Oliver the German Shepherd Puppy at 9 months old…94 pounds.
Oliver has been having itchy ears. So we took him to the vet and he did not have an infection or anything. So night before last, after I had lost several nights sleep for various reasons and Doug was so tired I could not wake him, I got up with Oliver and his itchy ears.
In a sleep deprived stupor, I dragged myself to the bathroom to put some hydrocortisone cream in his ears. As it was very early in the morning and as I did not want to wake Doug, I did not put on my glasses or turn on a lot of lights.
I woke up yesterday morning to discover that I grabbed the wrong tube of medicine from the cabinet and had rubbed Preparation H into Oliver’s ears. My first thought was I am not telling my husband, quickly followed by thank God it wasn’t the estrogen and my third was…..well….it stopped his itchy ears and they have been fine ever since. All’s well that ends well….just saying.
I am thoroughly enjoying raising a puppy. Oliver is such a character and his daily antics bring joy, laughter and usually a big mess. I just never know what the day will bring.
Oliver is a large German Shepherd puppy of fluff, muscle and mayhem who is now almost seven months old and weighs well over eighty pounds.
Oliver learning to protect the yard with his mentor Truman. Truman’s mentor Walter (deceased) taught Truman to patrol the yard perimeter when he was a pup.
Oliver always wakes up at first light…literally. On week days that is fine as my husband gets up early to go to work, but it would be nice if he would sleep in on weekends. His morning routine usually begins in one of two ways…either sitting quietly beside my side of the bed staring at me until I wake up or trying his best to be good and stay quiet until my husband wakes up.
Oliver’s post-dawn quiet requires an extraordinary effort of puppy self control and usually ends up taking the form of either loud chewing on a bone, digging in his kennel or gently chewing on a shrill squeaky toy.
Trying so very hard to be quiet and good.
As soon as my husband awakes puppy petting commences and Oliver goes over. Belly scratches are his favorite morning, noon and night. I have learned that his need for belly affection is an inherited trait passed from his mother to her offspring. Then, too, belly scratches have be specifically approved by household management as a safe early morning activity for a puppy with a full bladder.
Oliver has been to puppy training classes and has the graduation certificates to prove it. He can sit, stay and come. Oh, he can do a lot of things…when he wants to. There are still times when he forgets how much he has learned. Such as when he tries to chew on his people like they are fellow puppies or chew toys. Out comes the lemon juice and a quick squirt on his tongue immediately reinstates his memory. Getting juiced is something to be avoided by man or beast.
Magic dog words are important for both the owner and puppy to learn. Oliver’s magic words are treats and squirrel! He really loves to chase squirrels, but seems to think they always run to the same tree when they never do. In addition to squirrels, he expends great effort chasing rabbits, birds and butterflies. He scared the heck out of a large ferocious Monarch Butterfly just yesterday. Oliver is a lightening fast chaser who never catches anything…with one exception. Oliver has moved on from his earlier passion for bee chasing.
On occasion Oliver wakes up in a rip and tear mood. The look on his face immediately gives him away and I know that his German Shepherd brain has shut off and the puppy brain has taken control.
German Shepherd brain day. Puppy brain day.
A recent example of puppy brain includes a marigold massacre.
First he brought me the flowers, then he massacred them while Truman was napping and I was doing dishes. Truman barked Oliver out for this display of terrier behavior. Truman continually tries to instill the concept that some German Shepherd decorum must be maintained.
Of course that just makes Truman a target. One of Oliver’s favorite games is to pester that huge 110 pound white German Shepherd while he is napping by purposely sniffing the inside of Truman’s ears, then smacking the old dog on the head with his huge bear-sized puppy paws. Surprisingly, this is not always as well tolerated by Truman. Sometimes its best just to let nature take it course and accept, like with the bees, experience can be a great teacher. Eventually, Truman gives the pup a lesson in respecting one’s betters if not his elders.
Truman the good and gorgeous!
And, then, of course there was yesterday when Oliver confused his green tennis balls with my green tomatoes.
I was rather proud of Oliver’s attention to detail and his work ethic. Must be the German in him. He picked all but two of my green tomatoes.
I must admit to sharing in his disappointment as I watched him test whether his shining green tomatoes would bounce on the patio. Oh, the sadness on that puppy face! However, his melancholy was quickly abated by a new mission. Struck with instant inspiration after the tomato bounce test failed, he carried them off to be buried under the pine tree in the back of the yard. Hole digging is cure all for almost any puppy life disappointment…well, except for neutering.
All that digging in the hard Centerville clay must have worked up quite an appetite for the lad, as he returned to the garden one last time to feast on the remaining ripe cherry tomatoes.
Oliver was tired after his industrious morning and spent the rest of his day napping, eating, drinking, bird watching, squeaking his rubber chicken, squirrel and rabbit chasing, wrestling with Truman, splashing in the big metal water trough, playing fishing for puppies with mom and the garden hose and retrieving Frisbee.
The very last thing Oliver did last night, when I was one the phone with my daughter, was he picked up his entire laundry basket of toys and dumped them out. Finding the toy he wanted, Oliver gently brought it to me. What a thoughtful sweetie! He got lots of petting, a treat, and we played. Oh, how I love my puppy.
He starts obedience classes again next week.
Green tomatoes look a lot like green apples when they are laying in the grass and what would the first day of September be without a great apple recipe. This recipe for apple bars is outstanding for two reasons they taste like apple pie and they keep well.
Whether a great treat option for a school child’s lunchbox or as tasty snack on while working out on a treadmill these bars hold together and do not disappoint.
Frosted Apple Pie Bars
2-1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
2 egg yolks, plus enough milk to measure 2/3 cup
1 -1/2 cups of crumbled cornflakes cereal
10 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups of sugar
1-1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
1 cup of powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons of water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, 1 Tablespoon of sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Cut in shortening. Stir in egg yolk mixture until dough forms.
Divide the dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface roll out one piece of dough. It will be thin. Place into a 15 X 10 X 1-inch jelly roll baking sheet.
Sprinkle cornflakes over the dough. Spread apple slices evenly over the cornflakes.
In a small dish combine sugar and cinnamon. Spread over the apples.
Roll out the other 1/2 of dough and place on top of apples. Pinch edges of the dough together like you would for a pie.
In small mixing bowl, beat egg whites together until frothy. Spread over the crust.
Bake for one hour. Remove from oven.
In small mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and water. Drizzle the glaze over the hot crust.
I did not have time to finish this blog yesterday, but I am going to post it this morning with this update. Truman is eating and drinking and doing well here at home this morning. His tumor was about the size of a large baseball. It was completely in his abdomen. The bleeding from his scrotum was because when the tumor ruptured the pressure was so intense that it blew out through his scrotum causing the severe external bleeding. He never whined or even yipped! Had it not done that he would have died two days ago in the yard from internal bleeding. We are just so very blessed to still have him. God is good, very good indeed! Praise be the Lord!
Oliver and Truman my German Shepherd buddies.
Life can change in an instant and that was the case in our lives yesterday. My husband and I were outside playing with our German Shepherd puppy Oliver and our 112 pound white German Shepherd Truman was sleeping in the sun. My husband noticed that Truman had been lying in the hot sun for quite awhile and called for him.
Truman got up and walked perfectly normal over to Doug with his tail wagging. It was then my husband noticed that there was blood all over his hind quarters. A lot of blood.
We immediately called the veterinary and Doug transported him to the clinic. The vet found that he had a tumor the size of a tangerine where his testicles used to be and it had ruptured. He had surgery this morning to remove the growth and check to see if it is cancer.
The vet just called. The tumor is out, it was very large and she thinks it looks malignant, but we won’t know that for sure until the biopsy results come back in a week or so. She got out everything she could see. Truman will be able to come home this evening with a drainage tube as the tumor’s removal left an open cavity in his abdomen.
Oliver guarding his sick buddy Truman’s ears are up this morning!
Truman is everyone’s favorite dog–family, friends and neighbors. He is always friendly, good, loyal, kind and patient. He looks and acts like a big old cuddly white polar bear. Oftentimes I have thought that Christ would be much more pleased with my behavior and attitude if I just followed the example set by that dog. Especially dog with a story like his. You see, we did not get Truman when he was a little puppy like Oliver where we could love, be gentle and spoil him from the get go. No, we adopted Truman from a German Shepherd rescue over nine years ago.
At that time we only had Walter as a pet and wanted another German Shepherd. So one Saturday afternoon when I was working for a candidate on his campaign for state attorney general, I got bored sitting by my computer waiting for an “important” email and decided to visit…Petfinder.com.
As I scanned pictures of adorable puppies and handsome young dogs, I noticed a picture of a large gorgeous black and tan year-old German Shepherd named Teddy Bear. He was up for adoption that very day at a pet fair about 40 miles across town. Doug liked his picture too so we got into the car and went to check him out.
When we got to the pet adoption German Shepherd event, we found Teddy Bear had already found a new home. There were only two pups left a brother and his sister. Since we were only interested in getting a male dog to go with Walter, Doug went over to pet the five-month old puppy with the big white cone around his head.
I was not interested in the pup as he was white. I had never seen a white shepherd before and wanted a black and tan one. Then, too, the pup looked just awful.
Truman and his sister had been had been rescued by the police from their first owner. The pups had been found tied outside, in scorching heat with no shade, shelter, water or food. They were basically dying. The pups had been starved to the point of emaciation and severely beaten. They looked awful and I was concerned about adopting any German Shepherd with a violent abusive history and these pups’ history was horrific.
As I was talking to the staff, Doug knelt down by this young pup who had only known human harshness. The pup’s tail started to wag and he kissed and kissed Doug’s face. Watching the two together the staff person turned to me and asked why I was not interested in the dog. I said, “He’s white!.” “So are you!” retorted the staffer. I just started writing out the check.
Before we could bring him home we had to be checked out and approved by the pet adoption folks. They visited our home. Then, we visited Truman at a neutral location so that he and Walter could get acquainted. Truman liked Walter..a lot! Walter just ignored Truman. Inspection passed and Truman came home.
We named him Truman after President Truman who once said, “If you want a friend in politics….get a dog.”
The first thing we did was take him to our vet. He was grossly underweight, literally he looked like a victim of a concentration camp, and there was such a bad infection in his face from being beaten that the huge amounts of green drainage continuously ran from his nose. The infection drainage would dry at night while he slept on our bedroom floor and he would actually have his face stuck to the floor in the morning.
The first week in our home he gained 14 pounds and after hundreds of dollars of vet bills the infection in his face cleared up.
The first month in our house, he shredded two very expensive sofas while we were at work trying to hoard food. It was awful to see how much effort that poor puppy had put into trying to save food for himself. It broke our hearts to think he still feared hunger so much. In our home, Truman always has full dish of food. We never want him to fear hunger again.
Truman was a member of our family and it had been irrefutably established that he had troubles with fabric couch cushions, but did not chew on wood. So, we replaced the damaged sofas with a couple of solid oak antique church pews. My dad once said he never knew when he entered our home whether to just say hello or repent.
A beautiful animal singing. Notice the church pew Walter is laying on.
Even after being an innocent recipient of all of that abuse, pain and hunger at the hands of humans, Truman, in all of the nine years that he has been in our home, has never been anything but friendly, loving, loyal, gentle and sweet. I cannot even remember him jumping up on anyone. He has always been my good boy…as opposed to Walter who was our heathen (see blog post Walter’s Obituary).
Truman when he was young, with Walter, laying on one of the sofa’s before it got shredded.
Truman has grown to be physically one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen. He is awesome and massive and walks proud, with his head up and never cowers. For all of the evil that pup experienced, he always has a look of gentleness in his eyes that is impossible to explain in mere words. Truman, to me, is the very example of unconditional love and forgiveness.
Truman my buddy during my years of battling Multiple Myeloma. He was always by me.
My heart is breaking today. But, life goes on malignant tumors or not. I have just finished making him homemade chicken soup and cannot wait to have my boy back home.
Come what may I know three things: I love Truman, he is a better person that most human beings and I HATE CANCER…..just saying
Oliver our German Shepherd puppy’s first 4th of July!
Check out his videos on You Tube at: Oliver and Truman the German Shepherd buddies.
Have a safe and happy holiday.
I am thoroughly enjoying having a puppy in my house. Oliver is a long-haired German Shepherd puppy. He is super soft and fluffy and looks like a small bear cub.
Oliver at 10 weeks
Oliver weighted 43 pounds at 14 weeks old and his feet are already bigger than those of our nine-year-old white, 110 pound, German Shepherd Truman.
14 week puppy foot next to my hand
Oliver loves water, mud and Truman.
All things considered, this puppy is the best thing that has happened in our home in a very long time. Our home is filled with constant action and antics. Puppies, like small children, are a lot of work and demand a lot of attention, but their exuberance for life and enjoyment of every new sight, sound and taste is contagious to those of us who long ago became a bit jaded and tired. It fills me with joy to just watch him. Oliver is a cute little clown.
See many cute videos of Oliver and Truman on my YouTube channel including this video of him digging in my garden and watching airplanes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMr8PREto1A
Oh, there are some challenges to puppy raising. Especially since I cannot bend or lift over 10 pounds due to my back injuries from my cancer. Also, I am on blood-thinners as apart of my cancer chemo maintenance program and the puppy nipping phase has left me with enough bruises on my arms and legs to give my oncologist a stroke.
Then, too, I am tired from being awakened with the dawn, literally at 5:30 a.m., by either whining or a sharp bark announcing that my attention is desperately and immediately required. The rest of my day is filled with non-stop action and chaos created by a puppy making bad decisions. Broken only by short periods of time when the puppy needs a nap.
Then, too, I have acquired a few new skills such as disposing of lots of shredded paper and cleaning up puppy poo. Since, I cannot reach the floor, I have mastered using a long handled grabber tool. Also, I have learned how prevent puppy biting and barking by administering a bit of bitter lemon juice onto the offender’s tongue—yes, this really works! And, I have also perfected cleaning up dirt left by the puppy by using a spray bottle, a large towel and my foot.
There also have been changes to my usually eloquent language usage. For a woman with excellent verbal and written communications skills, who had a very successful career in the field of communications writing press releases, talking points, editorials, columns and constituent responses for many politicians, I now find myself communicating using one- word verbs such as: off, down, sit, stay, come and when nothing else works–“treats”. In addition to issuing single syllable orders, there are the essential commands of no bite, no bark and play nice!
Now that I think about it there is not much difference between working for politicians and training a puppy….just saying.