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My Child Is A Dog, Literally
Daughter of Mine
I am woman.
I am mother.
I did not give birth.
I was once a child. I know how to want, what makes me cry, what makes me happy.
Now, I have a dog on my own to take care of. I am mothering a dog as my daughter.
At this point in my life, I do not regret having a human child. The last several years was a vision of a dog cuddling next to me.
My labrador retriever is now five years old. We have been together for four years and five months.
The growing pains are ever present. She reminds me of my childhood.
Because she is stubborn, feisty, charming, funny and willful.
I realized that my maternal instincts has taken a serious point. I cook for her. I research for food that is best for her. She has learned to anticipate toothbrushing. Though, I cannot prevent her from shedding, she possesses the softest fur. Nail cutting is pure bribery to make it work..
I pay for her schooling. Her first official obedience class, she was the star pupil who knew all the basic commands. In reality, her recall needs plenty of tweaking.
Her school fees can eat up my extra budget, but who says education is cheap?
Good thing I don't have to shop for clothes, or she will be a fashionista.
Her health insurance at VPI costs me $38 including the $2 fee. Having health insurance for her, like me, gives me peace of mind for those unpredictable moments that would cost me an arm and a leg.
We do have our 'mother/daughter' talks. I think she understands, but refuse to concede at times.
I promise her a good life. She promises to obey if and only if there is "eating" to follow.
This daughter of mine I love dearly. This dog taught me what kind of mother I am.
I am happy to be a mother to a so-called dog.
The Essentials of Living
She resides with me inside my home. She has her own formal bed for the evening, a daytime bed, and now, the sofa. She was never interested and learned to stay away from sofas, my own bed and other furniture. Somehow, this recently bought recycled sofa kept calling her. She knows that there has been a dozing dog(s) on this sofa, so she can claim it as hers. I have tolerated it because she keeps me warm on the sofa this winter.
Her normal beds are furnished with clean linens every week or whenever she wets them during her 1:00 a.m. cleaning.
She has a charming, well-kept, she calls home; where her toys are in a basket at her disposal.
Food & Nutrition
My dog gets homemade gourmet meals prepared by her professionally-culinary trained mommie. (See my other links.) She gets 2 cups each meal twice a day of home-cooked weekly meals. A chicken brown rice with green beans and carrots. A potato & oatmeal salmon with green beans and carrots, and so forth. Carrots and green beans are ubiquitous veggies. Protein will revolve around meats of chicken, beef, ground beef, fish and offals.
Save the liquid or broth from the boiled meats and veggies. Remove as much fat as possible. Chill the broth for a few hours or overnight so the fat would coagulate. Then you could easily remove them fat. Then serve as "soup." My dog is served this almost every meal. Limit at night if you don't have a yard. Otherwise, dog will wake you up at 1:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom.
Always remember NOT to give your dogs chicken bones, skin, spices, foods with additives, etc. Check other websites for what kinds of food are bad for dogs.
Snacks in-between meals of Kong-stuffed frozen bananas, apples, peanut butter or oatmeal & salmon. Her favorite mid-day indoor game of hunting plain white cheese nibbles and cookies keeps her entertained and sharp. Commercial foods are out because of their historical barage of recalls. I simply do not trust those businesses who deceitfully opted to make money by poisoning our pets slowly.
We prefer au naturel. Booties are worn when the weather hits below 10 degrees. Although, her mommie believes that she is a natural star on the dog walk.
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Health (Medical/Dental Needs)
It helps to have pet insurance to take care of unforseen medical/dental needs. When she fractured her back tooth early this year, it cost me $800 to have that tooth pulled out. Stiff. I was able to get reimbursed for $200 which helped financially. Her annual vaccinations are covered, as well as annual check ups.
It is important to be informed on natural remedies for dogs. This will take the edge out of paying $59 per office veterinarian visit. When she got stung by a hornet, my internet research helped me understand how to treat the sting. Applying ice cubes to dissipate the swelling helped. Also, I have a handy first aid kit that include hydrogen peroxide, child's Benadryl, cotton balls, Q-Tips etc.
A nightly ritual of brushing teeth. A weekly ritual of cleaning ears, cutting nails, brushing coat and whatever else that needs checking. We call this "check-check." Inspect the paws, the eyes, the ears, the nails, the teeth, etc. Twice boutique grooming a year that cost $50 on the first week of snowfall to cleanse all the summer mud-ness' then, during the spring to remove excess winter fur.
She was home schooled before she got enrolled in official obedience classes at Alyeska Canine Training. She did very well....in class. At the dog park, it becomes a different story. We had recently enrolled in Agility classes. She was enjoying it and I was huffing and puffing to keep up with her. Her recent Agility 2 class which used a banging nerve-wracking teeter-totter traumatized her, so I have to transfer to another instructor to treat the one hour damage done by that former instructor. The change of instructor advocates a quieter class.
It is a horrendous logic to subject your dog to unneeded noises. It is traumatic. Can people not get the fact that canine hearing is more powerful than humans?. Even regular screaming affect their nerves. Anyway, I saw what one hour of noisy environment can do to her. All she wanted was to go home. Imagine that these instructors wanted me to create pots & pans noises at home--her sanctuary. I don't tolerate noises as much as my dog doesn't. Even she had the discipline to limit her barking down to a purpose. So, I would advise dog-owners or pet-owners to be more selective of instructors.
Daily exercises. Early morning bathroom walks for 30 to 45 minutes. Mid-day bathroom walks for 15 to 20 minutes. Every afternoon dog park visit for one to two hours just chasing squirrels, birds, voles and ducks, meeting friends old and new. Mommie and baby spend a relaxing fruitful hour of shared physical movements of stretching, running, swimming and in mommie's case, gathering flowers, mushrooms, rose hips, cross-country skiing and taking pictures.
Learning right from wrong is a constant struggle. She knows not to bully other dogs. She is learning diversity. She has accepted not to chase and harass mooses. Talking back to mommie is an option. She did tell me once that I was spending too much time in the raspberry bushes. Barking unnecessarily is not permitted. Warm friendly greetings to everyone even without treats are favorable. Obeying mommie when there is danger is paramount importance. Obeying mommie when there is no danger can be conditional. Rush to mommie's side when she threatens to leave the park.
Teenage Pregnancy? Child Out-of-Wedlock?
No problem. Two word resolution: Got spayed
The Essential of Being
Lots of hugs. Gentle conversations. Kisses galore.
Ultimate care and loyalty to a family member.
Got to train her on what is permissible to live together harmoniously.