Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Naughty Havachon! Daisy’s First Christmas Decoration Destruction

Okay, I admit it, I love those vintage brush trees from Christmases past. You know, the ones that added a bit of “outdoor realism” to model villages and train sets. I got a bunch of them at an estate auction a few years back, and they’ve been dotting my Christmas village ever since.

Until now.

Daisy has discovered brush trees. She hasn’t bothered with any of the decorations that are well within her reach all this time, but yesterday DD found her happily chewing away on the base of one of the trees. Oh, the carnage! Flocking and sparkles were everywhere!

But the worst part is that the base of the tree is made of wood and it’s painted red – OLD red paint, which could potentially have lead in it. We found very little of the wood base in the wreckage, so we have to assume she swallowed most of it.

The tree base isn’t large, but she still destroyed a pretty good amount of it and got enough of it into her stomach to possibly cause her problems. I looked up information about problems dogs could have from ingesting wood, and it seems that the wood itself won’t do her any harm; it’s more the paint we’re worried about. Frankly, I’m shocked she didn’t get any splinters in her gums!

We waited all day for this mauled tree base to make its appearance – in a very unpleasing form – but nothing happened. I guess it wasn’t enough to cause Daisy any harm after all. It’s a Christmas miracle! LOL! 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone from Daisy and her family!

Merry Christmas!



Daisy’s First Christmas Picture

I just don't look natural in these darned antlers!

Well here she is, in all her Havachon glory, sitting by our Christmas tree and chomping at the bit to get into that little Christmas stocking of hers!

BUT — take a look at the last picture, showing her in the throws of her “Antler Humiliation”! LOL!

So far Daisy’s been good around all the Christmas decorations. We didn’t put tinsel on the tree this year because we knew that would be disastrous, and so far she’s just sniffed at the branches and ornaments.

The only thing that seems to be an irresistible temptation to her are the shiny bows on the presents under the tree. When she discovered them, she proudly brought one of the big shiny gold bows in to the family room to show DD and her college friends. This proved quite entertaining to the group! She was told “no” and DD took the bow away.

The next day I discovered that Daisy did a little redecorating of her own – I found a bunch of bows moved helter-skelter on the presents, some upside-down, some just sitting askew. The weird thing was that none had been chewed, they were just moved around (no, we don’t have ghosts! LOL). I guess there’s a bit of an interior designer in this little puppy….

Oh, and she did step on one small present (naturally it was the only one that would suffer from even a light-weight Havachon), but fortunately I was right there and just barely avoided the potentially disastrous results.

Opening the presents on Christmas should prove VERY interesting! Maybe Daisy should get hers first to keep her distracted and busy….

I can't believe you took pictures of me in those antlers!! I'm SO embarrassed!


Daisy the Havachon Looks Back at 2010

If Daisy could look back at this past year, I think her reflections might go something like this:

I was born this year on March 13 and flown to a puppy boutique where I lived in a glass box for a few weeks. I was taken out to play with some other little furry puppies a few times a day, I got good food and lots of petting – it wasn’t so bad. I was SO tiny that the glass box seemed pretty big!

Then one day this man and woman came in and the woman kept saying, “AWWWWWW” every time she looked at me. She “AWWWWed” about me in a different way than she did when she looked at the other puppies. I didn’t know what that meant, but it made me feel a little warm tingle inside.

My first picture with my first toy and blanket! I was 2.6 months old and 2.6 pounds...most of it was fur!

The next thing I knew, I was being taken out again, but this time, instead of going in the puppy play yard with my Maltipoo, Yorkie, and French Bulldog neighbors, I was brought out to the front of the shop and put on the counter, where the woman looked like she was melting every time she looked at me. She said things like, “DD would LOVE this puppy!” and “She’s perfect for DD!” and “If we’re going to get a puppy, this would be THE ONE.”

The man and woman talked to the shop lady for a long time while they petted and played with me, and eventually I went back into my glass box. A few days later, they came back with the one they called DD, who actually got tears in her eyes when she picked me up for the first time. She kept saying things like, “I LOVE HER!” and “She’s perfect!”

A week later, they came back and took me to their house – it’s much bigger than the glass box I was used to living in and I felt scared and intimidated by all the new things and new people. I ran underneath a coffee table and sat there for a while, deciding whether it was safe or not to go out.

I felt kind of lonely, though, even though the man, woman, and DD were talking nicely to me. So I ventured out slowly and curled up on the woman’s foot, where I kept her trapped for quite a while. I heard a lot of giggles and AWWWWs again.

Since then, I’ve grown a LOT – I’ve put on at least 10 pounds and I don’t fit in tiny areas I used to love! I’ve been to lots of new places, and I’ve learned that people aren’t scary at all – everyone seems to like me when we go out or new people come to our house! I’ve had lots of new toys that I keep tearing apart, but nobody seems to get mad at me for that, they just get me more new toys. I’ve learned how to behave (for the most part) and how to make my needs known, even if I occasionally aggravate everyone.

It hasn’t all been good, though – I was sick when I first went home, but no one knew it. I couldn’t breathe well and got sicker and sicker even though I kept being rushed to a vet, until finally I was taken to a really good vet, who said I had a respiratory infection and made me better in no time. I LOVE that vet and all the people in his office – it’s one of my favorite places to go, even though he usually sticks me with a needle and shaves my behind. And I didn’t like the whole spaying thing very much either. But I still like going there!

I’ve been dressed up like a pumpkin, forced to wear Christmas antlers (ugh), jingle around in my Christmas jingle collar (which I don’t mind at all), and look pretty smart in my pink argyle sweater. I get to cuddle on my family’s laps, play inside and outside, and go for long car rides to see new places. I feel pretty lucky.

I like my Halloween costume!

Now there’s a big decorated tree in the house with presents all around it (I keep trying to steal the shiny bows), I’m meeting even MORE new people, and my family and I seem to understand each other very well. I still try to get my way with some things I know I shouldn’t do, but they don’t fall for my tricks very often. In fact, they usually laugh a lot, take lots of pictures of me (even when I’m being naughty), and then teach me right from wrong.

I think next year’s going to be even better. I’m one happy little puppy! 🙂


Doggy Wheelchairs

The visit last week from our friend in the wheelchair and the process of Daisy becoming familiar and comfortable with it made me think about dogs who need “wheelchairs”. We’ve all seen them – those amazing videos of dogs missing their hind or front legs and using little wheelchair-like devices to get around. We always marvel at how at ease and agile these pups are with their new appendages, but Daisy’s adjustment to my friend’s wheelchair made me realize that there must be a learning curve.

I mean, dogs aren’t just born with an innate ability to romp around with wheels attached to them any more than humans are. But, like humans, dogs are adaptable and resilient. The question is – how do we help them through their adjustment period?

I'm so glad there are wheelchairs for my fellow doggies who need them!

There’s a wonderful article in The Daily Puppy about just that. It also discusses other issues, like the fact that not all wheelchairs are right for every dog and other reasons besides missing limbs that may cause the need for a doggy wheelchair, like back problems, paralysis, and leg problems. Sometimes dogs only need a wheelchair for a short period of time, like during rehabilitation after an accident or surgery.

I found it surprising that dog wheelchairs didn’t began being sold commercially until the 1990’s. Before that, dog owners with lame dogs either had them euthanized or built their own wheelchairs to keep the dog from dragging itself around, which caused injury and infection. But with a wheelchair, dogs can continue to function and live normal lives, participating in many of the activities they’ve always known. In fact, some dogs even enter races, just like wheelchair-bound humans do!

It’s important not to just hook a dog up to the first wheelchair (sometimes called “dog carts” too) you find. The wheelchair needs to suit the dog in size, fit, and comfort. There are plenty of places to find doggy wheelchairs, including lots that are made right here in the USA, such as at Dogs To Go, Wheelchairs For Dogs, and K-9 Cart.
There’s also a blog about how one person built their own dog’s wheelchair so you can create your own if you’re so inclined.

There’s even a book about a dog named Shorty and his wheelchair! Check it out at Shorty Stories: A Story about a Dog and Her Famous Wheels.


Daisy and Our Wheelchair Visitor

I like my new wheelchair friend!

One of my dearest friends is in a wheelchair due to a severe, yet somewhat obscure, disability that attacks the muscles. It’s a degenerative disease, and for some years now, her mom has had to push her around. She can no longer manage it herself.

Yesterday they came over for a Christmas luncheon party. This is the third time Daisy has been exposed to the wheelchair, and each time she becomes a little more accustomed to it.

The first time, she was afraid of it. I guess it was the idea of a big contraption that moved oddly with a person on it that confused and scared her. She sniffed at it from afar, then slowly and very carefully approached it until she was finally able to stretch her body forward and sniff the wheels. When my friend spoke to her, she jumped back a bit, as if this piece of machinery had come to life.

This didn’t completely surprise me; several years ago, I wrote an article about multi-generational music lessons and how they helped young children lose their fear of medical equipment by putting them in the same room with elderly folks who were playing the same instruments they were. Things like oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, mobile IV units and such can scare young children – sometimes to the point that they can’t visit elderly relatives who use this equipment. So once again, puppies and children can share a common fear.

Now Daisy still approaches the wheelchair with a bit of caution, but once my friend is situated at the table, Daisy jumps on the wheels just like she jumps up on people’s legs when she first greets them. This makes my friend feel very happy. She loves dogs and, even better, Daisy reminds her of her own late beloved dog, who she played with in her youth, before this illness manifested itself.

Much like the children in the multi-generational music lesson article, I think the best way to introduce dogs to something outside their little worlds is to let them get used to it on their own, gradually. As much as my friend wanted us to put Daisy on her lap the first time we brought her over, it would have been a mistake to force her into an uncomfortable position so fast. Letting her get used to the wheelchair, sniff it, sniff my friend’s legs, and stare at it for a while gave her the opportunity to adjust to it in her own way. So, when we finally did put her in my friend’s lap, she was at ease and happy to meet a new friend.


Too Cold Inside a 70 Degree House??

We’d heard that small dogs, being more susceptible to the cold, need to wear a sweater in the house during the winter. Our vet feels they only need to wear a sweater indoors if the temperature goes under 50 degrees for more than 20 minutes.

Daisy needs a sweater in a 70 degree house when the temperatures outside are frigid…like they are now.

I'm much warmer now!

We have very good double-pane windows that are only a few years old and keep all the drafts out, yet when the temperatures go as low as they’ve been already this season (20’s during the day with wind chills near zero at night), the house feels chilly. Of course, it doesn’t help that the heating vents are in the ceiling and, since heat rises, it’s much warmer up there than it is on the floor! What fools design these systems anyway? I usually keep the temperature at 69, but I had to raise it to 70 the other day.

Yesterday afternoon, I invited Daisy onto my lap and I felt her shivering. I was pretty chilly myself, and from what I read on Yorkie Talk, if you feel chilly in a house, chances are your small dog does too. In the discussion forum on that site, they say that 65-70 degrees works for most 10 pound dogs, but Daisy seems to need more warmth. I nudged the thermostat up a degree, which felt better for both of us (though I hate the thought of the furnace turning onmore frequently!).

For the rest of the evening, I put Daisy’s sweater on her (it’s lightweight, I think we need a heavier one), and covered Daisy with a doubled-over fleece blanket, which she seemed to love. There was no more shivering. We put the fleece blanket in her crate for the night and left her sweater on her, and everything went fine. Today she’s lying on the wood floor on top of the fleece blanket, and it seems to give her the warmth she needs. I think she’s permanently claimed that little fleece blanket!

THIS is the life!!


Winter Snow Fun – Sledding Doggy Style!

Take a break in your holiday preparations and have a laugh at this video of two dogs named River and Trout (now you KNOW their owner has a sense of humor!) sledding in the snow….without a sled! Outdoor dogs sure know how to have fun!

Point me to the snow! Whatever "snow" is.... 😉

We can’t wait for our first real snowfall so we can take Daisy out to play. We might even take her to a park with a nice sledding hill, where she and DD can zip down on her snow disk – I think Daisy would LOVE that!

Don’t you just love watching dogs enjoying a good romp in the snow?!


Doggy Antlers – Daisy’s Christmas Humiliation :)

This will be Daisy’s very first Christmas! We’re all looking forward to her jingling around in hew new Christmas jingle collar and watching her reaction when she sees her present of a new multi-squeaker toy that we just know she’s going to love. BUT….

DD just couldn’t resist getting Daisy a set of red and green antlers. I mean, she was drawn to these things like they were the Holy Grail of doggy Christmas accessories. So we got them and tried them on Daisy….with unexpected results!

This is SO humiliating.....

At first, her head drooped slowly as if the antlers were made of lead and weighed a ton. Each time we put them on her, she does the same thing. Then she gets this look of humiliation on her face with her ears flopping down that caused me to take a bunch of blurry pictures because I was laughing so hard!

She finally became somewhat accustomed to them, but I have a feeling that might not last. She was on DD’s lap at the time, and she’s willing to put up with just about anything when she’s enjoying some cuddle time. It could be a very different story when she’s on her own!

In a couple of days I’m hosting a Christmas luncheon, and I’m going to try putting them on her again for that, at least for a couple of minutes. We’ll see how long they last!


How Safe Are Dog Repellents?

After writing my blog post about Christmas decorating hazards for dogs, I started thinking that maybe we should do something a little more proactive to keep Daisy away from the Christmas tree. I’d read that creating a boundary with Bitter Apple spray could help to deter her from nibbling at those toxic Fraser Fir needles.

Daisy in her new Christmas jingle collar!

So last night, while stocking up on necessities (and fun stuff!) at the pet store, we looked at some boundary sprays. They didn’t have Bitter Apple, which is supposed to be pure and not harmful to pets or humans, so we checked out some other repellents.

Forget it.

Anything that says a product should not touch an animal’s or human’s skin or eyes without severe toxic consequences is NOT for us. How can anyone guarantee that a curious puppy won’t step on that border or lie on that area before realizing they don’t like the smell? And how can we guarantee that we won’t forget exactly what places on the carpet we sprayed when we all sit around the Christmas tree to open our presents?

I read online that some dogs aren’t deterred by these dangerous chemical sprays and have licked them or laid on them – with negative consequences.

So today I looked for something more natural, since I can’t find the Bitter Apple spray around here. This article discusses several natural repellents you can make at home that will deter dogs and cats, but won’t harm them. Personally, I wouldn’t use any of these inside my home, but some may work outdoors to protect plants and gardens – as long as you keep applying them every day.

A better article at The Daily Puppy explains the risks and benefits of various dog repellents and how some can harm your carpet and furniture if used indoors. It also explains that even those commercial sprays marked “natural” might have toxic ingredients in addition to natural ones. It’s a good article and worth reading if you’re considering using one of these sprays, whether commercial or home made.

Nothing beats good training, so until our puppy is completely reliable around the Christmas tree, we’ll just have to keep a close eye on her and use the baby gate when necessary. We’ll be bringing in the tree and decorating it this weekend – let the games begin! LOL


Dog Showers in the Home?!

In researching another topic, I discovered an article about dog showers – actual tiled, open shower stalls that people can have installed in their homes so Fido doesn’t track muddy paw prints across your beautiful thick pile carpet or wood floors.

Bath...shower...I don't care, I hate them all!

It’s a great idea, and for people who have the space for it, it could be a worthwhile addition. These showers are completely open in front and have detachable shower nozzles so everything’s done at ground level – no more bending over the side of the tub!

If it’s installed in a utility room with access to the outdoors, dogs never need to set foot in the main area of the home until they’re completely clean. It’s a great concept!


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