Fish Oil

Roo always had minor skin issues, but they got bad last summer after she was bitten by a snake. She had to be on a round of steroids and antibiotics, and stuck in an e-collar, it got so bad. Even before that, she was a habitual tail chewer, thinking nothing of gnawing straight through the skin. On her belly were chronic scrapes and welts that always looked irritated, even though they never seemed to bother her. Those I chalked up to her wild-eyed insistence on rooting through thorn bushes where rabbits like to hide. We'll see if those come back as things bud and she starts that again.

Roo's vet recommended fish oil, and I began poking holes in the gel caps and dribbling the oil over her meals twice a day. And Roo doesn't seem to mind a little stinky fish oil to go with her raw pork or turkey or the one meal of raw diet dog food she gets every morning to make sure she gets her veggies.

The effect of the fish oil is stunning. Her coat and skin have never been better. Her belly is pink, her fur is bushy and lustrous and healthy. She never gets irritated between the toes any more. She almost never itches or licks herself. Her ears, which have always been good, seem to stay pinker and 100% odor-free for ages - and remember, this is a dog who swims almost every day of her life and jams her head in the dirt constantly. 

We'll see what happens in the summer, when the humidity and allergens in the flora get to her, when she starts picking up more thorns and scrapes, but so far, the fish oil has been the best thing I've ever tried on Roo. She's up to four capsules twice a day (which I think I can get the same results by just getting capsules with higher EPA and DHA (the stuff that counts) content.

The chances are not great that I've accidentally settled on the optimal dose - though there's something to be said for not fixing it if it ain't broke - but as the warmer weather approaches, I'd like to equip the Kahoo as strongly as possible for the stresses on her skin and coat. So, does anyone else have experience or advice about this? Is all that counts the EPA and DHA count, or does some amount of actual oil necessary for the benefits?

Mud Puppy Strikes Again

In custody: Roo K. Beker, dog of interest in the slayings of at least 59 mouses in 23 states and Mexico, is seen here chuckling under her breath at the authorities following a fourteen minute absence. When asked if she knew why she was being arrested, she would only repeat that she knew her rights and wanted to see a lawyer, snidely adding, "Sir," to each request. 

Her father blames it on rap music.

How to tell Roo is frustrated

I am not allowed to trip, and I don't mean on acid. I am prohibited from tripping over rocks, roots or ruts. No slipping in mud. No exceptions. My surgeon is a man who doesn't like to repeat himself, which is fine with me, because I always get impatient with people who repeat themselves. But the one thing he has mentioned several times is that even a small fall could be disastrous. His expression in those moments says, "I have seen things you do not want to know about." Even a little jerky upset could whang something inside. 

So, when I walk, I find myself staring at the ground, considering every possible obstacle. A twig? Watch out! A pebble requires the same detour as a landmine. Going down the rickety steps here, I always worry that I might catch my sleeve on the bannister or slip on the wood. You know how it is. It doesn't take much. I began practicing in the month before surgery, along with being generally one-armed, so I've had plenty of time to develop a fully wracked set of nerves.

So, Roo is getting her long walks, but not on the trails she would like to go to. We have to stick to flat, safe trails. Every time we pass one of the trails that intersect the main path and lead up to the higher hills and the forest, she stops to suggest we go thataway. "Sorry, Bear," I have to tell her.

I think that's what Roo was thinking when she picked up my boot and brought it to me. She had been out in the yard and was tired of rooting around for mouses there. She wanted to do what she is meant to do - be a field dog. She's been purloining leashes, gloves - and now the boot. In another couple of months we ought to be able to go where she likes. In the meantime, I have that sling cinched tight and Rooki has to hope the mouses stay near the trail.

New Sport: One-armed Dog Catching

I heard a car honk, which is unusual for a neighborhood more inclined to gunshots and fireworks. Someone was trying to avoid a couple of dogs who were running amok on the street. The two boneheads were enjoying an escape and chasing squirrels and darting in and out of traffic from one side of the street to the other. I called them over and one of them, spotting the Kahoo, ran right through the gate into the yard. The other - the one without a collar - was more wary, but once he got close enough to smell the jerky, he followed his nose in. A neighbor saw the commotion and came in and got the number off the one who had a tag, as he was weasely and I couldn't handle him with my arm in a sling. The address was about half a city mile away. The woman who answered the phone sounded like she had just run out of crystal meth and then found out that her bottle of Jack had dried up, too. She was disgusted and rude.

"Why anyone would take in a dog and put them in their yard, I'll never know," she said.

Forty-five minutes later, still no one to pick the dogs up. An hour passed. Finally a young neighbor of theirs arrived. Hers was the dog without the collar. She said she doesn't like to keep a collar on him and she lives with roommates who think it's funny to let him run out.

"I would just die if he ever got away," she said. "He's my whole life."

And yet, the idea of putting a collar and a tag on him seemed as likely as a trip to the moon.

Rooki's rollover smile

This is Roo's giggle face. I checked her teeth and they're almost perfectly white now, which is attributable to eating fresh bones every day. Every time I look at them I remember how her teeth were black when she was a puppy, and Donna from IndiLabs told me that it meant she had never had anything to chew. It still kills me to think of this sweet, practical-joking, laughing girl teething without anyone giving her anything to chew, what it must have been like to have been left alone to get as frightened as she was by some person who didn't even think to let her have so much as anything to chew. It took until about now for her teeth to get white, though there'll always be a trace of the darkness.