Free At Last!!!

Ducky is free at last of the Buster collar the vet put around her neck after her surgery two weeks ago.


The vet said “she healed beautifully and it looks great back there. She should have a lot fewer UTIs and irritations.”

She is happier than a ____ in _____ (you can fill in the blanks however you want). And Shadow, Dog-Daddy and I are happy for her. 

Dog-Daddy and I are happy for ourselves, too. No more having to clip her leash to her collar every time we take her outside, even to play. And Shadow’s happy to be able to get a little more attention now, too.

When we got home – and I’d taken her harness off of her – she had a GIANT case of the barking zoomies around the living room. She barely stopped long enough to say hello to the dog-daddy. 😂

So I took her and Shadow outside, along with their favorite toys; and this is what ensued….

​ 

Playtime Challenges

It’s not easy playing with your favorite outdoor toy when you have the cone around your neck. And a leash clipped to your collar.

Will Ducky figure it out? Watch the video all the way to the end and you’ll find out.

No cheating. I know the answer. Did you guess correctly?

Bless Her Heart

Ducky had some surgery on Thursday (2/23/17) that we hope will help reduce the incidents of UTIs and irritations of her vulva.
The vet says it will. So I have to believe he’s right. 


Meanwhile, she was miserable Thursday from the time I picked her up from the vet. All the way through Friday afternoon. The carprofen was helping keep the inflammation at bay. But it wasn’t doing anything for the pain. So, I asked the vet if I could give her some Tramadol. He said okay…25 mg. up to 3 times a day.

The Tramadol started working quickly. She was able to get some much-needed rest overnight. And after her morning dose and a nap before breakfast today, she is feeling much better. Not 100%, but still much better.

But she HATES the Buster collar. It gets in the way. Of her food bowl, of her toys, and of her sniffing out the critters who visit HER yard.

Whether she will acquire any patience is yet to be seen. It hasn’t impeded her snarky attitude toward Shadow. But having to wear the collar ALL the time is giving her a mental workout while she tries to play with her toys.

The sutures come out and the collar comes off in less than two weeks. By then I’m sure she’ll have figured out how to play again. 

Meanwhile, I came up with a new nickname for her: Ducky Smarty Paws. Or Smarty Paws. Maybe SHE doesn’t know the difference between “Smarty Paws” and “Demonbrat”, but I do. Positive association vs. negative association, regardless of the amount of affection in our tone. And it might just help with her attitude adjustment training.

Oh, Ducky! Part 4 – The Progress Continues

And the progress continues…..

Since I “published” Part 3 (found here), Ducky has come a LONG way.

And hubby has been less grumpy with her (and even with me).

And my patience level – at least with Ducky and her daddy – has stabilized somewhat. In other areas not so much but I’m working on it.

But back to Ducky….


Since I started using the H-style harness, my little “demonbrat” has become easier to settle down. And my – and hubby’s – tone of voice has grown less harsh. And the tension has eased somewhat.

After re-reading the last paragraph of Part 3 -and really observing Ducky’s behavior patterns – I decided that the Trazodone wasn’t helping Ducky at all. So off to the vet we went. Again.

The vet suggested – and I agreed – to try Xanax instead of the Trazodone. The Xanax – I’m happy to report – started helping right away. Between it and the single daily dose of Fluoxetine, Ducky has been calming down much more easily. She hasn’t been as snarky with Shadow, which is good, but still needs improvement. These things take time, perseverance, and loads of patience. 

Plus, the UTI had come back – or never really went away – so, since we were already at the vet’s anyway, I brought up that fact. He said that the UTI is probably as much to blame for her tail tucks as our impatience. She was just plain hurting back there. And she’s much more forgiving of our failings than we are ourselves. He changed her antibiotic, and for the most part it helped. The wet leaves, dirt, and grass from all the rain we were having seemed to aggravate it a bit though. So I took to cleaning her after potty breaks, and that seems to have helped. We’ve had some pretty days again lately so the grass and leaves have dried out. That has helped, too.

As for the online course I was doing?  I had to put it aside for a little while. I haven’t stopped doing it altogether. I just had to slow down with it. After decades of “multitasking” at work, it’s hard to reset and focus on just one thing at a time. I have to make myself slow down and relax sometimes.  I can’t expect Ducky to relax if I’m hyped-up. 

Oh, Ducky! Part 3 – Making Progress

Before I get started on this post, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

So, for those of you who are interested but missed Parts 1 and 2 of this “Oh, Ducky!” saga, you can find them here and here.

And for those of you who have been following along and waiting (or not) for the next “installment”, here goes…

Back at the beginning of November the Whole Dog Journal published a blog post entitled “Listen to Your Gut When It Comes to Your Dog – and Act on It!”  by Nancy Kerns. I skimmed over it, put it aside, and promptly forgot about it.

Until a few days before Christmas that is.

I was working with Ducky out in the back yard. About ten minutes earlier she had gotten a bit snarky with Shadow – again – over who knows what at this point.  This has been going on almost daily for more than two months. I’m tired of it.

And I’m tired of her barking her fool head off at hubby and acting like a cujo dog every time he gets up out of his chair to do whatever.

And I’m really tired of hubby yelling at her to stop barking at him. I love him to the moon and back; but sometimes he drives me up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the opposite wall. Yelling at a dog to stop barking is like laughing at a little kid while telling  said kid to stop laughing. Ya know?

Admittedly, my frustration with the situation tends to surface in my tone of voice and transfers to my patience level. Or lack thereof.

Anyway, I’ve been working with Ducky on her place command pretty intensely and will continue to do so. (Especially in the morning so I can study or just read.) She settles down into a little nap pretty quickly once she’s had a chance to relieve herself out in the yard.

But, while Ducky continues to do what I ask of her most of the time – providing there aren’t any tree rats or other critters to distract her – I’ve noticed some momentary tail tucks. And that breaks my heart.

So, I’ve started an online course to help me get a handle on Ducky’s reactivity by getting a handle on my own reactions to her behaviors. I just started the course last week, but I’m starting to see some progress….

Normally Ducky starts getting snarky when I’m giving her (Ducky) attention and Shadow starts approaching us. That’s been my impatience trigger. This past week I’ve been forcing myself to stay calm when Ducky starts getting snarky. I’ve just held her in place, told her to relax, and kept her there until she calmed down. The shuddering and shivering as she calmed herself Thursday morning only lasted less than a minute.

So, we’re making some progress. Whether or not the combination of the Fluoxetine and Trazodone is any more effective than just the Fluoxetine by itself I may never know. But as long as the two together – along with the change in my approach to the problem – works, I’m not going to look a gift dog in the mouth.

Oh Ducky, Part 2

If you read my Oh Ducky post, you know that Ducky went after Shadow for apparently no good reason about ten nights ago. If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here

Well, the following Wednesday  I brought Ducky to see the vet. We decided to do a complete blood work-up – a CBC, a chemistry panel, and a T4 thyroid test – and a urinalysis, just to be sure there was nothing medical causing Ducky’s behavior toward Shadow.  I’m happy to say that all results came back “normal”, so we can rule that out. 

The vet suggested trying an antidepressant called Trazodone, in addition to a reduced amount of the Prozac. He told me what to watch for, and to call him tomorrow with any questions. So, I went up to the vet’s office and picked up the prescription. When I got home, I gave Ducky her first dose.

While the Trazodone is getting into her system, the reduced dosage of fluoxetine (generic Prozac) seems to be leaving Ducky a bit hyper-sensitive to our moods. 

Now, we have to find a way to help Ducky deal with her anxiety and the stressors here at home. Stressors like the hubby’s total lack of patience when he first gets up in the morning. And, admittedly, when she starts getting the least bit snarky with Shadow, my voice tone tends to get sharper than I intend. So, hubby needs to stretch the limits of his patience; and I need to soften the tone of my voice. 

Meanwhile, I googled “Trazodone for dogs” and found a slew of links to read. I saved the page to my iPad bookmarks so I can start reading them as soon as possible. No, I don’t depend on Google for all my answers. It’s  just a starting point.

The good thing is that Ducky is not snarky toward Shadow all the time, just when she’s feeling – oh, what’s the word? overwhelmed maybe? I guess – below par.  

Oh, Ducky… 

I started writing this post last night – and accidentally published it with just the title – but have since trashed it. So, bear with me as I try again to put the story out there into Blogville.

Last night Ducky got snarky with Shadow again. Not just the growling and grumbling type of snarky, but the nasty, scary, “I want to hurt you” type. Poor Shadow was totally taken aback, totally surprised by Ducky’s viciousness toward her. So were hubby and I. It happened so fast that even though I caught a glimpse of it coming, I couldn’t get out of my chair fast enough to prevent it. And, believe me when I say I’ve become quite adept at preventing these horrible moments. But this one I missed – the earliest clues at least – completely.

Shadow was standing near the one dog bed, looking at it as if trying to decide if she wanted to curl up on it. Ducky was standing nearby. Hubby and I were watching a movie, and at first neither of us noticed Ducky’s intense focus on Shadow. Suddenly Ducky was growling and trying to bite Shadow’s front legs while Shadow tried to back away from her. Ducky wouldn’t let go. I tried a few times to grab Ducky’s collar from behind her; but Shadow was trying to defend herself, and I didn’t want her to accidentally bite me in the process. I finally managed to grab Ducky’s collar and pull her away as Shadow backed away. I smacked Ducky on the rear end, shouted “bad girl!” at her, and then closed her in the room downstairs for a while so I could tend to Shadow. Admittedly, smacking Ducky on the butt probably was not a good idea, but she sure knew that I was angry.

Shadow was physically fine. Hubby thought he noticed her limping but then said she seemed to be walking normally. I lovingly checked her over – head to toe – and found no sign of any damage. So I gave her lots of belly and chest rubs and kisses and reassured her that she had done nothing wrong and was, as always, a very good girl. And she quickly forgave her little sister. I figured it was time to check on the little brat.

I went downstairs, clipped the long leash to Ducky’s collar, brought her back upstairs and put her in a place command on the new dog bed we received recently. She looked at me with those pleading, sorrowful eyes and fell asleep. I kept the leash attached to her collar and the handle end in my hand the rest of the night until we came in from their bedtime potty break. Hubby and I took turns watching Ducky so we could each get ready for bed. She had calmed down by then, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

Since I got up this morning I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what caused Ducky’s “outburst” last night. At the time there didn’t seem to be any truly good “reason” for it. Shadow wasn’t anywhere near Ducky’s favorite toy. And she certainly wasn’t coveting any attention from either hubby or me.

It dawned on me that any time Ducky has been snarky with Shadow these past 15 months (since Callie became a heaven’s angel), it has been when she was feeling under the weather for whatever reason. And most of the time that reason was at least partly due to her anxieties.

Recently I’ve been seeing that Prozac may be having negative effects on dogs being treated with it, as Ducky is, for anxiety and the canine equivalent of OCD (whatever they call it in veterinary medicine). I have some research to do this weekend. On Monday I will be making an appointment with our vet to discuss Ducky’s renewed snarkiness toward Shadow. I want to go to the appointment armed with as much information as I can find so we can decide on our options. I am beyond fed up with Ducky’s snarky treatment of Shadow. While there’s no chance I would ever surrender her to the shelter, I’m not going to allow this behavior to continue without consequences that she can understand. There has to be a way to help her medically in addition to exercise and positive reinforcement. So far today she is back to being the sweet and sassy little pooch I fell in love with four years ago – playing nicely with Shadow here in the yard and in the house.

Sorry, no photos today folks. Just me thinking out loud and sharing my thoughts.

It’s Amazing…

What a diet free of table scraps can do for a dog – specifically my dogs!

For the past several weeks, both Shadow and Ducky have not had any table scraps sneaked to them by the dog-daddy – mostly because I’ve been watching him like a hawk and not giving him any opportunity to do so – and their digestive systems are reaping the benefits.

Yes, Ducky had a cluster of minor IBS episodes a few weeks ago; but those were due to her anxieties. And to issues I’d rather not talk/write about publicly.  Besides, our regular vet’s new associate took a look at things and prescribed CatLax to help with the physiological side. And it has been like a miracle drug for her. #ThanksDr.Simpson!

Anyway, just before our last order of food was due to ship from #Chewy, one of the customer service reps sent me an email to say that they had removed the food from the order because they were no longer offering it. I was frantic. Shadow has always had trouble transitioning to new food. What to do??!

I decided to take a chance on a similar recipe – same brand, just different recipe – and use what I had left of the other to transition her to the new.

I’m happy to report that we are down to our last can and a quarter of the old food; AND no adverse reactions. Even without the Metoclopromide and Metronidazole, Shadow has been transitioning without any problem at all.  Ducky is back on her prescription food – at least for now and maybe permanently – so no transition issues with her either.

Table scraps in moderation – like everything else – probably would not have upset the apple cart. BUT my definition of “moderation” and the hubby’s definition of it are eons apart. So,  I’ve had to become the food police for my dogs’ sakes. And it is amazing how much difference it makes in their appetite, their attitude, and their overall health.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHADOW!!!

My sweet “Baby Golden” is 12 years old today. 


She is healthy, she’s happy, and she is without a doubt my shadow…as in that sun’s reflection that is always right next to you. And though she loves the dog-daddy, it’s me she looks to and looks for when she needs reassurance that all is well in her world.

It’s hard to believe that she’s 12. I still remember taking this picture on New Year’s Eve, 2004, when she was just 2-1/2 months old…


Isn’t that just the sweetest photo?! Callie was always protective of Shadow, from the day we first brought her home. ❤️

And here she is playing with Callie out in the yard when she was about a year or two old…


I know she still misses her big sister; but she has adapted well. Better than me, for sure; and she has helped me get past many leaky-eye moments over the last 14 months.

So, sweet Shadow, I hope that whatever we end up doing today will make your day as special for you as you’ve always been to us. I know that Callie is with us in spirit and in our hearts, smiling at you as she always did.