Celebrating our beautiful boy's anniversary

Happy Gotcha Day, Relay

A great family trip

Our trip to Amherst, VA was amazing.

An easy way to make your own jerky

A DIY project your pups will love.

Set up an email alert for your perfect pet

Use Adopt-a-pet's search saver to let you know when your right pet needs a home.

Let's here it for the boy

I was so happy and incredibly proud.

We do it for all the smiling faces

Dog overpopulation is growing problem in the US and I'm trying to find my way to help.

How Relay became ours

Every dog has a story, and this is how our perfect pound pup came home.

An easy treat

Find directions on how to make one of Relay's favorite treats.

December 22, 2012

A rescue story that makes me cry every time

Photo by Peace, Love, and Foster Dogs
I wanted to share a story that touched my heart, and to show that it is never too late to make a difference.

You may have heard us mention Emily a few times before. She is a volunteer with K9 Justice League. One shelter they go to pull at risk dogs, Paws of Hartford County, posted on facebook about Pager, a stray who had been diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer. So that he would not spend the rest of his days there, Emily took Pager in for hospice care.
Emily made a plan to fill up the last bit of Pager's life with as many wonderful experiences as it could hold. They went for walks, car rides, trips to parks and pet stores, even a coffee house, and he got to eat everything his little heart desired. Each day was dedicated to Pager. And at adventures end, they came home to a house of playmates, toys, and comfortable places to sleep. After only 8 days, despite so many other things left to do, Pager decided that it was time to go.
“His story is an important one... to get the word out there that there are... dogs in the shelter that never get to experience love or a home to call their own before they have to be euthanized... So, please think about adopting a dog! Even if you can't adopt, foster. And if you ever get the chance to give a terminally ill dog a home, do it. I'm not a strong person... I'm heartbroken... but I'll never regret my decision... People may say that we changed his life, but I think that he changed ours.”
That very day, to honor Pager's memory, Emily went back to a shelter to pull a new foster dog... they named her Paige. And wouldn't you know, this little girl fit in perfectly. Very quickly, Emily could never think of her going anywhere. "Welcome to forever, Paige." I couldn't imagine a better ending than that.

Read the whole story on Foster Dog Diaries: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." We're so proud to know this incredible person who is touching so many lives and to share one incredible story of love.

Be sure to give your whole family (two and four legged alike) an extra special hug today. And celebrate all those special people that are making a difference every day.

December 19, 2012

Relay introduces Boots to laundry day

I'm terrible about laundry. Instead of putting away each load as it comes out of the drier, I make a huge pile on the bed until it is an incredibly daunting task. My procrastination never pays off... that is unless you ask Relay. Without question, his favorite place to take a nap is right smack in the middle. Passing by the bedroom today, I noticed he was not alone. Curled up right on his side, the little kitten easily seemed to find the allure of a big pile of laundry. By the time I grabbed my phone, they had woken up some... but still pretty cute.
you look like you needed help with the laundryJust to prove this is a documented trend, here's the shot from a few weeks back. He just looks so cute when he does this, I'm okay with a few extra hairs on my clothes.

This post is participating in a blog hop! Check out more Wordless Wednesday fun hosted by Blog Paws.

December 16, 2012

Making decisions

Might as well start this off with some cuteness. Here's the link to the photo gallery, but this is my favorite. (Our friend Julia came over with a real camera, so I got some high def adorable.)
Oh my goodness, I'm all about this girl. As you may have read, I was going through a major melt down trying to decide if we'd become foster failures. [Let me take a moment to thank those of you who offered advice. I read them all a few times over while I battled internally.]

I found myself just looking Boots each day and saying, I want to keep her. Travel, fosters... I could find a way to make it work. I just never wanted her to leave. She is our perfect cat, and in my heart I had no doubt.
So, maybe you can understand my mixed emotions when I tell you we aren't keeping her. A little while ago, I remembered a good friend that had mentioned wanting a cat. And when I say good friend, I mean one of the best guys I have ever known. I had sent some pictures, a description, and yesterday (a little to my surprise) was told the family had decided to adopt her.
They want to wait until after the Christmas holiday to incorporate our Kitty Kitty into the fold. Obviously, I still have to call NACC, they have to fill out paperwork, there are obligatory meetings, but this all should happen without problems. My own actions seemed to have taken the choice away from me. And of course I'm still running through the all the possible scenarios that could allow me to keep her, but that is just me making things harder on myself. It's going to be hard to let go.

December 14, 2012

Checking up on Trixie

Remember Trixie? When Relay was injured we had to give up this pretty girl to give him a chance to heal. We've been keeping tabs on her over the last few weeks (photo gallery) and wouldn't you know, the change in foster homes turned her into the perfect child. No more chewing for this reformed lady ;-)
I attribute all that to one wonderful K9 Justice League volunteer, Emily. In addition to being a dog whisperer, Emily also dabbles in videos for K9JL. It didn't take long for her to come up with a video for Trixie. Half the pictures were actually taken while she was with us. That paired with the song, has me crying each time I watch this.

 I love, love, love this video. In addition to becoming a youtube star, miss Trixie has a whole house of pups to play with, she gets trips to the park, has practiced being a ranch hand, has dabbled in Dock Dogs, and most importantly, spends every weekend trying to find her perfect forever home. We miss Trixie (who still has the softest ears I have ever felt on a poochie) and wish for her the love of a family all her own.

UPDATE: A chance to promote Emily's blogging efforts, here's a recent post on how she hopes to find Trixie a home soon. Love is patient, love is kind.

December 10, 2012

Crisis of Kitten

Before we started this whole foster adventure, Jeff and I laid out ground rules. The first and most important being we were a one dog family. A hard rule, but it made things simpler when confronted with fosters that we would otherwise love to have kept ourselves (Elmer comes to mind).

But what about a cat? 

Honestly, it never occurred to us that we would ever want to keep one of the foster kittens. They only stay with us until they are old enough and weigh enough to get fixed, given shots, and put out on the adoption floor. We got Boots as a very young kitten and she was very slow to put on weight, so she has been with us weeks now. And in that time we have all fallen in love.

Relay loves to play with her. He tosses the kitty onto her back and nuzzles her belly while she paws his face. Jeff loves to cuddle with her. He lives for the evenings where we'll watch a little tv and the kitty falls asleep purring across his chest. And I love her antics. As I type this she is having an epic battle with my mouse.

And really, who could ever resist this?
This silly thing thinks she's a dog. 

Two major sticking points bring all my future cat-dog fantasies to a halt.

1. Owning a cat would limit our ability to foster... and by quite a bit. Last thing I need is to loose her like we did her sister. Relay has taught her not to fear dogs. She can run and jump at his head, she takes little bites of his food and snacks when she sees him noshing, and curls right up next to him on his bed. This is terrific... with Relay. He is mild mannered, has no food, toy, or territory aggression, and likes to cuddle sometimes. But how many Relay's are out there?

2. We love to travel. I visit my family in Jersey a half dozen times a year, we do cross country trips routinely, we visit Jeff's family in Minnesota once a year, and we travel for Jeff's job. Relay comes with us half the time, and the other half we have a small network of friends and family that could watch him. Most of our friends have dogs. None of our friends have cats.  

And all this has to be decided on within the next few days, when this little Miss is due back at the pound. I could definitely use some perspective here. What do you think?

December 4, 2012

Messes and Successes

Once, while wandering down the aisle of my grocery store, I found some canned pumpkin on sale. Never having much experience with the stuff, I wondered if I was missing out on my new favorite foods. I looked up a pumpkin soup recipe online and it was a complete success... except, as it turned out, I do not actually like pumpkin soup. At all really. And of course I payed no attention that I pulled a recipe that fed 10 people.

Scrambling, I looked over the ingredient list. All dog safe (and in fact pumpkin is great for digestion). I added some chicken stock, brown rice flour, parsley, and vitamin supplement to end up with some on the fly pumpkin cookies for Relay.

He LOVED IT!  Not the first time my home cooking shortfall ended up becoming a supplement to Relay's diet, but easily the most successful. Later on, I found this really cute fire hydrant cookie cutter, and thought to try my hand at the pumpkin cookies a second time, this time with a purpose.

And you know what? It was a complete disaster. Oh my goodness what a mess. The cookie cutter was quickly abandoned and Jeff just started to make balls out of what I can only refer to as slop. Of course, Relay didn't find these as appealing, but I'm sure ate them to be polite.

We are participating in Kol's Notes' Tasty Tuseday Blog Hop. Be sure to stop on by to check out more dog friendly bites and visit some terrific blogs. 

November 29, 2012

An early Christmas gift

On a thrifting trip with Jeff I found myself rummaging around the wall art. In between simple oil landscapes I found a reprint of a famous painting from the 1920's of a boy with a cowlick and girl with braided curls sitting on a bench watching the sunset with a little hound dog in tow. Although the reprint was a little rough and the frame was down right ugly, I asked Jeff if we could get it. He was immediately dismissive, and I continued, "It could be you, me, and Relay." He made some sort of comment like, "where would it even go?" and I let it alone.

Jump a few weeks later and the hubby nonchalantly hands me a piece of paper. 
Isn't he a stinker? In that short conversation, he made a mental note of the image, did his research, and drew me a copy. (Once again I lament not having a better camera than the one on my phone.) You can view the original work here. He later told me that while working on this project, he just smiled the whole way through. 

November 17, 2012

A bad day made worse by a terrible vet

Things happen. I had planned to spend today updating cute pictures and stories of a week spent on vacation. I think I will still do that to remember some sweet things, but that will be another day. Today I find myself at a loss. Or should I say today I am in loss.

Relay and the kittens spent the week with friends as Jeff and I visited family in Minnesota. We started the morning happily. Us greeting the kids, them getting ready to say goodbye. The girls had gotten so big, and under great care learned the litter box and were fully weened. The striped kitten was dubbed Boots, the tuxedo, Socks. Boots was clearly the lover, and while Socks also liked to be pet, she was the adventurer. As for the pups, Relay was eager to see us, and even our friend's dog who is normally grumpy, was loving the extra sets of hands for petting. It was just a happy time amongst friends.

While petting Relay, I noticed a lump on his shoulder. To my utter dismay, it was a tick. A big fat tick. I did my creeped out dance and we all rushed around like crazies trying to figure out how best to get it out. Google is a beautiful thing. It was while we were all fussing over Relay and going in with tweezers that it happened.

Socks started to yell out. We looked over to see the other dog glowering. The kitten had wandered over to him while he was chewing on a bone and he defensively snapped at her. Being just a few weeks old, even one bite was too much for the little girl, not yet two pounds. Her back legs started to spasm, she lost control of her bowels, and all four adults shared a collective moment of panic. Out the door we ran, Socks wrapped protectively in a towel, struggling to breath.

The closest vet to them was Carpenter-Pope Veterinary Hospital. As we rushed in I got on the phone with NACC. They are only budgeted for care they themselves provide and advised that we bring the kitten there. I asked for an update on her condition, but none came. I managed to stop the vet and explain that we were the foster family and the cat belonged to the shelter. The whole mood shifted. I was told tersely that if they wanted the cat, it may not make the trip. I asked for a diagnosis again, and this time I was reprimanded. On the phone still, the shelter stated that any outside care would be at our own expense. As I tried to sort it all out the vet came out with the kitten in a cardboard box. Shoving it at me, she said I owed $30 for the oxygen and that I had to leave now.

Bemused I wandered to the front counter holding the closed box that made no sounds. The vet tech was much kinder, but explained they had other problems with SPCA's and shelters in the area. She regretted the position I was in, and gave her condolences. As I waited for Jeff, the vet came out again, and this time more forcefully told me to get out. I was in no condition to argue the point and Jeff put $30 on the counter and we raced out. At NACC, we were told they had to put Socks to sleep.

While this was going on, our friend, needing something productive to do, thought to take Relay to get the tick removed by a professional. And not knowing our treatment there, she went back to Carpenter-Pope. If anything, her experience was worse. First off, they were unsuccessful getting the tick's head out so the whole trip was made an expensive waste of time. Second, despite Relay wearing his rabies tag issued this year, they required that he be given another shot. There was some arguing here, but they would not release him without one because they said the tags proved nothing. [The name of the issuing vet and a telephone number was listed on the tag along with the year, 2012. It was a 3 year shot, but even if it was a 1 year shot, he would still be covered. If they doubted the validity of the tag (which makes no sense in and of itself) they could have easily called the issuing vet and had the records faxed over.] Over vaccination is dangerous and irresponsible, and for what? a few extra dollars? Lastly, to make matters worse, when they understood that she was the owner of the dog that attacked the kitten, they proceeded to meanly lecture her.

I found out none of this, until we made it back to their house. Why they would be cruel to a woman so obviously distraught made no sense to me. That they jeopardized my dog's health because they couldn't be bothered to pick up a phone enraged me. And anger at that moment was a much easier emotion to deal with than sadness. I have reviewed Carpenter-Pope online, and am frustrated that this is practically my only recourse. That and hug Boots. Another bad day.

November 9, 2012

Collie & Sheltie picnic

One of the activities Relay missed out on while he was on bed rest was the annual Collie and Sheltie picnic. This is the first picnic Jeff and I got to attended and we had a great time. In addition to seeing so many wonderful animals we had fun meeting adopters and volunteers.

Our favorite surprise guest? Our lovely former sheltie foster, Ruby. That beautiful girl is doing wonderfully with your new family. And of course we saw Max who's staying with the rescue until Relay feels better. I'm not sure who was more exited, but there was a love fest between Jeff and Max going on.

Our special contribution (other than my Cuban sandwiches ;-), a custom made pet portrait by Jeff for raffle. It was a very big success and garnered the rescue a couple hundred dollars in donations. While we wait for the perfect picture from the winning family, Jeff completed one other portrait (the model was Tucker, the rescue president's very disguised senior sheltie) for the rescue's 2013 calendar.
With a few dozen fabulous poochies, terrific weather, great grub, and cool prizes, we had fun and were glad to get to know the Collie and Sheltie rescue family better.

November 4, 2012

Kittens II

Despite being on bed rest, Relay needed a little company. And I'm not sure they come much smaller than these two sweet neonatal kittens. This is our second go around with kittens for Norfolk Animal Care Center, but Pink came to us much further in her development. These babies were maybe 22 days old when we picked them up. Double the fun, half the age. (At least this time I won't lose them under my staircase.)

Relay and Jeff are complete mush when it comes to these little balls of fur. But I suppose I can't blame them, you can't get much cuter than a baby. When they are old enough to get spayed, they will be available for adoption. Until then they will hang out a little with us. And I can regale you with cute pictures. (And two bonus videos of unsuccessful nursing.) Enjoy!
OH! and if you can come up with a cute pair of names for these ladies, by all means let me know.

October 31, 2012

Our break

Well, hello! I know, I know, I've been gone too long. When Relay got injured I figured it was a good time to take a break to care for him as best as we could. I want to take a minute and thank everyone who expressed their concern and offered support or kind words, it really meant the world to me, (and I'm sure Relay as well if he could understand such things :-)

I also want to extend my thoughts to my east coast friends. While we live on the Virginia coast, have family in DC and New Jersey, I am very glad to say that all my friends and family are safe and I hope the same for you and yours. Please take a minute to give an extra special hug today. I'm sending one out to all of you.

Lastly... Happy Halloween! I'm already playing around with my witches makeup, and now that the storm is over, I can touch up all the decorations out front, get my candy ready, and prepare to celebrate handing out goodies with Relay dressed in a Vikings jersey. Miss Trixie here got her photo done with her new foster mom Emily.

How is Relay doing? Well, I have no idea as to the condition of his ligament, but as far as I can tell, he's fine. There are still a few more weeks of quiet in store for him, but he's acting like nothing ever happened, so I'll take that as a good sign. He's been very annoyed to have lost all his friends, been crated more, and left home for all the festivities, but I'm sure he'll forgive us in time.

As for Jeff and I, being without foster dogs, does not mean we stopped supporting our friends. We went to a Howl-o-ween event, a picnic, hosted a dinner out at a local mom and pop burger joint that is very dog friendly, and even picked up two very special fosters. One phone call from the pound and we now have two neonatal kittens. Relay was a little suspicious after one of them tried to nurse. lol.

I have some of my favorite blogs to catch up with and I have plenty to catch you all up on, but the break did us some good. Just so grateful to report all is well here and the skies are clear. Enjoy your Halloween, and be sure to share pictures and notes on how you'll celebrate today.

October 12, 2012

Relay has a torn ACL

As we were driving over to pick up Relay, Mary informed me that she had already taken him to the vet after a night of rest showed no signs of improvement. The vet believes he has a torn ACL. Not the kind of news you want to hear over bluetooth.

Thankfully, the diagnosis leaned towards the chance of Relay healing on his own with rest for 4 weeks as opposed to it being completely torn which would mandate surgery. That rest required us to make some adjustments at home.

I made some very sad phone calls to our rescues to say we had to take a break from fostering. Internally struggling with the idea of not getting back Trixie already, I was unprepared for the one two punch to loose Max and Little One at the same time. I really love those pups and it's like their stories will be left unfinished in my mind. I had not realized how cathartic the adoption process was to letting go. And a part of me feels like I'm letting everyone down.

No one more so than my poor baby. Relay, sorry puppy but your mom's at a loss.

I have been looking into ACL injuries and healing on your own without surgery is normally not advised for dogs over 30 pounds. At 38 pounds, the vet must have thought the injury slight enough to try. But this path could also mean he'll break it anyway or tear his other leg from over use. It's going to be very hard keeping a an active dog as subdued as possible and each time he runs I cringe. Trying to be proactive, I'm  looking into some supplements to the medication prescribed by his vet.

In the mean time, I have this nagging question in my mind: why? Certain breeds are predisposed to ACL injuries, but to my knowledge my mutt doesn't have those in his makeup. Dogs that are overweight or under exercised are also prone, but he is very trim and very active. His diet is varied to allow for the best health. What then? One reference mentioned a link to dogs neutered under 5 months. Relay's paperwork at the pound mistakenly estimated his age at 6 months when he was snipped, his real age being closer to 3. But how much stock should I put into that?

Sigh... I'm going to have a nice long pity party / stressing session, and then I need to pull it together. My dog needs me.

October 10, 2012

Foster dog shuffle

Remember when K9JL asked me to babysit Murphy while his foster parents were on vacation? Well, this time I was the one headed out of town. Running up to Jersey for the long weekend, I needed to call in a few favors to watch the pups. For the most part, everything went smoothly.

Returning to Norfolk, my first stop was to pick up Max. Our foster from CSRSEVA lived up to his nickname, 'Fabulous'. He was watched by a volunteer from the rescue and as suspected, he's still perfection. Max learned how to use a doggie door, got along great with everyone and was a wonderful guest. 
Next we went to Mary's house. Relay got to hang out with Izzy and Iso. Well, actually that little dog from Mexico still doesn't have a name. At this point we all just call him Little One. When Jeff went to the Gulf, I took the puppy in, convincing Mary that when you have three dogs in the house, a fourth is no extra trouble. Mary has been struggling with the decision to rehome. When I left for the weekend she was sure that it was best to find him a new family, when I came back she wanted to keep him again.  
As for Relay, when he gets together with Izzy there is always trouble. This time around Relay managed to sprain his leg playing chase in the yard. My poor baby couldn't put any weight down on his hind leg. I was concerned about him playing hard with the bigger dogs and the strain of going up and down the stairs multiple times a day. So, he stayed with Mary and Izzy an extra day to give himself time to mend. 

On the road to pick up Trixie, I got a call from Jessica of K9JL. I mentioned Relay's injury which must have solidified something in her mind, because she recommended that Emily continue to take care of Trixie a little longer. That lovable minx was doing terrific with no destruction to speak of. I hesitated for a minute before agreeing with relief. I'm not sure what Emily is doing differently, but bow to her superior abilities. I do feel guilty that our record with this rescue is 1-2 having successfully fostered Elmer, but having issues with Murphy and now Trixie. There is talk about possibly making the change permanent and finding us a different foster. Of course I would want what is best for Trixie and could use the break. It's just that I would feel like a heel and a little like a failure. We'll see how it unfolds.

October 3, 2012

Having fun with Dante

I was thrilled when our friend Julia and her bichon, Dante invited the whole pack (Relay, Trixie, Max, & Iso!) out to lunch at one of our favorite dog friendly spots, Sam's Texas Sub Shop (for more dog friendly restaurants with reviews check my yelp list). I took a bunch of pictures, but examining two, I couldn't help but have a little fun.

This post is participating in a blog hop. Check out more Wordless Wednesday fun hosted by Blog Paws.
And for an added bonus entry, check out our mention over at our friends at Essentials Enterprise. We love that picture, too. 

September 29, 2012

Shirtless at the dog park I had a moment of understanding

Like any good poochie parent, when one of the pups in my care did their business I scooped it up and threw it out. At my local dog park, the garbage is actually outside the gate, so I reached over and knocked it in and sat back down on a bench.

After about a minute, I smacked my arm. Looking, there was an ant biting the heck out of me. And then I saw five more, and then I saw that I was covered. Politely, addressing the other dog owners I said, "Excuse me while I go undress," because my mama raised a lady. Hahaha. I ran into the trees, ripped off my shirt and tried to get them off me and my clothes. Those things latch on with a purpose, let me tell you.

(Side note: Who would have guessed that my moment of public indecency would have happened after my years in the Navy?)

Retracing my steps, I found the point of embarkation. Those little ____ had made a nest on the fence line right in front of the trash can.

And then I thought of my poor puppy. No wonder he had gone after his tale the way he did. And that made the hot spot, and that led to the vet visit, and my Relay with a messed up tail. By the way, his tail is looking better. The scabs are almost off and the hair is growing back (just not that patch by his butt.) Part of me is glad to know for certain that his trip to the vet was in fact caused by ant bites and not some unidentifiable malady. And I'm certainly glad it was at the park and not at my home. But maybe my next empathetic epiphany won't include public embarrassment.

This post is participating in the Saturday Pet Bloggers hop! Be sure to stop on by and visit all the other great pet bloggers, and enjoy your weekend!

September 27, 2012

I need to remember that spoon full of sugar

My better half has left me. Jeff had to fly to the middle east for a week or so and I'm here alone with the three poochies. Or should I say the two dogs and Trixie. She gets a special mention.

I suppose that after a string of great fosters I needed one pup to keep me grounded. Trixie is a sweetheart, but oh my goodness I am tired. Without Jeff it is just me on Trixie watch. The chewing is insane. And worse still is that she eats what she chews which can become pretty dangerous. But there are consequences to being in a constant state of stress: I've become a grouch.

It dawned on me yesterday at the Bea Arthur Park. Everyone was playing and having a great time. Trixie was even interested in jumping into the water after seeing the fun other dogs were having. I tried to call her over to the ramp a few times. And then I tried calling to her to play fetch. And then I tried to just call her to me. I was getting no response and it hit me. I'd spent a few days of just saying, "Trixie, NO!" that she only recognized her name from me in a negative context.

Time to regroup. This compulsive chewing is a big negative that will hamper her from finding the forever home she deserves and I need to correct it. What I need to do first however, is establish and maintain that level of trust, respect, and affection that is the basis of any relationship. Trixie isn't her bad behavior. She is a dog that hasn't had a stable home in no one knows how long and is just looking to love and be loved. She loves me no matter how upset I get, I need to remember to love her just as unconditionally. After that, everything else will fall into place.

September 21, 2012

Category 3 Chewer

See this sweet little lady? Trixie is a doll, but with one major caveat: She is a chewer!

Similar to Cricket's situation, I think a large part of her increase in chewing stems from a lack of proper exercise. Since Relay's injury the dogs gets some time to run around in the yard and we go for a bike rides to wear them out as best we can, but when indoors, Relay has his cone on and the pups can't play. Trixie is bored and has energy left to spare.

And so she chews. When I'm around I can redirect her to the plethora of toys we have here at the house. Here is a video of her in action. This went on for a solid 30 minutes.
When I haven't watched her there were a few casualties (funniest being the bottle of bitter spray because apparently she is the only dog in the world who loves the taste of that stuff). Now, if I can't have eyes on her, she either goes onto the back porch or in her crate.

And then this happened today. I had to do dishes and load the dishwasher. It took about 20 minutes, so Trixie went out on the porch...
Casualty of boredom.
Thankfully it was a free couch. When we redid the porch, we planned it so we wouldn't get upset if anyone caused damage. Just didn't count on that theory being tested quite so quickly. 

As with any problem behavior, if you didn't see it happen, you can't correct them for it. So we will work at this diligently and hope Relay gets better soon so he can wear her out. Although, I am hearing a little whisper that we could be getting a puppy soon...

September 20, 2012

Hot spot leads to vet visit and less than happy pup

Last week our family was introduced to hot spots. Relay had licked one into a good inch circle on his backside, but with some triple ointment and careful monitoring it started to heal.

Problem was, he also made one on his tail. It was much more problematic, but we tried to handle it ourselves. That was until Jeff was getting ready for work Tuesday. In the time it took him to brush his teeth, Relay had bit his tail raw until he was bleeding. I grabbed my first aid book and irrigated and then disinfected, but we headed to the vet right when it opened at 8. Thankfully, they could fit us in as a walk in.

Let me take a minute to talk about hot spots. They can be caused by any number of things (an allergy, an attempt of the body to detox, an injury such as a puncture or scratch, a flea bite...) but it is more defined by the consequence. A dog is aggravated so he licks or scratches at his skin and can create an open sore in a matter of minutes. At this point we did not know what had caused Relay's hot spots.
Here is the hot spot on his back, partially healed.

The vet was great. She looked him over, reassured us, and took him to the back to get some of the hair shaved on his tail better before treatment. When she came back with Relay I was just about in shock. My baby! My beautiful boy! The vet had shaved most of his tail back to reveal the underlying problem.

Her best guess: At some point Relay had sat in an ant hill. His tail was covered in little bites marks. No wonder my puppy was picking! But between the orignial wound, the shaved tail, the bites, and this medicated powder, it looked a mess. My poor baby!

And the worst news of all (that is if you ask Relay) is that he needed to spend his next week in a cone. But I will say that I'm grateful that was all. The last time I went to the vet was Louie's emergency, so I'll take a hot spot any day. And that I know the culprits were some ants, we can handle that much easier then some unknown boogeyman.

But I'm still going to baby my baby until he is all better.

ADVISORY: From this point forward, I have included pictures of the injury and treatment. They are not pretty to look at, so feel free to skip.

On the way to the vet
After the shave



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