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Milo, Hound of the Desert...

Introduction:

Milo is a Siberian Husky whose family had to move in the Spring of 2007, and they couldn't take him with them. They dropped him off at the Humane Society Shelter of Southern Arizona, which must have been as traumatic for them as it was for him.

His name was Simeon, Spanish for "Simon", but once we got him home and started adjusting to him, it became plain to us that his name, (or rather our name for him), was actually Milo, and so it has stuck.

These then are the continuing adventures of Milo, and his adjusting to us while we adjust to him. Milo has Canine Separation Anxiety, as many dogs do; it's not his fault, and we love him dearly, so we are working with him on his problem. Separation anxiety is what most of the entries in this journal deal with.

Another thing Milo likes to do is go hiking. Here's a series of pictures I took of him while were out hiking recetly, "covering it up" after he...shall we say..."eliminated"...rather than using a more common term:

If Milo happens to be at doggie day care when you are visiting this site, you might be able to catch a glimpse of him below. He goes to The Dawg House in Tucson; here's what he looks like when he's there:

Milo at day care

You might catch him live here (If you can't see the live feed, and it's between 7:00AM and 5:00PM Arizona time, Click HERE instead.)

It's  Sunday July 23rd, 2017 7:44pm Arizona time:


 

 

January 14, 2009

Milo visits Doggie Heaven...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2008

Milo and his cronies had a very busy day today at the Dawg House and wore themselves out. There were actually about 15 or 20 dogs there, but Milo staked out his turf...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2008

Well, Milo is a social butterfly. There are several dog owners in the neighborhood, and Milo runs to greet them and their dogs whenever he sees them while out on walks. EVERYBODY in the neighborhood knows Milo. If there are kids around, he wants nothing more than to go and smell them and have them pet him. What a dog :-)

His favorite feature of the day is this rare occasion: Two or three times a week, when I come home from work and we go outside, he makes a bee-line for the office. When we get there, the ladies there almost always mange to save a couple of cookies meant for prospective residents for him. They all get up and come and fawn all over him and feed him his cookies...I "think" he likes it.

No damage, no real separation anxiety any more, but it's summer and monsoon season again. He hates thunder. One day a couple of weeks ago I couldn't make it home from work before a thunder strom built up over the house, and when I came through the door, thunder popping off right overhead, he was there wide-eyed and scared witless. Poor guy. All we can do is not pay any attention to him at these times, because if we pet him and tell him he's OK, it's reinforcing his fright, making him think he's supposed to be scared.

Aside from that little issue, no more negative behavior since the couch incident, which seems a long time ago.

One thing we DID discover was that he is a year younger than we had initially thought! His papers all say he was born on August 4, 2004, but his pound papers said he was three-years-old when we picked him up in June of 2007. Some higher math was perfromed, and we discovered that meant he was still only two when we got him, and he turned three LAST August 4th. So, we congratulated him on his 4th birthday a week or so ago, and apologized for having thought he was so much older.

Actally, that does explain quite a bit about his behavior...the poor guy was still just a puppy when we got him from the pound.

March 25, 2008

Milo has been absolutely flooring us with how loyal, intelligent, loving and just plain pleasurable he's become.

It seems as though his separation anxiety issues have almost completely disappeared, although we're still continuing with his Clomipramine - mainly because we're afraid of stopping it... There's not been a lick of damage done to the house in several months, and he's just been busy becoming a really good dog. It's so wonderful to travel home from work and not really stress about what damage has been inflicted on our poor house during the day!

Of course much of his dealing with our being gone during the day has to do with repetition and "training"...well, we've always been slackers on the training bit. But I think that the better half of it has to do with him just becoming comfortable with us, and learning that we are not going to leave his life permanently, and that we love him so much. He was one confused dog when we brought him home, and it's taken almost a year for him to really find his footing here with us. He's certainly done that!

We took him to Catalina Park again this past weekend, and Lisa splashed him with water in the creek - he couldn't get out of the water and shake off fast enough. You HAVE to click on the picture above and see him shaking - the EYES are just a trip :-)

January 2, 2008

Again, while we've been home much more over the holidays, and while he's been out and about with us, his bathroom habits have been perfect. Now that it's time to get back to work, we'll see how long that lasts.

We went for a small hike yesterday to celebrate the beginning of 2008, and Milo made no bones about splashing through the cold snow melt water in Sutherland Creek to drink in the new year:

Here's wishing a Happy New Year to everyone!

Milo, Lisa and Kent

December 26, 2007

Well, it's been another month, and because of the holidays, we've been home a lot more than usual, so Milo's "issues" aren't getting their usual attentions...meaning...when he's been home alone, there's been some destructive activity, but really nothing to match last summer's. On the cute side, I came home from work one day to find the trash can from under the kitchen sink standing upright by the couch in the living room, bag still neatly tucked inside, right near a pile of new treats we were trying out. The message seemed clear; "Don't buy those treats any more; they're no good".

Sadly, it seems also that when Milo's feeling neglected after a long spell at home and out and about with us, he still really likes to make this known by going ahead and peeing on the pads we leave out, but at least one pile of dog poop has to wind up on the carpet...the "freshly-cleaned-for-the-holidays-carpet" that is. Sigh.

He has also been attacking the couch again, but not with the exuberance he exhibited last summer. I suppose he figures enough is enough, and since he can tuck his treats into the many holes that now exist for his burying pleasure anyway, he figures why fix it if it's already broken?

Aside from these minor mishaps, things have been good. All the time we've been spending with him at home has resulted in the necessity of having to actually go to the bathroom while he's on the leash, (he WON'T go to the bathroom on the floor if we're home), which is a good training exercise and excuse to give high praise for dropping the huge piles of the foul, reeking stuff OUTSIDE! :-)

I received a pair of running shoes as a Christmas present from my mother-in-law, so now there's really no excuse not to take the dog out for morning runs, which he loves. The old adage still holds: "A tired dog is a good dog." We'll see what the coming months hold as far as my new commitment goes. Right now I'm excited to start running...but 4:30 comes early in the morning.

 

November 27, 2007

I haven't made an entry here since last August because for the most part Milo has not been destructive - hurrah!

There are still issues with going to bathroom when no one is home - he does make it on the pads we lay out for the most part. There is usually some token left laying around the house that seems meant to say "don't forget me..." Yesterday it was the trashcan, dragged out from under the kitchen sink and left on the living room floor. Not too long ago it was one avocado taken from the kitchen counter and left on the floor in the hallway...with a lime. (There were two avocados on the counter that day; the other one wound up under mom's pillow. What a nice bedtime surprise!) We had a storm come through a week or so ago with a little bit of thunder late at night. He jumped up in bed with mom and kind of kept watch from there for a couple of hours until the storm moved away. Because I leave for work first, I also come home from work first in the afternoons, and lately, for the past couple of months or so, Milo has been standing up in the window as I climb out of my car; I'm sure he hears the brakes or the car door opening that gives him the needed clues to check. It's certainly entertaining to see a large blue-eyed sharp-pointy-eared, long-muzzled dog peering attentively out the window on arrival at home!

We have been keeping up his regimen of clomipramine, (his anti-obsessive med), and the DAP collar, (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), and pheremone drops around the house. We have also *tried* to be religious about getting up and taking him walking in the mornings. That's a hard one for us to keep up with, however.

As I said at the beginning, for the most part Milo is doing pretty well. For the longest time he would roll over on his back and pee a little bit when I came home, but that's been stopped by just reassuring him and not responding by scratching his belly or anything when he does roll over. He watches me clean up the poop pads when I get home, and I'm never too happy about doing it, so I think he might be putting two-and-two together as far as that goes...hopefully in the not too distant future that little issue will be taken care of too.

The included picture was taken at a "rest stop" on the Catalina State Park loop trail at sunrise in mid-November. Quite the regal pose, isn't it? :-)

 

August 10, 2007

Well, we *had* been doing pretty well. Milo was staying a little more calm, only going to the bathroom on the pads we laid out for him, and he was not being destructive at all. We even replaced the hated VERTICAL blinds with less intrusive horizontal blinds that we can pull up out of his reach. All in all, the last two weeks have been relatively relaxed. Laid back, you know? That is, until today. This was his fourth day in a row at home, having gone to doggie daycare Monday because of storms, and it turned out it was all a little too much for him.

I came home in the afternoon as usual, and was greeted by what I thought was a happy dog with a toy in his mouth, and initial reactions were really positive. It wasn't until I put my things down on the kitchen counter and went to check on things that it became apparent all was not well. Turns out I had stepped over a large pile of dog sh*t just inside the front door, thankfully avoiding having stepped in it.

On examination of the living room was where things really fell apart, however. The couch was demolished. The picture, as they say, speaks a thousand words. Click on the small one off to the right, and see the larger view.

He wasn't happy to see me after all -- just the opposite -- he was carrying his toy in an effort to protect himself from me...to distract me. I wasn't in the mood for distractions at this point. He was scolded - (he acts as though he's been beaten) - he was restricted from the rest of the house - (he acts as though he's been beaten) - he was told that his presence wasn't really welcome at the moment as I cleaned up the demolition work- (he acts as though he's been beaten).

Eventually he sat down in the kitchen and just stared at me, and wouldn't move until I acknowledged that he was there, and calmed myself down enough to reassure him that even though I was mad, and that he had indeed done "a bad thing", (I'm a professional at understatement), I wasn't going to stay mad at him forever, I wasn't going to hurt him, and I wasn't going to -gasp!- take him back to the pound. Grrrr.

We are continuing Milo's Clomipramine (Clomicalm) meds, and we try to reassure him at all times that he is a good boy. We * should* be more effective with training at this point, however we fall far short of the mark as far as this necessary adjunct therapy is concerned. Our lives prevent us from giving him the training he so deserves - so many things to do, so little time.

So if any of you reading this have untold millions of dollars and would like to sponsor a family with a husky that really needs a yard, please come forth! If we had a yard, (and possibly another dog), we could probably get Milo over this hump! :-)

July 22, 2007

Milo's been continuing to settle in for last month, but is still exhibiting pretty severe separation anxiety. He's demolished about 15 vertical window blind slats around the house - literally chewing them in half, and he found that he really liked strewing the kitchen trash all over the house. He still has issues going poop while he's outside for that express purpose, (he'd much rather hunt lizards), so we still come home to piles of puppy poop on the carpet pretty much every day after work.

Milo - Catalina State Park

So, all that said, what have we done? Well, first of all we purchased "Wee Wee Pads", which are just chucks that are put under sheets on a bed in care-giving environments to prevent stains to the mattress. They work great on the floor, but only if your husky doesn't REALLY WANT to have his poop land on the carpet. He aims the "wee wee" onto the Wee Wee pads just fine, but his aim falls off perceptibly when it comes to the old Number 2 - it's usually just millimeteres away from the edge of the pad, squarely on the carpet. This problem is pretty much going to take care of itself as we progress with treatment of the separation anxiety, and frankly only takes secondary precedence at this point, behind the destructiveness and possible dangers, to our home, and to the dog as well, inherent with the SA.

Next, we took him to doggie daycare one day last week in hopes of providing a vent for his pent up energy and frustrations. It worked! I wish we could afford to take him there every day. He had a great time, got along with all the other dogs, and came home absolutely exhausted - "a tired dog is a good dog". We had such a positive feeling about the whole experience, and Milo had such a positive experience in general, we plan on keeping up his visits on a weekly basis. When he's there, you will be able to watch him on the Dawg House Dawggie Cam, located here.

Finally after long thought on the matter, we also decided to leave the bedroom door open so he can get up on the bed. He loves being up there, but we've been afraid of him destroying the bedroom, our last bastion of sanity in a pretty much wrecked household. We left the door open Friday, and when I got home from work, the house was peaceful, he was asleep on his back on the bed, and nothing seemed out of place. There was of course the expected poop, but things were decidedly better.

Rattlesnake on the trail

Included above are some recent pictures of Milo from a hike we took this week in Catalina State Park, including one where he encountered a rattlesnake, but didn't know it at the time - he was totally oblivious to the NOISE and the snake, until the snake began to move across the trail. Then he wanted to chase it.

Sigh.

June 28, 2007

Milo has been fantastic for the past couple of days. He's been very calm when I get home in the afternoon, and has *started* actually pooping while we have him out on the leash...I haven't written about that little issue, but it's taken him quite a while to get the message. When we've had him out for walks, he's just assumed that we were out hunting lizards and birds, both of which are in abundant supply around here. He's honed his technique almost to perfection as far as flushing lizards from bushes and then persuing them at top speed to the end of his leash...all of six (6) feet...at the other end of which is my shoulder. I can now scratch my ankle with my right hand while standing without bending over.

Just a quick note about untidy messes today. He pooped in the house, but it looked as though he needed to get the other parts of the tampons out that weren't evacuated yesterday. He obviously is not suffering from the feared "blockage" I read about on some websites discussing canine tampon ingestion. It's just amazing the material you can find on the internet these days, isn't it?

And now a couple of words about sheer volume: HUGE poop! This dog could win contests if they were held for the size of feces excreted in a single sitting. My gawd, the diameter and length! We don't feed him THAT much, do we? :-)

Poop is something easily dealt with compared to outright household destruction. Simple training lessons will take care of that issue. We understand that the separation anxiety is another matter all together. I'm currently looking up information on something termed "thunderphobia", which the letter from Milo's previous family mentioned that he suffers from as well. We are swiftly coming up on the annual Summer Monsoon here in Southern Arizona. Time for afternoon thunder and lightning shows that are pretty much a daily occurrence. Stay tuned.

June 26, 2007

damageWell, Milo had a bad day last Friday. The antibiotics for the kennel cough were starting to work and he was feeling better, so his separation anxiety, (SA), got the better of him and he anihilated the linoleum in the front entryway, (click on the picture to get the gory details):

So...Saturday we had a trainer come over, Barb Gadola of Distinctive Dog Training. Barb is great with dogs and she worked up a regimen of training for us to follow, which we are coupling with a few tips she gave us to thwart his SA, in addition to the antidepressants. These include making a dogsicle in the freezer the night before - coldcuts, small treats and plain yogurt all packed into a big old Kong toy. Yum! We also got a DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) collar for him that is impregnated with pheromones from a lactating female dog to sooth him and make him think he's a puppy again :-) We also got some pheromone spray that we use on a bandanna placed by the door, along with a couple of those electric air freshener doo-hickies that spray a constant stream of the pheromone into the air. I'm expecting to have all the puppies in the neighborhood yelping at our door any day now.

Yesterday, Monday, I came home from work to a quiet, peaceful dog. Amazing.

Today on the other hand...he was quiet and peaceful. I'm not ready to attribute it 100% to the DAP, however something sure seems to be working...likely a combination of everything, including the fact that he's becoming more comfortable with his new surroundings, and is developing more confidence in us.

That said, he HAD gotten into the bathroom trash. You'd think that would be a welcome change from tearing the house apart. Well, it is! However, Milo ate at least one used tampon...

I held up the empty trash can, confronting him with his wrong-doing and inquired as to the whereabouts of said tampon - he looked at me with his big blue eyes: "But it had sauce on it..."

Ewwww! I know...guh-ross. So what do you do when you come home and discover your dog has been eating used tampons?

What do you do?

I shook my head and had to laugh. Then I called the vet.

"What did the vet say", you ask?

They laughed. They laughed loud and hard and said that they don't get that call every day, but it's always a good day when they do. Just watch the dog for 24 to 48 hours and make sure "it passes"...eeeew!!...and if it doesn't, or if he develops symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, then bring him in.

Life is good with a dog like Milo; every day brings its own unique and unpredictable surprises.

June 18, 2007

"I want to say one word to you. Just one word: Plastics." Mr. McGuire, from The Graduate

Well, I want to say one word about Milo: "Antidepressants".

Turns out the poor guy has a little bit more severe separation anxiety than we thought. We left him at home for about an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon while we did some grocery shopping, and when we got back home we found he'd ripped about a six- foot portion of the carpet up from next to the sliding glass door trying to get out. So, we called the vet.

The vet said "Clomipramine."

The website said "Clomipramine is a tricyclic agent with both antidepressant and antiobsessional properties."

So we started him on his antidepressant, then we went and got him a crate. I was pretty sure he wouldn't get in the damned thing because I've never had a dog that would get near one, let alone climb inside.

Well, after we set the crate up in the living room, he climbed right in the damned thing and promptly went to sleep . Too funny. I had just assumed we had thrown $100 away for a few days until we returned the crate. Wrong again.

So, we let Milo get accustomed to his new crate.

And listened to him cough...

I had taken him for a hike Sunday morning at Catalina State Park, and he'd been coughing since about half-way through the hike. I thought he'd sniffed something up his nose. (Here's a map of the trails in Catalina Park; we took the Canyon Loop Trail.)

The cough kept getting worse, and more persistent over the afternoon and evening. Finally at 11:30 Sunday night, mom had had enough and we brought him to the vet. The vet said "kennel cough". So we started him on his antibiotic and cough medicine. Today, (Monday), we're calling the pound and letting them know about the bordetella outbreak they have there.

Stay tuned! I'm sure I'll have a damage report after I get home from work this afternoon.

Sleep count over the last 72 hours: about 10 hours and counting.

Yawn.

Later...

Well, surprise surprise! Absolutely nothing was destroyed, with the exception of his collar which he chewed off. We can totally live with that, after having visions of coming home to a shredded couch, a shattered sliding glass door, or worse. What a pleasant surprise! Let 's see what happens tomorrow...

June 15, 2007

We saw Milo on Monday morning (6/11/2007) in a lineup photo of dogs on the Humane Society of Southern Arizona's web page:

Mugshot: "Simeon" - We call him "Milo"

After talking about him all day long, we decided to head over to the pound Monday afternoon and have a look.

He was absolutely beautiful. Obviously a full-bred Siberian Husky, he had a nice note from his family that told us they had called him "Simeon", he was born on August 4, 2004, some of his likes and dislikes, and that he had been very loved.

We did the paperwork and paid the fees, which was the easy part. Milo still had the rough part to go through; before the Humane Society lets a dog or cat go to their new home, they have to spayed or neutered. Poor Milo; after being left at the pound by his family and then having to live there for over a week, he finally gets sprung but not before they emasculate him. Such is life.

So, we picked him up Tuesday the 12th of June, tired and groggy from the anesthesia, and dazed and confused about what the hell was happening to him. Now the hard part began for us:

It seems the dog is nocturnal.

For the first two nights he kept us up all night wanting to go outside and just being agitated. Slowly but surely he's calming down - he slept through Thursday night, and he was calm enough this morning, (day three with us), to make himself right at home on the couch:

Milo claims the couch...Click photo for larger image.

Since he's going to be an inside dog from now on, we're starting to leave him alone for small periods of time, and he seems to be doing OK with that so far. Huskies are known for their severe separation anxiety, as we know from having our sweet Kady the poster dog for separation anxiety :-)