Viktorsviews. The Next Chapter.
Viktor, was a Polish Lowland Sheepdog who shared his views on life and had a following of loyal readers from around the world . He sadly left all of us us way too soon. He left his PON brother, Frodo and his Berger Picard “brother”, Elroy to continue his “legacy.” We now welcome a new PON brother to our story- Wojtek- who in many ways, has the very same “bigger than life attitude” as Viktor. So we know Viktor’s spirit lives on, as does the spirit of Paxton, his Bernese Mountain Dog…
Dear Mountain Equipment Co-op,
My name is Viktor and I am a 7 year old Polish Lowland Sheepdog who lives in Nova Scotia. I am writing regarding a “product replacement issue “ – and I hope that you might help me.
Last night I somehow got into the bathroom while my human was asleep. In addition to finding a new roll of toilet paper which I promptly unwound and shredded, I discovered a pile of clothing ready for the laundry. In that pile was a MEC green Cordova fleece jacket (size L) which my human received as a Christmas gift from her sister. She has pretty much worn that fleece ALL the time. Except of course when she is sleeping or it is in the laundry. Anyway, I discovered that she had not yet cleaned out the pockets- and much to much late night craving surprise, found some dog biscuits in the pocket. Now unfortunately we canines do not have opposable thumbs, so we rely on our teeth to open things… I think you see where this is going…
My human awoke and found a bathroom in a mess, and her favorite fleece with a hole in the front. She was shattered. She immediately checked your website to see if she could find a replacement. She saw it in two “clearance colors” and would have even bought one of those (although she LOVES the green), but you didn’t have her size. She has a sinking feeling that this style is gone, but I am writing on the odd chance that you still have one.
I have her VISA card – and will gladly purchase one if you find it. PLEASE let me know if you do. PLEASE help to get me out of the “proverbial “ doghouse. I should add that I have two canine brothers. And I COULD blame it on one of them. But who am I kidding? I decided to step up and take the blame. Besides, if I CAN find a replacement, I’ll be a hero.
For us canines, there is nothing much better than when you humans return from being away. Now I’m not just talking about you being gone for a long time – like when you’ve been away on a trip. I’m talking anytime you are out of our sight. Heck – you can go to the bathroom and we’ll be happy when you come out. And if you have been away for a few hours, there is nothing that will make us happier than when you walk in that door. Except one thing. When you come back, and you have been grocery shopping.
Well according to the crazy calendar, today is World Veterinary Day. A day to honor those whose lives revolve around us animals – helping to keep us well.
Almost everybody knows us at the veterinary practice where we go. And the veterinarians probably draw straws to see who will get stuck with my human. Just kidding. Sort of. Since the dawn of the internet, she has become every veterinarian’s nightmare. Armed with the results of her latest internet search, she arrives ready with questions and “ideas.” After she attended the last webinar, she visited the vet (when Einstein got his stitches out) and arrived with a printed handout about the session. She reviewed the notes with the vet – just in CASE the vet didn’t have time to look at it at home.
The vet techs who work at our clinic are also awesome. They are so good at taking our blood – we usually don’t even know it is happening! We haven’t been to the groomer there – but we know her as well. Everyone who works there understands the critical bond that we animals have with our humans – and they work to make sure that our lives are long and healthy.
But getting back to the internet….while you should take the advice of your veterinarian, it is also important that you understand the health issues of your pet. The internet CAN be a good source of information – but you do so with caution. When looking at the internet, you need to consider the source. Anybody can post a video – or put up a website, but not all information out there is accurate or well researched. You need to look at the credentials of the person posting – AND the evidence about what that person is presenting. I hate to say this – but just as there are GREAT vets – there are probably some vets who may promote things that are not well founded in solid research and science. So credentials alone do not mean the advice is perfect. My human was reading a site by a fairly well-known veterinarian. And while SOME of the info was good – some of it was…..airy fairy. And to check this, one can Google the name of the person. If you see that the person is viewed as a bit of a quack in the veterinary field – well take that into consideration. You need to do your homework.
When looking for the “best” veterinary sites, my human found a couple of lists. You will see that some sites appear on both lists:
In addition to web sites, we also have YouTube sources. Now I have NOT looked at many of these – and some of them could be sketchy….but there may be some good info in some of these:
I want to emphasize that you should follow your veterinarian’s advice about your health care. BUT – it is also important for humans to be proactive about our care. You spend all your time with us – and the veterinarian only sees us for a few minutes during the appointment. Humans need to be thorough in describing our problem – because it may not be evident when we are in the office. You humans KNOW us – and you KNOW when something is not right. You have to be our spokesperson – because we can’t do that ourselves. Although Einstein tries….
So cheers today to all in the veterinary field. Thanks so much for all you do!!!!
Have a good one. Peace and paws up!
Seizure free days: 24
April 26. And such an important holiday. It’s National Hairball Awareness Day. I’m surprised my human didn’t have the day off.
While cats are kind of the poster animals for hairballs, we dogs CAN get them too. If we tend to lick ourselves a lot – either because of allergies, or even because we are bored – we CAN get the dreaded trichobezoars. Add that to your Jeopardy terms. It’s basically a glob of hair that accumulates in a mass in our stomachs. Usually we will pass the offending matter in our poo – or we could actually vomit a hairball. In unusual cases, a hairball COULD get large and cause an obstruction – probably necessitating surgery.
If we stay well groomed, we are less likely to swallow lots of hair. Great. More grooming. As well, we are less likely to lick ourselves if we are active and not bored. Bring on the toys and more walks!
I read that early human cultures believed that hairballs possessed magical or medicinal properties. Really. Picture THAT on your mantle….Anyway, no licking today and take time to think about Hairballs today. For just a minute.
And the good news – It’s Friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are so glad that my human will have TWO DAYS OFF!!!! Daylight walks. Lots of them. Let the weekend begin!
Sometimes we take for granted the little things in life. We wish for the big lottery win. Or we count down the days to the weekend – not appreciating the day that is unfolding before us. I must confess, we HAVE been doing the countdown since my human went back to work this week. And we will all be glad that tomorrow is Friday. But sometimes you do need to look at little things that happen – and although the events are not earth shattering, they are wonderful and even a little bit miraculous just the same… and we need to appreciate them!
Like yesterday morning. We have had a VERY rainy week. So getting up at 4:30 AM and going out into the dark for our morning constitutional has been a BIT of a drag. But despite the rainy weather, we have somehow managed to escape the torrential downpours. We have walked in light rain – but have managed to miss the heavy stuff. Yesterday morning, we awoke to damp conditions – but instead of rain, we faced fog. Heavy damp fog. My human’s headlamp was of little use. If you have ever turned on your car headlights in fog, you know how the light bounces back. Ditto for headlamps. On top of that, she is in need of batteries. We haven’t had to use the headlamp much since she “retired” because we can actually walk during daylight. But here we are again, since she has been working, using the old head torch.
Einstein and I went out first. The FG didn’t even bother to get up. We have decided that without any doubt – he is NOT a morning dog. In fact, my human has never seen a dog quite like him. He is curled up on my human’s bed – or in the pony crate – and he opens one eye to watch us – but doesn’t move a muscle. We went out the door – and he hadn’t even come out of the bedroom.
Number one good news item – we both went out and “did our thing.” Although I DO like to raise my human’s blood pressure by waiting until we have almost returned home before making my deposit. But still – the first walk was a success.
We came in the house and no sign of Mr Sleepy Head. My human called to him. No FG. She called again. No FG. She took off her wet boots, walked down the hall to the bedroom – to find him slowly getting off the bed and stretching. He is REALLY not a morning dog.
They went on their soggy way.
Here is where I do need to apologize to neighbors on the road. When we make a deposit, my human picks up. It’s just what you do. However, yesterday was a bit of a challenge. The FG has his habit of leaving a trail. Like Easter eggs. But theses are not chocolate. The only problem – he went in the grass at the side of the road. So you combine fog, in the dark, with a dim headlamp, and the Easter egg hunt was NOT easy. My human was bent over searching for “eggs.” She found two – but there MAY be another one out there. So apologies to neighbors – we will try to find it on our daylight walk.
So three dogs out. Three deposits. No pouring rain. What more could one ask for?! That’s plenty to be grateful for. But wait – there was one more thing.
My human was ready to leave after breakfast and her shower – and went to take us out for one final pee. She didn’t put Einstein on a leash – but she did put me on. And here is where the last lucky bit came in. Picture this in slow motion. She goes to open the door and as the door opens and she raises her head – what does she see sitting right on the front lawn? The Easter rabbit. At the same moment she sees him – so do we. Einstein takes off and I run like mad – to the end of the leash. Now you can hear that slow motion bellow of “FRO-DOOOOOOO.” He bolts into the woods. Her mind is racing – we are on a TIGHT schedule here – and a runaway was NOT in the plan. BUT – miracle of miracles – thank you Saint Roch – Einstein STOPPED. And he came back! Meanwhile I was strangling myself. Trust me – if I had been off leash this story would not have ended so pleasantly.
So there you have it – three simple miracles. Three poops, no torrential rain AND a dog who came back. My human thought about buying a lotto ticket – but really – what for? She already had three good wins.
Hope your day is equally miraculous.
Have a good one. Peace and paws up.
Seizure free days: 22
It’s April 24 – and it also happens to be International Guide Dog Day. It’s a day to honor those hard working canines who provide independence for so many visually impaired humans. Did you know that there are references to Guide Dogs dating back to the mid-16th century!
The first schools to train Guide Dogs were started in Germany during World War I. The first Seeing Eye School in the US was established in 1929 in Nashville, Tennesseee, and it moved in 1931 to New Jersey.
In the earliest days, German Shepherds were commonly used for this important job. Today, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed used globally.
Besides the obvious benefits to mobility, Guide Dogs also provide support and companionship to individuals with visual impairments. I read a line that said ” The animal isn’t seen as a working animal, but more as a loyal friend.”
There are a number of organizations that train Guide Dogs. Here’s a nice little video that shows you how a dog is trained – and the tremendous impact that having a Guide Dog can have on an individual’s life.
And if that one didn’t make you cry – try this one:
It takes a special dog to make the cut for this important job. And we also can’t forget those wonderful foster homes that train puppies in their early months. The foundations that they provide are so critical – and it takes a special person or family to pass on that puppy when he is ready for more training.
So cheers today to Guide Dogs! You make us canines look very good!
Have a good one. Peace and paws up:
Seizure free days: 21
April 23. On this day in 2005, the very first YouTube video was uploaded. So here’s a trivia question – what animal did it feature: a cat, a dog, an elephant, or a monkey? If you guessed dog….you were….unfortunately wrong. It was an elephant. The video was called “Me at the zoo,” and it featured Jawed Karin, one of the site’s co-founders. Here is that quick video, if you have never seen it:
It’s Dyngus Day! The day after Easter – and I just read that it is also called Wet Easter Monday. It’s that famous Polish holiday where boys douse girls with water and hit them with pussy willows. In a romantic gesture. No. I didn’t make this up. What Marci Gras is to the beginning of Lent, Dyngus Day is to the end. When you think St. Patrick’s Day you think Irish. On Dyngus Day, everybody is Polish. You can read my previous Dyngus Day posts or Google it – and you will see it’s true. It’s also a BIG holiday in my human’s hometown of Buffalo, NY.
I told you how she could only find two pairs of rabbit ears. One pair went mysteriously missing….So I THOUGHT we would not have to go through the dreaded trio photo. But no. She had to go shopping for groceries the other day – and just so happened to be passing by the Dollar Store. I kid you not. Which reminds me – I forgot to tell you that when my human retired – one of her old friends and colleagues got her, as part of her retirement gift – a gift card to the Dollar Store. Clearly that woman is NOT a friend of ours.
Instead of the GIANT ears, which are problematic because they do bear a resemblance to those old fashioned TV antennas, and they tend to fall down – she bought ears that are much more proportional. Oh goody.
After 769 shots – she got the one you see above. But not before the following…
To get our attention, she throws a ball. Instead of landing behind her – it goes to our left…
She tries again. Remember, she is NOT what you would call coordinated. It goes to our right…
Now the FG starts sliding down. He doesn’t feel like sitting through this. At the same time, Einstein is showing his opinion. I, on the other hand, look adorable…
Now the FG and I are starting to look sad. But Einstein is looking good.
She throws the ball again. To our left. Einstein ignores it.
You need to keep in mind that we are getting treats in between shots. But DO NOT drop a treat. Because even if you pick it up, I STILL need to check to make sure there are no more on the floor.
Now Einstein starts barking “For the love of heaven can we PLEASE get this over with!!!!” Meanwhile, the FG looks like a rabbit in headlights. But that’s the best expression we can get from him.
Anyway, we survived and she finally got a photo she liked. Oh – and there is one more….
Have a Happy Easter! And all canines – stay out of the chocloate!
Have a good one. Peace and paws up!
Seizure free days: 18