August 2006 Archives

Question of the day

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Overheard at home:

How do white dogs stay so clean when we can't even keep this salt and pepper Schnauzer clean?

Birthday boy

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Hobie turns 7 years old today!

The now middle-aged dog didn't want a big party, and the celebration took place with his, uhm, roommates. That's probably just as well, because the guest of honor still hasn't made very many dog friends. Playing fetch is still much more important than smelling a rear end.

Right now, the guest of honor is very busy devouring a bone.

During the past year, we have noticed that Hobie has gotten tired a little quicker than before, but it still takes a lot before he gets tired.

Hobie has learned two new tricks this year: bark and heel.

During his seventh year, Hobie will try to be nicer to us, and to walk properly for someone his age. Walking sideways because you want to smell another dog's "stuff" is not appropriate for a middle-aged being. On the other hand, it could be that growing up is very overrated. Hobie sure still behaves a lot like a puppy.

Happy Birthday, Hobie!!

Shiny new boots

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Saturday proved to be too much fun for Hobie. A day of fetch and swimming at a Sonoma bbq on the weekend resulted in Hobie tearing his footpads. We didn't notice any bleeding, but they sure looked raw and uncomfortable. A pair of Old Navy baby socks were perfect and fit snugly and protected his paws indoors. We coupled that with a plastic bag and bandage tape to head outside. Not a good solution. We needed something more secure.

We tracked down a pair of Muttluks to keep his feet protected as they heal.

These boots are difficult to find in San Francisco. After calling about 7 pet stores that were open on a Sunday afternoon, only Pawtrero Hill Bathhouse and Feed carried the Muttluks.

The boots were not quite as durable as we thought. Parts of the leather bottoms were torn after 20 minutes of playing fetch in the grass. Hopefully they'll keep the water out when it starts raining.

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Hobie's feeling sorry for himself:
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The ghetto socks and tape combo, so not fashionable:
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Stylin in his new Muttluks. Even the Harley biker at Starbucks agreed:
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New dog walker

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Hobie has a new dog walker.

Hobie's previous dog walker seemed good with Hobie, but not so good with us. We mailed her a month ahead of time that we'd be going on vacation. While we're gone, Gladys' brother who was dog-sitting left Hobie in our apartment for an afternoon. When he gets back, Hobie is gone.

Not surprisingly, he gets a little freaked out. Fortunately, the dog walker returns a couple of hours later, saying she didn't get the message. OK, fine. Spamfilters suck.

Then, the next week, another guy shows up at the door. Apparently, our dog walker is now on vacation, and her subsitute is ready to take Hobie for a walk. I guess she forgot to both tell us that she has a vacation replacement, and to tell him that Hobie is still on vacation.

When we get back, we try to get ahold of her, but she never picks up Hobie on his regular day. We decide that we've had enough, and tell the dog walker company that we'd like a new dog walker.

The new guy seems good. It's a guy, and Hobie seems to get along better with guys than girls, for some reason. It's the same person who took over for our old dog walker when she was on vacation, so he's already seen Hobie.

Hopefully this will last longer than a few months.

Rudolf (1995-2006)

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I got sad news by email today. Rudolf was put to sleep 3:55pm Wednesday. It's been a few hours since I got the message, but it's only now sinking in. My dog is dead.

The last time I saw Rudolf was last summer.

UPDATE: The above picture is from summer 2005. We had taken Rudolf for a 30-minute walk, and midway across a pedestrian bridge he just stopped. His back was hurting, and he didn't want to walk any more. I ended up carrying him another 15 minutes or so until we got to where we were going.

Rudolf remained with my mom after I moved out. He had gotten a older, and his back did seem to bother him a little. He was still the loving little dog I took to obedience classes. My mom had spoiled him over the last few years, but he would still obey my commands, after seeing him only a few weeks for the past several years. When he came into the kitchen to beg for food I only had to look at him before he turned around and went back to the living room.

He would walk nicely next to my leg, without a leash, even several years after the last time we trained. A large part of that was probably because I would carry treats.

Rudolf was a very food-driven dog. One Christmas, he unzipped a backpack, tore open a wrapped gift, opened the plastic wrapper, and ate most of a pack of chocolate-covered nuts. On another occasion, he almost finished an entire loaf of bread (he somehow got it down from a table). That was the only time I was him not finish anything he started eating.

Although he was fearless in his hunt for food, some things did scare him. Every New Year's Eve, Rudolf would hide in the upstairs bathroom. The sound of fireworks would make him shake.

One of my fondest memories is playing with him in a park near my mom's old house, when he was still a puppy. I climbed up on a rock, and I called him. Rudolf kept trying to climb up the rock, but it was to tall. After a little coaxing, he figured out that if he just ran around the rock, he could get to me. Rudolf was so happy when he finally learned how to get to me. It was great to watch him learn and develop.

Rudolf loved laying up on the couch (at least after he had gotten groomed, and his fur was short) and being petted. However, in the last few months of his life, it became hard to get up on the couch. He also needed help getting down.

The pain medication was not enough any more. Muscle relaxant did not help either, and Rudolf was in pain whenever he walked. Occasionally, he had problems laying down.

Sometimes when the doorbell rang he'd forget about his back, and jump up. People visiting my mom could hear him scream out in pain.

My mom has been thinking about this for a long time, but it still feels sudden. How can you be prepared for the death of a pet?

Rudolf was my first dog, and he will always be special. At least he went to sleep peacefully.

He first got a shot of sleeping medicine. My mom and Rudolf got to be alone in a room. He walked around, with his tail slightly wagging, excited about the smells in the room. He got more and more tired, and my mom sat down on the floor and got his upper body in her lap. He fell asleep in her lap.

The vet then put him on a table, and gave him a lethal injection. Rudolf stopped breathing within a couple of minutes.

My mom said it was good to see him lay down and be at peace.

I believe this was the right thing to do, and I hope Rudolf has found a comfortable spot and plenty of treats in doggie heaven.

Rudolf - you will be missed. Thanks for all the good times and memories. I hope you are in a better place.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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