A.J. Has a Very Long Weekend

June 9, 2014

A.J. had a very long, busy weekend. Greg’s niece invited him to walk in the Relay for Life in Richland, WA Friday night/Saturday morning, and he really wanted to go. The relay is a walk around a track that goes all night, from about 7:00 PM to 8:00 AM. His niece said she’d be there walking all night, and Greg insisted he’d out-walk her. (Technically, the “relay” part means you take turns walking, and your team walks all night. But Greg and his niece both insisted they were each going to do the whole thing on their own.) We’d be staying the weekend with Greg’s mom Lucy and his brother Chuck. We brought A.J. with us, but no dogs are allowed at the track so A.J. was going to have to stay with Lucy and Chuck. We weren’t sure how A.J. would handle that. Continue reading “A.J. Has a Very Long Weekend”

Working on Walking Calmly

Note: As I look back on this journal entry, I see that my future probably is not in dog psychology. A.J. is a very energetic Springer Spaniel who needs tons of exercise and interaction. So while some of what I was guessing at in this entry was probably accurate, a lot of it was just me desperately trying to figure out how to communicate with this crazy young dog.

September 16, 2013

I came up with a new idea as to why A.J. turns into such a monster when he’s on his walks. Maybe he’s overstimulated. His paperwork said he spent all his time in the backyard with no walks. Now, the fact that he’s completely housetrained, wants to spend his time on couches and beds, and wants to walk on my left, all say otherwise. But what could be true is that he spent all or most of his time outside the last couple of months before he was turned over to the shelter. That means he was pretty isolated before he was even a year old. So getting out into the world could really be overwhelming for him, and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. Continue reading “Working on Walking Calmly”

Frustrating Day

September 7, 2013

Today hasn’t been a great A.J. day. He was up around 6:30 and refused to settle down again. (Did I mention that today is Saturday?) I sent him out and went back to bed. About 5 minutes later he started to bark. I didn’t want him to bother the neighbors that early in the morning, so I let him back in. Tried to go back to bed again, he starts licking his foot, shaking, and generally making a nuisance of himself. I finally said “I can’t take it anymore” and got up.

He started his walk pulling on the leash practically right out of the door. Continue reading “Frustrating Day”

A.J. Goes Back to the Vet

August 19, 2013

Today we start A.J.’s third round of antibiotics since we adopted him three and a half weeks ago. Today we went to the vet again because he needed his parvo booster, plus his cheatgrass abscess wasn’t healing up very well. We saw Dr. Frost, the same vet we saw last time. He debated for some time on whether to give the abscess more time or to go back in and clean it out and make sure the cheatgrass really is gone. He finally decided to go back in because the wound was still oozing a little and A.J. was still licking at it, which means it’s still bothering him. Oh yeah, A.J. also has a hot spot on his cheek. Initially I thought he had rolled in something, but when I tried to clean it he freaked out a little, and even after I cleaned it it seemed to come back, so I thought maybe it was oozing something. I was right. Apparently he really freaked out when Dr. Frost tried to shave around the hot spot – A.J. doesn’t like having his face touched. Something else we need to work on.

He was still pretty drowsy when we got home. He made no attempt to jump out of the car. Greg heard heard us come home so he met us at the door. A.J. walked in, leaned up against him, and collapsed at his feet right inside the door. He fell asleep right there and didn’t move again for about 15 minutes. The good thing there was that I took advantage of his sleepiness and numb foot to get his sock on.

Dr. Frost offered to give us some sedatives for him, because right now we have to watch him around the clock to make sure he doesn’t lick his foot or scratch his face. But I declined. We’ll see if I regret that in a day or two. Or an hour or two.

In the meantime he also gave us some anti-itch medicine. He thinks maybe A.J. has some allergies. If he does, hopefully they’re food allergies. But it’s going to take some time to narrow it down to figure out what the problem really is. I have to watch him closely when he eats different things, and also watch closely as soon as he’s done with his anti-itch medicine in a few days and see if there’s any difference in the amount of scratching and licking he does. Hopefully the anti-itch medicine makes him forget about scratching his face. I’ll be surprised if we’re that lucky.

AJ's hot spot
Hot spot on A.J.’s cheek.

A good thing happened today. A.J. made the tiniest bit of progress on our walk this morning. We’re working on focus, and having him look at me and pay attention to me rather than freaking out at everything around him. He still reacted to dogs, but the first time we passed one I had him sit until the dog was out of sight. Then I waited until he looked at me before we’d continue our walk. The first couple of dogs we saw it took a full two minutes for him to look at me. The last time it was less than a minute. Yay!

The Case of the Missing Sock

August 14, 2013

Sorry guys, but men really can be clueless sometimes.

I put a sock on A.J.’s paw to cover up his cheatgrass wound before leaving for my volunteer work so he wouldn’t lick at it all day. Greg and I rode our bikes to town, then Greg came home to work while I worked my volunteer shift. When Greg came to meet me after my shift was over, I asked how A.J. was. Continue reading “The Case of the Missing Sock”

Our First Thunderstorm

August 13, 2013

We had a little bit of a thunderstorm around 3 AM. A.J. did great. He woke me up, but I got up, petted him for a few minutes, went back to bed and we all slept through the rest of the storm. He insisted on getting up at 6:30 again. I was tired, so I just let him out and went back to bed until a little after 7:00. He was fine out there on his own.

When we got back from our morning walk I played with him in the house for a little while, since he can’t get all his exercise outside with his foot still all oozy. Continue reading “Our First Thunderstorm”