No more kibble!

Kelsey was adorable. She loved to SMILE! She had bad teeth and bad breath, her eyes had cateracts, and she suffered from constant itchy skin. During her life, Kelsey ate whatever mini kibble had the best advertising, but after 2 surgeries for bladder stones we changed her to Science Diet CD and she got fat. In September 2008 Kelsey suddenly began having violent seizures. Her decline was so fast, we put Kelsey to sleep less than two weeks later on her 13th birthday. The vet told us that Kelsey suffered from many maladies that probably stemmed from eating processed dog kibble. If I had only known that changing her diet could have changed her life!

Welcome to our new yorkie Juliet! Welcome Raw Meaty Bones Diet!
To learn about this style of pet feeding, go to the very first entry and work your way up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Treat Time

 Juliet and our NC neighbor, Rocko,both pop their heads up from playtime when I say the magic word: TREAT.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sugar Baby's First Visit

Juliet got to meet my parent's new rescue puppy, a 1-year old Dachshund/Yorkie mix, Sugar Baby.  Oh what a darling and well-behaved charmer!  Juliet thinks Sugar is a terrific new playmate and they romped and tumbled and had a great time!  Momma and Daddy are so proud!

Friday, August 6, 2010

On Getting a "Replacement" Dog

My parents' yorkshire terrier, Jack, died a few months ago (after a long illness) and momma and daddy are considering getting another dog.  This is a reflection on the loss of our Kelsey and the surprisingly opposite personality of our current dog, Juliet.

We got Kelsey to keep me company years ago, when my rheumatoid arthritis was at its worst. I was in intense pain, house bound, and I was often reduced to using an electric wheelchair. I sat all day and Kelsey sat with me, a sympathetic understanding companion. Kelsey was a calm, gentle, lay by your side and love you, kind of doggie. Her entire doggie thoughts probably repeated "I love you, do you love me? What can I do to please you?" over and over again.  A man once told me, "Kelsey is really well behaved, for a decorative dog."  That pretty much sums her up.

We had thirteen wonderful years with our 9-pound yorkie; a pudgy, lazy, little sweetheart with a toothy grin. Kelsey'd snort and sneeze when she grinned, which the veterinarian penned "girlish giggling." In two short weeks, Kelsey went from being a normal, bright, happy, and best dog you could ever imagine, to having a series of severe seizures that robbed her of her golden years. After many panicked vet visits and lots of meds, but Kelsey's seizures became more and more frequent. On her last days, she only had a few minutes of each hour without complete stare-at-the-wall dementia. It was on her 13th birthday that we had to put her down. Heartbreaking. Through tear-filled eyes, the vet administered the final shot. Finis. I asked her if she always cried when she puts a dog to sleep, and she worked up enough composure to squeak out, "Sometimes I do..." A necropsy verified that Kelsey had a large brain tumor.

I am normally very mater of fact about death.  I am private about grief and never cry at funerals.  My behavior at the loss of a dog totally took me by surprise, as I would sit in my car in the garage and sob, unable to bear entering our now-empty house.  Although Mark and I agreed no more pets, after a month, and gallons of tears, we got another yorkie and, my my my, how God has His perfect plan.

Juliet never knew me as a sick person, only healthy and fun.  With the advancement of biologic medications, my arthritis is now almost always under control, and I'm nearly as mobile as the next 53-year old woman. We thought all yorkies would be like Kelsey, but instead, Julie is a hard-headed and bossy little 4-1/2 pound ball of energy.  I was so busy with our hyperactive new puppy that I didn't have time to think about my old dog, a gift in a left-handed sort of way that allowed me the time needed to heal after Kelsey's death. 

An early riser, Juliet's day starts just before sunrise, and she wants to play-play-play all day-day-day and INSISTS that I play with her.  If I pull weeds, Juliet shows me up by digging a hole as big as she is!  If I sit down, a toy is pushed at my feet. If I ignore her, she leaps on the back of my chair and sits on my head.  Some things never change.

When she was a few months old, we thought perhaps a playmate was what Juliet needed, and so when we were offered a beautiful floppy shih-tzu/maltese mix, were were delighted!  Three-month old Princess Lei turned out to be not so smart, in fact, really really REALLY dumb, possibly brain-damaged.  Although Juliet was smaller, in the two short days we had poor Lei, she was constantly being bossed, and physically pushed around.  I hate to point fingers, but we think our wound-up spring named Juliet, may have murdered the new puppy.  Unlike Juliet, Lei was fearful of a lot, and so totally terrified of water that she refused to go near the edge of the pool.  In the few minutes I was gone to run an errand, we think Juliet knocked down the doggie gate, dragged Lei outside (she was afraid of the doggie door too), and we think Juliet innocently and playfully pushed our beautiful stupid Princess into the pool so they could have a swimming party!  We looked at Juliet in contempt and remain heart-broken at the thought of this puppy's horrible demise. We were increasingly disappointed that Juliet was nothing like Kelsey, but instead - a murderous, demanding, high-energy and unendingly playful sprite - the bad seed!

We went though several confusing months thinking, "Dear Lord, what have we done?"  Out of sheer frustration, and because she was one of God's little creatures that deserved no less, I decided to make myself adore Juliet for who she was and I forced myself to love her to pieces regardless of her questionable past.  My new attitude led me to appreciate Juliet's busyness just as much as I adored Kelsey's calmness.  Juliet slows down occasionally to quickly tell us (in a doggie sort of way) that she loves us nearly as much as she loves playing.  She works hard at following rules, and perhaps one day it may not take such effort.  When Juliet is bad, I find myself calling her "Julie Johnson" after one of my favorite cousins. 

Juliet's 2-year birthday is this week, and I am happy to tell you that I am cheerfully up and at 'em just before dawn daily, I take my little dog on lots of walks, and tolerate her never ending throw the ball game. I find great joy in seeing Juliet finally exhausted at the end of the day and realize, so am I!  Juliet leaps into Mark's arms and looks at me with a "nonny-nonny-boo-boo" contempt, showing off that she loves him more than me, then she leaps into mine and gives Mark the same devious look.  We are still working on Juliet's manners, as she feels that everone's lap is there for the taking without invitation, that squirrels are evil and must be killed, and that we need protection from all delivery men. We are overjoyed that Juliet has not murdered her new doggie friend next door.  Tebow barks at our door for Jul to come outside and play. Tebow UF is bigger, stronger, and pretty smart.  He tolerates Juliet's bossy FSU personality for the sake of having a fun race, roll, and tumble playmate.

Juliet is upbeat, energetic, and delightful. She is so cute when she tilts her miniature head and makes a funny Elvis smirk. Juliet moans to tell us how much she enjoys getting a relaxing massage. She slams through the doggie door at full speed and leaps into the pool with sheer joy, then comes in, wiggle-waggling her entire body from her inch-long stump of tail to the tip of her tiny nose, sopping wet and thrilled. Juliet jumps onto the couch and delights in showing her strength by pushing every pillow and cushion onto the floor. I see now that in God's great wisdom, Juliet's personality is to remind me to smile often, enjoy life to the fullest, don't be shy to say what you like, do a cannon ball instead of easing in, try things that appear too hard, and don't waste time with those you don't enjoy. (But obey the "They shall not kill" rule.)

It's rare that I get emotional about Kelsey (except now, as I write about what a lady she was).  I just wanted to share how my heart ached, and how God heals in His own funny way with life lessons.  We may never forget the pain of our loss, but in time we get accustomed, and continue with our lives in new and different ways - sometimes better!  It's a fact that I will out-live Juliet and I surely will be as devestated at her loss, but all the wiser after the experience of losing Kelsey.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Snack Attack

Juliet thinks "real" dog food is such a huge treat!  I bought a bag of organic kibble and pour about a quarter-cup into her treat cube every three or four days for a busy game.  Juliet pushes the cube around with her nose and paws, encouraging the crunchy tidbits to fall from the single hole with great gusto! 

A slice of raw beef bone from the butcher is a yummy snack too, and the marrow is first to go. Juliet will carry that hollow bone around for days, tossing it in the air in her playful throwing game.  She is a good "only child", making her own fun.

I keep small chunks of chicken liver in the freezer, frozen on a sheet of waxed paper, then sealed in a plastic tub.  My dog likes them frozen, her favorite popsicle!  Maybe I should save the hollow bones and re-fill them!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fixing 80 dinners for a 1-1/2 year old 5 pound yorkie

Julie "woofs" down her meals way too quickly, so I have made an adjustment: bigger pieces, which takes her longer to eat and increases her tearing and chewing - - good for her teeth.  I went to the grocery store and bought two 10-pound bags of chicken legs and thighs at a great price, $14. I also got a 1-pound tub of chicken fryer livers $2, a pound of chicken gizzards $2, and a pound of lean cubed round steak $4.  The butcher cut up the chicken with bones into fat slices.  I cut gizzards and livers in two.  Because my dog doesn't like a lot of skin, I threw away about a pound per bag, but still retained some on the meat.  Total 4-ounce dog meals: 80  Total cost: $22

A meal includes mostly chicken with the bone, a small piece of red meat (not her favorite), a half gizzard, and a bit of liver.  Organ meat should be about 5% of her meal.  When I think of it, I splash on about a half teaspoon of olive oil for her coat health.  Juliet always eats all her food and finishes the bones too.

cutting chicken               

appropriate sized chunk
Julie says, "eww, icky skin and fat"
chicken gizzards, cut in half
chicken liver, cut in half
cubed beef
measuring on the scale, 4 oz.
here's a view inside a baggie
and a zipped bag, air squeezed out
80 dinners for my little doglet, ready for the deep freeze

My Dog Is Happy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When Mommy's Away, The Doggy Will Play!

Juliet was bored and lonely.  A long walk and some ball chasing would have saved her from creating this big mess!  I came home and she was so excited, running from me to the bathroom, "Come see! Come see!"  What could I do, but take a picture?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mini-Beach Ball

I brought home a toy from work, a softball-sized beach ball, given to us at some travel show. It's just the right size for Juliet, who loves playing soccer. I blew it up and she got so excited, barking and dancing about. Then I threw it and she bounced it back to me with her little head. The air didn't last long, as she grabbed it and ran. She brought it back, flat. I blew it up again, then she ran off, had a good fight, and returned again for her toy to be reinflated.  She loved it as much flat as she did filled.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Adore The Boy Next Door

My dog enjoys playing with our next door neighbor's little puppy, Tebow.  He is a ShihTzu, a fluffy white sweetie, not much bigger than 4.5 pound Juliet.  I guess under all that fur, he's probably 7-8 pounds and still growing.  Tebow has learned to be gentle with my little yorkie, or she'll hide between my feet.  Juliet is the fastest little runner and she loves to run and chase and be chased.  They play until both are laying on the driveway gasping for breath.   Tebow is Juliet's only friend, and when we open the door, Juliet is off like lightening, headed straight to Tebow's door to see if he can play.  It's become a problem and so we have to keep Juliet on a leash if we don't want to have to go get her, as she won't come home when we call when she's on a Tebow mission.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Come Home!

Juliet has a hearing problem when it's time to come back inside.  She happily trots away toward the neighbor's house to see if their little dog Tibow can play.  She sometimes comes back if I squeak a toy, but consistantly refuses to heed to my voice.  Love, treats, and all the positive reinforcement on earth has not changed her attitude toward taking her life in her paws with the hawks that circle our yard by day and the owls and other critters that are looking for a tasty tidbit of a dog at night. 

Juliet is a rebel and I reached the end of my rope at midnight last night when she took off into the cold night air.  I could hear an owl!  We have bears and coyotes!  I grabbed shoes and a robe, found a squeak toy, and ran out into the freezing night air to save my dog from who knows what!  She finally came to me, but not after I soaked my slippers in dew and locked myself out of the house, where everyone was snuggled in bed and fast asleep.  We got inside and there was not a happy welcome home party for Juliet.  I fussed!  I yelled at her and told her how angry I was! 

Why won't she come when I call her?  She knows the "come" command! I scolded her and threatened and rambled and growled about how very upset I was.  I was scared and lost my temper, the biggest taboo in dog training.  Today Juliet is sheepish.  She is afraid to go outside, tail tucked under.

Toileting has been such a challenge with this dog, and I am concerned that I may have crossed the line, confusing her into thinking pottying outside is bad.  She isn't excited at all about going outside and instead clings to my ankles, fearful that she is doing something wrong.  I have confused my dog and I am ashamed.