Friday, December 14, 2012

Multiple choice Tess(t)

 In the spirit of my final today, I present a multiple choice Tess(t)!

From the images above, please choose the correct answer from below.  However, you may have misread this question and the object may to be to chose the INcorrect answer.  It's unclear. 

Tess in the above images is saying:

a. Put a bow on the puppy before giving it to the kids for Xmas

b. Brittany's don't wear clothes OR bows

c. There better be treats in this for me

d. Don't fool yourself.  I'm not smiling.  It's an involuntary zygomaticus m. reaction to my stress panting.

e. Don't think you can make up for ignoring me this week in favor of Connor by putting a bow on me to feel special

f. Just because it took me 4 days to realize there was a bird in the house doesn't make me any less of a bird dog.

g.  At least I'm not wearing the sleigh bells today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tess talks and a trick show off


Tess here.
It's time for the rest of the story.

Apparently Mel has been telling you all sorts of "truths" about functional clothing for doggies, and from the latest pictures she has posted, you might be led to believe that my life is filled with outdoor activities, dog beds, and a reasonable owner. I'm here to tell you that is not the case.

Did she tell you that she spray painted me green?

I thought not.

And then put a bunch of "accessories" on?

This is my unhappy face

And then there was last Friday

The vet school had a holiday party and I knew I was in trouble when she tried this on me:

Really?? Do you see the dog on the tag?! Pug!!! Not Brittany! Brittany's don't need hats.

So we settled on another theme - bells on my toes.

And my neck apparently, but no one has shown my Christmas song where THAT came out of

This is my "There better be a treat in this" face.

Btw - what does this say? Should I be worried? I've been rather naughty but shhhhhhhhh....she doesn't know yet. Unless this is one of those stupid signs that lists my crimes. Then I know I should take up another hobby besides digging out gophers in the front lawn.

Now, did I get treats from enduring this ridiculousness? Of course not! I had to prove I was a good dog by showing off a trick.

Well...a partial trick, apparently this is turning into a full handstand some day but Mel says she wants to make sure I have the right back and shoulder muscle and didn't want to push to hard because up until a couple of months ago she said I was still a puppy. But then I started disciplining puppies, which she says makes me not a puppy anymore (apparently I do a good job with the puppies and do it just right, Mel and everyone says so!)

One more thing - Mel is going to talk about how she thinks I'm unilaterally deaf in a future post and I'm neither confirming nor denying the allegations until I know which will get more more treats and freedom.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A walk with Tess

 Daily I try to go to an area where I can take a walk or bike ride with Tess off leash.

Tess is a dog that really resents being restrained for anything (less is more to get cooperation from this dog!) She views a leash as just one more way that a choice is imposed without her opinion being heard. 

Since walking her regularly off leash I am struck by the difference between what she gets out the walk versus me, as the human. 

I keep a constant pace.  Tess runs around using her eyes and nose to explore and look.  She alternates between full speed running, holding points at various interesting things off the trail and trotting ahead of me on the trail.

The eyes seem to be her most important sense --> she's constantly LOOKING and seems to use her nose only to reinforce her eyes. 

It's obviously movement that attracts her --> often she seems to have trouble finding me against the background when I call her, unless I move my arm or other part of my body.  When I call she freezes and looks, but doesn't move towards me until she can actually identify where I am by sight.  If she's out of sight, she will bound into where she thinks I should be in "sight range", freeze and look, and if I'm still not in sight, move towards my voice, where again she will freeze and look.  Only once she has identified me by sight for sure (often attracted by me moving) will she bolt all the way back to me nonstop. 

I've never been around a dog that so intensely LOOKS.  

Usually up ahead on the trail, she'll finding something to look/point at, wait until I catch up to her, and then go bounding up ahead to find something else worthy of her attention. 

I'm most surprised that she sticks to the trails ahead of me and doesn't often go darting off trail to look or explore.  And most often, even if she finds something to stare out, she doesn't often go off trail to pursue a closer look.  Looks like she'll be an excellent trail dog for my conditioning horse rides!!!!

 At the beginning of the walk, she quickly finds a squirrel hole that can fit her entire head (unfortunatley the pic of the headless dog didn't turn out)
 Here she waits for it to come out.....
 Looking at....something....

Checking back in with me

 Trotting ahead
 More looking and staring
 A little off trail exploring.
 A beautiful lane
 A bit too far ahead.......

 Is there something interesting there?
 Not to human eyes!

Monday, December 3, 2012


The situations I never thought I, nay, make that never IMaGINED I would be dealing with when I made the decision to get a dog,

Take this morning for instance.

I let the dogs out, just as usual.

After getting dressed I went to the door to let them in for breakfast, just as usual.

They were not at the door, which was weird because it was raining. Like its rained for the last week (yes, the ark is half built behind the house).

And they weren't coming when called. Also weird.

So I step out onto the front lawn.

To be greeted by the site of three dogs running around the yard with their noses on the ground. Chasing gophers.

Lots of gophers. Who apparently didn't build an ark or have the foresight to evolve gills and were forced to run around above ground.

Bingo (cattle dog mix) is well versed in gophers and was busy dispatching and gulping down these breakfast appetizers.

Reed (golden retriever) was trying to figure out whether they fit into the category of birds (pick them up gently and deliver to the next available human), or whether they were little kitties (be wary and very afraid and go to the nearest humans sans furry object to be comforted and protected).

Tess was tracking, and poking them inquisitively with her nose while the angry gopher made angry gopher sounds. She hadn't yet tried the bite and shake technique perfected on countless squeaky toys, with the bite and crunch that she uses on raw chicken necks, but it was definitely headed in that direction.

I was definitely "squeeded" (some apparent expression of disgust I heard from a teenybopper the other day) and there may have been some screeching and shrieking and dancing around on my part.

Puppies were removed. I was too gutless to dispatch the rodents so they got to disperse into the hedges.

All the dogs remained in the house (except Tess who went with me of course) and did NOT go outside.

Being the morning gopher savior? Not on my list of top ten reasons to own dogs.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

In which I want to talk about Brimstone, but do clothing instead

These aren't the best images, (cellphone camera, overcast day, inside) but waxing not-so-eloquently about my dog's clothes is a better past-time right now than asking God to rain hellfire and brimstone on the thief that stole my brand new, expensive bike helmet when I turned my back for a second this morning.  Yes, the helmet I finally bought a few months ago for my ride and tie, and the one that finally had me wearing a helmet regularly while riding a bike.  Yep.  That one.  So instead of protecting this brain that I'm pouring your tax dollars into, I'll risk turning into a vegetable everytime I get on my bike from now until some unspecified time when I have more than $250 in my checking account to last me until mid-January.  So yeah.  I guess you probably thought that a helmet sitting on top of an ugly purple 1997 Corolla with 200K miles, next to a barely serviceable bike with a plastic bag over the seat made you think that I would easily replace that ASSHAT.

*composing myself*

Tess's clothes.

Perhaps the fact that none of Tess's "clothes" fit her very well should tip me off to the fact that Brittanies are not made to wear clothes!!!!!  Take the pictures above.  Cheap $10 Walmart dog jacket.  Why would I even bother? 

In addition to this jacket, she also has several other items that don't seem to serve a purpose:  a ruff wear reflective jacket, and, if it was on a horse, what I would call a "slinky".  

These items do very little for the dog and a lot for anyone that might see her. 

Tess is now reliable off leash!!!!!!  I live in a semi-rural area where we now bike, ride, run etc. and she can be around me off leash.  For people that might be meeting us on the "trail" (it's not a trail, it's not a's something undefinable that is still OK to bike on) or her might see her running around before they see me, clothing signals that she belongs to someone, that she's likely not out there by herself, and makes her seem more friendly and approachable for someone that might be nervous.  Yes, I call her to my side when ever we see anyone else or animals, but the clothes seem to be a nice social signal --> A dog is perceived as less as a threat and more in the "cuteness" range and more well attached to a well meaning human than one with out. 

Another reason for clothes is visibility during town activities.  Tess is already very visible because of her color, but adding another bright color or something with reflective striping is an additional safety when she's biking with me on the road, or we are going for a nice on leash walk.  I feel like I'm more visible crossing a sidewalk in a busy intersection with her in a bright jacket, than by myself. 

The third reason for clothing and the slinky is for mud control......There's something about the way Tess moves that soaks her belly with water and whatever else is on the road when we bike into school.  On particularly wet days, I'll ask her to wear the slinky so that she can walk into the vet school semi clean and dry, since it IS a public place and it wouldn't be nice for the other students and faculty to have to steer clear of mud patches put there by my dog.  Another use for the slinky is when she DOES get to be filthy and muddy......after a bath I put in on the limit the amount of wet shaking.

If I'm being totally honest, Tess is not a huge fan of clothing (or any other kind of restraint for that matter).  So when I do ask her to put something on, I try to make sure it has a functional purpose (backpack) or a safety purpose.  The slinky is boderline --> that's for the comfort of humans strictly --> but the upside is it allows her to come to school with me on icky days, so she will make the exception for me!

Do you dress up your dog?  Does your dog like it?  Do you have certain criteria that need to be met before they get to be non-naked? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tess waits

Tess waits for me outside of the school cafe


Who knew that at a year and a half, a puppy born so naughty could be so good

Me asking her whether she was born this naughty is my running joke with her as she practices her extensive problem solving skills at the expense of my sanity, along with me getting on the ground and having her maul me while I yell that I've been slayed by cuteness....


Monday, October 22, 2012

Who are you?

Who are you and what have you done with my dog?

 My dog is white.  You are not. 
 And my dog would NEVER spend the entire rainy night digging in my garden.
 Well.  You are cute anyways and maybe I'll keep you.
 Tess after a shower, completely bonked after a rainy night outside (her choice, I will point out).

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tess update

Tess is out of surgery and is in post-anesthesia recovery. 

Everything went well --> I got to be there for the entire thing! 

I technically had class at the same time, but figured this was an important learning opportunity :)

Her anesthesia record looked picture perfect, the nerve block they did before the extraction was really well done, and after promising not to faint I got to watch the actual extraction. 

The nice thing about the dental nerve blocks (which I have practiced on cadavars only at this point) is that pain shouldn't be an issue when she wakes up - that nerve is completely blocked to pain for a while. 

I have copies of the radiographs that were done (the rest of her arcades look fine) which were very extensive, and the pieces of the tooth. 

It's nice to know that I can hop over to the next building and visit her at any point and see how she's doing.  I've been very careful not to interfere or hinder the students/residents and have made sure to let them know how much I appreciate them letting me observe, ask questions etc. 

I think that some people have no business being in the room as their pet undergoing a procedure, however if you can remain clinically detatched than you can learn a lot.  I think my line was, if something had started to go wrong, I would have left the room.  However, as long as everything was progressing normally, than it was fine. 

Being able to see the entire procedure really reassured me.  The anesthesia and the pain management was what caused me the most anxiety, and being able to see how well the nerve block was done, and seeing the anesthesia monitoring chart in person puts my mind completely at ease. 

Procedure summary:
M1 is completely missing with no evidence that there is any pieces of root left, and they confirmed that P3 sustained some root damage so it was extracted.

I will update again soon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tess will be OK

That's the mantra that I've been repeating to myself since dropping Tess off at the VMTH at 1pm for her surgery tomorrow morning.

As usual, Tess is doing fine and Melinda is a mess and slightly teary eyed.

I made it all the way until 4pm before going into the VMTH, tracking down what ward she was in, and sitting cross legged in her kennel while allowing her to lick my face (gross). By the way, she was sound asleep when I arrived, curled into a little ball on the quilt they gave her and I had to call her name several times before she looked blurry eyed around. In fact, I thought she was already sedated! But nope, that's my dog --> totally relaxed in a kennel, even if it's in a strange place, absolutely certain that I'll come back at some point. Such is the reward of consistent kennel training combined with making sure she has plenty of opportunity to get all that Brittany energy out during the day.

The anesthesia student came around to do her day-before surgery check while I was there so I got to do a bit more cuddling and coddling while "helping" with the check.

Everything looked good of course, with the Azo and BUN that was a bit high yesterday (at the pre procedure exam) at normal levels today, with a urine specific gravity check just to be on the safe side (that was totally normal).

For those of you who don't know, Tess is in for dental surgery to repair the tooth and/or extract it that was embryologically damaged when Harley (the German Shepherd) initially attacked her at 4 months of age. The molar behind the damaged premolar is also milling - either knocked out from the attack, or missing entirely, or retained because of the damage sustained. We aren't sure. Radiographs will tell us where it is (or isn't), along with the status of the damaged tooth (whether it's roots are still alive or whether it's dead).

Depending on what my schedule looks like tomorrow I may try to go see at least some of the procedure and she'll go home tomorrow afternoon.

This is going to be highly expensive. If an extraction is needed, it has the possibility to be one of the most expensive vet bills I've ever had, and that includes my horse. However, on an 18 month dog expected to live 15 years or so, with a totally fixable issue that will impact quality and length of life if not corrected, who has no other issues physical or behavioral and is a wonderful companion, I feel obligated (in a good way) to at least give her this one shot at keeping her as healthy as possible before compromising on a lower standard of "management" care. In some ways every one of my animals has gotten their one "big shot medical procedure" and thankfully I've never been faced with the decision of whether I will pay for a second one :). Is denial and the ostrich strategy (sticking my head in the sand....) a good one? Not sure. Thank goodness all my animal big ticket procedures have been spaced out enough that my emergency vet fund was able to get replenished AND the cost of the procedures haven't exceeded the cost of the fund (leading credence to the theory that life emergencies tend be equal to your emergency fund......a concept my parents taught me at an early age when I was bemoaning some disaster in my life that was equal to my emergency savings (which seems to stick around just long enough that you start thinking you might be able to use it for something fun......).

Please keep your fingers crossed for Tessie that it will be an uneventful procedure and this will be our one big (and only...) medical adventure!

The tree

The other day Tess and I took a walk through the UCD arboretum.
This place has lots of childhood memories, and when I saw this tree, I had Tess hop up for her picture.

Why? Because when I was a kid, I did the same thing.




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Puzzle puppies

I think Brittany's take 2 classes before leaving home at 8 weeks.

1. How to be absolutely adorable --> use your soft eyes and floppy ears to your advantage!

2. How to manage your ridiculously long legs

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tess is helping me study

She looks asleep, but she's telling me to relax and not stress and vet school isn't all about the test scores.  And in approximately 30 minutes she'll wake up and remind me that it's healthy to get up every 30 minutes and engage in some puppy play.  Repeat as many times as necessary in order to learn the material for the test tomorrow. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cutie pie

Tess is back to normal from her incident with the German shepherd, and went running with me for the first time since the incident this morning.

Which makes for a much happier Tessie. She was pretty sure she was going to melt into a tragic puddle of goo every time that I put on my running shoes and picked up my keys without her.

Still on antibiotics just to make sure that anything going on with the joint and the superficial bit wound over it doesn't develop into anything, but is off of the NSAIDs and is showing no further clinical signs.

Things between harley and Tess are actually calming down now that they are allowed to interact (Harley is muzzled, which doesnt seem to mind at all.) Closely supervised of course, but regular, short sessions throughout the day.

Here's Tess this morning on the way to school.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tess pictures

 Where Tess spends the school day.  Sometimes Tess brings a friend and has to be in the smaller kennel.  But those are the shorter days and she doesn't mind.

Tess is not a fan of being in pain.  Neither am I.

Tess at the dog park!  I love this local (to school) park.  It's clean and safe.  She spends a lot of time running and playing, but to my delight she chooses to hang out with me as I catch up on studying when she wants some down time.

Tess is pretty sure that if she's cute, she gets to sleep here instead of her own bed (and she's right!)