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Posts Tagged ‘Hudson’

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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Teehee

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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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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So, I had a procedure today to determine what’s going on with my GI.  The news is good; with some minor adjustments in diet and the addition of a medication that binds liquid, it should be totally managable.  I’ve been on that medication before with no side effects, so this is about 99% positive.  (The only real downside is that I’m going to have to pay a lot more attention to the way my GI reacts to things, and may have to be more careful about substances like caffeine)

But to get to the good news, I had to make it through the procedure.  They gave me a combination of an opiate (to minimize ‘discomfort’ and sedate somewhat) and versed (to borrow my doctor’s words, “to make you forget”).  I remember things clearly up until the second dose of versed…and then I woke up in the recovery area.  I’ve heard of people having all kinds of bad experiences on versed, but this is the second time I was dosed with it, and all things being equal, it wasn’t all that nasty for me.  (Though I did have a reaction to something the first time that had me throwing up for a couple of days, I think that may have been my oh-so-delicate system’s response to the physical stuff they were doing, not the drug.)  I apparently take rather a lot to be knocked out – two to four times the standard initial dose.

There was some minor stress and confusion today.  I didn’t think about the fact that I was going to be knocked out and someone else was needed to mind poor Hudson.  The fiance had headed out for a walk and I couldn’t get him on his cellphone.  For a while it looked like one of the nurses was going to hang on to Hudson in the room with me, which would have worked out okay.  I was really impressed that no one seemed upset or annoyed or difficult about Hudson, even though I’d managed to make quite an unexpected imposition.  Granted, this hospital has always been totally awesome about the service dog.*  Their only concern was making sure that everything was handled in a way that kept the pooch comfortable, and the nurses were willing to totally go out of their way to take care of us – they were great when I explained minimizing interaction with him for the benefit of our partnership, which I’ve found a lot of dog-friendly places have issue with, but not here.  In the end, though, my doctor was running so late that the particular nurse who had volunteered to hang on to Hudson was going to be off shift.  They discovered that my fiance was in the waiting room, though, so he was able to take Hudson. 

Poor fiance was worried that it might be like that instance last summer when the ER barred Hudson, but it was really just a case of trying to keep the stress on the dog the lowest.  At least if he was with the fiance, he was being left with someone familiar to him, and his second favorite person in the world.  Apparently Hudson periodically whined while I was away – poor pooch.  That seems to be his typical response, though.  He doesn’t like being away from me.  I think sometimes he worries about what might happen while he’s not there to watch over me.  The fiance occasionally petted him when he whined, and apparently Hudson took that as a sign that they were going to me, because he stood up looking at the door he’d gone through when the fiance took him back to the waiting room.

Anyhow, so everything went well.  We grabbed an early dinner and had a brief stop in a store I enjoy to get a treat for later.  We got home and…well, they warn you that you aren’t to drive or make major life or business decisions, and I can quite tell why.  I’ve felt kind of…floaty…ever since, and I think I got dosed with the medications about 5 1/2 hours ago.  My head is fuzzy, and it takes longer for things to make sense than usual.  And oh, the bed felt so good to lie down in.  I spent a few hours curled up in bed reading mostly because bed felt so GOOD.  Just comforting and the right temperature and soft and…nice.  (I’m spoiled and have very nice sheets and a thick memory foam topper, oh yes I do.  I love them very, very, very much.)

I’m definitely not entirely back to myself.  I’m…here, but I’m drugged.  Not in an entirely unpleasant way, but everything feels just a little bit surreal.

…I probably should have put off writing the IT guy about my request for a listserv for a project until tomorrow, but at least I had the fiance read it first.  Oh well.  Worst he can say is no, I guess, and then a friend of mine has said he’ll find someone to host it if the school won’t.

*Almost all of my doctors are at this hospital, and the worst thing anyone has ever said about him is either that he startled them or that he’s in the way and needs to move to a different spot in the room.  They are always friendly and positive about his presence, and never once has anyone suggested that I shouldn’t have him with me.  Today was no exception – everyone loved him and wanted to help and even listened when I explained the ‘can not pet or interact’ rules, much as they wanted to love on him.  The way the hospital staff have responded to Hudson is part of why I ❤ that hospital and have everything there, even though it’s halfway across town.  I go where I am welcomed, you know?  It also helps that they consistently treat me as a person, not just a medical question or a disability.  The way this hospital acts?  This is real access, this is real accomodation.  This is me being a person with dignity and rights and intelligence and value and individuality in their eyes.

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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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