Golden Retrievers Speak: Tourney Time!

Jeter:   It is time for the NCAA Tournament!   I am all ready to run under the bed if Duke isn’t playing well.  Mommy is a big Duke fan.

Alanis:  I love college basketball!    But I wonder why they shoot the ball into that basket?  Whenever a ball is thrown to me, I do everything in my power to KEEP it.   Why give it away so willingly?

Jeter:   That is how they score points.  Any teams with dog names?  I hear 90% of colleges use the Bulldog as their mascot.

Alanis:  No retrievers?

Jeter:  Maryland-Baltimore County is known as the Retrievers!  Too bad they don’t play basketball very well.

Alanis:  Oh well.  I guess I will just pick the team with the cutest mascot.

Jeter:  That’s shallow!  I am going with the team that will cause me the least stress – Duke!

Alanis:   I don’t get stressed over much of anything.  I need to pick a different team than you.  I will go with Northern Kentucky!

Jeter:  Say what?

Alanis:  They have a 15 next to their name.  Kentucky only has a 2.  Seems like a safe bet to me!

Jeter:  Alright, then.

Alanis:   Northern Kentucky FTW!

Jeter:  I will just leave you to your silly fantasies.   Notice how neither of us picked Daddy’s team? (Michigan)

Alanis:  Well, they are the Wolverines…and we come from wolves…too bad we would never pick anything associated with Daddy.

Jeter:    Josh had a blue Duke collar – it is in the basket of collars Mommy keeps.

Alanis:   Josh had that collar forever!

Jeter:  He was a dedicated Duke fan – even had a Duke leash.   OK, I am out of here – we need to submit our picks into Daddy’s pool.  And no, we are NOT picking Northern Kentucky!

Me:   March Madness may just be my favorite time of the year – I even take the first two days of the tournament off from work.   The games are usually crazy, and nerve-wrecking.   As always, if you are having company or are going to have food out, just pay attention to your dogs to make sure nothing goes awry.  Enjoy the games!

Golden Retrievers Speak: Damn You, Trebek!

Jeter:   Yes, it happened again.   This time, however, I did not actually have a seizure.   Let me explain:  If you have read this blog before, you know I have a history of seizures – only two in my seven years on Earth, but even one gives you a history!  Both times, the seizure occurred during Final Jeopardy, when the famous music was playing.  After the second incident, my parents made an executive decision to always mute Final Jeopardy.  Even if it is just a coincidence, why take that chance?   I am a very sensitive dog, but I have never had a seizure after a power outage or when going to the vet.  Nothing has “triggered” one other than Final Jeopardy.     Last night, my mommy and daddy were talking to each other as she fast forwarded to Final Jeopardy.  She forgot to mute the TV.    As the song started playing, I let out what may only be described as a “doggie scream” from what seemed to be a deep sleep.   My parents say it is very hard to describe what the sound was, but they immediately paused the show and checked up on me.   It was almost as if I was shouting “Don’t play that song while I am sleeping!!!  EVER!”    It was scary to them – not really to me. I am not even sure I remember doing it.

Alanis:  It was scary.  I think, at first, that Daddy thought one of us may have been growling at the other.  The noise wasn’t a growl, but it was just so strange.  It startled me as well – I think they are relieved that it wasn’t an issue between us two (I love to sleep right next to Jeter – it would make me sad if he suddenly rejected that!)    In any case, I am a dog and I don’t even know what the heck that was, Jeter.   It was strange, but it got the point across.

Jeter:   Thankfully, Jeopardy is the last thing they watch at night.  Mommy got up to go upstairs, and Daddy broke up the situation by calling us into the kitchen for some cheese.  I had my happy face and wagging tail!  This morning, I was as fine as can be.  No problems – as if nothing happened.

Alanis:  I can vouch for that, as Jeter humped me a few times and went for a nice, long walk on what is promising to be the last nice day for a little while.

Me:   I don’t even know what to say.  There is something about the Final Jeopardy theme song that sends Jeter over the edge.   As a puppy, he was always “fascinated” by the Final Jeopardy song.  He would stop in his tracks and stare at the TV as it was going on, with his ears perked up.   At the time, it was cute and funny – was it actually him having some sort of “focal” seizure event that we just weren’t catching on to?  I don’t think so, but it isn’t impossible, I guess.   Whatever it is, that tune is BANNED from this household and Final Jeopardy has to stay on mute.      No other part of the show bothers him at all, so that is a good thing, since we love the show.       This just goes to show you how complex seizures and dog behavior in general can be.   Hard to really figure out WHY this happens to Jeter – but it does.   We just have to stay vigilant and keep him away from anything that could cause his brain to go a little haywire.


Golden Retrievers Speak: Hot Spots!

Jeter:  I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a nice coat and good skin.  Golden Retrievers are known for their “hot spots” (Josh would get at least one every year, if not more), but I have never had one (knock on wood).  I would try to lick Josh’s though, from time to time, and recently licked one that Alanis developed by her shoulder.

Alanis:   Yes, hot spots are uncomfortable – this is my first one, and hopefully my last one.  My family had treatments left over from when Josh would get them, so thankfully they have been treating it.  They are so uncomfortable.   My parents probably like the fact that this spot is in a place where it is very hard for me to lick at, but there are times I wish I could just go to town and rip my hair out, like Josh used to do!

Me:  Neither Jeter nor Alanis were here when Josh developed his nastiest hot spot (in my opinion).  Colleen and I went to a christening, and when we came home, Josh had pretty much ripped out a lot of his hair on one of his sides.  Suffice to say, he went straight to the vet and probably had to wear the “cone of shame”.

Jeter:  Don’t interupt us when we are talking, you fool.   I do like to lick wounds.  I find them very quickly on other dogs (and people!) and lick, lick, lick.  It is mostly an old dog’s tale that our tongues have some sort of miraculous healing powers, but what do I care?  I just like doing it.

Alanis:   There are many things that can cause hot spots – believe it or not, Josh’s hip condition may have been a reason why his hot spots would show up on his side (licking near the area of the hip pain).   He also had allergic reactions to food (mommy and daddy think it was white rice).    They are not dangerous or life-threatening, but they should be treated.  They are very uncomfortable for us, and since logic is not what dogs specialize in, we will continue to lick and bite at them.

Jeter:    That is exactly what Josh would do – and before you knew it, a little red spot on his skin would become this big wound that needed treatment.

Me:  Yep, and that treatment typically included the need to cut his hair around his wound, which I am sure caused even more discomfort.  We didn’t have to do that with Alanis’ first ever hot spot.   We don’t even know what caused the hot spot, and hopefully they don’t become a regular thing with her.  They can be a royal pain to deal with.   If your dog is prone to hot spots, you may want to do what humans are often told to do:  Keep a journal in an effort to figure out why the hot spots are occurring.  Are they due to a specific food?  Is there perhaps something in the environment?   Are they not getting enough exercise? (A bored dog will sometimes create the hot spots because they lick out of boredom).   It could be a lot of trial and error.    Josh’s problems with hot spots never went away, though they were controlled.   It is recommended you take your dog to the vet, especially if the hot spot has reached a point where the dog has exposed his skin.