Cupid is starting to get as bad as Henry in the department of wanting her people to be home. She likes us to be home. She's not one of those aloof type cats. It is not enough that only one of us is home, they like us both to be home. So, when only one of us is home, the waiting game for the other one of us begins. Both Cupid and Henry take their spots and watch out the window. Cupid still has all her faculties. She can see, hear, smell, talk. So, she is fully functioning. While Henry has poor hearing and no real vision to speak of, he can see lights and shadows. So, he totally knows when a car pulls into the driveway. It that happens during the day, Henry can tell because the way the car and the sun cause reflections. If it's at night, he can tell headlights shine through the darkness. Thus, Henry knows what to be on the look out for. There are times when this becomes problematic, though. If our next door neighbor comes home in the evening, his car lights can reflect to give the impression that it's an OBP peep. Or in the daytime sometimes, someone might pull into the driveway to drop a package or turn around or something but if they come in the driveway, Henry still knows and then expects a peep or a visitor.
Since Cupid can see, she knows the difference. She gets all, "stupid dog" on Henry when he gets worked up over a false alarm. You can see that Cupid gets the prime spot and Henry is relegated to the less desirable location while the cat is standing guard. These creatures just love their peeps being home, though.
Even though Henry has not enjoyed any other chewy stick besides the ones that were Luna's favorite, we have kept a variety in the pugs's toy bin within Henry's reach just in case he ever became interested once again. Low and behold, the boy started to show some interest a few weeks ago. It started with him just sniffing in the bottom tier of the toy bin. Then a few days later he pulled out a chewy and just carried it around with him. The day after that he gave the stick a few licks and then a half-hearted chew. A few more days passed and no interest. But then a another day or two later, he pulled out a different chewy stick and just went to town on it! He was so pleased with himself. Also, back to old school days, he preferred someone to hold it steady for him while he chewed. We were happy to oblige. (I know! The boys are such babies and needed us to hold their chewies. Luna and Sol were self sufficient since we did not spoil them rotten in their youth.)
Henry chewed the stick until it was gone. It took him about an hour. That is about 55 minutes longer than it takes him chew the kind that Luna preferred. The problem is this: Henry really should not be chewing ANY sticks. They are not good for his IBD and thus can be really bad for him by inhibiting his protein absorption. But giving him a longer lasting chewy stick totally helps to alleviate his nervous energy and in way that relieves him where medication and lavender oil does not. It works his mind and body. So, it is a tough call as how to balance it all. We know for sure that the sticks Luna loved cause him to have bad poops. Actually, from puppyhood we have referred to those chewies as diarrhea sticks since pretty much no matter what they would give the boys diarrhea. Luna must have had a stomach of lead since she never had these problems. So, we try to avoid those chew sticks for Henry, especially now. We will see how this other type of chewy plays out with Henry. So far so good now though. Poops are still holding at a 7 on a rough day and a 9 on a good day ( on a 1-10 scale where 10 is a tootsie roll and 1 is brown water). Yeah, more poop talk. Sorry.
While we are thrilled that his desire to chew demonstrates that he is coming back to his old personality and continues to have likes, interests and things that make him happy, it is truly such a double edged sword. What he loves may be his downfall. We are just trying to keep a balance and hope that it works out for the best. If we see that he's being damaged by rekindling his chewing habit, then of course we will go back to high level cautiousness but for now, we are tying to let him chew in moderation so as to let him have some balance in his life.
A couple weeks ago, I posted a short video to show how well Henry does walking home from Grammy's on his own. It was just a snippet from the mailbox going towards home. Well, Henry can get a wild a hair and likes to follow his own agenda. (Luna was classic for this trait. She only wanted to follow her agenda and not deviate from it.) Well, Henry, too, very much likes to do what Henry likes to do. And walking to Grammy's is one of those things. There will be times when we are getting ready to take a car ride or just going to walk the neighborhood (well, that is what we THINK we are about to do) but Henry just knows that it is time to go visit Grammy. So, up the street he will trot. In the 2ish minute video, you will see Henry, in full stride, on his way to see his Grammy! While not able to see, he still knows where his Grammy lives! At the end, he is put off that she did not have the garage door opened for him and then works to navigate to go to the front door. I stopped recording when he discovered that the garage door was down. But it is plain to see that he knew where he was going and he knew when he got there. While there was a pause or two for him to reconsider his whereabouts, once he checked out his surroundings, he easily got back on track.
We recently shared that Henry is named after Grammy's side of the family. Well, another little tidbit about the "Henry" family....they have a special walk that only Henrys do. It is most notable when they walk away from a situation while possessing a stubborn attitude and Henry has mastered this walk. He owns it like he is a true Henry. The video shows the Henry walk. Do you think there was a chance in hell that I would have been able to redirect Henry to anywhere but Grammy's house at that moment? No way. He is Henry family-style stubborn. The Henrys like to label it as being strong in their convictions (as opposed to stubborn). No matter what you call it, Henry has it. Henry is a true Henry and nothing can stop him from seeing his Grammy!
It's been a long wait for Terry and Christie, but we are here now, answering their questions from 2 whole weeks ago!
We will start with the questions from Terry. She asked about the pugs, especially as puppies, if they ever got under foot and caused tripping hazards. Uh yeah!! Quite often, actually. There was even one time when Ben got stepped on and we had to take him to the vet because we thought we broke his foot! Surprisingly, our vet (in Maryland) was bordering on scolding us for being careless. I was kind of shocked to be honest. Of all things for her to get fussy about I would not have thought THIS would be the thing. In cases like this, accidents happen and we were always diligent about paying attention to where they were and dodged them regularly. But when you have more than one dog and they stick closely together that can double, triple or quadruple your changes of someone taking a tumble. Fortunately Benny was ok but they would not be pugs unless they were underfoot! So yes, Terry! For sure we have had a mishap or 100 involving the pugs invading our personal space. #wink It sounds like this was commonplace at your home, too.
Terry also asked about teeth brushing. The only thing worse, for us, than trimming their nails was brushing their teeth! I would not say that we were diligent with this feat but for the first 7-8 years we did attempt to be relatively consistent with this but our consistency would have been every 2 months. That is a poor record by any vet's standards. But at the time we thought that was the best we could do but it wasn't. We totally could have done better. We did have their teeth cleaned by the vet every 1-3 years until about age 9-10 where they were put under anesthesia and while there is always a risk with that and not to mention that it is pricey, we felt long term it would (and we believe did/has) benefited them. It is very common for poor dental health to cause other very serious medical conditions.
To further our soapbox position, if we had not had Sol's teeth cleaned this way, they would not have discovered her oral cancer and left untreated she would have likely died even sooner and/or at least would have been sicker/less treatable once it would have become more noticeable on an awake check up. Shortly after they discovered her cancer, they removed half of her lower jaw and she was literally almost no worse for the wear. This was discovered during her dental cleaning. So, this is another reason to consider going under. But it is true, anesthesia is always risky, especially for pugs. If you opt not to do dental cleanings, then we do strongly recommend diligent teeth brushing. Again, we are not veterinarians and we can only offer our history as example. With everything else, consult your vet. To avoid so much extra risk, try to schedule it with something else that may be a problem. For example, we would get a teeth cleaning done if they were a bit overdue if they also had a mass cell tumor that needed to be removed and biopsied. It was a 2-for-1 scenario. If someone had to go under anyway, get in there and do it all! Good luck, Terry. No matter your choice, you are doing your best for your baby.
Christie posed an interesting question. She asked if any of our pugs have ever had the need to rub all over the laundry (especially sheets--as in the bedding at bedtime including pillows). It was interesting to hear that only Olive does this at her home. And Vito and Luigi had never had the urge. Well, Christie, as you suggested, I am of a mind, too that this is a chick thing. Moreso, though, it is a dominant trait dog thing (which we have seen personally more in girl pugs). And while none of our pugs have ever done it with the bed sheets, Luna had done with things that she wanted to mark or dominate. Her special roll in items included dead fish and bird poop (that also wreaked of dead fish). But she could be caught giving a little hump, butt bump or marking roll on certain people, dog beds or favorite toys. I think maybe your little Olive is telling everyone else that sleeps in your bed that SHE is the top dog with you. Just my own philosophy. I would be curious to know if other than laundry and bedding, does she do this on anything else? But usually it is a sign that she is owning whatever she rolls on. I would put a few bucks on the bet that says Olive is a little diva. Would I win that bet? Loved that question, Christie! You come up with some doozies and we appreciate it!
Thank you all for not leaving us questionless. Christie, we will address the song question next week in a full post either in ASK OBP or as a separate post. We have not forgotten, your question. And we did promise that once this gets boring and/or played out that we will take a different path. So, no pressure. #KeepingItFreshForNow
We had the luxury of observing an awesome sunset at Reed Canal Park recently. We took several photos, but one of the photos, especially, captured what seemed to be a beautiful moment. It seems that Henry is just overlooking the lake, taking in the smells and reflecting on how far he has come in the last year.
This time last year he was in the middle of chemotherapy and not responding to it very well at all. Now he is strong. He's taking walks. He's eating, Enjoying car rides with his head out the window. Sometimes it's nice to just look back and see how far we've all come. With that also comes appreciation. We have appreciated you all for your kind words and overall support. There have been days when reading the comments has literally been what kept us going. So thank you for filling our tanks with the gas we have needed to keep the fuel burning to help our last pug standing be all that he can be. #Here'sToHenry and #Here'sToTheReadersToo #HenryStrong
We received an email from Martha who requested that I follow up a little more on one of the Ask OBP questions. The question had to do with nicknames. We ran down the list of nicknames of our pugs and Cupid and we were hoping that you all would chime in with a comment about what you all have nicknamed your own troops. So, I wanted to specifically extrapolate that portion of the post and ask you all to share your pugs names and their nicknames. We think everyone would get a big hit from reading the names and how the nicknames came to be.
Whenever we take Henry out to a place that has a high concentration of mulch, we are not sure how it happens, but invariably Henry will back wash all of his sniffs into his water bowl! While he never really leaves clean water behind, something about high mulch content locations make for super grotesque water! We had to take a photo of it to show. How are your all's pugs with the back wash issue? Luna had always been super gross with it but Benny was pretty good about taking in water and not leaving much behind and Henry had always been stellar in that category, too. Really, a lot of it has come with Henry's aging. In general, just as they get older, they get sloppier. Cupid is that way with her food but not with water. I know that aging brings less mobility and the weakening of overall skills but I am not so sure that this is Henry's deal. At home he can be ok but something about mulch brings out the chunks.#Ew