Wednesday, June 23, 2010


So, back when I had fewer dogs (only 2), still 2 cats, and more "other" pets (4 rats and a rabbit {now deceased} and a fish), my sister and her (then) four kids came to visit. After her kids thoroughly enjoyed helping Noodle & Spud with their pet chores, she commented to me, "I can see why you aren't in a hurry to have more kids. With all these pets, it feels like a houseful." She was right. And even though we've mixed it up a bit since then, by adding a third kid AND a third dog, two tank-dwelling frogs, and not "replacing" the smaller mammal pets, it's still a houseful.

Most of the time, it isn't overwhelming and is just our regular, happy life. Usually it is Noni, our male cat, who throws me in to "WHY DO I HAVE ALL THESE STINKIN' PETS?" mode, and it is usually because he gets a UTI or starts showing his displeasure at something by peeing/marking. The latest thing is his displeasure at Orbit's arrival, and he has marked a few places in the kids' room. I've been trying various home remedy conconctions, but it has been a big pain. I ended up moving Orbit's crate into their closet, so I can block it off from the cats, and closing the doors during the day. Also, I've put around butcher paper and other things cats don't like to walk on. I don't think there has been any additional marking, but I still can't quite get the full odor out. It doesn't help that I have a super sensitive nose. So, that's the current frustration.

We had Orbit neutered about 3 weeks ago, and for the next 10-14 days, he seemed to have some difficulty urinating. Plus, he was peeing in his "playpen crate" a LOT. He'd been doing so well with his housebreaking prior to the surgery, so this was disappointing. Over the last week, though, he seems to have gotten back to his pre-surgery level of bladder control, which is a relief. Since he was a cryptorchid (that means he had undescended testicles), they had to do a more invasive surgery than a standard neuter. I was afraid they might have messed something up inside him, but it looks like all is well.

It's funny, because I don't blog about the pets that much, but I really enjoy talking about pets with other people. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of friends locally who share my interest in animals. I've been spending bits of "free" time lately reading through some of my issues of Bark and have really enjoyed it. I love reading books about dogs, dog training, dog behavior, dog evolution, etc. I also enjoy all of those dog movies targeted (usually) at kids, like Hotel for Dogs and (especially) Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Well, I am not a huge fan of the "Buddies" movies, but they are harmless enough. I'm kind of a sucker for animal movies in general. Babe and Babe: Pig in the City are two of the best movies of all time. The latter has so many fabulous quotes, such as "It's all illusory. It's ill, and it's for losers." David and I use that one quite frequently.

Here are some pics of two of the pooches from today's game of Kitchen Fetch. Also, one crappy shot of Orbit modeling his "Sit." He was a hard one to teach sit, only because the best way is to catch them sitting, click&treat, and then after doing that a dozen or so times, you teach them the word "Sit". He almost never sits down. He runs around, jumps, and lies down, but seldom sat except for in his playpen, which made training difficult. In my experience, Sit is one of the most useful commands because you can then require that the dogs be doing a good thing before you let them inside, outside, give them their meals, etc. When they are sitting, they can't simultaneously be jumping around or otherwise going nuts. I make Rudy sit and stay while I pour his food out (he eats outside or in the garage, off the floor so it takes him more than 1 minute), and he is so good, he'll sit even as I walk away until I give him the "Okay," release. He doesn't know too many other commands, but we get a lot of mileage out of Sit.


Mary said...

Have you tried diluted vinegar for cleaning the urine? When #5 was "marking" my bathroom, I got that hint from a pet owner online.

I, too, love Babe. I like singing the lullaby from that movie to my kids. This month I've been reading "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle", which is about a family that breeds and trains dogs. I've found some of the descriptions of working with the dogs to be very interesting. If you like, you can borrow it when I'm done.

I used to be more of an animal lover. That has faded as I've had children and learned to love gardening (and to hate magpies). So if I don't appreciate animals as much as I used to, I can still appreciate that you love them as much as you do.

Native Minnow said...

Probably the number two reason I don't have pets (right behind the fact that I would be a terrible pet owner) is cleaning up urine. Too gross.

Pam Williams said...

I admire animal lovers because I've never been one, and all the animal lovers I've known are such GOOD people, so it must be a flaw in my character that I don't 'get' it. All of my attempts at pet ownership have been disasters. Once in elementary school I won the spelling bee at the end of the year and my prize was a canary. I think now some teacher found it a nuisance but didn't have the courage to set it free. I was giddy with excitement and oblivious to all the pitfalls. One day about a month into the joys of canary companionship, I came into my room and found the cage door open and a telltale feather on it. In my oblivious naivete, I hadn't realized that the opportunistic family cat (about whom I cared little to nothing) had just been sneaking around, biding his time.

Sorry, I don't have any tips about pet urine, but I have a lot of experience with getting food stains out of the front of your clothes.