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Flashy Friday! Week 2 -  "Spin" Whew! A whole week between posts, sorry guys! Like I've mentioned before we're pr...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Guardian of the Kitten

Remember me mentioning Ziva's prey drive issues? 
If not you can check it out here.

Definitely conquered prey drive!!

Well I think that she has decided that the kitten is hers, and it was just too funny not to share it with everyone. I was lucky enough to get it on video!

The first time it happened I wasn't sure that I believed my husband. According to him Ziva was following the kitten around the house which is very typical behavior - she likes to make sure the kitten is being watched. On that note, I can always find the kitten because Ziva will be right there following from a polite distance just watching.

Well in this instance my hubby said that Dante (who is getting less scared of the kitten, yes I did say he was scared of the kitten...) was doing a nice little play dance but moving around too much. My husband was about to step in, concerned that Dante might accidentally step on the kitten when Ziva beat him to it! She flared her lips gently at Dante and stepped over the kitten blocking Dante from reaching her.

How awesome is that?!

Don't let anyone tell you that bully breeds/pit bull type dogs are born killers, its simply not true! But it is important to recognize that terriers were bred to have natural prey drive because they were used to hunt small game animals.
And yes with training you can conquer prey drive in SOME dogs, younger dogs are easier to work with regarding prey drive.

Ziva loves her little kitten.

Here's the video, enjoy!

A bit of background:
Dante is the more confident of our two dogs, he likes to regularly test boundaries to make sure that the humans are still the leaders of the pack. Ziva however is a natural follower happy to follow along after us and her brother, she's overall a quieter personality. We found it really awesome that she feels protective over the kitten but not in an aggressive way.

Dogs + Mosquitoes = No Fun

It Started with an Innocent Walk.

I can't seem to be outside in the evenings anymore without finding myself in a cloud of giant mosquitoes! I would have thought that our subfreezing winter would have killed more off but not i'm wondering if they had some mosquito resort that they hid out in until we let our guard down upon which point they let loose the forces of evil!!  Maybe i'm being a bit dramatic...

My point though is that I didn't escape without getting a ton of nasty welts all over my arms and legs, my poor pups with their short hair didn't stand a chance either! On that note, mosquitoes are a primary cause of heartworm in dogs so please make sure and protect you pet. Both my pups are up to date on all their vaccines and regularly treated for fleas/ticks with Activyl, and regular heartworm prevention tablets. If you have active outdoor pups its important to protect them from diseases such as parvo and parasites so that they can live a long a healthy life and not rack up a bunch of expensive vet bills for things that are preventable.

But neither of these products repel mosquitoes! Bummer... So now I'm researching dog friendly mosquito repellents.

It seems that their are a couple on the market - I'm not sure if other people don't have this problem, or just don't care but it seems to me that bully breeds would be particularly prone to getting bitten.

Unfortunately some "dog friendly" products are for facial use only, you aren't supposed to apply it to the rest of the body because it is toxic...yes I repeat TOXIC. So why would I put it on my dog again?

After a search at our local pet stores, Cabella's, and REI I couldn't find what I was looking for. I could make my own repellent but it involves a bunch of herbal essences and of course the recipes only require a little bit so I would be left with a bunch of essences and oils that would last for eternity, on top of that they're expensive. Better to just buy it, that's my opinion though.

Here are a few actual dog friendly, all natural products that you can apply all over your animal.

Dante's short coat doesn't protect from insect bites.
  • Burt's Bees All Natural Insect Repellent   $8.00 - Ingredients: Glycine soja (soybean) oil, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass) oil, thuja occidentalis (cedar) leaf oil, mentha piperita (peppermint) oilcymbopogon nardus (citronella) oil, eugenia caryophyllus (clove) flower oil, geranium maculatum (geranium) oil, tocopherol

  • Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Spray  $13.99 - Ingredients: SD40 Alcohol (corn derived), Spring Water, Essential oils of organic lemongrass, citronella, patchouli, clove, neem oil, pennyroyal, catnip, and soybean oil.
  • All Terrain Pet Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent Spray  $9.50 - Ingredients: oil of soybean 11.5%, oil of citronella 10.0%, oil of peppermint 2.0%, oil of cedar 1.50%, oil of lemongrass 1.00%, oil of geranium 0.05%, inactive ingredients: (73.95%): water, glyceryl stearate, beeswax, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, and citric acid.

Other pet parents suggest rubbing Tea Tree oil into your dogs coat, and Neem oil used in the same way.

One note about Tea Tree Oil - According to PetMD "Used in small concentrations of .1% 1%, tea tree oil is tolerated and safe for cats and dogs....Unfortunately in high doses Tea Tree oil can be toxic to pets."

If you try anything or have any suggestions please let me know! My pups would appreciate the suggestions, I think we're going to start with the Burt's Bees Repellent and that's just because I like their other products. I'll let you know if it works!

**Keep in mind, I'm not a veterinarian or pet health professional please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your pet, and or products that you are considering using on them.**

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Trouble with Sticks....

Ziva's Stick Incident

Turns out that sticks aren't nearly as safe as many dog owners think.

Our poor little Ziva got a hold of a stick by the end rather than the middle and took off running with it yesterday morning.

Holding it kind of like this:  Normally sticks are not part of play, Ziva loves to fetch tennis balls. It just so happened that she found a stick she felt like playing with on this occasion.

By Spider.Dog from United Kingdom via Wikimedia Commons
My poor husband saw the whole thing happen, Ziva grabbed the stick while they were out playing in the field, she then took off running holding the end of the stick in her mouth. Well it was a long stick about 2 feet in length, the end that she wasn't holding dipped and hit the ground jabbing the stick deep into her throat.

Panic ensued as the stick was temporarily stuck inside her throat, by the time my husband reached her she had managed to dislodge it but was very scared, crying and cringing. Luckily I was just driving past them on my way to the store so he flagged me down and said take her straight into the vet!

The stick had a bit of blood on it but we couldn't see any more bleeding inside her mouth so we figured the injury was deep inside her throat.

Well typical of a bully, she perked up a bit on the car ride and tried to put on a brave face (probably hoping to avoid a vet visit). Our regular vet was able to see us immediately and little Ziva was a perfect angel about letting the vet look into her mouth (attempt to see around her tongue) and check for injuries. Well the vet couldn't see anything so she gave us two options:
  1. Give her antibiotics to prevent infection if their is a small injury, and watch her for signs of problems.
  2. Sedate Ziva so that the vet could look deeper with a flashlight and a camera for any injuries in her throat.
Our vet said that Ziva seemed okay so option #1 would probably be fine, and she told me that they see lots of dogs in the summer/fall months due to stick related injuries.

Poor Ziva was pretty sedate the rest of the day but we figured she was mostly wore out from the river and all the fun over the weekend, Dante was resting up too. She ate a little bit for dinner and was drinking water just fine. But we noticed the swelling getting worse, and poor Ziva not wanting to open her mouth probably due to it being sore.

Worrying as usual - I decided that I might feel better if the vet took a closer look after all but we would wait to see how she was feeling in the morning first. I really didn't want to deal with the emergency vet again.

*Poor Ziva contracted giardia last summer - click HERE for more on Giardia.  A nasty parasite that caused her to have terrible diarrhea and become extremely dehydrated. We had a terrible experience with the emergency vet that I had to bring her in to see.*

So this morning poor Ziva was definitely showing signs of soreness and the swelling had increased a bit, so off to the vet we once again went!

The appointment didn't take very long, but I had to drop her off and our vet instructed me that I would receive a phone call when Ziva is ready for pickup (they like to monitor animals going into and out of sedation for safety reasons).

Good News!  She'll be fine. She has a small laceration inside her mouth under her tongue which is healing nicely, and she bruised one of her tonsils really bad (hence the swelling). The vet will be sending her home with anti-inflammatories and pain killers.

Poor puppy not feeling very well...
So after doing some research here is what I have learned about sticks:

Common Stick Related Injuries
  • Small wood splinters can become embedded in the tongue, laryngeal tissues, and under the gum line.
  • Large wood fragments can become embedded between teeth or embedded into the palate resulting in damage to teeth or palate and requiring surgery.
  • Fragments can be swallowed - causing bleeding and potential obstruction in their digestive tract.
  • Small pieces can be inhaled into the trachea - causing obstructing, irritiation or infection in the respiratory tract. These pieces can also puncture the trachea or lungs resulting in chest infections or heart damage.
  • Puncture wounds to body, impalement.

Needless to say we'll be careful of sticks next time! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Prey Drive - You can work through it.

Working Through Prey Drive

Guess who loves her kitten!!

It can be done! Ziva is the perfect example of that.

Prey drive tends to be very high in bully breeds, the terrier in them wants to hunt. Ziva came to us with a low prey drive, if our cats held their ground then she wouldn't chase them but she would whine, pace, and focus. This low end prey drive if ignored could easily have turned into a high prey drive resulting in killing smaller animals. Dogs are hunters, and although they are domesticated certain breeds have stronger hunting tendencies and prey drives than others.

Prey drive is not safe for your dog:

  • Dangerous animals - We do lots of hiking, I do not want my dogs going after a rattlesnake that can in turn injure/kill them. Their are other animals that can hurt your dog too: raccoon's (have been known to kill dogs), skunks, possums, chance of a rabid animal or other nasty disease.
  • Vehicles - You do not want your dog to chase a small animal into the street and potentially be hit by a moving vehicle.
  • Laws - If your dog kills a neighbors cat or small animal, dog, etc..then you can face fines, potentially jail time (depending on your local laws), and your dog may face euthanasia, imprisonment within a kennel, mandatory muzzling and could be labeled a "dangerous dog" for life.

Before you can work on prey drive you must first be the established leader in your pack, your dog must also follow basic commands such as sit and stay. A good relationship with your dog is always stronger than a tool.

Prey drive is not the same thing as aggression - it is a hunting instinct driven by scent and sight (in some dogs). When a dog becomes focused on their trigger, be it a cat or squirrel, no amount of yelling will break their concentration. What you also do not want to do is cause your dog to fear you by yelling, screaming, or becoming angry with them for their natural instincts.

As the pack leader we extend our protection to the smaller animals in the house. Regardless of how Ziva feels around them she must respect them. In order to teach her to respect the cats we would give Ziva a  firm "NO" whenever she began to focus or whine towards our cats, and then redirect her attention to something more interesting like food or playing with us.

If she continued to whine and/or focus we would send her to her crate for some quiet time, or remove her from the room and ask her to calm down before being allowed to rejoin us.

Remember - focusing, and whining are not allowed. Ziva could only be around the cats if she was calm and preferably ignoring them.

Merlot and Belle aren't stupid, they knew to avoid Ziva when we first got her. This is another reason to crate train your dog, for the protection of the non-dog members of your family when you are not around to supervise.

Merlot helping daddy file Ziva's nails, Dante along for emotional support.

Working with Ziva regularly we were able to overtime teach her to ignore our cats (but we're still working on neighbor cats, squirrels, and birds)... But then along came the kitten. - click here for the full story.

Rescuing a Bottle Baby

Being so small and helpless the kitten seemed to re-trigger Ziva's prey drive.

On a good note - since we have already laid a lot of ground work through correcting Ziva when she exhibits hunting behaviors we have been able to fairly quickly get Ziva to not view the kitten as a snack and now they are best buddies!

When working with a dog who has prey drive issues you must first have yourself established as the calm and assertive pack leader, your dog must trust and respect you.

Now please don't get me wrong...when some people hear the words "pack leader" they think things like dominance, and alpha rolling.
That is not what I mean. 

By Pack Leader, I simply mean you are the one in charge just like a parent is in charge of a child. It is your house, your rules, you maintain balance and order through love and boundaries.

While working through Ziva's prey drive initially our goal was to teach her to ignore our cats.

Merlot loves stealing Ziva's bed in her crate!
When we are out on walks - we still expect Ziva to ignore small animals, birds, and cats. While walking if she begins focusing on an animal we stop, and wait. If she refuses to break concentration we backtrack until we find her "threshold" and continue waiting for her to return her attention back to us.

Sometimes we use "look at me" commands and treats/toys to break her focus and get her attention back on us. By asking her to "look at me" I am redirecting her attention through an already established command and asking her to ignore the small animal.

When your dog successfully ignores their trigger or is calm around their trigger it is then a good time to reward them with a high value reward their favorite treat or toy.

**If you have a reactive dog, corrections (sharp tugs on the leash) and lots of usage of the word, "NO" can in fact make it worse. What you are teaching the dog is that their trigger = punishment/frustration from my human. It can quickly escalate the situation as opposed to diffuse it.**

Does this mean I am 100% against correcting? No, I believe that it has it's time and place but should not be your first answer when training. Positive reinforcements permanently change your dog's mentality towards a situation, it sticks in their brain better and lasts much longer than negative reinforcers and their is a lot of research to support this stance.

By fostering the kitten we've had a solid month to work with Ziva on her prey drive, at first it was really hard for her. But you just have to be patient. We sent her away when she became too stimulated as a safety precaution for the kitten, and worked to keep all interactions positive for Ziva. We didn't want her to associate the kitten with pain, fear, or being in trouble.

Through lots of interaction & patience we succeeded in desensitizing Ziva towards the kitten.

Examples of working with Ziva & the kitten:
  • Asking her to lay down and remain calm next to the kitten.
  • Allowing the kitten to climb on Ziva while asking Ziva to remain calm and still - rewarding her good behavior.
  • Allowing Ziva to sniff and be around the kitten - Rewarding positive interactions and sending her away when she became to aroused. We want her to associate the kitten with positive rewards rather than punishment when she displays good behavior.
    • We don't want her to fear the kitten.
We could only progress as fast as Ziva was learning. By taking our time with her, she was slowly able to handle longer sessions of being around the kitten.

Remember dogs are social animals, she wanted to be around us so we used that as a reward. She could be around us only if - she was displaying calm behaviors. Negative behaviors resulted in her being sent away.

For increasing your dogs threshold you want to find where they can be in proximity to the trigger and still succeed. If your dog is capable of laying on their bed on the other end of the house, watching you interact with the trigger then that is a good place to start. Then move them step at a time. If you reach a point where your dog is no longer capable of ignoring the trigger then you have reached their threshold - back up until your dog is once again successful and work from their.

**Short training sessions, practice daily, and always end on a positive note!**

If you have a puppy you can more easily train them to ignore small animals by beginning training early, rewarding good behavior and sending your dog away to calm down when they display unwanted behavior.

Squeaky toys should be avoided, as they encourage prey drive. Your cute dog is not playing by destroying the squeaky toy, they are killing an animal in their mind. This is not a game you want to encourage.

You can also see that Ziva has no resource guarding issues, something that Tex-Anna struggled with but were able to work her through.

Other Sources:

To The River We Go!!

Life is Good.

For the first time this summer season it was nice and hot here in the Willamette Valley. The weather was so nice we decided that it would be the perfect day to take the dogs to the river! Being bully breeds who have super short coats and almost zero body fat they get cold easy, so we try to only take them to play in the water when the weather cooperates or if the water is particularly warm (almost never find that in Oregon!).

They had a blast! Ziva has been to the lake with us only once before so we weren't sure how she would react to the river, but her brother on the other hand loves it! So with his enthusiasm she quickly jumped in and began to play too!

Being that the current is swift on one side of the river we were careful to keep them where the water was slow, and where my husband and I could wade in and stand without a problem but deep enough the dogs could swim. 

Also for safety reasons we had them both attached to a 100 foot leash in case they did get into the current so that we could reel them back in if necessary. Wouldn't want to lose my pups!

We ended up forcing them to take periodic breaks as we noticed them getting too cold. Poor Ziva was shivering so she had to sit out on the warm rocks while her brother played a little bit longer.

But they both did wonderfully!

Being a bigger boy, older and stronger we had Dante working a bit harder. Tossing his toy upstream in the edge of the current so that as he swam to his toy it would float down to him. 
Playing in the shallows.
Dante loves his floating Kong toy!!

Chasing her brother as he retrieved his toy.

Happy Dogs warming up in the sun after their swim time.

Towel time in the warm car.

And now its time for a nap!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dante's Issues

Separation Anxiety

The one issue we ran into with Dante was the issue of separation anxiety, the one issue that Tex-Anna didn't have. The first time we left him alone he ate a couple books, and a boxed dvd set....dang!!!

Our normal dog schedule is:
  • Before work we exercise our dogs - walk and short play time
  • Cool down dogs - after exercise large breeds should wait at least 30 min before feeding. If you don't then your poor pup can have digest issues, bloat, or potentially have a painful tummy twist.

This was a little frustrating for us because he should be tired when we leave him  and our first thought was that maybe he was bored and needed a better chew toy.  
Out came the Kong!

That didn't work..his next major anxiety breakdown was to eat the trim that went around our front door...this made us realize that we had a major problem.

Time to learn about crate training! Having never crate trained a dog but knowing it would help, we immediately began to research proper techniques and find a suitable crate.

Calm dog in his crate

In picking out a crate, it needs to be just big enough that the dog can stand and turn around in but not pace. Dogs typically like their crates if you introduce them to it properly. We call our crates the doggy zen zone. Crates are also great for puppies and can help you to potty train.

Dante did really well with his crate, his anxiety issues went away entirely thanks to our daily regimen of exercise, training, and play. After a few months we began leaving his crate door open, and now we no longer lock him in! Our ultimate goal was to give him free reign of the house while we are gone - we succeeded!

He sleeps in the house or in his crate at his choosing, and if we have people over when he gets tired of socializing he'll go to his crate on his own.

I sent him to his bed - this was his response

Dante's Story

Our New Boy August 2013.

When we were looking for a second dog we first came up with exactly what we wanted in our new dog. Having worked with Tex-Anna through many issues (with more still to conquer) we wanted to be very picky in our next dog. Tex-Anna we rescued because she needed somewhere to go and no one else wanted her, she also had great qualities that out shined her bad habits and behavioral issues - we knew we could help her through her issues and have a great dog in the end.

*Editors Note 3/23/16 - initially we had planned on keeping Tex-Anna. However even though we were able to help her through her behavioral issues their was one thing we couldn't help her with. She was terrified to walk on our wood floors and was constantly skittering, rushing/falling, and slipping on the floors because I think she thought they were slippery even though she had plenty of traction - it was all in her head.  Our friends who ended up adopting her haven't had this issue at all with her, and when she comes over to visit us at our home she now walks normally on the floors. Silly dog.**

For our second dog we knew that their were certain issues that we couldn't handle while still working with Tex-Anna.

Requirements for dog #2:
  • Cat friendly - we have 2 cats
  • We wanted a younger dog but not a puppy - we didn't have time for a puppy and the age gap could stress out Tex-Anna (senior dogs typically do not like puppy energy).
  • Wanted an athletic dog
  • Looking for a large breed dog
  • Med - High energy
  • Hiking, rollerblading, jogging buddy
  • Preferably a bully breed.
We then contacted a local rescue group in our area.The rescue we chose to work with was run by a group of dog trainers who evaluated dogs and their potential adopting family. They also did home checks and ran the dogs through a series of tests to determine personality, work-ability, and look for the best match for the family.

Unfortunately at the time we were looking they didn't have any dogs that matched our desires, but we were willing to wait for the right dog to come along.

A short time later on a Friday I got a phone call saying they were pretty sure they had found the perfect dog for us, but their was a catch....he was in Redmond Oregon. The rescue had already evaluated him and were willing to take him in, he was high energy, responsive to directions, dog/cat/child friendly but his family wanted him gone immediately and the rescue workers were out of town doing a dog agility competition. 

Why did the family want him gone?   

It wasn't that he was a bad dog, but he ate a lot of food, was digging under their fence and the family couldn't walk him anywhere without being dragged. They simply couldn't handle his wild ways. On top of that they had a senior dog, 2 cats (one was a kitten), and 4 kids. They lived in a tiny 2 bedroom house and almost no yard. If he wasn't picked up by Friday night then the family said they would dump him off at a shelter.

**I don't want to judge. But I really wish more people would put time and consideration into why they want a pet, determine how much time they have to care for said pet, and make sure they can meet the needs of the animal. If you don't currently live an active lifestyle don't think an active dog will help you to exercise. Can you afford the animal? Vet bills, medications, food, toys, etc? And if you don't have room then don't get a large breed!!**

The rescue group said if I was willing to drive from Eugene to pick him up (2 1/2 hour drive) then I could test run him for the weekend. If he wasn't what we wanted then the rescue said that they would be willing to pick him up on Monday. But if we liked him we could keep him without paying for the adoption fee! Having already met us the rescue felt comfortable with our ability to handle him.

Off to Redmond I went!

The picture they sent me of the dog was terrible, he looked like a hound with a long face (I wish I had kept that picture). I sure was surprised meeting him in person!

The first time I met Dante previously named Diesel.
Sure enough I clipped a leash on this big guy and he tried to drag me down the street! With so much pent up energy I knew I had to burn some of it off before making the long drive home.

We walked (attempted to walk), and he slowly began to understand what I wanted from him by the time we left. Thankfully I exercise a lot because he made me work hard to keep him under control. After I burned off some of his energy with a long walk we drove home (he did great staying in the back of the car), and then my husband worked with him. By the end of the evening he was "heeling" very nicely.

My hubby loved him immediately!

First Night Home!

Love at first sight, we knew he was a keeper! The name Diesel had to go - it was way too stereotypical. We had a list going and decided that he made a good Dante.

We were very careful about making a proper introduction with him to our new home and pet family members. 
  1. First we burned off more of his energy so that he was more calm, it was a long drive and he needed to stretch his legs a bit.
  2. Pack walk with Tex-Anna.
    1. Its best for dogs to meet on neutral territory.
  3. Immediately begin establishing your house rules.
    1. Leave the leash on and walk the new dog into each room that they are allowed to enter into all the while asking for and rewarding calm behavior.
      1. Avoid rooms you do not want the dog in, best to start good boundaries now.
  4. After the tour introduce non-doggy members of the pack - cats in our case.
  5. Show your new dog where their food and water will be placed.
Tex-Anna tolerated him well, and he never bothered the cats which made us very happy. 

Love my two boys!

In the Beginning

In The Beginning

Just a quick history on us, my husband and I love working with dogs. Having both grown up around dogs we knew that someday after we bought our first home would have a dog of our own.

Our first dog was a Border Collie that we rescued from an abusive situation.

Meet Tex-Anna:

Tex-Anna is a Tri-color Border Collie, who at the time we rescued her was about 7 years old.

She was an amazing challenge for us because she came with a whole slew of issues.

Poor dog was overweight, and all of her beautiful hair was matted to the point where air couldn't reach her skin which caused a nasty rash. Normally you are not supposed to cut a Border Collies hair especially a rough coat like Tex-Anna, if you cut their hair too short it may not grow back properly and really they don't need their hair cut because they shed for the hot months. However in her case it was a necessity.

When we got her home my husband and I cut as much of her hair as we could with our clippers because she was otherwise too dirty to bring into our home. On a good note she was flea free! They couldn't reach her skin. The next day we went straight to a groomer who ended up nearly shaving her to remove the matted hair and debris that had permanently taken up residence in her hair.

Other issues she came with:
  • Food Aggression
    • Resource Guarding in General
  • Fight instigator
    • She had never been around other dogs and didn't know how to behave
  • Nervous/Anxious behaviors
  • Never been on a leash
  • Random Fears
    • Good around gunshots - but scared of fireworks
    • Fear of Flyswatters
    • Terrified of our wooden floor specifically in our bedroom upstairs
    • Fear of loud noises
She would also piddle if she thought she was even in the slightest amount of trouble (we never hit or yelled at her).

On a good note, over the course of the time that she was with us we were able to get her past all of her fears except fireworks and our silly wood floors. As far as other dogs are concerned so as long as proper introductions are made she's on good behavior.

She became a wonderful dog with many great qualities over time thanks to her will to please anybody even a child can take treats/food from her, she's a perfect example of obedience walking perfectly on heel both on and off leash, general obedience and comes when called. She was also a wonderful adventure buddy who loved hiking, and playing ball.

Our second dog was Sasja:

Sasja and Tex-Anna

Sasja was a retired Federal K9 Bomb Detection Dog. A close friend of ours does Federal K9 bomb detection and was temporarily moving out of state, he couldn't take Sasja due to some health problems she had so we agreed to take care of her until he came home.

What was unique about Sasja was that she was 100% deaf (totally job unrelated). 

We taught her hand signals and she was extremely smart, however she also figured out that if she didn't look in our direction (check in) then she could go about her merry way.

Sadly Saja passed away from kidney disease about 6 months after we took her in.

After a period of time had passed we decided (I played a part in this) that we needed a younger, stronger, and more athletic dog than our dear Tex-Anna.

Being a senior dog we sometimes had to leave her behind for hard hiking trips as she would get sore and tired if she got too much exercise and then she'd have a hard time moving around the next day.

The Straw that Broke the Camels Back.

I love to hike, Tex-Anna and I went to the river and played ball and splashed around. One thing to note, she is a loveable coward. I don't want a protection dog but I would like a dog whose size is a deterrent and would if it came down to it, protect me if needed. Not a trained protection dog, nor an aggressive dog but a loyal dog who would come to my aid in a situation if I couldn't handle it.

Well in this case, I was toweling off Tex-Anna getting ready to go home when a small car showed up at the state park where we were. No one else was around and dusk was just beginning to set in. Out of the car piled out 4 giant guys, they set off all my red flags and I didn't like how they were looking at me, so throwing a still wet dog in the car we burned rubber and got the hell out.

All wet and pathetic!

Needless to say I went straight home and said we're getting another dog.

First Ever Photo of Dante

Dante and Tex-Anna

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