A Ruff Couple of Months

In early January I found that Elly had a broken tooth, not just the tip of a canine like a couple years ago, this time she went for the biggest tooth in her mouth. The official diagnosis was a complicated slab fracture of the upper 4th pre-molar.   Complicated means the pulp is exposed…ouch!!! My first inclination was to have the tooth pulled and we scheduled the surgery for the following week and we also put her on Tramadol to help with pain, which of course she wasn’t showing at all. Once I got home and did some reading I had second thoughts. Doing a root canal would not only allow her to keep her tooth but it was much less invasive than pulling the tooth.

Even though I live in the CA Bay Area (near San Francisco) and I have access to almost any specialist you can think of, finding a doggie dentist is a challenge! There is one sort of near me but they were booked out until mid-February. The other option was a vet who came up to our area from Southern California every two weeks. I actually made appointments with both and told them I was going to take whichever could get the surgery done sooner. I had Elly scheduled for evaluation and surgery for February 12th with the nearest dentist. I also scheduled her with the traveling dentist for February 2nd, but my understanding was they would do the evaluation that day then schedule surgery for next time they were in our area, 2 weeks later.  It turned out they could do the surgery the same day so I went with them and Elly had her evaluation and surgery on February 2nd.

I was very happy with the doctor and her tech, they took extra time to get Elly as comfortable as possible. After telling them she didn’t deal well with crates they elected to keep her out of the kennels and kept her on a blanket next to their desk. They made sure she was never alone and the tech held her when she could.

As it turns out they couldn’t save the pre-molar since it was broken up through the roots. In addition she lost 5 of her incisors! Those have been a problem since I adopted her, she had two previous surgeries to try and save them. Pretty much all the dog breeds in her makeup are brachycephalic (smushed faced) and it’s not uncommon for those types of dogs to have tooth-crowding problems. Even though she has a bit of a muzzle, her teeth are still over-crowded in her little mouth. All of the incisors removed were damaged and loose to some extent.

The poor girl came home with 7 sutures and a modified ‘smile’.

She wasn’t allowed to play with her stuffies for 12 days and she couldn’t chew on anything hard for two weeks. We also had to cut back on her balance and core exercises and walks while she healed. We had to drop out of two Nose Work Trials since they were just a week after her surgery, unfortunate because they were in my town.

Then the day before we went for her 2 week check up I found a rash or scrap under one of her front legs and a sore on her elbow. I have no idea where those came from especially since her activity level has been limited. Since we were already there I asked the vet to look at it and she gave me some spray to clear it up. The next day she seemed a bit tired and started sneezing, Pug boy Obie had been sneezing for a few days the week before. She got more lethargic over the next few days with more sneezing. I finally took her into the vet again after the President’s Day holiday just to be sure it wasn’t anything too serious.  Was it related to her surgery? Did I taper off the pain meds too soon? But Obie was sneezing before, and she was just fine the week after surgery, to the point that I was having trouble entertaining her. We concluded that she might have some type of virus and we are just going to watch her. She had clean blood work before her surgery and her temp was normal.  She was a bit perkier today- she initiated play a couple times, which she hasn’t done in a while. She didn’t play very long but it was definitely an improvement. We did have to miss another Nose Work class; I elected to keep her out this week just in case she has something contagious. Hopefully over the next several days she will continue to improve and get her energy back.  Obie is back to normal now so hopefully in a couple days she will be as well.

Since she was on Tramadol for about 5 weeks (pre and post surgery) I took the opportunity to video some of the ways I get pills into the pups. I’ve been doing at least daily pills for one dog or another since 2001 when Tani was diagnosed with epilepsy. And I’ve tried to explain ‘cheesy plate’ several times in the forums when people are having trouble getting pills in their pups- it’s so much easier to show it!

Ampuversary and Adoptaversary

Elly has been a Tripawd for more than three years, August 5th, and as of October 17 part of our little pack for 3 years.

Elly flies up and down the stairs and has since she first came here.  It was a concern when I was considering adopting her since Tri-Pug Maggie, also a small rear amp, had trouble going up stairs and I now live in a house with lots of stairs. Elly has learned to wait at the top or bottom of the stairs for me to cue her to follow me, it saves some wear and tear when I am coming right back. Sometimes when she isn’t sure what we are doing she stops in the middle and waits : )


Our first fall together was rough for a skittish dog…the leaves falling off trees and blowing down the road scared her.  We often had to stop and let those little evil doers pass.  Three years later we still  have to stop for leaves but now it’s because she thinks they might be turkey feathers!


I live with my father and Elly didn’t get off to a good start with him, in fact it seemed like she might not be able to stay.  She barked at him EVERY MORNING for three weeks!  She even nipped him once- I think because he tried to pick her up.  She finally got used to him being here, although was leery of him for quite awhile.  One of Dad’s jobs is to feed the dogs and she wouldn’t go downstairs (without me) for breakfast for a year.  Now they are best buds!

Elly and Obie with Dad, and TriPug Maggie in a sweatshirt cameo!


In addition to being skittish Elly was quick to bolt when scared, you couldn’t blame her after being hit by a car and re-homed several times.  I couldn’t imagine ever letting her off leash unless in a fully enclosed park.  Now (after tons of classes and hours of training) she has earned a little off leash time. I only let her off at certain parks and only when there are no other dogs around.


Elly isn’t the same dog that first hopped into my life, we have grown together in so many ways.  I had hoped to do therapy work with her when I got her but her fear issues makes that impossible (for now anyway).  I discovered Nose Work as an alternative and it has done wonders for her confidence.  She is braver and more comfortable in her world,  we have become quite a team.


DNA Results Are In, I’m Changing This Blog Title!

I was skeptical when the rescue group told me that Elly was a Puggle, she is really small for a Puggle and doesn’t look like any Puggle that I have ever seen. It wasn’t the breed that attracted me to her anyway, it was this face:

Picture from PetFinder

I do see the Pug in her and she does spend a lot of time tracking and sniffing like a Beagle.  Her doggie friend Sophie is a Puggle and when they are together they act a lot alike.

Elly and Sophie at the Dog Park

I was hoping that knowing her breed(s) might help me sort out her behavior issues: she is skittish and very slow to trust, she is afraid of loud noises and many things that move, she has a weird form of separation anxiety, just to name a few. On the other hand she spends most of her time on walks with her nose on the ground.  She would chase cats if I let her and she has chased squirrels out of the back yard.  She recently discovered that creatures live in the holes in the park and she started digging.

There is something in there!

I hope the breed info from her DNA will help me understand her better.

Without further ado here are Elly’s breed results from Embark:

44.5% Pug

24.5% Chihuahua

9.0% Shih Tzu

8.9% Maltese

7.6% Pomeranian

5.5% Brussels Griffon

I’ve had years of experience with pugs but I don’t know anything about the other breeds.  I did some reading and I do see some Chihuahua traits in her.  I think her coat type is from the Chi as well as her inclination to shake when she is really scared.  The thing that doesn’t match in my mind is that all of the listed breeds are known to be outgoing and confident… certainly not Elly!

Elly also spends most of her time with her nose on the ground tracking, a trait that the majority of the identified breeds don’t seem to have. Of the listed breeds the only dog that has a history of tracking or chasing is the Brussels Griffon- they originated as rat killers in Belgium.

There are some other interesting results from Embark such as their estimated weight of 8 pounds for Elly’s weight (she is healthy at 15 pounds)  and her ‘Wolfiness’ score of 5.4% which is exceptionally high (forum post on Wolfiness score). She also tested clear on most of the genetic disease markers.  Her coloring also fascinates me, its called piebald with black ticking, which could of come from a couple of the identified breeds.  Embark does not test for the piebald gene yet, according to them she should be solid black. But these topics are for another post.


Stalking like a wolf?

Back to the blog title…of course I called it Life with a Tri-Puggle when I started the blog since Maggie’s blog is Life with a Tri Pug, but Elly is clearly not a Puggle.  Dogs that are pug/chihuahua mixes are called Chugs, but she is not a Chug either since she has several other breeds swirled in her DNA. Her highest percentage is Pug so I kept the Tri-Pug and added the only other thing that makes sense…MUTT!