“Screw You”

That’s pretty much what Isaac said to me yesterday.

Ok, so I know I’m going to scare S.N.O.R.T. with this story but all is well that ends well!

Yesterday I had no plans after work and I realized Lucy needed her nails filed down at Petsmart so I figured after I fed Lucy and Isaac dinner, I’d take Lucy over to Petsmart. I fed the dogs, leashed up Lucy, nudged her out the door and quickly blocked the door to keep Isaac inside. Yeah, well, that plan failed because Isaac pushed his large noggin right past my legs and made a mad dash into the karate school parking lot in front of our apartment.

Uh oh.

(A key point to the story – there was a man sitting in his pickup truck, presumably killing time until karate lessons were over).

As Isaac made a mad dash through the parking lot, I shouted his name and he turned around. That’s when he looked me dead in the eyes, silently said “screw you,” turned around and continued on his merry way. Yes, screw me indeed.

"Haha!"

“Haha!”

The man in the pickup truck watched the whole thing unravel and tried to coax Isaac over to him but Isaac was having none of that.

Isaac proceeded to cross the street (heart attack #1) and run right down the sidewalk (at least he was on the sidewalk?) on what is one of our normal walking routes. All while taking pee breaks. Priorities, I suppose.

Keep in mind, though, Lucy was with me as she was already out on the porch ready for her car ride when Isaac dashed past us. I also had my purse with me and heels on since I had just gotten home from work. So I literally dragged Lucy through the parking lot, trying to keep Isaac in eye sight. Several times Lucy stopped dead in her tracks (remember, she hates walks so asking her to run was asking the impossible) but I had no choice but continue dragging her along. I thought for sure her dinner was going to make a reappearance with all her running.

Isaac turned the corner toward Dominos (smart dog) and a busy Market Street (dumb dog and heart attack #2). However, at that moment, the guy in the pickup truck turned the corner. He had hopped back in his car and followed us!! Isaac was busy peeing on a lamp post when the guy stopped his truck on the side of the road. Now Isaac was in a dilemma. He clearly had no desire to come back with me but he LOVES cars. And strangers, apparently, because he went over to the guy and hopped right into the driver’s seat.

The man drove back to our apartment and when I finally got back with Lucy still in tow, there was Isaac, happy as a clam in the back seat of the truck, grinning at me from between the front seats.

Not my shining moment, nor Isaac’s, although I’m sure he’d disagree. I swear I’m not an irresponsible pet owner; I take Lucy out every day without him sneaking out the door. I guess he just really wanted to go on a car ride with us.

Without going into details, the night spiraled downward from there (freshly-cleaned socks that fell into the dogs’ water bowl, a brand new skirt shrunken in the dryer…I could go on).

Isaac simultaneously makes me so angry and so happy. It’s a special gift he has.

PS – Happy Halloween! Here’s the doggies’ treat for the day!

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Crusader Carvings

Sunday was the annual “Crusader Carvings” event at our university. The event is put on by our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and it’s free and open to the public. Kids can come and carve pumpkins, have their faces painted, play games on the football field, etc.

I obviously don’t have kids so I was there for work purposes – taking photos for our website, social media, etc. I decided to bring Isaac with me since he has energy to spare; Marty came a bit later with Lucy. Of course, Lucy and Isaac got their share of face time. 🙂

What a stud.

What a stud.

Isaac was obsessed with the cars that were lined up for “Trunk Trick or Treating.” He is so, so obsessed with cars and I spent the majority of the time making sure he didn’t jump in every single car. Fortunately for my arms, one of our athletes  has bulldogs of her own and obviously took a liking to Isaac so she walked him around for a good chunk of the time.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

SO happy!

SO happy!

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She could be a model.

She could be a model.

Judgy Wudgy

A lighthearted title, a not-so-lighthearted post. This subject has been bothering me a while and I realized since it was troubling me and has been for a while, why not blog about it.

It’s clearly no secret Isaac does not like other dogs. I thank my lucky stars every day that he’s not mean to Lucy because when Isaac meets any other dog, he is downright nasty. I’m talking snarling, snapping and I’m sure if I weren’t able to hold him back, biting.

He's so sweet most of the time. And handsome.

He’s so sweet most of the time. And handsome.

So what, besides the obvious of Isaac’s behavior, is actually bothering me? The judging.

Isaac needs his daily walks because he has so much energy. But on said walks, we obviously occasionally run into other dogs and it causes me a ton of stress and yes, embarrassment. I feel as if everyone judges me for my dog’s bad – and scary – behavior. I want to scream, “he came to me this way!”

Is that selfish? I don’t know, maybe. But I’m also defending Isaac. Something happened that made him mean to other dogs; no dog is born this way. Maybe it was just the fact that he was attacked as a puppy. I don’t know. But it’s hard to explain to random strangers within the five seconds we cross paths that he’s a foster, that he’s been this way since we got him, that he got attacked as a puppy, etc.; all the people care about is potential danger to their dogs, which I get, I really do.

What sparked this post? Today on our walk I saw a black lab walking towards us. We were on the main street of our town with no way to cross to the other side during “rush hour” traffic (in quotes because Central PA doesn’t have real rush hour) so I knew I had to brace myself for a nasty confrontation. When this dog and his family got within five feet, I quickly said, “he doesn’t like other dogs.”

To which the mother said “oh great” right before Isaac proceeded to lunge and snarl at the other dog, practically taking a bite out of his neck.

The “oh great” comment is what got to me. I understand it; I don’t know what other reaction she should have had. But I felt as if I were being blamed and judged for Isaac’s behavior when in reality, I don’t know even who to blame! If I knew why he behaved the way he did maybe I could solve it.

There’s no real point to this post, just a need to vent. And express my sadness that whatever Isaac experienced before we got him made him angry at, and maybe even scared of, other dogs. All my other fosters I’ve been able to “fix.” There is no “fix” for Isaac right now, just continued love.

An obvious question to address, though, is whether we ever feel unsafe around Isaac. The answer? Never. Never ever. I can lay on him, hug him, kiss him, pet him, clean his ears, etc. and he has never once made a mean move toward myself, Marty or any other person. So I know his temperament is kind, there’s just something in him that is set off my other dogs.

Oh, poor Isaac. 😦
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Fall Photo Shoot

Isaac still isn’t getting any adoption applications, or at least none that are viable (i.e. no other dogs in the house). S.N.O.R.T. knows photos and social media are the number one way to drum up attention for a foster so today after work, I lugged my camera around on our walk so I could get some good pictures of him.

"Lug that camera around a little faster, mom."

“Lug that camera around a little faster, mom.”

Not wanting to leave Lucy out, I took her outside for a few photos, too. As evidenced by the photos below, you can tell which dog was more cooperative, to say the least.

Manly, even among flowers.

Manly, even among flowers.

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Tired but unbelievably happy after our long walk.

Tired but unbelievably happy after our long walk.

And here is where the enthusiasm waned…

Lucy has a...different kind of enthusiasm.

Lucy has a…different kind of enthusiasm.

Yeah...

Yeah…

Happy Fall!

No More Paw Problems

One of the most common search terms used to find my blog is something along the lines of “bulldog itchy red paws.” Nine times out of 10 it directs them to this post. It’s (thankfully) been a very long time since I’ve had to write about paw problems but I thought I’d do a follow-up post of what’s worked for us for those dog owners – bulldog or otherwise – who are struggling with red, itchy paws.

A lovely shade of red/maroon

A lovely shade of red/maroon

For most of her puppyhood and into her second year of life, Lucy literally ate her paws. She was constantly gnawing on them, licking them, etc. And they turned into the lovely picture above; they were dark red and even her toenails were starting to turn red from her saliva (the vet told me that was a common reaction).

I tried all the home remedies I could; I switched food, gave her only filtered water, wiped down her feet every time we came in. I even tried apple cider vinegar spray as that was said to kill the bacteria in her paws. I tried the bitter apple spray meant to keep dogs from chewing on objects they shouldn’t; in this case the object just happened to be her paws.

Absolutely nothing worked.

Embarrassed by her red paws.

Embarrassed by her red paws.


The first time we went to the vet for this specific problem, they gave me anti-fungal wash and steroids to quickly get the itching under control. And it worked…until the steroid dosage ran out and Lucy was right back to where she started – eating her feet and making a mess of our couch in the process, I might.

Back to the vet we went because I couldn’t take her constant licking and gnawing anymore.

The solution we landed on was one I’d been really, really hoping to avoid: allergy meds in the form of Zyrtec. We were also instructed to give her a high dose of fish oil, which I was definitely comfortable with.

So now Lucy gets 10mg of Zyrtec twice a day. Sometimes in the winter I’ll wean her to one and sometimes even none but the minute her symptoms reoccur, she’s right back on the meds.

This was not the route I wanted to go; I didn’t want Lucy on chemicals for the majority of the year. However, my vet said something that really struck home. My vet is highly allergic to dogs and cats…and yet she’s a vet? She takes daily allergy meds because she said that there was something on the market that was safe and could allow her to do what she wants, why wouldn’t she take it? In the case of Lucy, if there was a vet-approved medicine that would alleviate Lucy’s itchies, why wouldn’t I give it to her?

"Yeah, why not?"

“Yeah, why not?”

So today we stick with quality food, fish oil and Zyrtec to keep Lucy itch free.

Hopefully this is helpful for other owners struggling with itchy doggies!