Daisy & Bailey

Looks like I skipped a few years, although the plan was to add an update every January for the duration of (at least) Daisy’s life. I hate to appear flakey! Well, I will try to make up for the missing entries this time around I guess.

Where to start… Lots have happened in Daisy’s world in the past three years. After Barney’s tragic death in July 2015, as a family, we could not even fathom having another dog around, ever again. We memorialized Barney on the bedroom dresser with his collar the clay of his paw print our vet gave us, and the wooden box of his ashes; we made his various pictures our lock screen slides, changed our passwords to combinations of tidbits of information about him, put a memory stone in the back yard where he used to like to sleep in the shade… The pain of his ruthless absence was so persistent, so unbearable that we attempted to help lighten the weight of loss by infusing the tangible shadows of his life into all corners of our days.

Grief is an interesting process in that the pain of the significant loss never really goes away, but the grip of it loosens over time, to allow for more freedom to do what used to be unimaginable. The reminders of him are still all over our lives today, but by fall of 2016, we had started to talk about rescuing a dog that would draw a straight line between his death and a life-giving act… May be an subconscious effort to attempt to erase death, his death from our lives. At a leisurely pace, we registered with lab rescue organization and casually, over the weekends, started to visit the local Humane Society websites.

The first serious attempt was in November 2016, when a big beautiful lab called us to meet him. While we were making arrangements to meet him in person, from the pictures, his story, and what his foster mom was telling us over the phone about him, we were so convinced he was our boy that we even named him Hank. Hank was homeless when he was found, had been starving and had heart worm that needed treatment. All good with us; we have plenty of food, love, and means to provide medical care to make it work for him. We so wanted to rescue Hank! We drove over an hour to meet him at his foster home with Daisy. We wanted to make sure we got Daisy’s OK for Hank too; but knowing Daisy’s easy going, friendly demeanor, we really had no concerns. We had an extra leash and harness for Hank, because we was surely coming home with us and we wanted to make sure we were well prepared, Incase what he was currently using needed to stay with the foster family.

Hank watched us park the car through the glass door of his foster home. We immediately started our expected “ooo”s and “awww”s even before we turned off the engine. He looked regal, handsome, and ours… from afar. We put on Daisy’s harness and leash, and got her out the car; which is when Hank started growling from inside the house. By the time his foster mom got him on a leash and came out to meet us, Hank looked like he was ready to eat Daisy. Poor Daisy did not understand what was happening. She kept looking at us and Hank, appearing to ask if we were also seeing what was happening. Coming down the little hill from the foster home door to the road, the foster mom had a hard time trying to hold on to Hank while he kept his eyes trained on Daisy, canine teeth showing with a murderous expression and a terrifying growl. He kept charging toward Daisy, which shocked all the humans. The foster mom kept apologizing and reiterating that he has been a gentle, sweet soul, with no prior indication of any form of aggression if any kind before in as many different ways as she could, as fast as she could.

We decided to go for a walk all together, to see if he would calm down. Daisy kept trying to put at least one human between herself and Hank, never leaving him out of her sight. After a 30 minute walk in the cold, dark neighborhood, Hank still tried his best to get to Daisy and Daisy still seemed terrified, so we accepted that we were screened out by Hank; he just did not want to live with this particular configuration. The four young kids of the foster home were thrilled, so it is also possible that he knew he belonged with his kids and that family, so that was what he was communicating.

After the Hank adventure, we fell back to casual, half-interested search. On Martin Luther King day in January 2017, we woke up to the last day of the long weekend. Sipping the morning coffees, discussing which movie to see later in the day, we pulled up Humane Society website. Immediately a black-and-white mutt, with striking honey colored eyes and very similar to Daisy’s expression caught our eye. He was called Arrow. We thought he would fit in nicely with the rest of our household…After all, we had a black-and-white Daisy, and a black-and-white grumpy old man called Phoenix.

Phoenix
Daisy

After Daisy’s all-important and routine walk and fetching games, we went to meet Arrow. When we mentioned him at the front desk of the Humane Society, they said someone had just adopted him, that his papers were being processed so we could see him, but that we missed the chance to adopt him. Seeing our faces fall and feeling a certain amount of pressure to find good homes for their residents, the staff member asked us to walk around and see if another dog catches our eye. We met Seymour during this tour, a 7 year old small, wiry, terrier type pooch. He was very cute, with huge ears. He was shy but it did not take long for him to settle comfortably on our lap. The staff member encouraged us to seriously consider him, as he had not had luck with others who wanted to meet him. We reluctantly agreed to give it a try; but as soon as he left to get Seymour’s papers, among tears and apologies and some significant distress, we had to inform him that Seymour was not the right dog.

Heart-broken, we went to the car when the cell phone started dinging in response to incoming texts. Out of the blue, our dog sitter who takes care of our kids when we travel was sending us a listed dog’s information. The family could not take care of her anymore and they were looking to sell her. The timing of this was so bizarre that we decided to go meet her. When we asked for more information about the contact information of the owners so we could make arrangements, in addition to the contact information, the picture of a cute little yellow lab came back. Wow!

We went home, called the owners, made an appointment. The owner said the little lab’s name is Daisy too, and that she is 8 months old. He said they had to move to an apartment and that they had another dog in addition to two kids, so they did not have room for little Daisy anymore. Later that day, we took our Daisy and hit the road again. We found them in an apartment complex. The two Daisy’s immediately met each other with wagging tails. The next thing we knew, they were chancing balls with equal enthusiasm, but without any tension between them. Whoever ran faster during that round brought back the ball, the other one simply followed. The little Daisy was equally warm and friendly with us immediately. We were sold! No further information about anything was asked; with no idea about health history, shot records, training experience, we wrote a check… Which is never advisable and not very smart, but who cares, we had found our kid! When it was time to get in the car and go home with our girls, it was hard to see the family’s apparent distress that they were trying so hard to hide from us. They really did love their Daisy, and if they could think of a way, I am certain they would keep her.

The trip home was uneventful. The first challenge for little Daisy was the request for her to go through the narrow space through the garage to get in to the house. It took some work but she did it. She walked around, sniffing everything, including Phoenix, which was not appreciated at all. She was anxious and jumpy for a long while. Very shortly after we noticed how bloated her tummy was, she threw up large amount of dog food. Afterwards, when we got to know her a little, it was not hard to see how she probably ate her dinner, then got into the food bag for more when no one was looking. When it was bed time, big sister Daisy gave her crate to the little Daisy, as the “after the fact texts” with her past owners revealed that she does not settle down at night unless she is confined. She had some hesitation about the crate, but it was not a big deal once we put in freshly washed quilt and towels that did not smell like our Daisy. She laid down in the crate, which was when I saw little ripples in her tummy. We immediately texted again, with the old owners, to ask if it was possible that she was pregnant. He said she was never in heat, so it was not possible. He had a convoluted story about how she had no vet records, but that she was healthy and had all the shots; so the next day immediately she paid a visit to our vet. She got all her shots, and the mystery of the little ripples in her belly was solved. She was full of round worms! We had to let the old owners know as they had a toddler and an infant in the same tight space with little Daisy for a long time. That was the last message we sent, as we did not get a response back… May be, in our efforts to try to be helpful, we offended them? We will never know. It took a while to get this little girl totally healthy, but we never regretted adopting her one second. Along the way, we changed her name to Bailey, so the two girls did not have the same name.

Bailey

Bailey quickly fell in love with Daisy and started cuddling. Daisy became her role model, her best friend, her wrestling, fetching and tugging buddy very quickly. Every once in a while Daisy told her off in the beginning, but they figured it out. Now 99% of the time, she seems to enjoy Bailey thoroughly.

There is nothing quite like stretching out together on the bed with your best friend every morning.

And then, Daisy sometimes wants to have space; her own bed for a short amount of time. She does not want to have to share her space with anyone! During these moments, Phoenix’s beds come to her rescue; and she has no concerns about appearances!

Daisy is still the champ of fetching, at age five. The two year old Bailey starts fast, not allowing Daisy to get any balls, but it’s almost like Daisy knows Bailey’s endurance can’t compete with hers. She lets Bailey get the ball while she just enjoys the run after it. Half way through, when Bailey starts slowing, everything changes. She starts getting most, if not all of the balls, running back and forth just as fast as it was the first ball throw of the day!

This year Daisy need a teeth cleaning for the first time… First sign she is not a young pup any more. Every once in a blue moon the thought of how she is going to age and leave us one day crosses my mind; it takes my breath away. I quickly change the subject in my head, refocusing on the moment’s joy and how thankful I am that she is a healthy, happy little girl. She is so loved, she is so precious to us!

Happy New Year! Wishing everyone peace and a kind world in 2019.

Daisy Turned 2!

01/10/2016

2015 started just fine… Daisy and Barney were happy, healthy pups, up to their usual playfulness with their balls, toys, chews. Barney continued training Daisy diligently on the art of retrieval, until she became as enthusiastically competent as any retriever! She could even get to the ball before Barney about half the time and bring it back, leaving him running after her.

Spring brought flooding into our area and our home. The disruption in the household did not seem to bother the two at all. In fact, being a water dog, Barney was having a blast splashing through the cumulating water in our basement. Of course, immediately Daisy picked up the game. So for a while, we were sweeping the water out while the two dogs chased the running water in front of us, biting at it as though they could actually catch it! Best game ever!

With the heat of the summer, things settled back down, to the pups’ dismay. Beginning of July, Daisy’s household was marked by the worst kind of disaster. July 8th started as it always did. The two of them had their breakfast first thing in the morning. Barney appeared to have some tummy problems, which was not unusual. He threw up a little, but he appeared fine until he went for his morning outing. He did not want to run and play that morning, which was alarming. By the time he got to the doctor’s office, he could not even walk. X-rays did not show anything, but his condition prompted an emergency surgery. When they went in, they found a perforation… One small piece of the hoof he was chewing the day before was all that was found in his bowels that could have possibly caused this. The vet was amazed and said in the many years she has been practicing, she removed pretty unbelievable things from dogs’ guts, but this is the very first hoof… And it was so small! She suspects that there was already an ulcer at that spot, so when the piece was passing through, it just sliced the tissue open. They did everything humanly possible. He even pulled through this difficult surgery, but as they were getting ready to transfer him to an ICU, he left us.

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We like to think Daisy’s brother is still with us, still watching over her.

 

 

For about a month Daisy kept looking for him everywhere. While home, she hung her head and was not into any type of play.

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Apparently dog grief looks very much like human grief.

It was heart wrenching when she would start crying and clawing the window in the car whenever we saw a yellow lab walking while we were driving some place… Or if we saw one while we were walking, there was no holding on to her; she would dash to the other lab, followed by a very visible confusion and distress.

Exactly a month after our devastating loss, Daisy decided she was ready to play. She brought the ball she was so disinterested the day before, dropped it in front of my feet, and for the first time, started waging her tiny tail! Oh what relief! Ever since, she honors her brother with her immeasurable joy in playing their ball games every day… Rain or snow, we are out there playing. She is perfecting her skills catching ball in the air, before it even hits the ground. To be perfectly fair, she does a lot better when she is newly groomed and does not have to see through her shaggy hair that fall over her incredibly long eye lashes.

Recently, she decided that there is merit in the use of pillows on the bed.

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Before we all retire, she hops on the bed and warms up the spot for us.

At age 2, Daisy is a playful, gentle, fluffy cuddle bug. There is very little she enjoys more than snuggling and listening to the murmuring statements of her humans about how pretty and smart she is, as she puts her front paw on our sholder, opening up for a nice long belly rub.

She watches TV with her humans, but it can be distressing for her. She is incredibly visual, leaving her sense of scent to be her fall back strategy. She gets upset when there is a dog on TV, feeling incredulous that they would invade her space without permission. On the other hand, when guests bring their dogs, after a proper greeting that consists of smelling butts, she is happy to share all her very precious toys… Except for her piggy. Piggy was Barney’s favorite toy and now Daisy sleeps with it. That one is not allowed to be out when there are others around who won’t understand. When she decides she is ready to go into her crate at night to receive her cookies  she enjoys right before bed, she takes her piggy with her and cuddles with it for a while. When all the lights are off, she may leave her crate, to find a cooler spot in the house, but every night starts with a visit with her piggy.

Next year, Daisy hopes to provide more heart-warming stories of joy in good health!

 

 

Daisy’s Life

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Daisy… Daisy Elisabeth was born in November 2013. Right at 8 weeks and 3 days, she was 12.4 lbs as she made the difficult car ride home from his place of birth. She got home, met Barney, her older brother (a 2 year old yellow lab). Then she went to her first doctor visit to be examined and get her shots. She got a clean bill of health, and was admired by her doctor, and her son who was there for a school project. Imagine this 8-9 year old adorable boy, with a stetescope around his neck, examining an 8 week old sheepadoodle puppy! On her way back home, Daisy just could not take the stress of the incredibly eventful day and got sick in the car. In hindsight, if I had to do this again, I would not have taken her to the vet the same day she is making a huge transition by coming home! After a bath and a nap (in her crate for the first time) though, she bounced back quickly and was ready for her dinner. She got her second wind after dinner and played with her new parents and brother vigorously for a long time. She enjoyed her brother’s good natured sharing of his very precious ball, and learned that chomping down on others’s paws as hard as she can is not appreciated and is not a good strategy in her efforts to make friends. After some gentle brushing, she was ready for bed and was back in her crate without a fuss. She woke up one time at 3am for her potty break, but otherwise she was used her crate as though she has been sleeping there since she was born! Today she is having a mellower day and sleeping a lot. In the afternoon she will be joining her whole pack for a leisurely walk in our favorite park and play some ball… and practice “come,” which she seems to get already! What a good natured, adaptive, beautiful little girl we have!

Daisy & Barney

12/26/2014

Daisy is one year old! She went through kindergarten equivalent “puppy playtime” and puppy trainings 1 and 2. Now she knows numerous commands but unfortunately falls prey to the ruthless claws of selective deafness at times. This condition takes hold especially when there are playful dogs and squealing excited and friendly humans around.

Before Daisy reached her current size, she was frequently confused with Portuguese Water Dog and Bearded Collie. Now she looks somewhat like an Old English Sheepdog, but not quite, attracting a lot of attention and social interaction to solve the mystery. Pet names that were so perfect for her due to her short legs and fluffy, round little body such as “tumbleweed” no longer fit, as she is a tall girl now! From both her sheepdog and standard poodle origins, she has an impressive size, but thanks to her poodle genes, she is not as heavy as you would expect. She stands both longer and taller than Barney, her 3 year old yellow Labrador retriever brother, but she is about 6 lbs lighter.

Despite Barney’s size disadvantage that has become apparent in the past two months or so, the sun still rises and set with him for Daisy. Over the course of the year, Barney won Daisy’s heart as a favorite playmate, teacher, protective big brother, and cuddle buddy. Don’t get me wrong, she loves and interacts with every human and animal around with warmth, kindness and playfulness that has made her a favorite of a lot of our friends, their children and pets; but it is evident Barney is her guy. They both show signs of distress when they are separated for a vet visit, they watch each other and are keenly aware of each other’s exact location at all times in the house, at the park, and during walks with two separate handlers taking two separate paths with them… Being a sheepdog that she is, it has to be said that in an ideal world, her whole pack would walk together in very specific formations that would allow her to keep an eye on everyone all at once, but if this proves impossible due to unfortunate failures of unruly humans who just won’t listen to her, being close to Barney at all times makes it all better!

Daisy

There were some health issues that needed some attention over the past year. Daisy got some yeast infection that required twice daily ear washes… Neither Daisy nor her humans were fans. But because we caught it early and followed the doctor’s orders religiously, we were able to get through it fairly quickly and with no damage to her ears. In the past month or so, she started itching all over, so now she is on antihistamines to see if allergies is the cause. If this does not solve the problem, we are told she will have to take some other medication for mites… MITES! They did not find any in their skin tests but the doctor says it’s very easy to miss the microscopic buggers. Let it be allergies, please, let it be allergies! I am getting a humidifier for the bedroom, increasing her daily fish oil amount (which is suppose to help with joint and skin/coat issues) and increasing her brushing to two times a day from one time. Also, after she is half way through her current 30lbs puppy food bag, there will be a slow transition to Barney’s grain free dog food… May be it is food allergies?

Talking about coats, it has to be said that I have never seen anything like Daisy’s coat. She collects all sorts of twigs, seed pods, small animals in her coat and brings them home. There are some well manicured parks where this is not a problem, but in wilder areas where she can be off leash and be a dog, her coat gathers amazing evironmental samples! She does not wear her coat any longer than may be one to one and a half inches, but wow! The storage capacity of that coat is mind blowing! She then has to be thoroughly brushed with a small bucket next to her, to collect whatever comes out of her, and a bath helps her and her humans feel better. We are so thankful she actually likes baths.

I keep saying she is fun and playful, but I have not mentioned the favorite games of Daisy’s first year of life. She is a very fast runner, so whenever she can chase Barney or have him chase her is a good day. Barney is obsessed with his ball and playing fetch, as expected from a retriever. So to get him to chase her, she steals his ball and plays keep away so he chases her… Pretty darn smart, don’t you think? She likes to fetch too, when Barney is not in the mood for a chase. After getting their initial energy out with long distance fetches (Chuck-it is a miraculous toy that makes this possible), we play some impulse control games like making one wait while asking the other one go get the ball, or dropping the ball half way so the other one can pick it up to bring it all the way, etc. Being the older and more experienced dog, Barney outshines Daisy in his consistency to understand and follow commands for these complicated situations. But Daisy really enjoys getting praises when she completes her tasks, so she tries very hard and never gives up until she hears that happy sound, calling her a “good girl, Daisydoodle!” Whenever she hears that, her head lifts higher, her tiny tail starts wagging like crazy and she prences around, doing her victory rounds. Tug of war is another favorite game with Barney. Whereas Barney plays tug of war with humans as well, Daisy spares that privilege only for Barney. She does not even engage with other dogs for tug of war, she just lets others have the toy and walk away. I tried to show her that it’s OK to play this game, but I think she confuses this with her training principle that everything belongs to humans, so if you are asked to give something up, you have to give it up and walk away… We will keep working on it, hopefully without spoiling her good manners. Last but not least, her delight in shreading squeaky toys to get to the squeakers to chew on them like gum needs to be mentioned. Daisy loves the squeakers; Barney loves to shread, so sometimes we have a tag team going, making keeping up with the toy supply very expensive and the house look messy at all times. The delight they experience during this somewhat destructive game makes everything worthwhile. Plus, I like to think that because they have toys to do this, they have never damaged any furniture, shoes, or articles of clothing like I hear some other dogs sometimes do.

Well, this is the update of Daisy’s first year. I have to stop here, because I have two pairs of beautiful, impatient brown eyes looking at me. It is time for our morning outing!