Meet Oscar and Charlie

OSCAR

Nicknames: peg legs, wiener, wiener man, wienie, wiener ween (must be said in flava flav voice) bro bro, asshole, bastard Oscar (only in his puppy years)

Meet Oscar the Beagle. We brought him into our lives at 8 weeks old. At the time we were down in Chicago for the summer. To make a long story short, I was starting to go a little crazy staying at home with nothing to do while Dave went to work each day. Oscar was our solution to that. As it turned out, we left Chicago after only a couple weeks of owning Oscar. So back to Edmonton we headed with our new pup. Here I was in a great relationship with a new puppy! Life seemed so perfect…

The first 3 years of his life he was the craziest puppy around. It seemed that escaping was the only thing on his mind. Countess hours were spent chasing him around the neighborhood. That hound nose of his kept getting him in trouble over and over. No yard was truly Oscar proof. The sweet little innocent puppy turned into an evil run away with many bad habits. Soon no one wanted to dog sit him. He had attitude and was the stubbornest dog I had ever known. He had also developed a pretty nasty food aggression. Uhm, what happened to my perfect little puppy I had in mind?!

When Oscar was around 4 years old, something magical happened. He calmed down. Just like that. Oscar was now a pretty easy going dog. We could now leave the door open for more than a second without him darting out. We could even go to the dog park with him off leash! WOW! Maybe all our hard work was paying off! He also looked much different as a grown dog. His colors changed as he matured. However, he never lost those adorable brown eyes and velvety ears that I loved!

Oscar now fills his days with lots of sleeping. He is overall a pretty lazy dog. Suntanning is his favorite past time. During the warmer seasons he loves laying outside and tanning his belly. In the winter months his tummy is a soft pinkish white color, but in the summer it actually turns almost black. Like I said, he loves tanning! It got to the point in our lives that it was almost like we did not have a dog. He was more like a cat. Extremely low maintenance and lazy. I started thinking that maybe he needed a friend, someone to liven him up, bring the puppy out in him again. What was I thinking! Just when things were starting to get normal again…

CHARLIE

Nicknames: wiggle bottom, peanut, toad, frog dog, squishy face, darlie, as well as pronouncing Charlie in the boys voice from “Charlie bit me”

Meet Charlie the Leavitt Bulldog (OEB). I had been bugging my fiance for years to get another puppy. Oscar had become a very lazy dog. There were times I even forgot he was around. I tried to justify my want for a puppy with the thoughts of Oscar needing a friend, someone to play with. One day I was browsing Kijiji and saw an add for a 9 week old bulldog. She was adorable. I did some research into the breed, and decided I would once again beg Dave for a puppy. I showed him the photo of the sweet looking puppy. To my surprise, he said ok! Still in shock I contacted the lady who was selling her and that very day we drove out to look at her! How exciting!! Before I knew it, I had my second puppy that I had wanted for years. We named her Charlie. I wondered what Oscar would think of her as we drove home…

We planned to introduce Oscar and Charlie in neutral territory. We chose a park by our place. Oscar has always been a little bit of a loner. He never played much with other dogs and had been the only dog for so long that we wanted to get off on the right foot. This started with Charlie biting Oscar very VERY hard on the bum. Lovely. After some diffusing of the situation we headed home.

As Charlie grew, Oscar and her were no closer than the first day we brought her home. She wanted to play so bad, but he wanted nothing to do with her. She started getting bigger as well. Where was my cute little puppy going?! We did our very best to socialize her the best we could. We spent tons of time down at our local dog park. As she began to get older though, she started to develop a slight attitude. Her and Oscar also began to have issues. She was past her puppy stage and turning into a bit of a nut case. Bouncing all over the place and chewing everything and man were her jaws strong! Oscar and Charlie began to fight. Not just little growls, but full on fights. I no longer was happy and had many frustrating and sad days. Charlie and Oscar would fight so bad that they had to be pulled off from each other. However, there were the odd times that they would act just fine. All would be well and then BAM! They were like jekyll and hyde. We were doing all that we could do, but the fighting would not stop. Why was this happening to me? What were we going to do?

Right around the time we got Charlie spayed she started showing signs of itching. She started getting red irritated patches on her chest and stomach. Slowly, she started to lose the fur on her chest, stomach, and insides of her legs. She was getting what appeared to be hives. One nigh we woke up to find her covered in bumps. We rushed her to the vets the next day. Allergies they said. Steroids were prescribed. All of a sudden I was lost in what to do for my dog. What was she allergic to? Steroids? For a dog? In a couple weeks the steroids cleared her skin up nicely. However, as soon as we took her off of them her symptoms returned. Over the next 6 months we visited the vets and still was not sure what was causing this. We thought that she was allergic to something outdoors. Poor Charlie. I spent hours and hours googling all sorts of things. It did not really help though. We ended up buying her a sweater just so she would stop scratching her chest to the point of drawing blood. It helped some.

I switched her to a raw diet in hopes of helping her skin. It helped some but still not enough. To this day we are still not sure what is going on. There is no doubt  it is a seasonal allergy of some sort since she clears up nicely in the winter. So much for the nice happy (and stress free) future I thought I was going to have. I loved my dogs so much, but man! I was in a little over my head!

Two years have passed now since that first summer with Charlie. I am happy to say that Charlie managed to get through this entire summer without having to be put on antibiotics and steroids. This is not to say that she was better. We just somehow managed to stay on top of it from the beginning. We went into Spring and Summer with Charlie having been on her raw diet for 2 years now. She was healthy to start the season off with. We also did our very best to spray/wash her down every time she was outside for an extended period of time. We did not use soap, but just water. I also starting giving her salmon and fish oil supplements. Finally, I found a seasonal allergy support pill that I also gave to her. What worked and what didn’t, I am not too sure. Was it a combination of all or only one, Who knows. Winter has come now and we are happy to know that Charlie will not be uncomfortable and be able to at least enjoy the next couple months. I still continue to read what I can and try to figure out what best I can do for my girl.

A few months ago Charlie tore her ACL in her knee while running. All it took was one wrong turn. Currently we are working on gathering enough money to get the surgery she requires. We were quoted at $4000 so that was hard to wrap our heads around. Just another bump in the road with these two dogs of mine!

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