Mac the Dog’s visit to the vet

Mac waits for walkies

Mac the Dog’s chronic itchy paw problem may have a solution. Thanks to a tip from our super doggie mommy friend, we visited Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre at Sunset Way, where the vet told us that almost everything Mac’s previous vet told us was bunk.

Mac probably doesn’t have a thyroid imbalance causing skin problems. Nor is he likely to be having hormonal problems caused by food allergies caused by chicken and meats. Nor does he need long term steroid and thyroid medication.

A sigh of relief all round, you might think. But knowing how dogs understand what we say even if they don’t quite speak human, Mac has mixed feelings about yesterday’s visit because the new vet also says that there is no issue with him being neutered because there is no hormonal imbalance, and even if there were, it has nothing to do with his reproductive organs.

Oh well.

Day at the vet’s

Day at the vet's

I spent the morning at the vet’s with Mac Our Dog, and it was a particularly busy morning there, with the receptionist at sixes and sevens, and though she was trying her humanly (and doggedly and cattedly) best to cope, Mac and I had to wait about an hour before we saw the vet, and when we did, the consultation rooms were all full so the vet actually came out to the reception area to see Mac.

Which was good of course, because Mac Our Dog has an understandable fear of the consultation rooms – he’s pretty happy in the reception area because he thinks it’s a wonderful place full of other people and animals. But once he’s in a consultation room, memories of needles and other cold and painful instruments assault his senses and he’s so stressed out you want to look for doggie cigarettes for him to calm his nerves.

The good thing with the wait was that Mac Our Dog got to make lots of friends (and piss some of them off with his over-friendliness), most notably a English Bulldog whose first action upon seeing Mac was a play-bow, (an invitational gesture to play – for those not in the know) which drove Mac nuts – which meant that Mac next attempted to hump the (male) bulldog.

If you’re unfamiliar with Mac Our Dog, here’s where I tell you that Mac Our Dog humps everything that moves, although he has a preference for human legs.

The bulldog wasn’t the least bit offended by Mac’s forwardness, and I was afraid he was going to be mauled or at least severely barked at. But no. The bulldog attempted to return the compliment instead, and what ensued was a merry dance of dogs, handlers and leashes, much to the delight of the dozen people who had been waiting half the morning to see the vet.

Standing for a long time next to me waiting to get the attention of the receptionist was a couple in their 60s carrying a small animal in a bag which upon some conversation revealed itself to be a five year old rabbit with a large tumour on its chest.

Day at the vet'sLucky The Rabbit’s gone under the vet’s knife a few months previously to remove several similar tumours, and his bald patch from that surgery hasn’t even had time to grow back. But his doting owners just want to make sure he’s ok, and don’t see themselves as having any other choice than forking out another thousand bucks to get Lucky’s tumours out.

“It’s between his arms“, the couple corrected me in Cantonese when I suggested to them that the tumour being between his front legs would pose problems with Lucky’s movements.

“He’s very “kuai”, and sits down with us to watch tv every day”, says Auntie, who also tells me Lucky was found downstairs of their flat, abandoned by his previous owners.

“If we don’t let him have surgery, then we don’t know what to do” she says, as the receptionist finally calls for me and Mac to get our prescription and bill.

Uncle just looks at Lucky and very gently strokes him from behind his bunny ears while Mac goes nuts at the sight of two Shi-Tzus being slung from the shoulders of another irate owner who’s been kept waiting for most of the morning as well.

Invisible tandem bicycle

These boots are not made for walking!

While others might be wondering if Anwar really did sodomise his aide and whether that should be any of our own darn business, we were busy laughing at Mac the Dog, who unfortunately has had to try on a pair two pairs of boots because the vet thinks he might be allergic to grass.

We bought a set of black boots because it was the only one available in what we thought was Mac’s size (Size 3 for a Jack Russell Terrier, if you need to get a set yourself), and right now I’m very thankful that we didn’t get the army camo patterned ones, fashionable though they may be, because last night one of the boots fell off as Mac tried to scrabble his way to mark a tree.

Although we really shouldn’t be teasing our pets and laughing at their expense, it really is too good not to share when your dog looks like he’s got boxing gloves on all paws and while they’re on, walks as if he’s peddling an invisible tandem bicycle.

It only got less funny when he almost tipped his backside over his head walking down the stairs.

Shit for brains

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If this is true, then it really, really sucks.

Apparently there’s an “artist” called Guillermo Vargas who took a stray dog off the street and displayed it starving to death. And called it an art piece.

From The Guardian:

The Costa Rican has been called an animal abuser, killer and worse over claims that a stray dog called Natividad died of starvation after he displayed it at an exhibition last year at the Códice Gallery in Managua, Nicaragua. Vargas tethered the animal without food and water under the words ‘Eres Lo Que Lees’ – ‘You Are What You Read’ – made out of dog biscuits while he played the Sandinista anthem backwards and set 175 pieces of crack cocaine alight in a massive incense burner. More than a million people have signed an online petition urging organisers of this year’s event to stop Vargas taking part.

Online petition here.

Adopting happiness: some considerations

We’ve realised that in advocating adopting cute, loving animals we have neglected to say that in doing so, you’re taking on some form of serious responsibility. Animals are not toys.

You need to make sure they’re healthy, and in the event they’re not, you have to seek the best possible solution for them. They cannot look after themselves.

Take Mac for example. He’s a sensitive little blossom, allergic to quite a lot of things, including, we suspect, grass. After several weeks of ointments, antibiotics (some of which he was allergic to as well), he was still very much the itchy dog, and spent quite a lot of time with his head in a plastic cone.

It was only a recent change in medication and treatment strategy that he’s been a little more relieved. Or else it’s quite a hassle having to watch him when he doesn’t have the cone on. He just can’t help but stick his paw into his mouth and chew like there’s no tomorrow.

A couple of times we’ve told visitors, “Don’t stress the dog or he’ll bite himself”, and we’re happy that things are looking less itchy for him now.

Part of his new diet (the bulk of which is a superhypoallergenic expealidocious dog food) includes a slice of papaya each day. Thank goodness he loves it.

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Adopting happiness

Pensive Mac
Mac eyeing Jake

If you treat them well, your adopted pets will usually give you back 1000% in smiles and unconditional love. I think that’s what most pet owners know.

“Mac was very happy this morning”, I said one morning to Naomi after I had taken the dog out for a short while.

“Dogs are usually happy no matter what, unless they’ve been abused or something”, she said.

Being a fairly new dog-adopter, I’ve been privileged to experience the nonsensical happiness Mac provides daily. He picks up a toy and entertains himself for a long time, even when we’re both hunkered down with work. Having a playful housemate in Jake the Cat provides Mac with even more entertainment as he stalks, chases and bites (gently) Jake all around the apartment.

Not that the harrassment is all one-sided. Once I was amazed to witness Mac chase Jake, then Jake do a U-turn and chase Mac back until he caught up with him and then leap over the stunned dog.

Mac even had a couple of battle scars from the rowdy encounters, but they’re all healed now. Sometimes they get too boisterous, and we have to separate them for a few hours to get some peace.

Cats on the other hand, are a different kettle of fish altogether. They’re a little more unpredictable, although with Jake, we know how much he craves company and attention, but on his own terms. He’ll meow his head off until we open our bedroom door in the morning just so he can see us for a minute, then he skulks off to another part of the house.

He also takes to provoking Mac into chasing him most days. Running at full flight at the dog and then away, so that he’ll get chased.

I don’t know how to explain seeing and envying a dog’s and a cat’s simple life of play, eat and sleep adds to our happiness quotient. It just does.

And if you do want a little slice of happiness this way, please, do like we did. Adopt, don’t buy. There are plenty of animals who need a loving home, and who’ll bestow upon that home 1000% returns in investment.

Visit the SPCA, and this blog written by an SPCA volunteer, and see for yourself.

The Sea-Monkey Diaries, Part Nine

Even biggerWe are now proud, um, owners of parents of new baby sea-monkeys. And the mother sea-monkey is preggers again, and if this goes on – where she’s the only child-bearing sea-monkey, she’ll soon be the mother of all sea-monkeys! In our house. In their tank. Yes.

We don’t have a powerful enough camera to record pictures of the almost microscopic babies, and we’re not sure if they’ll survive the week. Stay tuned.

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