Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Old Houses, Dog Coats, & Christmas Cheer

Just taking a little break to change position, snack on some chips & dill cream cheese, and plan what to do next, now that I've finished gift-wrapping.

It is winter here today - there has been wind, and some snow (more on the way, I think), which have already wreaked some havoc. Yesterday a couple of outdoor Christmas decorations blew over, so I may need to re-think their placement and/or anchorage. A window fell out today (hooray for old houses...really...much more interesting stories to tell). And I happened to glance out a kitchen window while the dogs were outside earlier, discovering to my horror that the verandah gate was sitting open (must have been wind, even with a barricade and spring-loaded mechanism to keep it shut). I ran out, feeling that surely the dogs were gone, and was so relieved to find them coming toward me from within the yard. I hope this does not mark the beginning of a new string of pet-escape-related nightmares. At one point I was dreaming about dogs escaping onto our busy road so frequently that I thought we might have to move. Far too many gates around here.

A week or so ago we were both feeling completely overwhelmed with pretty much everything. The house in constant reno & decoration-related disarray, Christmas pageant preparation, anticipation of busy times with holiday company and commitments...Anyway, this week has been a bit better, as we have tackled a pile or two of "stuff", put up the real tree (after shopping around and around for just the right one), wrapped the gifts, and put stamps on the cards at last (they have been sitting around for a while, after I "lost" the stamps I bought. Finding a couple of dented ones on their own under a chair last week made us suspicious that they were not lost, rather EATEN by Gladwyn - which would have happened the same week she ate a rope toy and caused a tense Friday afternoon of $$ x-rays and waiting at the vet while hoping we would make it to the Cranberries concert).

Oh, and we also found dog coats for the girls! This is newsworthy from my perspective (and perhaps for those of you with hard-to-fit dogs like mine). Gladwyn is tall, but very skinny. She would stand pretty much even with a lab-type dog, but is built much differently - closer to a sighthound like a greyhound. She usually needs L/XL for length, but then drowns around the neck and chest in any other coat I've found (and often I can't find them big enough to start with - most dog coats seem to be made for the 30lbs and under crowd). My other issue has been that most coats out there are "fashion" coats - cute but totally impractical - either too flimsy for warmth and wind protection, or styled with legs which prevent the dog from actually walking. For Hesper, even reasonably-cut coats seem to fall too far down her leg at the front, also preventing her from walking on those stumpy basset limbs, and the length/chest ratio is an issue for her like it is for Gladwyn.

Anyway, we decided to bring the hounds along when we went tree-shopping, figuring we wouldn't be out of the van long at each stop, and they could be cozy waiting for us with blankets and things around. And we also needed Gladwyn with us to try on coats at a store where they can't be returned. I had seen coats by RC Pets (www.rcpets.com) a while ago, and they are sized in 2-inch increments, for tiny to great big dogs. Turns out they fit BOTH Hesper and Gladwyn very nicely. Long velcro strips make for lots of chest adjustability, and they are cut high enough around the shoulder and under the neck so as to allow free shoulder and upper leg movement when walking. They are water-resistant, and have a fleece lining. Now, Gladwyn could still use something cozier for really cold weather, since she shivers noticeably, but it's a start (and I can easily make a fleece under- or over-coat with some extra coverage to use along with this one, now that I know what shape works for her). Yes, I could have custom-created something from scratch, but wasn't getting around to it, so these are a great find (and getting my hands on polar fleece I like, for a good price, seems harder than I thought). Anyway...it's amazing how much I can blab on about dog coats - some of you are likely snoring already - but blogging lets me humour myself a little!

So, that's the news from these parts. Lots of Christmas festivities coming this weekend. Speaking of which, I should be getting back to that do-to list now that the cream cheese and chips have been taken care of!

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