I don’t know about you guys, but between the (almost) end of the world, the holidays, and some snow shoveling, December was one busy, where-the-heck-did-it-go month around these parts.
Allow me to give you the highlights. Or, if you prefer, the blooper reel. In no particular order, the dogs I did the following:
Played in the snow. Fell down in the snow. Shoveled the snow into his face so Boogie could eat the snow mid-air.
Also: After recovering from a serious collar-buying addiction, now I only indulge my habit once a year at Christmas. Boogie gets a custom martingale, and Birdie gets a flat, buckle collar. Last year, Boogie and Birdie got matching collars from Preston, a New England company. 2012 was the year of the preppy alligator.
For 2013, we decided to switch coasts (B+B are jet setters like that) and order our collars from California-based Sirius Republic. I couldn’t decide on a matching set, so we went individual-styles this year.
Boogie will spending 2013 as a lumberjack:
Birdie will be spending 2013 in a ring of love birds:
Speaking of loving Birdie, I signed her up for a Nose Works class this winter. It starts in February and I’m looking forward to our girls night out together. If the class is a good fit, maybe I’ll let Boogie get in on the fun (ew, boys!) in the Spring.
One of the reasons Birdie gets to go to class first is because she’s a senior citizen. This winter she’s turning 11 and in preparation for her forthcoming geezer-ness, Birdie decided to get really drunk the other week. Or at least, that’s what it looked like when she suddenly started walking like her legs were made of rubber. One minute: sober as a judge. Next minute: falling over drunk.
It looked like something was misfiring in her brain, so I called the vet, blubbered, and drove 85 mph to the office. By the time we got there, she wasn’t falling over like a narcoleptic goat, but she was stumbling and her eyes were vibrating (nystagmus). Bloodwork, x-rays, and hours of observations later, Birdie was once again walking a straight line and her eyes were ok. All the tests came back: healthy. With no clear diagnosis, we decided on a run of prednisone to clear up any possible inflammation. We just wrapped the meds up the other day and so far, so good.
Although, as you can imagine, I’ve hidden the key to the liquor cabinet and I’m watching the Bird Dog like a hawk.
If you’re wondering, it’s possible that this was Old Dog Vestibular Disease, but the vet wasn’t totally convinced (her symptoms weren’t severe enough to warrant a clear diagnosis). We just have to wait and see. Fun! But I did read this helpful article from Bark Magazine, just in case.
So, speaking of being petrified and worrying about bad things, I decided to use Legal Zoom to help me draw up a Pet Protection Agreement, just in case you-know-what-happens to me and the husband. I felt like a lunatic doing it, but for $40 bucks I bought myself some peace of mind knowing that if you-know-what-happens to me and the husband, the care and guardianship of our pets is clearly spelled out in a legal document. Asking family and friends to be the “guardians” of our various pets (we have 2 dogs, 3 cats) was one of the weirder emails I’ve ever written to my crew, but I’ll do anything to ward off the heebie jeebies.
Well, that’s not a very fun way to wrap things up, so let me tell you about some good stuff coming very soon in the new year:
I’ve been working with the cool kids at Design Lab Creative Studio to come up with a couple of fab things for y’all. I don’t want to spill ALL the beans, but there’s a new poster, new handouts, and even a new-ish site coming in Jan/Feb of 2013. I don’t think it’s going to start a revolution, but I’m very excited to give you guys better quality tools and a really cool poster! It’s almost done, so bear with me as we finish up the last steps and then I’ll take you guys on a walking tour of all the new stuff.
And I know that on our daily walks it may not seem like the world is getting the DINOS message, but on this last day of 2012, let me leave you with this nugget:
Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest privately owned veterinary practice in the United States, has added a DINOS-related page to their website and will be releasing a beautifully done DINOS handout in the new year. Banfield has an enormous client-base, including lots of first time dog owners and folks with puppies, so I’m very excited about the DINOS message spreading to this new audience. Every day, in ways that are big and small, the message of responsible and respectful dog ownership is making its way into more conversations. Change is slow to take hold, but it is happening.
On that note: Thank You! Team DINOS (that’s you guys!) is made up of such incredibly smart, compassionate people. Your thoughtful comments, your resourceful tips, and your funny jokes are what makes this all possible! Thank you for being such an important part of the conversation and making this wacky project a pleasure for me to work on. I appreciate your support – the big hearts and the big laughs – so very much.
Happy New Year everyone – may 2013 be the Year of Safe, Happy Dog Walking!