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What’s for Breakfast?

If your name is Scooby the elderpin, today’s morning meal looks like this:

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The hand mixed contents of your dish include a heaping scoop of Natural Planet Organics turkey dinner canned food, a teaspoon of pumpkin, a tablespoon of kale and broccoli pulp and a 1/4 cup of  Acana dry kibble (equal parts Ranchland and the duck/Bartlett pear varieties).

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If your name is Scooby the elderpin, however, you aren’t much interested in this dish today.

Nor is your buddy Luke the emo dog hungry for his bowl of just the Acana.

sad golden retriever

One of you is very old and not consistently hungry. The other is very scared of the stormy weather outside.

Maybe you are both holding out for some more buffalo and elk scraps from your people’s past two evening meals.

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Maybe breakfast will just have to become lunch today at the Wayward House. Maybe it will stop raining eventually.

What did you serve your dogs for breakfast today? Did they eat it?

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Who is Our Secret Admirer?

scooby under cover

Somebody out there sure loves me.

Yesterday, I received an email from Yellow Brick Home, informing me that I have been “anonymously gifted a custom mini, modern portrait” of Scooby the elderpin.

I’m so excited I could almost cry!

If you’ve never seen the awesome pet portraits that Yellow Brick Home offers through its tiny division called The Pet Shop, go check ’em out now. You might even recognize some familiar fuzzy faces from the blogosphere in the pet gallery!

Meanwhile, I’m now furiously sifting through pictures of the elderpin that I can send to Yellow Brick Home for inspiration as they turn him into a piece of fine art!

To whoever is responsible for this beautiful opportunity:

Thanks with all my heart  – and Scooby’s, too!

Scooby sombrero 2

Are you our secret admirer? Do you have a portrait of your pet?

Rest Up, Little Man

If your name is Scooby, and you live at Wayward House, you are the elderpin king of napping.

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To better cushion his little body – and the vertebrae the vet says are collapsing – we bought him three new beds the other day.

dog in three beds

Two beds for cushioning. One bed for cover.

Thanks to everyone who has shown concern for my little elderpin since the announcement of his UTI and other old dog maladies.

He may not be able to understand your caring words, but they mean the world to his crazy dog mom!

I’m happy to report that, in spite of all the photos of him napping, his energy level and attitude are getting back to normal, with Scooby judiciously enforcing most of his house rules.

Just ask Charlie Machete, who is again receiving regular face nips anytime he comes between Foster Uncle Scooby and something Foster Uncle Scooby wants.

Scooby

“Now, how about you bring me a blanket?”

Perhaps due to the medicine itself, Scooby  remains somewhat finicky about food. He’s generally more eager to eat in the late afternoon and early evening than morning time. Sometimes he goes right for the kibble with the big dogs. Other times he insists on being hand fed a meal-size helping of savory treats, such as beef liver hearts from Trader Joe’s or Zuke’s Mini Naturals.

And sometimes he can only be enticed by things he probably shouldn’t have, like Chinese food off my plate.

At this point, I figure the old guy deserves his indulgences.

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Thanks again to everyone for your empathy and advice. What a supportive little online community we have here!

What’s Wrong with the Elderpin?

What’s the matter with Scooby? 

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Answer: a lot of things.

If you follow Wayward Dogs on Facebook, you may have noticed my request on Friday to keep my little, old miniature pinscher in your thoughts.

Around midweek, Scooby the elderpin stopped eating. When it comes to the guy whose high food drive has caused him to be described as a “walking alimentary tract,” a sudden disinterest in eating is always alarming. This time, the trouble was also accompanied by lethargy and puking.

After 24 hours of these symptoms, we hustled Scooby to our trusted neighborhood vet.

Here’s the diagnosis:

The Bad News

Scooby is currently suffering from what the vet described as a “raging” urinary tract infection. An x-ray taken to rule out the possibility of kidney stones also revealed a mass in his gall bladder and some significant deterioration of his vertebrae. He also suffers from chronic infection related to his gross teeth.

The Good News

According to his blood scan, Scooby’s red and white blood cell counts are appropriate for his age. His only elevated enzyme levels seem related to the urinary tract infection, which  is the most immediate concern – and likely what made him lose his appetite.

The vet concluded that the mass is actually a bunch of gall stones that have accumulated over time and do not warrant surgery.

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The Outloook

Following 10 days of anti-biotics, a urinalysis will tell if Scooby has recovered from his UTI.

From there, we’ll determine the right medication regimen and lifestyle changes that will help reduce his propensity for infection of his urinary tract (this is not his first UTI) and mouth, and manage pain related to his bad back.

In the meantime, Scooby is enjoying much rest, pampering and unlimited amounts of any food he wants to eat.

No lie – before the bloodwork came back, it seemed as if the demise of my littlest best friend was imminent. Although I have been bracing for news like this from the moment I accepted his gray face into my life more than six years ago, I didn’t feel ready when the vet said she had found a “mass.” 

I’m glad the current diagnosis is more optimistic, but I know my little guy isn’t out of the woods yet. And as an elderpin of indeterminate antiquity, he’s kind of on borrowed time as it is. But I’m grateful for every snuggle we have left.

Thanks to the Facebook followers who shared well wishes. Your support means a lot!

Have your dogs ever dealt with any of the ailments from which Scooby currently suffers? Share your experiences and suggestions in the comments.

Scooby’s House Rules

Scooby the elderpin gets away with murder at Wayward House.

He also insists on looking into the camera whenever I try to take his picture. Obviously, he is trying to communicate a message…

empty food bowls - unacceptable

two black dogs on a couch

miniature pinscher and golden retriever

miniature pinscher looks into camera

Does your dog have house rules? What are they?

Letter to a landlord


While scouring my e-mail archives for pictures of Scooby in his less-gray days, I ran across the plea I had to make to the landlord of my first Kansas City apartment so that my dog could live there with me.

At the time, Scooby had only been with me a couple of months. He had already established himself as a “marker” – particularly where my roommate’s laundry was concerned. But of course, I didn’t tell this to the landlord.

Here’s an excerpt from what I did tell him:

Scooby is a 7-year-old miniature pinscher. He weighs about nine pounds and rarely barks. In fact, because he’s an older dog, he basically just sleeps all day and snuggles with me when I come home at night. Because he’s a tiny, purebred dog valued at about $500, I would not be comfortable leaving him unattended on the enclosed patio off the apartment. No matter where I move, my plan is to confine Scooby to one room while I am at work (in your apartment, probably the bathroom), taking him outside for a walk over my lunch hour. Living in the apartment I’m interested in would allow us to go for our walks without disrupting other tenants, since the patio gates open directly onto the sidewalk. A pet owner for most of my life, I’ve never had a lower maintenance animal than Scooby. His breed is known for being well-suited to apartment living and he definitely fits that bill.

Note that I also fudged on Scooby’s age. According to his previous owner, Scooby was already well into his senior years (like between 10 and 12). Since that’s a time when dogs are even more prone to having potty issues, I rounded way down.

Yup, I fibbed. I’m not proud of it.

I also assigned a monetary value to my rescue dog for who knows what reason. I think I wanted to suggest that I had high standards or something. (Because everyone who pays top dollar for a pedigreed dog turns out to be a responsible owner, right?)

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Well, it worked. The landlord who really didn’t want a dog in his apartment looked at Scooby’s picture and believed my sugarcoated story.

Luckily, at that time Scooby didn’t actually have to spend much time alone in the apartment. Instead, he reported for mascot duty at the newsroom where I worked or he went along to a screenprint shop with my then-boyfriend.

That arrangement saved my first Kansas City apartment a lot of pee stains.

Have you ever had trouble getting into housing because you’re a pet owner? Share your story in the comments.

Five reasons to adopt a pint-sized elderdog like Scooby

A certain black juvy-bull gets a lot of attention on this blog, because he’s looking for a permanent family. However, in light of Adopt a Senior Pet Month, this post is devoted to the other black dog in our house. That’s Scooby, of course, the main character of my first dog blog and the canine love of my life.

A black and tan miniature pinscher, Scooby is an elderpin of indeterminate antiquity. He was already a senior of “10 or 12” when he came into my life five years ago. My original wayward dog, he’d been running loose for at least an hour outside of my apartment building, before I took him over from a neighbor who’d caught him. A few days later, his actual owner practically begged me to just keep him.

At 12 pounds, Scooby was obese. He peed on everything, and his teeth were literally rotting in his head. But with a whole lot of patience and TLC, Scooby has turned into one amazing dog who looks great in doggy clothes. Because of him, I am certain that if I am ever in the position of actually seeking out a dog — as opposed to compulsively taking on whatever ragamuffin follows me home — I will choose a senior.

Older dogs are awesome for a lot of reasons, chief among which is their typically lower energy level.

Although as a yappy toy breed, Scooby maintains the capacity to bounce off the walls, he’s definitely waaaaay chill. Here are five other reasons he and little old dogs like him are awesome.

1. Few people can tell that he isn’t a puppy. Unless they get close enough to see the graying of his face, many people have no idea that Scooby is an elderdog. In fact, because he’s so small and lively, many people assume he’s a puppy. Nope, he’s just permanently puppy-sized.

2. He can keep up with the big dogs, but he doesn’t have to. Scooby will race the rest of the dogs to the door if he hears a knocking. If it’s the UPS man, he might even wiggle through the door, dart down the sidewalk and jump into the delivery truck. But little, old Scooby doesn’t require a walk every day. Usually, he’d prefer a nap on the back of the couch. But sometimes, he insists on joining the rest of the pack for a stroll. Fortunately, if he gets tired, he’s small enough to stuff in a Scooby sack. (Or the pocket of your bathrobe.)

2. He is a master snuggler. Scooby is a marathon sleeper and the best cuddler in the whole world. (Although Charlie Machete is a close second.) He prefers to be under the covers, curled in the crook of a knee. In the absence of a human partner, Minnie will do.

3. He’s wise and confident. Through countless years of life, Scooby has figured out a lot of things, like “floor vents are a great way to stay warm in winter” and “people like it when you clean up the food they accidentally drop.” Most importantly, Scooby understands that size doesn’t matter. As the little old man of the house, he bosses around the big dogs, especially Machete, even though they are all five to ten times bigger than he is. (This is a classic min pin characteristic.)

4. He’s amazingly resilient. Since he became mine, Scooby has adapted to live in at least five locations, involving various roommates and new animals. He has survived cat bites and the necessary extraction of 9 of his own teeth. Of course, I know Scooby won’t live forever, and he’s bound to get more fragile with age. He’s already hard of hearing. But little dogs can live for a long time, and I know it will take a lot before this little elderpin gives up on life and its endless opportunities for snacks and snuggles.

If this post has made you fall in love with the idea of a secondhand min pin, the Internet Miniature Pinscher Service is a great place to start looking. Min pins are also frequently available at local shelters.

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