Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dogs in Sweaters

Chloe keeping warm.

Okay, at 30-below maybe there's no such thing as being warm, even in a toasty insulated doghouse surrounded by flax bales. But normally robust farm dogs (and cats; note Michu soaking up the sun on top of the bales) manage fine as long as they've got good shelter.

Chloe, however, has something going on with her skin that is causing her to lose patches of fur; the vet at first thought it was not something she would recover from and said that animals that get the infection called demodex, caused by mites, are best put down. He said they get scabby and lose fur so that no one wants to pet them or have them near, which is "not much of a life for a dog." But he was unable to see any mites in the skin scrapings he looked at through a microscope, so thought it worthwhile trying to treat her because it may be something else-- sarcoptic mange, perhaps.

She got a shot of antibiotics, a month's supply of horse pills that I had to give her by putting my hand halfway down her throat (glad that part's over), and some sort of gel applied to a spot between her shoulders once a month for three months. Eye drops immediately cleared up the green goo that had tipped us off that something was wrong. We'd noticed her skin was wrinkled but figured she must have loose skin to grow into or something. Wrong. The vet recognized the problem immediately. She had already lost a lot of hair and had bloody, scabby spots that weren't healing. We'd thought she must have been in a fight with a raccoon or something.

After a month of treatment, not only can you see her pink skin through her thinning fur; there are now patches of hair completely gone. When it was 36-below the other night, I started calling her into the porch to sleep. Due to her excessive naughty chewiness it was necessary to block off an area so that she wouldn't damage Scott's tools or anything else that's out there. But she was good as gold; curled up on the matt and you didn't hear a peep from her. No bathroom accidents either.

During the day she's outside though, so when I left for Margo yesterday afternoon to visit Karen it occurred to me that a sweater might help a little. There was a hand-me-down that Joan gave me (I've worn the hell out of it so it was in a bag in the van, on its way to the recycling depot) and I put that on her and then laughed my head off. Too cute.

Chloe is tied up because the old dog, Casper, is eating outside the photo frame. At 10 months of age, Chloe has gone from pretending to respect Casper's dominance while lying across the food bowl so Casper couldn't get any grub, to growling so that Casper backs off. She is so greedy that, even with two food bowls some distance apart, she will run back and forth between the two in order to keep Casper from eating. Must've been underfed as a pup, unless it's in the nature of huskies to be this way. Don't dogs in northern sled teams need to be fed in individual food bowls and tethered so that they can't fight over them? Chloe will even take individual pieces of dog chow and carry them around the yard to cache them.

Oh no, I've become one of those people who goes on and on about her dog.