Merlot is our pride and joy, through and through, he came to our home as a teeny tiny puppy. He was born on the 10th of October 2006, we picked him up on the 5th December 2006. He went on his first Caravanning trip to Blackwood on the 26th of December, crash course camping really! He was so tiny he was not able to jump up into the van we had to borrow a step just so he could.
Merlot picked us, we are pretty sure he did as he pushed the other puppy out of the way when we picked him up. Bill and I are not dog lovers, we both like cats, as we love to travel and see things we know that you just can’t take a cat caravanning, or at the very least it is not the best idea to take a cat caravanning.
I made a blog for him, I was looking at loads of blogs, there was no intention to set one up but it happened. LOL
Who said Dogs can’t talk??
Merlot has taught us and we learned from him, a lot has got to be said for listening to your pets or trying to understand what they are trying to communicate. Dogs obviously cannot speak English, but that does not mean they cannot communicate. We have learned to use the same words and tone for things, we were once told that dogs only understand “yes” and “no”. Well we can easily say that this could not be further from the truth. Merlot understands a lot, we talk to him all the time and in his little way he responds. If we say to him “we go see Aunty” or “we go see Poppy” he will race to the front door and sit and wait, tail wagging at 100 miles!! He knows who “Aunty” is and he knows the games that “Aunty” plays with him. We can even say to Merlot, “Go to Aunty” and he will go to her or jump on her lap. Merlot will “tell” us when he has a prickle in a paw, he will stop walking and instantly hold up the offending paw, for those whom have seen him do this they are astounded that a dog would do thing. More often they just limp and “say” nothing. Today Merlot wanted to snooze on our bed, how did he tell us this, he sat beside me while I was working on this blog, wagged his tail and barked at me, usually this means he wants something so I asked him to “show” me, he walked to the side of our bed where I would normally pick him up, sat there and wagged his tail. I walked over to him and he leaps to make it easy for me to pick him up, I put him on the bed and he snuggled himself down. He then heard a noise, got off the bed and barked at the noise, he then came back to me and repeated what he did earlier. Today all in all he has done this “Mum pick me up and let me snooze on the big bed” 5 times. I guess it’s a tough life being him!!
We have a game where we hide treats, Merlot has to “find” them, Bill will put a treat in his pocket (Also a game he plays with his Poppy) and Bill will say, “show daddy” and Merlot will slap his paws down and dig to “show” where the treat is, it is pretty cute too! Merlot uses this “show” trick to “show” us when there is something that he wants. We were off caravanning and just finished a roast dinner, Bill put the bones in a small waste bin outside. This bin was at a height that Merlot could easily get into and take anything out of it. Merlot raced into the van and was hopping about in excitement, he slapped his paws against Bills knees, Merlot was trying to tell or show us something. Bill said to Merlot “show daddy” and Merlot raced outside and slammed his paws down in front of the bin and wagged is tail! WOW!! As the bones were chicken and not safe for him to eat we got him a treat. Why? Cos he politely asked for something, he did not take without asking, he should be rewarded. He knows that if it is not his he can’t have it but when it is given to him then it is his. This is a great habit to instil in an animal, they won’t get into cupboards, get into rubbish and so much more.
A Healthy Wuppy
We are always on top of Merlot’s health, his health is paramount, after all a well looked after pet equals small vet bills!! Merlot has always been fed quality dog food, Royal Canin, Eukanaba, Science Diet, Beneful to name just a few. We try to mix it up so that he does not get sick of the same stuff over and over again. Merlot does get table scraps but no fatty pieces, he is a little animal so a cube of fat equates to a lot of fat. Humans and animals need good fats in their diets, just as with humans too much fat is bad, the same is with dogs!! We once had a disagreement with someone whom refused to acknowledge that we did not want them giving OUR animal fried fatty pork rinds. Their reasoning was “dogs don’t eat kibble in the wild” well dogs don’t eat fried fatty pork rinds either AND they don’t live as long in the wild because they don’t get all their nutritional requirements!
We can only try to make sure that out furry friend gets what he needs and consumes the right amounts. We put our faith in our vet and millions of dollars spent in research! Merlot has two small meals a day and a couple of small treats per day. “Nanny” is the WORST offender time and time again, her blatant ignorance is astounding!!! We can’t tell you how many times she has been told NOT to give Merlot big piece of anything, he is a small dog and small dogs have small things. It’s so annoying especially when she gives him big cubes of cheese, cheese is already a no-no, she is not the one to deal with the smelly aftermath or a dog that is sick the next day because Merlot has been fed too much of what he is not allowed to eat from someone who should know better!!! It’s sad because Merlot loves going to his Nanna and Poppas and seeing his buddy Charlie, the price he pays 7/10 visits is a bout of gastro. 18 months ago we had to go out shopping and we let Nanna and Poppa look after Merlot for a few hours, we came back and we are not sure whom had more fun!! The next day Merlot was as flat as a tack, off his food, barely did a thing. We took him to the vet and found he had gastro brought on by eating possum poo. Nanny and Poppy saw Merlot eating it but did nothing about it, why, because Charlie a big German Shepherd who has done the same thing ALL his life does it. It did not occur to them to think that Merlot is a small dog and he has not eaten this before and he could get sick!!! *slaps head* So poor Merlot was out for the count for a week, although we don’t think that he minded having to eat steamed chicken fillets for that time!!
Merlot has always been vaccinated regularly, its something that is important to us, we love our dog and want to give him the best chances we can. Merlot was due for his 6 month vaccine, we took him to the vets he had his full check up and had his vaccine. We came home and we noticed that Merlot looked like he had something in his mouth. I grabbed him to find out what it was and you cannot imagine our total shock to see that his face was swelling up. In the time it took us to get to the car and back to the vet Merlot’s head and ears were puffed to almost twice their size. Lucky the vet was straight onto it, Merlot was given a massive dose of cortisone and antihistamine our poor baby was seriously sick. We were so scared, we almost lost him that day, we later found that there were other dogs that had the same reaction, the vet tried to get explanations from the producers of the vaccine and they would not comment. They even phoned us and said it was an allergic reaction, we were shocked that without examining him they came to a conclusion! The following year Merlot had the same vaccine, we sat at the vet’s for a while after and there was no reaction. We were happy that he did not have a reaction and understand that it was more than likely the batch of vaccine that Merlot had, we also guess the manufacturers wanted things to be kept quite!!
As with vaccinating Merlot is regularly given flea, tick and worm treatments, if we are travelling to Sydney and beyond we up the tic treatment. We were on honeymoon and we had made it to Coff Harbour, we were at a caravan park right near The Big Banana. In the morning Merlot was very flat, he stayed in bed and did not eat his breakfast. Merlots favourite time of the day s breakfast so naturally we were worried. We asked a local where was the nearest vet, they told us and also told us that we were in an area well known for paralysis ticks. Immediately we were panicked, we raced him to the vet, they saw him instantly. They checked all over him and gave him the all-clear, they gave us a whole bunch of literature on ticks and how to combat them. We left a few hundred dollars poorer with a dog wagging his tail madly because he just got some treats from the vet and we were set at ease.
Whilst on honeymoon we were also going to find out how good Frontline and Sentinel was! Merlot gets both each month, it is a bit of overkill but he has never had fleas or worms so it’s money well spent. We caught up with some friends and they had not treated their animals, their home was riddled with fleas. We had no idea that there was this extent of fleas in this home, Bill sat down on the couch and within moments he saw thousands of the critters leaping all over the him. Bill began itching like crazy and as he had Merlot on his lap, poor Merlot was covered!! Being a white dog with very pale pink skin they stick out like crazy. Bill instantly got off the couch and we had to stop Merlot sitting on the couch or near any type of rug. Poor Merlot did not know what was going on, he had never ever had a flea in his life and he was now infested with them, he was jumping and twitching and itching all over. L
The last time I have seen an infestation like this was when I was looking for a rental property and the previous tenants had a heap of cats that had fleas had never treated their pets. As I walked on the carpet they were leaping all over, it was straight out of a horror movie!!
We were staying in our caravan and as it was late and we did not know the area so we had to wait till morning to get any sort of decent preventative. We would have looked hilarious when we got back to the caravan park as we ripped the clothes off that we were wearing and threw them in the wash and both had long showers! We had a standard bug spray so Bill sprayed the van with that, we sat outside of the van for a while in our pyjamas having a glass of red (of course) while waiting for the fumes to settle. After a restless night worrying we woke the next morning and saw dead fleas everywhere, we literally jumped for joy!! We still went out and bought some good strong flea killer and gave the van a good spraying. We also got all our bedding and washed the lot, doona included!! It was a PITA job and I now understood the frustration parents have with other parents when they don’t check their kid’s hair for nits and still send them to school! It is not expensive to get a flea collar for your animals and the amount of fleas that were in this home screamed it had not been done in a while or they had superfast breeder fleas!!! LOL
We were so lucky that within 48 hours all fleas were dead and gone, it was a costly experience and could have been so much worse. Left untreated fleas will lay up to 50 eggs per day and as the eggs are not sticky the eggs can end up anywhere, from this stage to full grown adult it can take 3 + weeks. So imagine how bad it would be for those fleas to lay eggs, then they become 50 times more then they lay more and so on, by the end of our honeymoon it would become thousands!!!. Fleas carry so many diseases, we more than likely all would have become exceptionally sick and covered in wounds!
Nanny, Poppy and Charrrrrlie
Merlot’s “Nanny and Poppy” own a German shepherd, “Charlie”. Charlie is Merlots BESTEST buddy, they each know when they are going to see one another. Charlie will pace the front yard while Merlot will be almost jumping out of his fur in a bid to speed up getting to see Charlie, there is something really cute about a German shepherd and a Maltese playing. Merlot can be really cheeky with Charlie and he is well known to sneak into Charlie’s toy box and hide all his toys. Merlot will also jump on Charlie’s bed and mess up all the covers. Henk and Pien were puppy sitting one weekend and came home to a lounge with blankets scattered everywhere!
Merlot raced about the garden and he came inside while “Nanny” and “Poppy” were watching television, they were enjoying the program they were watching but noticed that there was a really bad smell. Henk (Poppy) looked down and noticed that Merlot had found a bone, not just any bone but the slimiest smelly bone that he could have ever found! Merlot was covered in rancid goo and reeked. Straight in the bath he went and straight in the bin went the bone!! Poor Nanna and Poppa couldn’t get the smell out of their minds for ages!!
Charlie was once taught at obedience school, Charlie when he was younger had won obedience awards for this too! What we did with Merlot was copy what Charlie was taught minus clicker training. Merlot was also house trained very quickly and the greatest of thanks goes to Aunty Helen for this, her advice was invaluable!
Merlot with persistence knew all the basic commands in a few weeks. As most of Merlots commands are the same as Charlies we can get both dogs those same tricks simultaneously!!
We have kept up with Merlot’s commands and tricks, every day is an opportunity to teach him or instil his obedience training. We find that it also keeps him in tune with the rules of the house. He knows what he is and is not allowed to do. Merlot’s punishments for being naughty are generally “go to your bed” overall he is exceptionally well behaved, his worst offence to date was ignoring the “stop” command. The “stop” command is used to stop what you are doing and sit immediately, we add on occasion a sharp clap of our hands, we used this technique from when he was a little puppy and it also gets instant attention so “Stop”, Clap = stop, sit NOW, this is great for when we are going for a walk and he scampers towards something that my become dangerous. One incident Merlot saw a bush chicken and gave chase through some bushes, Bill yelled “stop” and then clapped his hands Merlot ignored Bill and he ran over a road, Bill gave chase , Merlot got a light smack on the toosh came back, tail between his legs and did not speak to Bill for the rest of the day. We can say that he has not don’t that ever again and when he hears the “stop” command he now listens. It is a absolute rarity for him to ignore that now, generally we get his attention from just saying “stop”
Merlot was with us for about a month when phoned a puppy school and asked them could we join, we were pleasantly shocked when we turned down. We told the instructor what Merlot could do, bear in mind we had only had him a few weeks, the instructor explained to us that if we bought Merlot to his school we risked undoing all our good work. Merlot could, sit, wait, and drop, “speak” he was house trained and we had him in a routine. Changing all this was to be more of a hindrance. We asked for advice and we were then told not to give him many toys. We were shocked as with thought that toys kept a dog occupied, we were told that it encourages dogs to chew on anything they could get their choppers into! We tested this theory out, I had an old pair of moccasins, and we put Merlot’s name on them and made sure that he knew they were his toys. He would play with the moccasins, oddly he would put them back side by side when he finished, he also did not touch my new moccasins nor would he touch Bill’s. Merlot showed us that he could be responsible and not chew anything, he would only chew and play with the things that were his.
Merlot and his toy stash has grown over the years, he has his house toy box and his caravan toy box. He often likes to pick out the toy he wants to play with too! He will even “tell” us when he wants to play or when he would like a toy too. He will drop near either toy box, look at us, and wag his tail and bark. It’s pretty cute and even cuter if not fun helping him choose his toy of the moment although he does have the odd day when he can’t figure out what he wants to play with!! LOL!
Merlot the companion
Merlot has been wonderful for me, a real companion, and the furry little person to cuddle up to on a bad day. Merlot knows when I am not well, I was in hospital recently having a Ketamine infusion and he fretted for me. He was allowed to come to the hospital and get and give hugs. He even gave patients in other rooms a cuddle to. One of the nursing staff was stunned when we said that he was not even 4 years old. They thought that he would be jumping all over the place and he was calm, comforting and obedient. A lady in the opposite room just filled with smiles and joy each time she got her turn for “cuddles” The nurses just adored him.
Merlot is a lap dog, a cuddle dog, a pampered pooch, a travelled pooch. He loves company and over the years somehow he ended up being a permanent lump in our bedroom. He has to be touching one of us and he loves being a “teddy bark” or teddy bear where he is hugged 99% of the night
Merlot has also been so many places, not many dogs of his age can boast they have been caravanning, boating on a train and ferries and more. Merlot is an amazing traveller, he loves to “go somewhere” and see new things. He is not a fan of his harness that we make him wear in the car, but we have it on him for his safety and ours. Some people do not realise that and animal can be a very dangerous projectile in a collision. It never ceases to amaze us home many times we have seen animals jumping about a car. Pets are often very much part of a family and they are loved as such so why are they not put in a harness and secured properly when on the road?? I really would hate to think what damage a 5-8kilo projectile would do, or what would happen.
Stay tuned for more of Merlot’s adventures
Wuppies like to dangle!