Sunday, March 16, 2008


Meet Harley:

Our boys are a little traumatized as they are presently having to share our attention and time with a dog who badly needs it.

When we purchased our home, the former owner moved into a small apartment along with her belongings. She is in her 80's, and has major issues over letting go, so there is little room for a dog that should weigh about 50 pounds and is upwards of 68 pounds.

We have been paying for all food, veterinary, and licence needs, but have had no time to address the lack of room in the apartment, or the fact that a large dog needs exercise. He has been walked regularly by someone who loves him, but that person can't correct the conditions of the home, so until the apartment is cleaned enough to eliminate the flea population, I will be getting more exercise.

One issue I addressed with the first meal served is that the canned and dry food he received was being provided mixed together so he would have to eat all the contents of the dish to get the canned he loves so much. When I separated the two, he only ate half the dry that had previously been provided, and he was happy to 'nibble' when hungry instead of gulping the whole meal at once. I may again manage to reduce stomach size.

Here is part of what we have been battling with weekly shampoos at the vet, pills, etc., to combat the skin irritation that we believe is probably caused by fleas. We are checking pet food ingredients as well, while reducing his weight.

Poor old Harley is not properly trained for walking, but I found the 'Easy WAlk Training Harness for Dogs', and a retractable leash with fingertip control made it so that my first walk with him was just fine. In the past he has a tendency to grab at the lead and pull the leash in his mouth, which gives him control of the situation. With the halter I found, his large weight and strength, which would normally be an issue for me with a back disability, was non existant. He also nips at mens' hands in an attempt at play, but he is too aggressive with that, and I again found that as long as I maintained control, there were no such issues between the two of us when 'men' didn't interfere with the interactions.


This morning, with the new harness, I managed to walk Harley right through our hoard of squirrels eating breakfast on the lawn. He hesitated for an instant in thought of what he would do if I wasn't in control, and then looked at me for leadership, which is what you need when walking a big dog. At this point we are assuming that the skin irritation which consisted of bumps and red 'hot spots' was not caused by fleas, but by a possible intolerance to chicken. Now we have to hunt for pet food alternatives in a world of "chicken" and "fruits and veggies" on the labelling.


Yesterday Harley had a 'lumpectomy' to remove excess growth on his chest. No use of the new harness for a short period, so it is a good thing DH is on holiday. It is amazing to see Harley's profile that doesn't have this massive lump hanging down between his front legs.......he probably needs a smaller halter now. We had already reduced his weight by 10 pounds and are wondering what this 'removal' of fatty tissue will do to his weight.

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