Maggie’s hero

It is no secret in the Ridlon household that our sweet Maggie suffers from anxiety during thunderstorms.  Any loud noise really sets her off. She pants, shakes, paces and looks for the tightest spot she can squeeze herself into.  Her safety place is anywhere that surrounds her on all four sides, is dark and somewhat quiet.  Usually my closet served as her safe place.  Now dog experts will say, never comfort dogs when they are anxious as this somehow encourages or lets the dog know that this behaviour is acceptable.  Makes sense.  Just like you would not want to make a big deal out of leaving or coming home, as this causes anxiety for dog.  It is also really hard as a compassionate human who thinks of her dogs as her children not to want to comfort them when they are anxious and upset.  I always did my best, but there were times when I would just sit in the closet with her and hold her until the storm passed.  In some instances this meant me sleeping on the floor of the closet with her through the night.  If you don’t know or haven’t guessed yet, there is pretty much nothing in the world I would not do for my fur kids.  They are certainly worth it!!   For the past four years we have used a homeopathic drop to try to sooth her anxiety.  It works well with the exception of having to give it to her 30 minutes to an hour prior to the storm, which was not always possible.  I did not really want to drug her up so the homeopathic drops were a great solution.  They are all natural and safe.  I knew she would still act like herself, only calmer during the storm.  Recently we had been debating about what we could do to help her.  There had to be other dogs going through this and there had to be a solution.  Before I could begin my research, I saw a post by a friend on Facebook about Thundershirts.  I had honestly never heard of them.  Before adopting Maggie, I had never experienced anxiety over storms with a dog before, so it was never something I had to worry or think about.  So I looked at the website (www.thundershirt.com) and read about how the shirt works.  The shirt was less than $40 and I figured it was worth a shot.  It arrived while we were on vacation and lucky for us we got to try it out several times the week we returned from vacation.  It took about 5 minutes, but we saw a huge difference in Maggie.  She no longer looked for or sought her safe place.  No more panting, shaking or pacing.  She was actually laying on the couch quiet relaxed.

 

We were amazed!  We were also sold on this product!!  For Maggie the shirt has worked even if we did not get her shirt on time and the storm has already begun with cracks of thunder and lightning.  Takes about 5-10 minutes for her to calm down once the shirt is on.  Much improved from anxiety and fear during storms.  We keep the shirt on our nightstand in our bedroom.  Maggie knows where her shirt is, as she is usually sleeping either beside me in the bed or on her dog bed right next to me in front of the nightstand.  We have had a month and multiple storms to test this product and would highly recommend it to anyone who has a dog who is suffering from anxiety.  It is not designed just for thunderstorms. There are lots of uses for the shirt to help anxious dogs.

 

Check out the website linked above.  You will not be disappointed!  Maggie loves her shirt!  She has woken me up in the middle of the night during a storm to tell me to put her shirt on.  Maybe I am giving too much emphasis on how smart I think dogs are, but I really think she knows that the shirt helps her.  It has become her hero.  🙂

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Eight is Great!

Recently we celebrated the boys’ eighth birthdays.  Booyah turned eight on 6-30 and Cueball on 7-16.  Since the hounds have a new-found love of Frosty Paws and the weather has been a bit hot lately, it was a great choice for a birthday treat.  Our pups like the Peanut Butter flavor the best.

Does anyone else feel like this year is flying by super fast?  Maybe it is just us, but it feels like time is moving by on super speed this year.  Hard to believe the boys birthdays have come and gone.  Another year older and wiser.  🙂  We kept their birthdays simple this year.  Just some good quality time at home enjoying snuggle time, romps in the yard, lots of love and lots of treats!  We know how very lucky we are to have 4 healthy hounds.  We treasure every day we have with them.

There is no fooling this pack.  Pippi and Booyah knew exactly what was going on.   There is always good stuff to be had in the kitchen, especially things that come from the island.  🙂

I think their conversation was something like this:

Pippi:  I was here first and will be waiting here until mom gets all the frosty paws ready in our bowls.  I am on guard and at ready of all things food.

Cueball:  I am just here for the warm sun on the face.  I know I won’t get left out.  Silly pup!  You have much to learn in this life.  Mom always feeds me first, Booyah second, you third and Maggie last. Patience is a virtue.  Maybe if you stopped jumping up on mom when she is trying to get our food and treats ready she would feed you first and not make you sit before you get your treats.

Pippi pushes Cueball and Booyah’s buttons a bit and you can always tell when she has gone too far.  They quickly put her in her place.  She is a very loving pup with a lot of great qualities, but she does have habits and behaviours that are quiet annoying.  She is still very much a puppy and is almost 7 years old!

Booyah enjoys his nice birthday treat.

Then he takes a nap.  Happy Birthday Booyah!!!  We hope you have many, many more wonderful years!

We repeated the frosty paws treats for Cueball’s birthday.  The weather was a bit cooler in the afternoon, so we let the pups have their treat on the deck.  At first they were quiet confused as to why their bowls and feeding stands were being taken outside, but soon figured out it was for good reason.

Look at that crinkled tongue.  How the heck did he do that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections at bath time

The hounds were long overdue for their quarterly baths.  Last weekend the weather was warm, so it was the perfect time to hose them down and wash them clean.  What mom doesn’t want to capture cute pictures of their kids at bath time?

My intention was to take some cute “naked” pics of the pups but being the one bathing and trying to take pictures proved to be a challenge and what I ended up with was an unexpected surprise of their reflections while they did the post bath shake.

First up for his Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo bath was Cueball.  I gave up on buying expensive dog shampoo years ago when I discovered baby shampoo works great and if it is gentle enough for a baby, I figure it is good enough for my hounds and it makes them smell great.

Shaking……

More shaking…..

 

Inside after being towel dried.  He looks so pleased with me, doesn’t he.  Ha…ha….

Next up is the Queen herself.  She likes to rub herself on anything after a bath.   I think this picture is really sweet. 🙂

She may be admiring her beautiful self in this one.  Don’t hate me because I am beautiful she says.

Shake, shake, shake…..

More shaking…..

She looks like a whippet to me in this one.

 

Pippi gets really wild after a bath, but I had the deck gate closed this time, so she did not get a chance to go buck wild running and rubbing her self in the grass/dirt.

She shows her wild side here.  She wants to play with me.  She did end up jumping up and down and putting her paws on my chest wanting me to play.

Mom, why do we have to get a bath?  I wasn’t dirty.  Did you forget that I am a greyhound and do not have that normal “dog” odor?

No Pippi, mommy did not forget, but you must have been smelling pretty rank for Katie-Beth, our niece, to let me know on vacation that our dogs stink.  =)  She suggested we give you all a bath.

Once inside she romped around in the living room and settled on a spot on the couch ready to prance at any moment.  Oh and she rearranged the blankets on the couch for me too.

Lastly it was Booyah’s turn.  He cooperates beautifully at bath time.  The others I have to chase around the deck with the hose.  Booyah just patiently stands beside me while I wet, lather, rub him down and rinse.

I love the way the sun gleams on a black greyhound.  Beautiful shine.

Good shake!

Back inside Booyah takes a nap.

All clean for the summer months.  Next bath will be after our vacation to Beach Bound Hounds.  Hopefully the weather will still be nice enough to bathe them outside.  It is so much easier than lifting them into the tub.  🙂

Ridlon Family Vacay Asheville, NC 2011 final post

Last entry of our vacation to Barkwells in Asheville, NC (if you are just tunning in, see posts 1,2 and 3).   It wouldn’t be a vacation if you didn’t get to spend time relaxing, right?  That is what we think.  I hate vacations where you come back home and you feel like you need a vacation just from being on vacation because you tried to do too much and did not get a chance to relax.  We wanted to make sure this vacation was not going to be one of those.  We spent a fair amount of time relaxing.  Taking a cue from how the hounds seem to spend most of their days.   It was too hot to use the fireplace, which was a shame, as I was hoping to see their reaction to it since we do not have one at home.  Maybe next time.  Mitch thinks it would be really cool to come back and stay for a week in the winter.  He said the hills are perfect for sledding.  This won’t be a place we visit every year, but it is on our list to visit again.

Cueball preferred to do his relaxing partly on the couch and partly on the floor.  He does this at home too.  He just balances himself for a while.  Not sure how that is comfortable.  He looks like he is going to slide right off the couch at any moment.  Such a goof!  😉

Pippi chose the more traditional way to relax if you’re a hound.

I prefer the hammock.

We ventured out most days in the morning and enjoyed Asheville and in the afternoons and evenings we were back at the cabin.  We enjoyed smores one evening on the charcoal grill.  Not the prefered way to do smores for me, but we had to work with what we had.  The kiddos had a lot of fun roasting marshmallows.

Mitch being a big kid.  🙂

Ramona showing us her talent at roasting marshmallows.

I like mine black just like I like my hotdogs when cooked over an open fire.  Yum!!

We also enjoyed walks around the pond with Greta and meeting new friends along the way.  She is one regal beagle!

And spending time with the kiddos.  Mitch and Katie-Beth chilling by the pond.

And picking flowers.

And flying planes.

And trying to figure out what was killing the catfish in the pond.  We found two like this on one of our walks.  Just the bellies were mangled.

And watching/catching lightning Bugs.  Depending on where you grew up, you may call these fireflies.  We have them in our backyard too but not like at Barkwells.  There were thousands every night and the kiddos had a blast catching them.  I tried to get the best picture I could.  It is still not great.  I tried changing the aperture, shutter speed, flash but this was the best I could do.  It was interesting to see them respond to my different flash settings.  Some settings made them all light up when I flashed the camera and some made them stop lighting up when I flashed my camera.  It was weird…..and a you had to be there kind of thing.  When they all lit up across the field in front of the pond…….it was breathtaking.

Other pictures of nature that I took while we were out and about enjoying Asheville.

I love Sunflowers.  I actually have some seeds to plant just have not done so yet, but plan to in the fall.

Day lilies were abundant all over the medians of the highways in NC.  They were beautiful!  We had some orange day lilies in our flower bed at home years ago, but they overtook the bed, so we removed them and planted some liriope instead.  They need a lot of space to populate and the medians on the highways are the perfect spot.  Virginia should take a cue from NC.  Our roadways are looking pretty sad with overgrown grass/weeds.  All the roadways we drove on in NC were cut and manicured.

Pretty Butterfly and a Bee pollinating at Pisgah National Forest.

 

Well……that’s all for our Barkwells vacation folks!  We hope you check back again….we have some pretty neat photos from recent bath time of the hounds, Booyah and Cueball’s 8th birthdays and some pics for Wordless Wednesdays coming up.

Maggie and Pippi want you to know life is greyt!