January 29, 2005

The Water Dog

Olivia loved being in the water. I'm not sure that all Dalmatian's do, but ours did. She especially loved to run along the shoreline of any lake and dive in and out as she went along. It got to the point that we carried a towel in a backpack whenever we knew that our walk would be along a lake.

We would also bring along some tennis balls. We'd toss a ball in and off would go Liv to fetch it. She seemed to never tire and a few times would even lose her bearings and start to swim out to sea. Then we would call out to her to get her turned around and headed back towards shore.

There was also the time when Glynis was a mere 10-weeks old. Off we went on a walk to Medicine Lake as a family. Even cousin Koko came along as my sister and brother-in-law had come to see the new puppy. Olivia seemed to be extra happy that evening, as if she was going to teach her sister and cousin the fine art of chasing a ball in the lake.

Glynis would follow her older sister into the water not getting much past the first joint on her legs. Glynis did not like the water in the least. She sat amd shivered along the sidelines as Olivia and Koko frolicked in the water. Glynis was not, and would not, be a water dog. She was a Princess. Olivia was a Tom-Boy.

But Glynis stayed right there on the shore, watching her older sister. Whenever Liv would exit, Glynis would excitedly run up and congratulate her on bringing back another ball. Glynis was Olivia's cheerleader.

Now, Glynis is the alpha dog. Pont is the wanna-be. And Glynis is doing a terrific job and teaching Pont the ways of the Maas household. She should, as she had one heck of a teacher.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:28 AM

January 25, 2005

Funny Moments with Olivia

We had several funny moments with Olivia over the years. I'd like to share some of those with you.

The Race

In 1993 I saw a blurb in the local paper that there was to be a K9 race held in St.Paul. In conjunction with the Humane Society, there was to be a 5K race in which owner & dog ran together as a team. Well, having spent 3/4's of my life running in various road-races and participating in triathlons I could not resist entering Olivia and I.

We trained together for a few weeks. Olivia got use to staying right by me on her leash and to not jump in front of me. She was doing great and it brought us even closer together.

The day of the race we got right up on the line for the start. There were a lot of dogs of all sizes. But Olivia and I were very confident we would be victorious. We were a TEAM!

There was no gun so as to not startle the dogs. But the start was pure chaos anyway. Dogs went after each other and leashes became tangled and it was absolute hilarity for the spectators. But Olivia and I got off fairly clean. We found ourselves up near the lead pack after things thinned out and order was restored.

We kept moving up as we ran. Liv and I passed dog after dog until we were in the lead pack of runners. With less than a mile remaining, I started to position us to be able to make a kick at the end and not be boxed in by the other owner-dog teams.

We could see the finish. And I was just about to tell Olivia to kick it into high gear when I felt the leash go taut. I got yanked back and when I turned around to see why, there was Olivia stopping to urinate.....in the middle of the street...in front of the finish line crowd....as dogs passed on both sides.

We still finished 3rd and still have the plaque that was presented to us. We never did race again. But that one was a thrill.

The Canoe

Each summer we make a trip to Strawberry Lake to spend time with my parents who have been camping there each summer for as long as I can remember. The summer of 1993 was no different. We made the 4-hour drive to a little north of Detroit Lakes and found ourselves back at Strawberry.

One afternoon we were a little bored so I decided it would be a great idea to take out the canoe and go onto the lake. I also decided it would be a great idea to take Olivia out with us.

Olivia had been out on a boat with us many times but never a canoe. She also loved, I mean absolutely loved being in the water. So, I should have seen this one coming.

Jackie, myself, and Olivia all got into the canoe. Liv was in the middle. We paddled out and began to go along the shoreline about 50-yards from shore. My grandmother and mother were also on shore and called out to us and waved. That was all that Liv needed. It was as if she heard "treat!" being called out.

Olivia bounded out of the canoe, which immediately capsized. Jackie was frantic when she surfaced thinking that Olivia was drowning as she could not find her anywhere. I walked (walked because we were standing in about 2-feet of water) over to my wife and pointed to the shore. There was Olivia, shaking herself dry in front of my grandmother and mother...who were now shrieking about the wet dog.

Now that was funny!

Thin Ice

Along one of our usual walking paths are a series of ponds connected by canals. In the summer, we always had to worry about Olivia stopping to have her fill of goose droppings when the geese came during the nesting season. In the winter, we would let her off the leash and she would fly around from pond to pond along the canals darting in and out of rushes and reeds. She was in her element.

One unseasonably warm winter day in 1996, we had let her off her leash when she spied a muskrat. Off she went like a rocket chasing that muskrat who was looking for one thing...open water.

The muskrat found the open water and Olivia was unable to put on the brakes in time to stop on the slushy ice. In she went, head first, and with no muskrat to show for it.

Now wet and angry, she came bounding back to us where she was consoled over the indignity of losing to the muskrat.

And was a little wiser for it.


Posted by maasx003 at 7:11 PM

January 24, 2005

Olivia Retrospective

I've written a lot over the last few weeks about the newest addition, Pont and his older sister Glynis. Now I want to get around to writing more about our first dog Olivia. Call it Olivia Sweeps Week!

And we might as well get the terrible stuff out of the way first by posting a notice we sent to friends and relatives shortly after Olivia passed away. Here it is, as first posted on July 11, 2001.

In Loving Memory

Dear Friends and Relatives:

After an extended illness Olivia Kachina Kodak, our Dalmatian, was put to sleep on July 10. We ask that those whose lives she touched reflect for a brief time on special moments you may have shared with her.

Olivia was born in Olivia, Minn., on May 16, 1992. Olivia’s father was Bubba’s Bravo and her mother Kodak’s Ultralife, the dog featured in Kodak Ultralife batteries ads during 1991. Olivia’s bloodline included the famous Dalmatian champion Paisley Spirit O Hopi Kachina, hence, her name Olivia Kachina Kodak.

Olivia was purchased from Tami Revier at the Hardee’s in Glencoe, Minn., on June 29, 1992. She slept on Jackie’s lap during the entire trip home. Upon arrival, Olivia made several romps around the yard before crashing in the three-season porch and sleeping the entire night through.

Olivia was the original “Surfin’ Dalmatian” as a puppy. She liked to lie on her belly, front paws stretched out in front of her, and push forward with her rear paws. She loved to go for runs and play with her sister, Glynis the whippet, in the backyard…and many times in the house!

She was a beautiful dog with soulful dark eyes and a heart-shaped black nose. Her glossy, spotted coat was a kid-magnet and walks around the neighborhood were often interrupted with shouts of, “A Dalmatian dog! Can we pet her?”

Liv was patient with small children and while she was initially unsure of her place in the household after her little brother Graham was born, she grew to appreciate his attempts at “gentle touches.” Even though she may have resented him a bit, no strangers could get near him without seeing a flash of her protective, snarling stance.

Did you know that Olivia could actually smile? Dalmatians are the only breed that has this genetic trait and Olivia would stand at the top of the stairs and smarl (smile and snarl) when those she knew and loved would enter the house. If you had the pleasure of visiting Olivia at our (her) house, you know that she enthusiastically welcomed all guests. Typically within five minutes of their arrival, we would find visitors stroking her head with Olivia curled against them.

She had some bad habits as well. She was a counter creeper and had been known to eat entire sticks of butter when no one was looking. She licked her feet obsessively, which drove us mad and left couch cushions soaked. She was a very smart, very stubborn dog who would often disregard a command until she felt like responding to it.

But these little flashes of personality are also some of the things we will miss most about her. When we got home from the vet’s after putting her to sleep, we could feel her absence immediately. There was no Olivia to greet us with a wagging tail and a smiling face. From now on, there will be no Olivia to jump in the middle of our bed and hog all the covers. There will be no cold, wet noses reminding us that she needed attention. And there will be no more dark, soulful eyes looking at us with trust and affection.

There may be a few of you who feel we have finally gone off the deep end, particularly if you have never had to let a beloved pet go. Indulge us for a moment. For us, we have lost a treasured child, our first-born. We held her as she slipped away and felt a piece of our hearts leave with her. A part of us will be missing forever

We know we did the right thing in easing her way. After our visit to the vet, we watched a videotape of Olivia when she was three years old. How full of life she was – jumping and playing, sitting for treats, positively quivering with energy.

This is how we will always remember her. We hope you will too.

Brian and Jackie Maas

olivia27.jpg

Posted by maasx003 at 8:21 PM

January 23, 2005

Let it Snow....

We finally got some snow in the Twin Cities. About 8" in our area. This meant that I had to shovel paths and several large areas in the backyard so that the Princess (Glynis) and Prince (Pont) would actually go outside to do their required business.

But Pont soon warmed to the idea of frolicking in the snow. He even enjoyed Graham's big snow fort....for a while.

Glynis and Olivia always loved being in the snow together.

both5.jpg

We'd often take them out onto frozen Medicine Lake and just let them have at it....neither would ever stray far from us although one could see Glynis decide to race the occasional snowmobile. You would then see an astonished snowmobiler slow to take a look at what kind of animal go run alongside his sled at 40 mph.

But more often than not, Olivia would simply sniff along the frozen cattails and reeds along the lakeshore and then leap in as if she smelled an animal and Glynis would happily trail along not knowing what had her older sister so excited.

We've yet to take Pont onto the frozen lake. I'm sure he would enjoy it. We may try later this week when temperatures climb nearer 30-degrees. At my age, the cold just makes my old "war" injuries ache even more. I'm sure the same is for Glynis. The two of us would rather be huddled in front of the fire fast asleep. Just as Olivia did so many years ago.




Blog Site Additions

You'll notice a few updates to this dog blog off to the left on the navigation bar area. First, is the addition of the Top 10 Whippets as ranked by Dog News. Second, are a couple of RSS feeds. RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal weblogs. I've added the local weather for Minneapolis and a link to the dog community. Now, you can keep up with the weather for Minneapolis and dog-related news!

Posted by maasx003 at 2:54 PM

January 20, 2005

Eat, Jump, Sleep

What do you get when you combine a goat....

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....and a springbok (jumping antelope)?

TSpingb3.jpg

Pont of course! Pont has now been caught eating the coffee table in the living room. Minor since the table is not exactly on the endangered list just yet. So, this week Pont developed the nickname of Goat.

Pont has also taken to showing how high he can leap. From any angle. At any time of day or night. Pont smacks into your chin. Pont jumps onto Glynis...and off..and on...and off...and on. Pont jumps onto Graham…and off…on. You get the picture. Pont leaps (springbok-like) over any plant in the backyard.

I can be woken from a dead sleep when I hear Pont's footsteps flying down the hallway at about 160 mph. Then the sound of Pont sliding on the carpet to make the 90-degree turn into the bedroom. And the inevitable leap onto the bed....right smack dab in the middle of the ol' family jewels. I've taken to wearing a nut-cup to bed.

But he does make all of us laugh and the companionship between Pont and Glynis has risen to fever pitch. They now play together throughout the evening. They even get into I Can Bark Louder Than You death matches. Pretty funny stuff.

The companionship between Pont and Graham has increased as well. Graham has become a very good brother who needs to check on Pont before he leaves for school each day. When Pont whines at being crated, Graham attempts to soothe him by saying, “It’s okay, baby. It’s all right. We’ll be home soon.” Graham loves to run down the hallway with Pont tearing after him. His only sore spot is when Pont jumps on him (see paragraph above) in the morning before he is fully awake.

And progress has been made in the training arena. At the end of Thursday evening, Pont will have gone exactly one week without a single accident in the house. That makes us plenty darn happy.

With the warmer temperatures we've been able to take the dogs for walkies, which they really enjoy. We have to hose them off in the laundry room to remove the slush and mud, but they then take a little nap together afterwards.

Now, if we could only work on the goat traits.....

Posted by maasx003 at 11:08 AM

January 16, 2005

Teeth: Clean and Chattering

Funny how dogs don't waste time going outside to do their business when the temperature is below zero! You know it is Dad-Blasted-Cold out when the poop is steaming as it exits the dog. Sometimes I'm surprised that our whippets aren't frozen into place as they squat.

But, we do take the time to put coats on both dogs whenever the team is below 40-degrees when we go for walks and also when the temp is below 20-degrees whenever they have to venture outside to answer the call of nature. They will even romp and chase now and then before the realization of frozen paws sets in.

Who Else Brushes?

I've always tried to keep our dogs choppers pearly white. But it isn't easy. Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs. About 85% of dogs have some form of it and are vulnerable to the pain, bad breath and tooth loss that could follow. Chronic infections can spread to the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys, where they can do even more damage.

So, I'm opting to try a brand new approach that I learned of when I took Pont in for his first checkup. It is a series of products produced by C.E.T. Dental.

First they have medicated chews. Called C.E.T. HEXtra Premium Chews with Chlorhexidine, these chews are patented and available exclusively through veterinarians. C.E.T. HEXtra Premium Chews combine the mechanical action of rawhide, the renowned antimicrobial power of chlorhexidine and the trusted C.E.T. name in a convenient, palatable chew for dogs.

Second is a rinse. If it’s difficult for you to brush at first, C.E.T. antiplaque Oral Hygiene Rinse and Gel provide antibacterial action and superior plaque prevention.

Third, and most importantly is brushing. Daily tooth brushing is the best at-home method of ensuring your pet will enjoy good dental health. C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpastes for dogs contain the C.E.T. Dual Enzyme system to inhibit the formation of plaque. Formulated specially for dogs, they contain no foaming agents and are meant to be swallowed. Poultry, malt and vanilla-mint flavors are well accepted by pets and make brushing easy.

I picked up the chews and toothpaste to start with. A 30-count bag of chews set me back about $15 and the toothpaste was another $10. You are to give one chew per day and brush once per day. The vet technicians have been using these products on their dogs and are seeing good results. We're going to give it a whirl as well. Anyone else use these products yet?

Let the Whippet Season Begin

Now that the Vikings season has ended, the question around the Maas household is..."When is the first coursing event of the season!?!?"

We've already begun having Pont chase a white bag attached to fishing line around the house or outside. He, of course, caught on immediately. I'll also try to begin doing some very slow jogging with Pont when the weather starts to get warmer in order to build up his endurance. The slow jog, by the way, is for his sake, not the geezer that is his Master!

What does everyone else do in the off-season to keep their whippet in semi-shape?

Posted by maasx003 at 3:38 PM

January 12, 2005

Pont and His Visit to the Vet

Pont's 16-week visit to the vet went smoothly. We've been going to Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital since 1990. That's when I owned two ferrets and had just moved up from Texas and needed a good small animals clinic. We've been customers ever since.

Pont was cuddled, then weighed (20.8 lbs.), then oooohhh'd and ahhhh'd at, then brought back to the examination room.

He was given the once over by the vet. Only concerns were possible over-bite (nah!) and bow-leggedeness in the rear (bah!).

When it was time for shots, the plan was to give Pont a treat of yummy soft puppy food. A large portion in fact. He inhaled it before the shots were finished but he was so busy looking for more that he didn't even notice the remaining shot.

Then it was back home to Sister Glynis who didn't seem too put out by being left behind.

Pont Training Update

Pont went 72-hours accident free which was a very good run. The most recent accident can be laid squarely at my feet, however. I was working from home and finishing an e-mail when Pont entered the room I was working in and was sniffing around. I failed to pick up on the sign. I finished my e-mail and went to check on him and saw the wet spot smack dab in the middle of the hallway.

But ever since we went to the new routine of crating he has been doing very well. And he's down to one over-night pottie break as well...which fits his age perfectly.

A rule of thumb is to add one to a puppy's age in months to equal the number of hours he can be expected to be confined comfortably without eliminating. Pont is four-months old so he should be expected to last 5-hours. So, we're in bed by 10 or 11 most evenings and Pont usually whines between 3 and 4. He's right on target.

Other

You can also see a new video showing how hard it is for 8-year old Glynis to do her business outside now that 16-week old Pont is around.

See Nanook of the North





Posted by maasx003 at 4:53 PM

January 9, 2005

Ch-ch-ch-changes....

We made some changes over the weekend and it seems like they are working. We were having basically one to three accidents a day and that just wasn't cutting it for us. Especially since we had remodeled the house recently.

The first thing we did was to move the kennel out of the master bedroom and into the Sun Room. We did this first thing Friday morning. Anytime we felt we couldn't pay 100% attention to Pont, he was coached into the kennel and rewarded with a treat. Yeah, he whined like a screaming monkey at first. But, I was surprised at how quickly he quieted down.

Next, we decided to eliminate him sleeping with us. Pont now sleeps in the kennel at night. Glynis is very near to him as she sleeps on the sofa in the Sun Room. Jackie and I have our bed back and Pont was not the least bothered by this move. He whined for about 5-minutes on Friday night and hasn't whined since.

Over the weekend, there was only one accident on Saturday night. Pont got so good that he even was out most the day on Sunday when the Vikes blasted the Packers. We think (and hope) the changes have been for the good.

We'll continue to stick to our guns and hope for the best. Pont continues to interact well with all of us, although my wife has pegged him as a Daddy's Boy which may be true.

Np photos this past weekend as we were busy with the big Vikings game and also Graham, our son, has been suffering with a bit of a bug. I hope to post more photos soon.

Posted by maasx003 at 9:55 PM

January 6, 2005

Gross!

"Pont! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

I wonder what the neighbors thought at 5:04 am this morning when that scream came out of the sub-zero air. Let's set the stage.

Pont had gotten up a bit earlier this morning. Usually he stirs a bit in our bed, stretches and gives us a few kisses. He then does his nesting routine of pawing at the blankets and circling before laying back down for a few more valuable minutes of sleep.

But this morning he was ready to go. Roosters were probably freezing outside and unable to crow, but Pont wanted to wake everyone up now.

So up I got and trudged to the door, put on his little winter puppy coat and out we went. Glynis followed and did her duty in about 50 seconds flat, being the vet she is. I let Glynis back inside and returned to Pont who seemed oblivious that the temperature was hovering around zero.

Pont's M.O. these days is to explore every inch of the backyard, leap after every blowing leaf, look at every overhead airplane and bird, and then realize that his paws are frozen and he cannot move. At that point I have to pick him up and carry him back in for a few minutes while he warms up. Then back out to make sure he's down both No. 1 and No. 2.

Well, this morning was much the same - until Pont squatted to poop. I was just standing nearby wishing I was back in bed when Pont finished, turned around and then began to enjoy breakfast.

Was it the piece of carrot embedded in the poop? Was it youth lashing out against the Master? Or was it just tasty? Whatever the reason, Pont was swiftly carried back into the house where his mouth was sanitized with 22 gallons of every solvent known to man, thoroughly brushed and then scented with doggie mouth spray.

All this on top of the fact that Pont’s running record of 48 hours without an accident came to an abrupt end on Wednesday evening when Pont, who had been let out 15 minutes prior and done both No. 1 and No. 2, decided to urinate downstairs as Graham and I played with his Justice League Superheroes.

It was almost to say, “Ha, Superman, you have nothing over me! See my powerful stream! My super power is to gross you out!”

So, how did your morning start today?

Photo of the Day


Posted by maasx003 at 10:24 AM

January 3, 2005

Pont No Accidents!

Wow! Pont has gone 32-hours without a single accident in the house! We think that's something big. I'm sure other dog owners understand.

Over the weekend Pont has picked up on recognizing his name. He has learned to lay in his little padded bed in the kitchen while we eat. He has learned (almost mastered!) the sit command. As the Photo of the Day suggests, he has starting to spoon with Glynis on the couch in the Sun Room – when she allows it. She is still guarding her space from this new invader.

Photo of the Day

That's not to say there haven't been issues. But it seems for every step back, Pont takes several steps forward.

This will be a tough adjustment week for the little guy. It's our first full workweek after two relatively easily weeks lounging at home. I'll be coming home over lunch every day this week to let Pont out and stretch his legs. It is so fun to watch a puppy run around outside. Each time it is as if it was his first experience as he leaps from place to place, sniffs every plant and rock, tries to catch a blowing leaf or eat ice off the ground.

Posted by maasx003 at 8:34 PM

January 1, 2005

Cake Eaters Part II

Yesterday I wrote about Glynis and Pont eating a Snowman cake and expressed my dismay since this was not typical Glynis behavior. Not only that, she was being a very bad role model for her younger brother.

Upon reflection I recalled that Olivia also enjoyed the fine art of cake eating. For her first birthday in 1993, we threw her a party and invited all the neighborhood dogs plus friends who owned dogs.

Jackie made a special Dalmatian cake for the party using Oreo cookies and Junior Mints as Dalmatian spots. She left it on the kitchen table for a moment while she tended to some things for the party outside. When she returned, one of the cake's legs was missing and Olivia had Oreo cookies all over her teeth.

olivia2.jpg

Perhaps it's just doggy nature that "what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too," especially when it involves cake. And the Master is not around.

I'm sure Olivia would have enjoyed the Snowman cake just as much as Glynis and Pont did!

Posted by maasx003 at 9:57 AM