Denny and Charlie (and the rest)
It started with OnePug...

My Little Munchkin-Face!

Monday, 10 December 2012 19:47 by robbi

Denny Towers has been a flurry of activity lately…there is so much to do and time keeps persistently ticking by…

Following Stewie’s birthday, we had a lovely Thanksgiving with all of the kidders enjoying a bit of turkey (but no other dishes were deemed appropriate for the furkids, so no stuffing or green bean casserole!)

And then as the end of the month rolled around, it was time to celebrate our sweet kitty Munchkin’s birthday.  She doesn’t get mentioned much on these pages, mainly because she’s not a pug, but she is the senior member of the household.  I had honestly only a rough estimate of her age but when I pulled out her vet records to see the date of her first vet visit, I realized that this year marks her 16th birthday! 

Munchkin

For those of you not familiar with Munchkin’s story, this sweet little girl ended up under my front porch one freezing January morning in North Carolina.  Our house was covered in ice and the freezing wind was whipping around.  When my brother headed out to his car to go to work, he heard a pitiful mewing coming from under the porch.  He stopped and found Munchkin cowering under the deck, trying to hide from the elements.  He scooped her up and brought her inside and gave her to me.  As he went off to work I wondered what to do with her.  She was so tiny – could not have been more than 6 weeks old if that.  A look around outside found no other kittens or a mother.  Had she been left behind? Did her mother intentionally leave her?  We’ll never know.  But given Munchkin’s diminutive build, we have always believed her to be the “runt” of the litter.  Probably left behind on purpose given her poor chance of survival if left out in the elements.   As I already had a cat, Tigger, I was hesitant to keep her.  I called her Munchkin because of her diminutive size, thinking whoever she ended up with would probably change it.  But, as everyone around me predicted, I never gave her up and she became a permanent member of our household.

I often wonder what happened to her littermates.  Are any of them still alive? Did any of them ever leave NC?  It’s doubtful any of them have had the globe-trotting adventures that Munchkin has.  She’s lived all up and down the SE US. When I was doing my nurse contracting work, I used to pack her and Tigger up in carriers and put them in the backseat while I drove to our new home in whatever state we were going to live in for the next few months.  She would settle in and sleep the whole drive, never complaining.  When I moved to England, she preceded me and flew into London, her first time on a plane.  She lived happily in the UK, scaring me by climbing out of 2nd story windows and into trees.  (She also went missing in the UK but thanks to a microchip ended up back with us – but that’s another story.)  When we moved back to the US she was ferried on the Queen Mary II in kennels that have housed the pets of royalty and celebrities.  Upon arrival in the US, we drove cross-country to TX, stopping to stay in strange and not-so-nice motels along the way.  And once here she saw countless dogs come stay with us; some as fosters and some as new family members. 

Who invited the dog?

And through it all she has remained a sweet, even-tempered girl who adapts and learns to live with whatever changes she has to deal with.  She has been my rock, with me through thick and thin.  I owe her so much. 

Munchkin2

She had a trip to the vet for a senior check-up this past week.  Everyone, including the vet, kept commenting that she looked remarkably well for 16.  To me, she still looks like a kitten.  And thankfully she has remained lively and active.  Occasionally I’ll see her bat around a toy when she thinks nobody is looking, which makes me smile.  On this trip we found that she had lost a bit of weight.  Blood tests showed she has developed an overactive thyroid, a common condition in senior cats.  We will be starting her on a new medication to correct the imbalance.  All the other tests showed she remains in overall good health.  I’m relieved.  She is my rock.  She has been my constant companion for 16 years and I cannot imagine life without her.  Here’s hoping I don’t have to for many years yet.

Claiming my laptop case

I love you Munch!

Stewie Turns 3!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012 22:51 by robbi

Incredibly, against all odds, that boy has managed to survive to see his 3rd birthday!  Amazing!

Stewie April 2010

Firstly, the little guy has a really bad habit of eating absolutely anything.  And I mean anything!  The amount of times I have had to pry open his jaws and do a finger sweep… (ah, the thing we “parents” do for our babies)  He has a particular fondness for cardboard and wood, but he’s not all that fussy.  Although he has developed a real penchant for footwear, as demonstrated by his obsession with Granddad’s slippers.

StewieSlipper

Secondly, Stewie has turned out to be slightly more sensitive than we realized.  He’s actually had a couple of instances where he has had severe allergic reactions to certain things, necessitating trips to the emergency vet and multiple doses of Benadryl.

Stewpot Swollen

But through it all, this little guy has demonstrated the most incredible personality.  He’s a lover, a sweetie who just wants to cuddle.  He’s extremely eager to please (and strangely the least food-motivated pug I’ve ever met!) He’s smart – he can figure out things for himself, and he’s got a fantastic memory.  He can be a bit of a loner, hanging out by himself in a corner of the room but when he wants to cuddle he is in there with the best of them.

Stewie N Samantha

He’s a cutie who has definitely grown on me – I was the one who was dead set against a puppy when he came into our house.  But he won me over and by the time he had to go for his neuter surgery to get him ready for placement through PugHearts I knew I couldn’t let him go.

Stewie's first Christmas 2010

So here’s to my sweet little StewPot.  Thank you for sharing the last 2 1/2 years with us and here’s to many, many more!

Stewies 3rd birthday 110312

Maggie May

Thursday, 3 May 2012 00:02 by robbi

I don’t want people to think that Denny is the sole focus of our lives here at Denny Towers.  Yes, we are devoting a lot of time and energy (& money) on the little guy’s rehab, but we are fully aware that there are other animals to be looked after here.  And believe me, they are very well looked after!

I’m still making their food, which gets supplemented with a bit of kibble to ensure I don’t miss any nutrients they require.  They each get a slew of supplements that rivals the human’s routine every morning.  They are adored and pampered.  Most importantly, they are loved and they know it.

Which begs the question: why are they always trying to escape?

The other day, as I opened the back gate to take out the recycling bin, Maggie darted out the gate and down the driveway.  I immediately dropped the bin and closed the gate to prevent any other escapees whilst yelling at Maggie.  She ran in front of our parked car and promptly stopped, dropped, rolled over onto her back and went rigid. I walked up to her, scooped her stiff little body up and brought her back inside the gate.  Once I sat her down she went prancing back inside the house, tail up with a mischievous grin on her face.

EscapeAttempt050212

I have no doubt she would do it again today if given the opportunity.

Does this girl not realize just how good she has it here?  This was the frightened little neglected girl that PugHearts took in with rope marks around her neck.  She was a skinny little thing that was so fearful she would cower whenever we approached her, flattening herself to the ground. 

We fostered her for several months until the perfect home was found: it was a recently divorced woman who lived alone except for when her daughter stayed with her.  She wanted a companion.  Maggie would be able to go with her to work every day, so she would never be left alone.  We had no doubt it was the perfect home for her. 

Until about a year later when the woman called us to say that now that she had a boyfriend, Maggie couldn’t stay with her.  Boyfriend was “allergic” so Maggie was being kept crated in a bedroom now that boyfriend had moved in.  I went and picked her up that very day.  I apologized to Maggie profusely and promised her we would find the truly perfect home for her.

A couple of months later, we found her new home.  A young married couple with no kids.  They had never had a pug – or even a dog – but they had a cat who had recently passed away at a very old age that they loved very much.  The home visit was perfect.  They fell in love with her immediately.  We confirmed the match and placed Maggie, content that she was in the right place. A few weeks later we were asked by her adoptive parents if we could keep her while they went out of town for a family function.  We happily agreed and took her back in for her week-long stay.  The day that the couple were to return to Houston, we didn’t hear anything.  I waited another day and finally called them.  Didn’t they want to come collect Maggie? As it turns out, they weren’t sure.  She seemed so “needy.”  They didn’t know if they had made the right decision to adopt her.  I told them that if they were not committed to her, then it was best to leave her with us.  I did not want her someplace she wasn’t 100% wanted and I did not want to send her back with them only to have them call us in another week or 2 to come get her.

We decided that was enough.  Obviously she was meant to be with us.  It had nearly killed me to give her up both times before, but I was trying to do the selfless thing and give her a chance at a better life.  Apparently, we were too stupid to realize that we could give her the best life. 

Yes, she is needy. Good Lord, she is needy!  She paws at me for attention whenever she’s near me.   She curls up in my lap whenever I’m on the sofa.  She lays in the back of my chair when I’m at my desk, barely leaving room for me. 

ChairHog

She sleeps on my head at night.  She is extremely demanding of my attention.  And she gets it.  She is jealous whenever I pay attention to the other dogs.  She gets very short tempered with them and will put them in their place whenever she disapproves of their shenanigans. She’s turned into a very cranky old lady.  But I love her more than I can possibly say.  I am utterly devoted to her and she knows it.

MagsSo why on earth does she try to make her escape if given half a chance?????

Bribery

Monday, 23 April 2012 18:17 by Robbi

Denny, like most pugs, is very food-motivated. Very food motivated. Extremely food motivated! He will risk injury to try and get a good snack. Especially if it’s people food.

A great example is his visits to his regular vet’s office. He does not like going to the vet anyway, but if they have to touch his paws to draw blood he gets very panic-stricken. Any amount of reassuring or trying to hold him seems to exacerbate the situation. But at his vet’s office they have discovered a magical item that distracts him from what they are doing: cream cheese. They keep a tub of it behind their counter and whenever they need to distract a doggy, they simply dip a biscuit into the cream cheese and hold it at a height so the dog can lick the cream cheese but not quite get a bite. It’s like crack. Whenever the deed is done, the dog can have the biscuit. Denny usually licks off all the cream cheese and then looks at them to give him a top-up. It never fails to do the trick.

When we first started taking Denny for his underwater treadmill sessions, we were a bit unsure about how he would react. He hates being in our pool (though he is a very good swimmer) and cannot stand to even walk around on wet grass. You can see the look of disgust on his face as if to say “but Mum, my paws will get wet!” whenever I try and take him out after a rainstorm. And sure enough, the first time he was put in the treadmill and it started to fill with water, he seemed a bit panicky. A treat helped calm him down. He walked well but his ears were down and we knew he wasn’t thrilled with it. He was rewarded at the end of the walk with more treats.

He obviously remembered that.

The next time we took him he started fussing when the little life jacket was put on him. A couple of treats later and he let us proceed. Then the treadmill started. More treats were needed to keep him focused. This has continued and by last week’s session he was eating during the entire walk. He actually only walked about half the time. The tech would hold out a treat and he would walk to get it. Once he had it he would “ride” the treadmill to the back of the tank. She would hold out another treat and he would go get it, and then “ride” the treadmill again. If she held the treat but didn’t give it to him, he would show his defiance by standing still and riding the treadmill back again. No words of encouragement from us made any difference. Our wild gestures and clapping meant nothing. When his time was up I was exhausted, but he had barely started to pant. He had won the battle.

This week, we tried a different approach. We came armed with a jar of peanut butter and a long-handled wooden spoon. Once Denny had his harness on and was in the treadmill, Richard opened the peanut butter jar and coated the spoon.

We had Denny’s undivided attention.

He didn’t even seem to notice the water filling the tank, as his tail was wagging and his gaze never left the spoon. Richard lowered the spoon at the front of the tank and the tech started the treadmill. Denny licked and walked, licked and walked. I am proud to announce that Denny broke his previous time record and walked for a total of 6 minutes today!

We’re definitely bringing the spoon and peanut butter next week.

Okay…random pug pics!

Charlie says “Hi!”

Charlie

Stewie says “Honest, Grandpa said I could have his slipper!”

StewieSlipper

Um, I don’t think Grandpa wants it back now Stewpot.