The Helmet Comes Off

Already in his jammies* for the night, Ian is soooo happy

to be feeling better and to NOT be wearing his “helmet” he’s doing spins and roo’ing at me to let him back outside. 😃I had to hold the “take photo” button down to snap continuous pics trying to get one of this whirlwind 🐶 that was in focus.

Larkin doesn’t get why Ian is being so crazy but he is game for whatever the adventure. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Nicklas is loudly protesting that Ian is being too loud and needs to stop creating a scene but…it looks like fun so if it works out that Ian gets something for his trouble, he wants in on it too. 😂 Elly is nowhere in sight, she’s staying well away from the ruckus and those silly boys.🤓

*Jammies are the genius idea I had to stop his tail from poking out of short sleeve arm holes at night. The long sleeves are perfect for sleeping but not for daytime activities. Another favorite, colored shirt of mine bites the dust. 😮 We also have 3 daytime pants we rotate between – pink, orange and purple, with purple being the favorite. Looks great on him, matches the color of the wrap on his tail and everything just goes smoother for some reason when that’s the color he’s wearing.

Note to fellow dog owners – NEVER throw away a sock or t-shirt. They are life saving and useful in so many ways. Right up there with Vetrap.

So so so grateful this boy is healing. It’s been a wild ride this past month. I don’t know what we’d have done if I had to leave the house for a day job. Even working from home, I have put so much on hold to take care of Ian. 
Now let’s keep this happy, healing going! 🤗🙏🏻💕

Thank you, rat?!

Who knew I’d ever be thankful to a critter invading my garden? I sure didn’t.

Ian tells me that the rat that he chased out of our yard a couple of months ago after numerous rounds of garden destruction, is back. I still haven’t seen him but my most amazing hunter’s nose doesn’t lie.

After a month-long process (saga?) of dealing with a frustrating and painful injury on the end of Ian’s tail, one day he simply told me he was done. Done with wearing his helmet, done with wearing his pants, completely over the wrap (Vetwrap) that he has always hated and he needed FREEDOM. Ugh. His tail wasn’t healed enough for that. It was the next challenge in a month-long series of never-ending challenges. What to do??

Good news was his tail was finally making some measurable progress, FANTASTIC news actually, and I was at this point feeling confident he was no longer in danger of losing part of his tail. Down side was though that it was still not nearly healed enough to give Ian what he wanted. No way were we having any more setbacks. No. I refused. Period. Not that my ‘refusing’ has ever worked over this entire past month. lol.

Enter Rat 🐀.

Once Ian discovered the scent it was GAME ON. He was a dog on a mission. Laser focused. He made it through the garden fence 3 times before I sat and watched him do it and discovered the weak point in my fence. I shored up the defenses and they’ve been holding strong. 🤞🏻Poor tomato plants! Talk about a rough year for my tomatoes. Sheesh! I was however able to harvest (pick up off the ground is more like it) a huge crop of green Juliet tomatoes that I’m letting ripen on the kitchen table. At first I was like Oh No! Not the rat again. But then I started watching Ian and how he couldn’t have cared less about his tail. Hmmmm….could this rat be a good thing after all? The wheels start turning…

I started giving Ian some monitored time outside ‘without’ his helmet, although tail still wrapped and wearing his pants. Absolutely awesome! He was excitedly wound so far up there that as long as he could be outside he didn’t even care about his helmet either. But I cared. He would run so fast around the yard it was too risky that he’d clip the helmet on the corner of something, like a tree trunk, fencing, wood stack or perhaps the straw bales and break his neck.

It’s now been 5 days since “The🐀 Returns”. Ian has spent most of his days outside patrolling and monitoring the back yard on high alert. Today I’m celebrating as he even got a few hours completely naked. Holy cow! Is this what a normal day in our house is like? I almost couldn’t believe it. He was so happy and I was so happy too!

I have refused to take pictures of his tail so I can’t show progress. I don’t need any more memories, it’s all stamped pretty clearly in my brain. I can update though to say his tail is very tender, no hair on the end for any wagging protection and still with a few fragile scabs. It was a challenge to maneuver and corral him in the house so he didn’t wack it hard enough on anything to cause it to split open again. All the while he is trying to excitedly wag and tell rat stories. He does have a minor wound on his front paw he’s re-aggravated from the licking he did to distract himself from his tail, but we are so close, I can clearly see the light! 😀

We have grown closer, Ian and I, this month and I love this brave boy to pieces. 😍 He has taught me so much, as have all of our dogs. Two of the lessons I’ve learned from this most recent experience (1. Stop trying to fix the impossible and 2. Inherent Whys) I’ll be sharing about in upcoming blog posts so stay tuned.

I’d love to know what lessons you’ve learned from your dog(s), please share! I’m also looking into writing a collaborative book compiling these stories, so if you have one you’d like to share in this book, be sure to let me know! I’ll keep you on my list as I start collecting all the stories.

Here is Ian, crashed out after a night 🐀 patrolling. Still wearing his pants, he finally called it quits for the night and came inside but now no longer focused on rats, he started licking his paw again. Sad to have to put his helmet back on again, while sporting a cheery face and telling Ian how great he is….instead I grabbed a blanket and covered him up, paw included, gave him lots of love 😘 and kisses, hoping if he couldn’t see his paw he would forget about it and realize he was exhausted and take a nap. It worked!!

Tired boy finally calls it quits for the night. Rat patrol will have to wait till the morning.

Always groom before a vet visit!

I always brush or groom my dogs before taking them to the vet. I consider it part of my responsibility as a dog owner, aka “dog mom”.

Here’s why:

•Pretty, groomed, sweet smelling dogs get more love and attention. ☺️

I’ve seen it first hand. My husband thinks I’m crazy or maybe just silly but when the receptionists come out from behind the counter to knowingly get licked and slimed while petting your dog; when the vet techs smile as they greet your dog to take them back, as they laugh when they then get yanked away by a happy Gordon off on an adventure; when the vet kneels down and gives them extra ear rubs and tells them how handsome they are…it’s true. The staff are always pleasant and kind if my dogs aren’t looking their best but they go out of their way when around clean, shiny dogs. ☺️

•First impressions of a well cared for dog say without a word that you will go the extra mile for your dogs care and you want the best. And of course you do, so that’s a win!

They treat you with more respect when you come in with a visibly well loved family member, not simply a pet.

•A trimmed dog is easier for the vet to actually ‘see’ so they can catch something that might otherwise have been buried under hair.

They can’t go over every inch of your dog, they count on you for clues as to where to look. And when you’ve bathed them and hand your hands all over, you’ll feel any unusual spots or new bumps that you can make a note to ask the vet to check out.

If your dog has short hair, at least make sure their toes are trimmed, eyes and ears are cleaned and their coat is smooth and shiny with no caked on dirt.

•Your dog will feel better, even if they are under the weather. The love they feel from you while being brushed goes miles towards helping them heal.

They have pride too! Doesn’t Ian look happy to be handsome? ☺️ This boy will proudly hold his head up that much higher when he’s groomed as he walks in the vets office. He’ll soak up every bit of love and “awwww ???” he’s given.

•In an emergency, no I don’t bathe and trim my dogs before taking them in. I DO however throw a brush in my purse for while I’m waiting in the office.

The intent isn’t to be “Oh my gosh, I have to hurry and brush you before anyone sees you!” Instead the intent is that it gives you something to do with your hands and a place to focus your attention when you’re upset. You never know what you might feel while having your hands on them that will be helpful in diagnosis. It keeps you both calmer too. ?

There really isn’t any downside to doing this and so many wins. So why not?

As a side note, this just came to mind as I’m writing, it’s important so I’ll share even though it’s a little off topic of this post.

If you have to leave your dog at the vets offices Go Visit Them! Don’t ask if you can, ask instead for when would be a good time or do you need me to call first. They may say, oh he’ll be sleeping or you don’t need to come, we’ll have someone looking in on them 24/7. Don’t Listen. Trust me, your dog needs to see and feel you and know that they haven’t been deserted. Even if they aren’t fully alert, they’ll know you’re there and can feel your vibes. That will absolutely help them heal and be less stressed.

Also, the vet and staff will again see without you saying a word that you are a very concerned “parent”. The more you can say thank you to them and be appreciative for the great care they are giving your dog, the more likely they are to do the little extras, like stopping by just to talk to them or to brush them.

What going to the vet routines do you have with your dog?

Rebuilding The Runway

The path all 4 dogs take as they go tearing out the back door after a bird they’ve spotted in the yard is what I call The Runway. ?

The dirt had sunk, especially in the corner, so it was a low point in the yard collecting water and the sprinklers were too high to water it properly. Add originally laying it in the dead of summer, which is 110° around here, didn’t help. So it was looking a little sad.

With all I’ve learned this past year, and since not being able to use grass seeds due to crickets that love grass seedlings ?, I can now do a great job transplanting, patching holes and putting seams together ?.

This was my biggest repair job yet. Unplanned too. The idea struck and I knew if I didn’t do it now it wouldn’t get done this year. The seasons of life in nature trump time and agendas.

The prep work was Not Fun. And to not waste the bits of living grass I pulled up I used it to patched other various holes in the yard. Time consuming, ugh, for sure and yet I do love not having holes. ?

Actually laying the sod was the easy part. 🙂

Now if I can keep it alive and the fence not peed on (or jumped over)??‍♀️while it grows roots. ????

I want to know why human urine is good fertilizer for grass but dog urine is not? ?

All that being said, the reason I work so hard on the grass is for the Joie on my dogs ? faces when we play ball on it…

watching them roll in it….

enjoying the coolness in the shade on grass that never gets too hot to burn your feet….

being able to ground myself…..by sinking my bare feet into REAL grass that feels like coming home is an awfully nice side benefit.

then there’s playtime…

and mealtimes with no danger of eating rocks….

#selfcare at its finest ??

#homeownerlife #lovemydogs #gordonsetter #lifeofjoie

Update: I am ecstatic to share that after a couple weeks of extra daily waterings, the new grass is doing better than any sod previously laid! Except for the brown patches where the fence was peed on while we were gone for 12 days and they “forgot” where they aren’t allowed to pee. It’s now had two haircuts and can be walked on. The chairs are my genius idea to have them go around The Runway while the new grass is settling in as they take off out the back door. ? And they can pee on the chairs which are on the rocks. ??

This new patch is now Ian’s favorite spot in the yard. ?

So now you know I’m obsessed with grass. Lol. I’m sure if you’re a dog owner you too have great stories of the things you do for them and because of them. I’d love to hear some!