite - and it does! In fact, the site I found said loss of appetite is usually the first symptom. Now it all makes sense!

Rita Wins Again!
So, winning the Rachel Ray "Naturally Delish" dog food from Jen at the My Brown Newfies blog could not have happened at a better time! Rita loves a little bit of it mixed in with her kibble. (I have to mix it up really good or she eats around the kibble...)

"That was SO yummy!"
I have no idea what this new Rachel Ray food costs, but I think it's available in grocery stores, which is handy, and it also comes in resealable tubs, which is also handy (and way better than dealing with an opened can of food). Plus it's made with no fillers, meat by-products, artificial ingredients or preservatives, plus no corn, wheat or soy, and 100% of the proceeds go to help animals in need. I'd imagine it would be pretty pricey to feed your pup this alone, but it's been great for mixing a bit in with Rita's dinner to get her appetite going again.

So, thanks to My Brown Newfies and thanks to Rachel Ray for the yummy* goodies for Rita.

Hopefully we'll get our ol' chow hound back one of these days!

* I should probably say "yummo" instead of "yummy", as a nod to Rachel Ray since that's what she always says... but my bro is not a big fan of Ms. Ray,** so I'll stick with yummy. Or I'm also partial to yumma.

**My bro is a great cook and therefore watches the cooking channel a lot. I think he doesn't like her because she is so darn chipper. Chipper is not really a word that would ever come to mind if you were looking for a one-word description of my bro. Plus, I'd say his cooking style is more Alton Brown than Rachel Ray, so he's just not into the whole 30 Minute Meal thing - he wants to make the 8 to 10 Hour Meal. Seriously. He needs his own cooking show. We keep telling him he should pitch it to the Food Network - we even have the title already: "The Surly Chef". There'd be none of that constant patter. Instead he'd just cook and occasionally explain something. If the cameraman got in his way, they'd have to bleep out a lot of expletives. (Even if the cameraman didn't get in his way they'd probably have to bleep out a lot of expletives...) But the food would be amazing!

September 10, 2012

Monday Mischief: Quiet Mischief??

Have you ever had to keep a puppy quiet? It's not easy! Even though Rita is maturing a bit and now at the ripe old age of about 14 months, she's still very active. Yes, she's way more mellow than crazy Abby was - but she's still far from a couch potato. She wants to run and play like every other normal puppy does!

Even before we found out that she has panosteitis and that we need to keep her quiet for 2-3 weeks, we were already trying to do that since she'd been limping on and off. On the days when we were avoiding walks and vigorous play, we tried doing some training and some very gentle inside play, but it wasn't enough to tire her out. So I got the idea to order a Tug-A-Jug. I have a friend that uses one with her dog and he loves it, and I hoped Rita would too.

Basically, as you can see, it's big plastic jug that you fill with little treats or kibble and then the rope toy that's knotted down inside acts as a barrier to getting the treats out without some effort.

On Amazon, the marketing blurb calls it "the ultimate interactive toy!" and says it has "multi-sensory appeal," stimulating your dog's "sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste." What other toy hits all five senses - except maybe a live gopher! (That part's not in the marketing blurb - I added that bit myself.)

September 7, 2012

Sleepovers are Exhausting

Recently, Rita went for a trial sleepover at my sister's house (aka The Gulag - where they have actual rules that dogs must abide by!).

It's a dilemma, isn't it? Wondering and worrying about what you're going to do with your pup if you go away on vacation or for work.

My sis and I have been trading dog-sitting duties for a long time now, which used to be no big deal back when we had Bailey, who was close in age and temperament to their corgi, Lou. But now that we keep insisting on getting these darn puppies, and since Lou has become a distinguished older gentleman, well, it's a little more complicated.

Abby used to pester Lou relentlessly trying to get him to play with her - and driving him into a state of...let's call it extreme dismay. So we decided on a trial run with Rita, so see if she'd be an improvement in Lou's books over Abby.

This was the first time since we got Rita back in January that we'd be away from her for a night. And she looked a little concerned when Momma left.
"Wh-where are you going, Momma?"

September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Treats?

Rita got a new name tag:

In case you can't see it that well, it says "Insert Treat" with an arrow pointing up at her adorable little hungry face. (We got it from Dog Tag Art; they have a lot of fun options!)

Cute, eh? Of course, we ordered it before we found out that she has panosteitis and needs to lose a few pounds, so we might have to ease up on inserting the treats. I'm pretty sure no matter what, she'll still manage to wheedle some treats out of us! Rita says, "Dieting bites!"

September 3, 2012

Monday Mischief: Being Nosy

Is this mischief (being NOSY), or is she just trying to be helpful? 

The other day I potted some plants and, of course, Rita had to come stick her nose into what I was doing. She's always got to be RIGHT THERE next to me, checking out whatever I'm doing.
"What are you doing, Momma?"

September 1, 2012

Update on a Limping Puppy

I don't normally blog on the weekends, but we just got back from the vet, and I figured this was the easiest way to update everyone at once who loves little Senorita Rita. Don't worry - it's not scary news. But it does involve the words "bone disease."

As many of you know, Rita has been limping on off for about a month now. We'd been taking it easy on and off - skipping trips to the beach and foregoing our usual long walks - and then the limp would go away so we'd go back to normal.

This past Monday after a particularly crazed wrestling match at Fiesta Island, she started limping really badly. We took it easy all week (no walks on Tues or Wed, and only short trips around the block on Thur and Fri), and she seemed fine again. But then last night she was definitely limping again, seemingly for no reason. So, this morning we were off to the vet.