Category Archives: Pets

An Easy, Temporary Dog Bathing Solution for Renters

If you’re a renter and a dog owner, chances are you struggle to bathe your dogs easily in your apartment. In the summer you may have access to an outdoor space with a hose, but in the winter there’s not much you can do, short of putting your pup in the shower and climbing in with them. At least that’s what I used to do, in all of the homes I’ve rented with my dogs over the years. And let’s face it – showering with your dog is awkward for both parties involved!

Easy Pet Bath title

So, do you want a temporary, rental-friendly solution that’s not only affordable, but easy to install yourself – without compromising your security deposit? Here’s how I converted my shower so it can do double-duty as a pet bathing station.

I found an inexpensive shower conversion kit at my local big-box hardware store. I was initially going to bite the bullet and replace my landlord’s shower head with a fancy (and expensive) handheld shower head system, but a closer look at all the options found that there are inexpensive handheld shower conversion kits that work with your existing shower fixture.

Any handheld shower head will work well for bathing your pups, but some are simpler and more affordable than others. I chose the . . . continue reading at

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Our Poodle’s Potty Training Problem: Diagnosing the Cause

Amber the Poodle has brought so much joy to our lives since we adopted her in September.  She is so silly and Merlin is so happy to have a playmate again! It’s so good to see my old man (12 years!) playing every day.

Amber Merlin Playing in Snow

However, about 5 weeks into Amber’s life with us, she started peeing in the house. We were confused, because we thought she was house trained. I was frustrated at times, mainly because our efforts at re-training seemed to work some days and not others.

Thank goodness for our carpet steam cleaner.

We worked hard at re-house training Amber, letting her out every 3 hours, keeping her confined to whatever space we were in, teaching her to go potty on command outside, and all those things you do for potty training. But she kept having accidents.

I’m ashamed to admit that it took me a while to realize that maybe she wasn’t a bad dog . . . maybe she had a UTI. Sure enough, a visit to the vet diagnosed infection. We treated it and Amber’s accidents stopped.

And then the accidents started again, seemingly out of the blue. Cue the frustration and the attempts at house training again. Another visit to the vet showed another UTI.

Let’s cut to the chase. We finally realized there was a cycle. When a UTI flared up, Amber would start having accidents every 2 hours, and would wake me up during the night to go outside and potty. After 3 days on antibiotics, Amber’s accidents would stop. About 10 days after completing a round of antibiotics, Amber’s accidents would start again, and sure enough, it was always a new UTI.

It’s not normal for a dog to have chronic UTIs; it clearly points to a bigger problem. This Saturday Amber has an appointment with an internal medicine specialist for a consult and ultrasound, so we can hopefully get the ball rolling on diagnostics before the baby arrives.

Amber the Poodle Snow

In spite of all of this, or perhaps because of, I’m incredibly thankful.

  1. I’m so thankful that we found Amber. No doubt part of the reason she was returned was because of accidents – and this chronic problem could have had her cycling through shelters and owners. So sad to imagine!
  2. I’m thankful that Amber is actually house trained and there is a reason behind the accidents.
  3. Finally, I’m thankful that we adopted Amber rather than bought her, saving all the money for veterinary care. Even if we paid full price for a purebred pup with health guarantees, expensive medical problems could still come up.

So please, let this serve as a reminder: If you’re dealing with a confusing behavioral issue in your pet, always take them to the vet to rule out an underlying medical cause.

Hopefully we’ll have some good news for Amber next week, in the form of a diagnosis and treatment plan! In the mean time it’s back to frequent potty breaks and antibiotics, which she loves because they come buried in peanut butter.

Amber Merlin Playing in Snow 2

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Every time I walk into the kitchen, my eyes automatically dart to the back door, looking out onto the porch to see if Doctor wants to come back inside from his perch on my yoga mat.

And then I remember.  He’s not there.

Doctor Cat Chair in Janery Sewing Studio

We said goodbye to Doctor two weeks ago, in the same room of the same hospital where we said goodbye to Charlie on Christmas Day, only nine months ago.

Taking Charlie to the Hope Center to say goodbye was hard because I couldn’t bear to lose my canine best friend.  Taking Doctor there was hard in a very different way – it was difficult to know if we were making the right decision, because he still was purring a lot and loving affection from us, but for reasons hard to describe to those who never met him, he wasn’t himself. We were worried he was uncomfortable, and he’d lost more weight and had other signs that the cancer had gotten worse.

We probably could have waited longer if we really wanted, but for what?  To selfishly have a few more days or weeks with him, sure, but at the potential price of making him suffer.

Doctor on Hammock

In his last few months, Doctor preferred to sit outside for hours each day and night, stretched out or balled up on my blue yoga mat.  Now I can’t stop checking the mat outside because I’m so used to checking to see if he wants to come in the house. I also keep thinking that I hear him meowing in the house.  I said something to Ryan about both these things, and he said they’re happening to him, too.

I hope this ingrained habit goes away eventually, because it sends a jolt of sadness through me every time.

I also hope that our three remaining pets stay healthy for a few years, because two cancer losses in one year is more than enough.  I’ve found myself feeling a little paranoid about the remaining pets, simply because of the string of events we’ve been through in the last year with pet health.

Doctor on Catnip Cuddler

However, at the same time, I understand that when you adopt 4 animals, all around the same age and around the same time, these things can happen.  More importantly, I refuse to mope about it, because I have three other animals who love my company and deserve a happy mom.  Plus, with our silly poodle joining the family, I can’t help but laugh several times a day at her antics.

In the mean time, my blue yoga mat remains on the porch, but the only thing relaxing on it now is fallen leaves.  It’s sad, but it’s also a nice reminder of Doctor.

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