Monday, October 26, 2009

Bout of Tick Fever

Brandi, Tubby and Dexter especially have been looking quite pale and lethargic lately.  From hyper pups they're looking like they've ran out of steam ... Tubby usually bounding ahead is for once trailing tiredly behind.  Which is unsual.  Dexter on the other hand looks like he's about to keel over if he were to take another step!  Brandi has been sleeping more than usual. 

Judging from their warmer than warm bodies, pale tongues and gums, I figured they must have the fever.  I suspect they got it from the ticks they picked up after one mad dash outside a couple weeks ago.  I thought I got rid off all of them but I guess the damage has already been done.  They've been bitten.   

Anyway, the good news is the Furkids are on the mend.  The Vet came and gave the three of them a shot of antibiotics.  Another to be repeated in three days time.  Additionally, they're also on a course of antibiotics ... Though am not certain if it's a good thing in the long run to douse them with so much antibiotics but since the doctor have started them on it, the only thing to do is to get them to finish them. 

Their appetite has gradually returning.  Dexter is actually eating something after refusing food for a couple of days.    Out of the three sick pups Dexter's got it the worst. He was actually drooling when the Vet came to give him his shots.   With him not eating , I had him swollowing liquid vitamins instead - to boost up his immune system.  Needless to say, Dexter is looking a little skinnier and longer than usual. 

As for Brandi and Tubby,  I suspect may have gotten off mildly mainly because they've been exposed to what bad things ticks bring being out and about more.  It so happen that on that evening a couple weeks back, Dexter decided to follow suit (usually he's quite happy yapping from the inside of Dog Woods alerting us that his delinquent siblings are out where they are not supposed to). 

Thankfully, Wally's spared from the fever.  He's the only pup out of the four that stays within the boundary fences - with his mom.  So we're keeping them - the sick and health separated for a while.  Have taken tick prevention measures - bathe the entire nine canines (it's a good thing they're rather fond of showers) and fumigated the lot!  

Hopefully with them being on the mend, Brandi, Dexter and Tubby will learn (like their brother Wally) that it pays to stay inside the spaciousness of Dog Woods and not try to make a mad dash outside.  They've actually been fairly good after that long outing a couple weeks ago.  With hindsight, maybe they were already not really feeling so well after their 'adventures'.  Tubby - the usual ring leader who leads the mad dash out has been as good as gold since.    I hope he's finally learnt some self control!  I've observed, being pack animals, once there's no a ring leader with a bent on going outside, the rest are quite contented to do their own thing and stay within the grounds of Dog Woods.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fur Kids

Three brothers ((from Left to Right) : Dexter, Wally (note his bendy legs) and Tubby

I do agree, the Fur kids were adorably cute!  Had I been less realistic I would have kept all nine!  Having to decide which to give away was possibly the most agonizing of experiences.  You can't help but love them all and each of them had furry unique characters of their own. 

Dexter for example, I wanted to call him Wombles (from the English cartoon character 'Wombles family') because for some reason as a wee pup his front legs would wobble after playing about with his siblings.  But it was difficult getting the others to learn his name ... so I picked a more common name, Dexter - whom some at Dog Woods have taken to calling him 'Gangsta' instead!  So Dexter the Gangsta it is ... but unlike his macho tough name, out of the four residing Fur Kids, he's the sweetest of the lot.  Though he does have a tendency to wander off on his own.  I'd like to think of it as an independent streak. 

The other three are more pack oriented.  Wally for example, is a true  Momma's boy.  Where you see Anna, you'd see Wally close by.  Needless to say, he being Momma's favourite he's deemed the Alpha Fur Kid whom the others let him get first priority with toys and meals or suffer the repercussions.  True to my previous description, althoug he looks like his dad, Tuffy he's really quite a Doberman in behaviour.  There's a certain proud gait about him inspite of being born bold legged.  For a while as he was growing up I was worried he would be lame - he did hobble quite a fair bit with his bend-y looking legs - rather like a ballerina in perpetual plie (minus the grace of a dancer).                                                                      Wally

Tubby being the chip off the ol' block is the most mischevious of the lot.  If you've read the previous postings of his 'adventures and mishaps' - he got me worried sick for awhile.  Since he was such a pro at finding ways and means of getting out of Dog Woods,  I took to confining him a pen for all our sakes.  His safety, my sanity, the rest of the fearful non-dog lovers outside - though I know he's really quite harmless.  Just, the reaction of most non-dog lovers (in my part of the world) whom for religious and cultural reasons perceive dogs as an 'untouchable' seem to react almost hysterically even when confronted by a cute shih-tzu. 

Then there's Brandi who's the shy-est of the lot.   Being theonly girl she tends to be a little more subservient to the boys. But once she trusts you she's possibly the most affectionate of the four.  I remember as a wee pup she'd insist on clambering onto my lap and happily sat there for as long as I let her.  Now that she's grown and can no longer fit into my lap she'd stand on her hindlegs and give you a hug instead.  'Brandi's Hug' that's what I started referring to her affectionate returns. 

Having said that, she's also a co-ring leader to the FurKids escapades outside of Dog Woods - being Tubby's faithful sidekick they would disappear for hours - and I'd always end up fearing the worst.  But almost always (thank God), they'd appear rather sheepishly outside the gates - after worn out from their grand adventures outside, waiting to be let back in.

While it's always a relief to know that they know their way back home, their unsupervised escapades outside isn't something am thrilled about. The Furkids clearly know it is unbecoming behaviour and they usually get verbally reprimanded.  Yet they do it regardless and look sheepish soon after.  It's interesting to note how sensitive dogs are to our tone of the voice. A more gruff tone and they sheepishly know they've done something wrong ...

I'm quite glad that all my efforts of fixing fences and looking for naughy puppies wandering outside are paying off.  The Fur Kids lately have been quite good - they no longer make a mad dash outside even when the gates are open. I suppose the the novelty of the great unknown outside of Dog Woods has run its course.  They're finally learning to appreciate that there is no place like home!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Furkids Nine

Proud daddy and some of his pups

Baby Dexter and Brandi in the background

Once not a long time ago, there were nine cutest little furkids whom Anna and the rest of us at Dog Woods both four and legged doted on them. Because they were born with Anna's Doberman black and brown Doberman markings nobody quite believed me when I said Tuffy was the father!

Yes, Anna and Tuffy were an odd couple. And yes they did produce some pretty cute puppies - 3 females and 6 males. Most who first saw the pups said it was Joe that did the job - since he too was black and brown ... but Joe was 'fixed' and there were no other whole male in the vicinity except for Tuffy...

Before the pups were born, I couldn't help but curiously speculate how they would turn out. A larger more solid version of a sausage dog? A miniature hound? - i.e. Tuffy look alikes with Anna's long legs? Or a dog in between - something like a beagle - hound looking, not quite as tall as a Doberman nor as short as a Basset. I wasn't really far off from my guesses - since they all turned out somewhere within those three guesses.

The nine pups - three had more of the basset looks - broad, short and long whom we named Tubby (being truly chip off the ol' block), Buddy and Pinto. The next three that had most of Anna's markings but were built like their father (the sausages) which we named Dexter, Baxter and Eva. The next batch had their father's markings but were slimmer and taller (though not quite as tall like their mom) whom we christened Zsa-Zsa, Wally and Brandi. Interestingly, the older they grew the lighter they became. Today, they are not quite as black furred as they were when they were wee puppies.

The Furkids that remained with us at Dog Woods are Tubby (chip of the ol' block - escape artist extraordinaire and leader of puppy mischief, Dexter - who looks most like Anna but behaves like Tuffy, Wally who's colouring is like Tuffy but behaves like Anna and Brandi - the only girl who looks like a miniature hound.

From left to right: Tubby, Wally, Dexter and Brandi

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anna's Arrival

Like the lull between present pack of Joe, Snoopy, Tuffy and Trixie - Anna only arrived at Dog Woods about a year and a half later. She was the only adult dog that came to stay at Dog Woods. We were told she was about two years old - but without proper documentation you can never tell for sure. But she was possibly the sleekest looking dog i've seen - dark and elegant. What struck me most what how sharp she looked - from the shape of her nose to her pointedly cropped ears.

Naturally, she was of unsure of herself when she first arrived. But after taking her for a walk about Dog Woods she soon relaxed - sniffing out her new home and leaving her own scent - a ritual, I believe for dogs (whether male or female0 in making the area theirs.

The bassets - Snoopy and Tuffy took to her almost instantly. Tuffy was the more curious of the two. Being male he simply had to make sure that the new dog would not be a potential threat to his already precarious underdog status (Joe was alpha male then and would occassional give Tuffy a hard time). Little did we nor Tuffy know then that Anna would be instrumental to his rise to TOP DOG of Dog Woods.

Joe and Trixie being the bigger and rougher of the then Dog Woods pack were gradually introduced to Anna. Joe would the bully of an Alpha Dog then was constantly surprised by Anna's tenacity. She would not have him shoving her about and being slimmer and longer than Joe was she had an advantage of nipping him in spots where he couldn't get back - like holding on to his forehead while he snapped into the air. For once, I worried about Joe than for the new comer!

There were some initial posturing when it come to introducing Anna to Trixie but Anna being the newcomer smartly realised that it would be wise to tow the line. And towed the line she did until she become a mother to Tuffy's puppies. Now that the puppies are grown, they - the remaining four automatically form Anna's pack which possibly explains the fights between Trixie and Anna.

Two perceived alpha females trying to usurp each other for TOP DOG (female category) spot. Truth be told the real alpha female is actually Snoopy. Being being a basset she prefers to sit back and relax rather than competitively gallop about chasing down all manner of bugs, creatures and strangers. Although she may be a basset of few barks but when she does, every pup, Joe, Anna and Trixie included obliges!

Anna's pregnancy was really an accident. Since all the female dogs had been fixed, Anna's going into heat a couple months after she arrived went on undetected until of course Tuffy started baying and was constatly at her heel since she never really allowed him to catch up with her! We thought then that he was merely 'infatuated' ... all a passing phase. Looking beyond all his noisy wailings, we thought that it was a good thing he was finally getting himself some serious exercise. We were right about the love sick passing phase - just we hadn't planned on the puppy part.

It was a month later - noticing Anna's increasing girth and appetite that we begun to suspect. Was she or was she not pregnant? If she was who can the father be? (Not Joe, he's fixed too!) - we didn't think Tuffy was capable of the job - being much shorter and slower than she was. It was only after the good vet's visit (Joe's best friend other than us) that confirmed that Anna is indeed pregnant and she was due soon judging by her size - which made us panick a little. I for one had no clue about whelping puppies. Although once upon a time ago, my dog did have puppies but I was but a child then.

But the puppies arrived one moon-less Saturday night. All nine of 'em. And Anna was the best mommy ever who fed, cleaned and didn't leave their side (except for when she need to do her business) until they were waddling chubby 3 weeks old.

So that was how Anna came to stay - which made the pack of five and along came the Furkids and for a while there were fourteen canines tearing about Dog Woods. But five have since found loving homes of their own and we decided to keep the four - which makes up the present Dog WOods Pack of nine.