Sunday, April 26, 2009

Playing Keep-Away for a Good Reason

Last blog, my PR mom was "teaching." This week, I guess I am. But first... I'll show you how we celebrated Easter Sunday here. My PRs had told me about my Creator's resurrection... but I had an idea that there was also supposed to be a little springtime-and-flowers ambiance. Right?

I ask you! Does this look like springtime???

Well, all right. I'll put on my teacher's hat now.

(How embarrassing. But at least it isn't my Gentle Leader.)

Mom picked up a little booklet at the vet's office when she was getting me some Heartguard. It's called, "101 Things You Didn't Know Could Harm Your Pet." Although the booklet sells pet insurance, it also warns about things Mom says dog people should know. Dogs, too.

As marvelous as we canines are - especially CCI dogs - there are actually things out there that can hurt us! Can you imagine? So, my fellow four-footies (including MEE-YOWs, I guess), let's keep away from these things this summer. Happily for you, I'm not going to list all 101! But here are some of the good ones:

HOME, SWEET HOME: Maybe we'll never get into the medicine cabinet (it's too high up), but if we find a pill on the floor we're liable to check it out with our tongues. So don't let us find aspirin, ibuprofen, or other such things. Keep us away from vitamins and any kind of people medicine. Keep us away from diet pills and insulin. To us, the stuff looks like doggy treats!

(...These are dog treats.)

(On the other hand, these are not....)

Keep us away, too, from detergent, fabric softener, drain cleaner, any kind of bug spray, mouse (or rat or snail) bait, and mothballs. (What the moths are doing playing with balls I don't know.) Keep us away from paint thinners, tobacco, and liquid potpourri. Whew! I mean, let us have carrots, puppy biscuits, and peanut butter (yeah!), but not Drano, cigar butts, or dryer sheets!

YOU: I'm (ahem) much too grown up to nibble on plants... except that little one over there. Oh, and that one looks interesting, too.

So this is part of the HUGE no-no list: lilies, ferns, ivy, bittersweet, morning glories, daffodils, hyacinths, honeysuckle, iris, lantana, lilies of the valley (they're cute), oleander (nasty!), privet, tulips, wisterias, and yews. They look great, but plant 'em where we can't get to 'em.

FOODIE WARNING: Like most Labs (and lots of other pups), I'll do almost anything for food (except have my nails trimmed)! But we get very sick if we even try out chocolate, coffee (I almost tried that the other day!), garlic, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, salt, tea leaves, booze, wine, avocados, raw yeast dough, anything with xylitol (like gum), food with a lot of fat on it, or food that's moldy. I've never tasted chocolate (my mom kindly eats it for me). I hear I'm getting a cake for my birthday next month... but not a chocolate one!

THESE ARE NOT GOOD TOYS... but if we find 'em, we'll play with 'em! Keep us from finding batteries (chew toys!), twist-ties, coins, rubber bands, socks or nylons (I've heard hospital stories about those!), string, dental floss, jewelry (ouch!), pins, cotton swabs, buttons, plastic wrap, paper clips, or little bitty balls. They're small enough to chew and swallow, but once they get inside me I'm in trouble. So are you.

CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION... toilets are not good for us to drink from! So give us lots of fresh water in beautiful, big, clean bowls (preferably in gorgeous colors with our names painted on them), and keep the toilet lid down, thank you.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS... won't be great for me if I get stuck by the neck in a broken fence (or lattice), or if I run out an open gate or wide place in the fence. Don't let me get into gasoline or (shudder) anti-freeze - it's sweet but even a tiny bit can kill me! - weed killer, bug spray, or compost (made out of stuff that smells good to me), especially if it's moldy. Remember, we delightful dogs try out anything we find interesting. We just can't help ourselves.

Don't invite me to your yard if you have COCOA-BEAN SHELL MULCH around your trees or in your flower beds. It'll smell good and taste good, but it's related to chocolate - it can make me so sick you wouldn't believe it.

Don't ever leave me alone in your POOL or HOT TUB! No dog can swim that well! Do you know how hard it is to get out if you're weighed down with wet fur? Scary.

Speaking of scary, a reliable source (my cousin Zebrina - I'll write about her visit later) told me INDEPENDENCE DAY is coming up this summer. She says Fourth of July is all about scary decorations in the sky and scary noises on the ground (just down the street!). When she was a little pup she was so scared she couldn't even stay in the back yard, and had to go inside and hide in a corner. My mom says many dogs run away and get hurt because fireworks are so scary. They'll thank people who protect them from all that, no matter how much fun the people have with it.

Sigh. This one isn't in the booklet, but my PRs said to tell you. Learn NOT TO COUNTER-SURF! (Counter-surfing is higher-up hoovering. You know what hoovering is, right?) Sorry, guys! It's fun, but we feel so smart standing tall and reaching up to the counter that we're not always smart about what we take off it. We should not practice our "up" command on the kitchen or bathroom counter without supervision (my new word). Yes, I know the commercial where the dog takes the man's sandwich off the counter and puts the MEE-YOW there, but that's make-believe.

Do your people want to know more? Tell them to talk to your vet. (You don't have to be there.)

We dogs - our Creator's finest work (ahem) - are so wonderful that of course people will want to keep us safe and happy. We need to wag our tails even more, and let them pet us more, when they do. We could even take them for more walks. (That's good for them, too.)

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