Monday, November 22, 2010

Tooth fairy should bring her lot's of noms.

There's finally something about Niila's teeth that is worth blogging about! Her permanent canine teeth finally showed up and like expected, the milk canine teeth didn't get loose at all. No matter how much we played tug-o-war with her, her lower canine teeth just refused to loosen. So today we visited a vet to get her canine teeth removed. We checked her with a different vet and he said that all four could be removed, but this new vet said that only the lower canine teeth could be removed, that the upper canine teeth are still too hidden inside the gum. It suited us even better.

Niila fell asleep really quickly, and I think the whole operation was over quite soon too. J.R. helped the vet but I waited in the waiting room. The vet only wanted one to help and it's easier for J.R. to hold her. We got one canine tooth to home with us but the other one got broken while it was being removed. Niila was one shaking whimpering thing when she got out. I felt sorry for her, but her teeth needed to be removed.

Hi! My name is Niila and I just got my canine teeth removed and it kinda sucks!
Hi! I'm Niila's milk canine tooth and it kinda sucks to be away from her gum!
Strangely, we didn't get any information from the vet how we should continue with her teeth. Should we just wait and see or should we start the pushing therapy again. We might have to visit her again for the upper milk canine teeth though, so we can ask her then. I'm just worried that the new teeth might be wrongly positioned too, even though I can't tell it for sure yet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giveaway winner

The Dog Food Giveaway is now closed and it's time to reveal the right answer. I asked you to guess which one is the high quality food and which one is the low quality food. The food on the left is Orijen Puppy, six star rated and the one in the right is Hill's Science Diet puppy, zero star rated. Only two of you guessed right: 27 Stitches and Silly Little Lady. And I thought this was an easy one!

The high quality food is the one on the left.
And now to the winner of this giveaway! I let Niila to do the drawing:



video



And the winner is A Tangled Yarn! Congratulations!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dog Food Week Giveaway!

The Dog Food Week is over and it's time for the first ever giveaway in my blog! I have had a whole week to figure out what to "give away" and I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with.

The winner of the giveaway will get an original "humiliate the dog" tube hat in size S or M and the hat will be hand knitted by me. The hat won't look exactly like in the picture, because I don't have that yarn anymore, but the winner will be able to affect the color and the size. There will also be a color print of the hat knitting/crocheting pattern included in case she/he wants to make more hats.


The winner will also get a fresh batch of Papu's Piggie Treats, the recipe to make them and a small cookie cutter. The cookie cutter may not be the same as the one in the picture.


How to win: There is a picture of two different dog foods below. One food is high quality food, rated with six stars in Dog Food Analysis. The other one is rated with zero stars. Guess in a comment which is which.


You don't have to guess right in order to win, because the winner will be selected randomly. If you are a subscriber, whether you are an old one or you just subscribed after reading this post, mention that in your comment too. Subscribers will get one extra entry.

International entries are welcome and I ship on my own expense. The giveaway closes on  Saturday 20.11. The winner will be chosen randomly. I will announce the winner on my blog on Sunday 21.11 and also contact the winner personally. Please make sure I have a way to contact you!


THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dog Food Week - Why to feed your dog with high quality food?

This is the third post of my Dog Food Week. The previous post was "How much does the high quality food cost"? If you want to know more about the Dog Food Week or the schedule, read the introduction post.

I think the real question should be "Why wouldn't you? Why wouldn't you feed your precious family member with the best food possible? People don't eat crappy food, so dogs shouldn't be forced to eat it either. But feeding quality food is more than just a kind act. It will help the dog to live healthier, longer life.

Improves health and elongates life

Think about the ways you can make your dog's life better and the ways you can ensure that your dog stays as healthy as possible. You can teach him tricks to make sure that it he gets to use his brains and doesn't get bored. You can play with him or take him to biking, hiking, jogging, walking or whatever to make sure that he gets plenty of exercise. You can take him to the dog park to give him a possibility to interact with other dogs. You can take him to the vet if he seems sick. So there's basically just activation and exercise. And oh, feeding.

Sometimes you're busy and you don't have time to go out for a long walk, or it's raining too hard, or maybe you don't have imagination to make up new tricks all the time. But you feed your dog every single day, no matter what.

Studies say that dogs will live about two years longer if they are fed with quality food. They will also stay healthier longer. That's what I want for my dogs. I want them to live a happy long life with me as I love them so much. I want them to be here with me as long as possible, and since there aren't so many ways I can ensure that, at least I'm feeding them with high quality food. I also believe that with right diet the dog will stay healthier longer, that even though the dog gets old, it will stay healthy.

And who wouldn't want his or her dog to live a long, happy, healthy life?

Poop is pop

And another very relevant reason to feed the dog with quality food is poop. It is the first thing that changes after changing successfully to a high quality food. The poop looks different and there's less of it. I have witnessed this myself. We spent a week dog-sitting my sister's dachshund and she ate some low quality dog food. Her poop was very dark and very, very smelly and quite loose too. Definitely not something nice to pick up. The same with my mother's dachshund. When our dogs poop (considering that they have not been eating something unusual), it's not unpleasant. The poop is solid, nicely colored (if you can say that from a poop) and definitely not as bad smelling.

We fed Niila with Royal Canin when we got her, because that was what she ate at the breeder's, and we didn't want to change that right away. And she pooped awful, awful poops and awfully lot too. When we changed to Orijen Puppy, the problem was solved. No more smelly piles of poop. I have heard this same story from other dog-owners too; on low quality food the dog poops more often.


So if your dog seem to poop a lot and the poop smells awful, is loose or the color is too dark or gray, it's probably because of the low quality food. Change for high quality food and watch if it changes for better. It's better for you too, since you will be picking it up! Just remember that it takes weeks for dog to adjust to a new food, so the change might not happen overnight.

Why support crap?

As long as people are bying cheap food with suspicious ingredients, dog food manufactures keep making it and less educated people keep feeding it to their dogs. Require quality and we will get more quality. And maybe the prices would become lower too since there would be higher demand for the food and also healthy competition between the high quality dog food brand. Who knows?

The next post will be a giveaway.  If you're worried that you might miss it, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dog Food Week - How much does the high quality dog food cost?

This is the second post of my Dog Food Week. The previous post was "How to detect the quality of the dog food? If you want to know more about the Dog Food Week or the schedule, read the introduction post.

Introduction

In my previous post I said that the dog food with highest meat content is also the dog food with highest quality. Unfortunately the dog food with highest meat content can also be the most expensive one. But is it really?

Let's take an example: In our veterinarian's they sell Hill's Science Diet (Plan) with a high price. And you could rationalize that it's high quality food because a) the price is high and b) it's your vet that's selling it, they should be interested about your dog's health. But even the Science Diet puppy food ingredient list starts with "ground whole grain corn". So despite the high price it's a low quality dog food.

So basically the price tag tells nothing about the quality of the food. The food can be pricey, but still be considered as a low quality dog food.

Quality costs, but so does crap too

The truth is that high quality dog food is not cheap... when compared to food with lower than low quality. The reason they make these low quality dog foods is that they can sell them cheaper and people would rather buy them than the better ones with pricier price tags. And sometimes they have played their cards right and are able to sell crappy dog food with ridiculous price tags like in the case of Hill's.

So to be able to see which dog foods are actually worth the money and which are not, you need tounderstand what makes a quality dog food. I've heard about so many cases in which someone thinks he or she is feeding the dog with high quality food because the food is from the vet or from special pet store and because it's ridiculously expensive! I don't know about you, but I am very willing to pay for dog food, but only when I know it's really worth the money.

The right starting point

Money is probably the first thing that prevents people from feeding their dogs with high quality food. But I think that comparing prices is not the right starting point when it comes to food. Of course everything sounds expensive when you have to pay it at once! Last time we spent 140€ for dog food and people think we are crazy. But instead of thinking about the price, you should evaluate how much you are willing pay for your dog's dinner per day. And if you're on the poorer side, you can think how much you can afford. Then simply find the dog food with most highest quality that falls into that budget.

Example

I decide that I'm willing to pay around 1€ per day and then I start to search for high quality foods that are easily available. Eventually I choose Orijen Regional Red, which has rated with six stars in Dog Food Analysis.

Orijen Regional Red costs 26,99€ per 2.5kg in Zooplus.fi online store. It does sound pricey because it's only two and a half kilos. Then I search for the feeding information from their website:

Daily Ration and Feeding Guide
WEIGHT OF DOG ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
(g/cups per day)
LESS ACTIVE
(g/cups per day)
1-10 kg/2-22 lb 75-150g/¾-1¼ c 55-115 g/½-1 c
10-20 kg/22-45 lb 150-275g/1¼-2¼ c 115-200 g/1-1¾ c
20-35 kg/45-75 lb 275-375g/2¾-3¾ c 200-275 g/1¾-2½ c
35-50 kg/75-110 lb 375-500g/3¾-5 c 275-400 g/2½-3½ c
50-65 kg/110-145 lb 500-575 g/5-5¾ c 400-525 g/3½-4¾ c
65-80 kg/145-175 lb 575-675 g/5¾-6¾ c 525-690 g/4¾-6 c

My dog weights about 5.5kg and I think she is "less active". The daily portion would be about 80g.

2.5kg / 80g = 31 days

Now I know that this bag of dog food would last for 31 days.

26.99€ / 31 days = 0,90€

So feeding my dog with this high quality food would cost 90cents, which is less than I was ready to pay!

Size matters

The smaller your dog, the less the quality food will cost per day. However, big dogs win something too. The dog food is usually cheaper in a big bag than in a smaller one, but big bags are inconvinient with small dogs, especially since you should change the dog food every now and then.

But no matter the dog size, you can always aim at the best and then make compromises due the money issue. Maybe your Saint Bernard eats like a horse, but you can still make sure that you're feeding him/her with the best food you possible can.

The next topic is "Why to feed your dog with high quality food?" If you're worried that you might miss it, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dog Food Week - How to detect the quality of the dog food?

This is the first post of my Dog Food Week. If you want to know more about the Dog Food Week or the schedule, read the introduction post.

Topic introduction

Before we got Papu, I thought that dog food is a simple thing. That you would just go to the store and pick what ever appeals to you, and that's fine. And you could even buy dog food from the vet to make sure that the dog food is high quality food. Obviously, it's not that simple. The quality of the dog food varies a lot, and the price of the food rarely tells anything about the quality of the food. Sometimes cheap dog food can be ten times better than the very expensive one.

Most dog foods are made for the humans, and by that I don't mean that humans can eat them too. I mean that they are trying to make the food appealing to us so we would buy them. They seem to try so hard that they spend all their budget to market the dog food instead of actually making the quality dog food that they promise in the fancy package.

I think it's hard for an unexperienced dog owner to know what to believe when they read the labels of the dog foods. They all promise to be the best dog food for your dog, and each dog food sounds better than the previous one. I myself found this out when I was picking the dog food for Papu for the first time. I was driven to make the best choice for her, yet I had no idea how to make the decision.

What to look in ingredient lists?

The decision should be based on the ingredient list of the dog food. They are easy to read once you know what to look for. The order in the ingredient list is based of weight. The more something weights, the higher it goes in the list. And since dogs are carnivores, the first ingredient in the ingredient list should always be meat. If it's something else, like grains or plant material, it's a low quality dog food. The line between low quality and medium quality is that easy to draw, and it can be done with just one quick look!

However, you should be aware of "splitting". Ingredient list with split ingredients might look like this "meat, corn, another part of corn, yet another part of corn". It looks like there's plenty of meat, because meat is the first ingredient. But if you could count all those corn parts together, they might actually outweigh the meat. They do this to make the dog food sound better, but if you train yourself look for this, you won't be fooled. You should also be vary if there are too many different grains in the list, since they might outweigh the meat too.

The third thing to pay attention to is the form of the meat. If the meat is in "meat" form, it has been weighted before it has been dried, which obviously makes it heavier and therefore higher in the ingredient list. When the water is removed, it probably drops further down the list. If the meat is in "meat meal" form, then you don't have to count the water factor. The meat should also be identified: chicken instead of poultry etc.

Examples

I have chosen some examples of real ingredient lists so I could demonstrate how easy it is to make the basic analyze of the dog food quality:

Corn Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat...

The first ingredient is "corn meal", so this automatically falls into "low quality" category.

Lamb, Brewers Rice, Corn Meal, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Egg Product, Ground Whole Grain Barley, Chicken Fat...


This look good at first, since the first ingredient is meat. However the meat is in "meat" form so in reality it should be lower in the list. Then the real first ingredient is most likely to be grain...  I don't now have to analyze it any further because based on this information I know that it's a low quality dog food.

Cereals, meat and animal derivatives (min. 4% chicken in chicken kibble), vegetables (min. 4% vegetable in vegetable kibble) oils and fats, minerals, vegetable protein extracts...

What's in this?! I rate this lower than low quality.

Fresh boneless chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, russet potato, fresh pacific salmon, herring meal, sweet potato, peas, fresh lake whitefish, fresh northern walleye, chicken fat...

There are many meat products in this ingredient list, and they are all identified as well. Some of the meat is in "meat" form, but since there are meat in "meat meal" form too, it's quite safety to assume that the meat content in this dog food is high and therefore I place this in the high quality category.

Closure

It's relatively easy to detect if the food is low quality. Detecting whether the food is "medium quality" or "high quality" is harder. The quality is the higher the more meat it contains, simplified... But since the dog food manufacturers aren't always keen to share the exact percentages of the ingredients, it's sometimes hard to know for sure. Luckily the high quality dog food brands usually share this information openly.

There are also plenty of good dog food review websites on the Internet. They can help you to determine the quality of the dog food you're thinking about. My favorite website is Dog Food Analysis. They have reviewed dog foods solemnly by their ingredient lists and rated the food with stars from one to six They also have many interesting articles listed in their FAQ.

The next topic is "How much does the high quality food cost?" If you're worried that you might miss it, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Dog Food Week!

Yesterday I woke up early and for some mysterious reason I also felt really energetic. I had nothing to do before school, so I thought I could spend my morning writing that blog post about dog food I have planned for months and months. Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, I am really passionate about dog food so I end up writing something that I usually refer as "megapost" or as "the post that is so long that nobody will ever read it".

So therefore I'm announcing this week as the Dog Food Week. I'm going to break my megapost into smaller parts and post them through the week. That way I have a chance that someone actually reads them. There is also going to be a giveaway at the end of the week, which is something totally new. I have never had I giveaway in this blog, so it's about the time. The prize of the giveaway will be something dog food related since this is a Dog Food Week.

Here is the raw schedule:

The Dog Food Week
  • How to detect the quality of the dog food? - Tuesday
  • How much does the high quality dog food cost? - Wednesday
  • Why to feed your dog with high quality dog food? - Friday
  • Giveaway - Saturday
If you have other dog food related topics you would like me to cover, or just questions about dog food, drop a comment. I will take all suggestions to my consideration, and I will gladly answer any questions.

 If you're worried that you might miss a post that you would definitely like to read, subscribe. It's easy and you'll never miss a post again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Calendar for social life losers

I was really excited when school started this Fall. Fall means new calendars, and I absolutely love calendars. They make me feel oh so important. I just have one teeny tiny problem... I barely have life beyond school, and school projects don't really fill the calendar. Empty days, weeks and months make me feel depressed and like a social outcast. And besides, I couldn't justify buying a new fancy calendar just to write down one or two exam dates.

So I came up with somethind different. I call it a "calendar for social life losers".


It's just a thin notebook which I have covered with violet paper. The stickers on the cover say "Calendar etc 2010" in Finnish. Not very fancy or original, but in the same time it suits my style. Every spread in the notebook represents one week; I have handwritten the number of the week and the names of the months including the specific dates.


The basis of the calendar is really simple, but it works for me. I just write down the day and what is going to happen, and I can use pretty much as much space as I want to, because there's no fear that I'll manage to use the whole spread... J.R. complained that my calendar is hard to understand because the days don't follow any logic. It doesn't bother me. I think it's easy to scan because I only have 1-4 events marked for each week. And hey, there's still room for occasional to-do lists!

When I go through my calendar now, I don't feel depressed. My calendar covers all my needs and makes me feel like I have a life, because there's no empty days. Yay!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Autumn leaves and my little Autumn ladies

There have been some signs that the winter is just around the corner. Days have became colder and it has also snowed a little. It still looks like autumn outside, though. There are even some leaves on the trees. Papu is prepared for the winter. She has her coat and her little tube hat. Niila, on the other hand, is not prepared at all. She doesn't even know what winter is. And she doesn't have a winter coat yet. I've been looking for a human coat that I could turn into doggie coat, but I haven't found anything suitable. The time is seriously running out, so I hope I find something before it gets seriously cold.

The girls have been enjoying the autumn too. Last weekend we visited my parents because of my dad's birthday party. We let them run loose in the backyard and they seemed really happy. Viiala is like a paradise for our pups. There's plenty of room to run, indoors and outdoors, and there's lots of play mates too. My mother's dachshund is now also Niila's good friend and she also made friends with my sisters' Labrador retriever, Dachshund and Golden retriever. The Golder retriever is a new acquaintance for Papu too. My sister's family just got her and she was actually younger than Niila.

They also tried out their new sweaters against the chilly autumn weather. The blue sweater that Papu is wearing is knitted by me, and J.R. has knitted the greenish sweater Niila is swearing. 

The ladies don't always manage to look so smart.

Papu is actually shivering from cold in this picture.

Niila is one serious super model.

Sniffing, sniffing.
There is also one new video of Niila on Youtube. They were playing just the other day with a stuffed mouse. Niila got it and she didn't want to give it back to Papu. It seems that our little one knows how to benefit from her smaller size...



Sunday, October 10, 2010

I don't mind so much about getting older because I got so many awesome birthday presents

My birthday was on Friday, but for some reason my parents and sisters forgot it. I expected to get birthday wishes early on the morning, but I actually received the first one late at night and got more only after I complained that everybody has forgotten me... I don't know what could be more important than my birthday?

J.R. of course remembered my birthday, and he was excited to give me my birthday present. He had gotten it weeks earlier and he was eager to know if I liked it. We didn't do anything special for the rest of the day though. We were too busy baking cakes. J.R. baked a double chocolate cake and I made an easy cheese cake. J.R. ran into some troubles with his cake though and we had to use all of our imagination to make it work. It was worth all the trouble because it turned out fabulous.

My birthday party was on Saturday. All my friends came and we served tea, cake and other treats. Ossi entertained us by trying to play my wooden flute. You have to make a special trick to get a sound of it, and it's not exactly easy to figure out how to do that. Anyway. I forgot to take pictures of the cakes, so I have to show you a picture of my birthday presents instead:

Click to enlarge...
OK. All of my birthday presents are in this pictures, except the chocolate I already ate on Friday. The purple Vans t-shirt is from J.R. I had told him that I would like a Vans t-shirt because I really love shoes by Vans and that it would symbolize my fandom for the shoes. People wear band t-shirt because they like the bands, so I can now wear my Vans t-shirt because I love the shoes. At least it makes sense to me. The pom pom maker is also a present from J.R. I already tested it and it's super easy to make pom poms with it!

The purple scarf is from my most awesome friend Ossi. I got a scarf from him last year as well, so I think he's now my number one source of cool scarves. And since I'm the "girl who always wears a scarf", you can never go wrong with scarves with me. The shiny white cardigan is from Tien whose my friend from school. I guess she has noticed my lack of long sleeves shirts. I really needed one!

I also got a great deal of tea this year. The "Karibian aurinko" tea is from Elina and her boyfriend, as well as the shower gel next to the tea packages. I think Elina is psychic, because I have just ran out of shower gel and she saved me from a shopping trip. The two green tea packages are from Hannes. He got them from Poland and J.R. googled that they are some tangerine and cactus black teas. They sound so exotic that I can't wait to sample them tonight!

I also can't wait to try out the sandwich grill. It's from Hannes too. We already had a sandwich grill, but it was old and the shell was broken and glued back together. I always felt slightly unsafe when using it, but now I can grill sandwiches without worrying about getting an electric shock or something. I gave the old one to Hannes though, because I knew he wanted a sandwich grill too. And he's an electrician. Electricians are allowed to use unsafe devices, right?

The Body Shop gift card and sweets are from M.B. He complained earlier something about his present being too impersonal. I don't mind impersonality when it comes to body shop gift cards. I have TBS gift cards permanently in my wish list! I'm too poor nowadays to pamper myself with TBS products, but now I have no other choice than to get something nice just for myself. I'm already thinking about night cream or new shades of shimmering eye shadows... Something I want, but not necessarily need.

And lastly, two new KoKo mugs. We actually got four new KoKo mugs by Arabia, two yellow and two light green, but I don't know yet how many of them are my birthday presents. I invited more people to come to my birthday party than we had mugs, so I asked my mother if I could buy new mugs and they would just give me some money later. We decided that we needed three mugs to be safe, but we ended up buying four to get two of both colors... My mom can give me one of them or all four if she wants to.

Yes. I'm into birthday presents. Into all kinds of gifts really. I like to get them and I like to give them. And I like to write megaposts about them...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tooth update

Yesterday we took Niila to the vet again. We wanted to make sure that there's nothing too dramatic going on in her mouth now that her teeth have grown more and we also happened to get an appointment to some kind of a dog teeth specialist.

The vet was really positive and said that in most of the cases like Niila's there is a high possibility that the permanent teeth will become completely normal after all. He also said that there's no sign of inflammation in the hole in Niila's palate and that we shouldn't be worried about that unless the hole becomes red, swollen and really sore.

The vet also gave us a tip that we should give a ridiculously large raw bones to Niila. According to the vet it will help the teeth stretch toward the right position and that it works better than just pushing the teeth with fingers. We are little suspicious, but naturally we are willing to do anything to help her achieve the perfect smile.

We took a new picture of the hole in Niila's palate. The picture is not as sharp as the previous one, but it still shows some difference. We believe that the hole is slightly wider nowadays, which would indicate that the left canine teeth is moving. The hole is not helping the process, though. Niila places the canine tooth to the hole because that's where it probably feels most comfortable. When we move her jaw where it "should be", the left canine tooth is actually quite close to the right position. So I would say that the pushing therapy works, it just works really slowly and you have to have lots of patience.


Anything else is fine in our dog kingdom, by the way. Papu is her usually cute self and Niila is the nuisance she is supposed to be during the puppyhood phase.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mandibular canine tooth linguoversion in pictures

We took some pictures of Niila's canine tooth problem. Now I call it a "tooth" problem, because the other canine tooth is looking a lot less serious. The other canine tooth has not made a hole in the palate and the position is already nearly correct. However, the lower left canine tooth doesn't look good at all:



As you can see in the picture, the lower canine tooth is growing inside the palate. Currently the hole it digs looks like this:



It certainly doesn't look nice and I'm sure it creates great deal of discomfort in Niila's mouth. Poor thing. We have been practicing the "pushing therapy" every day when Niila sleeps, but we don't know yet if it works. J.R. called the vet today and she asked us to continue pushing the teeth at least for another week. Apparently her case is not awfully serious yet. Anyway. We have been practicing the "pushing therapy" every day when Niila sleeps. She only lets us push the canine teeth when she sleeps, and when she sleeps she doesn't seem to be even aware that something is going on with her mouth. She just sleeps like only a puppy can.

But it's hard to be her mommy right now. I don't want her to feel pain and it kills me that I can't help her instantly. There's no magic pills to transform her teeth over night.

At least the little girl is looking happy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What's new with Niila's exciting life?

Yesterday we took Niila to the vet to get her the first set of vaccines. It was so much different this time. When we took Papu to the vet for the first time, she needed a muzzle and J.R. needed a band-aid. Niila was nothing but brave and we were super proud of her. The vet seemed to be pretty fond of her too, but I guess vets are supposed to admire every puppy they come up with. Anyway. We learned that we might have an issue with Niila's lower canine teeth. They came up late and now their position is a little incorrect too. It wasn't really a surprise though because Niila's mother had canine teeth problems too. It was a risk we were willing to take so we can't whine about it now. Anyway. To prevent the future problems we are supposed to carefully push the canine teeth towards the correct position every day. If that doesn't work within a month, the milk canine teeth need to be pulled out.

It's quite funny actually. We did our best to find a good, reliable breeder when we decide to get a miniature pinscher. And I think the one we found was really good, no complaints. Papu is absolutely perfect... except mentally. Her timid personality  is against the breed recommendation, so even if we wanted to, we shouldn't breed her. And now we got Niila, who has the perfect social personality... but has a physical flaw so we shouldn't breed her either. Good thing we don't want to be breeders!

I have also managed to socialize Niila with some new kids recently. I ran into three little girls when I was coming back inside after one of the many pee trips. The kids asked me if they can pet her, and though I don't like kids and wanted to go inside to continue my other things, I said "OK". It's vital to get her properly socialized with kids since we don't want to double the problems we have with Papu.

The girls were all over her and even though I said "one at a time", it didn't seem to have any effect. I started to worry because Niila tried to hide in my legs and she looked really uncomfortable. Luckily I remembered that I had treats in my pocket and I took them out and asked the girls to give as many treats to Niila as possible. And once she started to receive treats from three directions she seemed to be completely fine with the quite rough and clumsy cuddles.

Ears up

I was going to write about dog foods but I got a little side-tracked. That's funny too.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Let me guess, you're a cat person?

Don't you find it funny when a person who hasn't obviously ever own a dog writes how dog owners are retarded and probably somehow even crazy? I do, and that's something I just recently read from HS.fi (online version of a Finnish news paper). The story started when someone saw somebody shopping with a chihuahua in a hand bag. You know, because it's the end of the world when you take the dog shopping with you instead of leaving it alone at home for hours. And yeah, it's seriously twisted when you carry the dog when you're in the shops as it would be otherwise prohibited to take the dog inside. For a dog owner this is a perfectly logical scenario, it's just not so common in Finland yet.

And according to the writer, there must be something seriously wrong in a person who calls herself a mommy of a dog. Well, excuse me? How do you define what is a "mommy"? If it requires that something comes out from your v-jay-jay, that would leave out all the adopted kiddies?  And what about extended families? If I raise a dog from a puppy, feed it, play with it, train it, take it out... I think it gives me the right to call myself a "mommy" if I want to. And if I'm the mommy... then I can call the dogs as my furry babies too!

I don't think there's anything wrong or twisted to think that the dog is part of the family. Of course they are. In a matter of fact, I think there is probably something very wrong in the humans who exclude the dog from the family (though working dogs may be an exception).

I think it's natural that only dog owners understand dog owners, but what makes a non-dog owner to believe she can criticize dog owners without creating a serious conversation? The text has received 306 comments so far. Most of the people said that her "truths" were plain stupid and that she knows absolutely nothing about dog ownership.... and the rest of the crowd said she's "right" and all dogs should be like abolished from the earth. Those silly people.

I think these so called dog despisers have missed something. And that something is fun. Why would anyone get a dog if it only means an endless list of chores and responsibilities? I think you're supposed to have fun with your dog! You're supposed to sign every single holiday card with your dog's name if you want to, or to write a blog from your dog's perspective (according to the writer these are all symptoms of craziness). And maybe you could even dare to take the dog shopping in Finland.


I know I'm having a blast with my dogs, no matter what other people might think about us. How about you?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Visiting Viiala for the first time with Niila

We just spent some quality time with the dogs at my parents' place! It was Niila's first visit in Viiala and she was only nine weeks old when we got there. We were slightly worried that it could be too big of a change too early in her life, but she didn't seem to mind at all. She was happily playing along right from the beginning. She loved to explore the big house and especially the garden around it. It was hard to keep up with her, though. She was so busy running, climbing on things and eating everything possible.

My family also met Niila for the first time and we got confirmation that she's not shy at all. She was OK with everyone, even with the kids. Papu is still wary with some of my family members, but Niila just welcomed them all. She also made friends with my mom's Dachshund and my sister's Labrador Retriever.

We also took some pictures of the dogs outside in the garden. We let them run and play, but we also taught both of them to come when called. Papu usually masters this skill, but for some reason she sometimes loses both of her gigantic ears when we are in Viiala.


My favorite thing is to watch the two playing together. Niila likes to run after Papu, though she's nowhere near as fast as Papu is. Papu's strong and lean body with long legs makes her an excellent runner, but I'm positive that one day Niila is an equal match.


I think the picture above clearly shows the difference of their tails. Papu's tail is very stiff and straight and Niila's tail is more like a pigtail. I hoped that the tails would be different and it seems that I totally got what I wished for! I think Niila's tails is absolutely adorable, just look at the black end and everything:


The dogs also got new beds! My mom's friend made a bunk bed for my dolls when I was a kid, and I thought it would be perfect for Papu and Niila. Papu can enjoy the luxury and peace of the top bed, because it's way over Niila's jumping capacity, and Niila can feel safe in the lower bed. The beds can also be separated.


We have been thinking about painting the beds white, but we haven't really decided yet. It's certain that something must be done, because the pink paint has already seen its best days. We have also been thinking about writing each dogs name on the side, but we're not sure about that either. Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fresh start... with the dogs

The new layout has been up for two days, and all the major bugs have now been fixed. Things are finally looking quite stable. I still need to prettify the sidebar, but otherwise I'm really satisfied. I have wanted to change the design since forever, but I thought it would be a job too big for a slug like me. It turned out to be pretty easy when I just decided to do it. Took me two days in total. Not bad, right?

Now couple words about the new design... As my regular readers (like all the three of them) have probably noticed, I have blogged more and more about my dogs than about the nerdiness of my everyday life. First I thought I should start another, separate blog about the dogs, but then I realized that I wouldn't have anything left to blog here. My life is about the dogs now. So I thought it would be more than appropriate to change the niche of my blog to actually include the dogs too. So for now on, as long as dogs are the biggest part of my life, this blog is called "It's About Amoena and the Dogs". It sounds really original, doesn't it? I thought about changing the name completely, but then I would end up with a mismatching url.

Anyway. Now you know the reasonings behind the new title. Now couple words about the actual design. It's really nothing new under my sun. I made a design for a non-commercial Finnish fashion blog for like zillion years ago and I really, really liked it at the time and I was so sorry that I did it for someone else. The blog has not existed for another zillion years, so I thought I could finally justify myself to reuse the design. I didn't just copy the old design though, I made quite many changes along the way and made it more up-to-date. And I'm really pleased that I was able to corporate the about pages so nicely to the design!

Anyway. I know that this new design is dramatically different compared to the old one, but I wanted to get rid of all the clutter and I thought the only way to do it is to start fresh. And maybe this more professional-looking and serious layout encourages me to write better posts more often.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Warning: Things are looking shaky here

I just launched a redesign for my blog... without actually testing it properly first. I was too eager to make a change. Anyway. There are some minor and some major bugs, and I'm working on them. If you find something funny... as you will, tell me if you please.

Meanwhile you can check out the new about pages and stuff...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No kids to the dog park, PLEASE

Papu is not socialized with kids. We were aware that she should have had some positive experiences with children during her puppyhood, but we didn't really had any kids in our social circle. The only kids we knew were my niece and nephew, so at least it was guaranteed that she would get some kind of experiences with kids. Unfortunately the experience she got was extremely negative. When Papu met my nephew for the first time, he ran after her and made loud noises. It took a while until his mother managed to stop this behavior and by the time my nephew was in control, Papu was already totally apprehensive.

I didn't know back then how much a negative experience can affect the dog when they happen during the puppyhood. Papu still doesn't act well around kids that are in the same age as my nephew and she certainly doesn't tolerate my nephew. I have to keep her on leash when he's around or else she will try to attack him. Too bad that his family doesn't really get this and doesn't bother to inform me when they're going to be around. They just show up and I have to struggle to get everything under control. It really annoys me that their kid did this to Papu and yet they don't do anything to prevent the problems. They let the kid run around before I get a hold on Papu. I think it's only a matter of time when Papu actually bites him and I will not blame Papu when that happens because I have always done my best to keep the two separated.

Anyway. This was just a long prologue for the next story.

It really bothers me when people bring their kids to the dog park. It's not exactly forbidden, but it says in the general dog park rules that "notice that not all dogs are tolerating kids" and in my world that simply means "don't bring your effing kids here". Since Papu is not OK with kids, I can't go to the dog park if there is a kid. And sometimes people don't even realize that it can be a problem! One time I was alone with Papu in the dog park and a family came with a giant Saint Bernard puppy. The father asked if the giant puppy was problem to us. I said "no... but the kid certainly is". He looked surprised.

I also think it's bad parenting to bring kids to dog park. Of course kids need socializing with dogs too, but that's a wrong place. It's never a good idea to surround the kid with strange dogs. Once I didn't notice that there was a kid in the dog park when I went there with Papu because the dog park was so full of big dogs. And the kid ran around, petted every single dog roughly and threw sand on them... And the parents didn't even keep an eye on her! I was mostly shocked by this behavior.

I think all dogs should be welcome to the dog park whether they like kids or not. They are called as "dog parks" for a reason. They are not just fenced parks with "dogs allowed" signs. They are the place for the urban dogs to run freely and socialize with other dogs. Playgrounds are for kids. And since dogs aren't allowed at the playgrounds, kids shouldn't be allowed at the dog parks either. It's only logical and fair, and best for all.

Edit to add: Of course we are training Papu to not react badly when for example a kid walks by, but every time we visit my parents, my nephew does something to harass Papu again and everything starts over. It's hard to convince Papu that kids are not dangerous when she continuously gets bad experiences from them.

And now a cute puppy picture:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Papu's new little sister!

We got the new puppy yesterday, but I was naturally too excited to blog about it right away. Now things have finally calmed down enough and I can spare a minute or two to introduce our newest baby to the blogosphere. Her name is Niila and she's a brown miniature pinscher.



Niila has the cutest little face. And the cutest little ears too.



She likes to hide under the sofa, because she can fit there perfectly. When Papu plays with her roughly, she runs there and she's safe. Papu can't reach her.



Because of the puppydom, Niila sleeps a lot.



Papu tries her best to show Niila that she's the boss, but secretly she seems to find her adorable too. When Niila lied down and started to sleep, Papu wanted to sleep next to her.



Papu doesn't mind if Niila comes close.



And Papu even lets Niila to sleep next to her in her bed!

Papu and Niila aren't the best friends yet, but so far they already play together and sleep together. Papu doesn't always like when Niila plays with her toys and sometimes she just tells Niila to bugger off for no apparent reason. We are clicker-training Papu to be more tolerable with Niila. We click and treat Papu if she looks at Niila or when Papu behaves calmly and nicely around her. Papu also gets treats when she lets Niila to touch her toys or play with them. We want Papu to feel that it's good to be around Niila, after all, she's the source of endless noms.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The most hurtful thing you can say to a dog owner?

I think I had my second encounter with a dog hater today. The woman was around forty and for some reason she was hanging by the door that leads to the bike room (where the residents of this building can keep their bikes so people won't steal them). I don't know what she was doing there, because these apartments are for students only and she looked nothing like a student in her posh flower dress and high heels. Anyway. Papu usually barks once or twice if we meet strangers on our way out. Sometimes she barks like crazy, but since we live in the second floor (or first floor depending how you count) we are usually out before anyone gets annoyed. I know she shouldn't bark at all, but we haven't exactly done anything to stop it because

a) the hall is usually empty
b) nobody is bothered because people here are used to barking dogs

And you probably guessed it; Papu started to bark and since the woman wasn't moving anywhere and other people were making noise in the bike room, she kept barking. When we get close to the woman she said "what's wrong with your dog?!" ("mikä sun koiraas vaivaa") and since I didn't bother to answer she continued "train your dog" ("kouluttaisit ton koiras"). Her tone was really aggressive and the things she said made me seriously upset. It was hard not to cry when we finally got out.

Papu means the world to me and I have done my absolute best to take care of her. Life has not been so easy with her and I have tried so effing hard that you have no idea. God knows how many times I have cried over her because the things have looked so hopeless. And after all that pain and tears and misery, suggesting that I have failed with her is the most hurtful thing anyone could ever say to me. I know that Papu is still very far from the perfect dog she could be, but I'm doing OK with her. She's OK too. We are getting there eventually. I'm not a failure as a dog owner.



And I love my dog no matter how loud she barks.

But that woman obviously wasn't a dow owner herself. Dog owners know that other people's dogs are a very sensitive subject. Their like babies, and you definitely can't say to a mother that her kid's shitty even when it's completely true.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Shopping baskets ARE dirty

Do you remember when I blogged about shopping baskets earlier this year? Probably not, so let me repeat the main part briefly:
Shopping basket is another environmental choice by us, though now you might wonder why we don't use canvas bags like everybody else. News for you: they're just not as handy. When you walk to a store, you have basically two options: You can pick one huge family-sized shopping cart or you can choose one big dirty (they're always dirty!) plastic basket. Not very appealing. But ha! We have our own perfectly sized clean shopping basket with us. And you walk out with the very same basket. Very convenient.
Our friend Elina was the first one to comment on the statement about dirty shopping baskets. She said that she has not noticed such thing. I don't blame her, because many people don't pay attention to these things. They just take the first basket that looks good. But really, they're dirty. Just read on.

Couple weeks ago I read from a Finnish news paper that they have actually made a small study about how clean the shopping baskets really are. The study wasn't probably completely accurate or reliable, but the result was that almost all the shopping basket they tested were flooding with bacteria. And when it comes to food, the shopping baskets should be clean. Sometimes the food can even touch the basket! Just think about bread or lettuce in those open bags... Doesn't this completely put you off?

I took pictures of the magazine, and luckily the quality is quite high. It's easy to read if you just click to enlarge. The story is also online.





The point of this blog post was to prove that I'm not crazy and paranoid because I use my own shopping basket. It's actually quite smart. And I know that my shopping basket maybe dirty too... but at least it's our own dirt.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One stinking dog poop story and some very, very exciting news

It seems that I love stories about dog poop... A little while ago I was walking with Papu when we bumped into a big dog we knew from the dog park. I said "hi" to the owner and checked the dog's name because I wasn't sure if I remembered it correctly. The dogs also greeted each other. Then we started to move on since we were heading to the same direction. Everything was pretty usual, until his dog started to poop and he did nothing, I mean absolutely NOTHING to pick up after his dog and he made no excuse why he wasn't doing so. And I was standing right next to him!

Finnish law says that in all urban areas it is compulsory to pick up the dog poop. There's absolutely nothing voluntary in it. If you get a dog and you live in the city, you have to pick up the dog poop too. And it wasn't any shady forest we were walking in, but a very popular and lovely pedestrian street. And the dog pooped on the lawn where Papu usually walks! I thought it was very irresponsible and plain stupid.

People who don't pick up dog poop are responsible for feeding dog hatred. No wonder there are people who don't like dogs if all they see is a smelly mess! I think it's my responsibility as a dog owner to pick up poop so the neighborhood stays dog friendly. There are hundreds of dogs in this area, and if we all suddenly stop picking up dog poop, they would eventually ban dogs from public places. The vision is so not nice. Besides, I don't like to see piles of poop either when I'm walking with Papu, and I don't know who does. Probably those people who don't do their share to keep places clean.

In case you're wondering, there is actually one good enough excuse for not to pick up after the dog: If the dog has upset stomach, there might not be anything to pick up at all...

Enough with the dog poop now. I have other news to share too.

My mother found a thin mattress from the flea market and she thought it would make a nice dog bed. I agreed with her and bought it. My mother later donated me some giraffe fabric and I sewed a cover for the mattress. I think it looks really nice and colorful now:



There mattress is actually folded in half in that picture above. Since it's so big you can easily make a nice dog burrito with it:



Or you can simply open it to make enough room for two dogs:



And we actually need room for two dogs... because we are getting a NEW PUPPY!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to give eye drops to a resisting dog

J.R. is away in the woods. His school sucks because it makes him to stay away from me. We get to see each other on the weekends, but this painful thing is going to last for six whole weeks. At least he has some serious studying to do. Me, on the other hand, I have nothing to do. In two days I have already spent more time in the dog park than we usually do in a week. I'm not even sure if Papu enjoys it anymore.

So, meanwhile in my small little doxie universe... Papu got some kind of an eye issue when we were in Viiala. According to the vet there might be some foreign allergens there that irritate Papu's eyes. Last time the vet gave us regular antibiotic eyedrops, but this time we got cortisone eyedrops. Three drops a day for 10 days. It sounds so innocent, right?

Papu hates when we give her eyedrops. I don't wonder, though. They are freezing cold and she doesn't know why we are forcing her to get them. It usually takes both of us to hold her before we manage to put the drops in her eyes. And suddenly I was supposed to do that all by myself. So not awesome.

There are different kind of tricks of how to give eyedrops to a resisting dog. Here's my take on it:

First I put Papu between my legs. I try lure her there instead of just calling her to come. I don't want her to associate her name with bad things.


Then I wrap a blanket gently around her tiny head.


I pull the blanket tight (it's very stretchy, so it doesn't strangle her) and hold it still with my knees.


I hold the rest of the body still with my legs.


And now I'm ready to give her the drops! I can use my both hands so it's pretty easy to hold her head still.


Oddly, Papu isn't so resistant with the eyedrops anymore. She still doesn't like them, but I can give them to her without any special tricks. It seems that she has just accepted it. Or maybe she thinks it's better to just let me give them than to go through the blanket torture...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tagged!

I got tagged today by my Twitter friend @CheekyTart. I don't know why, but getting tagged makes me feel good. It makes me feel like important and special and popular and those are all really good feelings to have.

So let's start with this mini interview!

1- What’s your staple meal (ie. what meal do you cook most often when you can’t be bothered to be adventurous) ?
I'm not sure if I have ever prepared a meal by myself. I seriously don't know how to cook. Sometimes J.R. tells me what to do with the ingredients while he washed the dishes, but I have never done it alone. I wouldn't know where to start and how to proceed, so I don't really have a staple meal either. If I had to make a meal by myself... I would probably make something with noodles. You can never go wrong with noodles, right?

2- What do you want to be when you grow up?
I talk a lot about this with J.R. and I still don't really know. I think I would love to be a web designer or a web developer. I want to code for a living. I just don't know if my skills are ever enough for that.


3- What book are you reading at the moment (if any)
I just read "The Friday Night Knitting Club" today (I usually read the whole book in one day if I start one) and it was pretty nice. It's a knitting novel. I also borrowed the sequel, Knit Two, from the library too and I'm going to read it next.

4- How do you relax?
My life isn't technically so stressful, so I don't do anything especial to relax. I think I'm relaxed all the time. But the most relaxed I feel when I watch TV with J.R. and Papu, or when I'm reading a good book. Sometimes knitting makes me relaxed too.


5- What color are the interior walls of your home?
We don't own the apartment we live in, so the walls are all white. We have decorated the walls with signs, paintings, nice pictures, cool ads and some handcrafts... With all this white you really need to do some magic to prevent yourself from getting crazy.


6- What is your guiltiest pleasure?
J.R. and I eat super chocolate muffins (that I bake, because I can bake) when we watch the Biggest Loser.

7- What time is bedtime and getting up time?
I go to bed too late nowadays, but I blame J.R. He usually decided when we go to bed. I don't have a static wake up time. I would like to wake up 9am... but that depends on the universe and everything.


8- How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)?
Google Reader Trends says it like this "From your 140 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 2,123 items," I have subsribed to way too many blogs, but I don't read them all. I usually just browse through the pictures and if something special caught my attention, then I read the text too. Only some of my biggest favorites get my full attention. Anyway. I don't think I can calculate how much time I spend reading blogs. I've lost the count by now.

---

There is only one I would like to tag today. That's you, J.R. Shape up, it's your turn to update the Yarn-Loving Couple! People desperately want to see that new cool bolero thingy you knitted for me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The smallest things make the dog owners happy

It feels really good to be home again. We spent seven days dog-sittering my sister's Dachshund in Viiala while she was on a holiday trip with her family. We lived in their house, but we also visited my parents every day since they live so close. I can't remember when I spent so much time with my family without them driving me crazy. Anyway. My sister's Dachshund is called "Pipa" and she's actually named after Papu. Papu, Pipa and Poppana are the Finnish names of the Powerpuff Girls (they tried to make my mother to name her Dachshund as "Poppana", but she named her "Minni" instead).

Papu and Pipa didn't get along so well at first and I was a bit worried how the week would turn out. It turned out that I had no reason to worry. Even though the start was a little bumpy, the dogs actually became friends really quickly. Papu even learned new ways to play while being with her! She didn't know how to play tug of war when we got there. She just tried to take the toys away from the others and didn't understand that the battle is actually part of the play too. We thought that she could still learn, so we gave Papu and Pipa some tug toys and encouraged Papu to tug them instead of stealing them. She got the idea after a while and once she learned she seemed to play really nicely with the others. We didn't have to worry about her being too aggressive anymore. We were so proud of her ability to learn new ways to behave.


They are almost identical. The other one is just fatter.

We weren't actually sure if Pipa was allowed to go on the sofa. I asked my sister if she had any specific rules and she said no. And since Pipa climbed on the sofa by herself, we thought that maybe she was allowed to and let her be there. Besides, it was only fair because Papu is allowed to go on the sofas too. And we were smart enough to take the white sofa covers away before the dogs started to wrestle on it...

I also finally finished Papu's rain overall! I started to sew it over a month ago, but I didn't manage to finish it because I didn't have metallic push-button. I knew I had them at home so I didn't want to buy new ones. And my sewing machine that I have at home doesn't sew this particular fabric.


"Today I'm wagging my head instead of my tail."

The rain overall was really hard to sew. Once again I had problems with the pattern. Even the most smallest size was for a bigger dog than Papu, so I needed to resize it dramatically. It took one whole day before the pattern was in correct size. And even after I got the patterns, the sewing instructions were hard to understand. Even my mother didn't understand how the overall was supposed to put together. It turned out pretty good after all, but I'm not particularly happy with the sleeves. They fit strangely and I'm worried that Papu might find them uncomfortable.

I also have great news for Finnish dog owners! Best Friend has replaced their regular dog waste bags with degradable ones! I have wanted to use degradable waste bags since we got Papu, but since they cost over twice as much than the regular ones, and because they were made from see-through material (who actually wants to see the poop after it's been picked?!), we decided against it. But these new waste bags by Best Friend cost exactly the same as the regular ones used to, and they are totally not see-through! And they even come in two different sizes!


With carry handles.


Totally not see-through. Hello invisible dog poop!

And do you what else in these dog waste bags makes me so excited? The fact that when you go to the regular grocery store to buy dog waste bags, you can only buy degradable ones. That means that within months almost all the dog owners are using degradable dog waste bags... How awesome is that?!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The dog park

I took some pictures of the dog park today. They're not great, but I thought they might give you an idea of the size of it. It's the biggest dog park I've ever seen, so no wonder it's mostly crowed by big dogs.

Here is a picture of the entrance:


Of course we don't usually let Papu to run freely. It's not even allowed in Finland when you're in the suburban area. We just let her off the leash when we're close to the dog park. She's so excited to get there that she pulls a lot. It's easier to let her to run freely than trying to keep up with her pace.


The dog park sign has been sabotaged one time too many. It's supposed to say "Hatsinan koirapuisto", which means "Hatsina Dog Park" in English. It also says the same thing in Swedish, since Finland is bilingual.

Here is one corner of the dog park. This is what I see when I'm standing in the middle of the dog park. Multiply that with four and you get the idea of the actual size of the dog park. The black dot in the middle is Papu.


There is also a nice tree area in the park. It looks pretty innocent, but we humans don't usually go there because it's full of nettle and other not so nice weeds. The picture also shows the nice sand road that goes through the dog park. You can see the same road in the picture above too.


Here is the view from the opposite gate. It's so big that there has to be two gates. This picture also shows the nice bench area in the middle of the park. I didn't take pictures of that, because there were people sitting. I'm sure that they wouldn't have minded of me taking pictures, but I'm not sure how they would have felt about ending up in my blog.


We found a new dog park just the another day. It's considerably smaller than the Hatsina dog park, but it seems to be popular among small dogs. We've been there twice now, and Papu have already made several new small doggie friends. She played and ran with them, which was really refreshing. She don't play often in the Hatsina dog park because the dogs there are so much bigger than her. We are going to visit the new dog park more often in the future, so Papu could play more with the other dogs. We're not ditchting the Hatsina dog park though. The people and the dogs are so nice there, and we kinda like the attention Papu gets simply because she's usually the smallest dog there. Papu is also good friends with the other dogs, so we want her to meet them too.