Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Human Speaks

There are reasons why I cannot be a Vet.

First off, I do not have enough money. Second, I won't practice for long before I'm caught and locked up in a cage where electro therapy at 4am is in order followed by a generic version of a prosac breakfast at 6. Other little things needed would be high-end lawyers, salaries and stationary.

The reason I will need all that money before I've even opened my practice would be for research. I'd have to hire some pretty damn clever people just this side of decency to make me a serum that could be put to use on bad pet owners.

We'll need spy-cams in the parking lot and a  security specialist that will be able to determine the state your animal is in even before you have closed the car door after you've let Fido out. The security specialist will be so skilled that he, or she, would be able to determine in a split second if just the animal or the animal and the owner will be treated. If you bring your animal in after it has already suffered extensively and you could have prevented it, then, my non-friend: Tag, you're it.

While you approach our front door our resident nurse (who moonlights as a nightclub bouncer) will take in position behind the door with a big fat syringe filled with the magic serum that was developed by the damn clever people just this side of decency. You'll be jabbed with the efficient accuracy of a killer in training. While in a stupid haze the security specialist and the resident nurse will carry you to and stuff you inside your own little cage made not to fit you. Aaaand theeen your training will begin.

You'll be confronted with the horror of four Bassets staring at you for as long as it takes to break you and make you cry. Only then will we let you out and give you the pamphlet detailing the characteristics of a very, very good human. (We encourage self study)

You will go home and kick your spouse out of bed so that the dog can have a better place to sleep. You might even become a vegetarian or a vegan so that your non-human person can have the steak.

You will give your dog your undying love and be a good little beta or omega or where ever your dog choose a place for you in the pack.

And you my friend, will love this vet for pulling you into that world of simple zen like love and tranquility. Hey, we might even consider your CV. If you can wield a big fat syringe, your in. 

Lots of Love,
The Human.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How they got here: Part II, Bofa

He was absolutely perfect from the first moment I met him and he hasn’t changed since. Blurring speedily out in front of his pack he was eager to be first to smell everything that could be sniffed. He was the only tri-colour in the pack, the others were black and white.

His parents were beautiful and cool and aloof and wise to the ways of long grass and duck ponds.

A day after the first ‘viewing’ I could not contain myself any longer, I was missing a puppy I hardly knew. I phoned the breeder and asked if she could send me a photo. He was a big guy at 12 weeks. Well I thought he was. He was only my second Basset so I had no Basset proportion sense then.

The Dude at 12 weeks

I was alone this time for the pickup but better prepared, I had a hammock to cover the backseat that prevented anything from climbing over to the front seats. All I could see in the rear-view mirror was the little knobby on his head.

He complained bitterly during the 1 hour drive and nothing I told him would satisfy him. He started out with a snack which was supposed to keep him busy but he finished it off in 5 minutes. I could not speak Basset yet, but today I know that he kept on asking ‘Are we there yet? When are we gonna be there? Where are we going?’ Over and over.

When I let him out at his new home the first thing he did was to run over to a sandpit where we buried bones. He was sniffing and digging unaware of his new sister staring at him with a ‘WTF’ expression on her face. She had never seen another Basset smaller that herself. She tried unsuccessfully to ignore him.

It was as if he never noticed that he had another family. He was settled even before he settled in. Strange kid.

About Teenager size

Bofa trained me within a week. The only trick he could not teach me was the ‘allow me on your bed and OUR furniture’ command. I refused with dogged Basset determination.

Tricks he did manage to teach me were :

  • -      If I groan at sleep time you must rub my belly for a while.
  • -      When I complain softly you must come and move the sleeping Nougat away from me before she bites me.
  • -      When I bark at you after you have scolded me take it as a sign that I don’t care about what you’re saying.
  • -      You waste your breath calling me when I’m busy.
  • -      You will put nice tasty stuff on top of the dry food if you expect me to eat it.
  • -      You waste your time if you ever think that I’m not going to shriek like a girl when the vet touches me. He has cold hands and I hate him.
  • -      You will allow me to sniff butts even if it belongs to a Great Dane.
  • -      You will not be paranoid about my independent nature.
  • -      I am wickedly cute. You will call me Mr. Handsome

Mr. Handsome

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Update

Enough with all the downer stuff. The pack is happy. Nougat is feeling much better, the itching is down to a minimum. Horton is okay. Bofa is still the coolest Basset you'll ever meet and Butter the strangest Basset.

Team Menace send their regards.


Around 00h15 Horton tries to climb into the same bed as where Bofa is sleeping. Bofa half groan half growl at Horten. I'm immediately wide awake, not because of Bofa's growling but because of Horton's strange behavior. I see him standing with his one paw raised at Bofa like he does when he wants attention or food. He is completely disorientated. I switch on the lights and call him to one of the open beds but he does not seem able to determine where I am and climbs into another bed. I realize we're going to have a miserable night.

Within another minute he sways from side to side before he sinks down and lie stretched out with his paws beside his mouth which is dripping watery drool. The others come rushing up with tails wagging but back off as soon as they smell him.

He is no longer able to move anything other than his eyes which are darting from side to side. It takes another 10 minutes before the trashing starts. I speak softly to him and stroke him. He is fully aware of what is happening to him but unable to do anything about it.

It was the longest epilepsy attack he has had to date. When he comes out of it Butter is there in a second to sniff him, you can tell when he had an attack, his body odor is overwhelming. She pushes her wet nose under my arm until I hug her and tell her that he is okay.

He finally gets up and I go to fetch everyone a snack, his is peanut butter with a little bit of honey - I do not have the specific brand of vanilla ice cream that is recommended.

While they go outside to do doggie things I clean up the floor where he has been unable to control himself.

I can see that he is tired when he eventually comes in and drags himself up and onto the couch. Butter positions herself in front of the couch to give his face a thorough was before she climbs up to settle in behind his back which is something she seldom does.

Butters made sure that Hortie will be alright for the rest of the night.

The first time I was hysterical and thought that he had food stuck in his windpipe. The second time I thought he had been poisoned. The vet could not detect anything, by the time he checked Horton his heart rate was normal as was his blood sugar.
The third time I knew what was happening and was there with him. The fourth time I walked right past him not noticing what was happening. The fifth time was between their nanny leaving and me coming home - there was no one. Humans can be such assholes. He forgives me though, for which I am grateful.

Sad story? Not really. Reality.

Advice? Once you know what the symptoms are: do not panic. Support. Be aware. Keep a regular schedule. Even visitors can be the cause of an attack the same or following day. Check energy levels, I know Horton becomes slow about two days prior and then I give him his meds. Keep regular feeding times - low blood sugar can trigger an attack. Do not change to a new food too fast. Check the carb content of food, too much  can cause a spike in blood sugar levels followed by a subsequent drop.I found that a good calcium supplement helps both him and Butter (who has some of her own brain related problems). Calcium needs certain other vitamins and minerals to be well absorbed. A spoon of vanilla flavored Haagen-Dazs icecream after an attack is also recommended by some.

This is the bit I know.

Anyway, the Horton is okay. Tonight he ran up and down the hall with his squeaky for quite a while before he settled.

Monday, March 26, 2012

If Bassets wanted to use Computers

Nougat would definitely have been a very capable hacker. She would have used these skills to build up an illegal-anywhere-else account in the Caiman Islands worth several bone shaped cookie factories. She would also have donated some of this money to rescue organizations as ‘Anonymous Dog’. Even the Seeing Eye Dog foundation would have received vast amounts going towards the research of a collar that could translate a dog’s words into a human language. Bassets of course do not need such collars since their feelings and intent is clearly written on their faces except when they are planning a kitchen counter heist.

Bofa would have been a keen user of Google Maps. He would have researched interesting places, memorize the GPS co-ordinates and then go of to find the place by ignoring the directions and just following his nose. We would not have seen him too often. He would bring us back stuff that we would not want like kills that were fresh some time ago. But he would mean well. If he was less of a live-in-the-real-world guy he would have blogged about his adventures.

Horton would have been a gamer with a serious X-Box setup. I would only have seen him when he came to the kitchen to raid the fridge or when his hair gel was finished and he experienced a crises because of it.

Butter would have been addicted to Google and Weird Science blogs. She would have read and read and read and then stop to think about it, then after a while she would simply just have said ‘That is so cool… Imagine that.’

Bofa the Explorer

That is if Bassets wanted to use computers.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Allergy Update

This is a boring list and available on the web in many variations. I write it down here mainly as a quick reference for myself.

1. Wash Pup using the mildest of baby shampoos that you can get. Do it in sections, start on the back, was a
    small area and rinse. The shorter the time the skin is exposed to the shampoo, the better. Use a
    conditioner for sensitive skins. This will make the hair shaft smooth and it will be less likely to trap dust like
    a rough hair shaft would.
2.  Keep Pup calm. Nervousness aggravates the situation.
    We used half a capsule of a herbal sedative in the morning and evening.
3. Bedding.
    Replace half of the detergent with Bicarb if you want to, double rinse using vinegar in the place
   of softener, final rinse, add about 1/4 cup of salt to the water.
4. I applied a topical mite-killer just in case and the normal flea stuff. Some people cringe at this and yes, next
    time I'll try to avoid the strong chemicals and try a gentler herbal routine even though herbs can also be
    damn dangerous in itself. Most of it has not been though FDA like trials and tests.
5. We also replaced a part of the food with home cooked food which they seem to survive well although in
   this case I do not think it was the food. We always use a essential fatty acids as a food supplement so it
   was not necessary to add it, but it is important when you're not doing it already. What I did do though was
   to double up on their other vitamins (some of it containing Zink) to boost their immunity and added greens
   and fruit to their food for added vitamin C.
6. Mix strong Rooibos tea with aqueous cream. I used a big jar of Zambuck cream as a base with two drops
    of lavender essential oil, about two thirds of a cup of rooibos tea, well mixed. I have no idea if the
    Zambuck actually does anything, but a colleague said you could fix anything but a car engine with it.
7. Rinse problem areas with strong, lukewarm Rooibos two three times a day. Don't towel dry, rather take a
   comb and comb through to get the tea onto the skin if the undercoat is thick.

Noting really seemed to work until I added Rooibos to the list of possible solutions.
Seems that tannie Annetjie Tron knows a lot after all.
I'd still do all on the list prior to the Rooibos discovery since it is best the try and root out the cause of the problem.
Go Google the benefits of Rooibos if you want to know more. It seems to be wonderful and I am going to try and slip some into the drinking water once or twice a week. It contains lots of good stuff.

There are recipes out there for creams with rooibos and camomile and all sorts of additional ingredients. I'd avoid those that add grapeseed oil or garlic to the mixture since it is on the list of things not to feed dogs. Whenever any brand transgresses that list I lose interest. What I want to do is plant some lemon verbena. It grows easily and also has a very calming effect on the skin and is also a good moisturizer. First though, lots of research.

Someone also once gave me a recipe with a spoon of honey added but the Basset who needed it hates the taste of sugar. It was also impossible to find honey produced in our area. The idea is to expose the system to a mild form of the pollen in the region, almost like an inoculation. Something else to consider is the effect of sugar on  teeth.

Anyway, there it is. Lots of info and effort that is available on the web. Use common sense. And throw some info this way if you know of something that works.

 Soon we'll have a smiling Nougat again.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Love is Food

Visiting with an old friend and a new friend, talking talking eating drinking still not filled because the real sustenance is at home waiting by the gate.

How they got here: Part I, Nougat.

 Nougat was first. I wanted a lemon Basset like the first Basset I ever met – Doctor Kurney. I’ve read extensively before I made the decision and somehow I missed all the parts where it was written that they’re active and busy and shed a lot. They were supposedly lazy dogs with easily maintainable coats, a bit hard to housebreak. Lots of info about the drool and how much of it. Only one guy wrote about the shedding but I thought he must’ve not looked after his Basset because everyone else had another opinion.

I new that it had to be a female so that the pack order would be started off in the correct manner. The females are more dominant, bringing one home after a male that has already settled could cause possible pecking order fights. Female first, training and then another, a male.

I still consider Nougat a rescue case. The breeder was and probably still is someone who should rather be breeding high-end cabbages. I will not go into the details, only say that there was a little lemon female who did not look as if she was going to make it. She could barely sit upright, watery eyes; the other puppies were running all over her. She had a pink nose. I had thoughts of her being left till last and sold off to someone wiling to pay as little as possible and not take care of all that pink skin. She was sold at ‘8 weeks’, but in reality she could not have been more than 5 weeks old. Her eyes were still blue. 

The Baby

My sister, Mrs. Fudge, went with me for the pickup. One of us tried to pacify the crying puppy and the other tried to drive with the distraction.

She was not the prettiest puppy and I had strong doubts that she was a Basset at all. Even the vet (first stop before we went home) told me she was the furthest thing from a Basset puppy he has seen – maybe some kind of waterdog he said. I defended her and secretly hoped that she’d grow up to be a real Basset.

 I thought that she was going to be partially blind because of the milky blue of her eyes, but that was before I figured out that she wasn’t really 8 weeks old yet.

Like all puppies she cried a lot the first night in spite of the hot water bottle, teddies and ticking clock. I eventually buckled and pick her onto the bed where she crept up to my neck and fell asleep. I never needed to do that again. From then on she knew I was close by.

Nougat’s nanny was arranged even before I chose her. The day-mother was a dog trainer who looked after and trained puppies during the day. We travelled quite a distance in the mornings for the drop-off. She was taught to sit before the end of the week. My clever puppy.

The Toddler

Nougat eventually grew ears and later on grew into her ears. Some parts of her nose are still pink. Her eyes are fine. Her skin, well I was right about that part. It needs a lot of tender care. But I don’t care about having to take care of that. 

The Teenager

The Adult with cousin Salsa

  Isn't she just gorgeous?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to turn a Sleepy Basset into an Alert Basset.

You rattle the cookie jar and wave a snack in the air. Spot the drool.

The Nougat is unwell

She's always had skin issues, but we had been lucky for a while after I realized that she was allergic to the metals in her dog tag. Now the itch is back and it has never been worse. Looking back, a whole lot of things changed over the past couple of months and almost all at the same time. STUPID human.

Lets see - for some odd reason the Human bathes the puppy with F10 when her skin can handle no more than a mild baby shampoo. Mistake no. 2: find a shampoo with oatmeal to lessen the blow.  Undesired result. No. 3: change washing powder without thinking. No 4.: Become paranoid about their food after 2 years down the line when realizing that I am spending as much on supplements as what I do on the food that is supposed to take care of that. Change food. Add home cooked stuff. Get Sensitive Skin food for the Nougat in another attempt to alleviate her frustration. Slowly start mixing with current food. Result: severely upset tummy (Here it is not totally my fault. The Musketeers are thriving on the homemade additions). No. 5: Add a new supplement. Who even knows what holds it together. [Insert harsh word of choice here].

I am trying to undo some of the damage. Washed some doggy sheets in salty water today as emergency bed covers. Give Nougie rice and of all things, liver [insert favorite word of amazement at stupidity]. Chicken livers. Not only rich but , usually, also from a chicken. Which is an allergen. (Which makes me wonder if people who are gluten intolerant can eat meat from a grain fed chicken or cow?). Maybe the chicken livers came from a grain fed chicken.

At the moment I am a grumpy, irritated parent. My next effort will be a homeopath. Someone has to help me with a holistic approach. If a vet tells me one more time 'Allergex', I'm gonna deck him and feed him to the Bassets.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Everyone was busy today with sporadic bursts of blur and speed. In-between enough time was taken for a breather - lying around watching the human build a basset ramp for the BUV.

Here comes Butter screaming around the 10 paces a minute.

Horton killing the same teddy bear for the n'th time.

Nougat on her way to meet...

Bofa who's on his way to catch up with Nougat.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


I'm having doubts these days about the food I've been feeding Team Menace. It is a well-known very clever put together brand, but I caught them contradicting themselves on  their .com web page. By promoting a new product which is in step with the latest research, they invalidate most of their other senior and adult products. New information reveals (and it makes a lot of sense) that senior dogs need more protein and not less to combat muscular atrophy. The reasoning for the less protein was that it causes kidney problems in older dogs who's bodies can no longer break it down well enough. Turns out it is the highly processed protein in dry food that is the problem.

I noticed that in the recent months my pups weren't as strong as what they should be, Horton and Butter developed warts that should not have happened if their immune systems were in order. This happened after they were put on a senior light food. They did not lose the weight they picked up on the normal senior dog food.
Bofa started skipping breakfast. I could see that he was trying to avoid eating the dry food until it was the absolute last thing left in the bowl.
Nougat has not scratched this much since I figured out that she was allergic to the metal in her fancy tag. She had been wearing the plastic kind since then and was okay for a year until recently. (Mrs Fudge also made her a beautiful collar with no metal in it.)

Is our brand cutting corners in the current economic climate?

So off to the vet I went and picked two test packets of food from the opposite shelf, not a too expensive brand, but one at least backed by a well known superb brand that I've been avoiding since they classified Bassets as a medium sized dog.

Nougat loved the duck and rice allergen free sample and Bofa ate like a Basset with an appetite. Stupid me. I might just as well have sent Mr. Easily Distracted Horton to go and do the shopping. Protein was not even mentioned as a first ingredient in either of those two sample packets.

There are 5 and even 6 star brands out there in the world but you'll find none of it locally. The local companies import only a fraction of it and only what is rated as 3 star foods.

There are many many people advocating raw diets these days but the lines are very blurred. Reading, observation, instinct and common sense is needed here. It is still super tricky and it will be best if I can figure it out before the Bassets have aged another year.

So after that short explanation above, what I really want to say is that I'm attempting to supplement their food with real food, veg and meat and so forth. Yes, I cook for the Bassets but heat up frozen pizza for myself because of time constraints. They love it. I'll nail it soon. Give me six months or less.

something's cooking...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Pet Mall

I'm sitting in a mall not older than a year and it is a dying mall. The bees have taken their credit cards and moved the hive elsewhere. What if it was turned into a pet mall?

Humans like me would not have to feel the 'rush home' itch after 30 minutes away from home. My movie starts only in another hour but I'm uncomfortable about wasting my time away from the pack because there is enough of that during the week.

I could bring them all with me!

 Instead of car guards there would be someone helping you get the hooligans out of the car without incident. The security guards will be patrolling with water spray guns - aggressive dog control.

There would be vet consultation rooms, pet gyms (where you'd get personal trainers - ha!), health shops, pet product convenience stores, boutiques for the Chihuahuas, a day care center, a games parlor where you can play catch the virtual rabbit, toy stores, cat-anariums, movie theaters (for the humans while the Bassets are at the games parlor), biltong bars, snack shops, cookie shops, sound stores (where you buy nothing but make as much noise as you can), restaurants where you can sneak things off low tables without getting into trouble, smelly perfume stores, mattress shops. There would be fire hydrants and patches of lawn in the bathrooms, talking to and sniffing strangers would not be dangerous.

can we go to the mall please? Please...please...lots of please?
No one will ever want to go back home again, which is why those guys in the parking lot would have to help get the hooligans back into the car. (Plus the shopping bags)

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Bofa is by far the best drooler in our pack. Yesterday I took him and Butter to the vet at the same time (the last of the kennel cough vaccinations for a year). As always he was super excited about all the smells and people and had in a minute flat lathered up a muzzle full of excitement induced frothy drool. This froth he expertly wrapped around his entire face with a good shake of the head.

There was an elderly couple at the counter waiting to pay, the woman looked down and remarked how beautiful they were - which Bofa took for a 'come here puppy let this friendly lady pet you'. It was only when he leaned forward that she realized he was covered in drool. Her facial expression changed and she started stepping back saying 'No, stay...'. I pulled him back of course. I think they might have been bird people with touch and cuddle issues.

Here is Bofa working up a lather when eating his favorite veg: grass.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We're in hiding...

Somewhere on my laptop resides a pesky app that steals data. Untill found I have to resort to other ways to get our message out into the universe. Please be patient. Blogging using my (smart) phone but I promise you it is no fun. Hence short messages and crummy photos for a while. Aaaaannnnddd looks like blogger and my phone's media card hates each other. Well.