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Archive for the ‘Kane’ Category

… and the next you’re rushing to the vet.

I took Kane out at lunch today, like normal. But, unlike normal, he was very whiny. And he only peed a little. Then the walked a few feet down the street and peed a little again. Then repeat. Then, he was peeing nothing but blood.

We just moved back here, and I wasn’t happy with our vet when we lived here before. I had an appointment with a holistic vet booked for next week, for his yearly checkup, but we ended up going today instead. After running tests on his urine, they told me he didn’t have an infection or kidney stones. But, he did/does have a mass and/or swelling/inflammation in his urethra, which is where the blood is coming from.

This is the picture that made my heart stop. Because it could be cancer. Or, it could be nothing.

That little, grey splotch is so huge.

The vet put him on a holistic diet, and prescribed three herbal compounds to alleviate the swelling and inflammation. The hope is that this mass is nothing but some excess fluid, which the diet and herbs will flush out. That’s the best case scenario. I am sending every vibe possible out into the universe, willing that this inflammation subside in a day or two. I’ll take a sick Kane if that’s all I can get. But I’d much, much rather have this sharp, energetic, and hilarious man instead.

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Revel in the Small Things

He has hundreds of dollars worth of dog toys, yet chewing on a $.79 water bottle makes him absolutely blithe.

Thanks for the reminder to revel in the small things, Kane.

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When Kane was 4 months old, he met a spunky 6-month old German shepherd at the park named Olive. It was love at first sight. There was no hesitation, no shyness, no boundaries. They were drawn to each other as if by magnetism, wrestling and biting and running around. Their chemistry was undeniable.

Two friendships were born that day. That was also the day I met one of my dearest friends, Olive’s mom, Christine.

Because Christine and I became friends, Olive and Kane were able to continue their friendship. They grew up together at the park and the beach at in each other’s homes.


They’ve grown up into two incredible, strong-willed, and memorable dogs. Some may believe that dogs aren’t capable of friendships. I totally disagree. Kane and Olive are different with each other than they are with anyone else. If any other dog approached either of them with the familiarity they’re entitled to with each other, there would be trouble. (What would you do if someone other than your partner/spouse greeted you with a pat on the bottom?)

When I was in middle school, my dad told me that a person is lucky if they leave this world with one true friend. Kane and Olive share a closeness that most humans search their entire lives for. It’s a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Olive moved to Manhattan in January, and I know Kane misses her. This weekend he was lucky enough to have her visit for a few days while Christine attended to family matters. They joy in their eyes was unmistakable.

 


They may not be capable of having a sense of time or distance, but their friendship surpasses those anyway.

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Kane and I miss a lot about our old home. Our friends, our walking and running routes, our dog parks, our endless amounts of solo time in our teensy tiny apartment. And the water. Oh, how we miss being near the water. For years, we were within a 15 minute drive of a beach, a river, and a lake. And boy, we loved it.

It’s hotter than Hades here recently, and we’ve both missed being able to get in the water. Until, a girl I met at the dog park tipped me off to a quiet little section of the James River that’s very dog friendly.

We spent the better part of Sunday morning there. Wading around, hopping from river rock to river rock, and chasing a water toy (him, not me). Enjoying the stillness and the smell of life that only a large body of water can emit.

It was glorious. It was the first time I felt a little bit “home” since I’ve moved.

It was a good feeling.

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Last Thursday morning didn’t start off great for me. I woke up late, which meant my running trail was going to be more populous (meaning there may be ONE other patron besides me…two’s a crowd), and it was humid. Then, when I tried to start my car, guess what? It didn’t start.

As I was peering around under the hood (looking for a mechanic or a genie, I guess), my neighbor came over. She told me she’d seen our old neighbors, who got evicted about a month ago, drive by in the middle of the night, stop at their old house, and drop their dog off in their old yard.

They hadn’t left him any food, water, shelter, nothing.

He came home with me that morning, and for the first time ever, I didn’t care that I wasn’t able to make it to my run.

As far as I know he doesn’t have a name, but Jeff and I’ve been calling him Kip, Little Guy, and The Puppy.

He isn’t as smart (or maybe as eager to learn) as Kane is, so training him is taking more time. Granted, he’s a 10ish month old puppy who’s never been shown any kindness, attention, or instruction. I wasn’t expecting an Einstein out of Little Guy. Still, he’s learned Sit, Down, Walk, Enough, and Stay in a few days. He has a brightness in his eyes that says, “I want to learn! Show me how!”

He’s not staying with us forever; we are at capacity in our small house with 2 adults and 2 big dogs. I hope to have him in a permanent home by next weekend. Going from two to three is a challenge, but he’s been an adorable addition for the last week.

I was a bit nervous about bringing a 10ish month old intact pit bull puppy into a home where there’s already a 2.5 year old male doberman and a female Weimaraner. But you know what? There have been a handful scuffles, but for the most part, things have been peaceful. The two boys can’t get enough of each other. I know Kane’s going to miss his buddy when Kip finds a home.

He’s such a good boy. He really deserves a family who will love him forever.

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I have a confession to make. I break the law, willingly, consciously, knowingly, and without regret, 2 – 3 times a week. I’ve been caught committing my crime red-handed before, and still I don’t care. I know the consequences, and oh, it is so worth it.

Kane and I run the trails at the Cold Harbor Battlefield park a few times a week. It’s hot as Hades, so we go in the early morning. The woods are dense, dark, cool… they’re packed full of bugs and snakes and deer and squirrels… and I’m pretty sure it’s haunted. No matter how much bug spray I soak us with, we leave with a few itchy bites each time. I’ve tripped over the uneven terrain more times than I can count, bruised my toes, strained my knee, twisted my back, and most recently, completely skinned my kneecap and the palms of my hands.

We cannot get enough of it.

My crime is not being clumsy or filthy when I leave. My crime is that, each time we go, as soon as we are out of sight of the ranger station, I let Kane off leash, despite the billions of DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH Department of the Interior signs all over the place, and the wary, watchful eye of the park ranger. For the rest of the run, he has the freedom to do whatever his doggie heart pleases, just as long as he stays within sight. He chases squirrels, deer, pees on numerous and random shrubs, scratches at the dirt trail. Sometimes he just trots along beside or slightly behind me. He is ever ready to warn me of any disturbance in our solitude. We run as a pack: uninhibited and not forced. Natural. Intimate. How Man and Dog have run together for tens of thousands of years.

So, it’s a trail run, and I run it with my dog. What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that I do not eat as primally as I should/could. Having a desk job like mine is just about the most unprimal lifestyle imaginable. But running trails with Kane makes me feel alive, fulfilled, reverent. Being in the woods, moving my body and feeling my surroundings, trusting Nature—both terrain and animal—detoxifies me, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

So I will keep going and I will keep breaking that arbitrary law. I may get ticketed one day and have to pay a couple hundred dollars in fines. To me, that’s a small price to pay for therapy. And if you have access to a wooded trail and a dog (or friend) who you can trust off-leash, I highly recommend you do the same. Grok would want it that way.

(Please note, running with your dog off leash only makes sense if you’re almost 100% sure no one else is on the trail. Subjecting dozens of other hikers to a ginormous doberman is not being a good park steward, nor can you ever be sure any other dogs you encounter will be as friendly as your own.)

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I started Kane as a baby on an e-collar. I know there are a lot of misgivings out there about “shock” or e-collars, so right off the bat let me say that I don’t do clicker and cookie training. I don’t want a cookie monster. I spent way too much money on a highy driven, working Russian dobermann. He’d probably pee on my leg if I tried to convince him to sit by using a clicker. Sure, they’re great for some dogs. Not for mine.

However, I shouldn’t have started his formal training with an e-collar. I didn’t know any better. I loved the e-collar because I had control over him for up to half a mile, and it took the guess work out of giving the appropriate correction.

The ultimate goal of being an effective dog trainer and handler is to use the least amount of force necessary to get the behavior you want. That’s right, the goal is to use little to no force or physical coercion.

How do you do this?

You make your corrections count. That doesn’t mean yelling louder. (A “correction” is a snap of the leash, followed by a verbal “No, sit, stay, whatever.”) If your corrections count and get results on the first application, your dog will respond to less and less of a correction. If you make your point the first time you snap the leash, the next time you’ll be able to snap it less, then less the next time, until your dog responds to a quick tug just as well as he did to the first SNAP.

All dogs should be started with a flat collar. You may only use it for 3 minutes, but give the dog the benefit of the doubt. This also gives you PLENTY of room to move up to more serious collars if your dog doesn’t respond to the correction you give with that one. If it becomes obvious that the dog doesn’t care about the corrections you’re giving, and you’re sure your timing and force is appropriate, then you move up to a different collar. (In order: flat collar, nylon or leather choker, chain choker, pinch, e-collar.)

So anyway, I didn’t do it this way. I started with the Big Kahuna of collars. Using an e-collar should have been the last collar I put on him, not the first. I had no room to move up. If he didn’t respond to the e-collar (which he stopped doing), what would I be able to do instead? Nothing, except get mad. What the e-collar did, especially at such a young age, was to harden him to corrections. It made him collar smart. It made him not care about corrections.

About six months ago I did something I never thought I’d do: I put a pinch collar on him. And you know what? After ONE SESSION of giving firm, appropriate corrections with the pinch collar, I was able to move him back down to a chain choker with FAR better response from him. Last weekend I was able to take him to the vet on a flat collar. (I brought the choker just in case, and it was a good thing I did when a lady brought a rabbit in.)

Your dog should never wonder whether or not you really mean to sit or to stay or to heel. If he does wonder, he won’t do it. And what happens if he doesn’t do it and you let it slide? Sure, you could yank him and yell at him, but the next time you ask him to do whatever, he’ll know that as long as he can tolerate the yank and the yelling, he doesn’t really have to do it.

I see so many people letting their dogs drag them down the street, and then finally get mad and yell and yank the dog back. The far better option is to correct the pulling from the beginning, and to let the dog know it will not be tolerated. The same goes with sitting, staying, laying down, etc.

Make your corrections count. Know your dog. Read your dog. Give him the guidance and the correction he needs to give you what you’re asking for. I guarantee he’ll do his best to give it to you, once he knows exactly what’s expected of him.

On a totally different note, I’ve been thinking about putting some training videos up here. What do you guys think? What would you like to see or learn to do?

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