Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Blog

I have been posting more often on my new blog:

It's a humorous blog about life as a teacher, life with pets, life as a foreigner, and it's completely illustrated with my awesome images.

I hope some of you will follow me there, and I'll follow you from there if you'd like.

Have a great summer!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Riley's paw is better and he's finally almost done with the antibiotics.  The weather has cooled down a bit (only in the high 80s!) so that we may actually go to flyball again tonight.  The training school is in an converted warehouse and it's not air-conditioned, so it's rather awful in there when it's hot out, even at 7 pm.

Speaking of antibiotics, one of my friend's dogs had the runs for the past week or so, and it wouldn't stop.  As my poor pup had ongoing diarrhea (he had colitis) for almost a year, I figured out a four-prong approach that almost always gets rid of diarrhea in dogs (unless the dog has worms or a parasite or something).  I figured I'd share this in the hopes that it helps someone else out.

Doggie Diarrhea Solution
  • cook ground turkey (frozen bullet packs) and mix it with cooked white rice.  Feed this for several days with no dog food
  • add a teaspoon or two of canned pumpkin (check label - must be 100% pumpkin, not the pie filling) to each meal
  • grind up a probiotic tablet and add half to the dog's meal.  You can use doggie probiotics but they are harder to find and are more expensive
  • get slippery elm capsules and empty the contents of one capsule or more per meal into the dog's food.  Slippery elm bark coats the bowel and works in humans of all ages, including babies, and for cats and dogs as well.  It has very few side effects (one, actually, that I've read: inhibits vitamin absorption if taken incessantly over weeks) and helps in cases of nausea, acid reflux, colitis, Crohn's, IBS, and most other stomach complaints.  You can find it here on Amazon.  That's the brand I use.  You can read more about it here at Alternative Healthzine.

Rice binds, turkey is low in fat and grease, pumpkin is fiberous and absorbs moisture, slippery elm coats the GI tract, and the probiotic restores good gut health.

I eventually switched my dog and cats off kibble entirely, which helped out a lot, but occasionally when my dog eats, say, a dead mouse out in the field, this helps.  Your dog should be better within three or four days, if not by the next few meals.

If you're interested in this and would like to read more, I wrote a HubPage about it here:

In the last few days, I made a whole set of new designs for my zazzle t-shirt shop.  Most of them included dog photos that I altered using the free program paint . net, mostly because it's free and easier for me to figure out than the professional programs that cost a bunch.  Here are some of the designs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's only week 5!

So, for a while there, I thought my summer vacation was almost over.  Then, yesterday, I went to my calendar and counted off the weeks.  It's been five weeks since summer started and there are still SIX weeks left!!  So, really, I still have more than I already had, and since what I already had has seemed long, that's really good!

My pup got injured last week Friday when he was playing ball at the doggie forest preserve.  He stepped on something and ended up with a puncture wound in his paw.  He walked it off then, but the next day, I noticed his paw was swollen to the size of a tennis ball.  We went to the vet, he got 8 pills to take the first few days, and had to wear a cone on his head for a day and a half.  Poor guy.  You can tell he's feeling bad when he doesn't want to walk at all.  Hooray for his Tramadol, though!  It's a great pain reliever, and one I can vouch for, because they gave it to me when I had knee surgery.  Non-narcotic, but super-strong.  No dopey side-effects!

It was very odd having two and a half extra hours in my day from not walking him.  I actually began to feel restless and antsy and, dare I say it.... bored.  At any rate, it's Wednesday, and he's almost back to normal and is walking and running again.  Vet said no walks for at least ten day.  Clearly, she does not have a 2 year old herding breed dog.

Here's Riley yesterday, playing with the puggle I puggle-sit in the evenings:

And speaking of the puggle, he cracks me up.  This poor dog will never understand certain things.  For example, every day when we leave his condo, we turn left. We have been doing this for two and a half years.  And yet, every day, he runs out to the right and doesn't turn around till I tug his leash in the right direction.  I used his face for these items in my zazzle store:

Granted, I stretched the nose out a little using, but it's such a hilarious facial expression, and the text kinda says it all.

I finally sold a ladybug / kanji skirt I had in my etsy store.  It took over a year and it had a lot of hearts.  I'm not sure why it took so long.


So I've been working on a new skirt (yellow and blue with daisies), but my sewing machine kept jamming and it took me a while to realize that it was because there was some sticker residue left on an area where there was a seam.  In the meantime, I have to figure out how to rip out this messes up seam done in such tiny tight stitches (because of the jamming and sewing in place) that I can't even get my seam ripper in to it.

Anyone on yelp?  I have an account there and I spend a lot of time writing reviews during the summer.  You can see my reviews and stuff here.  I wrote so much that I got listed in the newsletter for my "Doggie Places of Interest" list, for being a top yelper, and I got a review of the day.  Wahoo.  Rock on.

That's it for now.  I've got more to say, but why put it all in one post that will get so long that it will inevitably bore someone to tears?  Have a great Wednesday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Help for neurotic dogs and more!

Happy day after the fourth of July!

I ended up not going anywhere on this fourth of July.  Why? you may be asking yourself.  Well, my poor neurotic dog decided he was afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms within the last week.  Last year, he was fine.  This year, he was clawing his way into the drywall.  Not knowing he had developed this phobia, I did not have time to go talk to my vet about tranquilizers.  I guess that's just as well, because the idea of doping up a pet with hardcore drugs does not seem like the best idea in the world to me, though I completely understand those of you who need to do this for your animals.

So, I went to the store and did some internet research and came up with a plan of attack.  I read about TTouch and "wrapping" dogs for calm behavior.  You wrap the dog in an Ace wrap following a certain pattern.  The dog is calmed  because of the steady pressure.  Apparently, this has been used on autistic children, fussy babies, and anxious horses.  You can find directions here for how to wrap a dog .  I also got valuable information from the helpful people on the English Shepherd yahoo group.

I went to PetCo to try to find a pre-made dog anxiety wrap, but did not find one.  Glad I didn't, because the Ace wrap I got ended up working very well.  I got a 6" wide, 5' long one for $9.99 at Dominick's, though I'm sure it would have been cheaper if I'd driven to Wal-mart.

Anyhow, when I was at PetCo, I found an herbal pet calmer, incidentally, Pet Calm, by Richard's Organics.  Here's the Amazon page for it.  I wrote a review for it yesterday, so if you look at the one for the fourth of July, that would be mine.

July 3rd, I was at my mom's with Riley and left the stuff at home.  He was a complete mess.  Eyes bulging, muscles almost vibrating, bunching up, shaking, pacing, drooling, trying to climb into my mom's clothing, hiding in the bathroom.  The above photos are pics of him at home after the kids outside my house dropped a few pop-pops on the asphalt (just tiny things).

July 4th, I stayed home, wrapped him in the Ace wrap, gave him 3 droppers of Pet Calm and here's the result:

I live in front of a large park where kids were setting off illegal fireworks, so this is nothing short of a miracle.  As you can see, he is not hiding, he does not look concerned, and he is sleeping (it was ten at night).  He occasionally would get up and move around when there was a huge bang, but he did not look groggy or panicky.  When I took off the Ace wrap later, he seemed a bit more agitated, but still not so much, so the combination of the Pet Calm and the Ace wrap is a good one.

Hooray!  Next year I might actually be able to go out on the 4th of July!!

Anyway, since he's given me so much grief, I decided to put him to good use and use him for a model in my Zazzle store.  Here are two items I made with his gorgeous face:

I also made mugs, t-shirts, buttons, hoodies, etc., with the two designs.  You can see the English Shepherd Big Nose design here, and the Back Away design here.

I got a new camera, so there's my reason for all the photos.  It's a purple Nikon CoolPix, 12 mp, which is more than I need.  I mean, do you really need to see the individual pores in a person's face in a picture?  Not really.  But it makes for some good animal pictures: