Susan’s shaggy dogs…

Rinchen wasn’t feeling even slightly photogenic, but the other three came out for a gorgeous day.
As you can see their coats are getting some substance…



Can you believe she’ll be 16 in June?!


All the long hairs (except Rinchin)…

Sammy and Ponya….

10 Comments on “Susan’s shaggy dogs…”

  1. gail d. says:

    They look stunning….ancient…..!!!!!!!! you are doing a great job grooming!

  2. Toshimi says:

    Now I would like to ask you that what are your secrets to keep Raji looks so young and healthy!? Please let me know!
    Most important things we can do is how to keep our dogs healthy and give them long life.
    I need to learn from you

  3. Susan M says:

    Toshimi. It’s a good question, and I don’t know the answer. Raji didn’t get to my house until she was 11years old. She had been in Virginia until about a year before that and then living with another woman here in Santa Rosa when I discovered that she was here. She is Rinchen’s mom, so I wanted to meet her. When I met her she was a neurotic mess and her owner actually thought she was dying….. Obviously not the case. She just loved being in a house with her other family members, and eventually I talked her owner into letting me keep her. Then, after surgery and meds to deal with a terrible infection in her jaw, she morphed into a puppy. She is easily the most playful and happy of all my dogs. She still freaks a bit when men come around, and I don’t know what that is about, but it is becoming less and less of an issue and she has even been known to stay in the room when my brother in law visits…..which still makes our jaws drop. There was a time when any stranger would simply make her retire to a back room and refuse to come out. Now she jumps into the laps of friendly women without any provocation at all.

    I’m sure it helps that I adore her and that life here isn’t stressful, and that she is fed an excellent diet, but some of it is just in her genetic make-up. I wouldn’t have known that except that Debbie still has her littermate Didi, and I think she is doing just as well….Right Debbie????

    I have all the dogs on a diet that is part raw (Nature’s Variety), part kibble (Evo), and part fresh cooked eggs from the back yard, plus a bit of fish oil. It seems to be working even though Sammy tends to get chubby if I don’t pay close attention and cut him back when he starts sleeping too much…

    Sharing these stories about our dogs is so wonderful.
    Thank you Debbie for giving us this space..

  4. Katy Widger says:

    Hi Susan! Your Apsos look wonderful! I had let my three grow their hair longer over the winter; part laziness, part very cold winter and part “no place to groom them” because we were doing some re-modeling and had no place to groom them. I was becoming very intrigued with the idea of letting their hair grow longer, too. But, the daily brushing was becoming a bit of a hassle for me. Sadie “hated” it, no matter how gentle I was, and Wyatt just has SO MUCH HAIR! Last week it warmed up a bit, I now have a permanent place to give them haircuts, with good light and warmth, so I gave them all baths and haircuts. Sadie is so cute with her short hair, and Zeke and Wyatt are a bit longer but look very nice.

    Toshimi, your Apsos are truly elegant and I do admire anyone who has the time and inclination (and location) to keep them in coat. I simply can’t.

    As to long life and diet, I would like to add my (controversial) two cents.
    No offense to anyone intended here, and I’m not advocating this as any sort of expert on the subject, just as a dedicated pet owner who has some personal experience with this issue.
    I think the two most detrimental things we do to our dogs is to feed them any kind of kibble, and give them too many vaccines (or any vaccines, for that matter). The Rabies vaccine, in particular, is quite lethal. Many holistic and homeopathic vets maintain that there is an over 70% complication rate from Rabies Vaccine. We’ve just gotten so used to “sick dogs” with allergies, behaviour issues, seizures, etc. that we accept it as normal. It’s not. We’re doing it to them with bad food and even worse standard vet care.

    Over a period of years I have moved my dogs from a “quality” kibble based diet, to a commercial raw diet, and now, to a totally home-prepared Prey Model Raw diet based on the natural diet of the wolf, which is really what our dogs are, genetically and what their digestive systems still are – wolf. This diet is based on 80% raw meat, 10% edible bone and 5% liver and 5% other organ meat. Fish or salmon oil as the only supplement. No veggies or grains. They don’t need it, can’t digest it and it contributes to yeast and digestive issues, and allergies. There are thousands of dog and cat owners worldwide who are now and have been feeding this model of raw diet for years, which amazing success. There is an amazing Raw Feeding list that is populated by very knowledgable raw feeders and has been a tremendous asset and help to me, and thousands of other “newbies” to this way of life.
    I have been feeding it for four months now, ever since I got a new German Shepherd puppy. I switched my three apsos over at the same time, from a commercial raw diet, mostly Primal and Nature’s Variety.
    I am totally convinced, by their overall health and improved vitality, that this is the way for us to go. My vet is totally supportive and is in awe of the beauty and growth of my GSD pup. To watch them eat this “real” unadulterated meat and bone and organ diet is so gratifying for me! The yeast issues that have been haunting Sadie for these three years have just vanished in this short period of time,without my doing any other thing.

    Reports of raw fed dogs living into their twenties are not uncommon. Working dogs, performing into their late teens. And if apsos are one of the world’s most long-lived dogs, imagine how long they might live if fed a species appropriate diet ! I’m hoping to find out!

    If you are interested in further education on this subject, ask Debby for my email address and I’ll send you some links to great, informative sites.

    Like I said, no offense intended to anyone. I fully respect the choices we all must make in feeding our dogs, and ourselves. This is my choice.

    BTW, The FDA has just announced a voluntary recall of Nature’s Variety Chicken products. They are recalling all of the frozen meals that contain chicken. I’ll go and get the link…..problems with salmonella. (Which most dogs wouldn’t have a problem with if they have ahealthy immune system). But, in reading the recall info, I also found out that NV pasturizes all their frozen food! Which means all the wonderful enzymes are destroyed! What’s the point in feeding raw if it’s been “cooked”! Which also explains why, if it’s been “cooked” and then contaminated with salmonella, it could definitely be a problem.

  5. Susan M says:

    Katy, thanks for the heads up on Nature’s Variety, and I guess that means I have some research to do….asap.

    Just as an aside, The EVO kibble is grain free, which is why I do add it to their diet. I am not inclined to have the kids dragging bones around the house, so I like them having something in their diet which is crunchy.

    Now to figure out how to make what they need myself? ICKEROO!!!!! Last time I did this all the doggies got FAT….

    Oh, and on the subject of Rabies, you struck a chord. Unfortunately I am going to be between a rock and a hard place if I do decide to move the critters to Hawaii. There is NO rabies there, and so dogs coming in from the mainland have to have been vaccinated at least twice, have a current vaccine, and have had a titer taken and tested in a lab…..So much for abstaining from rabies vaccinations….

  6. Susan M says:

    etc etc etc.

    Here is some more information from the NV site on their new “high pressure pasteurization process”

    Click to access HPP_Q&A_030810-FINAL.pdf

    I don’t know where I stand on the issue. I know I don’t buy milk which is ultra pasteurized; on the other hand I also don’t buy milk which is raw….

  7. Susan M says:

    One more comment now that I’ve gone and read some of the information on the prey raw model diet. It’s NOT for us here. It’s just too radical for me/us. I think dogs have probably evolved not unlike humans have and I suspect that the prey diet is as appropriate to my more evolved dogs as a caveman-cavewoman diet would be to me. It doesn’t make sense to me that just because the predecessor of my dog ate a certain way that that is the best way to eat.

    There is a theory that humans developed at a significantly faster rate after the invention of fire for the cooking of their food because the cooking made more nutrients more easily available to the brain.

    Who knows. The biggest reason I had for feeding the commercially prepared raw diet was that I figured was the best quality food I was going to get in a prepared form. I’m probably going to stick with it. My dogs seem to be thriving on it, and I fear that changing their diets yet again would actually be harder on them than staying with this one.

    One more thing. I don’t understand how the prey diet can be promoting feeding raw eggs. My understanding is that there is a conflict there relating either to too much or too little Biotin….I forget the details, but I did have to start cooking my dogs’ eggs even when I was feeding them the raw NV.

  8. Toshimi says:

    I am very impressed with your thoughtfulness of your Apsos.
    Raji has settled in to enjoying her life.
    Her life is full of love and kindness as she has found the family she deserves.
    Happiness is key to her long life!
    My 4th Apso (Maruko) is like your Raji. She came from the puppy mill rescue last year.
    “She is easily the most playful and happy of all my dogs.She still freaks a bit when men come around, but it is becoming less and less of an issue ” Maruko does exactly the same thing. I am enjoying seeing her change.

    about the diet…
    Koyuki has allergy to poultry, fish, milk and etc….
    It is courageous to change her diet….

    Thank you for your thoughts and the compliment about my Apsos!
    Your comment made my day!!
    I must study more about the dog’s diet….

  9. Katy Widger says:

    The Prey Model Raw is pretty radical, only because we’ve been feeding processed food for so long. In countries where feeding dogs meat scraps and whole prey is the norm, it’s not so controversial, feeding kibble is. And there are, finally some meat-based grain-free kibbles out there, especially since the big melamine scare. We’ve settled into a routine with it, and it’s become easy and far less messy than I orignally supposed. There is no “bone dragging”. They consume the bones along with the meat in fairly short order. I don’t give them “recreational” bones at all, will break teeth over time. Still, I understand the constraints others have, and therefore the decisions we each must make about feeding our critters. Over time, I will evaluate this diet and determine if it is working for us, or not. So far, so good, but still need more time. BTW, I also softly scramble the eggs my dogs eat. Keeps the raw yolk outa the Apsos’ beards, and prevents any loose bowels, and solves the biotin problem, which, I’ve read both ways that it’s a problem or not.
    At your dog’s ages, haven’t they already had a couple of rabies shots? Hopefully, the titer will show immunity. As far as proof of current vaccine goes, it’s only a “piece of paper”, right? My dogs have a piece of paper and a rabies tag…….

  10. Susan M says:

    As far as the raw goes, I’m still open to incorporating as much of it into their diet as I can. When I was at the feed store the other day, I ran into a woman who told me that one of the local Whole Food stores sells frozen chicken necks. Next time I get around to that part of town I’m going to get some to try giving to them.

    As to the titer, it’s probably good enough on everyone, but I’ve kinda realized that moving to Hawaii isn’t in the cards for this year, so we will postpone any of the costly and unnecessary for regular life testing until I have a more realistic plan to haul them out of their comfort zone and into one that may or may not be mine….:-))))

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