Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Spring is in the air...and in the nostrils

Last spring I wrote about the bedtime ritual Butch and Kadi have established. It's still pretty much the same: Kadi sticks with me to make sure I get the right dog biscuits, while Butch races to wait for us in the bedroom doorway.

One thing is a little different this year, and it bothers me a lot: Butch has been bumping into things as he races from the back door, through the den, the dining room and the hall, and finally into the bedroom. I've noticed him bumping into things outside, too.

In the past month he's smacked into things more frequently than at any time since the days after he first lost his eyes. It doesn't seem to upset him; he just backs up, gives his head a little shake, adjusts his direction and moves on. He still runs, too, which makes me believe his accidents aren't diminishing his confidence.

It isn't as if he bumps into things constantly, more like once every two or three days. If I had no eyes, I'd be thrilled to be able to navigate with no more bumps than that. Still, each time it happens, it breaks my heart.

The only thing I can think of to account for the change is pollen. There's a ton of it this year, and my own allergies are giving me fits. Without his eyes, Butch has to rely on his ears and, even more, on his nose. If his nose is as messed up as mine is, he may not be picking up the subtle scents that signal him to put on the brakes or veer to the side of a fence or a wall.

Before his eye surgery, I bought a variety of scented oils and used them to mark specific places in the house. I'd read that this was helpful, and indeed it was. In the beginning, until Butch got used to the various scents, I freshened the oil markings about once a month. After a while, just as I'd read, he was able to pick up minute traces of the scents and I no longer needed to freshen them.

I think it's time to dig out the oils again and splash on a liberal dose of each scent. I hope I can find the "cheat sheet" I made back then. Putting the rose scent where the strawberry belongs would only confuse him more.


  1. Poor Butch! I have heard that some dogs are affected by pollen, so your idea makes perfect sense to me.

    Just love the picture of him waiting... and can picture Sister Mary Katherine supervising the biscuits in the kitchen.

    Your pups are so precious!

  2. Of course the first thing I thought of was the tainted pet food. I'm sure you've already eliminated that being implicated.

  3. I wonder if he'll remember what strawberry means? I'm impressed-I probably wouldn't have figured that he was suffering from the pollen, too. Hope the oils help.

  4. Awww - it would break my heart too! They rely on us in such a desperate way sometimes. I hope the oils work! My oldest collie - Missy - has allergies, her feet itch in the warmer months and she will chew them to bits, benadryl (sp?) helps, but it makes her tired. Vet says it's an allergy to the grass.

  5. You are such a good doggy Mom. That photo is so sweet and your story such a kind and loving one. He's lucky to have such a caring and concerned person.

    Cheyenne has to stand beside me when I get the treats before bed. Then she races ahead of me to make sure I know where I'm going. ;-)

  6. I never would have thought of the scented oils and it's such a wonderful idea. If you really think he has allergies, you might try giving him the same Transfer Factor supplement I'm giving our dogs. It has done wonders with holding Ellie's cancer at bay and Vannie's kidney disease has gone into remission. I'll be happy to tell you more if you are interested. Carmon

  7. Hey Velvet, I was thinking of this post today and wondered, What on earth would Kadi do if you got different treats at bedtime??? I'm certain she would inform you of the error...but how??? Just wondering...Holly

  8. I am glad you are there to love him. sis 3

  9. to bad about the dog , maybe it is pollen, no one is more discrustful of goverment so i soppose you know me. i guess you could answer. maybe you wouldn't have to tell the truth.

  10. Holly, I think Butch actually inhales more pollen than the other dogs do because he sniffs the ground more frequently to get his bearings.

    It would be an interesting experiment to see what Kadi would do if I gave them the wrong bedtime treat. So far I haven't messed up. I do know, though, that if she wants the prized rawhide chew (which they get earlier in the evening), nothing else will do. Kadi will refuse the substitute and remain standing by the treat cabinet, barking at me. Not spoiled MUCH!

    Annie, I was quite relieved to learn my dogs' food wasn't on the recalled list. What a tragedy that's been for so many family pets.

    Janet, supposedly, a dog with a good nose can pick up trace amounts of a scent, so I'm assuming the strawberry-scented door frame still smells like strawberry up close. Apparently, and especially when he's running, he isn't picking up the scents soon enough to avoid the obstacles.

    Debi, I should probably try Benadryl now to see if makes any difference. Both my dogs get itchy later in the year, when the mosquitos are at their worst, and I give them Benadryl then. It doesn't seem to help with that particular itch, but I take it for my own allergies, so it might help with Butch's nose, too.

    Duly Inspired, I'm sure you'd understand completely if I were to tell you I think I'm the lucky one. I wish everyone in the world could meet Butch. He's such a happy-go-lucky guy, and it's very inspirational to see him go about his doggy business with such a carefree attitude.

    Carmon, the scented oils and the backyard stepping stones turned out to be the best tips I learned to help Butch navigate. I realize he'd be at a major disadvantage in a strange environment, but he's master of his domain in the places he knows (the house, the backyard, and the vet's office).

    And I would be interested in knowing more about the Transfer Factor supplement--whenever you have time, certainly not on your birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Sister-Three, I'm glad, too.

    Patsy, I'm sure Butch will be fine. In regard to the survey, I sent it in and I told the truth. I didn't object to the government's knowing my answers to any of their questions; I objected to their assumption that they have a right to know.

  11. How funny...that's exactly what our dogs do when it's bedtime. They love the repetition of it all!

    One of my dogs is farsighted. He uses his nose to find out who or what is in front of him...what a great idea with the scents! This would be helpful for me as my dog grows older and his sight wanes even more. Thank you...and Happy Easter!

  12. Happy Easter to you, Butch and Kadi! Have the allergies have lessened with the cooler weather?

  13. It's Easter Sunday and I just dropped by to say hello, Velvet. I hope you're having a fine day.


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