Tag Archives: dog

Chloë Feels the Heat

Find the dog in the high grass.

Find the dog in the high grass.

June was incredibly hot.  Seattle’s average daily high temperature for June is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This June’s average high was 79 degrees, and many afternoons broke 80 degrees. It rained only four times, each of them brief. All my favorite trails were hard and dusty, which is tough on a low-riding, black dog like me. Since I absorb so much heat, my tongue  is always hanging out the side of my mouth, getting loaded with grit and making me cough. Sometimes I get so hot and dry that I have to drink  water with no Charlee Bears floating in it, if you can believe it. I’m that thirsty.  

Nor is that the worst symptom of hot, dry weather, which normally doesn’t arrive around here until August. My bald ear flaps are nowhere near long enough to cover my aural canals, leaving those two openings exposed to the elements, moist magnets for dust particles raised from the forest floor.  This is why Heather must clean my ears with ointment and cotton swabs so often. I don’t like this procedure by any means, but when it’s over Heather always gives me some quality cheese as a treat, not to mention having two clean, non-itchy ears, at least for a while.

Block watch in cool grass

Block watch in cool grass

Despite the heat, I walked every day in June, sometimes more than once. A couple of times we walked in the morning, when it wasn’t as hot. On our afternoon walks I would flop often to rest, especially where I could find a spot of shady lawn; we have no lawn at home. Luckily, I have been able to appropriate via eminent dog domain a small, grassy area near the corner of my street, across from the park entrance. Not only does it provide a soft, cool, grassy area (because it gets some underground irrigation and afternoon shade), but it also offers an unobstructed view of the automobile and pedestrian entrances to the park, so whenever I hear a sound I am able to glance over my shoulder while remaining in a prone position to monitor all ingress and egress activity until I decide it’s time to go home for dinner. I jump on Mike and bite his nose to let him know.

Mike did impart some bad news the other day. Regular readers will no doubt recall that Mike over the past year had dieted my weight all the way down to 16.7 pounds, well below the 18.0 pounds that my  vet advised. When Mike took me to over to the animal hospital the other day, about three months later, I weighed in at 18.6 pounds, so he realized the “reverse diet” had gone too far. A reduction of rations went into effect immediately, with the goal of getting me back to the 18-pound mark and maintaining it. My honeymoon is over, so to speak.

It’s going to be tough on me in upcoming weeks, but maybe hope is on the way: Mike and Heather mentioned that best friend Lynn will be coming over for an extended stay with me in the near future. Maybe Mike will forget to tell her about the new mandate on portion control.

Chloë’s Weight Chart

Date Age Weight Notes
4/1/10 8 weeks 5.8 pounds Elliott Bay AH pup scale
4/23/10 11 weeks 7.75 EBAH
5/7/10 13 weeks 8.75 EBAH
5/21/10 15 weeks 10.3 EBAH
6/11/10 18 weeks 11.6 EBAH
7/1/10 21 weeks 12.3 EBAH
3/29/11 1 year, two months 17.1 EBAH 1 year exam
9/23/11 19.5 months 18.8 EBAH exam for nose spot
3/30/12 2 years, two months 17.5 EBAH 2 year exam
9/11/12 2 years, eight months 19.0 EBAH for ear infection
9/25/12 2 years, nine months 18.6 EBAH for ear followup
4/2/13 3 years, two months 18.1 EBAH 3-year exam, lobby
3/31/14 4 years, two months 18.6 EBAH 4-year exam, lobby
7/10/14 4 years, five months 18.06 EBAH,examroom, eyes
9/3/14 4 years, seven months 19.1 EBAH lobby, ear infection
9/12/14 4 years, seven months 18.9 EBAH lobby,ear followup
4/2/15 5 years, two months 16.7 EBAH lobby, 5-year exam
6/27/15 5 years, five months 18.6 EBAH lobby

Chloë Honors Another Old Dog

Old Spiff

Old Spiff

Before leaving  the subject of old dogs, I’m glad that my Aunt Susie in Syracuse brought this timely news article to my attention. I’m going to share it here in its entirety, because Mike told me I could not trust a Newhouse company to keep its articles available on the Internet for free and in perpetuity. In my humble opinion,this story deserves to be told and retold.

Ruthie the dachshund dies at 20; a lesson in never giving up

By James T. Mulder


After surviving two bouts of cancer, blindness, back problems and other infirmities, Ruthie Von Muggles died June 19 at age 20.

The miniature dachshund owned by Ron Lagoe, of Camillus, would have been 21 in November.

“She never took no for an answer,” said Lagoe, who nicknamed her “the boss.” He took the dog to work with him every day at the Hospital Executive Council, a planning agency that serves Syracuse’s three hospitals.

It is extremely unusual for a dog to live that long, said Erin Corrigan, a veterinarian at Fairmount Animal Hospital in Camillus who cared for Ruthie. Corrigan said she’s only seen one other dog that old in her practice. Most dogs don’t live beyond 12 or 13, she said.

The world record for the oldest dog is 29, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Cheryl Balkman, a veterinarian and cancer specialist at the Cornell University Animal Hospital, who also cared for Ruthie, said the dog was the oldest canine she’s ever seen.

The Ithaca hospital is naming an exam room in her honor. Balkman credits Ruthie’s longevity to the dog’s spirit of perseverance and Lagoe’s diligent care.

Lagoe is establishing a foundation in Ruthie’s honorto educate people about elderly pets and provide financial assistance to help care for them. Many owners have old dogs euthanized because they cannot afford medications and other expenses, he said.

“There are elderly dogs that can live for several more years if you manage them,” Lagoe said. He has two other dachshunds, ages 9 and 10.

Corrigan said Ruthie taught her more about being a veterinarian than anything she learned in school. The most important lesson she learned from the canine was never give up.

Ruthie was 12 ½ when she became Corrigan’s patient. She had developed a benign tumor on her spleen. “A lot of dogs at that point and their owners would be throwing in the towel,” she said.

Instead Ruthie had surgery to remove the spleen. She bounced back from the operation and began what Corrigan called her second life.

Shortly after that she began losing her eyesight and eventuallywent blind. When she was in an unfamiliar room, the dog would walk in expanding concentric circles to determine what objects were in her path. “She was figuring out how to navigate her environment. It was remarkable,” Corrigan said.

At age 17, Ruthie survived anaphylactic shock, a serious allergic reaction to a rabies vaccination.

Last March the dog was diagnosed with mast cell tumor, a common type of skin cancer in dogs. To manage the disease, she was given steroids, which caused a decline in some of her body’s other functions. Corrigan said she does not know for sure what caused Ruthie’s death.

“Eventually her heart stopped,” she said. “The steroids can do that.”

Whether to euthanize an elderly dog with health problems is a decision veterinarians and pet owners do not take lightly, she said. “It can be a financial decision in some cases,” she said.

Lagoe said one of the goals of his foundation is to get pet owners to consider the other option.

“We share the world with these animals,” he said. “Maybe they deserve a little more respect.”

Anyone interested in supporting Ruthie’s Foundation can call Ron Lagoe at 315-488-7649.

Pictured below are Ron Lagoe and Ruthie, who died June 19, five months short of her 21st birthday.