Friday, April 18, 2014

It's like a dream come true: Bugsy's Team, SPCA Walk 2014

In May 2006 Bugsy age @ 8 months old participated in his first SPCA of Wake County Dog Walk.
You truly cannot imagine how much he enjoyed that day. Really.

I can still recall the first walk, actually the post walk party; a German Shepherd, that took offense to Bugsy's sniffing of said GSD's butt, attempted to eat B. All B did was wag his tail and give the GSD a look to say 'lighten up dude'. After the GSD's owner settled the dog back down, Bugs went right back to sniffing the dog's butt. Carefree and confident. We were mortified.
Thus we learned that B's intent was to sniff every butt he could and the dog walk was butt-sniffing paradise.

 (photo from 2009)
Over the years we have experienced a variety of weather at the dog walk -
we've had rain, clouds, sun, cold weather, hot weather, perfect weather & the very interesting; just-before-tornadoes-hit-weather.
(2011:approximately 2 hours before tornadoes whipped through causing destruction in Raleigh)
Bugsy has walked for the SPCA as a pup, as a healthy young dog, while recovering from a TPLO, and last year just two weeks after shoulder and elbow surgery he suffered the indignity of 'competing' in the Senior Walk. It was quite embarrassing as he was hell-bent on lapping all the 'competitors'.

(2013: sporting the half shaved look)

So this year we'll be back in the full 'race'.

That brings me to another thing we have learned: his intent is to finish first.
It's no walk, it is a race you foolish humans. We used to line up mid-pack and then he'd launch himself at the start as if he heard the starter's gun at the Kentucky Derby.
Now we just line up in the front row. Usually next to a GSP called Daisy who has the same philosophy of finishing in the lead.
(2012; with Daisy and my Dad holding me back!)

We, the humans, always meet and make friends there. Bugsy always finds dogs to play with and he also has calmed many a nervous dog. I recall one year there was a gorgeous female pittie that was so overwhelmed. We stopped to say hi and within seconds she was wagging and kissing him. Then she attached herself to him. Her owner was amazed at how she had come out of her shell, as long as she was by his side. That was a proud moment, so we walked with her for a while.

(2013: he's making a new friend)

I have so many memories of our Dog Walks, it is a special event for us humans and for the crazy canine Bugsy.
(Here he is trying to defend his title as best kisser (2008):)
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and now 2014. 

Wow looking at year by year is a stark reminder that my Beast isn't a young dog and I am no spring chicken myself.

Every year has been fabulous, however, I think this year will be the best ever.
This year Bugsy truly has a team. Team Bugsy which I'll call Team Zoomie.
I want to stop myself from saying this out loud but I cannot.
I hope that Team Bugsy/Zoomie and the donations made to that team, forever-more, become HIS legacy.

I know that if he could, he'd tell me to give back to the SPCA because they saved his wiggly butt. And he'd also want to make sure that other strays, owner turn-ins, etc. were afforded the same kindness that he received from the SPCA of Wake County.

So thank you Jake, Paxton, and Angus for joining Team Bugsy.
Breslin we look forward to seeing you at the walk too!

Lastly in case this swayed you to want to join us or sponsor us there is still time!
Join or Sponsor Team Bugsy/Zoomie

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The evolution of the Bugsmonster, like a fine wine

A funny thing has happened to Bugsy. 
He has matured and softened. 
Don't get me wrong, he still wants to kill furry things, runs like a fool because he can, and does ridiculous things that make my heart stop. 
However, these days you can pet him and he seems to enjoy it. 
We had a rainy day and I was sick; he laid next to me happy to snooze all day long. 
He walks. 
I know you are like so he walks, Bugsy trots. In the house, in the yard, pretty much everywhere. 
Tonight though he happily sauntered around the yard. Eventually he laid down and enjoyed the fire I had made. It was all so civilized. Peaceful even.
In the past I have worried about his aging from a physical standpoint and of course there have been changes, he currently seems healthy enough though and his broken joints are as good or better than one should reasonably expect.
He has just mellowed a bit. A little less frenetic, a little less intense.
A bit softer, more settled, and finally willing to be loved and touched.
Age 8.5. Like a fine wine, he has matured spectacularly.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dog management to enable 'working from home' to be productive

If when you try to work from home, you get this:

Then I highly recommend lots of this:
(Today it was about 5 miles with plenty of off leash time)

Then you may have a reasonable amount of time like this:

*praying for a few hours but I am an optimist*

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pain, pain go away

As has become our norm, Bugsy and I got our day started at 5-something A.M.
Today however started with a twist, he was doing his morning roll and suddenly I heard the *ghack*
Dang, he had thrown up a blob of food. We are super fortunate that he so rarely pukes it IS an event when he does.
And my poor sweet boy looks so upset and worried he's done something horrible.
No worries my baby boy, I love you even when you puke. Now let me finish dry heaving.

He hurried outside and did whatever he needed to do and then he wanted to cuddle. Aw he must not feel well as he doesn't ask for cuddling. I presumed he had a bit too much to eat yesterday.

I gyped him on his breakfast and he slept near my side as I worked most of the morning. Then he decided we should walk - and I sure did need it.
He trotted along and then about a mile out, he turned and looked at me and I saw that he wasn't bearing much weight on the bad left front leg when we stopped. I asked him if he wanted to go home and he turned toward home and was back to trotting.
If you didn't know that he had a bad leg (well a leg that is worse than his other bad legs), you wouldn't know it as he trots along. It is quite amazing really.
But every time he slowed or stopped I could see he was really avoiding using that leg.
Talk about a pit in my stomach.
My guess is his early morning upchuck was due to pain.
He'd had a fun day yesterday, running and romping through fields, doing his disappearing act long enough to scare me to death, only to emerge happier than one can imagine.

Later in the day he was beyond excitement when I went for a walk so I allowed him to come. He wasn't limping too badly so I thought how can it harm him.

We only got to to the top of the road when we saw a neighbor's pack out playing, Bugsy never seems to want to play with their two but they have a guest dog at the moment and it was clear from their first look that she and Bugsy were fast friends.
He played and played with her and then he just wanted to hang out there after it was clear his leg was giving up on him.
All four humans felt so sad to see him, so happy and yet so frustrated.
So strong and magnificent looking yet lame.

So today he had rimadyl and rest. I was happy to have a buddy at my side most of the day and we had a silly play session this afternoon. I must have lifted his good front leg 10x and the look in his eyes was, "please mom don't make me use this one"

He's resting now in his crate while I feel broken-hearted. I was so sure we were making progress, real progress. I have accepted that his limp and handicap is forever. But damn I hate seeing this level of pain.
I wonder if he's reinjured something or it was just too much.
Or since we can't swim maybe we are doing much walking.
Tonight I watched him run and his left (unrepaired) knee seemed gimpy.
Has that knee gone and causing him to overuse the front bad leg?
And yes I let him out to do his business and he decided to run zoomies.

To those of you who don't know him you must think, wow that dog is seriously screwed up. But he isn't, he is one of the happiest beings on earth.
Me however, I feel dark and sad and lost.
It seems so unfair that his body has failed him so.
I would give damn near anything to see him run again like he used to, he was so fast and so agile and pain-free.
What I wouldn't give to see him pain-free again.
Today I realize it will never be.
I will rest him for a few days, give rimadyl, and manage the insanity that will emerge because he is being 'rested'.
I don't really know what else I can do.
I'll watch him like a hawk and take him in for xrays if things don't improve.

I have a super busy month at work ahead. Today as we laughed and played with a silly toy I thought of how much I miss him and will miss him as I toil away.
Say a few prayers for my best buddy that he isn't heading into another ortho surgery. Not sure if I can handle it

Friday, December 6, 2013

Geese, geese, geese. He's got a one track mind.

What happened this morning at the lake is totally payback for my saying earlier this week that Bugsy's goose chasing was in control.
I fully accept my roll in the following.

It is an unseasonably warm day here today - 79* at 1:30pm.
And I have the fortune of working from home so I decided to take Bugsy to the lake for a short swim.
I was on a tight time schedule because I had a must-attend meeting this morning. So I hurried outside and prepped my car for carrying the boat, loaded up all our things, loaded him, the boat and off we went.
As soon as I pulled up to where I drop off the boat I noticed three of his 'favorite' geese on an adjacent boat slip. Well truth be told, I noticed them because he was completely freaking out in the car. It had been a while since he had been to the lake so initially I thought it was due to that, but then I saw them.
Oh my.
He was yipping, screaming and high pitched barking as I unloaded the boat and our things.
I moved the car over to a parking spot and considered what to do.
I had been able to shoo them away but he was completely freaking out so I was worried about keeping him under control once I let him out of the car.
Sigh. I really don't have a lot of time this morning............
I let him out and gave him stern commands to stay.
He didn't want to listen but he did.

With one hand on the remote for his e-collar and one hand on the handle of his lifevest I guided him to the boat.
His nose was in the air and sniffing ferociously.
If you think you can't sniff ferociously let me tell you, HE can!
His eyes were scouring the area for his favorite feathered friends.
I was fairly sure they had left the area, but lo and behold they hadn't.
They were tucked under the rental boats and about 6 ft from us.
*pardon me*  
The Beast actually listened to me for a good 30-45 seconds and stayed perfectly still.
OK yea fine he wasn't listening to me he was locked on to them.

Anyway y'all know what happened next.
I couldn't figure out how we could get into the water without him chasing them but good golly I didn't think he'd chase them like this!

He flew after them and darn near caught one of them. The more they fluttered and panicked, the more intent he got.
He was yipping, barking, tail straight up as he swam faster than Michael Phelps after them.
Oh boy, this isn't looking good.

I paddled as fast as I could to catch up to him.
I blew the whistle that means STOP,
Not even a glance.

I gave the warning signal for his collar,
Not a thing.

I gave a zap for the collar.

Oh dear. He is now about halfway across the lake and swimming hard.
Watching him, I can see he is confused a bit as there are swarms of sea gulls flying randomly and they are clearly distracting him from the pursuit of his evil geese but not enough for him to stop swimming as if he was in a race.
The water is VERY cold. I start to worry about that and I also take a glance at the time and UGH I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS!!

So I do what I deem to be my last ditch attempt at rerouting him. I paddle up next to him and block his ability to keep going in the direction of the geese.
Now I have to laugh a bit because he is doing all he can to swim through the kayak and definitely giving me a look to kill.
Sorry Bugs but you will not keep swimming to the other side of the lake!

He is thumping the boat, I am trying to steer him via the handle on his life vest but I have to keep paddling to keep my position.

So here we are in the middle of the lake, super windy, birds flying all over - each one potential prey - and my dog & I, well my kayak, having a brawl.
Oh Bugs.
I have to say that his next move was pretty darn impressive. I was actually making progress in pushing him back towards land when all of a sudden he dipped his head and went under the boat to the other side.


If only all of us had his intensity and single minded pursuit of success. LOL

Happily in the end I was able to push him off to the side where he came out of the water for bit to warm up and to hunt.
I mean what else would one do at the lake???

There were a few concerning moments on our way back to our launching spot and I did take a detour and abort our normal route when I saw his 'buddies' sitting on the boat slip they had been on earlier.

Oh and I made it home 10 minutes before my meeting was to start.

One of these days - he'll get ya!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Good times, and then work.

Bugsy & I just enjoyed a fabulous 4 days. The weather was cold & sunny, our favorite, and we took full advantage of the luxury of time.
I am beyond happy to report that he did the two longest walks he's done since July 2012. Yes 2012.
One of which included a play with a good buddy off leash and the other he had a wonderful hunt, killing three moles and treeing a critter.
In neither case did he wind up very compromised. He was gimpy for a while after the second walk but was ok in a few hours.
I was amazed.
I didn't believe he'd make it this far back.
He looked slightly gimpy this morning but it was subtle.
I am relieved & thrilled.
Sadly I headed back to work this morning,with a suitcase, and the poor boy was gutted. 
He literally was whimpering as I got ready to leave.
Back as soon as I can buddy, be good.
Trust me, we have good times ahead

Monday, November 25, 2013

Really, I have no interest in owning a nervous, possessive, reactive dog.

A while back I wrote a post in response to a series of blog posts that disparaged 'friendly' dogs (targeting labs) and exclaimed how wonderful herding breeds were with their reactive, guardy, and unsocial manners.
I didn't publish it until just now.
This morning Bugsy & I were on a happy, frigid jaunt. We came upon one of the neighborhood's more clueless owners and her ginormous GSD. This dog is an intact, older male and right from the first time he saw Bugsy he wanted to dominate him. He at one point decided to attempt to wrap his jaws around B's neck. I was able to interrupt him and spoke to the owner. She told me that is how he says hello. Um sure.
Fast forward to today. As soon as this dog sees B, he starts a nervous stare and tongue flicks. B sends out plenty of appeasement signals but the GSD gets more an more intense. By the time we were 10 ft away, B's hackles were up from stress I presume as he was still bouncing along trying to say " hey, lovely morning" 
The owner said, "stop and say hi" um no thanks as the GSD looked that at any moment he'd snap.
B was extremely pleased to walk right by them and was immediately back to bouncing along enjoying the lovely morning (as I shivered).
Another 3/4 of a mile away we are just doing our thing, walking, him scenting and his body language displaying his happiness with each step.
Suddenly an overweight border collie comes tearing at us, teeth bared, viciously barking & snapping. It was in it's yard (new owners) and we were at the street side so about 15 ft away. I jumped out of my skin. B just started whining as if he wanted to say hi and properly meet this new member of the 'hood's pack. It always makes me sad as I swear it is as if he can't comprehend a dog who isn't social & happy.
Once again I kept him moving by and he swiftly went back to his jaunty hunt.

So yea. Keep your herding breeds. I will never want an unsocial, possessive, reactive dog who in behaving as such is being true to their breed.
I understand not all herding breed individual dogs are this way but by and large it seems hard to meet one who doesn't fit this image. And yes labs can be this way but it isn't common.
Bugsy is not perfect, FAR from it. 
But he's happy. Non-territorial, non-guardy, and playful. He thinks other dogs are great and if they turn out to not be great he's happy to move on.
Works out great for me.