Must Love Dogs…

From the moment I adopted my Greebo cat – twelve years ago already – I knew I would always have cats in my life.
I (we) have had as many as six cats, and currently we have four – Greebo, Magic, Minx and Twister.

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”
— Emily Dickinson

If you had told me, even five years ago, that I would one day share my bedroom with as many as seven dogs – I would have laughed in your face! I would have told you I was a cat person with no plans to change that.
We adopted Thelma and Louise mainly to let us know if someone came to our gate, but they were mainly outside dogs and certainly not spoilt.

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“Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way.”
— Quentin Tarantino

Yet, here I sit. And I laugh at myself.
There are seven dogs in our bedroom. And they’re not small dogs either. Thelma and Louise are too big to be lap dogs, there are 3 big Labradors, a Labrador-sized bitch who has taken over the pack, and the biggest fox terrier you ever did see!

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“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.”
—Franklin P. Jones

Two of the Labs are not ours – snuggly Patrick will be graduating as a Guide Dog soon, and wiggly Nimble is our Guide Dog puppy, who will probably also go on to become a Guide Dog – then it’s only our own five dogs.

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“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
—Dean Koontz

I’ve had furniture, shoes, cables, phones, and the garden wrecked by pooches of various ages. I’ve cleaned up a mountain of poop and puke. One dog is epileptic, and one is blind and diabetic, and our rescue has some behavioural issues that we’re working through.
I love our Guide Dog puppies, I love all our dogs, but my Riddick is mommy’s baby and our Penny is her daddy’s girl.
I’m frequently surprised by how different their personalities and quirks are, and their “tells” – like when they’re asking to go outside.

Who’d a thunk it!

The Big Dogs…

Our old ladies, Thelma and Louise, keep to themselves – not playing with the puppies or getting up to mischief. They chill on “their” couch inside the house, and outside they have their own igloo.

Our big dogs – Riddick and Penny, Guide-Dog-in-training and weekend visitor Patrick, and Guide Dog puppy Nimble, hang out together. Playing, sleeping, eating, and misbehaving.

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Riddick is still my baby, following me from room to room. <3 He is almost completely blind, so we don’t move furniture around too much if we can help it, and we put bells inside his favourite toy so he can hear it when we throw it for him. He is also diabetic now, so I watch him like a hawk for weight loss or gain, and any odd behaviour, and he gets an insulin shot twice a day.

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Penny is a daddy’s girl, happiest when she can be as close to her daddy Glugster as she can get- even in the heat. She has to win everything. We should have named her “Monica”! 😛

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Nimble is 7 months old and very clever! She also follows me around, and she loves to play with the other dogs!

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Patrick hasn’t spent weekends with us for several weeks, but we’re back into that routine until he goes “on class” with his new owner early next year. Then he’ll be a working Guide Dog and we won’t see him much after that!

Etiquette at the Vet

If you have a dog, or a cat, or a few of each like we do, you will have been at the vet at some point.

I spend quite a lot of time at our vet… We do the normal vet visits for inoculations – with four dogs and four cats we take one a month so we don’t go broke. 🙂 We also have some special needs pets. We have a half-blind cat named Twister, who was born deformed and is now on a special diet ‘coz he gets crystals in his urine and then pees everywhere except in the litterboxes.
We have a blind Labrador name Riddick, who has cataracts as well, and has now been diagnosed diabetic and is on insulin.
We have an epileptic dog named Louise who is pretty much okay most of the time, as long as she has her meds…
And I stop in once a week with whichever Guide Dog puppy we have so they can be weighed, and get used to being in the vet’s office.
Our vet’s receptionists get to know our zoo quite well.

When I do go to the vet, my dogs are on lead, and my cats are on lead AND crated – as per the signs in the vet’s reception.
Keeping the cats away from other animals in the reception is pretty easy, their being in crates. Keeping the dogs away from other dogs though, is a whole ‘nother kettle of bananas! :/
I try not to let my dogs meet the other dogs in reception while we wait for our turn, for a few reasons.
One – I don’t know if the other animals in the reception area are sick or injured, and whether or not the reason they are at the vet is contagious.
Two – I don’t know if they are properly socialised, or treated for ticks and fleas, and whilst I am getting pretty good at reading doggy body language, I would rather not risk illness or injury to my dog by letting them play willy-nilly. Not at the vet, at least.
Three – my Guide Dog puppies are in training, learning to be okay wth vet visits as well as learning to ignore other dogs.

In my experience, people with dogs who may be aggressive will usually wait outside until they are called in by the vet, but too many people waiting in the reception – who don’t know anything about my dog or why we may be there – will ignore my attempts to keep my dog’s attention on me, and bring their dog over to “say hello”!
They don’t know, and they don’t ask, if I’m there to get my dog treated for an illness, or something that their dog could catch, or just for regular inoculations.
I don’t understand it!

Please, for all our sakes, take a seat and keep your dog close.

You aren’t doing your dog- or mine- any favours by getting them all excited in the vet’s reception area, and you could be putting my dog- or yours- at risk.