Friday, February 25, 2011

The Mighty Color-Changing Dog

Just  a quick update on the dog and his color change.  The first picture was taken before we adopted him, somewhere around 8 weeks of age.  The next picture was taken today, when Frank was almost 17 weeks old.

His body is also changing colors at the shoulder and hips, but since I don't have an early shot of that, we'll stick to comparing his head color.  Beagles are really fascinating.

A Painful Knitting Blunder

I have committed a painful knitting blunder.  I knit a beautiful sweater dress in size 5T for my older daughter.  It's full of twist stitch patterns, textured patterns, elaborate ribs, lacework, and picot edging.  It's truly a lovely little bit of cotton candy fluff for my little Princess.  It was only after I'd finished the last 26 rows of 240 stitches each in the lace pattern that I realized that I had knit it with a synthetic yarn rather than my standard wool. 

O.M.G.  Did I really just do that?  Did I really just spend months working on a sweater dress that I CAN'T BLOCK INTO SHAPE?!?!?!!?

I really cannot believe myself.  Over 60% of the detail is lost when the yarn contracts back into its natural position.  I am beside myself. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week 6

Week 6 was rather momentous.  Frank returned to puppy social hour on Friday night after two weeks away and that night, he fell ill again.  I spent the night outside with him while he handled the messy end of things.  The vet said the giardia was not showing up anymore, so that was cleared up.  Likely, it was a reaction to having eaten something he shouldn't have.  Since we could easily list at least two things he got into this week (cat poop and dried flowers) it was no wonder he was sick.  $150 later, he's back on antibiotics, probiotics, and a special diet.  And yet, despite his gastric upset, we have not had any indoor elimination accidents in over a week.  He's learned to ring the bell or bark when he wants to go outside, even when sick.  I am beyond impressed with our little dude.

The good news of the week is that we now know how old Frank is.  He lost two teeth yesterday!  Congrats, Woofcake!  You're 16 weeks old now!  That puts his birthday on November 2nd.  He was 10 weeks old when we adopted him, and 7 weeks old when the shelter took him in.  We all feel much better knowing  how old he is now.  We can get his rabies shot next week at his appointment and then go get his city tags.

Plus, we have a better idea of how big he'll be when fully grown.  The formula I was using before to calculate his adult growth puts him at around 40lbs.  That in and of itself would be frightening if our vet hadn't said that a 4 month old beagle is about half his adult weight, which would put Frank closer to 27lbs, which is right where we wanted him to be.  Hooray!

Frank and Pinky seem to have found a balance as well.  They got off to a much better start than we had anticipated, so it's really no wonder that they're settling in so well.  These days, 90% of their time together is devoted to playing, 8% is spent ignoring each other, and 2% is spent testing the waters of resting close to each other.  I think that they're good for each other.

And look, the cat is now smaller than the dog!  The puppy has doubled his weight since we brought him home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 5 with Frank

Before we adopted Frank, we had a long list of things that we were looking for in a dog.  They included, but weren't limited to:
  • good with kids
  • energetic but not maniacal
  • large enough to go hiking with
  • small enough to cuddle
  • specific facial proportions
  • short, low-maintenance fur
  • mutt rather than pure-bred
  • adult rather than puppy
  • good with cats
After we met Frank, we readjusted our thinking on the adult dog vs puppy factor, but otherwise, maintained our list of requirements.  The final adult size of our dog was one of the big considerations for us.  We wanted a dog who could keep up with us on outings at the local state parks but have no interest in bagging doggy do that rivals the size of our own wastes.  Great Danes and chihuahuas were both out.

When we met Frank at the shelter, one of the things we liked about him was that he was right on target for how big our puppy should be at the age they had listed for him.  We sifted through a lot of websites searching for calculators to help us determine how big Frank would be.  This was a key factor in our decision-making process because the shelter had him listed as a "hound-labrador" mix.  The shelter estimated that he would be a 50lb adult dog.

Based on the formula:

(weight in lbs / age in weeks) * 52 weeks = adult weight in lbs

We figured that 7.5lb Frank, at the 14 weeks they had his age listed at would be about 28lbs when grown.  Our vet agreed that at 4 months, or 16 weeks, a puppy ought to be about half of his adult weight if he's a medium-sized breed. 

"Great!" we thought.  25-30lbs was exactly what we were looking for.  35lbs would definitely qualify as larger than anticipated, but do-able.  We were certain we had our dog.  After being seen by multiple vets during our first few weeks, we were further reassured that he would be small as each and every vet said, "Hound/labrador mix?  Are they nuts?  This is a beagle."  Beagles top out at 25-30lbs usually.  Perfect!

Let's rewind now, to that first vet visit.  Remember how they held off on the rabies shot because the vet felt certain that Frank wasn't 14 weeks yet?  The vet said that when his front teeth become loose or are lost, that's when we'll mark 16 weeks of age.  Guess what.  Yeah.... Frank, 5 weeks after being adopted, STILL hasn't lost a single tooth, and more to the point, none are even the smallest bit wiggly.  So our dear little puppy is WAY younger than we all guessed or his teeth are WAY behind normal development.  The vet is still thinking that young is more likely than odd.

So let's run that math again.

(12.5lbs/14weeks)*52weeks = 46lbs of adult dog.

Are you noticing what I'm noticing?

Even if I run the numbers with a generous 15 weeks of age, I still come up with 43lbs of adult dog.  Um, Frank? Could you please start losing your teeth soon?  I don't want to end up with a 100lb beagle.  Thanks!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week 4 With Dog

We are now officially done with our 4th week with Frank.  What a week it was!  In short:

  • Frank is starting to signal when he wants to go outside.
  • We're down to only 1 or so accidents a week, our fault.
  • Frank is mostly sleeping through the night.
  • We're still working on Sit, Stay, Come, Wind, Rewind, Lie Down, and Drop It.  We're beginning to add in Down, Off, and No.  
  • Leash behavior is improving, with lots of work. 
  • The vet says that either Frank is still not 16 weeks old or his tooth development is delayed from the norm.  Since tooth development is usually VERY consistent across all breeds, he favors Frank actually being a full month younger than the shelter led us to believe.
  • Giardia is in the house.
Have you ever dealt with giardia?  Let me just say that I never want to deal with it again.  EVER.  The poor dog was leaking from both ends and it wasn't pretty.  Thankfully, his house-training held and he actually signaled that he needed to go out even when he was at his most sick.   I'm $250 poorer after a trip to the animal ER, but Frank is pulling through.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week 3 Done

We have now been owned by Frank for 3 full weeks.  Amazingly, it feels like it's been MUCH MUCH longer.  Really.  Three weeks seems so incredibly short.  I feel the urge to look at my calendar to make sure it's only been 3 weeks.

Frank has certainly had a good run of it so far.  We're down to only 1-2 accidents a week, which is wonderful.  We were getting full nights of sleep last week, but this past week it's been 1-2 wakeups a night.  I really can't complain too much, though.  We no longer have piddle pads on the floor and feel comfortable leaving him out in the living room when we're not focusing on him.  We do, however, focus on the clock and make sure he goes out every hour when he's awake.

Over the past two days, a winter dumped an unmeasurable amount of snow on us.  I say we can't measure it because it was tiny flakes and the wind has created drifts and valleys.  Needless to say, it was somewhere around 18" of snow.  During the night last night, I had a very hard time getting out to let Frank eliminate, but this morning, after my husband cleared a few paths through the yard the fun was ready to begin.  Frank LOVES the snow.  He bounds through it like a bunny.  It really is a treat to see.  He has to come in after about 5 minutes and warm up for a bit, but then he's back at it.

I sometimes find myself frustrated with the hound part of Frank.  He sniffs everything.  Literally everything.  I can't go for more than 10 feet of walk with him without a sniff stop.  That in and of itself isn't all that annoying, but it makes house-training difficult.  It's really hard to tell whether he's sniffing the carpet because it smells good or because he's looking for a new spot to decorate with urine.  

Week three feels like a really successful week.  Frank weighed in at 10lbs on Friday. We still don't know how old he is, as he's got all of his baby teeth still.  We're no closer to knowing how large he will be when fully grown, but we know that we love him enough that we don't much care how big he'll be. I feel like we're starting to have a new member of the household rather than a time-sucking obligation.  I still find myself spending large bits of time on the floor just staring at the dog, but I find that rather enjoyable and much less stressful than worrying over whether the dishes are done or not.  That having been said, I can see from where I sit that the dishes have NOT been done in the past 2 hours.