Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mud and Crud

This has been the wettest winter I've experienced since moving here, and the mud is causing all kinds of problems.  The horses roll in it, people and animals track it into the house so that I have to be constantly sweeping and vacuuming, the dogs don't want to do their business outside because of it, I slip in it when doing barn chores, it's hard to clean up both dog poop and manure because they are soggy, I have to be careful about only choosing pants to wear in which the hem is at least two inches above ground level, going indoors and out requires this juggling act of removing ones shoes and putting them back on every few minutes, and you can only wear cruddy shoes since they instantly get covered in mud.

I've spent the past several weeks hemming pants that drag on the ground because it is no fun getting mud on them and then having to clean the bed linens or recliner stool or floor because the mud transferred to them.  I used to just slip into some flip-flops every time a dog needed to be taken outside, but now my feet are cold and you can't wear flip-flops with socks, so I have had to setup a fold-up chair in the laundry room to sit on so that I can put real shoes onto my feet before going outside.  Still, it's so muddy that the moisture seeps through the shoes and my socks get wet, so I'm going through several pairs of socks a day.

Scrappy had a relapse and started vomiting and having diarrhea again.  Then his bladder stone began causing him to need to pee every few minutes.  He finished off his round of antibiotics and probiotics, but they didn't seem to help.  There was a delay in getting the prescription dog food to deal with his stones because of the holidays and because of a problem with the website where I buy the prescription pet foods and because the vet was slacking off in getting the prescription to them, but we finally have it.  His vomiting and diarrhea cleared up again, but we're still dealing with his bladder issues.

I was so wrapped up in taking care of Scrappy that I forgot to give Midge her insulin one morning and I accidentally fed her more than her usual amount of dog food.  I discovered the error of my ways when I got up from what I was doing to find trails and puddles of sugar water all over the house.  I immediately gave her a shot, and then spent the next several hours on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpets.  Whenever her glucose levels get out of whack, it takes a few days to recover, so she was vomiting the next day.  I don't know how these people who adopt or foster multiple special needs kids do it.  There's so much to keep track of, and it doesn't take much to cause dire consequences.

Now Midge has her prescription dog food for diabetes, Scrappy has his prescription dog food for bladder stones, and Stewie needs something more fattening, so I sacrificed my measuring cups and put the appropriate cup in each dog food bag to assure that in the future I will give consistent amounts of food to each dog.  Also, we had to spread the feeding times out to three times a day instead of two in order to prevent health problems, so I'm struggling with remembering to feed the dogs lunch now.  Notes don't do any good for me.  I can post them in front of my face and will look right past them.  I considered setting alarms, but I've never done well with alarms.  They always seem to go off at the worst possible times and interrupt something else that is time-sensitive.  With my luck, someone will call me and right when I am talking to them, the phone alarm will go off, and then I will hang up on them in the process of trying to turn off the alarm.  However, once the dogs get lunch regularly, I'm sure they'll become my alarm clocks.

Having so many changes being made all at once to what and when the dogs and horses eat has been a bit overwhelming for me and my cruddy memory.  I can't wait for all of this to just become second nature.

When Scrappy was at the vet's office, some other customer commented to my husband that Scrappy needed to have his nails trimmed.  When you're all stressed out because your dog is pooping oodles of blood, the last thing you want is for someone to point out that the dog is overdue for some maintenance work.  It's like being broken down on the side of the road and having someone pull over to tell you that your car needs a new paint job.  I'm glad my husband took Scrappy to the vet, because I probably would have shoved the dog in the woman's arms and told her to trim his nails then, and hoped that he bit her like he bites me when I trim his nails, and hope that he pooped in her lap for good measure.  My husband handled it by saying, "Yeah, I know.  He was scheduled for a nail trim yesterday, but we had to cancel because he's sick."  He forgot that "yesterday" was a holiday, so we're pretty sure the lady knew he was lying.

Anyway, I bought some top-of-the-line nail clippers for the dogs, hoping it would make trimming their nails easier since the blade would be sharper, but it didn't.  I can't even get the dogs to hold still.  They panic the second I touch their feet.  So, I debated on whether to pay the mobile groomer $55 to come by and do a two-minute trim on two dogs, or to take them to a pet grooming salon myself and save some money.  I decided to take them to the salon.  The salon said they could give the dogs baths in addition to nail trims for the same price I paid the mobile groomer for just the nail trims.  Stewie has never had a bath in his short life, so I thought I may as well let his first bath be done by a professional who would probably be a lot more patient than I would.  They set up the appointment at noon, right smack in the middle of the day.  My instincts were telling me to ask them to choose a different time, but I couldn't think of any logical reason to change it.

Of course, the day of their appointment was the first day without rain for a while, so I was bummed that I couldn't spend it doing other things.  Once the appointment approached, I realized why noon was such a horrible time to schedule anything.  First off, I had to eat early at a time I wasn't hungry, so that I wouldn't be hungry should I wind up sitting in their waiting area while the dogs were being groomed.  Secondly, I had to decide whether to feed the dogs their lunch before or after the appointment.  I decided to wait until after, so that they wouldn't have accidents at the groomer's.  Big mistake.  Once I got there, I found out that I wouldn't be able to pick them up for three hours!  I thought they each had a half-hour appointment.  So, once again, the dogs went without their lunch.  Fortunately, I only took Stewie and Scrappy to the groomer's.  Midge lets me trim her nails and give her baths.  If she had gone without her lunch with her diabetes, that would have been bad.

Just trying to get out the door to the grooming salon was a fiasco, and I began thinking that maybe I should have just called the mobile groomer.  The upholstery in my truck is black fabric, so it picks up dog hair.  I can't put the dogs in there without laying a blanket down first.  I have always kept a blanket in the truck, but had to remove it recently for some reason, so I had to hunt down a blanket that the dogs could ruin.  Then I had to make decisions about traveling arrangements.  Stewie runs around in the car and can get under the pedals, so he definitely had to go in a kennel.  I decided to let Scrappy sit in the back seat, because I didn't think he had it in him to jump into the front seat and interfere with my driving.

Of course, while I was trying to get the blanket and kennel situated in the back seat, the dogs kept asking to go outside, because I'd take them outside and they would poo, but forget to pee or vice versa.  If I take the dogs out individually, I can easily wind up making six trips in an hour.  So, I try to insist that all three dogs go outside at the same time, but then they run circles around me and get me wrapped up in leashes.  I don't know which is worse -- all the trips in and out requiring me to put on and take off muddy shoes, or getting three leashes wrapped around me so that I fall into the mud.

I got the dogs in the car and realized that I couldn't leave Midge at home alone because she'd tear up the house, so I had to lock her in a kennel in the house.  She freaked out and started barking and scratching and biting the bars of the kennel, but we were late and I just had to take my chances and go.  Right off the bat, Scrappy jumped on the power window button, so I had to find the window lock and turn it on.  He almost jumped out the window when he rolled it down himself in the past.  Once I started driving, I realized that I should have put Scrappy in a kennel too, because he's too weak to stay upright when I turn and brake.  I had to drive slowly, but despite my best efforts not to roll my dog in the backseat, other drivers kept doing stupid things that were forcing me to brake hard and swerve.  Poor dog.  I thought, "This is so dumb.  I'm going to break my dog's back in the process of trying to get his nails trimmed."

When I took the dogs into the salon, both tried to bolt out the door.  Stewie was shaking uncontrollably.  The lady asked if I wanted their teeth brushed too.  I thought, "Why not?  They probably would do a much better job than I do."  But then I instantly regretted that decision, because the ladies would see all the tartar on Scrappy's teeth and tell me I need to take him to the vet for a dental cleaning.  I don't do dental cleanings on old dogs, because they wind up getting a lot of teeth pulled, and then they get infections and have to take medications that have side effects, and it just always ends up being worse than if we never did the dental cleaning to begin with.  Plus, Scrappy should not be put under anesthesia with his heart murmur.

I was giving the groomers' instructions regarding each dog when another customer walked in and interrupted.  The two groomers turned to the lady to help her, and then scurried off into the back with Stewie and Scrappy.  I stood there a while waiting for them to return so that I could finish what I was saying, but they didn't come back.  I was going to warn them about Scrappy's bladder stone, so that they'd give him potty breaks.  That's another downside to taking the dogs to a salon as opposed to using a mobile groomer.  The groomer's attention is split between you and other customers at a salon.

They ended up calling in two hours instead of three to tell me that the dogs were ready.  The gal said that Scrappy did well and didn't try to bite them.  She said he definitely doesn't like getting his nails trimmed, but she's seen worse.  Stewie was nervous, but he cooperated with all the procedures.  It was so cute seeing them walk Stewie and Scrappy out without leashes and wearing bandanas.  I kept an eye on the front door because I knew that if someone opened it, Scrappy would be gone in an instant.  Sure enough, he ran for the front door right when a lady was about to walk out.  Thankfully, she stopped and let me get a collar and leash on him before opening it.

It turned out that Scrappy had to pee to beat the band.  The second we got outside, he peed on the pillar in front of the salon.  Of course, there had to be someone sitting in a car watching the crime go down.  Stewie was still too scared to pee.  Once we got home, Scrappy ran for the dog yard to pee again, and Stewie followed suit.  I wondered if they had been given a potty break at all during those two hours.  Normal dogs can go two hours without peeing, but my dogs are not normal.  I think in the future I will just bring them in for a nail trim to keep the appointment short.

When we got home, the sniffathon commenced...

Hey!  You smell nice.  Where have you been?

Hmmm.  You smell like me.

What a minute...  your breath smells fresh.

I got my teeth brushed.  See my pearly whites?  And no one said anything about the tartar build up.  I also got my toenails clipped so that strangers can't point out how long they are anymore.  It was a great day.

Don't mind me.  I'm just rubbing my clean scent all over the couch.

Please take me out.  I have to pee again.  Going to the salon is just too exciting.

Can I take a nap now?


achieve1dream said...

Awwwwww they are soooo cute!!! I hope that makes up for being high maintenance. :)

I thought our mud but bad, but I think you have me beat! I hope it dries up soon. Mud is a pain in the butt.

I don't know much about living in the desert so this might be a really dumb question, but could you guys pour a sidewalk out to the dog potty area so you could where sandals with socks or slippers or something? I hate having to change shoes all the time. It's so annoying! I'm bad about leaving my shoe laces loose enough so that I can just put my foot in without sitting down or bending over. It's a rolled ankle waiting to happen, but I'm lazy lol.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

We do have flagstones there, but the dogs are so dang picky about where to poop that they drag us off it into the mud. Scrappy, for instance will not poop unless he can get under a bush or over a patch of grass. Plus we get so much flooding that the mud just washes over the flagstones anyway.

achieve1dream said...

Yeah I kind of figured that might be the case. I've had dogs that are so picky they would always take me off the path too. :\

ellie k said...

Do you still use the dog kennel you got for the dogs?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The dog kennel caused more problems than it was worth. The dogs just bark the whole time they are in there, and they disturb the neighbors. Plus, even if I put poop in there, they won't poop in there. They just bark their heads off until I bring them out, and then they drag me to the spots they want to poop or pee in outside of the kennel.

ellie k said...

Our pets do have a mind of there own and are not shy about letting us know it.