11 July 2019

The runs!

Sorry for not writing in a while, we do have some catching up to do. Let me tell you about Aschiuta's tummy problems...

I think it was last spring or summer when we had to go away without the dogs. When that happens, we leave them at a dog hotel that we had been leaving Aschiuta at before. The owner is a vet and Aschiuta had always been very comfortable there. He even spayed her.

But this time, the vet didn't have time to take care of the dog hotel full time himself like he did before, so he didn't take in many guests. But since we were repeat clients and he was fond of Aschiuta, he took the girls in.

One of the sad parts of dog hotels is that some owners drop their dogs there and never go back for them. The vet was kind hearted though and kept those dogs along, as permanent guests. So there were a lot of barks when we dropped the girls off.

Since the vet was very busy, the caretaker, who was an older man (I think it was his father) was going to take care of Aschiuta and Nightmare as well. We dropped some food, toys and a couple of blankets and left the doggies at the hotel.

Nightmare was also to be spayed during that time. She recovered ok, however she did have a small bump around the stitches which was solved with antibiotics. At this point, our usual vet believed there should be a longer period of antibiotics than the dog hotel vet.

All in all, when we returned, we picked up the doggies. I'm not sure (here is where writing about this sooner would have helped), but I think they did say Aschiuta had softer stools and to take care of that.

And indeed, Aschiuta had a very upset tummy and very loose and frequent stools. We had to run out every couple of hours and sometimes she didn't even manage to reach our usual bushes. We were still living in the old apartment back then, so I did my share of cleaning the building staircase and even outside on the alley pavement. Poor little one!

We phoned the vet at the hotel and he did say that the dogs had received some other kind of food after the one we brought had run out. But it was decent quality food that all the dogs ate without issues. But Aschiuta is a bit more sensitive.

We also called our regular vet and he prescribed Smecta, which is a medicine used to treat diarrhoea in humans. He said to put the medicine in her water and make her drink. She drank some of it (it was the vanilla flavoured kind) and I must say it actually worked. She got better very soon after. I think this whole ordeal lasted a couple of days and I was desperate. It is a good thing that she didn't have any other symptoms. Talk about a miracle cure! And I definitely don't believe in that sort of stuff.

Our vet sure has a few tricks up his sleeve. He has also prescribed activated charcoal (also a brand for humans) when I was afraid the doggies had swallowed some raisins. You must know that grapes and raisins should not be given to dogs. Some dogs eat several without issues, while others have serious problems because of just one. Luckily, our poochies hadn't actually eaten any. I also gave Aschiuta charcoal when she ran away from home and dumpster dove around the supermarket nearby. Just for precaution, the charcoal is supposed to absorb any bad chemicals my crazy pooch must have eaten.

I didn't eat nuttin'!

I hope you have such attentive and resourceful vets too and may you and your pets stay healthy!

23 March 2019

Social issues

How are Aschiuta and Nightmare getting along? Oh, just fine. Aschiuta is Nightmare's best friend, only Aschiuta doesn't know it.

Introducing Nightmare to Aschiuta

Aschiuta had always been an only pet and she was also somewhat spoiled (yes, our fault). She had also started to fight easily with other dogs, which is why she hasn't been able to socialise much.

When Nightmare first came in our home, she was kept in the kitchen and Aschiuta in the living room. We knew that if they got to meet, all hell might break loose. We worked from home as much as we could those days, to help them accommodate.

My husband made a sort of barrier in the living room doorway out of a chair, boxes and a clothes dryer so the dogs could see each other, but not make actual contact. Things were ok so we moved to the next step. Nightmare's first visit to the living room.

We were of course both there, with treats for everyone. Aschiuta was the queen of the bed, so she would need to understand that Nightmare was welcome there as well. Little by little, they eventually both ended up on the bed, getting pets and treats from us.

It took quite a few visits like this until they could both get along without supervision. Aschiuta also visited the kitchen where Nightmare was living. She even tried to steal her food, which we discouraged. I will admit, I sometimes gave them different kibble and that might have sparked some fights, but they eventually understood that each has her own bowls and they would get the same food and the same treats.

The dog fights

There have been fights unfortunately. Some just because Aschiuta was angry about Nightmare for some reason, some for territory dominance and some for treats. Something we hadn't noticed at first was that Nightmare would try to store her treats away somewhere instead of eating them on the spot. Aschiuta would then find the treats and fight Nightmare for them.

The fights never left any serious damage. I think they mostly barked and tried to lightly nick each other's faces. We were always there to break off the fights, holding them both at arm's length by the nape until they calmed down. I think their fights hurt me more than it hurt them. Lately, the fights have been very rare and we are happy for that. We also always make sure Nightmare eats her treats, rather than trying to hide them in my potted plants.

Getting along

We are happy to say that they now get along quite well, Nightmare still gets Aschiuta annoyed when she is too jumpy and Aschiuta doesn't like to play with Nightmare much, but they are definitely on the right track.

Sharing the couch

11 June 2018

Choosing a name

You took a dog in off the streets and decided to take care of it for a few days. You figure the usual commands you use for the other dog in the family should work for the new one as well. Ok, good. But then you need to use a name before the command, so that the dogs know who is supposed to follow it. What do you name a "temporary pet"?

I called her Girl a lot at first, as well as Negruta (Romanian for Blackie) because she reminded me of another black dog called Negruta. The people at the vet clinic called her Blackie. Then we realised we would be keeping her for longer, so we sat down to think about the name properly.

Of course, Negruta and Blackie are all valid regular names for a female black dog, right? Nope, my husband doesn't do regular pet names. His two cats (now his mother's cats) are called DJ (short for Destroyer of toys, but in Romanian) because he always broke his toys and Pitica (the English equivalent would be Tiny one) because he rescued her as a kitten and she was very small and frightened. Our first dog is called Aschiuta (which means Little splinter) because she chewed on wooden table legs until splinters came off. So the new dog also needed a special name.

He must have been brewing his idea for a while, because he immediately said we should call her Nightmare. Why Nightmare? Because the first few nights that she was with us we were so worried about her that we lost a lot of sleep. So she was our little nightmare.

I was reluctant at first, because I was still biased on Negruta, but he convinced me. Now I am very comfortable going around calling her Nightmare and she also seems to have learned it is her name. Of course, people were surprised when they found out about the name (one of our neighbours said to me "Sure, your husband is a rocker, what else do you expect?") - especially the ones who knew how gentle she was - but our friends got used to it as well.

I must say, even if she looks a bit scary, she is the loveliest nightmare we have ever had!

She is a real sweetheart, but people who meet her for the first time are prone to believe she has a nightmarish temper!
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