Saturday, August 22, 2009

Popeye & His Doggon Wheels

I hope this video illustrates 2 main points. First, a dog need not be physically perfect to have the heart and soul to live life to its fullest. People need to give dogs like Popeye a chance to show the world what they are capable of.

Second, the Doggon Wheels company rocks! Popeye started off with a different wheelchair made by another well-known cart company. After months of frustration and stress with that cart, the extra money we wasted in unsuccessfully attempting to "improve" it, and most of all, the lack of help and concern we received from that company, I cannot express my appreciation for Doggon enough. Not only did the Doggon Wheels turn out to be a superior cart with very few of the problems we encountered with the other, but everybody there was and continues to be so very helpful, patient, and friendly. After my previous experience, I am thrilled to have discovered a cart that is safe and stable enough for a dog of Popeye's special needs and high energy, and I am even more thrilled to have found a company that so genuinely cares about the well-being of their canine clients.

Thanks to his Doggon Wheels, Popeye is now able to do all the things he couldn't before. The Doggon has given him the opportunity to be a part of so many more of life's adventures, the freedom to run like the wind, and the gift of allowing the rest of the world to see Popeye being Popeye. I cannot recommend this company highly enough.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pawz Rubber Boots

In my neverending quest to discover as many ways as possible to laugh at the dogs, I recently purchased some Pawz rubber boots.

The pads on Phoebe's paws constantly get blistered and scraped, possibly from the hot asphalt during our walks but more than likely from the little stones that the original homeowners landscaped our backyard with. They heal fairly quickly with the various ointments we use, but it would be nice to prevent them in the first place.

Phoebe is no fledgling when it comes to doggie boots. We've used them in the past to protect her paws from the mud.

And to accessorize.

"Why me, God?"

But none of the boots ever stay on. Certainly this Cinderella dog would lose at least one of her slippers during her mad gazelle-like leaps and dashes into the brushes along the trail or even our backyard.

Advertised as being disposable, reusable, and waterproof, a pack of 12 size Large of the Pawz boots cost me about $17 including shipping. They are basically nothing more than rubber ballons that have been shaped to better fit a dog's paw. Because they are rubber, they are not breathable and so should not be kept on for long periods. I think I read somewhere that 2 hours would be ok.

Aside from protecting the paws, they also provide a way to help prevent your dog from slipping on slippery surfaces. A handy dandy tool for dogs with arthritis or amputees like Popeye who can't balance as well on slippery floors. Of course, the fact that the boots should not be kept on for long periods does slightly diminish its usefulness in this application.

You can watch some videos on the Pawz website:

Like rubber balloons, these boots have a reinforced "mouth," and that is what mostly prevents them from falling off. Also the fact that they are so lightweight, there is virtually no weight to pull them down.

Phoebe has only been wearing these for 2 days, but here's what we think of them so far.

- Lightweight, so I don't think they bother dogs as much as regular boots do
- Not exactly easy, but not difficult to put on and take off
- So far, they do stay on for the most part, definitely more so than other boots
- In theory, provides some protection to paws under certain conditions
- Relatively cheap
- Waterproof
- Since they're rubber, weeds won't stick to them
- Can be rinsed off, although moisture does make the rubber stick to itself more. I turn the boots inside-out after taking them off to allow the inside to air out.

- Made of rubber so not breathable and cannot be kept on for long periods of time
- Excessively thin so I don't think it provides much protection over rougher surfaces like stones
- Thinness also makes it more prone to getting punctured. One of Phoebe's boots already has a small puncture after just 2 days.

This may change as Phoebe gets more used to wearing them, but the boots make her less prone to want to run around. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing. They have stayed on so far on walks, which is more than I can say for most other boots I've used in the past. But since they discourage Phoebe from running, they haven't been put through the ultimate pitbull-gone-wild test yet.

Phoebe already has a fairly large cut in one paw, and putting rubber around it concerns me. So I put one of my socks on that paw and then put the Pawz boot over it. It would be nice if the boot had an inner lining of cotton so that the skin didn't have to make contact with the rubber. A cotton liner would also provide a bit of a cushion. Of course, considering these "boots" are nothing more than balloons, lining it may not be feasible.

Another improvement might be to make at least the front boots longer so that they go over the "thumb" pad. For some reason, the dogs cut this pad quite often.

Overall, I think these boots are worth the price. Depending on why your dog needs them, they may be sufficient. For example, if you plan to take a dog to a place that has slick surfaces (remember that Cesar Milan episode?), these boots would provide better traction. Or to protect the pads from extreme temperatures like snow or hot hot pavement. Or simply to keep the paws from getting muddy. I'm not sure they are sufficient for Phoebe though, as they don't provide too much protection from harsh surfaces.

Sammy the 2-Legged Puppy

Mel at Doggon Wheels, the company that made Popeye's cart, told me that she had talked to a rescue in Canada who was interested in getting a Doggon cart for one of their rescued dogs. Sammy is listed as a 5-month old puppy, is also from Taiwan, and has only his front 2 legs. The rescue had asked Mel if a 2-legged dog like Sammy could run in a cart. Mel directed them to Popeye's video.

I am always curious to learn more about the other 2-legged and/or paralyzed dogs in the world, so after hearing about Sammy, I tried to find out more about him. To no avail. Until today.

There is a woman named Dolores who has a senior border collie that suffers from severe arthritis as well as having 1 rear leg amputated. Dolores and I "met" online through our mutual dissatisfaction with the Eddie's Wheels carts we had each ordered for our dogs. When she saw how fabulous Popeye did in his Doggon Wheels, she held a garage sale and earned enough to order a Doggon for her dog as well. Her dog's experience with the carts is an interesting one and one that I hope to share some time in the future. But I digress.

Dolores forwarded me an adoption ad today for another 2-legged dog. And lo and behold, it was Sammy's. She did not even know I had been searching for more info about him.

Sammy's Petfinder ad can be viewed here:

I have fostered black puppies from Taiwan that looked just like him. His bio states that he was hit by a car. It does not mention anything about him being incontinent, which I believe is the biggest barrier to Popeye finding a Forever Home, so hopefully Sammy won't have to wait very long. Don't you just want to squeeze him?

I have contacted the rescue who is caring for Sammy, 1atatime Rescue. Many rescues are very busy, staffed only by volunteers, but hopefully I will hear back from them.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yesterday was meat pick-up day at the local raw co-op. The dogs' freezer is once again stocked with chicken (wings, feet, liver), turkey (necks, liver, hearts), and lots of stinky green tripe.

I had a messy grinding fight with the chicken wings.

But I eventually won. 40 lbs.

Can't forget the veggies -- although I often do as I don't find them very necessary in a raw diet. But they are a great way to fill the dogs up without piling on the calories. Plus, I can get it at a discount.

This is Preference from The Honest Kitchen, straight out of the box. Dehydrated alfalfa, sweet potatoes, cabbage, celery, apples, spinach, organic kelp, coconut, bananas, zucchini, and honey.

Just add water and wait 5-10 minutes. Very similar to the meals I normally prepare for myself. I usually make a large enough batch to feed the dogs for 4-5 days and refrigerate the unused portion.

Breakfast this morning. Ground chicken wings (except for Popeye who got ground turkey necks instead due to possible chicken allergy), green tripe, Preference, and turkey liver. Yum.

By the way, those Durapet slow-feed bowls really do work to slow the dogs down when eating. The key is to get a bowl that is small enough for your dog. If your dog is able to put his entire muzzle in the bowl (and therefore gulp his food), then likely it's too big. I got size small for all 3 dogs. Popeye, being only about 30 lbs and with a narrower muzzle, is still able to get his food faster than Boomer (70lbs) and Phoebe (55lbs). Boomer and Phoebe have to use their tongue more to lift the food out of the bowl, which slows them down. If the bowl came in an XS, I would've gotten that for Popeye.

Pros: does work to slow dog down as long as appropriate size bowl is used; easy to clean; lightweight; stackable

Cons: can be messier, especially with small bits of food like the Preference veggies, since the dogs are flicking their tongues more. (But when it comes to food, the dogs clean up after themselves at our house.); being so lightweight, bowl does shift if the dog pushes against it. If you have a wussy wuss of a dog like Phoebe is, where every strange movement of an inanimate object scares her, then it'll take some time for the dog to get used to it.

"Please sir (spoken in a British accent--didn't you know the dogs were bilingual?), we want some more."

(That's Sugar in the background. She doesn't like to stand too close to Popeye cuz she says he's got cooties.)

"What? No more? Then we shall feast on the pitbull instead!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Sugar

It took a day, but Sugar has rediscovered her usual perch on the chaise. She likes to look out the window and wonder, "When is my Crazy Lady coming back?"

Pictures from when she was our foster dog. It was during winter so the dogs were all cuddled up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Little Sugar Flashback

Crazy Lady is off to Texas, so Sugar is staying with us until next week. We all know Sugar from her blog, right?

But that wasn't at all the Sugar that originally came to us as a foster dog 1.5 years ago. Sugar was our 4th fearful foster -- and the 1st one that was actually planned, so I was ready for her. I set up her very own room where she could hide all she wanted until she was ready to come out. Flashback music, please.

Miko Peli Grosa

Miko is Japanese for "child of a divine being." Peligroso is spanish for "dangerous." Robin, Miko's foster mom, has extended Miko's name to Miko Peli Grosa. Dangerous. Dangerously smart. Dangerously agile. Dangerously adorable.

Miko is definitely a fearful dog. Not just shy. Fearful. My favorite kind of dog.

But she is great with cats. She rubs up against them, and they rub against her.

And within 24 hours, she became best friends with Logan, the resident Formosan Mountain Dog.

It took a while longer for Miko to get comfy with the humans. A touch here, a brush there. That was all she would allow. But many treats and a few days later, she now allows her foster mom to pet her.

However, she still spooks very easily, especially outside of the house. Even in the yard, any noise and she will make a run for it. She's only allowed in the yard on leash but sometimes that's still not enough. The other night, she was in the enclosed front yard on leash for a potty break. The leash was the kind you get a the vet's office that wraps around the neck. Oddly enough, given Miko's past, she has no sensitivity at all regarding her neck.

While outside, there was a noise and within seconds, Miko had snapped the leash broken and jumped over the 3.5 ft side gate. Luckily, it was the back door of the house that she ran to, wanting to come back into the safety of the house. A leash attached to a harness in addition to a leash around her neck might have prevented this, except Miko has foiled 2 attempts to keep a harness on her--by chewing them off.

Peligroso, see?

While Miko does have a long way to go in becoming more comfortable with the outside world, it's rewarding to see how she has progressed within the household in just a week. She is a very playful, very athletic and energetic young dog. After the horrible images we've seen of what this poor girl has been through, it's nice to finally get a glimpse of the real Miko.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ai Yi Yi

As if Popeye's allergies haven't driven me crazy enough, Phoebe's been getting blisters on her paw pads left and right. We think they might be caused by the hot asphalt in this off and on scorching weather. The skin on her pink pads peel off, and then she licks and licks them, causing even more of it to peel off. This is a problem she's had for years, but this year it seems to be recurring a lot more frequently. All it usually takes to clear up mostly is a few days of ointment prescribed by the vet. But sometimes she licks the stuff off. Sooooo . . . . . .

(Look at Boomer saying, "Check my cavities!" in the background.)

Those are my socks she's wearing (yes, Hanes!), held on by vet tape.

And when the socks fell off at the end of our walk up the trail . . . .

(That's Popeye stalking Phoebe again.)

At first, I used the Comfy Cone on her, but it completely blocked her peripheral vision and she just froze.

And while she didn't particularly love wearing the soft e-collar either, she didn't seem to mind it very much.

I will be ordering some Tuf-Foot lotion which supposedly toughens paws (and human feet). When I asked, the manufacturer said it could also be used on Popeye's stumps.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Peeping Popeye

1 Year Ago


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Zero Dignity is Right

"I blame you for this, Crazy Lady." - Popeye

Popeye has been scratching his ears quite a bit for the past several months. Even the allergy medications like atopica and prednisone did not seem to do much for his ears, making me wonder if the problem is something other than allergy-related. The vets could find nothing wrong. Maybe he was scratching it so much he irritated it even further.

Whatever the case, after reading this on Sugar's blog, I decided to do what Crazy Lady did. Yes, that is a pair of Hanes on his head.