Sep 242009
 

This story is not for children. We’re all adults, right? I’m 10 years old in dog years but I’m 57 years old in human years so that qualifies me.

Some of you have been waiting to hear about my prostate thing, waiting to read the answer to my parents’ question on their page, to neuter or not to neuter. You’ve been waiting to hear about all the activity that took place when I was being boarded two months ago from my post, what’s a prostate? what’s enlarged? and what was the big deal between the doctor there and my parents.  You’ve asked if any of this has to do with my being hit by a car.  You’ve been waiting to hear about whether I’m going to remain the wonderful whole male that I am and have always been, or whether this state of glorious and holy wholeness is going to end.

My parents know me better than anybody else in the whole world and they think it’s time I told this story.

To be honest, I don’t understand anything about enlarged prostates, I don’t even know what a prostate gland is. Or a gland. I do know that different dogs have different odors, and that male dogs like me who are whole have a different scent from male dogs who are not, and that we dogs can detect the difference.  And I know that this is a factor amongst some dogs who are deciding whom to make friends with, and whom to not make friends with.

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So with that said, we go back five months, to when I was hit by the car.

I’ve already written about my broken ankle, my broken toes, and my broken teeth. But one place I did not mention that got really badly injured was my penis.

Dr. Kiko thinks that what happened was that I was pushed down to the ground under the car, and my belly was scraped, and the prepuce, the skin that covers the penis, was pulled back and my penis was badly lacerated.  The cut went all the way around it, like a ring.

At the two animal hospitals where I was going, all of my wonderful doctors took really good care of me and my belly healed.

It took a lot longer for my penis to heal, however.  Every time I got excited this area filled up with blood and sometimes I was bleeding pretty badly.  Once, my parents even had to rush me to the emergency room. This need to keep me calm is why my parents didn’t allow visitors to our home for a long time.  This is also one of the reasons why they kept the shades drawn and our curtains closed. If I remained calm, I wouldn’t bleed. Keeping me calm is not easy, as you know.  I’m a very enthusiastic dog!

When my parents would walk me outside, we would see many children outside, playing, being strolled, roller skating, just being children enjoying life. But my parents would say “hello” and then keep me walking because I wasn’t allowed to get enthusiastic over anybody.

Soon enough, my penis healed well enough for my parents to allow visitors into our home and to allow me to play with children.  The shades went up, the curtains were opened, and daylight entered our home once again! Light entered my life again, too, in a big way.

With that, I will end my story for this evening, and you will be ready to read part 2, in which I will describe my visit to my local animal hospital.

But first, make sure you read my mom’s page, to neuter or not to neuter, where she explains all the things I cannot.

to part 2

*********************

Sep 222009
 

<– to part 1

“Is your dog friendly?” is what many dog owners who are out with their dog ask my parents when their dog sees me and wants to play with me.

is your dog friendly?

is your dog friendly?

My mom thinks that this is a funny question. I mean, I am Mr. Friendly!

At the 1000 dogs walk, somebody asked my mom again, “Is your dog friendly?”

She also finds that question, Is your dog friendly?,  interesting.  She wonders if any dog owner is going to answer, “NO”.

But at any rate, when somebody asks her that question, she answers, “Yes! Very friendly!” and then she includes, “And he’s very strong.” Then she holds on tight to my lead.

I’m soooo friendly that my dad worries about me being left alone outside in the evening: He’s worried that I’m going to try to make friends with the raccoon and the skunk that clunks across our back yard from time to time when the sun has gone down. At these times, he says, “Joey, you’re going to get it some day.”

It’s easy to tell when I’m having a good time and easy to see that I was having a great time at the 1000 dogs Walk for Animals. For example, is my tail wagging? If so, I am having a good time.  Is my head in one direction but my eyes looking out to another? This is one way you can tell that I am playing. I do this with my parents when we play ball and they are holding the ball in their hand. I want them to think that I am not looking at them with the ball so that I can gain the advantage.

i want her to think I'm not looking at her

i want her to think I’m not looking at her

At the walk, almost all of the dogs were friendly to each other. The little dogs, who often yap at me,  didn’t yap at me.  They wanted to play – with me!

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The bigger-than-me dogs had good manners, too.  Only one dog who I met – and he was a very large dog – was not friendly and did not play nicely with me.  And when he got nasty to me, his owner just said to him “Let’s go” and pulled him away.   If I acted nasty to another dog, which I don’t, I would hear my parents say “Bad” or “Joey, No!”.  My parents want me to learn good manners, too.

This was a nice morning and afternoon because the dog owners let us dogs get to know each other and to decide if we wanted to play together and if we did, they would let us play, and if we didn’t, we would move on to other dogs and other possible friends! We dogs were on leads (and my dad had to hold on tight to mine!) but we were really having a good time.

I also like to play with dogs – dogs of all sizes and all breeds. With small dogs, I feel like a father to them. I like to put my paw on their back and lick their faces. This little dog, Fiona, let me do that. We became friends for a little while that afternoon.

i'm happy to play with dogs of all sizes

i’m happy to play with dogs of all sizes

I am happy to play with retrievers, but any friendly dog is fine with me!

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We dogs have our own system for deciding who we like. And we’re not going to give up our secret, even if you interview us and try to find out!

can you tell who is who?

can you tell who is who?

Here I am with one of my own, another chocolate lab.  See my ears? As tired as I was, there is always energy for making friends with one more dog!

This is one more wonderful activity that I’ve participated in since I was hit by the car (which I don’t remember at all) and since my broken ankle and broken toes have healed, and since I’ve bounded back to life.  And now I have to have good manners and thank my parents for letting me have this wonderful day!

*****

 Posted by at 4:30 am
Sep 202009
 

What a day.

me and Rufus

me and Rufus

I haven’t been this exhausted in a long time.  There must have been 1000 dogs in this place. Every where I looked a dog. Every where I turned a dog. Every where I smelled a dog!  There were more dogs than trees!

First, we were all together just having a grand old time.

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Then after a while, everybody started walking.

My dad had already taken me for a walk in the morning, and here was another one! But not just me and my dad; it was me, my dad, my mom and 1000 other dogs!

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We walked and walked.

Then we stopped walking.

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I was exhausted and my parents brought me to water bowls that were all over the place. Sometimes the other dogs and I were more interested in each other than we were in drinking water, but then my mom and dad would give me a moment to socialize and then would say “Joey, drink” or its variant, “Joey, drink water.”

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We rested for a while. I found a spot under the shade and caught my breath.  This other dog wanted to make friends with me but I was very tired.

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My mom was pretty happy.

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After a while, my parents and I walked back into the car.

My parents were pretty happy though my dad said he was “dogged out”. I don’t know what that means.

My mom feels this was a successful day. It was an opportunity for me to socialize and get together with other dogs. This is a big thing with her now.  She is looking for opportunities for me to use my boundless labrador-retriever energy so that I will not dig my way out of our property again and so that I will not get hit by a car again.  She also raised money for the MSPCA and the animal hospital where I had my surgery, to help other dogs.

Why can’t every day be like this day!  Well, I’m not complaining. I’m happy with each and every day in my life.

go to part 2

*****

 Posted by at 8:12 pm
Sep 132009
 

And off we were, running! Now you remember that I’m the one who got hit by the car. But my parents aren’t taking any more chances on me – or on anybody-  getting hurt. My dad is all aglow too. That is not so that I can see him. I can see very well in the dark. That is so automobiles will see him when he runs in the dark.

See me, to the left

See me, to the left

My eyes glow from what people call tapetum lucidum. Then I have my flashing lights.

My mom is running with us. This is a new thing with her running with us. I like it.

We run down the big hill. I stop at every bush I can, until I hear “Joey, come”, the sound of my dad. He wants me to stay along with him.

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We run and run down the carriage lane.  On this particular morning my dad sees one bunny but I don’t. Then we get to the bottom of the hill and turn and go down another smaller street. Along this street is a large pond. Jane, Dad and I run along the road along the  pond.  As the road turns, we turn.  Soon we stop, when Jane says “I have to stop.”

Then she looks at me and sees my tongue hanging out. Dad said that I’m a little out of shape.  (If my dad took me running more often, I’d be in shape, though.) Though I’m panting, I want to keep on going but I have to wait until my parents give the sign to begin again.

IMG_0025Dad gives the sign, and off we go again.

We run for another few minutes, and get to the carriage path again.  There, Dad gives the lead to Jane,  goes off running by himself, and Jane walks me to our home. She’s tired. She doesn’t run very often. She’s not in great running shape. Maybe if she runs with me more often, she’ll be more in shape.    As we approach our street, we see another dog running with his owner.

She’s happy because she sees the whole time we’ve been running or walking, I’m using all four legs equally.  At home, Jane takes off the lights, takes off my lead, and says, “Joey, drink water”.   I do. Then she continues Dad’s early morning run ritual – and gives me two treats.

I go rest for a while, when we hear the sound of Dad’s feet running to the back of our home and we go to greet him. He gives me one more treat!

I like mornings like this.

******

 Posted by at 12:48 pm
Sep 112009
 

Life can change quickly and cataclysmically – for worse. And life can change quickly again – for better. Sometimes healing occurs slowly and from day to day you cannot see a change or an improvement. And there are some days that are splendidly and noticeably different!

This morning did not start out like a typical morning. It started out even better.

First of all, my mom got out of bed shortly after my dad did. This is unusual. Sensing something out of the ordinary, I got up too.

day begins in our home

a new day begins for my family

Besides, it seemed like something I wanted to be a part of. I stretched, yawned, and followed my mom downstairs and into the kitchen, where my dad was already fussing around.

My water bowl was full, as usual.  I drank a lot of water.  Jane asked, “Is this typical of him to drink so much water early in the morning?”  If she were up early more often, she would know.

Soon, things got more interesting and I could feel myself getting excited….Something good was in the air.  It was a warm morning.  Dad opened up my little box that is in the front hallway and I know that when he or my mom open that little box that somebody is taking me outside! Dad got out his supplies: little poop bags, little lights that he clipped onto my collar, and a little flashlight. Those are his toys, not mine.

Jane, meanwhile, had disappeared.   When Dad and I got to the front door, there was Jane, standing outside waiting for us. Dad and I came outside and – we all three started running!  See me?  I’m the one with my eyes glowing (from the light hitting my tapetum).

IMG_0009

But first, I want to tell you that it was dark outside so I am going to write about the little blinking lights that my dad clipped onto my collar.  Whenever it’s dark outside, my parents click these little lights, two of them, one on each side, onto my collar.

I have my flashing lights on so I can be seen in the darkness.

I have my flashing lights on so I can be seen in the darkness.

These flashing lights don’t seem to help me in any way but they don’t bother me either, so I don’t mind. Without my lights, I’d still be able to see and smell my way around perfectly well. Dogs can see pretty well in the dark, and we can smell at any hour of the day! But humans wouldn’t be able to see me. This is important because my dad wants to know where I am at all times. He also wants cars to be able to see me.

img_MVI_0032

Here I am with my lights on, under the light on the carriage path by the pond. It’s still dark out – for humans.

Once I have my lights on, we’re ready to run! Off I scamper into the delightful world that awaits.  There are no other dogs out at this hour but still – life doesn’t get any better than this!

Now you can continue to part 2.

*******

Sep 092009
 

All dogs are shaved before surgery or for other procedures, such as the Fetanyl patch. But the dog’s hair doesn’t always grow back in. Why is that?   *******

dog's coat four months after surgery and being shaved

four months after surgery

It’s now been five months since I was hit by the car!   And it’s been four months since Dr. Matt operated to repair my broken ankle.

I’m a happy dog again.  No more plastic bags on my leg, no more leads just to go out to our back yard.

But everywhere I go, people still look at me and go “What happened there?”  They ask, “What’s the square on my back?”

Of all the places where I was shaved, the one spot on my back where I was grounded is still not fully grown in. My leg is much more grown in, and the place where the Fetanyl patch was is still kind of noticeable. Noticeable by people, that is. I don’t care.

But be that as it may, this prompts my mom to learn about a dog’s hair. This prompts my mom to learn about the coat of a Labrador Retriever.  This prompts my mom to learn about, in short, me.

My parents looked at my back very close up and they noticed that I have two layers of hair!  closeupOne layer has already grown back. That is the under layer.  It’s course and very short. This is the layer that keeps me warm in cold weather, so that I don’t have to wear that silly coat that my parents bought me that I kept kicking off.  It also keeps me cool in the summer, by keeping the sun off of my skin.

The outer layer is the longer layer that has not grown back.  That’s the layer, that Dr. Kiko would call my “guard hair”, that protects me from rain. And bugs. That’s the hair that people pet and say “It’s so soft.” That’s the layer that makes people call me a “Chocolate”.

So why hasn’t my outer layer of hair grown back? I don’t know and I don’t care. But my mom cares, and she learned that the they don’t grow back very easily in older dogs.  But I act like a puppy. That should matter somewhat.  Apparently, it doesn’t matter.

But there is another reason why the outer layer of hair on my back has not yet grown in.  The hair follicles are very deep along the spine of a dog, so it takes them much longer to grow in.  One vet said that it may take another cycle of shedding for them to grow in. Again, not that I car.  In fact, I think my parents don’t really care either. They just like knowing and understanding about me.

But on the bright side, what this means is that I’m going to get a lot of attention for a long long time, as people stop and point to me and ask, “Why is that there?” ! And that’s okay with me!

Getting attention is one of my hobbies, remember?

 Posted by at 1:20 pm
Sep 032009
 

It’s not always so easy to find places to exercise and socialize your dog. Many lakes do not allow dogs to swim off-leash, such as the lake in our town. Many dog parks have restrictions, such as not permitting uncastrated male dogs (such as the situation in our town), and other dog parks allow dogs who do not play well with other dogs to enter the dog park, which endangers the safety of the other dogs. Dog owners need to exercise and socialize their dogs but in a legal, safe and responsible manner. This can present challenges. It means the dog owners must be creative and often travel out of town to exercise and socialize their dog. ************

My mom has had to get very creative about getting me out of the home.

9_2_golf

She wants to get me out of the home for a few reasons. First, I have so much energy it’s ridiculous. If she leaves me indoors for long periods of the day, she’s afraid I’ll do again what I did before.  (See, please, my posts on digging my way under the fence and out of our property, and then getting hit by the car in Chapters 1 and 2.)  Secondly, she wants my muscles to get back to how they were when I was running with my dad.

You may have noticed that you haven’t seen any nice new photos of me swimming. There’s a reason for that. There are no new photos because I haven’t been swimming. I don’t know how to tell my mom I want to go to the lake again.  I can’t just go there by myself, and she hasn’t taken me for two weeks now.

The last time we were there at the lake, a very nice officer came by to the shoreline and told my mom that she had to get out of the water. At the time, my mom was holding me up by my harness so I could do my swimming.   “Everybody out of the water,” he said.  He didn’t say it to me; he just said it to her. He didn’t include me in “everybody”. And that was the last time we were there.

So my mom has had to get creative.

Here’s what we did yesterday: She took me with her and we ended up at a place where she plays some game called golf.  This was a new place for me.  She found a place for me where she could attach my lead; I know she chose a place for me that was out of the sun and also close enough to her that I could see her. I also think part of the idea was for her to keep an eye on me because every once in a while I saw her looking my way. This game involves little balls but since I can’t run after them, I’m not interested in this game.

For a while, being near so many people, I was pretty excited; but when nobody came over to pet me, I just lay down and rested. And cooled down.

Luckily, a lot of people like dogs, and big dogs like me, and after a while people stopped by to pet me and I jumped up again. They said “sit” and “stay”.  They also said “paw”, which is something that my parents don’t like me doing because I get my dad’s nice clean shirts dirty when I do that. So I was happy because I got to do “paw” when my mom wasn’t looking. Or was she? At any rate, I got to do “paw” with some very nice children.  Once I kind of jumped up and my mom saw that (how?) and said, “Joey, off.”  At least I got to do “paw”.

So life continues to hold lots of surprises for me – and also for my mom. I like surprises, at least surprises like this.

********

Aug 242009
 

Once your dog has recovered from his accident or illness, how will you keep him active and healthy?  What changes will – or can – you make in your lives to ensure your dog’s happiness and welfare?  The answer requires each dog owner to know his dog and to think creatively.

***************

Since I have mostly recovered from being hit by the car, my parents often try to take me with them. They want to keep me busy and active and happy. But taking me with them is not always easy. Or safe.

For example, since I weigh almost 80 pounds, it’s not easy to take me with them in an airplane. I don’t fit in a little box that you can put under your seat.

traveling by car with your dog

take me with you, please

It’s not always easy to take me with them when they go camping because they can’t leave me alone during the day when they go bicycle riding or boating, or whatever they do. Why not? Once or twice they left me on the leash and attached my lead to a post outside a store and when they came back outside, they saw the lead on the tree – – but the “other” end of the lead was lying on the ground: No Joey!  Upon looking at the lead, they saw I had chewed through it! “Joey.  Joey”, my dad called, and I appeared from beneath some nearby bushes.

Some of the hotels they go to will allow you to bring your dog, but you may not leave your pet alone during the day. So if they go bicycle riding or to play golf, they can’t take me with them.  Maybe one day there will be a dog-friendly golf course? I doubt it!

I’m way too big to fit into a little basket like some dogs whose owners take them with them for the ride when they go bicycle riding.

In the summer, my mom runs errands and I’m not allowed to be alone for long in a car because dogs overheat very easily; many dogs die each year from heatstroke. So that’s out.

But since I was hit by the car, my parents want to keep me as active as possible, and as happy as possible.

So when can they bring me with them?

They can bring me with them when they play tennis.

keep your dog cool and in the shade on a hot or sunny day

First, my mom has her little doggie kit which is nice because it has a little bowl.  They tie my lead to a little bench near the tennis court and near the water fountain. One week, it was a little hotter than usual.  Soon my mom noticed that I was panting and my tongue was hanging out. She went to Robert, the court supervisor, who had a big shade umbrella, and asked him, “Would you mind if I put my dog here?” Robert was very nice and were very happy to have me there, sharing the shade of the umbrella.

The water-fountain was nearby and I was in the shade, and next to people who were nice.  In fact, I was under the seat, which gave me even more shade.  In the heat, my mom stopped occasionally to fill up the doggie bowl and pour cool water over me. Then she filled it up again and said, “Joey, drink.” And she waited until I would drink some water. She kept an eye on me to make sure that I wasn’t overheating, which is important because dogs overheat very easily, especially older dogs like me.

After tennis, we go right home and my parents give me a lot of water to drink and food to eat.

Now that I’m healthy again, my parents want to make sure that I stay healthy.

***********

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