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Sunday, May 26, 2013

~Steeler of Hearts Feb, 4, 2003~ May 25, 2013 ~

When I think back ten years to when the pups were small, my 7 little Newfie babies, I remember how hard it was for me to let them go to their new homes. After setting up appointments for the new owners to swing by and pick up their new pup, I sometimes had to hide in the bedroom and let Peter take over because I could not handle letting them go. 
Things have not changed much in ten years. I still have a hard time letting go, especially when letting go means forever.

Steeler was the first pup at six weeks to be picked out by a new owner so he was named weeks before he ever left my basement by the family who wanted him. His name prior to that was Blue because of the color hair scrunchie that sported his neck until he could fit into a collar. 

Three years after living with his new family, I got a call that he was headed for the dog pound  for his bad behaviors. Thankfully, one of the owners loved him enough to bring him  back to me, and for that I am very thankful. Although   I must admit that at times the thanks were also mixed with hair pulling dilemmas!


When Steeler was dropped  off to me by his owner, I had three of my Newfs, Steeler’s mom Abby, dad Bentley, and sister Emma in their pen for safety sake to introduce them. They went nuts barking at him as I held his  lead.  Then suddenly, Abby took a whiff of the air and let out two distinctive barks which stopped the other two immediately from barking at him.  It was as if Abby recognized Steeler as one of her own. Within minutes Bentley and Emma started barking again with any movement  that Steeler made, and once more Abby quieted them with those two distinctive barks.  I was amazed and wondered what she was telling everyone and I thought that maybe, just maybe, everything would work out just fine.


 I was wrong!  Steeler fought or tried to fight with every dog in the house.  The only ones who held their own or frightened him off before he had a chance to do harm, were his siblings, Emma and Chance.


  Casey, Bentley and Abby  avoided Steeler like the plague during those first few weeks, but it all changed one summer day when  Steeler had again lashed out at Abby and she let out a wail.   Unknown to Steeler, Chance was lying on the deck by my side, and Chance was a mama’s boy!  This attack on Abby was the straw that broke the camel's back for Chance. He had seen enough, and so, he ran to Abby’s side, gave her a good sniffing over, then proceeded to run after Steeler, jump onto his back and ride him like a cowboy on a bucking bronco! All four of Chance’s feet were off the ground and his full body weight lay upon Steeler’s back as he gripped Steeler by the neck. Steeler though, was not giving in.  As this horrible fight ensued before my eyes, I thought, this will be the day that Steeler dies! 
Suddenly Steeler collapsed to the ground with Chance still on his back, still clutching his neck strongly within his mouth.


 When such a dog fight ensues, it is human nature to want to break it apart, scream at the dogs, or start hitting the aggressor. But in fact when we do this, the fight lasts longer and is more severe, so I quietly waited for its end.

Steeler lay motionless and I did indeed think he was dead or dying. Chance finally got off of him and came to my side, where I quickly ushered him onto the deck and locked the gate so I could go check on Steeler.  Amazingly both Steeler and Chance had not one bite mark on them, although Steeler was missing a bit of hair from the neck, so it was all bravado and challenge.

 Chance was not out for a kill, though if he wanted to I suspect he could have. Chance’s  intent was to knock Steeler down a few notches. This was certainly accomplished as Steeler would not go near any of the dogs in that manner ever again.    In fact for the rest of their time together in this home, Steeler would   not go near anyone, dog or human, when Chance was in the vicinity as seen in my video here.  Observations of a Newfoundland family


From that point  there was  peace in the household, but Steeler's obedience training was still severely lacking, as trying to get Steeler to walk on a lead from the back door to the garage was a nightmare that yielded my body scrapped and black and blue around the wrists, shins, knees and hands. He would start off walking  fine and then just bolt pulling me to the ground. It took six months of continuous daily training,  and thousands of hot dog slivers just to get him to heel!

Over time I was able to teach Steeler many manners, and he taught me something that I had never had to deal with in my home before which was unruly dog behavior, but even more than that he taught me not to give up. If I had given up on him and just sent him to one of the many people who called wanting to buy him upon his return, I would have passed along a problem that may have had him headed once again to the dog pound. That would not have been fair to him. It was not his fault he was this way. 

Steeler and I did not give up on each other and by not giving up he was able to finally succeed at becoming a fine therapy dog, a county mascot alongside Chance in animal response, and he  helped to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The bumps along the road only made me more determined not to let him down.

Not all of his silly behaviors were eliminated, but I learned how to keep him safe from himself and I prepared for these little things.  Like knowing to check all widow locks before leaving the house as  one of his tricks was to open a window and jump out. He did check every window in the house to see if the safety locks were on because every window would be opened an inch when I got home!   

  The more that I took him out on therapy visits the better behaved and more serene he became at home.   The more challenges we met and conquered, the more trusting and attached we became. The more times he went out with Chance on non scheduled Therapy  Dog visits,  the more they both learned from each other. These visits included taking them  Christmas shopping with us and making sure to have them stand for a few minutes  alongside the Salvation Bell ringers to aide the general public in seeing their own good qualities which got a little more cash dropped  in SALVO donation pot, as well,  we visited schools to bring about awareness of preparing one's pets for disasters.

Steeler, like all dogs had his own personality and antics.  He loved people, especially children, he liked games such as: let me hide mom’s socks in my slobbery wet jowls and she’ll give me a cookie to drop them.  He loved the vacuum and came running when we turned it on, and when he was ready to go out in the morning, he would stick his big head under the bed covers lifting them off of me and then proceeded to poke me with his big nose. If you met Steeler, you would not easily forget him, he would lean into you until your bodies melted together and then raise his head high to get a neck rub.  If you could get past the  drool you were sure to encounter, he would be your friend for life just for a neck rub.


I am human; therefore I am flawed, so I am thankful that God’s creatures teach me on a daily basis how to be just a little less flawed and a lot more understanding with a twist of patience.

Like Chance’s passing and those before and after him, this will take much time for me to get over.  On the morning of Steeler’s death I went to my mom’s apartment to prepare her meds and get things ready for her day and I told her what had happened in the early morning hours as she slept right down the hall from where Steeler took his last breath.  She gasped, as Steeler was a daily part of her life, but her gasp was not for Steeler, it was for me, as she said, “Steeler is fine, it is you who is not.”   And I could not agree more.  I know Steeler is fine, but I am human and therefore I am flawed so my agony comes not from the fact he has gone to a better place, but from my heart that aches and still wants him here with me.

Rest in peace Ste-Ste, you came so far and you accomplished much! 
Video memory here   







Saturday, May 18, 2013

ARMSTRONG, What Does Lifetime Mean Anyway?

the up close and personal shot. the edges of planks
are peeling, the inside of the planks have white specks
where it is wearing away
the crack in the hall where it
all started!
the area in question
near the fridge and doorway


Hallway, 3 copious drooling dogs sleeping , Sure they turn a white door brown but the floor is still fine, no cupping, wearing off of the edges of planks, no white spots!

DO NOT OWN A NEWFOUNDLAND DOG IF....
you own an  ARMSTRONG FLOOR 



DO NOT HAVE CHILDREN IF....

you own an ARMSTRONG LAMINATE FLOOR


I have to admit I am always on the lookout for sturdy and interesting dog products. I have always owned dogs and many dogs at once and I suspect I always will.  Big ones, small ones, medium ones, dry mouths, wet mouths, and droolers.

   I pick out my paint with an eggshell coating and my wallpaper so that it is easily washable. When I had the outside  of my home redone I made sure that all the windows had no decorative bars that would hamper any window washing inside or out  and the siding was an easy washable vinyl. 

My yard was put together with dogs in mind. My deck was made large enough to accommodate humans and dogs alike with a separation gate if I needed to put the dogs in their part of the yard. A nice privacy fence divides the property, the front half for humans the back half for dogs. And another gate blocks off the pool.

For when I was not home the sheds were well insulated and built with windows that could accommodate air conditioners and for those times when AC was not enough, I hooked up a misting hose in the pen and set it to go off three times a day so the dogs could stay cool or just play. For the most part they were in the sheds chilling to the AC.

I purchased  the king of dog blow dryers to dry them quickly after baths or for those rainy days. For their lounging comfort I grabbed every preschool 4 foot nap time mat that was headed for the preschool garbage heaven because it had a  little tear in it which made it unsuitable for young humans but very suitable for dogs to use as their beds. Sometimes I layered them three high for their achy bones.

During mud season if you drop by unannounced you will find that the throw carpets are turned upside down so as not the leave dirty foot prints on the carpet itself and  the larger carpets are covered with tarp. Let’s face it, I do not wish to do continuous washing of a white carpet during the spring and fall mud season.   A tarp is so much easier to remove when you are expecting company!

Am I a dog nut? Can I be compared to the crazy cat ladies of the world? Yes!  My dogs have always been trained and well mannered. As well, some were therapy dogs and they gave of themselves freely to others just for a smile.  Who am I to try and block their comfort among the family? 
  I am no one without the heart and soul of a dog beside me.

So, Where am I going with this?         


Back in 1998 it was decided that new flooring was needed in my kitchen and attached hallway. So off to the flooring store we went.  I told the salesman that I had several dogs when he tried to show me vinyl flooring rolls, or squares, or rugs, and rug squares, and a bunch of other stuff .

“Oh no!” I said. “That just won’t do, that is not accommodating to dog paws! The vinyl will dent, the caret will pull and tiles can crack if something drops on them.”

From there he lead me to several other types of flooring of which I can’t remember but they ranged in color and style, much of it dark flooring and I again expressed the amount of dogs I had and the floor must be strong enough to withhold such traffic.   

Suddenly hubby and I were brought to the laminate flooring section.

“Is this Pergo?” I asked intriguingly. “I have heard a lot of good things about Pergo.”

“No.” The salesman said. “It is like Pergo but a little less expensive. We don’t carry Pergo flooring, but this is made by Armstrong Flooring and is just as good as Pergo. And it has a lifetime guarantee!”

Hmm. I thought, just as good as Pergo? Lifetime guarantee? This could be the one.

“Will it hold up to dogs?” I asked. “And kids, I forgot to mention I do have kids!”

“Oh yes!” The salesman replied. “This is just as tough as Pergo and if there’s any problem with it just call Armstrong, it is warranted for as long as you own your home.”

That was it, I was sold! All that needed to be done now was pick out the color. The salesman again showed me dark colors because I have dogs. 

I don’t think he gets the whole dark color floor and mud drying on it thing!  

“Lighter colors do better with dog paws.” I suggested.

And so it was born, an Armstrong oak laminate floor to brighten my kitchen too have and too hold till death do us part. A lifetime actually, for as long as I owned the house.  


Enter the year 2000. Two years after the purchase of the Armstrong guaranteed for a lifetime flooring.

I awaken to the sweet smell of coffee dripping into my pot and start heading to the kitchen to snag quite a lot.  But wait, what before my wandering eyes should appear? A very long crack, a separation of the flooring in the hallway I fear!

Ah, I should call right away about this fault, but dad’s diagnosis of cancer has us all too distraught.

That crack in the floor was forgotten as our lives went on, and mother moved in with us so she would not be alone.
My home improvement receipts were moved from space to space as we tried to squeeze mom into this place. 

Enter 2011:  A new job for hubby might land us in Jersey so packing begins and the house goes topsy turvy. By now the floor crack has spread to the kitchen but I got no time for moanin’ and bitchin’! 

Ugh, another box marked bills to be shredded, a day’s event that’s always dreaded. I opened the box to find envelopes entwined and among held the golden receipt of a lifetime!

Thus began my phone tag with Armstrong and Lowes, which sold and installed the flooring I chose. 



Enter 2012:  Hubby’s job went bust before it got started and our house is still packed but off the market.

Okay serious business here!

I drove to Lowes with the flooring receipt and pictures in hand and Armstrong's  lifetime guarantee to get the ball rolling.  The Armstrong Company set up an appointment for an inspector to look at the problem. Five weeks after that appointment was completed I put in a call to see what was going on.

I was surprised that a huge company like Armstrong could not contact me with this information when they had gotten it within a week or so after the inspection was completed. 

While I know nothing lasts forever, I think when a company is going to have someone sell a product for them, and have the salesman tell the customer this lasts for as long as you own the home, they should specify the limits.  Like when you put this flooring in a kitchen, a laundry room,  bathroom or den, where there are bound to be fluid spills, that this will cause the  flooring to cup and become warn or  damaged, then you are not covered!  Especially when underneath this flooring is laid a thick piece of plastic like material which might not really allow any fluids to pass through it or be evaporated into the air thereby creating a constant puddle. So if your kids use the water and ice machine on your fridge and your Armstrong floor starts cupping, surely don’t blame the kids because you know how well they pick up after themselves! Ah hahahahahahahaha and ha!

Let us not forget those large breed dogs either, you know, the ones with the “copious drooling!”   

It is safe to assume that this inspector had to go home and look up Newfoundland dog as the two dogs that he saw in my family room were certainly not drooling nor are they copious droolers, in fact these particular two are smaller females and only drool when you hold food in front of them. They are not capable of   copious drooling!  I wonder if he would have made that same assumption if he saw my Saint Bernard, Forrest Gump standing there. Even though Forrest was a dry mouth saint he probably would have blamed him too!  I guess he had to come up with something, but copious drooling! Really?

Another thing that made no sense if the inspector is basing this theory on the dogs is that they have the run of the house except when there is company, so would not their copious drool affect the hallway that leads into the kitchen as well? Yet the hallway aside from the long crater that opened up not long after the floor was installed  is fine! There is  no spilling going on in the hallway only copious drooling!  Yet from the inspectors theory of the dogs being problematic, you would think that the hallway would have the same wear and tear as the kitchen! 

  And, OMG! What if he saw my 91 year old mother! He must think her incontinent at her age!  Can a 91 year old have copious urination?

  
ARMSTRONG!  GIVE ME A BREAK! 

 STAND BY YOUR LIFETIME GUARANTEE!


I give this product a  4 paws down not only due to wear ability if you have children or dogs, but also in customer service. This does not mean they were not polite when turning the claim down, this means they give no concern or forethought to telling the public that x, y, or z can happen if you  have a family and thus the guarantee  is over!  So unless your name is Felix Unger,  that fastidious character from the 1970’s TV series “The Odd Couple” you haven’t a shot in hell after spending your hard earned money on this product to have it corrected.  Well you might have a shot in hell if you live where there are no kitchens, baths, dens, children or dogs!  


Seriously though folks this is not a product I would consider putting down if you want it to look nice for a long period of time. I would not trust the company guarantee for the reasons above.  Your best bet is tile or stone which is sealed. This particular laminate is just a cheap imitation of a wood floor and the company does not back up their product.

 As for Lowes, I give then a 2 paws up.  The salesmen knew I wanted a product that would hold up and he should have been better equipped to give guidance. I am not a contractor so I would not have the specifics of this product.  That being said, once Lowes found out that Armstrong did not stand behind their product, Lowes offered me a 30% discount on any flooring I decided to put down in the kitchen. I thought that was nice and very customer friendly.   Unfortunately due to the economy, money was not gathering enough moss around here to have a new floor put in the kitchen so for now I am stuck with this eyesore.  

Share this so other big dog lovers that have copious drool  don't make the same mistake I did. 

I am on a lot of Newfoundland social media sites and I will share as well, and if you are questioning if I am just a disgruntled customer I would tell you to look at my posting again stating that 'the dogs have the run of the house and the hallway is the first thing they hit when coming into the house and the first cool floor to lay on' so  why aside from just one crack down the middle is the hallway which is connected to the kitchen  not being affected by my dogs copious drool?   I'll tell you why, because we don't walk down the hallway carrying drinks that could be spilled! This is a kitchen issue only so far!  

Link to Armstrong Laminate flooring if you are not aware of what laminate flooring is and want to avoid it.



 Hallway = Dog= drool
Yet it is still intact! No wear, no tear! 


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Peticure Rotary Nail File~ By Coastal pet

Battery  operated PediPaws on the top
Electric Pedicure on bottom



I happened to be strolling through Ollie’s  bargain  outlet store recently and I came across a rotary dremel tool for dogs.  I was using the original battery operated Petipaws that came out and few years back which at the time cost only $19.99. Doesn't everything cost only $19.99 on those TV ads?   However although workable, I found it lacking in power and the batteries needed replacing often. It could have been because I have big dogs so it may take longer to do their thicker nails  or it could be that some of my dogs at that time were  chickens and when they saw me coming tucked their front feet under their big fat heads  so I could not get to them very easily, thereby running the batteries down sooner! 

   After the battery powered  Pedi Paws,  I  purchased a normal rechargeable dremel from the hardware store.  This worked fine however a couple years back I was packing for a move to a different state and  I packed this dremel  which has gotten lost among the big black hole of boxes in and around the home ready to be put on that moving truck! Yep, still living out of boxes! It’s amazing though what you find you can do without! I’m sure if I ever get a chance to open those boxes it will be like Christmas! 

While using a dremel from a hardware store works you do have to be careful not to get the dog’s fur stuck as the dremel spins round which is why I liked the  Pedi Paws, it had a cover to prevent that.


Last night I decided to try this electric dremel I purchased at Ollies only because I seemed to be hyped up on an early evening cup of coffee from Dunkin Donut’s.  Since everything runs on Dunkin, I figured why not?     Emma was the victim for this challenge and she did fairly well however I did have to continue to stuff her mouth with biscuits!  Hey, it kept her still and more importantly made the experience more pleasant.    I did have two trim the hair around the nails before using he Peticure as she seemed to have black Smurf feet!


So, how did it work?


   I found  this product to have a long wire which was useful and gave me plenty of leeway to plug-in on one side of the kitchen and use across the room where Emma was laying on her bed.  The wire is in two parts, one  was connected to the dremel and  which plugs into a safety box that goes into the wall socket.  The box itself was rather heavy and bulky, so wrapping it up and putting it back in the box was a bit cumbersome.  However it did not interfere with the actual use of the dremel itself.

The Peticure is fitted with a fur guard just as the  battery operated PetiPaws is, but what I liked about Peticure is that you can change the speed  from slow to fast without  a big difference in the noise of the machine's operation.  Though it did make a difference in the sound  as you tapped the nails.

The Peticure box also contained  about 20 sandpaper replacement pieces.  I believe the original battery operated PetiPaws  came only with 6 replacement  pieces, but it has been a while so don’t quote me on that!

The Peticure fur guard is similar to the PediPaws, the only difference was that the Peticure’s opening was  round, whereas the battery operated PediPaws has more of a tear drop shape. However, the Pedicure’s top rotated to different size holes for smaller to larger nails. I of course used the largest opening.  

I was a bit dismayed by the directions as it is a tool that is geared for use on your pets, yet the directions inside the box are instructions on how to store it safely and how to avoid shock.  There were brief directions on pet use on the outside of the box but if you picked this up at a yard sale and the box was not available you're not going to know how to use it. I think they should put those directions either on the product itself or at least on the same instructions that tell you how to store it.

  If you have never used a dremel  to do your pet’s nails before,  you may think it is okay to just put the tool on the nail and leave it  there until the nail files down or you suddenly smell smoke coming from a burning nail!. This would be a big no, no as you can hit the quick, which is the thin vein inside the nail. Hitting the quick  would hurt the dog and you can bet the dog will remember it for life! If you watch the video below of me doing Emma’s nails you will at least get a sense of the proper way to dremel the nails. It is basically just a tap, tap, tap, checking the nail after each tap.

Whenever you trim the nails make sure to have something to stop the bleeding should you hit the quick.  Stypic powder, flour, or cornstarch will work and if you don't have any of that around as let's face it, if you are like me and don't cook, the above products may be a rarity in the home, then    you can soften a  bar of soap and run the nail over that.  

    

I would give this product 3 paws up at this time  only because the directions for pet use should be on the same paper of the care of the tool or on the product itself especially since it is electric and has more power. Also a 3 paw at this time because I cannot rate durability  since I have only had it a  day. If it breaks down in a couple of months I will be sure to post it here.  I think it was a bargain to get from Ollie’s for $7.99  as I did see on Amazon it sold from $15.00 to $20.00.   The PediPaws I have had for a few years now and it still works with a change of batteries. If you have a dainty dog where the nails are thin the battery  power that the PediPaws offers it may be enough for you. I found that on Amazon for $10.00.   

Below you can see Emma’s reaction to the Pedicure   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzjVh_O9Pc0&feature=youtu.be