Anchorage Away

We are in Anchorage! Tomodachi has an appointment for a spay on the 8th, a day after I have eye surgery. She is happy to be in a new situation; Nakama is happy to be on a trip, too. Here’s the hitch…motion sickness.

I discovered after some ATV rides that poor Tomodachi has motion sickness. As I am a studious individual I went to the Internet MD and did some research. I discovered, on multiple sites (which I verified with some vet techs and veterinarians) that a puppy’s inner ears may not be fully developed until they are older, or they may grow out of the motion sickness issue. Nakama didn’t have motion sickness, but we were also able to use the ATV quite a bit when it was just he and I. Due to weather and not having a crate to put on the back of the machine, Tomodachi didn’t get the same advantage. Less than a month ago I started taking her out more and she would vomit during the ride. So sad!

While at the vet we discussed the ways I can help my pupper. I had many travel plans which we will now not do because I want her to enjoy our time out of Togiak. I was advised that there is a prescription (about 15$ a pill) that she can take sporadically. The vet stated that taking it daily wasn’t a good idea, but a 50 mg tablet of Dramamine would work (amount based on her weight, please don’t go giving a 5 pound chihuahua a 50 mg tablet) if needed. So I have four of the prescription pills, mainly for long trips, as we have to travel to Palmer again for her Leptospirosis booster, and we have a plane ride to go home to Togiak. To help her today she received a shot, which was a whopping 60$, but worth it because she didn’t vomit. Sadly, she still drooled (a clear sign of her upset tummy) quite a bit.

When we got home Tomo was lethargic for about 40 minutes. She and Nakama (and I, actually) took a nap since we were up at 4:30. After her nap she had some food and has kept it down. We also went on a walk to the coffee hut (Java the Hut is awesome!). I am gonna be honest and say that I believe it was kind of fate that we are not going to be traveling by vehicle. I am really low on funds right now due to how much I spent on this trip. So by her getting sick it is almost like a sign to stick close to the AirBnB, walk as much as possible, and not eat out. I still have a dozen doctor’s appointments to attend, but I will be taking the bus because the doggie daycare is within walking distance of our current Anchorage residence. We need to come back in December for further doctor’s appointments, and I will again see about a place close to doggie daycare so they can chill with friends. I’ll post a second update about the AirBnB, Daycare, and some shenanigans later this weekend. For now, happy thoughts to Tomo, please, since this vacation is probably not on her favorite list at the moment, nor is is gonna get better when she has her spay on Tuesday.

Crating and Indoor Dogs

I see, constantly, folks berating the use of crates when working with dogs. Let them run free! Crating is cruel! That isn’t how to treat a pet! Well, as someone who has seen what a dog can do, or what can happen to a dog running wild, I completely disagree. That is not to say I think dogs should be crated all the time, but crates, from my experience, have benefits.

When I first adopted Nakama a few years ago I had him crated when I went to work, mainly because he was young and I was working on potty training him. He was only in the crate when I went to work or to the store, but was out the rest of the time, including when we slept. Nakama didn’t have as severe an anxiety issue as Tomodachi, but that crate, for the first two years, was his cave of comfort. He had no issues in the crate and at two years he was able to stay out of the crate permanently, which is good because Tomodachi came around quickly thereafter.

Tomodachi has a much more severe case of anxiety. The crate is her comfort zone and she is happy enough to go into the area even when she doesn’t need to (because I am home). I live with anxiety myself as a side-effect of my ASD, so I know full well why a safe zone is a comfort. I crate her fully in the morning, then come home quickly at lunch to let her out for a bathroom break. During the afternoon I let her roam free, which is a plus because she can be with Nakama. He used to glare at me when I put her up as if to say, ‘You brought me this new toy, but you lock it up!?’ I leave the door to the crate open when I leave so if she wants to go inside then she has that option.

Crating a dog is a personal preference. Some dogs can’t go the day without chewing a hole in the wall. Others like to find their human’s shoes! Tomo and Naka have done that, little imps. I will say this, though, as many folks hate the idea of even keeping dogs inside. The dangers in a man made society are not conducive to letting dogs roam. Two hundred years ago, yeah, a dog roaming free was okay. There weren’t people driving vehicles, shooting off guns, and basically taking over the land. Where I live it is well known that the village pays the cullers twenty dollars a dog to keep the population down. If my dogs were running free I can only imagine the torture they might endure, at the hands of humans, mind you. There are also natural issues to worry about such as feral dogs, wolves, and porcupines. Any of those could get at a domesticated animal and kill it pretty quickly. So, yeah, I am all for indoor dogs, in a crate if necessary.

I am not here to make people change their minds regarding indoor dogs and crates. However, I will point out that what may work for one may not work for others. Many people in this village let their dogs run amok. They get quilled, hit by vehicles (and survive), or shot by people and live to see another day. Personally, if that were my dog then I would consider myself an unfit pet parent because I wasn’t monitoring their activities. I’ve seen the poor dogs with broken legs trying to run around. I’ve seen the dogs with quills in their faces countless times. I’ve seen the dogs who were shot by disgusting people. I don’t want that for my dogs. Nakama and Tomodachi are happy enough and we make it outside for occasional (for the moment due to weather and Tomodachi going through her first heat) walks and playing in the snow. Their happiness and safety come first.

Dogs on the Bed

I have people constantly telling me that dogs are dirty and they don’t belong on the bed or the furniture. Well, good on them, they don’t need to allow their ‘pets’ on the bed. Why did I insist on my pups on the bed? Well, dogs supposedly have an innate desire not to ‘mess’ where they sleep. By having the dogs on my bed from the beginning it kept them from messing on the bed, but also helped me wake up to take them out to for a potty break. Both Nakama and Tomodachi nosed me when they needed to go from the time I brought both of them home. The bed isn’t huge, a full-size, but as neither could get off the bed in the beginning without assistance, it helped them easily night train. I still had to get up multiple times a night with Tomo, Nakama was older when he came to live with me, so he only needed one break a night from the beginning. Now, at four months, Tomodachi can make it through the night most nights, other times she needs one break, but she always wakes me. As for being on the bed or the sofa, they can cuddle with me on these pieces of furniture, and I want to have a bond with them, not treat them as objects. My fur-family, my choice. I chose their names intentionally, companion and friend. To me, they are not pets, they are family.

Vaccinations

Tomodachi had her third five-way puppy booster shot yesterday and is scheduled for a rabies tomorrow. I was told by someone in the village that getting their dogs vaccinated was difficult because of the remote area. My response: What have you tried or who have you contacted? I received no response. There are companies who will ship out the parvo boosters (for a fee, of course) to places in Alaska via USPS. I discovered this when I adopted Nakama. I also learned that there are places to take a dog for the rabies. I am lucky that my village has an approved rabies vaccinator at the police station. All dog owners (pet parent in my case; there is a difference) should learn how to vaccinate their dogs before even getting a dog. Sadly, most people in villages do not care enough to get their dogs vaccinated, and the ones that do are not willing to figure out how, so they just don’t bother. Such a mentality is poor judgement and vexes me greatly. I am grateful to the folks who supply the vaccinations and who learn to give said vaccinations to the village dogs. We are forever in your debt.