Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In or Out?

Tomokee just loves to bask outdoors when the sun is shining and it's warm. Lately, he seems to like this strange posture where his head rests inside the door and his body stays on the mat.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Helpy Selfy

We took our usual walk to downtown Los Altos last Saturday and visited the Five Paw Bakery for dog treats. They always have a bowl of free treats outside. Tomokee is exercising great restraint.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Who says size doesn't matter?

So, I guess if you're going to be "bad" by chewing on shoes, don't go for those wimpy little Prada numbers, go for some big honkin' Tony Lama boots (over 30 years old, resoled at least three times and reheeled at least 5 times).

Thankfully, like the late, great Benzlo, Tomokee actually seems to be settling in to just carting shoes around, not really chewing them. Even so, the boots are now safely stowed in the same closet where we hide the big bag of Iams "smart puppy" prill.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another one bites the dust

I believe this was the third spoon that Tomokee has destroyed. Luckily, he does not swallow the pieces he breaks off -- he just likes to chew the spoons and spit the pieces out, probably after licking off every flavor molecule that was left on the wood. I have to be super careful not to leave them anywhere within reach on the kitchen counter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

There's a first time for everything...SKUNK!!!

So there we are, watching the parade of screeching, slack-jawed wazzocks having their turn at annoying all of America (American Idol premiere) when a load of barking, not the usual "Barwooo-oo-oo" Tomokee produces, comes from the back yard. I open the door and am hit with the smell of a rubber factory combined with a festive soup├žon of New Jersey -- SKUNK!!

Long experience, especially the time Betty let our prior dog Benzlo get skunked, come in the house and scrub herself all over the carpet in Studio 1B (where I do voiceover work) has taught me to batten all hatches. We snag the dog and discover that, other than just the tip of his nose, he's not reeking (although a skunk blast that close to the house means everything reeks anyway). He either tried to sniff the skunk's butt or stuck his nose in fresh skunk-spray. His "nose breath" smells worse than a used car salesman's after a serious night of drinking and smoking.

We're collectively lucky -- he may have learned a valuable lesson without having to go the cold hose shower at night route. This is Tomokee's first skunk encounter and, we hope, something not to be repeated anytime soon. Benzlo took three shots before she "got it" (although I think the last one wasn't for cause -- just a case of "surprise" with a bad outcome).

We also get opossums and racoons transiting the back yard from time to time. I don't think any dog tolerates racoons well, but at least they give 'em space, which is a good thing 'cuz racoons fight dirty and can seriously damage a dog.


A sad note from our friend, Lishka. She just received the news tonight that her dog, Chobe, had died. From the number of stories we've heard, Chobe was a well-loved part of her life.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

"He's not aggressive... just annoying"

We took Tomokee to the Mitchell Park dog run today, where he had a grand old time. We took Tomokee to his first dog park visit several months ago, when we visited the Mountain View dog park. On that first trip, he was deathly afraid of everything, especially of the "ooh, fresh meat" greeting party of dogs that welcomes every incoming dog. On our second visit, we started him out in the small-dog enclosure, where he made friends with a min-pin, then set him loose in the main run, where he became wing-man to a beagle. By the third visit, he was a dog park pro.

Tomokee loves to run fast and hard with the other dogs, and Mitchell Park has a larger area for running. Unfortunately, he does have the annoying habit of sharply barking at other dogs if they don't want to play with him. As another dog owner said, "he's not agressive... just annoying".

Tomokee is well trained on recall at home, but not so good when he's out having too much fun. We thought that waving a piece of fresh hot pizza would guarantee that he would come when called, but that's not practical at a dog park. Instead, we brought along a silent dog whistle, which has never failed at home. Sadly, the whistle had no effect at the park (although we think he did turn his head once to look at us). To add insult to injury, several other dogs came at sat at our feet waiting for treats when they heard the whistle. Oh well -- more training is clearly needed.

The whistle didn't work, and we didn't have any pizza, and Tomokee can easily out-run us, so we didn't know if we could round him up to go home. This issue was resolved when, during a vigorous run, a dog in front of Tomokee stopped and Tomokee didn't and t-boned the other dog's side with his head. This actually stopped play long enough for us to leash him up and go home.

A good time was had by all, we think.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back to Normal

Ahhh... Relaxation. I cannot believe this is comfortable, but then again, I'm not a dog.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

C'mere honey, I need your butt

Tomokee suddenly went off his feed Friday afternoon (after the plumber got done fixing the pressure-assist toilet in the main bathroom). He was clearly in discomfort and, given his tendency to eat everything not nailed down, we took him to the vet that night (Adobe Animal Hospital). The staff there (yes, open 24/7) suggested waiting 'til morning to see if it would clear on its own. It didn't, so back to the vet Saturday morning.

No pictures for this post, and you'll be well and truly grateful after reading.

So, the vet on a Saturday is like Chicago's O'Hare airport, if all the passengers were milling around on leashes, sniffing each others' butts. (Don't laugh... if the TSA has it's way, it may come to that). We wait to be squeezed into the schedule and draw exam room 1 (the ultrasound room) where a tech grabs the dog and utters the title line, "C'mere honey, I need your butt." Temperature, by way of this indignity, is determined to be normal (that's good, unlikely he's perfed his gut). We're assigned to Dr. Nancy Clifton, who palpates Tomokee's gut and gets a squeak of protest. She orders up abdominal biplane xrays to see what he might have gotten into.

The films are stunning, showing what looks like a sausage stuffed with something granular, like sand... that would be his colon full (I mean chock-full) of something. A little thought later, we realize T-dog has eaten a digestive-system-full load of birdseed from the garage. This is confirmed when Dr. Clifton does a DRE on the beast and retrieves, for her trouble, a finger-full of birdseed.

While we're much relieved, there are things that need doing, and those things aren't pleasant... it'll take two enemas with a snake that Roto Rooter would envy to make things right. There's that line again, as the tech approaches the dog, hot-water bottle, hose & snake in hand, "C'mere honey, I need your butt." Fluid flows until some seriously disgusting, seed-laden water starts pouring out. With that loaded up, our job is to hoof the poor uncomfortable beastie around the Adobe parking lot, while he looks like he's got the St. Vitus Dance, if that actually involved random motions and shooting seed-laden water out your backside (I don't think that's actually one of the symptoms). After a bit, he's straining to produce little mounds of dry (!) seed. Yeeesh.

We let him wander around 'til things calm down. He's visibly more lively and comfortable, but knowing what the xray showed, Dr. Clifton orders enema pass #2. This time, we get tech Mandy, who, whilst delivering the second load of fluid, announces that we were lucky to draw Dr. Clifton, apparently known at Adobe as the "Queen of Constipation." Nice to know, I guess, given T-dog's dining choices.

More dancing, squirting and seeds later, Dr. Clifton is concerned that the dog is dehydrated, so she orders up a shoulder-load of saline (500ml to be cameled in the loose flesh of the back for absorbtion). Tomokee is rigged up to the drip by tech Chris. He has some good stories to tell about this technique, and winds up making 2 humps, not just one to avoid over stretching the original site.

Tomokee got home, obviously feeling much better. He unloaded some more seed in the back yard. He growled at me for trying to pick it up (in a bag fer cryin' out loud)... he wanted to eat the seeds again (double yeeesh!). I just shoved him aside (he's pretty beta, really) and got most of it out of the way of his maw.

The good news is that he's fine now, back to playing ball. Our heartfelt thanks to the fine folks at Adobe. All's well that ends well.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Suet, Revisited

Tomokee is back at the bird feeder. This time, we captured a video of the action.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Didn't Think He Could Do That

I used to put lots of bird seed in our backyard feeder because I love to feed the birds. Unfortunately, the squirrels and birds would spread seeds over the ground and Tomokee likes to eat the bird seed, just as he likes to lots of other things. We don't know if bird seed is really that great for a dog, and it caused him to have output that looked like deli mustard. So, instead of bird seed, I thought I could just put some suet on the feeder, since that sits inside a caged compartment on the side and will not get knocked onto to the ground and the birds can just peck at it. Little did I know that Tomokee can actually reach the suet and lick it. Oh well, at least he's not eating tons of it at a time.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Naked from the Waist Down

I thought I would try knitting Tomokee a sweater to use up some leftover yarn. I started with a computer-generated pattern I found on the web and adjusted things as I went along. I've come to the conclusion that a typical dog sweater is a tube with holes for the front legs. However, in Tomokee's case I decided to fasten with a button on each side to avoid having to somehow fit his long legs through armholes. The end result came out pretty good, but it is a little loose, so he has that Jennifer Beals in Flashdance off-the-shoulder look. Quite the fashion-plate, he is. Also, as with most dogs wearing clothing, he looks like someone wearing a top with no pants.

For those of you who knit, the top half was done in a garter stitch, and the bottom was done in a 2x2 rib with a garter stich border. I also added a single crochet border around most of it.