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


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.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dogs. And dog owners.

My friends have started to ask me why I haven't blogged in ages. The thing is that my life is really uneventful at the moment. School ended couple weeks ago and I have not managed to get a job or an internship. Basically I do nothing right now and all my days follow the same pattern; wake up late, breakfast, shower, dinner, feeding Papu, dog park, TV and Sims 3 till 3am. So go figure why I haven't blogged.

But I really enjoy spending time in the dog park. It feels good to have a place to go every day. It doesn't matter that I don't have a hobby or friends to hang out with, I can always go to the dog park and the dogs and the owners greet me like an old friend. Papu likes the dog park too, even though she doesn't play with the other dogs often. They are usually way too big to play with her. She just sniffs them and sometimes runs along when they play.

We've been going to the dog park since Papu got her vaccines and was allowed to. It's a long time, and by now we know most of the dogs by name and know how they behave. The others know Papu as well. They think she's really cute. She also gets lots of compliments by one owner who remembers clearly how timid Papu was at the beginning. She stood between our legs and refused to go any further. Nowadays she's just like any other small dog hanging with bigger dogs and occasionally she even lets someone to pet her. It warms my heart to see how much she has progressed. I think she's a solid evidence of what a dog park can do for a dog.

I also feel that the other dog owners have accepted us as part of the regular gang. We are not as talkative as some of the other dog owners are, but since we go there almost every day, we have proven that we are passionate and dedicated dog owners as well. I like to listen to the other dog owners, because most of the time they talk about dogs. Some of the stories are very interesting, and naturally they share some useful tips as well. Sometimes they simply gossip. It's a totally different world.

Couple days ago we met a new puppy in the dog park. She was white and furry. There was another same-aged mixed breed puppy present in the dog park at the time, so naturally they started to share their experiences. The owner of the white and furry puppy said that she was so happy that she'd found such a good breeder... and by a good breeder she meant something that we certainly wouldn't call a good breeder.

She said the litter was "an accident" and that the parents we're quite closely related. She also mentioned that the father had a hip dysplasia and that the puppy wasn't even registered. Uh-oh. I wouldn't call that a "good deal" like she did. After all, she still had to paid half of the price of a registered, healthier purebred puppy.

I believe that accidents don't happen to good breeders. They know the breed and they know their dogs. They should know when their dogs are in heat. And if the accident does happen and the setting is like described earlier, a good breeder would probably try to terminate the pregnancy. And she would try to register the puppies no matter what. There's a special register for dogs that are not suitable for breeding. And a good breeder wouldn't price unregistered puppy that highly. For me that puppy sounded like a puppy mill product, but what do I know?

I really, really despise people who buy unregistered puppies because they are cheaper. If money is an issue, go for a mixed breed or a rescue dog. Don't support puppy mills with your money. There is no reason to breed purebreds and not register them properly. And this may come as a shock for some people, but it is expensive to own a dog, and the bigger the dog, the more it's going to cost. They eat, they need vaccines, they get sick and need a vet, they destroy things when they're puppies or suffering from separation anxiety, they need toys, water bowls, insurances... So if you think you can't afford that 1000€ to buy the purebred puppy you want, maybe you shouldn't get a dog at all. They will cost way more in their life than what you pay to get them.

The owner of the white and furry puppy also said that it would have been a waste of money to get a registered puppy, because she doesn't want to take her dog to the dog shows or breed her. I actually felt sorry for her when she said this. Without registration a purebred dog is as good as a mixed breed dog. There's nothing to prove that it's actually purebred. It may just look like one. I consider registration as a guarantee: The dog is what it's said to be and I can check her family tree to evaluate how healthy her background is.

Anyway. I hope that by the time the owner of the white and furry puppy returns to the dog park, she has learned that it's not OK to buy unregistered puppies and then brag about how cheaply she got one. The people in the dog park are generally really openminded, but I believe that we all get quite intolerant when it comes to puppy mill supporters. After all, dogs are what we live for.