Saturday, October 29, 2011

Puppy Dog the Ladybug

I made my dog a Halloween costume.

First off, I would like to affirm my belief that dogs should not wear clothing.  They have fur.  Unless you have a grayhound who has been bred to have no body fat/hair and therefore has a legitimate reason to wear a sweater, you should not put your dog in a sweater.  I have two exceptions to this and both are conditional.  I find dog raincoats practical in rainy climates, not because they look cute, but because the first thing my dog does after being out in the rain is shake all over the front entryway. The raincoat seems like it would be a practical convenience (I don't own one).  The second is dog booties in icey weather. In general, I think a dog's paws are made for the elements and we shouldn't mess with the natural calluses. However, deicing salt is dangerous for a dog. It can cause chemical burns on their paws from prolonged contact (long walks or iceballs on the foot hair) and can be toxic if the dog licks their paws (to get rid of iceballs, etc).

That said, costumes are not clothing.  A costume has no practical purpose and I do not intend for it to serve any purpose other than being adorable.  And Puppy Dog is adorable.

I spent maybe $3 on this costume for the red felt, which I actually bought to make Christmas ornaments.  The entire costume is made of felt and stuck together with felt glue.  I rough measured her to cut out a rectangle of felt and then cut out a bit for her neck and rounded the back end.  I discovered a wine bottle made appropriate sized black circles.  Some of my felt scraps and velcro were used to hold it on it on to her body at the waist and neck.  I did not make any sort of hat because those tend to bother dogs. 

sad eyes
 Ok, so she's not thrilled with the costume. I had the velcro on there pretty loose so she shook it off in about 10 minutes.  That's ok.  I spent $3 on it and I wasn't expecting her to wear it for long. 

the largest bug I've seen in our house.  some have come close though.

[edit] I intended to post this on Thursday, but after taking Puppy Dog to the vet, I was in no shape to add the last minute touches, take pictures, and write something up. On Thursday, we found out three pieces of bad news regarding our dog, Puppy Dog.

First, she has an ear infection.  I was expecting that one.  She's been using her paws to scratch her ears/nose in the most adorable way, but she seemed in pain. We got a prescription for some meds that will easily clear it up.

Second, she's in heat. We had believed she was spayed, so this was a big surprise.  Dogs should ideally be spayed before their first heat. She has at least a 25% chance of developing mammary tumors because she's had several heats (probably in the neighborhood of 16) and the anesthesia is more dangerous for older dogs.  Again, easily taken care of, but the surgery will be somewhat traumatic for her 9 year old body and it's an extra expense for something we thought was done.

Third, she tested positive for heartworms. This one is WAY, WAY more serious than the other two issues.  Heartworms are a potentially fatal condition and if left untreated, they can cause problems in the heart and lungs.  We have two options to deal with it. One, the slow-kill method: give her heartworm prevention medication so she doesn't contract more heartworms or spread heartworms and wait for the ones in her to die.  This could take several years.  This is not an accepted treatment, but it does work for some otherwise healthy dogs and is recommended for those that cannot withstand the treatment.  Two, the fast-kill method: give her the treatment, which is a long and expensive process.  After being evaluated to make sure she would survive treatment, she would be given injections of an adulticide in the muscle (ouch!) over a period of several months.  For both of these options, the real danger lies in the adults heartworms dying.  As they die and decompose, they can cause partial or complete blockage of blood flow to the lungs.  For the fast kill method, she has to be kept on the doggie equivalent of bedrest because all the worms are killed at about the same time.  For the slow kill, the more active she is, the greater the risk.

We decided to go with the slow kill method. Even if we had the money for the fast kill method, it wouldn't necessarily be worth the expense due to her age.  As she is relatively healthy, she seems to be a good candidate for the slow kill method.  However, she could basically drop dead from a dead worm blocking her blood flow and that terrifies me- and because it's a very slow process, I expect to be terrified for several years while I wait for them to die.

So after all this, I realize I made her the wrong costume.  Heartworms look like spaghetti and since they are in her heart, clearly she is a Pastafarian and member of the Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

However, I started this costume before I knew any of this.

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