Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dog, Interrupted

We have a dog. He found us in February this year when we returned home from a week long trip to my grandma's funeral. We pulled in the driveway and our neighbor boy ran up and said, "Hey, this little dog has been hanging around your house. Want to keep him?" Uhhhhhhh, NO!

Well, shortly thereafter, I was checking my 546 unread emails and my six year old, Tinkerbell, shouted, "Hey, there's a puppy at the door". He was so cute and pathetic we let him in and fed him. We were trying so hard to decide what to do with him. Finally we decided we would put him out for the night and if he was still there the next day, we'd take him to the vet and put up some "Found Dog" stuff.

Well, guess what? (We fed him, DUH!) He was a little less than six months old, still had his last two baby dog teeth, had fleas, ear infections, was not remotely trained and had obviously been neglected for quite a while. We took him home, bathed him, bought him a collar and food, and now we have a dog. We named him Frodo.

While his name is Frodo, we sometimes call him Frankendog. He is the strangest looking dog I ever saw. He has pale, pale green eyes, a big square head, a long coat with a thick undercoat on his legs and a really long tail. He looks like someone took the head of one breed, the body of another and the tail of a third and hobbled them all together.

Tinkerbell had been begging for a dog for a long time. All the girls love him to death. He's gotten very well trained. He can sit, shake, jump, heel, lay down and come (when he feels like it). We can manhandle him any way we want, take food directly out of his mouth, or whatever, and he is extremely tolerant and gentle with the little people. He weighs about 65 pounds now.

The problem is this dog is stinky. And he has allergies. To fleas and to grasses and to who knows what (it could even be his food). His allergies cause him to chew, lick, chew on his paws. The chewing and licking is what I wanted to write about, because he does it during the night sometimes and the sound makes me want to poke pins in my eyes. It sounds like a wild boar eating a watermelon. Snuffling, slurping, grunting, crunching. EWWWWWWW! I can't sleep through it. I have to get up and kick him out of our room. I think it's the chewing that causes him to smell bad. Dogs aren't meant to be self-grooming and the dog spittle all over himself is not a great aroma.

The vet suggested I keep him off of grasses and away from weeds. Uh, WHAT? He's a freakin' dog! It's not like I can teach him to use the commode! I've tried washing his feet off after our daily walk (we walk at least 2 miles each day. I get my exercise, Frankendog gets TV for the nose). It doesn't work. I've tried selling my body to science to afford the allergy free dog food. Doesn't work. I'm not sure what else to try.


HollyRhea said...

I had a cat once who had extreme allergies. SHe was allergic to grass, houseflies, every foul except duck, etc. She took Prednizone for a long time, but eventually that didn't cut it. Her new owners (and good friends of ours) could afford allergy shots for her. They administer the shots themselves and now she only requires one a month. Way less expensive than the frequent vet trips, but still not cheap.

Sarahthedoula said...

What about little doggie boots so that his feet don't touch the offending substances at all?

Louisa said...

Here's a good thing to try, get some clippers and some little nail scissors and clip all the hair off his paws and between his toes. This will help him to keep the water from saturating his skin, which might just be what's irritating him so much. If his paws can dry out he mightn't be so irritated. You could also try some (a little) over the counter cortisone (cortaid or similar) smeared between his toes might help his itchiness.

If his toe chewing is more of a bad habit you could always paint his toenails with some chili oil (soak some mean chilis in olive oil for a week or so) or sour apple stuff which you can get from pharmacies to deter nailbiters. It's pretty harmless, just tastes gross and it might help him to learn that chewing his feet is a bad idea.

Now the naked paws thing might look a bit wierd, but seriously you have one wierd looking dog anyway. Super cute but I think the Hobbit name suits him down to the ground!

Good luck!