Happy Mother’s Day to all the hound Moms (and real human Moms). Every Mom should be celebrated today for their hard work.
Another Mary Oliver poem because it just happened in my household:
“Please, please, I think I haven’t eaten for days.
What? Ricky, you had a huge supper.
“I did? My stomach doesn’t remember. Oh, I think I’m fading away. Please make me breakfast and I’ll tell you something you don’t know.”
He ate rapidly.
Okay, I said. What were you going to tell me?
He smiled the wicked smile. “Before we came over, Anne already gave me breakfast,” he said. ~Mary Oliver, “Dog Songs”
This poem warms my heart. It’s from Mary Oliver’s latest book, “Dog Songs”. It’s about a rescue dog, so I dedicate this to Sherman and Bruiser. My two rescue dogs.
BENAJAMIN, WHO CAME FROM WHO KNOWS WHERE
What Shall I do?
When I pick up the broom, he leaves the room.
When I fuss with kindling he runs for the yard.
Then he’s back, and we hug for a long time.
In his low-to-the-ground chest, I can hear his heart slowing down.
Then I rub his shoulders and kiss his feet and fondle his long hound ears.
Benny, I say, don’t worry.
I also know the way the old life haunts the new.
This is a great poem for a rescue dog. And I constantly fondle Shermie’s ears which is why I added his photo above. Thank you Mary Oliver. Your poetry is beautiful.
Walter’s second time in the field was this past Sunday. He received a fourth place ribbon in the Open All Age Dogs class during the Greater Portland Dachshund Club Field Trials in Castlerock, Washington. His first field trial experience was this past January during the DCA National Field Trials in Vacaville, California. However, I’m not writing to brag about Walter although I’m a proud dog mom so I would… this is a sport that focuses on scent work and a dog’s sense of smell is remarkable. The goal of the field trial is to judge a dog on their ability to track a rabbit and it’s a lot of fun to watch. The American Kennel Club talk about the rules on their site if you’re interested. Beagle field trials are really popular.
FACT: According to “The Detection Dog Understanding Olfaction and Odors” handbook written by Fred Helfers, Master Trainer Detection Canines — humans have approximately 5 million olfactory sensory cells within their olfactory system. A large breed canine may have over 200 million sensory cells within their olfactory system!
Fred Helfers gives seminars that focus on scent work.Below are some really interesting facts about the canine nose.
Another fascinating factoid: following are the major functions of a dog’s nose –
- as an airway
- as an air conditioner
- as a filter
- as the origin for such reflex as sneezing
- as a resonator or sound chamber in barking or whining
- as a direction finder
- as the organ for the sense of smell
During field trials – we’re always talking about the ideal environment for chasing bunnies. Environment plays such an important role in scent work. Temperature, air movement, and humidity are all crucial. We learned from Fred that the optimal conditions for nosework are moderate temperature and high humidity.
Odor sources located in a warm environment, allow the release of odor molecules more readily than those odor sources located in a cool environment. Just having some of these facts at my fingertips set us up for success when we’re out in the field! I’ll talk more about scent work in my next post about Canine Nosework.
Vacaville, CA third place
Bruiser is about ten and early on in life he was diagnosed with disc disease. Our vet recommended we try Acupuncture and we’ve never looked back! Last week he received his treatment from Dr. Jester at Natural Healing Veterinary Acupuncture. Now that he’s older and still really active, he needs tune-ups about every three weeks. It makes a big difference. We started these more regular sessions back in January as I noticed he was stiff and thought his arthritis was perhaps returning with the wet weather. Dr. Jester visits her patients at their home which is really convenient for me since my schedule with work is so busy. You can also head over to Frontier Vet Hospital as Dr. Yung has been Bruiser’s vet for almost ten years now and practices Acupuncture as well.
More about Acupuncture:
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine sterile needles (0.16 to 0.3mm diameter) into specific points along the body. The stimulation of these points causes local muscle relaxation, release of natural pain-relieving hormones such as serotonin and endorphins, increased local circulation, and blockage of pain signaling in the body.
I pulled this quick fact from Dr. Jester’s Website. The needles are so fine Bruiser barely notices them at all and almost always falls asleep. What I didn’t know is that Acupuncture is great for not only back pain but liver disease, kidney disease and inflammatory bowel disease which Bruiser was also diagnosed with last year. If your dog is experiencing pain, talk to your vet about some other alternatives to pain medication as I’m confident Bruiser lives without pain as a result of these treatments and I don’t have to use drugs like Tramadol or Rimadyl. It’s worth a try, right?
Bruiser during last week’s session
Spring adventures in the mountains provide two things you don’t get any other season. You have access to snowy trails as well as your favorite summer paths. The water cascading down from the mountain also gives spectacular scenery. Before you decide which trails, consider the gear you need. There are so many items that should at least be considered for one afternoon hike. I was prepared but I could have used Snow Shoes yesterday! Here are some tips:
#1: Pet First Aid Kit -you may not think it’s necessary but Bruiser, our doxie, got stuck on a branch (he’s very close to the ground) and while he didn’t get impaled he did get scratched up and having some antibiotic ointment in the car came in handy.
#2: A long lead: Our other doxie, Walter is two years old and while he has decent recall- the Pacific Crest Trail is STEEP with edges that he could easily slip on especially since it’s Spring and the mud is slick.
Pacific Crest Trail at the entrance.
#3: Water: I always bring collapsible dog bowls made by Ruff Wear Dog Gear. I offer it during our hike or at the end. This is an easy one to forget.
#4: Refer to the experts when deciding where to go — we know the Salmon River Trail is a great hike but we’ve been coming up to Mt. Hood for years. We also know the Barlow Trail is great as we used to stay at a mountain house near the entrance so we got lucky. There are so many great places to go so look in two of my favorite dog hiking bibles.
hiking dog bibles
#5: There are dog coats, dog boots, leashes – all designed for adventures in the great outdoors. Don’t leave rain coats behind as even your furry friends want some protection from the elements. My favorite are Ruff Wear’s Sun Shower jackets recently launched. The doxies are completely dry even after a rain soaked hike.
Walter’s Sun Shower jacket at the Salmon River
Most importantly, don’t overdo it. I always think we’re been walking for only an hour and two hours have gone by. Have fun this Spring! Just remember your check list before you head out the door!