Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Molly's Fluffy White Thief

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Molly adopted her Bichon Frise, Fergus, hoping for a "well-behaved dog."
Instead, she got a fluffy white thief!

TALES

Molly has lived in Cottage Grove for fifty years and for the last twenty, she hasn't had any pets.  She enjoyed the freedom of her single life, free from worry after raising four children. Molly now has time to spoil her seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and, best of all, no spouse to cater to.  After retirement, Molly was able to travel and be her own person without the concerns of a pet. "I didn't have to think about pet sitters, vet bills, grooming costs, etc." explains Molly.
 
Five years ago, Molly retired from her position as an administrative assistant for a property management company.  She now works as a part-time volunteer classroom aide at Our Lady of Perpetual Health Preschool, and she also volunteers in our community.

One day Molly's home felt empty.  "I found myself thinking how nice it would be to have a little 'well-behaved' dog. I researched small breeds and fell in love with the Bichon Frise.
Books described them as cheerful, playful, affectionate and inquisitive, with no known health problems. As it turns out, my understanding of inquisitive differs from not only the book's definition but the dog's as well!"
 
Last June, Molly went to see an adorable litter of puffball Bichons Frises.  She adopted a cute male and had a revelation when it came to naming him. "I suddenly realized that in my seventy-plus years of life, I have never named a dog! When I was raising my family, we had several dogs.  Either they came with a name or another family member named them. Since a dog is a valuable family member, I knew it was an important decision to choose just the right name.

That is when I learned a funny coincidence. Both the puppy's mother's name and my mother's names are Pearl!  Well, how can you ignore a sign like that? Since Mom's family name was Ferguson, I decided Fergus would be an ideal name for the puppy.  In a very short time, Fergus and I have become inseparable friends.  Well, until I open the front door, then he bolts out and runs for two blocks looking for squirrels to chase!
 
All Bichon Frise personality traits mentioned in the dog books were right on, especially the one about 'inquisitive.' It is hard to hide anything from Fergus. When he was three months old, I was on the phone and looked down to discover he had located a long-forgotten mouse poison that had slid behind the clothes dryer.

To my horror, he was chewing on the poison!  Luckily, he only required an overnight visit to our favorite veterinary clinic and a very unpleasant medical treatment; all of which he survived with no complications.

Bichons Frises require grooming every eight weeks, so this should be a financial consideration when adopting one.
 
Fergus also requires a great deal of exercise.  We walk two or three times a day, which is also beneficial for me. He is a smart, alert dog and always barks when someone is around.

I guess I'd better fess up! Fergus is a thief! When you come for a visit, don't put your purse, gloves, cell phone, hat, etc. out where Fergus can find them! He grabs them and makes a mad dash for the doggie door; then the race is on!

Just like all the dog books have said about Bichons Frises, Fergus is very smart and learns commands quickly, except, 'Give it back!' I keep going back to that one book that said, "Bichons Frises are inquisitive." Can anyone tell me when he will outgrow his inquisitiveness and become the loyal, gentle-mannered, obedient dog that I had envisioned?
 
Molly is off to visit relatives and is leaving Fergus in the capable hands of a family member.  Molly laughs and adds, "I am not worried about Fergus.  I am more worried about the family members, as they have no idea what a creative dog Fergus is.  Well, that is, unless they read this week's Tips 'n' Tales!"


TIPS
 
Do you have spring cleaning and painting projects planned?  We are aware of poisons in plants that are toxic to our pets, but have you considered the type of paint you put on your walls?  Paint fumes emit gases, which are harmful to your pets and to you.
 
An article in Animal Wellness magazine recently described how one woman's dogs lost their fur as a result of being confined in a home that was repainted.  

Our cats became asthmatic after we painted the inside of our home last summer.  Look for a low-VOC paint to protect the health of your two- and four-legged family members

For an extensive list on inside and outside toxic plants toxic to cats;
http://www.cfa.org/articles/plants.html
and dogs:
http://www.cybercanine.com/toxicplants.htm

Pet food and pet treats are still being recalled. Report all adverse reactions related to your pet's food.   (425) 483-4949
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Mary Ellen, Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist, with Miss Wings
AngelScribe AT msn DOT com
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