Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Big?

Here are Savage's specifications, for anyone interested:
Age: 18 months
Weight: 149 lbs.
Height: 36" at shoulder
Girth: 39 1/2"
Length: 33" from base of neck to tail
Neck: 24"
This is why I'm finding it so hard to buy clothes for him. Most so-called "great dane" sizes fall short of his measurements, and custom sized clothes are way too expensive to even consider. Looks like I may have to dust off the old sewing machine (ugh).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Allergic Reaction?

Savage is happy and healthy again, after a scary hornet-sting episode a couple days ago. After giving it a lot of thought and retracing our activities I think I've established exactly what happened.
Saturday around noon I was outside talking on the phone when I spotted a hornet just resting on Savvy's leg, so I brushed it off without thinking much more about it. Saturday night I worked at the bar and Randy and Savvy came over to visit for a couple hours. That night my puppy threw up in the backseat of the truck, but I didn't discover it until next morning. Early morning Sunday I woke up to the sounds of Savage puking on the carpet, twice, and when I let him outside he browsed on grass and went to the bathroom. Later on I noticed him swiping at his muzzle with his paws a few times. His cheeks were a little swollen and when I checked inside his big lips, I found what I thought was a cut or pimple where his lip meets his gums. Again, not very concerned, thinking it was a puncture from a stick he chewed on. Other than being a little lazy, his behavior seemed pretty normal.
Randy and I took him with us when we drove over to our cabin on McFarland Lake to pick up some stuff, and at the cabin he was running around, happy like he always is when we're there. On the drive home, however, he became sick in the truck again, and we had to let him out to throw up. Almost immediately when he got back in the vehicle I noticed his fur looked very messy, which I found was caused by small bumps on his skin; legs, haunches, shoulders, neck, and face. Randy assured me that it was probably an allergic reaction to something. I worried the whole way home.
Sunday night I stayed up late with Savvy, watching over my boy. His bumps slowly disappeared, but he trembled a little as he fell asleep. Around 3:00am he woke me up so I'd let him outside, where he threw up another time. When he came in he was shivering and I wrapped him in a blanket and stayed with him until I was sufficiently reassured that he was safe. Throughout the whole episode his respiration didn't seem to change much, if at all.
After talking to my cousin (vet tech, dog owner) on the phone, and checking out Savage, we determined that he must be reacting to the hornet sting, which of course, the "cut" inside his lip turned out to be after further examination. In fact, I also found a sting under his chin, and because the hair on the rest of his body is longer he might have gotten more.
So, Savvy will go to his vet next Tuesday (the earliest appointment) for a check-up, and hopefully more advice and information about his allergic reaction. I'm hoping that there is some kind of doggie "bee-sting kit" that we can carry with us, with epinephrine or adrenaline to prevent anaphylactic shock in case of an emergency. Also, this reminds me that I really should have a thermometer on hand so I can take puppy's temperature. This is quite early for hornets to be nesting up here, and we have a long summer ahead of us.
Note: The pictures interspersed in this post are some taken during May, but that I haven't got to publish yet. Due to our evacuation from our home due to a forest fire in the area, I haven't had internet access until a few days ago. Thankfully, our home, lodge, and cabins are safe, though some of our friends and neighbors weren't so lucky. The "Ham Lake Fire" seems to be dying down, but fire crews remain, mopping up hotspots and maintaining sprinkler systems. Savvy, Randy, and I are safe at home and hoping for more rain.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bayshek Memorial

Bayshek 10/13/98 - 5/3/07

This post is a tribute to Bayshek, my twin sister's German Shepherd. My sister, Laura, has always been in love with the GSD breed, just as I have with Great Danes. Bayshek arrived as a Christmas gift from her husband in 1998 as a tiny, fuzzy 8 1/2 week old puppy, and has been a big part of our family's life from that moment on. Laura chose the name "Bayshek", which translates as "number one" in the Ojibwe language, because that was the name of one of our family's favorite lead sled dogs back when that was their primary winter transportation.
Bayshek became equally important to my whole family, not as a working dog, but as a loved family member. At our resort he was the first one to greet guests and customers, and many of those people fell in love with him as well. At family gatherings Bayshek was always there sharing good times. He was an intelligent, gentle dog, and with my sister's guidance he grew up to be extremely well behaved. You rarely see a dog/human relationship as close as that of Laura and Bayshek. Together with her, he was intuitive and able to anticipate her actions, and was the perfect picture of an obediant, well-mannered dog. He truly did live to please others.
Bayshek died at 8:53pm on May 3rd of this year.
After a terrible seizure episode his health was deteriorating and my sister made the toughest decision of her life to put her boy to sleep. He is now buried next to our family's other pets on a hillside at our resort, and an etched stone marks his resting place. Bayshek was, and remains, my sister's best friend.
We miss you, Gingersnap, and we will never forget you. Rest in peace, big puppy.
To learn more about Bayshek you may visit his Dogster page or his memorial on Laura's website.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Savvy And Nala

Here's 18 month old Savage and 11 month old Nala enjoying a day at Poplar Lake. They are very good friends that love exploring the outdoors with their humans.
By the way, you can get a cute, dorky collar like Nala's at Dork Clothing Company, which is owned by her mom, Sarah.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Zappy Collar #2

I brought Savage's Petsafe wireless fence system along on vacation to Texas with us, planning to use it around our campsite. What I didn't plan on was having to search for replacement batteries because I left the receiver collar turned on, so we never got to try it out while we were gone. In any case, on the way back home, both the collar and the transmitter unit got stolen right out of the back of my truck.
Contrary to what I expected, Savage began pushing his boundaries right away when we got back to the house, and I ended up having to order another wireless fence system ($270). Today I set up the system and put up the tiny boundary flags around the perimeter. (I spray-painted the flags bright orange because they are so small and easy to miss.) When I took Savvy out to introduce him to his new boundaries I lured him around near the "forbidden zone" with pieces of hot dogs, but once he heard the beep of the collar, he retreated back to the porch, and refused to follow me anywhere in the yard.
When we got the first wireless fence it took my boy some time to get used to where he was and was not allowed to go, so I know I just have to be patient and let him figure it out. But it still makes me sad to see him frightened. I hope it doesn't take him too long...