Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who Are My Dogs?

Julie tagged us for this fun game! I have to think about who my dogs would be if they were human (personality wise), in general or as a specific person.

Iris would have been sports team captain. She's definitely type-A and would be happy to spend all of her time running and jumping. After graduating, she'd quickly rise to a CEO position. Actually, the joke is that Iris is my friend Sarah in a dog body. Really, the similarity is a little creepy. For someone famous, I would probably be have to go with Hillary Clinton. Iris is a pushy b*tch who would love to supervise the world.

Henry would be a hobbit. Ok, I know they're not technically human, but they're small, passive, and they eat at least seven meals a day. He'd be in heaven. As a human, I'm sure he would be a chef. Or he'd be someone like Andrew Zimmern. Traveling the world and eating weird food - what more could a Beagle want?

I'm not sure who hasn't been tagged yet, so if you want to play, please do!

Friday, December 26, 2008


I admit, I really enjoy animated movies in general, but Bolt has to be one of the best movies I've seen a while. They did an outstanding job capturing a lot of dog idiosyncrasies. If you're looking for a funny, lighthearted film, this is it. Believe me, it really is "fully awesome!"

Plus, the girl in the movie says to Bolt a few times "You're my good boy." I tell Iris "You're my good dog" ALL the time. Because she is. She tries, and in the end, isn't that what counts?

Anyway, I really think this is a must see film for any dog lover. Still not convinced? Check out the trailer.

Eye Update

If it's true that things happen in three's, then I think we've got eye problems covered. Both Carmen and Makin have been having eye problems and Iris is also joining the club.

I've been trying to work out Iris' allergy issues for a couple months now. I'm fairly certain that household cleaners are the biggest trigger for Iris and floor cleaners (carpet, kitchen floor, etc) are the worst. I've made some changes since moving into the apartment, and I think we're on the right track. The safest cleaner I've come up with is vinegar diluted with water (you can add baking soda to the mix for tough stains or strong odors). The water/vinegar mix is good for the kitchen and bathroom and a steam cleaner with just water in it works well for the carpets. I've been using non-toxic citrus based cleaners for surfaces that Iris doesn't come in contact with (counters, bathroom, etc). I have tried the citrus cleaner for the kitchen floor too, and I don't think she's had a problem with it. As a side note, just because a cleaner is marketed "for pet odors" doesn't mean it's safe for pets. About a year ago, we tried a "pet odor" cleaner on the carpets at the house and all three dogs started scratching themselves raw.

I've also been trying to encourage her to sleep anywhere other than on the carpet. She has a "new" dog bed in my bedroom. It's actually the old cushion off of a pappazon chair, but Iris thinks it's awesome. You can see in the previous post, she's pretty happy with the blankets on the couch too.

Iris finished up the course of eye drops over the weekend. While I did see a significant improvement, her eyes didn't clear up completely. I'd say they were about 90% improved in terms of how runny they were although I didn't see any change in the gray spots. I talked to the vet on Mon, and we decided to try her off the drops to see if she gets worse or stays the same. Some of the discharge I'm still seeing could just be the drops making her eyes water a little. So far, the only day her eyes seemed worse was when we visited my dad yesterday. Today, her eyes have been clear all day. Since she looks so good today, I'm going to let it go over the weekend.

The bad news is that the gray spots haven't cleared up at all. But they haven't gotten worse either. When I brought Iris to the vet, Dr K did a fluorescein stain, and the spots didn't look like corneal ulcers. I honestly didn't get a good look at the stain (now I wish I had) because I was more concerned with keeping Iris still and quiet. Dr K thinks the spots are probably scarring and are going to be slow to heal if they heal at all. Basically, we just wait and see if they get worse? Right now he says they look pretty translucent. As far as I can tell it hasn't affected her vision. She's never giving any indication that her eyes bother her (no rubbing or squinting). Henry's eyes have been runny since the day we got him and he's never had any scarring. I hate waiting.

In the meantime, I started giving Iris vitamin E (antioxidant to help her allergies) and increased the amount of fish oil she's getting as well.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hey Iris, do you want to pose next to the Christmas tree for me?

If I pretend I'm asleep, maybe she won't see me. Do you see how many blankets I have? Why would I want to get up?

I have cookies.

Why didn't you say so? I'm wide awake and ready to go!

From myself and the red dog, we wish everyone a joyful holiday season and a happy New Year. Iris says she hopes everyone else got cookies too.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All

Next year I'm teaching Iris how to decorate the tree.

(Hopefully the photo isn't too dark - I just started using a Mac monitor, and it's much brighter than a PC. If I get to work on Mon and think it looks horrendous, I'll update it).

Monday, December 15, 2008

We're Back!

We have internet! And power! Electricity, not world domination. Although I believe that is on Iris' to-do list. At the very least, I'm certain she's planning some sort of conquest in world supervision.

Iris has settled into the apartment better than I ever expected. I think it's been really good for her. It's a much less chaotic environment than the house. She's been pretty good about staying quiet, especially since she doesn't have a window to watch the road from anymore.

On the training front, we're on break from agility class until after the holidays. That doesn't mean we haven't been working. There's a fenced in tennis court on the other side of the apartment complex, and I've been taking Iris over there to work on heeling and recalls. I ordered a set of weave poles, so I want Iris to think of the tennis court as a really cool place before we start working on weaves. I've also been trying to do some free-shaping with her, mostly because Iris has a tendency to wait for me to show her what I want (or worse, shut down entirely) instead of trying to figure it out. I think she's starting to enjoy it a little more.

The only downside to the apartment is that the carpets were cleaned right before we moved in. When we were living at the house, I think the cleaners were irritating Iris' eyes and hoped moving into the apartment would help. Nope, she actually got worse after moving here. This past week, I noticed that she had small, cloudy spots on the corneas of both eyes. We saw the vet yesterday, and Dr. K thinks it's still probably allergy related. Iris' eyes are definitely red, irritated, and getting worse instead of better. Anyway, the spots don't appear to be corneal ulcers (good) and her eye pressure is normal, which rules out glaucoma. As far as I can tell, her vision hasn't really been affected, although she seems a little more reactive to people when I'm walking her outside. Not sure if that has anything to do with her vision since it could just be that as she's gotten more comfortable here, she's also gotten more protective of her home. Now she's getting eye drops for the next week, which will hopefully help. So far, her eyes are definitely less runny, but I haven't seen any change in the spots. If those don't improve by the end of the week, it might be time to see the ophthalmologist or check her thyroid (or both).

Iris did get quite a compliment when we were at the vet. The tech remarked that when I first got Iris, she never would have tolerated such a thorough examination. Yes, this is the same dog who somehow managed to do a back flip to get out of having her temp taken. We did take her temp on Sat (I had her in a bear-hug, but she tolerated it), and then she sat quietly while her eyes were poked and prodded by a man she's only met once before. It was a good reminder of how far my girl has come, especially since I know I've been seeing her reactions to people around the apartment complex as a bit of a set back. Two steps forward and one step backwards is still forward progress!

As a side note, I'm starting to really think about switching Iris to a raw diet, so if anyone has any books, websites, etc that they recommend, I'm interested.