Posts Tagged ‘hudson the turkey’

Silly Dog

I thought you guys would appreciate this one.

We’ve had a bit of a mouse problem here for the last several months.  Our house is pretty much spotless on food (everything is now in plastic tubs because the damn critters get into everything).  We’ve plugged mouseholes as we find them, we’ve set traps and killed a number of the little beasts, but still they come back.  We suspect one or both of our neighbors is less…rigorous…in their clean-up attempts.

Anyhow, the mouse problem is background.  It has turned up a funny tendency of Hudson’s – once he hears or sees something somewhere, he continues to expect it to be there, whether he has reason to or not.

Three hours ago, there was a mouse under the far end of the loveseat.  I heard it, and Hudson at least heard it – he may have also seen it.  He has periodically stared at or sniffed that end of the loveseat, and continues to do so, even though there has been no further evidence of mouse.  He’s just convinced that it must somehow still be there.  He does this ALL the time, and he’ll end up staring at places where nothing has happened for hours, as if he’s willing the mouse to return.

For a smart dog, he’s a real dummy sometimes!


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Hudson must be having a good dream – he seems to be chewing on something in his sleep. I keep hearing click-click-click of his teeth tapping together.  Dogs are so funny!

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…yes, my fiance actually said that.  It actually happened.  You see, Hudson has allergies, so he has to take medication to manage them.  Typically, my fiance stands behind Hudson, holding him and opening the dog’s mouth, and I use the piller to shoot the pills into his throat.  This puts Hudson’s head right next to my fiance’s crotch.  Hudson has had itch issues, which make him shake often…and thus, my poor fiance’s crotch was whacked.

Sadly, it’s happened twice.  In his words, “My penis failed its saving throw versus the dog’s ear.”

Other awkward things that happen when you live with a service dog…

Hudson has gone to ‘get’ my fiance (a command that typically involves jumping on him) when said fiance was lying down, and put one of his front paws on my fiance’s groin.

That wasn’t the first time he’s done something…interesting when sent to ‘get’ my fiance.  Very early on, ‘go get <fiance>’ just meant making contact of some kind – usually Hudson nosed my fiance.  My fiance was asleep, and because we’d just moved into the house (and my bedframe had been destroyed by people at my old apartment), we had the mattress on the floor.  I told Hudson to go get my fiance, and he decided to lick my fiance’s armpit.  I, of course, started cracking up.  My fiance was very…confused.

Finding doghair in your crotch (no wonder it was itchy!  Disturbingly frequent discovery, however.)

Getting nosed on the nipple (agh, he does that so often)

Going to step out of bed and finding that your toes are nudging the dog’s crotch (or that you’ve just plopped your feet ON him)

The dog bowing in front of you…with his hind end pointing at you, like he’s presenting his ass to you.  Somehow he always does this one with his tail curled up and towards his back, which just highlights his anus.  (Unfortunately, he rather often farts in that position…)

And speaking of farting, Hudson has this tendency of farting when we’re in the bathroom.  I don’t know how much of my noticing it is confirmation bias, but especially if I’m um on the toilet a while, I’ll hear him passing gas.

Hudson loves standing right in front of me, facing towards my right (where the coffee table is).  Thing is, he stands really, really close, leaning against me, and our height matches up so that his sheath rests against my left knee.

One more quote from my oh-so-amusing fiance: “His tongue is relentless!”  (darn dog makes brushing his teeth difficult by working very hard to lick the toothpaste)

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Oh god, Hudson was making me laugh so hard I was having a bit of trouble breathing.  He just did the goofiest thing I have ever seen him do, and he’s routinely a bit goofy.

You have to understand, first off, that bugs are a relatively recent discovery for Hudson.  I suppose he first started paying attention to them a little before Christmas, because I remember it still being a new thing when we visited my family.  In the past couple weeks, he’s finally figured out flying things – before then, he would emphatically sniff where they had been and not be able to figure out what happened to them.

So I’m sitting here at my computer, and I see Hudson sniffing his belly…and then he got his back leg up and ducked his head under it and was sniffing at the ground.  I’m not sure what happened next, but I THINK he tried to jump after a fly…darting farther under his back leg.  What ended up happening was that his back foot swung down and he kicked himself on the back of the head.  He then very abruptly untangled himself and gave this snort…and started looking for the fly again.

OMG.  It was the most ridiculous looking thing you can imagine.  I was laughing so loudly that my fiance, who was in the next room, poked his head out to see what had me cracking up so badly and I couldn’t finish a phrase to tell him.

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We talk a lot about how service dogs are different from pets, but one of the things I don’t see addressed often is how much more care goes into our service dogs than most people put into their pets.

To give you an example, I know what texture Hudson’s poop is and I pay attention to whether he is straining or uncomfortable while he’s doing his business.  It’s important because it tells me a lot about his mental health – when he’s anxious or stressed, he’s very prone to diarrhea.  It also tells me how his gastrointestinal system is doing with his current food, which has been an issue for us.

Hudson’s food costs over $1.50/lb.  We make his treats ourselves from ground beef (and we are thinking about branching into other things like sweet potato chips).

Hudson gets brushed almost daily.  Even among people with longhaired dogs, I know few people who brush out their pets daily.  He also gets tick-checked almost daily.  I’ll admit that there are occasions where I just don’t have the wherewithal to do it, but even on bad days, I check his head and his paws, as those are the most likely places to find ticks.  Tick checking means I go over his entire body with the pads of my fingers, feeling for lumps, bumps, and anything out of place as well as for little bloodsucking monsters.

His teeth get brushed daily.  I’ll admit this is one I fall down on when my fiance isn’t around, because Hudson wants to get the toothpaste so badly that brushing his teeth without someone holding his head still is about as difficult as feeding an uncooperative baby (except that he struggles against me with 65 pounds of strength!) – things go everywhere but where they’re supposed to, I get frustrated, and his teeth don’t get done well.

His nails get cut weekly.  Most people let their pets’ nails get long enough to tick on tile or cement, but this is actually too long.  It makes dogs shift the way they carry their weight and will wear out their hip joints faster.

Hudson’s ears get cleaned weekly.  I know there are a variety of thoughts on how often ears should be cleaned, but that’s what our school taught and he gets frequent enough ear infections that it seems like a good idea with him.

He gets his paws and ahem personal areas trimmed twice a month.  As a longhaired dog, Hudson is prone to getting mats between his toes, around his groin, and around his anus, so I have to get in between his pads and around areas he’d rather I left alone and trim away fur.  He gets trims to his beard and moustache about every 6 weeks because otherwise he makes an enormous mess when he drinks.

Hudson sees the vet much more often than your average pet does.  My dog sees his doc any time he seems to be significantly under the weather, and he has gotten the canine flu vaccine because I can’t afford for him to be sick.  He takes medication to take care of his allergies and gets his monthly flea, tick, and heartworm meds.

Hudson also gets washed every 4 weeks plus any time he goes in the ocean.  He has to be clean and not smell too strongly of dog for public work, not to mention it’s probably good for him.  He also periodically gets a steroid conditioner as he has itchy skin when his allergies flare.

Hudson doesn’t care for a lot of the things that are done on his behalf.  He’s quite sure that his paws and nails are fine without any interference, thankyouverymuch.  He believes that his groin and his hind end don’t need to be touched.  The bath is entirely unnecessary.  Toothbrushing is a waste of time and I really should just give him the toothpaste to lick up.  Ear-cleaning is enough to get him fighting with most of his strength to get away from me pouring cleaner in and scrubbing his ear.  Tick-checking is annoying, and I really should just pet him instead.  Giving him pills is an annoying habit of mine that I really ought to stop (and trying to get him to take them via something like Pill Pockets is just silly).  Bathing is cruel and unpleasant, especially when it involves washing his head and his beard.  Brushing is unkind and I should stick to scratching and petting instead.

In short, Hudson isn’t fond of most of the care he recieves that keep him in tip-top shape.  He makes a lot of his care mildly difficult – in general he is very polite about the fact that he doesn’t like it, but it’s clear he’d rather we didn’t do it.  The most pitiful is probably the hangdog body language while he’s being bathed, while the strongest attempt to escape what he needs done is when his ears get cleaned.  For the most part, he makes it clear that he’s tolerating what we do.  He hates being clipped and has to be held in position by someone else while I clip him – usually my fiance, as no one else is willing to hold onto the dog quite firmly enough.

For a little bit of amusement, let me tell you what happens when we’re done doing pretty much any of Hudson’s necessary care.  Once we’re finished, I announce ‘All done!’  Hudson starts running around and frolicking, followed by a spate of doggy breakdancing.  His favorite move we call ‘the moustache’, where he uses both of his front paws to smooth over his snout like a man grooming his moustache, except that Hudson tends to make an even bigger mess of it.

So there’s my bit of difference: the difference in healthcare and grooming that a service dog recieves from his partner.  I had a lot of other topics I wanted to write about, including the difference in how people respond to you, but I decided that I didn’t want to write yet another post about how normal folks treat us in uncomfortable ways.

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I’m training Hudson to do my dirty work.

When the boyfriend teases me, I used to poke him or tickle him.  I’ve had increasing problems with my hands for longer than we’ve known each other, though, so there are often times when I can’t do that.  Particularly recently, with the maybe-it’s-auto-immune thing I’ve been dealing with.

So my solution is to find something Hudson can do.  I’ve invented the command ‘toes’, at which Hudson is supposed to nose or lick the boyfriend’s toes.

The boyfriend is amusingly tolerant of the whole affair.

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Every spring, my service dog organization does a ‘dogs day off’ fundraiser.  Unfortunately, I’m really not up for it right now – I’m in too much pain, and too sick.  So I was thinking about it, and I had an idea for a fundraiser of my own, but I wasn’t sure if there would be much interest.

So here’s what I’m offering: for a $5 donation, you would get a picture of Hudson that no one but me has ever seen.  It could be him working, performing a service task, just chilling, at dog park,  at the lake or the beach.  For a $10 donation, you can specify what kind of picture you like – even a pose you want (or at least, I’ll TRY for requested poses).  No one else would get the picture you get.  It’d be a special thing just for you.

Would anyone be interested in that?  If I could sell 200 of the ‘basic’ pictures or 100 of the requested pictures, or some mix of the two that totaled $1,000, we could sponsor a puppy and name it!  If we get that far, the boyfriend and I have a list of names and everyone who donated, even if they didn’t donate enough to get a picture, would get to vote on the names.  The names, for reference, range from tremendously silly to respectable, most of them nicknames I used at one point or another for my dear Hudson.

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Obsessions and quirks

We all have our obsessions and quirks, but I think they’re a lot funnier when you’re talking about a service dog’s obsessions and quirks.

Hudson is obsessed with smelling my pants before I put them on, so much so that if he sees the boyfriend approaching with a pair of pants in his hand, he tries to get a whiff of them.  He has a lesser obsession with other articles of clothing like underwear and tops, where he likes smelling them but he doesn’t have the same level of NEED that he has with pants.

Hudson feels the need to look in the toilet every time he passes it.  You can imagine that this gets obnoxious when, for example, he’s just taken a drink and is still dripping from his moustache.

Speaking of which, if I pee, Hudson wants a drink.  If he pees, Hudson wants a drink.  Somehow peeing and drinking are linked in Hudson’s world.

Hudson likes taking over footspace, both mine and the boyfriend’s.  The housemate is spared because she sits on the other side of the coffee table from Hudson, the boyfriend, and I.  If he’s not taking over footspace, he likes lying down in the middle of walkways (yet doesn’t like being stepped over).

Hudson feels the need to sniff the fence to the right side of the backyard every time he goes out, but rarely has any interest in the left fence.

If I remove eye gunk, or loose fur from his face, Hudson wants to sniff it and more often than not tries to eat it.

Hudson likes to get in real close and get a whiff of my breath after I eat anything.

I hope you all got a good laugh at this, because I live with a 65 lb goofball! (well, and a big human one I call the boyfriend, too, but I’ll tell you about his quirks another time!)

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This post is part of the first Assistance Dog Blog Carnival.  This month is hosted by After Gadget.  Her topic was ‘The first’

I think one of the hallmarks of an important relationship in our lives is remembering ‘our first…’  The first time we met, our first date, our first kiss, our first holiday, his first step, her first word… we remember many firsts during our lives.

Needless to say, I remember many firsts with Hudson.  Some of them are sappy-sweet, some of them are funny, some were frustrating, and a few were even a little sad.

I remember when we first met.  Hudson wasn’t terribly impressed with me and was much more interested in being close to his trainer.  That set the tone for the next couple of days, and it was disappointing…

…but on the other hand, I remember the first time he was happy to see me, running to the end of his leash to greet me on the 5th day of training.  It was the first time Hudson showed any real emotion towards me, the first hint that he might like me rather than think of me as an inconvenience he had to obey.

I remember the first time he got upset that I forgot him.  I got up and went to the bathroom, which was connected to the bedroom, while I left him tied down at his bed.  According to the boyfriend, he stared at the bathroom door the whole time I was gone.

I remember the first time I tried to fit us both into normal sized bathroom.  It was a porta potty at my service dog organization.  Yeah…that was…interesting.  Hudson had his gear on, and his harness is a big bulky thing, and well, porta potties aren’t exactly big things.  It was…squishy.  Neither of us cared much for the situation, but Hudson still displayed his first weird behavior: he did his best to get his snout between my knees so he could watch me pee.  (We have since managed tighter spaces, but I’ll get to that later)

I remember realizing that with Hudson, I didn’t need my crutches – in fact, that I walked better with Hudson than I did with my crutches.  It was a strange and liberating feeling.

I remember our first flight.  It was stressful for both of us, but especially for him.  He didn’t like the small space, he didn’t like the noise, he didn’t like getting on the plane at all, and I can’t say I blame him.  I don’t like any of that stuff, and I know why I’m going through it!  (We did, by the by, manage to squeeze both of us into the bathroom on the plane.  Yes, an average sized airplane bathroom.  He had his harness off and sat between my legs, and we barely managed to close the door.

I remember the first time I had to defend Hudson.  Introducing Hudson to my parents’ dogs was a pain.  One of my parents’ dogs is a bully, and Hudson…well, I think Hudson is NOW learning to be a bit more assertive, but at the time, Hudson had been through 2 years of training to be a good puppy who makes nice with others.  Even though my parents’ dogs are very dear to me, dogs that I’d thought of as being ‘my’ dogs, seeing Hudson being bullied made me angry.  He was my poor little pooch who didn’t know how to defend himself.  I couldn’t explain, on that trip, why I couldn’t allow Cody to bully Hudson.  But I knew he couldn’t, and I pinned Cody over and over during that week and argued with my parents when they wouldn’t help.

On that same visit Hudson met my nephew for the first time.  My nephew was about a year old at the time, and like most kids that age, he was grabby.  The first thing he did on meeting Hudson was to grab Hudson’s nose.  Hudson was…not so happy with that.  Poor dog spent the whole vacation trying to hide from my nephew and my parents’ dog.

I remember the first time I tried to take Hudson swimming.  Hudson decided it was fun, in a shallow lake on a warm sunny day.  It was also the first time I lost when trying to defend my right to access with my dog, so it’s kind of a mixed memory.  (On my way off the swimming beach, I complained about being turned away, and the supervisor was willing to listen and in the end agreed with me, so it wasn’t even a total loss – she said she’d educate all of their lifeguards, so they’d know)

I remember the first time someone kicked Hudson.  It’s something that as a service dog partner, you unfortunately have to expect will happen sometimes.  We were on a trolley, and went to get off at our stop, and someone wasn’t paying enough attention and kicked Hudson’s hind leg out from under him.  Like most service dogs, Hudson’s reaction wasn’t defensive – he just tried to cringe under/behind me so I’d protect him.

I remember the first time I saw Hudson really having fun with a dog who wasn’t a service dog.    It was when we were visiting the boyfriend’s family for Christmas.  We joked that he’d met his doggy girlfriend, because my boyfriend’s brother’s dog got along beautifully with Hudson.  They tore around the big back yard, pausing to sniff for a while, and then took off again.  It was the most running around I’d seen him do – my boy isn’t an athlete.  It was also just about the happiest I’d seen him be, up to that point.

I remember the first time I felt like I really hurt Hudson.  I slipped with the trimming shears and cut him.  I felt all the worse because I didn’t realize what had happened and was trying to continue trimming him, while he was trying to sit down so I’d stop.

I remember the first time he barked…in his sleep.  Hudson’s not a barker, it’s been completely trained out of him, so it startled me to hear him making funny barking noises in his sleep.  He still barks in his sleep once or twice a week.  He has paw-twitching dreams far more often.

Finally, I’ll add a recent first – our first trip to a dog park.  It’s embarassing to me that it took us so long to get to a dog park, but it’s a combination of my health issues and only recently discovering that the little corner just a few blocks from us is properly fenced and marked as a dog park.  Over our 3 visits there, I’ve watched Hudson starting to learn some entertaining things – that he likes other dogs, that things smaller than the 50-60 lb range are also dogs, and perhaps I’ve even seen the beginnings of Hudson learning to be assertive with other dogs.

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I think I’ve mentioned in the past the way Hudson gets down and goofy when he gets unharnessed and when he gets excited.

He started doing this when I’d had him for a couple of months.  We visited my parents on the other side of the country.  One of my parents’ dogs does this funny thing we call ‘fighting carpet monsters’.  He throws himself on his side, and uses his back legs to propel himself along, snarling and growling as he goes.  It’s a very silly process….but Hudson has managed to find an even goofier way to do it.

We call it breakdancing, and now all of you out there in cyberland have a chance to see it.

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