His Fluffiness, River

River is our male akita. A member of a very hairy breed, this dog has always been extra fluffy. It’s not just the sheer quantity of fur, or the length, it’s the thickness of it that’s incredible. There are places in River’s body you cannot get through that fur and find skin.

Akitas blow their coat twice a year. Blowing their coat simply means they turn into hair-dropping machines for weeks on end. Tuffs of the stuff falls off them in clumps, long hairs drop everywhere and join groups to make tumbleweed-like balls around the house. They drop so much fur that I often wonder how they don’t end up bald. But they stay their furry, fluffy selves. The floor, however, is covered and I run around with my vacuum like a mad woman during those times.

Over the years, River’s coat has gotten thicker and harder to clean. We’ve increased the washes, but we couldn’t get through the fur to the skin underneath. The problem was that neither could fresh air. So his skin stayed wet and created infections.

One visit to our vet and a series of antibiotics later, River’s skin was back to its happy pink and no longer irritated. But antibiotics could only do so much. His fur had to be combed and parted so the issue wouldn’t return. This could only be achieved through a professional groomer.

We worried River might not like the groomer, so we gave him some gentle sedation before he went, but we didn’t need to worry. The soothing bath and relaxing massage that went along with the spa-like treatment were right up his alley. River loved every minute of the grooming process.

The best part, though was the result. After wards, River’s fur was so soft, it was almost like touching down. Touching him was a delight on the senses. It was like caressing a puppy.

I’ve taken pictures, though I’m sorry to say they don’t actually show just how fluffy and soft he is. Still, to a picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at his fluffiness, River.

A la carte

My husband heard from a friend about the benefits of feeding your dogs raw food. Now, while I am skeptical and don’t like change, my hubby embraces it. It didn’t take a lot for said hubby to decide that we were failing our dogs in the food department and that change was needed as soon as possible.

Now, you don’t just give your dog raw food or mix it in with kibble; there’s a process. First, you have your dog fast for about 8 to 12 hours to have all the cooked kibble leave their system. Then you have to figure out how much raw food to feed them; that involves a special calculator that’s online. Then, you need a fancy a scale to weigh the appropriate amount. Finally, there’s a lot of careful washing of utensils, bowls and counters afterwards because raw dog food sometimes comes with things like e-coli and other things that don’t hurt our doggie friends but certainly aren’t welcomed guests for humans or their digestive systems.

River sniffed the new concoction for about half a second and dove right in. Ocean, on the other hand, took one look at the stuff and turned her nose at it.

But we were ready for her pickiness. The raw-food dealer had talked to us about this. “If they don’t go for it at first, just grill it a bit,” she had assured us. “They’ll love it.”

So, we started cooking.

Big. Mistake.

The stench this raw food produced when heated defies description. It was an acrid, horrific stink that seemed to go straight into my throat and stay there. I shoved the stir spoon at my hubby and ran for the washroom.

Later, after the windows were opened, fans were left on and we had febrezed the house from top to bottom, we placed a new offering in front of Ocean.

Her dogginess gave the stinking mess a remarkably human-like disgusted look before leaving the kitchen. River perked up, ready to inhale whatever was not nailed to the ground.

Through the remaining waves of stink, I saw my hubby’s crestfallen expression and tried to help him. Ocean has always been his dog and he took this rejection hard. “She’s might not be hungry,” I tried. “Let’s try her tomorrow.”

When Ocean refused her breakfast the next day and started acting lethargic, we decided enough was enough. Out came the computers and we were off to try and find a new food for our delicate girl. Next thing I knew, we had two large bags of special kibble for picky eaters.

So, tonight, River enjoyed his raw food meal while Ocean had a plate of special kibble picked just for her.

Yes, our dogs eat a la carte.

Where the kibble is just not good enough

Well, I might have mentioned that we have 2 dogs. They’re akitas and we love them dearly. As caring doggie parents, we try to take good care of them, walk them, hug them and feed them good food.

Believe it or not, our search for just the right kibble for these two has been a labour of love that took years. We’re not newcomers at the dog food store. We’ve had other fussy eaters before but Ocean, our little princess, beats them all.

Only kibble? I want to register a complaint with the chef.

River, our tubby guy, will eat anything not nailed to the floor. That, itself is an issue, because we don’t want him to be unhealthy.

Breakfast was exhausting.

So, our kibble has to be perfect for both Ocean and River because to have 2 different brands would send us over the edge into insanity. We have searched, asked experts, compared the tiny ingredient writing in the bags and changed our minds a hundred times. Finally, we have one that we agree on and that our doggies like.

So, what do we do? We add things to it.

That pale stuff in there? That’s tuna. Yeap. We don’t eat it…but we buy it for our dogs

If we were having coffee

(credit:Church Designer Magazine)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this morning was glorious. I sat on the deck watching my two dogs sniffing every corner of the yard and chasing one bird that was obviously up to no good and loved every minute. It was not too hot, it was sunny and there was the promise of more days like this to come.

If we were having coffee, I’d tel you that I discovered a little bump on River and we were at the vet’s almost immediately that same day. Turns out, it was a hair cell that has grown too large and not a deadly form of cancer as I feared. The vet patiently explained it all to us while my hubby rolled his eyes.

Finally, I’d wish you a Happy Father’s Day.

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A huge thanks to  Eclectic Alli for hosing Coffee Share and to you, my lovely reader, for reading!

How to feed 2 akitas in 11 easy steps

These steps vary somewhat, but I honestly follow most of them pretty much every Saturday morning.

  1. Hear Ocean get up and scratch at my bed again and realize she’s not going to stop until I get up. Curse the fact that it’s 6:30 am on a Saturday morning.
  2. Get up and try to not step on both dogs who are now trying to let me know just how much they love me by getting under my feet.
  3. Head to kitchen while reassuring a moaning River that he’s not going to die of hunger and that breakfast is coming.

    When is breakfast? And Second Breakfast? And Lunch? What about a mid-morning snack? And where are we on dinner?

  4. Promise myself that the next pet we get is going to be a stuffed bear.
  5. Try to make coffee while getting dog food ready. Ignore Ocean’s insistent demands for morning kisses by standing and staring at me with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen on a living creature.

    I’m sadly neglected

  6. Change dog water, kiss and hug Ocean, point out to River that breakfast is coming, he had a late night snack last night and he has yet to miss a single meal.
  7. Mix breakfast for dogs of kibble and something else for added nutritional value because Ocean won’t touch her food unless there’s something else in there.
  8. Give dogs their plates and realize I haven’t had a single sip of coffee. Curse again and promise myself next Saturday, Hubby will get up instead of myself.
  9. Promise River, who has already finished his breakfast, that more food will be coming and kiss Ocean so she starts to sniff hers.
  10. Desperately sip at my first cup of coffee. Feel caffeine hit system.
  11. Realize these dogs are adorable…and maybe we could get them a little brother or sister?

River’s boo boo

My husband and I own two dogs. Since they’re akitas, they’re apt to howling instead of barking and have an insane amount of fur.

Well, said fur might be lovely but it knots like anything. So I brush it. Daily. I was in the middle of doing just that when I felt something hard and weird deep under River’s fur.

I couldn’t tell what it was and he wasn’t really inclined to let me poke around. So I waited until he was eating. River is food-driven, so he notices nothing while he eats. As soon as he started chewing, I started moving fur around.

And found this.

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The thing wasn’t in his fur. It was stuck deep into his flesh and hidden by the fur. The dark part was where it was imbedded into him and blood had soaked it to that colour. I pulled it out and stared in horror at the hole it left behind. I ran for the antibiotic ointment and applied that while River was finishing his meal (he eats really fast).

This…thing was in the fleshy part of his hind leg, where he couldn’t reach, so at least the ointment was going to stay put. River didn’t seem upset or even aware that I had done this but I was almost in tears.

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That’s where it was, deep inside there. It was really hard to even find it and pretty much sheer luck that I did. Still, it left me pretty shaken up and I  was determined to perform a close inspection of all his fur, just in case there were any other things stuck in there.

Of course, I didn’t find any more. But what were they? And where did they come from? And how did they end up on the thigh of my doggie?

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Looking around the yard, I found these seeds and I think that’s what imbedded itself into River’s back thigh. There are thousands of these all over the yard thanks to the massive tree that sheds them.

I still have no idea how that seed ended up embedded inside River and no way to keep them away from River or Ocean. Raking the entire lawn one day only caused exhaustion and I was certain I heard the tree laugh as it spilled even more seeds to the ground.

For the next few days, I hovered anxiously over each dog as they stepped outside into a minefield of dangers. With an eagle eye, I followed every movement and dashed outside to prevent certain disaster more than once.

The entire discovery was pretty disturbing and, while my therapist hubby assured me that my feelings were okay and I needed to ‘stay true to my process’, I searched River for signs of PTSD.

 

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River didn’t seem to be ‘processing’ anything. In fact, he seemed oblivious to the entire process. While I still searched his legs for other deadly impaled objects, he played with his bit of rope.

River’s lack of enthusiasm aside, I still think I did a good deed for my pooch. I gave myself a pat on the back for being a good doggie mom.