Pennsylvania 26

5/27/14: I guess it’s safe to say that Astro seems to be the PA-DE dog who has the most adventures. This winter, he got to go bikejoring (and loved it!). This weekend, he added yet another sport to his resume: kayaking.
The setting was beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been better! Since he hadn’t done this before, I took Astro out solo for his maiden voyage. He was a little unsure at first, but soon decided this was pretty cool and relaxed. Within about 5-10 minutes, he was totally blissed out!
On his second outing, I decided to take not only Astro, but my 2-year old as well. I’m not sure if that was brave, or totally insane on my part, but it worked out well. No dogs or human ended up in the water! 🙂 Astro got so relaxed that he even laid down with his head in my lap and went to sleep — adorable, but it did make it difficult to paddle! Eventually, my other boy decided that catching some zzzz’s seemed like a good idea and we had a fantastic, relaxed time out on the water.

3/28/14: Astro, the calendar boy for March got to try his paw at bikejoring. He was a natural, running 5 miles on the C&O Canal on his debut outing, smiling the whole way! This was part of an outing from the local Samoyed club. People walked, scootered, or bikejored with their Sam(s) on what was a beautiful day!

3/5/14: (from Ellen) Since I turned the page of the MASR calendar to March and see my handsome, Astro smiling back at me, I figured it was time to send an update on him.

His personality has really blossomed. When he first arrived, he was very hesitant to ask for attention. Now, he comes right up to get his fair share, even if that means having to go/push past my other 2 Sammies. If I’m busy/not paying attention when he comes up and sits in front of me, he’ll even climb into my lap to get noticed. I haven’t yet been able to convince him that it’s ok to just lie down in my lap or right next to me & stay there — he climbs in, gets some petting and then splits.

His 2 favorite things remain stuffy toys and playing with my 2 year old Sammy. He grabs a stuffy toy and wants to take it outside every time I let the dogs out. Unfortunately, he’s not quite so good about also bringing said toy back in. So, after having lots of toys end up soaked, muddy, or frozen solid, I’ve been trying to teach him that stuffy toys are for inside only. We’ve graduated to his grabbing a toy and taking it to the door, but giving it to me before going outside. (Well, most of the time, anyway; he still manages to sneak a few past me here and there.)
As for playing with my 2 year old, that’s a daily occurrence, and it’s 9-1/2-year-old-Astro who is usually the instigator. That makes me happy because they both get good and tired before I head off to work. (It also makes my 13-year-old Sammy happy because since they have each other to play with, they don’t bug him to play.) Actually, Astro just loves to play, period. He loves to play with any dogs he meets at the dog park, with the neighbor’s dog, etc. When I had a not-quite-one-year-old dog staying with me for a month, he and Astro were inseperable. I actually called Toro “Mini-Me” more often than I used his name since he followed Astro and copied his every move.
For those who don’t know, Astro was the dog who was leaping 3-4 ft off the ground, trying to get noticed when Danielle and I were taking a couple of the other PA dogs to be groomed. He still puts that jumping ability to (good?) use — One of his favorite times to employ that skill is when he’s waiting at the patio door to come back in. With all the snow & resultant mud we’ve had, I have muddy paw prints at about 4 or 4.5 feet up on my sliding glass door. 🙂 He also uses it to go over the baby gate; if I go upstairs, I can pretty much guess that he’ll come along 30 seconds or so behind me, wondering what I’m up to. Actually, having him come find me is a good thing, as things tend to get interesting when he doesn’t. The other morning, he decided to go counter surf in the kitchen and ended up knocking a bottle off of the counter. My kitchen has smelled like balsamic vinegar ever since. (If you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t get a dog, right?)

7/5/13: Astro: 2. Crates: 0
Astro has a new nickname: Houdini. Seems like there isn’t a plastic, airline-style crate that can hold him! Luckily, this is only the case with a plastic airline-style crate. He doesn’t seem able to break out of a suitcase-style wire crate, and a surveillance/security camera I’ve installed shows me that he doesn’t seem to want to/hasn’t tried to. So, the rule in my house now is that he goes in one of those. Period. Before this became the rule, however, he put his jumping capabilities to (good?) use, jumping up against the top of the crate, until he managed to push the crate top and the crate bottom out of alignment and knock out the fasteners. Once he’s succeeded in doing that significantly enough to create an opening, he was outta there!
Unfortunately, he can’t be left uncrated because he will get into things. This last time, it was the laundry hamper (which was 3 levels up from the room where he was crated). Luckily, I had done laundry the night before, so he didn’t have much to choose from, but there are a couple of articles of clothing that now have a new chewed-upon aesthetic to them. (Does anyone else hear Tim Gunn’s voice telling me to “make it work”? Not possible, I’m afraid.)
The funniest thing, tho, is that he clearly and deliberately goes back into the crate. Multiple times, actually. Both times he’s busted out, he’s gone on the hunt for special toys, and then carried them to the crate, placing them inside for safe keeping. This last time, he discovered the stash of new stuffy toys I have in my office (2 floors up), claimed one as his own, brought it downstairs, and placed it safely in the crate (with tags still attached and all). He also acquired a stuffed animal that had been in one of my guest rooms (3 levels up) and decided it, too, needed to placed in the crate for safe keeping. I guess that’s the problem: I’ve been thinking of it as a “crate” when clearly Astro considers it a “vault” or a “safety deposit box”! 🙂

4/7/13: Astro has completely healed from his surgery for bladder stones and is doing well. He had to wear an e-collar during his recovery. He loves to carry stuffed toys around, and as you can see, he didn’t let the e-collar stop him from doing so one bit! (click here).
A new 18-month-old Sammy has joined our household and Astro couldn’t be happier to have someone new to play with. (click here).

2/14/13: Astro had surgery yesterday (2/13/2013). What seemed like it might be a UTI turned out to be several stones. They had migrated “downstream” from his bladder & lodged in the ureter. It took a while, but luckily my vet was able to dislodge them and push them back up into his bladder & retrieve them from there. (A MUCH less invasive, less painful, and less life-altering surgery than if he’d had to go in and surgically get them where they were.)
Roughly a half-dozen stones, some small, some nearly pea-sized were sent out for analysis. Once we get the results back, we’ll know if they are oxalate or struvite and will know what needs to be done for him to hopefully prevent further stone development. From what I have learned in the past few days of reading anything I can get my hands on re: stone formation, the severe (and possibly chronic?) dehydration this group of dogs experienced probably played a big part in his having stones, so hopefully the biggest risk factor for recurrence has already been ameliorated.
He’s on pain meds, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories. He also has to be kept quiet and wear a “cone of shame” (aka e-collar) for 2 weeks while his incisions are healing. The good news is he doesn’t seem to be too uncomfortable & was his usual perky self this morning, wagging his tail and looking for petting & affection.

1/27/13: Astro continues to do well here. He’s learned to sit, and now offers it as his default behavior. (MUCH better than launching himself at me as his default!!) He has also learned to shake/give paw, and he’s learned / is learning “down”, but that’s not quite reliable yet. He and Cooper get along fine & Astro is starting to realize that Cooper couldn’t care less about toys, so he doesn’t have to be growly/possessive over them.
Astro does have separation anxiety. What’s odd is that he’s ok with (or maybe just resigned to) my leaving, as long as I actually leave the house. What he has issues with is if I’m in the house but out of his sight. He will either leap the baby gate (no problem for him given his leaping ability!) or if he doesn’t do that, the throw pillows from the sofa take the brunt of his anxiety. He doesn’t touch them any other time, but if I go out of sight, I guarantee at least one throw pillow is taken off the sofa, and if I stay out of sight for more than a couple of minutes, that pillow is a goner!

1/7/13: Ellen has adopted Astro. Yay!

12/21/12: New pictures of Astro. One is below and you can see others HERE.

12/19/12: He continues to do well here. “Crazy dog” appeared for the first time since getting him here — he was wound up/wired for sound when I got home from work yesterday. I don’t know if it was due to his being happy to see me, glad to be out of the crate, or the colder weather — I’m guessing a combination of all 3. He had a good time racing around the back yard & Louie was more than happy to join in. Astro is funny in that he will not only run, but occasionally throw in a few little leaps. It reminds me of a kid goat who suddenly just sproings up out of glee. That, or the way the old animated Xmas specials (e.g. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer) portray the reindeer — they always leap a few times before they actually fly. :-)…he’s eating well, doesn’t like to be more than a few feet away from me (except if he’s outside running around, but even then, he comes back to check in with me frequently), and in general is adjusting well.

12/16: Astro is in a foster home.

12/9/12: New pictures from 12/7 added.

12/8/12: For a new video of Bruiser, click HERE.

12/6/12: Bruiser is fine post surgery and also positive for Lymes. Also heard back on the boy’s ‘representative’ fecal that it was positive for Hookworms. Will start treating all of them Saturday after the anesthesia has worn off.

12/3/12: Pictures below show Bruiser when the girls were being put in for their lunchtime nap….. tell me this guy doesn’t need a job!!! Notice the little hole in the back of the run, not to worry they cannot go anywhere. Also notice the board he decided to remove from the deck and carry around….. he left it there when he realized he couldn’t turn around with it.

Earlier Pictures