No Rest For The Sick or Weary

Pongo is what we would classify as a “medium energy” Cattle Dog.  He does have an “off” button but sometimes that button gets stuck or just doesn’t work.  And the times when you really need him to lay low, he has other ideas.

I have been sick for the past couple of days and was in no shape to be around other people so I took yesterday and this morning off of work.  Yesterday being a non-daycare day, I knew that it was going to be a crap shoot if Pongo would be able to just settle with me on the couch as I lay like a slug in my sorry state.  Pongo joined me for an hour or so and then started in with his “I’m bored” antics: chasing the cat, wanting outside so he could hopefully stir the pot with the neighbors’ dogs, and running circles around the house with his bully stick in tow hoping to entice me to play.  I dragged myself outside for a couple short spurts of frisbee before needing to lay back down.  It just wasn’t enough for Pongo.  His button was stuck in the “on” position and there was no flipping that switch.

Someone’s not too happy that he has to lay with Mama.

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Today, Pongo joined his daycare class late since I took the morning off.  I’m not quite too sure if he had a bunch of pent up energy or just decided to be a total butt head (maybe both?!?) but he sure made himself known in daycare today.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much purple pen marking that middle you’ve-been-bad column!  I’m thankful though that his teachers can be completely honest with us, especially when it comes to unacceptable behavior!

Pongo report cardPongo and I had a heart-to-heart when we got home.  I, stressing how important it is to be nice to your classmates because no one wants to play with someone who is a bully.  Pongo had his own agenda though and I don’t think he was taking our talk too seriously…

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Tonight, we’re going to wear his little butt out with some serious mental stimulation in hopes that tomorrow will be a better day for our obstinate little guy!

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Pongo’s Penthouse

The doggie daycare Pongo attends, Dog Tired Doggie Daycare, is celebrating the grand-opening of its newly renovated expansion on Monday.  We have all been waiting with bated breath for the renovations to complete so our pups can romp and play in a much larger space.  Along with the new expansion, comes naming the newly created rooms. Kari, the owner, sent out an email to parents today announcing the new room names. Each new room is named after a client of stellar attitude and behavior: Shadow’s Station, Susitna’s Suite and Sparky’s Spot.

Even though we all know Pongo can sometimes have those days of poo and be a grump, especially when Papa leaves for the field, he does have those sweetheart moments and can be such a ladies’ man at daycare.  Steve and I thought it would be very appropriate if an all girls’ room was created, with Pongo as the host.  It can be christened, “Pongo’s Penthouse.”

Pongo giving his new main squeeze, Maggie kisses and a thorough ear cleaning.

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Pongo hanging out froggy-style with his true love, Lhasa.

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Pongo shackin’ up with Olivia.

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Sitting cheek-to-cheek with his girl, Maggie.

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Pongo celebrating Valentine’s Day last year with Lhasa.

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Graceless

Pongo lives for the frisbee.  He loves chasing, leaping, flying, and retrieving that small green disc.  One of the activities we were hoping to do with our Cattle Dog was disc dog. We envisioned Pongo soaring through the air, jumping over our backs in pursuit of that frisbee.  We dreamed he would one day look like this…

5831198271_73f2936e48_bPongo’s able to catch some air and actually looks pretty good.

DSC_0159But, his landings leave something to be desired.  Pongo tends to land vertically, slamming down onto his back legs before the front even touch.

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There have been a few times he has landed with a yelp.  We’ve backed off on the high flying frisbee tosses but it seems injury has prevailed.

We knew something was up when Pongo started to refuse to jump up on our bed.  He would stand, staring longingly at the bed.  We would have to lift him up.  And when he did decide to jump, he would look at his back legs after the jump like something funny was going on back there.  There have been times when I’ve tried adjusting Pongo, while he’s laying on my lap, by scooting his back end and out came a yelp.

We took Pongo to the vet, who took x-rays and could only guess that there might be some calcification on a couple of his lower discs but the vet said that was a long-shot guess.  He prescribed some Rimadyl for Pongo, which I gave on occasion when he was going to be busy at daycare.

I wish Pongo could verbalize what hurts and where.  Instead, when I guess things are really hurting, he ends up picking fights with his doggie friends at doggie daycare.  That’s what happened on Thursday.  Miss Peg described his look that afternoon at daycare as “stricken.”  I would totally agree because he came home and crashed on the couch with a look of pure pain.

IMG_1816This boy is breaking my heart.  I don’t like to see him in pain and it worries me to have our 3 1/2 year old boy having back problems already!  On our way out of the daycare door, Miss Lindsay recommended a vet who does chiropractic and acupuncture work on animals, Dr. Palmatier at The Pet Stop.  I called immediately and was able to get him in the next morning (bless them!).

Dr. Palmatier took a look at Pongo’s x-rays, which he agreed didn’t tell us much.  He then did some chiropractic adjustments on Pongo’s back.  Poor Pongo wasn’t too sure about being manipulated like that.  If he only knew what was to come, he probably would have high-tailed it out of there!

The vet suggested that we try something called the Companion Therapy Laser.  It is a laser light that the vet rubs back and forth over the area that is injured.  The effect is much like acupuncture but without the needles.  It is supposed to help promote healing and provide pain relief.  We decided to give it a try because having Pongo pop a bunch of pills to manage his pain is not the avenue we want to be taking.

A small machine was rolled into the exam room, eye protection was handed out to the humans in the room (I think next time I’ll bring Pongo’s doggles), and 8 minutes was set on the timer.  EIGHT MINUTES?!?  You’ve got to be kidding!  Pongo can’t sit still for 2 minutes let alone 8 while someone is messing with him.  But, he was a trooper with Mama’s assistance.

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(Yeah, I know…I’m looking pretty darn sexy in those glasses!)

We have a couple more appointments for Pongo to receive the laser light therapy and get some chiropractic adjustments.  I just hope it helps our graceless but beloved boy!

Field Trip!

Pongo will be staying with Miss Kari over Spring Break.  To help him ease into staying with Miss Kari and her pack, Miss Kari and Miss Peg graciously took him yesterday to meet her three dogs.  Here’s the email I received from Pongo after his field trip:

Mom,

Today I went on a field trip with Miss Kari and Miss Peg.  When I left the building I saw your car, but then Miss Kari started to drive and I was confused because you were not there.  Miss Peg told me it was ok because Miss Kari’s car is just like yours.  Our field trip was my chance to visit the two remedial daycare homes where kids who are not so smart spend their days since they can’t go to Dog Tired. 

Our first stop was at Miss Kari’s house where I met Tobe, Abby and Maddie.  I was a very good boy and did not do anything out of line.  I greeted each dog very respectfully, which actually surprised both Miss Kari and Miss Peg.  We investigated each other and made our way around the yard.  Tobe peed on a lot of snow so I followed him around and did it too.  We all went number two and then Miss Kari and Miss Peg decided that it was a great start and we should head out on a good note.  I get to go again later this week to see my new friends once more.  Next time I will meet the cat and see the inside of Miss Kari’s house.

At Miss Peg’s house I didn’t meet any dogs put I did help them move a treadmill into the car so they could transport it to Dog Tired for the staff to use in the break room.  I was a very brave boy because that treadmill was big and mean and scared me a bit.  We arrived back at Dog Tired and I ran into class to tell all my doggie pals about my big adventure.  What a great day!

Love you – PONGO

And here’s Pongo after his field trip adventures…

One worn out boy (who was also being rather bad by making his sleeping nest right on top of Mama’s pillows!).

A Letter To Miss Sue

Dear Miss Sue,

When I see my Papa’s big red bag packed and sitting by the door, I know what that means: he’s leaving.  I know he always comes back but I just get so sad and crabby knowing he’s going to be away from us, for I don’t know how long.

My Mama knew I might have a hard day at daycare, on Wednesday, when she dropped me off; that’s why she texted Miss Peg to let her know.  But, you had already guessed my Papa was out of town when I started picking fights with my doggie friends and was being an all-around grump.  I may act all tough and rough but if you haven’t already noticed, I am a sensitive soul who wears my heart on my sleeve.

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about choices because I knew my doggie daycare day was on the line.  My Mama wants me to behave and will not put up with me being a bully to others, even if my feelings are hurt.  I tried really, really, really hard to pull it together, put my happy face on, and have fun.  I think I did a pretty good job of bucking it up.

I should warn you, Miss Sue and all of my patient and loving daycare teachers…my Papa came home last night but I can hear him and Mama talk about him leaving again on Monday.  I don’t know when Monday is but I’m already worried about it.  I promise though I will try my best to be a very good boy for everyone.  It’s just so hard sometimes…

Love,

Pongo

Fun Police Pongo

I am really dragging my feet writing this post.  I’ve been hemming and hawing on whether I should tell the real story because almost 24 hours later I am still focused on the events of yesterday, or just stick to the “happy” version out of pure embarrassment.  But, this blog is about the trials and tribulations of raising a Cattle Dog so I need to be transparent.

Last year’s Howl-O-Ween party went so well: Pongo was a happy-go-lucky pup running around playing and visiting with all the parents and his doggie friends.  This year I expected the same but I think that was biggest problem–I had expectations.  I was excited because Steve was in town and was going to see Pongo in daycare action for the first time; plus, Pongo’s Howl-O-Ween costume was pretty darn clever, if I don’t say so myself.

Recently Pongo has been receiving a lot of dings for fun policing on his daycare report card.

So, I went with that theme and was able to find a K-9 cop costume that I altered.

We arrived at Dog Tired Doggie Daycare around 2:00.  We put Pongo’s costume on and headed into the building.  First obstacle down-no problem.  We were ushered into the back where the door to his classroom is. The staff member looked in the classroom and gave us the go-ahead.  WAIT!  I thought.  Pongo still has his collar and leash on and we are entering, for all I knew, a classroom full of dogs.  But, did I speak up?  Did I say, “Can we take his collar and leash off before he enters the classroom?”  Nope.  I figured they had a protocol for this special party so I kept quiet.  SHAME ON ME!  I need to advocate for my dog and set him up for success not for failure.

Steve and Pongo enter the classroom first with me following.  There is one dog, one parent, Miss Peg and Miss Kari in the classroom and Pongo has honed in on the one dog.  He starts his barking, lunging, growling routine.  Steve pulls him off to the side and tries to get his attention.  Pongo is having none of that.  Steve was instructed to take his leash off.  As soon as the leash comes off, Pongo goes full throttle for the other dog and a dog brawl ensues.  Thankfully, Miss Lindsay is right there and grabs Pongo.  It’s all over within a couple seconds.

Pongo has gotten in a few fights at school but I’ve never actually seen him in true action.  I’m a mess: shaking and on the verge of tears trying my best to hold it together.  I’m apologizing to the other parent thoroughly embarrassed by our dog’s poor behavior.  She thankfully appears to be understanding.  My greatest fear though is some other parent is going to demand that Pongo be removed from daycare because of his behavior.  What many people who witness this leash reactivity don’t understand is that this is not the only side of Pongo.  He’s 99% sweetness with 1% of pure scrapper attitude on top.

Miss Kari and Miss Peg distract Pongo by taking his picture in front of the Halloween decorations. We take off his costume and collar and off he goes to be with his other doggie friends that have joined the party. We can tell Pongo’s still stressed and is trying to control the situation by barking. One epiphany we had yesterday, through observation, was that there is some protective factor in Pongo’s behavior.  When another dog approached us, he was right there to herd the other dogs away from Steve and me.  A year ago, he was not herding the other dogs away from me.  He was off enjoying himself.

Even though Pongo took his job as Fun Police to the extreme yesterday, he was finally able to settle down and hopefully enjoy himself.

Mr. Crankypants

Really, it was a good plan.  Today was a grading day for teachers, which means no kids.  Which means I could take things a little slower this morning.  I was going to drop Pongo off at daycare and then take Steve’s truck to get an emissions test before heading into work.

Lately, Pongo has been battling getting into the car and into his kennel.  I don’t know what’s going through his mind; he’s done it a thousand times but has decided he doesn’t want to load up.  I was expecting a battle so I was prepared: I had Pongo’s kennel all ready to go in the truck and told him in a happy, excited voice that he was “going to daycare today!”  I took him out to the truck and oh boy was he excited to be getting in-tail wagging, even whining a little!  Who was this dog?!?  I was very confused.  I went with it though.  Usually, he settles in and lays down for the ride to daycare but today he sat up the whole way looking out the window.

Then it hit me.  This was Papa’s truck.  This was the car we took to drop Steve off at the airport. And now, Pongo was anticipating picking Papa up from the airport.  He was going to be sorely disappointed when we pull into the daycare parking lot.

I dropped him off seemingly happy to be at daycare, quickly get the truck’s emission tested, and head to work.  I had settled in for the day and hear my phone buzz with a text message.  I see a message from Miss Peg:

Jen, your boy seems unusually cranky today.  It isn’t a big class and we can manage him.  Just letting you know that if you are doing things after work, a long day might be more than he can handle.

Uh oh.  I had set up our boy for a bad day.  I let Miss Peg know I could come pick him up early if she needed me to but she said that wouldn’t be necessary.  I tried my best to leave work to pick him up early but it just wasn’t happening today-too much going on.  I worried about him all day; just hoping he could hold it together.  And, he did…for the most part…

I sure do hope Steve is able to make that plane out of Dillingham tomorrow afternoon because I’m dealing with a very sensitive soul, who really misses his Papa!

Cheap Entertainment

On Wednesday I was at Home Depot chaperoning a rather horrendous field trip, which I will refrain from expatiating on, and felt a tap on my shoulder.  There stood Miss Kari, the owner of Dog Tired Doggie Daycare.  I gave a quick “hello” in-between corralling kids and also noticed she was pushing a cart full of rope in plastic bags.  I thought to myself, “What ARE they doing to our dogs with all that rope?!?”

The next day when I dropped Pongo off at daycare, I asked Kari what the heck they were doing with all that rope?  She laughed and said it wasn’t rope but rather very absorbent, antibacterial mop heads.  Well, that explained it all…Until today when I received these photos and realized this is how our beloved Dog Tired Doggie Daycare staff entertain themselves!

Cinco de Pongo

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And while I was laughing my butt off, I knew Pongo was one humiliated boy!  Thank goodness he is a good sport and a very forgiving guy…

Pongo Snuggling With Miss Lindsay

Hard To Believe…They’ve Seen Worse!

To our horror, Pongo has found a new use for the basket muzzle he wears during recess at doggie daycare: a poop grater.  Yes, he is now smashing the front of his muzzle down into his doggie friend’s poop, or maybe even his own, and coming up with a poop smeared muzzle.  Maybe he’s found a new way to entertain himself but personally, I think it’s an act of rebellion: he’s going to make sure others pay for him having to wear this embarrassing contraption.

Poor Miss Janelle, his teacher today, ended up with poop streaked pants from Pongo’s antics.  And while I screeched “GROSS!” when the staff told me of his repulsive adventure today, they just laughed and replied…”We’ve seen worse.”

Here’s Pongo after a day of keeping his daycare teachers on their toes.  If he’s this worn out, I can’t even imagine how they’re feeling!