Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mia Update: Watching Your Best Friend Age

For those of you who don't know, I have another dog named Mia.  She's not technically my dog, she's my parents' dog.  But I was 11 when we got her so I grew up with her and was the one responsible for much (well, all) of her training and exercise.  She was my best friend growing up; we went on a lot of adventures together.  She's one of those dogs who's just naturally well behaved and people oriented.

She was remarkably healthy and active for the first 9 or so years of her life.  I'd take her hiking and people would be like "Ahhh, how old's your puppy?"  I'd tell them she's 9, and they'd say "9 months?"

This changed a couple years ago when she was diagnosed with kidney disease.  She became incontinent.  She got on medications and a "renal friendly" diet and seemed to be doing better.  At some point a year or so ago I became concerned with the ingredients in her prescription diet (nothing that looked like real food, just chemicals and fillers) and began doing research on diets for dogs with kidney disease.  Some of the key points were they had to have a higher percentage of calcium:phosphorus in a balanced ratio, plenty of antioxidants, and low in protein (more important in the later stages of the disease).  I looked at the brands we sold at work and examined their nutritional values and ingredients lists.  I ultimately decided on Blue Buffalo's senior formula despite the recent controversy about their ingredients.  They had a relatively low protein content, high calcium:phosphorus levels, and were full of antioxidants.  The nutritional values were actually very similar to the prescription diet, the ingredients were the main difference.  Real meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Well, Mia's been on the new diet for a while now, and she recently went back to the vet, and her kidney values are perfect!  I'm so glad she's doing well on this diet, because I feel so much better about Blue Buffalo's ingredients than Hill's.

The bad news: she has heart disease now.  :( :( :(

She's on medications that should help.

It's just hard watching your best friend age.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Short Adventure to the Waterfront!

The other day it was in the 60's!  It was finally warm enough for my little southern girl to go outside.  I got out of work at 2 and we spent a couple of hours walking around town.  We went to Battery park and the Waterfront and the views were beautiful!  Delilah was excited to finally be out as well.

People watching.

You might have noticed her fancy new leash and collar.  Sam bought them for her when her old leash broke.  They're from Mutts and Mittens Handmade Collars and Leashes- they seem to be very nice quality.  They're quite soft and comfortable for me to hold and for Delilah to wear.  She actually prefers the collar to her harnesses.  And 10% of the sale was donated to an animal rescue, so that was awesome of them.  We got the smallest size- XS- which looks a little big on her but it's nice because it disperses the pressure around her neck so it's more comfortable than a thin collar.  Despite being Phish themed (Sam's a big fan), I'm really liking these.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

New Training Class Update!

So Delilah and I started her new class this past Monday.  It's the last one we need before agility and it's working on a bunch of skills that she will need to be successful in agility.  During the first class we practiced stay work and recall and learned some different games and exercises to work on.  I was so worried she was going to yap the entire time but the good news is that since we do a lot of off leash work in this class the dogs are in covered crates the whole time.  She yapped a little but then settled down eventually.  And at least she didn't throw one of her tantrums when she doesn't want to be in a crate (there is a lot of screaming involved).

There are only two other students so there was a lot of one on one practice (especially compared to our last class that had 6-8 students each class).  Delilah is the only little dog though and she's the worst behaved so I am a little worried about being judged for that.  Either people thinking that I let her get away with bad behavior because she's a little dog or that all little dogs are poorly behaved.  For some reason there are a lot of "dog people" that don't actually like little dogs so that's something I sometimes worry about with her, because she is the stereotypical yappy little dog/terrier.

We've been practicing the homework almost every day and she's doing really well.  She's so smart.  And it's getting warm out so I'm able to take her outside for exercise and training (when it's below 50* F she just shakes and looks sad).  It's actually been really nice this week- in the 60s yesterday!  Not that I'm for climate change or anything but it was nice to go outside for a couple of hours with her after work.  I'll post some pictures of our adventure later (with her new leash and collar)!