Photobucket Photobucket Therapy dogs spread happiness, love, and cheer to people who otherwise might be lonely, sad or slow to heal. This is the journey of Cayman, a longhair miniature dachshund and his journey and experiences visiting becoming a therapy dog.

Did you know that pet visits often spark good memories of a person's own pets? Dogs often can reach people and children who have withdrawn from the world. It's been suggested by science that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote healing.



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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cayman, the bratty adolescence!

I know it has been a while since my last blog. Well, finally we have something new to blog about!

Cayman has entered that bratty adolescence. At least that is what the vet told us yesterday. He simply said "In the next few weeks, your dog is going to completely fall apart on you. He is going to lose his puppy coat and get his adult fur in, he is going to be losing his puppy teeth so you may find yourself stepping on them and find blood on his chewing bones, and all your housebreaking efforts are going to go out the window as he will regress any progress. Don't worry, after that he will go right back to where he was. And he is going to be hormonal so don't be surprised to see him beginning to mount things."

Great, so I am gonna have a six pound hormonal mess on my hands till Neuter Day. Cayman has already displayed many of these "preteen" issues. He has been shedding his fluffy, light colored coat for a silkier, more reddish golden coat. The only evidence of puppyhood left in his coat is some fluff down by his haunches and on top of his head. He has been chewing on EVERYTHING! I have already had to replace a clock radio alarm clock and had to make my fountain vase, well, just a vase since he chewed the cord completely in half that powers the fountain part. And the humping has begun already. Zoey, our toy poodle, is the poor victim of Cayman's hormonal changes. Thank goodness all the pets are spayed already! He completely torments her, just like a bratty little brother, by constantly wanting to play and nipping her when she tries to move away. He steals her bones right out from under her nose. He is much more calm with Roxy, my parent's beagle mix though. I think it is because she is so much bigger. Zoey is more Cayman's size.

But even through this period, Cayman has made a very good break through. I finally got fed up of the whining and crying and yelping at 4:30-5 am in his kennel so I got down on my hands and knees, literally- you would have laughed, and made sure our entire bedroom was puppy proof- nothing he could chew on, nothing he could swallow, nothing of value he could destroy. I put up the baby gate in the doorway to our room and a puppy pad for middle-of-the-night accidents and let him sleep where ever he wanted in our room. His sleeping place of choice has been under our bed or up on Shaylee, our daughter's crib mattress which is simply on the floor of our room. Our break through is that he sleeps through the night! No early morning crying! Just like that! I think he just didn't like to be confined. Here he can wake whenever he wants and has plenty of room and his choice of toys and bones which we leave out for him. And still no accidents other than the occasional pee on the puppy pad! And I have yet to find anything else chewed up so he obviously isn't getting in to mischief while we are asleep. Its wonderful to be able to sleep till 6:30 on the weekends and be able to sleep until my alarm goes off on the weekdays!!

So Cayman has been adjusting really well. Our biggest challenge is remembering to let him out ever so often to avoid any accidents, especially now when it seems that the vet is correct in saying our housebreaking was moving in reverse right now, and keeping him from chewing up our daughter's toys. Its just as much of a challenge to explain to a two year old why she has to make sure all her toys are picked up when she is not playing with them as it is to convince the puppy that those toys are not his to chew.

Other than that, things have been going really well. Cayman is really a personality and we are all bonding tremendously, especially Cayman to me and I to him. I just love my little weenie dog!!!!

Since I have been neglecting updating all you readers with current photos, let me go ahead and post some I took when he was still 9 1/2 weeks old. I get this roll of "butcher bones" at Publix for, like $4 in the pet aisle. I like them because there is about 7 bones in the pack and they are just the right size for all three dogs- not too big and heavy for Zoey and Cayman, but not too tiny for Roxy. They LOVE them. And I like that they are natural bones and not rawhide. I HATE rawhide and refuse to allow my dogs to have them after Zoey choked on a piece of slimy, gooey, rawhide from a retriever roll when she was about 3 years old. I never want to be that scared again. Do you know how terrifying it is to hear and see your dog choking, and not knowing what to do? Its not like there is an easy way to perform the heimlich remover on a DOG??? Anyhow, it was cute to see Zoey and Cayman just gnawing away together. Oh yeah, and Cayman does have his own bed, blue for a boy, but he could not resist a little siesta on Zoey's pink one!

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