Words Now, More Later

Just a couple of quick things and then I will add a plumpie update later...

Puppy Peaks closes tonight -- this is Susan Garrett's unique program where she posts short training videos of her work with her puppy. I was not sure what I would think about it but I am more than impressed, and highly recommend it. In addition to the videos, there is written material that is excellent and informative. What I like about her approach is that she doesn't use traditional training methods -- in other words, there is no punishment/pain -- only play/training for what she wants. Even those without a puppy will find it useful so if you want to know more about how to train without pops and pinches and pain -- this is an excellent way to get great info, and cheaper than attending classes.


Life is complicated here these days. Mrs. Maize is not steady on her feet, and requires assistance to get up and on slippery surfaces. She eats, but typically only if she is hand fed. At the end of life, it is a burden to force fed so we will not do that, but we do offer food and make sure it is the good stuff -- she has moved from crackers to chicken and cheeseburgers. She drinks well, and seems relatively comfortable but we know this is not long-term -- we are living in the shadow of impending loss.

And we know we dodged a clotted bullet with Dear Husband, and so we are grateful for that but as the reality of what could have been sinks in -- well, that is a lot to absorb as well.

I find it best in situations such as this to acknowledge and honor all the feelings, but not to "live" there -- who wants to live with trauma, fear, and grief?! Not me.

The end of the year is also a time of beginning -- new hopes, new dreams that can be even better if we learn from what has been. And I cannot help but to think that who Harper will be -- and what she will accomplish -- is not only Maize's gift to us, but also our gift to her. Becoming better/different because someone was here and touched our life is the best way to express gratitude for all that person -- or dog -- means to us.

I know better than most that grief is an appropriate response to loss -- but it is not an appropriate legacy.


Cindy shares, "Oh what a busy week - Lainey is doing so well! She is getting very tall and now has trouble running under the kitchen stools. She is my little shadow - always nearby and following me around, she loves to sleep with her head on my feet whenever I stop somewhere. She is a very quiet, mature puppy - the only time she fusses at all is when she can't find me...

She is not a big chewer but does love large marrow bones (I have decided that any bones she eats will be ground and the bones she chews on for exercise will be large with no round joints or pieces to break off). She is just a pleasure to have around and sooo sweet.

We have 2 grandmas in convalescent hospitals so she has been a hit at both of them and even encountered a group of wonderful carolers on their missions from the Church of the Latter Day Saints - she just goes with the flow.

We had a huge group at our house for Christmas and she just played, greeted, and slept just like it was an everyday occurance.  I am so proud of this little girl and it is so fun to have her sister close by (they are different as night and day :)"

Thank you so much Cindy!! I especially love the one of Lainey with the missionaries/carolers -- LOL!!! Perfect :)


by Sharon G on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 07:41

Poignant issues...I breathe a sigh of relief that you are able to post on your blog. As always, M-A, you express yourself so well. My Dad used to say: "Hope for the best, expect the worst & take whatever comes"...I'm don't think that is an original phrase but it does sum up the inevitable ups & downs life brings. Keep wearing those lucky socks - tonight is the last night of Hannukah!
You & your family are in our thoughts. Hugs to all!

by Lois on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 09:47

Gentle forehead kisses to sweet Mrs Maize. She is in my thoughts often. I have learned much of life from my old dogs on their final journey. It is a beautiful if bittersweet gift. Kim take care. Sending grace to you all.

by Joan on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 17:02

I too have been thinking of Maize alot. When I met Mary-Ann, Maize was the baby of the Kaibab family. Entering Mary-Ann's backyard was a test in trusting that your fingertips would not be removed by Abra or Emma who could not stop woofing excitedly to smell your hands but needed rather to do both simultaneously! Maize was sweet and gentle and just as welcoming but alot quieter!! And I still think of the young man Mary-Ann to provide counseling services to at the homeless clinic where I worked, facilitated by Mrs. Maize. Without her, this young man would not have been able to tolerate the intimacy of therapy, but with her, he was able to open up some about his fears.She's a grand lady!! Wishing peace and tears of healing to all.

by Lisa K on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 13:28

Anyone want to go into more detail about what type of bones to feed the pups as well as adults? Like, what type, size, cut, where do you get them, etc?

by Ellen in Missoula on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 19:13

.... is on my mind many times every day, too. I continue to think of the Mrs., M-A and Kim and send strength to you all!

by cindy heintzberger on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 19:38

ok Lisa - i'll bite:)
There are 2 types of bones - raw meaty bones for eating and raw recreational bones for chewing. RMB's include chicken necks, wings cut in 3rd's at the joints, pork neck bones, beef neck bones - bones with lots of meat on them that are not weight bearing bones, even ox tails but NOT cut in little pieces, just whole. I find most of these bones already ground at my fancy "raw connection" dog food store frozen. or from a smart butcher here who got into the raw dog food busines:) Recreational bones are for chewing such a beef femur bones, knuckle bones, rib bones - bones that are large and can't be swallowed...
I have had no problem until very recently so now I am rethinking bones with smooth, rounded joints such as lamb shanks...
I am known around here as the bone lady - we purchase some 4H animals and I keep the bones too - asking the butcher to keep them large. I also find them at local grocery stores - don't be afraid to ask what they have in the back - beef necks are huge and meaty before they cut them up and ribs can be fed in a slab, etc. Remember - the bigger, the better for our dogs.
when dogs are introduced as puppies and chew regularly they seem to do better as they are less ferocious and eager and more sensible chewers. I do think that there are risks - and one has to weigh the good with the bad when offering bones - sigh...

by Jennifer G. on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 08:27

Thanks for ALL of the information Cindy! I'm reading somethings (thanks for the link) and trying to get informed because I really think we may switch to a raw diet for Mesa. She is doing well on kibble with proper weight gain, good stools, etc. but she is SUCH a chewer and a poop eater:) that I think she may benefit in more ways than one with a switch...but like many people I'm just nervous and feel completely stupid when it comes to this! And we live in a tiny little town/valley where it is hard to find things....although I haven't asked everyone the right questions yet!

Anyway thanks again...and thanks Lisa for asking the bone question!

by Lisa K on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 08:42

Always, Jenn. We can never learn to much, that is about the only thing I DO know! There is a ton of info out there on feeding and it is a 'hot' topic to be sure. I think talking in smaller groups, such as this and finding the kind and experienced type of people to help is the best way to go about it. I will probably ask you more, Cindy! Especially now that I know your nickname! ;-) My Abby is a poopeater too, it can take some training as well and also lots of quick yard pick ups! Most of my girls did that when they were young and out grew it. But not Abby! ;-)

by Elizabethanne on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 23:56

I am loving all the puppy updates and photos! Thanks to everyone for the stories and photos.

by Toby E on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 05:42

While I do feed raw bones, mostly femur sections, on occasion to my guys, I do it with great caution and some trepidation. When I was in college, my dog died of post op complications after surgery to relieve an intestinal blockage from raw "soup" bones. That was a long time ago (hee hee), and in hindsight, the standard of care of veterinary medicine wasn't anywhere near where it is today. I am sure he didn't have pre anesthetic bloodwork, he was a 12 year old Keeshound, and quite possibly had underlying kidney disease, as that was ultimately the cause of death. It was because of " Smokey" that I became a vet, cliche as that sounds. I was devastated and felt totally helpless that I couldn't help him. I think to this day, my forward thinking mom (fed raw) still blames herself for his death :( So with that all said, I use bones with caution. I have never used turkey necks, they just plain scare me! Maybe I'll get over that someday too :)

by Lisa K on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 06:05

Thanks you two. I will admit, I am a chicken on giving bones. I am afraid of all things that may happen. The blockages, fractured teeth, etc and also disagreements between the dogs. So I am thinking about it all the time. I DO think the bones have so many benefits, too. I feed a combo of raw and home cooked. I also will add in a bit of kibble too and one dog is on a kibble only diet, as oddly, that is what has worked for her. I am open to all things, just a worry wart. Sigh is right! ;-) Thanks again!

by Katie Sidesinger on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 09:18

Please be careful with the bones you feed and know that it needs to be individualized to your dog and the type of chewer they are. Our berner has a history of obstructions and subsequent surgeries as a result. We had removed all unsafe things or so we thought and surely thought that recreational hard bones were okay. He is such a ferocious chewer he was able to break off big chunks of a cow femur bone while my MIL was watching him. He ended up obstructed from a piece of bone and needed emergency surgery that combined with a heart condition almost killed him. At this point he is not allowed to have anything to chew on unsupervised and we no longer are able to feed recreational bones. Our other dogs do not chew and eat things in the way that he does so they are safe to have these bones and have never had a problem, but it's not worth risking his life again so no one is allowed to have them. While I think they provide great benefit you need to be aware of your individual dog and how they handle bones and toys to determine what is safe for them.

by cindy heintzberger on Wed, 12/28/2011 - 10:43

Katie is so right - bones are an individual thing for sure and the chances of obstruction after an obstruction surgery are greater so know your dog. That is why it seems that starting as a puppy helps to not make it such a big deal. But all of that said just remember that most of the new, good frozen raw foods have ground bone in them so you are getting all of the nutrients without the worry... They just don't get the jaw exercise and relaxation but then they don't risk broken teeth either :) that is 1 of the reasons that 4 H animals are so good- the bones are young and softer.

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