Life With Yuna -
3 Month Update:

I certainly anticipated running into hurdles such as these, but when it really happens to you… everything becomes very real.

November 30th, 2018

It’s super hard to believe that I’m already writing a 3 month update on Yuna. That means I’ve just spent an entire autumn with Yuna.

This third month was characterized by multiple new developments and discoveries, not all of them positive. It was like a rollercoaster ride, and the great thing about writing an update like this is that I get some time to digest and reflect on all the happenings of the past month.

Perhaps fellow dog owners can resonate with some of the points in the post ahead!

As usual, I’ve narrowed it down to three main points to summarize the month.

Highlight #1: Yuna’s become a super eater!

Ah, I recall not too long ago there was a time where I’d scratch my head at Yuna’s inconsistency in finishing her meals.

To try and solve the issue, I tried buying her multiple flavors of kibble. I mixed two different flavors every meal. I put only a half portion in the bowl at a time in case she didn’t feel like eating that day. I mixed dry and wet food, hand-fed her food, and gave her treats whenever she finished.

Nothing seemed to click consistently, until this month, where magically she just started finishing all her meals like she had been starving this whole time.

Magic is really the only way I can describe it. I did not change up my feeding strategy at all—I had been using multiple flavors of kibble for a while. Only now did it seem to work.

I can only conclude that it takes many weeks for a new dog to adjust to a new eating schedule, so if your dog is facing similar issues, being patient and consistent is the key.

In fact, Yuna seems to have gotten so comfortable with her food that she now gobbles up her entire meal, seemingly in a single breath.

Whereas before I gave her a time limit of 15 minutes to finish her meal before I dumped it, she easily finishes her portion in under 5 minutes now.

I do think she needs to slow down. I could step into the bathroom for a minute and come out to see her empty bowl.

Sometimes she chokes on the kibble. She definitely does not chew every bite before swallowing. The other day she regurgitated a mouthful of kibble due to eating too quickly as well.

Yuna also happened to gain some weight this month due to her consistent eating. I may have to cut her portions slightly again. She’s still a little overweight.

It’s just so funny how things play out. Never would I have imagined I’d be facing this issue of all things! I thought she was a picky eater for life and I almost relied on her pickiness because it was a driving force in her slimming down.

We’ll be scratching our heads to figure out how to slow her eating down…

Highlight #2: Yuna still has to get used to being a dog model.

With the new DSLR and studio that I set up in late October, it’s been an interesting experience trying to get Yuna to pose for the camera.

Yuna herself is super photogenic, and already very cooperative as a dog model. However, I quickly realized how difficult it can be to communicate things to her while simultaneously trying to man the camera.

For example, I’ve setup a white sheet in our house to act as a clean background for her portrait shots, but it’s hard to get her to sit at the exact spot where lighting is best. She is very good at obeying the sit command, but sometimes she’ll take an extra few paces before sitting… and completely miss the light.

In addition to that, some of our shots have her wearing some head gear or bandana, or posing next to new toys or plushies. She can sometimes get distracted by these things as is expected, or completely reject certain things (head gear especially).

In these cases, it’s hard to get a nice smile out of her. In fact, moving forward, I will only setup the studio for portrait shots immediately after long walks, because that is when she is most likely to keep her tongue out!

I’ve learned the usefulness of treats in situations like these, to make Yuna look a certain direction. I also learned the importance of not forcing your dog into a pose no matter how badly you want that shot, especially in the beginning. You want them to grow comfortable with posing for the camera.

As for outdoor shots, these are not as much of an issue as she is naturally always smiling while outdoors. She absolutely loves being out and about, and has endless energy when outside. It’s a stark contrast to her indoor personality.

The challenge with outdoor shots is catching her in her most candid moments, but also trying to set her up on various objects or in front of specific backgrounds for the best composed shot.

For this reason, I decided to teach her the “paws up” command this month. Yuna already knew to put her paws up on something she was curious about, but to do it on demand is a very useful trick for any dog photographer.

Paws up!

Finally, I’ve spent a big portion of outdoor adventure time practicing action shots, but they are difficult! The fault really is mine, because Yuna is very good at sitting and staying while move away from her, and running towards me when I instruct.

Hopefully, the quality of all the photos will increase as I gain experience as well. I’ve got a pretty photogenic dog on my hands so the rest really is up to me.

Highlight #3: Yuna’s health issues towards the end of the month.

I hate to end this on a negative note, but Yuna’s trips to the vet toward the end of the month really defined the final stretch of November for me, and I had to allocate some word space for it.

It started in early November, when Yuna went for a short swim in an attempt to chase some ducks. It was a proud dog parent day—before that occurrence, I did not know Yuna could swim. In fact, she seems frightened of water for the most part, but she was more than willing to jump in that day in a one-sided pursuit of the duckies.

Once she realized she couldn’t keep up with them, she swam back to me and I showered her with praise. Yuna could swim, and that just blew my mind.

We got home and I immediately dried her off, but I must have forgotten to thoroughly dry out her ears. Because about a week later, when cleaning her ears for the first time, I noticed some brown discharge coming from her ears, and some odor.

I took her to the vet, who immediately diagnosed a yeast infection in the ear. We went home with a bottle of ear medicine. Next time she swims, I’ll take extra notice of her ears.

It did not end there. Later that week, on the morning of Thanksgiving at around 1:30 AM, Yuna woke me up in the middle of the night with sounds of her retching. I turned on the light to find Yuna standing at the bedroom door, hunched over a nasty pile of yellow-greenish vomit. There seemed to be a lot of white mucus with it as well.

I wasn’t so concerned yet, because it was probably just singular episode. I cleaned up the vomit and went back to sleep.

However, Yuna had two more episodes of vomiting that night. Both episodes still contained a yellow color vomit, but I noticed some brown color in there as well.

She did not vomit any more that entire day, so thankfully we did not have to visit the vet on Thanksgiving. But that also meant I was very careful with what she ate, and gave her nothing but her usual kibble and a couple pieces of chicken jerky. Unfortunately, no turkey for Yuna this year.

It was the second night—the night after Thanksgiving, that gave me a real scare.

When you have to go to the vet during the holidays...

The first time Yuna woke me up that night, she already had vomited two piles of dark brown vomit near the door. One of the piles contained bits of the aforementioned chicken jerkies. As I picked up the phone to look for an emergency vet, she vomited a third time, this time a yellow-brownish color, but it looked like there was possibly some blood in there.

I called the vet—it was 3:30 AM. The nurse that came to the phone was more than reassuring. I explained to her the scenario over the last two nights, and she put me at ease, suggesting she may have just picked something up from a dog park or doggy day care.

She said Yuna’s situation didn’t warrant a visit to the emergency unless her vomit turned very dark brown or black, so unless her vomiting worsened, I decided to wait until morning to visit our usual vet.

We were both able to sleep soundly until morning, and I went to our usual vet the next morning. Long story short (and I’ll write a much more detailed blog post about this experience later), she was diagnosed with pancreatitis.

She was instantly put on a special veterinary diet, and we went home with three bottles of medicine.

The good news is, when we re-checked for pancreatitis three days after the initial diagnosis, everything was normal. I have continued to administer the medicine and the doctors said she should continue this special diet for a few months. She seems to enjoy the food anyway.

She’s also not had another vomiting episode since.

Both vet bills were a big hit on my wallet, and a wake-up call for me in owning a dog. I certainly anticipated running into hurdles such as these, but when it really happens to you… everything becomes very real.

I plan to write more detailed blog posts about how to take better care of your dogs’ ears and pancreases. Hopefully it could save some of you a trip to the vet. We all want healthy dogs throughout the holiday season.

That about wraps up the third month with Yuna. As always, we post daily updates on Instagram, so you don’t want to miss them! December colors are just around the corner—anticipate an updated feed look going into the winter!

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