Saturday 30 March 2013

No this is not Ozzy.

I saw this dog outside the supermarket the other day.  No it's not Ozzy.  It's a Bernese Mountain Dog,  an extremely versatile working dog from the farmlands of Switzerland. He was developed to herd cattle, pull carts, and be a watchdog and loyal companion. The Bernese Mountain Dog comes from the canton of Bern, hence his name. He's a large and sturdy dog breed, with a friendly and calm disposition.
He is bigger and taller than an Australian Sheepdog but just as pretty and intelligent.

Monday 25 March 2013

Today in the forest.  The bark is not Ozzy's.  It's Vichy's.  One of Ozzy's girlfriends.  She is an Australian too!

Friday 22 March 2013

Challenges of meeting female dog on heat

Ozzy is fine. His poops are normal and so is his behaviour. Back to normal and stress over.

Yesterday in the forest, we had another interesting experience. We were throwing sticks for Ozzy. This now is his favourite game. The tennis balls do not have the same allure anymore.
We were just walking along Mr Eurodog and myself when we saw a dog walker with her pack of dogs. There were two Border Collies, an Australian Shepherd ( colour: bleu merle with bleu eyes ), two Alsatians. Ozzy caught sight of them and sped over to them. He seemed particularly attracted to one Alsatian. We were too far away to make out whether this was a female or a castrated male ( Ozzy finds them attractive too! ). The pack came nearer and the dog walker started shouting at us. “She’s on heat. Keep your dog away from her.” She became quite hysterical when she realised Ozzy was keen. “Put him on a lead. Quick, put him on a lead.” We were shell shocked by this dog walker’s behaviour. The other pack members were getting quite agitated. I noticed she had no leads for her dogs. I managed to pull Ozzy off the Alsatian and put him on a lead and walked away. When we thought we were a safe distance away, I let Ozzy off the lead and like a bullet he ran off to find the Alsatian. It must have been a good kilometre. I went after him and found the pack. “I told you to keep him on the lead. Don’t you realise this dog already has had 24 puppies. What’s more she needs exercise. I cannot just leave her locked up when she is on heat.” I put Ozzy on the lead again and decided not to enter into an argument. I did not let him off until we got to the car.

What conclusions are we to draw from all this?

1. If you are the owner or carer of a female dog that is in, or coming into season, it's your responsibility to keep her away from intact males.
2. Of course, dogs on heat need to be taken out and to be exercised but it is a challenging task. A responsible owner picks his route carefully, goes to an area where there are not too many dogs. An area where it is quiet. This person should be mindful of his environment.
3. The dog should be on a lead. It is totally irresponsible to have a female on heat running loose. It is asking for trouble. She will attract the male to come to her and the male is attracted by her hormones. If a male mounts her, it is very difficult to separate them. Also if they are in a pack, fights can break out.
4. The owner should inform other dog owners that the dog is on heat so that he can put his own dog on a lead if he running loose or come and get his dog if necessary.
5. If you really want to walk your dog off the lead but you know there is a female on heat about, break the trail. The easiest way to do it, is to put your dog in the car, and drive to another area, a distant area, where you may walk your dog without problems.

My take on this:

People have said to me that it is all about training. Well-trained males will have learned to ignore females on heat. I do not agree. Female dogs are extremely attractive to males when in heat, and even, if you think you have perfect recall, it is very difficult, near impossible to provide something better in exchange. Calling: “come here, come here, cookies” will not help. The instinct is too strong.
I will give you the following example to highlight this. The dog club were I used to work had certain rules. Females on heat were not allowed on or near the premises. One day however, someone, stupidly came with a female on heat. Within seconds males flocked to her and fought over her. The female was taken away by its owner and the other dogs returned to their respective classes but the havoc was such that we ended up suspending the classes for the day.

I know the person we encountered with the pack of dogs is a professional dog trainer. I find her totally irresponsible. My advice to people who have to have their dogs walked or looked after is: look around, ask around. Enquire and get references. Find out how they work. Don’t be too trusting and fooled by appearances ( snazzy van, diplomas, qualifications ). Remember it is your dog and you know what is best for him/her. Trust your instinct.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Ozzy eats rabbit

Yesterday I went on my usual walk in the forest with my fried, MN, and her two Australian shepherds, Vichy and Koko. Uneventful walk. MN and I chatted about this and that. The usual meaningful and not so meaningful stuff. Then towards the end of the walk, the situation turned. Ozzy found a dead rabbit on the path leading back to the car. Koko had spotted it and MN called her dogs back to put them on the lead. I called Ozzy too but too late. Ozzy had smelled or seen the rabbit. He grabbed it in his mouth and shot off in the opposite direction from where we were standing. I called Ozzy. Gently and calmly. I rattled my little box with dry liver bits in it. No reaction from Ozzy other than he looked at me with the rabbit in his mouth. You know like these hunting scenes where you have a picture of a hunting dog with a pheasant in his mouth. Now what? I called again and against my better judgement I went after him. Of course he ran away even further. I called him again. Not so gently this time. Nothing doing. Ozzy started chewing. I saw him chewing and heard the bones crunching. I decided not to do anything and to wait. Meanwhile MN, who had started walking back to the car, came back towards where I was. By this time Ozzy had finished eating the rabbit. All of it. Teeth, bones, fur and all. MN just walked up to him, grabbed him by the collar and put his lead on. We all walked to car as if nothing had happened. Ozzy let out a huge burp. His chops were bloodstained. He jumped into the car as usual as if nothing happened.
MN and I had a discussion on the subject before we both went our merry way.
“Did you see the state of the rabbit?” she asked.
“Yes, it was fresh but it had no ears.”
“Is Ozzy vaccinated against rabbies?”
“Yes. I am not worried about that because Belgium is free of rabbies.”
“I think you should call your vet when you get back.”
“I will. I am really upset about this. I am upset Ozzy did not come back when I called him.”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s his instinct.”
With these wise words we parted and I drove home. A few more burps from the back!
We came home and Ozzy produced some bits which he obviously could not swallowed. This happened in my office under my desk. Lovely.
I called the vet and explained.
“What’s going on here? Ozzy is a shepherd dog. He should not be chasing rabbits.”
I explained the rabbit was on a path, dead and fresh. And that it had probably been picked up and dropped by a crow or an owl or a fox. I assured her the meat was fresh and nice and red and succulent. I asked her what I should do?
“Give him a tablespoon of paraffin oil and mix some boiled leeks in his food to help his stools and to give his intestines sufficient bulk. Check his poops. He might vomit. He might show signs of being unwell. He might have stomach ache. Do this and give me a call in the morning.”
“How do I know he has stomach pains? How do I know he is unwell?”
“Don’t worry. You’ll know.”
Off I went to the chemist to buy the paraffin oil and to the supermarket to buy leeks.
“Are we having leek soup?” asked Mr Eurodog.
I put the oil on a spoon and opened Ozzy mouth. The nature of oil is that is oily and slimy so as soon as the spoon was in Ozzy mouth, he spat the lot out. On himself, on me, on the floor and on the kitchen counter which I had used to lean up against.
I then adopted plan B. I mixed the oil with his dried food and the boiled leeks. I put his bowl down and he sat patiently as we do at every mealtime. This time he waited and waited and looked up at me with enquiring eyes. “Do I really have to eat this?” I put a little beef bouillon on my hands and rubbed the contents of his bowl. He ate everything. Slowly, very slowly. And went into his basket. Mr Eurodog was going to take him round the block but he was given the mission to check the content of his poop. “Perhaps you should walk him. It’s dark and you know about these things.” We walked. No poop, no vomiting.
Off to bed.
This morning Ozzy greeted me with less enthusiasm than usual but was happy when Mr Eurodog showed him his lead. Mr Eurodog was reminded of last night’s brief and off they went in the pouring rain. Mr Eurodog reported that Ozzy had produced two large normal poops. Paraffin oil, boiled leeks, dried food and beef bouillon awaited Ozzy after his walk. He sat, looked up at me and ate. Normally.
I called the vet at the appointed time and told her about the food, the poops.
She said it was all going well.
I told her Ozzy was very subdued and very quiet. In his basket and asleep.
She said he was sleeping off his Christmas dinner.

Saturday 9 March 2013

True friend

For the past 6 years, a dog named Capitán has slept on the grave of his owner every night. His owner, Miguel Guzmán died in 2006 and Capitán disappeared shortly after the family attended the funeral services. They searched everywhere and put out flyers to try and find him. But no one had seen him.

A week later, some people who were at the cemetary late one evening spotted Capitán laying on a grave and they contacted the grounds keeper at the cemetary. The cemetary notified the family who promptly came to pick him up and take him home. But each night he would cry and scratch frantically at the door to go out and he wouldn't return home until morning. It was later discovered that Capitán would walk the 3 miles back to the cemetary each night to guard his master's grave.

It has been nearly 7 years now. The cemetary does not close the gates until he arrives each night promptly at 6 pm. He sleeps there all night guarding the grave until the grounds keeper opens the gate in the morning.

Friday 1 March 2013

Dog day care centre NY

If Ozzy was smart enough to go on the internet and wanted to book himself into a day care centre in New York this is what he would find on Fetch Club’s website:

“Welcome to Fetch Club, your one and only destination for everything canine. Fetch Club is a private members’ club ( note not day care centre ) and hotel located in Manhattan’s Financial/South Street Seaport Historic District. At Fetch Club, we have urban canines like you in mind, and have created an oasis just for you and other like-minded canines to come together and take advantage of the various services and amenities we have to offer.

Four elements have been taken into account to keep your health in balance:
Earth/ food: a healthy treat bar, a variety of wholesome foods, amazing supplements and a wellness kiosk.
Water/H2O: bathing or playing in the Club's waterfall in water purified to perfection with the Tensui Water Purification System, all harmful chemicals are removed while the water is enhanced with calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, vanadium, negative ions, etc….
Fire/Sunlight : enjoying our amazing skylight in The Park or treat yourself to an infrared sauna imported directly from Japan. Air/Oxygen: to counteract the negative influences of polluted indoor and Manhattan air, the purest air possible is provided by the Air Boss by Trion, an industrial air purification system. In addition to this air purification process, all the air through the HVAC system is filtered by the AtmosAir Ionization Air Purification system. The AtmosAir System, deployed successfully in Europe for decades, is the product of original scientific development by Albert Einstein in “bipolar ionization” of oxygen molecules. AtmosAir Solutions has advanced Einstein’s original technology to create the best indoor air purification system available.
And of course, cleanliness! No mops but an Aqua Air Wet/Dry central vacuum purification system to eliminate most, if not all, bacteria”.

Amenities include a hotel, a night club, a fitness centre, a spa where services range from teeth brushing to dead sea mud mask, pedicure, micro bubble bath, infra red sauna and anal glands expression.

The cost for Ozzy for one day would be 40$ plus treadmill in the fitness centre 10$ for ten minutes, cut and style in the spa 60$ plus de-matting $65 and a bath 55$, dead sea mask 10$ and anal glands expression 15$ and a bang trim 20$. Plus food, plus treats. Worth every penny at 275$.

PS: I have yet to find out what a bang trim is. Sounds rude.