Dental Disease

How many of you know how to scale tartar off of your dogs teeth? How many of you can actually afford to pay someone to do it 2-10 times per year? Today, while I had some free time, I decided its been a few weeks and I should check out how Oliver’s oral hygiene looks…abysmal at best, but I expected this because he refuses to chew on his last two molars. So what ends up happening is as he chews, the soft, chewed food moves back and sits on his teeth until either a) his tongue cleans it off or b) the bacteria in his mouth have a hayday and use the stagnant food to “make babies” in his mouth. These babies go on to poop, and pee and the result of this is plaque and eventually tartar. Tartar is easily visible in a dogs mouth, its yellowish, chalky looking and very hard stuck on material on dog’s teeth. This tartar eventually multiplies and moves under the gums to attack ligaments that hold teeth in place or it eats at enamel and causes cavities (and eventually results in root canals, pain, or extractions). Call your dog over and check out his teeth–are they sparkling white all the way to the back? When you poke his gums, do they bleed? Bleeding is a sign that tartar has moved under the gums and needs to be cleaned. I work at a dental office and am trained to use dental tools, so I clean my dog’s teeth myself. It’s very easy to keep tartar under wraps if you can brush your dogs teeth before tartar starts building up. Below is a picture of the tartar I took off only 3 teeth. This is only a few weeks worth–nasty!



Good Vets Make All The Difference!

Holy smokes, there is only 33 days left until Christmas! Ha, sorry to freak y’all out, had to:P

So today, I volunteered to take my mom’s cat in to her vet’s office to have his ears checked, what I discovered there may shock you: ALL VETS ARE NOT ALIKE.  I’ve never been so thankful to have had 2 amazing vet’s in the time I’ve had my dog. When we lived in Vancouver, we went to Como Lake Veterinary in Coquitlam. Now in the Kootenays we go to Selkirk Veterinary. Both vet’s have been above kind, caring and gentle with my dog. Today, this vet had zero bed side manner, treated me like I knew nothing about anything and his assistant was extremely dis-heartening. I watched as she brutally grabbed my mothers cat and treated him as if he were a meaningless rag doll. Then after overhearing that a dog was licking their bandage in the kennels, I watched as she walked to the kennel and screamed at the dog to “stop it”. After biting my tongue, and completing our appointment, I had to wait, with my terrified cat in tow, for 10 minutes as they figured out who was going to accept my debit card payment and just how much they were going to charge me for this visit. Never again. My mother has since been told to take her business elsewhere. 

It is important to know what you want in a pet care provider, kindness, empathy and gentleness are high on my list–and I won’t settle for less. Figure out what is important to you and whether or not you fully trust your provider–you shouldn’t settle for anything less either.

Poor Pet Parenting At Its Finest!

Recently, I posted about how our dogs are our own little creations. You spoil them–they act spoiled. You treat them like shit-they act like devils. A dog in our neighbour hood was put down this week because he got out of his yard and attacked another dog, near to the point of death. He’s still at the vet’s receiving emergency care for injuries that may end up being fatal.


The dog that attacked is always left alone with only his doggy sidekick, outside, and has very few social connections to other people, dogs, and even his own family. I viewed this dog as more of a lawn ornament. People in this area seem to think that owning a dog is easy: food, water, done. What people seem to forget is that pet’s attitudes are a direct result of how we treat them.I believe that this dog was bored and out looking for some excitement.

The dog that was attacked has had some behaviour issues in the past, but his owner has worked tirelessly to keep him in check: lots of walks, training, and she tries her best to keep him at home. However, keeping him at home means he is tied up outside. He really didn’t stand a chance once the fight began, couldn’t even run away because he was tied.

Now the owner of the attacked dog told the owners of the other to have him put down. He had been showing signs of aggressiveness recently with more and more people, it was probably a matter of time before he bit someone. Do I think he was given a fair chance at a good life–no! His owners clearly have no sense, as this is not the first, or second time that they have proven to be terrible pet parents by letting an animal die, or be forced to euthanize a pet.

This is exactly how breeds get bad raps. People treat them poorly and they act out. Such a waste of a beautiful life, but in the end, probably the only solution at this point. People, seriously, your dog starts acting out, find yourselves a good, positive reinforcement trainer and be responsible enough to try to correct the problem. If you are unwilling to treat your dog as if they are your child–don’t get one.

Rest in peace Moose.

‘Tis The Season!

Happy ‘It’s Winter’ everyone! Time to dig out your fur baby’s warm fleecy coats, light the fire, and stock up on eggnog. ALSO, ’tis the season for nasty road salt! Remember to wipe your baby’s paws and bellies after a fun romp outside. Chemicals in road/sidewalk salt can be quite toxic and harsh on skin.

I’d love for y’all to post your fur baby’s santa photos on our Facebook wall!

Happy Turkey/Tofurkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are all stuffed with pure joy (and food), or preparing to be tomorrow! For those who still have not had their Thanksgiving Day meal, a friendly reminder:

-Do not feed your dog cooked turkey bones–they could shatter in the throat, or block airways

-Watch out when feeding table scraps, dogs+nuts=bad idea

-Holiday meals tend to be full of fats (both good and not so good), it’s ok for us to “treat ourselves”, but our pets really don’t need the extra calories. They are more than happy to have just their regular feedings on holidays…even if their guilt face says otherwise.

-Remember to take lots of photos, not just with the family, but with your pets.

My mother said today, “Oliver has grey hair under his chin, have you noticed?” My face, I’m sure, looked of pure shock. I scooped him up and took a close-up look to see if this terrible accusation was indeed true. It was. So, as I’m reminded daily that he is no longer a puppy, I’ll be having some family members photograph us so that when he’s 16 and full of grey I’ll be able to remember when he first started ‘maturing’. 

May you all have many reasons to be Thankful 🙂

An Interesting Debate

I hope you are all enjoying the changing fall colours, the crackle from the fireplace, and the harvest from your gardens! Oliver and I have been busy canning tomatoes and making apple pies.

I really want to take a quick, human-minute to discuss with my readers about the importance of education. There is A LOT going around on Facebook, Craigslist, etc about puppy millers, animal cruelty, and dog breeders, and yes some similar information you have found on LongDogConnection. I want to be perfectly clear that there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between a dog breeder, a back yard breeder, and a puppy mill. There are good, honest, reputable breeders who deeply care about the homes that their puppies go to and do not make a cent off of the sale of their dogs.

A reputable dog breeder pays for: c-sections(possibly), vaccines, expensive food (a LOTS of it), formula (if necessary), time off of work, a proper whelping room, heating pads, vitamins, goats milk (if necessary), lost sleep (a lot of this), gas to and from the vet clinic every other week, other vet costs, pee pads, bedding every other day (pine, newspaper, pellets, etc), sheets, towels, cloths, bottles (if necessary, but good breeders are always prepared), surgical scissors (to cut umbilical & sacs), and so, so many more items. By the time everything is paid for a puppy’s price is by no means any form of profit.

So what can we do? How can we tell the difference? ASK QUESTIONS, educate yourselves, don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

So why then are there so many animals in shelters if there are good, reputable breeders? Because there are very unintelligent owners, and yes, some bad breeders, but lets talk more about the owners.

Bad owners give up their pets easily. Bad owners don’t understand what they are getting themselves into when they get a pet. Bad owners don’t SPAY OR NEUTER their pets. Remember 2+2=6….remember pet’s can’t add, they multiply! Educate yourselves, your family, your friends, and your coworkers. Visit a vet’s office and ask questions, offer volunteer services to shelters/rescues, LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!

Meet Lucy and Nikki: A story of true love and heroism

So, this weekend I was having some down time from studying and I came across the most beautiful story on a page that I follow on Facebook. I contacted the writer and she’s agreed to answer some questions for me. Below is her beautiful story.

“This is my precious little girl Lucy, she was from a litter of 8 and because there was such little room her front legs were pressed tight against her and her ribs developed around them. She is fine but her ribs have an indentation on each side, that along with the 2 white specks on her head caused her not to be show quality, so the owner put an ad on Craigslist saying that if no one bought his little girl for $150 they were going to put her down because they only wanted her to show and she wasn’t worth keeping. Oh and they put a time limit on the add and it was the last day they were going to have the add up and then she was going to be put down first thing the next morning. I came across the ad at like 11 pm and I frantically sent the person about a dozen emails and gave her my phone number and asked her to call me because although she didn’t give the address in the ad, she did give the name of the town she lived in and I drove 2 hours that night and waited for the lady to call me telling me what her address was so that I could save this beautiful little girl. It was a very long night as I drove around the town looking for something that looked familiar from the picture of the dog they posted in their ad. There was a driveway and a corner of a house with flowers and I spent hours driving up and down what felt like every street in that town searching for the right house. I gave up looking at around 5 in the morning and decided to pull into a church parking lot and take a nap hoping that I would be woken up to a phone call from the lady with the Doxie. And sure enough at 7:00 AM I got a phone call and the lady said if I could be at her house in the next 30 minutes I could have the dog for $150, as it turned out I was just 2 blocks from her house. I drove right over and paid the lady the money and she handed me the skinny, scared to death little girl. I put her in my car and I drove away, and I wasn’t a block away before the little girl crawled into my lap, quit shaking, and went to sleep. She was 2 months old when I picked her up and this November she will be 3 yrs old. She is the sweetest little thing and such a lover. She loves to snuggle up to you and she will turn herself upside down and lick your face and she has brought so much love and joy into my life….I didn’t save her….she saved me. I can’t imagine my life without her now, and I would gladly pay 10 times the amount I paid for her because she is priceless”.

Q: Nikki, wow, firstly you should know that you’re a true hero! How have Lucy’s front legs impacted her quality of life so far?

A: Lucy’s front legs are pretty normal…she has really big paws that are just adorable, it was her ribs that were deformed. Her rib cage is much more narrower then it should be and there are indentations on each side where her arms were pressed into her sides and her ribs developed around them. Although, it looks a little strange it doesn’t effect her quality of life at all. She doesn’t know that she is any different from any other dog…in fact, she runs circles around any “normal” dog.

Q: What did you say to this lady when you arrived at the front door? Were you angry?

A: When I arrived at the lady’s house I was not angry at all, at first I was kind of more frustrated then anything because if I had not headed out to search for where Lucy was that there wouldn’t have been time for me to get there before the lady was going to take Lucy to put her down. I was polite when the lady came to the door and she asked me for the money. As soon as she had the money in her hand she turned around and picked up Lucy out of a cage and pretty much shoved her into my arms….and then the door was shut in my face. I was a little shocked at her behavior, but then I looked down into my arms and the cutest little girl was looking up at me with fear in her eyes and I fell in love with my little baby girl. I turned around and walked to my car and I wrapped my little girl in a blanket that I had in the car and placed her on the passengers seat. I wasn’t a block away when she crawled into my lap, quit shaking, and went to sleep. So I just pulled the blanket over the top of her and drove the 2 hours home.

Q: What made you say to yourself, “I need to drive there right now,” and not just assume someone else would respond to the ad?

A: I can’t really explain why I felt as if I had to drive to the town where Lucy was in the middle of the night….all I can say is I felt an overwhelming feeling of dread and I was compelled to try and find her. I knew that her time was running out and I just couldn’t sit there or go to sleep knowing that if I didn’t show up to rescue her then she might just die. Her life was at stake and I just couldn’t let such a little thing be put to sleep when she never even had a chance to live. I couldn’t understand why someone would put their pet down just because it wasn’t “show quality” and was slightly deformed. It just made no sense to me and I wanted to make sure this little girl had a chance to experience love.

Q: How has Lucy positively impacted your life? Many people don’t know why I adopted my Oliver and like you said, he saved me.

A: I find it hard to express how Lucy has impacted my life. It’s kind of like expressing how the sun makes a flower grow. Every morning I awake to my little girl walking across me trying to find my face so she can lick it to wake me up. When she is asleep under a blanket and she hears my voice and I hear the thump thump thump of her tail wagging and hitting the couch it brings a smile to my face and it warms my heart when she walks across the couch and up into my arms and forces me to stop typing on the computer to pet her. I love taking her outside and watching her run through the woods and chase birds, butterflies, shadows, the wind, or just run to run. And when she is way across the yard sniffing around for rabbits or birds or whatever it is she is sniffing and she stops and looks up and realizes she is out in the middle of nowhere and she can’t find me and she starts looking around with kind of a panic look on her face and then she sees me and she lights up and she comes running as fast as she can and I can see the smile on her face and her tail is just wagging away and she runs right up to me and jumps up into my arms as I bend over to pick her up and then she cuddles into my arms and licks my face I can just feel pure love and joy and she brings life and happiness back into my life. And when I come home from working and I could be gone for a few hours or I could be gone for 3 or 4 days she always has the same reaction….she is just so excited to see me and she turns herself inside out trying to get to me. I have to literally lay down on the bed and let her jump all over me and she tries to lick my face but mostly ends up chewing on my nose and lips. I love her so very much. My mom died 4 years ago from breast cancer, and I was so devastated and depressed I thought I would never feel anything besides pain and sorrow and anger again. That is when I got my first doxie Little Joe, and although I love him very much he started my healing journey, but it was Lucy who helped me to feel love and joy again.

Q: Do you have any other pets? How do they get along?

A: As I have already mentioned I already had a male doxie who is 1 year older then Lucy and they get along so well.Also a year ago, I moved in with my girlfriend and we got married, and I wasn’t sure if my two dogs were going to get along with her dog, because they both seem to have a bit of aggression towards other dogs. But I was very surprised when they both took to my wife’s dog Paco. Paco is a Pug/Chihuahua mix and he is adorable but somewhat shy and scares easily. But the three of them get along so well it seems as if they have always been best friends.

Q: What brought you to look on Craigslist that evening?

A: I was on Craigslist the night I found Lucy just by luck really. I couldn’t sleep so I was just fooling around on Facebook, but I was board with that so I just started going down my favorites list and started going from web site to web site. And I eventually got to Craigslist, and I don’t normally look at the pet section, I wasn’t even thinking about getting another pet of any kind. I was going on Craigslist because I was looking for a new bed. And for no apparent reason I just started looking through the pets, and I was just scrolling down the list of pets and I the word doxie caught my eye. There was an add that read “Blue Doxie Puppy” and I really didn’t know what a blue doxie looked like so I clicked on it more out of curiosity then anything else. And when the page came up there was this cute little puppy and although I can’t remember exactly what the add said it said something like “Blue Doxie Puppy for sale, she is 2 months old and up to date on her shots. We got her to show but because of a deformity we are unable to show her, her defect keeps her from being ‘show quality’ so we are selling her for $150. We can not afford to keep her and maintain her so if she is not sold by the end of the week (and then it gave the date) we will be taking her to be put down.” My first thought was….how can anyone in their right mind ever put down such a cute little puppy just because she is a little different? So I sent off and email to the lady…in fact I sent off about a dozen emails because I was not getting a reply, but then again it was 11 at night and I guess I didn’t expect her to be on so late at night. I took another look at the add and it said what town she was in and I looked it up on mapquest and found out it was a 2 hour drive and I couldn’t just sit there hoping that the lady would contact me back. I just had a feeling that time was running out so I decided to go for a ride, I stopped at a tyme [bank] machine and took out the $150 and I was totally confident that I was going to be bringing my baby girl home. After studying the picture of the little doxie and imprinting the image in my mind I went driving up and down what felt like every street in that town looking for the corner of the house that was in the picture.

Q: Tell me more about Lucy, what does she like/dislike?

A: What is Lucy like…hmmm she loves her stuffed animals, she likes to chew off their ears, tails, eyes, tags, and then chew holes in them and pull out all the stuffing out of it. She loves to run through the woods and dig holes. She loves to play with the other 2 dogs we have. She loves to snuggle against me no matter where I am sitting. She loves to hog the blankets and she lays sideways in the bed from side to side instead of head to foot. She loves to be the center of attention. And if she is not being the center of attention she loves to figure out how she will become the center of attention. She loves to lay on my chest and press her neck into my face and have me kiss her ear and neck and her tongue is always licking even in her sleep. She loves to have her belly rubbed even more then a “normal” dog would. When I had her spayed she always wanted me to rub along side her incision to comfort her and it has turned into one of the things she loves the most.
I should also mention that her legs are short…yes doxies legs are short, but hers are unusually stumpy. And I just love her in every way.

After communicating with Nikki and hearing all these things I find myself with joyous tears streaming down my face. I think this is an excellent time to remind my followers about the darkness of bad breeders, how these dogs are just dollar signs. Of course if you ask me, or any other pet owner, deformities like “short legs” or “miss-shaped ribs” are just extra bonus’ that make us love them even more. It’s hard to imagine that somebody would consider ending a dog’s life for something so silly and trivial. Below is a picture of the gorgeous Lucy and another showing her rib cage.


An Instant Fan

I’ve been seeing Sarah Silverman’s obituary to her dog floating around Facebook for a few days and I had chosen not to read it because I never really considered myself a fan, but something tonight made me click on the link and after reading I can say I am an instant fan.

How does one capture and express how they feel about their beloved pet? How does one do that while grieving its loss? I had seen a post today prior to reading Sarah’s obituary, about a Doxie who was celebrating their 19th birthday today. I thought to myself, “I’d do anything to have Oliver celebrate his 19th birthday.” Then after clicking to read Sarah’s post it all came full circle. Sarah’s dog was around 19 years of age, and she writes of the gut-wrenching experience of having to say goodbye.

Warning: You will bawl your eyes out and I have been the last 5 minutes after reading it; however, it is the most beautiful thing I have ever read.

Link to the Obituary here.

Neighbourhood Dogs: What’s The Harm…Right?

Since Oliver and I moved from the big city of Vancouver to our small, country-fabulous home in the Kootenays, I’ve noticed a growing trend that has probably been accepted for ages, but is really starting to irritate me. Neighbourhood dogs. Ever experience them? Basically, neighbourhood dogs are dogs with homes that are allowed to roam the areas surrounding their homes.

My neighbour, who lives 2 doors down, has a older lab mix whom is constantly out walking the “hood”. This dog looks slightly senile to me, pretty confused, walks out in traffic, etc. He is always wandering (confusedly) on the sidewalk, or a few blocks down. And they let him out of their unfenced yard (which is right on the corner of a busy street) fully knowing how easy it would be for him to get lost or worse, get hit by a vehicle.

A month ago another incident happened, someone’s dog came bolting out of their yard, snarling, and acting aggressively as he ran towards my small dog. Panicked, I picked Oliver up and held him to my chest to shield him from a bite I was sure was to occur. Luckily, the owner realized and came bolting after her dog.

Then today, while driving along the highway (80 km/hr), I came around a corner and nearly smacked a white bull terrier walking down the centre line. He had a red collar on so he must have a home and then he slowly decided to walk up the next street which he seemed to know well; Hopefully, he walked back home.

The dangers surrounding this neighbourhood phenomenon are insane. There are the obvious dangers: attacking people, or sadly, being attacked; being hit by a vehicle; causing a vehicle to diverge and get into an accident; and getting lost. But what about some other dangers? We know there are some sick people in this world, people who poison, beat, steal, or injure animals just for the hell of it. What about the dangers from exploring strange areas– falling into wells; ingesting garbage which can contain household poisons (xylitol, cleaners, etc); getting tied up to something/stuck to an object; or dehydration/starvation.

Your dog may be the friendliest dog on the planet, your neighbours may love his visits, but if that is the case they’ll ask to visit your pet. There is no reason why your dog needs to be roaming the streets. I’m not even going to mention how this irresponsibility reflects on owners constantly trying to fight prejudices against pet owners because frankly it’s obvious. Fence your yards, or leash your pets, I don’t care, but keep them at home!

We Are The Failures

Yesterday I was talking with my mother, whom Oliver and I are visiting for 6 days, about his new “snarky” habits. Granted, every Dachshund owner you speak with will tell you stories about how their Doxie can have some attitude issues, but I firmly believe that some behaviors can be taught through exposure and not just because of breed characteristics embedded in their genes.I believe the behaviour I see in my dog is a direct result of what I am or am not teaching my dog–his failures are my failures, we’re a team.

Lately, Oliver has been grumpy towards other dogs, especially puppies, after meeting them. Initially he presents happy, excited signs of wanting to meet another dog so I had been allowing him, and now I’m thinking “Why am I such an idiot?” Why?? Signs of excitement can be very bad, in fact one could say that aggression is just another form of excitement. No? Let me know your thoughts either way. Initially I was like, “Well, I just won’t let him meet any other dogs”, but that too is a recipe for disaster. 

So from now until…well awhile, we’re going to be going back to positive reinforcement clicker training, and I’ll post updates and progress as time goes! 

If you’ve never heard of Clicker Training here is a great starter video by canine Trainer Karen Pryor