Special Offer From SamDoum Art to Run A Muck Ranch Followers!

I just received an e-mail from Samara, the amazing artist at SamDoum Art with an exclusive offer for Run A Muck Ranch friends!

From Samara:

“I’m currently offering 25% off on all pet portraits for all Run A Muck fans who find me through your website. All they will need to do is click on the pet portrait badge on your blog and that page will direct them to my pet portrait Etsy shop. Then, while completing their order, all they’ll need to do is enter the Promocode  “RUNAMUCK25”. The offer lasts until January 1st, 2015. But it’s a good idea to order as soon as possible in order to ship before the Christmas deadline, for those purchasing as a gift for someone else.”

 

Run A Muck Ranch's Gracie painted by SamDuom Art.
Run A Muck Ranch’s Gracie painted by SamDuom Art.

 

The SamDoumArt badge is the first widget below the header on this blog, titled Pet Portraits,  with the Macaw on it – also painted by Samara.

 

 

Run A Muck Ranch's Mortimer painted by SamDuom Art
Run A Muck Ranch’s Mortimer painted by SamDuom Art

This is the PERFECT gift for any dog mom, and most dog dads, on your Christmas list!

 

Hannah, the winner of Run A Muck Ranch's Facebook contest for internationally adopted dogs.
Hannah, the winner of Run A Muck Ranch’s Facebook contest for internationally adopted dogs.

 

 

 

Product Review: Dremel Nail Groomers

With as many beasts as we have, nail trimming isn’t always done on a regular basis.  I’ve been doing some reading on the nail grinders, and like what I’ve read.

Quiet, gentle, easier on the dog, easier on the person and no rough or split edges.

Imagine the possibilities!  If I were to grind the nails of 1 dog every day, our toenails would be as perfect as our dogs!

I tested the Dremel Nail Groomer on DASH! today.

DASH! enjoying a good romp through the mud.  DASH! is the only dog I've ever 'mothered' that I would clone in a heartbeat.   The world needs many more DASH!'s .
DASH! enjoying a good romp through the mud. DASH! is the only dog I’ve ever ‘mothered’ that I would clone in a heartbeat. The world needs many more DASH!’s .

This was the result:

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Not sure how well the Dremel works on dog nails, but it can put some serious corn rolls in human hair!

Crabby says I’m not allowed to use it again without the supervision of a responsible adult.

The Effects of Home Made Diet on the Run A Muck Ranch Dogs: Gracie at 15 Months

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A freak first ask forgiveness later incident happened involving Gracie Friday night, and we spent some time at the vet.  Gracie was and remains fine.

I on the other hand really need to stop seeing fatal diseases around every corner.  As long as we were at the vet, may as well make it worth it, so a blood test was ordered to see how Gracie is doing on the home made diet plan.  Gracie has been on the plan for 15 months and this is her second blood test.  This time, we ran a urinalysis as well.

   [Gracie’s Blood Results]

Humor me!  Actually click on the link to see what we found!

The elevated Creatinine doesn’t concern me since everything else was within normal limits.  Gracie was gassy – probably from scarfing her way late dinner – possibly from eating something that didn’t agree with her in the back yard that morning – who knows.  If she was bloated with gas most of the day, she might not have drunk as much as she should have, especially when the temperature had risen to the un-holy measure of 88 degrees.  Remember, none of the Run A Muck Ranch dogs can survive in temperatures above 82 degrees, and we have the electric bills to prove it!  Nothing like a little dehydration to elevate the Creatinine levels from time to time.

Other than that one measure, Gracie is straight A’s within normal ranges for everything.

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To date, no vet, not even the “nutritional specialists” I have actively sought out and paid for consultations, has asked me what I feed my dogs.    The constant recommendation from the ‘specialists’ is that I change all the dogs back to a commercial diet.  Any commercial diet, they say, would be better than a home made diet.

Am I stupid?  You be the judge:

AAFCO, which writes the guidelines on commercial dog food, has 3 ways to bring a dog food to market  (overly simplified descriptions):

1.   The proposed food may be analyzed by a laboratory.  If the nutrient content meets the minimum requirements set forth by AAFCO, the food is considered adequate.   Digestibility or useability of the nutrients are not guaranteed.  As long as the correct molecules are present, you’re good to go.

2.  A list of ingredients for the proposed food is imputed into a computer program. If the combination of ingredients meet the minimum requirements set forth by AAFCO, the food is considered adequate.  It is possible this way to produce food that has little or no nutritional value, i.e. it is possible to meet the ‘protein requirement’ with plant material alone and be considered adequate.  However, there is no guarantee that all essential amino acids are provided.  The food does not have to be analyzed in a laboratory, or fed to a single dog, to pass muster.

3.  8 dogs start, but only 6 need finish, a 26 week feeding trial.  At the end of the feeding trial, hemoglobin, packed cell volume, Alk Phos and serum albumin are tested.  If those blood parameters are within normal range, and the dogs in the trial have not lost more than 15% body weight since the beginning of the trial, the food is declared adequate.

There is actually a 4th way available to manufacturers of several foods, but isn’t relevant since the original food had to pass one of the 3 tests described.

Gracie's desert find is NOT on the diet plan!
Gracie’s desert find is NOT on the diet plan!

Morty, Willy and Slugger are only on a taste of home made with the bulk of their meals being commercial due to cost and cooking time issues.  That leaves 11 Run A Muck Ranch dogs being fed the diet plan solely.  9 have been maintained for longer than AAFCO’s 26 weeks (Pablo and Gertie are recent residents and not included in the dog count which exceeds AAFCO protocols – at least for now).  Blood tests are ongoing, and I check a whole lot more than the 4 parameters required and accepted by the experts.  OK, so I don’t test every dog each time, but every dog is tested and tests are repeated for each dog.

To date, there have been no health issues that can be linked to nutrition.  Remember, when Vito started having his seizures, I immediately bared my wrists, both to the regular vet and to the ultrasound vet, offering up diet as a cause.  Neither would bite.  Ultimately, it was verified diet was not a factor.

Will I convert back to commercial, any commercial?  Nope!  Until I have a veterinary nutritional expert, heck, just any vet for that matter, actually ask me what I feed (none have, believe it or not), and tells me specifically what is wrong with it, I will stay with what I’m doing, with the ultimate goal of getting the ‘neglected 3’ (Morty, Willy and Slugger) on the plan as well.

How to Destroy a Noble Beast

Gertie has become quite couch savvy.  It’s gotten to the point where, after the last pee of the morning before work, she takes her rightful place on the south arm of the couch, and remains there for the rest of the day.

 

Gertie taking advantage of the couch, in this instance, the south side.  She soon learned that particular piece of real estate was claimed in perpetuity, by Sarah.
Gertie taking advantage of the couch, in this instance, the north side. She soon learned that particular piece of real estate was claimed, in perpetuity, by Sarah.

 

There’s only one problem with the situation:  Morty had previously staked a claim to the south side of the couch.

 

Life on the couch... it doesn't get better than this!
Life on the couch… it doesn’t get better than this!

 

Morty happens to be a peace-loving guy, so he didn’t fight Gertie when she did the hostile take over.   Instead, he resigned himself to his fate:  being forced to seek out other accommodations.

Crabby and I were discussing Gertie’s eviction of Morty from his ‘spot’ the other day.  In response to my comment about how Gertie has really made herself at home, in a most defensive manner, Crabby said “Yeah, but now poor Morty has to sleep on the bed!”

The bed of which Crabby spoke:  We’re not talking about a lowly blanket on the floor, or even a dog bed.  The horrible place Morty must now suffer his days – is the people bed.

 

 

Morty clearly hating life when banished to the people bed.
Morty clearly hating life when banished to the people bed.

 

 

Remember if you will that Morty presented himself in our driveway, after living for who knows how long on the desert on his own.  His reluctance to cross the threshold to our house supports the theory that even before he found himself alone, he had never been allowed inside a house.  His ability to take care of himself in harsh conditions made him the most resourceful of all dogs ever taking up residence at Run A Muck Ranch.  Given that history, one could come to the logical conclusion that Morty was a hardened and noble beast, able to make do with whatever accommodation were offered.

 

The Noble Beast
The Noble Beast, at home in the wilderness.  

 

One would be wrong.

 

Morty's current idea of roughing it.
Morty’s current idea of roughing it.

It used to be we thought, in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, Morty, out of all the dogs, would be OK.

Now, were not so sure.

Where did we go wrong?

Because I Never Pass Up a Chance to humiliate one of my kids

My computer memory runneth over and I’m going through old stuff to see what I can delete.

I completely forgot about this little incident, recorded on Christmas day 2013, a day or two after the baby gate was installed between the kitchen and back hallway.

Vito was convinced crossing the floor bar would result in his immediate demise.  It took nearly a week before he would go from kitchen to hallway, or the reverse, on his own.

 

 

Despite this chink in his armor, we still hold Vito up as our Lord and Protector.

 

Woo Hoo! T’is the Season!

The temperatures have fallen, making the mornings cooler.  Sunday Family Desert Walk Season has officially begun!   As you can see by the portlyness of Hector's posterior, it didn't come soon enough!
The temperatures have fallen, making the mornings cooler. Sunday Family Desert Walk Season has officially begun!
As you can see by the portliness of Hector’s posterior, it didn’t come soon enough!

 

As an added bonus, with all the rain we got, the water holes are all full!  Maybe we can get enough Crazy Wet  Emmi Faces to make a calendar!

 

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They’re Trying To Do Me In!

It was a long and brutal day that wouldn’t end.  To make it even more fun, I got a call from a client who decided to use the loppers he found today in his garage by trimming his own tree.  He got part way through before he was overcome with exhaustion.   He had branches on the ground, strewn about his front yard, and the blasted things refused to clean themselves up!  Thus, the call to me.  Included in his message was the fact that this “Life threatening landscape emergency” (the branches on the ground) had to be handled before day’s end, or else he would seek the services of a more accommodating landscaper.  Just goes to show the appreciation sent my way for 7 years of hard work…  (I LOVE my job!)

The property wasn’t that far away, the tree wasn’t very large and had just been trimmed last maintenance visit.  There couldn’t be that much to pick up, right?   Maybe 45 minutes max round trip, shorter if I could get in and out before the client saw me and wanted to talk.

The kids had been cooped up inside the house for a rather lengthy day, so I decided to leave the non-horse harassing nim wits out while I made the trip. Crabby was away visiting with out of town guests, so there was no one to supervise.  But again, the kids I left out were the more well mannered ones. What could possibly happen?

Shock and awe.  That’s the only way I can describe what my client did to the tree.  He pretty much took off everything but the main trunk.  Literally, it was a bare, 7 foot trunk with all branches removed.  When I arrived on the property, husband and wife were in a domestic dispute over it.  Once nerves were calmed, the direction to just cut down the trunk made, and the newly found loppers put in a safe place (my trailer) where they can never be misused again, I quickly cleaned up the debris and sped home.  1 hour, 15 minutes had passed, not that I was keeping track…

We live on an easement accessed off a paved road.  I never reach the speed limit on the pavement because I don’t want to be that person who runs over a rabbit or squirrel.  Tonight, however, I not only reached the speed limit, I exceeded it.  I continued to speed until the Stop sign, made the appropriate stop, then proceeded to speed on.  I continued breaking the law…

…until

I saw Slugger, standing in the middle of road, imploring a south bound pick up truck to stop.

When the truck did not stop, Slugger looked my way, then assumed the imploring posture at me, not realizing who it was.  I had stopped, stunned,  in the middle of the road and was opening my door.

I didn’t notice the car coming from the north, and neither did Slugger.

Unlike the pick up truck driver, the driver of the car was a dog person.  She also stopped in the middle of the road and exited her vehicle.

Unlike me, the driver of the car noticed not only Slugger in the middle of the road, but Vito and Hector sitting on the shoulder.

Our "Main Drag" may be paved, but even Google earth is hard pressed to find much traffic on it.  I count that as a blessing.
Our “Main Drag” (center road running vertically) may be paved, but even Google earth is hard pressed to find much traffic on it. I count that as a blessing.

In my panic (finding Slugger loose, about 1/2 mile away from home  and in the middle of the road), I wasn’t very coherent when speaking to the Good Samaritan, and she was a little leery about my “intentions” when running toward Slugger.  Alas, a dog mom herself, she recognized a certain irrational freaking that can only come from love.    Also, at that point, Hector and Vito made it quite clear I was their mom when they came running to me while I was hugging Slugger.  This was when I first became aware of them.  {Increase Freak Out… NOW!}.

It was as I was vacillating between tears of horror (what kind of Mom leaves her kids out in the yard, unsupervised, even for a short duration),  and relief that my boys were OK, when the car alarm went off.  Only, to my trained ear, I knew it wasn’t a car alarm.  I looked in the direction of the sound, and there I saw, making a great attempt to hide herself behind a bush, eyes big as saucers, Marcy.

Whenever Slugger becomes unsure of his circumstances, he looks for the nearest responsible adult to take care of him.  No question, he was trying to flag down someone for help!
Whenever Slugger becomes unsure of his circumstances, he looks for the nearest responsible adult to take care of him. No question, he was trying to flag down someone for help!

Marcy has come a very long way, but she will always have feral in her.  That she didn’t run to me when she saw me meant feral took over.  I knew better than to approach her, even if I wasn’t so upset, as she would run.  I explained the situation to Good Samaritan as I was putting the boys in my truck  and asked if she watch them and hold back any traffic while I went for Marcy.

I went to the middle of the road, centered between my truck blocking north bound traffic and Good Samaritan’s car blocking south bound, took a few breaths to calm myself, squatted down, and called Marcy in my special voice just for her while opening my arms for a hug.  Marcy and I hug every day, it’s our “Thing”.   Though her tail was between her legs, she immediately ran to me, and hugged me back.  To this day, Marcy loathes being picked up, but at that particular time, she never stopped hugging me hard as I lifted her and carried her to the truck.

I  am very impressed Hector stayed with the group rather than exploring on his own.
I am very impressed Hector stayed with the group rather than exploring on his own.

Many thanks were extended, a) to Good Samaritan for her intention to stop and help my boys, and b) to the driver and passenger in a truck, who we blocked from passing, for not getting snarky at me for needing a few minutes to get sane before I could call Marcy.

The world is much too big for Vito to be out in, without parental supervision.
The world is much too big for Vito to be out in, without parental supervision.

Franky, Gracie, Pablo, Sarah, Emmi and Gertie were still safely in the back yard.  The rest of the kids were in the house.  That didn’t mean I didn’t do a total head count, twice, anyway!

The heavy storms of a few weeks back created a dip under the fence, an escape route.  It has been fixed so no more escapes occur.

I am shocked that Marcy left the property. We've had her outside the gate before, and she will never cross the property line.  Actually, she rarely goes more than 20 feet from the gate!
I am shocked that Marcy left the property. We’ve had her outside the gate before, and she will never cross the property line. Actually, she rarely goes more than 20 feet from the gate unless we take her somewhere in the Waggin’ Wagon!

The heart palpitations have stopped and I think I’ll live through this latest crisis.

Honestly, though, I swear the kids are trying to do me in!

Product Review: ToeGrips for Dogs

I saw a Facebook Share about Dr. Buzby’s ToeGrips for Dogs and immediately thought of Sarah and Gertie.  Ours are Pergo floors and traction can be an issue sometimes.

ToeGrips, pursuant to The ToeGrips Web Page, “are the only product on the market that use dogs’ natural bio-mechanics, by providing traction through their toenails.”  I will admit, they did work, however…

Image from https://www.facebook.com/toegrips
Image from https://www.facebook.com/toegrips

I measured twice, Sarah and Gertie’s Toenails, all front and back paws, not just one front and back per the sizing instructions, wearing readers mind you, since sizing was to the millimeter, and carefully documented the measurements.  3 toe nails on Sarah, and 2 on Gertie did not fall within the range of Extra Large sizing with the rest of the nails.  Having not used this product before, I was reluctant to buy 4 different sizes at $29.95 each.  I figured if the properly sized ToeGrips stayed on, long enough to be cost-effective, I could make the correction on the next order.   I really wanted them to work, for Sarah especially.

I paid my $29.95 each, plus shipping, for 2 packages of  XL ToeGrips.

Sarah had her ToeGrips ‘installed’ on August 20.  I started by applying the ToeGrips to Sarah’s ‘good’ front paw.  For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how they would stay on. They weren’t loose, just flimsy.   Sarah’s nails were at the appropriate length, and when I compared her toes to the photos of properly applied ToeGrips, Sarah’s looked the same.

Image taken from http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/
Image taken from http://dawgbusiness.blogspot.com/.  This is the one I compared Sarah’s feet to.

Thinking I may have mis-measured, I re-measured the paw I was working on.  My measurements were accurate to the sizing.  The application instructions said that if a dog drags his or her feet, the ToeGrips would have to be superglued on.  Instead of gluing just Sarah’s dragging paw, I glued them all.

Yes, Sarah walked better.  She jumped on the couch better.  She got off the couch easier. Problem is, the ToeGrips started falling off on day 6 after application.  I re-applied the ‘extra’ 4 in the package as needed.  By September 8, all 20 ToeGrips were gone.  Despite being glued, despite all but 3 being spot on for sizing measurements, they came off.  Actually, the 2 which held on the longest were on toes which, pursuant to the sizing chart, should have been sized XXL.

Gertie’s ToeGrips were applied on August 23. I needed that long to get my fingers unstuck from gluing Sarah’s!  Noticing Sarah’s ToeGrips rubbing at the underside of the toenails (contact with ground), I left Gertie’s nails a little bit longer.

Guinea Dog Gertie.  Playing in the water did not accelerate the loss of her Toe Grips.
Guinea Dog Gertie. Playing in the water did not accelerate the loss of her ToeGrips.

Again, a test paw, unglued, did not look very stable, so, like with Sarah, I glued Gertie’s on.  Her ToeGrips didn’t start falling off until the second week.  Again, I re-applied with the 4 extras as the old ones were lost.  Gertie still had one Toe Grip on at supper time on September 17, but it fell off sometime during our evening walk.   We didn’t see a difference in Gertie’s mobility with the ToeGrips, which may have been due to the fact her nails were longer.

Sarah may be wobbly, but she can still chase a rabbit in our 1/2 acre back yard.  That said, most of her life revolves around the north arm of the couch and her food bowl.  She doesn’t have a lot of ambition aside from that.  Sarah didn’t go for a desert walk until 2 weeks ago, but by then, most of the ToeGrips had already fallen off. She returned from that walk with all remaining ToeGrips still on.

In Gertie’s case, our evening walks are on pretty level grounds, but the roads  or shoulders of roads are gravel.  Only recently has Gert Gone Wild and occasionally breaks into a lope, way outside her usual putter gait.

Given the activity levels, Gertie getting more exercise than Sarah, I would have thought Sarah’s ToeGrips would have lasted longer than Gertie’s. I think Gertie’s nails being longer, preventing so much contact with the underside of the ToeGrip with the ground, may have contributed to their longevity.  But remember,  we didn’t see any difference in Gertie’s movement on the Pergo floors.  This also may have been nail length related.

Guinea Dog Sarah in her natural habitat.  Emmi was on the north arm of the couch.  No problem, Sarah will just lay on top of her to get to her desired location!
Guinea Dog Sarah in her natural habitat. Emmi was on the north arm of the couch. No problem, Sarah will just lay on top of her to get to her desired location!

ToeGrips do come with a 60 day money back guarantee, however, it’s kind of hard to remove glued on ToeGrips, and unless you see one fall off, you can’t retrieve it.  I did hold out hope that perhaps the problem was application on my part, but out of 40 toes total.  you would think even the most moronic of Crazy Dog Ladies could have gotten one right, but not a single one, not even glued, stayed on for more than a few weeks.  I can’t believe user error would be the only possibility for the lack of longevity.  All I am left with is the one empty wrapper that Slugger didn’t eat.  Not thinking I can get my money back on that.

I’ve searched far and wide looking for any negative review for ToeGrips, but can’t find a single one.  Curiously, all reviews were written, and videos made, shortly after application.  I have attempted contact with several bloggers who reviewed the product, but none have responded back as to whether or not they still use it.  The latest I only found tonight.  If she responds, I’ll post the result of our communications in an edit.

I did notice that most of the bloggers reported ToeGrips falling off, but because they worked providing traction, the reviews remained positive.   I love Sarah and Gertie unconditionally, but I can’t afford $119.80 plus shipping per month required to get temporary relief with traction.  Remember, 5 toes did not align with the rest of the XL’s, I would need to buy 1 L, 2XL and 1 XXL to fit all nails.

If ToeGrips were $9.95 plus shipping, sign me up for automatic orders every month! I’ll keep gluing them on as they fall off!   But at $29.95, well, it’s not possible, at least for the 99% of us who don’t hold most of our nation’s wealth.

The idea of ToeGrips is a great one and I truly wanted them to work, especially for our Sarah, but I think the product was released to the market long before it was properly tested and designed.   It is seriously overpriced given not even Superglue and a couch-melded pit bull can keep them on.  If cost is no issue, and you don’t mind constantly re-applying them, go ahead!  They do help with traction!   Otherwise, I’d say wait a few years until the product is improved or a better one comes out.