Where a picture’s worth a thousand woofs!

Thunderstorm Update October 25, 2007

Filed under: My dogs,Pit Bull,Pit mix,Thunderstorm Anxiety — photohound @ 2:50 pm

As we close out the extended Florida summer, I figured I’d update anyone who probably doesn’t care on Maya’s thunderstorm anxiety. We broke down and brought in an animal behaviorist from U of F Veterinary School (my once-to-be alma mater until I realized I hate math) whom I had met a couple years ago at an event. Dr. Curtis is extremely nice, knowledgeable and has provided much insight into Maya’s “issues”. We brought her out here for a consultation and have been corresponding via email and the Target pharmacy ever since.

In keeping with tradition, there was no immediate solution for the ol’ “My” as I call her- amongst other things, depending on my mood and what she’s destroyed. Her first batch of drugs, at the maximum doses worked like a piece of craft glitter might work to freshen your breath. I started to become depressed at the amount of money spent on hiring a dog therapist.


We started doing mild exercises with her aggression and general craziness resulting in slow (VERY slow) progress but noticeable things nonetheless. Here’s a tip for dogs that go CRAZY when you have visitors. Maya for instance will bark and jump up on you (but never snapping or biting) scaring the pants off anyone who we invite into the house. Even when pronouncing her utmost joy at your arrival, her voicebox sounds like you’re about to get eaten, she can’t help it but it’s disconcerting to the newcomer. And if you’re mildly cautious about dogs, then forget it- she takes total advantage of the fact that you know she could have been one of Michael Vick’s “pet” projects.

The behaviorist suggested that each time someone comes over, we put Maya on a leash and walk her outside to greet the visitor. Then we all walk in together like a family returning from a joyous picnic. What do you know, it freakin’ worked! Now, I take absolute pleasure in bribing my friends to come over with the guise that I have cupcakes, later telling them they are actually part of my master plan to cure my dog of her demons. Luckily, I have pretty swell friends who now call before they pull up in the driveway and wait patiently for Maya & I to go greet them. There is no more knocking on doors and creating a circus and (using Andy Rooney’s voice) I Like That.


Oh yeah, the storms. Maya is now on a Hollywood House-Wife cocktail of Prozac and Clonazepam that makes me understand why we are a nation addicted to prescriptions. It’s working and the fact that one of those is on the $4 prescription list at Target just makes me want to run through the streets throwing confetti.

Prozac is Maya’s daily regimen.  The Clonazepam gets dipped in peanut butter whenever it may rain and will henceforth be used every day next summer, believe you me.  Clonazepam is used to treat a wide range of afflictions from seizures to manic episodes to schizophrenia so if Maya ever gets diagnosed with anything else, I’m sure this ol’ pill will take care of that too. Importantly though, IT SEEMS TO BE WORKING!!! A calm Maya sitting still, watching the rain without panting, pacing or acting ridiculous was a sight my husband and I are still catching our breath over. Woo hoo!! We don’t like solving issues with drugs but when you have exhausted everything else and may possibly have a few shreds of sanity left to make a decision, that’s what you decide. In this case, we are all content for the time being and are nervously looking around each time we see a cloud hoping things still work like they’re supposed to.


Congratulations Maya- you are a champ!


Soprano October 18, 2007

Filed under: German Shepherd,Great Dane,Pit mix — photohound @ 2:50 pm

Soprano was rescued as a puppy by his loving parents who have made it their duty to spoil him for all his days. He is a 110 pound concoction of several somethings who planted himself upright in my lap on several occassions- ha ha! He loves to be loved.


Whisked away from a more-than-questionable environment, Soprano now only drinks filtered water (I passed the test on that one :-)). Don’t try and trick him either, his parents tell me, or else he’ll stand at his bowl and stare at you until you fix the problem. There is a complete absence of any threatening bone in his body as all he really wants out of life is to roll over to have his belly rubbed. Hand-feeding him dates and fanning him with palm fronds would also be just as acceptable.


The type of exercise he prefers involves digging a hole to Tibet via his favorite corner of the yard and then slumping down for a cold-Earthed snooze. He LOVES the dirt.


He also loves ice cream! His Mom makes homemade ice cream treats that he REALLY enjoys. Yum Yum! It was great to work with him and his awesome parents- thanks Kim & Felix! And, Soprano, thanks for the super fun session. BA-DA-BING!


Luke – 2008 SPCA Calendar July June 20, 2007

I really enjoyed playing with Luke because I felt like I was playing with my own dog, Maya. Luke is a pit mix, like mine. Black, like mine. However, Luke is much better behaved, well-mannered and a boy. Luke’s Mom and I sat out in the neighborhood park for a couple hours. Luke chased lizards, chased toys, read the morning news in the breeze and tried to sneak a game of tug WHEREVER an opportunity presented itself (the photographer’s sweaty washcloth, the photographer’s lens cloth, the photographers plastic cover sheet) and it was hysterical because he was always trying to plot his next tug operation like we didn’t know what was going on- ha ha!
Tug-of-war is not encouraged by his parents and I want to take a moment and APPLAUD them for giving the breed a chance and a great home. I am a bully breed owner and mine came with a slew of problems (see thunderstorm anxiety and any other stereotypical pit frustration) but I wouldn’t give her up for the world and I’m obsessively responsible regarding her interactions with other animals/people.
When you have a great dog like Luke that can act as an example as how wonderful and sweet the breed can be (he LOVES giving kisses) I hand it to the owners for spreading the word. I want to see more Lukes! Anyway, I had tons of fun with Luke while noticing the similar endearing mannerisms that he shares with my own little girl (tilting his head back to enjoy the breeze, taking toys apart in the same meticulous way, and moments of deep thought on a quiet morning outdoors.)