Saturday, September 30, 2006


My brother in law commented that Snickers had so much energy it was like hitting a golf ball in a ceramic bathroom. He's right. This dog has a lot of energy and needs to be exercised. This morning I was all set to take her for a walk on the trail and a storm blew in. The best type of exercise for her on a rainy day is playing catch with her rubber boom-a-rang. I think she would play for as long as you have energy to throw her toy. The boom-a-rang is great. It's just the right size, won't hurt her mouth, and won't damage the walls or floor when you throw it.
This is one happy dog!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Bobbing for Apples and Pins

Snickers has decided that her permanent place is leaning against my leg, no matter what. As I was chopping apples for our salad tonight, I didn't realize that I dropped a piece on the floor. Snickers grabbed it and stashed it away in the hallway. My husband found it and gave it back to her. She tried to hide it again, but I called her back and made her stay next to her food dish. She didn't seem to know what to do with it, so I cut it up for her, thinking that would make it more appealing to her. No, she picked them all out of her food dish and threw them on the floor. No more apples for Snickers.
Later I'm going to try to complete a quilt. I have the back pinned to the floor and now need to baste the batting and top on to it. With as much as Snickers likes to steal things, I will need to do this when my husband is home so he can keep the dog busy. It would be just like her to steal a safety pin and eat it. She will be locked out of the sewing room until this phase of the project is complete.
A fall walk will keep her busy. The colors are really pretty this year.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

State Fair

Snickers is never far from our thoughts, even when we went to State Fair this year. We love to go into the old fashioned market place to see the sales people hawking their wares. It's fun to be called over to watch the best way to paint, chop your vegetables, or wash your floor. One year my girlfriend and I laughed at our husbands as they were talked into buying the best floor mops ever made, two for the price of one! Ours fell apart the first time we used it! This year, I was sucked in and bought the best dog comb on the market. It came with a lint remover for your clothes.
Snickers is a heavy shedder, so for $10, I thought I would give it a try. Well, it does the trick, and combs my dog. I'm not convinced it reduces shedding, but if you keep at it you will remove some fur. Snickers loves the attention, so any excuse to be with us is good enough for her.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Anchors Aweigh!

I have a very overgrown garden bed that is about 14 years old. Some of the shrubs are not growing very well and need to be replaced. Snickers loves to be outside, but how to keep her safe while we are working with pick - axes? The perfect solution is to use an old boat anchor with an extra long leash. We just attached one end of the leash to the anchor, and the other to Snickers' collar. She is free to roam the yard and is kept far enough away from us that we can attack to the flower bed. Then comes the fun part, planning what to plant.......

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Grandma's House

One reason we wanted a little dog, was so she would be gentle and easy to handle. Snickers is just that. She is a joy around my husband's mother and sister, always excited to visit them and they look forward to seeing her. She licks their faces, and wags her tail. She is forever playful. My sister-in-law has begun keeping treats in the house so she can properly welcome Snickers. I think Snickers would love to go for a visit even without the treats.
There are three little Multipoos that live next door. They are not very well behaved. They bark all the time at anything that moves. Snickers will give them one bark, turns her tail up and walks away. For a little dog, she really doesn't bark much. I'm glad.
Here is Snickers with 95 year old Frieda. I'm not sure which one is having more fun.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hot Nights

The evenings are getting cooler, so I decided to put a quilt on the bed. Over that goes the blanket and the beach towel to protect the quilt. Normally, this would be perfect bedding for a cool autumn night. But now, I'm 51 and normally warm AND I have a little dog in bed with us! She loves to find the bends and curves that allow her to curl up into a ball and have every available inch touching. This makes for a really hot night.
I need to be careful because I tend to throw the covers off when I get too warm. Then I wake up when I get cool, and find Snickers buried in layers of bed coverings. She doesn't seem to mind. I think she likes it because she never gets up to move or find another spot to sleep.
Sometimes, when I wake up, I will reach down to pet her head and she will give a cute little growl to let me know she's there. Last night I fell asleep with my hand on her head but was awakened when my husband started petting my hand. I started laughing quietly which woke him. He mumbled that he was sorry to wake me, that he thought he was petting Snickers. That really made me laugh! Are my hands that furry? NOT!!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dog Dieting

We were told by the veterinarians that we needed to keep Snickers lean to keep the pressure off her leg. So, we try only to feed Snickers her usual meal and bits of treats as rewards. But, for those of you own Rat Terriers, you know what good hunters they are.
Snickers was helping me in the garden the other day and seemed content to be playing while I pulled weeds and thinned the beds. As I bent over, Snickers jumped up and licked my face. What do I smell? Is it onions on her breath? I look behind me and discover that she has been busy digging up bulbs and tuberous roots and eating them.
Well, she must love vegetables and they don't have many calories. I vow to add vegetables to her diet.
From the research I have done, I learn that onions and garlic are not good for dogs. So, as I prepare our meals, I set aside different vegetables for Snickers to try. She doesn't care for tomatoes, but otherwise, she prefers most fresh vegetables to her dog food. Here is a picture of Snickers begging for fresh zucchini.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Who's Bed Is This?

If you want to continue to have a bed for humans that is pretty and always comfortable, don't ever let your dog in bed with you! One night, my husband looked at Snickers looking back at him with her big brown eyes, wagging just the tip of her tail as she lay curled up in her crate and he melted.
I warned him not to do it. Once you let them in, you can't get them out. "Oh Honey, she's just a little dog." Then I looked at him with those big blue eyes looking back at me, and I couldn't say no to him. Up came Snickers and there went my pretty bed.
Because I make handmade quilts, I needed to be able to protect them from our little furry beast. I found some inexpensive extra large beach towels at the local department store. They are very colorful, and are easily washed. This is a good thing, because sometimes Snickers comes to bed with damp paws from the dew after going outside just before coming to bed. Snickers also won't sleep without first chewing and chewing some more on her nylabones. It sounds just like a porcupine chewing on wood! I also picked up a king size blanket in a light color to put between the quilts and the beach towel as added protection for the quilts. So far so good. When I win the lottery, I think I'll pick up a pretty coverlet to replace the blanket.
In the meantime, it's bedtime for Bob and Snickers and Me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Snickers Meets Daisy, a Miniature Dachshund

My niece has a Miniature Dachshund. She loves that little dog, and I do mean little! Daisy has quite a personality. You would think that such a little dog would fade into the background. But Daisy is as boisterous as she is small! Snickers adores her. We gave Snickers a big blue stuffed mouse with a flat tail and little squeaky ball on the end of the tail. Snickers holds the body and Daisy holds the tail. Then they run around together with the mouse.
Neither dog is threatened by the other and they get along beautifully. I think that because of Daisy's size, Snickers thinks she is just a puppy. When we found Snickers in the shelter, there were quite a few other dogs there and many were running loose on the grounds. I hope she was happy there. I wonder how much competition there was for food and attention? She sure seems to be thriving now. I'm very happy with how willing she is to share her toys and food. Snickers just wants to have fun.
Daisy and Snickers are both beautiful, healthy dogs. Snickers just happens to have a limp. She doesn't seem to mind unless her leg gets knocked around during her wrestling matches. We still haven't decided what to do about the leg. We have ruled out the extensive surgical repair. We don't want to risk Snickers losing her playfulness and her sweet personality. She seems to lift the leg and not use it when it is bothering her. I wonder if she would miss it?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tale of Tails

What good is a tail? Many mammals have tails. Even humans have a tail bone. Some tails are big, some are small. Some are furry, some are almost free of hair. Our tail bone is good for attaching muscles and skin. Birds have tail feathers attached to their tails. These feathers help them navigate and may help them "put on their Sunday best" to attract a mate. Horses use their tails to swat at troublesome flies. You may have seen pictures of elephants walking single file, one elephant using his trunk to hold on to the tail of the elephant in front. Some animals may have just a small flap of skin for a tail. It will be just big enough to cover the sensitive areas on the backside that need a little protection. The tails on my sister's cats seem to stand at attention when they are stalking a tasty mouse, or snap side to side as though they are saying, "This is my place. Stay away!"
I think Snickers has the best tail of all. Her tail is just for playing. When she isn't using it, her tail curls into a big "O" that she holds over her back. But it is always ready and waiting when she finds time to chase it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bones, Bones, Bones

Snickers loves to chew! As soon as we realized how busy Snickers likes to be, we knew we needed a game plan. If dogs aren't challenged or exercised enough, they could become destructive. Within the first week, we went through several socks (only one sock per pair), some underwear carelessly left on the floor, and the back side of a pair of jeans.
The jeans belonged to my husband. He slipped them on early one Saturday to run to the grocery and the bank. Once he got home and sat down for his morning coffee, he realized things were a little cool down South. Enough of that.
One reason we wanted a dog was to force us to get a little exercise. Bad leg or not, Snickers was going to walk with us. She loves it! If her leg gets tired, she simply doesn't use it. We decide that it is a good idea to walk her now as much as possible in order to strengthen the good leg. This dog would walk forever and back if you would let her.
We bought several nylabones for her to chew on at home. They come in several flavors. She seems partial to the chicken. These are great for dogs. Bits of the bone do come off, and we have found them in her stool, they pass right through her system. When the bone gets too small, we discard it and give her a new one. She chews through one or two a week. The best part is, there is no more chewing holes in clothes and Snickers has never chewed on furniture.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Elephants Are Great!

We got a new toy today! It's not as though Snickers didn't have enough toys waiting for her when she came home, but everyone wants to welcome the new addition to the family. My girlfriend has two Dobermans. They are big beautiful dogs. She can't give them little stuffed dog toys because they eat them. They don't just tear them apart, but they swallow the stuffing and any pieces they can tear off. She smiled and told me how much fun she had finding this new toy for Snickers.
Snickers treats new toys as though they are little puppies. The more they squeak, the better she likes it. Snickers doesn't seem to mind that her new puppy has a trunk and floppy ears. She loves it just the same. She likes to poke the new toy with her nose, then she licks behind the ears. Every so often she'll trot over to me and wag her tail. I get a chance to scratch her ear before she runs off to play some more with her new elephant.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Quilts for the Military

Snickers loves to stay by my side and do anything I want to do. One of my favorite hobbies is quilting. My downfall is that I get so caught up in the creative process that I forget to get up and stretch my muscles. Snickers loves to play so much that she won't give up bringing me balls to throw or toys to tug. It is a great way to keep moving.
Snickers is a great inspiration. Her favorite hobby is chasing her tail. It seems that no matter how many times she catches it, that tail just curls back up and begs to be caught again! Snickers works so hard at it that she sometimes somersaults around the room.
Together, we make 10 quilts for wounded military that we send to chaplains in San Diego and Walter Reed. One goes to my cousin who was wounded in a road side bomb explosion in Iraq. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all just stopped what we were doing and chased our tails a little more often?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Time To Think

Dr. W. called and asked us to come to see her once more to talk about the visit to the orthopod. Snickers and I go in and Snickers happily wriggles and wags her tail to make friends with as many people as she can. Everyone seems happy to see her and they must be or they wouldn't work for a veterinarian. Dr. W. seems unhappy about our options and explains that she would go all the way with surgery and give Snickers every chance to have a normal leg.
Well, maybe. I didn't have the impression from the surgeon that there was all that much hope for our dog to have a normal leg even with successful surgery. When the amputation option was suggested, I commented that I didn't want to have to take off my dog's leg if there was a better way. The surgeon replied that this was a four legged animal, not a human being and she would be fine with three legs. Maybe.
No matter what we decide, this is a difficult choice. This is such a happy, gentle dog. We do not want her to lose this in her personality. When you rescue a dog, you are offered three months of free health insurance. I went back home to see if the insurance will cover repair of congenital defects. The fine print says no. So, the financial aspect also needs to be considered. The surgeon felt that conservatively, the surgery with physical therapy would cost over $6000. This doesn't include time lost from work, the emotional stress on Snickers, her pain or the other $1000 if the surgery fails and the leg needs to be amputated. If we go with amputation, the local vet could do it for a cost of $800. We would be able to take Snickers home that day and she would be completely recovered in two weeks. I don't like having to make this choice for another animal, but having raised two daughter's, we made some difficult choices for them along the way as well.
My husband and I need to talk this through, and in the end, we decide to wait through the winter and let Snickers help us decide. We will watch and see how she handles herself and her leg. This will give her some stability if she needs it on the winter snow and ice. Then, if we do need to amputate, she will have the summer to recover and get used to her new body. I call Dr. W. to discuss our decision. She understands and agreed that this made sense.
Now we wait.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Off to See the Orthopedic Doctor

I was able to take some time away from work for our big trip to see the Orthopod. We stopped off at the local vet to pick up Snickers x-rays for the Orthopod to review. By now, Snickers loves going for rides. In the car we go. It's raining and Snickers is a little silly about getting her feet wet. Good thing she has a giant human under her control that is willing to pick her up and put her in the car.
Snickers and I arrive at the Canine Surgical Center and register at the desk. There is big poodle there. Snickers tells him he looks good, but this is my human and you can't have her. Then she wags her tail and goes back to making friends with the veterinary techs. Snickers gets weighed and has her temperature taken. This time it is normal. We are put in a room to wait for the doctor. The x-rays are taken from us so the doctor can see them before he comes to see us.
While we are waiting, we hear another animal being brought in for treatment. It is an emergency, an accident, and Snickers feel nervous from the sounds of excitement and the cries of the hurt animal.
Some time passes and an aide comes in to apologize for the delay. No apologies necessary, I say. I think that if my animal were hurt, I would want others to understand if they were delayed. Finally we hear the doctor outside the room and the snap of the x-ray film as it is mounted on the light. I here the words, "puppy mill dog" and fear for the worst.
The doctor enters the room and mounts the film on the light in the room. He examines Snickers leg and then goes to the film. Snickers has a Grade 4 Patellar Luxation. It is as bad as it gets. This would be a very difficult repair to attempt, requiring cutting and plating the bones, rebuilding the knee joint, including filing spaces for the tendons, ligaments, and knee cap. Muscles may need to be shortened or lengthened.... But the doctor won't really know unless he cuts the dog open to see what is there. If we do this surgery, it would require at least six months of physical therapy and may not be successful. Then the dog may lose the leg, and could become mean.
Another option is to treat with pain pills until the leg is too painful and arthritic, then try surgery. Fusing the joint would not be an option, because dogs find a stiff leg more of a hindrance than a help. Amputation is an option. It would be a two week recovery, the dog would go on with her life and she still has three good legs. Or we could do nothing and Snickers would have to live with the pain. I'm sure that a final option would have been to put her down, but that wasn't an option for us.
The surgeon explained that regardless of the option we chose, this was not the dog to go on long hikes. This was not the dog that would endlessly play. This was not the dog to roughhouse with. I thought to myself, he doesn't know Snickers.
We went home with this disappointing news knowing that we had some thinking to do.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We Visit the Vet

Snickers was such a good puppy. She slept all night, right from the start. She was crate trained, so there was never a worry about her chewing furniture or having accidents. During the day, Snickers would play catch and watch Buddy, my parakeet. I was, and still am, concerned about the two of them getting "too familiar" with each other. Snickers seems to be a very good hunter; her nose is always sniffing at something.
I called the local vet and explained that we had just rescued a Rat Terrier puppy and could I get her in for a check up? They were very accommodating, and set the appointment up for the following week. The initial check up was free because she was a rescue. Many veterinarians will offer free first exams for rescue animals, so it pays to ask. I didn't know this and didn't ask. It was put on the bill as a $0 charge for "Rescue Animal First Exam". There were charges for medication, and x-rays, but this is still a nice incentive to rescue an animal.
Snickers and I went in and met Dr. W. They got along from the very first sniff. Dr. W. is a lover of Rat Terriers and had two of her own. Because I didn't really know Snickers yet, I asked Dr. W. to muzzle her for the exam. Snickers did growl a little when she had her temperature taken, but otherwise was okay. Snickers had a little bit of a temperature, but there didn't seem to be a reason for it. She was only two weeks post-spay, and had just been transported across state, so I think I would have had a temperature, too!
I told Dr. W. I was worried about Snickers' limp. I asked her to check that knee. It seemed to have a bump and I was worried that it had been "broken" and not treated in the "door accident". Dr. W. let Snickers walk around the room, and then took her to do an x-ray. She came back with the x-rays and asked if either Bob or I knew how to read one. We both have read chest films, so asked her to go ahead with it.
Snickers' leg bones were curved in the shape of an "S". Her knee cap was fused on to the side of the head of the femur. She did not have an accident with a door. Snickers had a very bad birth defect, a patellar luxation. Dr. W. was very apologetic. She seemed to take it personally that this little dog had such a big problem. We were given the name of a top canine orthopedic surgeon and told we needed to go see him to learn our options. We were told this dog was in pain and needed treatment as soon as possible. We received a supply of pain medications as well as instructions on living with a new dog as well as sites for puppy training.
You'd think this would be a big downer, but Snickers did not seem to be down. She was happier each day that we had her and so were we. It is amazing how much an animal in need can bring to your life. I think we needed her as much as she needed us. I made the appointment with the orthopod, but we continued to go for walks and to play. Snickers was still a terrier, bad leg or not. She could play and hunt and run and love with the best of them. What a little inspiration she is!
Next is our visit to the orthopod.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bringing Snickers Home

Here's our little Snickers. When we went to meet her, it was a two and a half hour drive. It was a beautiful fall day and we looked forward to seeing the colors and the cliffs along the Mississippi River. We found Snickers at the shelter along with other dogs looking for homes. Some were older, some were outdoor dogs, and there were a couple other little dogs like Snickers. Snickers had just been bathed and seemed very anxious to please. The woman at the shelter told me to walk her around to get to know her. I immediately noticed a limp in her left rear leg. I commented about it to the woman and was told that the previous owner claimed that her leg was closed in a door. She thought we would be lucky if that was all that was wrong with her. I looked at my husband and he immediately said, "I don't care. We want her".
Did I tell you how lucky I am to be married to such a man? The last time I told him to be careful about caring too much in case we lose her, he responded by smiling and gently saying, "That's like telling me not to love you too much". What do you say to that? We took this little girl home after learning she had been a house dog for five months, was house trained, but then left outside for about three months before being turned in to the shelter. Snickers was frightened about what was happening to her. I had brought a warm beach towel along and new dog collar. I took off her old collar and replaced it with her new one, then wrapped her in the towel, and we took her home. She curled up in my lap and shook all the way home. Poor thing. We stopped on the way to let her walk and drink some water.
Once we got Snickers home, we introduced her to her new yard, food and water dish, toys and treats. She didn't eat or drink much the first day. She wouldn't let us out of her sight. You could see that she was studying us and wondering who we were and where she was. She never cried about coming with us and moving in to her new home. She didn't bark or growl or snap. This puppy was nearly nine months old, 12 pounds, and as gentle a soul as you could hope to find.
Because she came from a shelter, she was up to date on her shots, and had been spayed. There was a $100 fee which was very reasonable. We thought that would be our big expense unless her limp was more than just an accident with a door.
Next post will be our first trip to the vet.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My search for a new puppy.

Last September, I began my search for a new puppy. I was so excited that I had finally convince my husband that we absolutely needed one. I thought I found one across the street from our hunting land. It was a cute little Rat Terrier, Jack Russell mix. I went home and did my research, and discovered that the Rat Terrier is a sweet dog, very loyal, but not necessarily good with kids. No problem. Our kids are grown and gone. But the Jack Russell could be a handful. Intelligent, energetic, but known to be destructive and dig holes in furniture. Also, known to kill other pets if left alone with them. Hmmmm. I have a parakeet named Buddy and sure don't want to lose her. We decided against that dog.
After thinking more about it, we decided to search the kennels and try to rescue an older dog that was already house trained. (Maybe we would also need less training). Well, my husband and I are busy and so I started searching the internet. I found many dogs that needed someone to love them, but none that seemed quite right for us. My dog would have to be small so that it wouldn't hurt my mother in law (age 95) or sister in law (age 72).
Then, in a no kill shelter on the other end of the state, I found a little rat terrier named Snickers. The picture that was posted had her looking over her shoulder as if to say, "Here I am" I called my husband over to look and we decided we would try to get her. After filling out the application, and having our references checked, we were accepted as potential new owners. But someone else beat us to her. I was disappointed, but resolved to keep looking.
About a week later, I received a call back from the shelter. The match didn't work. Would we come to Snickers? Yes!!! We scheduled the interview for the next day.
I had to wait until the next day to meet my new dog, and so do you!