Monday, January 28, 2013

Tonka Rocks the Pet Expo

AP here:
This weekend was the Maryland Pet Expo at the Timonium fairgrounds. It was held in the building called the Cow Palace

There were all kinds of vendors there as well as the Chesapeake Dock Dogs. They put a large pool in the middle of the Cow Palace for the dogs to jump into. This link is to last years video to give you an idea of the setup. There were a few that ran all the way to the end and then put on the brakes instead of leaping and diving in. Tonka thought those dogs were very smart because why would you willingly jump into water?

We ran into all kinds of people that we knew including Baltimore's own  Joy Freedman. Joy is a dog behaviorist/obedience trainer and AKC certified CGC evaluator. Joy was performing Canine Good Citizen evaluations and gave some seminars throughout the weekend on behavior and the ever important topic of Canine First Aid. Tonka was very happy to "see" her and got lots of love. He also ran into several staff members from his various Doctors and even some of our neighbors.

Tonka very happy to "see" Joy

CM had a lady draw a really cool caricature of the Tonka Man. He was very patient and stood and waited for her to finish even though the man at the booth next to us kept saying the word treats.

The awesome folks from Liberty Delight Farm were also there. They have Great Pyrenees on the farm and some are from Tonka's rescue AGPR. They gave him a big tendon to have as a special treat which he devoured as soon as we got home. Liberty Delight is an all natural farm and we love all their stuff.

We had many people stop and ask about his wheels and we directed them to the Eddies Wheels website for more info. I also had a few non educated types that kept saying "poor dog" over and over even though I assured them that there is nothing "poor" about Tonka. He is a happy healthy boy that just can't coordinate his back feet. The question of elimination came up a few times and that seems to be the breaking point for some people. The minute I explained that I had to express him the conversation went downhill. People immediately went back to "poor dog, you should let him go".
I even got a quality of life comment.
Seriously? - quality of life - he sleeps 16 hours a day- is waited on hand and foot -everyone spoils him - he gets two walks a day and most dogs get none - plays with his friends at the park -he travels all over and meets new people and animals - fed the best food -and receives the best medical care - yup that is a horrible quality of life. I think he should realize how bad he has it and immediately stop being so happy.....
I tried very hard not to blow up at those comments but in the end my tone did get nasty and we moved on.
Other than those encounters it was a whole lot of fun.


georganne austin said...

Reading your story was very moving for me. I have a Great Pyrenees who needs assistance walking, and has a wheelchair...and I have a Saint Bernard that is blind. Sula, my Pyrenees has been having difficulty walking for over two years...we just found out recently that she has Hypothyroidism. My Saint Bernard, Moose, has diabetes and just recently went blind...if you have any tips that you can give me to help make her life easier I would love it!!

Tonka said...

I love that you have such commitment and love for two of my favorite giant breeds. Please shoot me an email at and I will be happy to email you some tips.
Tonka and AP

acd6pack said...

You're lucky that you have Pet Expo at this time of year. Where we live, they are always in the summer and mostly outside and of course it's so darn hot, dogs and people are about melting!

I completely understand your frustration with people's ignorance regarding special needs dogs. We hear that a lot too and try to correct people's thinking of "poor dog". Like Tonka, the pack is spoiled rotten compared a lot of dogs (according to them, they think they're neglected - Only two treats?! Why can't I have this bone on the couch?, etc)

I am sure that you'll be able to pass along some helpful advice to georganne. If we can help, direct her our way too!

Hugs to Tonka.

Laura B. said...

Hi, I love your story about Tonka <3 I just wrote a long post and lost it trying to publish it..... I too have a Great Pyrenees named Baxster, he is almost 9 years old. The first major sign of dragging, knuckling was Oct. 6th 2012. Since then we have done tests, been looking for resources daily, and talking to anyone I can for advice. There is not much on the internet about GP's and lameness. Everyone is quick to say DM, because move Vets do not know anything about it. And any Neurologists are 4-5 hours away both directions from us. I am friends with Georganne. We found each other, since we both have GP's and we are supporting each other. I would love any tips you might have to share as well, to help get through this. Right now I am trying to decide, soft booties, firm booties??? Baxster walks with a twist in his right paw, kind of sideways. I don't want to get something that will hinder him walking, if you have any suggestions....and with the dew claw issue. Thank you for your time. Laura and Baxster.