Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who's Trained Whom? Hmmmm?

This is going to be a bit hard, because the majority of my dear readers know sweet Mama Pajama so well, she could easily be one of their own. But my new friends from blogland barely know her at all. I don't want to bore the former, nor mystify the latter, so here's the skinny.

Mama Pajama is living proof of miracles. At least to me. She was a brilliant little lure courser, and was actually the number one whippet in the country in AKC lure coursing. She was always one of the smallest, but zoom she would dust the big boys, including her brother Fat Charlie. She got her obedience title (just to humor me) and had a magical way of communicating with her special people.

And she charmed everyone who met her.

Then she got sick. She got a horrible disease, called neutrophilic vasculitis. A wacko reaction by her body to a wasp sting, where she started attacking her own microscopic blood vessels, choking off the oxygen supply to the surrounding tissues. She rotted. Her ears died, and she had deep abcesses in her feet, and she lost a lung. Her kidneys stopped working and we made an appointment to have her put down.

But as clear as a bell, she told me, "Not yet."

And then she got better.

She's been on prednisone for six years. She'll be eleven in June. She appears to be in complete remission, and other than her raggedy ears and some places where her hair never grew back, you couldn't tell she was ever sick. She has had a little problem with bladder control ever since she became ill, though, which has persisted. OK, she leaks like a sieve. She simply doesn't seem to feel when her bladder is full, and will wake up sopping wet, and I do mean sopping.

So I decided to teach her to pee on command. When she would go out, I would say "go pee" and when she did, I'd give her a treat. Often, she would squeeze out a little unnecessary turd and expect a cookie, but no, I held firm. Only pee got treats. It took a long time, but after six months she pretty reliably peed on command, even though she didn't feel any urge. As long as I remembered to get her out in a timely fashion - every couple of hours - I didn't have to wash slip covers and bedding and her.

Yesterday when we went on our walk, Mama Pajama peed and I gave her a treat. It was a particularly good treat. We walked on, and Mama Pajama peed again. That was unusual. We walked another thirty feet and down she squatted. This concerned me. And she continued to strain to pee every ten to thirty paces throughout the walk. I called the vet.

"I think Mama Pajama has a bladder infection," I told them, hoping and praying that it wasn't something much more ominous. "Yes, I can have her there at 2:45 tomorrow. Thank you."

I expected to spend a long and sleepless night, taking Mama Pajama out repeatedly. Giacomino got cystitis once and he had to go out every half hour all night long; it was horrible. But I woke up a couple of times and peered in her crate to make sure she was still breathing, and she was, and she wondered why I was disturbing her rest. I let her out and collected her normal looking pee in the morning, and went about my business with Mama Pajama as happy as a clam. I started to wonder if... Nah.

Mama Pajama was thrilled to go for a ride in the van, but frankly disappointed with my choice of destinations. But she was happy to see her vet tech friend Robin, and polite, if a bit reserved, in greeting Ol' Poke 'n Stick himself. Doc, in contrast, was thrilled to see his little miracle, and went on and on about how great she looks. Before Doc came into the room, I admitted to Robin my silly theory that I might have created a peeing monster, but I said I thought that was pretty far fetched. Robin went out to test the urine I brought.

She came back in smiling. Mama Pajama was still spilling some protein in her urine, but she didn't have any infection. "So, do you think I've trained her to pee every ten feet?"

Robin said, "I think she enjoys you as her own personal Pez Dispenser!" I laughed at that. Robin always makes me laugh.

Doc pronounced her "Great, just great," and I celebrated.

And when we left the clinic, Mama Pajama didn't squat. But I gave her a special treat anyway.

Hug your hounds


  1. Tee hee, cheeky Mama Pyjamas! Me is glad she no has wee wee infection, and what a girl to get better from bead illness.

    Cassidy x

  2. Yes, we think they train them, but they frequently turn right around and train us. I'm glad that she is OK.

  3. Since those who know her personally call her Mama "P" for short, of course she thinks she is to pee......yep, she has you well trained.....hug your humans!


  4. Wow! I have trained the muzzer to give huggies when I poop on command. Little did I know I should have been holding out for treats. I guess Mama P has owned you for a longer time, and maybe I can work on muzzer a bit after the pawty.

    kissies and hugs

  5. Oh, that peeing on command trick generally makes you look brilliant to most people, but some dogs do figure out the benefits to them, too. Sometimes my female greyhound will turn around and look at me, as if to see if a treat might be forcoming, 'cause she could go, if I wanted her to, it wouldn't be any trouble.... clever girls! (Those boys dogs never seem to need any of this kind of training, ha,ha.)

  6. Yep, I completely believe Mama Pajama trained you to give her a treat when she pees. Both my beagles have trained me to give them a treat when they walk nicely at my side (not such a bad deal really). Dogs are so clever!

    Very cute story with a happy ending!

  7. Boy, I got worried for a minute, gotta say. Glad it ended well, silly dog!

    Ad a funny little note for you. The other day I was wondering to myself what it was about Mama Pajama that made her so darn cute. I just love seeing pictures of her because she is just adorable. Then Athena comes walking up to me after a good snuggle on the couch, her ears half folded... Mama Pajama's little scarred up ears! THAT'S what it is! I'm not sure how or why, but those ears are just plain cute. With her little face peering up from below them, she just warms you right down to your toes. Give her a big hug and kiss for me!

  8. Great Story. I trained Phoebe to pee on command when she was a pup becuase we always lived in apartments and it was just easier. We've had a backyard for the past 3 years, and whenever she wants a treat, she'll go stand by the back door until I let her out, she then squeezes out a drop and expects a treat. This winter she started just going out and never leaving the patio before peering in the glass door, ready to come in. That little princess knew I wasn't watching whether she actually peed or not, and figured she could just get a treat by taking one step out the door. Yep, I'm trained, too. :)

  9. Ah Mama, we love you... Now go pee.


    Vee, Nearly, Buster and Skeezix

  10. I love her face! Can you please give her many hugs and pets from me?

  11. Oh Dear...what can you 'spect, Miss Patience?? We all know the "go pee" command...and only I abuse it's free food...mmm hhmmm...but Mumsie,in her old age, is gettin' stingier with the treats...I mean it's cold out there and I have to place my girl parts in very near vicinity of frozen ground...the boyz just do their leg thing...well..Babystan tries...he fell in a bush the other day, smack on his plumbing...musta hurt.

    Give Mama P. a hug for me...and Sam a huge Lakie kissie....(I will be one by the Valentine pawty....tell Sammie that of I can drink the large pawtinis like Asta does now....mmmmmmmmm)

    Lacie Wait till Sam sees my cheer leader outfit!

  12. Aww, such a smart girl.

    I love that last photo. Whenever I see it I want to kiss her little snout.

  13. She is one smart hound. Grammie ordered your book and we are expecting many wonderful stories like this. I hope she reads it out loud to us.

  14. What a sweet face! We pee on command too! Mom says it's very helpful when we're going on trips in the car!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  15. Giggle! Good job Mama! I need to work on training my ape who does not treat me for peeing which I do at least a dozen times on our morning walk.


  16. I think dogs are way smarter than their hoomans. Mine are trained very well already, and I'm only 15 months old. Just wait until I work on them some more.

    That's a great story about Mama Pajama and I am so glad to hear that she is well.

    Keep up the good work, Mama!!

    Love and Koobuss Kisses,

  17. Sweet, sweet Mama P! Give her a few extra kisses from me! I accidentally trained Bajas to bite my ex boyfriend when he was a puppy (because he was rewarded for stopping it.. ROFL...)


  18. oh haha mama pajama is one smart lady. :)

  19. BOL! What a good girl! I'll gladly lift a leg for a treat too, you're a good trainer! She's a miracle, fur sure.....

    Woofs, Johann


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