Friday, May 30, 2008


Today's Petfinder pick of the day is brought to you by the letter R... for Ranger!

One of the few dogs on Petfinder with a decent description, here's his description in the shelter's own words.
Ranger is a 1 year old, blue merle, Australian Shepherd mixed boy. He has all of the Aussie smarts, boundless energy and is just bursting with puppy love. He is a blank slate just waiting for some direction to shape him into the best doggie a boy could be! He enjoys the company of other dogs and can live with a kitty-friend. He has basic obedience, and would be a fun 4-H project or at learning new things. Ranger is neutered, current on vaccines, is crate and house trained and is all set to go home with you!

I don't know about the "4-H" project bit, but that's not his fault. He sounds like a real keeper. You should consider adopting since I can't until the house is sold. :-)

Breed, Schmeed... How could you not love this face?

This morning, we also had blood drawn for the Wisdom Panel this morning. One of the vet techs pointed out that it is good to look at the list of breeds identified. Turns out that when she had her dog Grommit analyzed, they didn't have Schnauzer on the list yet, and thus there was a large chunk of "Unknown" on her report. (Looks like all sizes of Schnauzer are on the list now.)

Here are the breeds that they don't have.
American Foxhound
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Black and Tan Coonhound
Canaan Dog
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dogue De Bordeaux
English Foxhound
English Toy Spaniel
Finnish Spitz
German Pinscher
Miniature Bull Terrier
Neapolitan Mastiff
Pharaoh Hound
Plott Hound
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Skye Terrier
Tibetan Mastiff
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

So, if Grete has trace amounts of Anatolian Shepherd in her report, it will show up as unknown. (BTW, when I adopted Grete, they had typo'd Australian Shepherd to Anatolian Shepherd on her adoption papers.)

It looks like the report won't have percentages, but it will rank the amounts of each breed, ranging from significant to trace. It will report the breeds like so:

You Should see traits from: X
You May see traits from: Y
There is a slight Chance of seeing traits from: Z

Someone suggested I should start a betting pool for Grete's breed mix. Since we don't have exact percentages, it might be tricky to get this going.

Here's the list of breeds they do have:
Afghan Hound
Airedale Terrier
Alaskan Malamute
American Eskimo Dog
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Water Spaniel
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Shepherd Dog
Australian Terrier
Basset Hound
Bearded Collie
Bedlington Terrier
Belgian Malinois
Belgian Sheepdog
Belgian Tervuren
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
Black Russian Terrier
Border Collie
Border Terrier
Boston Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
Brussels Griffon
Bull Terrier
Cairn Terrier
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Chinese Crested
Chinese Shar-Pei
Chow Chow
Clumber Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel
Curly-Coated Retriever
Doberman Pinscher
English Cocker Spaniel
English Setter
English Springer Spaniel
Field Spaniel
Flat-Coated Retriever
Fox Terrier (Smooth)
Fox Terrier (Toy)
Fox Terrier (Wire)
French Bulldog
German Shepherd Dog
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
Giant Schnauzer
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Golden Retriever
Gordon Setter
Great Dane
Great Pyrenees
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Ibizan Hound
Irish Setter
Irish Terrier
Irish Water Spaniel
Irish Wolfhound
Italian Greyhound
Japanese Chin
Kerry Blue Terrier
Labrador Retriever
Lakeland Terrier
Lhasa Apso
Manchester Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
Miniature Schnauzer
Norfolk Terrier
Norwegian Elkhound
Norwich Terrier
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Old English Sheepdog
Parson Russell Terrier
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Poodle (Miniature)*
Portuguese Water Dog
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Saint Bernard
Scottish Deerhound
Scottish Terrier
Sealyham Terrier
Shetland Sheepdog
Shiba Inu
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky
Silky Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Spinone Italiano
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Standard Schnauzer
Sussex Spaniel
Tibetan Spaniel
Tibetan Terrier
Welsh Springer Spaniel
Welsh Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

Maybe readers of Meta Grete can write in with their breed favorites, I can give them odds, and then they can bet with their three-tiered breed list. (Significant, Some, Trace)

Would that work? I don't know a lot about betting pools or odds, so I might make a bad bookie. :P

Regardless, they said the results could come in 10 days -- or 4 weeks. I've marked my calendar. June 13th - June 27th. If we don't hear back by the 4th of July, I'll be sad.

The Eyes have it

This morning, the vet pronounced Grete's eyes as perfect. There's still a tiny spot where the main divot was, but she said it should be completely healed in a week. She also said that Grete's vision will be unaffected by the event.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Doggles on Grete

The vet tech said it was ok to use the Doggles -- as long as they stay on and protect her eye from her paws and other dogs.

However, the Doggles are going to take some real adjusting because moments after this picture was taken, Grete easily rubbed them off on Frank's leg. Cory suggested tightening the back strap. I've done that, but I haven't had the heart to put them back on yet.

In other news, I started reading up on corneal ulcers on the web and almost passed out. Seriously. I had to go get some water and open my office window. I just don't do well with eyeball injury discussions.

I was just trying to figure out if the q-tip scrubbing was normal. It seems that they generally only do that for dogs, and sometimes they only do that if it can't heal on its own. It's a little strange that they scrubbed it the first day that we came in, but it is also almost universally agreed that scrubbing will give the cornea a new start at healing properly. Also, I discovered that antibiotics could be applied as much as 4 times daily, and that the 3 times daily is a compromise that most vets seem to reach since most people can't deliver drops in the middle of the work day. In other words, much to Grete's dismay, I can't really overdo it with the drops.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Doggles on Q

So I broke down and bought some doggles for Grete. They're pretty damn cute on her, but I'm a little nervous about using them in place of the e-collar until I talk to the vet about it. (I have concerns that the goggles might not "breathe" enough for her healing eyeballs.)

In the meantime, I tried them on myself. I just FEEL like I could code FASTER with racing FLAMES on my eyes. (Now, if only I had my contacts in and could see the screen.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Doggles may be in our future

It turns out that Grete's swollen, squint-y eye was actually a corneal ulcer. Now, you should know that "corneal ulcer" is just fancy doctor-speak for "poked in the eye with something sharp."

I'm still not sure at all what happened. It might have happened last night when Jason and I were packing boxes at my old house. I noticed that Grete caught wind of something in the backyard and started doing her speed demon crazy laps at least once.

In any event, once we got to the doctor's office, the visit went something like this. With the better lighting, I was able to see the scratch on her left eye. It was probably 2mm x 1mm at the most. (I'm bad with small measurements. Just use that as a notion of scale for the next number.) The doc put the yellow stain in, and sure enough, with the black light, you could see a good sized spot on her eye.

Now here comes the scary part. The doc then explained that it's like a blister, and we need to remove the bits of the cornea around the scratch. She proceeds to put a topical on the eye, and she waits a little while. (This is all too familiar to me after last year's laser eye surgery.) Then, with a plain old doctor's q-tip, she scratches Grete's eye.... for quite a while. After she was finally done, I think the scratch was perhaps 3mm x 6 mm. It definitely doubled - maybe tripled in size.

We now have antibacterial eye drops that need to be used until her recheck on Friday the 30th. (Gentamicin Sulfate Ophthalmic Solution.)

For those keeping track of these things, here's the bill...
Office Visit $63.00
Stain $30
Drops $23.50
E-Collar $6

Here's the only upside. Next Friday, in addition to getting her eye rechecked, we're going to get blood drawn for the Wisdom Panel DNA test finally. More on that later.

Photo credit goes to JustUptown on flickr.

Animal Eyes

After I got out of the shower this morning, I found Grete laying against the couch in the living room. She looked up at me and her inner eyelid didn't quite open. After some coaxing, she opened her eyes fully. At first, I thought it was just some sleepiness stuck in her eye. After a moment or two, the eye returned to its closed state, and she started rubbing it. I called the vet and left a message asking if I could put some OTC drops in it.

Justin, one the wonderful vet techs at Elliot Bay whom I've talked to quite a bit, called me back. After I described the situation, he said I should bring her in. I was a little shocked by this, but he explained that with dogs (and animals in general) they can develop an ulcer on their cornea pretty easy. Also, he said that I said the three things that they look for when people call in: rubbing, squinting, and swelling.

I'm leaving work around 2:45 to get to an appointment at 3:30 to get her checked out. She's going to HATE it. I've already tried to put eye wash in her eye, and that didn't go well AT ALL. They're going to put the yellow stain in her eye and look for scratches. That's not going to be pleasant. I am pretty sure this will rank right up there with getting spayed in Grete's list of least favorite vet visits ever.

Seattle (and Grete) Walks!

If you live and walk in Seattle, please take a moment to fill out the Seattle Walks survey found here:


You can read more about the Seattle Pedestrian Master Plan here:

Seattle DOT: Pedestrian Master Plan

Remember... Sidewalks are great for people and for dogs. :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spay/neuter: What does the science say?

Interesting recap of the free AVMA article on Determining the optimal age for gonadectomy of dogs and cats can be found at the Pet Connection Blog: Spay/neuter: What does the science say?

It seems like the moral of the story is... It's good that I waited until Grete was 6 months, and I should be extra vigilant to not let her ever get overweight.

And now... A word from our sponsor:


Agrh! Tree Sap!

I gave Grete her first bath in Jason's tub this weekend. She was soft and fluffy and clean... and then she managed to get tree sap on her at lunch today at work. Grrr...

Any tips on getting tree sap out of fur? I think soap and water will cut it, but other than cutting it out, I can't think of a way out of giving her yet another bath.

Grete loves grass and sun

Gesso versus Grete

Note the right hook in the background.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dog friendly employers ?

A quick question for those of you with dog friendly employers...

My employer is moving our campus in a few years. We've always been dog-friendly in some buildings, but not all of them. (The leases were just different in different buildings.)

The plan is to be dog-friendly in all the buildings going forward, but there have been rumblings about allergies and vague mumblings about dog-free zones.

I'm curious how other employers handle this issue. Does Google have "dog-free zones"? Do they just have non-allergic employees? Do they hand out free Claratin in the office supply area?

I'm particularly curious about larger employers like Google. I assume smaller employers have more flexibility, but large employers have to worry a lot about liability.

[ That said, I'm really curious about any dog friendly employer for job flexibility reasons as well. :-) ]

Is there anyone out there that can give me the inside scoop on other company's written and/or understood pet policies?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Agility Anyone?

Grete and I are anxiously awaiting the next dog agility class taught by Cloudine Lang at In Joy Dog Training.

FWIW, back in January and February, we were in another agility class, but I personally didn't "click" with the instructor even though she's very talented and dedicated. I also hit dog class overload, and I wasn't doing the homework. In short, it was time for a break, and now we're ready to get back into it.

I've already watched Cloudine work, and I can't wait for class to start.

On the off chance that you've been thinking about enrolling in a beginner dog agility class in Seattle, I encourage you to call or email Cloudine. If I know you in real life, we can even carpool. :-)

BTW, Firecrest is up in Shoreline, just north of the Seattle city limits, but it doesn't take long to get there since it is just off I-5. Also, since it is a school gym and not a dog daycare, it doesn't have as many smell temptations which should be good for Grete's focus.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Q-Ball !!

Another scrumptious Aussie pup... This one bears one of my old nicknames! Fate! Adopt Q-Ball - Australian Shepherd Puppy

Monday, May 12, 2008

[Off Topic] what gesso will read at my wedding... srsly.

Aaron cursed me with the knowledge of LOL Cat Bible today. Thus, I will curse you with what my beloved Gesso will read at my wedding...
1 iff i talkd wif teh tungz of manz n angylz, n duzzn haz luff, i are becom liek teh human, knockin down all teh potz n panz frm teh shelf, srsly.2 iff i haz powarz of liek tellin the futurez an if i has access to teh internets, an i gotz all teh missteriez an all teh knowingz an all teh faithz, enuff 2 taek all teh mowntanz awayz, an i duzzn haz luff, i gotz nuffink.3 an evn iff i givez all mai stuffz awai, n iff i delivur mai bodiz to b burnded up, and i duzzn haz luff, i gotz nuffink.

4 Luv is pashient n kind, luv haz no jelusniss or showin offz, luv no is stuck-up5 or r00dz. Luv no insistzes on doin it rite, itz not pisst off alla tiem or rezentflufflele.6 Luv izzn all happiez about doin it wrong, but is happiez about teh truthz.7 Luv putz up wiht all teh stuffz, beelivez all teh stuffz, hoepz for all teh stuffz. Luv putz up wiht all teh stuffz... i sed that areddy?

8 Luv no haz endingz. Tellin the futurez, tungz, an alla stuffz u know wil die.9 We haz knowingz a bit, an we haz profacy a bit. We no haz two much tho.10 O, wait. Win teh perfict coemz, teh not perfict will dyez, lolol.11 Wen i wuz a kitten, i meweded leik a kitten, thinkded liek a kittenz, an I chazed strings liek a kittenz. Wen i wuz becomez a cat, i NO WANT kitten waiz ne moar.12 For nao we see in teh foggy mirorr like when teh human gets out of teh shower, but tehn we see faec tow faec. Nao i haz knowingz just a bit, tehn i will haz all teh knowingz, as i haz been knownz.

13 Nao faithz an hoepz an luvz r hear, theses threes, but teh bestest iz teh luv. srsly.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Grete, Jason, and I took our first really big road trip this weekend to the Oregon Coast. I'm proud to say that Grete slept like a trooper both there and back. There was a little whining when we slowed down because of slow traffic or smaller highway roads, but I'm not sure it was always Grete. It might have been me or Jason.

Also, kudos go to Jake, Jason's mom's dog for putting up with Grete's constant face licking. :-)

Expect a bigger load of photos on Jason's flickr stream eventually. I just decided to grab a couple to throw them up for now. This is my favorite of the ones that I took with Jason's camera. Gotta love that tongue action.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Releases in Dog-Land

My friends and co-workers at Amazon recently built a great new feature. Internally, we called it "Watch List," but externally it is under the heading of "Artist & Author Recommendations." If you're curious, you can try it out for yourself here: Recommended For You.

In the past, this is how I found out about Jean Donaldson's new book, Oh Behave!.

Today I am excited to report that my recommendations have yet another tempting book, Why Do Dogs Like Balls?: More Than 200 Canine Quirks, Curiosities, and Conundrums Revealed.

I already have two of Margaret Bonham's books: Introduction to Dog Agility and Having Fun With Agility. They're both pretty good. (FWIW, I like her Intro book more than her Having Fun book.)

That said... Grete LOVES BALLS, and so I'm sorely tempted to pre-order this. I'm dying to know why Grete is so ball obsessed. And as an added bonus, I'll get to find out what other 199 canine conundrums they reveal! Da-dun-dah!

Agility and The Long Blondes

What do The Long Blondes have to do with Agility?

Found via: The Days of Johann, an agility dog!: Agility hits MTV!
The single "Guilt" is found on their new album: Couples

Maybe Grete will star in a music video someday?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Furry 5K Donation Page

As you may already know, Grete and I are going to do the Furry 5K this year.

If you're interested in an easy way to give to a cause that we care about, we set up a donation page here:

After all, what's not to love about giving Grete a chance to run AND saving kittens and puppies at the same time?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Great price on Dogswell treats at Amazon

Dogswell Vitality Chicken Breast Mini's, 6-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

In the training world, folks often refer to different treats as having different pay rates. For Grete, a picky eater, this is especially true. I try to keep an ordered list of her treats in my head. For example, her regular kibble seems to be worth $1 to her -- but it depends on the context. Sometimes, it's like a penny, and like most Americans, she won't even stoop to pick it up off the ground. I've been meaning to make a little chart like this:

Treat - Context - Pay Rate
Orijen Kibble - Indoors - $1.00
Orijen Kibble - Outside - $0.01
Charlie Bear Cheese - Indoors - $5.00
Charlie Bear Cheese - Outside - $1.00
... etc ...

Despite being made in China, I can't deny the unmistakable value that Dogswell Chicken treats have for Grete. To Grete, a piece of Dogswell Chicken is worth over $100.00 inside the house, and probably about $50 outside. (I used to buy the full size treats and tear them up. I'm super excited that they're making "minis" now.)

FWIW, I overlook the China factor for three reasons. First, Dogswell's FAQ is pretty darn reassuring. FDA/APHIS certified. Happy chickens. No recalls.

Second, almost all the local "foofy" pet stores carry Dogswell. Four Legs Good, Mud Bay, Petapoluza, and more. I haven't checked All The Best yet, but that's because they're not convenient for me. I'm pretty sure I've seen them at Unleashed Pawsabilities, but I'm not 100% sure. (But if you haven't been to Unleashed Pawsabilities you should. They're just so nice there!)

Third, they're one of the very, very few treats that she will work hard for in the face of massive distractions. (e.g. Outside at the dog area at work with multiple friendly, playful dogs present.)

That's why I just bought three 6-multi-pack packages of Dogswell Minis on Amazon today, and I had to stop myself from buying more.

Here's a link: Dogswell Vitality Chicken Breast Mini's, 6-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

Let's do the math.

Keep in mind that the average Seattle pet shop will sell these 5 or 6 oz packages for $6 to $9 per single 6 oz package. (Dogswell's own suggested price is $8.99. SmileyDog's 2008 price list has $7.50 for 5 oz. I'm not sure why there are both 5oz and 6oz bags floating around. That's a little weird. )

At Amazon, since Amazon Grocery only deals in multi-packs, you'll get SIX 6 oz packages for $20. What's more, they're running a promotion that gives you 10% off. [Code: DOGTREA4; Expires 5/31] Also, I get an employee discount of another 10%.

All said and done, I just paid $52.32 for 108 oz.

Let's be generous and say you find a place that sells 6 oz for $7. For me to have gotten 108 oz, I would have paid ... $126.00.

In other words, locally, I would pay $1.16 / oz.
At Amazon, I just paid less than 49 cents / oz.

Score. :-)

Here's that link one more time: Dogswell Vitality Chicken Breast Mini's, 6-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

Want your own Grete? Adopt Ginger!

Don't let the "Adult" listing on petfinder fool you. 19 months is only 7 months older than Grete. Ginger is still a puppy at heart, I know it. :-)

Ginger on Petfinder

Like Grete, Ginger loves running and sticks. Like Grete, she's crate-trained and house-trained. Like Grete, she's GORGEOUS!