Introducing Ducky’s Baby Brother

Bogie – think Humphrey Bogart – Oakes. Our little guy was born on Saturday, February 6th, along with his 12 siblings – exactly one week before Ducky’s 9th birthday. ❤️

Bailey’s 13 Puppies

We met this little cutie-pie when he was only three weeks old, and he and his 12 siblings were still barely moving far from Mama Bailey. Bailey channeled our sweet Callie that day to let us know that Callie, Shadow and Radar would approve of whichever puppy we picked out.

You My HuMommy!

One week later this little guy picked us out. While his siblings left my side in their playpen to go to Bailey for a drink at her milk bar, Bogie stayed with me and crawled on my legs and gave me sweet, tiny puppy kisses when I held him up to my face. Then I handed him to hubby and he made himself comfy in hubby’s arm.

You My HuDaddy!

It’s a good thing Bogie picked us because we would have had a hard time choosing one and saying no to the others! All of Bailey’s puppies are beautiful, just like their mama.

When we went back to see Bogie two weeks later, he had grown so much! And he was having a blast exploring his surroundings. And he loved hanging around hubby.

Bogie at 6 Weeks

We brought Bogie home on Saturday. And Ducky was curious but jealous. The green-gilled monster is controlling her inside the house right now, so we have to be really careful about their interactions. 😢 Outside in the yard, Ducky pretty much ignores Bogie. He tries to follow her, but he’s still a little slow for that. 😉 It’s just going to take some time for Ducky to adjust. She was jealous of Shadow, too, sometimes.

I wasn’t really expecting Ducky to become Bogie’s surrogate mama – like Callie did with Shadow – but I was hoping she would be more accepting of her baby brother. I suspect that as he grows and matures – and doesn’t require nearly as much of our attention – that she will begin to accept him. He is such a happy, sweet little guy and used to other dogs that he doesn’t recognize yet that Ducky doesn’t want to be bothered with him.

Curiosity

Happy Birthday Ducky!!!

Where have the years gone??!!

Ducky at 5 months, Foster Weekend

When we adopted you from the shelter, you were a little demon. Sweet to us and Callie, but you tormented Shadow almost constantly. Thank goodness Callie knew just what to do to keep you in line. And then daycare helped you work off some of that excess puppy energy.

Callie was on alert to prevent argument between her younger sisters

Fast forward some years and Callie had gone ahead to be our guardian angel. I wondered if you would ever stop tormenting poor Shadow. You did, for the most part. Callie must have told you to be a good girl. 🤣

Sisters at last

Then a few years later, when Shadow was sick and hurting, you stayed right by her side nearly 24/7 until we all said goodbye. Just before she left us to reunite with Callie you gave her a sweet goodbye kiss on her head.

Then there was your most special friend and foster brother, Radar. He was here for such a short time, but you two were best friends from the start.

A rare quiet moment between the 2 hooligans

When Radar left us, we were all devastated. As with Callie and Shadow, you kissed him goodbye just before he left to join your sisters. It took a while for you to accept that your buddy was here with you in spirit only. And that made it harder for me to adjust; but somehow the three of us helped each other get through another devastating loss.

I promised you – a few days after Radar left – that when the time was right, Daddy and I would find you a new friend, another brother. I asked Radar to help his sisters find us another Golden Boy for us all to love. Now I can tell you we’ve been working on fulfilling that promise.

My “little black demon dog” of 2012 has grown into my little earth angel of 2020 and beyond.

HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY DUCKY!!!! We love you sweetie!!!!

Happy Girl!!

Welcome 2021!!

Ducky, her “HuDad”, and I are asking 2021 to be kinder to us, and indeed to the whole world, than was 2020.

Ducky’s had better years than she did in 2019 and 2020, so I’m hoping this will be one of those better ones. She’s started this new year with a flare-up of the hip dysplasia and is a bit gimpy today; but with a little rest she should be feeling better tomorrow.

Not enough toys.

Meanwhile, my brother has been staying with us since the week before Christmas. I admit I was a bit worried about the COVID exposure; but we have all been very careful to follow health guidelines all along, and none of us have experienced any issues. We will all miss him when he goes home to his own dog (who is in the capable hands of his favorite pet sitter).

I’m not setting any goals for this year. I just plan on continuing to be a good wife and dog mom. I’d like to get back to reading my current book at some point. I do have a bonus challenge to do related to Ducky and our online course. It starts tomorrow and should be fun.

Well, that’s all for now. Ducky and I hope everyone has a good year. We are hopeful/optimistic that things will start getting better soon.

Happy Heavenly 16th Birthday, Shadow

Sweet Golden Girl

You came into our lives on December 7, 2004, and you reunited with Callie on August 25, 2019; but like Callie – and Radar – you will always be in our hearts.

This is not meant to be a sad post. It is a celebration of the years you were with us; years that were filled with love, joy, fun, and laughter, as well as tears of devastating sadness. Your presence made all our lives better, just as Callie’s and Radar’s – and Kissy’s before you – did. You all taught us so much that we could not have learned without you.

Today would also be Callie’s half-year birthday. You girls came to be exactly six months apart and came into our lives exactly six months apart. And the bond between you is eternal. It always gave me such joy to witness that bond on a daily basis. It’s one of my favorite memories.

Together in Life and Spirit, Forever

So, Happy Birthday my sweet Golden Angel. I will always love you (and your sisters and brother). Thank you for always watching over Ducky for me.

ACE Free Work, Ducky & Me

*ACE stands for Animal Centred Education, and is a program conceived and built from the ground up by a British gal by the name of Sarah Fischer.

To greatly simplify and shorten a long and complicated story, Sarah has been doing free work with many different animals for several years in an attempt to find reasons for their unwanted behavior, including reactivity and/or sensitivity to many things, people, and other animals. She also uses Tellington TTouch body work to introduce handling but ACE includes Free Work and detailed observations which give clues to a dog’s sensitivities. 

I first learned  about ACE and Free Work from my friend, Janet Finlay, who owns and operates Canine Confidence Academy in the U.K. and provides online learning as well as person-to-person workshops (up until the pandemic shutdown and will start again as mitigation makes it possible). I’ve taken several of Janet’s online courses over the years since we adopted Ducky, including the current (ongoing) one – Your End of the Lead 2.0 (an updated version of her original course by the same name) – to help me deal with Ducky’s reactivity. The courses also include private communities/forums where those of us taking the course can share our videos and stories without fear of judgment and form valuable alliances with other guardians of reactive dogs.

In some ways, Free Work for dogs is similar to beginner nose work; but instead of hiding treats, you put them in full view of the dog. Generally, we use a variety of surfaces, enrichment toys, etcetera, as the “course” layout so that the dog gets sensory information through its feet, nose, eyes, ears, etc.  Once the course is set up, you invite the dog to explore it.

If possible, video the session (so you can watch later to pick up on those things you might miss) while the dog is exploring and getting the treats and observe her/his movement and posture, noting things that they like, nervous system responses, preferences (with respect to the direction they move in, objects they interact with, etc). Don’t include items in the course that you know are concerning to the dog, or remove an item if the dog appears to be wary of it. And, importantly, observe without any expectations as to the outcome.  (Believe me, that last part takes some practice!)

The great thing about Free Work is that you don’t have to buy any special equipment – you can use whatever items you already own. And you can lay out just one or two items, or four or five, with enough room for the dog to move freely around them. (If your dog is super sensitive or tentative to her/his environment, it’s probably better to start with only one or two items so as not to overwhelm them.)

For Ducky, I needed a space where I could give her the freedom of eating her breakfast away from the main source of her anxiety – her “Daddy”. And, because she was so anxious at times that she wouldn’t eat out of her regular food bowl, I got out some different lickimats that I’ve purchased over the last couple of years. At first I just laid out the lickimats on the floor of my “office”. Then I experimented with different heights – like a 12-pack of toilet paper, an overturned Amazon box, and an agility cone (with the lickimat bowl inverted over it). Over the last several months, this has become Ducky’s preferred way to eat her breakfast. 

The ACE Free Work not only gave me a way to relieve Ducky’s morning anxieties enough for her to eat; but it also gave me a learning opportunity. While observing her movement around the room via the videos I posted, several of my course mates (and Janet) started picking up on clues that she had some definite areas of bodily discomfort. When those clues were pointed out to me – in addition to the clues I was picking up on myself – I saw something that greatly concerned me: that Ducky might have cruciate disease in her left hind leg. As you know from an earlier post, that didn’t turn out to be the case; but she does have dysplasia in her left hip and we now have options for relieving and managing the pain.

So, with all that said, if you’re interested in learning more about ACE Free Work, I suggest checking out Sarah Fisher’s website: http://www.tilleyfarm.org.uk.  There is a private group on Facebook, as well, called “ACE Connections” that you can ask to join.

Happy 8th Gotcha Day Ducky!!

It’s hard to believe you’ve been with us for eight years! I remember that first day like it was yesterday.

Ducky on Adoption Day

You were so darn cute! Even though you were – as Dr. Steve named you a week later – a “little wild child”, you had stolen our hearts that weekend we fostered you.

Callie and – especially – Shadow didn’t know what to make of you. You had turned their calm, quiet lives upside down and inside out that weekend. And it took them a few days to figure out you were here to stay this time.

You drove us all to distraction at times. As far as Shadow was concerned, your first day at A Dog’s Day Out was the best birthday present I could ever have given her. 🤣 You came home too tired to be a pest.

After Daycare

Fast forward less than three years, and you helped Shadow, Daddy, and me through our grief over losing Callie to the lymphoma. And three and a half years later, you helped us through saying goodbye to Shadow as she reunited with Callie.

You were thrilled to have a friend again when we added Radar to our little family. He became your best friend and brother almost overnight. You two had a blast together every day.

Losing Radar to the heartworm disease just a few days after his third month with us had begun was devastating. All three of us were in a fog of disbelief, of confusion, and of heartache. I still get leaky-eyed sometimes when I think of our Golden Angel Boy. But you came to our rescue again. You helped us lift that fog.

These last several months you’ve been dealing with those hind-end issues. You poor girl. You are so stoical. Thanks to the Your End of the Lead course (YEL 2.0) that I’ve been taking – especially the community of likeminded folks who helped me pick up on your clues – I was able to realize you needed veterinary attention. Dr. Steve, Dr. Simpson, and the entire staff at Sunrise Animal Hospital has been wonderful – no surprise! – in their care of you and teamwork with me to get you feeling better. Your issues have decreased substantially and continue to improve daily.

A few months ago, I wrote a post where I called you my little earth angel. And that proves to be true every minute of every day. I don’t know what I would do without you, Ducky. I don’t want to know. You – like your sisters before you – have become my canine soulmate. I (and Daddy) love you to the ends of the universe and back.

Our Sweet Baby Girl

So, here’s to you Miss Ducky! My sometime wild child and always loving baby girl. ❤️🐾❤️🐾❤️🐾

We’re Homebound (Mostly) But Not Quarantined

First of all, let me assure you that we are all well and as safe as anyone can be during this pandemic.

A lot and almost nothing has been going on around here since our last post. Ducky’s been going back to daycare a couple or three times a month since the middle of May, depending on her mobility issues. And we’ve pretty much become homebodies to a greater extent than we ever were in the past.

Hubby’s dementia-induced alternate persona – who I named Poindexter – has been here off and on since the pandemic caused a short-lived shutdown here in South Carolina, causing a great deal of anxiety for poor Ducky. As if that weren’t enough……

At the end of May / beginning of June Ducky had an allergic reaction to something which caused a secondary skin infection. Poor girl. To top it off, the vet felt she might have some arthritis starting up in her left hind leg. We had put her on Carprofen for a couple of weeks, which helped a bit; but once we took her off of it (because of the antibiotic she was on for the skin infection), the slight, intermittent limp started again. So back on the Carprofen for another week, along with her then-current joint supplement.

In July we had to have a new commode and sink installed in our only bathroom, causing a great deal of anxiety for poor Ducky on a day when she couldn’t be at daycare because of her mobility issues.

It was also in July, while I was doing ACE Free Work with Ducky – a topic worthy of its own future post – that I noticed she was leaning forward and favoring her hind left leg quite a bit while eating her breakfast every morning. When it only seemed to get worse as the week wore on, I sent the vet a video. I was afraid she may have some cruciate disease, in addition to the presumed arthritis. He was concerned enough after watching the video to suggest taking some X-rays.

Thankfully, the “rads” showed no sign of cruciate disease in either hind leg. They did, however, show that the left side of her pelvis had not completely formed as she was growing from puppyhood to adulthood. As a result, her left hip has some dysplasia. Thankfully, there is very little arthritis in the joint at this point. With a new course of Carprofen, some Gabapentin, and continued use of joint support supplements she started doing better. I had to change supplements, though, because I noticed – once she finished the Carprofen and Gabapentin – that the ones I’d been giving her weren’t working as well any more. So, back on the Gabapentin until she moves from the initial dosage to the maintenance dosage of the new supplement. I *think* that it’s starting to work already; but I won’t know for sure until we stop the Gabapentin.

So there you have it – our last 4 or 5 months in a few paragraphs. I’m working on the free work post, but I need some input from friends (in the UK) who know more about it than I do. Trust me, though, it’s a great way to have fun with your dog and learn more about her/him in the process!

Happy 8th Birthday Ducky!!!

Today is my baby girl’s birthday. My earth angel. My rock.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! Daddy and I – and your guardian angel sisters and brother – love you completely and unconditionally.

We’ll have to delay your birthday walk at the park until tomorrow. But you don’t care which day we go as long as we do go.

We’re joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop because Ducky is at the top of our “grateful for” list.

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My Sweet Earth Angel

That’s exactly what Ducky is to me. An Earth Angel. She has seen me through the loss of her two older sisters and her slightly younger brother.

She’s a happy, sweet girl most of the time. And a sassy, loving girl all of the time.

She misses having a playmate; but there’s no doubt she thrives on being the center of our attention.

Ducky owns a huge piece of my heart. She’s my baby girl, my little sweetie, my sassy-pants, my little stinker, my “Ducky Doodle Demon Dog” and lord-only-knows how many other nicknames.

I love this little girl wholeheartedly and unconditionally. And I thank God every day for letting me be her “HuMom”. ❤️❤️❤️

Radar’s New Purpose

Each dog has a purpose. Isn’t that what the book and movie said? Radar’s purpose with us was to help us all heal from the loss of his sisters and to fill empty spaces in our lives….

Hubby keeps asking “when are we getting another Golden?” I keep saying “when the right one comes along.” Right now my heart still hurts from the sudden loss of this sweet boy….

Ducky needs a new playmate, another brother, companion, friend. And I’m seriously open to getting her one. In fact, I promised her that we would get her another one. WHEN Callie, Shadow, and Radar find us the right one. I’m sure they will at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I miss all my furry angels. They were each special to me for different reasons. But this boy?

I have to admit that there was something extra special about him. Maybe because he was the latest one. Maybe because Ducky accepted him so easily. Maybe because despite whatever he went through in his “previous life”, he was still trusting of humans, loving, and easy-going. Maybe all those things plus some I haven’t thought of yet. Whatever the reason – or reasons – he was the perfect fit for all three of us and we miss him every minute of every day.

We’ve gotten back into our old routine of not having a set routine, and gotten comfortable with it; but I would gladly give up the old routine if it meant having Radar here with us, happy and on his way to being healthy. But that’s not going to happen.

We will always miss Radar, just as we will always miss Kissy, Callie, and Shadow. There’s an emptiness in our little corner of the world that he was filling while he was with us.

Now it’s up to Radar to help his sisters find us another boy to welcome into our home and hearts. His new purpose is to send us a new boy to pick up where he left off. Not to replace him (because no other dog ever could), but to carry on his mission.