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Hellpuppy Kora is One Year Old!

Tiny Kora during her first week with us Big Kora in the snow 2/13/10
On left, The Beast, mini-sized. On the right, what happened after we fed her.

So our little rather large Hellpuppy Kora is one year old today! I know dogs are technically adults at one, but we liken it to the fact that you’re supposedly a human adult at eighteen. Legally, yes, you’re an adult at age eighteen, but who are we kidding–you’re not really a grownup yet. Kora’s definitely still a puppy in many, many ways. We didn’t bring cupcakes to Doggie Daycare or anything, but the birthday girl will be getting her favorite treat, a Bully Stick, with dinner tonight. It’s been a while since our last update, so let’s get a recap of our fall and winter activities thus far.

[ad#longpost]Since Kora is a big girl now, she has graduated to the room with the other big dogs when she goes to Doggie Daycare at Dogma–she even has a Doberman boyfriend there! Last week when it was rainy and cold outside, all the dogs were apparently sacked out for nap time, and the staff told me that she and her beau were snuggling together, licking each others’ noses. She also has a neighborhood sweetheart, a German Shepherd who wanders out of his yard and goes to say hi to her once in a while. Since everyone is supervised, and there’s no chance of any baby Hellpuppies (Kora’s foster parents made sure she was spayed before she came to us–and we’re quite happy about that), we’re finding it rather entertaining that Kora has some gentlemen callers.

We’ve got two new bigger crates for her to accomodate her almost 80-pound self, a collapsible one for travel, and another more sturdy one that will be her inside crate when we finally put it together. The travel crate has been nice for road trips. We visited family at Thanksgiving, and the experience was a bit trying for Kora. Since both of our families live in the same town, we are constantly going from house to house, and she got very frustrated with the whole process after a while (as did we). So for Christmas we decided to board her instead, and are confident that she had a much better time playing with the other dogs rather than being shuttled in the car or crated and fussed at for days, not getting to run around and play much. (Plus the notion of her being around a Christmas tree with gifts underneath it…yeah, you can probably quickly imagine what we were imagining.)

Lazy Kora

Since it’s gotten colder, Kora has taken to sleeping more during the day. Maybe it’s some of her puppy energy wearing off as she gets older as well, but she can be a very lazy dog. She stays in bed in the morning until a human goes downstairs with some promise of food for her–if we’re still upstairs showering or getting ready, she does not want to leave her warm comfy spot in the bedroom. When she does have a burst of energy, however, she doesn’t mess around–she will run full-speed around the backyard or the house, and she has trouble sitting still when it’s time to take a ride in the car and we’re not moving to the door fast enough. Our favorite is when she gets really excited and does a happy howling/growling sound (usually when food is involved), running and leaping to her bed, the door or her crate to get the promised Good Thing. We’ve also been watching her weight, because with her winter inactivity, her vet told us she’s a smidgen overweight. Since she’s not getting quite as many walks with the heavy rains and cold we’ve been having, we’re trying to be more attentive to the amount of food and treats we give her and to let her run around in the backyard more on nice days.

Unfortunately, Kora was seeing a lot of our vet recently–she had an ear infection this fall, followed closely by a urinary tract infection. She’s fine with taking pills coated in peanut butter, but the ear medicine was a traumatic experience for everyone involved. It took both of us to clean her ears and squirt the medicine in–Widge had to hold her squirmy, heavy self while I tried to get to an ear long enough to squirt stuff in it. Even now, if I’m just checking her ears to look at them, she looks alarmed and tries to pull away until I show her I have nothing in my hands. It’s easier to clean her ears at bathtime when she’s already wet, but I really hope we don’t have to deal with another ear infection. Fortunately, our vet is wonderful, and Kora is fine for her actual exams there. She’s already learning to step on the scale there by herself so she can be weighed, and she doesn’t seem at all fearful when she’s there, which is a good thing.

As was implied in our post on her favorite toys and treats, Kora has turned from a shoe thief to a shoe chewer. She used to just steal shoes and wait for us to come find her and demand them back, but after a few sad incidents, we have had to be much more diligent about leaving shoes around. Thespia bought us a shoe rack that goes behind a door so we could have a safe shoe haven. (Granted, her shoes were in danger, too, every time she came over. So.)

Ravenous Beastie also finally demolished her homemade squeaker toy beyond repair and now has a brand new one with even more knotted tails to play with. We knew she likes belly rubs and ear rubs a lot, but Widge found a new favorite rubbing spot–her lower back. Kora rubs against us like a very large cat and waits for more when we do it (Widge is better at it than I am). She also runs to the door to greet us excitedly when we come home, and is now learning that I need to put my bag down and take my coat off before I can pet her and love on her–she’s very patient about that most of the time. We would like to eventually give her roaming space in the house when both of us are gone rather than being confined to her crate every time, but she’s still very untrustworthy–we’re going to have to find a way to work on that with baby steps. Giant, seventy-plus-pound baby steps.

Kora with her Trophy

We finally abandoned the bells on the door because Kora was consistently getting in trouble for “bell abuse,” a.k.a. ringing to go outside, then wanting to plop down and sun herself with no intention of going potty, which was a problem when we were taking her outside in the front yard on a leash. Since she’s bigger and can be a bit more trusted now, she’s been going out in the backyard much more and can spend time playing as well as doing her business, which works much better for everyone. We still keep an eye on her periodically whenever she goes out, but she has much more freedom. Her favorite thing to do outside is to chew on sticks. As I write this, she is in the backyard gnawing on a fallen tree limb. Kora will try to drag anything she deems stick-worthy around the yard a bit, but the best was the night that she found a large 2×4 (we still aren’t sure where she found it!) and wanted to bring it inside. (Yes, that’s it in the picture–I know it looks like a stick, but trust me, it’s a plank.) She got very annoyed with me when I made her leave it outside, so much so that I ended up bringing it in and putting it on the firewood rack just to get her to stop whining by the door. When it snowed recently, she would eat some snow off of a stick, then chomp on the stick underneath– the snow just made it more challenging to find them in the yard.

And to close out this update, Thespia made a video about Kora and a friend the Hellpuppy made during the recent snowpocalypse. Hope you like it.

Direct link for the feedreaders.


  • Start getting her more used to playing with ears as a good thing; unfortunately, lab-type dogs are very prone to ear infections, so you’re probably not done with that joy. For a food oriented dog, this should be relatively easy–flip her ear up, give her a cookie. As long as she stays calm and focused on the cookies, keep rewarding her and play with her ears. Then next time, you can feed her cookies while Widge medicates (or vice versa). About the only training my dogs have is to make treatments and such easier on me–they jump up on the treatment table and hold their legs out for blood draws, because the tech keeps shoveling cookies their way the whole time!

  • Jes, thanks for the advice! When she was a wee puppy, I would put her on my lap as best I could and reward her for examining ears and paws, and she was much calmer about it. Lately, I have done it sans treats (and without putting her almost 80 pounds in my lap), so perhaps continuing it more often with treats will help!