Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sibling Rivalry: I Just Don't Get It!

I just don't get sibling rivalry.  You compete with and against each other for your parents attention.  Okay, I kinda get that but fighting?  Come on!

I know some of you will find this hard to believe but I'm an only child.  I know, I seem so well adjusted, not spoiled or anything. You all may stop laughing at any time now.  I never had to compete for my parents' attention.  I got all of it...all of the time...whether I wanted it or not!  I'm not really complaining because it made me the way I am so thanks mom (RIP) and dad!  Remember yesterday's post:  I was born this way.

Back to sibling rivalry.  I just don't get it so let me explain.  We get the pups up in the morning for their walk and the minute their feet hit the floor it's' "hi Daddy! Look at me!  I'm here"!  I know you are, Pickles but I need to give Nea some rubs too.  "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" says Nea, as she jumps about trying to squeeze her way between Pickles and I.  Now its downstairs and into the kitchen.  They get a quick drink of water then their morning "vitamin" (chamomile and tryptophan).  Now it's time for collars and walk.

Nea walks in front with me and Pickles behind with Momma but there's no real reason for this; just kinda happens that way.  But no worries, we switch after a while because if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes.  Besides, I get to walk behind Momma now (insert evil grin here)!  Later in the walk we switch dogs so that no one feels like they're getting more time with the other parent.  So we head back home and some side-by-side walking...which actually goes well.  Most of the time.

Now we're back home and then, "it" starts.  What is "it" you wonder?  Well, let me explain:  "Daddy, look at me" Pickles seems to say so she gets some pats on the head.  "Daddy, Daddy!  Look at me"! yells Nea so now she gets pats on the head.  Pickles buts in with "Daddy!  Look at me!  I'm right her...ouch, Nea!"  Yup, Nea gave Pickles a little "love bite".  "Daddy, Nea bit me!"  "I bet she did, Pickles" I say.  "You got your pats and Nea was getting hers when you butted in.  I hope you learned a lesson."  Yeah, no.  "Nea, don't bite Pickles" I say"  "Okay, Daddy, I won't".  Yeah, right.  "Daddy, Daddy!  Look at me!  Pet me on the hea...ouch, Pickles!"  says Nea.  You guessed it, Pickles bit Nea.  "Well Nea" I say "you did bite her when she was doing the same thing you were doing."  "I know, Daddy" Nea says "but I just wanted you to pat me."  "I was patting you, Nea, until Pickles butted in" I say.  "Pickles, don't bite Nea again."  "Okay" says Pickles.  "I won't."  Uh huh.  I turn my back, for two minutes, to start their breakfast and "it" starts...again.

Pickles bites Nea.  Nea bites Pickles.  Nea runs away and Pickles is in pursuit.  From the kitchen...through the dining room...down the hall and into the den and up onto the sofa, couch, duvet or whatever you call it.  More biting and gnashing of teeth.  Mind you, none of this is harsh or in anger...yet.  I get between them and make them stop.  [Aside:  I make our kids stop fighting too so see, it's not just doggie sibling rivalry that I don't understand.  Donna says to let them figure it out but I, as a parent, am not worried about right or wrong.  In the words of Bill Cosby "parents are only interested in quiet!]

So they stop. Aawwww.......  What a happy ending to this story...if it actually ended there but as you, as fans of the Deaf Dog Blog, know nothing stops with them...ever!  I walk back to the kitchen to prepare breakfast (Nature's Deli and a raw egg) but before I LEAVE THE ROOM they're back at it again!  "Crap!  I give up!  Just kill each other and I'll hide the bodies!" I say.  As I begin to fix breakfast Pickles runs down the hall,with Nea in pursuit, into the kitchen and sees the and miraculously they are no longer fighting.  They are both sitting there, watching me like I'm painting the Sistine Chapel.  Pickles eats in the kitchen and Nea in the dining room so there's no fighting there but as soon as they're finished, they switch places and lick each other's bowls clean.  Once that's over, it starts all over again!  They will do this running and fighting until their tongues hang out of their heads!

At about 0900, it's time for a nap.  Just like a fricking toddler.

When I get home from work, it's the same thing.  Jumpy, jumpy everywhere! " Daddy, look at me", Nea says but Pickles jumps on top of her yelling louder, "No, Daddy! Look at me!"  Back and forth and back again.  This goes on for a moment or so then they realize that they are...gasp...together!  That is when the playing starts.  At first, playful enough...jumping on each other and actually kinda cute...until one of them, and it's usually Nea, has had it with the other and yells, "STOP"!  Pickles just doesn't seem to get it.  She keeps on.  "STOP" says Nea with some bites to Pickles' ears.  Do you think Pickles gets it?  Nope.  So I let it go for a minute because they have to figure this out.  "F%*KING STOP" says Nea with a harder bite but you guessed it, Pickles missed the boat.  The hell with the boat, she wasn't near the water!  So now it's time for Daddy to step in and stop this so I do.  No more shenanigans!!

See, I just don't understand it.  If you behave yourself, there is plenty of hugs and kisses to go around.  Please don't make me referee a fight...every day...several times a day!

Remember, parents are not interested in who's right or wrong.  We're only interested in quiet.  Ssshhhhhh.......

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We Were Born this Way!

Yes they were.  Pickles and Nea were born deaf and no one will ever notice a difference until you try to call them and they don't come but I've heard a lot of owners say their dog doesn't come when they call.  At least their dog has the choice to listen or not.  Here are some reasons for deafness in dogs.
  • What causes a dog to lose its hearing? A lot of the same things that cause hearing loss in humans. Genetic defects can cause a dog to be born deaf; this is known as congenital deafness. A dog can also lose its hearing due to an ear infection, injury to the ear, or may experience gradual (or sudden) hearing loss due to old age. Exposure to loud noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss, as can certain drugs.
  • The most common cause of congenital deafness is pigment related. (There is some talk about a recessive gene as well, but most researchers do not believe this is the case.) Some dogs have white coats, but still have pigmented skin (Samoyeds, West Highland Terriers, and White German Shepherds fall into this category). Although they have white fur, they have black noses and eye rims (their fur is actually not pure white, but a very light buff color). Other dogs normally have colored coats, and white trim (this includes Dalmatians; the white is actually not their real coat color, the "spots" are). The "trim" comes from areas of unpigmented (pink) skin, which produces white hair. If there is unpigmented skin in the inner ear, the nerve endings atrophy and die off in the first few weeks of the puppy's life, resulting in deafness. Please note that you cannot tell the color of hairs in the inner ear by looking at any visible part of the dog's ears (including the hair around the ear canal). Although many dogs with white hair on their ears will be deaf, many deaf dogs have colored ears as well.
  • Hearing loss affecting both ears is called Bilateral Deafness. A bilaterally deaf dog is completely (or mostly) deaf in both ears. Hearing loss occurring in, or affecting only one ear, is called Unilateral Deafness. A unilaterally deaf dog has hearing loss in only one ear and has full hearing in the other ear.  Special thanks to for the above information.

I say all of that to say this:  I love my deaffies!  They are great dogs and are not "damaged" or throwaways.  When I first got Pickles I was mad at the people that tied her to the tree but then I realized they were probably doing her a service, although I'm sure they didn't know it.  Nea was dropped off at the Montclair, NJ Animal Shelter just before Thanksgiving 2010 which is just about when we got Pickles.  There was no reason in the paperwork from Montclair as to why she was dropped of with them but I suspect that the owners found out she was deaf and didn't want her.  Little did they know that deaf dogs make some of the best pets there are!

Pickles and Nea were born this way!  Remember, you were born the way you are, too!  I was born this way!

Best Friends

These two are best friends!  My thanks for Zach Adams for taking the picture in time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Man! Is it hot or what!?

Well, Memorial Day is less than a week away so that means summer is coming fast.  Pickles and Nea really can't read a calendar but they can feel the heat and so can I.  I have lived in Virginia my whole life and the summers are just getting worse.  The heat wasn't that bad last year but I can't stand the humidity.  I wonder if I can work in Richmond in the winter and transfer to Alaska in the summer?  Hhhmmmm.........

Anyway, when your pups are outside in the heat, don't forget to give them plenty of cool water to drink.  Pickles and Nea like ice so add some ice, too.  Maddie, our Mastiff, liked ice but when we first gave her ice in the water bowl, she barked at it was it was floating around.  Too funny!  Pickles and Nea sit beside the fridge when you're getting ice and stare at you until you give them some.  The first time Nea had ice, she spit it out.  She just wanted whatever Pickles was having but this time, it didn't work out too well.  But now, she has no problem eating ice!

So, we're sitting outside (those of you that know me are saying "holy crap, Mac!  What in the hell is wrong with you?!") and it's not too hot right now.  A nice cool breeze, some cold water to drink and the pups playing, somewhat calmly, about the patio.  This playing is not going to last long before someone starts a fight, eats a stick, chases someone, knocks over my water or some other type of "puppy infraction" that causes a ruckus!  But I'll take what I can get when I can get it.

Nea got her E collar today so both pups have an E collar.  I think I talked about how some people view these collars but if you have a deaf dog, I believe they are necessary.  Most of the time, we use the vibration or nick (at a low voltage).  The vibration is a call, just like calling a hearing dog's name.  When they come, they get a treat or are given a command.  With the nick, it's a low voltage charge of electricity (like static electricity or sticking your tongue on a 9 volt battery).  That slight charge is usually enough to break their concentration so I can vibrate them and give a command.  Here is the collar that we have Dogtrra 7100H SureStim Collar and I think it works great.  They have a two dog model but I didn't buy that one, initially, because I was only getting one dog.  Little did I know, Nea would come along and steal my heart just like her sister.  Back to the heat.

It's really nice outside now so I think I'll go drink a frosty adult beverage and post some photos of the pups.  I hope everyone enjoys the weather now because it's only going to get hotter!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Morning Walk

Man, does 0430 hours come early or what?!  That's what time we get up to walk the doggies and get the kids to school.  Well, at least two of the kids as one of them has a trip to Philadelphia this week and the other one gets to drive to school.  Anyway, up with the pups and away with the walk  Both of them were sleeping when we uncovered the crates but were happy so see us and the tails were just wagging away.  Down the stairs and outside, one at a time, to potty.  We've discovered one can't potty when the other is outside.  Shy bladder, perhaps?  Or maybe it's because THEY CAN'T LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE FOR FIVE SECONDS!  Sorry for yelling.  Now it's time for the chill out treats and some water then on with the walk.  Donna took Pickles and I had Nea and it went fine, as long as Pickles was leading.  It was like she forgot Nea was behind her and she walked along fine.  Two mile walk and a three mile walk for Pickles because she just can't walk in a straight line.  Nea did fine following about 20 feet behind and managed to walk really well for the first time going any distance.  I guess the shelter leash-socialized her which is great for us...thank you Montclair Animal (check out their Facebook Page at  We went to the park and Nea got to sniff around but really only wanted to get to Pickles so we let them play on the leashes during, what I call "puppy free time".  I read somewhere the the human should walk the dog and not the other way around and I've seen so many people being pulled down the street by their pets that this is how we do it:  I walk my dog!  What a thought, right?!  The dogs walks, beside me, under control and without pulling for as long as I want to walk but we stop for some "puppy free time".  That means the dog can do what she wants for a period of time.  Whether its sit there, smell around or just roll in the grass, that is her time to do what she wants  A treat, if you will, for walking so well on the leash.

On the way back, they did well and then we switched pups so one did not feel left out by getting more time with Mommy or Daddy than the other.

At home, it was breakfast of the Fresh Pet Deli Fresh Turkey and Veggie formula. This is a raw diet that Pickles loves and Nea seems to tolerate very well but they have to eat in different rooms with the door closed because Nea will eat hers and then eat Pickles' too!  I'll talk more about the raw diet and commercially made dog food later.  After that was some play and snuggle time then off to the crates for naps while everyone was at work or school.

More to follow!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And then there were two!

It's been a while since I've been on here and I have an update:  We have another deaf dog!  Her name is Nea.  Now, I bet you're wondering a few things about Nea.  First of all, her name.  We wanted to name her "Ice Cream" so we could have Pickles and Ice Cream but that sounded stupid so we thought about Neapolitan (which is an ice cream) so we shortened it to Nea.

Where did she come from?  Montclair, NJ Animal Shelter.  Wow, Mac, that's a really long way to go for a dog. How did you find her?  We found her on  You can narrow your search down to what type of animal you want and whether or not they have special needs so that's what we did.  There were several deaf dogs on the list but some were from rescues which is okay but for some reason, they charge about $400.00 to adopt an animal.  I understand that they have to recoup some of the expenses for fosters and that is great but that's kinda expensive.  The drive to New Jersey was no less expensive but Nea (whose previous name was Diamond...yuck) had been in the shelter there since Thanksgiving!  The staff there was extremely helpful and they discounted the adoption fee because Nea is special needs but that didn't matter to me.  We really didn't think about bringing Pickles' crate so we could crate one of them but the shelter gave us a crate and a collar and leash for Nea!

The trip back was really fun.  Pickles whining to get to Nea, GPS putting us off of the interstate and onto 1-9 in Jersey that took us through Trenton in a downpour and having to drive through foot deep water because the storm drains were stopped up (thanks, Jersey).  But we made it home and after some 14 hours on the road and almost 700 miles, we now have deaf dog number two...Nea!

The first night was great because they went right to sleep but the next couple of days have been a bit troublesome.  They play roughly and that play turns into fighting but only a couple of times has it been bad.  Just a few battle scars.  It's getting better but I know it's going to take some more time.  Pickles is the head dog but Nea has such a strong personality, just like Pickles, that neither of them want to give up.  Some of the problem, too, is that they are deaf and one cannot hear the other one growl or bark.  When Pickles goes to the park and plays, I notice the same thing but at the park the other dogs can hear so they know when to back off of Pickles but she doesn't have that same luxury.  Here, neither of them have it.

Right now, I'm outside writing this because they need more space.  They seem to do well when they can get some of the playing out of their system and get away from each other so I can see individual walks and trips to the park for a least until they can behave together.

We also ordered an E collar for Nea.  I know there is a certain population out there that thinks those things are cruel but for a deaf dog, they can be a lifesaver.  If a hearing dogs gets out of its yard or away from its human, the human can call the dog back.  How do you call a deaf dog?  You can't!  And if that dog is running toward the street, then what?  With the E collar, you can call the dog to you or, if necessary, issue a shock to make the dog think about something else or do something else.  So far, with Pickles, it has worked fairly well; I just need to work with her a bit more everyday to improve her response.

Well, that's it for now.  Stay tuned for more adventures for Pickles and Nea(politan ice cream)!

Check out their new Facebook page at Pickles and Nea: The Deaf Dogs.