Love

Anyone who knows me knows that my pups are pretty important to me and source of great joy in my life.  Ever since I started living on my own I have had at least one dog.  For a while, whilst I lived in Texas with my big backyard and house I was actually up to 3 dogs and a cat.

In the more recent ears (until about 5 years ago) I had just one dog and a cat.  Boeing (dog) & Milo (cat).  Boeing & Milo loved each other and were great friends and playmates.

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Then Sky joined our life!

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Sky Boeing & Milo all got along perfectly!  There was a little period of getting to know each other for Milo (the cat) and Sky.  But both quickly accepted one another.  Boeing never had a problem with Sky.  Boeing was about 14 years old when I got Sky who was still essentially a puppy .  Sky was about a year old when I brought her home.

When Boeing passed away it became very obvious that Sky did not like to be left alone and so I found a puppy for us all on petfinder.com.  Zulu was about 8 weeks old when we picked him up and has proved to be the perfect complement to our family.  Zulu has always been completely comfortable being left at home when I have to go to work or other places and as such has made Sky more comfortable being without me.  Sky and Zulu bonded instantly and they just live to love one another and enjoy life!

Dogs love and give so unconditionally that they are truly a terrific example for us humans who can sometimes get caught up in petty differences!  Thanks Sky, Zulu & Boeing for always being so loving to one another and to me.  Love is reflected in Love and they live and express that idea unconditionally!

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One of the special things about Zulu is the way he seems to know exactly which people to approach for love and which dogs to approach.  I have seem him run up towards people with his tail wagging only to realise before getting to close that they weren’t dog people and turn around without hurt feelings as though he had never even headed their way.  He reads people 2015-11-12 11.38.04-3
and dogs amazingly well and one of his dear friends from the day he met her is Tilly, the harbourmasters’ dog.  Tilly is at least 12-13 yr old and from the day he met her Zulu has always rushed up to her and showered her in kisses.  Tilly has been having a rough go of it for the past couple of years but more often than not, Zulu’s adoration perks Tilly up and at times she even runs to greet him too!

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I am so blessed to have these pups in my life and grateful for all the good times and even the challenging times.  They weren’t the perfect dogs out of the box and they are still very individual.  They are good dogs and rarely get in trouble or get me in trouble 🙂

Working Dogs – and the Security System!

I work nights at the Oakland airport where the year round average temperature is about 65 degrees F (18 C).  There is always a breeze blowing and basically the weather is the primary reason I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.  I drive a small toyota truck with an extended cab and nice camper shell on the back.  I have 2 wonderful dogs that go with me almost everywhere.  They only accompany me when the weather is conducive.  Having lived in Texas for about 12 years I am well aware of the dangers of a hot vehicle and as far as I am concerned any vehicle parked in the sun when the outside temperature is above about 65 deg is too hot for my dogs.  I work graveyard shift, the overnight shift, so I can have my dogs accompany me to work and hang out in the back of my truck while I work.

I have a 10 hour shift and with 2 hours for driving….if I left them home they would be home alone wondering where I am for 12 hours and no way to go outside or eat etc … In my current situation they have a huge bed in the back of my truck, 3 water bowls, they get to go outside at least once a night usually at least 2 or 3 times and they get to stop at dog parks on the way to and from work.  There has been one night that I deemed to be too hot to take them (last night) – not because of the outside temperature but rather the accumulated temperature of my vehicle over the day seemed to me that it would take too long to cool down so I did not want to have them in the vehicle for the possible 1 hour of slight discomfort.

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This is the picture of their encampment in the back of my truck.  The bed is a PVC frame with 2 large couch type cushions on top.  It is super soft and they seem to sleep in about every position on this bed!  It measures about 4 1/2 feet square! Windows all around and newly cleaned blankets almost daily.

I park in an area of the employee parking where I am allowed to back in.  My goal is that if the dogs bark at anyone – for example getting into their car, I impact the fewest amount of people.  The most people I could impact are about 2.  A person parked on either side of me.  No one can park behind me.  There is a dirt run right behind which I use to walk the dogs at night.  I was concerned that maybe my dogs barked more than I thought so I found a way to add cameras to my truck and have a camera aimed on the dogs and at the time of the incident I am about to speak of there was a  camera aiming forward out of my vehicle so I could see people walking by in the event my dogs barked at them

The following 3 videos show what took place at 0135 am on the morning of August 3rd, 2015.  The employee bus had just passed my car at 1:28 am as seen in the still picture.

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Employee bus passing my truck at 1:28 am

 

People would have been let out at the bus stop about 50 ft behind the location of the bus as it is driving away from that bus stop.

This video was taken at 1:32am -the dogs are awake, looking around -not barking.


This video was taken a minute later. Dogs awake and aware but still not barking or agitated in any way.

Now Check out this video and see how quickly things change!!


This video was at 1:35am. I now have a video camera aimed on the back door of truck. It appears to me from the video that some unsuspecting person decided to try and open the vehicle and did not realise there were dogs inside. As they started to open the back hatch of the truck Sky, the white Australian Shepherd lunged at the door and them and pushed the door the rest of the way open and Zulu decided to follow along for the heck of it I guess.  Now I keep the camper shell locked and have a camera aimed at the back door in the event someone tries this again.  The security system was definitely effective.  Whoever it was was scared off by the dog coming at him or her … Sky ran and was on the outside of the parking lot fence when I go there. Zulu stayed right behind the truck.  I reailised they were gone about 10 minutes after it happened and rushed out to the parking lot to see why my dogs were not in the truck.  The back camper shell door was open and the video evidence I was able to review later gave me a better sense of the chain of events short of having an actual suspect.

I called the police to see if they had any surveillance outside the vehicle.  They didn’t and their thought was that someone who heard my dogs barking and felt sorry for my dogs let them out.  If you look at all three videos the main thing you should notice is that if anything- they did not notice the person who had to have come up from behind my vehicle to open it.  There were no barks ahead of time -only the barks when they were surprised by the intruder.  Hopefully that person has learned better than to open other peoples vehicles and I now lock the camper shell to avoid such intrusions!

Here’s a video of their ride to work – my truck could use some better shocks!  But they seem to be enjoying the ride and the view

And here is Zulu making himself comfortable –making his bed – as you can see ample room for both pups!

I do love my dogs -they are my family and though it would be more convenient for me to leave them at home when I work -but would that really be the humane thing to do.  Left at home wondering for 12 hours where I am .I had to leave them home the other night because it was just too hot.  They seem more on guard and less restful than they do at work …

I had the videos on them of course- Zulu slept peacefully as usual but Sky was vigilant all night long -pacing looking and listening and staying on perpetual guard.  As you can see the size of the bed they chose to sleep in is actually slightly smaller than the one in my truck.  They chose to sleep outside on my other boat as opposed to inside out of the weather.  It was hot inside so I don’t blame them for wanting a little breeze …

I know I’m crazy about my dogs and maybe a bit crazy otherwise but they are worth it.  Right now as I write this, Zulu is sound asleep in his bed and Sky -always needing to know where I am is asleep at the foot of my bed with her head on my leg so she knows my every move.  She is so faithful!!

 

A lesson we all could learn

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There is so much we can all learn from one another and especially from ‘man’s best friend, the dog!.

The other day as I accompanied my pups on a walk at the beach I once again noted especially in Zulu, his innate desire to meet and greet.  As a puppy he thought he was tough and larger than he was and wound up getting out run and out smarted.  As an adult 4 year old dog he has learned the art of chivalry and perception.  He runs with joy to meet new dogs or people and seems to know when that joy might not be reciprocated.  He seems to know those humans who may not want to pet a dog and likewise those dogs who don’t want to partake in the sniff and greets.

2015-06-27 08.20.20On those times when his perceptions incline him, it is really incredible to see the interactions.  Zulu and his new found friend of the moment run up to one another and kind of crouch down nose to nose, both tails wagging.  The pose can be held for seconds until they determine if a playful chase is in order.  In quick order a friendship is made with playful interactions.

In like manner I notice us humans.  The humans with dogs seem to instinctively follow their dogs’ well-taught manners.  There is something about having a dog with you that encourages you to interact with other dog owners.  It’s rare that two dog owners can do less than at least say hello to one another as they pass.  Even people without dogs will greet you when you have a dog with you.  There are those who prefer to not interact in anyway but for the most part dogs are a great example for us all.  Dog owners always seem to find something in common to discuss.

Crissy field is my favourite place to take my dogs.  It is not a dog park per se but is a dog friendly environment where there just seem to be the best level of interactions.  I have encountered people with kids and no dogs who actually bring their kids to the beach to interact with the dogs.  The dog owners at Crissy Field seem to be the most respectful of others that I have encountered in the SF Bay Area.  The dog owners clean up after their dogs and keep their dogs away from kids and people when it seems appropriate.

I’m a shy person at heart and don’t really seek out interactions -but when with my dogs it seems natural to let the dogs play with one another and for us humans to at least follow the example of friendliness.  Dogs are great role models!  They are unconditionally loving, especially towards their food supply source.  Yes I love my dogs and love the examples they set for me and all.

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What’s a foxtail?

Before I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, I had never heard of a foxtail!  In the bay area though, if you are a dog sky_IMG_20150628_071040574owner, especially when there is no rain …. well you’d better know what a foxtail is and be on the lookout for them every time you take your dog outside.

Foxtails are most dangerous when they are dry.  This is when they fall off are become easily dislodged from the grass they grow on.  They are barb shaped and when a dog is a around them they seem easy magnets for capturing a foxtail in their coat and then this barb shaped little spikelet starts working it’s way into the dog’s fur and frequently into the skin.  They travel one way!  Deeper into the skin.

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So why would I mention the insidious  foxtail in my blog?  Well -you guessed it if you’ve been reading my blog at all.  One of my dogs, my Australian Shepherd, Sky started showing the symptoms of a foxtail in her ear.  She had been scratching her ear for a few days and I would look at it and see nothing and she wasn’t scratching all the time – just randomly.  Two days ago whilst I was visiting a friends place she started scratching and then cried out in agony.  The three of us got her to calm down and put the other dogs out as we worked to try and find the source of her discomfort.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary really though we saw a small scratch in her ear.  We looked for a foxtail but saw nothing and I thought well maybe in the course of her scratching herself she hurt herself and so was crying for that reason.

I kept an eye on her for the rest of the day.  She seemed ok -but not her normal chipper self.  I noticed she was tilting her head a bit to the left and occasionally shaking her head or scratching her ear.  By the evening, though still no visible evidence of a foxtail, I was getting more concerned that perhaps this was the situation.  Sky was not acting in pain or scratching at it very often -but she was at times and I figured I had best get her to the vet by the next day.

Yesterday, Wednesday was that day.  I called my vet, Steve and he said he wouldn’t be able to see her till late afternoon.  At about 4pm we got to his office and I explained the symptoms to him.  He had me hold her head as he used a scope to look in her ear.  We wound up doing this twice though he was quite sure he saw something the first time.  He made one attempt to pull the foxtail out while I was holding her head but that was just too impossible so keep her still so no other choice than to give here a sedative.  Within about 10 minutes of the sedative she was knocked out well enough to begin the extraction.   Steve Egri DVM is the master of foxtail removal!  He had that foxtail out within about 15 seconds.  His scope inserted deeply into her ear and then he has tweezers that fit through the centre of the scope and he goes right to it and next thing you know there is a foxtail removed from the ear!!

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This was the culprit in Sky’s ear!  Not that big but certainly a source of discomfort for her.  I have been using Steve as the dog’s vet for at least 5 years now and I have to say he is the most honest and straightforward vet around.  He is much more affordable than other vets.  That doesn’t mean I consider his prices to be cheap but they are in comparison to others.  the main thing I love about going to Steve is his approach is to listen to you and then use common sense to make the diagnosis.  While I was in his office for Sky’s foxtail, before he had given her the shot to subdue her another patient came in with a cattle dog and complaining about the itching her dog was dealing with.  He listened and asked questions and then sent her to buy a flea collar.  He didn’t charge her for this visit and didn’t sell her the collar but sent her somewhere to get it.  Steve’s prices have gone up since I first started going to him -but honesty and not trying to inflate the bill with loads of meds etc means more to me than feeling like you are a sucker walking in the door as seems to be the case with so many Vets!

The foxtail removal in this case – was $100.  I received a little discount since I did fix his phone and internet while I was there but I would still go to him at twice the cost because I know he’s honest and practical knowledge goes a long way.

If you’re looking for a good honest vet who lives in the bay area and is open 7 days a week just by calling or texting -then definitely call Steve at Harbor Veterinary Services in Sausalito.

 

By the way the flea collar he recommended, for the dog with the itching problem, is one I’ve never heard of but sure looks more appealing than the frontline or advantix.    It’s the ‘Bayer Seresto Flea & Tick collar’.

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Photo 101: Day Nineteen: Double

Double image … my favourite shot of my pup Sky against the sunset and then I mirrored it so it likes like double the ‘Sky’ against the sunset of the sky….!

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Double the dog named Sky against the sky

Original of Sky against the sunset
Original of Sky against the sunset

 

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Double seats & double plants
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The same double plants as viewed from the dock

 

 

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and again only from my boat

 

Another day with the pups!

Today Zulu met up with his good buddy that he practically grew up with !!

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Zulu and Watson are about the same age and love to romp and wrestle with one another. They are about the same weight and size and well matched in dispositions.

A few passes at the ball gave Zulu some running and jumping…

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After their fun playtime together Zulu & Sky and I went on to Crissy Field – a great beach with a surf that is virtually always gentle. They didn’t run and chase as much as usual but they still got in some good sand digging and bird chasing!

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Photo 101: Day Sixteen: Treasure

My treasured pups
are the treasures of choice
of course
for the assignment today

Day 16:Treasure

What’s your treasure? Perhaps you found a coat at the thrift store like the one your grandfather wore, or took a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Himalaya. Maybe you treasure your children, or your cat, or a quiet space in the woods. Show us an image that represents a treasure to you.

Tip: Get close to your subject — either use the zoom function in your camera, if it has one, or physically move closer to it.