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Extending Our Time

Delicate Discussions

   ~ Part One

Roxy's FamilyThe last two blogs (Roxy’s story) and (Olli who lost his fur brother) have dealt with the loss of the Weimaraner. There are simply no words to cover such a loss. We can agree on this one thing—what we want to do is to push off the inevitable as long as possible.

This heartfelt desire begs the question of what we can do to make a big difference. We have some thoughts. Our suggestions cover the unexpected accidental loss as well as avoiding potential health issues. Our hope is for every OwyheeStar puppy to arrive at the Rainbow Bridge’s door late in life.

Accident Related Loss

Every few months we get a note about a Weimaraner who has lost their life due to an accident. These events vary–by nature each is unique; however, the underlying cause is similar. Some of the standout scenarios are listed here along with suggestions on how to avoid this type of thing. Eating or ingesting various non-edibles is a common theme. There are other dangers too, but we often forget the Weimaraner will eat anything. 

1. Toys — Even rubber toys lose their integrity. Depending upon your Weim’s chewing strength, you may need to (always) supervise their chewing. Other toys have squeakers that can become an issue and the rope bones, which are a good choice, don’t work for every Weimaraner. Bits of ingested string can build up in and along the intestinal wall leading to a blockage or irritation. A blockage can happen fast and be hard to discover in time to save your pet. Vomiting and not passing a stool are indicators–but these two symptoms are not a sure sign. The same signs for other ailments and sometimes are just mean it is an upset tummy. It is best to get your Weimaraner checked if this is a prolonged event. Taking their temperature (rectally) might not seem all that pleasant, but it can help you determine the seriousness of the event. (The normal dog temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). A rising temperature is alarming –-you need to know the standard temperature for your pet because it is much higher than for humans.

2. Medications and things sink side — One of the most heartrending stories involved a Weimaraner that ate someone’s medication–kept at the kitchen sink for convenience. The counter-surfing Weimaraner nabbed the bottle and ate it, and the contents. By the time they got him to the Vet office, it was too late. The Weimaraner might eat anything it seems–we have had others report sponges, dishrag, food, food-scented trash, etc. Sponges and the dish rag could lead to a blockage. Food has all kind of potential risk–bones can puncture the intestine wall, and some food (even the most innocuous kind like the avocado) are potentially toxic.

3. Around the House –There are many things to mouth and ingest. Some are shocking to us. One such item happens more than you might guess. Certain Weims are so obsessed with you and your scent that they may raid your laundry basket. Undergarments have the strongest scent, and some Weims will ingest these–another potential intestinal blockage issue. More often than not, they will pass, but you might discover something hanging out the back end. A hankie, undies, or the sock that made for a quick snack. (oops)

4. In the Fenced Yard –These are multifaceted. The Weimaraners are known for ingesting rocks; sometimes they pack them around in the mouth, and this is hard on their teeth. Pica (ingesting items such as rocks) seems odd to us, but it happens a lot. Marble-sized rocks to those the size of a large plum (such as river rock) are ideal. Rocks sometimes will travel through without a hitch; other times (all too often) they cause an intestinal blockage. Sharp edged rocks can irritate or puncture the intestinal wall. Rocks are not the only culprit in your yard. There are a plethora of toxic plants commonplace. Ones we would never suspect. Anything in the yard (including your house siding) could be chewed. We have known of a Weimaraner left in the yard that dug up a sidewalk, and she ingested bits of concrete. While we are discussing the backyard, some Weims can open gate latches. Others dig and can tunnel out of the yard. Then there are those that if they want to get out to explore, they can easily bound over a 5′ fence. Another danger is a collar that would catch them and strangle them. One extreme dog lover tied his and his brother’s dog to a tree. They didn’t have a fence, and they were only going to the corner store for a moment. Both dogs climbed the tree they were tied to–the young men came back to find the Weimaraner’s collar had caught on a branch she slipped, and you can guess what happened. This haunting experience will never be forgotten (the young man is a practicing Veterinarian). May this serve as a warning to others who think to tie their Weim for a few moments would be the safest solution. It didn’t work out in this situation.

5. Road Dangers

A six-acre yard and a well-trained Weimaraner should not be a problem; however, the devastating loss of their family member proved them wrong. A deer or something spurred the Weimaraner to give chase. Later they found him on a road even though they lived in a remote Northern Idaho location. The inherent desire to give chase (also known as the prey drive) is always lurching in the background–even when you have achieved the seemingly unfailing recall. Traveling with the Weimaraner is not without risk either. Some folks believe it is OK to have them ride in the back of their pickup–some tie them in, so they won’t fall out. Others let them roam free. More than one Weimaraner has seen something that sparked their sudden urge to give chase, and over the side, they went. Not everyone lost their life, but some did. One Christmas Eve in warm Arizona a woman was traveling with her Weimaraner. She had the windows down–the breeze blowing in their faces. She was on the way to a family dinner when her Weimaraner jumped out the window. He rolled down a bank breaking several bones. He lived, but they spent the night at the Emergency Vet Office instead of having a family dinner. He had traveled with the window frequently open; she had no reason for concern until this happened.

Others types of accidents happen but are less commonplace. Day two–we will discuss the other random things that may well shorten your time with your beloved friend and family member. The Weimaraner’s human must look out for their well-being on every level. A watchful eye for the seemingly puppy-like nature and the dangers to this breed are required. We thank you for your vigilance.


~ Shela and Cliff


PS: We bemoan the lack of photos; however, we were at a loss for which one to put here. We also didn’t cover things like Holiday Mishaps–and the dangers posed by the 4th of July and such. It was a lengthy post, and we have written on these topics many times.



Delicious Dangers

1513789_883902745168_1259413379492639906_nTell me it is Not so…….

Without question, Weim dangers lurk around every corner.  Although we are not the type to see a devil behind every bush, with a Weim if there is something untoward they will find it.  Hey, they will probably eat it. Yesterday, we read about Dozer who is a sock-addicted pup. This is not a good habit to let continue. It is easier said than done, but it is important to find a way to put an end to this sock-finding. It is vital to prevent the ingestion of socks, dishrags, sponges, and underwear, etc….. Failing to do so, will mean you eventually will find yourself at the vet’s office in an emergency situation. This post is a remake of a pretty well-read blog. We feel it might be time to revisit the topic of the indigestible leading to an intestinal blockage. It is a more common event than the Weim that gets run over–both happen far too often.

What Veterinarians Face

Cora, our friend who is a Vet Tech, told us a funny story. It might shed light on what the veterinary professionals see all too often. Someone brought in their dog to be boarded at the Veterinary Hospital where she works.  She was training a new helper. This young man who was cleaning kennels became extremely alarmed, and he hollered for her assistance.  One of the dogs vomited a huge pile of odd-looking gunk.  Cora being the pro she is, took a look and extracted the pile.  Upon rinsing away the yuck, she discovered three pairs of delicate lacy under panties.  The young man wondered if they should save them. Cora assured him that getting rid of them would be the right thing. This story is not a unique.

Human-scented Fabric

Many dogs ingest their owner’s clothing; however, the Weimaraner seems to relish owner-scented clothing.  Reports of Weims ingesting socks, underwear, or other clothing abound.  Raiding clothing hampers is second only to counter surfing. Many a Weim have snatched a bra and then paraded through the house waving it with delight.  These moments can be both embarrassing and entertaining–ultimately, they may lead to an emergency situation.

Ingesting fabric can lead to intestinal distress or even blockage. Blockage in turn can lead to infection and sepsis.  Sepsis can escalate quickly resulting in the loss of your Weim’s life. Fabric is not the only culprit–sometimes it is the items you deem safe that cause the problem.

It’s Not Just Fabric

Dangerous delectable items include but are not limited to dishcloths, sponges, rocks, wash cloths, and even electronic devices.  Normally things like remote controls, cell phones, PDAs, iPods, and such are ingested in bits and pieces. Batteries can be fatal.  Coins, nails, and bits of plastic are on the menu too! Each Weimaraner will be drawn to their choice thing to fixate on–or possible try to eat. Frequently, items are chosen because the smell like their beloved owner. Weims are fond of their human’s scent.  When you think about it, this is not abnormal.  Regardless, sometimes the variety of items that interest a Weim can be surprising.

This list of delicious delectable household items can go on and on.  Weims are known for nibbling bedding–their own and yours.  We used to have what we called nothing but French Bedding.  French bedding features Weim-scalloped edges. Our idea of French Bedding will never become the rage, but has been our bedding of choice.  It is no secret that Weims like cloth items a lot; however, food and food scented items rival or even outshine cloth.

The opportunistic Turbo

A few Christmases ago we got a message that Turbo was not acting normal. He wasn’t vomiting or doing anything odd; however, Mike and Monica noticed he was not himself.  She called for my advice, and I told her to keep her eyes on him.  The next thing I heard she decided something was wrong and took him to the Veterinary office.  An X-ray revealed a piece of wire in his stomach requiring surgical extraction. Turbo had surgery, and the cast-off artificial Christmas branch was extracted.  He was no worse for wear, thereafter; the trash can became more secure.

We are sharing these stories to give you a window into a typical Weim owner’s life, and to help you understand how a Weim thinks.  Keep in mind Weims never grow up.  Add the Weimaraner’s puppy-like attitude to their propensity toward concrete thinking and you will find there is a lot to consider, when trying to keep them out of trouble. Once the Weim is enamored with anything they are extremely obsessive-compulsive.

Rocks are Many a Weims Favorite

Dusty_6271If rocks are your Weim’s obsession, you will want to watch them closely. Our Dusty ingested a rock.  Our Veterinary bill exceeded $2,000.  Since then, Dusty cannot be unsupervised in any rocky area. He still loves rocks. We have used some aversion therapy.  Regardless, we worry if we were not watching he might eat another rock.  We know other breeds do things like this; however, Weims have a propensity for it.

If all of these things are not enough there are other edibles that are dangerous.  Raisins, Grapes, and Macadamia nuts.  Should your pup ingest something, lease contact your veterinarian of choice for advice.


Thanks again for everything, Bella is doing really good, we are all in love with her.

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Bella is doing great, getting bigger everyday and she is a sweetheart.

Breeder’s Note: We love hearing how the new pup is adjusting. Those involved with us know, we put a lot into getting them ready. What that means is they are set up for the person bringing them home. They are ready to housebreak, crate-train, and whatnot. No matter what they know here, when they arrive at their new home, it is unknown. The humans are waiting, and ready to be molded (as well as manipulated). It is shocking how quickly the pup has you wrapped around their paw, and in compliance. It would be so amazing if we were half as sucessful.

Some of the best pet-lovers fall victim to their Weimaraner. They fail to get loose-leash compliance, and they resort to pinch collars, head-halters (like a gentle leader). We are not a fan, because although they are unable to pull you down the street–they do not give you the respect of their compliance. (Click here to read a previous blog on this topic.) Earning respect is a two-way street, but for many dog-savvy people it requires they dig-deep to achieve. The Weimaraner is up to the chess match that we are playing. They intend to bring us to a checkmate. Each compromise is a loss for our beloved friend. The backdrop to what I am speaking of is that every week some dog (many times it is a Weimaraner) loses their life because they failed to comply to the recall–or they just took off. Sadly, many times these are well-trained Weims. It happens to the best of us, but we up the odds in our favor by achieving the loose leash lead. Ultimately, we want them to want to please us more than to have their own way–not to prove we are the best trainer, but to create a positive atmosphere that fosters all the attributes we are hoping to achieve. This takes patience, follow through, and more than a little knack. Jan Magnuson has had the Weimaraner for more than thirty-five years, and she is one of the best trainers in the northwest. Click here to read a comment from Jan, and more about what we believe is the ideal goal.

DSC_6279Cliff and Shela try to learn from their own mistakes. They also try to learn from the errors other people make. With the Weimaraner, it is important to get it right up front, because the propensity toward concrete-thinking makes it difficult to undo the bad habits once formed. Seeing the rocks in this photo with Bella, we cautioned Sri to keep an eye on Miss Bella. It seems that Bella has been found with at least one in her mouth. Here is yet another read (click here) for those who think nothing happens to Cliff and Shela. This link mentions Dusty, and an encounter with a rock.

Dusty recovered, but we learned a valuable lesson. We also changed vets after the experience. It took a lot of effort to get Dusty back to the same trust-level after the not-so-happy veterinary office experience. Today, he is awesome with everyone. He still doesn’t totally trust anyone wearing ode-de-vet-office cologne. He is better, but it took years to get past the ordeal he suffered. Some things are best avoided.