June 15, 2012

How much can a dog shape up in a month and a half?

In my pondering today, I have decided to yet again make a feeble attempt at slimming down 'the thing.'

Alright... in Pippin's defense, he's not, at the moment, that bad... compared to his worst! He actually came back from the regionals looking like he had a little more shape, if one could believe that.

Last time I had thought I would attribute to Pippin's health, I went running with him on the bike. That lasted about a week, and I'm not all too sure why I gave up on him then. It's a combination of his misbehavior and diet that I think get me down. Pippin is a top notch, professional counter surfer food sneak. He's closed off from much of the house, but the smallest, shortest slip of the mind when one forgets to close the gate, and he will always find something to eat. Whether it's from the counter, the garbage (also closed with an extra anti-Pippin mechanism,) or right out of the fridge while you stand there (happened once, with my Dad, it was turkey,) whether it's a loaf of bread or a tub of margarine, Pippin always seems to find it. It's almost hard to feel bad for him.

I feel bad for him, sometimes considering I fear it may have been my fault in the early training stages. I often wonder if it was the consistent food rewards that shaped him into being such a food hound. Often I am then reminded, however, that even right from the start, our little puppy was eating things like nails... and the wall. In the present day, he sometimes may fancy himself a nice scented wax candle... or the ceramic holder it may be in. I'm not exaggerating., nor has this ever been something internal... beside his weight, vets have never really had any bad news about him.

A feast for a pint sized Pippin.

Pippin is confirmed to go to nationals in early August. Perhaps not only seeing him a slim sexy beast, but wanting him to perform well at the nationals will be enough motivation I need to put this pup through doggy boot camp.

So... how much can an overweight dog shape up in roughly a month and half?

Today's weight: 70 lbs (you better believe it. I didn't, at first.)
His height: Roughly 21-22"

Today I had both the dogs retrieving a toy from down the alley on the side of the house where I set up a jump they couldn't go around and they had to jump both ways. I'm going to take him out on the bike again this afternoon. He won't last long, considering as well his paws are not accustomed to jogging too much on concrete as Damon's are. It's a start. Regardless if he loses much any weight or not, at least this will provide some bonding time for us. Perhaps he'll listen better then, too.

June 12, 2012

Pippin wins everything

There hasn't been a lot going on. At least one point worth mentioning on this blog though, is that my parents, and my parents' dog (okay, my Dad's dog,) Pippin, came home from Vancouver island yesterday after a long weekend of doing agility at the BC/Yukon agility regionals.

Pippin came in 12th in his class (that's better than ranking high, since it's my favorite number,) and scored high enough to qualify for the nationals! Way to go Pippin & dad! (Excuse the crappy cell phone camera quality of this photo.)

Too late (or too early) to be thinking of anything else to write about now. Then again, Damon recently has been having some issues with his ears. I first noticed a few days ago now he was holding his head funny and shaking it. Admittedly, his ears were due for a cleaning, though what I found was that he had a small cut on the inside of his ear, no doubt made worse from his scratching at it. If a cut is all that it was, it's doing fine again now. I cleaned his ears and taped the one so he couldn't get a paw in there to scratch at it. From what I read it is a very sensitive area for a dog and especially due to ability to scratch there for most it sometimes is hard to heal. Funny story though, after I finally finished cleaning his ears properly (which was the first time I have ever done the ears on him exclusively, without doing a full bath, also the first time I have ever actually experienced him cowering away from me and not willing to come,) I thought I'd have him wear the 'cone of shame' for the rest of the day to prevent scratching at his ear.

I don't know if it was because he was upset, or perhaps he had never been in one before, but I wish I had had my video camera. At first I didn't notice it. I put it on him outside, where he was, stopped him from trying to shake it off, didn't go inside for more than a minute before coming out again and there he was-- standing completely still-- staring at the ground. I didn't know what he was doing, and for a split second I had even considered he might snap out in surprise if I spooked him. This was how strange the situation was! He was just so darned stiff! I called out to him, walked towards him, gave him a pat on the back and then lifted up his cone. Wag of the tail, he was happy to see me! It was like he just came out of a trance. But now he was fine again and we walked (he, fumbled,) towards to door. I opened it very wide so as to help him get inside. Even still, the cone made contact with the edge of the sliding door and bam. He was out again. Just frozen. I helped him around, then, bam. Frozen. Stuck on a table leg. I watched him for a moment, this was where I realized what was happening and I admit, I started to laugh a bit. It was just the strangest thing! It was like he was surprising himself into a trance, like he had no idea on earth what could possible be happening. Anyways, a good full minute of standing at the table leg was the extent of his cone-wearing as I took it off and taped his ear instead.

May 15, 2012

New blog layout & more beach photos

Just felt like a change! Possibly due to these AWESOME photos a friend of mine, Erin Partridge, got for me of Damon while we were at the beach (you can actually see her with her camera in one of my photos.) One day I'll have my own DSLR, but for now, I'm satisfied. Check these out:

This photo above is actually quite cool! As you can see the exact same photo I'm taking here in my set down below!

Check it out: http://i1048.photobucket.com/albums/s373/damnradioman/beachday110.jpg

She asked that I mention it if I went and did any of my own editing to the pictures, only in the section of photo I used for the blog's header did I mess around a little bit.

Thanks Erin!

May 13, 2012

Pit bulls at the beach

We had a nice day down at White Rock beach yesterday (and by that I really mean I haven't slept yet even though it's passed midnight and now officially is another day.) I was ecstatic to have found both my camera battery (lost for a few days) and my camera battery charger (lost for a few months) the night before, so I could get some nice photos of Damon.

As it turns out, by following all the tips from others who know the area best, we pretty much ended up avoiding the actual beaches of White Rock, and stayed down east where the reservation land begins. Not only is this where folks who bring their pit bulls go to avoid the risk of not having a muzzle on, but it seems everyone not only brought their dog there, they let them run rampant for an entire stretch of sand and no one at all seemed to mind. So we joined in on the fun at what would seem like a giant sandy off-leash park. Here are some shots from earlier in the day:

Here he was 'talking' when the photo was taken. He does a lot of this 'talking' (a.k.a. howling and making funny grumbling sounds,) when he wants something, like for us to throw a stick.

We had some doggy visitors, mainly the bigger dogs that weren't intimidated by the bounding pit bull (there were lots of little dogs running around,) and one small puppy something who obviously missed the 'small dogs beware of pit bulls' memo (or was maybe too young to read it.)

Here are some shots I really wanted to get; those classic doggy action on the beach shots. I really like this one...

I call this one the dolphin shot...

Not on our best jumping game today. We tried a variety of funky different camera angles to make one of these shots look good, but it would seem they never worked out; some even landing poor Julia here flat on her arse! (When we were both directly bulldozed by the flying dog.)

Here was when we did venture on to the market-like strip that is the eastern beach-front part of Marine Drive. Hot dogs and ice cream are a tradition, along with sitting to eat in a nice little shady sitting area just around the corner.

Waiting for our number to be called...

We did get asked, only once what breed he was. I had told everybody in the group before we went onto the strip that he was a Viszla X Labrador X Cattle dog. When I was asked I just blurted out that he was a mix. They went on to ask if I didn't know because he was a rescue and I said yes and knew we were in the clear. Think he could pass for a Viszla X Labrador X Cattle dog?

Some more...

Another White Rock tradition; constructing a sand pile big enough to sit on to see how long you last on it while the tide comes in around you. We arrived there around 1:00 pm and waited around until about 9:30 pm after dark when the tide finally hit ours.

Here's Damon, guarding the finished platform surrounded by a moat while we waited for the tide to hit. The light from my camera flash is being reflected off a strip on Damon's jacket.

Only 3 of us took on the challenge and we managed to stay on the slowly shrinking and breaking down platform until the water completely overtook it, and it was a mid-calf to knee deep walk back to shore.

Overall it was a good day and I would do it another weekend in a heart beat. Damon probably had the most fun of all!

May 11, 2012

I like kids today

With the nice weather coming in more and more, Damon's been regularly spending some time on a rope in the front yard. He loves lying in the grass in the sun, and the action going on out front versus the enclosed backyard is much better stimulation for him. I lay out a mat and a water bowl, and leave the front door open. I have a sign out front that informs passersby that first, the dog is tied so he can't get to you off the property, and second, that he is a friendly dog, but does not know you so please do not approach him when left unattended. I'm just around the corner in the house so I can hear when people stop to look at him, or try to say hi (god forbid anyone tease him, for their sake via myself.)

In this particular instance, I hear some kids-- boys-- stop to talk to him and to talk to each other about him. I come to the front door and as all kids think nowadays as soon as the 'adult' shows up they assume they're in trouble. They froze! It was so funny because I'm not very friendly, but I put on my best smiling face as I was not coming out to tell them to move on, I did so instead of pondering about it and talking about it, they could meet him properly. I tell them, and I make Damon sit and I kneel beside him to hold his collar. There's 3 boys. Not very good with dogs; walk up close and hover over him, hold out the back of the hand, when they get to that point they all pat him directly on the top of the head. When the 3 of them crowded around with their grubby little hands, I at least told them to instead present their palm, so they did. I was prepared to coach each one of them individually to make Damon feel more comfortable, but as soon as they heard they could meet him it would seem they teleported given the instant they were around us. Damon was grouchy, but I knew he was safe.

The point is, that even though Damon was grouchy and grumbly before they came to pet him, not one boy was afraid of him, and instead, they all fawned over my pit bull with great enthusiasm.

It's sad when parents instill unnecessary fear of animals in their children due to their own bad experiences, or worse, such as in the case of pit bulls, no bad experience only there own mislead ignorant judgment. Kids love animals! It's cruel to take that love away from them, or deny them interaction with animals. Kids love their dogs. Many lucky kids, get to love their pit bulls. When banning time comes around, and hundreds of innocent great family dogs are taken away to be euthanized for no other reason than the way they look, how do you explain that to a child? How do you justify having to explain to a child who lost their best friend this way that their city, state, province or entire country is being run and controlled based off ignorance and discrimination?

When banning time comes along... it does only harm. Who do think it harms the most?

May 04, 2012

Just a thought

Just watched about half of the documentary 'Food Inc.' on Netflix, only about half because I'll be going to bed (but will watch the rest later.) It's just another fine example of the way the world is being run by the people we depend on without even understanding why we do (I highly recommend watching it.)

It's become alright for people not to know. They would rather just not know. A sad truth or a happy lie. But for those of you who would choose the latter, look beyond the adjective. There is only truth. Albeit trusting so little people in this world and as always myself first and foremost, I can't understand why most people would rather waste time trying to convince me that at one point of another you have to trust someone somewhere, than to want to listen to what someone else has to say. Worse, they would rather argue closed-minded than to find out information for themselves. What is this human weakness? Dig deep enough and you will find some truth or another in plain sight laid before you; will you still try to deny it then?

My favorite example; who do you trust to know the best for your pet? A veterinarian?


Where did they learn their information? Do you know? Where did the person/s responsible to pass on that information learn it? Down the line; did you know that most university pet nutrition courses are taught by representatives for pet food companies?

Now... apply this way of thinking to everything you've ever been taught or told... who have you trusted in the past to teach you, and where did they learn it from..? Who do you depend on to teach your children..? Yes, unless you dig deeply enough yourself, eventually you will depend on the knowledge-- true or false-- of someone, or something else. But... instead of hiding the guilt of ignorance behind defending against the facts, scrutinize what you think you know and it may just surprise you where that information came from in the first place...

There is a difference people turn a blind eye to between someone who knows the truth, and someone who believes what they know is the truth.

The former, may not even be me.

Trust wisely, be self-aware and do not assume anything until you've taken into consideration everything and then trust yourself first. If you must settle for not knowing, at least consider this proposition; "If you didn’t hear it with your own ears or see it with your own eyes, don’t invent it with your small mind and share it with your big mouth.”

April 17, 2012

$3.74 worth of all-natural beef heart dog treats

Looks something like this...

I did this a while ago, but never shared these pictures with anyone. Though, since I'll be doing pretty much this same process for the rest of my dog's treats (including with different meats and organs,) I thought I'd share this now. This is $3.74 worth of beef heart fresh from the butchers shop. I would have gotten it frozen and had to let it sit and thaw a while before cutting it, but they didn't have any frozen and were just cutting this now when I got it.

I cut it into bit sized pieces, my first tray's pieces were much larger than my second batch (I was expecting them to shrink more when cooked-- they hardly did at all,) and so the second tray's pieces were half if not a third of the size some of the pieces from the first batch. Here is the first tray full...

And the second...

At first I was following the explanation of another blogger and set the heat at 300 degrees. After 15-20 minutes of that with not much notable progress other than a rancid stench that filled the whole house, I thought, screw it, and kicked it up 100 degrees to 400 and they cooked much quicker. I wasn't sure what I was looking for before the first batch anyways, other than I knew I wanted them (the pieces) to be quite dark. I may have been a little impatient (I was waiting to start the other half of the heart to be done with it, and only had the one pan,) but this is what I took out of the oven...

With a bit of flat metal I assume was once a cheap-o spatula (now with the handle broken off of it,) I loosed the pieces from the pan, wrapped them in a paper towel and set them on a plate outside to cool (this is only the first batch.)

Here are some pieces from the first batch you can see the size of in relation to my hand. Quite large! But they were soft enough to be cut into smaller pieces if I had felt like going to the trouble. For $3.74, for over a couple of pounds that acted as my dogs meal on training days, I didn't really feel like I was wasting anything by not doing this. You can sort of tell by this too the size of the actually giant pan, and just how many decent sized pieces I was able to make.

I don't know much about drying meat, other than I'm sure I didn't leave them in the oven for as long as I could have, so after they were all done and cooled I put them in a bag and still kept them in the freezer as I do with all the other dog meat. The only downside to the way these turned out was when I was constantly grabbing and feeding them to my dog during agility training, whatever bits and color rubbed off of them were all over my fingers, underneath my nails, the leash, and on the light colored pouch I kept them in for the duration of the class. I didn't mind; it wasn't a mess passed simply washing my hands and wiping down my pouch and leash. Learning how to dry the bits out more will make this better.