Thursday, August 29, 2013

In the Name of Fitness!

In 2010, Griffin had palate surgery (remember this story?!) which changed his life! He had been sick constantly and could barely breathe anytime he walked. A week after surgery, he was running- I almost burst into tears of joy. He was a brand new dog and aside from a few episodes, has been mostly healthy since then.

However, Griffin has a windpipe the size of a straw and despite the improvements after surgery, he will always have limitations. His breathing is noisy and he gets winded much more quickly than Olivia. And when he exerts himself for a long period of time he usually gets sick. He went to daycare a few days a week for about 3 weeks and then he got pneumonia. The vet told me that because of his compromised breathing, any situation where he exerts himself would lead to him getting sick.

I should have known better, but when we got to camp in May, the bulldogs and I started taking daily walks. Olivia has a lot of energy and I needed something to tire her out. And really, all three of us can always use a little extra exercise. But after about a week of daily walks, Grif got sick again. Since then, I have been MUCH more careful about letting him exert himself. He needs to exercise, but I try to keep a close eye on him and slow him down before he gets too out of breath.

Now that we are home from camp and the bulldogs aren't as active, getting enough exercise is important to making sure they don't gain weight. Often, I take them for a walk and after a few blocks, turn around, drop Griffin off at home and then take Liv for a MUCH longer walk.

But I've been thinking that I would like to find a way to take long walks without being stuck going around the same 3 blocks near my house.

Ta dah!!!!!

Check out our new WAGON!!

After Grif tried it out, Olivia was VERY
curious and eager to get a turn!

The wagon can hold up to 150 lbs, but it might
be tight if I have to squeeze both of them in it... 
So now Griffin can walk for a little while and then, once he gets tired, he can ride the rest of the way while Olivia and I get a good walk.

When I emailed these photos to Danny, his response was, "What the F is wrong with you?" but I want to point out that this wagon is in the name of fitness!

More walks for the bulldog brigade, starting now!

Nate humored me and agreed to join us on a walk, despite the fact that he was a little apprehensive about the new wagon.

We started out with both dogs walking and me pulling the wagon. Nate happened to lead us down a very quiet street that we don't usually walk down (I think he was a little embarrassed to be seen with us).

Griffin was not entirely cooperative when I put him into the wagon. It was really hot outside tonight and we hadn't walked very far, so Nate thought Grif wasn't tired enough yet. But it was hot and I wanted to see how he would react to the wagon. 

Nate was completely amused....

But eventually Griffin cooperated and he stayed in the wagon for the entire 2 blocks home and I think he liked it. 
I think that the walk/ride system is going to work well and I am excited for the weather to cool down so we can go for long walks!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

From Camp, Back to City Life

A miserable bulldog, stuck inside the house all day...
We've been home from camp for 3 weeks already and I'm not sure that the bulldogs have fully adjusted. I was gone for 8 days volunteering at a camp in Michigan, so I missed most of their first week home (and the tantrums that go with the adjustment). My boyfriend Nate took excellent care of them, taking them to the park and spoiling them. My mom also spent a lot of time with them, taking several days off to spend dog sitting.

However, for the past few days (and what's looking like the rest of this week at least), the weather has been HOT. It was 100 degrees today with HIGH humidity. Anything over about 71 degrees is TOO HOT for a bulldog, but this weather is ridiculous! Every time I open the door to let them outside, the blast of heat feels like opening an oven door.

At 6:45am this morning, we went to the park, but it was already in the 80s, so we were only there for 10 minutes. It's too hot for them to even lay around outside, so right now, I have two miserable prisoners.

Tomorrow Olivia is going back to daycare and Grif is going to go with me to the office. I am hoping that both places are cool enough for them, otherwise, they are going to be stuck inside for the rest of the week....

Poor bulldogs.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Fun

The summer has come to an end and it is bittersweet as we leave camp and head home. Well, it is bittersweet for me as I love camp and I also love my life at home. I think it is just sort of bitter for Grif and Liv as they would choose camp life 100% of the time.

They love the constant attention, play times every few hours, going to the beach, hanging out in the office or out with the kids, roasted marshmallows, exploring the woods, chasing the bunnies that live right outside of my house, lazy days lounging in the sun, and then falling into bed, completely exhausted at the end of the day.

Here are some random camp pictures-
Griffin and Leilani had an "I love you"/
"I sorta wanna knock you down" type relationship

Olivia at camper break time. She likes to
be in a populated area while she lounges.
Gaga is a super popular camp game. It's sort of like dodge ball, but you have to stay inside the octagon and can only hit people below the waist. If you get hit, you are out. Whoever is left standing at the end, wins. Griffin and Olivia can't be around the gaga pit because they desperately want to pop the ball.
Attempting to get in and "play"- we had
to keep reminding him to get down.
He circled the gaga pit several times. 

And then the ball flew out and it was a race
to get it first. Grif won this round and gaga was over...

Tired after a long day.

This is how we wake up every morning. Olivia likes
to be spooned while she sleeps. She sleeps with the
 covers up to her chin and her head on the pillow. 
In the morning, I get up, run, shower, go to the
dining hall for breakfast, and then come back
to find bullies still completely asleep. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Griffin "Helps"

Griffin loves the small round cones that we use for field games. Whenever we go to the field and the cones have been set out, Griffin ALWAYS "helps" re-arrange them. I'm sure Program Director Kayla really appreciates it...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Buddha Visit

I'm catching up on posts I meant to write but got too busy with summer craziness.

A few weeks ago, the whole Bulldog Brigade was reunited when Danny, Heather and Buddha came to camp for a visit! In an enclosed space (like a tiny camper), Griffin feels a strong urge to eat his cousin Buddha and Buddha feels the need to try to attack both of his cousins. They are all fine when they aren't in an enclosed space. But that meant that breakfast was a bit of a challenge...

But then we headed out to the field, down to the beach, and walked around camp and everyone was back to happy...

It was good to have all the roomies back together and get back to where this whole thing began- 3 dogs, 3 crazy owners and lots of adventures...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Beating the Heat

These pictures and videos are from a few weeks ago. The weather has been FABULOUS for the past 2 weeks- sunny, but breezy and 70s- perfect bulldog weather.

But 3 weeks ago, it was HOT. SUPER RIDICULOUSLY HOT! Bulldogs are VERY sensitive to heat, so Griffin and Olivia spent most of the week stuck inside. This summer our new camp house is air conditioned, which has been a huge improvement from last year (remember this?!).

However, as you might imagine, my very social dogs were pretty unhappy about captivity. They spent the week sighing dramatically and flopping down on the ground. They made sure I knew they were miserable.

I felt bad for them because they didn't get to play very much or hang out with the kids. But keeping your dog cool is important. Here is a great image that was posted on facebook. Those symptoms are a little bit difficult because Griffin is always panting and breathing hard, drooling, lethargic (in his case, I think it is lazy, but it looks the same!), and he rarely responds to commands... 
Eventually though, they joined the kids for a nighttime swim. The photos make it look like it was the middle of the night and completely dark (it was definitely light enough for me to lifeguard safely).

The last time the went to the beach, Olivia looked like she was going to jump off the dock. She likes the water but is very cautious and has never done that, but she made me nervous, so when they came down this time, they had to wear their life jackets.

Here is a short video of Olivia lifeguarding-

Griffin sat just like this, just smashed into this camper's arms for, not kidding, 20 minutes. I think he was just in desperate need of extra affection to make up for his terrible neglect all week.

They survived the heat and have spent lots of time with campers since then, so don't feel too bad for these poor dogs...