When my dog explores without me, I worry. Not just a little. I worry a lot. I worry about what COULD happen to her little self when she is out of sight. Having a small dog is particularly fun. Especially in the house. Hide and seek is really a great game. She fits into the most unlikely places and can be tough to spot. So, I am accustomed to her shenanigans in a way. But, are we outdoors amidst the might oak trees? My greatest fear is the fox hole, the rabbit hole, the gopher hole, and the holes left by capsized trees. Those 200 year old trees that have fallen over 100% intact and have left a large crater at it’s root system. Yep. Sophia loooooooooooves those spaces. The earthworms and potatoe bugs love her too. The giant ants are fond of her beard. And there are those moments when she enters the tall grasses and then stands there as if she is waiting for folks to board the bus. When she’s gathered an assortment of pests including fleas, and ticks, she saunters so they don’t fall off before getting a good grip. Isn’t that considerate? Aaargh! She’s heading for the lake! At full speed! There is no gate or barrier, just an abrupt ending of the earth and then, it’s all goose territory. Does she have any idea how much goose poop and bat guano is in there? I am instantly religious. I begin my prayers in hopes she hits the brakes and nails it before splash down.
What To Look For
What I don’t know about our environment, I learn about, quick like, once we are home. Sigh. I just grab the towel to return her to a less soggy state and then assess.
Paws: Spread those toes. Oh look … a little surprise fell out of there. What else ya got, Sophia? The pads are just fine. There is no visible splitting or cracking. The metacarpal pad is slightly scratchy around the perimeter. I have paw balm of the expensive variety to address this. Let’s check those claws. All there, Perfect. I can remove the embedded mud with the paw bath. Captain Hook, as I like to refer to it (her thumb, if she had one is a dewclaw … not all dogs have a dewclaw, by the way) is longer and sharper than I remember. Note to self. This could be an issue later when the dog begins to clean her own face. If Captain Hook is this sharp, she may scratch her eye or the tender skin nearby.
Tail: Hers is of the pom pom variety. When left alone, her tail curls into her back. It’s fine. She isn’t particularly worried about this area but I check it carefully since a tail is actually an extension of the dog’s spine. No pain. And up underneath there, a small reminder of a bowel movement. [eeew!] Grab the towel…handled. The long hairs reveal one little critter plus a single piece of mulch. I pick these off and move on.
Body: Right now she has good posture, and body language. She is wagging her tail and smiling. That’s good. Let’s grab the brush. 2 minutes of vigorous detangling and brushing reveal a few shed hairs and three new fleas. A shot of flea and tick spray applied to a brush before you begin helps to bring them to the surface if they aren’t already there.
Head: Oh boy. Bushy eyebrows and Mini Schnauzers go hand in hand. And because she stuck her head into the foxholes and tree stump craters she’s a mess. She’s looks more like a latte right now than a white dog. What in the heck? Well, I am not for certain what this is, exactly. A ball of dirt or goose poo. Grabbing the comb, I comb those away and part down to the skin to look for mites. You just never know if they’ve got any, but you can head them off before the dog shows signs of infestation by taking a good look. If you see anything, attack it with Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic dog shampoo. But, of course discuss it with the veterinarian to ensure you are using the right shampoo. Sophia’s Doc is on the speed dial under SHE RAN OFF & …
Neck, Chest, Belly: She’s real good at rolling over for me. It’s her big move. It’s her pas de bourré and grand jeté. If I didn’t give her what she wanted yet, I am done for on this maneuver. What a stinker. I’ve got to explore her beard, as it is greater than 3 inches in length and she stores, grass, kibble, bobby pins, stuffed animal insides, random bugs, and other stuff in there. Today, Sophia has collected a single Ladybug. Fabulous! [I want to, but I don’t flick the ladybug away. I pluck her up and away then place her into the poo bag with the rest of the stuff. Those bags are handy, aren’t they?] Under her arms are clear but I see that loose tick giving way to my beard brushing. It’s near her lip, which is interesting, because if I were a hard tick and I were hungry, burrowing down is for the birds. I’d get right up there near the lips where it’s soft and then take a bite. I missed him the first time through and he used his powers of camouflage to try to blend into the colors of her lip and not the fur. Little bugger. Gotcha!.
Her belly is clear but her lady parts are R.U.D.E. Just rude. The funk is rising, but it’s to be expected. I suppose that if I ran at 29 mph in the heat of the afternoon at 82 degrees, and worked up a sweat all while relieving myself, there might be a small chance that an odor could present itself. She isn’t swollen and discolored. There are no fleas or other critters lurking down there. There’s no discharge, rash, or bumps.
It’s bath time.
In Appreciation For
The rest is history. Owning a dog is no joke. We love them for the laughs they bring us. For the priceless expressions, and bouts of silliness. For the helpful tasks they complete, and the jobs they do. For watching the kids, for waking us up. For working out with us and for working from home with us. For cooking with us, and for driving with us. For watching television with us. For taking out the garbage, for retrieving the mail. But, I could do without the added worry when she breaks thru the comfort zone of 75 feet, though.
It’s strange. I take her out there so she can be free! I enjoy watching her bound about. I feel good. She’s happy. All those microchips, GPS gadgets, mosquito repellents, licenses, and flea protectors help make all of this possible. I panic one million times while she is way over yonder. I silently rejoice when she returns. I complain to myself about the time it will take to restore her back to beautiful. And then she pouts because grooming is done.
Hey? You don’t think she is manipulating me into caring for her even more by exploring without me, do you?
Flea Protection Link
. Click Here.