July 24, 2016

The Hounds Hibernated Today

 I admit, we didn't start our day until AFTER 12 noon. It was still the normal routine though. The hounds had their breakfast around 7:15am and by the time they finished I was back in sleep mode. Why??

It all started at 3am last night where it was so hot I couldn't sleep. I got up and lowered the temperature for the AC to kick on. Normally I raise the setting while sleeping. I had to take a glance at Wunderground, then saw at 3am the temperature was still 76°.

This morning I could feel the rush of muggy heat hit me as I opened the door to let the hounds outside at 7:15am. I don't think they even go out to pee anymore ... they hang out by the door while I pour their kibble for breakfast.

With that late start they didn't have lunch until after 1:15pm. As you can see from the photo above Sadie and Stella were not real enthused about being outside.

Heidi made her daily trip around the Z4 to either the front yard or behind the Yews to dump her tanks. I prefer the yard because it's easier to pick up.

As I turned around from taking Heidi's photo, Stella decided it might be nice enough at 89° to lay in the sun for a while. Yet with the heat index at 110°, she jumped right up and headed for the house when I said "come on let's get cool".

Sadie thought about it ... a walk that is ... but she also wanted to go back inside rather than try to beat the heat. She is looking pretty good in this photo and I actually think she may have lost some weight this summer. She needs to.

For this time of year I think Heidi's skin is looking pretty good. There are some red spots but all four paws have hair now, her front legs have hair now whereas in the past all of that was sore, inflamed red skin. She has been on chicken and rice kibble, the same food the bloodhounds eat since late April ... so her problems were not a food allergy.

We went outside for the normal afternoon break for the hounds during 'bad' weather .. it was like an oven but not a dry oven. There will be NO walk tonight. Since there is not much more going to be gone on tonight, I'll post this a little bit earlier than normal.

That 'break' I was talking about is demonstrated by Sadie and Stella. They come to me when it's time.

Sadie is just making a check to see if I might be going back inside to change into shoes in preparation for a daily hound walk ... she is hoping for one.

She was very curious what Stella was eating but it was nothing more than some tall grass.

Notice that neither one is wandering off very far, maybe 20' from the yard but no way are they heading to the back of the field like they normally would.

"What??  No walk today?? Unbelievable"

A little rambling now ... all non-political.

I've added my own blog to my left sidebar as a blog I follow. I did that because a lot of times my recent blog post is NOT updated for those that subscribe by email for almost 18-24 hours AFTER I post a new one. Sometimes I've noticed it takes that long for it to update on blogs that have my blog on their sidebar. So to see if it made a difference, I added my own blog to the left sidebar.

I tried to quit but went back to Facebook. I don't have a lot of friends listed, by choice, and rarely post verbal stuff ... but I post a short partial sentence and a photo or two of the hounds. I have friends there that love the hound photos that don't read or follow my blogs. Plus I have a lot of different 'groups' that I follow and read.

My Wordpress blog doesn't get hardly any activity. It's listed on the left sidebar and there I have always had just one sentence and anywhere from 1 to 12 photos of the hounds. Most of the photos are duplicates from the ones I have here but better quality which I have discussed here before. I'll keep it going though since there is a few times I like to post just photos.

With my computer room set at the coldest temperature of all other rooms in the house, Stella likes to sleep either next to or right behind my desk chair. She never moves until I get up, always thinking immediately that I am getting food that she might get. She doesn't understand that all food in this house is not for her.

Although ... while mowing the yard last Thursday I left the hounds inside because it was too hot outside. It wasn't gone for more than 15 minutes. When I came inside to drink water after mowing just the backyard ... I noticed she was very intense while eating something held between her paws, that she never looked up ... she had 'counter surfed' and grabbed not one but two of my Mangos !!!!

By the time I saw her she was about the complete the 2nd one. I googled to see if mangos were okay for hounds ... skin and the fruit are okay BUT those tiny black seeds inside the large pit can kill any dog. Luckily the pit on both mangos were not cracked open. From now on, that bowl of fruit will be moved to the top of the fridge when I am outside mowing ... just one other thing I have to do to "baby proof" the house while I am away.

I think we are headed for Dairy Queen for a large "Hawaiian Blizzard" ... the hounds are a fan favorite at the local drive through, although I turned down the offer of single cups for for them.

It's been a nice day here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

July 23, 2016

Deer Sighting Friday Night

Last night I kept waiting for the heat index to drop below a 100° thinking it might be cool enough to get a hound walk in. Finally just a few minutes before 9pm the heat index had dropped to 95° so I decided to take a chance.

It must have been cool enough because I never did get to the point of sweating during the walk and both hounds finished the walk with energy to spare. With it being close to sun down plus the recent deer sightings along the tree line, I put Stella on the 25' retractable leash. I could not afford to take the chance she would see deer, take off and then have to search for her in the dark.

Using the leash turned out to be a great decision. By the time we started I saw two deer standing by the corner where we make our first turn, watching us. Neither Sadie nor Stella saw what was up ahead. As we made that turn to head to the back of the field I see 5 deer standing and watching us near the cornfield. Neither hound saw them but I prepared myself for a sudden sprint by Stella just in case.

The deer eventually took off running but as we walked along the back edge of the field there was one good size deer with antlers standing by the electric power lines tower not aware we were near. I'd say it was 30-40 yards away. Again ... neither hound saw it. They must be losing their touch in flushing out and chasing deer.

So during the walk last night, without a camera, I saw a total of 8-10 deer.

Looking at Wunderground weather today I saw we are just a few days away from dropping the temps back into the 80's. With that is a prediction of a lot of rain a few days in a row but one thing we know from living in Indiana ... if you don't like the weather, wait an hour or so and it will change.

Since the field is starting to grow back I have noticed one disturbing thing, at least to me. There are more of the large leaf "weeds" growing than the nice pure grass and clover like last spring. That tells me they will wait for the winter to kill off the weeds and let next spring bring in the nice grass and clover for them to bale in June.

Anyone know what this stuff is?

I like hot weather even though it might sound like I am complaining about it. Still it will be a welcomed relief to have the temperatures drop 10° or so and get back to those nights with temps in the 60's. That will also mean two hound walks per day like we were doing before the "heat dome" appeared.

I thought it might be possible today to take a walk around 11:30am but the hounds didn't even venture out of the yard and by the time I took this last photo, they both headed for the house.

A few hours later Stella wanted to go outside. They had a late lunch today and the routine after lunch is all three of them head out ... even Heidi. I checked and saw the heat index was 108° and it definitely felt like it as I walked outside. The hounds also felt it, as they didn't stay outside longer than 5 minutes.

Sadie went no further than this before she turned to go back inside.

Stella was in deep thought but also turned around and followed Sadie. Within minutes of being inside they were in their favorite places to sleep ... I think it's safe to say "the heat dome" has zapped their energy the past week or so.

I see the leafy weeds are trying to overtake my backyard. The front yard is not nearly as bad. It's a close fight between them and the yard moles for the backyard territory. I am very tempted to use some Scott's weed killer and lawn food but I know I can't keep the hounds off the yard for the recommended 24 hours for the chemicals to soak in. I am always hesitant in using that although the warning labels say it's safe for pets.

By the time we got back from our walk tonight it was a little after 7pm. The hounds survived okay, both off leash, no deer sightings, but it was much warmer at 91° and a heat index of 115°. I did not know those temp readings until we got back to the house.

Both hounds didn't see a problem taking the walk earlier than we had the past week. They were happy to be out since 'cabin fever' has set in for them.

With little chance of seeing deer this time of night I decided to let Stella back off leach ... she got her running in early.

The infamous 1st corner where we make that first turn every walk but lately this area has been a favorite place for deer around 9pm or sunset.

There were a couple of these butterflies following us for most of the walk. It was hard to catch them in a photo due to Sadie 'foto bombing' the picture about the time I was taking the photo or Sadie deciding to chase them.

I would say for July 23, this is a pretty good crop of corn this year ... tall and green.

I could feel the heat a little more on the way back. I could also see the hounds slowing their pace down a little ... a lot of standing and a lot of panting.

Tonight Stella came every time she was called to keep her from wandering ... it was too hot to spend extra time on the walk, she seemed okay with that.

Almost home and they can feel the air conditioned air from inside the house all the way out here. They finished their walk with a trot so fast I wasn't able to catch them with the camera, they were right behind me that quick.

Another great day in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

July 22, 2016

The Puzzle About Stella Is Finished

That puzzle being what is the cause of Stella's separation anxiety at almost 7 years old.

The final piece of the puzzle on Stella's separation anxiety was delivered late last night from a message on Facebook to me from Stella's original owner. The reasons of her separation anxiety are really clear now. I can now explain the reasons for Stella's two issues. 

Before I start I want to say in no way do I place any blame on Stella's previous owners. As you all know things happen in life and sometimes results cannot be controlled by the changes that life brings. I am fortunate that the previous owners have been helping me trying to solve her separation anxiety issue.

So on to her two issues and reasons for them. One of those being the destruction she does only some of the times I am gone (abandonment). Second the reason for her "frantic" attempts to escape the room I leave her and Sadie in when I away from home. (claustrophobic)

During the discussions I had with Stella's current owner last August 2015, I was told she had severe separation anxiety and was terrified of thunderstorms. In the past I had different hounds with those same issues, although they were different hounds. It was good to know that before hand but they were also something I thought I could fix if I decided to take Stella.

I thought a solution to her issues would be me giving her a home where I am home 99.9% of the time, day and night ... plus she would have another bloodhound (Sadie) to keep her company.

Those have helped her I believe but at the same time, when the causes are so deep rooted, it takes time to totally eliminate them and even then there is a chance she will always have those two issues.

By the first thunderstorm of last year I found out that she was NOT terrified of storms. I knew what terrified looked like from my first basset hound Harry. He would start hours before any storm would show up with constant pacing, howling, whining, trying to dig his way out of the house, or to craw in the 2" space (yes, inches) to get under the couch. The times storms arrived while I was at work Harry would also destroy things and at times even worse than Stella has ever done.

So when Stella whined very little as she walked over to me during her first storm with us I didn't think her fear of storms was that terrible. She paced a little but in her normal slow, one leg joint at a time ... in slow motion. Then she would eventually lay down and sleep through loud thunder and lightning with no problem.

At the time in August 2015 from what I was told, I would be her 3rd owner within her 6 years of age. That later proved to be wrong, as I am her 4th owner in her first 6 years. That info didn't bother me but it also helped me find the answer to one of her issues of what I call "abandonment" ... even when I might be gone from the house for as little as 15 minutes.

When Stella's original owner moved from a farm to a city, from open farmland to privacy fenced in neighborhoods, the family living conditions initially didn't allow Stella to move with them. On a temporary basis, Stella was given to her brother to keep until the family would buy a place that had enough room for Stella.

That took a year to do. I am not sure how many times the original owner came back to visit Stella, nor do I know how far away her brother lived from the original owner, but I get the impression the original owner did not visit her very much. It was like Stella had been given away to a new family.

That explains why from the first minute I brought her home, she didn't leave my side no matter where I went in the house. I was told "she is claiming you" telling the other hounds I have that "you are hers". Over the 11 months I have had her that has improved a lot where now she and Sadie hang out together all the time, yet there are times she doesn't leave the room I am in.

So that to me explains this "abandonment" feeling she has.

That feeling and reaction continued after the original family brought her to the city to live with them again. She did not forget what happened when they left her, therefore every time this couple would leave her for the day as they worked their jobs ... Stella would go crazy because they were gone.

Somewhere around her 5th year, the original family thought she would be better if she were back in a farm environment, so she was given to a friend that lived on a huge farm and had other dogs to play with. They had plenty of land to run on. That is where I picked her up in August 2015.

Even then, with other dogs to keep her company, and as much if not more land than i have here including the field ... Stella would go crazy when they left the house and were gone all day at work. With new doors having lever handles, Stella could and still can on my one and only door handle like that ... open the door and escape outside. While they were gone she would escape the house. They lived on a country road with a fairly good amount of traffic but much further away than what I live here next to a highway.

So they decided to kennel her during the day while they were gone. They researched the internet for a good inside kennel that they would keep in their large garage. They bought the largest and strongest, recommended by the store and were told it would handle a hound of Stella's size.

This is where her issues of feeling "claustrophobic" come in, that she still has today even in a room the size of 12'x15' and at times inside of my house while I mow the yard.

From the photos the owner sent me before I decided to pick her up, she destroyed that large black indoor kennel and basically was strong enough to break open the door lock attachments and the curled heavy wire loops that connected the walls of the kennel ... and would escape.

Multiple clips were added as reinforcements, similar to the clips at the end of a dog leash. Once again she would bust her way out of that kennel from the inside. If she was left in the garage on her own without the kennel, she would get into things, such as car oil.

They decided she needed to be re-homed after escaping the kennel, opening the door handle to get inside their new house ... then opening the door handle lever to let her and another dog outside ... these two dogs met the owner down by the mailbox next to that busy country road when the owner came home from work. They were out of ways of trying to keep her safe while they were working during the weekdays.

So what is the "final piece of the puzzle" ????

While living with the brother temporarily, she lived outside in the standard wire kennel you are familiar with. I am not sure of the size but you've seen them ... chainlink, maybe 6'x6' or 8'x10' ... then having a dog house to sleep in while staying outside all 4 seasons, through storms, snow, and wind. There could have been possible tornado type winds as there were a few tornadoes that passed through that area in previous springs.

During one very bad storm A TREE ... not a tree limb ... but A TREE blew down over her kennel and her dog house ... a terrible experience for any dog. Luckily she was unhurt but a very traumatic experience . After that of course ... she was terrified of thunderstorms or any other loud type noses. (she jumps when she hear gunshots).

After showing my friend last night the information I received about Stella's terrible experience and a very close call to being killed or hurt ... she had the exact answer and the same one I thought of as I went to sleep last night.

And I quote --- "So it seems to me that her trauma was being confined in a small space that she couldn't escape from as a tree crashed down on her and not a fear of lightning. Might be why she wants to escape from the confines of the bedroom (small space) when you are away. Claustrophobic triggered by separation."

That explains it all ... "Claustrophobic triggered by separation"

It is such a relief to finally know more of what happened to Stella in her past and confirms why she goes crazy, with destruction at times, not all the time ... trying to get out of the bedroom or even the house when I let her run the house while I mow the yard. I only leave them in the house while I mow when it is too hot outside ... like recently.

It explains the times she goes from room to room to look out the window when I take the walk down the driveway to the mailbox. I cannot explain why sometimes I can be gone for only 15 minutes and she goes crazy compared to being gone a few times 3-4 hours and come home to zero damage from her.

Yet, everything is explained now and why she does what she does is much more clear.

She is a great bloodhound. I will never give her away no matter what she does. What issues she does have are no way her fault. I only see her getting better and better as time passes on, just like Sadie did. Only Stella has had to start her path to improvement a few years later in life than Sadie did.

If you read this far, thanks for wading through the long explanation.

On a side note many of you received a notice that I had posted a new blog post yesterday only to arrive at the blog to see that post had been removed. It wasn't serious. It was just the case of me making a post and later deciding I didn't want to blog publicly ... something I have been trying to get through again this past week or so. In this case I thought you might like to know a little more on the 'why' of Stella's separation anxiety.

All is good in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.