Heartworm Treatment- We survived Week 1

Heartworms are the worst.  Seriously.  I’m not generally a fan of parasites in general, but heartworms are definitely my least favorite at this moment.  

Along with being grossly underweight and boasting a nice case of Kennel Cough, Ruby was, of course, heartworm positive when I brought her home from the shelter.  So after a course of antibiotics followed by a “rest period”, Ruby had her first injection of heartworm treatment last week.  She came home looking no worse for wear other than a small shaved square on her back at the injection site.  But the injections aren’t the hard part, oh no.  The hard part is keeping a two year old hound on extreme exercise restriction for the next eight weeks.  Oy! 

No running, no jumping, no walks, no chasing a ball, no playing with Pepper, no sternly woofing at squirrels, no excitement, and no fun.  

I honestly think it’s just as hard on me to keep her calm than it is on her.  I’ve decided not to crate her (yes, I know, that’s what they tell you to do) because I feel she would be more worked up in the crate than she is out of it.  So, I’ve been keeping her confined to either the kitchen if I’m home and can supervise her or my bedroom when I leave the house.  Pepper is happy to hang out with her in whichever room, so she doesn’t get worked up due to separation.  

Oh, and a bit of Benadryl with her breakfast doesn’t hurt either!  It seems to take the edge off a bit and encourages lots of naps.  So all of this combined with lots of bones to chew is working so far.  I just hope we can keep this up for the next seven weeks! 

Canis lupus weaselus- Pepper the Weasel-Dog

After about a week of owning Pepper as a puppy I nicknamed her “Weasel” because, well, she’s kind of weasely by nature. Mischief is her middle name and somehow she is always able to squeeze herself into the most bizarre places to find her mischief du jour. The Weasel-Dog nickname has since stuck, and she even has her own hashtag on Instagram- #weaseldog.

I decided to do some research on actual weasels to see if there is any possibility she might really be part weasel.  I only know that one part of her mix is Coonhound, but whatever the other half is is anyone’s guess. Plus, as a zoologist (or at least that’s what my B. Sc. degree says), I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d stumbled onto the next super-species: Canis lupus weaselus!

My googling of weasels brought me to discover these basic facts about the little creatures that I could compare to Pepper:

1. Weasels are mammals. (so is Pepper)
2. They are carnivores with slender, elongated bodies. (Check, check, check)
3. They are usually brown with white or yellow bellies. (Pepper has a white belly)
4. The fur is short and dense. (yep!)
5. They have pointed tails. (they didn’t mention wagging, but I’m sure that’s the canine in her)
6. They are aggressive predators chasing prey into burrows, tunnels, up trees, and into bushes. (and down storm drains, and into the Mississippi river….)
7. They also like to raid chicken coops. (Pepper caught one of Hot Friend’s chickens when she was at his house)
8. Some people consider weasels a nuisance. (*cough, cough*)
9. And lastly, from Wikipedia, “In Greek culture, a weasel near the house is a sign of bad luck, even evil, “especially if there is in the household a girl about to be married”, since the animal was thought to be an unhappy bride who was transformed into a weasel and consequently delights in destroying wedding dresses.” (or just ruining my entire dating life. See posts here and here!)

Also, here is the photographic evidence I’ve uncovered:


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talking prey…

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sneaking through long grass…

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Posing, ready to pounce…

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and the “How cute am I?” head shot..

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So, based on this incredibly scientific study, I have determined that my dog is, in fact, part weasel.  Thanks to Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica for the wealth of information you provided that has led me to this discovery.  Look for my research to be published in Nature in the next few months.

 

Pepper the Archeologist… or CSI Detective

So Pepper and I are in the midst of moving… again.  After staying with some good friends for the past month we are now moving to a small studio (also owned by friends!) until we find a permanent place to stay.

When we got to the new place yesterday, Pepper did her usual sweep to ensure that there were no hidden gremlins under the bed or in the shower. Once she was satisfied the house was gremlin – free she took to exploring the backyard.  I was happy she was distracted, as it allowed me to put my clothes away in peace, but then she came wandering in with a very curious discovery from the backyard.

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How did she find a bone that big randomly hidden under the house?!  Under initial investigation I was fairly sure it wasn’t human (???) but it did belong to a mammal larger than the ones we generally see around these parts.

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I started getting pretty excited thinking maybe Pepper was taking an interest in archeology.  If she could tame her excitement and rampant ADHD, then I could totally see her donning khaki shorts and a hat while meticulously brushing sand off a dinosaur skeleton.  Or maybe she could discover some hidden ancient civilization that will change history as we know it!  Or, maybe she could become a crime scene detective that analyzes bones and solve murders that no one else could figure out.  She could rock some sunglasses and ride around the streets of Miami with David Caruso.  Oh, the big dreams I was having for her…

Anyway, it turns out Pepper really isn’t that talented. Later in the evening I found out the bone belonged to my friends’ dogs from when they lived here a few months ago.  We determined their puppy must have stashed it to hide it from the big dog.  So, there goes my big dreams.   Guess I better keep working on her modeling career…

Pepper is a Terrible Wing Woman, Part 2

I’ve come to realize that dipping one’s toes back into the dating pool is intimidating at the best of times, but I’ve been finding the process extra difficult recently.   Now, for me, this difficulty isn’t due to some crushing emotional instability or fear of a re-broken heart down the road, it’s because my dog is working against me.  Although she was initially a wonderful break-up buddy, she has turned a corner recently and I’ve come to realize that she may never want me to date again.  I think she’d like the rest of my life to be all about her.  Well, I’m onto her now and I will be taking extra measures to make sure she doesn’t ruin my chances in the future.

She first showed her true colors while trying to confiscate a water bottle from an innocent runner on the levee in attempt to get us talking. The only results of that encounter was embarrassment for me and a significantly shortened walk for her.  All around fail.  Well this past week she took her efforts up a notch.

A friend of a friend was in town and had asked if I wanted to hang out one day, wander the French Quarter, eat some food, etc.  “Sure,” I thought, “It can’t hurt, right?”  Well turns out this friend of a friend is incredibly good looking.  “Yikes,” I thought, “Time to step up my game.”  Unfortunately, Pepper thought the same thing.

I told Hot Friend that I had to walk Pepper before I could go out for the day and he offered to join me.  A stroll along the Mississippi is always nice and it gave us a chance to admire the view of the Quarter and chat a bit.  All in all, it was turning it quite a nice dog walk and then BAM!  Pepper strikes!

We first noticed that she was sniffing something very intently ahead in the grass, no big deal, we just kept talking  Then she proceed to take a bite of said object, which caught our attention.  Then she rolled in it, which is always bad news.  Finally, she picked it up in her mouth and we realized whatever creature she had found was long and slimy and very dead.   Hot Friend went to investigate (God Bless him…) and determined that the creature was an eel that was missing a few parts and pieces and had not been alive for quite some time.  It also stunk to high Heaven!

Hot Friend held Pepper (who, by the way, thought she had struck gold with the discovery of her new pet eel) while I picked up the eel in a plastic bag and tossed it as far as I could in the river.  “That’ll take care of that problem,”, I very foolishly thought to myself.  We continued on our walk, attempting to pick up conversation where we left off and plan what to eat for lunch (sea food was now not an option).  We soon realized that Pepper was no longer walking with us and was fishing around back in the river.  “Is she looking for the eel?” Hot Friend asked, a look of slight panic on his face.  “Oh, she’ll never find it,” I said, “It’s in about two feet of water!”.

About 30 seconds later, having extracted dead eel from two feet of Mississippi River, Pepper comes sprinting towards up carrying her prize firmly in her mouth.  Oh. My. God.

That was the end of that dog walk.  Once we got back to my place we spent the next half hour attempting to bathe her in anything we could think off to get the smell of rotting sea creature out of her fur.  Shampoo, baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, nothing I had on hand could even begin to make her smell normal.  Short of bleaching my dog, there was no remedy for the stench.

At that point, neither I or Hot Friend had much of an appetite so we settled for a Bloody Mary and tried to forget about what had just happened.  To be fair, Hot Friend was quite a trooper about the whole thing and we did end up hanging out for the rest of the day, just no where near my dog.

He did mention he would be in town this weekend and wouldn’t mind meeting up again, but did suggest maybe we should stick to dog walks through the neighborhood as opposed to by the river.  I think that’s a fair suggestion.  We’ll see how it goes…

Why Dogs Are The Best Break-Up Buddies

Ok, ok, I will admit I have been slacking on the blogging recently.  I have come up with lots of really legitimate excuses for my online absence including nursing school (which I’m rocking, if I do say so myself), Mardi Gras, and the spring Festival Season in New Orleans (during which there is a festival/parade/extravaganza every weekend).  Clearly, we’ve had a lot going on.  But then in the midst of all of the crazy of regular life, I managed to add on the crazy of a break-up too.  Ugh, bad timing!

Let’s be real, there is never a convenient time to break up a long term relationship.  In hindsight, I probably should have waited until summer time when my schedule freed up a bit, but in the same way that you can’t really schedule a heart-attack or being struck by a meteorite, you kind of have to roll with a break-up when it happens.

So I’m rolling on quite successfully I think, all things considered.  However, in my various stages of emotional rumination I have realized there is one key factor that helps someone successfully get through an emotional crisis- you have to have a buddy!  For me, I’ve decided the best Break-Up Buddies are definitely dogs, in my case Pepper.  Now, no offense to all of my girl friends that have all turned out to feed me copious amounts of booze, cook me meals, get me out of the house, and sprinkle me with post-break-up compliments- y’all are great too- but dogs are the ultimate Break-Up Buddies for the following reasons:

1.  Cuddles!  Generally, it’s rather frowned upon to get out of a relationship and jump into bed with another person, but dogs are fair game.  With your dog you can go to bed with them every night, wake up up next to them every morning, and (in Pepper’s case) you might even get a good morning kiss from them.  Plus, they are usually smaller than an actual person so you get way more bed space and they don’t tend to steal the covers as much either.  So you get all of the cuddles without having to question your morals- it’s a win-win situation.  Plus you get to wake up to this face:

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2. They are ALWAYS happy to see you.  Generally at the end of any relationship, you and the other person generally aren’t always particularly happy to see each other, and it isn’t always the warmest reception from them when you arrive home after a day of work.  Dogs, however, always are happy to see you.  Always. When I get home from class, Pepper is happy to see me.  When I come back in from taking out the trash, Pepper is happy to see me.  When I come out of the bathroom, Pepper is happy to see me.  I literally just have to show up, and she acts like I’ve made her day!  Talk about a great confidence boost.

3.  They will go anywhere with you.  This is similar to #2, but worth it’s own mention.  Dogs just love to be with you and keep you company, something your ex probably didn’t towards the end of the relationship.  Pepper is always willing to keep me company, no matter which errands I have to run.  Our conversations usually go something like this:

Me:  “Pepper, do you want to ride to the bank with me?”

Pepper:  “Oh my God!! Yes, yes, yes!!!  I love the bank!!!”

Me:  “Pepper, do you want to stroll up to the corner store with me?”

Pepper:  “Oh my God!! Yes, yes, yes!!!  I love the corner store!!!”

Me:  “Pepper, do you want walk around in circles with me because I’m losing my mind??”

Pepper: “Oh my God!!  Yes, yes, yes!!!  I love walking in circles!!!”

At least I know I’ll always have a companion anywhere I want to go, which is very reassuring.

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“YAY!! Where are we going today??”

4.  They don’t judge you if you come home late.  This is a biggy, because sometimes you just want to stay up late and drink with your girl friends and not get fussed at when you come home.  For example, I may or may not have had a few nights when I came home at o’ dark thirty in the morning or a quarter-past sunrise, and Pepper was just as happy as ever to see me!  (refer back to #2).

5.  The don’t judge your break-up cuisine.  Ice cream for dinner?  No big deal!  Nachos for breakfast?  Who cares! You want to eat an entire bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs?  Go for it!!  All she is concerned about is 1. Did I remember to feed her that day and 2. Can she lick the container.  Done and done.

6.  They keep you exercising.  This is essential to ensure that the cuisine listed in #5 does not result in the dreaded break-up weight gain.  With a dog, they need walks, and in our case Ginger Jogs, so it is an easy way to burn off whatever emotional binge occurred the night before.  Again, this is a win-wn situation-  I can eat what I want and don’t have to buy bigger pants.

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Post- Ginger Jog on the levee

7.  They are good wingmen (or women).  I know I’m biased, but luckily for me Pepper is a very good looking and unique dog.  She has great markings, a cute face, and legs that most Victoria’s Secret models would envy so she tends to attract attention.  She’s great when we are out on walks because she will grab the attention of various attractive male joggers (and yes, we’ve already mapped out peak jogging hours for our walking routes), and it never hurts to stop and chat for a minute or two.  Even better is if she picks a guy with another dog to go play with.  Then the conversation goes something like, “Oh, your dog likes to play ball?  Mine too!” and it goes on from there.

So really, a break-up is going to suck whether you are 16 or 86, but they are manageable.  I’m very thankful that I have my buddy with me along the way and I’m sure we’ll only have even more adventures are two single gingers out and about.  Now if I could only find a way to get her to pay my bar tab, I’d be set.

Ginger Jogging: The Next Big Thing!

I’m fairly certain that I have just discovered the next biggest fad to hit the world of exercise! Mark my words- 2014 will be the year of Ginger Jogging.

What is Ginger Jogging, you ask?  And how will this ever compete with the craze of Cross Fit or Prancercise?  Let me explain:

I came across Ginger Jogging purely by accident (but I’m sure that’s how most great discoveries happened, like the wheel and fire and Facebook).  I was out for a jog with my co-founder, Pepper, and while we stopped for a water break to take selfies on my phone I thought to myself, “This is so fun! Just two Gingers out for a jog on a beautiful day…”  And then it hit me!  Who wouldn’t want to jog with a Ginger?!?  Gingers make everything better!  And that was the moment of brilliance when I created the new exercise regime Ginger Jogging:  Jogging with a Ginger.

Now, there are a few variations to Ginger Jogging that I will explain in later posts, but for now we will discuss the basics. Obviously, the more Gingers you take on your jog, the more amazing your experience will be.  (That should go without saying)  Also, we encourage people to diversify their jogging Gingers, if possible.  For example, Pepper and I as a pair represent both the Canine Ginger and Human Ginger categories, which makes us a very sought after team.  Remember- the more Ginger the merrier!

Human Gingers are usually the easiest Gingers to locate (you probably already know at least one!)  however there are other Gingers that would be good Ginger Jogging buddies too.  For example, Equine Gingers can make good jogging partners, and possibly a Feline Ginger may work with the proper dedication.  I have yet to try a Bovine Ginger as a jogging partner, but those 4-H kids can work magic so I’m sure where there is a will there is a way.  I would generally warn against Ginger Fish partners for obvious terrain challenges (although, they are great for the aquatic portion of triathlon training), and anything from the Reptilian Ginger category are generally not considered very socially acceptable to jog with, as people tend to find them “scary” and sometimes “venomous”.

Once you select the best Ginger partner for you, the rest is easy.  Just go for a jog with your Ginger buddy and enjoy!  Even if you are a novice Ginger Jogger, you can start small and build you way up.  If the exercise, fresh air, and sunshine don’t manage to lift your spirit, then you can be certain your Ginger will.

And of course, no Ginger Jog is complete without the obligatory Ginger Selfie at the end of it.  Here is Pepper and I during our Ginger Jog (in the rain) a few days ago:

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And here is Pepper posing post-Ginger Jog on the levee this afternoon.

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So just remember, even if you’re not an all-star athlete, it’s hard not to look good with a Ginger by your side, so grab a Ginger and get to jogging!

Do you Ginger Jog?  Are you going to start?

Pepper and I will be chronicling our Ginger Jogging expeditions this year so stay tuned for our updates!

Worst. Snow Day(s). Ever.

Well, as I mentioned a few days ago, the world has taken a crazy turn and we were predicted to get snow in New Orleans over the past few days.  “AWESOME!”, said I, a northern girl now living in a city plagued with heat and humidity the majority of the year.  I was looking forward to seeing my old friend Snow.

Well, he stood me up!  He left me like the heroine gets left in a bad romantic comedy:  All fancied up in my best dress, sitting at the restaurant full of eager anticipation, only to be left with the sinking feeling that I’m being stood up.  Mr. Snow, you, Sir, are a jerk and I will no longer be accepting dates with you.  I also will not accept your phone call with a lame excuse in three days.  I know better…

It never even tried to snow.  It rained.  And rained some more.  And then it kept raining.  It did get cold enough that the rain eventually turned to ice, but not cool, interesting ice, just the kind of ice that ices up your car windows and freezes your outdoor trashcans shut.  Lame, boring ice.

Some creative mind in New Orleans even developed a cute website where you could track the presence of snow in the city.  I sat at home yesterday cuddled in my blanket with my two portable space heaters, Oswald and Pepper, constantly checking to see if www.isitsnowinginnola.com  was reporting snow yet.  Alas, the closet we ever got was this:

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Sigh.  So now snow for me, and no snow for the dogs who were looking forward to it too.

But hey!  We got two days off from work and school, which never goes unappreciated, except by one member of the family:  Oswald.  Oswald clearly has no concept of “snow days” or “vacation days in general” and at 7 am this morning when I am clearly hunkered down and settled in for a morning of sleeping in, I am awoken to this:

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And then a, “woof woof, why aren’t you out of bed yet?”

“Oswald, it’s a snow day, I’m sleeping in, go back to bed.”

To that he responding with a grumpy stare, a sigh, and then begrudgingly slumped off to his bed.  Peace did not last long, however, as boyfriend was soon awakened by Pepper jumping on his head as if to say “Hey, hey, hey, are you awake??  Are you awake now?  Can I have my breakfast?  Hey!  Are you awake?”

We finally gave up, made some coffee and headed out in the cold to the levee with the dogs.  My northern girl instincts did kick in, though.  With my hat, gloves, North Face, and travel mug filled with coffee and Bailey’s I’m ready to tackle anything that                “Sneaux-magedon” (as they are calling it down here) could throw at me.

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