Dashing with Dash

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fast Forward...

Well, it has been quite some time since I updated Dash's activities. When I started writing, I was trying to write chronologically and in the order of events - so writing about the Fall of 2006 during the summer of 2007.... so not going back to that again.

When last I wrote, Dash was bred to Sara (Carterhall Que Sera) and fathered 6 lovely puppies - 4 tri & two red - so I know that he carries the genes for tri as Sara is a red (lovely smart girl). The Carters placed four in pet homes and kept two to show. Skipping forward even more - Dash's son Carterhall Thomas the Tank Engine is an AKC Champion. Dash's daughter Carterhall Chatty Cathy decided that she DOES NOT like the show ring and is quite happy at home.
Dash finished his Championship on July 8, 2007. Since then he has basked in his glory, completed his Rally Novice title and enjoyed numerous agility classes. Unfortunately life keeps getting in the way of taking classes so he is still strictly a beginner. At some point we'll try to conquer the weave poles. His attention has gotten better and I can sometimes see the gears clicking that he has engaged his brain.

So - what else is new in Dash's life... in February 2007, Monkey joined our family (Carterhall Thistledown Virtue). She was shown for six months and while adorable and well constructed, she is also quite petite. This does not stop her from ruling the roost and bossing Dash around. She marched into our lives like she owned the house. We thought she would be a great Junior's dog for Gus as she is small and easy to lift, but for now, Gus is not interested in showing. Maybe later - and by then - he'll be able to lift Dash - which will make Monkey happy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Awesome Autumn

October 1st marked the one year anniversary of Dash joining our family. It also marked his return from his working vacation. We monitored his gait over the next week, and I did see what Joan saw – an extreme limp some mornings with total refusal to use the foot. Now what… well we held our collective breaths. Dash was already entered for the Wilmington shows in the middle of the month. I did a refresher of “Use It” to remind him that he did actually need to walk on the foot. We sent Dash off to Wilmington.

On Sunday afternoon, I received a very solemn voice mail – “Kirsten your dog just won a 3 point major. Call me.” (Judge Margaret P. Mickelson) What totally incredible news!!!! Especially as he was 4th of 4 on Saturday. The following weekend he earned another Reserve at the Lumberton shows. Gus and I drove over on Sunday afternoon – forgetting just how far away Lumberton is for us, on a cold, rainy day. But as always, the people are great.

And of course, the October vet visit was inevitable. The limp was definitely back. Fortunately it was just the pin. Over the course of 7 months, it had moved just enough to interfere with the movement of the toe, and on cold days it hurt. So we scheduled his surgery for early November.

A few days before I left for Berkeley for meetings, I received a call. Sarah was in heat and the stud dog they had chosen was not able to provide an acceptable shipment. The vet and stud owner went to great effort to make it work, even coming in on a weekend to attempt a collection. But this time it was not meant to be. So at the tender age of 16+ months, Dash learned about the “Birds and the Bees” firsthand. Apparently, he is a natural - and now marches in at Carterhall - wondering who he gets to breed this weekens... He spent a week at Camp Carterhall and had his preliminary x-rays done on his hips (which we later learned OFA’d as Good! Yippee! so far no collateral damage from the broken toe). Dash then traveled to Williamsburg, VA for the weekend where he won Reserve both days.

The pin was removed on November 6th. The surgery was uneventful, as was the recovery. Even without a bandage, Dash left the stitches alone. Unfortunately, his foot was shaved a bit more than we thought it would be, so we were going to need some time to grow fur back. We pulled Dash from the Furniture City Kennel Club shows the following weekend, but went along to watch. On Sunday, Charlie Bear (Carterhall Captain Crunch) won his first major under Judge Donovan Thompson. Yippee! If it couldn't be us, we are so happy for Judy and Charlie Bear. Late fall and early winter in NC is a great time for dog shows as there are quite a few within an easy drive. Beth joined me in Concord, NC acting as unofficial photographer while I hid from my dog (not that it mattered as we were resoundingly dumped...). Dash continues to have fun in the ring.

Super September!

September started with a bang. After watching every step he took for nearly three weeks, he was not showing signs of lameness so we decided to show him at the fall cluster of shows in Raleigh. Friday Dash was second to a nice mature boy (who went on to be RWD) in his Bred-By class. It was his brother Charlie’s day to shine as Charlie won Best of Breed from the 12-18 month class! This made Charlie the second of the puppies in Dash’s litter to win points. Miss Clover won her 4 points in Myrtle Beach SC in April – including a Group 3 placement! Charlie was handled by his very nervous owner – and they both sparkled in the ring.

That evening, after fighting Labor Day traffic (forgetting that Friday afternoon traffic towards the fairgrounds is already a nightmare), I showed Dash in a match to get some practice as a handler. Dash won his breed and went on two a Herding Group 2 placement. I was completely thrilled with his performance, and gratefully accepted handling advice from one of the professionals sitting ringside who admired my boy. Saturday he was 2nd in his class to the dog who eventually won Reserve.

Sunday morning we arrived in time for a bath in addition to the standard grooming… He showed his little heart out and was eventually awarded Winners Dog for his first two points under Ms. Minna-Lissa Koltes! He followed up with another win on Sunday under Mr. Brian Phillips for his next point.

Because of my travel schedule this fall between work and vacation, we are not enrolled in a training class until January, so we are working on skills at home. Including tricks. Dash has now perfected “spin” and is working on “roll-over.”

Following the 5th Annual Corgi Picnic, Dash traveled back to Camp Carterhall to spend a week with his other family while we vacationed. He was shown in Atlanta in several very competitive classes. He then spent a week with Joan Scott to prepare for shows in Virginia. On Friday he was awarded Winner’s Dog and Best of Winners with Joan’s expert handling for 2 points. Sunday he followed up with another Reserve. I held my breath waiting for the October vet visit to ensue – fearing the Reserve Curse would rear its ugly head. Unfortunately, I received reports of Dash limping/hopping/refusing to use his previously injured foot so it was a matter of time before the next vet visit.... (not to leave you hanging though, as there was no crisis this month).

Awesome August (2006)

Oh goodness – where has the year gone…

To update a few points that were left hanging – Dash did not pass his first blood test, and ended up with another 10 days of Vitamin K and yet another blood draw and accompanying vet visit (so August was taken care of – so I thought).

Dash traveled to Canfield, OH with Joe for the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Western Reserve Specialty on Saturday August 5 and Canfield cluster of shows. His first show back, he was Reserve Winners Dog in a major under Larry Adams at the Fort Steuben Kennel Club show on Thursday (coincidentally, this is the same judge who awarded Dash a RWD placement in his second ever show back in February 2006). And he then placed second on Friday and fourth in the Sweepstakes on Saturday, and third of four in his specialty class on Saturday. When I picked him up on Sunday he was definitely ouchy on his back – flinching when I so much as moved my hand towards his back. So Monday we headed to the vet’s office. X-rays fortunately show a very healthy spine. Upon further examination, we found a series of scrapes on his back – and one very tender dog – who needed to be muzzled in order to clean him up. Poor little guy – no wonder he wasn’t feeling well on Friday and Saturday – but he was a little trooper in the ring and never flinched.

He followed up with a pair of third place showings in Winston-Salem. And yet another heart stopping moment for Mom. Dash zipped out the door to go visit a neighbor (something he rarely does). On his way to visit, another neighbor came out with his English Setter. The two of them were in puppy paradise running and chasing when all of a sudden Dash let out a scream. I was convinced he had torn something, dislocated something, or broken something… but he continued playing with Katie and keeping away from me without a limp. He did show a little stiffness the next few days, and I think there was a slight muscle pull. We have been much more vigilant with his leash since then and have not had a repeat of the escape.

August ended with a super accomplishment. Dash earned his Canine Good Citizenship certification! We managed to get through the test with minimal embarrassment (what is any Corgi related event without laughter?). After the disaster class in July we ended up missing the weather-related make-up class and the practice class before the test due to a poorly planned return flight from Florida. I debated asking if we could test in October, but then decided that we may as well try the test. We spent a lot of time practicing a sit-stay as that was what he blew continually in class. The night of the test, it was so hot, that Dash was happy to stay put. The heat helped contain some of the rest of his exuberance too and his down was mechanical rather than his signature dive. We almost blew it on greeting a friendly dog – as ML congratulated us on passing the test, he broke his sit and decide to lunge at the Rottie in order to PLAY! It took us a few more passes to get his mind back on the task at hand. After his test was officially over, he was allowed to play with the Rottie and with Casper the Swissie for a few moments.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Corgis keep you humble...

We are back in obedience class now that Dash no longer has restrictions on his movement. Hopefully by the end of 7 weeks, he will earn his first set of letters - CGC - behind his name. However, it will not be without making Mom work hard and look foolish along the way. Here is the rundown of class number 2, last Tuesday... We practiced two of the tasks, but not (apparently) the most important. However, that didn't really matter as someone totally disengaged HIS brain.

Task one - Heel on loose lead. Clearly the wood chips were much more fascinating than me. He has never reacted this way. Usually he is a little star. How bad was it. I gave up and just carried him off the pattern as I figured I was just setting him up to fail. Note - I am the only one in class with the option of actually lifting their dog.

Task two - Stay - for 3 freaking seconds but at a distance... Uh NOPE (Granted this is the one we didn't practice). Once the instructor picked up his leash, he sat calmly. He was just confused. We will definitely be working on this more.

Task three - Get left with friendly stranger. No problem. Someone giving him attention. Mom - who's that. Oh. Okay. She's back. Whatever... and no, I'm still not picking my nose up from the wood chips.

Task four - Recall. I left him using "Hold it" instead of Stay as I consider this more of his "wait" command. He sat patiently and then raced to see me on command (finally we don't look like total fools).

Task five - Sit & Down. Nailed those. Did a few puppy pushups. Finally starting to pay more attention to me. Helps that I have now pulled out the string cheese (which he liked better even than the boiled chicken that I tried to use earlier).

Task six - Sit nicely while a friendly stranger approaches. He barely contained his excitment but did as I asked.

Task seven - Sit nicely to be petted by friendly stranger. "At least he jumped on you (me)" instead of on friendly stranger.

Task eight - Heel on loose lead again. NAILED IT. My boy actually does have a brain in his head. Just took 30 minutes to turn it on and another twenty to warm it up.

Fortunately, one of the instructors has a Corgi and can relate. We know what we need to work on! And we have four more classes to go. Then I'll miss a week (my blondeness came out when I planned a trip to Florida - which would have been on test night except for the heat advisory last week...). And finally test night - stay tuned for the events of August 29th.

Must you visit the vet EVERY month?

I am convinced that this dog believes his life is not complete unless he visits a vet every month. So far, we've seen Dr. M, Dr. S. and others at least once a month (except maybe in January - but if I look hard enough I'm sure I can find a record of a visit there too. In December, he visited the vet I volunteered for as a young teen - conjunctivitis. In July, it was a little more dramatic. The note I sent out on July 5th tells the story pretty well.

We are in Arkansas visiting Mike's parents.

Some time around 10-15 years ago, they put a box of D-Con rat poison in one of the closets. Dash found it last night. Fortunately I caught him in the act and we rushed him to the emergency clinic where the induced vomiting, gave him the antidote, and
charcoaled him. He will be on vitamin K tablets for the next 4-6 weeks. The vet does not think he absorbed much if any into his system as we got him treated so quickly that the granules he puked up were pretty much whole.

We went through the entire range of what-ifs last night (what if Gus had found it as an infant, or my neice when she came to visit, or Java & Bixter over the past years that they've visited). Trust the walking vet-bill to do so.

He is playing happily with his new Giggly Frog, like nothing happened. He charged out of the ER last night with not a care in the world in spite of being tubed with the charcoal and being made to puke up a perfectly lovely (well rather hideous) late night snack.

A couple weeks ago there was a sad story circulated online about a show dog(s) who
found rat poison under a hotel room bed at the "dog show" hotel. Sadly, it is not just hotels that we need to be careful about. We've done a whole house search to make sure that there are no other finds awaiting him. And the stupid/scary thing is, my back was turned on him for less than two minutes when he got into that closet.

There are no long-term effects expected. We do have to do a blood test at the end of the month to make sure that he is clotting correctly (otherwise we extend the vitamin K). His energy, personality, persistance, etc. are unaffected. Though he was
pretty pissed off with me about the hydrogen peroxide we used to try to get him
to throw up... he has forgiven me.

I took the precaution of letting Dash know that he didn't need to go out of his way to find a vet in TN, as we were staying with friends on the trip to and from Arkansas - and she is a vet. Tomorrow, we will have our August appointment - a follow-up to July.

Please be vigilant about using poisons around pets and children. This forgotten box nearly resulted in a serious tragedy.

Friday, July 28, 2006


When Dash's cast was finally removed, it was cause for great celebration about the land. And of course inevitably, the short dog jokes... Aunt B. informed us that we need to Zamboni the back yard, as we wouldn't want him to fall in any more divots.
Dash was placed on restricted movement for the next two weeks (includes
leashes inside the house) so that he will not "run with reckless abandon" and
screw things up. We go back for a follow-up x-ray on May 3rd. I'm also
going to contact the rehab vet next week as he is not using the foot much -
though I'm assured that he will go back to using it in a few weeks...

The first two days - he used that foot less than 20% of the time. Not good for a show/performance dog.

On April 26th we went to VetHab in Raleigh for a consult. I was hoping that a few chiropractic adjustments might solve the problem of him not walking. Not to be (and realistically, I knew this...). Dash made new friends. We started a course of physical therapy on Friday the 28th - Dash was in Raleigh 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks. Provided Dash agrees - the plan was to use the underwater treadmill and swimming to help him rebuild the muscle and ligament tone. Happily, he agreed and took to the treadmill like a fish to water. At home he is on pen rest for the next two weeks so that he doesn't undo the work he will do in therapy. His movement restrictions were more stringent with the cast off than with it on.

After the first week, he started to use his foot, but was swinging it out when he did use it and overall, prefered to hop three legged instead of actually walk. Very little semblance of a gait at this point - or at least not one that I recognize.

May 11th - Dash completed his sixth intensive therapy visit. He is pooped when he gets home. Dash was given homework - 10 minute walks at a very slow steady trot. Which is tough because he has lots and lots of puppy energy. He also graduated to the land treadmill. So no longer reeks of chlorine.

On May 13th, we were given instructions to build Cone Cavaletti for the next stage of PT. I spent some time on the porch with our new drill bit, drilling lots and lots and lots of holes in traffic cones. And then let Dash meet the cones so that he didn't think they were going to eat him. May 16th we started trying to walk over the poles at the lowest level. The intent is to build muscles to support his knee, hips, and spine so that he doesn't injure himself again in a moment of brilliant stupidity.

May 23rd, we got the wonderful news that Dash graduated from his thrice weekly visits to Raleigh. He is to spend the next month increasing the lenght of his walks with Cavelleti time as well. Unfortunately, this coincided with me coming down with a hideous summer cold that sidelined me. So during that month he did not get as much time walking as I would have liked. On June 17th we had a follow-up visit and were released from care. We are still to work on longer walks with Cavelletti time to keep up his conditioning. Often his walks are after 9:00 p.m. as the summer heat arrived.

During the past two months, Dash had to stay in his laundry room, his ex-pen, or his crate whenever he was not on a leash. Mike was very glad that Dash was released from full confinement on the 17th, though we left the ex-pen up for two more weeks as it provided a handy refuge from a silly puppy.

During the four months of healing and rehabilitation, I developed a little more patience than I initially possessed. Onwards and upwards...

The rest of the Cast Story

Well, The four week x-ray came and went. The diagnosis was 4 more weeks (so 8 weeks instead of the four we were hoping for).

March 16th we had a scheduled cast change - swelling was coming down and hair on his leg starting to grow back so that he wasn't totally bald. The inicision was finally healing. But the lump looked scary. Chuck explained that it was a function of there not being much flesh to hide the pin. He came home in an NC State Red bandage.

The next scheduled bandage change was April 4th. After leaving his red cast alone for 18 days, he took his fresh blue one off by 7:00 a.m. the following morning. At the vet's office, waiting for our turn, Tim accused him of laughing at us. Yep. Corgis laugh! Back to a red cast. The next, and hopefully final x-ray was scheduled for April 17th - through the cast. We did not make it to April 17th before needing a new bandage!

April 12th he started slipping his leg out of his cast. Fortunately (and heartlessly), I was able to jam his leg back into his cast and restrict his movement until we reached the vet's office the following morning. Dr. Reynolds decided to approach the cast differently, and used only the back half. This reduces the weight of the cast. Only 4 more days to our final x-ray! The bandage is now a lovely purple!

Through this all - I've listened to the cracks about dogs with no legs - and how on earth do you break a 4 inch leg... So from my sister (who shall remain nameless Aunt S...) "He’s finally found his school to support: the University of Western Ontario – the Purple Flash."

On Monday April 17th, the verdict from the x-ray - "Let's keep it on for two more weeks - there is still a tiny shadow at the breakpoint." My jaw dropped. Ideally this is a good plan, as Dash really does try to keep on frapping with his cast on... however, realistically, it is nearly impossible to envision keeping that thing on for two more weeks (note the four previous unplanned bandage changes....).

Tuesday April 18th, we got a little bit complacent and forgot to put on his Bitenot collar. Bad idea. He started to chew on the bandage. Because he only has the back half of the cast acting as a splint, he did some damage beyond just tearing off the purple vetwrap. I replaced some of the vetwrap, and replaced it again a few hours later and noticed that the bandage was decidedly damp. Uh oh. I sent a picture of the boys in their purple bandages... to which Aunt S. replies "I can't believe how tall Gus is getting! Mind youhe's next to short dog (you had to know that wascoming), but he is definitely sprouting." ...

The following day - I sent this email out:
Dash got bored yesterday. Really bored. And combined with our getting too complacent and leaving his colar off when we were gone yesterday... he got busy... First thing I noticed when I got home was that the lower part of his cast was decidedly chewed on. And when I went to rebandage it, it was decidedly damp. And when he chewed more of the bandage off while my back was turned, it was even damper... So I had Mike take him to the vet's office today. Where they decided that his leg was just too wet to bother re-bandaging. I wonder if he stepped in his water dish, but there wasn't a puddle in his laundry room.
Nope - no puddle. As we sat together in the ex-pen on Wednesday night, Dash demonstrated the power of Corgi Slobber. Come to think of it, over the course of four months, I spent a lot of time sitting in the ex-pen, keeping him company.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

You can't keep a good Corgi down...

We are now done with week three of the healing process. We've had three more vet visits - only one of them planned, and one of them was another ER visit (ARGH!). On Tuesday the 7th Dash's stitches were removed. The first thing Reggie noticed was that we had a new cast - so we explained our ER visit of the 22nd. Dash is healing well, but has a sore spot at one end of the incision site. So we traded in the gold cast for a Carolina Blue one again - just in time for the ACC tournament. Dr. M. got ribbed abit about the color, but defended himself by blaming it on me... far better than the first splint with the DUKE blue... NC State Red would be okay in a pinch. (I've searched the internet and cannot find FSU Garnet - or I'd bring in my own.)

Thursday (the 9th) Dash spent the day "cleaning" the tape off his cast, and ate his way into the bottom of the cast. Joy. I'm due to leave early on the 10th for a scrapbook weekend - apparently by way of the vet's office. I did get a walk-in appointment Friday morning to check to see that he hadn't done any damage. We then returned home to rig a bottle to the bottom of the cast - to protect his foot from sticks and dirt... In hindsight, I should have asked that the bandage be changed as the sore spot was worse than I thought - and Dash pulled the stuffing that was protecting it out. Dash could hear Dr. M. in the back and was cocking his head in attention. In spite of the indignities he has suffered he LOVES to visit his friends at Triangle.

Sunday night, I returned from my weekend away, to be greeted by an exuberent puppy. So much so, that in less than 1/2 hour he knocked the blue cast out of whack. So I called the Pet ER to let them know we were coming (He did it Again???...), finished unpacking the car as they warned me that they were expecting four other pets in the next 20 minutes - and we are 40 minutes away, and stuffed the miscreant into his crate. Everyone commented on how well he gets around in his cast... A little too well if you ask me. I cannot slow this boy down! We came home with a teal cast covering this time. While there, I got to help by holding him, and attempted to take a picture of his wound - but forgot to save it on my phone (that is one piece of electronics that just mystifies me).

Monday Gus and I celebrated Dash's recovery by buying him his very own BiteNot collar. It is an improvement over the E-collar which was driving all of us a bit nuts. So now my Corgi looks a bit like a canine giraffe. Thursday we have a bandage change appointment where we are going to learn how to do it ourselves - so that hopefully we can heal the little guy - and prevent more visits to the nice vets at the ER.

X-Rays are next Tuesday! Yippee! I'm hoping for lots of good bone growth so that we don't have too much longer in the cast!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


So, we've had quite a week and it is only Thursday...

A quick recap:

On Sunday Dash was Reserve Winners Dog at Maryland Kennel Club. Joe showed him and Dash had a marvelous time playing with his sister for the weekend. We happily collected him on Sunday night, and took pictures of the triumphant little man. A great start to his show career.

Dash had other ideas. On Monday, while playing in our back yard, he stepped wrong and broke his foot - specifically 5th Metatarsal on his left hind (the judges side, of COURSE). X-rays confirm this instead of the feared blown knee. After carrying him inside, I laid him down and felt down his knee/hock to try to pinpoint where it hurt. No reaction. But brushing against his foot got a BIG reaction. I was really hoping for a soft tissue injury. No such luck. When Dash does something he goes all out. Dash came home in a spint while we decided how to treat him. He kept forgetting that his foot hurt, and tried counter surfing on one foot. Crazy dog!

On Tuesday I brought Dash back to the vet. Surgery was done to insert a pin, and as I learned on Wednesday, to remove bone chip from a butterfly fracture that didn't show up on the X-ray - all on same bone. We got a call at noon that he was awake and happy. And I called at the end of the day to learn that he is eating everything in sight.

On Wednesday I went to pick up the miscreant, who, being hopped up on pain killers, wants to FRAP. Sensing this is not a good idea, I confine him to his laundry room with a nice fresh knuckle bone (may regret that decision later as he has an upset tummy from the antibiotics...)

He spent Wednesday afternoon being cute and adorable. And given our current run of luck, it is now raining, so all trips outside involve wrapping his cast to keep him dry. We also had to spray the cast with bitter apple to keep him from chewing on the toe.

Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. (note the time - not during regular working hours - and there were 6 of them between the time we left the vet's office and when they closed), PegLeg decides that 24-36 hours with a cast is plenty (instead of the 28-36-56 days), and proceeds to slide his hock out of his cast. By the time the ER vet could see us, the cast was about 3/4 off his foot/leg. Cast is replaced. (Fast forward, my vet got a good chuckle this morning, and is giving me some tape to connect cast to fur... I'm considering doing a fancy figure 8 around the entire dog... but I'll think about trying just around his thigh to start).

Wednesday at Midnight, we are home, he is banished to a Labrador sized crate for the night as his fancy new E-Collar doesn't really fit in his normal crate, and Mom starts a glass of wine. This is followed by the 4:00 a.m. trip outside, complete with bagging the cast because of course it is raining for the first time in months... Mom finishes glass of wine and goes back to sleep.

Thursday a.m. - our vet's office tells me we don't need to come in if I'm comfortable that the cast is securely back in place. Dash figures out how to use his cone to scoop and toss gravel from our walk. Great - now I have to worry about him flipping something into his eye...

He is back in the Laundry Room today, and Dad gets to worry about bagging the leg until I get home.

It is going to be a long 6-8 weeks.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The "Perfect" Chewie...

Last night at class, Dash was a typical puppy. He had moments where he shined bright as the star he can be, and fewer (than last week) where he was a complete nitwit. Loose lead walking showed great improvement. We started teaching the stay command. I need to get myself more coordinated so that I don’t confuse him. He actually does very well for a baby, and I need to work on reinforcing it more. We also kicked up a cloud of dust doing puppy pushups! During the crazy dog game, he was more interested in the Goldens than he was me – until it was time to behave again (a good thing).

We actually got an early start to class yesterday, so we had time to go to Phydeaux and do a little shopping! We replaced Dash’s WubbaWubba (he opened a seam on his first one), and got a few more rawhide chews so that I’d have something to keep him busy with during downtime at class. He met a woman in a wheelchair while in the store and tried to climb into the chair with her. I was pleased to see that he didn’t freak out over the chair (however garbage cans can still eat unsuspecting Corgis). After class we went to PetCo to get a Nylaring for chewing. Another recommendation from Corgi-L.

Appropriate things to chew on is a broad topic. We know the inappropriate ones are, of course, the most fun – Dash brought me three of Gus’ shoes last night after Gus went to sleep. Clothing, especially Mike’s running hat after he exercises, are also popular with the felon, and worrisome for us.

Our lab Java was a power chewer. She managed to break bones – shatter them – that were not supposed to shatter. So there are a few products I won’t buy. Then there are the Greenies – that are supposed to be digestible, but there have been too many reports of problems with them not being so digestible on the internet for me to feel comfortable with them. My first sheltie, Duchess, rarely glanced at her Nylabone, so I haven’t wanted to spend money on that. Java quickly destroyed one of those too, so I worry about big parts or broken teeth. Speaking of broken teeth, Mom’s sheltie, Spencer, broke one on a cow hoof – so scratch those off the list (plus they stink when being chewed).

And then there is the rawhide debate with the very real concerns that because it is not really digestible that there could be blockages. Java could finish a 3 foot rawhide bone in less than a day if we had let her. We used to keep her bone in the downstairs bathtub when she wasn’t allowed to have it. Bixter was less intense, but definitely enjoyed them too. Because of our experience with our seniors over the past 13 years, I am comfortable allowing Dash to have rawhide chips under controlled circumstances – he is always monitored and watched to make sure that he is not going to fast or pulling off big bits. And he gives me the most forlorn looks when I take the scraps away at the end. Looks of disbelief that I would steal and (even worse) throw away his treasure are priceless.

At the recommendation of folks on Corgi-L, we are trying the Nylabone Ring. One description of how it will lessen the likelihood of broken teeth is that the Corgi’s can’t get a great grip on it – and thus can’t get the leverage to break a piece of the ring or a tooth (my biggest fear). So far the ring is being greeted with about the same level of enthusiasm Duchess gave her Nylabone – underwhelmed.

Another attempt to find the “perfect” chewie had mixed results for us. Sam’s Yams – dehydrated sweet potatoes – were recommended by the folks on Pembroke-L. What a great idea! Lots of vitamins, digestible, chewy. Dash motored through his first one. Nothing left in nothing flat – ut oh. Following day – bright orange soupy poops. Oops! I forgot that he is a little sensitive to sweet potatoes – same gut reaction from his whitefish and sweet potato biscuits the first time he got some. Turns out he also had something going on in his GI tract – so I waited a week after he finished his meds to try the Sam’s Yams again. So far so good. I’m also finding the smallest pieces so that his system gets used to the sweet potato. But – can they replace rawhides? Not really. He spends days working on a rawhide chip. The Sam’s Yams are gone in under 30 minutes.

An old standby, and a new toy, provide chewing and entertainment value. We have several Kongs, which when stuffed with cookies and/or peanut butter, do provide longer term entertainment. Though Dash is figuring out how to get the cookie more quickly. We also load some of his food into a Buster Cube so that he has to work to eat. It is a much louder toy than his Kongs, but it keeps him occupied.

So that leaves the non-traditional chewie – a good old fashioned cardboard box. Fortunately he simply, delightedly, shreds these and doesn’t try to eat them (same with paper – one just has to have the patience to clean up afterwards). While they keep him busy, I’m not so sure they clean his teeth.
Thus we continue on in our quest for the "perfect" chewie.