River is our second akita. We adopted him after we had Ocean because, according to my hubby the therapist, she was lonely. So, instead of one furry, fluffy dog, we now have two.
Akitas are an unusual breed. You don’t see them running about too often. They’re not eskimo dogs and they’re not labs…they’re a different sort of dog. And we knew basically nothing about them when we got them.
One thing the breeder warned us about is that akitas are ‘one-person’ dogs. Not knowing what she meant, we ignored her and headed home. It was only after we had the dogs that we started to understand.
Ocean is madly in love with my hubby. She cares for me, don’t get me wrong, but the love she has for Hubby knows no bounds. She cries when he leaves, can identify the sound of his car coming home and will smile if he so much as looks at her from across the room.
On the other hand, River is my dog. He follows me around the house like a shadow, gazes adoringly at me from the floor and hates it when I leave the house. He also has to be near me no matter where I go. That means that if I’m not quick and close the door, he’ll follow me into the shower.
We don’t have the largest bathroom in the world. It’s meant to contain a human being, not a massive akita. So, in the weekends, when I’m lazy and relaxed, River finds his way inside and I have to shower with him. As a result, my short shower routine turns into a long, drawn out ballet where I try to get clean while avoiding stepping on dog paws, tails and other bits.
Don’t feel too sorry for me. I usually also stop to kiss his furry head, pat him and explain to him what I’m doing with the blow dryer (River doesn’t like the blowdryer). This usually makes Ocean jealous and, if I’m not careful, she will also slip inside the bathroom, love for hubby notwithstanding.
Now two akitas in the bathroom is not a shower routine, it’s a disaster. It’s one of those things that we should have learned about before we got two of these fluff-balls. Still, we’re not complaining.
Akitas don’t follow commands unless they feel like it, they can’t swim and they won’t chase a ball; but if you want a dog who’ll be your shadow, these guys are great.
It’s early morning here and we’re up. After a breakfast with a bit of broth and their usual kibble, my two fluffy dogs have settled to watch things outside the window. There’s a cutie-patootie rabbit that comes to our grass to eat breakfast on a regular basis and my two akitas are fascinated by his every move.
They’re both at it right now, faces against the window, trying to get to the little rabbit while I sip on my breakfast cup of coffee.
Breakfast and a show, aren’t Saturday mornings the best?
It has a roof and walls and everything.
We had tons of dirt. Not just outside either. It managed to sneak into the house and join the dog hair that we already have. The results weren’t pretty.
So, now we have a structure. And it’s super exciting.
A little while ago, I rambled on about our doggie Ocean who wasn’t acting like herself. One mental breakdown on my part later, we were at the vets’ inside an incredibly tiny and stuffy office. After much poking, prodding of Ocean and sweating like overcooked noodles from ourselves, the vet recommended switching her food (she might have allergies to it) and doing blood work and stool analysis.
I’m not one to leave things to chance. We had just switched our doggies’ food thinking this new brand might be a better quality for them but, since Ocean was obviously
poisoned not reacting well to it, it had to go. Without further ado, we threw out the old and went shopping for new. Meanwhile, I cooked some oatmeal, eggs and tuna (we’re vegan but our doggies are not and they love tuna) and I made her a little get-better meal for her…though River thought it was awesome as well.
Since our last vet visit Ocean, who has always been on the thin side, has lost over 4 kilograms. Translated, that’s about 9 lbs…a huge percentage of her already tiny weight. It might very well be due to allergies over food, but my overactive mind created all sorts of other horrific diseases that could also be responsible for this issue. Terrified, I waited on pins and needles for the blood work and analysis results.
Finally, after calling the vet so many times I memorized the number, they came in.
This is where it can’t be easy to be a vet, but it’s also super challenging to be a patient. While the stool revealed nothing wrong, the blood work was inconclusive. Ocean has slightly elevated kidney numbers which might indicate an infection, might indicate something as dire as kidney disease (incurable, by the way), might just be a reaction to her food or might not be anything at all. I banged my head against the wall while the vet tried to calmly explain all the possible scenarios. I have to give her credit because, while I freaked out, she patiently explained everything from Leptospirosis to cancer. I wanted symptoms, outcomes (bad and good) and prognosis…and I wasn’t exactly mellow while she explained all the dire consequences that my poor, fluffy Ocean could be facing. Worse, if possible, she could be contagious and be giving some of these terrible diseases to River.
At some point, I started to bawl and became incomprehensible, so lovely hubby had to take over. I know they’re only dogs, but my silly heart doesn’t listen to reason or logic. It’s head over heels with these two fluff balls and nothing but happiness on their side will do.
So, what’s the prognosis? Well, unfortunately, medicine with animals is challenging mostly because they can’t talk to us. Ocean can’t tell us what hurts. The good news is that, since the last time we weighed her, she’s put on about 3lbs (that’s great news in only 7 days) and that she had almost clear results on the blood work and stool sample. But the truth is, gentle reader, that we don’t know for certain. I’m really hoping that it’s just a bad reaction to her food and things will keep getting better but we won’t know until a few weeks go by and she gets really better.
Meanwhile, I will give her extra cuddles and kisses…and River as well so he won’t feel left out.
I’m going to be honest here, I judge people. I know I should not make passing judgements, but the truth is, I judge them. Worse, I have criteria.
1. You have a pet.
If you have a pet, you’re already my friend. We might not know each other, but you’re already in my circle of people I like and trust. Everything counts in my book, from a mouse to an exotic bearded dragon, if you have a pet at home, I like you–even if I don’t know you.
2. You have a dog.
Of course, if that pet should happen to be a dog, you’re among the few and friendly best. There’s no logical reason for this discrimination, but I find that dog owners (and cat owners are included in this category) are super kind, friendly people who happen to know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night because your best furry friend just puked up their dinner.
3. Your dog is massive, drools or you have several dogs.
These are a rare kind of people that must be cherished. They know what it’s like to have drool everywhere, to have many, many towels to hand to a guest as soon as they walk in the door. They understand what it’s like to try to pet your dog but your arms don’t reach around his girth. They know what it’s like to have such dog try to get on your lap because they don’t understand that they’re not a puppy and weigh around 150 lbs. They understand about being outnumbered at walk-time and know that the couch is theirs only for periods of time.
I find these are rare, precious individuals who have loving, warm hearts and aren’t afraid of a little dirt. They may not keep up with current fashion trends, but they know everything about trying to keep a house from smelling of dog and giving up during spring when said dog (or dogs) are perpetually wet.
Dog people understand like few can.
So, if you find yourself watching the beautiful parabolic arch of drool going from your furry friend’s mouth through the air into your cup of tea…don’t scream in frustration. Come and tell me all about it.
Trust me. I’ve been there.