Friday, September 30, 2011

The New Tate

No time for writing... I'm looking after Jo's dog Tate and at 9 he is still going strong!  Jo, I'm going to have to burn you a CD I have so many photos I love and there is still today's walk to get more!  :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I haven't been blogging much because I haven't had the camera out much.  I even have pictures on the camera from almost a week ago that I haven't downloaded yet!  That is so not like me.  It is a busy week though so don't expect anything out of me until at least Sunday at this point!

I did want to write and say that we started the girls last Sunday on some "real food". After running out and ordering a food processor and meat grinder, I started to panic that the girls wouldn't like their new food.  I have heard of dogs not liking homemade diets (I'm assuming just because it is different) and I started to worry that I had spent all this time, energy and now money for nothing. Amanda S. had gotten us some samples from The Honest Kitchen and we decided to give it a whirl.

Oh my.  I shouldn't have worried.  To say they LOVE it would be an understatement. Lacey now "naps" in the kitchen when meat is cooking and apparently Coulee is starting to whine with excitement when Marlin is preparing their dinner.  Bowls are licked clean and pushed across the room in their enthusiasm.  Jack needs to be held while they eat or he tries to help them finish their meals.

They are still getting kibble for breakfast as we wanted to transition them over slowly. They still eat it quickly but not with the same gusto that they eat their dinner. We still don't have all the supplements we need to start making their meals from scratch but  I'm hoping they'll arrive this week.  If they don't arrive today, I'm going to have to go pick up some more Honest Kitchen for the weekend and next week.

It has been fun so far and it is nice to have such appreciation shown for our efforts!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Scaredy Cat

Jack is not the most confident of kitties.  He is the kind of guy that prefers to hide in the basement rather than socialize when company comes over.  He also thinks the vacuum is a pretty scary thing.  I caught him peeking out, checking to see if the coast was clear.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just 'Cause

As an aside, I'm not sure if it is all the food reading I've been doing, but I'm starting to agree that eye goobies are related to food.  This is the first time that I can remember having to edit eye goobies out of a picture of Coulee!  She very rarely has eye goobies, but lately it has become a constant issue.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In My Opinion

WARNING - This is long and undoubtably boring if you aren't interested in dog diets. Hell, it probably is boring even if you are!  :)

I'm strongly considering switching Coulee and Lacey over to a homemade diet.  I've signed up on a few chat groups, and I've read a few books (and have a few more on the way).  I have both the girls on a high quality kibble at the moment (or rather I did.  Coulee is currently on a "close your eyes and don't read the ingredient list" hypoallergenic diet) and while I think this is probably a decent diet for them, I'd like to provide Coulee with the healthiest option possible.

I don't think kibble is bad (well some kibble is horrible).  If I did, I wouldn't have fed it for all these years. I think kibble is a great choice for dogs with no health issues.  I wouldn't even be considering this if Coulee didn't have an autoimmune problem.

I think of it like this:
Grocery store kibble (food like Kibbles and Bits) is the equivalent to eating at McDonalds every other night.  It keeps you going, but isn't the healthiest lifestyle.

High Quality Kibble (food you usually find in Pet Stores) is the equivalent to most people's diet. Overall your meals are pretty healthy but you aren't super regimented in following the Canadian Food Guide.

Homemade meals, if done right, are the equivalent to following the Food Guide and rarely stepping outside those recommendations.

I'm a scientific minded person.  I don't just believe what I read because someone said it. And I'm struggling with the literature around homemade diets.  I am finding a lot of the information is opinion based and not fact based.  It makes me laugh when in one chapter they will go on and on about how similar dogs are to wolves and therefore they obviously should be eating raw and then 2 chapters later are talking about how we've changed the environmental and physical make-up of dogs so much that we can't treat them like wolves.  Conflicting statements like that make it hard for me to trust anything at all in the book.

My other pet peeve is when they slam the competition.  It reminds me of political campaigns that spend all their time and energy telling us what is so horrible about the other guy, instead on focusing on what makes them so great. It makes me think of conspiracy theories and again, my level of trust plummets.

But despite all that, I'm still considering the switch.  There are many people, whose opinions I trust and respect, that feed homemade diets and intuitively fresh foods should be healthier than processed foods.  I think the reason it isn't done more is the amount of work involved (taking a scoop of kibble and tossing it in a bowl is awfully easy!) and because dogs can have perfectly healthy, long lives eating kibble so why bother.  And I probably wouldn't bother if it wasn't for Coulee.  Lacey is just coming along for the ride as if I'm doing it for one, I might as well do it for two.

I'm uncomfortable with raw at this point and am looking at diets that involve cooked meats.

Jolene lent me a book by Hillary Watson which lays out the recipes just how I want them.  Exact measurements, exact ingredients and you just follow along.  It is perfect - except you need to buy a supplement from her for every meal.  She doesn't tell you how to make your own and that bugs me.  I know, stupid, but I feel it is a money making scheme that keeps me sending her $70 a month for supplements.  But other than that, I loved this book.  There is a scientific base to her recipes and lots of different options.  And frankly it is idiot proof - and I think I need that.  :)

Last night I found an ebook by Lew Olson and I read 90% of it this morning.  There is some competition slamming that is hard to swallow, but she actually has footnotes and a reference section to back up some of the statements she makes and I like that. :) There aren't really any step by step recipes to follow and based on the information in this book alone, I wouldn't be comfortable coming up with my own, but there is good information about what needs to be in a complete diet.

I've read some of the book by Dr. Pitcairn (which appears to be almost a bible for many homemade diet feeders) and it too had lots of good information, but it also had lots of anecdotal tidbits that had to be weeded out (in my opinion anyway!) and while there may be facts behind many of his statements, they weren't always pointed out.  This book is not only on feeding and has a lot of other information on overall health as well. I didn't get into those sections much as I'm already bogged down in information overload.

I've ordered a book by Monica Segal.  It came recommended and from what I could determine from the information I've found online, it seems quite scientifically based.  She also set up a YahooGroup - K9Kitchen which has very active discussions on raw, cooked and combination diets.

I've also ordered a book by Dr. Becker that also promises to be a good information source.  It came recommended by the Whole Dog Journal and it promises to have recipes laid out (I'm hoping it will be similar to Hillary Watson's book but with a way to make your own supplement mix).

My goal is to switch the girls over in a week or two.  Coulee is supposed to be on her current food for 5 weeks and it has been over 3 at this point.  I'm excited and scared all at once.  I really don't want to screw it up and make things worse.

Friday, September 16, 2011


It took a long time, but I think it is finally official.

Lacey and Jack are good buddies.

It started off where Jack would attack Lacey and she would stand there like a statue. Then he started cleaning her with a few bites thrown in whenever she tried to shift position.

But now, she is finally able to play back and he doesn't turn into a hissing, swatting fiend. At least now when he does, he does it without claws.  :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bean is One!

Exactly a year ago today, I got Bean (our Nissan Cube).  I love it.  It is fun to drive, the dogs fit perfectly and I haven't had any problems with it.  The only thing that I don't like is the windshield.  I have never had so many cracks!  It has at least 8 chips.  I think it is because it is so vertical... at least that is my theory.  We could just have a lemon of a windshield though.  Regardless, we are going to have to replace it soon.

Like the nerd that I am, I kept track of every time I filled the tank.  (Dad, you must be so proud!)  So here are some stats....

In one year Bean and I:

  • travelled 20,821 km.  
  • visited the gas station 45 times 
  • purchased 1,768.41 litres of gas 
  • spent an average of $1.075/L for a total of $1,901.  
  • cost $0.091 per km to drive (gas expense only). 
  • got an average of 34.21 MPG  (our best was 41.22 MPG and our worst was 26.91 - must have been windy that week!)

Happy Birthday Bean.  Here's to many more happy travels together!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good Times

I haven't had time to go through my photos from yesterdays play session, but a good time was had by all...

Coulee got TWO cuz toys to play with.

Figuring out how to play with/protect both at once was a bit of a challenge

Lacey occasionally got one

But mostly, she was just content to be sassy on her own.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Booties are Back

Coulee had a bit of a set back last week with her feet.  They had started to look better and I thought, feel better.  So much so, that I fear I pushed her too much.  We went out for a walk 3 days in a row and 5 minutes into that 3rd walk, she was acting weird.

And when I looked at her feet, this is what I saw...

Sorry for the absolutely horrid photo.  She wouldn't stand still as standing on just one foot hurt.
By the time we got back to the car, she was bleeding in three spots on one foot and one on another. That is the first time they have actually bled.

The next day, they looked better, but she was still hobbling around despite pain meds.  We took a few days off of walks and yesterday we did a short 20 minute walk and today we did another - no fetching, no running (except when called).

Now that she is back to "normal", we'll go back to walking every other day or so and I think the boots are going to be a permanent addition until we can fix this. I'm not sure if they would have helped, but I know they wouldn't have hurt.

We have a few more weeks to go until we get back to the dermatologist. I'm still holding out hope that the meds just need a little more time. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sharing vs. Stealing

Taking images from websites to re-post elsewhere has become a common thing.  It is so common, most people don't even think twice about it.  And most of the time, it isn't a big deal.  I mean why put a photo on the internet unless you wanted to share it with the world?  That was the point right?  If my sphere of "influence" is 100 people, shouldn't I be pleased if one of those 100 people loved my photo so much, they posted it elsewhere and shared it with their friends, etc., etc.  The end result is just more people enjoying an image that I wanted to share in the first place.

And that doesn't bother me one bit....  as long as I'm not trying to sell that image (and as long as someone isn't trying to profit from my images).

The pictures that I post on this blog are for the most part, pictures I've taken for myself.  They are pictures that I took because I wanted to, not because someone asked me to, or because I was hoping to earn some money with them.  So if they can go off and make other people smile that I don't even know, that's great!

But the images that I take in an effort to earn some money, are a whole other story.  There is nothing more frustrating than putting in hours and hours of work only to have someone steal those pictures.  I didn't take those photos for personal satisfaction, I actually took them for the person who in turn, stole the images from me.  Isn't that a slap in the face?

This is nothing new.  Every photographer has the same problem, and that is why the watermark was created.  But you know what?  I hate watermarks.  Hate, hate, hate them.  Even small, cute watermarks detract from the image.  But if you want your watermark to be effective, you can't use a cute little one that can be easily cropped out, you need to plaster a giant thing right across the centre of the image and how fun is that to look at?  Besides, you've probably noticed that even having a giant company logo right in the middle doesn't stop some people.  I know I've seen a tonne of images on facebook that have logos right across the middle that have obviously been stolen off of some poor photographer's website.

So instead of continuing to whine about it, I've come up with a simple watermark I'm going to use from now on.  ;)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Perfect Models

A few months ago I put together a video at work using a "Pet Cam" and posted it on YouTube for our clients to enjoy.

A month or so after that, Dogtek, the company that sells the video cameras, found the video, liked it and decided to check out our website.  From there, they found out we also offered pet photography.

And that, led to this....

How cool is that?

The cute little girl in the picture is Aislyn.  She is the cutest, smiliest, most patient 4 year old ever.  And Keara the gorgeous lab, is pretty cute, smiley and most definitely, the most patient dog ever.  Thanks Jo and Deb for lending me your gorgeous models!  It was a fun experience.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Through the Wickets

Coulee is a master at the game of fetch.  She can catch pop flies and line drives.  She can catch the ball after it's bounced or rebounded off the walls.  She can stop the ball with her body like a soccer goalie.  All her fancy moves have forced us to create a game that challenges both her and us.  We call it "Through the Wickets".

The traditional rules of the games are as follows:  We sit in the chair in the living room.  She stands across the room at the ready.  We attempt to throw the ball between her front two legs.  We score if we get it through her legs and "over the line".  The line is the change in flooring from the laminate in the living room to the tile in the kitchen/entry way.  If you hit a leg, it is called hitting a post and doesn't count.

It is harder than it sounds.  She is standing far enough away that she can see the ball coming and she is pretty good at blocking it with her body if she can't manage to get her mouth on it.  Most times she is able to deflect it so that it doesn't go between her legs or if it does make it between her legs, she flattens her body down and attempts to stop it with her belly. Marlin and I have a pretty good celebration whenever we manage to score.

Coulee and I played a little bit outside this morning.  She didn't stand very far away, but I was throwing with my left hand so it evened things out a bit. I think I only scored twice in 10 minutes.  I kept the celebration to a minimum - I didn't want the neighbours to think I was nuts.  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bootie Time

I really wish I could figure out what it is about the Cuz toys that makes Coulee soooo happy.  But at the moment, I don't care.  I'm using it to my advantage.

We are putting cream on her feet twice a day. To prevent her from licking it off and spreading it around the house as she walks, we put booties on her for an hour or so.  Oh my.  Does this ever make her sulk.  She hates it.  Just hates it.  I don't even think the Cone of Shame makes her sulk this much.

We just kind of ignored the sulking in the past but the other day I had a brain wave. I decided that every time we did her feet, I'd give her a cuz toy to play with.  I went out and bought a new one that still squeaked (not sure why I bothered, she killed the squeak in less than 10 minutes) and she was happy as a clam.  She spent all her bootie time happily mouthing the cuz by herself.  

But now that the novelty has worn off, she no longer entertains herself and keeps bringing it to me to throw.  The staring can get a little annoying, but when she is fixated on me (with the cuz on my lap) at least she isn't sulking.  I've had to extend the cuz time to 2 hours per application because she tries to lick her feet after we take the boots off .  So we are dealing with 4 hours of Cuz time a day.

Coulee's never been happier.  I might be going a little nuts.  At least the squeak doesn't work.