Hey everyone!

I wanted to share with you a product that I am SO EXCITED about!

It’s called ‘Wiggleless’ and it’s essentially a very stiff vest/jacket that is worn by dogs with back problems. The jacket (which has metal rods sewn into it) offers the dog spinal stability and support, and prevents the dog from bending it’s spine too terribly much. It’s meant to be worn during the day, while the dog is being physical.. but can be taken off while the dog is as rest.

I, for one, am EXTREMELY excited about this. Jersey, in particular, has a really bad habit of wiggling from side-to-side– like a fish. When he is happy or excited, he wiggles.. And let me tell you, he is happy almost all the time! His wiggling really concerns me, but until now I didn’t know how I could deal with it.

I have just ordered a jacket for us, and promise to give it a full & proper review once it arrives. I imagine Jersey will need some time to grow accustomed to wearing it, as he doesn’t typically enjoy the feeling of clothing/things on his body… But I think that if I ease him into it, and give it time, he could get used to it.

Stay tuned!

I got a ‘BecoBed’ for my birthday and I love it!

 

I just got back from 10 days in Vancouver with the dogs. I was there for work and friends/family… and thought that I’d bring the dogs along for the adventure and save my husband from having to take care of them all on his own. The husband was happy to live the life of a messy, lonely bachelor for a little while!

It was nice to have Oslo & Jersey with me, though I am not sure that Jersey tolerates the coastal climate as well as Oslo & I. Jersey’s eyes are so much more weepy when we are  there, he came home with a yeast infection in one of his ears, and BOTH dogs had fleas upon our return. Lovely. Fleas, unfortunately, are a icky fact of life in the damp, moderate west-coast climate, but not such an issue here in the south-east corner of the province where our winters are longer and more severe (which help to kill off & level out flea populations). I haven’t had to deal with fleas at all for a while, so I wasn’t particularly thrilled to get home and immediately deal with that. Ah well…

While in Vancouver, the dogs got to spend a night with my Ex, which was nice for them all. My Ex and I ‘share custody’ of Oslo and Jersey. We got the dogs while we were together and going strong… but in our eventual split-up decided that the two would be best off with me full-time (due to my much less demanding work schedule), with him getting visits whenever he/we could manage. We have now been split up for 3+ years, but we both make an effort to stay in touch and stay friendly ‘for the dogs’. Fortunately neither my Ex or I are immature, mean-spirited jerks at heart, so being nice & respectful to each other is easy enough to do.

Every time I am back in Vancouver my Ex and I try to work out some sort of a visit. Sometimes it’s just for a couple hours… but this time it was an overnighter. Not having the dogs with me over night felt VERY strange, but I’m glad that they got in some time with J*. He loves them and misses them a lot.

It’s nice to be back home now though! The weather has been hot hot HOT since we got back. I really enjoy these hotter temperatures, but I do have to be extra careful with Oslo & Jersey. I only walk them at night, or first thing in the morning, and make sure to keep at least one room of the house as cool as possible. It’s tough because Oslo & Jersey really LIKE the sun and would lay out and sunbathe all day if you let them…. and then promptly die of heat-stroke! So it’s up to us to be attentive and mindful. As much as I love the hot weather, I will be a little bit relieved when it cools down a bit and I can relax more.

Also!! In all the time that I’ve been away, my sweet Oslo had a 6th birthday. SIX YEARS OLD! The day almost slipped by me entirely because it was the day that we were doing the 8 hour drive back from Vancouver. Oops!

I can’t believe he is 6 years old though! He’s as handsome and silly as ever… though, starting to get quite a few grey hairs. Despite how wonderfully he is doing, and how young in body & spirit he still is– very new grey hair makes me shed a tear. They are each a visual reminder that my time with him is fleeting and precious.

Here is Olso showing us that age is just a number! He may be 6 but he can still wrestle with the best of them!

Jersey has been doing really well since being released from ‘strict crate rest’ and being put on ‘moderate exercise’. He’s allowed to go for short walks around the block, walk around the house, hang out in the yard or on the porch, etc. Fortunately, my dogs are lazy (just like me!) and so a ‘short walk around the block’ is more or less the extent of their daily exercise even at the best of times.

His movement and control in his rear legs seems WAY improved. He’s stumbling less, hasn’t ‘knuckled’ at all in a couple of weeks, and generally just seems stronger and more ‘able’. Thank goodness.

We’re still being extremely cautious with him around stairs and furniture– he *will* dash down our front steps if given the opportunity. Fortunately, there’s only 4 of them.. but 4 steps is enough to do damage if he were to fumble. So we’re having to be extra dilligent about always keeping the gate closed. Jersey is also being crated when we are not home to keep him from jumping on & off  the sofa when we aren’t around. Likely he will live the rest of his life with these limitations– which sucks, but is necessary. Hopefully in time he will just learn to not even attempt the stairs and furniture (like Oslo has done) so we won’t have to be so constantly on-edge about it. The other issue is Jersey’s tendency to jump up on people’s legs and get EXTREMELY wiggly and wild when he greets people. We’re going to have to work on his manners in that department– big time.

Basically, any activity that causes jarring impact, or overt bending of his spine is off the table. For the rest of his life, we’ll need to try to keep his spine as ‘straight’ as possible, as often as possible. I know that seems like a daunting endendevour to many of you… But I’ve gone through this before with Oslo, and I can say that you truly do just get used to it. You learn that there are things that you dog can’t/shouldn’t do, and you learn to compensate for those things. After awhile it just becomes second nature.  It’s kind of like learning to live without a microwave– it’s an adjustment at first, and is generally a bit inconvenient, but you learn to work around it.

He is doing VERY well, and we are so so so so relieved!

I’ve now had 2 dogs experience Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). The first one needed emergency spinal surgery, the second one was able to be treated ‘conservatively’ with strict crate rest and medication. Having gone through this twice now, I can say with confidence that the ‘secret’ to avoiding surgery, is to catch it early. Jersey was able to avoid surgery because I saw the symptoms straight away. Our experience with Oslo 3 years ago came in handy, I suppose.

Jersey’s early signs were VERY subtle. It was simply a reluctance to hop down our back step (it’s literally ONE step). He had done it without thinking a thousand times, and then one day I noticed that he hesitated ever-so-slightly at the step going out, and hesitated again coming back in. That set me onto high alert– I then noticed other subtlties… like an odd, unsteady ‘wobble’ in his rear legs when he took a step, his belly seeming firm and bloated… I wasted no time and put him in a crate immediately. It was 3 days before I could get in to see the vet, but crating him over those 3 days (rather than ignoring the signs, and letting him continue as normal– thus damaging his spine further) is likely what saved him. Had he been allowed to continue on, the disc damage would have gotten worse and it could have ended in full paralysis.

Recognizing those very first symptoms and getting your dog crated and on medication can truly be the difference between surgery (and/or possible life long paralysis) or simply being crate for a couple of months while the spine recuperates. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the early symptoms of IVDD. Spend a few hours reading up on it, watch videos, read online forums, ask questions… Arm yourself with as much information as you can– that’s truly all that you can do.

What is BarkBox?

When you sign up for BarkBox, every month you will receive a box in the mail with four or more carefully selected products and presents for your dog – anything from toys, bones and all-natural treats to hygiene products and innovative new gadgets!

With our 6 month subscription, we pay just shy of $25 a month. Usually the retail value of each box is around $35-$45.. so that’s bit of a savings off the retail price, yes… But more than the savings, it’s really the quality & innovativeness of the contents that makes BarkBox exciting & special. There’s always a toy or a treat in the box that we have never heard of or seen before. It’s this innovation makes receiving and opening up our BarkBox one of the highlights of our month.

Want 10% off your new BarkBox Subscription? Of course you do! Use this link– HERE — to sign up & get a 10% discount.

Now to get into business… What came in our box this month?

PetPlay Plush Carrot $8.50 – The claim to fame here is that these toys are handmade with the same production standards as children’s toys. Claims to fame aside, Oslo and Jersey LOVED the look of this carrot right out of the box. The squeaker inside sealed the deal. They both went nuts for this toy (basic as it may be!)

Caitec Knobble Ball $6.00 – This is soft’ish, rubberized, squeaky ball within ANOTHER ball. Feels very neat in the hand, and really got the dogs excited. The concept sort of reminds me of March’s ‘Jolly Teaser’ Ball… only this is squishier, squeakier, and whole a lot more adorable.

Apple Cobbler ‘Snicky Snaks’  $9.99 -USDA Organic. Sourced and made in the USA. These smelled delicious! So delicious that I couldn’t help but taste these myself.. and was very pleased at how.. well.. tasty they are! It goes without saying that the dogs agreed. The treats are fairly big (too big for my guys in one go), but break apart easily. These aren’t grain free (they contain Oat & Rye Flour) but they are wheat, corn & soy free, and only contain a whopping 11 total ingredients. Impressive!

Plato Organic Chicken Treats $8.99 – This treat is over 90% USDA organic chicken… I don’t have a whole lot to say about it because we haven’t cracked the bag open yet! I need to get through my other treats before we get into this one. Treats are fairly large (despite being for a “small” dog).. and I am not thrilled that salt is the 3rd ingredient… But with such a high chicken content, and the fact that these are just treats and not a dog food, I suppose I can be a bit forgiving ;)

Barkworthies Bullystick  $3. It seems that one of these come in each BarkBox. Make no mistake, these are VERY popular for dogs… However, my guys can’t have them. Mine chew them until they are soggy (takes about 15 minutes) and then they swallow/attempt to swallow them whole. Resulting in much gagging, throwing up, and panic. We’ll gift it to one of the tiny dogs we know… again.

OVERALL!!

We are quite pleased with this month’s box! The only ‘meh’ item was the bullystick– but truthfully, most dogs love those things– it’s Oslo & Jersey’s idiocy that makes that treat a no-go around here. I can’t fault BarkBox for trying! There are months when BarkBox really impresses me with the cleverness of the toys and the quality of the treats that they include… and this month is one of those months.

and then Oslo stole & hoarded both new toys, because he is a jerk.

 

 

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