Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Poor Cousin Holly's Ear Trouble

Cousin Holly is my good friend Marilyn's lab/retriever mix.  She's so in love with Bud. She kisses him all the time. She is 8 years old and still can hold her own when she swims with Bud.

Holly has had many ears trouble in the past. Last week after Bud and Holly's weekly swim date we noticed her ears were red inside, so we gave her some of Bud's post-swim ear drops.  I make them with equal parts of white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water.  They help dry out any water that gets in the ears from swimming.  As soon as we gave them to Holly, she started shaking her head and wriggling through the ice plant on the bluffs above the harbor.  So, her mom took her to see our local vet  Dr John Trauax.  He told her to put Patonol in her ears for 6 days.  Lucky for Holly, the medication took care of the infection.

Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to getting ear infections after swimming.  So, it's important to dry their ears out after water exposure, which is why I highly suggest using these home-made drops.  It's inexpensive and can help prevent costly and uncomfortable ear infections for our loved pets.  By using this method, Bud has only suffered from two ear infections in his life- even though he's a daily swimmer.  Give it a try!

Here's a quick clip of Bud and Holly swimming together:

Friday, October 26, 2012

Educating Others About Service Dogs - Cal Poly Pool Edition!

Bud and I are both fish!  After a good swim at the harbor, Bud takes a break while I get my turn in the water.  He knows the routine and patiently waits as I get my exercise in too.  When I first started taking him to the Cal Poly pool when he was a puppy, he was unable to restrain himself and jumped into the pool.  Silly Bud!  Now, he's a good boy and stays on his blanket out of the way of the other swimmers. 

The pool at Cal Poly has a lot of students utilizing it.  Many of the young college students are drawn to Bud.  How could you deny that precious face?  Unfortunately, many of the swimmers do not understand that when he's wearing his "Service Dog" scarf that he is working.  I take the times where people unknowingly approach him to pet him as an educational experience.  I'm very nice about explaining that service dogs should never be approached or pet without permission.  I let them know that when he is wearing his scarf he is working and should not be interrupted, even if he's just laying down.  They are always understanding.  Sometimes I will take his scarf off so he's "off duty" and they can get some love from Bud.  They love that!  A lot of the kids have dogs back at home with their families, so Bud gives them their dog fix.  They share their stories about their dogs at home while having a Bud lovefest!

Below are some pictures of Bud in his usual corner of the pool.

Here's a picture of him yawning at what a bore waiting is.  Doesn't it look like he's laughing?!

And one last shot of "Zen Bud" meditating poolside:  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Aunt Sharon Visits Bud

Sharon Burge is one of my best high school friends whom I've maintained a lifetime friendship with.  She lives in Laguna Beach.  Dan, her older brother, has provided me generous financial assistance, including buying Bud for me when he was a puppy to help Jetta move into retirement while training Bud to pick up the slack and eventually become my full time service dog.  Sharon loved Jetta and her book, Jetta's Journey.  I see Sharon as often we are able to get together.  When we get those rare moments to see each other, we have so much fun.  Sharon absolutely loves Bud and wants to get a yellow lab just like Bud when she retires.  However, in the meantime she enjoys being Bud's Aunt.

This last visit, Sharon got to meet Batman, my assistant Jewel's adorable little dog.  We had such a blast and I can't wait to see her again.

Bud, Batman and Aunt Sharon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Last Chance: Please Come See Bud and Me Speak!

Tonight is the last night that I will be sharing my story at the eighth annual San Luis Obispo County Suicide Prevention Forums in the play Stories of Stress, Suicide & Survival by Dave Mayfield.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
6:00-9:00 pm
Atascadero Junior High School Gym
6501 Lewis Avenue
Atascadero, CA
Special appearance by BUD and free kisses.
I hope to see you there!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Boundry Training

Before every meal, Bud has to wait on his kitchen dog bed or on the living room carpet.  I don't allow dogs to be underfoot in the kitchen because it's too dangerous for me. This is one of the places I apply Boundary Training to our relationship. 

In my mind Boundary Training is very important for your dog's safety and your family harmony. This training is done in your home and yards small or large. The series of pictures displayed below are of various areas and environments that I have trained Bud to respect boundaries in.  I also train visiting dogs.  The dogs learn right away: my house, my rules.  

The way I approach Boundary Training with a new dog is by starting on a curb or in a doorway.  I have them stop at the curb/in front of the doorway and then use my hand and arm to create a visual boundary as I repeatedly say "boundary".  If they step over the boundary, it is very important to make them go back until they learn the command.  You must remain vigilant and consistent to make the training stick.  This includes everyone who handles the dog..Once this is accomplished with a curb or doorway (or other location of your choice), you can begin Boundary Training in new areas.

Good luck dog trainers!  Let me know of your success!

Bud waiting to leave the house!

Bud waiting to cross the boundary from the living room to the kitchen!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sharing My Life and Recovery Story - TONIGHT!!!

I'm so excited about tonight!

I love trying to help people, especially talking about the life long battle of recovering from anorexia.  That is why I'm honored to be taking part in the eighth annual San Luis Obispo Suicide Prevention Forums.

I will be one of the speakers sharing in the presentation of Stories of Stress, Suicide & Survival by Dave Mayfield. PS OCT 5 th  Last night was great. I meet some wonderful people. I AM BLESSED TO HAVE MY VILLAGE PEOPLE.


This engagement is only happening two nights:

Thursday, October 4, 2012
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Unity of San Luis Obispo
1490 Southwood Drive
San Luis Obispo, CA

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
6:00-9:00 pm
Atascadero Junior High School Gym
6501 Lewis Avenue
Atascadero, CA

Special appearance by BUD and free kisses.
I hope to see you there!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bud's Arthritis and Daily Health Routine

Oh dear, Bud has arthritis!  I live with arthritis on a daily basis.  I’ve known since Bud was a younger dog with the elbow displasia, that one of these days he would have arthritis, and earlier than Jetta did. 

When Bud had his elbow surgery at 9 months old, the most important thing was for him to lose 14 lbs.  Dogs are like people- the heavier you are, the more weight you’re going to carry.  So, I weigh Bud twice a month now as maintenance.  He needs to weigh between 73-76 lbs. 

To keep his weight healthy I measure his food.  Bud gets 1.5 cups of California Natural Chicken and Rice twice a day.  So that bud stays slim while still feeling satiated, I also give him 2 cups of steamed broccoli.  In addition, he gets a couple carrots as a treat, but not too much because there’s a lot of sugar in carrots. 

I’m such a freak- on top of his dog food and veggies, I buy a slab of beef ribs and have the butcher cut them individually.  Bud gets one raw beef rib bone a day after swimming which he can have after his bath, but he must eat it outside.  He also gets a little lick of Kefir when I drink my Kefir twice a day.  Aren’t I a nut?! 

Because of his injuries, I limit Bud’s swimming to 35-40 minutes.  During that time he also does a lot of digging.  For years I was giving him 2,000mg of an Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid combo twice daily, which kept him comfortable.  However, now what’s happening is that because he’s an active dog, on occasion I’ve noticed he’ll walk about 6 steps gingerly after exercising and then be fine.  Because of this, the Nervous Nelly in me took him to the vet to check it out.   Because of his recent knee surgery in December I’m trying to be diligent about watching the timing of his exercise program.  I time his play so he doesn’t over do it.  I wish somebody would do that for me! 

Here are a couple videos showing Bud swimming and digging:

The vet, Dr. Aaron Schector of Atascadero Pet Hospital, who we love, gave him a good thorough examination on that leg of his and said that it’s just early onset arthritis as a result of his injury.  He explained that even though it was such a severe injury, Bud recovered like an athlete.  All he said I could do is increase Bud’s fatty acids to 3,000mg twice a day.  I take them too!

Dr. Schecter also advised me that when Bud displays discomfort with walking after laying down and resting, I can give him one dose of Metacam a day.  It’s an anti-inflammatory agent.  In a month’s time, I’ve only had to give him two doses. 

In addition to daily swims, I run Bud early in the morning along side my scooter at a slow trot for about 15 minutes.  This ensures Bud stays content all day.  This cross trains him, which means it uses the other muscles he doesn’t use when swimming.  Bud has a choice for lounging: a memory foam bed, a fiber fill dog bed, a loveseat, a couch, and his kennel in the house.  My dog trainer said she would like to comeback in her next life as one of my dogs!