Friday, November 22, 2013

Dogs in Weddings

A funny thing happened while we were in Europe.  Something life changing, momentous, thoughtful, and what I consistently refer to as being so weird.

Harry proposed!  

No just kidding.  His Dad did.  However my niece has proposed to Harry and we are considering a dual wedding even though their relationship is incestual.  

But in all seriousness, now that I'm in this stage of engaged, I have to direct a lot of free time towards this activity called planning.  A lot of the wedding websites recommend coming up with an overall theme to help you make decisions and weave every aspect of the day together.  In my opinion, what would be a better theme than Harry?

I'll probably be teased for being obsessed, but I think that including our fur baby in our "special day" could be done tastefully.  I found this website that gave the when to include and when not to include your dog on your day:

We've already inquired about Harry being allowed on premises at a few of the venues we've visited.  Worst case scenario, Harry can't make a physical appearance.  And in that case you know he'll be featured in just about everything...

Plus, you can't deny he looks good in a tux.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Cone of Shame

Since June Harry has been battling back to back skin, ear, and paw infections.  He was prescribed soothing shampoos, omega-3 supplements, and steroids but once finished he would begin itching and scratching himself to the point of creating visible bleeding scratches on his face and under his body.  

In September we called our vet asking for an accompanying antibiotic to fight any infections that were going on due to Harry's scratching and as Harry weaned off the antibiotics and steroid (while we were in Europe) his skin and even his eyes began to inflame which resulted in a trip to Penn Dermatology.
Still snuggles, even with a cone on
Penn Dermatology so far has been so good.  They studied Harry in teams of students and gave us so much information it was actually overwhelming.  Then they sent us home with a packet which covered everything we talked about and more plus a crapload of drugs, treatments, ointments, soaks, and shampoo.  They also recommended Harry wear a t-shirt, and we took it a step further by also having him wear socks.
Harry's "frosted corn pops with marshmallows" aka drugs

So what's eating Harry?  It's not scabies (what we originally thought) and is likely allergies to something unknown.  Right now we're trying to figure out exactly what that is.  Harry's on a Purina diet of Hypoallergenic food which also comes with special treats called "Gentle Snackers" which is probably the worst name for a treat ever.  His food is prescribed and is super expensive.  And all the treats, peanut butters, toothpastes, even nylabones at home had to be put away as they could have an ingredient that Harry's allergic to.  Essentially, by putting Harry on this diet we're conducting an experiment.  The food is the constant, and we're supposed to clear Harry's infections and then observe to see if any scratching or licking occurs.  

After 8 weeks of food trialing, we need to reintroduce Harry to his old food, which for us was Blue Buffalo in Chicken flavor.  If he reacts with extreme scratching and paw licking then we know for sure he is allergic to his food.  At that point we can begin a food trial where we put him back on his special prescribed food and test him on a bi-weekly basis with a different kind of food.  We then observe his reactions and note whether or not he's allergic to it.  Just like scientists!  Harry's food test is the following:

1.  Cooked Ground Beef
2.  Cooked Chicken
3.  Cottage Cheese (or any other cheese)
4.  Soy (yea, we literally give Harry tofu!)
5.  Cooked Lamb (ok classy...)
6.  Hard Boiled Eggs (can't wait for the farts)
7.  Wheat (pasta, cereal, wheat germ)
8.  Corn
9.  Cooked Pork

After the testing is all done - which I feel will take 6 months - we'll have a list of what Harry is and isn't allergic to.  Then we can read ingredients and buy a cheaper food that won't irritate him.  However, if Harry is STILL itching after the food tests it may be due to seasonal or environmental allergies.  Harry's cousin Jager has been blessed with both and has to receive a shot every week.  Luckily his Mommy is a nurse.  I'm not sure how well the Foo and I are going to handle shooting up Harry every week.
So miserable.
We're really happy and Harry's really happy that he's feeling better.  It's been a pricey process, but it is seriously no fun at all having a sick puppy.  Cone of shame has been put away and now we just monitor Harry when we're home.  It'll be exciting to document all the food trials along the way - hope you're looking forward to it!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween Harry 2013

For the second year in a row Harry participated in the best holiday of the year.  Halloween is by far our favorite holiday as we're always looking for an excuse to dress up as something other than ourselves.  It's also super fun to imagine Harry dressed up as pretty much anything and I am more than happy to make it myself.  You may remember last year when our little family dressed up as Hall & Oates featuring Keyboard Cat (Harry).  This year we were a family of Potato Heads.

I made our costumes with felt, a sewing machine, and a hot glue gun....but the sewing machine wasn't even necessary.  The whole costume could be no sew if you're a non-sewer.  For Harry's costume, I cut out a potato shape and measured how big it should be by putting a scrap of felt over his body and cutting it where it should end.  Then I shaped this into the pear-like shape the Potato-Heads tend to have.  At first, it looked like a piece of toast, but with some shaping with my scissors it became potato.

In order to keep the potato on I had to add a strap under Harry's belly.  Again I took a scrap of felt and put it around his belly to see how long it needed to be.  I sewed this onto the inside of the potato, but could have easily used a glue gun.  On the opposite side I glued down velcro and I glued a piece of velcro to the strap so that I could easily secure his costume.  

The potato was still sliding down Harry's body and onto the floor so I decided to make a neck loop across Harry's chest.  I did this by gluing a scrap of felt on the inside of the potato and across Harry's chest.  No sew - just hot glue!  

Harry's facial features were made with felt and secured with velcro.  I didn't have time to make as many faces as I made for Harry's Dad's costume, but if ever there's a Toy Story party Harry will surely be prepared.  For Halloween, Dad let Harry borrow his bowler hat.  We couldn't get a shot of him as full on Mr. Potato Head, but you can use your imagination.  Maybe somebody should start selling mini dog bowler hats, because from the looks below, this hat was meant for Harry's scruffy sophistication.