Houston's Story 2013
3/7/2013    Above:  Houston does have mange, and he's
already been dipped. We handle him with gloves, but he gets
lots of attention. His skin is flaking, dry, with large patches of
hair loss, and the hair is coarse. His ears are stiff and crusted

Below: Houston's "sweater"  to keep him warm when he goes
outside, and his first bath with oatmeal soap to soothe his
Left: Houston drinking some powdered
goats' milk. We're giving him eggs,
probiotics, and other things in his feed to try
to boost his immune system.

Left  Below: This is Houston's kennel.  We
have to keep him separated from our dogs,
but he's in the house and he's warm and

He has toys and lots of "goat towels" (that
we can bleach) in his kennel.   

We try to take him outside to go to the
*  We gave Houston his first shots and some dewormer today.
One Wed. night we were greeted at our church by a
mangy, hungry, shivering puppy.  A few church members
had brought him food, but no one was able to take him
home.  I had some left-over mange dip, and we have the
old vet cages, so we decided to bring him home and see
what we could do for him.

Sarah called the puppy "Houston," as in "Houston, we
have a problem."  And Houston had some serious

We decided to keep a photo record of him and his
treatment for a science project.  This is the "Journal" of
his treatment.
Houston's Progress

3/8/2013     Houston has had no reactions so far to the shots or dewormer.  
He loves to play with his rope toy, rubber chew bone, and ball. In spite of his appearance,
he is happy and frisky overall (it's amazing, really).   By looking at his teeth and comparing
him to photos of Border Collie puppies, we guess he's around 8 weeks old.  He will come
when called, and cries to go outside to the bathroom.

We have made him a pen in the garden so that he can spend at least part of the day
outside, get some fresh air, and get to watch the farm animals.

He's already starting to slim up a little and get rid of the wormy-belly look...of course he
still looks very ratty. He scratches some, but is not obsessive.  His ears are very crusty,
but with more treatments, some oil and oatmeal baths, we should be able to get them
cleared up eventually.  We treated his ears with olive oil today.

We are planning to bathe him every few days with the oatmeal shampoo or goats' milk
soap, and also find some lotion or oil for his skin.   


In spite of his looks, Houston is playful and spirited!  He likes to bark at the goats...or
anything else that he thinks needs barking at.  He chases his ball and also plays
tug-of-war with his rope.  He had another bath today (with goats' milk soap and oatmeal
soap) and then was sponged down with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and borax, which
is supposed to help kill the mites.   The crust on his ears is almost off. His skin is
becoming softer. It is still flaking badly, but that should stop in time. His fur is also getting
a little softer, but it may be a month or more before we see a lot of progress.
Left: Houston loves his rope and his
tennis ball.

Below:  Houston day 3 after his bath.
Eating, seeing what Sarah's doing, and
looking around outside.

Houston loves to sit in your lap and just
look at you...you can see that he is
intelligent just by the way he stares at
3/11/13   Houston continues to improve.  While he still looks very ratty, and his ears are bare, it
looks like he is beginning to get more hair on his sides again.  He loves to chase his ball,  play with
his rope, and play with a squeeky plush-toy.  He eats very well and usually comes when called.  
His skin is still flaky, and he occasionally scratches, but he seems to be doing better.  
It's hard to keep Houston still for
photos....he loves to play.   Here
is his hair-growth  3/11/13 (five
days after initial treatment.)
3/12/2013  Dr. Spencer gave Houston some back-up puppy shots today.  Houston also got another oatmeal bath, and we
"dipped" him with the "natural" hydrogen peroxide-borax dip.  He is coming to the end of the incubation period for parvo,
I hope, and shows no signs of parvo so far.   

He is a little too bold, barking at the other dogs.  Persephone (the farm collie) growled at him, so he had to come and sit in
my lap for a while and watch TV.
Some browsers are causing an overlapping of photos and text...I'm
trying to work on this problem.
3/13-  Houston's coat appears to be getting blacker and
fuller.  There are very fine hairs on his ears now.  

Below: Playing with "fuzzy booger" and squinting because
of the camera flash.  His 4 favorite toys are rope, "booger,"  
the squeaky bone, and his tennis ball.
"Mama, I want up in your lap."    

You can see from his eyes that he's a smart little cookie.

Houston's glands were very swollen, so today he went to the vet and got some antibiotics.  Having the mange has
probably really affected his little immune system....but his hair is growing back nicely and he is still full of beans and
very active.  He's put on weight from all that goats' milk and egg, and he weighs over 10 lbs now.   He was very
curious about everything the vet was doing and had to look at everything she picked up.  

God's blessings sometimes come wrapped in strange packages.  With Athena the Dane's sudden death, and me
having severe bronchitis, Houston has been a real blessing.  With his sweet, happy, playful nature,  we've been
rewarded 10-fold for any kindness we've shown him.  While I've been sick, he's gotten used to getting up in the
chair with me to take a short nap every afternoon and with Sarah's energy and his,  he can play and play and play.

Houston has REALLY made huge strides in the last few days.  He's a chunky boy now, with jet-black hair filling in
the bare patches.   He had another bath today with the oatmeal soap.  

He's becoming more active and bold, and less like the frightened little puppy we took in.  He acts like a true border
collie (whether he's pure-bred or not, we can't tell yet - he looks like the slick-haired type of Border Collie, which
isn't often seen, but which is a recognized type), needing loving but constant and firm training.  He's a real ring-tail
and already showing interest in the ladies....if you can believe that.

He learns quickly, and is already picking up "sit,"  "No!" and "ANNTTTT" -which is what I use for really bad
behavior.   I was surprised to learn how early a Border Collie can learn basic commands....some dogs would need
to be many months older before they even started commands.   But, where you plant a flower a weed can't grow
and an idle mind is the devil's workshop: so I expect that learning commands early and having something to think
about will help him avoid some of the vices that Border Collies are known for.  

Did you know that Border Collies actually *think* about what they learn?  Several experts-including one venerable
man from Britain- all said the same thing.  Have a lesson, then put the dog in a quiet kennel and it will think about
and study on  what it has just learned and actually learn faster.

We are working on "come,"  "sit",  "wait" and also to take food gently from your hand rather than biting your fingers.  
We're also trying to understand "Bring to Me" (the ball).     By repetition, he will learn "kennel up,"  "outside,"  "load
up" (get in the truck) and "in" and "out" (of a pen).  Most of the time he makes it outside; occasionally he'll have an
accident in the house, but I think he gets the idea.  

He has unstructured play-time as well as short "school time" of maybe 5 to 10 minutes at most where we practice
alone and without distraction and I get his full attention.  He's still very young, and I try to make allowances, but I've
also read how a Border Collie can turn into a holy terror if allowed to go his own way.  They're smart, strong-willed
dogs who need and want a leader they can respect and they can drive you nuts if they're not under control and if
they don't have a job to do.

Strange as it sounds,  I also take Houston out and show him the animals, saying their names and what kind of
animal they are, and places.   Border Collies can develop huge vocabularies, if the words are kept simple- think of
teaching a toddler- so I think that later on knowing what I mean when I say "goat" or "garden" might come in handy.

He likes to chase the chickens (which I had to correct quickly), but as of yet has shown no "eye" toward the
livestock. It may be too early for that yet.  He DOES seem to want to chase/drive and bite the heels of other dogs,
though.  Our dogs are bigger and most of them correct him themselves for that breach of dog etiquette.  The
natural  "it's fun to chase things that run and bleat" instinct has to be sublimated to the controlled "herding" instinct
before he could ever be useful.  
I'm Houston, a.k.a. Mr. Big Stuff, Tough Guy, and
Mama's Boy  (that's what my shirts say.)
Right: Time for a Nap

Left: Cuddling with Sissy