Thursday, October 21, 2010

Okay...I admit I like cats, too!

This is the "Ryan For Dogs" blog...I know, I know.
But I am admitting I have always loved cats as well. I grew up with cats and dogs in the household and have always liked both.
This particular blog entry, I am dedicating to "Mimosa (Mim for short)". She had a heart attack and died in my arms last Friday afternoon at the age of nine. A complete surprise; my world is a little dimmer for now.
The following essay is for all of you who have lost a pet close to your heart.

Mim (top) was the best cat I have seen in my entire life. She was even trained to use the toilet bowl!

The Apple of My Eye

I used to sing to her. Often, my voice was off-key, but it didn’t matter…we had a connection which bridged petty judgment. What mattered was we had each other. True symbiosis.

My heart was pounding in my chest and my lungs burned as I ran down the street. A mere annoyance compared with the pain of my psyche, the rush of guilt waiting to drown me. As I clutched her limp and floppy body to my breast, I knew I was late. As I charged through the doors and handed her to the professionals, my insides ached; I tried to act composed. For a brief time (seconds?) I remained calm, cool.

I was late; too much time had passed and she meant the world to me.
I collapsed, shaking with grief.

The apple of my eye.
No judgments. Triumphant or disgraced, I entered my home every evening to the warmest of greetings. Had I graced the world that day with integrity or with cowardice, I was still accepted and adored. And I gave my affection to her as she did to me.

When I placed her cold, stiff body into the earth, the pain was exquisite. I wondered how it could hurt more than burying my parents or losing a partner. I wondered how I would function without my warmest companion.

The critics say we are flawed to invest affection into an area which we are not challenged to grow. “They don’t talk back to you”, is the knock. “Too easy”, the critics say.
I would admit they accept us exactly as we are, they don’t ask for personal growth.
Exactly as we are.

Interesting how I spend my life searching for people who do exactly as she did.
How I try and fail, and try again to accept my peers as she accepted me.

Okay...I actually like all animals!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cooling Your Dog Off

The familiar sight of panting dogs
The summer months are here and they have been brutally hot. How are the dogs holding up?
There are many misconceptions about dogs, but most people know dogs use panting as a way to cool themselves. Humans sweat; dogs pant. Both use evaporation as a way to rid the body of excess heat.
Heat stroke in dogs can happen suddenly and is extremely dangerous. Staggering or vomiting are signals that your dog needs cooling immediately. Hosing them down, ice packs, or possibly a rush to the animal hospital.
Dogs most at risk: Brachycephalic breeds (short-faced, e.g. bulldogs or boxers), dark-colored dogs, very young or very old dogs, and over-weight dogs.
Stay in the shade as much as possible when outside and have a good water supply available when your dog is hot. The colder the water, the more quickly it will lower your dog's temperature. Adding ice to the waterbowl is efficient; the dog doesn't have to drink as much to cool off. If they drink a ton of water to cool off, you have to take them out in the heat to relieve themselves quite soon after...a vicious cycle.

Adding ice to the water bowl is a great trick

Sophie examines the floating objects before taking a drink

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Rogue's Gallery; Exhibit A

Whether training, boarding or walking, I have ample opportunities to take pictures of the many dogs I come into contact with on a daily basis.
I intend on showing a few pictures from time to time...especially when I am not sure what I am going to blog about for the coming week.
The owners always get a kick out of seeing pictures of their beloved dog.

How many of you have a picture of your dog as wallpaper for your phone or computer?

Snow fashion statements from the French Bulldog contingent.
From left: DJ, Remy, and Baxter.
Notice how Baxter doesn't like sitting on the cold snow...he likes the comfortable life.

This is Dexter, an Olde English Bulldog puppy.
A natural sweet disposition towards people...and bossy-pants towards other dogs

Sir Henry at fat camp. My mission was to keep him a couple weeks and trim his weight.
Look how desperate and hungry he looks.
(He didn't like vegetables as much as his usual bones.)

Dailo on top of his world. What rogue's gallery would be complete w/o me sneaking in a picture of one of my own?

Macabee and Madison. Both dogs rise to the occasion when given more socialization.
The typically sleepy Scotty plays and romps more and the typically anti-social Shiba allows dogs closer to her.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Elevator Risks

Q: What can happen if a leash gets caught in the elevator door?A: Don't try it

Remembering my January posting (4 posts down) of the "Stella" incident where her leash got stuck in the elevator door.
Stella survived because her harness was old and ripped in half.

At long last is the video footage of Stella's incident from the security camera in the elevator.
In this case, we have a happy ending.
Not always so.
Another dog owner informed me that a similar incident happened in her building and the dog died instantly.

Please stay focused when taking elevators with your dog. old harness saves the day

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Back in the day...Momo happy, healthy, and taking a break from fetching the Frisbee happens to all dog owners. Your dog has been with you for years and years...then they decide it is time to move on to greener pastures.

Last Saturday, one of my miniature Australian Shepherds, Momo, reached the end of her time with us and the difficult decision was made to put her down. She was 11.
Momo had been diagnosed with liver disease about two years ago, so even coaxing the extra time with her was a labour of love. Large changes in her diet, added drugs and herbs helped keep her going over a year past her due. 5 small meals per day replaced her usual two. Preparing her meals was kind of a pain in the butt, but was worth it. Actually, I think that one grows closer to those (animal or human) who we are given the privilege to care for.

A diagnosis of liver cirrhosis had Momo on an extensive, daily medical/herbal regimen

You reach a point where the dog sort of lets you know that they don't care to be here any longer. I definitely was willing to carry her outside for bathroom breaks and clean the messes she was starting to leave at home. But on that Friday night, her demeanor and her eyes spoke very clearly.
Good old Dr. Moscovich confirmed it Saturday morning. "You can't keep her here like this.", he said.
I wouldn't want anyone else but Moscovich to be the one to send Momo on her way.

Momo lying on the couch an hour before being euthanized...she was ready to go

I tended to have more interaction with Dailo...he was more obedient. But Momo was definitely smarter with a more distinct personality. I miss her.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whiskers Holistic Petcare

Whiskers in Manhattan (9th street and 2nd ave.)

What makes "Whiskers" my favorite pet store in NYC?
It's very simple. If you have a question about your dog or cat, walk inside and ask one of their super-knowledgeable experts in the back. You get answers. Always.
They take the time to explain and send you in the right direction with pet care.
Last weekend, I hung around the back and listened to Phil field questions. He handled diarrhea problems, doggy bad breath, a dog vomiting their raw food diet, liver disease questions, ferret questions, and more.
They are also kind and considerate. Phil didn't make me feel like a total loser for feeding my cats a questionable brand.
Ideally, a raw food diet is best. However, the Whiskers geniuses will work with you to upgrade your pet's diet, even if you are unable or unwilling to be "completely ideal".
Myself? I didn't go raw food on my cats but have switched to a much better cat food, have added vitamins to their diet, and have started brushing their teeth. I'll consider raw food for a while longer.
Phil is the guru of animal care. I have never seen him fazed by any pet question.

Joe...another crazy animal expert.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"This Guy Doesn't Share!": Part 2

D:"Spaghetti Bolognese? I have always wondered what it tasted like."
R:"Keep wondering, you jackal...and get away from me!"

Why do they keep begging??!? Don't they know I'm never going to give them anything?
I have a sneaking suspicion someone is feeding them on the sly when I'm not looking.

Never, ever, never!
I don't eat out of their bowl and they don't offer me any of their food (during the 30 seconds it takes for them to wolf down their meals), so why should I offer them my food?

This brings me to what I would like you, the dog owner, to consider.
Your dog would never voluntarily share his/her food with you unless full and uninterested in eating anymore. Dogs don't really like sharing. That's why many of them hide/bury they can have them later and no one else.
If the dog doesn't share its food with you, but you share your food with them, doesn't that seem a bit subserviant to you?

Fine to share with your dog...if you have a great relationship and he/she generally heeds commands and doesn't have major issues.
However, if any issues are present: aggression, seperation anxiety, housebreaking; you might want to consider keeping your food to yourself.
It's a fairly strong statement in the eyes of your beloved beggar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Happens When a Leash Gets Caught In the Elevator Door?

DJ wonders if Ryan is going to kindly get his f#@!ing leash out of the elevator entrance!

I think all dog owners who ride elevators have wondered what would happen if their leash got left in the elevator door as it closed. I know I have imagined it countless times.

Last Monday, the answer to this curiosity was given!!
One of my dog owners had the misfortune of losing focus for just a second (that's all it second). The leash of one of their dogs got snagged in the elevator door!!!

There was a happy ending! The little Shih-Tzu is okay. (see picture below)

Little Stella, a few hours after her brush with death. She is great!!

The door shut and the worst nightmare of any dog owner almost happened. Stella shot up to the top corner of the elevator! Fortunately, the harness she was wearing was very old and easily ripped into pieces. Had she been wearing a new harness or a sturdy collar, this blog entry would be a somber affair. The mystery is solved! Don't ever let the leash get caught in the elevator door. The likelihood of your dog dying is highly probable!

Stella's old harness ripped apart and spared her life!!

I used to think that perhaps the metal part of the leash would snag in the crack and the leash would break off in the elevator shaft...thus not torquing the leash/harness. However, it didn't happen in this case. (see picture below)

Part of the metal clasp sheared off, enabling the rest of the clasp to be pulled into the elevator shaft

Thank you, Stella...for teaching us all a very valuable lesson!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Training Your Dog

Ryan teaching dogs to "heel". Heel helps make walking your best friend more enjoyable.

As well as individual dog training, I have been teaching group classes at "Dog Island City".
We have class every Tuesday night.
As well as basic dog psychology, we work on the fundamental commands like "down", "stay", "heel". We also do trouble-shooting.

Basic dog psychology is always a solid area for any dog owner having problems with their dog.
Understanding how your dog thinks is more important than teaching tricks and obedience.
It is a simple concept, yet difficult for some to accept: Dogs don't think or reason like humans!"
Dog psychology is an area I have extensively studied and strive to teach to all willing to learn.

I will always recommend dog training for any dog owner.
Find a good trainer and have a lesson or three!
You have a dog for 12-15 years! Your dog could be an amazing companion or a bit of a nightmare!
It is totally worth the minor investment which will pay dividends for 10+ years.
Your dog peeing on one nice carpet or chewing one nice pair of shoes is more expensive than a few training lessons.
You can have your behavior altered by your dog's particular foibles or address them and find a system that works for your lifestyle!

Having a well-behaved dog walk next to you everywhere you go is such a wonderful and relaxing experience! Not to mention how many other dog owners you can meet and converse with. It is a great experience! And your dog loves going so many places with you!

Ryan, Dailo, and Lidia Lozovsky: owner of Dog Island City.
Dog island City: 5-29 50th Ave. Long Island City

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"This Guy Doesn't Share": Part 1

Ryan samples some chicken wings at LIC Bar while Dailo drools and hopes

To share your (human) food or not to share: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the pathetic faces and looks of complete starvation, Or to give in to a sea of doe eyes and by feeding them, satiate them (until the next meal)?

Okay! We all know what this is about: your dog begs. He/she looks so hungry and needy that it is difficult not to share your food with them. It is also such a pleasure to see the ones you love gobble up food in such a manner that you know they are in ecstasy.
Let's review the pros and cons of sharing your food with your canine companion:

  • It's fun and satisfying to see your dog enjoy food
  • Your dog is very, very close to you when you eat
  • Human food is often unhealthy for dogs
  • Sudden changes in a dog's diet can mean very messy poop (which is embarrassing in the city)
  • Your dog will relentlessly beg at all mealtimes
  • Your dog is very, very close to you when you eat

There is nothing wrong with feeding your dog while you eat. You just have to be willing to accept the fact that they will always beg.
I, personally, don't like my dogs begging, so I don't give them a crumb...ever.
Before you go and think I am heartless, I point to the fact my dogs eat better than most humans. I cook chicken, turkey, and rice, and provide raw vegetables to supplement their commercial kibble/dogfood.
Commercial dogfood is varied and full of great choices. A dogowner certainly doesn't have to feed their dog anything but dogfood given the choices now available.

Some examples of high quality commercial dog food:
Solid Gold, Merrick, California Natural, Abady, Eagle Pack, Avoderm, Orijen, Innova.
This is a short list of foods I have personally used. It is incomplete.

For a future blog entry, I will visit Whiskers in Manhattan and have the dog food experts give us a tutorial. Whiskers is the best petfood store I have ever seen and the staff is super-knowledgable.

One bit of advice: if you exclusively use commercial food-switch brands about once per year. Each brand has some ingredients the others don't. Going from one great food to another is more likely to cover your dog's nutritional needs rather than feeding them the same brand their entire life.

Dailo likes apples and pears, but "this guy still doesn't share."