Sunday, December 27, 2009

When Haruki mets Mariko

wow...I didn't think that it's almost been a month since my last entry.

Actually, I have a valid reason for this. I had my hands were full the whole month. Apparently, some people have been busy looking out for a chocolate brown labrador for me and conspired to sabotage me late November with an email (the bait). A photo later (just looking..), a phone call (just asking..), half-day off, a trip to the foster home (just curious..) and she became my little mocha girl. An early X'mas present!!

Her name is Mariko.

She was born 20 October 2009 to a yellow and black labrador parents. An unexpected chocolate baby in the litter...the "surprise" brown gene re-surfaced from both parents. She was a tiny scrawny pup (7lbs at 8 weeks)...but spunky and feisty.

No doubt, she already has her 80-lb brother wrapped around her little paws.

Photo on 20 December 2009 (she may look a little black here...but she's brown alright, I check her fur everyday...ahem...)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Propeller head

Twas a long weekend...and I didn't get a long stretch of time to catch up on my reading. Only managed to speed-read two books while he was having his naps! He just wanted to play any waking moment he got with me. My boy looks so stinking cute here...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My boy...the total (male) diva

In recent months, the boy has been downright attention seeker.

When he's not sleeping or waiting for meals, he snitching things from me or nudging me up to my feet. He's been throwing his tantrum-like barks when he's bored. So lately, I've been trying to bargain with him (again). Well, in the past, I've sent him running to the backyard to check for cat invasions or the front gate for visitors. After a few times, he got the whiff that someone was crying wolf.

So now, I send him to look for his ball. It's funny to watch him react. First, he stops barking. Thinks for a sec...then runs outside to look for his ball. That's when I get my extra minute of what I was doing before he runs in with his ball. :D

Since he got his ball, I've to honour my side of the bargain. We go play fetch. Nowadays, he's super good at it.... playing fetch "volleyball style". He runs and jumps mid-air to reach the ball. Blocking...spiking..... fetching the ball and making a pee-stop on the return like a player with an attitude. And always, he's clever enough to take position in the middle of the garden like goalkeeper waiting for a penalty kick.

When he's done, he's does his frog pose (above) to signal that it's gameover.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The prisoner escapes...

I've been so proud of my boy for staying within the compound eventhough the gate is wide open. So proud that this imaginery boundary that cannot be cross without my expressed command.

Last Saturday, my boy decides that he could not wait to be strapped with his harness. At first, he stepped out just a bit...then, he started to smell the neighbour's bush ....then the next thing I knew, he bolts to the next bush and the next...

So, there I was chasing him down the road. Unfortunately, he didn't have his collar on...which made it difficult to get a good grip on him. Following him from behind, I can see that he doesn't look where he's going, he doesn't stop at the junction down the road. Not street smart wor...:(

Finally, I caught hold of him at the very end of the park. I think he had fun just running free. But, I was crossed....well, more scared stiff than anything else by the harrowing episode. I was just glad I caught up with him on foot.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The kitchen escort

At day care, it is customary for my boy to personally escort anyone going into the kitchen. He's usually waiting for a tip for his service.

Photo: Boy snitches my oven gloves and runs out the door

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My dog is Ipoh mari one...

This was my boy at 8 weeks. Second day in his new home....looking so scared and sad :(

This is my boy showing off his IC (a.k.a. lesen anjing) today. Time flies....3 collar-change boy's all grown up!!

His father (Sire) is CH Robslyne Ritual Storm (Black-2005)
His mother (Dam) is Kenn Ming Princess (Yellow-2004)

Boy was whelped on 10 August 2008. A litter of five (mix of yellow and black pups, either 4:1 or 3:2 I can't recall now).

Did you know that my dog's original given name was Tansteven Carloes Rock? yes, ...Carloes Rock ...if I'm reading his M.K.A cert correctly.

Now, he's simply called Haruki. Short name is Ruki or Haruk (for whatever reason). Manja name is Tung-Tung.

So, I guess his full name is Haruki Leong Tung Tung....hahahaha...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My manure-scented boy

So this is a partial photo of my boy. The rest of his body is temporarily censored. :(

For the past 2 weeks, my boy has been suffering from skin problem which is localised to his right side. We have deduced that it could not be from the change in diet (vegetarian or the Ayamas chicken). Rather, it was caused by me ...applying conditioner on him without rinsing it off...thinking I could get the same results as his grooming session. Guilty as charged.

I've been dabbling his red spots with soaked teabags for 2 days now. Today, mum applied the magic cow-dung cream on him. Hopefully the miracle cream can cure it by the weekend because him looking like a dalmation mongrel (brown manure spots on cream fur) is making me look like a bad mother.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eat Drink Man Dog

I finally finished watching Food Inc this week. Had to pause after 10 minutes the first time because I couldn't get pass the chicken segment. I had to pace myself through the week to watch the rest. So, today I decided to pick up an organic grassfield chicken in the supermarket for my boy and maybe, me...if I have time to cook some of it. Isn't it nice to see that your food had a good life beforehand..

Hmmm...I wonder whether I could have something like this in my backyard.

...thinking....thinking...who's gonna kill the chicken when it's time?...hmmm...

The boy ate his first raw grassland chicken foot today. You should have seen his first reaction when I pass it to him. He had a "Yew...what-is-this" look on his face. The foot laid momentarily on the carpet until he figured it was edible. HAHAHA...

My boy was partial vegetarian for the past 2 weeks following raving recommendation from a fellow neighbourhood dog walker. Since switching his diet, he has developed skin itchiness (hot spots). I can't fully conclude whether it was due to the change in diet or the leave-in conditioner from his bath or the daily spoonful of yogurt. Otherwise, we are sort-of-eat the same food groups nowadays (except, I don't take his kibbles). Boy drinks chicken soup, gets my Udo oil, cod liver oil, carrots, pumpkins and yogurt (pro-biotics). After Food Inc, I guess I have to finish up the Ayamas antibotic chicken in the fridge, while he gets the fresh organic one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Growing pains

Since the tail-cliping incident, my boy has not gotten into the dog mobile in the morning. I guess he doesn't trust me with car doors during the day.

Monday - pleadings did not work. Boy was picked up at 9.30 am. Half hour alone time.
Tuesday - pleadings + dog treats did not work. Boy was picked up for daycare at 2 pm. 6 hours alone time.
Wednesday - more pleading + dog treats + ball = fail. Boy was picked up for daycare at 4 pm. 8 hours alone time
Thursday - more pleading + yogurt tub + licking previews + ball = FAIL. Boy stayed home the whole day. 12 hours alone time!!

I wonder what's so fun at home. Is he still traumatised or he thinks guard duty is fun? Well, his grandparents drive by in the afternoons to spy on him. He has been caught sleeping on the job each time. At least, my garden and patio is still intact. He's taking his new duty in stride but I'd rather have in at daycare.

My boy is growing up too soon. *tear*

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Is your tail still working?

In my haste to bundle my boy into the dog mobile today, I clipped his tail with the car door ...for the first time ever. Poor boy squeeled.

Hope he's not traumatised by it....else, I'll have to get up ten minutes earlier everyday to allow for coaxing time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Counting chickens before they hatch

This week, I've been busy understanding labrador genetics.

Ruki's a yellow boy. I've yet to fully understand his lineage in this MKA certificate at the moment. I know far along the line, there was some black blood. (Edit: well, actually not. He had black siblings in his litter) So, here are the possibilities...

If girl is brown and Yellow boy has black genes....babies are black (with yellow and choc genes). Real rojak!

If girl is brown (with yellow gene) and Yellow boy has black genes, 50-50 chance of getting black and yellow, with rojak genes.

If girl is brown (with yellow gene) and Yellow boy is pure, 50-50 chance of getting choc (with yellow gene) and pure yellow.

If girl is pure brown and my Yellow boy is pure, 100% chance all chocs!! ...with yellow genes though...

I suppose it's important what genes my boy carry, otherwise the litter would be like a box of never know what you're gonna get.

Full information here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It could happen to me

Haruki gets a brown gal pal....and then this...

It could just happen...yellow (my boy) + brown (my girl) = black (my grandchild) ...OMG OMG

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My spoilt brat

I had my mosquito netting fixed up this weekend. I was finally going to have a mosquito-free night and wake up to the sound of bird outside my window.

So, I was in bed with my fan on and the windows wide opened for the first time. It was slightly warm tho... and my boy became whiny and restless. so, tit-tit...and the air con came on...and all was well for the night.

Tonight, determined not to concede to another night of closed windows and air-con, the fan was turned up a notch. In minutes of plonking into bed, the boy was perched on my bedside wanting to go outside. Out he went. Soon, he came in again. Walked about the room trying to find a cool spot to sleep...but couldn't. Poor thing...

So, tit-tit...the air con is turned on for yet another night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

what the *toot* *toot*

I read a question on my American dog forum today....

I know you are not supposed to force run a lab before age 2 or so. What is everyone's advice about picking up the pace of the walk to a run for 100 yds or so and then resuming the brisk walk? My boy is 13 months old. I strongly suspect he has a good bit of growing left to do as his Dad was significantly larger. I DEFINITELY don't want to put excess strain on his growing joints, but we could both definitely benefit from a little sprint now and then. Your thoughts?

we are talking about the long term health of the dogs here. Yes, it is a decision each owner will have to make balancing both sides of the issue but it is important they KNOW the health issues it can cause.

I definitely see your point, I guess the difference for me is that when they are running free, it's under their control how hard, how fast, and when to stop but when they are on lead it's not and the fear is you may push them to do more than their bodies can handle.

I dunno .. I never run with my dogs even when their growth plates are closed, so don't have any advice on way or the other.

Is this the reason why my boy looks like this evertime we reach our running stretch? Lately, he literally lies down and refuses to budge at the starting point.

I thought maybe the road was hot or something. Each time, I stick my hand on the road to check the temperature before we start. All this while, I thought he was just plain lazy.

Have i advanced his hip dysplasia? *gulp*

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rainy days and Mondays

....always brings FROGS to the garden.

Last week got off with a good start. The boy dilligently slept indoors when it was bedtime. By the end of the week, nightly rain made it cooler outside. So, he decided to sleep outside. It doesn't end there though.... I have a faint feeling that he wants me to camp out with him...HAHA..

Every night without fail, he will start with his whines and then pace around the bed. If that doesn't work....he will bark and bark. If that doesn't work, he will half-climb on the bed and start to play-bite on my feet until I get up.

Once again, like many moons ago, he has come back to the phase of wanting my company outside as he jump around with the frogs in the garden.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Those were the days

On days when my boy looks a bit scruffy (like today), I reminisce his glow and silky touch after his grooming session. I guess it's like coming home from your hairdresser. You look good until you wash your hair and you can't re-create the same look on your own. Darn!

Photo on 23 August 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Longest Week of the Year

Our daycare center was left unmanned for 3 days this week. After all the excitement from the furkids' weekend, things came to a total standstill in dog's terms. Ruki was home alone on guard dog duties from sun up to sun down. So every morning, my boy had this dreaded look as he waited outside my bathroom as I got ready for work (well, he too had to get ready for duty!).

Every evening, he stuck to us like glue when we got home. Poor boy. Luckily, his solitary confinement time ended and he was back to his normal self again at the end of the week.

Photo on 9 September 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Meet the children and Ruki's first love

Today, Ruki made his first therapy visit to El Shaddai in Old Klang Road. The shelter houses 20-over kids (I think) from 4 to 17 years. He did a splendid job with the children and fell for a basset hound in the process.

The day didn't exactly start out all that exciting. Look at his sulky face. I think he was looking forward to a laid-back sunday.

But, things picked up as soon as we got there. The kids were totally unafraid of the dogs. They took to my boy like fish to water.

Just then, Ruki saw her...

It love at first sight or rather..sniff. He became more interested in the girl dog than anyone else in the party. So, for the rest of the time, we were all on hump-prevention mode.

The children were all eager to handle the dogs themselves. I was worried at first because Ruki is really strong. I can hardly hold on to him myself. But soon, the children got a hand of things....

The kids seem well loved and doing well in school. I spoke to their caretaker. The children are not only orpahsn...some were either abandoned or abused or come from poor families. The Shelter is sponsored by Mercedes Benz Malaysia. So, it's good to hear that their expenses are largely taken care of. The oldest child is 17 and will be sitting for her SPM this year. She will likely enter into a program with the company to study to become a teacher or a nurse. The boy (below left) is Muthukumar or Joseph. He is 13 years old and took an instant liking to Ruki. He knew quite a bit about dog breeds and asked how big is a bulldog and a doberman. He wants to have a large breed dog when he grows up. Below right is El Shaddai's wonder boy. He's really talkative and outgoing. He's brilliant in math and apparently is tackling math three levels more advanced than his age. According to the caretaker, he's Mercedes star resident.

Ruki had a great time and was totally exhausted from the outing. I think he'll be having hush puppy dreams for the next few days...hahahaha... >:)

After his nap, he was back to his good old self again. All ready to go for his evening walk.

Photos on 6 Sept 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In Pursuit of Happyness

As my boy turns one, I can't help but wonder what does he want to be when he grows up. Search and rescue dog? he's good with sniff the grounds but still can't find me hiding behind the door in the dark or maybe a gun dog? special assistance dog?

Oh well, I've decided to start him on some therapy dog training just to see whether he enjoys it. Just want him to be happy. Que sara sara...whatever will be, will be....ok maybe, it's me and my competitive mum syndrome...hahaha..

Here are the Therapy Dog International (TDI) testing requirements... *gulp*

Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The Evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the Evaluator.

The dog must be tested around medical equipment (such as a wheelchair, crutches, cane, walker, or other devices which would ordinarily be found in a facility) to judge the dog’s reactions to common health care equipment. At the discretion of the Evaluator, this part of the test may be included in any of the following tests: 2,3,5 or 9

Test 2: Sitting Politely for Petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. The dog should sit at the handler’s side as the Evaluator approaches and begins to pet the dog on the head and body only. The dog may stand in place to accept petting. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and Grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The Evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog, and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.

Test 4: Out For a Walk
(Walking on a Loose Leash)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog can be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.

Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers, without appearing overexuberant, shy or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.

Test 6: Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s command to sit and down, and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the Evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog must remain in place, but may change positions.

Test 7: Coming when Called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell the dog to “stay” or “wait,” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as the Evaluator provides mild distraction (e.g., petting).

Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.

Test 9: Reactions to Distractions
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and/or appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.

Leave-It: The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks past food on the ground (placed within a distance of three feet) and, upon command, the dog should ignore the food. (Please note: TDI does not permit the use of food/treats during actual therapy dog visits.)

Acclimation to Infirmities: This test demonstrates the dog’s confidence when exposed to people walking with an uneven gait, shuffling, breathing heavily, coughing, wheezing or other distractions which may be encountered in a facility.

Test 10: Supervised Separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.

Test 11: Say Hello
The TDI Certified Evaluator will test the willingness of each dog to visit a person and that the dog can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e., small dogs can be placed on a person’s lap or can be held, medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be easily reached.)

The dog must be able to work well around all types of populations, including children. The dog's behavior around children must be evaluated during testing. It is important that during the testing the potential therapy dog and the children are not in direct contact. This means the dog can only be observed for a reaction toward playing, running or in general children present at the testing site. Any negative reaction by the dog will result in automatic failure. Negative reaction means a dog showing signs of aggression.

Additional Rules for TDI Testing
Dogs must be tested on a plain buckle collar or harness. Training collars, training harnesses, halties, or any other corrective devices are not permitted during testing or visiting as a TDI registered Therapy Dog.


Photo taken on 23 Aug 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The thinking dog

It's always amuses me when I watch Haruki making important decisions.

He stand momentarily frozen. Then, his brows start to rise from one eye to the other...and back again. Thinking....thinking...You can tell he's weighing his options rather than basing on his pure animal instincts.

Today, my mum reports that like clockwork, Ruki waits diligently at the foot of the staircase for my dad to awake from his nap. Everytime, my mum goes to the kitchen he follows her in hoping that his dinner is coming. A moment later, he dashes out to sit by the staircase again to continue waiting. My mum walked in and out of the kitchen a few time more over the hour. Each time, he follows her in for a second then dashes out to sit by the stairs.

So when dad finally comes down, mum pesters him to take him out. Then dad said it's almost his dinner time...and that he was very confident that Ruki would rather have his dinner than go for a walk. So, he said...see who he follows. Off went mum into the kitchen and Dad the opposite direction towards the front door.

*pregnant pause* then, thinking..thinking...

He zips beside my dad to go outside for his walk. This shows that my boy is not always motivated by food.

so, smelly sock or delicious treat?

well, it big the treat is.

Photo taken on 23 Aug 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Jungle Boy

This was Haruki's first jungle excursion at Bukit Gasing.
he was so excited...I was a nervous wreck...hahaha..

Cute photos and captions by sis.

Photo taken on 29 Aug 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mon chien and I

Being the mother of a puppy... seems much like mothering a child, watching him grow and learn and develop. After a few weeks, the attachment became intense, and I understand now much more about the fears parents have as they watch their child, their baby, grow and interact with the world. Will he be healthy? Will he be all I hope for him to be? Can I protect him from dangers he knows nothing about? Will somebody take him from me? Will I make a mistake that will scar him for life? Am I a good dog parent? Will I someday make a good parent of children? I have found that the fears, the worries, the stress, the joys, the love-- they're all the same for me. I am in love with my little boy. And just like a mother, I wish I could keep him little longer or save some of his puppiness in a lockbox and take it out again someday when he's older and grown, when I can't pick him up and have him fall asleep on my shoulder, when his puppy breath and puppy fur are long gone. He will always be my little boy. And I will always love him. (source: NYT)

I couldn't say it any better than this!

Photo taken on 29 Aug 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A big boy

My boy turned ONE on Aug 10. He's growing up all too fast now. SEVEN HUMAN-EQUIVALENT YEARS has flashed time flies!!!

Once upon a time he was like this...

12 months on...

Health-conscious mama fed the boy with Bark-ery Mutt Loaf Cup Cakes
Ingredients: Mince beef or mince chicken, garlic, dried oregano, whole wheat bread, milk, ketchup, fresh parsley leaves, eggs, egg shells, olive oil, vegetable oil. Topping: sweet potatoes, parmesan cheese, olive oil. Garnishing: blueberries or cherries. 90% organic

Photos taken on 2 October 2008 and 29 Aug 2009