25 December 2010

Happy Holidays

It's winter and a little chilly. The only snow has fallen and already melted, but we still had some fun in it.

And yes, it's Christmas! Mother and I cleaned the house, we have two fir branches that smell nicely, but are beginning to shed their needles. I went shopping for food, drinks and presents yesterday and today we can enjoy the day off.

Christmas decorations

We bought a little artificial tree a couple of years ago, decorated it nicely with lights, bulbs and wreaths and a little star on top. And we never undecorated it, so this year I took it, dusted it and set it up nicely.

Our little Christmas tree. Donkey sneaked under there too.

Donkey is Scorp's present. It's wearing the "noble steed" armour and helm.

We also have a long cable with red lights that I put around the door frame and on the bookcases. It's hard to walk in when it's plugged in, but it makes a nice light.

Aschiuta's first Christmas

Aschiuta has been especially good today, most likely because Scorp and I were both home and played with her. She even got to greet mom, who was squeamish as usual and didn't let her touch her.

Such a good girl... Maybe Santa has something for her too?

I don't think Aschiuta feels like it's a very important day, and she's sleeping a lot, but I'm thinking of giving her a nice bone to chew on. She loves them.

That was our little Christmas at home, no relatives, because they live far away...

I wish you all a merry Christmas!

23 December 2010

Our new neighbour

There is a new neighbour in the block of flats. He's quiet and doesn't disturb anyone. Even if he's very shy, he easily warms up to nice people and he has a sweet personality. He's not a person though.

Doorstep dogs

I've told you before in the post On the streets that there are a lot of stray dogs where I live but that some people take care of some of them. They are allowed to sit in the entrance of buildings and you might even see a little rug or piece of cardboard put there for them. The pet store is close and you often see dog food in a corner, left by a nice person.

The old black dog

A few weeks ago, we've seen a big black dog sitting outside of the building we live in. It was night and a bit cold, so Scorp opened the door for him to get inside. We've seen that dog a couple of times there again, brought him some food on occasion. He didn't seem too attached to the place though and he came and went.

He's been inside a bit more often when it got very cold, sitting under the letter boxes. Once there were some fries in front of him from someone, but I don't think he ever ate them. He gulped down the kibble I brought him though.

The injury

Some people are simply stupid or mean or both... I'm sad to say that we suspect someone hurt the poor dog when he was inside one time. He has been limping ever since, unable to put his hind paw down. He never barked at anyone, let alone try to bite people. He was like a little old beggar, rolled into a ball, trying to get shelter and warmth and looking at people with sad eyes, hoping to get some food.

I don't know who or how carried him up the stairs to the first floor, but we found him there and he's been there almost every night. I think that when he isn't around, someone living on that floor might have taken him inside.

I was walking up the stairs with Aschiuta one evening after going for a walk. The power was out, so we couldn't take the elevator and it was pitch black. We ran into the old dog and Aschiuta and him started sniffing and wagging tails, because they knew each other. I was trying to walk further in the dark with one crazy dog on a leash and another limping one following us, stumbling and talking to them. A door opened, but nobody came out and they closed it back when I started climbing up to the second floor. Maybe they were worried about the dog... I hope they were taking care of him.

Scorp and I went and left him food a bit more often, but he was hurt and very skinny. We were very sad we couldn't take him in, but my mother can hardly accept Aschiuta, let alone another dog...

I do believe people are also taking care of him, because the floor is clean and they are letting him sleep in front of their doors. And I'm almost sure he can't climb up or down with that leg... So I hope they take him inside sometimes.

It's really sad to see such a lovely dog in that situation, but I'm happy someone is taking care of him and maybe his story will turn into a happier one.

Happy holidays everyone... Don't forget about the less happy among us.

19 December 2010

Dreaming Doggie Dreams

I dream about a lot of strange things. Scorp is always amused when I tell him about my dreams the following day.

You might have heard that we dream every night, even if we don't remember what we dream about or even that we dreamt anything at all. Even more intriguing, they say that we can't go without sleeping for more than a few days. But that is actually because we can't go without dreaming for so long.

But if you think we are the only intelligent enough creatures to have dreams, you're wrong. Animals have been proven to dream, just like we do. You should read this article on the MIT News site for more information.

Aschiuta's dreams

I recently wrote a post about where and how Aschiuta likes to sleep, Beddie-bye with Aschiuta. Now I will tell you about her dreams.

She might dream more often than we know of, but when she moves or whimpers in her sleep, it's quite obvious that she is dreaming.


Aschiuta came from the streets, so who knows what scary things she might have seen then. Maybe she remembered having been left alone in the room when we had to go somewhere. Or who knows, maybe her doggie imagination made up nightmares for her.

Little whimpers from a dreaming doggie
 We usually wake her up when she's having a bad dream and she looks scared and confused at us for a few minutes. Then, when she sees it was all a dream, she goes back to sleep.


Aschiuta loves to run and jump. It's her favourite fun thing to do, wherever she is. So it's only normal she would love a good run while she's dreaming too. It's really funny to see the little paws moving fast, even if she wasn't really going anywhere like that. But somewhere in her mind, she was...


Yes, she dreams of suckling and it's very obvious from the way her lips and tongue move in her sleep. She even makes a little sound. This makes me believe her mommy stayed with her at least for a while and took care of her. I hope these are sweet dreams for Aschiuta.

If you know any other animal dream stories, you are welcome to share yours in a comment. Sweet dreams everyone!

Aschiuta's first snow

Aschiuta is less than a year old and since she was born in spring, she's never seen snow before. Well, this week we had the first snowfall this winter and the snow piled up nicely on the streets and sidewalks.

Naturally, I had to take her out for a feel of her first snow. And I must say she loved it. Well, she loves every walk we take, but she really enjoyed herself running around and sniffing in the snow. My boots aren't rigged, so I was afraid to let her run too much, otherwise I might have fallen on my back. Although I'm sure it might be fun to let her pull me around like a sleigh.

Unfortunately, she managed to chew up part of her little red shirt, so she trembled a little, but all the running kept her warm. I will repair the shirt and might end up taking some pictures to show off her new "outfit".

Some tips about winter care for dogs

It's winter, Christmas is coming and if you've got some snow too, it might just be a great holiday season for your family. If you have a dog, it will probably enjoy the snow too. But you should know a little about how to keep your pet safe.

You can find a lot of useful information about this on the American Kennel Club.

You might sometimes see a cute fluffy dog with a coat, a grannie walking her dogs dressed in homemade knitted sweaters. There are thousands of offers on the internet for dog clothes and coats. It's true that a lot of short-haired breeds need an extra layer to keep warm and if you see your dog is shivering, you should consider dressing them up. You can even try and make something to wear for your dog if you have the necessary skills.

Also, be careful of dangers hidden in the snow. It's true that the white fluffy snow will cover up all the ugly mud and junk, but that doesn't mean it's not still there. Be careful where you walk with your dog and if you see any red pawprints, it's time to check the paws for cuts. Something like this happened when we took Aschiuta to a sunny grassy slope in Brasov. There were some hidden glass shards in the grass and she ran over them a couple of times. After that, she didn't show any sign of pain or discomfort, even if she had a big cut and a few scratches on her paws.

Antifreeze is not good for your dog. To be on the safe side, always wash your dog's paws (and any spots you see dirty) after each walk. Like I said before, I use a very simple sulfur soap that the vet recommended for a skin problem and I've been using it ever since. Also, dry well with a towel and blow dry too, if needed. Aschiuta gets nervous when I turn the drier on, so I reserve that for full body baths.

Other than that, be careful and don't overfeed your dog. Dog obesity is a real problem and you should check with your vet to adjust your dog's diet. Also, be careful what treats and scraps you give to your dog. But more about feeding your dog in another post.

Enjoy the holiday season and may everyone get a nice present from Santa!

12 December 2010

Mommy's little girl?

We've all heard about the Oedipus complex and how children seem to get  more attached to the parent of the opposite sex. It's a simple way of saying that opposites attract and that we admire the people that have what we could never get.

But enough philosophy. I know that I was always closer to my dad, but that's simply because I preferred his personality and attitude to mom's. He was always patient and he didn't treat me like I was a stupid kid. Dad was the fun parent, he read me stories, we played computer games and he forgave my little mischiefs. Mom ,on the other hand, was the one that had to make me do the boring stuff, like eating, baths and homework. So we were arguing a lot back then.

A panicking mommy

Aschiuta was my very first "indoor pampered dog". Before that, the most interaction I got with dogs was feeding and giving water to grandma's guard dogs. The only "making friends" with those dogs was not getting barked at when visiting my grandma.

They kept saying that getting a puppy would be like having to take care of a little kid. I didn't expect it would really be that way, but I was in for a surprise.

When we got her, she was about one or two months old and she probably ate anything she could find. She was sick, nervous and too curious. I was extremely nervous, not knowing how to take care of her and she wasn't potty trained and still not even over the "eat anything that looks edible" stage. I don't think she'll ever be over that one!

She kept me up at night, because whenever she rustled around, I would wake up, worried that she had made a puddle or that she was eating something she shouldn't. Needless to say, I was extremely frustrated and was thinking of giving her away to my grandpa, who lives in a house. But Scorpio convinced me to keep her and I'm glad he did.

The rebel Aschiuta

Since I'd been unemployed and now work from home, Aschiuta had to spend almost all the time with me. Scorpio has to go to work, so they don't get to spend a lot of time together. In a nutshell, I feed her (often make food for her), clean up after her, take her out sometimes and wash her up. Oh, yes, and I play with her too.

But despite all that, I also have to tell her off when she's doing a bad thing, which infuriates her and she bites me, which also leads to more "bad girl, don't do that!". She really has no respect for me and that makes me a bit sad. She's cute and soft and licks everyone else's face, but I get all the bites.
Cheeky little dog.
Now, do you see a resemblance here? I also act that way towards my mom. Well, used to at least. We've become better friends lately. But Aschiuta is exactly like me. Doesn't want to listen to what I say and hates it when I tell her off. But all that rebellious attitude won't stop me from being very fond of her.

Daddy's little girl

And, since she has to be so much like me, she will of course be all over Scorp when he comes home or when he plays with her. He's the leader of the pack and we're both aware of that. He's the fun guy who likes to play with the doggie a lot and get lots of doggie kisses.
Unbelievably good...
But when he gets angry at her doing something bad, she really stops what bad thing she was doing and makes the "sorry, I won't do it again" face. But of course we don't believe her. She's a rebel doggie after all... She's only a good girl when she sleeps.

11 December 2010

Beddie-bye with Aschiuta

Aschiuta is a very energetic doggie - she jumps, runs, chews on things. But when things get calmer, she rolls into a little pretzel and dozes off. On the bed, on the sofa, under the bed, next to the bed, wherever there is room and she feels comfortable.
Aschiuta as a puppy resting on the floor.

The first doggie bed

When we first got the doggie, we put her in a little box with a few old clothes as mattress. But it was a bit too small for her and she kept waking up and shifting around. I found her out of the box quite a few times. Eventually, she ended up on a big pile of dirty clothes and finally had a better sleep (and got the dirty clothes even dirtier).

Carton boxes and old clothes... bed or toy?

We found her a bigger box, then another even bigger box and put a nice pile of clothes in there for her. Unfortunately, the box was carton and apparently yummy for our dog/goat/rabbit. She kept chewing on the edges and trying to yank the box around. It was messy and annoying. Not to mention the fact that she always stole the clothes and ran around with them and swept the floor with them.

The box is now on the balcony, so she can use it when she has to spend the night there.

The first big jump

When Aschiuta was still small, she couldn't jump in bed or on the couch and she was always distressed about this. She saw us sleeping there and wanted to come join us. She saw it was nice and soft, softer than the floor or her bed (she somehow ended up piling the clothes in one spot and sleeping next to them). We always laughed at her as she was wriggling her way up, trying to use us as a ladder.

I always thought that sleeping with the doggie would be a bad idea, because she wouldn't have been able to wipe her paws before hopping in. And I was happy she couldn't jump high enough.
Snore snore.
One day though, she did. She made a run for it and jumped in bed. I shooed her down, but she jumped again. Once she was able to do it, I knew there would be no way she would stay down. I had to visit my mom then and I remember Scorp called me and said "Our little doggie is growing up! Today she jumped in bed on her own. She didn't even have to sprint for it." And that was the beginning of the Doggie Bed Empire.
She likes to make herself comfortable on the bed.

We have a mini bed warmer

She can now stay in bed whenever she wants. We even allowed her on the sofa, cleared half of it for her and now she sleeps there half of the time. She used to eat up the stuffing that came out between the cushions (it's a very old sofa), but I covered it with a blanket and she can't reach it easily anymore.

As for the bed time, she keeps our feet and backs warm. She usually sleeps as soon as we go to bed, or at about 9 pm, like a good little girl. I'm surprised that lately, when we left her alone in the room for a few hours, we found her napping. It might mean that she's finally getting over her separation anxiety. I sure hope so.
Happily napping... Not a care in the world.
 She can sleep in a lot of different positions. She can stretch her paws out until she's half the length of the bed, she can curl into a ball or even nap on her back. A friend told us this means she feels safe, otherwise she wouldn't expose her belly like that. And she even stayed like that when we went to Brasov. I guess home really is where your loved ones are.
She woke up for the photo, but that was her sleeping position.
Now, the only problem with doggie on the bed is that she can get the sheets a bit dirty with her paws, even if we do wash them every time after going out. Doggies will be doggies... And they will always leave pawprints.

5 December 2010

Chapter 1. When I opened my eyes

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It was suddenly cold. I felt torn away from the warmness that had surrounded me ever since I became at least barely aware of my environment. I was sitting on something hard and I was being pulled towards it, no longer floating. It was nauseating. I had a strange feeling of being too small in something too big all of a sudden. Too big and too alien.

Suddenly, something warm brushed against my muzzle. It felt almost familiar and I reached for it. Yes, it was a small part of the home I had just been expelled from. My instincts told me to take it in my mouth and suckle. It was wonderful... It was peace.

I can't remember when I had fallen asleep or when I woke up. I tried to push myself against the familiar warmth, but it was gone. No way, where was it? I pushed my body forward, trying to find it again, but nothing. I began whimpering. I was alone again.

The big warm body came back a bit later, reassuring, solid... I cuddled against it and went back to sleep.

The same kept happening for a while, I ate and slept and woke up and ate again. I started calling the warm thing Mother and she nuzzled her big muzzle against my back. I think she was happy that I called her that. And that was maybe why she kept coming back to care for me.

After a while that seemed forever, something new changed, something that left me even more confused than the first time. I could... see and smell. There were colours, there was light and I could see Mother now. And not only see, but smell too. I learned to associate a smell to an image and the feeling it gave me... And I wanted to know more!

I started taking my first steps. Mother was watching me patiently as I struggled to wobble to her on my own four paws, ending up falling on my nose when I finally reached her. She licked my back in appreciation. I realised something then... I loved Mother. It was a strange feeling, mixed with need and admiration. She was my universe and I depended on her completely.

4 December 2010

The doggie hits the road

How far away is your vet? Do you need to grab a bus to the closest park? Maybe you want to go on holiday and bring your pooch along.
She wants us to take her with us when we leave. Sometimes, we do.
There are many ways to travel with your dog, the most common being the walk. But if you have a long way to go, you might need to go by bus or car. And there is something that can prove a big problem if you don't know about it: dogs can get motion sickness, just like children.

Motion Sickness - Preventing and Symptoms

You're in a car or bus with your dog and it suddenly starts salivating and panting and looking pretty uneasy in general. Then you might see again that quick lunch you gave to your dog before going on the trip.

It is embarrassing if you're in public transportation and people start turning their noses at you and your sick puppy. It happened to me and I was caught by surprise. I had some tissues to clean everything up, but an old man still thought it was his duty to scold me about it. If you can, try to take your dog in your own car, rather than public transportation.

I used to get motion sickness all the time as a kid too. My parents' car was the "ride of doom and nausea" for me. I remember I used a lot of things to make it better, from menthol to rubbing my wrists. Fresh air is the best though. And no eating in the car. I eventually grew up and didn't get sick anymore.

So how can you help your dog feel better in a car? Web MD has 10 tips to prevent dog nausea. Among them, some of the most useful are keeping your dog in a carrier and not feeding it too much before the ride. An important rule seems to be that the dog should get used to going for car rides, but I haven't tried that, as I don't have a car yet.

Also, there is medicine that prevents nausea, but if you want to try something natural, ginger has had proven effects on humans too and menthol is also recommended. You could make or buy dog biscuits with menthol in them.

Train is the way to go!

This summer, we decided to visit Scorp's mother for a nice holiday in the mountains. Since my own mother, who lives with us, doesn't have the time and patience to take care of our doggie, we took Aschiuta with us.

Of course, she got sick on the taxi, there was no helping that. But we always have a plastic bag and tissues with us now. Always pack these things, plus water and some food and even a toy for your dog when you go for longer trips.

The four-hour trip was going to be by train (I don't think dogs are allowed on the bus) and we were hoping Aschiuta wouldn't get sick there too. We bought her a dog ticket (half the normal price, just like my student ticket) and we were on our way.

She was very nervous during the trip and we had to sit on the hallway with her, but she wasn't sick at all and she didn't get the floors dirty. She did try to get out whenever the train doors opened, but it was alright in the end. Everyone liked her, since she is very friendly and cute.

The return trip was a bit better, as she eventually calmed down and napped a bit next to us.

More about the Brasov holiday in another post.