Tag Archives: Shakira

A good reason to be careful when feeding a blind dog!

It was New Year’s Eve at Almost Heaven Ranch, and the house felt empty. It was still full of our dogs, but our children, along with their families and pets, had left. So Teresa and I tried to blunt the loneliness by cleaning up their rooms and the house. Part of that effort was cleaning out all of the holiday leftovers from the refrigerator.

We decided to help ring in the New Year for our pets by giving them skinless pieces of chicken breast, some green beans, and naan bread.

One of our dogs, Shakira, is a beloved Golden Retriever, 15-years-old, blind, and almost completely deaf. I’m always very careful when feeding Shakira, especially when it’s something that has an ambrosial smell and tantalizing taste, like chicken. I do so coming up from underneath her muzzle with the food in a cupped hand. All was going great, dogs were tail-wagging, slurping, excited, and I felt great giving them this special holiday feast. That’s when the shoe dropped. Actually, that’s when something dropped on my house slipper.

That something was a thick piece of naan bread, and it landed on my left foot, exactly like I was holding the edge of a Frisbee with the toe end of my slipper. Her eyesight may be gone and hearing fading, she still has a wicked sense of smell. Her head dropped straight down to the olfactory target, and she started wolfing down the naan. That would have been okay, but my foot was also in her mouth!

Shakira must have thought that naan was as tough as shoe leather, because she was really sinking her teeth in as she chomped the slipper sandwich so rapidly I couldn’t get my foot out. I yelled out as loud as I could, “GET YOUR TENNIS BALL!”, and she released my foot and took off trying to find her ball.

One of her canine teeth went right through the leather on the upper part of my shoe and my foot was throbbing, but nothing was broken. With tears in my eyes from about 6-out-of-10 pain, I went inside to tell Teresa what happened. She laughed and laughed, actually cried laughing.

Here’s the lesson: Be extra careful when feeding a blind dog that has a hearty appetite. And don’t expect sympathy from anyone when you aren’t.

Age-old tricks to keep senior dogs comfortable

It’s currently Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and as the proud Dad of three senior dogs, I can tell you these “golden oldies” are a treasure beyond price. While it can be hard to imagine our beloved dogs growing old and facing the health problems that come with age, if you’re blessed enough to have a long-lived pet, eventually you will have to face Father Time together.

The good news is, growing old doesn’t mean your dog’s qualify of life has to decrease. Below are three challenges your pooch may face as he ages, and with your help, he’ll face those challenges head on!

  • Blindness. Dogs actually handle losing their eyesight very well. As long as they know their way around the house and yard, they’ll develop a walking route that works for them. Try to avoid creating changes in the house to keep your dog feeling secure. You can even purchase “dog halos” that will encircle your dog’s head and keep him from bumping into things, just like the Muffin’s Halo in the photo we got for our beloved Shakira!
  • Deafness. This is another old-age ailment that most dogs handle well. The biggest concern is making sure your dog knows someone is about to approach him. Sudden, surprising contact can make your dog jump and maybe even nip. Make sure everyone who has contact with your dog knows to announce their presence with a sharp clap or heavy footfalls.
  • Leaking. Overnight incontinence can be very upsetting for your pooch. Remember to never yell or punish an incontinent dog — they’re not doing this on purpose! Make sure you take her out right before bedtime and put a water-absorbent material in his bedding, like an incontinence pad or a rubber-backed mat.

Always discuss any aging aches and pains with your veterinarian! With your help and understanding, your dog’s golden years will be quiet and full of love.