Wow, it’s been a year since my last entry! I hope everyone is doing well in their respective corner of the globe.
We’ve been doing well, lots of things have changed and lots of things have remained the same, but to recap, we’ll focus on health, behavior, friendship and new endeavors.
Jimmy went through three major health concerns: (1) elbow of his left foreleg, (2) digestive issues, and (3) minor stroke (YIKES).
Elbow: Jimmy started with a limp, especially when he would get up from rest. I remember it was on his Gotcha Day in February we were at the park and he ran through some construction netting, got his legs tangled and slammed his face and shoulders to the ground. His chin was bleeding and for a few seconds, he was pretty stunned. Anyhow, after this incident his limp became more and more visible. Instead of limping once in a while it became a few more days in a week until it became every day. We shortened his walks and rested. We took him to the vet but our vet could not pinpoint any obvious injury. He did not show any signs of pain during the check-up and walked normally. Then in March while playing with his friend, Sandra, he gave out a loud and painful cry. Eventually, he would give out a third cry that landed him at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital for an x-ray. The x-ray did not reveal too much and so we were sent home with Rimadyl and more rest. His body responded well to Rimadyl and rest, and for a while, it seemed like he was back to normal, but alas the limp came back and it was back to the hospital this time to see a specialist at VERG. Once again the specialist could not give us any diagnosis and he suggested two things: (1) strict rest and Rimadyl or (2) make him use his legs until he came to the office in obvious pain and limping! We opted for strict rest and Rimadyl <– more on this later. That was in May and by July he was all better. We still don’t really quite know what was wrong. It could be a number of reasons, it could be that we made him walk too much during his puppy period (long walks, running, jogging and long extended plays at the park was probably not the best idea for a young developing puppy, read here). It could also have been him tripping over the construction netting, and it could also be his play with Sandra but we can’t really pinpoint since his limping started before all of those events.
Digestive Issues: Okay so before all the limping Jimmy went to the park regularly, ran off leash regularly and got his nose in a lot of trash (including wax paper, various food, and POOP –> dog poop, cat poop, even human poop) regularly as well! Unfortunately, he started to develop a few things: vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. At first, it was here and there and then it became a regular thing. Let me tell you, his diarrhea was not the regular type of diarrhea, it was the mucus-vomit-sometimes-bloody kind of diarrhea and often times it would shoot out like the exorcist girl did with her vomit (sorry for the description!). His urine sample came back with some concerns, the vet said the number of white blood cells was high so his body was fighting an infection (I was suspecting he was developing something like IBD.) Now, some of you might go straight back to the vet and probably be put on antibiotics, etc. And that’s absolutely fine! I’m not suggesting anyone do what I did. What did I do? Because all of this also coincided with his limping his access to the park off leash was cut off, which meant less trash eating, which meant giving his digestive system a break from all the garbage. We also started him on CBD oil and colloidal silver and I have to say it has done an amazing job (I also use colloidal silver as a toner and it has been magical)! He’s no longer nauseous, his stomach does not gurgle, no more scary diarrhea. He still manages to eat garbage but his system is so much stronger than before.
Minor Stroke: So his limp went away (but he’s still on Rimadyl), his stomach issues subsided, he’s back to the park, we’ve moved to a new apartment and we bought two new Polypropylene rugs. Things were looking good, then mid-July a few days after getting adjusted to our rug we noticed something odd. He wasn’t catching treats anymore, and he was turning to his right more and more like as if he were doing a spin trick. Then a major scare he wasn’t seeing from his left side. We took him to our vet to get his vision tested, everything clear. We took him to the ophthalmologist at VERG and his eyes were healthy but the specialist feared the issue was neurological and we had better schedule an appointment with a neurologist. We were so scared! So four day straight of vet visits. We met with Dr. Crook a neurologist at Blue Pearl in Manhattan. The possible diagnosis was scary: (1) brain tumor, (2) meningitis, or (3) stroke. Luckily, it was just a minor stroke. The specialist said he should recover in 7 to 8 weeks time. It was such an alarming moment for us because he’s so young. He’s since recovered, he can now catch his treats and his left side vision and use of his left hindlegs seem to be back to normal.
Jimmy continues to be anxious and fearful. His major problem is with Sudden Environmental Contrast or Sudden Environmental Change (SEC). He continues to do a “woof woof” or a “whooo whooo” if he sees people or inanimate objects presenting themselves in a strange manner a.k.a jaywalking, wearing frumpy clothing, walking in an unusual manner, weird looking objects, etc but these situations are sudden, hence, SEC. For example, over the summer we had a chance to take Sandra and Jimmy to the beach and while we were walking along the water we chanced upon a dead horseshoe crab. Jimmy was so alert and suspicious of the creature, barking and going back and forth, creating a dramatic scene while Sandra was confused as to what the commotion was about. She walked and stepped on the horseshoe crab as if it didn’t even exist!
Jimmy continues to be defensive with other unneutered males especially with young unneutered males and since we live in a neuter/spay culture it’s rare to find one around so when one does pop up (SEC) he is unable to cope so his leash reactivity can be explosive. However, if we are able to slow down and allow him to sniff and take in information he is able to walk past one calmly so long as the other male isn’t intensely eyeballing him the entire way or is also experiencing his own reactivity.
I find it most stressful for him if we take a new avenue or street. He goes over his threshold immediately and starts to become hyper-vigilant of his environment. For example, this morning on our walk the second we ventured onto a new path his discomfort becomes immediately visible, ears back, eyes wide, looking behind him at every sound. I try to keep the pace as slow as possible so that he is able to take in as much as possible, then a block away from a familiar street you could see he begins to ease up and as soon as we step foot on the familiar street it is as if the veil of uncertainty had lifted he became immediately comfortable; body loose, tail wagging and wiggly, and walking happily forward.
However, despite all his setbacks with his anxiety when he is at the park during off-leash hours and when he is able to get over the initial hump of uncertainty he is able to make new dog friends (so long as it’s not an unneutered male, not yet at least), and he plays and communicates very well with them and it’s so lovely too when he does.
Friendship: I love seeing Jimmy make friends and run around. We’ve had a few scuffles here and there but what is life without a few disagreements. He’s made some new and has lost a few old ones. This year we lost Nella and Brutus to unexpected health issues. However, new friends that came into our life are Luna, Norman, Leila, Daisy, and Lucy. He continues to be best friends with Sandra they frequently visit us at home and will look forward to her sleeping over tomorrow for 12 days while her mama is away. It’s going to be a riot!
The interactions between these two have taught me so many things about the way dogs communicate during play. Sandra is definitely very rambunctious but they understand each other well, otherwise, they wouldn’t be friends, right? I mean they started with a muzzle, then no muzzle but with a lot of management, and now a lot more freedom to make choices of their own during their play sessions. There are still moments where we have to manage a little more, for example, playing at the beach is a little more arousing than playing in the house. The most important thing I’ve learned though is to trust their ability to communicate with each other. We’ve learned to see that roughhousing and a lot of growling and bitey-faces does not necessarily mean that their relationship is falling apart. Regardless, they are still young and I can’t wait to see them both grow up together.
New Endeavors: We continue to work with Jimmy. He’s learned so many tricks and has been working hard with his anxiety and fear. For the coming new year, we look forward to introducing Grisha Stewart’s B.A.T 2.0 into our training routine. I have the very basic and foundation down, but it has been a major challenge to set up a real B.A.T setup, however, I would really like to push myself to do this with Jimmy. Has anyone out there found a training center that has been amazing at using B.A.T.? Won’t you share with us?
Another exciting endeavor is our vegan dog treat company. That’s right! We’ve teamed up with Sandra’s mom and we’ve launched our very own training treats. Our brand is Stone Pups Inc, thus far, we have two flavors on the market, Carob Things and Herbalicious Things. Carob Things is our dessert line and Herbalicious Things is our savory line. So before you wag your finger at us for pushing our own beliefs onto our dogs, Sandra and Jimmy are both raw-fed dogs so we are in no way advocating that owners should have their dogs be on the vegan diet, however, we do want to advocate for reducing the use of animal products in the treat-making industry.
It has been an exciting adventure, we are still in the developmental stage so lots of things going on. As of right now, we are only available for purchase in New York but would hope to raise enough money to open our online store. If you would like to be part of our growth and development please consider going to our Kickstarter page to support our adventure so that we can make available delicious training treats to your pups! So far our biggest challenge would be promoting ourselves. We’ve donated to two events recently, both events were fundraising type of events to benefit dog shelters in Brooklyn. The other promotional efforts have been sending stores our samples, but with so many different brands already out there we will have to work extra hard to make ourselves known. I feel like this business venture would require another blog of its own! It has been quite a challenge and something to definitely look forward to as 2018 comes to an end.
I hope you all out there are doing well! Send us a comment or two and share some of your stories with us. Until next time, happy tails!