What Lurks In The Dark

 

So some not-so-nice person decided to go viral with the following message on Facebook a few weeks ago. I decided to ignore it, but today I think since Halloween is getting so close we can’t take any chances.


First of all, any dog/cat, no matter what breed is at risk on this day. Older teens get drunk and think Halloween is a perfect opportunity to hide behind a mask and cause trouble. Thousands of pets flood emergency vet clinics every night on Halloween, stray pets or pets lost and away from their loved ones. It’s very important on Halloween to make sure your pet has all it’s identification on, and you may want to consider microchipping in the days following if your pet doesn’t already have one. Bonfires, fireworks, and trick or treaters can cause much stress and anxiety in animals and may cause them to seek a calmer environment, which makes them more willing to jump a fence, break a leash, or run out the doggy door.

Things you can do to keep your pet happy and safe at home:

  • Give them a job (a nice raw, meaty bone, or a new trick to learn)
  • Invest in a Thunder Shirt
  • Lock all the doors
  • Give your dog/cat a massage
  • Consider dispensing “Bach’s Remedy” in their water dish
  • Don’t let them go out to pee alone
  • Keep them near you, even if you’re just watching t.v., they’ll find solace in your touch, even if minor
  • Put on some light, classical music. Studies show dogs seem more relaxed with some good ol’ Bach, Chopin, or Mozart playing in the background. Some animal shelters even play it in cat and dog rooms.
  • When it’s time for bed (if they’re not already cover hogs) let them sleep with you, or bring their beds into your room for the night. Chances are they’ll hear things through the night and bark or get scared.
  • Consider leaving a box in your yard for any homeless pets seeking shelter

Please reports any suspicious activities to the police and if any animals are involved also phone the local SPCA.

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I read yesterday of a woman’s 3 year old Dachshund being diagnosed with IVDD (intervertebral disc disease) and at the same time I received an email saying my Trupanion pet insurance trial was about to expire. Panic stricken, I had 3 hours until midnight to decide whether or not to take the plunge and kiss $60-$100 goodbye every month, or take the risk and hope I can afford Oliver’s vet bills (should anything happen).

Like every other pet owner you need to ask yourself before you get a pet, “How deep is my commitment to this animal?” When I adopted Oliver I said to myself no matter what happens, if he needs a wheelchair, daily medications, etc I was going to provide him with that. I don’t talk about it too often, but my dog has saved me by pulling me out of a very dark place emotionally and I consider it my duty to go above and beyond for him with anything he needs. The moment I first held him at 8 weeks old something happened and I felt I found that piece of myself that was missing.

At our last vet visit, Oliver was due for his rabies vaccination and the vet had done a full body examination (as she usually does). She asked about his habits, jumping, running, climbing, etc. It was decided that he’s very high risk of back issues, as he does all of those things. I was informed that back surgery can cost upwards of $5,000, and immediately I knew that that was a cost that I would not be readily prepared to pay at any given moment. So she gave us a trial for Trupanion, and we started our 30 day coverage. I asked a friend about her dog’s pet insurance (as this dog has cost over $30,000 in vet bills), and she also uses Trupanion. I’ve had coverage through PC Financial for both our cat and dog in the past, but when it came down to pay, they got their way out of every bill I sent them and decided that they could take their coverage and stick it where the sun don’t shine. After speaking to a representative at Trupanion and discussing my dog’s breed it was decided that we needed the extra coverage on top of the standard to make sure all of our bases were covered. So if you’re wondering how much this is costing me per month, here it is: $62.00/month with a $500 lifetime deductible per incident. What this means is I’ll pay $500 for IVDD before they’ll pay, or $500 for a knee replacement before they’ll pay, or even $500 for a broken tail before they’ll pay. Now that sounds a little crazy, but I said yes because that $5,000 back surgery number is floating around in my head.

Now pet insurance isn’t just for Dachshunds. Every dog breed has their issues, for example:

  • German Shepherds commonly suffer from orthopedic problems
  • Pomeranians commonly suffer from luxating patelas
  • Labradors commonly suffer from bloat or elbow issues
  • American Pit Bull Terriers commonly suffer from hip displaysia or allergies
  • Huskies commonly suffer from cataracts

As as responsible pet owner it is your job before you adopt to be aware of what may happen to your future pet based on their breed/type. If you are not willing to buy pet insurance, and you can’t afford those hefty vet bills, you may want to think about owning a different type of pet. You should also be aware that buying pet insurance after the fact is not beneficial as pet insurance companies will not pay for existing conditions. To read about Trupanion visit their website here. I should also mention that Trupanion will also directly withdraw from your bank account so you don’t rack up your credit card bill, something I really appreciate!

Just Not Good Enough

Some of us have heard it before when applying for adoption, “Sorry, you’re just not good enough”. It took me awhile before someone said yes, and allowed me to adopt my Oliver. But as fate would have it, he was the right dog for me and I’m almost glad that the other rescues turned me away.

I heard things like:

“You’re too young”

“You live in a condo”

“You work too much”

“You don’t have a yard”

I think a lot of these things are why a lot of dogs/cats sit in shelters a little bit longer. It is possible that some rescues are “too picky”, but when it comes down to it, they have the animals’ best interests at heart. However, for those reading this that are on the rescuer side of the fence, consider this: people’s lives change constantly.

When I first got Oliver yea I was working 5 days a week, 8 hour shifts, but I was also allowed to bring him to work with me. When he entered his ‘lets bug mommy tirelessly at work’ phase, he was left at home, but during that time my spouse was working opposite shifts as me. Oliver was only left home alone one 8 hour shift per week. Personally I think that’s pretty good. And yet, somehow I was told prior to finding him that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to have a dog in my life.

People are willing to change their lifestyles if they really want a pet, but turning them away isn’t a lesson that they will learn from. In fact, I would say that not teaching them valuable pet parenting lessons will be far more detrimental. They will just end up getting a free dog, going to a breeder, or trying out another rescue until someone says yes. If the first woman who told me that I wasn’t suitable had just said to me, “We’d like you to show proof that your dog will be at work with you”, or “you need to cut back on your hours”, etc, I would have learned more quickly that I needed to be home more with him. As it turns out my schedule had changed again and when I realized Oliver was spending too much time again, I quit my job, worked fewer hours at my new job, and took him to daycare. I really wish I had kept this woman’s email from the first rescue I tried and say to her, “See I am capable”.

Be patient with rescues, work with them, and they’ll work with you. Don’t give up on adoption.

Adoptable Pet Of The Day

Today’s APOTD is a little different. I have a new life’s mission and that is to find Dexter a home. I met Dexter this past weekend at my Paws-O-Ween fundraiser, and he was an absolute DELIGHT to spend time with.

Dexter has been at the Langley Animal Protection Society for over a year now! He is a Chesapeake/Pit Bull cross. He may look too ‘lab-like’ for the Pit Bull people and too ‘Pit Bull’ for the lab people, but his temperament would make for a great companion and working buddy. I say working buddy because Dexter LOVES to have a job. He would be excellent for someone who enjoys agility, flyball, hunting trials, or hiking. Dexter does have prey drive, therefore a home sans any felines is a must. Dexter is a sweet-heart with a ton of energy and may be too much dog for a family so best to be in a home without children. Don’t let this sway you, he is kind, and EXTREMELY intelligent. Dexter would make the ultimate camping partner, and at the age of 2 he will be able to keep you on your toes for many years to come.

Let’s all try to find Dexter a home because he totally deserves it! His Petfinder profile can be found here.

Paws-O-Ween Fundraiser

What do you get when you have a bunch of dogs, a great cause, and a torrential downpour? One heck of a good time. Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to host my very own fundraiser to support HugABull I have been a part of fundraisers in the past but never organizing one by myself. I woke up completely ecstatic, but was soon quickly depressed once taking a look outside. The weather was beyond miserable. After having the hottest September on record, and a very nice start to October, I guess Mother Nature just couldn’t give me a break. We trudged on, literally, and made some money for a great cause. I am very thankful to those who could not make it due to the rain who did end up still supporting the event through online donations made to HugABull’s Paypal. I’m estimating nearly $250 was raised despite the horrible weather. I also have to give a MAJOR, MAJOR ‘props’ to Michal from Luv U Pets who (without rain boots) followed us on our rainy trek and took amazing photo’s of our costumed furkids.

Here are some samples of the photo’s taken:

Tira

Participants and their pooches

Poor Oliver nearly drowning in the puddles..or so he thought

Jess went all out

Dexter (available for adoption through LAPS)

Gorgeous Granger

The Whole Crew

 

Thank you to everyone who showed up and braved the rain. Thank you to Janessa Munz for helping me with donations and planning. And thank you to HugABull for saving beautiful bullies everyday.

 

 

Keeping Our Furbabies and Your Babies Safe Together: Co-Post With The Thirties Grind

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some bad experiences while out walking my dog and heard of some other horrifying experiences involving children and other people’s dogs. As a dog owner, my worst nightmare is losing my dog, or be taken away because he has a bad reaction and nips, bites, or attacks a child. My dog is my child and I’m sure many other pet parents would agree with that. We have a different relationship with our pets and even if our dog would never bite us, there is always that fear that a child approaching the wrong way or surprising our dogs may result in a different reaction than we see in our four walls at home.

I have had good experiences where parents are eager for their children to learn properly how to meet a dog and I’ve also experienced parents who don’t care if their child is being disrespectful towards a dog. These parents never discipline nor apologize for their child’s actions, and when a child is bitten, it’s the dog owners that are punished.

One of my friends had an awful experience at her doggy daycare. It was the end of a warm day so she had left the front door open. All the dogs, but hers, were gone and there is a 4ft latched gate that leads into the play area so dogs are segregated from the front. “I was upstairs in my office that overlooks the entire daycare—I can see and hear everything from there”, she told me. Outside, a mother told her daughter to “go see the dogs.” The daughter ran into the store, unlocked the gate and ran inside the doggy area. “I wasn’t sure if my elderly lab was laying down there at that moment, or out back having a potty break. He will bite if he feels at all threatened or startled. I was surprised to see this girl charging straight through a latched gate running into the play area. I yelled at her ‘GET OUT! YOU CAN’T BE IN HERE!’. There was no chance to say anything else — she was back in her van crying and mom drove away”. Luckily, the dogs weren’t around, but something very serious could have occurred. No stern, “That was inappropriate sweetie,” was said to the child.

My friend was somewhat attacked on Facebook when she shared this story. Some people thought that she should have seized the moment and taught this kid a valuable lesson, but is that really her responsibility? “I believe, if given the opportunity, we as dog owners are responsible for helping parents teach their kids how to act appropriately in certain situations. There are just too many clueless [people] out there; someone needs to step in where parents fail”.

I’ve asked Melissa, of The Thirties Grind, to give me her opinion on the topic. How do mothers keep their kids safe, and what can dog moms and kid moms do to work together to keep both parties safe? I asked because I know that in the past nearly 20 years, 85% of all fatal dog attacks are to children under the age of 12. Of that 75% were left alone with the dog. These statistics are disgustingly scary, why are young children being left alone with animals?

What can we do? Early prevention is the key here. Some of my followers may have read about my trip to the Vancouver SPCA this summer. The whole point of that trip was so that the SPCA could educate children on how to act around animals. More programs like this need to be in place. Schools should invite rescue volunteers to classrooms with dogs to teach these highly critical skills. Parents should involve their children in after school initiatives like volunteer dog walking at a local shelter or rescue. I really believe programs like these can save the lives of both children and dogs. Both can be unpredictable in exciting or stressful situations. As mature adults, it is our collective responsibility to work together and have the well-being of our counterparts in mind at all times when out and about, and even in our own homes. Children should never be left alone with a dog, and dogs should never be ambushed by children. Fatal dog attacks on children would no longer occur if we played smart together.

For Melissa’s take on this subject please visit her website, The Thirties Grind, or check her out on Facebook or Twitter. I can’t thank-you enough Melissa for co-blogging with me, not one more child needs to get bitten by a good dog, and not one more good dog needs to be euthanized.

 

 

 

Gorgeous Godiva

Gorgeous Godiva

 

Just one week ago I saw a photo on Facebook that absolutely grabbed my heart strings and tugged on them HARD. I should tell you now that this post will contain some photos of animal abuse and neglect, but has a happy ending, so I hope you stick around to read it all.

 

This is Godiva, rescued on September 30th.

Clearly she was severely abused, neglected, starved, and dehydrated. She was found with many wounds, scrapes, and cuts all over her already suffering body.

 

She is being brought back to life by Dire Straights Companion Animal Rescue(DSCAR) in Winfield, IL. I have no affiliation with this rescue and I don’t know the entire story, but I do know that a dog in this kind of shape only has minutes to survive, or should already have been dead. I really believe that Godiva is a treasure and an absolute miracle. This dog makes me believe that there is someone or something out there shedding divine ‘power’ on those who deserve it.

For 6 days I’ve been glued to their Facebook page reading updates on this sweet, sweet angel.

Oct.1/2012

“Godiva is doing well today. She is very excited to have company and wags her tail as soon as she sees someone. She talks a lot when she’s first left alone again, so we’re sure to know that she prefers our company to being alone. She is very bright-eyed and responsive and interacts as much as she physically can. She is still very weak, but can hold her head up for a short time after I lift it for her. She was able to hold her head up and eat from a bowl that I placed on her outstretched legs. She is eating well and urinating. Her temperature is close to normal and she is still on IV fluids. We are waiting for blood work results that will hopefully be in later today” ~DSCAR’s Facebook page

 

Oct.2/2012

“Godiva looks great today! She continues to eat well and is getting more wiggly, though she can’t get up. She is urinating and defecating, always a good thing! She still can’t lift her head or hold herself up when put in a standing position. She is in good spirits though, and loves having people around her.We got most of her blood work results back late yesterday and were very happy that they looked pretty good, all things considered. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when her CBC results came in this morning. We knew she was anemic, but her red blood cell count is so low that Dr. Jason said “the number really isn’t compatible with life”. Wow.Godiva is very much alive though, and seems intent on staying that way! We checked another CBC this morning and it had gone up a little bit. Not much, but it was up, not down! We will continue to monitor her and if her red cell count does not continue to rise, we will have to do a blood transfusion.
We’re taking it one day at a time. Godiva is happy and we’re doing everything we can for her”. ~DSCAR Facebook Page

 

Oct.3/2012

“Godiva had a good day, today. She chewed through her IV line last night, little bugger! She is still eating very well, but her PCV was still at the same low point this morning. We started her on an iron supplement and will check her PCV daily. She gets a little stronger every day. She can now lift her head and hold it up for a short time. She is a happy little girl with a sparkle in her eyes”. ~DSCAR

 

Oct.4/2012

“She looks great and is in good spirits. Good news – Her red cell count is up a little today!! It will take some time, but we’re heading in the right direction!
Her wounds are healing well and she still loves to eat. She doesn’t want to drink, though. We have to keep working on that. I weighed her today and she has gained about two pounds so far. AND she stood by herself on the scale and even stepped off and took a few more steps! She is definitely getting stronger”. ~DSCAR

 

Oct.5/2012

“Godiva stood and walked on her own for the first time today”. ~DSCAR

(Video available on their Facebook Page)

Oct.6/2012

“Godiva looks great today and her PCV is up from 10 to 14! Still a long way to go, but it’s heading in the right direction! When I got her out of her cage she was able to stand and she started to walk. I stayed close beside her as she walked down the hallway and into the office to join everyone there! Everybody was excited to see her and she happily wagged her tail!
Godiva isn’t eating as well as she has been. Obviously, this is a concern. I think the iron supplement may be upsetting her stomach and I’m going to skip it for the next couple of days. We’ll see what happens and go from there. She did drink a good amount of water tonight, though. That was good to see”. ~DSCAR

 

Seeing the changes in Godiva over the past 6 days, and seeing the great work DSCAR is doing absolutely fills my heart with an amount of joy that I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s so easy for me to sit around and hate the people that do this to these poor animals, but knowing that there are still people around saving them is what I’m hoping to focus on now. She’s been given a second chance at life and it’s a miracle that they found her when they did.

Obviously, her veterinary bills are going to be far into the thousands, and DSCAR has many other animals that they are helping so they need help now. She’s doing so much better everyday as you can see by her photo progression, and I’ll be posting updates weekly. Get better sweet girl, you are in my thoughts all day long <3.

Please visit their website and learn how you can help out Godiva. For daily updates visit their facebook page here.

 

Canine Herpes Virus(CHV) Still Prevalent

How many of you are thinking, “Canine Herpes Virus,is there such a thing”? Well, unfortunately yes, and its killing beautiful, innocent puppies every day.  CHV is a viral disease that causes scattered deaths of puppies and sometimes the whole litter. CHV lives in the reproductive and respiratory tracts of male and female dogs and can be sexually transmitted. Adult dogs can live years and be asymptomatic carriers, meaning they show no signs of being sick. It also means they can infect for years without ever looking sick while causing many horrifying deaths.

Recently, my mother, a reputable British Labrador breeder had a terrible experience with CHV. I’d like to use this experience to educate those of you who have no idea that this awful virus exists. Obviously, I’d like to say that if you are not a reputable and responsible breeder your pets should be spayed or neutered, but they can still carry the virus. Mom’s bitched named Beretta had a litter of 3 puppies after a very long, tiring labour. Two yellow males named Andy and Ike and one black female named Gale. Yes, they were purposefully named after tropical storms. On day five-ish my mom noticed two of her older, retired dogs had bloody noses with funny discharge. She attempted to segregate them from the puppies and disinfect everything, but of course there’s an incubation period with CHV and many other virus’ so it may have been too late already. Both she and her Vet suspected Kennel Cough, the Vet prescribed antibiotics for the older dogs and gave a prescription in case the puppies ended up getting sick (saving a 2 hour trip).

The older dogs felt fine practically the next day. The first nine days of the puppies’ lives went by perfectly, they were doubling their birth weights, eating normally, having normal poops, etc. Day 10 baby Gale started showing signs of this Kennel Cough and she had stopped eating. Mom started feeding the puppy baby formula with a syringe and we discussed making sure the puppy got in some electrolytes. Very rapidly the puppy’s health started to decline (within 12 hours). The puppy would scream and scream, so first thing in the morning my mother took her to the vet. Immediately the vet gave the puppy oxygen and started tube feeding her. After a few hours the puppy’s life couldn’t be saved and she had to be put down. Back at home, someone was watching over Beretta and her remaining two puppies when one of them, Andy, started screaming too. When my mother got home she knew it was only a matter of time before he died to. She administered him some new medicine that the vet prescribed hoping it would take effect and save little Andy. My mom slept in the whelping box with Beretta and her two puppies and held Andy until he took his last breath.

According to some internet websites 95% of puppies that contract CHV before 3 weeks of age will die from it. After 3 weeks their body temperatures can be self-controlled to fight off foreign bodies and a higher temperature (between 100 and 104) will kill CHV. Puppies 1-3 weeks of age have a much lower body temperature (around 94 degrees).

I guess the moral of the story is if one puppy gets sick, bring them all into the vet. Pregnant females should be tested for CHV as it can easily wipe out whole litters. Puppies diagnosed should be kept very warm to try and raise their body temperatures to kill the virus.

Unfortunately, things out of our reach can happen to our dogs very unpredictably, and very suddenly. All we can do is try our best for them and be there for them. When there times comes to go to the bridge (even if too early) we can respect them enough to make the transition more comfortable whether it be through euthanasia or physical comfort.  Rest in peace little Gale and Andy (Andy seen in picture below).