Denny and Charlie (and the rest)
It started with OnePug...

Maggie May

Thursday, 3 May 2012 00:02 by robbi

I don’t want people to think that Denny is the sole focus of our lives here at Denny Towers.  Yes, we are devoting a lot of time and energy (& money) on the little guy’s rehab, but we are fully aware that there are other animals to be looked after here.  And believe me, they are very well looked after!

I’m still making their food, which gets supplemented with a bit of kibble to ensure I don’t miss any nutrients they require.  They each get a slew of supplements that rivals the human’s routine every morning.  They are adored and pampered.  Most importantly, they are loved and they know it.

Which begs the question: why are they always trying to escape?

The other day, as I opened the back gate to take out the recycling bin, Maggie darted out the gate and down the driveway.  I immediately dropped the bin and closed the gate to prevent any other escapees whilst yelling at Maggie.  She ran in front of our parked car and promptly stopped, dropped, rolled over onto her back and went rigid. I walked up to her, scooped her stiff little body up and brought her back inside the gate.  Once I sat her down she went prancing back inside the house, tail up with a mischievous grin on her face.

EscapeAttempt050212

I have no doubt she would do it again today if given the opportunity.

Does this girl not realize just how good she has it here?  This was the frightened little neglected girl that PugHearts took in with rope marks around her neck.  She was a skinny little thing that was so fearful she would cower whenever we approached her, flattening herself to the ground. 

We fostered her for several months until the perfect home was found: it was a recently divorced woman who lived alone except for when her daughter stayed with her.  She wanted a companion.  Maggie would be able to go with her to work every day, so she would never be left alone.  We had no doubt it was the perfect home for her. 

Until about a year later when the woman called us to say that now that she had a boyfriend, Maggie couldn’t stay with her.  Boyfriend was “allergic” so Maggie was being kept crated in a bedroom now that boyfriend had moved in.  I went and picked her up that very day.  I apologized to Maggie profusely and promised her we would find the truly perfect home for her.

A couple of months later, we found her new home.  A young married couple with no kids.  They had never had a pug – or even a dog – but they had a cat who had recently passed away at a very old age that they loved very much.  The home visit was perfect.  They fell in love with her immediately.  We confirmed the match and placed Maggie, content that she was in the right place. A few weeks later we were asked by her adoptive parents if we could keep her while they went out of town for a family function.  We happily agreed and took her back in for her week-long stay.  The day that the couple were to return to Houston, we didn’t hear anything.  I waited another day and finally called them.  Didn’t they want to come collect Maggie? As it turns out, they weren’t sure.  She seemed so “needy.”  They didn’t know if they had made the right decision to adopt her.  I told them that if they were not committed to her, then it was best to leave her with us.  I did not want her someplace she wasn’t 100% wanted and I did not want to send her back with them only to have them call us in another week or 2 to come get her.

We decided that was enough.  Obviously she was meant to be with us.  It had nearly killed me to give her up both times before, but I was trying to do the selfless thing and give her a chance at a better life.  Apparently, we were too stupid to realize that we could give her the best life. 

Yes, she is needy. Good Lord, she is needy!  She paws at me for attention whenever she’s near me.   She curls up in my lap whenever I’m on the sofa.  She lays in the back of my chair when I’m at my desk, barely leaving room for me. 

ChairHog

She sleeps on my head at night.  She is extremely demanding of my attention.  And she gets it.  She is jealous whenever I pay attention to the other dogs.  She gets very short tempered with them and will put them in their place whenever she disapproves of their shenanigans. She’s turned into a very cranky old lady.  But I love her more than I can possibly say.  I am utterly devoted to her and she knows it.

MagsSo why on earth does she try to make her escape if given half a chance?????

Bribery

Monday, 23 April 2012 18:17 by Robbi

Denny, like most pugs, is very food-motivated. Very food motivated. Extremely food motivated! He will risk injury to try and get a good snack. Especially if it’s people food.

A great example is his visits to his regular vet’s office. He does not like going to the vet anyway, but if they have to touch his paws to draw blood he gets very panic-stricken. Any amount of reassuring or trying to hold him seems to exacerbate the situation. But at his vet’s office they have discovered a magical item that distracts him from what they are doing: cream cheese. They keep a tub of it behind their counter and whenever they need to distract a doggy, they simply dip a biscuit into the cream cheese and hold it at a height so the dog can lick the cream cheese but not quite get a bite. It’s like crack. Whenever the deed is done, the dog can have the biscuit. Denny usually licks off all the cream cheese and then looks at them to give him a top-up. It never fails to do the trick.

When we first started taking Denny for his underwater treadmill sessions, we were a bit unsure about how he would react. He hates being in our pool (though he is a very good swimmer) and cannot stand to even walk around on wet grass. You can see the look of disgust on his face as if to say “but Mum, my paws will get wet!” whenever I try and take him out after a rainstorm. And sure enough, the first time he was put in the treadmill and it started to fill with water, he seemed a bit panicky. A treat helped calm him down. He walked well but his ears were down and we knew he wasn’t thrilled with it. He was rewarded at the end of the walk with more treats.

He obviously remembered that.

The next time we took him he started fussing when the little life jacket was put on him. A couple of treats later and he let us proceed. Then the treadmill started. More treats were needed to keep him focused. This has continued and by last week’s session he was eating during the entire walk. He actually only walked about half the time. The tech would hold out a treat and he would walk to get it. Once he had it he would “ride” the treadmill to the back of the tank. She would hold out another treat and he would go get it, and then “ride” the treadmill again. If she held the treat but didn’t give it to him, he would show his defiance by standing still and riding the treadmill back again. No words of encouragement from us made any difference. Our wild gestures and clapping meant nothing. When his time was up I was exhausted, but he had barely started to pant. He had won the battle.

This week, we tried a different approach. We came armed with a jar of peanut butter and a long-handled wooden spoon. Once Denny had his harness on and was in the treadmill, Richard opened the peanut butter jar and coated the spoon.

We had Denny’s undivided attention.

He didn’t even seem to notice the water filling the tank, as his tail was wagging and his gaze never left the spoon. Richard lowered the spoon at the front of the tank and the tech started the treadmill. Denny licked and walked, licked and walked. I am proud to announce that Denny broke his previous time record and walked for a total of 6 minutes today!

We’re definitely bringing the spoon and peanut butter next week.

Okay…random pug pics!

Charlie says “Hi!”

Charlie

Stewie says “Honest, Grandpa said I could have his slipper!”

StewieSlipper

Um, I don’t think Grandpa wants it back now Stewpot.

AquaPaws–Underwater Treadmill for Dogs!

Friday, 6 April 2012 17:50 by robbi

When we decided we wanted to try laser therapy for Denny, I had to do some research to find one near us.  Our local vet didn’t offer it and the Rescue Vet that does is an hour away.  We were hoping to find someone local.  The Rehab Vet that we did find is only about 35 minutes from us, so multiple appointments in a week are possible without cutting too much into our work life.

The Rehab Vet we found listed a slew of services that I didn’t think we would be using.  One of those is Aquapaws.  It’s an underwater treadmill.  They have two of them – one for dogs and a larger one for horses!  Apparently this vet sees a ton of horses.  In Houston – who knew?

Anyway, I wasn’t very familiar with the underwater treadmill and I didn’t think it was anything that Denny could benefit from.  But it turns out that it has been exceedingly beneficial.  He has gained muscle strength and stamina through these sessions.  And while he doesn’t really like them (he hates getting wet) we know it’s worth it to continue them while we are seeing such good results.  We bribe him with a laser therapy session when he’s done and that seems to keep him happy.

I took Denny for his latest session this Thursday.  I tried to get some photos of the machine and his session, but I was obviously moving too much and they’re kind of blurry.  I’m going to post them anyway, so you can get an idea of what this is all about.

This is a shot of the machine.  There’s a ramp that the dog walks up (though Denny usually gets carried.)  The door is then closed and sealed shut and the water is pumped in. 

Treadmill filling with water

The vet tech stands with her feet on either side of the treadmill to watch over Denny while he’s walking.  He’s wearing a harness here – the first few sessions he wore a life jacket and hated it so badly that they’ve switched him to this.

Note the ears are down :-(

And then this is my view for the next few minutes.  I’ve watched him each session.  The first one he skipped a few times and didn’t always use all 4 paws.  He now goes the entire time without dragging back legs or missing a step.  His time has also been increased and he now does 5 1/2 minutes.  I’m so proud!

Treadmill Time

After it’s all over, he gets dried off with a towel and taken into one of the rooms for his laser treatment.  By the time she’s done with that, he’s mostly forgiven us.

Denny waiting patiently for his Aquapaws followed by his"spa treatment" of laser therapy.

Love that boy! 

A Week Away

Thursday, 29 March 2012 18:43 by robbi

We’re back!  We took a few days off and headed out of state for some much-needed R&R.  We spent a glorious week in beautiful North Carolina, one of my favourite states. 

Falls Lake

It was lovely and we hated to leave, but by the end of the trip we missed our furkids so badly that we were anxious to be home.  Without question, our first night back was the best night’s sleep either one of us had all week.  It was lovely to be in our own bed, covered by snoring pugs.  Even Munch made a point to hop up on the bed for a bit.  Heaven!

Undoubtedly, one of the things that allowed us to relax and enjoy ourselves was knowing that our furkids were being well looked after back here.  We never board our guys – Denny has only ever slept in a kennel when we made the crossing on the Queen Mary.  Instead we have family or friends come house-sit/pug-sit.  It’s a lot to ask someone, but we are fortunate enough to have the perfect people to help us out.  Richard’s parents watched the house & kids last year when we took a trip.  But usually it’s our good friend Auntie Cindy who looks after the brood.  She loves these guys and they absolutely adore her! 

Thankfully she also has the patience of a saint to put up with my 2-page (single spacing) set of instructions for the care of our guys.  I don’t think I’ve bothered to tell her where the fuse box or fire extinguisher for the house is, but I’ve detailed each animals food, supplements, medications and elimination regime.  I’ve also spelled out idiosyncrasies in their behavior & routine so that she is aware that Denny likes to sit on the sofa arm to watch telly at night and Maggie hides in a donut bed under Richard’s desk during thunderstorms. 

Lord only knows what she thinks when she starts reading these things!  But she says she doesn’t mind at all and manages to not roll her eyes at me whilst I’m standing there, so I don’t feel so silly.  Meanwhile, every time we go away we are satisfied that they are in the best possible hands. And every time we come home the furkids are healthy and happy.  We are very lucky indeed!