Tag Archives: german wirehaired pointer

Old Dog Winter

What initially was proving to be a mild winter, has taken a turn for the worse. I think it has snowed almost every day in February? And when I say snow, I mean winter storm snow. And while the current 3 day long storm was deemed “Winter Storm Nadia” I’m still over it and want it to go away.

winter storm

Best of luck to those of you who Nadia messes with

Last winter we had almost no snow, and while this is an anomaly in Idaho, I can’t say I minded. Especially since I am reminded this winter how much work snow blowing and shoveling are.


I had to “find” my mailbox and dig through the snow to get to it

And while I could spend this post bitching about winter in Idaho, how fun is that? Instead I wanted to give some thoughts on having an old dog in the winter and prepare people for what may be to come when their pets become seniors.

The short story is that Stella is struggling with winter now that we have all this snow. And While I usually shovel paths for the dogs in my yard, I’ve decreased them significantly now that the snow has gotten over 4′ in my yard and there’s really nowhere to put the snow. How does this impact my old dog? Well, it reduces the area she has to potty, but what’s worse is that it changes up her routine.


Once our back road gets plowed we get out for a potty walk

Stella is basically blind. She has limited daylight vision and really cannot see at all in the dark. Now, imagine having that limited of vision, and your entire world becomes a white blob. And that white blob changes from day to day, meaning you sometimes walk into snow piles because yesterday they were still a path you could walk on.

Because she is stubborn and strong willed, she is figuring it out. She refuses to actually poop in my yard, which means that no matter the weather, we’re going for a walk down the road. She’ll try to get off the road, into the snowbank, as she’s discreet about using the bathroom, but often times the snow is way too deep for this. So, I encourage her not to go into the deep snow, but Stella hasn’t listened to me for 15 years. Why would she start now.


Stella 4 years ago tearing up the skate ski trails

I’ve basically started keeping her on leash all the time. I can kind of control where she goes and keep her from getting too far into a snowbank.

In addition to snow, we’ve also had some very cold weather. And while Stella has some great winter coats to keep her warm, she hates putting them on. Again, this dog has opinions, and putting her head through a hole and having a coat put on, elicits a grunt EVERY time. And while she seems a bit more stiff and sore, she still trot hops around when the snow is cleared from her path for her.


Siri hasn’t even noticed it has snowed and spends her days romping with friends

I’m super hopeful that Stella gets to enjoy nice weather again. Seeing her struggle with the current conditions makes me realize just how hard winter is for senior dogs. If nothing else, even though she dislikes it, she looks super cute in her coat.


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Fraggle Friday: The Year in Pictures

This year was a roller coaster with the dogs for sure. While Siri grew up, Stella grew old. But, despite how some moments along the way were looking, I still have the two of them with me, which is really what’s most important.


This picture brings a smile to my face. Stella looks like little yellow riding hood running through the woods

The year started off pretty well, walks in the woods and hikes with family.


Wow. There really was no snow here in February last year.

We got out for plenty of adventures and then we added foster dog Picabo (now Lucy) who in May drove all the way to NY with me where she is happily living with my Dad on his farm!


Lucy and Siri were fast friends

And then in April, Stella, at 14, went in for back surgery. Those weeks immediately before and after her surgery were definitely the worst of the year. Not knowing if I had made an incredibly selfish decision gnawed at me constantly.


Franken puppy

Siri, on the other hand, thought the visit to the vet was the best thing ever, as Stella’s surgeon had adopted her brother when I adopted her. (He wanted a dog like Stella, I have apologized profusely that he did NOT get a Stella…) So, they got to have a reunion.


Two dorks. But he is a MUCH bigger dork

I was still on pins and needles with Stella and her recovery but man she recovered well. Each week she got stronger. She never had an accident in the house, and that dog was determined to run again. And she definitely has spent lots of time run hopping to her heart’s content.


And so much swimming this summer!!!  This was at a derby where she finally could run and stay upright. I couldn’t keep her out of the water.

The month of  June, the seizures started. And I thought I would lose Stella. But, um, again, this dog doesn’t give up that easily. I was told we had anywhere from 1-6 months. We just passed the 6.5 month mark, and she is as happy as ever.


After she climbed to the top of this mountain she told me I need to relax and not worry so much.

And Siri. While she has definitely grown up, and proven herself to be an overall great dog, she has still had some moments.

Like the time she had to go to the vet because she ate something “edible.”


It wasn’t me, I swear.

I won’t get into what happened here, but lets just say Siri’s trip cost me about $300. I hope she had a really good time.

And then there was this, most recent destruction, also to the tune of over $300:


Thanks Siri!

But really, when it comes down to it, there isn’t a canine family I could possibly love more. The highs far make up for the lows. Having two dogs who make me laugh and remind me how precious life is, is more than I can ask for.

So, here’s to another year with them, and all the adventures that ensue!


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Fraggle Friday: Welcome Lucy!

When you work for a humane society, people expect you to have lots and lots of animals. I feel very strongly that my home environment can’t be chaotic, it’s not fair to my pets. So, I limit myself to two dogs. There are certainly days two feels like twenty, but for the most part, it works and my two dogs get plenty of attention and exercise.

Now, that said, when a fantastic dog comes into the shelter, I do my damndest to find it a home…and sometimes, if the dog is bearded and fantastic, that home is with one of my family members. My Dad more specifically.

So, when a dog named Peekaboo got posted on a nearby shelter’s FB page, I had to call them and find out what her deal was.


Her story was a sad one. Her owner had died and she had been brought to the shelter.

I went and picked her up the next day. She was in raging heat (so gross) and incredibly scared. But she loaded up into the crate, and I brought her to our shelter where she’d be medically and behaviorally assessed.

I figured I had done what I could for her. Her days of being a breeding dog were behind her and with the rave reviews she was getting from our behavior evaluator and the rest of the staff, I knew she’d find a home soon.


And while there were lots of inquiries, no one adopted her.

So, I called my Dad and asked if he wanted a 3rd dog. All it took was showing him her picture and telling him how lovely she was and he was sold. Unlike me, he has a horse farm with lots of acreage and can handle a third dog. He also requested a name change, and my theory is “you adopt it, you can name it whatever you want.”

So for now she’s with me, and my crew.

Until I figure out a way to get her back east. She’s as perfect as I had hoped and the easiest houseguest. She gets along with all my animals, loves to go for hikes, and is even fairly great off leash for the breed.

I’m glad she’s one of the ones I could help and I’m lucky to have family that support what I do. So. welcome Lucy, formerly Peekaboo, to our family!


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Fraggle Friday

We actually got some snow this week which was SUPER exciting!


This is Stella’s excited face if you can’t tell

What was less exciting was that I also got the flu. And was OUT for two days. But, I’m feeling human again and excited to get out with the dogs!

Right before I went to bed for 48 hours my friend Bekka and I took the puppers on a fun hike in the snow.


I’m happy when she’s tired


Rocket, Siri’s one ACD friend…

My dogs were excellent at laying low while I slept and Stella was even feeling generous enough to let Siri cuddle with her. This is still my favorite thing that almost never happens


Siri wants so desperately to be Stella’s bestie

I hope you all have a lovely week with your pups!

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Fraggle Friday: Cold Weather Hacks

We’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Idaho this year, but I’ve learned a few things about having dogs in cold weather over the years and I thought I’d share that with you here! This list is in no way comprehensive, and it is based completely on experience, not fact.

While I think my dogs, Stella in particular, prefer cold weather to very hot weather, there are still a few things I find really help with having them stay comfortable when temps drop.

The first one is to keep them dry in cold weather! Siri is pretty hardy, but the minute she gets wet in cold weather it’s all over. She becomes a pupsicle! So, for senior Stella, I make sure she wears a coat if it’s cold and raining or snowing, it seems to keep her nice and comfy!


It’s also adorable

This coat on Siri is nicely insulated and fits her  well. Plus it was cute so I forced her to wear it for a photo


Another helpful hint in snowy weather is to use something called Mushers Secret on your dog’s feet in the snow. It keeps their feet from becoming snowballs and is really helpful! I’ve used cooking spray in a pinch, but this works way better

Mushers Secret All-Natural Paw Protection -- 60g

And lastly, just like when it’s really hot out, when it’s really cold it’s best to keep your four legged friends home, and not in your car. My dogs love going everywhere with me, but the inside of the car can get very cold once it’s turned off and dogs can get very cold as well! If you do leave them in the car consider an insulated crate, putting a warm coat on them and make sure they have access to water.

Any ideas you have for winter that help you get through the cold months?

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Fraggle Friday: How Siri Proved Me Wrong

My young dog, Siri, is a German Wirehaired Pointer who I adopted at the young age of 8-10 weeks old. I was super reluctant to adopt her not only because she was a puppy, but also because if I am being totally honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted a GWP.

Image may contain: dog, outdoor and nature

But who wouldn’t want this???

See, I was a Griffon snob. GWPs in my opinion, were the lesser breed. Originally bred with terriers, in my opinion, they were more independent, aggressive, and not as magical as a Griffon. The ones we got in at the Shelter seemed to always be really nice dogs, but I kept with my snobery and refused to believe anything else.

But then I met Siri. And I figured I would give it a shot. And while I cannot speak to the breed as a whole, I can admit that my bias of the breed appears to have been unfounded.

Image may contain: one or more people, horse and outdoor

Having grown up with horses, she learned about how delicious horse poop is at a young age

Siri is a very submissive dog. In fact, she is a bit of a target for other dogs, which makes me feel very protective of her. But, I’d rather she be omega than alpha. I never need to worry that she’ll be the fun police. In fact, she is ALWAYS looking for someone to play with.

Image may contain: dog, outdoor and nature

Stella isn’t the playmate Siri was hoping for in a sister, but she has taught her tons about how to be a good dog.

Siri is great with everyone. I got a chance to meet her mom, and get regular check ins from her brother, and both are equally friendly and happy dogs.

I definitely think Siri has good genes in the temperament department.

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Siri’s first collage

So, the GWP. They’re actually really nice dogs. And while they maybe aren’t as mellow as a Griff, and may be more prone to chasing cats and livestock (I still can’t trust Siri with the chickens despite having grown up with them), they’re actually a wonderful companion. Thanks Siri for proving me wrong!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, dog and outdoor

I’m lucky to have both of these fun fraggles in my life!

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