Sunday, February 15, 2009

I think I'll call him Mat....

After about 5 hours, 50 some-odd Snookies, one sore back, two sore arms, a few new blisters, one incredibly stuffy nose, a horrible headache, one stressed out passive-aggressive dog, and a huge pile of leftover fluff, I have successfully achieved one 75% mat-free dog!

What about the other 25%? Well, I can safely say it just ain't gonna happen. You see, Loki hates being groomed. And by "hates", I mean... a grooming session with Loki is almost always a full-on contact sport that typically ends with Loki in a pretzel hold between my knees, trying desperately to get away, while I'm simultaneously trying desperately to get even one brush stroke through his Rastafarian-like coat of hair.

Because, unlike Max, who joined me as a puppy open to learning about the potential joys of grooming, Loki came to me slightly older, slightly more worldly, and much more cynical about what a brush and scissors mean to his sense of security.

So, in recent years, we've reached a compromise that seems somewhat fair to all. We avoid the regular games of tackle grooming, and instead opted to make it a once-a-year event in which Loki just gets sheared like a sheep. Less stressful for all involved. I prefer him in a full coat of fur, of course, but the stress for all involved to keep him that way just isn't worth it in the end. This makes us all one big happier family.

Unfortunately, the plan didn't work this time. Loki has gradually been turning into one huge walking mat - and spring shearing time is just too far away to hold out much longer. A few signs that it was time to break our grooming arrangement?
  • You take him to the vet's office and feel the need to proactively defend his matted appearance, explaining how stressed he gets by being groomed, and that you instead just shave him down once a year.
  • You also feel compelled to let them know that if a stray is brought in that looks like he's been on the street for quite some time, it's probably your dog - and that despite his appearance, you really do love him!
  • Every time the dog passes by you, you feel compelled to start picking apart mats of fur with your fingers - which in turn means he decides he should probably stop walking near you!
So, today, I just couldn't stand it any more and decided to tackle the Loki. I expected this to be a brief encounter, as is usually the case. But, he must have decided the good outweighed the bad. He gets some special one-on-one attention (rare these days with the two babies), lots of Snookies, and the freedom to once again move a few limbs - but just puts up with a bit of stress in the process.

Of course, one thing you learn early on with these dogs is that if you get one in the position for grooming, and you have their cooperation, the last thing you want to do is break the momentum and get up, or allow them to get up.

It took all my willpower to take advantage of this rare Loki opportunity. Because, you see, while I was grooming Loki, I could also hear all the chaos that was ensuing among Jeff, Tyler, and Austin downstairs....

Sure, there was some laughing, crying, and singing - all pretty typical.... Then there was "Oh no, TYLER! Oooo... " And about an hour later, came the intriguing, "No Tyler ... Tyler NO .... TYYYYLLLLEEERRRR ..... NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooOOOOO! #$%#*@#%$@!!!!!" This was promptly followed by the sound of Tyler crying, Austin crying, then the vacuum cleaner.

Hmm... Now, you know that can't be good.

I held my ground with Loki... but later had to get the scoop on that one... Evidently just after his bath, Tyler decided to use his plate full of dinner leftovers as a frisbee in the living room. 'Nuff said.

Gotta love kids.

But, on the bright side, Loki looks good.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just a quick update...

Since my last blogs were about poor little Austin's ear issues, I just thought I'd post a quick little update on where we are now.

Austin has finally finished all his rounds of antibiotics, and we were able to get in pretty quickly with our lovely ear specialist - the same guy that did Tyler's tubes last year.

After I explained little Austin's situation, I believe his exact words were, "This is practically a phone-in consult!" - meaning that basically it was a no-brainer that Austin has an issue with his ears, and we really need to consider doing something about it.

Because of Austin's age, I was warned that, most likely, the tubes would fall out early and we'd probably need to repeat the procedure down the road. The tubes can last anywhere from 6-12 months on average, but if they fall out before the ears are ready to drain on their own, then you need to redo it to keep those ear infections at bay.

Another interesting bit of trivia I learned is that evidently there could be a tie between Austin's fever/infections and his eczema! The doctor said that often eczema can be a sign of a hyperactive immune system - overresponding to the stimuli. So, that would probably also help to explain why he reacted to severely to the ear infection.

Anyway, here's where we now stand... Austin is indeed joining his brother in tubeville. His surgery is scheduled for next Friday the 20th. They do the surgeries based on age, so most likely, Austin will be the first that morning. In and out, probably done before 8am, I would guess! Then, I'm actually taking a vacation day to stay home with the little guy while his brother runs off to play with friends at daycare.

Pretty routine procedure - so we don't expect any issues...

And that's it for now! Just thought you all might want to know the latest and greatest on the little fellow - especially since I have had no time to make a real blog update recently. Sorry about that!