Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

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

Poppy Says We’re On Fire!

Fluffy Popcorn, one of our favorite little blog buddy pups, has generously passed the Blog On Fire Award on to us – thank you so much little cutie! This tiny toy poodle has a lot of personality and a ton of cuteness in her small little self!

And now for the requirements: 8 unusual facts about ourselves….hmmmm, unusual? That’s a tough one, being that we’re not unusual people! How about a few facts we may not have mentioned before?

1. I’m not a summer person. I can’t stand heat over 80 degrees F or humidity (and we just had a 105 degree day with a heat index of 110!). The only things I love about summer are fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers. Give me a place with year-round fall and I’ll move there!

2. If we could, we’d live off our own garden completely to avoid the toxins in commercial meats and produce.

3. I’m most happy puttering in the garden, hiking in the woods, discovering interesting small towns, or tucked under some blankets while watching an old movie on a cold winter day. Or coming in from the snow and warming up with hot chocolate. The ultimate is doing all of this with my little family.

4. I love fall/winter clothes. I love their rich colors, their warmth and softness, and their look, and I love being bundled up in them.

5. My dream is to have a small, Kinkade-esque cottage near a rambling stream surrounded by wildflowers with herb and veggie gardens outside the back kitchen door (similar to Colonial kitchen gardens). Its interior would be bright, happy and charming and it would be a short walk from an artsy town center with a couple of al fresco cafes.  (I’ve actually sketched out the floor plan for the cottage – a modified version of a hundred-year-old  home-turned-shop I’ve been in. It does include a walk-in fireplace in the open living room!) Not too idealistic, ya think?

6. Daisy screeches when the doorbell rings. Not barks – ear-piercing screeches intermingled with insistent whining. Sounds like she’s being stuck by pins rather than announcing a visitor!

7. I love antiques, but I have a fondness for pressed glass Victorian toothpick holders. I’m always amazed at how the Victorians had a specific item for every single need at the table, and these little gems really captivate me. I have a small collection of them and use them as miniature vases for small garden flowers or flowers from bouquets that outlive the rest.

8. I love 19th century literature, and Jane Austen is my guilty pleasure. I’m savoring every word of Mansfield Park right now. (And DD and I are BIG Downton Abbey fans!)

And now for 8 blogs to pass the award on to. If you’re on this list but not interested in awards, just consider this our way of introducing our friends to you!

1. Peace With My Life

2. Snoopy’s Dog Blog

3. Doggy’s Style

4. The Adventures of Little Miss Red Maple Leaf

5. Bassett Momma

6. Hey….Its Jet Here

7. Alfie’s Blog

8. Hutch A Good Life

Thank you Poppy! 😀


FDA Pet Food/Treats Recall Site

An email recently reminded me that there are almost as many pet food recalls as there are human food recalls. That jolted me a bit because unless it’s something hugely newsworthy (like the major Blue Buffalo recall), we don’t generally hear about it.

Treats are just as vulnerable as food, which is something I didn’t realize. I found the FDA website with all the latest pet food/treat recalls, so I thought I’d share that with you here. I’ve bookmarked the site so I can check it every couple of weeks to make sure nothing in our pantry is on the list.

It also tells you what ingredients are banned (I’ve heard  you can occasionally find an old bag of food being sold somewhere with a banned ingredient), why a food was recalled, and more.

Better safe than sorry!


Chihuahua Attacked By Owl — And Survives!

There’s an amazing video on The Weather Channel about a poor little chihuahua who was attacked by an OWL, of all things!

OH NO! My poor fellow doggy! I'm so glad he's okay!

His owner was walking him at 1 AM (yes, that’s not a typo, it was the middle of the night) on a leash when an owl suddenly swooped down, sank its claws into this poor pup, and tried to carry him off!

Fortunately, the owner was able to save him, but the interesting thing is what saved the dog’s life – his winter coat! Apparently it prevented the owl’s claws from sinking too deeply into the dog! (Good thing it wasn’t spring or summer!) It seems that only one claw actually pierced the dog’s flesh, and that wound is healing nicely now.

However, it left the dog with a fear of the dark – he won’t go out once the sun sets! Funny thing is – he’s not afraid of owls, just the dark!

Moral of the story: Don’t walk dogs late at night, and don’t skimp on protective clothing! LOL!


Botched Spay Surgeries…Yes, They Do Happen

I never knew about this, but lately I’ve been hearing an awful lot about botched spay surgeries. What a scary concept.

DD’s coworker has a poodle whose neutering actually was botched – the vet neglected to reattach a critical vein. I also read about a dog whose ovaries weren’t completely removed; her owner only realized it when the dog went into heat the following year.

In fact, when we first brought Daisy to the new vet, he told us about several clients who came to him because of mistakes made by the Bad Vet we originally went to (on a friend’s recommendation), and one of the most common issues was botched spays. Wouldn’t you think that such a common surgical procedure would be part of Vet 101?

How do you know when a dog’s spay surgery has gone wrong? Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Bleeding.
  • Vomiting.
  • Bloody stools.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Won’t drink water.
  • Distended abdomen.

If a dog starts going into heat after being spayed, it means that a remnant of the ovary was accidentally left behind. A vet can do a blood test to check the dog’s hormone levels, which will definitively determine if a piece of ovary was left behind.

Besides the obvious risks of these poor animals having to undergo surgery yet again, there are other complications that can be caused by a botched spay or neutering. An ovarian remnant can become cancerous over time, just like it can in humans (this happened to an aunt of mine). There’s a clinical but thorough article on Ovarian Remnant Syndrome.

There’s also something called “stump pyometra”, which is an infection caused by ovarian remnants. A different issue,  “stump granuloma”, occurs when sutures become infected by remnant ovarian tissue – this isn’t a botched surgery, it’s just a post-spay surgical risk. Symptoms of both are similar to the symptoms listed above, but can also include a foul odor coming from vaginal discharge, fever, and weight loss. Both are corrected with additional surgery and antibiotics.

The best way to know if your pet’s surgery has gone well is to simply watch him/her and be aware of any abnormal behaviors or issues. Call your vet with any questions; he should also be willing to see your dog if you’re really concerned about issues during your dog’s recovery.

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Small Dog Pain Reactions

At least I don’t hurt when I’m asleep….

Dogs instinctively hide their pain because it’s considered a sign of weakness in the wild. And if you’re weak, you’re prey. Period.

But it’s different when it comes to these small, fragile dogs that have become so domesticated that they’re like little children who look to us for comfort and reassurance when they’re in pain. My last dog was a Shepherd-Collie-Husky mix who never showed pain, regardless of how severe it was. But this new little pup of ours freaks out when she’s in pain, which I’ve only learned now that she’s going through her post-spay recovery period.

I expected her to sit and walk strangely, but I didn’t expect the trembling, constant whining, hanging head, and freaky jumping and racing around with her backside and hind legs all contorted as if they’d been broken and never set. Couple that with how scraggly her hair is because of the ointment the vet slathered liberally all over her tummy, legs, and ears, and this puppy looks like a spent street urchin.

It was odd that she was doing so well on Sunday, two days after her surgery, and then on Monday, all these awful things I mentioned started happening. She was a different puppy. It was like someone flipped a switch overnight that turned off her sunshine and made her whole world dark and gloomy.

As painful as her recovery is, it’s just as painful having to watch her go through it.

I theorized in yesterday’s blog post that different dogs probably have different pain tolerance levels and possibly even metabolize the pain meds given by the vet at different rates. Now I’m sure this is the case; those pain meds probably lasted through Sunday for Daisy, but completely wore off sometime in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Thanks to fellow blogger Judy who writes Tiffy’s World, I now know my theory is right; her little Yorkie also has a low pain threshold and it’s something that not all vets discuss with their patients…ours sure didn’t. If our vet had told us that some dogs react more violently to pain, I wouldn’t have had such a high level of anxiety all day yesterday about these odd pain-generated behaviors Daisy was exhibiting. I thought something major was wrong, like a fever from an unseen infection or something worse that went wrong internally.

So for any small dog owners out there who are or will be having their dogs spayed or having any other surgery, here are some of the reactions our 9 pound Havachon displayed, your dog may not have all of them. I hope it will help put your mind at ease if you know what’s considered to be within “normal” parameters; however, just like people, every dog is different, and while ours needs cuddling and stroking during her recovery, other dogs just want to be left alone. The Golden Rule is: Know Your Dog.

1. Trembling. If it’s within the first 24 hours after surgery, trembling can be a result of the anesthesia. After that time period, it’s usually a sign of fear caused by recovery pain. I found that cuddling Daisy on my lap helped calm her to the point where the trembling stopped completely while I held her. Her first day of pain was the most important for this.

2. Hanging head. Remember that old phrase, “hang-dog expression”? Well, this is where it comes from.

3. Complete disinterest in toys, her favorite blanket, looking out the window, and normal activities in general.

4. Back hunching.

5. Sitting or lying in odd positions to relieve or lessen pain.

6. Whining. And more whining. Mostly on the first day of pain. No barking at all.

7. Racing and/or jumping in short bursts with the body contorted strangely. If you bring your dog onto a chair or sofa with you, watch him/her carefully, because the sudden onset of pain can cause them to lunge irrationally, and they can fall off the furniture. And be aware of how you’re picking the dog up, so you’re not putting pressure on the wound.

8. Agitated behavior. We all can get cranky if we’re in pain too long!

9. Snuggling close to their owners for comfort and reassurance. They need extra TLC right now, you can always retrain them after the crisis is over. Now’s not the time to enforce the “no sofa” command.

10. Slinking off to corners or underneath furniture if they prefer not to be touched or pet. Never force this issue. “Let sleeping dogs lie”, as the saying goes.

11. Sleep. LOTS of sleeping.

Little by little, every day you should see small improvements. Today Daisy isn’t whining and there’s a little less trembling, plus she’s wagging her tail now and then, which she wasn’t doing at all yesterday. She’s able to sleep for longer periods of time, which will help her heal, just like with humans.

If your dog’s pain is excessive, your vet can probably give her something to ease the pain. Some NSAIDs are supposed to be safe for dogs, but if it’s not necessary and you can devote the time to just “being there” for your dog, that may be all she needs.

Not Normal: Keep an eye on the incision; if you see redness, swelling, bleeding, or discharge, call your vet right away. Some dogs scratch or bite at the stitches when the itching gets intense – in that case, they need a collar cone or bandages. Our vet prefers not to put these on unless Daisy starts chewing or scratching.

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management has a wonderful site with lots more information about pain symptoms, treatments, causes, and more. It’s worth a look if you’ve got any questions.


The Lure of the Forbidden Zone….

Stuck in the Forbidden Zone

Daisy has always loved being in small, confined places, so she found the small gap between the sofa and love seat in our family room very tempting. I wouldn’t have minded her squeezing in there and staking a claim to the area under the end table, except for the fact that the lamp wire is back there, and I knew she’d go for it.

I put a footstool in that corner with one of legs blocking the gap and a tall pillow on top of that to keep her from climbing over the footstool. That worked for 2 months, but one day at 4 months old, her engineering skills kicked in and unbeknownst to us, she figured out that she can push the offending leg out of the way and squeeze back there.

We keep her limited to the kitchen and family room so I was completely befuddled one morning when I suddenly couldn’t find her. I called her and called her and finally I heard this tiny little whimper – she had moved the footstool leg and squeezed herself through that little gap, but couldn’t manage to squeeze back out! She looked so pathetic that I had to take a picture of her. It’s a little blurry because I was laughing so hard!

To stop her from doing this again, I jammed a large old sheet underneath the footstool, but she then discovered that she could climb up onto the footstool and use the pillow as a ramp onto the sofa, where she’s not allowed even though we’ve covered the seats with sheets so she doesn’t claw them to pieces. One morning we found her sitting proudly on the sofa with a combined look of “I made it into the forbidden zone!” along with “I know I’m in trouble now”. It’s really hard to discipline puppies when they keep making us laugh! She stayed there just long enough to show us she could do it, then walked back down the pillow-ramp. This weekend we built an immovable wedge to fill the gap, which is frustrating her to no end. She keeps walking up to it and yapping at it, then grumbles as she walks away. Gotta love those puppy antics!

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“What’s a Havachon?”

That’s the first thing people ask when we say we have a Havachon puppy. Havachons are a relatively new mix of Havanese and Bichon, and they generally grow to all of 10-12 pounds. She’s our first small dog and as we’ve come to find out, with small dogs come BIG responsibilities!

There’s precious little information anywhere about Havachons because they’re such a new mix, so we’re inching our way along with training and personality traits. LOTS of fun and plenty of challenges too, but she’s so darned cute, it’s worth it!

Funny stories, crazy moments, nutty personality traits, and training techniques that work and don’t work with this little bundle of fur – that’s what you’ll find here.  🙂

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