Sunday, March 28, 2010

Senior At Seven, Old Dogs and UPS Deliveries

Back in a the day when I worked in animal hospitals the vet-med pharmaceutical companies in all their wisdom coined the term "Senior at Seven" This was a PR program to alert unknowing dog guardians that their animal companions were actually in the geriatric phase of life after age 7 and had more specific health needs. Hey - you've got an "old" dog now! Not to poo-poo the efforts of any organization that supports the changing health needs of an animal companion, but these "Senior at Seven" campaigns were always accompanied by buttons, posters, pens and a script on how to convince a dog's person to spend $250 on senior specific blood work panels. Now that you're dog was a senior you better have their teeth cleaned too, do an echo first of coarse because your "old" dog was more at risk. If you think you're leaving the vet hospital without special shampoo and some flea prevention for your "old" dog you're kidding yourself too. Would you deny your sweet old grandpa health care? Well you better break out the checkbook once your dog is senior. (insert sarcasm here - directed at evil pharmaceutical companies that play off humans love of their animals...but that's another blog entry)
I always had to crack up at the "Senior at Seven" program as a setter person. For those not in the know, the setter is one of the slower "maturing" dogs. I once had a seasoned Irish Setter breeder tell me that their brains did not arrive until they were seven and it was usually by UPS when you weren't looking. According to this logic and the posters at the vet hospital I fell in love with a breed that finally leaves puppy hood mentality at the same point they enter their golden geriatric years. Sigh.
In the movie in my head senior dogs are calm, collected and wise. They sit on front porches without leashes and curl up near fireplaces after a sniffer of brandy. Their graying muzzles can be found in small town America sitting on a bench with senior citizens in front of a barber shop discussing baseball. They come when called and they allow small children and puppies to crawl all over them without fret. They always somehow seem to be Golden Retrievers.
My "senior" dogs are not like that.
Our little female Irish Setter Caelan turned seven this past Friday and it has been noted that her behavior has been especially deviant recently. My husband in fact searched the recycle bin for any evidence of a UPS box we may have missed after she gingerly helped herself to a steak that was on a plate on the dinner table last week "resting" with 3 others after coming off the grill. She also likes to steal the clothing you have put out to wear and drag it out the doggie door to the back yard as you shower. It seems she is using her finally mature brain power for evil instead of good. Likewise our male Irish Setter Dugan is 11 (perhaps older as he was a rescue) and he is more ill behaved than ever! Last night my husband and I went out to dinner for little under 2 hours. We came home to discover Dugan had opened the (child-proofed by the way) lower kitchen cabinets (which we child proofed for him as we have no children) and took the blender and toaster out along with assorted mixing bowls. He chewed up some Tupperware and the sponge out of the sink. Not to be outdone upstairs he left his calling card of late...the shredded into a million pieces roll of toilet paper all over the guest bedroom.
Instead of snuggling with hubby on date night I was on Amazon last night shopping for a dog crate for my SENIOR dog. How am I going backwards? It took years to get this dog out of the crate which I smugly donated to a new dog guardian thinking those days were way behind me. Now I have to reconfigure the laundry room to put a crate next to Lily's! Yes, Lily our little English Setter whom we adopted in October and is still not ready for full house roaming privileges when home alone. The elevenish year old setter crated next to the oneish year old year old. Double sigh. Can I get a refund for the movie in my head too?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ode to Virgin Carpet

*Lily & Dugan imprisoned behind the prison gate separating them from Carpet Nirvana

Oh New Carpet. Let me enjoy ye. For you do not realize what is in store for you. I admire your innocent enthusiasm as you were carefully rolled into our home yesterday. So fresh and cushy, new carpet smell permeating the whole house, sun shining on your frieze pile. Little did you know what lurks in your future.

You see new carpet...this is a home full of animals who have no regard for you. They do not revere you in the same way we humans do. In your future there will be "accidents" of every type. There will be 2:00a.m. steam cleanings after a dog has broken into the garbage and christened thee with the aftermath. There will be stains that will greet us for months to come. You know the type..."The Dog Ate a 15 pound bag of Cat Food" diarrhea variety. The "Dog-Daddy is watching the baseball game and ignoring dog's whines to go outside to pee-pee" type. The cats are especially evil, I'm sorry to tell you carpet - they have all their claws and they will vomit on you at the blink of an eye.

You will never be as pure and perfect as the day you arrived. Muddy paws will take your clean-carpet virginity before night fall.

So let me welcome you to our home and thank you for this 15 minutes of pure clean carpet perfection. I think I should take this opportunity to introduce you to your 2 new best friends as well...The Dyson Animal Vacuum and the Bissell Steam Cleaner. The 3 of you will be spending a lot of time together. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day to all my MADRAS!

We love St. Patrick's Day around here at Lucky Fiona! I'd like to say it is the one day of the year my IRISH setters act all snooty and superior with their red coats and Irish-lineage over my English setters. But truth be told, they pretty much think they are better than any other type of setter most days of the year. Sigh.

Everybody is a little Irish today says Fiona! (also she says "When can I take these damn green bows out of my ears?") How about a secret sale?

*Purchase any collar in the Etsy shop and receive "The Shannon" collar FREE w/purchase! Simply list the code "ST.PADDY" in the notes section of your order and we will include the collar free with your purchase. One free collar per household while supplies last! Today only little leprechauns!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It Rained on her Parade...

Fiona watching rain drops with her special St. Patrick's Day bows in her ears...all dressed up with no place to go.

Many thanks to the Lucky Fiona Street Team and all the efforts put into planning this year's entry into the Naperville St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Unfortunately, the Head Bitch had to pull the plug on our entry when eye-in-the-sky reports and radar indicated no relief from the rain.
Fiona appreciates all the team members who suggested we walk even though many people dropped out due to the weather. Such enthusiasm! But we wanted this to be a fun event and 3 hours in the cold rain would not be fun or safe for dogs and people alike to be subjected to. When Lucky Fiona does something we want to do it right and make a positive experience for all. We totally understand people backing out this morning - no worries. If your dog wont go outside to pee when it's raining we understand why subjecting said dog to hours of rain would be traumatizing! Likewise Fiona did not want any of the children signed up to get wet and chilly. Save those tee shirts - we will be back next year!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

7 Easy Steps on Bathing Your Slightly Smelly English Setter

7 Easy Steps on Bathing Your Slightly Smelly English Setter
1. Convince yourself that it will be easy and save you gobs of time and money rather than going to the groomer.
2. Tell dog it's bathtime and collect old towels, organic Lavender & Rosemary dog shampoo/conditioner kit given to dog at Christmas time. Smile as you think how resourceful you are and how in the early years of dog guardianship you did this all the time! No problem!
3. Notice all dogs in household have scattered like the wind to hidden corners and are camouflaging selves underneath furniture.
4. Select chosen victim (Lily) and explain to her how great she'll feel once she's all clean and shiny. Tell her this will be fun as you drag her into bathroom. As you shut door notice look of dread in dog's face and feel slight twinge of guilt.
5. Fill tub with warm sudsy water, hook on handheld shower head. Try to introduce dog to water and marvel how dog can climb shower curtain like a spider monkey to avoid touching water. Repeated attempts at lowering dog into water result in a completely dry English Setter and a soaking wet Dogmom. Dog has developed elastic leg muscles that straddle bath tub with incredible force whenever water comes within 2 inches of belly fur and keep dog suspended above water line.
6. Dogmom realizes back hurts, knees hurt, floor is covered in water. Forehead is beading with sweat. Dog is shaking and looking at you like "I'm a rescue with a sad past - why are you torturing me?" In desperation Dogmom strips off soaking wet clothes and carries dog into bath tub and under stream of water. Setter starts screaming as if being dipped in acid. Dogmom quickly suds up dog rinses and repeats. Momentarily thinks organic dog shampoo/ conditioner smells better than $23 shower gel normally used in very same bath tub by humans.
7. Spends next hour hand drying traumatized dog, including wrapping in down blankets to cease shaking. Feel guilt for traumatizing dog and promise never to do so again. Disinfect and dry every inch of bathroom. Wonder how clumps of dog hair got on ceiling. Take own shower and realize that yes, dog shampoo smells better than high falutin' shower gel. Look at clock and realize 3.5 hours have passed. Call groomer and set up bathing appointments for other dogs.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thanks for caring!

Hi Shannon & Fiona,
We wanted to say hi and hope you are feeling well. We think about you often and hope central IL is having as nice as weather as we are here in MO lately. We are anxious to get outside and play once again! We are so bored in the house but can't stand the cold or the snow enough to venture outside.
Well wishes,
Stella & Roxie
Hello Sweet Stella & Darling Roxie,
Thanks so much for your email and asking how I am doing. I was back in the hospital over the weekend for a procedure on this darn knee of mine, but hopefully this will be the last of it. I know how you feel about feeling cooped up - Fiona and her setter sisters and brother are bored of laying around with me too watching the ice machine pump cold water around my knee. Let's all look forward to spring arriving and new beginnings of health and happiness! Hang in there pups and big smooches to you both.
- Shannon & Fiona

Monday, March 1, 2010

We Love a Rave!

Hi Shannon and Fiona,
Sorry it took me so long to send a picture, but here are a couple from our oh so uncommon sunny afternoon today in Western Washington. Thank you so much for the wonderful collars, we both love them so much!
Thanks again,
Marie and Felicity