Yesterday, we spent Sunday afternoon videotaping some of Sebastian's tricks he has enjoyed during the past 10 years.
While only age 10, his body is not aging well (again, he is a rescue and was bred by a backyard breeder) and, alas, he now has a malignant tumor on his front right leg. On Wednesday we are going to have to amputate his leg to try to get as much of the cancer as possible. Ofcourse, Sebastian is neutered and not part of our breeding program, but he is 100% a part of our hearts. Since so many of his favorite tricks involve using the right front paw, we wanted to get some of his tricks down for posterity sake. And, of course, we did one last painting which we will title "The Boog". If he paints in the future, it will have to be because we trained him to hold a brush ... or with some alternate method verses using his paw.
Ever since we brought Sebastian home he was so full of life and energy ... AND, quite honestly, the smartest pug we have ever owned. He was the pug who got us into training at a more extensive level. To stay a step ahead of him, we just had to keep learning more and more! Sebastian is the reason we have worked with ALL the trainers locally, and then around the world like Ian Dunbar and Victoria Stillwell. Always pushing us! lolz. So, from the start, his nickname was 'Booger' but we knew AKC wouldn't appreciate us adding that to his registered name so we named him Sebastian BGR (BGR = Booger). It's funny, though, because hardcore obedience dog people etc. always ask us what the title 'BGR' is. "How do we get that title?!" Then we say, "oh, that's a hard one ... only Sebastian can qualify for BGR"! lol.
Honestly, we should have pursued more titles with Sebastian. We got to the Advanced level of Rally Obedience and he was taking 1st place over dogs like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Border Collies. But, eventually, he said "I'm tired of this" and did a sit strike in Atlanta. Yep, our fault. He only works for food and we created a monster. Once he realized he couldn't get treats EVER in the ring during a trial, he was like 'I'm out of here'! Ha. So, we switched to canine freestyle which he loved (though AKC doesn't have a title for this yet). We should have pursued more advanced levels of AKC Tricks, however, but just never got around to it. Sebastian knows/knew enough tricks to complete Intermediate, Advanced, Performer, and Performer Elite quite honestly ... but, alas, we just never got around to it. As one of our favorite trainers recently said, "we take tomorrow for granted".
So, with his impending surgery in 2 days, we enjoyed one last session to videotape some of his most favorite tricks. As brachy breed owners all know, surgeries are always risky -- even with the best vets in the world -- so, it's always good to capture the special moments for future savoring. One of our trainers is going to review the videotape and see if we can at least get his intermediate tricks title using the video. ;) If so, he will be . . .
Sebastian, BGR (Booger), CGC (Canine Good Citizenship), RN (Rally Novice Obedience), RA (Rally Advanced Obedience), TKN (Trick Dog Novice) .... and ?? TKI (Trick Dog Intermediate).
Several years ago, when we realized Sebastian was slowing down and just not enjoying trials and such as much, we let him 'retire' and just be a dog who enjoys sitting on the couch and sleeping with us. But, he still enjoys doing tricks for us around the house ... always has. Sometimes, when I'm practicing the piano, he will go over to one of his toy pianos and play ... because he knows that, eventually, I'll stop practicing and give him a treat! Yep, one smart pug.
At the dog show last weekend some people mentioned that the "Keto" diet for dogs is supposed to be very good in combating cancer. We are gradually going to switch over to this with Sebastian and our seniors ... basically involving more fat, moderate protein, and low carbs, adding in sea kelp for calcium and chia seeds. (We actually do both of these on occasion but will include more regularly now). The latest shipment for Raw Paws of Raw goat's milk can't get here soon enough.
A year ago, when we visited a local holistic vet when dealing with a sick puppy, she mentioned that cancer is on the rise with dogs now. She had no doubt that so much of that is from kibble, especially brands like Purina, and explained how the process of making the kibble contributes to this. She recommended raw diets and swore by daily raw goat's milk with, of course, additional supplements like Esther C, kelp, calcium, probiotics, and really high quality fish oil. Hopefully, we can help extend the lives of our young pugs now by applying what we've learned. We do feed raw now, but we add kibble (Fromm with adults and Farmina Ancestral Grains with puppies up until they are 1 year old). However, we might research more about Ketonic diets and if this is beneficial for healthier, younger dogs as well. Puppies definitely need lots of protein, so it wouldn't logically be beneficial for younger dogs, but perhaps research will let us know more of what we should do with the 2 year olds and up. Isn't it interesting that a dog with cancer would benefit from more fat? It's all so fascinating. Honestly, our dogs eat better than we do. Perhaps we could learn a lesson or 2 from them! lolz.
Amy Aberg McLelland, owner Pickwick Pugs