The Tail That Lost Its Wag

I never suspected that a solo pool party, at the new doggie pool here in Anchorage: Alaska K9 Aquatics could end in a case of cold tail, also known as limber tail.  One minute, Pongo was a happy-go-lucky, loving life, dripping wet canine and the next, a restless, droopy-tailed miserable little guy.

When we got home from our swim session, I wasn’t too sure what was going on.  He wouldn’t settle despite being exhausted; he would lay down for a minute or two, get up and shift positions–never really finding a comfortable position.  I thought his tail looked kind of funny just hanging there but it took Steve noticing something was off, too before it really hit home that something was wrong.  That night quality sleep was beyond our reach as Pongo tried to settle into slumber but just couldn’t. Besides constantly moving around trying to get comfortable, he was up 4-5 times that night needing to go outside.

The poor guy was miserable and was in no shape to attend daycare the next day.  I called him in “sick” and Miss Peg thankfully gave us a lead of what might be afflicting Pongo: cold tail.  After a Google search, we realized that this indeed was what Pongo was suffering from.  One website recommended giving the dog Rimadyl to help with the inflammation and pain.  So, that’s exactly what we did and ended up with a boy who could finally settle and slept the whole day Friday.


We just hope he can find that elusive wag soon…

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.



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.


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!

Race To The Finish

I’ve really procrastinated on cleaning up the garden this year; I guess I was hoping that the longer I waited, the longer summer/fall would hang on.  I knew this weekend was it and I needed to get it done…but after a much needed afternoon nap.

When I woke up, ready to hit the yard work, I looked out the window and realized the clock was ticking.

I don’t think Steve nor I have ever moved as fast as we did to get the yard cleaned up and “winterized.”

A not-so-happy Steve having to rake wet, heavy leaves.

Pongo wasn’t much help.  His main objective for this afternoon was to play as much frisbee as possible.  He was intent on making sure that we knew that too as for each rake we made, we would find a frisbee in our way and a dog staring at us waiting…

Our last glimpse of summer past.

One Last Hurrah

It’s that time again…when the dread starts mounting and the countdown begins.  I’m way past the countdown part though–I’m grasping at my final hours of summertime freedom. Yes sadly (at least for me), I head back to work tomorrow.  As usual, summer break has flown by; it feels like I just got out of school and now it’s time to go back.  Not a good feeling.

I wanted to make the most of today and the nice weather we had this morning, so Pongo and I walked the mile, from the Kincaid Chalet, down the Coastal Trail to spend some time at Kincaid Beach.  We were so fortunate in that we had the whole beach to ourselves!

Pongo enjoyed wrangling his log in and out of the water…

While Mama tried to capture a very distant Mount McKinley and Mount Foraker.

The frisbee came out and Pongo quickly discovered: sand + mud = one very nasty and dirty frisbee.

But he used his problem-solving skills and made sure that frisbee was clean each time he brought it back.

Washing off the frisbee though didn’t necessarily mean that Pongo also came out clean.

But we tried to rinse him off every now and then, too.

Pongo and I had a wonderful day at the beach-enjoying our last day of summer break!

Late Bloomers

Our garden has been a true testament to the mostly dismal summer we’ve been having. Plants that are typically mid-June bloomers have just started to show their true colors this past week.

I’m just thankful they finally decided to bloom so we can enjoy their beauty for the remainder of our short summer.

Dog Jog

Anchorage’s 18th annual Friends of Pets Dog Jog took place yesterday.  And while Pongo is not quite ready to participate in the Dog Jog, I truly believe some day I will be running the trails with my sweet Cattle Dog pal by my side.

To get in some exercise before Steve and I stuffed ourselves at Kincaid Grill, an early anniversary celebration in case Steve is out of town on our true anniversary date: August 1st, Pongo and I decided to do our own Dog Jog yesterday…Pongo style.

Crazy, Long Night

I was so excited to get all that snow off of our roof that I never really thought about the repercussions of removing all that insulation from the ice and puddles of water.   As the water and partially melted ice refroze last night, it expanded creating these heart-stopping, jolt-you-awake sonic booms that shook the house and us to the core.  Needless to say, neither Pongo nor myself got much sleep last night as it wasn’t just once this happened but 5 or 6 times over the course of the night.  Pongo was the lucky one who could get in a catnap before heading to daycare this morning.

Weight Lifted

We’ve known for a couple of years the roof on our house needs to be replaced.  We kept hoping we could make it one more Winter before having to spend mega bucks on a new roof.  We knew this Fall we were taking a risk not getting it done but before we knew it, Winter was here.  And, oh boy what a Winter we are having!  Anchorage is just 3.3 inches shy of breaking the 60 year old snowfall record of 132.6 inches. Here’s a picture just to give you an idea of how much snow we’ve had (this picture was taken on January 14th and we’ve had a lot more snow since then!).

While breaking a record seems pretty cool, it means massive amounts of problems for Anchorage residents.  We’ve had numerous roofs cave in, ice dams, roofs leaking, and the list goes on.  On Monday, I lined up someone to come out and shovel the roof and hopefully, prevent any problems.  We only had 3 days to keep the status quo.  I really thought we were going to be able to sneak by without any problems this year but low and behold, on Tuesday I came home to a huge puddle of water in the gym.  I don’t know why these things always seem to happen when Steve is out of town?!?  I promised him I wouldn’t get on the roof, so it was a matter of trying to find someone to come out and look at the roof at 7:00 PM.  Thankfully, the contractor who built our fence was able to come out and work on the roof.  We had a huge ice dam and water was seeping in under the flashing of the skylight.  He was able to stop the leaking and created a large trough in the ice dam to allow the melting, puddling water to drain.

Today a girlfriend’s husband, who has a small handyman business came and shoveled thousands of pounds of snow off of our roof.  It took him a back-breaking 7 1/2 hours to shovel our entire roof.  The aftermath of his work is astounding!

View out of the kitchen and front room windows

Poor Pongo can’t even keep watch for “intruder” dogs on the street anymore!

Shortly after Nick got done shoveling, the doorbell rang.  I answered the door to two pre-teen boys begging me to let them build a fort in the “huge snow pile” in front of our house.  I had to be the grouchy neighbor lady and say “no” in fear the fort would collapse on them from the weight of the snow, and we would be held liable.  Sorry boys.

Now, I just hope all this snow melts in a neat and orderly manner…

Back In The Game

After a holiday hiatus, we are back into our Nose Work classes.  Pongo has sniffed his way to Advanced Nose Work and is preparing for a trial in May.  Our instructor Liz, at Alaska Dog Sports made today’s class especially challenging for the dogs.  Instead of using the usual small, metal tins to hide the scents, she put the scented q-tips into empty pens.  That means the scent could only travel through the very small opening at the end of the pen.

I love watching Pongo take on a challenge but felt for him today when he struggled a bit to find the hides.

We also had a chance to practice box drills.  Pongo is working really hard on alerting with a sit instead of becoming the Smash-O-Nator and destroying the hide or the box.  All of these small details matter in a trial.  He can find the hide no problem but if he disturbs the hide area, it’s a fault.  So, practice, practice, practice!